August 2021

Thank you, everyone, for your emails and notes of concern about Hurricane Henri last weekend. Henri was downgraded to a Tropical Storm and  hit Long Island well east of Too Many Cats Manor. All we got was 41 hours of unrelenting rain, from just before sunset on Saturday to around noon on Monday. Truthfully, I shouldn’t say that 41 hours of rain is “all” we got because the monotony of that many hours of rain is maddening, tedious, and mentally-unbalancing, and the 100% humidity saturated everything inside the house — cotton clothing, wool rugs, paper and cardboard (books), fur, humans — and we felt as waterlogged as if we were living in a moat. But we didn’t lose electricity and we didn’t run out ice or vodka so, YaY.

The last weekend in August is coming up, Dear Readers, and I hope you all get out for a lovely evening stroll to listen to crickets and watch fireflies give their sparkle and hum to the warm August darkness that wraps around you like kindness. Oh, how I love late Summer.

I especially love porch lights in late Summer.  

I specially especially like making a Go-cup of ice-cold Vovray to take with me while I wander around the neighborhood, drinking in the sights and sounds.

This is the time of year I missed out on in 2020 because I had that fracture in my tibia that prevented me from taking long walks from July 21 – Sept 4, which pretty much grounded me for the sweetest and most luscious part of the sweetest and most luscious season. 

I’m very grateful that this year, in the other-wise blighted year of 2021, that I get to experience all these Summer days fully.

Nights like this, I want Summer to last forever.

Another Summer pleasure that we don’t talk about enough is:  lawn sprinklers, specifically the jumping into of them. To beat the heat of midday, I go out for my morning run rather early, usually around 7 or 8 AM. This is the time when a lot of people’s lawn sprinkler systems are turned on to water the golf-course quality lawns that are a necessity on the north shore of Long Island (mostly Kentucky Bluegrass, judging by the amount of watering that goes on). I usually get my pick of lawn sprinklers in which to jump; or, more accurately (since no jumping is actually required), I get my pick of lawn sprinklers under which to stand and get drenched.

Here (below) is a catalogue of my favorite sprinklers, starting with a picture I took on Tuesday morning, the first day I could head out after Henri, which as you know umped 41 hours of rain on us. 41 hours. And yes, less than 24 hours after the rain stopped, the sprinklers were turned on. You would think that the grass had had enough watering from the tropical storm that passed by but, no, all the jets were on and I was thankful:

Next is the house that has sprinklers on a hill so that the jets are making a nice high arc, which is what you need for primo sprinkler-dousing:

Here is another of my preferred sprinklers, catching the rising sun in its cascade and there is nothing finer than to be soaked by droplets sparkling with sunrise:

Dear Readers, you will NEVER guess who it is that has the best lawn sprinkler for jumping into, sprinklers with excellent water pressure, nice height, and easy access, as seen here:

This guy has an array of sprinklers, but for obvious reasons, I only use the ones closest to the street (the obvious reason is trespassing):

You might not recognize this guy’s yard, but you will recognize him by his flag:

Yes, Dear Readers, our local MAGAt has a lovely lawn sprinkler system that I have on more than one occasion been happily drenched by. If you notice, today his big red TRUMP flag, which usually flaps hideously in the air like a big fat Trump lie, is, for now, furled. FURLED.

Maybe our post cards persuaded him to cool it on the Trump flag-waving after all, so YAY for us!  Or maybe it’s because our MAGAt is depressed and laying low while there is trouble in TrumpLand  because, Dear Readers, there is trouble in TrumpLand and I am here for it.

Starting with this:

At a rally on August 21 in Cullman, Alabama, Trump was booed after telling followers that he was vaccinated against COVID-19 and urged his supporters to do the same . “I believe totally in your freedoms, I do. You got to do what you have to do. But I recommend — take the vaccines. I did it. It’s good,” he said. (And good for all those who Boo’d. I hope all his most fervent supporters continue to resist the vaccine. I really do.)

The next day, this happened:

Alex Jones is the rabid Trumper who spews conspiracy theories and misinformation about Covid on his internet show. On Sunday, August 22,  Jones raved about the COVID-19 vaccine and how he’s certain it will create “mutants.” In discussing Trump’s August 21 endorsement of the vaccine, Jones  declared that Trump was following orders from “the left” to “go out and push” the vaccine. He said:

“CNN snaps their fingers. [CNN President] Jeff Zucker snaps his fingers, and Trump clicks his heels and hops up there at attention and says, “How high do you want me to jump, boss?” 

