203 Oct 26, 2001

COLUMBUS: The World Series starts tomorrow night, and you’ll get to see it. Rudy’s Yankees rose to the occasion and got in there, so Mr. Murdock has figured he has nothing to lose by showing it on Fox. That new team in Arizona is ready for ’em.

This anthrax bacteria has got some folks worried about opening their U.S. mail. Three people have died, and two of them worked for the Post Office, so just carrying the mail seems twice as dangerous as opening it. I hope they catch the fellows responsible for this anthrax and give ’em a dose of their own mail, without the antidote.

Meanwhile, stop worrying about anthrax. Just shove it out of your mind. If you can avoid opening mail while crossing a busy street, or while driving on the highway, or while blow drying your hair in the hot tub, you’re more likely to die of stress brought on by the worrying.

Farmers in our middle west are moving right along with harvesting soybeans and corn. I hear from Iowa that crop yields are surprisingly good, but the price is so low it’s hardly worth hauling to town. Now you might be wondering, if this grain don’t get to town, how are the rest of us going to eat? Are they going to let us starve?

See, now that might be something to worry about. Except for one thing. Farmers never let disgustingly worthless prices stop delivery of the goods in the past, so they won’t start now. The government payments will help the farmers, at least those that get ’em.

In Washington Dr. Bernadine Healy announced she will step down as head of the Red Cross in December. She says after two years it’s time to pull the old needle out of her arm and turn the whole situation over to, well, to some new blood. Off hand I don’t know any doctors ready to take on this huge operation, but I can think of one man imminently qualified. And he’ll be out of work on January 1. That’s Mayor Rudy Giuliani. If he can figure a way to run the Red Cross from a box seat behind third base in Yankee Stadium, he’ll accept.

Next weekend I’ll be back in Claremore and Oologah for a birthday party and a big parade. You may remember last year, I got to ride in Gene Pyeatt’s 1921 Model T Ford truck. And I was looking forward to it again. But Gene told me he drove it over to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and the crankshaft broke. Well, with old Uncle Henry spending all his time fixing flat Firestone tires and replacing ignition systems, he don’t have time to recall Model T crankshafts. Gene told me he can probably come up with another vehicle. If not, maybe I can get a loaner saddle horse.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“My idea of the height of conceit would be a political speaker that would go on the air when that World Series is on.” DT #683, Oct.3, 1928

“(The Yankees) offered Babe Ruth the same salary that (President) Hoover gets. Babe claims he should have more. He can’t appoint a commission to go up and knock the home runs. He has to do it all himself.” DT # 1078, Jan. 8, 1930

202 Oct 19, 2001

WAVERLY, Ohio: Anthrax is scaring folks in New York and Washington and Florida. Ten or so have got sick. One died, but the others are fine. Thousands across the country are afraid to get on an airplane. Automobile accidents have claimed a thousand, but nobody has parked their car. Anthrax got the House of Representatives so worried they are all went home till Tuesday. It’s been said that this sets a bad example, but it’s mainly the lobbyists doing the complaining. When you get 435 Congressmen all scattered in 435 different places around the country, it’s hard to twist arms of more than two or three a day. Not only does it knock the lobbyist out power, if Congress ain’t meeting, they can’t add on any new taxes.

Speaking of taxes, Ohio’s governor says they’re not collecting enough, so Ohio has got to cut back. To save money he says he will close three prisons. It was a difficult decision, whether to close three prisons or three universities.

See, if you shut down a university, you got to deal with alumni and football boosters, not to mention parents who don’t want their son or daughter released before their four years is served to completion. Then in the next election, they all vote against you.When you close a prison, you know the inmates will be in favor of it. The guards can walk out of the prison and right into higher paying airport security posts. The taxpayers like it because a prisoner costs more than a college student. If this idea works, he may close another three next year.

Down here in Waverly, they don’t have a prison or a university, or even a junior college. But they’ve got trees and timber and saw mills. And they have a factory called Mill’s Pride. It’s so big it uses half the white oak in three states to make kitchen cabinets and put-it-together-yourself furniture. That’s a good name for it, Mill’s Pride, because the workers take Pride in their products. Next time you’re in a Home Depot, you may not see their name, but you can’t miss their products.

The President said it’s our civic duty to shop and spend, to keep the economy growing. Alan Greenspan says he doesn’t think it will work, but there’s a hundred million women willing to make the sacrifice and prove him wrong. (And a few men, too.) Columbus has opened two new malls to
accommodate their patriotism. After you half empty your bank account at Saks and Sears and Marshall Fields (even though your closets are full), on the way home you can buy one of those oak storage cabinets.

Historical quotes from Will Rogers:
“The Ohio convicts are serving pretty tough sentences. First they burn ’em up, now they shoot ’em while they sleep. About the only calamity left to ’em outside of somebody poisoning their well, will be the Ohio Legislature will investigate them.” DT #1182, May 9, 1930

(In Holland) “Forests are the most beautiful forests, all out in rows. Every time they cut down a tree it looks like they planted two in its place. Every time we cut one down, the fellow that cuts it down sets down to have a smoke and celebrate. He throws his cigarette away and burns up the rest of the forest.” (From Will’s book, “There’s Not a Bathing Suit in Russia”)

201 Oct 12, 2001

COLUMBUS: Today the United Nations won the Nobel Peace Prize. I wonder why they don’t get it every year. They’re about the only outfit on Earth whose sole business is Peace. But lately they’ve been missing out on the big prize.

