Five Issues I Don’t Care About (Maybe)

We’re less than two weeks from the Presidential Election. Regardless of the outcome, it’s the end of the Republic. At least that’s the consensus on social media. That’s unfortunate.

People on social media have many, many important things to say about the upcoming election.  Some folks post dozens of times a day about it.  I don’t mind. Just because I don’t do something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.  I’ve watched every episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.  Last night, I watched a full hour of Call of the Wildman.  I’m sure you wouldn’t do that, but it’s okay for me.

 I can read those political posts or ignore them, just like I do posts about kids or dogs or people with awful diseases.  Social media is the ultimate free speech zone.  The best thing about all of it is that it makes me think about the issues that matter most–or least–to me.

I live in Kentucky, where we have no say in the Presidential election.  By the time we have our primaries, both major parties have chosen their nominees.  In the general election, no one seems to care about our paltry eight (or whatever pitiful number it is) electoral votes.  I don’t think President Obama could find Kentucky on a map.  Mitt Romney has been here, but that was only to raise money.  So, my vote may not count, but I don’t really care.

I’m not a political animal, but I do vote. I’m fairly well-informed on the issues that matter to me. Those, of course, are the important issues of the day.

I’m concerned about the nation’s debt. Personally, I’ve never had debt problems. I live within my means and don’t borrow money. I would be a poor legislator.

I don’t like our country becoming a territory of the Chinese government. We owe them money, and they make all our stuff. Okay, not all of it, but a hell of a lot. They also control the minerals we need to make things like computers. Seems like a bad deal.

I don’t like our dependence on the Middle East for oil. Until we started sucking at their collective petrol teat, these countries were irrelevant. They’ve had us by the short hairs now for 40 years.

I’m also an unabashed supporter of the U.S. coal industry. The hate of coal is so virulent that we even have people who protest the exporting of coal. If you’re anti-coal, you don’t get my vote. Pretty simple.

There are also many, many issues which don’t move the needle for me. Now, understand that doesn’t mean they aren’t important nor does it mean that they shouldn’t be important to YOU. But this post is about ME. If that bothers you, try not to be so self-centered.

So, what DOESN’T matter to me? The list is almost endless. For brevity’s sake, I’ve distilled the list to the five issues which matter the least:

RELIGION:  Specifically, anyone else’s religion.  Mitt Romney is a Mormon.  Some people say the LDS church is a cult, although Billy Graham doesn’t list it as one anymore.  I suppose that’s progress.  My grandparents were Mormons.  So are a lot of my relatives.  I like Mormons.  That said, I’m not a Mormon, and I don’t really care if Romney is one. One caveat to this is if you don’t like him because he’s a Mormon.  Then, it matters but only in a contrarian kind of way.

So, I don’t care about a politician’s religion.  Okay, if someone were an avowed Satanist, I might care about that.  Obama is a Christian.  Good for him.  I don’t care.  Some people say he’s a Muslim.  If he were, it wouldn’t mean anything to me, either.

Now, if you insist that I believe your religion, I probably will care about that.  I wouldn’t vote for anyone who demanded that I believe as he or she does.  As Thomas Jefferson noted, whatever you believe won’t break my leg or pick my pocket.  I would note, however, that you might use it as an excuse to do both.

Now that I think about it, maybe religion does matter, at least to the extent that you try to shove it down my throat. Or break my leg. Hmmm.

PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST:  Here are some sample headlines I intend to trademark:

  • MARKETPLACE BOMB KILLS [fill in number]
  • SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS [fill in number]
  • UNREST REPORTED IN [fill in name of Middle Eastern country]
  • [fill in name of Middle Eastern country] THREATENS ISRAEL
  • ISRAEL VOWS RETALIATION AGAINST [fill in name of Middle Eastern country]
  • FERRY SINKS, KILLING [fill in number]

If I got a nickel every time a variation of these is printed, I’d retire in six months.  Any of these could have been a headline any day in the last 40 years.  Okay, maybe not the ferry thing, but have you ever noticed how many ferries sink in other countries?  I don’t know if it happens in the Middle East, but it seems like it would.

Here’s a pointer for anyone running for office:  THESE PEOPLE DON’T GET ALONG WELL!  They don’t geehaw, as some say.  They aren’t ever going to get along.  Ever.  Anwar Sadat tried to make them get along better.  What did he get?  The Nobel Peace Prize and shot to death.  There’s a lesson in that.

Here is what I want to hear a future president say:

Today, I’m pleased to announce that the U.S. has imported its last barrel of oil.  To our friends in the Middle East, I say, on behalf of all Americans:  You can kiss our red, white and blue ass from now on!

It’s possible that I might care about this if there were a candidate who said that he or she didn’t give a damn about it.  Then, you’d have my attention.  So, I guess I care about it to the extent that I want a candidate who also doesn’t care about it.


Bitching and moaning about immigrants is as American as apple pie.  My German ancestors were despised in Pennsylvania.  The Irish were hated in New York.  Jews were despised for decades.  Italians?  You bet.  Vietnamese?  Bingo. Japanese?  Hell, we put them in concentration camps–and they were U.S. citizens!  We’ve even been prejudiced against Africans, and we FORCED their ancestors to come here.

Now, people piss in their beers about Hispanics.  Quit acting like it’s because of illegal immigration.  Our history shows that we don’t like immigration, period–legal or not.  Hispanic folks have the added disadvantage of looking different.  We don’t like people who don’t look like us, whatever it is “we” think we look like.

We’re all immigrants, except the Indians, who aren’t really Indians at all.  I’ll grant you that our borders shouldn’t be sieves.  That said, I don’t care how many Hispanic or other folks are in our country.  They’re here, and we don’t have any way to deport all the folks here illegally.  Quit pretending like we do.

Wow. I got pretty fired up.  I think I do care about it.  Weird.


I need to explain this one.  I do, of course, care about unemployment.  It’s just that no politician can convince me that he or she will create jobs.  How, exactly?  The government has to spend huge amounts of money to actually hire people.  We need to spend less money, not more.

Even the most conservative politicians will call themselves as job creators, usually by pointing to some success in the business world.  What exactly are you planning to do–hire all the unemployed people?

Now, if you have a plan to strengthen our private economy, I’m all ears.  I may not be persuaded, but I might at least listen.

Now, that I think about it, I’ve always had a job.  Maybe I’m not the best person to weigh in on this one.  Of course, I’m not concerned about it.  I better reserve judgment.  Depending on the outcome of the election, I guess it could be an issue for me.


