March 25th, 2004


Slap Happy Pappy

Thu, Mar. 25, 2004
Richard Simmons Cited for Slapping Man
Associated Press

PHOENIX - Exercise guru Richard Simmons allegedly slapped a man who made a sarcastic remark about one of his videos, police said.

Simmons, known for his "Sweatin' to the Oldies" series of exercise videos set to songs from the 1950s and 60s, was cited for misdemeanor assault.

A fellow passenger recognized Simmons on Wednesday night at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport as he was waiting for a flight to Los Angeles, police said.

The man "made the off-hand comment, 'Hey everybody. It's Richard Simmons. Let's drop our bags and rock to the '50s,'" said Phoenix police Sgt. Tom Osborne. "Mr. Simmons took exception to it and walked over to the other passenger and apparently slapped him in the face."

The passenger, whose identity wasn't immediately available, wasn't injured but told police that he intended to file charges against Simmons, 55.

Osborne said Simmons was cited for misdemeanor assault and permitted to board his flight.

More on The Pledge

From my mom:

[...] About the"Flegeleenus" (I think that's what Kent, age 3, called it after watching it on Romper Room): The thing I most agree with in Kent's column is that requiring the pledge at all should be anathema for all thinking people in this country. It always smacks of Hitler Youth or brainwashing (as indeed it is... at six, I didn't question it at all, because a six year old questions nothing a teacher says). And when I learned it, we had to put our hands over our hearts for "I pledge allegiance" and then straighten our arms out toward the flag for "To the flag..etc".

Now, I don't kmow for sure, but the Hitler salute we were taught was probably abandoned sometime during the whole Hitler thing because of the obvious. In any case, at some point we were told to keep our hands over our hearts, and it has been ever thus.

But it's still a loyalty oath. Sometime wen I was first teaching, during the McCarthy era, every teacher (and lots of other professions... don't remember which, but I could look it up) was required to sign a "Loyalty Oath" or be fired. Not a good history, but at least supports my memory of this era.

Anyway, the principal of the Sacramento school where I was teaching brougt around the "Loyalty Oath" documents that each of us was to sign, and everyone but me just sighed and signed. I didn't. I simply went doggo, and didn't do it. I didn't rant (believe it or not) and I didn't talk about it a lot (except to another teacher who
was my particular friend, who agreed with me, but didn't want to "get in trouble") and I just never signed it. The principal, a really dim bulb, kept reminding me that he did not have my loyalty oath in his files, and would I please find it, sign it, and give it to him. I sort of mumbled something akin to Steve's sardonic "I'll get right on it" and just never did it. I wasn't fired, I wasn't arrested, I wasn't harassed. But I never signed the bloody thing, and wouldn't today. But then I wasn't really vocal about it either.

I truly object to the pledge of allegiance (with or without "under god" on several grounds, including those Kent mentions. First of all, it's brainwashing little kids... like making them say Rosary. It's a meaningless exercise for a six year old, and becomes a habit, a group thing... we're all Amurricans together here, and we are chanting this Flegeleenus thing like loyal Catholics, Rotarians, Nazis, team spirit and all that... that makes one feel good, part of something larger than their pathetic selves. I hate it.

The whole pledge thing is scary to me, but it will never be abandoned. Ever. And will probably contain "under god" when my great grandchildren say it. If there's anything left to pledge allegiance to.