Showing posts with label children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children. Show all posts

Friday, January 12, 2018

Monday will never be the same


NOTE: This first ran in March 2009. It's running again because the man who was a big part of the life of just about every kid in Baton Rouge, La., for 35 years -- three generations of kids in some families --  died Wednesday.

It's just as well that I don't start from scratch. For one thing, I don't think I'd express myself any better now -- I said what I had to say.

For another thing, I'd be writing through tears. That just takes too damned long, frankly.

If you didn't grow up where, and when, I grew up, this story from The Advocate might give you some idea of how big a deal was "Buckskin Bill" Black:
One of Baton Rouge’s most beloved figures, William “Bill” Black, known to most as “Buckskin” Bill,” died Wednesday, according to family members.

For decades, Black appeared daily on WAFB-TV in his cowboy character, charming generations of children with his homespun, good natured presence. His children's shows, "Storyland" aired in the morning and "The Buckskin Bill Show" aired in the afternoon on the television station Monday through Friday from 1955 to 1988. At the time, it held the national record for the longest-running children's show. It shifted to a Saturday morning only show, but was canceled a year later. He retired from the station in 1990.

Black reentered the public eye in 1994 when he was elected to the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board as part of a school reform initiative, replacing most of the sitting board member. Representing the Broadmoor area, Black remained on the board until 2010.

Ed Elkins, master control operator at WAFB, remembers moving from New Orleans to Baton Rouge in 1977 to work on Black’s TV show as a cameraman and later doing audio. Elkins said he knew nothing about the legend of “Buckskin Bill,” but learned quickly. When they met other people, “I would be invisible,” he recalled.

“(Black) was the star of Baton Rouge. He was the man,” Elkins said. “Just think how many children that have grown up to be icons of the community that watched his show.”

Donna Britt, WAFB’s anchor, came to the TV station in 1981 and had a similar experience.

“He was an icon from the word go,” Britt recalled. “He carried himself with dignity. He seemed to know everyone in the world.”

A family member told WAFB that Black died after getting an infection in the wake of partial hip replacement surgery that he had after breaking his hip in November. His wife, Elma, died April 5. Black is survived by a son and two daughters.

Black’s granddaughter Megan Musso said the family is still making funeral arrangements for Black.

Though Black’s show went off the air before she was born, Musso grew up with stories of her pawpaw and watching VHS tapes of his performances, but she said he never boasted about himself.

“I had lots of teachers who would ask me to do school reports on him because they admired him so much,” said Musso. “Even though I knew how much he meant to the community, he was still just my pawpaw.”

Musso, daughter of Black’s youngest child, Ginger Musso, said Black was a true performer even with his grandkids and she grew up playing the game, “Hully Gully,” before she even knew where it came from on Black’s TV show.

What will she miss? Musso offers a quick list: “His stories, his jokes. He would sing very well. And his laugh.”
ONE MORE THING. I added the above video, from Buckskin Bill's later days on "big, booming, powerful Channel 9" because it just captures what Buckskin Bill meant to all of us Baton Rouge kids . . . kids of all ages.

As Buckskin starts his trademark Monday Morning March, we see him joined in the studio by parents and their children -- a mama and a daddy who no doubt marched in front of a big black-and-white television in their living room years before. And now here they were with The Man himself, passing down a legacy of televised love to a new generation.

At the end of every show, he'd would sign off with a little advice: "You're never completely dressed until you put on a smile."

This early morning, I'm sitting here half naked as I write through my tears. Damn.
 

*  *  *


I know it's not Monday morning, and Lord knows I'm not a kid anymore. But sometimes you wish it were, and you were, because you'd like to do the Monday Morning March just one more time.

See, if you're of a certain age, and if you grew up anywhere reached by "big, booming, powerful Channel 9" in Baton Rouge, La., you most certainly grew up watching Buckskin Bill.

"Buckskin" was Bill Black,
and he did his kiddie show for something like 35 years until he got canceled in 1990. For most of those years, Black donned his buckskins twice a day -- in the morning for the little kids on Storyland and then after school for the older kids with The Buckskin Bill Show.

IT WAS A Baton Rouge rite of passage for a kid to go before the WAFB-TV cameras -- to actually share the stage with Buckskin! -- on his birthday, with a Scout troop, or in a line of kids doing the "Elephant Walk."

I'm sure no one today would be particularly impressed with a never-ending loop of Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk" for a soundtrack as legions of kids filed by a barrel, dropping in their saved-up pennies to buy a pair of elephants for the city's brand-new zoo. Ah, but they forget that magic is made of equal parts simplicity and cheesiness. Yes, it is.

