The Observatory

The Truth Shall Set You Laughing

Jeremiah Horrigan

Jeremiah Horrigan
New Paltz, New York, USA
February 04
Working Copy
Former Knight of the Altar, St. Martin's parish in South Buffalo, NY. Old enough to remember ducking-and-covering from the nukes that Sister Jeanne assured us were coming our way, defending Santa Claus until age 10, hating playing sports, wanting to fly, escaping to Westchester County for three years, re-escaping to Buffalo for most of high school, escaping to Fordham U long enough to drop out, escaping school, getting political, getting arrested, getting tried, convicted and released for crimes against the draft. Husband to Patty, father to Grady and Annie. Housepainter, cab driver, idiot, then newspaper reporter in Poughkeepsie, years of freelancing (Sports Illustrated, New York Times, Negligent Mother Magazine) and shameful indulgence, followed finally by 18 more years of reporting, column-writing, some awards, discoveries large and small along the way, including these: Sister Jeanne was full of beans, writing is good for the soul and I'm the luckiest man alive.


Jeremiah Horrigan's Links
OCTOBER 28, 2012 2:30PM

The Bell Tower

The new church was an orange brick box with a nearly flat shingled roof on which sat a tiny, out-of-scale aluminum bell tower that contained no bell. Monsignor Garrison, who despised everything about the new church but never revealed his thoughts to his flock, thought the new church looked likeRead full post »

OCTOBER 10, 2012 2:32PM

The Master: The (Unblinking) Quiz

SPOILER ALERT: Here, at last, are the answers to the questions everybody’s asking about the movie all the critics are raving about. The Master is a thinly disguised story about a portly, charismatic, white-haired man who bears a sly physical resemblance (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) to the well-know… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 27, 2012 12:22AM

Neil Armstrong without tears

The day Neil Armstrong bounded down from his lunar lander to the surface of the moon, my father, like many others of his generation, was moved to tears. 

I belonged to a very different generation, though I had a powerful emotional reaction to the moonwalk. I was a 19-year-old college kidRead full post »

AUGUST 14, 2012 11:09PM

Homefront: A Father Sings His Song


In a recent New Yorker profile of Bruce Springsteen, his life-long friend Steve Van Zandt reminisced about growing up in working-class Freehold N.J.

He didn’t talk about the glory days. He talked about how fathers and sons saw each other – and treated each other -- back then.

SprinRead full post »


I’m not an economist, but I’ll wager I’ve attended more meetings and written and read more reports about taxes than Paul Krugman has ever had to endure.

I’m a newspaper reporter. I cover small towns in upstate New York, where most public services are fundRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 1, 2012 8:39PM


His name was Frank. He looked odd to 11-year-old eyes, not a bit like the other counselors, all trim and sun-tanned, hanging out with each other. Frank was round and pale as a volleyball and always stood off by himself. He wore khaki Bermuda shorts and green knee-high socks. Wire-rimmed glasses… Read full post »

JUNE 25, 2012 9:26PM

My Kingdom and Welcome to It

The kingdom I grew up in ran only a few blocks in either direction from its secret epicenter, the kelly-green Cape Cod at 98 Turner Street, St.Martin’s parish, Buffalo, N.Y.

Scattered elsewhere around the neighborhood – I didn’t know it was a kingdom then — stood the parish&rRead full post »


Il est somme saign a bout les filmes du Francais cette esceps moi – somme saing a bout le peculiaire sensibilite du Francais de modern makeurs des filmes. En sou meny weurds, zey treat les sealiest saigns seau ultra-serieusment eu wantous laugh. Takez-vous le filme  &ldquo/… Read full post »

JUNE 18, 2012 9:10PM

Making peace with the Point

"My days of old have vanished tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. . ."

On a charisma scale, Mr. McGovern was pretty close to zero. He was my high school geometry teacher. His personal syllabus allowed no essay questions. A yes-no, right-or-wrongRead full post »

To everyone who missed it or who has forgotten it, there was a phenomenon in the late '60s called the generation gap. The generation gap was the distance in understanding between a parent and college-age child. On July 21, 1969, I could measure the gap in understanding between my father andRead full post »

JUNE 10, 2012 10:10PM

Prometheus: The Quiz

Spoiler Alert:  The following quiz is intended for mature audiences who have seen “Prometheus.” Immature audiences and those who haven’t seen the movie are welcome to take the quiz, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Choose the correct answer:

1)     Read full post »

MAY 27, 2012 10:40PM

Making peace with the Point


"My days of old have vanished tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. . ."

