What Fred Trump never did – Spank Donald

(NOTE- I just fixed the link to my column)

I hurried this column so as to make a Church Properties Meeting. Sadly, I can now see a couple mistakes that might have been fixed had I not rushed it to publication:

It begins:

It’s coming! The biggest case of overdue Karma in America’s history. The only question will be whether Donald Trump leaves the Oval Office like Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy left his Senate soap box with 36 percent of American’s still approving of him. Or, will President Trump’s lock on 30% of America (80% of Republicans) evaporate? . . .

In the DNT and good bye to Baby New Year

I still subscribe to the DNT because I would miss things if I relied solely on checking it on my cell phone. And despite my sometimes contentious, if not acrimonious, fuss fests with its editors I regard my ongoing subscription to the paper copy as a civic duty. I want a local paper of some consequence however diminished it may be from the golden age of broadsheets.

I learned two things. Why it was that St. Louis County Sheriff Litman was shepherding former Vice President Mondale around. And I learned what happened to the fellow I began referring to as “my buddy” for long years in Lincolndemocrat. My oldest readers may recall those occasional email exchanges I put on the blog. (“My Buddy” shows up in 245 posts in my search function)

“My Buddy” was Vic Ulmer a longtime attorney for the City of Duluth. I first met him forty years ago when my wife briefly worked for the Personnel Office under Personnel Director John Muldoon.
Vic stopped replying to my blog posts about two years ago. This was the last time I posted one of our email exchanges. Vic died last February apparently after moving back to his old home state of South Dakota. That’s when he died. last February. In the early days of the blog I would simply call him Vic until it occurred to me that readers might be able to deduce who he was from some of his writings. He was single and died apparently unlamented until he was remembered in another DNT story about local attorneys honoring attorneys who had pass on the great courtroom behind the Pearly Gates this year.

Our latter emails began growing contentious and I would stop replying to his until we simmered down. If there’s a heaven Vic, I hope you don’t let it put too much of a damper on your ornery opinions.

At ten last night I dismantled the New Year’s Baby and tried to hide its gaudy painted snow. I took a reserve of sticky snow and until midnight molded it in the rough shape of a more sober sculpture meant to take its place. I slept well till 8AM. Now that I’ve got a couple things off of my chest its time for me to see if I can find that sculpture in my pile before it turns too cold.

On shoveling snow

I’ve just returned home from lunch at Duluth’s charming Italian restaurant Valentini’s where for an hour over an “Iron Range Porketta” Sandwich I was able to postpone shoveling the heart attack inducing snow covering my home’s driveway. On the way out after lunch I found a car parked in front of the stairway from which an elderly but distinguished gentleman had just exited. A peripheral glance showed St. Louis County Sheriff acting as his chauffeur. “Senator” I began expressing my delight at seeing Walter Mondale.

“We may have to drive the Vice President by your house,” the Sheriff corrected me in the most complimentary way my having acknowledged only the second highest office attained by Mr. Mondale. He added this after I quickly proffered my hand to the Vice President for a friendly hand shake.

The Vice President joined in a quick three way 45 second conversation as Littman told him I had a sculpture of the President in my yard and then explaining that it was a little worse for wear. The Vice President asked in some seriousness if the President would approve of it and I said I didn’t think so but that there was no accounting for Trump’s taste.

On my way home I decided I was in no hurry to change out the sculpture although I had already piled up snow to do just that. Baby New Year’s is still visible but imprissoned on either side by a vice of clean white snow. Just in cast the Vice President does take a detour past my house I don’t want to deny him the sight of the cheeto in my front yard.

BTW – This is the third time I’ve shaken the hand of an American Vice President. Spiro Agnew was the first followed by George H W Bush (prior to his election)

I came home and shoveled….slowly. This is heart attack snow. Just a week ago a wonderful fellow my age died shoveling and he was a fellow who had climbed Mt. Matterhorn and he was still slender and fit. The eight inches of snow that fell overnight ended up at our house as two inches of slush. Shoveling such snow is like shoveling lead and it is one of the most common stimuli to spark a heart attack. I’ve paid close attention to this because I shovel vast quantities of snow for my sculptures and I’ve always planned to live to be 100.

