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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

In Memoriam: The Dance

My first husband in 2009, the last time I heard from him.
By chance, I just recently learned that he died in 2020, age 54.
By all accounts, he loved his life and was much loved.

Thirty Years Ago

We Danced.

Planet & Comet

Took a Big Chance.

Big Love.  Big Loss.  

Big Hurt -- Long Time.

Hard Lesson.

All Forgiven.   

Bless you, Babe.  

Roll on through Heaven.

Russ in 2009.
Everybody's got to leave the darkness sometime.


This is post 1 of 4


Sunday, December 25, 2022

The King's Christmas Broadcast, 2022

A Christian king addresses his multi-faith people in Britain and around the world. Continuing a tradition set by the late Queen, King Charles makes his first Christmas broadcast, and in my view. says all the right things in just the right way. Well done, Sir. 

I am standing here in this exquisite Chapel of St George at Windsor Castle, so close to where my beloved mother, the late Queen, is laid to rest with my dear father.

I am reminded of the deeply touching letters, cards and messages which so many of you have sent my wife and myself and I cannot thank you enough for the love and sympathy you have shown our whole family.

Christmas is a particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones. We feel their absence at every familiar turn of the season and remember them in each cherished tradition.

In the much-loved carol O Little Town Of Bethlehem we sing of how “in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light”.

My mother’s belief in the power of that light was an essential part of her faith in God, but also her faith in people and it is one which I share with my whole heart.

It is a belief in the extraordinary ability of each person to touch, with goodness and compassion, the lives of others, and to shine a light in the world around them.

This is the essence of our community and the very foundation of our society.

We see it in the selfless dedication of our armed forces and emergency services who work tirelessly to keep us all safe, and who performed so magnificently as we mourned the passing of our late Queen.

We see it in our health and social care professionals, our teachers and indeed all those working in public service, whose skill and commitment are at the heart of our communities.

And at this time of great anxiety and hardship, be it for those around the world facing conflict, famine or natural disaster, or for those at home finding ways to pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm, we see it in the humanity of people throughout our nations and the Commonwealth who so readily respond to the plight of others.

I particularly want to pay tribute to all those wonderfully kind people who so generously give food or donations, or that most precious commodity of all, their time, to support those around them in greatest need, together with the many charitable organisations which do such extraordinary work in the most difficult circumstances.

Our churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and gurdwaras, have once again united in feeding the hungry, providing love and support throughout the year. Such heartfelt solidarity is the most inspiring expression of loving our neighbour as our self.

The Prince and Princess of Wales recently visited Wales, shining a light on practical examples of this community spirit.

Some years ago, I was able to fulfil a life-long wish to visit Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity.

There, I went down into the Chapel of the Manger and stood in silent reverence by the silver star that is inlaid on the floor and marks the place of our Lord Jesus Christ’s birth.

It meant more to me than I can possibly express to stand on that spot where, as the Bible tells us, ‘the light that has come into the world’ was born.

While Christmas is, of course, a Christian celebration, the power of light overcoming darkness is celebrated across the boundaries of faith and belief.

So, whatever faith you have, or whether you have none, it is in this life-giving light, and with the true humility that lies in our service to others, that I believe we can find hope for the future.

Let us therefore celebrate it together, and cherish it always.

With all my heart, I wish each of you a Christmas of peace, happiness and everlasting light.


Saturday, December 24, 2022

Merry Christmas 2022

Madonna and Child by Il Sassoferrato, 1674. 

Another Christmas has arrived, another year has passed.  When I was a little boy, it seemed that Christmas took forever to get here, and the wait was awful.  Now it seems more and more that Christmases just fly by, like transit stops, and are gone before you have time to register the fact.

