Mrs Morrison's Hotel

The 100% personal official blog for Patricia Kennealy Morrison, author, Celtic priestess, retired rock critic, wife of Jim

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I was, wait, sorry, that's "David Copperfield". Anyway, I was born in Brooklyn, grew up on Long Island, went to school in upstate NY and came straight back to Manhattan to live. Never lived anywhere else. Never wanted to. Got a job as a rock journalist, in the course of which I met and married a rock star (yeah, yeah, conflict of interest, who cares). Became a priestess in a Celtic Pagan tradition, and (based on sheer longevity) one of the most senior Witches around. Began writing my Keltiad series. Wrote a memoir of my time with my beloved consort (Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison). See Favorite Books below for a big announcement...The Rennie Stride Mysteries. "There is no trick or cunning, no art or recipe, by which you can have in your writing that which you do not possess in yourself." ---Walt Whitman (Also @ and

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Beannachtai na Feile Samhain oraibh!

A happy and holy Samhain to all my brother and sister Pagans, and to everyone who shares in the sacred joyful spirit of this feast...

A User's Guide to Samhain:

It is pronounced SAH-win (not sam hane), meaning "summer's end" in Irish, and it is the ancient Celtic New Year. Celebrations and resolutions are appropriate. Also divinations.

It is also the feast of the dead, who, for Celts, are merely in another room. And tonight our beloved dead return to visit, as the walls between the worlds are thinnest. You must show them proper courtesy and welcome. Candles, food, flowers, music, meditation or just hanging out. It's all good.

Put a candle in the window at sunset tonight and let it burn till morning, or until it goes out, as a guide to anyone who may want to come visit you. Observe fire precautions, of course.

Pork and apples are traditional, for the living as well as the dead...the usual menu at Casa de Mojo is pork, chicken and steak cut in chunks and hashed with potatoes and onions; cheddar cheese; apple cider; and a scone or muffin or apple turnover. Mmmmm. Your visitors will appreciate it and so will you...leave it out till morning, then dispose of it. Do NOT eat any food that was left for the dead; the goodness is gone out of it and it's terribly bad luck and extremely impolite.

Remember not to eat berries off the branch after tomorrow, since they belong now to the Puca...

Happy New Year to all!

And Happy 21st Birthday to my brilliant and beauteous niece Shannon Rose! Love ya, sweetness!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Daylight Faking Time

I freakin’ HATE Daylight so-called Saving Time. (It’s Saving, not SavingS, by the way. Yes, I know it’s in some dictionaries that way, but they’re wrong.)

What insufferable bonehead thought of this abomination in the first place? (That would be Ben Franklin, the meddlesome little swine.) Why can’t we just observe the normal natural clock the way it was laid out all those years ago? No actual daylight gets actually SAVED, you know. It just gets shifted. So now it’s dark in the morning AND dark when you come home in the evening. The real “benefit” of more daylight evening hours doesn’t kick in till the, duh, actual summer. So why is the timeframe constantly being extended into fall and early spring? Freakin’ morons.

Now, thanks to Chimpy McFlightsuit and his idiot minions, next year DST will begin the second Sunday in MARCH and end the first Sunday in NOVEMBER. Which means that for almost NINE MONTHS OF THE YEAR we’ll be on Fake Time. It doesn’t even help agriculture, the way it was ostensibly designed to do: farmers continually complain that the cows and chickens don’t accustom themselves to the new schedule for months.

You know, if you’re gonna extend it so ridiculously, why not just go the whole hog and shift us ALL an hour ALL year round? Eastern US would go on Atlantic Time, and all the timezones to the west would just bump up one.
But no, because I and the cows and the states of Arizona and Hawaii, who are apparently the only ones left who repudiate this bogus clock, would hate that even more. Still, as wrong as the stupid policy is, at least it would be consistent.

A writer in 1947 noted, "I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves." (Robertson Davies, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, 1947, XIX, Sunday.)

My fellow warrior in crankdom! But he’s quite right.

