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Andy Rooney, RIP: The Reporter About Nothing
Throneberry Fields Forever ^ | 5 November 2011 | Yours Truly

Posted on 11/05/2011 4:30:31 PM PDT by BluesDuke

If it seemed at times as though Andy Rooney was old enough to have been—God help us!—the Father of His Country, well, you can be forgiven for that. He seemed at least to have been old enough to have been the father of CBS, if William S. Paley hadn’t already done the job. For a decent amount of time, he may have been America’s favourite grouse. For an indecent amount of time, he may have seemed just like a grouse with an air-tight contract. For once upon a time, he might have been the model for a certain one among the Seven Dwarfs.

He could be funny. He could be infuriating. He could be boring. Sometimes it seemed as though he were being paid too handsomely to be all three. And the lines between them got as thick as his unkempt eyebrows as often as not.

Well, I liked the old bird anyway. Maybe it’s because I envied him. If I shot my big mouth privately the way he did on television, I wouldn’t get suspended with pay (as happened to him a time or two), I’d be run out of town and maybe out of three states and counting. And they wouldn’t bother putting me on a rail.

Mostly, I think I liked him because he wasn’t the only man on this planet to complain about his drawerful of useless keys or his mailbox crammed with spam—--oops! in those days we called it junk mail--—but he got paid like a football player to kvetch about it. Which reminds me—--the old bird thought football was a sacred cow and baseball was the dung. Well, I thought he was full of it.

Maybe it was because Rooney was his age. I mean, he became 60 Minutes‘ resident grouse at an age when most people were still thinking about retiring and, as did he, had already lived their professional lifetime. Once upon a time he was a real reporter with a real reporting resume that only began with Stars and Stripes. Only who the hell needed that? When 60 Minutes reached out and touched him, Rooney found his true calling. Anyone can be a real reporter. It takes genius to flap your yap about nothing much on television every Sunday night.

Love or loathe him, love or loathe his views, you had to admire the fact that the old bird was an old bird and didn’t quit until he entered his tenth decade. That gives aid and comfort to guys like me who are knocking on the door of 56 and know the jig would otherwise be up in nine years.

When Mr. Rooney got drydocked over his 2003 remarks that women had no business being sideline reporters for NCAA or NFL game coverage, I couldn’t resist zapping him with the following little satire. Mr. Rooney died Friday night of complications from surgery at 92. I’d like to reprint that satire now in his memory.

A FEW MINUTES WITH ANDY LOONEY

Ever wonder how I got to be Andy Looney and you didn’t? I’ve been wondering myself, so I figured you were, too.

After all, I can’t write my way out of The Cat in the Hat. I’m as funny now as a fat farm breaking off a piece of that Kit-Kat bar. And I’ve run out of most of my best material ever since they told me I’d better knock it off about the junk mail or I’d be sued by the country’s junkmen.

Well, now I’m in hot water again. It’s funnier than when my soap gets into hot water, but I’m not allowed to make any more shrinking soap jokes, either. The soap opera people don’t like grumpy old men getting smart about the product that made those people necessary.

Uh-oh. I just got this e-mail. Yes, I get e-mail. Even a fossil like me had to surrender to the computer age. Which proves that CBS are hypocrites when it comes to gun control. Not to mention reckless, if they’re trusting me with a computer. Computers are dangerous enough without being in my hands.

Anyway, here’s what the e-mail says: “Dear Mr. Looney: ‘The product that made those people necessary?’ Please stop stealing my material. My paralegal can beat up your lawyer. Sincerely, Yogi Berra.”

OK, Yogi, you win this one. I’ll quit stealing your material if you quit making those insufferable AFLAC commercials. I know Joe Garagiola needs the job, but the duck suit fits him worse than the leisure suit fit me.

I’ll never understand why I suffer halfwit former baseball players gladly. But maybe it’s because they remind me how much I love football. Football is perfect for a simpleton like me. Four quarters. Fifty guys on the field trying to kill each other like suicide bombers. All over something that isn’t even shaped like a real ball. What’s better than that?

