Category Archives: Harry Welty

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…

The Niagara of menacing information from across the world much of it owing to Donald Trump could leave a person exhausted and disoriented. I’ve been stockpiling stories for the blog sometime when I have time to share them. In the meantime I refuse to cower or panic. And this morning I was reminded of Rudyard Kipling’s advice to a boy on becoming a man which, like all good advice from the heyday of masculinity, I apply to all genders in his poem “If” Hemmingway’s definition of courage, “grace under pressure” also fits my attitude.

Bugaboos

I think that when I wrote this term down in my outline I had hot button issues in mind. They are Trump’s secret weapon as he changes messages every other day when he wants to change the headlines in a tweet. I’m keeping my eye on Trump

Trump’s side has made the terms liberal and conservative meaningless. I have always considered myself both in the same way I chose the best ideas from Democratic and Republican planks. Its been a long time since the Republican plank had anything on it of much interest. Its hard to take a political party seriously when they are locked in a closet like Patty Hearst and overtaken by Stockholm Syndrome.

Just twenty years ago before the disappointment of the 2001 Rapture disappointment the Party’s drivers were all looking forward to God stripping them naked and ushering good Christians to Heaven leaving their clothes behind for we sinners to goggle at. Then Christians discovered Michelle Bachmann and a form of Christianity that would have left Jesus of Nazareth wishing he could climb down from the cross and just wash his hands of his latter day worshipers.

But end of times stories have become a staple of Science Fiction. I’ve enjoyed watching the first season of the Umbrella Academy for the last week with my grandsons. The super kids in this story are doing their best to prevent Earth’s destruction.

I apologize. When I woke up this morning all of these points were fused together brilliantly. Now not so much. I did as I wrote…I studied French. Read the NY Times. Served food at the Soup Kitchen before writing this post. A lot of other stuff filled up my head.

My Secret Weapon

As I was out front mowing the weeds (the grass hasn’t budged since last week) a car with a couple teenaged girls drove by. The rolled down the window as I paused to wave back at them and they shouted “We love your snowsculptures) It being a beautiful summer day I shouted back. “Thank you. I’m not in any hurry to make another one.” The young lady closest to the window gave me a thumbs up and a smile as she drove off.

Its not my sculptures that are a secret weapon. Its my Mother’s constant admonition that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. As, I hope the video about me hawking my book suggests I have a pretty good sense of humor about myself and my ridiculous attempt to capture people’s interest. I much prefer honey. But as we’ve seen from our gold plated commode in the Oval Office sometimes we get Honey Wagons instead.

I had 43,421 pageviews in 5 months in 2006. . .

. . . when my blog was new. That was from August through December. In the first ten days of June 2019 I’ve had 48,005 pageviews.

Actually, for my blog’s first five months, March 7th through July, no statistic engine was keeping track of my hits. That didn’t start until August of 2006.

If you’re curious here is my very first post on March 7th where I declare my departure from the Grand Old Party. Donald Trump has brought me back with a vengeance.

Eudora’s latest – Family Heirlooms

It begins:

“I spent last night polishing a family heirloom to send to my son. It’s was set aside for him years ago before college. Back then it wasn’t the sort of artifact he had any use for. It still isn’t. But one hundred and forty-five years ago, filled with ice chopped from a frozen Smokey Hill River, it kept the Robb family’s butter cold on the supper table.”

Read it all on the Duluth Reader website.

Jesus and Washington, lone wolves vs herds

This is a thought I may pursue before the day is out after I attend to some mundane chores. Otherwise I might just delete this post like a dandelion seed about to be blown to oblivion.

ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT! FOR WHAT ITS WORTH:

For an American George Washington is the first citizen of the land. He is the nation’s Father and Founder above all others. For Christians the same must be said of Jesus. George W. Bush was once roundly ridiculed when asked who his favorite “philosopher” was for answering, “Jesus.” That in a nutshell demonstrates the challenge of dual loyalties. By so honoring the founder of Christianity, even if thinking of him as a philosopher was a stretch, Bush offended the same crowd that Hillary Clinton may have had in mind when she called Trump folks “deplorables” and handed the Presidency to him. Continue reading

How a lot of us feel

I am in awe of what sculptors can do with sand. I was asked to give it a try in Two Harbors thirty years ago at their Kayak festival and that was enough for me.

