There might not be many of you but you know who you are and you care (You do, don’t you?)
This is the time of the year when we receive those highly anticipated cute, mass-mailed (this year a few were even e-mailed) chatty letters from friends and family. These missives highlight all the wonderful happenings and events they have experienced during the year and for some reason, these friends have an abiding belief that we have a burning desire to know all the trivial details. In that same spirit, I knew you would want to receive my Holiday letter giving you all the details as to how my year went. So here it is:
It was a fairly quiet and inconsequential year for me, but a few things did happen that at least made it interesting.
The beginning of the year actually started at the end of last year when the Fraternal Order of the United Christian-Muslim Understanding Society invited me to travel to Cuba to distribute Bibles (New Testament only) and celebrate Christmas with the prisoners still being sequestered at Guantanamo. These people had heard that Obama had promised to close Guantanamo and they were worried about being put out and rendered homeless. As they have not committed any crimes since being on American soil, they seemed happy to learn that if Gingrich gets elected, they probably will qualify for amnesty under his immigration plan.
What Makes Charlie . . . ?
Early in the year my old friend Martin Sheen called and asked if I would be willing to talk with Charlie. Marty said he was at wits-end and worried that Charlie might be doing some things that would tarnish his reputation. I did take the time to meet with Charlie and his two “housekeepers,” but I just could not seem to connect with him. I did suggest to Marty that before Charlie went off the deep end that maybe the best way to straighten him out would be to have him committed to Gitmo where he could read the Bible and pray with others who are neither drinking nor taking drugs, as shown above in this prayerful vigil.
Also early in the year, with the campaign for 2012 heating up, and wanting to stay informed, I signed up for the Congressional Facebook and e-mail notice system. It seemed a bit much, but knowing Congress, I was not surprised when I began to receive some very strange e-mails from Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York. At first, since Congressman Weiner proudly co-sponsored legislation outlawing “sexting” by teenagers, I thought the photos he attached were simply evidence of such cyber abuse. Then I thought maybe Weiner had a part-time gig modeling bikini briefs Jockey ads; but then in others the guy was going “commando” so I thought maybe it was just a campaign poster for “Weiner” (and not as in Oscar Mayer). Even though the congressman has disappeared, I did keep the Full Monty Weiner photos on my iPhone picture roll, and I would be happy to share. Just drop me an email.
My Witness to History
One of the highlights of the year was the invitation I received from the White House to be a “citizen observer” during the operation against Osama bin Laden in May. Due to security concerns I can’t give you all the details, but it was amazing to be in the back of the room as the attack was under way. One of the most interesting reactions I observed was when a picture of the deceased bin Laden appeared on the monitor; President Obama took his shoe off and threw it at the screen.
During the communications blackout when the Seals were in the bin Laden “mansion” I tried to break the tension by telling an old joke about the Oval office hijinks of Bill Clinton. Most did laugh, but as you can see in this photo, Hillary apparently didn’t get it.
Where’s Casey A?
I am sure you remember all the biased media attention given during the trial of Casey Anthony. Well, after the jury unanimously found her “not guilty” the media coverage and public relation grew so intensely negative that Casey feared for her safety and had to drop out of sight. Since the courts had ordered her to remain in Florida, the big question was: Where could Casey go in Florida to be out of sight and safe? Well, don’t tell anyone but I know.
Just after the trial was completed I received a call from one of Casey’s lawyers; he wanted to know if we would let Casey stay with us on Sunset Key. (As you know this is a small, very private island just off Key West and is the perfect place to “get lost.”) Anyway, I felt it was our duty to justice to allow Casey to come spend some time with us. Let me tell you that she is just such a sweet little girl. It was hard to imagine she could be depicted as a “party girl.” Of course, I have to admit that some neighbors (mostly women) did complain about Casey sunbathing by our pool topless or less, but I felt it was just good to let the girl have a little freedom. But I also have to admit to having some concern when Casey would go into Key West (she said for sightseeing or church) wearing a tee-shirt with printing on the front that said, “I am Free and Easy.”
Decisions, Decisions . . .
One of the most difficult decisions that had to be made during the year was whether to attend the Royal wedding or the Kardashian wedding. I knew that Bill and Kate would be disappointed if I was not there, but Kris Humphries is from Minnesota and I felt a certain hometown loyalty. Bill and Kate were gracious about my decision and it made things better that I promised to spend some time with them when they toured America. As a wedding gift for Kris and Kim I had a very artistic friend of mine design this large, beautiful (and expensive) marriage memory book. On the cover was this emblazoned heart with the initials “K & K” in it and printed below in gold was, “The Loving Memories of Our Years Together in the Bliss of Marriage.” They both seemed to love it and Kim gave me this big, serious kiss right in front of Kris.
Of course with the Republican presidential nomination campaign in full swing during the year it was tough not to get involved. I spent a lot of time with Tim Pawlenty as he was preparing his campaign. Have to say he is a wonderful, sensitive and caring man. He would make a wonderful camp counselor for underprivileged Somali children. One thing that bothered me, though, was that Tim kept asking his campaign planning staff, “What if they don’t like me?”
I also enjoyed meeting Michele Bachmann, but it was difficult to carry on a serious conversation with her because her response to every question or comment was, “I’m a consistent conservative. I’m a consistent conservative.” She seemed to mumble that all day long. In fact, the only time she stopped saying that was when we arrived at her bank to cash her latest federal farm subsidy check. “I want ten or twenty hundreds and put the rest in 50’s,” she said.
I spent some time with Herman Cain hoping to get a souvenir photo of Herman and his wife. But every time I saw him he was with a different woman and could not get close to him.
Speaking of photos, I went to one event and had my picture taken with a life-sized cardboard cutout of Mitt Romney. Only later did I discover that it was actually him! There was a lot of media hullabaloo about Newt Gingrich being on his third wife, but when I met with him he admitted to me it was really just a strategic move on his part to siphon off some of the Mormon votes from Romney. I did have an appointment to meet Rick Perry at his hunting ranch in Texas, but it turns out he claimed he never had a ranch and forgot about our scheduled meeting.
There were some interesting trips during the year, but none more so than a trip to New York in October. I had been invited there to meet with leading members of the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Investment Bankers. They were really disappointed that while corporations were making record levels of profits the companies were not finding ways to hire more people, except in foreign countries. The investment bankers were concerned that wealth was being sucked out of the middle class and too much of it was going to those already wealthy. Seems like a lot of other people wanted the same type of changes, because when I got down to Wall Street for my meetings, there were thousands of people hanging out there. I spent a few days in the park (if I’m not mistaken, that’s me under the grey tarp) and it was kind a fun to camp out right in New York. I don’t know what happened, but I did discover that mace really didn’t taste that bad. (I even found you can spray it on cold hotdogs to spice up the taste.)
The year ended on a high note when I was asked by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to accompany him as a “citizen observer” to Camp Victory in Iraq to celebrate the end of the American incursion (it wasn’t big enough to be a real war) and another of our long string of success as “nation builders.” It was great to see how happy our troops were to go home (although most were just being moved to Kuwait in case we need to have another incursion, like in Iran) and it was so wonderful to see all the Iraqi kids and their parents waving little Iraqi and Iranian flags.
And the Moral of the Story . . .
Even though this was a fairly quiet year, you might want to save this letter, because it just might be the last one. I don’t mean to be melodramatic or pessimistic, but with the Mayan ancient Mesoamerican prophecy that the world will come to an end during 2012, we may just not be here.
Till then, have a great Holiday Season (I would say Merry Christmas, but I’m sure Wikileaks would “out” me), and have a very Happy (Last) New Year.