"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

OKC Gridiron Goofiness

The OKC Gridiron Club has been raising funds for college journalism scholarships since 1928, putting on an annual show that spoofs, pokes and parodies national, state and local politicians and events.
This year marked a big change for Gridiron and show. It's traditionally been held in downtown Oklahoma City, during February, luring state politicians into the audience. This year, seeking better facilities and more parking, we moved to historic Mitchell Hall on the UCO campus, but we had to do that in summer because Mitchell is booked during the year with college productions. In addition, our 20-year-plus band director Larry Pierce died earlier this year, and we've dedicated this show to him. We also came to hook up with the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in its mission, and UCO is now in its 125th year.
Tonight is the last of three shows, and we'll all be glad its over, exhausted from more than a month of rehearsals, but proud of the club and its purpose.
The script is written by several, so that all--or most--of the lines rhyme, and songs are written parodies of real songs--You are My Sunshine, Let's Talk About Me, I'm looking Through You, Supercalifagislistic--and many more this year from various musicians. We've got a lot of very clever writers, and many excellent singers (of which I'm not one).
The club does get desperate at times, and that's how they elected me president this year. And we desperately need new members--with about 25 of us carrying the load this year, plus the band.
We were fortunate to have US Senator James Langford (R), US Representative Frank Lucas (R), and gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman (D) attend last night. Regardless of politics, these are good people and we respect and honor those politicians who have the guts and humor to laugh at good natured-jibes and support the efforts of the club by showing up.
Here's member Patrick McGuigan's article on the show in his paper, The City Sentinel. 
All the members play several roles--Hillary, Biden, Obama, Sally Kern, Fallin and others have key roles--and tonight's performance is the last.  Here's who I spoofed: Sen. Inhofe, Bill O'Reilly, a downtown bum, and the anti-pot Nebraska AG, suing Colorado along with Oklahoma's AG.
video
Here's a video of the closing number, during Wednesday's tune up and family night, with "Mary Fallin" in red jacket in center.
Seats still available. Show starts at 7:30.
And, here's my Gridiron Rap, during my introductions at the start of the show:
Now it's time to set the trap
how about a little gridiron rap
I can't sing, and can barely dance
Want to leave? there's no chance.
Don't care what you sez,
I'm up here as Gridiron's prez
It may look like I'm in the dark
Whaddy'a expect, my name's Clark
We make it easy  to act like a fool
We  just hope  you'll  think it cool
You've heard the rumor
this show's all about humor
We try to cover the news
But the jokes improve with some booze
We're gonna poke lots of fun
with lines and songs about everyone
There's no room to be uptight
Our best jokes  have some bite
We'll do our best to make you laugh
If we do, get an autograph
You may think this little ditty
Is a little short of being witty
But it's writ to set the tone
and urge you to  turn off your phone.
Now we've come to UCO
Hope you're ready for a really good show.
So at last here's the truth
Thanks for coming, and forsooth!



D-Day's blood

Some of the American dead, killed on D-Day at Normandy, June 6-1944
I think it is probably impossible to write anything original any more about D-Day, but I hope we never forget the blood and bravery of June 6, 1944. I've written about it many times, here on the blog and elsewhere, reminded that I was five months old, snug in my safe crib in Dallas, Texas, when so many died so I would grow up as a free American.
White crosses and flags at half staff march across the American cemetery at Normandy now, and bring tears, but it is good to be reminded of the real carnage, the real human cost. 
Almost 5,000 men died that day, 2,499 of them Americans, many on horrible Omaha Beach. Our allies lost 1,914. While it doesn't match the carnage of our Civil War, nor the horrible losses of  WWI, or of Russia losing nine million people in the entire war, these men are the symbol of war's terrible cost.
Here's an excerpt from War Correspondent Ernie Pyle's visit to the beach that puts that tragedy better than any writing has:
    "The strong, swirling tides of the Normandy coastline shift the contours of the sandy beach as they move in and out. They carry soldiers’ bodies out to sea, and later they return them. They cover the corpses of heroes with sand, and then in their whims they uncover them.
    "As I plowed out over the wet sand of the beach on that first day ashore, I walked around what seemed to be a couple of pieces of driftwood sticking out of the sand. But they weren’t driftwood.
    "They were a soldier’s two feet. He was completely covered by the shifting sands except for his feet. The toes of his GI shoes pointed toward the land he had come so far to see, and which he saw so briefly."

Ernie Pyle