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Sat Jul 25, 2015, 12:18 PM

Wobegone Is Me

IT'S entirely possible I'll never recover from this. My world just cracked wide open and it's guts are oozing out into the universe, never to be repaired; never to be put back together again.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating (maybe not). I just now gathered up the strength to read the details behind the impending, announced exit from the stage of my wizard of the weekend; my Saturday evening/Sunday morning sage and muse; Garrison Keillor. It looks like he really means to retire this time and I'm just not ready for this. Wobegon is me.

Like everything good under the sun in my life which has faded out of being just as I come to it - things which existed for eons and eons and enjoyed by millions before I happened upon them, and then folded before I got my fair share - Prairie Home Companion will now go the way of the dodo; relegated to an archive or a crackly old recording someplace where sad, aging hipsters like me go to relive the glory days of our relative youth.

I'm 54 now, fast approaching 55. I'm just starting to feel old, mainly when I wake up and catch a glimpse of my gray, balding image in the bathroom mirror and glance downward to the sagging and wrinkled frame that still carries on like it's made of steel. I officially reached the outer limit of middle-age this week after an hour-long discussion over the phone with a childhood friend about his surgery for diverticulitis and the travails of his struggles and bout with his colostomy bag. That's it, it's all downhill from here.

I didn't catch up with Garrison Keillor until the late-eighties, well into his career. I was hiking around the woods, looking for a perfect spot to sit and smoke a bit of weed. I found a place by an opportunistic pond created by a rain-swollen little creek and pulled out my trusty transistor radio (yes, transistor radio), turned it on and scouted the stations toward the far left side of the FM dial which promised some natural musicality to mingle with the ambiance of my woodland refuge. I wasn't disappointed.

I came upon a faint, lilting country ballad of the likes I'd listened to the public radio DJ, Lee Michael Demsey, play for years on WAMU as I rode the world around noon atop Sugarloaf Mountain on the outskirts of my D.C. suburban town. I dutifully lit up a bowl and settled back to watch a frog unimpressed by my presence there hop around on the mucky bank, and stretched my gaze upward to gauge the reaction of the birds listening in the trees to the mandolin, banjo, and guitar compete with their orchestrated cacophony in the canopy above.

The music ended and a there came voice from the radio as familiar as it was unknown to me plying itself against the gentle applause from the live audience. The music, the audience, and then the gentle, but deep, baritone of Keillor was an instant source of joy to me which has never waned or grown stale. I listened to the rest of the show, ensconced there, crouched down in the trusty woods and was treated to my first introduction to Lake Wobegon; a magical, farcical town where the 'women were strong, the men good-looking, and the children were above average.'

An instant convert; a self-appointed resident; I never really left that mythical town of his. Through season after season; through repeats waiting it out with extreme anxiety through the days of his stroke in 2009; through every description of the changing seasons in that little town he narrated faithfully to us every weekend; I've wandered through the literary recesses of my own storied mind as I related every humorous and touching tale of the imaginary residents of Wobegone to the ideal of my life and times.

I can be found outside watching the sun set in the summer, listening in on my new transistor radio; watching the plants emerge in the spring; by the window in the glowing light of fall; or on a snowy winter's morning well before any of the sleepy household relinquishes their slumber; listening to the quiet, engaging sounds of Garrison Keillor's gift of a show and measuring my days until the next weekend's getaway into his familiar, comforting repertoire.

On one memorable show, he spoke at length about the day Buddy Holly and other musical greats went down in the plane crash and his spontaneous road-trip that day, after hearing the news, to the site of the plane crash. Interspersed with his singing a few verses of Holly's, he told of reaching the crash site and scouting through the woods and finding a broken piece of a guitar sticking up in the snow. It was an improbable tale (almost certainly a fantastical one) which ended in Keillor leading his audience in softly singing the refrain from American Pie...

They were singin'

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ol' boys were drinkin' whiskey 'n' rye
Singin' this will be the day that I die.


