Wednesday, October 18, 2017

There are worse things than taking a knee

 
'Well, I guess he knew what he was getting into.'
-- Donald Trump
speaking to pregnant
widow of Green Beret

I am from south Louisiana. When I was growing up, there were certain colorful words you might have used to describe such a "man" as Donald Trump.

One who just said what he said to the pregnant widow of a Green Beret killed in combat in Niger.

"Goddamn son of a bitch" would be where the description began. The rest I must leave to your imagination.


The tragedy of my home state -- the tragedy of my country -- is that so few still have the moral imagination or the moral vocabulary to call a goddamn son of a bitch a "goddamn son of a bitch" when they see the goddamn son of a bitch.

Worse, we elected the goddamn son of a bitch president of the seemingly God-damned United States of America.

CBS News continues where I no longer can:

President Trump told the widow of one of the soldiers killed in Niger that he "knew what he was getting into," said U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Miami), who said she was in the car during the phone call.

Myeshia Johnson was on her way to the airport to greet the remains of her husband, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, when she received the call from the commander-in-chief, CBS Miami reports.

"David was a young man from our community who gave his life for our country," Wilson told CBS Miami. "He's a hero. I was in the car when President Trump called. He never said the word hero. He said to the wife, 'Well, I guess he knew what he was getting into.' How insensitive can you be?"

*  *  *

CBS Miami reports that after it reached out to Wilson a second time, she repeated that the president told Myeshia that her husband knew what he was signing up for when he enlisted, adding "it still hurts." Wilson said Myeshia was livid and "cried forever" after Trump's call.

Johnson was killed Oct. 4th with three other soldiers in Niger. U.S. officials said they believe extremists linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were responsible for the attack.

The U.S. and Niger forces in a joint patrol were leaving a meeting with tribal leaders and were in trucks. They were ambushed by 40-50 militants in vehicles and on motorcycles.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: God save the Welk

 
There's no future, no future, no future for Welk. Or is there?

That is the existential question we face this week on 3 Chords & the Truth.

The other day, if you've been hanging around these climes, you may have met Sheena. Sheena was a punk rocker. Now, Sheena's a mom with a problem.

As we learned then:
You've put safety pins in all the right places. Your hair is perfectly spiked. You have all your favorite punk rock albums in hand, and now you're heading for your brand-new Stereo Theater home-entertainment center.

And what do you find? Judy and little Jeffy are watching reruns of the
Lawrence Welk Show on public television. "F*@# THAT S#!%!" your mind is screaming as you set the LPs on the kitchen table and check on the popovers you've got in the Magic Maid oven.

It's a dilemma. You believe in your children's right to explore -- to
even embrace -- new ideas, no matter how bizarre or radical. Even when it's the Lawrence Welk Show. After all, you experimented with Welk back in high school, and it's not like you became an addict or anything. BUT . . . BUT . . . YOU JUST WANT TO SIT BACK AND LISTEN TO YOUR OLD CLASH AND SEX PISTOLS RECORDS, DAMMIT!

It Just Isn't. Fair.

You pensively tug on the safety pin in your cheek -- OUCH!-- as you
take a pull on your fifth of Early Times. There must be a reasonable way to untangle this musical disconnect threatening to pull apart your family.

And the ladies in the PTA definitely frown upon child murder.

What to do?
WELL, here's what you do. You listen to this week's edition of the Big Show. It is here that we bridge the gap, learn the young'uns and remind us old'uns about the central truth of this here program.

There's only two kinds of music: good and bad. The bad, we don't mess with.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sunday, October 08, 2017

POTUS' poodle wouldn't know dignity from dog doo

Click for full-size version

This is rich -- the veep splits a football game in a snit. A highly calculated snit.

Mike Pence doesn't know chicken shit from chicken salad . . . or dignity from dog doo. But he and his lunatic boss, Donald Trump, do know that the only political play they have is to keep the booboisie all riled up about anything but the administration's incompetence and criminality. Thus, the faux outrage and all the ragingly fake claptrap about players disrespecting "our soldiers, our flag and our national anthem."

