Harvey grudge

Hello Vivian Swift,
You sent a payment of $100.00 USD to Muttnation Foundation, Inc.

Muttnation is the animal rescue organization headed up by the wonderful country singer Miranda Lambert. When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas on Friday, Aug. 25, Miranda was in Ireland. She got home to Nashville at 9 p.m. Monday night (Aug. 28) and was on an 11:30 a.m. American Airlines flight headed to Texas the next morning.

In Texas she met up with the rigs that Muttnation  had sent from their home base in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in three days she and Muttnation took 230 dogs, cats, and “other” domestic animals out of Houston shelters and drove them back to OK. This frees up local animal welfare resources so that they can deal with housing and re-homing flood victims’ lost pets.

These relocated animals will be adopted out in OK or sent to shelters elsewhere (near you?) in America…but either way, these dear cats and dogs and “others” are safe and will find forever homes.

You can read about the operation here.

Miranda Lambert. I don’t own, or know, a single one of her records, but she’s my kind of hero. She and Muttnation deserve my money.

To keep you interested in reading Part Two of my Harvey story (because aren’t we worn out from hearing about Harvey Harvey Harvey?), here’s a pic of Lickety’s butt in his new favorite spot on the dining room table:

Yes, I keep a paper cutter on my dining room table. I also use my dining room table as a laundry folding site, and when I made the mistake of leaving some towels unsupervised, Lickety laid claim to them.

I took these pix two weeks ago. He and the towels are still there.

Getting back to my godless philanthropy:

I also sent money to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. You can read about them here.

Donation to CDP Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund $100.00
You have covered the transaction fee, so 100% of your donation goes to the organization. Thank you! $3.00
Total $103.00

I refuse to send money to The Red Cross.

My personal beef with the Red Cross started when Super Storm Sandy hit Long Island in 2012 and the Red Cross showed up in the most devastated area, called the Far Rockaways, with grocery store cookies and flash lights that didn’t have batteries, and you, Dear Readers, know how I hold grudges. But if you want a less Vivian reason for never giving money to the Red Cross, you can read this.

Last Wednesday, Sept. 6, the US House of Representatives voted for 7.9 billion in Hurricane Harvey aid. This bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to be confirmed by the end of the week. So let’s say that, all in all, relief for victims of the Harvey disaster will arrive about 15 days since the hurricane hit Texas. By comparison, when my neck of the woods was devastated by Super Storm Sandy in 2012, do you know how long it took for aid to be approved by Congress?

66 days.


The senior Senator from Texas, Fuck Face Cornyn.

The junior Senator from Texas, Fuck Face Cruz.

Thanks to the objections of Southern Republican “fiscal conservatives”,  led by the two senators from Texas Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, victims of Super Storm Sandy, people who were homeless, lost, hurt, broke, and suffering — people who happened to be New Yorkers who were, help me Jesus, Jews, blacks, Hispanics, and Democrats — had to wait over two months for relief.

So, yeah. I will send money to help those poor souls, animal and human, in and around Houston. Houston took in 250,000 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina, more than any other city in Texas, and tens of thousands of Katrina survivors still live in Houston. That’s a lot of love. I have a lot of love for Houston. I do.

If you don’t think this is funny, find someone from New Orleans to explain it to you.

But the rest of Texas can still go fuck itself.

One last Harvey note:

Our friend from New Orleans, Karen — whose rose garden was one of the memorable and thought-provoking gardens that I wrote about in my book Gardens of Awe and Folly  says that if Harvey had veered east and hit NOLA instead of Houston, she (Karen) (a veteran of Hurricane Katrina) was prepared to evacuate herself, her cat, her dog, and the thousand bees in her backyard bee hive. In her car. Because that’s how they roll in the Crescent City.

As you read this, my sister, her husband, my mother, and their cats are evacuated from the west coast of Florida. They are holing up in a high-rise hotel inland, with three days supply of water, cross word puzzles, and Johnny Walker. (The cats are borderline alcoholics. Tiger is usually OK, in general; but Snowball is a mean drunk.) Hurricane Irma, as you probably know, is the biggest storm ever seen in the Atlantic Ocean and it is headed straight for the Sunshine State.

