July 23, 2014

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Coonridge Digest
Crash of cell phone network ignites panic, desperation PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
We were thrown into crisis mode. I had never seen my friends in such a panic. No fire, earthquake or flood could have affected our region so drastically, and the effects of the catastrophe still linger today in frayed nerves and irregular heartbeats. Last week the AT&T cell phone network went down and the world of some folks came to a crashing halt.
Social media lit up immediately with cries of pain and anguish. With cell phones out of commission some folks had apparently lost the will to live. I had just read an article on the Chilean miners trapped underground in 2010 and the moans of hopelessness seemed eerily reminiscent.

 
Hiding head in the sand is not a pretty picture PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
My cousin Bernice drives me crazy. She’s cancelled her subscription to the local newspaper because in her words, “There’s nothing in it,” she doesn’t listen to local news on the radio, she only goes online to play games and check her Facebook page, she watches news on a biased cable channel when Wheel of Fortune isn’t on, and she complains about how she never knows what’s going on. It’s the “Duh” syndrome.

 
Marching on the Fourth of July: then and now PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
The Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
There’s nothing that shouts the Fourth of July like a parade so Herb and I plan to plant our lawn chairs on the nearest shady curb this week to take in the great American spectacle.
I’m one of the surviving veterans of high school marching bands and can well remember the days of polishing my trumpet on the night before the big parade, hoping for maximum reflection power from the next day’s sun. And speaking on behalf of the marching musicians of the world, I’d like to say that marching in formation on the Fourth is every bit as an athletic event as playing in that afternoon’s baseball game. Times have changed and fabrics have improved but in those steamy days your band uniform was made of pure 100% wool. The temperature on the hot asphalt may be over the century mark and you’re standing there covered with a dark-colored uniform that has been worn, altered, snipped and amended by generations of marching trumpet players long gone.

 
Fact-finding mission leaves aliens bewildered PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
I’ll admit that this doesn’t happen often, but last week an alien spacecraft landed in the middle of the Coonridge Memorial Park. The tavern wasn’t open yet so there was no traffic to speak of and since I’d gotten most of my housework done I shuffled over to see if I could be of assistance. I’ve sat on plenty of church committees so I was used to deciphering strange tongues. Here’s the translation of our meeting as best I can recall:

 
Clean up the Potomac River and present-day predators would be extinct PDF Print E-mail

By Frieda Mae Crump
Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
My knowledge of entomology is right up there with my grasp of brain surgery and ballet but I recently found myself in a conference at which our featured speaker was a well-known bug expert. Okay, I take that back. There are no well-known bug experts, but if the occupation ever gets scandalous or sexy then this guy will be featured on the front page of Time.
His topic for the day was a little rascal that has plagued various parts of the Midwest for the past three years, the Buffalo Gnat. In some places the buggy buggers are called Black Flies, Turkey Gnats or White Socks. The guy told us there are over 1,800 species of the irritating critters but gave no hint as to who counted them. Unfortunately only 11 species have gone extinct leaving the other 1,789 to crawl inside our ears while we’re mowing the yard. The male flies dine on nectar while the females crave the blood of mammals. In this case, mammal is spelled “Y-O-U.” If nothing else, it’s a setback for female equality.

 
Wandering Wanda and ‘Grandma’s Commandos’ PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
Wanda McBride is somewhat of a nut. No, she’s delightfully loony. While other extroverts march to a different drummer, Wanda’s spent her life listening to an entirely different band. In short, she’s a bodacious delight, always doing the unexpected, bringing joy into the room each time she enters.
That’s why her vacation plans are never a surprise. Last summer she packed up her two small granddaughters and took off. Wanda uses no roadmap when she travels nor do her vacations have any particular destination. When I asked her where she was headed she simply pointed a heavily-ringed finger and said, “That-a way.”

 
Has life got you down? Go sit in a tree PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
Coonridge Digeset
Greetings from the Ridge.
Alfie Rodhaver climbed up into a tree yesterday and he says he has no intention of coming down. I looked out my window this morning and he’s still there. Alfie’s wife Lora said that yesterday morning he filled a thermos with coffee, put the newspaper under his arm and climbed up into the soft maple in front of their house. His last words, “I’ll come down when I decide to come down.”