Jones then played a clip of Trump’s message about vaccines in Alabama.

“BS,” Jones proclaimed afterward. “Trump: That’s a lie; you’re not stupid. But, my God, maybe you’re not that bright,” he added. “Maybe Trump is actually an idiot.”

Jones is very popular in TrumpWorld. He claims that his platforms reach 70 million people per week. So, if he starts speeding the word that Trump is a moron, it will definitely shake things up for Donny.

Meanwhile, some of Trump’s lawyers, the ones who filed lawsuits to perpetuate the Big Lie that the election of 2020 was “stolen” from Trump, got some terrible news this week (get out the popcorn, Dear Readers):

Nine lawyers, led by Sidney Powell (above), allied with former President Donald Trump face financial penalties and other sanctions after a judge Wednesday said they had abused the court system with a lawsuit that challenged Michigan’s election results in favor of Joe Biden.

U.S. District Judge Linda Parker said the Michigan lawsuit last fall was a sham intended to deceive the court and the public, just a few days after Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the state was certified.

“Despite the haze of confusion, commotion and chaos counsel intentionally attempted to create by filing this lawsuit, one thing is perfectly clear: Plaintiffs’ attorneys have scorned their oath, flouted the rules, and attempted to undermine the integrity of the judiciary along the way,” Parker said in the opening of a scathing 110-page opinion.

“Individuals may have a right — within certain bounds — to disseminate allegations of fraud unsupported by law or fact in the public sphere,” the judge said. “But attorneys cannot exploit their privilege and access to the judicial process to do the same.”

Parker ordered 12 hours of legal education, including six hours in election law, for each attorney. Her decision will also be sent to the states where the lawyers are licensed for possible disciplinary action there.

It was one of the few efforts to wrench fines or other penalties from dubious post-election lawsuits across the U.S. There was no immediate response to messages seeking comment from attorneys for Wood and Powell.

And lastly, things aren’t looking any better for Trump’s enablers in Congress:

On Wednesday, Trump tried to weasel out of complying with the committee’s request for info.  Wait. I like weasels.  Let’s say he tried to Trump out of taking responsibility:

This is Trump’s statement:

 The Leftist ‘select committee’ has further exposed itself as a partisan sham   and waste of taxpayer dollars with a request that’s timed to distract Americans from historic and global catastrophes brought on by the failures of Joe Biden and the Democrats. Unfortunately, this partisan exercise is being performed at the expense of long-standing legal principles of privilege.

Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of my Administration and the Patriots who worked beside me but on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our Nation. These Democrats only have one tired trick—political theater—and their latest request only reinforces that pathetic reality.”

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee’s chairman, said, in response to Trump: “Our Constitution provides for a peaceful transfer of power, and this investigation seeks to evaluate threats to that process, identify lessons learned and recommend laws, policies, procedures, rules, or regulations necessary to protect our republic in the future.” 

Do you detect a whiff of panic in Trump’s statement? Because  I  do.

 

But in addition to the delightful news of the implosion of TrumpWorld, let’s take a look at what else has been up-ended in America, mainly my sense of what constitutes deliciousness:

This showed up in my Twitter tl and cause quite a ruckus. First, people were upset by the misspelling of ketchup. Most of us agree that “ketchup” is the only way to spell this tasty tomato-based condiment once so reviled by the British for being the totem of American cultural imperialism, and a minority could tolerate the spelling of “catsup”, but nobody, and I mean NOBODY could stand “catchup”. 

I’m dying to try this. Notice that Toby (above) used Whole Foods brands to make this counter-intuitive dip. Organic all the way. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

This also caught my attention on the Twittersphere, under the heading: Nobody loves their job more than  a Border Collie scattering seeds in a Chilean forest:

I had to look this up, and the story is too wonderful not to share. In 2017, forest fires in central Chile destroyed over a million acres of forest land. It was the worst wildfire season in the country’s history, taking several lives and creating an estimated $333 million dollars worth of damages. 