But amid all the changes and chances of this frantic modern world, Christmas endures as a fixed point in everyone's life, even for non-believers, and its traditions are remarkably steadfast:  the Christmas tree loaded with decorations and lights, presents wrapped in all manner of glittering ways, lights in the windows and on the roof, a gargantuan feast of all sorts of delicacies that "we always have" at this time, and for most folks, a houseful of family and friends, all ages, at least for Christmas dinner.  It has been said that "you can't go home again," and in a certain sense that is very true; but even so, Christmas remains the one day of the year that you just must "go home again," even if you don't particularly want to.  And, sadly, some people don't.  For others, there is no longer any "home" to go to.

But for most, Christmas dinner is a love feast, a few hours of merriment, remembrance, and affection, a joyful reconnection with the people we love most.  In Christian terms, it typifies at the family table the Feast of the Incarnation that we celebrate in church - or would, if our infirmities did not prevent us from doing so.  That magnum mysterium - God becoming a man - a baby - born to a human mother, not in a palace but in a stable full of animals and all their smells - with not even a cradle to lie in, but a manger - a feed trough, we might say - the great humility and tender love of the Creator for his creatures, shown in the humblest possible circumstances.  In the golden words of the Communion Prayer, which means so much to me (emphasis mine):
Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us
for yourself, and, when we had fallen into sin and become
subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus
Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human
nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.
A breathtaking thought!  People around the world worship many gods, but I know of no other religion which proclaims that God Himself became man and dwelt among us.  And not to lord it over us or live in royal state, but to fail miserably, as the world accounts failure, abandoned by his friends and condemned to a brutal death, as the prayer I just quoted continues:
He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself,
in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole
And so death was not the end of the story, but the beginning - the divine paradox at work here is rather typical of God, actually:  the first shall be last, and the last shall be first, and so on.  And from that inglorious end, from that glorious beginning, countless millions of believers have drawn comfort and hope in every sort of adversity, and strength to do good works of all sorts at all times and places; to spend their lives in loving, humble service to God and their neighbors, according to the light they had.

A humble faith gives meaning and purpose to even the most obscure life.  Of course, not every Christian life is a successful one - but by Our Lord's own example, we may understand that what seems a useless failure to worldly eyes is perhaps not quite so worthless in the sight of Heaven.  I was struck by something the dear old Queen said in one of her recent Christmas broadcasts, which appears on the sidebar of my blog, and has become a light in my heart:
We cannot all do great things; 
but we can do small things with great love.
To which I would add, Keep on; do what you can.  Our small efforts may not seem like much in the world's eyes or in the scheme of the universe; but He whose eye is on the sparrow will surely value them at a higher rate, if done for love's sake.  Because that is what the Christian religion is all about:  God is Love.  The love of parent and child; of brothers and sisters; of spouses and neighbors and friends; of all mankind, rich and poor, high and low alike; the Love that moves the stars, as the poet says.

That is what Christmas means to me:  the remembrance of a profound act of love by God for us foolish, faithless, selfish human beings, which gave us the means of grace in this life and the hope of glory in the next.  Even if you do not believe the story is true - and I do not say anyone must - you can still, I hope, appreciate it as a magnificent piece of poetry, a feast for the soul, and a light in the darkness, which this rough old world is always in need of.  We would do well to keep the feast in our hearts all the year through.


Well, there's your Christmas sermon in case you don't make it to midnight mass.  But having gotten that off my chest, I wish a very Merry Christmas to Tim, Frank, Davis, and all my other truckbuddies - God bless us, every one!

Our new 7.5-foot tree (cost only $25), with a rotating star
 full of rainbow-colored lights.

Our happy little hacienda in a rainbow of colored lights; the pic does not convey the real beauty.  All of these new-fangled lights are quite bright and distinct from one another, though they appear to blur together in the photo.  Some of them in the windows and around the eaves twinkle.

P. S. - Go hear Frank's very talented niece singing "O Holy Night."


Friday, December 23, 2022

Waitin' for the Weekend

Good boy or naughty boy, Santa's got something for you!


