Hello Dear Readers! Yes, I still enjoy the “WTF 2020” memes, but today I am not going to load you up with the usual political musings.

Sure, Trump and his spawn are still shitbags, and Rudy Giuliani is, literally, a walking, talking, oozing pustule and crazy as an outhouse rat, and Emily Murphy  should be in prison, and the rest of the Republicans are laying down as many land mines as they can to keep Joe Biden in a tizzy for the next 4 years. . . but I still get up every morning and walk into my kitchen for my morning tea and I see this:  

And, OK, the guys who are planing that march in Atlanta tomorrow to support Trump’s theft of their 16 electoral votes are dangerously delusional, but they made a poster that shows Georgia in blue, and, also, spelled “Georgia” wrong:

So, for today, I’m feeling confident that the people who are in charge of Operation Destroy American Democracy are idiots, and that I can safely take a week off from the unending shit show. 

I’m celebrating this Friday because Steve, the handsome tuxedo Manx who lives on our front stoop, came home today after going on walk-about for five weeks. I’m celebrating this Friday because my Korean husbands (BTS) have a new music video out today and global ARMY are coordinating to get 100 million views in 24 hours (be  dear and click onto this link and be counted and, BTW, how much do you want to be part of that pajama party??). I’m celebrating this Friday because it’s been a gorgeous Fall here on the north shore of Long Island and I want to take the time to savor it. I want to be like Taffy, thinking deep thoughts on sequential mornings, sitting under the Japanese Dogwood tree on the kitchen patio like a cute, fluffy buddha:

 

 

 

 

 

I just did a quick calculation and, during this pandemic, I have run about 765.5 miles, during 225 hours, on the streets in my neighborhood since lockdown in March. I know these roads quite well, and have become quite fond of them. They feel as if they are as much a part of me as my own right hand, which is my second-favorite hand as I am left handed, but we’re still close.

The best times were those early Summer mornings when there were no cars or people about and there was perfume in the air, but Fall has its charms here in Nassau County. This is my starting point on a typical November afternoon:

This is the same starting point a few days later, on a rainy and misty morning:

After learning that Trump played The Village People’s YMCA at the end of his desperate rallies for voters in the swing states, I reclaimed it for the forces of good and added the song to the top of all the playlists I listen to while I run — I have never payed much attention to the lyric before, and it is very WIERD — but this is where I am by the time the People sing “I felt the whole world was so jive”:

Are you old enough to remember when “jive” was a thing?

What a difference a few days make…this is the same road exactly 4 days later:

This (below) was taken on Nov. 8:

All those trees are bare now. Fall really is the most fleeting season, all the more reason to catch it while you can.

 

 

 

Top Cat has hunted and gathered for our two-person Thanksgiving this year, strangely, by getting us  a 22-pound turkey. That’s a lot of turkey for a pandemic holiday, just saying.

The other holiday that is on my mind is ChrisHanuKwanSolstice. I just finished making my holiday card, a special 2020-themed message that will be going out in optimism and celebration of the return of the light in our lives. In more ways than one.

If you would like to be on my mailing list, send me a note with your address to vivianswift at yahoo dot com. (All Stromness Rock hosts are automatically on the list whether they like it or not.)

Did you know that “Good Riddance 2020” cards are a thing this year?

Mine is not like that. I’m never on trend.

Also a “thing” this year. . . 

 

 

You KNOW that I, for one, will be sending Season’s Greetings to President Joe c/o 1600 PA Ave this year.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Try to spend at least one Trump-free day by doing something stupid, like feeling hopeful for the future of our planet and humankind in spite of all the evidence that tells us that we are, in fact, doomed. To be happy, these days, is a very transgressive act, and if I know you, Dear Reader, you like to rock the boat. Go out there and be joyful.

See you next Friday, with the usual outrage.

XXOO

 

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Sooooo, how was your week?

After four long, long, years, my bruised and battered soul is feeling euphoric, and it’s got me in an emotional spin cycle. But it’s a good problem to have.

This is how I got my case of The Happies:

I ran out into the street yelling for Top Cat, and shouting JOE BIDEN IS THE 46th PRESIDENT . . . to no one because we live on a very quiet street. I went back into the house looking for  Top Cat and I found him upstairs watching English Premiere League soccer on TV and I said TURN ON CNN!!!!

And we both cried and hugged each other. The relief is something that I’ve never felt before.

(Lifts imaginary glass of champagne to all you Dear Readers): We did it.  Here’s to us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

___________________________________________________________

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Sorry, I cut off the cartoon. It’s the Statue of Liberty talking to the Donald.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This  (below) is  the  letter  is addressed  to  the  George  Secretary  of  State, duly signed (but not proof-read) y the genius Members of Congress who allege massive voter fraud:

Ah yes, the GOP Shit-for-Brains syndrome…now I understand how fellow conspiracy theorist Rudy Giuliani ended up holding a press conference in the parking lot of Four Seasons Total Landscaping to address voter fraud in Pennsylvania:

 

Giuliani introduced Darryl Brooks as a poll watcher in Philadelphia but, actually…

 

In response to this alleged massive voter fraud, Trump set up a hotline so citizens could call in tips about the massive voter fraud they witnessed in their states. Instantly, it was flooded with prank calls about massive voter fraud. As a result of being flooded with prank calls about massive voter fraud,  Trump’s forces have to get a new phone number and his daughter-in-law Lara tweeted this:

Wait..does she not get how pranks work? The whole point is to harass them so that they have to keep changing the phone number.

