#574 Oct. 25, 2009

Weekly Comments: Chicken wings, hogs and horses. Plus Fox and FFA.

COLUMBUS: I am proud to report that, considering the boycott of Fox News,  President Obama and his administration are not ignoring me any more than they used to. Whereas they have ordered newspapers and networks to disregard Fox News stories, no one has been barred from repeating any stories I dig up, humorous or otherwise.

Still, I am concerned. So to avoid upsetting the government any more than I did eighty years ago I am screening my readers. This screening is kinda like the TSA, except you get to keep your shoes on. Anybody who shows a pained expression from trying to read between the lines is obviously from the government and will be asked to skip to the funnies. Those reading with a smile and occasional hearty laugh are clearly bright, well educated, and recognize foolishness when they see it.

At least our government is not as bad as Saudi Arabia. Here, if you report something they don’t like on television news you get snubbed; over there you get 60 lashes.

This whole country is upside down. They want to reduce payments for doctors, nurses and insurance companies but expect them to give better health care. They want to reduce the deficit by spending more. Their solution to unemployment is to give more people jobs in government.

Even chicken prices are upside down. Do you like chicken wings? Well, those flapping appendages of skin and bones and a little meat are more expensive than chicken breast. Folks are just wild over chicken wings and it’s created a national shortage.

Bars and restaurants tried disguising chicken legs as wings, but there’s way too much meat on ‘em to fool anybody. Tyson has breeders working overtime trying to produce White Leghorns with four wings.

This wing deficit was serious till they solved the whole thing by cooking tiny pieces of breast meat, doubling the price, and selling them as “boneless wings.”

Hog farmers, who have lost more money and said less about it than anybody, used to advertise “Pork: the other white meat.” Their new slogan is “Pork: it tastes like wings.”

The All-American Quarter Horse Congress ended here today. Seldom do you see so many beautiful horses at one place.

Meanwhile, in Indianapolis the national FFA convention wrapped up. The farm boys and girls from Oklahoma won top honors in so many categories no other state even came close.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Last week when I was (in Kansas City), there was 1700 young boys and girls brought there by that great Paper, the Kansas City Star, from over 30 states. They were taking vocational (agriculture) training and had led their various districts back home in the studying of farming, and stock raising.” WA #207, Nov. 28, 1926

#573 Oct. 18, 2009

Weekly Comments: Deficit dollars could fill Grand Canyon

COLUMBUS: Do you remember how awful you felt a year ago when the federal deficit for 2008 was announced at over $400 Billion? How can we ever pay it back? What’s this country coming to?

Well, hang on to your hat and bank account. The deficit for 2009 is $1.4 Trillion. According to the Associated Press, in one year we added more to the debt than the total for the 200 years from 1776 to 1976. It’s $4700 for every man, woman and child in the country. Let’s suppose you’re a family of five and you have an extra $24,000. If you send it to Washington, and the rest of us do it too, then we would have a balanced budget. But only for this year. Prospects for next year look like you better be ready to donate $30,000.

With this deficit hanging over our heads like an anvil, you might think the big news programs this weekend would have been investigating what caused such a calamity, and how to fix it for 2010. No, I didn’t hear any tough questions about the budget. All the investigative reporting was about a balloon floating over Colorado. If you asked a television executive they would likely admit, We’ve got all this great video of the balloon, but nary a photo of the deficit.
Well, here’s a suggestion for a photo of the deficit: take a picture of the Grand Canyon. Then ask viewers to guess, if you stood on the rim and threw in a dollar bill for every dollar of the deficit, how long would it take to fill it. Well, my guess is if you took all our unemployed and lined them up around the Canyon with a scoop shovel, the way the deficits are growing they would have it plumb full by election day 2012.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“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, Feb. 24, 1933

“At the next session, [Congress] won’t have anything to settle much, outside of unemployment, two billion dollar deficit, arrange extra taxes where they will do least harm next November, relieve Wall Street and think up something new to promise farmers.” DT #1672, Dec. 2, 1931

[Will humorously proposed splitting the country, with Republicans taking states East of the Mississippi, and Democrats taking the West.] “We’d split up and that would do away with the debt, see?  Both sides would start in owing nothing.  And the Republicans would perhaps continue the same way. But the Democrats, it wouldn’t take them long to dig up a deficit.  And then the Democrats could take whatever they’re using for money, and they could inflate or do anything they wanted to with it.  And the Republicans, who say we should never have gone off the gold, well, if they had their own country they could go back on it, if they want to.” Radio, June 9, 1935

#572 Oct. 11, 2009

Weekly Comments: Prizes for the President, but the wrong ones

COLUMBUS: Sometimes a man can’t win. You lose the Olympics that you wanted to win; then win a Nobel Peace Prize you wanted to lose.

President Obama said he was “humbled,”  and announced he would donate the $1.5 million Nobel prize money to charity. I suggest he give it to the Red Cross, or to whoever finished second. But any good, deserving charity is fine, but not PETA, ACORN or HSUS.

