Like Martin Luther King, I have a dream

I have a dream too - King and TimThis past week the nation celebrated Martin Luther King Day. The iconic civil rights leader would have been 86 this year. On a swelteringly hot day in August 1963, Reverend King delivered one of the greatest oratories in American history – his famously inspiring “I have a dream” speech, which he delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

While I don’t claim to possess Mr. King’s eloquence, I too have a dream. And it’s very personal. With your permission, I would like to share it with you today.

I have a dream, too – By Tim Jones

My fellow Americans, like the great Reverend Martin Luther King, I, too, have a dream.

I have a dream that one day there will be peace throughout the world, and that people of all races and religions will walk hand in hand, free from hatred, distrust or fear, united in a common belief that all men and all women are truly created equal in God’s eyes – with the possible exception of people who like Duck Dynasty.

I have a dream that one day I will be able to look out my window and see little white boys and girls playing with little black boys and girls and I’ll be able to shout out with joy and happiness, “Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!”

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  • I think you ought to make that hot tub dream come true, preferably before I come visit!
    Tracy T.
  • Published On Jan. 22, 2015 by TEJ
  • 2014 – The Year in Review: Part II (July – December)

    2014 year in review - Part 2 - Ice BucketWe continue this week with Part II of VFTB’s Year in Review for 2014. If you missed Part I, don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. A couple of wars, a few natural disasters and a political scandal or two – pretty much a replay of 2010 through 2013. Check it out here. Let’s continue now with Part II. Don’t skip ahead to December and spoil the surprise ending, okay?

    July: In world news, Somalia sweeps again at the 2014 World’s Worst Nation Awards, barely beating out North Korea and Syria for most corrupt, morally bankrupt authoritarian regime. Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke remarks, “It’s an honor just to be included in the company of such illustrious dictators.” He ends his press conference by thanking the great people of Somalia and announcing that all homosexuals will be executed at dawn for acts of treason against their loving supreme ruler.

    August: In health and wellness news, nutrition experts say “Goodbye kale. Hello cauliflower!” proclaiming cauliflower to be the world’s most healthy snack. Critics suggest that nutritionists look up the definition of the word “snack”. Praising the vegetable’s many health benefits, researchers believe it may help fight cancer. Critics say they’ll take their chances with the cancer-fighting properties found in a slice of pepperoni pizza and a can of Pringles.

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    • I thought this was supposed to be a "humor" blog?! Reporting serious facts like this (and last week too) …
      Lee
  • Published On Jan. 14, 2015 by TEJ
  • 2014 – The Year in Review: Part I (January – June)

    2014 year in review - Part 1 - Taylor SwiftAs has been the proud tradition of this Pulitzer-Prize-denied publication since 1952 – except for 2012 (when the Mayan Calendar predicted the world would end, so I figured, what was the point) – it’s time for VFTB’s Annual Year in Review for 2014.

    In keeping with one of the hottest trends of the year, here’s your chance to binge read the important news stories of the past twelve months which you missed because you were too busy playing Candy Crush. Every week, I scour the hot stories, mainly by watching The Daily Show. There’s a lot to get you caught up on, so let’s get started.

    January: A Gallup poll shows that for the first time in history a majority of Americans (55%) now favors legalization of marijuana. Pro-pot proponents postulate this number would have been even higher had several million stoners not been too high to locate their phone when the pollster called.

    National retailing giant Target admits to a massive security breach in which hackers steal credit and debit card information, exposing more than 70 million customers to risk of identity theft. In a PR move aimed at stemming customer outrage, the retailer hurriedly announces that for the next month Target shoppers will be eligible for a free soft drink upgrade to 20 ounces (with a credit card purchase of $50 or more). Critics say that in retrospect Target should have offered 5% off dish towels, too.

    February: This month sports stories become the main event. The Seattle Seahawks rout the Denver Broncos 43 to 8 in Super Bowl XXXLVMMXIVXXIVVXIX (okay, I could be off by a couple of V’s), thus proving after decades of futility that Seattle is no longer the Biggest Loser Sports City in the country.  In a private ceremony, Seattle officially passes the crown of desperation to Cleveland. Read More…


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  • Published On Jan. 07, 2015 by TEJ
  • This holiday season, give the gift of guilt

    Gift of guilt - scissorsWhat comes to mind when you hear the phrase, the spirit of Christmas? When I was young, my notion was so naïve. Like many children, I believed Santa and his reindeer flew around the world on Christmas Eve bringing presents to all the children. But then I turned 25, and I began to question this narrative. Eventually I realized Santa traveling the world with eight reindeer was, of course, a complete impossibility. He would have needed far more than eight reindeer even in the best of weather conditions.

    Now that I am older, I know, of course, that Santa doesn’t deliver the presents (well, not most of them anyway). People do. I have learned that the spirit of the Holiday Season is first and foremost about people buying gifts for other people – and the 2 A.M. Black Friday fight fest to see who grabs the last 60% off flat screen TV – you or that jerk with the mullet haircut in camo pants and a T-shirt that reads “Recall Santa. I didn’t get what I wanted.”

