When Harry Met Oprah

These days, it’s much easier to bury Caesar than to praise him, and even though I like to think I’m a better person than that – I’m not.  Given the opportunity, I’m right in there, shovelling the dirt with everybody else.  So it was with a little bit too much glee that I noticed there’s going to be A Royal Event on March 7th.  Buckle up, boys and girls, because the Queen of Jell-o Journalism, Oprah Winfrey, has granted an audience to the Queen of Southern California, Meghan Markle.  Not since Henry VIII of England met Francis I of France on the Field of The Cloth of Gold in June 1520 has there been this much Royal star power in one place at one time.  In fact, there’s a danger that the San Andreas Fault may buckle under the weight of their combined egos.  But, what an occasion!  In a more civilized time, there’d be jousting and jugglers, puppet shows and magicians, minstrels and at least a dozen suckling pigs.  Unfortunately, the 21st century is a dark, joyless age, so, we’ll have to settle for two women talking (more about that later.)  However, I do not exaggerate when I speculate that over a billion people will tune into this regal — uh – conversation.

Wow!  This is a match made in celebrity heaven.  Meghan Markle, former suitcase girl on Howie Mandel’s Deal or No Deal, gets to sit on the same sofa that Tom Cruise bounced up and down on.  And even though, before May 19, 2018 Winfrey wouldn’t have given Markle, the second banana on a 3rd rate TV show, the time of day (never mind a spot on the vaunted Oprah sofa) Meghan’s the one who’s going to help Ms. Winfrey kick that little upstart Ellen off the top of the TV ratings pyramid.

Of course, the actual television show won’t be anything special.  The two women will trot out the usual suspects — how difficult it is to be filthy rich, how the media (present company excluded) are a bunch of dicks, how the Royal Family were unreasonable and why — as a mother — Markle just wants to give her children a normal life.  (On that last point, when you can rent Disneyland for your kid’s birthday party, that “normal” ship has kinda sailed.)  Anyway, Winfrey will call Markle “brave” a couple of times, she’ll share a cute anecdote from the wedding and maybe squeeze out a tear or two.  Then, they’ll take a break … “And when we come back, Prince Harry will join the conversation.”  WHAT?  That’s right!  For the first half of the program, Harry isn’t even going to be there!  He’s going to be cooling his heels, nice boy, in the Green Room.  Frankly, I’m not surprised.  After all, it would be totally out of character for Meghan Markle to share the spotlight of her magical moment on Oprah with anybody else – including the guy who got her there.

In the end, they’ll all agree that, despite the horribly hard row Mr. And Mrs. Mountbatten-Windsor have had to hoe, they are just an ordinary couple who want to shun the public eye (Yeah!  That’s why you’re on Oprah!) and have a normal life.  Oprah will give everybody in the studio audience a diamond tiara.  “You get a tiara!  You get a tiara!  You get a tiara!  Everybody gets a tiara!”  Both brands, Harpo and Archewell, will get a kick up the Social Media ladder; both PR entourages will do some high fives; and everyone will go home happy with a job well done.   

Meanwhile, however, in a dark corner of the cutthroat world of Daytime TV, Ellen, the nastiest sycophant on the planet, will be beating the bejesus out of her producers, screaming “What the hell am I paying you for?  Those two cash cows should have been mine!”

Just For Laughs

Just when I thought our winter of discontent was going to stick to the well-trudged paths of Doom Scrolling and Ain’t It Awful, our old friend Reality stuck its hilarious little head up out of the ditch and starting cracking jokes.  Have you heard the one about Lulu the dog who inherited 5 million dollars?  She’s currently chasing a yellow Lamborghini expressly bought for her enjoyment.  (I made up the Lamborghini part, but somebody actually did give their dog 5 million bucks.)  Or, how about the guy from Florida who turned his uncle’s skeleton into an electric guitar.  (Totally icky, but totally true.  God, we’re an idly rich society!)  Anyway, here are a couple more laughables that might brighten your winter afternoon.

