The long version.

Whoever said funerals were for the living sure got that one right. Rosa Parks’ was carried on live TV today, and the last time I checked — about 5:30 p.m. — it was still going on.

It started at noon.

Bill Clinton was one of the first speakers. He said he couldn’t stay for the rest of the service because he had to go back to New York and work on getting poor people better health care, and that’s something Mrs. Parks would have approved of. He got a big round of applause. That guy kills me; he has the most effortless people patter I’ve ever seen. I think most of what makes Republicans hate him so much is because — follow me closely here — he’s so likable.

I personally like him because he doesn’t say “tair” instead of “terror,” but that’s me. Actually, I’m feeling rather nostalgic about the whole Clinton era. My job was secure, my bosses were pleasant, my house payment low. At the beginning of it, I married Alan. In the middle of it, a charming little baby appeared in my life. At the end, the new millennium arrived with thrilling fireworks around the world and for a while you could almost believe things were going to stay swell for a good long while.

Just confirms my initial impulse of pessimism in all things. Sooner or later, it’s welcome to the suck.

I owned Knight Ridder stock in the Clinton era, too — a lot of it (for me, anyway). It was never a great performer, but I got it at a 15 percent employee discount and bought it through payroll deduction, so it piled up. I sold every last share to buy this house, which has no doubt declined in value since the papers were signed and Economic Apocalypse Soon opened in the Metro Detroit area. Maybe the bad blood of KR seed money cursed the place, I dunno. But of course it’s something I wish I still owned, because things may well get interesting for KR very soon:

With many Knight Ridder employees still emptying their desks in the wake of the latest round of layoffs, company executives found themselves faced with potential pink slips of their own this week, courtesy of the company’s biggest shareholder, Private Capital Management. PCM warned the Knight Ridder board Tuesday that if it fails to take its advice and sell the company, PCM will likely lead an effort to get rid of current board members and executives and sell off Knight Ridder assets to the highest bidder.

In other words, it’s possible that, for the first time ever, it might pay pretty well to own KR stock — and if you’re an employee, that’s good, because you may need to sell it soon.

One thing the last few years have taught me: Never, ever say “it can’t get any worse.” It can always get worse. And frequently does.

But I don’t want to bring you down. Let’s leap to the bloggage:

One man’s fashion misstep, recounted amusingly on eBay. And apparently the auction made the seller famous.

Sometimes when you follow all the little links at The Poor Man, you wind up in the strangest places. If you’re not feeling queasy at the moment (I was when I read this, alas), page through the Hall of Fame. My favorite is the Hook ’em Horns guy, which sort of captures, in one picture, my feelings about Texas.

I have the beginnings of a raging head cold. I’m going to bed early with a mug of Throat Coat. Carry on.

Posted at 8:41 pm in Uncategorized |

9 responses to “The long version.”

  1. mary said on November 3, 2005 at 11:57 am

    I was in the car with the in-house Brit when NPR played a part of Bill Clinton’s remarks at the funeral. We both commented on what a pleasure it was to hear someone speak with such ease and power. Whether you agree with his politics or not, there is no denying Clinton knows how to make a speech that keeps your attention. Listening to Bush speak is like listening to someone else’s kid play piano. You’re not rooting for him to get it right, you just want him to finish without embarrassing himself too much. Clinton said that he was nine years old when Rosa Parks made her statement. He said that he and his friends took it as a signal that not only could black people ride in the front of the bus, white people could ride in the back, which he and his buddies did. I can believe this about Clinton. Not necessarily because he was conscious of social justice at the age of nine, but because he was accustomed to riding buses, and having a rule removed was an exciting change. I don’t think it made much of an impact on Bush’s daily life. I don’t see him as a bus rider.

