It’s hot here on the north shore of Long Island. Hot hot hot hot.
All the smart kitties are conserving energy any way they can.
This is Steve, of course, cooling it on the front stoop.
Here are more of my kitties showing their genius at not getting their dander up when it’s 95 degrees and 78% humidity outside:
They are snoozing in the pretend shade of the coilus bush.
And this is our neighbor’s cat, Dennis, keeping it chill as seen from my kitchen window:
Denis is smart enough to snooze in the real shade of a real tree.
And this is what Top Cat and I are doing during this atrocious heat wave:
We are not as smart as the cats. Nope: We are expending a lot of energy getting all het up. What has got our blood boiling is, about once a year, my husband and I have a really big scorching fight, and this year’s blow-out coincides with actual, real-world sizzling temperatures.
Would it surprise you to know that I am not the kind of person who “lets things slide”? I am not the person you want around when you want to take out your frustrations with, say– as a totallyrandom example — your bumpkin relatives who made you drive to New Jersey and back, on a week night, in rush hour traffic. Nope, the girl who is going to let that slide is not me. When it comes to debating the merits of you complaining about my keeping you waiting 5-minutes on a Sunday afternoon against you speaking nary a word against those who forced you to take a mid-week trek to Outer Bug Fuck, NJ, I will fiercely demand, “What’s up with that shit?”
In fact, I’m so fierce, I play tag with airplanes:
This picture is not Photoshopped. This is actually how close you can get to planes as they come in for a landing at National Airport in Washington, DC. This is easily the most fun thing I’ve ever done in DC, our nation’s capital, and I have a lot to compare it to: I’ve been to Union Market and had the world’s most outstanding grilled cheese sandwich (caramelized opinions, gruyere, extra-toasty sourdough bread), and I’ve played the How Many Toys Can We Throw Over The Baby Fence with an extra-cute one-year old. So:
To play Tag the Airliner game, all you have to do is [have someone who has the app] check to see if the air traffic to National Airport is being routed from the north (the planes follow the curve of the Potomac River); if yes, then find a way to get to Gravelly Point (spoiler: It’s not easy), and then stand there. Every 90 seconds a plane will roar down on you, so close you can smell the diesel. It’s awesome.
OK, I admit that for the first few — or 20 — planes, I might have lost my nerve a bit:
Because planes are big, and loud, and shouldn’t be in the air in the first place.
This trip to DC, our nation’s capital, was so I could visit my sister and her family, which includes the afore-mentioned Extra Cute One-Year Old. My sister is 18 years younger than I, so it’s natural that when we are together with the Extra Cute One-Year Old that strangers would assume that I was the grandmother. We were sitting in a cafe at the excellent new Southwest Waterfront (DC’s hottest new development). . .
. . . and a young/middle aged stopped by to admire the Extra Cute One-Year Old in his super-cool hi-teck backpack/carrier. “That’s some special contraption,” he says.
Then he says to me, “Remember when we did it?” [No, do I look like a grandmother??? but because I’m a wonderful human being I’ll play along and not take offense.]
I chuckled and said, “Right, all we had was a canvas sling.” Ha ha. That “we” cracks me up. As. If.
The next day I headed to the National Archives on my own to have a look around, and was going through the security check point when a young/middle aged officer said to me, “You can put your bag right here, young lady.”
Whoa. Do I look old enough that oldish guys are calling me that”young lady” thing that old and young-ish guys do to old ladies because they think it is charming for us old bats to be patronized that way?? And I was wearing skinny jeans!!
I’m seriously thinking of getting my hair dyed some flattering shade of honey blonde, like they do in France. Also, I should learn how to accessorize.
Next, we all met at the United States Botanic Garden not far from theArchives, and me, my sister, and the Extra Cute One-Year Old wandered into a greenhouse that featured small fake dinosaurs. “Hey!” I said to my sister, “If this is all about multi-million-year-old plants from the time of the dinosaurs (I know how to take a clue), maybe we could find a Wollemi Pine here!” Then I glanced at the ugly green thing that was growing in the exhibit right in front of me.
