I understand that things are a bit wonky over there in the GOP-led House of Representatives. And by “wonky” I mean “ungovernable.”
So I figured I’d offer the GOP a suggestion:
Whaddaya think? Am I on to something?
This piece isn’t that old, but it makes me smile. So I’m reposting it on the day when Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest-serving monarch in British history. Well done, your Majesty. Well done.
In 1973, I went on a field trip with my high school acting group. To London. To a week of plays in London’s West End.
Because I was far too cool to be a tourist, I did almost none of the typical tourist things while I was there. (I was an idiot. There is a reason folks want to visit the Tower of London, etc.). There was one exception, though. I went to Madame Tussaud’s — the famous Wax Museum. While there, I was still too cool to be impressed by how realistic the wax figures were. Well, until something happened to really make me smile.
My friends and I had just about finished touring the museum, when we entered the exhibit for The Royals. From behind me I heard the sweetest voice.
“Mummy! That’s Our Queen!”
A little English boy, no more than four had entered the exhibit. He wore navy blue shorts and suspenders, and his cheeks were as rosy as a young English boy’s should be. He lit up the room with his pride. In his Queen.
“Yes, Darling,” replied his Mum. “That’s our Queen.”
At that time, Richard Nixon was President of the U.S. I was quite sure that there was no little boy in my country who would speak with similar pride about Nixon.
The image of that boy comes to mind every time I see Queen Elizabeth. And I always smile.
Today I read something about the Queen, though, that makes me smile even wider.
The Huffington Post reported a delightful anecdote about a visit from the newly-late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to the Queen’s Scottish castle, Balmoral. The story was recounted by Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, who was the British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He’d been told the story by both the Queen and the King, and relayed it.
“After lunch, the Queen had asked her royal guest whether he would like a tour of the estate,” wrote Cowper-Coles, who is said to have heard the tale from both Elizabeth and Abdullah themselves. “Prompted by his foreign minister the urbane Prince Saud, an initially hesitant Abdullah had agreed. The royal Land Rovers were drawn up in front of the castle. As instructed, the Crown Prince climbed into the front seat of the front Land Rover, his interpreter in the seat behind.”
Little did Abdullah know, however, that his driver for the day would be none other than Elizabeth herself.
“To his surprise, the Queen climbed into the driving seat, turned the ignition and drove off,” Cowper-Coles wrote. “Women are not — yet — allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah was not used to being driven by a woman, let alone a queen.”
Not to mention a queen who can drive like the wind. According to Cowper-Coles, Elizabeth didn’t just drive the SUV, but rapidly whizzed along the estate’s roads as she chatted, prompting Abdullah to become increasingly anxious.
“Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead,” the diplomat said.
Queen Elizabeth II is one badass broad. On behalf of drivers of my gender, as well as men far more enlightened than King Abdullah, I bow to you. I’d curtsey but I’m not that kind of girl.
Quick thank you to Peg for correcting my typo! Next time, lady, please read my post before everyone else does.
Sometimes, I am left speechless.
Sometimes, I feel my gag reflex going into hyper-drive.
And sometimes, I just need to get out of the way and let some folks speak for themselves.
So I’m gonna do just that tonight.
Here is GOP Presidential Candidate neurosurgeon Ben Carson, MD
And since I know you, and I KNOW you didn’t click on that video, I will have to step back up to the plate and tell you that the good doctor explained that we Democrats are all wrong.
It’s true, apparently.
Dr. Carson let all of us know that the GOP, well, they aren’t so bad. Women should like them, even.
So says the No. 2 (in some polls) Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. It’s true. He said on Thursday that Democrats were wrong to allege Republicans were waging a “war on women.”
“They tell you that there’s a war on women,” he said. “There is no war on women. There may be a war on what’s inside of women, but there is no war on women in this country.”
This guy should be headlining in the Poconos. What an eff’in commedian.
Oh, well, maybe I do have something else to add:
The other day when I rudely posted a link to one of my old blog posts in a comment on Art’s blog, Pouring My Art Out, I started chatting with my blogging buddy Trend, of TrentLewin.com about that piece. I told him that in an exercise for my memoir writing class, I had to write the same story from two different points of view. Trend and I figured it would be fun for me to post both pieces.
So tonight, I am re-posting the story of how all my youthful dreams came crashing down on me in a broom closet. Tomorrow night, I will tell the same story, from someone else’s side.
This exercise was really helpful in the class, by the way. It helped me look at the same story I’d told for years, but with new eyes. And it was a lot of fun to imagine the other side. Without further ado, here it is:
The thing about dreams is that the crushing, the squelching, the termination of them is so much better in retrospect than when it actually happens.
At 17, I just knew I was going to be an actress. A stage actress (because, don’t cha know, film work is not true acting. ) And I made that choice even before I realized that the camera brings out the psycho in me.
