Last night, I was in Malibu filing and writing checks to charities and watering my pitiful jacarandas, which just refuse to grow. I slept for a long time with my dogs, Julie and JoJo. I could hear the waves crashing on the sand far below. A mild breeze blew in the screen door of my bedroom. The popcorn tasted deliciously salty and buttery. It was great.
As it happened, it was truly great because I had wanted to stay out there all night. After all, my wife was out of town at one of her charities in Boston. Nothing urgent was happening at our home in Beverly Hills. I could sleep in Malibu and hear the waves all night.
But some urge made me pack up and set out for home in town anyway. Ha! No such luck! As it happened, there had been a fatal crash at PCH and Latigo Canyon. Some poor devil was going the wrong way at speed down PCH and now is deceased. So, the Sheriffs had closed down PCH for at least three hours. Back I went to my little fifties modern home in Trancas, ate some already broiled chicken, and watched the fabulous American Heroes Channel — used to be called the Military Channel.
They were having a World War I marathon. Not II. I. It is fabulous. That and CMT are the best channels except for Fox News.
As I sat and watched and ate microwaved popcorn, I could not keep myself from saying endless prayers of gratitude that I have never had to go to war, never been shot at, never been in the trenches, never been involuntarily hungry. Never had trench foot. Never had to go over the top into enemy machine gun fire. Never had to be lonely and sick and terrified.
I have had loving parents, a comfortable life in every way except for my own obsessive compulsive nuttiness, and I believe I have the best wife in the world. And the best dogs and the best sister.
So, as the bodies mounted up on the TV screen at Gallipoli and the Marne and the Somme and in Serbia and in Syria, and as the poor Armenians were murdered by the million, I was dazed into a reverie of gratitude. That is my standard state: Gratitude, especially to my father and Alex’s father. My father came from the working class to the cabinet for two Presidents and left my sister and me the treasure of his good name. Alex’s father fought the SS hand to hand. When the SS finally surrendered, an SS Oberst spat in my father-in-law’s face. You get an idea of the kind of man he was when he just shook his head when I asked if he were tempted to shoot that creep.
That was at about 1 AM. Gallipoli. Churchill. The Ottoman Turks. Then, to my great surprise, the phone rang. We have a phone tree for telling people when there is a fire danger out there is rural Malibu, a super high fire risk area, so I thought I had better be sharp.
It was not about a fire. It was a highly angry friend, whom I shall call H. She lives in West L.A., and she was EXTREMELY jacked up.
“The world has just turned upside down,” she said. “Ever since Obama got into power, this country has gone nuts.”
Uh-oh, I thought to myself. This will be a long night. “We have this big dope running the government and he thinks he’s God’s gift and all he does is betray America. He starts off his term apologizing for America. He dumps all over Britain. He dumps all over Israel. He calls our best friends in the world terrible names.
“Then he cozies up to Iran and the terrorists and he assists in getting the radical Islamists into power in Egypt and only some miracle gets the generals to kick those madmen out. Now, he’s bending over backwards to protect Iran from getting bombed.”
“Wait a minute. Who would do the bombing?”
H. paused for a moment. It didn’t stop her for long.
“And now here at home, he’s kowtowing to the thugs and street criminals who terrorize the people of the inner cities and attack the police.
“Everyone in the world knows, and Obama knows, the problem in the cities is not the police. It’s the gangsters. But because the gangsters are black, the mainstream media and Obama can never say anything bad about them. It’s always got to be the police’s fault. That’s b—–t,” said H. “A huge black man attacks a policemen. He’s hopped up on drugs or he’s crazy or both and he tries to take the cop’s gun and kill him, and the cop shoots him to save his own life. And here in Los Angeles, people are blaming the cops? For trying to make the streets safe and for trying to keep from getting killed. And the crazy black guy is the hero and the cop is the villain? And Obama stands up for the criminals?”
“You’re going too far,” I said. “Way too far. Obama doesn’t want cops murdered.”
“Yeah, but he won’t take a stand for the police either. Let’s see what happens if the police go on strike. That will be some day. You had better head for your gated community as fast as you can.”
