Wednesday, December 25, 1996

Christmas traditions

At the South Pole, the tradition is the annual run around the world, 2.7 miles that covers 24 time zones.

The mayor of Moscow decreed that stores in central Moscow not displaying ornate xmas decorations would be fined. Remember: if it's not banned, it's compulsory.

Finally, the British holiday tradition of betting on whether they'll be snow on xmas has cost bookmakers over 100,000 pounds.

Monday, December 23, 1996

I love Christmas news stories. Here's one: 6-year old British girl electrocuted by xmas tree lights while family looks on in horror. Yes, that's real. Finland sent its annual huge xmas tree to the holy land where Israel, exercising its stewardship of the world's holy sites, put it into quarantine for a month. A Buddhist decided to escape the materialist world to meditate on a Welsh mountain; a helicopter descended on him to try to "rescue" him. In Belgium, the paedophile-paranoid police raided a Satanic cult. The high priestess, or whatever she's called, said she found the raid "terrifying". Now, correct me if I'm wrong, if you're planning to deal with the Forces of Darkness, shouldn't you be able to deal with a little police raid with relative equanimity?

Saturday, December 21, 1996

Humanitarian aid X 2

Our first story, broken by the London Sunday Times, is that Israel smuggled tons of hashish into Egypt from the 1960s until the late 80s for sale to Egyptian soldiers, who showed a massive increase in addiction.

Toxic Waste Sent to Bosnia as Aid.

Tuesday, December 17, 1996

John Major, in an interview with Good Housekeeping designed to increase his appeal to women, revealed that he calls his wife "Little Grub." Tony Blair refuses to disclose any pet name he might have for Cherie.

In entirety, from the NY Times digest for the NY region section: "The Queens teen-ager who was beaten into a coma by several youths in a subway station had been harassed recently for being "clean cut," his father said."

Saturday, December 14, 1996

By the way, the last words of Len Tuggle, executed in Virginia yesterday: "Merry Christmas." And to all a good night, I guess.

Wednesday, December 11, 1996

British fox-hunters, in their perrenial fight against hunt saboteurs, are now going after them with helicopters, which sounds a heck of a lot more fun.

JFK's second-most-famous mistress, Judith Exner, whom he shared with Sam Giancana, says that she got pregnant by him in 1962 and had an abortion with his knowledge.

McDonald's opens in its 100th country. Believe it or not, there has never been a war between 2 countries possessing McDonald's. Civil wars don't count, which is good because Belarussian riot police attacked the crowd that gathered at the opening.

Monday, December 09, 1996


At Carl Bildt's party celebrating the 1st anniversary of the Dayton peace accords for Bosnia, many celebrants were hospitalized with salmonella.

Authorities in the Czech Republic wanted to establish a Sigmund Freud museum in the house in which he was born. The landlord preferred to make it into a massage parlor, or, perhaps, a "massage parlor".

It must be the silly season. The London Times is full of stories about people on trial for running over ducks, a scientist trying to get an import license for rhino dung, complaints from its neighbors that the French embassy is too dirty, a man whose photos of his expedition to the Arctic were lost by the chemists and wants 30,000 pounds to go back, etc. Yesterday we got the news that the newest hot business in Kabul is the sale of bones to Pakistan for soap, chickenfeed and something else I forget, and yes that includes human bones, which for some reason are easier to find in Afghanistan these days than animal bones. An adult male skeleton weighs 13 pounds and fetches about 45 cents.

Sunday, December 08, 1996

According to the SF Examiner, the word Nixon used for the rich Jews was cock-sucker. I was hoping for something ethnic.

Saturday, December 07, 1996

Keep the faith

New story from the Nixon tapes: September 1971 Nixon asked Ehrlichman on several occasions to go after the tax returns of the rich Jewish contributors to Democrats. "I can only hope that we are, frankly, doing a little persecuting."

I'm curious. The Reuters report says that Nixon used an expletive to describe the Jews. Anyone know which one?

Also on Nixon, you've read the stories, now read the transcripts from the alcoholic-in-chief:

4/30/73 BETWEEN 10:16 AND 10:20 P.M.:

Nixon: Hello.

Haldeman: Hi.

N: Hope I didn't let you down.

H: No sir, you got your points over, and now you, now you're, you've got it set right and move on. You're in right where you ought to be.

N: Well, it's a tough thing, Bob. For you, for John, the rest, but Goddammit, I'm never going to discuss this son of a bitching Watergate thing again. Never, never, never, never. Don't you agree?

H: Yes sir. You've done it now. And you've laid out your position. You've laid out your, you've taken your steps. You've...

N: Interesting thing. You know we haven't heard. The only cabinet officer that has called , and this is 50 minutes after the thing is over, is Cap Weinberger, bless his soul.

H: Hmm.

N: All the rest are waiting to see what the polls show. Goddam strong cabinet, isn't it?

H: You'd better check and be sure, cause I, they may, you know, we've had a...

