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.

Friday, April 30, 2021

What I'm Watching: Noel Coward on Acting

 A fascinating conversation between British director Michael MacOwan and his friend, the incomparable actor, director, composer, and playwright Noel Coward, circa 1965:


As it happens, the other night I came across a 1956 live television production of Coward's classic celestial fantasy, Blithe Spirit, starring Coward himself, Claudette Colbert, Lauren Bacall, Mildred Natwick (who played Madame Arcati in the first Broadway production, 1941), and Marion Ross (of later Happy Days fame) as the frenetic maid.  Unlike the luscious 1945 Technicolor version starring Rex Harrison, this one is in black and white, but a real treat for drama queens lovers, anyway.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunday Drive: Strauss, The Blue Danube


Isn't that the prettiest thing you ever heard? 


Thursday, April 22, 2021

For the Birds

In case you need something to take your mind off the miseries of the world. 

1.  Hummingbird pool party:


2.  A very helpful guide to feeding our feathered friends:

You're welcome. 


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Sunday Drive: Crossing the Bar

In memory of HRH the late Duke of Edinburgh at the suggestion of my truckbuddy Tim from England, now resident in Spain:


This poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, written in 1889, has long been a great favorite of your Head Trucker's. 

Sunset and evening star,
  And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
  When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
    Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
    Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
    When I embark;

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
    The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
    When I have crost the bar.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Here is the BBC broadcast in its entirety; the funeral itself begins at the 2:30 mark with the arrival of the coffin at the steps of St. George's Chapel and a minute of silence that was observed across the United Kingdom.


The service was very simple yet meaningful, very much reflecting the Duke's wishes and his own character. The Order of Service, with all the prayers, hymns, and readings, is here

A great loss to the Queen and her family; but a splendid send-off of a "true and valiant knight" whose virtues stand out in relief against the darkening backdrop of the modern world.  

My own dear parents, now long gone to their rest, were married in the same year as the royal couple; so this service touched on some tender chords in my heart.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Obama: Reform the Police Now

Former President Obama issued a statement today on the Daunte Wright killing by police in Minneapolis:
Our hearts are heavy over yet another shooting of a Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of police. It’s important to conduct a full and transparent investigation, but this is also a reminder of just how badly we need to reimagine policing and public safety in this country.

The fact that this could happen even as the city of Minneapolis is going through the trial of Derek Chauvin and reliving the heart-wrenching murder of George Floyd indicates not just how important it is to conduct a full and transparent investigation, but also just how badly we need to reimagine policing and public safety in this country.

Michelle and I grieve alongside the Wright family for their loss. We empathize with the pain that Black mothers, fathers, and children are feeling after yet another senseless tragedy. And we will continue to work with all fair-minded Americans to confront historical inequities and bring about nationwide changes that are so long overdue.

If you want to help, you can learn about the issues, connect with local and national organizations, find resources on trauma and mental health, and take action here:  www.obama.org/anguish-and-action
ABC News reported last night with newly released bodycam footage of the shooting:


What I Say: Much as I deplore yet another killing, the situation is not as simple as the headlines make it sound. It was not merely a traffic stop - Daunte had an outstanding warrant for a gun violation and had failed to appear in court. The police have a right and a duty to make an arrest in that situation. His second mistake was jumping back behind the wheel of his car while being handcuffed - at that point he is a danger to the public. So it seems clear to me that he bears some of the responsibility for what happened. This does not, of course, justify his killing. 

I have no background in law enforcement but it seems to me there must be a better way to take someone into custody. And firing a gun instead of a taser is a rookie mistake, not what is expected of a 26-year police veteran. So the police also were at fault for failing to handle the arrest peacefully - that's their job, and they are supposed to be professionals. 

After 9/11, the federal government under George W. Bush effectively militarized the police all over this country.  Today, if we are not to live under a police state, law enforcement must be re-imagined and effectively reformed immediately. No more senseless killings! 

There's also this report from ABC News last night on the case of U.S. Army Lt. Caron Nazario that in my view is an even more egregious example of outrageously, horrifically bad policing over a mere traffic stop, though it did not result in a killing:


There are good people in law enforcement, a very necessary function of government - but these killer cops have got to be stopped. Along with a lot of other unconscionable things going on in this country. How, I don't know, but there must be a way.


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday Drive: Schubert, Serenade

As performed by Lithuanian pianist Vadim Chaimovich:   


Friday, April 9, 2021

In Memoriam: The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021

The announcement was posted on the gates of Buckingham Palace this morning in London:

It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

Further announcements will be made in due course.

The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.

My heart hurts for the dear old Queen, whose loss is inestimable.

The BBC has posted this short tribute to His Royal Highness:

Sky News reports live:


Thursday, April 8, 2021

The Pork Boys Do Easter, 2021

Your Head Trucker is delighted to report that daily temps in Texas are now bumping up against the 80-degree mark, and thanks be to God for that.  I am still a little shell-shocked by that Deep Freeze we had in February, so I welcome every advance of the mercury now.

We had a lovely Easter feast that M.P. worked three days and nights preparing - and since which I have been working the same length of time to get all the pots and pans washed up and put away.  M.P. has been shopping for weeks, picking up a sale on this and a sale on that as he makes his regular rounds of the grocery stores, so he had plenty to cook for the big day, and we still have plenty to eat - though he is taking a lot of it for his work lunches each weekday.  He also last weekend found some flowers on sale at ridiculous clearance prices, so those added their natural beauty to our table.

We didn't take many pics of the food - our age is telling on us - we nowadays are more eager to eat when dinner is ready than to shuffle around taking pictures of it.  But just for the record, here are some snaps we did take.

For Easter, we like to set what is for us a simple white table, with a few pastel shades here and there.  Notice the little basket of chocolates M.P. whimsically provided at left.

Appetizers were our favorite deviled eggs, at right, and M.P.'s new creation:  chicken puffs (pureed chicken parts in homemade cream-puff shells, heated just long enough to have a delicate crunch when you bite into them).

The soup course was a hot, deliciously flavored chicken consomme with just one great BIG crouton - made from Texas toast, of course.

I realize this picture cannot adequately convey the wonderful aromas and tastes of our dinner, so you will just have to imagine:  from 6 o'clock, fall-apart tender roast lamb (marinated for 3 days in wine and herbs); steamed asparagus with parmesan cheese topping; stuffed yellow squash; luscious potatoes Anna; and a big, fluffy butter bun that M.P. makes as he does cinammon rolls, but without cinnamon, and much less sugar; and in the center, a sort of fruit-salad parfait, creamy and sweet.  It was all mighty fine eating - I tell you what, boys.

For dessert, M.P. repeated his triumph of last year with another angelic offering of lemon mousse, so delightful, so delicious - just de-wonderful!  And to wash it down we enjoyed a pot of our favorite pecan praline coffee, carefully hoarded for the occasion.  Oh my, that was a happy ending indeed.

No matter how cold and dark the winter, spring always returns to bring light and warmth - and hope - to the hearts of men.  There's a lesson in that, if we have eyes to see it.  I hope all my truckbuddies are enjoying fine spring weather and good spirits now.  God bless you all.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

What I'm Watching: Love Basildon Park

Your Head Trucker is an 18th-century kind of guy who delights in architecture of the kind exemplified splendidly by Basildon Park, explored and explained in this little video:


The Wikipedia article has photographs of the house, its successive owners, and floor plans to boot.


Thursday, April 1, 2021

What I'm Watching: Vista-Dome Adventure

A little Easter present for my truckbuddies:  step aboard the California Zephyr for a leisurely ride through a vanished America some sixty-odd years ago. 


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