My apologies, sir. It did sound rather harsh. I didn't intend for it to come out that way.

It's all true, you know.

Not that anyone has any right to expect you to be.

Something that you are not, I mean.

You've gotta be you, right?

That's all one can ever hope to be.

If one can manage it.

Being oneself, that is.

Hey, do you know that he used to sit right there?

Yes, right where the gentleman is seated.

His drink of choice?

Daiquiris, sir.

The drink became popular in the 40s. Wartime rationing made whiskey, vodka, and other liquors, hard to come by, yet because of Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy which opened up trade and travel relations with Latin America, Cuba and the Caribbean, rum was easily obtainable. The Good Neighbor Policy helped make Latin America seem fashionable. As a consequence, rum-based drinks, once frowned upon as being the domain of sailors and down-and-outs, also became fashionable, and the Daiquiri saw a tremendous rise in popularity in the US.

Not that it would have mattered. Not here. Not in the 60's, nor in the 40's. This is The Wulfshead, sir. You would be surprised at some of the concoctions the patrons order. But not him, sir.

We all are creatures of habit, I guess.

Gerald Ford liked a gin tonic. He had common cause with Queen Elizabeth, who also likes gin and tonic, with three slices of lemon, if you please.

Those are different times, now.

George W. Bush says he doesn’t drink at all.

And it is a courageous politician who would dare be seen in public with any kind of alcoholic beverage other than a whiskey or a beer.

Nothing wrong with a whiskey or a beer, now. A safe solid choice for a politician. Harry Truman did enjoy his bourbon! And, as for beer, the tradition can be traced all the way back to George Washington---English-style Porter, sir.

May I bring the gentleman another Black Forest Berry iced tea?


  1. Decidedly, Vanilla Journalism seems to be the flavor of the month.

    Susan Douglas, here, reporting about the January/February issue of AARP Magazine:

    There, on the cover, was a full head shot of a smiling George W. Bush, with the headline “New life, no regrets” and just under it, in parentheses, “okay, just a few.” How cute.

    Inside is an Andrew Wyeth-esque photo of Bush in a vast “Christina’s world” sweep of deep, loden-green, knee-high brush, hands in his pockets, looking down humbly at the earth in his everyman jeans and pure-as-the-driven-snow white shirt. The headline reads “What’s Next for George W. Bush?” Underneath, my husband stuck a post-it note that answered, simply, “The Gallows?!”

    If AARP was seeking to generate a little buzz around the magazine, then it has succeeded. The “online community” is bristling with negative reaction, barely giving me an opportunity to comment on this outrage myself. One reader wrote, “Immediately upon receipt of the issue, I ripped the cover off, as I refuse to have the image of the most dreadful president in the history of the United States in my home. I am shocked, disappointed and disgusted that you would even consider having his picture on the cover. … My pet peeve is hypocrisy and you folks just carried the banner.” Amen sister. Another added, in an equally fabulous post: “Think of all the children coming of age under ‘W,’ who disparage intelligence and think lineage is the only way to achieve anything; who think loss of constitutional rights and freedoms are justifiable in the name of ‘security;’ who think torture is a legitimate means to an end; who think that American exceptionalism means we can do anything to anyone anywhere without concern of consequence. This is the legacy of George 43, and our nation will be burdened by it for generations. ‘W,’ and his administration, cannot be brought to justice soon enough … they should certainly not be rewarded for their crimes with cover photos and amiable editorials.”

    Such posts, which vastly outweigh the “thank you so much for this fine profile” sort, have provoked, of course, a vehement response from the right. To wit, another reader: “For a long time we have refused to become members due to the far left propaganda b.s. from 95% of … your published stories.” Hmmm. By my count, 95 percent of their published stories are about losing weight, getting sleep, famous baby boomers not in rehab, and travelling to swanky resorts.

    This story is, of course, part of the broader, sweeping PR campaign to rehabilitate W’s image a mere two years after his ignominious departure from the White House. The interviewer actually asked him, “What are your secrets for winning?” Regarding the war in Afghanistan, he explains that if we left, the Afghan women would suffer, and he and Laura “think it is in our nation’s interest that Afghan women—or any women around the world—not suffer.” Bush’s record on women’s rights speaks for itself.

    So here, just like during the run-up to the 2000 election, we get a very honey-hued version of Bush, a good ole boy with a “friendly grin” who is humble and considerate enough, we are told, to scoop his dog’s poop off of his neighbor’s front yard. He wants “no more than to be a good friend and neighbor.” What matters to him most? “That I didn’t compromise my soul.” Well, maybe not yours, but the country’s.

    Profiles like this, that emphasize personality, “values,” and the relationship with one’s dog—cynically illustrated with photos of Bush on his bike, or in a Haitian village with little brown babies—are designed to induce mass amnesia about the eight stolen years of the Bush administration. Fortunately, it seems that most of the golden-agers, despite our memory loss, aren’t buying.

  2. Susan is probably right about the golden-agers, if memory loss there is, long-term memory is often just fine with that age group.

    Where the memory loss is at its most drastic is usually with each new generation: my generation, and the generation after it, and the next one after that, and with each new generation between the gap of which history is re-written.

    Hard to think that it could happen, yet the past is always changing---few realize it.

    Will Generation Obama (the mass following of net-generation teen, pre-teen and millennial young people who were once so exited by the candidacy of that Senator from Illinois who defeated Hillary Clinton and John McCain) be any different? Or are they already become the next Vanilla generation?

    Or, for that matter (what irony), will the presidency of the 44th president of the United States be remembered as the Vanilla Presidency?