Category Archives: Harry Welty

WriteinHarryWelty forCongress.com

Don’t bother looking for it. I’m busy with snow church family french lessons. I haven’t set any place up to campaign for yet other than my blog. Yesterday’s Duluth Trib gave me second thoughts. Today pushing snow around I had second thoughts about yesterday’s second thoughts.

I may have to figure out a new way to set up such a webpage to collect money. My old software for Snowbizz.com seems to have broken down. But I don’t really need money anyway. Getting elected is a terrible, horrible thought. The only thing worse than that is watching the terrible, horrible politics of the last twenty years getting worse and worse. Hell. There has never been a time for less fighting among Americans than today. And yet….

When I get around to blogging later I have several stories in mind. They involve My Grandmother (on my father’s side) my Grandfather (on my Mother’s side) And Barry Goldwater. It will be a test to see if any of current wannabe Congressman in Minnesota’s Eighth District can tell such stories about themselves. Oh and if I set up a campaign webpage I will post my cell phone background picture. This is it:

I want to (not) run for Congress again

I have always considered myself the most reasonable person. I am far more inclined to begin most arguments by putting the other fellow’s or gal’s shoes and walking around in them till I get blisters. I have a reputation ( at least I suspect I do ) for being an off-the-wall bull-in-a-china-shop. As for being off-the-wall its true that, unlike most people, I’ve gotten into the habit of challenging the adage: “the nail that stands out will be pounded down.” Politically it caused me to become:

1. a Republican (a Nixon opponent) during the wave of college anti-Nixon marches
2. a apostle of moderate Republican values in the most Democratic legislative District in America
3. a staunch critic of the Republican Party from within and then a challenger to the Party in an “independent” race for Congress in 1992
4. a School Board candidate who lost three elections before finally prevailing on a fourth attempt
5. a ENOUGH FOR NOW!!!…..I just paused to fold the laundry and Claudia showed me Trevor Noah’s latest commentary about America’s Ongoing S***storm.

The point of the list above is simple. Against the odds as a grown up I’ve become the little kid who shouted at the Emperor that he has no clothes on during the parade surrounded by the king’s secret police. I once wrote an ending to that story. But dear Readerss, this is not a kingdom. It is, or at least once was, the most formidable democracy on Earth. And yet the gatekeepers of our Democracy kept their mouths shut as the party I once belonged to (with some attitude I might add), allowed themselves to be pushed silently into a corner. Then they put duct tape over their own mouths.

The great irony is that millions of these gatekeepers who once said they were voting for “the lesser of two evils” in the 2016 election are now preparing to reelect a Congress full of the folks that put them in the corner while handing them duct tape. Well, I may run jackass, impossible campaigns but I will not support candidates who champion a minute by minute liar.

I have tried to fit in with Democrats. I agree with them on much of their social agenda. My chief differences with them are nit picky but serious. For instance, the idea that humans don’t have the ability to extract copper and nickle from fresh water rich northern Minnesota without poisoning our great grandchildren bother’s me. It bothers me more that its an issue that may very well elect Pete Stauber to Congress. It wouldn’t be the first time such a debate killed the prospects for Minnesota Democrats. The last time was called the Minnesota Massacre. I was a Republican then and it was the second or third most gratifying political event of my 67 years on Earth.

I like Pete. In any election prior to 2012 I would have gladly cast a vote for him. But recent years and this year especially, have changed America. Pete Stauber is a Trump supporter because the people who will vote in both the primary and the general elections detest Trump’s well intentioned critics…..like Trevor Noah.

Here’s a thumb nail of the plan percolating in my head.

I will not run for Congress for the third time. At least I won’t file for election. The possibility of my winning is exceptionally remote, Doing it would require me to bend over backwards to complete campaign data releases that I would have to fill out myself. I’ve done it before in 2006 and they make filling out taxes look like child’s play. More importantly I have no interest in serving in today’s ineffectual Congress where every day is consumed with raising money for the next election and there is no time to read books and be reflective. This has turned our Congress into one of the most ignorant collections of leaders imaginable.

I will encourage both Democrats and Republicans to write my name in for both the Democratic and Republican primaries and, despite being in France all September, for the November General election.

