The chicken and the tax returns

TRAVERSE CITY — Nope. Don’t even try to come up with something better. I’m declaring right here, right now the best news story to be the giant inflatable Trump Chicken staring at the West Wing from outside White House grounds. It was put there by protesters who are still trying to shame the Republican Party’s president into releasing his tax returns. The problem with that strategy is pretty obvious. The man has none, near as I can tell.

Plus, the thing looks more like a blonde Elvis chicken than anything else, doesn’t it?

– The North Korea thing is close to turning into a “Your mama” contest. Trump threatened them with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” They responded that they’re going to “teach the U.S. a severe lesson.” To which Trump is bound to say, “Oh yeah?” To which they’ll say, “Yeah!” Then the momma insults will start flying, if not missiles. Gosh, it’s nice the world’s two most calm and reasonable leaders have found one another, isn’t it?

– By the way, anyone got blueprints for a bunker?

– This is a bit freaky for someone who grew up in the ’60s like I did. I’m old enough to have done the little drill in school where you got under your desk to protect yourself from a nuclear strike. Desks were apparently extremely sturdy back in those days, and impervious to radiation.

– Check me on this: June and July feel like summer, but August somehow always seems like a transition month back into real life — school, work etc., right?

– I know a lot of people this year who took summer vacations to tropical places. I’ve never understood that. There’s so little good weather in Michigan, why would you leave in summer? The tropics, I figure, are for the non-nice months, meaning October through May.

– Ah, it’s that time of the year again when I predict, as I always do, that the Detroit Lions will stink their way to an 8-8 or 7-9 record once again. I love tradition.

– Is anyone really in that much of a hurry that they would need one of those pizza vending machines Little Caesar’s is installing?

– According to a new poll, 73 percent of Americans say they can’t trust all or most of what they hear in official communications from the White House. That’s pretty incredible. You probably couldn’t get that many people to agree that kittens are adorable.

Which they are.

– Concert season has me thinking about stuff like this, so here goes: The top 5 rock/pop bands of all time in my book are: 1) The Beatles 2) The Rolling Stones 3) The Eagles 4) Queen, and 5) Electric Light Orchestra. Or maybe the Doobies. Or possibly Prince and the Revolution. Or AC/DC. Commence to arguing and judging me.

And yes, I said ELO. I like ’em. So what?

Five best solo acts: 1) James Taylor 2) Billy Joel 3) Elton John, 4) Bob Dylan, and 5) Eric Clapton. Or Neil Young. Or Bob Seger. Or Michael Jackson. Damn, this is hard.

And yes, I said James Taylor. Your mama.

“Good taste is as tiring as good company” – Francis Picabia.

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Andrew Heller, an award-winning newspaper columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Follow him at and on Facebook and Twitter. Write to him via email at