Okay, I pay a lot of taxes and don’t want to pay more.  I do, however, understand that there could be times when tax increases are needed.  My problem is that my taxes are increased by a government that never decreases its spending.  It’s like loaning money to your drunk brother-in-law who will pay you back when he gets a job.  Of course, he won’t get a job because he’s drunk and keeps spending your money.  As long as he gets your money, why get a job?

I don’t believe any politician who says that he or she will never raise taxes.  Mitt Romney says that he wouldn’t increase taxes even if it resulted in a tenfold benefit to the government.  That’s hard to believe.  In fact, it’s impossible to believe.

I’m also dubious of politicians who increase spending and then make the case for higher taxes (see Obama, Barack).  If you decreased spending and then needed more revenue, maybe I’d be persuaded.  If you spend more, I would expect you to need more cash.  Try spending less and then check back with me.  Have you ever asked your boss for a raise because you owed a bunch of money to people?  Try it.

The fundamental problem is that the subject of taxes is fertile ground for lying.  No one ever won an election on the platform of “Vote for Me.  I’ll Tax The Hell Out of You.”  Whatever you say about it, you might be lying.  If you say you’re going to raise MY taxes, that’s probably not a lie, but–like any right thinking America–I can’t support that radical agenda.

Now, if you’ll cut my taxes, I’m down with that.  Now that I think about it, I’m against raising my taxes and all for lowering my taxes.  I guess I do care about it, at least in a completely self-absorbed sort of way.

So, there they are.  Things don’t matter to me, but maybe do now, upon further reflection.  I hope this is helpful to you when you vote on November 6.  If not, I don’t care.  I think.

© 2012

Harlan County Halloween

It’s that time of year again. Halloween! All the kiddies will dress up and go door-to-door trick or treating. Some of us adults will dress up, too. There are Halloween parties for young and old. I suppose there are even Satan worshipers who use this time for their high holy days.

It was only when I moved to Lexington did I hear a lot about Halloween as a Satanic rite. Maybe there were kids I knew growing up who couldn’t trick or treat because of its Hellish undercurrents. The only kids I knew who couldn’t trick or treat were Jehovah’s Witnesses, but they weren’t allowed to do anything.

Despite the many urban legends, Halloween is generally safe for young and old. People don’t put razor blades in apples or needles in candy bars. In fact, my cursory research reveals that there has never been a reported case of such maleficence. The only case of someone poisoning candy was some demented freak in Texas who poisoned his own kids. By the way, if you do think it’s safer for your kids to trick or treat at the mall, I suggest you go the mall and take a look at the human flotsam and jetsam loitering about. I don’t know what your neighborhood is like, but mine doesn’t look like a casting call for Jersey Shore II . Nevertheless, at 50 years old, Halloween takes me back to my youth, to the nostalgia of a simpler time.

I grew up in a Loyall, Kentucky, a small town in Harlan County. Halloween was a big deal in Loyall. Churches had Halloween parties. Our school had a Halloween Carnival. I even escorted the Halloween Princess one year. Alas, I was never either Prince or King of the Carnival, although my younger brother managed to salvage some of our family’s good name by become Prince. To become Prince or King, one had to raise the most money. After my humiliating defeat, my parents made sure my brother faced no such shame.

Your author’s enthusiastic appearance as the 2nd Grade escort for the Halloween Princess.

We enjoyed trick or treating. I lived in a small neighborhood with the exotic name of Rio Vista. It was, in fact, aptly named as we had a view of the Cumberland River, especially when it flooded. Rio Vista consisted of five small blocks of houses and was a trick or treat Nirvana.

We would run around the neighborhood collecting our candy and having a generally good time. Other than the occasional soaped window, we didn’t have much “tricking.” One year, a friend of my brother wrote “WALLACE FOR PRESIDENT” on our front door with a crayon. That wasn’t vandalism, as much as it was a political statement. In fact, the trickster told my Dad he did it. He didn’t want anyone else taking credit.

I don’t remember ever being afraid to trick or treat. We knew most of the people around us. There was one lady who handed out political literature instead of candy. We just skipped her house. There was also one lady I thought was a witch. I never walked by her house anyway, and I damn sure wasn’t taking a chance on Halloween.

As I got older, I realized that the rest of the county was different from my little world. Tree-cutting, for example, was very popular. You would cut a tree and drop it in the road to screw up traffic. Another more daring version involved cutting the tree almost in two and then pushing it down in front of an on-coming vehicle. Oh, how one would laugh at the ensuing carnage. The final–and most deadly version–was to drop the tree ON a passing vehicle. I don’t know of that actually happening, but I’m sure it did. Watts Creek and Jones Creek were two popular areas for this version of “tricking.”

My first personal experience with this difference was in my teen years when a friend and I–being past trick or treat age–decided to walk through Loyall on Halloween night. Without warning, we were caught in an egg-throwing crossfire which left us dazed and eggy.

For reasons long since forgotten–at least by me–someone once threatened to kill me on Halloween. Why did he choose Halloween? Maybe he quite reasonably–though mistakenly–assumed it was legal on Halloween. Suffice to say it didn’t happen.

In October of 1978, shortly before Halloween, I took my driving test for my license. The officer giving the test was an affable fellow, well-known around the county. He wasn’t so affable that day. When my Dad asked him how he was, he responded: “I’m getting ready for this damn Halloween. If I had my way, they’d outlaw that damn night. Declare martial law and arrest anyone out of after dark. As far as I’m concerned, shoot everyone out after dark.” He went on the explain that it was the most difficult night of the year for the police in our county. 75 additional state troopers had to be brought in to handle the lawlessness. As example, he cited a relative of his (it might even have been his brother) who lost an eye for an errant egg throw. I’m not sure I agreed with his Judge Dredd system of justice, but he had a point.

Halloween in Harlan County in the 1970’s and ’80’s went well beyond handing out candy and soaping windows. Our people took it as a night to abandon all semblance of order, to engage in random acts of vandalism and violence not seen during the rest of the year. It was an anarchist’s holiday.

One of my high school teachers was equally adamant about maintaining order on All Hallows Eve. One day, he addressed our class about his concerns. Below is an approximation of what we were told:

Some of you boys know where I live. Last year on Halloween, we had a house burned near us. I’m warning you that I’m not putting up with anything from now on. Anyone sets foot on my property, and I’ll be waiting with a shotgun. I’m not going to kill you. I’m going to unload a twelve gauge shell full of rock salt on you. I’ve done it before. It blows out of the barrel like burning sand. It won’t kill you, but you won’t soon forget it.

