- The Washington Times - Monday, November 6, 2000

Sexy Al

"Perhaps I am a man who knows too much about Al Gore … consider the following tidbits of information, all released within the past several months or so:

"We know he's able to lip tall spouses in a single bound, earning continued praise and good-natured catcalls as well as the occasional hiss along the campaign trail… .

"We know that he's a sleeping-in-the-buff buff, if his wife Tipper's comments to NBC's Claire Shipman while flipping through a photo album have been reported accurately. 'That's part of his personality. That's the way he was when he was 17, when I met him,' Tipper said. 'That was something I liked in him, handsome, sexy, a little reserved. Watch out, America.'

"We know, thanks to … this month's now-infamous Rolling Stone interview with Gore, that when the periodical put him on its cover, company artists had to retouch the front of his pants to present his vice-presidential endowment properly… .

"And now, thanks to a Reuters report of a chat he had … with talk show host Queen Latifah, I know that when it comes to women, Gore prefers lace to leather."

George Kelly, writing on "Al Gore tells Queen Latifah what he likes," Nov. 1 in Salon at www.salon.com

Original Allen

"[Steve Allen] had a show called 'Meeting of the Minds,' in which actors played historical figures in a round-table discussion of the Big Ideas. Allen hosted the show in black tie, while the guests wore period costume. I remember that [Audrey] Meadows played Cleopatra, though I don't remember the ideas she voiced… .

"The concept seems hokey now, but this was back when PBS was still called 'educational television.' In this case, at least, the network earned the label, even though Allen had originally developed the show for NBC.

"I particularly recall a confrontation between Tom Paine and Thomas Aquinas. The author of 'Common Sense' mocked the Angelic Doctor for his belief in spontaneous generation, the production of living organisms such as worms and insects out of non-living matter such as dirt. Then someone, perhaps Allen himself … pointed out that great minds could be wrong about things without this invalidating their more important ideas.

"Is this the kind of thing junior high school kids and their parents hear on television now, particularly with respect to positively medieval figures like Aquinas? I wouldn't know, since I stopped watching 10 years ago, after Allen and his ilk had pretty much left the airwaves."

Francis X. Rocca, writing on "Steve Allen RIP," Nov. 1 in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

A precious heritage

"Someone once said that at the summit of every noble human endeavor, you find a steeple pointing toward God. You find steeples atop the grand peaks of history the founding of American democracy, the birth of the modern civil rights movement, the struggle against totalitarianism. You find steeples crowning daily efforts in countless lives neighbors going out of their way to lend a hand, husbands and wives sharing strength, parents sacrificing their own wants to see to their children's needs… .

"By reading and talking about faith, parents help children learn that God loves them, that he cares about what they do, that he has created them for goodness… . In a very real sense, the Judeo-Christian tradition belongs to all Americans. It is a precious heritage, one that has given birth to our free political institutions and shaped our national ideals …

"In the midst of plenty, it is easy to neglect spiritual matters. Our aspirations and desires can turn us toward the wrong things. Our popular culture tends to lure us away from a life of faith, sometimes urging a spiritual torpor… . Every thoughtful parent knows it and, on occasion, despairs."

Bill Bennett, from the introduction to his new children's book, "The Children's Book of Faith"

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