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Didja hear the one about the two little morons and the weather?

Didja hear the one about the two little morons and the weather? Does anyone even remember the wealth of little moron jokes that made the rounds several decades ago? We aren’t allowed to use them now because they are not politically correct. Such jokes would disparage anyone of those among us that may be outside the intellectual norms established by our society. My use of the word instinct in a recent posting brought back one of those jokes, and I humbly offer an abject apology in advance—but not too seriously—to anyone that may be offended now.

I believe the question Are ya’ll ready for dis? which introduces the joke is, or at least was in the past, used by the San Antonio Spurs NBA team at the start of their games. It may be copyrighted, and if so I acknowledge that right and give them full credit for its origin. The voice is that of a former player named Johnson—no, not Jeremiah Johnson—Avery Johnson.

Are ya’ll ready for dis?

First little moron: It’s going to rain.

Second little moron: How do you know?

First little moron: My instincts.

Second little moron: My end stinks too, but it doesn’t tell me it’s going to rain.

I realize the two speakers could just as well have been Bert & Nan (the Bobbsey twins), Pat & Mike (Irish friends), Dagwood & Blondie, Mutt & Jeff, Donnie & Marie, Pelosi & Reid, Barack & Hillary, Chris Dodd & Barney Frank, Stanley & Livingston, O’Reilly & Beck, Paula & Simon, ad infinitum—or ad nauseam, perhaps. And the joke could also feature any two people, whether morons or MENSA charter members, regardless of nationality, race, sex, sexual preference, political affiliation, ideological bent, region, occupation, body build or marital status, whether divorced, married or cohabiting, whether same sex, married or unmarried, or two prim straight old maids or two grumpy straight old bachelors.

I used the original speakers, two little morons, to tell the joke as I remember it—history should never be rewritten, whether by nondescript writers such as I or by presidential biographers, historians and most of all, not by the school boards that decide what goes into the history books.

There’s a time-worn maxim that tells us that If we do not remember history we are doomed to repeat it. How can we remember history when it is constantly being rewritten in order to conform to prevailing social mores, to support or condemn various opposing political factions and to promote or condemn various opposing political agendas?

That’s a rhetorical question, of course, for which there is neither right nor wrong answers, and to misquote a line from the old Laurel and Hardy movies, It’s a fine mess that political correctness has gotten us into.

As a nation we are adhering so tightly to political correctness that little by little we are painting ourselves into a corner, and eventually our chickens will come home to roost—and that mixed metaphor should give everyone something to mull over!

And one more special note:

I especially like the combination of Pelosi & Reid as a replacement for the team in the little moron jokes. They were overwhelmingly voted into first place in a recent far-reaching poll, both exhaustive and exhausting, to determine the most logical team to replace the little morons in all the old jokes, and in any similar jokes that may be created in the future.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must state that only one person was polled. Can you hazard a guess as to the identification of the person that was polled? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two won’t count. Yep, you guessed correctly—I was both pollster and pollee and here are the results of my poll:

My vote of first place for Pelosi & Reid was unanimous—I know, I know, that’s an oxymoron.

Chris Dodd & Barney Frank were first runner-ups, also unanimous.

Barack & Hillary were relegated to third place, ditto.

The other candidates were also-runs, unnumbered but also unanimous.

And a rather lengthy final note:

Lighten up! It’s all in fun, and if this posting elicits a chuckle from even a couple of readers, regardless of their age, religion, sexual orientation, political preference or affiliation, education, profession, location, marital status, economic status, race, nationality, place of birth, height, weight, intelligence quotient, hair style, eye color or shoe size, then I have accomplished my objective—I’ve lightened their load for a moment, however brief, as they laboriously trudge along the road of life, usually making the wrong choice when their path diverges—-most do as Yogi Berra suggested: When you come to a fork in the road, take it!

