Archive for May, 2007

Lima Lima at SAR 2006
Pictured above: Lima Lima Flight Demonstration Team perforn at Springfield Air Rendezvous 2006.

If you have enjoyed any of the past 24 Springfield Air Rendezvous airshows from the first in 1983 to the last in 2006, you should attend the final SAR party, this year called “Soar Into Summer” on Washington Street, between Seventh and Ninth, starting at 7. It’s likely the last of the annual fund raising events, and while many will attend to listen to good LOUD MUSIC and because they like beer, I will be there to demostrate my appreciation for thei organization’s efforts over the years and because I like beer. Admission is $6 per person.

The State Journal-Register’s fine front page article today was an unhappy, but well-appreciated, reminder of the looming booming.. Wading into the combination of theĀ  mezzo forte music and air show people is like listening Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump debate Catsup versus Ketchup and drinking the event sponsor’s lager. The beer must be pretty darn good for me to get involved. I’ve attended one “PreVous Party” in my life. Friday will be number 2 for me, and as in the previous incident, about five years ago, I will probably leave when the music begins.. That’s okay. I’ll have paid my money and respects, and said “good bye” to some mighty fine people.

If you care to see some pictures from the 2006 event, visit the AeroKnow link to the right of this posting and click on the link to Springfield Air Rendezvous that will be listed on the web page menu. I will delete them on Junee 24. All pictures taken during my interaction with SAR will remain with AeroKnow. Copies are available to AeroKnow supporters.

Kudos to Kim Curry, probably the hardest working hummin’ bean to sit at a desk at AL Capital Airport during the several years she served as show coordinator and the hundreds of volunteers and SUPPORTERS who made the show go on for 24 years.

Some people pace their lives according to Christmas. But “Christmas” to this stalwart fan, came with Springfield Air Rendezvous. I shall miss the show and its fine people, immensely.

Live long . . . and proper.


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I’m between a roq and dust.

During the past few weeks, I’ve been blessed by a run of substitute teaching days that have generated MANNA — more accurately MONEY for manna — on a two week delay. The check arrives two weeks after turning in the blue card at the pay office. Now, simmering through the final days when school is open, and going two straight days without subbing, what I anticipated would happen is not happening.

For years, I’ve regarded the aviation collection as my ticket to a legacy. And it is. I get hit by a truck this afternoon, the aviation people will remember me more fondly than the poets. That’s okay. I can live with that. Over the years I’ve substituted, engaging students seldomly more than once or twice a week and seldom more than four times a month, I’ve resented the intrusion of sub teaching, and usually focused easily on the myriad tasks demanding my attention the day after a day or two “at school.” Not any more. I’m wondering, like a neglected paramour, what the heck is wrong with me? Two frikking days and nobody wants me. And this is depressing as hell. I’d MUCH RATHER BE with the kids, doing something productive. So many know me, react well to me, and when they don’t react well to me, I can usually figure out what I did wrong. But what a reason to be, interacting with human beings pro duc tive ly provides joy to this grumpy interovert poet.!

And in a few days, they will stop calling at all for the duration of summer. What is my game plan? I’ve been delaying action on a promise to myself and a friend to visit the Illinois employment office on Nirth Street. An acquaintance works there. He could probably help. Normal Mailer isn’t worried. Michael Bschloss, Walt Boyne, Cinda Klickna . . . their writing careers are secure. I’m not gaining on them. But I’m not going to visit the employment office until I KNOW I am done substituting. I am not going to risk making an appointment for a job interview, only to have to cancel it when the sub line calls. Ooo bla dee, ooo blah dah . . . .

Cindy Sheehan who made a new career for herself after one of her children was killed in the Iraq War, has publicly announced she is stepping down from her national soap box. All I know (and I won’t look further into this) is that she’s been frustrated by the chants of “media whore,” and other unhappy expletives. She’s also unhappy because legions of the Democrat Party faithful encouraged and supported her in the early days have turned tail. She apparently said some things which peeved them. Now both sides don’t like her. Sacre bleu!

I wonder if in her early days at center stage, she was more concerned with being a good Democrat Party exemplar than being a peace activist. If she made friends along party lines and then crossed the line, offending some of her pals, I can but imagine her issues were never peace and bringing the troops home. I hope that my efforts, incredibly modest and as far reaching as about three inches from my longest finger on my extended right arm, engages Republicans AND Democrats who speak for peace.

