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IRREGULAR TIMESOrange Alert - the very name feels like an anachronism, going back a couple of generations to the time when James T. Kirk was still captain of the Starship Enterprise, ordering yellow alerts and red alerts at the drop of a tricorder.

Now it's George W. Bush and his pointy-brained first mate John Ashcroft who are ordering the special alerts, and they've added a new color in order to demonstrate their really kicky fashion sense The only difference I can see between Captain Kirk and George W. Bush, besides that Bush doesn't wear an insignia on his chest yet, is their reaction to stressful situations. You'll remember from the old Star Trek TV shows that the USS Enterprise would come under attack, and then the whole crew would fall all over the bridge while Captain Kirk sat perfectly still in his captain's chair. With George W. Bush, it's the opposite: the rest of the nation can't see any threat at all, but he falls all over himself as if he's being clobbered by an evil enemy. Is it a pretzel? Is it a weapon of mass destruction set on stun? No, it's just a special kind of evidence that only George W. Bush has the power to see, and now the nation is boldly going where no W. has gone before - into combat.

Never have Americans heard a "Yeehaw" so loud.

Hey, these are Irregular Times, so I guess that we'd better cut those old security boys a little extra slack. After all, there's something to be said for the idea that men who are obsessed with security have a few, um, underlying problems to deal with. They don't mean to be so extreme, I'm sure, so we can forgive their far-out enthusiasm as everything's that's old is being dusted off for re-consumption by the nostalgic, the old-fashioned, the gullible, and the afraid, the very afraid.

This trend is too big to buck, friends! Besides, can't you see the kitsch potential for old Orange Alert materials a few years from now? Picture this: you're in the living room, and your kids are lying at your feet on the floor, asking, "Mommy, Daddy, did they really have orange alerts for the entire country?"

You'll smile at your mate, chuckle, and say, "That's right kids! They even had us believing that there were terrorists in the shopping malls! We had to wage few wars to get that out of our systems!"

Your kids will exchange confused looks. "But there wasn't any real reason to go to war! The evidence was all made up! Our history books at school say so."

You and your mate will sigh, and pat each other's hand. "Now kids, it's time for bed. But quick, we'll show you the old newspaper clippings!"

Newspaper clippings? Oh, come now. You can do better than that! In fact, for the sake of future generations of little warmongers, it's your duty to do better! You need to get your genuine Orange Alert Memorabilia now, while it's still fresh. Get your memorabilia before it's a memory!

Thar's frisbees, and coffee mugs, and bumperstickers, and clothes to keep you warm while you put up your plastic sheeting with your last roll of duct tape.

Just once more, in case you forgot...

Orange Alert Memorabilia

Look over your shoulder! There's a evildoing terrorist plotting the downfall of civilization as we know it! My mistake, that's just George W. Bush. They look similar, you know.



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