I used to think that conservatives felt about Bill Clinton the way I felt about Ronald Reagan. Close, but no cigar. Now I think conservatives felt about Bill Clinton the way I feel about the current crop of GOP presidential contenders, but my contempt eclipses theirs by the white-hot fury of 10,000 suns. Or maybe eight suns, or however many of these clowns are running at the moment. They make Reagan look like Winston Churchill.
And I didn’t even watch the debate last night. Roy did, thank God: Tell me: are all of these things animated Ralph Steadman cartoons? I was more vexed by the appearance of Fred Thompson, announcing his candidacy for leader of the free world on the goddamn Tonight Show. If you didn’t already have the idea this man is an unserious, profoundly lazy lightweight, well, I don’t know how it could be any clearer. The viral-video crap, the I’m With Stupid fundraising, the wahl-I-guess-I-best-mosey-on-down-and-file-for-president public bullshitting — the fact this man is an instant top-three frontrunner says everything about the intellectually bankrupt GOP these days.
Doghouse Riley, Indianapolis resident, recounts an interview of Ol’ Bassetface by ex-Fort Wayner Karen Hensel, whom I know as a nice person, two-time Peabody winner, faithful Republican, and probably not NPR material, at least not with questions like this: Your producer from Law and Order said when you walk in the room people want to “stand and salute”. Is there anything similar between you and the tough guy we know from Law and Order? Yeesh.
Life is still in its post-summer transition of boredom, so not a lot to report today. The dryer’s fixed. Parts: $80. Husband who can disassemble an unfamiliar machine, repair, vacuum out 16 years of accumulated lint and reassemble it: Priceless.
If you’re in an environment where George Carlin’s language won’t offend anyone, here’s something I found while digging for that Thompson clip. Some of my best friends smoke cigars, but still: Amusing.
Finally, Bob Sievers died this week. That’s a name that won’t mean much to many of you, but to people from Indiana, it’s like hearing that the Pope finally checked out. Sievers was the host of a long-running morning show on WOWO, Fort Wayne’s booming clear-channel (note lower case, not the corporation) radio station. He and co-host Jay Gould ran “The Little Red Barn” about the way you’d expect — with an unbelievably cornball opening theme song, carried through as the framework of the show, Bob and Jay doing a radio show from the barn, feedin’ the chickens and settin’ on a hay bale to interview a county extension agent about long-term weather expectations vis-a-vis spring planting. However, it’s a measure of the sincerity and good humor both brought to the task that the show was simply irresistible. Years after teenagers and parents had separated into armed camps, each with their own morning radio shows, whole families were still tuned to WOWO during the Little Red Barn, peacefully enjoying two of the great radio voices of our age.
The station, now a fairly noxious all-talk format, has a tribute page up. Go there if only to experience the theme song, and stay for the Sievers interview, where you can get a sense of the Voice, diminished by age but still the Voice. (Bonus: A great Elvis story in there, too.)
I knew Bob a little, and can tell you he was everything he appeared to be on the air: An absolute charmer. He got fourscore and ten, and made every one count.