That's Keillor - a compelling mix of the improbable and the believable - not to mention his faithfulness to the Democratic liberal ideal expressed with his wry outlook on the political scene and his faithful reinforcement of our progressive values of community and humanity as he gently prods the demagogues with his own tongue-in-cheek commentary; sometimes brutally direct, sometimes tellingly obtuse.

I have another year, I know. In July 2016, he will host his last show. I'll have one more Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer to measure my aging life against his aged radio show. So, good times...and then life carries on in its own interminable way.


Old Year! upon the Stage of Time
You stand to bow your last adieu;
A moment, and the prompter’s chime
Will ring the curtain down on you.
Your mien is sad, your step is slow;
You falter as a Sage in pain;
Yet turn, Old Year, before you go,
And face your audience again.


(-Robert W. Service, 1874 - 1958)




AP

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Arrow 68 replies Author Time Post
Reply Wobegone Is Me (Original post)
bigtree Jul 2015 OP
Lisa D Jul 2015 #1
bigtree Jul 2015 #4
livetohike Jul 2015 #2
bigtree Jul 2015 #5
a kennedy Jul 2015 #3
bigtree Jul 2015 #10
BainsBane Jul 2015 #6
bigtree Jul 2015 #11
glinda Jul 2015 #52
bigtree Jul 2015 #60
glinda Jul 2015 #62
monmouth4 Jul 2015 #7
hopemountain Jul 2015 #16
bigtree Jul 2015 #17
Lisa D Jul 2015 #47
kentuck Jul 2015 #8
nuxvomica Jul 2015 #9
Elwood P Dowd Jul 2015 #13
bigtree Jul 2015 #23
bigtree Jul 2015 #19
catchnrelease Jul 2015 #12
bigtree Jul 2015 #21
Lifelong Protester Jul 2015 #14
forest444 Jul 2015 #20
The Velveteen Ocelot Jul 2015 #32
glinda Jul 2015 #49
forest444 Jul 2015 #15
packman Jul 2015 #18
bigtree Jul 2015 #45
passiveporcupine Jul 2015 #22
Elwood P Dowd Jul 2015 #26
passiveporcupine Jul 2015 #31
Elwood P Dowd Jul 2015 #38
KoKo Jul 2015 #24
NRaleighLiberal Jul 2015 #25
KoKo Jul 2015 #44
glinda Jul 2015 #50
haikugal Jul 2015 #27
tazkcmo Jul 2015 #28
The Velveteen Ocelot Jul 2015 #29
sueh Jul 2015 #33
glinda Jul 2015 #51
Spitfire of ATJ Jul 2015 #30
Peacetrain Jul 2015 #34
fadedrose Jul 2015 #35
Elwood P Dowd Jul 2015 #40
Warren DeMontague Jul 2015 #41
Elwood P Dowd Jul 2015 #42
Elwood P Dowd Jul 2015 #43
Duppers Jul 2015 #36
LWolf Jul 2015 #37
csziggy Jul 2015 #39
Lisa D Jul 2015 #48
malaise Jul 2015 #46
Surya Gayatri Jul 2015 #53
Tommy_Carcetti Jul 2015 #54
ewagner Jul 2015 #55
Quayblue Jul 2015 #56
snot Jul 2015 #57
Uncle Joe Jul 2015 #58
Bluenorthwest Jul 2015 #59
bigtree Jul 2015 #63
DemocraticWing Jul 2015 #67
Bluenorthwest Jul 2015 #61
bigtree Jul 2015 #64
TexasBushwhacker Jul 2015 #65
2banon Jul 2015 #66
DemocraticWing Jul 2015 #68

Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 12:30 PM

1. I'm really going to miss Keillor on Prairie Home Companion.

Have you listened to NPR's "The Writer's Almanac" podcast with Garrison Keillor? He plans to continue with that. I know it's not the same as PHC and Lake Woebegone, but I enjoy it.

