Archive for January, 2015

Jeb, Hillary: Please stay home

You see them haunting television commercials, old-time stars now hawking all sorts of stuff to make themselves some money and seem relevant.

Here’s Shaquille O’Neal peddling medical products, as if we’d ever ask Shaq for advice about anything except how to dunk a basketball.

There’s country crooner Kenny Rogers with yet another tired rendition of “know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.” (Kenny, now would be a great time to fold ‘em and ride off into the sunset.)

And see former U.S. senator and world’s stiffest actor Fred Thompson touting the advantages of reverse mortgages to senior citizens, the only people who have the slightest idea who he is.

Maybe Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush look at these commercials and vow, “That will never be me. That’s why I have to run for president. I’m still relevant.”

Sorry, but I’d rather see them in late-night TV commercial land than in the 2016 race for the White House.

Don’t get me wrong: Both did a lot of good.

Clinton inspired many women and fought for many good causes. Bush was excellent at rushing aid to communities hit by a wave of hurricanes that devastated much of Florida. He also exposed the shame that was the education lacking in many public schools.

But I for one need a break from the Bush/Clinton legacies and all the tangled webs they bring.

Give us a fresh start, a presidential candidate who will not pretend to be one of the common folk, as Hillary painfully tries to do, or kowtow to the hard right-wingers as Jeb so often did in office.

Maybe Clinton and Bush learned from their mistakes, but after all these years you have to wonder if old pols can grow new backbones.

Not that it’s easy to find appealing new candidates out there. Florida’s Democratic Party has such a weak supply of candidates that it had to welcome Charlie Crist, who had trouble rallying even the Anybody-But-Rick-Scott crowd in last year’s election for governor.

On the national level, neither party has yet discovered a star for 2016.

Wackos Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum are cult candidates, and our own Sen. Marco Rubio thinks he’s still in 1969 Miami, with his denunciations of the Cuba diplomatic opening. And how about Rubio, champion of unconservative compassion, criticizing Pope Francis, one old white guy that young people admire?

My wish for 2015 is for Jeb and Hillary to stay on the sidelines, offering advice gleaned from their years in the limelight.

They should be recruiting a new generation of leaders, people who can learn from the many Clinton and Bush mistakes, and cherry-pick the wisdom both have to offer.

That’s the best way for Clinton and Bush to serve the country now.

Mark O’Brien is a writer in Pensacola. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Resolutions for others to improve my life

New Year’s resolutions are so boring when we make them for ourselves. Lose weight, save money, exercise more, blah blah blah.

Wouldn’t it be more fun to make resolutions for other people to follow in the New Year? If they were “better” n our minds, we would be so much happier.

In that spirit, I offer a few resolutions that would make my 2015 so delightful:

WSRE-TV— When you trot out your inevitable and endless fund-raising appeals, please offer us something more up-to-date than doo wop and Peter, Paul and Mary music. Don’t be our father’s public television. WSRE = We’re So Rarely Entertaining.

Entertainers — Skip the long breaks between sets. Musicians don’t need 30-minute breaks. Ten minutes will give you plenty of time to slip outside, smoke a cigarette and get the phone numbers of two women you probably will never call.

Shopping centers — Find something productive and attractive for the acres of parking that go unused except for a very few days at Christmas. For about 360 days a year those spaces just collect heat and dirt.

Sunday morning drivers — Let’s have better driving from motorists who forget their manners going to and from churches. Especially from churches, as drivers forget the message of that day’s sermon and rush recklessly to their next doughnut or piece of fried chicken. And

Almost all drivers: You know that thingamajig on the left side of your steering wheel column? That’s for you to give signals so other drivers know when you’re turning.

Divorced people: You get six months to complain bitterly about the ex. Then shut up and move on! No one is profiting except the lawyers and the mental health counselors.

Politicians: Shhh! You learn more by listening than by talking, talking, talking.

Obama Haters — Get some perspective. The economy is far better than it was in January 2009, when Barack Obama moved into the White House. And millions more people now have health insurance, yet the sky hasn’t fallen. How is that so horrible?

Obama Lovers — A person isn’t racist just because he criticizes Obama’s policies. Argue policies, not personalities.

Radio stations — Give us more music from Meghan Trainor (“All About That Bass”), Maddie & Tae (“Girl in a Country Song”) and Kacey Musgrave (“Same Trailer Different Park.”) They’re smart, strong young women who use music and humor to tell stories that show that the world includes more than stereotypical beer-drinking, truck-driving good ol’ boys.

Constant complainers — We just went enjoyed a year without even a hint of a hurricane. Tourism was through the roof successful, downtown Pensacola is blossoming, and we seem to have escaped major long-term environmental damage from the BP oil spill. Quit carping long enough to see that life could be much, much worse.


This appeared in the January 2015 Splash!, an entertainment publication by Gulf Breeze News