Anyway, we accepted her challenge and we kept calling.

Yes, I said “we”. Me, I began calling the first hot line number. Fun fact: the people manning the phones answer your call with “Trump War Room”, which is hilarious and makes it really hard to keep from laughing as soon as you hear that. Who are they going to war against? America?

For my first call, I reported that people were still voting at the rec center in my town of Roslyn NY and  then I whispered “And a lot of those people are Black so you better hurry down here before they steal everything!”

I was pretending to be a typical Trumper, but as soon as I said it, I regretted it. It felt bad even pretending to be a racist.

So, for my follow up calls, I identified the people trying to steal the election as Communists, as Socialists, as my ex-brother-in-law, as supporters of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and as Vegetarians.

When the Trump War Room changed their phone number, I also called the new number, but all I got was a taped message and an invitation to leave my report of massive voter fraud when I heard the beep.

That’s when I began taking up time and space in the Trump War Room by reading  aloud from the new J. Peterman catalogue I’d gotten in the mail. So now the Trump War Room knows about some nifty pointelle sweaters for $198, pajamas for $128, and a Prince of Wales double-breasted blazer for $498.

Oh, god. It was all such good, clean, innocent fun.

However, some people are getting tired of this game, such as the Montana Secretary of State:

Even the Department of Homeland Security has had enough, and on Thursday, November 12, it did this:

It’s a lovely thing, when the Department of Homeland Security issues a memo from in the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency in a joint statement with the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees orders Donald Trump, ex-president of the United States, to Shut The Fuck Up.

You can read the whole glorious, unequivocal statement for yourself here.

Dear Readers, I’m sure that you all are feeling it. The elation is still there, of course. . .

. . .  but now that the victory is sinking in, we have to reckon with what this country is in the wake of Donald Trump:

 

And let’s not forget the most important thing about who were are as a country:

In Arizona, Navaho Nation showed up at the polls, in total casting 76,000 votes; 97% went to Biden.

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. I’ve been so busy with post-election pre-hangover jubilation that I haven’t even told you all about the exciting things happening elsewhere in the non-Trump spheres of joy (my Korean husbands BTS are in full Come Back mode, it’s been a spectacular Fall season here on the north shore of Long Island, and I have a new art project to share) so let’s all get back to normal next week.

In the meantime, all I have to say is:

Donald:

You’re Fucked.

 

 

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OK, so it wasn’t the Blue Tsunami we all expected. It seems that there are 69,816,618 Americans who are OK with having a Russian asset in the White House. But we outnumber them just enough to win this.

Let’s take a look at what we’ve been through:

Color Code: Green – without a permit.

Orange – with a permit.

Red – illegal.

(I nearby declare Exotic Pet Freaud because I know of a guy in Westchester County, New York, who has a kangaroo. He keeps it in his orchard.)

Please remember this name, Richard Grenell, because we’ll  hearing  more  from  him:

To be fair, Richard Grinnell (the tweeter above) was only an *acting* Director of National Intelligence, a post he held after he was appointed as Ambassador to Germany, where he alarmed almost every European head of state when, 2 months into his tenure, he broke Article 14 of the Vienna Convention in a interview with Breitbart News saying that he wanted to empower conservatives throughout Europe, thereby taking a political position in hopes of interfering in foreign affairs. He was a very unpopular ambassador.

Speaking of Europe. . . 

And then it was D-Day. November 3, 2020.

First, let’s hear from the Cats of Democracy:

This is Pumpkin, the official Cat of the Athens County, Ohio Board of Elections:

(Athens County is in south-east Ohio, bordering West Virginia. It is home to Ohio University, but also has the lowest median income in Ohio, being the only county in the state with a poverty rate above 30%. Should be Trump country. Here’s the kicker: Athens County went for Biden. Good work, Pumpkin.)

Voter turnout hit historically high numbers. More votes were cast than in any previous American election.  

 

My Twitter feed was full of offers, from our wonderful neighbors to the north, to lend a shoulder to cry on, or a reminder to b r e a t h e,  or some heart felt empathy for the torture awaiting us as we sit out the long and slow counting of the ballots.

 

It became a “thing”:

(Seriously, we hit the jackpot when we got Canada as the country on the other side of the longest international land border in the world.)

Lou Diamond Phillips tweeted a photo of his own emotional support team:

And then came the “controversy” of counting every ballot so they can be turned into something that no other country on Earth has: Electoral Votes.

Some people have a problem with democracy. And by”some people”, I mean “ShitBag Trump” and his Fuck Wad supporters.

This tweet from Trump will go down in history:

We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead. Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact, there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!”

This kind of history:

(The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) (above) is the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, promotion of human rights, freedom of the press, and fair elections. It employs around 3,460 people, mostly in its field operations but also in its secretariat in Vienna, Austria. It has its origins in the 1975 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) held in Helsinki, Finland.)

 

Mark R. Levin (above) is a right-wing radio personality. He’s obviously not a constitutional law scholar. You know, when someone types in ALL CAPS like that, he’s YELLING AT YOU:
But all that yelling doesn’t make your case any stronger:

Because of the extraordinary number of voters who used mail-in ballots this year, millions and millions of votes coming in, the counting is going kinda slow. FYI: Being slow, that’s not illegal. 

