for 30 APR 07: PRAIRIE IN THE VALLEY
Thanks to Troy Public Radio, I was able to hear a rebroadcast Sunday of the live "Prairie Home Companion" show from the RiverCenter. If you want to hear it on Georgia Public Broadcasting - well, maybe they'll treat it like the "Opera Divas," and play it next November.
Saturday night's public radio show from the RiverCenter indicated Prairie Home Companion host Garrison Keillor had looked around Columbus a bit. In his opening monologue, Keillor mentioned the bust of John Amos and the plaque honoring Horace King on the Riverwalk. But to say trains go through downtown "every 45 minutes" - well, I think he simply has bad timing.
Garrison Keillor's nature report on Columbus indicated the mockingbirds are mating right now, and "the magnolias are starting to bloom." Starting?! How many of them were damaged by that cold wave earlier in the month?!
Garrison Keillor raved on and on about how "full spring" has hit Columbus. In fact, all his talk about the scents of trees and flowers may have psyched me out - because my "anniversary run" Sunday evening was more than my lungs could handle.
Garrison Keillor declared Columbus State University students "keep it hopping" downtown. I don't know what he did after the broadcast - but he might have been surprised how many C.S.U. students are too young to get into those nightclubs on Broadway.
(At the end of the program, Keillor made it sound like the entire C.S.U. campus is downtown. I'm not sure the ceilings of the Trade Center are tall enough to be used for a basketball court.)
Garrison Keillor also mentioned the renovations underway at the Eagle and Phenix Mills. "They're turning it into condominiums, I guess," he said. That sounded a bit skeptical - but then again, maybe he thinks Synovus will need extra office space.
But when Garrison Keillor mentioned the fountains of Columbus, he said out loud what other people only dared write anonymously in the "Sound Off" section of the newspaper - that the fountain in front of the RiverCenter "makes a man think about his prostate."
Garrison Keillor even sang a couple of songs about "the glory of Columbus G-A." One focused on the Georgia pine trees which are turned into paper - which tells me his motel room wasn't located anywhere near a paper mill.
(Another song even gave free plugs to several Columbus barbecue restaurants, such as Country's and Fat Freddie's. Did the scrambled dog makers even know this show was coming to town?)
Columbus even made Garrison Keillor's signature "News from Lake Wobegon." He told the story of a Columbus native who moved to Minnesota, named "Billy Winn Causwood." I would have guessed Keillor would have more fun with another Ledger-Enquirer name - like Dusty Nix.
The Lake Wobegon news ended with a mild surprise, as the audience joined in the classic hymn "It Is Well With My Soul." It was almost as if a Saturday night service had broken out at North Highland Assembly of God - except that hymn is much too old-fashioned to be sung there on a Saturday night.
A section of Prairie Home Companion told the life story the show's "sound effect guy," LaGrange native Fred Newman. He has a brilliant way of making noises - and I wonder how many people he passes on the highways by sounding like a fire truck.
Garrison Keillor and his team did a funny sketch comparing his home up north to the people of Georgia, whom he called "almost unbearably sweet." That was a good move by the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, to keep Keillor away from the Booker T. Washington Apartments....
But in the second hour of Prairie Home Companion, the salute to Georgia reached the boundary of being stereotypical. Some apparent Columbus residents (their voices never identified) suggested everyone around here loves collard greens, and goes to "juke joints" on rainy days. Not in Phenix City, they don't - because most of them have been shut down.
(Prairie Home Companion showed why it's on "non-commercial educational" radio - as one of the locals taught me in Columbus, you don't stub your toes. You "stump" them. I thought you stumped someone here by asking them to name the capital of Missouri.)
Near the end of the show, Garrison Keillor described Columbus as a "hotbed of social rest," where people in small cars would never be threatened by SUV drivers. He must have come to Columbus on Interstate 185, and not the J.R. Allen Parkway.
I don't listen to Prairie Home Companion often, and didn't realize what a big-time show it's become. Not only was it turned into a movie last year, the sponsors at the start of the weekend broadcast included Toyota. I can remember about 25 years ago, when the fictional Powdermilk Biscuits was the only commercial all they had.
E-MAIL UPDATE: We had to take a break from Hurtsboro Monday last week because we were ill. The people there apparently understood, because we received nothing new from them in the last seven days. The power of a blog to bring peace cannot be underestimated....
Before last Monday, we heard again from the Constable who watches Hurtsboro:
I will be brief! Your last Blog contained some inconsistencies - and I will try to clear them up! First of all I would remind your users that - I've never used anonyminity as a shield! I've attached a signature to ALL submissions! I find it cowardly to do otherwise!
