My hair has officially gone COVID.

Since last October I’ve been growing it out and so far it’s gone through two of those weird, unsightly phases that you have to put up with when you’re switching from short to long hair, but this week it’s at a stage where, in different times, I would take it to a professional for “shaping”, but these are these times so I’m stuck with Duchess of Cornwall hair.

I’m not a fan of floof.

Half of the reason why I’m not going to see my hair stylist is a reluctance to expose myself to strangers, and the other half is 2020 apathy. I’m not going anywhere anyway, so why do I have to make a fuss?

But here’s something that will brighten all our days:

Miss Lizzie

Pet Portraits. I’ll be painting Pet Portraits, and returning this blog back into its original mission. Yes, we’ll be  Watching Paint Dry for the rest of the Summer and it’s all because of  The Stromness Rock.

The Rock in its original hiding place on Orkney, May 27, 2019 (before its beauty make over thanks to Rachel in Texas).

This is for the darling hosts of The Rock during its 8,465-mile tour of America: Gali, Carol, Jeanie, Angel, Susie, Alexandra, Marilyn, Thea, Rachel, Leslie, and OG Maryanne in SC.To thank you for your outstanding hospitality I would like to do a portrait of your pet(s). If you email me a photo of your beloved(s), I will turn it into a Vivian Swift Pet Portrait, which we will watch me paint right here on this blog.

I can do dogs, too.

Now remember, although these portraits appear to be life-sized, I am a miniaturist, so your portrait will be packed into a frame that is  approx. 4 ” x 4″.

So let’s start painting!

I hope that painting will keep us all a tiny bit sane, because life keeps getting crazier and crazier, and I’m not talking about my Korean classes and the fact that in Korean you have to conjugate adjectives. I’m talking about how 2020 keeps getting shittier and shittier, and to prove it let’s start with the stupidest thing I’ve seen on the internet this past week :

. . . and let’s take it from there:




















For those of you who have never seen one, here’s a picture of a baby squirrel:

And some cat stuff:






Here’s some stuff you should know in case you ever get on Jeopardy:




Excuse me, but it’s fewer. FEWER. F E W E R :














Have a great weekend, everyone. Don’t buy GOYA products.

And, oh yeah…Fuck Trump.









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So we’ve lost Hong Kong, Dear Readers. The valiant pro-Democracy protestors worked and marched and waved American flags and put their lives on the line for so long, and it all came to end on June 30. China now controls the territory and I wanted to take a moment here to note the death of independence in that brave little enclave.

I hope everyone is getting the most out of Summer, or Winter (Hi Kirra!) this year, because lazy, hazy days are the best thing we got going for us at the moment. Me, in between log naps, I’m world-building…but more of that later.

Let us discuss the current state of affairs in America:





























And, oh yeah:

Fuck Trump.







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It started to get hot here on the north shore of Long Island in May. So since May 29, I have been getting up at 4am to make a piece of toast, feed the cats, read Twitter, and head out the door for my 6-mile run.

Well, I actually hate to run (I haven’t had to move fast since I was 26 because I’m a grown up and nobody can make me do anything I don’t want to do because that’s the reward for getting old and getting closer to death) so let’s say that I go at a very fast walk.

No matter how stinking hot the day will become, the air at 4:30am is deliciously cool, and it’s a fine thing to be out in the pre-dawn and breathe in the light that miraculously turns the skies from black to heavenly blue. I highly recommend it.

On Wednesday of this week I did my early morning trot as usual, then I showered and did laundry and mopped the kitchen floor and it was while I was putting fresh clean sheets on the bed that I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to go back to sleep right now?”

It was 9am. And since I’m the only boss of me (see above) I gave myself permission, right then and there, to give in to my latest whim. So that’s what I was doing last Wednesday, instead of blogging. I was sleeping the rest of the morning way, and having weird dreams (about Korean verbs, for one; and about being back in the Peace Corps in Africa, for two) and then I was laying in bed and watching Netflix on my iPad for most of the afternoon. It was heavenly. The To Do List police never caught on.

