May 2020

Sorry this post is late this week. WordPress was having tantrums on Friday and refused to work. so, here we go:


Twitter has to put red flags on the president’s tweet for threatening to call out the National Guard to shoot looters in Minneapolis, to call him out for “glorifying violence” (which is against Twitter policy), but also decides that it’s in the public interest to leave the tweets on-line, and then the president threatens to shut down the social media platform in retaliation, well, that sounds to me like incitement to rally the idiots of the neo-confederacy to draw blood in a vicious lost cause once again.

Oh well. Just another day in my shithole country.

On Sunday, May 24, the New York Times printed 1,000 one-line obituaries for those who have died of COVID-19, starting on the front page. Today, the death toll is 103,334 Americans dead, and Trump is congratulating himself.


I had planned to discuss a whole different topic today, but the news about Trump v. sanity makes everything else irrelevant.

So I’ll save the fun stuff for the end because today it’s important to get to the Trump Fuckery right away:









OK, that’s out of my system. Now we can lighten up. And you all know where I’m going with this…









Let’s get together on Wednesday so we can talk about what I had planed to talk about today, that is, if the country hasn’t burned down by then.

This is the way this cat’s coloring lines up when she naps.

Try to have a normal weekend, Dear Ones. And if all else fails, you can always hide under the covers with a cat or two.





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The title of today’s post come from my friend, the HBIC of Georgia, where the Republican governor has been lying about the state’s COVID figures so he can open up beauty parlors and bars, and where confirmed cases of coronavirus have increased 26% as of this past Sunday. It’s hard to live surrounded by Republicans, she says, so some days she doesn’t even bother with the Cheerios.

It’s been a really shitty week in America, where unarmed African-American men are still getting killed by cops and “concerned citizens”, and where Karens still call for for police backup against people who are being human while black. And let’s not go into the latest evil and idiocy from der Drumpf because it will be outdated and updated by even greater stupidity and corruption by noon.

Let’s take a deep breath, and let’s take a vacation from the USA and think nice thoughts about kitty cats.

Here’s Taffy and Bibs on the neighbor’s backyard patio, having their usual pre-dinner dinner at the house next door:

The neighbors say their cats all have a crush on Taffy.

My county of Nassau in New York State is today beginning its Phase One of opening businesses back up. There are very strict protocols about social distancing and PPE for employees, but certain retail and personal service businesses can open their doors for the first time since March 15. This week, when I drive Top Cat to the train station so he can commute into Manhattan to do his essential work, I’ve noticed that there are more cars out and about– it’s still way below normal traffic, but it’s shocking to me that I don’t have the roads all to myself. I will miss that.

I have a confession. There are a lot of things about mandatory self-quarantine that I will miss when we all go back to normal.

But enough about me.

There’s a doctor named David Young who practices medicine in Chicago, and he got fed up with all the crazy conspiracy theories about COVID that Trump and the Republicans are spewing so he made a satirical Facebook post about his typical day treating patients during this pandemic:

I don’t have to tell you this, but, oh, yeah: Fuck Trump.






















See you on Friday.


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I’m supposed to be at Giants Stadium this Saturday and Sunday evening, experiencing BTS with my own eyes and ears but Nooooooooooo. . .

I don’t know why I’m smiling. I AM PISSED. Also, why does my head look so big?


. . . instead of spending time with seven hot Koreans, I will be wasting time in my own backyard here on the north shore of Long Island all damn weekend with Taffy and Top Cat, nursing a grievance and, I guarantee. a few to many V&Ts.

Thanks a lot, coronavirus.

Well, I guess life around Taffy Aces can be as exciting as the most internationally famous K-Pop musicians in the world.

Here’s Taffy in his rock star mode:

Living Fast.

Dying Young.

Here you see Taffy’s hobby, Clawing The Furniture Into Shreds. He is why we can’t have nice things.

Speaking of life here on the north shore of Long Island, I drive past a hospital every morning when I take Top Cat to the train station so he can head into Manhattan to do his Essential Work. For the past few weeks people have been putting up signs that face the hospital entrance:

And I noticed that at the train station, the Long Island Rail Road has added new signs to the bulletin board where it posts the train schedules:


Seeing those warnings about wearing face masks, I thought of the other important precaution we should all take in these troubled times (no, not punching any and all Republicans that we come across): washing our hands. And I realized that I don’t know how soap works.

