Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

March 2002

Who needs bestsellers anyway?

My freshman college professor refused to read best-sellers because he claimed there were so many classics, he couldn’t afford to waste time reading new books ... now. He gave as an example of a book he had never read — The Great Gatsby, published in 1925 — adding, “I probably never will.”

For more practical reasons, monthly column writers avoid writing about breaking news.

Therefore, I have little to contribute regarding the current (as of February 16, 2002) booh-rah-hah over accounting, ice dancing, auditing, Iraq, political campaign financing, Montreal Expos or my friend Con Hogan’s declaration of independence.

I would like to comment briefly, however, on price-level depreciation; athletic competitions decided by subjective judges; the McKesson & Robbins scandal (the inventory in Canada that wasn’t there) that changed auditing standards; the University of Baghdad; what Tip O’Neill said when JFK asked him to hand over the cash from a St. Louis fund-raiser; aluminum bats; and, if space allows, my perfect record of voting for the winner in every guv’s race since Deane Davis bailed out the skiff.

Price-level depreciation has increased health care costs more than cigarettes, cost-shifting and prescription drugs put together.

Ice dancing is not a sport.

The nonexistent inventory in Canada was discovered because some accountants wanted to go duck hunting.

I’m glad I didn’t accept a tenure-track appointment to the University of Baghdad faculty in 1961 because I bet their pension account is now underfunded.

Tip said (I paraphrase), “Wow! Just like regular politics.”

Little Leaguers will never experience the joy of keeping the label up.

Before I reveal my uncanny ability of voting for nothing but winners, I want to tell you how much my freshman class learned from reading, rereading and underlining — when I was freshman, Hi-Liters hadn’t been invented — passage after passage of best-sellers written and published (according to The People’s Chronology) during the period from 1957 to 1961.

We enjoyed a lot. We read and still remember The Elements of Style; Catch-22; The Catcher in the Rye; Goodbye, Columbus; Naked Lunch; Advertisements for Myself; The Mansion; Advise and Consent; The Naked and the Dead; On the Road; Doktor Zhivago; On the Beach; The Ugly American; The Sotweed Factor; Some Came Running; Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Exodus; The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner; and Rabbit, Run.

I hope my old prof lived long enough to read some of them.

The extra point: Don’t follow every piece of advice wise old men give you.

Believe me, you could do a lot worse than backing Con Hogan for governor; he’s not a classic politician. Why wait? Elect him now.

Don’t break my perfect record.