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, May 31, 2023

Uganda's New Anti-Gay Law: "Where Are We Supposed to Go?"

On Monday, Uganda's president signed into law a new anti-gay bill, a modified version of a bill that was passed in 2014 but struck down by the country's Supreme Court on a technicality.  NBC News reports: 


Last month, Rachel Maddow reported on the U. S. evangelists who have for years been encouraging anti-gay legislation in various African states:


The way things are going just now in states like Texas, Arizona, and Florida, who knows whether such a law might be attempted over here one day. If so, I hope I don't live to see it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Who Invented Pants?

We recently enjoyed this very interesting documentary from the German Archeological Institute on the origin of pants - the where, the why, and the who.


Sunday, May 28, 2023

Sunday Drive: Time Is Tight (1969)

The sound of happiness from Booker T. and the M.G.'s:


Friday, May 26, 2023

Waitin' for the Weekend


Thursday, May 25, 2023

Art Works: Talking Paintings No. 1

This handsome face seems startlingly modern, don't you agree?

The first of a series of amusing commentaries by Francois Rousseau, the witty, erudite proprietor of Men Portraits, the link to which can always be found in the sidebar of this blog. This one is about the portrait of Jacopo Boncompagni by Scipio Pulzone, 1574, with some pertinent observations on his braghetta - er, um, that's codpiece to you. 

Alas, the commentary is all in French, but the captions are in English, so give it a try.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Past Times: Gas and Groceries

Scenes from the 1950s and 1960s. I recommend muting the sound and just listening to your own memories.



Sunday, May 21, 2023

Sunday Drive: Chopin, Waltz in C-sharp Minor, Op. 64, No. 2

The great Vladimir Horowitz performs at the White House before President and Mrs. Carter on February 26, 1978. 


Friday, May 19, 2023

Waitin' for the Weekend


Thursday, May 18, 2023

Art Works: The Last Supper (1999)

An evocative photograph of Israeli soldiers at chow, by Israeli photographer and gay veteran Adi Nes, that says something about the uncertainties of human life.  To appreciate the details, click on the picture to see a large-size version.

Adi Ness, Last Supper


Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Poets' Corner: I'm Nobody! Who Are You?

Henry Scott Tuke - Boy on a beach, 1901
Boy on a Beach, Henry Scott Tuke, 1901

Emily Dickinson


I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – too?

Then there’s a pair of us!

Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!

How public – like a Frog –

To tell one’s name – the livelong June –

To an admiring Bog!


Sunday, May 14, 2023

Friday, May 12, 2023

Waitin' for the Weekend


Thursday, May 11, 2023

A Sickness in Texas - and the Nation

Morning Joe nails it, laying the blame for the recent Texas massacres squarely at the feet of bobblehead governor Greg Abbott and his minions:


Chuck Todd of NBC's Meet the Press summarizes the national deadlock that makes rational change impossible:


For the record, I haven't blogged about the horrific recent massacres here in Texas because I simply have nothing to say.  What can anyone say, in a state, in a nation, where mass murders have become routine events?  Where they happen more often than days in the week?  Where no one is safe, from babies to the aged - and no place is safe, neither schools nor churches nor grocery stores nor anywhere else, public or private.

All that can be said has been said many, many times in the last 20 years and more.  And still the red tide flows on, higher and higher.

Nothing will change here in Texas while the fanatical idiots who control the state government absolutely refuse to lift one finger to make a difference.  You'd think the point-blank massacre of a whole classroom of little kids in Uvalde last year - with nearly 400 police officers on the scene, inexplicably doing nothing to stop the killing - would have softened even the stoniest of hearts.

But no.  Nothing moves those stinking jackasses in power, and the voters who keep them there, except fanatical hatred and self-righteousness.  Oh sure, they say they are working on "long-term solutions" - but don't believe a word of it.  They will do nothing.  They don't care who dies or how many.  

The same could be said about the powers that be in many other states, and in Congress.  Until the balance of power shifts away from the fanatical religionists, nothing will change.

