Thoughts on an "Iconic" Summer

Things I thought about on my way to writing about something else...

—It's been an iconic summer.

First we lost the iconic Michael Jackson. And the iconic Farrah Fawcett. Then there was the iconic Ed McMahon. Really? An iconic sidekick? Then the screaming cable TV pitchman, the iconic Billy Mays. Really?

Knoxville even lost an iconic bootlegger.

How in the world did Elvis and John Lennon die, get buried, and receive tributes without anyone once referring to them as iconic? What did we do without this crutch of a cliché word that doesn't even make sense?

I think we are going to need some sort of panel to arbitrate on iconic-ality. Or change the heading on the obit page to Icons Who Passed Today.

Where will it stop?

—I woke up in the middle of the night recently, strangling on my breathing machine tube, and of course the television was on. When is it ever off? I watched a drug company commercial which I will now try and reproduce:

"Obliterify is not for everyone. Symptoms may include night sweats, dizziness, vomiting, headaches, muscle aches, kidney failure, damage to the liver, depression and thoughts of suicide, boils, gasping for breath, either constipation or diarrhea, coughing, a runny nose, blurred vision, incontinence, impotence, and hemorrhoids. Do not take Obliterify if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or want to get someone pregnant.

"Obliterify should not replace your existing medications. (Cause God forbid you stop buying any other drugs.)

"Ask your doctor if Obliterify is right for you!"

Sounds like Obliterify might be so popular it could wind up an iconic drug.

—You never know what to tell kids to study and one of the hardest things to do is plan a curriculum for the future. Career Day at my high school, during the Mesozoic Period, had a popular table. A local community college offered a course and all the girls were encouraged to sign up for it. The course was key punch operator. You learned how to use a machine to make holes in cards that were then fed into an IBM computer to store and manipulate data. It was a cutting-edge occupation and guaranteed a secure future. It was also something a girl could do while waiting around for "Mr. Right" to come along and marry them so they could stay home with the kids and be a homemaker.

In my own case I took all the college prep courses: Algebra, geometry, Trig, chemistry, biology and physics. I also took a typing course to help me do term papers in college. I made A's in the college prep courses. I made a B in typing. I never could do that fourth row of numbers without looking.

Turns out I've been a professional typist for 40 years. And in all that time, no one has ever asked me to prove that the square root of two is irrational.

—Barack Obama was elected president with a higher percentage of the white vote than John Kerry got in 2004 (43 vs. 41 percent). When he took office he had an approval rating of 70 percent. His approval rating is now down to 45 percent.

From listening to the pundits, I think I know what happened. Somehow word leaked out over the summer, possibly on Fox News, that Obama is black. This has caused a lot of people to suddenly be against massive government deficits, bailouts for the auto industry and the banks, and government-run health care. They also seem to be upset about double-digit unemployment. It's tragic that racism may prevent us from becoming, well, England.

—President Obama is being criticized for failing to win the 2016 Olympics for Chicago. Let's see. The Latin American countries voted for Rio. The Asian countries voted for Tokyo. The Europeans voted for Madrid. There weren't any votes left for Chicago. When Tokyo lost, the Asians voted for Rio. The only criticism due the Obama White House is that you would think all those people from Chicago could count votes before they sent their guy over there to be humiliated.