"the" Mrs. Astor

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Two Afternoons

The Family has taken off to the mainland for a pool party at Ditmar's. My position was quite clear: I don't like going to Miami on a normal day; going on Halloween is the height of insanity. So I was able to return to my little home in the countryside of South Beach and finally get to my computer; the two in my office can't do much in the way of photo presentation.

We had two afternoons in which eyewear played an important part. It was not as important as the reason for the events or the hosts or the food and champagne, but was certainly there to be seen. On Saturday the owners of Twist graciously gave me the Bungalow Bar and courtyard for a lovely cocktail party lunch . The free-standing building was the perfect venue for a private gathering and Pimpernel styled a lavish lunch of grilled shrimp and rack of lamb accompanied with all the flare imaginable from one who travels Europe so much.
The Countess, as usual, became the center of attention and actually brought a jeweled wand for part of the party I will show later when I get the disc I left at the apartment. Officer Brian never seemed to leave the buffet table, a trait that I would see repeated through the weekend.

. It was the night of the great Save Dade Ball at The Children's Museum so we tried to tone the partying down.

On Sunday we attended duBarry's superb lunch at The Ritz Carlton. Here, we found a table set up as only the combined opulence-obsessed minds of The Ritz and duBarry. duBarry had worked for weeks over the telephone with managers of the hotel to make sure nothing went wrong for the fifteen guests and that they understood that it was going to be--well--a little flamboyant.

Hey, it's South Beach and even The Ritz has a sense of humor.

Every place setting was an elaborately decorated box and every box contained, yes, eyewear for each guest to wear during lunch. Officer Brian never stopped feasting; I know he was Henry VIII in a previous life.

Like giddy children doing something bad, we wore our glasses and dined and drank ourselves into oblivion. THOSE photos are coming, also.

Of course, there are ALWAYS those guests who's lives are already so over-the-top, that an outlandish pair of glasses blends right in.

Each afternoon, of course, had an evening attached......

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The "Family"

Some call it the internet "Mob"; I like "The Family".

They all arrive tomorrow and will have just enough time to get ready for the first event of a schedule that would whither ordinary souls.

Fri. 6:00 PM Dinner at Hosteria di Roma
8:00 PM The rooftop of The Townhouse Hotel will host the birthday and going away party for our dear friend Monty (Montegue McGee, the heiress to a candy fortune). We are so saddened by her departure as she was always a kind and good person who has developed health problems that encourage her to leave this hectic environment.

10:00 PM Opening night of Edison's cabaret show at Funksion

Sat. 1:00 PM A lavish grilled lunch will be hosted by That Pimpernel, our Swiss banker, Chris.
6:00 PM Cocktails and drag show at The Palace
9:00 PM The Halloween Ball at The Children's Museum. This will be the most over-the-top event of the weekend.

Sun. 1:00 PM A lunch in a private dining room of The Ritz Carlton, hosted by Newport luminary, Peter Barry.
4:00 PM My weekly "Court in Exile" on Lincoln Road

I can't go on from there, but there is more. I'm not sober.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Happy Birthday KiKi

I have to take time from what I won't even refer to as Palace intrigue anymore; it is simply chaos and carnage brought on by some of the most bizarre business decisions ever imagined.

But, that aside, my little guy, my best friend KiKi turned 17 this week and I will treat him to a pork roast, marinated in wine and garlic for the occasion. People are always agog at my cooking for KiKi, and often try to lecture me about how unhealthy it is for a dog to eat human food. KiKi has always eaten pretty much the same food I eat (which includes veggies) and no one will ever convince me that ground up fat and bones called "dog food" is good for a any creature; my rule: If I won't eat it, neither with he.

In any event, although KiKi suffers from Parkinson's, he says he looks and feel pretty good for 17. He also says that--if I'm good--I can have some pork roast, too. Scotty always tells people, "I want to die and come back as Alexis's dog, even if I have to wait in dog purgatory for a while".
Well, get in line.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My life has always been one drag show after another, and tonight we will have the great pleasure of seeing Katherine Harris in her one and only debate with Democrat Senator, Bill Nelson. One account in today's papers was priceless; it reported the notion that if Nelson says absolutlely nothing during the debate and lets this gargole talk, he will increase his lead from the current 26 points to 40. My favorite comment from the woman who gave Bush the election: "Separation of Church and State is a lie." As true as it is, she didn't know what she meant in the first place, and has been back-pedaling ever since. It's not her make-up that's her worse enemy, it is her mind. She has gone through six or seven campaign staffs because of her fits, and couldn't even get money from the Republican party so she sold her house. Well, not actually, because that grandstanding was debunked when it was shown she just borrowed from friends and relatives.

