Bumper sticker of the week: Under Republicans, man exploits man. Under Democrats, it's just the opposite.
Quote of the week: ''Hundreds of millions of people buy fast food every day without giving it much thought, unaware of the subtle and not so subtle ramifications of their purchases. They rarely consider where this food came from, how it was make, what it is doing to the community around them. They just grab their tray off the counter, find a table, take a seat, unwrap the paper, and dig in. The whole experience is transitory and soon forgotten. I've written this book out of a belief that people should know what lies behind the shiny, happy surface of every fast food transaction. They should know what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns. As the old saying goes: You are what you eat.'' Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation
The feds want to test our little darlings in school to see what they're learning. Already testing them more than we did the A-bomb, they're going to have to keep them a month longer to find the time. The test scores will determine how much federal help the school will receive. If all the students were to get 100 percent on the test, the school will have so much money it will be mistaken for Fort Knox. As the school's grade goes down, everyone will begin bailing out, from the teachers to the students. No one wants to be called dumb, or be blamed for it. Even the janitors will leave, not wanting anyone to catch onto the real reason why today's students cannot add 2 plus 2: toxic toilet bowl cleaner. You seldom read about this, in fact you may never have. If you're under 25, you probably can't read anyway.
The census figures have arrived. As anticipated, the population of Knox County continues to go down. We lost a total of 557 residents, or about 1 percent, since 1990. Galesburg gained 176 persons, prompting the Register-Mail, in its ever vigilant protection of the status quo, to call the gain ''modest.'' This would give a new meaning to the word modest. I would call it pathetic. These 176 individuals are not to be confused with productive citizens, or persons with jobs paying taxes, or building homes. They are prisoners. If fact, since the 1980 census, approximately 2000 prisoners have been added to the census rolls. For this census, 700 of these were added. The reality of the Galesburg and Knox County population losses are that things are getting worse, not better. Over a 20-year period, next to nothing has happened. Not even a ''Half-Tree City Award'' is going to be able to reverse the numbness created by our desire to maintain the past and hide the present.
I always wanted to be a professor. This is a job you just got to love. I've never seen a professor actually work. They're never in their office. They teach maybe two courses a semester, year in and year out. The most they update are the jokes, which are never very good anyway. Sometimes they don't even teach; a graduate assistant does that for them. At times it becomes necessary for them to make an appearance. This is done in order to not be issued a death certificate, which is the only way they can lose their job. The most admirable thing about being a professor is their ability to keep up this torrid pace for nine months with only 75 days off.
I sure get a kick out of Henderson. Here is a town where they can't even agree on how to get drinkable water. Drill a new well and tap into the same miserable aquifer they already lay claim to, or join up with Galesburg, the city with the best, most crystal clear water this side of Oquawka. Henderson is one of the only places where the dogs have more going for them than the people. On a quiet day, you can hear the dogs barking out, ''Here boy, here boy.'' Henderson has a unique form of government: rule by mob action. City council meetings are fashioned after KKK rallies. Rather than burn a cross, they burn whoever is in charge. The last time the citizens of Henderson agreed on something, they decided to build a monument to their founder, Rear Admiral Henderson. As it ends up, the title was more a lifestyle description than a military ranking. Anyway, I hope Henderson can get its act together after the election. Maybe there will be some new blood on the council, although it's likely the new council members will be related to the old ones. Down deep, all the townspeople really love one another.
It sounds like you're entering a jungle when you go down to the courthouse at night. The first time I heard the recording of that eagle screeching from the bell-tower, I about wet my pants. It does seem to have a similar effect on the crows. It scares the ever living crap out of them, as evidenced by the sidewalks.
The secret to the fast food industry's success: They hire mainly young adolescents, still living at home, who are mainly working to pay for their car, gas money, and insurance. This keeps labor costs at a bare minimum, providing the young ones with no benefits, no overtime pay, and they send them home when business is slow. This arrangement has worked out well for everyone involved. One slight problem does arise, however: There are widespread violations of the child labor laws. Stay tuned for more on how these laws are grossly violated in Galesburg.