In the meantime I will cobble a book together explaining how America became a scorpion intent on stinging itself into paralysis. I have thousands of posts already written about that. I simply need to select the best and tidy them up a bit while putting them into some kind of linear order. I will begin offering the as yet unwritten book for sale. Any money raised will be sent to me and I’ll have to declare it for taxes as income. Therefore I will keep some small portion of the proceeds to pay for what the “earnings” cost me in taxes so as not to lose money in the process. Someday I’d like to earn money on book sales but not this year. I’m well enough fixed that any; book royalties would be more for my vanity than for creature comforts.

The rest of the money I will likely donate to some of the better candidates running to remove the taint of Donald Trump from our government even though he cannot be removed from our history any more than we can expunge 300 years of slavery. When the history of Trump is written I hope my descendants read the books to find out what the hell happened and make sure its not repeated.

I don’t plan to post all that much until I’m back from France in six months. I’m still working hard to learn French and read French history. I’ll just stick the occasional post to keep my eight loyal readers from falling asleep. The rest of my time will be devoted to selecting past posts that explain how America trumped itself.

Stay tuned.

Whatever happened…..My latest Not Eudora Column

Whatever Happened to the Magnificent Seven

Thanks to the Reader for the nice graphic.

It begins:

In 1966, at age 16, I discovered pop music which was then a witch’s brew of pop, country, and rock about to go their separate ways. One of my early favorites was a song by the Statler Brothers “Flowers on the Wall.” It was about a guy who was dumped by his girlfriend. In the lyrics the fellow claims not to mind “playing solitaire alone with a deck of 51.” Seven years later, after the horrors of 1968 and Vietnam, the Statlers – now confirmed red necks – sang a new song that pined for the days of rugged cowboy heroes. I couldn’t stand it. The lyrics and chorus began:

You can read it all here.

TUTORIAL ON A HARRY WELTY CAMPAIGN PART 6

I explained that long time West Duluth Representative Mike Jaros, would be the seed pearl of my next tutorial. But first let me check to see how many times over the last eleven years I’ve mentioned Mike on the blog……..Wow 95 times

The two posts which topped the list (prior to this entry) were “Bless you Mike Jaros” from 2015 and an earlier post from 2008 “Who will replace Mike Jaros.”

The 2008 post was the beginning of my unqualified support for Mike. He joined me in attempting to restrain the rapacious Red Planners and, like me, he failed. I made a personal vow never to undermine him again through any veiled criticism.

In one or more of the 95 posts I have described our first meeting back in 1976 when he agreed to meet me for coffee and despite our looming face off how we got along famously. Ever since my gold star seal of approval always begins with adversaries who are willing to sit down and palaver with me. That is a standard one of the other side’s candidates this year has badly botched this election. Not Sally Trnka. She met with me and, although I am supporting Dona Krivogorsky, I consider Sally a good soul. (I’ve not gotten round to inviting Josh Gorham for coffee although some of my allies have and that’s a good sign. I once told Rosie Loeffler-Kemp we should get together but her eagerness to censure me put a pretty cold damper on my former invitation and we’ve never had a one-on-one. I just get veiled lectures/threats from her at closed meetings about not blogging.

You see, I was raised in an Era of a genial, if intense, cold war between the two major political parties which have now fallen so out of favor. If you search for references to my Grandfather and Harry Truman you will see that I’ve said of my Grandfather that he had a grudging respect for Democrats. That is so unlike the current mood in political circles. From the outset of my political career that has been my chief modus operandi. I will not unfairly malign the other side. I will malign their actions or hypocrisy if the public ought to be appraised of it but the faults I point out must not get in the way of my being able to work with adversaires. As I’ve always said of school board candidates: “I’ve never met one who didn’t have the best interests of children at heart.” That includes the Red Planners of whom my chief criticism has always been that they were insensitive to the public, stubborn, self righteous and foolish. They still cared about kids…….although some of them have stooped to pretty despicable depths to mischaracterize the motives of their critics, like me and especially Art Johnston.

So, where does that leave me with regards to Tutorial 6? Simply here at the “Golden Rule,” the real golden rule not this one: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I practice this with one proviso. “Beat me up once, shame on you. Beat me up a second time, watch out!”

TUTORIAL ON A HARRY WELTY CAMPAIGN PART 4

I RECOMMEND STARTING THIS SERIES WITH PART 1

As you might expect from a politician who keeps pointing out that he has written millions of words over the past eleven years of blogging about the Duluth Schools I simply can not be content with a content free list of candidates to vote for. I believe in presenting the evidence, making a case, using logic, telling a story.

