Sebastiano del Piombo/Metropolitan Museum of Art/Wikipedia
You won't want to miss Adam Fortunate Eagle’s book about Columbus.

How Did I Miss That? Scalping Columbus; Putin as Gretzky

Steve Russell

James Loewen published an appreciative review of Adam Fortunate Eagle’s book, Scalping Columbus, on History News Network, reporting that Fortunate Eagle “ends with an appendix that tells the curious reader the proportion of bullshit in each chapter. This innovation other authors, especially of US history textbooks, might emulate.” That LOL leads me to tell the truth about the entire title and subtitle of Fortunate Eagle’s book: Scalping Columbus and Other Damn Indian Stories: Truths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies. This spirit of tolerance for exaggeration continues below.

In the greatest athletic feat by a head of government since Chairman Mao swam across the Yangzi River at age 72, Russian President Vladimir Putin played his first hockey game at age 61, scoring six goals and registering five assists. Slow-motion video showed the goalie diving away from Mr. Putin’s smoking slapshot, and his devastating speed on the ice took him though his first game never touched by a body check “And to think,” my cousin Ray Sixkiller marveled, “he did all that with his shirt on.”

Fox News editorialized that Putin’s prowess on the ice was “another demonstration of President Obama’s weakness in the face of the Russian threat.” When it came out that all US TV stations had not run the Putin video, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) promised hearings into “the cover-up of Obama’s surrender of our national pride.”

The first big story in the NFL draft was how long Johnny Football had to wait for his ticket to Cleveland, but The New York Times had an interesting sidebar about how the NFL manages to inscribe a player’s name on the correct team jersey between the time his name is called and when he hits the stage. Turns out, they do two jerseys for each pick, and one goes to a trading card company to be cut into tiny pieces and stuck in a set of commemorative cards. Cousin Ray was wondering about jerseys not taken, but he was out of luck—the NFL donates them to charity. “Shucks,” said a disappointed Ray, “free is the only way I’d ever get a jersey from the Washington team unless they change the name. Then I’ll buy one for the tribal museum.”

The second big story in the NFL draft came when the St. Louis Rams took Missouri All-American defensive end Michael Sam as the first openly gay player drafted by the NFL. Sam was caught on camera giving his boyfriend a celebratory smooch, leading some bigots to throw a flag for excessive celebration.

When the Rams were in Los Angeles, they were also the first NFL team to sign an openly black player in 1946. Indian players broke in much earlier, and the first President of the American Professional Football Association, which later became the NFL, was Sac & Fox great Jim Thorpe, who served in 1920 and 1921.

“The NFL may use Indian players,” grumped Cousin Ray, “but they’ll have to do something about the Washington team to be Indian-friendly in this day and age.” On that front, Richard Sherman, the colorful Seattle Seahawks cornerback, cited the Washington team’s name as evidence that the NFL would not move decisively against racism like the NBA did when the racist remarks of LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling became public.

On May 12, Sterling finally commented to CNN that his girlfriend made him do it. His wife suggested that it was dementia. Cousin Ray, commenting that Sterling did not help himself on CNN, speculated, “Sterling has a terminal case of mic-in-mouth disease.”

USA Today reported on the National Guard’s effort to recruit soldiers by sponsoring a NASCAR team. The cost was a mere $88 million, but consider the results. Potential recruits inspired by NASCAR numbered 24,800. Of those, 20 met the qualifications for enlistment. Of those, none enlisted. When I told Cousin Ray that other services had quit NASCAR over cost-effectiveness, he claimed they “got tired of spinning their wheels.”

Foreign Policy reports that the Pentagon has spent over a billion dollars developing a hypersonic “boost glide” weapon, informally known as Dyna-Soar, without a mission for it. Apparently because “hypersonic weapons just sound cool.” Cousin Ray understood cool, but wondered if we could be cool for less than a billion and counting.


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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Intellectual and irreverent, just like I like them! Thanks Steve and Cousin Ray for the best laughs of the morning! I love your column! Maybe Steve Russell can be the next Steven Colbert?