By Alan Sorensen
Only 9 percent of Americans know that George Washington was a Revolutionary War general, according to a tidbit in the latest issue of Playboy. The people in that survey must be the same people the talk show hosts corner on the streets of New York City and Los Angeles late at night.
But hold, it's not just the uneducated who are showing their ignorance these days. I also learned while glancing through the same copy of Playboy that no one in a group of celebrated intellectuals and historians that was asked to name the 100 most significant events of the last 100 years bothered to mention organized labor. Tells us a little bit about ivory towers, I would think.
I've spent most of my working life avoiding membership in unions, but my dad was a steadfast believer that unions brought the working man out of the 14-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, no-vacation work year. He knew whereof he spoke.
Unions, I think, must be at least as significant to the 20th century as the British invasion led by the Beatles.
The community Thanksgiving Dinner is back on thanks to a new anonymous benefactor and one woman ambitious enough to take on the task of ramrod. I want to take this opportunity to thank the old hands for all the great dinners my family had over the years. And to the new hands, thanks for coming forward so I don't have to do the Cornish game hen thing. I will have to have someone come to the house and show me how to use my video recorder so I can tape the Rocky Boy Cree Drum on its float.
From the looks of it, the Community Christmas Project volunteers and other holiday shakers and movers have a jump on the yuletide, too.
The same issue of Playboy (can't keep my nose out of it) had a list of the world leaders in arms purchases for 1998. Leading the list was Saudi Arabia with $7.4 billion in arms, followed by United Arab Emirates, $2.5 billion, and Malaysia, $2.1 billion.
I don't know where Playboy got its statistics, but I would imagine the United States government buys more than $7.4 billion in arms a month. And my guess at the second leading arms buyer would be all the members in the NRA. Anybody care to look it up and prove me wrong?
It was sometime before, during or after a party three decades ago when everybody's buddy Hot Rod forecast my career in newspaper reporting: "You have a great grasp of the obvious, Al."
I've learned since becoming a "reporter" that the obvious ain't always what it appears.
The only other observation I remember Hot Rod making about me in those days was something he said after dragging my drunken carcass across a lawn and just before pushing me down the stairs to the basement apartment we called the Pit. (It was home to four Butte guys.) His last words before giving me the heave-ho were, "That's what I like about you, Al, nothing."
Ah, those were the days.
I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I think the next big invention will be the reverse microwave.
Instead of heating food in an instant, it will chill or freeze food and other items in a wink. Campers will be able to plug the device into the cigarette-lighter holes in their vehicles and instantly chill hot cans and bottles of beer. A hunter whose finger is shot off while climbing a fence will be able to put the rent appendage in a battery-powered pocket freezer for reattachment later.
The uses are legion.
(Maybe a super huge version could be constructed and we could actually have some snow and cold in Novembers to come.)
See you all at the tailgate party and season-ending Lights football game in the midst of 9C Tournament action Saturday afternoon. If nothing else, we can discuss the maroon and gold H.
And I have it on reasonable authority that anyone with a penchant to work Sunday is welcome out at the Bear Paw Ski Hill -- properly attired and equipped, of course, in the event some weather turns up.
Bought my first ever Ski Bear Paw cap the other day. Think I'll wait and give it to me for Christmas.