Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?

91 Is That A Gun In Your Pocket?

It’s only a matter of time before the “ring tones” include the sound of an AK 47 or an Uzi. Or at least the sound of a Colt .45.

They call the sounds that cell phones make “ring TONES” because phones don’t actually RING anymore. Not even real phones attached to real land lines.

So, they make sounds and most of the sounds are inoffensive, and they call ‘em tones.

Most cell phones don’t make sounds similar to weapons. They are much deadlier. They play imbecile-grin versions of classic and classical melodies. “Moonlight Sonata” is a current favorite. For the devout, there’s always “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring.” And for the frolickers (does anyone really FROLIC?), there’s always a snappy Latin favorite like “La Cucaracha” or maybe “Brazil.”

Notice they use older melodies. This is largely because newer songs don’t HAVE melodies, any more than newer telephones have rings.

Soon people will tire of stupid melodies played stupidly, and that’s when you can expect the sounds of weaponry.

Beside the AK47 and the Uzi, we’re likely to get the sounds of a suicide bomb, downloaded live from Iraq, Lebanon, or Israel. For the traditionalists, there are the authentic sounds of an American Revolution era blunderbuss. (Remember, back in those days, almost no one owned a gun, except in times of war, and one of those Uzis could have changed the course of the war if it had been on the side of the Tories. Even when militias were granted the right to bear arms, most didn’t. Gun nuttiness is a 20th Century phenom.)

After the upcoming Sounds of Mass Destruction, we may expect to hear telephones imitate the sounds of traffic, or the sounds of typewriters or adding machines. Or pinball machines. Or windup toys. Or the hooves of horses. Or windup alarm clocks. Or AM radio. All kinds of stuff you don’t hear anymore, or that several generations have NEVER heard.

Construction noises are waiting in the wings. Jackhammers. Cement mixers. Cranes. Steam shovals.

And let’s not forget transportation sounds: garbage trucks backing up or ingesting trash, for example. Steam engines. Ambulances. Fire trucks. Police cars. Subway cars.

Or cows, sheep, goats and barking dogs.

Or factory sounds: the five o’clock whistle. The Ford production line. (Would have said the GM production line, but that’s likely a thing of the past by the time you read or hear this.

Or office sounds – like paper jamming in a Xerox machine. Perhaps even a shredder shredding e-mails.

Kitchen sounds, maybe. A tea kettle, boiling water.

All of these are better than electronic rendition of “The Anvil Chorus” or Beethoven’s Fifth.

But no silly synthesized sound is better at signaling an incoming call than a plain old telephone ring.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Breaking Radio's First Rule

90 Breaking Radio’s First Rule

The First Rule of radio: No Dead Air. Keep the sound going at all costs. There’s even a federal law about that. It says the transmitter has to “dump,” or turned off when dead air lasts too long, which is about one minute.

Not that anyone allowed a full minute.

Oh, sure…. There are the pregnant or dramatic pauses. The kind used by such luminaries as Paul Harvey and Allen Walden and a few others (the undersigned included.)

And there are the two-beat pauses between songs or commercials – the kind you hear on classical and beautiful music stations. Lasts just long enough to get your attention.

But other than that, No Dead Air. It’s the First Rule.

That’s a rule born in the late 1950s at the start of the “top 40” era. Music stations wanted a constant stream of sound. Music, jingles, commercials, announcements, comments, whatever. (KILT, Houston is the best example.)

Figure that was the work of Gordon McClendon, who pioneered format radio, pretty much the only kind we know today. News services soon followed the music. The most outlandish example of this may be the rapid-fire Drake-Chenault format in which everything overlapped and announcers were fired for breaking pace or stumbling over something in a live read. (WOR-FM and it’s later version “99x” are maybe the best examples.

Things have calmed a bit since those days.

But the First Rule still lives.

Except sometimes it doesn’t.

Like here in Moote Pointe PA where they have a grand total of three AM radio stations you can get easily most hours of most days.