Self-indulgence. I highly recommend it.

The other exciting news is that we got our little Sputnik (“voyager”) back from its trans-America tour!


The little rock from Stromness, Orkney has completed its journey of 8,465 miles across our United States and is sitting on my desk as I type this, making sure I tell the story of its last, great visit with one of our Dear Readers in the land of Carolina del Sud.

Curtesy of host and OG Dear One Maryanne from SC, The Rock has allowed me to quote from the letter it has written to the Scottish mum who awaits her little pebble’s return to the islands in the North Sea:

Dear Mum,

Greetings from the ridiculously hot, humid Palmetto State, South Carolina and its capital, Columbia. To say your boy misses Orkney’s cool breezes would be understatement.

It’s high COVID-19 season here, so I donned a mask and quarantined for a couple days with a fellow Scots rock, a wee lad from Dunbar Close in Edinburgh.  It was good to catch up wi’ someone from home.

Then I was ready to see the sights.

First, a shot of me in a palmetto tree. South Carolina, after all, is called the Palmetto State.

The palmetto+crescent design became South Carolina’s flag in April 1861, just in time to be flown over Fort Sumter, the day it fell to the Confederate Army.

Mum, compared to our Scottish history, South Carolina is not very old, and Columbia’s a very, very young city, a mere 234 years.

This is Columbia’s Main Street, as seen from the steps of the State House. See the soldier statue ahead of me? He’s looking to the north, watchful should the Union troops return. 155 years later and so far, so good.

Aye, the past is still very present in Columbia. The place where all the Confederacy’s money was printed is now the downtown Publix supermarket. A large cotton mill, first of its kind to run on electricity, is now the SC State Museum. Here’s one of its most historic sites, the First Baptist Church built in 1859 (below).

Or as you’d say, “recently.”

Who would guess that this ordinary red brick church was the place where the Articles of Secession were drafted on December 17, 1860?  Three days later South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union, effectively starting the Civil War.

So-o-o, in 1865 when General William Tecumseh Sherman’s scouts entered the city, First Baptist was high on their list of “Places To Visit.”

The church leaders knew that too, and carefully removed all signage from the building’s exterior. When the soldiers arrived to torch the perfidious site, helpful citizens directed them instead to the utterly innocent Washington Street Methodist church, a block away.

(See me in the lower right?)

Columbia has been a way station for several notable American painters. Your fave, mum, Georgia O’Keeffe, taught drawing at Columbia College,  and Jasper Johns lived here for a long while. But the artist most identified with contemporary Columbia is a guy named Blue Sky. This is his most famous work, a downtown mural called Tunnelvision.

There are several other Blue Sky murals and sculptures around town, but I really liked the gigantic Busted Plug, his tribute to his firefighter father:

(Can ye see me perched on the sign in front of the Plug? Again, just a wee blue dot…)

Another Columbia claim to fame: Hootie & the Blowfish. The band formed here in the late 1980s when the guys were students at the University of South Carolina, playing in bars in the Five Points neighborhood.

(Again, see me? I shinnied up the street sign pole to get close as I could to their honorary street sign.)

Columbia is also the site of the South Carolina State Fair each October, attended by thousands. If you wanted to meet up with your mates, you tell ‘em “Meet me at the rocket.”

I could go on, but I’m weary and looking forward to getting home to Orkney and seeing you.

Oh, one last selfie.

In Scotland, we tend to not make puns in Spanish, but trust me, mum, this is very funny:

Although Spanglish is a touchy subject here in America:

See you soon, Mum!

I want to thank all the lovely hosts who showed The Rock From Stromness outstanding hospitality these past months. There is a little reward for all of you who did the hard work of showing The Rock the sites of the Northeast (Massachusettes and New Jersey), the MidWest (Michigan, Michigan, and Wisconsin), the Great Pacific Great Northwest (Washington and Oregon), the West Coast (California), the Cowboy Empire (Texas), the Deep South (Florida), and the Genteel South (South Carolina). Check here next Friday for details.

In the meantime, as Maryanne from SC says:

Fuck tRump.

















