I saw quite a bit of Jacqueline Susann (take that how you will) during the war. Jack and I had been rewarded by our respective agencies with a cushy temporary assignment keeping an eye or two on a rather dishy German agent who was trying (and failing) to seduce Truman Capote.
Now, failing at seducing Truman is quite an achievement, given that young Fritz (for that was the German’s name) was available, adorable and Aryan, and that Truman would bang a duck if you slapped some Bay Rum on it and stuck a bottle of poppers under its wing.
The failure was none of our doing, I must add. Our bosses didn’t particularly mind if Fritz rogered Truman blind and legless and then extracted everything that Truman knew during the post-coital guilt. If Hitler wanted to know about the divine boy that Truman had sucked off at the Y last night and how yellow was Truman’s favorite color and how war was so, so sad, it was none of our concern.
Nevertheless, due to a series of unfortunate circumstances (including a dodgy curry, a spurned Sicilian-American dancer with a flick knife, an amusing misunderstanding about the meaning of the English word “submissive”, and three separate bouts of herpes), Fritz never quite got into Truman’s pants. Jack and I spent most of the time drinking gimlets and spiking Truman’s drinks with Pervitin when he wasn’t looking.
None of which is the story I originally set out to tell you, by the way. And yes, I will get to the book thread. I’m old and my mind wanders. Fuck off if you don’t like it.
Jack and I lost track of each other in the fifties because I was spending so much time in Cuba. I didn’t hear from her until 1969 when she wrote to invite me to dinner at her DC apartment – just (as Jack put it) a small dinner with close friends, a dinner with some meaning to it, a dinner that would be a celebration of something. She was, apparently, trying to get over her abortive affair with Ethel Merman, and had embarked on a rather less public dalliance with Pat Nixon.
Pat, of course, had become a lesbian the year before, more I suspect as a reaction to Dick’s chronic flatulence than any real desire for the love of a good woman. Or indeed a bad one.
Bitsy Trump and I cadged a lift from Gloria. She always served spectacular champagne, so by the time we arrived we were all several under the pump. Truman came in a little later with a brasileiro rent boy called João, who immediately began flirting with Pat, which caused Truman to retreat in tears to the bathroom, so we spent the afternoon drinking gimlets, getting baked on a pan of particularly fine double-fudge rum-n-raisin brownies that Pat had whipped up, and lying around drawing monster eyebrows and a lazy eye on all the pictures of Sally Quinn in the society pages while listening to Brahms and the gentle sounds of Truman whimpering.
Gloria, Pat, João and I played a lengthy game of Twister, and at one point I came out of a quick nap for long enough to see Pat poking Truman with a broom handle while shouting “Cry it up, Streckfus!”, but most of the rest of the evening is a blur.
I do remember that one of Pat’s security detail brought burgers and fries and shakes, and Jack turned the news on so we could throw our pickles at Nixon. Just as Bitsy got Dicky fair in the gob with an onion ring, Jack looked across at me, raised her glass and declaimed “Nixon. Capote. I hate both those fucks. I hate their beady eyes and their stupid noses and their lying fucking mouths. Those fucks will ruin us all.”
At which Pat laughed like a drain and had to be heimliched after her olive went down the wrong way.
I have no idea what any of that means, but I’m scared to think what Jack would have said about Mr Romney or the Twilight books.
Now, it’s been a while since we had a book thread, so here you go.
My reading has been all over the place this month. I’m halfway through David Wong’s John dies at the end, an odd and disconcerting little story about small town kids, sex, drugs and the malevolent forces that live beyond the bounds of our universe and watch our world with hungry eyes. Wong is very funny and ably handles a plot in which the peace can be broken at any time by the abrupt appearance of a cloud of flying flesh eating worms or a golem made of slaughtered deer parts.
Gareth Roberts’ novelisation of Douglas Adams’ Shada was particularly good, both as an evocation of the book that Adams might have written and of Tom Baker’s Doctor and Lalla Ward’s Romana. Getting those things right without veering into pastiche or, on the other hand, bland unrecognisability is hard – just ask Michael Moorcock. Roberts pokes happily at some Gallifrey Base obsessions, including the argued overuse of the sonic screwdriver, the gay agenda and this (which is just cruel):
As Skagra watched, he learnt of the Doctor’s early history, academic achievements, his family ties on Gallifrey and elsewhere, and the exact reasons for his first flight from his home world. But all of that was irrelevant.
