April 2020

This (above) needs to go into a thought bubble for these guys (below):

One of Top Cat’s co-workers, someone everyone liked because he was so energetic and helpful and good at his job, and who was also a very fit guy in his 50s who lives in New Jersey and works at the New Jersey facility, got COVID earlier this month. He was rushed to the hospital on the third day of symptoms. He died last week. Yesterday, COVID-related deaths hit a number that exceeds that of the American losses of the Vietnam war.

Approximately 14 million people can’t apply for unemployment benefits because antiquated computer systems have crashed. Kim Reynolds, the Republican governor of Iowa, has announced that anyone who refuses to return to a job when the state lifts its lockdown on May 1 will be considered to have quit that job willingly — and thus, be ineligible for unemployment benefits…giving all other Republican governors cover. (NOW you know why all those Republican governor are rushing to re-open their states.) The Commerce Department predicts that the U S economy, which has declined more rapidly in the last quarter than it did in the Great Recession of 2008, will be “the worst economy in our lifetime”. If you think the lines at food banks are long now, just wait.

I don’t want to get into it, but you know and I know that there is a lot of misery out there. I thought I should acknowledge that these are terrible times, and often I feel bad for not having it worse than I do, for not doing my fair share of suffering. For me, this lockdown is a free pass to watch Netflix all day and permission to drink a little bit more than I would in ordinary times, and so I feel like Marie Antoinette and it’s the eve of the French Revolution.

But when it comes time to storm the Bastille, I promise to be there on the front line. Don’t know what it will look like, yet, but I will be there. For this pandemic to have any lasting meaning, it has to be as the beginning of the end for all the evil that the Republicans have done to the people of our country since Trump got elected, since Mitch McConnell became Senate Majority Leader. This has to be the end of the Republican party.

That is all.

In lighter news, I got this in my Twitter TL this morning:



Fuck you, Sean Hannity. I hope you had to pay a load of money to get your lawyers to write a 12-page whine.

I also got this:

…Meet Yin.

The weather has been mostly shitty here on the north shore of Long Island these past two weeks. Last week, when I made my grocery store outing and had to yell at some old fart who wanted his 90 cent “reward” at 6:30 in the morning in the middle of a pandemic, I was wearing a winter coat. It’s been so cold and rainy, the kind of gloom that makes the whole house icy even when you crank up the heat, that Top Cat made a fire last weekend and we turned on the sparkle lights that are still on the mantel since Thanksgiving, and we pretended that we were snowed in and had comfort food for dinner (mashed potatoes and more mashed potatoes, with cheddar cheese mixed in) and lots of vodka.

I really didn’t want to be playing “Blizzard” when it’s almost May, but the vodka wasn’t half bad.

It’s cool and drizzly today, but yesterday was spectacular. So our neighbor’s house cat got out and came into our yard for a visit:


This is Antoinette, who got spayed last week. Her people put her in a Onesie to keep her away from the stitches, which is so damn cute you can’t believe it. While her dad came and got her with a leash and she was led safely home, we chatted in the years. About two feet apart. It felt weird. I mean, to be talking to another person.

So that’s lockdown this week here on the north shore of Long Island.





Ad, oh yeah — Ken Jennings — even Ken Jennings, the Mormon who won Jeopardy’s Grand Champion Of All Time earlier this year — says: Fuck Trump. (Not in so many words, but we get it.)




























I think it’s appropriate for us to take a minute and think about how well this song, and Rick Astley, have aged:

Click here and have a great day.

And of course:




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I got quite a few emails and a phone call about Wednesday’s post. Everyone’s nerves are frayed, I get it, so I want to assure you all that Top Cat and I are not getting divorced. That thought, no matter how long and vigorously we fight, never enters our mind. We’ve been together for 16 years…wait…17?.. years and we stopped fighting about the big stuff a long time ago because those issues are done and over and laid to rest. We only fight about little, stupid stuff, or when we are in (on?) Orkney. And we’re never going back to Orkney. And I thought the fight was funny.

