- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Historic tide

“I was brought up in Republican circumstances, firmly grounded in convention. I was swept out to Marxist sea by a flood of sex. I was trying to impress cute beatnik girls. Then, one day, I found myself washed up on the shore of jobs and responsibilities, and I was Republican again. … As both a radical and a reactionary I was moved by the forces of history and institutions. All those beatnik girls had a history. And many of them wound up institutionalized. …

“I have ex-leftist friends who recall long, intense, fractious political arguments from their university years. But I was at Miami of Ohio, not Berkeley or Columbia. My college friends and I may have begun such discussions, but then the rolling papers were brought out and the debate became over where to get Mallomars.”

— P.J. O’Rourke, from the new book, “Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys,” edited by Mary Eberstadt

‘Lust in Space’

“There is probably some high moral reason that I shouldn’t feel sorry for astronaut Lisa Nowak, who is now charged with attempted murder and kidnapping, but I just can’t help it.

“And lots of people I know are also riveted by this tale, straight out of ‘Desperate Housewives,’ filled with so many kooky soap-opera touches. …

“Sure, I know that in the great scheme of things, ‘Lust in Space,’ as the New York Post’s headline shrieked, is not very important — but it is oh-so-interesting. The shrewd media know this, albeit there will still be some pious whining about what a fuss is being made. …

“In a recent ‘Right Stuff’ interview for Ladies’ Home Journal, Lisa, who describes herself as ‘competitive, determined, ambitious,’ talks about trying six times to get into test pilot school. …

“Remember St. Teresa’s wise admonition that more tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered.

“Lisa finally went up in space last summer after waiting almost 10 years for the chance. … Although NASA said her performance had been ‘excellent,’ it was likely she would never go up again. After waiting and working all those years, could there be a greater downer? …

“If you no longer want what you have always wanted, what crazy thing might you think you want instead?”

— Myrna Blyth, writing on “There’s a Crazy Astronaut in All of Us,” Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Fat chance

“The Los Angeles Times gives voice … to murmurs that the giant, tacky billboards for ‘Norbit’ may not be helping Eddie Murphy’s Oscar chances. The ads — which show a scrawny Eddie beneath Eddie as a fat woman — have also upset some black activists who have issues with the tired fat-black-lady stereotype, particularly during Black History Month. But the picture is apparently tracking well. And Stacey Snider — now running DreamWorks — says academy voters can differentiate between Murphy in this — pardon us — broad comedy and his turn in ‘Dreamgirls.’

“Murphy hasn’t run much of an Oscar campaign. He doesn’t want to do a lot with the press. … He’s such a pain that he’s even balking at singing his nominated song at the Oscar ceremony. But in our brief, unscientific survey, no academy voter said that the ‘Norbit’ ads would have an effect. The Times found only one unidentified consultant who hedged on the question. … So, it’s hard to make a case that the billboards are doing any harm.”

— Kim Masters, writing on “The Norbit Factor,” Friday in Slate at www.slate.com

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