Farmers lack interest in Prince Charles, Camilla or Chris Rock

# 357, February 25, 2005

ADA, Ohio:  This little town is the home of Ohio Northern University, and Ada is famous because this is where Wilson makes footballs for the professional and college players, and about everyone else. They ship thousands, maybe millions, of those balls out each year, and they are all properly inflated, which means that Ada exports not just pigskins but a whole lot of air. Now it don’t change the climate, but weather maps always show the wind direction here as inbound. Kinda the opposite of the state capital when the Legislature’s in session.

I’m here for a farmer conference, and some of you regular readers are probably wondering if that’s all I do, just go to farm meetings. Well, no, but I can’t think of a better place to be. And these farmers feel it’s important to keep on learning. They want to know how to produce more food for less dollars, and reduce soil erosion and keep the dust out of the air.

You may be saying, “Don’t they already know how to farm? Aren’t there other things in the world more interesting to learn about than how to grow corn and raise hogs?” Well, not to these folks. I spent most of two days with 600 of them, and not a one offered a prediction on who will win the Oscars Sunday night. The makeup of the Michael Jackson jury don’t matter. Nobody inquired if I was invited to the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla.

Chris Rock is hosting the Academy Awards. Anyone who has seen him perform in person or on HBO is a bit concerned. The network says they will use a five-second delay, and cut out any foul language or behavior. But if Mr. Rock follows his usual style, those five-seconds will add up in a hurry, and if they cut ’em all out, the show will end by 10:45. You folks know that Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Bob Hope and a couple others have emceed the show. But did you know that the 1934 Academy Awards, the first one held in public, was emceed by Will Rogers? Well it was. You can read a few of his remarks below. You will note that talented emcees don’t need a string of cuss words every few seconds to be funny.

Hollywood is making fun of Prince Charles because he is marrying a woman he loves, rather than one that’s young, glamorous and beautiful. He tried that once, and found it didn’t suit his nature. As far as I’m concerned, Charles, it don’t matter if Hollywood or your mother decides not to attend the wedding. But I do have one suggestion for the ceremony: wear pants. A kilt may be a jaunty tradition in Old England, but an old Prince with old knees should start a new custom with a pair of dark trousers.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

Will Rogers was Master of Ceremonies, Academy Awards, March 18, 1934

[The 7th Academy Awards, 1934, were dominated by the film ‘It Happened One Night’ (Columbia Pictures): Best picture, best actor (Clark Gable), best actress (Claudette Colbert), best director (Frank Capra).]

Here are a few of Will’s remarks…

“I was always a little leery of this organization. The name, Arts and Sciences, I think that name has bluffed out more people than it has attracted. This is the highest sounding named organization I ever attended. If I didn’t know so many of the people who belonged to it personally I would have taken that name serious.

(The statuettes) are lovely things. They were originally designed as prizes at a nudist colony bazaar, but they didn’t take ’em. It must be terribly artistic, for nobody has any idea what it is. It represents the triumph of nothingness over the stupendousness of zero.

I will tell you what gave me the courage to come here tonight among this galaxy of feminine loveliness and masculine intellect. Looking over the backs of chairs it looks like Ermine’s last roundup.

It takes great restraint to stand here and hand out tokens of merit to inferior actors.

There is great acting in this room tonight, greater than you will see on the screen. We all cheer when somebody gets a prize that everyone of us in the house knows should be ours. Yet we smile and take it. Boy that’s acting.

I have never seen any of these pictures. They don’t look at mine and why should I go see theirs?”


Presidents Day finds our Presidents at work

# 356, February 20, 2005

COLUMBUS: Tomorrow is Presidents Day. It’s supposed to be a holiday, and it is for everyone except our Presidents. President Bush is in Europe, trying to make peace with France and Germany and Russia. Former Presidents Clinton and Bush #1 are in Indonesia and Sri Lanka to relieve the suffering and help the survivors find work. President Carter launched a new submarine named for him. Only President who has kept his whereabouts secret is Gerald Ford, and he would probably be playing golf in Palm Springs except it’s raining so much in California no golfer can play a round without a boat.

I guess it’s only fair for them to work. Washington and Lincoln never got the day off.

Before he left for Belgium, Mr. Bush was still working on his Social Security plan. (See Historic quote below) He says he might allow the maximum salary you pay FICA on to rise above $90,000, so he is halfway to the plan I laid out last week. But nothing’s gonna happen to it this year. Congress only looks two years ahead, not forty, unless it’s their own retirement plan they’re voting for.

Our newspapers and television reporters have some new competition lately. There seems to be a lot of folks that put out “news” over the internet. They call themselves bloggers, but in earlier times they were mostly known as gossips. Naturally they get the news right once in a while.

