A Clown Not Smiling on the Inside:
You don't know where to start mourning today, whether for noted wife beater James Brown, Nixon's BFF Gerald Ford, or torture aficionado Saddam Hussein, not to mention residual tears for Augusto Pinochet and his magical people-disappearing act. So perhaps it's best just to send in the clown (really):
"Harpo T. Clown painted on a happy face, then stood sadly Friday in front of the church where Gerald Ford, the former president he called a friend, was being remembered by family and well-wishers.
"The colorful character wore blue and white sequins, a neon green fuzzy wig and white floppy shoes and stood just beyond the police barricade near the church.
"The clown, who is mute, nodded when asked if he was sad. He pulled out a scrapbook of photographs showing him standing alongside President Ford at various charitable events and golf tournaments in the area. He also attended the Grand Rapids, Mich., opening of Ford's presidential museum in 1982.
"Harpo, who lives in Palm Springs but won't divulge his real name, nodded vigorously when asked if he was a Republican and when asked if he missed his friend, President Ford.
"When Palm Desert police officers walked up to check him out, he maintained his silence and scribbled down notes which the officers read before walking away.
"To get into the church to pay his respects, Harpo would have had to go to a public staging area five miles away for a bus escort. He chose to stay close to the barricades outside the church."