Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Evil Queen, Good Queen

I've just been reading Phyllis Schlafly's obituary, and about the nicest thing I can say is that it's amazing how differently some people see the world. I just don't understand her. I feel like a member of an entirely different species.

How could the Equal Rights Amendment have possibly been a bad thing? Clearly a lot of people had misgivings about it, but I don't understand the suspicion that it posed any sort of hazard.

I would have liked to crawl into her head for just half an hour or so -- with the guaranteed proviso that I could get out again -- so I could understand her thought process. Because I just don't. And she was apparently a smart woman, which makes her all the more mystifying.

Anyway, enough of that. I really came here today to share Dave's new gift with you:

It's a Solar Queen!

This will be familiar to those of you who live in the UK, because they're pretty common here. But I had to make this ridiculous video for my friends in the states and elsewhere. (With special sound effects -- you can hear Olga's toenails clacking on the floor as she walks around behind me.) There's a solar panel in the Queen's handbag, which powers the, er, "action."

Here's the kicker -- I got her, new and still in the box, in an Oxfam thrift shop in Herne Hill for £5!

When Dave went into the hospital in April, I tried to find one of these to bring him, but I didn't have any luck. So I told him Sunday that this was his hospital gift, just five months late. Who says I'm not thoughtful?!

(Top photo: A shop in Rye Lane, Peckham, on Sunday.)


  1. How would you have planned to climb inside Phyllis Schlafly's head? Through her earhole or a different orifice? Would you require climbing gear - like ropes and crampons? I hate to break it to you Steve but I think you are far too big to have managed this feat, unless of course Phyllis Schlafly was as big as Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

    Regarding the little solar queen, I shall wisely keep my own counsel on that one.

  2. I thought parachuting directly into her ear might be the best option.

    Not the nose. Definitely not the nose.

    How could you not love the solar queen? It's so patriotic! Who cares that they're being made by the hundreds of thousands in China, in a factory that no doubt spews industrial petroleum-derived pollutants into the environment?! We NEED our solar queen!

  3. The weird thing about Shlafly is that she DID work outside the house (of course- after her children were mostly grown!) and had advanced degrees, one in law. She certainly wasn't any shrinking violet who stayed home her whole life to tend to her husband. Lord. Who knows? I just remember marching for the ERA in about 1975.
    She sure did live a long time.
    Hey- Yorkshire can stuff that pudding. I LOVE the queen!
    (Sorry, Yorkshire. You crack me up.)

  4. Phyllis was from and lived in the same town I do. She was pretty much known as an oddball (and sometimes more colorful descriptions). To be honest, I hadn't heard of/from her in a while, and assumed she'd already gone to June Cleaver heaven.

  5. so she stops waving at night? and sometimes the only thing you can say about someone dying is that the world is a better place without them.

  6. I love the solar queen! She would be doing the royal wave constantly here in Arizona where the sun shines all the time. I watched a movie this weekend called "A Royal Night Out" about Elizabeth and Margaret going out to party with the common folks on VE Day. It was total fiction of course, but it was fun.
    Phyllis Shlafly...not so much.

  7. I have learned compassion by trying to walk in other people's shoes. Doing so has helped me cope with addiction and mental illness but I am lost on this one. Perhaps, if we were in our 90's as she was or grew up where she did, we might have a better understanding for her belief system. Her life's work just makes me feel sad. Too bad that she did not recognize that it was some form of feminism that allowed her to be well educated, let alone to become an attorney. And imagine being her gay son....that could not have been an easy road.

  8. There are stacks of Solar Queen here probably because we are so close to British Columbia, I also found a tub of them at PYLONES , Portobello Road, A very cool, bright shop full of things you never knew you had to have. For only 5 Quid I would say you got a DEAL! Especially SHE in a blue frock!
    Phyllis must have landed on this planet just to create ill will, keep the pot fresh. She, like Trump, has given voice to the most undesirable of human traits. She lived SO LONG and some say , those who have belief in a god of some sort, a belief that there is a blissful heaven after this gravity suck, hard knock existence, "the nastier you are, the more you complain, the longer god makes you live",everyone is a philosopher! anyway, She will not be missed but has passed the baton to the most vile.

  9. This was the first I'd read anything about Phyllis Sclhafly. I don't understand, either. I just don't. I understand that people can only do the best they can with the knowledge they have, the environment they are born into, their genetic material, etc., but once in awhile it seems there are those who are truly determined to hurt others.

    Anyway, I love the Queen and her royal wave. My daughter and her little friends perfected the wave when they were very young - for awhile it was the only way they waved to anyone :)

  10. I don't mind different views as long as they can be supported by rational argument. I might not agree but I will listen. I've never heard of Phyllis but she sounds quite negative.

  11. E: I try to please. :)

    Ms Moon: I know! She benefitted from the same women's rights movement that brought us the ERA. And yes, "shrinking violet" would definitely not describe her. She was a lion. Or lioness, maybe.

    Catrina: Interesting -- thanks for the insider view! She sounds like someone who was so attached to her dogma that it may have impaired relations with real people in real life. You know?

    Ellen: Yeah, she shuts down at dusk. No waving at night.

    Sharon: Yeah, in Arizona her wave would be extra-vigorous! I'm actually waiting for a sunny day here to see how it affects her.

    Linda: Yeah, I can only imagine the therapy her son probably required. Good grief. I like your "walking in other people's shoes" perspective -- when confronted with people like Schlafly I am mostly just curious at how they can POSSIBLY think the way they do. I would love to walk in their shoes and find out. (I suspect it has to do with religion, and active belief therein.)

    Linda Sue: I know Pylones, but I don't think I ever went in! I should have thought of Portobello Road as a place to buy a Solar Queen.

    Jenny-O: I'm sure she thought she was HELPING. God only knows how. And yes, the Queen's wave is much-imitated. :)

    Red: She was a powerful force for conservatism in American politics. I'm not sure rational argument was at the root of her convictions. More like blind faith.

  12. We have that same solar Queen, except ours is is wearing a pink dress. I bought her for J some years ago, and she's recently been joined by a similarly sized Hillary Clinton action figure that doesn't wave but is rocking a stylish blue pantsuit.