Out of Zhuji, China, there was a wire-service report that arrested me. See what you think:
Seven months pregnant, Wu Weiping sneaked out early in the morning carrying a shoulder bag with some clothes, her laptop and a knife.
“It’s good for me I wasn’t caught, but it’s lucky for them too,” said Wu, 35, who feared that family planning officials were going to drag her to the hospital for a forced abortion. “I was going to fight to the death if they found me.”
I thought, “You know, that’s a mother. There’s a real mother. That’s what a mother is, right?”
I also thought of Wesley Clark, when he was running for president: “Life begins with the mother’s decision.” In a sad, sick way, that’s true.
This report tells us that Raúl Castro has “put on ice highly-anticipated plans to ease travel restrictions on Cubans, telling lawmakers the nation would not be pressured into moving too fast and citing continued aggression from the United States as the reason for his cautious approach.”
Did you catch that “lawmakers,” referring to members of Cuba’s “parliament”? Funny! But that’s not my point.
I thought of an Erich Honecker joke that George Shultz once told me. The East German dictator had this hot new girlfriend. He said to her, “I’ll do anything for you.” She said, “Anything, Erich?” “Yes,” he answered, “anything.” “All right then,” she said. “I want you to tear down the Berlin Wall.”
He thought for a second and said, “Oh! You want to be alone with me!”
I thought you might be interested in this report, datelined Tripoli (Libya, not Lebanon):
For the first time in more than four decades, Libyans on Saturday celebrated the 60th anniversary of the country’s independence from Italy and France.
Under Moammar Gadhafi’s 42-year rule, the celebration was scrapped and instead, only the 1969 date of his coup was marked.
“Today we begin the building of Libya as our forefathers have done,” Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib said during the celebration. “We call on our sons to build Libya after its destruction.”
Yes, one thing about dictators such as Qaddafi and Saddam: It’s all about them, to use a modern phrase, isn’t it?
A little language? You may have noticed that the first sentence in the above-excerpted report is faulty. Libyans have celebrated the 60th anniversary only once. The sentence should have read (something like), “For the first time in more than four decades, Libyans on Saturday celebrated the anniversary of their country’s independence from Italy and France, which occurred 60 years ago.”
Avoiding work, I clicked on a video offered on the NRO homepage. It showed Mitt Romney reading a top-ten list on the Letterman show. He did a very good job of it, I think. Letterman kind of snarked and grumped as Romney read the list. And he did not engage with Romney much afterward.
Fine. After seeing this, I thought of Michele Bachmann, who went on that show where they played that nasty song as she entered. And I thought, “Why do conservative Republicans do this? Why do they go on these shows where they are clearly hated?”
I know, it can be helpful electorally. I’m all for that. Furthermore, I don’t believe that conservatives should retreat to catacombs. I’m not even sure I believe 100 percent in a conservative counterculture.
But I do believe that conservatives should ask themselves, before going on these TV shows, “Is it really worth it?” I mean, Michele Bachmann is a conservative Christian who has had several children of her own and fostered many others. She’s against abortion. She prays and whatnot. Doesn’t she realize that, to Hollywood, she’s the devil incarnate (or something)?
Conservatives are never more pathetic than when they try to be cool. Reminds me a little of classical-music people who long for the music they like to be more popular. I always tell them, “There’s a reason they call popular music popular music, you know.” Often they don’t like that very much.
I enjoyed Mona Charen’s column on Romney, Mormonism, and America, as I always enjoy her columns. And I thought of something that Orrin Hatch told me, long ago. You may not remember, but he ran for president, briefly, in 2000. I caught up with him in New Hampshire, where he told me that a poll had made an interesting finding: Nineteen percent of people would not vote for a Mormon under any circumstances. “That’s okay,” said Hatch. “I’ll try for the other 81 percent.”
He also said, “One of the reasons I’m running is to make it easier for the next guy.”
Many people tell me that evangelical or fundamentalist conservatives won’t vote for Romney, owing to religion. I’m sure some won’t. But you may recall that Bob Jones III endorsed Romney in 2008. He is the former president of Bob Jones University, the fundamentalist Harvard, if you will. He said, “I’m not voting for a preacher. I’m voting for a president.”
If that’s the general attitude, Romney can rest easy.
For the Democrat who has everything, consider this: the Barack Obama “Movement for Change” Illuminated Train Set. Make your own derailment jokes, if you like . . .
(Are trainiacs ever liberal Democrats? I’m sure some are. I think of it as more of a Republican pastime, however.)
Speaking of trains, there’s one underneath the big Christmas tree at the Metropolitan Opera, roaring around the trunk. Mighty cool. It’s a beautiful tree. Couple of nights ago, a friend pointed out that Frosty the Snowman was atop the tree, where a star or angel often goes. I squinted and, lo and behold: She was right.
I trust the ACLU is cool with Frosty.
I was talking to some musician friends about Alessandro Carbonare, the sensational clarinetist from Italy. They told me about something they heard him say at a festival or conference.
Someone asked him, “How do you warm up?” He said, “You know, you Americans have certain routines, and I admire that very much. You have methods and discipline. But in my area of Italy, we didn’t have very much. I didn’t have many toys when I was growing up. The clarinet was my toy. And when you play with a toy, you don’t warm up on it first. You don’t say, ‘How shall I warm up?’ You just pick it up and play with it. That’s what I did with my clarinet. And, frankly, I still do.”
Isn’t there a refreshing freedom in that?
I thought this headline was really funny — maybe inadvertently so: “Colts Lock Up Top Draft Pick with Loss.”
I want to share with you an e-mail written by a nine-year-old boy before Christmas. I will not reproduce it exactly. Some of the names were written in various colors and in various sizes. And I will clean up a little of the punctuation. Otherwise — it’s wholly original:
Hi, Unc, it’s Drew!!!:) Mom and I are decorating and we wondered if you have a stocking????? If you do so, please bring it! (I feel so official saying “If you do so” instead of “If you do.”) If you don’t (but what fool wouldn’t? If you don’t, no offense), we can get Lena and/or Grandma to do it. (Kind of alarming that I’ll offer them up like that, right?) Well, anyway, please write me back.
Happy new year, Impromptusites and NRO-niks, and I’ll see you soon.