June 2017

Before I forget, Donald “Tiny Hands” der Drumpf is a self-serving blowhard maggoty half-man and every word that he vomits out of his little girly pie-hole is a lie: a deliberate, democracy-destroying horse-shitting puke-encrusted lie.

“It’s not easy being stupid…”

Today’s headline is a quote from page 89 of Michael Nesmith’s new book-long “autobiographical riff” about his life (so far) on Earth. I love the title, and as a life-long Mike/George fan in the Monkees/Beatles vortex I was vastly interested in finding out what one does in life after becoming very famous, for three years, in your twenties. In Mr. Nesmith’s case, fame and money allow you to unfetter your thinking from the usual day-to-day preoccupations of the un-famous and the un-rich (paying bills, keeping the boss happy, wondering if your life has any meaning), which leaves you frees to spend the rest of your life thinking up stuff to do that keeps you living about 7 years in advance of the culture. He’s a very clever guy.

You remember him then:

This is him now:

On page 89 Mr. Nesmith, in his characteristically elliptical way with words, takes himself to task for letting his fame and money give him a huge ego and overblown sense of entitlement (see: stupidity) by writing: “It’s not easy being stupid“, which is his way of explaining how the consequences of his pathological celebrity behavior made his and others’ life unnecessarily complicated, anxious, emotionally draining, spiritually unstable, and unhappy. That is to say, fame and money don’t make life easy: it makes life hard.

On the other hand, it seems to me that there are plenty of people who find it  easy to be stupid. Just take the plaintiffs and defendants on any average episode of Judge Judy. They are all un-famous and un-rich and they all seem to revel in their stupidity.

The uninsured driver who is indignant that she has to pay for the damage she caused when she T-boned an unsuspecting Honda because she didn’t hit that Honda on purpose. The unmarried mother-of-three with one-on-the-way who claims she shouldn’t have to pay back a personal loan from her best friend because she’s a single mom. The owner of an unleashed  German Shepherd who says her dog only bit the plaintiff because the plaintiff annoyed the dog by walking neat it. The plaintiff who is suing for harassment because the woman to whom she owes $1,200 keeps calling her to ask where’s the money she’s owed.

For these people, it’s really easy being stupid because they live their lives believing that I should not be held accountable when my actions have consequences that I don’t like.

(I thank the great Neil deGrasse Tyson for that pithy summation of human nature.)

Speaking of which, last February my own actions had a consequence I did not like, not one little bit, and I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to be held accountable.

Last February was when I tried to rescue a blind raccoon from my backyard, only to have the little bugger turn around and bite me on my right hand.

The actual raccoon. I thought he was stuck on that fence and I tried to lift him off of it. Stupid idea.

With shaking and bloodied fingers I ran to my computer and looked up “Rabies, vaccination for” on the internet and was directed to the emergency room at a Catholic hospital about a mile away. Off I went.

I also did research on the cost of rabies vaccines for humans.  Like all other aspects of health care in America there is a wide range of prices nationwide, from a low of $167 to a high of $957.

However, in the New York/New Jersey/ Connecticut neighborhood where I live, the prices range from $317 to $365 for the vaccine. To this base price one must add the administrative cost of having someone fill in my three-page emergency room patient paperwork, weigh me and take my blood pressure,  have a doctor come inspect the bite mark before prescribing the approx. $350 rabies vaccine administered by a nurse, and of course I must be charged for the band aid I got from another different nurse (my FOUR HOUR wait time, by the way, was FREE). I refused x-rays because I’d already been there for two hours and could tell that waiting for x-rays would take all damn day.

Now, I have private health insurance. I never had Obamacare and the current debate about Drumpfcare does not affect me personally. And I still get shitty health care, at least as far as the rest of this story goes.

OK, about this incident with the raccoon, I felt bad that my lifestyle choice (of trying to free wild raccoons from my backyard) had resulted in my becoming a burden to the policy holders of my insurance company, because I believe that unhealthy lifestyle choices are the kind of pre-existing condition that should be exempt from coverage: You smoke, you pay for your own emphysema. But I rationalized that this piddling rabies vaccine cost was a one-time expense in my lifetime. I am NEVER going to try to rescue any more raccoons, ever.

I recently received my co-pay bill for this treatment — my out of pocket fees are $200. So, try to guess what my insurance company was billed for the rest of this little emergency room adventure.

Go ahead. GUESS how much this hospital charged my insurance company for this dose of $350 medicine plus paperwork cost.  The correct guess is:

$21,629.00

When I heard that the hospital charged my insurance company $21,629.00, my heart literally skipped a beat. My next call was to my insurance company, to warn them that they were getting conned by St. Francis Hospital, who had obviously charged them for some kind of pricey hand replacement surgery plus diamond-studded manicure that I never received.

