Richard Crowson Commentary

Hey, the referees are back! Which is a mighty big deal in some circles.  Personally, I’m more of a baseball fan. Football – not so much.

I don’t even understand how they can call that weird oblong object with shoelaces on it a “ball.” Aren’t balls round? Shouldn’t footballs be called blimps? Why didn’t they call the game “footblimp” instead of pretending they actually play it with a ball?

My fellow Americans, our nation is on the verge of an historic decision. In a very short time a great honor will be bestowed on one of the candidates. Either a candidate who has been tested and proven a winner in the past will be chosen, or a candidate who is new will be deemed victorious.

No, no, no. I’m not talking about that election business between the President and Mr. Romney. Their conventions are over and done with.

Labor Day! Was there ever a more anachronistic holiday in this era when those nasty, horrible, pinko unions are blamed for everything from that bruise you got when you tripped in your driveway to Hurricane Isaac which those devious labor unions whipped up just to upstage the Republican National Convention?

And to think that we have a national holiday that was begun by union members and sanctioned by the Congress and President Grover Cleveland in 1894 after the Pullman Strike to celebrate American labor! Oh, the shame.

When shovels are outlawed only outlaws will have shovels. I guess that’s the predominant attitude in certain circles these days. As for me, I’m all for some sane shovel-control laws in this country.

In spite of the best efforts of many fine, upstanding, super-colossal maxi-conservatives, we have gone down a slippery slope. Not the slippery slope that they were so worried about—you know, the one that leads to more and more restrictive gun laws. We avoided that one, thank the Lord.

Stuck as we currently are, in the white-hot heat of another political campaign season, it seems a good time to think for a moment about this climate of ours. Not our global climate but our political climate. It’s out of whack.

There’s a bandwagon making the rounds these days that I pretty much have to jump on. I just can’t resist. The band that’s playing on this wagon is pretty rag-tag. They do have band uniforms so give them a few points for that. But none of them are very proficient on their instruments and the sound of them all trying to play “Stars and Stripes Forever” is nothing short of calamitous. Still, me and millions of other people are happy to count ourselves among the fans of this band.

Comedian Steve Martin once said, “It’s impossible to play a sad song on the banjo.” That statement gets to the heart of the issue: the banjo is a happy-sounding instrument. So happy, in fact, that cartoonist Charles Schulz once had Linus say, “The way I see it, as soon as a baby is born he should be issued a banjo!”

Of course, universal banjo care of that sort would really set off the anti-socialism crowd, but I think it’d be a great government program.

Sometimes a little distance from something can give you a completely different slant on it. There’s a whole lot of distance now, between my 60-year-old self and the summer of 1962.

That was the summer I played drums with The Ventures. Lee Edward Sonny Smith was my next-door neighbor in Memphis, Tenn. Sonny had gotten himself into the classic quandary of so many youngsters back in those days—he had secretly enrolled in the Columbia Record Club.

I was performing a musical program on Kansas history last week to a group of 3rd graders. While talking about our state’s tumultuous birth in 1861 and the songs of the American Civil War, I came to the well known tune, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” I asked how many knew someone serving in the military away from home and was surprised at the large number of hands that went up.

Maybe you’re one of the many Kansans who don’t pay an awful lot of attention to the Legislature. We have busy lives, and the idea of wading through news stories about political intrigue in Topeka can make the eyes glaze over and the prospect of rearranging one’s sock drawer sound suddenly appealing.

But while many of us were preoccupied with the necessary duties of running our households, driving the kids around, and gulping down coffee on the way to work each morning, a tireless effort to upend your life has been winning the day in our state’s capitol.

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