Holding the tiger by the tail

I see that little Scotty Walker has been in the news in Wisconsin trying to stomp on unions.

Now, I’m a lifelong Good Republican Woman. I voted for Alf Landon and every Republican candidate since (with the sole exception of George W. – that boy was dumb as mud). I believe that big business should be able to boss workers around if they want, whether they are in America or one of our many tribute nations. I fully support microchipping, chemical castration and welded on manacles if that’s what it takes for me to be able to buy a bespoke Galliano dressing gown and have it air freighted to Spokane for under $15000.

(I’ve noted before that although most of my horrible stories are about Republicans, I’m sure that that is just because I have spent so much of my life with Republicans, rather than that most Republicans are horrible people. I must try to think of a horrible story about a Democrat.)

Despite being a lifelong GRW, even I know that Scotty has overshot on this one. He seems as dumb today as he was in school back in Plainfield – dumb as a banana split with extra chunky nuts and a side serve of mean.

Let me explain. I was a primary school teacher for much of the seventies. We moved around a lot because my husband Keith’s cover for the last part of the decade was as a high ranking Klan official.

We lived in Plainfield, Iowa for a couple of years, and I taught Scotty when he was at the local primary school. I remember he used to look at me as if I was speaking Cantonese, when all I was trying to do was get him to put his pants back on after I’d changed his nappy.

Anal incontinence is so unpleasant in a nine year old.

I caught that boy torturing a cat one day. At least, he was trying to torture it, but he’d let one paw escape and it had hooked one claw right through his nose and out one nostril. He’d immediately stood up in shock, and so the cat was hanging full stretch from his nose, yowling like Ayn Rand on a coke bender, while he flapped his arms and batted at it with both hands.

I didn’t see him for years after we moved towns again, until I was at a Slate party in the mid nineties, where poor dumb Scotty was in the corner having a frighteningly similar experience involving Megan McArdle and a drop zirconia earring.

Stupid is as stupid does.


Flying fish eggs and a nice trip to the ballet

I’ve noticed that dreadful Donnie Trump all over the news, speculating about what I suspect will be the most successful Presidential campaign since Rudy Giuliani. Because most of the eighties is a bit of a blur, I have been trying to dislodge a little anecdote for a couple of days. This one finally came back to me during my afternoon nap, along with a rather cunning plan to send speed-laced brownies to Michele Bachmann.

Mary Anne Trump (or Bitsy, as we used to call her) was a friend of mine from way back. We first met just before WWII at some nightclub or another, where we were both on the prowl for eligible husbands. She caught a richer fish than me, I have to say, although I can’t complain.

Bitsy and I used to write to each other every week once we got married, and we’d always visit when there was a new baby or a christening or a funeral. I saw little Donnie get baptised – baldest, screamiest baby I’ve ever seen. He’d rip the dummy out of another baby’s mouth as soon as look at you, and then try to sell you his soiled nappy.

Bitsy and I didn’t see each other much during the sixties and seventies, what with all the moving around from tin-pot little African and South American nations that Keith and I did. International espionage is so hard on friendships.

Anyway, we got back in touch in the eighties, mainly by post again, but in about 1989 Bitsy wrote to me to tell me that she’d moved into Trump Tower to stay in Donnie’s place for a couple of months, and invited me to come visit.

Well, can I tell you that you have never seen anything like that apartment? It was like someone had paid Louis XIV to throw up all over a football field. Pink walls edged in gold leaf, gold tap fittings and smug pictures everywhere on the walls of Donald dressed up like Dionysus at a particularly drunken revel. It was a bit like living inside Liberace’s head.

Donnie and Ivana were feuding by that stage, of course. Bitsy told me that the fights had started almost from the beginning. I quite liked Ivana – she was a climber, of course, but quite lovely nonetheless.

It all came to a head one night at dinner. It was just the four of us seated at a dining table made for twenty. Donnie and Ivana were at either end, Bitsy and I in the middle, opposite each other, which was nice because we could chat and ignore the other two, who weren’t speaking anyway.

