Gifts - An Act in One Play

Rich Galen
By Rich Galen | April 3, 2009 | 10:41 AM EDT

From the U.K. Telegraph's Washington correspondent (and Mullpal) Toby Harnden: "Barack Obama met the Queen at Buckingham Palace today and gave her a gift of an iPod loaded with video footage and photographs of her 2007 United States visit to Richmond, Jamestown and Williamsburg in Virginia.
"In return, the Queen gave the President a silver framed signed photograph of herself and the Duke of Edinburgh - apparently a standard present for visiting dignitaries."
Ok. Let's examine this bit of one downs-man-ship between Her Majesty, the Queen and His Majesty, the President.
A quick search of the Apple Store indicates that the most expensive iPod a citizen can buy is a $399 "Touch" which, according to Apple, holds 7,000 songs or 40 hours of video.
Let's assume the Obamas didn't skimp on the iPod and gave her the top 'o the line model. I'm not certain how it measures "songs" but I bet it would not hold 7,000 copies of Richard Rodgers' "Victory at Sea" which clocks in at 13 hours and is generally accepted to be the longest symphony in the history of symphonies.
Toby Harnden updated his piece by reporting that in addition to the iPod, the Obamas also gave Queen Elizabeth a "rare songbook signed by" who?
Why, none other than the aforementioned Richard Rodgers!
I suh-wear I did not know that when I looked up the "longest symphony" and found it had been written by the very same Richard Rodgers.
Sometimes I frighten myself.
About Her Madj giving the Obamas a framed picture of Her-Own-Self and El Duque encased in a silver frame.
I went searching for silver frames and found that you can buy an 8" x 10" Sterling silver picture frame by Reed & Barton for $330.
If you don't count shipping - in this case the cost of transporting the Queen's iPod aboard Air Force One - then the gifts were more-or-less price appropriate.
I'm betting pretty heavy money that Bair & Mitchy - the Obamas, upon returning from the Gang-of-20 meeting in London, are not going to race into the Oval and pick out the coolest possible location for displaying the photo of Liz II.
I am also betting that Queen Elizabeth is not scheduling a special trip to Ye Royal Optometrist to upgrade her prescription so her nearly 83-year-old eyes (she turns 83 on April 21) can peer at the iPod screen to relive every glorious moment of the trip she took to Virginia in 2007.
I can just picture the Queen calling upon the children and grandchildren to gather around the coffee table in the playroom at Balmoral to watch the video and listen to Herself narrate the visit. For 40 hours.
HEADLINE: Royal Family Murder/Suicide In Scotland
Was me, I'd rather watch an iPod loaded with videos of Fergie (if-you-know-what-I-mean-and-I-think-you-do).
What is it about the Obamas and videos? When Prime Minister Gordon Brown showed up on the Obama's doorstep a couple of weeks ago, he was presented with, as reported in the U.K. Daily Mail "a box set of 25 classic American films - a gift about as exciting as a pair of socks."
Which only goes to prove that the British - when it comes to socks - have little or no imagination as I have some very exciting socks. If you consider white cotton, exciting.
As is so often the case, this whole business of examining the gifts that one monarch gives to another causes us to turn to my guy Bill Shakespeare for understanding:
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
Despite the sound and fury, the gifts signify nothing.
The idiot telling the tale? That would be me.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the piece in the U.K. Telegraph, a site at which you can purchase a silver picture frame, and to Balmoral Castle "Official Website of the British Monarchy" although why anyone would name themselves after a butterfly is beyond me. Also, a Mullfoto which tell us why our Congress operates so efficiently, and a Catchy Caption of the Day.