Monday, June 27, 2011

Breaking news...

[We are at the headquarters of the Center for Republican Understanding of Democrats (C.R.U.D.) in downtown Promise City, Iowa where a press conference has been called by the "Vote for Bart" campaign. Here is Professor Bart now and Mrs. Bart is with him, standing to the side and just slightly behind him.]

Professor: My dear friends and supporters. This has been one of the most difficult weeks of my life...and I know that I have disappointed many of you. Nonetheless, it is time for me to come clean. In this day of flash mobs and twittering media, it is impossible to keep anything personal. I hope you believe me when I say that I had no intention of deceiving my family, my wife, and my faithful supporters. I must confess today that I one time...have a brief association with the Democratic Party. I want to assure you, however, that I never really felt like a Democrat...I might have been in the same room with a few of them, but I never inhaled their political philosophy. Now I believe we have a few moments for a couple of questions.

Media Reporter #1: it true that you once hosted a Democratic Party caucus meeting at your home? And, if I may just ask a short follow up you have any idea what a flash mob is?

Professor: Of course I know what a flash mob is. But I don't think this is the place to discuss such disgusting behavior...and you can be certain that if I am elected, I will put a stop to them. With regards to your first question, yes, I did sign up to host a caucus meeting at my home. At the time I was unaware that it was for the Democratic Party...I thought it was meeting of scholars to discuss democracy. And anyway nobody except an out-of-work musician showed up. That hardly counts, I think. Next question?

Media Reporter #2: can you honestly say that you were never really a Democrat? I have reports that show you were registered as a Democrat for more than a decade, that you served as a delegate on more than one occasion to county and state Democratic Party conventions, that you openly put up placards for Democratic candidates on your front lawn, and that you still own a Jimmy Carter bobblehead doll.

Professor: I'll have you know that doll is a valuable artifact of a bygone era. I keep it only for academic purposes. I have no comment on your other allegations. Next question.

Media Reporter #3: Professor...what is the status of your presidential campaign now that you have come out of the closet, so to speak? The polls, for example, are showing you as dead last in every primary if they were held today.

Professor: Poles? I'll have you know that the Poles are firmly on my side. Why my great-great-grandfather was a Pole. I don't know where you are getting your data, but you'd better go back and check your sources. And I resent your implication that I have come out of the closet. I will never come out of the closet. I don't even know where the closet is., no...let me take a few more questions...the truth must be told!

[Unfortunately, I believe that is the end of this news conference. The Professor's wife just dragged him off of the podium.]

Friday, June 24, 2011

Campaign Rumors

I am certain that many of you have already seen the photo and read the vicious rumors that have been circulating on the internet this week about myself and our presidential campaign. These rumors are total fabrication and a ploy of my opponents to discredit me. I expected this to happen...just not quite so soon. However, the fact that these rumors and this purported photo of me have surfaced should give all of my supporters a lift. It means that the campaign is getting some's getting noticed and, of course, that is just what we had hoped for.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am posting the supposed photo of me here. The quality of the photo is such that I can't really say who it is in this photo, but I can assure all of my loyal supporters that I never shook hands with that woman, a democrat...never hosted a democratic mass meeting at my home (no one could ever prove this one way or the other since no one ever attends democrat mass meetings in Utah County)...never drank anything from that Pepsi machine...and I certainly never voted for Jimmy Carter (I mean this was the man who was almost killed by a bunny!).

Now, I am certain that the opponents of our campaign will continue to try and feed this issue to the press and the public. But I know I can count on you to provide the support and strength that we need to go forward. Please continue to send your contributions to the "Vote for Bart" campaign. It will take all of us working together to put down these ugly rumors. Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Real Issues

I must apologize to those of you who have been following my "Vote For Bart" 2012 presidential election campaign. It has been some time since I brought you up-to-date on how the campaign is going. I do want to assure all of my faithful supporters that exciting things are on the horizon. In fact, I think I have discovered an issue that will appeal to all Americans. And it is an issue that none of the other candidates have dared to touch.