We’d just started on the Ossetra caviar when there was a yelp from Donnie like he’d been shot. We looked at him and saw that his eye was leaking black goo and he was clawing at it with his rubber-gloved fingers.

Ivana was sitting there grinning like a monkey with a spare handful of poo. She was holding her little bone caviar spoon in one hand and bending it back with the other. She flicked it and another spoonful arced along the table over our heads and hit Donnie right in the other eye, which kicked his head back and knocked his wig off, so it flapped behind his head like a dislodged fruit bat trying to get back into its tree.

He lurched out of his seat and headed for her with his arms outstretched, his hands clutching and his hairpiece flying, at which point she cackled like an extra on Charmed and let fly with a positive flurry of fish eggs. He kept trying to advance on her, but her aim was quite remarkable, and every time he got a few feet forward, she’d whop him in his face with another hit. When she ran out of caviar, she flung the spoon (getting him a good glancing blow on the ear that must have hurt like badly done buggery), then she just grabbed lemons out of a bowl on the table and pegged them at him.

The first one got him right in the middle of the forehead. The second and third ones got him right in the nuts, and he dropped onto the ground just behind me, wailing like three quarters of a cat, while Ivana followed up with the caviar bowl, a salt cellar and her mobile phone (which, if you remember what they were like in 1989, must have made quite a dent).

At that point, she stalked from the room and slammed the door.

When Bitsy and I finished our creme caramel, Donnie was slumped against the door burbling and crying that he just wanted his little Vanky-pops to love him and squeeze him and make him pay for doing the naughty things.

Bitsy and I had to step over him to get out.

Bitsy just sighed, and we went to see the premiere of Beethoven Romance by that nice Peter Martins at the Lincoln Centre, which was just lovely.


Putting the crazy in “crazy eyes”

Twice the crazy at half the price

I met Michele Bachmann back in about 1993 when she was setting up her New Heights Charter School in Stillwater.

From day one, she was skimming the cream off the books. The school’s stationery bill tripled after the first month, mainly due to the number of boxes of pens and pencils and paper that would come in one door and go straight out the back into Michele’s station-wagon. It bought an extra bus, which spent most the time parked outside Michele’s house, when it wasn’t ferrying her enormous brood of children and foster children to ballet classes and gridiron matches. She would sneak into the staff room, steal a box of chocolate biscuits from the storeroom and then sit and eat the whole lot at one sitting, leaving all the packets on the floor for someone else to clean up.

Directors’ meetings were a veritable orgy of French champagne and caviar. She’d sit there in her big Eames chair (which was, of course, bought by the school, but somehow ended up in her house a few years later), waving a glass of Pol Roger, and declaiming about the “12 Christian Principles” or how “Snow White” was a paganistic, bisexual, group-sex porn film made by the godless elites to harm good god-fearing children.

Denise Stephens and I finally reached the end of our tether when she tried to get the school to open another school in Waumandee in Wisconsin, purely by coincidence on a piece of farm land Michele’s family had been trying to flog off for ten years. That land was so contaminated by chemicals that any dairy cow that stepped onto it would curl up its tail and drop straight down dead.

This was about the time Michele tried to introduce compulsory Creationism classes and ban the school from showing “Aladdin” at the Under-6’s Merit evening. I always suspected that she hated that film because Jafar looked so much like her.

She fronted up to the Board meeting reeking of scotch and hepped up on Ritalin she’d snaffled from one of her many foster-children. Five minutes in, once the crowd had quietened down, Denise stood up and started her speech.

Now, Denise is one of those good Republican women you don’t get very often any more. Rational, sensible, and with an abiding belief in fair play and Christian charity.

Denise slowly and quietly began to outline her concerns, but two minutes in Michele stood up, swaying from side to side, and moving her head from side to side to try and focus her scary snake eyes on Denise. Then she began squawking like a toucan on crack “Are you going to question my integrity?”, over and over again, getting louder each time. I honestly thought she was having a fit, or her brain had just broken.

“Are you going to question my integrity? Are you going to question my integrity? Are you going to question my integrity? Are you going to question my integrity? Are you going to question my integrity? Are you going to question my integrity? Are you going to question my integrity? My integrity? Are you going to question my integrity? Are you questioning my integrity? Are you questioning my integrity? ARE you QUESTIONING MY FUCKING INTEGRITY?”

