Grin and "Bear" it, Smoking Ban, and Who Would You Grill With?

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Good Morning!

I decided to get on the Blog early because it’s been harder to get to after the show. Jeriann is doing her weather at 5:44am right now and is talking about how many people are “disappointed” about the lack of rain here in the metro yesterday. Really? I got the perfect amount of rain at my house. I was ready to go outside and mow the lawn when the skied opened up. It rained for about five minutes. Just enough for me to get out of mowing the lawn, but not enough to make the afternoon a washout. We’ve got better (and more important)things to be disappointed about.

Grin and Bear It
Anyone else sick of hearing the bad economic news? Today we find out more about employment #’s from the federal government. The economy is expected to have shed some sixty thousand jobs last month. It would continue a bad trend and the numbers won’t likely get any better in July. American Airlines says it’s going to lay off flight attendants, pilots and mechanics. Oil Prices are staying higher. Losses on Wall Street Wednesday means we are officially in a “Bear Market”. for those of you who don’t invest is defined as, “a price decline of 20% or more over at least a two-month period.” Gotta love Wikipedia.
Some of you may be as nervous as I am about my retirement and investments. It seems like I’m losing as much as I’m putting in. But in the long term I guess it will work out. As a friend pointed out yesterday, we’re buying stocks cheap right now. Over time it’s reasonable to think they’re going to grow. It still doesn’t make it any easier to hear all of this bad news.

Smoking Ban
We’ve had several spirited debates about this one onset during a break. Several people on our Today in Iowa crew are smokers, and I’ll admit to having had a cigarette or two here and there over time. I am usually someone who comes down on the side of individual rights but in this case that butts up (no pun intended) against my right to breathe clean air.

If you could guarantee I’m not going to get sick because of second hand smoke, that my kids aren’t going to get sick, that I’m not going to have to pay more for someone else’s choices…then I’d be ok with leaving this decision to the marketplace. The problem is the marketplace isn’t moving fast enough and here’s a place where government intervention can work.

I don’t begrudge any of you the right to smoke if you like. I hope you have the resources to pay for the medical care that will likely come some time in your life. I just can’t get past this idea that other people are going to be forced into situations where they have to breathe smoke filled air.
I’ve heard the argument about fast food…that we should ban it….But I don’t have to suck in cholesterol if you have a Big Mac. I can’t get past the idea that I think this is a law who’s time has come.
Is there some sort of secret society who’s sole job it is to hide this magnificent brand of Ice cream from the rest of us? Sure I’d heard of Bouders in Ingersoll, and that they make Ice Cream, but I never expected it to be this good. I had occasion to be in there Wednesday and on a whim picked up some mint chocolate chip ice cream…good stuff. Reminds me of an ice cream place I grew up a few blocks from called Homer’s. They actually supply the ice cream for Baiggi’s in Clive. But I digress…This is a dangerous discovery for the Dix family. One that will surely mean more time at the gym for me.
editor’s note: Pat’s other discoveries of late include the fact that the sky is blue and water is wet.

Who would you Grill With?
There’s a new AP poll out this morning saying Barak Obama beats John McCain in a poll of who people would like to have throw a weekend barbecue with. I wondered aloud why this is relevant? Do we really want our commander in chief to be Clark Griswold? Sure he’s fun at parties but can he think through global economic strategy. If it makes people feel better to think of the President as a regular guy…so be it. I’m not sure I want that to be the standard. I want my president to be charismatic for sure, and that plays into likability. but that has to be secondary to his or her ability to think about, digest and lead on large issues like the economy, war, or education.
I will ask this question…who would you invite to your 4th of July Barbecue if you had any choice at all? I said Bobby Flay. He’s a great chef and I’d score points with my wife for the invitation. Flay’s wife Stephanie was a sorority sister of my wife at Northwestern. She probably couldn’t pick Sally out of a line-up today, but I still think talking grilling and food with the Flay’s would be a fun way to spend the fourth.

I’ll take your wish guest-list in the comments line.

Have a great day!


  • Steve

    Who to grill with? Cool idea. I would also grill with Bobby Flay because the guy can cook! He also seems pretty down to earth.Who else…hmmm…Kim Jong Il: I’d want to seriously undercook his poultry.John Bachman: It’d need to be a windy day, as I would want to see if his hair moved.Van Hardin: How can you not like that guy?Salma Hayek: DUH.Bruce Springsteen and Bono: It would be interesting if these two could sit and have a meal without coming off as pretentious.The guy who invented the Blackberry: I would want to verbally chastise him for taking many hours away from my life during my free time to answer work e-mails.Anyway, one fun thing this year thus far: I live VERY close to work, and a couple buddies and I will grill for lunch every now and then. Nice break in the middle of the day.