I will conclude this posting by echoing the words of Brother Dave Gardner (1926-1983), an old-time stand-up comic whose career flowered and flourished in various entertainment venues in the years between 1950 and 1970, and included the production and sale of millions of LPs—and for those that have forgotten them or are too young to remember them, LPs are long-playing phonograph records.

Brother Dave would not be accepted today because of his politically incorrect repertoire, one that depended heavily on the use of regional and racial dialect. His career nose-dived in adverse proportion to the rise of political correctness in our republic. Were Brother Dave privileged to read this posting, he would analyze it and express his thoughts with one of his trademark expressions—he would undoubtedly exclaim,

Ain’t that weird!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Underage enlistment and other stuff . . .

Underage enlistment

My initial enlistment in the United States Air Force required perjury on the part of three people. The recruiting sergeant, my mother and I all lied about my age. I lacked six months and 12 days before my seventeenth birthday, the mandatory minimum age for enlistment with parental or guardian permission. The recruiting sergeant used ink eradicator on a certified copy of my birth certificate to change my year of birth and my mother perjured herself by signing the required parental consent form, and I was off on a great adventure—all 16 years, 110 pounds and 66 and three-fourths inches of me.

Speaking of height—I was unable to comply with the very first order given by an Air Force officer. Several of us, all new enlistees, were ushered into a room furnished with one desk, one chair and two flags—the U.S. flag and the official U.S. Air Force flag. The NCO that took us to the room told us the captain would be there in a few minutes to administer the oath of enlistment. A bit later the captain came in, said good morning, looked at his watch and said, Stand tall, men. I’ll be right back. I lacked one-fourth of an inch being five feet, seven inches tall, and I was dwarfed by the NBA wanna-bees with whom I was to share the oath of enlistment. Need I say more?

For those that have never had the pleasure of being sworn into the United States Air Force, here is the complete text of the oath I took:

US AIR FORCE OATH OF ENLISTMENT

I, (state your name), swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the UNITED STATES AIR FORCE because I know I couldn’t hack it in the Army, because the Marines frighten me, and because I am afraid of water over waist-deep. I swear to sit behind a desk. I also swear not to do any form of real exercise, but promise to defend our bike-riding test as a valid form of exercise. I promise to walk around calling everyone by their first name because I find it amusing to annoy the other services. I will have a better quality of life than those around me and will, at all times, be sure to make them aware of that fact. After completion of Basic Training I will be a lean, mean, donut-eating, Lazy-Boy sitting, civilian-wearing-blue-clothes, a Chair-borne Ranger. I will believe I am superior to all others and will make an effort to clean the knife before stabbing the next person in the back. I will annoy those around me, and will go home early every day. So Help Me God!

Hey, I’m just kidding! That oath came from the internet—you can check it and other hilarious pseudo military service oaths out here. That site is well worth a visit—trust me, you’ll like it!

The real oath of enlistment, the one that is administered by all services except the National Guard follows—this oath differs from the National Guard only because it includes the name of the state of enlistment. Click here for a history of the real oath of enlistment.

In the Armed Forces EXCEPT the National Guard (Army or Air)

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

The months and days between enlistment and the attainment of the required age of 17 were considered minority time, and had the law governing minority time in service not been changed, it would not have been counted in determining the time required for retirement from the military. The law was changed, I believe, in the 1950s through congressional action—my minority time was counted in my total service for retirement purposes.

Re: Minority time:

A funny thing happened to me on the way to retirement from the U.S. Air Force. About a month after I began basic training, our training NCO told one of the trainees to break formation following breakfast and report to the commanding officer. He then took a long look at me and said, You might as well go with himyou’re not seventeen either.

The two of us were ushered into the commander’s office and told to be seated. In addition to the commander, a military chaplain was present. The chaplain told my fellow trainee that his mother had contacted him, saying that her son was underage and she missed him and wanted him back home with her. Following that information, the commander told the trainee that it was his choice—he could be released from his oath of enlistment and be separated from the Air Force immediately without prejudice, or if he chose, he could continue his training and his enlistment.

