Weekly Comments #250

COLUMBUS: All I know is what I read in the “Columbus Dispatch”. The Legislature wants to raise money for schools by placing 14,000 slot machines at all the horse racing tracks. The Governor says he is for raising money, but he’s against the slot machines.

According to the paper, the horse tracks would keep half the gross profits (because that’s where the gambling machines would be housed), and the schools would get half. They don’t say what share the winners get.

This don’t seem quite right, after all it’s the schools that need the money, not the tracks. If the race tracks need to rake in more dough let ’em get better horses.

Now I’ve got another plan. Take those 14,000 gambling machines and divide them among the schools. That way you eliminate the middle man, and the schools don’t have to split the profits. There would be no overhead, and no need for a state education department. Teachers at the end of the month wouldn’t have to wait for their paycheck to arrive. They would just empty the machines and divvy up the proceeds amongst themselves.

The slot machines would even help the youngsters learn arithmetic, mainly subtraction. (For example: little Susan brings $10 to school, and loses $9 on the slots. How much does she have left to buy lunch?)

More parents would show up for PTA. Men that hadn’t been in a school building in twenty years would stop in every morning to try their luck.

This sounds like a good plan, and it should have the backing of Republicans and Democrats. But not the Methodists or Episcopals. Catholics are kinda on the fence: they favor gambling, but only on church property.

Ohio has tried this before. About every four years somebody puts gambling on the ballot, and it always goes down. It reminds me of Prohibition when there was lots of folks that voted dry, but drank wet, and now on gambling they vote “no”, but bet “yes”, even if they have to cross the state line to do it.

Have you seen this new campaign against SUV’s. It’s a bumper sticker that asks: What Would Jesus Drive?

Now I don’t rightly know, but I seem to recollect that Jesus mainly walked. He did ride a donkey on occasion, but he gave that up when hay went to $2 a bale.

Now I suppose the folks asking the question want Jesus to drive something. So I would propose a Model T Ford would be ideal. It was the first car ever built for the common man. No fancy frills, no options, and only came in black. It was cheap, so the Apostles could not complain he was wasting the Sunday collection.

Here’s the main reason for Jesus to drive a Model T… if he spent a full year cranking it to start it, patching punctured tires, replacing all the bolts that rattle off, and pulling it out of mud holes and pushing it up steep hills, well, that would be a bigger test of a man’s religion than forty days wandering in the Wilderness.

After watching that Victoria’s Secret show last night, the question they should ask is: What Would Jesus Wear? Or more accurately, what would Jesus pick out for Mary Magdalene to wear?

That show reminds me of Mr. Zeigfeld’s Follies. He always spent thousands of dollars on costumes, then wouldn’t let the girls wear them. ‘My’ main role was to come on stage for ten minutes between acts and entertain while the girls changed from nothin’, into nothin’.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Prohibition originally started out with us as a moral issue. It was either good or bad for you to drink. Then it drifted to economics: Did people save more when not drinking? Then into racketeering. But now it’s drifted into the worst angle of any, that is politics. American history records no return of anything once it got into politics.” DT#1855, July 15, 1932

#249 Nov 15, 2002

COLUMBUS: The last time we talked, it was election night, the votes had not all been counted, and the Democrats still had hope. By early morning, all hope had vanished along with Mr. Mondale, Senator Max Cleland, and whoever was running against Elizabeth Dole.

So the Democrats have turned the whole situation over to the Republicans. They sort of admitted, “George, you’re riding the tall horse, at least for the next two years. You can set your own direction and pace, but we ARE bringing in Nancy Pelosi to nip at your heels once in a while, and bark if the occasion calls for it.”

In other election news, the cockfighters lost in Oklahoma. Now that it’s illegal, profits will likely go up. Look for cockfighting to bring prosperity to Oklahoma like Prohibition did for Chicago.

Did you see where the Parliament in Iraq voted against the UN inspectors, and the next day Saddam over-ruled them? That don’t mean he’s ready to give in, rather he knows it’s his neck on the line, not Parliament’s. He was hoping the Democrats (or maybe France) would save him, but now it kinda looks like he’s depending on bin Laden.

Here in Columbus, they’re holding a convention of real estate investors, and I was invited to annoy them last night. I tell you, after trying for the past two years to cheer up audiences consisting mainly of Wall Street investors (and failing miserably), this was a pleasant change. They were in an optimistic mood when they got here, and if they follow everything the other speakers are scheduled to teach them, they’re liable to double their investment by Christmas. The only thing along that line I could possibly suggest to them was to read a new book called “The One Minute Millionaire”. But they won’t do it; that’s not fast enough for these folks.

