Dear Readers,

I suck at time management.

I am suddenly really busy with out-of-the-house stuff and I just didn’t get around to uploading all the  news this week.

Next week I’ll be in Los Angeles and I will DEFinately not have access to a computer nor will I have the time to curate the current events that never seem to stop.

I am deeply sorry to be a no-show this week and next…and if things turn out, I might be on a honeymoon in Korea after Dec. 5th so don’t be surprised if this thing never gets up and running again!

P.S. Chances are I won’t be running off to Korea but still, you never know.

Go take  some long walks, with some trashy movies that make you laugh, listen to sad songs that make you wish you were a love-sick 20-year old again (that’s what I do when I’m bored). 

Mucho xxoo

 

Vivian

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Top Cat and I  have had 18 Thanksgiving dinners together, and even when it’s only been the two of us (thanks to COVID, 2021 will be a tete-a-tete Thanksgiving) it’s the biggest meal of the year for us and we do the whole spread: turkey, twice-baked potatoes, broccoli, cole slaw, stuffing, pie) and every year we stress out over  the ingredients and the menu and we get nervous about getting everything done on time so we can serve it hot from the oven…every year, it’s as if we’ve never done this before.

If you, too, get Thanksgiving jitters, I hope the following will give you perspective on the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect on this day:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did I mention that Thanksgiving biscuits and gravy are my favorite part of the meal?

 

The other great part of Thanksgiving dinner is the nap you get to take afterwards:

 

In other news, The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly referred to as COP26 (the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference) being held n Glasgow,Scotland, finished their meeting this week and issued some blah blah blah about the protecting Planet Earth, our only home in the universe:

 

As of this typing, there is no verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial (Rittenhouse is the teenager who took a gun to a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin to “protect” the city, in which he did not live nor did he have a business or relatives there. If you’ve been paying attention, you already know how fucked up this whole trial had been with a judge who is obviously doing his best to get the shit stain acquitted, but just when you think he can’t get any more blatant about it, shit happens:

 

 

 

 

Matt Gaetz is the Republican representative from the Florida panhandle who is undeyinvestigation for trafficking underage girls for sex:

 

 

The only thing that makes me feel good about Kyle Rittenhouse and his band of supporters is that they are sad, angry, poor, and stupid and when they turn 38 years old they look like this:

This is Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother and she is 38 years old.

Paul Gosar, the Republican asshat from Iowa, sent an animated video out to his supporters which depicted him killing the Representative from New York, Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, known as AOC:

 

 

 

 

It’s another week and I’m still pissed off at Merrick Garland:

 

Let’s hope that this (below) is and  indictment with teeth…and I mean T-Rex size choppers:

 

 

 

 

And can’t the Department of Justice look into all those other shit bags who incited the Jan 6 riot?

 

 

 

YAY:

 

 

 

I came across this story (below) and I thought it was about a standard Republican anti-vcxx ass hat getting divine retribution, but then I thought, “Why the fuck is he in El Salvador??”

And now I think this guy needs to be investigated because it’s obvious that he goes to El Salvador A LOT, but why??? This was the story from way back last March, when he was ALSO in El Salvador for mucho tiempo:

Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen has missed more votes than any other state lawmaker this year, with some of his absences from the current legislative action occurring while he was observing elections in El Salvador.

Ericksen, who represents the 42nd District in Whatcom County, told The Bellingham Herald that the trip was separate from consulting and lobbying work he does for the country of Cambodia. He registered as foreign agent for his work for Cambodia in 2019, and the company he launched with former state Rep. Jay Rodne has a $500,000 contract with the country’s government.

Ericksen’s roll call voting record for the session through March 9 shows he missed 38 of 205 votes on bills’ final passage. Using that same data, senators had been marked “absent” or “excused” 131 times at that point in session for those sort of votes — Ericksen accounted for 29 percent of them.

My question is, “Why are Republicans so evil? That is, when they aren’t being sanctimonious?” 

 

Some kind soul on the inter webs fixed MTG’s bullshit:

 

Here’s another Republican genius who has decided that we need a race war AND a religious war:

 

Speaking of fake Christians. . . 

 

 

 

On second thought, is there any other kind of “Christian” but a fake one? I’m asking for a friend with half a brain:

 

 

 

Now for the part of this blog that I call, Eat The Rich:

 

And, finally, Yay for the good guys:

But the  the fight isn’t over:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time for a break from all the bleak news:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s it for today, Dear Readers. I did some more painting this week so I’ll post it next Friday and we cal all watch paint dry together, sounds FUN, right?

Have a great weekend, whether you’re in the half of the world that is warming up for some blazing hot Summer days or in the part of the planet that is turning cold and dark. But hey, here’s one good thing about Winter:

 

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I didn’t do any watercoloring this week…well, nothing that I want to show here because I did, actually, spend a few days jabbing at paper with brushes loaded up with watercolors but it was all garbage and it was all very aggravating so, in place of us watching paint dry today, I found some moments of Zen in my iPhoto files so let’s all get a cup of tea, take a deep breath, and let these images of peace and calm get us in the mood for our Friday visit:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking News: I cancelled my appointment to get my rotten new hair cut fixed (see last week’s fascinating coverage of The Big Chop) because, as Top Cat pointed out, did it make sense to have the guy who gave me a rotten cut in the first place  “fix” it? So I’m going to live with it, until I can’t, I guess.

So here’s what my hair looks like on a good day:

It’s a real nothingburger hair cut. It looks like I cut it myself during lockdown … when I was drunk … and bored … and had a pair of scissors handy … and wondered what I’d look like if I were poor. The side layers are OK:

Maybe I should get about two inches cut off the bottom?

But I have to face the world head-on and on a good day, with this cut, I look bedraggled. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Otherwise, all I can do is wait a year for it to grow out and I can start again. But a dire new hair cut isn’t the only thing I’m having to adjust to.

Every year, when we turn our clocks back one hour in the Fall, it reminds me how much I dislike this business of adding and deleting an hour to accommodate an ancient rural lifestyle when people had to milk cows first thing in the morning so they need sunlight at 6AM which is completely irrelevant to 99% of people in the 21st century. 

I deeply dislike it now that the sun sets at 5 o’clock and every part of my reptile brain feels that the day is over but yet there are sooooooo many hours of darkness before I can put myself to bed so what’s a girl to do?  I already watch too much TV. Am I supposed to read? (There aren’t enough good books to keep me occupied until April.) Make fruit preserves? (I loathe fruit in any form.) Knit? (And do what while I’m at it? Hum? Pray? Recite the periodic table?) 

It’s time to come up with a plan to get through the next four months of long, cold, darkness. I mean, that’s what creative, optimistic, cheerful, and forward-thinking people do, right? Didn’t I even write about it, and call it “Winter Mind”? 

Right. Getting my Winter Mind is on the To Do List. But for now, I need a nap. 

 

 

 

This story from California caught my attention:

I’m interested in California condors but it’s not because someone who was instrumental in re-introducing them into the wild gave me 2 magnificent condor feathers to frame and hang in my work room because that would be illegal, but these birds are HUGE and until you’ve held a wing feather in your own hands you might not be able to appreciate the scale of these rare creatures. 

