Dem Lynch Mob Might Hang President’s Hopes - 07-16-09
A Varied Menu For You To Consider - 06-25-09
Notre Dame And Obama
Offer A Splendid Lesson - 05-21-09
Upsets Even Liberals - 03-26-09
‘Adults In Wonderland’
Need To Get Real - 01-15-09
This Time It’s Indians
Who Break The Treaty - 12-18-08
Me? A Grumpy Old Man?
One Reader Thinks So - 12-11-08
Top Athletes Should
Know When to Quit? - 7-24-08
Omaha Stars Again
On National TV Stage - 7-02-08
Obama ‘Stumbling’ To Victory? - 5-08-08
"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" - 2-27-08
"Nosy Congress Makes
Three Bad Calls" - 10-26-07
"Right Decision Could
Help Both Fair, UNL" - 10-12-07
"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07
A number of you have told me that you don’t look forward to reading the column on your computer screen. That’s not necessary if you have a printer. Print out the column and take it with you to the breakfast table or wherever else you choose to read printed material. (You can also call up past columns in case you missed them.)
And, if you haven’t already done so, let us know your e-mail address so that we can send you a weekly reminder when a new column is available.
First, a reminder:
Attractive, hardbound copies of “Life With Marian”—a book which a good many readers have said they would be interested in owning—are still available for purchase (for $22.50) at The Bookworm in Countryside Village. If more convenient, you can now also send a check payable to Harold W. Andersen for $26.66 (includes tax and postage) and mail to me at P.O. Box 27347, Omaha, NE, 68127. A copy will be sent by return mail.
October 22, 2009
Since 17 years ago when I started writing columns for publication at least once a week, I have prided myself on communicating (with a few exceptions) with my readers on a weekly basis, regardless of brief vacation trips, a few trips to Europe and a few brief hospital stays.
This, obviously, has involved some extra effort in the week before the “in absentia” column’s appearance. (There have been occasions when some week-of-publication revisions were made by telephone or fax machine between on-the-road rounds of golf.)
This week I’m trying something new—borrowing a fellow internet columnist’s work in order to provide a message which I think will make good reading for anyone interested in Nebraska and Nebraskans’ national reputation.
I’ll conclude with a couple of brief offerings, including another of my reports on life with Marian.
First, with thanks to Jay Walker, the football play-by-play broadcaster for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette “Raging Cajuns,” the Internet column which Walker wrote after broadcasting the “Raging Cajuns” 55-0 loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln last month:
The headline said that the Southeastern Conference “thinks it has great atmosphere.” Walker’s column suggested that if a football fan wants to “learn what REAL college football atmosphere is about,” he should come to Lincoln and attend a game in Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium.
“This is my 18th season covering Cajuns football. And, for eight years before that, I had the opportunity to broadcast selected games on TV as well.
“I’ve been to nine SEC stadiums. (I’ll go to a tenth next season at Georgia.) I’ve seen the grove at Ole Miss, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. I’ve been called ‘Tigerbait’ in Baton Rouge and experienced some pretty good hospitality in South Carolina.
“I’ve said hello to the folks at Illinois and Minnesota. Felt September heat in Tempe, AZ. Been to Manhattan, Lubbock, Austin, Stillwater and College Station. College Station was probably the best. Folks say ‘Howdy’ when they see you. And they say ‘welcome.’ Haven’t been to the Horseshoe, the Big House or Happy Valley. Nor have I seen Touchdown Jesus.
“But I’ve been to College Football Nirvana.
“It’s located in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“From the time we touched down (‘Welcome to Lincoln,’ the police offers doing the escort said) to the time we left the stadium (‘Thanks so much for coming, have a safe trip home. We hope you’ll come back again’) every Cajun fan felt like a guest.
“That’s right. A guest. Not the opposition…not the enemy…a guest.
“Check in to the Cornhusker Marriott, not far from campus. Fans of Big Red Nation are already there. Smiles, handshakes…welcome to Lincoln. Good luck tomorrow. Board the bus for dinner. Arrive at Misty’s, Lincoln’s famous steakhouse (I mean, you got to eat a steak, right?). There were about 25 in our party. We had to wait about twenty minutes for them to get everything ready. No problem. As soon as the patrons saw the Cajun gear, they wanted to talk…introduce themselves…welcome to Lincoln…thanks so much for coming. Hope you enjoy the game.
