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Travels among the elite

On Friday I was speaking at SUNY-New Paltz, the university known in culture-wars circles as the place that launched Candace de Russy’s career as a professional wingnut.  Janet and Jamie came with me; the plan was for them to drop me off in New Paltz while they visited various Lyons in the great Lyon state of Connecticut.  But one detail after another went awry: my hotel lost my reservation, so my hosts put me up in a local B & B; Janet was too tired to drive the rest of the way at 10:30 pm on a Thursday, so we asked for a room that could accommodate the three of us; I learned that my B & B reservation was for only one night, even though I was also giving a presentation on Saturday; and so on.

But the B & B was beautiful, and the pair of talks on Friday seemed to go well.  Janet and Jamie left that morning and promptly got stuck behind an accident on I-87 that transformed their 90-minute trip into a three-hour trip, but they eventually arrived safely.  And I was treated to a lovely dinner and driven to a gorgeous lodge in the mountains for my Friday night stay.

The point of this post, however, is the ensuing Saturday Adventure.  I told my hosts that I would need to leave the faculty retreat by 1 to catch a 1:30 train in Poughkeepsie, and they assured me this was no problem.  My plan was to hop the MetroNorth down to Grand Central, grading papers all the way, then catch another train to New Haven, grading papers all the way.  At noon, however, I was informed that someone was driving to New York and would be happy to take me.  “Uh,” I replied, “thanks, but I don’t really want a ride—I was planning on grading papers on the train.”

“Great,” came the reply.  “You can leave with him just after 12.”

“Well, no,” I persisted, “if someone could just drop me off at the station in Poughkeepsie. . . .”

But that was the problem, of course: no one could drop me off at Poughkeepsie.  So I wound up being driven to New York and chatting along the way with three very personable and entertaining young faculty members from New Paltz as they went down to the city for various fun weekend things.  It occurred to me, as we inched along behind an accident on New Jersey’s route 17, that I had not had breakfast, and that I was now missing lunch; it also occurred to me that I wasn’t grading any papers, either.  So when the New Paltz crew stopped at one of those New Jersey package stores that are about half as expensive as New York package stores (they were stocking up for Halloween parties), I got myself a block of Havarti cheese and ate a few slices of it as we made our way over the GW bridge.

But now my fellow travelers were late to their gig, so I suggested that instead of dropping me off at Grand Central, they could drop me off at Union Square on their way to their 4 pm thing.  I quickly learned, upon threading my way through the teeming masses of the Union Square markets, that my wheelie suitcase wasn’t securely closed; but after gathering up the student papers that had fallen onto the sidewalk (none of which, I am happy to say, were trampled underfoot), I completed that leg of the trip without incident, and caught the 4:07 to New Haven.  And graded a few papers.

By six I was good and hungry.  Unfortunately, however, I was informed by the Lyon train-pickup crew in New Haven that we would be going first to Fashionista, the bargain vintage-clothing place run by Janet’s younger sister Todd.  Very well, I knew what that meant—an unspecified and unspecifiable amount of time trying things on and having a good old time.  For Janet and Jamie and the rest of the crew, that is.  (I should add that Jamie got himself a porkpie hat in which he looks terrific, and that he wore it to school today.) But by seven I was getting a bit restless, not to mention faint with hunger.  So Todd gave us directions to Thali, a fine Indian restaurant downtown, and promised to meet us all there once she closed up shop.

I had my doubts about showing up at a downtown restaurant at 7:30 on a Saturday night and asking for a table for seven, and you know what?  My doubts were well-founded.  One of our party attempted to order drinks at the bar while we waited for the rest of the crew, but I rudely insisted that I was, in fact, interested in eating some actual food sooner rather than later, for although I had eaten food on Friday, I remained curious as to whether I would eat any real food on Saturday.

When Todd arrived, she assured me that there were many restaurants within walking distance, which indeed there were: a Chinese place down the block with many open tables, and a Japanese place across the street that was packed to the rafters.  Todd and Janet, being Todd and Janet, preferred the Japanese place, because it would be more complicated.  Actually they argued that it would be more fabulous, and Todd, who reviews restaurants, knows whereof she speaks.  The extra complication was just a side benefit.

