Keep sending those cards and letters

January 04, 1995|By Art Buchwald

I AM TRYING to clear the mail that I didn't get around to answering in 1994. I hope that I can do it.

Dear Sir: I keep reading about Orange County going bankrupt because it invested in too many derivatives. What is a derivative and do you need a doctor's prescription to get one? Sincerely, John Heffley

Dear John: A derivative is neither good medicine nor bad medicine. It actually looks like a poker chip. People use it to bet their school funds, their hospital bonds and their water treatment plants. The speculators put all their chips on red or black -- on red that interest rates will go down; on black that they will go up.

Depending on where the little white ball lands, your county can either afford to build a dozen new prisons or it can go belly up and lose everything, including the new football stadium that it had set its heart on.

Orange County bet that the interest rates would go down. Alan Greenspan double-crossed them by raising the rates. If California wants to blame anyone it can blame Mr. Greenspan. Orange County is now demanding a special prosecutor to find out why Mr. Greenspan cost them all that money.

Dear Mr. B: My mother says that Bill Clinton is president of the United States. My father says that it's Newt Gingrich. My Uncle Harry says that it's Jimmy Carter. Please clarify this for me. Perplexed in Idaho, Joanne Libby

Dear Joanne: All of them are right. Mr. Clinton has the title, Mr. Gingrich has the power, and Mr. Carter refuses to accept the fact that he is no longer in charge of foreign affairs.

The country is fortunate to have three such able people in the same boat rowing toward the shore. The fact is they admire their commander-in-chief tremendously. Mr. Clinton says, "No matter what they say, I am the president."

Newt says, "No matter what they say, I appear on 'Meet the Press' more than Clinton."

And Mr. Carter says, "Clinton may be president in the United States but if the Serbs want peace they still have to deal with me."

Dear Sir: I was reading the local paper the other day and there was no story on O.J. Simpson. Who goofed? Your fan, Leighton Rudolph

Dear Leighton:

The publishers are still trying to find the culprit. They are investigating whether the omission was accidental or a deliberate attempt by Rupert Murdoch to sabotage the paper's circulation. We have a saying in the newspaper business. "You can take O.J. out of the paper, but you can't take the paper out of O.J."

Dear Sir: I read in the Enquirer that Princess Diana was dating Webb Hubbell, the former No. 3 man at the Justice Department. Any truth to it? Anna Harding Pedersen

Dear Anna: Absolutely not. The rumor started because Prince Charles is now dating Janet Reno.

Art Buchwald is a syndicated columnist.

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