The news cycle these days is starting to seem a lot like that eating machine that force-feeds Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times. Let's start with the soup.

If you haven't heard, Los Angeles is — in the Strangelovian jargon of military experts — the most “lucrative” target for a nuclear missile launch from North Korea, according to a think piece published last month in Forbes. Reportedly the payload of a 500-kiloton bomb detonating above the L.A. Civic Center would annihilate everything within a half-mile radius — including City Hall, the Federal Building, the L.A. County Courthouse and the police headquarters in and around the Civic Center.

It would also include all of the city's tallest commercial buildings in the adjacent financial district and Bunker Hill neighborhood, including such iconic structures as the Wilshire Grand, U.S. Bank Tower and Aon Center. All gone within a few minutes. 

North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, said President Trump's threat against North Korea in his Sept. 19 UN speech amounted to a declaration of war and that under international law his country can legally shoot down U.S. military planes — even if they're not in North Korea's airspace. (Of course, Pyongyang once threatened “a decisive and merciless countermeasure” as revenge for a Hollywood film about an assassination plot against Kim Jong-un by James Franco and Seth Rogen.)

For his part, Trump kept fanning the flames on Twitter: