Thanks Time, I appreciate it

#437, December 18, 2006

COLUMBUS: A friend of mine called yesterday and broke the news, “You are Time magazine’s Man of the Year.”

Mind you, I’m not bragging, but by golly I feel pretty big about it. I sure didn’t expect such an honor, not this year anyway what with competition like Bin Laden, Kim Jung Il, Hamas, and that Iranian troublemaker.

Now, 75 years ago it coulda made some sense, but today?

Well, that bubble burst in a hurry. I turned on the television tonight, and you wouldn’t believe the number of people claiming THEY are Time’s person of the year.

Aren’t you glad Time is not in charge of naming the best college football team? You think the BCS is bad? Time would say, “Why pick one and upset all the other subscribers. Let’s name Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Louisville, Wake Forest, Louisiana State, even Rutgers, Texas and Notre Dame.” If it works for football, why not high schools. Everybody graduates Valedictorian. (Some schools have already tried that.)

The Christmas shopping season is down to the final week. I got a suggestion for the women. To be fair to the rest of us, try to finish up your shopping by Thursday. You’ve had most of a year with the Malls all to yourselves. Leave Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the men to venture into the stores. Who knows, with only men buying, the checkout lines will be half as long and we might buy more gifts. Chances are, some of ’em will be for you.

Then next Tuesday you can exchange ’em.

Merry Christmas to you. But really, whatever holiday you want to celebrate will get no argument from me.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Christmas was awful quiet after the excitement of the late election. It looked like there was a lot more interest in (the candidates) than there was in Santa Claus. I guess Christmas is getting kinder old and we will have to scare up something new to take its place. The trouble with this generation is they are getting too wise. That is they are getting too wise about things which they ought not to get wise about, and learning none of the things that might be any good to ’em afterwards. We kid the idea of Santa Claus now, where as a matter of fact it was one of the greatest illusions and ideas we ever had. We lost it and nothing has taken its place. Even to presents, why in the old days just any little remembrance was the very thing we wanted and needed, but now with all this Republican prosperity, nobody can’t give you anything you need, for you already got it.” WA #315, January 6, 1929


President Bush surrenders, decides to listen

#436, December 11, 2006

COLUMBUS: In long awaited news, the Iraq Study Group gave their report last week. They had been nine months fixin’ it up. They were nearly ready in October but waited till after the election to see which way the wind blew.

The report has 79 things they want us to do related to Iraq. Seventy-nine. That’s how they reached a consensus; any time anyone objected to anything, they just asked, What do you want to make it better? and that’s how they kept adding till they got to 79 and found out everybody had run out of anything new to ask for. When you have 79 objectives, that greatly improves the chance of a passing grade. See, if you finish even 50 of them, it’s a C. But, the President, he only had one plan, and that was to win. So when you don’t get your one and only plan, then you don’t win, and you turn the whole thing over to the diplomats, thereby guaranteeing you won’t win.

President Bush announced today, the “Decider” has Decided to let someone else do the Deciding. He’s conferring with the Middle East countries. He says, “You boys work it out yourselves.” Then he nearly said, “As usual, send us the bill,” but he caught himself just in time. He remembered what James Woolsey told him, that we are already paying for both sides of this war. If you pay for both sides of diplomats and both sides of the war, then you’re paying four times with nothing to show for it. It’s kinda like playing the Lottery, but in a lottery you do have a one in a million chance of winning something.

The suspense in the race for president in 2008 is over. No more waiting. Today, Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland announced he is running again. His platform is, “I am not a Senator.” Don’t laugh, it has worked for every successful candidate since Kennedy.

In professional football you folks have your favorite players and teams, depending on where you live. In San Diego the coach says he has the best running back that ever put on a uniform. Now that’s saying something. LaDamian Tomlinson scored 29 touchdowns with 3 games to go. No bragging by LaDamian; he’s humble, just lets his feet do his talking for him. Now whether he is really better than Red Grange and Jim Thorpe, you might get an argument from the old timers. Maybe Jim Brown and Gale Sayers, too. But none of them ever scored 29 touchdowns in a season, and neither have some teams.

Didn’t I tell you Troy Smith would be a gracious winner of the Heisman?

