Notes from a quiet street—IV

A fourth in a series of 2016 observations on the passing scene from one who has time now to observe the passing scene without going full bloggal.)

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George, who lives down this quiet street, down the hill and around the corner, says he has been inspired by the legislature to open his own fast-food business.  He thinks he’ll call it “Colonel George’s Missouri-Fried Turkey.”  He’s a little presumptuous about calling himself “Colonel,” because he flunked out of auctioneer school before he earned the title but he figures nobody will care once his marketing department (his wife) goes into full operations.

George was talking about the choices his customers will have.

“May I have a couple of legs, some breast meat, and a wing?”

“Ma’am, we only sell the entire turkey.  But our prices for the entire bird are less than you’d pay at the grocery store deli counter for those two legs, some breast meat, and a wing.”

“Really!!   Well, I guess I’ll have the whole turkey then.”

“Excellent.  How would you like it, over easy, sunny side up, or over hard?”

“I don’t understand….”

“Well, ma’am, it’s simple.  The Missouri legislature has been talking about changing the constitution so that fertilized eggs are considered to be the whole thing.  So we use only the finest, Missouri-made fertilized turkey eggs because once they’re fertilized, they would have full turkeyhood. So you get both legs, all of the breast meat, both wings, even the neck and all the giblets for one low price.  And if you want to take some, or even all of it, home, you won’t take up all of your space in the freezer or the refrigerator.”

George thinks his restaurant will be a big hit.  He’s trying to talk us into investing in the project with him but we’ve told him we want to think about it.  Our banker and the AARP have told us that as people living on fixed incomes we need to be careful how we invest our meager savings.  So we’re being real careful about this.

George is even talking about expanding his business once the MFT concept takes off and hundreds of franchise restaurants are opened.  He’s thinking about going into the barbecue business.  Once Beauregard and Bossy have their barnyard frolic, George figures he can start serving almost-instant barbecued veal, something you don’t find in your usual barbecue joints.  And he probably won’t charge much more than he charges for the turkey—just enough to cover the cost of the recovery of the animal because cows don’t lay eggs; you have to go get them, which is a little more labor intensive and long rubber gloves will add additional expense.

He’s also considering the same thing with barbecued pork.  For an extra fifty cents he’ll even give you an apple because it won’t fit into the mouth of the pig

George has been asking about space at the big outlet mall at the Lake of the Ozarks. He figures he could make a lot of money by selling his turkey, beef, and pork at near-retail so the customers think they’re getting a bargain while he doesn’t have to sell his products at wholesale rates as he will have to do with his franchisees.

He’s a little puzzled about how his business plan would work with fish because fish eggs can command pretty good prices on their own, probably better than he could charge for serving one sunny side up, over easy, or over hard.  But George is a thinker. He might figure something out.

George thinks the idea of bestowing “hood” on fertilized eggs holds great promise not only for him but for the entire state because it becomes, in his mind at least, an economic development measure that will create new jobs and generate more taxes that legislators then can cut and make themselves look good to voters.  To show his support for the concept, he has joined the Chamber of Commerce.

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Ran into somebody the other day who recalled the saying, “Authority makes some people grow—others just swell.” She didn’t recall who originally said it and it appears nobody really knows but a lot of people have repeated it. Various sources cite various people. One says the saying had been around in Washington for at least a hundred years.

She remembered that this has been a time in past legislative sessions where various organizations started thinking about rating the lawmakers. Many years ago, one periodical put together a list of “white hats” and “black hats.”   The St. Louis Globe-Democrat used to issue a list of outstanding legislators.

Her suggestion: Somebody who has been immersed in the Capitol Climate assemble a list of those who have grown and those who have just swelled this year. Who has grown as a leader? Who has just gotten puffed up with their self-importance? Who has taken stands that show leadership?   Who is on the list of mere panderers?

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The comments reminded us that many years ago in the irreverent years of our reportorial youth, some of us in the House Press Gallery would bestow unofficial awards to those we had been watching in the chamber below us. We don’t remember all of the awards but there was the Cockroach Award that went to the lawmaker who had to get up and chew on other people’s bills every chance they got. Cockroaches, you see, like to eat paper. Another award was the “Furniture Award,” to the legislator who seemed to be about as useful as his desk. Never said anything. Almost never sponsored a bill. Just sat there. On the last day of the session one year your observer asked Representative Winne Weber, one of the great characters of her generation in the Hosue, if she would ask this representative for his opinion on a bill. Any bill. He might have been the only member of the entire 163-member of the House whose voice we had not recorded that year—because he never said anything. So late in the evening (we still adjourned at midnight then) she asked the speaker if she could inquire of the “Gentleman from (wherever he was from),” and the Speaker called his name.   The Furniture Representative didn’t even know he was being summoned for inquiry until his colleagues rousted him from his intense preoccupation with his pipe (they still allowed smoking in the chamber then). He looked up, looked around, wasn’t sure what to do, did not appear to know he needed to go to the closest microphone so he could answer a question.   Winnie by then was laughing so hard that she asked the speaker to withdraw her request and the Speaker told the Furniture Representative he was no longer needed. He sat back down at his desk, appearing to be completely unsure what had just happened, and went back to the comfort of his pipe.

I think we retired the “Furniture Award” after that. He served about twenty years in the House and retired undefeated in that award category.

Let me know what you think......