9-26-2012 Potpourri



The likelihood is that Spy will not attend any tournaments in October.  Still having dizzy spells, and my eyesight fades in and out; all from that blow on the neck.  Still walking with a cane; but I have declined hip replacement surgery.  Johns Hopkins policy is no surgery on patients older than 75 unless life threatening, but an orthopedic clinic in Maryland was sharpening knives.  Am in physical therapy two-three days a week.  As I have said to many of you, my body simply outlasted the warranty.



Andy Williams was a crooner who could take a Johnny Mercer ballad and craft a musical work of art.  All of the obituaries mentioned “Moon River” but I liked the video from the funeral Mass for Robert F Kennedy at Saint Patrick’s cathedral. Andy’s rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic remains a classic among tributes, well remembered by all of us who had some acquaintance with Bobby.

There is a definite line between photographing people, even those with a public persona, when they are engaged in their public lives – and photographing them with a long lens when they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  I applaud the newspapers which refused to publish the photos, not because she is a Duchess who may well become Queen, but because she obviously had that expectation of privacy.

I am sure the journalistic guideline which applied in my day as a New York political reporter has long since been breached.  I once stationed a photographer in a Westchester parking lot, zooming in on the second floor doors of a suburban motel – the kind where the left and right doors open on the same jamb.  The photog snapped the photos I wanted of some Teamsters and Mafia types emerging from one room, just as a very married, very ambitious New York politician and the wife of another very ambitious New York politician emerged, arm in arm, and kissed.  The photographer did not know any of the parties, emerging from either door, and did not resist when I asked him for the negatives, prints and proofs.  A day later, I went into the office of the man and, after a few pleasantries, he opened the manila envelope I provided.  His face was ashen, and he finally summoned enough composure to ask what I intended to do with the proof of his infidelity.  Nothing, I replied, but I would like your word, as a friend, that you will break off this affair.  I knew the children of both couples; exposure would wreck too many lives.  One among many secrets I will carry to my grave.

Who among us has not uttered emotional statements which we would like to walk back.  In this day of instant communication, when everyone with a smart phone or camera assumes the mantle of muckraker extraordinaire William Randolph Hearst.   Shanahan and Belichik were provoked by the horrific referee situation – and were fined because they should have held their temper and their tongues.  I am not a fan of either Shanahan.  They literally embodied the style of Dana’s Two years before the Mast trying to bend their previous quarterback to their system; now, they have adopted a variation of the Baylor system to suit Robert Griffin.  But he can’t survive a season of the triple option, yet Kyle calls those plays 20 times a game.

Still, I happen to be in the club of those who have made verbal miscues.

My knuckles were rapped by the senior officers of the State Department for an incident in Florida, where I had addressed an invitation-only gathering of leading Latin opinion-makers.  I was assured my remarks would be off the record, with no reporters present.  Alas, one of the more influential men from Mexico happened to own several newspapers.  I had finished my remarks and was leaving the dais when he stood and asked for my candid opinion of the Mexican government.  I said I considered Mexico an illegal enterprise masquerading as a government.  I made headlines all over Mexico; fortunately, Secretary of State Schultz called in the Mexican ambassador and told him the US report card on Mexico was a D-minus.

I had to apologize to a representative of the Crown for a remark I made at a very posh banquet at Cambridge, where I lectured on international financial crime. This was at a time when the affairs of Charles and Diana were fodder for all the British tabloids. The Master opened the banquet with a long soliloquy, in Latin, finishing with the expected salute, God save the Queen.  Not knowing the microphone in front of me was live, I responded, “From her children.”



My favorite: never squat when you’re wearing spurs.

Will Rogers, who died in a 1935 plane crash, was one of the greatest political sages this country has ever known.

Enjoy the following:
1. Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.

2. Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

3. There are two theories to arguing with a woman.
Neither works.

4. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

5. Always drink upstream from the herd.

6. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

7. The quickest way to double your money is to fold itand put it back into your pocket.

8. There are three kinds of men:
The ones that learn by reading.
The few who learn by observation.
The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.

9. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

10. If you’re riding’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’sstill there.

11. Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier’n puttin’ it back.

12. After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring.
He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.
The moral: When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.


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