December 2021

Everybody, meet Winston:

Winston is a very handsome long-haired daschund who lives in Washington state and I’m going to paint him today!

The photograph (above) beautifully captures an expression that makes me think Winston was doing his best to not  give the side-eye to whoever was holding the camera…he’s got attitude and I am here for it. As much as I like the photo (above), in order to paint it I had to lighten the contrast so I could see the details better, and when I say “details”, I mean “nose”:

The only problem I was going to have with Winston is that he is a blond, and is photographed against a nice dark background which I will not be able to replicate (until I learn how to paint on black velvet and then WHOA! Call me the New Michelangelo!). So, with a print of the original photo and the   lightened version on my phone, I am ready to paint:

I always start with the eyes because if I don’t get the eyes right the whole picture is fucked so I might as well get it over with; also, I’ve realized that I like having the face I’m painting look back at me while I work, to keep me company:

I should say that I’ve tried to orient Winston’s head on the paper with then same slight turn to his right as in the photo because that, along with those eyes, give a sense of Winston’s whole demeanor:

I took a lot of time drawing Winston’s nose even though I’m not going to paint it in detail, because dog noses still puzzle me and if I don’t get the structure totally correct, it will show, even if I’m going to be painting most of it in shadow. When I think I’ve got the nose down, I first paint it with a layer of blue, for the lighter areas:

I layer black and gray paint:

 

I’m also using blue paint for the shadows in Winston’s lustrous blond locks:

 

I’m also using blue paint for contrast in the lighter areas of Winston’s face because I think it makes the portrait, as a painting, more interesting:

I put in some white acrylic paint over Winston’s left (his right) eye, which I will paint over later, just to give him some definition there:

I mixed four colors to get the right shade of “blond” for Winston, and here  I am pointing wet-in-wet for the large flat triangular area that  is his left ear:

I’m not going to paint a lot in there because I don’t want to over-do it…that ear could easily become too much of a focus and  it’s actually not a very interesting part of his face any way:

I also don’t want to do too much with his cute neck, but I do need something  in there to give Winston a proper posture:

I’ve painted over the white acrylic highlights and I’ve given more definition to Winston’s mouth so his little “hurumph” shows, and here he is…

…DONE:

Thank you, Winston, and thank you, Alex, for giving me this fetching subject. He was fun to paint!

Thank you all who sent me your delightful holiday cards and letters — Top Cat and I are grateful to be inn your thoughts at this time of year. As you know, I make a card every ear and I forgot to show you all this year’s ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card, so here it is:

I tried to get the sparkles to shine for you, but it ended up being over-exposed…sorry for the bad quality.

 

And before the CHKS holiday/New Year celebrations wind down completely, let’s take a look back at the season of light, OK?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now’s let’s keep up the  spreading of joy with the best of this week’s news:

in case you’re wondering, the answer is Yes, Yes we should definitely be glad when an anti-vaxxer gets his date with karma, as with this guy from my last post:

One of the best bloggers out there, Stonekettle Station, was recently celebrating e fact that there was one less asshole to spread theBig Lie when a Commentor tried to shame him for being so “mean” — “be the better person”, the Ceommentor said. Here’s a sample of how that went:

You can read his complete take-down on his blog, here.

But wait. . . there’s more:

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, did you hear about the guy who hollered “Let’s Go Brandon” to President Biden when Biden was on TV talking to kids about how the government was tacking Santa Clause on NORAD (which is a cute thing presidents do every year and I’m sick of it but still…shouting “Let’s Go Brandon” was a new level of tasteless)? And for those who don’t know, “Let’s Go Brandon” is Qanon/Republican code for “Fuck Joe Biden. So. . . 

 

The guy who shouted “Let’s Go Brandon” is a guy from Oregon named Jared Schmeck — you can’t make this shit up — and he’s had to disappear from social media because of the blow-back from his stunt, wall the while complaining about being “cancelled” on many, many appearances on right-wing TV and radio. He’s even had to let his business go dark, which is a family-owned electrical service company called Winema Electric (sounds like “enema”) that is “based on Christian principles”. This is why I can’t put up a Solstice tree. I worry that my pagan sparkle-lighted holiday evergreen will make me look too much like a Christian. 

 

We should not give this guy any more attention because – – – 

Speaking of Republicans . . . 

 

 

Republicans. . .

This is a sample of what Peter Wehner (who served two Bush presidents and was also in Reagan’s administration,i.e.,arealRepublican)wrote about Don Jr:

But I think the same can be said about  any of the Trump kids. And their father.

I don’t have any good Eat The Rich memes for you this week, but I am still against 60% of capitalism and I found this to explain why we have to stick together and overthrow the billionaires who want to keep everyone poor and beholden:

And now for the feel-gooder part of this blog:

 

 

 

 

This deserves to be true, even if it isn’t:

P.S. I fact-checked this, and it’s true, according to Discover Magazine, which calls the horseshoe swap meet a “conga line”. So now I’m happy for the world, that there are such things as horseshoe crabs in it.

