OK, I know that considering what time of year it is, I shouldn’t be writing this column. But I’m going to try to make it right.
First, I want to apologize to everyone for working in the midst of the Lake Area’s Thanksgiving-Christmas-12th Night-King Day holiday. I did so because I thought I might provide a valuable community service by giving readers a column they could enjoy during the Christmas season.
My first clue that I shouldn’t be working came when I walked to work on Monday, Nov. 25 and saw only two cars the whole time I was walking down Alamo. This was at 7:30 in the morning.
It hit me. “Brad!” I thought, “It’s Nov. 25. It’s only four days till Thanksgiving. What are you thinking? Nobody’s working here today. The people in those two cars you saw were probably driving because they were in emergency situations.”
I think I may be able to compensate a little for my major faux pas of working during the holiday by offering a special gift to the community: a proposal for a new, longer holiday. How about an official Lake Area Thanksgiving-Christmas-12th Night-King Day-Mardi Gras holiday? After all, a lot of years, there isn’t going to be more than three weeks between King Day and Mardi Gras. It almost seems like an affront to local tradition to expect people to come into work for even part of such a short period.
Of course, from year to year, the dates for my proposed Thanksgiving-Christmas-12th Night-King Day-Mardi Gras weekend would differ. But, just to pick two representative dates to get the concept across, let’s say that one year it runs from Nov. 25 through Feb. 25. That’s three full months — or 91 full days — without working.
To put it another way, that’s a full quarter of a year off work. (And by the way — if anyone in the area is already observing this holiday, I apologize for being ignorant of your status and failing to give it the recognition it deserves.)
Higher Ed, We Hardly Knew Ye
For six years, Gov. Bobby Jindal and the state Legislature have been using axes, chainsaws and jackhammers to cut Louisiana’s higher education budgets. These cuts have just gotten the state a lot of attention in the offices of the American Assoc. of Colleges and Universities.
In its October State Outlook newsletter, the association reported that most states in the country have started to buck Great Recession trends and boost state spending on higher ed. On average, states increased higher ed funding 2.9 percent last year.
Not Louisiana. In fact, Louisiana finished first on the association’s list of states making the biggest cuts to higher ed last year. Louisiana carved 17.6 percent out of the higher ed budget in 2012. That made it the only state in the country that cut higher ed by double digits. The closest contender for that shameful position was No. 2 West Virginia, which cut higher ed by 8.9 percent.
Louisiana was also one of only two states in the country to cut higher ed two years in a row. The other was Missouri.
Well, never mind. It’s not like we really need higher ed anyway. I think that even with the 17.6 percent cuts, we can still manage to beat out West Virginia on most lists. Like I always say, there’s a mighty big difference between last and next to last.
My Christmas Gift To You
I thought that as a special Christmas present to my readers, I’d list all the silliest stuff I could find reported in national media at the dawn of this Christmas season. The items you are about to read are all new; none has appeared in this column before.
I learned some stuff in the course of preparing this special Christmas present. First, Yahoo is without doubt this planet’s magnet for silly news. It’s also the most-visited site in the U.S. And people say Americans aren’t interested in news anymore.
As a special treat to readers, I tried to rank these entries from least silly to most silly. I couldn’t do it. They all seemed equally silly to me.
Have fun with this exuberantly insubstantial package. This gift is free to you to use as you see fit. If you like, cut it out and carry it around with you in case you ever find yourself in need of a good laugh.
“American Idol Season 9 runner-up Crystal Bowersox recently shocked longtime fans when she tweeted a photo of herself sans the famous dreadlocks she wore for more than seven years.”
— Yahoo Music
“Gisele Bundchen Practices Yoga With Daughter Vivian And It Couldn’t Be Cuter”
—Yahoo, Dec. 2
“Lindsay Lohan Does Yoga By The Pool”
— Huffington Post, Dec. 7
“Forget what you’ve read: New report says Galaxy S5 will definitely be metal”
“It will be … it won’t be … it will be … it won’t be …”
— From Dec. 2. Yahoo story
“Keith Urban’s Family Has The Cutest Holiday Singalongs”
— People, Dec. 5
“Something Hysterical Happened on ‘Mike & Molly’ Last Night”
— HuffPost, Dec. 2
“NBC’s NASCAR Team begins to take shape”
— Yahoo’s No. 3 story on Dec. 3
“NBC hires Jeff Burton as NASCAR analyst”
— Yahoo’s No. 3 story on Dec. 5
“Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx perform ‘Tomorrow’ on Annie Remake”
— Yahoo’s No. 5 story on Dec. 4
“You Asked, We Found: Ke$ha’s Boots”
— People, Dec. 5
“‘Terminator’ Update: Emilia Clarke, Brie Larson On Short List To Play Sarah Connor”
— Yahoo, Dec. 5
“Who runs the world? Beyonce does.”