I also know that I’m not that dedicated a snow sculptor especially in terms of technique. Weather plays a role as well. I’ve done a number of presidents over the years. I’ve done Lincoln twice. The second time I did I too used the famous sculpture of him seated in the Lincoln memorial. It was a warm day and my sculpture wasn’t huge and sun defying. One fellow at church afterward told me he just didn’t think my sculpture was as good as others I’d made and that it didn’t look like Lincoln. Well the head was only a foot wide not six feet wide and he saw it the next day which was in the mid thirties and sunny.

I later used its picture as one of my 50 “trading card” pack for my 2017 school board campaign. You will note the sculpture was built near Lincoln’s birthday in 2006. That was the same time as the birth of this blog when I ran for Congress as the sole member of the “Unity” party.

The Hippy National Anthem

I enjoyed this NPR story about the musical group, The Youngbloods” contribution to the “Summer of Love.” Get Together came out in my junior or senior year of high school when America seemed ripe for an explosion. This reminiscence about the song’s history brought a tear to my eye for that lost summer fifty years ago. I am scheduled for a big high school reunion this fall. We might get together again.

https://www.npr.org/2019/04/10/711545679/get-together-youngbloods-summer-of-love-american-anthem

A young woman who graduated a year ahead of me made me a felt covered burlap wall hanging with the song’s lyrics. I’ve kept it for sentimental reasons all these dust collecting years afterward. Here’s a slightly belated thank you for my former, Sioux City Sue:

Nixonites

The Reader didn’t print the Title I’d planned on but a caption I’d suggested for the following picture. I wanted it titled “Debating Society.” I wasn’t very clear when I rushed the column to them late Tuesday night!

Below is the first paragraph. Here it is in the Online Reader.

“For several days I’ve had heated discussions on Facebook over THE issue of the day (many days) President Trump. Passersby at my house know that I hold our President in low regard. And yet in discussing him pro and con I’ve tried to be lawyerly. An old college chum echoed Trump’s call to stop MS 13, drugs, rapists and sex traffickers at the border. A Bernie Sanders supporting shirttail relative lambasted Hillary Clinton for sabotaging Bernie Sanders in her campaign for the Democratic nomination. I begged to disagree with both. Searching for middle ground is an old habit of mine. . .”

Nixonite not Kryptonite, Either one is deadly to supermen

After skipping a Not Eudora column for the past two weeks I am pleased to have cranked one out yesterday. It remains to be seen if it will show up in this week’s Reader. I was a little late sending it in last night and it was uncommonly long at about 300 words in excess of my typical 800. If it misses this week they can stuff it in the following week’s publication.

I won’t spill the beans and cut into the Reader’s circulation by giving the contents away just yet but here’s a visual teaser:

Not so fast Harry!

Before I break into some self defensive confession I must first say I’m delighted by my Baby New Year’s (aka Donald Trump) losing his head. Renee Passal from WDIO joined the Trib’s Brady Slater in giving giving my front yard and its headless snow sculpture some attention and since I’m no shrinking violet I didn’t mind the attention one bit.

Best of all, I was given a very sympathetic treatment by FOX News’s Nikki Davidson. She popped by with a sprained ankle and gamely clambered around my dangerously slippery, snow covered slope with camera and tripod in hand.

I chatted her up as I sawed Baby New Year’s head into manageable pieces and she took plenty of footage to edit down into a story for her station’s 9 PM News broadcast. Its a nice little story and I was charmed by News Anchor Dan Hanger’s banter with Nikki after the segment aired. Here’s the clip:

President Trump New Year’s Sculpture Decapitated

Admission to follow: Continue reading

Harry Welty, “Provocateur”

Brady Slater’s piece about my Cheeto-in-Chief sculpture and its temporary decapitation was fine by me. However, as a diarrhetically, self analycal writer I would have written a different version of my work.