 

 

But the counting went on,and on,and on…

Pennsylvania  s l o w l y counted all its votes. . . 

 

 

 

Michigan s l o w l y counted its votes, under the supervision of the state’s Attorney General:

Arizona s l o w l y counted its votes:

Nevada s l o w l y counted its votes:

And here’s where we meet up with Richard Grenell again:

As I type this on Friday morning, Biden is still only 6 electoral votes away from 270, with AZ, NV, GA, and PA still undecided.

 

 

 

This would be a good time to remember something important about all those election maps:

Land doesn’t vote. People do.

 

Have a great weekend, everyone. Hang in there. We’ll have a new president soon. 

And, just for old time’s sake:

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

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Friends, WE MADE IT. It’s only four days until we turn Trump into history as the most corrupt, criminal, treasonous, bankrupt, half-witted, psycho, mean-spirited, lying piece of shit ever to occupy the White House. We did it. We made it through Trump.

Top Cat and I voted! The line was long, because even in Sure Thing New York State, people want to vote against Trump just for the soul-cleansing experience of adding one more droplet to the Blue Wave.

Usually, voting here in this little town on the north shore of Long Island is a matter of strolling into the gymnasium of the rec center near the train station, letting the elderly poll workers fuddle with the registration logs (for some reason, our address always confuses them), and then marking a ballot for immediate scanning. We’re out in 10 minutes, tops, and there’s no cut thing as a line. This year we were going to bring our folding lawn chairs, a thermos of vodka, umbrellas, and sandwiches. We expected to be on line for at least an hour. It took 20 minutes, because we waited for the worst rainy day all year.

My stomach does a little flip-flop when I think that in just four days this nightmare will be, at least technically, over. I am literally sick with anticipation and fear. Word is that the Republicans can, and probably will, steal a certain percentage of votes, but if the margin of victory is huuuuuge even they can’t steal enough votes to nullify the will of tens of millions of Americans. I have champagne in the fridge and by god, I better be able to uncork it in celebration in 2020.

This time last year I was in Los Angeles, blissfully unaware what was coming down the pike, enjoying my first Dia de los Muertas in downtown L.A.,  shopping in KoreaTown for imported CDs of K-pop, hanging out in our lovely Air BnB where I opened my first bottle of soju. I treasure those memories.

Good times.

I like this time of year.

Illustrations from my book, When Wanderers Cease to Roam, the chapter is called October is the Coyote Month.

 

 

November 1, 2019, All Soul’s Day, is the start date of when I became ARMY, that is, unreasonably obsessed with the Korean band BTS. As of this Sunday I will no longer be a baby ARMY (it’s a thing in this fandom); I will be a veteran. Go ahead, ask me anything about my 7 Korean husbands…what I don’t know about RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook isn’t worth knowing.

The other great thing about being ARMY is that you get to hang out with other wonderful ARMYs. Like Omer:

In case you can’t read her dissertation, it’s called Development of Highly Efficient Bismuth Telluride Based Thermoelectric Materials. I, too voted for BTS @ the American Music Awards.

I am still taking Korean classes because I need a hobby that makes me feel stupid and ineducable. This is my study hall:

I was in my conversation class and the instructor gave us a few minutes to jot down some ideas for a dialogue that we would present to our fellow Zoomers. I am the worst student in that class, but I picked up my pen and wrote this in five minutes:

I know! Right??

Korean is the fifth foreign language that I have learned: French and Spanish in high school, when it was so easy that I never did homework; Hebrew while I was living in Israel for a year so I lived and breathed it; American Sign Language in college night classes with my BFF Renee and we’d do extra homework together and drink wine. Learning Korean is like nothing else I’ve ever learned. It’s not just that Korean is hard, it’s that I am 64 and I can barely remember my own phone number and Renee isn’t taking the class with me and I don’t know any Koreans and jesus, nothing sticks in my brain these days.

So I have to go the extra distance to learn Korean verbs. For example, 찍다 means “to take a photograph” (yeah, that’s one of the aggravating things about Korean — they have a seperate verb for EVERYTHING). 찍” , the first syllable, is pronounced “tcheek“, which reminds me of the sound that a camera shutter makes, so that’s how I remember찍다“.

I have to do this for almost every verb I memorize. To remember the verb “to be far away“, I have to remember that the country of Malta is far away. To remember the verb “to be near” I have to remember that it sounds like the verb “to be clean” and when something is clean you want to be near it. For the verb “to teach” I have to remember that the last syllable sounds like the “ch” in “teach” and work backwards from there. For the verb “to be different” I have to remember that in written form it’s not different, as it’s a very symmetrical verb — its front end and its back end mirror each other — and bingo: I got it. For the verb “to choose” I say to myself “between a mountain and a molehill” because the Korean word for “mountain” is a homonym for the first syllable of the verb “to choose“.

As far as its being an efficient retrieval system this is not the fastest method to pull information out of  the brain, but it’s the only way I can learn new vocabulary and, if you give me a few seconds, it works every time.

Does anybody else have a tip for memorizing? 

