Sunday magazine is just for you

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 10, 2001

In today’s edition of The Messenger there is something special for our readers – American Profile.

American Profile is a full-color national magazine with regionalized editorial content celebrating interests, values and events of life in America’s hometowns. Each edition of American Profile will include a broad range of regular features, including regional selections of Hometown Heroes, Close-To-Home regional calendars of events, as well as stories on celebrities with hometown ties, health trends, entertainment and important current issues. A special regional editorial feature of each issue is a profile of one of America’s great hometowns.

We made the decision to begin carrying American Profile in out Sunday edition in an attempt to offer our readers more. Many larger newspapers offer a Sunday magazine, and now The Messenger does too.

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"American Profile is one of the most exciting ideas for smaller newspapers that the industry has ever seen," said Rick Reynolds, publisher of The Messenger. "This full-color magazine will complement our local news coverage by providing editorial content that celebrates the people and places that make up our hometowns. American Profile embraces the values and spirit of our readers and we are pleased to bring it to them on a regular basis."

We hope you enjoy reading American Profile each week. We like to hear from you about what you think about the new Sunday magazine and other ways we can serve our readers.


Daddy’s little girl is a republican Barbie

by: Dave Barry

Humor Columnist

What I do, first thing every morning, is play with dolls. The dolls belong to my 15-month-old daughter, Sophie, who likes to start the day by giving her dolls a toy bottle.

She has a strong nurturing instinct, although it is not matched by her hand-eye coordination, so often she sticks the bottle into a doll’s eye. The dolls don’t mind. They’re always happy. They talk in perky, squeaky doll voices.

"Hi, Sophie!" say the dolls. "Cough cough cough!"

The dolls cough a lot, because I provide their voices, and it is not easy to sound perky and squeaky when you’re a 53-year-old man and it is 7 a.m. and you have not had your coffee. You have to struggle to get yourself into a doll-voice mood, and you find yourself wondering what all the other 53-year-old men are doing at that hour. You suspect they’re doing manly, grown-up things, like baling hay, or preparing a sales presentation, or burping. They’re probably not lying on the family-room floor, speaking for a Barbie doll.

Yes, my daughter has a Barbie doll. And not just any Barbie doll: It’s a Republican Convention Delegate Barbie. Really. She’s wearing a business suit and has a little delegate credential around her neck. In other respects she’s a regular Barbie, by which I mean she has an anatomically impossible figure and enough hair to be a fire hazard.

Republican Convention Delegate Barbie was given to my daughter by a woman I know who is connected with the Mattel company, which made a limited number of Republican and Democratic Barbies that were given to the delegates last year at both political conventions. The woman told me that Convention Delegate Barbie is a valuable collectible item, and we should keep her in the box. But of course as soon as Sophie saw Barbie, she had to get her out of the box and give her a nice, nurturing bottle to the eyeball.

For some reason, Sophie also likes to undress this Barbie, the result being that she (Barbie) can often be found lying among the other toys on the family-room floor, largely naked, her big hairdo going in all directions, as though she has just been engaging in wild party activities with Elmo and Winnie the Pooh, who lie nearby, looking happy but tired. I suspect that, when I am not looking, they smoke little toy cigarettes.

In case you were wondering (and you know you were): Republican Convention Delegate Barbie does not wear a brassiere. I will not go into details here, except to say that if real Republican convention delegates looked like this Barbie, Bill Clinton would definitely have changed parties.

Anyway, I don’t mind playing dolls with Sophie, but it has been an adjustment for me. When my son, Rob, was that age, he played exclusively with trucks, so when I played with him in the morning, all I had to do was make a truck sound, BRRRMMM, which was virtually identical to snoring. And before you accuse me of giving my children gender-stereotyped toys, let me stress that I got Sophie a truck, a big studly one. She uses it as a baby carriage. Sometimes she gives it a bottle.

When we’re done playing dolls, it’s time for Sophie’s other favorite activity: watching the same videotape 850 times. As you parents know, babies LOVE repetition. If babies went to comedy clubs, a successful comedian’s routine would go like this:

COMEDIAN: I just flew in from the coast, and boy are my arms tired!

AUDIENCE: (Wild laughter.)

COMEDIAN: I just flew in from the coast, and boy are my arms tired!

AUDIENCE: (Wild laughter.)

COMEDIAN: I just flew in from the coast, and …

And so on. Lately, the video we watch 850 times a day is "Baby Bach," in which video images of toys are accompanied by classical music. The theory behind this video, as I understand it, is that looking at these images, and listening to Bach, makes the baby more intelligent. That may be, but it also slowly drives the parents insane. One day, you’re going to read a news story about a person who went berserk with a machine gun in a shopping mall when the public-address system started playing classical music. When police search that person’s house, I guarantee you they will find: "Baby Bach."

But so WHAT if I’m going crazy? The important thing is, Sophie is learning! She’s getting smarter by the minute!

She just stuck a bottle in my eye.

Dave Barry is a humor columnist for the Miami Herald. Write to him c/o The Miami Herald, One Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132.


McCain/Bush - The only game in town

by: Chris Matthews

Syndicated Columnist

This city is a one-ring circus these days. From the press seats high in the Big Top, we watch as a lone lion raises his paw in angry defiance at a lone tamer.

The lion is Sen. John McCain. The figure fending him off with his chair is President Bush.

The match of man and feline carries daunting stakes.

Will the ex-POW from Arizona succeed in his intimidation, forcing Bush to sign campaign finance reform, a patient’s bill of rights and a closing of the gun-show loophole?

Or will the narrowly elected president prove himself master of the ring, whipping McCain back into his cage?

As a D.C. political spectacle, this test of wits between these bitter campaign rivals is easily more exciting and arguably more vital than the emerging contest between Bush and the new Senate Majority Leader, South Dakota Democrat Tom Daschle.

Why? Because a Bush veto of a bill carrying McCain’s seal of approval would be far more costly than a veto of one sporting only Daschle’s partisan label.

This goes for HMO reform and gun control, but especially campaign finance reform. It explains why McCain thinks Bush will do everything he can to protect himself from the lose-lose predicament of having to either sign or veto a bill that has teeth in it.

"He sent a clear message to the other Republicans," McCain told me in an interview this week. "You’re going to have to take care of it before it comes to my desk."

Bush wants Republicans in the House leadership to kill the bill. Failing that, he wants them to wound it so badly that what survives the House-Senate conference carries the name of "reform" but leaves the political sewers rampaging with money from the big corporations to the politicians’ TV ad buyers.

John McCain is the only force in America zealous enough to prevent that. At this point in his career, campaign reform looms as a life’s work. There is no abandoning the fight, no substitute for victory. If Bush wins this battle, McCain loses the war. The man who bombed him to merciless defeat in last year’s South Carolina primary will have killed him twice.

McCain cannot let that happen. He may have accepted Bush’s invite to dinner this past Tuesday. He may have said all kinds of nice things in public afterward about how the president is "growing in office," that he’s "a smart man."

I don’t believe this palsy-walsy for a second. They are lion and tamer.

Only one can command the ring.

Harry Truman once said that a leader is a person who gets other people to do what they don’t want to do "and like it!"

If McCain gets Bush to sign a campaign reform bill with a smile on his face, or Bush gets McCain to accept defeat with a smile on his, we will know the winner and we will know the loser.

Chris Matthews, a nationally syndicated columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, is host of "Hardball" on CNBC and MSNBC cable channels. The 1999 edition of "Hardball" was published by Touchstone Books.


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