On Valentine’s Day, Gwyneth Paltrow’s pseudo wellness/awareness corporation, Goop, introduction a new vibrator.  According to the website, the good people at Goop have “tested a lot of vibrators over the years” before they finally came up with this double-ended PPD (personal pleasure device.)  Okay, full disclosure: I don’t know very much about vibrators, but I do know a thing or two about testing, so I’m interested in knowing how the Goop folks conducted theirs.  For example, there’s a machine at Toyota Quality Control that slams a car door 50,000 times to find out exactly how long it takes for the latch to finally break and fall off.  Is that the kind of test Goop did?  Or, in the aviation industry, before they ever put an airplane in the air, they put it in a wind tunnel to see how much force it takes to blow its wings off.  Did Goop do something like that?  And speaking of aviation, it takes hours and hours of study, training and inflight experience to become a test pilot: what qualifications did Goop’s vibrator testers have?  I would hate to think that Ms. Paltrow would put her name on a product certified by amateurs.  Or course, these are all moot questions because apparently the Goop vibrator sold out in hours.

A little more seriously, the Chinese government recently banned the BBC, and everybody west of the Vistula came apart at the seams.  While I think it’s a shame nobody living on the banks of the Yangtze will be getting the cricket scores anymore, I’m compelled to point out a couple of things.  First of all, this is China — whose idea of free speech is – uh – they don’t actually have one.  In the entire 5,000 years of recorded Chinese history, freedom of speech existed for about 20 minutes in 1911 when Sun Yat-sen sat on the Dragon Throne.  It’s like describing blue to a blind man.  Secondly, and more importantly, the BBC was never broadcast in China; it was only available in the luxury hotels.  The truth is 99.9999% of the citizens of the Middle Kingdom have never heard of the Beeb and wouldn’t know it if it bite them on the bum.  So, let’s just put this little act of censorship into perspective.  The Chinese government has millions of Uyghurs locked up in concentration camps, they beat the crap out of thousands of Hong Kong students every weekend and perform hundreds of human organ transplants (where the donor is not notified) every day.  Honestly, if, after that litany of evil, you’re getting your knickers in a knot about who gets to watch Masterpiece Theatre south of the Great Wall, I can’t help but give it giggle.

But I saved the best for last.

Somewhere in Louisiana, a woman sprayed her hair with Gorilla Glue.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, Gorilla Glue makes Super Glue look like a worn-out Post-it note.  This stuff could put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and Lebron could bounce him up and down the court all day without any ill effects.  So, right about now you’re probably thinking “What a horrible accident!  The poor thing was probably in a rush and grabbed the wrong bottle.”  Nope, she did it on purpose.  Here’s what she recently posted on social media:

 “When I do my hair, I like to finish it off with a little Göt2b Glued Spray, you know, just to keep it in place. Well, I didn’t have any more Göt2b Glued Spray, so I used this: Gorilla Glue spray. Bad, bad, bad idea.”

OMG!  But, wait!  This isn’t the funny bit, yet.  After she discovered there was no way to wash this stuff out of her hair, she started a GoFundMe account to pay for a surgical removal – and people gave her money!  Over $18,000!  Think about it!  There are children starving in Brazil, and a bunch of people consciously decided, “Screw you, ya skinny little six-year-old!  I’m giving my money to a lady in Louisiana with Gorilla Glue in her hair.”  Anyway, now she’s lawyered up and is thinking about suing the Gorilla Glue people because, despite the various warnings against using an industrial strength adhesive on skin, clothes and/or eyes, the label does not specifically mention hair — and therefore it’s misleading?  Wow!  Gorilla Glue better get their act together before people start spraying it on their hotdogs to hold the wiener in the bun.

Don’t we live in a magical, frivolous age?