Personally, I love the feel of the world darkening gradually into winter. It’s real. It’s natural. It connects you to the round of the seasons. It shouldn’t be tampered with. And if bureaucrats are so ill advised as to try, I say they should be condemned to daylight 24 hours a day, if they like it so freakin’ much. Make them work north of the Arctic Circle. Summer and winter. That'll teach 'em.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Separate, Unequal

I see where judges in New Jersey have weaseled out of the gay marriage/civil union decision, tossing it over to the legislators. Oh right, we can certainly trust state governments to do the right and just thing. Do we not remember a little fiasco called "separate but equal" in our very recent past? Apparently many of us do not...

Soooo, if civil unions between same-sex partners are approved and they are denied actual marriage and the use of the m-words, how is that different from sitting in the separate-but-equal back of the bus, drinking from the separate-but-equal water fountains and attending separate-but-equal schools?

And how the bleeding hell does allowing same-sex couples to get married with all the bells and whistles affect or demean or diminish or have any effect whatsofreakinever on heterosexual marriage?

The answer is, it doesn't. And it mustn't.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Holy, So to Speak , Crap

A quote:


The top US general defended the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying it is inspired by God.

"He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country," said Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Oh really? Just what "Lord" would that be? Lord of the Rings? (Cue Rick Santorum...) Lord of the Flies? Lord Sandwich? Lord Byron?

You know, anybody can SAY God talks to them. That doesn't mean it's true. Making such statements used to get you burned at the stake. (Helloooooo, Joan of Arc!)

For that matter, anybody can SAY they're "the Lord". Plenty of folks on the Other Side like to make trouble just as much as they did in their days on earth. Hey, maybe it's a boring old Saturday night: "Okay, let's go mess with Rumsfeld, he's such a jerk he'll believe anything we tell him if we claim we're the Boss!"
Who's to say that, oh, just for instance, Hitler isn't the one who's got Rummy's ear and questionable balls in a vise-like grip, posing as the Big Kahuna?

On the other hand...ooooh....could it be....SATAN??? [/Dana Carvey] Yes! I believe it could.

Most people, if they claim God talks to them, are immediately and compassionately put on medication and their families then take them away to a nice quiet room where they can't hurt others or themselves and can spend the day doing wholesome arts and crafts.

Commit Rummy! should be our new prayer. It's for his own good. And I'm sure the good Lord agrees with the sentiment.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

One Ring For Lying Fools, One Ring to Blind Them

A quote:

Santorum defends Iraq war

Bucks County Courier Times

Embattled U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said America has avoided a second terrorist attack for five years because the “Eye of Mordor” has been drawn to Iraq instead.

Santorum used the analogy from one of his favorite books, J.R.R. Tolkien's 1950s fantasy classic “Lord of the Rings,” to put an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq into terms any school kid could easily understand.

“As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else,” Santorum said, describing the tool the evil Lord Sauron used in search of the magical ring that would consolidate his power over Middle-earth.

“It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S.,” Santorum continued. “You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States.”

In an interview with the Bucks County Courier Times editorial board late last week, the 12-year Republican senator from Pennsylvania said he's “a big "Lord of the Rings' fan.” He's read the first of the series, “The Hobbit” to his six children.

A spokesman for Democratic opponent Bob Casey Jr. questioned the appropriateness of the analogy.

“You have to really question the judgment of a U.S. senator who compares the war in Iraq to a fantasy book,” said Casey spokesman Larry Smar. “This is just like when he said Kim Jong II isn't a threat because he just wants to "watch NBA basketball.' ”

According to a Harrisburg Patriot-News editorial, Santorum said the North Korea dictator “doesn't want to die; he wants to watch NBA basketball” as a reason why Iran is the bigger nuclear threat.

Oh, so many possible responses to this, they teem like orcs upon the Plain of Gorgoroth!

But actually it's Santorum who's the orc here. I think I'll call him Gorbag from now on... What a freakin' idiot.

First, how DARE he co-opt my favorite book in the world to his own slimy orc ways. For that alone he must be punished.

