Denver Dies, Reno Lies

No pat 1,000 word essay this week. I have too many topics rattling around inside my skull. And there is plenty of room to rattle, as the space between my ears seems to be more vacant than usual.

Another celebrity has bought the farm. I was lying awake in the dark listening to talk radio early this Monday morning when I heard that John Denver's plane had crashed off the California coast. The initial report said the pilot, who was believed to be someone other than Denver, had been killed, but that Denver was thought to be at his Colorado home.

Of course that proved to be erroneous. Denver was at the controls of his home-built plane when it plunged 500 feet or so into the chilly Pacific.

John Denver's star had been on the decline for a number of years, but not because he was no longer a good singer or songwriter. The course of popular music in recenty years simply veered away from his folk/pop style; with the emergence of great girl singers like Jewel and Sarah McLachlan lately, it may be headed a bit back that way. And that wouldn't be all bad.

We associate certain people with certain times in our lives, they become almost watermarks. When I think of John Denver, I think of the seventies, of a time when I was much younger and much hipper.

Of course Father Time has worn down the edges of misery and now I'm left with only a golden fable. I suspect the next time I hear "Annie's Song" or "Rocky Mountain High" I'll feel a touch of sadness along with the memories.

A shift of gears. How about Janet Reno and her "massive" probe into the Clinton Administration's campaign fund scandal?

Sure, Ms. Reno. I know you're in a big rush to round up some criminal evidence against Billy Bob the Boss.

I think Reno should have taken my advice a long time ago and quit the government in favor of a back-up spot in k. d. lang's band. But, she'd probably hate for anyone to think she's not man enough to take the current heat over the money grubbing.

The whole affair hasn't helped Al Gore much. Recent polls show his popularity on the decline, even here in Tennessee where some worship him. He's still ahead of Lamar Alexander but maybe a dash behind Fred Thompson. That may not say much because Charles Manson might be ahead of Lamar--and Manson didn't even bother to walk around wearing a checkered shirt.

Third gear. Cassini didn't fly today so Mankind is safe for at least one more day. High winds around the launch site were responsible for keeping the destruction of humanity at bay until at least tomorrow.

Apparently some of the protesters don't have the courage of their convictions. I think most of them left the area down in Florida; I'd figured may some of the more radical might try to chain themselves to the rocket or something equally outrageous.

No, this group has fairly good judgment or so it would appear. But then, the ability to glow in the dark is not real high on too many priority list.

Finally, is there anything lower than the vermin who prey on the very young or the very old? I don't think so.

The recent murder of an 88-year-old woman has outraged everybody I've spoken with. If any crime is senseless, something of this nature is doubly so. It just serves as further evidence that civilization is on the decline.

I think DA Gus Radford did the right thing when he called a news conference to discuss the murder. To my knowledge it was a first, usually you can't get any kind of comment about such crimes from the state. Of course they have to make certain that potential evidence is not compromised, which is understandable.

But as Radford said, people who commit these kinds of brutal acts have been known to repeat and it's best that people should be made aware of that possibility. It wouldn't be prudent at this time to leave elderly friends and relatives unattended.

We can only hope that the scumbag or scumbags responsible for the murder will be apprehended soon and given their just reward. Of course we can't give them what they really deserve without reverting to barbarism ourselves, but if anyone ever more deserved a one-way ride on "Old Sparky" I don't know when that was.

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