Ben Stein's Diary: Birthdays and Bashes

Stein, Benjamin J .

BEN STEIN'S DIARY by Benjamin J. Stein Birthdays and Bashes Saturday A major travel day in late August. Tommy and I are reluctantly leaving our hacienda in Sandpoint and heading down to the...

...The American people obviously love Clinton no matter what he does...
...Suddenly, just at Anderson Point, my boat refused to go at more than a crawl...
...She looks totally whacked...
...k1 64 November r 9 9 6 The American Spectator...
...I took photos of them...
...In fact, I found myself sort of liking him and his voice as we drove along...
...A boat is adventure right at the end of your dock...
...That night, as usual, I took Tommy, two of his pals, and his babysitter du jour, Rachel, to dinner at a forlorn Mexican restaurant called Toro Viejo that happened to have a good steak...
...to stay with Mommy...
...Wow, did they look nutty...
...Then they watched a ghastly movie, Iron Eagle IV, to see who could be more disdainful of the violence, and then fell asleep...
...A boat is wind going through your hair, making you feel as if you were an ancient charioteer or a modern-day race driver...
...Tyrannosaurus rex...
...Well, what do you think he was...
...Wednesday An interesting talk with my pal G., world's smartest physician...
...Because I'm afraid of the dark," he said matter of factly...
...Sirens and Harleys are not the same...
...Paul Volcker and Gary Seevers had came down from New York...
...Bob Dole was blown to bits by German shellfire...
...The tramp is in a grove of very tall pines and firs...
...Didn't one of the parties propose to put your doctor in jail if he used his own good judgment to protect your health instead of following the guidelines of some Bolshevik at the Department of Health and Human Services...
...Later I lay in bed and thought about how much I missed those Burlington Northern trains...
...Wiggins, the head of the AEI cafeteria, who will not let my father eat anything that's bad for him, came over and congratulated him...
...For a man as reticent as my father, this is startlingly outspoken praise and confession of joy...
...Which is the hero...
...Then he said, "This has been the best birthday of my life...
...My sister is in town...
...That might be why he got so upset when his doctor at the White House wanted his medical records before giving him an allergy shot...
...Scary, schizo-looking people...
...He was a Jewish carpenter," I told Alex...
...My plane leaves at almost exactly the same instant as Tommy's plane...
...My father had an inkling that something was up, because Bob Tyrrell had 60 November r 9 9 6 The American Spectator told him by mistake...
...The camera froze them in mid-boyhood...
...Richard Helms, who was my father's classmate there, looked on thoughtfully...
...The air conditioning doesn't work...
...But that wouldn't stop him from turning over his medical records...
...I got it straightened out after spending only an hour of my time after ten hours of travel, and hustled into town...
...It was a long ride...
...Famous braino economists like Gil I-Icebncr, Gary Seevers, Stanley Fisher, Paul McC:racken (world's most gentlemanly and civilized human being, whom any father considers the kindest man he has ever known), Man Kosters, Murray Foss, John Makin, my great favorite, Larrv Lindsey, a genial governor of the Federal Reserve, Charles Schultze, the only reason to be a Democrat, and many others were there...
...The United clerk at the desk was incredibly rude to me, reeked of stale cigarettes, and gave me the wrong departure time...
...Hmm," said the doctor...
...Uhhh, uhh, didn't Someone a little Bigger than Jesse say that about Someone with more accomplishments even than Jesse's son...
...My father grew exasperated at this...
...and singing the Stein Song in the kitchen 1..--~~,, ~~ while he cleans the dishes...
...No one considers allergies a loathsome condition that you should hide from...
...Tommy's pitiful situation is that he has gotten so many toys over the summer that there is almost nothing left at the Sandpoint stores for him to buy...
...Yuck...
...I could not arrange it any other way...
...Here is another query: Why can Avis at Spokane be perfect, and Avis in Dulles be hopeless...
