Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Romney-Rubio. Probably

It is now really official: Willard Mittiman “Mitt” Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and former head of Bain Capital will be the Republican nominee for President. He will face President Barack Obama of Kenya. Lighten up, Francis and Wolf, it is just a joke.

Romney now must focus all of his attention on selecting a running mate. Carl Cannon said, “When Mitt Romney chooses a running mate, it will be the first significant command decision the U.S. electorate sees him make.” It is a very important decision that must be made carefully and with considerable thought.

We are not sure about how much thought the 2008 Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, gave to selecting Sarah Palin, a little known Governor of Alaska to be his running mate. At the time, it seemed like a stroke of genius because despite sporting a pair of Peggy Hill glasses and a voice that could knock a dog off of a meat wagon, there was bipartisan agreement that Palin could really work a pair of blue jeans. However, it soon became apparent that Palin was not ready for Prime Time when she listed the Marietta Daily Journal as her favorite newspaper.

Not that the person who became Vice President, Joe Biden, was any better. Biden had been a Senator from Delaware (One of my favorite songs says, “What did Della wear boys, what did Della wear? She wore a brand new jersey") for about 400 hundred years and seems to have been picked with this thought process, “Yeah, why not?” Biden has spent the past four years proving “why not” from cursing in front of microphones, stating “jobs” is a three letter word, and for saying his “evolution” on gay marriage was due to a mediocre situation comedy. Biden hasn’t been a total train wreck of a Vice President. He hasn’t shot a Secretary of The Treasury or had to plead Nolo Contendere in court, but his term isn't over yet.

Romney has a lot of “potential” running mates. I don’t think he is going to select another little known Western Woman Governor like Susana Martínez, mainly because I have no idea what she looks like in blue jeans. Additionally, I don’t think Mike Huckabee is interested because he is making pretty good money on Fox News. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have met Mike Huckabee and he gave me a coupon for a dinner for two at The Cracker Barrel. Really.) I can’t see Jeb Bush being on the ticket either. He’s seems like a nice guy and all that, but, another Bush?

The name that everyone talks about is Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. He is young, bright, and articulate: in other words, everything Joe Biden is not. On the down side, he is not that well known and some people think he is a game kids play at the pool (“Marco” “Rubio”; “Marco” Rubio”)

Another name that is mentioned is Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. Christie is a straight talking politician. Despite his bluster and the crush Ann Coulter has on him, Christie is a fairly moderate Republican. His problem: he is fat. He is not big boned. He is fat. He does not have a glandular problem. He is fat. He is not in shape, unless you count “blob” as a shape. There are two prejudices that are okay in America now. One is against a religion that is kind of weird but doesn’t blow anybody up (like, say, Mormonism). The other is against fat people.

Then you have the trio of the boring Midwestern white guys: Sen. Rob “Sparky” Portman of Ohio, Gov. Mitch “Pepper” Daniels of Indiana, and former Gov. Tim “Fireball” Pawlenty of Minnesota. Portman probably has the edge of this group, although he did work for Second President Kid Bush. Daniels is sort of like Calvin Coolidge without the hair or charisma. Tim Pawlenty actually ran for President, briefly, under the slogan, “My name is Tim Pawlenty”.

My gut says that Romney will go with Rubio, but who knows? I thought Romney was going to be McCain’s running mate. It might have worked out better even though Romney can’t wear a pair of jeans like Palin.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wag The Dog

Well, the election is rambling on and we are now focused on things that really matter. Ha, ha, ha, ha, of course, not. Who wants to hear about the economy when we can hear about Mitt Romney maybe/maybe not cutting the hair of someone who may/may not have been gay but we can’t ask him because he is dead (the person—not Mitt Romney)? This event happened in 1965. It is important because it reveals this about the character of Mitt Romney: he will apologize for events that he doesn’t remember and possibly didn’t happen.

I thought the events from someone’s wild and crazy youth were deemed irrelevant by the press to the election process. If not, we’ll never elect a President from the Facebook generation because of the posted pictures of the leaders of tomorrow blitzed with the girls of today who almost always contort their mouths to look like Daisy Duck.

