Ready Girls?

If the four had met, an artist’s rendering. Queen Elizabeth often comes across as distant, aloof.

In an interview conducted 50 years after Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, one of her ladies-in-waiting shared her memories of the day. She along with her fellow bitches-who-hang were rather blase about the whole affair as they anticipated the Queen’s arrival on the steps of Westminster Abbey.

They’d been through numerous rehearsals and knew exactly what to do. Now it was a matter of execution. As members of Britain’s Aristocracy they were not that impressed. They were aware the real power was with their families who propped up the monarchy. These exercises in grandeur were annoying necessities to maintain the status quo

Their nonchalance changed dramatically when the crowd noise crescendoed to a deafening roar. Then the golden coach came into view as it turned into the street. Suddenly they were sucked into it all, collectively gobsmacked.

The sense of majesty was heightened as the coach came to a halt in front of them. The Queen cooly alighted then calmly mounted the steps. No cheesy smiles, no winks, no small talk acknowledgment of anyone. This was serious business.

After her climb she paused at the Abbey’s arched entrance to await her cue. The curtain was about to go up on the greatest Burlesque Revue of the Twentieth Century. She took the moment to turn and address her attendants. In her only royal directive to them that day she deflated the pomposity of it all with a casual, two-word aside.

Her Majesty has been a part of my consciousness since the days I started toddling. My childhood misconception was that she and Aunt Betty were the same person. I was still developing my personal myth making skills but I was convinced my Grandmother’s youngest sister was the Queen. It was only when I got to be much older, a first grader, that I straightened it out.

Aunt Betty was born in 1920, the same decade as the Queen, my Mother and Jackie Onassis. Their adolescent reading would have included the empowering values of Scarlett O’Hara which they tempered with traditional female socialization. That generation of women’s greatest conundrum was how to use their brains while remaining flirtatiously dependent on men.

Whereas Mother and Jackie were inclined to challenge norms, Aunt Betty was not. Like them, she was attractive and intelligent. Unlike them, Aunt Betty was not modern thinking. Neither was the Queen.

When swinging London stirred the 60’s worldwide youthquake, Queen Elizabeth was still doing the fox trot. Her unique position, however, required that she adapt non-traditional feminine skills in order to preserve the family business.

The Queen’s image has been digested by the world continuously for seven decades. As with any public figure, a skilled imager like Elizabeth puts out enough hints to manipulate the public into thinking they know them as a friend. The reality is nobody’s got a clue. That worldwide population of imagees has been left to process her into one personality. With billions of facets.

There’s no harm in playing along if we accept the limitations of the game: our imaginations. In scouring through millions of photographs, videos and published narratives we’ve endeavored to solve the enigma.

Queen Elizabeth II’s most striking attribute has been in how she openly courted leaders of African nations. Granted it was motivated by the underpinnings of capitalism and keeping business ties strong. It was part of her valiant attempt to shore up her father’s rather wobbly concept of Commonwealth. But it was not an act.

The Queen always seemed comfortable showing black leaders respect and currying their favor. She was genuine. Not just another mid-20th Century liberal inventing legislative gimmicks to paper over the Grand Canyon of racism. One can just imagine what the Architect of the Great Society, that Good Ol’ Boy Lyndon Baines Johnson, called these men behind their backs.

If there was any condescension in her attitude during these exchanges it was not because of skin color. It was because she more than most realized the transient effectiveness of politicians.

Another example of her example is how she succeeded in an all-male world without authoring a “how to” best seller on her secrets of doing it. Her training began at home in the way she handled the number one, all-time, super-alpha male husband of hers. She drew a line: you can rule the family but not the state. Then she never waivered.

When I came out and was first exposed to gay politics I had already been steeped in the writings of leading feminist authors. I was convinced of the validity of the Women’s Movement and immediately saw that, although our goals may have been different, we shared a common enemy: the concept of pater familias and the artificiality of a male dominated society.

For centuries sex was the reward gained for participating in a legally sanctioned union called family. With the identification of new sexual groupings and a better understanding of the difference between male and female sex drives, the time was right in the early 1970’s to define new kinds of behavior paradigms. Including one for some gay males that allowed for multiple sex partners. Therein is where I tried to lead by example.