The issue is this: there is a great inequity, bordering on racism and bigotry, in the naming of towns, cities, and other places in the United States. Did you know that there are 13 places with Democrat as all or part of the place name around the country, but only 9 with Republican. We have towns in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Texas by the name of Democrat, along with Democrat Spring, Illinois, Democrat Ridge, Missouri, Democrat Landing, Alabama, Democrat Guard Station (aka Democrat Fire Station), California, Democrat Crossing, Texas, and Democrat Bluff, Alabama. That's can count them.

Republicans on the other hand have towns named Republican in Arkansas, North Carolina, South Dakota, Ohio, Nebraska, and Mississippi along with Republican Grove, Virginia, Republican Station, Nebraska, and Republican Valley Farm, Ohio. That's just nine. Less than 70% of what the Democrats have.

I cannot believe that the news media have not picked up on this. I suspect they are aware of it, but you know how they are when it comes to pointing out any inequities that favor the Democrats. Just think what the headlines would be if it was the other way around. Every paper in the country would be splashed with "Republicans secretly infiltrating America's homes: huge difference found in place names across the country!"

And this is not the worst of it. My team of expert researchers has discovered that there are over 100 places with names that include Kennedy, over 140 that include Clinton, and even more, two hundred at least, that include Carter. All of this while Nixon barely rates 30, Reagan 15, and Eisenhower...this is the kicker...Eisenhower only has 2 golf courses, an arts center, a tunnel, and a shopping mall.

This kind of anti-Republicanism must stop! And I am the one to do it. My plan would be to require all states to maintain an equal distribution of Republican and Democrat place names, never to vary by more than 1%. Any state violating this policy would lose all federal funding and be ceded to Mexico or Canada, whichever was closer.

I can guarantee you that if I am elected, this kind of partisan behavior would be eliminated. So, please spread the word about the campaign and be sure to send your donations to: 101 Democrat Boulevard, Republican City.

Monday, June 6, 2011

More Drama at the Service Center

It turns out that my tires actually did come in (see my previous post below) and so I had to return to the service center while the tires were installed. I estimated from past experiences that I could be waiting at the service center for anywhere between 3o minutes and one week--with a high probability that it would be closer to one week. My friendly service representative greeted me with a hearty "Howdy, Butch" and sent me into the waiting room.

The waiting room was actually better than most. It had a supply of food (free popcorn) and drink (a water fountain) so I knew that I would not be wanting for anything to eat or drink during the wait. In addition, there was a TV set that was already on. Two other people were in the waiting room and it looked like they had already gone through several bags of popcorn. Nobody appeared to be watching the TV, but I knew that the moment I moved over toward the remote to change the channel, someone would pop their head up and let me know that, hey, they were watching that show. So, I contented myself with my own bag of popcorn and sat back to see what the show was all about.

Here's the thing. I had no idea that there was a show about choppers. In fact, I only vaguely knew what a chopper was. But sure enough, here I was watching this show about them. First, the big mustached guy with tatoos...Big Paul, I think...would come on and explain that he had some family issues. Then they would show a clip of Big Paul yelling at Little Paul in the shop while they were supposedly working on their choppers. Next we'd see Little Paul explaining that, yeah, there had always been family issues and he knew that his mom loved him, but that Big Paul was a pain in the butt. Then the cameras would roll back to the shop where we would see Little Paul screaming at Big Paul. There were a couple of other guys in there as well, but I didn't really catch their names. I never saw anyone actually work on one of the motorbikes. However, I was people really watch this stuff? Could it possibly be that they have made a whole show out of a family screaming at each other in a bike shop?

I moved over towards the remote and glanced at the other two people in the waiting room. They seemed to be engrossed in other things. But just as I reached to change the channel, another guy walked into the waiting room. He glanced at the screen and immediately said, "Oh, this must be one of the episodes where Big Paul and Little Paul were still working know before they split up."