They get their news from just about anyone that’ll send it to them, and nothing is off the record. If you don’t want your words broadcast over the Internet, you better not even think ’em, let alone say ’em or write ’em. It won’t be long till a reporter can aim some electronic contraption at your brain and whatever you’re thinking will instantly show up in English on his computer screen. If it disagrees with the words coming out of your mouth, why naturally he’ll go with the brain waves and ignore what you’re saying. This device is still a few years off for commercial use, but a lot of men will claim it’s been used for years by their wives.

The Democrats picked Howard Dean to run the party. I don’t often print my own “re-runs”, but you might enjoy what I wrote in Weekly Comments #310 exactly a year ag “…a headline said, “Dean quits race, vows to reform Democratic Party”. He’s taking on a Herculean task. It’s easier to get nominated than to get Democrats to reform. They nominate somebody every four years, kinda out of habit, but nobody’s old enough to remember when they ever reformed. But if you think it’s hard for a Democrat to reform, just try it on a Republican. He’s a doctor, so he may knock ’em out with ether, surgically remove the objectionable organs, call in a plastic surgeon for a face lift, and in a few weeks introduce the “New Reformed Democrat”. Just because it hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.”

Jeff Gordon won the Daytona 500 today. That was kinda of a re-run, since he’s done it three times now. These NASCAR boys hold their biggest race at the start instead of the end of the season. That way the cars are shiny, not dented and beat up like at the end of the season, or even like the end of today’s race. They’re expecting a prosperous year in 2005 since they won’t have all that competition from hockey.

National Hockey League players decided to take the year off rather than play for only $2,000,000 a man. The whole problem started for the NHL when they added so many teams south of the border. We’ve got one of the new teams right here in Columbus, and it’s mighty popular. But years ago when most of the teams were in Canada, salaries were not a problem, because there’s not many options to make a million in Canada, expect maybe gold mining and fur trapping.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

“One thing you got to say for an administration that tries out a lot of plans, some of `em are apt to be pretty good. Now this one that broke out yesterday where they help out these young folks, that sounds awful good. Course I look for bountiful editorial condemnation, for it’s going to cost money. But if you help out the young folks up to 20, and the old ones over 60, that only gives a fellow a little stretch in between of about forty years where he has to do any worrying for himself (or herself as the sex may be). If we can keep the young happy and the old satisfied, why all the middle-aged have to look out for is its women automobile drivers.” DT #2775, June 27, 1935

“Some man… kept quoting Lincoln’s famous remark about ‘God must have loved the common people because he made so many of them.’ You are not going to get people’s votes nowadays by calling them common. Lincoln might have said it but I bet you it was not until after he was elected.” WA # 82, July 6, 1924

A special welcome this week to folks signing on by way of You may be listening to WHAW over the internet from anywhere in the world, but it’s located right here where I am reporting from today.

Valentine’s Day brings change, cards and chocolate

# 355, February 13, 2005

WESTON, WV: Valentine’s Day is upon us, and it just shows you how things change. Back in the 1920’s and 30’s “I” wrote about two million words for the newspapers, and not a single mention of Valentines Day. In those days, February 14 came and went with nary a mention. Then along came the florists, the chocolate purveyors and card manufacturers, and they said, “Ain’t there something we can celebrate between Christmas and Mother’s Day?”

So you see, St. Valentine’s Day was there all along but it took Hallmark and Hershey to put it on the calendar.

This county here in the middle of West Virginia is having an election next Saturday, to vote on a school tax. They have passed the same tax every time since 1950, so folks are naturally optimistic. You know, when you educate ’em right over fifty odd years, why they tend to see some advantage of keeping a good thing going. Of course the schools ain’t perfect, nobody claims they are, but it sure beats doing without ’em. So go ahead and vote, even if nobody aims to shoot you.

In Iraq they say 58 percent voted. In a school district just outside of Columbus, Ohio, last week they held a levy election so the schools wouldn’t close; only 30 percent voted, and it failed. Now the schools won’t exactly close, but they will shut down every day about 3 o’clock because they have to cancel all the sports, bands, clubs, and other extra activities. You just watch, when the 70 percent that was too inconvenienced to vote comes face to face every afternoon with that hoard of teenagers and young children roaming through the neighborhood with nothing to do but get into devilment, they’ll be begging for a new election.

President Bush is still out roaming the country, selling his Social Security plan to the Republicans. Democrats don’t matter to the President because they like Social Security just the way things are going. If there’s nothing left in forty years it won’t matter to a Democrat because the way things are going, in forty years there won’t be any of us Democrats left either.

Senator Graham has proposed a compromise plan, and it’s got some mighty good points. But I want to take his plan and make it downright foolproof, and here’s the way we do it. Like Sen. Graham, we raise the salary they collect on… right now it’s about $90,000… but for every ten thousand dollars it goes up, we add a year to the retirement age. I ain’t thought it all through yet, but I think it can work.