Meanwhile, my mood at The Palace was taken up today as an issue. In my absence (as usual) on Sunday, a bloodbath ensued, and I really took issue with the way it was done. One wag said, "Oh, Alexis, you go through life as if everything is a careful dance, a Minuet." I looked at him and replied, "My interests have always been that every "step" of any dance I do is done with perfection and assurance. I don't see that today." (I detest chaos in a ballroom.)

And finally, another sage told me I was being morbid to which I replied, "Yes, I am. Over 3,000 Americans have been killed for NOTHING in Iraq, the Bush government is mortgaging our future to the Chinese by selling them billions of dollars of bonds, and my dress for the ball on Saturday isn't finished yet. Wouldn't YOU be morbid?" I hate stupid people.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I am usually more creative and motivated on a Sunday, but the injured knee combined with mounting drama at The Palace makes me just want to stand back and admire my surroundinings. The Drag Wars (She who amuses most, amuses best) heated up with Geraldine popping out of a trash bin to sing "Bette Davis Eyes"

Miss Tiffany Phantasia-Phillips has a way of capturing the attention of the crowd in a very primative way. She gathered more points by snatching a baby out of the hands of a bystanding mother and eating it. It just doesn't get better than that.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Another Friday

I was having in in-depth discussion with my legal advisor, Riley, and my Swiss financial advisor, Inskeep, when I heard, "Are you almost done?" I turned around so fast I think I might have set the earth off it's rotation a bit and found--who do you know-- but Jay, who just a few weeks ago we had annointed "New Court Favortite" to, and there was his friend, Christian, who kept digging into his backside.

Riley and Jay both go to UM law school, so I had to get a shot of them discussing the latest legal scandals of the Bush administration.
Suddenly, one of the bartenders knocked over a drink right into Riley's lap. We all expressed dismay, when Riley actually had the nerve to ask, "Was it an expensive drink?" I threw my head back and replied, "No, my dear, it was not the Louis XIV grand cognac, but a rather embarrassing bottle of Budweisser." He was mortified.

Then a new friend who is going to be a part of the Baby Jane Hudson outfit made his appearance. "You know, Blanche, we have rats in the cellar?"

Thanks Luis and Mark for the prop and the fun.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Countess, Rustic?

The Countess cracks me up, too. We have been discussing the location of a birthday celebration during Halloween weekend, and she asked me to check out the space of a nearby hotel which advertised a "garden" available. I went by today and thought it interesting because it is one of those small, Deco hotels and obviously it was no le Tuleries; but I can be forgiving sometimes and was amused by it's sort of Charles Addams feeling. (With the brains, money, and panache of this group, The Sudan could be turned into The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.) I felt an odd charm to it and immediately emailed The Countess who was holed up at Castle Bedelia in Trannsylchusetts, putting the finishing touches on her costume.

I reported that the space was "rough around the edges" and then made the mistake to write that it had a certain "rustic" charm (I should have said Addams Family charm, but I was too busy whipping the houseboy for smudging my malachite pencil box to be clever).

"Rustic??? I don't do rustic!!!!" was her immediate reply. I KNOW she doesn't do "Rustic", do I? She's a countess and the closest she gets to rustic is the same as my experience: the wafting fumes of a nearby peasant village being burnt to the ground.

And then I assured her that even if she DID want to pull some Marie Antionette farm village fantasy, I could not easily come up with a cow. An alligator, certainly, a fat racoon, perhaps, but I'd have to truck a cow down from some redneck county in central Florida and, it isn't pretty there (not that I know from experience, but I did fly over it on the way to Disney World, the ONLY time I've every been further north than Palm Beach in this state). I won't be handing you some cow and a pail, Countess; you can be assured of that. (And by the way, one of the last times I saw you, you were stomping grass into the ground and trying to avoid the pony poo-poo, so don't get uppity with me.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Don't Take Me Seriously

You know, even I think I'm a little too much off MY beaten path. I mean, I spend too much time talking about Miami politics, national nonsense, imminent economic disaster, midget Korean dictators, personal conversations with the last tsar of Russia, obscure historical references, and the like.

