December 07, 2006

And we go to the big box of questions and...

...find that it is empty.


Never fear, gentle readers, the show must go on and all that stuff. It might just not be up to the usual high standard of quality you might be used to. Then again, it may exceed it by a wide margin.

IN ANY EVENT, all of you gather 'round and listen to these questions and then take a moment to answer them, either by leaving your answer in the comments below or a link to your online journal, or as the kids call it, a "blog." As is the usual case when I don't have any questions, today's offering will be a grab-bag selection of entirely unrelated questions. We call it Potpourri, because it gives a high-tone air to the place and makes it seem much more uppity than just "Pile of Junk."


1) Have you ever been removed from a public conveyance for breaking rules regarding passenger behavior, such as Miss Windybritches on the DC-Dallas flight?

2) What is the latest movie you've seen (theater, broadcast, or video) and how did you like it?

3) What is your favorite soft drink?

And since these are all so pitiful, we'll even throw in an extra question that you can use as a substitute or as a bonus question--

4) Who do you consider to be the worst United States President in your lifetime?

There now--take that box full of odds-and-ends and see what you can do with it!

As for my answers...

1) No, of course not. And in the case of the turbulence aloft scenario, I tend to be a big believer in Ben Franklin's philosophy.

2) That would be 1998 Jonathan Taylor Thomas version of I'll Be Home For Christmas on VHS. It's really a pretty funny movie, even though it seems to have scored quite low amongst IMDb readers. Which is really a shock. Also includes a wondrously squishy Jessica Biel back before she decided to go trashy, which is worth the price of the movie.

3) Diet Coke, of course.

4) Well, let's see--in my lifetime there's been Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush.

Johnson was a petulent, preening, blowhard ignoramus, but at least he had the decency to shut up after he was out of office.

Nixon was a mean, petty, paranoid opportunist, but at least he had the decency to resign in disgrace and later on spoke with some sense of reasonableness about politics in general. Despite his venality, he was pretty smart about some things and didn't actively try to harm American interest merely to puff up his own ego.

Carter is a weak-willed elitist who played his down-home good ol' boy act to a tee, getting himself elected to an office he was not fit to fill and did more harm to America's future than anyone could have ever imagined. Rather than have the simple decency required to admit his abject failure as a chief executive and keep his mouth shut after being dealt a humiliating defeat, he has continued to pontificate from his self-proclaimed moral high ground--high ground which makes up for its notable lack of height with great measures of ego-centricity. (Related link)

Clinton is an enormously charming vat of amorality, with no interest in anything other than filling his bottomless maw of personal proclivities, for whom the very idea of decency is foreign and vaguely threatening. As with his Democratic predecessor, he never misses an opportunity to interject himself into anything that serves to demean and diminish America's place in the world.

Of that list of worsts--I say Carter is number one, followed by Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton.

So there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at December 7, 2006 08:38 AM

I'm in

Posted by: Diane at December 7, 2006 09:01 AM

1. No.
2. Don't recall, have trouble sitting thru movies.
3. Diet Sprite (zero) is least worst. On the whole, I'd rather have beer, but it has lots of calories and doesn't play well with my meds.
4. Even though I was born earlier than Terry (during Truman's administration), Carter is still the worst.

Posted by: steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve) at December 7, 2006 09:32 AM

At least I can answer these questions, so I think they're pretty good!

1) No.

2) Actually, I saw The Nativity Story this past weekend--and it was not bad at all. I'd give it three stars out of five, and it was respectful of the Biblical narrative.

3) I know this is heresy, but I like both Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. I don't care which one you give me as long as it is not caffeine-free.

4) Without a doubt, Jimmy Carter, who is also the worst ex-president in my lifetime.

Posted by: Stan at December 7, 2006 09:40 AM

1. No
2. I don't remember... I tend to fall asleep. I would LIKE to see THE NATIVITY STORY.
3. Diet Coke. I also sometimes drink a Diet Dr. Pepper.
4. Carter was probably the most ineffective, but Clinton did a lot to dishonor the office.

Posted by: Kathy at December 7, 2006 09:53 AM

1. No.
2. The Nativity Story - liked it fine, thought it was a very good movie and was disappointed to see it open so poorly. Full review at Spudlets.
3. Diet Coke (the AoW approved beverage), though the Diet Raspberry-Creme Dr. Pepper is making a strong push. I suppose the latter could be viewed as a change of pace.
4. I was about to say Slick Willie, but I'd have to agree with Stan on Jimmuh. I still don't understand how Carter achieved such a position with his lack of leadership skills. I suppose he filled a Nixonian vacuum.

Posted by: Marc V at December 7, 2006 09:55 AM

My death defying yet trivial prose is up. Before noon even. Will wonders ever cease?

Posted by: Chef Tony at December 7, 2006 10:17 AM

1. Nope. 2. Happy Feet. This one is too much fun in spite of the Algore & Green Party War on Human Productivity message. 3. Diet Coke, with or without lime, thankyouverymuch. 4. Jimmy Carter, without a doubt. I'm embarrased to say I voted for him in my youthful ignorance. If he would keep to building houses and shut thehellup about international circumstances, he might not be such an embarrasement. At least Clinton is doing some good work with GHWB regarding fighting poverty around the world instead of taking sides with the terrorists.