What National Football Players and lots of others would like is for American cops to stop disrespecting minorities' lives and constitutional rights, and for politicians like Mad King Donald and his pet poodle Pencey to cease and desist their contempt of our intelligence and their constitutional oaths.


Oh. . . . For what it's worth, Donald Trump and Mike Pence haven't "dignified" any event they've ever attended. Quite the contrary, actually.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Fear and loathing in high-school radio


Who's the leader of the station that's made for you and me?

N-O-T  Y-O-U,  teen-age disc joc-key.

And when it comes to our public schools and the people who run them, the exercise of authority over the inmates students can, indeed, quickly become a real Mickey Mouse operation. This usually comes down to raw politics . . . and the sad reality that once they turn 18, the kids who sat in the back of the classroom are eligible to vote for school board.

Another other sad reality -- and this is one teenagers generally learn long before graduation -- is that what you learn in civics class is 75 percent aspiration and only 25 percent actual execution.

Take your constitutional rights as public-school students, for example. Despite the case law on, say, high-schoolers' First Amendment rights being pretty well settled since the early 1970s -- and since 1943 in the case of those choosing to not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or the national anthem -- every year, some principal or some school board will try to show some dissident somewhere who the real boss is.

I think you can get the right answer to this question even without the benefit of a multiple-choice exam.

So, every year some principal tries to censor or shut down some high school newspaper or, this year, threaten prep football players with "fire and fury" if they take a knee against racial injustice during the Star-Spangled Banner on Friday night. And unless the student knows a really good lawyer. . . .

Because people are stupid, politicians feel the need to be even stupider. It's a matter of solidarity with the electorate. Mostly, though, it's a matter of getting re-elected.

WBRH bumper sticker, circa 1978
WHEN I was growing up in Louisiana, and on the student side of the power equation, things could get a little weird.  This had a lot to do with how politics pervade everything in Louisiana . . . and how politics in the Gret Stet tend to have this certain Venezuelan je ne sais quoi.

This is where the "fear, loathing and radio" part of the post kicks in.

In any banana republic, the first lesson one learns -- or else -- is not to piss off the Maximum Leader. This goes double for the party newspaper and state radio. When the party organ is your local high-school newspaper and state radio is, for instance, the student beacon of Hometown High, students may have their First Amendment rights, but the Maximum Leaders in the principal's office and on the school board still have leverage.

Like money, for instance. Like the power to hire or fire faculty, for another. Like just shutting this troublesome radio station the hell down. When push comes to shove, "freedom of the press" belongs to him who owns one.

Does the Maximum Leader have to threaten a thing? Nope. Sane employees with house notes to pay and kids to feed know who butters their toast. And Maximum Leader Is Watching YOU.

IN THE CASE of WBRH, the radio voice of Baton Rouge Magnet High School, the licensee isn't the Autonomous Students of Baton Rouge High. It is the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board.

Can the state exercise prior restraint against students who staff official, publicly funded media? Theoretically, no, if Maximum Leader cares to pay lip service to the U.S. Constitution.

But does the constitution require the state to fund a radio station or any other official organ? As far as I know . . . no. There's always an angle.

Especially in Louisiana, a state filled with geometry savants.

In banana republics, the peasants always are seditious, Maximum Leader always has an itchy trigger finger, and the employees on the bottom of the government's food chain always are nervous.

WBRH radio now takes you to the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, where Smiley Anders' universally read local column has just rolled off the press. It is June 1, 1981.


IT IS DELUSIONAL to think that everybody who was anybody at the East Baton Rouge Parish schools central office didn't either read, hear about or field jokesters' telephone calls about Smiley Anders' column that day.

It likewise would be delusional to think that the WBRH general manager, radio broadcasting and electronics teacher John Dobbs, didn't quite reasonably think "Oh, shit . . ." when he saw Smiley's column. Or was told about it in no uncertain terms.