New Yorkers painting BLACK LIVES MATTER on 5th Ave in front of Trump tower:

Next up: Renaming that block of 5th Ave “Obama Way”









In Cute News: The Animal Defense League of Texas took some of its shelter cats to the San Antonio Zoo to publicize both organizations while they are closed during the pandemic, although shelter animals are still available for adoption and the zoo is open for donations:

And here’s some photos of people and their dogs, as puppers and as doggos:

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones.

Tropical Storm Fay is scheduled to slam into New York later today (Friday, July 10) so YAY!! We’re having a Hurricane Party tonight!


And, of course:

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Can you believe it? Can you believe that 2020 is half over? That we have made it this far?? TO THE HALF WAY MARK!! I don’t have much to celebrate these days, but I’m definitely in the mood to celebrate this.

If the first half of 2020 has taught me anything, and I doubt that it has, it’s that you have to think ahead.

I’m not at all gifted when it comes to thinking ahead.

For example, I went on record, here in this blog, in February, pooh-poohing any need for panic or urgency about this COVID-thing. Then we went into mandatory self-quarantine on March 15, and I didn’t run out and grab as much toilet paper as I could jam into my Costco cart, I didn’t buy a 6-month supply of canned goods, and I didn’t get me as much black-market hand sanitizer as I cold score on the dark web. I did get a few cases of wine and a six-pack of liter-sized Grey Gooses, but that’s what I do every Monday.

If I had known then what I know now, I would have bought some dumbbells. Although I miss my gym, I’ve been able to do a work-around with a new fitness routine while I’m at home, except for weight training. So my first Second Half of 2020 purchase will be some hand weights so I can keep wearing short-sleeve shirts for now and the foreseeable future (sleeveless shirts were ruled out, forever, some time around my 52nd birthday).

My first Second Half of 2020 self-improvement project will be to finish re-doing the stairs. Last November I stripped 5 layers of paint off of our 100-year-old staircase in the living room, and it took a week and I got down to bare wood on the treads. I knew I was going to wait until warm weather to open all the windows and do the sanding before I refinished the old wood and re-apited the risers and the trim, but I’ve been putting it off because I’m so used to doing nothing in self-quarantine that I just haven’t found the time to do anything useful. But my Second Half of 2020 goal is to get the stairs done by the end of this month, or at least by Fall. Certainly by Halloween.

And then I’ll call it a year.

Anybody else got big plans for the Second Half of 2020? Anybody else taking this exciting opportunity of the six-month mark to Start Over?

OK, I might be getting all Self Helpy and Living My Best Life (fingers crossed), but I still find these memes funny (because 2020 is, really, no joke):








I look forward to the end of 2020, but I warn you. Don’t think too far into the future:

And, as always: Fuck Trump.






I got no thoughts or prayers for this guy:


































Have a great weekend, everyone. Top Cat and I have bought ourselves the fancy face masks, the ones that have the front seam in the center so it doesn’t smash up against your face, you know those ones? I highly recommend them. I can’t believe that I’m excited about this, but this is where we are in July 2020.

Stay safe, stay weird, stay you.












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I still find jokes like this (above) funny. Sure, 2020 is a mess, but isn’t it a fantastic, glorious, mess?

2020 has been my kind of year, seeing as how in January I turned 64 and thought that life was essentially over, that my days were going to be a boring slide into old, older, and oldest age. But WOW, was I wrong! My 64th year has been so full of interest, personally and historically. I am SO GLAD to be living through this shit with you all!

Come December, as 2020 draws its last breath, we will look back and wonder at ourselves and at our nation and the world, and marvel that we got through it. It will feel like an achievement to have gotten to the end of this year alive, reasonably sane, and with a manageable number of 2020-induced personality flaws.

Of course, I have no idea what America will look like at the dawn of 2021, but my black-hearted, pessimistic, foul-mouthed, misanthropic, and perpetually resentful self has, in my soul, a tiny spark of hope and joy that things will be radically better for people of color, for the working poor, for immigrants, and for us rationalists.

