Saturday, September 29, 2007

Al McIntosh on The War

As a WWII buff, Ken Burn's The War, on PBS, has been simply spectacular so far through four episodes. One of my favorite parts is the reading of insightful excerpts from Al McIntosh's column from the Luverne, Minnesota Rock County Star Herald describing the impact of those four years on small town America.

Like this excerpt on receiving the news late at night of the invasion of Normandy:

When we sleepily stumbled down the hall to answer the ringing telephone we made a mental note that it was shortly before 3 A.M.. We picked up the receiver, thinking it was Sheriff Roberts calling to say that there had been accident. Instead, it was Mrs. Lloyd Long, playing the feminine counterpart of Paul Revere, saying, "Get up, Al, and listen to the radio, the invasion has started." We sat by the radio for over an hour listening to the breath-taking announcements. And then we went to bed to lie there for a long time, wide-eyed in the darkness thinking "what Rock County boys are landing on French soil tonight?"

More of Al's columns can be found in the collection,
"Selected Chaff: The wartime columns of Al McIntosh."

git along

It's the 100th birthday of that singing cowboy and true pal to vagabonds, Gene Autry. Born in Texas, and discovered by Will Rogers in a telegraph office in Oklahoma, Autry, along with his faithful horse, Champion, became one of the biggest stars ever on the silver screen, and later, on television.

He always said a cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage. And to be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.

That about covers it.
Don't let me catch any of you shoving midgets.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I got a new car Saturday. Well, a new used car. The sales manager looked down at me across his desk and said I was upside down. And while out test driving one of six cars, the salesman said, when finished, we would go back to the office and play with the numbers. I looked all over, but I didn't see any numbers. While no one was looking I checked under his desk and behind the water cooler and on the backs of the stack of business cards on his desk, but there were none to be found.

He further confused me when he said "this car is you." That scared me because I wasn't expecting to venture into a parallel universe. I wouldn't look at the me car again. Maybe the numbers were in the trunk?

Friday, September 21, 2007

for Mr. Liberty!....

....And for all you other dedicated bloggers!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

a million monkeys typing

My name is Tobias Somerset. I hold a PhD in English Literature. Never in a million years did I ever imagine I would have the thankless job I have now. All of the toil! All of the hard post-graduate work! The sheer madness of a life wasted! Waiting endlessly for The Great Novel to materialize....from this!?

Let's just say I'm an editor. I work from 9 to 5 in a locked room full of monkeys. It's true - you guessed it: Somewhere in this dull, fluorescent lit room I oversee, or I should say, I'm the game keeper to a wild loud frenzy chattering of shrill monkeys sitting in front of peel-clogged typewriters, with attention spans of a baby in a high chair sucking on banana creme peas. Don't show your teeth at me, you knuckle-dragging...! Sorry, it's madness I tell you! No wonder they call it a monkey suit I'm wearing!

I hold in my hand an example of my burden. Let me show you what Charley(Yes! They even try to make me humanize them! But I admit...I do like Charley. He doesn't scream like the others when a fluorescent tube fizzles out and explodes), row 7, seat 18, has reluctantly handed to me mere moments ago:

sssssssdertt jkpoduodh dhoohdjjj jkjdpe2j msdkopwo s oskwkookdgf f5okrkjgpkrp jgpjgjj wjjv[ 2ekfkiibn

Notice the smooth transition in his prose, and the potential conflict between characters. Good boy!

Charley is back in his seat now, sitting quietly. He made me tug the sheet from his clutches this time. I do not know why. Occasionally, he turns his tilted fuzzy little head and eyeballs me.

Help me. for the love of God, please get me out of here!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

no it isn't!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

islands in the dream

I don't know what this fragmented dream means that I had recently. Maybe you can decipher. I'm seated in a café along with 3 others, perhaps somewhere in the Keys. Seated at my left elbow is Spencer Tracy, his face hidden by a white panama hat. Crossways sits George C. Scott, and straight across from me is Hemingway. A dream come true right there!

