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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, March 03, 2008

Quick Hits from the Weekend

  • Hussein - I have mixed feelings about this ongoing debate over Barack Obama's middle name. Barack Hussein Obama is his name, right? He hasn't expressed any shame over it. It's what his folks called him when he popped out of the womb. So what's the problem? You could argue that all the hype about Republicans using his middle name at campaign rallies for McCain is just that, hype. On the other hand though, while it's perfectly OK to cite someone's middle name when speaking about them, it's just not something we usually do. I mean I don't. I don't go around calling out co-worker's and/or rivals as Joseph Robert Smith, or Jane Sally Jones, or whatever. That sounds dumb. I'm more likely to call out Joe That Rat Bastard or something like that. BTW, I don't believe I have any co-workers named Joseph Robert Smith or Jane Sally Jones. But if I do, I apologize. My use of your name in this post was purely coincidental. So anyway, I have to ask why people in those campaign speeches are calling out Barack Hussein Obama. Don't insult me and say it's because that's his full name. Again, who ever calls you by your full name? The only people who have ever called me out as James "Something that starts with H" Burnett have been my mother when she was ticked off, and the dean of my college when he was handing out diplomas back in the day.
  • I'm working a theory here. I'm going to drop you guys a single word, and I want you to tell me what it means to you. First, a clue: it does not involve the animal kingdom. Here it is: Cougar.
  • And speaking of felines, does anyone make a scarecat? I need something to scare away the neighborhood strays. At least one of them has taken to using a bare spot in my front yard as a litter box. And if you know South Florida, then you know the soil can be very sandy. So a two-by-two-foot square of that soil is a loose cat's dream. Come to think of it maybe that's why grass won't grow in this spot.
  • If you can't laugh at yourself then you're probably no fun to be around. I can laugh at myself. That being said, if you've been looking for a way to make fun of me, well, you haven't been trying hard enough. Even so, I'm gonna toss you a bone. Follow this link and when you arrive click number one for a better explanation of why I write and don't, say, do rodeo or fly space shuttles for a living. A story should follow in the paper tomorrow.
  • How badly must you hate your job to do this to avoid work?
  • I have once again changed my mind about health insurance. You may recall that I posted a couple of weeks ago that I thought the blame for our jacked up system and super high costs should be shared by every entity making a buck off the medical industry, not just insurance agencies. I included equipment suppliers, hospitals, etc. But then many of you scolded me for my lack of knowledge of the health care industry and shared anecdotes with me about how costs are so high because of insurance industry trickery. And I conceded in a subsequent post. However, I was watching 60 Minutes last night, and one segment was about a British guy, a former soldier and adventurer, who a few years back started this volunteer medical service called Remote Area Medical that involves a fleet of planes dropping donated goods into remote areas - like jungles - and then volunteer doctors going down to those areas and for a day or for a weekend providing medical care, from basic checkups, to C.A.T. scans, to tooth surgery. Anyway, R.A.M. is so serious about that volunteer label that they operate on a shoestring budget. Here's what I'm driving at: last year RAM's all-volunteer staff saw 17,000 people and did it all on a $250,000 budget. Seventeen thousand people. $250K. I take back my concession. If these people can volunteer their way to these sorts of numbers, then everybody involved in health care, not just the insurance companies, can find a way to charge a little less.

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  • 1. obviously, to link him with a truly evil person (do they really do that at every Republican rally?).

    2. John Cougar Mellencamp or an old car.

    3. Stick with your day job.

    4. Surely there is enough blame for everyone involved.

    By Blogger david, at 1:26 PM  

  • David, I doubt it's done at every rally. But it became a point of contention after it was done at a rally in Ohio last week.

    I don't have a spare old car to sit on the lawn.

    No worries. I won't be driving fast or even kinda fast for a living anytime soon.

    And we definitely agree on the healthcare.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 1:38 PM  

  • David, I got your answers out of order. I thought you meant Mellencamp or the old car to scare off the stray cats. Oops!

    But you meant in answer to my one-word hint, "cougar." Nice try, but no dice. I'm gonna let it ride all day, and if no one gets it, I'll explain.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 1:40 PM  

  • Back in '92 the Democrats would refer to George Bush as George HERBERT WALKER Bush. The implication that only really rich people get a second middle name and that make shim out of touch with us regular people.

    The use of Hussein is just to attempt to tie into the mass "Obama is a Muslim!!" emails and the "Obama is a Muslim" stories that Fox and CNN have both run and on and on and on.

    But, this is politics. He had to know it was coming.

    By Blogger Jay, at 1:44 PM  

  • Jay, good point. Democrats did do that to the elder Bush to make the rich, privileged guy implication. You're right. I'm sure Obama knew it was coming. If he didn't see it coming then he's not smart. But my comments were more about the people using the name. What is motivating them? And I think you answered that.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 1:48 PM  

  • Cougar: Sad, pathetic older woman desperately hanging onto lost youth by pretending the young stud she's with actually wants to be with her because she's more than just an easy lay.

