Wednesday, June 13, 2007


To the rightwingers, Fred Thompson must be like a Messiah, a mystic figure in the distance who will eventually come and rescue them, restoring their conservative path and talking to God about War.

The only thing I remember about Fred Thompson is the fact that, after he left Congress, he dated a few obscure starlets. I don't even know why I remember this, because I don't watch Law & Order, so there is no reason for me to even realize that Fred Thompson exists.

Actually, I get irritated with Law & Order, because it is perpetually on the air, with different people in different roles. I have tried watching the one with the Hargity woman, and I don't even know how to spell her name correctly. She's a beautiful woman, dignified and graceful, and she does a good job on this show. I was interested in her because I remember her mother, Jayne Mansfeld, who was the oldtimer's answer to Anna Nicole Smith. Jayne was fond of color pink and had a heart-shaped pink swimming pool. She also died a tragic early death, in a highway accident in the South.

Then, I gave up on that Law & Order and switched to the next one, which had a man whose name I do not know, but who was totally fascinating. He sort of weaves around in a little dance when he is talking to people, questioning subjects, and I decided he was trying to mesmerize them into a confession, like a Hindu with a cobra. But, even this didn't hold my interest too long, so I gave it up in favor of watching reruns of Friends.

I think Friends became possible because everyone wants loyal friends, and they are so hard to find. To have a group of six people, dedicated to each other, living in close proximity and always there in time of need is something we all dream about. Usually, our friends drift away from us, busy with family or moving away, leaving this vacuum in our lives. New friends arrive, but they just aren't the same as old friends.

When Friends ended and the group separated, things just weren't the same. It's always that way. Spin-offs, except for Fraser, seldom work. The "Joey" show was a complete embarrassment and Jennifer Aniston just isn't a leading lady, in my opinion. She's just Rachel and what is she doing messing around with other men?

Growing up, my friends were all relatives, which made things simpler in a way. Today, I still count them as my best friends, even the ones that live far in the distance. When any two people in our family get together, we always spend the first half hour of our visits trading information on family members. I say, "I got a card from Jon. He and Judy are fine. And I talked to Eldin for an hour on the phone." And my guest says, "I saw Bette June at the mall, and she and Hayward look as young as ever!" And so it goes.

But back to my television viewing habits, I have become fond of the Dancing shows. This is because I have two left feet and the grace of an elephant in a forest of saplings. It amazes me that other people are able to leap about like gazelles, never stepping on feet or falling down, or doing any of the things that keep me off a dance floor.

My brother Harlan, whom we call Deed, is a graceful dancer. In his eighties now, he and his close companion, Anita, go dancing two or three times a week. They dance at the Masonic Hall, because Deed is the Grand Poobah of Whatever it Is in Las Vegas, where they live. When I visit Vegas, Deed invariably drags me off to the Masonic Hall for an evening of dancing, which consists of one dutiful round with me while I blunder around, and the rest of the evening, I spend at the table watching others dance.

Now this is in Las Vegas, the City of Lights, where the Strip beckons in a hypnotizing way, each fabulous casino more elaborate than the other and all of them promising big rewards. There is no punishment on earth worse than having to sit in the Masonic Hall watching a line dance when one knows the Wonders of the World are waiting just a few streets away. It's always good to visit Deed, but I have often thought we could visit just as well if we sat side by side at a Blackjack table.

I do like Anita immensely. She's a pretty woman with a good sense of humor. Deed's lovely wife of many years, who died some time ago, was named Juanita. So, when he met Anita, it was inevitable that those slips of the lip would occur. So, I settled the problem by calling them Juanita and Two-ita. Anita just laughs when I call her this and explains that she understands how hard it is to get the two names straight.

I watched Dancing With the Stars when Heather Mills proved that she could be graceful even with only one leg. This is quite disconcerting to a nondancer, who can't even do it with two legs. I found myself liking Heather Mills, but I felt quite guilty about that. After all, one owes some loyalty to Paul McCartney, who has provided us with all that music.

Heather will undoubtedly end up as a millionairess, and this rankles a bit with McCartney fans. On the other hand, these besotted old rich men who marry women half their age should keep a close watch on their fortunes, don't you think? Or perhaps I just say that because I'm old and in order to find an older millionaire, I'd have to have the undertaker as Best Man.

Anyway, my usual cheery and optimistic self has lifted out of my previous depression and faces the world with a smile. I spend my days watering what may be a cucumber or may be a weed, I am not quite sure which, but it is flourishing nicely. I also have four tomato plants that I moved from my former tomato patch, because of a tomato worm I just couldn't find, a summer long battle that I lost. That Insurgent Worm took suicidal risks and survived my bombing it with all sorts of WMD. If I had had something nuclear, I'd have used that, too.

So, life goes onward, and each day brings us closer to the next election. I believe Fred Thompson will announce his intentions before then, which should cheer up the rightwingers. Now that summer is here, they will be able to watch him on Law & Order for just a while longer. Law & Order is with us, summer or winter, night or day, and all things in between. The only sure things in this world are Death & Taxes & Law & Order. With Larry King Live running a close second. In fact, when Larry King passes away.....Heaven forbid....they will probably run a nightly show called Larry King Dead. In fact, some people think they could use that title now, and no one would know the difference.