Thursday, December 22, 2022

Zelensky Visits Washington


During a lightning ten-hour visit to Washington, D. C., yesterday, embattled Ukrainian President Zelensky - the Winston Churchill of our time - met with President Biden at the White House and also gave an address to a joint session of Congress.  The gallant wartime leader appeared haggard and hoarse, quite understandably, but remained resolute and defiant, as the Associated Press reports:
Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy told cheering U.S. legislators during a defiant wartime visit to the nation’s capital on Wednesday that against all odds his country still stands, thanking Americans for helping to fund the war effort with money that is “not charity,” but an “investment” in global security and democracy.

The whirlwind stop in Washington — his first known trip outside his country since Russia invaded in February — was aimed at reinvigorating support for his country in the U.S. and around the world at a time when there is concern that allies are growing weary of the costly war and its disruption to global food and energy supplies.

Zelenskyy called the tens of billions of dollars in U.S. military and economic assistance provided over the past year vital to Ukraine’s efforts to beat back Russia and appealed for even more in the future.

“Your money is not charity,” he sought to reassure both those in the room and those watching at home. “It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”
I continue to pray for Ukraine's deliverance and peace.  I don't see how this stupid war can end unless we bomb the hell out of Russia, or Putin croaks, whichever comes first.  But we can't just abandon the Ukrainians to a grisly fate, either.  All of this gives me a new and deeper perspective on the fears and feelings people must have had in the lead-up to World War II, when the outlook was dim and the outcome was as yet uncertain.  Please God, there will not a third world war.  

Here in Texas, the arctic blast has arrived, and temperatures are steadily falling - it's 16 degrees as I write, with a wind chill of -5.  Brrr!  We won't be above freezing again until Christmas Day.  In our happy but drafty old bungalow, it's already quite cool, despite the gas furnace and the electric fireplace running continuously.  My thoughts and sympathies are with the poor Ukrainian people who now have no lights, heat, water, or in many cases, any kind of home to hunker down in.  All because of one wicked old man's twisted lust for power.

There has been talk in scientific circles of late about sending manned missions to the Moon again, or maybe even to Mars.  If it comes to pass, I've already got a short list of prime candidates to be given free one-way tickets aboard the first rocket going.
I've got a little list, I've got a little list,
Of societal offenders who never would be missed --
Who never would be missed!

Monday, December 19, 2022

Liz Cheney Denounces Trump's "Utter Moral Failure"


From the YouTube description:
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., spoke on Dec. 19 as the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack presented its final findings to the public.

She blasted former President Donald Trump’s actions in office on the day of the Jan. 6 attack. Cheney referenced testimony from Trump administration officials collected by the committee that said the former president watched the riot on television from inside the White House without calling on his supporters to stop.

“This was an utter moral failure and a clear dereliction of duty,” she said. “No man who would behave that way at that moment in time can ever serve in any position of authority in our nation again. He is unfit for any office.”

Cheney said Jan. 6 was the first time an American president “refused his constitutional duty” to transfer power peacefully.

“The committee recognizes that our work has only begun,” she said. “It's only the initial step in addressing President Trump's effort to remain in office illegally.”

The Jan. 6 committee will release its full report later this week as the panel wraps up its work.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Sunday Drive: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, 
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means, “God is with us.”


Friday, December 16, 2022

Waitin' for the Weekend


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Biden Signs Respect for Marriage Act

In a ceremony at the south front of the White House, President Biden today signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law, thereby extending the protections of federal law to millions of gay, lesbian, and interracial couples nationwide.  A landmark piece of legislation that wipes DOMA off the books.

And I have lived to see this day.


Sunday, December 11, 2022

Sunday Drive: The Magnificat, John Michael Talbot

 The Third Sunday of Advent

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.


Friday, December 9, 2022

Waitin' for the Weekend


Thursday, December 8, 2022

House Passes Respect for Marriage Act

The U. S. House of Representatives today passed the Senate version of the Respect for Marriage Act, by a vote of 258 to 169.  All Democrats voted for the bill, along with 39 Republicans.  After the vote, retiring Speaker of the House Nancy smiled broadly as she displayed an enrolled copy of the bill to reporters, capping her 35-year congressional career with a milestone piece of legislation.