“It kind of looks like this,” I said.
Then I bent to read the label that was sticking up out of the ground in the display right in front of me.
For those of you reading along, I first got excited about the Wollemi Pine in the Key West chapter of my book, Gardens of Awe and Folly:
No, those aren’t illustrations of Wollemi Pines (above), but they are illustrations of another Australian pine that I love, called the Australian Pine. The Wollemi Pine under discussion is a 40-million year old plant that was presumed extinct until 1994 when a small clutch of 100 trees were discovered in a remote forest in New South Wales. The discovery sent shock waves of euphoria through the botanical community (such as it is) and propagations of the tree, which are most highly prized, have been sent around the world. (In Florida, the other Australian pine, the Australian Pine, is considered a pest, and outlawed from private and public gardens, except in Key West. Long story, full of injustice. It’s in the book. I do mention the Wollemi Pine in the Key West chapter, too, because Florida is a very good and legal place to grow Wollemi Pines. Go figure.)
I’ve only seen one other Wollemi Pine, a scraggly specimen in a corner of the Chelsea Physic Garden in London.
So I was really excited to see this Wollemi Pine here in DC, our nation’s capital!
Then we moseyed through the rest of the greenhouses, and I saw several more Wollemi Pines. By your fifth or sixth Wollemi Pine, you’ve pretty much seen enough of the Wollemi Pine. It’s not a particularly attractive plant.
Fun Fact: The Latin name for the Wollemi Pine is Wollemia noblis because it was discovered in the Wollemi National Park, and because the last name of the guy who discovered it was Nobel (David Nobel). How lucky is that!?
Other Fun Fact: Neither the Wollemi Pine nor the Australian Pine are”pines”.
One last FunFact: Traveling to DC, our nation’s capital, from New York City is tons of fun except when the train engineers can’t find an engine for train and it takes three hours to find one. I left DC, our nation’s capital, on such a train and by the time I was allowed to board I was in a tizzy. Luckily, I got a place in the Cafe Car, and I got myself a nice cold snack:
And I wasn’t sharing.
Have a great weekend, Dear Readers. Yes, it’s hot, and there’s a vacancy on the Supreme Court, and we are very near the collapse of our democracy, but to cheer you up I’m going to show you the front page of the New York Daily News from July 4:
Oh, Stormy Daniels, wondrous Star of Porn, how do I love thee? You are the celestial brightness to illuminate the cheap glitter of der Drumpf for all its tawdriness, the heavenly fire to incinerate the gas baggery of a man who has built his tacky career with the help of cons, crooks, grifters, and sleaze balls.
Dear Readers, Stormy Daniels is our Joan of Arc, our Esther, our Lisa Simpson. Stormy will save America from the sewer creatures that swamp this administration, and verily I say unto you, it will be a fine impeachment and yon hounding from office that will rid us of every smarmy Drumpf all the land, unto Donny Jr, Ivanka, Jared-by-association, unto the head spiv himself.
And then all will be as once was in the land. Amen.
I have my own spin on this. I think that der Drumpf’s biggest fear about the raids of his lawyer’s offices is that it will be revealed that he has been lying about how much money he has. I think der Drumpf is not a billionaire, and should that be revealed it would be a humiliation worse than the revelations that he was working a porn star while his third wife had just given birth.
I have always suspected that the Drumpfs are not as rich as they want everyone to believe because I once (unknowingly) worked for a scam artist here on Long Island (more about this later) who learned his business through his affiliation with another scam called Cambridge Who’s Who.
This (above) is a screen shot, c. 2009, of a video that is still available on the inter webs and that’s little Donny Drumpf Junior pitching the product. Here’s the thing: Donny Drumpf Jr. introduces himself smugly as an Executive Vice President of his daddy’s company, and says that Cambridge Who’s Who is the “primary business venture I’m pursuing outside the Trump organization.”
But here’s the thing: the swindle of Cambridge Who’s Who is so cheap, so small potatoes — a few thousand dollars per sad sack who paid to have his or her name included in some chintzy year book — that sure, I can see some greasy Long Island hack thinking that he’s striking it rich by pulling in enough money to buy himself a brand new Cadillac but WHY would the son of a billionaire bother??
