Post #538: Random Observations
|Hyde Park, 11 February 2012|
Barring any unforeseen scandal or catastrophe (you never know with those Clintons) Hillary will more-than-likely be the next president of the United States. I say this not with a sense of joy nor with any foreboding, but rather with a sense of resignation. Maybe she will turn out to be the second incarnation of FDR that I've been dreaming of - much in the way I thought Obama would be. He turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. She will probably end up being a let-down as well. This much is certain: In 2017, for the fist time since 1857, one Democratic administration will succeed another one on Inauguration Day.
The right wing in Congress, in anticipation of a Hillary Clinton candidacy in two years, is doing everything they can to keep alive the "Democrat scandal" of the attacks on the American embassy that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens. As the president said a couple of days ago they'll have one hell of a time trying to accuse her of being born in Kenya. They can't run on issues that mean anything to the average voter so they need to resort to this sort of thing. Of this you may be absolutely certain: 2016 is going to be an interesting political year. Here's something else you can be sure of: There will never again be Republican elected to the presidency. They may survive for a few years in the statehouses and Congress, but as far as the White House is concerned, the grand old party is over.
Laughter's Gentle Soul: The Life of Robert Benchley 1889-1945
by Billy Altman
There's just something about Benchley - be it the writer, the actor or the man - that, to me, has always been irresistible. He is the personification of American wit! The short films he produced for Paramount and MGM between 1928 and 1945 are treasures in the history of American Humor. All of them should be released on DVD. As of this writing, only a handful of Paramounts are now commercially available.
Altman's fine biography is a sympathetic look at the man and what shaped him into being who he was. Particularly of interest is the death of his older brother in the Spanish American War in 1899 and the effect it had on Benchley as a child.
This book could have been better, no question about it. But until a better one comes along (don't hold your breath), it is as fine a reference as any ever written. Nearly seventy years after his death, no one has replaced him. He was a real S.O.B. Sweet Old Bob! God rest his merry soul.
I'm sorry I haven't been that prolific lately, folks.