For his first 15 years on the air, getting a zoo for the underachieving Southern city was Buckskin's cause célèbre. For years, he signed off the Buckskin Bill Show with "Remember . . . Baton Rouge needs a zoo!"

A few miles away, the competition on Channel 2, Count Macabre, would spoof this by saying "Remember, boys and girls, Baton Rouge is a zoo!" Both statements were demonstrably true.

Anyway, my turn on the Buckskin Bill Show came in March 1965. It was my fourth birthday. I brought a bottle of Bayer aspirin for Amazon relief.
 

BUCKSKIN sat me on his lap and started to ask some basic toddler-level questions. The cameras were huge. The lights were bright. I was silent.

My mother was crouched on the studio floor whispering "He's four!" Buckskin, no doubt, was wondering "Who is this woman?"

Why should the fambly be the only ones scratching their heads?

I never did say a bloody word, and Buckskin sent me on my ignominious way -- the redneck equivalent of a dumbstruck Ralphie being dispatched down the Santa slide some decades later in A Christmas Story. On the other hand, he bought us all Coca-Colas after the show.

Even preschool humiliation went better with Coca-Cola. And Holsum Bread.

Why am I writing this? Beats me. I was just thinking about Buckskin Bill -- again -- and how it's sad local television doesn't bother to make magic and memories anymore. Who does?

So there you go, the wistful musings of a middle-aged Southern boy . . . and some vintage video of the Monday Morning March from sometime near my arrival on planet Earth. It seems to me that, during a time when we fear our many crises will overwhelm us, we all need us some Monday Morning March.

Even if it is Wednesday.

Oh . . . one more thing. "Remember, you're never completely dressed until you put on a smile."


Monday, November 03, 2014

Whatever happened to shame?


shame noun \ˈshām\

: a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong

: ability to feel guilt, regret, or embarrassment

: dishonor or disgrace
Shame is a good thing.

Shame is what keeps us from being monsters. It's the thing that puts in touch with our fallen nature, with the reality that we're not OK. Not all the time.

Blessed is the society where shame is possible, where standards are in place that form a context for shame -- for what is shameful and what is virtuous. Shame, properly understood and properly enforced, is the thing that allows us to get over ourselves.
 

A society without shame is a land of sociopaths. A society without shame is one of monsters. A society without shame is in desperate need of reformation -- or, if reform is not possible, destruction -- for the well being of the rest of humanity.

Western culture is fast losing any sense of shame. It is on the edge of the abyss and its cultural "elites" are hellbent on pushing it over the edge, given it has decreed there are is no good or bad, only diverse choices that are appropriate for the almighty individual. Personal autonomy trumps all -- except, of course, those things that People We Don't Like advocate -- and it's those who deem themselves too enlightened for shame that get to captain the S.S. Anything Goes upon the Sea of Moral Relativism.


IT IS in such a society that "voice of her generation" Lena Dunham can admit in print that she, at age 7, explored her little sister's vagina, that she later did "anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl" so her sister would let her kiss her on the lips for five seconds or just "relax on me" and do so without an inkling of shame. Admit such behavior as if she were copping to raiding the cookie jar or throwing spitballs in class.

It is also in such a society that you can be cavalier about such and then be outraged when others . . . aren't.


"The right wing news story that I molested my little sister isn't just LOL- it's really f***ing upsetting and disgusting," Dunham emoted via her Twitter account. She was just getting warmed up.

"And by the way, if you were a little kid and never looked at another little kid's vagina, well, congrats to you," she added amid her Internet "rage spiral." By the way, congrats to me. And my family might not have been as patently weird as Dunham's, but it was right up there.
Still, to dismiss Lena Dunham as an insulated and spoiled child of Manhattan’s ruling class is to misunderstand her story entirely. If there is such a thing as actually abusing a child through excessive generosity and overindulgence, then Lena Dunham’s parents are child abusers. Her father, Carroll Dunham, is a painter noted for his primitive brand of highbrow pornography, his canvases anchored by puffy neon-pink labia; her photographer mother filled the family home with nude pictures of herself, “legs spread defiantly.” Self-styled radicals from old money, they were not the sort of people inclined to enforce even the most lax of boundaries. And they were, in their daughter’s telling, enablers of some very disturbing behavior that would be considered child abuse in many jurisdictions — Lena Dunham’s sexual abuse, specifically, of her younger sister, Grace, the sort of thing that gets children taken away from non-millionaire families without Andover pedigrees and Manhattanite social connections.
WELL, I CAN certainly understand where Dunham's unfamiliarity with shame came from.

What I can't understand is why people so insist on taking all their cultural cues from weirdos they don't know like Dunham and any number of other freak shows in our celebrity obsessed society instead of those good, unfamous people they do know. Then again, evil is a mystery.