I’ve never seen a California condor in flight, but I’ve read that it is an impressive sight. With a nine-foot plus wingspan, the birds can stay aloft for hours, floating up to 15,000 feet on warm air thermals. This is North America’s largest flying bird, weighing up t0 26 pounds. (Does North America have a non-flying bird?)

So I looked into this story of the gang of  condors, and it all began with this tweet from Seana Lyn:

The birds have trashed the deck — ruining a spa cover, decorative flags and lawn ornaments. Plants have been knocked over, railings are scratched and there are droppings everywhere.

“She’s definitely frustrated but also is in awe of this and knows what an unusual experience this is,” said Seana Lyn of her mother.

California condors almost vanished in the 1980s before the few remaining birds were captured and placed in zoos for captive breeding. A few hundred birds are now in the wild. 

As condors re-colonize parts of their historical range, people could increasingly find themselves interacting with the “curious, intelligent, social” birds, a California wildlife official said.

 

In other much less impressive, but far more annoying news, the new Republican governor-elect of Virginia wants people to stop picking on his child. His “child” is a 17-year old snot nose baby Republican shit bag:

 

 

Gov-elect Youngkin, who made election integrity an issue in his high-stakes campaign, was recently asked about the incident.

“It was silliness, I think,” Youngkin said.  

He went on to say that “there’s real confusion on where a 17-year-old can vote or not.”

Underage people cannot vote in general elections.

Youngkin said his son “had a friend that said he might be able to vote. He went up and asked. I know my son really well. He’s an incredibly respectful young man. He presented his ID and when they said he couldn’t vote, he said ‘okay,’ and went to school.”

 

Now lets’ move on to another shit bag 17-year-old, Kyle Rittenhouse.

Someone has to get rid of the judge in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder case. Bruce Schroeder is giving very indication, from the bench, that he approves of Rittenhouse acquiring an illegal automatic weapon and having his mother drive him across state lines to attend a Black Lives Matter protest in Wisconsin which led  him to shoot three people, killing two. Schroeder did not allow the prosecution to call the murdered men “victims”, and when Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand to answer questions about the sequence of events before he shot and killed his first non-victim, the jury was forced to watch the video evidence play out in miniature — because Rittenhouse’s defense lawyer came up with the wild notion that Apple has “artificial intelligence” that manipulates footage when you pinch-to-zoom on an iPad, and Judge Bruce Schroeder totally bought into that possibility.

Judge Schroeder argued that it was the prosecution — not the defense — that had the burden of proving that Apple doesn’t use artificial intelligence to manipulate footage, demanding that they provide an expert to testify, and didn’t allow the prosecution to adjourn to find that expert before bringing Rittenhouse up for cross-examination. The judge suggested that prosecutors could somehow find that expert in 20 minutes while they took a brief recess. “Maybe you can get someone to testify on this within minutes, I don’t know,” said the judge. No such expert was there by the time the trial resumed.

 

 

And then Kyle took the witness stand and cried.

 

 

Let’s assume that ALL white supremacists are cry babies:

This guy’s name is Scott Fairlamb and he has a brother who works in the Secret Service, and even served on Michelle Obama’s security detail. 

So a far-right Republican tweeted out a video of him killing a Democratic congresswoman and Twitter flagged it but wouldn’t take it down at it is “in the public interest” to let politicians act  as crazy as they want, and so far the Attorney General hasn’t arrested this asshole:

I used to feel sorry for Merrick Garland for having his Supreme Court nomination torpedoed by Mitch McConnell, but now. . .

 

A famous football quarterback, Aaron Rodgers,  turns out to have lied about getting the Covid vaccine, and he was  bounced from a few games and then he went on the inter webs and talked about having “500 pages of research” that shows masks don’t work and the coronavirus is only a flu.

 

 

 

 

But there IS some good news!

 

I missed it when Mitch McConnell’s wife, a millionaire named Elaine Cho who used to  work in Trump’s cabinet, went on TV and told people that they should work at jobs that stink:

 

 

 

 

About this (above)…the Jew whom Mark Pukita was talking about is Josh Mandel and if Mandel weren’t one of the biggest Republican shit bags in America I would be very offended by this, but Mandel is only getting what he dishes out so I say, go at it, both of you, and let it get snugly that the Democrat manages to win the seat next November.

Let’s check in with the rest of the Republicans:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

k

And this is  just because we can’t stand Eric Trump:

If you are looking for a new hobby, have you ever thought of leaving a funny product review on Amazon?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s all the news for this week in America, Dear Readers. I am still thinking of getting my winter Mind in gear and I have to say that, although Trump has been up to his Trumpfuckery and gotten a stay on the National Archive release of his presidential papers until Nov. 30, there will come a day when we will see him be held accountable for insurrection and corruption. The hope of seeing him in a perp walk in 2022 is what gives me and my Winter mind joy and peace and love.

That day will come. It will. 

 

Have a great weekend, everyone. See you here next Friday. 

 

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During the Covid lockdown my hair got really long:

Last weekend I had about 8 inches of it cut off and I hate it. I don’t mind short hair, because I’ve had short hair for years and I’ve been very happy with it, but I really hate this hair. I really, really hate  it. It makes me depressed and makes me feel  old and I HATE IT. I’m going to get it fixed on the afternoon of the day this blog publishes so, depending on the outcome of the rescue, I might or MIGHT NOT be here next week, being as if things go awry I will be way too busy feeling extremely sorry for myself and, most likely, on an epic bender because I have very limited coping skills.

Speaking of rescues. . . 

If you recall, last week I was so smitten with this photograph . . . 

. . .  that I painted it.

The problem is that it wasn’t until I saw this watercolor up here on the computer machine that I  realized that I hated it. It’s a horrible painting. Thank you to all you Dear Readers who said nice things about this painting, but LOOK AT IT! It doesn’t capture the drama or the awesome compositional oomph of the photograph, which has a lot of dark and light shadow play and has four very strong diagonals that criss-cross the whole picture plane from side to side.  

For my own peace of mind I had to draw the angles of the tower that I couldn’t see in the photo.

So we’re going to rescue it today.

But this time, I have a new strategy. As you see, the background of this photo has a lot of detail and, as it depicts an actual place (in Halifax, Yorkshire, England) all those details have to be in precise place. So I put the photo on a grid:

And when I drew my pencil guide-lines for my watercolor, I also put in a grid:

I started with the sky, same as I did last week:

But as you can see, it was shitty. So I started over  again, but this time I had a new  strategy (this painting is all about new strategies and how they can make your life easier make your paintings better).

For Sky #2, I been by painting the whole sky area with white paint:

I’m making my life easier by tapping off the edges of this picture so I don’t have to bother with “staying in the lines”.

I like using white paint because it does strange things when you put wet colored paint on top of it. Also, I had an idea that I wanted to let the paper and the water and the paint do its thing, rather than having me “paint”, because I like watercolors that look like water and color.

I did very little “painting” here (below) and instead  let the paint groove with the layer of what paint under it, and I think I finally captured some luminance :

P.S. I had to put masking fluid on the tower, too, while I painted the sky.