That was one house to be avoided at all costs. He lived near an area called Pathfork where the tales of Halloween excess were legendary. His precautions were understandable. Did I mention that he was also a preacher?

My favorite story is a somewhat apocryphal tale right out of Loyall. One of our denizens was well-known for his lawless behavior. For example, he was notorious for huffing lighter fluid, so much so that the local stores wouldn’t sell it to him. He would tie his shirt over his face and soak it with lighter fluid. As you might expect, he was prone to erratic behavior.

In any event, one Halloween, he dropped a toilet from the top of the bridge in Loyall. A toilet. Here is the Loyall bridge (long since torn down) as it looked at the time:

The “x” marks the spot from where a toilet was dropped off this bridge in Loyall. The approximate direction of its path is shown by the red arrow.  

As this photo shows, getting to the top of this bridge was no simple task. Now, I know that this young man could do that, because I had seen him walking on top of the bridge on many occasions. He would climb (or crawl) up the angled supports at the front of the bridge. But, to climb to the top carrying a toilet seemed to defy human capabilities. You might be impressed with that guy who parachuted from space, but I’m still more fascinated by this.

Oh, I should clarify that it was only the bowl part of the toilet. He did not drop the tank, too. This does not make the story any less fantastic. In fact, that is the kind of detail that gives the story the ring of truth.

Why did he do this? Where did he get a toilet? How on Earth did he climb with it to the top of the bridge? Did he intend to drop it on someone? If so, did he realize that it would likely instantly kill that person? I still hope that this story is true. It may well not be, but I hope so..

Then, there were the burnings. I’m not talking about mundane things like bags of excrement or pumpkins, although we had our share of that. I’m talking about houses. Every Halloween, I heard tales of house burnings–real and threatened. I don’t understand how going door-to-door in costumes morphed into felonious acts of violence, but that’s what I heard. Like a lot of stories in Harlan County, they may have been exaggerated.

You may wonder if anyone got killed on Halloween. Not so far as I know. If they did, it probably wasn’t Halloween-related. Nowadays, many people get their image of Harlan County from the television show Justified. I’m sorry to report that, at least in my day, we weren’t stacking up corpses like cord wood. Regardless, I don’t think the kill rate increased on Halloween.

One time in study hall in high school, a guy told me he was going to hang a guy on Halloween, thinking that he could get away with it. I don’t think he did it. He did, however, pull a dog’s teeth one time. You read that right. Nothing funny about that. That’s not too far from a lynching. I’m sure an FBI profiler would agree that it shows a certain willingness.

Even when I was in college, I took precautions. Halloween was on a Friday one year. I made sure NOT to go home that weekend, lest I be driving through the county after dark.

So, if you’re annoyed by trick or treaters, just think: Someone could be burning your house or cutting down your trees or dropping a toilet on you. Happy Halloween!

© 2012

Going Green

I’m going green. That is to say that I might go green. It’s all the rage. President Obama is all for it. All my liberal friends want me to do it. I have tiny feet–the size of matchboxes–but I compensate for that with a gigantic carbon footprint. I like the environment, but if you’ve read this blog before you know I’m not a mountain man. I like the seasons, except for Fall and Winter. Fall is like a really crappy appetizer just before an even crappier meal.

So, I guess I should go green. Maybe I will, but I have some reservations.

Green isn’t usually associated with anything appealing. I hate eating greens. To be green with envy is bad. If you’re green as a gourd, you don’t know anything useful. Have you ever aspired to be a greenhorn? Of course not. Ever see someone sick in a cartoon? Green-faced. Green teeth are really gross, unless you’re talking about Old Green Teeth from Charlie Daniels’ classic, Uneasy Rider. Even Kermit the Frog sang that It Isn’t Easy Being Green. Indeed.

There is good green stuff, too. St. Patrick’s Day and the wearing o’ the green. I’ve drunk green beer. It was just like regular beer but made for really gross vomit. The Jolly Green Giant and the Hulk seem cool (although being associated with gigantism might be bad). Money is green, and I like money. But, when you take a close look at it, it’s not really all that green.

Where I grew up, we had the Harlan High School GREEN Dragons. I guess there were all kinds of dragons–red, black, brown and green. The city of Harlan must have been crawling with dragons at one time. I didn’t go to Harlan High School. I went to James A. Cawood High School. We were the Trojans, named after, of course, condoms. By the way, since folks at Harlan High School always thought they were better than us county kids, I’m sure someone will offer an explanation of why being the Green Dragons is a sign of their socioeconomic and intellectual superiority. Save it. Truly, no one cares. You’re from Harlan County. The rest of the world thinks you’re a toothless hay shaker, too. But, I digress.

James A. Cawood High School. Home of the Trojans. The gym was called the ConDome but only by me.

Back to being green. I think I have to go off the grid. In other words, I have to live like an animal but without any animal skills or instincts. Either I have to make my own electricity or do without. Doing without is a non-starter. I like TV. TV requires electricity, as does the Internet.

I don’t know how to make electricity. I guess I could use solar energy, if I knew what the hell to do with it. When I was in the 7th grade, I built a solar water heater for a science project. Actually, my brother designed it. I just built it. That’s a lie, too. He built it. I watched, though. It worked, if you consider the ability to turn cold water into tepid, room temperature water “working.” Like many inventors, I remain bitter at corporate America for crushing my innovation.

Actual photo of solar water heater I invented in the 1970’s. Note lukewarm water pouring out of the pipe on the lower right side.

I could build a windmill, I suppose. Then what? How do I hook it up to my TV? Would I have to live inside it like Frankenstein’s Monster? He didn’t really live in one, but he did die in one. I have no interest in that. Would I be like Don Quixote and think it was a dragon–a GREEN dragon, no doubt? You know what windmills are good for? Killing birds. I could have plenty to eat, depending on what kind are killed. Power lines kill a hell of lot more birds AND have the added advantage of cooking them in the process. Once again, green isn’t necessarily better.

There goes my TV!

Windmills also catch on fire sometimes, which would scare the hell out of me, especially if I’m living in one (see comments RE: Frankenstein’s Monster above). The biggest problem is that the wind doesn’t blow all that much around here, and Kentucky is near the bottom of states in “wind potential.” I want my TV.

The sad fate of the typical windmill dweller.

Toilets. I like indoor plumbing and flush toilets. The TOTO Neorest 600 is on my bucket list. I’m not composting human waste. This one is non-negotiable.

