Tuesday, 26 July 2011

All Roads Lead to Jesus

Big British supermarkets are incomparably nicer than their American counterparts, and British frozen fish, for instance, is free of the myriad dreadful additives found in the American equivalent. But British streets are comically narrow (having originally been footpaths, long before there were cars or even horses) and boringly named. As a son of the southern California suburbs (and a former resident of San Francisco), I’m used to street names like Windspray Lane (and Jack Kerouac Alley). Indeed, I spent three of my most (de)formative years on Billowvista Drive. Here, though, all the roads, as the locals prefer to call streets, seem to have been named sometime before 1853, after saints, former monarchs, and military heroes. 

It’s grim! It's stuffy! If there’s one Vicarage Road in this country, there are a million.  If there’s one Church Road, there are 10 million. And in spite of being American, and thus incapable of enjoying or even detecting irony, I have not failed to note that it’s America, which makes its politicians feign piety, rather than the UK, where sanctimony and politics wouldn’t even recognise one another on the street, or road, that has the cool secular street names.
Speaking of piety, I may be far away geographically here in Thanet, but am still following American politics (albeit via the Guardian’s excellent Website). I know that Republican presidential candidates are being asked to sign something called The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family, which is mostly a refutation of what proponents of the gay agenda call marriage equality.
I have had my office contact the authors of the pledge to get them to transmit a PDF version of it that I may “sign” electronically and return to them, though if nominated I will not run, and if elected, I will not serve, for I have come to agree fervently that marriage is indeed sacred, and can involve only one man and one woman, except in desolate areas solely lacking in Christians, where polygamy might be essential, just for a couple of generations. I am myself a single (in the sense of non-multiple) man married to a single (though married, to me) woman, and have come to believe that gay marriage would ultimately make a mockery of the sacred institution in the end. To love another enough to be content to spend one’s evenings staring stupidly at the television together years after the last trace of mutual sexual attraction has disappeared, one must first love himself, and I don’t believe anyone can love himself without first loving Jesus, and how can one who knowingly violates Biblical proscriptions against sodomy be said to love Jesus?

Friday, 22 July 2011

Ewe Left Your Heart in San Francisco

Marcus and Michele Bachmann cite the case of their purported friend Janet Boynes to prove that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice that one can repudiate with the baby Jesus’s help.. Here we see her first as she was when she was a big, butch lesbo who probably enjoyed softball, and then as the vision of loveliness she became when she embraced normality. I submit that if the latter version and Beyonce were to enter a restaurant dining room from opposite ends, there would be only a few fewer eyes on La Boynes than on the universally adored pop diva.
In her book Called Out, Boynes asserts that the fight for same-sex marriage is just a prelude to the legal acceptance of pedophilia and bestiality, and I must admit that, as one who lived for years in permissive, if picturesque, San Francisco, I agree with her, at least in the case of bestiality. You literally never see a ewe on the streets of that city, or a goat, or a calf, or the larger, more attractive breeds of dog, the simple reason being that perverts (who started with homosexuality as dope fiends commonly start with marihuana), are hoarding them all, and hiding them from one another in safe houses they rent from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered movement. And you wondered why there are more pet shops per capita in San Francisco than in any other city in the America, and more livestock veterinarians!
One of the big problems facing those of us intent on eradicating homosexuality in all its forms, of course, is that many men are secretly ambivalent about lesbianism. While few can stomach the idea of two women who resemble Janet Boynes in her lesbo incarnation stimulating each other with their fingers or tongues, to mention only the least distasteful possibilities, but most men, in their hearts of heart, yearn to be involved in a threesome with a pair of hotties in Victoria's Secret attire, and such an arrangement would of course be a lot more fun if the gals were willing, for instance, to try to stick their tongues down each other’s throats or fondle each other’s implants while one is impaled on the fellow's erect penis and the other perched prettily on his face. 
Not of course, that it’s possible to feel anything but sickened by such nonprocreative shenanigans in anything but the heat of the moment.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

