All I Need Are 4 More Zebras And I Can Be Part Of A Dazzle.

For those of you who are looking forward to Fall here are some messages from Your People. For for those of us who are dreading the end of Summer, here are some messages from perverts:
















This last image (below) almost — almost — puts me in a good mood about the Solstice:


And this:


As I do every year about this time, when the weather turns cooler, I made a slew of appointments with doctors, dentists, and hair stylists to get myself in order for the eventual bleak times. Because of this, I’ve been talking to a lot of receptionists lately and have been saying my name to strangers with some frequency. 

I like my name. I’ve never been tempted to change or gussy it up with a foreign pronunciation (I knew a guy named Steven who went to Europe for a semester in college and when he got back he insisted that everyone call him Stefan, accent on the “fan”).

I’ve never wanted to disguise it with a cuter nick name, or get rid of half of it by taking either of my husbands’s last names. 

Other people have liked my name, too. A writer took it and made Vivian Swift the leader of a gang of thieves in 17th-centry London for a romance novel whose title I forget. When I was first certified as a diamond grader I worked at a jewelry store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan with a big, loud (in the 1940s she would have been called “blowsy”) salesgirl who got pregnant by the watch repair guy and she named her baby Vivian…I was not pleased. 

Four times in my life I’ve had people ask me  if Vivian Swift was my real name, it’s that good a name.

In the 1980s, when M*A*S*H was on TV and Hot Lips was played by an actress named Loretta Swit, I used to brace myself whenever I had to introduce myself because people invariably heard “Vivian Swit”, and I was not pleased. So thank the lordy for Taylor Swift — I hardly ever have to say my last name twice any more.

Anyway. A few days ago I’m making an appointment  to cut the last 18 months of pandemic out of my hair (it’s so long now that I look like a veteran country singer in a lounge at one of the second-rate casinos way off the Strip in Vegas). Before the pandemic, I had found a good stylist at a salon in my little village that thinks itself quite cool. I call the place and I tell the receptionist my name, and that I want an appointment with Michael V. She taps the info into her computer (I can hear the keys clicking), and then she says, in a voice that dips and rises as if she’s  talking to  a not-very bright three year old:  “Soooo, what-cha thinkin’?”

At first, I couldn’t think what on earth she was on about. “What-cha thinkin’?” What am I thinking? About what? Why do you want to know? This is confusing; I just want a hair cut, not a self-assesment of my most recent metacognitive activities. All I could think to say was, “What?”

She repeated the question in exactly the same intonation, and I was so annoyed that I just let the space between us be filled with dead air while I debated whether I wanted a good hair cut more than I wanted to tell this girl to go fuck off  with her “What-cha thinkin’?”. 

Thankfully, the girl quickly filled the silence by asking me, in normal English, “When would you like to come in?”

So next Tuesday I’m getting all the Miss Havisham of the Pandemic Quarantine Times cut out of my hair so I can look somewhat pre-COVID when I go out in public. If I go. I just want to be prepared.

Just because I happen to have them, here are two pictures of me, taken 39 years apart, so you can see my country-singer hair from last week. . . 

That’s the neighbor’s cat, Anthony, visiting during Happy Hour in our backyard.

. . .  and from 1982.

That second photo is from the archives of my 1982 sweetheart who recently looked up “Vivian Swift” in the inter webs and because there aren’t that many Vivian Swifts in the world, he found me and sent this memento from my Peace Corps days in Niger, West Africa. Thank you, Juan, for this, and thank you for being a Californian because we owe the good citizens of CA a big Muchos Gracias for  defeating the Republican effort to overturn a fair election by recalling the Democratic governor and installing a weird, anti-black African-American asshole named Larry Elder. Gavin Newsom won by a 2-1 margin by making it a definitive defeat for Trumpism.





I finally found information about the 18 military advisory board members that Trump appointed and Biden fired: they do NOT get paid for their attendance, but they do get “travel allowances”, so Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s former campaign manager, gets federal money to fly to Colorado to sit in on meetings of the Air Force academy’s military advisory board. Luckily, the Air Force never convened its advisory board while Conway was a member, and now the Pentagon is looking into abolishing all 40 military advisory boards for being nothing more than political patronage any way.



That (above) is a real story, by the way. A group of five zebras, referred to as a dazzle, have been on the loose in Maryland for over two weeks. The zebras escaped in late August from a 300-acre farm near Upper Marlboro, Maryland, owned by Jerry Holly, who is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to keep 39 zebras. The zebras escaped shortly after they were transported to the farm from Florida. 

Since their break-out, the zebras have been scouring for food in neighborhoods in Prince George County in search of food, water, and sometimes a pool to dip into. Residents have posted photos and videos  of the zebras while local officials struggle to catch them. 

The zebras are not dangerous unless you approach them, but “You can’t hunt them down. They’re just too fast, they run, they won’t let you get near them,” Rodney Taylor, chief of Prince George county’s animal services department.

I, for one, would love to wake up one morning and find five zebras grazing in my backyard. It would really take my  mind off hugely annoying current events, such as what Donald Trump did on September 11 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of one of the darkest days in the history  of America.

On the same day, Rudy Giuliani showed up drunk at a party to…celebrate?…9-11:


In case you didn’t know, and I didn’t until I looked it up, the reason we put COVID in capital letters is because it stands for COronaVIrus Disease.