Using the grid, I can check my position in the painting with the corresponding grid cell in the photograph, and will be able to paint the background details more accurately than in my first attempt where, to tell the truth, I often got lost:

I’m using masking fluid to add texture to the middle ground bushes:

While I’m working with so much green paint, I’m going to protect my beautiful sky with a sheet of tracing paper because I tend to drop a lot of blobs of paint or water while I paint:

 

P.S. At some point while working on this, I did drop a little blob of green paint onto my unprotected sky and my heart stopped, but I was able to lift up and cover it up with white paint so that you can’t see it…WHEW.

OK, for the foreground of yellow “weeds”, I’ve used a new strategy. I dipped a brand new toothbrush into masking fluid and I flicked it onto the lower third of this painting (sorry, I didn’t take photos of this because I needed both hands for flicking). I wanted a more random pattern to the weeds here, and by flicking the masking fluid I was able to get that randomness and also little teeny tiny drops onto the paper:

 

 

 

 

There in the foreground, this is what it looked like BEFORE I lifted off some of the masking fluid off it.

I’ve lifted the masking  fluid off to this small bit of foreground because I was dying to see how this turned out:

I like how the masking fluid worked here!

I painted in some green and darker yellow to add  depth and variety to the weeds:

Now I lift off the masking fluid from the foreground:

Touch up:

 

 

DONE:

I removed the tape so the top edges curled up.

Compare to last week’s painting:

So now that I’ve done my good deed for the week, let’s see what mischief the rest  of America has been up to.  

Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who on August 25, 2020, packed  a gun and travelled fromAntioch, Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin to look for trouble at a Black Lives matter protest , is on trial for shooting three protestors, killing two and injuring one.

 

The judge, Bruce Schroeder, is an asshole:

 

The Charleston church shooting was a mass shooting on June 17, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina, in which nine African Americans were killed by a scrawny piece of shit white supremacist during  Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

President Biden is trying to pass a major piece of domestic legislation:

 

President Biden went to Rome to meet the leaders of the G20 and to talk with the pope, via the Vatican’s  translator:

I don’t have anything good to say about the pope, or about religion in general because: 

 

 

 

 

But as long as we’ve brought Trump into the discussion . . . 

 

 

 

Remember Jenna Ryan, the dip shit Trumper from Texas?

 

This gives me hope for the future:

As of Nov. 1, 691 people have been charged with crimes relating to the January 6 insurrection, but they’ve all been low-level rioters. So far, none of the ring leaders have been  charged.

 

But maybe we have other problems besides a political minority that is itching for another civil war…namely, we might soon have a revolution on our hands:

 

 

 

 

Now for some GOOD NEWS:

By the way, this is the fire that the cat survived:

 

Here is a sample of the “poetry” that nurse Steve Shurden wrote:

Their jabbing all arms, now we may need a booster

They came too late, to fool this savy rooster.

“Their”…”savy”…do they let just anyone be a nurse these days? His wife is still very proud of her Christian husband, who died to own the libs. 

Whenever a Trumper dies of Covid, a golden retriever gets a moment of zen:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. I hope you take the moral of today’s post — it’s  never to late to start over and make things better — and give yourself a do-over if you need it. And you have some BFFs in the same boat, friends who could use a rescue, you might want to turn this journey  to redemption into a road trip:

 

 

 

 

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I’m back!

Thank you, all you Dear Readers, especially Bea, Betsy, Carol, Jeanie, Judy, Kirra, Leslie, Maryanne (the OG), Megan, The Artist Currently Known as Rachel, Robert, Steve, and Susie, for your concern. Thank you, Mom, and Thank You Anonymous who sent me a post card from the V&A Museum from somewhere in America. I’m fine. I’m still miffed that it’s October but I’m fine.

It was a series of unfortunate events that kept me away for two weeks. I was not seriously ill (truth to tell, I had a hangover for the first time in, oh…15 years) because our oldest cat, Candy, died (and it was not an easy or pretty death, at home because of bad timing with the vet) the day before the first anniversary of my best friend’s death, and my dream of seeing BTS in LA was in peril because of computer problems and Ticketmaster susks, and so Top Cat replaced our WiFi hardware which shut us down completely, and I don’t have to tell you that dealing with the cable company SUCKS but here’s how it went On Day Three, when we were told that the problem would be fixed within three hours; naturally, Top Cat was skeptical so he repeated: “Three Hours?” and the customer service guy said “Yes, three hours. Or 24 at the most.”

So yeah, it’s hasn’t been a great month and the Republicans are still hell-bent on destroying democracy in America and I didn’t want to deal. I’m sorry for going AWOL but you know, sometimes you just gotta throw up your hands and take a day or week or two off. 

One thing that I squared away while I was taking time off was our Halloween candy situation. We do not give out “fun” size candy because they are skimpy and an insult to the spirit of the holiday, so I insist that we give out regular-size candy bars and this year Top Cat said he had it under control. But this is what he thinks is a Treat: Mounds bars (ew — coconut), Snickers (ew — peanuts) and Mocha Kit Kats (MOCHA). If I, as a kid (or as an adult) were to be given any of those candy bars I would put you on  my Mischief list, so I went out and got the good stuff. Come to my house and if I get to the candy dish first, I’ll be handing out Three Musketeers,  dark chocolate Milky Ways, and Cabury’s Caramels.  There’s even a few Heath bars in the mix.

I’ve also been wheeling and dealing every damn day, making deals and appeals and I finally have my Los Angeles trip sorted out, as of just last night. Through machinations that I never want to go through again I have tickets to two nights of BTS at SoFi Stadium HEART BE STILL, and a bonus ticket to a show called the Jingle Ball, hosted by iHeart Radio, at the Forum. BTS is only going to do 2 songs at the Jingle Ball, but Ed Sheehan will be there and Dua Lipa will be there, and a slew of people I have never heard of who are probably very famous but I’m old and don’t have a clue. The Kid LAROI? Tate McRae? Bazzie? 

I don’t regret the time, effort, and $$$ it’s going to take for me to travel 3,000 miles, on Top Cat’s birthday, to be in the same giant stadium with my Korean husbands because last week this came up on my Twitter timeline and put it all in perspective:

Seize the day, Dear Readers. Seize the day.

So let’s seize today, shall we?

Today I’m going to take you to Yorkshire, England, to a small valley near Halifax. This is the view where there once was a coal mine owned by the the local landowner Anne Lister, who called her mine works the Walker Pit, after her life partner Ann Walker (whose money financed the operation). The tower you see is actually a ventilation shaft from the underground mineshaft.

I’m going to paint this for my friend the author Janet Lea, whose book, The Gentleman Jack Effect,  is all about the enormous influence that Anne Lister, and her wife Ann Walker, have had on the worldwide LGBTQ+ community. Janet took this photo (above) on her recent visit to Halifax for her book launch in September.

There is one thing about this photo that I am dying to paint, and one thing that I am dreading. What I’m dreading is the tower, because as you can see, it is a challenging structure because I happen to know what it looks like on a bright, sunny day:

The tower (above, in bright sunshine) would be very easy to paint and it is exactly the kind of thing I love painting.  It is architectural, it has a simple  geometry, and it has a pattern (I love patterns, esp. stone patterns).

