I’ve come to the conclusion — with the mortgage and banking crises, spiraling gas prices, and the ongoing war in Iraq — that the country’s going in the crapper.

I’ve come to the conclusion — with the mortgage and banking crises, spiraling gas prices, and the ongoing war in Iraq — that the country’s going in the crapper. The question facing us in November is: Do we want to go in with Barack Obama or John McCain? 
Obama spent the week touring the Middle East and Western Europe conferring with key leaders as embedded TV news anchors interviewed him at every turn. In Germany he gave rousing speech to an adoring crowd estimated at 200,000.
Meanwhile John McCain made his way to a supermarket in Pennsylvania where he toppled an applesauce display before delivering a riveting speech in front of the cheese case. He later visited a German restaurant in Ohio where he had a sausage party with Sen. Lindsey Graham. Along the way he complained repeatedly about the imbalance in press coverage between him and Obama, which was a bit skewed.
Before you go feeling too sorry for McCain you might want to consider that, given the damage the Decider and his administration have done to our worldwide image over the past eight years, Richard Simmons could have drawn adoring paparazzi and 100,000 people in Berlin to do Sweatin’ With The Oldies before the historic Victory Column. Which is to say, any “presumptive candidate” willing to embrace change and increased diplomacy rather and maintain ridgidity and arrogance would have been welcomed with open arms.
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Now to local news.
Did you hear about the woman who was enjoying a quiet afternoon coffee break at Harry’s Cafe when the person sitting across from her asked, “Are you gonna’ finish your chocolate pie?”
“Yes,” she was heard to say. “Now I’d appreciate it if you would go on back to your own table.”
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My idea for a new bumper sticker was recently rejected by a publishing house. I can’t imagine why. It read: PROUD PARENT OF A TEENAGER WHO’S AN AVERAGE STUDENT AT A SCHOOL THAT’S NEVER WON A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP — AND I’M OKAY WITH THAT.
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While talking to a doctor about my difficulty in shedding weight, I joked about getting my jaws wired shut. He responded, with a straight face, that, in my case, installing a time-release lock on my refrigerator, much the same as they have on bank vaults, should be considered.
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I found out, this week, that a local funeral home is planning to offer a sportsman’s version of the Viking funeral in which expired fishermen, surrounded by sacred icons like their most prized rods and reels and lures, are cremated in a coffin carved in the shape of their bass boat which will be floated on their favorite strip pit. Of course they’ll be wearing their Cabela’s or Bass Pro outfits as well.
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At the Idle Hour, out in the Republic of Frontenac on Saturday night, I overheard the following between two patrons at the next table when the waitress brought the check, “How much do I tip?” After a short pause came the response, “Not at all when you’re sitting down, but go ahead and stand up and I’ll have a look.”
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Finally, the quote of the week.
I was agonizing, on Friday, with a tax accountant about the fact that I had to pay extra on last year’s return. Finally I asked him in exasperation, “Well, can you tell me anything I can do to lower my income tax?”
“Sure,” he said, in the manner of much beloved master of wisecracks, Alex Grimaldi, who passed away a few years ago. “Quit your job.”

J.T. Knoll is a writer, speaker and prevention and wellness coordinator at Pittsburg State University. He also operates Knoll Training, Consulting & Counseling Services in Pittsburg. He can be reached at 231-0499 or jtknoll@swbell.net.