“Is this for real?? And, it continued throughout the evening and into the night. We made lots of friends. We Cajun people make friends pretty easily, but it’s even easier when folks want to be friends.
“In Lincoln, they all want to be your friend.
“Gameday is different in Lincoln. They tailgate, sure…but it’s tougher because, well, there’s just not a lot of tailgaiting spots. But they do open the soccer field next to the stadium. Families can let the kids roam free.
“Nebraska radio does a pregame show there. And, a band plays during the commercial breaks.
“I did an interview at the soccer field with the Nebraska radio folks. And then, had a pretty good trek to the media entrance. At each gate, the sight was the same. Hundreds line up, waiting for the gates to open so they could get into the stadium and watch their team warm up.
“By the time Nebraska came out, about 45 minutes before kickoff, the stadium was about 65% full. There was no ‘hey, let’s stay outside and pound a few more beers.’
“Because it was gameday. And they came to see football.
“By the time the band was ready to come out, 86,000 strong were in their seats. They stood and clapped along when the Cornhusker Band played ‘Fight on Cajuns’ to honor their guests. And when the band played ‘There is no Place Like Nebraska’ I knew that the statement was true.
“For the first time ever in my years covering the Cajuns, I did not hear a single boo when the Cajuns came out of their tunnel onto their sidelines; in fact, I heard a smattering of applause.
“During the game, 86,000 cheered as Nebraska rolled. They didn’t leave at halftime to go out and start drinking (and remember it was 34-0 at the half). Some were outside, but they had passes to get back in and by the time the second half was ready to kick off, they were all back in their seats. In the fourth quarter there were STILL over 80,000 in the stands. Security keeps an eye out for the sign of alcohol in the stands, which is how trouble starts. If they see alcohol they don’t turn a blind eye. After all, college football is about a FAMILY atmosphere.
“And when it ended, the fans stayed for another Cornhusker tradition. They applauded the Cajuns as they left the field.
“Now you might say…sure, it’s easy to clap for someone when you just beat them 55-0. But they do that when their team LOSES. The newspaper on Saturday morning reprinted a handwritten letter from Florida State coach Bobby Bowden after the Seminoles got a hard fought 18-14 win years ago. Yep, the Nebraska fans cheered them as they left.
“More of the same postgame. There was a young man in a wheelchair where the Cajun players were getting their postgame meal. As each player came out, the young man thanked them for coming and wished them safe travels home. Many of the players stopped to chat for a minute.
“Then it was over. And, as the buses left for the airport, the fans that were still there waved and applauded. No one finger salutes. No ‘you suck’ chants. Simply, safe travels, my friends.
“If the two teams should play again in the future, plan ahead Cajun Fans. Make the long drive or the relatively short flight. Come in Friday…leave Sunday. And, you will learn what REAL college football atmosphere is about.
“Because, trust me...there is no place like Nebraska.”
* * *
From the evidence which comes to my attention, the reaction to what five Norwegians awarded to President Obama continues to be largely critical or at least highly skeptical.
The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to an American president after less than nine months in office has, of course, produced some humorous comment in addition to the more scathing language of such commentators as columnist Ross Douthad in a piece which appeared in The New York Times:
Douthad wrote that Obama blew a chance “to draw a clean line between himself and all the overzealous Obamaphiles, at home and abroad, who poured their post-Christian, post-Marxist yearnings into the vessel of his 2008 campaign.
“It was a chance to establish himself, definitely, as an American president—too self-confident to accept an unearned accolade and too instinctively democratic to go along with European humbug.
“He didn’t take it. Instead, he took the Nobel Peace Prize.”
In short, Douthad concluded, Obama “wasn’t brave enough” to tell the Nobel Peace Prize committee “No.”
Douthad pointed out the obvious; i.e., that “the prize leaves Obama more open to ridicule.” As an example of the ridicule—some of it pretty funny—is this “news headline” making the rounds on the Internet:
“BREAKING NEWS: THIS JUST IN!!! OBAMA WINS THE HEISMAN TROPHY AFTER WATCHING A COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME!!!
* * *
As Marian looked around my at-home “workroom” (for some reason known only to Marian she disapproves of my calling it my at-home “office”), she said she was reminded of a conversation with son David in a recent early December.
Marian recalled that David had said something like, “What would you and Dad like for Christmas? We always have a hard time picking a present for you two.”
Marian said her reply was: “A dumpster,” indicating she had in mind not only my overflowing “workroom” but also our overflowing attic and garage.
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