Dear Readers, I’m not drunk or high, but I have been thinking dangerous thoughts and here’s what I think: I think we might be on the brink of a new Enlightenment. I look around at the unrest and the unity of dissent  against institutional racism and exploitative capitalism and I see a growing consensus that this country doesn’t work any more, not for the majority of us citizens, and it’s time to take it back.

I think this because I, Vivian Swift, boring ordinary white lady in her 60s, am flying a Black Life Matters Flag from the front porch of her house in the suburbs and that, my Dear Readers, is a Vivian Swift who, six months ago, I did not know existed.

Lord knows what this Vivian Swift will be up to six months from now.

Our Dear Reader Leslie in southern Florida has been hosting The Stromness Rock this past week, and Leslie knows what I mean when I talk about this being a transformative time to be showing America to a little rock from the Orkney Islands in Scotland:

I think The Rock is trying to tell us that America is a lot for a Scottish pebble to handle right now.

So Leslie let The Rock acclimate to current events by spending a little down-time in the familiar (to The Rock) ambiance of her Welsh dresser among artifacts of loveliness:

Although known as Welsh dressers, this item of kitchen furniture is not unique to Wales. Irish dressers were also common. Dressers from different geographic areas were adapted to local needs. The Scottish Highland dresser, for example, had a porridge drawer — a tin-lined drawer into which hot porridge was poured and left to set. When cold, slices could be cut and taken out by crofters working out on the land.

I, for one, would not be tempted to eat porridge that had aged in a dresser drawer, I’m just saying.

Revived, The Rock was ready to see the local lay of the land. First, a drive-by in Fort lauderdale:

Blustery. This must have made The Rock a teeny bit homesick. The Oarkneys are very windy — in fact, the winds are the outstanding characteristic of the islands. Strong winds year-round are common, but in Winter the average is 52 gales per season.

Leslie and The Rock tried to play Hide-and-Seek in the roots of trees felled by recent hurricanes, but The Rock isn’t good at camouflaging:

“You want to see the Everglades?” asked Leslie.

The Rock responded, “What are the Everglades?”

Everglades National Park is a 1.5-million-acre wetlands preserve on the southern tip of the U.S. state of Florida. Often compared to a grassy, slow-moving river, the Everglades is made up of coastal mangroves, sawgrass marshes and pine flatwoods that are home to hundreds of animal species. Among the Everglades’ abundant wildlife are the endangered leatherback turtle, Florida panther and West Indian manatee.

And alligators. There are alligators. In the Everglades. Right behind you.

There are also “cypress knees”, and I looked them up and this is a fact: nobody knows what cypress knees “do”.

The Rock poised on the biggest botanical mystery of them all.

This is what one botanist has to say about cypress knees, which just might be the most enigmatic horticulture  writing I’ve ever come across (and I wrote a book about gardens, so I’ve read more than my fair share about horticulture):

It is surprising, after centuries of interest, how much interpretation is based on field observation, and how little hard data exist on knee anatomy, cellular structure, and physiology. Whatever functions the knees serve must pertain broadly in time, space, and related species.

I don’t even understand that last sentence, but I love the sound of it.

But wait there’s more. Leslie had some horticultural surprises for The Rock in her own backyard:

Right. Those are BANANAS. Growing in the backyard. I’m from Long Island, and bananas growing in one’s backyard is, to me, science fiction.

But wait there’s more. I’ve only read about this, and I’ve longed to see one with my own eyes, so for me this is the high point of The Rock’s adventures in Florida, these two buds from Omicron Ceti III:

The Rock had to stay up late, until after night fall, to see with it’s own non-eyes the amazing Queen of the Night, the Night Blooming Cereus:

WOW. Wow. Wowowowowowowowowowow.

One final dip in the pool . . .

. . . and The Rock was off for further adventures in The Palmetto State.

Stay Tuned.

In the meantime, oh, yeah.

Fuck Trump.

(I’m still basking in the humiliation of Trump’s rally in Tulsa, so indulge me a bit.)



















