Sunday, July 3, 2016


Applause Please
   1-Once there were 4 million of us, this last couple of years maybe 3.5 million, and we now face Saturday afternoon and early evening without Garrison Keillor.
    2-CS Lewis died the same day John Kennedy was murdered and hardly anyone knew. But in his life he touched a world wide audience and left a complicated literary and intellectual legacy.
The Prairie Pope
     By many standards neither Keillor nor Lewis was "mass appeal" but that does not mean they were not appealing.
      Over 42 years Keillor created a radio program that was a must in many homes. Prairie Home Companion was unique and the autistic Keillor became an American media original with a career length that outdistances Carson, Letterman, Stewart and others. There was nothing like it, nothing even close to comparison. Keillor was not for everyone in the same way vodka martinis, beef carpaccio, Miles Davis, or having a faith is not for everyone. Eclectic wit and pleasure. His fans were a mixed bag with a tilt toward NPR, PBS, reading books and lots of magazines and appreciation for music.
      Keillor signed off after Saturday's live performance from the Hollywood Bowl, bringing down the curtain on what he called an accidental career in radio. Now he will return to writing including assignments for the New Yorker. 
      Thoughtful and pensive Keillor was my nominee to be the Pope, though Francis is doing well. Not without significance here because his Plymouth Brethren and Lutheran background made him tick with a unique rhythm and strange but searing wit. Sadly there is no one like him so an era in American culture is closed.
The Oxford Vicar
     Lewis too was an original. A Brit from Belfast with a brilliant creativity, who shared a love of ale with JRR Tolkien,  confounded his fellow intellectuals, but like Churchill inspired the English with BBC broadcasts during WWII.
      Most may know Lewis because of his Chronicles of Narnia, or Anthony Hopkins portrayal of him in a kind of bio pic, Shadowlands. Lewis was first a scholar who wrote classical critical reviews. He wrote theology, though he was not a cleric, adult literature and of course the fairy tales.
      The complex Lewis comes to life in an extraordinary script An Evening With CS Lewis written by David Payne. We were fortunate to see American actor Philip Crowley's performance at the Theater at the Cambria Center for the Arts. Artistic director Nancy Green saw a workshop performance of Crowley about a year ago.  She produced the limited engagement here as Crowley is "warming up" for a limited run in L.A.
       Well known as a voice actor and narrator Crowley assumed Lewis's visage, voice and manner brilliantly. Lana and I pride ourselves on having see lots of theatre and the best talent. Crowley's work as Lewis and Payne's script are superb and we would see it again.
      If the performance comes to a stage near you, it will be a rewarding couple of hours. 
An Ovation for Wit
       A friend and occasional correspondent to Light Breezes is in the midst of a chemotherapy regimen. Over the years we've spent many evenings sipping wine and dining, comparing notes and opinions. She recently sent an e-mail to friends and channeled her inner gourmet.

Whoever is in charge of side effects went down the list and made sure I wasn’t deprived of any of them.  And treatment for some of the side effects come with, you guessed it, their own set of side effects.  It’s a balancing act but one I’m happy to report, I’m getting a handle on and plan on staying one step ahead of. 

One really annoying side effect is the awful taste Chemo leaves in your mouth.  This particular blend of drugs... I’ll call them the “Reserve” blend... is brimming with the complex flavor of chemicals like lead and iodine while delivering secondary notes of sulfur and the pungent taste of rotten cheese.   The ‘nose’ is reminiscent of highly acidic cow pie with just a hint of freshly poured and still steaming asphalt with the smoky aroma of hot tar making an appearance as it lingers on the tongue.  None of this finishes with the slightest silky smooth flavor of chocolate so it’s no wonder I’m losing weight.

        Cheers to her and to all who are reclaiming health in a similar manner. Here's to your better tasting days!

Shore life
    A common murre is in a bit of trouble as an oil like substance covers parts of its body. Bird experts, who were along side, said the penguin like auk needed to clean itself or it would perish.
     A sea lion seems annoyed that I interrupted his nap.

   Gulls and cormorants are oblivious to human eyes.

     See you down the trail.


  1. That last photo seems to indicate a slightly stormy day out at sea.

    1. There was a thick marine bank and a good breeze coming ashore.

  2. It will be interesting to see how Chris Thile does as host.

    1. Thile is a wonderful musician, as you well know. I suspect he'll take it toward its musical roots and obviously will open an appeal to a younger demographic.
      I remember the night you, Lana and I saw Thile live.

  3. Cooper, Mollie and Hannah are finally appreciating the weekend twenty+ years ago when we travelled to St. Paul to see Garrison live. Happy 4th to you and family. Love you all very much

  4. Seeing him on home turf was very special. We were lucky to see him live a couple of times. Probably one of the best American storytellers. I put him up there with Twain and Will Rogers.

  5. Maybe you have a midwestern bias re Garrison. But I, a native Californian, was a regular listener and supporter. My favorite Lake Wobegon story has always been his hitting his sister in the butt with a juicy tomato. I look forward to reading Garrison's upcoming articles in the Washington Post. When the Prarie Home Companion resumes in October, I'll tune in. Will it servive Garrison?

  6. Those of us who like Keillor's writing will get to see more of that. We'll tune in as well and hope that Chris Thile creates a great new era.

  7. Keillor and just about everything offered by PBS is outstanding. He will be missed.

  8. I never got into Keillor and I imagine it was a mistake since he's described in glowing terms by people I admire, like you. Happy 4th.

  9. You'll have a chance to read his work now. And I would imagine there will be collections of his best stories at a listening device near you. A Happy 4 to you and Mrs. C.

  10. During the hiatus Keillor took in the later 80's we heard him give a talk/performance at UW; kind of a monologue similar to "It's been a quiet...". Damnedest performance I've ever seen: he simply talked for around an hour and half, a story, wandering off then bringing it back, all off the cuff.
    He's an interesting person, some of the recent articles written about him have shown how different his on-stage and off persona is, and his comments about leaving the show are remarkably unsentimental.
    I didn't know Lewis died on the same day as about being upstaged.

  11. I agree with your assessment about how unusual he is on stage, but what a great talent.

  12. Wonderful post. The twinning of the two storytellers is quite apt. Both seemed to have a sixth sense about their ideas and their times. Wish I still had my Powdermilk Biscuits tee shirt that Sandy brought back from St. Paul when she saw him live. Our generation will be tested to see if we can survive after Life in Lake Webegon. I think he has made us all stronger, smarter and good looking

    1. And above average! Thanks. That Tee would be a classic now.