Will reports on March Madness, marches, and a facelift

# 402, March 26, 2006

COLUMBUS: The college basketball tournament took a peculiar bounce. Anybody that put money on George Mason for the Final Four, I want to hear from you. They’re in there with Louisiana State and Florida and a team that used to consider this annual championship their birthright, UCLA.

Two weeks ago I facetiously picked Duke to win it all. None of the other No.1 seeds got in either. Coach K has invited the other three (Memphis, Connecticut, and Villanova) to a little round-robin of their own next weekend in Durham. There’s no trophy, but he promised the coach of the winning team a new Chevy.

We’ve got 11 Million illegal immigrants living here, and about 10 Million of ’em were out marching this weekend. A lot of ’em were in California carrying Mexican flags, but did you notice, not a one of them was marching south. They may wave the flag, but they know which side of the border they want to be on when they do the waving.

They say America should welcome them with open arms (and open wallets) because in this country “Everybody is an immigrant”. Well, everybody marching may be an immigrant, but let me remind you of something I uttered a few years ago, “My ancestors never came over on the Mayflower, but they met the boat.” “Now I hope my Cherokee blood is not making me prejudiced. I want to be broad-minded, but I am sure that it was only the extreme generosity of the Indians that allowed the Pilgrims to land. Suppose we reversed the case. Do you reckon the Pilgrims would have ever let the Indians land? Yeah, what a chance! What a chance! The Pilgrims wouldn’t even allow the Indians to live after the Indians went to the trouble of letting ’em land.” (Radio, 1935)

I know they mean well, most of ’em, and we need a bunch of good workers to immigrate every year to make up for the lack of good workers among the ones already here. But let us figure out how many we need and let ’em in legal. Not just how many, but what skills they need. Bill Gates says he needs to bring in 10,000 computer engineers from China and pay ’em $100,000 a year. The only way to get them here now is to fly them to Mexico City and sneak ’em across the river at El Paso.

If a rancher plants the best grass seed and spreads generous amounts of fertilizer so his cattle have the best pastures in the county, it don’t mean the neighbors can rightly cut his fences and put their cattle in where they can graze along side the owner’s.

If you happened to be in a different part of Los Angeles on Saturday, away from the marching, you might have noticed the Will Rogers State Park up at Pacific Palisades got a face lift. Kinda like Phylis Diller, the old home place has been restored to look like it did in 1935. And it probably cost about the same. There’s a lot of the 180 acres still in need of some work (as any farmer can tell you, the work is never done), but I hope you stop in for a visit the next time you’re in California.

The Los Angeles Times wrote a wonderful story and you can read it at:


Also here is another story, about son Jim’s barn at the ranch: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24149



Will looks back 3 years in Iraq

# 401, March 21, 2006

COLUMBUS: All I know is what I read in the newspaper, and this week everybody is writing about the war in Iraq, except when that pretty blond teacher avoided jail. Columnists are giving their opinions, and the journalists are giving theirs. With all these opinions it makes you wonder who’s reporting the facts.

Some of these writers dug up what they had written three years ago at the start of the war, and admitted they didn’t understand Iraq any better than the President.

I decided to go back myself and dust off the old computer files. Here are a few of my comments from March 2003.

(March 6, 2003) I have sworn off predicting the start of wars. I’m 0 for 2 on this one. From here on, I’ll leave it up to Mr. Bush. He’s one man that don’t have to predict, he can just announce.

(March 25) Gasoline prices are coming down. Last week $1.70, today $1.42. Forget what Mr. Rumsfeld and Tommy Franks are telling you. The best gauge of how the war is going is gas prices. Gas prices and Wall Street… In Washington, the Senate cut the President’s tax cut in half. They will only let us have $350 Billion of our money back. Mr. Bush says we need the entire $700 Billion tax cut for the country to recover… The Senate said they need the $350 Billion to pay for the war. Mr. Rumsfeld figures he needs no more than $100 Billion. So don’t be surprised if the final budget bill includes $100 Billion for Rumsfeld and $250 Billion for our various Congressional Districts, mainly to build armor plated pork barrels….I just heard we knocked Iraqi television off the air without blowing up the station. Now there’s some technology that can come in handy the next time one of those Survivor shows comes on.

(March 31) For a while last week the war was going pretty smooth; gasoline dropped to $1.30. But tonight it was back up to $1.60, so perhaps our optimism was a bit too high. We watch this war too much like a basketball game, where our whole disposition changes in an instant depending on who has the ball and who scored last. These folks saying the war should have been over in a week are the same ones that yelled at their microwave because it took more than two minutes to cook supper. Give the Generals a chance to make a few mistakes, on both sides, and just wait and see who adjusts the best. The diplomats had this war all to themselves for 12 years, and you see what a mess they made of it. You can’t expect the Marines to clean it up in 12 days.

That was 2003. Let’s hope we’re arguing over a different topic in 2009.


