Archive for the March 2008 Category

“WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO CLASS?”

The title of this essay is lifted from the lyrics of a duet sung by Chita Rivera (Thelma) and Mary McCarty (Matron Mamma) in the original 1975 Broadway production of Kandor and Ebb’s musical, “Chicago.” (See attached lyrics.) It ran on Broadway for 936 performances. After an absence of perhaps twenty years, it was revived and the revival lasted at least five more years. Clearly, “Chicago” was a superior musical.

The “class” that the actresses are singing about has nothing to do with race or wealth. It has to do with those who distinguish themselves by classy acts rather than those who engage in deplorable conduct. For example, Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former Senator John Edwards, is battling cancer and she is clearly a class act. Ann Coulter, Hillary and Bill Clinton are something less than a class act. Thomas Jefferson was a class act, particularly when he is compared to the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Joe DiMaggio was a class act, as compared with Roger Clemens, the man who says that he does not remember taking growth hormones. I hope these examples make it clear about the class that is referred to by this song from “Chicago.”

There are three or four testosterone-laden politicians who might demonstrate the antithesis of class. Let us start with the former Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer. When Mr. Spitzer hired a prostitute from the Emperor’s Club and paid her several thousand dollars, that was an act of class. He didn’t pick up a woman off the streets and pay her $20 or less. No, Mr. Spitzer went first class.

In his final encounter with the denizens of the Emperor’s Club, he engaged a room at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. When I worked in Washington during the 1960s, the Mayflower on Connecticut Avenue was in its dotage. It was a hotel for older, genteel people, and was past its prime. In recent years, the Mayflower has been refurbished and the rooms there start at about $400 per night. At least that is what Mr. Spitzer paid for the room that he enjoyed. Mr. Spitzer also told his ladyfriend Kristen that she could help herself to the mini bar or she could call room service. Again that was a class act. When the whole affair with the Emperor’s Club was brought into the spotlight, Mr. Spitzer promptly resigned. Another act of class.

Then Eliot Spitzer had to face his wife and his three daughters. May I say that there is no way that a man in Spitzer’s position can act with class when confronted with the need to make amends to his wife and children. Spitzer did the best he could. But in the end, the two years of his governorship of New York will be regarded as anything but a class act.

Now that we have dealt with the miseries of Eliot Spitzer, it is time for us to move to his successor. In New York state there is a Lieutenant Governor who succeeds the Governor when a resignation occurs. In this case, the gentleman who succeeded Spitzer is a legally blind man named David A. Paterson, who has spent many years working his way up the ladder in the New York State legislature. When Mr. Paterson was introduced to the legislature, he demonstrated a ready wit and was rewarded with a standing ovation from the senators and representatives of New York State. So far, so good.

But then came the naked truth about his conduct. According to Mr. Paterson’s own testimony, there was an estrangement in his marriage to Mrs. Paterson a few years ago. During that estrangement, Mr. Paterson bedded down with a wide assortment of ladies who constitute the higher strata of the female gender. Some of the women who shared a bed with Mr. Paterson were state employees, who might endanger Mr. Paterson if he sought higher office. This is neither here nor there, but during the estrangement, Mrs. Paterson had affairs of her own. But with respect to the new governor, perhaps he should be saluted for his accomplishments in bed even though he is legally blind.

But this is a story about class. According to the new governor, David Paterson, he invariably took the women who supplied him with the ultimate in friendship to the Days Inn Motel on the west side of Harlem in Manhattan. Days Inn is a chain of motels that are the successors to tourist cabins on obscure highways that served the meandering males of perhaps forty or fifty years ago. I can assure you that the room rate at Days Inn is nowhere near the $400 that Eliot Spitzer paid in Washington. At the most, I suspect that Governor Paterson probably spent $100 to $150 to provide a room for himself and his good friends.

Going to a Days Inn is not an act of class by any stretch of the imagination. It is something like going to a cafeteria as distinguished from dining at The Four Seasons Restaurant. The French have a word for this conduct. It is déclassé. Translated, the word means no class at all. But aside from engaging all of his paramours in the Days Inn, the marriage counselor who brought the Patersons back together recommended that he take his newly rejuvenated wife back to the scene of his trysts. Whether this was an act of class remains to be seen.

It also turns out that Governor Paterson used a credit card belonging to his campaign fund to pay the hotel bill for himself and his paramours. Simply put, Governor Paterson paid for his love-making using the contributions that were intended for his re-election. By doing so, Governor Paterson distinguished himself as a man of no class at all. Belatedly, he has repaid these hotel expenses to his campaign.

Now we come to the former governor of New Jersey known as James E. McGreevy. Apparently when McGreevy was the Mayor of Woodbridge, New Jersey, before he became governor, there was a time when he was furnished with a chauffeur, a benefit largely unenjoyed by the mayors of all of the other towns in this state. But according to McGreevy’s own book and according to the chauffeur himself, he drove the Mayor of Woodbridge to his important appointments.

Now this is where the taffy gets sticky and will soon wind up in somebody’s brush mustache. The chauffeur has told the press that he was one third of a ménage à trois. The other two thirds of the ménage à trois were supplied by Mrs. McGreevy and by the Mayor himself. According to the chauffeur, when the three of them got together they had what they called “a Friday night special.” The account given to the newspapers is fairly graphic. Significantly, it has been confirmed by none other than the former Mayor of Woodbridge and the former Governor of New Jersey, James E. McGreevy. The “Friday night specials” involved the chauffeur making love to Mrs. McGreevy while the Mayor looked on. Mrs. McGreevy denies any such activity but we have the testimony of the chauffeur and the former mayor and governor. So, please take your pick.

The significant point in this essay is that following the Friday night specials, or perhaps even preceding them, the three of them fed themselves at a chain called T.G.I.Friday’s, which I believe means thank goodness it’s Friday. The T.G.I. Friday’s eateries are one step above a Salvation Army handout. In retrospect, perhaps I am not being fair to the Salvation Army.

To think that the Mayor of Woodbridge and the future governor of New Jersey would celebrate the end of the work week by repairing to a low-class eatery like T.G.I. Friday’s is an act of no class at all. The love-making part of this sordid tale is one thing which draws no comment from this old essayist. However, repairing to the T.G.I. Friday’s eateries is an act of no class whatsoever.