Thankfully, I was assured that the insurance company did NOT pay that outrageous bill in full. As is (apparently) common practice, my insurance company negotiated that figure down to a much more reasonable figure:

$7,062.97.

This is a raccoon-flavored example of what is the problem with health care in America.

I called St. Francis back and spoke to Dolores (probably to er real name) in their billing department (which is in Billings, Montana — approx. 2,000 miles from the emergency room here on Long Island) and asked for their itemized $21,629.00 invoice. I want to see how a simple $350 rabies vaccine ends up costing tens of thousands of dollars.

As they say, that bill is in the mail. I expect to be outraged. But somebody will be held accountable.

Still fuming, I donned my Michael Kors swimsuit and tore out of the house, for I have recently discovered the way to achieve inner peace. As a way to escape the stupidity of the world I just love swimming laps, averaging 70 laps per hour in a 25-meter pool. I can’t wait for Pool Day, twice a week; it’s the quietest and calmest hour of my life. Also, that swimsuit cost $100 for just the top (when did swimsuits get so expensive???) so I’m swimming until I amortize it to $1 per kilometer.

The other three days a week I traipse upon a treadmill; average 4.3 MPH at 3.5% incline for 65 minutes.  But if there’s anyone on the treadmill next to me, I have to outlast them because I am usually quite annoyed with the world (see: der Drumpf). In my mind, I am the righteous  Robin Wright, Amazon General Antiope in Wonder Woman (GO SEE THIS MOVIE), sleek and dangerous and fierce as all get-out.In reality (according to my new physical trainer) I have to tone up my puny 20.02% BMI so I need to incorporate upper body resistance work into my routine. I hate lifting stuff but I do want der Drumpf-face-punching arms like General Antiope.

Thank you, each and every Dear Reader who sent me your Comments re: that anonymous der Drumpf-er two weeks ago; and for last week, when I was too sick of myself to show up for duty. Your Comments mean that keeping this space is worth it, and that what we share here is real and meaningful.  Thank you.

And since several of you Wonderful Yous have asked about the new book I seemed to have written, all I can say for now is that it was a small book I did just for myself and sent to my agent never thinking that she would never find it worth putting out in the world. It’s  a pure indulgence on my part, something I thought was definitely not at all commercial . . . but my agent read it and was so enthusiastic that I was at first thinking she was kidding. She called it “magical”.  I have a contract with Bloomsbury which means that they get first look at it, so it is currently being sussed by my editor there and as soon as I have any news I will Tell All.

One of our most loyal Commenters, Kirra, is arriving upon these shores from yon Down Under this coming week and lo, there will be face time and meanderings and perhaps a cup of tea or two to report on when we next gather.

And don’t forget to wish Canada a Happy 150th birthday on July 1 — we love you Canada!! You’re the world’s best neighbor!

Have a great weekend. And, oh yeah, der Drumpf is a pig-eyed asshole.

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So I got a Comment on my About Me page from “Anonymous” last week:

Please stop your language about Trump. I like your books and tutorials, but your vulgar political comments are a real detriment to your blog.

Well, “Anonymous”, (it takes real courage to post a criticism while you hide behind anonymity — and I’m taking to you, “Anonymous” in Overland Park, Kansas), you are free to stop reading my FREE blog and my FREE tutorials any time my opinions give you and your delicate sensibilities the vapors.

OK, now I can tell you why I wasn’t here last week. It’s because I was in Hell.

Specifically, I was in a Destination-Four-Freaking-Day-Wedding Hell. FOUR DAY WEDDING. What kind of people need that much validation?

The destination was Lake Tahoe, California side, which is the side that schlumps around in a strangely entitled neo-Woodstock daze in clothes that would be far more sightly on someone 75 pounds lighter: I had no internet, no TV, no phone, no radio, and just enough hot water for one of us — but not both — to take a nice shower once a day. Not to mention the fun fun fun of being at the beck and call of “The Never Ending Wedding Plan”, which included an utterly revolting, esthetically disgusting, and completely immoral Pig Roast. It was vile, vulgar, and practically vivisectionist.

Suffice it to say, The Wedding and I did not share the same values.

However, the journey started with the very best of karma on the Jet Blue flight to Reno, where the passenger in Row 13, Seat A made me ever so happy that I was the passenger in Row 14, Seat B:

Loki here (that’s his name, Loki) made up for sitting on the tarmac for FA at JFK for an hour and a half. In-flight entertainment on Jet Blue sucks, so by the time we arrived at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport at midnight I’d watched the live action Beauty and the Beast for the second and third time in my life. (A week later we left Reno on the red eye at midnight, and I watched Beauty and the Beast for the fourth time in my life. Emma Watson, cute and lithe as she is, has only two different facial expressions throughout the film.)