What I have forgotten is that the real purpose of my life was once to photograph beauty as it existed in the underground of New York.

I hearby release myself of worldly worries and present a photo of Picnic and Olympia at The Roxy in 1991. I got a little award for it, that--at the time--meant the world to me. It is entitled: The Two Mrs. Howells.

The Herald cracks me up. Every now and then it actual treads on nail-biting issues; that is ,when the alligators are behaving and crack moms aren't throwing their children out the window. It isn't often, of course. Both gubernatorial contenders for replacement of that bloated pig, Jeb Bush, are almost mirror images: white, moderate-to-conservative, and well-to-do. Jim Davis, the Democrat, and Charlie Crist, the Republican are both rather likeable men, unlike the hog about to waddle out of the Governor's office.

So I was a little shocked when The Herald actually touched on a subject of sexuality in the race. Perhaps it's the Foley thing. Everyone here knew Foley was gay, as they did in Washington, and no one here has any doubt that Crist is, too. Up until a few weeks ago, it was a non-issue and here is The Herald's take, after noting Crist's marriage lasted only a few months:
"Crist did not remarry and has faced widespread speculation about his sexuality. He has said on several occasions that he is not gay.
He also faced one other awkward question about his personal life.
In 1989, Crist signed an affidavit agreeing to give up paternity rights to a child that a St. Petersburg woman claimed he had fathered. In the affidavit, Crist said he ''never consummated the act necessary.'' In an interview with reporters last month, he would not explain publicly why he agreed to sign the affidavit if he had not had sex with the woman, a Republican activist."

That woman WAS a Republican activist it would seem. And, with people like that around, I wonder just how long this is a non-issue.
Meanwhile, I have to find out what Katherine Harris is up to.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I went shopping today. I know "you should shop for the one you love", but I shopped for ME. While gazing over malachite cigarette boxes and rhodandite vases, I stumbled across a magnificent brooch, described as a suberb example of a "Renaissance-style brooch".

Now call me "classic", but this is no ordinary "Renaissance" anything, because it is simply not Renaissance. That aside--and surely anyone who knows me understands that I give a lot of leeway to everything and everyone--this is an supreme example of Imperial Russian taste. The piece was designed just before the first World War and greatly ornamated, not by Faberge', but one of his competitors. Imperial Russian taste was a hybrid of Western European ideas and the barbaric nature of the East. This produced extreme examples of "ideas" or "notions" of The Other World that existed out of St. Petersburg.

I particularly enjoy the profile; unlike the French who profiled only African images of Egypt, the Russians dug deeper into the soul of the world as they imagined. (This is not a profile of Nefertiti, it is one of a Negro queen.) The Dowager Empress, Marie, was fabled and chastised for owning a collection of monkeys with clocks in their abdomens. Similarly, one has to think of the two, bejeweled and turbaned Ethiopians who stood at the door the Nicholas and Alexandra's private apartments in The Alexander Palace to comtemplate their vision of Africa.

And, the jewels. This was not a piece for some ordinary countess; it was most probably a presentation piece from the Imperial Family.

All I know is I want it; and it is a bargain at $6,300. Christmas is coming.

Miami's Finest Stalks The Arts

The New Performing Arts' Center finally opened about 6 years late and 2 trillion dollars over budget, but it's Miami and, although there's no parking, that might to be a moot issue after the first great rain storm comes and we get to see if that ceiling really does hold up.

The main event at the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts’ grand opening Thursday night? Cops. Off-duty, chanting, cops protesting low wages. Miami has never been one of the progressive-thinking governments to realize ONE way to cut corruption in the force is to pay the police at least $40,000

Picketing the Herald first was a poor choice. This institution of lower learning allows their writers to be paid upwards of $175,000 by the Bush administration to write for propaganda radio stations aimed at Cuba and still claim to be unbiased in their reporting; how can the possibly be interested in poor cops?

After shaking their signs and chanting their chants (“Being broke ain’t no joke”) in front of the Miami Herald building, dozens of the city’s bravest and rowdiest realized they could put on a better show if they walked around the block to The Center. There, they boxed in the dignitaries and gray hairs, the Prada suits and Brooks Brothers' shoes, sitting outside and listening to perfunctory speeches before the gala concert. The cops wisely realized that no one wants to pay $500 for an outdoor folding seat and be surrounded and chanted at.

