December 2018

First we were rained out, then we had too many parties to go to, and then it was one thing after another…it was Christmas Eve when we finally  packed up the champagne and the plastic beach glasses to go to our special spot on the north shore of Long Island, by the water’s edge of the Long Island Sound, to celebrate the Winter Solstice. It was cold and windy. We weren’t even sure there would be much of a sun set, it being so cloudy.

But we waited anyway. . .

. . . and at 4:33 PM the Earth and the Sun managed to put on a show of light that felt almost holy, and made us happy to be alive on this marvelous and mysterious planet. Isn’t that what every great sun set does? (That’s the skyline of Manhattan in the way back.)

And then the neighbor’s cat, Dennis, came through the hole in the fence and he didn’t see his shadow, so that means we have 12 more weeks of keeping Dennis warm when he does his mind-meld from the backyard to let us know that he wants to take a Winter’s nap in our house.

Remember back, on November 2, when we set the clocks back to Winter Time and I wrote a check list called Preparation and Dread: Winter is Coming?

Item 8:

Volunteer for a social project. This year, I am starting a new fund-raising event for the library and I hope to raise big bucks but first, I have to change the by-laws so we can have an open bar in the reference section (for just one night! Not for all time!). You can throw all the kids’ events you want, but it’s the grown-ups who have spending money and they won’t come to your dinky library gala if there is no booze.

I still haven’t been able to get the library to lighten up on its tea-total ways, but I have started work on my Winter Sanity Project.

I am organizing the fund raising for a miniature golfing event at our local library, the William Cullen Bryant Library in Roslyn, NY.

We will be setting up an 18-hole miniature golf course INSIDE the library, and bringing in kids and teenagers and adults to play while the library is open, on Saturday April 6, 9 AM – 5 PM.

We have a very generous Title Sponsor in Fidelity Investments — they came through for us like champs. Fidelity is the best. They have been awesome.

And now I am asking businesses in our community for money…you can imagine the endless fun that is. One by one, I am getting Hole Sponsors for the 18 holes but it’s not easy. I am beginning to wonder why the library has not made itself more beloved in the community, because I have seen this mini-golf thing go over huge in other similarly-size towns and in Roslyn it’s mano-a-mano. Without going into details (and I have a lot of details) for now, towns half our size put us to shame when it comes to fund raising for the library. This is a topic I will be happy to bitch about discuss at a later date, but let’s get to happier business for today.

For the month before our mini-golf event, that is, all of March 2019, I will be doing PR to get everyone all fired up to come and play at the Bryant Library. One thing I am doing is making more Book Art, because there’s got to be something in it for me since I don’t play golf and I don’t have kids.

I’m going to make a miniature Miniature Golf course, with our favorite childrens’ book characters as the golfers.

Naturally, I started with this guy:

I made his tree out of plain white bond paper, and then I covered it with strips of text from a paperback copy of  The House At Pooh Corner from 1928, by A. A. Milne with original illustrations by E. H. Shephard.

I used the Pooh Bear from Disney because he’s in color, but don’t fear; I also have Shephard’s wonderful original characters on site, too.

I also used this Disney illustration as a reference:

I really wanted to make one of these holes. I can’t think of what to call them — don’t they have a name?

Luckily, I had made my Pooh tree with different sized tubes of paper (which I rolled myself) so, as most of the tree is hollow, it was easy to stab a hole into the fat tree limb:

I used my trusty scalpel to dig out a nice-sized hole:

This is hard to photograph: I stuffed a cup-shaped disk of dark print into the hole. . .

. . . and then I flattened the edges of the disk around the hole. So, yes, there is actually an interior to this hole:

I glued graduated layers of text into several  O-rings and, while the whole thing was still damp with loads of Elmer’s glue, I shaped it to fit the limb, and set aside to dry:

It mounted onto the tree limb like it was custom-made, which of course it was.

You can see that I have put various characters from The House At Pooh Corner up into the tree — there’s Eeyore, Piglet, Christopher Robin, and Rabbit (above). I put the original Pooh in here on four or five leaves, in homage to the great E. H. Shephard drawings that we all love.