When my fellow trainee elected to remain in service against his mother’s wishes, the commander told me that nobody believed that I was 17 years old, but that he would give me  the same option. I could continue my training, or I could choose to be released from the military without prejudice. He didn’t bother to ask me if I was underage, and I didn’t admit that I was—he probably figured I would lie if he asked me. I guess the commander and I were well ahead of the curve on the don’t ask, don’t tell option—mind you, this pertained to age only.

And the rest is history—I elected to remain in service. I managed to successfully complete basic training and I continued to reenlist over a period of 22 years plus before retiring. My retirement was based purely on years completed—no percentage for disability—no lower back pain, no loss of hearing, no bad feet, 20-20 eyesight, good teeth, etc.

I mention the absence of disabilities because some retirees feign medical problems in an effort to retire with a disability percentage—yes, Virginia, it’s true, some do—it’s only a few perhaps, but still some do try to fake it. Any percentage of disability will reduce taxes on their retirement pay and give them a leg up for employment in federal service—a disability of just five percent qualifies one for employment preferences and a reduction in federal taxes—a slight reduction, perhaps, but still a reduction. In many cases the full amount of retired pay is exempted from federal tax.

A bit of advice for future retirees—only the claim of lower back pain has even a slight chance to fool the medics. If one holds one’s ground, a disability may be given, probably the minimum five percent. Don’t even consider trying to fool the machines used to determine loss of hearing—it can’t be done. I’m not speaking from personal experience—had I known the ins and outs of faking medical problems I may have made the attempt, but I learned all this only after I completed my retirement physical. The doctor told me that my case was unusual—I took that as a compliment.

That’s it—that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Pee Ess: I subsequently retired from a second career as a United States federal law enforcement officer after 26 years of spotless service, and still with no disability percentage, not even five percent—damn it!

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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How to pull and shuck corn and earn $4.00 . . .

Everyone knows that corn grows on stalks. The stalks grow tall, often even taller than some of our NBA players, and with good growing conditions produce numerous ears of corn. I imagine that the term ears is used because each ear grows angled upward on the perpendicular stalk at about 45 degrees, somewhat similar to our ears. Ears of corn that are removed while still green are harvested for the purpose of roasting, and are therefore referred to as roasting ears. Country folks in my era called them rosnears, a useful contraction of roasting ears that allows more words in a sentence, whether written or spoken. Many country folks still use that contraction.

An ear of corn, as removed from the stalk, is completely covered with overlapping leaves. That covering is called a corn shuck, or simply a shuck. Rosnears are roasted in their shucks. When done, the shuck is removed, butter and salt if desired are added to the ear of cornand I do desire butter and saltand the corn is eaten directly from the cob. The cob is the cylindrical core of the ear of corn, the part to which the kernels of corn are attached. The eating process is referred to as eating corn on the cob—I’ve always felt that it would more properly be called eating corn off the cob. In either case the taste is heavenly and the process is devilishly messy—one should keep a napkin close at hand while eating corn on the cob—or off the cob, as the case may be.

And just in case anyone wonders about the origin of the term rough as a cob. When dried corn is shelled from the cob, the small depressions left by the kernels being removed leaves the cob rough to the touch. Way back in the dim mists of antiquity, in a time when folks had limited access to manufactured toilet tissue, various substitutes were used—magazine pages, Sears Roebuck catalog pages, old letters and envelopes, outdated calendars, straw, oak leaves or whatever could be found in a time of need. Dried corn cobs were in plentiful supply following the corn harvest, and I am witness to the fact that rough as a cob is as accurately definitive as a definition can get.

Ah, those were the days!