    By Blogger SWF42, at 2:37 PM  

  • Cougar: Middle aged predatory woman usually perched atop a bar stool lying in wait for unsuspecting younger male prey. Typically dressed in age-inappropriate attire and drinking white zinfandel.

    But you knew I'd say that.

    By Blogger Melissa, at 2:49 PM  

  • SWF42 and Melissa, you get gold stars.

    Even so, I'm gonna explain more about why I asked in another post later this evening or early morning.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 3:02 PM  

  • What COUGAR Means To Me
    by Kevin

    I had a metal, red wagon when I was a kid. On the side of this wagon was the word "Cougar." This word was the actual, plastic word off of that type of car. I don't know where it came from, since we had never owned a Cougar, but there it was on my wagon. So, whenever I see or hear the word Cougar, I remember my little red wagon.

    By Blogger Kevin, at 3:57 PM  

  • My parents once drove a Cougar. And now most of the guys I know would love to drive one, too.

    As for Hussein: it shouldn't be an issue. What does bother me is that radio personality at a McCain rally who repeated Barrack's full name over and over again to appeal to a section of America for whom such a name does matter.

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 4:01 PM  

  • James: You and your readers can view the entire "60 Minutes" piece over at my place. "Hard hitting" doesn't do it justice, in my opinion.


    By Blogger Rick, at 4:57 PM  

  • I've heard more comedians than reporters or politicians refer to Bush the First as George Walker Herbert Bush but with Obama -it seems it is really getting played up for all it's worth to stir up more and more fear, more prejudice towards the Muslim religion and make Obama seem to be connected there. Just more hate mongering.

    By Blogger Jeni, at 6:14 PM  

  • Cougar - I am one - Washington State University alumni.

    By Anonymous Karmyn R, at 7:28 PM  

  • I think Cougar is a car.
    That was my first response.
    If I had cheated and searched, I could have given the predatory woman definition.
    I don't think it is in common usage.

    By Blogger Christine Thresh, at 8:03 PM  

  • James...there are many who use their middle name. John Fitzgerald Kennedy , Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Milhouse Nixon.
    Darn... I'm really showing my age.

    Cougar: Washington State University

    By Blogger Pamela, at 9:40 PM  

  • bwaaa a ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
    you were sooooooooo cute driving your desk.

    By Blogger Pamela, at 9:47 PM  

  • You may not be a great race driver, but you do have a great voice!

    Seems like the losers start playing with the apparent winner's name, regardless of it being the Democrats with Bush, or we'll see who wins this election.

    You already have a definition of cougar.

    Try a big dog to scare off the cat.

    There are at least four major groups that need reforming to make healthcare work: insurance companies, doctors and hospitals, suppliers, and patients. Each group has their way of playing the system. Each runs up the cost. For example, open up medical schools to allow for more enrollment and increase the supply of doctors. Build more medical schools and teaching hospitals. Brings down the cost of doctors. Restricted supply hasn't improved the quality as they would have you believe.

    Need treatment in a hospital and the law says you must be treated? You must work off your debt to the hospital at minimum wage, in the hospital. Fair is fair. If you're illegal, you may be working there as a prison worker, but you will be treated to the best medical care available. The hospital, and the local citizenry can't afford to simply pay for you to use the emergency room as a free clinic.

    The others need more organized, legal reform. Or more market forces. Not that I have an opinion, naturally.

    By Blogger The CEO, at 11:29 PM  

  • cougars are definitely the older predatory woman thing. someone said it's not in common usage. it is in Australia.

    as for the cat doodly problem, maybe try spraying some kind of scent around the area, something cats don't like. I don't know what though.

    By Anonymous insomniac, at 12:02 AM  

  • Your Cougar clue said: "First, a clue: it does not involve the animal kingdom."
    A woman, predatory or not, is part of the animal kingdom.
    So what are you looking for if not the car?

    By Blogger Christine Thresh, at 11:15 AM  

  • You can buy coyote and fox urine online or at some garden stores. Will scare the pee out of cats, they'll make haste, postehaste, and exit stage left.

    By Anonymous og, at 11:58 AM  

  • Laughter IS the best medicine, and so I laugh with at and by myself all the time lol. Especially being a nurse, if you did not laugh you would surely cry ALL THE TIME!

    By Blogger Cazzie!!!, at 6:30 PM  

  • Middle names are also used for presidential assassins, except Sirhan Sirhan, and often for murderers: "Gary Wayne Gilmore (if I got it right) was executed today by a firing squad."

    The use of his middle name was a slam, whether it should be or not.