So Todd went to speak to the owner of Miso, the Japanese place, telling him that she had a party of seven including one very grumpy hungry nasty man, and asking him if he could squeak us in.  The kind soul assured Todd that he could find us a table in about ten or fifteen minutes, which I took to mean “please stay in my restaurant and order drinks for an unspecified and unspecifiable amount of time.” But lo!  The kind soul was truly a kind soul, for, taking pity on my now feeble and withered frame, he showed me to a seat at the far end of the bar and promised me a nice bowl of miso soup to tide me over.

Well, that was right neighborly, I thought.  And as I took my seat at the end of the bar, what—or, rather, who—did I see, sitting not fifteen feet from me over my right shoulder?


“If that’s not John Bolton,” I said sotto voce to my sister-in-law Sarah, “he’s got a bunch of Halloween gigs coming up, working as a John Bolton double.”

But, in fact, it was John Bolton.  Yes, my day’s long and winding road had led me to a seat right next to a member of his security detail.  For it was Parents Weekend at Yale, and from what I could gather, Ambassador Bolton and his wife were taking the occasion to dine out with their daughter.

Well, as you might imagine, now I was really pissed off.  First, and most obviously, because Ambassador Bolton did not hail me and proceed to grant me an exclusive interview, as he did with one of the right wing’s most notoriously lunatic bloggers when he should have been . . . oh, I don’t know, doing a heckuva job in Lebanon or something.

But most of all, I was angry that Ambassador Bolton was sending his child to a bastion of leftist orthodoxy like Yale—a school which, as you’ll remember, once refused a generous $20 million dollar gift simply because it would have required the university to teach the Great Books for a change.  Eating at a fine Japanese restaurant in a Northeastern city, sending his kid to Yale—here was John Bolton, behaving just like a paid-up member of the liberal elite!  Behaving, to be more precise, just like me!

Yet more evidence, as if any were needed, that the Bush Administration is not truly conservative—and that America will not be safe (from terror, from immigrants, from Yale, from sushi) until we have truly truly conservative leadership in Washington.  For as Candace de Russy herself notes,

This country is now in a civil cultural war and the radical, secular, ‘progressive’ left may well destroy our traditional principles and institutions, and notably our education institutions, which is seminal to the rest of the institutions.

Indeed.  And which side is John Bolton really on?

Posted by on 10/24 at 10:27 AM
  1. (I should add that Jamie got himself a porkpie hat in which he looks terrific, and that he wore it to school today.)

    Hm. New nickname for Jamie: Prez.

    Captcha word: feed, as in what you were desperate to do on Saturday.

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  11:44 AM
  2. civil cultural war

    Remarkably uncivil at times, I’d say. Especially using the word “seminal” in a post that names John Bolton and refers to a shrieking harpy.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  10/24  at  11:59 AM
  3. How’d old John treat the wait-staff? Did he reduce anyone to tears?

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  12:08 PM
  4. Acting Ambassador Bolton is on the side of the silent, the mute & invisible, those with no articulate agenda other than the daily puppet-cast, Plan For Victory, Stay The Course, Constantly Adjust Our Strategy. As a constituency the Invisible are virtually maintenance free and reliable.

    Captcha: island. No man, not even Acting Ambassador Bolton.

    Posted by black dog barking  on  10/24  at  12:22 PM
  5. Holy hanging denouement, Michael - what about the freaking soup? (not too mention the actual meal.)

    I am famished just reading this, and you leave us consumptus interruptus? The narrative here is man’s quest for sustenance temporarily interrupted by self-deprecating rumination on encounter with an asshole, not rambling preface to encounter with said asshole.

    And I will note, from an informal survey of colleges and universities visited in the past several years - that if the challenges of civic nationalism in the 21st century hinge on familiarity with sushi bars and climbing walls ... we’re good.

