Monday, January 12, 2009
Let me know if you get e-mail notice about this entry. Then go to settings of The Timmy and add my e-mail. Whoops! That sounded like an order. Do this only if you want to. As a special favor to your co-blogger.
Your East Central Illinois Correspondent,
Danny Kenneth Dunne a/ka
Denney to certain family members
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
I think I e-mailed you this morning after blog was published by using e-mail symbol after Comment. Will try that again. Like you needed more e-mail. You do have a life, as evidenced by your fine blog: The Timmy.
Will publish this and try the e-mail thingie. Duck! Here comes another e-mail. Maybe.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
“OH 5… is a fossilized skull… It was discovered…by Mary Leakey in 1959. It is estimated to be about 1.8 million years old”.
OH 5 was also known as Zinj, or the Nutcracker Man, for reasons best known to Mary Leakey, who discovered him, or at least dug up his bones.
Leakey and her husband, Richard, often appeared as guest stars on the Discovery Channel. They frowned thoughtfully while watching the little people do the actual digging. The Leakeys were a jealous bunch. They often elbowed Jane Goodall aside when she was carrying on about her monkey friends.
For them, Early Man (and Woman) took precedence over the chimps. Mr. Leakey was particularly sensitive about monkey pictures. It was rumored that his morals were no better than the chimps.
The Leakeys aside, Nutcracker Man left pictures of a different kind. Cave wall drawings. He seemed to have been chased by Early Woman, who had only one thing on her mind: getting Early Man out of the house.
It is clear from the surviving pictures—they were freeze dried—that Nutcracker Man often wanted to stay inside and brood about his troubles, which he couldn’t do if Early Woman continued to talk to him.
One panel of drawings showed his thoughts: Why, oh why, did women like to talk so much? Why couldn’t they just go to the mall and leave him and his friends alone?
In addition to drawing, Nutcracker Man seemed to have the gift of seeing the future in visions. He had a sense that he was suffering through the Ice Age just so his descendants could talk on cell phones. It was terribly unfair.
On one occasion (1.8 Million B. C., give or take a few days) he drew a picture with captions to cheer himself up (he was hoping to be syndicated.)
He was inspired by a vision of a time far, far away. He read a captain’s log that appeared in a slow-moving crawl: The Return of the Weirdly Dressed Beings, Chapter VII, or Love Will Find a Way.
He was then distracted by a competing vision that took him to Dodge City. Matt and Kitty were at the Long Branch, smoking L & M’s.
Next CNN reported the latest news, but he tuned it out. He realized he was lucky that all he had to worry about was being eaten by animals or starving to death. His day would never be ruined by higher gas prices or the fear of global warming.
But within a few minutes he had to give it up his happy reverie, as his Woman seemed to be nagging him about something. She was talking and following him around their two-bedroom cave.
Nutcracker Man decided to go out, even though blizzard warnings were in effect. He had no choice. He was out of cigarettes.
It felt good to be out in the storm—man against Nature. He stopped mid-way to the convenience store and admired the snow-laden trees. They might have been whispering sweet nothings to him except a gale force wind drowned them out.
Despite the near blizzard conditions, a little bird landed on his shoulder and radioed the tower for instructions. He was in route to Brazil. He dipped his wings, as he headed south. This brief encounter caused Nutcracker Man to see a tiny bird somewhere in time who appeared to be best friends with a Beagle.
He began working on a caption for the birdie picture as he walked. He took time to consult his day planner. Will draw this Friday, he thought, as the Woman has Girls’ Night Out.
Oh, peace and quiet. He loved the Woman, but he needed space. A man couldn’t be hunting and fishing 24/7; he had to have a little down time in his cave.
Tomorrow is another day, he thought. He looked into the future and saw Scarlett O’Hara. She appeared to be crying and eating dirt.
He thought of a new picture and caption: “As God as my Witness, I will never be hungry again!” He hurried home to find a post-it note, not even taking time to get his cigarettes.
As he ran through the snow, he caught a glimpse of Margaret Mitchell at her typewriter, swooning over Clark Gable. She would never know that he had met Scarlett O’Hara nearly two million years earlier.
Nutcracker Man, Early Time Traveler!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Danny Kenneth Dunne (1842-1906) was born in a log cabin left over from William Henry Harrison's Presidential campaign. His family, however, abandoned the cabin in 1846 after the plumbing backed up.
Dunne's early education was skimpy, as was customary in the backwoods of Illinois. He borrowed Lincoln's shovel and practiced writing excused absence notes on it for his parents to sign. He later attended the Miss Edith Brooks School for Unlikely Lads and Budding Humorists. What he mainly learned from Our Miss Brooks was that all 19th century writers had three names.
When he came of age, or at least was wearing long pants, he looked--not very hard-- for work. He was a daydreamer, who was fond of making jokes. His family and friends liked to have died laughing at him.
Dunne decided to seek his fortune back East. Inspired by a local train wreck, he hopped a freight car on a circus train bound for New York City and had an overly close encounter with the MGM lion.
This adventure ended early when Dunne realized that the rails to New York hadn't been laid yet. This put a crimp in his plans, as he had hoped to get booked in one of the popular comedy clubs. He was in fact standing on the site of his town's future depot, which was then home to a family of squirrels.
But fate intervened in the form of the Civil War, which had to be fought to preserve the Union, free the slaves, and make it possible for Gone With the Wind to play to packed houses.
Dunne showed up for boot camp, but marched in the wrong direction for about thirty days. When he rejoined his regiment, he told how he had lived on tree bark and fought with tadpoles for a drink of branch water.
