The News from Lake Wobegon Podcast

February 21, 2007

After my bitching about the (God-awful) movie of A Prairie Home Companion, I was pleased to find out that there’s now an official podcast for “The News from Lake Wobegon” available from

You know, for those weeks when you’ve got something more interesting to do on Saturday nights than listen to NPR…

Now we just need a Guy Noir podcast…

A Prairie Home Companion (Review)

February 4, 2007

Super TroopersWhat in the world happened here?

I’ve been a fan of A Prairie Home Companion (the radio show) for a lot of years — despite my distaste for the music, the comedy bits range tend to range from terrificly funny to utterly priceless.

Unfortunately, none of that seemed to find its way into the movie — a somewhat tearjerking tale of the last show of a tired old radio production, being killed by the new corporate owner of their home radio station.

Kevin Kline manages to chew up all of the scenery without bringing out any of the funny in his portrayal of Guy Noir.

Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly play a passable Dusty and Lefty — without the skit, and meanwhile a wooden Garrison Keillor, Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep wring every last bit of sap and cornpone out of the music — while the show is dying, one of the cast kicks the bucket, and the comedy isn’t even on life support.

They even trot in an angel (Virginia Madsen) to attend the death of the cast member, plot the death of the evil corporate axe man (Tommy Lee Jones), and still manage to not save the damn radio show.

Oh yeah — and Lindsey Lohan makes an appearance as Meryl Streep’s whiney and annoying wannabe goth daughter, for no discernible reason.

No news from Lake Wobegon, where in addition to all of the women being strong, all of the men good looking, and all of the children above average, apparently all of the citizens had the good sense to stay a country mile away from this stillborn turkey.

What a pity for this to have been Robert Altman’s final film.

If you like A Prairie Home Companion, buy a CD collection or even a DVD of the actual show — or better yet, donate to your local Public Radio station.

But give this movie a wide miss.

A Prairie Home Companion (2006) DVD

Lake Wobegon Coffee

September 6, 2005

Garrison Keillor waxes philosophical on coffee in Drink up, because it is bitter and because it is our coffee (Houston Chronicle)

Now that medical science has established that coffee is an important source of antioxidants that help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke, you and I can get on with our lives. A cup of coffee is what starts our engines and saves us from torpor and lassitude. We always knew this. Starbucks was built on the idea that there is no such thing as an overpriced cup of coffee. Yes, I know people who have quit coffee and who will tell you in their small tremulous voices How Much Better They Feel and goody for them, but to me living without coffee is like trying to climb up the outside of your house using suction cups. Why not just use the stairs?

(huh… Turns out it’s spelled “Wobegon” not “Woebegone”; I learn something new every day)