Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Dubya in OKC

El presidente is coming to Oklahoma City on Friday. This has got to be the most uber-safe place for him to visit, politically speaking.

Heck, even I find myself wonderin' whether he'll eat at my favorite restaurant, the Cattlemen's Steakhouse, like his daddy did once back in the day.

My colleagues and I have been swappin' when-I-met-who stories. Here are a few of my own Brushes with Greatness, from the ER archives.



The Steel Magnolia of Texas.

Uh, Jack Kemp.

Then, there are others I've met in the line of duty: Rick Perry, Frank Keating, J.C. Watts, Phil Graham, David Boren, the late great Mike Synar, various and sundry other congresscritters -- but hey, that's just the biz I'm in.

Now, do tell. Who've you met-seen-touched?


I once gave directions to Helen Thomas in the Detroit Metro airport.

And I met Elaine Stritch after seeing her one-woman show last January.

Hmm... My list is filled with old dames.
Shook Dick Van Dyke's hand at the 1985 Oregon Democratic convention. Sat with Elaine Miles -who played 'Marilyn' on "Northern Exposure"- for an afternoon after a lecture of hers was cancelled. Carried Krist Novoselic's guitar case, talking to him about his sister...Was surprised to note that I was standing next to Edie Brickell in a bookstore.

I've spent the better part of the last two years within ten feet of plenty of rock stars.
Truth be told, I've got lots and lots of stories about this stuff: political and show-biz wise. None of them are all that great, except the time I stole Robyn Hitchcock's tequila...
I have a friend who works in the unnamed building in the complex where Bush will be holding forth. He will be driving into a covered parking garage and go into the building without ever going outside. The people who work in the building were told to stay at their desk and in their cubicles until they are allowed to move around. They are to lower all blinds and turn them where they can not see down. They are not to be in the halls, foyers, or stairways and may not e-mail or be on the telephone while he is in the building. In other words they have been put into straight jackets and confined to their cells while he is in the complex.
Let freedom, uh, reign!
It's so sad that I don't even have one encounter with a "famous" person to report - not that I could never encounter any, but I'm just blind when it comes to noticing who's passing me by, whether on foot or in a car. I don't even see hubby when I drive right by him on the farm yard!

But I can offer you this: my house looks out onto an island(Saltspring), on which John Travolta (or is it Robin Williams?)and others own property. Who knows (as I look out at the south end from my kitchen table) whether he's there right now?

Sorry I don't have more.
My Pastor was lab partners in college with Tex Watson of the Charles Manson Family. Does that count?
Let's see, famous people, famous people . . .

Ed Meese, at a convention in DC; Mario Cuomo, at a speech in my hometown; Charlize Theron - who is absolutely wonderful, funny, pleasant, down-to-earth, and didn't mind that the only film I'd seen her in was The Italian Job, even though she had just won the Oscar for her performance in Monster; the rock band Molly Hatchet, who pulled a Keith Moon on a suite of rooms in the hotel I was working at; David McCullough; David Halberstam, at a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in Chicago a week after the 9/11 attacks.

Drlobojo's pastor story is awesome.

My father dated Lauren Bacall (true story!) when she first arrived in NY, and befriended and helped Kirk Douglas out with clothes and money (he had neither). In the autobio of one of them (I forget which) the story goes that Bacall was given a coat by Douglas; my father corrected the record to state the coat was actually his, which he had given to Douglas, who then lent it to Betty Bacall. My father then gave Douglas another coat, because he still didn't have money for one.

My father was a stage actor starting in NY in 1939. He also did some early TV (including an episode of that Boris Karloff TV series, the name of which escapes me), in which he actually played against Karloff, who also acted in it. He appeared on stage with Eva Gabor, Claude Raines (round up the usual bottles of booze!), and Mae West. West was his favorite person to work with. At the time she was in her late-60's, early-70's, had a mid-20ish "bodyguard", and was utterly and completely professional and dedicated to her work while she was working. He told me that if all actors could be like her, he would have a lot more good memories.

Since I met none of these people, however, I suppose none of this counts.
GKS, they might be brushes with brushes with greatness, but they're good 'uns!

I'd trade meetin' Dubya for this: "David Halberstam, at a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in Chicago a week after the 9/11 attacks."
Oh, Alan. Helen Thomas is a goddess. I'm jealous.
Rich, Dick Van Dyke is a favorite in the ER household, where his sojourn with Mary Tylr Moore is known as Man Fall Down Show, in honor of what a little pre-Dr. ER called the show. :-)
Karen, you got stars afoot! Ya need to getcha a telescope! :-)
Well, and I've shaken the hand of every governor of Oregon since I've been born, with the exception of the present one. Y'know; for whatever that's worth.
Worth a braggin' right or two!
Charlize Theron, Dick Van Dyke. Cool! Two of my favorites.

Like Karen, I tend to walk past them in mindless bliss, until a friend points them out after the fact. Example, I was chatting with a guy at a hotel bar in NYC for about five minutes before someone told me that the guy was Pat O'Brien (Sports commentator, and Entertainment Tonight host). I immediately got the check and bid him and his lady-friend good night.
As I do a bit of politicking for the American Psychiatric Association, I've met Ted and Patrick Kennedy (I hope they don't ever read my blog!) and Sen. John Warner (boring--I was quoted,anonymously, thank god, in a psych news "editorial" as saying "you could put his picture by your bed as a cure for insomnia.") I was probably most impressed with the late Sen Paul Wellstone. Those were all intentional meetings. As to actual chance brushes with fame:
I used to play high school (JV) basketball in Chesapeake (second string bench warmer) and we played often against Alonzo Mourning, I knew him from church activities, and ball at the local Rec center, and we had many mutual friends. He is, by the way, a really nice guy. I caught up with him several years ago when he was in Tidewater, and he treated me as if he'd known me quite well, actually talked old times, although he probably didn't remember one thing about me, except maybe that I was the non-jumping white guy with the ugly hook shot.
I do have binoculars, to watch for killer whales! And spy on people on their boats. And count eagles and herons.
Sadly, I face the uninhabited side of the island, the only building on that side is a small buddhist monastery, and there`s no gossip there, it`s very quiet....
LOL. So, you *are* a snoop! ;-) You just snoop aminals!
Not that it would impress YOU (wink), but I've met Sean Hannity. :)

All my other brushes with the famous have been second-hand. :(


Bush doing the driving into an underground garage is typical. When he came to Omaha a few years ago they literally cleared the streets to and from the airport, blocked it completely, and made sure there were no protestors anywhere who might hold up a sign indicating he was less than loved. It reminded me of stories from the old Soviet Union where they'd do something similar whenever Kruschev or Breshnev or whoever happened to be in power went anyplace.
Yep, mmm-hm.
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