A Visit to the NHS

When we lived in Finchley in 2004 and 2005, the nearest NHS surgery (that is, office), in a ghastly old house right on the main road, was so Dickensian as to make one require potent antidepressants at the end of a visit, in addition to whatever other medications the doctor had prescribed. When we came down to Ramsgate, we were therefore determined to find somewhere more salubrious, and we did, at an attractive new facility about a third of the way to Broadstairs, where Dickens, speaking of Dickens, is known to have done some of his writing about ghastly squalor while enjoying the ocean breezes. I had my first appointment there a couple of hours ago, and what a pleasure it was!
In New York, I consult a sad-eyed, petite Iranian-born doctor of around 78. He’s very gentle (he gave me the least awful prostate examination of my life) and kind, but his staff is surly and inattentive, and I invariably spend half an hour, even when I arrive on time, sitting in his waiting room watching commercials for special medications on the dedicated waiting room big-screen TV, or trying to find amusement in People Weekly. The new anti-depressant he has me on isn’t working, though no one can deny it’s got a much more inviting name than Zoloft, say, or Effexor: Pristiq.
Seven minutes late this morning, a friendly woman called Rose invited me into her office, apologised for the short wait, asked me questions about my genetic predisposition to heart disease and diabetes, or lack thereof, noted my height and weight, pronounced my urine free of anything alarming, pronounced my blood pressure normal, and declined to respond to questions regarding my extremely painful left knee, the one that got mangled in September 2008 when a teenaged driver in Beacon knocked me down in the middle of Maine Street (beween New Hampshir and Vrmont Streets) because she was sending a text instead of watching where the hell she was going. But she (Rose, not the teen) offered to try to get me an appointment with someone who could indeed respond to my questions, and did, virtually instantly.
Dr. Durani, a handsome, slightly rotund Indian of less than 40, welcomed me into his own office, at whose sink he washed his hands with notable vigour. Then, without having dried them, he strode back to me and offered me the right one for shaking. It may have been my most remarkable hand-shaking experience since the one all those decades ago with Tom Petty, shaking whose tiny hand felt like grasping limp pasta. But the good doctor soon demonstrated himself to be very much less eccentric than his failure to dry his grabbers might have led me to dread as he examined my knee and suggested I just take a great deal of ibuprofen. 
As I walked home, it hurt like a motherfucker. No, a pair of them.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Great Snugglebunnies of Our Time

The revulsion old people inspire in us betrays our terror at the near-inevitability of our own eventual decrepitude. Many men will come to resemble Rupert Murdoch in key ways as they enter their 80s — the lavishly creased and saggy faces, the enlarged ears and nose, the truly hideous necks — but only the richest very few will have a Wendi Deng on their arms. Many see that as another good reason to despise the rich. I prefer to despise them for other things, and maintain that Wendi did not marry Rupert for his tens of billions, but for his personality — because he is, as she has confided to friends, “one of the great snugglebunnies of this, or any other, time, irrepressibly vivacious, full of mischief and fun, and an imaginative, considerate lover.”

The couple met when she was singing with a Blondie tribute band in her native Xuzhou, Jiangsu, and several News Corp. executives, in town to try to persuade the local cable provider to offer his subscribers the Fox network, popped on a whim into the Four Happiness nightclub. Murdoch’s love of “new wave” music is well known; Martha & The Muffins are said to be on call 24 hours a day when he’s in Toronto in case he fancies a command performance. Murdoch reportedly remarked to other executives at the Four, as it’s known to local hipsters, “Deborah Harry she ain’t,” during Deng’s performance, but that didn’t stop him from buying the club the next morning to get her phone number and email address.
At first, she declined to go out with him, as she’d been dating the group’s bass player, but Murdoch induced the lad to disappear by offering him membership in Martha & The Muffins. When they finally spoke on the phone, Deng reportedly fretted aloud about Murdoch’s being 57 years her senior, but the media tycoon dispelled her misgivings by pointing out, with a wink that onlookers unanimously described as “winsome”, that “age is just a number”. They went out for Chinese food, and then picked flowers in the meadow behind the factory in which some 80 percent of the shopping trolleys in use in Europe are manufactured. The English pop singer Elton John and his band, flown over specially for the occasion, performed a set of unplugged gender-neutral love songs, between which the late Rod McKuen, the English-speaking world’s best-selling poet of the last century, recited. Deng later told confidants it was the most romantic afternoon she’d ever spent with anyone over 68. 
By that evening, Murdoch’s heart was clearly no longer his own, and he insisted that Deng come dancing with him in Beijing, to which they traveled in the private jet he’d had rechristened Wendi in her honor. Unbeknownst to her, he’d flown Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band flown over for the evening. When the band reached the verse of "Born to Run" that begins, “Wendy, let me in; I want to be your friend. I want to guard your dreams and visions,” Deng reportedly burst into tears, though she had no idea who Springsteen was, and gave Murdoch his first kiss, on the cheek. They may have made love that night for the first time, and they may not have. It is no one’s business but their own.

A Critical Moment in Alaskan History

Being a million miles away, or at least a few thousand, I can’t authoritatively refute reports in the mainstream liberal media that few people turned out in America for the premiere last weekend of the Sarah Palin film Bridge to Somewhere, but I can assure you that here on England’s east coast, it was hugely popular; only tickets for the midnight screenings failed to sell out within minutes. One "bloke" I spoke to, a decorator (Americans would call him a painter), spoke for a great many others when he explained, “I feel that Gov. Palin has articulated a uniquely compelling vision of the American future, and thus of the Western future.”
Ordinarily on a weekend evening in the UK, the local maidens congregate in their respective town and city centres in shockingly scanty dresses, impractical footwear, and false eyelashes to drink too much and throw up all over each other, or allow themselves to be “pulled” (seduced) by handsome and other young gentlemen. Last Friday and Saturday evenings in Ramsgate, though, you’d have been as likely to glimpse The True Elvis sharing a kebab with Princess Diana as a local young woman’s knickers, as the Brits call panties.
Interestingly, pants here are what gentlemen wear under their trousers. The word is also used to connote something substandard. A Yorkshireman might, for instance, grumble of a film he thought crap, “It were pants, innit?” Crap is both a noun and adjective. When a big Scotland Yard honcho resigned yesterday, he blamed his fall from grace on his crap decision not to more rigorously investigate allegations of News Corp. payoffs to the constabulary.
Contrary to what the mainstream liberal American media had led me to expect, I didn’t for a moment feel manipulated by Bridge to Somewhere, not when a piano tinkled poignantly on the soundtrack while Gov. Palin tearfully recounted how much she’d early on hated exposing widespread corruption among Alaska Republicans (because “hey, they’re human beings with families too”), and not even when lachrymose strings accompanied Gov. Palin and handsome husband Todd’s decision to seek professional faith-based counseling rather than “throw in the towel” on their marriage after realizing in 1997 that they were "two different people". 

