Nobody asked me, but ...

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Let me express my appreciation to the late and legendary sportswriter Jimmy Cannon, who occasionally wrote a column filled with witty one-liners and random insights, which he called “Nobody Asked Me, But ...”

Now — with oil on its way possibly to $200 a barrel — do you believe Alan Greenspan? In his 2007 autobiography, “The Age of Turbulence,” the former Federal Reserve chairman made more than a few Bush folks angry when he wrote, “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil.”

How bad is the economy? I just heard a rumor that in New Jersey, the Sopranos family was forced to lay off three judges.

America’s premier political humorist, Mark Russell, captures the mixed-race parentage of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama perfectly by describing the Illinois senator as ... the Great Half-White Hope.

I never complain about perkiness or chumminess in a waitress or waiter. What does drive me around the bend is the obviously put-upon waiter who acts like he’s some Hapsburg prince who momentarily will be summoned back to his rightful royal post in the palace.

If you think about it, for nearly a quarter-century since the recession ended in the first presidential term of Ronald Reagan until just recently (with a brief detour during President George H.W. Bush’s lone term), the American economy has grown at a mostly steady clip, with low inflation and historically low unemployment. This means that most voters under the age of 45 have accepted good economic times as a given and not known hard economic times. Will they lay all the blame for this downturn on George W. Bush and his party?

What — in the middle of this confidence-draining national turmoil — will be the public argument for a third consecutive GOP term in the White House? How about, “Why risk changing horses and direction in midstream?”

There was a lot more drinking in Washington, D.C., before May 15, 1978. That was the day I took my last drink. Still, ethnic stereotypes have always bothered me. You know — the humorless German, the drinking Irishman, the haughty Frenchman. But the Norwegians really are nearly mute about their feelings. I knew one Norwegian who was so much in love with his wife that he almost told her.

I cannot take seriously anybody who uses the words “proactive” or “incentivize” or who talks about something called a “paradigm shift.”

Every city magazine in America does a piece about where locally to find the best hamburger. But, if you’re lucky enough to live in California, you’re almost certainly within a short drive to hands-down the nation’s best: In-N-Out burgers! Not only is everything made to order, but the milkshakes are made with real ice cream.

When 70 percent of American voters believe that their children’s lives will not be as full as their own are and have been, then the winner of the 2008 election will be the presidential candidate who — like Ronald Reagan was able to do nearly three decades ago — can effectively and convincingly repurchase traditional American optimism.

With all the debate about “free” and “fair” trade, it’s worth remembering that wages in Mexico are only about 11 percent of what Americans earn and, in China, factory workers are still paid less than $1 an hour. But the Chinese are “livin’ large” when compared to Vietnam, where factory workers make 25 cents an hour for 48-hour workweeks.

When it comes to movie stars, there is Meryl Streep and then there is everybody else.


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