I think what put ’em over the top this year was when they put Syria on the Security Council. That’s so they can keep a close eye on ’em. Next year they’ll shoot for two in a row by bringing in Afghanistan. Or maybe Iraq. Baseball season is over and the playoffs have started. I heard a rumor that the games were on television, but I ain’t seen any except for the Giuliani Yankees. Brother, if you want to see the World Series on Fox we’re gonna have to pull for the Yankees. If it’s Oakland against Arizona, Mr.
Murdoch may just show it on the Home and Garden channel. And only on the West coast.
This is Columbus Day, or it used to be till Congress decided all holidays should fall on Monday, and not on Friday. It shouldn’t matter to Congress, they usually get both days off anyhow. I bet if Columbus had known we wanted to celebrate it on October 8 he would have found a tail wind and shortened the trip. He could have stopped at Bermuda, but he never learned to ride a bicycle.

The Emmy Awards have had a run of tough luck. They got postponed twice. The actors still want to hold the show, but they don’t want any risk. It’s humiliating enough to not win, but nobody wants to die on screen, unless it’s make believe.

They’re looking for a secure location to hold it. Instead of living in fear of bin Ladin, maybe they can learn something from him. Give out all the awards in Kentucky, down in Mammoth Cave. We can’t blame ’em for being safety conscious. Some of them are young, and have their whole lives before ’em. Why, some are still in their first marriage.

Rush Limbaugh is losing his hearing. There’ll be no jokes (although I can think of a couple) because that is a serious loss for any man. Paul Harvey got his voice back, but things don’t look so rosy for Rush. He has a great sense of humor… some folks get it, but some don’t. They think he’s serious
when, part of the time, he’s pulling your leg. Like when he said, “I’m gonna keep talking till everybody in America agrees with me.” If we thought he meant it, 250 million people in unison, (kinda like all those school children saying the Pledge of Allegiance at 2:00 Eastern Time today) would shout, “I agree,” just to see if he would stop. Rush, I’m sorry, that one just slipped out. We’re pulling for you.

Historical quotes from Will Rogers:

“The Columbus Celebration has rather an added significance to Los Angeles, as they want to celebrate the good fortune of his landing on the Atlantic instead of the Pacific side, because if he landed out here he never would have gone back even to tell the Queen. He would have stayed right here and nobody would have ever known it but him.” WA #29 July 1, 1923″…we were out there on Indian land dedicating a Dam to get water for white people to come out and use and gradually take more Indian land away. There is going to be nothing different. It started with Lief Erricson in 996, then skipped over Columbus in 1492, for he couldent find this Country in four trips. Then come the Spanish settlers, then the Mayflower was the last straw.”
WA #377 March 16, 1930

200 Oct 3, 2001

LAFAYETTE, Ind.: Out here in Purdue country the crops never looked better. Farmers are harvesting soybeans and corn around the clock while the weather holds. It’s 80 degrees by day, and a full moon by night.

They’ll take Saturday afternoon off to watch the Boilermakers win another football game. In Indiana that’s about the only college team that remembers how to play. Up the road at South Bend, some folks are praying for the resurrection of Knute Rockne.

There’s some fine young people here this week, 4-H members from several states competing to take home the blue ribbons in engineering projects. Their parents, their home towns, and their home states can be proud of every one of them, even if they didn’t win, because they’re good upstanding citizens.

I told them a few political jokes and anecdotes last evening. The one about me and Strom Thurmond being born the same year got a laugh. So did this line: “I’m not a member of any organized political party… I’m a Democrat.” See, it’ll take a whole lot more than a terrorist attack to keep us from laughing at politics.

Our sense of humor can’t be knocked down by any bombs or missiles. Neither can our patriotism, determination, and our faith in God.

I got to meet one special 4-H contestant from eastern Ohio named Matt. His high school sits on a hill and there’s a grass field in front that slopes down to the road. About two weeks ago, Matt and some other students, and a couple of teachers decided the school needed a bigger flag. It took a few days, some detailed planning, and a lot of work but, brother, they got one. It measures 150 feet by 90 feet.

It’s not fluttering in the wind, it’s painted on the ground, on that grassy slope where all who drive by honk their horns, or stop, get out and salute.

If you’re in the mood for a drive, it’s along I-70, at Exit 208. The leaves are turning, and gasoline is down to $1.20, so the whole trip will be a pleasure.

Historical quotes from Will Rogers:

“LAFAYETTE, Ind.: Indiana is noted for its great crop of humorists: George Ade, Kin Hubbard and a flock of others. Indianians, jealous of these men’s reputations, used to say, “We have people in Indiana besides humorists.” And sure enough they did have, but they were all in jail but the humorists. So why don’t they elect some of them?”
DT #527, April 4, 1928