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Response to Lisa D (Reply #1)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 12:59 PM

4. yep, Lisa, his Writer's Almanac podcast is great

...not the same, no, but a small consolation.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 12:30 PM

2. Beautiful tribute bigtree

I will miss the show as well. I regret that I lived outside of Minneapolis for three years in the 80's and never went to the show!

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Response to livetohike (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 01:15 PM

5. I've missed him at Wolf Trap nearby dozens of times, as well, livetohike

...can't say if I've been the worst for it, though.

Gawd, I'm missing his show already...from the site:

A Note from the Host

The buses are in the parking lot, the mixing boards and monitors are loaded into the luggage bays, and in a few hours sixteen of us will climb aboard for the America The Beautiful tour — thirty cities — Bayfield, Wisconsin, to Palmer, Alaska. ... The Alaska State Fair, Sunday, August 30, a crowd of sun-stunned people in plaid shirts and jeans, is our last tour date, and we fly home to do a broadcast show with the full cast at the Minnesota State Fair, Friday, September 4, in front of the Grandstand ... The new season starts September 19 at the Fitz, with street dance to follow, and onward we go...


Repeat show this weekend w/Taj Mahal!

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 12:37 PM

3. My husband and I will also miss his show.......

won't know what to do for two hours on Saturday evening now.

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Response to a kennedy (Reply #3)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 01:42 PM

10. I know, right?

...lot's of time left to figure that out. Definitely later.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 01:19 PM

6. The show, I believe, is going to continue with a new host

I'm from MN, have seen Keillor around. My mom knows him back from the 60s, I suppose. I can't say I'm a fan of the show, but I do like the music.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #6)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 01:55 PM

11. I haven't warmed to him yet

...impressive individual that he appears to be. PHC is Keillor, imo. I do wish his new host the best, tho.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #11)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 12:04 AM

52. Google Chris Thile. I think you will be surprised. He also had a start on PHC when he was young.

Garrison has liked him for a long time and likewise. Chris will bring incredible music to the new show as well as Garrison will still have a lot of control I understand. It may turn into something like the Grand Ol Opry with other storied things added.
You see....I live in Lake Wobegon. haha. Not originally from here but yup....this is where i live. Big PHC fan and as big a fan of Chris Thile. Huge fan. Huge huge. We are lucky to have him. In fact I cannot believe we have him.
I may move closer to the Cities again in order to hear Chris.
Of course there is no one like Garrison. There never will be. But there is also no one like Thile. He has a new child to raise and a new marriage so MN might be a great fit along the central location with his needing to travel for his projects.

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Response to glinda (Reply #52)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 10:23 AM

60. it's funny

...I'll get to see ChrisThile live with the Punch Brothers early August at a festival in my state (including the Counting Crows, Shakey Graves and others).

Too soon for young Thile, the radio show, and me though.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #60)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 10:59 AM

62. I think of it this way

as huge a fan of PHC that I am, we could not have gotten a better and more surprising gift.
Garrison will be around I am sure.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 01:20 PM

7. Dear bigtree, you must send this to him, how he would love it....n/t

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Response to monmouth4 (Reply #7)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:17 PM

16. ^^^ absolutely, yes, bigtree! ^^^

many, many, many enjoyable moments listening to prairie home companion, and stories about the people of lake woebegone - the people of lutheran potlucks.

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Response to monmouth4 (Reply #7)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:18 PM

17. maybe

...I've heard Garrison be extremely self-effacing. I appreciate that the most about him. Maybe this last journey will help him realize how much he means to his audience.


My Career in Radio

Garrison Keillor November 2008 Issue

I’m a radio man for thirty-some years
In St. Paul, an old variety show
Like those I used to hear, my dears,
When I was a child long ago.
To critics, my show is peppered
With little bits of Bob & Ray,
Jack Benny, and Jean Shepherd,
But those critics are dying (Hooray!)
And to twenty-year-olds who were born
Too late to hear the great Fred Allen
I am the master of the form,
Sailing the airwaves like Magellan.
If a thief escapes and is not hung
He may be honored by the young.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #17)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 09:18 PM

47. You should send it to him.

It's beautifully written.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 01:28 PM

8. kick

Yep!