Across the room, one of the other men, who I had been sure was not paying attention. piped up, "Nah, this isn't a regular episode...just a special on the whole family."

"Yeah, that's right. I missed this the last time it was on."

And with that, the newcomer sat down next to me and, because I couldn't really think of a good excuse for getting up, we watched for what I am sure must have been several hours before my service representative saved me.

"Hey, Butch. You're all already to go. We've got the tires on, and remember you get free rotation for as long as you own the tires...and also, just for today, as a special treat for our loyal customers, we're giving out free copies of American Choppers, season two.

Friday, June 3, 2011

At the Service Center

I had one of those "guy" opportunities this week. It all started when my wife informed me that the car had failed inspection because the tires were bald. This bit of news was a little upsetting to I believe it would be to any guy...because the car is practically brand new! Tires are supposed to last for 40 or 50 thousand miles, and we only have 20 thousand on the car. I know this for a fact because I actually checked the mileage. And, like any guy would do, I checked a few other things. Had the tires been rotated? Yes they had. Were they out of alignment? Didn't appear to be since they were worn down pretty evenly. I even kicked the tires a few times because that is what guys do when they don't know how else to fix something.

But I wasn't through with my investigation. When it comes to cars, guys do not give up easily. My next move was to take the car to the dealer and let them know that having my tires wear out with only 20,000 miles on the car was a bit of a disappointment. The service guy agreed with me that this was a little surprising. I think that's one of their regular training sessions probably entitled something like: "Techniques for Good Dramatics in Customer Relations." At any rate, he did an excellent job of acting surprised and then went right to his computer.

"Oh, here's the problem, Butch. You've got these extra high performance tires on your vehicle."

"The name's Bart, not Butch. And why would "high performance" tires be a problem? That's exactly what I'm looking for."

"Well, look here Butch. See? These tires don't come with any kind of tread-life warranty, and they are only rated to last for 15,ooo miles. Sounds like you actually got some pretty good wear out of those things."

Of course, I couldn't see at all what he was trying to show me on the screen, I was unconvinced that I had gotten 'some pretty good wear' out of the current set of tires, and I decided there was no point in pressing him on the Butch vesus Bart thing. I took a different tactic and asked another question.

"So, if these tires only last for 15,000 miles, why are they called "high performance" tires?

"Well Butch, these are high performance tires because they are built for speed and handling. Why you can do up to 190 mph safely with these babies on your car."

"I see...I've always wanted to do 190 in the family car. And we'd certainly want to be safe while doing it. I definitely see your point here. But, my wife, who uses this car much more than I do, mostly drives it in family neighborhoods and shopping malls. She typically tries to keep it under 100 mph. So, I'm wondering if you have some not-so-high-performance tires that we can get."

"That's gonna be tough. I don't know if they make anything but the high-performance type for this model of car. You can still drive the car slow, you know, with the high-performance ones on."

"Right, so how much would it be to replace these tires with the same ones we currently have?"

"Well Butch, that's the good news. They'd only be around $300 per tire."

I think at this point I might have whimpered quietly. Not something guys are supposed to do. When I had recovered a little, I asked, "Please, just to humor me, will you check to see if there are some lower performance tires available for this model of car?"

I wait patiently, trying not to whimper again, for several minutes while my service representative punches buttons on his computer and makes this face that says, 'You're gonna be sorry if you don't get the $300 tires.' But then a miracle occurs.

"Hey! What do you know. There is another type of tire we can put on your car, Butch. They are, however, a lower performance type. They may last a bit longer--they're rated for 30,000 miles--but you won't be able to control the car as well, particularly when you get her up over 100 mph. And the down side is that they're only rated for up to 150 mph."

"That's good to know. It will be a struggle, but I think we can manage to keep below the 150 mark. How much are they?"