We again take you to the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, where Smiley Anders' universally read local column has just rolled off the press. It is June 3, 1981.


MY LAST airshift at WBRH came a couple of years before that -- I graduated in May 1979. And it's true: It was a tradition and, thus, a coincidence.

But there's no denying that it was an epic and happy coincidence. Well, not for Mr. Dobbs, but still . . . coincidence or not, in the world of student media, you take your shots when you're able, and you count your victories when you can.


In my student-media days, I counted a few victories. I also racked up some defeats and collected a couple of battle scars.

First, there was the time I helped introduce Baton Rouge to the Sex Pistols when I brought my British-import 45 of "God Save the Queen" to the studios of 90.1 FM. Maximum Leader was watching. Or listening, actually.

After a few spins during the fall of 1977, "God Save the Queen" was as banned in Baton Rouge as it was on the BBC. Mr. Dobbs even confiscated my 45. I got it back when I promised never to bring it back.


State-Times, Sept. 12, 1977. Click for full-size version

THEN, maybe a couple of months later, there was the time we had Fannie Godwin on Teen Forum, the 20-watt, high-school FM radio version of Meet the Press. I'm sure it was indistinguishable from Bill Monroe's NBC program but for the acne.

Godwin was a local activist, vice-president of the Baton Rouge ACLU chapter and a "school board watcher," meaning "watchdog" in regular American English. In the fall of 1977, the organization had undertaken the controversial, nay, subversive practice of . . . passing out booklets to high-school students informing them about their constitutional rights.

In 1977, this was a full-blown, red-alert controversy in Baton Rouge. I'm sure it would be today, too. 

The Other Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook informed East Baton Rouge Parish students, right there on the cover, that "You are not in the Army. You are not in prison. It only seems like it. . . ." This was because 40 years ago in my hometown, in most high schools, it seemed like you were in the Army. In a few, notably Zachary High School under Obergrüppenführer Jerry Boudreaux, some freethinkers swore it was a lot more like a prison.

This seems to be the part that got folks the most riled up. Naturally, it involved the First Amendment.
You can speak your mind, wear buttons, and arm bands, hand out literature, picket, form clubs and invite speakers, all on school grounds as long as you don't clearly interrupt the normal school process. It will be up to the administration to prove disruption. You do not need prior permission (even though the parish handbook says you do) to speak, wear buttons, hold meetings, and form clubs.
THE PARISH school board called the Zachary High administration, parents, students and good Christian townspeople of Zachary before it to mount a defense against the horrible allegations with which the American Civil Liberties Union was filling reporters' minds -- and stories.

Obergrüppenführer Boudreaux denied all. Parents decried the civil-liberties troublemakers. Students took the microphone to pull what we'd later come to recognize as total Tracy Flick moves.

"A former Zachary student, who did not give his name, said he was 'unlucky enough' to have also attended other high schools," State-Times reporter Linda Lightfoot wrote in the Sept. 16, 1977, edition of the evening paper. 
"Nobody makes us salute the flag," he said. "We are proud to be a Christian community.“

He added that the "ACLU is dead wrong if it is saying Jerry Boudreaux is running the school in a totalitarian manner."

Darwin Williams. a senior at Zachary, said a "glint of Communism" shows through in the ACLU literature.

Jill Wilson, editor at the Zachary High school paper, said that the ACLU leaflet seemed to imply that she could say anything she wanted to say in the school paper. “Well, I don't want it that way," she said.
State-Times, Sept. 16, 1977. Click for full-size version

IN ZACHARY, obviously there was no pravda in Izvestia and no izvestia in Pravda.

This was the milieu amid which WBRH had Fannie Godwin, second-ranking "commie" in all the parish, on Teen Forum. Charles Knighten was the moderator; I was one of the panelists.