There’s even a very fine Monty Python joke about halfway through.
I also read The Time Travellers by Simon Guerrier, which I thought was an exceptional book. The first Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara are stranded in London in a 2006 in which Great Britain is at endless war after being devastated by the evil computer WOTAN, who will later (or earlier, depending on your level of wibbliness) be defeated by the second Doctor in The War Machines. All four leads are beautifully drawn, and Guerrier’s description of a conversation between the Doctor and Barbara about changing history towards the end of the book is passionate and tender and quite masterful.
I love The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit. The book is divided up by flavours, with each flavour cross referenced against most of the others to see what memories or recipes or random thoughts the combination brings to Segnit’s mind – from bacon and chicken (the proper number of bread slices in a club sandwich), to bacon and clove (a recipe for barbecue baked beans), clove and vanilla (which meet, along with coconut, in wine stored in French oak) and vanilla and cherry (Cherries Jubilee!). Fascinating enough to read from cover to cover, and perfect for dipping into for ideas if you happen to have a surfeit of oranges or cucumbers that you need to use up.*
The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer made me laugh, and the divine Phryne Fisher mysteries (this month, Murder in the Dark) make me wish that I had been born 20 years earlier so I could have hung around in Melbourne between the wars – although I do suspect there wasn’t quite as much cocaine and shagging as Ms Greenwood describes.
Well, kiddies, that’s me. What have you been reading?
* I’ve been making pickled oranges and a French orange wine aperitif and bread-and-butter cucumbers all week. I smell like vinegar and booze which, frankly, isn’t unusual. Let me know if you want recipes.
Well, my dears, I’m back from my little jaunt over to London for Betty Windsor’s Jubilee.
I haven’t seen that much mindless fawning and avid slobbering over one woman since the time I got stuck in a lift with Megan McArdle and Tina Brown. Mind you, that was only about three weeks ago, so it’s been quite a month for the brown-nosing.
I did enjoy the Jubilee flotilla. I was delighted to be invited onto the Royal Barge (although I was confused for a while because that’s what Phillip always used to call Fergie).
However, after a few glasses of bubbly and half an hour listening to Kate wittering on about how big her castle is, I did consider taking a fire axe to the bottom of the boat and drowning the whole bloody lot of them (except Harry, of course, who is such a dear and who hooked me up with some smashing coke (but then the sweet thing doesn’t have a Saxe-Coburg gene anywhere in his little ginger body)).
Thankfully I was distracted by a lustful look from a particularly dishy Gurkha, so a major international diplomatic incident was averted for the time being.
Anyway, I arrived back at Shady Pines to find that the righties at the Corner have been smoking the post-Wisconsin crack pipe and worked themselves up into jittery, pock-marked frenzy and are now wandering the streets muttering Halperin quotes:
“With five months until Election Day, Barack Obama faces a grim new reality: Republicans now believe Mitt Romney can win, and Democrats believe Obama can lose…”
in between trying to cadge subscriptions from the punters so Kathryn Jean can buy her own blow-up Timothy Dolan doll.
Nooners, never one to turn down a passing bandwagon (particularly if it has a Smirnoff logo on the side), is actively crowing about how Obama has lost the election six months out because he doesn’t lie and dissemble like his opponent. I shit you not:
Mr. Obama has become actively bad at politics. Here is an example of how bad. Anyone good at politics does not pick a fight with the Catholic Church during a presidential year. Really, you just don’t. Because there’s about 75 million Catholics in America, and the half of them who go to church will get mad. The other half won’t like it either.
If you’re good at politics, you quietly allow the church what it needs to survive, which actually is no more or less than what’s long been provided by the U.S. Constitution.
If you’re good at politics but ideologically mean, you string the church along throughout the election year, offering “temporary full waivers” or some such idiotic phrase—politicians love to make up idiotic phrases—on conscience, and then revoke all protections in 2013, after you’ve been re-elected, and have the fight then.
