October 2010

By Wink

On a few earlier occasions we ran some essays by Evangeline McAllister. In the 1930’s she wrote for the Minatare (Nebr) Free Press, under the heading of “The Sage Hen.”

If you have not already done so, please go back and read those original articles to get acquainted.

With an eye toward societal attitudes of 2010, today we reprint her October 29, 1936 article. We apologize for the length, but felt it best to reprint uncut.

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“What Price Sympathy”
by Evangeline McAllister
(October 29, 1936)

I can understand the dislike of the wealthy for President Roosevelt. But why the poor should turn against him…. The very unfortunate who, before the Roosevelt regime, were thumbing rides from desolation to desperation, today are eating three times on relief, or CCC; VCC, or WPA wages and making the air blue with maledictions on their benefactor.

Why?

Is it the ingratitude and envy the poor relations feel toward their benevolent rich uncle? Or just the great American instinct to strafe the Umpire? It reminds me of James Blaine’s remark when he heard a certain man was abusing him.

“I don’t see what he has against me,” Blaine sighed, “I never did him a favor.”

It’s my guess that 99 out of every hundred such, who are worrying about the terrible tax burden Roosevelt is imposing upon their grandchildren, have nothing to tax, and without some Good Samaritan like the president to save them and their children from starving, wouldn’t have any grandchildren either.
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The common people are supposed to be those who believe only what they can see, and but half of that. Even on that basis, there should be a few votes lost to Roosevelt.

In the course of … well, let’s say several administrations, in which I have enjoyed the privileges of American citizenship, I have never before seen so much actual tangible improvement to show for our tax money as we have about us today … improved roads, bridges, parks, old and new, trees planted, etc. Human improvements too … the old, sheltered and fed … boys and girls at that in-between stage between high school and adulthood given work that enabled many to stay in school … others given jobs which paid for their own keep with some left over for the folks at home.

Those whose business required them to be on the road during the hard winters of 1931, ‘32 and ‘33 will recall that they were black with hitchhikers. Shuffling, hopeless, sheepish … bold, arrogant, demanding … old men, boys and women … little families, one baby in arms and another one or two or three sitting on the family suitcase … trying to get back home to the Folks in Iowa or to that nice Mr. Brown, who promised them work in the summer of 1928. But now, if they had only known it, that nice Mr. Brown was having his own troubles, and was laying off, not putting on, help.

Against the advice of wiser people, I used to pick them up and pump them. In that way, they paid for their transportation, whether they realized it or not. One man I remember especially. It was in the fall of 1933, and he was heading east from Scottsbluff along the paved highway toward Minatare. It was toward evening, but he was bent beneath a heavy pack and limping, so I picked him up. He was going to Conrad Hessler’s to work in the beets. He had found someway that Conrad needed helpers. He told me he hailed from Akron, Ohio, the rubber goods town … that last winter, of the 27,000 men normally employed in Akron industries, but 3,000 had regular work, “And I’ll tell you lady, if it hadn’t been for the warm winter, we’d have seen revolution … That was all that saved us … the warm winter.”

A dangerous Red? A vile un-American type? No. Men do not come a thousand miles from home to limp along under heavy packs and bend their backs in unaccustomed labor because they are dangerous radicals. This was just a man with a family … a wife and two children, who was seeing America, not through the eyes of the “Everything will be lovely bye and bye” school, but first hand.

One day the same fall, I was coming into Minatare from the south, and a west-bound freight just beat me to the crossing. While I waited, I happened to count the men and boys clinging to one side of that freight train, who were presumably headed for California. There for forty-five of them. I have always had a curiosity to know how many there were on the other side.

And then, in the spring of 1933 that terrible destroyer, that undisciplined spender, Franklin D Roosevelt took office… and the highways that once gave a good imitation of Fifth Avenue at the dinner hour, except perhaps for the costumes, became strangely deserted. There were hitchhikers on but one side of the road at a time … and then no hitchhikers to speak of. The pool rooms, too, looked lonesome. So many boys in the CCC camps. One mother, who had hardscrabble to get by with her family, told me:

“I was worried for fear George would take cold on that work. He wasn’t used to being outdoors. But when he came home, he had good clothes, warm wool, good underwear, socks, jackets, everything he needed, and good ones too.”