Cindy says she’s returning home to California to be a mother for the rest of her family. This is a surprise. I can’t imagine anyone being a something MORE than a parent. That’s easy for me to say; I’m only an uncle and a brother. My guess is that Cindy became infatuated with the illusion that one can be more than a mother, the way some men fall for the lie that says they can be more than fathers, once the birth of their offspring have taken place. I can’t believe Cindy Sheehan didn’t believe this, and that’s okay; I have not walked a mile in her shoes. But I do believe her return is propitious, that bodes well for her and her family. I wish her only the best. God speed, Cindy. Thank you for your contribution to our shared cause.

Live long . . . . and proper.

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Let’s imagine your name is Robert, a fine name from the get-go. But an associate at work calls you Reeper. Dos this bother you? We all hear the word Robert in our legalized American citizen’s lexicon of modern words, so are you annoyed that a person who has heard the word as it should be prounced, elects to mispronounce it? In 1983 and ’84, Cynthia Posegate, then of Springfield and a major player in the crreation of Springfield Air Rendezvous, pronounced the famous St. Louis beer maker as though it were spelled “Anhooser Bush” at a time when darn near every baseball game broadcast included mention of “Anhiser Bush.” This bothered me at the time, but I said nothing about it to her and her friends/associates. There was so much else to like about her, to comment seemed about as important as complaining about the color of her car.

Even so, it seems to me, some words should be speled and pronounced as their creators and dictionaries (reflectors of consensus; not arbiters of consensus) explain they should be pronounced. One word is the name of one of the largest continents on the little blue marble we call Earth: a continent I like to call Antarctica. My Hammond World Atlas confirms I’m spelling the word correctly. I wonder why intelligent men and women fail to prnounce it correctly.

WGN radio personalities Kathy and Judy (720 AM, Monday through Friday, 9:00 to noon) have a great radio show which I believe would delight Springfieldians who don’t care for babbling hard drinking party anibabes on 970. There voices are so much alike, I can’t tell them apart, but earlier this year, either Kathy or Judy went on a touring excursion to the land way down under, the place most of the world likes to call Antarctica, not to be confused with Arctica, half a world to the north. Her reports during her trip were superb: informative, with gentle humor and music to the ears until she referred to Antartica. She may as well have screamed “As our ship approached within 50 mines of BLAGFART, we saw more life in the water.” I’ve not emailed the show’s otherwise delightful hosts because I’m not mad at Kathy or Judy; just surprised by the consistent speech impediment. It’s not nice to make fun of the handichallenged, and besides, having a top-rated radio show buys you a lot of blind ears.

You can imagine my surprise when Al Gore appeared on Charlie Rose last Thursday evening. I’ve always liked the fellow, applauded his effort to awaken the world regarding the havoc uninformed and malicious people are wreaking upon it, and look forward to reading his new book Assault on Reason when it comes to the local library. But I could not believe his first mention of “Antartica” while discussing the great meltdown of the polar ice caps. I thought perhaps the camera sound gear had hiccupped and it was a technical anomaly, but a few seconds later he did it again!

Al, truth sayer and all-around great hummin’ bean, how COULD you?

I could forgive him if he didn’t know how to wear a baseball cap, or if he wore his sports pants with the belt down around his knees like some icons of society and the youth who worship them, but this was Albert Gore, Junior, son of a senator, a former senator himself. And this was his language, for love of Benji, his own frikking LANGUAGE!

You know, I know, this is the kind of blog rant folks will dismiss as “picky, picky, picky.” That bothers me a mite. During his fab interview Gore talked about cracks in the foundation of American democracy that need to be patched and reinforced if our society is to prosper into the future. I suggest the same about our language, and no, I am not French. And I am not even My Fair Lady’s Henry Higgins who sang, “There even are places where English completely disappears. In America, they haven’t used it for years.” That’s true, Henry. We are the United States of America, the tasty penultimate layer of a great stacked cake of countries called America. I respect intelligent people — and even people who are intellichallenged, like your struly) — who know how to pronounce the language of natural and naturalized citizens of the USA.

SO you may wonder, am I going to write Al Gore’s people a note expressing my hope that he will properly pronounce Antarctica? No.

It would be like complaining about the color of his car.

Live long . . . . . and proper.

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I was old enough to serve in the Vietnam War, but I didn’t. When I thought I was flunking out of Springfield Junior College in December 1965, about a year before it changed its name to Springfield College in Illinois. I visited the Air Force recruiter’s office on west Adams, a few doors west from K-Mart downtown. He was sympathetic to my plight: that I could not live at home after flunking out of school, and for all I knew, Dad (especially) and Mom would feel the same. Only problem was there were 39 enlistees-to-be on a waiting list ahead of me. As number 40, I would not even be able to leave for basic training at Lackland AFB until April.