Even worse, Obama is apparently a loser because he’s attacking his opponent:
A more important example, and then we’ll move on. The president opened his campaign with a full-fledged assault on his opponent. This is a bad sign in an incumbent! An incumbent should begin his campaign with a full-fledged assertion of the excellence of his administration—the progress that has been made, the trouble that has been avoided, the promise that endures. You’ve got to be able to name these things. Then, once you’ve established the larger meaning of your administration—with wit and humor, and in a tone that assumes fair minded Americans will see it your way—you turn, in late summer, to a happy, spirited assault on the poor, confused, benighted and yet ultimately dangerous man running against you.
All of which means, in the warm haze of Nooners’ post-Wisconsin bender, that
The Obama administration suddenly looks like a house of cards.
The collective Tarantos are also excited. You can almost see the desperation oozing off the page as they try to paint Wisconsin as the penultimate victory in a string of Republican triumphs, which will culminate in the crowning of King Mitt in January.
To be sure, it’s possible that Obama will stage a comeback and defeat Mitt Romney. Only time will tell. But it’s not as if time took a vow of silence in January 2009. The other day Commentary’s John Steele Gordon provided a helpful list of events that “sure looks like a trend to me”: the emergence of the Tea Party in early 2009 and the town-hall confrontations that summer, Republican victories in New Jersey’s and Virginia’s governor races in November 2009, Scott Brown’s upset in January 2010, the Republican landslide in November 2010, and Walker’s vindication Tuesday, along with the approval of ballot measures curtailing public-sector pensions in California’s second- and third-largest cities. …
“If Republican Mitt Romney is inaugurated as president in January, history may look to June as the month in which President Obama’s fate was sealed,” writes National Journal’s Reid Wilson. If so, we would argue history will be wrong. The crucial month was March 2010, when ObamaCare became law. Obama’s determination to push it through despite overwhelming public opposition was the apotheosis of his contemptuous approach to governing. Pundits who took until this week to notice that Obama is out of touch were themselves out of touch.
Now, I know there are no sure things in politics, and the stupidity and self-destructiveness of a major part of the American electorate is never to be underestimated.
Nonetheless, I think Obama is going to win and win handily.
The more the electorate sees Willard, the more they will dislike him (particularly that part of the electorate which is brown or gay or has a vagina and/or something functioning above the level of their brainstem). The debates are going to be more of a disaster for the Republicans than that time when Uncle Cranky McCain wandered around the stage looking for his doggy mid-debate.
My money’s on the smart black guy that most of the country likes, rather than the dull, awkward, unpleasant, unprincipled trull who thinks that cops, firefighters and teachers are parasites holding back the American economy.
Bring it on.
[Image: Hans Makart (1840-1884) – Der Triumph der Ariadne]
This photo is going to blow the lid off, sheeple! VICTORY!!! !
Next up: how the cloning tool was used on George W. Bush’s codpiece.
I quite like Good Friday. The chants at the morning service at the Convent of St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen down the road are always so lovely. Although I’m Catholic, and therefore not particularly religious, I do find the stark dignity of that empty tabernacle quite stirring.
Neverthless, we did get our praying out of the way pretty quickly this morning, so we could get on with the important business of gossip, showing off our new hats and handing round pictures of the grandkiddies, interspersed with the odd bit of actual business so that we didn’t have to deal with it at morning tea. There may well have been some man or another up the front of the chapel, wearing a dress and yammering on, but none of us was paying much attention except during the hymns.
This morning we worked out who was bringing what to the next bring-and-buy – I’m doing Cherry Bakewells and a caraway seed cake – set the date for the next Convent Fair, and managed to find a nanny job for poor Mary McKenzie.
While she was on holiday in New York a few months ago, she got rather too excited in a nightclub toilet with one of the boys from Jersey Shore. She’s not sure which one. All she can remember is muscles, big hair and a cloud of Axe body spray which really isn’t much help. Now she needs the work to pay for a nice new pram and some DNA tests.
We aren’t missing out on much by not listening during mass, as we do have a rather uninspiring roster of priests thrown our way each week.
Father Seamus, who I seem to recall lead the service today, is a nice and pretty young man. Unfortunately he’s frightfully stupid and exceptionally fond of the Virgin Mary, if you get my drift. He can speak about her pure, forever untouched femininity for hours. The poor dear will come crashing out in a few years and be much more entertaining, but for the moment he’s a dreadful bore.