We were keen to know about these constitutional rights students possessed. And we talked much about the ACLU's alternative student handbook.

A just-graduated friend -- a former WBRH staffer -- had dropped by the studio as we were about to tape the program. He told me of pre-performance prayers by the drama students and teacher, suggesting that would make for a good line of questioning.

It was a good topic to quiz the local ACLU vice-president about. If you were (1.) an independent journalist at (2.) a news-media outlet (3.) somewhere in the United States of America.

My journalism and civics teachers would have told me I was, WBRH was, and Louisiana was. Facts on the ground would come to indicate (1.) no, (2.) no, and (3.) "What have you been smoking?"


We thought the show went swimmingly and that Fannie was a great guest. After all, her needling of members during school board meetings surely was high performance art before anyone had heard of performance art.

Someone somewhere in the Maximum Leader ranks thought otherwise. Apparently, I had passed classified material to the enemy.

I was off the Teen Forum panel. And I don't think Teen Forum was back for a second season.


SO, what have I learned in these 40 years since my high-school radio days?

Well . . . I'll tell you.

I've learned that WBRH is made of sturdy stuff. Baton Rouge High's FM station has survived many Maximum Leaders in the school board central office, has endured the politics that infest every single damn thing in my home state, and has grown exponentially despite it all . . . by sticking to the music. Teen Forum still is dead as a door nail, though.

I've learned that digging through old hometown newspapers from one's salad days sure knocks the rose color off your glasses right quick. Ugliness in black and white beats the crap out of nostalgia and sentimentalism every time. (I also am reminded of why I got the hell out of Baton Rouge -- for the last time -- nearly 30 years ago. According to contemporary headlines, things there haven't much improved.)


I've learned that even though I disagree with the ACLU on some things, America damn well needs the ACLU.

Finally, I've learned from the latest effort by "good, Christian Americans" to vilify and intimidate those who, in protest of injustice, take a knee for the national anthem that some things never change. At all.

I have learned that, in this country, there is a wide gulf between the rights society tells people they possess and the rights society permits them to exercise in peace.
 

BATON ROUGE HIGH,  God bless it, was not the Army and was not a prison. Despite the best malevolent efforts of Louisiana's various Maximum Leaders, my old school was a great old school . . . and still is. There, I learned pretty much everything I needed to know in life.

College was just for the advanced degree in drinking.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: Listen here, not to the voices there


Listen, my friends.

I have something important to tell you.

Listen, my friends.

It's a matter of life and death.

Listen, my friends.

If you listen to the Big Show now . . .

Listen, my friends . . .

You won't be able to hear the voices in Himself's head.

Listen, my friends.

One thing's better than the others.

LISTEN, my friends.

And it's 3 Chords & the Truth out of Omaha.

Listen, my friends.

There's madness afoot in Washington and across the nation.


Listen, my friends.

It's important to drown it out.

Listen, my friends.


There's good music here, and only noise there.

Listen, my friends.


There's beauty in the songs.

Listen, my friends.


The noise surrounding us is so ugly.

Listen, my friends.

Music keeps it away.

Just listen, my friends. The sanity you save may be your own.


It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Banned in Baton Rouge


When I was a much younger man -- OK, not a man yet at all --  if you were really, really obsessed or pissed off about a local calamity, you always could write to ACTION, please! in the State-Times, right there in River City.

I'm talking a capital "AC" that rhymes with "WHACK" and ends with "SHUN."

Which, on Friday, April 20, 1973, is how we learned Paul McCartney was too filthy for Baton Rouge, and Chuck Berry missed suffering the same fate Fanny Hill did in Boston by this much.

Let's go to the microfiche:
OF COURSE, all those Baton Rougeans who thought the song "terrible" probably never get tired of hearing it today as part of the 200-song rotation on classic-rock radio. To be fair, though, the BBC banned it, too.

"Auntie" banned all the good songs.

But I've wandered a smidge. Anyway, the real significance of l'affaire Wings was that it meant that Baton Rouge was just getting warmed up.