    As far as what to get others on your Christmas list, I’ve discovered – mainly from watching my relatives – that Christmas is about ensuring that the recipient knows damn well how incredibly thoughtful your gift is, compared to their lame attempt. Studies have shown that most gifts will be forgotten within 48 hours – never to be seen again until next spring’s garage sale – or re-gifted to a co-worker at the office Holiday Party. So why not get into the true spirit of the season by giving them instead a gift they’ll remember for a long time – the gift of guilt?

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    • I'm getting everyone on my Christmas list a subscription to View From the Bleachers.
      Cynthia Clay
  • Published On Dec. 11, 2014 by TEJ
  • My open letter to the guy crossing the street against traffic without looking up

    Dear person who never looks up while crossing the street, no matter how much traffic there is,

    letter to guy crossing street - manHey, how’s it going? I hope I didn’t interrupt you from anything important. Please, by all means, go ahead and finish texting LOL to your friend Brad. Don’t forget the smiley face emoticon. Your text is far more important than anything I have to discuss with you. I’ll wait……… Done yet? Super.

    Anyway, I just wanted to introduce myself. You see, I’m the guy whose car almost creamed you earlier today when you walked into traffic against the light and never once looked up. I doubt you remember me.

    I can imagine it must have been hard to hear my horn blaring or my brakes screeching to avoid hitting you, what with that AC / DC song playing on your iPod at 175 decibels. I could hear them rocking away from inside my car with my windows up. I have to say, excellent choice in music, dude. Can’t go wrong with Highway to Hell – a classic.

    You know, when I was young, I was taught that the center of the solar system was the sun. I now realize that my teacher lied to me – because clearly the solar system revolves around an eight-inch space between those earbuds of yours.

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    • You sure hit the nail on the head Tim. Too bad your aim missed that jerk's head. Maybe …
      Eleanor rushworth
  • Published On Dec. 04, 2014 by TEJ
  • The secret to taking the stress out of moving

    My wife and I recently decided to move. Of course, when I say that, I mean that my wife decided we would move.  As her husband, she did allow me some say in the matter. I had the option of coming along or staying behind in an empty house soon to be occupied by complete strangers.

    I considered the pros and cons with manly logic, and in the end concluded that following my wife’s lead was probably the better option. Besides, that way I got to keep the giant flat screen TV.

    The process of moving can be stressful. Just thinking about the endless list of tasks can feel overwhelming. If you’re planning to move any time soon, follow my advice and take the stress out of your move.

    Step One: CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT MOVING. Seriously, what’s so bad about your current place anyway? Oh, sure, so your neighbors’ 17 pit bulls can get a bit annoying when they all bark at the top of their lungs every time a car drives by. Hello! – ear plugs?! But if you don’t want to heed my advice about not moving, I understand. My wife ignored it, too.  Read More…


    • I love step 4. hire movers... and the photo of the moving truck smashed into the house. great. How can we …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Nov. 19, 2014 by TEJ
  • Lessons in bonding

    Emailing my daughter - GirlRecently my college-age daughter Rachel emailed me, asking for help with a problem. Such an event – being rarer than a sighting of Halley’s Comet – calls for all-hands-on-deck-full-throttle parental engagement.  “I’m there for you, Rachel.”

    Thus began an email exchange that I am proud to say profoundly impacted my daughter and our relationship. Her gratitude for my sage advice is evidenced in her words that, well, she couldn’t even put into words how helpful I was.

    Rachel:  Hey, Dad. Wanted to ask you something. My boyfriend Brad and me had a fight. I saw him with my best friend Brianna. They were holding hands. He says she’s just a friend, but I think he’s lying. Should I confront him?

    Me: Thanks for your email, Rachel. I am happy to help. Frankly, this is a common problem for many young people. In fact, your mom often struggled with similar issues when she was your age.

    Here are my suggestions. First, never start a sentence with a verb unless it’s a command. When you write “Wanted to ask you something”, the reader is left wondering: Who wanted to ask me something? My daughter? My boss? A strange man in a tall hat? You never want to leave your reader guessing.

    Also it’s not “Brad and me had a fight.” It’s “Brad and I.”  Me is the objective form of the first person pronoun. In this context, however, you need the subjective form.

    Rachel: Whatever, Dad. I don’t think you understand. I think Brad is cheating on me. Last nite, I texted him. No reply. No idea what he’s up 2. What should I do? Read More…


  • Published On Nov. 13, 2014 by TEJ
  • No, Grandpa, that’s not how you beam up. Let’s go over this one more time.

    Future tech - motorcycleI’m proud of my mother. At 93 years of age, she decided to tackle a computer for the very first time. Her bruises are healing. She even has an email account. It’s been a struggle, but after only a week of practice, she’s already figured out how to turn on her computer. Until 3 months ago, she had never heard of email or Google or Facebook. She’d never surfed the web, never watched a YouTube video of a cat riding a roomba.

    Today she sent me her very first email. She wrote, Dear Tim, I ma laerning ti sned emali but ti deos not thenw othew byrw kt wodh pcx; s93@m &m$k m1t8 btn%+. Love, mom”.  What a beautiful message.

