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Garrison Keillor

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Garrison Keillor to perform at Brown County Playhouse Monday

Garrison Keillor is best known for creating the public radio variety show “A Prairie Home Companion.”. The program featured celebrity guests, skits, songs, fake commercials and classic stories about a fictional Minnesota town called Lake Wobegone. You can see Keillor live and in-person performing in Nashville, Indiana on Monday,...
BROWN COUNTY, IN
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Union Leader

Garrison Keillor: Sitting scared in church, thinking about evil

IN CHURCH Sunday we stood and sang, asking God to bring to this world of strife His sovereign word of peace that war may haunt the world no more and desolation cease, and what in God’s name we meant by this, I can’t tell you, it’s like waving your hand at the incoming lightning and saying, “Rain, rain, go away,” a children’s rhyme, but in church we acknowledge we are children, we’re not Unitarians, just ordinary Episcopalians. America has been so fascinated with our own circus, we didn’t fully appreciate true evil and now here’s Putin taking his place with Lenin and Stalin, this small grim man who shells hospitals and apartment buildings, driving three million refugees out of Ukraine. The only decent thing about him is that he doesn’t appear in public with his daughters or his girlfriend, he spares them the shame.
RELIGION
Union Leader

Garrison Keillor: What you won't read in the paper, except now

I WAS BORN in 1942, a year that hasn’t been recent for a long time and now I’m strolling toward 80, an age when I can stop feeling bad that I never finished reading Moby-Dick. I got to page 20 and Melville hadn’t even gotten them on the boat yet. At 80 I put the idea of self-improvement behind me once and for all. I have considered cosmetic surgery, a muscle implant around my mouth so that I can grin, but once you start corrective surgery, you may go on to have a chest lift or butt reduction and your belly button winds up in your armpit and your butt comes out lopsided so you’ll need to wear orthopedic pants. So I accept myself as is.
BOOKS & LITERATURE
Union Leader

Garrison Keillor: Why I'm not running for anything whatsoever

WHEN I come to Presidents Day, I remember the pictures of Lincoln and Washington hanging side by side over the blackboard in the front of Estelle Shaver’s first-grade classroom at Benson School and I thought they were married since Washington’s locks looked ladylike and I didn’t know them from the $1 or $5 bills, I only knew Adam and Eve and Mary and Joseph from my Bible Families storybook. And now Benson School is demolished, Estelle has gone to her reward, blackboards are green, and the pictures have been replaced by — I don’t know what — Snoop Dogg and Taylor Swift?
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Union Leader

Garrison Keillor: The little-known benefits of raw oysters perhaps

I TOOK UP eating oysters on the half shell back in my late twenties, as a token of eastern sophistication. I was in New York and my editor took me to lunch and ordered a dozen and asked if I’d like some. “Of course,” I said, not wanting to seem provincial, and ate three, which resembled phlegm but with horseradish were palatable and went down easily, no chewing required.
EASTON, MD
Union Leader

Garrison Keillor: Thoughts about toothpaste and patriotism

I AM severely irked by the silver security foil protecting the tip of my tube of toothpaste, which I must pry off with my thumbnail before I can squeeze Colgate onto my toothbrush. It suggests that insidious persons are out to poison me via my habit of twice-daily brushing. When I order a cheeseburger in a café, it doesn’t come to me locked in a tin box; when I go to the barber, she doesn’t offer me a metal shield to prevent her from cutting my throat; the oranges in the grocery store don’t come wrapped in steel foil to prevent evil persons from injecting strychnine with a hypodermic: why the security cap on the Colgate?
BEDFORD, NH
Union Leader

Garrison Keillor: The future of escapism as I see it

I WAS IN LAS VEGAS last Saturday, walking down the street at 7 a.m., looking for a breakfast joint, a bitter cold wind blowing past the neon avenues of casinos, and finally, feeling I was on the road to perdition, I walked into the Golden Nugget and was directed by a security guy past several acres of flashing dinging slot machines to a café back in the corner and there, among flashing lights and dinging, I ordered a garden omelet with a side of hash browns and coffee, and struck up a conversation with my neighbor, a guy from Long Beach who said he’d been to a burlesque show the night before and found it rather ho-hum. The women were big and manly and the comedian was “very gay” and mostly made jokes about his mother and the whole thing was less bawdy than your average post office mural. I looked over his shoulder at the few men playing the slots, a pitiful lot, men who looked like they’d been ditched by girlfriends and couldn’t remember where their car was parked, and it struck me as sad that a city designed for escapism should be so forlorn.
LAS VEGAS, NV
Union Leader

Garrison Keillor: You make me happy when skies are gray

I’M HAPPY to wear a COVID mask, having gone through life with a grim mug due to my childhood spent listening to sermons about the End Times, and the mask lets people imagine I’m smiling, and so everyone is friendlier. I’ve tried to smile into a mirror and it looks like the leer on a landlord’s face as he throws the penniless tenant out into the snow. My mother hoped I’d be a teacher but I would’ve terrified the children so I went into radio. A good move.
PUBLIC HEALTH
Union Leader

Garrison Keillor: I am dreaming of a light Christmas

I LOVE Christmas because my mother did and she fought for it against her fundamentalist husband who felt it was worldly and unscriptural, but Grace loved the stockings and tree, the wrappings, the songs, the dinner, and all the more for the fact that her mother died when my mother was seven. Twelve children racked with grief, a grim household in south Minneapolis, which made the festivity all the more precious.
FESTIVAL
Union Leader

Garrison Keillor: The emergence of blues billionaires

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN selling his music to Sony for a half-billion dollars has gotten me thinking about my music and what I might get for the songs I wrote when my radio show was touring the country, such as my song for Milwaukee (“Where men still wear hats they look rather sporty in/And children still take lessons on the accordion”) and one in Idaho (“People move here from New York and New Joisy/To get away from the frantic, the noisy,/For the simple pleasures of Boise”) or: “I love Washington, D.C./In summer it is the place to be./Girls run across the lawn playing catch with a red plastic disc/By the Washington Monument obelisk.”
ENTERTAINMENT
Union Leader

Garrison Keillor: Mr. Socialist confesses a love of opera

FREE ENTERPRISE is fascinating, especially for us socialist communists who want to make the world into a dormitory with a cafeteria where on Mondays everyone has mac and cheese and on Tuesdays franks and beans, and so forth, but with free enterprise you get to see old empires crash and bold upstarts take over the town, such as Uber and Lyft have done to the taxi trade. I’m a taxi fan, especially in New York, a great old taxi town where sometimes you run into a growly old cabbie right out of the movies who says, “Where to, bud?” and all the way through town he denounces the rich and famous, but nostalgia is no competition against smart technology.
MUSIC