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.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 12/29/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tim's 2015 Iberian Fantasy Calendar

A guest post by my truckbuddy Tim from England, now resident in Spain:

Tim’s 2015 Iberian Fantasy Calendar

There, that got your attention! It certainly caught mine the first time I saw it; talk about blowing your own trumpet! Actually it’s someone’s cleverly photoshopped fantasy; and it leads us nicely into today’s topic. However, I have to say that my own meticulous and exhausting research shows that most Spanish Legionnaires prefer to go ‘commando’!

Regular reader Davis (hi there!), apart from being a lover of fine music, also has pretty good taste in men. He thinks I live in an ‘Iberian Fantasy’, surrounded by Hispanic hunks and blond beach-boys. Well, I do, but since it’s the season of giving, I thought it would be nice to share some of them with you as well. So what better way to start 2015 than with an Iberian Fantasy calendar? Twelve images that, only for lack of space, have failed to make it on to the Blue Truck in my guest posts over the last few years. They’re not all Hispanic though; variety is the spice of life . . . and fantasy!

I’ve written a few lines of text to accompany each month’s image, and highlighted some dates that have special significance for us here in fantasy land, or Spain as we locals call it. But first, a little ditty.

There’s a song for every occasion, and this one’s perfect. From 2014, Kevin Cavanaugh sings Calendar Boy. There’s only the LP cover to look at here, so start the fantasy whenever you’re ready.


The 6th of January is Kings Day – El día de los Reyes. The Three Kings (those three wise men from the Bible) arrive by ship the night before and magically parade through the towns and villages all over Spain at the same time. Sometimes on horseback, occasionally on camels, but usually on a lorry! They distribute sack-loads of sweets to the watching children as they pass by. If the children have been good during the year, they will awake the next day to find their presents next to them. But if they have been naughty, they will only find a small bag of coal! So be good! I wouldn’t mind waking up to find the king of cool next to me! Well, this is a fantasy: Steve McQueen especially for you, Davis.

Locally, in the nearby town of Mijas, the 17th is St Anton’s day. He is the patron saint of animals, and on that day people take their pets to the little chapel outside the town to be blessed. The unmarried women of the pueblo also take something, three small stones to throw at the statue of the saint. A direct hit on St Anton’s, er, genitals means that they will soon find a boyfriend and be wed! I might try that. Don’t tell Partner!

In rural Spain, particularly here in Andalucia, most children are named after various saints or virgins; and these saint’s name days are celebrated instead of, or as well as, your actual birth date. The Spanish equivalent of St Timothy is San Timotéo; who name is celebrated on the 25th. I like this idea, extra presents (see August)! There is no San Compañero, so poor old Partner misses out!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Bugs Bunny: 8 Ball Bunny (1949)

Somehow I just relate to the little penguin in this picture.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Queen's Christmas Broadcast, 2014

At the close of this year of horrific hatreds and violence all around the world, Her Majesty's moving words on reconciliation and forgiveness have a profound significance for us all.

If you are not familiar with the Christmas Truce of 1914 which the Queen made reference to, read more about it here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Christmas Song

Here's wishing all my truckbuddies a very merry Christmas:

Christmas in France

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 12/22/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Drive: O Come All Ye Faithful

The Reverend Dr. Jeremy Morris, Dean of King's College, Cambridge, gives the blessing:

The choir performs the carol "O Come All Ye Faithful":

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Holiday

Steve Hayes reviews the 1938 classic:
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and a brilliant cast ring in the season in George Cukor’s HOLIDAY. Adapted by Donald Ogden Stewart and Sidney Buchman from the play by Philip Barry, it deals with an unconventional young man (Grant) who wishes to marry into a wealthy family without sacrificing his ideals. He meets a comrade in the feisty sister of his fiancée (Hepburn) and her alcoholic brother Lew Ayres, in a brilliant performance. As always, Grant and Hepburn sparkle together. The dialogue is sophisticated, witty and the message as relevant today as it was when it was made. From all of us at Tired Old Queen at the Movies have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a lovely “Holiday”.

Catch more fabulous movie reviews at Steve's YouTube channel.

Supremes Green-Light Florida Marriages

Click to enlarge.