The job to replant endless acres of forests seemed like a daunting endeavor. That is until three unusual workers took up the task. Six year old Das and her two daughters, Olivia and Summer,  are three Border Collies who have been trained to run through the damaged forests with special backpacks that release native plant seeds. Once they take root, these seeds will help regrow the destroyed area. 

Here’s a picture of the three Border Collies with their trainers, who are also [human] sisters, Francesca and Constanza Torres:

Here’s 2 more sweet things from the internet to put us in a good mood before we get to the rest of the news:

 

OK, now for the regularly scheduled Survey of Stupid, starting with the usual suspects:

 


This (below) is from the Starlight Bar in Brooklyn, NY:

 

 

 

 

Ding Dong, the smug anti-vaxxer is dead. 

The good news is that he died a horrible, suffocating, slow, painful death that could have been avoided if he hadn’t had his head so far up Trump’s ass.

 

This piece of shit (above) is John Pierce, who temporarily served as the lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old charged with killing two men and injuring a third during a 2020 Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Pierce was fired as Rittenhouse’s attorney over a financial disagreement.

He is representing at least 17 clients who are suspected of participating in the January 6 Capitol riots. In a January 9 tweet, Pierce referred to riot arrestees as “patriotic Americans being wrongfully detained.”

On July 28, he tweeted, “This whole thing is just beyond ridiculous at this point. Take your mask off and live your life. We are Americans. I can’t even believe this has to be said. If you want to do something about COVID, tell your Congressman to man up and declare war on the CCP [Chinese Community Party].”

On August 17, Pierce tweeted, “The entire 82nd Airborne couldn’t make me get an experimental government vaccine stuck in my arm.”

More from John Pierce:

 

 

I do hope that John Pierce gets the full Phil Valentine death experience, including the agonizing sense of of stupidity that his suffering was avoidable. I’d like him to die with the self-awareness that he is an asshole.

 

So Jim Bakker is still around. He’s the televangelist who, between 1974 and 1987,  hosted the television program The PTL Club. In the late 1980s, Bakker resigned from the PTL ministry over a cover-up of hush money to church secretary Jessica Hahn for an alleged rape.  Subsequent revelations of accounting fraud brought about felony charges, conviction, imprisonment.

This is what Jim Bakker is saying now:

 

 

 

 

The Republican governor of South Dakota is trying to get herself crowned Queen of Stupid:

Ex-football player Herschel Walker wants to be the Trumper to run against Senator Raphael Warnock in Georgia:

Election officials in Georgia have opened an investigation into whether the wife of potential U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker  cast an illegal ballot when she voted in Georgia’s presidential race last fall from her home in Texas.

Ya think?

And this is all I have to say about Afghanistan:

Let the sarcasm roll:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for some happy, pure thoughts of life:

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next time  we get together will be September and and we may or may not be depressed. It’s been in the 90s (that’s 35ish in Celsius world) here on the north shore of Long Island and some people are telling me that they can’t wait for Summer to be over but I’m not friends with those people. I love Summer and OK, September is mostly a Summer month, but it doesn’t feel that way. September always brings responsibility, something that is easily avoidable during Summer. September is the beginning of getting  ready for you-know-what, a mind set that takes a lot of preparation and determination and stuff. I’m not ready.

 

Next week I will show you all the new Katara cat picture I painted that was awful, and the new Katara cat picture that I will paint this week that doesn’t suck.

In the meanwhile, have a great weekend, everyone. Go stand under a lawn sprinkler while you can.

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet Norman:

Norman and I have been running into each other lately, a couple times a week, at the Plandome train station here on the north shore of Long Island. This (above) is how he waits for his daddy to come off the 4:49 from Manhattan. 

The thing is, Norman is a recent addition to this Cadillac SUV that I’ve seen around for a while here at the Plandome train station. When Top Cat takes the 4:49 train, and as I wait for him,  I’ve seen Norman’s daddy walk past my car about a hundred times. I call Norman’s daddy “The Spitter”. He’s a tall, white, white-haired, husky guy who  always hocks a loogie right before he gets in his car. This disgusts me, and every time The Spitter expectorates I think of ways for him to die. 

Then the other week I noticed this adorable face at the car window of The Spitter’s Cadillac SUV and I struck up a conversation with The Spitter’s wife, which is how I know Norman’s name and life story. She seems so nice, and Norman is so adorable, and so now I have to re-calibrate my feelings of total disgust and complete loathing for The Spitter into something more well-rounded, even-tempered, something, maybe, more like mere contempt. Because even Spitters have nice wives and cute dogs.