The Neorest 600. Life at its best.

Cars. This is another tough one. I like cars. Not just any cars but ones with internal combustion engines. Maybe I could drive an electric car, if they didn’t cost so much. Plus, none of them look cool. I can ride a bike, but bike riders annoy me. They jam up traffic, run stop signs and generally get in the way. Plus, they’re all on the dope. No thank you, Mr. Armstrong.

Then, there’s flying.  I fly on occasion, and I’m sure that’s not green.  I assume that burning huge amounts of jet fuel isn’t eco-friendly.  We used to have green air travel.  Airships, massive floating palaces.  They were like flying ocean liners.  They also did this:

The joys of green air travel. The landings could be tough.

I’ll pass.

Maybe I should just get a green job. I’m lawyer, and it’s not all that green, I suppose. I produce massive amounts of paper which kills trees and fills landfills. I use lights and computers. I drive a car–a lot. Maybe I should just buy an old manual Royal typewriter and set up my office in my bird-slaughtering, flammable windmill. Unfortunately, this would substantially reduce the green which I value most–$$$$.

At one time, I considered setting up an eco-friendly mammogram business to provide much-needed health care screening while reducing one’s carbon footprint. It never took off. I’ve still got my cardboard box with two holes cut out in it, just in case.

If you’ve read other posts of mine, you know I work in the coal industry. If you’re green, you think I’m evil, that I hate the environment and want to control the weather. Not true. I like the environment. I just don’t like being out in it all that much. If you do, more power (coal power, of course) to you. I’m happy for you. Almost everyone I know in the coal business likes to hunt and fish or play golf. That’s being green.

Oddly, many green people are not all that green themselves. They are downright dirty. They are brown. Don’t be brown if you’re green. Bathe regularly. Really bathe, too. Don’t do something like soak in a pool of your own urine (or anyone else’s, for that matter) or roll around in composted human waste and call that bathing. If I go green, I’m still showering quite a bit.

Green folks are very sensitive. Generally speaking, they don’t like to be made sport of. They get enraged, in fact. They get red in the face (not green). They tell you that you are awful for not being green, too. It’s like a form of racism. Imagine if you organized protests demanding that everyone be white. But…but…THAT’S NOT THE SAME THING!! some greenie screams about right now. Well, no it’s not. Not even close. I just said that to make them mad. See how easy it is? I once enraged a hippie with this blog. Hippies are green. Some greenie will get hair-lipped about this post. Lighten up. Not with lights, mind you. Those take electricity.

I guess I’m not meant to be green. My kids do have a penchant for not flushing the toilet. They’re not green, either–just nasty. I recycle at work, but the Byzantine rules about what stuff goes where are so confusing that it’s just not worth it.

If you’re off the grid, I salute you. Of course, if you are, you’re probably not reading this unless you’re staring over the shoulder of someone at Starbucks. If you’re also “brown,” that person knows you’re standing there on account of the green smell.

I don’t feel too bad. The green folks I know drive cars, fly in jets and use electricity just like I do. That’s not a criticism. I understand. We need all that stuff. Kermit was right. It isn’t easy being green.

© 2012

Jerry Jones and the Last Crusade

Happy Birthday to Jerry Jones.  He turned 70 years old last week.

Jerry Jones owns the Dallas Cowboys.  That is to say that he owns part of me, my childhood–my very soul.  Too dramatic?  Perhaps.  A real Cowboys fan will relate.

I am 50 years old.  I was 8 when I became a Cowboys fan.  Roger Staubach was the hero of my youth.  My other sports heroes had feet of clay but not Roger.

This photo adorns my office wall.

I dressed my two oldest sons in Aikman and Emmitt jerseys.  My youngest son, too.  He even got to meet the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Like many fathers, I lived vicariously through my son.

The Cowboys are like the New York Yankees–loved or hated.  If you love them–like I do–you think the rest of the world hates them.  If you are a hater, you’re convinced you’re the only one and everyone else loves them.  The reality is that few football fans are neutral about them.  We Cowboy fans love that.  Cowboys haters hate it.

Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, Bob Lilly, Too Tall Jones, Tony Dorsett, Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin–all football fans know these names.  Cowboys fans know names like Clint Longley (aka The Mad Bomber), D.D. Lewis, Ralph Neely, Jim Jeffcoat, Efren Herrera, Gary Hogeboom, and many, many others.

Everyone knows that Jerry Jones owns the Cowboys.  Everyone.  We Cowboys fans know that Clint Murchison owned them, too.  So did Bum Bright.  We curse Bum Bright for his financial distress which caused him to sell the Cowboys to–you guessed it–Jerry Jones!

Jerry Jones fired Tom Landry.  I’ll say that slowly.  Fired. Tom. Landry.  I’ll admit that Coach Landry was at the nadir of his coaching career at the time.  But you don’t fire Tom Landry.  Jerry did.

Jerry hired Jimmy Johnson as coach.  Johnson was Jones’s college teammate at Arkansas and a successful college coach at Oklahoma State and the University of Miami.  Through free agency and the infamous Herschel Walker trade, Jerry and Jimmy stockpiled players.  They also inherited a young roster with such players as Michael Irvin already in place.  Add to that the drafting of Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, and the turnaround was quick and dramatic.  Johnson’s first year was a disastrous 1-15.  Two seasons later, Jerry and Jimmy hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.

Jerry and Jimmy in happier times.

Jerry and Jimmy weren’t geniuses.  Yes, they took Troy Aikman with the first pick in the draft.  Good move.  They also picked Steve Walsh and Russell Maryland No. 1.  Walsh, a quarterback from the University of Miami was picked in the Supplemental Draft in 1989, the same year Aikman was picked, making the Cowboys the first team to ever use consecutive No. 1 picks on quarterbacks.  They did salvage that pick by trading Walsh to the Saints for draft picks.  Piling up draft picks and players rebuilt the Cowboys.

Alas, it is part of Cowboy lore that Jerry and Jimmy couldn’t stand success–at least not together.  After winning a second Superbowl, they parted company.  Neither was better for the parting.

Somehow, some way, Jerry is now bigger than the Cowboys.  How the hell could that happen?  Simple.  He pushed them to permanent mediocrity.  He is the Show.  For example, the new Cowboys Stadium is, by most accounts, the most fabulous football stadium on the planet.  What do they call it?  Jerry World.  It’s Jerry’s world, and we just live in it.