I even visited a testing center on Fifth Street near The Music Shop between Adams and Monroe where I took some aptitude tests intended to determine my Mode of Service (MOS) options: where I had aptitudes that lent themselves to types of service. A week after the afternoon of tests, I learned I could be trained as an air traffic contrioller, a photo interpreter or . . . . I can’t remember the third. I knew that the air controller MOS sounded good since I could probably use those skills after I had served my six-year enlistment. Things looked good if I could survive my parents after leaving college in abject, ignomonious failure.

My girlfriend (these were years when I had girlfriends) Anita, a talented floutist who duetted with me on guitar at her north side Presbyterian church on a December, was also a cheerleader at SJC. I was not a basketball fan, so on a Saturday night between Christmas and New Years, I picked her up after a big game. WIth her were three nunns in search of a ride back to the convent. It would be the first and only time four celebate (at the time) human beings would occupy a car I was driving. And if your wondering, I was, still, but the floutist had some history. But she was terrific while we lasted.

One of the nunns was Sister Rita, my Spanish teacher. “Well Senor Conger, I look forward to seeing you back in a few days.”

“What? Sister, I thought I was flunking out, based on the grades I’m prestty sure I’m getting.”,

“Have you received anything from school that says you are?”

“No. I just sure as heck would have bet I’m flunking out.”

“You’re on my class list for second semester. Your parents would have known by now if you weren’t going to be with us, so I hope to see you again soon.”

<>So Monday morning, I was fast to my Air Force recruiter, feeling like a traitor, and explained that despite all indications otherwise, I was NOT flunking out. Could I possibly be removed from the list? He grinned and explained since I had not been inducted into the Air Force, it would be no problem coming off the list. “I have 15 more eager beavers wanting to take yoru place!”

Flash forward five months. Things are going okay at school, but I received a dreaded “Greetings” letter ordering me to report to the Greyhound bus station on Sixth at Jefferson (where the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum is today) at 5:00 a.m. in two Saturdays for a free ride to the St. Louis Selective Service Induction Center for a free physical exam and placement on a list of draftees.I will spare you the details of the experience. It was no different from thousands of trips taken by thousands of young men in the spring of 1966, except that I flunked my physical. A serious right eye deficiency was deected. If the enemy shot out my right eye, I could not continue using my left eye, and that would compromise the combat effectiveness of those around me.

They also diagnosed me with a hiatal hernia which could spell trouble if I ever did any heavy lifting. I didn’t even how I had a hernia, though the subject had come up in conversations I heard in the periphery with Mom and Dr. Eveloff. I just didn’t ask them about it because at age YOUNG, I didn’t want to know. Several who had departed their parents’ homes to travel south with me stayed for additional testing the next day. Some left the next day for Fort Leonard Wood for basic training in the U.S. Army. I returned that night to my warm home.

Every six months for about three years, Selective Service sent me queries asking if my hernia had been surgically repaired and advising me to submit a phisician’s statement confirming my current status. This I did religiously.

Flash forrward to the summer 1985, I had produced my fourth successful air show “Official Souvenir Program,” the third for the upstart Springfield Air Rendezvous, and I was touring Springfield “watering holes” with Steven Venters, who had produced the excellent cover art for the ’85 publication. Steve was a veteran of the Vietnam war and a terrific bloke, about my age. At the new Boone’s Saloon at Spring at Edwards, we ran into some friends of his, all Viet War veterans.

In the course of the conversation which followed I shared the story revealed in the preceding paragraphs and confessed to feeling pretty bad for missing the war. In my state of mind, affected by perhaps more beer than the law considered street legal, I felt I had cheated my generation. GUILTY. ASHAMED.

And I was overwhelmed by the reaction of the guys. They were glad to meet me, said they harbored no ill will. After all, I HAD almost enlisted in the Air Force. My physical problems would have been discovered by their physicians as they were discovered by Selective Service a few months later. They told me my guilt over having not engaged the war overseas didn’t matter to them, and I was okay by them.

If anyone wonders why I have never carried banners denouncing the men and women who serve the cause of freedom in American military uniforms, now you know. I believe real Americans can serve their country in many ways. And to this day, everytime I meet individuals I know to be a veteran of our services, I thank them for their contribution to my life.