Click for full-size version
JUST SIX years down the road, the motley metropolis sitting at the corner of coonass and redneck would face an existential cinematic threat that would require a full-bore Interfaith Inquisition to suppress.
The effort to save Baton Rouge from Monty Python's Life of Brian may have been one of the most complete examples of Catholic-Southern Baptist cooperation in the Deep South not involving fishing and the surreptitious consumption of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
And isn't that, when it comes right down to it, the genius of American civil society? Only under the authority of the state can Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists conspire completely enough to stick it to a bunch of heathen Limeys and their smutty, blaspheming moving picture. 

Damn straight, Cletus.

God bless, Boudreaux.

And always look on the bright side of life.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sept. 18, 1941: The divorce epidemic begins


"Spring a surprise on your hungry husband tonight. . . ."

And the formerly hungry husband will spring divorce papers on his shocked wife tomorrow.

I think the clueless soon-to-be-former missus watched the family "go for" something, just not the batter-fried weenies beneath a glop of Heinz ketchup. Yes, it's true that men "rave about this full-bodied condiment Heinz cooks from plump 'aristocrat' tomatoes, Heinz Vintage Vinegar and a deft dash of fragrant spices."

They also rant.

Especially when the Heinz is hiding half-assed corndogs disguised as dinner.

Today, we find the American family in deep crisis amid the epidemic of divorce and the general collapse of marriage. Sadly, it turns out that "happy housewives" of the early 1940s brought this ruin upon their own damn selves.


Lord, have mercy.

Monday, September 18, 2017

There are none so blind. . . .


"Uncle Pelz" deserved better than this. He deserved more dignity than what you'd afford a Pekingese in a write-up about someone's dead lapdog.

In death, as in life, he deserved to be just a man -- not a "negro" or a "darky." Especially at 87.

He deserved to be written about as a member of the human race, not as slightly greater than a thing. Or a dog.

Pleasant Quitte was a man. He had feelings. He was loved by God Almighty. He knew things. He saw things. He remembered things. He possessed the wisdom of his many years.

This obituary from the Sunday edition of the Morning Advocate in Baton Rouge, La., ran Nov. 2, 1941. In the Deep South of 1941, an 87-year-old African-American almost surely would have been born a slave.

Morning Advocate, Nov. 2, 1941
Certainly, he also had an amazing story. Maybe he had children and grandchildren -- and great-grandchildren. They, if they existed -- and that, we do not know because it wasn't considered newsworthy --  did not know Mr. Quitte "familiarly" or otherwise as "Uncle Pelz." In the South of 1941, "uncle" was the patronizing moniker white people hung on black men of a certain age and fancied it respectful.

"UNCLE" was the language of those who found "the idea of a darky and a Pekinese" just ridiculously adorable enough that it might make a hell of a magazine cover. The Saturday Evening Post, perhaps.

Maybe Better Hoods and Crosses.

Mrs. J. Simon, Jr., of 617 North Boulevard -- and in Baton Rouge back then, if you had the money to live at 617 North Boulevard, you had the money to have both a Pekingese and an old black man to walk it -- presumably was who informed the newspaper about the passing of this downtown adornment with whom Baton Rougeans were "familiar" . . . but not too familiar. If you know what I mean.


Too familiar in the Baton Rouge of 1941, as well as the one of my birth two decades hence, would be acknowledging the humanity of an 87-year-old African-American. Too familiar would be acknowledging that "Uncle Pelz" had a story -- a life -- beyond walking Mrs. Simon's Pekingese and being a familiar downtown sight, like the Old State Capitol, Stroube's drug store, a palm tree or somebody's big crepe myrtle.

Too familiar would be saying hello to Mr. Pleasant Quitte, as opposed to that "darky and a Pekinese."

Would you like to know what's too familiar in my hometown in 2017? Pretty much everywhere in the United States in 2017?