    Here’s another clue to build upon ... the Walrus was John.

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  12:36 PM
  6. what about the freaking soup? (not too mention the actual meal.)

    It says something about my own grading anxieties (guess what I could should be doing now?) that my thought was what about the papers?

    Of course, the narrative (tragedy? comedy? romance? epic?) in which a professor intends to get some grading done, but events somehow conspire against the papers’ ever actually emerging from their place of honor at the top of one’s suitcase/bookback/laptop case is one of the great unacknowledged academic genres. 

    So I’ve got to ask, Michael, when you subsequently showed up in class and mumbled the inevitable promise to your students of having the papers ready at the next meeting, did you also refer them to this post by way of explanation?

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  12:44 PM
  7. You have demonstrated, once again, just why the right hates our universities so: because they want the status those very universities confer so badly that they spend a great deal of their lives aiming their children towards the best of them (from the choice of pre-school on)--and then want to bask in the reflected glory of their children at Yale.

    It galls them that it’s a bunch of snooty liberal professors who are behind it all.

    Captcha: “amount,” as in “Any amount of effort ncessary to get my kid in.”

    Posted by Aaron Barlow  on  10/24  at  12:44 PM
  8. when you subsequently showed up in class and mumbled the inevitable promise to your students of having the papers ready at the next meeting, did you also refer them to this post by way of explanation?

    Of course not, Ben!  That would be way too impersonal.  Instead, I opened class this morning by saying that when I was an undergraduate, I couldn’t stand it when my professors told me long cock-and-bull stories about why they hadn’t finished grading our papers, and then I launched into this story for about three minutes, having written the version you see here at some point between 8 and 9 this morning.  So consider this post part of my class preparation!

    Holy hanging denouement, Michael - what about the freaking soup?

    The soup was ordinary (but tasted wonderful under the circumstances); the meal was amazing.  The “sex on the beach” sushi, despite its name, was exquisite, and the sashimi platter rocked the house.  Jamie had chicken teriyaki and loved it; I ordered the beef negimaki and found it slightly overcooked.  But as I told the owner on the way out (after thanking him for the emergency soup and the free Bolton sighting), by 9:30 I felt like I’d never been hungry in my life.

    Though I didn’t get any papers graded during dinner, either.

    Posted by Michael  on  10/24  at  12:56 PM
  9. Hey Michael, they’re telling everyone over at ACTA’s blog that the National Review delivered the coup d’tat to your argument about liberals in the academy.  (Apparently, if realists can teach English, then there are too many liberals in the academy.  You are free to parse that logic yourself.) And now you tell me that John Bolton is a pop-culture major in the Sex Toys Studies Department at Yale?  WTF? 

    I’m just play my accordian until this world starts making sense again.

    (Captcha: “free” as in “keep on rockin’ in the free world")

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  01:16 PM
  10. The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies? They’ve gone too far this time!

    Posted by Central Content Publisher  on  10/24  at  01:24 PM
  11. Pauline, I’ve seen that ACTA Online thing, and I’m pleased that Erin O’Connor is devoting so much energy to shooting down my book without actually, you know, reading it.  (I’m also pleased that the third commenter on that thread knows what he’s talking about.  You don’t often find that on ACTA Online!) But it ain’t Thursday yet, and I’m not going to discuss Mr. Pakaluk’s NRO review ‘til then.  I will say, though, that between him and Jonathan Liu I’m not going over very well with the Harvard boys.  I blame Larry Summers.

    Posted by Michael  on  10/24  at  01:32 PM
  12. The Discreet Charm of the Professoriate!  But I’m still hung up on “which is seminal to the rest of the institutions.” A theory of the superstructure?

    captcha “given.” Or not.

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  01:34 PM
  13. It galls them that it’s a bunch of snooty liberal professors who are behind it all.