...He sure doesn't seem depressed.' / / a beautiful girl, asked me for autographs...
...Why can't Avis send someone from Spokane to teach Dulles how to behave...
...Mom looked very tired and thin...
...You think Clinton is depressed...
...I / look for toys...
...And didn't one of the parties try to ram through a socialized medicine law tt I think we must consider that brain damaged Republicans are more likely to support Clinton...
...Then I gave a little talk...
...But beyond that, Keats, I think it was, said, "The outer is the inner made visible...
...As we pulled into the parking lot in my mighty Caddy, Alexander cried out, "Hey, Ben, that car's bumper sticker says, `I'm Jewish...
...Alex asked...
...As we ate, the Lake Cruise Boat pulled up to the resort with about forty happy, cheerful-well, drunk-diners...
...Because Bill Clinton is having a major fundraiser here at some lavish home in Bel-Air and le tout Hollywood is there...
...That's always the excuse of restaurants that don't know what they're doing," I said, "with all due respect...
...It's interesting to me that the Republicans that the Democrats have trotted out are all brain injured to some extent...
...He can talk about a strong defense when he's gutting the Navy and Air Force, and he sounds sincere...
...I declined to go, tempted as I was to lose weight by administering a specific emetic named Barbra and Bill...
...Why are the Bradys there...
...I asked in surprise...
...I wonder if there's a clue here about the Clinton Democrats...
...Tomorrow, off he goes as an unaccompanied minor on Alaska, and off I go as an unaccompanied adult on United Airlines...
...Tommy and I are reluctantly leaving our hacienda in Sandpoint and heading down to the Spokane Airport...
...17 that would put you in jail if you tried to get your doctor to prescribe medicine that Hillary did not want you to have...
...Just the night before he had said to me, "America is the greatest miracle of man's existence," and 1 think he's right...
...But gun control for law-abiding citizens...
...Can you guess who that would be...
...About my father's great experiences of working and learning at Williams...
...I cannot imagine what his losses on this magnificent showplace restaurant have been...
...He's a multimillionaire gentleman-farmer horse-jumper actor...
...There are laws barring people from shooting the president, but people do it...
...In fact, in that room were probably the two best Fed chairmen there have ever been...
...Tuesday The Democrat National Convention...
...Which party was that, Mr...
...The view here is great,' l said, "but the food takes far too long...
...Afterwards, we drove home across the back route by Newport and Oldtown and Priest River...
...It's very shallow of you...
...He's on his way...
...It's stuffy...
...Then he talked about his life and how lucky he had been to be born in America...
...About how my father's family suffered in the Great Depression...
...Hey kids, be quiet," said a drunk man with a cigar...
...You have an awful lot of interest in little boys," I said to the man...
...While Tommy listened intently, Clinton gave his acceptance speech on the radio...
...It's my father's Both birthday, thank you, God, and the AEI is having a surprise luncheon for him...
...Or maybe it was a venereal disease and it's cleared up, but Clinton does not want it known that he ever had it...
...Look at that one," I said to my father...
...Angry little girls with silver jewelry...
...You can tell just by how long a person's nose is and how straight whether the person is smart or stupid, witty or dull...
...Why not...
...You broke it...
...Maybe," I agreed...
...The difference is that in Sandpoint, the small town on the ground, on the sidewalk, on the lake, is the small town of your life...
...As is usual at Swan's Landing, the food took forever...
...What do they do differently in training and organization...
...Several of them, including 44 'You think Clinton is depressed?' I asked in surprise...
...Here," he said, "you take this one...
...I would love to know...
...They screamed...
...The powers that be are in pretty solid...
...He happened to be the owner...
...111 ~~ "Richard Nixon said, 'I was ~} born in a house my father built,"' I told our friends there...
...After Wal-Mart and K-Mart, more playing Chez Stein, and then to the trampoline of Tommy's new pal Jeb...
