Mr. Secretary, Please Pass the Sheep Eyeballs

Thursday, 9.18.07 

John recently hosted an interesting interview session with former Secretary of State James Baker on April 24 of this year. The interview at first focused on a 2006 Iraq study group that Baker was a part of, then delved into stories in Baker’s new book “Work Hard, Study…and Keep Out of Politics!”


The interview was part of the Kentucky Author Forum held at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in Louisville and was aired by the local PBS station KET back in May. Since then, it has aired on several other PBS stations across the country but was never made available via the internet until recently. KET released the interview on its website and can be seen in it’s entirety here.


There were actually quite a few funny moments throughout, making it an enjoyable exchange to watch, especially when Baker was speaking candidly about Reagan’s trademark sense of humor. There were also some humorous reflections about the 1988 campaign and Dan Quayle’s over-exuberance on camera at being a Vice-Presidential nominee!

It was truly enjoyable to watch John pose intelligent and insightful questions, which often led to some candid and very funny reponses.


Throughout the interview, John asked questions on a variety of topics and touched on several issues, among them:

The 2006 Iraq focus group;
Boris Yeltsin;
The Fall Of The Berlin Wall;


The Cold War;
Dick Cheney’s early years as White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of Defense;
George W. Bush’s years in Midland Texas;


Ronald Reagan’s keen sense of humor;
Reagan’s assassination attempt;
How technology has changed the way political news stories are broadcast;


Baker’s influence in several presidential campaigns;
Reagan’s decision to select Bush as his VPOTUS;
The selection of Dan Quayle as Bush’s VPOTUS and Quayle’s pubic image;


John’s recollections of the 1988 Presidential campaign;
Death penalty issues;
The Willie Horton case and how it became part of negative campaigning in the 1988 Presidential election season;


Saddam Hussein;
Cuban Relations;
Soviet Relations.


At one point Baker quipped, “It’s hard to campaign on competence” which drew gales laughter from the audience.

And oh yeah, you’ve also got to have a palate for exotic foods when you are a Secretary of State, just in case you are ever served sheep eyeballs at an official state dinner in a foreign country!!


Who knew so much could be discussed in one short hour?

p.s. In previous posts about unusual foods I dug up pictures of fried twinkies, fried oreos, etc. This time, I think I will pass on trying to google for a photograph of sheep eyeballs on a platter. lol!



Filed under Foodstuffs, Political Interviews

18 responses to “Mr. Secretary, Please Pass the Sheep Eyeballs

  1. Millie

    I am a vegetarian and the thought of being served eyeballs on a plate makes my stomach churn.

    I had flashbacks to the movie Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom where Indy and his guests were being served such delicacies!!!

  2. Yet another great post, Millie. Sheep eyeballs…ick!!! It just sounds gross. I can’t imagine eating them. I will have to watch that interview when I get some time. It sounds interesting 😀

  3. milliepip

    Thanks AC.

    Yeah there was mention in the piece that Baker traveled to Yemen and that eyeballs were served to him! He’d have to be gracious of course in such a position, so I imagine he would have just pinched his nose and ate it up. Although I guess pinching one’s nose ISN’T very gracious, lol!

    And this was all before the days of “Fear Factor”!

    John was quite funny in the video, too… his mannerisms and expressions with his hands were very animated. At one point he purposely smacked his hand to his forehead while questioning Baker if it would have been a good decision in hindsight to air a particular awkward video of Dan Quayle.

    I tried capturing a still of John smacking himself but that was just too goofy to post! I have to keep the blog demure, ya know. 🙂

    You can see John hitting his forehead, though, in the video a little past halfway when they are talking about Quayle.

  4. mebz72

    Hurray for screen caps!!

  5. milliepip

    Almost towards the end, John also gives a priceless look when the microphone emits a strange vibrating sound. He turns to his right looking puzzled then says, “Allright, we’ll try that again!!!”

  6. Jeanne

    Almost as bad as the “goat grabs” we had in Saudi Arabia!

  7. milliepip

    Ok you are begging for us to ask…. what in the heck are goat grabs??? Are they goat “unmentionables”?

  8. milliepip

    Yeah, I wrote “unmentionables” but that is exactlly what I meant Mebz. I just try to be more “delicate” in what I write, lol!!

    Jeanne, is that what goat grabs are, goat nads?

  9. mebz72

    tact- who needs it?

  10. Jeanne

    You guys crack me up! 🙂

    It is a common meal – a large platter with rice and goat meat in the middle, served with flat bread (the bread was made in stone ovens – the best I’ve ever had!!) My ex had the opportunity to eat it more than I did as he worked in an office with Saudi Air Force personnel who ordered it in quite a bit.

  11. mebz72

    That actually sounds kinda good.

  12. Millie

    Oh. So it is a goat table spread. A good ol’ Arab BBQ with all the trimmings. Thanks for the clarification.

  13. Jeanne

    Millie – loved your last post about the BBQ – I never thought of it that way! Yes, it was good – they also had chicken in place of the goat sometimes. It was served on a large platter, placed on the floor, and everyone would gather around, using their hands, pull off the meat and scoop up rice and eat. (Saves on washing a lot of dishes!!!)

  14. Millie

    Just scooping it up like that sounds kinda, well… crude… and unsanitary I would imagine. Maybe I was a part of that kind of ritual in a past life and that’s why I am vegetarian now. lol.

  15. Jeanne Kulatunge

    Yeah, I agree with the crude and unsanitary. Not to gross anyone out, but I forgot to add that the goat is gutted and cooked then placed on the bed of rice including the head, brains and eyeballs. The chicken grab was much better. I prefer chicken.

  16. Millie

    One word: Bleeech!!

    But hey, “to each his own”. I am not the kind of vegetarian who is offended by what other people eat. Heck, I don’t even care if a piece of meat accidentally touches my food. I am not that uptight about it.

    Funny, this was supposed to be a post about James Baker but now it has turned into a food discussion. I suppose that’s what I get for calling the title of this post “Pass the Sheep Eyeballs Please”!

  17. Jeanne Kulatunge

    Yeah, but it’s been great chatting – and interesting -this one brought about more activity. 🙂

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