After all, wasn’t it President Clinton that “didn’t inhale”? He just sat there, listening to The Grateful Dead, with the dope smokers pretending to sort of smoke dope. By his own admission, President Obama was a Hawaiian version of Jeff Spicoli-falling out of vans followed by a cloud of smoke of questionable origin. Wait, I forgot, they are Democrats, which is sort of a force field against private indiscretions.

But when you are dealing with Mitt Romney, you are dealing with a person whose biggest personal scandal is trying a little Coke (as in Coca Cola) in college. So the press is grasping at straws in order to make Romney appear to be something other than what he is: a political Donny Osmond.

One story about Romney that did happen was when he took their family dog, Seamus, on vacation from Massachusetts to a cottage in Canada. He put the dog in a carrier and strapped it to the top of his (Mitt’s, not Seamus’) 1983 Chevorlet Caprice Station Wagon. On the way, Seamus got a bad case of diarrhea. Soon Mormon doggie dung (that’s a great name for a band) was everywhere. Romney stopped the car, held a news conference, apologized to Seamus, and then allowed Seamus to drive the car to their destination. Actually, Romney stopped the car, cleaned it and Seamus up, put the dog back in the carrier and went on Canada never imaging that this would be anything other than a funny family story.

The incident does, I’ll agree, raise a lot of questions about Romney. For example, who knew Romney ever owed a Chevy? After this incident, did Romney refer to this Chevy as his "number two vehicle"? Did his kids ever refer to the station wagon as "The Fecal Flier"?** Doesn't it seem weird to you that a bunch of teenagers would ride around in a van looking for mysteries to solve when the biggest mystery is staring them in the face? (How did this dog learn to talk? How come he has his own brand of treats? I know "Scooby Doo" doesn't have anything to do with Romney, but I was wondering.)

Rick Santorum said “As far as Seamus the dog ... the issues of character are important in this election. We need to look at all those issues and make a determination as to whether that’s the kind of person [Romney] you want to be president of the United States.” He could have a point: Lyndon Johnson would pick up his basset hound by the ears and look at how he handled the Vietnam War. I'm not certain it speaks to Romney's character. He gave Seamus a choice. He asked Seamus where he wanted to ride and the dog said "Roof".

**My dad had a 1973 Lime Green Plymouth Scamp. It was called "The Snot Rod".

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Breast You Can Do

That sound you heard the other day was Henry Luce, the founder of Time magazine, spinning in his grave. Time magazine used to be a news magazine which dealt with serious issues like “Richard Nixon” and "the national debt" (“Richard Nixon and The National Debt” would be a good name for a band). It has now become another magazine of “Hey, look, it is a woman’s breast!”

The “topic” for the “cover story” of this week’s Time magazine is “attachment parenting”, which apparently has something to do with an attractive young woman having her son’s mouth plastered over her breast. Back in my early child rearing days, we would have said that this kid was “bellied up to the bar”.

It is kind of shocking (the cover photo- not that Time magazine is still in business) because most mothers try to be a little more discreet when it comes to nursing their children. The mother has an expression that conveys “Yeah, he’s walking and talking and nursing. What are you going to do about it?”

Well, you can’t do anything about it. Time magazine has to sell magazines and shocking people at the grocery check out is one way to do it. “Marge, I’ll get the Freedent. Holy Guacamole! It is a hot semi-topless woman with a three year old stuck to her. Let’s buy this magazine and learn in depth about attachment parenting”.

You may be asking yourself, what is attachment parenting all about? Besides a philosophy from a group of people that we used to call "stupid hippies". According to the Attachment Parenting International website, their long rang vision is “to raise children who will become adults with a highly developed capacity for empathy and connection.” This is much different from my long range vision which was “to raise a child who will become an adult and move out of the house.”

There are eight principles of Attachment Parenting. I had one principle when we were raising our son: let’s make it to another day and see what happens.