Alas, my generation never got past the love and marriage goes together like a horse and carriage school of thought. Like all movements, the extreme elements identified an agenda with ideas that were impossible to attain. With the fear of radicalism implanted in their souls, the middle ground was prepared to accept softer solutions. Once the coast was clear, the bourgeois shopkeepers timidly emerged to get the city ordinances passed.

It takes all kinds to fuel progress. And failed ideals of youth are not necessarily a loss. They may be seedlings that achieve maturity in subsequent lifetimes.

Although Queen Elizabeth would never identify as a feminist (or any kind of -ist for that matter) her reign speaks volumes. In retrospect, her “Ready Girls?” on the Abbey steps was a broadside to half the world that it was time to make their move.

Who Is Chuck “Couldn’t Lead A Whore Into Bed” Schumer and Why?

In the storied tradition of Lyndon Johnson, Mike Mansfield, and George Mitchell, we now are presented with something called a Charles Ellis Schumer.

As Minority Leader he was hapless in mounting any kind of opposition. As Majority Leader he has not accomplished much. Except, of course, his self-touted “most votes ever in a failed impeachment attempt.” Wow. Way to come in second, Chuck, in a two-horse race at that!

If Mitch McConnell had the same numbers that exist for Democrats today, with two senators behaving as badly as Sinema and Manchin have, he’d string them up by the balls to make them fall in line. (Well, Sinema anyway. I don’t think Manchin has anything to latch on to.)

Schumer seems lost. He has no tools, or inclination, to impose the advantage of the majority. And he’s quite comfortable with the aura of defeatism that envelopes him.

As a senator from New York, his main constituency is Wall Street. Their agenda is the Republican agenda. When it’s time for a show of bipartisanship, however, and Democrats gain control of a branch of government, they need someone in charge who is ineffective and doesn’t get in their way. They’ve found Chuck to maintain the status quo.

The great mystery remains the workings of the United States Senate itself. How can a drooling, jello mold loving 90-year-old have the mental capacity to fashion complex legislation? One guess is they can’t. They are mere cardboard cutouts propped up every six years for reelection. The real work is done by the Senator’s senior staff whose personnel are constantly shifting between the private and public sectors. Get the law written the way your industry wants to claim your reward in corporate America.

Then there’s the questions of why it’s so hard to unseat an incumbent or how an individual can become so wealthy pursuing a career of public service. Although it’s always fun to speculate how many millions Dick Blumenthal has made this month in spite of Senator Feinstein’s “Blind” Trust, there’s a real Dylan’s Mr. Jones quality to all of this. We just don’t know what it is.

Finally, when a member of Congress gets in financial disclosure trouble why is it always for such a paltry amount? Like $25,000. Seriously? That will barely cover the cost of Senator Manchin’s penile implant surgery. There’s got to be a lot more money than that changing hands.

What’s missing in the equation is the muckraking and investigative journalism of the past. An expose of of the upper chamber is long overdue. But those who know these things prefer to play the Washington insider game: leverage any damaging information on a politician by not publishing it to gain access to other information they may have.

The deal is to delay the eventual release of the embarrassing details until well after the news cycle has run on the story. The way Bob Woodward did not release anything on the craziness of the President at the height of the of the Trump Virus calamity when it could have informed the public on what was happening. Instead he held on to it for several months to publicize his latest “tell-all” with “explosive, never heard before” revelations.

With the demise of printed news and the Kardashianization of network news, the future of the fourth estate as a check on public officials looks bleak. And with Chuck Schumer’s Wall Street benefactors controlling the news feed, the voice of the people will be further diminished and the playing field even more unequal.

But, I may be wrong. Maybe in a couple of years you’ll walk into their Cupertino headquarters and see the shelves lined with Pulitzers and Peabody’s for Apple News’ investigative reporting on the predatory and monopolistic practices of big tech companies.

Barbara Walters Asks: Are You TWIP-ing?

When I mentioned in a previous post that I hoped to have enough podcasts available to listen to on the drive to Grandma’s house, I assumed she lived in the same subdivision and one six minute post ought to cover it. My apologies to those who had a longer journey.

We are working diligently to get the best (a term the Legal Team has advised us to use with caution) posts converted to podcasts. Technicians are working 24/7 to accomplish this. Okay, more like 3/4 but we are plugging away.

