The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
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    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
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    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.

2002.08.21 It's time to get Kinky

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

The 2004 presidential election is still far in the future, but for those looking for a fresh face on the political scene, how about possibly the only person to count both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as personal friends and admirers? I’m referring, of course, to Texan country singer/mystery writer Kinky Friedman.

Like many who claim to be Texans, Kinky wasn’t born in the Lone Star State, instead entering this world in Chicago, Illinois.

“Lived there one year, couldn’t find work, moved to Texas, haven’t worked since,” is how Friedman puts it.

Originally named Richard, he earned his rather creative nickname due to his extremely curly hair, though it would fit him even if he were bald.

After fronting a band named King Arthur and the Carrots in high school, Kinky joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Borneo where his assignment was to distribute seeds to farmers. However, Kinky claims no seeds ever arrived during his stay, so he is remembered by natives as “the man who brought Frisbees to Borneo.”

After returning to the U. S., Kinky formed a new band he called the Texas Jewboys. Members included Rainbow Colors, Little Jewford and Snakebite Jacobs. Kinky found the going pretty tough for a Jewish country group, saying the band “never quite reached the tour bus level. The closest I came was a blue [Chevrolet] Beauville van, out of which the Texas Jewboys poured like a thousand clowns at every honky-tonk, minstrel show, whorehouse, bar and bar mitzvah throughout the South.” Of course, when you’re singing songs like “They Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore.” a tour bus is probably too much to hope for.

Kinky gained a cult following, however, with singers like Eric Clapton, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Ringo Starr appearing on his albums. He even got a guest shot on Saturday Night Live, but nervous executives at NBC insisted on billing the group as Kinky Friedman and His Band.

It wasn’t the first time Kinky had trouble with the group’s name. Many record stores refused to carry his albums, objecting to the word “Jewboys” even though Kinky was Jewish. At one point, he considered changing the group’s name to “The Exxon Brothers,” but a certain oil company was said not to be amused.

After touring in the late 1970s with Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, Kinky went solo, eventually settling in Kerrville, Texas, which he calls “the kind of place where Jesus could walk in with three nails and somebody’d put him up for the night.”

Tired of life on the road and looking for a career “that wouldn’t require my presence,” Kinky wrote a mystery novel, featuring a retired country singer turned detective named Kinky Friedman and the names of many of the real-life Kinky’s friends as other characters in the book.

The first novel was well received and according to Kinky, he has “churned out, er, I mean carefully crafted” one book a year for the last 15 years. His most famous title is probably “The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover.”

In the past few years, Kinky’s fame has gained him some high-powered friends. In 1997,  President Clinton, said to be a longtime fan of Kinky’s music, invited him to the White House. It’s interesting to note that Clinton waited until after he was re-elected to make the invite.

Kinky got a lot of dirty looks and smirks when he arrived wearing a black Stetson hat, cowboy boots and Texas string tie. But when it was time for dinner and guests discovered  Kinky was seated next to Clinton, he said the comments changed to “Who’s that interesting man sitting next to the President?”

Friedman has known first lady Laura Bush for years. He made several appearances at literacy projects when the former librarian’s husband was Texas governor. She invited Kinky to attend and do some readings at a White House family dinner last December.

Although Kinky was worried he might do something to embarrass Laura (this time, he was seated next to her), he knew all went well when the first President Bush stood up and gave Kinky a hug after he finished reading.

I have no idea if Kinky has any interest in a political career, but it is something he could probably have fun with. As he once said, “Some things are too important to take seriously.”

    – Aug. 21, 2002 

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