Now if you wed the conduct of Governor Paterson and the Mayor of Woodbridge, it might say that Governor Paterson went from his Days Inn room to a feast at the T.G.I. Friday’s establishment. But even I, a grizzled old observer of human conduct, cannot believe that a man who rents a room at Days Inn would compound the mistake by taking his paramours to the T.G.I. Friday’s eateries.

Well, there you have my thoughts on former Governor Spitzer as well as the former governor of New Jersey, Mr. McGreevy and the current governor of New York, Mr. Paterson. Now let us turn to the current governor of this glorious state. It seems that love-making is in the air in New Jersey and New York.

When McGreevy resigned from the governorship of New Jersey, he was succeeded by the President of the New Jersey Senate, named Richard Codey. For two years, Mr. Codey guided the state and was very popular. But then along came Jon Corzine with wheelbarrows full of cash and pushed Mr. Codey back to the Senate. As soon as Mr. Corzine took over the governorship, it developed that he was having a long-standing affair with a woman named Katz, who was also the chairman of the union committee that negotiated with the State. In other words, Corzine was making love to his union counterpart, from whom he was expected to get the best possible terms for the new labor agreement. When the Corzine/Katz affair ended, Governor Corzine, in an act of class, paid off a $450,000 note on Mrs. Katz’s real estate holdings and it seems that he also agreed to pay tuition for her children. Whether this was a classy act or not, I will leave it for my readers to decide.

Jon Corzine clearly muscled Richard Codey out of the governorship because he believed that the governorship of a state like New Jersey could propel him to the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. But that was not in the cards. In the meantime, Mr. Corzine suffered a terrible automobile accident and now finds himself faced by a $4 billion deficit in the budget of this great state. I would say that Corzine has not had a day’s luck since he decided to leave the U. S. Senate and push Codey aside.

Well, so much for the sordid affairs of the governors of New York and New Jersey. With their non-class acts in mind, I almost called this essay “Jesus Christ, Ain’t There No Decency Left?” another line from the same duet. I hope I have made my point that there are, in this world, class acts and some that fall far short of being classy.

For my own part, I have nothing but the highest regard for the City of Chicago, where I worked for two years, and for Kandor and Ebb’s musical named after the largest settlement in the State of Illinois. My belief is that Chicagoans are generous to a fault, particularly when a two-and-a-half-month old baby girl was adopted by this old essayist. Chicago also distinguishes itself as a class act when it does not interfere with somebody else’s enjoyment. That is your business, not anyone else’s. Again, there are four lines from a little song sung by a character in “Chicago” named Roxie. The lines read like this:

“You can like the life you’re living,
You can live the life you like.
You can even marry Harry
And fool around with Ike.”

Chicagoans would giggle at the thought that somebody was fooling around with Ike and they would consider it only the business of the participants. They would not pass a law barring fooling around. Chicagoans tend to their own business and have no desire to infringe upon the rights of others. In the final analysis, the Broadway play, “Chicago” is an earthy, broad-shouldered production which matches entirely my view of that great city. The play and the city are complete class acts.

Now as for the principal characters in this essay, I have absolutely no intent whatsoever of piling on Eliot Spitzer. When it comes to straightening out his family matters, I wish him well. As for Governor Paterson, I sincerely hope that he moves from the Days Inn to a hotel or motel that offers room service. James E. McGreevy is locked into a miserable battle with his former wife over the custody of their child. The battle has become prolonged and if I may say so, it is not a class act at all. Mrs. McGreevy wants every last speck from her former husband’s bones. When their daughter in future years reviews the events between her parents, she will probably say, “Ain’t there no decency left?”

And so I leave you with the thought that a visit to Chicago might improve everyone’s outlook on life, and if you have an opportunity to see Kandor and Ebb’s “Chicago,” I am certain that you will enjoy it immensely. And if you should fall in love with the Chicago Cubs, I will do my best to understand that situation. My old friend James Reese, formerly of Chicago, loves the Cubs and he is a class act. So rooting for the Cubs is a respectable endeavor.

E. E. CARR
March 31, 2008
Essay 302

~~~
Commentary: Contrary to Pop’s opinion, I think it makes a big difference whether the mayor of Woodbridge ate at TGI Friday’s before or after his weekly cuckoldings. If it was before, that’s really icky and lecherous, like the awful $14 hamburgers and weird novelty drinks were part of some twisted routine of foreplay. But if it was after, that seems okay. They all just wanted to unwind after an exciting night.
~~~

ATTACHMENT
Lyrics to “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO CLASS” from Chicago
VELMA
Whatever happened to fair dealing?
And pure ethics
And nice manners?
Why is it everyone now is a pain in the ass?
Whatever happened to class?
MATRON
Class.
Whatever happened to, “Please, may I?”
And, “Yes, thank you?”
And, “How charming?”
Now, every son of a bitch is a snake in the grass
Whatever happened to class?
VELMA AND MATRON
Class!
Ah, there ain’t no gentlemen
To open up the doors
There ain’t no ladies now,
There’s only pigs and whores
And even kids’ll knock ya down
So’s they can pass
Nobody’s got no class!
VELMA
Whatever happened to old values?
MATRON
And fine morals?
VELMA
And good breeding?
MATRON
Now, no one even says “oops” when they’re
Passing their gas
Whatever happened to class?
VELMA
Class
VELMA AND MATRON
Ah, there ain’t no gentlemen
That’s fit for any use
And any girl’d touch your privates
For a deuce
MATRON
And even kids’ll kick your shins and give you sass
VELMA
And even kids’ll kick your shins and give you sass
VELMA AND MATRON
Nobody’s got no class!
VELMA
All you read about today is rape and theft
MATRON
Jesus Christ, ain’t there no decency left?
VELMA AND MATRON
Nobody’s got no class!
MATRON
Every guy is a snut
VELMA
Every girl is a twat
MATRON
Holy shit
VELMA
Holy shit
MATRON
What a shame
VELMA
What a shame
VELMA AND MATRON
What became of class?

