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Larry Lehmer
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I have a peculiar relationship with guns. To clarify, it's my experience with firearms that I'm really writing about. I know that, technically. rifles and pistols are not guns in an historic sense, despite the way they are usually described. I learned the difference on the rifle range in basic... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2021 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Ellen and Jens Andersen in their living room, 1965 I wrote my first story while in kindergarten. I don't remember it, but my mother told me it was called "The Go-Away Dog." Despite that sketchy information, I have a pretty... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2021 at Passing It On
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The summer of 1964, as it turns out, was a pretty important time in my life. I had a year's worth of college experience by that summer and my Dad made sure I had a good job with the railroad. I didn't have a car but my good friend, Gene... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2021 at Life In the Slow Lane
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August 5, 1900 The noise was deafening. Much different than the sounds usually heard on racing day at the St. Louis Fair Grounds, where thousands of horse-racing fans would fill the grandstands surrounding the half-mile oval that was the site of many of the biggest races of the day, like... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2021 at Before Their Time
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Remember how big and wonderful the world was when you were a kid? How you'd go bonkers over something you'd just discovered while the grown-ups around you just reacted with amusement, barely containing their worldly smugness? That's what happens to kids: adults just drain the wonder from their young souls.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2021 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Valerie Rubin wasn’t believing what she was hearing. Did the woman on her TV screen really say something about “blood and guts” and “suicide?” Up to that point, it had been a typical Monday morning for Rubin, a reporter with the Herald-Tribune newspaper in Sarasota, Fla. She was sipping a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2021 at Before Their Time
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Hank Aaron sauntered to home plate and took a couple of practice swings. It was the 1958 World Series between Aaron's Milwaukee Braves and the New York Yankees. Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, as amiable a character that ever squatted behind a plate, chatted up the young Braves outfielder, trying to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2021 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Maury White and Allen Ashby had a lot in common. Both were Iowa high school football stars and big names in their communities. Their love of sports led each to jobs as sportswriters and both men landed jobs at Iowa's greatest newspaper, The Des Moines Register. But, while White built... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2021 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Funny how the mind works. When the song "Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)" came up on my computer while I was wasting time, my mind immediately went to Harold Webster. And, of course, Mays' rookie baseball card. In my mind, the two are inseparable. Harold was one of my... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2021 at Life In the Slow Lane
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When Dick Clark took over hosting duties for the program that would become American Bandstand, he was fully aware that his broadcasting success relied on playing the type of music that would attract throngs of enthusiastic dancing teenagers to the studios of WFIL-TV. He also knew that he would have... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2020 at Bandstand Beat
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Wow! A newspaper. A really good newspaper. It's been a long time since I felt that way about a newspaper, even though I started my own newspaper career way back in 1968. It was sometime in the mid- to late-1970s, though, before I truly fell in love with a newspaper.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Before Dick Clark succeeded Bob Horn as host of TV's Bandstand in 1956, there was some question among WFIL management whether he was the right man for the job. Even after giving Clark's radio show the same Bandstand name, Clark's ratings were not very good. This excerpt from Bandstandland picks... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2020 at Bandstand Beat
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In early 1957, Dick Clark had been the host of Bandstand (still a local show in Philadelphia) for less than a year but his star was clearly on the rise, as this excerpt from Bandstandland shows: "As Bandstand continued to grow in popularity, the demand for Clark’s appearances at record... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2020 at Bandstand Beat
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CLASS PROPHECY FOR THE CLASS OF '63 Thomas Jefferson High School Date: June, 1983 Place: Space Needle Seattle, Washington Time: You name it. It has been twenty years since the best class Tee Jay ever had performed its graduation exercises. Today, we find most of these grads heading for a... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
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In an earlier post, I wrote how I spent many early morning hours of my college years in Omaha's Burlington Station, usually writing bad poetry or short stories in a succession of stenographer's notebooks. I also had many interesting conversations with the kind of colorful characters you'd expect to meet... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Today is Monday but to call it that seems awfully mundane, coming right after Super Bowl Sunday. Shouldn’t it at least be called Super Monday? We Americans are super at using the word super. We have our Superman, Super 8s... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2020 at Passing It On
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10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 18, 1988 It looks like it's going to be a scorcher. Although summer doesn't arrive for a few days yet, it's already 80 degrees on the shores of Clear Lake, Iowa, as a curious assortment of floats, marching bands and classic cars tumbles into single file... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Walter Annenberg was more than a little annoyed. Since taking over the family publishing business when his father, Moe Annenberg, went to prison for tax evasion, Walter had expanded into the broadcast industry. It was with some irony that Walter bought WFIL radio from Albert M. Greenfield in 1945. It... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2020 at Bandstand Beat
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"Once More Around the Crypt" That was the headline on a story I wrote in my sportswriting days about a high school track team which, since it didn't have an all-weather track at the school, did its early spring training... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2020 at Passing It On
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As a college student, I was intrigued by John Lennon's writing style in his books "In His Own Write" and "A Spaniard In the Works." I found his work to be satirical and whimsical, doubtless due to his proclaimed influence from Lewis Carroll. Here is a short piece I wrote... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Friday night, June 17, 1988 It's a warm Iowa night, the sun dropping towards the horizon as guests start arriving at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. It's a special occasion. Tomorrow they'll be dedicating a monument to the three singers who performed their last concert here before perishing... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
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I found it! For years I've been looking for the notebook containing the notes I took during the monument dedication ceremonies at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1988. I covered the event for The Des Moines Register as part of a deal I made with Register features... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
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It was just 46 years ago ... It seems like yesterday but it was, indeed, November 1973 when I tried to launch a career as a rock music syndicated columnist. I was just a couple months on the job as... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2019 at Passing It On
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One tennis racket (Jack Kramer model) One tennis racket (Pancho Gonzalez model) Seven tennis balls Twenty six years and this is it? The sporting legacy of a young American male? Apparently so. They were the only athletic items among the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2019 at Passing It On
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I love lagniappes, those unexpected little extras that sometimes tumble your way, like, for example, the complimentary sliver of cake you get at the end of a meal at the locally popular restaurant, Simon's. Then there's the opposite of lagniappes, those unexpected little extras that sometimes tumble your way and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2019 at Life In the Slow Lane