A nation doesn’t leap off of a cliff and fall into chaos; it slides over the course of months. In 2001, Argentina started that slide.

By 2002, the price of food had rocketed 200 times higher, unemployment forced angry young men to embrace thievery, cops took bribes to feed their families, universities emptied, and regular people — people with jobs and spouses — carried handguns to get water and gas.

The Argentineans can point to a day when the slide started; they call it “1:1 Day.” It’s the day their government linked the Argentine peso to the American dollar — one peso for one dollar. It was a bad decision in a long line of bad financial decisions, and it marked the beginning of the drift into anarchy.

A popular metaphor for easing into unfamiliar surroundings involves a frog and boiling water. I’ve never done it, but I’ve heard that if you set a frog in a pot on a range and slowly turn the heat up, the frog won’t hop out, even to the point of boiling. The frog simply acclimates itself. This is what happened in Argentina. Motorcycle gangs with tacky mohawks and sawed-off shotguns didn’t begin terrorizing the cities on “1:1 Day,” but a year later, architects, professors, mechanics, doctors, and carpenters thought nothing of tucking a 9mm pistol into their pocket before walking to a local black market to buy razors and medicine. They acclimated.

Today, Fox News, Meet the Press, Late Edition on CNN, and every news hour in every city brimmed with reported that the Senate and House approved a $14 billion bailout for the American auto industry. This is months after legislation provided 700 billion dollars to rich men who ran Ponzi schemes and got caught with their fingers in their bellybuttons — a bad decision in a long line of bad decisions, starting with the day we invaded Iraq for no good goddamn reason.

While I’m sitting here watching coverage of the financial crisis, waiting for a sign that tells me this is our “1:1 Day,” I received a text from a friend: “Fight on my street last night. Shots fired at 2 a.m. Police here.”

There’s a pawnshop on El Cajon Boulevard that sells 9mm pistols for $350. I’m not sure if our “1:1 Day” came or not, or if it will come. In any scenario, I’ve got a few months. I better start acclimating.

WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK

Thursday, December 18
Walker, Texas Ranger
USA 9:00 a.m.

Marketing of toilet paper is less than useless. Toilet paper shouldn’t be rated in the “soft,” “softer,” “softest” manner. I don’t cuddle a roll to help me sleep. It should be rated according to texture; obviously, the leastexpensive brands should be rated as “Chuck Norris’s beard.”

Grey’s Anatomy
ABC 9:00 p.m.

I’ve never seen the show, but I’m familiar with the nicknames “Dr. McSteamy” and so forth. I’m telling you right now, nobody who looks like Patrick Dempsey works at the Hillcrest ER. There was, however, one “Dr. McMorbidlyobese,” a “Dr. McMiddleagedlesbian,” and a “nurse McButterface.”

Friday, December 19
Supernanny
ABC 9:00 p.m.

As has been discussed here before, I don’t play an instrument, but I’m very good at choosing band names. My latest theoretical band name is “Supernanny and the Bingo Wings.”

Saturday, December 20
Animal Exploration with Jarod Miller
KUSI 12:30 p.m.

A friend recently told me that the only way to release a pitbull’s jaw from clamping down on something (say, another dog or your ankle) was to jam your thumb up its butt. I’m not going to write a joke down for that one. I’ll just let that bit of information sit with you for a minute and allow the questions to roll around in your head. Yes, you read correctly. Pitbull. Your thumb. Its butt.

WWE Tribute to the Troops
NBC 9:00 p.m.

With all of these tributes to the troops, do you think they ever have that “gee, thanks” reaction that you have when someone buys you something impractical and mostly unwanted. As if you just received a sculpture of Dick Cheney in tofu. “Wow, we’re being shot at in the desert and you flew in 30 gigantic oily men who want to wrap their hairless legs around each other’s heads. Sweet. You know what we really like? Candy bars and dirty magazines. But, no, this is cool too, I guess.”

Sunday, December 21
Will You Kill for Me: Charles Manson and His Followers
MSNBC 8:00 p.m.

It’s a shame that previous cult leaders have only been interested in killing. I think they missed out on quite an opportunity. I mean, here is this group of people that will do anything for you, and you chose “kill” instead of the more comical options of “Feed each other grapes using only your toes” or “Come here, smell this. Get down in there and smell it! HA HA HA! Smell that! Woo!”

Monday, December 22
Shrek the Halls
ABC 8:00 p.m.

Shrek this, you Shrekin’ Shreks. Sick of this Shrek. Try to foist this Shrek on us constantly... It’s not funny, it’s not entertaining; in fact, it’s just pandering, trendy Shrek. Shrekin’ Shrek. Shrek you.

Tuesday, December 23
Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas
ABC 8:00 p.m.

Look alive, people! This is not a drill! This does not involve Jim Carrey or bad writing from that ginger kid on Happy Days. This is the genuine article! Yes, it will be as good as you remember. Let’s go! Move! Move! Move! Not a drill! There are tiny Whos involved here! This is going to be wonderful!

Wednesday, December 24
Cox Presents the Nutcracker Ballet
CA4SD 8:30 p.m.

Followed by...

Yule Log
CA4SD 10:00 p.m.

Oh, come on. “Cox,” “nutcracker,” “yule log,” all on the same night. Now you’re just doing this on purpose.

Thursday, December 25
No jokes for this one, folks. Good night. Be well. Do good work. Your friend, Ollie.

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Comments

JulieParrots Dec. 20, 2008 @ 2:12 a.m.

Attention Dr. Major Ollie: The time has now come to summon your genetically altered baboons to protect your headquarters outside the Free Republic of United Territories of North Park San Diego. Perhaps this is a much better alternative than the 9mm route, this way you can relax, (kick your feet up on the coffee table lay back on your couch surrounded by young hot women feeding you and bringing you drinks) while your army does all the work in the trenches.

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