To be fair, Jerry had  success in Dallas.  Great success.  Unparalleled success.  It only took him six years to win three Super Bowls-more than in the entire history of the franchise.  What went wrong?  Jerry’s success was the start of his decline:

  • Jerry is a successful man.  Wildly successful.  His business judgment is usually spot on.  He trusts himself.  He applies this to football just as he does to drilling oil.  His ideas are the best. Folks like him don’t have much experience with being wrong, and they have a hard time recognizing it when it happens.
  • The Cowboys’ early success under his ownership convinced Jerry that they were his creation.  He famously declared that 500 men could win a Super Bowl with the Cowboys.  In the two decades since uttered that famous line, he’s done his best to try to prove that anyone can coach a football team.
  • Jerry and Jimmy  couldn’t co-exist.  As men of substantial ego, neither could give the other credit.  Each believed himself responsible for the team’s success to the exclusion of the other.  That neither had the same success after they parted company shows how wrong they both were.
  • Barry Switzer:  As if to prove that anyone could win with the Cowboys, Jerry hired Barry Switzer to replace Johnson.  Switzer was out of football after a long, successful–if controversial–career at the University of Oklahoma and zero professional football experience.  In his first two seasons, Switzer took the Cowboys to the NFC Championship game and won a Super Bowl.  Unlike most Cowboys fans, I’m not a Switzer detractor.  He won a Super Bowl, which is quite an accomplishment.  Besides, if I trash Switzer, then I’m agreeing with Jerry that anyone could have won with that team.  I will not do that.  Also, there is something likable about him.  I just liked him.  Jerry still holds to the notion that if he builds the right team, anyone can be the coach.  Barry proved that.

I don’t know if Barry Switzer was a good coach or not, but he was a wild man. I couldn’t help but like him.

  • Plan B:  There used to be something called “Plan B” free agency in the NFL.  Oddly, but as far as I know, there was never a Plan A.  Regardless, when Jerry bought the Cowboys, there was no salary cap and teams could, through Plan B, stockpile players.  That’s what the Cowboys did. I’m not sure Jerry ever realized that was the key to their success.
  • Deion Sanders:  Deion was Jerry’s free agent prize.  He signed Deion, and Deion shined.  The Cowboys won their fifth–and last–Super Bowl.  Jerry seemed to take this a validation of his generalship.  If he ever doubted his abilities, he didn’t after that.  Of course, you could point out that signing the greatest defensive back of his era didn’t require any football acumen.  You could point that out, but it would be lost on Jerry.

In no area was Jerry’s lack of football genius more apparent than his never-ending quest for a quarterback after Troy Aikman retired:

  • Rather than retain Randall Cunningham, Jerry reached in the draft to take University of Georgia quarterback Quincy Carter in the second round.  No one in the league was going to take Carter that high.   He had been inconsistent in his college career and rumors about off-field problems swirled around him.
  • The Pitchers:  Jerry signed not one, but two, baseball players:  Drew Henson and Chad Hutchinson.  (Actually, it’s three:  Carter also played minor league baseball).
  • Ryan Leaf:  After Leaf cemented himself as the worst draft choice in history, where did he end up?  Dallas, of course.

We expected a decline under Switzer, and that’s what we got.  Undaunted, Jerry hired Chan Gailey and then long-time assistant Dave Campo without success.  Desperate again, he hired Bill Parcells who righted the ship with good personnel decisions.  Under Parcells, the Cowboys acquired serviceable veteran quarterbacks, Vinnie Testaverde and Drew Bledsoe.  It was Parcells who identified undrafted players Tony Romo and Miles Austin.  On the other hand, Jerry signed Terrell Owens.  Parcells brought the Cowboys back to respectability.  Then, as we all knew he would, Parcells quit.

Jerry was sure he’d done it again, this time with Bill Parcells starring as Jimmy Johnson.  Anyone could coach the team Parcells put together.  To prove that point, Jerry replaced Parcells with Wade Phillips, an affable fellow well-known as an outstanding defensive coordinator and mediocre head coach.  The Cowboys were his third head coaching job.  He had never won a playoff game as head coach.  In Jerry’s world, Jason Garrett would be the offensive coordinator, and  good old Wade would take care of the defense.  Since Phillips’ hiring in 2008, the Cowboys have gone from 13-3 to a .500 team.  Of course, they have played .500 football since they last won the Super Bowl in 1995, so one can reasonably argue that Phillips’s one successful season was just an anomaly.

When Jerry finally gave up on Wade–well after the fans and team had done so–he hired Jason Garrett as head coach.  Cowboys fans had expected this move for some time.  Jerry is smitten with Garrett.  Garrett was a Dallas back up quarterback, best known for a spectacular Thanksgiving Day performance against Green Bay in place of an injured Troy Aikman.  More importantly, he’s Jerry’s creation.  If he’s a success, he’ll be Jerry’s success.

Garrett was the perfect choice for Jerry.  Garrett could be the coach, but Jerry would hire the assistants and find the players.  Jerry would be the Man.  All Jason had to do is show up and coach.  What Garrett got is a team cobbled together by Jerry which does its best to win half its games.

Jerry has achieved one thing that no one in Cowboys’ history could do before.  Not Coach Landry when he dumped Danny White in favor of Gary Hogeboom.  Not Roger Staubach’s surprise retirement.  Not Michael Irvin’s career-ending neck injury.  Nor Jackie Smith’s heartbreaking dropped pass in the Superbowl.  Not Dwight Clark’s famous catch in 1981 NFC Championship.  Not the arrests and scandals during the 1990’s.  Now, I just don’t care anymore.  Nope.  I don’t.  I watch the games, but I rarely get excited or even a little agitated.  I expect mediocrity and that’s what I get.  Week in, week out, every season.

How did Jerry accomplish this?  It’s been gradual torture:

  • The coaching carousel.  From Switzer to Gailey to Campo to Parcells to Phillips to Garrett, the Cowboys have no stability on the field.  There is no chance to build anything.
  • Drafting:  Jerry the GM has done a horrible job in the draft.   He consistently reaches for picks or trades down for no particular reason.  Occasionally, they will hit the mark with a Demarco Murray, but that’s countered with Martellus Bennett, Felix Jones, Shontae Carver, Dez Bryant and countless other misses.  While other teams draft starters in the late rounds, Jerry fills out the practice squad.
  • Team building:  Like a fantasy football owner, Jerry looks for playmakers.  Unfortunately, more mundane positions like offensive and defensive line are ignored.  The offensive line now would embarrass a good college team.  The defensive line is still made up of players brought in under Parcells.  Every season, there is a glaring weakness, unaddressed in either the draft or through free agency.
  • From Alonzo Spellman to Tank Johnson to Pacman Jones to Terrell Owens, the Cowboys have become a half-way house for troubled players, without regard to team chemistry or productivity.
  • Jerry seems intent on wanting all the team success to be his.  A general manager or strong coach will take that away.  That won’t ever change.

