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Give Me a Break
July 2002

I admire people that find time to write a column every single day. I can't find the time to spit one out every week. There's plenty of material out there to do a daily internet column, that's not the problem. In fact, daily isn't enough to cover everything. You need a perpetually updating column. Oh, they have one. It's called internet chat.

Anyway, I decided to just do a general gripe session on all the stuff that's going on that I'm never going to have time to write about. Let's start with the Catholic priest thing. Here's the situation:

6/03/02 "The six-page “Draft Charter For The Protection of Children and Young People” will be put to a vote when bishops from around the country meet June 13-15 in Dallas. A priest who sexually abuses a child - or any priest who has abused more than one minor in the past - would be subject to removal from the ministry, under a policy proposed Tuesday by Roman Catholic bishops.

No, really, this material writes itself. More than one minor? What, you get one free? A mulligan? Then, tell me they really have to vote on this. All in favor of banning sexual molestation of minors, say aye. Opposed? Hmmm, too close to call, we're going to have to pass out ballots.

But the Catholic church has it all figured out. It says this is all the fault of the media. They say the media is getting back at them because the Pope came out against the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Oh, yeah, that's got to be it. If it weren't for that Gulf War thing, we'd all be copacetic with you guys banging our children. The Roman Catholic culture is trying an old American trick. Hey, yo, you be prosecuting me 'cause I'm black, yo. No, we be prosecuting you cause you killed people on a subway, yo.

Okay, what's next? Oh, Bill Clinton (our first white trash president) and his proposed talk show on NBC. I can see it now:

"Bil-ly! Bil-ly! Bil-ly!" (Cut to commercial) Did you marry your wife for political gain? Are you banging your kid's nanny? Do you have troopers set up trysts for you? Call 1-800 WIT-TRSH to get on the program.

He would be entering a market that is losing Rosie O'Donnell and Oprah, so his trembling chin and lip biting tricks should have a ready-made audience. Billy's trouble is that Jerry Springer already has the market he would appeal to and Howard Stern has the guests that would appeal to him.

Next: Tempest in teapots. This is way out of date, but what's up with people's trouble with Harry Potter? Oooh, witchcraft and wizardry. Here it is people, listen up: It's fantasy. Fantasy, okay? It's not real. I used to play Cowboy and Indian, I used to play Army, I used to play Astronaut, I used to play all kinds of stuff and I grew up to be an engineer. I never played engineer. Let me tell you, if the only problem you have with your kid is that he found a book he likes to read, I wish you'd move to my neighborhood, 'cause I'm telling you Charlie, the kids in my neighborhood think that book means to process you into jail.

Okay, so I'm sitting around chatting with a group of my similar thinking buddies (right winger whackos in non PC language) and the subject of Harry Potter comes up. One gal is talking about all the bad influence and witch craft and there's a lot of oohing and aahhing and oh-my-goshing and then there's a break in the conversation. Everybody kind of looks to me to get my opinion. I say "I have books one and two and as soon as I find book three in paperback I intend to buy it." Now I've never burped in a crowded elevator, but believe me, I've seen exactly the reaction that would get.

We've got a similar controversy here locally. Years ago a company called Red Devil Concrete donated lots and lots of material to build a high school. In recognition the school took on Red Devils as their mascot. Now people (probably about 7 people, the same ones who protest rodeos, I'm sure) are raising a stink about how being called Devils promotes satanism. Oh, yeah, I see the connection. Frankly I'm more concerned with the schools up north. I'm afraid the high school kids that call themselves the Logan Grizzlies are going to grow up to eat raw fish and pester campers.

Now, as long as I'm baggin on stuff, I've got to hit golf. They had the world golf cup or Nationals or some durn thing at a golf course called Bethpage. They showed this big scary sign on the back nine: Caution, this is a very difficult course intended for experienced players only. Am I the only one busting a gut here? People are standing around whispering "Isn't this the course where a golfer got killed last year." "Yeah, you're lucky if you get out of there with just internal injuries and some broken bones." "Careful, Junior! Don't get too close!" They called it a black course. Wait, are those legal? Oh, yeah, it's the whites only courses that are bad . . . my mistake. Ski resorts rate the runs with different colors, giving black diamonds to dangerous ones that require expert abilities to safely negotiate. Apparently this golf course is dangerous enough to pose a hazard to golfers, warranting the black rating (No Tiger Woods jokes). I'm sure the NASCAR drivers are scared spitless to approach the place. I'll stick with slamming walls at 200 mph, thanks. No scary warning signs on racetracks.

By the way, when I see a golf course I see a waste of property that could be used for a racetrack.

Let's see, bagged on golf, Clinton, the Catholic church . . . okay, time to move on to our screwed up cultural in general and in specific Britney Spears (I don't know if that's spelled right and it's not important enough to me to check). First, she's a beautiful girl. No complaints on that. Here's my beef. Note to you young girls out there: the hip huggers you're wearing? They look stupid, okay? You're all carbon copies and have no brains of your own. Exactly what kind of fish are you trying to catch with that bait? If you catch one, better hope you're current on your shots.

And speaking of stupid fashions, parents, that's neat that you've got your teenage girls going to church. No, that's great, but just a quick note. You probably want to find an outfit that doesn't show their belly button. You know, at least for Sunday. And if your girls have to wear T-shirts to church, do you think you could find one that doesn't have words on it? And that tight cotton mini skirt that hugs their buns? Oh, yeah, I like it, I really do, but now think about it. Religion? Morality and chastity and pure thoughts and all? Church might not be the most appropriate place to be trolling. Just a suggestion.

Obviously, on a fine Sunday morning these gals are better of at church dressed like pop stars than somewhere else dressed like a Muslim woman. But you've got to admit, there's something irresistibly make-funable about people coming to church dressed like a call girl.

Okay, finally the coup de grace. Maybe I should save this one for my Phil Hendrie Effect article, but as long as I'm griping . . . Let's say you have a hot dog stand set up on a street corner. You have a radio hanging in there playing music from a radio station. Guess what? ASCAP and BMI are going to send you a bill for playing copyrighted music. This is true. Ridiculous, but true.

First, I'm a big believer in protecting intellectual property. If I can create something that no one else can, I should be compensated. What's right about getting something for free that I spent time and talent to create?

Well, just this once. Here's a free economics lesson: The people in this world that are rich, I mean really filthy, stinking, people that don't even know them hate them rich, get paid multiple times for working once. Doctors make good money, 'cause they get paid a lot for what they do. But they only get paid when they do something. The seriously rich do something once and keep getting paid for it while they're sitting on their boat. We're talking about actors, writers, recording artists . . . For example, Won Bad Rappor spends one day in the studio then splits to go shoot people in discos. They take that one tape, duplicate it a million times, and he gets paid every time they sell it. Then he gets paid when the radio station plays it.

Nothing wrong with that. Capitalism taken to the logical extreme. The operative word here is logical. When you start charging people for playing a radio, you've crossed the line. I'm not going to debate it. You either see it or you don't. I don't waste time painting pictures for a blind man.

But here's the deal. If you're afraid of someone stealing your creations, find another line of work, 'cause you're not creative. I can do a painting then shred it and do another. I'll never run out of paintings. It's inside me.

Go ahead, steal my work and say it's yours. You can't duplicate it. You can steal my creations but you can't steal my creativity.

Well, that's about it. I can't think of any demographic I haven't offended, so I guess I'm all through griping for the moment. If you made it this far, take two forehead stars out of petty cash . . . uh, I think Hawkeye said that first, I didn't create it. If you work for the Actors Guild, don't send me a bill. The copyright on that line expired in 1987.

Frank Leany

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