I toyed with the idea of doing a This Week In Podcasting email but do you really need more of my junk in your face? Rather than spam you, just click the Podcast Emblem at the top of the home page for a current index of them all.

Likewise, any individual post that has been converted will display the emblem linking to its recording under its title.

As the struggle to bring the mountain to Mohammed continues, here is what is posted so far.

Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.

Keeping Up With the Kushners

Jaredina Kush-Tush

We don’t know what Tundra Trump-Kushner has been up to this year but there is news on husband Jared.

Jared, who now goes by the name Jaredina Kush-Tush and prefers the pronoun “whom-ev-aah”, has just returned from Van Nuys where whom-ev-aah guest lectured at the Caitlyn Jenner Institute for Hormone Studies and Canine Obedience. Whom-ev-aah’s topic was “Melania, Guuurrrl!! You’re Killin’ Me with that Tomahawk Chop!”

The best Middle East Envoy the U.S. has ever had and recipient of the Trump International Golden Globes Peace Prize, Jaredina is off to The Villages in Florida next weekend where whom-ev-aah will lead a round table on How to Muzzle the Academic Community in Pursuit of Free Speech.

You Want Aural? I’ll Give You Aural

25 years ago when I was in charge of the law firm’s website I was sent several audio files of attorneys speaking at our seminars. I was told to post them in this new format called “podcast.”

Each file was at least an hour long and I was tasked with listening to them in their entirety. This was to ensure there were no technical issues. And to provide fodder for writing a short summary of each one.

The process was like watching Warhol’s Sleep or Empire. You sat for hours waiting for something to happen and it never did. It was unbelievable anyone would subject themselves to such boredom. My opinion of the format was set then and there.

Fast forward to the pandemic (really, really fast). I was shocked to learn that podcasts are no longer just the purview of high-yield REITS and leveraged buyouts. They could actually be entertaining. So I’ve decided to record a selection from my 350 posts. Who says an old bitch can’t turn new tricks?

It is my fervent wish to have enough podcasts posted by Thanksgiving so you’ll have something to play on the drive to Grandma’s house. Then, after a hearty home cooked meal when all the strait-laced relatives are sufficiently liquored up, play them again. For everyone.

In some small way I hope it will contribute to your holiday memories. Even if it’s only a familial fist fight on the front lawn.

With that I give you my first podcast, Jesus and the Postman

TEST

Grow A Set

Taking a few minutes off from a laborious weekend to write this love note to Democrats. In times of crisis they always fall back on their “love of democracy” and “respect for the institution” as excuses for inaction. But if they could just tick one or two things off this short To Do List it might prove they mean business.

  • The three Supreme Court justices remaining who are not Pro-Death should resign en masse to prove they are not kangaroos too.
  • Dianne Feinstein should be forced to resign immediately so they can retain control of the Senate if the recall election is successful. She’s 88 going on cadaver. There’s a video of her speaking at a memorial this summer where she calls Pelosi “The Leader of the Senate.” And, rather than memorialize the person they’re there to remember, she waxes on about how she was the first woman mayor of SF and London Breed, who was in attendance, is now the second. She should be allowed to keep her DC home, however, so she’s available to bear hug her little buddy, Lindsay Faye Graham, whenever he needs a boost.
  • If Newsom is recalled, day one of the new governor’s administration should mark the beginning of the petition drive to recall his successor. Let’s see how some extremist Pro-Death Radio Shock Jock who gains office with 9% of the vote does when he’s required to come up with 50%. Plurality should not rule.

Sex Workers of the world unite! Tonight at my place!!

Clapton Drops Second New Single In As Many Weeks

Given the newfound audience he’s acquired with his surprise anti-vaccine hit, Gotta Stop, Eric Clapton wasted no time heading back to the studio. The follow-up’s urgency came from his desire to have it released before he embarks on his US tour with its one venue. (Jagger’s ex, Jerry Hall, helped him book a Desantis ’24 fundraiser to be held at The Villages.) This recording gives new life to an obscure Ike and Tina song from 1974, Sexy Ida.