The regimental commander, General Buford Montgomery Logan, was so amused that he chose Dunne to be his aide and regimental clown. (Logan’s previous mascot, Buster the Bulldog, had crossed enemy lines in search of a French Poodle, a blonde last seen driving a T-Bird.)
After the war, despite entertaining the troops, Dunne's comedy career seemed stalled. He began submitting funny articles to local papers (he shoved them under the door of various editors' offices as his Internet connection was unreliable).
He was an overnight success at the Toledo Illinois Democrat (POP. 700 or 698 in winter as they had couple of snowbirds). At least a dozen people read his column--in time several other local papers picked it up.
Within two years, he was on the lecture circuit--he often opened for Ralph Waldo Emerson. His most famous oration was "How I carried the News from Bull Run to Washington". This was an account of how he got separated from his regiment and fell into the Potomac River.
In time, the public grew weary of funny stuff about the War. Dunne lost his column and found comedy bookings harder to come by. He had sunk so low he nearly signed up for his own reality show as a D list celebrity.
But by chance an army buddy bought the Greenup (IL) Press, and gave Dunne a job. He contributed one-liners and paragraphs about his hometown. The New York Times later picked up his column and he became an overnight sensation--again.
Several collections of his works were published in the closing days (Friday and Saturday) of the century. But public taste soon changed again, as new columnists from the cities became popular.
He spent his last years as an obscure newspaper editor; all his books were out of print by the time of his death.
His complete works are now available online, but a survey of the site's visitors indicated that they had landed on the address by mistake, as they were searching for Finley Peter Dunne, the Andy Rooney of his day.
Dunne did, however, have one last burst of notoriety in 1901 at President McKinley’s second inauguration. He tried to reproduce his famous Bull Run to Washington speech, but instead fell off the lectern and nose-dived into the Potomac River.
This caused quite a ruckus, as many onlookers thought Dunne was drunk. He was only awkward of course. But he told everybody how sorry he was and checked into rehab. It was the least he could do.
Dunne’s work may be forgotten, but he will live on thanks to Civil War buffs that look up the Battle of Bull Run. Google includes his dip in the Potomac as result number 1,720,000. A dedicated Civil War hobbyist will eventually reach that figure, although he might have to re-load his musket.
* * *
“Take that, Henry Wheeler ‘Josh Billings’ Shaw and all you three-named worthies!” said Mr. Dunne to himself as he closed down his study for the night.
Sunday, April 8, 2007
He would have to be careful about the details of his personal life. What should he say of his romance with Greta, the A. P. photographer? Nothing. It never happened. At least, not to him. He could write about his friendships with Dan Rather and Morley Safer. Except that he never met them.
Mr. Dunne had actually spent the ‘60s back home in Illinois working at a bank. He had led a quiet life except for the splashy times when he was in rehab for his addictions (Folger's Regular Coffee and Salem Lights).
As a young man, on one of the few occasions he left home, he had attended banking school for two weeks at Southern Illinois University. For him this was a considerable journey, over one hundred miles.
Mr. Dunne was not a good traveler. He went places without knowing where he was going. When he somehow arrived at a destination, he didn't know how he had got there. When he returned home, he didn't know how he had got back, or where he had been in the first place.
His poor sense of direction led him to places not on the map; local residents would giggle at his ignorance and tell him to go east two miles until he reached "the slab", which was how the highway was described in their vernacular.
So exotic places and travel were not really on his agenda; he seldom left the cornfields of home.
Still there was his show business period when he worked as an extra at Universal Studios. His biggest role was the day he fell out of an upstairs window and landed on Audie Murphy's horse.
How had he got to California? Plane. A further check of his diary indicated that he had only taken the Universal Tour, but he liked the Audie Murphy story better.
Mr. Dunne suddenly had an epiphany (after a spell-check): he had given up on his memoirs, because he had gotten weary of making stuff up.
It would be hard, however, to skip the Civil Rights Movement. But he wasn't there—he had missed the bus. He had got home somehow, but was glad he didn’t have to explain the details-- although hopping a ride on a freight car would have made a good story. He could have explained how he met Woody Guthrie and rode the rails.
What was that song they used to sing together? "This Land is My Land"?
Friday, March 23, 2007
So far Mr. Dunne has not been invited on C-Span's Book TV to discuss his Presidential Biography, which is just the latest of a string of failures related to his so-called literary life.
Dunne is presently in Limbo (a location that is intimately familiar to him) and is not now taking questions from the press.
Informed sources indicate that he is thinking of forming a committee to see if there is any interest in his candidacy for the presidency. He would like to be elected long enough to dissolve Congress, and to declare that foreign policy is too difficult for Americans; and that the U. S. should now give it up, at least until its leaders could pass an eighth grade test in history.
At the same time Dunne admits he is apolitical, like the vast majority of Americans who do not vote. The last time Dunne voted he went with The Gipper, although his family had always voted for Democrats. His family had memories of the depression and of the man who saved us all , Franklin D. Roosevelt. His family was also in agreement on religion: there were no Christians among them--they were all Baptists. Christians went to the other churches in Hidalgo (POP. 100 then and now).
Dunne's next project will be announced as soon as it comes up in Wikipedia's random article, which is his current source of inspiration. Or he may return to Presidential History, if Wiki can come up with the dirt on Zachary Taylor, "Old Rough and Ready", our twelfth President.
The next question (possibly should have been first question): What life? The main source is the Diary begun in 1989 that is the dullest imaginable reading. The author, as a rule, did nothing, went nowhere, and by all accounts, preferred that lifestyle.