And that’s the lesson for the day. 

 

It’s been a good week for Blue Jay feather hunting. Here are two that I found on my 5-mile run on Wednesday:

 

When I picked up that second feather, a beautiful covert wing feather, I marveled at the clarity of its deep turquoise blue and the perfection of its exquisite tininess. As I looked up, I saw a girl, about 12, with a little boy of about 8, coming my way from the other side of the street. I had an urge to call out to them, “Look what I found!” and to go over to them and give them this feather, and tell them how they should be looking for these little treasures because the Earth is a benevolent and miraculous place to live and don’t wait until you are a grown up to feel grateful and dazzled for living on such a wondrous planet where there are Blue Jay feathers scattered everywhere.

But in a split second that scenario played out in my mind and I realized that, A, that would be creepy; and B, nobody should be talking to strangers when the Delta variant is running rampant; and C, I don’t like kids.

So I took the little feather home  and put it in the glass jar on top of the refrigerator where I put all my Sumer 2021 Blue Jay feathers. 

Note to Dear Reader Steve about Blue Jay feathers: The feathers that I find are from the molt that Blue Jays go through once a year during the end of Summer (mid-July to early September). The feathers are simply shed and, while the process is not painful, the bird does tend to be irritable while the molt is going on according to people who have made friends with Blue Jays. I’ll take their word for it. I’ve never come across a non-irritable Blue Jay, but I have cats and Blue Jays are not fond of cats or, apparently, cat-owners.

It was very hot here last week. Temperatures were in the high 90s with disgusting humidity so we got warnings for Dangerous Heat and the county opened “cooling centers” for those who don’t have air conditioning. We don’t have air conditioning here at Too Many Cats Manor, so I make do with frequent showers; I step into a cold shower with all my clothes on, and I’m good for the next hour or so. One of the benefits of living in a 100-year-old house is that these places never get really warm in the Winter and they get really hot in the Summer. But thankfully, we have indoor plumbing.

Back to my pet peeve about the Olympics. . . As I mentioned in my July 30 blog post (Some Trouble With Tribbles), I really hate it when athletes pose with their gold medals and they bite into them. I think it’s a stupid tradition but I thought biting into a gold medal was something that only Westerners did. So I learned something new this week:

Tokyo 2020 organizers announced Thursday that Miu Goto, a relief pitcher on Japan’s champion softball team, will receive a new gold medal after Takashi Kawamura, the mayor of her hometown in Nagoya, bit her medal at an event to celebrate her win.

The bite did not appear to damage the medal, but still caused a minor scandal in Japan for Kawamura’s flouting of COVID-19 protocols and perceived disrespect for Goto’s prize. Biting Olympics is a common practice, dating back to its use as a quick test of a gold coin’s authenticity, but it’s a practice you typically see only among the athletes that won them.

After a reported 7,000 complaints to city authorities, Kawamura apologized a day later and even offered to pay for a replacement medal:

“I forgot my position as Nagoya mayor and acted in an extremely inappropriate way,” Mayor Takashi Kawamura said in a statement. “I am fully aware that I should reflect on that.”

Fortunately for the mayor, the IOC will reportedly bear the cost of replacing Goto’s medal.

Well, let’s check in with how our home-grown morons are doing, starting with the Covidiots:

 

 

 

The father (mentioned above) was upset about his kid having to wear a face mask to school so he started berating the female principal and when a male teacher stepped in to protect the principal  that’s how he ended up getting beat up. The Proud Boys also showed up to the meeting:

Things are even worse at Florida schools:

 

“Shit twit” might be my new favorite word of the week.

 

Well, what can you say about the South and their Republican anti-face mask governors except that they deserve each other:

 

 

 

Gregg Abbott, the Republican anti-face mask governor of Texas, has tested positive for Covid.

 

 

 

I saw this news story (below) and it made me wonder, Is there a rule that you have to be ugly to get into state politics?

The sad news is that the Kidwells are now out of the hospital and at home, recuperating. Shit. This is the dick who’s been a “vocal opponent” of wearing masks and even introduced legislation in North Carolina to prohibit the governor from mandating masks. He has also questioned COVID-19 vaccines. He is the chief sponsor of House Bill 572, which would prohibit the governor from issuing an executive order to require vaccination. The bill passed the NC House in May but is currently stalled in the Senate. He also sponsored a bill that would bar state agencies from requiring the shots for licensing purposes.

