November 2014

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Hip conservatives talk about South Park Republicans. People who have a sense of humor and an enormous tolerance for the potty mouths of Kyle and Cartman. It’s supposed to say something meaningful about who we are. I’m not so sure about that. It’s actually pretty easy to like South Park. The satirical targets aren’t subtle at all. Most of the laughter has to do with the obviousness of those targets. Rob Reiner is a hypocritical asshole. Hillary Clinton has a nuclear vagina. Ha ha.

The demographic that interests me is the AbFab Republicans. Do you know the show? Absolutely Fabulous. Brit sitcom. Any attempt at description is doomed to failure. Everything about the show screams satire, but the target is elusive. We have two women, both pampered and utterly worthless, one an ex-hippie narcissist and one an ex-groupie narcissist, both of them drunken freeloaders in the London fashion scene. They get a load on and take the Concorde to Paris to look at a doorknob for the rehab of the kitchen one of them burned down in the previous night’s binge. The only sane one is the hippie’s daughter, who is a humorless drab actively hated by the ex-groupie. At one point the two actually sell the daughter to white slavers in Marrakesh. But nothing they do ever actually works, so the bad penny returns and everything keeps going and going and going.

As descriptions go, the one above is pretty good. What it doesn’t do is convey just how falling down laughing funny the show is. Jennifer Saunders, the hippie (and chief writer) is so far beyond Lucille Ball in terms of timing and physical comedy that I blush even to make the comparison. Her sidekick, played by former model and world class beauty Joanna Lumley, is equally brilliant, amazingly able to top everyone in any given scene. Both of them are astoundingly willing to look just godawful bad in exchange for a laugh. Lumley, for example, is still a beautiful woman, but she seems delighted to portray a whorish, haggard, selfish bitch clinging to the remnants of her sixties youth.

One can grope for labels. AbFab is a post-modern nihilist grotesquerie that mocks the whole genre of situation comedies. Or not. It could be something altogether else. But what it does for certain is defeat the notion that a series must have at least one character you can really like and identify with. It doesn’t have any of those. Its point seems to be that if you’re really and truly funny, you don’t need anything else.

And funny it is.

Right now, it’s running as a marathon on the Logo Channel. Right. You know what that means. Gay guys love AbFab. So Republicans need not apply. Right?

Wrong. The deep satirical target the show consistently hits with annihilating precision is the absurdity of life lived without real human values. Fads and pseudo-libertarian Nietschean hubris don’t do anything but make you ridiculous. Every possible fad in ideology and self actualization pop psychology makes an appearance in Absolutely Fabulous. And nobody ever wins.

You can watch it and roll on the floor laughing without being gay. Trust me. And all these years later, Lumley is still — underneath the clown makeup — as hot as she was in The New Avengers.

How you can be sure you’re still a Republican.


The Gimpy One. On my lap.

The Gimpy One. On my lap.

The survivors are all depressed. The Big Guy’s the worst of all of us.

Droop, droop, droop.

Droop, droop, droop.

When he’s not on Mommy’s lap, he’s demanding we all go to bed.

Good news? I’ve finally remembered Izzie’s theme song.

Why is it the right song? She just flung herself. At everything. A gifted athlete with no judgment whatsoever. She fell off counters, chair arms, and rafters. Got herself a black eye once visiting our feral Cassie in the garage. Fell from the roof beams. She started fights constantly with Mickey and Elliott, counting on her speed and agility — Sugar Ray Robinson-like — to see her through. But they doubled her weight and not once in any of these bouts did she ever win. Not. One. Single. Time.

She never cried in defeat. But she did yell her way through life. Loudest cat you can have that isn’t Siamese. When we carted her into the vet’s office in her carrier, they knew immediately she was a Bengal. Small consolation for us, who heard her yell continuously from home to vet and back home again. And when, in the mornings, the faucet wasn’t turned on for her to drink from.

We got her two Italian water fountains. What kind of seven pound person could make you do that? Izzie is short for Isis, the Egyptian goddess of life. She was that for us. From first to last she did it her way.

Small in stature, huge in mystery. Everyone is missing Izzie.

Small in stature, huge in mystery. Everyone is missing Izzie.

Like he doesn't know something happened tonight.

Like he doesn’t know something happened tonight.

Elliott. He goes out, or lets himself out, almost every night. There’s some version of the MMA, or Fight Club, in our neighborhood. He shows up in the morning with puncture marks in his neck, chunks chewed out of his chin, ear wounds, and other signs of combat. We sympathize when he arrives for breakfast.

Thing is, it’s pretty clear he’s the Mike Tyson of Elsinboro. He’s never remotely afraid to go out again. Which he does. Day after day after day. We can’t stop him. Once he gets into the garage, he can go wherever he wants. Part of our complicated life.