Has anyone else seen the new Borat movie in which the actor Sasha Baron Cohen film Rudy Guiliana in an “interview” with boat’s 15-year old daughter? Top Cat and I watched it last week. It’s hilarious, and contrary to what Rudy claims he was doing in the bedroom with Borat’s 15-year old daughter, he was not “tucking in his shirt”. 

Let’s check in on Rudy’s boss, the leading deplorable, as he holds rallies to try and overcome Joe Biden’s huge lead in the polls:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s take a closer look at what the Trump campaign did to its own supporters there in frigid Nebraska (although, to be honest, if they are dumb enough to support Trump, frostbite is the least of what they deserve):

 

 

 

 

The Lincoln Project, a group of high-profile Republicans who are campaigning against Trump, put up a billboard in Times Square in New York City:

In response to Javanka’s lawyer’s letter threatening to sue, the Lincoln Project sent a one-word message: NUTS!

The Lincoln Project knows history.

Next, let’s check in and see what’s doing over at the Supreme Court:

 

 

 

 

So, yeah, it’s just another week in Trump’s shithole country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right, that lady (above) talking about what a bad example the Democrats are giving to the children is this lady (below):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading, Dear Ones. Have a great weekend and don’t forget to be good to yourself. Whatever happens on November 3, you can take heart: You’ve  gotten through most of 2020, and you’re still here. That’s not nothing. In fact, that’s everything.

ONE

LAST

TIME:

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Brooklyn:

 

 

 

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P.S. This is a Star Wars joke. Get it? Let me know in Comments, Jedi Knights.

 

 

But speaking of Halloween, for the record, I do not think this is funny:

Candy corn is my favorite food, ever. I love candy corn. In my opinion, it has the perfect texture and consistency, chewy but not too chewy; sickeningly sweet but not too sickeningly sweet (unlike, for example, sweet potatoes cooked with marshmallows eeewwww), and has a pleasant buttery-plastic aftertaste that I find addictive. (Speaking of industrial revolution flavors, I also used to love the smell of car exhaust in the old days before they removed the lead from gasoline, and I’ve huffed a lot of 1960s internal combustion CO2, so this love of candy corn might be sign of brain damage.)

Candy corn is also just the right size for creative snacking, either by biting it into thirds along the color demarkations or letting one whole piece melt in your mouth (you never eat a handful of candy corn at a time), so it’s “slow cuisine”, junk-food style.

Get the candy corn made with honey, as honey has a biological shut-off switch that prevents you from eating until the point of nausea, whereas pure cane sugar has had that portion-control valve removed and that’s why ou will stuff yourself with Twinkies until you puke.

Candy corn lovers of the world, unite!

Picking up the latest episode of Watching Paint Dry where we left off last week, I didn’t show you all the “finished” portrait of Juno that I painted because I had originally posted it on the blog, but before I hit the “publish” button I removed it because it was off. I futzed with it over and over, and tried to correct it…and in the end it was a hot mess.

Here it is:

There are so many layers of paint on this portrait that it looks as if I was scrubbing it on with my bare hands. This looks finger-painted. Something is off, indeed, something that no amount of rescue can fix. One thing that is “off” is that I had positioned the head inorrectly in relation to the body:

The black lines show where I should have put Juno’s shoulders.

The thing is, Juno’s body is facing one way, but her head is turned to peer at something in the distance over her left shoulder. Without that gesture, the whole pose looks off.

The rest of the crappiness of this portrait is down to bad painting. Oh well. In the watercolor world, you have good days and bad days.

Let’s take another look at the original inspiration:

Time to START OVER from scratch, and let’s hope we’ll have a good day. Please bear with me:

 

What I did this time that was different from last time was that I painted Juno’s entire face with a layer of China White before I added color. I like the way paint reacts to this pigment, and I think it’s the right thing to do for Juno:

Let’s bleed in some black:

 

 

 

 

This is how the paint looks when it is applied directly to the paper (no layer of China White under it):

 

 

I added some pencil lines and I am

DONE:

Thank you for your patience, Dear Readers. And to Carol, Gali, and Leslie, who are waiting to receive their portraits, I will be off to the Post Office to send them all out in one swell foop. Mail! You’re getting mail soon!

In related news, I came across a story about a fellow distinguished Pet Portraitist working in the English town of Worthing, who goes by the name Hercule Van Wolfwinkle:

Hercule had never drawn anything before he started to do pet portraits to raise money for the local animal shelter:

Hercule specializes in pet portraits that are unashamedly off:

So far, he has raised $18,000 to help homeless animals.

He makes off look so on, right?

It’s been another long, strange week in America, my Dear Readers. The Pope says same-sex unions are OK with God, Trump tried to gaslight Lesley Stahl about his “health care plan”, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer and general all-around dickhead, got caught with his hands down his pants, and, oh yeah, we found out that our president as a secret Chinese bank account.

Did I miss anything?

