Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Vol II: Episode 61 – Pipelines, Power and Wild Rice Soup

Political Satire:  Having trouble surviving these times?  You’re not alone.  Join us in columnist John F. Di Leo’s exploration of an alternate universe, where we imagine the impossible:

Joe Buckstop, an aging, corrupt old fool, somehow becomes president in his basement, and every night, an aide has to bring him his soup and discuss the events of the day as he prepares to receive his nightly meds…

Note: We continue from Volume Two, as Joe Buckstop’s soup aide, young Rhett Snapper, discusses the dangers of paying off a ransomware racket when pipelines are at stake.

Pipelines, Power, and Wild Rice Soup

Dateline, May 9. Begin Transcript:

“Good evening, sir! I hope you’re hungry!”

“You have the strangest way of greeting people.”

“‘Good evening, sir’ is strange, sir?”

“No, the ‘I hope you’re hungry’ thing.'”

“Doesn’t sound unusual to me, sir, but if you say so, sir.”

“So what is it tonight?”

“Tonight, sir, the cook made a Wild Rice Soup, from a recipe in Duluth, Minnesota, sir.”

“Are there crackers?”

“Of course, sir. Soup, crackers, napkins, spoon. Here’s everything, sir. I’ll just set it down on your desk, sir.”

“Good, go ahead.”

“Umm, sir? What are all these cords, sir?”

“Trying to get this remote control to work. I can’t find one that fits.”

“Hmm… well sir, this a lightning, this one’s a USB, this is a micro, this is a mini…. your remote takes a mini… OH… I see the problem, sir. You were trying to put a lightning plug in a USB port, sir. Let’s just plug this here and this here… There we go, sir.”

“It works! Well done, kid.”

“Rhett, sir.”

“Uhh, no, you fixed the grey one… I may be old, but I’m not blind.”

“No, sir, not grey… Rhett. My name is Rhett, sir. Every day for the past couple of weeks, sir. The name is Rhett.”


“Okay. What were we talking about, Rhett?”

“Your power cord, sir.”

“Oh, right. Could you get this thing to work?”

“It does now, sir. You just have to remember to match the USB plug to the USB port, and then right kind of plug at the other end, micro, mini or lightning, to the device. It really shouldn’t be hard, sir. They all have a clearly distinct shape, sir.”

“Yeah, okay. It works now. Maybe I’ll try it after my soup. What is it again?”

“Wild Rice Soup, sir. It’s from Duluth. Everything in Duluth is all about wild rice, sir. They even make burgers out of wild rice up there, sir.”


“Yes sir!”

“But … if they’re made of rice, then they aren’t burgers.”

“Right, sir.”

“That doesn’t make sense. Why not call them rice patties?”

“Because the people want to pretend that they’re eating burgers, sir.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I know, sir, but that’s not important right now. You don’t have to order them, sir.”

“But why would it call itself a burger if it’s wild rice?”

“Maybe the wild rice identifies as ground beef, sir.”


“It would probably be a thought crime to refuse to call it what it identifies as, sir. If it wants to think it’s a burger, maybe we have to let it, sir.”

“What for, for heaven’s sake?”

“Well, sir, maybe for the same reason you let a couple of men put on dresses and you appointed them to high offices in the administration, sir. Maybe that’s how they identify, and you’re afraid to call them out as being mental cases, sir.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Seems like the right analogy to me, sir. Some people deny that their dinner is made of rice, so they pretend to themselves they’re eating beef… and some people deny the reality of their own bodies, so they play dress up and pretend to themselves they’re the opposite sex, then demand everyone else humor them, sir.”

“Oh, come on, man.”

“Well, sir, look at the bright side. At least you have power, for all these power cables, sir.”

“Huh? Of course we have power. What are you talking about?”

“Haven’t you heard about the Colonial Pipeline attack, sir?”


“Colonial Pipeline, sir. You must have been briefed on it, sir. On something this important, your staff wouldn’t keep you in the dark, would they, sir? (forgive the pun)”

“What pun?”

“Uhh, never mind, sir. So, anyway, Colonial Pipeline got hit with a ransomware attack the other day, and it shut down a big portion of their pipeline network, sir.”

“Are they big?”

“Well, sir, their pipelines cover 5500 miles, sir.”

“Wow. That’s over a foot.”

“I beg your pardon, sir?”

“5500. That’s over a foot.”

“Yes, sir. Not following you, sir.”

“I’ve been working on memorizing conversion units. I made a couple mistakes in press conferences recently, so we figured this might help.”

“Oh. I see sir.”

“And a foot is 5280 miles, so that pipeline you mentioned is over a foot.”

“No sir. A mile is 5280 feet, sir.”

“That’s what I said!”

“It doesn’t go either way, sir.”

“It doesn’t?”

“No sir.”

