April 2018

If the measure of the greatness of a get-away is how disgruntled you feel when you have to leave Vacationland and return to your regular life. . .

. . . then last week’s trip to New Orleans was très, très bien. Top Cat and I made our annual pilgrimage to our favorite American city for a five-day examination of how much better life would be if we spent more time laissez les bons temps rouler and less time being cold and worrying about the economy.

It’s been a cold Spring here on the north shore of Long Island, and we are at the age when we obsess over the resale value of the house.

I’m a better person when I’m warm. I bet that’s true of most people.

There are three New Orleans buttons under the “Categories” list for this blog, so if you are interested you can click onto one of them and square it (as in times-two it; this year’s trip was the best ever) which will save me from boring you with a re-cap EXCEPT FOR THIS AWESOME CAT PHOTO:

Photo taken at the open door of an antiques shop on Royal Street in the French Quarter.

In case you can’t read the message on the white pieces of paper taped into the objects on the table and bureau, it says:

Please Do Not Pet The Cats.

But I did anyway because the orange guy strolled over to me and obviously expected homage.

Speaking of homage . .

. . . in my on-going watchfulness of der Drumpf’s latest stupidity, I have to say that I am surprised that I am the only reporter, so far, who has noticed that our POSus has revealed his ignorance of English as a spoken language in his announcement of his appointment of Mike Pompeo as the new Sect’y of State, saying that Mike will be “one of the greatest secretary of states” ever.

Maybe I am too delicate for this world, but: even I know that the plural of Secretary of State is on the first noun. . . not the second. To me — the original Princess and the Pea — I find it as grating as when people use the improper past participle of “to go”.

Funny story about that (the proper conjugation of “to go”): when I was a mere lass in the middle 1970s struggling my way out of the working class into the low-middle bourgeoisie by taking courses at the local community college, I exchanged chit chat with a rather pompous young man who informed me that he was only amusing himself with night classes amount the proletariat because, and I will never forget this, he said: “I have already went to college.

I wonder what that guy is doing now, besides voting for der Drumpf.

You might have missed the news that assemblage artist La Wilson died on March 30. You can read an excellent and short account of er life and career here.

I became aware of La Wison’s work in the early 1990s, when she was quite the thing in the art world, especially as she was a woman who had come into her own at a rather late date (she was 62 when her career took off).

John Davis Gallery

I respect her for staying true to her instincts, year after year; and for her expeditious shuffling off of this mortal coil (that’s how I want to go).

John Davis Gallery

But her work makes me want to turn all little sister in Strictly Ballroom and chide her for a bit of musicality, please!

Akron Art Museum

I cannot say what lifts La Wilson’s work over all the other Joseph Cornell imitators, but then I am quite the dunce when it comes to deducing museum-quality art. But to my eye, Joseph Cornell’s work conveys a sense of a personal mythology at work, which is to say that his boxes seem (to me) to contain stories that are told all at once, in a whispered language that we can’t quite hear, which gives them their powerful mystery and appeal.

Joseph Cornell

Joseph Cornell

Joseph Cornell

La Wilson is quite clear that the objects that she uses are purposely devoid of meaning to her. They are formal elements only, pure shape or color — and you can see that her work is more mathematical and emotionless. Oh well.

I’ve never done an “assemblage”, but I wonder, seriously, How hard can it be?

I have sent my fully completed, 48-page dummy book to my agent . . .

. . . so I have time on my hands while I await her feedback. I might give “assemblage” a go. I did some 3-D collages a long time ago . . .

1996; the quote is from W. B. Yeats.

. . . so I think I can handle the “thing-ness” nature of the art form.

If you have done “assemblage”, please let me know about the experience. How hard was it?

And that’s all I got this week, which is yet another cold, gray, harsh see of days on the north shore of Long Island. I have (in the vault) a watercolor quasi-rescue that I have not yet gotten around to showing you which is on schedule for next Friday so be warned.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

And may there be a huge-ass assemblage of sex scandal and dope deal gone wrong and Planned Parenthood affiliation in Sean Hannity’s past that his non-lawyer Michael Cohen will be obligated to testify about in all our near futures.

XXOO

Australians: Sean Hannity spews false and evil propaganda on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News.I know Rupert is not your fault but, still . . . please send your surplus of flesh-eating ulcers his way.

Jeanie, this is for you:

Taffy and Bibs, who can not stand each other but cannot stand to be out of sight of one another. Is this love?

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Oh, Stormy Daniels, wondrous Star of Porn, how do I love thee? You are the celestial brightness to illuminate the cheap glitter of der Drumpf for all its tawdriness, the heavenly fire to incinerate the gas baggery of a man who has built his tacky career with the help of cons, crooks, grifters, and sleaze balls.

