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Monday, December 18, 2017

Help me George Carlin – you're our only hope!

The Orange Menace’s ghoulish administration, his pack of slavering rapacious jackals have issued an edict – the Center for Disease Control, the nation’s top public health agency, has been prohibited from using seven words when writing their very important reports for the government’s annual spending blueprint.

Why? You can erase the words which describe us, which best illustrate the world, but you can’t eliminate us. We’re here, we’re Science-based, Evidence-based, Diverse, Transgender, Vulnerable, Fetuses AND Queer and we're here to stay! ALSO, by the fucking by, Social Security ain’t no Entitlement! Damn it!

Republicans have been, for yonks, saying that government’s the problem, that it doesn’t work, let's drown it in a bathtub, all while they throw bullshit spanner after crap covered wrench into the works. Now that they’re in charge, they’re incapable of anything else. They can't and don't want to fix any problems. All they're inclined toward is giving rewards/payoffs to their obscenely wealthy donor overlords. So then, they’ve broken it and fixing it is SO not the point of their government "service."

They’re like wilding kids on vicious Mountain Dew and Chips Ahoy benders, given dominion over our lives.

But that’s unfair to sugared up wee ones. At least they're just acting their fevered, impulsive age.

The Y on the weekend is wall to wall short stuff and they’re all zooming around like way overheated particles. Making my way from the first floor entrance, down the main hall and back to the stairs to the second floor workout machines is like running a crazed gauntlet. Yesterday morning, two tykes winged me, very nearly knocking me off my pins like some ignominiously felled Imperial Walker. I managed, stunningly, to stay upright and zipped off, at full speed, for the stairs. The second floor is, generally and happily, a kiddle free zone.

Rugrats – real cute...from a distance.

I arrived in Elliptical Land in one piece and managed to find a TV channel showing Revenge of the Sith. NOT my fave Star Wars ep but better than news or the Food Channel. Which reminded me, The Last Jedi is out NOW! Jen, Oni and I will go see it next weekend (if tickets are still available, that is) and I can’t wait! Daisy Ridley/Rey, and John Boyega are starring once again. Dunno, YET, how much we’ll see of Fisher but General Leia Organa’s in this one too. Yea!

Back to banned words though – we need George Carlin! Is there anyone like him out now? Someone standing up and loudly, hilariously mocking? Where's Spy Magazine in these ungodly days? Who's deriding the predatory, plundering obscenities in power? Humor – it's the best weapon.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Meltdown

Should Trump do the absolutely MOST stupid thing and reprise Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre by firing Mueller this weekend (that’s the buzz), he will be flying his I AM SOOO FUCKING GUILTY flag high and against the backdrop of a blazing inferno. That and he’ll be pissing off the entire nation – each and every goddamned one of us.

Why? Well, boyhowdy and shit, Monday next is Christmas. He’s gonna shoot that holiday right in the fucking neck. There won’t be a family dinner in the country that’s not dominated by incandescent rage and, if you’re unfortunate enough to have Trumpsters in your famiglia, there'll be knock down drag outs that’ll make the Battle of Gettysburg look like a wee, schoolyard squabble.

If you’re not a Christmas reveler (I’m not), it’s a quiet, wonderful, don’t gotta do nothin’ day. I spend it indulging in my beloved Chinese food and silly movies. Christmas is a total, happy holiday for me. I don’t have to work or play nice with folks I'd rather take a shiv to. The gym’s shut and I can’t run errands since most everthing’s closed. There’s a Zen-like quality about the day and I cherish it.

If the Orange Menace fucks with this holiday, well, I imagine he’ll have expedited the receipt of his Go To Jail. Go Directly To Jail. Do NOT Pass Go card. Sadly though, I don't think we'll see him led away in the silver bracelets. When that happens, it'll probably be done off stage and that gives me a sad. Hell, I'd pay to see that perp walk. It'd be a great fundraiser for charities and other fine non-profits like the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center (to name just a few). Don'cha think?

