The Curious American Fascination With Royalty, and Other Strange Vestigialities

Queen Elizabeth I

Is that a weasel or a ferret?

I never knew Queen Elizabeth I was enamored of weasels or ferrets, (the creature on her arm is an ermine- a polite name for a variety of weasel) but in Elizabethan times I’m sure a lone member of the Mustelidae family wouldn’t have added much to the general pestilence of the court. Bathing wasn’t terribly high on the priorities of most Elizabethans.  Royalty did bathe more often than the peasantry, who I would assume would only get a good douching in a rainstorm.  I think the royals did bathe relatively often- once a week or so- and they did have access to perfumes and soap.  I shudder to think about toileting arrangements for the masses and their livestock back then though.  No wonder all those people died from typhoid and cholera.  Not to mention the plague, which has recently been identified in a squirrel population in California.  Too bad it’s the wrong kind of squirrel population.

squirrel-9

These aren’t the squirrels to which I refer.

I’ve always thought it a bit strange that Americans still seem to be enamored of British royals.  Truth be told today’s royal family- the Windsors– (or should I say Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) are probably more German by ancestry than anything.  The name change to Windsor was in response to anti-German sentiment surrounding WWI.

King George V

Germans with English names.  Sort of like Steve-o, who has an English name, but has more German ancestry than the rest of the family.

Today’s royalty are more or less figureheads with no political authority, but back in the days of the American Revolution, kings (and sometimes queens) held the power of life and death for their subjects.  Yeah, that kind of power would be kind of cool, but it could also lead to all kinds of witch hunting and cronyism and the mysterious disappearance of political opposition.  Oh, the Obama administration rings a bell, at least as far as the scandal and sleaze factors go.  What’s worse about  Obama is whatever privileges he thinks he deserves were usurped via dishonest means (i.e. only natural born American citizens are eligible to hold the office of the Presidency) as well as egregious voter fraud.  I haven’t forgotten about that- and I’m not going to either.  History will prove me right in the end.

The fascination some people have with today’s royals to me is a sort of a modern-day hold out of the fairy tale myth of the all-powerful ruler.  The closest thing America has to royalty (don’t even think the Obamas, even though they think and behave as if they have royal entitlements) is the Hollywood crowd.

I think the British royals to be far less sordid than Hollywood, and far more admirable than the Obamas.  The royals (unlike most of Hollywood) even have some redeeming features, such as sponsoring legitimate charities, and serving in the military.

I don’t see the Duchess of Cambridge out there screaming about “reproductive rights” (aka: abortion advocacy) while at the same time crying crocodile tears and telling everyone that eating meat is murder. I don’t hear of the Queen telling her subjects that she could have been Trayvon Martin 30 years ago either.  I can see where she might show some affinity for Elton John, as he and the Queen share similar taste in hats, but I can’t see her claiming Trayvon.

anthony weiner

Now this guy is back in the news.  Wiener. Wiener. Wiener.

I don’t think I would vote for this guy- except to piss off Hillary Clinton.  She probably has a bigger unit than him, so she shouldn’t be too upset.  If I really want to sausage-gaze I think there are better endowed specimens than Wiener (in spite of the name) to be found online.   Then again it’s one thing if women are requesting sausage shots from our friend Mr. Wiener, and quite another if the sausage shots are being sent unsolicited.   To me it wouldn’t be nearly as perverted if the women are asking for the pics.   Then at least they’re getting what they deserved.

Now, for a guy to just randomly send a portfolio of Mr. Happy to every female for whom he has contact information, either he’s a 13 year old pulling a rather sick prank, or that’s a cry for attention.

dancing-hot-dog

Am I the only one creeped out by dancing food? Especially dancing wieners.  Wiener. Wiener. Wiener.

Wiener. Wiener. Wiener. Wiener. It’s just fun to say wiener.

I’m not a snake.  I don’t prefer to consume my prey whilst it’s still alive. I don’t want my food to dance. Especially wieners.  I want my food to remain perfectly still until I decide to move it from the plate to my mouth, unless of course I’m eating Jello.