Dear Readers, Stormy Daniels is our Joan of Arc, our Esther, our Lisa Simpson. Stormy will save America from the sewer creatures that swamp this administration, and verily I say unto you, it will be a fine impeachment and yon hounding from office that will rid us of every smarmy Drumpf all the land, unto Donny Jr, Ivanka, Jared-by-association, unto the head spiv himself.

And then all will be as once was in the land. Amen.

I have my own spin on this. I think that der Drumpf’s biggest fear about the raids of his lawyer’s offices is that it will be revealed that he has been lying about how much money he has. I think der Drumpf is not a billionaire, and should that be revealed it would  be a humiliation worse than the revelations that he was working a porn star while his third wife had just given birth.

I have always suspected that the Drumpfs are not as rich as they want everyone to believe because I once (unknowingly) worked for a scam artist here on Long Island (more about this later) who learned his business through his affiliation with  another scam called Cambridge Who’s Who.

This (above) is a screen shot, c. 2009, of a video that is still available on the inter webs and that’s little Donny Drumpf Junior pitching the product. Here’s the thing: Donny Drumpf Jr. introduces himself smugly as an Executive Vice President of his daddy’s company, and says that Cambridge Who’s Who is the “primary business venture I’m pursuing outside the Trump organization.”

But here’s the thing:  the swindle of Cambridge Who’s Who is so cheap, so small potatoes — a few  thousand dollars per sad sack who paid to have his or her name included in some chintzy year book — that sure, I can see some greasy Long Island hack thinking that he’s striking it rich by pulling in enough money to buy himself a brand new Cadillac but WHY would the son of a billionaire bother??

Unless that “billionaire” did not exist. So I’ve always thought (well, since 2011, when I found out about it) that all  the Drumpfs were hard up for cash and resorted to these penny-ante cons such as Cambridge Who’s Who and Trump University, which was ordered to re-pay its enrollees $25 million just before the 2016 elections. I wonder how that judgement is going — der Drumpf is notorious for never paying his bills.

By the way, the scam I unwittingly worked for was called the NAPW, the National Association of Professional Women. Once I discovered that I was working for a scam artist (I was head PR writer), I began to collect evidence. It was surprisingly easy. I rooted around non-secured e-files and found Word docs about the various fines levied, frauds perpetrated by the founder of NAPW, as well as his history with Cambridge Who’s Who, and proof of the people that NAPW had cheated. I also got very lucky once when I opened a desk drawer (that I was assigned to sit at — I was not snooping) and it was full of old letters to and from lawyers and SEC regulators and old employees and aggrieved customers. Gold Mine.

I contacted women who had been legally threatened by NAPW, I contacted women who had fought back and won, I contacted other women who had gone public with their charges against NAPW. They volunteered to back me up. I took the whole shebang and myself to the Nassau County Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General and the Nassau County District Attorney. Neither office wanted to pursue the cause because I did not have “standing”, and because they seemed very uninterested in something so nickel-and-dime.

I wrote a Yelp! review with specific information about the piece of shit who ran the company, but was erased because the NAPW lawyer contacted Yelp! and had me removed becauseI wasn’t a customer and Yelp! only wants to hear from people who have actually used the service. But the Yelp! reviews that remain on the site make interesting reading, if you care.

Through long and hard searches into the dark corners of the internets I found out that once upon a time a Wall Street Journal reporter, tipped off by an inside source, had come nosing around the business a few years earlier and I contacted her. She was very interested in my docs, but she could not get her boss to sign off on the story because he was afraid of getting sued. The NAPW founder, like der Drumpf, like all con men, piles on the lawyers at the first whiff of exposure.

At the time, it felt very cloak-and-dagger, very All The Presidents’ Men.

Oh, I could tell you stories of the celebrities I tried to warn about the NAPW, like Arianna Huffington and Sara Blakley (Spanx), who were paid big bucks to attend the annual NAPW conference…and no one would listen!! When I heard that NAPW was going after Michelle Obama I was almost frantic, but luckily that never came to pass. Make no mistake: this business is a SCAM.

Ariana Huffington with NAPW spokesperson Star Jones, which gives you a clue as to the shadiness of the organization.

When I saw that I could not bring down this sleezy con, I got into several tense and threatening confrontations with management and I let myself be fired from NAPW.

By”tense and threatening”, I mean that the company had people search my desk after I left work, which I know because I made strategic friends in low places, which I tuned them about the next day. And then they staged a face to face meeting with the “head” of HR and the so-called President of the company, who tried to bully me into signing a paper that said I had been counseled that my  bullying (still a buzz word in wrongful termination suits) behavior had been acknowledged by me, which I refused to sign, and then they tried to tell me that not signing would have serious repercussion, such as getting fired… ha ha. I was the one person there who did not fear getting fired (been there, done that; and I was married to Top Cat at the time) so they fired me and I collected unemployment benefits from them, and the pay-out lasted longer than my employment. I went to Paris on their dime.

Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran at the 2014 NAPW gathering.

The file of all the dastardly deeds on the NAPW still sits in my closet, though, just in case.

I see that a lot of information about NAPW and its chiseling founder have been wiped from the interwebs, and although hardly anyone reads my blog; the files are clearly marked NAPW SCAM and they would be easy to find if I am incapacitated. You know, by foreign agents.

BTW, the chiseling founder, besides being a youngish guy who owned several Corvettes and a Maserati, had a little Yorkshire Terrier that he was very fond of and I have to say, he loved that DoG and was always very good to her. Go figure.

And did you notice something interesting about the fraud that started all this? Cambridge Who’s Who? And what it has in common with Cambridge Analytica?

Those Drumpfs must have a “thing” for the patina of the English upper classes, ya think?

Anyhoo, let’s not end here on a Drumpf note because :

Republicans, don’t take this personally. This is also how I feel about cilantro.

In other, more important news, this is what it looks like here on the north shore of Long Island (as of Wednesday, April 11 ) and yes, those are piles are snow:

That’s my car. Every large parking lot still has some daggy bits of Winter left on it. Sad.

And the other day I was giving kitties their breakfast and I discovered that someone’s mousie. . .

. . .  had dived into the cat food bowl:

I picked it out of the kibble and tossed it into the dining room. But the next day, the critter crawled his way back to the breakfast buffet:

Again, I picked it up and tossed it into the dining room, but the next day. . .

. . . the mousie was taking cover (under Bibs’ pink bowl) so I let him stay. He’s been on the breakfast mat ever since. His name is Jephte, after my Number One No. # 1 Reality TV hunny.

I have become totally hooked on this season’s Married at First Sight. I  keep wishing for the best for all the adorable couples, but my man Jephte has shown himself to be the person most capable of awesome personal growth and self-reflection and change. He started out as such a huge prick, but since then he’s become kind, loving, thoughtful, and caring! I love his heart, and I love the way he loves his heart’s mate. I have high hopes for him and Shawnice:

Shawnice is a very cute girl without makeup, but she is AMAZING with make up (she’s a make up artist). I give her major props for spending so much time on camera without make up, because she is a total dish when she puts on the war paint and there’s another girl on the show (Molly) who won’t be seen on film without thirteen layers of mascara. If you’re watching the show, you know what I mean.

Speaking of the quality time I spend with my TV, and although some of my die-hard Drumpf hater friends have tried to talk me out of it, I am still watching Roseanne.

I cannot wait until Michael Fishman gets his own story arc, but this week’s episode which featured the daughters, Becky and Darlene — titled Eggs Over, Not Easy — was totally brilliant. Brill-ee-ant.

 I’ve watched it twice and I’ve cried each time.

But I also cry when I watch Married At First Sight (these beautiful young people are so meant for each other and I just wish they will know that when the eight week experiment is over), and at the video that shows a color blind kid when he gets new “sunglasses” and can see color for the first time . . .

. . . and at the first chorus of Band of Heathens doing Hurricane. . .

. . . and when I think that thanks to our blessed Saint Stormy, Patron Saintess of Democracy, that we might soon be rid of history’s most sordid, stinking, stupid pustule that ever oozed upon the office of the President of the United States…

I just want to cry Hallelujah.

Which, by the way, when k. d. lang sings it, also makes me cry. But then, I’m usually drunk when I pat me up some k. d. at the 2005 Juno Awards in Winnipeg and at my most maudlin.  Canadians. What would American culture be without them?

Top Cat always tells me that my blog posts are too long.

Have a great weekend, everyone. And have a good cry. It’s good for the soul.

XXOO

 

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Late last week, on my daggy kitchen patio, here on the north shore of Long Island, this is the picture I took of the last, final, good riddance daggy pile of snow of the Winter of 2017-18 (Taffy strolled by just in time to give a sense of scale):

Ha ha. This week (April 2) all the rumors of another Spring snow storm came true. This is just one reason why Spring is my least favorite season. The other reasons are because it’s just a tatty, disappointing time of year.

Taffy doesn’t care if it’s Spring or not. He enjoys hopping and dashing around in the stuff any time it’s new and fresh and fluffy:

But it does tire him out:

Meanwhile, I, the completely crazy cat lady, worried that our front porch feral cat, Steve, might not have enough protection against this vicious Spring storm, so I rigged up some extra coverage for him (can you see him tucked up in his fleece-covered heating pad scooched into the straw nest that insulates his plexiglass hut under the other plexiglass lean-to behind the holly bush under the front porch eave?):

But let’s get down to business. Let’s do the Cross My Fingers Last Champagne-O-Meter of the Winter of 2017 -18.