    Yes, the current double-reverse-negative sprezzatura (def: graceless effort in playing down to David Brooks’ misconception of the common man.) game still requires the elite university step before you play at bush-clearing, NASCAR-loving, barbecue-eating* and shooting-man-in-face-while-huntinging. Most of them are afraid to just cut out the middleman and get down to it - unlike the sentiment from a banker I recall from a late’70’s - early-80’s article on Dallas’s rise as a financial center- “You don’t even have to pretend to like the symphony here.”.

    *[I was always annoyed that one of my favorite Houston barbecue joints, Goode Company, was also a favorite of George H.W. Bush’s. My love of appropriated regional cuisine was clearly more authentic than his .... (gad, something just occurred to me while writing that - could that drunk guy with the red eyes and runny nose we found with his ass stuck in the urinal there on that weird day back in 1979 actually have been George W? ...must try to remember more clearly ...)]

    And I wouldn’t have been surprised if John Bolton took some time while at Yale to make sure that Juan Cole hadn’t slipped in somehow.

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  01:35 PM
  14. Is there a place where you list upcoming events? I’d’ve gone to that thing at New Paltz if I’d’a known you were coming.

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  01:36 PM
  15. You know, I really ought to do that, Martin.  I’m sorry I don’t have a “forthcoming events” section on the sidebar—I guess it’s just my natural shyness about self-promotion.  But I do have a number of interesting gigs coming up, and I’ll mention them over the next few weeks.

    Posted by Michael  on  10/24  at  01:52 PM
  16. short off-topic aside from this week*s updates:
    The Boy Scouts introduced a new merit badge for learning how copyright law applies to pirated movies and music.
    Odd that they didn’t think that books were all that important??

    *"week" being the captcha word

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  02:04 PM
  17. Read “coup d’grace” for “coup d’tat” above.  Just further evidence why sticking to good ole Biblical American is best.

    Michael, I look forward to your Thursday post.

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  02:13 PM
  18. I will never understand You People. How on earth can you start your day without getting a little breakfast first? Not even a granola bar or a bagel? I could maybe see it if you had plans for a 10:30 brunch—though I myself would have a light pre-brunch breakfast—but honestly, it’s a wonder you’ve lived this long, Michael.

    Posted by Orange  on  10/24  at  02:36 PM
  19. (Which in no way constitutes a threat! Sheesh.)

    Posted by Orange  on  10/24  at  02:37 PM
  20. Didja’ slip him a copy of the special graphics edition of WLATL?

    Speaking of graphics, took this picture outside my front door:


    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  10/24  at  02:41 PM
  21. I didn’t know the lodge had a continental breakfast, Orange; and I thought I was being picked up at 8:30 am for an 11 am presentation and taken to breakfast first. (That would seem to be a reasonable assumption, no?) But then again, I should have been on Special Breakfast Alert for Saturday, because the lovely Bed & Breakfast in which I stayed Thursday night was, in effect, only a Bed, and I wound up having to ask my host to stop at a diner Friday morning so that I could scarf down some eggs.

    Posted by Michael  on  10/24  at  02:42 PM
  22. Um, Bill, that pic is 180K, and this humble blog has been hit with a buncha overage charges in the past few months.  Any way to compress it a bit?

    Posted by Michael  on  10/24  at  02:44 PM
  23. In principle, yes.

    But . . . . ya know Michael, that picture isn’t physically on your server, and so it’s not sucking up your storage charges. It’s on someone else’s server and it just appears in browsers when people view the page. Do those bits pass through your server on the way to the Ultimate Viewer, thus adding to your bandwidth charges? Beats me. 

    captcha: “together” as in thats how these intertube nets work. They work together so that we get the best in quality multi-media entertainment and enlightenment.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  10/24  at  03:16 PM
  24. Further, if by chance it does pass through your server, well then you or your web master can just delete the link from my post. I can’t do that because I don’t have access. And while I could delete that picture from the server where it currently sits, that would mess something else up so . . . . Do what makes sense to you. Leave it alone or delete the link from my post.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  10/24  at  03:21 PM
  25. Oh, right.  I forgot how to use the Google.  Carry on, then!

