Frank the Practitioner

Zappa testifies before the US Senate, 1985
Image via Wikipedia

Frank Zappa proved that the First Amendment is best explained by those who practice it, not those who study or cheerlead it.

Before Congress and in opposition to the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC):

The PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years dealing with the interpretational and enforcemental problems inherent in the proposal’s design. It is my understanding that, in law, First Amendment issues are decided with a preference for the least restrictive alternative. In this context, the PMRC’s demands are the equivalent of treating dandruff by decapitation … The establishment of a rating system, voluntary or otherwise, opens the door to an endless parade of moral quality control programs based on things certain Christians do not like. What if the next bunch of Washington wives demands a large yellow “J” on all material written or performed by Jews, in order to save helpless children from exposure to concealed Zionist doctrine?

They Call Him G

Random thought…

Suppose I give you a one-question test.

Also suppose that the question is “Name one former CIA Director.”

If you answer “G. Gordon Liddy,” I’ll probably give you partial credit.

Tuck that away in case the opportunity presents itself.

Funerals: An Update

A few days ago, I posted an abridged list of various things said to me at funerals. Some were funny, some were troubling, and some were downright macabre.

In memory of that post (as if it were dead and subject to a funeral), click on this link to an article by Pat Forde. Scroll about 6 inches down until you see the subheading “Roy Miracle.” You’ll see a picture next to it. Click on the picture (or click here if you are too lazy to check out the article).

Here is part of what Pat Forde said about Mr. Miracle’s last act as an Ohio State fan.

The deceased 80-year-old Ohio State fan’s final act above ground was to be the letter “I” in this macabre “O-H-I-O” cheer from Roy’s funeral (see photo). According to media reports, this was the brainstorm of Miracle’s daughter, Juli. Her mother and brother were creeped out enough that they refused to participate, so Juli Miracle recruited some other family members to fill out the spelling bee.

Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.

George Carlin – Indian Sergeant

I might have already shown this. If you have a problem with that, please consider performing various uncomfortable and unsavory acts upon yourself.

It’s George in his pre-edgy years. Still trying to enter the mainstream, he developed several routines for network television shows such as Sullivan and the Smother’s Brothers. This one gained widespread recognition and serves as a premonition for his 1970s transformation.

Even today, I think most servicemembers relate to his take on Noncommissioned Officers.


Public School Lunches – Where’s the Beef?

I’m highly unimpressed by the state of today’s public school lunches.

When I attended public school, we received the bun AND the hot dog.

Also can’t wait to get some “Tiger Tots” next week. I wonder how many Tiger Tots you can harvest from a single tiger. Does the tiger die in the process of harvesting its tots? Or, does the tiger produce an abundance of tots when given a high-fiber diet? Where’s “Jackass Letters” when we need him…

And Then There Was Shel

Signature of Shel Silverstein.
Image via Wikipedia

Most of us have a bit of Willy Loman in us. I know I do. I fight him every day.

The truly extraordinary ones of us don’t. Shel Silverstein was one.

Kurt Vonnegut was one, too. So was George Carlin and Leonard Schneider (the one who gave the 1st Amendment a voice) and Buck O’Neil and two guys with the initials HST.

A lot of folks wax romantic about laws and systems and institutions and buildings and policies. That ain’t really possible. If anything is romantic, it’s the people, and sometimes you have to dig to find them. Always, they have flaws. That’s what makes them so damn romantic.

I saw this 1968 interview with Shel Silverstein today via Radley Balko. It was in the “Stars and Stripes,” a newspaper designed to be read by service members stationed overseas.

Today, it inspired me to do something extraordinary, even if only something small and for one person. I hope it does the same for you. Or, I hope it pisses you off.

Either way, I get the same satisfaction.

Where’d You Learn That?

One of the fallacies of our society is that most people focus on what they know, not how they know it.

For instance, until a few years ago, everything I knew about Middle-Eastern culture was gleaned from my observations of Jamie Farr’s character in “Cannonball Run.”