PROFESSOR Robert Kelly was back before the cameras this week to join the chortling at the mayhem unleashed by the two mini tornadoes, better known as daughter Marion and son James, who breezed into his live interview with the BBC.
The American academic, you will recall, was in his spare bedroom-cum-office in Busan waxing knowledgeably on Skype about South Korean politics when four-year-old Marion burst in like she had just taken a detour from leading a parade down Fifth Avenue.
Then James, eight months, entered the frame in one of the scariest vehicles known to adult shins – a baby walker. “Then I knew it was over,” sighed Dr Kelly.
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Speaking about the incident this week, the academic and his wife, Jung-a Kim, said the first thing they had worried about was that the BBC would never call again. Given the Trump administration’s manoeuvrings in North Korea’s direction, and the general hyperactivity of Kim Jong-un, I don’t think the professor will be out of a gig any time soon.
In fact, the Kellys had become instant heroes to all those in need of a laugh. Here were the best laid plans of adults trashed in an instant, a great big raspberry in the face of notion that children can always be tidied away, out of sight, while the grown-ups do their silly things.
There was one bitter footnote to the fun, though, after it emerged some people had assumed Jung-a was the maid. While Mr Kelly said he had felt “pretty uncomfortable” with that, his wife urged people just to enjoy the YouTube video for what it was, some much needed light relief. If she ever moves on from herding toddlers there is a place for Mrs Kelly in any country’s diplomatic service.
It had been speculated that the reason Dr Kelly did not simply get up from the desk and steer Marion out of the room was because he was not wearing trousers. Now the smart money says he was wearing trews, but they were comfy old jeans, and he thought they would look a bit daft with a suit jacket. How did that plan work out, prof?
Still on Planet Media, NBC’s Today came to Scotland to film a segment on the country once cringingly dubbed “the best small country in the world” by then First Minister Jack McConnell, a man who strangely enough did not go on to enjoy success as an advertising guru.
Scotland’s Phil MacHugh, who co-hosted the segment with Al Roker and Sheinelle Jones, was impressed by the size and slickness of the US media operation, as well he might be. During the 2004 US presidential election, your correspondent was in Canton, Ohio, when it was suddenly announced that George W Bush would be holding a rally in town. Bagging a press seat meant going through a procedure only slightly less onerous than a full body drug search, but all dignity cast aside, I secured accreditation and raced to the venue at the time requested.
And so we waited for the candidate to arrive. And waited. And the temperature rose. And rose. Just when I thought I was going to faint and be carried out by the cops Beatles-fan style, there was a roar of machinery and a heavenly chill filled the air. “Thank God,” said the local reporter sitting next to me. “The White House press corps has arrived.” The manager had been waiting for these rare breeds to appear before he switched on the air conditioning.
The insult “snowflakes” was not around back then, so another term was used. Just as the Queen smells fresh paint everywhere she goes, so the world of a senior White House reporter is one of Air Force One, crisp mountain air, and for all I know petal-strewn hotel beds. It is almost enough to make one have sympathy for White House spokesman Sean Spicer. Almost.
Spicer’s latest weapon of mass distraction was to talk up claims that President Obama asked British intelligence to conduct surveillance on Trump Tower before the election, GCHQ was understandably miffed at such allegations, with its own spokesman coming out of the shadows yesterday to dub the claims “utterly ridiculous”. Take a chill pill, Sean.