Allow me to digress for a moment: I have gone into considerable detail so far in this posting. The reason is because legions of people in our country, particularly younger generations, have no idea how corn is grown, harvested, prepared and cooked, nor do they know the terminology of the various uses of corn. Their knowledge is often restricted to the purchase and ingestion of popcorn in our movie theaters. In addition to the ridiculous cost of tickets to the movies, movie goers pay ridiculous prices for the popcorn, and the beat goes on.

And trust me—not even one in a thousand of today’s youngsters know the origin of rough as a cob. Perhaps this posting will spread the word, so to speak, and let younger generations know that old times were not romantic at all times.

For purposes other than roasting ears, corn is allowed to remain on the stalk until the green stalks and shucks turn brown, and then the corn is harvested by giant machines that harvest multiple rows at the same time. It hasn’t always been that way—before the invention and use of such harvesters, each ear of corn was pulled from the stalk by hand. A sharp pull downward at the correct angle would snap the ear off at the stalk.

I can speak with authority because I’ve done it—ear by ear, stalk by stalk, row by row, hour after hour and day after day until the field was stripped. The hand pulled ears were dropped on the ground between the rows and later loaded on a skid for movement to the barn for storage. Yes, Virginia, a skid—a primitive conveyance fitted with runners similar to those of a sled. A skid was a flat wooden platform mounted on wooden runners, with sides forming a box to contain such items as corn, or any other items that needed to be transported in bulk. The skid was powered by a mule, a tall long-eared beast of burden with a sour disposition and a proclivity to bite, depending on its mood and the task with which it was confronted.

Let’s see—I’ve covered pulling corn, so now on to shucking corn. This is easily done—one needs grasp the ear near the stem with one hand, then start peeling the leaves of the shuck downwards with the other hand, and when the leaves are all pulled away from the ear, simply snap the stem to separate the shuck from the ear of corn. Got it?

And finally, on to the tale of the four dollars I earned by shucking corn. Christmas was near, and I needed money to buy presents for my mother and my sister. One of my aunts that lived on a farm nearby asked me if I wanted to earn some money. I answered in the affirmative, but made a serious mistake by not inquiring into what my efforts would earn. The job turned out to be corn shucking—removing the shucks to prepare the corn to be milled—ground—into corn meal.

Picture this: Two farm wagons were loaded with corn to be shucked, rounded in the center to a level a bit higher than the sides of the wagon box. Each wagon box measured approximately four by ten by one foot deep. A quick computation of length x width x depth shows that each wagon had forty cubic feet of corn, a total of eighty cubic feet for both wagons. I was paid a whopping total of four dollars for a full two long days work. I worked without gloves, so by the time I finished I had blisters on top of my blisters. I did not question my pay or grumble about it, at least not out loud. I reasoned rightly that I now had four dollars where before I had no dollars—I took the four ones, gave thanks to my aunt and left to find some cool water for my hands.

That’s it—I’ve covered the three subjects in the title of How to pull and shuck corn and earn $4.oo, so I’ll close this posting.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2010 in Childhood, Family, Gardening, Humor, Travel

 

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Letter to the editor, SA Express-News, re: Reparations . . .

The following statement is in the interest of full disclosure:

I have not submitted this letter to the editor for possible publication, nor will I submit it. I am satisfied with its publication on Word Press. I have submitted many letters to the editor in the past—some were published, some were not—with Word Press, all are published.

To the editor: Express-News
San Antonio, Texas
July 19, 2009

Re: Apology and reparations for slavery:

The Metro Section of July 14, 2009 included an editorial (Slavery apology is long overdue) concerning the U. S. Senate’s attempt to formally apologize to African-Americans “on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws.”

The Senate resolution is imperiled because it includes a disclaimer that “disallows its use as a basis for reparations.” The disclaimer is opposed by the Congressional Black Caucus, although it does not prevent individuals from seeking reparations—it “simply states that it can’t be used as the basis of such suit.”