What eventually becomes of cultures that worship evil and deify notorious freak shows merely because they're famous freak shows is less of a mystery: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Hoss, we in trouble deep. It's harvest time.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

I am the keeper of magical secrets


At first, as I watched these kids interact with Stone Age technology -- a.k.a., a manual typewriter -- I had determined that the time had come to just kill myself.

But then I had another think coming.

Now I have another plan . . . which involves a future for your humble, 53-year-old unfrozen caveman blogger.

I'm going to take out the power grid. AND I'M GOING TO RULE THE WORLD!!!


Or what's left of it, anyway.


(Insert diabolical laughter here)


HAT TIP: Kim Komando.


* * *


UPDATE: And then there's . . . this.




THE KIDDOS really need to watch this. It'll explain everything.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

From the mouths of babes


Hi, I'm Ben Sasse, and I want to destroy shit. Here, I'll let my little girls Alex and Corrie tell you about how badly I want to destroy shit.

I'm a Republican. That's what we do.

Because we despise shit. Especially shit with Obama's name on it. 


BLAMMO!

That's the sound of me destroying Obamacare. Because we have to destroy this village to save it from Obama. I despise saying Obama. Even if tens of millions of people have No Care after we destroy Obamacare, at least No Care sounds better than Obamacare.

Exclusive video: State GOP strategy meeting

I DESPISE that shit. That Obama shit.

And since I understand that you despise that shit and want to destroy that shit, I despise that shit worser. And I'm here to let my sweet little girls tell you all about the shit I despise and will destroy for you . . . because that's how I roll.

That pinkobama shit's gonna get blowed up. Blowed up good.

Remember . . . the family -- no doubt before a hearty breakfast of human entrails and gunpowder --
that prays for the opposing candidates (to be destroyed) stays together.

On the Group W bench. Next to Sarah Palin.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Death's who's coming for breakfast


Five-year-old Payton Benson was eating breakfast Wednesday morning when a bullet with her name on it exploded through the wall of her north Omaha home and killed her dead.

The cussing ghetto toddler of Omaha viral-video fame fired the shot.

The gang bangers poisoning the young mind of the cussing Omaha toddler fired the shot.

The idiot teenage mother of the cussing Omaha toddler, who thinks "kids cuss" because, no doubt, that's as normal for a 2-year-old as breathing, fired the shot.

The deviant, criminally inclined and now-imprisoned mama of the idiot teenage mother of the cussing Omaha toddler fired the shot.

The no-count baby daddies so quick on the draw and even quicker to split when a hot mama turns into a baby mama fired the shot. Ditto for those young women so frustratingly committed to looking for love in all the wrong places.

The perpetually aggrieved talking heads who condemned the Omaha police union for highlighting the obvious -- whatever its motive at the time -- because to tell an inconvenient truth is somehow self-evidently racist . . . they pulled the trigger, too.

The law-and-order politicians content to "solve" the crime problem by cramming the state's prisons to bursting with the thug children of an underclass anticulture -- and doing it while ignoring grinding poverty, invincible hopelessness and that underclass anticulture thing. . . . 

Pulled the trigger.

No doubt they'll demand the death penalty for everybody except themselves. Because crime.

Because "justice."


ACTUALLY, little Payton Benson died because a bunch of American Frankenstein's monsters a block over -- no doubt once just like the cussing Omaha toddler, poisoned by the same culture of death that hates life and knows no hope -- were shooting it out in the middle of the street. Witnesses mentioned a handgun and a high-powered rifle.

A slug from one of those guns missed whomever its intended target was, flew down the block and down the block and down the block some more but still had enough juice to penetrate the walls of 3328 N. 45th St., and then the little body of a little girl who never saw death coming. Says the Omaha World-Herald:
The mother, Tabatha Manning, ran out screaming, a relative said.

Payton was Omaha's first homicide of the new year.

“Bullets know no boundaries, they know no target, they are going to land where they land,”
[Police Chief Todd] Schmaderer said during a press conference Wednesday evening.

“Enough of the gang violence, and enough with the random shootings.”

Schmaderer and
[Omaha Mayor Jean] Stothert promised to find the person who killed an innocent girl. Both leaders expressed their sympathy for Payton's family members.

“I promise this family and I promise this community that my homicide investigators, my gang investigators, will work around the clock, leaving no stone unturned to solve this homicide,” Schmaderer said.

Shell casings indicated that gunfire broke out at the intersection of 44th Avenue and Emmet Street, a block from Payton's house. Multiple people exchanged gunfire, Schmaderer said.

Police were looking for three black men who fled in a black Jeep Commander. Initial 911 reports described one as having a handgun, one armed with a high-powered rifle and the third wearing a bandanna.

