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Saturday, January 12, 2002 ISSUE #213
 

 

ST. LOUIS: The big news here, besides the football team, is that Ford is shutting down a plant. Henry started building Model T's here in 1914 (see, they weren't all bolted together in Detroit), and his grandson Will (or is it Bill?) says they gotta halt production here in a couple of years. That'll free up 2500 to go to work for Mr. Busch and his Clydesdales.

The Afghan prisoners are starting to check into the Guantanamo Hilton. Mr. Rumsfeld wants to keep bin Ladin's Taliban down there at the Naval base in Cuba, even if it costs us $60 million to build a jail.

Amnesty International complained that it's inhumane to keep them in a cramped space only 6 ft by 8 ft. Let me see if I understand this... it's January, and they're in the Caribbean. Sounds like a luxury cruise ship to me, except they have bigger rooms.

When Ohio's Governor heard about the $60 million, he offered to sell 'em one of his empty prisons.

In case you are wondering, I'm here in the shadow of the Gateway Arch for a meeting of farmers learning more about how to grow crops without plowing. They have been holding this convention every year for ten years, in January, and it's always in the Midwest. They draw about 750, but nobody knows what the turnout would be if they met in, say, West Palm Beach.

These no-till farmers have a secret way of getting all their tillage done, but news of it is starting to leak out. They leave all the old corn stalks or straw on the surface, or plant a cover crop each fall, so the neighbors can't see what is going on underneath. But they got these millions of earthworms out there digging their way down through the soil, and they're happy to do it as long as they get their fill of those stalks and leaves. The farmers still have to do the planting and harvesting, and spraying for weeds, but the worms do most of the work. Don't call the Humane Society, because the worms love it. Those nightcrawlers would rather work than go fishin'.

Last night these farmers invited Ron Dentinger of Dodgeville, Wisconsin, to entertain. He kept 'em laughing so much they forgot that corn is still under $2.

Have you read about that new statue in New York, of the three firefighters raising the flag? Aren't you glad that sculptor didn't carve Mt. Rushmore? He would have left George Washington with his white wig and wooden teeth, but Tom Jefferson would have been pictured as a Negro, Honest Abe Lincoln would have traded his axe and log cabin for a tomahawk and a teepee, and Teddy Roosevelt, because he spent a year in Puerto Rico, would have taken on Hispanic features.

One New York official praised the new statue, "Symbolism is more important than history." The paper didn't say what office he was running for... hope it's not the Board of Education.

This Monday and Tuesday night you can see a television show about Mark Twain. I hear that it's got some symbolism slipped in among the history also. Hal Holbrook will make it worth watching.

Historic Quotes from Will Rogers:

"I doubt if there is a thing in the world as wrong and unreliable as History. History ain't what it is; it's what some writer wanted it to be." Saturday Evening Post, March 12, 1932

"There has been a good deal of trouble out in the Dakotas about the history that Mr. Coolidge was supposed to write on a rock. It was to run 500 words and give the history of America.... Course we never had much history, but like all Nations we think we have.

Well the Sculptor dident like the history that our Ex-President had cooked up so he made, as we say in the Movies, some re-takes on the manuscript. It seems that Mr. Coolidge had given our History from a Republican standpoint. There had been Democrats engaged in our history but only in the capacity of Villains. Well this Gutsom Borglum, who is a foreigner by birth, but an Atlanta Georgian by argument, he had studied his history of our land from the standpoint of Stone Mountain... (Coolidge) had taken his history of America from the Congressional Record, while Gutsom wanted his from the Atlanta Constitution. Coolidge believed that Jefferson was a fictitious Character, and that the income tax was entirely due to Alexander Hamilton, the inventor of a time lock safe.

Well, poor Dakota dident know what it was all about, all the interest they had in the matter was to furnish the Mountain. They just wanted something that a Tourist could read, or have read to him. In fact the more controversy the more would come to read." WA #399, August 17, 1930

(Note: Mr. Coolidge's 500-word history essay never got carved at Mt. Rushmore, or anywhere else.)


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