I hope you will do the same.

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

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Lawd hep me, I took notes during three Sunday news shows.

Based on my earlier proclaimed disinterest in the 2008 presidential campaign, I ALMOST blew off Meet the Press’s hour-long slog with New Mexico’s Governor Bill Richardson. But I’m partial to the name, so I decided to sit a spell. Bill is my brother’s name, and another Bill Richardson was a friend of my brother in the mid 60s when we were still groan up, pun intended. And Bill Richardson was a brother of my good friend Jim Richardson who shared my passion for aviation. So I watched for 20 minutes before blowing it off. What drove me to switch to Fox was a flash of NewMex Bill’s black hole where his integrity should be.

Tim Russert asked him about a protest by the mother of a soldier named Austin who was KIA in Iraq. (I wasn’t taking notes yet, otherwise I could tell you first names. Richardson has been making campaign speeches which described how his conversation with and sympathy for the demised serviceman’s mother led him to increase New Mexico’s compensation for citizens of that state who have died in war. Mrs. Austin denies Richardson had such a conversation as BR describes it in his speeches, demanded he stop using her name and her son’s name in his campaign and demanded an apology for his lies regarding their conversation. Russert asked him if he would apologize.

What should have been a 15 second statement of apology and contrition became two minutes of telling TV viewers how hard he has fought to increase veterans’ death compensation and how he’s fighting for families of veterans today. Russert pressed him, asking if he had mis-represented his conversation with Mrs. Austin. Again he sidestepped the issue and talked about his efforts on behalf of dead servicepersons’ families. Russert asked him if he would apologize as Austin had demanded. Richardson explained he and Mrs. Austin’s memories of the conversation were different. Russert asked if he was sorry that he had said what he had said about the Austins in his speeches. Richardson said he would stop using the Austins’ names in his speeches and that he was sorry. Russert pressed, “Are you apologizing to the Austin family in saying you’re sorry?” (or words to that effect) Richardson said he was sorry that Austin feels badly about her conversation with him! He DID NOT APOLOGIZE to Mrs. Austin! . . . . I had to catch my breath. How hard a heart must this third-rate equivocator have to be so dense and bereft of human empathy and honesty? Who the heck does he think he is? #43?

That was when I began taking notes. Then I switched to Fox and Chris Wallace’s excellent round table discussion with Juan Williams, Britt Hume and a new face whose name I should have noted because she is a first class conversationalist/reporter/analyst.

And at 11 to This Week With George the Greek — ALWAYS a great show; I just can’t spell Stephanopolous.

Jim Gilmore, Republican Party candidate for the nomination to run for president . . . . of the United States of America. I wrote recently how I believe serious attention to the contenders at this time is like predicting the outcome of a basketball contest five minutes after the starting buzzer. Based on what I learned from his interview with George, Mr. Gilmore is not even the fellow who brings towels to the team on the bench. He’s the guy who picks up the used ones and puts them into the dirty towel bin. That’s how much of a player he is in the presidential game. I KNOW Paul Reubens (who played Pee Wee Herman) so believe me when I tell you, Mister GIlmore; you are NO Paul Reubens.

Boxers and briefs are in a wad over the immigration bill. The gutless wonders are shreiking “You can’t deport 11 million illegals back to Guadalacaca!,” so to speak. (Don’t blame me; the name is part of a Firesign Theater comedy routine from the late 60s) To this I recall a Readers Digest anecdote from the 60s when my family subscribed and I consumed every issue as though it was manna. True story: a fellow was pulled over for speeding on the freeway, and as the officer was writing out his speeding ticket, the fellow politely asked him (words to the effect) “Why did you pick on me? There must be a thousand drivers going faster than I was, all breaking the law.” The officer asked him if he’d ever walked into his kitchen at home and discovered five or six flies buzzing around? You take your swatter and you go after them, not to swat every one of them into fly heaven because you know you probably won’t be able to get them all. But you try anyway. And you get what you can.

I wish the priestly politicians would consider the following. SEND THE ILLEGALS BACK BECAUSE THEY HAVE BROKEN THE LAW of the country in which they have chosen to live. It doesn’t matter if it’s legal in MEXICO for its citizens to cross the border into the USA without legal protocol. It is illegal to enter the USA without obeying the law. We passed a law that says drivers may not exceed 65 miles per hour on the highway, and even though people drive faster, our dedicated law enforcement officers do what they can to encourage drivers to obey the law. So what?