Police found a Jeep matching that description at St. James Manor Apartments, 3102 N. 60th St., but they had not determined whether the vehicle was involved.
(snip)
The chief said he had a message for the assailants: “You know who you are, and law enforcement will find out who you are. It may not have been your bullet that struck this little girl. So do the right thing and do yourself a favor in the process. Come down and talk to law enforcement and tell us what you know.”

Massey Allen III, 33, who identified himself as a relative of Payton, said he was stopped at 45th Street and Bedford Avenue when he heard gunfire and ducked under his steering wheel.

Allen estimated that about 20 shots were fired. Several neighbors called 911, and officers patrolling the neighborhood heard the gunshots and responded, Schmaderer said. Payton was pronounced dead at Creighton University Medical Center.

Allen said Manning, 31, had recently moved to Omaha from Chicago. She wanted to earn a nursing degree, he said.


SEE WHAT trying to better yourself gets you in the 'hood? Your kid killed at the breakfast table by the unintended consequence of unintended consequences. That's the underclass anticulture for you. How very racist of me to mention that, despite it not being just a black thing.

Today, the police chief is outraged, the mayor is outraged and the whole city is outraged. We've been outraged before; we'll be outraged again. We Omahans -- we Americans -- are goddamned good at outrage, but not so much at actually doing something about that which outrages us again and again and again and again and again.

We're working on it, though. Results are preliminary, but we're pretty sure the solution has something to do with giving teachers concealed weapons, blaming big government (or institutionalized racism . . . one or the other), lowering taxes (or raising taxes on the rich), moving farther out in the suburbs, moving to a dee-luxe apartment in the downtown sky, cutting food stamps because . . . well, look at Those People . . . and going shopping.

The shopping part, we've got nailed.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The little children suffer


The gates of hell opened upon a small town in Connecticut this morning, and the devil showed his true face to the little children.

As usual, Beelzebub looked a lot like us. Or a wild-eyed, murderous version of us.

We are a people that like to brag about the better angels of our nature, the divine spark that Abraham Lincoln once futilely tried to summon for a nation that instead imagined it saw nobility in the abyss. We also are a people that says its children are its future.

And, indeed, our children can embody the best that we are. Symbolize the best to which we aspire -- or say we aspire -- and sometimes even achieve.

"But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such."

Today, in this vail of tears we inhabit, Satan said "Let the little children suffer." And then one of his henchmen on earth, in a place called Newtown, Conn., walked into a school packing heat. He killed the principal. He killed school staff.

Most of all, he killed the children -- 20 of them. He gunned them down without hesitation and without mercy. Many were kindergartners.

THIS WAS the work of a madman who once was a little child. Who was the son of a mother -- a kindergarten teacher at the site of his devilish rampage -- who, no doubt, loved him very much. 

He killed her, too.

Fallen child of God that I am -- no angel am I . . . no way -- the first thing I wanted for the killer of 6-year-olds at Sandy Hook Elementary School was for vengeance to be wrought upon him. I envisioned a .45 caliber handgun, and some administrator of God's wrath shooting off one of his digits at a time, until none were left.

And then the Saturday Night Special of Justice would get down to business.

That will not happen . . . not because we Americans are such pillars of justice and devotees of human dignity, but instead because Adam Lanza, 20, turned one of his guns on himself in a school hallway. Our revenge fantasies will remain just that.

The apostle Paul once reminded us that "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." The Lord God has stepped up to the plate. He'll be taking the swings, not us. That's a good thing.

I AM old enough to remember when events like today's in small-town Connecticut were virtually unthinkable. We had little frame of contemporary reference. When it did happen, it was so extraordinary that a TV movie surely lay in the prime-time future, and we'd forever remember the name of the perpetrator.

You know, like Charles Whitman, the "tower shooter" in 1966 at the University of Texas. He only killed 13, unlike Whatshisname.

"Whatshisname" is what we call all the madmen since Columbine. Ever since we and the world we inhabit have gone progressively more mad with the passing of each bloody year.

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to agree with my old man, who famously said a couple of months before his death, "Dey ain't no hope!"

Dey ain't no hope, indeed.

On the other hand, I am smart enough not to rely on my own judgment in this matter. To help me face times like these -- particularly Christmastimes like these -- I turn instead to the wiser counsel of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Johnny Cash.



GOD bless us, every one.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Precocious preteen sucks worse than Roseanne


Parents who let an 11-year-old girl call herself a "singer-songwriter" and traipse through the Texas coffeehouse and showcase circuit need to have their heads examined.

Parents who let an 11-year-old white girl with an OK voice run around oversinging oversung Christina Aguilera and Beyoncé songs in public probably need to be horsewhipped.