Second, as my friend Jared points out, we all know where the Ring really ended up: on the hand of a scrawny, lying, failed, treacherous creature who looks more like Gollum every day. Can we throw him in a volcano, huh, can we can we can we?? Pleeeeeeease? Precioussss indeed.

In a related matter, once more from the journalism god that is Keith Olberman:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fault Lines

The Catholic Cardinal of New York, one John Egan, was last week the recipient of an anonymous letter from some of his priests taking him to task for trying to be a medieval prince-prelate running a corrupt feudal state out of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Well, you can just imagine how much this pleased me. Oooh, shades of Thomas à Becket and meddlesome priests! The wisely anonymous clerics charged their remote and distanced cardinal-archbishop with many spiritual infractions, calling him “vindictive,” “arrogant” and “cruel”, more concerned with the financial diocesan bottom line he was appointed to fix than his pastoral concerns. True, he must step down at his 75th birthday next May, according to papal regulations, but in the meantime he must be endured.

His master Benedict’s recent dealings with Islam pale beside Egan’s personal dealings with the flock he vowed before God to protect. Not to mention his deals with pervert priests, child molesters well known to him, whom he has consistently protected in the face of public outrage.

How ’bout the fact that they’re committing SINS, Egan, these spoiled priestlings of yours? Sins against the innocent. That’s even worse than Mark Foley and Dennis Hastert combined: pedophilia plus sexual harassment topped off with Catholic guilt and intimidation.
And by covering up, red hat boy, YOU are committing a sin. Or has the Catholic Church turned its legendarily selective blind eye in that direction as well, and in its hopefully terminal arrogance decided that the Lord and God they claim to serve will give them a pass?

Man, I say two thousand years of this crap is long enough. Let the walls of the Vatican crumble the way the Berlin Wall did. Air and light and freedom are on the other side. Thank all gods at least some priests (and faithful) can get a glimpse of it.


In a sort of related matter, yesterday a benighted and perversely unaccountable judge here in New York gave a terrorist sympathizer traitor lawyer 28 months in jail instead of the 30 years she should have gotten. Or the firing squad I’d have put her in front of for treason, had I had the judicial power.

Her grinning mug was all over the papers this morning, making us all sick. Lynne Stewart helped the abominable terror sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman smuggle secret messages out of his jail cell to his Al Qaeda masters, messages that might have contained orders to further his declared agenda of blowing up NYC landmarks and assassinating the president of Egypt. He was convicted, and so was she: rightly convicted of aiding and abetting her guilty-as-sin client by abusing her lawyerly position of trust. She gave him substantial and material assistance in his heinous actions, his CRIMES, and she should be not only disbarred and jailed but tarred and feathered at the least.

Yet when it came time for sentencing, this marshmallow judge apparently bought into Stewart’s tearful whiny pleas that she was too old to go to jail, she’d die in prison, don’t separate her from her family. Bitch should have thought of that sooner. BEFORE she got into bed with jihadists. She raved and ranted against the “system” for years, yet now is cynically happy to take advantage of its shortsighted idiocy. Just having to endure the sight of her broad, smirking, triumphant porcine countenance is an affront and a revulsion, and the knowledge that she’ll do so little time for this is almost beyond belief.


Oh, and I experienced my usual “earthquake early warning morning sickness” nausea before the big Hawaiian quake of day before yesterday. Just as I was writing about here the other day, right before it happened.

It’s so pointless: it’s not useful or warning or geographically specific or anything. It would never serve as grounds for a life-saving evacuation, for instance, which could be REALLY useful. No, it just lets me say “Oh, yes, going to be an earthquake, well, all righty then.”
And there generally is. It doesn’t happen before EVERY quake (and I’d like to know what it means by it, and why it doesn’t), but every time it does happen there’s a big, biiiig seismic event, within twenty-four hours or so.

I think it’s somehow connected with the earth’s electromagnetic field, like those Mensa map dowsers I was telling you about the other day, or like animals who can sense the EMF and use it to navigate. Selfishly, it’s nice to feel connected to Gaia in even so small a way as that. But I just wish it could be helpful for lives.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Of Mites and Zen

Hmm, let’s see, I’ve got nothing important planned for this week, I think I'm gonna go adopt me an African baby!

