Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Glimpse into Political `Star Wars' of Future

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Glimpse into Political `Star Wars' of Future

Article excerpt

When I finally caught up with Jimmy Ray Bob, his eyes were red, his bib-overalls wrinkled, and in his pocket was a wad of cash that would choke a cow.

"Yeah, bubba," he said. "Best business I've ever done."

"What are you talking about, Jimmy Ray?" I asked.

He looked at me as if I had just flown in from Mars and had no idea what was going on in the world.

"I was down at Tinseltown USA all night," Jimmy Ray said between yawns. "I set up my stand there."

Now I understood -- the stand.

"Look," Jimmy Ray said, "I had peanuts that had been genetically altered so every one of them was shaped like Darth Vader. I boiled those babies up and those Star Wars fans sucked them up like geese going through corn.

"And the velvet paintings of Luke Skywalker as a matador, well, I could have sold a million of 'em."

This was all fine and good, but I had to change the subject. After all, I hadn't come to talk to Jimmy Ray, the guru of all things political, about Star Wars but about, well, politics.

"I'm sure the night was profitable," I said, "but let's talk politics. Have we entered the dark side, with the city elections now over, where nothing is going on?"

"Pshaw," Jimmy Ray spat. "Politics and the Force are alike. They are with us always."

"For instance?" I asked.

"Well," he said, "making the most waves on the political gossip circuit now is Harry Shorstein.

"It's no secret that our state attorney covets a federal judgeship. He toiled mightily for such a job in 1993 but failed to get it.

"With the retirement of William Terrell Hodges from the bench, there's another opening. This may be Shorstein's last shot.

"Of course, he's a Democrat and Democrats in national office are becoming scarce as hens' teeth. If Shorstein is to get the nod, it will have to happen while there's still a Democrat in the White House."

Jimmy Ray unbuttoned his bibs, sat down on his rocking chair and rubbed his massive belly. I think he must have eaten some of the Darth Vader peanuts himself. …

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