C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Enlightenment and Beauty

A few minutes of quiet pleasure from the Frick Collection:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 9/29/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Drive: Goddess of the Woods

The first movement of the Highgrove Suite by Patrick Hawes, commissioned for the 60th birthday of the Prince of Wales in 2008.  I'm not sure if I like it or not - what do you fellows think?

Here is Hawes discussing the piece:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Cookery Carnival

Cookery can be glamorous! Famed British TV cook Fanny Cradock and husband Johnnie, both wearing full evening dress, presented this tribute to Auguste Escoffier to a fascinated audience at the Royal Albert Hall in 1956. The menu includes French onion soup, honey coated goose, roast turkey, and Pêche Melba.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, 1920-2014

The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, last of the famous Mitford Sisters and sometime chatelaine of the very grand ducal seat of Chatsworth, died yesterday at age 94, after a long and remarkable life.  Here are two short interviews that will give you a glimpse of it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What's My Line, 10/18/53

Eleanor Roosevelt is the mystery guest in this episode with glamorous panelists Dorothy Kilgallen, Steve Allen, Arlene Francis, and Bennet Cerf, hosted by the urbane John Daly.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Away with the Fairies: How to Speak British

This episode of Anglophenia will having you talking Britspeak in no time:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 9/22/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Drive: Johnny Rivers

This week, it's one of your Head Trucker's all-time favorite rockers, the one and only Johnny Rivers.  Something about his live-wire voice has always grabbed me, not to mention his studly good looks.  The down-home Louisiana accent works for me too, but you'll be amazed when you discover in the interview where he was really born.

Let's start with Johnny's first gold record from 1964, the Chuck Berry ballad with a surprise ending:

I love the live sound of these recordings made at the Whisky à Go-Go. I still have the album depicted here, and back when I had a record player I must have played it a million times.  From 1965, here's Johnny's soulful cover of a big Supremes hit:

No one who wasn't around in 1966 can imagine how electrifying this next record was, with its opening riff taken from the "James Bond" theme - it came out at the height of the secret-agent craze that inspired all sorts of movies, TV shows, and even comic books and kids' cloak-and-dagger toys. For a time there, you couldn't turn on the radio without hearing Johnny taking the roof off with this rendition:

And believe it or not, at age 71 Johnny is still rockin' it as hard as he ever did - here he is performing in Beverly Hills last January:

This recent interview features Johnny discussing how he got started and where the road led him:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Donald's Garden

Is Saturday still cartoon day for kids?  Or has the Internet replaced that too? Come to think of it, do they even watch cartoons or make cartoons anymore? 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend


Back by popular demand.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scotland Votes

The Scots, who number 5.3 million - more than a million less than the population of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex - will decide in a referendum held today whether to destroy a 300-year-old union with England, plunging themselves into social and economic ruin, or whether to remain part of a highly successful United Kingdom which has done incalculable good for all concerned the last three centuries, not least for the Scots themselves.  The Daily Telegraph is live-blogging the vote, but final results are not expected until early Friday morning. 

The BBC explains what is at stake:

Update, 4:30 p.m., Texas time: the Telegraph has switched to an overnight feed to report the election returns as they come in.

Update, 12:30 a.m., 9/19: Scotland has voted NO to separation by 55-45 percent, your Head Trucker is glad to report.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gina's Jewels

The actress in her heyday, wearing the famous pearl earrings.
Click to enlarge.

Here's something fabulous to look at:
Legendary screen icon Gina Lollobrigida discusses the highlights of her incredible multi-faceted career, as well as the exquisite jewels from her collection. The collection features important Bulgari jewels of the 1950s and 1960s, worn by Miss Lollobrigida at landmark moments in her career.
The jewels went under the hammer on May 14, 2013, and fetched nearly $5 million altogether, with the pearl earrings going for about $2.4 million.  Miss Lollobrigida stated that the proceeds would go to support stem-cell research.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stourhead in September

Click to enlarge.

The news these days is just too sad and too bad to dwell on. Instead, perhaps you will find some refreshment in contemplating the beauty of Stourhead, one of England's loveliest old stately homes, and its exquisite gardens. Just put all your worries and troubles on pause, and savor the peaceful harmony of the place:

Or if you need a chuckle, perhaps you will find one in this short clip of a daft old gardener playing tour guide:

I wonder if my truckbuddy Tim can tell us what sort of accent the old man has?  Seems rather West Country to me with all those pirate noises, but I'm no expert.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 9/15/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Drive: Cinderella

The heat has finally broken here - it was up to 100 on Tuesday, but last night it was down to 50 degrees here in Texas. The summer is rapidly fading away, but its sunny dreams live on.