On a charisma scale, Mr. McGovern was pretty close to zero. He was my high school geometry teacher. His personal syllabus allowed no essay questions. ARead full post »

Let me tell you about my mother.
She is 84 years old and she is beautiful.
She's been that way all her life. Let me show you:

Here she is sitting on a picnic blanket, looking up at my adoring father, the the guy behind the camera. They're not married/
Read full post »

Amid the furor surrounding Mitt Romney’s admitted take-down of a fellow student at Cranbrook Academy 50 some years ago, one thing stand out starkly. It wasn’t what Romney admits doing as a teenager but how he responded to and explained his acts only a day or so ago.

I'm not surprised… Read full post »

The multi-million-dollar melodrama that the NFL Draft has become used to be a simpler affair. Time was, any two skinny kids could run the pro football draft. I know, because me and my brother Joe did exactly that about 45 years ago.

I was 14 and Joe was maybe 12. LordRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 19, 2012 3:34PM

Saying good-bye to the Gentleman from Arkansas

Levon Helm, drummer, singer and guiding light of The Band, died Thursday at 1:30 p.m. 

I'd sing him a song, but I can't sing. Hours after his death, I heard a song on the radio that he recorded not too long ago. To me, it's his elegy. I've wrapped my memories o… Read full post »

I’m standing in a vast, darkened office filled with row after row of filing cabinets. It’s a hot August night in 1971. I’m wearing only BVDs and a t-shirt. I have to open those filing cabinet drawers—that’s what I’m here for. But the cabinets are locked and I… Read full post »

APRIL 10, 2012 11:34PM

Fidel Castro: The Contender Remembers

"The Miami Marlins announced Tuesday morning that the team has suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for five games effective immediately after his comments about Fidel Castro." -- The Miami Herald
Reflections of Fidel
by Fidel Castro
Senior Columnist
Granma Internacional

So, my people, it has come to this… Read full post »

Five years ago, I wrote about a pending lawsuit involving a school district, a 10-year-old boy and the crayoned message that triggered the suit. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled on the case. Below, you’ll find that column as it appeared in the newspaper I work for, The Middletown Times… Read full post »

One of the four funniest, smartest and most under-rated satirists of the 20th and possibly 23rd centuries has died.

Peter Bergman, one of four friends who joined forces to create Firesign Theater in the late 1960s died at the age of 72.

Firesign was an astonishing, cutting-edge comedy troupe. They… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 16, 2012 11:09PM

Confronting the killer inside me; a romance recounted

I always wanted to be a writer like my dad. He was a sportswriter. Ever since he was a kid, he was mad about sports. After he got out of the Navy in 1945, and for as long as he lived, he made sportswriting the center of his life.

I hated playing… Read full post »

My grandmother, who we called Mom Mom, lived with my grandfather, who we called Pop, two blocks up the street from where I grew up in South Buffalo, N.Y. Every Saturday morning Mom Mom would get out her giant battered aluminum mixing bowl and a five-pound bag of Pillsbury Enriched Flour… Read full post »

This is a re-post of a story I wrote in my earliest OS days. I wanted then, as now, to mark my son's birthday, a time he can't remember but one I'll never forget. He means more to me than even the most carefully chosen words can say: 

My son Grady will be 39… Read full post »

A new year is upon us, and if, as it seems to me, the future looks bleak at times, then there’s no better time to look to the past for inspiration and insight.

Writers in particular can draw on what must be the deepest well of inspiration – the wordsRead full post »

NOVEMBER 19, 2011 12:05AM

A Heartwarming Story of Staggering Genius


A small boy and his mother braved winter winds one December evening some years ago. They walked through slushy snow to buy some milk and beer. The milk was for the boy and his baby sister. The beer was for their father, who liked to wash down his cigarette smoke… Read full post »