Thanksgiving gives way to shopping and hecklers

#434, November 27, 2006

COLUMBUS: Thanksgiving is over for another year. We complimented the chef on the turkey and trimmings and went back to our usual selves the next day. There were so many battles for Playstation 3s and Plasma TVs, Black Friday turned into Black and Blue Friday for some.

Naturally the big news for the holiday weekend, even bigger than shopping and deer hunting, was football. Southern Cal rose to the occasion, downing Notre Dame. It was a tough week for football fans in South Bend, not to mention Morgantown, Fayetteville, Stillwater, Austin, and a few other college towns. Ann Arbor lost a notch, and they didn’t even play. But any sadness in those places was offset by the joy in others, especially Boise, Idaho. They are undefeated, and even if they can’t play Ohio State in January, they can say they played on the same field in January as Ohio State.

Down through history as long as there’s been public speakers, politicians, ballplayers, and comedians, there has been Hecklers. And the good ones figured out how to deal with them. But here lately there’s a new breed of heckler. They don’t come alone to harass their target, instead they arrange to be accompanied by a video crew and a shyster lawyer. If they can’t afford a lawyer beforehand, they just broadcast the video later on You Tube and a dozen pull into their driveway. For shyster lawyers, heckler videos have replaced ambulance sirens.

There is no single deterrence for hecklers. Every public figure has to find their own. Personally I found that carrying a lasso kinda intimidates the heckler. If the jokes aren’t going over so good, get out the old rope and do a few tricks. If the loop accidently lands around the ear lobes of a heckler, why that’s just a chance he has to take.

Sometimes Presidents have a way that’s worth emulating:

“But [President Coolidge] left town the minute the speech was over. That’s kinder like we have been on our tour. We always arranged to have the train stand by and get out if possible before the audience did. Of course it shows weakness and lack of confidence in your speech or lecture, but it also shows excellent judgment for your personal safety.” WA #158, December, 20, 1925

Here’s how a prominent presidential aspirant handled a heckler:

“My old friend William Jennings Bryan made one of his characteristic speeches. He said that if they split the Democratic Party with [a particular issue] that another great party would arise to take its place. Some guy away up in the gallery started booing him. He just stopped and waited a minute until the heckler quit, then Mr. Bryan said: ‘But no great leader of any party has ever come from the gallery.’ After that they laid off him.” WA #82, July 6, 1924

Historic quote by Will Rogers (on Thanksgiving Day):

“In the days of its founders they were willing to give thanks for mighty little (for mighty little was all they expected). But now neither government or nature can give enough but what we think it’s too little.
Those old boys in the Fall of the year, if they could gather in a few pumpkins, potatoes and some corn for the winter, they was in a thanking mood.
But if we can’t gather in a new Buick, a new radio, a tuxedo and some government relief, why we feel like the world is agin us.” 
DT #2594, Nov. 28, 1934

Ohio is Thankful for Football

#433, November 20, 2006

COLUMBUS: I see where the foreign minister of Syria suggests we withdraw our forces from Iraq to stop the killing. That’s a good idea, but I wish he had first ordered all Syrians out of Iraq. Then he could call up the minister of Iran and tell him to do the same thing. You get all the Syrians and Iranians to leave, and take their guns and bombs with them, the killing in Iraq would pert near stop whether we withdrew or not.

I read where a Congressman wants to bring back the draft. (You notice he made the announcement after the election, not before.) He says a draft would stop us from starting a war. Now whether us having a draft would have stopped Osama bin Laden from starting a war, I got my doubts.

Ohio State University beat Michigan 42-39 Saturday. I was one of 105,000 in the stadium. Over the next few years you can bet at least a million will claim they were there because it will go down in history as a classic football game. The man sitting behind me paid $800 for his ticket and said it was worth every penny. Michigan mourned the death of their former coach Bo Schembechler, and he was the best coach they ever had. But I tell you, Coach Jim Tressel will go down in history as not only a great coach but a great leader and teacher. He is a soft-spoken, humble Christian and his players have adopted his principles completely. Troy Smith is the quarterback, and you’ll see what I mean when you listen to Troy after he receives the Heisman Trophy in December. If O.J. is offered $3 Million to write a book, Tressel should be offered $10 Million.

After the game the students and most of Columbus celebrated. There were no fires, no fighting, no problems. It just shows what you can accomplish with clean sportsmanship, common sense, and 10,000 police officers.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

[I shouldn’t pick on Michigan, but here’s an item about Prohibition that’s too good to pass over.] “For her fourth offense selling liquor the great State of Michigan sent the mother of ten children to the penitentiary for life. I guess that will just about blot out the liquor business in the State. I suppose she was the last one selling. Any woman that tries to raise ten kids in that cold State not only ought to be allowed to sell booze, but the State should furnish it to her to sell, and guarantee that it was pure. That would make her the greatest life saver in Michigan. It certainly ought to be a lesson to people with ten children to never move to Michigan.” DT #742, Dec. 12, 1928.

(A Thanksgiving quote) “It’s not a bad old Thanksgiving at that. Outside of Notre Dame, let’s see what we got to be thankful for. Congress adjourning, I know will be the first thing that comes into your mind. But that blessing will be short-lived, for they are soon to meet again. Wall Street stocks are about back up to where the suckers can start buying again. The farmers can be thankful. Didn’t the Farm Board decide in Washington last week that they could have cheaper interest? All the farmers have to do now is to find something new to put up as security. Please pass the cranberries.” DT #1042, Nov. 27, 1929.

Democrats beat the Republicans, but lose to Football

#432, November 13, 2006

COLUMBUS: The election is over. Our officials were practically forced to get it over with; the candidates for 2008 were beating on the door.

