The Breakfast Table

Satan, I Rebuke Thee


You can’t go wrong with Kinsley as long as you don’t mind a man who’s got a thing for raw fish. And just for the record, I was at the gym this very afternoon, and other than dozing off at the stairmaster I did fine. I’m actually feeling pretty well rested, having shut my eyes for several minutes last night, although I guess I owe you an apology: you’re only 100 miles away, so surely you heard my son Nick bellowing at the top of his lungs at 4 AM. To the obvious question–why was he doing this?–there is a simple answer, which is that it was his turn.

As for the planned chain of ESPN sports bars, it sounds awful, but have you ever been to any of the “sports books” in Vegas? The ones at the Hilton and Caesar’s especially. Picture the Strategic Air Command, deep beneath some mountainside, with giant screens everywhere, except they’re showing every sporting event on the planet simultaneously, from NFL football to Tasmanian tiddly winks. And you can bet on just about all of them. They have cheap hot dogs and drinks, too. It was once explained to me that the casinos make very little on these operations–remember, they don’t pick winners, they just make money on the “juice,” a small percentage they charge to winners–but it keeps the husbands occupied while the wives pour their pin money into the slots. If ESPN opens these elsewhere (sans legal betting, of course) and can make money on booze, they might have a winner. Of course, neighborhood pubs are what this country really needs, not giant potable-dispensing profit machines based on TV shows. We’ll need neighborhoods first, of course.

And we’ll need a lot of drink, now that the House has voted an impeachment inquiry (remember what I said about sake margaritas). Al Hunt has a fine column in the Wall Street Journal today relating some of Kenneth Starr’s high crimes and misdemeanors (best read with Frank Rich yesterday on releasing the testimony of Monica’s shrinks, the ultimate Manhattanite’s nightmare), while Safire has a good one today on the Administration’s incredibly sleazy-sounding dealings with John Huang (remember him?). I draw two conclusions from all this. First, Clinton may be an asshole (go ahead, jump on me for the conditional), but Kenneth Starr is evil, and if the fog ever lifts over at Justice, Janet Reno should consider hiring an exorcist. This guy is the single most appalling specimen of prosecutor since Torquemada. Where is the ACLU when you need it? Off defending Nazis and racial preferences while the Inspector Javert of blow jobs uses the Constitution for toilet paper. My second conclusion, of course, is that we may be impeaching the President for the wrong things. (How about when he signed the independent counsel law, for instance?)

Now about Frank Sinatra Jr. I wonder if that serial divorcee from Houston has read Boswell, who quotes Johnson’s great line about second marriages representing “the triumph of hope over experience?” I’m sure it’s on the Internet somewhere. Did the Globe story include her e-mail address?