Listen up:

A source of funds for reparations exists. The only problem with the source of funds is the unequal distribution of income it generates. I refer to the incomes of African-Americans in the United States. Some African-Americans’ earnings catapult them into the stratospheric level of our earnings atmosphere—many are multi-millionaires, some perhaps even billionaires, while other African-Americans must struggle along on modest incomes—or on welfare, albeit it rather substantial, distributed by a beneficent government. That wealth, whether earned income or entitlements paid, should be distributed equally among African-Americans.

Many will say that today’s African-Americans, some 12 percent of our population (from the 2000 census), were not exposed to the indignities, repression and cruelty of slavery in America—I am emphatically in agreement with that position—they were not exposed to the horrible conditions of slavery, and now demand that they be compensated monetarily for the suffering of their ancestors.

Moreover, neither was the remaining 88 percent of our population exposed to, nor are they responsible for, the system of slavery imposed on the ancestors of today’s African-Americans, and that segment, the “other than African-American,” should not be held accountable for it—not  by paying reparations individually and not through government payments—either way the money is coming from the pockets of “other than African-Americans.”  And we cannot demand reparations from those responsible for slavery—they are all long gone, either to that great plantation in the sky or to the nether regions below—regardless of their current addresses, reparation from them is neither practical nor possible.

Many, perhaps most, of today’s African-Americans appear to be united in their belief that they were somehow adversely affected by the treatment accorded their ancestors, and feel that they should be monetarily compensated through reparations paid by the federal government. I believe they should also be ready and willing to unite in “sharing the wealth,” a concept clearly voiced by our president in his campaign for the White House.

I believe that given the opportunity every African-American will willingly share with other African-Americans less fortunate, and it’s fairly certain that those less fortunate will willingly accept their compensation. It’s all a matter of racial pride, and their firm belief in the “share the wealth” concept.

Our government should take the total compensation of all African-Americans—income earned, or received through entitlements—and divide that total by the number of African-Americans in the United States, then dispense the resultant amount to each of more than 36 million African-Americans (statistic is from the 2000 census). By distributing the total compensation equally, the incomes of those existing on entitlements will be upgraded, and those earning millions each year should not be too significantly discommoded—sorely disappointed, perhaps, but not discommoded. They will simply descend from the rarified air of the millionaire strata to become part of our nation’s much-heralded “middle income” families.

Some will say that the compensation, including entitlements as well as earned income, of Americans other that those of African lineage should be part of the reparation effort, either by direct deductions from each individual’s pay or by payments from the government.

I believe that if a particular segment of our population receives monetary compensation, any part of which is taken from any group other than African-Americans, then our courts will be buried under an avalanche of law suits from other hyphenated Americans for the shameful treatment which they have endured at various periods in America’s history—Irish-Americans, for example, for their treatment early in the 19th century—the same for Italian-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Polish-Americans (how many Polish jokes do you know?), Japanese-Americans (remember their internment and our confiscation of property in World War II?), and by the horrible working conditions, low pay and oppression endured by the many thousands of Chinese workers that were imported to help build our intercontinental railroad.

And everyone is aware of the treatment accorded Native Americans—we slaughtered their warriors, their medicine men, their women and their children and their old people indiscriminately—the official government mission in the final years of the Indian Wars was to “kill the breeders” on the assumption (correct, of course) that without the women there would be no children to grow up and become warriors—a threat to expansion.

Then we systematically slaughtered the buffalo herds, confiscated their lands, confined them to reservations and fed them on rotten beef and weevil-infested flour and meal. I realize that today’s Native Americans want their share of the American pie, but I do not recall the present population of Native Americans demanding monetary reparation for the suffering we heaped on their ancestors in our “march to the west” to build our empire.

There are many more similar groups that have suffered over the years, one way or another, since this nation was founded—they will be heard. The lawsuits might never end. Other groups will feel that reparation is due them for their ill treatment in the past—that treatment continues in many such groups, including Redneck-Americans, Gay-Americans, Hillbilly-Americans, Lesbian-Americans, ad infinitum.