Let’s go to the weekly news round up:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Cat took this picture in the Village in Manhattan this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I fact-checked this story. It’s 100% true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s it for this week, Dear Readers. Have a great weekend, because we deserve it! We’ve put up with the mess that has been made of this planet for a whole week and now it’s time to retreat to the “Happy Place” where everyone gets to be 29 and served with ice-cold martinis by the pool while meeting with a  Jane Austin book club made up entirely of hot K-pop stars. Int he background are the talking pet unicorns, who sound so sweet when they whinney to each other,

“Fuck Trump”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you, Dear Readers, for your condolences last week regarding the loss of my BFF. It’s still hard to understand that I will never see her again, or that we’ll ever get together again to kill a bottle of pinot on a Sunday afternoon, or head to our fave Japanese restaurant in the middle of the week for our fave spicy tuna sandwiches and mean girl chit chat, etc. After I published my last book and was feeling very bored with life and myself, it was Renee’s idea that we enroll at the local community college for ASL classes, and then it was her idea that we take over the second hand book store for the local library and raise a ton of money. I can’t stand ballet, but I’d listen to her go into raptures about her latest outings at the ABT, and she wasn’t into K-Pop but she’d hear me out on why BTS deserved to be my Korean husbands. She was a great BFF. The fact that she is gone from my life forever takes my breath away.

Ah well. There is no escaping the pain of life. The best we can do is not let it drive us crazy, right?

And this week, my gift from the universe was this sweet girl:

This is Juno, who lives with Dear Reader Gali in Massachusetts, who hosted the Scottish Stromness Rock on the beginning of its 8,000-mile journey around the United States and showed off the sights of the birthplace of the American Revolution (1776 version).

If ever there was a week then I needed to spend time with a Golden Retriever, it was this week.

I am glad that she is the final Stromness Pet Portrait because it will take all the technical expertise I have amassed during this project for me to paint her. Not because she poses any particular compositional of painterly challenge. It’s because she’s a Golden Retriever. It’s like trying to paint Jesus. If you now what I mean.

For my Golden Retriever Hue, I began mixing paints with a base of Chinese White (for technical reasons — because it makes it easier to manipulate the paint with a Chinese White base, not because I needed that white)and added several browns and yellows to match Juno’s golden-cinnamon color:

Eyes first,as usual:

I think it’s funny to have a pair of eyes popping out of a blank shet of paper.

These were the most complicated eyes I have painted so far:

Juno appears to be wearing eye-liner, and I have to get it j u s t r i g h t.

And now for the boopable nose:

 

 

 

 

I am fond of bleeds:

 

 

 

 

And here is where I had to stop, because I ran out of time. This is by far the most painstaking pet portrait I have done yet, and I don’t want to push it. I will continue to paint this tomorrow, when I am re-freshed and can get all of Juno’s nuances.

Also because I haven’t got her quite right yet, and I have some tweaking to do. Rescues are my super power, though, so we’ll be back next week with a “Wrong Juno And How I Made It Right” 100% Juno portrait.

Until then, let’s take a look back at this past week, and marvel how we all managed to live through it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. I looked this (above) up. It actually says that women should be quiet IN CHURCH. That’s all. It’s OK to raise hell everywhere else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. It’s only 18 more days, not even three weeks, until all this will be over. Imagine how the whole world will celebrate when Trump gets slaughtered in 50 states and the Republicans are returned to their rightful status as the minority party in the Senate on Nov. 3, oh, just imagine that, and be happy. The world will break your heart in a thousand ways every day, but not on November 3, no.

(James Carville was the political strategist who engineered Bill Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 victories, so he knows. He KNOWS.)

I only have three more times that I can say this about a President who is not a lame duck:

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This will be a short post today. I thought we had more time, and I thought I’d be able to see her in person, one day, when this pandemic was over and her lung cancer was in remission, but, no. My best friend died on Monday and I still can’t think straight. I was driving back from the grocery store yesterday and I suddenly couldn’t remember which streets to take, so I just kept driving around the block and eventually I came across a landmark that looked familiar and I found my way home. The rest of life looks the same way, as if everything around me is suddenly foreign and “off”. It will take some time to get the lay of this new land I now live in.

But Renee hated Trump with every cell in her body, so this is for you, darling:

 

 

This is how Trump got the virus from the first of his aides who tested positive, Hope Hicks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope that we can circle back to the tape recordings made by Melanoma’s ex-freind, in which she is heard cursing out journalists and Christmas, right?

 

 

 

 

 

Then there was that fly that sat on Mike Pence’s head for two minutes during the Vice Presidential debate on Wednesday:

 

On the handle it says: Truth Over Flies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. Go have a drink with your best friend and celebrate being on Earth.

And of course, when you raise your glass to make a toast, let’s all say it together: Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

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I woke up today to the fabulous news that our president has COVID. The information is still too new for me to harvest the best memes and Tweets, so you’ll have to make do with the stuff I have planned for you before I got wind of this fantastic intel, but OMG! THIS IS THE BEST NEWS I’VE HAD ALL YEAR!!!

However, 2020 still sucks.

 

 

 

 

My Korean husbands have been on American TV all week (The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon) and on top of the Billboard Hot 100, and now they have a movie in select theaters. It’s a documentary called Break the Silence about their 2019 world tour, in which they performed in stadiums in the US, Europe, South America, and Asia.

This is from Forbes: The South Korean pop septet grossed over $196 million and played to more than 1.6 million people across 42 shows in the chart period ranging from Nov. 1, 2018 to Oct. 31, 2019. The group outgrossed legacy rock acts like the Rolling Stones, Metallica and KISS, as well as fellow boy band the Backstreet Boys. BTS also ranked third overall on the year-end Top 40 Tours chart behind Ed Sheeran and Pink. [I had no idea that Pink was such a huge star, did you?]