In case you’ve been wondering the same thing, here is a short primer on how this miracle substance gets the job done:

Soap is made of pin-shaped molecules, each of which has a hydrophilic head — it readily bonds with water — and a hydrophobic tail, which shuns water and prefers to link up with oils and fats. These molecules, when suspended in water, alternately float about as solitary units, interact with other molecules in the solution and assemble themselves into little bubbles called micelles, with heads pointing outward and tails tucked inside.

When you wash your hands with soap and water, you surround any microorganisms on your skin with soap molecules. The hydrophobic tails of the free-floating soap molecules attempt to evade water; in the process, they wedge themselves into the lipid envelopes of certain microbes and viruses, prying them apart.

In tandem, some soap molecules disrupt the chemical bonds that allow bacteria, viruses and grime to stick to surfaces, lifting them off the skin. When you rinse your hands, all the microorganisms that have been damaged, trapped and killed by soap molecules are washed away.

In another sign of the times, this is a real sign posted on the door of a liquor store in the Bronx, a borough in my adopted hometown of New York City. This is why I love NY:

And now, let’s do our weekly Fuck Trump:



P.S. THIS is the stadium where I should be right now, and BTS should be on stage there in the end zone.






















Have a great weekend, everyone. And the next time you wash your hands, remember what a miracle soap is.




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Last night I had a dream about punctuation. I dreamt that I was showing someone a line in a book, and I pointed out the semicolon, right there between two independent clauses, and it glowed as if it were a swarm of fireflies lighting up a warm July night sky.

“Isn’t that beautiful?” I asked; and then I thought to myself, “I should use more semicolons.”

I woke up and went downstairs and started making my toast for breakfast when a random thought hit me and made me stop what I was doing. “Wait.” I thought to myself. “Did I have a conversation yesterday about semicolons, or was that a dream?”

And then I remembered that I hadn’t talked to anyone at all yesterday, so yes. I had a dream about semicolons.

Quarantine does strange things to your mind.




































Dear Readers, I actually do this. I hold up Taffy and Cindy to say “Hi” to everyone in my Korean class.


That’s the daily Fuck Trump for Wednesday, May 20. See you all on Friday!






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Are Europeans cooler than Americans? In normal times, I would say, ARE YOU KIDDING ME HAVE YOU SEEN EUROVISION???  ; however, in these times of global pandemic, I’m thinking that Europeans are way hella cooler than I ever thought they were. I was listening to Sylvia Poggioli report for NPR about the corona virus from Rome and she ended her piece by translating something she saw on a city wall, courtesy of a local graffiti artist:

The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.

This is high class graffiti, if you ask me. I think this is beautifully sad, and sums up our shared COVID experience, but is particularly meaningful for what we in America are going through, not because of the disease but because of, well, you-know-who turning our nation into a shithole country.

The line is  from Antonio Gramsci (January 22, 1891 – April 27, 1937), an Italian Marxist philosopher and communist politician who wrote on political theory, sociology and linguistics. He attempted to break from the economic determinism of traditional Marxist thought and so is considered a key neo-marxist. He died in prison, having been brutalized for over a decade by the Fascists because “For twenty years we must stop this brain from functioning”.

Gramsci wrote the above line while in prison, in 1929.

Our Dear Reader Steve, an American living in London, has reported on his blog  Shadows & Light,  that someone has been walking around North London wearing a Plague Doctor suit:

This, too, sticks me as a very classy, European way to make a comment on life during COVID. Fun Fact: The face mask is shaped like a bird’s beak because the doctor wearing it would fill it with sweet-smelling flowers and spices to counteract the evils in the air during the Plague of 1656.

Can you imagine what would happen if someone walked around New York City with that get-up? Nobody would get the reference, and I’m pretty sure they would get beat up, because tensions are high and people are irritable and this outfit is scary.

You can buy a Plague Doctor suit from Walmart on-line for $66.98.

For fun, I googled “COVID graffiti” and the inter webs did not disappoint.