Retired Senator Barney Frank (D-Mass.), was present at the enrollment ceremony and had high praise for Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), one of the sponsors of the bill.  Both Frank and Baldwin were among the first openly gay people elected to Congress.

The bill will next be sent to President Biden, who will sign it into law - I haven't heard when, but I expect that will happen very soon.

And I have one thing to say to all the catty, ratty little creeps who are already bitching and moaning about what the law doesn't do, to wit:  STFU.

Why do I say that?  Because this bill is a) the FIRST TIME gay marriage has been ENACTED into federal law; and b), it is what could be passed right now, before the House gets a Republican majority on January 3rd.  It has a strong legal effect nationwide; and it sends a powerful message that the Supreme Court will surely pay attention to.

I vividly recall that when I came out in 1980, the idea of "gay marriage" was pure fantasy, wishful thinking, as remote from reality as any science fiction story.  At that time, there was NO protection or recognition of gay couples anywhere in this country, or in any other country in the world.  No domestic partnerships, no civil unions, no marriage equality. There still isn't, over huge swaths of the earth's surface.  But today in America, fifty years after Stonewall, democracy worked out beautifully.

So I am extremely grateful to all the legislators who walked this bill over the hurdles to get it passed.  If you aren't proud and happy - you are a stupid, selfish, short-sighted jerk, so just go away.


Wednesday, December 7, 2022

On the Road with Charles Kuralt: The American Heritage

I'm sure my truckbuddies of a certain age will remember fondly, as I do, the folksy, fascinating reports of CBS newsman Charles Kuralt (1934-1997) from his travels across the highways and byways of America, delivered with an ear for poetry and an eye for natural artistry.

This 1989 compilation explores a number of interlacing threads in the magnificent tapestry of American history - a story, like all human stories, of highs and lows, light and shadow, sinners and saints.  Sadly, it cannot be told in this way today.  All history must now be cut to fit the latest pattern of right or left - and shouted, not said.

So enjoy this before it disappears down the memory hole.


Sunday, December 4, 2022

Sunday Drive: Bach, Wachet Auf (Sleepers, Awake!), BWV 640

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,

the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.

Diane Bish, the grand dame of American organists, plays the 4th movement (chorale) of the lovely Bach cantata

My late husband Cody studied with this lady while he was in college; he admired her greatly.


Friday, December 2, 2022

Waitin' for the Weekend


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Senate Passes the Respect for Marriage Act

More good news:  Last night, the Senate passed the amended Respect for Marriage Act by a vote of 61-36, with all Democrats and 12 Republicans voting in favor of the bill.  (Three senators were absent.)  Now the bill must be approved again by the House before it is sent to President Biden for signing into law.


It is important to note that the bill does not require any state to perform same-sex marriages, although at the moment all do. But if they should change their minds - particularly, if the Supreme Court were to overturn its 2015 ruling in Obergefell - all states would still have to recognize marriages legally performed in another state or foreign country.  

The bill as passed by the Senate also explicitly protects interracial marriages; does not require recognition of polygamous marriages; repeals the Defense of Marriage Act (1996); and provides exemptions for churches and other religiously affiliated organizations. 

See the text of the Senate version below the jump.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Queer Hutterite (2016)

The coming-out story of a young man who grew up in a Hutterite colony in Canada.  Which is essentially the same story all of us had to go through:  the conflict between the truths you were taught, and the truth you know within.


Sunday, November 27, 2022

Sunday Drive: Once in Royal David's City

. . . they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;

nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Waitin' for the Weekend


Thursday, November 24, 2022

A Day of Thanksgiving (1951)

Last year's Thanksgiving table at our house,
which I never got around to posting here.

A week ago, M.P. had a sudden whim at dinner and proposed that we should each name three things we are thankful for each night until Thanksgiving.  This is an excellent idea, and I recommend it to my truckbuddies.  It need not be a religious exercise, just a thoughtful moment of honesty and humility:  an attitude of gratitude is a healthy thing to cultivate.