These guys never heard of the First Rule.

Can you imagine this happening where YOU are? It’s Sunday morning. The network newscast ends at five minutes past the hour. Then nothing. After that, more nothing. After that STILL more nothing. A minute passes. Then two. Then three, then four. The un-modulated carrier continues carrying… nothing.

By this time, anyone tuned in has tuned out.

This, you say, must be a technical problem. Maybe something in the audio chain. Maybe something happened to the automation that’s supposed to bring in the “Encore Presentation of Rush” or whatever they had scheduled. Maybe someone forgot to put the commercials into the computer.

You would think that if this were the first time you heard such stuff. But around here, everybody’s doin’ it.

And you know what? It’s a pleasure to not listen to.

When you think about it, the choice is to listen to five minutes of idiotic ads or public service announcements or to listen to nothing until the next program comes on – even if it IS an “Encore Presentation of Rush” or “The Best of Billy Graham” or the “Sunday Morning Polka Festival.”

It’s not just Sundays this happens. Every day. On all three of the stations, which, by the way, are not part of a clump or a cluster or whatever they call a bunch of radio stations in approximately the same area owned by one operator.

Silence. What a concept!

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Tale of Three Kings

89 A Tale of Three Kings,

Dear Kenny & Jeffie,

You disgraceful pigs finally got (almost) what you deserve.

What you did is called “white collar crime.” But it ain’t.

It’s violence. And it should be punished for what it is, though you can bet it won’t be. At least not by the so-called criminal justice system.

Maybe there’s a guy at Club Fed who knows the difference between a “shank” in golf and a SHANK. And maybe he’ll use it, though that’s not likely.

It’s like you went into the houses of your employees and your stockholders. One of you pointed an AK 47 at the assembled. The other bound and gagged same.

Then you looted their lives. You took their money. You took their hopes and dreams. You took the infrastructure of their lives and their futures… fired a couple of shots into the ceiling and fled into the Texas night.

Kenny Boy, as the President called you before the spin cycle began, you are a rapist and a murderer of the spirit. Jeffie, you thought you could make something out of nothing, and for awhile it seemed you did.

The press calls what you sought to create “off the books entities,” but what you actually created was a rape – no less of a rape than what happened in Poland during WWII and Bosnia and Albania during the latest Balkan dusts-up.

It’s rape. It’s murder. It’s breaking and entering, it’s burglary, robbery, conspiracy and murder all at once.

And maybe it’s sedition.

You undermined and manipulated the so-called free market, exposing it for the fragile fraud it is.

What you did amounts to an attempted overthrow of the fourth and most powerful branch of the American government, Capital.

And the executioners should be the would-be retirees, the honest investors, the people who believed in you… foolish as they were.

You were the power behind the throne in one case, and the actual throne in another.

And all three kings should be beheaded, forthwith.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Parking Violations Bureau

88 The Parking Violations Bureau

Of all the idiot government agencies in the Known Universe, none is the equal of the New York City Parking Violations Bureau.

They’ve been chasing Lisa for years, now.

Who is Lisa? Have no idea.

But according to the PVB, we share an address.

That neither of us lives there is of no consequence.

That she never did, is meaningless.

But whomever Lisa is, she does not believe in paying parking tickets in the City of New York. And when the address change was submitted, and after countless writing on envelopes “THIS PERSON DOES NOT LIVE HERE.” The PVB still doesn’t get it and keeps sending Lisa’s tickets. The USPS dutifully forwards it to the new address here in Moote Pointe PA.

Hooray for the Post Office. They get it right.

Boo to the PVB.

They must have people sitting around in a Department of Sadistic Threats who make sure that misaddressed mail keeps being sent to the wrong address.

They get to their desks about 10 in the morning, and after they have their coffee and donuts, and chitchat about all their latest news and read the paper, they gleefully pick targets. They are more accurate than Iraqi Scuds. They always get their man. Or their woman. By the time they go home at the end of the day (which is 3:45,) they’ve found their latest victim or victims.