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 01:41 PM

9. You need more ketchup, Bigtree

Ketchup has natural mellowing agents that can get you through this, according to the Ketchup Advisory Board. I think I need some too.

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Response to nuxvomica (Reply #9)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:03 PM

13. Don't forget those Powdermilk Biscuits

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Response to Elwood P Dowd (Reply #13)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:36 PM

23. they are rather tasty and expeditious

...and they give shy persons the strength to get up and do what needs to be done.

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Response to nuxvomica (Reply #9)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:24 PM

19. it would help smooth out some of the turbulence in my life

...life flows like ketchup on your scrambled eggs.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:03 PM

12. Are you an English major??

A beautiful tribute to a national treasure.

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Response to catchnrelease (Reply #12)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:29 PM

21. I'm a bit lacking

...in excellent punctuation - and the usage of words like "peripatetic" and "euphonious."

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:07 PM

14. He's Also a Good Democrat

I heard him many times in person-at my old college, Macalester, in St. Paul where he got his start, and in Wabasha, MN before the 2004 election. I like him, and his books, both of which know how to turn a phrase.

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Response to Lifelong Protester (Reply #14)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:29 PM

20. I had no idea - but it figures.

A good Democrat, like most talented people.

I used to listen to A Prairie Home Companion on most weekends when I was a kid, and I'll never forget this segment from the '92 election.

It was early in the year, and the Bushies were busy digging up dirt on Bill Clinton. A few weeks later, Garrison Keillor announced in his soothing master of ceremonies baritone that Lake Wobegon gumshoes had uncovered a "secret" from Poppy Bush's childhood.

His mother, you see, made young George walk home from his tennis classes to build character. Once, however, on a hot summer day George felt he couldn't make it, and hailed a cab instead. He had the cab drop him a block away from home, knowing his mother would disapprove - alas, to no avail. When he showed up at the front door, feigning exhaustion from all that "walking", Dorothy greeted him with a mean scowl and said:

George, read my lips: No New Taxis!

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Response to Lifelong Protester (Reply #14)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 04:07 PM

32. I went to Macalester, too, and I also remember when

KSJR/KSJN did some broadcasts from there! Good times.

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Response to Lifelong Protester (Reply #14)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 11:54 PM

49. He is but not really a liberal as he unofficially endorsed HC.

I still have faith he will come around. He felt Bernie was great but doesn't know if he can win and he sat next to HC and liked her. Hmmmm....

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:07 PM

15. It's truly an end of an era for American radio

I can't say I know his work very well, or to have been a steadfast listener for 30+ years - as many of his listeners are - but seeing these news inevitably takes me back to my high school days, and helping my dad in his garage woodshop on the weekends. The radio was invariably set to NPR, and on weekend afternoons that always meant...

"Welcome to another edition of A Prairie Home Companion, brought to you by Powdermilk Biscuits and Ralph's Grocery. If Ralph's doesn't have it, you can probably do without it."

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:20 PM

18. I bought a box of his shows to give to my father-in-law

and this man could make crab apples like good. He was the sourest man I ever met. Had not smiled , at least in my knowledge, since the Great Depression. Life was no joy for him or those around him.
Anyway, gave him the tapes - the ones I remember was about a baseball team and another about trained song birds. My father-in-law put the tapes in his recorder/radio, put on a set of earphones and sat at the kitchen table. Damned if he didn't laugh and chuckle until tears ran down his face. Later he thanked me and when he passed several years later his wife told me he listened to those tapes several times each year.
We'll miss Garrison, a real treasure.

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Response to packman (Reply #18)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 09:04 PM

45. amazing and touching story, packman

...I know from experience how important it is to help our parents connect at the end stages of their lives. Wonderful that you were there for your dad and fantastic that Garrison helped brighten his life.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:34 PM

22. You write so beautifully

Last edited Sat Jul 25, 2015, 03:36 PM - Edit history (1)

This is exactly the way I feel about Jon leaving the Daily Show (and I'm quickly approaching 56).