You could do worse than to spend part of your Sunday watching the 21-year-old (!) Julie Andrews perform the title role in Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, broadcast live on March 31, 1957, over CBS and viewed by 107 million people - over half the population of the United States, an extraordinary event.

This clip contains one of your Head Trucker's favorites: "In My Own Little Corner." If you want to continue on with the whole show, the playlist feature should automatically take you through all the segments. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What a Way to Go

Today I'm dreaming of a happy voyage somewhere, sometime. These films show how it was done once upon a time, by ship, by train, and by air. Lovely scenes, lovely thoughts - so different from the mad, vulgar, barbaric world we live in now.

RMS Queen Elizabeth, 1948:

Santa Fe's Chief, 1954:

TWA Super Constellation, 1956:

I'm thinking of getting up a little tour group, as soon as my new time-space modulator arrives from Amazon. Who wants to go with me?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, September 11, 2014

45 Years Together: An Arizona Love Story

Via Joe.My.God., Lambda Legal presents this clip about a couple denied the dignity of marriage even in death:
Fred McQuire and George Martinez, both veterans, were married in July 2014 after 45 years together, but their marriage is not respected in Arizona. In recent years, both Fred and George battled life-threatening illnesses. George passed away on August 28, 2014 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Read more about the couple and the court case here.

Update, 9/12/14, 9 p.m.:  Today, U.S. District Court judge John Sedwick ordered Arizona to issue a death certificate for George which shows him as married, with Fred the surviving spouse.  Unfortunately, it seems that Fred will not be able to draw Social Security or veteran's benefits on George, because they were married for such a short time.  But the court recognized that Arizona's marriage laws violate the constitutional rights of the couple.  Full text of the ruling here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Drums of War in the Middle East - Again

President Obama's speech tonight on the American response to the threat posed by the Islamic State:

Full text here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Better Late than Never

Grab a box of tissues and learn about these two lesbian couples who recently got married after many years together.

First, up in Iowa, the Quad City Times reports on the wedding of two nonagenarians:
Vivian Boyack and Alice "Nonie" Dubes say it is never too late for people to write new chapters in their lives. Boyack, 91, and Dubes, 90, began a new chapter in their 72-year relationship Saturday when they exchanged wedding vows at First Christian Church, Davenport. Surrounded by family and a small group of close friends, the two held hands as the Rev. Linda Hunsaker told the couple that, “This is a celebration of something that should have happened a very long time ago.”

The two met in Yale, Iowa, where they grew up, and moved to Davenport in 1947. Boyack was a longtime teacher in Davenport, directing the lives of children at Lincoln and Grant elementary schools. . . . Over the years, the two have traveled to all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada, and to England twice. “We’ve had a good time,” Dubes said. Boyack added it takes a lot of love and work to keep a relationship going for 72 years.

And from North Carolina, the Associated Press has this report of two ladies who recently married out of state after nearly fifty years together:

The couple have been active in the fight to overturn North Carolina's marriage ban.  An independent filmmaker has made a movie about Lennie and Pearl, entitled Living in the Overlap, which you can read more about at the official website here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 9/8/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Judge Richard Posner, a 75-year-old Reagan appointee, writing for the Seventh Circuit in last Thursday's ruling on marriage cases in Wisconsin and Indiana, made some memorable observations, including this one:
The harm to homosexuals (and, as we’ll emphasize, to their adopted children) of being denied the right to marry is considerable. Marriage confers respectability on a sexual relationship; to exclude a couple from marriage is thus to deny it a coveted status. Because homosexuality is not a voluntary condition and homosexuals are among the most stigmatized, misunderstood, and discriminated-against minorities in the history of the world, the disparagement of their sexual orientation, implicit in the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples, is a source of continuing pain to the homosexual community. Not that allowing same-sex marriage will change in the short run the negative views that many Americans hold of same-sex marriage. But it will enhance the status of these marriages in the eyes of other Americans, and in the long run it may convert some of the opponents of such marriage by demonstrating that homosexual married couples are in essential respects, notably in the care of their adopted children, like other married couples.

And this hilariously blunt comment:
Indiana has thus invented an insidious form of discrimination: favoring first cousins, provided they are not of the same sex, over homosexuals. Elderly first cousins are permitted to marry because they can’t produce children; homosexuals are forbidden to marry because they can’t produce children. The state’s argument that a marriage of first cousins who are past child-bearing age provides a “model [of] family life for younger, potentially procreative men and women” is impossible to take seriously. . . . Heterosexuals get drunk and pregnant, producing unwanted children; their reward is to be allowed to marry. Homosexual couples do not produce unwanted children; their reward is to be denied the right to marry. Go figure.

