"the" Mrs. Astor

Monday, July 31, 2006

Compulsion #1


You know, I'm sick of being called "The Big Controller" simply because I like things to be on time. ONE! I'm not "big"; as Pearl Bailey used to say, "I'm just a woman of Social Magnitude." TWO! Yes, I'm a controller, but one of the nicest, as long as you follow The Rules.

Rule#1 is: Be On Time. Being on time is a projection of how much you value the role of the host who invited you. In New York, I used to arrive ten minutes early and circle the block a couple of times in order to ring the bell at the exact time invited. Being late--to me--shows disdain and ignorance; in my Book, you are not invited a second time if you are unreasonably late.
That said, I organized something different on Sunday before my return to Palace mayhem as now once again rules the afternoon. I selected the Betsy Ross Hotel, an oddity of English Colonialism which hosts a very civilized afternoon tea every day. Tea begins at four and--in true fashion--I was right on time only to find I was the first to arrive. THIS does not bother me. I have a long history of amusing myself combined with pampering myself. It was a lovely room, I took a seat and proceeded to indulge myself with the tea of a company named Tangueray; I'm on a diet, so I passed up all but one plain scone. It was a half hour before the first friends arrived, and had it not been for Tangueray Tea ,I might have been cross. But the piano player had arrived and was belting out some fierce Teddy Wilson numbers, so it was easy to be forgiving. I'm sick of Latin Time, though; someone has to teach these people standards.

If it has to be me, I am ready to stand up to bat.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Late Sunday

Thomas Barker and Julio took over the early part of the afternoon with their boys.
It was Ben's last sunday on South Beach. We regretted that.

Here and there, I was able to connect with old members of the glorious 7th Calvary..
As usual the floor was taken over by the cute Latinos.

The bar was as crowded as it ever was. Mayhem knocked at the door.

It was a classic question with a classic answer: I asked, "Who was that boy you were making out with?" and Frank answered in true South Beach fashion: "WHO? Last night, or tonight?" I loved it.

Early Sunday

I had a difficult time sleeping last night. I can't find my Vicodin which I sometimes need for the pain of an accident some time ago ,and I can't find the Xanax I often need for my general well-being at night. I have a habit of putting things in a "safe place"; probably "safe" from myself. So I took off at 6.45 to the beach to see the sunrise. It was rather cloudy and the approach to the beach was serene and empty.
But--once over the dunes--there were plenty of people, some jogging, some swimming and obviously up from the night before (it's a great way to wear off your ecstacy), and many waiting for the sunrise, too.
I walked along the beach and was amazed at how warm the water was (great for the feet, better for hurricanes). I have succumbed to the heat and ordered eight pair of mid-lenth summer skirts from my head designer at Target' Fifth Avenue. Although they caused considerable scandal when I first started wearing them a couple of weeks ago, I did make sure they were a respectable length befitting a lady of my carriage and demeanor.

On the way home I saw The Sweeper taking a break from her mission (there wasn't a City worker in sight). She looked tired and I stopped and offered her five dollars. She seemed to deliberately not notice and I said, "For cigarettes" ,whereupon she took it without word. We all have our vices.

This is the first Sunday in three that I haven't been ravaged by that summer cold; I have to do something fun today to make up for it.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

What Ever Happened....

...to Brooke Astor. There's been a number of inquiries as to why I didn't post something about her situation. I did, but it was so bitter and damning that I deleted it the next day. It is a crime, that's all, and where were the powerful friends? Out to lunch. One more piece of depressing news.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Just how do you put the finger on depression? Is it the long climb out of a two week cold, the bloody madness of work, watching too much news and dreaming about how nice it would be if both sides in the Middle East just wiped each other out and we'd be done with them all?

Books provide the escape; of that I'm sure. I'm finishing up the biography of Alva and Consuelo Vanderbilt and just picked up "Parties", by Carl Van Vechten again. I read it six years ago and was mesmerized by his portrait of New York society of the twenties engaged as it was with booze, sex, and jazz. Van Vechten was an important photographer of the times he lived in and he was especially interested in the American Blacks, their contribution in music and style, how America marginalized them while imitating them, and the general social decadence of the period. He was rich and well-placed to have The Eye on everything.

