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Raspberries!

It seems that everyone loved Carol Channing. One of the nine movies Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy made together was 1948’s State of the Union. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of espionage associated with the Soviet Union in a case prosecuted by Roy Cohn, whose name today might be more recognizable as the attorney for the young Donald Trump.

Are you scratching your head about what these three statements have to do with each other? Fair enough. I was scratching my head trying to figure out how to kick off this column until I wrote them down. But, I’ll leave it to you to connect the dots.

Last week, The New York Times gave us of this headline: “F.B. I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.” So in the midst of the longest Federal government shutdown in our history, confirmation hearings for a new Attorney General and a handful of other stories (Steve King and Karen Pence, to name two), those of us who are not devotees of John le Carre have had to find out what the difference is between assets (both witting and unwitting) and agents (who seem to be always witting).  

But let’s keep it simple. And, I’m quoting myself here: “The Americans are the good guys, and the Russians are the bad guys. And the Americans who work with the Russians are the worst guys of a bad lot.” Perhaps that’s a tad facile, but the operative words are “work with the Russians.” Nuff said.

Then, Nancy Pelosi drops her bomb. Citing security concerns resulting from the shutdown, the Speaker wants to either delay Trump’s State of the Union message or, she helpfully offers, have him submit it in writing. Which makes sense, considering he provided written answers to Robert Mueller’s questions. Nancy’s “helpfulness” and “concern” letter is a masterpiece of passive-aggressive political maneuvering. But not too passive. When asked by a reporter about it, she outlined her rationale and tossed out a throwaway line saying Trump could give the address from the Oval Office. She is to be commended for not suggesting he give it by tweet.

Katharine Hepburn once described Spencer Tracy as a baked potato and herself as an ice cream sundae. I would say Carol Channing was a champagne soufflé. Or maybe just champagne. Fizzy and light and fun. Years after its original Broadway run, I finally got to see her on tour in Hello, Dolly!, but I’d fallen for her years before in Thoroughly Modern Millie.  

As Muzzy Van Hossmere (how great is that name?), Miss Channing stole the movie away from Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore and got an Oscar nomination to boot. Muzzy had a penchant for saying “Raspberries!”, usually for no discernable reason. However, as said by Miss Channing, it might more appropriately have been “Razzberries!”

Maybe we could learn something from Muzzy/Carol. I may have a hard time working up to a completely effervescent reading of that one word line, but I could perfect the more common raspberry where one simply sticks one’s tongue between the lips and blows. I think Nancy Pelosi could help me with that.

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