I have three policies while shoveling that I pretty strictly adhere to 1. Shovel like I’m in a marathon not a dash. 2. Pause when winded. 3. Never hold my breath when I’m lifting and tossing a shovel full of snow. Holding your breath puts a much greater pressure on a heart. I always in or exhale while lifting a load.

Its almost two and I’m still in marathon mode. I have twenty or thirty years worth of plans that I don’t want to be short circuited. Here’s what I just sent a reluctant Trump supporter by email today by way of apology for not replying to an email of hers to me:

S…..,

You have a compelling story especially where loyalty to those you disagree with is concerned.

If you will grant me a pardon I have a couple time consuming activities ahead of me. We got 8 inches of freezing slush for me to shovel last night. I promised to repair a punky shower wall for my daughter. I have a column to write for a local tabloid and I want to replace the New Years Baby statue to something less alarming.

I haven’t had much use for debate since high school. I prefer conversations. I think we could have a good one. I’ll get back to you in a day or so.

All the best.

Harry

This doesn’t even include the hour of French I continue to put in daily. Now for that shower wall.

“Lock her up”

Our pussy grabbing President is shocked that one of the new Congresswomen has referred to him as a “mother****er” in a call for his impeachment. Considering our President’s previous reputation I suspect the term, as rude as it is for folks like me in their sixties, is probably accurate.

As for the call from the Congresswomen there are two mitigating facts. First – Impeachment is only a process to force a trial. Considering the charges that have been made it to the news so far that seems like a pretty modest statement. The trial, should one happen, will take place in the United States Senate, a body controlled by Republicans. AND…

Second – Donald Trump constantly led cheers of “lock her up” while he ran for President. He has certainly set the standard for inflammatory language and thus has no cause for sympathy when similar words are aimed at him. As for the criticism directed at me for disrespecting our President by depicting him as a cheeto colored New Year’s Baby. Tosh!

Oh, and I remember how appalled the establishment was when an earlier President inadvertently called a now infamous mass murder guilty during a trial to determine his guilt. That was pretty tame compared to Trump’s calling Mexicans refugees rapists.

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

The surgery has not gone well

I attempted an untested surgical procedure in order to return the New Year’s Baby’s dismembered head to its rightful place. Present to record, for posterity, this unusual procedure was crack Fox 21 News reporter Nicky Davidson. I hope she offers her viewers a warning that they look away during any airing if they were squeamish .

The procedure was a double crainiotomy in order to relieve pressure on the surgeon’s back. First the jaw was cleanly sawed off and replaced on the severed neck with freshly warmed surgical snow. There was some failure at the jawline but enough glue left over for the placement of the middle piece of skull including a recently deviated nasal septum. The scalp will have to wait until tomorrow after more fresh surgical snow is melted to a snowball consistency.

I chatted through the procedure with Nicky and observed that if I had discovered the miscreants who pushed the New Year’s Baby’s head off while living in a good Republican, “Stand your ground,” state and properly armed, I could have gotten away with plugging them for their trespass and damage to property.

This is the current state of the New Year’s Baby while it awaits a final operation followed by some cosmetic repair. It reminds me of the characters on the Simpson’s Itchy and Stratchy Show.

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.

A brazen daylight crossing of …

… Baby New Year’s border wall ended tragically for Baby New Year.

2019-01-02_07-22-52

It is not clear if his decapitation was committed by haters of baby New Year or sympathizers who wanted to put him out of his hypothermic misery. He was not well dressed for a Minnesota winter.

Winter busywork

The absence of blog posts doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to pontificate about……But perhaps silence really is golden.

In that case here are a couple pictures. They may be worth a thousand words. Or maybe they’re not.

First, above. One of our two cats in the midst of our Dickens’ Village.

And below, a picture of our winter kissed St. Scholastica on the day after a foot of new snow:

I have a new column to write for the Reader with a deadline pushed ahead two days.

I’m also piling up snow for a new sculpture. It is forecast to be 30 degrees tomorrow and Sunday which will give me pleasant working conditions. I’ll just have to cook some snow.

And I’m trying to be a decent host to our holiday guests. Its good busywork.

Starry Starry Night

We just spent a couple hours watching the latest movie about the Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. I can’t recommend it exactly. It was slow, painterly, anguished. It depicts the famous painter’s last year or so. Years ago I saw the Kirk Douglas treatment Lust for Life but I skipped the movie Vincent and Theo about the painter and his brother Theo which never quite made it to the top of my must-watch list despite generous reviews.