So this is what you would find in my current lit package:

Firstly: Continue reading

Tutorial on a Harry Welty campaign Part 3

This is a close up of the front and back of my lit package for this campaign. I work very hard to make sure when I walk all the way to a front, back or side door that this package will be found quickly, in good order and tightly secured to the house.

I have packaged this envelope carefully so that both my last name and Dana Krivogorsky’s name appear on different sides of the package. As I continue going door to door the total package will change. When I go to Rosie Loeffler-Kemp’s first distict I will slip in the flyer for her competitor Kurt Kuehn (pronounced Keen).

Tutorial on a Harry Welty campaign Part 1

What follows is how I will either win or lose this election for the school board. It may end up being 7, 8, or 9 posts. I got three hours sleep and then woke up wondering how much more I would have to spend to guarantee the kind of campaign I’d like to end my career with (assuming that at age 66 this really will be my last campaign – a tall assumption that!)

So here a a couple of preliminaries because I’m just too fussy to KISS (keep it simple stupid.) Stuff about me:

A. My favorite comedian is Harry Anderson. You may remember him from the tv series “Night Court” where he played a judge. Before that he was a comic magician and I think he once made an appearance on SNL. (Ah, I see he did) As you will see from this video his schtick was to show his audience how his magic tricks worked. Then he would end up confounding them anyway. Heck, that’s what all my Internet stuff from 1999 on has been – an attempt to explain what I do…….and yet I still confound people.

B. My Mother who raised me to revere her politician father (for his war heroism) once told me on the outset of a campaign that she really didn’t want me to be a politician – such was her disdain for so much of politics.

C. I’m sure I could fill out the whole alphabet but lets go on to the next post:

MY FORTY YEARS OF DNT REPORTERS AND EDITORS

PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT I WOKE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT TO WRITE A FUND RAISING LETTER AND IT BECAME THIS EXTENDED STREAM-OF-THOUGHT PIECE ON MY EXPERIENCES WITH THE DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE. PLEASE ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE NO DESIRE TO TIDY ITS 1903 WORDS UP WITH A COUPLE PROOF READINGS. IT IS AND WILL REMAIN IN ROUGH DRAFT CONDITION PROBABLY FOR AS LONG AS THIS BLOG CAN BE FOUND ON THE WEB. BTW – I RECOMMEND SKIPPING IT AND CUTTING TO THE LAST PARAGRAPH.

I have had a long relationship with the News Tribune which began when I first ran against Mike Jaros as a 25-year-old in 1976. Continue reading

Vietnam, back home in Mankato

Tonight’s episode, yet to air, will carry the story of Vietnam up to 1969.

Last night got us to President Elect Richard Nixon. As the PBS series makes clear Nixon told a few people privately that there was no quick exit from Vietnam despite his campaign assurances that he was going to get that done and with honor and get it done quickly.

I was in my High School junior year during his second campaign for President. I’d been in fifth grade when he ran for President in 1964. I had energetic debates with my neighbor Becky Penney about who would win that election. Becky and her family were for JFK. My family was for Nixon. As a fifth grader it was all about family loyalty with me even though I had begged my Grandfather to go to Washington D.C.in 1961 to shake hands with JFK who had sent him an invite to the Rose Garden.

My Grandfather offered me only one compliment of sorts. That was when he learned I was going to become part of our high School Debate team. Having debated himself he said it was an excellent activity for me to pursue. Ironically, my research in Debate led me to learn about Nixon’s Checker’s Speech and questions about his harassment of suspected communists. I didn’t trust him. When my high school speech teacher assigned his students to give a speech in another class I chose a History class and gave a hearty endorsement for Hubert Humphrey.

Nonetheless, I entered College as an independent. A few year’s later it was liberal self-righteousness that drove me to the Republican Party even as I opposed the Nixon Administration’s war policies. (I gladly voted for George McGovern) I’ve always believed in putting my feet in other people’s shoes. Sometimes that has meant wearing a tennis shoe and a wingtip simultaneously.

My first college protest blocking Mankato’s Main Street and Front Street and seeing how angry it made people who weren’t callow college students I concluded that inconveniencing people was not the way to win them over.

