Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Columns

March 16, 2009

THEREFORE I AM: Jim Croce and I will keep you safe and sound

My philosophy of life is simple: When in doubt, follow the advice of a dead folk-rock star. I always found Jim Croce to be particularly handy in this capacity. Don’t tug on Superman’s cape. Don’t spit into the wind. Don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger, and regardless of how badly you may want to, do not, under any circumstances, mess around with Jim.

I was never certain if the Jim mentioned in the song is the same Jim who penned the lyrics, but I think it’s a valuable nugget of advice nonetheless. Sadly for me and music fans everywhere, Jim Croce died decades ago. I am left to figure things out on my own. Oh sure, I have my parents, wife and children to rely upon for guidance, not to mention my own moral compass, but come on — no one wrote lyrics like Jim Croce. “And it’s not hustling people strange to you / Even if you do got a two-piece custom-made pool cue.” Testify, Brother Jim!

So in the spirit of life lessons translated as interpersonal warnings, I thought I’d mention a few of the things I’ve learned not to do to other people. You can do these things if you want to, but I will not be held responsible for what happens. Neither will Jim Croce.

Don’t get into a “zinger battle” with a professional comedian. You will lose. You will lose every time. Just ask Jim Cramer. He’s the host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” and he recently got into a well-publicized inter-show war of words with Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show.” The two finally met on Jon’s show, and it was liking watching a cat toy with a dead mouse. Jim didn’t stand a snowball’s chance. Good comedians are smart, pithy and have perfect timing — in other words, not someone you want to go toe-to-toe with on national TV, and Jon is about as good as they come. To a lesser degree but still fully applicable, this rule applies to anyone who is considering heckling a comedian on stage. It’s a no-win scenario. The comedian has a microphone, he’s had lots of experience dealing with hecklers much more clever than

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Columns
  • veteran GARY'S WORLD: Thank our veterans this weekend A tremendous opportunity presents itself in our community this weekend — an opportunity to honor those who served in the Vietnam War. Personally, after attending last year's first Welcome Home celebration, I wouldn't want to miss this. It was an emotional event for both Vietnam veterans and ordinary citizens. It was a great way to commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day in Tennessee, March 29.

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  • antique RANDOM THOUGHTS: "Antiques Roadshow" comes to Tennessee If you are one of the 10 million who watch each episode of the “Antiques Roadshow” mark your calendar. The three upcoming Mondays, March 30, April 6 and April 13, were all taped in Chattanooga last July.

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  • LION AND THE LAMB: An open letter to Sharon Baier I was happy to read your well-written article, printed in last week's Chronicle. It makes a strong case, in the story of Al and Jennifer, that "To make money, you have to spend money." That misguided couple thought that they ought to cut down on their purchase of supplies, to save money. They did so, week after week, until they lost their business.

    March 24, 2009

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Veterans storm the Hill When young men and women risk their lives and sacrifice both physical and mental health for their country, a grateful country should at least provide them with shelter, food, and health care. But there is a lot of hypocrisy between what some windbag says on Veterans Day and what the country actually does for veterans.

    March 24, 2009

  • child crying THEREFORE I AM: Kids stress out parents? Well, duh! This just in: According to an expert, children can add stress and strain to a marriage. In other news, further expert studies have indicated that the sky is in fact blue, Paris Hilton is a tad spoiled, peanut butter and chocolate taste great together, and the Middle East has issues. Thank goodness we have experts to tell us these things.

    March 23, 2009 1 Photo

  • shackles INSIDE THE FIRST AMENDMENT: With shekels come shackles When President Obama launched his faith-based initiative at the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 5, he promised not only to sustain the Bush administration’s signature domestic program — but to expand it.

    March 19, 2009 1 Photo

  • loneranger THEREFORE I AM: Jim Croce and I will keep you safe and sound My philosophy of life is simple: When in doubt, follow the advice of a dead folk-rock star. I always found Jim Croce to be particularly handy in this capacity. Don’t tug on Superman’s cape. Don’t spit into the wind. Don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger, and regardless of how badly you may want to, do not, under any circumstances, mess around with Jim.

    March 16, 2009 1 Photo

  • STUMPTALK: Stimulating a war on prosperity and freedom Near Bush’s sunset, Treasury Secretary Paulson and Fed chairman Bernanke terrified the nation with “the sky’s falling and America is doomed” unless the government steps in with new regulations, institutional takeovers and massive lending.

    March 16, 2009

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Thoughts on bringing a recession to heel Responding to the recent full-throated baying of conservative “economic watchdogs,” I slogged into the swamp of their icon Adam Smith’s murky tome, “The Wealth of Nations,” to see if they had finally treed anything of value.

    March 10, 2009

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Reality Dim blue of early morning shines into the living room

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    March 10, 2009

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