The same thought is contained in this educational film from 1951 - the sort of thing that smug, self-satisfied sophisticated types roll their eyes and snicker at.  But there is a deep truth here that we ignore at our peril.

Having survived three miserable days without electricity or heat - off and on - in last year's Deep Freeze, my heart really goes out to all those poor people now suffering from lack of the most basic necessities in Ukraine on a scale never seen in America; and winter is only beginning there.

Don't think it can't happen here or can't possibly happen to you; sudden calamity or just simple misfortune can happen to anyone at any time.  Count your blessings while you have them. 


All good wishes to my truckbuddies for a safe, warm, and happy Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

An American Hero

CNN interviews the Army vet who stopped the Colorado Springs killer last Saturday night:


Sunday, November 20, 2022

Horror in Colorado Springs

Another gay club shot up:  5 dead, 25 or more injured.  Nauseating.

The 22-year-old shooter is said to be the grandson of a MAGA state representative in California.


Sunday Drive: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

A beautiful presentation of the beloved harvest hymn:



Friday, November 18, 2022

Waitin' for the Weekend

The magnificent Steve Kelso.


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Help Request


The last few days, Blogger (long since bought up by Google) has been doing weird things behind the scenes that are working my nerves big time.  Unfortunately, there is no official Help Desk to go to, but I am working with a volunteer helper to try to get to the bottom of this.

I'd like to ask my readers, especially my longtime truckbuddies who are familiar with the Blue Truck, to please let me know if they see any strange posts here, or if the BT does not display normally.



Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Mormon Church Comes Out for Gay Marriage


Huh, that's a shocker.  (Remember the Prop 8 fight?)  Read all about it in the Salt Lake Tribune.

And for your information, the Respect for Marriage Act was first introduced in Congress in 2009. and has been reintroduced several times.  But this year, the bill was finally passed in the House last July by a vote of 267-157, with the support of 47 Republicans.  

Now it's up to the Senate, if 10 Republicans will vote for the bill, and Democratic leaders think the votes are in the bag. So we should have more reason to celebrate soon; in fact, the Senate is holding a preliminary vote today.  So stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed.

Update, 7 p.m.:  The preliminary vote passed 62-37, with 12 Republican senators voting in favor of it.  A final vote on the bill is expected on Friday, after which the Senate version will be sent to the House for approval.


Sunday, November 13, 2022

Sunday Drive: Autumn Leaves

As sung so beautifully by Miss Doris Day, 1956:



Friday, November 11, 2022

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thank a veteran today.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

No Red Wave, Just a Puddle

The outcome of the midterm elections wasn't great, but it could have been worse. Republicans will probably have a small majority in the House, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed the Dems will retain control of the Senate.


Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Election Day 2022

Here is the live stream from NBC News with nationwide coverage of today's elections:

And this is the PBS NewsHour live stream, with perhaps some more thoughtful coverage:

FYI, this NBC News graphic shows the current strength of the parties in both houses of Congress:

Blue = Democrats, Red = Republicans.
Click to enlarge.

And here are election forecasts for the House and Senate from Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight.com:

Click to enlarge.

It doesn't look good for the Democrats.  Keep your fingers crossed.


Sunday, November 6, 2022

Sunday Drive: This Land Is Your Land/America

As performed by Jennifer Lopez at the inauguration of President Biden last year.


By the way, M.P. and I early-voted last week, and I'm happy to report that where we live, the elections office is really on the ball.  Voting was quick and easy, and all the ladies minding the place were super helpful and friendly.  With no lines or crowds, we were in and out in less than 10 minutes.  I'm totally sold on this early vote thing.

If you haven't already voted, please plan to vote on Tuesday. 

The country you save may be your own.