And their soap never melts slowly. Come to think of it, their soap never melts. Within a foot of those guys, it disintegrates. Maybe I’ve been too hard on soap all these years, after all. But maybe I’m saying that now because a lot of people want to wash my mouth out with it.

You see, I’ve done it again. I’ve shot my big mouth off and got a lot of people mad at me. I don’t like when people get mad at me. It makes me feel like I’m standing in for a really worthy target—--like the people who still pay me six figures to rant my head off about the hotel keys I keep collecting that don’t fit anyplace sensible anymore.

I just don’t get it this time. All I said was that women don’t belong on the football field as sideline reporters. It’s not like I said they don’t belong in the media, for heaven’s sake. But, ok, I should have said men don’t belong on the football field as sideline reporters, either. The reason nobody belongs on the football field as a sideline reporter is that there’s nothing to report in the first place.

Now, if I’d said that in the first place, I’d have saved my credibility. If there’s any reporter who knows when there’s nothing to report, it’s me. And I report nothing better than anybody else in this business.

But cut me a little slack. I’m old enough to be the father of half the countries on earth. The old gray brain just ain’t what it used to be, ever since I came back from covering the War of 1812. And as long as someone needs a reporter who’s as good as I am at reporting nothing, I’ll have a nice paying job.


TOPICS: Humor
KEYWORDS: 60minutes; andyrooney; humoralleged; television
Rest in peace, Grumpy . . .
1 posted on 11/05/2011 4:30:32 PM PDT by BluesDuke
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To: BluesDuke
Yeah--classic curmudgeon. I think he overstayed his welcome though. Not much pizzazz the last couple years.
2 posted on 11/05/2011 4:34:25 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: BluesDuke
"And you know, caskets? Have you ever tried to open one from the inside? Why don't put door handles on the inside of them?!"
3 posted on 11/05/2011 4:39:29 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Revolting cat!
I still remember his special on . . . chairs. When he came to an electric chair, he imagined someone visiting one: Hey, Joe, look at me! Throw the switch!
4 posted on 11/05/2011 4:44:02 PM PDT by BluesDuke (Another brief interlude from the small apartment halfway up in the middle of nowhere in particular)
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To: BluesDuke

His story about going to war as a pacifist and realizing that he was wrong was interesting.

Even then, you could blame a college professor for leading a student astray.


5 posted on 11/05/2011 4:48:37 PM PDT by cripplecreek (A vote for Amnesty is a vote for a permanent Democrat majority. ..Choose well.)
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To: Revolting cat!

Why is that?


6 posted on 11/05/2011 4:49:28 PM PDT by cripplecreek (A vote for Amnesty is a vote for a permanent Democrat majority. ..Choose well.)
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To: BluesDuke
Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'

You gotta have somethin'

Or you'll be like NBC

Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'

You gotta have somethin'

Or you're CBS to me

Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'

You gotta have somethin'

Ya can't even flee from ABC

7 posted on 11/05/2011 4:50:12 PM PDT by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it. (plagiarized))
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To: Navy Patriot
Alas, once upon a time CBS, NBC, and ABC had something. It was called old-time radio.
8 posted on 11/05/2011 4:51:35 PM PDT by BluesDuke (Another brief interlude from the small apartment halfway up in the middle of nowhere in particular)
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To: All
Spotted this in the Los Angeles Times a little while ago . . .
"I hate it. I mean, I'm gonna die," Rooney told Morley Safer, when asked how he liked old age in an interview that accompanied his final 60 Minutes broadcast, "and that doesn't appeal to me at all." He would have gotten a good piece out of his own passing; it's a shame we won't get to see it.
Come to think of it, it would have been interesting to hear Grumpy on his own death . . .
9 posted on 11/05/2011 4:55:04 PM PDT by BluesDuke (Another brief interlude from the small apartment halfway up in the middle of nowhere in particular)
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To: BluesDuke

commie icon.


10 posted on 11/05/2011 4:59:24 PM PDT by ken21
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To: BluesDuke
It was called old-time radio.

That's on of the few reasons I occasionally wish I was older than I am, but then, I'd probably be dead.

11 posted on 11/05/2011 5:01:41 PM PDT by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it. (plagiarized))
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To: BluesDuke

The funniest thing I remember about him was on a couple of interviews he was asked about General Patton and both times he flew into a rage because he hated him so much.