Read the full ruling here.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Drive: Sweet Sounds

Just for fun, a little compilation of sugared songs from my early life. First up is one from 1958 by the McGuire Sisters that was a hit when I was just a tiny fellow, and one of the first songs I remember hearing:

Next, from 1964, the incomparable Julie Andrews singing one of everybody's favorite tunes from Mary Poppins, which was released fifty years ago - can you believe? - on August 27, 1964, to universal acclaim:

The Four Tops, led by the late, great Levi Stubbs, had a number-one hit in 1965 with this next one, which remains my all-time favorite dance tune:

As I remember it, this next song swept to the top of the charts just about the time school was starting in 1969. I remember I'd get up every morning in the early darkness and play this record over and over again on the living room stereo while getting dressed - and my mom walking in from the kitchen and yelling at me: "For God's sake, turn that damn thing down, you'll wake up all the neighbors!" Oh but I just couldn't get enough of this bouncy, catchy number - here's studio singer Ron Dante performing all the parts for his nonexistent group, and very convincingly too:

And the following year, Canadian group The Guess Who cut down on the sweetness with this plaintive number about the absence of sugar, whatever that might mean:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Center Square, Puh-leeze!

No matter the weather where you live, this compilation of quips by the outrageous Paul Lynde is sure to bring a smile to your face:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

There's something for everyone in this compilation of hot bods:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Trick

Steve Hayes reviews the 1999 gay romantic comedy, which your Head Trucker saw some years ago and heartily recommends, not least for Steve's own hilarious rendition of "¿Como Te Gusta Mi Pinga?":
Tori Spelling, Christian Campbell, JP Pitoc, Miss Coco Peru and “Yours Truly” spend a hilarious and romantic summer night in Manhattan in Jim Fall’s classic Gay comedy TRICK (1999). Shot on location with an original script by Jason Schaeffer, the film deals with a young gay composer and a hot go-go boy who hook up. During the course of an evening, they try and find a place to have sex, without much success, and despite numerous obstacles, including themselves, they wind up falling in love. Sweet, sexy, romantic and endlessly funny, TRICK is the perfect way to spend an autumn evening. “It’s big. It’s beautiful. And you’re gonna love it!”

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Federal Judge Upholds Louisiana's Marriage Ban

Freedom to Marry reports:
The ruling today from U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana was in Robicheaux et. al v. Caldwell, a federal case consolidated earlier this year with Louisiana Forum for Equality v. Barfield. The cases originally sought respect for marriages legally performed in other states, but in June, Judge Feldman ordered additional briefing in the case about whether same-sex couples should be free to marry within the state of Louisiana.

The plaintiffs and legal team in the case will likely appeal the out-of-step ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which is already slated to consider a case from Texas where a federal judge ruled in favor of marriage.
The 80-year-old Feldman was appointed to the district court bench by Ronald Regan in 1983.  Full text of the ruling is here.

The New Orleans Advocate has a profile and pics of Jon Robicheaux and Derek Penton, the lead couple in this case, here.

Freedom to Marry also says, in their recap of all the marriage cases now pending throughout the nation:
There have been 38 victories [with just two losses now] for the freedom to marry since June 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the core of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in Windsor v. United States. Twenty-two rulings have been issued in federal court, thirteen have been issued in state court, and three have been issused by a federal appellate court.

What I Say:  While it's a disappointment, this might be a blessing in disguise, according to my understanding of how the judiciary works. If all the federal courts around the country were in agreement, then the Supreme Court could avoid ruling on same-sex marriage indefinitely, there being no "controversy" to decide, as the Constitution requires. So it's not necessarily a bad thing that some antediluvian judges rule against us - it just may force Supreme Court to decide the issue sooner rather than later.

Or so it seems to me, but I'm not a lawyer.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 9/1/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights finally uploaded this report this afternoon, despite the date in the title of it:

And just across the Rio Grande from Texas, the Mexican state of Coahuila has passed a same sex-marriage bill by a vote of 19-1; the law goes into effect next week.

The Truth about Stonehenge

Quick question: who built Stonehenge? . . . Sorry, wrong answer! Watch the video to find out why:

Six more prehistoric British stone sites you probably never heard of but will be fascinated to learn about, from BBC America right here.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Julia Child: Elegance with Eggs

Labor Day is here, the last fling of summer. It's too hot to cook a big meal, but you invited all those people over for brunch - what to serve with the mimosas? Julia shows just what to do for a delicious, elegant brunch with baked eggs, shirred eggs, and omelettes, all easy as can be and takes no time at all.  First broadcast January 1, 1964 - fifty years ago already, if you can believe it.  Where does the time go?

Julia gives a shout-out in this episode to her British counterpart, Fanny Craddock, whom I'll feature in an upcoming post.

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