    Posted by Michael  on  10/24  at  03:24 PM
  26. Chief Illiniwek calls for resignation of lefty perfessers!


    Chicago Tribune

    “I started the petition last Friday and already we have close to 1,300 signatures,” the senior from Riverwoods said. “My fraternity, other fraternities and sororities and other student groups are circulating the petition. Alumni are hearing about it by word of mouth and are signing and circulating the petition to fellow alumni and fans. Roughly 60-70 percent of those who have signed are students and the rest are alumni and fans. We’re adding close to 200 signatures every day. My plan of action is to forward to the Board of Trustees, President [B. Joseph] White and Chancellor [Richard] Herman the petition with the signatures along with a letter that I wrote to Professor Kaufman.”

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  03:36 PM
  27. JP,

    I do think though, that all Americans, heck, all even-modestly intelligent beings can agree that Goode Company is simply damn great BBQ.

    Should be a UN resolution on that.

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  03:39 PM
  28. I’m with Orange up in #18.  I’d be a very bad post-apocalyptic dad (please pretend I just linked to the Amazon site for McCarthy’s latest) because I am just useless without breakfast.

    Sometimes that captcha word is just perfect.  Now, for instance:  “start.”

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  03:50 PM
  29. Michael, I can speak about very few things authoritatively. You are about to witness one of those rare moments in time space.

    Bill’s graphic does not pass through your server, as I suspect you’ve already realized.

    If you are looking for ways to limit your bandwidth consumption, I would recommend the following two policies:

    1) Add “click to read more” links to each post, and only show a paragraph or two of each article on your main page. Currently, readers are downloading six+ entire posts every time they come to your page. Shuffling off a good chunk of each post to the direct-link page would eliminate maybe a quarter of your traffic right off the bat - especially considering the size of your average post. A half very of this policy is to do this with all but the most recent post.

    2) Any images included as part of your articles should refer to an offsite location - like Bill’s did.

    Combined, these two policies should reduce the bandwidth consumed by your site to about half of what it is now. If that’s not enough, it’s possible (depending on the limitations of your host) to require readers to open (and then download) the contents of comments (many of which are also quite large). Returning users will generally not open comments they’ve already read, so this will save on a lot of redundant bandwidth usage – but will require some fancy programming.

    Now returning to my regularly scheduled program of ill-informed and mysteriously motivated meanderings.

    Posted by Central Content Publisher  on  10/24  at  03:58 PM
  30. Ah, but you see, Michael, I could never make it to 8:30 without breakfast. If someone were picking me up at 8:30, I’d have eaten a little something by 7:00 to prevent unsightly gnawing marks on the furniture ‘round about 8:15. I am on Special Breakfast Alert status seven days a week.

    captcha: until, as in “Until such time as the GNF vaporizes my body, thereby preventing hunger pangs, I shall have breakfast daily.”

    Posted by Orange  on  10/24  at  04:01 PM
  31. Prof,
    You have this to look forward to.  A wedding that goes berserk!  Lucky you that you have only boys.
    Below is what my wife sent to a friend describing our wedding day adventures:

    Still too busy to relax yet.  I worked today and tomorrow and we have to get ready for the movers on Wednesday and then I work Thursday.  Mike is sending wedding pictures.  In the end all was wonderful but the many snags and things that went wrong seem comical now.  Anna called our neighbors at 10pm and had them pick her up at the SFO airport because she felt too sick to get her rental car. We were not home at the time.  Shawn had duties the next day but he drove Anna to the airport to get her car.  On the way back he got a flat.  He had taken the jack out of the truck because he needed to move the seat farther back.  So he needed assist but Mike had gone to get Nicole who was late because Bart broke down.  I was home trying to finish details for the rehersal lunch and packing of the car for the wedding.  The phone was ringing non stop because the missing men had things they couldn’t get done.  So we loaded our car with the drinks etc for the rehersal lunch and didn’t have room for our suitcases.  After the lunch we rushed to Livermore for the rehersal and left our suitcases at home.  Daisy was supposed to go to the kennel but we found out too late that she needed a pertussis shot so now we had Daisy for the trip too.  Actually she was very good and she even came to the wedding.  The kids leave for their honeymoon on Sunday.  I don’t know what time but we are taking them to the airport.  Life will be back to normal soon.  The horses all got their vaccinations yesterday.  They were all very good.  Pat

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  04:03 PM
  32. Is there a place where you list upcoming events? I’d’ve gone to that thing at New Paltz if I’d’a known you were coming.

