Monday, April 23, 2007

Rock Stars Answer Life's Questions

"Rock stars - is there anything they don't know?"
- Homer Simpson

The smartest people rise to the top, and become celebrities.

Fortunately for us, many are quite willing to share their expertise with us common folk.

Currently, they are sharing their notions about Global Warming, and what we (we being us "common people") can and should be doing about it.

Sheryl Crow (known mostly to me personally because she was Lance Armstrong's girlfriend for awhile) has been on a "Stop Global Warming College Tour." (Evidently one of the best things you can do to stop Global Warming is to get on a biodiesel bus and tour the country.)

There's a story about their adventures in the Washington Post - click HERE to read about "The Biodiesel Bus Blog."

Some of Sheryl's ideas:

- "I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required. "

- Dining Sleeve: "I also like the idea of not using paper napkins, which happen to be made from virgin wood and represent the height of wastefulness. I have designed a clothing line that has what's called a "dining sleeve." The sleeve is detachable and can be replaced with another "dining sleeve," after usage. The design will offer the "diner" the convenience of wiping his mouth on his sleeve rather than throwing out yet another barely used paper product. I think this idea could also translate quite well to those suffering with an annoying head cold.
(She's joking - right? Somebody tell me it's just a joke!)

- Reality show - the contestant who lives the "greenest life" would get a recording contract.

Earth to Sheryl! Earth to Sheryl!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

School Uniforms

Uniforms in public schools? It's a topic of discussion at my house.

My youngest daughter is just finishing up at South Junior High, which implemented Boise Schools' first-ever mandatory-uniform policy this year. And she's headed for Borah High, which is seriously considering doing the same, beginning next year.

Based on my daughter's comments, she's against it, but not "rabidly" against it.

Frankly, I'm not sure how I feel about it.

There are some letters to the editor in today's daily newspaper, arguing both sides of the issue. (Strangely, they're both from men... the affected girls seem way more animated about the issue, than the boys.)

David Everhart of Nampa says: "If somebody is wearing a revealing or offensive clothing, then the current code says send them home. Much like gun laws or immigration, enforce the current laws and new ones will be unnecessary.

"Spare me the notions of class equality. There will always be the 'haves and have nots.' You could force rich kid to wear the same uniform as poor kid, but are you going to ban him/her from driving his BMW to school? Are you going to tell them that the rich/poor barrier magically disappears after high school? There's lots of grownups in uniform right now who are fighting and dying for these kids' right not to wear one, so let it go."

I don't know about the kids' right to not wear a uniform, or people fighting for that particular freedom, but I agree with the rest. (I don't know if the First Amendment extends to attire as "freedom of speech.")

But then, Dan Fisher of Boise makes this point: "Some Borah High students equate uniforms with suppressed creativity. That's a shallow perspective. Remove the superficial exterior from the equation and perhaps students will begin to identify themselves with their thoughts, not their threads. For the truly original students I've known, it wasn't about what they wore; it was about what they thought."

It's hard to argue with either one of those persuasive arguments.

I suggested to my daughter a compromise - uniforms required, but the uniforms would be a costume as worn by your favorite "Village People." That would preserve "creative expression," while maintaining decorum, no? As she does ever-so-frequently, my daughter just groaned and rolled her eyes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Name That Housing Development!

In a previous post, I pointed out that there is no oversight when it comes to subdivision naming, and some of the flagrant abuse of that situation.

Here's a strange one. The Clock Tower Apartments, behind where Bob Rice Ford used to be, just off Main Street.
Actually it's quite a nice-looking apartment complex, except for the clock tower! What's with that?!! The clock tower looks to be made out of 4x4 posts and plywood! (If it were a lovely, ornate clock tower... like say Big Ben, or the Depot tower, or even the celebrated $76,000 Timberline High School clock tower, it would be a different story!)

Also - take a close look at that clock tower. Two different times on two clocks - must be that the innards are just as shoddy! (Or maybe one of the clocks displays California Time, for the recently-displaced Californians who live there.)

If that is the Clock Tower Apartments, then this must be the Cell Tower subdivision.
(This is not a doctored photo... it's out near the intersection of South Maple Grove and Amity.)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mid-April Income Tax Rant

Every year, I swear I'm going to get my taxes "out of the way" early on, so I don't have to fret over them.

Also every year, I end up waiting 'til a couple days before the deadline, because the job is so distasteful and repulsive. (I'd rather clean out the rain gutters and change swamp-cooler pads, than work on my income taxes!)

Also every year, some of our politicians roll out the idea of a much-simplified income tax system.

Who's standing in the way? The powerful CPA lobby? Turbo Tax Inc?

What would ol' Tom Jefferson say, if he were working on his income taxes, and got to the line, "Do you have qualified dividends from Form 1040, Line 9B, or Form 1040NR, Line 10? If so, complete the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Worksheet on Page 38..." And the worksheet on Page 38, of course, has you go find numbers at a half-dozen random places, and then subtract Line 26 from Line 22B, and multiply the result by 2.74, and compare your answer with Line 41 on Form 3562...