***Ten minutes later***

I just checked in with Top Cat and asked if he’s still mad at me about the ice cube tray incident. He said he didn’t remember it. (He didn’t read Wednesday’s post.) So there, life goes on in these fraught times, with a blip every now and then that reminds us that this is not the “new normal”, this is Bizzar-o World.

For instance, I went grocery shopping yesterday — my big outing of the week — at 6:30 in the morning because the local Stop and Shop opens from 6am – 7:30 am just for people over 60. Now, I would never EVER put myself in that cohort under any other circumstance except for when I need pizza dough and cabbage and I want to get to the store while the shelves are reasonable full, so, there I was, in line for check out, at 6:30am. That’s just weird.

Face masks are required for entry, and the aisles are marked one-way, and there is a very elaborate distancing system where everyone lines up in aisle 15 and waits for cashier availability on the other side of the store. It’s just so weird.

So I get the wave from cashier #2 and I drag my tote bags full of cabbage and pizza dough to her counter. But there’s an old guy standing there, checking his receipt, so I have to wait at a distance while he’s reading his receipt. And he says to the cashier, a middle aged lady just like him (but NOT ME BECAUSE I LIVE IN MY OWN WORLD WHERE I AM STILL 29), “I didn’t get my points. I spent $49 and I didn’t get my points.”

I don’t know what he’s talking about but I assume it’s some lame cash-back program from when times were normal and people could use “points” to buy stuff during reasonable store hours.

I look at the cashier and I say, “He’s kidding, right?”

The cashier, who is behind a plastic partition and wearing latex gloves and a face mask and a plastic face shield, says, waving her hand in front of her extensive PPE,  “Sir, I can’t see too well so ask the manager.”

The old guy is still complaining: “I should have 90 cents back on my receipt!”

So of course I am riled up. I mean, Jesus, this guy should be on his knees thanking this lady for just being there and not hassling her for his goddam 90 cents. So I tell the old guy: “Are you serious? This lady got up at 5 this morning to come to work at 6 and you want to bother her about 90 fucking cents?”

He says to me, “Hey lady, I was a Marine in Vietnam…”

And I talk over him, “Nobody gives a shit, mister, nobody gives a shit, nobody gives a shit.”

The cashier interrupts our tete-a-tete to tell him, again, to just go to the manager, and he says something about my attitude and finally gets out of the way so I can pay for my cabbage and pizza dough.

I tip the cashier $10 and say, “Thank you for being here.” She thanks me so profusely that I wish I had given her a twenty.

And I wish I had offered that old guy a dollar to fuck off about his 90 cents.

Then I went home and made cabbage soup. I didn’t yell at anybody for the rest of the day. My cats love me.

Well, I think they do.

Taffy and Bibs switching it up, napping on the living room couch.


This is their normal hangout.

This is them at 11:16am Friday morning:

So life in lockdown goes on. And on. And on. But tonight there’s pizza!!

Hang in there, Dear Readers.





































Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. Don’t watch the news. Stay inside. Stay alive. And for god’s sake, stay away from the Clorox.

And, oh  yeah:





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Denver, Colorado:

Somewhere in North Carolina:


Lansing, Michigan:

Buffalo, NY:

Fun Fact: The Liberate New York protest took place in a traffic circle in Buffalo, the state capital. About 50 cars and trucks drove in a circle for about four hours. Twitter called it The Moron 500.


Sydney, Australia:


Top Cat and I had our first COVID-quarantine-induced argument yesterday.

I  was at the kitchen sink, cracking an ice cube tray for our evening V&Ts. We have crappy ice cube trays, so I was struggling to get the tray to work right, and the ice was chipping and breaking into shards and I was annoyed. By the way, I do not have a poker face.

I heard Top Cat come into the kitchen so I turned to glance at him.

Top Cat stops short and complains, “Why are you giving me such a dirty look?”

This surprises me, so I insist: “I wasn’t giving you a dirty look — it’s the ice cube tray! I hate it!”

But T.C.  isn’t buying it. “No, no, no, you’ve been in a bad mood for days and I’ve seen that look before.” He’s actually getting mad.

