#448, March 18, 2007
Oklahoma City, Okla.: The “Will Rogers 2008 Straw Poll” votes are counted. Barack Obama grabbed an early lead over Hillary Clinton and Al Gore to win the Democratic nomination. Rudy Giuliani edged out John McCain and Newt Gingrich for the Republicans.
A Canadian asked if he could vote even though he’s not a U.S. citizen. I told him, Go ahead, there’s plenty of Mexicans voting in 2008 that aren’t citizens either. A North Carolina woman wrote in Fred Thompson, but said she’d give up that vote if she could subtract one from Hillary. Well, I couldn’t do that, not with all the attention on these federal prosecutors lately.
These states trying to jump to the head of the Primary line ain’t after the vote as much as the campaign loot. “Politics has got so expensive it takes lots of money to even get beat with nowadays” and they all want a bigger share of the ads.*
The Primary’s over anyway. Barack and Rudy can name their Vice-President and get an early start on the general election. Why fool with conventions. Denver has had enough deep snow catastrophes without being snowed under by Democrats. Minneapolis-St. Paul wouldn’t mind some more snow, but they won’t get it from Republican hot air.
Here’s another “election” that’s all over but the crowning. Headline in The Oklahoman says, “New Miss Oklahoma crowned.” Really, it should have read, “Oklahoma crowns 2008 Miss America.” See, that’s what happened the past two years, and Lindsey Miller can make it three in a row. Good luck to the other 49, but you’re competing for Runner-Up and Miss Congeniality.
I’m out here in Oklahoma City for a thing they called, (don’t laugh), the Will Rogers Writers’ Workshop. It ended last night (Saturday) and attracted every kind of writer you can imagine. They write humor columns, editorials, greeting cards, cowboy poems, obituaries, short stories, books (often made up of a pile of the previous six listed items) and, once in a while, the News.
A friend had asked me last month why I was going to Oklahoma, and when I told him, he asked, “Do you have to take your own horse?” “No, I said Writers’ workshop, not Riders’.” But if it had been rider training it might have done less harm to these folks careers, or even rears.
It’ll require a decade of Erma Bombeck Writers’ Schools to get ’em back to where they was a week earlier.
Historic quote from Will Rogers: (on good writin’)
“I got me a dictionary one time, but goodness it dident last long. I could write the article while I was trying to see what the word meant. That’s one good thing about language, there is always a short word for it. Course the Greeks have a word for it, and the dictionary has a word for it, but I believe in using your own for it.
The minute you put in a word that everybody don’t know, you have just muddled up that many readers. Running onto a word you can’t read or understand is just like a detour in the road. You cuss it, and about a half dozen of ’em and you will take a different road the next time. I love words but don’t like strange ones. You don’t understand them, and they don’t understand you.
Old words is like old friends, you know ’em the minute you see ’em… Nothing will make a reader yawn any quicker than good English.” WA # 566, October 29, 1933
*the quote in the third paragraph is from 1931, a year and a half before the ’32 election.