Unless that “billionaire” did not exist. So I’ve always thought (well, since 2011, when I found out about it) that all the Drumpfs were hard up for cash and resorted to these penny-ante cons such as Cambridge Who’s Who and Trump University, which was ordered to re-pay its enrollees $25 million just before the 2016 elections. I wonder how that judgement is going — der Drumpf is notorious for never paying his bills.
By the way, the scam I unwittingly worked for was called the NAPW, the National Association of Professional Women. Once I discovered that I was working for a scam artist (I was head PR writer), I began to collect evidence. It was surprisingly easy. I rooted around non-secured e-files and found Word docs about the various fines levied, frauds perpetrated by the founder of NAPW, as well as his history with Cambridge Who’s Who, and proof of the people that NAPW had cheated. I also got very lucky once when I opened a desk drawer (that I was assigned to sit at — I was not snooping) and it was full of old letters to and from lawyers and SEC regulators and old employees and aggrieved customers. Gold Mine.
I contacted women who had been legally threatened by NAPW, I contacted women who had fought back and won, I contacted other women who had gone public with their charges against NAPW. They volunteered to back me up. I took the whole shebang and myself to the Nassau County Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General and the Nassau County District Attorney. Neither office wanted to pursue the cause because I did not have “standing”, and because they seemed very uninterested in something so nickel-and-dime.
I wrote a Yelp! review with specific information about the piece of shit who ran the company, but was erased because the NAPW lawyer contacted Yelp! and had me removed becauseI wasn’t a customer and Yelp! only wants to hear from people who have actually used the service. But the Yelp! reviews that remain on the site make interesting reading, if you care.
Through long and hard searches into the dark corners of the internets I found out that once upon a time a Wall Street Journal reporter, tipped off by an inside source, had come nosing around the business a few years earlier and I contacted her. She was very interested in my docs, but she could not get her boss to sign off on the story because he was afraid of getting sued. The NAPW founder, like der Drumpf, like all con men, piles on the lawyers at the first whiff of exposure.
At the time, it felt very cloak-and-dagger, very All The Presidents’ Men.
Oh, I could tell you stories of the celebrities I tried to warn about the NAPW, like Arianna Huffington and Sara Blakley (Spanx), who were paid big bucks to attend the annual NAPW conference…and no one would listen!! When I heard that NAPW was going after Michelle Obama I was almost frantic, but luckily that never came to pass. Make no mistake: this business is a SCAM.
Ariana Huffington with NAPW spokesperson Star Jones, which gives you a clue as to the shadiness of the organization.
When I saw that I could not bring down this sleezy con, I got into several tense and threatening confrontations with management and I let myself be fired from NAPW.
By”tense and threatening”, I mean that the company had people search my desk after I left work, which I know because I made strategic friends in low places, which I tuned them about the next day. And then they staged a face to face meeting with the “head” of HR and the so-called President of the company, who tried to bully me into signing a paper that said I had been counseled that my bullying (still a buzz word in wrongful termination suits) behavior had been acknowledged by me, which I refused to sign, and then they tried to tell me that not signing would have serious repercussion, such as getting fired… ha ha. I was the one person there who did not fear getting fired (been there, done that; and I was married to Top Cat at the time) so they fired me and I collected unemployment benefits from them, and the pay-out lasted longer than my employment. I went to Paris on their dime.
Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran at the 2014 NAPW gathering.
The file of all the dastardly deeds on the NAPW still sits in my closet, though, just in case.
I see that a lot of information about NAPW and its chiseling founder have been wiped from the interwebs, and although hardly anyone reads my blog; the files are clearly marked NAPW SCAM and they would be easy to find if I am incapacitated. You know, by foreign agents.
BTW, the chiseling founder, besides being a youngish guy who owned several Corvettes and a Maserati, had a little Yorkshire Terrier that he was very fond of and I have to say, he loved that DoG and was always very good to her. Go figure.