Tigger is on the tree limb on the right.

I will add a golf club to Pooh — I see him carrying it over his shoulder as he gets directions from Gopher to the first tee.

I found several books in the used book store that had green bindings, so I’m using them as “greens” for the miniature miniature golf game that will be played. I also found books that have green end papers:

I have the next “green” lined up. These end papers will give me a nice space to make Farmer MacGregor’s garden for Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny, and maybe have room left over for some Wind in the Willows.

I’m also working on a castle with a dragon from a YA fantasy series, and a formal garden with topiary for the Cat in the Hat.

The miniature miniature golf corse will go on display on March 1, in the same case where the castles are (see: Dec. 7, Somebody in Leicestershire Likes Me).

People are going to be sick of seeing my book art.

One last panic note: My feral indoor cat, Candy, mama to Lickety and Taffy (this is Candy and Taffy, below):

. . . has been very quiet lately. She’s been sleeping a lot, and today she stopped coming ’round to the buffet for breakfast and lunch. So somehow, I got to get close to her to inspect the situation, and now I know why she’s feeling poorly and I am FREAKED OUT.

She has an in-grown claw that, as far as I can see, has curled around and is piercing her pad, and it is inflamed. I did that running around thing you do when you know your sweet kitty (who can’t stand me, BTW) is hurt, flapping my hands, my heart pounding, trying not to faint, trying to remember the phone number to the vet, then resorting to looking it up in my phone book with shaking hands…

In the 11 years that we have known each other, Candy has never let me touch her. But she’s feeling so bad today that I know I can grab her and stuff her into a carrier, my one and only chance to get her to the vet. She has an appointment for 9 AM tomorrow morning (Friday) and I’m sure she will have to be sedated to get her to submit for a nail clipping so I can’t feed her after 8 PM tonight, no problem since she has stopped eating.

I am feeling terrible. And scared. I will have ONE SHOT at getting this cat in a career and THAT’s IT for the rest of my life.

Fuck it. I’m going to make myself a V&T to calm down***, and I’m publishing this on Thursday afternoon, at 2:40 PM, so I hope you Dear Readers who report a ten hour time lag will get this to pop up on your screen in time for me to let you all know how our Friday morning at the vet went.

Dear Readers, please send Candy some vibes to make her relax and accept help from me.

I will post a follow up tomorrow.

See you here in about 20 hours from now.

 

*** I didn’t have that V&T. I took a few drops of CBD oil, and it worked a charm.  Later that night, I had a few too many V&Ts, but only after 5 o’clock, and then I fell asleep on the couch in the den during the last minutes of Jeopardy!, like civilized people do.

UPDATE:  It’s 1:08 PM Friday afternoon and Candy is home from the vet’s. She was sedated so the vet could pull out a very in-grown claw — it was the worst that the vat had ever seen. She saved the claw for me, but I don’t want to showy because I don’t want you all to think I’m a bad kitty mom. Candy also had an ear infection, and she got a huge dose on antibiotics for that.

I was terrified absit handling Candy this morning. I looked up videos on YouTube about handling a wild cat and I got excellent its, which I used to great effect. I got Candy in the carrier with only one stab wound from her, but I have to tell you that my hands were shaking for half an hour afterwards. I knew that if I didn’t get her in the career this morning that she would NEVER let me near her for a second try.

But all’s well. I had a second cup of tea to calm down, and now Candy is  home and sleeping off the last of the Happy Gas.

Thank you for your good vibes for our girl.

Have a splendid New Year, Dear Ones.

 

 

 

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To One and All,

Happy ChrisHanuKwanSolstice 2018!

In a few  hours from now Top Cat and I will be guzzling champagne in our special Solstice spot on the shore of Long Island Sound as we toast the Return of the Light in a 60-degree wind and rainstorm. It’ll be just like every cliche in a romantic comedy, us getting soaked while making some grand gesture to the universe.

A few days ago I heard some caterwauling coming from the front stoop. It was Steve, defending his Stevedom from an intruder:

I’ve never seen this tabby before.

