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Bless this spider hole

December 18, 2003|by TIM ROWLAND

The dark, underground electronic enclave at my home will no longer be known as the "Batcave." It will forever forward be referred to as the "Spider Hole."

I love that term to death, even though I don't have a clue what it means and no one in the press has bothered to explain. But we in the press know a cool word when one is passed down to us by authority, so why bother to question it? That's why "utility knives" overnight became "box cutters."

So they got the old coot. Mad props to our armed forces. And, for their next target, could I politely request Paris Hilton? I'm sure in between incredibly overblown publicity appearances she returns to her own spider hole, or wherever it is that reptiles go to shed their skin.

Mad props to the nation's e-mail spammers, too. You have to admire them; they were on this before Saddam's first whisker was shorn. I liked the spam for the satellite dish, promising that it would allow you to "be the first" to see it, every time a bloodthirsty, rogue dictator was captured.


Then there were the spam "polls." What do you think about the capture of Saddam?

Oh gee, I don't know, let me noodle that one through for a while. Do I think the capture of Saddam Hussein was a good thing or a bad thing? Well, since I'm not a Democrat, I'd have to say it's a good thing. So I clicked on the e-mail and was instantly rewarded by being connected to an Internet porn site. Thank you, Al Gore.

Another thing I don't get, though, is why all the fuss from folks who are afraid that someone besides the United States will be the ones to put the dude on trial?

Like, isn't that a good thing?

The first thing out of the mouth of the soldier who made the capture was "President Bush sends his regards." Instantly you see the problem. He forgot to say the "Simon says" of the U.S. justice system: "You have the right to remain silent."

Any first-year law student could get Saddam off on that one. Yes, even from Dartmouth.

Then you would have the lengthy change-of-venue hearings, and the trial probably would wind up in France.

The court would have to appoint an attorney, and with our luck it would be Johnny Cochran and he'd be dancing around singing:

"If he's down a pit

You must acquit."

Of course there would be numerous examinations to determine whether Saddam was mentally competent to stand trial, and I think the evidence would clearly point to the fact that he isn't.

According to the newspapers, he was living in this mud hut with dirty laundry on the line, $750,000 in cash and nothing to eat but Mars candy bars.

What kind of mentally stable guy sitting on a stash of 7,500 Benjamins doesn't go out and buy Snickers? Come on, Mars bars? Do they still make those? Or are they like everything else in Iraq, where you can't find a good or chattel that was produced post-1974? Those might have been like the sixth and seventh Mars bars ever made.

I ran into this problem in Nepal, where every adobe teahouse, no matter how deeply tucked in the Himalayas, carries Snickers bars. But they have been around for so long they have collapsed to a density normally associated with elements on the 15th row of the Periodic Table.

And what sane guy says what Saddam said when he was found hunkering in digs that make a West Virginia trailer park look like Tavern on the Green?

He said, "I am willing to negotiate."

Negotiate? That's rich. So what was he planning on offering us in exchange for a Swiss bank account and safe harbor to Brazil - a pair of sweat-stained underpants?

Was he going to tell us where the Weapons of Mass Destruction are buried? Maybe the biological weapons of mass destruction ARE the sweat-stained underpants. He had the toxins, all he was lacking was the delivery system. Imagine the horror if Saddam's dirty laundry were to come raining down on New York City.

The thought of it is enough to send a man like me scurrying back to his spider hole.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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