Knowing he and his crime family are as guilty as The Dapper Don, John Gotti, Trump wondered if he could pardon himself.  Laurence H. Tribe (Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law). and other smart, experienced legal beagles say no.
The Constitution specifically bars the president from using the pardon power to prevent his own impeachment and removal. It adds that any official removed through impeachment remains fully subject to criminal prosecution.
BUT, I’ve no doubt that Dense Pence will pardon 45's fugly ass. Meanwhile, there are Junior, Ivanka and Kushner's crimes.
Other than an impeachment case or a self-pardon, the power of a president to pardon is extremely broad. There is nothing in the constitution, for example, that would prevent a pardon of all the Trump children for federal crimes. (Not that we think Barron and Tiffany have any liability at present. The other three — Eric, Don Jr. and Ivanka — potentially are another story.) (source)
Truth BUT he can only pardon federal crimes NOT state crimes. Were any state laws violated while the Trump crime family was holed up in their NYC Tower? I’m betting on it.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Big Ol' Jet Airliner

Could this be jet lag? On Googling I discovered that effects can include:

Feeling not up to snuff, not 100% –
Yup, got that. I’m all achy and sniffly and my energy levels are sleeping with the fishies.

Memory loss 
This may just be my normal forgetfulness. I don’t think I can pin this on the jet.

Headache –
Me and headaches are buds though. We spend serious time together. You could say we’ve even put a ring on it. The big silver bird skates on this one too…mebbe.

Irritability and anxiety –
I woke at 2AM pissed, sad and freaked to high heaven over the feed-the-wealthy-screw-the-poors Republican tax plan obscenity, their Xmas prezzie to themselves and the rest of the Richie Rich.

Just FYI – it's good to be home.
From Forbes:
Because the plan proposes to add at least $1.5 trillion to the national debt, fiscal conservatives say the imbalance needs to be offset by either cuts of "entitlement" programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid or tax increases.
Who’s hurt by cuts to Medicare and Social Security? It sure as fuck ain’t the breathtakingly wealthy like McCain, Trump, McConnell, Darrell Issa or any of the other multi-multi-millionaires on the party-before-country side of the aisle. Go read the full Forbes post but ya might wanna drop a tab 'o' Xanax first.

So…emmm…that irritability and anxiety shit can’t be blamed on jet lag either, huh? Nope, that’s just the price of living in this Republican controlled nightmare-America. The 2018 elections are gonna be triple plus hard. There are 26 Blue senators up for reelection versus just eight Red seats. All 435 House of Reps are up for reelection. We really need a big Blue tsunami if this country is gonna survive/not become even more of an oligarchical Fascist regime.

But look, getting back on point – MY jet lag. Ya know, the important stuff.
Recovering from jet lag depends on the number of time zones crossed while traveling. In general, the body will adjust to the new time zone at the rate of one or two time zones per day. For example, if you crossed six time zones, the body will typically adjust to this time change in three to five days. (source)
I crossed five and got home Tuesday evening. I should be ALL better today, right? I’m going with that. I’ll get back to the Y today and try to sweat out some of this malaise. First, another cuppa coffee!

Jet Airliner – Steve Miller Band

Friday, December 15, 2017

Sparkly Schmattaville

That’s the fab logo for my fave Dublin caffeine dispensary – Insomnia. Not only are they Fairtrade certified (and have been since well before it was the thing), they had soy milk for my large Caffè Americano, delish mince pie-lettes and a devastatingly attractive barista. He was a tawny, penny hue with a sleek sheet of ponytailed black hair. Also, unlike the employees of my way-overpriced-for-the-quality crib, dude had no trouble putting pen to paper when I couldn’t read his lips.

Yeah, you know where you’ll find me on future, possible, Dublin excursions – here and at the art packed and deaf friendly Dean Hotel. In art galleries and museums too, duh.

On one of my Art Tours, which always took me down Grafton Street – the main shopping drag, I decided to indulge my girlish nature and pop into a few of the boutiques. All of ‘em seemed to be featuring ultra sparkly bits and faux furred party wear, making me wistful for my club-hopping, party days.

I just don’t dress up anymore. Given that I work at home and the only places I frequent are the Y, Stop & Shop and Jen and Oni’s, it’s a wonder I ever get out of my jammies and robe. I do but it’s just to don workout gear or my bathing suit.

Maybe I really need a fun, Middle East style night out. Or, possibly, Tunnel for a night of dancing my pretty ta-tas off. Yeah, I know – I’m deaf but a dance club is about the beat, not the tune so I think I’d get by just dandy. And, as long as the band at the Middle East has rockin’ bass and drums, I should be AOK there too.