So, in 1972 when hundreds of college students from MSU and some local thrill seekers decided to block Highway 169 I had no intention of joining them. (This was where the reporter mentioned in the Tecla Karpen post filmed all the beer bottles and debris that the protesters left behind.) What I didn’t know was that my Dad, who had railed at LBJ years earlier when he was sending more troops to Vietnam, thought I would be on the highway at the protest.

A few years ago I was sent a portion of MSU President James Nickerson’s memoir about the war years at Mankato State. I regret to admit that I can’t find it at the moment but he mentioned my Dad, Daniel Welty, who was then the President of the Faculty Union.

He related meeting with Governor Wendell Anderson’s top assistant, the controversial Thomas Kelm, with my Father and other faculty present. Nickerson wrote that the hard charging Kelm said he was going to call out the national guard and force the students off the highway. At this Nickerson explained that Dan Welty strongly objected saying something like, You can’t do that. My son is on that bridge.

I don’t blame my Dad. He had been worried since I’d been in junior high that I might end up in Vietnam, a war he thought was damned foolishness. And at this moment six year’s later, he had to worry that I might get the Kent State treatment. That’s where four protesting Kent State students were shot to death by young national guard troops in Kent, Ohio.

The troops were never sent to Mankato.

Vietnam, 1968 – PBS and me

I stuffed another thousand envelopes watching Sunday night’s return to Vietnam. It was about 1968 when I was in my last year of Debate at Mankato High and would switch over to being a Senior. I would drop debate because I wasn’t quite as dedicated as our teams survivors. Our coach was a misogynistic jerk who leered at girls in short skirts. Besides, I’d overcome my panic attacks and was drawn into the speech team’s story telling and our schools theatrics.

1967-68 was the year our family hosted an African student, Bedru, who unwittingly integrated the all white Mankato High. I was dating for the first time, tentatively and politely. I could drive the family car. College was a certainty two years off but even for a high school kid it was hard to keep one’s eyes off politics.

Last night’s PBS episode covered the basics that I was watching in my peripheral vision that seminal year. Martin Luther King was assassinated. (Ironically my Ethiopian roommate did not seem very moved by this. Perhaps he was used to being in a minority back home. BTW – I suspect that our family stopped hearing from Bedru a few years later after he was murdered as a political prisoner by his pro-American government.)

Bedru was however intensely interested in the Kennedy’s who stirred such hope across the third world. My intensely political father had us all up late to watch the California returns that would almost guarantee that his little brother, Bobby, would be the next president. Bedru, who was pulling for the younger Kennedy, stayed up even later than the rest of the family to watch the coverage from California after the results came in.

The next morning we discovered he had silently gone up to bed after watching Kennedy’s assassination.

Civil rights and Vietnam both came to a head in 1968 and I have many vivid memories from the events laid out in last night’s episode. For instance, my Dad’s shutting me up as I yammered questions just moments before Lyndon Johnson declared that he would not seek or accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for reelection. Its the only time I recall him ever shushing me.

I remember the riots that blazed across the nation after King’s assassination. The riot in Detroit has now been portrayed in a recent motion picture that I’d like to see. One took place in Baltimore. Three years later when I worked as a summer intern in Washington DC. I visited my friend Jim Zotalis in a suburb where he was an assistant in the Don Budge Tennis camp. I had just given him a tour of the nation’s capitol and he was reciprocating by hosting me. The drive into downtown Baltimore was a shock. I went through the King Riot zone and all the shops that had reopened in fire blackened brick buildings had heavy iron bars across the storefronts.

As for Vietnam, it was the fighting in the Tet Offensive that lasted a month in Hue that prepared college for me more than the other way around. A year-and-a-half later as a freshman I would see my first-and-only draft card burning and participated in a counter productive blocking of the downtown’s most important intersection. I’ve shunned self righteous crowds ever since.

I watched George Wallace, Richard Nixon and a bevy of Democrats vying for the job LBJ no longer had the fortitude to endure and that left me prepared for Donald Trump last year.

It was a helluva year.

Tecla Karpen

No posts yesterday because I put in two 18-hour days in a row on my campaign. I shouldn’t have woken at 3AM tonight but when I did I thought about Tecla Karpen. She was the only person out of thousands of witnesses who commended me when she saw me at my finest. It was during the Vietnam War after a march on campus to protest it. It was the last march I would participate in until this year marching to honor Martin Luther King Day in Duluth. I wrote about it here along with that fine moment from my life. I did not however, mention Ms. Karpen who’s name was memorable enough for me to remember to this day. There is scant information about her on the web; she died last May; but there is this.

