­­ Bumper sticker of the week: If you think there is good in everybody, then you haven't met everybody.

­­ Quotes of the week: ''Your federal government needs your money so that it can perform services for you that you would not think up yourself in a million years.'' Dave Barry

''Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.'' Albert Einstein

­­ Carl Sandburg. Seems our hometown hero leaned a bit to the left. And it wasn't because of a stroke. I have read some of his poetry, but never really paid too much attention to the poet. I have at times heard him described as a son-of-a-bitch, but I figure poets are an odd lot to begin with, so I never thought much of it. Then one Sunday night, on ''60 Minutes,'' I heard Andy Rooney use a Carl Sandburg quote. It is a blistering attack on Capitalism. Sparking my attention, I did a little research. Sure enough, seems our Mr. Sandburg embraced socialism in his Milwaukee and Chicago days, and hung out with the likes of Eugene Debs. This was not too unusual in Mr. Sandburg's day. People actually thought about what was going on and acted accordingly. I still haven't been able to wipe the grin off my face. To think, our hometown poet laureate, a socialist. It seems so appropriate.

­­ Lighten up a little:--

Disney World is a people trap operated by a mouse.--

Is it possible to have Railroad Days without railroad tracks?--

Why are hemorrhoids called hemorrhoids rather than asteroids?--

Why would you order a diet coke with a whopper?--

Which came first: an ugly, poorly draining Henderson Street, or an ugly, well-draining Henderson Street?--

I'd like to meet the person who puts those little plastic things on the end of shoelaces.

­­ Fast Food Fatties: Our nation is about to explode. Most people, particularly young kids, are so fat they will soon have to stop at truck scales when passing them on the highway. The biggest contributor to creating these little porkers -- fast food. Most fast food contains extra doses of fat, which makes it taste real good. Chicken McNuggets, they taste so good because they contain beef fat. The more fat, the more we crave it. Most everything arrives at our favorite eating establishments pre-cooked. All they do is reheat it. They don't even need short-order cooks. This allows the fast food chains to hire unskilled labor, pay them next to nothing, and provide no benefits. With everything pre-cooked, most of the nutrients and flavor are lost. No problem. They are artificially put back, compliments of the high-tech, scientific community. The bottom line is we have no idea what it is we are eating. A hamburger is much more than ground up beef nowadays. It contains tons of additives that you can't pronounce, much less understand. Out of loving concern for our children, we shove this stuff into their mouths whenever they plead for a visit to McPlayland. Educate yourself, if for no other reason to help the kid you are fattening up live better and longer. (Read Fast Food Nation, which is available at the library, or I'll loan you my copy.)

­­ They say the unemployment rate is at 5.8 percent. I can find that many people unemployed on my block alone. They must get their figures from George Ryan. Whoever does this job is wasting their time and our tax dollars, although I suppose it does create a job for someone. Anyway, unemployment in Knox County is at a minimum 15%. If we added in the underemployed and employees being screwed by employers paying minimum wage with no benefits, the number would easily go to 30-40%. You get tired of reading the same nonsense day after day. Something close to the truth would be awfully refreshing.

­­ Speaking of wasting time and pulling our legs. George W. says this in answer to the criticism of his pro-business energy plan: (paraphrased) ''I don't want to make anybody's life in America uncomfortable.'' Interesting idea, however misguided it may be. Not only must everybody in the U.S. be made to feel uncomfortable about the continuing degradation of the Earth, but everyone in the world needs to feel uncomfortable. Comfort does not produce change, and change is what we desperately need in order to save the Earth. George W. and his right-wing buddies from the Cato Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute call the environmental scientists ''prophets of gloom and doom.'' If we keep headed in the same direction, we, or our children, or our children's children are going to come to understand what gloom and doom really means.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online June 26, 2001

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