As in most of his own films, I wished that Clint Eastwood would occasionally part his teeth to say his lines, just for the novelty of doing so, but I nonetheless enjoyed him as Gov. Palin's father, Dad. The casting of Morgan Freeman as John McCain, when I first read about it, struck me as hopelessly brash, but by film’s end, he’d made me embrace the Arizona senator’s humanity in a way I’d resisted doing before (because McCain is far too liberal for my taste). It's no exaggeration to say there wasn’t a dry eye in the house at the end of the scene in which McCain apologizes to the people of Alaska for having distracted Gov. Palin from their concerns at a critical moment in Alaskan history, as what moment is not?
All in all, two thumbs way up!  

Monday, 18 July 2011

Meeting the Locals

I have developed an exciting way of meeting people in my adopted neck of the woods, by pretending to be a starstruck Sex and the City fan who has mistaken them for Kim Cattrall, who played the erotically voracious Samantha.
I came up with idea quite by accident last Sunday when we got off the Thanet Loop bus in the horrid Westwood Cross retail sector, where every big name in British retail is represented, and where there is entirely too little shrubbery — indeed, where there is no shrubbery whatever. Claire had bought herself one of those very sweet, and a little bitter, iced coffee concoctions she’s grown so fond of. A woman who looked marginally more like Kim Cattrall than like Samuel L. Jackson, say, sat down near us, and I found myself wanting to pretend I was a starstruck Sex and the City fan sure she had formerly played the erotically voracious Samantha. I expected that she would deny it, of course, but I would insist, feigning indignation at her apparently not being up to the task of indulging the fans without whom she might still be back in Liverpool, womanning a till at Iceland and auditioning at night for an amateur production of Mama Mia, though I think Swedes spell it Mamma.
My former life partner Nancy used to accuse me of finding myself more hilarious than I found anyone else, and this was indisputably a case of exactly that.
The other evening, there was a programme on Channel 5 about recent goings-on in the world of entertainment. The pretty young woman half of the female-male hosting team said that it appeared the such-and-such young actress had been cast to portray the young Charlotte in the apparently forthcoming SATC prequel, whereupon the otherwise obliging and chirpy male host proclaimed, “I’m really not bothered,” which is Brit for, “I don’t care.” In so doing, he endeared himself to me a treat, as I have long believed SATC to be God’s way of punishing the straight world for centuries of persecution of their gay neighbours and siblings.

Recasting 'The Human Centipede'

Last night Claire declared herself unable to be bothered (that is, disinclined) to get sufficiently tarted up to go observe whatever cover band was playing at the Red Lion in the picturesque town centre, this in spite of having so enjoyed Herne Bay’s Eyelash Guilt, with its very bouncy girl singer and bruising drummer, two weeks before. Instead, we watched the remarkable Dutch film The Human Centipede (First Sequence), she for the second time, because the British Board of Film Classification, which doesn’t ban very many films, has banned the sequel, The Human Centipede (The Final Sequence) for being “sexually violent and potentially obscene”.

I can’t say I hugely enjoyed First Sequence, in which a fiendish German surgeon, overplayed with all his might by one Dieter Laser, presumably the namesake of the celebrated beam, surgically attaches a vituperative Japanese dude and two horrid young American women to one another, mouth to anus, with the Japanese dude in front, and thus able to to keep bellowing subtitled imprecations.
I think it was largely a casting problem for me. Had it been George Bush, Dick Cheney, and any number of others of that ilk (Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes) sewn together, I think I might have enjoyed the film in spite of myself, especially if Rove, Rumsfeld, or Rush were in the lead position.

I am not a vengeful person. I am not a vengeful person. I am not a vengeful person. 

On the other end of the spectrum, I derive considerable pleasure from the series Come Dine With Me, on which four or five perfect strangers cook for and host each other on successive nights, with he or she whose food and personality have most charmed the others winning £1000. The best thing about the show is announcer Dave Lamb’s laceratingly sarcastic remarks about the contestants’ preparations and impressions of their co-competitors. A real taker-of-the–piss, our Dave, who leaves no pretention unridiculed. I also love how at least a couple of the contestants invariably come, over the course of four or five evenings, to detest each another. 

I am reminded, watching CDWM, of another linguistic eccentricity of the British, who, when they really like food, describe it not as delicious, delectable, or scrumptious, but gorgeous, blithely depriving themselves of a perfectly useful term of endorsement for the vittles’ appearance.