Why the heck not, I say? Taking a leaf from the books of Brangelina and Madonna, and any other celebrity currently baby shopping in the Continent Formerly Known as Dark. It’s quite the fashion accessory, I’m told: American stars of film and music, people so white they practically glow in the dark, adopting babies from poor and challenged African countries.

What’s wrong with this picture, and why am I so damn cynical about it? Aren’t they just selflessly trying to save a little life that might not make it if the great all-powerful Hollywood hand didn’t reach out to rip them away from their families and countries? Hmm. About this thing not so sure am I [/Yoda]…

So. Brad ’n’ Angie got dibs on the Namib, Madge has gone Malawi…where might I try my own luck? I like the sound of the name Senegal…Tanzania has a pretty gemstone named after it…the Berbers make gorgeous silver jewelry…oh, lawks, the possibilities are endless!

Let me tell you a parable. Here beginneth the reading of the day’s lesson from the Book of Patricia, verses i through as many as it takes…

When I was a tiny Catholic schoolgirl, back in the days when we wove our own food and rode dinosaurs to school, the fine educational establishment of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the borough of Queens, scene of my daily crucifixion, held a little fund drive every Lent that involved “mite boxes.”

Nothing to do with the wee buggies that apparently (because I don’t believe it for a nanosecond, else I’d never be able to lay me down to sleep) live in one’s pillows and mattresses.
No, the “mite” of the title was the “widow’s mite” mentioned in the Christian Bible. At the start of Lent, the nuns would hand you a little yellow flat cardboard piece that you assembled into a box, and you were supposed to sacrifice for the forty days till Easter by filling your mite box with coins to ransom pagan African babies.

I swear to you I’m not making this up. That’s what it said on the side of the box, and there was also some heartrending photo of African children actually labeled PAGAN BABIES, whom you could save with your mite box money, which would go to Catholic missionaries working in the jungles and savannas and which would doubtless earn you big huge holy brownie points with God. (You don't see Zen Buddhists doing this sort of thing...)

I hated missionaries from the first moment I heard about them, what I saw even as a beady-eyed child was the staggering ARROGANCE of them, and when Sister would read to us (with an almost pornographic delight in the bloody details, it seemed) of the sufferings of missionaries like St. Isaac Jogues at the hands of the Iroquois, I would sit there happily and judgmentally reflecting that Isaac got EXACTLY what he was asking for and what he so very, very richly deserved.

As a kid myself, I didn’t for one instant begrudge the African children food or clothing or anything the box could legitimately buy them, but the idea that the missionaries would get my little mitepennies to convert these children from their own religion to Catholicism made me FURIOUS at the incorrectness and injustice. Why couldn’t these kids just have food without all the damn Catholic strings attached? Why did they have to starve and die in their own religion but be fed in someone’s else? Yes, even then: so young, so cynical, already so apostate…

In Asia, this despicable practice was known as rice Christianity, though I never heard it described so until much later in my life. Repudiate your ancient native faiths, sign up for Jesus Christ and we’ll give you missionary rice! Pray OUR way (the One True Right Way) and you’ll get to eat! And to starving people, maybe that didn’t seem to be the devil’s bargain it absolutely is. What angers me is that today it’s still going on, only now Hollywood has leaped in.

I think celebrities obviously have a certain social utility here, like George Clooney or Sting, lending their names and interest on a large scale to do good, and that’s fine. But Madonna suddenly deciding she needs to adopt a Malawian child (not even an orphan, either, the kid has family!) to make her life meaningful…well, no. Just…no.
Rescue services don't let you just adopt a kitty or a puppy on a whim; why should it be different with kids? Just because it's a poor foreign country, Malawi, it won't miss one poor infant more or less? That just seems like baby-selling wearing a respectable cloth coat.
I can’t do the mental gymnastics to make any of it seem a good thing, and maybe that’s me, not her, but it raises so many questions. What happens if she gets bored with the kid, when the current fashionability of the statement is long gone but the kid is still there, still plucked out of his life and maybe lost in a new one with a parent who could even have lost interest? Makes mite boxes look almost benign.

