Skip to content

Monkey Business – The Newnan Times-Herald

Alex McRae is an author and ghostwriter. His debut novel of his, “Rough Draft,” is now available. He can be reached at: alexmmcrae@gmail.com.

Back when TV was just starting to take off, networks scrambled to lure viewers. NBC nailed the early morning shift in 1952 with a show called “Today.”

The original host was Dave Garroway. I remember this because I was a kid in the audience when the show came to New Orleans.

It was a live broadcast and the fun started before sunup. Cameras and performers were set up in New Orleans’s City Park. I didn’t care about them. I came to see the monkey.

Back then hateful humans often used helpless critters to sell things like TV shows. This is why a monkey often appeared with Garroway and guests on “Today.” The monkey’s name was J. Fred Muggs.

I saw J. Fred that morning. I’ve held a soft spot for monkeys ever since.

This probably explains my outrage when I learned that The Tri-Cities Opera, based in Binghamton, New York, just presented an opera featuring monkeys. The show is titled “Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers.”

The plot follows Monkey and “his brainy sister, Francine,” as they “learn to work together and use their smarts to escape the hungry Crocodile and outwit the greedy Lord of the Tigers.”

When I read that US taxpayers spent $15,000 to help produce the Monkey opera, I hoped that Monkey and Francine were eaten by Tony the Tiger.

Not because I dislike operates. I enjoy some of it. I’ve seen a couple of professional performances and played in the pit orchestra during college opera productions.

But I don’t want my Georgia tax dollars funding operates in downstate New York.

These artsy fiscal abominations are nothing new. In 2017 taxpayers doled out over 30 grand to fund a production called “Doggie Hamlet.” The show featured humans chasing after confused sheep and dogs. The play was performed in a pasture in New Hampshire.

Not a word from Shakespeare’s version of “Hamlet” was uttered.

These gems were among the federal spending abominations published recently by Oklahoma Senator James Lankford in his annual issue of “Federal Fumbles.”

Lankford’s report spells out how much of our tax money is wasted on projects that benefit no one except the residents (and monkeys) of a legislator’s home district.

The current pork-packed budgeting system explains how the National Endowment for the Humanities was allowed to give $120,000 American tax dollars to a pair of authors who write about Russian art.

Another of my favorites was a Pacific Northwest specialty item — the $11,400,000 spent on improving the love lives of Pacific salmon.

Since FY 2000, Congressional budgeteers have funneled $74.3 million to the makers and installers of fish screens. The main purpose of these gadgets is to help Pacific salmon swim upstream and mate. It’s like a pimp service for fish. And it’s a total waste.

If the goal is moving fish from place to place the US experts should visit the annual mullet toss sponsored by the Florabama bar and lounge in Perdido Key, Florida.

The 2022 mullet toss just drew over 30,000 people eager to watch folks fling fish from Florida across the state line into Alabama.

Visitors are encouraged to donate to local charities. Over $100,000 was raised.

The mullet toss is proof that big-hearted Americans are willing to donate generously to good causes.

Election season is upon us. It’s now up to voters to make sure that bad candidates from both parties get tossed further than a Florabama mullet.

Alex McRae is an author and ghostwriter. His debut novel of his, “Rough Draft,” is now available. He can be reached at: alexmmcrae@gmail.com .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.