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like a rolling satirist ________________________________________________________________

(see rollingstone.com)

On this day, though, as Vonnegut sips coffee and his tiny white dog, Flour, yaps in the background, there is no wry amusement or social satire in his repertoire. There is only burning dissent about the way modern technology and global capitalism are usurping the last gasps of goodness from honest laborers' lives. And deep sadness that everyday humans are butchering their most civilized impulses. But then Vonnegut starts coughing, clearing his throat of phlegm, grasping for a half-smoked pack of Pall Malls lying on a coffee table. He quickly lights up. His wheezing ceases. I ask him whether he worries that cigarettes are killing him. "Oh, yes," he answers, in what is clearly a set-piece gag. "I've been smoking Pall Mall unfiltered cigarettes since I was twelve or fourteen. So I'm going to sue the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company, who manufactured them. And do you know why?" "Lung cancer?" I offer.

"No. No. Because I'm eighty-three years old. The lying bastards! On the package Brown & Williamson promised to kill me. Instead, their cigarettes didn't work. Now I'm forced to suffer leaders with names like Bush and Dick and, up until recently, 'Colon.'"....

(I first learned of Vonnegut in 1969 from the cool paperback cover on my even cooler English professor's desk (Mr Reed with his sleek ever smoking cigarette and beautiful pencil stripe shirts) MOTHER NIGHT... still my favorite is the BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS and its unique anatomical sketches... I hope Vonnegut makes it another ten years at least...

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