I try to reason with him: “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?? Didn’t we just had a really nice “date” night on Saturday?”

Top Cat shoots back, “No, that was Thursday and you’ve been pissy ever since.” And he storms out of the kitchen (as much as a guy on crutches can “storm” out of a room).

I went into the living room and tried to explain what just happened but it only made T.C. more irritated…it didn’t help that I thought it was funny and he was dead serious. So we had cocktails in separate rooms. I’ve never heard Top Cat use the word “pissy” in any situation before.

This is what happens when you are cooped up too long.

Things here in lockdown on the north shore of Long Island are still, for the most part, OK. I finished my Chinese historical drama and finished a 24-episode of a Korean historical drama that was SO SAD, which is Standard Operating Procedure for any Korean love story but especially true when it’s set during the Japanese Occupation of 1910 – 1945 (brutal, just brutal). So now I’m sworn off of K-dramas and I might even READ A BOOK this week.

Let’s meet on Friday and compare lockdown sob stories.

And, oh yeah: Fuck MAGAs.


























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Even as a long-term work-at-home castle maker, this lockdown has warped my sense of the passing of time.

I’m not sure it’s finished, so I haven’t mounted it onto a book yet.

Top Cat and I lost a whole day this week taking care of his semi-broken ankle. If you stopped by here mid-week, you got the story of how he fell off a ladder in the back yard on Saturday and saw his GP about it four days later. To get into the doctor’s office for the 9:30 appointment, we had to have our temperatures taken in the lobby by a nurse in a haz-mat suit, and were given a wrist band with the result. Every other seat in the waiting room had a sign taped onto it that, due to social distancing, this seat must be left empty. Things are not close to normal out there, Dear Readers.

Luckily, Top Cat got an appointment to get an X-ray that same afternoon, so we came home. I did my 5-mile trot, had a quick lunch, and we got to the radiologist at 2PM. Again, we had to have our temperature taken by a different team of haz-matted nurses, and in this building we weren’t allowed to clutter up the waiting rom at all. We were asked to wait in our cars.

That would have been OK but for the fact that just as T.C. was about to get his up, there was a FIRE DRILL. The medical building was huge, so it took about an hour to get everybody out, to have everybody mill about in the parking lot while keeping a distance, and then herd everybody back in the building.

I had a good book to read. When reading made me sleepy, I took a nap. When I woke up, I turned on the car (we have a hybrid so calm down, I wasn’t polluting) and listened to a Korean R&B CD.  I daydreamed. Time passed.

We got home at 5.

T.C. has a badly sprained ankle and excellent meds.

The only thing that made Wednesday different from Tuesday, or Thursday, or today, was that I spent so much time in a parked car. Otherwise it was pretty much the same thing as I do all day, only in the house: I internet like crazy. I read a little.  I glue stuff together. I listen to a CD. I Netflix. I daydream. Then I make a big stonking V&T and sit alone in a slowly darkening room pondering entropy.


The teacher of my next level Korean class told us that in preparation, we should come to the first class knowing our numbers. There’s two number systems in use in Korea: Chinese numbers for counting some things, and Korean numbers for counting other things. The difference between what you count in Sino (Chinese) and what you count in Native (Korean) seems as arbitrary as what makes nouns, in French, either masculine or feminine. So, OK, I’ve dealt with whimsical linguistics before. I can handle that.

Then you find out that Koreans rarely use Native to count any higher than 60 (for some reason) and for the really big numbers they use Sino. But wait, there’s more. Because 100 Korean won (money) is worth 8 cents — yes: EIGHT CENTS — Koreans use really big numbers everyday. A pizza can cost 30,000 won. A pair of Levi jeans (ew, who wears Levi jeans?) goes for 74,000 won. Average monthly net salary is 2.7 million won.

That would be OK except that Koreans don’t count like you or me. Everything is fine up to 9,999. But after that, they count in units of 10,000. So they don’t even have a word for “million”; they call it “one hundred ten thousands”. Until I learned the word for it in Korean Sino, I could not have told you that one million equaled 100 x 10,000. I had no clue.