But sometimes, they make amends. Here’s the kind of story once can’t make up:

The undersigned once worked for radio station WOR, which at the time was at the corner of Broadway and 40th Street. There was a special parking zone on that corner, reserved for reporters who had specially issued license plates with the letters “NYP,” in the number.

So, there’s the ’79 Plymouth Duster with its distinctive license plate, “NYP 1776,” parked in the “NYP zone.”

After work, one day, there’s a ticket on the windshield. “Illegally parked in an NYP zone.”

Send in the fine, what the hell. Send in a copy of the registration with the fine. Send in a photo of the car and the license plate with the copy of the registration and the fine. Send it all, and forget it.

Ah, but the PVB makes amends. It sends a refund. AND an apology.

Well, not exactly an apology… but what passes for an apology among idiot municipal departments.

Received nine years to the date after the ticket landed on the windshield. Nine years.

Maybe they’ll find Lisa and send another apology.

In which case, beware of illegally parked flying pigs.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Achooo!

87 Achooo!

The End-time crowd must be having a picnic. It’s Spring, 2006 and one of the worst allergy seasons on record. This is a sure sign of the end of life as we know it.

No amount of Claritin cured this year’s pollen festival.

Prayers for unstuffed noses went unanswered. Itchy, watery eyes and all the other symptoms printed on the labels of the over the counter medicines popped out of the trees, the flowers, and the air in general. Enough of them to affect everyone, even those who aren’t allergic.

Okay, so it’s a historic-sites grade bad allergy season, what has that to do with “End-times?”

Nothing by itself.

But couple this with the predicted number and intensity of Atlantic hurricanes set to hit us from summer through the November, and NOW you’ve got something.

Each year before the storm cycle begins, the atmospheric scientists tell us it’s going to be a bad one. They have been right more than they’ve been wrong lately, which is championship behavior for anyone who’s job is even slightly related to “weather forecaster.”

So this year, they figure they need two alphabets to name all the storms and they figure there’ll be more high-category hurricanes than in the memory of anyone living.

Super allergies, super storms.

But is that combination enough to convince us that the planet is about to be wiped out?

Don’t see a lot of Arks under construction. Maybe it’s because they’re allergic to wooden planks and haven’t figured out yet how to make one out of fiberglass.

Look for further signs: Like if the American Baath Party loses its present domination of Congress and some state houses.

Yeah, that would be a sign, alright. Voices from the heavens telling us we’ve not been up to Baath standards and therefore will have to pay with our lives… in the slow destruction born upon us by sneezing, stuffy nose, watery and itchy eyes, major hurricanes and public officials who are members of the Democratic Party.

Horrible way to go.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Friday, May 19, 2006

Malled

86 Malled

It took about an hour to get by car from Moote Pointe PA to Los Angeles the other day.

No, wait. Maybe it wasn’t Los Angeles. It might have been Toronto. Or maybe Miami.

Arrived there (wherever “there” is,) and couldn’t figure out where we all were. The landmarks were all familiar: The Gap, Old Navy, McDonald’s. Sears. A high rise parking garage. Moderate weather.

So where was “there?”

Finally figured it out: Altoona.

A great railroad town with a rich and storied history. None of which was evident.

Mall. Car dealer. Fast food cluster. Looked exactly like everywhere else.

So, what happens when we loose our sense of geography and the uniqueness of an area?

First we get the preservationist/capitalist types who insist on building either an amusement park or historic site (can you tell the difference?) commemorating the rich and storied history.

This is how we got Colonial Williamsburg. And Dollywood.

Then we get the ads. Come to Colonial Dollywood and visit the America that used to never was.

The ultimate expression of this idea: restoring Colonial Coney Island, Brookyn, New York.

Ah, yes, the rich and storied history of the boardwalk.

How many illegal beers, illegal smokes, illegal drugs were made under that boardwalk. And how many babies?