But, as you can see in Janet’s photo, her tower is not like the one pictured above. Janet’s photo was shot from a very different angle than the one above, on a moody, rain-threatened afternoon.  The problem is that Janet’s tower looks nothing like the tidy octagonal net-gothic obelisk above; it looks almost as if it is a ruin. In order to paint it I will have to paint only what I see in the photo, that is, be like Monet, and paint it as if it were nothing but planes of shadow and light, and forget about what I know is there.

P.S. I’m not good at that kind of thing. 

But what excites me about this photo, and what I am dying to paint, is the foreground:

To paint these (for want of a better word) weeds in the foreground I want to try something here that I’ve never done, and I’m excited to get started. So, the first thing I do is lay down a base coat of straw color:  

I have used masking fluid to cover the top  bit of the tower — the part that is in the sky — and I am using the same masking fluid (below) to draw stalks and flower-heads on top of my base coat of straw color: 

While the masking fluid is drying, I am going to paint the sky. I start with a wash  of clean water:

I dab white paint on my brush because white paint does weird things, and I  also dip it into a blue/gray mix that  I made and I’m going to let the pigments duke it out on the paper:

I’ll be dipping my brush into darker and darker blue/gray mixes and watching how it all reacts to the water that is soaking the paper:

Once I have a good slurry of paint on the paper, I twist a Kleenex (see below) and will use it to pick up a strategic amount of color. . .  

. . . in order to expose the white paper underneath:

Drop in some more paint for contrast:

And let dry:

Although I am itching to paint those foreground weeds, I have to be methodical, so I start doing the delightful little fields and forests in the background:

This is persnickety stuff because the landscape here is very specific, and I have to get every tree and field:

 

 

I have this new thing I do when the paint is wet. I use a toothpick to etch grooves into the paper in order to make fine lines. Here (below), I’m doing it to add texture to a middle ground bush:

At last! I can start on the weeds! First, I’m going to paint over the masking fluid!

 

 

While that dries, I’m going to tackle the tower:

 

Although I’m only showing two photos of the tower-painting,  I spent a LOT of time getting the shadows right. I also fucked , up the perspective (as you can see, above) and had to fix it. In real time, I worked on this tower over two different days because I needed a break so I could come back to it with rested and fresh eyes. 

But once I had to tower done to my satisfaction, I had to do the middle ground in front of it. I used white acrylic paint to add in some stray stalks over the background:

 

 

I stopped here again, and when I came back to this paiting the next day I saw something that I had not noticed the day before. Namely, that I had made a mess of the middle ground. I hate that there is a line that bi-sects this middle ground area of wild brambles (below) — can you see it too?

Luckily I was able to “erase” the line:

And now I can lift off the masking fluid on the foreground and get to the FUN PART:

I start by adding long stokes of color:

 

 

This is an intermediate look at the WIP. I took another day to make lots of detail in the foreground . . . 

Here’s the story. When Janet was climbing the  hills above Walker’s Pit, she spotted a bit of blue gleaming in the tall grass. Lo and behold, it was the iridescent sparkle of a rook’s wing feather:

She brought that feather all the way back to New Mexico, where she placed it in a LeDuree macaroon box and sent it to Yours Truly, to whom it is a prized possession.

Everything looks better with a mat:

So, if you’ve been paying attention to the Congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, you’ve noticed how hoard the Republicans are working to gaslight the House and the American people about how the riot was not a big deal and that Democrats should Get Over It. Tucker Carlson, the shit stain who defends white supremacy on Fox News, has a documentary coming out in January that claims the whole thing was an FBI “false flag” operation.

I can’t s[end too much time soon this shit because it makes my blood boil. Honestly, I can feel a tightness n my chest every time I think about Trump and his enablers and his shit-for-brains supporters. This can’t be good for my mental or physical health, so I have to go light on the current events this week. But here are some highlights:

 

 

 

Here’s the receipt:

 

 

 

 

P.S. This is Steve Bannon, Trump’s political consultant who was in the War Room on January 6, calling the shots on the insurrection:

To be fair, Steve Bannon looks half dead already.

This is from January 7, 2021:

 

 

So far in 2021, there have been 232 mass shootings in America, with 437 deaths. 

 

 

 

 

 

All over the country police unions are protesting their city’s vaccine mandates. Here in New York City, the protests are large and noisy, but I only have  photos from Seattle so let’s shit on Seattle PD today:

 

 

 

And now for something completely different.

I pulled some great Halloween costumes from the inter webs but I have to admit, I’m partial to the Squid Game ones:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Mrs. Hall, social studies teacher, doing Dwight Shrute. Standing O for Mrs. Hall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, everyone. Take your mind off of the world’s dire problems and go get a sugar coma (whether from too much candy corn or tequila, ii don’t judge) and enjoy all the fun of Halloween. As Janet Lea says, Have a Blue Feather Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You might remember that last May we welcomed a new member of the family here at Too Many Cats Manor. This is Teddy:

I’m happy to report that Teddy is fitting in quite well to his new surroundings, where the prevailing aesthetic is We Can Not Have Nice Things. Here’s where he made his “mark”, you could say, on the Summer curtains in our guest room:

I guess he thought the drapes needed an aperture? Or two?

So, yeah, this is how we live.

Here’s Teddy helping me study Korean . . .

. . . which brings me to the news that me and Teddy are very hip these days with our Korean hobby, as the Oxford English Dictionary has validated the influence that Korean culture is having on Western society when it announced, on October 5, that  it was adding 26 words of Korean origin to its latest edition. With these additions, “we are all riding the crest of the Korean wave” the OED said in a statement. 

  • aegyo
  • banchan
  • bulgogi
  • chimaek
  • daebak
  • dongchimi
  • fighting
  • galbi
  • hallyu
  • hanbok
  • japchae
  • K-
  • K-drama
  • kimbap
  • Konglish
  • Korean wave
  • manhwa
  • mukbang
  • noona
  • oppa
  • PC bang
  • samgyeopsal
  • skinship
  • tang soo do
  • trot
  • unni

I  had to look up “tang too do” —  I thought it might be food, but it’s a form of martial art that I’ve never heard of.  

And this, Dear Readers, is where I have to leave you today. I am feeling poorly and I just don’t have the energy to load all the bits of news and pop culture that I’ve been saving this past week. I apologize, and I will miss our get-together, but I’ll be in form, I’m sure, next Friday.

P.S. Ticketmaster is a fucking nightmare and after three rounds I STIL have not secured my BTS tickets. But there are two more chances to pile back into the scrum, today and tomorrow, and I have a  magic feather that will give me the power to soar above the fray. 

Have a great weekend, everyone. 

P.S. There really is a magic feather and I will tell you the whole story next week.

 

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Fall here on the north shore of Long Island is a very beautiful time of year when you are in the right frame of mind. That frame of mind makes you eager to wear your favorite sweaters again; happy to sleep with soft blankets pulled up to your chin and to get up in the dark to pull on wooly socks in the warm pool of light cast by your bedside lamp; cheerful when the afternoon chill sets in at 4 o’clock and that means “toast and tea time” with a cat on your lap; feeling invigorated by the crispness of the air every time you step outdoors and excited about the drama that comes when Nature undergoes its most radical change of the year.

