Columns » Bob Lancaster

Q. How does this legislature and this Congress rank with those of the past?

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Q. Could you give us a quick summary of how you think this legislature and this Congress rank with those of the past?

A. The Arkansas legislature is a cross-section of all that is bad about Arkansas. The Arkansas congressional delegation is a distillation of all that is bad about Arkansas. The dogs bark; the caravan moves on.

Q. Have you ever noticed that those who "beg your pardon" aren't really begging? In fact, they usually seem sort of smug.

A. No, I hadn't noticed that. I have noticed, though, that none of them ever promised me a rose garden.

Q. Here's something I don't understand concerning a certain vulgar four-letter word – the infamous s-word. Those who are said to give one don't really give anything; and those who are said to take one don't really take anything. And the give and take in these expressions are not only not opposites, they are more nearly synonyms. Can you explain?

A. No, it's an excremental mystery.

Q. Bro. Billy Graham said in a newspaper column [last week] that there's one thing God can't do – He can't sin. Well, I can sin. I've done it for years, and have got pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. Since I can do something that God can't, I'm thinking maybe He and I should change places on the totem pole. What do you think?

A. I think Bro. Billy is senile, and has been since he and Nixon used to get together and diss Jews. The scribes who write the column that appears under Bro. Billy's byline have obviously vegged a considerable distance toward the same theological kumquat, and there's no longer any point in hoorawing them by way of direct quotation. His boy, now, is a different story.

And Baptists don't do totem poles. Except maybe the Eskimo Baptists.

Q. What do you think of these legislators who are saying that two wrongs don't make a right so the victims of rape or incest should be compelled to bear and rear the spawn of the crimes against them?

A. If they want to crawl back where they came from, I'll be glad to hold up the rock.

Q. I think our civilization's greatest achievement was putting men on the moon and getting them back home. What do you think it is?

A. A friend of mine says it was inventing the TV remote. I'd say concocting an effective underarm deodorant and persuading the generality to use it regularly, even most of the crackpots and misanthropes.

Q. When does profiteering slip over into gouging?

A. Gouging is like pornography – hard to define, but you know it when you see it. A telltale sign in the present epoch is when you feel a dipstick up the wazoo.

Q. Have you been tempted to post a picture of yourself naked from the waist up on one of the social networks? It didn't seem to work too well for Chris Lee (the congressman not the ball player).

A. No, they didn't have computer social networking back when I was young and ripped and working as a body double for the likes of Hulk Hogan and John Holmes. A good thing, too, because I might have been tempted, on account of I was pretty much a total idiot then, and vain, and impulsive. You'd never guess that seeing me now, stooped and world-weary from all the geezer wisdom I have to carry around. 

Q. Who do you think is or has been America's greatest comedian? I'm torn between George Carlin and Richard Pryor. Groucho was a little before my time.

A. My own favorite is Jonathan Winters, but I don't think any of them can touch George W.  Bush.

Q. The authorities say that modern humans – pretty much the same beasts that we inhabit – have been extant for only about 40,000 years. How much longer do you think we'll last?

A. I'm hoping we last through 2012. Iffy, I know. I'm certain, though, that if there are three humans remaining in 3000 AD, one will be a Republican trying to screw the other two out of their share of whatever it is that they still use for money.

Q. I heard the expression "playing footsie." What does it mean?

A. Maurice "Footsie" Britt was lieutenant governor of Arkansas back in the 1960s when Winthrop Rockefeller was governor. Britt was a hero of World War II. He lost an arm, I think at Anzio. It was said that after the war, although he could no longer play handsies, he kept his spirits up by "playing footsies." I don't know the game but it is said to resemble whist.

Q. What do you think is the main difference between our time and T.S. Eliot's time?

A. In the same room our women come and go talking of Caravaggio.

Q. Why do the heathen rage?

A. When they're driving, it's usually because some lane-changer cut them off.

Q. Are all these recent earthquakes the ones of prophesy that signify the onset of the End Times?

A. No, these are a different bunch. They might indicate divine displeasure with the BCS series setup, but you never know. Sometimes an earthquake is just an earthquake.

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