Un: THE NEW NEOLOGISM

Yesterday, which was Maundy Thursday in the Christian calendar, was marked by a dispatch from Mosul, Iraq, filed by a New York Times reporter named Solomon Moore. In an effort to dispel the forces that oppose our holy mission in Iraq, Solomon Moore reports that there have been “several stepped-up attacks” on suspected insurgent hangouts. Mr. Moore goes on to report that there has been some combat in “unstepped-up attacks.” So we have stepped-up attacks and unstepped-up attacks, which has caused my feeble mind to embrace the failure in the English language to extol the value of the word “un.”

There are several instances in the English language where the phrase “un” should be applied. Today in New Jersey I am told the sun is shining, and when asked for a weather report, I would reply, “It is unrainy.” It is also unsnowy and unsleety.

In the sacred state of Missouri, we are told that today floods abound in the eastern part of that great state. That is old speech. In the speech of new neologisms, the word for this condition is “undroughtlike.” Over the Easter weekend which is coming up, the forecast is for cold and windy conditions, again using the old speak language. In new speak, the word for cold is “unwarm.” The word for windy in new speak is, of course, un-calm. Thus the word for the nickname of Chicago would not be the Windy City but instead would be the “un-calm city.”

The new neologisms have applications other than the weather reports. For example, if a young swain attempts to date a new girlfriend, he must assure her mother that his intentions are un-seductive in nature. Unfortunately in the current circumstances that prevail among our young folks, if the young lady reports that the swain lived up to his oath to be un-seductive, other young women will be turned off and will be unlikely to accept his overtures for an evening out.

In international affairs, there are great possibilities for the use of the prefix of “un.” For example, when our greatest of presidents, Mr. Bush, threatens war with Iran, he could tell them that the United States intends to see to it that “unpeaceful” actions will be undertaken if Iran pursues its “nu-cu-lar” ambitions. In the current flap about the employees of the State Department attempting to examine the passport files of Barack Obama, we are told that this was a case of innocent snooping by low-level employees who have been fired. Even in old speak, this so-called snooping should be called unauthorized examination of the passport files of Mr. Obama.

Well, there you have several examples of how the prefix “un” can be used to improve the English language by the use of new neologisms. I am painfully aware that critics will contend that the term “new neologisms” is a tautology, but I am undeterred and unimpressed by that criticism.

When ancient Athens fell into disrepair, the scholars and thinkers moved from Greece to such mid-Western towns as Herculaneum, Peculiar, and Eureka, all located in the great state of Missouri. The descendants of those great scholars have assured me that without new neologisms, the English language will wither, much like the language Aramaic, which was allegedly spoken by Jesus. So you see, my efforts in this little essay to preserve the tongue of the Anglo-Saxon race should be construed as holy and heroic, not unholy or unheroic. Certainly not.

Finally, I draw comfort from an ancient hymn of the Protestant church, the chorus line is:

“Oh, the land of cloudless days
Oh, the land of an uncloudy sky
Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise
Oh, they tell me of an uncloudy day.”

If the prefix “un” is sacred enough for hymn writers of the Protestant faith, it should be good enough for readers of Ezra’s essays.