But that’s not me. I’m not that girl. 

Here are pictures from Autumns Past that I took back when I was the type of person who didn’t equate Fall with gloom and boredom:

Taffy and Bibs on the kitchen patio.

On my morning run in 2020:

On Long Island Sound:

A mile from my house:

Typical Fall morning:

Taffy, contemplating Autumn :

Arrangement of leaves in my front yard:

To answer a question that Dear Reader Christine asked last week, Yes, I think I will be able to get out of my funk in time to do an Autumn Leaf painting this year. 

The colors peak in very late October or early November, so we have a few weeks for me to turn this situation around and start hunting for the Perfect Fall Leaf.

But let’s not rush it. I have one final, fantastic story to tell you that proves how special the Summer of 2021 was for moi.  

Top Cat and I packed a picnic dinner on Saturday (September 25), a day that still felt like Summer, and headed to Morgan Park to watch the sun set and celebrate the Autumnal Solstice. Morgan Park is a 40-acre site on a bluff overlooking the Long Island Sound with a landscape that was carefully designed to look “natural” by architects hired by financier and Gilded Age robber baron J. P. Morgan in 1926 to build an environment in memory of his wife and gifted to the citizens of Glen Cove, Long Island, because that’s what billionaires did when they were born at a time when they couldn’t blow their wealth by going up in space.

 

Top Cat and I have a favorite picnicking spot in Morgan Park but on this day we discovered that it was taken up by a large children’s party complete with bouncy castle (which we are sure can’t be legal in a public park). So we hiked around and found a place that was quiet and had a decent view of the horizon and we unpacked our dinner and poured two cups of champagne (which we are sure is absolutely not legal in a public park) and we toasted the arrival of Fall.  Top Cat, in a mood to generate ideas about what we can do, where we can go in the waning months of 2021 so we can have something to look forward to,  asked me, “So, what do you see in the future?”

And I said, “Nothing good.”

I explained that the main thing that I see in the future is that one of us will die before the other and that it’s going to suck if you’re the first one to go, because you’ll be dead, and it will suck if you’re the second one to go, because you’ll be left behind.

(As you can see, I am a joy to be around these days.)

That said, I then took a big swig of champagne and pointed to something in the grass about 12 feet away.

“Does that look like a feather to you?” I asked.

When you are a collector of feathers, a lot of things look like feathers — twigs, leaves, shadows, bits of trash. I’d been eyeing a sliver of something sticking straight up in the grass, a suspicious silhouette that appeared to be almost black, something that was much darker than the green grass surrounding it. The sun was in our eyes, so I couldn’t get a good look at it.

Top Cat said, “I can’t tell.” He wasn’t really all that interested in the issue and, well, neither was I, really, because Blue Jay molting season is over and it had been 21 days since I’d found a feather, but what did I have to lose?

So I put down my cup of champagne and I strolled over to have a look and this is what I found:

And this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is exactly how the Universe tells you that this is a delightful planet full of beautiful things to discover if you shut the fuck up and stop whining. 

While I was pretty much flabbergasted to find this, my favorite kind of Blue Jay feather, I could tell that Top Cat wasn’t as awe-struck as I was at the audacity of the Great Spirit to gift me this one final harbinger of hopefulness. I couldn’t understand how he could be so calm about it, but then, he was the designated driver and had not guzzled two Solo cups of California’s finest brut.

With that, I was ready to close the 2021 Blue Jay Feather Collection and I mounted my finds all together:

In total I found 41 Blue Jay feathers, by far the most I’ve ever found in a single season. The feather in the top right corner was a birthday gift from a friend in Kentucky — all the others are local. I arranged them so that all the wing feathers are on top, tail feathers in the middle, and special feathers on the bottom: I had three days when I found three feathers, and of course the Morgan Park feather deserves its place as the coda of a memorable Summer.

And speaking of memorable, my friend , author Janet Lea, sent me this photo from her book launch — The Gentleman Jack Effect —  in Halifax last week:

Janet’s book sold out in the UK! That’s her, above, in the blue shirt, talking with none other than Suranne Jones, the star of the hit BBC drama Gentleman Jack, who came to Yorkshire to add her star power to the events that commemorated Anne Lister, of which Janet was a featured speaker and honored guest. How’s that for coming into your own??

Buy the book here.

It looks like, if things go according to plan, that I, too, will be traveling next month, the first time I will have left home since March 2020. 

They will be at SoFi Stadium . . . 

. . . which is a brand new — opened in November 2020 —  high-capacity venue seating 70,000 (but can be expanded to 100,000 for events such as a Super Bowl or a BTS concert), but I don’t think it’s big enough to hold four days’ worth of BTS ARMY. 

As it happened, on the same day that BTS announced their LA concerts, I went to my GP for my annual physical. I had to do the thing where a rubber sleeve is wrapped around my arm and inflated until it feels as if my fingers are about to fall off and, for the first time ever in my life, I registered as having high blood pressure. 

My doctor was very concerned about this sudden development and quizzed me about life style changes and my eating habits and asked me if I was depressed. She wants me to come back in three weeks so we can do the test again and consider behavioral or pharmaceutical therapies.

I couldn’t tell her that I have high blood pressure because I’m stressed out about getting tickets to see BTS.  Now, I was holding tickets to their cancelled shows in 2020, so  get the chance to buy in advance of GP sales, but I’m only in the second-tier of VIP advance-sales queue so even thinking about having to get into the scrum, once again, for extremely hard-to-get BTS tickets makes my heart pound. The Hunger Games happensfor me on Oct 6, next Wednesday, so by October 7 I will know whether I’m back to normal blood pressure of if I have lost my will to live.

So that’s what’s up with me. Let’s see how the rest of the U. S. is faring:

Congress had to OK a new debt ceiling so the United States wouldn’t go into default, and the Republicans threatened to block the action and shut down the government just to make Joe Biden look bad. They eventually caved, but. . . 

 

Arizona Republicans announced the result of their bulllshit “audit” of the 2020 Presidential election, a process that was in the hands of an iffy Florida outfit called Cyber Ninjas, and the count was:

 

 

 

 

 

 

COVID news:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. A fork would work, too, but extra points for the stylish chopsticks, dude!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For $5, the Second Chance Animal Rescue will write the name of someone you hate on the bottom of a litter box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, everyone. If you want to have a calm, relaxing Saturday and Sunday DO NOT, under any circumstances, watch Squid Game, the No. 1 show on Netflix, the first Korean series to make this rank. This is great TV, with superb social commentary, breath-holding suspense, and non-stop thrills.  

However, if you can’t resist tuning in, be prepared to ruin your plans for a completely uneventful and snooze-filled weekend.  

Or, sleep late and put an old Temptations record on and bake a loaf of bread and eat it while it’s warm with a slice of cheddar and a glass of Pinot Noir because it’s October and that’s good, too.