How many gallons of bile were either retained or not retained on that grotesque wooden cyclone.

How long were YOU stuck on the parachute jump?

How many critical decisions were made while eating a hotdog at the original Nathan’s?

Brooklyn was always a schtetleboro. But it did have a rich and storied history. And make no mistake about it, that IS what history’s made of.

Not great acts, like the signing of the Declaration of Independence or the ratification of the US Constitution. Not the declaration of WWII or the surrenders that ended it.

No, guys. History is what happened at the Mall yesterday, right there between the Sears in Los Angeles and the Sears in Altoona. Hardly any distance at all.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

85 Credentialism

85 Credentialism

A recent survey says drivers are rude. Wow. Who would have believed that?

Miami led, followed (without displaying turn signals) New York, Boston and Los Angeles in no particular order.

Incompetent drivers come from the same poisoned well as incompetent everything else.

Anyone can get a license.

Jersey City Jack has one. Says he doesn’t use it because he can’t see out of one eye and he’d be a danger. A rare burst of sense. Sunset Village Schmule has one. Can barely see over the steering wheel. He’s 104 years old but he still drives. Three miles an hour in a 65 zone. He should get in touch with Jersey City Jack for some sense lessons. But he can’t hear well enough to use the phone.

Bad drivers can kill. But so can bad anything with the appropriate credential.

We revere degrees and licenses as the Europeans of the last century did. “Herr Doktor. Herr Doctor.”

But many have become so shallow or meaningless by definition that we revere emptiness.

Bad drivers kill. So do bad MBAs (though this may be a redundant phrase.) Here’s a degree with no meaning at all. Here’s a degree with no standards, no legitimate object. But when Billionaire Bob tells us he has a Harvard MBA (which is something like the Yen or the Lira,) all of a sudden he’s not only rich, but he’s SMART.

Then there’s the JD, which is what lawyers have. Legal education in this country is the equivalent to a second bachelor’s degree. But The “D” in JD stands for Doctor and the lawyers all will tell you it’s a “terminal” degree (highest issued in the field.) It ain’t.

And the PhD. There’s a slippery bunch. Make sure you address them as “Doctor” rather than Mister or Ms. or Ms. The worked hard for that piece of paper. Well, they THINK they did because the definition of hard work has been diluted even more than the value of the degree.

Some of them really DO work hard. And some of them work both hard and smart. But many of them work in bogus disciplines. Economics and Sociology, to name two.

An economist is an arithmetician who once took a political science course.

A sociologist is an arithmetician who once took a history course.

Neither of these arithmeticians has the oomph to get a job as a bookkeeper, let alone a staff position at H&R Block. So they do the next best thing: make pronouncements of the obvious. Or they invent obscure theories that we lived perfectly well without and sometimes win Nobel Prizes for their trouble.

Some of these guys go on to teach. That’s where the killing part comes in.

When a bad driver (or, for that matter,) even a GOOD driver knocks you off your feet, sends you hurtling skyward, then earthward you know you’ve been hurt – if you live through it.

When the JDs, MBAs, PhDs kill you, it’s a much slower process.

Slower, but no less painful and no less effective.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Monday, May 15, 2006

Go Blame It On The Mountain

(84) Go Blame It On The Mountain

There’s been a whole lot of fuss about a radio announcer named “Star” in New York, NY. Apparently, this guy made threats against someone’s child or children, offered money for an address and hurled a racial and sexual epithet at some woman. Star got fired.

Should probably never have been hired in the first place, but radio has become a place that hires people like that – and like the truly harmful talk show people.

This is not going to be a defense of one radioman from another.

This is going to place the blame where the blame should be placed and that is in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the Great Mountain West, as the Salt-lake-onians like to call it.

How’s that?

Well, some history. In the 1960s, a company from that town bought a shortwave broadcasting station in New York, and couldn’t sell much advertising on it because no one on Madison Avenue could hear it, and the owners didn’t think to supply them with recordings so they could get an idea about what was being broadcast, which was mostly dinner music for people without appetite.

