Quotes To Soothe And Offer Perspective

by Curt Kovener
The election is over. The vitriolic commercials are past. To a person, voters have been heard saying “I’m glad that’s over.” And to quote a Larry Gatlin song, “Winners walk out laughin’, losers cry “Deal Again”.”
And while we are quoting, let’s share some knowledge found in others’ words as collected by professor Ron Atkins. This week’s selection’s connection to the recent election is not intended to be coincidence.
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength. ~Corrie Ten Boom
To be upset over what you don’t have is to waste what you do have. ~Ken Keyes, Jr.
Mushroom Business Management—the practice of keeping people in the dark and every now and then dumping a load of crap on them.
Education is the ability to think clearly, act well in the world of work, and to appreciate life. ~Brigham Young
A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. ~Hugh Downs
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ~John Ruskin
We should follow history to see what’s new in it. ~William Marvel
I sometimes wonder if the manufacturers of foolproof items keep a fool or two on their payroll to test things. ~ Allen Coren
Some people are like slinkies—not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when they fall down the stairs.
We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. ~Ben Franklin
Don’t approach a goat from the front, a horse from the back, or a fool from any side. ~ Jewish proverb
Without books, God is silent, justice dormant, natural science at a standstill, philosophy lame, letters dumb, and all things involved in darkness. ~Thomas V. Bartholin
The five stages of innovation:
1. People deny that the innovation is required.
2. People deny that the innovation is effective.
3. People deny that the innovation is important.
4. People deny that the innovation will justify the effort required to adopt it.
5. People accept and adopt the innovation, enjoy its benefits, attribute it to people other than the innovator, and deny the existence of stages 1-4.
Bad language is just bad manners; it’s a symptom of a bankrupt mind. ~John Dunning

Here’s Where We Need Armed Guards

President Donald Trump offered a solution.
He was headed to Indianapolis for the National FFA Convention last month when the latest national tragedy unfurled: an anti-Semite and racist named Robert Bowers burst into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and started firing an automatic weapon.
In the end 11 people were killed, ranging in age from 54 to 97. Police told Pittsburgh station KDKA-TV that Bowers yelled something when he stormed inside: “All Jews must die!” Bowers pleaded not guilty in federal court on Friday.
Trump expressed condolences offering up the traditional national tragedy response of “thoughts and prayers” and then off-handedly remarked that there was something that could have prevented multiple people from getting slaughtered.
If there had been armed guards, he suggested, maybe this could have been avoided. “They had no protection,” Trump said.
The “armed guards” defense is a common refrain from conservatives and gun rights activists after mass shootings. (In this country, they get to say it a lot.)
I’ve have disagreed with them in the past, but maybe they have a point.
In order for us to be safe in America and around the world, all we have to do is put armed guards at:
•Synagogues
•Churches
•Mosques
•Grocery stores
•Las Vegas concerts
•Movie theaters
•Office complexes
•Elementary schools
•Middle schools
•High schools
•Colleges
•Nightclubs
•Strip clubs
•Restaurants
•Jewish community centers
•Newspaper offices
•Military bases
•Neighborhoods
•Homes
(We thank Jon Webb of the Evansville Courier & Press for authoring this column and permitting its re-publication.)

Halloween Traditions Date Back Centuries

by Curt Kovener

Many Halloween traditions may have originated with the ancient Celts and their priests, the druids. Other civilizations adopted and changed the ancient rituals, such as bobbing for apples or donning disguises.
“Our Halloween celebrations are the remnants of the pre-Christian Celtic celebrations,” according to Fred Suppe, a Ball State history professor and an expert in Celtic folklore. “The Celts can be traced back to 800 B.C. to what is now southern Germany and include the ancestors of the Scottish, Irish, Manx, Welsh, Cornish and Bretons.”
Particular motifs of modern-day Halloween such as the date and time it is celebrated, children trick-or-treating, the jack-o-lantern and bobbing for apples are related to Celtic traditions.
When Christianity was introduced to the Celts, church leaders began a campaign to persuade them to abandon their pagan celebrations and adopt the Christian calendar. Because these traditions were culturally ingrained, the church provided an alternative holy day— All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1.
The evening before All Saints’ Day became “All Hallows’ Eve,’ with the word ‘hallow’ meaning holy or saint and ‘eve’ meaning the night before.
“All Hallow’s Eve evolved to Halloween,” the college history professor tells us.
So if you have been following along, Halloween was a pagan holiday which the early church cleansed with All Saints Day but today’s church leaders have determined to ignore the early church sanctioned holy day and label its preceding day as demonic.
The origin for trick-or-treating comes from Scotland, where young men in their late teens donned disguises after the harvest.
“The Celts called them ‘guisers,’ which is where we get the word ‘geezer’,” Suppe said, “The young guisers would march around a house and demand hospitality, which evolved into small children asking for treats.”
As an official card carrying government approved ‘old geezer,’ I sometime meander about the house seeking out treats of adult beverages.
Today youngsters are cautioned against ‘trick or treat’ but encouraged to take part in the same tooth decaying activity called ‘trunk or treat’— righteously cleansed and sanctioned by church leaders and seasonally held in church, school and courthouse squares.
Some years past, a now former minister in town told me ‘trunk or treat’ was a more appropriate name and a ‘Harvest party’ was better than a Halloween party because of the long tradition and activities associated with the dead & spirits.
When I asked the Reverend how he reconciled his efforts at cleansing our youth with the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and whether he ever preached from the pulpit about the Holy Ghost—both things he didn’t want our youngsters to be exposed to— I was met with an all too common response.
“That’s different,” was his righteous response.
“Because it suits your purpose?”
My question was the close of our conversation as the padre walked away.