N: Nah, nah. No, no, no. They know. They know. They know to call, you know. They know they can get through. But in any event, I just wanted you to know that Cap called & he was all the way.

H: Good.

N: But let me say, you're a strong man, Goddammit, & I love ya.

H: Ha.

N: And I, you know, I love John, and all the rest, and by God, keep the faith. Keep the faith. You're going to win this son of a bitch.

H: Absolutely.

N: You notice what I said about the violence and so forth on the other

H: Yeah.

N: I mean there were some, there were some intricacies in this, that only (unclear) would understand.

H: I got those. And I want to get the (unclear word), cause there are some things to work on from there that.

N: All right.

H: That uh...

N: I thought it was good, too, to sort of end on what I deeply felt (unclear word) on a religious note, you know, God Bless America. I mean, I don't, I'm certain, I must have, have, you know, I must have driven you up the wall.

H: Didn't drive me up the wall, but I felt that way (crosstalk). I'm all for that. I completely agree.

N: I don't know whether you can call and get any reactions and call me back, like the old style. Would you mind?

H: I don't think I can, I don't, I don't.

N: No, I agree.

H: Puts me in kind of an odd spot to try and do that.

N: No. Don't call a Goddam soul. The hell with it. Let me just say,
(unclear words)...from me, from you, I haven't heard from any cabinet
officer except Weinberger an hour afterwards, and thank God, and no
staff member.

H: Well, now, when I called the board said they were instructed not
put any calls through, so...

N: The hell with that. I told them to put all the calls through.

H: Well, that may be why you haven't gotten them though. Because

N: All right.

H: What told me.

N: All Right. I'll change it. I'll change it. Fine, but God bless ya,
boy, God bless you, I love you. You, you know.

H: Okay.

N: Like my brother.

H: Oh, we'll...

N: All right boy.

H: We'll (unclear word) it up from here.

N: Keep the faith.

H: Right.


Nixon: Hello.

Rogers: Hi, Mr. President.

N: Hi, Bill.

R: Gee, that was terrific. Really superb.

N: Don't give me that shit, you know. You know.

R: No, I really mean it.

N: You and I (unclear)...kind of rough, you know, afterwards, I, I,
shouldn't have done, done it, but, you know, I, uh, think, you know,
the, the operators and the rest. All of a sudden, I sort of, sort of
broke down a bit, and I, I don't, you know, I'm not that kind of a

R: Oh, hell (unclear). I tried to get you right away, but your damn
system is tough to get through. I finally got through to Barker,

N: Been trying to get through to you all day. I mean I told Rose,
Goddammit, any cabinet officer is to get through from, from the minute
after the speech. And only one I've heard from is Weinberger. So I
wondered what the hoot, what the hell's happened to everybody else.

R: I don't know what the Goddam system is. Anyway, I called. I tried
to get Barker, I tried to get (unclear). I finally got Barker, and he
took a message. Anyway, I thought it was superb, I don't know how you,
I don't see how you good have done any better. I think it's the best
delivery I've ever seen you give. I thought the delivery...

N: What, what parts of it did you like, Bill?

R: I liked all of it. I just thought it was great. I, um...

N: You didn't mind the God Bless America? That was my intuition
(unclear) I just sorta felt that way.

R: No, I, I, I thought it was, you know, I thought it was great. I,
uh, suppose some of the (unclear word) editorial writers may not like
it, but the public is going to love it. That's what counts. Uh. And I
thought the whole, the whole tone couldn't have been better. I didn't
think it was, I didn't think it had any, any rough spots in it. I
didn't think that you had any (unclear words) or anything of that
kind. No, I thought it was superb. I couldn't improve on it. I just
thought it was great. Adele was watching...

N: What did Dell think?

R: She thought the same thing. She, you know...

N: Smart woman.

R: She's critical.

N: You married a smarter wife that you, than you are. You know, like I

R: That's right. Now, how'd you think it went? I

N: I don't know anything about it. You know, I've, I've gotten. You
know, I've been through a hell of an experience, you know. I was just
reading, uh, Adams' memoirs, and Adams, you know, to his credit, did
come in and say, look, I'll resign.

R: Yeah, yeah.

N: But Haldeman and Ehrlichman didn't. I had to tell them they had to
resign. That was a Goddam, tough son-of-a-bitch.

R: Yeah.

N: You know.

R: I, I tell you this (unclear), you made a lot of improvements on the
speech. I thought it was pretty good last night, but it was a hell of
a lot better tonight. You must have done a lot of work on it today.

N: Worked all day on it. Yeah.

R: And, well, I, I just think you oughta be happy with the speech. I,
I don't...

N: But, the cabinet thing, they were putting out Thursday, but
(unclear) move to Wednesday. I think we ought to get it over quickly.

R: I think it's probably better.

N: Is that all right with you?

R: Right, right.

N: Because, you're, you're the cabinet now, Boy.

R: No, no.

N: No, I'm not givin' you any bullshit, you know that.

R: Incidentally, I, I think things look pretty good for Packard, I, if
you still want him. I think you ought to give him a call. I thought

N: I think I'll wait til tomorrow, though. I mean it's...