It's funny that most biographies of Van Vechten only mention his 1926 book, (unfortunately titled) "Nigger Heaven" (a reference to the top most seats in a theater's balconey). My dear friend, Kevin Woods (an antique dealer of the highest order in Boston), sent me "Parties" with a note, "YOU will enjoy this." It was a somewhat striking mirror of my own life, and I couldn't stop reading it. It is a study of a superficial, party life based on self-doubt, lies, corruption, murder, and booze. I was The Grafin, he said, the German countess who attended every orgy and sat in the background with a martini in hand, laughing uncontrollably at everything.

Van Vecten's collection of portraits of American blacks is invaluable and he definitely found what he liked in Harlem. I'm re-reading "Parties" now and it's picking me up again. There's nothing like a book about a shallow and tawdry existence to bring a smile to my face again.

As I walked to the bank yesterday I saw The Sweeper sleeping on the steps of the Hot Jam dance studio. Her equipment was all there for another day of cleaning and I noted how she didn't afford herself the luxury of a pillow. I stopped at the French bakery on the way back and bought her a little box of pastries which I was going to leave beside her, but she was gone.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

You become that which you mock. Did Voltaire write that or von Clauswitz?

Anyway, I have become Sally Struthers. My children need help: YOUR help. No, they are not thirsty for clean water; they abhor it (fish swim in it). No they didn't go to bed hungry tonight; not unless a side order of sushi would put them in that category.

No, my children have special needs. Matt--an outgoing and friendly child with a thirst for life and Bloody Mary's--needs a guiding cinematic hand as his parents kept him locked up in a basement while hundreds of gay movies became available on video. Little Jesse needs just a loving home for a few, short weeks in the hurricane-prone province of Miami. He has survived hurricanes in the past; this we know from a rare video of him dancing The Beyonce. This kid has a lot to give for that caring person.

Please help my special children; there are many more where they came from, but I can't remember their names right now.

Please Help This Queer!

Our Dear Mattie is moving to Ft. Lauderdale and we got together with Anna, Andy, Mark and others yesterday afternoon to wish him well. We were talking about the nine flat screens being put up in the new, inside bar and the resultant "movie nights" when someone whispered in my ear, "You know, he's never seen The Women."

Although it brought a frown to my face, I could excuse someone for never having seen this madcap, 1939 gem with Rosiland Russell, Joan Crawford, and Paulett Goddard amongst many other women in a movie made by noted homo director George Cukor. It stands to this day as one of the most viscous movies ever made with not one male in the picture, just bitchie women.

"No", said the whisperer. "He's never seen Auntie Mame, either." "What?", I choked. "He's never (looking at an upset Matt) seen THE BIBLE of gay movies???" "WORSE," said the informant (The Palace has many). "He's never seen Gone With The Wind." The avalanche continued; nor had he seen What Ever Happend to Baby Jane, Valley of the Dolls, All About Eve (!!!), Now Voyager, Mr. Skeffington, It Happened One Night, Mildred Pierce..... Had his parents locked him under the stairs during his teens?

Calls were made for his expulsion and the taking away of the Epicure Market card, but I used my considerable social power to protect my favorite showtune fan. I was not going to turn him over to the gay mob. Instead, we are going to force Matty to watch these movies and fully join the ranks of the Gay Male. If you have any suggestiosn to add to his movie list of "musts for the queer man", please send them along. The poor thing can not be set loose in the rampant gayness of Ft. Lauderdale so ill-prepared. He will thank us some day.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

During one of my recent trips to The House of Frankenstein, I met a particularly odious character in Code Enforcement. ("Odious" is on the job description of the fiends who work there.) He read my application for a permit when I watched his harelip quiver at one point and he asked if I would be a guest speaker at a local botanical club he belonged to. Puzzled, I asked what special subject I could be of help on, and he stammered, "The bog". I looked at my application and saw the section, Interests, where I wrote, "My Blog" and gently replied, "Oh you mean bLog, my blog", to which he excited drooled, "Yes, Mrs. Astor; your BOG." (I realized that The Venus Fly Trap grows in bogs.)

The look in his glass eye was a determined Chiully gaze and I wondered what he thought a lady of my fine standing would be doing in a bog. I needed that permit, though, and many fine ladies had stooped lower, so I accepted his brochure, Carnivorous Plant Newsletter. I had come to the cesspool of city life, City Hall, and I now agreed to grace their existence.

The only thing appealing about this group of carnivorous plant groupies was their headquarters. If it hadn't looked like Peter Barry's house in Newport, I might have had second thoughts. The group in attendance for my lecture, "The Venus Fly Trap and It's Place in The Modern Tea Garden", was a colorful one, indeed. Most couldn't clap as they only had one arm (most Code Enforcement officers lack one limb or appendage, not so much from battle as from simple withering). I thought the ones on the stretches the most attentive; it was as if they could lie back, look at the ceiling, and listen to my noble, still sweet voice carrying them back to better times.