Historic quotes:

“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

“People have just got to get more used to debt. Let’s all let the fellow we owe do the worrying and the U. S. will be the happiest land on earth.” DT #2421, May 7, 1934

Will sees odd winners and losers

# 400, March 13, 2006

COLUMBUS: There’s tornadoes in Missouri and Illinois, fires in Texas and New Mexico, snow in Arizona, and nukes in Iran. But they all got bumped off the front page Monday by “who’s going to the Final Four”. These big lotteries have nothing on college basketball brackets and office pools. So pay your dollar, pick your winner (odds are 1 in 65), and prepare for your payoff.

Dubai pulled out of the port deal. They want to turn ’em over to an American outfit, if they can find one. I said a few weeks ago the Longshoremen were running ’em, and I got corrected. They are being run by the Longshoremen, but in cahoots with the Mafia. So really our port security is in the hands of Tony Soprano.

I suggest we let Wal-Mart manage the ports, and put the Mafia in charge of wiping out the terrorists in Iraq.

Republicans met this weekend in Memphis. They took a straw poll for 2008 and Tennessee Senator Bill Frist won. You know, that says something for you. When a fellow can get the home folks to support him for President, it means they either like him, or they want to get shut of him for four years, and preferably eight. Just because one medical doctor got derailed in a previous race, it don’t mean you shouldn’t give another one a chance.

Meeting in Tennessee, those contenders from Arizona or New York didn’t have a chance. No one could’ve knocked off Bill Frist except maybe Davy Crockett or Dolly Parton.

My pick? Duke by three over Dubai.


Historic quotes:

“America can carry herself and get along in pretty fair shape, but when she stops and picks up the whole world and puts it on her shoulders she just can’t get it done.” DT #2063, March 15,

“There is certain things nature can do to you, whether its an earthquake in California, a flood in Mississippi, a tornado in Ohio, or a drought in Arkansas. When nature enters into it, don’t criticize.” DT #2081, April 5, 1933

Academy Awards and real acting

# 399, March 5, 2006

COLUMBUS: As I write this, the Academy Awards are on television. It’s been on more than two hours and nobody anyone outside of Hollywood has heard of has won an award, except for George Clooney. Folks watching at home had wondered what happened to the boy since he left ER on television.

Not many are watching the show tonight. Not many watched the five nominated pictures either, or any other picture shows except the one about Johnny Cash. If Jaoquin Phoenix wins an award it will be for his acting, not his singing. Men have been trying to sing like Johnny Cash for forty years, and no way an actor will be the first one to do it.

I bet more folks watched reruns of the Andy Griffith Show this weekend than went out to see a movie. When you see Don Knotts as Barney Fife, now that’s real acting. Most folks going out to a cowboy movie want to see one with Gene or Roy or John Wayne.

In news from Oklahoma, a headline in the Claremore Daily Progress (online) says “Rainy Day Fund Overflowing”. Well, of course it’s overflowing. For the past year Oklahoma’s had more oil flowing than rain. According to the newspaper, Legislator Tad Jones says he wants to use $125,000,000 of it to build and repair bridges. Since most of these bridges are over streambeds that are currently dry, you can see he’s optimistic that rain eventually will show up. It will be a race to see if bridge building can drain the Rainy Day fund before the rainy days do.

[Postscript: Reese Witherspoon won an Oacar for playing June Carter Cash. The movie, “Crash”, was a surprise winner. But it should not be a surprise when you realize that half the potential voters were actually IN the movie. They were just voting for themselves.]

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

Will was the Master of Ceremonies for the Awards dinner, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, March 18, 1934. Here are selected quotes from his notes:

“I was always a little leery of this organization. The name, Arts and Sciences, I think that name has bluffed out more people than it has attracted. This is the highest sounding named organization I ever attended. If I didn’t know so many of the people who belong to it personally I would have taken that name serious.

This is rather an unusual dinner this year. In looking over the possible winners, this is not a Metro-Golden-Mayer dinner. Heretofore, if you worked for Metro, when you signed your contract, you could, if you insisted, have a clause inserted in there where you was to receive an Academy statue.

The statues are lovely things. They were originally designed for prizes at a nudist’s colony bazaar but they didn’t take ’em. It must be terribly artistic, for nobody has any idea what it is. It represents the triumph of nothingness over the stupendousness of zero.

It takes great restraint to stand here and hand out tokens of merit to inferior actors.

There is great acting in this room tonight, greater than you will see on the screen. We all cheer when somebody gets a prize that everyone of us in the house knows should be ours. Yet we smile and take it. Boy that’s acting.

I have never seen any of these pictures. They don’t look at mine and why should I go see theirs?”

[The 7th Academy Awards, 1934, were dominated by the film “It Happened One Night” (Columbia Pictures): Best picture, best actor (Clark Gable), best actress (Claudette Colbert), best director (Frank Capra), best adaptation (Robert Riskin).]