 

XXOO 

 

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I have a great story for you all today, but to set the mood I’ve hand-selected these memes for you to enjoy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here’s the thing. After 40 or so years  of being an adult, I’m getting less and less thrilled about it. Specifically, I’m talking about the years from around the time you become eligible for Social Security until you die. These do not seem to be the most exciting years of life, judging by what I did yesterday. Yesterday, 65-year-old me put new shelf liners in our kitchen pantry, and then I went to the bank, and then I waited until Jeopardy came on TV so I could make a gin and tonic. 

I’m not saying that I was never bored when I was in my 20s or 30s — in fact, I was often bored. . . but there was always a way out!  I could take off for Paris! I could stay out all night dancing and getting high in the East Village! I could join the Peace Corps! I could go hitch-hiking in Ireland! I could go live on a kibbutz in the Jordan Valley for a year! I could jump into a love affair with someone totally inappropriate that would end in tragedy! Sadly, life doesn’t offer  itself up that way when you are in your 60s, 70s, or 80s and I rue it every day.  And yet, there are people who get to my age and find ways to still be energized and excited and ensouled by life. 

That’s why I am in awe of my friend, Janet Lea, a Baby Boomer public relations executive who fell deeply in love two years ago and, as a result, is in Yorkshire (England) this week, meeting and greeting local and national celebrities who are clamoring for her attention as she unveils her first book to the acclaim of world-wide gathering of  academics and influencers.  

Now this is what I call Living Out Loud which is, fact, the subtitle of her book:

Gentleman Jack is the name of an 8-hour historical drama from the BBC that aired in the Spring of 2019 about Anne Lister, an upper class lady from Halifax; a landowner, world traveller, and polymath who cross-dressed in men’s clothes and took a wife in 19th-century England. Anne Lister was a lesbian at a time when there wasn’t even the word “lesbian”.

As Janet says: “It never crossed my mind that watching a TV show in 2019 would propel me out of my comfort zone, send me on a transatlantic adventure, and plop me smack  dab in the middle of an international community of lesbians, historians, and strong women. Gentleman Jack upended my life.”

The thing is, Janet is happily married to her wife of many, many years, and was enjoying a slower-paced life in semi-retirement in New Mexico but, “Thanks to Gentleman Jack, I fell in love with a woman who had been buried for nearly two hundred years. I was stupefied and embarrassed because Anne Lister was, after all, dead. But far more mortifying and unexpected was my morphing into a 70-something fan girl.”

With the conclusion of the first season of the show Janet “assumed what had become my unsettling preoccupation with Anne Lister would end and my infatuation  with all things Gentleman Jack would surely dissipate. 

But no, it didn’t,” Janet says.  “It got worse.”

I was obsessed.”

So what she did was put a 15-page questionnaire to the Facebook group of Gentleman Jack fans from around the world , asking about the impact the program had had on their lives. Out of the 600 people who wrote lengthy and “searingly emotional” responses, she interviewed close to 70 people, via Zoom, while the world was in lockdown in 2020 and 2021. Their stories show how people can find their true selves, via Gentleman Jack (or some other catalyst). These are  people who re-created themselves to live more loving, more authentic, more meaningful, and more adventurous  lives because of Anne Lister’s example of strength and courage.

Since publishers usually have a backlog queue of books in their publishing schedules that would have put her on a 2-year waiting list, Janet founded her own publishing company, hired a graphic designer, proofreader, IT specialist, and production manager while she handled rights and permissions and got her book and e-book to press just two months after her final interview. Pub date: September 2, 2021.

And now, 23 days later, Janet is the foremost documentarian of the phenomenon spurred by this BBC TV show that is re-shaping lesbian identity. She’s got a sold-out book event in Anne Lister’s hometown, she’s an honored guest at a symposium that features renowned Anne Lister historians and archivists, and she’s holding meetings with the creators of the BBC program because of their interest and gratitude for her  work, which, buy the way, has made The Gentlemen Jack Effect the #1 book in Lesbian Studies on amazon.com.

P. S. I did the illustrations.

 

 

 

What I love most about Janet’s story is that it shows how alive we can be at any age. Everything that she has accomplished in the past two years comes down to falling in love, to having that special kind of passion that is the life force itself. I wish there was a way that you could conjure it up at will, but it seems to be a thing that comes out of the blue, randomly, when you least expect it. And isn’t that wonderful? It could happen today! 

Janet’s book  click here is available at amazon.com because it was the only distributor she could find who would get orders out fast and efficiently to America and overseas. You don’t have to be in love with Anne Lister to be moved and inspired by these life-affirming and joyous stories of self-actualization, but you do have to have a beating heart — these stories will move you. 

Happy reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, everyone. I hope you all fall in love and 18 months later find yourself in a far-away land being the toast of the town. Or, throw yourself a staying-at-home party while you whip up some margaritas and tip the cute pizza delivery guy an extra $10. For all you Australians who are gearing up for lawn-sprinkler-hopping-into season, and all you Northern Hemispherians who are taking stock of the sweater situation: you never know. A great passion might be just around the corner, because weird things happen on the cusp.

 

See you all next week.

XXOO

 

 

 

 

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For those of you who are looking forward to Fall here are some messages from Your People. For for those of us who are dreading the end of Summer, here are some messages from perverts:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This last image (below) almost — almost — puts me in a good mood about the Solstice:

 

And this:

 

As I do every year about this time, when the weather turns cooler, I made a slew of appointments with doctors, dentists, and hair stylists to get myself in order for the eventual bleak times. Because of this, I’ve been talking to a lot of receptionists lately and have been saying my name to strangers with some frequency. 

I like my name. I’ve never been tempted to change or gussy it up with a foreign pronunciation (I knew a guy named Steven who went to Europe for a semester in college and when he got back he insisted that everyone call him Stefan, accent on the “fan”).

I’ve never wanted to disguise it with a cuter nick name, or get rid of half of it by taking either of my husbands’s last names. 

Other people have liked my name, too. A writer took it and made Vivian Swift the leader of a gang of thieves in 17th-centry London for a romance novel whose title I forget. When I was first certified as a diamond grader I worked at a jewelry store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan with a big, loud (in the 1940s she would have been called “blowsy”) salesgirl who got pregnant by the watch repair guy and she named her baby Vivian…I was not pleased. 

Four times in my life I’ve had people ask me  if Vivian Swift was my real name, it’s that good a name.

In the 1980s, when M*A*S*H was on TV and Hot Lips was played by an actress named Loretta Swit, I used to brace myself whenever I had to introduce myself because people invariably heard “Vivian Swit”, and I was not pleased. So thank the lordy for Taylor Swift — I hardly ever have to say my last name twice any more.

Anyway. A few days ago I’m making an appointment  to cut the last 18 months of pandemic out of my hair (it’s so long now that I look like a veteran country singer in a lounge at one of the second-rate casinos way off the Strip in Vegas). Before the pandemic, I had found a good stylist at a salon in my little village that thinks itself quite cool. I call the place and I tell the receptionist my name, and that I want an appointment with Michael V. She taps the info into her computer (I can hear the keys clicking), and then she says, in a voice that dips and rises as if she’s  talking to  a not-very bright three year old:  “Soooo, what-cha thinkin’?”

At first, I couldn’t think what on earth she was on about. “What-cha thinkin’?” What am I thinking? About what? Why do you want to know? This is confusing; I just want a hair cut, not a self-assesment of my most recent metacognitive activities. All I could think to say was, “What?”