Seen in a Boston suburb:













If the previous Instagram shot didn’t give you the feels for Gen Z, maybe this will:

And, lastly:

Cats Will Sleep Any Where.

And They Do.





Have a great weekend, Dear Readers. If I am not here on Wednesday blame my dentist. And my utter cowardice when it comes to anything having to do with my dentist. I will be in hiding.

Think good thoughts about where you’ll be when we say Good-bye to 2020.






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Did everyone have a good weekend?

I know I did.

But Trump and his goober-faced, pin-headed, slack-jawed supporters…not so much.

Maybe you’ve heard how a band of teenagers pranked the Tulsa rally by reserving thousands of seats in the Bank of Oklahoma center (capacity 19,000) that they never intended to use?

And how Trump bragged that he had a million people requesting tickets, so many people that they had to set up an outdoor arena for “the overflow”?



And did you hear that this humiliation for Trump and spawn was another way that K-pop stans ( along with Tik Tok teens) mobilized themselves into action against a fascist/Republican target?


(You remember BTS, my 7 Korean husbands, right?)


Left to right: V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook, RM, Jimin, and J-Hope.

(They’ve just released their Japanese album, and they will be on the cover of Vogue Japan next month:)

BTS alone isn’t K-pop. There is a lot to choose from once you get into it — I have 42 K-pop artists on my playlists. But BTS are the Kings of K-pop, FYI.

So a lot of people in the media are scrambling to find out what this “K-pop” thing is, and their first assumption is that it’s a genre of music that appeals to 12-year old girls. I’m not going to dump on whatever it is that 12-year old girls are into these days, because 12-year old girls are powerful creatures who love fiercely so don’t try to minimize them, but most K-pop fans are not 12-year old girls, OK?

You might not like AOC, but she gets it:

In response to AOC’s tweet, DeAnna Lorraine tweeted this:

DeAnna Lorraine (Republican, of course), who ran for election to the U.S. House to represent California’s 12th Congressional District but she lost in the primary on March 3, 2020, obviously doesn’t understand the first thing about K-pop, about politics, or about not tweeting stuff that makes you look exceptionally stupid.

So, any way, the past weekend was almost pure pleasure for me and Top Cat. I checked der Drumpf’s website for more rallies, and all his events this coming week and weekend are on-line with the usual suspects: veterans, evangelicals, old white ladies who wear too much make up and hairstyles from the ’80s.

So, sadly, there are no rallies in the foreseeable future that we need to make sure have plenty of empty seats. So I’ll be taking the weekend off, catching up on Bangtan TV (inside K-pop joke, only mildly funny).

But let’s take a victory lap this once, and remember what a complete shitheel Donald Trump is.







This is what they did to the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia last weekend:












See you Friday! Read all about the adventures of The Stromness Rock!







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Win: Yesterday, on June 18 the Supreme Court ruled 5 -4 that Trump’s executive order to end president Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA, the program that lets young undocumented immigrants get semi-legal status in the USA) was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Roberts, a Republican appointee, sided with the four Democratic judges and wrote the majority opinion, blasting Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions (Trump’s Attorney General) and Elaine Duke (Trump’s Homeland Security Secretary) for being so shitty at their jobs that their arguments for rescinding DACA were “arbitrary and capricious”, which is SCOTUS-speak for “pure bullshit”.

I like this feeling. Coupled with the great Rostock v. Clayton County decision on Monday, this feels like taking a deep breath of joy. It feels like it’s the start of a trek back to normal life, when Trump and his evil spawn were only local New York City jokes. It feels like Summer after a long, long, three-and-a-half-year Winter. I could get used to this, the natural high you get when you live in a society that is sane, fair, and just. It feels like we, as a nation, just told ourselves We Are Who We Say We Are.

As it happened, yesterday was the first time, since March 15 the start of the lockdown, that Top Cat and I had dinner “out”. We ordered from a nearby Japanese restaurant, which only does food for pick up. Top Cat put on a face mask and got in a line out the door of the restaurant, socially distancing with all others in line, and when his turn came he stepped into the restaurant and was presented with a table filled with bundled up food orders. He matched our order # with a bag on a table, picked up our stuff, and left. Never had to interact with anyone.