My speech was short, as was their attention span. I noted that the Venus Fly Trap is of not great use in the garden as flies are more prone to zero in on the lady fingers lying out in the open and, thus, all food should be covered. The term, Lady Fingers, got the crowd rather aroused, and not in a social way. I turned the podium back to my admirer; the jeweled, Faberge' insect brooch was attracting way too much attention and I hastened my departure by feigning a speech at the Morticians' Flower Show was due. More visits to Code Enforcement are in store, but I will leave my life in the bog out of it.

Madonna is in town for two concerts this weekend and so is her legion of fans. They had packed every bar and club in town on Friday and brought the special touch of their manic bahavior. They are, of course, here to see the Head Goddess of their religion, so they must be excused of compulsive and convulsive actions; it is fun for everyone. This was a gaggle of power lesbians from Texas.and their boy toys. Inside, a brash group of Madonna twinks was seeing who could out-Vougue the other. I felt weak still from this cold and slipped out a side door before one more customer asked me WHY I wasn't going to the concert.

I sense a long battle with forces of evil at The House of Frankenstein coming. I spent most of June wandering it's rancid halls and feigning interest in the stories of low-level hacks while trying to get permits approved. I had to stand behind this ghoulish creature on Wednesday as she sought a permit of open a bar or a funeral parlor; I can't recall which. (I think the full horror can be had by clicking on it.)

Friday, July 21, 2006

For some time, I have referred to Miami Beach's City Hall as "Hitler's Bunker Above Ground"; this is unfair for it bestows a sort of homey charm on the place. You know: Russian tanks approaching and home made cakes being baked with a chaser of cyanide.

No such luck for what I call this ghastly place: The House of Frankenstein. You enter this castle of doom and immediately run into mis-shaped, hunchback women dragging their clubfeet around and looking with their one (good) eye under perfectly drawn brows. They mutter instructions through their puffed-out cheeks; avoiding the spittal requires the reflexes of a tennis pro. The hapless males all moan under their obvious deformities, too, most wearing a cheap polo shirt with an embroidered City crest; this allows them to ask, "You visit The House of Frankenstein? I WISH I could help you."

It is no wonder that my slow recovery from this summer cold was encouraged by visits to this temple to horror. Instead, I climbed to the roof of The Palace. I relaxed to the approach of storm clouds from the Bahamas; a good rain storm draws people together and makes the deformed ones at City Hall growl and claw toward the sky.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The worst thing about crawling out from under the rock of sickness is to find out that just as you feel free to walk away from it, you find out that the train of your peach, silk tea gown is still firmly stuck and you fall--in FRONT of everyone. In a town where everyone is either sick or drunk (or on the shuttle between the two), this is of little consequence to one's social standing.

For three days I could do little more than manage a slight wave of the hand to indicate this or that. Unfortunately, Palace life goes on, courtiers need to be agressively ignored, lower nobility has to be watched always in their constant bid for "mid-lower" nobility, and--generally--the little strength left in the hand is motioned to "Fire Over The Heads". There was little time left between fevers and reading the latest issue of HOLA Magazine.

Still, I was not prepared for The Call from Thomas Barker tonight. The weak utterance of greeting was met with, "Have you read The Wire?" (I thought: No, do I read the wire or look at the pictures and cringe.? It is always a wonderful rag for picking up doggie doo, though.) "We are here at Da Leo (their favorite hangout), and you'd better look at it." The horror that pulsed through my weak veins could not be described. I had, once again, been dragged through the gutter of a paper that gave THAT institution a good name.

I walked, weakly, at first and then began a full gallop. When I arrived, the table was aglow; I felt my time had come, to be sure. "Look! Alexis, you are number two on the list of 33 "Hip" things about Miami Beach. Egads, this is what has become of me; I am now "Hip" right there along with The South Beach Wine and Food Festival, The Hotel Victor, The World Erotic Art Museum, the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and others. Still, I was the only person listed and that--I am totally ashamed to say--allowed life to flow once again through those veins. It is apparent that all I needed was an injection of "A Shallow and Tawdry Life" to bring me around. "Oh.....", I sighed, and the birds singing went to sleep, the sun set on an empire long lost, and I had a glass of champagne.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Feeling better.....

