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That’s not just any grumpy 80-year-old on the radio– its Billings ‘character’ Major Dan Miller!

 

 The oral octagenarian is about as ‘politically incorrect’ as Rush Limbaugh in a Speedo

 

For better than 50 years he’s labored to become a Billings character. Still, many wonder: Who is ‘Major’ Dan Miller, a man, a myth –– or a mope?

Like all heroes, Major Miller is too humble for his own brags. Well, not really. But to keep it polite, others voices should step forward to testify. So let’s roll.

Man, woman and child, many peoples delight to the Major in small, bite-size chunks. He can be a winsome cicerone to the American treasury of memory-makers and heart-tuggers, those golden oldies from the mid ’50s to early ‘60s, the early era of rock and roll. Back in the Days,  when teenagers in love strolled through the whimsical lanes of doo-wop, shimmy-bop, and ring ting tang, chaperoned by beats from Tin Pan Alley.

On both his 5-hour Saturday morning radio show and a canned community access Channel 7 TV show, we hear that Voice. No ma’am, that isn’t Rush Limbaugh’s skinnier brother,  not even Sean Hannity‘s uninquisitive doppelganger, it’s Daniel George Miller of Billings Montana, playing the character he honed in his crackerbarrel days of the 1960’s and 70’s. In them days, media in the Magic City meant six or seven radio stations on the AM dial and two television stations. as KOOK (!) Radio’s favorite deejay. Back then, Magic City media meant six or seven radio stations on the AM dial.

[Historically, only fellow puppet Froggy Doo approaches The Major’s status as local legend.  Sadly, the Doo’s reputation never recovered from the hit it took a decade ago when he came out in support of the Taliban, a subject Miller wisely avoids.]

 

New Froggy solo

Taliban faux pas: Celebrated Billings ’60s icon Froggy Doo

(((Somewhere on the Internets it says Miller was awarded the brevet rank of major in the ’60s after taking a bullet meant for his commanding officer, Col. Harlan Sanders of Kentucky, while serving in Viet Nam. Details remain sketchy, but they were probably serving fried chicken.)))

It’s the era that makes the music of course, and the nascent rock music of the ’50s to early ’60s was mostly about being happy. Who wouldn’t want to hear that? Not that hip hop or rap is incapable of being Happy, but they’re mostly about fighting or fucking, like Country music, and those two pastimes don’t always get you to the first. So a doo wop Saturday should sound enticing.

But after playing virtually the same music for six decades, beginning at the now-defunct KOOK (!) Radio, the Major is stripped bare. Like most other Deejays, he’s come to the conclusion that his audience doesn’t need music, it  needs his advice. It needs the advice of an uneducated, anti-intellectual intellect to guard against tyranny – mostly the tyranny of facts.

I recall one head-slapping gaffe on a Saturday morning when the Major boldly announced how little he cared for the distinction between Annette Funicello and Shelley Fabares. “Didn’t she used to be a Mouseketeer or something?” he wondered after he had played 1962’s Johnny Angel. “Oh well, whatever.”

Begging your pardon Mr. Major sir, but the Mouseketeer was Annette, who had three pop hits, not one, and who was the wholesome onesy-filling star of Beach Blanket Bozo, etc., with fellow teenybopper idol Frankie Avalon.

Johnny was the angel whisper of Shelley Fabares, our dream girl from The Donna Reed Show who participated in three of the 31 curses of YHWH inflicted on man known as “Elvis Movies.”

But facts hold no bars to the Major, they’re only potholes on the Route 66 of life. Why recollect facts on file about girl singers just because you’ve played their songs for nearly 60 years?

Route 666 sign

Still, some remain frustrated by the Major’s ways and means. In this wondrous era of Wikipedia and the Internet, this great Googly gift from Mr. Gore, arcane information is easily accessed. The Major hints he has the ability to tap on a computer, why doesn’t he exploit it? Beats me one replies, and so they do.