 

Now, on the eve of 2022, are you wondering what you can do to make the world a better place? Meet Tim Wong, who breeds rare butterflies in California sos he can set them free:

If you can’t read the text, here it is: Today I Learned about Tim Wong who successfully singlehandedly repopulated the rare California Pipeline Swallowtail butterfly in San Fransisco. In the past few years, he’s cultivated more than 200 pipeline pants (their only food source) and gives thousands of caterpillars to his local botanical garden. 

Way to go, Tim Wong. 

I feel that I need to do something extra special this year, to honor and commemorate another tough year in the history of the world and to welcome in a better one with open arms and a loving heart and no, I’m not drunk…I am just hoping that this year will not be the same old same old, and that we all will break free of the past, and that the New York Attorney General has  a big New years Day surprise for Trump and his spawn. 

I want to make my first day of 2022 special, memorable, like this memo from Lapland:

Living in Northern Finland, near the Arctic Circle, we have a rite of passage, like an ancient tradition that is supposed to guarantee good fortune for the net year. Those who turned 16 during the year have to ride a polar bear, like you would a horse. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

However, if you don’t live in proximity to polar bears, maybe you’d like to try this:

I did this and my four words were: Change, Health, Lessons, and Connection. And who says the universe is random?

Have a great New Year weekend, everyone. I won’t be here net Friday unless there’s a Trump perp walk to discuss in which case I will have photos of me and Top Cat and 100,000 New Yorkers dancing in the streets.

Until then, enjoy this photo of a snowy owl: 

May all your dreams and wishes for 2022 come to you on the hush wings of guardian angels and totem spirits.

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I don’t celebrate the Christmas holiday but I get it. If not for the Christian overtones, Xmas would be a fucking hoot – all the bustle and bonhomie and glorification of tree worship and displays of light adding shine and wonder to the slow glimmer of a world welcoming the shift of the Earth’s axis towards the lengthening of the days (northern hemisphere, southern semi: you got Summer coming!!) — yeah, that’s a holiday I could get behind.  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All this is just a run-up to the celebration of a brand spanking New Year for all of us to feel renewed and rejuvenated and  born again (in a agan, non-blood-of-the-lamb way) and isn’t that a good thing?

 

 

While you are mapping out your desires for 2021, I thought I’d show you some polar bears that a Russian photographer found in an abandoned research station near the North Pole because, Dear Readers, who knows how much longer we may be able to share the Earth with these magnificent creatures who are so vulnerable to climate change?

 

 

 

 

Aside from polar bears, the animals that live in my dreams are wild horses and THIS is a dream come true:

 

I wanted to collect only sweeties and light to see out the year of 2021, but shit…politics still suck and we can’t afford to ignore it. But on the bright side, lookie here, it seems SOMEONE has got the Xmas spirit:

 

This bit of news DEFINITELY got ME in the Xmas spirit:

A few weeks ago I put this story up on my blog but for me, the main mystery was, “What the fuck is this guy doing in El Salvador???” I guess the answer is, “Catching a deadly completely preventable  disease that the will die from.”

Other stuff:

 

 

 

 

I agree (with above), so this gives me hope:

And this:

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, we Americans live in a shit hole country right now, and we will have to be vigilant and active to make sure the Republicans don’t gain any ground in 2022, but let’s take a break from the bad news and remember what an excellent planet we all happen to be sharing together.

Here’s some random stuff that makes me delighted that I am an Earthling:

Interesting fact about our nearest star:

If you can’t read the fine print, it says: The Sun is extremely loud but we can’t hear it because sound doesn’t travel in the vacuum of space. 

Interesting, but this is more relevant to my life:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life on Earth, and how it’s filled with every day miracles:

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, everyone. I hope 2022 will be a year illuminated for you with love, and adventure, and stunning surprises and windfalls of good fortune and many, many moments of ordinary bliss when you realize you are alive and in your body and breathing on this wondrous, insignificant speck of dirt and ice and sea water on the outer edge of the Milky Way and it’s all a miracle and you’re a miracle, and there’s nothing you can do about it except be amazed and grateful.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

 

Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

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I just have a few the things to note about this week’s news, not counting the splendid cache of emails that the January 6 Committee have found between Trump and his congressional co-conspirators which are too numerous and too incriminating to get into, but watch this space…there’s  a Trump perp walk in our future!

 

 

 

And in other happy legal news:

All in all, it’s been an outstanding week for legal news.

Did you hear that the governor of California and the AG of New York are proposing statues that mimic the Texas law that allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and those who use their services (now that it’s been upheld by the Supreme Country) THE DIFFERENCE BEING that in CA and NY you’ll be able to sue gun manufacturers and owners. So now the Texas Republicans are sweating bullets (ha ha) and re-thnking that bounty they placed on pregnant women. 

 

 

 

The US Navy has started ridding its ranks of seditious white supremacists AKA “anti-vaxxers”, too:

 

But,wait…isn’t that your name?They just want to use your name,dude, the name your parents gave you:

 

I’ve never dated a guy who drove a truck, but if I were a single lady I’d reconsider for this guy:

 

And this proves that there IS a sign ion intelligence in Alabama (one sign, that’s  it, that’s the story):

 

 

 

 

I don’t eat cereal but if you do, please don’t buy Kellogg’s products:

 

 

In case you can’t tell, I’m a pro-union, pro-$25 minimum wage  girl:

That’s it for the news portion of this get-together. Let’s spend a few moments appreciating this beautiful planet that we live on, OK?

