Friday, August 22, 2008

My Daddy Was A Body Slammer

My daddy was a body-slammer
But more than that to me
He'd tell a tale as soon as bat a ball
or fell a tree

And with those hands I've seen him build
Outhouses out of sand
And often wondered:
As a child, were you sill a man?

And was there any sense at all
In waiting for the rest?
When to this world you gave your all
For sure, you gave your best

And though we feel cheated, still
It's life a summer's day
That pretty soon shall find its end
You went and chose your way

And no different than the man he was
Is the man he'll ever be
We know him - all - by many names
But most by "Marion C."

And in his wake, we'll seek to live
For living is a must
And, yes, he was a body slammer
But more than that to us.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hillary, Bill, and the Vice Presidency: Why It Won't Happen

In the western classic, The Culpepper Cattle Co., a young man joins a cattle drive and lands a job as the cook's helper. The trail boss tells him, "See the cook and tell him you're going to be his Little Mary." That's what they called cooks' helpers back then. I wonder what they will call men today whose wives become vice presidents.
Would Hillary make a good vice president? That would depend on your definition of "good." She would certainly be one of the most hardworking and ambitious vice-presidents. Whether she would be loyal and cooperative is another matter. Toward the end of the primaries, Bill Clinton suggested that Hillary, based upon her strong performance in the primaries, had "earned a spot" on the ticket. That doesn't help. A vice-president that feels entitled is more likely to be independent and self-assured. Vice presidents, above all, must be grateful.
Hillary's upside: She brings voters - women, older people, Hispanics, and blue collar workers; she brings drama, too. Yes, there will be drama. We've seen the previews - smashing! Remember "misty" in New Hampshire and "Shame on you, Barak!" in Ohio. In a mischievous kind of way, we want more. She promises more. Throw in a couple of "Where is Bill (and what is he doings)?" and an Obama-Clinton ticket promises entertainment on a grand scale.
But, what about Bill? Bill Clinton is big. He has his presidential library, his bestseller, speaking engagements, and mega-deals with foreign entities - whether it be free traders in Columbia or uranium deals in Kazakhstan. He is a millionaire one hundred times over, and a major player on the world stage. And throw in this understated fact: In the past 40 years, there have been three democratic administrations. Bill has headed two of them.
Why in the world would he chance being Barack and Hillary's "Little Mary" when his is already Big Bill?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pigmeat Did It!! (Yeah, but he was funny)

There was a time when smokers enjoyed free range to smoke anywhere and every where they chose. If nonsmokers didn't like ti, they had one choice: Move. Then, we passed laws that banned smoking in public places, and individually, we became emboldened - we challenged smokers.
Before being challenged many smokers were oblivious to the discomfort they caused others. It was all about them. Today, a lot of smokers still don't care; but we do. The surgeon general says we have good reason to care: Second-hand smoke is hazardous to our health.
Comes another scourge: public profanity. During the 50's and 60's, when smokers were suave and debonair, we frowned upon public profanity - considered it the refuge of the vulgar and ill-bred. Now that we have closed the door on smoking in public places, we seem to have opened it wider for profanity. It is not that profanity doesn't bother people; it does. (Nothing worse can come from our mouths than profane and vulgar language. It is like someone farting in a room. It does not affect our physical health like second-hand smoke, but it deeply affects our sensibilities.) Rather, something is going missing in our lives when we surrender the air we breathe to men who would defile it.
There is a time and place for raunchy language. It was funny when Redd Foxx and Rudy Raymore did it; and Pigmeat Markham split our sides when he made his stand in nightclubs and on "XX-rated" party albums. Heard of "Petey Wheatstraw", "Dolomite", and "Shine, Shine, save poor me..."? Those were the albums your fathers brought out only when the earthiest company dropped by, and then, only after the children had been safely tucked away. Now people curse like Pigmeat over morning coffee. (They must think it makes them funny, too.) Let me be blunt, fart-mouths: You are not nearly so funny as you are offensive.
Profanity is no less toxic today than second-hand smoke was 50 years ago. We didn't need scientists then, and we don't need sociologist now to tell us that . We simply need the guts to say, "Do you mind? I'm living here."