Friday, July 25, 2008

Bottom of the News… Friday, July 25, 2008

Honoring Red Skelton

Good morning my fellow Rotarians… Last week, July 18th, was the birthday of “Red” Skelton, the all-American comedian from radio, TV and film for nearly 40 years. He died 11 years ago at the age of 84. He could make people laugh with by twisting his words and with his many facial expressions.

Quite often he made fun of his wife Edna, and yet as his chief writer, she wrote many of the bits where he picked on her. One of his most famous monologues I want to share with you today entitled… Red Skelton’s Recipe for a Perfect Marriage:

1. Two times a week, we go to a nice restaurant, have a little beverage, good food and companionship. She goes on Tuesdays, I go on Fridays.

2. We also sleep in separate beds. Hers is in California and mine is in Texas.

3. I take my wife everywhere... but she keeps finding her way back.

4. I asked my wife where she wanted to go for our anniversary. "Somewhere I haven't been in a long time!" she said. So I suggested the kitchen.

5. We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.

6. She has an electric blender, electric toaster and electric bread maker. She said "There are too many gadgets and no place to sit down!" So I bought her an electric chair.

7. My wife told me the car wasn't running well because there was water in the carburetor. I asked where the car was; she told me "In the lake."

8. She got a mud pack and looked great for two days. Then the mud fell off.

9. One morning she ran after the garbage truck, yelling "Am I too late for the garbage?" The driver said "No, jump in!"

10. The last fight was my fault though. My wife asked "What's on the TV?" I said "Dust!"

11. Remember: Marriage is the number one cause of divorce.

12. I married Miss Right. I just didn't know her first name was Always.

13. I haven't spoken to my wife in 18 months. I don't like to interrupt her.

And that from the funny man Red Skelton. And one final famous quote he used to close his show each week… "Good night and may God bless."

So for our news today we honor a great American comedian on this Friday, July 25, 2008!


Friday, July 18, 2008

Bottom of the News… Friday, July 18, 2008

Good morning my fellow Rotarians… I thought it would be most appropriate to take this morning to highlight a top of the news item that has gotten a lot of attention for Iowa around the country these past few weeks. No, I’m not talking about the flooding, but rather HOW Iowans have reacted to what is shaping up to be one of the top 10 disasters in US history. I wanted to share a few excerpts from some newspaper editorials.

It Started with the Wall Street Journal
Their editorial talked about “what we don’t see in Iowa” and they talked about the lack of street violence and looking at people sitting on their rooftops and many other examples. And within days newspapers around the country picked up on the observation of how people of Iowa were reacting to our catastrophe. Towns were overwhelmed, businesses destroyed, and crops were being washed away. Fox News called it "Iowa's Katrina."

The St. Paul Pioneer Press
As events unfolded, people stepped up in the Iowa “stubborn” way. We know that all too well, being Minnesotians! There were many man-on-the-street interviews, and nobody was complaining. They all seemed to be working to solve their problems, which is not surprising because Iowans do not complain about tragedy. They complain about hot weather and dry weather, and winter cold (that comes down from Minnesota with lots of snow!), but they do not complain about tragedy.

The Detroit News
Katrina has become a metaphor for many things beyond natural disaster, including governmental and individual incompetence (depending on your point of view). In Iowa there was a greater than 500 year flood, but the people were not paralyzed, whining, or looting. When the people in Iowa were asked to evacuate from certain significantly flooded areas they did so without question. They evacuated. I am sure if you poked around enough in Iowa you could find a few disgruntled souls.

The Boston Globe
There has been no large-scale blame cast elsewhere, to Washington, federal officials, or FEMA. So far, we haven't heard anybody say the high water is the president’s fault. Nobody in Iowa is complaining or blaming. Nobody has abandoned their jobs. Nobody is crying foul. Nobody is looting. None of their senators and governor have been crying on TV. In fact, a “large congratulations” might be sent to Iowa, or Iowans, who seem to be dealing with their floods the only way possible, by dealing with them.

And unfortunately, there will be no massive relief effort from around the world with telethons and lots of celebrity support. Most of those who will step up to help with be other Iowans.

The difference is not in the severity of the flood, but in the people who confront the flood. Good for Iowa.

And I am proud to give this Top of the News report for Friday, July 18, 2008.

So today, I am fortunate to be hosting a special event to help our business community. The Iowa Business Recovery Summit will start within the hour at Mount Mercy. The chamber and a dozen companies have teamed up with 15 coaches and advisors who have stepped up to join our effort.

And we have a special guest from New Orleans who will be a featured presenter over lunch talking about “Lessons from Katrina.” Brian Baudean, a fellow Rotarian, is with us today and I wanted you all to meet him.

Also, if you would still like to attend the summit either this morning, or for lunch, talk to me and we can get you signed up. We have around 100 people coming and it is FREE at Donnelly Hall at Mount Mercy, registration starts at 8 am, lunch is at Noon. Thanks for your support!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Bottom of the News… Friday, July 11, 2008

Good morning my fellow Rotarians… I thought it might be interesting to go back into the archives for Iowa based bottom of the news events over the years and our crack research team came up with these stories…

Parking Tickets
In April of 1994 in Cedar Rapids Erin Prendergast, 20, pleaded guilty to 174 more parking violations, with total fines reaching nearly $5,000. Earlier in the year, in January, she had pleaded guilty to 248 parking tickets totaling more than $7,000. Officials said still more violations against her were awaiting processing. When the judge asked how she could accumulate so many violations, Prendergast, who was described as very cooperative by a Gazette reporter, said, "I really don't know your honor."

Lottery Tickets
In June of 2002, a woman described only as in her 40s, spent five hours off and on shopping at a Des Moines convenience store buying scratch-off lottery tickets, stopping only when her paycheck of $60 had been exhausted with just one winning ticket. A few minutes later, she returned to the store and robbed it.

Fish Story
Ronald Clark, age 30 in 1991, was charged with assault in Cedar Rapids in February for reportedly hitting Thomas Jones in the face with a frozen fish, A broken nose and cut up face sent Jones to the hospital. Clark was confronted in his home by Jones in an argument over a woman.

The Streaker
In 1998, John Thomas was arrested in Council Bluffs in May after he was found running naked over a bridge on Interstate 480. He told police that bolts of lightning in a recent storm had instructed him to undress and run about town.

Road Kills & Hiway Spills
The year 1996 was a record for highway truck spills in Iowa…
o A semi load of frozen French fries spilled on I-80 in eastern Iowa,
o A pickup truck full of ricotta cheese spilled in central Iowa,
o 21 tons of large plates of glass shattered on a downtown street in Davenport.
o 12,000 roofing nails, that punctured tires of about 50 cars, spilled on I-35 in southern Iowa,
o 30,000 cans of Milwaukee's Best beer exploded on the highway near Dubuque,
o And finally, 103,000 eggs fell off a truck and covered a major section of Highway 92 near Winterset. The locals use this event to claim the Guinness Book record for having the world’s largest batch of “scrambled eggs!”

Only in Iowa! And as an FYI, you can check out our Bottom of the News blog at And there you have it, weird news in Iowa history as our Bottom of the News for Friday, July 11, 2008.