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Sunday, May 21, 2006 ISSUE #410

Will Rogers on the radio again

#410, May 21, 2006

HORNER, West Va.: The Senate voted to make English the official language of the United States. Some of you will recollect that the state of West Virginia voted last April to make English the official language, so it only took 13 months for the news to reach Congress. [Interested readers looking at Weekly Comments on my web site can click on Archives. Then scroll to number 363, April 24, 2005]

If this gets adopted the next argument will be over "whose English is official". West Virginia jumped in first, but others will say the English spoken in Massachusetts is preferred, or Alabama, or Oklahoma. Should the English language used by teenagers in Instant Messages be official? That would sure make our books and newspapers shorter, but to us old folks it's Greek.

I'm in West Virginia today for the Eatin', Singin' and History Festival. It went over so good last year the radio station WHAW decided to broadcast it again. Along with all the gospel, country and bluegrass singing, they added Bum the Wonder Horse to the bill and he put on a wonderful show. "I" had a favorite horse one time named Dopey, and just like Bum, the name was no reflection of his intellect. Bum knows colors, numbers, and understands hundreds of words. In fact if understanding English is what it takes to be a citizen, then he qualifies.

Jack Caldo, who used to be on WHAW in the early days of radio (1950s and 60s), was back in town to MC the show. Folks seemed as pleased to see him sorta brought back to life as they were me. When Jack first saw the script, and read where he was supposed to introduce "Bum the Wonder Horse", and later on "Will Rogers", he thought maybe the whole show was a joke.

This county is home to the old insane asylum, the Weston State Hospital, a huge historic structure of hand cut stone. It's empty now, but a fellow wrote a new book kinda based on it. He called it "The Hospital: Rude Awakenings". It's a scary ghost story, fiction of course, but it's got as much truth in it as The Da Vinci Code.

Sure hated to see that race horse break his leg in the Preakness. The veterinarians who put it back together are saying Barbaro's got a good chance of walking again.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"A man that don't love a horse, there is something the matter with him. If he has no sympathy for the man that does love horses then there is something worse the matter with him." WA #88, August 17, 1924.

"Excuse me for keeping my hat on, but I'm gettin' just a little gray and I don't want it to show over the radio." Radio broadcast, March 31, 1935

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