Bill Moeller Commentary: Crotchety Man Unloads


It may be because I deal with words that I hate to see them misused. And since I spent so many years in radio, also words that are mispronounced.

There’s no excuse for saying “hunnert” when you mean “hundred.” And let’s not “fergit” that the same rule applies about the month of Feb-you-ary.

Then, there are those who might say something is ironic instead of paradoxical, or podium instead of lectern, all of which does not “aggravate me” — it irritates me. I’m tired of pointing out that a person does not run the gauntlet (that’s a glove). He or she runs a gantlet, which is a long narrow space.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to the conclusion that TV’s “Saturday Night Live” has overcome its welcome.

Over the last two months, I’ve tuned in the program about three times and have changed the channel without any qualms. I just don’t find it funny anymore, especially when I remember the magic created by such regulars over the years as Dan Akroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner — plus many guests of the same ability. One of the most popular guest hosts up to the year 2013 was John Goodman, probably better known as the long-suffering husband in the show “Roseanne.”

At this point in writing this column, something weird happened.

I received a phone call from my daughter, Lisa, who lives in Georgia. She’s been trying to trace her lineage so she can qualify as a member of Daughters of the American Revolution. Such membership seems to be more desired in East Coast states than it is here in the West.

In tracing my mother’s lineage back — Lisa’s grandmother’s — on my mother’s side, father was a “Harrison” and my daughter discovered that we surviving Moellers are “second cousins, once removed” — whatever that means — to the aforementioned Mr. John Goodman.

I knew my acting urges had a root in there somewhere. I’ll certainly let you know if anything develops from that.

Switching thoughts, personal appearances vary from time to time. It’s apparently socially acceptable — even attractive — these days for a man to cultivate a look as if he hasn’t shaved for five or six days.

Unwittingly, I became “in style” months ago by just not shaving at all. I had also declined to join the masses several years ago by not letting my sideburns grow halfway down my cheeks. I feel sure that fad died out because too many men looked into mirrors and saw how silly it really was.

I just came across a note to myself that read, “Every superlative I’ve ever heard about him and his playing is inadequate,” but I hadn’t jotted down to whom I was referring.

It must have been the jazz violinist, Stephane Grappelli. He would certainly qualify for such a thought. I’ve mentioned before that I hated taking the violin lessons my parents signed me up for, that I wanted to play the piano like my dad. We eventually compromised when my dad rescued an old xylophone from a former theater organ our church acquired. It just didn’t fit in with hymns, and we played together — me playing the melody and dad accompanying me on the piano.

When I want to feel nostalgic, I think about the times when almost everyone played a musical instrument. The women seemed to mostly play the piano or the pump organ while the men concentrated on the wind instruments. At least that’s the way I remember it. After reading the book about the once town of Alpha, written by Victor J. Kucera, so many of their activities centered around the Saturday night dances at the Grange Hall.

Well, enough nostalgia for this week. Shall we see what next week will bring?


Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at