Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl | Mann Overboard

Bill Mann
Posted 10/3/22

All the queenly coverage from Britain the past two weeks has brought to mind two semi-encounters with her: 

— Did Queen Elizabeth ever get booed? Very rarely, but I was present at one …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl | Mann Overboard


All the queenly coverage from Britain the past two weeks has brought to mind two semi-encounters with her: 

— Did Queen Elizabeth ever get booed? Very rarely, but I was present at one of those occasions. 

I was a sportswriter in Montreal covering the opening of the 1976 Olympics there. The Stade Olympique was located in the east, French-speaking, end of Montreal, where there was no great love for anglophones. Québec separatism was a developing possibility then. (The British trade ambassador had been kidnapped by separatist terrorists.) So when the Queen opened the Games in this anti-monarchy setting, boos erupted, a bit of a shocker. The English-language press across Canada, as Queen Victoria famously put it, were not amused. I was an American, so I was used to booing in sports stadia. 

— At the other extreme, around that time I was assigned to cover the Canadian college hockey championships at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, dreary home town of “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek. 

At the tournament’s gala closing dinner, suddenly, I found myself the only person in the room who was still sitting down. Everyone else had stood to toast the Queen. Someone at my table pointed to a 40-foot-high painting of Elizabeth to clue me in. Oops, said the ugly, clueless American. 

(BTW, NASA trained Apollo astronauts at Sudbury. The nickel mines there had scarred the landscape so badly it looked like the lunar surface. What is environmental destruction, Alex?)

The crown jewels … in Canada? Yep, they were shipped there during World War II for safekeeping, in the Sun Life insurance building in downtown Montreal. The royal jewels were almost — almost — as treasured in Canada as the Stanley Cup. 

— Signage plus: There are more signs at 25th and Holcomb here than you’d find at an astrological convention. Campaign signs, that is, for dozens of candidates. (The Pall Mall cigarette pack proclaims: “In Hoc Signo Vinces, ”In this sign we conquer.” But, um, not lung cancer.) 

— It seems like several weeks of hate-mongering on Twitter about our pool may finally have  died down. I’ve blocked over 100 hate-filled, transphobic Twitter accounts and Twitter may again be a good source of humor. To wit: 

— One tweet from Maine shows Jared Kushner saying, “You want to know my qualifications? My father-in-law thinks my wife is hot.” And Middle Age Riot tweets: “At this point, Donald Trump is more likely to have a mental condition named after him than a presidential library.” 

— Speaking of 45, this caption on Twitter of Jefferson Dufus looking at Queen Liz: “I’m  confused. Did you really write Bohemian Rhapsody?” 

— Check, mate: Under a picture of King Charles in full royal ceremonial garb: “Now that we have a king, these sorts of events will all take much longer, since he can only move along the floor one square at a time.” 

— Under a photo of Marjorie Taylor Green with Pat Sajak: “Pat, what’s a vowel?”

— Speaking of which, I once actually had lunch with “Wheel of F” costars Pat and Vanna at a San Francisco hotel during a promotional tour. What did I remember about that lunch? Not a thing. Except the tasty salad dressing.

— So, a good time to reprise possibly the best Onion headline ever: “Balsamic Terrorists Bomb Hidden Valley Ranch.” 

— A more recent Onion headline shows a teenage girl being admonished by her principal: “School Administration Reminds Female Students that Bulletproof Vests Must Cover Midriff.” 

— You’ve all been warned: Time for the annual Pumpkin Spice assault! 

— OK, we’ve gotten hooked on Wordle. Now, pay The New York Times a modest amount to play the Spelling Bee next door. See how many words you can make out of seven letters. This daily puzzle is terribly addictive. My wife and I struggle to reach Genius level most days, but my son and his wife do one better: They get ALL the words.

— More Jive from 45: “C’mon. They’re only nuclear secrets. It’s not like they’re my tax returns.” 

— I like to use a great line from Groucho upon leaving a dinner date … it always gets a laugh from hosts with a sense of humor: “We’ve had a lovely evening. Unfortunately, this wasn’t it!” 

(PT humorist Bill Mann had a lovely time writing this. Newsmann9@gmail.com.)