The road to wellness is a long one, but any doubts about the attempted poisoning are now put to rest.

I am recovering--slowly, of course, as would be expected of a woman of my carriage and demeanor--and awakening at odd hours. Dazed and frightened, I stifle a scream, clutch my pale throat, and quench my thirst with an old family recipe: gin.

Tonight I reviewed the tapes from the high-tech beauty mark/camera Jeremy gave me when he left for South America. Only now do I remember her: a baroness from some dubious region out in Red Country; she claimed to have an estate which produced the sweetest apples in the land. (I should have had her escorted out when I saw the accompanying group of Log Cabin Republicans festooned in common, corduroy knee breeches and flannel bolero jackets.)

As I have often said, treachery never sleeps.

Monday, July 17, 2006

"The family was awakened and told to dress...."

I am sick as a dog today; I seldom get ill and believe I might have been poisoned. Without Jeremy, I am at the mercy of not only revolting peasants, but even worse: low level Palace riff-raff, petty petitioners for favors, and the like.

However, I did note the date and pulled out one of my many postcards of the last Tsar's family. Tonight is the anniversary of their brutal and famous assasination, and as much as I would never let Bastille Day go by unnoticed, so do I for this date. For all the failings of Nicholas and the madness of Alexandra, they were a loving and beautiful family so out of touch with their times and the war and were swept away in the sea of blood that was to carry off so many others in 1918.

I belong to The Alexander Palace Forum, part of The Alexander Palace Time Machine created by Seattle native, Bob Atchison, in the early 1990's to preserve and restore the small palace The Imperial Family choose to live in at the town of Tsarkoye Selo in the suburbs of St. Petersburg. The Forum allows history maniacs like myself to advance questions, engage in dialouge, and track down obscure bits of history. I should ask for some advice on protecting myself.

"Elementary, Watson"

"ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Sunday the United States was deeply concerned about mounting civilian casualties in Lebanon but that an immediate ceasefire would not solve the problem."

Of course, it wouldn't; then they would be so happy they'd jump into the ocean like lemmings.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Sweeper

One character everyone sees but no one knows is The Sweeper, who has been a fixture on South Beach since I moved here nearly ten years ago. The Sweeper spends all day sweeping the sidewalks of Washington Avenue, reaching into bushes for cups and cans and even getting on her hands and knees to retrieve papers from under a car. The majority of her work is picking up invitations to club parties which litter the sidewalks every day. A little, hunchbacked old lady, she refuses money from passersby, but we know area merchants give her food and cigarettes for the cleaning.

This morning she was in front of Mansion nightclub and the stretch of road to the south (in back of her) shows what awaited her broom. She leaves the sidewalk spotless. "But", you must ask. "Where are The City workers on a cluttered Sunday morning?"

Well, just turn to the north and a little up the same block; you will find them slowly following The Sweeper. They really don't have to move very fast in the warm morning sun when every scrap of paper is already gone. (Click on the photo and try to find something to pick up.) I use "they" loosely as only one worker felt the need to go through the motions; the two others were chatting around the corner. The City workers make about $18 per hour; The Sweeper makes cigarettes and a candy bar. The City workers all live around the airport and have beds to sleep in, undoubtedly cheap pieces from Rooms-To-Go, but a bed; The Sweeper sleeps here or there on a bench, on a sidewalk, in a doorway always clutching her brooms.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Bastille Day was disappointing; I have to stop comparing everything to the previous year or event. What was it? Not only was there no espirit de corps, but no one cared about French Independence Day. I pinned several tri-color ribbons on the few, remaining loyalists (Thomas Barker's on his crotch and Julio's on his ass, areas they have found much action in), but it all seemed so forced.

This was another unfortunate moment. Thomas was comparing his stomach to Ditmar's saying, "My stomach is no where near as defined as yours." To which I replied, "Give it time; your stomach is 20 years younger than that one". I must need sensitivity classes because Ditmar didn't take it well and lunged for my throat screaming, "Dat Vill be the LAST photo you take".

It was not a "feel good" start to the first weekend without The Outside Bar and I have locked myself up in my petit maison all day, taking to my bed, pecking at food, sometimes pulling back the lace curtains and wondering if the world as we knew it would ever return. Chekov's line from Three Sisters, "What will become of us?" rang through my mind.