Don’t take any of the above to mean that I don’t think Jerry has his strengths.  His life story is one of phenomenal success.  He is passionate about the Cowboys and will spend any amount of money for their success.  He isn’t an owner crippling his team by penny-pinching.  He also is one of the leaders of the NFL owners, helping lead the league to unprecedented success.  I don’t hate the man.  I’m too old now to hate on people over sports.  Besides, if I were the owner, I’d act just like him.

Many sports pundits have observed that the best NFL teams have the least intrusive owners.  Certainly, that’s true of the Giants, Steelers and Patriots, the three most successful franchises in recent years.  Teams like the Raiders, Bengals and Cowboys don’t get over the top.  The Cowboys, sadly, have become a glamorous version of the Cincinnati Bengals with their key football decisions made by an ownership with little clue about what needs to be done next.   Indeed, Jerry and the Bengals’ Mike Brown are the only owners who also act as their own general managers.  Their results are not coincidence.

Jerry turned 70 on October 13, 2012, less than a week ago as a I write this.  He’s in the homestretch now of his ownership.  I truly believe he will do whatever he thinks it takes to bring a another Super Bowl Trophy to Dallas.  His problem is that he is takes advice only from Jerry.

This is Jerry’s last ride, his last crusade.  Some Cowboys fans hang all the current woes around Tony Romo’s neck.  Be carefully what you ask for.  Remember what we had at QB when Jerry was doing to the picking. Does anyone else envision Tim Tebow or Michael Vick wearing the Star?

I suspect that Jerry will tire of Jason Garrett and move on after this season.  Never, ever could there be a problem with upper management.  The hope–the only hope–for Cowboys fans is that Jerry will go to well once last time for a real coach.  Not likely, but we can hope, can’t we?

For me, the question is whether I can regain my old fervor for The Star.  Maybe.  Then again, I suffered through the decade of the ’80’s without reaching this point, so maybe not.  I hope so, but I’ve come to believe that my fandom is just nostalgia now.  I also believe in what I call the Curse of the Fedora.  Since Tom Landry was fired in 1989, the Cowboys have one exactly one playoff game with a team that didn’t include at least one player who played for Coach Landry.  One.  Between that and Jerry being Jerry, there is little reason for optimism.

Lest we Cowboys fans think that Jerry will ease into retirement soon, I don’t see that happening.  I think he’ll stay right where he is until he can’t function.  Besides, he has three children.  And they all work for the Cowboys.

© 2012

The Madness of Joe Biden

While Paul Ryan tries to make a point, Joe Biden laughs like Chris Rock is on stage.

I didn’t watch the Vice-Presidential Debate. After watching a bunch of clips of it, I wish I had. Joe Biden went mental. I’m not sure that he made any salient points, but he put on a show, gesticulating like a silent film star. It might not be good politics, but it was certainly good theater.

It raises the question, of course, of whether Biden is mad. Not angry, but mad as a hatter mad. He probably isn’t, but he could be. His odd and inappropriate behavior was certainly refreshing after the President’s narcoleptic performance in his first debate.  After the President’s woeful effort, the pressure was on Biden.  He delivered, I guess.

I imagine Biden’s debate prep going like this:

Aide:  Mr. Vice-President, when he mentions Medicare or Medicaid, that is your opening to say that Romney plans to take 700 billion out of the system, while the President’s plan is actually 700 billion in savings.  You must stress that at every opportunity.

Biden:  Yeah, I’m sure that’s a good idea, son.  How about this?  Every time he says anything, I’ll just laugh like a f***ing tool.

Of course, if the VP were truly insane, this would be problematic. Normally, the VP is just an ineffectual twit like Al Gore or Dan Quayle. Common sense dictates that we are indeed fortunate that neither of those empty vessels ascended to the White House; however, neither appeared to be certifiably deranged. Biden, perhaps, is different.

Actually, I doubt he is truly daft.  If you learn about his background, he’s quite impressive.  He has overcome terrible tragedy and illness and spent most of his adult life in the U.S. Senate.  I think the man is an entertainer.  I suspect he read my post on how to liven up the Presidential Debate and took it to heart.

Poor Paul Ryan and his wonkish–yet compelling–numbers crunching. As soon as he would make a point–or attempt to do so–Biden would cackle or roll his eyes or fart to draw attention to himself. It was like they forced Ryan to debate Jim Carrey.

From what I saw of the VP Debate, I came away with three impressions of Biden:

1.  Laughing is okay, I guess, but I would try to tamp it down when topics like terrorism and assassination are being discussed.

2.  He might have been high.

3.  As annoying as it was, it’s a good laugh–a hardy guffaw.  I think he really did think everything was funny.  Maybe he is nuts.

Ryan’s reactions were funny, too.  He seemed baffled by Biden.  One time my mother had a bad reaction to some medication and couldn’t make any sense when I talked to her.  Ryan probably felt like I did then.

With no more VP debates, Ryan is now at a disadvantage–at least as far as being interesting is concerned. Should he try to counter Biden’s Ace Venture: Vice-President performance? If not, why not? If so, how?

Ryan is no shrinking violet. We know he can run a marathon in Kim Jong iL-like times. He has the body fat of a world-class athlete. He poses for pictures like this:

Ryan putting on a gun show

I like this, because I also like to pose like that:

Your author’s pythons put Congressman Ryan’s spaghetti arms to shame.

Okay, those pictures are irrelevant. I just needed an excuse to post one of me.  Let’s continue.

Ryan also has an impressive story and, like Old Joe, has spent his adult life in Congress.  He also appears to have a sense of humor. That’s a good thing. With a month left before the election, he must let the public know that Biden isn’t the only able to capture the public’s imagination.

Why should he try to out-Biden Biden? Ryan impresses me as a smart guy. I like a lot of his ideas. That’s all well and good, but it won’t help dim the glare of Biden’s Bidenness. Besides, no one votes for the VP anyway, except possibly the candidates’ families. Think about it: Mondale, Quayle, Gore, Cheney–No one would vote for them. Even when we do, we know it’s a mistake (Bush the Elder).  Okay, I’ll admit that most people did vote for Gore, but what the hell were they thinking?  Oh, yeah, GW.  Let’s move on.

