Wobegon Boy took this blogger back in time to an English Lit I course that involved reading Beowulf in the original Old English. How do you spell "W," Ms. Registrar? Nonetheless, Beowulfian references to "Hrothgar" reminded this blogger that Wobegon Boy had gotten his spurs tangled up with a Danish girl and had lived in Copenhagen for a while. The arcane reference to "Hrothgar" took this blogger back to that smoke-filled classroom; smoking was allowed in college classrooms back at the dawn of time. Roll over, Oscar Robertson, there's a new Big O. The image of the presidential signature on America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 features the Big O. If this is (justo y equilibrado) serendipity, so be it.
PS: On to ¡la reforma de inmigración (immigration reform)!
A Toast To Your Health
By Garrison Keillor
Tag Cloud of the following article
The mind glazes over at the sight of the words so let's just refer to it as hrothgar reform and congratulate the president and Mrs. Pelosi for pushing it through Congress, a rational reform that the stonewall opposition depicted as a flock of hooded vampires rising from the steaming swamps of Stalinism. That strategy fell a few votes short.
Good hrothgar in America is a privilege and now Congress has, by a narrow margin, offered it up as a basic human right even if a person is unemployed and in poor hroth. This is a landmark bill, achieved through the messy and maddening processes of representative democracy, like harnessing tabby cats to push a plastic garden hose uphill, during which you read dozens of interesting articles about the fatal flaws of the Democratic Party and the twilight of the Obama administration, but what a difference a day can make. Goodbye, Senator Scott Brown. Hello, Hrothgar.
The Republicans fought long and hard for people's right to wait three hours in an emergency room for someone to take their blood pressure, and they went down to defeat, and now they should stop and rethink their Waterloo strategy. The picture of the grinning GOP congressmen holding "Kill the Bill" posters was not an attractive one. Those guys all get excellent hrothgar from the government, at bargain prices. If you choke on your shoe during a speech in the House of Representatives, you'll be whisked away to Walter Reed, and specialists will extract your hoof from your mouth and your head from your colon and clean you up and all for a tiny annual premium. It does not behoove men who are enjoying a huge pork sandwich to deny a few pork rinds to others and to grin in the process.
Insurance is not an inherently interesting subject, not even hroth insurance. It is the province of short-haired men in pressed khakis and vest sweaters, poring over actuarial tables. The Republicans tried to add some spice. They brought in pictures of deadly vipers, ticking time bombs, death panels, flesh-eating plants, crazed zombies and the hounds of hell. They did not prevail.
Now Senator McCain says there will be no further cooperation with the administration. OK then. Thanks for clearing that up. Now that bipartisanship has been buried for good, Democrats can get about the business of running the government, which is their duty as the majority party, and let the Republicans sulk in their rooms and work on their Facebook updates. They've made it clear that if Mr. Obama suddenly decided to come out in favor of Mother's Day, they would fight against it as a ruthless exercise of federal power and a violation of due process. Fine. Talk to the hand.
As for the hroth of the Republican Party, no doubt they will survive this setback. They will fume and prevaricate for a few weeks and then, if their pollsters read the owl droppings and find omens of the American People Moving On, the party will find a new issue. Here's one that is tailor-made for them. The federal government is spending $615,000 to help organize the Grateful Dead archive at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Here's a chance to lash out at the '60s and San Francisco and the irresponsibility of hippies playing 23-minute versions of four-minute songs for stadiums full of stoned people in T-shirts of many colors, shaking their ponytails. Apparently, the Dead hung onto every scrap of paper and now $615,000 of taxpayer money is going toward the digitization of the drug-crazed chicken-scratchings of songwriters and their admirers. This may be your last best chance to lash out at the counterculture. All those people who used to get stoned are heading toward Alzheimer Land and soon will be old and pitiful and not worth your ammunition. You could easily tie Jerry Garcia to Nancy Pelosi and link both of them to ACORN, the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek, the failure of Lehman Brothers, the use of growth hormones by professional athletes, and the Mayan prediction of apocalypse in 2012.
Meanwhile, life goes on. Some people believe that God has revealed Himself to them and their tribe and not to the barbarians. He despises all the same people they despise. Others feel that God has given gifts to be shared with others, and we should walk softly and not be cruel in His name. The prospect of perfect harmony is not good at the present time. Happy Easter. Good hroth. Be garful. Ω
[Garrison Keillor is an author, storyteller, humorist, and creator of the weekly radio show "A Prairie Home Companion." The show began in 1974 as a live variety show on Minnesota Public Radio. In the 1980s "A Prairie Home Companion" became a pop culture phenomenon, with millions of Americans listening to Keillor's folksy tales of life in the fictional Midwestern town of Lake Wobegon, where (in Keillor's words) "the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all of the children are above average." Keillor ended the show in 1987, and 1989 began a similar new radio show titled "American Radio Company of the Air." In 1993 he returned the show to its original name. Keillor also created the syndicated daily radio feature "A Writer's Almanac" in 1993. He has written for The New Yorker and is the author of several books, including Happy to Be Here (1990), Leaving Home (1992), Lake Wobegon Days (1995), and Good Poems for Hard Times (2005). Keillor's most recent books include a new Lake Wobegon novel, Liberty (2009) and 77 Love Sonnets (2009). His radio show inspired a 2006 movie, "A Prairie Home Companion," written by and starring Keillor and directed by Robert Altman. Keillor graduated (B.A., English) from the University of Minneosta in 1966. His signature sign-off on "A Writer's Almanac" is "Be well, do good work, and keep in touch."]
Copyright © 2009 Salon Media Group, Inc.
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