Instead, they bought a crummy little FM radio station in Woodside, NY on which they simulcast the shortwave program.

Madison Avenue then could hear the shortwave. They didn’t like it any better than they did when they couldn’t hear it at all.

But a funny thing happened. Madison Avenue liked the crummy little FM station just fine, thank you and so did the public.

The Utah mob moved the place into the heart of Manhattan, where it grew to become a major player. It was unexpected. Decades of unexpectedness.

Decades of gobs of incoming money.

But the Salt-lake-onians never were comfortable in New York, never understood it and never liked it.

So, eventually, they took the incoming gobs of money and fiddled with the radio station to the point that they drove the entire audience and all of Madison Avenue away.

Eventually, they sold it for gobs of incoming money more than they paid for it, and walked away, dusting their hands. And washing their hands of New York, NY.

If they hadn’t, they’d still have the money machine, which they called “WRFM,” and which was at 105.1 on the dial.

And there would be no “Power 105-one.” And there would be no racial slurs because the previous owners were very sensitive to that kind of thing.

So we get this Star guy because some corporate types in the Great Mountain West couldn’t leave well enough alone.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Disclaimer: The above-signed worked for 14 years at WRFM, during which he developed a love for dinner music for people without appetite and a mildly intense dislike for the Great Mountain West.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Socks Were Nothing

83 The Socks Were Nothing

You know how clothes drying machines lose socks, right?

You put in several pairs and fewer come out, but never an even number.

They vanish and sometimes return but sometimes not.

O, for those days.

After the Big Move from New York to Pennsylvania, a few missing socks would be chickenfeed.

Important things have “gone missing.” (see the earlier Wessay about “Went Missing… Went Dead…” (11/28/05)

Where is the title to the car? (Need to register the thing in the new state.)

Where is the passport (need to prove identity.)

Where is the 1921 Stella Guitar?

Where is the deed to this house?

Where is the Brooks Brothers suit?

Where is the can of “Yuban 100% Colombian coffee?”

They are not, as you might think, in the clothes dryer.

Nor are they in any of the boxes labeled “Important” or “Immediate.”

They are gone.

Where are the Elvis “Sun” records?

Where is the power drill?

The things that no one would ever miss or need or provoke the question “Why is that still around?” are in easy reach. The yellow ceramic Hippo. The tubs of Morton’s Salt. The Sears Craftsman circular saw. The “Today Show” name badge.

The socks were nothing compared to this stuff.

They haven’t made 1921 Stella guitars since 1921.

The deed is proof of ownership.

Yuban doesn’t come in 100% Colombian anymore.

The drill was a symbol of suburban life.

The Elvis records are both unplayable and priceless.

But the ceramic hippo is right there on the window sill.

Where is the toilet paper?

Where is the Mennen Skin Bracer?

Where is the Grey Goose Vodka?

Where is the shredder?

Where is the “A” train.

Eventually, most of this stuff will turn up.

Probably be in back of the dryer.

Or maybe it’s on the moving truck, last seen heading from Moote Pointe, PA to Fresno.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Turbo And Bold

82 Turbo And Bold

Recently, the two major burger joints changed their coffee.

Now, each offers three versions: decaf (which we coffee “lovers” reject out of hand, “regular,” and “strong.”

They leave you with the impression that the stronger blend is prescription strength and they’re taking a great risk allowing you to buy it over the counter. They want you to think that Blue Cross would in former years, give you a reduced rate for the stuff if you bought a three month supply through the mail.

They want to be thought of as daring and pioneering and hip.

Burger King needed work, for sure. There stuff was watery, thin, tasteless. Now, it’s … it’s… um… watery, thin and tasteless in a slightly less metallic way. To extend the prescription strength myth just a bit, some Burger Kings (or is it Burgers King?) compel you to ask for it. They keep it behind the counter so as not to offend the Coffee Temperance crowd or expose young children to something this potent.