I let her run on for a while and she got tired and hung up. I got tired and got into my pj’s and went to sleep with my dogs. I read the Mourner’s Kaddish, as I have every night since April 21, 1997, when my mother died, and then I prayed for my family and for America and then lay in the dark listening to the dogs breathing and to the waves and the rustle in the palms. There’s no doubt about it. The world is falling apart, but it’s awfully great where I live. Boy, those dogs are sweet.
Oooh. June gloom again. Gray and slightly drizzly out here in Malibu. I slept for a long time, lulled to sleep by the waves. Then I started to worry about all of the bad investment mistakes I had made and I felt anxious. How I wish I had just entrusted everything I had to Mr. Buffett when I first heard of him so long ago. I was a fool. But Mr. Buffett was too good to be true, or so I thought. How wrong I was. He was unbelievably good and he was true.
I got up, made a steak on my gas grille, smelled the gas, thought of how glad I am that I was not being gassed but was cooking with gas. (The Nazis are not in Argentina. They are still very much around in my head, torturing and tormenting me and ready to kill me. They will never leave. They made a big impression.)
The steak was fabulous. I feel terrible about the animals that become steaks. This whole world is a death camp for animals. But as a famous actor friend once told me, “Ben, don’t feel bad about it. On this earth, everyone eats everyone.” There you are.
I just broil it, add a smidgen of melted butter and seasoned salt. Perfect. Better by far than any steak at any steakhouse.
I wrote more checks to charities. I checked my e-mails. Packed up. Drove home. Maddening. PCH is almost all 2 lanes in each direction. In Malibu and only in Malibu, cars drive two abreast at low speed so you cannot pass them. Why? It is just to inflict pain on the other drivers, I guess. The sky had cleared though and the weather was fine far out to sea.
At home, I read a long piece in the L.A. Times, a better paper than you might think, about the homeless mentally ill man who attacked a cop and tried to kill the cop and got killed instead. This seems like open and shut self-defense. But some fool named Mr. Bustamante says the cops should never have stopped the man in the first place, so they have to be punished.
OK, but Mr. Bustamante, that’s like comparing an ant with a rattlesnake. One thing is very small. The other is life and death. Why even bring it up?
Also, and this is really sad, when I was a kid in Maryland, the D.C. newspapers always identified anyone in a crime as W (white) or C (colored). It was sickening and denied the individuality of the persons involved — or so I thought at the time. Now, I see the L.A. Times notes the race and ethnic subgroup of everyone in a major case. Black (always the innocent victim), Asian (usually guilty of something in the L.A. Times’ view) and Hispanic (could go either way). That’s the hyper-racialized world we live in. Thank you, Al Sharpton. Thank you, network news. Thank you, MSM, for doing your best to divide America into hate groups. You’ll get there. You won’t like it when you do.
What about the post-racial world Mr. Obama promised us? Well, he promised he would make things good with Russia and China. He promised he was Israel’s best friend. He promised he would stop Bashar Assad. He promised he would make inner city high schoolers into scholars. (His wife promised that Americans would become as slender and beautiful as she is.) Promises from Barack Obama. A great concept.
(But I add that I really like Mrs. Obama because she puts a lot behind military families and that’s great with me. I suspect she’s planning to run for President and I think she could get the nomination in an instant. Hillary’s support is a mile wide and an inch thick.)
Meanwhile, I see that Mr. Obama’s puppet, his press secretary, Josh Earnest, who I always assumed was gay, is making sneering comments about my hero, Lindsey Graham and implying Graham is not suited to be President because he is not married.
This is the ultimate chutzpah on this earth. Obama’s weasel attacking a man for not being married. Obama, the best friend the gays have ever had, the man who made gay cool, is using his stooge, Mr. Earnest, to make snide sex jokes about a true patriot and a man whom I would love to see in the White House, Lindsey Graham. Barack Obama gay-baiting. Wow.
Is there absolutely no depth to which this administration will not go?
“Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you no decency?”
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