Some Pigs are More Equal, Vertical and Breathing, and Fun With Cars

 The French, God love them, in spite of their penchant toward socialism and love of abysmally designed motor vehicles, have a saying: Plus ça change, plus c’est la méme chose.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The difference today is, sadly, that there is still a pro-slavery crowd preaching the morality of forced servitude to the masses.  It is a far more deceptive form of servitude, though.  The preachers of the religion- and it is a religion in which Government is God- of socialism keep telling the masses that we can reach some grand utopia if only we let government have all of our resources…so the government can “redistribute” them.   I can go on and on ranting on that point, but suffice to say that someone has to pay for all the “gimmes” to the entitlement crowd, and it seems that “someone” always ends up being people like me.  It’s just a tad bit grating knowing that all the money I pay out in taxes and insurances goes toward other people getting (for free) things I can’t afford.  If I think about it too much, it really pisses me off.

I can’t stress it enough.  Read  George Orwell’s Animal Farm.  Which pigs are more equal?  Of course, the phrase “more equal” is an oxymoron to begin with, but the political correctness movement has brought us an era in which being some sort of protected minority du jour buys one privileges that the rest of the population is not accorded.   Is it truly in the interest of “equality” to give special scholarships to black students, while white students with better GPAs and more notable achievements are denied, or to hire a person who belongs to a minority group who is less qualified to do a job?  Doesn’t this send the message that ____ group is inferior and can’t achieve anything without someone fudging it for them?

I am all for equal rights, but I despise “affirmative action,” which is simply reverse discrimination.  It’s an attempt to make “some pigs more equal than others.”  There will never be equal rights in this country until or unless there is no preferential treatment given to anyone on the basis of race, religion, gender, disability, national origin, sexual preference, ad nauseam.  No one has equal rights until no one has special rights.

Ok, I’m done with today’s rant on government and society, before I piss myself off too much.

You win some, you lose some.  I do well to remain breathing and vertical.

Speaking of remaining vertical, tomorrow my illustrious son and his buddy are going to go to Cinci to retrieve his car, saving me at least part of the road trip, and I get my car back. I want to go hang out with Dad for awhile but I’m trying to think of creative ways to avoid having dinner at the nursing home.  I’m still having nightmares about that shrivelled up piece of sausage (?) and whatever that dried up film was on the outside of the coffee cup, but there are times when dining is more about being social and polite than it is about pretending to be a frigging gourmet.    Perhaps it is a sad commentary on my life that I am looking forward to driving a Yaris, but I have driven far worse in my life. I’ve owned a plethora of cars in my time- some good, some abysmal, some classic, and some forgettable. Maybe I can remember them all:

1979 Subaru DL- it was completely trashed long before I got it, but memorable because it was my first car, and when I got it there was a behemoth pack of Trojan rubbers in the glove box.

1975 VW Rabbit- this car completely sucked because it was a (rare) carbureted Rabbit – (same powertrain and induction as an old Dodge Omni… those one barrel Solex carbs sucked… and just as depressing to drive) and it had a number of bizarre electrical faults. It would not start if you turned it off at Burger King, for example, which makes no rational sense.

1977 VW Rabbit- ugly as hell but would run like a raped ape because we put the air distributor from a Porsche 944 on it (more air=more fuel on the old mechanical Bosch CIS injection systems)- this was the car I beat the boys with the Novas and Chevelles with the 350 engines and 411 rear ends in the quarter mile.  I know, drag racing is bad, but when you’re 18 and like to teach young punks some simple physics, it was really fun.  Horsepower means nothing unless you have the low end torque to back it up.

1972 VW Super Beetle-my first and last air-cooled VW- had to sell it to the ex to have money to move.  Loved the car, in spite of getting frostbite in my ankles from driving it in winter, but sometimes getting away from an ex is worth the trade-off.

1979 VW Rabbit- not as fast as the ’77 but it was my very first 4 door, and my very first Blaupunkt stereo with 16 speakers and 100 watt power amp.  Led Zeppelin cranked up in this car was awesome. Spending $800 in repairs in one month- brakes, control arms, front shocks, rear shocks, tires and a starter,  was not so awesome.

1990 Chevy Cavalier- worst piece of shit I ever owned- and I bought it new.  The week after I bought it I had to have the hood painted.  The lifters clanged like a diesel’s, and the oil pan drain plug was stripped from the factory. I was glad to see that son of a bitch go.

1983 VW GTI- I could kick myself in the ass for selling this classic. Damn, it would run fine…  But it was black, a 2 door, and the A/C didn’t work.  Plus, at the time I had an infant in a car seat, and that does NOT work with a 2 door that has no A/C.

