"the" Mrs. Astor

Sunday, September 28, 2008

In The Presence of The Queen

What can I say? When you are summoned by The Queen of South Beach to be her escorts for a night on the town, you 1. Can not say no or it is off with your social head. 2. Better prepare yourselves for an evening that will hold many, many surprises. and 3. Know that this will be an evening a great, great enjoyment; something you can tell your grandchildren about.
Soul mates in fashion: my husband and the fabulous Henrietta. (A tip to the wise: the new rage coming out of Chanel and other top houses is fitted, cowboy shirts adorned with stones and beads. Get to the nearest tack shop and get a few; take them to that one, special friend who owns a Bedazzler and go to town.)

Before we left for Twist, Henrietta took out a compact which lit up when opened. Noticing my glee, she said, "Oh, yeah; I do everything the right way." Indeed.

Gabriel and his friend (both about 5' 5") were so adorable you just wanted to carry one on each shoulder. Leopoldo dubbed them the "Latino Bookends".

It did not take long for the crowd to succumb to the more sensual aspects of the night. I watched this couple closely before speaking to them; they represented something that has always garnered much of my imagination at Twist: the outwardly straight couple enthusiastically enjoying male strippers. This social entity starts out with the female totally getting into the crowd and the dancers, drinking wildly and kissing anyone who has a pulse. The male stands by, nervously observing everything passing by and equally nervously saying "hello" when you introduce yourself (his not knowing you have been watching). While his girlfriend is gyrating, the boy loosens up a bit as you engage him in banal, non-threatening conversation. And--as if some cosmic key unlocks his inner feelings--the right stripper gets up and they both start to paw at him like a hungry cat at a fresh mouse. I love this stuff.

Valentino, the general manager of Twist, surprised us by being there so late (I don't know how he does it--all day, all night). An ardent Henrietta fan, you can see the glee and admiration on their faces.

Everything considered, a wondrous Twist night.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Last night Dr. Brad invited us to celebrate Dr. George's birthday with dinner and a movie, with a twist. He drove us out to the immense Dolphin Mall located by the Everglades; normally I would be squeamish at driving so far onto the mainland, but I had had enough CNN to kill a normal person. It was literally "dinner and a movie" at CineBistro, a unique theater with comfortable chairs and swivel trays which allow you to eat and drink with full service during the movie. Oddly, all the movement didn't distract from the movie as much as we imagined it would and we enjoyed Righteous Kill (knowing full well that there were two doctors in the house should I have a panic attack). We didn't get to see much of the Mall, but it was obvious that it was a center of entertainment for those who actually live that far out; it's a whole different world. Only mistake: switching from my usual drink, Stoli. There is a reason, I believe, why people have a favorite drink and that revolves around the body being used to it to a point that it is tolerated. I can drink ten blueberry Stolis, get buzzed, and feel no pain the next day; switching to rum and coke and then taking an offered final toast of Kahlua swung my sugar level into a tailspin because I awoke feeling like a tank had rolled over me. Lesson learned, and happy birthday to George.

Now we rest, for tonight we accepted an invitation to join the fabulous Henrietta in a night on the town. Look out.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I read once that Lyndon Johnson used to extract a bi-partisan agreement by locking the elected officials in a meeting room and not letting anyone out to go to the toilet until a decision was made. I assume he provided them with lots of drinking water (and maybe laxative-laden brownies). My solution is a bit old fashioned: I'd surround the Capitol and White House with troops and shoot anyone who tries to leave--and then burn them down.

Sarah Silverman has come up with her plan: The Great Schlepp and it's got a point. I'd just ask all those traveling down to strong arm the grannies in Boca to hop on down to South Beach and pump some money into the economy here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Often you are viewed as more of a threat when you lay low, hence the following cable from Mamie today: " The whole town gets nervous when you're so quiet...what's up? Are you getting a battalion armed and motivated for a full on frontal assault?MSF"

No, but last week did see us particularly on the move because of Mr. Astor's vacation. I've just returned to trimming flowers and planning dinners; I've even ironed a sizable number of my dinner napkins. We did, however, spend some time in Miami yesterday; I completed some business matters, we visited our favorite watch repairman, and then went on a tour of Brickell Avenue. So much has changed there with the never-ending building binge. One of the most important aspects of Brickell is international banking, especially South American. Perhaps the only bank branch we couldn't find was Bolivia, but it was more than made up by another. When I asked what the translation to one glitzy, glass monstrosity, Leopoldo gasped and said it translated to The Bank of The Holy Ghost. (Perhaps your money would be safe in that one; God certainly must be on the Board of Directors there.) I came away wondering how many of these banks would be here a year, or even month, from now.

