Flash: Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize. After a careful reading of various news sources to get the reaction, I realize I don't have anything to say that hasn't already been said.
We take our readers to heart. Sometimes they face difficult decisions in their personal lives and ask us for help.
Dear Dr. Frog,
"Mamma Mia" is such a good movie. I've seen it three times and everybody sings along. But my husband would not go with me. Keith is such a good man in every respect, but he just won't go. So when "Mamma Mia" came out on DVD, I thought we could watch it at home together -- just the two of us. But he refuses! Honestly, I cried.
Maybe I'm making too much of this, so tell me what I'm doing wrong. Or am I doing anything wrong? I try to be a good sport about things. I have sat with him on the couch and watched at least a hundred football games, but one little movie that I like and he won't do it.
---from Sally in Shelter Bay
Thanks for having the courage to share this with me. My heart goes out to you and I will try to help with what little I know.
It's true that a man can be difficult to deal with and no more responsive than a block of wood, but the fire is in there, believe me. I can understand why Keith doesn't want to see "Mamma Mia." None of the guys do. It's more than a chick flick. It's like the total, ultimate chick flick and word gets around.
Sally, why you like it so much is why he doesn't like it all. It's a little gooshy -- you know what I mean. I'm sure Keith knows what I mean. I'm a rugged dude and a man's man, but I am also a serious researcher of human nature, so I watched "Mamma Mia" last night on the DVD.
You're right. It's a wonderful movie. Just the scenery from the Greek islands is worth the price of admission. And those cheesy Abba songs, sincerely dramatized by Meryl Streep and Pierre Brosnan -- who sang in their real voices. It was all very well done. This movie is good schmaltz. Of course, you loved it.
But your question to me was -- should you somehow insist that Keith watch it with you, or should you be hurt that he has refused to do this?
This is my answer: Leave him be. Because a man resting on the couch watching a football should be allowed his repose. He doesn't want to talk, he only wants to munch pretzels. Let him rest. Be glad he's at home. He's not doing any harm when he's not doing anything at all.
Even for a hundred football games.
But he does have to do one thing for you. He has to take you to the opera this winter in Seattle. Good seats, top dollar. He has to buy the tickets, wear his very best clothes and pretend he's having a good time. The full deal. Maybe he should buy you a corsage too.
That's what he has to do. Tell him I said so.
The Public Option. Support is building for the public option. The arguments against it run flat. Has the post office driven Fedex and UPS out of business? Have public universities driven private colleges into bankruptcy? Have public libraries forced all the bookstores to close?
These are three examples of a successful market-sharing relation between public and private entities. It could also work well in health insurance.
The Government Can't Do Anything Right. The government can't do anything right -- except for the Internet, a defense communication project, or the Interstate Highway System, or the dams along the Tennessee river that brought electricity to country people all over the South in the 1930s.
Or the Erie Canal. Or the Louisiana Purchase.
All stupid, all a complete waste of money. Especially that last one. President Jefferson spent millions of dollars to buy worthless land. We should have stopped him.
Actually, historically, over time, it has been hit or miss. The federal gov't has many times wasted billions of dollars on programs that do nothing or even harm people. Like when they bought Alaska from the Russians in 1867 -- nothing but worthless frozen waste and tundra
But I'll take a chance with Obama's public option. It might work.
Who Paid the Taxes that Built the West. Look at Bonneville Dam and the Grand Coulee Dam that have provide cheap electricity and abundant water for agriculture to the Pacific Northwest. Built with federal dollars. Paid for by taxes from the Midwest.
It was the industrial and manufacturing power of the Midwest that made the jobs and generated the income and paid the taxes which the federal government collected to build the highways and dams and military bases and national parks and flood control and irrigation projects throughout the sparsely populated and under-developed Western states.
There is a four-lane limited access Interstate highway, I-90, that crosses the entire state of Montana from west to east. Do you think the people of Montana paid for that road? There never was enough people in Montana to pay for that road. But they ride on it all the time, while cursing the federal government, while sticking that federal money in their back pockets at the same time.
The money came from tax dollars generated in the Midwest, from the farm implement factories in Iowa -- John Deere and Massey-Ferguson. From the heavy equipment factories in Illinois, like Caterpillar. From the powerful steel mills along the Lake Michigan shore in Indiana. From the mile-long car factories in Michigan.
Those once mighty engines of democracy generated the wealth that built the West.
But the factories decayed, and the manufacturing system fell afoul and the jobs dried up and the Midwest has not been the powerful engine it once was. Michigan has the highest unemployment in the country now. It's hard to believe what Michigan is now, compared to how powerful it once was.
Fortunately, for the Midwest, there's a new President in the White House, a man who put his roots down in the South side of Chicago. Obama represents the new energy and the resurgence of the Midwest.
Places like Illinois and Michigan aren't cool. Everybody on the West Coast thinks it's much cooler to be out here, and so many of us came from back there and we didn't like it back that there because it was so conventional and boring and flat.
But, Michigan and the Midwest are the future of our country. Put it another way -- if Michigan has no future, than the USA has no future. It's not going to happen any other way.
That's why a young man with ambition who grew up in in Hawaii and Indonesia decided to begin his life's work in the un-coolest part of the country, the Midwest.
In the center, in the middle.
I have written enough, and this will be continued.
Courage. I want to make a special thanks to Peggy in Marin County who has helped me get my courage back.
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