Late yesterday, the Supreme Court once again gave the go-head to marriage equality, this time in the Sunshine State.  The Washington Blade reports:
Same-sex couples may begin to marry in Florida after Jan. 5 as a result of a district court ruling striking down the ban on same-sex marriage in the state, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered late Friday. In a one-page order, the court announced it has rejected the request from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican, to place a hold on same-sex marriage in the state beyond Jan. 5 as litigation seeking the right for same-sex couples to marry in Florida continues on appeal. . . .

Bondi tried to extend the stay on the same-sex marriages as she continued to defend the law in court, but her requests were by denied by the district court as well as the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ordered the stay to be lifted “at the end of the day” on Jan. 5.

In a statement, Bondi said Florida will acquiesce to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the stay to expire after Jan. 5 as initially ordered by the district court. “Tonight, the United States Supreme Court denied the State’s request for a stay in the case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals,” Bondi said. “Regardless of the ruling it has always been our goal to have uniformity throughout Florida until the final resolution of the numerous challenges to the voter-approved constitutional amendment on marriage. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has now spoken, and the stay will end on Jan. 5.”

The refusal from the Supreme Court to stay same-sex marriages in Florida is noteworthy because although justices have denied similar requests to halt same-sex marriages in Alaska, Idaho, South Carolina and Kansas, they’ve never done so before in a state where a federal appeals court has yet to rule on the issue. The decision with regard to Florida could be a sign the Supreme Court is ready to rule in favor of nationwide marriage equality no matter what the federal appeals courts decide in the interim.

On the steps of the Old State Capitol in Tallahassee, the plaintiffs in the case of  Brenner v. Armstrong:  from left, Steve Schlairet, Chuck Jones, James Brenner, and Ozzie Russ.

In case you didn't see it the first time, here's a video I posted last August of Steve and Ozzie, who live in Chipley, a small town in the backwoods of the Florida Panhandle:

Friday, December 19, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Ho ho ho!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Julia Child: Bûche de Noël

Julia demonstrates the making of a French yule log cake. Also in this episode: Julia copes with twig failure; how to make spun sugar with a broomstick. First aired fifty Christmases ago, in 1964:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Animating Popeye

A fascinating 1939 report from Popular Science - in color, too! - of the filmmaking process at the studio of pioneer animator Max Fleischer. Nowadays I suppose there must be software that would allow a child of 8 to make a cartoon - but even though I myself grew up in pre-computer times, it's still mind-boggling to contemplate the vast amount of skilled, painstaking work that was necessary - and which produced such beautiful results.

First, some background from Wikipedia on Fleischer's stereoptical process:
This technique replaced the usual flat-plane, drawn and painted cartoon backgrounds with a circular 3-D scale-model background — a diorama — in front of which the action cels were positioned and photographed. As the character, say, hustled down a city street, the camera operator would rotate the diorama a click with each frame. The result was a constantly changing perspective of converging parallel lines that gave an amazing sense of depth. The process worked most dramatically with pans or tracking shots; for static shots, traditional drawn backgrounds sufficed. It was used to great effect in the longer format Popeye cartoons Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor (1936) and Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves (1937). These series of double-length (two-reel) cartoons were a gradual progression expressing Fleischer's desire to produce feature-length animated features.

And here's the complete film they were working on in the short subject: the two-reel Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Have Yourself a Happy Little Chrimbo

They have turkeys in Britain? WTF??

Monday, December 15, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 12/15/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Drive: Angels from the Realms of Glory

The canticle appointed for today from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979:

The Song of Mary
Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, performs "Angels from the Realms of Glory":

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The House of the Future

What, no plastic shower curtain?

Monsanto's House of the Future, as exhibited in Disneyland's Tomorrowland in 1957. Gee, wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a house with plastic walls, plastic floors, plastic windows, even plastic dishes? Peach-o keen-o! I don't know why it didn't catch on.

The floor plan; click to enlarge.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Julia Child: Mousse au Chocolat

The Queen of Cuisine shows us how to make the perfect chocolate mousse, an excellent dessert for the holidays, in this episode from 1971:

And no, I really, truly don't give a fuck if anyone thinks it's "healthy" or not. So don't even go there. Julia herself lived to be 92 and enjoyed every minute of her time on this earth, which is more than the snotty, snobby health fanatics of this self-righteous age can say.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shine, Perishing Republic

And now on top of all the other horrors of this annus horribilis, the CIA torture report - that is, the 500-page executive summary, not the 6000 pages of the actual report, which the righteous, God-fearing Republicans in Congress don't want you to see - not now, not ever.