The fancy Mexican restaurant in the same shopping center was offering dining in the parking lot, on tables set about 20 feet apart, each shaded with a bright yellow beach umbrella. Every table was full. It looked like a lot of fun. I don’t like the menu here so it’s not our Go To for Mexican food, but if you like cilantro and chocolate sauce on chicken, this is your kind of place.

I haven’t seen that many people in one place since, well, you know when.

While we were sitting on the back patio having Japanese take-out, I pitched the idea to Top Cat that we should take horseback riding lessons together. As a couple, Top Cat and I have very few overlapping interests, and horseback riding is a twofer: it’s something we can do together, and it will stop him nagging me to give the out-of-doors a try. Thanks to everyone who commented on your experience with horses on Wednesday — I think that looking cool on a horse is achievable.

Like all of you, I am looking forward to Trump’s rally in Tulsa tomorrow. Actually, I’m looking forward to two weeks from now, when (I am praying) every single one of those morons comes down with an unexplainable cough, fatigue, fever, vomiting, and loss of the sense of taste. Oklahoma is already reporting an all-time high of 450 new cases of corona virus this week so we know the bug is out there. It just has to show up at the BOK Center on Saturday night.

But most of all, I’m looking forward to when the Oklahoma public health commissioner, as his state’s ICUs are inundated with very sick old white people, turning to the cameras and saying,

“Fuck Trump.”





























Have a great weekend, everyone. GUESS WHAT! The Stromness Rock has been on the move, traveling 1400 miles from Texas to The Sunshine State for a wander around the Everglades and you can read all about the death-defying adventures in next Friday’s blog. That Rock does the craziest things around alligators. Don’t be like The Rock.



President Trump took credit for popularizing Juneteenth in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, stating that no one had ever heard of the June 19 holiday commemorating the emancipation of black slaves in the U.S. before he scheduled a political rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on that day.

The Trump administration has put out statements on Juneteenth in each of his first three years in office.

“Oh really? We put out a statement? The Trump White House put out a statement?” Trump said when informed of this fact. “Ok, ok. Good.”


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My adopted home state, New York, is in Phase One of re-opening after locking down since March 15. I dread Phase Two, because in Phase One the traffic in my suburb has become a nightmare already, and in Phase Two dentists are allowed to go back to work. As soon as Phase Two hits, I know my dentist will hound me about resuming where we left off three months ago. Now, I thank the lord that I live in the time of modern dentistry… with about the same fervor that I wish modern dentistry would leave me the fuck alone. Jesus, I hate going to the dentist, but having a nice smile is much more important when you are in your 60s than it is when you are in your 20s.

Old people are creepy. It’s a fact. This is something that I remember from my 20s with vivid clarity, and I’m not letting myself off the hook just because I happen to now be in my 60s. You have to take care of stuff, like teeth. And hair. And shoes. And wear lipstick, and shut up about how you used to buy Wonderbread for 35 cents a loaf. Update your eyeglasses. And stop wearing plaid shirts.

So, yeah, I’ll be phasing out of quarantine and sharing public spaces with **shudder**  people, and it will be the official end of my Corona Cocoon, and I will be sad (about having to act “normal” around “people” again) and terrified (of my dentist).

It will take me a while to ramp up my activity level from my quarantine baseline of coma-esque restfulness. I am so used to doing nothing that this morning, when I had to go to the post office and to the drug store, I did the post office and called it a day. That’s all I can take. I’ve pencilled in some castle-making for 6 – 8 PM, when I’m recovered from the exertion of  mailing a package (hey Jeanie! Look for something from me in about a week!), but I won’t hold it against myself if I decide to stay on the couch watching Netflix instead.

Speaking of Netflix, I was watching another multi-episode drama from Asia last night, about a magic portal between two parallel universes and the time-traveling king who jumps between them and I thought to myself, I wonder how long it takes to learn to ride a horse.  (Although it’s set in 2019, the king rides a horse through the parallel universe portal.)