E. E. CARR
March 20, 2008
Essay 300
~~~
Kevin’s commentary: Happy 300! For the record, this is the 300th essay that Pop wrote and the 394th that I’ve published.

So far as the essay itself goes, I’m reminded a little bit of Orwell’s 1984. They use ‘newspeak’ in that book, which explores a similar concept. From wikipedia: “”Un-” is a Newspeak prefix used for negation. It is used as a prefix to make the word negative, since there are no antonyms in Newspeak. For example, warm becomes uncold. It is often decided to keep the word with a more unpleasant nuance to it when diminishing vocabulary. Therefore, cold is preferred to unwarm or unhot, and dark is preferred to unlight.” Maybe Orwell and Ezra were on the same wavelength.

That said I feel like the suffix leaves room for a lot of ambiguity when the word it’s modifying doesn’t have a clearly defined opposite. If you asked me the color of my bedroom and I said it was “unblue” you wouldn’t really come away much more informed than when you started. An “unrainy” day could easily be a snowy one, a windy one, etc. Then again I guess we could just set up common connotations, and everything would be fine. Seems like a pretty unbad idea to me, at the end of the day.

ON POINTLESSNESS

As I have marched and slunk through this long life of mine, it has been my privilege to witness all kinds of efforts that have a point. At the same time, there have been numerous examples that escape enumeration where pointlessness seems to prevail. Let me give you an example or two.

On one occasion, I witnessed a weight-lifting contest. On another I saw a weight-lifting exhibition on television. My antiquated mind tells me that the epitome of pointlessness is weight lifting. What in the world does it accomplish?

The people who pursue a career in weight lifting soon develop a neck that is hard to fit with a standard collar. Their biceps bulge and their chest sticks out, so that fitting them with a suit is a difficult maneuver. Generally speaking, weight lifters are built low to the ground. I would be greatly surprised to see a weight lifter standing five feet ten or higher.

In the weight-lifting exhibitions that I saw, when the weight is lifted over the head with great groans, the climax seems to come when it is released and falls to the floor with a great thud. From beginning to end, I have always asked myself, “What is the point in weight lifting?” My conclusion is that it is absolutely pointless. There may be those who will disagree with that conclusion but for the time being, it seems to me that, again, weight lifting is the epitome of pointlessness.

In the southeastern states of this great country, there is inordinate interest in auto racing. There is an oval track, measuring perhaps two-and-a-half miles in length, where the contestants race their cars in an effort to beat the other contestants. The drivers seem to have their doors bolted in to place, as they climb in through the windows, and as far as I could tell the window glass no longer exists. They race perhaps for fifty or more laps around the oval, cutting off other cars, and from time to time there are spectacular collisions.

In this era where we are dependent upon Middle Eastern oil, it seems to me that in addition to pointlessness, this is a most wasteful exercise. The automobiles used in racing have large engines and probably get no more than eight miles to the gallon. Spectators sit in the stands alongside the track, amidst the smoke and the fumes. They spend the afternoon or evening just watching the cars go around and around. If there is a more pointless operation than auto racing, perhaps it is drag racing.

In drag racing, automobiles with tremendous engines try to beat other automobiles with tremendous engines from a starting point to a finish point perhaps fifty to one hundred yards away. Why this is called “drag racing” is beyond me, but it consumes great amounts of gasoline and the cars are often the victims of overheating and sometimes burst into flames. I am at a loss to believe that there is anything more pointless than drag racing or auto racing.

Mr. Bush, our greatest president in history, from time to time seems to emulate the wasted fuel that is used in auto racing and drag racing. He loads up his 747, called Air Force One, with I believe as many as eighteen thousand gallons of jet fuel and takes off to visit the far far corners of the world. In February, Mr. Bush embarked upon a junket to Africa. His journey was pointless in the extreme. He danced with a Zulu king and read a speech that was of utter valuelessness. Then he climbed into his 747 Air Force One and flew to the next stop.

When he reached Ghana, he attempted to lecture the natives on abstinence. Now it so happens that I spent the last fourteen or fifteen months of my WWII overseas service in the United States Army in Ghana. The men and women there have a free and easy way of life and do not regard sexual intercourse as a cataclysmic event.

When I was the Night Line Chief in Accra, the big British base that we used in Ghana, there was time to kill and I spent that time in discussions with well-educated natives. Those discussions disclosed that they viewed the white man’s efforts at love-making as prudish. The natives of the Gold Coast, which was Ghana’s former name, held the view that if a young man wished to make love to a young woman, he would choose an appropriate moment to suggest such activity. The name given to love-making is “jig-jig.” If the female refused his advances, there were no hard feelings on either side. Perhaps it could be explained as just a bad day.

But in any case, the honorable Mr. Bush used his visit to Accra to lecture the Ghanaians on the virtues of abstinence. Lecturing the men and women on abstinence in Ghana is almost as pointless as weight lifting or auto racing. It is very much like lecturing Eskimos on the danger of wearing bikinis during the winter months.

Today we have a case where the employees of the State Department rifled through the files not only of Barack Obama but also of Hillary Clinton and John McCain. At this early date, we have no conclusion as to why they engaged in this snooping. Without one shred of evidence, the higher authorities in the State Department have called this “innocent snooping.” I remind you this conclusion has been reached without a single shred of evidence.

Now we turn to the pointlessness of this exercise. We are told that the investigation is going to be turned over to the Inspector General of the State Department. In the first place, there is no State Department Inspector General in view of the fact that for the past many months, the Bush administration has refused to name a new Inspector General and so there is only an acting Inspector General.

You may rest assured that turning over the investigation to the Inspector general of the State Department is a pointless exercise in the extreme. At the most, he might hire a low-level contract employee but in the end, “any investigation” will be held back until the term of this Republican administration which ends in January of 2009.

Now there is the forlorn hope that if the Inspector General of the State Department finds some violation of law, he is supposed to turn over such violation to the Justice Department for prosecution. You may recall that the Justice Department allegedly has been conducting an inquiry into the activities of the former Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. That investigation seems to have gone nowhere, in spite of the fact that there is a written record on several occasions where Gonzales obviously lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The intent in the Justice Department is to, again, play out the plot.

In the final ten months of the most corrupt administration ever in American history, you may expect no significant charges to be found by the authorities at the State Department or at the Department of Justice. In basketball, this is called “playing out the clock” or “freezing the ball.” And if Alberto Gonzales is found guilty of lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is hard to imagine given the current Attorney General, he will be pardoned as was the case in the Scooter Libby matter. The point is that there is total pointlessness in referring to the Inspector General of the State Department on the matter of raiding the files of the three candidates for the presidency, just as there is pointlessness in the investigation of Alberto Gonzales. You may remember that on several occasions, the new Attorney General has declined to identify waterboarding as torture. He says that he wouldn’t like it to happen to him, but he must protect the administration at all costs. And so the new Attorney General has prostituted himself on this subject. Expect nothing, because that probably is what we will get.

Well, there you have a few examples of what my alleged mind has produced as pointlessness. Perhaps pointlessness has a legitimate role to play in the affairs of the American republic. But certainly, our scholars and politicians are capable of better activities than weight lifting, NASCAR racing as well as drag racing, abstinence, and the like. The degree to which pointlessness exists in American life has been a concern of mine for a good many years. Now that I have written this gentle essay, I know that nothing will change. But for better or worse, it makes me feel a little better.

E. E. CARR
March 23, 2008
Essay 299
~~~
Kevin’s commentary: Back in high school, I often took English classes wherein participation was required. That is, in order to receive full marks in the class, one had to raise his or her hand and contribute to class discussions at least, for instance, two times a month. This doesn’t seem like much because it isn’t. That said I still knew several people who could not bring themselves to do it. I guess the reason would be shyness, or perhaps unfamiliarity with the material at hand. Despite being an introvert I was never one of these people, because if nothing else I had a penchant for correcting people who said dumb stuff. Indeed this is how I got the majority of my participation credits – by providing arguments.

However, worse than the people who didn’t say anything at all were by far the “agreers.” They were the dumb or quiet folk who either did not read the material or did not have anything to contribute, but who were conscious enough of their grade to contribute anyway. Invariably this was at least a third of the class. To avoid embarrassing themselves with an original thought that might be wrong or at least worth discussing further, they would wait for someone to volunteer something useful, and then at the conclusion of that person’s thought would immediately raise their hand. Upon being called on, they would say “I completely agree with so-and-so.” Sometimes they would then follow that up with a pertinent thought, like “you can find even more evidence of that on page 50” but more commonly you would hear “I thought the same thing when I was reading, and I really think the diction shows that that’s what the author meant” or some horseshit.

I’m making two points here. The first is that on a lot of Pop’s essays, I feel like one of the agreers, and I find that upsetting. As much as I’d like to play devil’s advocate here, to me NASCAR is indeed about as pointless as you can get. So far as lifting weights are concerned, I might be able to make a point about how it is a practice from which the lifters derive personal satisfaction and respect from their peers, which makes them happy and that’s a use (albeit a small one) onto itself. But such a point would be a stretch, because at the end of the day it’s about people making a heavy thing go up for six feet and then down for six feet. Whoopee!