Friday, November 4, 2022

Waitin' for the Weekend

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Biden Warns: The Fate of the Nation Is in Your Hands

Speaking at the Columbus Club in Union Station in Washington today, President Biden gave a stern warning of the grave and imminent threat to democratic government in this election:

I believe the voices excusing or calling for violence and intimidation are a distinct minority in America. But they’re loud and they are determined. We have to be more determined. All of us who reject political violence and voter intimidation, and I believe that’s the overwhelming majority of the American people, all of us must unite to make it absolutely clear that violence and intimidation have no place in America.

[We] believe in democracy. That’s who we are as Americans. I know it isn’t easy. Democracy’s imperfect. It always has been. But you’re all called to defend it now. History and common sense tell us that liberty, opportunity, and justice thrive in a democracy, not in an autocracy.

At our best, America’s not a zero-sum society – or for you to succeed, someone else has to fail. A promise in America is big enough, for everyone to succeed. Every generation, opening the door of opportunity just a little bit wider. Every generation, including those who’ve been excluded before. We believe we should leave no one behind, because each one of us is a child of god, and every person, every person is sacred. If that’s true, then every person’s rights must be sacred as well. Individual dignity, individual worth, individual determination. That’s America, that’s democracy, and that’s what we have to defend. . . .

Too many people have sacrificed too much for too many years for us to walk away from the American project and democracy. Because we’ve endured our freedoms for so long, it’s easy to think they’ll always be with us no matter what. But that isn’t true today. In our bones, we know democracy is at risk. But we also know this: it’s within our power, each and every one of us, to preserve our democracy. And I believe we will. I think I know this country. I know we will.

You have the power, it’s your choice, it’s your decision, the fate of the nation, the fate of the soul of America lies where it always does – with the people, in your hands, in your heart, in your ballot. My fellow Americans, we’ll meet this moment. We just need to remember who we are. We are the United States of America. There’s nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together.
Read the full text of the President's remarks here

My truckbuddy Frank has other pertinent thoughts on the election over at Reluctant Rebel.


Sunday, October 30, 2022

Sunday Drive: Grieg, In the Hall of the Mountain King

As performed by NATO massed bands in Germany, 2007.  The bearded guy on the French horn gets my vote.


Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Pork Boys Did Summer

Nothing to see here . . . yet.

Well, I'll tell you.  When you get old and gray, and feel a bit worn out in body and mind, it's hard to keep doing all the things you used to do.  I've been meaning to post some food pics for a long time now, and waiting for M. P. to send them to me from his phone for longer than that.  These cover the whole summer, including birthdays and the 4th of July.  

Now they've piled up in my inbox, and I'm not sure I remember what all the different meals were or when we ate them.  M. le chef and I will have to put our heads together on that.  Whenever we are both awake and clear-headed at the same time.  (Old people sleep a lot, you know, and keep strange hours.)

So as a last resort, since the motivation train has yet to arrive, I'm posting all these in one batch below the jump here.  Maybe that will stimulate me to get the project done.  If so, I'll turn this into a proper Pork Boys post.  If not, well . . . just move along, fellas, don't block the sidewalk.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Sunday Drive: Reach Out, I'll Be There

Something to take your mind off the troubles of the world for a few minutes:  Studly Levi Stubbs leads the fabulous Four Tops in one of their big hits on the Ed Sullivan show in October, 1966 - 56 years ago.


Friday, October 21, 2022

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

R. I. P. Angela Lansbury, 1925-2022

Glamorous Angela in The Harvey Girls, 1946.

Angela Lansbury, beloved star of stage, screen, and television in a phenomenal career that spanned nine decades, died yesterday at her home in Los Angeles, five days short of her 97th birthday.


Sunday, October 9, 2022

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Sunday Drive: Bach, Sheep May Safely Graze


The lovely Bach tune, as performed by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. The painting shown in the video is the 1825 version of Constable's famous Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Grounds.


Saturday, October 1, 2022

A French Dinner for the Queen (2014)

A fascinating behind-the-scenes look into the culinary preparations for a State Dinner at the Elysee Palace given by President Hollande of France for Queen Elizabeth II, who was in Paris for the seventieth anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2014.