No other gathering of discontent directed at so many pearl-wearing society members would have gone without massive presence of armed police, but this one did. Except if you take into account the incessant buzzing of police helicopters that drowned out a strained rendition of the national anthem. They should have had fireworks to thwart that; But who knew?

"Miami police Chief John Timoney stood nearby, cracking jokes with a few of his senior officers as Mayor Manny Diaz struggled to be heard over the din (“No Manny, no problem”). 'Art transcends time and ties us together as a human race,' Diaz practically shouted. More booing ensued."

I'd love to know who wrote such poignant prose for Diaz, because I've never heard him utter a complete sentence.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Being from New England--and this goes for America in general--I was always surrounded by works for charity. There were the ubiquitous cake sales (did anyone ever really eat those bunt cakes?), the car washes, the candy selling (a few did fall the the cracks, but I later learned to call that "shrinkage"), and on and on. So, it is only natural that I spurred on the gang for pet benefits, sick draq queen fund-raisers, and our new-found interest: Refugee Young Men. (It may be toungue-in-cheek, but we have to keep busy.) All of these boys have good jobs, and they all came from a terrible situation. Our current charges:
Abbi came to Miami from Lebanon, and I have had to take him from the care of Thomas Barker. Barker holds too many "free drink" tickets to be not only a threat to morality, but a bigger one to my not getting free drinks forever.

Ethan is the serious one from Israel (although you catch a glimpse of an hidden humor when you make a crack that can be taken two ways). He is very, very bright. As Barker told me, "He says he'd rather be here than bulldozing down homes". Wouldn't we all.

And, Jarid has been stopping by for three weeks now and had to be elected, too, as he left New Orleans after Katrina, first for New York, and now to Miami. We gather every Sunday now, some for a while, others for just a "hello". But we feel safe in each others' company even though bad things are happening everywhere.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The King

Before I report on the situation on Lincoln Road and the taking in of new, refugee boys into the group, I have to say a little something about the creature who has meant so much to me as to defy decription and, perhaps, make me absurd. Of course, it is about my beloved KiKi, also know as El Tigre.

My ex was working so, I stopped by with KiKi's casserole of noodles, beef, bacon, peas, cheese, and garlic in a red sauce. He was exicited by my unannounce arrival, but--with Jeremy gone--I can't publish my schedule anymore. The last thing I want is a bomb thrown at my feet with a casserole in my hands. Even though I bought a sweet, carpeted staircase for him to get on the bed, KiKi is hesitant about it's stability. Like minds think the same. I lifted him to his bed and the silk comforter I bought for him recently; he was elated.

And I was, too.

Minnie Comes Home

On "September 28 a little-reported burial took place in St. Petersburg, Russia. It as actually a re-burial of Marie, Empress of Russia, Princess Dagmar of Denmark, the sister of Queen Alexandra of England, but known to most as just "Minnie". After years of discussion and hand-wringing the governments of Denmark and Russia accept her wish to be buried next to her husband, Alexander III in St. Peter and Paul Fortress. Members of both governments military carried her wooden coffin.

Minnie was the very feisty daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark and had brought sparkle into the life of her dour and boring husband, Alexander III of Russia. She survived the tragic early death of Alexander (leaving her with an inexperienced and frightened son, Nicholas), the estrangement from Nicholas when she thought his wife, Alexandra, was not a little crazy (she was actually a neurotic mess), the breaking down of the government from the strain of a war she knew would be their downfall.

With just hours before Bolsheviks stormed her home on the Crimean, Minnie accepted the demand from her sister to board, with her family and friends, the English battleships King George reluctantly dispatched. Hundreds of her family joined her, on the trip to, first, Malta, and then on to England, France, and Denmark. She never accepted the fact of Nicholas' and his childrens' murder, and the story that she interviewed "Anastasia" was just a Hollywood fantasy. Minnie was not easily fooled.

It's about time to take KiKi's Sunday casserole out of the oven and return to making Baby Jane's dress. There is, of course, our 4pm meeting on Lincoln Road; we've taken on a new refugee: and Israeli! How perfect is that; one Lebanese boy, Abbi, and now an Israeli, Ethan. More on them after the meeting.