So, no Mamie, there are no plans to assault your great position; we will let you know when to put on your bullet-proof girdle. We do have to all get together soon because the flow of gossip has continued and new souls have been washed away in the deluge.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My congratulatory call to Riley for being admitted to the Florida Bar came while Leopoldo and I were shopping for an appropriately sized ring for our date with Henrietta on Saturday night. It was a difficult call, for the salesperson and Leopoldo were both showing me items they admired and I had to comment and gush at the same time; oh, well, it wasn't the first time. Now Riley can advise us all and actually charge for it (not, of course, for those of us who were by his side from the very beginning--or the beginning as we imagine it). We couldn't settle on a ring because we were not sure of her size (although Connie Chung texted "extra large").

In the meantime, I texted Captain Jeremy to return home immediately to battle against this Sarah Palin creature. This nightmare has made dinosaurs so much closer than we ever thought. The only comparisons can be of Spiro Agnew, which was basically a threat that "If you think I am bad, look at what you can get." A heartbeat (or a well-placed satin pillow away) is just too juicy to think about.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

We ended Leopoldo's vacation week with a splash (he is such a sweetie-pie): Carl from The Wire magazine stopped by to visit us at Twist and we came up with the bright idea of going to The Palace and seeing Geraldine's show. I thought it was going to be nostalgic to see the show again on a brilliant afternoon, but there was something missing. There was no magic, no hype, no frantic energy like there used to be; we used to be constantly worried about crowd control, but--sadly--there certainly was no reason for that yesterday. It's hard to figure out what has changed and where the familiar faces went to. Even the famous Hofer painting of the place was gone. It is as everyone has commented, a different place and what we had has passed into the memory bin. Indeed, something has happened to South Beach itself; every day seems to find another store or restaurant closed. City Hall is so top heavy in debt and bloated salaries that the talk around here is that one, bad winter season could make the house of cards collapse (much the way the nation is going). It's an edgy town. Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish says the only thing we can count on is Happy Hour at Twist.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Countess Kleinmichel, Memories of a Shipwrecked World

Another book I came across is The Countess Kleinmichel's, Memories of a Shipwreck World. I don't know if I will sell this one (I'll buy it myself for KiKi's operation.)
I have always liked this fireplace when entering a summer home; I will never forget it.
In my librarian inventory of books, I came across one of my favorites: Memories of a Shipwrecked World, by Countess Kleinmichel from 1922. She was from an ancient, noble family of immerse wealth, and really had "seen it all". Olga Woronoff--who wrote the famous "Upheaval"-- came from that family. The Countess Kleinmichel was a gossipy, mischievous member of what I call The Outer Court: they weren't close to Nicholas II, but existed in the world of gossip and intrigue that contributed to it's downfall. This was her summer villa on an island outside of St. Petersburg; it has been restored now.

The Countess Kleinmichel detailed how her St. Petersburg mansion was threatened by the Bolsheviks. During a dinner party in the final hours of Imperial Russia, her event was disturbed by the noise of the mansion across the street being looted by "the mob". They soon entered her front door, to which a gallant--and old--member of society drew his sword and exclaimed he would meet them on. The wise countess grabbed his arm and said, "How noble, but let's go out the back door." While the mansions of her peers were being sacked, Countess Kleinmichel posted a hand-made sign on hers that read, "This is the property if the St. Petersburg Soviet; The Countess has been arrested." Meanwhile she gathered her jewels and portable wealth. She was rounded up with most of the Tsarist and Provisional Government ministers in the fortress of St. Peter and Paul, but even the Bolsheviks couldn't find a reason to keep a gossipy septuagenarian locked up. She took every thing she could and escaped to Finland, like so many others.
There aren't many recollections like this.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We went to visit KiKi and Lucy yesterday; when I look at KiKi, I see and understand why I hate--totally hate--Sarah Palin. Apart from every thought one might have of her shady life and work, she refuses to protect the ploar bar, and KiKi is my polar bear. A great friend of Mr. Astor (and I mean GREAT), leads the mission to protect polar bears; in fact, she influenced her husband to use his major holding in Coco Cola to make the polar bear a mascot. If you don't like polar bears, you are not liked by us.
Maybe they didn't think I was watching; maybe they thought I was distracted by a cute Latino kissing a poodle across the street. But, I caught KiKi and Leopoldo kissing again.