Father Flarety only ever talks about birth control, homosexuality or and the environment (he’s against all of them), but in the heat of his oratory the poor sot usually forgets which of them he is denouncing. It doesn’t seem to make much difference anyway. He also has a tendency to wander off during communion and not come back, which makes for a nice early mark. Last Sunday he got his hip flask mixed up with the communion wine. The blood of Christ had a kick to it that day, let me tell you. We had to take old Sister Luigi out into the vestry and fan her for a while.
And Father MacDonald is now so old and so wizened that he can’t be seen over the altar or the lectern, even when standing on a milk crate, so no one has any idea what he talks about.
Anyway, I really just wanted to wish you all a happy non-denominational Easter/Passover for this weekend and share with you a personal email I received from Marcus Bachmann reminding me that it is Michele’s birthday today. How lovely that the day of her birth falls on Good Friday this year, the day when Jesus died for us, the day when the tabernacle is as cold and dark and barren and empty as Michele’s heart.
This Friday, April 6, is a very special day in the Bachmann household – it is Michele’s 56th birthday!
This past year has flown by, and Michele has spent the year working incredibly hard fighting day in and day out across this country for the conservative values we hold near and dear. In addition to being the voice in Washington we always know we can count on to tell the truth, Michele has worked extremely hard as a wife, mother and conservative activist.
I really want this birthday to be special for Michele, but I know that what would mean the most to her is if she was able to hear from you.
I’ve put together a special online birthday card for Michele and I hope you will follow this link to sign the card. On Friday, I will compile the messages to show her that people from every corner of the country appreciate the hard work she does.
Michele is facing a formidable election this year, and the Democrats would love nothing more than to see Michele be defeated. Please sign the card to show you stand with Michele, and afterwards you’ll be given the opportunity to make a special donation to show Michele just how much you support her work.
Please consider making a $56 – one dollar per year, or even $112 – two dollars per year, contribution. But, if you can’t afford to give that much, a gift of $10 or even $25 is greatly appreciated. Every donation received is one step closer to ensuring Michele’s campaign is victorious this fall.
On behalf of the entire Bachmann family, I want to personally thank you for your continued support of Michele. It is not easy to stand up to the liberals and mainstream media who attack her and our values, but I know that your support means the world to her.
Michele and I are blessed to have your friendship.
P.S. Not much time remains until Michele’s birthday, and I need your help to ensure she has a great day. Please sign the birthday card for Michele and afterwards make a donation to her campaign. Thanks, Marcus.
I hope that Marcus has found a nice present for her. Perhaps a stepladder and some nails so she can climb on up there next to Jesus and show him how a martyr really dies. I must send her a basket of muffins.
I will leave you with two things to properly sweeten your day after Marcus’ dish of saccharine and suffering.
First this song, which I have linked to before, but which I play for myself almost every day. It’s dedicated to the Senegal national football team, the Lions of Teranga, by a Swedish girl of Senegalese ancestry called Mary N’diaye. It’s so joyous, it has a great beat, she has such a lovely voice and the video has awkward straight boy dancing, so it always brings a smile to my face.
Secondly, if you will indulge me, I’m going to link to one of my old stories, which I reread the other day and which I think deserves another whirl. It cheered me up anyway. It involves Bill O’Donoghue, an adorable baby, cake, lesbians, graphic vengeance and a rather sweet ending.
Happy Easter weekend to all. I hope you have a pleasant weekend and that you find an opportunity, on this Good Friday, to reflect upon the importance of sacrifice and self-denial.
Now I’m off to buy a cheeseburger and a quart of gin.
I have no idea where I am. This happens quite frequently and, I suppose, is to be expected after about 80 years or so of intemperate dedication to the pharmacopoeial pleasures. However, there is loud music and I have a 40 dollar cocktail in one hand and Brad Pitt in the other, so wherever I am it’s fancy.
Brad keeps bitching because Angelina got turned away by the bouncer for wearing open toed shoes, although I suspect it had more to do with the fact she smells like a civet on heat when you get up close. Brad, frankly, looks like shit. Nineteen kids and a girlfriend with both daddy and brother issues will do that to you. However, I’ve given the poor thing a pill, so he should perk up soon.
