Last week, I had one of the worst days of my life. I had assumed my kidney transplant would take place about October 1. I ordered dialysis supplies to be delivered to Los Angeles, and prepared to leave about the end of this month. When I sent an e-mail to my transplant coordinator telling her when I would arrive, she replied with what, for her, in her polite, mush-mouthed way, amounted to a flame.
Back off, she said. We still have months to go before you can think about coming out here.
This is the same woman who told me, literally, “Now all we have to do is…X,” and said that X would probably take two weeks.
I had to wait three days to reply to her, tamping down every snide and nasty turn of phrase I might have included.
WHEN WE LIVED IN CHARLESTOWN, MY SON BUD AND I used to go down to Old Ironsides, docked in our harbor, and watch the firing of the ship’s sunset cannon. I sold an article describing that experience to Army Times. The manuscript included the passage, “Bud loves it. I generally smoke a big cigar, and I love it, too.”
The editor sent me a nice note, accepting the article. “Enjoy that cigar, big guy,” he wrote.
When the article appeared, the passage above came out: “Bud loves it. I love it, too.”
That’s right. Army Times censored any appearance of tobacco products.
Old Ironsides itself, the U.S.S. Constitution, was an easy-going ship in those days. On weekdays, we could simply climb aboard and go anywhere we wanted. Bud used to like to crawl up on the deck cannons. We could go down a ladder and cruise the two lower decks. I have always wanted to climb a square-rigger’s rigging up to the first crow’s nest, but they wouldn’t allow that.
The ship underwent a drastic renovation to preserve its structural integrity. It was torn down to the keel. When it was put back together, the easy times disappeared. So did the casual tourist traffic. Now, there is always a line at the dock, often of more than 200 people, waiting for strictly guided tours.p>I’m teaching my younger son, Joe, to memorize Oliver Wendell Holmes’ 1830 poem, “Old Ironsides.” You might call Joe, who was adopted from Guatemala, borderline ADHD, and he’s not an intellectual giant. He’s a doll. He always gets right to work. We’ve got the first stanza pretty well memorized: br> /p> blockquote>Ay, tear her tattered ensign down! br> Long has it waved on high,
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online