KiKI--always following the advice of Greta Garbo and wanting to be left alone--tried to escaped the glare of the photographers with shades.

When I left, I waved good-bye and said as much; KiKi gave me that same glance he always has when I leave: "How could you?" It is always so painful...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Good Lord; Viva Mexico! After a wonderful late afternoon lunch with Pimpernel, and then Tommy Decker, we napped for a few hours. I had to jump up and down on the bed to awake Mr. Astor to go to Latino Night at Score (which he suggested, and when you suggest something to me--like invading Poland, or something--it doesn't get lost). I had to resort to "doing a KiKi: I bit his toes to wake him up". (You do what you have to do in this life.) We arrived just in time to witness the riveting performance of Mexican novella star, Lucia Mendez; the crowd was frenzied. I like frenzied, Latino crowds; we even saw the the South Beach version of Lida and Melina from Mad TV. The place was ablaze with Latino firewood; there wouldn't have been enough Californian fire fighters to put this one out, and I was happy to have the hem of my skirt singed. I'm going to calm down now--if I can. The Mexican Spitfire to my right is ablaze.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Guns and Butter

The main thing I don't understand about the explanation of the current economic meltdown is why the fundamentals of economics are ignored. There is a maniacal aberration, a heresy of thought, in the government of the Republicans; you do not spend more than you earn for more than a limited, planned time. In addition, if you are the guardians of the religion of Capitalism, how on earth to you justify the bailout of private companies with public money; if you have awarded your executives with millions of dollars with shady books, you should be hung by your stockholders. One thing I most remember is my study of economics--and because I remember the years of Johnson and Nixon--is that you can not have guns AND butter. Call me old fashioned, but you do not wage two wars and give tax rebates; it would be better to bring back gladiator battles in our near-empty stadiums and pass out some cake on the way out. Of course, you do it because you are in it for only the short term; your sycophants, who have raided the treasury, will protect you when you retire to your ranch, or yacht, or bunker.

Guns and butter never works. Buns and butter are a lot better and Happy Hour will be better than ever. We are already planning out outfits for the White Party at Vizcaya in late November as the escorts of The Queen of South Beach, Henrietta; sadly, we have had to forego the limo rental at $1,000. It's like the beginning of the end. There shouldn't be a revolt; there should be a revolution.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What is all this negative hype about the new version of The Women? A distinguished panel of Court members viewed it today and all (and that is remarkable in itself) of these society ladies enjoyed it. Sure it is updated and different, but thoroughly amusing; you can never improve upon a masterpiece, but you can honor it. And, it did.

How can you improve on--even imitate--the original, The Women? I don't have a good feeling about the remake, but Mr. Astor wants to see it today, and I am a slave to love. I can never say "no" to him. There are other "No's" that can be said like, "Oh, no! You didn't." like when we scare each other with little tricks like hiding the stuffed rat somewhere. There's also, "No, no, no." as when he says I mustn't wear a short sleeved shirt after 4 PM. And, there is "Hell, no" like when I'm asked if I invited a totally inappropriate person to Court functions. But--as he says--"Never say No to a lover".

So, off we go today to see a remake that I am so skeptical about I could scream. Do they really think there is another Silvia Fowler, or Countess de Lava (I don't even know if that character is in it). I could scream, but can't say "No".

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In going through my immense book collection, I came across a book entitled, Michael and Natasha, The Life And Love of Michael II the Last Of The Romanov Tsars.

