“Marilyn Monroe” and “Will” raise dough for Hospital

April 26, 2003

DAYTON, Ohio: I’m over here tonight in the home town of those two pioneers of aviation, Orville and Wilbur Wright. It was 100 years ago those two designed and built their first airplane. Folks around here still don’t understand why they drove it all the way to North Carolina to fly it the first time.

Well, the biggest hospital in this part of the state (Miami Valley Hospital) put on a big shindig to raise money to add on to their baby care unit. A nurse told me sometimes they have so many newborns they practically have to stack ’em two deep, even if they ain’t twins.

In honor of Orville and Wilbur they had a theme, “Fly Back with us to the Glamorous Era of Hollywood.” They cleared out a big hangar at the airport, decorated it with a Hollywood flavor, and invited me and Marilyn Monroe to make it authentic. Marilyn supplied all the glamour and I covered the “fly back” part.

Now, I have kidded Mae West, Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo, even little Shirley Temple, but I had never before met Marilyn Monroe. We hit it off pretty good… I think she mistook me for Clark Gable. You know these Hollywood leading men, with rugged good looks and debonaire, distinguished manner, why sometimes it’s hard to tell us apart.

But nobody mistook Marilyn. If she had been with us back there in the Follies, she would have been Mr. Ziegfeld’s Favorite for sure.

She wore that white flowing dress, the one that helped make here famous. (I know you’ve seen the photo, the one where it was more blowin’ than flowin’.)

She’s an intelligent woman, don’t let anybody kid you on that. She’s intelligent, but she don’t let anyone know it. She’s demure, but sometimes she can jump right in and be assertive with that quiet voice and nobody complains about it, at least not the men.

Well, I said once, a long time ago, I would like to be in a movie with Katie Hepburn. And I sure wouldn’t mind making one today with Marilyn Monroe. I think we would make a good pair, but you know Hollywood. They would probably put me in there as her great grandpappy. Still, that’s not bad when you’re pushing 124.

There was about 500 tonight in that hangar, and by the time they got around to the auction everyone was in a generous mood. I don’t know if they got enough for a new wing, but it’s a start.

You know, I bet there ain’t a hospital anywhere that doesn’t need more dough. And they put it to great use. In fact, next time you get one of those annoying phone calls asking you to give to some so-called charity is a distant land or even next door, and you’re tempted by a smooth-talking sales person to write a big check, instead just hang up and mail it to a hospital in your hometown, or a church or other worthwhile organization right there local. They’ll appreciate it, and you know for a fact they won’t spend three-fourths of it to pay someone to call you asking for more next month.

And if they ever decide to throw a Hollywood party, kinda hint for ’em to invite Marilyn Monroe and Grandpap Rogers.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“I hold two distinctions in the movie business. I’m the ugliest fellow in ’em, and I still have the same wife I started with.”

“In Hollywood, we’re pretty broke up. Greta Garbo left us last night to go home. It was a tremendous personal loss to me. Only consolation I have is that Mae West is still with us. Greta left us. She says, “I tank I go home.” When she gets over there in Sweden and sees those salaries, I tank Greta will come back.” Radio broadcast, June 2, 1935

April 20, 2003 Rifle team unloaded

MORGANTOWN, West Va.: All I know is what I read or see as I wander around the country. This is the home of West Virginia University, and the only news folks are talking about here is their decision to eliminate a bunch of men’s sports teams: track, tennis, gymnastics, cross country and rifle.

The one that got everybody riled up is the rifle team. They’re cutting the team even though it’s almost half women. WVU has produced more college championships and All-American shooters than anyone except maybe Army and Navy. West Virginia giving up a rifle team is like Kentucky quitting basketball or Oklahoma dropping football.

Marksmanship is such an important curriculum item that high schools in this state take off a week every November so students can devote their full time to it. For some folks this is called deer season, but for the rifle team coaches its recruiting season. They trail the most promising kids through the woods for four years and offer scholarships to the best shots. The ones that don’t get scholarships still get to keep the meat and join the NRA. This is the only state where more deer are shot than hit by an automobile.