It’s hard to get funkier than Ike Turner, but with some of his raunchiest guitar licks ever Clapton’s cover does just that. He’s also taken some liberties with Ike’s original wording. For example the line “Don’t give your love to Sexy Ida, Cause she’s the sister of a black widow spider” is now “of a CIA insider.”

In addition to doctoring the lyrics, there are brand new verses that address the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida. Clapton sings “Evacuation’s just speculation, Big brother can’t tell you what do” making it clear there’s no role for governments in peoples’ daily lives.

There’s also a not so veiled threat to charities like the Red Cross and Unicef to stay away. He poignantly laments: “How can they learn the lessons of life, If they’re not allowed to fend off strife.”

Clapton has served as something of a moral compass to a generation of baby boomers that began in the late 60’s. That’s when he started an affair with George Harrison’s wife, Patty Boyd. Breaking up his best friend’s marriage did not stop him, in fact it inspired him, in writing the rock classic Layla.

Clapton has become a master at capitalizing on current events. He hopes “Ida” will equal the success of his biggest hit, Tears in Heaven. That song memorializes the death of his four-year-old son in March 1991. It was released in January 1992.

The Sine Qua Non

I

In July 1972, Gary and I were in New York for opening night of the final dates on the Rollng Stones’ tour. We’d seen them seven times in five different cities. We knew the exact moment in Stevie Wonder’s opening set to break for the stage before the guards were positioned.

Large arena tours were still a new concept and crowd control techniques had yet to be perfected. The only method promoters employed in those days was to have faith people would stay in their assigned seats. They miscalculated.

(It should be noted after this Monday night performance, Tuesday’s concerts featured much heavier security with huge sheets of plywood blocking both ends of the aisles on the main floor. As well as all the entrances onto the floor.)

Crowds in the other cities had been a little unruly, a lot of jostling for position but nothing we couldn’t handle. We always made it to the lip of the stage. In Madison Square Garden, however, it was pure anarchy. We were surrounded by throngs of New Yorkers doing what they do best: push, push, push.

As the intermission was coming to an end Gary and I were five rows back. We realized this was the best we could do. Then the house lights dimmed and over the speakers came the dramatic, low-key announcer’s voice, “Ladies and Gentlemen….The Rolling Stones.”

With the opening strains of Brown Sugar I instantly found myself in an ever-tightening vise: surging hordes behind me, an immoveable stage to the front. I lost Gary in the mayhem and was pinned in by all of the humanity. My back was to the band though concert music was not foremost on my mind at the moment. I searched for an exit route but couldn’t move. There was no way out.

Suddenly I felt an arm around my waist and in one fell swoop, someone pulled me backwards on to their chair. Everyone in the first rows was standing on their seats and the floor space where their feet once rested was now occupied by the influx of fans. We were packed so tightly I couldn’t turn to see who my captor was. But for the next hour a strangers arm around my bare midriff and a three inch sliver of a folding chair were my only security.

When the concert ended and the crowd began to thin I jumped from the chair and turned to meet the person who rescued me. He was a very cute high school senior on a date with his girlfriend. Although I gave him a perfunctory thank you over my shoulder when he pulled me from the scramble, I doubt if he heard me. Now I was effusive. I thought he’d spared me great harm and I was very grateful.

In a very sexy moment he gave me a sheepish smile. As if he’d enjoyed touching the forbidden flesh as we listened to the devil’s music. Sensing trouble his girlfriend quickly sprayed her territory, threw her arm around his shoulder and said, “come on honey, let’s go.”

In the midst of the chaos when I first landed on my perch they were still playing Brown Sugar. I was 10 feet away so I could finally see them clearly. When I looked at Charlie he seemed to be staring back at me. I thought I was imagining it because I didn’t think he could see through the lights. Real or not, we were locked in a stare down for quite some time.

Maybe he’d seen me being trampled and was worried about what was happening on the floor. Whatever the reason, I finally had the attention of one of The Rolling Stones and I wasn’t going to blow it. I continued to act as if things were perilous.

Then I thought better of it. If he was genuinely concerned I should at least let him know I was okay. So I dropped the act and flashed a big smile.

His reaction was immediate. With the coolest indifference he slowly turned his head to the side and stared off into the distance, never to look my way again.

In a very polite way Charlie Watts was telling me not to waste his time with my bullshit.