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On the evening of Independence Day we went to the movies, because we're Patriotic like that. Todd and Joel went and saw the new Superman flick, Rob and I went and saw “A Prairie Home Companion.” Normally, I like SciFi/Fantasy/Action/Superhero movies, but I was still feeling a little gunshy after having suffered through the most recent X-Men movie. When I've paid $8 to see a movie, then spend the greater part of it thinking “oh get on with it for the sake of kitties, petunias, and the wide blue sea,” I tend to walk out frustrated and disappointed, you know. Besides, I always loved Garrison Keillor's radio program, and figured it would be worth a shot.

I think I got my $8 worth from that film, as parts of it were outright hilarious and much of the music was highly enjoyable. The “Bad Jokes” song was pretty much the highlight of the show for me, though the penguin joke made me chuckle, as if on cue. Of course Garrison Keillor delivered his plugs for the Ketchup Council and Powdermilk Biscuits. The only thing missing was a Woebegon story, but he made up for that lack with a few trademark-style meandering monologues involving nakedness and other awkward situations. I think that Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin strangulated the accent a bit overenthusiastically, but what can you do? It's kind of an odd accent, and if it doesn’t come natural to you, I guess it’s easy to overdo.

Back when I worked at the Olde Main Street Inn in Chadron, Lorri and I used to listen pretty frequently to NPR while we worked, and we made a custom of listening to their Friday night lineup every week. There was A Prairie Home Companion, the Big Band Spotlight, and this “Celtic” show of patchy quality called Thistle and Shamrock, hosted by Fiona Ritchie, a Scotswoman with an irritatingly mellifluous voice. As you might guess, I could generally take or leave Thistle & Shamrock, but I had much love for Prairie Home and Big Band. I was kind of the odd-jobs girl in the kitchen, doing anything from making the plates look pretty to manning the fryer to doing the dishes. I did a fair amount of regular cooking, as well, but tended to leave the more expensive meat to Lorri. I'd trust myself to do a nice job of grilling salmon, but I never did divine the deep secrets of grilling steak per order. I can do “barely warm” and “medium well.” Other meatly subtleties are lost to me.

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