Friday, September 28, 2012

Building Fantasy Teams with Players from Different Eras

The problem with political jokes is that they get elected - King Henry VII

A common question during presidential election seasons is, "if you had your druthers, who would you prefer to vote for if you don't like any of the nominated candidates?"

Personally, if he were still alive, I would vote for Mo Udall, who served as a US Representative from Arizona for 30 years (before Margaret and I moved to Scottsdale).

Morris King "Mo" Udall was a close friend of our good friend and US Senator from Washington State, Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson.  In 1972 when Scoop Jackson ran for president, Mo was asked if planned to run.  He responded, "If nominated, I will flee to Mexico.  If elected, I will fight extradition."

Columnist James J. Kilpatrick once wrote that Udall was, "too funny to be president" (which became the title of Udall's autobiography).  I read it three times.

Interestingly, Mo's grandfather, David King Udall, was indicted and arrested in 1885 for perjury stemming from a sworn statement he made backing a land claim for Miles Romney (the great-grandfather of Mitt Romney).  David Udall's bail was posted by Baron Goldwater (father of Barry Goldwater).   Politics are incestuous.

I never agreed Mo was too funny to be president.  I am certain his Mo-isms could distract me from whatever the disaster-du-jour is.  I've been contemplating my pick for Udall's VP and came up with several ideal choices. 

I imagine Mo would find Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck too side-splittingly funny for the VP job, but are possible cabinet candidates, as are Diana Ross and Vermin Supreme (so Mo's cabinet could include Diana Ross and the Supreme).  Or maybe Vermin should be appointed a judgeship to some court - I have to think about which one. 

A Duluth, Minnesota headshop owner, Jim Carlson, is currently running for president as the Grassroots Party candidate.  Apparently his store was raided by police last September for selling bath salts and synthetic marijuana.  Carlson promptly filed suit to strike down Minnesota's ban on the substances (the suit was tossed in November), but it shows he does not procrastinate. Unfortunately, he looks a little too much like a certain Star Wars villain, and I assume the bath salts are sold for a purpose other than bathing.

I finally decided on Hugh "Wavy Gravy" Romney (who says he is no relation to Mittens - even though on the surface they seem to have a lot in common).  Wavy Gravy once ran his pet pig, Pegasus, for president on the Yippee ticket and was behind Nobody's run for president in 1988.  The campaign featured such slogans as, "Nobody is Perfect" and "Nobody Cares About the Homeless."

He and Vermin Supreme have a similar fashion sense, but c'mon, can you ever have too much Gravy?  Plus the guy has a pet pig - which could come in handy at a state dinner.

Favorite Mo-isms

  • If you can find something everyone agrees on, it's wrong

  • The ability to changes one's views without losing one's seat is the mark of a great politician

  • For those of you who don't understand Reaganomics, it's based on the principle that the rich and the poor will get the same amount of ice.  In Reaganomics, however, the poor get all of their ice in winter.

Vermin Wants You!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fiddler On The Computer

Not long after my wife of nearly 50 years died, I began receiving e-mail versions of the casserole delivery.  I can’t say I was invaded but I was certainly invited.  What I found inexplicable was the volume of invites from unknown individuals … how did they even know who I was or that I was suddenly an “eligible senior”. 
Mean Eileen arranged for most of the unsolicited emails to go directly to email purgatory (a.k.a. the junk mail box) and for those with subject lines particularly inappropriate for an AARP Gold Card member, they went straight to e-hell (no hand-basket).
However, a couple new ones escaped the auto-purge recently.  The first one had a subject line that read;
Married but lonely.  Search the largest site for cheating wives. Find neglected Lovely Wife to date today.

The second one had a generic subject line and I opened it without thinking;

I  am a 35 yesr ol woman... I have had 5 kidds 4 with me on in heaven.. I hav been married snce i was 17 to my husband.. I think i am the ...

Hmmm.   I doubt I will ever troll the internet looking for a relationship, meaningful or otherwise, although via the proliferation of television and internet banner ads it’s hard to imagine there is anyone in the USA that doesn’t know about internet matchmaking sites.  In the mid 70s my Seattle advertising agency was once approached by the owner of The Matchmaker … in those days, The Matchmaker interviewed men and women on video tape and then loaned them out to members.  I declined the account – I could not have been less interested in getting into the hook-up business, even peripherally.

