November 2005 Archives

is how to use our cliches: 

An Iraqi first lieutenant named Shoqutt describes the transformation of his unit this way: "I really think we've turned the corner here.  At first, the whole country didn't take us seriously. Now things are different. Our guys are hungry to demonstrate their skill and to show the world." (Bush at Annapolis today).
Senator Clinton acknowledges that video games are fun and entertaining and does not support any limitations on the production or sale of games to adults. "This is about protecting children," said Senator Clinton.

Hugh Sidey, RIP

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 went to Hugh Sidey's funeral today. It was lovely. I grew up watching my mom take notes as Hugh talked on Agronsky and Company. One of my first real tasks in my short career as a television producer was putting together an interview my mom did with Hugh for a Time magazine promotional tape given to subscribers before the 1992 election.

People can ruin death. They could have done the Washington thing and talked about who Hugh knew and how important he was and what important people had said about him. There wasn't any of that. 

President H.W. Bush gave one of the eulogies. He spoke as a pal. The two of them exchanged more than 400 letters (publisher calling?) since 1993. They talked about their families and politics. Some, said Bush quoting a Midland, TX friend were "vugular." 

He cried so hard at the end he couldn't finish the eulogy. His daughter had to finish it for him. (He'd prepared us for this by explaining that it might happen. "I'm co-captain of the Bush family bawl team," he said. "That's b-a-w-l.")

Hugh's son Ted Sidey talked about how his dad just loved stories and thanked all of us for giving Hugh stories in our lives. It was a moving and funny tribute done with a light touch. Hugh would have loved it. 

Hugh was always wonderful to me. He'd stop by my office or call just to learn what was up. When I interviewed the pilot Kelly Flynn after she'd been kicked out of the Air Force acadamy he called me up. He wanted to have lunch to talk about her. He spent the lunch asking questions: what motivated her, what was the military base like, was the Air Force covering up for treating her differently than they would a man. It was so different. He was retired then and he cared more about the story than a lot of the people at the magazine who had put together the cover story. He just liked a good story.

So after a life of wiritng about the powerful and taking heat from them when he was tough and from critics when he wasn't tough enough, it ended the way it should: so many people came together because he was a good guy.

Surley Turkey Boy

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'Twas not the season. The surley turkey boy was unhappy. I was late. I was scheduled to pick up my two birds that morning. It was late afternoon. I fought a little. I would have fought more. But I was in luck. He had the perfect doughboy face--like the kind they talk about in the cliche. What a treat to see. I wanted to lean over the cold counter to poke him. Was he sticky?

Sitter

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I can't remember the sitter's name and so I can't correct my son who keeps saying, "hey you."
How do I know? I was supposed to get up at 5:30 this morning to show up on Good Morning America. They called late last night to tell me that the Massachusetts Senator would be taking my slot instead. I may be an early rising hack desperate for a little air time but what's Kerry's excuse?

Gingerbread men

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From watching Little Bear today: Grandmother suggests in an unexpected lesson in cruelty that "There's only one way to make sure gingerbread cookies don't run away: eat them."

Yes, if you just snap off their cute little frosty legs they can still drag themselves out of the kitchen.
I had to move my car and found a man by the curb laughing to himself in the headlights like he was in the middle of a plot.

Swing Set

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This morning I walked outside and met every single bird in my neighborhood. They were sitting in the same single tree making their last beat of noise before heading south. It sounded like a rusty swingset suddenly in use.