I thought I had mentioned her by name in the blog but was wrong. My Dad knew her but as the Faculty President at Mankato State, today’s Minnesota University, Mankato, he knew everyone. She was a speech teacher and I got an easy A or B in her class because I had long before gotten over panic attacks..

As I explained in the first post linked to I was outraged when a scruffy bunch of self righteous, preening protesters stood up before the quickly improvised speaking stand and screamed for a reporter to come to the microphone and justify his showing protesters at their worst on the news when they blockaded busy Highway 169. When he haltingly came to the microphone, a reluctant center of attention, they shouted him down with hoots and insults. Behind them stood a crowd of several thousand silent marchers who had just ended their two-mile march and had returned to the MSU commons to hear speakers. I was near the back by Armstrong Hall when I was overcome with contempt for them. I shouted over the gaggle and told the “suns of bitches” to shut up and let the man speak. Shocked at my flattery thru imitation they shut up. The reporter then explained, “I just reported what I saw.”

Only one person ever commented on this, Ms. Karpen. She told me I’d done a good thing and that she wished that she’d done it. Its about the best compliment I’ve ever gotten in my life. It was my man before the Tienanmen tank moment.

I mention this because of Burn’s continuing episodes on Vietnam which I have watched with great intensity while stuffing thousands of envelopes with campaign materials recommending my return and a change from the Red Plan status quo that still rules the school board. Sticking up for Art Johnston at the Editorial Board interview for his honor and integrity probably sunk my chances of getting the Trib’s endorsement so I have no choice but to pull 18-hour days.

My sticking up for the much slandered Art Johnston probably explains the Trib’s injured sniffing that Loren Martell and I were part of an “Ugly” past that the people of Duluth should get over. What a truly, shitty analysis by the leaders of a “newspaper” that still can’t bear to report that the Red Planners cannibalized millions of classroom dollars annually, for the next twenty years, to to pay for pretty new schools with overcrowded classrooms. They could have added that our status quo school boards were too chickenshit to raise our taxes high enough to pay for their vanity. They would leave it to our children to pay for it with less teacher contact time.

Yesterday, as I was going door to door in the heart of Denfeld, I ran across an older couple (that’s funny for me, a 66-year-old, to say) getting in their car. Before they could depart I gave them my song and dance and the husband impatiently asked me whether I was a Republican or a Democrat. I told him I was neither but he would have none of it. “You’re one or the other he insisted.”

I made a stab at summing up my long, tortured history with the two-party system. I explained that I had been a Republican but that I’d recently asked the DFL to endorse me but that I wasn’t good enough for them. (Never mind the School board is a non partisan office) As we fenced he asked me if I went to church. That apparently would be a deciding factor about my party choice. I said that I’d sung in the church choir for a quarter century. He said he’d been a Democarat most of his life but he was through with them. I got the idea he didn’t think the Party was Godly enough because he told me that he was a Republican now.

I tried to change the subject by telling him that I just wanted to treat the western schools fairly and he allowed that I had just said the magic words and I would get his vote. That was good enough for me.

Oh, and since I haven’t posted any daily campaign pics for a while I’ll offer up this from today… er yesterday …as I continued to tramp the Denfeld neighborhood. It is one of the loveliest lawn ornaments I’ve seen and it was in the yard of a very modest but tidy home:

I won’t be campaigning today. Having recently joined the church’s Building and Grounds committee I will be spending the day painting and picking up Glen Avon Presbyterian.

The PBS Vietnam Series gets me thinking

I watched all the Stanley Karnow episodes in the 1990’s about Vietnam but I think Kevin Burns will bring a little more nuance at a time when it can be digested by the folks who weren’t born and didn’t live through the war. I agree with Burns that our actions during this war divided America. However, I also believe that the entire Civil Rights Era was an equal partner in this division having predated it by 200 years.

My eight loyal readers know that I put a disproportionate blame on the GOP for all our woes. That war became a sort of substitute for Civil Rights because it simply became impossible to be an avowed racist after Martin Luther King. But being a patriot – that was different. Many folks could use “America First” or “Better Red than Dead” or the “Domino Theory” in place of race baiting to hang their political hats on. Ditto the Pro-life movement. For years northerners thumbed their noses at “racist” southerners, never mind their own urban red lining and segregation, and “saving babies” gave southern Baptist types the same sense of moral superiority to throw back at northern baby killing sophisticates.