None of this will sway votes, but it should be a matter of personal pride.  Ryan needs to make an impression these last three weeks. Boring numbers about deficits and entitlements won’t do it. Here are five modest suggestions:

1. Donate his widow’s peak to Biden to make hip youthful-looking hair plugs.

2. Hook up with Biden’s daughter. Call Biden Poppa Joe.

Paul Ryan needs to work himself into this picture with Ashley Biden, uber hot daughter of Crazy Joe.

3. Mock Obama’s Kenyan heritage by challenging him to a marathon.

4. With no future debates, try to explain budget plan to confused old men at a Waffle House lunch counter.

5. Publicly announce that “If that old man laughs at me just one more time, I’m going all P90X on his ass! You can write it down!”

These pointers will help, but Ryan has to step up.  Again, this won’t win the election for Romney, but it will entertain us, and that’s the important thing.  Perhaps, Ryan can attend the next Presidential debate and then he can laugh uproariously throughout.  Maybe he can guest star on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and debate Sugar Bear.

(I would make one serious suggestion:  Fire the aide who suggested the anecdote about the family maimed in a car wreck, since–ahem–Biden’s wife and daughter were killed in a car wreck.  That was a little awkward.)

I’ve concluded that both candidates are actually better than the ones their parties nominated for President, even if one of them acts nuttier.  I would like them to be Co-Presidents, in fact.  Since that’s not possible, maybe they can star in a remake of The Odd Couple or in their own sitcom:  Crazy Joe and Paul about a bookish young man forced to live with his senile uncle.

Although I’ll vote for Romney, I have to admit that I like both Biden and Paul.  While I might disagree with Biden’s politics, he’s feisty, nutty and passionate.  He’s also prone to gaffes which are entertaining.   Ryan is smart and not afraid to propose radical ideas.  I like that.  Neither one seems to take himself too seriously (I certainly can’t say that about their Presidential counterparts).  I just wish they had another debate scheduled.  Maybe Biden would turn the tables and cry throughout.

So, is Old Joe crazy?  Crazy like a fox, I say.  Having him as VP is like giving Obama a Kevlar exoskeleton.  Everyone–regardless of political stripe–will pray for Obama’s good health if he’s re-elected.

I don’t have anything else to say.  I think Biden said it best, “HAHAHAHAHA!”

© 2012

Zombies and the Coming Apocalypse

We are two days from the start of the third season of The Walking Dead. This makes me happy. First, I love TWD. Second, I believe it to be a realistic portrayal of a zombie apocalypse, assuming there is–or could be– such a thing.

Athletic, fleet-footed zombies as seen in the remake of Dawn of the Dead just aren’t believable. Face it–if zombies are just cannibalistic versions of Ray Lewis, the human race doesn’t stand a chance. Shuffling zombies lacking overt aggression are more realistic.

As I write this, it is October of 2012–the year of the Great Mayan Apocalypse. You know the story. The Mayans (whoever the hell they were) made a calendar which ran hundreds of years into the future. It abruptly stopped at December 21, 2012. Buzzer sounds. Game over.

Of course, this doom-saying ignores other possibilities. The guy who made the calendar may have just gotten tired. Maybe he was a lazy-ass. Could it be just a practical joke? One thing is for sure: He didn’t predict the end of the Mayans’ own civilization. Seems like that would have been a top priority. In any event, I’m willing to believe it’s going to happen. Maybe not on December 21, but soon.

Why do I believe this? My entire life I’ve been hearing that the end is nigh. Churches are big into that. When I was a kid, we were sure the Russians were going to blow us up. People say the President will do us in. The Mayans might have been on to something.

A couple of years ago, a preacher predicted the end of the world on May 21 (coincidentally, this was the day before my son’s 16th birthday. Had it come to fruition, I would have saved a lot on car insurance). That didn’t happen, evidently because the soothsayer in question misread the signs. Oh well, it’s easy to see how that could happen.

If preachers and Mayans can predict the end of the world, so can I. So, here goes. The world is going to end and sooner rather than later. Here’s what’s going to happen: Zombies. They’re going to be everywhere.

Yes, I’m willing to embrace the end of the world. Why? It’s not because I’m particularly religious. In fact, the Rapture, Tribulation, etc., sound awful to me. I’m totally unprepared. A Zombie Apocalypse, though, is do-able. Like a lot of folks, zombies fascinate me, and I’ve watched lots of zombie movies. I think I could deal with it.

I suspect that the zombies might not eat our brains (or any other part of us). I’ve never quite understood why they do that, unless it’s just because they are undead and generally effed up to the extreme. I suppose it’s because shuffling, stumbling, rotting corpses are gross but not really scary unless they eat you, too. Think about it. If they just staggered around in a glassy-eyed daze, it would be like a Grateful Dead concert. Disturbing? Maybe. Terrifying? Probably not. I guess we better stick with the eating thing.

Let’s be clear about one thing. This won’t be a religious deal. The zombies aren’t Christians, although I concede they are “born again.” Those of us left to battle them aren’t part of the great unwashed. We’re just non-zombies. Somewhere in the Bible it says we won’t know when the end is coming. So, it’s a bit heretical to predict the end in that context. And I’m no heretic, as far you know.

I know what you’re thinking: Hasn’t the zombie thing been done to death (so to speak)? Well, yes it has. But, it’s my prediction, and I want zombies.

How do we get zombies? There are many ways, of course. Secret government experiments, uncontrollable viruses, aliens, Bigfoot and many others. My zombies will just appear. No explanation. One day there will be no zombies. The next, we’ll be slap eat up with them.

Some people will be glad to see the zombies. After all, if a close friend or relative dies and then comes back, you’d be happy–right up until he or she tried to eat your head. It won’t take long to figure out that we’re in heaps of trouble.

Pity the winner of the Presidential election. How would you like to address the nation and tell everyone that we’ve got zombies everywhere? If Obama is re-elected, he’ll urge tolerance of the zombies. The good news is that they won’t need food stamps because of, you know, the brain-eating deal. If Romney wins, he’ll declare the zombies to be a scourge on society–possibly part of the 47% which will rapidly become the 99%.

Of course, some of us won’t become zombies. Me, for example. Why not? I don’t know. There’s always some sort of immunity to zombification. In my nightmare scenario, it works the same way. I’ll be immune just because it’s my story.

