December 10, 2012

Letters to the editor: 'Lincoln' and Leboutillier inspire awe

I've been hearing and reading a lot about "Lincoln." We finally saw the film. My hand to heaven, it's right up there with "The Godfather" and "Annie Hall."

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Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln.

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Toby Leboutillier as himself.

The passion with which Daniel Day-Lewis immersed himself in the role paralleled the passion for which Lincoln embraced the presidency -- if not the sanctity and rightness of the 13th amendment. You imagine that Lincoln would have done the job for naught. But he was, in fact, in a difficult marriage -- and no doubt obligated to cash his paycheck.

After the movie, while waiting for a pizza, I reflected on Bill Nemitz' Sunday column which, albeit shorter, was as adept a piece of writing as Tony Kushner's "Lincoln" script. Nemitz dons his hat to Toby Leboutillier -- whose last radio broadcast of "Down Memory Lane" aired on MPBN Friday. (It will exist online, henceforth.)

This charming weekly retrospective was apparently self-produced by Leboutillier -- gratis. His passion for music fueled his penchant to sit down on Fridays to rifle through his extensive record collection -- for the sheer joy of it.

I am in awe of people like this -- whose passion for doing admirable and heartfelt work supersedes a salary, benefits, parking privileges -- or permission. They just do it. Because they love it -- and we love them.

Notably, Nemitz cites Leboutillier signing off with Hurricane Smith's classic '70s query: "Oh Babe (What Would You Say?"). Give yourself a small Christmas gift -- Google "Hurricane Smith" and watch his (Johnny Carson) appearance on YouTube performing this lilting little love song. Like me, it must've touched Nemitz somewhere warm inside -- escorting him back to a happy time or a pleasant memory.

Wouldn't you say that's what Christmas is all about, babe?

Buddy Doyle


Voters choose a free ride; country to fall like Hostess

As of Nov. 6, the voters have spoken loud and clear.

Now, the U.S. has pivoted 180 degrees, and officially, there are more citizens riding in the government's wagon than pulling it.

Why do I get the nagging feeling that this administration has been running Hostess for the last four years? And look what happened to them. What do you think it'll be like when our "Twinkies" come home to roost?

Dennis Gervais


Why didn't senators ask the unanswered questions?

There they stood: Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and the newcomer, Kelly Ayotte, Republicans all, and all three "troubled" and unanimously bewildered by the lack of answers to a host of questions they had apparently failed to ask of our ambassador to the U.N. and the acting director of the CIA, during their unprecedented hour-long t?-?? arranged specifically to do just that.

Not to be out-publicized, now our own junior senator, having been extended that same extraordinary courtesy, seems equally "troubled" by those pesky "many questions that remain unanswered." Did Sen. Susan Collins also forget to ask those questions when she had the exclusive opportunity to do so?

And then, in a stunning mind-leap backward in time, Collins implied a connection between Ambassador Susan Rice, the Benghazi affair and terrorist attacks that took place in Africa 14 years ago when the ambassador held a State Department appointment in the Clinton administration. Really, 1998?

I suspect that we may learn what was known in due course, but only at a time and in a manner that informs but does the least amount of harm. The wild speculation, the conspiracy theories, the political claptrap that is polluting our national discourse has little to do with Libya, and long ago became an unnecessary and unseemly, politically motivated distraction.

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