Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mr. Hines And The GOP

If you took a poll of  the students at Wheeler High School in the mid 70’s ( School Motto: Where The Leaders of Tomorrow Are Smoking in The Smoke Hole of Today), Roger Hines would probably be named the most popular teacher despite the fact his classes were difficult and he taught English.

I am happy to say that I survived a Roger Hines class despite having an IQ that is somewhere near Forrest Gump’s.  He was a demanding teacher that expected excellence. However, he was also one of the nicest people you have ever met and actually cared if his 17 year old charges read Beowulf.  (Beowulf
is the conventional title of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182-count ‘em-alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the reasons high school students contract Sudden Narcolepsy.)

I have two fond memories of my Mr. Hines class. One: there was a student who was super smart and was doing a paper on Acupuncture and Horses. At that time, there were not a lot of resources regarding this form of analgesia on humans, much less horses. He told the student, “You be the resource”, which I thought was a neat way of inspiring this person because 99.9 per cent of all the other teachers would have told the student pick another topic. By the way, my paper was titled, “Why Do You Park On A Driveway But Drive on a Parkway?

My second favorite memory was Mr. Hines admitting that he would pick up and read few pages of a new Harold Robbins book at the bookstore when it would come out. For those of you that don’t remember, Harold Robbins wrote really fancy high class pornography. Mr. Hines added that he would always put the book back in the stack, disappointed that someone with such great talent would misuse it in such a way. This taught me that you could acknowledge someone’s talent without approving of how that person uses their talent. This helps out a lot if you are talking about Howard Stern.

This book was the basis for the Elvis movie, King Creole. Really.

Back in 2010, Mr Hines wrote a column for The Marietta Daily Journal in which he praised then candidate for Governor Nathan Deal.  I contacted Mr. Hines by Facebook and urged him to read and grade my  September 28, 2010 Humor Me post, "I Don’t Know How To Love Nathan and Roy”. He gave me an “A” in grammar and a “F” in content. That is a solid “C”, my friends.

Mr. Hines is now a regular columnist for The Marietta Daily Journal. He recently wrote a column titled “Does GOP Have A Future?”  It seems The Republican Party has lost two Presidential elections in a row and the reason, at least according to some, is that The GOP wasn't out front on this newly found Constitutional Right of two men marrying each other.

Mr. Hines isn’t too happy with this. He says, “If national Republicans continue to waver on the issue of homosexual marriage, I predict by 2016 the Republican Party will be split, having driven away its most loyal conservative base”.  He’s got a point. It has become very convenient to blame Evangelical Christians for the results of 2012 instead of the National Party’s 1998 computer model of voter turnout. In 2012 in Ohio, Obama’s campaign contacted everyone in their data bank three times on election day to make sure they made it to the polls.  The Romney campaign was still using dial-up.

Mr. Hines says, “If in 2016 Republicans nominate a candidate who caves on the definition of marriage, I for one, will not vote for that candidate. If there is also no third party candidate who will hold his or her ground on the matter, I will stay home”.

Frankly, my first thought reading this was “Dick Cheney”.  In 2004, the EVIL DARK LORD RICHARD CHENEY expressed his rather Libertarian view of marriage (that it was a matter left to the states) that even Barack Obama and Joe Biden hadn’t evolved to. But I think Mr. Hines is right in that a lot of Evangelicals are past holding their noses and voting the lesser of two evils which in most cases are Republican. The only problem is that we’ll continue to get the greater of the two evils.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our Kids

We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we've always had kind of a private notion of children: Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven't had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it's everybody's responsibility, and not just the household's, then we start making better investments.     Melissa Harris-Perry

Back in the 90’s, our President  was President Bill Clinton. President Bill had a wife named Hillary Rodham Clinton and she had the biggest brain in the United States. President Bill loved Hillary Rodham Clinton. He loved her so much that he had an “inappropriate relationship” with a chunky intern. Let's just say every marriage is a mystery and this one was complicated.

