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Monday, April 30, 2018

A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing

Michelle Wolf at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

I can't help but LOVE that Michelle Wolf's monologue has generated so much discomfort. I only hope that she in no way waffles on ANYTHING she said and descends into some pathetic, Griffinesque contrition. But I tend to doubt that. You can see in her face that she knew exactly what she was doing and that few in that room.....on any side or in any role.....were going to escape her caustic criticism. And how many people like to be publicly rebuked over dinner? Ah well. "You reap what you sow". In fact, I heard she responded to some criticisms already with "thank you"s. ( No.....she knew what she was doing. )

The other thing that is amusing me immensely is the mischaracterization of things she said. You can hear today how she made fun of Sarah Huckabee-Sanders' appearance. Really? I watched the routine.......twice.........I heard no such insult. What I did hear was a scathing indictment of a woman who makes lying an art form. It was a brutal attack on her lack of ethics, not her face. ( Mocking appearance is Trump's routine anyway, and I'm sure Wolf wasn't looking to copy his comedic style.) Being female also gave Wolf the ability to go after the women who deserved it without the baggage that would have hindered a male comic.

You'll also hear that "she went too far". LOL. Really? "too far"? The fact that anyone could say that in April of 2018 with a straight face is amazing to me. If the past year has taught us anything it's that NOTHING is "too far" anymore. It's not distance that upsets people, it's the direction to the right or left that does. To Wolf's credit, she spared no one. At one point she said that it was hard to make fun of Democrats because they don't do anything.....and it was clear that she meant that as 'inaction' not 'innocence'.

One particular 'joke' where she talks about abortion being murder has seemed to upset just about everyone. I thought it was brilliant. It reminded me of how Oscar Wilde would often attack faux propriety by embracing the sinfulness of the thing being discussed. If a person is Pro-Choice and has to hear constantly that they are a murderer, then how perfect is it to counter such an argument by embracing the role? If you watch the entire bit, it is wonderful in how it doesn't attempt to defend the Pro-Choice position yet points out the hypocrisy of those who are "anti" a way that is so intentionally uncomfortable.

Wolf's delivery itself was interesting to watch. She would occasionally stumble through some aspect of her main uneasy 'joke' and then end with precise little throwaway comments.....many so subtly delivered they almost go unheard.....that were the true hay-makers. It's like the jokes....even the ones that were strong on their own......were merely set-ups for these knife-twist comments.

One of the other criticisms is that she did not "play to the room". And that is very true. She was the invited guest who insulted EVERYONE at the party, with the disdain of someone not as interested in a laugh or being invited back, but to say what they....and a lot of other people......are thinking and feeling. If you are sick of the hypocrisy and inaction in both parties in Congress ( "I have no agenda. I'm not trying to get anything accomplished. So everyone that's here from Congress, you should feel right at home."), blatant lies of people like Conway and Sanders,( "You guys gotta stop putting Kellyanne on your shows. All she does is lie. If you don't give her a platform, she has nowhere to lie. It's like that old saying: If a tree falls in the woods, how do we get Kellyanne under that tree?"), the obnoxiousness of Trump (  "Now, I know people really want me to go after Trump tonight, but I think we should give the president credit when he deserves it. Like, he pulled out the Paris agreement, and I think he should get credit for that because he said he was going to pull out and then he did. And that's a refreshing quality in a man."), and the self-inflicted weakening of the legitimacy of the free press BY the free press ("We've got our friends at CNN here. Welcome, guys, it's great to have you. You guys love breaking news, and you did it. You broke it. Good work."), then give this a watch. It's not sunny comedy.....more "Lenny Bruce" than "Cosby" but......well.....look at how that turned out.

Since as a 'regular guy', no one invited me to speak at this event, I suppose I am very grateful that Michelle Wolf was there to say some of things I would have loved to have said................only she was definitely nicer about it.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Wonder Woman, spanking, & more...

Funny how swiftly and drastically moods can shift! Maybe in my case all it took was better weather and the elimination of some 'stressors'. And I think the  same holds true for those around me. 

It was an eventful weekend, but to put everything in perspective it makes sense to do some fill-in. Since I don't post as often, things have gone on without mention. On March 1st I posted about an "Impending Punishment and the fact was that the DATs were so stressful for not only Ana , but us as well that the punishment described never took place. However, on the 13th of April, Ana took and passed the DATs......(yay, Ana!) to everyone's relief.

As a result, Ana and I talked about the past incident and agreed that NOW everyone's frame of mind would be much more suited to finally deal with it properly. She re-wrote the slip, lowering the number to 413 (in honor of 4/13, the day she passed) and made sure to specifically request that her Mom deal with the punishment as a serious offense and not some more playful penalty for something more minor. 

Rosa was in the perfect mindset for this and followed her daughter's instructions to the letter! 413, "very hard with the wooden spoon". She did two installments so she could really spank hard, and both spankings were very difficult to take. I yelled out several times in earnest, but my Honey remained steadfast and undeterred. My bottom is tender as hell this morning! Ana is amused and was Rosa in doing it. And as much as I appreciated the guilt-elimination and strength of my "bosses", I can't say the ordeal was enjoyable in any way. A true punishment!