This is more graffiti from Rome:

Wetteren, Belgium:

Nairobi, Kenya:

Madrid, Spain:

Sale, Morocco:

Glasgow, Scotland:

I don’t get the Pulp Fiction reference, but all around the world we all wear face masks and we all know what the virus looks like and it makes me feel that we really are all in this together, except for these dip shits:

I personally don’t know anyone who is out there bitching about governmental over-reach. The people I know are delighted to follow the order to stay home and stay far away from everybody. I myself am having a whale of a time. I haven’t made a To Do list in weeks, I live every moment as “Present”, and I experience time much the same way as our early human ancestors did — as an un-numbered, unhurried flow of days and nights that give life a pleasant rhythm of sleep and wakefulness, doing and not doing.

The only thing I have to show up for is my weekly Korean class and this week I got the biggest thrill. This is my current level of reading comprehension:

If you’ve ever learned a foreign language, you know that in the beginning it all feels random and impossible, and nothing makes sense, and everything whizzes past you at a terrifying speed. And then one day, something clicks and you begin to recognize a pattern or a word or two, and then a whole complete thought appears like magic and you think, Wow, I’m almost fluent! And then it goes away and you’re confused again, but for that brief moment you had a glimpse of what being inside that language will feel like, one day, and it’s enough to keep you going.

That’s where I am this week. I can read!  Now, let me see if I can say this in Korean:

못쓰게 만들다 Trump.




















A Footnote:

We in the US have a TV show called Ozark and the actress Julia Garner won an Emmy for her role, and yes, she actually did say, on that show and in character:  “I don’t know shit about fuck.” That’s the kind of witty repartee we have in America.

Have a great weekend, everyone. See you Wednesday, and in the meantime, ignore the monsters. Go have a nice glass of wine. It’s still good to be alive.





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My breakfast is a cup of tea and a nice piece of toast, which is how I ensure that I begin each day in a good mood before, you know, life comes along and fucks it up.

I love toast. It’s my favorite food that isn’t pizza, so I am particular about the bread I use for my toast. I use a “short long ciabatta” from a boutique grocery store bakery here on the north shore of Long Island that makes it every hour, and I like to get there when the loafs are still warm from the oven. At home, I put it in the toaster oven on a “bake” setting until it’s toasted to a golden beige, and then I  butter it with Beurre D’Isigny demi sel from France, and I top it all off with a sprinkle of Himalayan salt (the pink stuff, for whimsy).

Top Cat did the weekly shopping and came home without my short long ciabatta — he said the bakery was sold out. So the next day, I was going to make a special trip back to the boutique grocery store to get my ciabatta (yes, I know, “privilege”), and Top Cat told me, “Maybe you want to try the brioche? It looked pretty good when I was there.”

“No,” I said, “I don’t care for brioche.”

And I thought, Jesus, my 10-year old self would never have imagined me one day saying something like, “I don’t care for brioche”. When I was growing up, we did not go to restaurants. The only Chinese food we ever ate came from a can — does anyone remember La Choy chicken chow mien? We did not buy bread from a bakery — we ate store-brand white bread and when we felt fancy, we’d put a few slices on a small plate for the dinner table so we could have bread-and-margarine with our canned stew. We didn’t know people who went “abroad”; that was only in movies (Sabrina and American in Paris).

No, no way could 10-year-old me have thought that one day, during a global pandemic, I would be turning up my nose at brioche, but this is the kind of person I have become. I think 10-year-old me would be rooting for me.

I did go to the boutique grocery store and I got my loaf of ciabatta, but I also got two onions, nice big Spanish onions, for cover. That way, I could look as if I were actually shopping for basic foodstuffs, the humble root veg of the people, and not defying lockdown orders just for one fancy fresh-baked Italian baguette.

BTW, this loaf is unusually puffy, so it’s a bit too fat to fit easily in my toaster oven and this morning’s toast was a bit burnt, so, karma.

I’m sure we’d all rather dwell on toast than think about the orange shit stain in the White House,but anyway, here’s today’s round up for your entertainment:


























Now go have a nice piece of toast and I’ll see you all back here on Friday.






