Shelters in the Storm - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Shelters in the Storm

Busy, busy, busy. I left this morning for Miami. It was a deeply sad leave taking. My dog, Brigid, is desperately old and incontinent and barely able to walk. We will be sending her to heaven very soon and leaving her today is probably the last time I will kiss her good bye at the front door.

I will talk a lot more about that very soon.

The flight to Miami was perfect. I slept almost all of the way. My father gave me this gift. I can sleep almost anywhere during the day and also at night, just as he could. What a gift. I put on my Bose headphones and listen to Bob Dylan singing “Shelter from the Storm” and soon I am in dreamland and then I am at my destination. Great stuff.

I was taken to the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida. My room was immense and super cheerful. It had a large balcony that overlooked the ocean. The air was warm and breezy, and I felt happy.

I unpacked and went up to the club floor to watch The Super Bowl with a nice man from Munich. He was there for the same conference I was to speak at. We had a good talk about football, Munich, Exchange Traded Funds, and women. Then he left and I didn’t want to be in the cavernous club by myself.

Down I went to the bar, where diehard Steelers fans were cheering for a comeback. I had two charming and pretty waitresses waiting on me. One was from Lithuania and one was from Romania. They could not have been more efficient or pleasant. Two young college girls came in and wanted photos with me. Then a man came over and told me about his investing strategy. It was interesting but I rarely believe in new ideas in investing beyond indexing, extreme diversification, value, and small cap.

The game ended and I went up to my room. I dealt with some hate texts, and then took a long shower and then to sleep.

This room has a fantastic view in the morning. Just great. Ocean, palms, pools, sand, a pretty girl sunbathing nearby. But I am here to work.

I went down to speak to a super alert, super smart group of men and women who work with Exchange Traded Funds (originally index funds that can be easily traded but now morphed into much more complex vehicles that use interesting valuation and hedging methods, some of which might be more useful than others). Just before I was to speak, I started choking on the chicken entree, but by a miracle, a few Zantac and a cup of Tazo Refresh mint tea saved me. The speech went well.

Then a mad rush to MIA to catch a flight to DCA. I got a soda at the Admirals’ Club, sold to me by a staggeringly beautiful young woman from Colombia. She was so beautiful it took my breath away.


Then off to DCA, asleep the whole way.

My usual and fantastic driver, Bob Noah, met me with the groceries I had asked him to buy and I went to my apartment at the Watergate. It was a cool night but not unpleasant. My apartment was sparkling clean and I get a rush of joy when I walk in the door. Now, if I could only afford it.…

Then off to dinner at Morton’s with my pal Russ Ferguson. It was amazingly deserted in Georgetown. What’s that about? Where is everyone? Morton’s was empty, too. We had a hearty, strong-looking waitress and our food came right out. We talked about all of the problems the U.S. faces:

• catastrophic debt;
• catastrophic decline in education;
• disappearance of basic morals from many people (including me);
• threats from Moslems who hate us and want to kill us;
• total vacuum of meaningful leadership in the White House.

The food was good, though.

Then back to my apartment to watch a documentary about Hitler that seems to show on the Military Channel over and over again, and then a documentary about how mean Britain and America were to bomb Germany. Naturally, it was from England. Well, revisionism is a basic part of life and history.

Off with Bob to Lexington, Virginia, to speak at Washington and Lee. I just love this school. Everything that’s wrong with America is right at W-L. The students are well dressed, neat, pleasant, have great manners, are good talkers, know their stuff, and generally are what I would like young Americans to be. I could not have been better impressed by them.

I spoke at the Lee Chapel, with the sarcophagus of the great man behind me. It went well, but I was sort of dazed by how perfect the students looked. Their questions afterwards were smart and polite. This is a great school. What the heck happened to everyone else?

Then a long drive back at night to D.C., once again, mostly asleep, and then more Military Channel. This one was about a huge tank battle between the U.S. Army and the Iraqis in Desert Storm. The U.S. won a crushing victory, the result of better spirit, better training, and far, far better tanks. M1A1’s vs. T-72’s. No contest.

Please Congress, don’t cut the defense budget.

I don’t want our men killed in war because we were too stupid to spend enough to get them the best possible equipment.

That’s the least we owe them.

Then lights out and I looked at the lights of Rosslyn until I fell peacefully asleep.

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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