From one who will tolerate almost any substance with caffeine in it: This stuff was no good to begin with and it’s no good now.

Might help if they aged it for an extra day or two between brewing and selling.

(Note to Burger King fans: Wendy’s coffee is still worse, plus they’re not open for breakfast.)

Give Burger King a “B” for effort. Their “Turbo” blend is not ready for prime time.

McDonalds, on the other hand tried to fix something that wasn’t broken.

Once, they had the most consistently good cup of “normal” coffee in America. Now, they have two marginal players, “Smooth” and “Bold.”

Smooth is the old blend, only much more water. Bold is the old blend with a little more octane. But nothing you can’t drink a couple of hours before bedtime and still sleep soundly through the night.

And McDonald’s CARDS you.

Used to be you got carded in the saloon to make sure you were legally old enough to drink. Now they card you at the saloon and the fast food joint to make sure you’re old enough to get the senior discount.

Maybe they should station nurses with oxygen equipment in every McDonald’s. They don’t have to be real nurses and it doesn’t have to be real oxygen. But it’ll further that “prescription strength” image they’re trying to project.

Meantime, as a public service: here’s how to make your own prescription strength coffee, a tried and true recipe from the Research Department at the Wessays secret seaside laboratory in Peacefully Suburban Moote Pointe NY:

Six heaping (REALLY Heaping) tablespoons of cheap coffee in an equally cheap coffee maker. Forget the fancy stuff and the fancy machinery. We’re talking saving lives, here.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Goodbye, The House

(81) Goodbye, The House

The move from Moote Pointe NY to Moote Pointe PA is complete.

The final step was what the real estate people call “the closing on…” the New York house, which was home for 40 years and some months.

The thing cost $14,500 in 1966. Accounting for inflation, it is now worth something between $80-thousand and $90-thousand. But it sold for more. A LOT more.

Provokes feelings of being a thief.

It should provoke feelings of being a pioneer. What? There’s no pioneering in buying or selling a house on Long Island. It happens every day. Hundreds of times every day.

Ah, but this was a pioneering post-bubble sale. It may have “sold for… a lot more,” but it sold for a lot LESS than it would have, say, six months earlier.

People are leaving in droves.

From the formerly rickety planned community of Levittown to the ever so feet-off-the-ground planned community of Garden City (which was originally conceived as a Levittown for the rich and protestant and now is Levittown for any rich,) people are packing up and going elsewhere.

Rodger came to New York from Minnesota maybe 35 years ago and wanted to live on The Island. But he never did. Traffic –even then – was too much for him to bear. So he went instead to New Jersey.

Rodger’s departure from the twin cities left Minnesota with only one real conservative, which is how we got Wellstone and Humphrey and all those guys.

But even the allure of a one party county (Republican) wasn’t strong enough for him to knuckle under to the tax rate, the confused and confusing inter-intra governmental shenanigans and the Long Island Expressway on a weekday morning.

Recently, they re-assessed all the houses. Taxes weren’t going to increase because the rate went down while the market values (still calculated from 1932 prices. This is not a joke or typo!) rose.

The county hired a company from Ohio or some such place to do the reassessment (someone must have had a cousin in Ohio.) The re-assessors didn’t go into the houses or anything like that. No. They put people with cameras on the streets, photographed every house and guessed. The Ohioans were nice people. But they made some non-native mistakes. Like reducing the values of all the waterfront homes because they might flood. People KILL for those places. They fixed that mistake, eventually. But one wonders whether they made others we DON’T know of.

Like “The House,” as in the title of this Wessay™. A passable place, yes. But not 40 or 50 times more valuable than when it was built.

The greatest accomplishment in 40 years of residence? Raising four kids with only one bathroom.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Liberal Media

(80) The Liberal Media

Yes, we’re all a bunch of Un-American Commies. Every last living one of us.

