An Iconic Figure Passes – No, Not Thatcher

No one was more powerful among her constituency

This past week saw the passing of an iconic figure, one whose power and influence was unparalleled during the height of her popularity.

No, not Margaret Thatcher. I'm talking about Annette Funicello.

In the mid-to-late 1950s, Annette ruled the hearts of every red-blooded American grammar school boy with access to a snowy black-and-white television set.

I had a thing for Annette. She was the first girl I ever had a thing for and I had this thing for her before I actually knew what a thing was.

I was a card-carrying, mouse-ears wearing member "of the club that's made for you and me," but it was Annette who had me glued in front of the set every afternoon without fail.

Sure, she was older, but we could have worked it out. Annette would have waited for me, if she knew me.

At the height of her popularity, Annette used to receive 6,000 fan letters a week, mostly from boys, I'm sure. It would have been 6001 if not for my 4th grade teacher, who caught me writing a letter to Annette during class.

Not only did she admonish me for not doing what I was supposed to be doing at the time, but she took the letter and read it out loud to the class, correcting my spelling and grammar as she went along. (In retrospect, I think this may be the point where my dislike of copy editors may have originated.) I still remember the beginning of the letter.

Dear Annette:

"I really like you and everyone in my class likes you too."

I don't remember what I wrote after that — Let's do lunch the next time I'm on the coast? — but whatever it was it did not go unpunished by my male classmates. In my 4th grade Waterbury neighborhood, boys did not write mushy letters to girls, even Annette.

As intense as my "thing" for Annette was, it ended abruptly when I traded in my mouse ears. I was never a fan of her run of beach movies. By then, my hormones had moved on to Elizabeth Taylor.

Sanford and Hon vs. Oscar Mayer

Politics, I'll tell ya.

Just when it looked like former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford might be poised to make the greatest political recovery from a sex scandal in U. S. history, former Congressman Anthony Weiner comes along and hints he might run for mayor of New York City.

You remember, he of the unfortunate name, Weiner.

The former loud and liberal NYC congressman was pressured to resign in 2011 after it was discovered he was sending messages, shirtless photos and crotch shots to women he met on Twitter. This proved to be of great embarrassment to his wife, Huma Abedin, who was a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the time.

Sanford, of course, was the married father of four who was supposed to be hiking on the Appalachian Trail in 2009 but was discovered in Argentina in the arms of his "soul mate." He is now running for his old congressional seat in a May special election against Stephen Colbert's sister.

So, providing each was to regain office, who would get the nod for best sex-scandal recover, Sanford or Weiner?

Sanford makes a strong case given he cheated with an actual person, as opposed Weiner, who was just, you know, sharing. That noted, I still would give the advantage of Weiner based on the shear tighty-whitie ickiness of his behavior.