For Tunnel, I could suit up in one of the dresses made of metallic silver sparkles with these lovely, understated silver starred, glitter heeled boots. For the Middle East I could wear this Jane Eyre-ish grey lace dress with a pair of Pascal Rainbow Glitter Doc Martens on my dancing feets. I'd be SO stylin'!

No, I didn't indulge. There was no spare space in my rucksack and, rilly now, I just can't see shelling out the shekels for an outfit I'd probably only wear once. Also too, I still have my psychedelic-ish platform boots and, buried in the depths of my closet, a few lacy, fun schmattas still live. Since they were never devastatingly in style, they can't possibly out of it now, can they?

Yup, I think I'm overdue for a big night out.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

National

I hit the National Gallery on one of my Dublin days. Ostensibly, I was there to see the show of Frederic William Burton paintings. He’s, generally, in the same camp as Edward Burne-Jones with, mebbe, a bit of Ruskin thrown in for good measure – a Romantic. The painting, at right, Hellelil and Hildebrand, the Meeting on the Turret Stairs, is what propelled me through the Gallery doors. Dreamy and so Arthurian.

Sadly, with precious few exception, this was a show of dull formal portraits and not terribly interesting landscapes.
What I found piquing about Burton’s work was this – his very detailed, realistic portraiture and landscapes were done in watercolor and graphite. They had an airy sort of feel and yet each strand of hair, the shading and folds of patterned cloth – all of it, had a solid, real feel. I was impressed to the nines by his amazing, brill technique, his skill.

I really liked the ultra romantic H and H (done in oils) but the rest of his work was, for me, engaging solely due to his skill with the medium. Sort of like being impressed that a kazoo player can knock out a creditable rendition of Flight of the Bumble Bee.

Burne-Jones’ Sleeping Beauty was on display, underscoring the stone mundanity of most of the exhibit.

In another hall, the Hennessy Portrait Prize exhibit was up. The show was fresh and fun AND Cian McLoughlin has a piece in there. Why he didn’t win is miles and miles beyond my ken. Jack Hickey’s photorealistic painting My Time took the prize. He’s got stratospheric chops but…eh, apart for that, I didn’t really get the buzz.

I was more moved by Kyle Barnes' Listening, Gordon Harris’ Kid’s Canvas and Myra Jago’s Reflection. McLoughlin’s Tronie (Woman Leaning Forward), at right, nailed me a thousand times over. This is what portraiture is about – telling a story, conveying an essence, not just straight up representation.

Photorealism is grand in the same way that Burton’s mondo prowess with watercolor and graphite is impressive. Yes, that’s some stellar skill but, ya know, what else ya got? Where’s the soul of the machine?

Down other halls I found room after room of dull Renaissance to Neoclassicist canvases. Zzzzzzzzzz. I’m sure there are brill gems in there but I’d need a map and a miner’s helmet to find them amongst all the major tediosity.

I did come across this fab baby, at left – Shield with Head of Medusa, done in the 17th century. No artist name noted. Too bad.

I'd like to spend more time at the National, I'm sure I missed a lot. Maybe next visit will be with Jen and we'll stay at the art-packed Dean! Oh and we'll hit Dublin's Museum of Modern Art too. After that we'll take the ferry over to Wales and just wander. I like this idea.

Art and life are subjective. Not everybody's gonna dig what I dig, but I reserve the right to dig it.
~ Whoopi Goldberg

The Ultimate Rule ought to be: 'If it sounds (looks) GOOD to you, it's bitchin'; if it sounds (looks) BAD to YOU, it's shitty. The more your musical (art) experience, the easier it is to define for yourself what you like and what you don't like.
~ Frank Zappa

All tastes are expressions of belief.
~ Zadie Smith

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hi Honeys, I’m HOME!

Yesterday morning's prettier, preflight view.
The uninspiring daytime view from my room
I just woke up to read that Doug Jones won in Alabama!!! To all you sane Alabamians,  
Mega Molto Grazie!
Gotta say, coming home to one less moronic, bullying, American Talibanist in government feels awesome. Maybe we really will beat Trump and his Republican Party-before-country, treasonously greedheaded, inhumane fucking asswipes yet!