Gloria and Anderson are off trying to find coke, if they can stop arguing for five minutes about which of them is taking home the twin Albanian sailors who Gloria picked up earlier at Katie Couric’s party. Leitenant Prek and Leitenant Preng (for those are their names – what can you expect from a place that had a king called Zog?) are on shore leave for a few weeks and on the make in New York, and Katie hired them to serve as shirtless waiters because (apparently) “it’s my party, and I want it to be special”.
Prek and Preng were the highlight of the party, as half naked, bemuscled men bearing cheesy lobster tarts so often are. Otherwise it was just the usual for one of Katie’s parties – non-vintage champagne, too many bankers and media types with powdered noses, Katie complaining all the time because there’s not enough coke at her own damn party, and Dan Rather passed out in his own sick in the bathtub. People tend not to admit they have coke in Katie’s presence because she gets quite grabby if she thinks the lines aren’t being dispensed fast enough. Every time she heads in the general direction of the bathroom, there’s a brief stampede as everyone tries to hide in the kitchen.
Anyway, we escaped from Katie’s apartment by tossing a baggie into the spare room and leaving while she was still tangled up in the duvet, grabbing the lieutenants on our way, and then ended up here, whatever it’s called. I gave up remembering the names of nightclubs years ago. My drink is good. Brad’s pill is so good that he’s started eyeing up Prek’s tattoos, while Prek and Preng are currently gazing into each other’s eyes in a manner which would, if weren’t a filthy old thing, be quite shocking.
Oh, I forgot. At Katie’s party we ran into Gore Vidal who, I’ll be frank, I had thought was dead. At our age it’s often easier to assume.
He looked very well, and we spent a most enjoyable half hour chatting about whether Santorum would be more entertaining to watch under the influence of mushrooms or ketamine, and a great new technique that Gore developed for hiding laxatives in battenberg cake. Hint – it’s in the jam. Just before he left with one of the other waiters, Gore told me a positively eye watering anecdote about Onassis and Jackie and a cucumber that I dare not repeat. Such an old charmer.
Well dears, there’s still no sign of Gloria or Anderson, so I’m going to take these three boys back to the safety of my suite at the Plaza before they make a scene on the carpet. I hope you have a lovely weekend too.
Music in this post, as often, with thanks to the invaluable Alfitude.
One of the many joys of being as filthy rich as me is the ability to declare your weekend begun at 10am on a Friday morning, or indeed at about 9.15 on Monday, concepts like “weekday” and “weekend” being essentially arbitrary anyway.
Happy weekend to all. Time for a drink and some music then. First, courtesy of the always lovely Popbitch – Rebecca & Fiona’s Dance, a perky little thing with some lovely female vocals and lots of lovely buzzy beats, that just cries out for a trance remix.
Also The Temper Trap’s Sweet Disposition, by reason of a further viewing of the delightful (500) Days of Summer. I haven’t been able to get Hall and Oates out of my head all week.
You will be pleased to know that preparations for the Convention in August are progressing well. The girls, on the whole, seem to think that Marge and I should just front up at the first Santorum “meet the delegates”, get some other old dear with a hat and a grudge to slip Ricky a shitload of laxatives hidden in a slice of chocolate cake, release Marge’s squirrels into the room and then make a break for it. I think that’s rather unsubtle. We shall see.
Sandra bet me that she can seduce two Paulite delegates per day, and at least four on the last day if Ron Paul doesn’t get the nomination. Sandra’s fond of giving the odd pity fuck. She says that the tears make it sweeter. Sandra is not a nice woman sometimes.
I took the bet, although I suspect I’m going to lose. If she were wearing a Santorum badge I’d say the odds would be firmly in my favour. Santorum’s young, male delegates are either going to be pinched, virginal godbotherers or closeted gays and, while Sandra likes a challenge, I suspect that would handicap her just enough.
Romney’s cute boy delegates are either going to be Mormons or bankers, and usually both – which would be much more fertile territory for Sandra even if a lot of those Mormon bankers are going to be fucking each other.
I don’t know if there is such a thing as a Ron Paul gay. I shudder to think. Google tells me that the top result if you search on “gays for ron paul” is the charmingly named Gays for Ron Blogspot, which hasn’t been updated since February 1, 2008. So that’s not much use. I’m not going there. Perhaps one of you can go check and find out for me what a Gay for Ron Paul looked like during the last Presidential election.
Mrs Chen (who lives in 5B) says that Sandra should walk up to Ron on the convention floor, pants him and pelt him with elderly eggs. Again, a little unsubtle, I suspect. Mrs Chen does hold onto a grudge. She’s like the last limpet in the bucket.
So, we’re still undecided on strategy. Any suggestions will be gladly received.
On a more practical note, however, I have started stocking up on convention pharmaceuticals, and I am hunting the archives for a recipe for Mamie Eisenhower’s Black Cherry Ice Cream Cake – Newt’s favourite. I think I can cram enough speed into it that Newt will spend the entire four days vibrating in a corner somewhere, without affecting the taste. Mamie liked her icecream sweet, thick and pink, just like her men.
Anyway, that’s where we are up to.
Don’t forget the Balloon Juice Fitness Club which I will post as close to 6pm on Sunday as WordPress and my elderly brain will allow me. Last week’s was sadly under attended. Slackers. Don’t make me come in there and make you exercise.
If you will excuse me, my dears, there is a vanilla and pear daiquiri with my name on it currently frosting its glass on my swim-up bar, and the pert-chested and rubescent MI6 officer who stuck around after David Cameron’s visit to Shady Pines keeps tugging the top of his speedo at me. Most distracting.
I hope you have a lovely weekend, and I shall speak to you all soon.
Well, my dears, there has been much excitement at Shady Pines. Today was the second Monday in February which means, of course, that we have just held the Shady Pines Caucuses.
This is quite a long post, so you might wish to make yourself a cup of tea or have a cigarette before you start reading. Of course, if you are a reader of delicate disposition and sensitive morals, you may wish to move on to another post or, indeed, another blog. One that’s not so obsessed with poo jokes, perhaps.
Buckle up. This isn’t going to be pretty.
Those of you who paid attention in your Civics classes (Do they still have those?) will know that the Shady Pines Caucuses have been run every four years since 1960 as open caucuses which send three delegates directly to each convention.* The candidates usually attend and are each asked to give a five minute speech before the caucusing starts. That first year, Jack Kennedy bought all three Democrat spots, while the Republican side gave all of theirs to Barry Goldwater after Nixon fell off the stage during his speech and became lodged in a large ornamental vase. Apparently the swearing curdled milk for several hundred feet in either direction.
I first participated in 1984, when I caucused for Gary Hart just to fuck with that bastard Mondale’s head.
Of course, this year President Obama didn’t come – he has better things to be doing, like trolling bishops and sticking Santorum faces onto the Oval Office dart board. He did send a video message, a lovely fruit basket** and a signed picture of himself with his adorable family, all delivered by an adorable secret service officer. Because we are all so excited about the Republican race, we persuaded Marge Albrectson to be the Democrat caucus all on her own. Later she told me it was very exciting and there was a great amount of spirited debate (which actually consisted of Marge trying to strangle a squirrel for five minutes while it held on to her lower eyelids with its claws – I peeked at the security footage).
Ultimately though, the President won unopposed, and we sent a nice note of congratulations back to the White House.
The Republican caucus had to be moved into the large ballroom as almost every resident had put their name down to participate. There were gurneys and wheelchairs and machines that go ping everywhere. They even trundled in Florence Carney, who has been in an iron lung since 1952 and can only communicate by blinking, and whose last vote in any election was for Thomas E. Dewey. We put her up the front so she could see properly, the poor dear.
This year, we had a little difficulty with the press. They were mobbing the front gate dreadfully, and the candidates cars couldn’t get by. Thank heavens we had upped security for the day. It only took five minutes for the two nice “security contractors” from Academi to clear them away. I watched the tall, blond one with the muscles poke Chuck Todd in the testicles with an electrical cattle prod for at least a minute and a half, which quite made my day. Sarah Palin turned up late with a Fox newscrew. When she was turned away, she tried climbing over the back fence and was lightly mauled by Muriel Heppelthwaite’s pekinese, after which we locked her in the broom closet. I can still hear her screeching from here. Such language. It would make a crack-addicted fisherman blush. Read the rest of this entry »