Since the only two respondents have failed to identify themselves - and profess to speak for the multitudes - I will help them to attack me directly by the following means: R.J. Schweiger P.O. Box 71 Hurtsboro, AL. 36860 PH/FAX (334) 667-7856 E-mail email@example.com
I will follow your lead in inviting correspondence. I probably will forward the most interesting (either pro or con) to you. Perhaps this will serve to smoke out these bushwhackers!
Footnotes: Mare What's Her Name can be reached at (334) 667-xxxx or (334) 667-xxxx and ask for Her Honor.
Bob Corwin is a Grant Writer who has successive failures in getting worthwhile Grants for The Hurtsboro Water Board. Just ask Joan York ( (334) 667-xxxx) and she can fill you in! Corwin's number is (334) 514-xxxx This Park project was to be "just a walk in the park" for him and an easy earned commission.
If you have any questions - just post them on the next "Hurt'sboro Monday.
Constable R.J. Schweiger
Since Mr. Schweiger asked to have his phone number listed, you see it here. But it's our policy NOT to post other people's phone numbers without their consent. (If you need one of those numbers, e-mail us.) We could violate their privacy, upset them - and then the messages about Hurtsboro REALLY would be one-sided.
We tried calling the two phone numbers for Mayor Shirley Tarver Sunday evening. One number brought what sounded like a fax machine. The other was a voice mailbox for "Junior Educators of Tomorrow." So Ms. Tarver apparently trains future teachers - and from her recent track record, I hope she's not teaching accounting.
So R.J. Schweiger denies he's the mysterious "Russell C. Ounti" - and Mr. Ounti does the same, in a 17 April snail mail to us. He wrote about the handwriting samples we posted two weeks ago: "I suppose DNA testing is next!" Sorry, but we're not that skilled with cotton swabs....
Mr. Ounti's main message to us this time was that in Hurtsboro, "The hand that once rocked the cradle -- now rocks the boat! Shame, Shame on the 'Men' of the town!" Why do so many people who can't stand female leaders forget about what Margaret Thatcher did in Britain?
R.C. Ounti also asks why there's been no effort to identify other e-mailers concerning Hurtsboro. That's because the "Concerned Citizen" who wrote weeks ago asked to remain anonymous, fearing reprisals by Constable Schweiger. But hold it - didn't Mr. Ounti tell me the Concerned Citizen left town? [2 Apr] If he knows who the citizen is, he can sign that message himself.
As for the contempt of court charges against Constable Schweiger: prosecutors have filed a motion in Russell County Court to continue the case until June 14. This could be playing into Mr. Schweiger's hands - having him rally supporters for a showdown on Flag Day.
We'll see what else happens in Hurtsboro as the weeks go by - and now let's check news headlines from Sunday:
+ Which former candidate for city office is on a mission to have security devices installed at all entrances to schools - even at college buildings? AND he wants his name put on the federal legislation?? It's nice to find people who refuse to exploit national catastrophes....
+ The CBS Evening News visited the Aflac Tower, to interview C.E.O. Dan Amos. But when reporter Marc Strassman was shown on the screen from "Columbus, Georgia," he stood in front of several skyscrapers. Either he really was in Atlanta, or that new Aflac complex near Woodruff Farm Road is very different from the blueprints.
(The CBS reporter followed Dan Amos to Country's Barbecue in midtown, and revealed the restaurant's owner owns Aflac stock. This may explain why the menu stops at chicken and turkey - not duck.)
+ METRA bus drivers competed against Macon drivers in a "roadeo" at South Commons. One category required bus drivers to make a very tight turn. I wish they'd teach Columbus SUV drivers how to do that - because many of them can't turn left without taking at least two lanes.
+ Jeff Gordon won the NASCAR race at Talladega, which Fox Sports announcer Darryl Waltrip declared "the capital of boogity." Oh really?! From what I saw at the end of the race, I thought it was the capital of beer can throwing.
+ The Atlanta Falcons finished the National Football League draft. One sixth-round choice was receiver Trey Lewis from Washburn University of Topeka, Kansas - where men's sports teams are called the Ichabods. If he can handle that nickname, he should be able to handle anything Michael Vick does.
+ Instant Message to the couple which reserved a web site for me, with my name on it: I appreciate your generosity - but I think I'll respectfully decline your gift. If I really become famous, that site might come in handy. But right now after several years online, I think it would only fuel the critics who think I'm on an ego trip.
COMING THIS WEEK: A loudmouthed lady at a laundry....
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