Weekly Comments: Mr. Rogers likes basketball, Ireland and United Democrats

# 315, March 26, 2004

COLUMBUS: John Kerry took me up on my idea to vacation for a week. He was skiing in Idaho, but now he’s back in Washington. The sign at the big party they threw for him last night said “Democrats United”. That’s such a novelty, it might work. It’s never been tried before.

All the former candidates were at his party, but most Democrats were watching basketball. Oklahoma State won their game. So did St. Joe. That little team from Philadelphia is everybody’s favorite (except in Oklahoma), and they go head to head tomorrow.

Last week I told you Saudia Arabia was cutting down on our oil supply. The way prices have been going I am about to believe it’s bin Ladin that has his hand on the spigot. A few years ago some folks in Washington wanted to raise the price of gasoline 50 cents. They sure got their wish, but you don’t hear any of them crowing about the achievement.

Ireland finished their spring celebration, and I was there to help crown a new King and Queen. Now there aren’t many places where folks get to vote on their royalty. Normally it just gets passed down to a relative no matter the qualifications, but in Ireland they hold an election. Raymond and Retta Blagg earned the crowns. They are both 89, and been married 69 years. Can you imagine a better way to spend your 70th year together.

This Ireland is in West Virginia, and it’s a small community that shows what spirit and hard work can do for a place. The county decided to bus their kids to town years ago, so they turned the old school house into a community center. Their Irish Spring Festival is just one of a whole bunch of fun things they organize to get people together. If you want to visit a friendly place in the country, go to Ireland. It’s worth the trip, even if gas is $2.00 a gallon.

In West Virginia, folks are proud of their state slogan, “Almost Heaven”. But the governor is upset at a new one, “It’s all relative in West Virginia”. See, this motto is being put on T-shirts by an “outsider”. I won’t tell you the name, but it’s one of those stores that specializes in overpriced apparel. This particular store perhaps has some questionable breeding among it’s own managers because they decided the best way to sell their brand of clothes was to show catalog models that refused to wear clothes. Our young folks buy their clothes regardless, so we may as well enjoy a laugh with them.

Folks in Ireland make you feel at home, even if you aren’t related to them.

The Supreme Court is pondering on the latest big issue to face the country. Regardless of what they announce, ninety-nine percent of us know we’re still one nation under God.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

“I have been in twenty countries and the only place where American tourists are welcomed wholeheartedly is Ireland.” DT #3, Aug. 1, 1926.

Historic fact: Will’s great-great grandfather, Robert Rogers, an Irish-Scotchman came to America about 1800, settling in what is now West Virginia. He married Lucy Cordery, a half-blood Cherokee, they moved to Georgia, and had a son, Robert Rogers, Jr. in 1815. He grew up and married Sally Vann, a 3/8 Cherokee, and Clem was born 1839. He married Mary America Schrimsher, and their eighth child, born in 1879, was named William Penn Adair Rogers.

So if you can trace your roots back to West Virginia, and your name is Cordery, you and Will just might be cousins.

Weekly Comments: Will campaigns for moratorium on campaigning

# 314, March 17, 2004

COLUMBUS: First, on behalf of Columbus, let me thank Las Vegas for capturing our highway sniper. And just in time, too. We’ve got thousands of college basketball fans coming to town this weekend from Kentucky, Illinois, Washington, even Cincinnati. And that’s just for the men’s teams. The women are playing here, too. Columbus hasn’t seen this much basketball talent since Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek. So Columbus roads are safe now. We only have to look out for each other.

Bin Ladin’s bunch struck again, in Madrid. They thought they blew up a few trains, but really, what they blew up was an election.

Then they set off a bomb in the heart of Baghdad today. In Iraq they don’t want to influence an election, they don’t want ’em to have one at all. Now we’ve got a billion Muslims in the world, and they sure don’t all cheer against us. But if even one percent pledge their allegiance to Al-Qaida, or even just one percent of one percent, that’s still enough to keep the world on edge. No, it’s not fair to ask these good, peace-loving Muslims to step in and put a halt to Al-Qaida and all this terror. It’s not fair, but nobody else can stop them, so we have to ask them to at least try. Lord knows the other religions ain’t done such a great job of controlling their own renegades either. You can think of your own examples, there’s plenty to choose from, and you won’t have to go outside your own particular brand of beliefs.

Back here in America, we’ve got a campaign going on. It’s almost 8 months till the election, but the way they are hammering each other, you would think it’s next week. Have you noticed they always seem to know just what the other side is going to say, and when he is to say it? And a minute or two later they come out and refute it?

If I had accidently said something negative about Mr. Kerry, for example, early in this “Weekly Comments”, why before I got to the Historic Quote, the Democrats would be denying the accusation, and turn around and make one of their own about Mr. Bush. And vice versa.

They have this technique perfected to the point where you almost believe they are writing each other’s speeches. Now, if they do have spies snooping on each other, they are both doing it so successfully I’ve got a suggestion. It’s not only a suggestion that’ll increase their popularity with the voting public, on both sides, it’s liable to change civilization as we know it.

