where the writers are
License to Il
10% of profits from sales of Paranoia will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund.

Inspired by, well, pretty much every radio station over the Memorial Day weekend, I've decided to utilize one of their tactics for keeping the listener - or, in my case, the reader - tuned in: The Top 500 Countdown.

That's right. Beginning today, I will be posting the Top 500 Things Things You Should Know About Me.

Once a week.

For the next 500 weeks.

I figure, that keeps you riveted for the next 9.5 years or so.

I am a GENIUS.

We'll consider that #500.

The good thing is that nothing major happened over the weekend in the world. No nuclear bomb testing by a Communist nation, no bold movement of warships into international waters by, probably, our biggest enemy, nothing like that.

Well, it's a good thing Obama did SO well on what the media has considered his first and biggest foreign policy test: pirates. Yay.

Meanwhile, enemy nations around the world seem to be emboldened by Obama's campaign to show the "Softer Side of America." As one Asian analyst, Bahukutumbi Raman, put it: President Obama is on track to accomplish in his first year of office what President Carter took three years to achieve – portray the United States as a “confused and soft power”.

Let me be clear on something. I am talking about the world's perception of the United States, not a Republican statement on Obama's policies. Therefore, it is hard to argue this since it comes from somebody out there in the big ol' world - specifically the continent on which much of the trouble has begun to brew.

This is a big issue. By the way, just for the record - that word is pronounced ishyoo. If you pronounce it issyoo in my presence, I will proceed to fill your underwear with hungry flea-ridden muskrats. I cannot STAND issyoo or tissyoo. That's a freebie, by the way. #499.

Well, back to the point. North Korea. So what, right? North Korea is showing off its nuclear capabilities and we're wagging the finger again. We should sit down and talk some more, because that's worked. Or, call me crazy, but maybe we should grow a set and pressure China to threaten to cut off trade with North Korea if they don't fall in line. There's an idea. China wants to be part of the responsible international community - than force them to put their money where their mouth is. Then again, we're the country who's decided to change the name of the Freedom Tower to One World Trade Center because "Freedom Tower" might offend the first tenant...a Chinese company.

So far, what appears to be on the table are not providing North Korea full diplomatic immunity status and refusing to declare the Korean War officially over.

OOOOOOOOHHHHHHH. Scary. I'm sure Kim Jung Il is quaking in his boots over those. Wait until he sees all the statements condemning his actions! With that one-two punch, there's no way he can continue on his path once he's laughed himself to death.

I was going to write here that I was curious to see what it would take to get people in this country to understand that there are people in this world who are just evil and cannot be reasoned with. But I don't want to see it. Unfortunately, I have a bad feeling we will.

J.E. Braun is the author of Paranoia, a 9/11 survivor's tale. 10% of profits from sales of Paranoia will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (www.ttof.org). For more information, visit www.jebraun.com.