The money he sent home helped the family mightily, and the five dollars George had left for himself was more than he had in any given year before.

George was a good boy, just out of high school, and through the men in charge of the camp he became interested in forestry. So after his time in the CCC was up, he went back in and saved enough with other jobs to go to agricultural college for a year, where he took forestry. George is married now and may never achieve his ambition to be a forest ranger. But how much cleaner and better all around was his experience than if Mr. Roosevelt had been … say, Mr. Shylock. Say what you will, a year in the CCC was up, he went back in good agricultural college beat two years in anybody’s poolroom.

And incidentally, George planted some trees.

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I’ve got some good news, and some better news.

The good news is, the next installment in the Batman series is set to start filming this summer. And it already has a title: “The Dark Knight Rises.”

I am kind of excited about this new film. I was really reluctant to see the last one, because I did not want to think of myself as one of the “pity viewers” who only watched it (and raved about it) because of the [unfortunate] death of Heath Ledger. However, when I finally got around to seeing it, I agreed that it was a masterful film.

But I digress. The better news is, it will not be filmed in 3D! Apparently the director, Christopher Nolan, has the integrity not to use the visual gimmicks that are all too common in 3D films ($20 says this crashing car will come flying at me). Who knew any director would have this level of integrity?

The article I read about this says that making it in 3D would be “sure to add another $300 million to its grosses,” however, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that.

I eventually buckled (and enjoyed) The Dark Knight, but I promise you if this next film came out in 3D I would NEVER watch it.

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So many of our readers are familiar with the Evangeline McAllister (AKA the Sage Hen). Her articles were some of the most popular posts here on Winkest Link.

Friday, October 29th will mark the 74th anniversary of another one of her published articles. So make sure to come back Friday to read it.

Why are we commemorating the 74th anniversary of the original publication? Because the coincidence between us planning on posting her article this week, and the anniversary of its original publish date is too good to pass up.

So while you wait so needlessly patiently for the article to be published, we ask that you go back and read her previous articles.

“Ode to a ‘Tired Liberal’”

1936: Evangeline S. McAllister vs. the KKK

Evangeline vs. KKK, Part 1

Evangeline vs. KKK, Part 2

Evangeline vs. KKK, Part 3

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by Wink

Virginia Thomas might be willing to forgive Anita Hill if she apologizes to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for what ‘she did’ to him.

Mrs. Thomas’ message, left on Miss Hill’s answering machine, said “I would love you to consider an apology some time and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did.”

According to Mrs. Thomas, there is only one possible liar here, and it is Anita Hill.

And, just like God, Mrs. Thomas is willing to forgive!

Isn’t righteousness a wonderful thing?

Mrs. Thomas, are you naïve enough to think your husband could not possibly have sleazed on a woman a long time ago?

Imagine that. A man in a position of power, making suggestive comments to a beautiful young coworker in his office. Naaaaaah !

I don’t know for certain that Clarence Thomas sleazed on Miss Hill, any more than I ‘know’ OJ killed his ex-wife. The evidence though, is pretty compelling.

Mrs. Thomas, have you ever doubted someone else when you heard them say… “My husband/wife/child would NEVER ___________(fill in with a random bad act)” ?

Love is blind, and pretty stupid, and ‘denial’ is a very powerful force.

Plenty of sleazes and scalawags have held high office though. Ben Franklin was known to be ‘grabby,’ if you catch my drift.

So, distasteful as it is, I don’t know if his (alleged) lewd behavior should preclude Thomas from holding high office.

My frustration with Clarence Thomas is not his sleazy behavior, it is the fact that, at best, he was an average litigator. At best.

There were thousands of other lawyers or judges who would have been much more qualified for this very important position.

If President Bush felt obligated to pick a black candidate, I am sure there were a few hundred intelligent, capable and proven candidates. “Proven” means more than 43 years old, with many years of actual decisions under their belt.

Thomas was not just young, he was, and is, shallow. His ABA rating was the least favorable of any confirmed Supreme Court nominee since the Eisenhower administration.

His selection was the beginning of downward trend in U.S. politics. We have stopped insisting that the candidates be smarter than us.

The new American political reality:
Science – bad.
Snooty colleges – bad.
People who enunciate – bad.