I would like to know how to ride a horse. I think I would look cool on a horse. This might be my new hobby, the one that stops Top Cat nagging at me to go outside for FIVE MINUTES and enjoy the beautiful day.

If any of you Dear Readers knows anything about riding a horse, please let me know if it’s possible to learn to look cool on a horse in one Summer, and do I need to get a special cowgirl name?

Brianna Noble on her horse, Dapper Dan, riding in downtown Oakland, CA, June 11, 2020.

And, oh yeah. Fuck Trump.

Yay! We got a win for America!


























Seizing on a medical milestone that doesn’t exist, President Donald Trump said Tuesday [June 16]  he thinks the same scientific expertise that produced a vaccine for AIDS can deliver one soon for COVID-19, too. “These are the people – the best, the smartest, the most brilliant anywhere, and they’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine. They’ve come up with, as you know, there’s various things, and now various companies are involved … AIDS was a death sentence, and now people live a life with a pill. It’s an incredible thing.”

There is no vaccine for AIDS.

See you on Friday, Dear Readers. Let’s avoid going back to normal together.

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In Wednesday’s blog post I told you about the “debate” that the Tennessee state legislature was having about whether or not to keep a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and the founder and first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, in their state capitol building. I told you that the Republicans were against removing the statue, which turns out to be a bust, not a whole statue.

Here’s how the “debate” ended: The bust is going to be kept where it is, in a place of honor (I got the info from the website of WMC, channel 5, in Nashville, TV):

A Republican named Jerry Sexton argued: “It was not against the law to own slaves back then,” he said. “Who knows, maybe some of us will be slaves one of these days. Laws change.”

A separate House bill to end the observance of the annual Nathan Bedford Forrest Day narrowly made it out of committee the same day. It must go before another House committee before it makes it to the floor.


Tennessee has a holiday for this motherfucker?? But hold on, there’s more:

This story was updated at 4:10 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, with more information.

NASHVILLE — Tennessee will continue to mark Nathan Bedford Forrest Day on July 13, but under a bill that won final approval from state lawmakers on Wednesday, Gov. Bill Lee will no longer be legally required to sign a proclamation designating the honor for the Confederate general and slave trader.


The governor used to call attention to this holiday by proclamation, as if was something to be proud of?

Hold on, there’s more:

The measure was approved 22-6 by the state Senate despite efforts by Democrats, whose attempts to eliminate the recognition were quashed by GOP senators who passed the bill.

Dear Readers, here’s what we can do about the shithole state of slave-loving Republican fascist Tennessee.

39.9% of the Tennessee’s general revenue comes from the federal government, which makes it a “taker” state of money that comes from our federal taxes. So, when we file tax returns this year, just add a note that you don’t want any of your tax dollars to go to the shithole slave-loving Republican fascist state of Tennessee. Of course it’s only a symbolic protest. But Jesus, can you believe that that’s how grown-ups act in Tennessee?

So that’s the landscape of America these days, even after everything we’ve been through in the past two weeks.

Some days, I just don’t have the energy to be my usual cheerful, friendly, people-pleasing self.

But for you, Dear Readers, I will step into the Way Back machine, to about an hour ago, before I searched for the update on Nathan Bedford Forrest, when I had castles on my mind.

I’ve been promising to show you a new castle that I made out of old books, which I cut up and re-assemble into “art”. This castle doesn’t photograph well, but anyway, here it is:

When I install the castle in a book, I will put a garden in that free space between the supports. Stay tuned.

The colored bits are from the many end papers I collected from books that I had to throw out, back when I co-managed the used book store for our local library:

End papers, those pointless pages between the hard cover and the actual book.

The book store has ben shuttered since March 15, as has our local library. The library can’t re-open in Phase One yet, so it’s just doing curb-side pickups and drop-offs. I have a library book that I took out in February that I should return, so I’ll be making my appointment for that soon.

And that’s my To Do List for today, Friday June 12, 2020. And I’m already exhausted.

