Scary, Very Scary.....But so very wrong
© David Volk

Dear Folks,

I find myself in a situation where I feel like Rick in the movie "Casablanca" when Capt. Renault asks him why he came to the Casablanca in the first place .

"My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters," the Bogart character says.

"The waters? What waters? We're in the desert," a puzzled Renault asks.

"I was misinformed," Rick replies. (

I, too, was misinformed. Although I was a big Second City Television fan, I never saw the Saturday morning horror movie sketches and I relied on information from college friends who told me John Candy was the one who performed the bit.

A member of the rant list who is an editor at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, WA no less informed me that I was horribly, terribly wrong, or at least terribly misinformed about the host of "Monster Horror Chiller Theater. It was Joe Flaherty. (

And while we're on the subject of errors, I also discovered that I unintentionally misspelled the last name of the U.S.

Attorney General in one of my references to him. It should be Asscroft, not Ashcroft.

I regret the error.

I hope that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me and that you would be willing to overlook the formatting problems I seem to be having with these damn things.

Sincerely yours,

David G. Volk

Scary, Very Scary....
© David Volk

Scary, very Scary....

Years ago, when the Second City Television troupe had a late night comedy show, comedian John Candy did a recurring skit where he played the host of a Saturday afternoon program that showed old horror films. Before showing the film, however, he would build it up and talk about how very frightening it was.

"It's scary, scary, very scary," he would conclude just before the film started.

Inevitably, the next thing shown on the screen would be an excerpt from a Bergman film where the characters weren't doing much of anything except, maybe, moping. After two minutes of this, the camera would inevitably return to Candy.

"All right, so it wasn't scary," he would say. "But did you see those people? They were sad, so sad."
I'm beginning to feel the same way about John Asscroft and the Bush administration these days, especially after yesterday's press conference stating that the U.S. is under increased threat of terrorism this summer.

Am I the only one who thinks the timing of this message isn't exactly coincidental? For starters, the message didn't come out on a Friday when the Bush administration likes to release stories it doesn't want covered (which is just about any story of value).

Oh, and who can forget Bush's first speech on the future of Iraq? Well, everyone apparently. He didn't say anything new (other than setting a record for saying "war on terrorism" in a 36 minute speech) and then was surprised to discover it not only didn't get much coverage, it also landed with the dull thud of a collective ho-hum from the press and public alike.

Not only did the speech not get the attention his administration was hoping for, it didn't detract attention from the ever-widening prisoner TORTURE (that's torture, not abuse) scandal in Iraq, his mishandling of the war, his failure to uncover weapons of mass destruction (which prompted an amazing front page apology in yesterday's New York Times) or his rapidly declining poll numbers.

All this left them only one option. Trotting out bellicose John Ashcroft to try to scare the bejeezus out of us by beating the same tired drum he's been beating since September 12, 2001. Only this time he sounded more like that guy who does the movie trailers in theaters than an honest to goodness government official.

When you heard the sound bite, couldn't you almost hear him saying, "At a dangerous time in a land that democracy forgot....This summer, there are terrorists out there and they could be coming to a theater near you. Or a multi-plex. Or a political convention. Or a G-8 Summit. Or a major political convention. Or a playoff game. Or a Osmond family reunion...We don't know where they are or when they're going to strike, but they're going to be scary, very scary..."

Well, all I can say to that is big fat duh, Mr. Asscroft. You've drummed the threat of terrorism into our heads for so long that we've begun looking under every rock (where, coincidentally, we were surprised to some of Bush's judicial nominees). We already know that they could strike anywhere, at any time, when we least expect it (which come to think of it, sounds like what Allan Funt used to say at the end of every episode of Candid Camera and makes me wonder if his crew could be considered to be terrorists). They're terrorists and that's what they do. We know about them and we are being vigilant, but many of us have followed the Israeli example, gotten on with our lives and refused to give into fear.

The same fear that the administration tries to sell us every time its poll numbers drop dramatically. The same fear that they pitch when Bush can't manage the news and get the media to regurgitate his side of the story. The same fear that drowns out messages of hope, justice and righteousness.

Yes, we know that there are terrorists lurking, that they could strike at any moment and that the world out there is scary, scary, very scary.

But did you see the way Asscroft and the rest of the people in the Bush administration were behaving.

It was sad, so sad.

From a man who wishes he worked for the daily newspaper in Lynn, MO because it's called "The Unterrified Democrat"

(I'm not kidding),

David G(onna fly now) Volk