 
It’s time to hang it up, Herbie PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
The Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
“Herb, we’re too old. We just can’t do it anymore.”
“Speak for yourself, Freida. I’ve still got it in me.”
“Whatever was in you has long since left, Herbie. It’s time to hang it up.”

 
Kindness the world over PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
The Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
If you don’t have indigestion when you wake up in the morning, one good dose of the world news will be enough to make your gut start to cramp. Missing jetliners, Russian land-grabbers, school shootings, meth labs, and global climate change are enough to ruin anyone’s morning toast and coffee. Last week I watched a wonderful actress perform in a play and when I went to congratulate her after the show she said, “It’s wonderful. For two hours a night I don’t have to worry about what’s happening the world.”

 
Buy-a-Politican plan at the Bribery Mall PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
The Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
The average Joe on the street doesn’t know much about the Supreme Court and I have feeling that’s just dandy with the justices who sit there. We know that they line up once a year for a picture where they closely resemble the judges at a dill pickle contest, and they look like none of them have ever worked for Meals on Wheels. So it’s a rare occasion when the nine ladies and gentlemen do something that rings any sort of gong back home.
Two weeks ago, however, they took the remarkable step of doing away with all types of elections. In their landmark decision on McCutcheon v. FEC, they decided that all future elections could be purchased instead of earned, saying that individuals could slush as much money as they wanted into the hungry pockets of any politicians wanting to take a bribe. Strike that. Chief Justice John Roberts specifically said that this was not a bribe and he must be right because they call him Supreme. You thought “free speech” meant your right to stand up and complain? According to the 5-4 vote, it means you can only be heard if you have enough money. In fact, three times in the last five years the same five justices have overruled any attempt at taking money out of politics. Again, they must be right because they’re Supreme. Note: the Supremes don’t have to run for office.
So with anyone now able to buy any election and influence any vote, what’s the place in our democracy for a poor housewife from Coonridge? As with other great crises in America, Wal-Mart is the model. Let’s do away with the voting booth and install a One-Stop-Buy-Your-Candidate-Mart. Forget the trouble of standing in line to vote. The Buy-a-Bubba will be open 24 hours a day.
We can lay out the new Bribery Mall just like a Wal-Mart, with the various candidates relegated to their own aisles. The first-time candidates will be listed as “Fresh Produce,” and from there you’ll move on down the aisle to the politicians who say the same tired thing election after election. We’ll call these the Canned Goods. From there you’ll have a choice of politicos who’ve been in office forever, the “hams.” Some of these hams have aged a good many years and on occasion they’re even pickled. All you do is spend your money on the honest men and women you’d like to bribe. A polite word for this is “influence.” The real word can’t be printed.
If you have any money left . . . and remember, you’ll be bidding against billionaires . . . you can thumb through the racks of the checkout lane featuring road commissioners, mayors, and sewage department heads.
Of course an even quicker alternative to the election process would be to simply call it an auction. I’ve always enjoyed a good auction, and there’s something in the drone of an auctioneer’s cry that’s thrilling. Put each candidate up on a stage and let the bidding begin. There are no doubt those among you who regard this as silly. I would only ask you to think about what’s happening at the moment.
Take Sheldon Adelson, the owner of the Venetian resort in Las Vegas. He’s one of the ten richest people in the world. He almost single-handedly financed New Gingrich’s 2012 campaign and he’s looking for somewhere to put his millions in the next election. The Supreme Court says this is free speech so it must be okay. Two weeks ago a handful of presidential hopefuls high-tailed it to Las Vegas to speak in Adelson’s hotel. Maybe they just enjoyed the showgirls and the scenery, but one thing was for sure: they didn’t come to get votes. It was cash, baby. The Las Vegas crowd happened to all be Republicans, but the Democrats won’t be excluded in my proposed Buy-A-Congressman auction. In the last presidential election, none of the top ten donors were Republicans.
Perhaps the greatest savings will be to the lives of chickens. Not the cowards who hide behind super PAC’s and lobbyists, but actual feathered cluckers. Until the Supreme Court struck its noble blow for free speech you had to pay up to $100,000 a plate to eat chicken cordon bleu with the President. Since Justice Roberts and his noble cronies ruled that it was legal to openly buy an election the chickens will now be allowed to live. On behalf of all the chickens in the world, we thank you.
You ever in Coonridge, stop by. We may not answer the door but you'll enjoy the trip.

 
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