  • Dennis

    I have to say Pat, if you have lived in the Des Moines Metro over 10 years and have not been in Bauders for ice cream or anything else, it was time. I used to go there in high school. It was a fairly easy walk from Roosevelt. That said, we’ll hope it does not play havoc with your exercise and weight regimin. I <>don’t<> think they make the low fat kind of ice cream there. I agree with you 100% on the smoking ban, and I was a smoker for 15 years or more. Started at age 14. Misspent youth, I know. You used a good analogy also regarding the Big Mac. Or any other fast food or transfatty thing someone wants to eat next in close proximity to me. Food may smell, but inhaling it doesn’t kill you unless you literally inhale it. Exclude milk out the nose while laughing.On the stocks-recession-Bear Market issue. You are I am guessing 25+ years younger than I am, but IF I were in the market still (not) after learning what I learned between 1985-2003, when I got out of the market, I would say this: Sure the stock experts, financial planners and all are going to say things like “It’s only on paper” (the loss) and “The market ALWAYS comes back,” ad nauseum. The fact is you <>are<> losing money, and unless the market comes back really well and stays there, you could still lose money it would take a <>very<> long time to recoup if you ever did. Alot of things have changed since the old days of thinking the stock market was real safe as long as you were “well diversified.” Financial planners and others who make money every time they invest money for you want you to stay there. I was very well diversified, but it only took 2 good recessions, then 9-11 and the bad stock market after that event, and I finally lost about 65% of what I had put in over the years. I got out and put things in boring but safe fixed interest places. Not suggesting that is for everyone, just that the economy is so bad that what people lose in their “retirement-investment” portfolios now is going to take a <>very<> long time for most people to come close to getting it back. Some will never get it back.It’s similar to the oil prices and gas prices. Unless someone comes up with a Jed Clampett “Texas Tea” surprise oil strike on US leased land, or a plan to drill ASAP and extract the amount of oil we really need to make a difference in what we pay for gas at the pump, we are headed the same direction as Europe. A man set his BMW on fire in Germany a few days ago because he was sick of paying $9+ a gallon for gas! We are headed in that direction. Yet Bush gives the car companies (who are struggling now to stay in business) 8 or more years I believe, to come up to having 30-35mpg minimum mileage on the cars they sell!? They could re-gear and do it in 1-2 years if they HAD to. Most of them already MAKE cars that can get close to that or more. Sell the big guzzlers off (heavily discounted) to people who can afford the gas, or to companies who can afford the gas for their fleet cars. Then build common sense cars like the Japanese & Koreans (primarily) have been doing for some time now.On to the “hit and run” of the girl on the bike. It is like 2-3 other hit and runs we have had in the past few years in Iowa. If the drivers have no criminal record they lack a conscience I guess. I hope any who do this are found and tried and spend alot of time in prison garb thinking about it. I won’t get into the overcrowded prisons, but if they let out some of the white collar crime and lesser offense people and put them to work on road repair, other needed community service work and otherwise costly things (levees even?) we could make space for hit and run people easily.Your BBQ for the 4th sounds nice. After all the severe (and for many depressing, damaging and deadly) weather we have had since early Spring (after such a terrible winter) we deserve alot of these dry and 75-85 degree days with dewpoints below 50!My guest list for a BBQ is quite varied and could be people like Rachel Ray: (without her husband) because she could help cook, and she seems like a fun person who is obviously easy on the eye as well. Better for the digestion I say.Bill Gates: Now that he is out of work (MSoft anyhow) he might be abit bored, and I would have him BUY the food and bring a chef with him. I think he’d be interesting to talk with, and I also want to ask him WHY he never seems (like Donald Trump) to be able to afford a GOOD haircut!Jay Leno: He loves to eat, he is funny and intelligent, and I think it would be a fun time talking about everything from cars to his experiences as an entertainer. If he brought his wife Mavis, it could be even more interesting, since she is very bright and Jay could not lie about some things.Willie Nelson and Dollie Parton: I’d love to talk to them both, hear some music and I think the two of them would be great entertainment in many ways. I’d have to make sure Willie did not bring any “funny tobacco” with him of course.Oprah Winfrey and “Steadman”: I’d love to talk with Oprah because I think she is very wise and also has a great sense of humor. She can be very down to earth casual also. And Steadman – well I’d just like to see if he showed up, and if so how he and she really hit it off. Can’t help it. The rags by the Dahl’s check out counters have made me curious over time.Keep up the good work on the news and don’t forget the anti-mosquito sprays and candles if you are going to be out enjoying nice weather at night much, although smoke from a BBQ grill will keep them away pretty well while you are cooking.So much for my first blog reply.

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