Hillary wrote a book back then titled It Takes A Village. It was a New York Times bestseller and she even won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for the audio recording of the book. (How would have liked to have been nominated in that category and learn that the First Lady is one of the other nominees?)

When it first came out, I remember people saying it reminded them of their youth when everybody in the neighborhood looked out for each other and if Mrs. O’Malley came by and told you to shut up, well then, you shut up. Things were so much better back then when adults could just whack a kid for looking like a goober.  I was looking forward to my chance to show a little adult muscle.

Turns out that’s not quite what she meant. She meant that the “Village” is the “government” run by President Bill and his buddies (but not the chunky intern-she was doing, um, other things) and the Village would take care of the “needs” of the children like food, healthcare,education, midnight basketball and school uniforms. Therefore, the Village would need more “money” for the “needs” of the “children”-that’s where the rest of us come in.

Well, It Takes A Village was just one of those pleasant memories of the 90’s like full employment, a balance budget, and Tiny Toons Adventures (“We’re tiny, we’re toony, we’re all a little loony”) until Melissa Harris-Perry recorded a commercial for MSNBC.

Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry is a professor at Tulane University and has her own show on MSNBC. This means Dr. Harris-Perry’s brain is almost as big as Hillary Clinton's, if that is possible. As part of having a show on MSNBC, Dr Harris-Perry had to do a promotional spot for the Lean Forward slogans. (Lean Forward was the best slogan MSNBC came up with. Second place was DIE! REPUBLICANS DIE!)

In the commercial, Dr. Harris-Perry basically updated the It Takes A Village theme to the swinging 21st century. She begins by saying we have this quaint notion that “Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility”. I’m not sure if Dr. Harris-Perry has ever ridden on an airplane or eaten at a restaurant, but there seems to be a lot of parents who don’t seem to understand that their kid is their responsibility.

Then she goes on to say, “We haven't had a very collective notion of these are our children”. I’m not sure what that means, but I’m sure it is going to be on the final exam. I always thought our collective notion is that your kids are your kids and you raise them as you see fit. I realize that is a silly idea.

So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities”. I thought the idea that children belong to their parents is a very public idea and not a “kind of private idea”.  I know when I had to pay for braces, the “whole community” did not come through with any scratch at all and my kid had two stages. I think it cost a total of 4 million dollars. Thanks for nothing, village.

 Dr. Harris-Perry began her commercial by saying, “We have never invested as much in public education as we should have”.  Speak for yourself, Doctor. My son went to public school and I can tell you we bought Sally Foster Wrapping paper out the wazoo.

Actually what Dr. Harris-Perry said was this: We need to raise taxes because the kids are stupid and getting dumber by the minute. You don’t have lean forward to understand that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


All my powers of expression and thoughts so sublime
Could never do you justice in reason or rhyme.   Bob Dylan

I have never been to Boston. I have always liked the Red Sox, especially when it seemed like they would invent new ways of losing The World Series. It is the place of “Havahd” and The Kennedys, and the song “Please Come To Boston”, a maudlin ballad from the 70’s that said “Please come to Boston for the springtime. I’m staying here with some friends and they got lots of room. You can sell your paintings on the sidewalk by the cafĂ© where I hope to be working soon". (They don’t write them like that anymore.)

My son spent his spring break in Boston. He texted me a picture of  the “Cheers” restaurant. He said, “Nobody knew my name”. I got to give him credit-that was a good one.

I was listening to Michael Medved coming home from work. I like Medved. He wrote a great book about bad movies and has a really neat show. He said, “Oh, there has been an explosion at The Boston Marathon.”

That’s how you get the news sometimes. You are driving along and Neal Boortz says that there has been an explosion in Oklahoma City. Sometimes you’re at work and someone says that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. I remember wondering if it was foggy and the pilot just didn’t see it.   I learned I was wrong.

What happened yesterday at The Boston Marathon is an apt metaphor for life. You are just running along and then something happens and everything changes.