Our son, Ben, had every childhood malady known to man as a baby. He had ear infections when he didn’t have pneumonia and would be the first kid on the block to get chicken pox. He had asthma so severe we had to take him to a Children’s Pulmonary Specialist to rule out Cystic Fibrosis. As this doctor examined the nine month old Ben, he said these words which I will always remember: “He has a lot of boogers”. I was expecting something a little more clinical sounding.

My wife did not nurse Ben. I majored in History in college and while I had a job I didn’t make enough to support us on my salary. Lori worked in the office of a warehouse where she was the only woman. She felt uncomfortable about the idea of using a breast pump at work and then storing the expressed milk in the warehouse's only refrigerator. It would have been a disaster (“Sorry Lori, I drunk that milk you put in there. I think it means we're married”).

Of course, none of this matter to the women I called “Breast Terrorists”. These were new moms that felt the joys of breast feeding so much that it was their duty to make all non breast feeding moms feel guilty. ("Studies show that breast fed babies are more likely to attend an Ivy League school while the non breast fed babies end up at places like Kennesaw State. Non breast fed babies also grow up to be murderers. Just so you know.") These ladies were big on whipping out their mammary glands at a moment’s notice so everyone could share in their nursing experience. It got old real quick.

My mother once told me a story about breast feeding. After my oldest brother was born, my Dad took her and the new baby to see kin in East Tennessee. (Yes, my Dad was from East Tennessee and my Mom was from the Mississippi Delta. What a gene pool) My mother was a modern, Betty Draper-ish woman that used formula. Well, they ran out of formula and they stopped in at Sam Drucker’s General Store in Hooterville. Mom went up to the counter and asked if they had any formula. “No!” the lady behind the counter bellowed, “We feed by the [comical word that rhymes with “Mitt”] ‘round here”.

To think, that young mom on the cover of Time magazine thinks she is so modern.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What I Learned from Leroy

Back in my teens, I knew a man named Leroy McCarty.

When Leroy was a young man, in the 50’s, he worked at the East Point, Georgia Fire Department with a guy named Bobby Hanson. Fast forward twenty years later into the 70’s and Bobby Hanson was the biggest name in Atlanta radio except he was known by another name: Ludlow Porch.  Leroy got me Ludlow’s autograph. I still have it.

Leroy enjoyed singing Gospel Music.  He would lead music at the church and sometimes sing duets with his wife. It was obvious that somewhere down the line Mrs. McCarty had some sort of musical training. I’m pretty sure Leroy did not. However, what he lacked in talent he made up for in enthusiasm.

He also liked to teach people how to water ski. I was a prime candidate to learn this skill because I weighed maybe a buck twenty-five and it would be easy to get me up out of the water and pull me around. Of course, there were problems with this theory.

One problem is that I am one of the most un-coordinated humans that have ever graced this planet. When I walk, one foot goes in one direction-the other foot goes into an entirely different direction. I have never “taken” to a sport in one or two tries. It usually takes one to two hundred tries just to get mediocre. 

The other problem is I am extremely near sighted. The cherry on top of that blessing is I have an astigmatism as well. This is a recipe for a person wearing thick coke bottle glasses. I didn’t like do anything without my glasses because everything was just one big blur.

The big day came for me to learn how to water ski. I was sitting out in the middle of Lake Allatoona listening to Leroy’s instructions. He told me to bend me knees and “do not let go of the rope”. Years later, Leroy’s son told me he heard his dad say that a million times because Leroy would see people finally get up on the lake, skiing for the first time in their life, become so excited that they would let go of the rope.

He asked me if I was ready. I said, “Let it happen, Captain”. (I was a witty one back then.) He hit the gas and I promptly fell over.  “Ready?”  “Yes, sir”.  He hit the gas and I promptly fell over.  Then for a third time, he hit the gas and I came up out of the water.

For a second, I thought I had made it. I was wrong.  If I were a Calvinist, I would say it wasn’t in God’s perfect plan for my life to be a water skier because I fell face first in to the water. Not only that, I held on to the rope like Leroy taught.

Leroy was not facing me when I fell and because I had held on the rope, it was still taunt like I was actually water skiing. He kept hitting the gas and soon I was skipping across Lake Alatoona on my face. I held on to the rope with all of my fifteen year old might because I was afraid if I let go, Leroy would not be able to find me in the vastness that is Lake Allatoona.

