Starts as an excellent lecture on McClellan and Lee by Dr. Rafuse & quickly veers into “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!”

A really excellent talk on by Ethan S. Rafuse on McClellan and Lee, and the gentlemanly/outdated West Point notions they brought to the Civil War. (Which, by the way, didn’t hamper Robert E. Lee from fighting in the way it did McClellan.)

As a University of Missouri alumnus – where I was born – as well as serving as Park Ranger at the Harry S. Truman National Memorial Site, I like his nod to technology at the beginning of his talk. My father would most definitely approve.

“The Civil War –“

(“Looks like we got an issue with the Clicker, here.”)


“Either Duct tape it or slam it into something. One of those two will make it work.”

This sets up perfectly a lecture titled: “We always understood each other so well.”

[GEHH aside]

And also makes me take a little curve into the virtuoso performance of James Whitmore in Samuel Gallo’s

“Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!”

which, of course, my Dad filmed just in time for the 1976 elections and then unveiled in “Whistle Stop Campaign” fashion. While not an exacting historical record, it gets wholly deserved recognition for bringing focus back onto Truman’s legacy.


“…’Well, Congressman, while I am most grateful of your concern for me and your possible influence with the Almighty, from what I know of the man, He’s got a helluva lot more important things to do –”

“And sign that, ‘God’s humble servant, Harry S. Truman.’


give em hell harry - .. --and sign that-----

” …and sign that God’s Humble Servant –“



“You wanna cut ‘helluva lot?’

“Fine, Rose, cut it out — 


give em hell harry ..--.. fine rose cut it out

” –doesn’t matter, cut it out, if it makes it easier for you –“


“Doesn’t matter. If it makes it easier, cut it out.”

“Alright. Now the next one is going to Senator Bishop of Colorado —

give em hell harry -_...and sign that ..god.s humble servant harry s truman...__


‘Dear Senator,

not only would I not appoint John L. Lewis, Ambassador to the Soviet Union — 



give em hell harry - .. --and sign that-----

“I wouldn’t appoint the old bastard dogcatcher.”


“Don’t you want to cut ‘old bastard,’ Rose?”

“Oh, you don’t?”

[end GEHH aside]










Dad – Artfully Annoying – People Magazine: April 5, 1976

A little more content in remembrance of Dad on his birthday.

*I made a couple of small notes/corrections at the end of the article*


So, here’s the article:

He puffs Kools instead of stogies…

… but in every other flamboyant excess, Bill Sargent is the Don King of the showbiz hill. So it figures that a Beatles’ reunion has been a bubble on his Barnumesque brain almost from the acrimonious day in 1970 when they first went asunder. If the Beatles were again to come together—especially with today’s breakthroughs in satellite-fed transmission for closed-circuit—promoter Sargent could be back into the seven figures. By his own account, Bill has, at 48, made and blown a million on seven different occasions. He has also accrued two heart attacks.

As of now, the Beatles seem more likely to provide Sargent with Coronary No. 3 than Fortune No. 8. Which perhaps says more about their lawyers than their current prestige. The Liverpool Four have not only altered the drift of popular culture for their contemporaries—the boys are now approaching their middle 30s—but have also turned on a younger generation that digs them only by hearsay. Marvels McCartney: “When these kids come up to me for my autograph, I feel like their Uncle Paul.”

None of this was lost on a shrewdie like Sargent, and his feel-out bid in 1974 was $10 million. This January the ante was sweetened to $30 million, and in February to $50 mil.

… The son of an Oklahoma oilman, Bill shined shoes at 9, specialized in electronics in the Navy and numerous colleges (none of which he graduated from) and patented a Pay-TV system back in 1959. His claimed credits include the first TV fight of Cassius Clay, Richard Burton’s Electronovision Hamlet of 1964 and last year’s filmed version of James Whitmore’s Truman reenactment, “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry.” Sargent also hyped some spectaculars that never happened, like an Elvis Presley dramatization of the life of Rudolph Valentino. Along the way Bill accumulated two wives, five kids and several homes. But he and his second wife, an ex-airlines stew, along with their young daughter now rent modestly in the lower Beverly Hills.