This is one of the most tragic love stories I have ever come across (and I've come across many). Michael was the younger brother of Tsar Nicholas II. He never really liked the formality of the life he was fed and fell in love with a devastatingly beautiful commoner, named Natalie Wufert. Their affair was a huge thorn in the side of the monarchy, and especially of the Tsar's wife, the hyper Alexandra; their every move was followed by the dreaded secret police, The Ohkrana. One day they set out on a drive and drove all the way to the south of France, escaping the police, and married. The scandal that created was immense, and the couple settled into a gloriously happy life on an estate in England. The start of WWI brought Michael, now the father of a son, back to Russia where he was the famously successful general of The Savage Division that tore apart the mountains of Carpathia. Natasha remained in a distant country villa with her son, occasionally visited by Michael, but mostly reviled by the official Court. Other, outside, members sort her limited favor, but she was happy being the mother of her son, George.

Suddenly, in the chaos of revolution, Nicholas II abdicated and did so for his son, too, in favor of his brother. Michael became Michael II, but only for little over a day; by that time Romanovs were being rounded up and he wisely abdicated in favor of the Provisional Government. It was not long before he was sent off to Perm in Siberia with guarantee of safety and then executed by the Bolsheviks. Natasha found safety with the Germans who recognized the fact that her son, George, represented the actual blood line to the Romanov dynasty. She eventually reconciled with Nicholas's mother, The Dowager Empress Marie in Denmark, because George looked so like his father. Marie's final days were graced by a beautiful boy that brought back memories of the past. Unfortunately, George died in a car accident at the age of 21 in 1931, leaving Natasha alone, again.

Natasha died in a charity hospital in Paris in 1952. Her official title was Princess Brassova, but no one paid attention to cast-out Russian titles. She died poor and forgotten, but according to those with her in the end, was proud that she was--in history--the wife of the last Tsar of Russia. Theirs is the most sad romance I ever read.

Friends and Happy Hour

It was a happy bunch that showed up at Twist early last night. In many ways it rang of the good old days, but for some reason everyone thinks I am in the know about the tragic scandal being played out here. Why, Mamie and I am but simple box seat holders in the melodramas of small towns like this. What we are really good at is socializing with out good friends, and here are some:
Phillip had one of the most lovely compliments to Mr. Astor last night. He said, "You, two, have a great reputation in this town as a powerful couple. It is going to get bigger."
And, dear Mark 2--infamous for his late roasts at The Baroness's.

Thomas Barker--infamous for his late toasts--with Perry and Carlito.

Le Compte LaMot, Sean, and DJ Leo.
We ended our evening hanging out with Miss Vickie and her friend, Penny. Miss Vickie is a tireless leader in the fight for transgender rights in Broward county and wanted Penny to see our group of loyal friends. I promised to try to return the visit next week when Mr. Astor has another vacation.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I am convinced that Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish is out to damage my good and honorable name with a series of scurrilous things like this (which she is circulating around). Although I've always been suspect of her good taste, something like this can't go unanswered. This isn't going to Europe in the thirties where I give her the Sudetenland and hope she is appeased, because--darling--it would take much more than a slab of Czech meat to satisfy her appetite for grandness.

We've armed the guards of the estate with moose rifles (so very popular now), in case she makes one of her charges, and we are convening Court tonight to deal with her. Even The Baroness woke up feisty today, challenging me to a jewel-off. Well, my husband's been shopping, and she has a surprise waiting for her.
You can't let your guard down for a minute in this treacherous town.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I am terribly distressed by reported stroke suffered by Kim Jong Il. The dear leader's birth was foretold by a swallow and heralded by a double rainbow and even a new star. Now that's making an entrance with pizazz. And, pizazz he had; they aren't many flashy dictators left to amuse us. I cried for days when Idi Amin DaDa lost power; that great legend had actually convinced himself that Uganda was an imperial power. Much in the same way, Kim Jong Il actually convinced himself he was tall with elevator shoes and a pompadour hair job that would have rivaled the best Elvis had to offer. His flare was well-shown when he ordered the kidnapping of a popular composer and his wife in order to get better party songs (and I don't mean "party" like "the life of", although I'm sure he was convinced of that, too). When he liked a pretty singer in another country, he just had her snatched from the streets; Madonna was very lucky he didn't like "Vogue" the way we did. In his rarified world, famine in the countryside took a back seat to his movie collection. They just don't make them like that anymore.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Good Lord Almighty! I can't believe Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish actually sent this to me. Leave it to her to try and deflect attention away from her great self! I can't believe it; a Baptist church quoting me without my approval. I have never set foot in a Baptist church; I need gold leaf around me when I pray. That's why I pray at home.