A friend on Facebook wrote:
I'm happy tonight because a bigot who got banned from a shopping mall for harassing young girls didn't get elected to congress.

If we have to lower the bar any more we're gonna need a shovel.
Yeah brother, tell it.

Back at my vaca though – I have questions for meself. On the flight back yesterday, I was in search of a realistic, balanced attitude about this odd trip. Had I known the vaca would turn out as it did, would I still have come?

Probably not. I DID make the best of the stunning and wholly unexpected, unfortunate situation. I saw some great art, had a few fabola walks around a town I very much like and people watched in a few cool joints. I proved to myself that YES, I can travel on my own again despite wobbliness and that no-hearing dealio. Being away from home, out of the 24/7 horror show news cycle here in the U.S., having a low key getaway was what I was into and up for. That’s precisely what I got so good/good, right?
the comfy bar at Madigan's near my hotel

Why the frownies? I could’ve had all that without spending the big, BIG buckos or being away from my cozy nest and kitten for a full week.

Had I known I’d be on my own for most of the week, I could’ve, instead, motored down to P-town, (which often feels like another wonderful country) for a long, long weekend  – walked the beach, checked out galleries that haven't shut yet for the season and just generally chilled.

I could’ve gone back to Iceland for a few days to float. NOT cheap but SO ideal.

Prince Edwards Island is close-ish AND I've wanted to visit there since I was an Anne of Green Gables loving kiddle.

Still the U.S. but...NYC, fer fuck's sake! I could’ve taken the train (or the radically cheap bus!), bunked at the West Side Y, hit the Whitney, MoMA and Met, shopped, lunched with chums and wandered SoHo galleries.

The week in Dublin was (along with that absolutely incredible B&B in Slane) really lovely. Honest. I’m just upset about all the money I had to very unexpectedly shell out. Now that I’m home, I’ll tighten my belt, do without extras, be careful for a while. Things’ll be OK.

Some holidays are more about learning, growth, evolution and that’s what this one, mostly, was.

What have I learned? I’m shockingly resilient, able to simultaneously see multiple sides to every sitch. I can shift gears on the fly and I know my limits. I didn’t try to pack the max into each and every day – it's OK not to be on the go constantly. And I now know that YES, I can do solo holidays again. I’m deaf and wobbly  but not without resources. In fact, now I’ve a zillion grand ideas for future vaca-on-my-own getaways. Yes, this’ll involve planning and research – forethought. I can so do that.

I also learned that I’m wild about my family – Jen, Oni and Coco. I missed them terribly. A few days away is one thing, a full week is something else entirely. Thank Bast for WiFi and the Internet. I was able to text with Jen daily and she sent me lovely pics of my little princess (who isn't keen on texting. not yet anyway).

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Deaf in Dublin

Yesterday morning was absolutely brill for hoofin’ it around Dublin, hunting cool art (the continuing Searching for Cian McLoughlin tour). I found the cool art easily-ish too! The only thing that kept me from going to the very last of the hotels was this — my poodles were barking ferociously. We’re talkin’ feets doin’ serious Cujo impressions.

On the mega whole, awesomeness abounded – I only got a tiny bit off course ONCE! Yes, I deserve a rock solid round of applause for not getting hopelessly lost. We’ll pause here while you stand, stamp your feet and raise a lit Bic or two. Grazie, grazie, (curtsies prettily).

Not only did I see fab paintings by Cian and other local artists, I now know where I’ll stay next time I’m in Dublin. It won’t be here, my current crib.

I’m at The Gresham. It’s, as a friend put it, a Dublin institution. While my room is nice, warm and comfortable and there's a decent restaurant (though the lighting in the bar area is blinding), in other, more calm, circumstance I totally would not have shelled out the bucks. Why?! The staff is friendly but it’s clear that NONE of the employees has ever met a deafie AND, quite possibly, the entire concept of a customer having NO bloody sound system is utterly brand-y new to each and every one of them.

