Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Wright rules

I glanced up from my terminal at the Star-Telegram as the managing editor approached with a bushy-eye-browed man who was too much on television. I stood up.

“Congressman,” the managing editor said, “this is Bob Merriman, one of our news editors.”

I shook the congressman’s hand. “Congressman Wright,” I said. I gestured at the terminal. “I was just reading a story …”

“And over here,” the managing editor was saying, and he tugged at Wright’s arm, leading the congressman somewhere else. I sat. Well, I thought. Excuse the f out of me for beginning to say, “I was just reading a story about Congressman (Somebody) …”

I didn’t know the rules, but from that one incident I learned the rules: Stand up, smile, shake the congressman’s hand. Smile. If the congressman asks a question, answer in as few words as possible. If the congressman does not ask a question, keep your mouth shut, smile, and wait for the congressman to go somewhere else.

Sort of like rules of conduct when meeting a Royal. When Prince Charles the Unnecessary, of the Windsdor Unnecessaries, tripped to D-FW a few years later, TV stations ran stories on “What to do if approached by the prince.” Amazingly (or maybe not) rules for meeting Royalty were near those for meeting Congresspersons. So do not say (afterwards), “By golly this is the United States of America, where men are men and women are glad of it …” It don’t mean nothin when Important Folk are around.

Later that year a pickup team from the newspaper played a softball game against Wright’s Fort Worth office. There were about 15 of us on the newspaper team, some serious players, some wanting to be seen, including a couple of women who waved a bat and girly-threw the ball in the cause of “Hey, I’m a woman and I’m just as good as any man.” And, for honesty’s sake, a couple of women who knew how to hit and catch and throw and run.

Wright’s team kicked our a$$. We played six innings, and in the dugout after the bottom of the fourth, score around 15-5, somebody said, “They are kicking our a$$.” One of the political reporters said, “There is no way a congressman’s office beats a newspaper team.”

I led off the top of the fifth. I was an embarrassed 0 for 2. Wright’s office had put in a new pitcher, the third or fourth. The new pitcher was different, though – tall, blonde, with legs that went from here to there, red short-shorts, a white T-shirt, and, when I stepped into the batter’s box, a smile that genuinely said, “I am so sorry we have kicked you’re a$$ all over the field. Here’s a pitch. Do something with it.”

I singled into right field. In the next two innings, the Star-Telegram team scored somewhere between 15 and 20 runs; Wright’s team only enough to keep the game interesting.

If I had managed Wright’s team, there would not have been an “I am so sorry …” thought. But, then, the manager of the congressman’s team probably was looking at next week and next month and what’s going on in Washington and he really needed good publicity … And a whole lot of other stuff.

I’d rather be the guy who’s going out there to beat the other team. That’s the rule that counts.

Well, that’s going to make driving difficult

‘Saudi Arabia: Women Must Cover Provocative Eyes’

What? Women can’t drive in Saudi Arabia? What kind of government tells it citizens driving is based solely on gender? Oh. If Saudi Arabia didn’t have oil … But it does.

Fear factor

Fear factor

Which has nothing to do with the applausedly cancelled TV “reality show” (although what wrecking cars and falling off buildings has to do with everyday life …), but does have to do with everyday life, in which you had better have a few pounds of gold on-hand when life as we know it ends, etc.

An ad made up to look like a news story at, “41 things you should hoard.”

ARRGH! My computer was reeeaaaalllly slow, so I X’d out of MSN. When I came back to get the link to “41 things you should hoard,” a different ad popped up. So, I’ll never know the 41 things I should hoard. I could make a list, but I’m not sure about 41 things. Rifle and pistol ammunition, since those will be tradable when everything falls apart and life as we know it ends. A bunch of other common sense things, if you think everything will fall apart in your lifetime, ending life as we know it and you’ll have to defend yourself and yours from a crazed horde that wants all your stuff. (See how I used “hoard” and “horde”?)

Minutes later. OK. I found the link. To a book or magazine or some other publication you have to pay to read. So, forget about the link. Unless somebody wants to pay me.