One thing's for absolutely certain: When I sign my name saying "to the best of my knowledge, this is true, correct, and complete," that is the absolute truth! Because I don't have a clue! (And to the best of my knowledge, neither does anybody in the IRS, or in Congress!)

The only reason I'm looking forward to dying, is because I won't have to fill out any more 1040s or Schedule Ds or 39Rs... Ah, death, where is thy sting?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Don Imus said something offensive? I'm shocked!

Don Imus is the latest casualty of Foot-in-Mouth Disease. He said some racist and mean-spirited things about the Rutgers University womens basketball players. (Following the proud tradition that has been fostered along by Jimmy the Greek, John Rocker, Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, Tim Hardaway, Ann Coulter, and a host of other sports and screen luminaries.)

Some readers may not even know who Don Imus is, or may have never heard of him before this publicity. (Who knows? Perhaps this crisis will end up helping his career in the long run. Stranger things have happened.)

Don Imus is a radio talker who I'd describe as a "low-power shock jock." On the scale, he's jalapeƱo to Howard Stern's habanero. He's been at it for 20-odd years; what distinguishes him is that he wears a cowboy hat when he talks on the radio. (Huh?)

[DISCLAIMER: I've never listened to Howard Stern on the radio. And I've only listened to Don Imus maybe a half-dozen times. So I may not know what I'm talking about, at least from personal experience.]

I think it's safe to say people who tune in to Howard Stern, or Don Imus, do so expecting and even hoping to hear something outrageous. Why do we gasp and faint when they oblige?

Problem is - it's a political-correctness tightrope these people walk. You have to be very careful when you're picking your targets to say outrageous things about.

RULE 1 - don't say bad stuff 'bout black people or gays. How hard is it to understand? Both of those groups will come down hard on you!

(Actually, RULE 1 is probably "don't say bad stuff 'bout Muslims!" They'll carve your head off with a machete!)

Other groups - like white folks, or Christians or Jews - are fair game. Jesse Jackson - one of the spokesmen for the Black Indignation League - once referred to the "Jewish" part of New York City as "Hymie-town." So apparently it's only racism when it's directed at a group in which he claims membership.

I've got a question. For those who have risen up in Imus-indignation. Have you ever listened to that hip-hop / gangsta "music"? I try to avoid it, but I know one of the main topics is "hos" and such. And I bet in 2 minutes, in the music store of your choice, I could find CDs with utterances much more racially charged and offensive than what Imus said. Black kids and white kids are scoopin' that stuff up - and "singing" along!

"Reverend" Al Sharpton - a windbag if ever there was one - let Imus grovel on his radio show.

Which raises another question.


What if Imus hadn't said those things? Would Sharpton still have had a radio show? Who listens? What would the topic have been?

Sharpton should be thanking Imus for saying those things. If it weren't for guys like Imus, guys like Sharpton would be totally irrelevant, instead of mostly irrelevant. Sharpton is a Professional Racist - he makes a living by being a racist. Imus and the others are pale amateurs by comparison!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Jesus is a golf fan?

If you've seen the movie "Caddyshack" (or more likely if you're a big "Caddyshack" fan like I am), you may remember the classic scene where the priest is out playing golf in a torrential thunderstorm. Even though his golf buddies (Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield) have long since headed for the clubhouse, he just can't bring himself to stop, because he's having his best game ever! (With Bill Murray caddying, giving advice, and looking on.) Every hole - several strokes under par! In one case, his putt goes right past the hole; a sudden wind-gust blows it back in. As he completes the 18th Hole, he thrusts his arms heavenward, in a victorious gesture, and lightning hits the upstretched golf club. He drops dead, on the green, in the driving rain. God has obviously called him home.

Cinderella story.

Divinity was once again invoked, or suggested, at this year's "Cinderella story." The Masters.

Zach Johnson won. (I know... "Who?" Except for "Caddyshack" and Tiger Woods, I pretty much agree with Mark Twain on golf: "A good walk spoiled.")

Anyway, Mr. Johnson, commenting on his Easter Sunday win, declared, "I certainly felt another power that was walking with me and guiding me."

This is obviously nothing new. The outcome of a majority of sporting events is determined by help from Above (and "my momma"), based on acknowledgments of MVPs, winners, etc.

I suppose this is a demonstration of faith, in a rather simple and temporal way. (As is the guy in the rainbow wig who holds up the sign saying "John 3:16" - "The Official Scripture of the NFL.")

In reality, I'd guess that:
1) Jesus is not that interested in sporting events (although I know He's deeply concerned about the spiritual welfare of the participants... even the ones with tattoos), and
2) He would prefer that they be held on some day other than the Sabbath.

IF they watched sports in Heaven, 24/7, and IF they were interested... BYU, Notre Dame and Oral Roberts would never lose! (Except when they play each other, of course!)

One final note... if the TVs in Heaven are tuned to golf (or men's figure-skating, etc.) I think I'd rather go to "the other place," because that ain't Heaven for me! (-;