July 2, 1991
If there was ever a life that confirmed Lord Acton's statement "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely," it was that of Nicolae Ceausescu.Actually, according to Edward Behr's fascinating PBS documentary "The Rise and Fall of Ceausescu," which will be on Maryland Public Television, channels 22 and 67, tonight at 9 o'clock, that should be two lives, those of both Nicolae and his wife, Elena.For almost 20 years, this pair ruled Romania as they constructed a personality cult around themselves with propaganda so powerful that, in the end, even they seemed to believe it.The Ceausescus fell in December of 1989 -- their trial and execution captured on a crude videotape that ends the program -- as the iron curtain had crumbled.
April 15, 1994
It's a little late for New Year's resolutions, but I'll make one anyway. I swear that I will never again write anything even mildly critical of the heroic President Clinton or his brilliant wife.This is the first time I've taken such an oath and it isn't easy because I have been sniping at presidents -- Republicans and Democrats -- since Lyndon B. Johnson was in the White House.But I'm calling it quits because I cannot endure the shrill shrieks of Clinton's liberal Democrat admirers.Their furious howls are far worse than anything I ever heard from the conservative Republican supporters of Ronald Reagan, the tight-lipped hisses from George Bush's fans, or even the raspy snarls of Richard Nixon's crowd.
July 15, 1994
GET UP ON ITKeith Sweat (Elektra 61550)There's always been something of a lover-man aura to Keith Sweat's music, but he's never presented that side of his sound as literally as he does on "Get Up on It." Between the pillow-talk persuasiveness of his voice and the single-minded insistence of his lyrics, Sweat makes no secret of how he defines romance. As such, "Get Up on It" comes across less as a musical valentine than a sort of danceable sex manual. To his credit, Sweat avoids the kind of slavering explicitness that marks the work of his proteges in Silk, but even so, there's not a whole lot of subtlety to be found in the likes of "Come Into My Bedroom" or "Grind On You."
July 23, 1991
ALMOST everyone has known a grandfather who was a boot- strapper. The stories of hard work and personal achievement have a certain sameness: how he delivered newspapers to buy school shoes, how he worked his way through college driving an ice truck, how he started a business even though no one wanted to rent to someone of his ilk.(Pick an ilk. Many ilks. I have heard this story from grandfathers Irish, Polish, German, Italian.)These are inspiring stories that reinforce the notion that the United States is a place where perseverance and hard work can turn a poor person into a rich one. But there is sometimes something mean-spirited at the core of these simple parables.
November 4, 1995
In "Fair Game," Cindy Crawford proves that she can't act.So? What's wrong with that? I have no problem with that.The movie is one long action sequence with such non-essentials as dialogue, character, plot and tone neatly excised to keep everybody's embarrassment to a minimum. It's mainly a study in abstract design that reduces the supermodel to angular planes, geometric shapes and landscape architecture, as the filmmakers keep trying to come up with yet more ways to get Cindy mussed, bruised, stripped, drenched or running perkily down the beach sans support garments.
April 28, 1992
TILGHMAN -- Two mallards locked up and slid to a landing beyond a barrier of reeds. A heron stood on one leg, its head cocked, its eyes scanning the shallows for a meal. Behind us, the sun, 90 minutes up, began to escape a cloud bank, and Capt. Buddy Harrison throttled up the Pleasure Merchant as we escaped Knapps Narrows.The weather forecast had been for morning rain and gusty wind early after noon, but the day broke mostly fair as the 42-foot Merchant ran strong southwest -- beyond The Hook and toward the 50-foot bottom contour along the edge of the main channel in Chesapeake Bay.When the lines first went down, we were north of Devils Hole and, I think, well south of Brownie's Hill -- not that it matters much when a captain is working what have been his home waters for as many years as I have been alive.