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The well dried up quite a while back and damn it all I just don't think I can squeeze any more blood out of these turnips that were my solitary inheritance.

All the mandatory topics are just too tiresome now. I mean, how many news cycles in a row can you flog poor old Hillary Clinton for confusing memory and imagination and still care yourself, much less expect anybody else to care what your idiot old ass thinks about it?

Not that this comes as any surprise. The nowadays novels suck, the non-fiction is garbage, the poetry hobbles on bloody stumps, so-called editors are all failed bartenders and masseurs – so why should there be success in the lower-aspiring inky arts, if you can call this jerking-off trade adjunct an art?

Maybe you could call it that once. Before somebody, perhaps himself, hatched the absurdity that what Buckley said might be as meritorious as how. But no more, no more, God help us here in the American dusk of Thomas Sowell, Cal Thomas, and their imitator legion, and in the fungal parochial must of those poor numb atomic-wedgied op-eders and lifestylers at the AD-G.

It's a rare Highway Dept. patching crew that doesn't do a better job of filling a hole.

For instance after you've unburdened yourself of the following, you ought to be able to just sit down and shut up: It's not about oil. It's not about terrorism. It's not about whether you want Jesus or Mohammed as your escort into eternity. It's about having the world's greatest country and being powerless to keep stupid, loutish people from taking control of it, squandering its influence, finally defining it.

But having said that wheelbarrowful, the occupational vicissitudes require additional truckloads of promiscuous fill. Aye, you could restate your manifest 20 times in the given space like an old forgetful obsessive-compulsive telegrapher, but the most benign consequence of that would likely be to win you a reputation as a slacker. Either that or oblige you to take a 95 percent cut in pay. Reruns being acceptable, even preferable, on TV – but in the paper considered bad form, a kind of misdemeanor gyp, an ominous conceit, or at best evidence of indolence or compositional constipation — notice of attempts at them to be entered upon your permanent record.

OK, I think part of the reason for the rambling here, the circumlocution, or chaos, might be this: lightning struck just outside my open bedroom window last night and ever since there's been a certain agitation, a kind of electro-chemical dance, going on amongst my synapses. I'm beginning to think of it as a case of home delivery of a gotcha bolt by the April Fool. I apologize for it but what am I supposed to do?

Something else I just remembered: I recently encountered an old acquaintance, now a charismatic, who barked at me for what seemed half an hour in the Unknown Tongue. I don't know, religious ecstasy or epilepsy, who can tell? I couldn't even get the gist of it but I sensed reproof, and it left me unsettled and not as attentive as usual to such matters as maintaining structural integrity and keeping one's train of thought on the express track and off of sidings. Too, hard to admit but undeniable, senility has commenced to cat-feet up the ol' moi horizon.

Do you think there were people in Old Rome who were embarrassed at what the future would think of them that they had allowed inbred pervert thugs and monsters to take rule of them, corrupt their reputation, and finally poison their memory? I expect there were, but people who are ashamed would rather not have to explain to posterity. It's trouble enough explaining to yourself, or to those looking to you for suggestions.

Bush is the decider and I gather my assignment is to be one of the suggesters. Me and Robert Novak and Ann Coulter and them. A slew of us. There are some honorary suggesters, too, such as the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group, ignored by the decider except when he's in need of a few laffs.

Turned out the decider had more stamina for deciding than I did for suggesting, my last being as I remember that whoever thought up the duct-tape Homeland Security bunker should be invited to fold one of the sons-a-bitches five ways and stick it where the moon don't shine. What would be the point of my suggesting further? To bolster you'uns of the dwindling tirelessly sane element? Negatory, good buddy, there's hardier and less wheezy support for you abroad, much of the locally available quotient regularly appearing in these very pages.

Faculty may scatter but there's no flagging of heart, far as I can tell. Remedy is Out There, I'm still confident. I know for a fact, for example, that I could go down here to Karla's coffee shop at any hour of any day that it's open and pick out from among the loiterery there at least four stalwarts any one of whom would make a better president than John F. McCain, Barack F. Obama, Hillary F. Clinton, or Ralph F. Nader. Even if you told me that none of my four picks could be relatives of mine. Or fellow Campbellites. Or known sots.

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