Yes...the older we go the faster time flies so our experiences are often cut short.

Edited to correct my age. I am turning 65, NOT 56. I wish!

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Response to passiveporcupine (Reply #22)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:53 PM

26. Wish I was a young kid of 56.

I remember when our family had no TV (early 1950s) and listening to Fibber McGee and Molly on the Zenith tube type radio.

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Response to Elwood P Dowd (Reply #26)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 03:35 PM

31. We never had TV till I was about 12 and Mom married again

She was a single mom (divorced) with four daughters and she couldn't afford one. When did they come out anyway?

I remember Suspense radio show...we called it suspenders. Loved it. It was broadcast from 1942 to 1962. Of course we stopped listening to radio when we got a TV in the early 60's...then it was all Ed Sullivan and Lawrence Welk (gag). At first we only had black and white.

Woops, I transposed my age. I'm turning 65, not 56.

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Response to passiveporcupine (Reply #31)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 05:51 PM

38. The technology was first introduced in the late 1920s, but it didn't really become affordable

and popular for most until well after WWII. We didn't get one until the late 1950s. It picked up three or four stations, and you had to go outside and turn the antenna to keep the signal from being too snowy. Color TV didn't get big until the 1960s.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:51 PM

24. Wonderful read, Big Tree.

Lots of "endings" around these days as another era passes. That's why its so heartening to read your tribute. It softens the pain. Beautifully written by you, as usual. Thanks for sharing.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:51 PM

25. Just lovely! My wife, daughter and I got to meet him years ago after his show -

we were visiting my daughter, who was attending Carleton, and we rushed (waited outside in line, in the rain - but as a bonus, got in - and got to sit on stage!). It was captivating, magical, wonderful.

Afterward we stayed a bit - we had a brief chat with Mr. K - so tall, stately, attentive, face so full of character. He focused on asking my daughter questions - and concentrated so deeply on her answers. It became clear why he is such a great story teller - he listens, and is always collecting!

Anyway....thanks for this wonderful OP.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #25)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 08:58 PM

44. +1

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #25)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 11:55 PM

50. Yes. His shows are great live. Love the socks. Clown socks.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 02:57 PM

27. Oh how I love that show...such acceptance, humor and humanity...a little bit of Americana that we'd

all hope is still possible. *sigh* Wonderful!

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 03:02 PM

28. Next to golf

It's my fastest sleep aide.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 03:03 PM

29. PHC has always been fun. I remember how it started out -

Back around 1970-ish Keillor hosted a morning drive-time show on a small public FM radio station, KSJR. The show was often pretty hilarious, and he always played a rather strange assortment of music. I remember one time he played "Help Me, Rhonda" a bazillion times in a row. I can't remember the reason he did it but I heard it and nearly drove off the road laughing. Not too long afterwards he got an evening gig that turned into PHC. I used to know a couple of the other folks at Minnesota Public Radio and I did get to meet Keillor a couple of times. He's very tall and very quiet. I hope there will be a collection of shows available for download or CDs or something. And I hope he keeps on writing.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #29)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 04:10 PM

33. Velveteen, here's a link to the PHC site where you can listen to the shows.

I enjoy listening on Sunday, very late afternoon to early evening. It's a great way to wind down from a busy weekend.

http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #29)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 11:56 PM

51. He said he wants to get back to writing and he may be a guest on the new show.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 03:06 PM

30. He was amazing at the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner with Bill Clinton.

 

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 04:14 PM

34. The first time I saw Garrison live was in 1974

He was just starting in Mpls.. We have grown old together.. I will miss him also

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 04:18 PM

35. Bye Bye Miss American Pie

David Letterman had on the fellow who made this song famous, and it's a really long song....so sad and so beautiful in its way... Can't think of the guy's name....he was on the show I think the last month it was on. Audience went bananas over it. Me too, tears in my eyes...

Haven't heard Keillor for years because of the TV, and I must try to catch him again before it's too late...is he on internet radio anywhere?