Over time the GOP, which had beat the Democrats up over catering to special interests – blacks, latinos, women’s libbers and unions, became their own assortment of special interests, patriots, pro-lifers, pro-NRA, and “small government” (code for don’t make us integrate.)

In time the GOP got so virulent about removing RINO’s like me that they perfected “primarying” by which they defeated “liberal” Republican office holders and purged a formerly pro-civil rights party of moderates. Of course, the Democrats did something similar if less rigorously.

As much as I bemoan the “demagogue” Trump I can see his allure to folks who feel neglected and I can even see that the promise of turning politics on its head might just improve our politics. His base has not yet rebelled when he’s worked out deals with Democrats. In an odd way his manner and his supporter’s devotion are acting as a rebuke to Republican stuffed shirts……the same folks who went along with the purge of liberal Republicans like me because it kept working to keep the Congress in their hands.

All those moderate Republican Presidential candidates Trump whipped for the nomination……they were the same folks who stood by as the Republican Party got more white, more angry and more self righteous. They were also the great exponents of free trade which blue collar converts to Republicanism are so fed up with.

But back to Burns and Vietnam.

I hope his ten part series can put some of the ghosts of that era to rest. My story during that Era can be summed up this way:

My family raised me to revere my Grandfather who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was both for staying out of foreign wars, which he blamed on Democrats, and for supporting our troops no matter how stupid the war was once we were stuck in one.

As a college student in the 1970’s I couldn’t reconcile the contradictions that this dual policy required. I was embarrassed for not being a part of the war as I objected to it. But the WW II generation fixed it so that future wars, like Vietnam, would be fought by poor kids while college students were exempted. Even then I saw that as grossly unfair while I was going to college with a draft number of 41, low enough to insure I’d go into the service if I quit college.

And what a hideous war it was making America complicit in evil doings that turned the stomach and the mind. Thus it always is with war. As Robert E. Lee said: “It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it.”

If America can survive Donald Trump without succumbing to his call of “America First” maybe he will succeed in answering the hopes of his most ardent supporters to break out of the gridlock that has made our politics so lamentable in recent years. He may do it by killing the “Party of Lincoln.” That is, if the Republicans themselves haven’t already accomplished it.

Welcome DFL delegate to today’s endorsing Convention

It will be a long and fascinating day. I’ll keep lots of mental notes. I would also like to provide you with some time fillers during slow periods during the convention that are – blush – (dare I admit it?) a little self serving.

Yes, I live at that house and have for thirty-plus years of snow sculpting.

There are dozens of other examples here.

To the horror of local Republicans I sculpted Bill Clinton in 1992. Check out the Clinton Video and Barack Obama.

This is George Seanor Robb (Grandfather of Harry Robb Welty) shaking hands with JFK at a gathering to celebrate servicemen awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. There is a much more about my Grandfather here and on my blog.

I won’t post the startling photograph of the reenactment of Mankato’s infamous hanging that circulated after news of a Minneapolis Sculpture Garden tribute went awry and made the headlines. I wrote about this dreadful history in the Duluth Reader 15 years ago. My hero Lincoln reduced the number to be hanged from over 300 to the still alarming 38. There was another war going on at the time which took his attention away from a fuller clemency that I’d like to have think he would have preferred.

I wrote over 100 columns for the Reader and have them on my old Website.

You may wish to compare the speech Harry will give today with this one. Harry delivered it on Veterans Day in Topeka, Kansas a few days after Donald Trump was elected. If you start it at 11:30 minutes in it begins with a description of the unusual outfit that My Grandfather served with in World War I. My tribute starts after that.

Finally, I approve of Bernie Sanders campaigning for a pro-life Mayoral candidate of Omaha, Nebraska. If the Republicans have repudiated Ronald Reagan’s “Big Tent” the Democrats better follow Bernie’s example. By the way – I’m pro choice and have made that clear on a number of occasions, for instance here and here (when I first broke with the GOP)

With each passing year it becomes more evident that the Republican Party cares deeply about fetuses up until the moment of their birth. Then Its OK if the world they enter turns Dickensian. It will give them character and if we don’t like it we can just throw them in prison.