I just don't know what to do with Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish anymore now that her handlers have walked off the job and she is free to roam the streets. She actually had the nerve to call my humble, little blog "Tragic and Trashy" and then proceeded to do something like this...and on The Lord's day itself. If I may say so, she put the "Trash" in "Trashy", the "ink" in "Pink", and the "mag" in "magma".
One would think that a woman of her social magnitude would have one shy bone in her body, but don't bother looking for it.

She's off on a vacation to Wahington D.C. Now, I'm not one to spread rumor, but get out the bread cuz' I have the butter knife. I hear she is actually going to a detox clinic in--hold on to your bonnets--West Virginia! The poor thing.
In the real world, would someone please tell these candidates that "lipstick on a pig" is not any more important than "...if it walks like a duck..."? Now, get this straight: There are two wars going on, we are in the poorhouse, banks are failing left and right, there is about as much confidance in the government to fill a thimble, and I personally think the only way out is to bayonnet every other politician until they get the point.
Also, I am frantic about the fate of Kim Jong Il; he's been missing and all my money is tied up in Korean-made platform shoes.
And, listen all you busy-bodies here in town; I am not going in to save anyone. If The Titanic is going down I'm not wasting a perfectly pressed dress to try entry on a crowded lifeboat. Oh, yes...don't call me; I'll call you.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

With the hurricane steering south, Hurricane Headquarters at Twist became even more important. Where were you to release all that tension.
Under the guise of looking at Mr. Astor's new D-Squared belt, Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish decided to go for the gold. Really, a woman of her magnificence, a woman of her sizable presence, should be a bit more becoming. Well, I mean not becoming a monster.
Mamie did so try to put on a good face and act like the beacon of society she always has been, but--really--look at that face. There is nothing good about that.

There were some decent, titled members of society there, although...

There must have been a thoroughly good reason why I decided to strangle The Baroness against the Audubon print, but it escapes me...as did she.

Queens in a storm. God only knows what it would have been like to hunker down with them.

Yes, I am back to chronicling the trash of South Beach; here is a quite respectable member of society (although, that is a title probably no one has directed to her before) trying to tie herself to a tree in anticipation of a storm not coming. What can I say? I'm here just to record all of this.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Update 3

The stores were very busy today, but commerce other than that ceased. Everyone I knew opted to stay home and plan, but the new projected path--putting Ike to the south--will have a releasing effect. If I know this town (and I do), the hurricane parties will still take full stage, front and center; there's just no imminent danger now. Of course, I have stayed up this late--after the 5 AM text from The Baroness that started my day of hysteria--to monitor everything. I carried out half of those bloody, out-dated, heavy, steel hurricane shutters just in case they are needed. Whatever happens, though, I will not let down my self-appointed office of Hurricane Happy Hour Preparedness Potentate at Twist for the next two days. It's more than about me.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Update 2

There is no sense of doom or even panic; the sense of this town is of urgency. If you wait until Monday and it is not good, you are doomed; if you do it now with sense and intelligence, you are ahead. What will happen? Who knows? It looks like The Keys will take the brunt with an immensely nasty early week for us, but no disaster. What everyone has to remember is that I will be in charge of Civil Defense monitored every late afternoon from the Happy Hour at Twist. I've received many calls today: "What are you going to do?" is the main question. The answer is "What do you expect me to do, leave?" No one leaves anymore, you just prepare. And, "leave" to what? The best place would be the house of a friend or relative, but a public shelter is just a joke. I'd rather cling to the roof than a baloney sandwich in an Opa Locka high school. No, Mr. Astor is off these next two days and we will finalize our plans; whatever they are, I expect most intelligent beings to follow.