But I have talked to our main contributors to these events and suggested this breast badge I found in the wedding notion store. I'm thinking of it on a fine forest green, knit shirt (it IS Miami, you know) and our carefully controlling who can wear one and be one of us. It will have to have a catchy name, too. I went out and bought up all the store had; THAT is something I learned a long time ago.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Night I Amost Went Over The Fence

OK, OK, I knew is was Lesbian night last night, but it IS entitled "Pretty Girls who Like Pretty Girls, and their friends". And these girls have some very hot guys who travel with them in a sort of reverse fag hag role. Riley, Scottie, and I were watching the new arrivals when a girl came in with a gorgeous boy. Here I have to confess that I love Latin boys who wax their eyebrows, I don't know why.
As this vision of Latino beauty came in and was greeted by Ditmar's co-host I grabbed my camera and both Riley and I jumped off our seats in pursuit. One skilled back kick and Riley was knocked back to his chair, but by the time I got through the crowd, the co-host had returned to the DJ, and the couple had outflanked me and were in the back; I grabbed the host saying, "I'd love to take a photo of you and your two friends." "They'd love it!" she said and we took off. As I passed Riley and Scottie I shot them a condescending smirk, but they were all smiles and pulled me over. "It's not a boy!" I looked again; sure he was wearing baggy jeans and a baggy shirt. It's a look of many waxed Latin boys.
They were, however, correct and that viscous bitch, Riley, was saying something like, "OH, that would be rich. Imagine you kissing "him", reaching down, and finding....." and they made a gross sign with their hands and cackled like hens. Her name was Imay and only her girlfriend kissed her last night.
It was a fun night for all; those girls do some serious partying, and Svedka vodka sent a blonde bombshell to dispense hundreds of shots.

Ditmar's parents had just arrived from Austria for their usual fall visit and joined right in, as they always do.

Even Papa found a lesbian his size to get down with. Tiffany and Geraldine put on midnight shows and it was another sensational Pretty Girl night.
A pretty boy walked in with his boyfriend, sat next to us and what do you know? Pretty boy, Adam, is from the same small town in Iowa Riley grew up in, went to the same schools, and probably knew the same lesbians. (That's one in front of them. They were everywhere.) Both Riley and I agreed that this pretty boy was for real, given the package in his tight, cotton shorts.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Lady or the Tiger

One of every school child's psycho stories. Funny thing: Even then I knew I didn't want The Lady. Why couldn't it have been The Lady or The Young, Handsome Prince, or even Peasant Boy? My hatred is toward peasant parents, not peasant boys.
A customer sent this ominous photo of me wagging my finger at some poor soul. When I do that, run, because what is about to spew from my mouth could hurt us both.
However, the very same person showed me what was behind the person of scorn and what he would have run into had he fled. That's scary; I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy; it's sort of a black Medusa. Well, maybe I would if it were Jeb Bush. Yes, Jeb running into Tiffany would be just lovely because she could take that fat pig and twist him into a pretzel and them make Katerine Harris eat him with some fresh mustard on top. Thanks, Luis.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sundays on Lincoln Road continued to grow with even the mention of offering controlled seats, food, etc. I poo-pooed such ideas for now, as it is such a great meeting spot for all and why, oh why, would we want to stratify it (at least until we want to).
I charged Riley with writing up the position of our club. He's got nothing to do until the congressional campaign of Jeremy begins, and he set about our noted position to begin the provision of refugee status for uprooted, Lebanese boys.

Our first boy--pictured with Jere-- is now here. His name is Abbi (short for Habbibi) and his parents sent him first to London and then to us (well, I mean Florida). He's from the Christian part of that poor, torn country and has found his way into the right hands. Thomas Barker has been put in charge of his care. Just don't think we are a bunch of aimless socialites.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

It was a little fun to go downtown Saturday, despite my well-know dislike of the mainland and the sludge that makes up its citizenry. I knew that Rosa Fabrics would have the material for Baby Jane's dress and they did: pale lavender satin with light stripes. Simply gorgeous, and I bought a lot of lace and satin ribbons. Oddly, Rosa doesn't sell notions, but they kindly directed me to a store around the corner that had a Spanish name so long I'd never remember it; naturally I was the only customer or employee speaking English (but this is so normal I don't think about it anymore).