12 posted on 11/05/2011 5:05:30 PM PDT by BerryDingle (I know how to deal with communists, I still wear their scars on my back from Hollywood-Ronald Reagan)
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To: Navy Patriot
It was called old-time radio.

That's on of the few reasons I occasionally wish I was older than I am, but then, I'd probably be dead.

Take heart: Just about all the old-time radio you can handle listening to!

And the best part: now you (as I) can listen to it not as clanking nostalgia but as living, breathing art.

You can also read my regular Examiner.com column on old-time radio . . .

13 posted on 11/05/2011 5:13:36 PM PDT by BluesDuke (Another brief interlude from the small apartment halfway up in the middle of nowhere in particular)
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To: BluesDuke
Ever wonder why so many people in the MSM are committed leftists?

8:}

14 posted on 11/05/2011 5:34:56 PM PDT by AwesomePossum (I have never looked this forward to a November II........)
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To: BluesDuke
Having been raised around grumpy old curmudgeons, there is something very American about older guys who speak their mind whether they are right or not. He made me smile on occasion which was enough to wish him to rest in peace.
15 posted on 11/05/2011 5:35:40 PM PDT by dog breath
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To: AwesomePossum
Ever wonder why so many people in the MSM are committed leftists? 8:}
Wouldn't that be something along the line of wondering why so many skies are blue?
16 posted on 11/05/2011 5:40:42 PM PDT by BluesDuke (Another brief interlude from the small apartment halfway up in the middle of nowhere in particular)
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To: dog breath
Having been raised around grumpy old curmudgeons, there is something very American about older guys who speak their mind whether they are right or not.
There sure is. We usually call them at least one of our grandfathers and a few of our uncles. And sometimes we call them politicians.
17 posted on 11/05/2011 5:41:57 PM PDT by BluesDuke (Another brief interlude from the small apartment halfway up in the middle of nowhere in particular)
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Looking For Donors


Click The Pic

Are You One?

18 posted on 11/05/2011 5:56:11 PM PDT by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
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To: BluesDuke

He wrote a book “Pieces of My Mind” that had one of the funniest essays I ever read about a morning where he set out to accomplish many things, and got thwarted, distracted, etc. and never got anything done.

I wish I still had that book.

He was describing a day where he made a “Things to do list” and the first item was to split some firewood. He got his axe, but the blade felt dull so he decided to sharpen it. However, his sharpening wheel had a wobble, so he needed to disassemble it, dropped a special screw behind his workbench, went to the hardware store to get another screw .... (it went on and on with one simple thing leadding to a thousand more things to do). Very funny the way he wrote it.


19 posted on 11/05/2011 6:23:07 PM PDT by ChiefJayStrongbow
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To: BluesDuke

Nasty old liberal bites the dust...


20 posted on 11/05/2011 7:42:32 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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I never cared for him nor his opinions. However, I'll be eternally grateful to him for his honorable service in the Army Air Corps during WWII. I believe he flew as a crew member in B-17s. They didn't have a particularly high survival rate.

Mark

21 posted on 11/05/2011 8:38:31 PM PDT by MarkL (Do I really look like a guy with a plan?)
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To: ChiefJayStrongbow
He wrote a book “Pieces of My Mind” that had one of the funniest essays I ever read about a morning where he set out to accomplish many things, and got thwarted, distracted, etc. and never got anything done.

I wish I still had that book.

I thought that was the best of the books that collected just his syndicated columns. You can probably find a fresh copy in the nearest second-hand bookshop. That's where I found my replacement!
22 posted on 11/05/2011 9:32:18 PM PDT by BluesDuke (Another brief interlude from the small apartment halfway up in the middle of nowhere in particular)
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To: BluesDuke
HaHa........yes, it would be..........

8:}

23 posted on 11/05/2011 9:52:26 PM PDT by AwesomePossum (I have never looked this forward to a November II........)
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To: AwesomePossum
I thought you'd see things my way! ;)

Anyway, as portsiders in the press go (When you like us, we're the press; when you hate us, we're the media---William Safire, God rest his soul in peace) Rooney wasn't even close to the worst of the lot. I mean, what's the worst he could do---inspire someone to throw a protest stink bomb into a soap factory and threaten more to come until they invented ways to stop soap from melting?

