Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.
I have the first results back from my quadrennial presidential poll taken at the House of Dominoes and the Pine Knot Nursing Home.
This is the sixth Domino/Pineknot poll, going back to the election of 1992 when respondents correctly predicted that the native son would win the presidency by a narrow margin.
As in the previous polls, respondents don't so much answer questions as they use the format to pose their own, such as, "Why would you ask me something that stupid?" and "Don't you have anything better to do? Jesus said, Feed my sheep. Do you consider this feeding your sheep?"
I don't know about feeding any sheep, but I know better than to get into a pissing contest with these people, so I just let them have their say. Here's the say of one of them, for example, on the poll's question concerning the continuing Obama birther controversy.
"I think it's probably not a question of where somebody was born but where they were hatched. It's like these rattlesnake eggs we used to find in the woods. We'd bring them home and it might be two or three weeks before they hatched and started slithering off. So where would the birth certificate put their birthplace at — in the woods or in our shed out behind our house with the rusting sheets of tin and old magazines and paint cans and wasp nests and screen wire?
"They say snake eggs are a myth and I might believe them if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. They hatch out about the size of a big red wiggler fishing worm and they'll crawl off and disappear before you can say shazaam. Mother said some people are hatched like that too, and this wasn't just her way of getting around having to talk to us about sex. She said it happened with our cousin Flossie, and they kept several big pieces of Flossie's eggshell in their deep freeze for many years so they'd have some proof to show to any skeptics that came nosing around.
"Cousin Flossie and my petrified rattlesnake egg are the only direct, first-hand knowledge I have of the phenomenon, but if it could happen to them it sure could happen to Obama, and if the question became where he was hatched instead of where he was born, the whole silly controversy would just dry up and blow away, in my opinion. Especially if pieces of his shell were kept by one of those Kenya natives that played the drums for Tarzan or by a Hawaiian that the Jap Zeroes missed or by a hatching outfit somewhere in between."
Most of the responses to my poll questions have been more succinct, if less imaginative. "Would you like to see Mitt Romney's tax returns for the last ten years or not?" the poll asked.
One answer: "Yes, but I wouldn't know what to make of them, as the numbers would be a lot larger than I am accustomed to working with."
Another respondent simply inked out my question and wrote this response to one unasked: "I wouldn't vote for a Negro or a Muslim. I don't hate them or anything but I'm more comfortable with Christian white people, who provide the entertainment at our Thursday night and Sunday afternoon singalongs. But I wouldn't vote for a Mormon, either. That is the silliest bunch of fairy tales I've ever heard tell of. So I guess I'm s.o.o.l. as far as this election goes, wouldn't you say?"
Yes, I would. And I put this response in the pile of the undecideds.
Another question: "Did you watch the party conventions and did anything happen at either of them that moved you particularly?"
Answer: "No, I kept it on RFD-TV, which has all of my shows. I would turn it over to CBS every once in a while, but it looked like the same old hooey, so I'd go right back to 'Green Acres,' which holds up a lot better than political conventions do."
This being Arkansas, and the very nape of Neckery, I don't need to tell you which presidential candidate is the leading vote-getter so far. But it's closer than I would've guessed, and the people's choice with a clear plurality at this point is None of the Above. Undecided is running fourth but it's a respectable fourth, ahead of Ron Paul and somebody named Dwayne, a well-liked local physical therapist who's got six write-ins.
The Domino/Pineknot poll has a plus-or-minus accuracy rating higher than any other poll in this market, hovering around 30 per cent. It is nonetheless more reliable and less laughable than Rasmussen's. More men than women have responded so far this year, and more nursing home inmates than domino players. None of those responding was senile, as far as I could tell, but there weren't any Einsteins amongst them, either.
Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, is being credited with support whenever a respondent says he or she will likely vote for Flopsy, Goofy, Moneybags, or Dingleberry. A vote for Barack Obama, the Democratic incumbent, is tallied whenever support is indicated for a racial epithet, which alas has been most of the time.
Bob Lancaster, one of the Arkansas Times longest and most valued contributors, retired from writing his column last week. We’ll miss his his contributions mightily. Look out, in the weeks to come, for a look back at some of his greatest hits. In the meantime, here's a good place to start.
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