Here’s my idea… you call a one-month moratorium in the campaign, (that would double their popularity right there), and you take all these Democrats and Republicans that are spying on each other and send them to Afghanistan and Iraq, and let them spy on the terrorists. They would be such an improvement on the ones already there, they would not only smoke out bin Ladin, they would likely find out where Saddam buried his chemical weapons. If that don’t work, maybe we can trick bin Ladin into visiting Las Vegas.

I’m heading to Ireland later this week, for their big Spring Festival. Not to confuse you, this Ireland is in West Virginia, not Europe. They carry on tradition and have a lot of fun doing it.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

“I like Ireland and Mexico better than any other Countries. They both got humor, and while they both think they take life serious, they don’t. They will joke with you, sing with you, drink with you and, if you want, fight with you – or against you, whichever you want – and I think if they like you well enough they would die with you.” Saturday Evening Post, May 12, 1928

Weekly Comments: Ashcroft gall bladder is out; in Ohio, creationism is in

# 313, March 11, 2004

COLUMBUS: Attorney General John Ashcroft lost his gall bladder. Some folks say he had too much gall, so losing it will bring him back to about normal. You can joke about it if you want, but if you’re ever unfortunate enough to have gall stones settle in and plug the old drain pipe, you’ll quit laughing.

Tonight I mailed Mr. Ashcroft a copy of “my” little book, Ether and Me. It’s the autobiographical story of a 1927 operation on a wayfaring humorist, in an attempt to “relieve me of surplus gall”. In a note to him I apologized in case anything in the book caused him to laugh before the stitches come out, because when you’ve got a fresh scar across your mid-section the last thing you want is a belly laugh.

But I shouldn’t be concerned about John suffering from an early laugh. By the time my package gets through all the government mail screeners, x-ray machines, chemical detectors, de-radiation devices, and is run past various sniffer dogs and taste panels, it’ll be August.

Last weekend Governor Schwarzenegger was here for a Body Builders convention. Hundreds of men and women, all with bulging biceps, muscular chests, huge thighs. Nobody appeared quite normal. The Ohio Board of Education took one look at them and voted to change their Science books. They said no one could evolve to look like that, those bodies had to be created.

So in Ohio the argument is evolution versus creationism. Governor Taft says tax revenues are down, so they can’t afford to teach both sides. They could bring back Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan to fight it out, but Ohio can’t afford those old lawyers, or even new ones.

Maybe they can divide science into two parts. Teach both, but split it to eliminate the argument. See, if your body looks like it was chiseled from New Hampshire granite, then you were created. But if you’re overweight and appear to have a Body by McDonalds, then it’s evolution. And don’t even mention intelligent design, because there’s nothing particularly intelligent about either of them, including the education board.

Have you seen “The Passion of Christ”? There seems to be some disagreement on the outcome of the film. Some are for it, some against it. But I have found if you only listen to ones who have seen it, that removes about three-fourths of the disagreement right there. And if they had read the Book first, why you get close to unanimous accord.

So you might want to read the book, even if you don’t go to the movie.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

After surgery to remove gall stones, Will received hundreds of telegrams and cards, including from President Coolidge, senators, congressmen, ambassadors and other friends. He wrote, “Everybody that I make a living kidding about seemed to be watching for some turn in my illness. People couldn’t have been any nicer to me if I had died.” DT #285, June 21, 1927

P.S: You can order a copy of “Ether and Me” (32 pages) from the Will Rogers Museum gift shop for about $6.00. (www.willrogers.com)

Weekly Comments: Will helps Senator Edwards find work

# 312, March 4, 2004

COLUMBUS: The Democratic horse race ended early. Senator Kerry crossed the finish line Tuesday night and Senator Edwards and the rest of the field were left hobbling along on the back stretch.

Mr. Edwards officially dropped out yesterday, sending my Insurance friends into action. They don’t want to risk having an idle trial lawyer laying around looking for a lawsuit. So half of them are working on Kerry to name Edwards as his vice-president, and the other half are lobbying President Bush to open a cabinet spot for him if he’s re-elected.

I guess Mr. Edwards could make a fine Agriculture Secretary, in case Ann Veneman decides to move back to California. He is strong on optimism, and nobody has more optimism than a farmer. Sometimes that’s all he has, is optimism. John has been campaigning about “Two Americas”, and the farmers agree. One percent of America is raising the food, the other 99 percent are eatin’ it, and the farmers say they could use a hand once in a while.

The Kerry-Bush campaign has heated up already, and there’s eight months to go. Republicans started running television ads today, and five minutes later the Democrats started bashing them. They don’t have any of their own, and couldn’t afford to run ’em if they did, so they kinda keep it even by arguing over what the other side shows.

By the way, Dennis Kucinich has not given up. I think he’s holding out hope to be vice-president, on the Nader ticket.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

“Politics has got so expensive that it takes lots of money to even get beat with nowadays.” DT #1538, June 28, 1931