Heartfelt confessions and a return to form

My dear readers, I?feel like I have failed you.

When you open a crisp copy of the Times Republican on Sunday morning (or click the link on our website, sometime Monday afternoon when your at-work boredom level reaches lethal status) and read “A Nation Burns” you expect the most up to date information on the big issues of the day, free of burdensome facts and extraneous accuracy.

And I have failed you in the duty.

For the past few weeks, three if memory serves, I’ve written almost exclusively on the subjects of Super PACs, high finance and the long term political aspirations of coy Congressmen.

And while this recent shift in tone may have elicited a positive response, including what may be the first piece of mail I?have received at work which did not contain the word “Hitler,” I have now come to understand I have been most derelict in my duties.

I failed to give you the kind of news you want, nay, DEMAND from this column.

I failed to inform you that Steven Seagal has been hired by Vladimir Putin to endorse a Stalinist-era physical fitness program for the Russian people.

How? How did I miss that?

In what I can only assume is an heroic attempt to steal the “World’s Strangest Buddy Duo” title away from Rodman and Kim Jong-un, the Glimmer Man himself showed up in Mother Russia to be greeted by Cold, Withdrawn Step Father Russia (Putin), and talk to kids about why they should stay in shape. Then they went to lunch.

I … I?don’t even know where to begin.

First off: Seagal? When I think “shining examples of physical fitness” the name Steven Seagal falls somewhere between Michael Caine and the guy who played Urkel.

And nothing says “hey kids, remember to exercise,” quite like a 280 pound senior citizen dipped in bronzer.

Actually, that DOES sound like a pretty effective cautionary tale, doesn’t it?

What better than an aging action star to remind kids that, if you aren’t vigilant about fitness, then you too may one day find your stomach expanding faster than a black hole.

But you have to remember that Seagal is only half the crazy in this scenario, and the other half just got done karate chopping a polar bear’s head off.

Enter: Putin

Putin isn’t just instituting some kind of JFK-style, Presidential Fitness Test garbage. A man who spends his free time wrestling bears (true) doesn’t consider the Sit and Reach a real athletic activity.

President Putin (do they even have a Prime Minister anymore? Or is Putin the Prime Minister and the president is the figurehead? … it doesn’t matter) is reviving GTO program, which is a Russian acronym for Ready for Work and Defense, which is totally not terrifying at all.

This is a Stalin era plan. People in Russia call the Stalin days the Dark Days; you know, in stark contrast to the joyful land it is today.

The program isn’t just designed to keep you in shape for your health, it’s to keep you in shape for the INEVITABLE NUCLEAR WAR and, naturally, the post-apocalyptic nightmarescape to follow.


And this isn’t the first time Putin has reached into the past, only to drag some bewildering artifact back to the present time.

In the past few months Putin has offered Russian citizenship to former actor/Frenchman Gerard Depardieu to make some inscrutable point about taxes and invited 90s sensation Boyz II Men to perform at a Valentine’s Day concert in an attempt to get more people to have sex.

No, I’m not kidding. The birth rate in Russia has fallen about 4 percent in the last 20 years and Putin, being a high school student in 1991, figured that “Cooleyhighharmony would TOTALLY seal the deal;” thereby creating a few more Russian kids to be trained in martial arts by the guy who was in “Half Past Dead” with Ja Rule.

Reviving the 90s wasn’t enough for Prime President Putin; he has reached all the way back to the 13th century for his latest revival, the Cossacks.

Yes, the bad guys from “Fiddler on the Roof” the Cossacks, who were best known for whipping, beating and generally killing people that weren’t Russian enough, have made a comeback as a parapolice force in Moscow.

Can they arrest people? No. Can they check documentation? No. Can they carry around gigantic shashka knives while “guarding” museum patrons from seeing “offensive images,” otherwise known as “art?” You betcha.

If somebody doesn’t stop Putin from going back in time to dredge up these anachronisms then next time he’s coming back with Captain Caveman.

My dear readers, I hope you can will accept my most heartfelt of apologies. Somehow time-traveling Vladimir Putin and the latest chapter of “Circling the Drain with Steven Seagal” escaped my attention. I promise you in the future I will focus less on the fleeting, ephemeral topics of money and power and focus on the questions that are truly important: If Seagal is hanging out with Putin, and Rodman is chilling with Kim Jong-un do you think Van Damme is on the phone with Ahmadinejad right now? I’d like to think so.