The second is that the agreers are pretty damn useless themselves. And that means by extension, when I write a commentary that pretty much consists of the sentiment that “I agree with the contention of the essay,” I feel similarly useless sometimes. But the fact remains that often my thinking and Pop’s are well aligned. So be it.

“LOWER THAN A WHALE TURD”

This essay has to do with the emotional state of a sinner who knows that on the morrow, he will be required to deliver an apology or an explanation for his conduct. In this case, the apology or explanation must flow not necessarily from the head, the heart, the stomach, the crotch, or the femur bones but must start with the toe nails themselves. In most cases, the apology has to be delivered to a spouse who is not a sinner. It may also take the form of delivering an apology or an explanation to friends, citizens, and associates who have in the past wished the sinner well. When the sinner realizes that such an apology or explanation must be made, he is forced to feel lower than a whale turd.

Perhaps my point would be best presented by a series of examples. In the world of sports, the most-watched spectacle is the World Cup, which crowns the best football (soccer) team in the world and takes place every four years. Nations gather their very best football players and form them into a national team to enter the competition. There is intense interest in the progress of the team by its fans and by the citizens of the countries involved. It is not unusual for the losing coach or players to contemplate suicide after a loss.

In the last World Cup, the two remaining survivors were the teams of France and of Italy. Reports of that meeting suggest that there were racial slurs about each other’s nationality. The idea of the racial slurs is to encourage fights, which would result in the banishment of a soccer player from the game. That would mean that the banished player’s team would have to play short handed as no replacements are permitted under these circumstances.

In the last World Cup, the defense of the Italian team thwarted the French scoring forwards and Italy became the champion of the World Cup. Following that defeat, the French coach needed to apologize to not only the sponsors of the French team but to the citizens of France as well. The French coach could not have been more dejected by the loss of the game but also there was the need for an explanation or an apology. During this period, the mental outlook of the French coach could only have been described as being lower than a whale turd.

A second example involves Clint Hurdle, the manager of the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball team. In the 2007 baseball campaign, Clint Hurdle guided his team through the 162 game regular season as well as through the playoffs, and eventually emerged as the representative of the National League in the World Series that followed. The Colorado Rockies are based in Denver and have a following in the mountain states area and in baseball terms, the reach of the club may go into western Kansas as well. In the World Series, the Rockies lost the first two games, which were played in Boston, to the Red Sox. As the clubs returned to the high altitude climate with the next three games to be played in Denver, there were great hopes that the Rockies could recover and even the series or perhaps take a lead. But that was not to be. The Boston Red Sox swept the next two games, which meant that they captured the World Series by a score of four to nothing. For the Rockies, it was a complete and a humiliating shutout.

When the final out in the World Series was accomplished, Clint Hurdle knew that he had to offer an apology or an explanation to his hundreds of thousands of fans in the Rocky Mountain area. As he contemplated the task of delivering that apology or explanation, Clint Hurdle’s emotional state could be described only by the technical term of being lower than a whale turd.

Now to proceed to the political field. You may recall that the recent Governor of the great state of New Jersey was a gentleman named James E. McGreevey. When he was the Mayor of Woodbridge, New Jersey, his friends and the newspapers referred to him as Jimmy McGreevey. However, when he became the Governor of this great state,
Mr. McGreevey decreed that henceforth he would always be called “James E. McGreevey, Governor.”

The fact of the matter is that McGreevey was an incipient homosexual. To conceal that fact, the former Jimmy McGreevey acquired a wife and fathered a daughter. But once he became the Governor of this state, his gayness began to make more and more appearances. Early in his tenure, McGreevey acquired a male Israeli lover. He then installed this lover in the position of Director of Security for the great state of New Jersey. The lover was not only a foreign national but he had absolutely no experience whatsoever in terms of providing for the security of the citizens of this great and glorious state. As time advanced, McGreevey installed his lover in an apartment near the executive mansion. About two years into his tenure, it became obvious that McGreevey had to confirm his gayness. The press knew all about his tendency and was no longer protecting him after the affair of the Israeli lover being appointed to a security position in the state. And so it was on a day that McGreevey and his wife will never forget, he called a press conference attended by his wife. Mrs. McGreevey stood off on the side, to the right hand of the Governor, and one could tell that apparently she was learning of his gayness for the first time and was shocked. At least that is what she said. The press conference ended with McGreevey’s announcement that he was a “gay American” and intended to resign.

Confronting his wife and the citizens of New Jersey with this announcement must have tormented the Honorable James E. McGreevey endlessly. He knew that this was the end of his political career as well as his reputation. Clinically his emotional state would be described as lower than a whale turd. For whatever it is worth, the former Governor of New Jersey, James E. McGreevey, is now a seminarian at an Episcopal school for preachers and he and his former wife are fighting it out in court over the custody of their daughter.

And now we finally turn to another gentleman in the political arena, who is Eliot Spitzer, the former Governor of New York. For some time while he was Governor, Spitzer was a member of the Emperor’s Club, which provided him with prostitutes. Spitzer was billed as much as $5,000 per encounter with one of the Emperor’s Club’s whores. Overall, it is estimated that he invested more than $80,000 in 2007 in the pursuit of happiness at the Emperor’s Club.

Apparently the Emperor’s Club collected payment in advance, before services were performed. If a member of the club were to deposit, say, $5,000 with the Emperor’s Club and he engaged a prostitute who only charged $3,000 per hour, he would have a balance of $2,000. From what we have come to learn, Governor Spitzer spent a good amount of time checking his balances with the Emperor’s Club. It is too late to do any good, but if I were his advisor, I would have told him to leave this task to his secretary. We were told at the time that Spitzer spent so much time checking his balances and forwarding money to the club that it attracted the attention of the federal authorities. Actually, we now learn after his resignation that he was turned in by a political enemy.

Spitzer has a lovely wife, also Harvard educated, and three teenage daughters. When the feds made known their findings to former governor Spitzer, he knew that he would have to offer an apology and an explanation to his spouse and to the citizens of New York, and the apology must be delivered in the capital of media attention in this country. Spitzer could not whisper that he had a dalliance now and then with some whores, but he had to tell it to the New York press, who would scream that message to the rest of the country and the world.

