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April 25, 2007



President of our senior class at Erasmus Hall High School was Richard Portnow, a bland but popular choice. (His rather arrogant opponent had stepped on many tender toes and paid for this by losing the election.)

I never gave Portnow another thought until his name popped up in the cast of the 2012 movie Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. He played a fictional Hollywood producer named Barney Balaban -- bland, smiling, and personable.

Portnow had a decent if nearly invisible acting career, but curiously his leap from "politics" to acting seemed to reverse the more general trend personified by the likes of Ronald Reagan, George Murphy, Shirley Temple Black, Glenda Jackson, and others. That first taste of politics seemed to have made Portnow want a life as a performer.

Otis Jefferson Brown

That would be illogical - like retaliating for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor by invading Mexico.

Otis Jefferson Brown

But what if he aims at a duck?

Otis Jefferson Brown

I think you're safe in a duel with Cheney. If he aims at your face, he'll hit a duck.

Otis Jefferson Brown

Hey Doc, maybe you could challenge Cheney to a duel and he’ll take you up on it and... well, then you could use the word in a conversation!

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