And yes, I liked him too..

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #35)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 05:55 PM

40. Are you talking about Don McLean? (nm)

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #35)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 05:55 PM

41. Don McLean.

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #35)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 06:06 PM

43. Here is today's show. Just starting......

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 05:21 PM

36. That was so lovely!

Ah, the decades of memories--hubs and I have been fans from the 70s.

The movie was fun but couldn't capture its real essence.


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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 05:26 PM

37. Okay. I'm sad now.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 05:55 PM

39. NPR could re-run Prairie Home Companion forever

They've already been doing that with Car Talk - though it's getting dated with questions about 15 year old cars.

PHC would be more like the Lawrence Welk Show which has been re-run on PBS for at least thirty years. PHC is timeless. While a few jokes might lose some of their punch, most of them will hold up for a long time.

If you don't think it's possible, remember that Lawrence Welk stopped making shows in 1982 and he died in 1992 but the show lives on.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #39)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 09:23 PM

48. I agree. Prairie Home Companion is timeless.

I love Car Talk too. And I'm the least "mechanical" person you ever met. But those two guys crack me up.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2015, 09:13 PM

46. Beautifully written

A magnificent tribute

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 04:26 AM

53. Thank you, bigtree, for posting the estimed Keillor's announcement of impending retirement.

 

As I live abroad, I've not been a regular listener. Until the advent of internet streaming, I didn't have access to PBS.

Keillor is a national jewel and legend, both for his droll, but gentle skewering of Middle America, and for his progressive values.

Also, I'm grateful for the embedded link to Keillor's exquisite evisceration of the book by French philosopher, Bernard-Henri Levy, 'AMERICAN VERTIGO -
Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville.

Keillor's delicious dissection of the French "faux" vision of America was delightful.

Being a French-speaker myself, and having often bewailed the French penchant for pedantry, I LOLed all the way through.

How did I miss that 'trouvaille' back in 2006? Didn't have internet broadband and wasn't active on DU. I guess that explains it.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 07:40 AM

54. I grew up listening to him. He's an American treasure.

Cynics might accuse him of pandering to a false sense of nostalgia in his storytelling and style. And maybe in part they might be right. Lake Wobegon came from a time and place that never really was.

But nonetheless, the man has a knack for putting a homespun, down to earth face on higher minded thinking. Not to mention he's a pretty good liberal. And he's a hell of a storyteller. (His singing voice leaves something to be desired, but I'll forgive him for that.)

His soft, gentle humor makes one wonder how Mark Twain may have sounded if he had a radio show of his own.

I knew inevitably he'd have to retire. But part of me will feel a hole in my soul, remembering how my parents put his show on during our Saturday drives (or Sunday drives when they reran his show the next afternoon) and he'd manage to suck me, a kid way outside his target demographics, into his odd, but wonderfully drawn world.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 09:34 AM

55. I was fortunate enough to attend a live show....

...in the late eighties...it was supposed to be one of his last shows because he was getting married and moving to Sweden (?...if my memory is correct.) It was at a Minnesota League of Municipalities Conference...so naturally it centered on Lake Woebegone as a municipality...his monologue was mixed with comedy and sentimentality and he ended it with a song he composed for the occasion..it was "Another Spring in Minnesota"...

Now I'm not a huge fan of the State of Minnesota but that song has haunted me for over 30 years...because it talks about the life we lead up here in the Upper Midwest/Great Lakes Region..and reflects beautifully on our values. The one verse of the song still plays in my mind and means even more to me now as I grow older..it went:

Come.
Dance with me old friend
This time I'll hear the music.

I've tried to hear the "music" ever since.

Thanks Garrison...

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 09:45 AM

56. I absolutely love Prairie Home Companion

I used to think it weird, me being a 30 something black woman, but the kindness of his soul shines through the speakers and that's what truly matters after all.

This is so beautifully written, brought me a couple of tears.

I agree, you should send this to him.