The Original Everything Store

by Curt Kovener

The iconic memories of my youth are fading away. And this time it isn’t my mind that’s going…though some may take issue with that.
Like Eastman Kodak, photo giant of my childhood and later early worklife, Sears filed bankruptcy last week.
Founded shortly after the Civil War, the original Sears, Roebuck & Company built a catalog business that sold Americans the latest dresses, toys, build-it-yourself houses and even tombstones, cocaine and opium. In their heyday, the company’s stores, which began to spread across the country in the early 20th century, were showcases for must-have washing machines, snow tires and furniture.
We kids of the 50’s anxiously awaited the thick— sometimes over 2” and 1,000 pages—Sears Christmas Catalog to arrive in the mail. Later it was labeled “The Wish Book”, we quickly glossed past the clothing and housewares sections to get to the holy grail of the catalog: the toy section.
A generation or two before, our grandparents and great grandparents put the catalog to more utilitarian use after the holidays. It not only made for some time passing nostalgia during the daily constitutional in the outhouse, but a page or two was ripped out to finish the “paperwork” before departing the little brown shack out back.
Sears long ago gave up its mantle as a retail innovator, falling far behind big-box rivals like Walmart and Home Depot and the e-commerce giant Amazon.
Since 2005, Sears has been run by a billionaire hedge fund manager, Edward S. Lampert, who stripped out many of the company’s valuable properties and brands — and then laid claim to much of what is left over.
The upscale Lands End clothing company based in Wisconsin was one of the brands sold off. And, knowing a good thing when he sees it, its largest shareholder is now Lampert. Sears well known and guaranteed for life Craftsman tool line is now sold at Lowe’s.
In the bankruptcy filing, Sears listed $11.3 billion in liabilities and $7 billion in assets. Over the past five years, the company lost about $5.8 billion; over the past decade, it shut more than 1,000 stores. Many of the 700 stores that remain have frequent clearance sales, empty shelves and handwritten signs.
The company’s vendors have sharply limited the number of products they will provide on credit, making it more difficult for Sears to compete with other retailers during the crucial holiday shopping season.
Sears was a retail anchor in many malls and shopping centers and was a must-visit destination of my youth while parents did shopping.
The early Sears Store in Jackson County was located in downtown Seymour, where the Tribune is now located.
Sears is using a Chapter 11 filing in Federal Bankruptcy Court in New York to cut its debts and keep operating at least through the holidays. To emphasize the company’s fall, Sears’ stock, which topped $120 a share as recently as 2007, closed on Friday before the Chapter 11 filing at 40.7 cents a share.

The Marks Of Groucho

by Curt Kovener

For those without gray hair & wrinkles, the Marx Brothers were a comedy team during black & white movie days. Later ‘Groucho’ Marx became the wise cracking punster of the (again black & white) TV show ‘You Bet Your Life’. If you are a high-tech youngster who doesn’t understand black and white TV, Google it.
Thanks to our quote-otologist, Prof. Ron Atkins, here’s some of Groucho’s observations
•Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
•Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.
•Now there’s a man with an open mind—you can feel the breeze from here.
•I find television very educational. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.
•Those are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.
•I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.
•The secret to life is honesty and fair dealing—if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.
•I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.
•If I held you any closer I’d be on the other side of you.
•Remember men you are fighting for the lady’s honor, which is probably more than she ever did.

Cowboy Logic Makes Sense

by Curt Kovener
There’s probably no one more independent, down to earth, and plain speaking than the American cowboy. The western lifestyle—or at least the romance and longing to be associated with that life—is manifested and replicated throughout most of the U.S. Just look at the number of Hoosiers who wear western boots. Yep, I raised my hand. The Governor of Indiana did too.
I sometimes play music with some friends at the Story Inn in southern Brown County. It’s a stopping off point for riders along the horsetrail at Brown County State Park. And with a larger than ordinary handlebar moustache, they sometimes ask if I am a horseman. Nope, just a Southern Hoosier cowboy wannabe.
But I do like the cowboy logic and philosophy. Some are obvious, some a humorous; all of them are true. And having learned that our back page cowboy columnist Lee Pitts recently suffered a stroke, these may help lift his and your spirits.
•Don’t squat with your spurs on.
•Don’t interfere with something that ain’t botherin’ you none.
•Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
•The easiest way to eat crow is while it’s still warm. The colder it gets, the harder it is to swallow.
•If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.
•If it don’t seem like it’s worth the effort, it probably ain’t.
•It don’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.
•The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with watches you shave his face in the mirror every morning.
•Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.
•If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.
•Don’t worry about bitin’ off more’n you can chew; your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger’n you think.
•Always drink upstream from the herd.
•Generally, you ain’t learnin’ nothing when your mouth’s a-jawin’.
•Tellin’ a man to git lost and makin’ him do it are two entirely different propositions.
•If you’re ridin’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there with ya.
•Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
•When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person, don’t be surprised if they learn their lesson.
•When you’re throwin’ your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else.
•Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back.
•Always take a good look at what you’re about to eat. It’s not so important to know what it is, but it’s sure crucial to know what it was.
•The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket.
•Never miss a good chance to shut up.
But now I have puzzled myself. With each one of these I re-wrote, why did I think of our elected officials?