    I would second that, with the added proviso that you keep an up-to-the-minute log (on the “web,” of course) of your movements.  Your travels, I mean.  Because you were here Saturday night, and I didn’t know about it!  If nothing else, I could have screamed, “Rot in hell, Bolton!” Then I could have screamed, “Dear God, no, Professor!  Don’t try to eat downtown on Parents’ Weekend!”

    Well, except for the fact that I spent far too much of the evening looking for a parking place in order to attend a free concert of the Yale Schola Cantorum.  Why?  Because I had no idea that it was Parents’ Weekend.  However, if I had known that, and if I had known you were in town, I would have scrapped all my plans in order to invite you into my home and serve you leftovers.  Which you would have found delightful, as hunger makes the best sauce.

    Hmm, so this “Todd” person thinks Thali is a good place, eh?  The location will always be Fat Cats Cafe to me.  Which would make ordering rather awkward.

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  04:26 PM
  33. My only surprise is that Bolton didn’t insist that 3/4 of Miso be blown up, and that only the portion of the bar and his table be left, since it alone would be important and significant.  I suspect he feels that way about Yale as well, if only all those liberal classrooms and professors were blown up, the world according to JB would be free. 

    As someone who only eats two meals a day, breakfast is of major value.  It cannot be skipped, missed, overlooked, or underachieved, as so much of non-testable curricula has been.  That it takes me an hour and a half to eat it, might represent overindulgence; but then i have that luxury in my early years of golden handshaked retirement.

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  04:50 PM
  34. 1) Add “click to read more” links to each post, and only show a paragraph or two of each article on your main page. Currently, readers are downloading six+ entire posts every time they come to your page. Shuffling off a good chunk of each post to the direct-link page would eliminate maybe a quarter of your traffic right off the bat - especially considering the size of your average post.

    Actually, CCP, my front page used to consist of eight posts.  I dropped it to one (obviously) for yesterday’s post, then bumped it back up to six today.  But the “click to read more” function in this Expression Engine apparatus has left me and Kurt mystified for almost two full years now.  After much experimentation, we just can’t figure out how the hell to turn it on.

    Ah, but you see, Michael, I could never make it to 8:30 without breakfast.

    Orange, you must be thinking that I can get up at dawn when left to my own devices.  Why would anyone think that?  I do manage to see Jamie off to his bus each day at 7:30, but it is excruciating, and I try to go back to sleep immediately thereafter whenever I can.  In the wild, I sleep 2 - 10 am, and if someone in New Paltz says they will get me at 8:30, I set the alarm for about 8:28.

    I would second that, with the added proviso that you keep an up-to-the-minute log (on the “web,” of course) of your movements.  Your travels, I mean.

    Hey!  I could do parodies of Pam Atlas’s vlogs.  You’d regret that in a hurry, I assure you.  But New Paltz says they videotaped my lecture, for anyone who’s interested. . . .

    And dilbert, I am so glad to hear that in the midst of chaos, the horses got their vaccinations.  Me, I haven’t even renewed my Allegra this week.

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  05:03 PM
  35. Er, you missed the best line from the Front Page piece:
    In “the extreme,” she said, multiculturalism allows the rise of Nazism and Islamic radicalism.

    How I miss those days in the ‘30s, when the Germans tried to top each other as to who could be the most inclusive, when the watch words were “Alle Volker, alle Kirchen, alle Nationen.”