You were REQUIRED to get with the mite box program, by the way. Nobody was allowed to sit out. It was hard, sometimes, for a lot of kids, including me, to come by the pennies and nickels to fill that box. I never knew about it then, but I have wondered in the years since how many of those sincerely scraped-together coins went to pagan babies and how many went to feather the already and increasingly plush nests of priests and bishops and popes. (Nuns lived a no-frills life, usually as teachers or serfs to MEN of the cloth…but that’s another rant.)

And yet I was seduced by the rewards one could earn from the nuns by stuffing that damn maw of yellow cardboard until it burst, until it was so heavy with coin that it sagged at the seams: rosaries, holy cards, books of saints’ pictures like trading stamps, little statues of the Blessed Mother, stuff like that.
All of which I really, really coveted, because I love stuff like that, so I was saving pagan babies by committing at least four of the Seven Deadly Sins right there: greed, pride, envy and wrath. What a lesson for us all.

So when I read in magazines about modern-day pagan babies in Africa being acquired like human Manolo Blahniks by the mite boxes of celebrity, I have to wonder.
True and humble charity might do better to subsidize the villages, so the kids could stay with their parents and tribes and familiar environments, and other people, not just one fortunate child plucked up out of unimaginable poverty by a deus/dea ex machina, could be helped with a minimum of publicity. No covers of Vanity Fair and People and Vogue in it. Just humility helping need, out of caritas.

But of course it’s not about publicity at ALL, is it…so therefore I expect to see no pictures of the proud new adoptive parents with their uprooted new dependents infesting my magazines. Because it’s obscene, and we have laws about that, don’t we. And if we don’t, then we should. Here endeth the lesson. For now.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Means "a fan of the number 13." As opposed to "triskaidekaphobe," which means "a wuss who's a-skeered of a number."

In 1993, a Harris poll reportedly found that 13% of the people who responded to the poll were afraid of Friday the 13th. Pansies.

It is all said to have begun, as did so much else, with the Knights Templar. On Friday, October the 13th (just like today!), 1307 (699 years ago), Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Temple, and perhaps all the Templars currently in France were arrested by agents of the French king Philippe le Bel, acting hand in glove with the pope of the time, Clement V. The idea was that the Templars had grown far too rich and powerful and they had to be stopped, their power broken and their riches seized.

No longer the Poor Knights of Christ they had started out as, they had become the financiers of Europe (indeed, the original issuers of traveler's checks: you could pay money to the Temple bankers in London, receive a coded token and get your money back, less commission, when you arrived in Rome or wherever and presented your token to the bankers at the local Temple), and both king and pope owed them big-time in the financial area.

So soldiers of France were issued sealed and secret orders, with instructions to open them on the morning of Friday, October 13, 1307, and act accordingly. Which meant to arrest every Templar they could get their hands on and imprison them, and torture them for confessions to the only charges that would stick in that superstitious age: blasphemy and heresy.

Preposterous, when anyone could see how the knights had bravely fought for and honored their faith, but the big lie was cunningly tailored: the knights in Palestine, as it then was, had consorted with Muslims (oh, the horror)! They defiled the crucifix and one another! They worshipped a weird idol called Baphomet!
And so masterly and pervasive was the lying spin (who's gonna call king and pope greedy lying weasels?) that people fell for it then and believed it for many centuries after. There was of course no free press to publish scathing fiery editorials denouncing Clem and Phil and calling them to account. Oh, wait, there's no such brave journalism now either, calling to account Georges II le Chimp...never mind.

But really it was all about money. And Clement the Vile and Philip the Unfair were calling the shots. So all across Europe the Knights Templar were busted up, and many, many died horrible deaths at the hands of pope and country.

There has always been a tradition, though, that some Templars were aware of what was going down that Friday, and had arranged for themselves and the Temple treasury to be spirited out of France before the slaughter began. Sailing from their harbor of La Rochelle in northwest France, they took the Temple fleet around Ireland and over to Scotland, where Robert the Bruce was fighting for the Scottish throne and had been excommunicated by the pope, and where papal writ did not then run.