And parents old enough to know better who let an 11-year-old girl who isn't do this to the national anthem at a major-league soccer game --
on television, no less -- need killin', to put it in their native Texan.


CONGRATULATIONS, asshats. There's now a rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner worse than Roseanne Barr's. It's your daughter's.

You were happy to bask in the reflected glow of your little darling's prepubescent musical specialness. So you put her out there. And put her out there. And put her out there some more, because the fruit of mama's womb turned out to be a singer-songwriter!

I mean, if her website says it, it must be true!

And then you put her out there, before tens of thousands in a stadium and many more than that on TV. What could go wrong with an 11-year-old white girl trying to outdo Whitney Houston's version of a song that to most singers is what invading Afghanistan is to most empires?

Because, by God, people are gonna remember Harper Gruzins from Coppell, Texas!


Well, you got that right. The national anthem done in the style of Tibetan throat singing would have been less memorable . . . and more palatable.

Sadly for you, there's no reflected glory to bathe yourselves in. Worse for Harper, there's no shortage of Texas-size ridicule for a precocious preteen to bear all by her Lone Star self.

Somebody git a rope!


HAT TIP: Rod Dreher.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Madea for bus monitor!


You know who we need to be a junior-high bus monitor? Madea.

Surely, there must be some real-life approximations of Mabel "Madea" Simmons who can be tasked with straightening out America's feral youth. Give the newly minted monitors a school-bus version of a 007 license so the po-po will leave them the hell alone to do what needs to be done.

Can I get a witness, y'all?

Friday, June 22, 2012

The feral youth of Bus 784


Here's what I think of this Not Safe for Work video that's gone viral around the world, thanks to YouTube.

Here's what I think of little smart-ass, bullying seventh-grade s***s who pick on a 68-year-old grandma, who also happens to be the monitor on Bus 784 in Greece, N.Y.

Here's what I think. Here goes.

Do you remember those little bitty baseball bats common back in the day?

In my youth in the segregated South, they had a common name (common in every sense of the word) I shall not repeat, but I suspect sons and daughters of the Deep South know exactly what I'm talking about.


ANYWAY, this is why God invented those. (And your old man's thin leather belt.) I suspect just nearly connecting with one of the little darlings with a billy club-size Louisville Slugger would have been sufficient to put the fear -- if not of God -- of serious bodily harm into their profoundly undeveloped little brains.

Unfortunately, if the poor woman had done what most any adult would have done when I was a kid, she would have been arrested, and then she would have been sued into pauperism by the wolves who obviously have been "raising" these little monsters. That's because brats like that don't come from nowhere.

There is almost no reason sufficient to administer a serious ass-whipping to a child. Almost. But this is a damn good one.

This kind of behavior toward a senior citizen by a child used to be unthinkable, especially in the South of my youth, unless you were talking about a serious juvenile delinquent who'd be penitentiary bound soon enough. There were reasons for that.

Someone needs to exercise "the nuclear option" against the whole lot of these feral youth on that bus. Now.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Hey, y'all! (Hic!) Watch this!


You're drunk off your ass (allegedly).

You have no driver's license.

Because it was suspended for 10 years after your third DUI.

Your wife also is three sheets to the wind (allegedly). She's in the back of your SUV.

She's cheering on your 7-year-old granddaughter.

Whom you're towing down the street in her plastic kiddie car.

Which is attached to the SUV with a couple of dog leashes.

What the hell could go wrong?

WELL, you could get stopped by the cops, who throw your and your boozy wife's saturated asses in jail. But that's what went right.

Naturally, this occurred in south Florida. And, naturally, it made the
MSNBC news headlines:
Belinda and Paul Berloni were arrested on Sunday after a deputy in a marked patrol car saw the SUV pulling a "small plastic hot wheels car" along an access road, authorities said. The vehicle was going about five to 10 miles per hour, the probable cause affidavit said.

The girl was wearing a bathing suit with no protective gear, authorities said. The toy car was attached to the SUV with two dog leashes tied to the trailer hitch, the affidavit said.

Paul Berloni, 49, smelled of alcohol and his eyes were bloodshot and watery, the affidavit said. When asked for his driver's license, he said it had been revoked for 10 years for a DUI. He also told authorities he had two or three drinks, authorities said. He later said it was more but wasn't specific, the affidavit said.

Belinda Berloni, 47, was in the cargo area with the rear hatch open cheering the little girl on, the affidavit said. She was also intoxicated and said she had a few drinks, authorities said.

She "also stated that she understood that it was dangerous to drag a child behind the vehicle but stated they were just having fun and had been doing it all day," the affidavit said.

