The Truth, Mainly - 12/29/1997

1997 Pinko Awards Banquet a depressing, gloomy event
by Leon Satterfield

A cloud hangs over the American Association of Dirty Rotten Bleeding Heart Liberal Secular Humanists. Our membership has fallen off 25 percent from last year.

That's because one of us succumbed this year to a fit of apoplexy brought on by a nasty case of terminal indignation at the antics of Helms, Lott, Gingrich, and Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Corporate America, Inc., doing business as the U. S. Congress.

So that left only three of us to attend last night's 1997 Pinko Awards Banquet in the back booth of the 44th and O Street DaVinci's where we swallowed our pride and several slices of pizza while we deliberated over the 1997 winners. Our decisions:

•The Attaway-to-Speak-Up-Now-That-You're-Not-Running-for-Anything Award: to J. J. Exon for, shortly after his retirement from the Senate, telling us that if Harry Truman were still alive he'd tell the Christian Coalition to "go to hell."

•The Who's-Responsible-Around-Here-Anyway? Award: to Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for refusing to sign a bill last March giving relief to storm victims because it referred to tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes as "acts of God." His God, the guv said, doesn't do things like that. Opposition came from the representative of a suburban Little Rock district hard hit by a tornado, who sniffed, "I'm just as much a Baptist as he is."

•Witticism-of-the-Year Award (TV Evangelist Division): to Rev. Jerry Falwell for his snappy response to Ellen DeGeneres' coming out: he called her (snort, snort) "Ellen Degenerate"! Ain't he sumpin? Got a million of 'em.

•Clunkiest-Coinage-of-the-Year Award (Texas Division): to Kleberg County commissioners who decided courthouse employees should stop answering the phone with "hello" because the word is four-fifths "hell." The new salutation to be used when courthouse phones ring: "Heaven-o."

•Most-Politic-Cancellation-of-a-Not-Very-Good-Promotional-Idea Award (Genital Division): to the Charleston (S.C.) minor league baseball team, the RiverDogs, which offered a free vasectomy to anyone attending a Father's Day game. Fans—including the Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese—"clearly didn't like the idea," the team's general manager said, so the offer was nipped in the bud.

•Why-Can't-Government-be-More-Like-Free-Enterprise? Award: to AT&T for paying John Walter $22 million to lure him away from his old job so he could be groomed to be AT&T's new CEO, then less than a year later when it didn't work out paying him another $3.8 million for his trouble. Who's reaching out and touching whom here?

•Good-News, Bad-News Scientific Inquiry of the Year: to Danish researchers who my examinging brains of 94 cadavers concluded that men have about 4 billion more brain cells than women. Asked what men might be doing with all those extra cells, researcher Bente Pakkenber said "Right now it's a mystery."

•Bad-News, Bad-News Defense Revelation of the Year: to Congressional investigaters who revealed that although the B-2 stealth bomber is the most expensive plane in the world ($2 billion each), on the other hand it "must be sheltered or exposed only to the most benign environment—low humidity, no precipitation, moderate temperatures" or it'll cost really big money to fix.

Model-Husband-Most-Sensitive-to-Spousal-Nuance Award (Football Coach Division): to Bill McCartney who was off organizing Promise Keepers several years ago while his wife, according to the Oct. 29 NY Times, stayed in her room "weak from bulimia and considering suicide." Coach Bill noticed she's lost 80 pounds but, he said, "I didn't see it as a bad thing. You know how ladies are, concerned about the pounds. I saw that she was losing weight, and I was proud of her."

Rules-is-Rules Award: shared this year by (1) the Babe Ruth League in Boca Raton, Fla., for insisting that 12-year-old catcher Melissa Roglin wear a jock strap and protective crotch cup because that's what boys are supposed to wear, and (2) the Greyhound bus driver, also in Florida, who put an 80-year-old woman off his bus at a truck stop 80 miles from her home at 3 a.m. because she had in her bag a 7-week-old Pekinese puppy—a birthday gift—and Greyhound has a rule against transporting dogs.

Encouraging-Citizen-Participation-in-Government Award: to Gov. Ben Nelson who told the Journal Star that death penalty opponents should lobby legislators, not him. A paragraph later, he said "it's very unlikely" he'd sign a bill abolishing the death penalty even if the Legislature passed one.

On that somber note, our festivities came to an end. We sighed, paid our bill, and crept back into our corners to await with fear and trembling the events of 1998.


Lincoln English Professor Satterfield writes to salvage clarity from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays.

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