— First two sentences of a Dec. 2 Huffpost story
“SEE IT Kardashian family reveals 2013 Christmas Card”
— Weekly World News, Dec. 2
“‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’: First Good Look at the Green Goblin PHOTOS”
— Yahoo, Dec. 5
“Collector’s Edition Us
5 GIANT POSTERS
THE HUNGER GAMES
WIN A HAWAII TRIP!
130 HOT PHOTOS
STORIES FROM THE SET”
— “From the editors of Us Weekly … the highly anticipated Hunger Games Catching Fire Special Edition [which] can be pre-ordered from Barnes & Noble for $11.99.”
“Reese Witherspoon Cuts Hair Into Long Bob For Fresh New Look”
— Yahoo, Dec. 2
“Did Jennifer Anniston Inspire BFF Chelsea Handler’s Haircut?”
— People, Dec. 5
“Kanye West Commissions A ‘Warhol’ For Kim Kardashian”
— Huffington Post, Dec. 3
“Music News: Could The Search For The Greatest Beatboxer In The World Be Over?”
— RantLifestyle, Nov. 25
“Six Things Britney Spears Teaches Us”
— RantLifestyle, Dec. 2
“The Christmas Spirit (Hallmark, Dec. 1): A journalist (Nicollette Sheridan) tries to safeguard her town from a land developer, but a car accident puts both of them in comas, leaving their souls to duke it out.”
— Entertainment Weekly, Dec. 6
If you’re miffed or worried because Obamacare has done you harm, you’d better brace yourself. There’s much worse coming to you from the Obama administration. Obama wants to bring the population of the world down to 500 million.
That’s right. It’s true. I swear it on my copy of the new Tools for Freedom catalogue.
Right there on the cover is a picture of Obama standing, in ominous mien, over a big stone pillar with a single eye on it. Carved on the stone is the slogan: “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000.”
The cover also shows how Obama is going to do it. He’s going to use fluoride, vaccines, SmartMeters, power lines, genetic engineering of human beings, junk food, genetically modified crops, radiation, manipulation of U.S. currency and the media.
If all this is true — and I’m about 99 percent sure it is — Obama plans to somehow get rid of 15 of every 16 people in the world. It’s no wonder the front cover of the Tools for Freedom catalog orders the reader to “Learn How to Survive the Depopulation Agenda.” The “to” should be capitalized, but I’m going to give these people a pass on that. If they’re trying to save the population of the world, they’ve obviously got bigger things than rules of capitalization to worry about.
I looked all through the catalog for more info on the depopulation program. While I didn’t find that, I did find an interesting essay called “Obamacare: Socialized Medicine at the Point of a Gun.” The essay posed this interesting question: “Since when did the Federal Government have any authority to force its citizens to purchase an item?”
Yeah, since when? Since when does the federal government have the power to make you pay income taxes on your income whether you want to or not? Since when does the federal government have the power to make you serve in its armed forces — and even get killed in battle — whether you want to or not? Since when does the federal government have the power to drive tanks through the walls of a house because the people inside have started a freaky religious cult? None of this stuff happens here! Why should it start now?
The essay concludes that with all the problems with Obamacare, your best health care option is to do all you can to keep yourself healthy. Now, since half the Tools for Freedom catalog promotes the company’s health care products, some people might think there’s a conflict of interest here. Some people. I hope to heaven I never get that cynical.
The other day I saw this movie called Bright Star. You won’t believe what happened in this movie. I’ll give you a run-down.
OK, now, just to help you understand it a little better, I’ll tell you it’s mainly about the poet John Keats. SO, John looks at his girlfriend Fanny for a while, then Fanny looks at Brown, then Brown looks at John, then Fanny looks at John, then Brown says something, then John recites a verse of one of his poems, then Fanny recites the next verse.
OK, SO then the next thing that happens is that Fanny looks at Brown and John looks at Fanny and Brown looks at John and Fanny looks at John and Fanny says something and John recites a verse of one of his poems and Fanny recites the next verse and John goes to Italy and dies. End of story!
Man, can you believe that all that happened, and that it just took two hours for it to happen? That director Jane Campion can tell a story about as fast as anyone going. When she tells a story, you better GET OUT OF THE WAY!