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  06:42 PM
  36. Ah, I mistook you for one of those subhuman breakfast skippers rather than one of those night owls whose circadian clock is set to 11. (Some of my best friends, etc.) I hope you never get roped into teaching a class before 10 a.m., Michael.

    Posted by Orange  on  10/24  at  07:02 PM
  37. I think…
    ...is what you’re looking for. I assume you have a different template for your front page that you do for THIS page. Put code, much like the example above, into your front page template, but not this one. I’ve never used expressionEngine before, so I’m just guessing, but that seems like the right path. Of course, you have to install the Word Limit Plus plugin.

    (Who names these things? Word Limit Plus? If WLP isn’t a sign of GNF, I don’t know what is.)

    Posted by Central Content Publisher  on  10/24  at  07:53 PM
  38. Did Bolton angrily gesture at any of the empty chairs in the restaurant?

    Captcha: Europe, as in “Europe cringed when Bush appointed Bolton to the UN without the recommendation of Congress.”

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  07:58 PM
  39. If it’s any comfort to you, my little family shared that traffic jam on 17 with you

    Posted by julia  on  10/24  at  08:55 PM
  40. It’s interesting that the Bolton daughter is now at Yale.  I was an intern in Gretchen Bolton’s office when that daughter was born in 1987.  She had an imperial style of running that office.  The worst part of my internship was delivering documents to John Bolton’s office in the Dept. of Justice every day at 5:30 pm so that Gretchen Bolton could continue to run the office during her “maternity leave” (we were all instructed by her that we were not to refer to it as a “maternity leave” although that was what it was.) Sometimes, I’d have to take the metro out to Bethesda to deliver documents.  Another memorable moment was getting yelled at by Gretchen Bolton because I was reading a book at my desk instead of working.  I had asked others for work and nobody had anything for me to do.  I had just graduated college and was basically working for free.  It still strikes me as kind of mean…

    Posted by  on  10/24  at  09:01 PM
  41. It is interesting how the gentlemen the actual elites tribunes of the people like John Bolton always seem to send--or at least hope to send--their children to evil librul institutions like Harvard and Yale. 

    They don’t seem to aspire to Chicago, St. John’s, or Claremont McKenna (i.e. excellent educational institutions with conservative bona fides), let alone the Hillsdales, Ashlands, Patrick Henrys and Liberty Universities that litter the wingnuts’ Top Ten Places to Send Your Kid to Be Indoctrinated the Right Way lists.

    Posted by  on  10/25  at  09:10 AM
  42. Well, as I argue in a recent book of some kind, it would appear that Top Ten Places to Send Your Kid to Be Indoctrinated the Right Way lists—particularly when it comes to Hillsdale and Patrick Henry—are for the little people, Ben.

    Posted by Michael  on  10/25  at  12:15 PM
  43. My, that Candace de Russy’s quill is mighty discerning. From the link Michael provides above in the post, we read the following:

    Her quill has skewered multiculturalism, radical feminism, some black studies programs,...

    Only some black studies programs? You mean some pass her quill’s muster and so avoid skewering? Which ones? Inquiring minds, etc. I’m guessing it’s those black studies programs which agree with DH that slavery was a good thing, because just look at Africa today!

    Posted by John Protevi  on  10/25  at  12:46 PM
  44. Oh to live in
    With the wingnuts and the freakish buffoons:

    Santorum is the only thing standing between the citzens of Pennsylvania and the Nazis

    “If we are not successful here and things don’t go right in the election, there’s a good chance that the course of our country could change,” he said. “We are in the equivalent of the late 1930s, and this election will decide whether we are going to continue to appease or whether we will stand and fight while we have a chance to win without devastating consequences.

    “And you here in Pennsylvania — you here in this room — will have a huge role to play as to what happens.”

    Posted by  on  10/25  at  12:54 PM
  45. I have no sympathy for your troubles in New Paltz. You were supposed to call me, you rat.

    Posted by Amitava  on  10/25  at  01:15 PM
  46. And now you know why I didn’t, Amitava my friend!  I was on a branch line of the Lyon Train and had no control whatsoever over my destiny.