But right now he’s limping. Still trying to go out, mind, but since we took Izzie away, he returned to his earliest source of comfort, namely me. His tree trunk paws have been on me all night. He will stop limping. Trust me. Not going to die soon. He absolutely rules the feline Octagon of Elsinboro. But tonight he needs his daddy, which is funny.

This won’t surprise anybody. We’ve been through hell the past two weeks. Condolences from my wife’s family have poured in. To her. If anybody asked, or anybody told, they’d learn there would be no Mickey presence, no Pmith presence, no Izzie at all without me. And, come to think of it, no me. And as for Raebert, they’d mostly prefer he didn’t exist. But it’s easier to see me as an accomplice rather than a prime mover. They’re so intimidated by her they can’t imagine what it would be like to deal with me directly. But nobody says anything.

I’m sorry. Thinking some pushback would be nice. But WTF. I’m the hardest, meanest guy in the arena.

Why Elliott has insisted from the first, despite my tepid response to his adoption, that I am the one he has to lay paws on when he is in distress. My wife thinks he’s ungrateful. To her, the one who saw him in the window and had to have him. I didn’t have to have him. He just decided I was his guy. Now, I think he’s the toughest MMA cat fighter for a full square mile. Which I love him for.

Anybody want to trade? On this night of all nights?

Elliott is missing Izzie too. He’s exhausted. And so is the Big Guy. But Elliott, like me, will live to fight another day.


Numb indeed. But not comfortably. Though there is something to the idea of The Wall. At the moment anyway.


Beauty to the third power

Beauty to the third power

Izzie’s gone. Memories and lamentations later.

Molly, Mickey, and Izzie gone. Our household cut almost in half in less than a month. We’ll survive, but bear with us for a time.

Pray for us.

Our 9 year old Bengal Izzie.

Our 9 year old Bengal Izzie.

She’s eating like a horse and she’s skin and bones. Been to the vet once, gave the meds, and she’s skinnier than ever.


We’re not up for another vigil. Raebert groans all day. We know other people have it worse, believe me. But it isn’t making us smarter or more amusing.

Typical, I suppose. ESPN had magnificent footage of the national anthem delivered by a vet who is now a reverend, as well as the the fly around of the eagle who constitutes the real mascot of the team with all the symbolism that entails.

But that footage is not available. Why? Because it would mitigate ESPN’s reflexive villainization of Philadelphia? Or because like all braindead lefties, ESPN sneers at simple patriotism and will never lift a finger to promote it?

Interestingly, the Philly fans were moved by this prelude to the game. Many posted their own videos, and one radio station (WIP) concluded their broadcast this morning with a complete replay of the national anthem from yesterday’s obliteration by the Eagles of the Carolina Panthers.

Veterans Day. Anybody remember or care what it’s about? Some in Philly do. Why we have jet flyovers even when it isn’t Veterans Day.

And why we still fly a real eagle in concert with the National Anthem.

Fly, Eagle, Fly.

P.S. Finally. A local affiliate has posted this.

And the story, which contains these moving words.

Retired Petty Officer First Class Generald Wilson delivered a rendition of the national anthem that sent the crowd roaring and set social media on fire on Veteran’s Day eve.

“With me being in uniform, being able to sing the national anthem, it’s a great honor,” Wilson told ABC News after the game.

“You get to hear a crowd singing with you and that feels good,” he said.

Wilson knows well the feeling of getting a crowd on its feet, considering he has sung at more than 80 professional sports games over the past 16 years, including a stirring Oct. 21 performance of “God Bless America” at Game 1 of the 2014 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals.

There was something about Monday night’s performance — one that was back-dropped by a flag-draped football field, red fireworks and a live eagle watching from a perch high above the field — that Wilson said was different.

“My battery on my phone ran down with all the congratulations,” Wilson said. “So it’s been a blessing to be able to be a blessing to other people.”

There’s still something good in us.

The Victoria's Secret "Perfect Body" campaign.

The Victoria’s Secret “Perfect Body” campaign.

How silly. All women are supposed to be 5’10” and weigh 120 pounds. Ridiculous.

Amazingly, though, women are perfectly capable of fighting back, as all of us who know women knew they could. Here’s the perfect answer to the Perfect Body.


And, as a NSFW addendum, Keira Knightley is also fighting back against the Photoshoppers who keep ballooning her bust size on movie posters. She looks good.

As all women do when they’re just being themselves.

He did everything he could. It wasn't enough.

He did everything he could. It wasn’t enough.

I’m sad. The missus is sad. Raebert is crushed. I think he really thought he could save Mickey. I had a talk with him about it. I told him we had to wait it out, that Mickey would cross over and we’d all meet up later. Then he tried to sneak in another secret licking session with Mickey.

Enough? Nothing is enough. One of my best friends is gone. I had to watch his decline. Why do we do this to ourselves? Because the pain of loss is outweighed by the joy of life. As long as life lasts.

imageWe’re about to lose the second member of our pack in one week. He was always “my handsome boy.”