And I haven’t forgot about the President. In my plan, young workers don’t pay into Social Security till they reach 25. Now it’s still collected, but it goes into one of those Bush private accounts, every penny. That way our young folks get a taste of saving and investing, and since they don’t make a great deal at that age, it won’t deprive the Social Security system of much more than pocket change.

Since these young folks are beginning to understand they may have to work till 75 or 80 before they retire, why, they might decide to stay in school and skip work entirely till they hit 25.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (on February 13 or14)

“The world’s mind is on romance. It’s Annie [Morrow] and Lindy that our minds are on today. What do we care if Hoover catches a whale? Or Coolidge shoots a bear? It’s our boy and that fine girl we are thinking of tonight, a great girl from a fine, wholesome family. That boy Lindbergh was just born to use good judgment.” DT# 796, Feb. 13, 1929 [They had just announced their engagement on Feb. 12]

“So that Nicaragua can have a fair election next Fall, why, we have the Marines on horseback down there now watching the voters. It’s a great idea for Nicaragua, but we haven’t got enough Marines and enough horses to even patrol the Pennsylvania and Illinois precincts.” DT #485, Feb. 14, 1928

Super Bowl, sex and State of the Union grab headlines

# 354, February 7, 2005

COLUMBUS: The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl again last night. If Coach Belichick gets a couple more of those championships they’ll have to rename the Lombardi Trophy after him. He is the Houdini of the NFL. He takes the players nobody else wants and teaches them how to beat better teams. He clipped the Eagles wings, tied them down, and they didn’t even realize they had been hypnotized till after the final whistle. The other coaches, not just Andy Reed, all say, “Yes, the Patriots won. But we’re better.” It’ll take till next season for ’em to figure out his magic tricks, if then.

There was one hero for Philadelphia. Terrell Owens defied medical science by catching nine passes on one good leg and a second one that should’ve been in a plaster cast and elevated.

President Bush needs to find the doctor that got Owens healed in 6 weeks when it usually takes 15. If he can do it with one football player, imagine what miracles he could perform if he was in charge of all our folks on Medicare and Workers Compensation. Patients wouldn’t have to send to Canada for drugs ’cause they would use so few of them. Injured workers would get back on the job so quick output would go up, companies would make more dough and pay more taxes and we wouldn’t have to raise the Social Security age to 75 to balance the budget.

The Super Bowl cleaned up its halftime show and commercials, so the guys wanting to see a little more skin are gonna have to subscribe to cable. Tonight ABC News announced they were surprised that the same cable companies that are making billions from charging extra to air sex shows are giving millions to support Congressmen running on moral values. They should not be surprised. Persuading Congress to prohibit sex on free TV is good for business, just like a different kind of Prohibition 80 years ago. (see last quote) So look for Congress to vote for less free sex on television, and more in the Capitol.

The Iraqis last Sunday taught us a few things about running elections. Ban cars, make everyone walk to the polls and threaten to shoot ’em. Can you imagine the howl if every voter was required to dip a finger in blue ink. Then bar exit polling and make us wait a few days before the ballots are counted and results posted. Say, maybe it’s worth a try.

President Bush gave the State of the Union speech, and left town before the Democrats could respond. He went out campaigning for his Social Security reform plan. When he found out no one understands the economics of how it will go broke in forty or fifty years from spending more than it takes in, he decided it was safe to return to Washington and present his Budget. It calls for spending $2.5 Trillion while collecting $2.1 Trillion. Even with all that spending some folks are getting cut short. The big farmers will have to economize and get by on a $250,000 subsidy. Price of some foods may go up to make up the difference. Cities may have to pay for their own parks, and states pay to educate their students.

Tomorrow night I’m going to see Mark Twain here in Columbus. He ought to have something humorous to say about old age pensions, deficits and sex.

Former heavyweight boxer Max Schmeling died last week at 99 in Germany. (see first quote below) He was the world champion so long ago, 1930-32, I forgot he was still living.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

“This fellow Schmeling deserves a lot of credit. He has from the start here conducted himself both in and out of the ring in a mighty commendable way that has brought nothing but credit on his country.” DT # 2137, June 9, 1933

“The budget is a mythical bean bag. Congress votes mythical beans into it, and then tries to reach in and pull real beans out.” DT #2047, February 24, 1933.

“I tell you turning your land into a golf course is the salvation of the farmer. That’s the only thing to do with land now, is just to play golf on it. Sell your land and caddy.” DT # 593, June 20, 1928

“Pres. Harding canvassed Denver on ‘The enforcement of the [Prohibition] law.’ The bootleggers all agreed with him that the stricter the law is enforced the better it will make prices. Why, in some places it was getting terrible; the prices had dropped to almost what they were before the law went in. If there is one thing that will starve out bootlegging it is cheap prices.” WA # 31, July 15, 1923