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Shecky Blue

Bush couldn't even find Normandy on a map. Of Normandy.


Very nice post. A friend and I were reminising the other day, he's from Newark, and we talked about Ballantine beer. They had the 2000 year old man (Mel Rivulet) and his deadpan interviewer (Reiner) selling beer. Mid 60s. Some excellent comedy. A lousy beer. Used to drink it in college, though. $0.99 a six pack.


You had to know that you'd get this - I met Bill once, on the night before the gubernatorial election in 2002. He was stumping for my candidate, Bill Curry (who actually worked for Bill in the White House in an advisory position during his first term). Anyway, I was just a volunteer who liked to shoot film, so I was the amateur backup photographer at events, including this one. I got to go "backstage" where Bill met the big donors, shook hands, and yes, chatted with each one. We were all kind of floating around, pinching ourselves that we were in the same small room with HIM, the Big Guy, easily the most charismatic person I've ever met. The real photographer had a momentary glitch with his equipment, so Bill turned to me and said, "Go ahead, you're the backup, right?" or something like that, with a reassuring smile. For the next few minutes, he shook hands and chatted with each person in line, then turned to me with those compelling eyes and a big smile. It's a wonder those photos didn't come out all blurry from my hands shaking.
Later, after the event, our candidate lined up all of us volunteers and campaign staff for a photo with Bill, and he actually stood next to me and put his arm around me, the way you do when you're all crowding in to get your picture taken. Needless to say, I will remember that day till I die.


Fantastic post, Lance.

Kevin Wolf

Great post, Lance.

I know that comparing Dubya to Clinton is unfair - hell, comparing Bush to anybody is an insult to the other party. But I can't help but remark on the contrast. Guess which one is good at what he does and appears to enjoy it - live for it, even?

Erik Loomis

Damn it Lance, if you keep writing posts like this you are going to make me stop resenting Clinton for moving the Democratic Party so far to the right.

tom bulger

In 1988, I think, Clinton, wandering in the wilderness, came to a small democratic function in Missoula, Montana. He spoke with my wife and I for two minutes, tops. Somehow, in that time, he discerned that my wife had attended a competitive music camp, Interlachen, that he had wanted to attend but failed. I had never heard her speak of this to anyone else in 15 years. Watching him arrive at this information was like watching a magician perform sleight-of-hand, and wondering where the hell the rabbit came from.

Red Tory

You know it's a fantasy of suburban life circa 1960, because none of those attractive guests at the Petries' parties is holding a highball glass.

If you ever watch old episodes of “Betwitched” these days (lord knows why) take note of how prevalent alcohol is. It’s really quite astonishing. Darren and Sam are constantly drinking and of course Larry Tate and his wife are both hopeless boozehounds. The cocktails and highballs are ubiquitous in every social situation portrayed on the show. Come to think of it on many TV shows in the 60’s and 70’s it was almost de rigueur to have a “liquor cabinet” in the home (or office!) topped with several crystal decanters full to the brim with a variety of fortified wines and spirits. Seems rather odd now.


Everyone I know who's met Clinton has said the same thing. Supernatural intellect. Amazing political abilities.

But he still couldn't get us some health care.

Red Tory, it's not odd over here. Drinking is the national past time. Drinks are served at grammar school functions.

Christopher Tassava

*Great* post. And what a great counterpoint to that phony man-of-the-people, Bush, who can't and doesn't talk to anyone who hasn't been vetted and scripted.


It's so weird and depressing that red-staters don't vote for empaths, they vote for authoritarians. I ask you now, which contemporary politicians would fail Detective Deckard's tests, and which would pass?


Some red-staters. F.Baube, some.

Deckard passed. All of them are good enough to fool the test.

Even more than the alcohol it was smoking. I was watching a game show from the early 60s and one of the celeb regulars was smoking and just tosses the cig away when it was his turn.

Lance? In your fantasy can you connect your freckles to make the outline of the Liberty Bell?

The Viscount LaCarte


Things will get good again one day. They just have to.

Exiled in NJ

One the great things about this place is that Lance can post pieces like this without having this spot fill up with troll manure.

Go back and check out how many unfinished Champagne cocktails there were those two nights we saw Rick's.

Even when people smoke in films today, when was the last time anyone saw anubody actually inhale and blow it out their nose, or from deep in their throat.

blue girl

Really interesting post, Lance.

I had a client whose wife had the same sort of experience with Clinton as Tom B. explains. He told me Clinton talked to her for about 3 minutes and you would have thought they had known each other for years. It kind of made my client mad -- him being a Republican and a Clinton-hater and all. (This was probably in 1998-ish.)

Funny thing though -- I just met with him again last week -- and we talked a little politics -- and if I weren't so ladylike, I would tell you what he said about Bush & Co.

Let's put it this way -- he never spoke that harshly about Clinton. (I considered it somewhat of a victory...)


Nice post.

Re smoking - we were watching Jaws (1975) on TCM the other night. The town's mayor was smoking IN A HOSPITAL. Times have changed.


Terrific post ~ you caught the essence. Barb and I met him twice. Both times we came away amazed at how quickly he connected with us in a remarkably genuine way. I am not surprised that he spoke with Charlie at length. I would expect nothing less.


Since I grew up in the 60s and 70s, its easy to romanticize about the good old, free wheeling days. I remember when smoking was allowed by patients in hospitals through the 1980s, and most hospitals became completely smoke-free in the 90s. But back to the liberal times; what's missing today is the same as what Clinton, Van Dyke and Reiner symbolize: dreams, hopes and ideals, and the objective to pursue same. Since the 80s, it seems, the objective of life is to "just say no" and suffering a penalty whenever one does otherwise. More like, a penal system of checks and balances. Now, its a system of destruction in order to save ourselves. So, where have all the flowers gone, or do we now reject any connection to the advantage of child-like innocence?

cali dem

Super post, Lance. A week or so ago, Nora Ephron had an op ed piece published in th NY Times. It was a sappy snark about her feelings of betrayal over Bill Clinton. About as crappy as her usual made-for-the-Lifetime-Channel films. In thinking about this, I imagined a new version of hell: being seated between Nora Ephron and Bill "loofa guy" O'Reilly at never-ending dinner party.

I enjoyed remembering that section from of "Primary Colors." You're right, that is the only aspect of that book that has any value.


It's not an act with Clinton, the guy really does enjoy all aspects of the political life. Especially the part most politicians hate: meeting real people.

He's lucky in one resepct, most people never figure out what they want to do. Bill did and make it all the way to the top.

The other stuff, off course is a tragedy


i just read this again. i wanted to tell you
how much it touched me. really something.

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