Monday, April 21, 2008


I recently received an e-mail with a poem by Erma Bombeck. You will remember her as a bright, funny, writer and columnist. This week is the twelfth anniversary of her death from cancer. The poem I was sent was written by her after she learned she was dying. I won’t include the whole poem but it basically dealt with the proposition if you had your life to live over, what would you do? I suspect that this takes on a whole new meaning if you know you are dying. In her piece she wrote that she would burn the flowered candle before it melted down in the store room. She would eat popcorn in the good living room. She would listen as her grandfather rambled on about stories she had heard before. There were many more things she would change or do differently, but I think you get her thoughts. Of course we can’t have our lives over.

Tim McGraw had a record out a while back that was titled “Live like you are dying”. The poem and the song were powerful messages. This essay hopes to challenge you and me to do just that. Live our lives as if there were no tomorrow. There is no guarantee that any of us will be here tomorrow.

Are you on a diet? I am. In fact I have been on a diet for about thirty years. I just keep getting bigger. Are you saving the good china for a special occasion? We are. It sits in the china cabinet and gathers dust and we eat on the everyday plates. We have beautiful crystal glassware that I have never had a drink from. Any time we buy something, we always think of the practical nature of the purchase. How long will it last? Will it have any residual value?

Are you putting off a trip? Would you like to see someone whom you haven’t seen for a long time? Are you trying to make your old beater car last another hundred thousand miles? Are you holding a grudge against someone you would really like just to sit down and talk to? When it’s ten o’clock at night and your mate wants a blizzard from Dairy Queen, do you fuss and fume? I heard once that life is short, eat dessert first. Good advice.

We have all lost close friends and loved ones suddenly and without warning. As our lives go on, it will continue to happen.

I have a neighbor who is fond of saying that he has never seen a hearse pulling a u-haul trailer. That is his way of saying that you can’t take it with you.

Here then is the message to you and to me. Live as if you were dying. Eat from the good china. Enjoy your life. I have said before and I’m sure you all have heard life is a terminal condition. This essay is not about death however. It is instead about life. If you knew you had a week to live, what if anything would you change? Would you burn the candle you have been saving for a special occasion? What is a more special occasion than your life? Would you take that trip to see someone? Would you eat that hot fudge sundae? Would you turn off the TV news and just listen to the silence? No this essay is not about death. It is for sure about life. Live it.

Ron Scarbro April 21, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008


The media is all atwitter. The reports are that Katie Couric is to be removed from her position as anchor of the CBS evening news. Of course all of the usual suspects have weighed in on the reason. The biggest reason they opine is that she has not been accepted because she is a woman. America is what Elton John recently called a country of misogynists. To any who care that means women haters. Others have said that CBS is having some difficulty paying her salary of some fifteen million dollars a year and still finishing up in last place in the ratings. Still others have said that television news is lagging behind the internet as the prime source of news for the American consumer. Some of these reasons may have some validity.

Consider this. The New York Times has been laying off a vast number of people citing reasons that ad revenue has been lowered by competition from the internet. The Los Angeles Times is reported to be in the same boat. I have heard the same about any of a number of newspapers. We are being told that newspapers are a dead issue for the future because people don’t want to spend the time or the energy reading the news.

Then there is Air America. This is the self described liberal alternative to the conservative radio networks. They apparently believed that their side wasn’t being given proper time and space on the air waves. It seems that they hadn’t heard of NPR or other ultra liberal forms of media that were available to the American consumer. Their experiment however failed. They have since filed for bankruptcy protection. It appears that there was not a huge demand for their liberal opinion of the news.

So, what is the reason for all this uneasiness in the liberal media? Are the causes of their difficulty as defined by them true? Or is something else going on?

I don’t watch Katie Couric or CBS for any reason with the possible exception of an occasional sporting event. I don’t care for their agenda. I have never believed they just reported the news. My opinion is and has been that they report their view of the news. They report what they want the news to be. I dislike Katie Couric not because she is a woman, but because she preaches an agenda that doesn’t square with my opinion of America. The fact that both she and CBS are in difficult times may be just because of these facts. It is possible that the real America may be very different from the country they see from their northeast newsrooms.

How about the New York Times? Personally I wouldn’t wrap my rotting fish in that newspaper for fear the fish would be contaminated by the experience. How they continue to be the so-called standard of news is beyond my understanding. They and their ilk are and will continue to suffer from their own miscalculation of the American people.

Air America doesn’t even need much mention. It will continue to be an asterisk in the media because of these same miscalculations.

Contrary to the opinion of the northeast media elite, America is not a liberal country. America is not the country they see from their Manhattan cocktail parties and social gatherings. The real America is much more down to earth. Fox News Channel says “We report, you decide.” The problem with that is the same as with all news reporting, they decide what they report.

I don’t care if these big media companies fail and disappear. Someone else will come along. I don’t even care if Katie Couric falls on hard financial times without her fifteen million dollar salary. I will continue to get my news from many sources and sort it all out and make my own decisions. I recommend for you the same, and if all else fails, you can just read my blog.

Ron Scarbro April 14, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008


An event was reported last week which should get all our attention. When closely examined this event might just demonstrate a wide array of ills which affects and infects our society. The news story I am talking about was the conspiracy of a third grade class in Georgia to kidnap and kill their teacher.

If you hadn’t heard, a “special needs” third grade class was accused of attempting to hurt their teacher. Their plan was to kidnap her by hitting her in the back of the head with a crystal pitcher, handcuffing her, tying her up further with duct tape, and then stabbing her with a steak knife. The little conspirators decided among themselves what each would bring to the event and then what job each would have including a clean up crew for all the blood. Cute, huh?

The reason for this action was reported to be in retaliation for what the students believed was unreasonable use of authority by the teacher who told one of these precious little darlings to get down from standing on a chair. That sure sounds like a good reason to kill your teacher to me, how about you?

A closer examination of this crime reveals some interesting things. First it points out the absolute imperative that classes be small. This class had a total of eleven students. If there had been thirty or forty, they might have been successful and the teacher would already be dead. The conspiracy included nine of the eleven students. It unraveled when one of the non-conspirators ratted the others out.

Of course none of these children has been subject to arrest because, as everyone knows, eight and nine year olds cannot be held accountable for their actions because they cannot possibly know right from wrong. Well this is where I start to part company with conventional thinking.

I admit that I don’t really know what constitutes a special needs student. It probably is a catchall phrase that allows schools to lump together hard to manage kids and kids with questionable home lives. By separating these children from everyone else, that automatically stigmatizes them. That becomes a social ill.

Next, these kids don’t appear to understand the meaning of the word respect. They cannot come to terms with authority. What do you suppose is their parent’s understanding of authority and law? It wouldn’t take much imagination to believe that the parents are individuals who defy police, ignore law, and generally live their lives on the edge.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe that having these miserable parents in any way excuses the actions of their precious offspring. Whether Georgia punishes these children or their parents for this crime or not, one thing is sure, we will have to revisit these very same little hoodlums again for their next crime or crimes at some time in the future. We can only hope that someone doesn’t have to die when we do.

It seems that discipline has disappeared from the lexicon of schools. Those undisciplined little imps are then inflicted on the larger society to create what havoc they can until they are eventually caught, convicted, and spend the rest of their lives warehoused at the taxpayer’s expense in prison.

Parents and schools are not doing their kids any favors by not allowing them to learn from their mistakes. These children in Georgia must be held to account for their actions as well as their parents. We either solve it now or we surely will have to solve it later.

Ron Scarbro April 5, 2008