We’re right up there with the “Daily Worker” and the “Weekly People,” getting that monolithic industrial union built up, destroying freedom (shouldn’t that be spelled with a capital “f?”)

We’ll be back with more of today’s topic after this word from our sponsor, History and your local History Dealer:

Commercial: “Do you know when the term “liberal media” first came into popular usage? It was just around the end of World War II and first appeared in a well-known and widely circulated Midwestern newspaper.

It applied to just three organizations: The “New York Times,” “NBC” and “CBS.” Can you guess what these three organizations had in common? It’s not just their New York locations. We’ll be back with the answer at the end of today’s program.

So, let’s examine that commie thing: And let’s start with the three major and two semi major television companies. CBS is owned by the remnants of Westinghouse via Viacom. These are two well known left wing fronts. ABC is owned by the Walt Disney Company. Anyone who knows anything about Walt and his successors knows they’re long running supporters of all things Progressive. NBC is owned by those great social activists at General Electric.

Fox, as they repeatedly remind us, is a-political. No axes to grind there. And CNN is so confused they’re lucky to get anything on the air at all.

Then there’s the New York Post, the Washington Times, the Weekly Standard The Wall Street Journal and Rush. All well known lefties.

Yes, you conservatives are thoroughly screwed. We have you by the “hand,” and we’re squeezing.

The REAL liberal media have their own “big three:” Air America Radio, “The Nation” and “Mother Jones.”

Ratings, Influence and circulation close to zero, mostly preaching to the choir. The aforementioned “Daily Worker” and “Weekly People” are long gone.

We’re not sure just how influential is “America’s most influential newspaper,” the Times. But the Progressives are forever calling it conservative, and the conservatives are forever branding it leftist. There’s good evidence that it’s neither – but is merely playing the role of leadership on its own planet.

It’s not a good planet on which to be, these days. It’s one of those companies where the founding family has something like five percent of the stock and 80 percent of the vote. And the Wall Street types are getting itchy about that arrangement.

That’s our look at the liberal media… brought to you by the Discipline you forget, “History” and your local History retailer.

Commercial: Our History question today was “What did the ‘New York Times,’ ‘NBC’ and ‘CBS’ have in common at the end of World War II, that provoked a Midwestern newspaper to call them ‘the liberal media?” The answer: they were all owned and/or managed by Jewish guys.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Zack The Moose

(79) Zack The Moose

So, what would you have done if left to vote on the fate of Z. Moussaui?

Baloney! You have no idea what you would have done.

Neither does anyone else.

On the one hand, here’s a guy who hates America, who wants to destroy us, who participated in some way in the 9/11 attacks.

He said he wanted to die. Do you believe him? If so, why would you? If not, why not.

Were he to be executed, he would (a) save the USA a ton of money. It costs big bucks to keep people in prison. But less than the costs surrounding an execution. And (b) would become a martyr to his cause.

This space has long believed and often expressed the belief that martyrdom is meaningless.

Like, Dude, who cares if he’s a martyr. Hasn’t done much for MLKing@SCLC.org. Hasn’t done much for YRabin@peacenik.Is. Didn’t do a hell of a lot for JFK@NDC.org. Martyrdom is overrated.

Those of us who believed that OJ would be convicted and would convert to Islam were wrong on both counts. OJ knows that residuals are better than martyrdom. Maybe Zack the Moose does, too.

So, maybe what he said isn’t what he really thought. But who cares.

Now, he’ll spend the rest of his life behind bars (who knows how long that life will be.)

But let us pause one moment to remember a good friend, who will be known in this corner only as Tinkerbell.

Tink is 6’7” and weighs close to 350 pounds.

At most recent check he was serving a short sentence for sticking up a 7-11 in New Jersey.

Too bad for the rest of us that Mr. Bell no longer is behind bars, for if he were, he would know how to handle “Zack The Moose,” and would have no compunction about so-doing.