Bill’s shop, though, is an imposing suite in L.A.’s Century City, known facetiously as Kellogg Hill, because of its disproportionate population of flakes. But when the trade scoffs at Sargent, he snaps: “They have a beautiful record for being wrong here.” At the same time, he concedes defeat in bringing the Beatles together by his original target date of July 5, 1976. The obstacle, he says, is McCartney, who starts a 20-city U.S. tour next week and is not about to risk diminishing its box office by allowing announcement of the comeback of the Fab Four.

… It is true that the four of them have spun off in centrifugal directions, musically and philosophically (see pages 16-19). And a reunion might be as poignant as baseball Hall of Famers sloppily getting together for Old-Timers Day. But a top-level rock functionary reports: “I know for a fact that George, John and Ringo have talked among themselves about a reunion, and their attorneys say it is possible. But,” he adds, “they would rather go with someone less carnival-like than Sargent.”

Bill doesn’t buy that. “I’m a professional winner,” he crows. “Just about the time everybody counts me out, I bounce back.”

A couple of small notes:

  • Dad’s dad was not an Oklahoma Oilman, he was an electrician, which is how my Dad learned it; despite besting his father at it. (That doesn’t mean he didn’t say it, however.)
  • Dad knew he was being an annoying ass, and I think he knew he wasn’t going to get the Beatles back together, at least the way I remember it, and I remember it well. Dad was looking at me when this (awesome) photo was snapped. It was mostly great publicity.
  • I think that it’s awful that in 1976, “People Magazine” is still calling Muhammad Ali “Cassius Clay.” It was indeed his name at the time referred to in the article – Dad’s 1959 Pay-Per-View fight between him and George Logan – but that is, almost without exception, noted in articles or mentions. Here the article doesn’t even use the name Muhammad Ali at all.

Love Always

♥ always ♥

♥ always ♥


Do you see it?



it’s been there all along


I’ve been there all


all you have to do





TAMI: the fucking Stones, dude

My daddy can whoop your daddy and my daddy dead. My daddy done been dead.

It gots to be some kind of good luck to be named after anything with this shit in it:

My daddy did rock.

But I’m ’bout to rock harder.

Hide and watch.









A Rose By Any Other Name 

I did not begin when I was born, nor when I was conceived. I have been growing, developing, through incalculable myriads of millenniums. All my previous selves have their voices, echoes, promptings in me. Oh, incalculable times again shall I be born.”

—Jack London, The Star Rover


I was not always called Serene, although it is my legal name. For the first five years of my life I was Tami. This is the name I first heard myself called; it is the name I first learned to write. My parents had two different names chosen for me, like most parents in those near-medieval times before ultrasound’s obtrusive peering into the womb became commonplace. If I was a boy, I was to have been named Wendell Burton Sargent, after Wendell Cory and Richard Burton. (And with a name like that I suspect I would have learned to fight at a very young age.) My mother had no interest in boy’s names, however, because, according to her, she always knew that I was going to be a girl. As a young child she sat in a clearing in the woods, and somehow or another just “knew” that she would have a daughter one day. A daughter named Serene. There were no voices. No divine vision. Just a knowing.

Thirty years and six miscarriages later, she was pregnant with me, and Dad, of course, already had a name picked out for a girl, as well. It was the name of his rock ‘n’ roll film: The TAMI Show. I was to be Tami, but he was perfectly fine with Serene as a middle name. Tami Serene Sargent. This they agreed upon.

But it was only my mother in the hospital room when the lady from Vital Statistics came with the paper to take down my shiny new name, and so Mother – seeing her chance – wrote “Serene Tami” instead of “Tami Serene” on the paper that made me official as far as our government was concerned. Later, when Dad came back in, she innocently told him that at the last minute she had simply decided she liked the initials STS better than TSS; but we could still call me Tami. Dad said that he’d thought the initials T.S. – tough shit – complimented his, B.S., quite well, but Mother feigned offense, and that was that. As long as I was called Tami, what did it matter what was on the birth certificate? Mother reminded him that he  was “Bill” to everyone who knew him, and not Horace William, as his birth certificate proclaimed. So Dad was satisfied. I was a Tami.

A Tami with a Serene tucked carefully just below the surface. Hiding. Waiting to come out.