Last year those Nobel folks in Norway picked a man who worked on peacemaking for more than 30 years. But nobody ever heard of him so this time they selected one that’s famous, even if he had only been in the White House a week. My friend from Oklahoma, George Campbell, joked it was the Nobel Prize for Unpacking. The Nobel committee even admitted it was a prize for promise. They liked his potential and attitude. (Kinda like most 2008 voters.)

Now in the last hundred years they have selected many deserving winners of the Peace Prize. Norman Borlaug was a great one because his agricultural research helped feed an extra billion people. Mother Teresa in Calcutta and Desmond Tutu. The Red Cross got it three times.

But when it comes to wars, they gave more Peace Prizes to men that ended a war by surrendering than to ones that won. Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill “won” World War II and saved Europe, but never got a Peace Prize. President Reagan won the Cold War over Russia, and never got a Peace Prize. But Gorbachev did.

Don’t be surprised if President Obama is also named the Time magazine Man of the Year. And there’s a chance he’ll be the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. But whether he makes the cover of the Swimsuit issue, I’ve got my doubts.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“We are a good-natured bunch of saps in this country. When the President is wrong we charge it to inexperience…When Congress is wrong we charge it to habit…. When a bank fails we let the guy go start another one….Everything is cockeyed, so what’s the use kidding ourselves.” DT #1226, June 30, 1930

“I would like to stay in Europe long enough to find some country that don’t blame America for everything in the world that’s happened to ’em in the last fifteen years– debts, depression, disarmament, disease, fog, famine or frostbite.” DT #1718, Jan 26, 1932

“This Kellogg peace treaty,  a lot of folks don’t seem to be enthusiastic about it, but it’s based on a great idea (to outlaw war), and if he does get away with it he deserves a lot of credit… I have a scheme for stopping war. It’s this: no nation is allowed to enter a new war till they have paid for the last one.” DT #653, August 29, 1928 (Secretary of State Frank C. Kellogg received the 1929 Nobel Peace Prize)

#571 Oct. 3, 2009

H1N1, by any other name, can make you squeal

COLUMBUS: It’s a shame some folks are getting H1N1 flu virus, especially students. For most of them, it’s no worse than other ailments that occasionally torment college students.

While I was in Norfolk last week I read the Saturday edition of the Virginian-Pilot. I’m sure it’s an honorable newspaper, and that they practice “honest and intelligent journalism” because that’s what it says right under their masthead. So I was surprised to read a story in there about swine flu. Calling H1N1 by another name that defames an innocent farm animal is about as “honest and intelligent” as saying the Washington Redskins are a great football team.

According to the Virginian-Pilot, the Medical College at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore has started a plan to call anything associated with H1N1 by a swine term. They say it’s in fun, but I rather doubt the Agricultural College at Johns Hopkins would be too thrilled about these learned medical professionals poking fun at their business. Of course, Johns Hopkins has not seen fit to teach agriculture, so there’s no one to complain, for instance, that a student with swine flu be called a pig. Or a sick freshman, a piglet. I’m guessing an older female student with flu is a sow. A sick student’s room is called a pig pen, or if it gets messy while the student is laid up with flu, a pig sty. An isolated area at the dining hall where flu-laden students are allowed to eat together is called the trough.

Well, as long the dining hall keeps serving all the students ham and pork chops for supper and bacon and sausage for breakfast, I guess they can go hog wild with their swine terms without any real harm. And if the students remember to wash their hands frequently (with hog tide) maybe it’ll keep a few more of them from having to pay a visit to one of these Medical College interns. That could be dangerous because those funny docs might jab a needle in sideways just to hear you squeal.

Here’s another idea for ‘em: change the name of the university to Johns Hog-kins.

Now I don’t mean to pick on a fine newspaper or university, because there’s plenty of others just like them. You may remember my feeble attempt to change H1N1 to Hiney. I think our students would quickly adopt the nickname Hiney flu, if the newspapers and MTV would get behind it. They are great to take on new terms, like BTW and LOL, and I think calling it Hiney flu would have a certain appeal to them.

Even David Letterman might joke about Hiney flu. That’s about as close as he’ll want to get to a joke of a sexual nature. Now, I’m not going to pile on a fellow humorist except to point out that this may explain why Katy Couric hasn’t been on his show for a while. And I did hear a rumor that CBS is insisting he change the name of his business to Worldwide Pants Down.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“The New York Times advertises ‘All the news that’s fit to print’. I believe the news that’s NOT fit to print is what makes the newspapers.” WA #138, Aug. 2, 1925

“Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers. The old paper in the morning is my breakfast. Course I don’t entirely depend on it. I like it accompanied by some ham and eggs, and a few biscuits, a series of cups of coffee, and a few wheat cakes to help get your mind off the editorials.” WA #257, Nov. 27, 1927