Luverne Klar Wrassler extraordinaire

Coach Klar died last Saturday. I got word from the webpage set up for my fellow Mankato High classmates. I will write a little note to the family on the obituary website where I learned more about my old physical education teacher.

On the one post I mention Luverne Klar I got my facts wrong which is to be expected since I probably hadn’t seen him since I graduated in 1969. He didn’t attend the University of Minnesota which is one of the things I wrote on my post Wrassling:

I really didn’t need to hear my physical education teacher, Luverne Klar, telling me in high school that professional wrestling was phony. He had been one of the light-weight wrestlers on Vern’s University of Minnesota Wrestling team. Mr. Klar never tired of telling his classes how disgusted he was with the sham. He never forgave Vern for becoming a millionaire by claiming that professional wrestlers were serious athletes. Claudia had him for homeroom and didn’t much care for him but Mr. Klar once defended me from a bully and I had a sort of soft spot for the old curmudgeon.

Neither did I know that he was a World War 2 veteran although kids in the sixties would have taken that for granted of our elders.

Klar was a champion Iowa wrestler who took up the sport again after the war while attending UNI or the University of Northern Iowa (not the U of M) no doubt under the GI Bill. He was a tiny man and must have been champion in the 90 pound weight class in his glory years.

He once stood up for me when I was being harassed by a guy who had a chip on his shoulder about me. His name was Gary and he happened to die two years before Coach Klar. I wrote about him too on the blog. I don’t know that I needed Mr. Klar’s help but I appreciated it when he told the class that I could have pounded Gary if I had a mind to. It probably would have been one of those embarassing circle around for half an hour affairs. Gary and his buddy Glen hadn’t done much more than keep trying to trip me as we were playing basketball in gym class but Klar commented on it while everyone was back in the locker room afterwards.

Whether Mr. Klar’s help was necessary or not, it was the thought that counted.

HAPPY # 7 (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER OTHER THAN #1)

I was quite taken with a couple of academics who were analyzing the reaction to the Trump Presidency. They in turn were taken with the many patriotic ads on the Superbowl which seemed to be challenging the “Nativism” so prominant in the new Donald Trump Presidency. They both were intrigued by a nascent partiotism they sensed that the Trump victory brought out in Americans who did not share his values. It was as though his critics vision of America had been rocked in a way that offended what they loved about America. It was something of a rebuke to the patriotism trumpeted by the new President’s loyalists but it was as genuniely pro-America as the Trumpster’s flag lapel pins.

I had already fished out my American flag when I heard this and it struck me as a very positive development.

I have always been drawn to silver linings and just maybe the election of an unpalatable Donald Trump has galvanized a lot of folks who will refuse to roll over and play dead. I hope so.

This discussion is not yet on the PBS Newshour webpage either.

Sticks and Stones, Pt. 3 washing my mouth out with soap

My Buddy accuses me of being prissy when I complain about his emails. Well, I just want to assure my readers that my family doesn’t consider me so. In fact, I wrote a lengthy goodbye letter to my Uncle Frank in which I spent a lot of time talking about his older brother, my Father, who died 30 years ago at the tender age of 62 which I’ve already surpassed by four years.

I wrote and sent the letter when I was under the impression Uncle Frank was unwilling to have family pay a call on him before he went to the great beyond. So, I wanted to tell him about how his brother’s oldest son, me, saw Daniel Welty. I included a several paragraph description of Dad’s cussing:

After my college years, I learned about one of Dad’s tactics for a good defense – swearing. I’ve already mentioned his invocation of blue beard in the face of detour signs. Well, in about fifth grade I took up some pretty serious swearing thus honoring my Father by imitation. This continued until I skinned my knee in the alley behind Mulvane while walking home with Mom. I kicked up such a torrent of wretchedness that Mom was terribly embarrassed. All our neighbors rushed to their fences to see who had just died. That night Dad told me the secret to swearing. Only swear when you want people to know you mean it because if you do it too promiscuously no one will ever pay attention to you.

What I didn’t know was that Dad did not always adhere to his own good advice. When I was a Phi Delt pledge a rotund active, Denny, who promised to hook me up with girls who would do anything I wanted, asked me confidentially if my Dad “talked like that at home?” While I declined his offer of female companionship I did ask Denny what he meant by Dad’s talking at home.