This store was not any old notion store, it was a wedding notion store that spanned half a block, a sort of Walmart of buttons and bows. "No wonder everyone is so animated," I thought. "They're getting married." Every bead, every yard of satin or lace, ANYTHING needed for a wedding was here along with a dizzying array of hats and hat forms.

There was so much of everything gaudy, and I couldn't help fingering the fringe or gliding my hand across a brocade. A couple of grandmotherly types eyed me with suspicion behind the counter so I raised my nose in the air and said, "How do you do, today?" Now they knew: GRINGO FAG and hastened back to work, which consisted mainly of speaking Spanish to each other; no work, really.

By this time I'm thinking of a new gimmick for Sunday: a wide-brimmed hat to which I would add a veil. As someone of note or beauty walked by I would lift my veil and beckon them over in my best Catherine Deneurve nod of the head. For all others, there would be no invitation, no recognition. THEN...as if to jolt me from the fabrications that usual make up my mind...

I turned a corner and found an entire wall with every possible color evening length glove. My heart skipped, and the possibilities opening before me were making my mind spin. There were short gloves too, men's and women's. I knew I had to get out fast before that thing happens that makes me buy lots of stuff I really didn't need. But all those gloves.....

Walking out I saw one of those pieces of Miami architecture that dot the downtown and defy description. This was a Catholic church and I actually walked up a few stairs to determine that. Like other buildings in the area, it would have been built in the early 1900's when there was no style defining the young city apart from what the color pink could do; I kept trying to figure out just what style it was when a shabbily dressed man came to the door. He didn't say anything to me, and I certainly refrained from a "How do you do, today" also. (I couldn't tell if he was a local bum seeking relief from the heat or a down-and-out priest.) Downtown is strange. And, anyway, I had already found a piece of heaven a few minutes earlier and I had a dress to make.

Thanks, Countess Bedelia for your help in this mess.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Everyone gets to the point of saturation and so it is with the scandals of late; as much fun as it is, it inevitably becomes too much. So, I ran. Most often I run to The Alexander Palace, sometimes to the John Singer Sargent Gallery. Last night I ran to The Imperial Reichs College of Princes and Counts of The Holy Roman Empire.

It's not the most romantic retreat to find solace in, but it is a fascinating look at one of the oldest institutions in Europe revived in recent years. (I have always had anachronistic tendencies, but don't tell my pages.)

While dilly-dallying on the site, I noticed the name of Prince Albert von Thurn und Taxis under "HEREDITARY POST MASTER GENERAL OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE" and remembered he was listed as the youngest billionaire on Forbes list. Then my mind let out one of those sighs of the past and I thought of his mother, Gloria.

Gloria had married Prince Johannes von Thurn und Taxis, a rather scandalous aristocrat 34 year older, but Gloria stole the show. After producing two daughters and finally an heir, Gloria dazzled the New York of the Go-Go Eighties. She came from a noble, but impoverished, family in Germany which had lost everything to the Soviets (her mother was a Szechenyi, the same Magyar noble family Gladys Vanderbilt married into). The NY press dubbed her "The Punk Princess", but we knew her as "Gloria TNT" because John Fairchild and Diana Vreeland said so, and we believed EVERYTHING they said, then. ("W" reported Gloria once interrupted her husband when a toast he was making dissolved into incoherent rambling with, "And, please thank my husband for his Post Modern toast.") We loved her.

Prince Johannes died in 1991 when Albert was just 8, and the prevailing thought was that she would squander the family fortune. It was a fortune begun in the 15th Century in the form of a postal service. It was so efficient and effective that rulers over the centuries realized it's value and awarded title after title until the von Thurn und Taxis were, indeed, HEREDITARY POST MASTERS GENERAL OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE. Times and wars came and went, but the mail had to get through and the family diversified enough to weather all. They acquired vast tracts of land, mountains, and forests in Germany.

Johannes had not taken the effort to shield his son's inheritance from German inheritance taxes and a huge debt of 350 million dollars was due. Gloria (TNT) took over, fired her husband's financial team, and cleaned her attic. This was the attic of a 500 room castle and she sold thousands of family heirlooms, particularly the silver, to pay off the debt. When asked why and how she could do such a thing, Gloria replied, "Albert can always go out and buy a silver soup tureen. He can't go out and buy a forest." Today, she is credited with saving the fortune and, according to Business Week, that 2 billion dollar trust returns a healthy 10% per year. She still lives with her three children in that 500-room castle, although they have many other homes around the world. Still under fifty, she leads a rather sedate, aristocratic life, no longer a "Punk"; but I would bet she still is dynamite.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Miami Third Grade Reader, often in low circles call The Herald, is going through a bizarre shake-up. To me it's bizarre because it pits Cuban against Cuban and there just isn't anything a viscous as that.