We’re going to have another death in the family. His name is Mickey. Thing is, you can’t control the aging thing. My wife got three feral cats all at once. They’re all 13 now, except for the beauty who died earlier. We got Molly, not expecting that she would outlive all our other greys. We plucked Eloise off the side of the road about eight years ago, when the vets told us she was three or four. Izzie the Bengal is at least nine. We’re looking at the end of our pet lives across the board.

I was always the Scottish pessimist, my wife the Irish optimist. Our last two young’uns are Elliott and Raebert. Both less than five years old. But Psmith was less than six and my wife and I are both tired of tears. She won’t look when I show her adoptable greyhounds after I visit the empty space where Molly used to live.

The one who isn’t giving up is Raebert. He refuses. Absolutely. He insists on ministering to Mickey. He licks and licks and licks and licks — and licks — until we banish him from the cat’s presence altogether.

He licks and licks and licks. He is certain he can save Mickey. He's wrong. But he's an angel.

He licks and licks. He is certain he can save Mickey. He’s wrong. But he’s an angel.

I feel both ways about it. He fixed my glued together eye with a single tongue swipe and he’s convinced he can fix Mickey by laving the facial tumor with the magical Deerhound tongue, so obsessively that we’ve had to banish him to the bedroom. Do we sound crazy?

Let me stress this: Mickey is not dead. He is unquestionably the toughest cat who ever lived, nine lives mythology notwithstanding. He should have been dead a week ago. But he WILL NOT SURRENDER. I told my wife I need a jeweller’s loup to see him breathing. He has a tumor on his face. He cannot eat or drink. What does he do? He lives.

At this point I’m relying on old mythology. I wish it were more than mythology.

I’ve loved this cat as much as I love my heart dogs. He breaks my heart.

P.S. Mickey just died. Bravest single consciousness I ever knew. Love, love, love him.

So why was Raebert so obsessive? Here’s a pic you need to explain.

Explain it away all you want. I didn't fake this. Raebert has always been beyond human comprehension. (See Deerhound Diary.)

Explain it away all you want. I didn’t fake this. Raebert has always been beyond human comprehension. (See Deerhound Diary.)

Nothing to do with the election. Believe me. A great friend of mine from New Jersey has a son who’s just matriculated at a university in Virginia. A wonderful kid, the answer to every parent’s prayers — smart, athletic, kind, determined. I was worried when he chose a university in Virginia. He’s running into what I call the Southern Wall. I sent this to dad in hopes of explaining how to bridge the gap.

At 6:22 in, he quotes Faulkner on the subject of the souls of southern boys. It’s not racist. It’s just southern.

By accident, though, I discovered in the course of my searching this possible solution to an apparently unsolvable American mystery mentioned by Shelby Foote and affirmed by him as something lost to history. Maybe not.

Shelby Foote described the Rebel yell as a corkscrew up the spine, a kind of infernal fear. I’m getting that. You? More of Shelby Foote

Thought I should share it. I can only hope I don’t become a ritual sacrifice at Salon on account of it.

My favorite place on earth:

 Westover plantation on the James River in Virginia. No admission fee, nobody else there. Just chairs for you and yours to sit and watch the river, watch life, go by.

Westover plantation on the James River in Virginia. No admission fee, nobody else there. Just chairs for you and yours to sit and watch the river, watch life, go by.

But for you unreconstructed Brit racists who don’t believe in heaven, I can also offer you this:



Check is not the same thing as checkmate.

Check is not the same thing as checkmate.

Yeah. Republicans won this round. Don’t get too excited though. Victories like this are supposed to put losing politicians on the defensive. You know, the ones who play by the rules. Clinton, Bush, et al.


But what if you don’t play by the rules? Many years ago, I was moved to investigate how Napoleon played chess. Not because I’m a fan of chess, which always struck me as a pretentious show of would-be intellect. How did the greatest general of the early 19th century play chess?

He cheated. Took pieces off the board when his opponent wasn’t looking. And how do you accuse Napoleon Bonaparte of such a low act?

Where we are. Long days and nights and months ahead of us.

It's got hips and slots and things.

It’s got hips, nips, slits, drawers, and booby things on top. It’s called a Hoosier.

Indiana University has the unpleasant task today of facing Michigan. Ordinarily I would be screaming for the Hoosiers to beat the Wolverines into dust. But no longer.

Now I understand what a sexist and utterly unacceptable name “Hoosiers” is. Take a long look at this.

How dare they insult fat, white, middle-aged housewives from corn country by naming football teams after their kitchen cupboards. I, for one, won’t stand for it.

And I hope you won’t stand for it either. If you are politically correct, you will join with me in insisting that football teams be named after ruthless rodent predators who kill every other mammal they meet in the snows of winter.

Leave the housewives alone. Dammit. This War on Women has to stop. And vote Democrat on Tuesday. Like all good wolverines.

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