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August 8, 2012

Deep Thoughts

Norman M. Covert

Good morning, travelers. I am persuaded that Ernie Kovaks and Charles Dickens should be the lesson of this day as I plant my foot firmly and put on my best grump face.


There is this from Mr. Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.” He wrote of London, King George III’s bunker in 1775, when American Patriots started to fight back and ultimately overturned the oppression:


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven….”


Sound familiar? That’s why I’ve entitled this commentary, “Deep Thoughts.”


Our modern world with its collective sophistication is being managed by principals, who, it appears, are mostly incompetent. The issues are wearying, often sophomoric, and fit the notion that you truly cannot make up this stuff.


Consider that Comedian Ernie Kovacs had a segment of his 1950s radio and television shows called “Deep Thoughts.” Ernie once told an interviewer that his thoughts were so deep he could see all the way to China. That was before Richard Nixon scored his “détente” opening the window to allow China to take our consumer dollars and lend it back to cover this president’s excesses.


How comedic is it that the world could put on blinders and realize that Israel is not the problem in the Middle East. From its birth by United Nations Mandate in 1948, Israel has offered the only hope for indigenous Arabs, who launched an invasion a day later. It wasn’t the Israelis who murdered the Egyptian border guards last week, and I remain hopeful the Children of Israel will maintain their unbeaten record.


We once had a “Deep Thought” conversation in the Fort Monroe (Va.) Officers Club Lounge about the problem with the Egyptians and Arabs circa 1972.


“Give them each two nuclear weapons,” we agreed, “and attach a three-day window in which to use them.”


Israel would have prevailed because Arab factions can’t remember whom they hate the most, brothers, cousins or Jews. Problem solved; “Deep Thoughts.”


I still admire Mr. Kovacs. His satire was to the point and left no segment of society unsullied. His career would go nowhere these days because of “our” sensitivities and his willingness to poke fun at fellow travelers.


One of his popular characters was “Percy Dovetonsils,” which he pronounced “Perthy Dove tonthils.” Percy loved his martinis, admonishing his man-servant Bruce to remember “just “a modicum” of Vermouth. Percy was quite a poet; one ditty featured “gay Caballeros.” Oooh, but that is a no-no for those who would rather kiss than eat Chik’n at Chick-fil-A.


I told you, “Deep Thoughts.”


This every day guy has seen the nation lose much of its excellence, pride, and character, but more than that, its humor. We are becoming the butt of own comedy routines. We embrace games where we want everyone to feel good, then make apologies for National Football League players who earn “bounty” money disabling star players!


What a laugh to hear “the usual suspects” complain that our commissioners are wrong to return $100 of our property taxes in cash. It isn’t much considering my property tax bills from city and county. It clearly indicates the board followed through on its election pledge to fix our fiscal quagmire. They are getting there.


Addressing the county’s road to bankruptcy meant those commissioners drove a wedge in the notion that non-profits should be on the dole. Non-profits should be non-profits as their charter at the state office and Assessments and Taxation spells out. Of course, we had some non-profits who were more worthy than others, because they were vouched for by some apparently smarter local exhorters.


It is certain that every non-profit group’s Chief Executive Office has the mission of raising operating funds, and no potential giver is overlooked. From a personal standpoint it is the CEO’s task to guarantee his or her salary.


Sadly, the shenanigans at the non-profit Jeanne Bussard Center on South Market Street give us pause to consider the failure of those entrusted with the needs of its clients.


I don’t know the names of the trustees who apparently fired Executive Director Jeanne G. Dalaba, then resigned and everyone took out for the hills. They haven’t been cut off at the pass yet, and it’s a good bet Ms. Dalaba’s last pay check didn’t bounce. Would that a solution could be achieved quickly.


A closing nugget for you: The monthly national unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent in July. The White House said last week in response that it proves we are headed in the right direction (giggle-giggle).


I did see an editorial comment yesterday from a well-known street roamer, apparently a homeless man who often comes up on the police radar screen. He can be violent, but this time he was just being editorial, walking up Baughman's Lane. He smiled at pedestrians and vehicles holding his hand aloft for all to see in a vulgar display.


“Deep Thoughts,” I told you. You can’t make this stuff up.


“Bruce, just a modicum.”


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