So, yes, there’s a new guy on the block.

He’s very handsome, and both sleek and a bit tubby so I know he has a regular dinner bowl set out for him somewhere, and his ear is clipped so, whew, he’s already been TNR’d, and he’s tame enough that he let me sit on the front step with him and explain that this is Steve’s turf and we don’t really need another cat, and I eventually persuaded him to go look for some excitement elsewhere.

He came back the next day,around late-lunch time, to inspect Steve’s buffet again, and again I had to mildly shoo him away and he, again, took his time deciding that OK, maybe he actually did have better things to do than irritate Steve.

And then the weather system that spawned tornados in Washington state hooked up with a massive storm from Florida and it’s been raining heavily here on the north shore of Long Island, so I haven’t seen Freddie for two days.

Right. I had to name the new guy Freddie because I am still getting my Queen freak on. And as if I could not crush on Freddie Mercury, Queen’s inimitable front man, any more than I already do, I recently learned how much he loved cats. At one time, he had ten of them. You can google all kinds of stories about Freddie and his cats, and while they all agree that Delilah was his favorite (he even wrote a song about her), the consensus was that Delilah was either a tabby or a tortoiseshell.

This is a photo of Goliath, Freddie Mercury’s black cat, and Delilah:

You would think, at any kind of newspaper or magazine or website, that there would be at least ONE proofreader or fact-checker who would know the difference between a tabby, a tortoiseshell, and a freaking calico cat.

But we all have shocking gaps in our knowledge of the world, right? This week, for example, it was revealed to me that Mars, the planet that humanity will have to colonize when we are finished trashing our own dear Earth, is behind us. That is, it is further away from the sun — 141.6 million miles (on a good day) compared to our 92.96 million miles.

Since approx. 1962, I have pictured Mars as being in front of us on all those scale models of the solar system that I have glanced at since second grade. For some reason, learning that Mars is behind us has upset my whole conception of interplanetary travel. We’re going to shoot people further out and away from the only life-giving star that we can count on in the entire universe??

It bothers me.

But then I go watch Queen’s set at Live Aid in London on July 13, 1985 and I don’t care any more that humankind wants to go ruin another perfectly fine planet, especially at the 7:39 mark when Freddie lunges into Hammer To Fall. I watch that video and I wonder, at myself in 1985, How did I not know he was gay?

We all have shocking gaps in our knowledge of the world, right?

But let’s not dwell on our stupidity. Let’s celebrate our abundant opportunities for enlightenment, in big and little ways, that life on this precious planet gives us every day.

That’s the spirit of all my ChrisHanuKwanSolstice wishes, Past and Present.

To all you Wonder Ones, my beloved Dear Readers, and all your favorite people and critters (even those taking their  sled rides in Heaven) —

A most enlightening and very Happy New Year.

 

 

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So I was, like, all “WTF?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” last week when I discovered that WordPress changed itself into a new platform that I could not figure out for the life of me, but then today I found out that I could re-install the old circuits and pretend that the future had not already happened, just like I was a Republican or something, and now I’m all like OMG What a relief! I don’t have to learn anything new after all!!

This old format that I am still using will be good until 2021, at which time I will have to learn the new platform but a lot can happen between now and 2021, which looks devastating for the Earth in general but awesome for those of us who want to see Trump behind bars, In jail, Convicted, Disgraced. And take Donny Jr. with him. And Melanoma. And Stinkvanka. All of ’em. But not Eric. Being Eric is punishment enough.

Top Cat and I went to see the Queen biopic last weekend. I’ve been a bit obsessed with it ever since.

Note to Megan McCain, who interviewed the cast on The View and kept calling the film  a “bi-op-ic”, as if the first two syllables were borrowed from “biopsy”. It’s a bio-pic, a portmanteau of the words “biography” and “moving picture”. How can she be 34 and on TV and not know that??