The night before, while Spitzer still had his secret, his emotional state must have been described as lower than a whale turd. He knew that the next morning his career and his reputation would be obliterated. He had to know that his wife and his teenage daughters would wonder what had happened to their husband and father.

Well, there you have four examples of emotions that flow only from feelings of being lower than a whale turd. In my long lifetime, I have had feelings of being up and feelings of being down on the ground. During parts of the Second World War, I was aware that the German Army and Air Force intended to kill me. But on the other hand, I have never experienced the emotional drain that must occur when a person has to admit total failure and/or sinfulness. I can’t say that my heart goes out to the coach of the French football team or to Clint Hurdle of the Colorado Rockies. Again, I cannot say that my heart really goes out to the Honorable James E. McGreevey or to Eliot Spitzer. I can only say that these four fellows must have experienced an agony that is hard to describe. But be that as it may, that is what this essay is all about. It is about wondering about the special hell that those four fellows went through before they delivered their apologies.

One final thought. The title of this essay is from the proverbs and sayings of my close and wonderful friend, Harry Livermore. During the Second World War, Mr. Harry Livermore was a Lieutenant in the American Navy. He sailed on the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga, which experienced a direct hit from a kamikaze aircraft. That hit cost the lives of three hundred and fifty American sailors who were shipmates of Harry Livermore. The travels of the Ticonderoga were in the Pacific, where I believe that whales are to be found. My belief is that Lieutenant Livermore studied the dietary habits of whales and is thus qualified to offer the opinion that when a man is really down, he is lower than a whale turd. Harry first offered this explanation of this unhappy tradition so long ago that is now a part of American folklore, and I feel free to quote it, as long as it has proper attribution.

This essay is being dictated on the Friday before Spitzer’s resignation. I am going to sleep soundly tonight, knowing that I do not have to face the bleak future of Eliot Spitzer. I do not intend to kick him while he is down but my head shakes in wonderment at the stupidity that caused him to lose the respect of so many people. No matter how you cut it, Spitzer did it to himself.

E. E. CARR
March 16, 2008
Essay 298
~~~
Kevin’s commentary: A few things. First, I’m pretty much of the opinion that the sports dudes in question shouldn’t feel so bad, because sports are games and games don’t matter at the end of the day. They did their fans proud by getting as far as they did! They shouldn’t be disappointed in being outplayed at the final match — shit happens.

The second thing was that I was initially confused as to why the turds in question were begat by whales. I personally think whales are as good an animal as any other. But then at the end of the essay, I realized that if a whale turd sinks, it goes to the bottom of the ocean. The bottom of the ocean is pretty damn low, in a literal sense. So yeah, at the end of the essay I had to reconsider my offense.

The third thing is that Spitzer is an idiot, and he was paying far too much for prostitutes. I’m sure he could have gotten a better rate with people who kept less diligent records, and been in a way better position. I’m sure he’ll think about that next time.

CHUTZPAH

When politicians of the Joe McCarthy type insist that English is the only language to be spoken in this country, they are missing a glorious opportunity for words of other languages that make the English language more colorful. One of those words is chutzpah, which I assume is Hebrew in nature or perhaps even Yiddish. I do not pretend to be an expert on the language of the Hebrews but my belief is that chutzpah represents rudeness or the unwarranted assertion of authority and priorities. Some would define it as nerve which Molly Goldberg would pronounce as “noive.” If a long line is formed while waiting for movie tickets, for example, and a person comes along who insists upon going to the head of that line, it is chutzpah. When someone enters an expensive restaurant and states his desire to sup on a small salad with ice water, that is another demonstration of chutzpah.

This past week saw two or three demonstrations of chutzpah in the extreme. Bill Clinton, the former President who has now become the ward heeler extraordinaire of American politics, appeared before a collection of veterans from a VFW post in Charlotte, North Carolina. He delivered himself of these remarks:

I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country. And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics.

So you see that Bill Clinton says that only his wife and Senator McCain love this country and have its best interests at heart. He excluded Barack Obama from loving this country and having its best interests at heart. This is not the first instance where the Clinton campaign has ascribed virtue to itself while excluding Mr. Obama.

The remark about love of country and having its best interest at heart is chutzpah in the highest sense. But what made it hard to fathom is that these remarks were delivered to an audience of VFW members by a notorious draft dodger. Bill Clinton never served a day in the uniform of any of the military services of the United States. Yet in the heat of this campaign he elected to question the love of country of the opponent of his wife. Could it possibly be that the fault of the opponent of Mrs. Clinton is a man of African-American descent?

In earlier comments from the Clinton campaign, Mrs. Clinton has said that only she and Senator McCain had passed the test for commander-in-chief. Again, Barack Obama was excluded even though Mrs. Clinton has no military credentials of any kind.

During the primary campaign in South Carolina, Bill Clinton elected to play the race card by minimizing the victory of Mr. Obama by saying that even Jesse Jackson won that primary several years ago. The point is to minimize Mr. Obama’s achievement by saying that he is the black candidate, so no one should expect much to come of his success.
Mr. Obama is a candidate for the Presidency of the United States and is not necessarily the black candidate any more than Clinton’s wife is the female candidate.

The net result of the Clinton campaign is that they are willing to destroy their own party unless Mrs. Clinton prevails. This is the sort of conduct that we have come to expect from George Bush and from Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. The Clinton campaign is clearly suggesting that if she does not prevail, she would prefer to see McCain as the presidential choice rather than the black and white candidate, Mr. Obama. There is selfishness, rudeness, and chutzpah at every step in the Clinton campaign of recent months.

On the same Good Friday, it turns out that the most wonderful Vice President in history, Mr. Cheney, was in Iraq and was accompanied by Martha Radditz, the ABC correspondent. When Martha Radditz told Cheney that 70% of the American public opposed the war in Iraq, Cheney’s only comment was “So?” In the language of the street, Mr. Cheney’s response of “So?” amounted to nothing less than “Up yours.” That remark has typified Cheney’s deplorable conduct while he has been our most wonderful Vice President for the past seven or eight years. His conduct qualifies him for membership in the chutzpah hall of fame.

Finally, we have Mrs. Clinton’s recitation of a visit to Bosnia where she contends that snipers were in the vicinity and that it was necessary, in getting off the plane, to run for the cars to take them to safety in the hangar. Unfortunately, a reporter from The Washington Post accompanied Mrs. Clinton on that trip and he reports that there were no snipers. Instead, at the foot of the steps as she deplaned, there was an eight-year-old girl with a bouquet of flowers to present to Mrs. Clinton. By dressing up this story with snipers, The Washington Post this Easter morning presented her with four Pinnochios for that epochal tale. You will recall that in the children’s story, the more falsehoods Pinnochio spoke, his nose grew longer. In The Washington Post exercise, a total of four Pinnochios is the end of the line. And that is exactly what The Washington Post gave Mrs. Clinton’s story about the snipers.

As an old soldier and a man who volunteered for service in World War II, I deplore what has happened in the Clinton campaign’s attempt to prevail over Barack Obama. Obviously they will stop at nothing, even if it means the destruction of their political party. John McCain, on the other hand, has shown some limited restraint with respect to questioning the patriotism of his opponents and their devotion to the best interests of this country. Is it too much to ask that Mrs. Clinton and Bill Clinton, her wandering husband, should show the same restraint? Apparently, that is not the case.

On Sunday, which was Easter in the Christian calendar, Bill Richardson, the Governor of New Mexico, referred to the thought that the Clinton brand of politics is “gutter politics.” It is all of that and I hate to see a lovely word such as chutzpah becoming associated with this campaign. Chutzpah is a wonderful term which I hope survives this miserable campaign by the Clintons.

E. E. CARR
March 27, 2008
Essay 301
~~~
Kevin’s commentary: Well, they lost. Glad it turned out alright. Honestly though as much as I like Bill, we really don’t need another Clinton in the white house. Let’s get some new blood. Also, regarding the whole succeed-or-self-destruct philosophy, Pop failed to account for a Republican party which was throwing the race even harder, and sundering its own base even more deeply.