And did you notice something interesting about the fraud that started all this? Cambridge Who’s Who? And what it has in common with Cambridge Analytica?
Those Drumpfs must have a “thing” for the patina of the English upper classes, ya think?
Anyhoo, let’s not end here on a Drumpf note because :
Republicans, don’t take this personally. This is also how I feel about cilantro.
In other, more important news, this is what it looks like here on the north shore of Long Island (as of Wednesday, April 11 ) and yes, those are piles are snow:
That’s my car. Every large parking lot still has some daggy bits of Winter left on it. Sad.
And the other day I was giving kitties their breakfast and I discovered that someone’s mousie. . .
. . . had dived into the cat food bowl:
I picked it out of the kibble and tossed it into the dining room. But the next day, the critter crawled his way back to the breakfast buffet:
Again, I picked it up and tossed it into the dining room, but the next day. . .
. . . the mousie was taking cover (under Bibs’ pink bowl) so I let him stay. He’s been on the breakfast mat ever since. His name is Jephte, after my Number One No. # 1 Reality TV hunny.
I have become totally hooked on this season’s Married at First Sight. I keep wishing for the best for all the adorable couples, but my man Jephte has shown himself to be the person most capable of awesome personal growth and self-reflection and change. He started out as such a huge prick, but since then he’s become kind, loving, thoughtful, and caring! I love his heart, and I love the way he loves his heart’s mate. I have high hopes for him and Shawnice:
Shawnice is a very cute girl without makeup, but she is AMAZING with make up (she’s a make up artist). I give her major props for spending so much time on camera without make up, because she is a total dish when she puts on the war paint and there’s another girl on the show (Molly) who won’t be seen on film without thirteen layers of mascara. If you’re watching the show, you know what I mean.
Speaking of the quality time I spend with my TV, and although some of my die-hard Drumpf hater friends have tried to talk me out of it, I am still watching Roseanne.
I cannot wait until Michael Fishman gets his own story arc, but this week’s episode which featured the daughters, Becky and Darlene — titled Eggs Over, Not Easy — was totally brilliant. Brill-ee-ant.
I’ve watched it twice and I’ve cried each time.
But I also cry when I watch Married At First Sight (these beautiful young people are so meant for each other and I just wish they will know that when the eight week experiment is over), and at the video that shows a color blind kid when he gets new “sunglasses” and can see color for the first time . . .
. . . and at the first chorus of Band of Heathens doing Hurricane. . .
. . . and when I think that thanks to our blessed Saint Stormy, Patron Saintess of Democracy, that we might soon be rid of history’s most sordid, stinking, stupid pustule that ever oozed upon the office of the President of the United States…
I just want to cry Hallelujah.
Which, by the way, when k. d. lang sings it, also makes me cry. But then, I’m usually drunk when I pat me up some k. d. at the 2005 Juno Awards in Winnipeg and at my most maudlin. Canadians. What would American culture be without them?
Top Cat always tells me that my blog posts are too long.
Have a great weekend, everyone. And have a good cry. It’s good for the soul.
This was the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville on August 17, during a vigil for Heather Heyer, who was killed by an American Nazi on Aug. 12:
Photo credit: Jason Lappa for The New York Times
The ugliness that happened at Charlottesville because of torch-wielding “Unite the Right” assholes. . .
. . . should not have come as any surprise, and der Drumpf is not solely responsible for giving American Nazis the confidence to march in the light of day. White supremacy is what the Republican party has been dog-whistling for decades. der Drumpf is only saying out loud what the party has been nudge-nudging/wink-winking since Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy. So, No, the GOP is not off the hook just because a few Republican politicians scold der Drumpf for his disgusting sympathy for the “fine people” of the alt-right.
What I think we should do, instead of tearing down the statues, is to paint over them, in big words: You Lost. And for all those wonderful “Christians” who support the Drumpf agenda, we should add: Because God Was On Our Side. Get Over It, For Fuck’s Sake.