The refugee knights are said to have fought for the Bruce at Bannockburn, securing him the kingship beyond question, and then to have settled down in the far southwest of Scotland, where Templar gravestones can be seen today, and some at least to have set aside their monastic vows, married and raised families.

I myself, as a Dame Templar in a modern-day Order, knighted at Roslin Chapel (setting of the end of "The Da Vinci Code") in September 1990, wrote a short story about the flight from La Rochelle in MDF Katherine Kurtz's (also a Dame of the Order, and who with her husband Scott MacMillan sponsored me) anthology "Crusade of Fire", a story called "The Last Crusade", in which James Douglas (no, not MY James Douglas...) gets some of the knights off to Keltia...hey, it could have happened! [/shameless self-promotion]

So today I will get out my Templar cross, and say a prayer for the great and noble Jacques de Molay and all those knights so falsely accused and heinously executed. They might be a little freaked that it's a SISTER Templar doing so, not to mention a PAGAN sister Templar, but I think they'd be okay with it by now.

Non nobis, Domine, non nobis sed nomini tuo da gloriam...and unto them as well.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Lately I have been noticing TV spots for CIA recruiting. Handsomely produced, obviously expensive ads in expensive ad time. No mention of the soul-corrupting actual WORK, natch, just all about how cool a job and what you will earn and learn and how you get to serve your country at the same time. Nice well-scrubbed actors of all genders (well, all “correct” genders, anyway. Don’t ask, don’t tell!) and races, all prettily dressed and coiffed.

Am I alone in thinking this has got to be the heights of subversiveness? Or the depths of perversion? Either way! Or both!
You know, once, when the CIA recruiter was on my college campus the year I graduated, I actually went along to see him. I wore my black trenchcoat, just in case he didn’t get how I was a potential Mrs. Emma Peel. I really thought he would take one look and point and say, “You.”

Instead, he gave me a sales talk on how my government needed good secretaries. With a barely disguised condescending subtext of "And think what a nice all-American husband you'll find if you come work for us." Yeah, right, me with my Mensa IQ, being Patty Secretary married to Mr. Robospy. Never happen.
(These were the days when it was still legal to classify jobs for Ms or Fs. All the cool jobs being M and all the crap ones being F and involving typing. I think that’s changed, at least a little?)
Oh, and if I could speak/read/write Portuguese, he informed me, that would be great. That's what they REALLY needed just at the moment. I'd be a shoo-in, really.

I have no idea why this country was spying on Portugal in 1967, and I never found out. (Unless it had to do with Portuguese-speaking Nazis in Brazil, maybe. Not that they'd ever have let me track any down, being a CHICK and all. Unless I had to seduce them in Portuguese, like the women on Star Trek seducing aliens all for the glory of Starfleet.)

But I must say, it does give me a bit of a turn to see the spooks now advertising on TV. I forget which show it was. Something appropriate like “The Nine” or “Heroes”, though. Hey, maybe they’re looking to hire people with superpowers, and can’t come right out and say so, so they cunningly advertise on shows that people with superpowers would be likely to watch. It could be true.

I remember too hearing vaguely, years ago, about the CIA looking for psychics, to communicate telepathically with submerged submarines (radio can't get through to a sub, though why this should be so I have no idea) and dowse missile locations off maps. I’d learned my lesson, though, and did not volunteer…though there was a Mensa group I was interested in joining, composed of a dozen or so members who could sense earthquakes before they happen, and I happen to be a little bit talented that way myself.

But I didn’t volunteer for that either. And you can’t make me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Monarchist, Monarchist, Where Have You Been?

I’ve been to the movies to see “The Queen”!

And not for the first time nor yet the last, do I rejoice that I live in a republic.

I am, however, endlessly enthralled by the soap opera that is the House of Windsor. So I went to see this much-hailed flick. And, I tell you, it is ROYAL. Man, that Helen Mirren…first time I saw her was either in John Boorman’s loopy “Excalibur”, as Morgana, or as Titania in the BBC Shakespeare Plays’ “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” And she was fantastic in both of them.