How about those too delusional to think that kind of cultural memory -- that sort of cultural reflex -- just disappears without a trace in 50 years, or even in 76 years. Culture is in it for the long haul. It doesn't just disappear, or even change drastically, without concerted effort.



AS RODGERS and Hammerstein told us in South Pacific, "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught." Likewise, you have to be carefully untaught. Probably more carefully untaught.

The problem with white supremacy, however, is that it just might hurt its perpetrators more than it does its targets.

First, it dulls the conscience. Then it goes for one's human empathy. Finally, it attacks the bigot's intellect, curiosity and ability to fully perceive reality. It makes one prone to delusions, particularly delusions of superiority.

Maybe it even cripples the ability to be taught further . . . or, rather, to be untaught.

If the Morning Advocate obit demonstrates anything across the span of seven and a half decades, it's that callous, incurious and shallow is no way to go through life.

That's a lesson all too rarely taught -- or learned. Especially these days.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

East of Yoknapatawpha


It was an embarrassing, dismal night for my Tigers in StarkVegas on Saturday. So, I'm reaching for a little LSU gridiron perspective here.

Some "my native state" perspective here. This otherwise is known as a "rant." A justified one, but a rant nonetheless.

But I prefer "perspective."
Such as . . . I wish to holy hell that Louisianians were as mortified by a failing, dysfunctional and violent state as they are about the mere mediocrity of the flagship university's football team.

I mean, I meaannnnnn . . . how come no one has fired the whole goddamned Louisiana Legislature and all the state's incompetent and venal constitutional officers? (I'm looking at you, Attorney General Jeff Landry.)

How come nobody is firing their whole slew of short-bus refugees, otherwise known as your local city council or parish police jury?

And what about your racially riven, squabbling school boards? Why are those assholes still sucking at the taxpayer teat? I mean, is not an 0-and-forever record sufficiently bad?

While I'm at it, did you ever think there might be reasons some kids don't learn well and become problems -- reasons apart from "It's them commerniss teachers' fault"? Did it ever occur to you that if dismantling public schools were the answer, you might be seeing improvement by now?

Can anyone tell me what the hell this man is saying?
THEN, of course, you have your local cops, who manage to shoot an alarming number of people -- mostly black but not all -- who aren't actually trying to shoot them first. How come y'all can't even fire most of 'em, much less prosecute them?

And speaking of violence and guns, did you ever wonder what the hell has gotten certain heavily-impoverished communities in Louisiana to the point where murder and mayhem is something of an epidemic? Didja ever wonder what gets people -- black, brown, purple, green or white -- to the point where life is that bloody cheap?

If your response is to gloss over the "purple, green or white" part and just hit me with "That's just what n*****s do," thank you for participating, and here's your parting gift -- an official cast-iron, pineapple shaped MP3 player preloaded with Florida-Georgia Line's greatest hits. Just pull the pin and let loose of the handle, and you're good to go!

Finally, did you ever wonder how come football has all kinds of "boosters" with all kinds of cash but, in Louisiana, the folks working in actual university classrooms and decrepit university libraries and woebegone parish K-12 schools . . . not so much?

Has a math major with a pocket protector ever gotten a $100 handshake?

WHY IS THERE the fancy Cox Center for LSU athletes to occasionally study, but just the moldering Middleton Morass for the poor schmuck you're going to be counting on to take care of that bum heart of yours someday? Assuming he or she doesn't look around too closely, decide (in the eloquent words of ex-Tiger coach Nick Saban) "F*** that shit!" and haul ass two seconds after graduation.

This is my attempt at football-fanatic perspective tonight. Yes, I've been drankin' a little, and thus feel free to tell the God's honest, God-forsaken truth.

Amen.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Radio and dance in an age of theology and geometry

Baton Rouge (La.) State-Times, May 14, 1941 (Click to enlarge)

In 1941, WJBO -- 1150 on Your Dial! 5,000 watts! -- was the only radio station in Baton Rouge.

