Thumbs up Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III: In what may go down as the happiest plane crash in history, the veteran pilot steered an Airbus A320 to an unexpected but safe landing in the Hudson River. The plane apparently hit a flock of Canadian Geese; will PETA lodge a protest? The Captain’s quick thinking and glider license saved the lives of all 155 passengers and crew on board, as well as unknown numbers of people on the ground. Geese 0, Plane 0, Pilot 155.
Thumbs Down California Legislature: The Democratic state legislature and Republican Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger remain deadlocked over the budget, which, for those who haven’t been paying attention, is now almost three months late. In the first time since the Great Depression, the California state government will be forced to issue IOUs as tax refunds.
Thumbs Up British Kennel Club: What has jowls, wrinkles, lots of drool and must be born by C-section? Must be the English bulldog, right? Not for long if the British Kennel Club has anything to say about it. The group, under public pressure since the BBC aired a documentary accusing breeders of endangering health in order to get desirable features, amended its official standards this week. The new dogs will be leaner, taller and as a result, healthier. The only downside: Winston Churchill may need to find a new look-alike.
Thumbs Down Spike.com: The guys at the Web site posted a list of the top seven “butterbodies.” (In case you are wondering about the definition of a butterbody, the article helpfully provides one: “a woman who has a beautiful face but a body that’s gone to butter.”) Among the actresses listed are Mandy Moore, Drew Barrymore, Liv Tyler and Salma Hayek. I strongly suggest these men consider wearing fake mustaches for the next few weeks. Bands of marauding women are out to get them and things could get ugly.
Thumbs ____ Bush: The outgoing President held a series of public farewells this week. He continues to insist that he has been “misunderestimated” and that history will be the final judge of his two terms. So, we’ll just leave it blank and leave history to fill it in. On a semi-related note, my sincere condolences to the world’s comedians and satirists. You might actually have to work at finding a target now.
Thumbs Up America: Inauguration euphoria is at hand. The planes are packed and the hotels full. Millions of people are expected to jam the streets of Washington to participate in the festivities. The New York Times reports that in spite of the economic crisis, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and general direness of present circumstances, 70 percent of Americans express optimism and hope for the next four years under President Obama. It remains to be seen if this goodwill will stand up in face of traffic jams, intense security, 20-degree weather and extreme closeness to one’s fellow Americans.