Oh, and the “so” comment is infuriating. Screw that guy.

FRENCH KISSING AND WHATEVER BECAME OF THE MISSIONARY POSITION

During the 23 years of my retirement, I have attempted to devote my life to prayer and peaceful meditation. From time to time, there are developments that make it no longer possible to pray and meditate peacefully as I desire. This is one of those interruptions in that we are confronted with a sexual double-header involving French kissing and the presence of fellatio in our current lives.

I am attempting to dictate this essay on March 16, because it is necessary that I complete it before these thoughts should profane the memory of Saint Patrick, the man who decimated the reptile population of the Emerald Isle. You may recall that St. Patrick dispatched the lizards, alligators, crocodiles, horned frogs, and dragons that crawled on their bellies to Nome, Alaska where they reside in ecstasy to this day. On the other hand, Saint Patrick knew very little about French kissing or the other subject on the agenda today.

Let us start with the developments having to do with French kissing. Earlier this month, the Virginia Legislature proposed a bill to amend the state’s laws that in certain situations, would outlaw the existence of French kissing. From all that can be determined at this date, there was no epidemic of French kissing taking place in the great State of Virginia. People could go to work, shop, enjoy dirty movies, and read about our exploits in Iraq without being interrupted by French kissing.

It seems that the action of the Virginia Legislature was brought on by a mature man who, one way or another, French kissed a child, presumably a female, of under thirteen years of age. Shortly after this event, a bill was introduced in the Virginia legislature that would make it a crime to French kiss a child under the age of thirteen. One of the arguments that delayed the passage of the bill was that several legislators in Virginia wanted to make this a felony offense, presumably with jail terms of up to five or ten years. In the end, the offense was classified as a misdemeanor and attracted all of the votes in the legislature with the exception of one brave soul who held out for the felony charge.

I suppose this tells you that when it comes to sexual matters in our legislatures, the senators and representatives who vote on such matters have all of the backbone of jellyfishes. Nonetheless the bill was passed and as things now stand – the day before Saint Patrick’s Day, 2008 – the bill will be sent to the Governor of Virginia who promises to sign it.

Essentially the bill is an amendment to the list of reasons that will cause offenders to be placed upon the sex offender list. So that there are no mistakes, here is the language of the amendment having to do with French kissing.

House Bill 34: § 18/2/370.6. Penetration of mouth of child with lascivious intent; penalty.
Any person 18 years of age or older who, with lascivious intent, kisses a child under the age of 13 on the mouth while knowingly and intentionally penetrating the mouth of the child with his tongue is guilty of a Class I misdemeanor.

As you can see, this long-needed bill has to do with the penetration of the mouth of a child with “lascivious intent.”

The bill is full of holes that would accommodate a fifteen-ton truck. Suppose that the person committing this offense penetrates the mouth of a child without lascivious intent. Would such a gentle person, such as a Sunday school superintendent, be included on the sex offender list when he had no evil intent in the display of his emotions for the child? Furthermore you will notice that the bill is confined to members of the male sex. As you can see from the bill itself, it presumes that only males are capable of being guilty of this terrible offense. From this it follows that if a female is the French kisser, the law will not apply to her. If a male over the age of 18 should French kiss another male of under thirteen years, the law would not apply. In other words, the law gives gay people a free pass. On its face, the act is unconstitutional because of its obvious discrimination between the sexes.

As I read the law, it is perfectly agreeable for two persons, aged thirteen and under, to French kiss their heads off. Similarly if a youngster elects to French kiss her uncle who is over the age of thirteen there will be no penalty whatsoever. The law is aimed at discrimination against males with a lascivious intent and your old essayist is damned if he can understand how one measure lascivious intent.

As all of you know, your old essayist does extensive research on matters that become the subjects of his essays. In the case in point, I have researched the matter of French kissing and I am unable to determine its origins. After hundreds of hours of research, I can only conclude that it is the American custom of attaching a foreign name to any act or procedure simply because it sounds exotic. I have spoken to representatives of the French Embassy in Washington and they deny all knowledge of French kissing. The French at the Embassy tell me that they know a little bit about French fried potatoes and that they are aware of French toast. But as I say, French kissing is “a puzzlement.” The spokesperson at the French Embassy asked if I could give her a demonstration of that technique. The woman at the French Embassy in Washington said that on her next trip to New York, she would stop by my residence in Short Hills, New Jersey for a personal encounter with French kissing. Finally she suggested that in view of the fact that French kissing had no relation to the French, I should inquire of the British Embassy as to their thoughts.

