Urban Dictionary defines "trashball" as "an innovative game composed of a trashcan and a ball-like object created from newspaper and duct-tape"—a game so innovative that it's not really clear how to play it, since "rules may vary depending on region." They may even play trashball in the region known as the Middle East, which UD defines as "A giant sandbox. People live in it" (author: "YayForSuicide").
But did you know that trashball is also the greatest hope for the future of Iraq?
Consider this, from James Glanz's biting piece in the Times on the head-shaking failure of many of the U.S.'s Iraqi reconstruction projects to sustain themselves even six months after their glorious ribbon-cuttings:
At the maternity hospital, a rehabilitation project in the northern city of Erbil, an expensive incinerator for medical waste was padlocked — Iraqis at the hospital could not find the key when inspectors asked to see the equipment — and partly as a result, medical waste including syringes, used bandages and empty drug vials were clogging the sewage system and probably contaminating the water system.
But fear not, loyal American: help is around the corner. The Times smuggled a hopeful secret message deep in the bowels of front-section page 22, in a charming little piece about Christopher Goodwin, a blogger and junk hauler (same diff, etc.) who picks up garbage in the nation's capital and repackages it in those little plastic eggs you get from crappy toy vending machines. The "Trashballs," boasting baubles like ketchup packets and telegrams, go for a quarter a pop — not a bad margin when you consider that Goodwin gets the plastic eggs for 4 cents each and embezzles refuse from his day job.
And get this: one of Goodwin's former jobs was "contract-proposal editor for a military contractor."
Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, whoever: if you're reading this, you're welcome. A trillion-dollar art project/national reconstruction initiative just plopped into your laps, free of charge.—SHANE