While trumpeting all that is right and sitting on stories like the Foley saga until every news organization in the nation out-flanked them in their own back yard, the leadership of this noble institution of inane information came crumbling down this week. All over such a small point of order.

Publisher Jesus Diaz actually thought that his reporters found to be taking money from the Bush administration to write for Cuban radio stations advocating the overthrow of Castro were somewhat in conflict of interest. In the interest of decent standards not often seen in a rabid atmosphere that exists here, he fired them and started a fire storm. The population controlling this town stormed The Herald demanding that "democracy", as they see it, was more important than tainted ties to government-sponsored propaganda. Diaz resigned rather than see his offices sacked.

He had only been in charge since 2005, so no one can possibly imagine improvements he might have made. But, all for the good of the community. We can get back to the alligator attacks, the school bus crashes, and--of course--a one sided editorial view that is, well, right.

And, here's another story they've been sitting on: In addition to admitting that he is an alcoholic and that he was molested by priests (God, I wish I had been brought up Catholic; I never had any action before 18), Foley supposedly admits to having been captured by aliens and probed anally.

You heard it here first.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Blanche: "Jane, I need to tell you something."
Jane: "Oh, please; not now."
Blanche: "Yes, now. Jane, those emails to the 16-year-old page. You didn't send them like they say. I sent them because you were so mean and so drunk."
Jane: "You mean I gave up my Floridian congressional seat for nothing?"
Blanche: "It's OK, Jane. Go check yourself into rehab, admit you are an alcoholic and they will let you go with a slap on the wrist."
Jane: "Really, Blanche; do you think so?"
Blanche: " Yes, Jane; it doesn't work for the little people, but it does for Republican lawmakers."
Jane: "But, then, shouldn't the entire Bush administration check themselves in also? I mean, they've done so many worse things. I'm so confused."
Blanche: "Jane, I'm dying. Please don't vote Republican this year."
Jane: "I know; I'll get us some ice cream. You always liked ice cream."

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Florida Republican Representative, Mark Foley, is up to his neck to doo-doo. His sensational Instant Messages to a 16-year-old page requesting details of masturbatory techniques not only prompted his immediate resignation from The House, but has put the Republican leaders on a slash-and-burn defensive. Seems too many knew too much too early to escape this debacle. And so refreshing just five weeks away from the election.

Republican leaders announced today that "they are creating a toll-free hot line for pages". How noble. I was once cited by the Pool Boy Brotherhood for appearing at mid-day in this outfit. The marked distinction here is that it was certainly wrong for mid-day, but my watch was off (and that is what the official transcript reveals.) Foley's time is up and he has vacated yet one more seat in The Opera House of Representative.

Black; can you ever really go wrong with it, even in the tropics? Not as long as you let simplicity be your guide and follow the long-standing rule in Miami: Less is Best.

I was surprised last night when Thomas asked, "Are we going to meet at our table tomorrow?" "Absolutely! We are at war and have something good going there," I replied, "and next week I'm taking it one step further and sending out invitations." "Goodie," Thomas squealed. "I'll promote it."

Miami is burning with a nasty War of The Gossip Writers raging. It all started with The Dirt Miami pointing fingers, naming names, uncovering past drug arrests, and all sorts of other mouth-watering stuff. The other columnists cried "FOUL" with The Dirt being anonymously written, spent a lot of energy trying to track them down and--when they couldn't--did what came naturally: turned on each other.

The New Times' columnist aptly named The Bitch (Jean Carey) came out swinging this week with word that The Herald's gossip queen, Lesley Abravanel, couldn't possibly have been at a party she wrote about as she was slogging down champagne in Palm Beach (or something similarly vapid). While the Big Guns are blasting, the little guys will seek cover at our table today and dwell on who is doing what to whom and why no one knows who's behind The Dirt. I have had a very tasteful bullet-proof shawl made for the afternoon; it floats, too, so if worse comes to worse our table can ride it to the comparative safety of Key Biscayne.