Here's part of "Tricky Living," copyright by Russ Walter, first edition. For newer info, read the second edition at


Most wars are caused by xenophobia: fear of strangers. The best way to end wars is to share Pepsi and pizza.

Peace first

Before starting a war, try to resolve the conflict peacefully. If you absolutely must start a war, make sure you’re well prepared.

Will Rogers said:

Diplomacy is the act of saying “nice doggie” until you can find a rock.

Revolutionary wars

The American government says the September 11th terrorists did a despicable “cowardly” deed. I thought the word “cowardly” was a strange choice. It’s probably what the British said about us hiding behind trees during the Revolutionary War.

In the Revolutionary War for the liberation of America, we hid behind trees and fired at the British, and the British complained it was “unfair” that we weren't standing in an easy-to-shoot line: we weren’t following the rules of war; we were unfairly terrorizing the British troops. The families of those troops were quite upset.

In the Palestinian War for the liberation of Palestine, the pro-liberationists hid in planes and kamikazeed civilians in the World Trade Towers. We said it was “unfair” that they killed civilians instead of paid soldiers.

I guess what’s “fair” depends on which side you’re on.

Whose shoes?

I feel sorry for Palestinians who live in Israel and want to make an honest living. Their thinking goes like this:

                              Hi! Just call me “Ali Baba.”

                              Do you want to buy a shoe?

                              Please don’t call me now an “Arab,”

                              And I won’t call you a “Jew.”

                              Say I’m just from Meso’tamia

                              Where our Western culture grew.

                              Say that Israel is for “us,” and

                              Not just “me” and not just “you.”

                              What about the intefada?

                              Is it just for infants there?

                             Can us old folks have some peace, or

                              Must we tear out all our hair?

                              I am just a kind commuter,

                              Not a looter, not a shooter.

                             My computer? Want to boot her

                              But no ’lectric power there.

                              Want to calm her, but the bombers

                             Coming out of both sides’ lairs

                              Make me wish I were a kishka

                             Or a hummus dumpling there.

                              Yeah, go call me “Ali Baba.”

                              Do you want to buy a shoe?

                              Please don’t call me now an “Arab,”

                              And I won’t call you a “Jew.”

                              Call me “Frank.” I’ll call you “Moe.”

                              Then mo’e frank we both will go;

                              And our children, they will thank us,

                             And our parents will not spank us,

                              As together we will grow,

                              Searching for our heaven’s glow.

                              —   by Rasaalah Al-Walta

                              (Russell Walter’s Arabic cousin)

Here’s a reply to that poem:

Dear Mr. Baba:

Please shut up. We’re all itching to have a good fight. Don’t blow it. People who get in the way are likely to get “eliminated” from the discussion. Go back to selling shoes.

— President George B.

America’s first popcorn war

Back in the early 1960’s, John Kemeny (who invented the Basic programming language) said wars should be replaced by video games, where the opponents would fight each other on screen, winner take all.

Here’s what actually happened… the time is March 2003, and you are there…

Saddam is attacked by Baby Bush, but the media treats the whole “War against Saddam” as just a football game, similar to the Super Bowl. We wait for the referee to fire the opening shot. It’s the first scheduled war: “War will begin at 8PM EST.” We get stats on all the players, with pre-game comments from the coaches and quarterbacks. We get to see whether Bush attacks up the middle or does an end-run around the defensive tackles; whether he lobs some passes up into the air or throws straight ahead, Tomahawk style; and whether the sides, in their strategy huddles, lift their fingers with fake signals to fool the enemy. The TV shows photos of the quarterbacks, Bush & Saddam, displayed side-by-side.

20 years from now, if both of those men are still alive, they’ll look back and reminisce about the “good old days” when they had sporting fun baiting each other at the Big Game and how they both managed to change the history of the world, especially the world’s international relations, laws, rules, and assumptions.

While watching the battle, I was sorry to be out of popcorn. I was eating a veggie burrito instead, which fortunately is non-political, since we haven’t attacked Mexico yet.

Hey, that’s an idea: instead of “food for oil,” let’s fight for “food for burritos.” Burritos are better than a steak bomb.

I waited for the Food Channel to show a snobby chef recommending the best food for war watching. “May we suggest the fillet? Perhaps after an aperitif?”

This war was great fun: for the first time, Bush was seen by most of the world as more evil than Saddam Hussein (who should be called “So-Damn Insane”). I wonder when Bush will get tired of fighting, “bushed.”

This whole war was actually based on sex. Bush and Blair were young, their penii still strong and frustrated, and they wanted to attack Saddam’s opening, to come to an orgasmic conclusion to the crisis. The heads of France and Germany were older, tired, and just wanted the young headstrong men to quiet down and stop disturbing Europe’s nap time.

After the battle and recriminations, Bush and Saddam should shake hands and exchange after-dinner mints.


