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Robert A. Mills

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Blogs by Robert A. Mills

PUN
7/14/2012 4:09:21 AM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

It must be disheartening, almost traumatic, for certain people to be faced with choosing from the GOP slate of candidates offered by recent so-called debates. With minimal exceptions, no one appears qualified to lead or make rapid-fire, historic decisions, or has even presented viable solutions to the problems we already have, problems mostly brought upon by our do-nothing Congress and ourselves.

I, for one, am glad I may sit out this presidential election, as I have explained many times before — at least until I have thoroughly digested the State of the Union address I listened to last January. Mr. Obama deserves a second term, and he will get it with or without me. Were I to vote for him it could be interpreted as a vote against the GOP and all my work heretofore would be negated.

Of course, I do not want others to follow my example — for obvious reasons. It is strictly a private thing.

It all depends on what Mr. Obama said last January, and what resolve and purpose he offers for his next four years. I will have to read and re-read the text. I am equally interested in what the opposition has, if anything, to reveal for the future of our Republic, their recent accusations of class warfare notwithstanding. So far – 0.

After the Republican front-runner and presumptive choice’s two-faced, inaccurate and pointless comments made immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision to declare the National Health Bill as Constitutional, I have stopped holding my breath.

Of course, President Obama’s State of the Union message should not to be considered a campaign speech (Fox and CNN will say it is, no matter what), but Mr. Obama is not one to overlook the chance. He did not have to spell out what he would do; he has only to report the condition of the United States and what will happen if someone of lesser intent inherits the wind, which is highly unlikely.

But a strange thing happened a few weeks later. I had watched the debates with my ancient mother-in-law. At 93 (she is now ninety-four), she voted in about 18 or so presidential elections, in all of which, I am sure, saw her cast ballots for the GOP candidates — her family are life-long Republicans who hated FDR, Harry Truman, John Kennedy et al, and would roll about in their graves before they ever voted for a black man (what would they actually do if Herman Cain had gotten the GOP nod? T’is a consummation devoutly not to be considered in mixed company.)

Anyway, my eyes popped when one night she suddenly said, “Maybe Jon Stewart is right.”

What a revelation! If Stewart is right, can Stephen Colbert be far behind?

These two quasi-newsmen are at opposite pretend poles; even so, their reporting and analysis is more on point than the entire roster of professional mean media mavens combined (to the ancient mother-in-law, Jon Stewart is as close to the Anti-Christ as one can come).

But it does not take a political science wizard or history Ph.D to evaluate Colbert or Stewart’s perspicacity. The ancient mother-in-law, however, of all people, seemed to grasp this all of a sudden, and without prompting from either my perspicacious wife or me!

“My candidates are such vacuums,” she said. “They seem like high school kids vying for Valedictorian. Why do they argue so among themselves? Sure, they got axes to grind — but why in each other’s heads? Is this the best we can come up with? They seem like such . . . you know . . . such . . .” Her wafer voice trailed off, as she was unable to come up with the word she was looking for.

The word, I think, was “opportunists.”

And that is precisely what they are. Opportunists. I was reminded of a remark I heard many years ago when Lee Dubois, a former director of Eastman Kodak’s industrial films, hired me to star in one of his epics, as a druggist selling the new Kodak 127 Pony to a customer. The movie was being shot on a sound stage adjacent to the Eastman Theater, back in the days when Kodak was a successful, viable company and could afford me.

The pianist, Validimir Horowitz, arguably the finest concert virtuoso of that or any other day, was performing his 272nd farewell tour at the Eastman that week, and when he was rehearsing, we were told we had to be especially quiet in the nearby studio.

“Mr. Horowitz is such a genius and so meticulous he hates distractions and extraneous noise of any kind,” his manager came by to inform us; “even his piano tuner has to be extremely quiet. Because we travel so much — over a million miles a year — the maestro’s personal Steinway has to be tuned to perfection before every performance. And the technician, Opper Knockerty, only tunes once.”

We all laughed uproariously at that, but Mr. Dubois, listening nearby, placed his finger to his lips. “Shhhh!” he admonished. “Remember, as absurd as the request sounds, we are to keep our reactions to a minimum.”

Today, upon reflection, he seems, in light of the debates, to have been rather clairvoyant.



Copyright©2012 by Robert A. Mills, all rights reserved


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A Cruel Calm, Paris Between the Wars by Patricia Daly-Lipe

Focused on the period between the wars (1927 – 1939), A Cruel Calm, visits an era of innovation on all levels when Paris was the cultural capital of the world. With Charles Lindber..  
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