I live in New York state, where movie theaters are still closed due to the pandemic, so I had to go to New Jersey to see Break the Silence. All I had to do was get myself off Long Island, pass through Manhattan island, and find a place called Clifton Commons in NJ. Not a problem.

When I was 19, I went to Paris alone, on my own. While there, I decided to go to Rome. So I got myself  to the Gare de Lyon and used my high school French and was able to negotiate an overnight train and make a reservation for a couchette for the night.  I arrived in Rome not knowing a word of Italian, with no hotel reservation and no map of the city. Also, did I mention that I was 19? And, yet, I got around fine. I went to the Vatican, toured the Colosseum, climbed the Spanish Steps, threw a coin into the Trvi Fountain, wandered in the Forum, and I had pizza. I “did” Rome and didn’t hurt myself. I didn’t get killed, kidnapped, or pick-pocketed. I had street smarts.

I don’t have any street smarts any more.

All I had to do was go to New Jersey. I didn’t want to drive (because I am still thinking like it’s 2019 and that public transportation is so much more convenient) so I looked up train schedules from Long Island and the NJ Transit buses from the Port Authority on 42nd street in Manhattan. I had no idea where/what Clifton Commons was, but hell, I’ve been to Rome and I’m 64 so I figured that I was officially a wise woman and good to go. I was taking the 2:17 train to NYC to get a 3:40 bus to Clifton Commons to arrive at 4:00 to see a 5:00 movie. SIMPLE.

I won’t go into details, but everything was fine until I got on the bus. I missed my bus stop (in a bus that announced every stop in a big LED display that I was looking at the whole time), and I missed it by seven miles. By the time it dawned on me that, um, something had gone awry, I jumped off the bus in front of a divey sports bar in some dingy back street in Nowhere, NJ, and it took me a lot of trial and error before I remembered that I had a phone with internet, and called a cab, which didn’t show up, and called for another one, which did, and in the end I was 15 minutes late for the movie that I had crossed state lines to go see. I arrived in time to see the last trailer for Coming Attractions, which include the new Wonder Woman movie (it’s set in 1984 and it looks very cute, BTW) and — this is the best part — I was the only one in the theater.

I’m still shook up about how badly I travelled the 38.4 miles from my house to Clifton Commons. Can I even call myself a traveller any more? This is a serious identity issue for a travel memoirist (me, that’s what I am, that’s what I write in any time there’s a form that asks for “occupation”).

That’s something to think about while I am cat-wrangling. Our kitten, Kimmy, has a lot of energy, and she likes to keep busy. Here she is with one of her projects:

Her new hobby is to roam through my table full of paper structures and beat the hell out of them. That green thing you see in the left corner (above) is one of those paper things I made for Where The Wild Things Are (with dragons and other monsterish characters from children’ literature:

This is what Where the Wild Things Are looks like after Kimmy has beaten it into submission:

Here’s what’s left of the White Castle from last year’s ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card:

To tell the truth, I’m not at all upset. I didn’t know what to do with these things, and they were sitting out on my great-Aunt Mabel’s old dining room table because they take up a lot of room and I didn’t have a better place to store them. So Kimmy had a whale of a time whaling on them, and I get to throw the out.

And Kimmy is so cute, you can’t be mad at her. This is how she sleeps:

SO CUTE.

Now I’d like you to meet another kitty, who is starring in Pet Portrait of the Week:

Meet Bella,who lived with Dear Reader Maryanne in South Carolina, who hosted the Stromness Rock for its  delightful visit to the state capitol, Columbia:

I’m sure you all can see the challenge in painting this portrait. My reference is a photo of Bella caught napping in Maryanne’s jammie drawer. As you can see, there is only one eye in this shot, and I have to get that whole expression (I call it nonchalantly judgemental) in ONE EYE. Bella is also a gray cat. This means that there is no room for error in getting the silhouette correct, exactly right, or else Bella will look lumpy and boneless. And I  have to use a lot of gray paint, which is not, usually, the most exciting color to work with. You know that I always start with the eyes when I paint a portrait, so with Bella, I started with the eye.

Here’s a close up of the eye:

There’s a lot going on in that eye. You can’t see it in this photo of amy reference photo, but her eye has a generally golden cast to it, with emerald-green coloring around the edges. There’s a lot of shading in there, giving the eye a lot of depth. There’s also a very large white highlight. Lastly, there’s a shit load of attitude in that eye.

I layered lots of washes to get an approximation of the color and shadow:

I mixed my Bella Gray beginning with China White. China White, as a paint, has a texture to it that I love working with, and there is something about its chemical properties that make it react to water and other pigments in a way that is unlike any other watercolor paint. It’s very opaque, and water does strange things to it. I’m using it to outline the edges of Bella’s ear:

Now we paint the ear:

 

See this bleed? This is what China White does so well:

I still haven’t used blackout — this is all shades of gray:

 

Since Bella is such a “simple” painting (one eye), I am painting this portrait much larger than I  usually do. I am a miniaturist, and I am not used to painting on this scale, so this feels to me as if I am painting a mural. It was when I saw what I had done to Bella’s head that I realized that I needed a new plan to accommodate this page format. I needed to paint fur.

