Boy, the way Glen Miller played

Songs that made the hit parade

Guys like us we had it made

Those were the days.

And you knew who you were then,

Girls were girls and men were men

Mister, we could use a man

Like Herbert Hoover again.

Didnít need no welfare state,

Everybody pulled his weight.

Gee, our old LaSalle ran great.

Those were the days.

Anybody that was conscious during the 1970s will recall the theme song of "All In the Family," Norman Learís socio-commentary on everything from bigotry to hippies to communism.

Yes, this is a rant. Brace yourself, or go read "Dear Abby," but here it comes.

Seems like day after day, something comes along that makes me think even Archieís day was better than these.

The state feels it necessary to regulate whether or not businesses can allow smoking; the banks want your thumbprints; you canít call a hospital and check on the condition of your auntie without HIPAA regulations getting in the way.

But theyíll let telemarketers invade the privacy of your own home, and credit card offers stack up in your mailbox.

Just this week, St. Charles, Missouri considered a bill to ban swearing in bars. Granted, thatís one provision among others Ė the rest being table dancing, drinking contests and profane music Ė but címon! Itís a bar. Itís self-regulating. If you donít like the atmosphere, you donít go in, find another one or give up bars completely. Itís not governmentís business to regulate bars!

Also this week, the wire ran a report that folks born after Dec. 1, 1964 will have to get "more secure driverís licenses" in the next six years. Itís supposedly a Homeland Security measure to protect against terrorism, but the details are very sketchy. I can about imagine what they mean by "more secure:" Less privacy, more control.

Bob Seger was wrong, it seems. We donít "Feel Like A Number," weíve become a whole plethora of numbers. Youíre a social security number, a driverís license number, an account number, a routing number, a member number and an invoice number. Parents are not going to name their kids anymore, just issue Ďem a social security card and say things like, "Hey! 333-71-4762, go clean your room!"

Makes me ill. You canít call your local post office. You canít get someone to speak English half the time when you need help operating your microwave.

Kids can call social services if you take a belt to their backsides for skipping school, but the police can arrest them for smoking cigarettes. Does that make one lick of sense?

Our police reports are full of kids fighting at school and getting sent to juvenile court. How, do you imagine, is this better than letting them duke it out and solving their problems the old-fashioned way?

Go ahead, call me barbaric. But nobody had to go to court in tenth grade in my day unless they burned down the gym or something. If somebody shoved you at the water fountain, you made a decision to either turn the other cheek or try to whup their behind. You might get your behind whupped instead. Whatever the outcome, it was settled, and for the love of Pete it didnít require a judge, a psychologist, a juvenile officer and a dadblamed docket number.

Now, listen, Iím not talking about gangs and true criminal violence. Iím not talking about the over-the-top kids we seem to be breeding nowadays through our Dr. Spock sensibilities (read: stupidities).

But sending a couple of kids to juvie court over a hall incident is plumb silly. It seems like we donít know whether to protect our kids or throw them to the wolves, so we do both simultaneously and wash our hands of them.

Meanwhile, our old people are missing their medications because they canít afford the astronomical prices of them, but weíre sending $30 billion dollars in support to Israel.

Somebodyís going to get on me for the whole "welfare state" lyrics above, but I donít give a jolly rip. Everybody needs to pull their weight like they used to. There were clear lines then. You was either a bum or not a bum. Wasnít much gray in there. Thatís the way it should be again. Weíre bending over backwards to validate unemployment and dependency, while the rest of us are paying for social security and Medicare we probably wonít ever see, and if we do, it wonít be worth a plug nickel.

A woman was killed by a deranged murderer while hiking in Georgia. Perhaps she would have stood a better chance if she had been armed, but handguns arenít allowed in most national forests, parks or certain state wildlife and recreation areas. However, hunting rifles and shotguns in season are. Go figure.

Yeah, I could go on and on. Where did we go wrong? Oh, somebodyís going to blame "the dang Liberals" and somebody else is going to point the finger at "the blasted Conservatives" because thatís what weíve degenerated into in this day and age: Name-calling and dehumanizing those we disagree with, when in fact weíre all responsible for this craziness by our apathy.

And you know what scares me the most and makes me the angriest?

That when my generation is old, weíll actually sit there and look back on now and say, "Those were the days."