And if anyone wants to debate with you that the Civil War was about the glorious cause of state’s rights, remind them that the No. 1 state right that was fought over was the rightto own slaves. And if anyone gives you that bullshit about the Stars and Bars being “just a battle flag”. . . ask them why they are proud of being on the losing side? Because they are such losers??
Oh, the hell with it. We should just let them secede. Florida’s going to go underwater away, and would anyone with a fully-functioning brain miss South Carolina?
BTW, those guys in the photo above are giving a Nazi Salute. Klansmen make the same salute, only with the left hand. So now you know.
Here’s a news item about confronting American Nazis that made me laugh. Yvette Felarca, a teacher in Berkley California, is facing assault charges in regards to her participation in a counter-demonstration against the alt-right in 2016, which led to a street brawl when the two forces faced each other. She was filmed hitting a brown-shirt. She wants all charges dropped. Her defense? It’s so pure, so plain: It shouldn’t be a crime to punch a Nazi.
LOVE IT. Also, Yvette Felacra is a teeny tiny Asian-American, so I bet her fists land like little pitty-pats on a big bad White Supremacist (who are all babies).
I know that I have lost Dear Readers of this blog since I started bad mouthing the imbecile in the White House. But here’s the thing: if you don’t speak up against this monstrosity, then your silence condones every perversion of language, truth, justice, and humanity that this der Drumpf piece of shit spews. It’s time to chose sides, people.
In Other News: I read two books last week, both of which I can recommend. This was my favorite:
(But skip the chapter about his favorite pornographer. All porn makes me ill.)
This is a collection of personal essays on the people and things that inspire John Waters. I have never seen a John Waters film. so I am not his built-in readership. But he’s such an odd fellow. . .Who wouldn’t want to read about how he got to be John Waters?
John Waters knows how to keep a story skipping across the pages and I read the whole thing in almost one sitting. YUM. But what I adore most about him is that he has a solid world view, one that is waaaaaay different than mine, but he’s so smart that he can articulate his values and esthetics with such vigor and humor that he makes me wish that I wasn’t so fussy about living a regular, normal life. For instance, I would never wear clothes that cost a ton of money just so I can look bad, but he does (by the famous-for-shredding-seams haute couturier Comme des Garcons) yet he succeeds in making me understand why someone like him (or, more accurately, him) does. After reading those two millennial authors I discussed last week, whose work was froth, it was like gorging on pure protein to read words that had a long life (John Waters is 70 years old) to back them up, as if each word had a weight to it, a real heft, have stood the test of time and all, that made the story right juicy. And it was like champagne to read about someone his age (John Waters is 70!!) who is still challenging himself and the world to be more creative, less attracted to surface shine. Ah, so that’s how you age gracefully!
This book came out in 2007 but I just around to reading it now:
Joshua Ferris wrote about office work, and the culture there that assumes shape amongst co-workers. And not once did he resort to the usual shorthand — likening it to high school — about the various roles each cubicle-person plays for the others. And there is a plot, in case that’s what you read fiction for. But mostly I liked the observations about meetings, looking busy, and waiting for the weekend. I did laugh out loud at one point, but then, I think the word “scumbag” is funny.
I’ve been thinking about the various offices I’ve worked in since my first office job in 1973. At one, in the 1980s for heaven’s sake, I was told that the old guy who went around kissing girls on the mouth was just a quirky “something that Ozzie did.” And when I recoiled at his approach to me, and told him No, thanks, some of the ladies criticized me for hurtinghis feelings.
For those readers in the Long Island area, the office was the inventory admin one at Fortunoff’s (on Fifth Ave) and I was not sad when they went out of business ten years later.
God, I’ve had a lot of crappy jobs.
And so we come to the end of this week’s post. I was laid low by the plague this past week, or something that certainly felt as deadly as The Black Death, so I am out of steam now and I didn’t get to the things that I had planned to write about . . . next week, then.
As bad as these days are, there is still some loveliness in the world. Here is a picture of a recent traffic jam in my little village :
And here’s a picture of some of those antsy Long Island drivers caught in that traffic jam:
Have a great weekend, every one. May all your driver’s seats be full of fluffy, unconditional love.