But I blame the other end of the political spectrum, too.  For fifty years or more, some people on the leftward side have encouraged a culture of unlimited "free speech" and "do your own thing" that has allowed the glorification of violence and narcissism.  Step by step and bit by bit, our whole culture has become saturated with images and voices of violence and horror - brutalizing the mind and deadening the conscience of young and old alike - to say nothing of the effect on the mentally deficient.  But now good "enlightened" folk are aghast and bewildered at the state of the nation.

Why are you surprised, I would ask them.  Monkey see, monkey do.  Humans are imitative animals.

Last Christmas, M.P.'s four adult children, their spouses, and four kiddos came for dinner, the one day a year that they all pile into "Papaw's" little bungalow.  And for a few hours, I was quietly reassured to see that despite modern clothing and slang and toys, these nice young people and their kids were behaving just as parents and kids did fifty and sixty years ago at Christmas time, with glee and wonder and even good manners.  There are still good people in the world, and the ceremonies of innocence continue still.

But it seems to me that the country, and the whole Western world in fact, is simply falling apart like a rotten melon, and both sides are to blame.  The center cannot hold.  Extremism on the right or on the left is equally toxic.  Liberty is not license; and democracy is not anarchy.  

I don't care to argue the point with anyone, that's just how I see it, and from my vantage point a little apart from the crowd, I have been watching it happen all my adult life.  I know what I know.

It is a sick society that acquiesces in the slaughter of innocents.  Extremely sad.  But what can you do when are there no tears left to cry?  


Sunday, May 7, 2023

Sunday Drive: Handel, Zadok the Priest

This stirring anthem is one of four anthems written by Handel for the coronation of King George II in 1727, and has been played at every British coronation since. 


The lyrics are based on the Biblical account of King Solomon's anointing, as described at I Kings 1:34-35
Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet 
Anointed Solomon king. 
And all the people rejoiced and said:
God save the King! Long live the King! 
God save the King! May the King live for ever! 
Amen. Hallelujah!

Saturday, May 6, 2023

The Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla

Here's an assortment of live-stream coverage of the Coronation at Westminster Abbey, where the service begins at 11 a.m., London time (6 a. m. in New York, 5 a.m. in Texas).  Take your pick of these British broadcasters - avoid the goofball American news channels like the plague.

The Official Website of the royal family offers a schedule of events and much information on all aspects of the procession, the music, and the service here.

Sky News: 


 The BBC:


 Reuters (no commentary):


Friday, May 5, 2023

Behind the Scenes: His Majesty's Forces

The British Monarch is Commander-in-Chief of all the military forces of the nation; soldiers, sailors, and airmen all swear allegiance to the Sovereign, his heirs and successors according to law.  As the following short videos show, they take their oath quite seriously and serve the Sovereign proudly, usually with a crown appearing on some part of the uniform.

My fellow Americans should understand - and I have it on good authority - that to the British, military and civilian alike, the King is a living symbol of their country, representing the dignity, unity, and authority of the state; their loyal feelings for the monarchy are akin to what we feel for the flag and the Constitution all wrapped up in one person.  (Britain has no written constitution.)  

But the monarchy was long ago tamed and stripped of any substantial powers (see English Bill of Rights).  Parliament is in fact the supreme power in the land, and since 1689 has asserted its right to make all the laws and even choose who will be king or queen.  So for quite a long time now, British monarchs have reigned, but not ruled.  The King as Head of State is expected to be the impartial representative of the whole nation, above all party politics.  The late Queen Elizabeth II was a shining example of that, as most British monarchs have been for the last two centuries.

His Majesty's Forces in particular are proud to be soldiers of the King, and thus servants of the nation whom he represents and reigns over.  Here are a few examples of how HM Forces are preparing to put on a typically British good show for the Coronation.

Royal Navy officers drill with swords in hand.


The Coronation in Focus: Anointing, Crowning, Enthroning

A final sequence of excellent videos by Dr. Allan Barton on the most solemn and significant parts of the coronation service. 


A reminder: the coronation service begins at 11 a.m. tomorrow (6 a.m. New York time, 5 a.m. Texas time) in Westminster Abbey. I will post a live feed in the Blue Truck, but of course you can find several of those from different broadcasters on YouTube.

The Order of Service can be downloaded from the Church of England website here.