Peace to you bigtree.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 10:02 AM

57. (Wheez--gasp)

thank gawd.
I enjoyed it at least in part for a long time, but the more he tried to sing, the less.
He was and remains an inspired story teller.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 10:09 AM

58. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, bigtree.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 10:21 AM

59. I'm not a fan, but it is always good to know who is...a couple of quick quotes

 

"I favor marriage between people whose body parts are not similar. I’m sorry, but same-sex marriage seems timid, an attempt to save on wardrobe and accessories. Marrying somebody from your team. Still, it’s probably good for them to have to fight for the right to marry. My parents eloped against strong opposition from both families and they were in love for the rest of their lives and held hands and were tender on into their 80s. Of course they always had fresh strawberries."

The words of a bigoted asshole. Now let's look at his words for Non Christians at Christmas time:

Unitarians listen to the Inner Voice and so they have no creed that they all stand up and recite in unison, and that’s their perfect right, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong to rewrite “Silent Night.” If you don’t believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn “Silent Night” and leave ours alone. This is spiritual piracy and cultural elitism and we Christians have stood for it long enough. And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write “Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we’ll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah”? No, we didn’t.
Christmas is a Christian holiday — if you’re not in the club, then buzz off. Celebrate Yule instead or dance around in druid robes for the solstice. Go light a big log, go wassailing and falalaing until you fall down, eat figgy pudding until you puke, but don’t mess with the Messiah."


That's bigoted stuff and not my cup of nostalgia. His apology for that piece was extremely dishonest and full of stinking bullshit.

I will be happy when anti gay and anti Jewish bigots are no longer cherished on the left. Between Garrison and the Pope I sure don't see much community for LGBT in this Party or on this site.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #59)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 11:04 AM

63. Keillor's no bigot

..so, your latest attempt to paint anyone with any discouraging word about LGBT individuals as bigoted and anti-gay is a big fail here, as well.

First of all, the 'wardrobe' line is a joke; not meant, perhaps, for the humor-deficient. Secondly, his remark about the opposition to marry wasn't his best attempt at humor, but it's a harmless way of saying that adversity can actually strengthen relationships, in the end.

And your shallow interpretation of his remarks about Christmas suggest you haven't the depth of reasoning to understand viewpoints other than your own - yet you so regularly castigate others for disparaging yours.

By the way. Keillor is as sardonic about himself, perhaps more, than he jokes about the lives of others. This isn't hatred or bigotry, it's gentle humor aimed at folks who take their lives way too seriously. It's satire of the viewpoint of an old stick-in-the-mud like himself, for gawd's sake. You're supposed to groan, holler, and throw things at him, like you would a sardonic parent bemoaning kids today. It's a perfect opportunity he provides to take your own stand and hold your own views as superior. It's self-effacing - second-rate comedy at worst - because he fully realizes his liberal audience is actively judging his outdated perspective by their own enlightenment.

He's a supporter of gay marriage and an opponent of measures to ban the right of gays and lesbians to marry in his state.

...the well-known liberal talks about why he decided to wade into the marriage amendment debate, as a high-profile opponent of the ballot measure that would in effect ban gay marriage in Minnesota. “Love trumps government, and government should not stand in the way of people who love each other,” he tells KSTP.

http://bringmethenews.com/2012/09/19/interview-keillor-on-the-future-of-his-show-gay-marriage-debate/



Garrison Keillor issued an apology for the “misunderstanding” he created in a column, an apparently “tongue in cheek” look at parenting and the good old days.

Keillor:

March 17, 2007 |

Ordinarily I don't like to use this space to talk about my newspaper column but the most recent column aroused such angry reactions that I thought I should reply. The column was done tongue-in-cheek, always a risky thing, and was meant to be funny, another risky thing these days, and two sentences about gay people lit a fire in some readers and sent them racing to their computers to fire off some jagged e-mails. That's okay. But the underlying cause of the trouble is rather simple.

