Do You Feel Lucky, Tony?
Thursday, September 30, 1999
Do You Feel Lucky, Tony?Squid, like all underappreciated seafaring curmudgeons--and all landlubbing ones, for that matter--should have such a smooth relationship with America''s newspaper of record.
Seven months after publishing a legendarily fawning article about Clint Eastwood''s blossoming real estate empire (believe me, it''s not easy getting "Eastwood" and "blossom" into the same sentence...), the New York Times is researching what will no doubt be an equally sycophantic offering about a media-worthy member of Eastwood''s team of legal eagles: Tony "The Babe" Lombardo.
NYT staffer Linda Sandler--whose unintentionally humorous "Clint Eastwood Runs Gauntlet to Build His Golf Course" ran last February--was back on the Peninsula earlier this month, collecting Lombardo stories from The Babe''s large circle of friends. And, apparently, also from his enemies, one of whom told Sandler--to her great surprise--that Lombardo doesn''t win ''em all. And that sometimes he gets accused of embarrassing things, like ghostwriting county government documents on behalf of planning staffers reviewing development proposals submitted by his clients.
Seeing as though, however, that Sandler managed to avoid telling NYT readers about how Clint leapfrogged a bunch of hopeful Carmel Valley water users--including the water district itself--to secure water rights for his Canada Woods development, chances of her keyboarding unseemly facts about Lombardo seem minuscule.
Like the chances Squid has obtaining a $135,000 membership at Clint''s Tehama Golf Club. Like the chances I''ll get through this article without ripping off a line from one of Clint''s movies. Hey Tony, how many times have I written about you so far? Has it been five or six? You know, in all this excitement, I seem to have lost track myself...
A Billion Here, A Billion There...Being hard at work preparing a living will, Squid was hanging out at Roy''s eatery last week. When Squid goes, I plan to go out in style, and I hear the chefs at Roy''s know how to do seafood.
Anyway, while Squid was scouting the premises, a geeky-looking guy was spotted at a window table having lunch with a female companion. What caught Squid''s eye wasn''t the guy''s nerdy demeanor and four-dollar haircut, but that during the entire meal, he kept rocking in his seat--back and forth, back and forth.
"What''s up with this guy?" Squid wondered. Someone with an advanced case of Tourette''s, or just an incredibly nervous suitor on a first date?
Staring on, Squid got to thinking, "This guy looks awfully familiar..." Suddenly the realization hit: "Holy Mother of God! It''s the Sun King himself! Microsoft''s very own Bill Gates!"
But what was with the rocking? Was he furiously scheming up some new software design with which to conquer what remains unconquered? Was he worried about a surprise legal maneuver by feds suing Microsoft for alleged anti-trust violations?
Well, the day before Squid''s encounter with Bill, it seems Microsoft President Steve Ballmer remarked that high-tech stocks--including Microsoft''s--were "absurdly" overvalued. Ballmer''s much-publicized comment, it turned out, drove high-tech stocks into the gutter, costing Bill a cool $5 billion.
No wonder Bill was squirming in his seat. With a loss like that, he was probably wondering whether he could afford the lunch tab. Or the tip, which Squid''s sources say Mr. Gates doesn''t like paying anyway.
Let''s face it, a billion here and a billion there, and the next thing you know you''re only the second richest human in the world.
Give Squid a brush with greatness: firstname.lastname@example.org