Even though this is my prediction and I WANT zombies, here are some things about zombies that bother me or that I don’t understand:

  • Zombies eat a lot. Two or three of them can eat a whole adult human. What about their–you know–bathroom needs? I guess they just unload in their clothes. In my mind, that makes them even worse.
  • Do they breathe? They make noises. I’m not doctor, but I think that requires some air. If they do breathe, why?
  • Do they sleep? I don’t think so, but I did see one movie where they did. Standing up, like horses or cows.
  • I guess they don’t procreate, which is a good thing on several levels.
  • Why do you have to destroy their brains to kill them? Their brains aren’t really doing a whole hell of a lot.
  • Do they ever “die” of natural causes? Usually, they seem to be rotting away. At some point, they’d just cease to exist.

These are just a few issues I have, but I’ll work around those for my End Times. Here is an outline of how the end will come:

  • One day, we wake up and zombies are just roaming around. It happens overnight. Everyone who dies just gets back up. No one crawls or digs out of their graves, though.
  • At first, it’s just weird. No one knows if they’re dead or just in some catatonic state.
  • Whatever regenerates them is contagious–like the flu only worse. If you catch it, you die, too. Then you pop back.
  • Pretty quickly, we know it’s a bad beat all the way around. The first clue is that the zombies are trying to eat people.
  • Within days, the zombies are everywhere. It becomes clear that they have to eat or they’ll just decay like a corpse. It’s a matter of survival. If they eat you, you’ll be back, too–assuming there’s enough left of you to do much.
  • It still requires a head shot to kill them.
  • Everyone who dies is subject to coming back. BUT, you come back as a zombie in the same shape you were in when you died. For example, if your spine is severed when you come back, then you’re a paralyzed zombie.
  • The CDC can’t do much. Because it’s spreading so fast, there’s no time for research. Everyone is eat up.
  • Maybe 1% of the population is immune. In the U.S., that means there are maybe 30 million healthy people versus 270 million starving zombies.
  • Because there are so few survivors, there is no scarcity of resources. Survivors aren’t becoming cannibals or savages. In fact, there is enough canned food alone in the country to feed everyone for years.
  • The good news is that the zombies DO have a scarcity of food. They eventually rot away if they don’t eat. This makes them more aggressive, but also levels the playing field for the rest of us. The bad news is that they don’t “starve” like the living. It takes much, much longer for them to deteriorate.
  • I’ll just ignore the bathroom thing. The idea of zombies deucing in their drawers is too much even for me.

After a few years, the survivors get the upper hand. The numbers of the zombies dwindle. Finally, there are just pockets of stragglers–dangerous as Hell but easy to pick off. Remember–the few number of survivors also means that there is PLENTY of ammo to go around.

Since the zombie disease is indiscriminate, the people left are just a hodge podge of society. We’re not really capable of rebuilding the world. For example, we don’t know how to pump oil, much less refine it. We’re not farmers, although we have to be to some extent. There is no money. No government. No medicine to speak of. We’re prone to all manner of disease ourselves. We’re back to hunting and gathering to some extent. It sucks.

Wait a second, this was supposed to be the END of the world. But my scenario isn’t really the end, is it? We’ve been terrorized by zombies, but we survived. That’s not the END. Damn. This is tougher than I thought. I gotta think about this for a few minutes.

Okay. AFTER the zombies die down to manageable number, the rest of us do our best to rebuild society. THEN, the Rapture comes. Scratch that. That won’t get rid of everybody.

Try this. Just when things start looking up, some dipshit accidentally sets off a huge nuclear bomb that he thinks is space ship. Nuclear winter comes. We all die. Nope. I don’t like that. It takes too long.

The zombies are dropping like flies. Things are getting a bit better. BOOM! An asteroid hits the Earth. Since none of the survivors know how to keep track of such things, we don’t see it coming.

THE END. Literally.

© 2012

A Debate Overview: What Went Wrong?

Like most folks, the first Presidential debate surprised me.  I wasn’t surprised that Romney did so well.  What did he have–like 200 debates against that Republican field?  He should be ready for anything after that.  Debating a comparatively sane person should be like shooting lay ups on a four-foot goal.  No, the surprise was how poorly President Obama performed.

I’m one who disagrees with many of Obama’s positions.  Now, don’t confuse me with people who think he’s a time traveler able to doctor birth records in the past or that he’s lived his entire life as some sort of Manchurian Candidate groomed by a cabal of Muslim socialists to take over the world .  I just disagree with him.  That said, I know why people like him.  He’s convincing and charming.  So, it was all the more surprising that he was neither in the debate.

Of course, there have been many on the left rising to his defense with explanations.  Some say Obama did fine, but Romney is just a big, fat liar.  Al Gore thinks it was the altitude (personally, it bothers me if the President is only able to function well at certain elevations, but that’s probably just me).  Chris Matthews has just yelled a lot without really making a point.

Regardless of the validity of any of these arguments, I’m convinced that something had to be wrong.  Naturally, no one will admit that, but I don’t give up that easily.  Through a combination of cursory research, speculation and guess-work, I have surmised a number of reasons to explain Obama’s performance:

     10.  Thought it would be more humiliating if the Republicans lost to a stammering moron.

      9.   He forgot it was his anniversary, and Michelle hit him in the head with a frying pan just before the debate.

      8.   Squandered valuable preparation time watching TiVo’d episodes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

      7.   All that writing he was doing?  Sudoku.

      6.   Last minute decision to bring in poorly prepared “Replacement” President.

      5.   Counted on Jim Lehrer to strangle Romney over PBS comments.

     4.   Mistakenly thought debate format required only disinterested scribbling and smirking.

     3.  Debate coach:  Joe Biden.

     2.  Thought he could use Bill Clinton as a “life line.”

     1.  Let’s just say that the altitude wasn’t the only thing a “mile high” at the debate.

As an aside, I’m probably done with my debate-watching for this cycle.  I know how I’m voting, and the debates won’t change that.  I do, however, hope they liven up a bit.  My ten-year old son kept hoping they’d attack each other.  My 17-year-old, on the other hand, had just watched the Kennedy-Nixon Debate at school and said they didn’t “choose” each other like Romney and Obama.

I do have one hope for the remaining debates–that they get the make-up fixed.  Jim Lehrer looked like the Joker.  Obama’s make-up was some pancake stuff that made him the color of a creamy Dove Bar.  Romney–despite his fabulous hair–was just blotchy.  It’s HDTV folks.  Get it together.

© 2012