Will finds Illinois farm show swamped

# 291, Sept. 24, 2003

RANTOUL, Illinois: The farm fields around here in eastern Illinois have some of the best soils in the world. If the rains come when they’re needed, corn grows 200 bushels to the acre, and after harvest, the farmer can afford a new pickup truck for himself and remodel the kitchen for the family.

But this rich soil has one slight defect. Too much rain and this flat ground turns into M-U-D. And that’s what it is today. MUD. Now ordinarily that is not a problem…that 200-bushel corn is still standing so you let it dry out a couple of weeks, and go on with harvest.

But this year, this week, mud is a problem. See, the folks that publish the Prairie Farmer and Indiana Prairie Farmer and a bunch of other “state” Farmer magazines put on a big Farm Progress Show every year. This year it’s here.

Now yesterday was fine. And over a hundred thousand farmers were here. Those were the smart farmers, the ones who looked at the weather map and saw what was coming later.

Sure enough, last night it rained… and rained some more… and washed out the Show for today. And probably tomorrow.

So today, folks like me that go by the calendar instead of doppler radar, have no Show to show up at. The exhibitors that intended to use their tractors to demonstrate the newest tillage equipment are instead using them to pull out campers and motor homes and pickup trucks.

Meanwhile, we may as well relax and stop at a neighborhood restaurant, like Ott’s right here in Rantoul. They all stocked up for the crowds, so no one will go home hungry. And there’s the Aerospace Museum at the old Chanute Air Base. It’s where Lindbergh learned to fly, and the famous Tuskegee Airmen. And… the parking lot is paved.

There will be another show next year, and folks that are disappointed today will show up for it. That’s farmers for you, always looking ahead to a brighter day.

Out in California tonight, the candidate debate went on without me. The arguments got kinda hot a few times, even personal. It’s odd. Here, we’re surrounded by mud. But California is where they’re slinging it.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

“(The farmer) has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.” WA #57, Jan. 13, 1924

Johnny Cash departs; Isabel arrives

# 290, Sept. 19, 2003

COLUMBUS: Gen. Wesley Clark announced this week he is running for President. That’s another candidate no one’s heard of, except for those of you that watched CNN during the war. They say he’s fine man, brilliant, really intelligent. But it makes you wonder, if he’s that smart, why would he want to campaign for President.

That brings the total candidates up to around ten. Senator Edwards has been running for a year, but he went home to North Carolina to make the official announcement. The next day, in a move blamed on the Republicans, Hurricane Isabel took dead aim for the state.

Senator Graham of Florida and a couple of others may drop out. They are postponing their withdrawal as long as they can. Mr. Graham said it’s kind of like the sound of a tree falling in the woods. If nobody knows you’re running, will they even hear that you dropped out.

These Presidential candidates were looking forward to October and the end of the California recall election. But some Federal judges want to delay the election till March, I guess because two months is too short a time to inflict the required pain and suffering on a state’s voters. They figure Californians need an extra five months to learn how to spell Bustamante or Swartzenegger.

Speaking of that hurricane, we knew for a week Isabel was coming. Officials told the folks on the barrier islands and the shore to get away from the hurricane, to leave immediately. Did you notice that most of us heard this news from TV reporters who had gone TOWARD the hurricane? What were they thinking? It made any sane man wonder if they had all adopted the Fox theme, “We report; you decide if we’re stupid.”

I have come to the conclusion that every house built along there should have a room attached to the garage filled with plywood, precut to fit all windows and doors. It’s more needed than storm cellars in the middle west.

Not everyone believes in the Bible, but that verse about not building your house on sand is hard to argue with. Naturally, we’ll all pitch in to help those that got blown away or flooded out, but maybe like drunk drivers that get caught, they should have to complete a course. This one would be on “Common Sense Construction and Home Buying”.

Weather has been good in Ohio, best two weeks of the whole summer. Farmers are in high spirits. Crops are fine, not ideal but good enough.

We lost two fine men in the entertainment business. Tex Ritter’s boy, John, was a fine comedian and actor still in his prime. And the legend, Johnny Cash. His heart and mind were still young, his voice one of a kind. He just missed June too much to go on living.

Johnny’s son-in-law, Rodney Crowell, paid “me” a nice compliment. He said, “Johnny Cash will, like Will Rogers, stand forever as a symbol of intelligence, creativity, compassion and common sense.” Well, I sure appreciate the comparison. And you’ll notice Rodney has a lot of common sense and intelligence himself, because he didn’t include anything about my singing and guitar playing.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Every time we have an election we get in worse men, and the country keeps right on going. Times have only proven one thing, and that is that you can’t ruin this country even with politics.” WA 306, Nov. 4, 1928

Will Rogers for Governor: Week 5

# 289, Sept. 10, 2003

COLUMBUS: Today, I am announcing my campaign Slogan. It may not be as memorable as the Lt. Governor’s slogan, “Bustamante or Bust!” And it won’t stand out quite like the one for Mary Carey campaigning in a bikini, “Bust!”

