• Trump the Magic Dragon

    • Posted on Jan 17, 2017
    Thanks to Peter Yarrow for the original song--sung and wildly popular by Peter, Paul, and Mary back in the sixties.  Great melody, and ripe for parody, especially these days.  For best results, sing, and there's no copyright, so pass it around freely.   

    (Chorus) Trump the magic dragon, lived by the sea
    And frolicked with his toady friends in a tower for all to see
    Little Mikey Pencey loved that rascal Trump
    And gave him praise and flattery and other fancy stuff.  

    1. Together they would travel on a yacht with billowed sail
    Mikey kept a lookout perched on Trump’s gigantic tail
    Diplomats and suckups would bow whene’er they came, 
    Russian ships would lower their flags when Trump roared out his name.

    2. Trump he lives forever, but not so little Veeps 
    Fakey wings and phony things make way for other creeps.
    One grey night it happened, Mikey Pencey came no more, 
    And Trump that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.  

    3. His hair was bent in sorrow, his toadies fell like rain 
    Trump no longer went to play in Washington again
    Without his straight-man Pencey, Trump could not be brave, 
    So Trump that mighty dragon sadly went back to his cave. 


    Go comment!
  • Back to the Future with a TV Western

    • Posted on Jan 15, 2017
    Here's this morning's (1-15-17) Courier column.  Someone seems to have been looking at a crystal ball in 1958.    See the full "Trackdown" clip at the end.  

    Friday night, May 9, 1958. I’m 14 years old, glued to our Zenith 21-inch television, watching “Trackdown,” a western starring Robert Culp as Hoby Gilman, a chain-smoking, fast-drawing, no-nonsense Texas Ranger.  He’s cool personified, a rough combination of Matt Dillon and Steve McQueen.  

    It was escapist fare, totally predictable and therefore pure fun.  

    Little could my skinny teenage self know that not only was the show popular, it also predicted 2017 with frightening clarity. Well, at least that May 9 episode did.  
    Titled “The End of the World,” it was one of seventy episodes in the “Trackdown” series.  They aired from 1957-1959, and remained a staple for western enthusiasts.  It’s still shown on MeTV, which re-ran “The End of the World” locally a few days ago. 

    That rerun caused a stir on the Internet because it seemed ripped from recent headlines, full of spooky parallels to our current political scene.  How much did a half-century old black-and-white TV Western connect with our current political scene? 

    The plot:  A loud, overbearing traveling salesman comes to a small Texas town and begins holding rallies.   He’s selling fear, basically, bombastically shouting at townspeople that “The world is ending tonight at midnight with flaming meteorites! Prepare!  The end is near!”

    Frightened, townspeople crowd around the strange loud man wearing a wizard-like robe, imploring them to be afraid of the imminent catastrophe.  And promising a wall to keep them safe.  

     “Only I know how to save you!  Trust me!  I can build a wall around your house. I have a device that will propel the flaming meteorites away!   For a mere $75, you can protect your family! 

     They’re umbrellas, by the way. 

     The sheriff and judge seem powerless to stop him, and the judge admits to Hoby, “I can’t arrest him since he’s not doing anything illegal.”  The judge continues, “Funny thing—when we were kids we were all afraid of the dark.  When we grew up, we weren’t afraid any more.  But it’s funny how a big lie can turn us into kids again.” 

    Only Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman stands up to the swindler.  

    Hoby calls him a con to his face, who then threatens to sue. But Hoby’s not afraid. He knows a swindler when he sees one. After the rally that night, Hoby catches the huckster getting out of town before the gullible locals discover there are no flaming meteorites.   

     Hoby arrests him for stealing, cutting his profitable swindling short, saving the townspeople from themselves.  Thanks to the brave Texas Ranger, the villainous con is exposed, the townspeople get their money back, and viewers get a happy ending.   

    So who’s the huckster who preys on fearful citizens?  You guessed it:  Trump. Walter Trump, the savior who trades in gullibility and fear. No one could make this up; check it out for yourself (a four-minute clip) on YouTube: “Trump Trackdown,” 

     I saw it on TV fifty-nine years ago, and now I’m seeing it again, waiting for Hoby Gilman.  
    Here's a link to
    a four-minute clip: 


    Go comment!
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“Even before the advent of the Internet, Cawelti’s columns went 'viral' in the Cedar Valley… the role of a columnist is to be thought provoking, to take tacks that shed a different light on an issue or possibly cause a reader to reevaluate a position. At the very least, it should bring clarity to a particular perspective, whether you buy into the commentator’s worldview or not.

Scott's work does just that.  Enjoy this collection of his writing.”

-Saul Shapiro, Former Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Editor
Read Shapiro's entire introduction.


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