The football team mascot is the old Mountaineer with his muzzle-loading rifle. Starting next season he may have to give up his gun for a sling shot.

I think football is the solution for all these colleges that are cutting teams. They all say they have to cut men’s teams in order to afford more women’s sports. Well, if football is what brings in the dough, they should play women’s football. Then as soon as the women draw a crowd every Saturday like the men do, then colleges can have more teams, for men and women.

Iraq has settled down quite a bit. Combat has moved from the battlefield to a conference room, and it’s mainly Muslims vs. Muslims. While it might seem odd to us, now that Saddam is gone, you know, why would they want to fight and argue among themselves. Well, it’s human nature. In Ireland we got Christians vs. Christians, and in Ohio it’s Republicans vs. Republicans, so why would we expect Iraq to be any different.

President Bush doesn’t think the UN can finish with North Korea in time to help us rebuild Iraq, so he has called on Bechtel and Haliburton. He figures they can do the job faster, and in the long run will cost us less than the UN would. Besides if the UN really wanted to work with us they would have replaced Secretary General Kofi Annan with Dick Cheney.

I want to pay tribute to Australia this week. They helped us out in Iraq, like the British. They celebrate ANZAC Day every April 25, along with New Zealand, and this year they have another reason to feel proud of their soldiers. G’day mates.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“There are old guys down there who have an old Squirrel Rifle laying up over the door on some deer horns, and if they shoot at you and don’t hit you in the eye, why, they call it a miss.” WA #45, October 21, 1923

“Annie Oakley was the acknowledged headliner for years and years of the great Buffalo Bill Show, the best known woman in the World at one time, as when she was with the show it toured everywhere. She was not only the greatest rifle shot for a woman that ever lived, but I doubt if her character could be matched outside of some Saint.” WA #206, November 21, 1926

April 13, 2003

COLUMBUS: Great news today about all seven of our POWs getting out safe. That was a capper on quite a week.

Saddam is out, maybe dead. If he is alive, and his Iraqi enemies get a hold of him, he’ll wish he had surrendered to us when he had a chance.

There’s nothing left of him in Iraq except for some statues, and they are coming down fast. One still standing in Tikrit has him mounted on a horse. I kinda hope they can cut him down but leave the horse.

President Chirac announced Wednesday that the French are rejoicing. That’s something the French excel at, is rejoicing. Used to be they were good at most things, but lately they just specialize in rejoicing. They leave the fighting to somebody who’s good at it. They just watch, and as soon as the fight’s over they toast the winner, no matter who he is. They don’t waste champagne on a loser, unless he paid for it in cash.

France is conferring this weekend with Germany and Russia. They’re all pushing for the United Nations to have a big role in Iraq. Now that we’ve pushed Saddam out of power they want to come in and clean up.

I think President Bush is liable to tell them, “How ’bout if you folks take on the nuclear threat in North Korea instead. That way we can bring our troops home from South Korea; after fifty years they need a rest. Now, just as soon as your diplomats disarm the Koreans, then you can help us rebuild Iraq.”

After this war is over, President Bush must do one more thing to guarantee immortality, or at least nomination for a second term. He must avoid, at all costs, holding a conference. (See quote below)

Everybody rejoices in their own way. I read in the paper that in 1945, after we ran the Germans out of France and beat Hitler, the French celebrated by looting and killing 40,000 of their own. It didn’t say if that was before or after they uncorked the champagne.

In New York they hold a parade and throw confetti.

In Jessica Lynch’s West Virginia hometown they celebrated last night with a potluck supper. Then they got up early and went to church to celebrate again.

In Iraq they’re looting and stealing, even from hospitals and museums. We went to the trouble of not dropping bombs on all these important buildings, and they destroy ’em from the inside out. Of course, they may have got the vandalism idea from watching some of our football and basketball hoodlums. And just like over here, it only takes a few to give everybody a bad name.