Things we did in 24 hours in Reno:

1. Had a gut-busting breakfast at Peg’s Glorified Ham and Eggs. They serve two kinds of eggs with hash browns and two slaws in a frying pan, with beans on the side. It seems that beans on the side is a staple in this part of the country. I give that a big thumbs-up.

2. Gave moral support to the patriots of the Tuesday Resist group in front of the federal building in downtown Reno:

3.  Found a dead bird on the sidewalk . . . 

. . . took it to the best bookstore in town . . .

. . . found the shadiest spot in the miniature zen garden there . . .

. . . and said farewell to its little soul:

4. After laying bird to rest, Top Cat bought me the new David Sederis book, Theft by Finding. It is more subversive than his previous books, which gives me hope because we’re practically the same age and I hope to become less and less conformist and conciliatory as I age.

5. Walked around my old high school:

 The place was so empty, so eerily quiet, that Top Cat and I thought that the school year must have ended, so we felt free to stroll around and take photos:

And then a bell rang . . .

. . . and I kept taking photos.  Top Cat and I wondered why no one in authority questioned us for being creepy, or calling for a lock down. This is Nevada — what; are these kids armed? And ready to take care of themselves at the first sign of trouble? This, of course, supposes that Top Cat and I look dangerous, which in our minds we do.

I took my last year of high school here in 1973 and have not been back since, and this visit did not jog any strong feelings about the place. It’s my old junior high, Upper Moreland Junior High in Willow Grove PA, built in 1929 and torn down c. 1975, that haunts me as the place I dream of whenever I feel vulnerable and need to find myself in a maze situation from which I must escape. Earl J. Wooster High School holds no terror for me, awake or asleep.

6. Dipped into the pool at The Peppermill Casino and Hotel to cool off in the 90-degree afternoon, and for two hours watched six heavily tattooed 20-somethings get so drunk poolside that one girl had to crawl out of the shallow end to her towel, and then had to be led, like a blind person, off the premises.

7. Cleaned off the chlorine and drove southwest to see old V. Swift residence. We got invited inside to have a look around inside, had a wonderful chat with new owners (who were born in the 1980s — THE 1980s!). It looks like this now:

And looked like this in 1973 when I thought it was huuuuge (but now seems so small that I was astonished by the size of the bedroom that me and my sister shared, a room so small that by the standards of these days would almost amount to child abuse):

8. Stopped by Home Goods, my absolute favorite store, to see what the Reno in-crowd is demanding from the premier retailer of good taste. Actually, it was small and dark and unexciting. Shopping Note: Before we headed out of town for Tahoe the next day, we also had to go to Costco (the Wedding Plan requires us fulfill a list of a crap load of items for a Wedding BBQ, no please, no thank you; also to a liquor store for cases of stuff, ditto) and it was twice the size of the Costco here on Long Island, and in the pet food section they sold huge bags of Chicken feed and Horse food.

9. Drove up into the Sierra Nevada foothills and watched the sun set over the Truckee Meadows Valley:

10. Dinner at local Mexican food institution, Miguel’s.

Miguel’s was northern Nevada’s first Mexican restaurant (opened in 1959) and the owner, Miguel Ribera, became so beloved for his excellent food and for the scholarships he offered to hispanic youth that there is a resource center and a public park named after him. This restaurant must have been opened when I lived in town but I never dined here before.

11. Returned to hotel, played Texas Hold ’em until 2am.

The only thing that I want to tell you about Tahoe is that on our last day there, Top Cat and I drove out to Sierraville to escape the snow . . .

. . . and to find the Clothing Optional hot springs hippie resort there. Clothing Optional is OK for Top Cat but neither of us wanted to spend the hours it would take to negotiate how much it would cost him to pay me to skinny dip, so I found a nice sofa in the waiting area . . .

. . . where the whole time I stroked and cooed over this fella he did not open his eyes once . . .

Shot with DXO ONE Camera

. . . until he stretched, and moseyed outdoors to patrol the perimeter:

Still not giving me the time go day.

I’m a cat person so of course I think he’s irresistible.

I’m not going into detail but when I got back to the Isle of Long my agent and I had a lovely discussion about books, such as one that I might have recently completed, and now I have to write a new bio and stand by.

But for now I’m going to make like my Sierraville buddy here, and just head for the horizon.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and stay as far away from Lake Tahoe as you can. (Sorry, Lake Tahoe.)

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So it was a national holiday in the US of A last Monday: Memorial Day, the day when we Americans remember those who have died in our nation’s wars. It’s a solemn day.