In an Aug. 5 Facebook post, Kidwell wrote, “Today, I joined 54 of my colleagues in calling on our state’s major hospitals system CEOs to reevaluate its decision to require all staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in the coming weeks in order to keep their jobs.”

Kidwell has also used Facebook posts to criticize vaccine passports and referred to vaccine campaigns as “manipulation.”

I am on watch to see when this shit twit (below) gets to meet St. Peter in person:

According to the National Catholic Reporter, Burke “has expressed skepticism about the need for distancing measures to contain the coronavirus and has opposed mandatory vaccination schemes.”

In a homily given last December, Burke called COVID the “Wuhan virus,” and said, “It has been used by certain forces inimical to families and to the freedom of nations, to advance their evil agenda.”

Burke in a May 2020 address to the Rome Life Forum said vaccinations should not be forced “in a totalitarian manner” on people.

Burke also said “there is a certain movement to insist that now everyone must be vaccinated against the coronavirus COVID-19 and even that a kind of microchip needs to be placed under the skin of every person, so that any moment he or she can be controlled by the State regarding health and about other matters which we can only imagine.”

 

How are things in South Carolina you ask? 

Presley Stutts was a member of the Tea Party and helped found MySCGOP, a conservative organization intended as an alternative to the S.C. Republican Party.

He was a fervent supporter of President Donald J. Trump and posted photos on Facebook of himself with the former president.

After Stutts tested positive for COVID and was hospitalized, he continued to post Facebook messages reaffirming his belief that masks and vaccines should not be mandated by the government.

 

 

 

 

I don’t care much about Afghanistan, but now it’s the only thing that Republicans can talk about so it interested me when Donald Trump removed his April 18, 2021 message to the MAGAts:

Mike Pompeo was Trump’s Secretary of State:

 

 

Moving on, it’s a pleasure to see all the cases from the January 6 insurrection finally coming to court:

 

Dave Mehaffie of Dayton, Ohio, was known to online investigators as #TunnelCommander because he was issuing orders to members of the mob who were attacking officers during a brutal battle at the lower western terrace entrance to the Capitol. Mehaffie was 86-AFO on the FBI’s Capitol wanted list, meaning he was wanted for assault on a federal officer.

A judge signed an arrest warrant for Mehaffie on Aug. 4 after he was indicted by a grand jury as part of an existing case.

HuffPost referenced Mehaffie (though not by name) in a March 26 story on the role that public facial recognition websites were playing in the Capitol investigation. A search of #TunnelCommander’s image on a publicly available facial recognition website pulled up photos of Mehaffie, including one of him on Classmates.com. As HuffPost wrote at the time, Mehaffie had scrubbed his Facebook profile, though there were plenty of images of him available online in connection with the businesses he ran in Dayton as well as his anti-abortion activity.

Regrading another defendant who almost got off lightly for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, here’s a great story from a group called the Sedition Hunters:

They did! They did make it in time!

A much-anticipated sentencing for Capitol riot defendant Robert Reeder was called off at the last moment Wednesday after new videos surfaced mere hours before his court appearance that show Reeder attacking police on Jan. 6.

Reeder had pleaded guilty in June to a single misdemeanor count for parading, demonstrating, and picketing in the Capitol — a nonviolent offense and one of the lowest-level charges filed in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection. He’d been prepared to argue for no jail time, while the government wanted him behind bars for two months because it believed he’d failed to show remorse for his role in the riots.

But those plans swiftly fell apart midmorning Wednesday, when a collective of online sleuths who have spent months independently trying to identify people who participated in the riots posted previously unseen footage that they said showed Reeder attacking US Capitol Police officers. Known as “Sedition Hunters,” the group initially tweeted an image of a man with his arm outstretched making contact with an officer; the man was wearing a red hat and blue jacket that matched what Reeder was photographed wearing on Jan. 6 in other evidence previously filed in his case.

I will keep tracking Robert Reeder, and see if he gets busted not only for attacking a police officer, but also for lying under oath. 