That would solve a lot of these problems. And it would keep “Preparation-H” in business.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

(78) Raining Apples & Oranges

(78) It’s Raining Apples & Oranges

Have you ever tried to figure this one out? “That’s comparing apples and oranges.”

Well, let’s see. Both are fruit. Both are more or less spherical. An average “Granny Smith” weighs about the same as an average Sunkist. Both grow on trees. They are generally close to each others readings on a spectrometer. Both are good sources of various kinds of vitamins and fiber.

There are, of course, some differences. There is no city known as “The Big Orange.” There could be. But there isn’t. (And would that New York would try to disown that disgraceful “Big Apple” nickname!) There are several Orange Counties. The Research Staff at the Wessays Secret Seaside Laboratory cannot find an “Apple County” in the United States.

There are songs about apples, but not many because very little rhymes with “apple.” There are fewer songs about oranges, because “orange” does not have a direct rhyme.

But basically, comparing apples and oranges seems perfectly okay, though we shun it.

Then there’s the “dog-person” “cat-person” conflict which is as artificial and artless as the apples and oranges “dichotomy.”

We’ve hooked characteristics to these animals (sometimes accurately, sometimes not,) and we’re gonna stick with them no matter what!

Say the word “Dogfight,” and you conjure up images of World War II fighters over the skies of the North Sea… valiant Allied Defenders, keeping the spread of Nazism from the shores of The Empire.

“Catfight.” What? Two women in a Honky-Tonk. Hairpulling, maybe a small caliber handgun.

Cats are sneaky, dogs are loyal? Tell that to the late Grey The Cat, who was neither.

Tell that to Boomer the Dog, who is both.

Cats are lazy, dogs work hard.

Not always the case. Cats take catnaps, between bouts of mouse-chasing, and during the season the mass murder of cicadas. Dogs sleep about the same amount as cats. They just make more of a show of it when they work – like pulling sleds or rescuing people from building collapses.

Shocking revelation: It’s okay to like both cats and dogs. You can even keep them under the same roof.

Where is it written, please, that if you like one you “can’t” like the other?

Dogs and Cats mix like… well, apples and oranges.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

Monday, May 01, 2006

Speed Limit

(77) Speed Limit

We’re always setting speed records. So, why does everything go slowly?

Fastest race. Fastest air speed. Fastest communication. Highway limits up to 65 in many spots, higher in others.

We have speed dialers, speedy checkout, fast growing trees and vegetables. Prime time TV shows have shorter – and therefore faster seasons.

Life at warp speed.

Baloney!

REAL life is slow, even for those of us who have spent a lifetime moving quickly.

And the pressure is on for we speed demons to move slower. It’s a conspiracy.

Young Duffy from Rochester, New York had a motto. “I don’t do anything slow.” Young Duffy meant it, practiced it and is totally out of touch with the current generation. A role model for the outmoded.

Walked fast, talked fast, drank fast, got 16 hours work done in an eight hour day. Today, Young Duffy, still young enough, is more of an oddity than ever.

If you are in a group at a restaurant, and you finish eating first, the slow goers at the table think you’re nuts as you sit there trying to not look totally bored and frustrated.

Peer pressure. Sit there. Try to keep a smile from turning into a smirk. Try to look interested in other people with their snouts in the trough. Be prepared for extreme criticism later.

Practice slowness. Patience. Stand on line without a purchase at CVS and its co-drugstores, which hold the record for slowness. Call the customer service lines of companies with which you don’t do business and wait for the next available “associate,” then hang up when he or she comes on the line.

Think Ray Charles, the King of Slow.

Speed kills.

Think “Waltz” but not “Strauss.”

None of this works. You just revert to speed after awhile.

Why, though, is it so hard for some people to grasp that speed can be relaxing?

A fast walk –even an aimless one. A fast decision – even a wrong one. This is pipe and slippers and an easy chair. A fast drive on an open highway – or a “bullet train.” Paradise.

Just ask Young Duffy.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR