This morning my little blog had only ever had fifteen visitors, at least eight of which were me looking at my own website in public libraries to pump up the numbers. I suspect the others were my shiftless family checking in to see if I had said anything horrible about them.

[Private note to my grandson Peter: That tattoo is the second stupidest thing Grammy has ever seen. The stupidest involves your mother, but I’m not going to go into that now. Buy some long sleeve shirts, get a haircut and find a fucking job, or Grammy’s going to call her lawyer, Mr Finkelstein, and leave all her money to the Democrats.]

My relentless blog-whoring on Balloon Juice hadn’t made those little blue visitor bars move in weeks. I even let Sadie Hepplewhite stare at the screen to see if that would work. Sadie is in room 17 across the hall, and has been convinced she has telekinetic powers over the internet ever since she wished really hard that Keyboard Cat would be popular two days before it went viral. She sat in my room all last week, glaring at the computer with her all face scrunched up, but it didn’t work. Sadie says it’s because she wore herself out making Rebecca Black a hit.

However, when I woke up this morning, there were hundreds of you all over the place.

I’m not quite sure where you’re all going to sleep. We might have to get out the blow-up beds. Make yourselves at home anyway, but don’t eat the chocolate bundt cake in the refrigerator – I’ve laced it with LSD for when Ann Coulter comes to visit on Sunday. Oh, and watch out for Marge Albrechtson – she’s in a bitey mood.

Thankyou to so many of you for the kind comments and the Facebook friend requests. I will try to reply to all of you. Forgive me if I don’t – I’ve probably forgotten or my internet privileges may have been taken away or I might be away on a little bus excursion. Life is very complex when you’re 92.

Thankyou, in particular, to a young person called ThomJeff who said lovely things about me on something called Daily Kos – although what exactly a “kos” might be I really don’t know – and to Mr Cole for putting up with me so far.

By the way, girls, John is single, kind to pets, good at naked cleaning and on a first name basis with Paul Krugman. Get him while you can.

Anyhow, it’s time for me to go and make myself pretty. Rachel Maddow is coming round for afternoon tea with Sandra and Gloria and me. I want to look my best, and I need time to work out which perfume is most likely to make her sleep with me.

I’ll speak to you soon.

In which the vengeance of God is justly meted out on earth

I can barely credit that they have made a movie from that turgid nonsense by Ayn Rand.

I have about eighteen copies of “Atlas Shrugged” – all signed in that self-consciously spiky handwriting of hers.

Every Christmas from 1957 onwards, a present would arrive from Ayn by ordinary post. It would be wrapped in festive newspaper, usually with a gift-tag recycled from last year, and every fucking time it would be a fucking copy of fucking Atlas fucking Shrugged.

They’re good for weighting down decoupage projects, although when it comes to slugging a nurse over the head when I want to sneak out to buy booze, nothing beats my signed first edition of “The Fountainhead”. Mind you, it might be easier just to read it to them. Whoo, what a stinker it is. Temazepam in libric form.

I do remember one year, however, when Ayn delivered the obligatory copy in person. It was 1959, or perhaps 1960. Frankly, I don’t care – I have found it’s better to leave the 50s and early 60s as an undifferentiated blur in my memory anyway.

My husband Keith and I were on a trip to New York for Christmas. We were staying with dear Bitsy and Freddy Trump, of course. Bitsy had organized her usual pre-Christmas dinner at the Four Seasons.

She was never content with just the Pool Room or just the Grill Room, so she always booked the whole place. Whenever she did, she’d pay the staff extra to leave the doors open, and then when people came in to ask for a table they had to say, “Yes, we are open, but there is no table for you. Off you fuck.” It did wonders for that place’s reputation. Two weeks after Bitsy’s first Christmas party, the Four Seasons was shooing the punters off with sticks, and there was a two week waiting list just to be sneered at by the maître d’.

Anyhow, there were just 20 of us for dinner sitting at a big table in the middle of the Pool Room. Bitsy had seated me next to her, which was fine, but bloody Ayn Rand was on the other side of me, with the usual pinched expression she always had in the company of the genuinely rich or the genuinely talented, dressed as usual like a marxist lesbian librarian, and clutching this year’s copies of that fucking book.

I had rolled my eyes at Bitsy when she told me about the seating plan. However, Bitsy explained that she couldn’t sit Ayn anywhere near Norman Mailer or he might go off with his penknife and that Jackie Kennedy had sworn to punch Ayn in the face next time she saw her after Ayn made that unfortunate quip about Gore Vidal and a torpedo boat captain. As a result it fell to me to sit next to her, if only because Bitsy knew I could distract Jackie with an oxycodone bottle if she got too close to our end of the table.

It was a lovely night.

Mailer was in good form and didn’t stab anyone, although I noticed him giving Gore the stink eye after the soup course. Capote got really annoyed and walked out after Gore managed to pick up a particularly cute, blond waiter and have him in the cloakroom, and Jack Kennedy smacked Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. in the eye during dessert, but then made it up to Bitsy by doing his famous elephant imitation. He used to… well, let’s just say that Jack was never shy of waving his prehensile trunk around.

Ayn was pretty quiet all night. She was too busy stuffing everything she could reach into that enormous handbag of hers. That night, by my count, she managed to snaffle five or six spoons, two bread plates, a salt shaker and a gold lighter that Jackie took her eyes off for a moment too long.

After coffee, Gloria Vanderbilt brought out the really good blow and the party took off. Robert Frost read a frightfully dirty version of “The Road Not Taken”, then Gore persuaded his waiter friend to take off his underwear and give it to Keith, and then the rest of the dinner is eclipsed by a discreet and attractive transition effect, probably accompanied by some quiet tinkling music or a nice swooshing sound.

At the end of each Christmas party, Bitsy always used to leave her tips in a pile of little envelopes on the table, one for every staff member and with their name handwritten on the front. Waiters liked working Bitsy’s parties – she was a good tipper, and sometimes you got to sleep with Gore Vidal.

Anyway, Gloria and I had said our goodbyes and had wandered off to the restroom to re-powder our noses before setting off into the night. After about three lines each, we bounced out of the stall, bounced over Gore who was huddled in a corner with what was either waiter number three or Jack Kennedy in half a busboy’s outfit, and strolled back into the restaurant.

Everyone had gone home except Ayn. She didn’t see us come back in and, right in the view of all the staff who were cleaning up, she sidled over to the table, grabbed the little bundle of tips and stuffed them into her pocket.

Ayn looked around, and then gasped when she saw us right behind her. She started to say something but got cut off when Gloria punched her right in the stomach. She fell straight down like Teddy Kennedy on a vodka bender, and I managed to get her in the head with my knee as she fell.

We left her lying there for the waiters to pick over as they pleased.

I hope they all wore gloves.

Like shooting fish in a bowl

My friend Opal Townsend went to a psychiatrist once, a long long time ago.

The young doctor was a local boy who’d come straight back home to Boise after university to set up the first psychiatrist office in the area. This was in the fifties, so medical practices not involving leeches had only just started to percolate into Idaho.

The doctor was running late, and in fact didn’t get to see Opal until forty minutes after her appointment time, which is really not good enough.

She said that he had a fish tank in his waiting room, and there was a single fish in it, a little orange and white one, which swam around and around in a tiny circle through the windows of a little pottery castle. Every now and then it would look surprised and nibble at a plant, but then it just started up again, around and around and around.

Opal started off reading an old National Geographic to pass the time, but had to put it down when she decided that some of the tribal rituals it showed were a little too graphic for a good Christian woman to see.

After that, she watched the fish swim around in circles for half an hour while she waited.

Finally the doctor came out and she had her appointment. She said he was quite lovely, but she felt awkward and a little shy, so she didn’t say very much.

Of course, she went home that afternoon and shot her husband with a model 12 Winchester, but he had been asking for it for years, so no one really blamed Doctor Kennedy.

Image: Phiseksit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The curse of the angry hairpiece

My prior mention of Donald Trump reminded me of Father McKinney. That man had the worst toupee I have ever seen. It was like a muskrat had decided to winter on his head – tail, teeth and all.

When we were at camp – this is of course back during the Harding administration – we used to sneak up and peer in his window when he masturbated.

Little Janice Thomson used to be able to throw her voice, because her father used to be in a traveling carnival, and he taught her one winter when he was out of work.

He used to take off the toupee and set it on top of the wardrobe before he got down to business. Then just when he got started, Janice would make that toupee rant and rave about his iniquity. It used to shout at him for “wrestling with his tummy todger”, and every time he would get up, put the toupee carefully inside the wardrobe under some shirts and then finish himself off.

Even then, she was able to make it sound like there was a muffled and outraged squeaking coming from the wardrobe.

The police took the toupee away from Father McKinney after he did what he did to Sarah Powell and he got sent to jail.

It’s a pity, because I rather like the idea of the toupee sitting on the top bunk in his prison cell and looking down disapprovingly at him while he got rogered silly by his cellmate.

Happy days.