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
Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 9, 2009 10:04AM

Obama Answers that Early-Morning Call

A senior administration official said in an e-mail message that the press secretary, Robert Gibbs, called the White House shortly before 6 a.m. and woke the president with the news.-- The New York Times


THE PRESIDENT: I'm here. I'm ready. Talk to me.

I placed the followin ad in the “Personals” section under the “Sidekicks Wanted” listing:


"Single, grizzled gentleman to accompany and admire heroic archetype. Ability to fry eggs, boil coffee over open fires and splutter incomprehensibly (though not profanely) a musRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 25, 2009 12:05AM

An accurate report, part 2












































&… Read full post »

Conservative humorist P. J. O'Rourke needs no introduction from me. But I do, and Mr. O'Rourke has just provided me one.

I recently wrote an essay for an anthology entitled "Woodstock Revisited." Mr. O'Rourke reviewed the anthology in his column in The Weekly Standard a few weeks back.

I won't repeat h… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 5, 2009 11:06PM

Aftermath: Goin' Home from Woodstock 40 Years Ago

What follows is an excerpt from a story I wrote for the new anthology "Woodstock Revisited." I'd hoped to post the whole story but -- understandably -- the publishers aren't keen on having their bought-and-paid-for authors giving away what they're trying to sell.
My story's called "FlRead full post »
AUGUST 1, 2009 3:50PM

First Things First . . .

1. Who was your FIRST prom date?

For my senior prom, it was Barbara McNamara, who a really liked. She took the veil a few months later. 

2. Who was your FIRST love and do you still talk with him/her? 

Kathie O'Brien

Read full post »
I've been out of action hereabouts for nearly three weeks, after a routine colonoscopy became the occasion for next-day cancer surgery. It's been a harrowing and exalted time. The prognosis is good -- no spread, no need for chemo -- but what I'm most eager to share with you is how… Read full post »

IN the wake of the latest uproar about  "blog pimping," I visited a freind of mine's new site and found the following question, answer and warning. His post felt very much like a return to fundamentals;  it reminded me that I'd voiced objections to using that phrase and its cousin, "blog-wh… Read full post »

JUNE 18, 2009 11:02PM

A Father's Legacy

 They come to me whenever they want, these moments, 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 used to love to smoke.

I can't even claim to recognize… Read full post »

Trillions of tons of water poured down from the skies on parts of the drought-stricken eastern seaboard last night, nourishing untold numbers of trees and tomato plants, providing relief to millions of grateful tree frogs and disrupting, if only for a few hours, the spread of a co… Read full post »

Tim Russert, cheering on not the Buffalo Bills but the Canisius Crusaders, back in the day. 


NBC newsman Tim Russert died a year ago Saturday. This reminiscence (since re-written) first appeared in the The Middletown (N.Y.) Times Herald-Record: 

I once spent a week in New York City in the company of Jerry Lombardo, Pat Hoak and Tim Russert.

You'Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 6, 2009 2:23PM

Premature Burial: A Future Remembrance of Newspapers Past

I have been asked to contribute something to a time capsule being prepared for burial at the public library in my town. It will be opened in 100 years. Here is my message to the people of the future:
I wrote the following piece on for publication on Memorial Day, 1985. Almost a quarter century ago. It was called "Remembering." Much has changed since then. Much has not: 
The tenth anniversary of America's defeat in Vietnam has helped spark a new appreciation of the country's Vietnam… Read full post »

Several recent posts have documented the latest appearences of the notorious hate group known as the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. Four years ago, the sons and daughters of the Rev. Fred Phelps descended like a latter-day Biblical plague on the college town of New Paltz, N.Y,Read full post »

MAY 9, 2009 8:54PM

Perfect Mother. Imperfect Son

Let me tell you about my mother.

She is 83 years old and she is beautiful.

She's been that way all her life. Let me show you some photos:

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

You'll hear and see plenty about Jack Kemp the quarterback and Jack Kemp the politician today. You'll see him called all sorts of things by fans and foes alike. My favorite description of him was his own: he liked to call himself "a bleeding heart conservative."

I can testify to that.… Read full post »

Journalism, like every other profession, speaks its own language. Unlike every other profession, journalists speak this language publicly. And though it appears paradoxical, journalese is also a secret language, even, sometimes, to its practitioners. Unless, of course, you've… Read full post »

Master journalist Pete Hamill gave a talk entitled "Our Imperfect Craft" to a group of mostly young journalsits from around the country Friday evening. The occasion was the first Mike Levine Writers Workshop. I don't have a transcript but I do have a few pertinent quotes:… Read full post »

That's right, sports fans. The Wall Street Journal hired the 28-year-old right-hander to report on the NY Mets opening day in Friday's Weekend Journal. Called her "a hard-core Mets fan." And here with the play-by-play of her first journalistic at-bat, Mike (The Lip) Mazursky and BRead full post »
The president of Arizona State University has  proposed that ASU change its name to "OSU."
Asked by reporters what OSU stood for, University President Michael Crow said he didn't know, that the idea of "re-branding" the university came to him in a dream.


Politically correct language isn't the only enemy of clear writing and thinking, though it's probably the most obvious. I'd like to suggest an equally common and less examined destroyer of meaning and thought, namely euphemisms.
Here's a favorite euphemism I ran into as a cub… Read full post »
APRIL 1, 2009 10:27PM


Help! I'm, i'm ...something 's hapnin heer. dnt no waht it itis. do u? rm spininnggg. Confickerrrrr! infektd? NO JOKe .  ... mussnt looshe cnscoiusnesss. mus   sty    awaaakkk . ..qi3ut4ouotyeva4 . ... . .

There. That wasn't… Read full post »

This past weekend's front-page focus at OS on the parlous state of journalism held more than a theoretical or ideological interest for me. I'm a newspaper reporter, so there's nothing abstract about the issues surrounding whether and how newspapers will survive.

Everybody has a theory about "the med

Read full post »

MARCH 15, 2009 12:52PM

AIG to USA: Drop Dead

When it comes to failure, insurance giant AIG had re-written the book. I won't bore you with the financials here.

So far, the company is in to you and me for $180 billion. And now it wants to repay us by rewarding, with $165  million in bonuses, the v… Read full post »
MARCH 7, 2009 9:59PM

Brushman, Pass By

There used to be a day when when men went door-to-door selling brushes. They wer known as Fuller Brush men, whether they sold the Fuller brand or not.  And there used to be a day when women -- their brand was "homemaker" or "housewife" -- took a moment from their routines… Read full post »