Anyhoo, back to Bohemian Rhapsody, I get why the film got a lot of criticism for it’s shallow handling of Freedie Mercury’s interesting private life. The life-long bond that he shared with the love of his life, Mary Austin, in spite of his rather robust homosexuality was handled with Made-For-TV-quality cliches, but then, that got the film a PG13 rating which allowed my friend’s 14-year-old grandson into the theater and he loved it. Yay. Rock and roll in not dead yet if 14-year-olds can still be persuaded to listen to it!

I liked seeing the ’70s again. My eyes have been missing the world of my youth. I miss when people used to dress to thrill by wrapping themselves up in yards and yards of lace and velvet and creative and colorful cross-dressing, and not by just letting their bazingas hang out.

Then:

Freddie Mercury, 1974

Now:

Rapper Nicki Minaj attends the Haider Ackermann show as part of the Paris Fashion Week on March 4, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Peter White/Getty Images)

Jesus. Her mother must be so proud. (After all, in addition to her daughter going around Paris with her bazingas hanging out, her son was recently convicted of child molestation.)

I also liked watching the group, Queen, and Freddie in particular, work themselves into being QUEEN. How an artist finds his or her way in the world is always fascinating and, yeah, it’s not like this biopic is an exhaustive study on the emergence of genius, but it still shows enough of the process to hold my interest.

The actors did not sing in the movie. They lip-synched to the original Queen material, and it’s fantastic. They even re-created, step by step, Queen’s 20-minute set on July 13, 1985 in Wembley Stadium, for Live Aid.

Oh, man. I miss the ’80s.

All in all, it’s a very entertaining movie that covers most of the band’s history up until six years before Freddie Mercury’s death, in 1991, from AIDS. Making those years, 1970 – 1985,  the timeline of the movie, and not going into the final years of Freddie’s life, is something else that critics don’t like about the film. But, to quote The Independent newspaper from Oct. 24 this year:

On the film’s approach to Mercury himself, [Rami] Malek reflected: “I think if you don’t celebrate his life, and his struggles, and how complicated he was, and how transformative he was – and wallow instead in the sadness of what he endured and his ultimate death – then that could be a disservice to the profound, vibrant, radiant nature of such an indelible human being.”

Freddie Mercury. We will never see the likes of him again.

The truly amazing thing is how the producers found actors who are dead ringers for the members of the band.

Actor Rami Malek:

Freddie Mercury of Queen, back in the day:

Actor Ben Hardy:

Drummer Roger Taylor, of Queen, back in the day:

Actor Joseph Mazzello:

Bassist John Deacon, of Queen, back in the day:

Actor Gwilym Lee:

Guitarist Brian May, of Queen, back in the day:

And here’s Brian May this year:

It’s sobering to see a rock star at age 71.

Brian May is actually, for real, a Ph.D. in astrophysics, so in this one instance I will not begrudge him his 1970s hair. It suits him. I think it makes May look a lot like Isaac Newton:

I also like Brian May, aging rock star, because he chose an age-appropriate second wife, the actress Anita Dobson, who is only three years younger than he.

I read in the Daily Mail that Mick Jagger’s latest girl friend, and inevitably his next baby mama (he has EIGHT kids with five women…Ew) , is 53 years younger than he. Jagger is 76. So, yep, that makes her 22. Ew. Ew. Ewwwwwwwwwww.

Well, that took a weird turn, so let’s banish those hideous mental images of the Living Cadaver Jagger with some kitty news!

I was sitting in the den one night last week reading a great book — Orange is the New Black — that I got at the used book store that I co-manage for the benefit of our local library, and I was feeling crowded into one little corner of the couch, so I got up and took this picture:

And for all of Taffy’s fans, here’s his latest roll in his favorite dirt patch on a frigid December day:

And then, now that he’s covered in a fine dusting of Long Island’s best filth, Taffy saunters into the house and warms up:

Here are all the other cats in a feature that I call Competitive Napping.

Bibs:

Candy:

Cindy:

Lickety, as usual, doesn’t quite understand the gist of things:

And lastly, there’s Dennis, from next door:

I know you need to see our feral cat, Steve, so here’s a recent photo of him in his heated acrylic cabin under the shrub by the front stoop:

So all is well in our little Catdom.