Tribal Masks

This time last year, the only people who wore masks were surgeons, bank robbers, people who wanted to add some forbidden fruit to their adult activities and the Lone Ranger.  How times have changed!  These days, we all have one.  (Of course, there are people who don’t, but I’m not going to antagonize those folks: they’re oddly aggressive about it.)  Personally, I think there’s a major upside to everybody wearing a mask.  Yeah, yeah, yeah!  There’s that whole health thing, but in these tribal times (we all seem to belong to an identifiable group!) it’s a cool shorthand to recognize who you’re dealing with.  Here are just a few examples.

Not The Nose – These are the people who genuinely want to follow the protocols but haven’t quite figured out that the nostrils are connected to the lungs.

Neck-warmers – Apparently, some people believe that the mere presence of a mask anywhere in the vicinity of the face will stop the virus – sort of like a string of garlic wards off vampires.

The Paper Pusher – These are the folks who bought a package of 10 paper masks at the drugstore back in April, and even though it’s a little dirty and the elastic’s kinda worn out, are still using the first one.

I Have A Message – Sometimes these masks feature innocent stuff like sports logos or brand names, but there are also a bunch of other itty-bitty walking billboards out there with an in-your-face/on-your-face political or social agenda.  Okay, folks!  I’ll tell you what: right now, I’m trying to navigate my way through this godawful pandemic, but the minute I do, I promise I’ll “Make America Great Again,” “Save The Whales,” “Defund The Police,” “Stop Climate Change” and “Free Ed Snowden.”  I will!  Really!

The Virtue Signaller – These are the people whose mask was woven by Syrian refugees using a traditional Bedouin loom.  It’s made of sustainable wool from a free-range desert flock and features an ancient geometric folk pattern.  The problem is despite its morally superior lineage, it looks just like every other mask.  This forces the wearer to annoy everybody with a detailed explanation of the who, what, where and why of the damn thing.  (Thank God for social distancing!)

The D.I.Y. Guy – This fellow made his own mask in his workshop out of a reclaimed wooden pallet.  It took him three weeks — evenings and weekends — and didn’t cost a cent if you discount the 22 thousand dollar investment in power tools.  It has a beautiful, high-gloss butterfly burl wood finish, weighs 2 kilos (5 pounds) is utterly useless and looks like Bane (from Batman) has a younger brother. 

The D.I.Y. Girls – The younger ones made their own masks out of spare pieces of fabric they had left over from their on-line multi-media art workshop.  They’re put together with bits of twine from an old macramé hanging basket and there are other individually handcrafted ones (including child sizes) available on Etsy.   The older ones made theirs out of a used milk jug and the plastic rings from a soda pop six-pack.  They were cut out with an Exacto knife, hot-glued together and decorated with spray-painted macaroni.  There’s a How-to video available on YouTube — if you’re so inclined.

I’m a Patriot – These are the flag guys — and they’re mostly guys — mostly American and mostly a pain in the ass.

I’m Rich – These are the people who wear the Burberry tartan, the Louis Vuitton fabric or a discreet YSL logo on their cheek.  Nothing says “I’ve got more money than you” than paying $150.00 for a 5-by-10 piece of cloth and an elastic band — when you can get the same thing on Amazon for 12 bucks.

I’m Really A Funny Person – These masks are the facial equivalent of the Dad joke.  They have such hilarious features as buck teeth, a handlebar moustache, fangs, cigars and wandering tongues.  Like the toilet paper jokes, these things were slightly cute last summer, but here in the winter of our discontent, they’re just annoying.

And finally:

I’m a Badass – These are the guys who found an old bandana in their underwear drawer and thought (despite tons of evidence to the contrary) they should show the world just how kick-ass cool they still are by wearing it instead of a mask.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing quite as sad as seeing an aging Easy Rider climbing into a minivan at the Mall.

Pure Sex – These are those hyper-female women who’ve decided masks are actually lingerie.  Hey, ladies!  Unlike man-catcher underwear, lace is not that effective in this situation.