He lost a lot of the snap off his curve ball in recent years, but when he was at peak power he was at minimum tolerable and at maximum a kind of guilty pleasure laugh.

I mean, I once had as many stray keys that seemed to belong to nowhere or nothing in particular as he bitched about having. And I'd bet that mine, too, came from places that went out of business long before either he or I realised we still had the damn things . . .

24 posted on 11/05/2011 10:15:53 PM PDT by BluesDuke (Another brief interlude from the small apartment halfway up in the middle of nowhere in particular)
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To: BluesDuke
Ahhh, Mr. S, of nattering nabobs and congenital liar fame..............Rooney couldn't carry his thesaurus.........

8:}

P.S. you do be a poet......

25 posted on 11/06/2011 1:24:48 AM PDT by AwesomePossum (I have never looked this forward to a November II........)
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To: BluesDuke
I have a confession to make.

I cheered when I saw the headline.

Ahhhhhh.

Confession is good for the soul.

26 posted on 11/06/2011 1:49:57 AM PDT by Tolkien (Grace is the Essence of the Gospel; Gratitude is the Essence of Ethics.)
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To: Navy Patriot

I give him credit for riding along on bombing missions over Germany in Flying Fortresses and reporting on them. As for his politics... not!


27 posted on 11/06/2011 5:12:19 AM PST by Northern Yankee (Where Liberty dwells, there is my Country. - Benjamin Franklin)
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To: AwesomePossum
Ahhh, Mr. S, of nattering nabobs and congenital liar fame..............Rooney couldn't carry his thesaurus......... 8:}
Well, nobody asked Rooney to write a regular language column, period, never mind whether he could write one that actually entertained and taught.

(I still remember when Safire zapped Spiro Agnew---for whom he came up with the "nattering nabobs of negativism" alliteration---over the execrably anti-Semitic The Canfield Decision and ended by saying, "Now, Mr. Agnew has become what we once took such pleasure in deriding---a nattering nabob of negativism.")

P.S. you do be a poet......
P.S. I have my moments . . . ;)
28 posted on 11/06/2011 11:41:27 AM PST by BluesDuke (Another brief interlude from the small apartment halfway up in the middle of nowhere in particular)
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To: BluesDuke
Rooney was a print journalist for most of the 40s, then went into script writing for TV "variety shows", later went to work for CBS, and, while there off and on wrote columns for print publications............while at CBS, of course, his work was considered opinion pieces..........most of his work was on the tube, but there was a fair amount in print.........

8:}

29 posted on 11/06/2011 12:56:16 PM PST by AwesomePossum (I have never looked this forward to a November II........)
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To: AwesomePossum
*chuckle* I know about his print work, I was alluding to whether he'd ever been asked to write a language column a la Safire's On Language---though he did once write a CBS television special (Harry Reasoner hosted it), The Strange Case of the English Language.

(Now, I wonder---could you imagine making a TV special out of Safire's language columns? If anyone could actually up and do it it might actually be funny as well as provocative . . .)

Rooney actually went into radio first, he worked among others for Arthur Godfrey, before moving with Godfrey to television. He also did work for The Garry Moore Show.

What I didn't know until recently: Andy Rooney was one of the writers for an early 1960s documentary series called The Twentieth Century, hosted by Walter Cronkite. My parents used to have that on during Sunday dinner, right after The General Electric College Bowl . . .

Rooney was a widower when he died. His wife died of heart failure in 2004; they were married 62 years. I stumbled upon a newspaper column of his in which he noted he didn't mention her in columns as often as he used to do "because it hurts too much to write it."

30 posted on 11/06/2011 7:50:14 PM PST by BluesDuke (Another brief interlude from the small apartment halfway up in the middle of nowhere in particular)
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To: BluesDuke
I defer............

8:}

31 posted on 11/07/2011 12:37:43 AM PST by AwesomePossum (I have never looked this forward to a November II........)
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