Fine. Honest. BUT they’re also all incredibly slow learners. How many times do I need to go through my I’m-deaf-so-you’ll-need-to-write-down-what-you’re-saying spiel? With one worker bee, it took five run throughs (including at least one where I helpfully provided the definition of the word deaf) and even that wasn’t enough. She just kept talking at me, full speed ahead. (Just FYI, English was, in fact, her first language) Later, when I stopped by to ask the front desk fellow about airport shuttles, it took three full run throughs before he put pen to paper. Every exchange here, small to large, is a major struggle. Is saying “you need to right down what you’re saying” somehow confusing?

I’d booked this place while I was in a pressurized, kinda freaked out state. My vaca had done a radical, unhappy 180 on the very first morning I woke here. I needed to get someplace comfortable, centrally located and I wanted to be there fast. I really wasn’t up for an extended, meandering, gosh-what-suits-me-best search.

At first I thought, perhaps this complete unfamiliarity with the very notion of deafness was, mebbe, peculiar to Dublin in general BUT at the coffee houses I stopped in, the bakeries where I got directions AND at The Dean and Shelbourne hotels, folks seemed to easily and immediately grasp the sitch. NO problems.

So, I gotta ask, what the everlasting, gob-stopping Christ is your prob, Gresham? For the rent they ding, the staff RILLY ought to be capable of a bit more than pretty smiles. Ya know?

On the art front though, the Gresham does a fine job – holds its own with the competition. While it doesn’t have (yet?) any of McLoughlin’s work, it does exhibit some pretty tremendous stuff.

I was truly impressed with all the hotels' original, local, very interesting art, versus cheap bland repro crap. Hotel as art gallery – how mondo cool is that! Granted, none of them were Holiday Inn Express type joints. I wonder what they’ve got on their walls. If I’d more time, I’d investigate.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Intermission

Let’s take a wee poem break from my Dublin holiday. While perusalling those recently found notebooks full of older Amazing Bob ballads and verse, I found a couple paeans to one of his heroes, Dr. Seuss. He'd written these when the great man died in 1991. TAB loved Seuss' playfulness, his rhymes, silliness, straightforward wisdom and art.

For Dr. Seuss (1904-1991)

The sun did not shine
It was too wet to play
When I heard the news
on that cold, cold, wet day…

Dr. Seuss died today and blah, blah, blah

What kind of doctor was this
with no degree on the wall,
who spoke of creatures great and small
and other things (one and two)
with hearing so keen he could hear a who
without a stethoscope.

A doctor of words, he healed with a rhyme
Twisting everyday words out of time
and space
at his own pace
never a trace of a tear
on a face
but only laughter, laughter

Creator of worlds, imagined so real
He depicted each one with zest and with zeal.

HIs stories provided the perfect elixir
with silly and serious thrown in the mixer
for good measure
Each one a renewable pleasure
to treasure at leisure
whatever the weather

He spoke of The Grinch, The Gak and the Gox
The Zooks and The Yooks and Fox in Sox
The Cat in the Hat and all at once A
“Moss Covered 3 Handled Family Gradunza”
might spring out at you
when you least expect it.

Through the voice of The Lorax
He spoke for the trees
and the right for clean air
to blow in the breeze
He spoke against hatred, corruption and greed
in favor of love
which everyone,
               everyone,
                    everyone needs.

He taught us to try Green Eggs and Ham
A metaphor
for liver or Spam or
anything else we think we’ll hate
Just try it once, it may be great
If you still don’t like it
well, that’s cool
at least you know you’re not a fool
‘cause you experienced it for yourself.

Perhaps his greatest lesson of all
was teaching us to stand proud and tall
even with our back to the wall
in the face of adversity.
ugly perversity
“A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small”

And now The Doctor has gone away
He made his last house-call today
but in our hearts “The Doctor is in”
His words and pictures our prescription.

So sing a song for Dr. Seuss
And if you’d like sing with a Ying
Join me now if you know how
Could you? Would you?
Here right now?

SEUSS
LOOSE

Dr. Seuss is loose
Free to flee
this earthly cage

One Fish, Two Fish
Don’t be Blue, Fish
His spirit’s alive
on each page.   

I painted the three doors on our second floor a la Seuss for my sweet man. My original idea was to have them single, stark, vibrant colors. I also thought of, possibly, gracing them with Klimt or Matisse repros. And then my fabulous man’s health began to tank. Every year was worse than the one before. Struggle was the name of the game.

Happy art, funny art has purpose. Seuss helped.