Bonus:  In case you are wondering, here is a list of all British sovereigns since the last time we had a king to acclaim here in what became the United States, together with the dates of their reigns.

George III        1760 - 1820, succeeded by his son,
George IV        1820 - 1830, succeeded by his brother,
William IV       1830 - 1837, succeeded by his niece,
Victoria            1837 - 1901, succeeded by her son,
Edward VII      1901 - 1910, succeeded by his son,
George V         1910 - 1936, succeeded by his son,
Edward VIII    1936 (abdicated), succeeded by his brother,
George VI       1936 - 1952, succeeded by his daughter,
Elizabeth II     1952 - 2022, succeeded by her son,
Charles III       Whom God preserve.

For more details, see the family tree of the British royal family.


Thursday, May 4, 2023

The Coronation in Focus: Crowns, Robes, and Thrones

More fascinating information about the coronation from English historian Dr. Allan Barton.


The Church of England has published the Order of Service as a PDF you can download here

Westminster Abbey has links to more details about the service and its setting here.

And many more links about all things royal at the Official Site of the royal family.

I do pray everything goes well and safely and happily on the day.

God Save the King.


Wednesday, May 3, 2023

King Charles III: The Monarch and the Man

After the death of the Queen last September, British TV network ITV presented this documentary about King Charles III, written and presented by distinguished newsman Jonathan Dimbleby.


Your Head Trucker remembers watching the live TV coverage of Charles's investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969, and has admired the development of his mind and character ever since. Highly intelligent, deeply spiritual, compassionate, and confident about human progress, he is a very fine man who, as it seems to your Head Trucker, has been unmercifully crucified by the hysterical, hypocritical press all his adult life. 

How he is able to rise above it and remain cheerful and steadfast in his duty to the nation is more than I can understand.   He has prepared all his life for this day and will, I have no doubt, make a fine king, with much to offer the world.  I pray God bless, protect, and sustain him with long life and the love of his people.

Bonus:  In this 2011 BBC film, British gardener and broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh is given a tour of Highgrove House gardens by the then-Prince of Wales, who was mocked unmercifully in the press for being an environmentalist long before it was cool.  

Which only goes to show how wrong, dead wrong, popular opinion can be - and frequently has been, about many things.


Monday, May 1, 2023

The Coronation - Then and Now

Below are films of the late Queen's coronation in 1952, a splendid, deeply moving occasion that will be repeated - with some updating - this coming Saturday, May 6th, for her son and successor, King Charles III, and his consort, Queen Camilla.  

But first, if you are planning to watch the ceremony live (look on YouTube for the live streams from the BBC, ITV, or Sky News - NOT the clueless American networks with their mindless laugh-a-minute drivel), here is an abbreviated timeline of the day: 

9 a.m., London (= 4 a.m. in New York, 3 a.m. in Texas): Congregation seated in Westminster Abbey 

10 a.m., London: VIP arrivals at the Abbey (Foreign royalty, presidents, British royal family, etc.) 

10:20 a.m., London: King and Queen's procession leaves Buckingham Palace 

11 a.m., London: Coronation service begins 

1 p.m., London: King and Queen's procession returns to Buckingham Palace by a longer route 

2:15 p.m., London: King and Queen appear on the palace balcony for a fly-past by the Royal Air Force

Your Head Trucker fondly remembers watching many other royal events, waking before dawn and putting on a kettle of tea:  the wedding of Charles and Diana was the most lovely and festive - but alas, not every fairy-tale romance ends happily, as kings and commoners all know.


And now some films of past coronations, which may be of interest to compare with this year's version; across a thousand years, the essentials of this Christian ceremony have remained the same, though the details have often varied. 

This abridged color film of the 1952 coronation is beautifully narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier, and was shown in movie theaters around the world:


Or if you prefer, here is the central portion of the BBC's eight-hour live coverage from 1952, There was no such thing as color TV then, but the sound is wonderfully clear and the picture sharp:


BONUS: Color film clips of the 1937 coronation of the late Queen's father, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth, later known as the Queen Mother during her daughter's reign.  (Outdoor scenes only; there was no filming inside the Abbey.)  The first one begins with a fine summing-up of why the coronation matters.


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