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

My fellow boomers!

Remember back in the late '60s, how intently we listened to our elders when they told us what to do and how to do it as we tried to make accountable a government gone berserk?

Remember how eagerly we wanted to hear what mom and dad and Uncle Harry and… Read full post »


Some still call it the National Pastime, though everyone knows the time of pastimes is long past.

 I’d say that tired description hardly does the game justice, because at some down-deep level, baseball is something closer to the National Religion. That idea came to me after spendin/… Read full post »

In answer to my friend Writer Adam's request asking people to tell their 9/11 stories,  I'm re-posting a bittersweet reminiscence I wrote a year ago.  I think it speaks to the ambivalence a lot of people, including myself, have experienced about why some of us need and want to remember thosRead full post »

"Every generation throws a hero up the pop charts" -- Paul Simon

Superman has been given a complete makeover by DC Comics, in hopes he and all his partners in crime fighting will make it to the Top of the Pops again.

The guy formerly known as The Man of SteelRead full post »

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  What follows is a re-post of an AP-style news story told from an unusual perspective. I offer it as someone who has long practiced just-the-facts-ma’am journalism and who will probably be doing so again on Sunday, when Hurricane Irene is expected to make a slow, rainsRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 27, 2011 8:14AM

Getting Bombed: Football's Dream Job was My Nightmare

The author, holding his breath, as kicker Booth Lusteg splits the uprights

NFL training camp will begin within days. That means football is back from the bargaining table. This makes me happy. But there was a time when the arrival of training camp was a  pure misery for me.

Many years ago, in  the summer of 1966, I wasRead full post »

JULY 11, 2011 8:20AM

What it was and why it was perfect

We found each other in the parking lot outside the hilariously misnomered Tiki Resort on traffic-clogged Lake Avenue in Lake George NY on the Fourth of July weekend. We shook hands then drew each other into an embrace -- a brotherly embrace if ever there was one.

Joe is my brother,… Read full post »

JUNE 15, 2011 11:34PM

Father & Son, at Each Other's Side

It was 6:30 in the morning. Soon a nurse would take my vitals and an orderly would wheel me down the dim hallway to where a guy I’d met only the day before stood ready to cut my belly open like a ripe casaba.

Anxiety coursed through me like a shot… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 5, 2011 7:40AM

Teletyping the Anti-War Blues

I was a 19-year-old college freshman who felt unduly burdened by my father’s insistence that I get a job as well as attend the occasional class at Fordham University in the Bronx in the autumn of 1969. 

Dad did more than insist I work – he got me a job. Every… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
APRIL 14, 2011 10:35PM

Saved! Or, the Putz Delivered from his Shame

Being a 14-year-old putz wasn't easy for someone who'd never planned on being one. But the mysterious introduction into my teenage body of strange hormones, the sudden emergence of an outsized honker, a generous splash of zitz and the resultant blast of teenage lonlieness provided less… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 22, 2011 12:32AM

Why I Write: a Meditation and a Story


                  Approaching Marwencol . . .

A note about this story

I wrote the story that follows last year for the newspaper I work for, The Times Herald-Record out of Middletown, NY. It waRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 21, 2010 1:02AM

Defender of the Faith

My father cleared his throat and fixed me with a serious eye.

“Let’s go down to my office,” he said.

I was only 10 years old, but I knew trouble was on its way. Downstairs was Dad’s domain. None of us were expected there, unless we had a load of laundry… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 16, 2010 12:51AM

Strictly Speaking, Edwin Newman was a Prince Among Men

Edwin Newman, a network news reporter whose wit and high professionalism made being a network news reporter seem a gallant, even alluring, calling, has died at the age of 91.

The New York Times obit describes him as being “genteely rumpled, genially grumpy,” a man of “constituti… Read full post »

I remember very well where I was on September 10, 2001. I was in Newark International Airport, worried that my daughter Annie’s flight to Northern Ireland would be hijacked by terrorists.

I also remember – I’ll never forget – how, while driving home that evening, my wife Patt… Read full post »

Stop me if you've heard this one.

Cain raised crops. Abel was a shepherd.

God, no longer the chatty, come-stroll-with-me--in-the-garden Guy his parents still talked about, had gone all cranky and demanding. Bring Me offerings, he tells them, in a tone that leaves no room for doubt about what… Read full post »

AUGUST 16, 2010 12:56AM

A Cancer Catechism

(Catechism: "A set of questions designed to determine knowledge.")
What has cancer taught you?
What has cancer reminded you of?
All the things that I've let go unnoticed in a busy life.
Are you therefore grateful for these reminders?Read full post »

It looks like the fate of ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich, the bad-haired boy of Illinois, will soon be in a jury’s hands. Excuse me if I fail to be shocked at his decision not to take the stand in his own defense. Did anyone seriously expect him to do what he saidRead full post »

JULY 13, 2010 11:11AM

Open Call: A Reveille for Writers

I never much liked the two short stories by William Faulkner ("A Rose for Miss Emily" and "The Bear") that I was forced to read back in high school. At the time I thought that was Faulkner's fault. 

I was set straight about "The Bear" on the eve of cancer surgery… Read full post »

JUNE 28, 2010 10:42PM

Giving credit where credit is due

As many of  you already know, some lucky few of us OSers spent a day  happily and usefully ensconced in the stony aerie that is Mohonk Mountain House, members of a writers' retreat. Some of us came from across the country and some from just down the winding road. Some were… Read full post »

JUNE 18, 2010 3:26PM

Lost and Found: A Father's Legacy

They come to me whenever they want,  arriving unbidden and with unexpected force. They can't be conjured intentionally. The instant I recognize them, they dissipate like the smoke that used to curl from the White Owl cigars he loved.

I can't even claim to recognize them when these moments… 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 »


The 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 JoeRead full post »

FEBRUARY 11, 2010 10:37PM

Is this the greatest pop tune of the '60s?


 If there's a better example of what '60s pop was all about, I'd like to see it. 

Geezers, beezers  & pop music fans will recognize The Easybeats' "Friday on My Mind." This is the studio version dubbed over a live video, (which contains its own strange and innocent… Read full post »

Fig. 1

       Fig. 1 "The Blonde Madonna and Child"

Symbolists, historians and archeologists the post-apocalyptic world over are hailing the recent discovery of what has come to be known as the Masonic Jar Codex of ancient the holy city of  Buffalonia.

Located on the… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 12, 2009 11:32PM

A Hard Day's Night in a Hospital Bed

Being a 14-year-old putz wasn't easy for someone who'd never planned on being one. But the mysterious introduction into my teenage body of strange hormones, the sudden emergence of an outsized honker, a generous splash of zitz and the resultant blast of teenage lonlieness provided less… Read full post »