There's heavy drinking going on (surprise!), except I'm having milk. He doesn't think I notice, but Tracy is stealthily spiking my milk. There's boisterous arguing, about what, I do not remember, other patrons and café help are staring in shocked amusement, but I'm quiet.

Suddenly, The Three turn to me for my opinion on a vital matter, probably some Mixed Imbibement Philosophy, and I stand unsteadily. Looking first at Scott, then at Hemingway, then at Tracy's hat, I give it for all the room and veranda, with sufficient force to inflate ladie's skirts and un-anchor sleeping boats in harbor. Shiver me timbers. A waiter grabs my arm ("not soooo hard!"), Hemingway rises slowly and gigantically and takes a wild swing at him, missing. Tracy chuckles and Scott returns his attention to his glass. We are asked to leave by the white pants aproned proprietor.

Outside, we Four are walking away single file in lock step. It seems incredibly chilly, and one asks, "why is it so cold?"
Tracy looks up from under his floppy hat and smiles, "because we're not wearing pants!"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

your guide to stealing signals

Seeing how the New England Patriots are stealing signals, I thought I'd provide for you, dear reader, a guide to help you follow their modus operandi in their game this Sunday.

These are the signals they are anxiously watching the sidelines for:

  • Touching ear once --- nickel defense
  • Touching ear, knee, ear --- Safety Blitz
  • Nose rub --- prevent defense!
  • Nose, both ears --- get a load of that ugly cheerleader
  • Hiking of the crotch --- level that sideline mousy spy with the binoculars
  • Hand behind back --- watch your backside: Senator Craig, 4th row, seat 436, heading to men's restroom
  • Egyptian stance --- papa oom mow mow
  • Covering eyes with hand --- it's true - their coach does prefer sheep!
  • Finger to Lips --- sneak up behind and yank the cord on that fat guy on the ladder

There you go!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

directions to the road taken

Listen. Get in your car. That's important.

Head due east for a mile until you see the tree with double trunks. Take that left there and follow straight ahead to the fenced-in pasture, then right, to the large boulder just beyond the Ford sprouting weeds. That was my grandfathers. He parked it there one day and walked away forgetting. Swing back right along the frontage road by the lake. The road will rise slightly in front of you and the gravel will become an abandoned pasture lane.

At the top it'll curve back to left and dead end. Get out. You'll walk the rest of the way. Just follow along the sun-bleached stone wall, then climb over the collapsed crumbling part up to where the mounded earth is shaped like a fresh grave as far as the eye can see.

That's it. I hope you are not lost. You'll be standing next to where the tracks used to run. The sunken rail line that took Lincoln home one last time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

out of the blue

I felt the same way today as I felt 6 years ago. The only difference was the chilled morning started out ugly with heavy cloud cover, and gradually the clouds broke into small pieces and completely vanished by high noon. I mean, it became completely blue just like in 2001. So thoroughly crisp with Fall waiting to pop out of the shadows like a actor in full makeup waiting in the wings.

As corny as it might sound, after feeling somewhat hollow and abandoned in the morning gloom, I emerged later feeling patriotic as the sky opened. And I do remember those feelings of pride and love of country late in the day on September 11th, 2001. Those feelings were so overwhelming that they stifled the panic when a couple notorious local gas stations attempted to gouge the public in the confusion.

On the way home tonight I heard A radio caller say that on a recent visit to New York, while the city is loud and boisterous as always, when passing the area of Ground Zero, it is still virtually quiet.
That's the way it always should be.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

sports of all sorts

The Pack is back!

Well, sort of.
They did win their first game over the Eagles, 16-13, by the hair of their chinny chin chins.
Starting his 258th straight game, Brett Favre sliced and diced his way out of the clutches of a frisky Philly defense to unload the pigskin for great yardage (I just said that out loud like I was at an old-time tv sport's desk with a table microphone. Speech impediment included. Back to you Skip!). And after the Eagles muffed a punt return with under a minute remaining, rookie kicker Mason Crosby sealed the victory with a clutch field goal.