Except that I can’t stop humming Somebody to Love.

I can’t get Freddie Mercury’s voice out of my head, and if you click onto this video, you won’t either.

Next Friday, our favorite holiday happens so you know what that means. We break out the annual ChrisHanuKwanSolstice festival!

Have a great weekend, everyone. Stay the Queens you are.

XXOO

P.S. I am publishing this at 9:00am Friday Dec. 14. Let me know how long it takes for this to actually show up on your reading device…lately there has been a horrendous lag of nine hours between the time I hit the Publish button and the time you can read it. Must be the Grinch.

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It’s weird to see my castles out in public:

They’ve been my personal property for months, and now they are hanging out at the Bryant Library on the north shore of Long Island for all the world (or the tens of library patrons) to see:

People who know where to find me (hint: in the used book store on Fridays from noon – 3pm, and on Saturdays from 1 – 4pm) have asked me about certain aspects of their construction and I honestly can’t remember a lot of the details of making these things.

I also have to think hard to remember the order in which I made them. That’s my first castle on the left, and my second castle on the right:

There was a time when I wanted to give each castle a name and a back-story, but I like this austere display better. This floor-to-ceiling case is very modern and uncluttered, and it leaves each viewer free to make their own interpretations.

Speaking of interpretations, when I was in Las Vegas in October, I crossed paths with an interesting cake display in the pastry shop at the Aria casino:

Now I know the size and shape of my next castles.

Five feet tall, with tiers.

And I have to make two, of course. One with colors, and one in monochrome (because I can’t decide which I like better).

What is up with all the hoopla about Bush 41? I do not remember him being such a beloved figure during his presidency, which gave us the first bullshit Gulf War and then he left Saddam Hussein in power so he could kill a million Iraqi and Kurdish civilians, and he continued Ronnie Reagan’s apathy towards the AIDS epidemic, and then he gave us Bush 43 and don’t get me started on that.

Let’s remember that Bush 41 was a mean, lying, race-baiting (Willie Horton) Republican who puked into the lap of the Japanese Prime minister at a state dinner (January 8, 1992).  I don’t care that when he became decrepit he was a nice old fart who wore zippy socks. He’s still a creep in my book.

This just in: LinkedIn, the website where everybody is a CEO of something, and they brag their “dynamic” leadership and how they went to Harvard because they took a three-hour seminar at the Kennedy School; yeah, that LinkedIn…anyway, I got an email from LikedIn this morning telling me that my resume/profile was searched three times yesterday.

Naturally, I had to click. Were the people at the MacArthur Fellowship looking for me so they could finally give me my big fat Genius Award?? I mean, have you SEEN my castles???

Well, no, it wasn’t a $625,000 payday for me.

It was the Leicestershire (England) Police. They searched my LinkedIn profile three times yesterday.

So I googled Leicestershire News and did not find out that there has been a multitude of unsolved outbreaks of genius in the East Midlands and the authorities are looking for a really hot 62-year-old American with a knack for making paper castles.

I found this.

If this isn’t proof that mirrors don’t work in the UK or else that lady would never go out in public with hair like that, then, maybe she’s a vampire.

I’m sorry that today’s post lacks the usual amount of cute kitty porn  photos of my cats  being hilarious  napping. It’s a good thing that I had pre-loaded photos of my castles a few days ago because Lo, when I sat down to type today I discovered that the WordPress elves have fucked with the editing interface and all the pedals and levers and cog wheels that I use behind the scenes to bring you this MacArthur Genius-quality  blog have disappeared, and in their place there is a baffling new array of counter-intuitive buttons that I have no idea how to work.

You know how our favorite thing in the world is to learn new technology, especially when it means that we have to first un-learn the old new technology that we learned, like, last week?

Yeah. That’s where I am today. I’m so fed up with this pace of learning and un-learning that I could puke in a Japanese Prime Minister’s lap.

Have a great weekend, everyone. I will figure this shit out and see you back here next Friday with  cute kitty porn  cat pix and uplifting tales from my molehill life.

XXOO

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