At last something snapped and she screamed at the top of her voice, “You can’t handle a woman of my integrity. I resign, you fucking atheist bitches”, let out an enormous shriek, pegged her water glass at Denise’s head and ran out of the room still shrieking like a fox that was being waterboarded.

I never saw her again. I understand she managed to get a lot of government subsidies for not farming on her land – not that you could plant a crop on that land without it melting – and then convinced some poor sucker to put his dairy cows onto it.

It seems she’s worked out a much better way to get suckers to pay for her champagne and chocolate binges too.

“Exploratory Committee”, my wrinkled old ass.

In which David Brooks embarrasses himself again…


David Brooks came to visit us at the Shady Pines Home for the Violently Senile in about 2006. He was invited to give a little talk by the Chairman of our management board, Doctor Phelps. This was, of course, despite my strident objections.

His speech was going to be about “Living in the Future Tense” or some such tripe, which I though was a bit rich, given that he was speaking to a group of people who barely remember the past and present tenses, let alone the future subjunctive.

I was selected to meet-and-greet him, because I had been behaving myself that month. He didn’t seem to recognize me from that embarrassing incident many years before with Ayn Rand. His talk was the usual guff, and he struggled to be heard over the snoring.

Afterwards he was bailed up in the corner by Marge Albrechtson.

Now, Marge is quite doolally. In fact, she’s as mad as a fish. She thinks she is a chamber pot half the time and, I have to say, she’s slightly more coherent at those times. The rest of the day she just babbles a glossolalia mostly consisting of swear words interspersed with farting noises. She also has quite bad incontinence and refuses point blank to wear her Depends. I had been sneaking apple juice to her all morning in case of such an eventuality.

Sandra Frazer, Gloria Peters and I were guzzling all the free champagne at the buffet table and ignoring his frantic signals for one of us to rescue him.

Marge burbled away at Davey for at least half an hour before he managed to escape. He rushed up to us, wringing cold urine out of his trouser cuffs, and started to complain bitterly about being forced to listen to the senseless rantings of an incontinent loon.

At which point Sandra Frazer said, “Well, now you know how the rest of us felt.”

He left shortly thereafter.

I did manage to slip some laxatives into his slice of Battenberg cake, which gave me some quiet satisfaction.

Tricky like a fox

The other day, while I was researching fast working and undetectable poisons on the internet, I came across a picture of an adorable little domesticated Russian fox.

I remember that Brezhnev sent one of them to Dick and Pat Nixon in San Clemente after Dick was hounded from office.

I was staying with them for the weekend – Pitty Pat had been hitting the cinnamon schnapps a bit too much and ranting about “fucking up Woodward and Bernstein” and Dick wanted me to, in his words, “have a fucking word with her”.

The poor fox-doggy came in a box, delivered by three very large Russian men in a black limousine.

Pat opened the lid and this adorable little grey and white thing beamed up at us and wagged its tail.

Then Dick looked in as well, and it immediately leapt straight upwards and latched onto his chin. They had to cover it with a blanket for ten minutes to make it let go.

Dogs know. Even dogs that are foxes.

Image: Anna Kukekova via Scout Around.

Ayn Rand may have been a hypocrite, but at least she didn’t wet herself very often

One of these things is not like the others...

One of these things is not like the other...

I have recently been entering into discussion with the boys and girls at Balloon Juice. Although they all seem to be sinners, liberals and sodomites (but I repeat myself), and they swear far too much, some of them seem to have their hearts in the right place.

One day a few weeks ago, someone there asked whether I had read the first serving of tripe that David Brooks had flung at the long suffering readers of the New York Times. I simply noted that I’m an old woman, and therefore don’t have the time to read turgid prose written by monkeys.

However, I was reminded of the fact that that I did once meet Mr Brooks at a party in Chicago.

It was in the very early 80s when he was still at university. Ayn Rand had bailed him up in a corner and had stolen his drink. She was in the last stages of terminal cancer at that point, but was still as horrid as ever. She kept calling him “Davey Davey Pissy Pants” until he actually did wet himself and had to leave.

