Cruise Journal, Part I



Onstage, we have a discussion with Anthony Daniels — a.k.a. Theodore Dalrymple — and Ed Whelan. In my introduction, I say that Tony is possibly the best writer-doctor since William Carlos Williams, if not Keats.

There is a website you should get to know, a website devoted to his works: The Skeptical Doctor.

Ed Whelan is from Whittier, Calif. — like you-know-who. Ed went to Harvard College and Harvard Law. Nixon was offered a scholarship to Harvard, and to Yale. But he could not accept, because his parents couldn’t afford travel and living expenses. And he was needed to help out the family at home.

So, he went to Whittier College — and worked his tail off to rise (and fall).

This is absolutely amazing: At dinner one night, I meet a man who, years ago, went on a business trip to Texas. One of the guys he met there was a member of Augusta National — and invited my friend to play there.

Now, Augusta National is just about the most vaunted and desired golf venue in the world. My friend had never swung a club — ever. He took six lessons, and then played Augusta. The first round he ever played in his life was at Augusta National.

Of how many people can that be true? Very few, I’m thinking — possibly the children of members.

My friend has played relatively few rounds since. He started at the top! Incidentally, the caddie he had that day, in Augusta, had worked at the course for 61 years — since he was ten years old. The caddie walked and carried the first nine, then rode the back.

My first round, ever? I think it was at Pat’s Par 3, in Ypsilanti, Mich.

During a session on the judiciary, I hear Ramesh Ponnuru say something that strikes me as thunderously acute. I’ll be quoting it a long time.

He’s talking about President Obama’s criteria for judges. Obama wants his judges to have “empathy,” you see — but this empathy is particular and limited, Ramesh points out. How about empathy with the guy trying to start a business? Or whose property is being seized? How about empathy with the woman trapped in a ghetto, who would like to buy a gun for self-defense? How about empathy for the unborn — and we were all unborn, once upon a time?

Yes, I will remember this — especially when Obama & Co. start yapping about empathy.

Some of us take a little excursion through the fjords, on a small boat. A guide tells us there are wolverines about — at which I prick up my ears. I’m a Michigan kid, and one thing a Michigan kid learns early on is that there are no wolverines in our state (the Wolverine State).

Glad they exist somewhere!

You always hear that employers in America are holding off on hiring because they’re unsure about Obamacare and its effects. I mean, you hear this from conservatives, and you read about it in conservative media.

One night at dinner, I talk to a reader who’s in business. He tells me he has held off on hiring — because of Obamacare. It’s interesting to hear this right from a businessman’s mouth. He has not merely read about the problem (as I have). He is living it.

So too are job-seekers, of course.

That’s kind of a grim note to end on — but let’s knock off for today, and finish tomorrow. Part II will have its share of fun, I guarantee! Thanks and see you.