It's still hard to believe she's gone.


Sunday, September 25, 2022

Sunday Drive: The Last Rose of Summer

Click to enlarge.

The lovely poem, beautifully sung by John McDermott:


'Tis the last rose of summer,

    Left blooming alone;

All her lovely companions

    Are faded and gone;

No flower of her kindred,

    No rose-bud is nigh,

To reflect back her blushes

    Or give sigh for sigh!


So soon may I follow,

    When friendships decay,

And from love's shining circle

    The gems drop away!

When true hearts lie withered,

    And fond ones are flown,

Oh! who would inhabit

    This bleak world alone?


Monday, September 19, 2022


Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen,
Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith

Coronation portrait by Cecil Beaton, 1953

After a solemn, splendid funeral in the capital, Her Majesty the Queen was taken through massive crowds of her grieving people to Windsor Castle - fortress and home of the kings of England for a thousand years - and laid to rest beside her beloved husband, parents, and sister - her duty done at last.

Well done, thou good and faithful servant:  enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

May her soul, and the souls of all faithful departed, rest in peace.


For the record, the schedule of today's events from the BBC:

6:30 BST - The window for the public to see Elizabeth II lying in state comes to an end, as the doors to Westminster Hall are closed

8:00 - Doors of Westminster Abbey open for the 2,000 guests expected - from world leaders to charity workers and the Japanese emperor

10:44 - The day’s first procession will set off, with King Charles and other senior royals walking behind the Queen’s coffin as it’s pulled by sailors on the State Gun Carriage from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey

11:00 - The state funeral service begins

11:55 - The Last Post bugle sounds, followed by a national two minutes’ silence

12:00 - Service ends, and at 12:15 a second, larger procession brings her coffin to Wellington Arch

13:00 - Her coffin is transferred to the state hearse and driven to Windsor along a route expected to be lined by crowds

15:00 - The day’s third procession begins, through the grounds of Windsor Castle to St George’s Chapel

16:00 - Committal service takes place at St George’s Chapel

19:30 - Royal Family returns to the chapel for a private burial service that will see Elizabeth II interred alongside her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh

Well done, Ma'am.  Thank you for your service.
Godspeed and bon voyage.


Sunday, September 18, 2022


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, photographed in May 2022,
The aquamarine brooches were an 18th-birthday gift from her parents.

Buckingham Palace released today a recent photograph of the Queen with her familiar broad smile:  a lovely parting look at the beloved monarch, mother, and grandmother who holds a special place like none other in the hearts of not only her family and her people, but also in the hearts of billions all around the world.

The queue for the lying in state at Westminster Hall has been closed by the authorities, as the last mourner must be out of the Hall by 6:30 a.m. so that preparations for the state funeral can begin.  Until then, you can still watch the live stream of the lying in state here:

London has geared up for the massive funeral, a gargantuan task for the police and military, and a logistical nightmare for the Foreign Office, what with hundreds of kings, princes, presidents, prime ministers, and assorted potentates streaming in from the four corners of the world to attend tomorrow's State Funeral in Westminster Abbey.  A quarter of the 2000 seats in Westminster Abbey will be occupied by these dignitaries and their spouses.  Also present will be the Royal Family, foreign royalty, Governors-General from the Commonwealth realms, the British Prime Minister and Cabinet, Commonwealth prime ministers, Members of Parliament, officers of the Crown and the Royal Household, the Diplomatic Corps, British and Commonwealth military representatives, and God knows who else.  

The guest list is so big, and security so tight, that instead of arriving with dignity in their limousines, heads of state will be ferried en masse to the Abbey by a fleet of hired buses.  Imagine the high and mighty of the world all jammed into their seats, like commuters in the morning rush hour.  Extraordinary.  An exception has been made for the American President, who will arrive in his own heavily armored limo.

The King and Queen Consort hosted a reception for world leaders at Buckingham Palace tonight.


Buckingham Palace has released the programme of events for the funeral tomorrow, which you can read on the BBC website here.