My opinion on the subject hasn’t changed, but obviously the options have increased exponentially.  Men Seeking Women, Married Men Seeking Traveling Circus Performers, Women Seeking Teenaged  Boyfriends, Bisexual Biracial Pagans seeking Hyper Religious Southern Baptists with RVs, Ex Wall Street Tycoons Seeking … well, you get the idea.  
It’s a small wonder that divorce rates are over 50%.  Getting married is like buying something at Nordstrom or Costco. You can take it back, no questions asked. Only in the marriage business you may not get all of your money back.

Monday, September 24, 2012

To Kill An American

I received this in an email today ... I felt it was definitely worth passing on. 
To Kill an American

There was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper, an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.

So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is . So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!!)

An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish , Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.

An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian , or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan . The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

An American is also free to believe in no religion.. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world.

The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence , which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous.. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.

When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!

As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan ...

The national symbol of America , The Statue of Liberty , welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.

Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11 , 2001 earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo , and Stalin , and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world.. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself.
Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Real Nut Case

It’s too long.
But, this grievance has been germinating for seven years, finally sprouting into Flog form after I recently received an email from Southwest Airlines professing they’d LUV to get my feedback about my Southwest Experience on a September 6th flight from Phoenix to Seattle.  They even thanked me in advance for my time. 
Big mistake.
Never thank a writer in advance for feedback – especially a retired advertising man  who is still compensating for having spent decades figuring out how to coherently compress volumes of information into 30-second TV commercials, 10-second radio spots and 7-word billboards.  It’s like opening your kitchen to a herd of starving javelinas.
Exercising remarkable restraint, I decided to spare whoever was on the receiving end of Southwest’s reply email and instead penned a few J lines to Southwest’s CEO and President, Gary Kelly.  I consider Gary a close, personal friend, even though we have never met.  But he writes to me in English and Spanish regularly via his Southwest Airlines In-Flight Magazine, so I know he thinks highly of me. 

