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Dear Harlan Crow
And golden buds
A recent report by ProPublica exposed US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s relationship with billionaire right-wing mega-donor and best evilly-named American ever Harlan Crow.
First, they revealed Thomas’s numerous trips on Crow’s giant yachts and private planes.
Nothing to see here, said Clarence. Harlan’s been a dear friend for twenty-five years.
But Clarence, my guy, you’ve been on the Court for thirty.
Then ProPublica learned that Crow had also purchased Thomas’s mommy’s house, made some improvements on the property, which included hiring an architect, adding or fixing a carport, a roof, a fence, and gates, and then bought the houses and land all around it.
Not for nothing, but the Kennedys would have called that a “compound,” and it would have been charming. There would be pictures of you sailing.
But not oligarch yacht sailing, Clarence. More, “My PT-109 was sunk by a Japanese destroyer, I was a modest war hero, and now I’m on a 25-foot sloop in khakis with a cable-knit sweater tied around my shoulders” sailing.
At any rate, this is awkward because it made Crow Thomas’s mother’s landlord, except she probably didn’t pay rent. More awkward still is that Thomas never declared any of it. The rules are pretty clear on this one, Clarence, even for members of a Supreme Court with no ethics code. But I’m not concerned with that.
About the compound, ProPublica reports:
“Crow also bought the house immediately next door to Thomas’ mother, which was owned by somebody else and had been known for parties and noise... Soon the house was torn down. “It was an eyesore,” Mitchell said. “One day miraculously all of them were put out of there and they scraped it off the earth.”
“The surrounding properties had fallen into disrepair and needed to be demolished for health and safety reasons,” Crow said in his statement. He added that his company built one new house on the block “and made it available to a local police officer.”
I would like to offer you my hand in marriage. You are the kind of super-villain spouse I’ve been looking for.
I, too, would like an architect, a new roof, a fence, and gates. I do not want a carport because I live in New England where we have garages, so that’ll cost you. None of this half-assed, lean-to car sheltering for this girl.
You may buy my father’s domicile, a lovely, 44-unit retirement community where I think you’ll see an excellent return on investment, and all the property around it, which includes a mediocre hospital, a lovely river, and a university named Harvard. I could use the break on my father’s current rent, and I think you’ll find the influence the university purchase brings most entertaining and well worth your while. Others certainly have.
I, meanwhile, will guide you around town, helping you understand which houses to make available to which police officers (we’re talking Whitey Bulger land here, Harlan, and the faint line between crooks and cops meanders like a Boston cow path through Beacon Hill, so it’s good to have a local to show you the ropes).
I hope I don’t break all of your Nazi memorabilia while dusting. Not that your prized napkins could break. Those I should probably bury away. The beagle’s been on Prednisone lately, and accidents can’t be helped. It would be such a shame to stain those hand-embroidered swastikas mopping up after her. Also, your signed copy of Mein Kampf will be handled with the care it deserves. This I can promise.
You probably don’t know this, Harlan, but I’m a bit of a gardener myself, so I look forward to putting my little touches on your backyard statuary of Lenin, Stalin, Fidel Castro, Mao, Karl Marx, Hosni Mubarak, Tito, Nicolae Ceausescu, and the other despots you’ve got there.
Lyz Lenz, in her Dingus of the Week - congratulations on winning that award, by the way! - notes you’ve explained that your garden commemorates man’s inhumanity to man. Commemorates, celebrates, tomato, tomahto. The point is, with your resources and my sense of style, think how much stronger your message will be with those tyrants in full designer drag! A ball gown here, a Fascinator there - what better way to highlight your hatred of communism and fascism than to dress them all in the wrong quadrants of the color wheel? Talk about sadism!
And I will be adding my voice in protest because I clearly hate fashion.
But on this disappearing neighbor thing I think we could really click. See, I’ve had a list going for a while. The guy behind me who blows his snow into my back yard each winter, leveling my privacy trees which I’ve had to replace three times. The guy across the street who’s too stupid to die but stupid enough to kill the rest of us with his antics. The couple next door with their screaming new paint job and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane design sense who leave their shades up 24/7, scaring the tenants.
We could really accomplish something here, Harlan.
I should let you know that I’m a dog person. While we certainly won’t want to upset Mr Bigglesworth, the beagle is getting on in years and will be quite happy just wandering around, sniffing the newly expanded neighborhood. I’m sure she’ll stay well out of his way.
There are also a few lawsuits I’ve been meaning to file, and a guaranteed Supreme Court win would be most convenient, as you’ve so cleverly demonstrated. My first will be to outlaw the use of passive-aggressive raspberry colors on houses.
I’m traveling in May, but will be available to marry any time after June 1st.
I eagerly await your response.
This noncommittal weather means it’s not yet iced tea weather, not heavy black tea weather all the time for me.
Golden Buds tea from Yunnan, China, is black tea made from the new buds of the plants. It’s lighter and sort of more vanilla-y than the black tea we’re used to otherwise. I make a pot, leave it, and then drink it hot, room temp, or iced. It’s equally good in all forms.