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, March 31, 2015

The Academy Awards, 1965

The 37th Academy Awards were emceed by the indefatigable Bob Hope on April 5th, 1965, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium; that year, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, and Zorba the Greek took the lion's share of awards. Here are a few highlights, including some famous faces my truckbuddies will remember fondly:

Curiously, Dick Van Dyke, who gave an unforgettable performance in Mary Poppins, was not nominated for any awards. But just so my truckbuddy Tim from England won't be disappointed, here is Dick singing his smash hit, which I'm sure Tim told me is his all-time favorite too - isn't that right, Tim?

Bonus: Jimmy Durante and Martha Raye present the awards for documentary films, and these two old pros are a hoot:

Monday, March 30, 2015

Marriage News Watch, 3/30/15

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Clothing Terms Translated

Siobhan Thompson helps you separate your pants from your trousers. But not a word about knickers?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Waitin' for the Weekend

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

City Bound (1941)

Filmed during the Blitz, this short film shows the working of London's transportation system, with well-dressed commuters keeping calm and carrying on as usual:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Paris to Milan by TGV

It's not the Orient Express, but Mark Smith, the Man in Seat 61, makes it look like a very nice ride - at 186 miles an hour!  A pity we have nothing to match this in the U. S. of A.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Marriage News Watch, 3/23/15

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Drive: Dance of Spring

Canadian guitarist Jesse Cook performs live:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Julia Child: To Roast a Chicken

Also known as the delightful Chicken Sisters episode, first broadcast in 1971:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Waitin' for the Weekend

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fabergé: Secret Garden Collection

Oh my, how pretty.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dear Miss Gloria (1946)

Somehow I never heard of this star vehicle for Gloria Swanson before now:

Monday, March 16, 2015

Marriage News Watch, 3/16/15

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Friday, March 13, 2015

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Diana's Dresses

What kind of person would shell out a hundred grand or more for a second-hand dress? This 1999 BBC production takes a look at the designers, art collectors, Southern belles, drag queens, and shrewd millionaires who were involved in the hagiography of a troubled princess - which now, with the passage of time enabling a cooler look back at the frenzy surrounding Diana's death, provokes some profound reflections on fame, money, vanity, hero worship, and human nature.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Food Sculptures

Well, the sun is shining here in Texas and beginning to warm things up a bit.  Soon it will be time to think about Easter goodies and what to serve for a festive dinner.  To give you some ideas on the festive side, here are a couple of clips from the archives of British Pathé News. The first, from 1957, features easy food decorations by Fanny and John Craddock:

The second, from 1968, features some more elaborate creations by chefs in a Japanese restaurant in London:

And here's Chef John Mitzewich from 2010 with a delightful apple swan - my best friend M.P. made one of these a while back, and it's a really cute table decoration, if you have the patience and the fine motor skills to fool with it, which I'm afraid I don't:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Monday, March 9, 2015

Marriage News Watch, 3/9/15

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Drive: We Shall Overcome

The anthem of the Civil Rights Movement has carried the hopes of millions from the streets of Selma to the White House, and beyond.

1. As performed by the SNCC Freedom Singers for an anthology of civil rights songs, 1988:

2. As performed by Joan Baez (who sang the song at the 1963 March on Washington, and participated in the third Selma-Montgomery March in 1965) in concert in the East Room of the White House in 2010:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Fifty Years Ago: Bloody Sunday

An excerpt from the PBS documentary Eyes on the Prize (1987) summarizes the Selma-Montgomery march, a landmark in the civil rights movement, which occurred fifty years ago today:

Sadly, we are still waiting for liberty and justice for all in the Heart of Dixie - but surely they will come, before too long.

But you know, human beings are funny creatures - everyone wants liberation and happiness for their group, but even when they get it that doesn't necessarily translate into support for other groups. Here's a letter from a black Alabama pastor who declares his vehement opposition to gay marriage, which he calls "not a civil right but a right to sin."

Update, 6:55 p.m.: Today, President Obama flew to Selma to commemorate the march, reminding us that "our work is never done" in advancing civil rights - there's a shout-out to the gays in here:

And at the height of the President's dramatic speech, he expatiates on "who Americans are" - this is a speech for the ages, and I defy any of my truckbuddies to listen to this part, beginning at the 5:30 mark, without a tear in their eyes. Yes, he includes the gays again, but it's about much more than that:

Full text of the President's remarks here.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Waitin' for the Weekend

Your Head Trucker sends this one out with a special dedication to all the assoholic, Bible-banging hypocrites and homophobes in Alabama and all around the country and the globe: suck it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

British Schools Explained

Public schools are really private schools in Britain, as Siobhan Thompson explains:

BTW, your Head Trucker totally loves the idea of studying just one subject in college, and getting out in only three years. Would have saved me much time, expense, and grief in my youth.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Alabama Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriages

Last night, in a 7-1 ruling, the Alabama Supreme Court forbade probate judges in that state from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing as precedent Alabama laws dating back to 1823. There's nothing wrong with examining historical precedent - but enlightened minds have progressed a little further since then. WIAT in Birmingham reports:

Freedom to Marry summarizes the legal implications of the Court's ruling:
What does the Alabama Supreme Court ruling do?
•The Alabama Supreme Court has ordered four probate judges - Jefferson County's Alan L. King (Jefferson County), Chilton County's Robert M. Martin, Madison County's Tommy Ragland, and Montgomery County's Steven L. Reed to immediately stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples
•62 other probate judges in Alabama - all except for Mobile probate judge Don Davis, who was specifically enjoined from enforcing Alabama's marriage ban by federal court order - are temporarily orderd to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Each judge has five days to respond explaining why they should be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
•Judge Davis of Mobile is ordered to file a response by Thursday explaining whether he believes the federal court order requires him to issue marriage licenses to any same-sex couples besides the four couples involved in the Strawser case, brought by same-sex couples and the National Center for Lesbian Rights

What DOESN'T the Alabama Supreme Court ruling do?
•The Alabama Supreme Court ruling does NOT call into question the hundreds of marriage licenses that have been issued in Alabama since February 9, 2015. These couples are married - and their marriage licenses are valid. The state must respect these licenses issued under guidance from a federal judge, from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and from the United States Supreme Court.
•The ruling is NOT a permanent decision, but rather a last-ditch attempt to delay the freedom to marry. It is a temporary, unnecessary pause that does nothing but damage the thousands of same-sex couples and their families in the state of Alabama.
•Above all, the ruling does NOT mean that the fight for the freedom to marry in Alabama is over. We will continue fighting - we must continue fighting - to show not only other federal judges that the Alabama Supreme Court is on the wrong side of history, but also the United States Supreme Court that Alabama is READY for the freedom to marry once and for all.

Full text of the ruling here.

The ruling runs on at great length about marriage being for procreation; yet even as it does so, the animus of the Court is patently obvious. I have a cousin who was raised a few miles from the Alabama line. She is now nearly 70 and has been married three times. She has never had any children, and never wanted to. Yet the oh-so-Christian people of the Southland don't blink an eye at her right to marry, or to marry as many times as she pleases.

On the other side of my family, I have another cousin who is a widow, her husband having died several years ago just after their 50th wedding anniversary. They did have children, and now grandchildren. But she is long past the age of childbearing - yet, if she took a notion to marry again, the good Christian people of her community would not bat an eyelash.

Your Head Trucker is actually a bit tired of hearing about gay marriage now, after all this long time of debate and controversy - but I'm even more tired of being told, in acts if not in words, Go to hell, you dirty faggot, we don't want your kind around here.

Aren't you?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Vista-Dome Adventure (ca. 1960)

The CZ gliding through the Colorado Rockies behind a gold-and-silver team of Rio Grande F3's.  Click to enlarge.

An entrancing ride on the orignal California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco - don't you wish you could board this train?

Cover of CZ brochure, showing one of the Zephyrettes on duty.
Click to enlarge.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Marriage News Watch, 3/2/15

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

And this morning federal District Judge Joseph F. Bataillon struck down Nebraska's ban on same-sex marriage. writing:
Marriage is about more than procreation. The ostensible "procreative" purpose does not hold up in light of the situations presented by infertile, intentionally childless, or elderly couples, all of whom are allowed the benefits and responsibilities of a state-sanctioned marital relationship. Even if the State's purported justifications could be seen as important interests, a same-sex marriage ban is simply not substantially related to those interests.

The court agrees with Judge Posner's statement in Baskin that "these cases are about discrimination against the small homosexual minority in the United States. But at a deeper level, as we shall see, they are about the welfare of American children." The State essentially pays lip service to marriage as an institution conceived for the purpose of providing a stable family unit, but it ignores the damage done to children by denial of the right to marry to numerous same-sex households.

To the extent the State's position is that it has an interest in promoting family stability only for those children who are being raised by both of their biological parents, the notion that some children should receive fewer legal protections than others based on the circumstances of their birth is not only irrational—it is constitutionally repugnant.
Full text of Judge Bataillon's ruling in Waters v. Ricketts here.

The state has announced its intention to appeal to the Eight Circuit here. Unless the circuit or the Supreme Court issues a stay, Judge Bataillon's ruling will come into effect on March 9.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Drive: California Dreamin'

Your Head Trucker has been snowed in here for the weekend with only a single electric heater for warmth - the HVAC repairman will be out tomorrow, I hope.  The landscape all around looks just like the winter scenes in this video - which is a good choice for a bitterly cold and dreary day here in Nowheresville:

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