Soon I lost my grip on the rope and I saw the boat, or rather, the blur, go off into the distance. He came back for me and said these words that I have kept all of these years. “Next time, LET GO OF THE ROPE.”

I think about that often. What Leroy was saying is that you really need to use some common sense. It would have been better for me to fall and let go of the rope so he could come back and have me try again. Now, after skipping across Lake Allatoona, I was in no shape to want to try again. He was right. I have never even put on a pair of water skis since that day and I think Nixon was still President.

There was a time in my life I wanted to become a high school social studies teacher. I went back to college and made the best grades of my life. However, to become a teacher I would have to quit my job at the insurance company and go for almost a year without my income. To me, it was just common sense to let go of that dream and find another.

It is not a matter of quitting. It is just a matter of knowing when to stop. Just like “The Gambler”: you got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them. Unfortunately, Class of 2012, that course was never in the curriculum of your school and you have got to learn it for yourself.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bizzaro Pooh

Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”. Christopher Robin to Pooh

You may remember The Republican nominating process. It was in all of the papers. There was Herman and his “9-9-9 Plan”. There was Michele with her honking laugh. There was Rick Perry and the various things he would do if he could just remember what it was. There was Rick Santorum and his vests. There was Ron Paul and his fans who would leave posts on any website extolling the virtues of Dr. Paul (“Planter Warts: WE WOULD NOT HAVE THE PLANTER WARTS PROBLEM IN THIS COUNTRY IF WE DID NOT HAVE THE FEDERAL RESERVE AND VARIOUS MARIJUANA LAWS. VOTE RON PAUL”). Finally, there was Willard Mitiford “Mitt” Romney, who everyone thought was a dull as dish water and disliked almost as much as Obama.

This process, according to the pundits of NBC News (Motto: “What would Fox News do? Okay, let’s do the opposite”) was going to last well into the summer if not into President Obama’s second inaugural ceremony. These political experts sounded giddy about the prospect of a “Brokered Convention”, which I’m not sure what it is but it would have been bad for the GOP but good for the press.

The only problem was that it petered out in early April. By this time, only Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul were left. Romney’s money and organization was just too much for his opponents. This is good because we have been spared a fall campaign hearing about the Democrats being sponge worthy because they are the only ones who care about women’s contraceptive needs, especially if they are professional students.

It is going to be tough for Romney this fall. Obama has several advantages, most of which have nothing to do with his record. He has killed Osama bin Laden. He had Congress pass a health care bill that nobody read and nobody likes. He has killed Osama bin Laden. He saved General Motors in order to produce a Chevrolet that costs 43 thousand dollars and either runs on electricity or water (and can turn a daily commute into a weekly commute). He has a gigantic brain. He has killed Osama bin Laden.

His Vice President, Joe Biden, was supposed to bring the gravitas of Dick Cheney without the pure black heart of evil. Most pundits, when pressed, would respectively describe Biden as “a hair plugged dope”. When he’s not swearing, he’s saying things that are just totally stupid. Dan Quayle got torched for saying half the things Biden has said. I’m pretty sure he spells potato wrong, too.

Obama is an incumbent and can travel around and can do great things for the voters like be on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel”. It is very important for a President be on a first name basis with late night talk show hosts and participates in skits. He has this lap dog mainstream media that still thinks he is a Faberge egg. I thought by now the press would have gotten a little ornery with the President, but they still treat him like he was a Pop Star and they still get all goose pimply.

There was one good moment from Chris Matthews, of all people, who said, “What are we trying to do in this administration? Why does he want a second term? Would he tell us? What's he going to do in the second term? More of this? Is this it? Is this as good as it gets? Where are we going? Are we going to do something in the second term? He has yet to tell us. He has not said one thing about what he would do in the second term. Those are excellent questions to all those that want to move “forward”.

President Obama is the Bizzaro Pooh. He is less serious than he believes, not as strong as he seems, and not as smart as he thinks. That’s why the election may not go the way he wants.