Well, did you hear about Jimmy Johnson, the NASCAR driver. He goes all year driving 150, 160 miles an hour, bumper to bumper traffic, no problems, and then last week breaks his wrist. He fell out of his car. Only it wasn’t his race car he fell out of, it was a golf cart.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“There’s the one thing no nation can ever accuse us of and that is Secret Diplomacy. Our foreign dealings are an Open Book, generally a Check Book..” WA #45, October 21, 1923

“America never was very good in conference. We are great talkers but we are mighty poor conferers. America has a unique record. We never lost a war and we never won a conference. We can say, without any degree of egotism, with our tremendous resources we can lick any nation in the world single-handed, and yet we can’t confer with Costa Rica and come home with our shirts on.” Radio broadcast, April 6, 1930

Checking out some sweet suites in MD, MO, and OK

#435, December 3, 2006

KIRKSVILLE, Missouri: This past week I spoke at a couple of farm meetings in Maryland and Missouri. That was my excuse for attending, but in reality you might think I was simply evaluating suites.

First, it was the Mid-Atlantic Crop Management Conference in Ocean City, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. This historic old resort town has hundreds of hotels and motels and condos, and in the summer it is booming. But by late November it is about empty and even the farmers can afford to stay here. The meeting brought in folks from West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey and was held in the prestigious Princess Royale on the beach. Everybody had a suite because that’s all they have is suites. Mine had a living room that connected through the kitchen to the bedroom, and even a porch where if you stretched your neck a bit and looked across the dunes you could watch the ocean waves hit the beach. It was nice pleasant weather, about 60 degrees.

Thursday I flew to Kansas City where it was 15 degrees and everything covered in ice. I wondered how could it be so different, then I remembered that Ocean City is downwind from Congress. That accounts for at least half the temperature rise.

Drove to LaPlata and checked into the Depot Inn. With a name like that you won’t be surprised to find they have a railroad. In fact the passenger train between Chicago and Los Angeles stops in LaPlata and I bet a lot of railroad buffs get off, spend 24 hours at the Depot, and get back on the next train through.

This Depot Inn is new and one of the finest in all of Missouri, but I think it is misnamed. It is more of a Depot Museum, with beds and a pool. The halls are lined with railroad pictures and old tools and the lobby is a library. They put me in the Pullman suite, and I doubt that George Pullman himself ever had any classier surroundings. The bed reminded me of the one in the Lincoln Bedroom, so big I slept one night on the right side, one on the left and one in the middle. And if I had stayed a few more nights I could have slept sideways, starting at the foot and gradually work my way to the headboard. In one corner of the room there’s a hot tub and in another a fireplace (electronic), with a wide television above it that reminds you of a drive-in movie theater. They practically had to drag me out of there to go up the road a piece to speak at the Missouri Livestock conference at Kirksville. Now you probably know Missouri got hit with a lot of snow, but most of the speakers got there from all over the country, including Orion Samuelson and Baxter Black.

All this suite living reminded me that a month ago in Claremore, I stayed at a suite at the Days Inn. They have two of them, the Will Rogers suite and the Patty Page suite. You can guess which one I was in. Unlike those others, it is just slightly bigger than a regular room with a large comfortable bed, appropriate pictures hung on the walls and some nice western touches. Those other suites are great, but I fit better in one that’s less ostentatious, with a plain down home feeling and plenty of room for a cowboy to stretch out. I figure the main difference for the Patty Page suite is the pictures on the wall, and when the alarm goes off in the morning it plays “How much is that doggie in the window”.

Next week we’ll get back to politics and football and sleeping at home. Can’t beat it.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Twenty thousand people in Missouri gathered to see twelve farmers in the world’s championship corn husking. No wonder the farmer has nothing. If he had been smart enough to put these on under the guise of college athletics, hired a coach and a stadium, why then the farmer would be sitting as pretty as Notre Dame. [of course today I would say “Ohio State”] DT #1032, Nov. 15, 1929

“There is not a better day in the world to be spent than with a lot of wise old cowmen around barbecued beef, black coffee and good ‘free holy’ beans.” DT #2430, May 17, 1934

“Even if you’re on the right track, if you’re just sitting still you can get run over.” Undated notes.