"Where Top-Hat, Red-Carpet Service is Practically A Motto!"

ISSUE 35:  Early late January 99...the SICK LEAVE issue.


WIT MEMO hates to call in sick  --. why waste a perfectly good day of leave when you're not feeling well? -- but this week we've been laid low by a textbook case of the ol' bullhead FLU that at one point had us stretched out on the bathroom floor, begging to be shot ... an unfamiliar sensation when we're stone cold sober!  We were so hurtin' that it wasn't until tonight that we could manage touching up the few notes we jotted down during last Saturday's episode of the Senate impeachment trial and the presentations by the House "managers" before we went belly up.  And when folks used to windbag speechifying rarely seen by the public are given a worldwide stage and basically no time limit, it's like, Katie, bar the door!  A few points:

o    This whole deal is a LOT more serious than we'd originally thought!  Turns out, it's not just about lying . . . it's a case of . . .  MURDER!  Maybe the house managers have seen that video JERRY FALWELL was hawking a few too many times, but they just can't stay away from the homicide metaphors:  First, earlier in the week, JAMES SENSENBRENNER or someone asked rhetorically whether a MURDERER would be excused from impeachment on account of it not being a public act.  Then, on Saturday, STEPHEN BUYER (pronounced BOYER) accused POTUS of having "murdered" the English language via his tortured, "who, me?" explanations ... "Murdered!  Murdered!" he cried over and over.  Girlfriend, if murdering the language was a crime, three-quarters of the people in this town would be in the crossbars hotel!

o    But Representative Boyer's best moment came near the end of his presentation, when, in utter solemnity and with a straight face, he admonished POTUS with the words of second President JOHN ADAMS that "facts are stubborn things... they keep POUNDING, they keep COMING."  Uh, HELLO Mr. Boyer, but, don't you think POTUS pretty much already knows all there is to know about pounding and coming?

o    LINDSEY GRAHAM tried a folksy approach, but his attempts at rubber-chicken circuit patter fell flat.   (We knew we were in for it when Graham assured us that "we'll be talking about values in a minute.")  "I'm not going to be so presumptuous as to tell you that I know more about what you do than you do" he opened, and then paused as if expecting laughter or applause, but none came.  Backpedaling, he tried a little lawyer bashing, joking that "it's hard to sit and listen to twelve lawyers," again to no effect; that line might play in Peoria, but it was lost on the lawyer-heavy Senate.  Damp with flop sweat, he finished up by stating that the big lesson of this whole mishigas is "Don't lie under oath."  WIT MEMO suggests that the real lesson is KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS.

o    Finally, Graham's assertion that this case involves "every manner you can cheat in a lawsuit" gives POTUS too much credit ... surely there must be some OTHER ways left to cheat in a lawsuit?

o    BATTLE OF THE THIRD GRADERS:  Hot on the heels of the news that a third grade teacher would be among POTUS's guests at the State of the Union address, House Judiciary Chairman HENRY HYDE wrapped up the case for impeachment by reading  a letter from a 3d grader suggesting that the President be forced to write a 100-word essay on "why it's wrong to lie," an essay that ten-year old WILLIAM SUMMERS had to write after his Dad caught him in a lie and he'd pleaded "but the President lies!"  "If we cannot believe the President, then who can we believe?" he asked.  (Don't worry, young William, it's only because you're in 3d grade that you expect honesty from politicos.)   And Dad demanded, how are we supposed to tell our children not to lie if the President gets away with lying?  That Dad just isn't trying ... WIT MEMO may not have any kids, but this one isn't even hard: "Young man, if you grow up to be President someday -if you straighten up and fly right, do as your told, do your homework, pick up your room, no desert till you've finished your mashed potatoes- THEN you can tell all the lies you want.  But for NOW, you're living in THIS house, you're a part of this family, and THIS family is NOT a democracy!"  (WIT MEMO suspects that parents are behind the kids-letter-to-politicians movement for their own aggrandizement; what 3d grader says, "Hmmm, I think I'll write to the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee"?)

And oh ....  There was no word from Chairman Hyde on whether they're willing to let POTUS off with writing that 100-word essay.

o     And FINALLY, THIS HAS GONE TOO FAR. . . They can impeach the President all they want, but when this circus of superheated oxygen preempts the EDDIE STUBBS SHOW on WAMU 88.5, it's time to put our foot down.  You can watch this magillah on any cable and news channel, all week long, but that CLASSIC "DEEP CATALOG" COUNTRY AND BLUEGRASS FROM THE 40s, 50s, and 60s only happens once a week!  Unless C-Span is willing to start playing JEAN SHEPHERD's "Many Happy Hangovers to You," or "Brown to Blue" by the Old Possum GEORGE JONES, we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!


WIT MEMO's recent musings on what the witness portion of the Senate trial would be like wound up quoted on THE NATIONAL JOURNAL'S "HOTLINE" on January 7, as part of their "Last Call" feature!!   Like we've always said: Even a blind pig manages to stumble across an acorn once in a while!


A most beautiful and rare natural phenomenon occurred in the DC area last Friday night.  Freezing rain on Thursday left the branches of all the trees coated with a veneer of ice.  Friday was cold and dry; later that day, strong winds arose, bending the branches and shattering the ice, which fell to the ground in great quantities while retaining the shape of the branches.  That night, under the streetlights and in headlights, it appeared as though the streets and sidewalks were littered with glittering shards of glass, broken pipettes and test tubes.  They crunched and shattered under foot, just like that scene in "ROBOCOP" where the PETER WELLER character treads on smashed test tubes and beakers when busting the cocaine factory.  It was an amazing scene of incredible beauty (the ice, not the movie, silly) one that WIT MEMO can't recall ever having seen before.  How many years till next time?


    STEPMOM:   Rich man dumps wife, takes up with younger woman, also rich.
    AT FIRST SIGHT:  "I see," said the blind man.
A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:  This issue of the WIT MEMO was brought to you by METALMUCIL . . . the NATURAL laxative and roughage source made from steel shavings, shards, burrs, filings, parings, screws and scraps.


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