I have a slogan to help make this equalization palatable for all African-Americans who feel that they are due monetary compensation for the conditions imposed on their ancestors, all of whom are long dead and gone—the slogan should be well received and endorsed by the living—those giving as well as  those receiving. It is based, in part, on the dictum that “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” and is compatible with the “share the wealth” concept voiced by our  present administration. That slogan is:

From each African-American according to his ability, to each African-American according to his needs.

The slogan is not original with me—I simply added the term African-American in two places to identify those Americans who would most benefit from its use—some will benefit financially, and others will benefit from the altruistic nature of the system, knowing that their efforts have helped their brothers and sisters to a larger piece of the American pie.

The original slogan was coined by Karl Marx, and the system was first applied way back in history by the Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It is still in use, at least in concept and in one degree or another, in several nations around the globe—since none are thriving as of this writing, it’s probably because the system is applied equally among the population rather than to a specific segment.

My suggestion applies to only one segment (about 12 percent) of our population. Unless my memory is faulty, I believe our president used a truncated version of this slogan at least once in his highly successful presidential campaign. When he resp0nded to a question from a man known as “Joe the plumber,” he used the phrase “share the wealth.”

I really admire his ability to reduce a wordy slogan to just three unforgettable words.

Let’s take a look at just two of today’s professional sports organizations—the National Football League and the National Basketball Association. In its 2004-2005 season, player salaries in the NFL totaled $3 billion, and player salaries in the NBA totaled $1.74 billion, a total of $4.7 billion for the two sport leagues (that compensation includes each player’s share of related revenues).

If just two of our sports organizations pay their players almost $5 billion each year, then we might reasonably suspect that by adding all the other sports in which African-Americans excel—nay, in which African-Americans dominate—tennis, golf and various Olympic sports, for example (Olympic stars earn millions in endorsements). In addition to sports, add in the compensation earned by African-Americans in the entertainment venues of music and movies, including rappers, actors, producers, directors, singers, song writers, record producers and others.

And let’s not forget persons of the cloth—our nation is blessed with a goodly number of African-American reverends—the actual compensation of many such persons is difficult to determine and impossible for some, but one can reasonably assume that some share the same rarified atmospheric strata of African-American millionaires and billionaires.

Oh, and there also are numerous African-Americans who have profited immensely from their writings, including historical, political and autobiographical tomes. In fact, one that comes to mind is our current president, an African-American who has done very well in his struggle up through the repressive atmosphere that exists in America. He can well afford, and should be willing, to participate in sharing the wealth with less fortunate African-Americans.

The combined compensation of all the above might possibly be enough to provide reparations to all African-Americans for the injustices they have suffered from the effects of slavery and Jim Crow laws without the need to call on anyone other than African-Americans.

My system for compensating African-Americans for the pain and suffering wrought by slavery—pain and suffering which still lingers almost 150 years after slavery was abolished—is therefore:

“From each African-American according to his ability, to each African-American according to his needs.”

Under the system suggested by that slogan, it should not be necessary to call on government entities or on any of our numerous hyphenated-Americans—Polish-Americans, Asian-Americans, Iranian-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Mormon-Americans, Muslim-Americans, Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, and Lower Slobovian-Americans, to name just a few. Should any other segment of hyphenated Americans—Irish-Americans, for example—be forced to participate in reparations for African-Americans, then that segment would also demand reparations.

Government entities should not be involved in this system, other than to manage the equalization of the total compensation earned or otherwise received by African-Americans. Government participation would be limited to determining entitlements and distributing them to the affected persons.

In theory the reparations could continue forever, unless at some point in the future the recipients feel that they had been adequately paid for the sufferings they endured during slavery and for many years afterward. At that point the system could be dismantled and African-Americans could return to the old system, a system under which “some have,” but others “have not.”

That, of course, would never happen.

 

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