Down the years I’ve watched Dame Helen in tons of TV and movie stuff, and she has always been amazing. But this…THIS is extraordinary. She looks so much like Liz it’s positively spooky, and it’s not just the tight-ass wig and gritted teeth. She’s got that glacial stare down, and also the bovine bewilderment behind it, like ‘However could this happen to little old royal me, that my subjects are hating me so? And how did that blond Spencer bitch get away with it?’

Mirren also nails the mean-lipped petulance: 'I, Elizabeth, who have given all my life and humanity in service to my country, deserve better from them now.' Thing is, Liz doesn't. She chose the terms of her servitude. It could have been otherwise...look at the rulers of Norway, Spain, Sweden, Holland. They're normal people. She's not. To quote Mr. Mojo, she's "caught in a prison of her own devise." She decided to freeze off all her emotions so that her public could perceive her as a queen. They didn't ask her to. All her own sixteenth-century idea. No wonder Diana, with her genuine warmth and liking for people (whatever the rest of her problems may have been, and they were many), scared and angered her mother-in-law so much.

Okay, major spoilers coming up, so if you don’t want to know, stop reading here. (Though we all know how it ends.)

Director Stephen Frears may have cobbled all this up out of fiction, backstairs gossip and wishful thinking—and as you might recall I am on principle bitterly opposed to biopics of living people and recently dead ones (thank YOU, Oliver fucking Stone!)—but I have to say I got totally sucked in.

Michael Sheen, the guy who plays Prime Minister Tony Blair, only a few months installed in Downing Street when the action of all this goes down (September 1997), is equally amazing, and another spot-on lookalike, so much so that when they intercut real-life footage, as Frears often does, it’s sometimes hard to tell the two Blairs apart.
Helen McCrory, as the fiercely antimonarchist Cherie Blair, doesn’t have much to do but try for a bendy, knock-kneed curtsey. See, ’cause she’s OPPOSED to monarchy, so she can’t even bring herself to kneel to it properly. Ridiculous. As a wee lass in parochial school, many years ago, I myself was taught to curtsey. It’s not THAT hard. But she's good.

As the Queen Mother, veteran Sylvia Syms is not as terrific as Mirren and Sheen, nor is James Cromwell (“That’ll do, pig”) as the stick-up-his-bum Prince Philip. Then again, both are fairly thankless roles.
Philip, a prince of Greece by birth (without a drop of actual Greek blood in his German veins), is an arrogant, princely prig who professes to support his wife and is angered when she is dissed (as he perceives it), yet is plainly sick with jealousy of her superior rank (he has to walk three steps behind her in public).
The Queen Mum, or as many called her, “The Lily of the Valium,” is depicted as a sniffling, clueless, autocratic sot. Which is probably pretty accurate, actually. She is famously thought to have cooked up the Charles/Diana mismatch with her lady-in-waiting, Ruth Lady Fermoy, Diana’s grandmother. No doubt she will get her reward in heaven.

Alex Jennings, who plays the hapless Prince Charles, doesn’t look like him, but does nail the voice and the deer-in-headlights expression, and there are some nice portrayals of important palace lackeys.
We don’t see Diana except in news footage, thankfully (and one brief staged shot where she and Dodi are dashing out the Ritz back door to jump in their deathmobile and ride into the ages). Nor do we see Camilla, even more thankfully, or more than a few distant glimpses of Wills and Harry.

The locations and photography are nothing short of spectacular, and several incredibly stately homes are used as stand-ins for Balmoral, the Scottish retreat where the Queen goes to ground like a hunted stoat, trying to make some sense of the tsunamis of grief for Diana that have begun to sweep the world, when all she can see Diana as is an ungrateful little tart who had no respect for the position she married into.

There’s some heavy-handed symbolism about a magnificent stag that Philip and the young princes are stalking…yeah, right, your mum’s just been killed in a horrific car crash, so sure, going out on the moors with your bloodthirsty grandpa for three days straight to try to slaughter an inoffensive and proudly vital stag is a PERFECT way to cope with your grief and loss. No wonder this family is so, as it were, royally fucked up.