Now, I was very serious about this dream. Of course I took my high school’s acting classes. And, all snark aside, they were really good. The Players were renown throughout the area for the professional quality of its high school actors. And the accolades were well deserved.
Me? Was I the star? Was I the ingénue lead in all the productions during my high school years? Was there a reason for my hubris? Did my classmates look at me, remember my face and say to each other “someday we will remember when the very highly talented Miss Elyse went sledding outside our Algebra class (with that other fab actress, Ray) when she was supposed to be writing her math problems on the blackboard – because now,” sigh, “she’s a STAR.” Oops, no, I mean they’d think “because now she is a highly successful stage ACTress.”
Uh, no they didn’t. I was invariably an extra in those acclaimed productions. At best I got a line or two. But I had heart. And in the theatRE, that’s all you need, right?
“There are no small parts, only small actors.”
Well, I was NOT a small actor. I just got small parts. And I was short and thin. So I was small. Shit.
But I DID get an audition. Yup! I had an audition in April of 1974, the spring of my senior year, for the Central School of Speech and Drama, an acting school in London.
Now, I lived ONE hour outside of New York, so training in NYC might have been a wee bit easier to manage. But hey, this was a dream, remember? And I wanted London: The Globe, The West End, Masterpiece TheatRE (even if it was done on film, it didn’t seem like it). I was ready to take the first step in my path.
My audition was held in a building at Yale University, which in itself was pretty intimidating.
I performed my comedy bit first, a monologue from a comedy so obscure that I have blotted it totally from my brain. I sang “Adelaide’s Lament” under the guidance of my friend Sue, who actually played Adelaide in our school’s production of Guys and Dolls.
I delivered my Juliet speech – hey, what do you want, Lady Macbeth? I was 17!!! I chose one that is rarely performed, the one where Juliet is about to take the sleeping potion and is seeing her cousin Tybalt’s ghost:
O, look! methinks I see my cousin’s ghost
Seeking out Romeo,
That did spit his body Upon a rapier’s point:
Stay, Tybalt, stay! (I loved that line)
Romeo, I come! this do I drink to thee.
I drank the potion and collapsed on the floor in the best Juliet evah.
I thanked the three faculty judges, repeated my name, made sure they had my completed application and my picture (although how could they forget me?) I turned and walked to the door to leave.
Only there were two doors.
I opened the one on the right, walked through it and closed the door behind me.
It was a broom closet.
What do I do now, I wondered.
There was no script. No stage directions. No help of any kind. I considered staying in the closet, but knew that eventually I had to exit stage left.
After a minute that lasted forever, I re-opened the closet door and slunk out, saying a line I haven’t heard in too many successful plays:
“That’s the broom closet.”
I opened the other door and left the room, closing my dream back in the room with the judges.
I know that if I’d just gone out singing and dancing, well, this chapter would be the opening scene of my life story. Maybe it still is. Cause it hasn’t been at all bad.
As soon as John and Jacob saw me, they knew something was up. Something weird. Because I hadn’t looked nearly so cheerful the last time they’d seen me.
I had to admit, they were right.
Even though on that particular day, I had planned to be thoughtful. Sad. Mournful. I planned to wallow just a tad. It was, after all, the first anniversary of my mother’s death. I was a long way away from my heartbroken Dad; I wouldn’t be able to call and let him know that I was thinking of her. I felt, well, I felt I deserved it, because sometimes, no matter where you were, you just have to give into the loss.
That had been my plan, anyway. That’s not exactly what happened.
Did you see the movie The Monuments Men? It was pretty much panned by the critics, but I really liked it. It was about a group of academics who went to war to save great art from Hitler. It had compelling action, great works of art, and the struggle against good and evil. Equally important, it had no robots in it. Or baseball.
Naturally, since that trailer rudely left out the most important part of the movie – the one that I was involved in, I’m going to actually have to write this story up.
Anyway, the movie stars George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Matt Damon and the Earl of Grantham and an alcoholic has-been looking for redemption.
Oh, and Lord Grantham is also looking for the particular sculpture commemorated in this post. That’s actually where my story comes in. Well sort of.
Anyway, John, Jacob and I were In Bruges (another really great movie, actually). Bruges is a lovely old city, that seems like it is stopped in time, which is kind of because it WAS actually stopped in time.
A busy, beautiful port city that, according to Wikipedia, was:
At one time, it was considered the “chief commercial city” of the world. “Rise, fall and resurrection make up the life story of Bruges, a city that glittered in Northern Europe with as much panache as Venice did in the Mediterranean World.”
Only the harbor silted up, and its use as a port was history. Today? Today, it’s a damn pretty place.
We’d been traveling for a few days, had had our own Waterloo; we’d been to Amsterdam, where we visited Ann Frank’s attic, where Jacob drove a boat filled with tourists through crowded canals, and where John and I accidentally introduced our 8 year old to the Red Light District. So we were ready to just relax and wander when we got to Bruges.