Jeremy writes that he has found a Palace in Bogata and makes sure he arrives early to get his favorite seat. We all wish we were there with him.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

And, Dog Drag, (of course)

I could not face myself in the mirror if I didn't mention Man's Best Friend in the drag category, too. Even though KiKi is a "manly man's dog", he was known to don Mardi Gras beads at the appropriate time and even wore a feather boa on Mae West's birthday once.

But the town title of Best Dog Day Drag must go to Nina', who must be about 135 in dog years. She dresses up as if EVERYDAY was 4th of July and is biked around by her adoring butler all day. A proud pooch, she accepts no money and his great in her distant acknowledgement of all the attention. A true aristocrat.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Day Drag

Enough of the drama.

Living in a crazy and tropical place like South Beach assures that the eyes never get a rest. Drag--and I mean not just the cross-dressing aspect, but simply outlandish dress, part camp, part costume--becomes an essential part of the day. Since the sun is worshipped as a god, it is only proper that one displays themselves on it's alter. And, in this case, I leave out the freaks; they live in a separate category and are not allowed near The Alter.

As I pointed out some time back, day drag takes even more thought and care inasmuch as The Sun can be unforgiving. You might have the style and brilliance of Elaine Lancaster and be able to carry off a luncheon in your best Chanel, but you can rely on other types of flair.

Color, in the tropical sunlight, is the obvious first choice, and if you can mix it with a personal touch, so much the better. I love the color here along with an island touch of the head band and--to me--an evening wear design to the dress which she wisely does not clutter with neckwear. I love it; she's shopping in a crowd in her own day drag (and feeling good about it).

Neck wear, with this girl, was a must. I can't quite decide on whether this was a fortune teller or shop girl, but it was ten in the morning on a Sunday and she had to be headed somewhere. There was the feeling in her eyes that she was late for something. Here it could be any one of a number of crazy jobs, but I sensed an Eastern European background that, in the "old days", would have had her followed by the FBI. Instead, I guess she was heading to her manicure job.

I KNOW where this expert in day drag was going when I passed her on Ocean Drive: to work at her job reporting local events for WSVN, Channel 7. Daisy D has a nightly spot of that station's program, Deco Drive, and she was just following a story. In her case, "It's my job."

In my case, it's "only in Miami".

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"We Don't Like Change."

That is what my sister, Peter Barry, imperiously snapped over the phone this morning from the safety and glory of Newport.

I have received so many emails over the last two days that I can no longer be silent. The famous and extremely popular Palace bar called by some the "outside bar" is, indeed, closing. I have not been attending the weekend events for some time in knowledge of all this, and not wanting to talk about the rumors. It seemed the more I distanced myself from the place, the less likely I would continue dancing in the ballroom of vague replies; it was just not my style. Still, this past--and last--Sunday in that bar was a glorious day of clear summer skies and throngs of hard-drinking sexy guys and gals. Although nothing was final, the message was out and everyone got together for one, last afternoon.

We still have the other bar with it's magnificent patio and are opening another, smaller, private one in the rear, but we are losing a gay monument that for over fifteen years provided the only popular bar for gays and their friends on the famed Ocean Drive. I have avoided writing about The Palace because I have not been in attendence very much and it seemed so much easier to remain so as we all drifted apart. And, although I have no doubt we will all continue to work at making that bar "The Happy Place" for Officer Brian and so many others, it is like having the beach towel pulled out from under you.

For a year and one half, Boris, myself, and--most importantly, the customers--toiled to create feelings of security, cohesion, and identity. And we succeeded; it was a carefree group of well-heeled, if flip-flopped, gay men and women that drank, danced, and lived that last Sunday in the world as we knew it. Will we try again? Who knows.

All eras come to and end; they move ahead and transform into better things. That is what we are trying to believe will happen now.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

It was Ditmar's birthday, although the Italians in the place seemed to take over for the afternoon. Ditmar was the ultimate sport, working the crowd and being the gracious host he always is (along with me, of course).

Italy won and we were all so happy; their team has been so immersed in scandal that it only seemed right. Plus, who doesn't love Italian boys?

This little Italian Bel Ami wannabe-model said, "I charge five dollars a picture." I replied, "Well, you'd better get a better agent and get rid of the chick."

Celebrity bartender Ditmar Perner's birthday is today, and this invitation relfects Ditmar's humble nature. Some people are jealous of his popularity, and that perplexes me; aren't bartenders supposed to be popular? Does anyone want to drink at a bar with someone moping on the other side? No, they want to be entertained, listened to, and coddled.

