04/07/2006 02:28 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Around the Husseins' Dinner Table, 1990

In the midst of the widely publicized negotiations over her future career in network television, Katie Couric called a family meeting, with her parents and two young daughters around the dinner table.... Ellie, 14, at once voted for the jump to CBS, pointing out that mealtime was certainly no problem because, thanks to her mother's unusual schedule, they had been eating "early-bird dinners" for their entire lives, while almost everyone else they knew did not sit down to eat until 7 or 7:30. When Ms. Couric turned to Carrie, 10, she got an equally quick response. Carrie said she would choose CBS as well, because that would make her mother "the first woman in that job by herself."

Bill Carter, The New York Times, April 6, 2006

Baghdad, July 31, 1990

Boys, come in and sit down. Your father and Supreme Leader needs to talk with you. Yes, now, please, Qusay. Well, I don't care that Uday called you a name. Sometimes you are an infidel. Now come sit, both of you. Don't make me reach for the nerve agents. Ha ha ha! Qusay, come back, I was only kidding. You know the nerve agents are all the way out in the garage, next to the yellowcake.

Boys, your father has a very important decision to make. I'm not going to go into details, because there are operational considerations and also because one of you is under suspicion by the Department of General Intelligence. No, I'm not going to tell you which one. All I'm going to say is that both of you should watch your steps when Uncle Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti comes over to watch the game on Sunday. And when he waves his plate in the air for more hummus, I'd advise you to step lively. Both of you. But especially you, Uday.

Now then. You've heard me talk about our neighbors the Kuwaitis. You know that they are very wicked. You know that they slant-drill into territory that is rightfully ours, and also that they borrowed our power sander, the good one, the DeWalt, in 1986 and when they finally returned it -- yes, that's right, Qusay, the handle was chipped. Now, it's true that they are implacable enemies of the Zionist warmongers, and -- Uday, for heaven's sake, how many times have I told you not to spit on the floor when I mention the Zionist warmongers? Yes, I know you hate them, we all hate them. But take it outside, please. Where was I? Ah yes: While it is true that the Kuwaitis are enemies of Israel, and this is good, it is also true that they have enormous reserves of oil, and I want them. So your father has a decision to make. It could mean some late nights at the office. And I suppose that ultimately it could, I don't know, worst-case, unleash a series of geopolitical events in which your father and Supreme Leader ends up living in a hole in the ground like a prairie dog. But this is unlikely. It seems much more likely to me that -- how shall I put this? Let's just say that you boys might be switching schools. You'll like Kuwait City. They have ESPN there.

So what do you say? Think carefully, and answer your father honestly. It's all right. You won't make me mad. Much. Ha ha ha! Qusay, come back, I was only kidding, it isn't even loaded.