So Ivanka Trump, who as you know has the same common touch and mind meld with “the people” as her piece of shit father, used this sad and mournful day to tweet:

Not to be outdone in our love for America, Top Cat and I purchased patriotic pastries:

This got me wondering, Do other people live this way? Like, in places where they don’t have a hair ball of puke for president?

Because thats a whole lot of red, white, and blue (see: above).

So, on this long Memorial [Three] Day holiday, Top Cat and I put in the annuals (ha! I know I got that right! ANNUALS!), which means the cats think they have a nifty new litter box (with floral accents) in the back yard:

Meanwhile, Bibs and Lickety were stalking something out back by the back property line:

Top Cat and I watched to make sure they didn’t bother the woodland creatures in the back yard. And we also kept an eye on the birds (the smart ones, that is) as they picked out the delicious peanuts from the bird chow we put out:

Ands then we watched the other birds (the dumb ones) look confused when there were no leftovers:

And then Top Cat and I got into a fight.

I should say,  Top Cat and I do not fight much.

We have the usual conflicts of any people who spend a great deal of time together: the little misunderstandings, minor differences of opinion, momentary mis-communications — all which are settled and explained and apologized for in a matter of minutes with calm tones of voice. No, really. We are reasonable people, and our domestic life would make for very boring reality TV.

Our last big fight was three years and five months ago. And it was HUGE. It was the biggest fight we’re ever had.

And now Top Cat wants to re-visit the same issues in that huge fight of yore by asking me for a favor which would require me to “be the bigger person” and let the things of the past be bygones.

Which is really funny, because he knows that I am never ” the bigger person”, not when there is too much to be gained by being the smaller person. For example, never having to stuff hard feelings and rage and bitterness into that place in your soul that eats you alive from the inside out: Small people never have to forgive (which everyone knows is very, very difficult, almost impossibly superhuman, right?) — they are the ones always being forgiven. I’m way into being teeny tiny like that.

Letting the things of the past be bygones only works if you have a terrible memory and, Dear Readers, not only do I have excellent recollection, but I also take notes. Hello? Remember me, the diarist? The one who writes memoir? Where do you think I get my material???

If you want to know exactly what was said by whom on which date, I’m your girl: I have it all in writing. It keeps things fresh so that what happened, say, three years and five months ago, are as if it were just yesterday.

At one point in the increasingly heated conversation Top Cat angrily announced: You never do anything you don’t want to do. Thing is, he said it like that was a bad thing.

Well, as far as I know, nobody gets extra days being 29, or a lifetime immunization from heartbreak, or a reincarnated pet by doing things they don’t want to do. So yes, of course, in my life and in my marriage, I have tried to do as few things that I don’t want to do as possible: I have stayed away from a few weddings and bar mitzvahs, family reunions and dinners out with bores. But there are times when I have indeed shown up, which would be unkind for me to list here, but anyway on this particular point you can’t make me feel guilty because sheesh: life is short and I’m getting old and Woody Robinson (the best cat in the world) is never coming back so you better believe that more and more, I will be spending less and less time doing things that I don’t want to do.

So as Top Cat and I still simmer over this fight, I can’t help but think how I, had I been in the position to ask of Top Cat a huge favor equal to the one he is asking of me, would have gone about it completely differently.

First, I would have taken me out for Mexican food. Because I do loves me a good enchilada.

I would also order me a huge margarita. Because, duh.

Next, I would have told me how much happiness I have brought to his life, how much I mean to him, and how very dearly he respects my feelings. I would be sure to use the word “precious” somewhere in there. “Angelic” wouldn’t be amiss, either.

I, naturally, would by now be filled with feelings not unlike giant fluffy pink clouds and warm rainbow-colored sunbeams.

THEN I would break the bad news about having this HUGE favor to ask, one that he knows is going to ask a lot of me, a very small person, one that he knows I am not likely to be the least inclined to give. I would ask the favor, and quickly tell me that he understands that I need time to think about it, and not expect me to jump at the chance to let bygones be bygones.

Then I would back off. Because I would be smart enough to know that there would be blow-back re: this favor of “letting bygones be bygones” because, duh, we’ve been married for 13 years and he knows that I am the least “letting bygones be bygones” kind of person in this relationship.

The next day is when I would bring up the topic again, asking for this huge favor again, only this time I would do it while we were at North Shore Animal Shelter picking out our new DoG.

And that, Dear Readers, is how you ask your wife (if your wive happens to be me) for a huge favor.

Right?

Have a great weekend, everybody. I hope that nobody asks you to do something that you don’t want to do, but if they do, I hope they ask the right way.

 

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