We don’t know who set two bombs to go off near the finish line in Boston the other day. Just another deranged whack job of a person who thinks he can accomplish his big grand scheme of "how things should be" by killing an eight year boy.  We know that the bombs were  two six liter pressure cookers with one containing shards of metal and ball bearings with the other containing nails that were hidden inside black duffle bags on the ground.

You just wonder what in Sam Hill goes on in somebody’s mind that would do such a thing. But you can’t understand it because it is so sick and you’re not. The worst most of us do is Un-friend somebody on Facebook.

The best thing I read yesterday was a Tweet from a sportswriter, of all people. Jeff Schultz said, “Everybody is going to ask why things like this happen. There is no answer. Just pray and hope for healing and peace.  That is true:  all we can do is pray and hope that peace comes to Boston for the springtime.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Key To A Happy Marriage

This year, my wife (Queen Lori of Brookmont) and I (The Duke of Earl) will celebrate 27 years of wedded bliss. Yes, on April 12, 1986, I became a married man. This happens to be the date of “The Great Single Woman Mass Suicide of 1986” when the single women of the world realized I was off the market.

I think 27 years of marriage makes me an “expert” on marriage. At least I’m an expert on being married to Lori. Therefore, I have always tooled around with notion that I should write a book about marriage. I would call it: The Key To A Happy Marriage.

You hear a lot about “keys” to a happy marriage. You know: listening, helping out around the house, pretending to understand  Pinterest, etc. However, there is truly only one key to a happy marriage. Do not have sex with anyone else but your wife. Boom.

If there is one constant fact in history, it is this: the main cause of divorce in this country is men and the reason for that is men are stupid. A lot of men think they can have sex with other women and still stay married to their wives. This simply does not happen unless you have marriage of political convenience like President and Mrs. Future President Clinton.

In fact, every man that cheats on his wife thinks he can get away with it. He cannot. Women are smarter than men. I know of one couple where the husband was cheating on his wife with someone that was way out of his league because he was a hot shot at his company and the ‘other woman’ was trying to work her way up, if you know what I mean. One evening, the husband comes in from “a late night at work”. Wife is lying in bed, asking him about his day. While he was taking off his pants getting ready for bed, she notices that his underwear was on backwards. He should have confessed then and there and begged for her forgiveness because: a) the wife soon divorced him because what man just happens to put his underwear on backwards   and b) the office hottie dumped him for “another” man that would not forget how to put on his underwear.

Now every man is tempted because (say it with me) every man is stupid. One way every man is stupid is that we believe in our heart of hearts, that we are borderline Brad Pitt in the looks department.   Here is a clothing example from my personal life to illustrate.

                                                   My Twin

Back in 1990’s, the company I worked for started hating their employees. One of the ways they expressed their hated was coming up with new rules for taking paid days off. This particular year, the company decided that they wanted to limit the days you could carry over from one year to the next and I had a ton of vacation days, so I was forced to take some days off. So, I took a day off without the family.

Lori went to work. I took our son into daycare and then I went to the gym. This particular gym was an amazing gym. It had every piece of equipment in the world, a basketball court, a spa—the works. It also had clientele that, unlike me, look like they go to a gym.

I started my work out when I noticed this very attractive blonde looking at me. At first, I didn’t think much about it. But then it became obvious that she was staring at me. I would go and work out on a machine and out of the corner of my eye I would see her staring at me.

I am not used to that type of attention. I started wondering what was wrong. Then I realized, “Hey, she likes what she sees. Yeah, come on!” Even though I was very flattered, I could totally understand why she would find a Hot Hunk like me attractive. Yet, I wanted to walk up to her and say, “Sorry, sweetie, but my heart belongs to Lori. You can’t have me. I know it is tough, but you’ll just have to deal with it.”

I finished my work out and went to the dressing room to change. It was there I noticed that I had my gym pants on inside outwards and backwards. I could not have my gym pants on more wrong unless I wore it around my neck.

So, that’s one reason our marriage has lasted: I realize I am stupid but I am smart enough to know that nobody would put up with my goofiness besides my wife.