Indignant that I would have to do math in order to say 713, 213.81 (average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Seoul), I googled Why The Fuck Does Korea Count in 10,000s and discovered something that I never knew about the history of counting.

A unit of 10,000 is called a myriad. Yes, that myriad, the one you’ve probably used one or twice in your life when you’re being fancy.

It comes from the ancient Greek myrios, which was “the greatest number expressed in one word”. It was the Romans who fixed the value of myriad (they called it myrias) at 10,000. When the word migrated into the English language in the 16th century it lost its meaning as a number and was treated as a noun that meant “large quantity”. Today it’s commonly used as an adjective, as in : There were myriad people fighting over the last package of Charmin at the Piggly Wiggly today. For some people, hearing people use myriad as an adjective offends them as language purists, but we don’t have to be friends with those people.

Maybe this lockdown is getting to me, or maybe I never knew how stupid I was, but I was charmed to know that when I count in Korean Sino I will be counting in myriads. This is a skill that I never knew I needed, or that it was a skill in the first place, but here we are. When I count off a really big number in Korean Sino, I’ll be doing more advanced mathematics than I’ve had to do in decades. Maybe it will make me smarter.

P.S. Japan also uses myriads, as does China. On the standard Scholastic Achievement Test that most high school kids have to take to get into college, the mean Asian American score is 598, the highest of any ethnic group. I’m just throwing out this random fact so as to not appear to be endorsing a stereotype.

Maybe it’s good timing that I decided to learn Korean in 2020. Seems like it’s the perfect  year to stay home and do homework. I hope you all, Dear Readers, have something that gets you through the day that isn’t fattening, frightening, addictive, or illegal. It’s going to be a looooooong year.




And, oh yeah…

Fuck Trump.





























Let’s end this week’s visit with two of our favorite ladies, because we all need to remember There Is Nothing Like A Dame:

Have a great weekend.

Stay inside.


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This will have to be a quick one today, Dear Readers, because last Saturday Top Cat decided that it was a good time to fall off a ladder in the backyard and do something very bad to his ankle. We just got back from his primary care doc — impressive social distancing going on! We had  our temperatures checked at the door and were given a wristband with the result (I’m at 96.7 today), and we’ll be heading back out to get X-rays shortly.

The really big news is that we’ve acquired a new member of The Herd. He stops by to annoy Steve in our front yard, and then he drops in on the neighbors to see what’s on offer on the patio buffet. This is my neighbor’s cell phone pix:

This is our Bibs, protecting the neighbor’s property from the new Mr. Fluffy, who we call Leo:

I’ll have to save until Friday the chat I had planed for today, so as to not keep you waiting for the regularly scheduled Fuck Trump session.

And, oh yeah, Fuck Trump.
































See you Friday.

Stay off ladders.


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This was my outfit when Top Cat and I walked to Whole Foods on Wednesday:

There was a line of about 20 people to get in, everyone keeping at least 10 feet from each other. When one shopper came out, the doorman allowed a shopper on line to go in. We got on line at 2:25 and Top Cat got in the store at 3:00. I didn’t go in because Top Cat likesshopping and I don’t, and we were only picking up a few essential  items, and I didn’t want to clutter the store with my useless presence. Top Cat was running low on coffee and I wanted vanilla cream cookies. I know, I know. We are trivial people. Top Cat was out of the store at 3:18. He said the store enforced social distancing on the inside, too.

The truth is, we were OK waiting in line for half an hour because WE HAD NOTHING ELSE TO DO. And yet, the days go quickly, and they merge into one another, but the time goes so slowly. Life is very different from what it used to be.

For instance, I’m still raving about The Untamed, a 50-episode Chinese historical drama that I am addicted to, but guys! I watched the whole thing and it was awesome and now I’m watching it again because now that I know how everything turns out, the first six or seven confusing episodes make a whole lot more sense and . . .

The Light Bearing Lord, Lan Zahn, with his killer zither.

. . . Guys! GUYS!  They have magical powers and clans at war and monsters and they kill people by playing musical instruments!!