WalMart doing better than governments

One of my wife’s membership people was giving a talk in the northern part of the state, in the mountainous region. The talk included the need for emergency supplies and such in case of earthquakes (which occur just about every day in Arkansas), floods, tornados and such, until the government was able to get things operational again. People at the talk said they would just go to WalMart and get what they needed, thank you – “We don’t need the government.” The speaker said WalMart trucks might not be able to get through if a tornado dropped trees on the road, or stores might not be open if electricity went out. “Nope,” people said. “We’ll just go to WalMart. We don’t need the government to help us with anything.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

If Dobie had taken Zelda on a few dates, Rock Hudson would be alive today

From a Facebook posting:

“MyTV shows programs from the ‘50s and ‘60s. A whole bunch of them. Car 54 came on the other night and Priscilla said, “Some theme songs you just remember.” Unfortunately. Stick in the head all day. Ode to Billy Joe. I turn off the radio, but I heard the guitar entry and it’s there alllll day.”

And who can forget this timeless classic:

Here’s a story
About a boy named Dobie
And his beeeessst friend

I forget the rest.

The thing about Dobie, he wanted what he couldn’t have, or “who” he couldn’t have – Thalia Menninger (“have” in the 1959-63 sense of … well, sort of possessing, but not really, and certainly not “have” in the sexual sense. Nobody had sex then. Not television characters. Mr. and Mrs. Gillis did not have and had not had sex. Never and ever. Maynard’s parents … No, man. Yuuchsville, man.).

Who else never had sex, in the normal sense? Zelda. All those times she was after Dobie, all those school dances and movies, rides in cars or Halloween hayrides on wagons and such … Never happened.

It’s Dobie’s fault.

Zelda “came out” a few years ago. If Dobie had taken Zelda to a few movies, borrowed Dad’s car, gone on a hayride or so, maybe things would have been different and Zelda would not have hung around in the closet all those years.

Why is it a news story when somebody famous “comes out?” If homosexuality is normal, why does it matter when somebody announces he or she is “gay?”

Years ago my wife attended a national meeting of executive directors of an organization. At the first session, each ED introduced herself and told where she was from. The woman running the meeting then introduced members of the national staff. Before introducing one man, she asked him, “Should I tell them?” He replied, “Yes.” The woman said, “He is gay.”

When telling me of the meeting my wife said, “Why would anybody refer to himself as a sex act?”

I thought, Wow. That’s true. When a man says he is gay, he means he has sex with other men. There is no other meaning. When a woman says she is gay, she means she has sex with other women. That’s it.

A contestant on this TV season’s Survivor is a retired New York Police Department detective. During some part of the show, I wasn’t paying that much attention until the man said, “I am gay. That’s who I am.”

What? You spend your adult life as a policeman, much of it as a detective, yet you see yourself as gay, and nothing else? You summarize your entire life with the declaration you have sex with other men. That’s it? There is nothing else?

Pay attention. When a man says he is gay, he says he has sex with other men. That. Is. It. There is no other meaning. None.

I’m supposed to do some wrap-up here, but it isn’t necessary. My point has been made.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I was all set for fixing breakfast -- thawed a bread loaf overnight, had the recipe for Breakfast Rolls on file and ready to print. Got into the living room at 6:20… and Cylla was eating cereal. I said, “Are you going in early?” She said, “I am. I have an insurance meeting at 9, and I want to make sure I’ve got everything I need.”

So much for my culinary plans. But … The bread was thawed. So charging ahead went I. Printed the recipe. Got everything together – chopped ½ cup walnuts (the recipe said 1/2 cup pecans [optional], but I didn’t have any, so I opted for walnuts); ½ cup melted butter (Hmm. OK, that’s why I have a microwave); ½ cup brown sugar; 3.5 ounce package cook and serve butterscotch pudding (Where’d that come from? I don’t remember reading that before! Checked pantry because, maybe, I had read that before and bought a package … Nope. Well, shoot. I guess I’ll have to wait until … What’s that on the top shelf? Cook and serve vanilla pudding! Hey, pudding is pudding.)

Everything was going now. Oven heated, 9-inch Bundt pan sprayed, bread cut into 16 pieces and rolled, walnut chops sprinkled in Bundt pan, butter melted and brown sugar stirred in. Sixteen rolls placed on top of walnut chops; pudding sprinkled on top of rolls; cinnamon on pudding; butter/brown sugar on cinnamon. We are ready to go. Check recipe one last time for cooking time – 25-30 minutes.

And: Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in refrigerator 6-8 hours.

Oh. That hadn’t been there before. How was that added to the recipe while the recipe sat in a “breakfast recipes” file?

I told Cylla. She said, “Oh, it will be dessert tonight.”