But I will stand by my slogan, same as in 1928. Here it is:

“IF ELECTED I ABSOLUTELY AND POSITIVELY AGREE TO RESIGN. That’s my only Campaign pledge, or Slogan, ELECT ROGERS AND HE WILL RESIGN. That’s offering the (state) more than any Candidate ever offered it in the entire History of its existence.”

Peter Ueberroth did me one better. He resigned before being elected.

I’m getting off this California campaign trail, at least for a while. Next week I’ll dig up something entertaining for the other 49 states, and maybe the rest of the world. The Texas Democrats are back in Austin, and Congress is back in town, except the ones running for President. There’s so many it’s harder to get a quorum in Washington than in Texas.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (1928, Life magazine, with only a couple of changes.)

The process is called a “political campaign.” It involves an incalculable amount of energy, expense, heartache, boredom and general nuisance. It is, from beginning to end, a colossal waste of time, for those actively engaged in it and for those who have to read about it in the newspapers and listen to it over the radio.

I believe that the candidates would have all been better off if they had pulled a (Calvin) Coolidge and got down in their shell and not come out till the votes were counted, for the less a voter knows about you the longer he is liable to vote for you.

My religion, foreign travel, or style of hat has never even been referred to. No attempt has been made to cash in on any Sex Appeal I may unconsciously possess. So I may be defeated on election day, but if I am I can retire as a Gentleman and NOT a politician.


Will Rogers for Governor: Week 4

Sept. 4, 2003

COLUMBUS: The California candidate debate started yesterday. They began with five out of the135, so this debate is liable to go on longer than a Jerry Lewis Telethon. And it won’t do a tenth the good.

I figure by the time the interviewers all ask their questions of each candidate, and then bring in another five for the same questions, and so on with another five, by the time they finally get down to the “R’s” it’ll take at least a week, and I’ll be ready for ’em.

Arnold is stalling till he has heard the questions a few times. His advisors are still pondering on some issues and he will make his pronouncements just as soon as they write the script. He figures he’ll be ready to join in on the second round of debates the fourth week of September, and it may take that long to finish the first round.

Frankly, I’m disappointed. No one, from any party, has contacted me yet about resigning as a candidate. I was kinda hoping to get a substantial offer, and then see if anybody would raise it. But I’m afraid the market value of candidates got slammed pretty low when Bill Simon dropped out for nothing. He could have done us candidates a favor and held out for at least enough to cover the filing fee.

Governor Davis is facing a monumental decision, whether to sign the bill to give illegal immigrants a driver’s license. Some folks say there are two million of ’em lined up at the license bureau, with another half a million thumbing in from Arizona. Mr. Davis has asked his Attorney General the one big question that will determine if he signs the bill: If I let them drive, will they all vote “No” on the Recall?

Tune in next week when I will reveal my one and only campaign Slogan. And my slogan will double as a solemn Pledge. I guarantee I’ll keep it, given the opportunity. See you next week.

Historical quotes from Will Rogers: (1928 Life magazine, with only names, locations and a couple of other non-essentials altered to fit.)

Our Party thinks that if a man is in Public life and he can’t find out what is going on without a Committee telling him, why he has no business asking for the Public’s support.

Farm relief: Arnold is honest about that, He says he don’t know a corn stalk from jimpson weed, and that a Tractor might be a mouthwash as far as he is concerned, and Boll-weevil might be a brand of corn liquor, or it might be a fertilizer.

Now as to my own affairs…. I have made a lot of promises, But they were only political promises and I have no idea of keeping any of them.

Of all the Bunk handed out during a campaign the biggest one of all is to try and compliment the knowledge of the voter. And tell him he can’t be fooled like he used to be. Candidates are always complimenting the intelligence of their audience. These fellows know the voters don’t know any more than they did in previous years.

How are the voters going to be any smarter when the Candidates themselves are no smarter? Even with the able men we have this year, you don’t suppose that they are an improvement over Lincoln, Jefferson, or Teddy Roosevelt.

No, we are more “smart Alec” than we ever were, but we are no smarter. We read more and we hear more over the radio, but the stuff we read and the stuff we hear don’t make us any smarter.

The people that write it, and the ones that talk it out over the radio (and television), are no smarter than the ones that used to hand down the dope for our old forefathers.

They go to the polls in an automobile, but they don’t carry any more in their heads than the old timer that went there on a mule. So the old Bunk that you can’t fool the voter is the biggest Bunk there is. He has been fooled all his life and he will always be fooled.

There is just as many half wits voting Republican today because their fathers voted that way as there ever was. There is just as many voting Democratic because they have heard their folks tell about how the Republicans treated them as there ever was.

If the voter is as smart as they say, why do they have to tell him anything, why do they have literature, and campaigns, and speeches? Why does each candidate have to spend millions of dollars trying to buy votes with propaganda?

The oldest form of Bunk in the world is to say how “Well informed the voters are and that they can’t be misled by our opponents.” I doubt if at any time during the history of the world were we ever as downright Dumb as we are today.

I think you will find that Campaigns have ruined more men than they ever made.