    I appreciate that learning new technology comes more slowly to the elderly than, say, to an eight-year-old techno-dweeb raised with a cell phone surgically affixed to his thumbs. And it made me wonder: What sorts of new technology will be hard for me to comprehend when I’m my mother’s age?

    I can only imagine the conversation with my future eight-year-old grandson as he patiently tries to explain to me how to use the everyday tech tools of his generation…

    ************************************

    Grandson: Hey, Grandpa. I see you’re still having problems figuring out how to use some pretty basic devices. Didn’t you have jetpacks and 3-D printable holograms when you were growing up?

    Me: Surprisingly, no, Nathan. Things were less complicated in the 1960s when I was your age. Back then, we had not yet invented iPads or cell phones. Heck, as I recall, we were all pretty stoked about the recent invention of the Etch A Sketch. Hard to imagine, but people used to read these contraptions called books. So, yes, I could use a little help with these modern day gadgets.

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    • Love this story Tim and the jargon is fabulous. Less than 40 years from now hum... and it …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Oct. 28, 2014 by TEJ
  • Announcing a new and improved name for the Washington Redskins

    Redskin helmet - No IndianLately, all the media attention about the NFL has centered on the issue of domestic abuse. But long before that issue grabbed the headlines, another controversy had been building for months, even years: The often emotional debate over the name of the NFL team located in our nation’s capital: The Washington Redskins.

    A tiny fringe group of a few million annoyingly sensitive Americans, including 35 Native American tribes and more than 50 organizations that represent various groups of Native Americans, seem to think the term “redskin” is an offensive stereotype that stirs images of primitive, angry, bloodthirsty savages screaming menacingly and wishing to annihilate their enemy – in other words, acting like a typical Washington Redskins fan. And they are demanding that billionaire team owner Daniel Marc Snyder change the team name to something less offensive – say, the Washington Camel Jockeys.

    The list of suggested alternative names grows by the day. Some names that have been proposed include:

    The Washington Gryffindors, the Washington Slytherins, the Washington Hufflepuffs,… well, pretty much anything you can think of from Harry Potter. Also, the Washington Redhawks (which personally I would find highly offensive if I were a Blackhawks fan), the Washington Skins (not sure how our nation’s nudists would feel about this one) or the Washington Pigskins (which I would find highly objectionable, personally, if I were a pot-bellied pig).

    None of these names has generated much support, so naturally I came up with several much better ones. Tell me what you think: The Washington Lobbyists, or how about the Washington Cabinets? Or maybe the Washington Gridlocks? I thought about the Washington Senators – but then I realized I was too late. The Senators had already been bought.

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    • Very reminiscent of one of the first articles we wrote for the law school newspaper in which we attempted to …
      james ellis
  • Published On Oct. 14, 2014 by TEJ
  • I have solved our nation’s debt problem – no need to thank me (Part 2 of 2)

    debt problem - mount rushmoreYou may not have heard (if you’ve been in a coma since 1994), but our national debt is spiraling out of control. If you could imagine a fire hose spraying a stream of $100 bills instead of jets of water, that’s essentially the way our federal government pisses through money on an average day. If you’re having trouble staying awake at night, here is a number that might help: $233 billion. That’s not the latest national debt figure. Oh, no. That’s just the interest on it we pile up each year.

    Won’t somebody come up with a plan to stop all the fiscal hemorrhaging? Anybody? Nobody? Okay, I guess it’s up to me to bail out America…. Again.

    Last week, I shared Part I of my solution to our national debt problem. In this week’s thrilling conclusion, I solve it even more. So let’s get started, shall we?

    Cape Canaveral – Kennedy Space Center: $11.5 billion. If you’re still a kid at heart, this one’s for you. Located on the pristine golden beaches of Central Florida’s Atlantic coast and just a two-hour drive from Disney World. Always wanted to be an astronaut? Now you can own a whole crew of them. Guess who gets to press the “Blast off” button at Mission Control? You do! Comes with a free ride on the next Space Shuttle Endeavour flight. (Fine print: Next scheduled Endeavour flight: 1st of Never.)

    State of Alaska: $780 billion. Call the Last Frontier your home with this incredible once-in-a-lifetime bargain. See Russia from your house. Be the first among your friends to own your own state. Comes with tons of room to spread out all your stuff, not to mention access to our nation’s largest oil and natural gas pipeline. Stunning views of mountains, grizzly bears, bald eagles and hot ex-governors. Juneau what else? For just $20 billion more, we’ll even rename the state capitol after you. Flexible payment terms. Ask about our layaway plan.

    debt problem - interstate highwaysUS Interstate 80: $87.6 billion.  If you thought you could “get your kicks on Route 66”, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Own a part of the world’s greatest highway network. The nation’s second longest interstate, I-80, runs from scenic California through the Nevada Dessert (where you can do 130 mph and the state troopers won’t hassle you) through the golden corn fields of Nebraska, before your journey ends at glamorous New York City. Read More…


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  • Published On Oct. 08, 2014 by TEJ