Auspiciously, a rainbow appeared over Westminster Hall and the Abbey this afternoon, to the astonished delight of those in the queue:


Saturday, September 17, 2022

Vigils for the Queen

Watch the continuous live stream from Westminster Hall without commentary via Sky News here.

I've had to take a little break from blogging; what with the time difference between here and London, and a number of different events to watch - live if possible - my sleep/wake cycle is all broken up, and I haven't had 8 continuous hours of rest all week. But I am persevering, and firmly intend to be rested and wide awake for the funeral, which will commence at 5 a. m. Texas time on Monday. 

On and on they come, wearied but resolute, filing past the magnificent catafalque holding aloft its precious burden, old and young, tall and short, thick and thin, young and old, united in grief and reverence.  Turbaned Sikhs, Africans in native dress, soldiers and sailors in uniform, mufti, or camo with berets or plumed caps, veterans of both sexes wearing a raft of newly-polished medals on their chests, Boy Scouts and Scoutmasters too with their colored kerchiefs round their necks, saluting the coffin with three fingers, expectant mothers, babes in arms, bearded fathers carrying one and towing another, wondering boys and girls with the bright, expectant faces of untarnished innocence, a pair of elderly twins dressed in identical suits, a blind man with a guide dog, the lame leaning on their canes and crutches and walkers, the crippled and disabled in their wheelchairs - on and on they come in never-ending stream, past the dignified ushers in white tie and tails waving them gently onwards, past the London bobbies in their tall peaked helmets, the Beefeaters Yeomen of the Guard still wearing the splendid red-and-gold costumes of the first Elizabeth's reign, the tall, stately Grenadiers resplendent in scarlet tunics and bearskin caps, standing still as statues:  Britons and others of all sorts, ages, colors, and faiths, devotees of one god, or many, or none, a galaxy of mourners, diverse as the stars in the heavens, paying their last respects to their beloved Sovereign and steadfast servant, the devoted grandmother of the nation, in one great, united act of gratitude and love:  Unforgettable.

Last night, His Majesty the King, his sister, and brothers stood another Vigil of the Princes around their mother's bier in Westminster Abbey, as they did in St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, at the beginning of the week.


And today, the Queen's eight grandchildren stood vigil, something that has never happened before, a very touching sight; they enter the hall at about the 8:30 mark:


Earlier today, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, daughters of the Duke of York, released this poignant statement
Our dearest Grannie,

We've not been able to put much into words since you left us all.

There have been tears and laughter, silences and chatter, hugs and loneliness, and a collective loss for you, our beloved Queen and our beloved Grannie.  

We, like many, thought you'd be here forever. And we all miss you terribly.

You were our matriarch, our guide, our loving hand on our backs leading us through this world. You taught us so much and we will cherish those lessons and memories forever.

For now dear Grannie, all we want to say is thank you. Thank you for making us laugh, for including us, for picking heather and raspberries, for marching soldiers, for our teas, for comfort, for joy. You, being you, will never know the impact you have had on our family and so many people around the world.

The world mourns you and the tributes would really make you smile. They are all too true of the remarkable leader you are.

We're so happy you're back with Grandpa. Goodbye dear Grannie, it has been the honour of our lives to have been your granddaughters and we're so very proud of you.

We know that dear Uncle Charles, the King, will continue to lead in your example as he too has dedicated his life to service.

God save the King.

With our love,
Beatrice and Eugenie

One more thing.  In yesterday's post, I remarked on all the manly men who have shown up for this week's events.  Today, the King and the Prince of Wales went out to greet and thank some of the folks standing in that long, long queue, and got a very warm response from the loyal crowds.  I took this screen shot of one regular guy standing by his wife who shook the King's hand and said to him, "Well done, Your Majesty, and you are very much loved."  

Imagine some big butch guy in America saying a thing like that to the President!  Unbelievable, but over there they do things differently.

Click to enlarge.

And as for the gays - oh Mary, don't ask!


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