It feels so good to get that first victory of the season in the books. I am a long suffering Packer fan.

However, I'm a longer suffering Notre Dame fan. Today, after being pummeled by Penn State last night and going 0-2 on the season, Charlie Weis went door to door recruiting players. He was able to recruit a Nun, a seventy-two year old Grandfather of seven, and a Mishawaki family's Cocker Spaniel. Lookout Michigan!

And, The Gentleman from Scotland, Dario Franchitti, out-gassed Scott Dixon (he had a E when his gauge actually said F) in a thrilling win at Chicagoland and clinched the Indycar Championship. Hopefully, Dario will not jump to Nascar, but will remain in open-wheel.

Finally, the beautiful and talented Danica Patrick, following her best second place finish last week at Belle Isle, spun out entering the pits with 6 laps remaining. Kind of like making it through a mad rush hour at 80, only to spin in your driveway arriving home going 3.
She will win a race next year. If not, she can still come visit me - I live near a high speed straightaway with no driveways in sight.

Otis Redding

A video celebrating the birthday
of that underrated soul man.

"I've Been Loving You Too Long," from the
1967 Monterey International Pop Festival....

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Here's a wonderful photo of Marilyn, reading the script a certain vagabond never got a chance to write for her, because he was only 3 years old and she was already dead.

Still, a beautiful photo is a beautiful photo.
(I'm guessing it's a Cecil Beaton photoshoot)

walking into doors

Thursday, September 6, 2007

a tale of video terror

I see where the AP, a charter member of Rush's 'Drive By Media,' is almost gleefully promoting the forthcoming new 9/11 anniversary amateur video from the Bearded Devil (Umm...let me guess..he's going to threaten us?).
It's right up there in the headlines with the a.n.t.i.c.i.p.a.t.i.o.n. of Britney's appearance at MTV's VMAs. That may be the scariest story yet!

I always maintained that President Bush should respond the same way:

Send to Al Battar a grainy video from the oval office, a dirty stained sheet from the Clinton administration sloppily hung as the backdrop, and ranting "death to Al-Qaeda" into a microphone with frayed wires just for that crackling and terrorizing effect.

On his desk in a prominent spot for chilling atmosphere would be an ancient glass jar with the remains of Grover Cleveland's cancerous jaw. I believe they keep it backstairs at the White House in the basement right on the same shelf alongside a hat box containing the head of Warren Harding's poker buddy, Albert Fall, and leaning against it, a leaky pickle jar with leftovers used to ween President Coolidge.
Amazin' Fun Facts for your children's children!

And, in his cave in some remote mountainous hideout, the Bad Man, in front of his tv switching back and forth between Full House and I Love Lucy, with Cheetos in a bowl on his lap, would do a Diet Pepsi spit-take as they break in with that grainy video.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

film of the day

Horse Feathers is a sheer delight.
And it's my favorite Marx Brother's film -
until I see the next one.

Just a few minutes into the proceedings, Groucho is already singing and dancing on the furniture. The Four Brothers invade a college, turn a football game upside down, and pursue the beautiful and fetching Thelma Todd. I always did love her too. But I'll go no further, father, in attempting to explain the madness.

Btw....Woody's Everyone Says I Love You does make a great second feature.

Ga. Tech 33, N.D. 3

Oh that was embarrassing. The most uninspired ND game I can ever remember watching. ND was able to get the ball from the Center to the Quasi-backs, but that's about all. Pathetic.

At halftime, Charlie Weis phoned me from the locker room in a hushed tone to see if my grandmother could come by and be his 4th QB. I said, no sir, although she'd be marvelous, she's still dead. 34 years now. He asked if she could play flanker then.

I told him I'd ask her.

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