Belinda Berloni's son, who is the girl's father, arrived and was upset with his mother. He also said that he believed they had a drinking problem that may have affected their decision making, the affidavit said.
FRANKLY, I'm wondering about Junior's decision making, which he apparently cannot blame on the bottle.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

July 13, 1950: Ricky is 5


Today is July 13, 1950. It's a Thursday.

And you're just in time for Ricky's birthday party. C'mon in! All his little friends are already here.

Of course, you know that Ricky's actual birthday was last week, but the family was in Kansas City, so here we are. Make sure you say something for the record Mom and Dad are making.

Yeah, they've already been fooling around with the disc recorder -- something tells me not every kid's birthday-party record starts with "Les Toreadors" from
Carmen. Ricky should get a chuckle out of that in 20 or 30 years. Can you imagine? 1980.

Make sure you enunciate for the microphone, though. Janet already got fussed at for being a mushmouth, poor kid. But you should have heard Ricky singing "Jesus Loves Me." He kind of mangled the lyrics, but it was just the cutest thing ever.



OH, YES. Put a microphone in Mom's hand and she launches into her cabaret act -- "I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine" this time.

Let's see, Aunt Donna and Aunt Helen are already here. And . . . ummmmmmm . . . Alice, Mildred . . . all the kids . . . there goes little Bobbie and Judy. And Danny, and Mary Lou . . . Cathy, Stevie, Diana, Jenny, Jackie, Baby . . . and Happy. Can't forget Happy.

Uh oh. Looks like the record is getting toward the end of the side. Get in there quick and say hello to Ricky. Maybe he'll be listening to you when he's old and retired someday --
way past the year 2000!

THAT IS, if the transcription disc doesn't get thrown in some box in the attic and end up getting sold at a garage sale or an estate sale in 60-something years. HELLO, FUTURE OMAHAN . . . WHOEVER YOU ARE! Ha ha!

Can you just picture that little 5-year-old Ricky when he's 66 or something?

I wonder what Omaha will be like then? I sure would like to live long enough to see Ricky's flying jet car
(click) jet car (click) jet car (click) jet car (click) jet car (click) jet. . . .

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Skippyjon schools tots in Mayhem 101


It's celebrity story time at the library.

The guest of honor is a popular literary cat with an oversized head.

The room is full of little kids.

What could go wrong?

The downtown branch of the Omaha Public Library was about to find out, says the Omaha World Herald's Josefina Loza:

Children love Skippyjon Jones because he's adventurous and has a knack for getting in and out of trouble. And at the library, Skippyjon lived up to his reputation, giving a few dozen children an unforgettable eyeful.

Parents, teachers and nannies guided children to a carpeted area on the fourth floor of the library. They anxiously awaited the grayish-brown kitten's arrival.

Minutes before story time, Skippyjon finally walked out of a back room to greet the kids.

Many of the little boys and girls inched closer to the costumed cat, who sat near a librarian who was reading one of his books. In between readings, Skippyjon gave hugs and handshakes.

As Omahan Joanna Ziemba, a downtown child care instructor, stepped closer to the cat, she noticed something was wrong. His oversized eyeball had started to dangle from its socket.

Another child care provider tried to warn Skippyjon about his droopy eye.

"Oh, no, Skippy," she said. "Your eye is about to fall out.

Here, let me put it back in."

READ the whole thing to find out what happened next.

I ain't telling you any more because, frankly, I don't want you spewing your damn coffee all over my perfectly clean blog.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

That worked out well, don't you think?


There is no governmental program so complex, no public-policy wicket so sticky that a Republican administration can't fix it with two magic words:

"Privatize it!"

That is because gummint is evil. Gummint employees are the devil. Private firms are always more competent -- and cheaper. Because the free market was ordained by God Almighty Himself. It's in the Bible.

Somewhere in the back.

It's also in The Conscience of a Conservative. Somewhere in the front.

UNFORTUNATELY for the magical thinkers on the right -- especially here in the Cornhusker State -- the Omaha World-Herald has this little report on a reality based audit of Gov. Dave Heineman's child-welfare privatization initiative:

Nebraska's child welfare costs have increased by about 27 percent after the state undertook a controversial privatization initiative, according to a state audit released Wednesday.

State Auditor Mike Foley unveiled the audit at a hearing before the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee, which is investigating the privatization effort.

"This audit points to a critical lack of accountability," Foley said. "The consequence to the Nebraska taxpayers has been dramatic, including tens of millions of dollars in increased costs for child welfare services and a conspicuous lack of financial accountability that effectively frustrates any hope of transparency with regard to the expenditure of related public funds."

