By Dave Simpson, columnist
“There’s lunatics out there, and some of them are on our side!”
That’s a quote from noted cowboy poet and veterinarian Baxter Black, and I think it about sums up our country at this point. Turns out we’ve all got some lunatics on our side, and anyone who pays attention to the news darn well knows it.
(I heard that Baxter Black quote last weekend on the Clear Out West Radio Show, hosted by Jim and Andy Nelson. I never miss it. I didn’t know I was the family “pot wrestler” until I heard a poem about cowboy cooks on COW Radio.)
A guy has to keep up with the news to know who among us is trending toward the high end of the open-ended lunacy scale. So, let’s catch up on some current events:
– For months now, I’ve been seeing a car parked at the grocery store with this bumper sticker (mentioned here once before):
“Ted Bundy was a Republican.”
Now, I’m a registered Republican, so you’d think that I’d be offended by this driver reminding us that brutal serial murderer Ted Bundy – executed in the Florida electric chair in 1989 – was at one time an up-and-coming young Republican in Washington State.
I find, however, that I am amused by the bumper sticker, because it is such a concise (five words) summation of this person’s political beliefs. Not many of us could distill our politics into a mere five words, and the world would be better off if we could. We could get on to talking about other things, things that might actually make a difference.
Nevertheless, it occurs to me that there is a perfect bumper sticker response to Bundy being a Republican:
“John Wayne Gacy hung out with Democrats!”
(There’s a photograph of the Chicago-area serial killer – executed by lethal injection in Illinois in 1994 – with former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in 1975.)
Both parties, apparently, get their share of serial killers.
– A guy at exercise has a t-shirt that says, “De-fund the Media!” (I didn’t tell him about my former line of work.)
Problem is, much of the media has already been de-funded. According to the Pew Research Center, newspaper advertising revenues are down 70 percent over the last 20 years. And research done by the University of North Carolina shows that more than 1,800 newspapers have closed since 2004.
I understand not liking the mainly liberal mainstream media. But this is a sad development for those who want our local news.
– Humorist Garrison Keillor once observed that “a great newspaper is a great newspaper,” but a bad newspaper is “a joy every day.”
As an old editor, I made my share of mistakes, maybe more than my share. (Oh, the stories I could tell.) But Keillor is right that catching the local editor in a misspelled word, an incorrect name, or a bone-headed mistake is one of the true joys of subscribing.
– Another guy at exercise has a t-shirt that says, “There’s BEER in them there hills!” which makes me smile. And another guy arrives in a fur coat over his exercise clothes, looking for all the world like flamboyant Jesse “The Body” Ventura.
A stocky guy wears a t-shirt that says, “Eat more SPAM!” And a lady at Walmart this week had a t-shirt that said, “I don’t get drunk. I get AWESOME!”
– One thing I’m not noticing at exercise lately is guys walking around buck naked in the locker room. (I once wrote that they act like they’ve got a winning entry in the county fair.) I haven’t had to divert my eyes from a naked guy in quite some time. So we can all thank our stars for that.
– In a podcast this week, Bill O’Reilly mentioned something he’s been hearing lately from observers in Washington:
“If it ain’t broke, Biden will break it!”
– And lastly, I mentioned to my wife the other day that spotting corned beef on sale at our local grocery store for 99 cents a pound was more exciting than anything that has happened to me in a long, long time.
Pretty sad, huh?
Dave Simpson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org