2017-10-07 / Viewpoints

The Old Timer

BY HOWARD ‘MAC’ MCDONALD

I imagine pumpkin sales are heating up back home. Most people want them for jack-o’-lanterns, but to me the best use is for pie. Warm pumpkin pie with ice cream or whipped cream can’t be beat.

I wonder when the federal government will make Halloween an official holiday so they can have another three-day weekend. They have succeeded in disgracing many of our legitimate holidays by moving them from their real dates to a convenient Monday so the government workers can enjoy a three-day weekend.

Looking at the headlines of an 1850 edition of Territorial News, things were not all that different than they are today. One of the stories was titled, “Battling Editors in Old San Francisco.” It told about the news stories that were riddled with personal opinions and gossip.

That happens today in the print media and on the television networks that claim to be fair and balanced, but in reality are neither.

Their first priority is to keep their ratings high so they can bring home the bacon for their advertisers. Therefore, their business plan is to tell their viewers what they want to hear and label anyone who doesn’t have the same bias an enemy.

There are some unsung heroes in the media companies and they are the folks that are out there in a very competitive marketplace selling advertising. At Endeavor News that responsibility is in the hands of Britta Hooftallen, who is full of energy and talent. She is also on the Austin Area School Board and on the board of directors for the Coudersport Area Chamber of Commerce.

I hope the readers of this newspaper realize how lucky they are to be able to read a local paper with high standards for news quality and a dedication to the community it serves.

Some of you old-timers might remember a Sunday comic strip called the Katzenjammer Kids. They were the epitome of what bad kids did in that era.

They were angels compared to the kids of today. Drugs are rampant in our schools and there is too much bullying. There is no respect for authority in the home, the school, or anywhere else that adults and young people mingle.

Not being a fan of the National Football League, I really don’t care if the rich athletes sit, stand, or do cartwheels before each game. Disrespecting the flag and the National Anthem is the wrong thing for any American to do.

Who cares what these guys think anyhow? They are not respected for their intelligence, their education or their knowledge of public affairs. They are in the business of professional sports and that is the only reason they are in the public eye.

If 10 percent of the people who consider themselves football fans cared about their own community and our country, we would not have most of the problems that plague us today.

When an NFL game comes on the TV, I reach for the remote and change the channel to SpongeBob SquarePants. It is more entertaining and the characters are much more respectable.

These are just the opinions of an old goat and do not reflect the views of this newspaper.

The music in our church service today was very good and our handsome young pastor had a thoughtful sermon. I’m surprised he is still single. I guess it is a hard job to be a minister’s wife.

Religion can be a divisive topic in a family, a church or a community. It is also the root cause of many wars. Politics and religion have a lot in common, as it is hard to understand the complexities of either one.

By the time this column is published, the autumn foliage should be at its peak in the Land of the Endless Mountains.

Every little town and every state park seem to have some kind of fall festival. I guess people want to get in one more celebration before the colder weather kicks in.

AARP is advertising for tax aides to volunteer to help the elderly with their taxes this year. Congress is looking at another plan to streamline the tax code and get rid of most of the loopholes and deductions that rig the system for the privileged few. These bills are introduced year after year, but nothing ever changes.

Another service AARP is offering is help for old folks with their electronic gadgets. The electronic world is moving at such a rapid pace that the elderly can’t keep up. If you get a new cell phone today, it is obsolete tomorrow.

In the public rest rooms, the commodes are even flushed electronically. You can’t even give your neighbor a courtesy flush unless you stand up. When they start the electronic wiping, I am going back to the old outside privy.

They say you can’t stop progress, but these nerds ought to be working on a way to reduce world hunger and stay out of the public restrooms.

Last week, I wrote about truckers and their CB handles. I had a CB radio on my snowmobile. I was always decked out in a red snowmobile suit and a red helmet. Thus, my CB handle was the Red Baron.

The real Red Baron was a German fighter pilot ace in World War I who shot down a whole bunch of Allied pilots. According to what I have read about him, he was shot down by a lone rifleman on the ground.

In the “Peanuts” comic strip, Snoopy would pretend he was the Red Baron and his doghouse was a Sopwith Camel fighter plane. He was always winging his way all over the skies.

CB handles and nicknames are a lot alike. A nickname can stick to you for a lifetime. When I was a kid, my dad was the local Justice of the Peace. The person in that position was usually called Squire. The kids all hung that name on me. All through grade school, I answered to Squire.

My mother had a few pet names for me, one being Glummy Guckles. She used that name when she wasn’t happy with my actions. When I found out about girls, she called me the Tin-Eared Sport. To this day, I do not know what she was referring to.

When I was in the Air Force stationed in France, young airman Gary Oliver painted a picture on the left side of my bird underneath the pilot’s cockpit window. It showed a fat staff sergeant and Gary called it Fat Mac. That nickname stayed with me for many years.

Get out your long johns and mittens, keep the flag flying, stand up for the National Anthem, and keep your powder dry because you will need it.

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