This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen on TV and it seems just so very right for these weird times.

The Light Bearing Lord, Lan Zahn, also kills people with his sword.

This stuff is the television equivalent of LSD and I will always remember my COVID lockdown as the time I tripped on Chinese acid, which I call Lan Zahn in the Sky With Diamonds, for, like, 140 hours. Hey, I’ve done worse things with my finite and precious time on Earth.

The Light Bearing Lord, Lan Zahn, really likes rabbits. He has a lot of white rabbits. They hop all over his domain, the Cloud Reserve. Even if you buy into all the other aspects of this world, the rabbits are still weird.

And the two main characters are gay.

That’s The Light Bearing Lord with The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation. Guess which one’s wearing black.

I’ve promised myself that I will read a book after this is all over, like a vitamin pill for my brain, and I WILL BE SMART ONCE MORE but not now. I’m on lockdown, dammit. I have excuses that I don’t want to squander by doing something productive.

8th Ave, looking downtown. That’s Madison Square Garden on the left.

When Top Cat went into work on Tuesday, two NYC cops dropped by and drilled him on why he was open for business. TC explained that his company prints product info for prescription drugs, and he showed the cops the work that was in-house. The cops were nice and they didn’t write him a fine, but they said the company needs to get paperwork from the state to show that they have an Essential Business permit. Go figure.

So Top Cat has been home these days, on the phone almost constantly. As you can imagine, it’s not easy to get paperwork from the state even on a good day and these are notgood days. I used to think TC was exaggerating the importance of his being at work in person, but I’ve read some blogs by people who can’t get their usual prescription medicine and how they are suffering, so now I’m grudgingly accepting that Top Cat might have to keep going into Manhattan once in a while. The drugs can’t be distributed without the Product Info, (gummint rules) even though it’s that piece of paper that no-one reads. So, Yay for Top Cat.

The Amtrak gates at Penn Station in midtown Manhattan. I’ve NEVER seen the place like this.

Top Cat and I are coping with non-stop togetherness quite well, not to brag. We are very good at ignoring each other for hours and hours. We get it from our cats:

It’s as if we are living the caption to my favorite Gary Larsen Far Side cartoon.

Same Planet. Different Worlds.

At the end of each day, we do assemble for a civilizing ritual at end of the day, which I call Cocktail Hour and Top Cat calls Really? Are You Drinking on a Week Night? Again?

Last Friday was a rare occasion when, after Cocktail Hour, we found a movie we both agreed was watchable, and we saw Pitch Perfect. Together. At the same time.

You probably know that the movie is about a college acapella group. One of the girls is a painfully awkward and shy Asian (played by Korean American actress Hana Mae Lee) who whispers to a guy at a frat party: “I set fires to feel joy.”

The guy looks at her and says, “That’s adorable.”

And then the camera cuts away to college kids whooping it up.

I wish I could write dialogue like this. Seriously. I could never come up with such a line.

And that’s the latest from Seclusion Manor here on the North Shore of Long Island.

And, oh yeah: Fuck Trump and his Republican shitwads.






About the religious who are going to crowd into church this Sunday (it appears to be some kind of holiday on April 12): I was reading Twitter the other day and I read about a conservative TV person who tweeted that it’s proof of how much left-wing perversion is out there that Republicans have to clean up when, during a pandemic, it’s OK to get and abortion but not OK to go to church.

She got this response, explaining it to her: Well, one is a time-sensitive medical procedure, and the other is a book club.

It took me a minute to get it, but it’s brilliant. It’s changed the way I think of churches.

Thank you, Tiwtter.





















Extra points if you can name this Star Trek OG episode.













Have a great weekend, Everyone. See you again on Wednesday. I’ve been cutting up old books again and I’ll have something to show you.


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I went to the grocery store and it wasn’t an emergency. We had food. But we didn’t have the right food. I needed mochi.

So I put on my face mask and I went to H Mart and I got 24 mochi. I also got ramen, a foodstuff that I’ve heard a lot about but have never eaten. And I got a jar of Kimchi. I am determined to learn to like Kimchi.