"Only $200 per tire, and we'll give you free tire rotation for the life of the tires."

With the free tire rotation, and not wanting to further test my guy-ness limits, I agree to take the lower performance set.

"So you'll put them on today?" I ask in one last attempt at male domination.

"Now Butch. I'm doing my best for you. But, no, we won't be able to get them on today. I'll call you when the tires come in. It will probably be next week sometime...or maybe in July."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Junior High: A training ground for life

I had the fortunate opportunity as a young boy to attend Junior High School. This is an opportunity that should not be missed by any young person because so many life lessons are learned inside (and outside) the walls of the Junior High. For me, Elementary School was exciting and fun. My teachers and fellow students were in awe of my many talents. I was good at almost everything, although I will admit that I did struggle a little with nap time during my Kindergarten class.

All of this changed when I entered Junior High. In Junior High I was set afloat in a sea of pubescence made up mostly of students I did not know. In this new environment, I had a problem, something that, until then, I had not realized was a problem: I was the youngest, the skinniest, and almost the shortest kid in the school. The outgrowth of this problem was that I tended to be the daily recipient of character building experiences.

On my first day, I discovered, for example, that it was unwise to actually use the locker that had been assigned to me. For some reason the boy who had the adjacent locker preferred not to see me anywhere near his locker or himself...and I, of course, realizing that he was most likely from a difficult home environment, was happy to oblige. I actually became quite good at stealth lockering, that is, moving quietly and unseen through the hallways of Wahlquist to my locker. This acquired skill has been extremely valuable in many other areas of my life.

I also learned that there were a number of other male students who were concerned for my physical toughness. This group would spot me coming down the hallway and crowd around to see who could provide the most effective training. One student, in particular, decided that he needed to toughen up my upper arms and shoulders. He would hang around the hallway until my stealth abilities slipped up and then deliver a fist to my arm, back, or shoulder. I think this probably helped both of us...toughening up my upper body and giving him a bit of a workout as well.

I was perfectly content with this situation and refused to engage in any cross-training. I didn't even blink when one day he decided to do some of this training in Boys Glee. Unfortunately, the Boys Glee teacher was not very observant. All he saw was a disturbance in the back of the room and he grabbed the first student he could hauled me up to the front of the class. There he had me do a few "touch my toe" exercises while he taught me the difference between a wooden paddle with holes in it and one that did not have holes. Again, this has been a valuable life lesson and may be one of the reasons that I later enjoyed studying physics.

However, amid many other lessons learned in Junior High--too many to detail here--my faithful friend, follower, and trainer continued his regimen of toughening me up all through the fall and into the next spring. By the springtime my arms, shoulders, and back were almost oblivious to his workouts. Whatever he was doing, it was certainly working, and I wasn't about to complain. One day, however--I think it was shortly after he realized that his blows were having little effect on me--as I walked past him down the hallway, he stuck his leg out and pushed me to the floor.

Now, I consider myself as tolerant as the next fellow, but this, I thought, was taking our training beyond the point where I wanted it to go. I stood up, not even picking up my books, and pushed him back. In less time than it takes to say "Engelbert Humperdinck", a crowd had gathered. I'm sure it was the spectacle of the year, but thankfully my yearlong training paid off. Before the Assistant Principal swooped in to stop the fight, I had given my opponent a black eye and he had given me a bloody lip. I suppose it was pretty much a draw, but to me it certainly felt like victory.

You might suppose that I then got in trouble with the Principal and with my parents. But there you would be wrong. For here was another valuable lesson I learned: It helps to have friends in high places. The Principal, you see, was a fairly close friend of our family. I took voice lessons from his wife and spent many hours in his home. He asked me what had happened, I told him, and he sent me on my way. I do not know what he said to my fellow student and trainer, but I do know that I never again had the opportunity for personal physical development during class breaks at Wahlquist Junior High.