1988 VW Fox- not magic, not tragic- it had 4 doors and working A/C, but I sold it before I ever had to have the clutch replaced.  Clutch replacement on front wheel drive cars with longitudinal engines is a bitch, and a repair that’s way too expensive for me.

1994 Toyota RN series truck- I loved this truck.  It had 250K on it when I begrudgingly let the old man trade it in on his ’99 Tacoma. The old 22RE engines were virtually indestructible.

1998 Toyota Corolla- It was purple and I loved the color.  But I made the mistake of putting aftermarket aluminum wheels on it and had nine kinds of trouble with them, and then I became enamored of the Celica I saw in the showroom.

2000 Toyota Celica- Another car I could positively smack myself for trading in.  This beastie was fun to drive and fast as hell.  But Steve-o couldn’t fit in the back seat, and the lease was up so I had to trade it in on something.

2005 Scion XA- This car was fun and it had 4 doors and more room in the back seat.  The only reason I traded it was because the lease was up.  I don’t see myself doing leases anymore.

2008 Toyota Yaris- I liked this car too, until I got rear-ended and was paranoid taking it back even after the body damage was repaired- and I was offered a hell of a deal to just buy a new one with more safety features on it.

2010 Toyota Yaris- This is my current ride- exactly like the 2008 only with power everything, cruise and side airbags. Why the hell they don’t make the sedan anymore is beyond me.

In all honesty it is difficult to find a decent car if you’re one of the 13% of American drivers that prefer a manual transmission.  The Europeans offer the best rides for those who like to shift gears themselves- but they’re also the most expensive.  The Japanese do offer manual transmissions in a variety of models, but most of those are base model econoboxes, (my vehicles of choice) so if you like options you’ll likely end up dealer trading for them or special ordering them.  I’ve gotten lucky with most of the cars I’ve bought recently- nobody wants the manuals with all the toys- so I get better deals.

Steve-o found out today that his automotive hypocondriasis was exactly what I thought it was: something stupid.  Steve-o is also a member of the 13%, and he’s also aware that the Europeans have the best offerings for those of us who pass by all the cars on the lot that only have two pedals.  Audis, especially turbo Audis with 150K+, are very temperamental when they have vacuum leaks.  He had an improperly sealed valve cover and a slightly cracked flange leading to one of the vacuum lines. It was miraculously devoid of the catastrophic failures he envisioned, and frankly, I barely noticed the trivial, almost indiscernible miss on cold start before he took it in for repairs.  He would crap himself if he had to fire up Dad’s ancient Mazda van and listen to the lifters clang like a diesel’s until the temp gauge gets at least half way up.  That disturbs me- and I try to be very easy on it when it’s cold- but I admit the play in both the ball joints scares me more than the lifter noise.  I hope to avoid the larger potholes and divots with this thing.  At least I get my car back tomorrow, after I hear his whining about how it hydroplanes in the rain (no shit when you’re going 85) and the wind blows it around. I’ve not heard any whining about the 40+ MPG it gets on the highway though.

I have to wonder what kinds of drugs the artist of this painting was on.  Cats with umbrellas, in the snow?

The Cougar Pool- Finally! and With a Name Like That…

Ah, the seasons of Central Ohio.  It seems that we have made the yearly sudden move from Monsoon Season into Stygian Heat without missing a beat.  For those unfamiliar with the seasons of Central Ohio, they go as follows:

Winter.  Cold. Windy.  Lots of precipitation- snow, rain, freezing rain, sleet- and it’s always dark. Lasts from about Halloween until mid-February.

Snowbooger Grey.  Cold, lots of rain, but not quite cold enough to freeze, leaving depressing grey snowboogers, discarded clothing items, assorted trash, dead Christmas trees and other detritus everywhere.  Windy. Dismal.  Still dark.  Lasts from mid-February until early April, but seems to last six months at least. The absolute worst season of the year.

Monsoon Season. Rain. Rain for days at a time without seeing a glint of sunlight.  Windy.  Sort of cold.  Lasts from early April until late May or early June.

Stygian Heat.  Hot, hot, humid and hot. Lots of thunderstorms and rain in between the hot, hot, hot, to raise the humidity and make you swear it’s even hotter than it is.  Imagine living in a greenhouse.  Lasts from early June to late August.

Fall Monsoon.  Just like the Monsoon Season of April-May, only there’s falling leaves to go with the rain, wind and cold. Lasts from early September to Halloween.

So we really have five distinct seasons here as opposed to the traditional four seasons.  The constant?  Precipitation, and lots of it.  It’s interesting to live in a (nominally) drained swamp.

