I can never forgive Hugh Reynolds for his treachery. Trump can betray an entire nation and I, solipsist that I am, could shrug it off. But this is personal; Hugh betrayed me, a faithful reader. He went on vacation without even a “by your leave!” WTF! And that important meme reminds me of the enormous breadth of his grasp of historical events. In a letter to me Hugh wrote:
“… you may not be aware that WTF dates to World War II, at least. When I was in the
service (1963-65), we routinely ended transmissions with “WTF-Over.” Who knew!
And of course his intimacy with the “great and near-great and never-will-be-great” is well documented. This is a story he tells about Gov. Hugh Carey, no doubt from personal experience:
“Carey stumbled into P.J Clarke’s in Manhattan with his trooper bodyguard, demanding a drink. The bartender refused on the sensible (and legal) grounds that the state’s chief executive was already well-oiled.
“I’m the effin’ governor of this effin’ state and I want an effin’ drink!” bellowed Hizzoner.
“And I’m the effin’ bartender and you’re not getting an effin’ drink,” the bartender shot back. Exit the governor.
And you can take that to the bank. Hugh never lies, Hugh Reynolds that is. I don’t know about Carey.
Hugh’s way with words remains unparalleled:
“ … designated piñata Elliott Auerbach”. No one ever said it better.
And in the same vein: “I got a note from the sixth floor of the County Office Building last week advising there are three things that cannot be hidden: ‘the sun, the moon and the truth.’ They didn’t mention anybody’s butt.” Sheer poetry.
Furthermore I bet you didn’t know the man is generous to a fault. He emailed me with this offer to a major event. (BTW Hugh has entrée everywhere.)
“I can get you a ticket?” he offered.
It doesn’t detract from his generosity that the event was advertised thusly: “Newt Gingrich to Headline Inaugural Breakfast.” It’s the thought that counts, no?
Hugh Reynolds, that steely-eyed, firm-jawed, macho, Ben Hecht prototype journalist —just look at the photo with Hugh’s column — by unceremoniously going on vacation, has left a blank space where we regularly turn for a unique, snarky, insightful look at local politics and pols. Seriously, who else among us could make the continuing spats of Cahill and Hein as riveting as any sports-page coverage of hardcore wrestling?
“I think most folks are sick and tired of this long back-and-forth series of half-truths and accusations. Why not put both these guys in a steel cage and see who comes out alive? Unless Cahill has some kind of secret weapon, like a shillelagh in his pants, I’d bet in that encounter on the younger, fitter Hein.” A shillelagh in his pants? Really?
Hugh abhors vulgarity. He taught me to say “fookin’” so I would refrain from the less musical “f*@k.” And his own euphemisms are legendary as in:
“This story, like a belch in a windstorm, was out and over before most people got a sniff.”
What delicacy to substitute “belch” for … well, you know.
I will leave you with several vintage quotes — pure, undiluted Reynolds, showing his great admiration for our public servants of whom he writes without fear or favor:
“Duffy’s press conference, hastily assembled, featured the same old suits, (followed by a long list of the suits) Blah-blah-blah and blah-blah. Local yokels included the usual suspects, none of whom have had notable success in promoting grass-roots economic development, except for restaurants, drug stores and gas-station makeovers.” Boom!
“If any Republicans were in attendance they were disguised as potted plants. The parking lots were full of Priuses.” Take that! Throwing shade on both Dems and GOP in one go. Genius.
Then he wrote:
“Anyway — as a rule I would read something about a meeting featuring either gent with all the enthusiasm of eating kale … ”
And discussing sex vis-à-vis political preference — if you’re Hugh, you can do anything — he referenced Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Antonin Scalia who were famously great friends though political polar opposites. Hugh discounted any speculation that they were bedmates (I know it’s a ghastly visual, but bear with me.) by writing thusly: “I don’t think Ruth and Antonin could ever get together. He’d push. She’d pull. He’d move right. She’d move left.” Hey, that might actually work, Hugh.
An attentive reader himself, he commented on my repetition — in a letter on property taxes — of the three words below:
“‘Greed, lust and gluttony?’ Twice. Yowser. You must have just gotten your tax bill.
Lust? You mean in fookin’ us?” Yes, Hugh that’s exactly what I mean; the politicos are fookin’ us.”
I hope this homage to our absent hero gives you a taste (for the interim) of some of his work so you do not suffer too greatly from withdrawal.
Actually “himself” dictated that I write this. I was told: “Call my editor, Dan … for a guest commentary spot (My spot!) while I am on extended vacation for the month of June. Feel free to use my name as a loyal (letter) reader.”
I hear and I obey and I get it. Your spot! Now come back, because if you don’t I send the outtakes of our emails to your editor. Word!