Mr. Rumsfeld says not to worry, they need a chance to rejoice over their first taste of freedom in thirty five years, and they’ll start acting civilized in a week or so.

Iraqis have their way of rejoicing, and the French theirs. For me, I’ll take my chances on a potluck supper.

Excuse me for hurrying, I’ve got to work on taxes.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“America, a funny thing about us, we never was very good in conference. We are great talkers but we are mighty poor conferers. We have a unique record, America has a unique record. We never lost a war and we never won a conference in our lives. We can, I think, without any degree of egotism we can say, with our tremendous resources we can lick any nation in the world single-handed and yet we can’t confer with Costa Rica and come home with our shirts on.” Radio broadcast, April 6, 1930

April 5, 2003

GEORGETOWN, Ohio: This is the home of that great American General, U. S. Grant. He is remembered more as a General than as a President because he was better at giving orders, than taking them from Congress.

Everybody asks the question, “Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?” Well, I don’t’ know if he’s in it, or even where the tomb is, but I can tell you the house he was raised in is here, about 2 blocks east of the Courthouse.

I’m down here today talking to some youngsters about riding safely on one of those All-Terrain Vehicles (4-wheelers). They are kinda the modern day version of a horse, except they aren’t near as smart. You’ll never find a horse that’ll run up a hill so steep he turns back over himself and slides to the bottom.

I’m a fine one to be talking about safety, as many times as “I” have fallen off. (That’s off a horse, not an ATV)

In Iraq we have lost about a hundred of our men and women, and some of them were even killed by the enemy. Losing our troops is serious, no matter who is shooting at them.

We need to keep things in perspective. You take 200,000 of your average American drivers and have them drive back and forth between Kuwait and Baghdad for a week, you’ll lose way more than a hundred just from accidents, and that’s not counting the ones that’ll shoot each other.

That was good news about our troops rescuing Jessica Lynch. She’s a farm girl from Wirt County, West Virginia, a small county in a small state. She’s kinda small herself, but her heart’s as big as Montana. Her family went to Germany to be with her, and I’ve got a suggestion, and don’t be surprised if it happens. Do you remember the man named Whitaker that won a hundred million in the lottery that I wrote about in December? (Weekly Comments #254) Well, he owns a construction company not too far from Wirt Co., and he just might take his men up there and build the family a house before they get back home. If he does the whole state is liable to turn out to help him.

We sure won’t forget the Iraqi man that helped Jessica get saved from the hospital where his wife’s a nurse. He walked 6 miles to tell the Americans about her, then walked back for more information, and out again. He is a real hero, showing concern for another human being with no regard for his own welfare. Now, you may say there’s lots of heros doing the same thing. Yes, but this one is a rarity, he’s a lawyer.

(My lawyer friends may shoot me on that one, but even they will admit, if you ask them, that the big majority of lawyers could use some inspiration and humanity.)

Tonight Kansas and Syracuse won their big college basketball games and they’re ready to play for the championship*. Their two coaches, between them, have won about a million games, but Monday night one of them will get his first championship. Let’s hope it’s a good game because there’ll be a lot of our troops over in the Middle East watching and listening. They could use a short respite from the war.   (Note: Syracuse won 81-78)

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“You can have all the advanced war methods you want, but, after all, nobody has ever invented a war that you dident have to have somebody in the guise of Soldiers to stop the bullets.” Saturday Evening Post, May 12, 1928

“You can’t say civilization don’t advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.” DT #1063, Dec. 22, 1929

“I have used kidding stuff about us going into somebody’s country, and it’s always been tremendously popular stuff, for not a soul wanted us to be sending Marines out over the world. Like a big city would send policemen to places where they heard there was trouble. It had just become almost impossible for a country to have a nice home talent little revolution among themselves without us butting into it.” WA #576, January 7, 1934