Had I noted the drubbing I got at the hands of the Eighth district’s Trump cult I would have emphasized that the extent of my protest campaign was a $300 filing fee, gas to Hibbing and back and a couple hours filling out candidate questionnaires. Under those circumstances getting ten percent of the vote was a triumph and proof that, like the Jews after the holocaust, not all moderate Republicans were dead.

But that’s a quibble.

I thoroughly enjoyed Brady’s description of me as a “political provocateur” even though, when I set out on a political career, that is the last thing I would have imagined I would become. I still regard myself as the most reasonable politician I’ve ever met. I would probably have been reluctant to sign on with the Declaration of Independence in the beginning. I might also have retreated from Abe Lincoln’s resolve to stop secession in its tracks. I would have wished for cooler heads to talk over grievances. In my most notable local crusade demanding a vote on the half billion dollar Duluth school construction plan I was too slow and reasonable for my side’s ultimate success. My Dad was an attorney but I am no eager litigator.

In my college years there were lots of long hairs my age eager to provoke “the establishment.” I had little use for them when their words were middle fingers. I winced when one of them wrote a popular how-to-manual found in bookstores everywhere titled, “Steal this book.” People did.

But while slow to anger and quick to cool my parents held the example of my Grandfather up to me from my toddling years on. He was not just a war hero. He had been awarded his nation’s highest military medal of honor for bravery in the face of the enemy. When the stakes are high I’m all in and will meet fire with water.

I first heard the verb “provoke” from my Grandmother Welty. “I’m so provoked.” That’s what she would say in her calm, teacherly voice. It was typically small irritations that would provoke her, flies in the house, a missing piece of silver, a leaky pipe. In the face of these “provocations.” I never saw her lose her composure. However, raising my Uncle Frank, might have raised her hackles higher. He once found a pack of his parent’s prophylactics, blew them up like balloons, tied them to his bicycle and rode it and their contraceptives around the block. One time she was so provoked that she ordered her husband to put the whole family in the car and drive to the nearest boy’s juvenile center to scare her son Frank into behaving himself.

As Lincoln, and the Founders he revered would have said, they were not the provocateurs. The real provocateurs were a distant government taxing colonists without consultation and southern politicians subverting the constitution to violate the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. Ditto for me when the Duluth School Board levied a half billion dollar tax without asking voters for their approval in a bonding referendum.

So, who is the true provocateur here? Could it be a Presidential candidate who rallied his supporter to lock up his opponent? or shamelessly lied his way to the White House or who hired legal bullies to enforce this theft from business partners? or who may have colluded with foreign agents to make himself richer and compromise the laws and security of the United States? or who didn’t just avoid taxes but illegally evaded them on a colossal scale? or who so threatened the Republican Party that he resembles the tin pot dictator of Venezuela who destroyed his nation’s once booming economy?

Me, a provocateur? I spent twenty hours building a snowman and painted it cheeto-orange. In the spring it will melt and drain into Lake Superior. In contrast the man who was its model has acted the demagogue, kleptocrat, and put nearly a quarter millennia of fragile democracy in jeopardy.

And as for MAGA. A better acronym would be Make Average a Great America.

41 RIP

I have never shaken the hand of a President of the United States. I did shake the hand of one Vice President. But the less said about that the better. I have, however, shaken the hand of one man who later became President – George Herbert Walker Bush.

Today the late President will get his due in stories all across the world. One reporter who covered him described him as a very nice man. Before he ran for the Presidency, in a bid that pitted him against the more telegenic Ronald Reagan, he had been described as the the best prepared person ever to run for President. Among them were his appointment to head the Republican National Committee during the Nixon Administration and ambassador to China. The latter position was during Nixon’s Trump-like struggle, to achieve something spectacular to help him escape a crisis enveloping his presidency.

George Bush got an early start on a political career by being THE youngest combat pilot of World War II. It actually began even earlier than that. His father, Prescott Bush, was a US Senator representing Connecticut. As such he was part of an all but extinct founding branch of the Republican Party – Northeasterners. In their heyday they championed Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller and a socially liberal point of view.

I trace the current crumbling of the GOP to George Bush and others who rather than stick up for their ideals put tape on their mouths as Ronald Reagan invited white southern politicians in to the Party of Lincoln after the Democratic Party’s championing of Civil Rights made them feel unwelcome in that party.