    By Blogger Dave, at 7:27 PM  

  • as to the middle name, I think it has to piss off republicans right now to know that most people don't care. And those who do stick out like the crap they are.

    Glad you rethought the health care situation. :)

    You have to hate your job pretty bad

    For the felines, toss moth balls into the area. this worked on our skunk problem. If that doesn't work try buying and spreading coyote urine around your property (mark your territory). That worked on the coyote that kept coming around early in the morning. Good luck.

    Off to read about you through your link!

    By Blogger Say It, at 10:36 PM  

  • Kevin, that moved my heart. Psyche! That was so corny. Nah, I'm just kidding. I had a wagon like that. But I think mine said Flyer something or the other on the side of it.

    ThirdWorst, is that a double entendre about the guys you know wanting to drive Cougars? And that was my whole point about the repeated use of the senator's middle name. It's not wrong, in and of itself, to use the man's given name. But why use it, if it's not something you'd do any other time - like when it's not election season?

    Rick, thanks for the heads up. I re-watched the episode. I'm still really impressed with what those RAM folks are doing.

    Jeni, you're right. I've seen a lot of comedians do the middle name thing. But unfortunately, I also suspect you're right about the latter part of your comment.

    Karmyn R, rawr! Ha ha ha. Kidding. Go Cougars. How are they doing in NCAA hoops this season?

    Christine, you have helped me with my research. Thanks. I was wondering about how common (or not)the latter definition was to most people.

    Pamela, I forgot about the presidents. And thank you on the video. I try. Sort of.

    Monty, thank you. I used to do news radio, you know. And I like your ideas on healthcare reform. You should be running for president.

    Insomniac, thanks for the tip on Australia. I wonder when it started, and how that word became a nickname for such women.

    Og, that's one of the many reasons I like you. No one else I know would have had any idea that coyote or fox pee could do that. I'm gonna try it. But will the coyote or fox pee have an overwhelming odor? I don't want that wafting through my open windows or anything.

    Cazzie, we agree. If laughing at oneself is healthy, I should live to be 150.

    Dave, good points. I forgot about Gilmore and the other killers, who, now that I think about it, also used their middle names regularly too.

    Say It, I might give the mothballs a try too. Og also suggested the coyote pee. Maybe I'll try both. Not together, of course.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 11:34 AM  

  • The Hussein stuff would go away (or get worse) if Obama would come clean about his schooling in predominantly muslim Indonesia and his plans to make nice nice with the Axis of evil in the middle East.

    Health care costs are ridiclous but if people saved the money they would spend on premiums and put it in their own interest bearing account they could pay cash and be covered for 99% of the the health problems down the road.

    By Blogger Hammer, at 6:01 PM  

  • Hammer, I don't know. I've read from some pretty reliable sources about that school in Indonesia. All the stuff about it being some top secret Muslim school appears to be bogus. If the sources I've read are correct, that school was full of all sorts of students - Muslim, Christian, non-religious, and their curriculum was not rooted in Islam at all. On the other hand, you are correct about this much: it took me digging that info up from newsy sources I trust, 'cause I've never once heard Obama actually take five minutes and give that simple explanation. To be fair to him though, the rumor mill is working overtime. So if he did give that explanation there are a lot of folks out there who would view it as suspicious trickery on his part.

    As for health care, I agree with you in theory. But in order for your plan to work, costs - at least those for major procedures - would still have to come down some.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 10:34 PM  

  • B Hussein Obama - it's a "gosh look, vote for him & you're electing a MUSLIM" thing. (As if being 'black' wasn't enough) Trouble is that too many will fall for it.

    The cat thing - get a territorial cat to adopt your garden as its own, it'll see off the others, & go poop elsewhere. Worked a charm for my Mum, til the cat died. Or why do you actually have a dog? Let it earn its keep!

    Otherwise try the mothballs. & there is a kind of plant which cats are supposed to hate the smell of, & it's supposed to keep them away. Don't know how effective it is. Go surf that up cos I've forgotten it, sorry.

    Otherwise just cover the spot in question, or stick it full of pointy sticks, until the grass grows long enough to deter the cat. Mum found that grass didn't deter the cats in her locality. Gravelling the garden did.

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 5:43 AM  

  • Bronchitikat, your opinion on Obama appears to match consensus. As for the cat problem, we actually had a territorial cat that had adopted our yard. That did seem to keep other cats away, but then that cat started leaving dead birds and other critters at our front stoop. Maybe it got offended 'cause we didn't appreciate the gifts, but for whatever reason we haven't seen it lately, except for once while we were out walking our dog, we saw the cat strolling at the other end of our block. And I can't get the dog to do anything about it, 'cause he is ambivilent to cats. He doesn't dislike 'em or like 'em. He ignores them all, even our pet cat. Someone else suggested the mothballs. May give that one a try too.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 9:39 AM  

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