My friend Scott McLucas had a baby last night. Actually, “had” is a strong word. His lovely bride Virginia had the baby. Technically, Scotty’s role was more like Bill Clinton’s to the ’90s boom. A minimal amount of work at the outset and a lot of undeserved credit-taking at the end. But everybody is healthy and all toes and fingers are in their assigned locations, and I couldn’t be happier.
Indeed, this is great news for all the obvious reasons, including the fact that his baby will be the perfect age for my baby to get all of the McLucas hand-me-downs when he/she is born in February (a date to be known at the executive suites of National Review as “The Day Jonah Really Became a Pain in the Ass about Getting a Raise.”). The downside — or blessing, depending on how you care to look at it — is that we are taking care of Cosmo’s “cousin” Chester for a couple days. Chester is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. I have learned — and National Review Online is now editorializing — that the United States should add Chessies to the list of items barred from importation to Iraq and other Axis of Evil nations. Chester’s energy level is such that he may qualify as the only working prototype of a perpetual-motion machine required by the U.S. patent office (all other devices can receive a patent from submitted designs, but a PMM, I’m told, requires an actual demonstration). If Saddam got his grubby mitts on a dozen or so Chessies, he wouldn’t need enriched uranium. Of course, Chessie-loaded SCUDS would probably be the only thing to get the PETA crowd on the side of an Iraqi invasion.
Worse, Chester has a tendency to fire up the ants in Cosmo’s pants to the point where Cosmo seems to be strung out on white bag. I can get them to lie down, but the problem is that, combined, they are state-of-the-art motion detectors, tumbling into the kitchen (where I write most of my columns these days on the good ol’ G-File couch of yore — Hello, old friend) at the merest hint of movement or sound.
I have to move like I’m a jewel thief in my own house. Earlier this morning I dropped the TV remote (talk about old friends) and by the time its second bounce reverberated to my ears, they were in here demanding to know what all the fuss was about — whether that sound signified the arrival of the Viking Ham Festival they’ve convinced themselves actually exists; why they shouldn’t eat the remote control just in case the ham isn’t coming soon enough (and how, by the way, is the “Calendar Of Meat Products” shaping up?); whether my feet are “supposed to smell like that”; and why on earth I don’t want to touch the viscous tennis ball they take turns carrying around the house as if it contains the codes to our nuclear-weapons systems. Also, they clearly believe the answers to their questions can all be found in the park which, they insist, will only still be there if we hurry. Twice now, Chester has run down to my car with a look on his face clearly saying “Human: There is a large pile of currency in this vehicle. Open the door and I will show you.”
If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is a lighthearted column. Lately, the Goldberg File’s been long and heavy, like watching a Bergman film in an uncomfortable seat or pulling an unconscious Wilt Chamberlain out of a hot tub, and I’ve gotten a lot of complaints.
It now looks like they didn’t catch the sniper after all, which is, of course, terrible. Since I think he’s terrorism related, it didn’t make that much sense to me that he would turn himself in. Perhaps the one silver lining here is that Geraldo Rivera still has a chance of catching the bad guy. Geraldo metaphorically parachuted into the D.C. suburbs a couple weeks ago to catch the gunman and I was hoping we could get a replay of the Tora Bora fiasco.
Recall that when Geraldo was in Afghanistan he managed to get confused — by several hundred miles and days — over the issue of where he was. On December 6, he claimed to have said the Lord’s Prayer on the “hallowed ground” where “friendly fire took so many of [our] men and the mujahedeen yesterday.”
So I was kind of hoping we could get some footage of Geraldo walking outside the Chilis in, say, Wheaton, Maryland while actually being in front of the Shoneys in Fairfax County, Virginia. “I’m here on the sacred pavement of this parking lot….” He could even travel in mufti this time too, but instead of a turban or man-burka he could wear a Terps baseball cap and acid-washed painter’s pants. After all, that would explain why he was signing keisters at Hooters (which is sort of counterintuitive when you think about it) the other day — he was just trying to adopt the local customs. Maybe they could have a series of specials — a la Al Capone’s vault — in which they have Geraldo constantly open white vans only to find them completely empty.
SNIPING ON SNIPERS
I’m usually pretty eager to denounce the biases of the national media when it comes to things like being anti-military or antigun. But I have to say I disagree with all of these people who say that we shouldn’t call the sniper a sniper. I have no problem with the suggestion that snipers can be and most often are honorable and decent soldiers. But the word itself is neither honorable nor dishonorable. Every dictionary I’ve checked says nothing about the motives of the sniper. All they say is that a sniper shoots people from a concealed position from a long distance or some such. In other words, you can be a good sniper or a bad sniper depending upon why it is you are sniping and at whom.
I can understand why the snipers are miffed that this guy is giving the profession (discipline? sport? calling?) a bad name, but as a factual matter they’re just wrong. In fact, you could make an argument that there’s a moral problem with being a sniper for the same reasons that there was a moral problem with crossbows in medieval Europe (See, “Crossbows and Suicide Bombers.” Pope Innocent II banned the crossbow (“the dastard’s weapon”) in 1097. But I don’t want to make that argument for four reasons. First, in the modern age it’s nearly impossible to make such arguments when aerial bombing raises the same issues on a massive scale. Second, there’s a long tradition of honorable warriors serving as snipers, and I don’t want to make them angry. Third, this is a lighthearted column and I want to keep it that way. And, last, I just coughed too loudly and the beasts are storming my couch like Huns from beyond the mountains and I need to draft a preliminary calendar of meat products…