When France objected to the USA’s war on Saddam Hussein, America poked fun at the French. Here’s a collection of anti-French humor:

“Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion.” — Jed Babbin

“The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee.” — Regis Philbin

“I don’t know why people are surprised that France won’t help us get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn’t help us get the Germans out of France!” — Jay Leno

“What do you expect from a culture that exerted more of its national will fighting against Disney World and Big Macs than Nazis?” — Dennis Miller

“You know why the French don’t want to bomb Saddam Hussein? Because he hates Americans and wears a beret. He’s French.” — Conan O’Brien

“I’d rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me.” — General George S. Patton

“France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. France has usually been governed by prostitutes. Apart from those drawbacks, it’s a fine country.” — Mark Twain

On the other hand, Jacques Chirac, France’s President, said:

As far as I’m concerned, war always means failure.

For more of those French thoughts and counter-thoughts, read Croaker’s postings on the Internet at:

Info about Jed Babbin’s quote is at:

Cute dictators

Here are Saddam’s thoughts:

“I said I wanted a holy war, not holey.”

“I don’t like the way the war ended. It’s the pits.”

Rumsfeld commented that Saddam met the same end as other bad dictators, such as Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, and that Romanian guy whose name is hard to spell. But was Lenin really so bad? Compared to Stalin, Lenin was cute.

So was Saddam’s son, Odai. Sure, Odai had a reputation for being ridiculously cruel, even crueler than his dad. But when I look at photos of his face, before and after his death, I just melt, because his face is so cute. I finally realized it’s because he looks like the Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni: he has the same cute smile and puppy-dog eyes.

Too bad Odai’s dead: he could’ve had a wonderful movie career. His dad raised him wrong.

Even Osama Bin Laden — who dictates to terrorists — looks cute. He looks just like the Jewish longhairs I went to school with. Too bad he dislikes my group and started a cafeteria food fight, throwing airplanes. I don’t understand his goal: the Palestinian cause already got worldwide attention and sympathy; what does he expect to gain by making Moslems become disliked? He seems immature. He’s just a kid throwing temper tantrums, forcing the rest of the world to childproof everything, for protection from him.

Mysterious Arabs

Question: What do you call a bunch of Arabs in turbans who bash into private property by unexpected transportation and unload a surprise, because they were on a religious mission from Arabia and targeted our Christian roots?

Hint: they’re accused of having “Bin Laden” with gifts.

Answer: the 3 wise men. You’ll see them again each Christmas.

Arafat jabs

My hopelessly anti-Arafat relative passed me two jokes that are cruel but cleverly structured. Here are my abridgments.

I have a tough question for you. Suppose you see Arafat dangling from a swaying tree over a waterfall. You have this choice: you can either save him or else win a Pulitzer Prize by photographing his fall. Here’s the question: which lens do you use?

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, Arafat phoned President Bush and said he was sorry for the terrible tragedy. President Bush asked, “What are you talking about?” Arafat replied, “Oh, shit, I forgot about the 7-hour time-zone difference.”


Before Saddam Hussein won the world’s contest for being baddest-guy-that-Americans-want-to-attack, the dictator du jour was Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Milosevic.

Milosevic was arrested in 2001; but when I wrote this book in 2004, his trial still hadn’t finished. We need one last ingredient to bring his Yugoslavia war and aftermath to an American-style fun conclusion: a ballad. I’ve written the lyrics, to the tune of “McNamara’s Band.”

Now we just have to get Milosevic to sing the ballad himself. American tradition says he can go free if he just garners American sympathy by confessing — while showing he’s a “good enough sport” to participate in a Saturday Night Live skit. Here’s the script, as it would probably play out:

The Ballad of Slobby Dan

[President Bush, dressed as a cowboy, sings in country-western style, cheerily, while dancers do an Irish jig, all to the tune of “McNamara’s Band”:]

“He’s Slobby Dan Milosevic. His friends all call him Slobo.

He ran the country to the ground. Then friends all called him loco.

He started wars for ’bout 10 years. The country was a wreck.

They threw him into jail, and then he said...”

[Milosevic, handcuffed, has come on stage. His handcuffs are removed and he starts singing. He’s a nervous prisoner reluctantly confessing and trying to seem a good sport, but his smile is forced. He sings in a Russian Yiddish accent, slowly, plaintively, pathetically, trying to act as a nice old Jewish fella, to appeal to New York Jewish audience:]

“Aw, heck,

I’m Slobby Dan Milosevic. My friends all call me Slobo.

I ran the country to the ground. My friends then called me loco.

I started wars for ’bout 10 years. The country was a wreck.

They threw me into jail, and then I said, ‘You’re dreck!’

I killed a bunch o’ ’banians but lots of others too.

I’m just an honest ethnic guy, who sent all nuts to ‘zoo.’

They say I took some money, but I just took out my share.

I used to be a bull… but now I’m just a bear.”

[Bush and chorus then repeat first verse, but end with Milosevic losing his cool and saying, menacingly:]

“You’re dreck!”

[Milosevic gets handcuffed again and dragged off stage, having lost his chance to prove himself nice.]