Curtis Dahlgren
THE WEEKEND THAT WAS: Huxley, Rooney, Tebow, and "Luck"
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By Curtis Dahlgren
December 15, 2011

"Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got. . . . You can't make anything up anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it." — Art Buchwald

YES, SATIRE IS BECOMING A LOST ART, and sometimes I wonder if all I'm doing is "recording" our downfall. I wonder if even Mark Twain could make a living off his writing if he were with us these days? Of the "two Americas," the liberal half doesn't see any humor in anything anymore. They'd be happy to ban Mark Twain. Or that other Missourian, Rush Limbaugh.

As for that weekend that "was," the Durban "climate change" conference ended on Sunday without any blizzards or frost-bite this time. The U.N., for a change, finally got smart enough to hold its winter meeting in the southern hemisphere's summer. [see www.renewamerica.com/columns/Dahlgren/100112 ]

Canada, on Monday, formally dropped out of the Kyoto "treaty" on emissions reduction. Not that the enviro-mentals will ever give up; an article in the USA TODAY the other day predicts that "someday" the oceans could rise EIGHTY feet due to melting ice caps. Well, the Arctic ice is all floating water so that's a wash, and I looked at my globe today to compare Antarctica to the size of the oceans, which are about 70 percent of the earth's surface.

Are the climate change enthusiasts using New Math or what? There isn't enough ice and snow in the whole wide world to raise the oceans very much at all. These are the same people who believe that the story of Noah's flood is just a fable!

By the way, they say it never rains in southern California but, over the weekend there, traffic was snarled — not by smog or protestors, but — by SNOW! And if there's one thing you don't want to do, it's to crash your SmartCar or Chevy Volt on the freeway (you could experience the Pinto effect and have to pray to get out of the wreck).

Speaking of the wide world of sports though, how 'bout them Broncos? Poor, poor Chicago! I live in an unusual part of the north woods where one can buy newspapers from three NFL cities — Green Bay, Detroit, and Chicago. Sunday I bought the Tribune because it had a page 1 full-page article in Sports about Tim Tebow.

You know it's going to be a bad day when you're playing the Packers or the Broncos (7 of the 8 Chicago writers picked Denver to win). Tim started his passing day 3-of-16 (as in John 3:16). Then he started to look like that other #15, Bart Starr. He engineered two 2-minute drills in the last few minutes (to John Elway's amazement). Long-range field goals were flying all over Mile High stadium like boomerangs.

For the Bears, it was all over but the cursing. Déjà vu all over again. Unlike some who sack-and-pillage and get down on one knee to mock Tebow's faith, the Bears did none of that Sunday, and I must say that the Tribune article was very nice.

BUT IS IT "LUCK" OR WHAT?

Seriously, we need to talk, because the President says that we've had a run of "bad luck." Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

"Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances: It was somebody's name, or he happened to be there at the time . . . another day it would have been otherwise.

"Strong men believe in cause and effect. The man was born to do it . . . you shall see there was no luck in the matter, but it was all a problem in arithmetic, or an experiment in chemistry. The curve of the flight of the moth is preordained, and all things go by number, rule, and weight.

"Skepticism is unbelief in cause and effect . . . "


"Deep versed in books and shallow in himself . . . " — John Milton (1608-1674)

The OLD books are the best books, and I love quoting those old Dead White English Boys (Dweebs). BTW, the "Huxley" in my title isn't Aldous, but Thomas (1825-1895) who said some surprising things:

"The chessboard is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature [and] . . . education is the instruction of the intellect in the laws of Nature, under which name I include not merely things and their forces, but men and their ways; and the fashioning of the affections and of the will into an earnest and loving desire to move in harmony with those laws . . . [but] one who plays ill is checkmated — without haste, but without remorse." — "A Liberal Education," 1868

The "Rooney" in the title is Andy, who died recently. He worked almost to the end, and I saved a column of his that was published last February. Speaking of snow, he said he loved snow because nothing disrupts "our ordinary lives" like snow does. He said people "like to do things they're good at," but he liked skiing better than anything else he was just fair at, and he still had his wooden skis from his youth (he even joked that he might ski to work that day, that New York had gotten so much snow that he might need the skis to get "home").

Well, he's now home free, and I wish Andy good skiing in the Afterlife (there'll be no snowballs in Hell, you know).

[You probably missed another death, at Richland Center, Wisconsin. She was born in 1926 and died last month on the anniversary of the death of JFK. In her teen years she had a Jewish boyfriend. Her father sent the guy to Siberia for 10 years. Her name was Svetlana, and her father's name was Josef, Josef Stalin. A later romance — the guy died — led her to India and to the U.S. embassy, and eventually to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesins. She had an American-born daughter, and Svetlana Stalin died at age 85 as Lana Peters (to make a long story short).

I may elaborate some other time because the 'good ol USSR' that the Beatles "imagined" wasn't the Utopia that many of our public school grads think it was. "I switched camps from the Marxists to the capitalists," Lana said in a 2007 interview. Her 1967 memoir was a best seller, and she wrote three other books, in case you're interested.]

P.S. Andy Rooney once said, "Death is a distant rumor to the young . . . I didn't get old on purpose, it just happened. If you're lucky, it could happen to you."

Of the three men I mentioned in my December 10th column, Rooney and Jim Murray were both born in 1919, while Art Buchwald was born in 1925. No wonder I can relate to those guys. Theoretically, I could have been born in the 1920s, so they're my kind of guys, culturally. As Buchwald once wrote:

"Every time you think television has hit its lowest ebb, a new program comes along to make you wonder where you thought the ebb was."

I'M SO OLD THAT — my father was born in 1900. A heavier-than-air craft was still a dream that was doubted. Norway was still governed by Sweden. Henry Ford was still a poor man. I'm so old that I can remember when MacDonald's had only sold a hundred hamburgers. And none!

I'm so old I can remember George Gobel, and saw him in person once. Lonesome George once said that if we hadn't invented electricity, we'd be watching television by candlelight. I guess dreams were our first TV set. The good dreams anyway.

And don't tell me to "change the channel," because I threw my TV set out the back door. I'm almost 70 so I don't have any time to waste. I recently watched Cecil B. de Mille's "The Ten Commandments" on a neighbor's VCR (my life has had too many highlights to count, but one of them was hearing a speech by Charlton Heston in 2004). Anyway, I was struck by the concluding line of the whole movie.

It is thought that the world's shortest poem is:

Fleas:
Adam
Had 'em.
[after the Fall, but sorry, there's a shorter poem.]

Yul Brynner concluded "The Ten Commandments" by saying (with regard to Moses' Gd):

'IS GD
IS GD!


'Nuf said?

© Curtis Dahlgren

 

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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)

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