2003-11-21 / Columnists

Boyle-ing Points by Kevin Boyle

Boyle-ing Points by Kevin Boyle

What’s That Funny Smell?

I know, I know, there’s not many more boring things than presidential politics but something amusing occurred at a debate recently that got buried under the usual pabulum. It’s easy to miss something amusing because most of us don’t tune in—and won’t until it might mean something. These guys run campaigns for years (Dick Gephardt since 1988) and it just gets to be a snooze. Are we supposed to be insulted because some newscaster says the American public is apathetic.

Politics is basically just another professional sport. True fanatics follow their sports or politics all year round. In-season and off. Sports fanatics follow every trade, transactions and know all about a team’s draft plans. Most of us are not fanatics; we’re fans. Political fanatics know about things like NAFTA, the Kyoto treaty, the WTO, campaign finance reform, and the issue du jour. For most of us, that stuff just (maybe) rings a bell.

A few hundred people show up at a Dick Gephardt rally; a few hundred others (unless they’re the same people) show up to hear a John Kerry speech. Where do these people come from? Well, it finally occurred to me that it’s their hobby. And hobbies sometimes can draw big numbers. NASCAR, birdwatching, and Yanni escape me but people show up for them. Political rallies, too. So it’s their hobby—and maybe they’re just a little nuts, too. But they get the right to call the rest of us hopelessly uninformed (and some real zealots might say we’re dangerously uninformed). Big deal. I’m a Yankee fan but I don’t know who’s playing second base for their Triple A minor leagues team. That makes me terribly uninformed, too.

The thing is, successful politicians always compromise. They must. You’d think this would temper the enthusiasm of hobbyists. I mean the hobbyists/fanatics go nuts (in the off-season) for a candidate only to be disappointed in the end. I don’t get the appeal.

But I digress.

The amusing thing? Well, the Democratic candidates were as ked if they ever smoked marijuana. (Only 97 percent of the people my age, give or take 10 years, have tried it. The three percent who haven’t apparently run for office). Kerry, Edwards, and Dean said yes. Clark, Lieberman, and Al Sharpton said they never had.

Whoa. Stop the presses. You’re telling me the Reverend Al never took a hit of reefer? The rev who went to Tilden High school in Brooklyn? The rev who was wearing those Super Fly and Huggy Bear pimp outfits well into the 80’s never took a toke? Come on!

I just don’t get it. Why lie about this? Okay, he lied about Tawana Brawley and he says forgot to file tax returns—on those lies you figure he was working an angle. But denying pot smoking? I just don’t get it.

When I sampled a few associates about this—one said, well, did they ask him if he ever smoked crack? Someone else said he might not have smoked, but his waistline suggests an affinity for hash brownies.

A more astute fellow suggested that Al was pulling another fast one: "You’re missing the larger truth he is again illustrating: the press having accepted him as a serious candidate for no reason whatsoever will allow him to say or do anything without comment or ridicule because they are the biggest racists in this picture. At least I think that’s what he was doing; he may have just been stoned."

Boyle-ing over: Speaking of scams. How is that so many colleges can get away with charging what they do. Okay, you figure you’re gonna pay top dollar for a school with a top dollar reputation. But what about so many others? Ever hear of Landmark College? They get $35,000 a year and hold onto your wallet (or your line of credit)—that does not include room and board and/or activity fees. Kenyon College and Bowdoin (10 percent off if you know how to say it) get 35 a year, too. They’re over 40G’s per year if you want the dorm experience.

Well, here’s a tip. Send the kids to Kingsborough for two years and have them transfer in to the pricey places. They get the degree at half the cost.

***Just when it seems kindness and generosity to others have receded to pre-9/11 days, hope and inspiration come from the RIBS.

The RIBS aka the Rockaway Irish Boys are a group of young guys who have great love for the Rockaway community. They’re among those who "never forget" the tragedies that befell Rockaway. They’re conducting a food drive for Thanksgiving. Perhaps you found an announcement from the RIBS and a brown paper bag for canned foods on your doorstep or in your mailbox recently—please give what you can. They’re to be saluted for their efforts—and helped with the drive.

***Braving The Waves is on sale at the Wave office—stop by and check out the museum while you’re at it— and at Sammy’s Variety on Beach 129 Street. Sales of the book help various local causes.

*** After last week’s Wave hit the newsstands, a local conspiracy buff cornered me. Okay, he said, the Claddagh Inn is under a cloud with all sorts of accusations about financial finagling. It couldn’t have anything to do with all the new housing going up, could it? And how the Claddagh is an eyesore and happens to be across the street from the Arverne By The Sea sales office? The Claddagh has been on borrowed time and has been looking for a new home. Seems accusations against its management might be a good way to grease the way for the way for the Claddagh to close with little more than a whimper. Who will defend the Claddagh Inn, who will plead for it to stay open, if it’s under such a dark cloud? Hmmm….

No matter what the real story is, people in need will flock to the Claddagh, particularly on Thanksgiving. So keep them in mind.

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