But at Louisiana State University, "WJBO" was a modern-dance composition, too.

I'm unsure what the LSU WJBO says about the state of modern dance 76 years ago in a sleepy, Deep South state capital. But I damned well can tell you that, today, listening to Rush Limbaugh on your average denuded talk-radio station (enter the 2017 incarnation of WJBO) might inspire me to do many things, but dancing isn't one of them.

Alas, in 1941, radio was radio, and dance was dancing, and my parents and grandparents were spared the likes of what stations like WJBO have become.

The State-Times (peace be upon it), gave its readers a preview of this exciting danse electronique, in which collegians chase electrons to and fro:

"WJBO," illustrating in the dance the various types of programs available from the push-button radio, will open the recital. Elizabeth Green of Haynesville, graduate student, is the composer. First there will be war news, with dictators presented against a background of sorrowing women and children. Another push of the button will bring the serial, a very usual sort of triangle story which will be interpreted by David Stopher and two girls of the dance group. Next will be the symphony, which Miss Green will give, and at the conclusion Linda Lee's social column of the Air, to be presented by a group.
MY PARENTS' generation, God bless it, obviously did not yet lack for theology and geometry. I scarcely can picture what a contemporary "WJBO" might look like. I assume it would involve a fat guy waddling around with a microphone, pantomiming a conniption fit as a large troupe rhythmically evoked opioid abuse and falling IQs around him.

In the second movement, the microphone may or may not be placed where it was not designed to go.

I'm not sure about the third and final movement. I don't think anyone would stick around that long. Kind of like AM radio today.


That concludes your news from May, 14, 1941. I'm your Mighty Favog. Next, Your Esso Reporter. Good night.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tom Snyder's alive & well & wrangling hurricanes in Florida


TV legend Tom Snyder, of Tomorrow fame in the 1970s, died a decade ago at age 71.

Well, that's what he wants you to think.

But Revolution 21 has it on good authority that the impish, acerbic NBC anchorman and interviewer -- last seen enveloped in a cloud of cigarette smoke and wearing a tan leisure suit -- actually snuck off to sunny Florida in 2007.

But he didn't stray far from a TV camera and a microphone.

How?



WELL, we're not sure of all the how-tos and wherefores, but a highly reliable source at a Macedonian investigative-news website says the "death" and re-emergence of Snyder went something like this:

Tom Snyder
Snyder, about 15 years ago, stumbled across the Florida location of Ponce de Leòn's fountain of youth, reputedly located in a remote, uninhabited area somewhere between Cypress Gardens and Legoland. The whole "cancer diagnosis" was a ploy that allowed him, after preliminary planning, to disappear from the public eye. And with his "death," attention shifted away from the one-time media icon who did battle late nights with everyone from Johnny Rotten to Rona Barrett.

Sometime late in 2007, he made his way to central Florida. At some point, he immersed himself in the rejuvenating waters of de
Leòn's lost wonder of the New World, then took up meteorology.

Tom Snyder, born again in the magic waters, took on the identity of "Matt Devitt," it is said. The old TV fixture -- once so ubiquitous and recognizable that Dan Ackroyd built a career parodying him on Saturday Night Live -- had undone most telltale signs of his old existence.


"Matt Devitt"
But not all.

He could lose the leisure suits and the cloud of smoke. He could lose the groovy '70s hairdo. He could lose the past several decades, and lose the public's attention. He could lose his old specialty and pick up a new one.

What he couldn't leave behind, though, was that voice. The mannerisms. His way with words. The impishness.


"Matt Devitt," WINK television weatherman. Yeah, whatever you say "Mr. Devitt."

We'll play along. But you're not really fooling anybody . . . Tom.

We've learned to recognize fake news when we see it. And we damn well know that Tom Snyder will never die. He'll just go to Florida and dunk himself in the old explorer's saving waters as needed.

But don't worry, Tom. We won't tell Rona where you are.