 

 

This (below) is a flight (wing) feather from an American Bald Eagle, in case you’ve never seen one up close:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Reader, if you are feeling frazzled this week, stressed and worn out from all the expectations heaped upon you by others or yourself, please take a minute to BREATHE. Inhale. Exhale. Go watch a sunset, step outside to see some stars. Take a long hot bath, have an extra glass of wine while listening to your favorite album. Find the quietest place in your heart and sit there. 

Have a great weekend, everyone. Be like a fox.

 

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Hey. Weren’t we here a year ago?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know who else is still alive? The nut jobs who think that Covid is a hoax:

And in a case of sweet, sweet karma, these anti-vaxxers (the parents of the kid who shot and killed four of his fellow students at Oxford High school i the suburbs of Detroit on Nov. 30) got schooled:

 

Yes, Dear readers, I am back from my Los Angeles adventure. The weather was awful; cold and misty and damp. This is what it looked like from my hotel room  at 9 AM:

And this is what it looked like  (below) at the entrance to SoFi stadium at 4:30 PM on  when I got there early to buy merch that was sold out 48 hours after it had gone on sale earlier in the week. Oh well. At least I got to stand in line for an hour before the doors opened.

ARMY amasses inside:

It was very humid for all 4 days I was in LA so my hair decided to have a wild party on my head.

Over 4 concerts, BTS sold a total of 214,000 tickets.

The concerts grossed $33.3 million.

It’s the largest gross for run of shows at a single venue since 2012, when Roger Waters earned $38 million over nine shows at Estadio River Plate in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

It’s the biggest U.S.-based Boxscore in 18 years, and the second-biggest ever in the 30-year-plus history of Billboard Boxscore in North America (and biggest ever in California), behind Bruce Springsteen’s 10-show marathon at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (38.7 million).

The shows cap a banner year for BTS, following three Billboard Hot 100-topping songs — including a 10-week stretch at No. 1 on the chart with “Butter.”

I went to two shows at SoFi stadium, and each one was exhilarating.

On the last night, for their last song, Chris Martin from Coldplay came out and did their collaboration, My Universe (that’s Chris in the middle, below):

Then the boys took a bow, and they were gone.

These are fan photos of the concerts from Twitter which explain why millions of fans worldwide are OK with BTS singing in Korean:

HOT AF is a universal language, n’est-ce pas?

I also saw BTS for a third night when they opened the iHeart Radio annual Jingle Ball at the LA Forum. I left after their performance because I wasn’t  interested in Doja Cat, Kid Laroi, Saweetie, or Ed Sheehan or any of the other 14 acts (the show was over 4 hours long). I would have stayed if Dua Lipa hadn’t contracted laryngitis and cancelled, but alas, she was a no-show, so I took off. I wasn’t alone. There were plenty of other ARMY who were heading out to the Sizzler restaurant across the street from the Forum, which seemed to be the designated pick-up spot for ride shares.

Have you seen the painting by Edward Hopper, Nighthawks? The Sizzler is like that; I felt very sorry for everyone who was spending Friday night dining at the Sizzler on Manchester Blvd in Inglewood, LA, and I felt even sorrier for myself, waiting in the Sizzler on a cold December Friday night in Inglewood, LA, for a very late car and  driver. The Forum, in my option, is a dump,  and the Sizzler is even dumpier than the Forum and it was such a scuzzy way to wrap up a magical BTS experience. And as such, it was the perfect dose of squalor that I’d been missing. I have a thing for squalor. 

On this trip I had chance to observe myself out alone in the world for the first time in two years and I must say, my travel chill is gone. Kaput. Nonexistent. Zero. I was basically an imbecile. It was the kindness of strangers and old friends who rescued me time and time again that made this trip a success and I would love to tell you all about my fuck-ups in detail but time is short and art is long and one of the things that this trip taught me was that I have to get off my blogging ass and write another book. I already have a title. I’m fixing to discuss it with my agent in the next month.

The consequence is that while I will still be here from time to time in 2022, I may be not be as reliable a correspondent as I’ve been, meeting you all here once a week. 

So let’s all head into 2022 with a renewed sense of our old selves. Shake things up, shake off 2020 and 2021. We’ve learned to take Covid in stride now, and it’s time to get bak and take off, if you know what I mean. 

Here’s a kitty to help you make the transition to a newer, brighter, funner YOU:

 

 

 

My sister Buffy sent me these next photos of a cat who’s famous on TicTok for obvious reasons:

 

 

 

 

She also sent me this:

The rest is stuff I found myself:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it for this week, Dear Readers. I hope you’re all whooping it up over the demise of another atrocious year, and looking at 2022 with relief and anticipation and gratitude. Let’s all hope for a Trump perp walk in the near future — keep hope alive!

Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

XXOO

 

 

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