Posted by: Nate at December 7, 2006 10:42 AM

1. No.
2. I don't remember. I frequently check out not very memorable movies. The last movie might have been Nanny McPhee or Hoodwinked though.
3. Dr. Pepper or Root Beer or maybe a really spicy Ginger Beer
4. Being younger than some of you, I don't have as many choices, but unfortunately, I'm not so young that Carter still doesn't rate the number one spot as worst President in my lifetime, although most people my age or younger have been brainwashed into thinking he's a great man.

Posted by: Jordana at December 7, 2006 11:06 AM

1. No.
2. Can't remember.
3. Currently Diet Dr. P, Cherry and Vanilla
4. I can't believe all you people are picking on possibly the best President to ever come out of Georgia. Possibly because I'm not really sure the term "best" can be applied to Jimmah in any context unless you include categories such as "Best Bad Poet Among Ex-Presidents of the USA Who Both Poem".

Posted by: Larry Anderson at December 7, 2006 11:24 AM

Well, Jordana, I suppose if you consider supporting every tinpot leftist dicator in the world (who, sadly, is forced by inhumane US policies to maintain control of his country by imprisoning, torturing, and killing wads of his own people, while still being able to provide free health care and universal literacy even in the face of US hegemony) as the mark of a great man, then by golly, I guess he's got it going in spades.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at December 7, 2006 11:29 AM

1. Yes. Lyman and I were thrown off a public bus in Rome because we didn't understand that you needed to buy a ticket or pass at a shop before boarding.

2. I caught the end of either "Pride and Prejudice" or "Sense and Sensibility" when my sister was here. Beautiful costumes.

3. Classic Coke, rarely.

4. I do not care much for the present President Bush, but I'd say the worst is Lyndon Johnson. Bigfoot.

Jimmy Carter is a nice enough man, as bitter as he rings now, but he had no place being the leader of the free world. And I voted for him. Voted for Bush, too, for that matter.

Posted by: Janis Gore at December 7, 2006 11:38 AM

I'm in, though I'm not really here. I'm trying to resolve crises that needed to be solved yesterday.

Posted by: skinnydan at December 7, 2006 11:39 AM

I'm UP.

AND I'm still on the pills-- so thinking of people like Jimmy make me want to puke.
At least Mel Gibson kept his biases mostly hidden except when drunk. President Carter thinks his are scholarship.

Posted by: jim at December 7, 2006 11:56 AM

Dr. Jim, I think Lyndon Johnson did much more damage to America with his program of the "Great Society" than any other president could imagine.

Unintended consequences, certainly.

Posted by: Janis Gore at December 7, 2006 12:14 PM

Ms. Janis while I might agree with the problems of the great society I at least credit Johnson with attempting to lead the country in an established direction. Those programs were the logical result of depression era reforms. So at least Lyndon was in a stream main or otherwise. I’m probably wrong but I at least give him credit for trying to finish something he thought was long overdue. Also he gets great credit for standing up for civil rights with most of the “real” democrats would only pay lip service or sound bite to.

Posted by: jim at December 7, 2006 02:16 PM

I'm up, and y'all are all way off on the worst president question.

Posted by: skillzy at December 7, 2006 02:36 PM

Maybe I think of him that way because we are arguing the same damned issues that we did more than forty years ago.

Maybe the Baby Boomers ARE the problem.

Posted by: Janis Gore at December 7, 2006 02:37 PM

My turn!

Posted by: Sarah G. at December 7, 2006 02:37 PM

And maybe I should go clean the guest bathroom.

Posted by: Janis Gore at December 7, 2006 02:38 PM

Ms Janis too bad we’re all goofy and funny here because that whole era is interesting for debate. I do think it was entirely wrong for the right reasons. The prevailing scholarship –even in economics—was going that way. Remember in the 60’s free markets and libertarians were outcasts of a sort.
Terry can be have another blog to actually talk about important things and pretend we are sitting having a cup of coffee in the student union. How fun that was but then everything was fun when you were young.

Posted by: jim at December 7, 2006 05:49 PM

You're a few years older than I am, Dr. Jim, and I was, admittedly very young, but I think I have something to give to that debate. And I haven't seen it yet. And these kids of arguments weren't even fun then

And certainly wouldn't have been had I taken that scholarship to the Mississippi Ladies' Colege.

Posted by: Janis Gore at December 7, 2006 06:12 PM

Who needs kids? This could be fun. Not sure what I think this many years later but it would be interesting to follow the discussion. Wonder if anyone wants to join.
I get so bogged down in the narrowness of research or the broadness of some management themes I forget government policy and its consequences.

Posted by: jim at December 7, 2006 08:24 PM

Dr. Smith, Miss Janis, we will attempt something serious in the coming days, but be prepared for it to degenerate rapidly into kazoo music if I am allowed to have anything to do with it. Thinking big thoughts makes my head hurt, you know.

I will say this: Free markets work--not perfectly, of course, but they still work better for everyone than anything else. Wage or price controls never achieve their intended purpose, and generally make it more difficult to bring about true economic prosperity.

Even more pernicious are the variety of institutionalized entitlement programs that over the years have acted as a disincentive to working and learning, and have created a permanent, poverty-ridden, hopeless, and helpless group of people beholden to society with no desire nor sense of moral obligation to try to escape from their circumstances.

But all that for another day. I have to find my kazoo.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at December 8, 2006 10:37 AM