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It’s cold and gray today here on the north shore of Long Island. I would complain that it’s May for christ sake and we shouldn’t have to wear Winter coats for the one hour that we are allowed to be outside, but I’m trying to change my ways and be a happy hamster for once.

Thank you to everyone who left a nice Comment about last week’s story of my general uselessness in times of woe such as these. This week I’m feeling pretty righteous, as I have been doing my duty to my fellow Americans, above and beyond just staying at home. I’ve been driving Top Cat to the train station every morning so he could take the LIRR into Manhattan to do his essential work there.

This week his company is printing mail-in ballots. We’re going to need millions of them. A judge told New York State that it must hold its primary on June 23, even though the Republicans have cancelled putting their ticket up for approval because, Duh, they are still kissing Donald Trump’s ass, and the Democrats have pretty much settled on Joe Biden as the eventual nominee. Our governor had previously cancelled the primary on the grounds that it was mostly symbolic anyway and it was still too risky to send millions of people into small rooms during a pandemic to vote, but those shits, Andrew Yang and Bernie Sanders, sued to have it reinstated.  So there goes Top Cat, back into the epicenter of the plague, upholding democracy, printing mail-in ballots for a completely disengaged populace for a totally stupid primary, and there goes me, driving him to the train station at 7:18am every morning. In any other year, this would be kind of funny, but this year…it’s not.

Apart from driving to the railroad station every morning, there is very little that I have to show up for. (Thank you, COVID-19.) And still, I find it hard to fit all the not-doing I have to not-do into my days. (Thank you, growing sense that “languid” is the new black.)

The current challenge, speaking of making castles, is to make this roof out of paper:


The problem is that all four sides of the roof have to turn up at the ends, while also fanning out in a slope. This is because evil spirits can only travel in straight lines so such a roof will ward off demons. (Thank you, Buddhists.)

So far, I know four ways of not making it. So last evening I finally called upon an outside consultant, an expert in paper and 3D design, namely, Top Cat. We sat at the patio table (it was a rare mild and sunny evening) and he drew some plans, and cut some strips of paper, and taped stuff together, and re-cut etc, while I kept company with a fine pinot grigio. And by George, I think he solved it. As soon as I hit “Publish” on this I will go to work and see if I can re-create what he created. And then, I have to see if I can do it 23 more times — I plan on making a really complicated sky-scraper castle because I have nothing else to do.

Last week, Top Cat asked me to mail a stack of envelopes. He still pays our bills by check because he actually enjoys the process, everything except for writing our return address on the outer envelopes because it’s nobody’s business where we live, so I walked to our post office and dropped about seven envelopes through the chute marked Out Of Town.

Well, turns out that when Top Cat says “Will you please mail these for me?”, he also means, “And don’t forget to put stamps on all of them.”

So our cable got turned off last night for non-payment, and now my phone won’t let me access the latest pictures of Taffy sleeping (I’m sure it’s retribution).

So you’ll have to make do with this until next Friday and when we get our good names back:



By the way, since every day is pretty much the same as the day before or after, I’ve decided that every day around us here at Taffy Acres is Cinco de Mayo. I’m open minded. I can memorialize the 1862 Mexican victory over the Napoleonic enemy with an Italian wine or a Swedish vodka. There are no rules anymore.

Except for, oh yeah: Fuck Trump.

I fact-checked this, and it’s almost completely true. Here’s the skinny:

  • The largest recipient of COVID-19 bailout loans, Trump campaign donor Monty Bennett, announced Saturday he would return all money received through the Paycheck Protection Program.


  • Bennett’s conglomerate of 128 hotels received, collectively, more than $58 million through the PPP.


  • The Ashford Group of Companies said in a statement to investors it would return all funds due to the Small Business Administration’s “recently changed rules and inconsistent federal guidance that put the companies at compliance risk.”


  • The news came just hours after Democratic nominee Joe Biden blasted Bennett in a tweet, demanding he return the money so the government can “give it to the small businesses that need it.”

Jesus. I hope somebody gets prosecuted once we get a Democratic president in the White House.

On with the show:





























Have a great weekend, everyone. If you see an Andrew Yang or a Bernie Sanders supporter, please punch them in the face for New York, and for America.