But I can gather my strength for one final thought:

Oh, yeah; Fuck Trump.



















This Twitter account is from a guy who has many cats, and he usually photoshops his cats into ridiculous battle scenes, but for this post he tweeted photos of his cats in their beds, which are boxes (because, CATS) with his cat’s courtesy titles written on them.











Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. Maybe, if you have the time, you can write a letter to Tennessee state senate majority leader, Republican Jack Johnson, 11 Legislative Plaza, Nashville, TN 37243; email:

You might want to tell him that the Civil War is over, and that the score is Confederates, 0; US 1. And:

And for good measure, Fuck Trump.


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My county of Nassau on Long Island is in Phase One of re-opening. New York City is also in Phase One, meaning that construction and curb-side retail is open, and people can go out to eat in restaurants if there is outdoor seating, or indoor seating for no more than 25 ppl / 6 feet apart.

The most immediate consequence of Phase One is traffic. Suddenly, the roads are jammed again. I had forgotten the noise — I’d forgotten that in my backyard, you can hear trucks roaring on the Long Island Expressway (Exit 37 is one mile away). I am a little depressed that life is getting back to normal, as far as the everyday cacophony is concerned.

I’ve heard that literary agents are getting pitched all kinds of pandemic novels these days, but it’s not going to happen as a literary genre because everyone is weary of the subject. However, I predict that there will be all kinds of feel-good quarantine memoirs coming out next year, about spiritual epiphanies or precious family bonding experiences, personal insights or home renewal projects that transformed inner and outer realities.

I won’t be writing one of those books. Nope. Not for me. For I have learned nothing, I still hate most people, and my house still looks like two grad students on scholarship live here.

Top Cat had one pandemic project that matters. He has finally sorted out the several hundred vinyl records he’s been storing in the basement for 20 years. He’s actually thrown out some, has given most of them away to collectors, and saved about 50 for his own archives. We have a turntable, in fact we have two, but if he wants to play old Moody Blues or Quicksilver Messenger Service, I got to be waaaaaaay far away.

I have zero nostalgia for the music of my youth.

I know there is one Dear Reader here (*cough* Steve) who still listens to disco from the ’70s, and I am here to drag you into the post-pandemic 21st century. Consider it Phase One of Vivian Swift’s Return to the New Normal, in that I am back to bossing people around.

Dua Lipa has a whole new album called Future Nostalgia, which is all about her re-creating that disco sound with an update.

If you like old 1970s disco, you need to hear Physical. It’s my jam when I’m starting the fifth mile of my daily run, when I’m tired and I want a nap and I need something to keep me moving for those final 5,280 feet.

This has nothing to do with Olivia Newton John’s Physical.

If I can get one person to trade Doico Duck for Dua Lipa, I will be happy for about a minute, then I’ll revert to my normal pissant self because bitching about life is my main jam.

For instance:

Today, the Tennessee legislature is debating whether to remove a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the founder of the KKK, from the capital, which, much to my surprise, is Nashville. Republicans are voting against the statue’s removal for “historical” reasons, and the usual bullshit about Southern culture. But here’s the thing: the statue was erected in…*checks notes*…1978.

So, yeah, there’s still room for “debate” on whether symbols of white supremacy have a place in public spaces in this country. Well for fuck’s sake, do I have to go down to Nashville to march?

And if I do, I’ll have Dear Reader Maryanne‘s phone number written on my arm. Good to her word, she did email me her contact #s, and an open offer to bail me out on my next social justice outing because she knows that if I called home, none of the cats would bother to pick up the phone. Thank you, Maryanne. Knowing I have bail makes me want to go out and be a little more ornery next time.

And that brings you all up-to-date on Phase One of the Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning, Whatever.

I hope you all are getting a peek at what your new “normal” is, and that you all like what you see.

And, oh yeah: Fuck Trump.














This (above) is the Robert E. Lee memorial in Richmond, VA. The city council as been debating whether to take down this statue for five years. This is how it looks after the Black Lives Matter protest of June 1.












Hang in there, Dear Ones. See you Friday.


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