The New York Times reports:
A scathing report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday found that the Central Intelligence Agency routinely misled the White House and Congress about the information it obtained from the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, and that its methods were more brutal than the C.I.A. acknowledged either to Bush administration officials or to the public.

The long-delayed report, which took five years to produce and is based on more than six million internal agency documents, is a sweeping indictment of the C.I.A.'s operation and oversight of a program carried out by agency officials and contractors in secret prisons around the world in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It also provides a macabre accounting of some of the grisliest techniques that the C.I.A. used to torture and imprison terrorism suspects.

Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.'s medical staff, some C.I.A. prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.'s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.”

The report also suggests that more prisoners were subjected to waterboarding than the three the C.I.A. has acknowledged in the past. The committee obtained a photograph of a waterboard surrounded by buckets of water at the prison in Afghanistan commonly known as the Salt Pit — a facility where the C.I.A. had claimed that waterboarding was never used. One clandestine officer described the prison as a “dungeon,” and another said that some prisoners there “literally looked like a dog that had been kenneled.”

During his administration, President George W. Bush repeatedly said that the detention and interrogation program, which President Obama dismantled when he succeeded him, was humane and legal. The intelligence gleaned during interrogations, he said, was instrumental both in thwarting terrorism plots and in capturing senior figures of Al Qaeda.

Mr. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and a number of former C.I.A. officials have said more recently that the program was essential for ultimately finding Osama bin Laden, who was killed by members of the Navy SEALs in May 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan. . . .

The Intelligence Committee’s report tries to refute each of these claims, using the C.I.A.'s internal records to present 20 case studies that bolster its conclusion that the most extreme interrogation methods played no role in disrupting terrorism plots, capturing terrorist leaders — even finding Bin Laden.

Many of the most extreme interrogation methods — including waterboarding — were authorized by Justice Department lawyers during the Bush administration. But the report also found evidence that a number of detainees had been subjected to other, unapproved methods while in C.I.A. custody.

The torture of prisoners at times was so extreme that some C.I.A. personnel tried to put a halt to the techniques, but were told by senior agency officials to continue the interrogation sessions.

The Senate report quotes a series of August 2002 cables from a C.I.A. facility in Thailand, where the agency’s first prisoner was held. Within days of the Justice Department’s approval to begin waterboarding the prisoner, Abu Zubaydah, the sessions became so extreme that some C.I.A. officers were “to the point of tears and choking up,” and several said they would elect to be transferred out of the facility if the brutal interrogations continued.

During one waterboarding session, Abu Zubaydah became “completely unresponsive with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.” The interrogations lasted for weeks, and some C.I.A. officers began sending messages to the agency’s headquarters in Virginia questioning the utility — and the legality — of what they were doing. But such questions were rejected. . . .

Taken in its entirety, the report is a portrait of a spy agency that was wholly unprepared for its new mission as jailers and interrogators — but that embraced its assignment with vigor. The report chronicles millions of dollars in secret payments between 2002 and 2004 from the C.I.A. to foreign officials, aimed at getting other governments to agree to host secret prisons.

Torture, extreme, extended, even unto death in the most grisly, gruesome ways. Secret prisons all around the world. Lies. Cover-ups. Excuses and deceptions at all levels up to and including the Oval Office. And not one member of the BushCheney criminal gang has been made to answer for all this stinking heap of evil. Not one.

Is this the America you grew up in? Is this what your tax dollars pay for? Is this what brings a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye when you salute the flag?

Oh, and you think it can't get worse? In January, the Republican will control both houses of Congress, and 30 states. And in just two more years, as I sadly believe, they will be in the White House too. And do you think they will ever let go of supreme power again, willingly? You ain't seen nothing yet, boys - mark my words. When Republican majorities can no longer be had by democratic means, then will arise a line of American Caesars to be the "protectors of the people" - and that will be the end of the Constitution and the America we know, forever.

I'm too old and too weary to say more, fellas. You can read the report for yourselves, and weep for the death of the Republic as we knew it. But know this: all those wicked deeds, like hateful birds of prey, will come home to roost right here in your hometown and mine, one day. If the President and those under his command can use torture at will against foreigners, with no accountability, no publicity, no justice or law, they can and will use it against American citizens, as long as they think they can get away with it. And then no one will be safe from the whims of the Emperor.

What goes around, comes around. And paybacks are hell. Enough said.

