Bongo Fury

Frank Zappa and Vaclav Havel, 1990

Could there have been a more stunning contrast in newly-minted national leaders than we were presented with by George H. W. Bush in the US and Vaclav Havel in Czechoslovakia?

Bush, despite his short stint as Director of Central Intelligence, wasn’t considered to be much of a brain trust. Sure, compared to his son, George W.; his choice for vice president, Dan “potatoe” Quayle; and the addled old man he’d served under for the previous eight years, Ronald Reagan, Bush didn’t seem like a complete idiot. Havel, on the other hand, was an actual thinker and writer, who’d been agitating against Communist rule of his country for a quarter of a century.

I’d been hoping to make a Christmastime trip to Prague with Barbara for my 50th birthday earlier this month but didn’t manage to put it together. It would have been an even greater honor to have been there as the Czech Republic notes the passing of Havel this week, just before the end of Zappadan.