P.J. was both quotable and funny | Mann Overboard

Bill Mann
Posted 4/8/22

Not laughing: We lost a funny writer recently. Arguably the best humorist of our times. That’s important. 

P.J. O’Rourke is but one example why most of my book reading in these …

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P.J. was both quotable and funny | Mann Overboard

Posted

Not laughing: We lost a funny writer recently. Arguably the best humorist of our times. That’s important. 

P.J. O’Rourke is but one example why most of my book reading in these afflicted times is humor: O’Rourke, Christoper Buckey, Joe Queenan, Carl Hiaasen, to name some. 

My personal credo: Those of us who know life’s a tragedy think it’s a joke. 

I’m an intermittently salaried humorist and have appreciated O’Rourke’s humor since his days at the beloved National Lampoon. The title of his novel about Congress remains a classic: “Parliament of Whores.” 

I’m currently reading O’Rourke’s last book, “A Cry From the Far Middle: Dispatches From a Divided Land.” Highly recommended if you want to turn that proverbial frown upside down. P.J. was/is a national literary treasure: A conservative who’s clever but not mean-spirited. 

A few O’Rourke-isms: 

— “What this country needs is fewer people who know what this country needs. We’d be better off, in my opinion, without so many opinions.” 

— “It’s time for the rise of the extreme moderate whose non-negotiable demand is: We won’t compromise until we see some compromising.”

— “Animal rights are important, but what about animal responsibilities?” 

— “Hang an ‘Immigration Is Ruining America’ placard around your neck and see how you get treated by restaurant staff, Uber drivers, the people who change your hotel linen, and your immigrant grandparents.” 

Open one of O’Rourke’s books … and try NOT smiling. 

— Go to a Port Townsend High track meet at Blue Heron. Who are the folks standing around with stopwatches? As one wag put it, “These are the souls who time men’s tries.” 

— Seeing the aircraft carrier Nimitz sail by the other day en route to Bremerton brought back boyhood memories. We were the only Army family stationed at Pearl Harbor then, and Dad would often take us down to the water to see which big carriers were docked that week. Among them: the Enterprise, Oriskany, and Forrestal. And I still remember the old “Navy Log” TV series with its magnificent Richard Rodgers soundtrack. 

— Baseball is back, and were I a National League fan (I’m not a baseball fan at all any more) I would miss paying to see pitchers hit. How many decades did it take for the NL to finally adopt the designated-hitter rule? Too many to count.

I did, however, cover a National League team in my sportswriting days, the now-relocated Montreal Expos. Best thing about that gig was my getting the last-ever interview of the legendary Jackie Robinson granted. (Robinson was part of the Expos’ broadcast team.)

— Baseball season and current events call to mind David Letterman’s classic home-run call: “That missile is headed to Moscow!” 

— Donald of Orange’s supposed hole-in-one recently reminds me of Rick Reilly’s very funny — also highly recommended — book about Commandante Bonespurs’ misdeeds on the golf course, “Commander in Cheat.” Reilly: “If Trump is a low-handicapper (a good golfer), Queen Elizabeth is a pole vaulter.” 

— If you hadn’t noticed, forms of the verb “to be” are verboten at ABC News. Sample: “American troops now returning to their bases.” BTW, this former TV critic refers to that mediocre newscast as “The David Muir and Ginger Zee News,” after the ever-present meteorologist and pretty-boy newsman. 

— If you have a few dollars to give to local charity, you could do no better than granting it to ECHHO, which gives away scores of wheelchairs, walkers, canes, etc., each month, saving local disabled people thousands of dollars. I’m both a recipient and donor. Many thanks to Sarah, Walt, and Rich at ECHHO. Send donations to 1110 Jefferson St., or volunteer as a driver, or both. 

— Echoes of the thuggish Will Smith on Oscar night, from Twitter: “Trump conspired with the Russian government to steal an election, blackmailed the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on his political rival, sexually assaulted dozens of women, committed tax fraud, and incited an insurrection… but nobody slapped him.”

— Finally, small-rodent humor from sicko comic Bobby Slayton: “I took my kid’s hamster to the vet. He told me, ‘Isn’t this a bit like fixing a Bic lighter?’”

(Amused? Outraged? Do let resident humorist Bill Mann know: Newsmann9@gmail.com.) 

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