Saturday, April 10, 2021

Lyrids away

 "The best way to watch is to lie down with your feet facing east," says the Independent, referring to the annual Lyrid meteor shower.  "Face up," they don't bother to add.   And while you watch, pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space...

Ever since Meghan Markle a/k/a The Duchess of Sussex told Oprah there was racism in the court, the right has adopted British royalty as its personal cause.  Now Brian Kilmeade says it was her hurtful comments which contributed to the death of Prince Philip.  He was 99, he had heart problems, and somehow I don't think being called a racist would have bothered him all that much, but never pass up a chance to attack an outspoken Black woman.  Markle, who is pregnant, has apparently decided not to fly halfway around the world during a pandemic to spend time with people who dislike her at the funeral of her husband's grandfather, so expect more abuse next week.

The BBC has also experienced collateral damage from the prince's death.  Viewers were enraged to find tributes to the Queen's husband instead of EastEnders and the long-awaited final of Master Chef (someone will have to explain the popularity of competitive cooking to me one day).  The highest-rated program of the night was Gogglebox, where a family of subnormal intelligence watches and comments on television shows.  I wonder why.  The Beeb is understandably confused; back in 2002 they were bollocked for being insufficiently somber about the death of the Queen Mother at 101.  The only time they got it right was the orgy of grief over Diana, which may still be going on.  (On a personal note, I find it hilarious that MSNBC thinks Prince Charles needs to be subtitled for Americans.)

Dead duke or no, they went ahead with a full day's racing from Aintree today, culminating in the Grand National steeplechase.  Ex-girls who grew up on Enid Bagnold's National Velvet (or the movie, or the TV series) are chuffed today as Minella Times, ridden by Rachael Blackmore, won the big race.  The Grand National combines the worst features of fox hunting and the Charge of the Light Brigade; as usual, most of the field either threw their riders, fell, or just refused to go any farther.  Sensible creatures, horses.  You just know the queen slipped away from the family to watch and perhaps to quietly celebrate the shattering of another glass ceiling.

John Boehner calls Ted Cruz a jerk; Ted Cruz calls John Boehner a drunk.  Hey, you're both right!  It's like having Daniel Webster back, isn't it?

I never heard of piplsay, but they asked 30,138 people who should be president and 46 percent of them went for Dwayne Johnson, a/k/a The Rock, a self-described "six-four, bald, tattooed, half-Black, half-Samoan, tequila drinking, pickup truck driving, fanny pack wearing guy" who was a professional wrestler and is now a movie actor.  He'd be proud to serve, he says.  I'd love for him to debate John Fetterman.

"Have they sort of established a small universe where nothing matters?  You can pay off a porn star and it doesn't make a difference.  Did they really think that somehow Hunter Biden was going to make a difference?" said Charlie Sykes about the Republicans' failure to gain any traction from the memoir published by the President's son.  Instead, the book has been praised by both literary critics and addiction-treatment professionals.  Hunter hurt a lot of people including himself, but he's out-crimed by even a Trumpanzee bit-player like Seth Pendley, who attended the sedition party at the Capitol and was arrested for plotting to blow up an Amazon data center.  He's outsleazed by Statutory Gaetz, who is engaging in all manner of vaudeville to distract from allegations that he used fake ID to take underage girls across state lines and even to the Bahamas.  He never scammed money from Americans as Trump continues to do.  I like the way he doesn't jump on Twitter with semi-literate squawks every time someone criticizes his father.  I might buy his book.  (Did Hannity and Carlson really think they'd destroy him by broadcasting stolen sex pictures from the infamous laptop?  Nice try, boys.  They're probably in the book.)  

Slobodan Milosevic, Mumia Abu-Jamal, concentration camp commander Karl Linnas, Lori Berenson (imprisoned in Peru for aiding Marxist guerrillas) and Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, a pastor who organized the massacre of Tutsi refugees in his church in Rwanda -- these are a few defendants represented by Ramsey Clark, who has died at 93.  As Lyndon Johnson's attorney general he also prosecuted William Sloane Coffin, Benjamin Spock, Marcus Raskin and two other men who had never met for conspiracy to abet draft resistance.  A challenge to biographers.

Debra Hunter was in a Pier 1 in Florida berating the staff -- apparently she wanted to return an item she had forgotten to bring -- when Heather Sprague took out her phone and began recording the fun.  Hunter took exception to this, making an unfriendly gesture and then coughing in Sprague's face.  Little did she know Sprague has cancer.  Hunter has now been sentenced to thirty days in jail, six months of probation, a $500 fine, anger management class, a mental health evaluation and the cost of Sprague's covid test.  I hope it was worth it.  But what do you get for coughing on an otherwise healthy person?  (An invitation to Mar a Lago?)

...'cause there's bugger-all down here on earth.



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