It just goes to show that even evil old women with the literary talent of a milk bottle cap can have true insight into people’s character every now and then*.

* The first time I told the anecdote to the Juicers, I was a little cruel, in that I omitted to mention that as he was scampering off, urine squirting down his leg and onto the floor of Hutchinson Hall with every step, Mr Brooks did manage to stammer back that Ms Rand was a bitch.

Of course, the hypocritical old harridan didn’t hear him because she was elbow deep in the shrimp buffet by that point. However, it seemed only fair to note that little Davey did get the last word. Sort of.

As I said then, none of that means that Ayn Rand wasn’t a dried up old snake with the morals of a bandicoot on crystal meth**.

** Someone called me on this, noting that bandicoots are perfectly fine upstanding marsupials.

Of course, this is very true. They are cute and fluffy, and I would certainly rather have a bandicoot living in my bedroom than either Ayn Rand or David Brooks.

The worst the bandicoot would do is poo on the rug, which is more than I can say for those other two. Certainly, no bandicoot every expected anyone to pay for the privilege of reading its loathsome scribblings.

However, I would submit that if one in fact procured a bandicoot, and if one was then to give said bandicoot a soupçon or seven of crystal meth, the result would be a spitting, hissing, biting, yowling ball of fur that engaged in scads of frenetic pleasureless humping interspersed with much sullen moping in corners.

Very much like having Ayn Rand or David Brooks living in your bedroom, I suspect.

Don’t drink the chamomile tea

Arsenic and Old Lace

I haven’t been able to drink chamomile tea since 1984 when I was a judge on the Miss Alaska beauty pageant.

Being something of an expert in the art of deportment, I was asked to spend some time with all the girls in the days leading up to the pageant. You would not find a nicer group of young ladies – fine, salt of the earth women – with the exception of young Miss Sarah Heath.

I knew when I first saw her that she was a climber who would claw her way over the half-dead bodies of her parents if she thought it would get her mug on television. She had that same cold, mean urgent look in her eyes that Ayn Rand always had – as if someone else had dropped a dollar in church but not noticed, and she wanted to scrabble about on the floor to find it, and the only thing holding her back was the thought that God might see.

Sarah used to make chamomile tea for all the judges. She’d make a big pot, enough for perhaps ten or fifteen people. Then she’d portion it out into little cupfuls of smarm, and bat her eyelashes and say to me “Oh, Mrs Howard, I have some chamomile tea to spare, and I thought of you.”

However, she never gave any tea to any of the other girls. They’d ask and she’d say “I’m afraid I don’t have any to spare”, and then hide that teapot (which just you knew was still half full) under some towels as if giving away some hot yellow water was going to ruin the family fortune. Oh, she was as mean as a rat with a chocolate truffle.

Then, the day of the pageant, she suddenly started doling out that tea to the other contestants as if Jesus himself had come down for the weekend to check on how generous people were being. None for the judges, but even if one of the girls said they didn’t want any, she’d say “I’ll just leave a cupful for you here in case you change your mind.”

It’s funny. Even with a large majority of the contestants that day showing clear signs of having been doped with cheap crystal meth – one poor girl absolutely freaking out on stage convinced the doves from her magic act were trying to kill her, another sitting staring at her own feet and blubbering about the “terrible claws” – Sarah still only managed to come third.

I mean, really, did you see that flute performance? In that cheap lace blouse and the Margaret Thatcher hair cut, she looked like a cut price Detective Mary Beth Lacey without the fashion sense, the comic timing and the ability to shoot a gun properly.

We gave her Miss Congeniality, of course, because none of us wanted to wake up with a moose head in the bed next to us.

She’s much slicker now, I admit, but if you look in her eyes you can still see the young girl in the ugly blouse who thought that everyone else in the world was stupid and would never see through her tricks.

Cheap trash can become rich trash, but mean and dumb is forever.

[Edited to fix Sarah’s maiden name. My old mind does play tricks on me sometimes. Thanks to Raven for his polite and timely correction.]