Saturday, February 10, 2007

Holy cow! If that huckleberry Irving "Lewis" Libby really wants to be called "Scooter," how about first we get a look at him laying down a bunt, huh?


I've been taking a lot of heat for regularly referring to Irving "Lewis" Libby as Irving "Lewis" Libby, instead of something like I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. (Okay, okay, nobody's said a word about it, at least not in my hearing. But I'll bet it's been on the tip of somebody's tongue, and then something happened, like maybe their phone rang and it was a telemarketer offering a wonderful opportunity on their RiffRaffCard credit card, and our Irving totally slipped their mind.)

Actually, there are several important points of principle here:


Don't you wonder about people who can't stand to use their real name? Like as if you can be somebody other than who you really are just by calling yourself something different.

As it happens, back in Howie's and my Brooklyn days, the father of one of our best friends was named Irving. This wasn't exactly shocking in a heavily Jewish neighborhood, but neither was it something you would brag about. It would have been more colorful, certainly, if he'd been called, I dunno, "Lance" or "Flash." Nevertheless, he was an honest, hard-working man who with his wife raised three healthy children, one of whom went on to play Nero Wolfe remarkably well on TV. (No, that's not our friend. It's his brother Maury.)


This business of using your first initial and middle name is pretty suspicious in its own right. I've compiled the following list. It may not be absolutely comprehensive, but I believe it proves my point:

J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist whose "name has become almost synonymous with the atomic bomb" (I read that online). And then just look at the trouble he got himself into.

J. Fred Muggs, the chimpanzee who used to appear with Dave Garroway on the old (i.e., way-pre-Jeff Zucker) Today program, and as I recall had to be sent away on account of biting people, or somehow not being as cute and cuddly as they liked to pretend.

J. Pierrepont Finch, the scampish young protagonist of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, known to his friends as "Ponty," who connives, finagles and finally blackmails his way from the mail room up the ladder of the World Wide Widget Corp. and probably doesn't even believe that "there is a brotherhood of man, a benevolent brotherhood of man," but just sings it to get himself out of trouble.

Not exactly an enviable record, is it? And that's assuming you've got the right first initial for it, which is apparently "J."


You remember the time Lou Grant did something so bad that Mary Richards shocked him by calling him "Lou" instead of "Mr. Grant"? And then decided that even "Lou" was too good for him, that he deserved to be called "Louis"--with that final "s" sound lasting a couple of extra seconds beyond the name itself, as if it were written "Louisss" or "Louis-s-s-s." And Lou, deeply ashamed, recalled that his mother had done the same thing when he was bad, called him "Louis-s-s-s."

Well, you're a big boy now, Lewis (or Lewis-s-s-s), and I'm sure you gave your dear mother as much aggravation as any one poor old mom could be asked to endure, and she returned it in kind with a boyhood's worth of humiliation. But you're a big boy now, with your own personal history of professional toadying, perjury and obstruction of justice. Remembering Nero Wolfe's heated feud with J. Edgar Hoover and his intelligence-gatherers, I think Wolfe would dismiss Irving and all his pals with a "Pfui!"

Anyway, Irving, it's time to get over the "Lewis" thing!


Now, as to this business of calling you "Scooter," I say, "No way, Irving."

Everybody knows that the Scooter is Yankee legend Phil Rizzuto, the team's onetime MVP shortstop--and famously skilled bunter--and longtime inimitable broadcaster. Like you, Irving, the real Scooter didn't always bring impeccable logic or clarity to the subjects he addressed, but he has always been accompanied by decency and humanity, and often by cannoli (usually referred to as "cannolis") supplied by friends or admirers. You could always fantasize that one of those cannolis might be left uneaten and somehow become available for you.

When the real Scooter was talking, he could suddenly be telling about the time (during his rookie year, wasn't it?) when his paisan Joe DiMaggio asked him at the last minute to fill in at some kind of church breakfast he was scheduled to attend (apparently DiMag did a lot of that sort of thing), and he--tiny of stature for a professional athlete and still virtually unknown--had to face a crowd of parishioners expecting to meet the great Joe D, and he was looking across this basement space when he saw, coming down the stairs, first a pair of legs and then the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. And you realize he's telling you the story of the first time he laid eyes on the woman who turned out to be his Cora.

No, we all knew the Scooter, and our Irving is no Scooter. To use perhaps the most famous Scooterism, holy cow! I always thought spring training was officially under way when the Scooter called his first game, on either TV or radio (back when the same team did both), and we encountered the first "holy cow" and "huckleberry" (as in "that huckleberry!") of spring.

It turns out that "holy cow" was swiped from another legendary baseball broadcaster, Harry Caray. But "huckleberry" is still available if our Irving is interested. Hey, Irving "Lewis," you huckleberry, would you rather be known as Irving L. "Huckleberry" Libby?


At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seems to be a tendency among the neocon types. (L.) Paul Bremer née Lewis Paul Bremer III comes to mind.


At 8:32 PM, Blogger MnMnM said...

Recent clues point to Abbott and Costello as original architects of Plame Leak.
Grand Jury testimony of Scooter Libby, former Chief of Staff of the United States (COSTUS) for the Vice President, leaked by Rove-ing reporter (humor).

It is posted at: Libby Knows who Leaked First

Bobbing and weaving, a tangled web we do. Book him, Danno.
Please keep my identity a secret. Double super Secret.
Middle-aged, Middle-of-the-road, Mid-Westerner

We can only hope that Fitz doesn't fizzle.
I think Mr. Fitzgerald's motto should be: "If you do a white collar crime then you will serve blue collar time." Look where he lodged Judith Miller. A few months in a blue collar jail and she was ready to sing. Unfortunately, she says she forgot the words

The Times & Post They Should Be A-Changin

Bloggers Request:

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the Times & Post should be a-changin'.

Good Bye Sulzberger, Keller, Miller, and Woodward!

Fitzgerald's response:

Come politician's, journalists
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled

There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the convictions, they are a-comin'.

--Bob Dylan
Perhaps for Rove?

At 11:41 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Libby is out of luck with huckleberry. Val Kilmer beat him to it. ;-)

At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno. I suppose it's preferable to Victor Davis Gluteus Maximus Halitosis Hansen, but not by much.


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