Example: Miller regularly plays the Kalin Twins, teenage twins and one-hit wonders whose snappy 1958 hit When sold two million copies worldwide, reaching number five in the U.S. and going all the way to number one in England. Cheated out of their money and poorly handled, the duo abandoned the music business, yet defiantly led successful and happy lives until their eerie deaths almost exactly one year apart in 2005 and 2006, aged 71 and 72. The Major could direct his listeners to a marvelous YouTube video of a 1989 British concert when British pop idol Cliff Richard, their former opening act, invited the pair to perform a raucous and happy rendition of their sole hit to a cheering crowd of 100,000 (!) fans in Wembley Stadium.

He could, but he won’t. Here the Major stands, more he cannot do.

The Internet offers up a bounty of tales and trivia to pass along, some of it even true. Instead of digging into this mine, the Major coughs up a few hairballs about Connie Francis. Thus we conclude sadly that the Major does not groove to the happy tunes he plays. Griping about the government and taxes toots his ocarina.

Some say the hatred of government so many Radical Republicans prefer is hatred of democracy, even society, itself. Some point out that anyone complaining about elected representatives being incompetent or crooked should run for office themselves or else self-government doesn’t work.

 

Miller’s hatred of government is hatred of democracy itself

 

“The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself,” Plato reminds us in The Republic. But not Major Miller. Fie on democracy! Fee on self-determination and fum on your fancy new ball park! We are not men who share, as Rabbi Jesus commands. We are New Men, we believe selfishness is a virtue, as taught by The Unsaviour, Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and Steve Bannon. Take that, you immigrant-loving liberal Jesus!

What kind of a jerk thinks that self-government might work. We need the wealthy to tell us what to do! They’re smart, that’s why they’re rich. The government is like a business, it should make someone rich so they can tell us what to do. Well why not cut to the chase and go back to having kings. They must be way smarter since they’ve been richer way longer.

“The government! Oh my stars! Don’t get me going on the government,” laments the Major routinely.

Once Miller confided to Constant Listeners his loathing for Honest Abe Lincoln because “he invented the income tax.” This is why, when our philosopher-king ends his programs with schmaltz, his patriotism is unconvincing. What kind of a patriot despises the man who saved the United States of America from its worst enemy, its bizarro imitator, the self-destructive slave-holding evil empire, the Confederate States of America? A dumb one.

Replies Major Dan with a shrug, “I guess that’s what makes the world go round.”

I heard it said in one city pub that the Major’s contempt for self-government began with his successful 1988 lawsuit against his former employer KOOK Radio. Did collecting a cool half mil, then finding out he still had to pay taxes on it turn him against democracy?

What outrage! What injustice! Why should I hand my money over to the gumamint for courts and cops and nice roads and good schools and wholesome community baseball parks when some else conveniently says I don’t have to? Like many cheapskates (hereabouts, anyway) the Major’s religious zeal is less conviction than Old Fart instinct.

We all know the Major’s go-to targets: former President Obama, Democrats, progressives, Muslims, minorities, and poor people–especially if they speak out. But his nemesis, his Lex Luthor, is former Vice President Al Gore.

As all dittoheads know, global climate change is a fraud owned by Al Gore, and why? Because he’s “made millions off that film of his!” (Capitalism, boo!) Following that zag, the Major zigs, and admits that, sure there’s climate change, it just isn’t caused by people. Then he zags back: If climate change is real, why is it cold in winter and hot in summer? Gotcha, bwa ha ha ha.

Let the Major slide, say some. His are the discords dulcet of a man long in decades, not smarts. Maybe. Maybe that is what makes the world go round.

His employer brags that Major Nibs is “Politically Incorrect- and proud of it!” But like President Tweety Brain, Miller is about as politically incorrect as Rush Limbaugh in a Speedo.

We come not to damn Dan Miller, nor to praise him– just to hear some good doo wop. Too bad Dan no longer hears the doo.

A fruit in the looms