Interview with Newt Gingrich

Me: Hi, Newt. Back from your vacation in Greece?

Newt: If the Greeks had followed my advice the last time I vacationed there, they wouldn’t be in the mess they’re in now.

Me: Well… Can we begin with a question about your first name?

Newt: Have you seen a newt?

Me: What, that’s it? You’re named after the animal?

Newt: What did I just ask you?

Me: Is it like a salamander?

Newt: Is my name Salamander Gingrich?

Me: All right. No. I’ve never seen a newt.

Newt: How about a ging?

Me: Oh, for the love of Mike. I’m sorry I asked. Ok. Will you tell us how you’ve gotten three different babes to marry you? Ow!… I’m bleeding on myself.

Newt: On day one as President, I will immediately begin to change government so it starts serving the will of the American people.

Me: I think you broke my nose. What about this mass resignation of your entire campaign staff, after they said your wife was bossing them aroun… Ow!

Newt: America only works when Americans are working. I have a pro-growth strategy similar to the proven policies used when I was Speaker to balance the budget, pay down the debt, and create jobs.

Me: Remind me. Were you indicted for any sort of corrupt… Ow! Jeez, Newt. Is this how you treat your wif… Ow!

Newt: The big government Obamacare approach does not address the root causes of America’s health care crisis. Instead, it creates layers of new taxes, regulations, and bureaucracies that will ultimately make our problems worse, not better. Newt proposes a “Patient Power” plan that will save lives and save money.

Me: Christ, I’m a mess. This is worse than interviewing Mel Gibson or Russell Crowe. Or even Lindsay Lohan… You had harsh words for Senator Ryan’s health plan, too.

Newt: I did not give Ryan that shiner.

Me: Now, look, your wife Callista… Ok, no, wait, I’m not asking that! I’m not asking that! No, now, Ok, the emails between you and Sarah Pali… Ok, Ok, I’m not asking that either! Newt, put down that petrified lizard paperweight! Heellllpp!

Palin’s emails

I did not write any of those emails to Sarah Palin. Nor did I tweet her no tweets. So stop asking.

– That picture of a pouch? That’s not my pouch. I’m not the only grownup in the world wearing that pouch. Swag from a movie is one of my perks, is the only reason I wear that pouch. The movie was a blockbuster and I took 50 of them.

– That list and description of Paris Hilton’s exploits at the Beverly Wilshire with Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Michelle Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Paul Ryan, and Rudy Guiliani – not all at the same time! – is not mine. Nor do I know the bellhop there who provided the list for a couple ounces of blow.

– That screenplay for Sarah’s daughter to read and possibly star in was not mine. Besides, it was totally, absolutely soft core and could have been filmed in Alaska, at a motel near her home, assuming that they have motels up there.

– That request to become Sarah’s speechwriter, with sample speech, was not mine. After that one she sent a couple of goons to punch the writer in the nose and make him promise to never, ever write to her again.

– That email scolding her for sending the goons wasn’t mine either. A copy went to Obama and offered him the writer’s services, just to spite her.

Elizabeth Taylor’s autograph

The thing about being a heavy drinker in Hollywood is, over time, you  will meet all the heavy-drinking stars in town, no matter how big they are. I’m not sure why this is, except that once you’re deep in your cups, all men become equal. That whole thing about Gibson getting drunk and dumping on the Jews? His tapes were running his mouth, but down in his lizard brain, the only thinking part still actually working  for him at the time, he could have been saying all that to Abe Goldstein, companionably,  with his arm around the guy’s shoulders. Just a theory.

Sure, I’ve met a lot of stars through screen writing, on the job, but I was always drunk when I seriously got down with one or another of them. Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton, Gibson of course, Rourke, Reed, and many many more. Including Liz.

I went to a party in Topanga Canyon sometime in the late 60s. At some point late in the evening, I was sitting in a room set up as a library/den, with a scrapbook on my lap full of photos of a family I didn’t know. I looked up and there was Liz, perched on the desk, materialized like a leprechaun, with a drink in her hand. She was in her mid-to late-thirties then. I remember that she’d made Virgina Woolfe and was married to Burton at the time.

I didn’t need beer goggles to see that she looked great. Like so often happens, she seemed smaller than you’d expect, but perfect in every way. Definitely not Martha from Woolfe, although she was as drunk as Martha at her worst. I was starstruck. Starstruck and drunk like her.

She asked me what I was reading and I held up the  album so that she could see the family pictures. Immediately she began to blubber. Then so did I, for no reason.

We both stood up and we were chest-to-chest. I couldn’t touch her there. She was drinking champagne with strawberries in it and I was drinking rye. Our fumes made our eyes water, and with the tears already there, Liz’s mascara ran down her cheeks. It made her look younger.

She saw the expression on my face.

“Relax,” she said. “In a couple of years, I’ll be a grandmother. Fame is fleeting.”

“You can say that again. In my case, it didn’t even slow down as it went by.”

“You remind me of Richard,” she said.

“Is he here?”

“If you’re him, he is.”

I’ve always liked dark hair and now I had my hands full of it.

Taylor, like all the greatest stars, had an aura. When I got within the length of my lips to her, I was so deep into it that I could have been standing on Mars, or in Heaven. Couldn’t think, or sense anything but her skin, the sound of her breathing. She was wearing something black and off the shoulder. We were both hot and the sheen of sweat on her breasts, the slickness, threw light from the overhead spots into my eyes. I only had a bit part but Liz gave me my cue.

With her in my arms, my melancholy hit, grief for my misspent life. Liz was crying again. We stood there trying to comfort ourselves in front of each other, with our eyes drifting, out of our control, to our half-empty glasses.

Before we left the room, I held out the album and asked her to autograph it. She picked up a pen from the desk and signed her name under one of the pictures in the middle of the book. I closed it and put it back on the shelf. When she died the other day, I thought about going back to see if the book was still there, but it never works to go back. I’m trying to never go back anywhere anymore. When she died, going back would have just made me sadder than I already was.

Movies that make sex look good. Movies that don’t.

Good sex

1. Shortbus (2006) – I have yet to see Shortbus, but someone tells me that the sex, in many variations, is portrayed as fun.

2. Good Morning… and Goodbye! (1967) – For Russ Meyer, and thus for this viewer, sex and big hooters are good, by definition.

3. The Mother (2003) – Older woman scores with Daniel Craig. Good news for those past middle age. This stands in for a movie the title of which I can’t remember. Swedish? “Innocents” in the title? An elderly man and woman connect. They were in love in their youth but each married another. Now, a bit embarrassed, they keep it under the sheets.

4. The Devil’s Rejects (2005) – Good or bad sex? Tough call. The Rejects have a good time, except maybe Sheri Moon Zombie, who’s got a lot of attitude, but nobody else survives.

5. The Reader (2008) – Teen scores with Kate Winslet, in heavily romantic mode. That’s got to go in the “Good” column.

Bad sex

1. Angel Heart (1987) – When you’re doing it and you look up and the ceiling is bleeding, that can’t be good. Can it?

2. Yours, Mine and Ours (1968) / Cheaper by the Dozen (1950, 2003) – Too much of a good thing.

3. Secretary (2002) – Wait. Is kinky good or bad, in the workplace?

4. Nine 1/2 Weeks (1986) – At once a day, that’s a lot of sex.

5. Precious (2009) – The worst, but flowers can grow on the pile of dung.