It’s Gray in L.A. | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
It’s Gray in L.A.
by

Tuesday
A frustrating and even gruesome day.

I awakened to see that rarest of sights here in L.A. — gray skies. We need rain desperately, but I am still upset when I don’t see the sun on the cedars, palms, and jacarandas around my swimming pool.

Plus, far worse than that, I awakened to terror that I would soon run out of money because of the far, far too lavish life I lead. How did I ever get onto this treadmill within barbed wire that is my lifestyle? Just mad compulsion to live it up while I was still alive. And it’s worked well for some considerable time. My parents did just the opposite: saved and saved and who benefitted? The IRS. I did not want that to happen. But now I feel the mainspring of the clockwork running down. Less celebrity. Less acting. Many employers gone to kingdom come.

I am so unbelievably blessed that when the getting was good, I managed to save a bit. That, compounded by the genius of Mr. Buffett and Mr. DeMuth and Mr. Hanley and Mr. Au and my own ventures, gives me some leeway before the axe falls. I may be able to live a life of slow descent into desuetude after all. I just hope that I don’t feel so desperate that I blow my head off, as one of my favorite people did last year because of his money worries. That really happened and it reverberates every hour in my brain.

Well… that’s just me being my usual overly dramatic self. If I just move to Malibu and live quietly there, I will be all set indefinitely. The question is: what will my wife do and where will she live with her evil, sickening seven cats? They slink all around the house poisoning me with their dander and their ammonia in their nauseating urine. How I wish someone would leave the door open and they would all run away.

Again, overly dramatic. The cats rarely bother me. But I do have some microscopic holes in my lungs that are not normal. My doctor, a wise man, said they could be caused by the cats’ ammonia. I keep asking my wife who is more important, the cats or I. She looks guilty and looks away.

Last night I watched more of the finest documentary I have ever seen: World War I, narrated by Robert Ryan. Made by CBS News long ago. It is a work of poetic genius. Genuine brilliance. Poetry. Citing an observer calling the Battle of the Somme “the most soulless battle in British history.” I know I keep talking about this but the story is so immense and so little known that this documentary should be required watching at every high school in the country.

Even on fronts we have never heard of, like Serbia and Caporetto and Aqaba, the losses were fantastic. Italy suffered phenomenally for trying to attack over the Alps. Belgium was almost done in by fighting back against the Kaiser instead of knuckling under. “The Germans debauched themselves on Belgium,” as the narrator says.

Serbia, core of Yugoslavia — the people were and are as tough as nails.

What a story this is, and as I keep saying, no one knows it. Did you know that even in Summer of 1918, the Germans were using immense siege guns to hurl shells SEVENTY-FIVE MILES into Paris? Yes, 75 miles!!!! Not a typo.

You have to see this documentary. It is the ultimate blessing for us right now. As we contemplate our lives and our fearfulness, we must imitate the American Doughboys who sang as they marched into battle and defeated the Boche at St. Mihiel and fought to a stalemate at the Argonne. We are so blessed to have had such courageous ancestors. We still have their blood in our veins, I hope.

Anyway, history lends perspective. Gives us an idea of how God has favored us in the way we live today.

Speaking of which, after I roused myself from my self-pity, I read my e-mail. Good Lord! Has there been a Great Depression overnight? Every woman I know is asking me for money. It’s amazing. It is a tidal wave of demands for money. And always accompanied by a plea that if I loved them I would give them money.

No! Sorry. I have a wife. I have many charities. I have the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. The stock market is crashing. I cannot be the Ford Foundation for women who did not think to save when they were working. Now that I think of it, though, a lot of them have never worked except as the girlfriends of wealthy men. Too bad. I am not a wealthy man and my girlfriend is Julie, my hound. Here is my advice: go back to school and get federally insured student loans. That’s free money, basically. Uncle Sugar, which is taxpayers like me, pay the tab. Wait a minute. I don’t like that too much either.

Oh, well. I went off to a 12-step meeting. I am not allowed to say what was said there but it was interesting.

Try it some time.

Then, off to various banks to replenish my son’s accounts. That’s another challenging story. Then to mail in my taxes, which I am being brave about even though I hate writing those checks.

But, I would be giving you an incorrect impression if I come across as miserable.

I listen to the radio. I hear about the terror in the Middle East, in Mexico, in Ukraine. I hear about the British Parliament ordering Israel to commit suicide. (UK TO ISRAEL: “DROP DEAD!”)

I am not sure what rights the UK has in the situation at this point. Britain has no ownership interest in Israel. Israel owns Israel. The British MP’s may find it expedient to tell Israel to allow a vast in-migration of terrorists because it pleases the Muslim vote. But the UK is not a meaningful military power now. Israel could beat the British with one hand tied behind its back. But I guess it’s that old slimy British anti-Semitism mixed with catering to the Muslims. Really sickening. Still, we all love the British, I guess.

Does Israel have any friends at this point? Yes, the super duper Protestants in the South and Midwest. They are Israel’s only friends and God bless them a billion times over.

If it were not for the USA, Israel would be totally friendless. But thanks to the votes of these great people, Israel is not alone.

The USA was not always such a good pal of Israel. Truman was a friend but would not sell arms. Ike was not a friend at all. JFK ditto. LBJ, also not a friend. But who was Israel’s savior? Richard M. Nixon, the greatest President of the postwar era by far. He established the policy of American friendship to Israel and it has stuck. Even that evil little worm, Jimmy Carter, could not undo the relationship.

I have been reading a smashingly good book about FDR and the Jews. It is by two smart history professors, Messrs. Breitman and Lichtman, at American University, where I taught as an adjunct in 1971 and ’72 and raised hell among the co-eds. It is a sad story, larded with the fantastically brutal and frank anti-Semitism of the day. (Guess who the arch snob anti-Semite was in FDR’s early days? ELEANOR!!! Yes, that grand dame HATED even being anywhere near Jews and their bragging. She did have a point about the bragging…)

Now, times have changed. Jews have real status in America. We Jews were peons even in the 1950s. I will have to write more about that. Just let’s say for right now, I LOVE BEING IN AMERICA IN 2014! Yes, I loathe the New York Times’ efforts to stir up race hatred in every day’s paper. Yes, I hate the ripe, violent anti-Semitism of Arab students on the American campus. Yes, I fear for the future.

But for right now, life in America is great. Beyond great. Perfect. I am going to stop complaining and make dinner for my Big Wifey right now. It is so fabulous to be in America, with my Julie lying here looking at me, it’s beyond all telling. I just wish I were in Sandpoint, center of the universe, looking out at Lake Pendoreille. For me, at its best, that lake is the calmest place in the world — not the future, not the past, but the warm soothing pool of the moment, in God’s hands.

Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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