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From the Assmunch mailbag ... 

Q. We’ve heard from just about everybody else on the matter, so ’fess up, Assmunch, you devil: You’re the real father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby, aren’t you?

A. No, I never knew Anna Nicole — in any sense of the word, especially in that sense of it. She was a hoot once but fate is inconstant as a sugar daddy. I liked her better when she was fat, but it’s often the case with movie stars, ex-governors and the like that they grim up as they slim down. Huckleberry, as Grassley calls him, had his jolly aspect once, but turned out with him too that the yocks were all in the suet and about all you get from the shrunken version now is testy.

Britney’s neither, by the way.

To answer another semi-related question in your letter, no, the word embedded, as in embedded correspondent, doesn’t mean that the correspondent is sleeping with whoever he or she is embedded with. It has nothing to do with beds.

Now let’s move on.

Q. I want to celebrate Presidents Day like everyone else, but in good conscience I need to mark seven of the sorry ones off my list. Can I do that, or is it against the law?

A. The protocol is, each president gets 38 minutes of your Presidents Day celebration time, but you can skimp on some of the lesser ones and use the time to extend your commemoration of the others. For example, I always pass up the jigger of cider for Pierce in order to take aboard an extra gourd of corn for Lincoln. I think it’s altogether fitting and proper to do that.

Q. Do you think all this cold weather is the result of global cooling, el nino, this being the end times, or what?

A. I don’t know, but it sure is hard on a person of my description — the rugged outdoor type. Hunkered here at the hearth under all manner of afghans and Nyquil for weeks on end is not for ol’ moi. I want to be out there slaughtering game, baling hay, chopping down giant trees, bumping weaklings off the sidewalk, slapping down the Equal Rights Amendment, and other manly such pursuits. Hark to Rough Rider days when polar explorers called it a heat wave if they went a day without losing digit or appendage to the jackbite, and here I’m reduced to hiring somebody to dogsled down to the end of the driveway to fetch the mail. And to hurry down to the Mad Butcher for milk and bread at first report of the White Stuff — or “the S word,” they’re calling it now — on the way. Jeez.

Q. Seriously, now, do you think we’re really contemplating invading Iran?

A. My guess it that Iran was the intended target in the first place, and that a momentary distraction caused an errant keystroke that changed an n to a q and screwed thousands. No other scenario makes much sense. Surely we wouldn’t have come this far down this awful path on purpose.

Q. What do you think of the Arkansas legislature dissing Thomas Paine, voting down a modest commemorative resolution because he wasn’t enough of a religious fanatic to suit them?

A. I think these are the times that try men’s souls. And sane people’s patience. Here’s a pertinent quotation from “The Rights of Man”: “The provincial assemblies, as a rule, don’t know their arse from a hole in the ground.”

Q. I’m in the Third Grade and we’re studying your state of Arkansas in our class. What are you people known for?

A. We are known for our diamonds, our mineral water, our whetstones, our radio comedians, our country-music singers, our wild swine, our third basemen, our philandering politicians, our go-getters, our rubes, our phantom woodpeckers, our slow trains, our mass murders, and the Concatenated Order of the Hoo Hoo, which is a long story not worth going into.

Our state is mentioned in “Moby Dick,” which is the name of a whale and not a president known for his embeddings. The reference in that classic work of literature isn’t to the Arkansas whaling industry, never one of our economic mainstays, but to our earlier propensity to kill one another with large knives, usually in taverns, but sometimes on the floor of the state legislature.

Q. I’ve heard of a proposal to require all public officeholders to post blogs. What do you think?

A. It might be all right if they were required by law to post only the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And you’d need to make lying on a political blog punishable in some suitably horrible manner — say by requiring the perp to suck Dick Morris’ toes.

Q. I see by the morning paper that you can get yourself a skybox or some of those expensive midfield seats at a Razorback game, and, if you call it a charitable contribution, use most of the cost as a tax writeoff. That means us poor sons-a-bitches who can’t even dream of 50-yard-line tickets are pretty much buying rich people’s luxury stadium seating for them. That can’t be right, can it?

A. No, it’s not right. May be a fact, but it’s not right.

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