...He turned to a crossword puzzle and began to ask my help about it...
...This place is so creatively bankrupt it's on its knees," said the husband, a producer...
...But it's not working," she pointed out...
...I'm sorry...
...G. hemmed and hawed for a moment and said, "Well, the throat could be from an atopic condition, where he's just allergic to everything around him...
...He's with his tough-looking son, and he says, "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased...
...I was...
...He could be taking anti-depressants that might conflict with his anti-allergy medicine...
...Here is a little sample of why I love Idaho so much...
...Jeb's parents, his sister, and he live on Lakeshore Drive, but the house is set way back from the road...
...Pretend it's working," he replied...
...He has this hoarse, achybreaky-heart quality in his voice...
...Give her the one that works," I said...
...It's huge...
...That's also possible...
...This will some day be better known...
...The working people's party, the disabled people's party, the party of the little man and sometimes of the coke dealer, the bridge to the future, la famiglia, requires, for the full evening's festivities, a modest $12,500-payable in advance in U.S...
...Wait a minute...
...Why is Christopher Reeve talking...
...He's a surgeon from Spokane...
...I am telling you, small-town life has much to recommend it...
...Check out that one, he looks like he's tripping...
...What does this tell us, comrades...
...Some of this carries over to the Spokane Airport, world's friendliest airport, and I always feel as if I am leaving a warm spot in the universe when I leave Spokane and its beaming Avis and Alaska counters to venture out into the wider world...
...We sailed out onto the lake, plowing across the waves in my boat, getting up on plane, zipping across to the Bottle Bay Resort, where we had a fine meal of chicken and spare ribs...
...My flight to Denver was uneventful until I reached the Denver Airport...
...My experience is that when I argue about something with him, he resists me until I stop arguing and then he does what I wanted him to do in the first place...
...We got into the boat and headed back to Sandpoint...
...It makes him sound sincere even when he's not...
...I obviously do not hold it against them, but I think we must consider that brain-damaged Republicans are more likely to support Clinton...
...Might this not be sacrilege...
...Because he has something very major to hide, I would say...
...He became the world's first Christian," I said, "but he was born Jewish...
...Little Milken...
...They sent messages, and my father cried when he read the one from George Shultz...
...They always do this at Dulles...
...Here is why I know Tommy will make a trillion dollars in his life: At a certain point in the playing, his gun broke...
...A boat is a place to get to know your boy...
...Most famous creature," Alex mused...
...No, not Bigfoot...
...Tommy stood in front of me and put his face right in front of my face and said, "But I can't leave the room...
...I also love and worship Christen Walberg and Isabel Ferguson, who did the heavy lifting on inviting guests and planning food...
...No, probably it's more like an old venereal disease or possibly depression...
...The apartment was surprisingly still...
...So I asked my woodworker-artisanpoet pal Peter and his son, Alex, to drive a mere eighty miles from Sandpoint to the airport to make sure that Tommy had company if his plane was delayed...
...I'm sorry," says I, "but it's research...
...When my father did, about a hundred people leapt up and said, "Happy Birthday...
...I think I have figured out his appeal...
...I talked about my grandfather, a Russian immigrant who became a U.S...
...I am not going to torture him about it...
...Then Chris DeMuth, head of the AEI, came over and asked my father to come into the next room...
...I think I've heard this before...
...Tommy and his pal Alex were making a lot of noise...
...I asked...
...But why not turn over his medical records...
...The room is absolutely deserted except for our table and one hosted by Larry King and Cyndy Garvey...
...Let me go, you big Daddy," he said...
...This is touching business...
...I thought it was probably seaweed wrapped around the prop because the wake looked so strange, but I was not sure...
...Alan Greenspan, a uniquely fine Fed chairman, was there...
...I am now Chris DeMuth's biggest fan...
...I can see the waterskiers zooming about, making spray and wake, having a great time as I pack...
...That might be why Hillary fired him...
