One man's view of the world, from the top of this great big rock somewhere in the middle of God's Country, with an eye toward freedom....or at least some way to get back down without goin' over the edge.

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Location: West Virginia, United States

Former U.S. Army, SPC E-4, Veteran of Operation Desert Storm. If you are or have ever been a soldier, you have friends in my house.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

An Old Fart Reminds Me of an Old Friend

Well, y'all certainly don't need me to tell ya it's been an interesting week.

Among the things we've learned lately:

1) God hates Amish people (don't take my word for it -- ask the experts)
2) There really are examples of true, honest tolerance in the world (and these folks ain't it -- how's THAT for a news flash?)
3) Some guys will do ANYTHING to get their name in the papers (yeesh -- next time, just take the cash, alright?)

And finally:

4) One of my all-time favorite storytellers...has finally lost his marbles.

All of these really made me sad (well, okay, number 3 made me laugh my ass off, and number 2 I pretty much saw coming -- that's generally how the Amish roll), but especially that last one.

I grew up listening to the Prairie Home Companion on the drive home after church on Sundays, back before I had any real political inclinations. Being of Norwegian descent myself (my family hails from Iowa & Minnesota), I've always felt a sort of distant kinship with the people Garry talks about in his tales of Lake Wobegon, and he never fails in bringing interesting people & entertainers into the mix during the rest of the show.

It saddens me greatly to hear of him doing things like what you saw in the links above. Part of me wants to put it down to old age, maybe even senility. It may also well be that he's always been this way, and I just never really noticed before.

No matter, says I. Whatever he may have done in the years since, I will always be grateful to him for at least one thing...

Introducing me to this guy.

No....not THAT guy (although the video in this link does contain two of my OTHER favorite people in the world). He has SO outgrown that song.

I mean THIS guy.

The first time I saw him was on the Prairie Home Companion's annual "Sound-Off" show, where they invited many unique vocal performers to come out and strut their stuff. I was in high school at the time, and it was just before he hit big with...well, you know.

Bobby's entry was a 10-minute solo a capella summarization of "The Wizard of Oz", and it was gorgeous. I've been hooked on the guy's work ever since.

Through the years since, he has been stretching himself in every direction there is. His astounding vocal talents, effortlessly playful spirit, and willingness to step over-around-and-through every musical boundary in sight have helped him evolve from a one-hit pop wonder into one of the world's great musical treasures. He even claimed the position of Creative Chair with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra back in 1994 (that's right -- he's a classical conductor, too), and made a point of taking the gang out to schools every chance he got, to introduce kids to classical music the fun way.

Thanks, Garry. At least you got this one right.