Jan Howard, Lady From The Ozarks, Is Now Singing On The Biggest Stage


The Grand Oe Opry family lost another member today with the death of Jan Howard.

She was not only an independent voice in her own right, with many recordings, but also was one of the classic country ladies along with Jean Shepherd, Skeeter Davis, and others who would band together and make music from the world-famous stage in Nashville Tennessee.


bill and jan

When I was in the third grade my parents had tickets to see Bill Anderson, and his then singing partner Jan Howard, when they were to do a concert in Waupaca Wisconsin. I was going through a severe bout of the flu, and there were real concerns whether or not I could attend the show. But there was a miraculous recovery and I was there in the bleachers to watch, but it was Jan Howard who had come down with the flu and missed the concert!

I did not see her that night but many years later at the world-famous stage of the Grand Ole Opry, I saw Howard, along with the full array of performers.  Tonight she is with so many other legends on the largest stage ever.

In Memory Of Former Senator Tom Coburn, A Dangerous Politician

There is no need to hide the truth, even with news that Tom Coburn the ultraconservative Oklahoma Republican who frustrated legislators called “Dr. No,” died today.  He was 72.  The cause was cancer.

Coburn was the topic many times on this blog, and there is no smoothing over the fact he was a dangerous politician.  This is what I wrote in September 2013.

Yesterday I correctly likened House Republicans to terrorists.

Today I read in The New York Times a quote from Republican United States Senator Tom Coburn that underlines my point.

“The only time you shut down the government is when you shut it down and refuse to open it until you accomplish what you want. But we’ll fold like hotcakes. … You do not take a hostage you are not going to for sure shoot. And we will not for sure shoot this hostage.”

I grew up in the tumult of Watergate where the constitutional crisis was a daily news report.  Since becoming an adult, and for decades a Nixon-history-buff I have read countless stories and accounts of the dealings and machinations from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue as events of those years unfolded.  But throughout the entire ordeal, be it President Nixon or Congress, everyone could see (or claim to see) the damage that Watergate was doing to the nation.

The president knew that his grand designs for international affairs were dead in the water.  He knew his domestic agenda was stymied as long as the affair dominated news coverage.  Congress felt that the constitution needed to be upheld with an orderly process allowed to play out to show the American people the legal implications to the actions taken by the Administration.

The bottom line was everyone was working in their own way for the American people.  History might judge we need to stretch a bit to see how ‘everyone’ could make that claim, but there are enough accounts with primary sources to make my point.

But now in Washington with the rash and just plain spiteful conservatives, we have language that is being used, and tactics are undertaken that make Watergate seem tame.  There is no evidence from House Republicans that the best interests of the nation were anywhere near the top of the pile for reasons they are playing Russian roulette with the national government.  The mean-spirited game of partisan politics from conservatives, along with racial politics has always been a part of this equation.  I have long felt the racial component for conservatives when it comes to President Obama is more important than the desire to make government function for the people.

There is no way that some in this nation will allow for a black President to succeed.  That is at the root of many of the most bizarre antics that have played out over the past couple of years,  and what is at the heart of the latest example of bat-crap-crazy coming from Ted Cruz and House Republicans.  Doing everything they can to delegitimize President Obama is not because they have such disdain for his policies, but that he is a black man that not only won the American vote once but twice.

When we have a U.S. Senator use language only in jest of taking a hostage and shooting a hostage as part of a public statement makes me aware that much has changed since Nixon stonewalled in giving information to congress.

This is a sad chapter that is now playing out in Washington as we hurdle from a self-created crisis to the next.

Nixon must be looking down (or up) and just shaking his head.

After all, even with all his flaws, he was always thinking about how to move this nation forward.

Listen And See (Tonight) 4,917th Consecutive Show From Nashville….Grand Ole Opry!


With COVID-19 shutting down basically everything nationwide of an entertainment variety, I want to alert my readers that a 90-year plus American institution is alive and well, and will not go dark.

The Grand Ole Opry will broadcast around the world for its 4,917th consecutive Saturday night. Here are 2 ways  to enjoy the show!

To watch the show, tune your TV to the Circle channel. Find your local Circle broadcast station. You can also watch the live stream on the Circle website.

Or tune in to The Air Castle Of The South, WSM Radio! 

Look Skyward For Something Unrelated To COVID-19

I feel compelled to start posting, at least every couple of days, news and thoughts about aspects of our lives not related to COVID-19.  There is no way to avoid the fact we are living history, nor deny the seriousness of this pandemic.  But it also goes without saying we need a place for our mind to wander for relaxation from the harshness of the world outside our doors.


Tonight, Venus, the crescent Moon and the Pleiades will form a beautiful triangle in the western sunset sky. The event kicks off a slow-motion conjunction between Venus and the Pleiades that will grow even more beautiful in the nights ahead.

When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. There’s a heavenly triangle in the sunset sky. The vertices are Venus, the crescent Moon and the Pleiades. Venus and the Moon pop out of the twilight first, followed by the Seven Sisters as the sky fades to black. Ruslan Merzlyakov photographed the convergence last night from Nykøbing Mors, Denmark.


Editorial Cartoons Of COVID-19

The perfection of tone and substance of some of the editorial cartoons over the past week can not be denied.





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