R: I don't want you, I don't want you to do it tonight, but I just

N: Right.

R: I talked to (unclear), I talked to Mansfield, I talked to George

N: What'd they say?

R: Well, they thought he'd be great. They thought he'd be great.

N: And they'll, they'll waive the...

R: Oh, we'll figure out something to do about that.

N: That's right, that's right. Good of you to call, Bill, you've been

R: That was a great speech, and get some sleep.
N: Great (tape cuts off)

BETWEEN 10:20 AND 10:32 P.M.:

Nixon: I had, I had, I had to tell Haldeman and Erlichman to resign,
which they wouldn't do voluntarily, and that was tough.

Graham: Well, your sincerity, your humility, your asking for prayer,
all of that, had a tremendous impact.

N: You really think so, Billy?

G: I really, I'm telling you the truth, and I'm not trying to just
encourage you. I know you get all that. But I really mean it.

N: Well, that's good of you Billy. You've been a friend, and, and
(tape cuts off)

Transcribed by Washington Post Staff researcher Barbara J. Saffir from
tape Tape #197 RC-3, available at the National Archives

Friday, December 06, 1996

Russian cuisine

It seems that "prescriptions" for marijuana under Prop 215 are valid under current Nevada law, and possibly other states as well.

Clinton's book Between Hope and the Remainder Table, or whatever it was called, sold miserably, and most of the copies are being returned to the publisher, which thinks it's unseemly to remainder a book by a president, but I suspect will swallow Clinton's pride. It sold nowhere near as well as the book by the former FBI agent about Clinton's love life etc, much less Hillary's book, but did outsell Dole's book. Interestingly, the publisher of the latter says that the Dole campaign lied, inflating the number of copies printed. In other good news, fewer than 20% of Newt Gingrich's 1945 sold.

John Deutch's last act as Director of Central Intelligence was to revoke the security clearance of the State Dept official who leaked to Rep Toriccelli that the Guatemalan colonel responsible for killing an American was a CIA informer.

There is an interesting 7-part series in the LA Times on homicides in LA, and how badly they are handled, with loads of anecdotes like the guy who rotted in jail for 4 months because the LAPD couldn't be bothered to check his time card at work that showed his alibi. Well worth reading but long, so I'm not sending them out, especially as most of you are on vacation right now. I'm afraid I didn't save the 1st one, or see the next 2, but I will send out the rest to anyone who asks.

A new record was set today when a Japanese furniture mover ate 23 1/4 hot dogs in 12 minutes.

Tuesday, December 03, 1996

A heart-warming story from the NY Times: a 14-year old girl sets fire to her house after years of physical and sexual abuse such that one could only be sorry she hadn't taken out more of her family. Her father has never visited her in jail but did send a picture of the burned-out house on her birthday. Naturally, the state of Indiana put her in a maximum-security prison ($25,000 a year) instead of the juvenile treatment center ($82k) the judge begged the state to put her in. You're waiting for the punchline, well I've got two: she has found a new mom in the joint, or "the closest thing to a mom I ever had" in another murderer, and second, she has been ordered not to talk about being abused in group therapy sessions because her fellow inmates in the special-needs unit are upset by her stories, since they all abused or killed their children.

And Thurgood Marshall used to be an FBI informer. I don't get it.

Monday, December 02, 1996

IRONY ALERT: a couple of days ago the NY Times remarked that a biography of a Chinese general, a veteran of the Long March I believe, gave the impression that he had retired rather than spent the last 15 years of his life under detention. Well, the Chinese minister of national defence is right now arriving in Washington and the official bio of him handed out by the US Defense Dept fails to mention that he commanded the troops responsible for the Tiananmen Square massacre.

UPDATE: My long-term readers will remember Sir Nicholas Scott, the hapless former minister for Northern Ireland and later minister for the disabled, banned from driving after a hit & run involving a baby's stroller earlier this year, and then found by police dead drunk and face-down in the gutter during the Tory Party Conference. Well, despite the endorsements of 130 MPs, other former ministers, other former drunks, and the KGB agent whose job it used to be to try to bribe him, as I reported a couple of days ago, his local party deselected him as a candidate for the next election. The hapless Sir Nick lost his job as Minister for the Disabled in 1994 after having to admit misleading Parliament in an attempt to weaken a bill for access for the disabled. Activists for the disabled, chief among them his own daughter, demanded that he resign.

I THOUGHT THEY WERE ALL THAT LONG: The longest-ever Church of England service was held, 5 hours long, in an attempt to get into the Guiness Book of World Records.

SCRAP, MISSILES, WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE: the US DOD has been selling as scrap military systems that were supposed to be decommissioned but weren't. Parts thus sold include functioning encryption devices, propulsion parts for submarines, advanced radars, parts of Patriot and cruise missiles, Stealth fighter guidance systems, etc. Buyers include Iran, Iraq and especially China.

UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT: At a benefit, Princess Di called the homeless "Englishmen without castles".