I was largely revolted by the thought of a person such as myself French kissing Queen Elizabeth, the head of the Anglican Church and the mother of that vixen daughter of hers. And so this essay will have to do without the contributions of the great nation of England.

I then inquired of the Danes about their thoughts on this matter. They were completely baffled. They said they had Danish pastry and Great Dane dogs, but in the Kingdom of Denmark people were free to kiss in any fashion. When I inquired of my old friend Sven Lernevall in Stockholm, he said the only contribution he could make to my research was the production of Swedish vodka and Volvo cars, but no French or Swedish kissing. My conversation with Sven ended when I explained to him what the Virginia legislature had done. When the thought of kissing with lascivious intent penetrated Sven’s mind, he began to laugh so uproariously that Ella, his wife, had to bring cold compresses to restore his sanity.

And so it went during the rest of my research. The Spanish Embassy in Washington said that “we have all kinds of Spanish fandangos but we know nothing about French kissing.” The Italians and the Israelis were of no great help in my research. The Canadians and the Mexicans had nothing to offer as well. And so I have concluded that the Virginia legislature is plowing new ground. When it comes to stupidity in legislation, I suspect that American legislators lead the pack. Certainly, that is the case with respect to the great state of Virginia.

Now, having spoken of stupidity, we turn to the question of whatever happened to the missionary position. For the purposes of this essay, my belief is that in sexual relations between males and females, when the male occupies the superior position above the female, it is called the missionary position. I have no idea whatsoever whether or not missionaries ever engaged in sexual relations. My prayers on this subject have been unanswered but that is of small moment.

What occupies my mind this morning is that public figures such as Eliot Spitzer and Bill Clinton seem to have a predilection for fellatio. To save yourselves the worry of looking up the meaning of fellatio, perhaps I can help you with your work by telling you that in the parlance of the street, fellatio amounts to a “blow job.” From this point on, I hope you gather the essence of what is being written here.

When Eliot Spitzer was engaged in his dalliances with the Emperor’s Club, it is reliably reported that Governor Spitzer had very little to do with the missionary position. According to reports from the prostitutes who worked for the Emperor’s Club, it was Governor Spitzer’s desire to receive – pardon the expression – blow jobs. One such prostitute offered the thought to the press that she thought this was risky business in that he demanded that the blow job be performed without the accompaniment of a condom. On the other hand, Governor Spitzer kept his mid-calf black socks on during this procedure. Again, I’ll be damned if I can understand why Governor Spitzer demanded this service or what the absence of a condom or the presence of his socks was intended to mean.

Spitzer is a Harvard-educated lawyer who has been a prosecutor for a number of years. In that capacity, he has been hell on wheels when it comes to convicting wrongdoers. In his dealings with the Emperor’s Club, if he had suggested the use of the missionary position, the prostitutes would have had very little to report on his conduct. But no, Governor Spitzer demanded an extra service.

When William Jefferson Clinton was the President of the United States, there came an occasion when a young woman named Monica Lewinsky performed the same service on the 42nd President of the United States. This act was performed on the premises of what was once the home of Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt. Mr. Clinton, who has now become a ward heeler extraordinaire, contended that he had no sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky because, he claimed that blow jobs fell outside the purview of sexual activities. In the eight years since Clinton has been out of office, I assume that he has been doing his penance for this stupid indiscretion. But judging by his conduct on the campaign trail for his wife, there are times when he seems to still enjoy moments of reckless abandon, such as playing the race card against Mrs. Clinton’s major opponent and implying that only Mrs. Clinton and Senator McCain were sufficiently patriotic to be President.

There is one other aspect that needs comment with respect to the issue of fellatio. There are frequent reports in the newspapers that teenage girls provide this service to their boyfriends. Psychologists who have interviewed such teenagers suggest that, to the extent that they have the
ability to reason at all, the girls imply that providing this service tends to keep the boyfriend and it also avoids the issue of pregnancy. If I may say so, stupidity is not the sole province of governors, former presidents and state legislators, but also for some teenage females.

Well, there you have my thoughts on French kissing and the doctrine of fellatio. I realize that some of you may consider these gamey subjects but they exist. Those radical Islamic fascist terrorists of the faith of Muhammedism contend that there is no homosexuality in either the Shiite or Sunni sect. Perhaps also they may have no French kissing or any issue about fellatio, but I doubt it!

Well, this is the double header that I promised you. While it may not be the stuff of bedtime stories, it has the virtue of touching on a governor, a former president, the Virginia legislature and some teenage girls of this era. There are two other thoughts that trouble me as I close this essay.
If my memory is halfway correct, the city of Washington DC has an 8% sales tax. If the former Governor Spitzer spent $4,300 on his encounter with Kristen, the prostitute, should the charges also include the failure to pay sales tax? In this case the sales tax would be substantial, amounting to more than $300. It seems to me that the citizens of Washington DC should not be denied this income from their visitors.

And finally, as much as I hope that the new governor of New York, Governor Paterson, is a success, I suspect that he will always be troubled with the thought that he gained that high office as a result of a blow job performed on Governor Spitzer.

And so I leave you with the thought that this essay was completed an instant before it could profane the memory of Saint Patrick. I suspect
that that great Saint knew very little about the subject matters of this essay. But if he were acquainted with French kissing and fellatio, the goodly Saint would offer his blessings to all of us who sin so terribly. At the conclusion of his blessing, it is quite likely that the Saint would say, “Erin go bragh.”

E. E. CARR
March 16, 2008
Essay 297
~~~
Kevin’s commentary: Hahahahahahaha. Well this one was unexpected, though I guess not once I’d seen the title. Where to start? Aside from the fact that I can’t think of anyone else I know who has read an eight-page essay on this topic written by their grandparents. Or even a seven-page one. I might actually just be the only person this happens to, but that’s okay because this one was hysterical.