    For this I am truly sorry.

    Only some black studies programs?  You mean some pass her quill’s muster and so avoid skewering? Which ones?

    Well, John, most of the really uppity ones don’t make the cut.  Let’s just leave it at that.

    Captcha:  program.  !—only “uppity” would have been more appropriate, and I don’t think that’s ever been an option.

    Posted by Michael  on  10/25  at  01:25 PM
  47. Oh to live in
    With the wingnuts and the freakish buffoons

    And I’m just fine with that as long as we get to complete the verse by addressing Tricky Rick directly:

    You can’t be Senator from Pennsylvania
    Though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon,
    You’re leaving there too soon.

    Now, it is true that Bob Casey is about as dynamic as an undertaker on Quaaludes - but that sounds great at this point. And of more local interest to me - Jason Altmire has pulled within MOE of Melissa “Nancy Pelosi wants to take your guns” Hart in PA HR District 4.

    Posted by  on  10/25  at  02:58 PM
  48. We Are All Undertakers on Quaaludes Now.

    Posted by Michael  on  10/25  at  03:25 PM
  49. We Are All Undertakers on Quaaludes Now.

    So sorry for your loss, ma’am. Say, y’know where I can get some beer?

    Captcha: “almost,” as in, “hey, that’s almost funny, John.”

    Posted by John Protevi  on  10/25  at  03:43 PM
  50. Oh, and by the way, a quick check of the Google shows that I can hereby coin the phrase “the mustache of diplomacy” to refer to this guy here.

    This is not, of course, to be confused with the mustache of understanding.

    Captcha, “weeks,” as in, “until I retire on the royalties of my new phrase, it’s only a matter of”

    Posted by John Protevi  on  10/25  at  03:49 PM
  51. Your story reminds me on one of those (what I call) “frustration” dreams, where you’re trying desperately to get somewhere or do something and you are forever being impeded.

    At least your real life story had a happy ending (a good meal), unlike frustration dreams which never (in my experience) have a happy ending. (They do, however, sometimes devolve further into super-duper states of bizarreness that can be kind of amusing from an objective standpoint).

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  10/26  at  05:14 AM
  52. Who is Paula?  I don’t recall a Paula in my office in 1987.  Perhaps a pseudonym?  I did take maternity leave, 6 months, as allowed by my employer, but I did continue to work some from home during the maternity leave--I had been at work one day and had an emergency c-section the next day 3 weeks early.  I also used interns from Wellesley and Georgetown over a few years, unpaid unless paid by their schools, as was the custom in those long-ago days for do-gooder work like ours.  It was a time for students or recent college grads to stretch their legs, learn a little something about the field we were in, offer their services.  Some worked out, some didn’t.  Too bad this one only recalls my “imperial” style after all these years...or is that just politics? did I actually tell her to stop reading a book at her desk when I was home on maternity leave?? My memory was that we were always very busy…

    Posted by  on  11/08  at  01:47 AM
  53. Ms. Bolton, if indeed that is you, I certainly can’t vouch for Paula’s memories of 1987, but if you do want to straighten this one out, you can drop her an email at the address she provided with her comment (just run your cursor over her name). 

    And I hope you and your family enjoyed your dinner.  Ours was terrific.

    Posted by  on  11/08  at  02:46 PM
  54. Great dinner.  Great visit with our daughter.  Very odd to walk on the Yale campus with a loss of anonymity, being stopped frequently for a “Can I have my picture taken with you?” Or a high-five, “you’re doing a great job!” John is always cordial with such people.  And we do hear behind us sometimes, “Hey, isn’t that the Ambassador...?” Daughter sometimes finds it all “a pain”, but she is making her own way very well, thank you.  Lovely always to see her.

    Posted by  on  11/08  at  04:44 PM
  55. Gretchen contacted me and we are having a very interesting conversation by email. I want to apologize for saying negative things about her anonymously.  I am glad that we made contact.

    Posted by  on  11/08  at  08:15 PM





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