The centerpiece of the town is the Church of Our Lady, Bruges, a beautiful cathedral built between the 13th and 15th Century. It is found in the heart of the town square.
It’s a lovely church, but its altarpiece alone makes it worth the trip. It is world famous, a luminous, transcendent sculpture that one feels as well as sees. It has an illustrious history of its own, Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child. The sculpture was the only one of his sculptures to leave Italy during the artist’s lifetime. More currently, and relevant to the movie theme in this post, it was one of the pieces of art most sought after by the Third Reich. The Monument Men were tasked with preventing the Nazis from getting it (or destroying it) as they retreated at the end of the war.
I’m not going to tell you what happens, but I will say, that the Monument Men didn’t have an easy job of it. Of course, I could have told them that they were wasting their effort. Because as I found out, Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child was well guarded. Even when nobody was really after it.
Are you still with me? OK, let’s get back to me.
Well, I started the visit to the Church with John and Jacob, where we taught our young son the history of the church, looked and discussed the art work throughout the church. We went to the gift shop, where I bought a flier about the Cathedral for my Dad, and a remembrance for Jacob. We’re good parents. We knew the routine. After a while, John and Jacob left to climb the tower overlooking the other side of the square. They left me to meditate, to think about my mother, to grieve. It was very considerate of them. Sadly, my reflection was short-lived.
The Church was nearly empty, and the late morning light shone through the stained glass, coloring the floor in front of the Madonna. I could hear the breathing of the few people looking at the paintings, there was an elderly couple doing the Stations of the Cross. But mostly I was alone with my Mom. And with another mother and baby, right there on the altar in front of me.
There are some pieces of art that reach out and touch you. That fill your heart. That start your healing as you gaze. Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child is one of those.
In the back of the church, coming from near the gift shop, I heard an announcement, softly broadcast over the intercom system. A few minutes later, I heard it again. It was in Dutch. Or Flemmish. Or Bruge-ian. I didn’t understand it. Ok, so I ignored it. What could be so important?
I continued my contemplation. I began to think of my Mom, to weep quietly, tastefully. Hardly at all noticeably, when somebody roughly grabbed my arm and shook it.
“#*&%+##@@*!” said a very tall, very grave Nun. I was pretty sure she had a ruler in her pocket. All the stories my siblings had told me about the nuns they had known – all of whom believed firmly in beating children, flooded into my mind.
“Excusez-moi, Madam?” I stammered.
“#*&%+##@@*! #*&%+##@@*!” she repeated, which she should have known wouldn’t help, since I didn’t have a clue the first time around.
“Excuse me, M’am. I don’t understand you,” I said to her in English.
“EEENglesh!” she said, as if that explained everything. “YOU MUST LEAF. NOW!!!”
“LEAF?” I responded, confused. Why did I have to LEAF? I was in a church. In mourning. I WAS PRAYING FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! “I am here for my mother, she died,” I said, and I started to cry.
“OUT!” she shouted, pulling me.
This was NOT Sister Bertrille.
She grabbed me by my sleeve, pulled me from the pew, walked me to the door, and firmly shoved me outside.
Now, I have been caught doing many untoward things. But this time? This time I was thrown out of a church. WHILE I WAS PRAYING. Isn’t there some eclesiastical law against that? Call the Pope.
* * *
So, when I saw The Monuments Men, well, I wish I’d been around during that day. They didn’t have to work so very hard, give up so much to protect Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child. All they needed was one nun in need of a sandwich.
* * *
This post was brought to you courtesy of Frank at AFrankAngle. He suggested I write it up the story of how I was thrown out of a church, so I did. Note to self: Remember to thank folks who inspire and who also actually read your blog.
I have a pretty good track record in choosing Presidents. Sometimes, I’m way ahead of the game. I decided in 2004 that I wanted Obama for President.
Sadly, I didn’t notice him on the ballot for a while.
This time around, I haven’t been able to decide. Hillary? Bernie? There are things to recommend each of them. So what is a good citizen to do?
Well, today I have my answer. I know who I’m going to vote for. I know who I will work for. I know who will solve one of the major problems the world faces today.
Please join me in supporting the candidacy of Donald Trump:
Because Donald Trump stated the following:
WINTERSET, Ia. – Donald Trump says if he gets elected president, he would have to change his hair style because he wouldn’t have time to maintain it, as he would be working his butt off in the White House.…[Emphasis added]
The world will be a far, far better place.
* * *
I found this, along with a zillion other brilliant pictures at The Last of the Millenniums. He’s got a gift for finding the really fun stuff.
There are presents!
There are treats!
There are new things that squeak!
And there are these damn hats.
What’s with these damn hats?
Now that he’s a year old, Duncan is no longer a puppy. So he has to behave. Right? Right?
Actually he’s started behaving better already. He didn’t eat the hat. That’s a start.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.