Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Sunday, March 29, 2020
ISSUE #1010
What’s for dinner? Ingenuity. Remembering a Senator

Looks like it will be April Fools Month. By May, a lot more of us will look like old hippies. April has 30 days, but it will feel like 90.

Did you ever eat a ramp dinner? In Oklahoma the Cherokees call them wild onion dinners. Well, in the spring you go out in the woods and dig up a batch and invite maybe a thousand people to a big dinner affair. Serve ‘em with bacon, corn bread, ham, dried beans, fried potatoes and whatever the cooks decide to add. Ramps taste like mild onions, but the, uh, after-dinner aroma emanating with every breath can be devastating to friend and foe alike.

Ramps can provide a valuable service this spring. If you suspect you have symptoms of the coronavirus, eat a hearty meal of ramps. No, they won’t cure you. But for a few days you’ll be guaranteed social distancing.  Nobody will come within six feet of you.

Do you remember when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941?  By 1943 America was designing and manufacturing ten to twenty times as much military hardware as any Washington politician in 1940 could have imagined. Engineers and scientists and private enterprise did that. Today, you are seeing a similar explosion of ingenuity in the battle against coronavirus (which no politician could imagine). Need more Ventilators? Ford and GM are cooperating with smaller designers to ramp up production. Running out of fresh N95 masks? Battelle created equipment to sanitize and reuse old masks; each mobile, self-contained machine can clean 80,000 a day. Remember when there were not enough test kits and it took days to know if you had the virus? Abbott Labs developed a test that gives results in less than 5 minutes. And they will produce 50,000 a day. This is only a sample of all the companies joining in this battle. If we can all stay put (except for medical folks, first responders and other essential workers), pretend to be a soccer player (don’t touch anything with your hands), and wash ‘em if you do, then we can get through this with maybe 100,000 deaths instead of a million.

Farmers are continuing to farm. They hope to spend a good part of April in a tractor seat, planting crops. As in many calamities, prices at the farm gate are suffering. Worried consumers cleared out the meat cases, but the price of cattle dropped. Corn and soybeans this fall will likely sell for $50 less per acre than farmers expected when they ordered seed in January.

A former Senator died this weekend. I never met him, but let me tell a funny related story. About ten years ago I landed at the Tulsa Airport. As usual I was dressed as Will Rogers, wearing a blue suit with a small Stetson hat, and on my right shoulder carrying saddlebags with a lasso hooked to ‘em. As I entered the non-restricted area, I noticed a boy, about 12, apparently waiting with his mom for his dad. Now, it’s not unusual in Oklahoma for people to recognize me. They know I’m not really Will Rogers, but we often enjoy a brief conversation. This boy kept gazing at me, astonished, open mouthed. As I got close I smiled at his mom, then asked him, “Do you know who I am?” He gasped, “Are you Senator Coburn?”

Well, the real Tom Coburn, a family doctor in Muskogee, died at age 72 after battling prostate cancer. As a Senator, 2004 to 2016, he had battled wasteful spending and was successful in getting several changes in Congressional appropriations.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“Steak on the plate went up. Steak on the hoof went down.” WA #118, March 15, 1925


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