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The 2020 class of North Salem High School in New York is going to be holding a social distancing graduation next month in a drive-in movie theater in Amenia (39 miles to the northeast). Grads and their families will park their cars in one of 103 designated bays (it’s a small class). The valedictorian will present her speech on the movie screen and the principal will distribute a diploma to each senior via one of those long-handled gripper things your Grandma uses to get the Wheaties off the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet.

Afterwards, everyone will watch the perfect movie for this time of pandemic isolation.

Groundhog Day.

I think this is the cutest story to come out of COVID.

I did not go to my own high school graduation, but then, I went to four different high schools so I never got attached to any one of them. But for kids who spent their lives in one place, I understand that it is a rite of passage to say one last Good-bye to childhood and, if necessary, a big F U to the hometown at graduation. So I hope everyone as fun, and will have one good memory of 2020 to hold in their hearts for the rest of their lives.

And maybe we will all get one such memory for us to cherish when this is all over.

Mine might be the lovely, meditative two-hour afternoon naps I’m starting to take, when the world is silent in the middle of the day and I have n o t h i n g else to do and my mind is at ease and I can finally escape from over-thinking every damn thing in my life. Or maybe it’ll be my new addiction to internet porn. One or the other.

And, oh yeah. Fuck Trump.












And as promised, I have some thoughts to make you ponder.

This is for you, word nerds:































See you on Friday.

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Dedicated to Dear Reader Alexandra McKenzie.

I went into self-quarantine on March 15, the day my gym closed, so today is my 48th day in isolation. The reason that I have  not kept a journal of this time is because when I exiled myself to Taffy Cat Manor, I did not think this would not last longer than three weeks, max.

As I stocked up on vodka, ground turkey, and raisins (my staples) for the “long haul”, I also had no sense of history. I did not suspect that this would be a turning point in the history of the world. I didn’t anticipate that we’d go deeper into the evil heart of Republican politics. I didn’t foresee the trauma that has come to be an everyday misery.  I had no inkling that this was going to leave so many of us, and so many of our institutions, permanently damaged.

Nope. I just didn’t think of it. If the thought had crossed my mind, I’m sure I would have dismissed it as being way too far-fetched.

But here we are.

Another truth that has come to light: This pandemic has confirmed that there is not an economy in the history of the world in which I would be considered an essential worker.

Because here’s what I know how to do:

Grade diamonds.

Authenticate Faberge.

Appraise rare timepieces from the 16th – 20th centuries.

Cut up old books and make castles.

The most recent work-in-progress.

I have felt bad about being such a trivial person. I would like to be doing my bit to keep our society functioning, even at this low hum. So here’s what I did last week: I applied to the grocery store where I shop, the local Stop and Shop, for a job. I told the HR manager that I was ridiculously healthy and fit and, I quote, ” I’m ready to do anything where I don’t have to interact with customers. I can clean and take out garbage and stock shelves but I’m not good with the public.” I think we can all agree that I was being modest. I should have said, “I fucking hate the public and I would do permanent damage to your brand if you put me in the front of the store.”

Well, I haven’t heard back from them yet, but any day now, I could become a hero.

Taffy has got his lockdown life down pat. Below are pictures I took this past week. I swear, they were taken on many different days, but as you can see, Taffy’s Monday doesn’t look a whole lot different from his Friday:





And let’s give Bibs some love today. He doesn’t like to get his picture taken, but he sat still yesterday so I could get this:

That’s the news from My Life In Quarantine.

And, oh yeah. Fuck Trump.



















And this is why we love Helen Mirren, who posted her Before and After Quarantine pix:

This is from a real restaurant in Austin, Texas:







I’ll be back on Wednesday with a special edition of The Times and Life of Being Bored. The other night, I was lying in bad at 2am, scrolling through my phone, and I found a lot of interesting stuff about language, such as this:


I also found this:


If you think this kind of stuff is worth a minute or two of your time, you’ll definitely want to meet me here on Wednesday.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Stay inside. Stay healthy. sSay away from Michigan and Georgia and Texas. Enjoy the beauty of every waking moment.

Stay as far away from this guy as possible:





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