The evolution of the Party in my lifetime has led to the release of a new toxicity represented by the email I received which I put in my previous post with its casual use of the most forbidden word of my childhood, the “N” word.

George Bush was not temperamentally part of that transformation other than his deplorable Willie Horton ad. In fact, by temperament Bush was almost the antithesis of an egotistical politician. His mother taught him not to talk about himself. Christopher Buckley, the son of the conservative icon William Buckley, a speechwriter for Bush and clever novelist tells the charming story of being invited to Bush’s home while the President’s mother was present. When her son began telling some very interesting stories of his many remarkable experiences the mother interrupted him to scold that he was talking too much about himself.

Considering the occupant of today’s White House that anecdote, all by itself, suffices to show how far today’s America has driven off the rails.

But in 1980 I wanted a champion for common sense and moderate Republican values. At first I was a big supporter of George HW Bush. My first visit to the Kitchi Gammi Club was to meet with a group of Bush supporters for his Presidential campaign. That gathering place more than anything demonstrates just how out of touch my kind of Republicans of that era were.

When Reagan blew past Bush I set my sights on the Independent candidacy of the Illinois Republican Congressman John Anderson. But before Bush signed on to be Ronald Reagan’s Vice President and I wrote him off I drove to Minneapolis to get a look at Bush up close. I am no longer sure where I saw him but I think it was the U of M’s Northrup Hall. Claudia and I went over and I shook his hand.

I am about to out a former cheerleader of mine

A former fan of mine has become a bitter critic. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned his name before in the blog and I won’t do so in the next post. However, like other people I’ve interacted with and mentioned I leave a bread crumb trail that any enterprising person could use to track the person I’ve mentioned.

On a few occasions I gladly quoted Jim when he sent me salutory emails often beginning “Handsome Harry.” Over the last year of Trump, a man he apparently venerates now as much as he once honored me, Jim has been really pissed off with me. After he sent me an email calling Barack Obama a nigger I told him not to send me any more emails with that nefarious word in it. He ignored my request at least once. I had suggested that if he found my disdain for Donald Trump that objectionable he simply stop reading my blog.

He may have stopped reading it but today he couldn’t help himself but jab me with the unpleasant email I’ll place at the end of this post. He doesn’t use the “N” word but he calls the admirable candidate for governor of Georgia Stacy Abrams an Aunt Jemima. It would be a challenge to be much more offensive than that.

I find it ironic that Jim always conflates President Obama with Al Sharpton. That’s because his idol, Donald Trump, is a White Al Sharpton squared. At least Al is easy to ignore whereas Donald Trump’s objective for the past three years is to be on the front page of every newspaper in the world every day.

Here’s is seven minutes of an NPR interview of Stacey Abrams being so clear headed and rational that it puts most other politicians I’ve watched through the years to shame.

And here is my old ally as a reincarnation of the northern Minnesotans who once lynched three black men in Duluth (although the You Tube Christmas music he links to is nice……and the musicians are not responsible for the “stars and bars” someone else affixed to their country music carol):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cenz3cP3rjE

Long live the Stars and Bars! Aunt Jemima lost and even Uncle Ben couldn’t help her. Neither could the race-baiter in chief Obama, Sharpton, Jackson and Harry Welty.

And Stauber beat drug smoker and vagrant Radinovich! Doesn’t get any better than than that for lawful personal, private gun owners, pro-life Americans and anti-Sierra Club Americans like me.

WARNING: I just checked the video again and this time it began with Donald Trump asking for money.

My next two years

At choir on Sunday a friend mentioned that he’d read my letter to the editor. I told him that the really effective letter in the “Paid Political Letters” page was from Dan Russell. He agreed. At the end of our rehearsal a dear friend who had also read both letters made a bee line for me and said that the only thing my friend found objectionable about our letters was the implication that anyone who voted for Pete should not judge him guilty by his association with Donald Trump. I agreed but added that other nations had suffered when popular tyrants went unchallenged. Because I was a little taken aback I did not add that in today’s GOP no one dares stand up to the party’s first and only tyrant since its founding in 1856.

