Dear Uncle Duffy
I know you’re not a presidential scholar, but I just heard recently that they’re trying to have a bicentennial event of the birth of Franklin Pierce, who was president before James Buchanan, and then Abraham Lincoln. Is Pierce considered the worst president we ever had?
—Curious on Indian Flat Road
I’m not a true presidential scholar, in that I don’t have degrees in Poly Science, that most useless of useless degrees which is generally given to student athletes and other morons. However, I have studied all the presidents and I can say unquestionably that the four worst presidents (in alphabetical order) – were Chester Arthur, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Franklin Pierce. It would be difficult to rate them in order of horribleness or destruction to our country, but it would be tough to not put Dubya, the current imbecile right on top (or bottom, if you’d like) as the dumbest, most destructive, most divisive man who ever set foot in the White House – even compared to some maintenance guy who just went into the White House in 1829 to use the indoor plumbing. They say that Ulysses S. Grant was a bad president, but at least he didn’t go AWOL during the Civil War.
Dear Uncle Duffy,
What’s better, radiant heat or forced air heat? We’re building a house here, and moving from Juneau, Alaska, so we’d like the best system.
—Frozen in Juneau
That’s a tough question, unlike the one above. Actually both types of heat have their good points and bad points. Most folks here who have radiant heat, through their floor boards, really love it. The tiles or rugs are nice and toasty in the winter. The lady of the house and I, however, much prefer forced air, even if it’s noisier than radiant heat. We like to control it, which you really can’t do quickly when you have radiant heat. For example, if we hit a cold spell (that’s under 40º F here, for you Alaska-types), it takes about 11 months to get the house up to temperature when you have radiant heat. (I may be exaggerating a bit). Also, I know three people in Placitas, Trails who tore up their floors to get back to forced-air heat because they didn’t like the fact that their water heaters kept going dead on them. So it’s, as I said, a matter of preference. I prefer forced air, but that’s just me. Don’t even get me started on the water-wasting swamp coolers that all you transplanted yuppies add to your home.
Dear Uncle Duffy
There has been lots of press about an alleged bit of Janet Jackson's anatomy being revealed on the Super Bowl half time show. I don't get it. What these puritanical bozos don't seem to understand is that the dance was a commentary on spousal abuse, which as I remember, occurs in the greatest number of cases on Super Bowl Sunday.
—Outraged. for the right reason
You, of course, are correct about the fact that the dance was about spousal abuse. I wasn’t aware of the abuse being a bigger issue during Super Bowl Sunday, but that makes sense. I’ve worked with a few of those puritanical bozos you describe. It seems like the more religious a person was, the more likely they were to get caught, literally with their pants down with some young person of the opposite, and sometimes, their own sex. As to Janet Jackson’s anatomy… I didn’t watch the Super Bowl, but I did see a boob on TV that week - during the State of the Union Address.
A very good question and it would involve a long scientific answer, referring to the Darwinian taxonomical structure. Let’s just suffice to say, from an anatomical perspective, that you can buy moth balls in a store, but as far as I know, no one is selling butterfly balls.
Dear Uncle Duffy
Who bans books? I just read a list of banned books on the American Library Association's website. Sheesh, I mean one of my all time favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird was banned. The entire series of Harry Potter books have been banned. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Who are these people who ban these books? And from under what rock did they climb? If these books offend them then why don't they read something else. Am I mad? You bet!
Dear Avid Reader,
Who bans books? The repressive Nazi party in Germany in the 1930’s. The religious Christian zealots during the Dark Ages, the folks from Alamogordo who didn’t like Harry Potter books in the 2000’s. Small-minded people throughout history, who are scared to death that they might see something that doesn’t agree with their perverted philosophy. (An intelligent person doesn’t burn books or ban books). That’s why a lot of them have to wear hoods over their heads, because they’re probably ashamed of themselves.
Dear Uncle Duffy
Is genetic engineering a bad thing? I heard some people going on and on about it the other day, I think they had read something about Korean Stem Cells or something. And what about cloned corn? I mean, haven't we been cloning better varieties of flowers and seeds and things since the days of Gregor Mendel? (Is that his name--Science was never my strong subject) .
Dear Gene (are you a Designer Gene?),
Genetic engineering, when done with proper safeguards and oversight, is probably the single-most important scientific discovery of the last 50 years. According to one of my great sources, the Onion, they say that “this has unlimited scientific possibilities, so we mustn’t let the fundamentalist Christians find out about it.” Scientists are aware that stem cell work will ultimately cure diabetes, let people like Christopher Reeves walk again, and cure many, many debilitating diseases. The reason why all the good research is being done in Korea and in Europe and will be done in Andorra or Luxemburg or Zaire rather than here in the U.S. is because public funded research has been stymied (see the Onion note above). Sadly, the United States is going to be in the background while all the good medical research will be done offshore. Quite obscene.