That stag is made to bear the weight of a huge crapload of metaphor: it represents Diana, it represents the Queen herself, it represents the way of life that Betty Mountbatten-Windsor feels to be slipping away forever, it represents the freedom she has never known. She even admires, in a lovely little scene where it comes right up near to her, its beauty and wildness and grace, and envies it.

So of course it ends up dead, that beautiful animal does, hanging upside down over a drain, in a little Victorian game larder on a neighboring estate, its blood slowly dripping out from the stump neck where its head with the proud antlers was cut off.
She actually goes to visit it there—it’s really wrong how much the scene of the kerchiefed, Barboured and wellie’d Liz regarding the dead stag's antlered head, all Hamlet with Yorick’s skull, made me laugh.

In the end, though, Blair has some sympathy for his monarch/mother figure, and Queenie seems to be a tad bit more human, or at least more humanly cynical. Cynical enough to warn him that his time for this sort of thing may soon come, and, now, it has.

We know it must be so, of course. The real Queen here is the one who never lived long enough to be crowned.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Oh, man, I was just WAITING for this to come, as it were, out: the loathsome Mark Foley's tearful admission through his spokesweasel that he'd been sexually abused as a youngster. And by...wait for it...a CLERGYMAN.

OhBWAHAHAHAHA! You know, I don't buy this sorry excuse for a HEARTBEAT. What could be better calculated, and I do mean calculated, to try to beat the ol' sympathy drum for the pigdog Foley? And a clergyman. Brilliant. Hopefully nobody except wackos and fellow pervs will rush to his side in defense.

Still, ya gotta admire the breathtaking audacity of the spin being put on could probably generate its own gravity well. Do they think we're idiots? That we'll just open our mouths and swallow whatever hook the current sweeps in, like stunned salmon? Why, yes, I guess they must.

Even if it's true, which I massively doubt, that's still no excuse for his behavior. Plenty of people, sadly, are molested and they have the backbone to say, "It stops here." And they stick to it. So no sympathy for this devil.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

La Cage au Foley

Man, just when you think you can lay off political rants for a while, put your feet up, have a nice nap in the sun and enjoy the lovely cool fall weather, along comes Foley the Unholy. Or should I say Aqualung? What a prime piece of crap. You have only to look at him to be revolted, really. Did you catch the clips of him weeping copiously all down his porcine face when he addressed the pages for a farewell speech? He was probably only crying because he wouldn’t have them around to violate anymore. It was all I could do to keep from throwing up.

And now we have the even more craptastic Matt Drudge laying slimetrails all across the landscape and showing off his weasel skills to all the world when he blames the KIDS for “egging [Foley] on.” Yeah, Sludge, you rancid piece of Repuglican meat, lay it on the victimized pages. You and your dark masters Bush and Rummy and Rove and Hastert. Who do not really make me want to throw up but rather do something more along the lines of a really selective Death Star.

Where’s the outrage from all the “family-protective” and Christian cabals on the Repug side, eh? Where be ye, O Pat Robertson and Billy Graham, you fucking whited sepulchers? You’re so into punishment for sins, why aren’t you loudly calling out to Jesus and asking him to chastise these vile slugs harshly? Why aren’t you putting the blame for this spiritual squalor squarely where it belongs?

As for the “media”: Fox Newswhores apparently had copies of Foley’s emails, but chose not to run them publicly, being the bought dogs that they are, and even the NYTimes seems strangely unoutraged. I am ashamed of my profession.

Oh, hey, another precinct heard from: Cardinal Mahoney presiding over a “Red Mass” in the City of Angels for member of local L.A. judiciaries and law enforcement. The hierarchy that covers up pedophilia among the priesthood offering up the holy sacrifice of the Mass, as they call it, for the people that are supposed to rule on this sort of thing in court and protect victims from it. How very, very cozy.

Bastards. I hope they all rot forever in the hell they claim to believe in. Jesus agrees with me. Yes! He told me so, you betcha.