Category: Columns

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  “This whole election process just doesn’t work for me,” Dud said, sipping his coffee. “There’s no way we can tell who is best for the job.” Doc, being the senior member of the Mule Barn truck stop’s world dilemma think tank, looked kindly at Dud. “Well, haven’t you been reading what each candidate stands for, Dud?” Dud shrugged. “Sure. But I firmly believe they only tell you what you want to hear. They’re the best, and the other fella is going to take you straight to ruined aspirations.” “Ruined aspirations?” piped up Steve, the cowboy with the owlish look of pure bowlegged intellectualism. “That’s why I’ve always thought we need a contest. A real contest. Have them put their aspirations where they’ll do the most good.” “A contest?” “Bull riding,” said Steve, nodding sagely. “Just set their aspirations on a bull’s back and the first one to fall off loses.” “But what does bull riding have to do with taxes and warfare and education and all that stuff?” asked Doc. “Nothing at all,” said Steve, “but you can bet it will separate the serious candidates from the oh-what-the-heck guys.” “Makes some sense to me,” said Dud, with a grin. “Only problem is, if they ride bulls, one of them might get killed.” Steve grinned, “Simplifies the selection process, doesn’t it?” ———– Brought to you by the new radio...

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Home Country

“This whole election process just doesn’t work for me,” Dud said, sipping his coffee. “There’s no way we can tell who is best for the job.” Doc, being the senior member of the Mule Barn truck stop’s world dilemma think tank, looked kindly at Dud. “Well, haven’t you been reading what each candidate stands for, Dud?” Dud shrugged. “Sure. But I firmly believe they only tell you what you want to hear. They’re the best, and the other fella is going to take you straight to ruined aspirations.” “Ruined aspirations?” piped up Steve, the cowboy with the owlish look of pure bowlegged intellectualism. “That’s why I’ve always thought we need a contest. A real contest. Have them put their aspirations where they’ll do the most good.” “A contest?” “Bull riding,” said Steve, nodding sagely. “Just set their aspirations on a bull’s back and the first one to fall off loses.” “But what does bull riding have to do with taxes and warfare and education and all that stuff?” asked Doc. “Nothing at all,” said Steve, “but you can bet it will separate the serious candidates from the oh-what-the-heck guys.” “Makes some sense to me,” said Dud, with a grin. “Only problem is, if they ride bulls, one of them might get killed.” Steve grinned, “Simplifies the selection process, doesn’t...

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Home Country

  It takes a special person to be a good teacher in a rural school. Unlike the great city amalgamated and homogenized institutes of lower learning, the rural schools tend not to have teachers who are putting in time until their heart stops. And it’s a mixed blessing, because rural schools sometimes have to hire someone whose only qualification is a pulse. But there are those rural teachers who go down in legend for their creativity. Like John Lewis. After his first semester teaching at the high school, John discovered that some of the boys in class … usually the misbehavers, would raise their hands and ask to go to the john in the middle of a class session. He suspected, when they returned smelling like tobacco, that bodily functions weren’t the prime incentive for the trip. So he got a stick and made a big cardboard sign and stuck it in the closet behind his desk. Then, the very next time someone indicated a peristaltic urgency, he stood and smiled and addressed the class. “Everybody up!” he said, smiling. The class stood, looking dumbfounded at each other. “Since going to the restroom in the middle of class is a God-given American right, I believe it’s only fair that we all share a small part of it. So Pete, since you have asked to go, you get to lead...

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Home Country

It takes a special person to be a good teacher in a rural school. Unlike the great city amalgamated and homogenized institutes of lower learning, the rural schools tend not to have teachers who are putting in time until their heart stops. And it’s a mixed blessing, because rural schools sometimes have to hire someone whose only qualification is a pulse. But there are those rural teachers who go down in legend for their creativity. Like John Lewis. After his first semester teaching at the high school, John discovered that some of the boys in class … usually the misbehavers, would raise their hands and ask to go to the john in the middle of a class session. He suspected, when they returned smelling like tobacco, that bodily functions weren’t the prime incentive for the trip. So he got a stick and made a big cardboard sign and stuck it in the closet behind his desk. Then, the very next time someone indicated a peristaltic urgency, he stood and smiled and addressed the class. “Everybody up!” he said, smiling. The class stood, looking dumbfounded at each other. “Since going to the restroom in the middle of class is a God-given American right, I believe it’s only fair that we all share a small part of it. So Pete, since you have asked to go, you get to lead the...

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Home Country

September means pencils and books for the youngsters, but it also means state fair season. That’s when the world’s largest zucchini squash is at its prime, of course. The farm animals are all shed off and shiny and cute, their horns polished to diamond-like perfection by hard-working and hopeful kids. The state fairgrounds is an annual pilgrimage of sorts, another temporary home. We need to touch base with turkey legs, corn dogs and deep fried everything. We who sport gray in our hair, or no hair at all, can look with relief at that giant slingshot that shoots high school kids into a state fair orbit. It’s a relief because no one expects us to do that. And when we were young enough to actually do that, thankfully the diabolical state fair scientists hadn’t invented the darn thing yet. Cruising around, you get to see everyone at their best. Best fair-type clothing. Best behavior. Best smiles. If you scowl at any point during a visit to the state fair, you either aren’t trying very hard or someone ran off with your date. And we make those little secret promises to ourselves, too. You see, we’d love to win a ribbon for making a quilt, or raising an animal, or taking a fabulous photograph or coming up with the best painting in the whole state. But not all of us...

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