The baroness's carriage picked me up at 8.30; surely, four days before possible landfall made us the smart ones. First bad sign: the garage at Publix was nearly full; we were not the only smart ones. Water--something I don't buy because of our filter system--was disappearing as fast as large trolleys of it were being restocked. I loaded up on my baby's favorite sodas, another thing I don't personally consume (but baby has to be kept happy) and basically just filled up the cart with things we would use anyway. It was an impatient crowd of nasty Jewish women (loading up on fresh baked products like they will last for a week)and foolish Cuban housewives (thinking ten boxes of Pampers would get them through); it was WAY too early for the gays to be going hysterical. I'll make some signature salads and bake off everything in the freezer, but there is not much else you can or should do. Thomas Barker sent a message that he had just returned from the panhandle where he had the joy of experiencing Gustav in order to now prepare for Ike; "I'm over this already" read his text. Mamie called that she was also flying in from a resort on the panhandle and that she would immediately go to the liquor store (she said something about an "eight ball" party and I couldn't understand why she would be thinking of sports at a time like this). After calling my new handyman, Mike, to help me here, it looks like things will be as secure as they can be. Everyone agreed on one thing: Twist Happy Hour will be our emergency command center through the weekend; I think I have a Civil Defense bonnet somewhere from Le Salon du Barry. Now it's off to Ace Hardware and the dollar store; I'm going in Cuban housewife drag to get preferential treatment.

The Western Atlantic in September; what can you say. It gnaws at the nerves like a rat on your nylons this month. I just awoke to a frantic call from Baroness Seitzinger (she follows these things like an old lady without a purchased title). The good news: she has shutters, a generator, and libations to take on about half a dozen people; the bad news: we are not about to leave the property unprotected and I have to know KiKi is going to be safe.

Most modern homes have natural gas generators now; they provide a needed power for a major breakdown in the power system and actually boost the value of a home ten fold to their price. We've never gotten that and--although I doubt anything but a category five--could take us down, the prospect of no electricity again is harrowing. We may just take The Baroness's offer this time. I'll bring some bedding, some clothes, my valued book collection, the gold coins, and a good bottle collection (that will be one filled). But we won't go without securing everything here AND making sure KiKi is save. He used to be a backstroke champion in the Olympics, but--like all of us--has fallen out of shape. All this is coming Tuesday so I truly anticipate a weekend of hysteria. That is the best type of weekend that takes place here.

More to follow.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Late yesterday (after the brutal sun had receeded a bit), we biked down to see KiKi and Lucy. Leopoldo keeps urging me to see KiKi as much as possible these days, and KiKi adores Leo; my little tiger (El Tigre to us) showers kisses on my big tiger.
KiKi trotted out to greet us (and the box of treats he spotted in Leo's hands) on his little, bowed feet.
Lucy--as fat as ever--bounced around looking for a few treats, too. I love these dogs.

KiKi seemed a little reserved (and if you knew this dog--whose motto was always "No toe shall go unbitten"--, you'd know how unusual that is). Still, there is confidence that we will be celebrating his eighteenth birthday this December

We made the obligatory stop at Twist to bid farewell to our friends, Allan and Darren. Living on a resort island makes you used to saying "good bye", but it's still sad. Allan and Darren's stay seemed way too short, but they promised to return from Newport in October.

A lap dance from Adelino put a smile on Darren's face.

Trouble flared up when Puscilla, out of drag, showed up and immediately started flirting with Mr. Astor. I can never let my guard down on this island; Leopoldo is a chick magnet. I let Puscilla gush and swoon and heap compliment after compliment until...

...I could take no more and grabbed my poison-tipped parasol to do her in; but the wily queen took off on her bike. Never leave the Derringer at home. Next time...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

There is more than Edison's bowling alley in play today; it is the great September Atlantic Bowling League and it causes more sleepless nights than any other month. We took stock of the hurricane shutters and any loose items around the property on Leopoldo's last day off today. Other than that all you can do is hope and reserve a seat at happy hour.

Monday, September 01, 2008

It was not like other Labor Day weekends; there were no cookouts, pool parties, or last minute fashion shows of white shoes. The weather was dreadful and the tourists seemed to have left early; my big worry is what replaces them in the coming months. Drinking--the official sport of South Beach--did, however, go on unabated; I never understood why the Olympic committee didn't enter it into competition. It is a dangerous sport which takes maximum strength of will and body to compete in. While decent and worldly competitors in the sport of drinking publicly acknowledge that it begins every day at 4 PM, insiders know it that the real players start at 1. Those of us who are those players arrive heavily veiled; as the afternoon goes on, layers come off. Here, Mr. Astor polishes off a bottle of bubbly that none other than that society magnificence, Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish, dropped off to us (there were five other bottles rolling around on the floor of her carriage that day). Now, all eyes will be on "season" and if it really does happen this year; there are no guarantees in this Bush-riddled economy. We have great hopes, but--whatever happens--there will be Happy Hour.