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A TV Junkie’s Delight, Conforte and B.J.
by Harry Spencer
Sep 17, 2012 | 3774 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The week before last was a rare one for TV. In its earliest days, television was once described as a “vast wasteland.” Not so in the past fortnight.

You became a rapid channel surfer with a choice of the Democratic Convention, U.S. Open Tennis, the remnants of Hurricane Isaac, and the opening of the NFL football season.

Last week was a different story with the attacks on the Embassies in Egypt and Libya. The anti-American demonstrations escalated to as many as 20 countries. The most sobering news was the assassination of four of our Embassy members in Benghazi. The victims were returned to the U.S. and given a proper military burial along with befitting comments from President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

As of press time, this story was still unfolding and occupying much of the major network schedules with constant hot bulletin interruptions.

•The other major newspaper in this area frequently features tidbits from the past. One of these caught my eye recently when it mentioned that Vice Lord Joe Conforte had once stepped forward to offer to underwrite the defunct City Bus system in Reno, which was subsequently rejected by the City Council. At that time, a late local artist for Great Western Advertising Agency, Mel Mathewson, poked fun at the Council by composing this ditty, “You travel in comfortie when you consortie with Conforte.” Eventually times got better, and legitimate buses once again appeared on the city streets. The whole thing was typical in the unpredictable and colorful Reno of the past.

An Ode to Billy Jack

It was 1926 in old Reno town

When a ray of sunshine coruscated down.

It was a bouncing baby boy

That brought his parents such great joy.

Both friends and neighbors were taken aback

When his mom and dad named him Billy Jack.

From the start he excelled in school

And proved to be nobody’s fool.

At scouting he did his very best

And proudly wore an Eagle on his chest.

When his country called he went to war

But never left his native shore.

At law school he amazed his peers

And happily received their many cheers.

As D.A. many miscreants crossed his path

And all fell victim to his noble wrath.

He was an excellent MC whenever he saw fit

And no one was safe from his piercing wit.

And if you were making a speech this was his advice

“Never use one word when 10,000 will suffice.”

He aspired to be gubernatorial

But had to settle for senatorial.

He could be serious or even hammy

Especially when he rendered “Tammy.”

His coiffure was his crowning glory

But its true color was another story.

In Carson City he would sally forth

Earning the title “Sentinel of the North”.

He was neither bellicose

Nor overly verbose.

He looked forward to roasts with great glee

Even when he was the roastee.

During his life he triumphed in every imbroglio

After all, his name was William J. Raggio.

Harry Spencer is a long-time Truckee Meadows resident.
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