Monday, October 10, 2011


I am happily drinking up all the information to be learned from the PBS/Ken Burns documentary "Prohibition."

I would like to rewrite that first sentence as Hank Williams, Jr, would have put it:

Me and all my Rowdy Friends are happily Drinking UP all the Information to be Learned from Them Liberals at PBS and Ken Burns in that Documentary called "Prohibition."  This was NOT written by Some Publicist.

Back to live action: as always, Burns's film is interesting, well-told, and full of new nuggets.  Such as, didja know that at the height of the lawbreaking, when people came to realize that a handful of abstemious goofs had denied the entire nation their right to sip beer, wine, whisky, and even hard cider, the Boston Globe newspaper had a contest to come up with a new word to describe those who drank in spite of the law?  And two people had to split the prize (which should have been a basket of cheer) for coining the neologism "Scofflaw."  We still use this word today, usually to describe the actions of Bush's Enron contributors. 

And we use it to describe the actions of those motorists who choose to zoom right past a school bus which has stopped to pick up or discharge passengers.  They can't claim not to know the bus has stopped for this reason; it's a huge yellow vehicle with 87 blinding flashing lights, and just for good measure, an illuminated red octagonal STOP sign pops out on the driver's side.

Still, you'll see people stop and then drive past the bus.  Sometimes, you'll even see people sail right on through without so much as slowing down, as schoolkids scatter like duckpins.  This is unsafe and there are laws against it, and here in my county, the police are considering a crackdown.  Give the kids a "brake," if you will.

ON THE OTHER HAND, parents could give drivers a break by putting the kids on the consarned bus!  On many mornings, I am captive audience to a purely American tableau as a certain mother puts her child on the bus.  You could boil a three-minute egg using them as a timer.  She kneels down, gets right in the kid's kisser, and exhorts and inveighs and encourages and I don't know what-all else.  Just put the young 'un on the bus and get on with life, please.

And then, we also get to see the kids whose parents are so against them being exposed to any natural elements that they keep them in the SUV at the bus stop until the bus arrives.  Of course, they are amused by watching DVDs in the SUV, shows with "entertainment" by The Wiggles, a group of men paid huge salaries for singing silly songs.  Anyway, the kids get out of the SUV and saunter over to the school bus with the same plodding gait used by James Cagney on his way to the electric chair in "Angels With Dirty Faces."  I mean, one time I was listening to the Books On DVD version of "The Brothers Karamazov" (as read by Pauly Shore) and he got through two of the three Russian Monk chapters from Book VI while I waited for little Throckmorton and wee Bathsheba to hop on the ride to school.

Clearly, this is an issue that bears further discussion.

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