This has been a strange year. I’ve started writing a weekly column (City Mouse) for my old Iowa hometown newspaper, The Villisca Review. I grew up there in a berg (population now 1,000) nestled between two branches of the Nodaway River, in the valley known as Nodaway. The paper has been publishing for 150 years, believe it or not Ripley. Once upon a time I asked the editor (back in the 40s) if I could write for the Review. When I couldn’t spell Omaha, he told me to come back later. I’m back. The current editor is a woman who publishes it all out of her home. Mostly what she gets to print are 4-H ribbon winners, basketball and football stuff, and happenings in small town U.S.A. They still print who visited who, which I admit, is sweet and endearing.
This week I added a second article to my contributions, a review of a book of superb black and white photographs about Iowa musicians. I found it online and ordered a copy from the Chicago distributor. Anyway, the photographer who produced the beauties is Sandra Dyas, who teaches photography at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. Included with the book is a great CD of tunes by mostly Iowa musicians, including Greg Brown, whose name I’ve seen on the Shank Hall marquee near where I live. Turns out that Ms. Dyas is a longtime friend of Julie Lindemann and Johnnie Shimon, and she’s coming to M’waukee to see their show before it closes at MAM.
The Review has only one other columnist, a former Villiscan who is also a former farm lobbyist, now living in Virginia. He describes himself as a staunch Republican. Most of the town is made up of staunch Republicans. Which is why I may be in deep doo-doo.
Fortunately, my editor is all for freedom of expression. This can’t be easy, as anything she prints is open to attack the moment she steps out and faces her readers in the town square. But she’s given me the go ahead. The other columnist, the staunch Republican, takes issue with my stance and lately has started sending me a volley of emails calling my writing “crap, left-wing, hippie” etc. Yesterday I blocked any future emails from him.
He was particularly pissed over a piece I wrote about Cindy McCain’s $300,000 ensemble, and demanded that I verify where I got the “factoid,” never mind that it was all over the internet. Since I have blocked his emails, he has now sent his cousin, a Private in the United States Air Force, to shoot me down via email. Private X isn’t nearly as nasty, at least not at this stage.
In light of the recent disaster financial meltdown, and the resulting and very creepy bail-out plans, Miss McSame’s ensemble is of no account, nor is lipstick on a pig, moose hunting news, Troopergate, blah, blah. I don’t care if Palin can see Russia from her back door. Palin is more SNL than SNL is. When are we getting out of the middle-east and who is going to solve our financial mess?