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Miscellany

DEAN GORBYAnd so President Mikhail Gorbachev has returned to his home base, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, without defecting. …

DEAN GORBY

And so President Mikhail Gorbachev has returned to his home base, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, without defecting. Frankly, given conditions back home, I thought that during his meetings with President George Bush he might have sought asylum. With his many successful public appearances over the past few days still shining in my mind, particularly his visits near Palo Alto, California, I believe that he would make an excellent president of Stanford University. He is apparently more broad-minded than the faculty of that repressive institution. Possibly he and his spirited wife, Dr. Raisa Gorbachev, could dissuade the Stanford faculty from viewing the great books of the West through the eyes of racialists and radical feminists. After all, these books created the West’s unsurpassed regard for individual freedom, prosperity, and human rights.

-R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., The American Spectator

WOOF! WOOF! WENT THE GHOST

Sonny Bono says he fired his first ghostwriter because the author didn’t capture “my humor.” Zsa Zsa Gabor insisted that her life story be told “from the point of view of her dogs,” recalls Jim Bacon, one of Ms. Gabor’s many ex-ghostwriters. Mr. Bacon told her, “In that case, I bow-wow out.”

-The Wall Street Journal

IT AIN’T OVER ‘TIL THE FAT LADY STRANGLES

The conductor Ian Reid, recalls “When I conducted Carmen in Heidelberg, Don Jose discovered too late that he had forgotten to bring the knife on stage to stab Carmen in the last scene. He decided to strangle her instead. The girl playing Carmen thought he had gone insane and fought back like a tigress. Somehow, she managed to go on singing throughout a prolonged and somewhat muted strangulation.”

-Hugh Vickers, Even Greater Operatic Disasters

ENVIRONMENTALISM COUNTS MORE THAN THE ENVIRONMENT

Recycled paper is of lower quality than virgin paper, and more expensive. Its main use is for non-communication items such as cereal boxes, wall paper and electrical insulation. But that market soon got saturated when recycling became fashionable, and while at first paper recyclers would pay as much as $40 a ton for used newspapers, a colleague reports that in N.J. it has plummeted to minus $40, which is what you have to pay to have it taken off your hands. That is what the market thinks of recycled paper.

The demand for recycled paper to type or print on is purely religious: it is virtuous to waste space, time, ink, paper and brains with the fashionable line “Printed on recycled paper.” Last time I went to a big wholesaler for some white paper I was first offered recycled paper. Is it better, I ask the saleswoman. No. Cheaper? No. So why are you offering it? She looks round with a furtive look that I last saw in Prague in 1963 and whispers “because management tells us to.”

-Peter Beckmann, Access to Energy

CELLULAR JAM

Our friend from Connecticut was in the tightly packed parking lot of a produce store near the town of Darien. A luxury liner-sized maroon-colored Cadillac was creating a bit of a traffic jam. The young man at the wheel was clearly having a great deal of difficulty parking the enormous car, a task made no easier by the fact that he was also chattering with a good deal of animation on the car phone. The horns of other autoshonked angrily; their drivers uttered four-letter obscenities.

The fellow stuck his head out of the Cadillac window. “Please be quiet,” he shouted. “I’m on the phone getting parking instructions.”

-The New York Times

IT’S DEEP, ALL RIGHT

The basic moral and political premise of deep ecologists-that nature, like people, has rights-does not easily square with the notion of law, or indeed with the notion that government is legitimized by the consent of the governed.

The difficulty is that only people-not trees and rivers-can vote, choose representatives, make their preferences known. And that is precisely why self-appointed representatives of nature reject the relevance of popular consent; to them, representative democracy is, by its very nature, unacceptably “anthropocentric.”

Much to be preferred is the muteness of nature, whose “rights” can only be represented by those presuming to speak on its behalf.

-Joel Schwartz, Commentary

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