Chatting With Dr Mike

May29/ 2011

Dr Mike and I once debated with former UNC System honcho Erkine Bowles on the merits of bottle tans vs tanning beds for college cheerleaders.  Travel that road and no subject is out-of-reach.

NEWSFLASH:  Jim Tressel Resigns as FB Coach at Ohio State !!

This week Dr Mike and I tackled (1) Scotty-fawning Cougars vs Dirty Ol’ Men and (2) Comparing a certain beleaguered coach to a mafia don.

“Dr Mike” is my pal Dr Mike Munger – Economics Professor Extraordinaire at Rooty Toot Toot Used to be Trinity But Now Its Duke.  Dr Mike is that one guy at every academic institution that believes “this goofy rite-of-passage should be about the students – not the pompous prigs in their ivory towers”.  His classes always fill up quickly with a waiting list.  His students’ drink deep from the Munger Spring of Usable Knowledge.   Ergo Dr Mike enjoys a popularity with some of his fellow professors akin to Julius Caesar in Rome’s Forum.

In 2008 Dr Mike came within several million votes of being Governor of North Carolina.  If the competition had been which candidate makes the best homemade salsa, it woulda been Governor Dr Mike for sure.

The winner (cough cough) of that election – Bev “Dumplin” Perdue – falsified her campaign travel reports by not reporting assorted plane trips.  A traditional flim flam ploy of Democratic pols.  The Feds came calling on Dr Mike.

“OK Munger, why didn’t you report your campaign flights?” ….. “Because I didn’t take any.”  Dr Mike sheepishly admitted.  Some campaigns are run “on a shoestring”.  Dr Mike ran his on a strand of dental floss.

“Then nevermind but we’ve got our eye on you Munger.  Try any funny stuff and we’ll nail ya ….”  The Feds retorted.  Dr Mike giggled.

Dr Mike is a Libertarian.   Best I can figure from Dr Mike – A Libertarian is a Republican who admits he sometimes listens to NPR.  Dr Mike’s favorite President was William Henry Harrison.  Harrison caught pneumonia giving his inaugural speech and died within a few weeks of taking office.

Dr Mike and I share a self-effacing joie de vie and an intense disdain for (1) pompous prigs ….. (2) Gene Nichol and Gene Nichol’s types ….. and (3) PhDs who can’t name the seven dwarfs in alphabetical order.  We share the distinction of being “the two smartest guys Bill Lumaye knows”.

PhDs who can’t name the seven dwarfs.

Bill has a 2-5 talk show on WPTF-680 AM.  Dr Mike and I are Bill’s reoccurring special guests saving Bill from having to endure too much of our other buddy Perry K. Woods.  ….  I was prepping for my bi-weekly stint with Bill last Friday when Dr Mike sent me a “how come?”.  As regards Scotty-mania ….

“Hey BobLee, 17 y/o Scotty got 60% of his vote support from women age 40-60 and everyone thinks that is so cute”.   If Lauren (the 16 y/o American Idol co-finalist) had gotten 60% of her support from men 40-60; everyone would think that was “creepy”.  How come?”

The International Society of Libertarian Economists lists Dr Mike as their only member who uses “creepy” correctly in a sentence.

I posed Dr Mike’s query to our WPTF audience.  Radio audiences are a tricky bunch – like a box o’ chocolates.  You never know what you’ll get.  The board lights up….  “Nikki from Holly Springs”.

I prefaced my remarks by reminding the audience how much of a Scotty fan I am.  The Fawning Cougars vs Dirty Old Men debate was simply a how comer.  Maybe my on-air salivation about Carrie Underwood in hot pants got a bit out-of-hand.  I came across a tad “creepy” at least to Nikki from Holly Springs.

Bill was a big help – NOT!  He saw my goose was cooking and let me simmer in my own salivation.  A talk show under assault from listeners is “a good thing”.  We love it when listeners get indignant.  Play it right and eventually someone realizes we are just pimping the audience.  It’s all about lighting up the caller board.

My challenge to Nikki From Holly Springs about her reaction to Tim McGraw in his sprayed-on jeans was met with an audible harrumph. Bill has now re-labled Dr Mike and I as “the two smartest dirty ol’ men I know”.


As a longtime BobLeeBuddy, Dr Mike knows I’ve worn out many a soap boxe this past year on the subject of The Great Unpleasantness.  Quick study that Dr. Mike.

Although now a tenured Duke Prof, Dr Mike began his ivory tower climb eight miles west of the Gothic Rockpile with an intermittent stopover in Austin TX.  Dr Mike IS an admitted Tar Heel fan adding to his tenuous “popularity” with his West Derm co-workers.

Mike observed how impressed he was with Butch’s overcoming all the controversy last Fall and having a successful season.  My retort, of course, was “when you are not held responsible for anything except a Saturday afternoon scoreboard it does allow you to focus”.  When your board declares We don’t really care how you do it, just WIN Butch … and we will cover for you. it removes a lot of otherwise pesky distractions.

Dr Mike remarked that Butch is apparently a very competent football coach.  And I totally agree.  That’s when we got to the comparison with a mafia don.

A successful mafia don must be an effective leader and motivator of men.   He must oversee a deep organization of competent capos and build in effective checks and balances. So ….

…. when its necessary to “do whatcha gotta do” the Don must have plausible deniability a/k/a “beat a polygraph.  “What bodies in what alley?  I dunno nuthin’ about no bodies in no alley.  I gotta lotsa people who work for me.  I can’t watch’em 24/7.  I’m just a guy trying to make a livin’.  How come you people always hasslin’ me?”

And a special talent for intimidating anyone who might presume to diminish your power.

Dr Mike found my mafia comparison quite compelling, then added.  “Let me guess, BobLee; you’ve just read an audiobook about The Mafia.”

Yeah, Nelson DeMille’s Gold Coast “a rip-roaring read” ….. but so what?  It’s just a coincidence.

Leave the football …. Take the cannolis.

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