Thursday, November 19, 2015

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Uncle Murray

It’s a week before Thanksgiving. I’m still waiting for my invitation to your turkey chomp. What? You can’t recall adding me to your guest list? Apparently you’re not on Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken’s email list (neither am I, but my sister is even though she lives in Los Angeles), for he wrote: 

“This time of year I always look forward to the usual Thanksgiving things: turkey, Franni’s famous pies, stuffing, friends, family, and football.

“And of course, Uncle Murray.”

Long-time readers of No Socks Needed Anymore may recall my being less than enamored with the pleasure comedians have in casting my given name for misanthropic characters or dogs in their films and TV shows (i.e., Murray the policeman in The Odd Couple, or Murray the dog in Mad About You, or the numerous stories about Murray told by Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner in their 2,000-year-old man skits). 

So it wasn’t too surprising that Saturday Night Live alumnus-cum-politician Franken jumped on the make-fun-of-Murray bandwagon. He did, however, redeem my namesake in the rest of his email:   

“Uncle Murray isn’t a real person. Uncle Murray represents the family member at the dinner table who inevitably brings up politics, every single year.

“Now, some people get annoyed by Uncle Murray. But I think at least some of the things Uncle Murray talks about at the table are important. After all, Senators like me are supposed to know what concerns families share with each other at dinner. Those are actually the issues that matter -- they are experienced by real people -- and they are the ones we need to focus on.

“So I want you to tell me what your “Uncle Murray” (or you) will be talking about at the Thanksgiving table this year. It can be as simple as corporations aren’t people or that women deserve equal pay for equal work. It could be that LGBT friends and family deserve equal rights. It could be that climate change is real and happening and a serious risk to the future of the planet.

“What issues are you and your family most likely to discuss this year? What problems are affecting your family the most? (Franken asked that responses be sent to

“Can’t wait to read your responses.


As long as we’re on the subject of politics, let’s stick with an item culled from the newspaper:

I’ve fashioned myself into a slow, careful reader. You might say slow reading is an occupational hazard of being an editor—if you are going to review other people’s writing you best do it carefully. Without haste. 

My snail-like pace reading all things from books to newspapers might explain why I find so many anomalies, mistakes and interesting items in the stories I read. I’m often disappointed when I fail to uncover a miscue. On the other hand, I exult in discovering a mistake or contradiction. Take, for instance, the Talk interview of David Brat in last Sunday’s New York Times magazine.

A 51-year-old Tea Party Republican congressman from Glen Allen, Va., Brat is a former college professor who took over Eric Cantor’s seat. Asked what he has learned in Washington, Brat said, “It’s hard. I like Plato’s maxim to start politics at 50 because you’re near death and the appetites are —whatever. You’re past the wine, women and song.”

Oh, really? Perhaps a visit to Wikipedia’s page entitled “List of federal political sex scandals in the United States” is in order for the ol’ professor. From 2000 through 2015, there have been 22 sex scandals, of which 14 involved politicos 50 years or older!

Seems to me the evidence is overwhelming that age is no barrier to a male politician seeking sex with women or men, and, in some cases, even boys.