Thursday, December 30, 2004
Tsunamis and the passing of Jerry Orbach
Yes, I know the two are very unrelated, but my blogging time is limited.
The disaster and devastation experienced as a result of the Asian Tsunami cannot be understated. I, for one, cannot remember a natural disaster in my lifetime that has caused so much destruction and taken so many lives at one time. My heart breaks to see so many in so much pain.
Now that the water has begun to recede and the bodies are beginning to be identified, the political jockeying on the world stage is starting. Everyone wants to be seen in the best possible light.
I am very proud of the way W has taken swift action in this matter. He has organized a Coalition of the Effectively Able (my words, not his) of the United States, Japan, Australia, and India to respond to this disaster. That said, the UN is up in arms - stating that they and they alone should be the organizers of the relief effort. W, by there definition, is undercutting their authority. They seem astonished at this effort.
I can answer their astonishment with one simple phrase:
Iraqi Oil for Food Program - Codename RATHOLE.
Why on earth would we want to throw more money down that rathole? Can anyone in their right mind expect well meaning democratic nations to fall for that again? Sorry guys. We don't dance. The Coalition of the Effectively Able can get relief aid to the needed regions faster and more effectively than the RATHOLE people can - even bypassing the stop where the RATHOLE bureaucrat's pockets are lined.
I'm sure this won't be the last we hear of this effort.
Memo to two nations:
France: You are not the largest donor of humanitarian aid in the world. Your numbers are roughly half that of the United States, and that's even before we start counting foreign aid. Nice try.
Sri Lanka: You may not like Israel. That's fine. But when your house is on fire and your family is dying you really shouldn't ask where the fire hose came from.
And finally - Jerry Orbach aka Detective Lenny Briscoe.
Jerry Orbach died yesterday after a short battle with Prostate Cancer. After 12 seasons on NBC's Law & Order he had become a regular visitor to my television screen.
His musical theatre, stage, and screen career spanned over four decades. That said, he'll be most remembered as Lenny Briscoe - the hard nosed, old fashioned, and wisecracking detective he played so well. Near the end of his life, he and Lenny became harder and harder to tell apart. I guess that's the hallmark of a great actor - they just play themselves.
One more note about Jerry - your kids probably know him very well. You see, not only did he play a hard nosed NYPD detective, he also lent his vast musical talents to the first animated feature ever to be nominated for Best Picture. Jerry played the speaking and singing voice of Luimere - the Candle Stick in Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
Remember that next time you find yourself humming Be Our Guest.
Godspeed Jerry. You'll be missed.
Here endeth the lesson.