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  2. Nance said on November 3, 2005 at 12:37 pm

    One of those books-I-always-meant-to-read is “POTUS Speaks,” by Michael Waldman, one of Clinton’s speechwriters. I heard him interviewed on NPR when it came out, and he talked about how easy it was to write for him — and how frustrating and occasionally, awe-inspiring, because BC would frequently go off the script. (I think there’s a famous story about the Teleprompter breaking at some convention or other, and BC just winged it, and no one noticed.) He knows the Bible like his own heartbeat, and can extemporize on any given verse at the drop of a hat.

    A woman I know used to write speeches for two men who held the same job in succession, and the difference between them was striking. The first man was a Clinton type; you could give him an outline, and he’d take it from there. The second was incapable of giving a toast without having it all written out on index cards, and never sounded natural.

    You know, Clinton has given some epic bad speeches — the one at the ’88 convention got a standing O when he said “…and in conclusion…” — but he really shines in situations like yesterday’s, where he’s connecting with people on an emotional level. Plus, he loves black people, and black people love him, and it shows. Simple as that.

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  3. mary said on November 3, 2005 at 12:45 pm

    I remember the 88 speech, but I also remember that he managed to get appearances on the Tonight show and a few other places based on that tedious speech. Making lemonade from a far oversqueezed lemon, that guy. I’ve heard black people refer to Clinton as our first black president, quite a thing to say about a white boy from the south.

    Lately I’ve been finding Bush’s swagger really annoying. He walks and stands like a football player from Texas, his arms slightly away from his body, the Marlboro man squint. This gets on my nerves because he’s no football player and no Texan. He’s from Connecticut, and his sport in college was cheerleading. He went to a New England prep school, then Yale, then Harvard. A Texan I know went to high school with him for a short time in Houston, and she says the only thing Texan about him is his attitude towards business. That being, what’s good for business is good for the USA.

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  4. maryo said on November 3, 2005 at 1:12 pm

    The Clinton speech where the teleprompter broke was his first State of the Union speech. And it was one of the best SOTU speeches I’d ever heard. Even the television commentators were amazed that he did so well.

    I, too, am nostalgic for the Clinton era: We married during the ’92 election campaign and had our first child during the ’96 election campaign. It somehow got me hopeful for all election years. How stupid I was then.

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  5. Dorothy said on November 3, 2005 at 2:49 pm

    Gee I have my own memories associated with an election campaign. In November 2000, day of the presidential election, I was sick and stayed home from work that day (but I did go out and vote in the morning.) My husband walked in the door mid-afternoon to tell me he’d lost his job, where he’d worked for 13 years. So I always associate that awful experience with the current Prez. I’ll be SO glad to see him gone in Jan. ’09.

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  6. colleen said on November 3, 2005 at 4:30 pm

    Totally agree with Mary regarding the speaking styles of the two presidents. When I hear Clinton speak, my brain goes “ahhh, everything will be ok”, no matter the topic. When I hear Bush speak, I have the urge to imitate Beavis and Butthead. But anymore, just seeing Bush’s face ticks me off. So smug and self important. Bleah.

    I have to say, I love how many comments here contain the phrase “I heard on NPR”….

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  7. Pam said on November 3, 2005 at 11:37 pm

    I adore Bill Clinton and want him back as President! As far as the shrub is concerned, I never hear him speak any more. The minute his voice comes on the TV around here, my husband instantly switches it off.

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  8. brian stouder said on November 4, 2005 at 9:03 am

    Further to that point, on C-SPAN last weekend I watched an interesting talk given by President Clinton (at the University of Texas, I believe) that touched on many issues of the day.

    If you get the chance, watch the replay….it was quite good

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  9. vince said on November 4, 2005 at 7:15 pm

    I recall attending a rare event in the late 90’s where both Bill Clinton and Al Gore shared the stage in the Rio Grande valley of Texas.

    President Clinton lead off with a 10-minute, entirely-off-the-cuff address. He was smooth, passionate and captivating.

    VP Gore followed with one of the most stultifying addresses possible – reading, not speaking his speech. People began praying he’d stop talking about 15 minutes in. He went on for 45.

    The contrast was stark.

    I knew then if Gore got the nomination in 2000 we’d never hear the two of them back to back again.

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