H Mart, for those of you who don’t live in a diverse neighborhood, is a national chain of Korean grocery stores. The one in Koreatown Plaza in Los Angeles is AWESOME. The one in Williston, Long Island, is OK.

While I waiting in line behind a plastic barricade at the check out, I had a revelation. I figured out why it’s called H Mart.

It’s called H Mart because K Mart (for Korean Market) was taken.

In Korean, Korea is called Han-gook. So, voila: H Mart.

Believe me, after two weeks of self-quarantine, this is deep thinking on my part.

I hope you all are finding ways to laugh at least once a day, and doing something that makes you feel creative, and reading something that gives you a whole new inner life, and watching something that is beautiful and inspiring.

And, oh yeah: Fuck Trump.






























And because we need to remember a better time when we were proud of our First Family:


And because we need something to make us go Awwwwwwww……

And finally:


See you on Friday!



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Taffy and Bibs and Cindy showing us how professional nappers do it.

Since I’ve been house-bound for 11 days straight as of today, I have discovered napping. It is glorious to go back to bed in the middle of the day and have the kinds of dreams that you only get when you day-sleep.

So far, I’ve been married to a Korean cop; I’ve had baby dolphins swim in my sunken living room which was filled with water; I’ve been flying (not in a plane) over treetops in Africa (again); and I’ve been making puns in French (which I would never do in waking life — I loathe puns).Of course, that means also that I’m up until midnight, but since everything else about my daily schedule has been up-ended, why not try out a new sleep pattern as well?

I’ve been pretty good about staying in the house for the past 11 days but today I will have to venture out of the neighborhood to re-stock on my comfort food of choice, the only way I will get through the April lockdown that our governor has advised for New York:

I love this stuff. It’s a little ball of vanilla ice cream wrapped in rice dough and it’s just the right amount of sweetness and the right amount of ice cream (which is not one of my favorite foods) as I want to eat in one sitting. There’s nothing else I crave, nothing else I want to stress-eat. So I’m putting on the face mask and heading out to the Korean grocery store this afternoon.

This week Top Cat and I did something normal. We drove to the edge of the north shore of Long Island and watched the sun set over Long Island Sound and took a bottle of champagne to toast Spring:

A reminder that some things last longer then fear, sickness, bad times, and sadness. We will get through this.

It’s a five mile drive to “our” spot, and we passed lots of shuttered businesses and closed-down shopping centers and one totally empty parking lot after another. Of course there was no one in sight on the beach, or all along the shoreline, and not a single plane flew over head (and this is in the flight path of both Kennedy airport and La Guardia airport).  I said to Top Cat, “This must be what The Rapture feels like.” Because I definitely know that I’m going to be left behind, and now I’ve seen what exactly that’s going to look like. I’m OK with it.

When I watch the news I see such awful things happening to New York City — a field hospital set up in Central Park, bodies put in refrigerator trucks because of over-filled morgues, a 1,000-bed US Navy hospital ship anchored off the west side that only has 20 patients on it because it refuses to take anyone who has not tested negative for COVID and there aren’t bought tests so very few people are getting tested, etc. But from what I’ve experienced in my neighborhood, life is pretty calm and we are not panicking.

We know 5 people how ave tested positive for COVID, and they all live and work in New Jersey: an 82-year old man, two men in their 60s, a guy in his 50s, and a young guy in his mid-30s. The guy in his mid-30s is the fittest of them all, and he’s then in the hospital on a respirator, so you never know how this disease is going to hit.

In case you stop by some day and don’t see me here, I should warn you that WordPress has been hinkey this week. I couldn’t get access to this blog for two days and then suddenly this morning I got in, so here’s hoping that there’s no breakdown in the network but this might disappear again.

Until then, let’s get busy with the regularly scheduled Fuck Trump* portion of this blog.

*I’m so tired of this guy. So I’m adding a lot of other stuff that made me laugh this week. I hope it helps you all get through a Friday morning.


























Have a great weekend, everyone. And stop by on Wednesday — there is too much going on to restrict our visits to once a week. See you!


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