...However, once we took off, my flight was fine until I got to Dulles...
...My little angel and his beautiful babysitter Amber and his pal Jeb and I rode our bikes across The American Spectator November 19 9 6 63 the Long Bridge, had lunch at Swan's Landing, and looked at the mighty river and lake...
...My father was moved and gave a touching speech cxtcmpo aneously...
...But the kids have them...
...They laughed...
...He's in Florida, and he writes about medicine rather than practicing it...
...Pop and I talked about Clinton and what a fraud he is, and how we wish Bob Dole would come out stronger on defense and on controlling the deficit...
...Then I went home and told Tommy about the battles of Tobruk and El Alamein until he fell asleep...
...Hmm...
...The surgeon looked chastised...
...What does that mean...
...What a pit...
...Those sad words, once again...
...Days of childhood too magical to be understood or explained...
...How can American be so much better than United...
...I wish I were on mine right now...
...He fell off a horse practicing for a horse show in the Charlottesville hunt country...
...Peter said, "Of course, and don't even thank me...
...When I got home, though, C-Span, the nation's best network by far, was replaying his speech and I could see him, so to speak, in person...
...In Sandpoint, it's really true that almost every merchant knows your name and your son's name, and every checker at the Safeway knows how you're feeling that day...
...We had a good time...
...Look," he said, "you can't judge people by how they look...
...My Dad's Both birthday...
...Thursday Atruly revealing night here in L.A...
...You can tell volumes by their hair...
...If the cook gives you that excuse, fire him and get the one from Ivano's...
...I let him go, but he sat leaning right against me on the sofa and blew spitballs at Clinton until he finished...
...Dart...
...Or maybe he just didn't want it known that he had ever had psychiatric treatment...
...The night was clear...
...Old pals like Caspar Weinberger and Bob Bartley and Milton Friedman and George Shultz could not be there...
...Thursday 'm back in the Inland Northwest with my little angel, Tommy, and his tac iturn babysitter, Rachel (not my sister...
...Do they really think that a maniac assassin would have been deterred by laws controlling handguns...
...Maybe something about history...
...A boat is a platform for your son and his friends to swim in clear water and have memories they will carry forever...
...Tommy, God love him, came over and stood behind me...
...Moments later, I was off on my United plane, and Peter and Alex were there in Concourse B waving good-bye...
...They flipped and then back-flipped...
...Friday 0 ut to the Sandpoint Marina with my boy and his best pal, rz-yearold Alexander...
...The human face is a manifest of what's inside the brain and soul...
...My father and mother were still awake, but barely...
...He closed with one of his favorite admonitions: "Never waste any time you could spend sleeping...
...Much more famous," I said...
...When I hear that, I reach for my revolver...
...Then I took the other boys home, but they begged their parents to spend the last night with Tommy and me at the clubhouse, watching a movie and eating popcorn...
...Tommy is going down to L.A...
...Bigfoot...
...Must be nice for the neighbors...
...They're playing something vile called Laser Quest at a big building in a bad neighborhood in Spokane...
...They all wanted to talk to me about life in Hollywood...
...Is every crack dealer in town at Clinton's party or what...
...It scares me to think that there are guys like him out there anywhere near my Tommy boy...
...Why is it so deserted...
...Thursday Almost our last day here in Sandpoint...
...I am here at Morton's with two very smart writers who shall be nameless...
...The engine ran, but only slowly and uncertainly as it moved the ship through the water...
...Of course, as soon as I turned my back he had conned her into using hers again...
...Maybe I should say the most famous creature of all time...
...He looked abashed and said, "You're right...
...The man with the cigar said, "Hey, Tommy, hey Alex, come sit with me...
...How come Morton's can in L.A...
...Another iron law: the longer food takes, the worse it is, because the chef has no idea what he's doing...
...That's odd...
...Alex asked...
...Then Tommy and his pal began to walk around the deck of the restaurant...
...He was clearly a nut...