Another popular bartender, Ray Evans from Twist, celebrated his birthday last weekend, an event that went on for three days. Every day brought more presents, more toasts, and more trubute.

Bartenders are very important in a town which prohibits drinking only between 5am and 8am (and as long as you lock the doors, that can be ignored, too).

So here's to you, Ditmar. It can't be easy to be always "on" and to put up with obnoxious customers some days and freaks on others, all the while being gorgeous and light-hearted. Happy birthday!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Before anyone even thinks that this is a recent photo of me and Peter Barry in Palm Beach, it is the 1943 shot by the famous photo journalist, WeeGee, of two wealthy dinosaurs arriving at the Metropolitan Opera. It is titled, "The Critic" for obvious reasons and was always my favorite, a stinging sociological study taken in the middle of a war. Until tonight, I didn't know who those two dowagers were; I was reading about the great society painter, Giovanni Boldini, when I came across a comment by Nicholas F. Warner that the portrait of Lady Decies below was the same woman in the WeeGee photo.

Astounded, I looked up the photo and--sure enough--there was the same face 38 years after Boldini painted her in Paris. The lady on the left was Warner's great-grandmother, Mrs. G. W. Kavanaugh and the one on the right was his godmother, Lady Decies, born Elizabeth Drexel. Drexel wrote several "tell-all" books for her time, a time intimately acquainted in Newport society with THE Mrs. Astor, Alva Vanderbilt, and the great iconoclast herself, Mamie Styvesant Fish. (Elizabeth had an arranged marriage of sorts by these women to Harry Lehr, an unfortunate situation for her when Harry informed her on their wedding night that he refused to sleep with women and only married her for her money.) Upon Lehr's death, she married Baron Decies of England and settled into yet, another unhappy union; her immense wealth seemed to get her, and the husbands, through it all.

But, the best part for me was Warner's father telling him about fighting in WWII on Anzio beach when German planes dropped pamphlets with the WeeGee photo saying, "While you are fighting, this is what's going on at home", and it was HIS grandmother. I love stories like that.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Every day I walk by the Old City Hall, a monument to the days when Miami Beach was Carl Fisher's dream baby and everything was Spanish Rococo Moderne. I don't know when Old City Hall was left to be just an administrative relic that gave out marriage licenses and adjudicated parking tickets, but New City Hall is a monstrosity of architecture just two blocks from La Casa and has all the charm of Hitler's Bunker above ground, and none of the excitement.

The lasting charm to Old City Hall is that about three years ago it started to fall apart. One day a lovely cornice crumbled and fell to the sidewalk. A "safety net" was put up over the affected area only to see a ledge on the other side take out a homeless person, so scaffolding was erected around the place. Savy practicioners of personal injury suits, egged on by their lawyers Dittleman, Fittleberg, and Cardozo just a block away, walked back and forth all day waiting for another chip to fall. Carefully planned, they had a long-fallen piece of masonry in the pocket to apply to the forehead.

Alas, The City closed the building before it just tumbled to the ground and began an intense job of refinishing that can only leave me to suspect one commissioner with a brother-in-law in the business.

But my cynical nature has been put aside, because I now realize The City is turning the relic into our own Tower of Terror. Now, I know why I hear the screams coming from inside lately. They think they are clever, but all they really have to do is take away the scaffolding for a ride like that. I know; the other day I passed by and did NOT walk under the scaffolding when a mass of plaster fell. It was exciting; I screamed like a little girl and ran to Twist.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Der Kaiser ist Kaput

The Germans were outnumbered about ten to one at the start of today's game here on South Beach. You had to give them credit for being the firm, worthy, and dependable people they always have been (unless you are Poland, of course). The Italians, on the other hand, had great doubts until the final two minutes of overtime at which any turn to the other side was out of the question and pandemonium broke out.

The famous Fischer Twins and their little friend were not at all happy, but made the most of it.

The Italian boys burst out onto the street and began to sing a song that I believe was penned by Clara Petacci in a frivolous moment.

Most people could only catch a glimpse of Wonder Woman's Fourth of July Spectacular from a respectable distance. Busy as she was stopping $10,000 Chevy's with $16,000 wheel hub caps and pointing out that crime, the crowd seemed content with watching the exercise of good behaviour.

Bu,t if you can pull some "strings," as I am sometimes able to, you can catch her by the meat locker.

And, in the end, all that mattered was that explosion in the distance that made us feel so excited. In my case it was the explosion just beyond the palm trees; that is my paradise.