I am glad that the successful installation of the Cougar Pool has coincided with the onslaught of Stygian Heat.  It was most enjoyable to float around on my floatie yesterday when it was 90+ with the usual 100% humidity.  I could have used some more interesting entertainment besides watching Jerry picking weeds, chugging Natties and listening to his whining about the bug spray.  If it’s safe for cats, it should work OK on him, unless he starts foaming at the mouth or licking his balls or something.  Then I might have to revisit the cat bug spray option, but those kinds of side effects may be mildly entertaining, and therefore an added advantage.  The cat bug spray was a lot cheaper and probably works better than the high dollar bug repellent anyway, but I’m going to have to get him the regular stuff because he won’t stop whining until I do. 

I did play hell getting the Cougar Pool set up, and I discovered that the only place level enough for it to work was up on the porch.  I should have done that initially instead of trying to set it up in the yard, but I figured Jerry would be more upset if I put it on the porch.  He didn’t seem to protest nearly as much as I thought he would.  I think it would be funny to see him actually get in it but I highly doubt he will try.  Yesterday he said the water was too cold.  I thought it was rather nice, especially considering how hot it was.  Now all I need is a DVD player out there- and maybe a Super Soaker just for fun.

I find it a tad bit hilarious that a guy with the last name Weiner (damned funny in its own regard, especially for a politician) is in trouble for tweeting pics of his Vienna sausage to some young college girl.  When I see this guy on TV, several things hit me about him, and none of them are good.

He’s a Democrat.  Strike one.  Hailing from the party of William J. (Oral Sex is Not Sex) Clinton and Teddy (I Didn’t Know She Couldn’t Swim) Kennedy does not inspire confidence in one’s integrity or one’s ability to refrain from behaving like a back alley tomcat.   However, lest I appear to be too forgiving of the other side of the aisle, I understand many Republicans have made poor behavioral choices in this arena as well.  The difference is that it seems for Republicans lewdness is a liability, whilst tomcattery seems a simple rite of passage- and a way to gain valuable name recognition- for Democrats. 

He’s a whiny little twit.  Strike two.  Would I really want to see his teeny-weeny-weenie?  If you’re going to tweet a pic, make it a good one.  If you’re going to send pics of a package, Ron Jeremy would be a better model than say, Mickey Mouse.

His efforts to molehill-ize his mountain are only adding fuel to the fire.  Dude, the more you protest your innocence, the guiltier (and nuttier) you look.

He has bad hair, a whiny voice, and an extremely huge nose- not necessarily detriments when considered as single elements, but when added to the overall “package” (pun intended) they add to the just plain blecch factor of this guy.

If I had a name like “Weiner” (granted, it’s hard to forget) maybe I’d either change it to something less, uh, giggle worthy, or consider becoming a stripper.  Although I can see where the name “Weiner” would be great as far as name recognition goes, it’s not exactly name recognition in a positive way.  For instance, if I were to name a feminine hygiene product “Pu**y Fresh” the name would be memorable, but not in a good way.  It would be sort of like naming your kid “Adolf” so he stands out in his class.  He will stand out, but not in a positive way.  

I do wonder, however, how many of Rep. Weiner’s constituents voted for him simply because of his name- either out of pity or just because it’s funny.  I can hear this conversation in someone’s head whilst in the voting booth:

“Check it out.  Dude’s name is ‘Weiner.'”

“I gotta vote for him…heh-heh…heh-heh…” (internal Beavis and Butthead laugh)

Or maybe some people just break out into mental song (to the tune of “I Wish I Were an Oscar Meyer Weiner”):

“Oh, I gotta go vote for the weirdo guy named ‘Weiner’, ’cause that is what I’d truly like to be…”

-or-

“Oh, I gotta go vote for the weirdo guy named ‘Weiner’, ’cause Weiner’s what I’d truly like to see…”

Now that song is going to be going through my head the rest of the day. I know I am dating myself, but I am sure there are those out there who remember the Oscar Meyer Weiner Song.  Not too many people wish themselves to be hot dogs these days, but the ’70’s and ’80’s were more innocent times.  When the air was dirty, and sex was clean, or at least safely confined to the privacy of the brothel or bedroom, that is.

And we wonder what’s happened to this country.

Must have been the same stoners who voted for Obama. 

I just thought of a great public service announcement:  “Don’t Toke and Vote!”