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firth-darcy Good Lord.  A portrait of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy goes for £12,000 at auction:

Bonham’s auction house in London received several advance bids for the portrait, and competition between Austen fans pushed the price well above the £7,000 estimate.

The oil painting, which shows the actor gazing soulfully through the canvas in full period costume, featured in the fourth episode of the drama in which Elizabeth visits Darcy’s ravishing country estate, Pemberley.

It was accompanied at auction by a signed letter from Firth, who caused women nationwide to swoon collectively when he emerged from a lake tousled and dripping in a wet shirt during the same episode.

The actor wrote: “The painting was basically a bit part player in episode four of the BBC’s 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice.

“Looking at him now I would say he has weathered better than most of us. In fact, he is the only character you can meet in person who looks precisely as he did the day he was filmed.

“Whatever you think of him today, you can consider yourselves fortunate to have been spared his earliest incarnation. Mr Darcy mark one came across as a shabby, insubstantial, derelict looking actor.”

Julian Roup, a spokesman for Bonhams, said: “This painting sold for double its estimated value for the simple reason that the series so captured the heart of the viewing public, particularly the fairer sex.”

Actually, I know several lovely ladies who drop by here for a glass of port on a regular basis who’d heartily agree with this sentiment.   But I’m not all that convinced that it is Austen’s literary merit that propelled such demand: I’ll bet that had the portrait been of Mr. Darcy emerging from the horse pond instead, the final price would have been even higher.

I’ve had about half a dozen liberal colleagues approach me so far today trying to get a rise out of me about the inauguration.

I have answered each approach – everything from snide barbs to bright, cheery enthusiasm – with the same thin and enigmatic smile.

Drives ’em nuts every time.

Close to the National Mall, Dee Cee is still pretty trashed this morning.

It’s not quite so bad as downtown Mobile, Alabama was when I was there the morning after Mardi Gras a couple years ago, but there are some definite similarities, both in sight and smell.

All in all, I think my decision not to wear my nicer shoes today was probably a good one.

My lunch today (Breakfast? Feh.  A couple cups of coffee) was a big ol’ fruit concoction from Roebucks.

I spent the shank of the afternoon wracking up an hour’s worth of WiiFit exercise minutes, many of them accompanied by offensive computer commentary about my sense of balance.

My revenge? A Five Guys cheeseburger for din-dins, accompanied by a mound of fries and a couple glasses of wine.

La dolce vita, as far as I’m concerned.

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