(snip)

An analysis by the Omaha World-Herald in July found that the state paid contractors 50 percent more than planned and overspent its budget by $30.5 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

HHS made three unplanned infusions of money and repeatedly front-loaded payments to contractors, a practice that optimistically anticipates costs going down as the months go by, the analysis found.

State Sen. Amanda McGill said: "That report was scathing. The tough part is figuring out what to do about it. "

I DON'T KNOW about you, but I smell a socialistic, liberal smear job in all this. There was a plant, I tells ya!

Commerniss infiltrators in the Department of Health and Human Services purposely messed up Governor Dave's brilliant free-market, solutions-based solution to make a right-thinking conservative look bad. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Is Alger Hiss still dead? Just checking.

Never fear. There is a free-market fix for the free-market fix -- of that, I am confident. Perhaps the Heineman Administration can take some free-market lessons from history and, in the process, turn a public burden into a profitable venture.

I humbly submit one idea that has survived the currents and eddies of long history, and with private-sector business acumen could save Nebraska taxpayers a pretty penny while radically reducing the drain on society from the parasitic poor and the chronically incorrigible. Here's a succulent excerpt from the proposal:

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.

I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and twenty thousand children already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one-fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle or swine; and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in the sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom; always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

I COULD BE WRONG, but I think the Republicans will eat it up.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Miami Vice 77, America's Future 0

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


The good news is the United States has all the money it needs to slash the national debt.

It has all the money it needs to maintain critical social services, too.

And to stimulate a sick economy.

It has all the cash necessary for rebuilding our crumbling national infrastructure.

We also have all the money we need to help poor children and their families.


The bad news is that we'd rather spend it all on s*** like this instead of stuff like that:

A University of Miami booster, incarcerated for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme, has told Yahoo! Sports he provided thousands of impermissible benefits to at least 72 athletes from 2002 through 2010.

In 100 hours of jailhouse interviews during Yahoo! Sports’ 11-month investigation, Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro described a sustained, eight-year run of rampant NCAA rule-breaking, some of it with the knowledge or direct participation of at least seven coaches from the Miami football and basketball programs. At a cost that Shapiro estimates in the millions of dollars, he said his benefits to athletes included but were not limited to cash, prostitutes, entertainment in his multimillion-dollar homes and yacht, paid trips to high-end restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry, bounties for on-field play (including bounties for injuring opposing players), travel and, on one occasion, an abortion.

Also among the revelations were damning details of Shapiro’s co-ownership of a sports agency – Axcess Sports & Entertainment – for nearly his entire tenure as a Hurricanes booster. The same agency that signed two first-round picks from Miami, Vince Wilfork and Jon Beason, and recruited dozens of others while Shapiro was allegedly providing cash and benefits to players. In interviews with federal prosecutors, Shapiro said many of those same players were also being funneled cash and benefits by his partner at Axcess, then-NFL agent and current UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue. Shapiro said he also made payments on behalf of Axcess, including a $50,000 lump sum to Wilfork, as a recruiting tool for the agency.
ALSO, there's this to consider:
While there may not be many boosters with such an over-the-top story, Shapiro knows he wasn’t the only fan doling out the under-the-table money. Maybe most damning for the sport is the fact that while he took care of current players, he says Miami coaches never asked him to buy a football recruit. Mainly because they felt it was fruitless.

“Miami is not the school where payouts are made to prospective student athletes,” Shapiro said. “Miami is a private institution, it’s in a transient city. We didn’t have the money to pay recruits. There is so much more money in big public universities. In the SEC, the money is an endless river.

“If Miami relied on cash payoffs for players to come to Miami, they’d be out of business. They’d lose every bidding war.

SO, YOU SEE the problem isn't, per the Republican Party, that poor little rich people couldn't possibly afford to be "job creators" any longer if they had to pay a tax rate commensurate with Joe Six-Pack's.

No, the problem is that the priorities of well-to-do Americans are, too often, completely f***ed up. Come to think of it, so are ours.

We get the leadership we deserve, and we get the society we tolerate. Boosters, hookers, football gods, rogue "collegiate" athletic programs and all the rest.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dear kids: Die. Love, the Tea Party


You know, if poor kids had had the decency to stay in their mamas' wombs, conservative Republicans at least could have pretended that their lives had some value.

Now feeding them costs federal dollars that otherwise could be living the high life in rich men's bank accounts. That kind of foolishness will have to stop.

Nothing to see here in this story from
Channel 7 in Omaha. Nothing to consider as tea-party extortionists conspire to blow up the whole government to gain the right to budget-cut the food out of underprivileged kids' mouths.
About 55,000 children in Douglas, Sarpy and Pottawattamie counties qualify for free and reduced school lunches. Now that school is out, those lunches are served in parks where program organizers were overwhelmed with attendance.