She repeated the question in exactly the same intonation, and I was so annoyed that I just let the space between us be filled with dead air while I debated whether I wanted a good hair cut more than I wanted to tell this girl to go fuck off  with her “What-cha thinkin’?”. 

Thankfully, the girl quickly filled the silence by asking me, in normal English, “When would you like to come in?”

So next Tuesday I’m getting all the Miss Havisham of the Pandemic Quarantine Times cut out of my hair so I can look somewhat pre-COVID when I go out in public. If I go. I just want to be prepared.

Just because I happen to have them, here are two pictures of me, taken 39 years apart, so you can see my country-singer hair from last week. . . 

That’s the neighbor’s cat, Anthony, visiting during Happy Hour in our backyard.

. . .  and from 1982.

That second photo is from the archives of my 1982 sweetheart who recently looked up “Vivian Swift” in the inter webs and because there aren’t that many Vivian Swifts in the world, he found me and sent this memento from my Peace Corps days in Niger, West Africa. Thank you, Juan, for this, and thank you for being a Californian because we owe the good citizens of CA a big Muchos Gracias for  defeating the Republican effort to overturn a fair election by recalling the Democratic governor and installing a weird, anti-black African-American asshole named Larry Elder. Gavin Newsom won by a 2-1 margin by making it a definitive defeat for Trumpism.

 

 

 

 

I finally found information about the 18 military advisory board members that Trump appointed and Biden fired: they do NOT get paid for their attendance, but they do get “travel allowances”, so Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s former campaign manager, gets federal money to fly to Colorado to sit in on meetings of the Air Force academy’s military advisory board. Luckily, the Air Force never convened its advisory board while Conway was a member, and now the Pentagon is looking into abolishing all 40 military advisory boards for being nothing more than political patronage any way.

 

 

That (above) is a real story, by the way. A group of five zebras, referred to as a dazzle, have been on the loose in Maryland for over two weeks. The zebras escaped in late August from a 300-acre farm near Upper Marlboro, Maryland, owned by Jerry Holly, who is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to keep 39 zebras. The zebras escaped shortly after they were transported to the farm from Florida. 

Since their break-out, the zebras have been scouring for food in neighborhoods in Prince George County in search of food, water, and sometimes a pool to dip into. Residents have posted photos and videos  of the zebras while local officials struggle to catch them. 

The zebras are not dangerous unless you approach them, but “You can’t hunt them down. They’re just too fast, they run, they won’t let you get near them,” Rodney Taylor, chief of Prince George county’s animal services department.

I, for one, would love to wake up one morning and find five zebras grazing in my backyard. It would really take my  mind off hugely annoying current events, such as what Donald Trump did on September 11 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of one of the darkest days in the history  of America.

On the same day, Rudy Giuliani showed up drunk at a party to…celebrate?…9-11:

 

In case you didn’t know, and I didn’t until I looked it up, the reason we put COVID in capital letters is because it stands for COronaVIrus Disease.

And where some people see a deadly public health emergency, Republicans see opportunity:

 

Speaking of shitbag Republicans, here’s how the Texas anti-abortion law is going:

Back to the latest COVID Karma news:

 

 

 

 

Ryan Cole is the doctor who is against COVID vaccines. So the Republican commissioners of the county — which encompasses the state capital, Boise — put him on the regional health board and said they welcomed Cole’s “outsider” perspective and willingness to “question” established medical guidance. They appointed him over the protests of their lone Democratic colleague.

To critics, Cole’s elevation to a public health-care role is an extreme example of GOP-driven resistance to not only mandates but basic medical guidance, as the pandemic overwhelms Idaho’s hospitals like never before.

The covid-19 patients filling hospital wards and prompting statewide rationing of care are almost all unvaccinated. Yet Idaho’s lieutenant governor recently suggested, falsely, that vaccinated people are more likely to die, and some officials in the heavily conservative state — where many preach “freedom” from government — consider even recommending the shots to be an overreach.

 

 

 

This guy (below)  is an anti-anti-vaxx protestor, so he goes to anti-mask mandate rallies and protests in a most brilliant way:

 

 

 

The far right is going to hold another rally in Washington DC tomorrow, Saturday September 18, but I don’t think we have to worry too much about it.

The rally is being planned by “Look Ahead America,” a nonprofit led by former Trump campaign staffer Matt Barnyard, who is described as “a C-list activist” and a Steve Bannon wanna-be. His group is “dedicated to standing up for patriotic Americans who have been forgotten by our government,” Braynard is focused on claims that the people who staged an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 are “political prisoners” who have been unfairly maligned.

Around 500 people have indicated they plan to attend, though the memo notes that past recent events organized by Look Ahead America had significantly lower attendance than expected and were peaceful.

Trump is not the only Republican keeping his distance. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn, who were scheduled to speak at the event, both canceled their appearances. Congress will not be is session on Saturday, so it looks as if there will be no public hangings of Democrats or RINOs. It’s going to be pathetic, in other words.

So let’s catch up with the latest on the real January 6 insurrectionists and then we’ll just hang out and insult Republicans and look at cat memes::

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, lastly, for you Neil Gaiman fans (I know who you are):

That’s another week in America (and that one sad dining room somewhere in the UK), Dear Readers. Have a great weekend everyone. I hope you all have a fantastic Solstice, whether it’s the Autumnal (Northern Hemisphere) or the Vernal (Southern Hemisphere), we are in a period of change and even if we want to whine about it (that would be me, in the background, bitching and moaning) it’s good to change things up, to find new projects, to make adjustments, and to welcome in a new way of being. And remember: if you hear the sound of hoofbeats, it’s only your dazzle coming to get you.  

 

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Everything is suddenly different in September. The air (cooler already), the quality of light (still bright, but not as beguiling), the mornings (darker). I don’t like it. So if I seem more annoyed than usual it’s because Fall is 11 days away and I’m not in the mood.

Here is a picture of what is probably the final Blue Jay feather of 2021, which was delivered to me last Saturday exactly like this:

Wednesday morning was warmer than usual so I got wonderfully drenched one last time by this lawn sprinkler:

Is it weird that I have a collection of photographs of my favorite lawn sprinklers? Is this how people become “odd”?

And now I face the entropy of Fall as an endurance test of my will to live as all the sparkle and joy seep out of my life and then it’s Winter and I will be seriously morose and bored. 

The one bright spot in my ever-more dreary life is my Korean class, in which we keep learning new ways to conjugate a verb (I know 53 ways so far) but I have a hack to keep me engaged in the very annoying task of acquiring a new language. It’s my practice to write ten Korean sentences a day using the latest bizarre verb ending, so what I’m doing lately is writing the filthiest, but most beautifully conjugated, Korean sentences I can think up. I’ve never seen Korean porn (pornography is highly illegal in both South and North Korea)  but I think I have a bright future in smut if the industry ever takes hold over there.

