#416, July 5, 2006
COLUMBUS: Fireworks last night wrapped up a fine Fourth. The Discovery space shuttle had a spectacular lift off after a week of Florida rain and clouds kept it on the ground. North Korea decided to jump into our fireworks celebration, shooting off 6 or 7 rockets. They would have fired more but they ran out of matches. Today Kim Jong Ill personally rubbed two sticks together to light 3 more missiles.
Like a lot of backyard fireworks, they kinda fizzled out. Still, there’s folks here that say our rockets didn’t do so great fifty years ago either, and with a little practice those Korean rockets could reach California. They’re right of course, but we had one essential thing North Korea lacks, besides electricity, running water and a full stomach. No, what America had was that one thing that gave us confidence our rocket program would persevere and succeed: German engineers and scientists.
Have you watched any of this World Cup soccer? Anywhere else in the world but here, billions of people follow every game. Americans don’t like games where nobody scores. Even in games where it is zero-zero after 90 minutes, soccer might draw some interest here if they kept statistics. U.S. football and basketball fans are great for statistics, and I think one that could revolutionize soccer, at least for American fans, would be turnovers. If soccer would keep a running total of all the turnovers by each team, at least we would have something to argue over. We would say, “Sure it was a scoreless tie, but our team forced 232 turnovers, and we only committed 227.”
France and Italy play for all the marbles Sunday and I think France will win. That may surprise you, but this ain’t a war so there’s no reason for them to wave a white flag the minute their opponent shows up. France will win because they’re smart. I saw where their team captain said, “If I can figure out a way to score a goal, and we shut out the other team, we’ll win”. Now we all joke about those men taking too many hits to the head, but you can’t argue with logic like that.
The governor of New Jersey shut down the state, with 8 million people in it, and hardly anybody outside the borders even noticed. A few gamblers had to fly to Reno instead, but other than that not much effect on the other 49 states. Now just imagine if you can, we have 2 million farmers in the entire country, and if they shut down for a week every city in the country would be starving.
Warren Buffett is not only rich, he’s shrewd. For years he’s been spouting off about how important the inheritance tax is, and the IRS has been drooling over the prospects of getting their hands on a big chunk of his $40 Billion. But he gave most of it to the Bill Gates Foundation, then set up each of his children with a Billion Dollar Foundation of their own. Those youngins will have to learn to get by on a modest salary for running their own Foundation, plus what little interest a Billion might draw. Leaving the poor old IRS with zilch. Warren is in favor of taxes, then figures out how to avoid paying them. Reminds me of the majority of men during Prohibition. They would vote dry, then drink wet.
Birthday greetings to President Bush. It’s a great time for a birthday, whether you’re a President, a country, or just an ordinary human being.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“We sure had a great Fourth, especially after we picked up our morning papers and found that Congress had adjourned the night of the third. That gave us a cause for having a Fourth. This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as we do when the baby gets hold of a hammer. It’s just a question of how much damage he can do with it before you can take it away from him.” DT #1230, July 4, 1930
“Say, they got a little country down here named Uruguay, with Montevideo the capital. Saw their big football stadium. For five straight years they have had the champion football soccer team in the world, and they play any country. The referee stays inside a big wire net where the spectators can’t get at him. Down here the people vote on whether they will hold a football game or a revolution, both equal in casualties.” DT #1939, Oct. 21, 1932