Kinky in Texas
On Nov. 1, 1944, the son of a professor at the University of Texas, Richard "Kinky" Friedman, entered this world the usual way -- headfirst, naked and dripping with slime. He had his bar-mitzvah in Houston.
In college he majored in psychology and started a band, King Arthur and the Carrots, a group that spoofed surf music. Upon graduation, he served in the Peace Corps in Borneo as an agriculture worker for three years.
In 1971 he formed his second band, Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys, a politically incorrect group that performed satirical songs. Some of their song titles include: "Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed" and "We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to You." Other songs were written and performed in response to perceived anti-Semitism, such as "Ride 'em Jewboy" and "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore."
Kinky claims to be the oldest living Jew in Texas who doesn't own real estate. In an interview, he once said, "The only thing cowboys and Jews have in common is that both wear hats indoors."
After the Texas Jewboys disbanded in 1979, Kinky moved to New York and became a writer. He has written articles for Rolling Stone and Texas Monthly magazines, and has authored several mystery novels. Described as unique and outrageous, the titles include: "Greenwich Killing Time," "A Case of Lone Star" and "The Mile High Club."
In 2004 Kinky Friedman began a campaign to become governor of Texas. Presently, he's in the process of obtaining enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in 2006. "We will beat back the wussification of Texas if we have to do it one wuss at a time," is one of his campaign promises. His Web site is kinkyfriedman.com.
Nationally, Texas is number one in high school dropout rates, number 48 in education spending per child, number 46 in mental health, number 45 in public health, number 49 in state arts agency, number 44 in highway merit and number 49 in water quality expenditures. Taking those and many other categories into consideration, Texas ranks number 49th, above only Mississippi, in total quality of life.
Education is Kinky's number one priority. He has a "No Teacher Left Behind" plan that identifies special teachers and seeks their advice in creating "a vibrant, responsive and forward-looking education system."
He's opposed to the criminal justice system in Texas whereby those who don't receive the death penalty (violent repeat offenders) are always subject to parole. He wants a life without parole option for judges.
In energy, he proposes the production of alternative sources of energy. He believes in eco-friendly, bio-diesel fuels produced from agriculture products, including reclaimed frying grease and rotting vegetation.
Another platform is to abolish political correctness, hardly a surprise considering some of his song titles. He loves big cigars and believes he has the right to blow smoke into someone else's lungs in public places.
His border policy also reflects his disdain for political correctness. He wants to set up five zones along the border between Texas and Mexico then appoint five Mexican generals, one to each zone, to be in charge of preventing illegal border crossings. To insure compliance, he will deposit $1 million into each of five separate trust accounts and withdraw $10,000 every time a crossing occurs in the corresponding general's zone.
Ordinarily, I stay out of foreign politics but I always feel the need to support the rise of an independent candidate or third party, as long as it isn't something that strengthens the excessive governmental control on liberty and individual freedom, as with Socialism, Communism, Fascism or Transvestite Dominatrixism.
The biggest problem in Texas is too many Texans. They all have big belt buckles, big hats, big appetites, big plans and big egos. Being the governor of Texas is a lot like being in charge of incoming missiles. But Kinky Friedman somehow seems crazy enough for the job. You don't get a name like "Kinky" by being normal.
A vote for Kinky is a vote against politics as usual. Even if he turns out to be all hat and no cattle, it will undoubtedly be entertaining. And Texas will probably still be ahead of Mississippi.
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Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels, which are available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.