Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Grover Norquist, The Collector

This is too weird. Expand this posting to read the full article, which appeared in the June 3, 3007 Washington Post.

The Norquist Papers: Either Blank or Empty, Thank Goodness

Recently we called Grover Norquist, the conservative activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform to discuss his love of the late Rex Stout, who wrote 70-plus novels and stories about an obese, orchid-loving detective. Norquist, 50, has read all of them. Turns out, he has other loves as well.

-- Libby Copeland

Grover Norquist [picking up the phone]: Grover Glenn Norquist .

Hi, Grover . . . We had had lunch six months ago, and you and I had spoken about -- I believe it was -- Rex Stout and your love of the Rex Stout series.

The Rex Stout novels are the Nero Wolfe series, who is the New York, 400-pound lover of orchids who spends his time four hours a day working on the orchids and then sitting at home, being a gourmand, while solving murder mysteries.

He is the most famous Montenegrin American in the world.

Do you ever think you'll try your hand at fiction?

That is my goal in life. My goal in life is to get the federal government down to half its present size and under control and then I can write murder mysteries.

How big is your library at home?

My wife says it's too big. I was willing to give up my collection of Eastern European toilet paper, and I was willing to move my collection of airsickness bags out of the house and into the office. But I am arguing that we should still keep the walls looking like a library.

Eastern European toilet paper?

Mm-hmm. I don't know if you've ever seen Eastern European toilet paper. It's pretty odd-looking. I used to have a collection of toilet paper from traveling around the world, and some of it looks like you could use it to sandpaper.

Airsickness bags?

Unused. I have Ariana, which is the Afghan airline.

Have you noticed it seems like airlines are using fewer airsickness bags?

And they go with the plain white ones in the United States and that's unfortunate. They should go back to dramatic colorful ones, the way they do now with those little [electronic card keys] when you go to a hotel room. . . . I have a collection of those.

How many of those do you have?

Not as many as before I got married. I used to have hundreds and hundreds. Now I just kept the best ones.

What about the airsickness bags?

Hundreds. From at least 70 airlines.

What about the toilet paper collection?

Mostly gone to Heaven, unfortunately.

Did you flush it?

I gave some of it away to friends and others just went into the trash.

Do you think your friends appreciated the collection?

Well, I used to bring some of it over to Christopher Hitchens when we'd go over there, because people are always, like, bringing bottles of wine and stuff. I said, 'I'm always using your toilet paper so I thought I'd bring you some to make up for it.'

He appreciated it.

Why do you like collecting things so much?

This is cool stuff.

[At this, Norquist's wife, Samah, is heard faintly in the background.]

Samah Norquist: Define cool.
The above actually appeared in the Washington Post. I'm not making this up!


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posted by Always On Watch @ 6/05/2007 06:40:00 AM