I voted, along with 40 percent of the rest of you. That means sixty percent don’t seem to care what shape the country is in, which kinda helps explain the shape the country is in.

I felt kinda foolish at the polls. The Congressional seat that appeared on the voting machine was not the one I thought we were in. I guess while my head was turned they moved the district border on me. For months I had been watching the wrong negative ads.

Ohio voted to turn the whole state over to the Democrats. But considering the state it’s in, I ain’t so sure they should take it. The new Governor, Ted Strickland, is optimistic. He spent the last dozen or so years in Congress, and says he will apply the same shrewd management skills in Ohio that he learned in Washington.

Hardly anyone in Ohio even noticed the election, they are so focused on football. Around the country, folks think the college championship game will be played January 8 in Arizona. But in Ohio, they know the real game for number one is this Saturday in Columbus. Both Michigan and Ohio State say any game in January will only be a preliminary warm-up for next season.

Big changes in Washington. Secretary Rumsfeld is out, and the House went to the Democrats just as the polls, and history, had predicted. The Senate is more evenly split, with 51 that are running for President and 49 that ain’t. To get a quorum for a Senate vote they’ll have to convene in New Hampshire.

Governor Tom Vislack of Iowa was first to announce he is running for President. He wants Iowa to pledge all their votes to him and discourage other candidates from ever setting up housekeeping in Des Moines. But these Iowa voters are too smart for that. They like their governor, but they don’t want to cut off the flow of the millions of dollars the candidates will spend. After corn, presidential politics is Iowa’s number one revenue source.

We just passed Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day is two weeks off, but if you’re ready to go Christmas shopping, Wal-Mart says come on in. Some of these big stores treat December 25 as just another Holiday, but Sam Walton’s folks know their customers, and by golly their customers want to buy Christmas presents, not holiday gifts. Of course Wal-Mart says you’re welcome to give the gifts for Hanukkah or Kwanza or even Thanksgiving, but don’t get upset when they wish you a Merry Christmas as you enter the store.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“I like to make little jokes and kid about the Senators. They are a kind of a never ending source of amusement, amazement, and Discouragement. But the Rascals, when you meet ’em face to face and know ’em, they are mighty nice fellows. It must be something in the office that makes ’em so ornery sometimes. When you see what they do officially you want to shoot ’em, but when one looks at you and grins so innocently, why you kinder want to kiss him.” WA #345, August 4, 1929

“Politics is the best show in America. I love animals and I love politicians. I like to watch both of ’em at play, either back home in their native state, or after they’ve been captured and sent to a zoo, or to Washington.” (Undated)

Will Rogers celebrates birthday in Oklahoma; braces for election

#431, November 5, 2006

OKLAHOMA CITY: All I know is what I read in “The Oklahoman” or see as I fly over the old home state. Came in on Southwest by way of Kansas City and passed over 2 or 3 dry river beds. The drought is so bad there’s less water flowing in the rivers than you get out of a garden hose. I’ve joked plenty in the past about the government building dams, but if it weren’t for dams Oklahoma would have to lay a pipeline to St. Louis to get a drink.

Headline says, “$2 Billion in ad spending tops 2004”. Candidates for Congress are spending more to get elected than what was spent to elect a President and a Congress two years ago. And that don’t count the $25 Billion of our taxes they spent on pork to kinda fatten us up for the election. Just be glad you don’t get all the government you pay for. Only ones that come out ahead are the radio and television stockholders. If these stations were required to spend as much time interviewing candidates as their ads run for, we would get the real lowdown on ’em and none could ever get elected.

On the way to Claremore I saw gasoline in Tulsa for $1.95. Don’t spread that around because Oklahoma wants to keep it all for themselves. The Pocahontas Club put on a fine birthday remembrance at the Memorial. Those Cherokee ladies are just as gracious as their ancestors were who let us boys join with ’em when it was founded in 1899. Grand niece Doris “Coke” Meyer is one of ’em and just as spry as ever. More of the family was there, all three grandchildren. Bette came from California with her new husband, J.W. Coop. He’s a rodeo cowboy so you can’t help but like him. Chuck flew from Arizona and Kem drove from Tennessee.

At the ranch at Oologah, Kim Grazier rounded up over a hundred second graders to sing a few western songs at the birthday party. Teddy Roosevelt dropped in and reminded us that he had a hand in forming the new state of Oklahoma in 1907. You listen to him for ten minutes and you’re wishing he was still in the White House.

Saturday night I drove to Norman, gave a talk at a dinner for the folks supporting the Western History Collection at the University. Wonderful folks, and generous. Now the last time I was there was 1931 and I wrote about “Norman, Oklahoma, the Home of Oklahoma’s crack University”. I told ’em that today I would choose a different adjective to compliment ’em.

I also reminded ’em of something I wrote before the 1932 election, “Everything is changing in America. People are taking their comedians seriously, and the politicians as a joke, when it used to be the vice versa.” Today there’s a couple of comedians we wish would kinda keep their politics to themselves, and we can all name a prominent politician who should never, ever try to tell a joke.

They announced in Baghdad that Saddam Hussein is guilty as charged and is going to hang. That’s the best news out of Iraq since they pulled him out of a hole. If any lawyers get any ideas about endless appeals of the sentence, they should be the first ones to test the noose.

Happy birthday to Walter Cronkite at 90, and to Laura Bush. I won’t tell her age, but she’s younger than Walter by thirty years.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

“No voter is going to do anything that a politician thinks he will do (this year). The way most people feel they would like to vote against all of ’em if it was possible.” DT #1797, April 27, 1932