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Obama ‘Stumbling’ To Victory? - 5-08-08
"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" - 2-27-08
"Nosy Congress Makes
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"Right Decision Could
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"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07
A number of you have told me that you don’t look forward to reading the column on your computer screen. That’s not necessary if you have a printer. Print out the column and take it with you to the breakfast table or wherever else you choose to read printed material. (You can also call up past columns in case you missed them.)
And, if you haven’t already done so, let us know your e-mail address so that we can send you a weekly reminder when a new column is available.
February 26, 2009
Attractive, hardbound copies of “Life With Marian”—a book which a good many readers have said they would be interested in owning—are still available for purchase (for $22.50) at The Bookworm in Countryside Village. If more convenient, you can now also send a check payable to Harold W. Andersen for $26.66 (includes tax and postage) and mail to me at P.O. Box 27347, Omaha, NE, 68127. A copy will be sent by return mail.
The 235 pages of Life With Marian consist largely of anecdotes of the kind which so many readers said they enjoyed when they appeared in my columns in The Omaha World-Herald over a 15-year period. Some examples:
“In keeping with family tradition (Marian attended her first Cornhusker football game when she was 3 years old), we started new grandson Grant Andersen Karger off on the right athletic foot. At 3 weeks old, he was part of the family group attending the Denver-Golden State basketball game. (He declined comment on the game, explaining that he had slept through it all.)”
“John Andrew (Jack) Karger, the 8-year-old Denver-resident son of daughter Nancy, the other day outlined a career plan that included a praiseworthy intent to share his hoped-for good fortune with others.
“Jack said he wants to become a professional baseball player, earn a million dollars a year ‘and give half of it to charity.’
“Marian and I are, of course, pleased both with Jack’s enthusiasm for sports (he is a bit unhappy because his coach says he should choose between concentrating on soccer or on baseball), although we will not be disappointed if he doesn’t turn out to be a professional baseball player. But we hope his youthful attitude toward sharing with others lasts a lifetime.”
“Marian’s voice carrying up the stairs: ‘Peaches! You never do that.’ Then: ‘Thank you, Peaches.’
“It turns out that what Peaches (our effervescent 5-year-old cocker spaniel) ‘never does’—but which she had just done—was to jump up on Marian in an effort to speed up the food delivery process in which Marian was engaged at the kitchen counter.
“I suggested that since Peaches does this from time to time, Marian might change her admonition to something like: ‘Peaches! You know better than that.’”
* * *There is a lot more of this sort of thing, but also more serious comment, including a number of public-issue columns written during my “Life With Marian.”
* * *
I indicated earlier in today’s column that I would be commenting on the “nastiness” which was a part of the Academy Award program—a relatively brief part of the 3 ½-hour marathon but nonetheless a prominent part.
The nastiest of all were the comments of Sean Penn, who received the best actor award for his role as Harvey Milk, the homosexual mayor of San Francisco who was murdered. Penn responded to the enthusiastic applause by smilingly saying to the crowd: “You commie, homo-loving sons of guns.”
Penn followed with condemnation of anti-gay protestors who demonstrated near the Oscar-award sites. He condemned also the Californians who recently voted to ban legal recognition of “marriages” between lesbians and between homosexuals.
“I think it’s a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support,” Penn said. “We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.”
I would say it’s certainly nasty—insulting might be a better word—to say that persons who disagree with you on this controversial issue bear the burden of “great shame” and then suggest that their grandchildren will be ashamed of them unless they change their attitude toward “gay marriages.”
It’s well known that wealthy liberals are frequently disdainful of those who disagree with them, but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard disagreement with the Hollywood liberal line condemned so viciously as in the words of Sean Penn, to whom Hollywood gave its greatest honor Sunday evening.
Another egregious example of nastiness was the anti-Nixon skit which was staged near the start of the 3 ½ hour program—a program which consisted mostly of Hollywood celebrating itself. The skit, prompted by the best-picture nominee “Frost/Nixon,” had an evening-gowned Hollywood star or starlet—at least she was a good-looking young female—playing the role of Nixon.
Once again—how many times was this shot used in the promotion leading up to the Sunday night show—we see Frank Langella playing Nixon saying, “I’m saying when the President does it, it’s not illegal,” with the actor playing David Frost reacting with a shocked expression on his face.
David Frost, the wimpy British television personality, did interview Nixon, but I have never seen any report that the words attributed to Nixon were actually recorded, verbatim, by Frost. (I’m not asserting that what I’ve been hearing, over and over and over, is not an exact quote of what Nixon said to Frost. I am saying that I have not seen or heard any authentication of the quote.)