The Salvation Army’s Kids Cruzin Kitchen is expected to feed about 350 children per week. Instead, in some cases, they’re seeing 1,000. So far, the kitchen has fed more than 4,000 children.

For 14-year-old Katie Glessman, sometimes a free meal is the only meal.

“I like it because sometimes my mom can't afford to buy food,” Glessman said.

Glessman and her friends who usually eat lunch at school said getting food in the summer can be a struggle.

“You have to figure out how to cook something or just go without,” Glessman said.
AMERICA IS a country with plenty enough money for guns all around the world. Certain factions in Washington, taking advantage of the deadened conscience of a country given over to mammon, want to make sure there's damned little in the piggy bank for butter.

Or bread.

Or Medicaid.

Or Medicare.

Or Social Security.

Or poor children who have survived long enough to emerge from the womb and begin to trouble their betters.

IT MAY BE little comfort for "the least of these" in the short term, but in the long term, we can be sure of at least one thing.

God don't sleep. And vengeance is His.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Baby Diddy


Only Nixon could go to China, and only Baba Wawa could ask The Artist Formerly Known as Puff Daddy why he can be a baby Diddy five times over, but never a real, live, married-to-his-baby-mama -- any of the three -- father.

That's a question P. Diddy still is trying not to answer a day and a half later.

The hemming and hawing went something like this, as reported by the
Daily Mail in London:
"Why I'm not married yet, I don't have the exact reason. Some things in life you don't have the exact reason.

"My father was killed when I was three years old... I never got a chance to see the way a family lives, but I'm not making an excuse."

Not satisfied with his answer, Walters further inquired, "Six children by three women, how much time do you need?"

Diddy cut her off saying: "I get to spend a lot of time with my children. Everybody has a different life. Mine and your life is totally different.

"That's the way it is. My life works for me, it works for my family."

He added: "They have no cavities... and they pray every night."

Diddy is the biological father of five and he is the informal stepfather of another child.


GOOD THING she didn't ask him about that $360,000 first car he gave his 16-year-old:
In July, Diddy called British journalist Martin Bashir a racist, after Bashir grilled the rapper during an interview on Nightline about the star's lavish lifestyle and gifting his son Justin with a $360,000 Maybach car for his 16 birthday.

"There were times in the interview when I had to give him a ultimatum, the questions weren’t being handled the right way,' Diddy explained afterwards.

"In hindsight when I saw him I shouldn’t had done the interview because I know the style of interview that he does. The whole thing about giving a Maybach to my son, that’s really like a racist question.

"You don’t ask white people what they buy their kids and they buy ‘em Porsches and convertible Bentleys and it’s no question.

It’s really a racist question and put things back in perspective with money and the way that people still look at you. And I’m not saying that consciously he’s a racist.

"But he probably don’t even realize that he would not ask Steve Jobs that. He would be like Steve Jobs has that money and that’s the gift his kid is supposed to get."
OH . . . Diddy didn't give a straight answer to the baby-daddy question when Bashir asked it, either.

This after Bashir reminded Diddy of having said he wanted to be "someone that kids want to emulate."

Yeah, there was a racist lurking in that interview, and it wasn't Martin Bashir.

Some African-American (and other) thinkers have argued that most blacks cannot be racist because racism presupposes the power to act upon one's racial prejudices. All right, then, who has the power here?

Martin Bashir, salaried TV journalist? Or Sean "Puff Daddy-P. Diddy" Combs, hip-hop media and marketing mogul?

If Bashir went on national television and screamed the N-word for three days straight, the only life he would be destroying would be his own. He'd be fired. He'd be ridiculed. He'd be shamed. He'd be shunned.

He. Would. Never. Work. Again. (Or at least for a long while.)

BUT WHEN DIDDY -- he who seeks to be emulated -- goes around siring children by multiple women, without marrying any of them, he sets a standard that has been proven socioeconomically toxic to the very people he'd most like to "emulate" him.

When Diddy plays hip-hop mogul, peddling a violent, misogynistic and ubermaterialistic subculture to young people who least need any more violence, misogyny or materialism shoved into their minds, he blows more toxic cultural gas toward the canaries in the American coal mine.

And when Diddy proclaims he's an adequate father to the fruit of all his "baby mamas'" wombs because he shoves some serious cash -- or a Maybach automobile -- at them every now and again, he gives yet another oversexed lout in some American inner city yet another excuse for not acting like a man.

Or acting like a father.

Without the means -- or the tools to acquire the means -- to bandage over the psychic wounds of little children with Benjamins. Or Maybachs.


DAVID DUKE couldn't have hoped to "accomplish" as much in a million white-supremacist years. That's why the ol' neo-Nazi needed a little Diddy magic.