So, if we can’t send 11 million law breakers back to the country where they are citizens, let’s send eight million back. Returning eight million is better than returning none.If we can’t return eight million illegal aliens, let us return five million. It will be better than returning none. If we can’t return five million, let us return two million. It will be getter than returning none. If we fail in returning two million, let us return 800,000. It will be better than returning none. If we cannot teturn 800,000 to their homeland, let us return 5,000. It will be better than returning none. If we cannot return 5,000 to the land from which they illegally entered the USA, let us return 47 and the pregnant, unregistered cocker spaniel they call “Family.” It will be better than returning none.And finally, a new low in television advertising.

Toward the end of This Week, viewers were “treated” to a commercial for a “stool softener” which is ingested like an aspirin,, perhaps ideally with a tall snifter of prune juice. I don’t remember the name of the product, but I did take note of its slogan. “It doesn’t make you go. It lets you go.” I wonder if the drug industry, in cooperation with the US Congress could produce an “exit softener” for the president of the USA. Take one of these, your #43-ship. It doesn’t MAKE you bring our brave men and women home. It LETS you bring them home.”

Live long . . . . . and proper.

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Anyone who senses the ironic disparity in the life of a writer who tips his kind of people about politics, the legal citizens’ American language, media, aviation and poetry while playing pay day roulette as a substitute teacher, would do well for the world by considering how this blogger might find the kind of emploment I should have so that I won’t have to continue the seemingly inexorable slow trek to oblivion in which I am now earnestly engaged. OR, if you’re with the electronic media, Do you think it’s nuts that a guy who writes as well as I do should have to earn sub-poverty wages as a substitute teacher? If you do, get me to an employer, OR get an employer to me!

I love substitute teaching; I just need to make a living doing it, and since that’s not going to happen, I need to find a full-time employer who will engage the abilities I demonstrate here at Honey & Quinine.

An aphorism copied last Monday from a poster in a Lanphier High School math class room. “Wisdom is knowing what to do next.” — author unknown.

This year I’ve written four poems while substitute teaching, most recently Friday at a middle grade magnet school on Springfield’s near east side. I will post them soon at my Poems of Job page, linked from the list on the right.

About 2:05 Friday afternoon, as I neared the end of a productive day subbing during the morning at the magnet school mentioned above and in the afternoon at a near southwest middle school, a nifty notion almost swept me off my feet. Mrs. B.P.’s algebra class in that hour was the best class I had encountered over the past 2006/2007 school year, and maybe the best in the six years I’ve sub taught. I was there for Mrs. P. so she could attend a city-wide awards luncheon in which special recognition would be given to teachers nominated for the District 186 (Springfield, Illinois public schools) 2006/2007 Teacher of the Year Award..

At about 2:05, I was so grateful for the natural quiet and focus of some of the best students I had ever encountered that I knew I was going to give them special recognition: just me, a substitute teacher, to a great bunch of students. Many of them recognized me from my previous visits to the school. But my “history” with that room ran deeper.

On Friday at 11 a.m. I had walked into a room I thought I had left for the last time in 1962: my math class taubht by Mr. Cline.It was an incredible rush to be in the same room again. I remembered where I sat in his class: — far left row, third from the front.– and other things from that class during the school year of 61/62. Judi Blount a girl who could light a boy’s heart on fire with the flash of her eyes. How one day during class she turned around, grabbed my pencil from the pencil groove in the foreward part of my desk, apparently erased something on her paper and put it right back where she got it without so much as saying “Hello Job. May I borrow your pencil?” or “Thanks, Job.” or “Thanks.” Judi, if you’re reading this, thanks for the memory. . .Mr. Cline taught us about base two numbers (ones and zeros) and how they made computers work. We learned basic math using base two numbers. There was no clock in his room. In its place was a hand-lettered sign that read. “Time will pass. Will YOU?” And he was a terrific teacher. I wish I had tried harder in his class.

So how would I ackknowledge the better-than-exemplary 27 students I saw? I would draw an illustration of a trophy on the green board at the front of the room. But I couldn’t do it too soon. I wanted to give them time to savor their recognition, but not time to get over it before the bell rang, ending the school day. I had been silently reading the collected poems of Yevgeny Yevtushenko as the students worked, but I could hardly concentrate on his superb writing as I composed a mental picture of what I would write starting about 2:15.

Several students asked me if I’d share the Vachel Lindsay poem The Pet Turtle, which most of the Springfield middle and high schools know me for already. It’s fun. They delight in it, and I delight that they delight in it. So I had told them at the start, that if they behaved well and they did their assignment, we would talk poetry in the final part of class.