Dear Gary,
 I LUV U 2!  Southwest has been my favorite airline since 1972 when I predicted your airline would never make it because your gate attendants were dressed for tennis. How wrong I was. Your staff and advertising have great personality and a wonderful sense of humor. Of course, you had me at cheap air fare and bags-fly-free. You are the millennium (lite) version of Mary Wells Lawrence.
I received an e-mail invite to respond to a survey about my Southwest Experience.  Being that we are so chummy, I thought I would respond directly to you.  Buckle up Gary, return your seat-back and tray-table to the upright and locked position, and turn off Angry Birds.  The ride could get bumpy.
Two weeks after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, My wife, Margaret, and I boarded a Southwest flight from Phoenix to Seattle.  Taking advantage of the only worthwhile perk available to someone with Parkinson’s (early boarding), Margaret buckled her seatbelt (at least a half-hour before the flight attendant’s enlightening demonstration of how to fasten a seatbelt) and promptly fell sound asleep in an aisle seat.   I tucked myself comfortably into the window seat and amused myself watching baggage handlers flinging luggage off a little train onto a large pile on the ground.  The Samsonite Gorilla had nothing on those guys.
The first passenger with an “A” on her ticket came aboard and zeroed in on the first empty seat she saw; between me and my sleeping wife.  Before she said a word, I got up and offered her my window seat.  She accepted my gracious offer graciously and even managed to squeeze past the sleeping beauty gracefully.   Her name was not Grace.
After the plane took off, I introduced myself to our new row-mate and explained Sleeping Beauty was my wife.  Window Seat turned out to be a Katrina survivor from Biloxi and a graduate of Lincoln High School in Tacoma where she was headed for a reunion.  She had a tear in her eye.
“My husband insisted I go,” she told me.  The tear expanded  as she continued, “ The storm did terrible damage to our home and store.”  She’d owned and operated a liquor store in Biloxi for a quarter-century.  I murmured comforting sounds as she gave me more gory details of the hurricane.  About that time Margaret awoke an I introduced her to my new friend from Mississippi.  Margaret was born and raised in Memphis and had spent time in Biloxi.  They both spoke Southern fluently and really hit it off.
When the flight attendant stopped by with the peanuts and I gleefully held my hands out like a kid under a piƱata an extra-juiced Bonds just took a swing at.   The attendant stingily gave me one bag and swiftly disappeared down the aisle.  I pinched the top of my tasty little treasure and pulled.  And pulled.  I pulled, yanked, twisted, bit, gnashed, gnashed-and-growled, and psychically sent enough dynamite to split open Mount Everest, all to no avail.  Margaret flexed her muscles and smugly stepped up but failed on her first attempt.  I wanted those peanuts so I gave her a mulligan.  No success.  Biloxi intervened but didn’t get anywhere either.  I thanked her for playing (I already had given her my window seat so I offered no consolation prize).
I took the stubborn peanuts home and telephoned King Nuts in Solon, Ohio.  I asked to speak with the company King.  The receptionist however, was more protective than Mitt Romney’s Swiss banker. 
“If his Highness can’t speak to me now,” I asked, “Would you please give me an address to write him?  She gave me an address for Martin Kanan with all the charm of a clerk at the DMV complaint desk.
Despite her rude-i-tude, I wrote my tragic peanut story, wrapped it around the offending peanut bag and snail-mailed it off to Martin Kanan.  I explained in the letter that as a peanut-nut and frequent Southwest flyer, I had been assured by several Southwest employees that although most bags opened with relative ease, I was far from the only sufferer of peanut envy.  They supported my assertion that I should write King Nuts.  I requested that King Kanan submit the stubbornly still un-opened bag to Quality Control for an open-ability assessment.  
More than a month (and several more Southwest flights) later, I still had not received Mr. Kanan’s response.    I telephoned King Nuts again and was greeted with the comment, “Oh you’re the guy who wrote the letter.  Yes, Mr. Kanan received it, but I doubt you’ll hear back from him.”
I initially suspected that my letter had been deposited in the circular file before Mr. Kanan ever asked for the mail, but it occurred to me maybe they couldn’t open the bag either and they were too embarrassed to admit it.
On yet another flight after sending the letter to King Nuts, my airplane nut problem intensified when I was handed a sealed, but obviously empty package of King Nut brand honey roasted peanuts.  I switched into What-would-Deepak-Chopra-Do? mode and thanked the heavens that at least I didn’t need to bother stressing over whether I could get the bag open.
The flight attendant told me he found empty bags a couple times a week and the non-opening bags were a bigger problem.  I promised the attendant I would contact King Nut again.
Mr. Kanan’s secretary must have been on vacation (or perhaps became Mitt Romney’s tax accountant) because my second letter got through.  I received the following response.

Hello, I am the CEO of King Nut. I am very glad to hear that you have written and I must apologize, I did not receive your letter. We are diligently working on a system to fix the empty bag situation and although we make about 500,000,000 little bags per year, a few times per week on a Southwest flight is too many for us.

Also, we have procedures in place to make sure there is a nice tear notch in every single one of those bags to ensure ease in opening. I am sorry you received a bag that did not have a tear notch—because without one, they are indeed very difficult to open.

I am copying my department heads on your below email so we may improve ourselves. And, thank you again, because it is people like you who write to us—this only helps us become a better company. Best regards,

Martin Kanan 

Well at least someone at King Nuts went to PR school.  Just the right amount of schmooze without knocking the company or the customer.
Gary, that might be the end of the story, but for my September 2012 flight from Phoenix to  Seattle, when I was once again presented with a notch-less, unopenable bag of King Nuts brand peanuts.  I admit I didn’t struggle too long with the bag this time … I was traveling with my two young grandchildren and didn’t want them to pick up any new vocabulary words that might inadvertently spew forth.
I tucked the bag in my pocket and brought it home.
I think it’s high time Southwest Airlines takes a new route in the no-frills frill department.   Frankly with all the nut allergies and allergic nuts taking to the skies these days, the flight attendants should hand out five dollar bills (not in bags).  The passengers will appreciate the diversity plus I promise not to write you any more letters.  About peanuts.
David Stern