“Oh. Darn. Had a feeling this was too easy…”

“So, uh, sir… Colonial Pipeline operates 5500 miles of pipeline, carrying natural gas, gasoline and diesel, sir….. and some company locked their systems the other day and hit them with ransomware, sir.”

“What’s that?”

“I said hackers locked Colonial’s computer systems and hit them with ransomware, sir.”

“No, I heard you, I didn’t understand you.”

“What else is new, sir?”


“What part threw you, sir? Oh, ransomware, sir?”


“Well, split it up, sir. Ransomware is a software program, a kind of virus sir, that locks up a system until you pay them ransom to clear it and unlock the system.”


“An extremely illegal hack, sir, not the sort of thing that a person could possibly claim was an accident or a joke, sir. Blatantly illegal sir. Amazing that someone would be so daring as to attack what is essentially a power utility that way, sir.”


“So they must have talked about this thing this weekend, right, sir? You must’ve been briefed on it, sir, right?”

“Oh, yeah. I remember now.”

“What’s the administration doing, sir?”

“Oh, we ordered the pipeline company to get it fixed ASAP.”

“Huh? But sir, there’s a public policy aspect of this too, right, sir? The administration must be doing something, right, sir?”

“Oh, yeah. Remind me to issue an E.O. to turn down our thermostats to 55 or something.”

“You mean get in the habit of driving at 55, right, sir?”

“Oh, uhh, yeah. That works.”

“But sir, Isn’t the administration talking about why a foreign agent would dare to attack a US power company that way? I mean, that would be an act of war if it were done by a government, sir. We must be doing something about it, right? So it doesn’t happen again, right?”

“It won’t happen again.”

“How can you be so sure, sir?”

“Well, once they pay the demands, they’ll go away and not bother them again.”

“Excuse me, sir? Based on What?”

“Well, these are obviously very smart people. I’m sure they’re good for their word.”

“Sir, I never know when you’re kidding.”

“I’m never kidding.”

“I was afraid you’d say that, sir.”

“Look this is the first time this has happened. I’m sure it was a fluke.”

“Based on what, sir?”

“Well, uhh, human nature.”

“Sir, we have prosecutors in major metro areas who announce publicly that they won’t prosecute tons of types of crimes. We have judges who refuse to give people long sentences even after clear convictions on major crimes. We have judges who order prisons to be emptied at the drop of a hat. We have state legislatures who have eliminated the death penalty even as an option in their respective states, sir.”

“What’s your point?”

“Umm, sir, my point is obviously that our society is sending a message to the criminal class, not just here but all over the world, sir.”

“What message?”

“We have a Kick Me sign on our back, sir.”


“And it’s up to us to get it removed, sir. We need to show criminals, like these hackers, that we will hunt them down and execute them, sir.”

“Well, we can’t do that…. nobody died, it’s a non violent crime, you know…”

“I beg your pardon, sir??? It’s a theft of billions of dollars. Jeopardizing our power grid not only costs billions, it also puts companies out of business, insures or kills people, sir.”

“How could it? It’s just power.”

“Sir, people in hospitals stay alive because of power. Companies deliver critical parts or sales by truck, through use of power. Restaurants and grocery stores depend on power not only for food preparation, but for refrigerated and frozen food preservation.”


“So, cutting off power for money, or even just threatening to cut off power for money, is terrorism, sir.”

“Hadn’t thought of it that way.”

“Well, sir, I think you need to. Because we can’t have this kind of attack again, and it’s on your watch, now, sir.”

“My watch? Oh no. I was here in my basement all the time. I’m not involved.”

“Sir, have you ever heard of the sign that used to be on Harry Truman’s desk, sir? The one that said ‘the buck stops here’?”

“Oh, well, you know, Truman and I were very different kinds of Democrats.”

“You’re telling me, sir. You’re telling me.”

Copyright 2021-2024 John F Di Leo

Excerpted with permission from Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volume Two, from Free State West Publishing, available in paperback or eBook exclusively on Amazon.

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based international transportation and trade compliance professional and consultant.  A onetime Milwaukee County Republican Party chairman, he has been writing a regular column for Illinois Review since 2009.  His book on vote fraud (The Tales of Little Pavel) and his political satires on the current administration (Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes III, and III), are available in either eBook or paperback, only on Amazon.

If you enjoyed this article, then please REPOST or SHARE with others; encourage them to follow AFNN. If you’d like to become a citizen contributor for AFNN, contact us at managingeditor@afnn.us Help keep us ad-free by donating here.

Substack: American Free News Network Substack
Truth Social: @AFNN_USA
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/afnnusa
Telegram: https://t.me/joinchat/2_-GAzcXmIRjODNh
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AfnnUsa
GETTR: https://gettr.com/user/AFNN_USA
CloutHub: @AFNN_USA

Leave a Comment