...The boys took turns jumping, then they jumped together doing something called a "clothesline...
...A once-in-a-lifetime day...
...She, my hard working brother-in-law, Melvin, and I went over to the AEI...
...Wonderful people like Mrs...
...Gun control for criminals, absolutely...
...She looks totally crazy...
...When we parked, I strolled over to look at the car...
...A boat is youth and freedom...
...I met my father and went to lunch with him in the fabbers AEI dining room...
...But without the Friends of Bill, there is nobody at all at Morton's...
...Later on, he started to get with the program and even noted a few times how crazy various other delegates looked...
...Or, he might have had a depressive experience long ago and still be getting treated for it...
...Gil Ileeboer had conic from Philadelphia...
...Later that night my father told me this day had been one of the high points of his life...
...It's a place to be alone in a beautiful spot...
...And why won't he turn over his medical records...
...So did Mar, Kosters and Paul McCracken...
...Then there's Justin Dart, who has some kind of sickness or injury, apparently to his brain, and he's talking about how great the Democrats are to disabled people and to the sick...
...Wouldn't you...
...I'm trying to get him to read more anyway...
...Which party was that, Justin...
...His advice on my father's heart condition over the years has been literally invaluable...
...Without missing a beat, he handed it to Amber, his babysitter, in exchange for her working cap gun...
...What is the glitch there in Northern Virginia...
...Even the streets in Hollywood were deserted...
...No...
...You get to hear Barbra Streisand sing, and that by itself is worth the money...
...I was a little put off by the man's talking to my son directly, but Tommy was being obnoxious, so I told them to be quiet...
...Lank hair often equates delusional dementia...
...Cavalry soldier, riding about the Philippines suppressing Aguinaldo...
...Then they went to another part of the restaurant to eat and make merry...
...What do you think gives Clinton that throaty voice...
...I carried Tommy to bed and then lay in bed hearing the Burlington Northern diesels roar across the railroad bridge over the Pend'Oreille River...
...Soon, Tommy went onto his airplane...
...I think it probably says, `My boss is a Jewish carpenter...
...Tommy's pals came over after school and played with their millions of cap guns...
...So we headed back to Bottle Bay...
...It's impossible...
...He can talk about how important family is and about the nation being his family-even when he's in favor of allowing women to murder their babies-and he sounds sincere...
...I just did the instigating and flower sending...
...Sure enough, the bumper sticker said, "My Boss Is A Jewish Carpenter...
...It was a perfect day...
...BEN STEIN'S D I A R Y by Benjamin J. Stein Birthdays and Bashes Saturday A major travel day in late August...
...Then we rode back to home...
...worried that Tommy might be stuck at the airport if my plane left on time and his did not...
...We tied up (or "tied off" in Tommy's unfortunate phrase) and got a ride back to Sandpoint with the Cruise Boat...
...The setup guarantees that people will be crashing into each other...
...They did not hem and haw, did not even take a second to consider it...
...I got an invitation...
...Arani Bakshian, across the roam, nodded...
...The same hard-partying party was on board, roaring, happy drunk...
...It was dark...
...Large white women with funny hats...
...I guess I thought he was Christian...
...But lie had no idea how big the event would be...
...He can talk about controlling teen drug use -even after virtually inviting teens to be druggies by pretending to be Elvis Presley and a drug-using musician-and he sounds sincere...
...The man's wife said, "I've been telling you for years that there's no hope...
...Well, it refers to the most famous person of all time," I said...
...Then a dash back to the Caddy in the rain, and a hustle over to Wal-Mart and the K-Mart to 44 Most reasonable, I say...
...He looked so cute, so straightforwardly young and vulnerable, that I had to hug him until he turned beet red...
...dollars...
...Their faces soared high up into the night sky, then down, then up again, with the trees and the stars and the moon behind them...
...What's the point of that...