In the middle of all this, we went over to Marta & Wally's to watch "Wonder Woman". I had heard great things about this movie, and not being a huge DC fan decided to give it an eager try. Verdict? It was........OK. Nothing special. I'm not sure what all the fuss was about. It was like the first Captain America movie in a lot of ways. I would love to see a return to "super hero movies" having a decent the first Tobey Maguire "Spiderman"......or a very good hero movie, with a nuanced and complicated plot: "The Watchmen". There is just too much emphasis on action. (There was this one move that they did: a sort of splayed kick-flip that reminded me of when a cuckatoo raises its crest feathers, that they did over and over and OVER ad nauseam! UGH! It was like....."OK, it took a while to get this move right, so we are going to use it throughout the movie" ) Still, the evening was fun anyway.

What the "Wonder Woman" movie could have used.

Rosa and I also had a great weekend where we just enjoyed our yard and did projects and relaxed in between. Rosa saw and photographed a large bird of prey circling above our yard and when she enlarged the image, she discovered......IT WAS A FREAKING BALD EAGLE! So cool....and pretty rare...... for our suburban NJ area! Rosa has been elated ever since!

We even got a little sexy later last evening and Rosa granted me an "O".....which was very satisfying and has left me with a lot of eagerness to do stuff today.

So, all-in-all........a good bunch of days!

Monday, April 16, 2018

No Pandas

A panda bear walks into a bar and orders a sandwich. The waiter brings him the sandwich. The panda bear eats it, pulls out a pistol, kills the waiter, and gets up and starts to walk out.

The bartender yells for him to stop. The panda bear asks, “What do you want?” The bartender replies, “First you come in here, order food, kill my waiter, then try to go without paying for your food.”

The panda bear turns around and says, “Hey! I’m a Panda. Look it up!” The bartender goes into the back room and looks up panda bear in the encyclopedia, which read: “Panda: a bear-like marsupial originating in Asian regions. Known largely for it’s stark black and white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves.”

Hosta shoots emerging after a persistent Winter.

Last week the weather broke just long enough for me to make some real headway with a couple of backyard projects that I was eager to complete. What made it more satisfying was that these were somewhat 'time sensitive' jobs that needed to be done soon. I was worried that the lingering cold weather would force me to postpone them until next year......and it looks like that may actually be true for one project: rearranging my daylilies. However, I did manage to not only do some moves around my I described in my last post, but also rearrange my entire shade garden.

I have a small strip along the back of our house that I have been adding to over the years, but what I noticed was that I seemed to be concentrating all of my efforts on the center third. The other two thirds were either boring or feeble.........made worse by the fact that the center third was OVERdone! This needed to be balanced and fixed.

What made this project interesting was the lack of any immediate confirmation of what the end result would be. I was moving various hostas, astilbes, ferns, and spiderworts..... all while they were in the very early stages of emergence: just leaves. ( I had made notes last year as to what varieties of hosta were where since you can't tell that easily from just nubs.) So when I was done and showed Rosa what I worked on all day, all she could see was a very similar-looking stretch of mulched dirt along the back of our house, not much different than what it looked like before! I also relocated a small fountain we got as a gift from Nickki and Jean a few years ago, and that was the only move that rewarded me with immediate feedback. Everything else was moved on memory and hope.

I am very pleased that I got it all done in a single day......with a bit of help from my stepson, but there was no 'instant gratification' like you get when you paint a room or build a structure.  So now it's just a matter of time whether the result makes me happy.......or prompts more notes for next year!

Thursday, April 12, 2018


I know that theoretically a good pet owner should love all of their 'children' equally.....but I'm guilty of a definite prejudice: while I love and protect all of my finned friends in my ponds out back, I can't help but have a special fondness for my shubunkins.

An array of common shubunkin goldfish.

Shubunkins are like the Calico cats of the pond.....and I've always had a thing for calicoes over tabbies or gingers. Visitors to my yard often ask if my pond fish are koi, but while they can be a bit shy, I have to admit that they are just common Comet goldfish. Most are special selections saved from the "feeder tank" at Petco and cost about twenty cents. 

But I did buy a few "special" fish over the the newly-bred yellow comet from Israel:

I bought two of these and lost one to some backyard predator. They really are eye-catching when mixed with regular goldfish variations.

But as striking as the yellow comets are, they can't compete for that special place in my heart reserved for my shubunkins. (click for more about the shubunkin)

I was working on my main pond yesterday and relocated the antique water pump I use as my filter return to a better spot along the perimeter. I also changed some plants and stones along the edge. And as I was working I kept looking at my shubunkins. I need to get a good shot of the ones I have. Most look like the ones pictured, but there are other variations and one orange and black one I found in a feeder tank has grown to look like the glowing coals in a fire pit after the main blaze has gone out. 

A shot of my main pond. You can see the antique water pump on the edge of the right frame.

Another humorous side note on these fish is Rosa's reaction to hearing me say "shubunkin". She happens to think it's one of the most annoying-sounding words she has ever heard and teases me about it whenever I say it. (Even I have to admit it sounds more like a city in Wisconsin than a Japanese hybrid carp.) She does like the way they look though.

Feeding time! 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Chomping... the bit.

That expression pretty much describes my mood lately as I eagerly wait for Spring to manifest itself in a way more tangible than just a chronological acknowledgement on a calendar.

There are so many things I want to do in the garden this year. I even drew diagrams last season to help me remember what should be moved to where. Changes need to be made to my shade garden, my main pond, the placement of the various daylilies strewn about, and new locations for the herb garden. In addition, I'm thinking of constructing another ......though much smaller.......arbor to shade the bench that overlooks the pond. But that might not happen for a while. At least not if this persistent chill lingers and prevents me from getting started with everything else.

Right now, the snow might be finally gone, but the overall atmosphere feels more like Seattle than Central Jersey!