This is what we woke up to, on Monday April 2 morning, on the den patio at approx. 7:00 AM:

One half hour later:

8:00 AM:

By 9 o’clock AM the Champagne-O-Meter had a really cute topper of snow:

Which this guy knocked off:

It was forecast that the snow would stop at 10 AM, and at precisely 10 o’clock AM, the snow stopped (how do they do that?), giving us a maximum snowage of this:

And let me tell you, it was beautiful. Every tree and bush looked like a big white fluffy feather, the world was whisper quiet, and the coziness was off the charts. Then it warmed up and got a little rainy and by 5 o’clock PM it was down to this:

And Taffy was down to this:

So, yeah, we’re back to the daggy end of Winter again and, now that I am finished painting the Damn Monet Book, I  am stuck working on the most daggy part of being an author: writing the book proposal.

This is the part where I show my publisher why the world needs one more damn book about Claude Monet, who is something of a cottage industry in the art world. Any museum director worth her salt knows that, if your gallery is running a deficit, all you have to do is put together an exhibit with the word “Monet” in the title you’ve got a sure-fire way of raking in the dough.

From 2016 to 2017, the money-maker was Painting the Modern Garden, Monet to Matisse that even got a theatrically- released film made out of it. The accompanying book of the exhibit is 328 pages long, weighs over five pounds, and costs almost $80.

That’s Monet’s painting of chrysanthemums on the cover. It proves my thesis that the only flower that Monet could paint well was the water lily.

This year the cash cow will be Monet and Architecture, which the Royal Gallery in London hopes will fill the coffers and which follows up on the 2010 spectacle, Claude Monet, a Retrospective that was held at the Grand Palais in Paris that drew 913,000 visitors in four months, the first show in France in over 34 years to out-pace the King Tut blockbuster of 1976.

It’s these kind of stats —  plus showing how the comparable best selling books are actually crappier versions of your own book which will out-sell those crap books — that you have to include in a proposal about your proposed Monet book. You need to show that there is great public demand for stuff about the Prince of Impressionists (965,000 people went to see a Monet exhibit at the Art Institute in Chicago in 1995 and added $393 million to the economy of the Chicago metropolitan area because 72% of visitors came from outside the city), and how your humble book (48 pages; much, much smaller than a breadbox; light as an impression of sun rise; and kind of cute) will fulfill an overlooked yet lucrative niche in Monet-branded consumer goods.

Photo credit: Joel Comm, fellow author.

This is the very worst part of writing a book. Except for all the other parts of writing a book. Basically, writing a book is torture, but having written a book is bliss. Except for all the things that you wish you change if only you could start all over.

But I digress. What I really want to talk about is whether or not this cat is dead:

This is how my 17-year old Coco sleeps on her heating pad on her Ikea chair. Every time I see her like this my heart stops because I think she’s dead. I wish she would sleep like a normal cat and stop giving me mini-panic attacks.

But I digress. What I really want to talk about is that big shiny gold cross that Laura Ingraham wears:

She’s very Christian, and did you know that for Christians this was Holy Week? And that Holy Week is the one week when Christians don’t make fun of kids who survived a mass shooting in their school? Because, you know, while decency might come naturally to other people, the people who wear big shiny crosses have to have a special Holy Week to not be a shit.

Laura Ingraham has been practicing her Christian values since college, when she was the editor of a conservative newspaper at Dartmouth in the mid-1980s that secretly recorded a meeting of closeted students who were seeking support from the school’s small Gay Student Association—and then released a transcript of the meeting.

Meanwhile, count me in as a member of the Church of the Advertisers Who Pulled Their Ads Off Of The Laura Ingraham Show:

TripAdvisor 

“TripAdvisor believes Americans can disagree while still being agreeable, and that the free exchange of ideas within a community, in a peaceful manner, is the cornerstone of our democracy. We do not, however, condone the inappropriate comments made by this broadcaster. In our view, these statements focused on a high school student, cross the line of decency.” (Yeah, that’s the cross that Laura wears.)

Wayfair

“The decision of an adult to personally criticize a high school student who has lost his classmates in an unspeakable tragedy is not consistent with our values. We do not plan to continue advertising on this particular program.”

Liberty Mutual Insurance

The insurer has pulled their support for Ingraham’s show because her comments were “inconsistent with our values as a company, especially when it comes to treating others with dignity and respect.”

Bayer

Miracle-Ear

Ruby Tuesday

Atlantis, Paradise Island

Jenny Craig

Nutrish

Hulu

Stitch Fix

Expedia

Nestlé

Johnson & Johnson

Office Depot

Somebody say Amen.

Have a great weekend Dear Readers. May all your snow be melted, and may all your cats be alive.

 

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