I’m not that kind of painter. I don’t do loosey-blobbly. So this is a new style for me:

I dropped very wet paint onto the paper and”pulled” out individual strokes of “fur”:

The paper isn’t warped — that’s the bright sun coming in through the window screens.

 

DONE. Almost.

It was when I loaded this image onto y blog, thinking I was done, that I saw that the shadow that I painted on Bella’s face was too sharp. I didn’t want it to be exactly half of her face like that. So I went back upstairs to re-work it.

I also took a picture of Bella with a tea bag so you can see how “large” I am making this:

And, because this is such a close-up view of Bella, I painted in whiskers (which I don’t usually do):

OK, now we are DONE.

In loving memory of the Divine Miss Bella.

Tune in next week, when I do the final Stromness Rock Pet Portrait. Spoiler: It’s for Gali, who showed The Rock a good time in Massachusetts. Gali has — wait for it — a dog. Not just any dog. A Golden Retriever.

I’m not at all sure I can pull this off. Stay tuned.

So, this being the week that it was, we had revelations about Trump’s being a bankrupt and ethically compromised tax cheat, a presidential debate, and a Supremem Court nomination of a religious wacko.

Yeah, It’s the usual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proof that better days are ahead in this thread on my Twitter tl:

 

 

 

 

 

This wasn’t in the tl, but it was heartening all the same:

Oh, right. I forgot that Trump’s press secretary, who lies all the time, told a really dumb lie:

In Religious news, it was a mixed bag this week:

 

Now let’s get to those tax returns:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The answer, below, is “No”:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You made it! You made it through this looooong post and another week of 2020! Be happy, Dear Ones; Donald Trump has COVID!

Stay healthy, stay away from Republicans, and, oh yeah:

Fuck Trup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First off, I apologize — I don’t have a pet portrait to show you this week. It wasn’t a good week for painting. When I wrote last week’s blog headline, I did not expect things to get so crazy so fast.

We all felt like we got a punch in the stomach last Friday when we heard the news that Ruth Bader Ginsberg had died. I’m still processing it. Here’s a few thoughts that I’d like to share:

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s blog post headline comes from the Attorney General announcing that New York City, which is about 15 miles to the west of my 100-year-old house here on the north shore of Long Island, is now an “anarchist jurisdiction”. Nobody knows what the hell that means, but it sounds kind of saucy.

I went into Manhattan last Friday, the first time I’ve been in the city since Top Cat and I did our bBack Lives Matter march in June. I also took the subway, which I haven’t done in a long, long time. And I will try to never do it again.

Dear Readers, the New York City subway system is really, really, really scuzzy.

The trains are fine. It’s the people that scuzz up the system. From what I observed, the pandemic has taken a toll on New Yorkers since of propriety. I can only attribute the months of lockdown and working-from-home-ism to the lowering of standards as to what constitutes “public attire”. I swear I saw people wearing pajamas on the IRT, and apparently there is a shortage of combs in NYC. Maybe wearing clothes that are three sizes too small is a fashion statement, or maybe people haven’t been able to update their wardrobe to accommodate the pandemic pounds they have packed on, but either way, squeezing ten pounds of sausage into a five point bag is not a good look. When you ride the New York subway, you realize that humanity is, mostly, made up of very unattractive people, and it’s no wonder why our society vales beauty so much, it being such a rare sight amongst our species.

Other than the, things looked pretty normal in the heart of the anarchy.

 

 

 

I came across a news story that made me feel pretty good about the red state of Tennessee.

Tony Tenpenny (you ave to admit that that’s an AWESOME name) was a Republican and a “coronavirus skeptic” who used to publish anti-mask memes on his Facebook page. This is from May:

This is from Tony, in June:

Tony was still wondering why America was falling for the Democratic hoax in August:

Additionally, Tenpenny had been very active on social media voicing his support for President Donald Trump and his opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement.

On May 30, Tenpenny posted a statement on Facebook falsely attributed to former Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., putting forward conspiracy theories that the virus is nothing more than a political trick to derail Trump’s re-election bid.

On July 7, he wrote that “the CDC and the WHO are pure lying (expletive)” and that public health officials are “not telling you the truth.”

Tenpenny made more than a dozen posts stating or sharing Covid-19 disinformation, including video from a Texas doctor who peddled dangerous theories about the virus, linking its cause to demons. Facebook flagged the July 29 posting by Tenpenny as “Partly False Information.”

And then, on September 20, this happened:

Tenpenny was hospitalized for five weeks and was placed on a ventilator earlier in September. No word on whether he thought his death was a hoax, or a political trick to make Trump look bad.

Let us all take a moment to say Thank you, Karma.

That’s all I got for you this week, Dear Readers. Let’s all try to re-adjust to this new, depraved “normal”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones.

If you’re reading this on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, join me tonight in raising a glass for the late, great, notorious RBG.

And, lest we forget:

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Actually, I was guzzling the VegaMeataVitamin by May.

Here on the north shore of Long Island we have had spectacular sunrises, thanks to smoke from the wildfires on the west coast. The sun hangs in the air like a huge, brilliant, fiery, orange ball — I haven’t seen anything like it. As it gets higher in the sky, it bleeds out and becomes the hot white star that we usually see but oh! Those first 40 minutes of the morning, it is spectacular! Sorry, California, Oregon, and Washington.