The fun began as I sketched a trophy. At the start it looked like a face with big ears, the start of the trophy handles. Someone shouted “A FACE!” and another “GEORGE W” and I replied “NO on both counts!” When they recognized it as a trophy, I could hear the smiles and brightening eyes. And by the time I completed “Best Substitute Teacher’s Class of 2006/2007” on the body of the trophy and below, “Presented by Mr. Conger to Mrs. P_ _ _ _’s Sixth Hour Math Class, May 25, 2007, there was something akin to JOY in that ROOM. A student called to another teacher who was conversing with a staff member just outside our open door. “MISS _____. Please come here. We need a witness!”

She came inside, and I explained what was going on. She wrote to the side. “Witnessed this day at 2:20 p.m.. Miss ____.” The students wrote “SAVE” on the blackboard so Mrs. P. would see it when she returns Tuesday. I wish I could see her face when she pulls up the projection screen and sees what was left brhind Friday aftternoon!

Then it was time for Vachel Lindsay and poetry. I explained it was essential that they NEVER recite poetry the way they will hear most grownups read it from a piece of paper. Then I showed them what I meant. We had fun with Vachel’s The Pet Turtle. On the third go round with it, 20 of the class were chanting it with me. Told them to MEMORIZE poems they liked JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT! I said they would amaze their friends and confuse their parents; sometimes vice-versa. Since we had a few minutes, I taught them a little about Vachel’s The Broncho That Would Not Be Broken and recited it as it SHOULD BE RECITED. Some were visibly affected by the poem, and many of them applauded at the end. I told them they were all bronchos, young colts learning about life, that many times, people would try to “break” them, but they must not let them. One of the students said “But then we’ll die young.” I reassured them, “No you won’t. Remember this poem and do not be broken! Be civilized. Learn all you can and be contributing members of society, but the only way they can break you is for you to allow yourself to be broken.” I took a breath . . . .

The final bell rang, dismissing everyone to the long Memorial Day weekend.

I know I got into my car and started the engine, but coming home, my head was in the clouds and all was serene and right with the world.

Live long . . . . . and proper.

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The most engrossing, best-produced, most enjoyed Charlie Rose show I’ve watched concluded 10 minutes ago. I hope you will watch it when it is re-broadcast on Springfield, Illinois’ Public Broadcasting System’s WSEC Channel 8 TV Monday, May 28 at 12:00 noon. If you can’t be near a TV then, tape or TIVO it if you can. Visit the Charlie Rose web site listed in the menu on the right of this column to order a copy of the May 25 broadcast.

An hour and 10 minutes ago, I did not imagine I’d be posting the above invitation here at H & Q. Sure, I was tuned into the show as I always am at 10:30 Monday through Friday. When I heard Al Gore would be the guest for the hour, I almost came to the office to write the blog essay I intended to post tonight. But when I learned in the intro that the program was taped at the 92nd Street Y the previous night, I changed my mind. A minute into the interview and I knew not only I would stay for the show, I would urge you to watch the repeat Monday.

I did not want to sit through more innocuous chit chat about Albert Gore Jr.’s plans to run for president. And I didn’t have to. The concersation was far-ranging, intelligent, animated, funny occasionally, and illuminating. Gore, dressed in black on black, an almost clergy-esque ensemble, is an arrestingly dignified, and disarmingly natural presence with a live audience in front of him. Cameras didn’t give a second’s glimpse of the audience, which is absolutely okay. The show was on stage. The questions from Rose and a few read from cards submitted by the audience were hardballs every one. “Hardball” should not carry a negative connotation and doesn’t when “pitched” to the person at the plate who knows how to respond fast on the feet and consistently hit them out of the ball park. Al Gore is that kind of interviewee.

I have not explained much about the questions asked because I want YOU to tune in Monday. I MUST report about one question, submitted by someone in the audience. Rose gave Gore the card and invited him to read the question aloud, and edit it if he liked. Gore read “What youlld it take to get you to run for president?” and two seconds into his answer, Rose interrupted him and took the card back. He read the question as it was written. “What would it take for you to run for president on a Gore/Obama ticket?” To learn the answer, watch the program Monday. I have a hunch you may read about it in the newspapers before then.

I believe that the Democratic Party candidate for president of the USA has not yet thrown his/her hat into the ring.

Live long . . . . . and proper.

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