Denny exclaimed, “Does he swear like that at home?”

“Yes,” I affirmed.

It turned out that there were a lot of football players and jocks in Dad’s Business Law classes and Dad felt that a healthy blast of profanity would keep them from challenging him. I never quite understood this but college profs are a different breed. One of Mankato State’s Psych professors went to our little Congregational church. Dad told me that Professor Kansler pulled down his pants in class to reveal polka dotted briefs. He followed this gymnastics by chanting the “ef” word repeatedly for a couple minutes “to teach the class about desensitization.” I kinda wish I’d been there to witness this spectacle but Dad offered me plenty of his own layman’s psychology – at no charge – to help me make my way in the world.

It turns out that my family is right. My example has not always been the best. My cousin told me how I got her in trouble on a visit to Colorado. Apparently she picked up some of my new and unfamiliar vocabulary and tried it out at home. She got what for and said my embarassed Dad had to take me to a room and do the same. Except that no one could hear me getting what for.

I had to admit to my cousin that I couldn’t recall this family trauma. Had I gotten a good what-foring I’m sure I would have remembered. I did tell her, however, that I remembered my Mother washing my mouth out with soap when I was a first grader. I’m sure I picked up my vocabulary just like the kid did in Jean Shepherd’s Christmas Story.

Like a lot of free advice my Dad’s advice on cussing was sound – even if he didn’t practice it as faithfully as he could have. Ditto for me. And by the way those recent studies that suggest intelligent people swear more…….I regard them with a healthy skepticism.

The Big Short

I put this movie in my memory bank over the last year when some economic analyst on NPR gave it a big thumbs up. Last night I saw that it was available on Netflix and Claudia and I watched it. It was Economics made fun and every bit as disgusting as a Zombie Apocalypse movie.

The Housing meltdown roughly coincided with the start up of the Red Plan and its purveyors shared many similarities to the get off scott-free, big money folks who pushed replacing almost all our facilities at a single stroke. They got rich and left the District to draw down its reserves, cut teachers, and compound it all by sucking millions of dollars annually out of our local tax levies in the General Fund to pay off Red Plan borrowing. Their supporters herd-like thinking reminded me of the people in the Big Short who stood back in disbelief as investment bankers cost six million Americans to lose their homes.

I’ve mentioned this before but that meltdown was part of the reason I had a heckuva time fighting the Red Plan. My family got caught up in the housing mania and a massive loan was taken out on my Mother’s house even though it was only a decade away from being paid off in full with very modest house payments. I’ve recently patched up my differences with the family members who lost that house and left me to spend months and months trying to get City Bank and Wells Fargo to let us short sell the house at a loss (for the banks) who eagerly permitted the misguided loan to go through. Our “short sale” took my brother and me months of calling the banks daily to find a human behind a phone. It was all I could do to find time for two simultaneous battles. When the sale neared completion and I finally pulled out of the Red Plan fight I took a vacation with Claudia. I faxed the last papers to the bank while traveling through, Lincoln, Nebraska, on our way to the Colorado Plateau. I was desperate to get out of town. I was so worn out that I got violently ill at the Grand Canyon. One morning Claudia heard an elk bugling outside our cabin and she thought it was me in my deaths throes. That’s what you get for burning your candle at two ends.

This post needs a good editing but that can wait. Claudia and I are going out to see Hidden Figures. That should be a good film too.

Editing is now complete…….

Hidden Figures is great.

Your word is /ôr?THä?r?f?/

For better than ten, perhaps fifteen years I was the pronouncer at our regional Scripps Howard Spelling Bee. I have mentioned spelling bees and my experiences with them in about a dozen previous posts over the last ten years.

The subject of the last half of John Ramos’s Reader Column this week concerns an unhappy experience his son suffered during the bee held at their school. His concerns ended up in my District email inbox last week and I sent Mr. Ramos a reply that attempted to put things in perspective and console him. From the conclusion of his column I gather I was not the only school board member to reply to his complaints.

As for the title of this post – I was attempting to find a synonym for the world “spelling.” I didn’t really find one. Neither would my headline space permit me to post the word I copied from the Internet, demonstrating its proper pronunciation. It couldn’t recognize the symbols for getting the pronunciation right. Golly, I can do something better than my blog software. I love those upside down e’s.