Pete Stauber is as both Dan Russell and I point out in our letters a good man. He is simply not a courageous politician at a time when the nation and his party need such people.

Here’s Mr. Russell’s letter which, because the DNT charged him to submit it, is also treated as “advertising” and thus, like mine it is not available online for readers.

I would have voted for you Pete Stauber
Dan Russell
Duluth

I would have voted for you Pete Stauber…
I appreciate your reputation as a Duluth Police Officer and I am thankful for your wife’s military service. I am also the father of a special needs child. I can feel you compassion. I would have voted for yo Pete Stauber…
But then you shared the stage…
With a man YOU would Not want as a neighbor, a son-in-law and certainly not as a patrol partner. A man who said the solution to last week’s tragedy in Pittsburgh was “they should have armed guards” At a Baby Naming Ceremony? I know you believe America is better than that.
And yet you stood next to him at the DECC and accepted an endorsement you should have refused and didn’t need.
I would have voted for you Pete Stauber…

The logo at the top of this post, which I’m still fussing with, gives some sense of how I expect to spend much of my time through the last two years of what I hope and pray will lead to the conclusion of the Donald Trump reign. I don’t want President Trump impeached even if solid grounds for such an action exist (and I suspect they do.) I wan’t to help defeat him at the polls and bury his administration’s stench. I just hope the Republicans are unable to steal America’s votes two years from now as they have been working overtime to do in this election. “Sic semper tyrannis.” (By ballot not bullet!)

From Lincoln to the Anti-Christ

Getting ready for Winter. Studying French. Contemplating a new school board race. A War in Opera. Bringing Lincoln back to the Republican Party. Science.

Its a little hard to take time to write my own book with so many fires burning inside my head. Yesterday I texted back and forth with a former fan who has been turning out to be one of Trump’s fans. Its hard not to be snarky in such texts and I’ve thought of copying and reproducing them in the blog but there is only so much time for me the blogger and my eight loyal readers. This fellow’s thoughts remind me of the new neighbor kid I met in 1963 when I moved to the all white North Mankato. He was fascinated to learn that I had gone to school with Negroes. He tried out a great new joke on me:

“Did you hear about the little Negro kid who was excited for Halloween? He was going to strip naked with a stick up his butt and go as a fudgescicle.”

It sounds like a Donald Trump joke.

And as of this writing I’m still not sure that the 2018 election joke won’t be on us “Never-Trumpers.” If it is then my work will be set for the remainder of my life. On the eve of becoming 68 that should give me 20 years to help turn America back around towards civic decency.

In looking forward I will continue to look to the past:

When I was about 15 my Mother was going back to college. She was busy earning the college Degree her father despaired of her ever finishing when she married two years into her first college experience and plunged into the baby boom years. This is a pen and ink she did of my gangling body at rest in my Grandfather’s “Lincoln Rocker.”

So, from the earliest age I was taught to revere the best President in our Nation’s history and then live to experience what I hope will come to seen as our nation’s closest brush with despotism.

We haven’t yet lived to see this become history but we will just as a once living secular saint was martyred to become a great historical argument.

I found this short extract on Lincoln’s biographers just now by the author of one of my two or three favorite books about Lincoln by Joshua Zeitz.

I’ve pulled it out of my Lincoln bookshelf along with my other favorites for this picture:

lunch….will finish later.

HOW ABOUT THAT!!!! Former Senator David Durenberger is on MPR talking about his book about Minnesota’s history of Progressive Republicanism. Here’s the link to the interview. His book is one my companion at my recent three and a half hour lunch sent me an email about. A jackass Republican leader called Durenberger a “quisling” a few years ago for putting his own values (and mine) over those of the new Jesse Helm’s inspired Republican Party that Donald Trump has taken hold of and further corrupted.

Ah, but back to my stream of thought. Here’s my Lincoln Library.

I began this post with a list of things going on in my head. I ain’t going to get there now. Evangelical Christians are championing the Anti-Christ and I’ve got twenty years to point that out.

Anyone wishing to restore the Lincoln legacy is encouraged to read a couple books about Lincoln whose quotes are legend including this favorite:

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side,” said the President, “my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

and presumably God is not a Republican!