The highlight of the evening, to me, was awarding the “best picture” honor to “Slumdog Millionaire” and the rush to the stage by those cute young actors from the slums of Bombay who starred in the universally popular offbeat production.
Further on the subject of a Hollywood liberal like Sean Penn insulting Americans who disagree with him on the issue of legalizing “marriages” between two homosexuals or two lesbians: Popular votes in a state as liberal as California and a state as generally conservative as Nebraska suggest that opponents of legalizing such “marriages” are in the majority.
In Nebraska’s case, for example, the proposal giving legal recognition only to a marriage between a man and a woman carried by a whopping 274,904 votes, a 70-30% margin.
In other words, by the standards of Sean Penn and like-minded liberals, 477,571 Nebraskans who voted to support the husband/wife, man/woman institution of marriage should be would ashamed of themselves.
What arrogance—arrogance which allows no room for the sincerely-held beliefs of defenders of the institution of marriage, beliefs which might be summarized thus:
A married man and woman can logically and equitably be said to have a slice of something like “ownership” in the institution of marriage. This would give such a couple justification for the sincerely-held belief that the institution should not be changed without the consent of those who are, if not the owners, at least the guardians or custodians of the tradition.
Society is full of such institutions and traditions—particularly institutions which you cannot force your way into at the cost of changing the fundamental nature of the institution. For example, a religious denomination. Should you be able to force your way into a religious body by saying you want to become a member but on your own terms, amending the creed of that particular denomination in a way that fits your beliefs and lifestyle?
Should persons who believe in polygamy (still the belief of some Mormons, for example) be allowed to broaden the institution of marriage to include a husband and multiple wives?
And what about a trio involved in what is known in French as a “ménage a trois”? This particular arrangement is defined in my dictionary as a “household of three…an arrangement or relationship in which a married pair and a lover of one of the pair form a single household, usually with the consent or tolerance of the other married partner.”
Should such a trio be allowed to change the definition of marriage to include all three of them if they chose to seek some kind of triangular marriage vow?
An extreme example, you say? Perhaps so, but whether it’s two women and one man, twelve women and one man, two women or two men—do any of these have an inherent moral right to change the traditional institution of marriage?
I believe strongly that two persons of the same sex, male or female, should have the legal right to form a civil union with privileges and obligations which a man and a woman share in the legally-recognized institution of marriage. But to invade the institution of marriage itself is quite another matter.
* * *
In recent years, a great deal of public attention has been focused on successful bellying-up to the government trough for what has come to be known as “pork barrel” appropriations which don’t have to go through the normal appropriations hearing process.
Thus it’s not surprising that the nation’s mayors have responded as they did to president-elect Obama’s invitation to submit priority lists of “shovel-ready” projects to provide jobs and stimulate the economy.
The Wall Street Journal recently pointed out that the nation’s mayors have submitted a $73 billion wish list—perhaps the largest collection of “parochial spending projects in American history”—including requests like these:
A million dollars to upgrade the Los Angeles County Convention Center elevated “catwalk” for cameras and lighting; $94 million for a parking garage at the Orange Bowl in Miami; a $35 million Music Hall of Fame in Florissant, Missouri and $3.1 million for a swimming pool in Tulsa. Then there are requests for $80,000 for a tennis facility in Santa Barbara, California and $6 million from Ventura, California, to renovate the beach at Surfers Point.
The WSJ observed editorially that the Obama team may try to trim this list to remove the most egregious pork but Congress is quickly figuring out that “stimulus” is the greatest spending cover since “homeland security.
Let’s finish today by having a little fun with newspapers.
For example, my nomination for the strangest byline I have seen in print to date this year (although this is an era in which reporters everywhere seem to get bylines for almost anything they write).
My nomination involves a two-paragraph news item reporting that no one had been injured in a house fire. The reporter—or rewrite person or whatever—is listed in bold-face type as the author of the two paragraphs.
And here, from a variety of papers around the country, some headlines which amused one of my readers, who kindly passed the collection along to me. I’m amused, too.
“Federal Agents Raid Gun Shop, Find Weapons.”
Not a headline, but a news item from another paper: “Statistics show that teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25.”
Another headline: “One-armed man applauds the kindness of strangers.”
This headline read: “Waterford boy, 8, saves sister’s life.” Then this subhead: “I wouldn’t do it again. She’s been a pain this week.”
And finally, this headline with good advice for us all:
“Utah Poison Control Center reminds everyone not to take poison.”
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