And where some people see a deadly public health emergency, Republicans see opportunity:


Speaking of shitbag Republicans, here’s how the Texas anti-abortion law is going:

Back to the latest COVID Karma news:





Ryan Cole is the doctor who is against COVID vaccines. So the Republican commissioners of the county — which encompasses the state capital, Boise — put him on the regional health board and said they welcomed Cole’s “outsider” perspective and willingness to “question” established medical guidance. They appointed him over the protests of their lone Democratic colleague.

To critics, Cole’s elevation to a public health-care role is an extreme example of GOP-driven resistance to not only mandates but basic medical guidance, as the pandemic overwhelms Idaho’s hospitals like never before.

The covid-19 patients filling hospital wards and prompting statewide rationing of care are almost all unvaccinated. Yet Idaho’s lieutenant governor recently suggested, falsely, that vaccinated people are more likely to die, and some officials in the heavily conservative state — where many preach “freedom” from government — consider even recommending the shots to be an overreach.




This guy (below)  is an anti-anti-vaxx protestor, so he goes to anti-mask mandate rallies and protests in a most brilliant way:




The far right is going to hold another rally in Washington DC tomorrow, Saturday September 18, but I don’t think we have to worry too much about it.

The rally is being planned by “Look Ahead America,” a nonprofit led by former Trump campaign staffer Matt Barnyard, who is described as “a C-list activist” and a Steve Bannon wanna-be. His group is “dedicated to standing up for patriotic Americans who have been forgotten by our government,” Braynard is focused on claims that the people who staged an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 are “political prisoners” who have been unfairly maligned.

Around 500 people have indicated they plan to attend, though the memo notes that past recent events organized by Look Ahead America had significantly lower attendance than expected and were peaceful.

Trump is not the only Republican keeping his distance. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn, who were scheduled to speak at the event, both canceled their appearances. Congress will not be is session on Saturday, so it looks as if there will be no public hangings of Democrats or RINOs. It’s going to be pathetic, in other words.

So let’s catch up with the latest on the real January 6 insurrectionists and then we’ll just hang out and insult Republicans and look at cat memes::



































And, lastly, for you Neil Gaiman fans (I know who you are):

That’s another week in America (and that one sad dining room somewhere in the UK), Dear Readers. Have a great weekend everyone. I hope you all have a fantastic Solstice, whether it’s the Autumnal (Northern Hemisphere) or the Vernal (Southern Hemisphere), we are in a period of change and even if we want to whine about it (that would be me, in the background, bitching and moaning) it’s good to change things up, to find new projects, to make adjustments, and to welcome in a new way of being. And remember: if you hear the sound of hoofbeats, it’s only your dazzle coming to get you.  


6 Comments, RSS

  1. Well, I love Autumn, but then, I live in a desert, where Summer is relentlessly hot and bright. You might like Autumn too if Summer brought you weeks and weeks of 100+ temps and overnight “lows” of 85. Though I admit that it’s still a huge improvement over the endless gray damp overcast wetness of Seattle, where I spent 30 years. (They got a lovely warm sunny Summer for once this year, thanks to a severe drought, and now all their plants are dead because they aren’t used to spending $$$ on watering things like we do here.)

    So there’s that.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the new haircut. What a “nimrod” of a clerk!

    NEIL GAIMAN ROCKS. I’ve been a fan of his since 1990, when “Good Omens” was published. Got to see him at a reading/signing for “Stardust” in Seattle a few years later. So okay, that city did have its moments.

    Still way too gray.

  2. A Dazzle of Zebras. Sounds like the title of a wonderful book. And certainly a better description than a Murder of Crows. Really? I get it with the hair. The other day I looked in the mirror and thought “You look like Roseanne Rosanna Dana.” (Granted, it was a humid day, due to be washed and not in my pony tail.) I still don’t feel comfy getting it cut. We’ll see.

    Well, we’ll see how tomorrow turns out.

    I’m with you on autumn. I don’t hate it. It’s just that I hate what comes after it and it always feels so darned short here in the north. I’m not ready for warm clothes.

  3. Kirra

    Thanks for the cats! I’ll keep an eye out for some of these ‘pure bloods’ dying of COVID like the stupid radio announcers. I don’t quite understand what happened in California but good that the non crazies won. I’m looking forward to summer myself, down here in the Southern Hemisphere, all the best for autumn/fall, especially the new haircut!

  4. I’m actually kind of excited about autumn, for reasons encapsulated by your Utrecht photo. (I did not know Utrecht had canals. I also didn’t know a gathering of zebras is a “dazzle.” The things we learn from each other in blogland!) Love the cats and dogs, as always. Soon we’re going to have to trundle Olga around in a conveyance like Jax.

  5. Christine

    Vivian Swift sounds like a rock star or a movie star! Great name and you wear it well!

    Looking forward to seeing your new look revealed! I just got 6 inches of my pandemic hair cut off and that still only took it to my shoulders…but I have to say it feels better, even though I was still hesitant to take that step.

    Autumn is My Time of Year! September-October- November: months I most anticipate and in which I feel happiest and physically at my best. Ahhh, Autumn! I’ve waited all year for your arrival!

    I wonder, Vivian, will you treat us to a seasonal leaf painting this year, please?

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