...Then I told about my father making pancakes for my mother at home, playing Greenspan gave quite a funny talk, and with 'Ibminy and teaching him clarinet, so did my sister...
...Wait a minute...
...You get to hear Barbra Streisand sing, and that by itself is worth the money...
...Black people dressed like minstrels...
...Yes, but he could be...
...There are already laws aplenty barring i5-year-olds from owning Uzis in South Central L.A...
...I just cannot believe that anyone truly believes that guns kill people and that people don't kill people...
...With all due respect, you definitely can judge people by how they look, by their facial features, their ears, their noses, their eyes...
...He sure doesn't seem depressed...
...BENJAMIN J. STEIN is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Hollywood and Malibu...
...Chris DeMuth gave a fine talk...
...I thank God for The American Spectator November zgg6 61 living to see this day and for my children and my wife and these great friends...
...As I watched the convention with my Dad, I noticed that the camera kept panning to various delegates...
...Tommy, God love him, 62 November 1996 . The American Spectator said, "Daddy, if we have to watch this, I'm going to have to leave the room...
...They gave me a Lumina...
...We have to make it from scratch," he said, "so it won't be fast food...
...If you don't count the starlets, I still live in a house my father built aid I hope to pass it on to Tommy...
...That means no Tommy...
...A boat is excitement, serenity, command, and mobility...
...Naturally, because we are leaving, the sun is out, the sky is blue, and the lake is like glass...
...My father doesn't believe this, but he will...
...Tommy and Mommy were going to come to it, but, alas, my mother is extremely ill, so my parents want a minimum of disruption...
...My father was being brave...
...Look at that one...
...To be fair, I was comparing it with the sounds of the video games at Laser Quest, but still...
...Hmm...
...I never thought about it," Alex said...
...You can hardly think how glad I was to hear it...
...It was wonderful...
...Tommy rode down in Peter's gray truck, and I in my mighty rented Caddy...
...God bless him...
...What's the problem...
...Most reasonable, I would say...
...I had asked for a Caddy...
...How come Michael's, the best lunch place in New York, can get out perfect food in a few minutes...
...LL Pop and I talked about Clinton and what a fraud he is, and how we wish Dole would come out stronger...
...Monday A great super day...
...I guided him over to the tiny book section of the stores, but he had no interest in anything but cartoons...
...Uhh, didn't one of the parties nominate someone disabled for president...
...I have never seen this place so empty," said Todd, the captain...
...The worst is my old colleague, Jesse Jackson...
...You're kidding...
...I wish I were racing around on my Thompson...
...They held hands and zoomed into the air again...
...In the big city, where I live most of the time, don't we try to make it into a small town...
...Jesus was Jewish...
...We ate our food, which was only so-so at best, even after that long wait...
...No," I answered...
...I complained to a slender man at the desk...
...Especially more that is not "Garfield," "Foxtrot," or "Calvin & Hobbes...
...Alan She talked about my grandfather and grandmother teaching patriotism...
...We have our cleaner and our druggist and our doctor and our favorite restaurant and our close friends, and that is really our small town in the big city...
...My companions talked about Hollywood...
...My father has become extremely obsessed with the deficit...
...Jesus Christ...
...I doubt it," I said...
...So was one of the funniest nien in Washington, Irving Kristol, and his brilliant wife, B ea, a superfamous historian...
...It's going to just come crashing down some time and a whole new cast of characters will take it over and make some decent movies...
...You suffer the consequences...
...I asked him...
...Really...
...But glorious duty calls...
...As usual, Avis at Dulles gave me the wrong kind of car...
...Summer's over...
...Two lunatic looking men sat next to us and began drinking heavily...
...What a kid...
...The boys argued for an hour about which movie to rent (new summer discovery: little boys love to argue...
...I am going east to see me old Ma and Pa...
...How come Ivano's right here in Sandpoint can get out delicious food in a few minutes...

Vol. 29 • November 1996 • No. 11


 
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