Update, 12/10: Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) responds to the CIA report with a ringing condemnation of torture:

And thanks to Mimi at Wounded Bird for posting this crock of lies from 2007:

What's My Line, 8/17/52

Perle Mesta, the "hostess with the mostest," is the Mystery Guest.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 12/8/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Manston Memories

A guest post by my truckbuddy Tim from England, now resident in Spain.

Remember a while back, in a post entitled "He’s So Fine – Part 1", I wrote about a B-17 Flying Fortress coming to my local airfield at RAF Manston in 1961. It was there for filming the movie The War Lover, starring Steve McQueen. Well, this post is about that airfield, and its prominent role in and throughout my life. I set out to write a piece about summer outings in the countryside with my parents when I was a child; but found I kept returning to the old wartime airfield as I wrote the piece. Well, I can take a hint, the countryside tale will have to wait, but Ma and Pa will still figure in this post, and so does Christmas. Tis’ the season . . . etc.

OK, just one more look at Steve. This moody image of him captures the feel of what I hope is a reflective piece today. Unusual to see him with stubble, a nice change though, what do you think?

To set the tale in some sort of historical and geographical context a few words and images by way of explanation first– yes, this is the science bit! My home area is called the Isle of Thanet, in the south-eastern corner of England, facing France and Belgium just a few miles across the grey waters of the English Channel.

Although no longer a ‘real’ island, it was once, being separated from the mainland by a shallow channel called the Wantsum. The Wantsum gradually silted up, aided and abetted by the local Monks who wanted more power which then as now equated to land, and so Thanet made a permanent connection to the rest of the county of Kent, around the time of the 15th Century.

But the ‘Isle’ tag remained, and with it a somewhat insular outlook on life on the part of the inhabitants, typical of most island people. ‘Planet Thanet’ it is called with varying degrees of affection by those who never leave and by those, who like me, have escaped its gravitational pull! With no close family ties remaining after Ma’s death a few years ago, I have little reason to visit it these days, but like my parents, the place always remains in my thoughts. And Manston, in particular, holds a specials place in my affection. Just as my parents provided love and physical nourishment to a growing boy, Manston fed not only my childhood hobbies but also my dreams. Together they inspired my desire to make a career in aviation.

Living on what in effect is now a peninsula, means your freedom of travel is somewhat limited, and because the large airfield at Manston commands a central location on the isle, it was a place you always had to go around to get anywhere else. This was not a problem for ‘young’ Tim and whenever we set forth on a family outing I would insist we either went, or came back, via Manston. Pa never minded, but I suspect Ma was not so enthusiastic about aeroplanes as I was! The airfield site, shaded grey in the image above covers some 800 acres today, and was probably double that back in the 1950’s. The wide single runway remains the fourth longest in the UK. Here’s a bird’s eye view of the real thing.

My first memories, when I was about 3, are of driving past the ‘fairy lights’ at night. All roads then took you close to the runway or the taxi-ways, and the different coloured lights glowed and winked in the dark, just like the lights on a Christmas tree. I don’t think I knew what an airfield was then, but those lights gave the place a magical quality which hinted of further mysteries to be discovered; feelings that stayed with me in the years to come.

As I got older, those mysteries were gradually revealed, and I came to understand what an airfield was, who lived and worked there, and what aircraft flew in and out. The aircraft became my abiding passion and Manston was the means of fuelling it. But the connections were not only physical ones, there were family ties too. Ma’s father had served there as an Admiralty Clerk when Manston first opened in 1916 during WWI as a Royal Naval Air Station. Later on, during WWII, both Pa and his twin brother Fred were stationed there at various times. Such family ties of place and history can be stronger than steel and concrete to an impressionable boy.

-- Continued after the jump --

Friday, December 5, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Justice Joslin

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Jezebel

Steve Hayes reviews this classic tale of love and loss in old New Orleans - and your Head Trucker highly recommends it, too:
Steve celebrates Thanksgiving with JEZEBEL! Bette Davis sets fire to the screen and goes on to Oscar glory for the second time in William Wyler’s classic tale of the old South (1938). Directed with consummate skill by William Wyler, it was the first of the three films they made together. With able support from Henry Fonda, George Brent, and Fay Bainter in an Oscar-winning role as Bette’s sympathetic aunt, it’s as close to Scarlett O’Hara as Davis would get, and she gives it all she’s got.

Catch more fabulous movie reviews at Steve's YouTube channel.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 12/1/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

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