“. . . AND THE DREAM SHALL NEVER DIE.”

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It was thrilling to see Teddy Kennedy take the stage at the Democratic Convention last night, diminished by his disease and valiant even in his 11th hour. One could not listen to his speech without thinking of his great speech at the Democratic Convention in 1980, which, for my money, ranks with JFK‘s inaugural and Martin Luther Ling Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech as the best orations of my lifetime (and surely, if it had been a victory speech, it would have ranked above them.) Here is its conclusion: “And someday, long after this convention, long after the signs come down and the crowds stop cheering, and the bands stop playing, may it be said of our campaign that we kept the faith. May it be said of our Party in 1980 that we found our faith again. And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now:

“I am a part of all that I have met
To [Tho] much is taken, much abides
That which we are, we are —
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

Magnificent, eh? As Churchill said, “In defeat, defiance.”

OH JOY! OH RAPTURE!

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Cara was deliriously happy last week. Not only did she and her friend Nadia Lindstrom see the Jonas Brothers in concert at Bethel Woods NY (site of the original Woodstock, I have been informed), but Nadia’s dad, our good friend Paul, lined up the opportunity for the girls to `meet and greet’ the pop idols. Here they are. Paul and I had the great pleasure of sharing the driving. We didn’t get home until 3 AM. But we made a memory.

NOT UMA. . . UNA!

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The Montana cabin where Theodore Kaczynski was captured is included in an exhibit on the history of the FBI currently mounted at Washington’s Newseum. In a hand-written letter to the US Court of Appeals which can be viewed at The Smoking Gun, the infamous Unabomber, whose bombs killed three people and injured 23 others, objected to the FBI’s loan of the cabin to the Newseum. Why? He doesn’t really say, which leaves us free to speculate.

The 10 Reasons Why The Unabomber Doesn’t Want His Cabin Exhibited

10.) His taste in rustic dilapidated cabins has `matured’
9.) He’s concerned that his obvious interest in design will make him seem frivolous
8.) He thinks the greens will mock him because he never got around to installing the solar collector panels on the roof
7.) He’s afraid people will get the wrong idea of how the cabin looked if they don’t see it with his Louis Quatorze bedroom set
6.) He was angling to get the cabin redone as part of an appearance on Trading Spaces
5.) Showing it without the adjoining skunk pen distorts the scale.

4.) He’s mad because somebody apparently swiped the Farrah Fawcett poster he had up
3.) He thinks this will hurt his chance to get Sears to license a line of Unabomber cabins
2.) He thought the theme of the exhibit was going to be Famous Cabin Guys, like him and Lincoln and Uncle Tom
1.) He has been finding it useful to let the other guys in prison believe that his actual crib is the Spelling Mansion.

GUEST BLOGGER: ITALIA, SAYS THE WORLD TRAVELLER

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My daughter Maria (the happy, pretty girl at the left) recently returned from a month in Italy. She had a blast. Here are excerpts from an interim report she sent:

We got back late last night from Venezia (Venice) around 11pm. Our hotel was a 5 minutes walk from St. Marks Square. I took lots of pictures. Venice is beautiful! Its so weird to see buildings hundreds of years old next to more modern buildings and being passed by speed boats. We were there for the Feast of the Redeemer which is a celebration of the end of the Black Plague in 1576 when the Doge prayed to God to spare Venice. It worked and a church was built in honor of the “redeemer”. Lots of feasting and drinking topped off by fireworks. The fireworks were nothing special and were very similar to our 4th of July display.

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We left at 6am on Wed to go first to Assisi where St. Francis lived and died (no idea who he is). We went first to a church in which he founded his little group of franciscans, lived in literally a hole in the ground, and died. I was extremely grouchy from having not gotten to sleep untill 2am and getting up at the crack of fucking dawn. But I kept my mouth shut, which I gave myself a pat on the back for. But I slipped when we were shown these rose bushes where Francis threw himself into and the thorns fell off. I couldn’t help it, I started laughing. I was instantly shushed and given a lot of dirty looks. Oops. Then we went to the main part of Assisi (more pictures) which is still a very medieval town with lots of small winding streets and squished looking buildings. There we went to the Basilica of St. Francis, erected in his honor after he was canonized. Huge ass church with 3 levels and lots of steps. We were given a tour by a Franciscan friar from Seattle, very nice guy. Of course we couldn’t take pictures of talk. What gives? He told us about the art and the birth of the art form where depiction of the human body became huge. I forgot the name. He pointed out several frescos showing Francis and important holy people. He also said that Francis is often compared to Christ, which I found interesting. I liked the crypt best. Although I didn’t get the feeling there were any ghosts down there, which disappointed me. Got to see where Francis is buried (supposedly) and several of his followers. I think they should do DNA just to make sure but that’s just my opinion.
We had lunch and headed to Florence. Florence was only remotely interesting since there was nothing to do in the evening! NOTHING! We went to some church and we saw the David. God Damn is he hot! I lot of the girls said if he were a real man they would totally bang him. But we weren’t allowed to talk or take pictures. . . .I went on a water taxi with Valery, Angela, Marcia (Vals roommate), and this older woman also from our group Sat afternoon. We went to this English pup around Campo di Fiori and danced. Sigh. We’re going to Capri on Thurs. Very looking forward to that.

AN EVENING WITH RICHARD NIXON AND OLIVER STONE

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Richard Nixon was never one of my favorite people, but after reading Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland in May and James Rosen’s The Strong Man in June, and seeing the ad guys on Mad Men work on Nixon’s 1960 presidential campaign in July, his malignant spirit has been hovering over my summer. Last night, on the eve of the 34th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation speech, I went to a special screening of the 1995 film Nixon at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville NY, hosted by the film’s director, Oliver Stone. It was interesting to see the film for the first time in more than a decade. Anthony Hopkins, who does not resemble Nixon either in appearance or sound, does a brilliant job of bringing this dark, unloved, tragic individual—damaged and damaging—to life. (“Tony played him like a grotesquerie, a Nosferatu,’’ said Stone last night.) Like many of Stone’s films, Nixon is challenging—long, forceful, emphatic, but ultimately a provocative view of a man who comes to recognize that the great political machine is a beast that he cannot control, and that is devouring him. Continue reading “AN EVENING WITH RICHARD NIXON AND OLIVER STONE”

EXCELLENT PRODUCTION!

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Congratulations to Cara and her friends in the Summercliff Players on their excellent performance of Les Miserables. It’s amazing that they were able to pull together this complicated show in just five weeks. It was very, very enjoyable, and I was happy to see that Cara seemed to enjoy the experience so much.