Our 'Riven' Culture

By Carlson, Richard W | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 23, 2012 | Go to article overview

Our 'Riven' Culture


Carlson, Richard W, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


I'm just back from London and four days at Brooks on St. James Street, one of the few private men's clubs left in the United Kingdom, 250 years old and an antediluvian oasis furnished in ancient Toile de Jouy chintz curtains, supple leather chairs, and a waiter in white tie and black cutaway coat serving drinks and coffee in the library into the late night e_SEmD a gratifying refuge from an America (and England) that is clinging by horned fingertips to the rim of the precipice and the advent of the Mob.

Brooks has a colorful wagering reputation. The club has a betting book with entries as early as 1764. One from 1785 notes that Lord Derby has agreed to pay Lord Cholomondeley 500 guineas if Lord C has relations with a lady in a balloon at least 1,000 yards in the sky. No settlement to the bet is recorded.

Just before leaving Washington, I ran into my friend Nichole who had been at the Iowa State Fair.

She said people there cast one corn kernel each in containers marked Romney or Obama, a political tradition in Iowa.

From the first day of the fair, Romney led in the kernel count, though Romney skipped the fair entirely and Obama, who was barnstorming the state, didn't; he came, walked around, spoke and was widely noticed. Paul Ryan dropped in for a speech to generally the same crowd and was enthusiastically received.

Craig Robinson pointed out in The Iowa Republican that the final count, after 11 days of livestock judgments, pie-baking contests and tractor pulls, was a total of 72,216 kernels cast and an easy victory for Romney: Romney's 39,714 to Obama's 32,502, about 55 percent to 45 percent.

President Obama caused law enforcement to surround the Budweiser beer tent "so that he could conduct an 'impromptu' beer summit," said Robinson, who added that Obama "is the butt of a lot of jokes" because of it.

There is something pathetic and too political about Obama trying to sell the electorate on his love of beer -- the drink of millions of working men and women. He plays to this frequently. It is like his dog. He and his wife never bothered to have a dog until middle age when it became politically useful. …

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