I live in a small world — the world of entertainment, musicians, writers — in which gayness is as common as having brown eyes. Ever since I was in college, gay men and women have been friends, associates, heroes, adversaries, and in that small world, we talk openly and we kid each other and think nothing of it. But in the larger world, gayness is controversial. In almost every state, gay marriage would be voted down if put on a ballot. Gay men and women have been targeted by the right wing as a hot-button issue. And so gay people out in the larger world feel besieged to some degree. In the small world I live in, they feel accepted and cherished as individuals, but in the larger world they may feel like Types. My column spoke as we would speak in my small world and it was read by people in the larger world and thus the misunderstanding. And for that, I am sorry. Gay people who set out to be parents can be just as good parents as anybody else, and they know that, and so do I.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #59)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 11:39 AM

67. On the other hand, he vigourously opposed the gay marriage ban in MN in 2012.

He's been a longtime supporter of gay marriage and equal rights, and by all accounts he's friendly and supportive of many LGBTQ people. I don't think he's a homophobe.

That being said, he wrote a dumb essay, for which he apologized insufficiently. His whole schtick is mocking how rural people perceive the world, and his essay came from that place. You have to be careful when reading Keillor to note when he's engaging in parody or opinion, and while that essay was in parody of the ignorance and stereotypes that underpin homophobia, he went about it in the wrong way. He made a lot of people think he didn't like queer people, and that will tarnish his legacy despite it not being true.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 10:46 AM

61. Garrison, who has had 3 marriages with children from 2 says:

 

I grew up the child of a mixed-gender marriage that lasted until death parted them, and I could tell you about how good that is for children, and you could pay me whatever you think it’s worth.

Back in the day, that was the standard arrangement. Everyone had a yard, a garage, a female mom, a male dad, and a refrigerator with leftover boiled potatoes in plastic dishes with snap-on lids…

And now gay marriage will produce a whole new string of hyphenated relatives. In addition to the ex-stepson and ex-in-laws and your wife’s first husband’s second wife, there now will be Bruce and Kevin’s in-laws and Bruce’s ex, Mark, and Mark’s current partner, and I suppose we’ll get used to it.

The country has come to accept stereotypical gay men—sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers and go in for flamboyance now and then themselves. If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control. Parents are supposed to stand in back and not wear chartreuse pants and black polka-dot shirts. That’s for the kids. It’s their show."
http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/03/garrison_keillors_apology

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #61)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 11:09 AM

64. it's satire

...not meant to be taken seriously; basically designed for disagreement.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #61)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 11:30 AM

65. Holy cow. What an asshole!

While I do enjoy Prairie Home Companion somewhat, I never really researched Keillor's personal background. I'm totally with Dan Savage on this one. It sounds like retirement is EXACTLY what Garrison needs to do.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 11:38 AM

66. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece bigtree.. are you a published writer?

 

if not, you ought to be. this piece was exquisite by every measure. Also delightfully amused with your description of the music heard as you stumbled on to Garrison's show for the first time in the beautiful setting you described is especially noted as it happens, I've got my mandolin slung at the ready as I was pickin' out tunes and riffs while reading morning emails, and such with my Sunday morning coffee..

it was such a pleasure to come upon the Iceland post filled with beautiful images, and then to stumble upon this writing fills me with great pleasure this morning. Thank you !

Btw, you're still a young'n . I've got you beat by 10 years. Still, certainly related to every bit of imagery in this piece.. again thanks for making my morning a bit brighter!

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 11:44 AM

68. I'll miss Garrison Keillor

Although it's important to remember he isn't gone yet. And even when he's gone, I doubt he ever truly will disappear. The one time I met him was at a book signing, he was very nice and talked with me for a couple minutes. Everybody that came up, he asked about who they were. In my case we talked about my career plans since I was in college.

What I enjoy the most about APHC is the spotlight on wonderful musical talent. It's one of the best places to listen to what has come to be called "Americana" music, and I think Thile fits right into that legacy because he's an amazing musician. The comedy is good too, and I suspect that much of Keillor's bits will survive after his retirement since he's not going to disappear complete. Once he's gone for real, I do worry about the future of the show.

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