Give me somebody who doesn’t know squat, as long as he agrees with me… Give me Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. Give me G. W. Bush in the White House. Give me Sarah Palin.

All national candidates should submit to an IQ test and an American history exam.

It will never happen, and the pinhead parade has only just begun….

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In Lincoln, Nebraska, an inmate of the Lancaster County jail filed a lawsuit against the county for feeding him a pork dinner. (Read the article here)

He is demanding $250,000 for “violating his constitutional rights” and also causing him mental anguish.

His lawsuit states that he “described himself as a strict advocate of Islam who follows the dietary restrictions that bar Muslims from eating pork.”

Now while I completely support religions being able to eat whatever [non-human] food they wish, I question that this man is a “strict advocate of Islam.”

After all, he is currently serving 3-5 years in prison for cocaine distribution. Where is that allowed in Islamic doctrine?

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By Wink

(Warning: There is an “I dare you” challenge at the end of this article. Take the challenge….if you dare….)

A few years back I wrote an article about my ever-shrinking attention span.

In that article I described my fondness for my I-Pod. At that point I had it loaded with about 1200 songs. The I-Pod had a somewhat-limited capacity, so I had to choose the songs very carefully.

1200 seemed like a lot of songs…

Technology being what it is though, I was already out of date when I wrote that.

My oldest son skipped the whole “I-Pod” thing and went directly to a Zune. Knowing what a music-ophile, (Musicologist? Music-philiac? Muse?) I was, he later got me my own Zune.

The Zune memory is so big that I have virtually no limit on the amount of music I can put on it.

No practical limit? My brain went into high gear. I started with the original 1200 songs, and then added another 500 ‘must-must have’ songs. Still, I was nowhere near my Zune capacity.

I then started adding ‘pretty good’ songs from artists who I really liked. This added another (approx) 500 songs.

How about a few good songs by artists I otherwise don’t necessarily care for? Hello Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Toby Keith!

Again, nowhere near capacity. Let’s find some really good songs by those one-hit wonders. (‘Sunshine’ by Jonathan Edwards anyone?). That was about 100 more songs.

Some old (Rick Nelson), some new (Rise Against), some borrowed, some blues.

Blues? Gotta have some B.B. King and Buddy Guy. With enough searching I found the entire collection of Robert Johnson (‘Wiki’ that if you don’t know who he is…)

Show tunes! Oliver, Spamalot, Wicked!

How about more classical music? Didn’t Vivaldi do something I liked?

You know, bluegrass is always fun to listen to. Where are you, Ricky Skaggs?

Bluegrass? How about the straight banjo music of Roy Clark?

‘Dueling Banjos’!

Yakety Sax??? EVERYBODY should have Yakety Sax on their playlist. (I am trying to figure out how to make it the ringtone on my phone). Any other Boots Randolph songs?

Ackkk! I forgot comedy. Got some Mitch Hedberg, Adam Sandler & Demetri Martin. Got Steve Martin’s ‘King Tut’ and ‘Hello Muddah-Hello Faddah’ by Allan Sherman.

(Do yourself a big favor and add Monty Pythons ‘Bookshop’ to your personal playlist.)

Jon Stewart’s audio version of “America, the Book”? A RIOT. Gotta have the whole thing.

I have a whole separate playlist for Christmas/holiday music, hundreds of songs including Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, the Carpenters, Mannheim Steamroller, etc. I have the Bob Dylan Christmas album!! And the David Bowie/Bing Crosby duet…. Really…

I have the Tonight Show theme by Doc Severinsen. Hey, Chubby Checker!

I have that famous speech by Lou Gehrig, “Who’s on First?”.

Yeah, I could add videos to help eat up some of the memory, but music just appeals to me more.

So now I am up to 3200+ songs. And STILL I don’t have, or want, the entire collection of any artist (Robert Johnson excepted). Goodness knows I don’t need EVERY Beatles song.

Your challenge, Mr. Phelps, should you decide to accept it, is to suggest a great song that I do not ALREADY have on my playlist. Granted, I make all final decisions on what is or is not a great song, but the reward is awesome…..

I will give PUBLIC KUDOS, right here on Winkest Link, to anyone who can name such a song….

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