The painting above was one of my Mother’s favorite paintings. She put a magazine reproduction of it on our walls.

A few years ago I read that a recent Van Gogh biography theorized that instead of dying by suicide Van Gogh was shot by a couple of stupid kids. That is how the makers of this movie kill him off.

But that’s sort of besides the point. This movie attempts to portray the greatly underappreciated Van Gogh, the real Van Gogh, whose paintings would a hundred years on sell for millions. I think Willem DeFoe’s portrayal in At Eternity’s Gate is believable and unsentimental. The famous ear episode was probably spot on.

On the other hand, Vincent the man comes across as a bit of a naif and I am not certain that was accurate. I read a snippet of a letter he wrote extolling his joy at sampling the wares at a brothel. The impression that this carnal anecdote offers runs counter to one of my favorite songs, Starry Starry Night by Don McLean. Like Van Gogh’s paintings the real story, no matter what it was, does not diminish my appreciation of McLean’s song.

But art is subjective.

When I was visiting my Mother during her dementia and singing to her I once sang the whole of McLean’s song to her because it was about one of her favorite artists. Afterwards, I asked her if she liked the song. She didn’t.

President Tinker Toy

Pull out of Syria against the advice of the military claiming we beat ISIS.

Border wall or Government shut down. Yes, No, Yes, No……stay tuned..

Federal Reserve turning a deaf ear to pleas for easy money.

SNL had it nailed in its parody of “Its a Wonderful Life.” I happened to watch the movie the night before the SNL Cold Opening.

Trump’s reaction? The Government should censor comics making fun of him.

Thank you Ben Franklin

I was surprised in Bruges, France this September when just past the city’s great cathedral I found a philatelie shop. That’s philately in English and its stamp collecting. I had no idea if stamps were still being collected let alone in France. My collection began with my Dad’s Uncle Ben. When I was in grade school his wife Aunt Mary passed her deceased husband’s collection on to me. My Dad threw himself into helping me expand his Uncle’s collection. We began buying stamps on approval which meant they were sent to me for me to pick through and return those I was not interested in. Those I bought were put on hinges and into my new Regent Stamp Albums. Continue reading

Untitled

Since my last post I turned 68 and had a half dozen items I felt ought to be posted. But I didn’t write or post. Sometimes its best to let ideas steep. Another item that has been steeping for the past two weeks is the Not Eudrora column I have to write today if it is to make this week’s Reader.

I’ve posted this only to assure my eight loyal readers that I have not dropped dead. Not yet. Neither am I showing any signs of dropping dead. I even got an assurance from a doctor’s visit that one troublesome bump was just that. A bump.

And I got word that my son is coming home for the Holiday’s. That was unexpected good news. My Christmas is going swimmingly. My grandsons and I even captured a wily tree which has not been mounted after the appropriate Christmas taxidermy.

Damn. I forgot I had a meeting two minutes ago. Gotta go.

I’m back. Looks like I’m going to have some fun in February. (This is last year’s webpage – it needs updating)

Oh and here’s the tree we nabbed:

Teaching, Writing, Publishing, Campaign preparation

When you are unwilling to forget anything but were denied a photographic memory there is only one alternative – never throwing anything away. This, by the way, was the subject of this odd recent Not Eudora Column.

While moving, sorting, categorizing and refiling stuff I noticed this old newspaper ( above ) that I kept from my college days. Its pinned on a cork board under the Prayer of St. Francis. How’s that for an appropriate contrast. It has a certain resonance today, 44 years later.

When my office was fixed up five years ago, in time for me to use it for my School Board work, I had so much stuff I only crudely organized it. Its been sorted in bits and pieces since but not to my satisfaction. As all of it is intended for reference for the half dozen books I repeatedly threaten to write I desperately need to be able to find things without wasting time scrounging through it all. Like the Saturday Night Massacre headline things go missing.

I crammed myself in the corner of my “storage closet” to take a picture that would give my eight loyal readers a sense of where I work. I couldn’t capture the other side of this space but it too is crammed with files: Here’s the photo: Continue reading

The official source for all the blather of the eccentric Harry Welty – Duluth School Board member, off and on, since 1995. He does his best to live up to Mark Twain's assessment: "First God created the idiot. That was for practice. Then he invented the School Board."