So I’m sitting here at my computer, wishing I had not paid attention to the news and looking for a shot of some VitaMeataVegamin, and my little helper comes along:

She thinks the cursor might taste good if only she could catch it.

I am pleased to announce that we have given Car Cat a real name. I present to you: Kimmy.

Kimmy keeps me company whenever I am at my computer, and I am at my computer a lot.

She is bouncy, pouncy, flouncy, and trouncy. . .

. . . and she is full of fun, fun fun.

I thought that I did not want a kitten but it turns out that I really needed a kitten.

Before we get into the reason why #HitlerYouth is trending on Twitter this morning, let’s do some painting!

Meet Benji, who lives in New Jersey with Stromness Rock host and Dear Reader Carol:

Adorable, right? But if you’re going to paint him, you’re going to have to deal with several quirks of Benji that could go horribly wrong when you paint him, especially if you decide to paint his entire body because you live to make yourself miserable.

Actually, I don’t usually paint entire bodies because of the parallax problem in working from reference photos. But this is the rare photo where all of Benji is in focus and is in perspective, and he’s very graphic and appealing, so what the heck. I like to make myself miserable. Here are the BIG problems with Benji:

One: He’s entirely back-lit. The light is behind him and his adorable ears are glowing but his body is in shadow — how are you going to paint that?

Two: He is, and I can’t stress this too much, a white cat. How do you paint a white cat??

Three: He’s white, but he as some very specific black markings that you have to get just right or it won’t look like Benji. Got that?

Four: His face is in shadow, which you are not going to paint because, hello, it will look crappy to have a portrait where the sitter’s face is eclipsed by shade. So you’re going to have to figure out how to fake it so his adorable white face shows.

Five: He’s got a big fluffy black tail in the foreground. It’s big, and it’s of a shape and color that will be very hard to paint so it doesn’t look like a turd. Don’t make it muddy, don’t make it look lumpy, don’t make it look like shit, OK?

Thanks, Carol, for the challenge.

OK! Let’s get at it!

As always, I start with the eyes. In a white cat, the eyes are ever more crucial since that’s pretty much the only things that are going on in the face, and I spent a lot of time on Benji’s. I layered light washes of color, layer over layer, to get a color that is greenish-yellow but is also a bit muted, since the face is in shadow:

I even put in some blue shading in there, and I added white enamel paint as highlight. I also shaped the eyes very carefully, since they are so expressive — I even got in there with a pencil to do what I can’t do with even my tiniest paintbrush. They are the soul of Benji.

I must remind you that I’m working very small here:

Coming up, ears that glow. Again, I layer the paint: pink, peach, another pink, and even a little yellow to get a translucent effect:

Now to blend in those black markings:

I forgot to take a photo of how I cheated on Benji’s face and only painted him in half-shadow (sorry). I also decided to use a blue-grey color for the shadows on his damn white fur:

I mixed three shades of Grumbacher blues with Winsor Newton China White and Payne’s Gray to get a “blue” that would have depth and complexity.

I never use a brush this big, but I wanted to have a casual feel for the big shadows on his body.

Once in a while I get a smart idea, and for the tail (AKA, big black blob that takes p the whole foreground of the picture) I had the thought of letting the paint and the paper do all the work. I used a lot of water, and I mixed the paint and water on the brush so that each time I paint, I got a different saturation of paint/water that will add interest to this large area of paint. I am going to let the water and the paint do their thing:

Below: This is what I mean when I say I let the water and the  paint (and the paper) “do their thing” — all I did here (below), is let a very watery wash dry on good Canson paper:

I love the effect. It looks like watercolor, but it also kind of looks like fur!

Although Benji looks finished here (below), I still need to add more fluff. He’s a very fluffy cat, so I’m going to go completely fake here and “draw” with paint, using a very thin brush to outline the fluffiness of Benji’s fluff:

DONE.

 

 

Now, I promised that I would explain why #HitlerYouth is trending on Twitter this morning. It’s because our dips hit president announced yesterday that he is signing an executive order to promote “patriotic education” at American schools:

 

This is in retaliation for the widespread adoption into middle and high school curriculum of a body of work known as “The 1619 Project” . The year 1619 is the year that the first enslaved Africans were brought to the American colonies, and The 1619 Project, through a number of essays and texts by outstanding scholars and historians of all colors  and ethnicities, educates students to the systematic racism that has permeated American culture and government for over three hundred years.

So, Trump wants to create a TrumpYouth program, even though the federal government has almost no leverage in the actual curriculum of any school, which are all run by local governments: cities, towns, villages all decide what to teach — not federal edicts.

So, in response, Twitter is lighting up with comments about this latest attempt to polarize our country by the Republican nazis. Like this:

(Ben Shapiro is a loud mouthed conservative crackpot.)

So, things are going to get crazier and crazier, as if they weren’t crazy enough already. Sometimes I wish I could go to sleep and wake up on November 3, vote, and go back to sleep until Joe Biden takes the oath of office.

It is going to get very ugly. Be ready.

And now let’s see what else is happening:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

I didn’t get around to Bill Barr, the Attorney General who thinks he is Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, and that having to wear a mask curing a pandemic is the worst violation of civil rights since slavery because I just don’t have the energy and . . .

 

 

Hey! I found some Dad jokes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, everyone. Hard as it might be, stay sane. This, too, will pass. We hope. Maybe. You never know.

And, before I forget:

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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