Speaking of beer, last Thursday was the final day of August and like you, Dear Readers, I waved My First Farewell to the Summer of ’17 with an appropriate refreshment. I viewed my final August sun set from — where else? — my yacht on the Long Island sound:

Actually I was on the totally empty deck of a waterside cafe on Manhasset Bay, but the view was just as splendid as if I’d been starboard on a 70-meter Fincantieri. Top Cat and I toasted the last day of August (me, Long Island Iced Tea; TC with a craft beer because he’s fancy) and then we moseyed out to the end of the dock.

Naming a boat poses a serious mental challenge.

I didn’t catch the name of this beautiful craft gliding upon the cool surface of high tide . . .

. . . but I’m pretty sure it was the S. S. Guppy:

Speaking of yachts, I feel stinking rich every time I open my back door and I see this:

It’s morning and this is the crew waiting to come in side the kitchen for breakfast. Notice how they have all turned away from me — they saw the camera and are being CATS. From left to right (starting with the Holstein) they are: Lickety, Bibs, Taffy, his mama Candy (wearing her Maryland colors), and that’s Dennis at the top, who lives next door and who shows up for breakfast every day. They are all house cats except in Summer, when they answer the call of the wild and spend 90% of their days and nights in the back yard.  But the minute it gets slightly chilly, they will all be back inside, napping their lives away.

On Labor Day I had a visitor to my back yard:

It’s a red-spotted purple admiral. I’ve never seen one before. It was a good omen that he showed up when he did, because an hour later Top Cat and I were on our way to a five-mile walk Labor Day/Second Farewell to the Sumer of ’17 in a nature reserve here on Long Island called Caumsett . . .

. . . which is very special because it is the only New York habitat of a very rare butterfly that I was hoping to see:

As Dear Reader Tucson Tana knows, this is Baltimore Checkerspot, the Maryland State Insect, which is very hard to distinguish from a player on the University of Maryland football team:

You’re so right, Tana. This college football team uniform is AWESOME.

Although I didn’t catch a glimpse of the rare and beautiful Checkerspot, I did catch sight of one of these:

I don’t know if this is a Monarch or a Viceroy butterfly, and I don’t want to eat one to be sure. (The Viceroy is OK to chow down on, but Monarch is toxic.)

Being that it’s the last three-day holiday of the season, we Americans think that Labor Day is the sentimental end of Summer, hence it’s #2 place on my roster of Summer Farewells. Summer holds such a huge place in my  psyche, and probably yours too, that it is the one season that deserves a real send off. That’s why I take my time in saying Good Bye to it. I always hope that each Summer will be contained in a very specific memory of achievement, dreams, changes, travel, etc…but not this year.

However, upon a path in yonder woods within the Isle of Long, Lo I think I found A Sign from the Universe that my Summer of ’17 hasn’t been as regretful and lackluster as I might be thinking:

A Blue Jay Feather, nature’s way of reminding you that the world is still a pretty wonderful place, if you keep your eyes open for miracles.

Top Cat and I sat above the beach at Caumsett and pondered the crashing waves coming in from the Long Island Sound. That’s only Connecticut in the distance, so it’s not like I got any Big Ideas inspired by the view.

But I’m getting there. Thinking Big is my mission in life. Spacious thoughts are my destiny.

We have two weeks until the official, calendrical end of Summer, at which time I will indeed wrap up the roses and thorns of ’17. In the meantime, when we were all talking about Thinking Big the other week I had a small echo of a memory of something I’d once read on the subject.

I looked it up. In June 1979 I copied these words from a book I had just read, called Henderson the Rain King (great title) by Saul Bellow. Bellow wrote it in 1959 and part of it is set in Africa, a place Bellow had never been. I rather liked it when I first read it, but then I went to Africa and I re-read it in Africa, and Bellow’s lack of first hand experience of Africans shows. Anyway.

This is for you, my fellow Big Thinkers:

They say, Think Big. Well, that’s just another business slogan. But greatness! That’s another thing all together! Oh, greatness! I don’t mean inflated, swollen, false greatness. I don’t mean pride or throwing your weight around. But the universe itself being put into us, it calls out for scope. The eternal is bonded into us. It calls out for its share. And I have to do something about it.

So that’s how we do it, Dear Readers.

Have a great weekend. You are all part of the Greatness. You all have the universe within you. You are stardust (in the most literal sense), you are golden.


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