During a discussion of Korean food a classmate recommended that I try radish kimchi instead of the usual napa cabbage kimchi.  So now I have a small tub of radish kimchi sitting in my fridge, uneaten, because kimchi is an acquired taste on top of which I have never eaten a radish in my life and I’m not sure that this is the way I want to start.  However, I have been trying out some Korean recipes and not to brag, but I make an outstanding jjajangmyeon — black bean sauce over udon noodles. I make a very spicy vegetarian version with cabbage and onions and it’s my favorite breakfast dish and if it weren’t so fattening I’d have it for lunch too.

For the past few months I’ve thought that “black bean” sauce meant it was made from “black beans” but this week I learned that there isn’t a single black bean in it; it’s made from a soy bean paste that turns black when it’s fermented. (I’m kind of glad I didn’t know this beforehand, as I am squeamish about soy bean foods, such as the dreaded tofu which is so disgusting that I can’t even look at it.) Jjajangmyeon is the Korean comfort food most equivalent to pizza, and yes, I also frequently have pizza for breakfast, but I put a fried egg on top of it the way they do in France because that makes it more breakfast-y. There’s a holiday in South Korea, called Black Day, April 14, on which single people who didn’t get valentines in February get together and eat jjajangmyeon. Because it’s black. And the holiday is called Black Day. 

As for other culinary adventures, Top Cat and I thought it was vile but the backyard raccoons loved the peanut butter/ketchup dip I made last week. I spread it on whole wheat bread and cut it into raccoon-sized hors d’ouvres and set it out in the backyard with a big bowl of water at dusk and every morsel was gone by morning:

Speaking of vile, are we all agreed that Texas Republicans suck? And that’s saying a lot because Republicans in general are assholes, but the ones in Texas are walking shitstains. Their new anti-abortion law is written so that no state governmental entity or person can be held accountable to it. Instead of the state enforcing the law — the normal way these things work — the Texas law leaves that to private citizens, who are empowered to sue anyone who “aids or abets” someone seeking an abortion — from the doctors who perform abortions to someone who drives a woman to a clinic. It includes a “bounty hunter” provision that allows someone who successfully files a suit to collect $10,000 on top of legal fees. And it also means that a doctor who performs an abortion can be sued by any number of private citizens — a dozen, a hundred, a thousand citizens —  for that one abortion.

 

 

 

 

This guy, Greg Abbott, governor of Texas, has explained that although the anti-abortion law does not make exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape, women don’t have to worry because. . . 

“Let’s make something very clear,” he said. “Rape is a crime. And Texas will work tirelessly to make sure we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them, and prosecuting them, and getting them off the streets.”

The governor’s statement  ignores the fact that three out of four rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, and he offered no elaboration as to how exactly his administration would “eliminate all rapists from the streets” before they have committed an actual rape. And he hasn’t explained why, for fuck’s sake, if he can eliminate rape now, he didn’t do it when he was the fucking Texas Attorney General from 2002 to 2015? Or when he was first elected governor in 2014? 

Of course the shitbag is lying about his ability to “eliminate all rapists” because never, in the history of the world, has rape and rapists ever been “eliminated”.  Just wait. Any day now there will be a case of an 13-year old rape victim being forced to give birth to her rapists’s child because she lives in Texas, and we’ll see what bullshit the governor has to say about that.

This is what the actress Maisie Williams has to say:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember that website I told you about last week where Texans can go to to fill out a report about suspected abortion activity? It was called ProfileWhistleBlower, and I and thousands of others logged onto the site and filed fake reports, hoping to crash it.  And then, the site host, Go Daddy, pulled the plug: 

 

And our federal Attorney General did this:

 

Supreme Court justice Brett “I Like Beer” Kavanaugh was one of the conservative votes that let Texas pass the anti-abortion law on Sept. 2. So the senator from Rhode Island did this:

 

 

Which brings us to COVID.

This (above) headline is misleading, but you’d expect that from a conservative news organization (The Daily Mail). The doctor only refuses to see unvaccinated patients IN PERSON. They can still get the medical attention they don’t deserve remotely.

Ivermectin is the horse de-wormer that Republicans take for Covid instead of the vaccine:

 

This is the best Anti-vaxxer story of the week:

A viral video of a woman deliberately coughing on masked shoppers at a Nebraska grocery store while laughing and calling them “sheep”, which was first posted Sunday on Reddit, has been viewed more than 4 million times. In it, the woman approaches a mother and daughter in the produce section of a Super Saver because they were wearing masks (Lincoln, Nebraska, where the store is located, has a citywide mask mandate in place). She follows them, heckling them about their masks and coughing dramatically.

“You’re such sheep,” she tells them. 

When another shopper asks why she isn’t wearing a mask, she responds: “I’m not sick and neither are you.” 

The mother who posted the video added, “There were several other people around wearing masks, but for some reason she chose to pick on me and my kid. She laughed and kept saying: ‘Look at you, it’s so cute how scared you are!’ By this time I was absolutely livid, trying my best to hold it together in front of my kid. I didn’t finish my shopping, instead I went to the self checkout to pay for my stuff. Next she followed me to use the self checkout right next to mine.”

The video also caught the attention of two online activists that have made a habit of identifying right-wingers in such videos: Danesh, known by his handle “thatdaneshguy,” and the TikTok user “Guilt.” The two spent hours sifting through profiles and activity in Nebraska-based anti-mask groups on Facebook. Eventually, they stumbled on the cougher’s profile, and found out that she was a 54-year old named Janene Hoskovec. 

“It was definitely on the easier end of people we’ve found,” Guilt said. 

The two posted her name on Tuesday night, and by Wednesday morning it was a trending hashtag. 

According to Hoskovec’s LinkedIn page, she was born and raised in Nebraska but currently works in Tempe at the Arizona branch of SAP, a German software company. 

On Wednesday morning, SAP put out a brief statement on Twitter, apparently in reference to the incident: 

“The health and safety of our employees and the communities in which we live and work are of utmost concern to us,” the company tweeted. “We are taking the matter of an SAP employee incident very seriously and investigating the situation.”

On Wednesday, the company added: “We have reviewed the incident and can confirm that the individual in question no longer works for SAP.”

Oh, Janene! Look at you! Look how cute you are when you lose your job for being a shitbag!

That’s the Feel Good story of hate week, Dear Readers.

 

And then there’s this guy:

Republican Larry Elder is hoping to become the next governor of California if the recall of Gavin Newsom is successful:

Our President Biden fired all of Trump’s appointees to several military advisory boards:

I tried to find out if these “advisory” positions are paid, but I couldn’t get any info that. 

And then there’s this bitch (Indian – American, Trump appointee to the UN):

My English moots on Twitter are losing their shit over this:

I know ABBA had hits in America and were hot in the 1970s, but they are still GODS in Europe.

And that’s my news round up for this week. The good, the bad, the trivial, and the epic, we made it through another week of madness and it’s FRIDAY! We all deserve a hug and a big stinking glass of adult beverage and a dinner of comfort food.

Sometimes, I go without the french fries:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, everyone. Let’s put on our sweaters and heave an extra blanket on the bed and look up some hearty soup recipes as we get into the Fall mindset and meet here again next week to cast a cold eye on what new idiocy we have managed to live through. I wish I could reach through this screen and hand you all a glass of my favorite Vouvray, but all I got is this and I hope it tides you over until it’s 5 o’clock in your time zone.

 

 

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