I told them something “I” had written about real estate back in 1928. “The government sent the Indians to Oklahoma. They had a treaty that said, ‘You shall have this land as long as grass grows and water flows.’ It was not only a good rhyme but looked like a good treaty, and it was till they struck oil. Then the Government took it away from us again. They said the treaty only refers to ‘Water and Grass; it don’t say anything about oil’.”

Well, they didn’t laugh, and I was a bit surprised. Of course at the time, the Indians didn’t think it was funny either. **

Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (immediately after the 1928 election)

“FOR SALE: Would like to sell, trade, dispose of or give away to right parties franchise of what is humorously known as Democratic Party. Said franchise calls for license to enter in national elections; said right of franchise is supposed to be used every four years, but if intelligent parties had it they would let various elections go by default when understood they had no chance.
If in right hands and only used in times when it had an “issue” or when Republican Party had split, think it could be made to pay, but present owners have absolutely no business with it. Under present management they have killed off more good men than (railroad) grade crossings have.”
 DT #712, Nov. 7, 1928

“Offers pouring in all day for the purchase of the Democrats. All want the title, but no one wants any of the cast.” DT #713, Nov. 8, 1928

** Note: I added several of Will Rogers’ quotes about real estate on this web site. Click on “Quotes”, then “Real Estate”.

If you’re interested in reading and seeing more about Will Rogers Days, go to www.willrogers.com and click on “What’s New”, then “Large Turnout Pays Homage to Will Rogers”. This is a news report about the birthday events Nov. 4 at Claremore and Oologah. The story does not mention me (I had no official role in the festivities), but I took all ten photos which illustrate it.

#248 Nov 5, 2002

CLAREMORE, Okla.: When this town gets all fixed up for a birthday celebration, it never looked better. And the people around here, and up at Oologah, are the friendliest in the world, and always have been. They had a big parade Sunday afternoon, and former Governor Nigh was in it. He was governor so many years ago, folks think we’re about the same age.

Yesterday morning they had a birthday cake at the Ranch at Oologah, and music from the grade school kids. In the afternoon the Cherokee ladies of the Pocahontas Club had a ceremony at the Memorial at Claremore with cookies afterward. Of course there were some speeches, but they were short compared to the music and cake and cookies. With friends and family, it was a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday, number 123.

I stopped in to vote this morning, at the polling place just down the hill from the Memorial. According to the front page of the “Tulsa World”, a million people might vote in Oklahoma, and I didn’t want ’em to end up with only 999,999 on account of me. Besides they got something important on the ballot – cockfighting. That’s why so many are voting. Cock fighting has been a popular enterprise and a lot of folks have wanted to get rid of it for a long time, but they couldn’t. Now this vote today might make it illegal, but it’s kinda like the Prohibition Amendment, they won’t eliminate it. We’ll end up with a lot of cockfight bootleggers.

Well, back to my voting. They said, “Will, your name’s not in the book, and you can’t vote”. Now, that was a terrible jolt. Seems it don’t count that for over fifty years I’ve been what you might call a “permanent resident”.

Well, I hope they get their million voters, but they should get two million. I met about a dozen exchange students, from Russia, way up in Siberia, who are living in Claremore for three weeks, to learn more about us. They’re seeing how a democracy works, first hand. But they’re liable to go home wondering why half of us don’t even bother to vote.

If you’re still looking for a place to see some beautiful fall colors, get over here in the next few days. The trees around Oologah Lake never looked better. I think all the clouds lately has held the colors.

Happy birthday to Laura Bush. She’s another one of these folks born on Nov. 4.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“I had never seen a Cockfight, and I personally don’t approve of it – this thing of having one Chicken with sharp knives on its legs, immediately and instantaneously sever the jugular vein of its opponent, who also has on similar knives and has an equal chance of doing some severing itself.” Saturday Evening Post, May 12, 1928

“Well, the promising season ends next Tuesday, and at about 8 o’clock that same night the “alibi” season opens… To show you what campaign promises amount to, can you remember back a few weeks ago when the promise was made on both sides that ‘the campaign was to be run on a high plane’? This campaign ends Tuesday, but it will take two generations to sweep up the dirt.” DT #706, Oct. 31, 1928.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, I flew back to Ohio this afternoon. And they let me vote. I guess the standards are lower than in Oklahoma.