In another story, hope Mrs. Smith gets a boat load of money from the pice of shit who assaulted her husband:

The wife of DC Police Officer Jeffrey Smith, who died by suicide nine days after the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, filed a lawsuit on Aug. 13 against the man it alleges attacked her husband during the violence.

The lawsuit was filed by Smith’s widow, Erin, and alleges that Smith, who was 35 at the time of his death, suffered a traumatic brain injury in the altercation, which led to his suicide nine days later. It contains the opinion of former DC Medical Examiner Jonathan L. Arden, who argued that Smith’s death was caused by “post-concussion syndrome.”

Smith “suffered great pain and mental anguish and mental distress” and “he was otherwise damaged,” according to the lawsuit.

Smith shot and killed himself while driving along on the George Washington Memorial Parkway the day after he had been ordered to return to work. He was an officer in DC’s Metropolitan Police Department for 12 years.

 

 

 

And that’s the news round up for this week. 

This was re-run on my Twitter feed last week, making me once again love Twitter: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This next series is from a website that publishes people’s photos of perfect food. My favorite  is the last one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Have a great weekend, everyone. There are only 2 more weekends in August so get out there and enjoy the final days of Summer. For those of you Down Under who are looking at the end of Winter, enjoy the cool breezes and refreshing rains. This is the best cusp-season of the year, all around the world.

 

 

 

 

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I came across this nugget of information as the Tokyo Olympics were concluding on August 8:

The medals in the 2020 (2021) Tokyo Olympic Games are made from metals recovered from recycled cell phones collected since 2017.

I think that’s pretty nifty. It’s one of those things that made you go, Huh, and in honor of the little things in the world that make you stop and re-think your mental map of realty I collected things from around the internets this week that made me go, Huh. (We’ll also do some watercoloring.) But first let let me tell you about what an excellent Thbursday/Friday/Saturday I had last week, when some of my favorite little things showed up and made me go Well, Whoop-de Huh.

It started Thursday morning when I was taking our kitchen slops out to the composter in the backyard and I spotted this on the edge of the kitchen patio:

Whoa, I said to myself, What a great start to the day. I ran back inside to get my phone and took the picture of the Blue Jay feather in situ, and continued on my way to dump the garbage into the composter. Walking back to the house I saw this in the lawn:

COOL! I said, and so I took another picture (still had the phone with me) and I went my good omens to Top Cat, who was having breakfast on the den patio, and this was laying there, glowing, in the herbaceous border:

This was my first Three Feather Day ever so I was expecting great things to happen on August 5 , 2021, but the only wondrous thing that occurred was that Trump did not get re-instated as President of the United States so, I guess that’s something.

The next day I headed out at 8:33AM for my daily 5-mile run and within a few hundred yards of my house I saw this in the street:

It looks like nothing but as I was still under the influence of the universe’s special love for me (Three Feather Day)  I reached down and turned the feather over:

Yep. I still got it.It” being that certain something that I can’t put a finger on, or monetize, that makes me feel pretty certain of being beloved by the Great Spirit or, on most days, not 100% despised.

I tucked the feather into my armband where I keep my lipstick and face mask and credit card just in case I need to shop or meet up with a hot Korean during my run, and I trotted down the road for about three minutes when this announced itself like the Hallelujah chorus:

Here is where I inform you that Blue Jay feathers are special because Blue is the rarest color in nature as it doesn’t actually exist, rather it is the absorption of certain wavelengths of light so that, when viewed by human eyes, it appears as “blue”, but those compounds that absorb within the requisite range of electromagnetic spectrum are extremely rare and difficult to produce biologically, and that’s the simplest explanation I can give but finding Blue in nature is a big deal.

The Hallelujah chorus, from The Messiah, was written by George Handel.

In 1741, Handel was heavily in debt following a string of musical failures. It seemed that his career was over and he may even be forced to go to debtors’ prison. On April 8, 1741, Handel gave what he believed to be his final concert.

Later that year, two key events changed the course of Handel’s life and the landscape of music forever—his friend Charles Jennens wrote a libretto taken from the Bible, based on the life of Jesus Christ, and gave it to Handel. Then, Handel was given funding by a group of charities from Dublin, Ireland, to compose a new work for a benefit performance that would help free men from debtors’ prison. Handel would also receive his own commission for composing the work, which in turn helped him on his path to reversing his own misfortune.

The Messiah was a huge success, Handel didn’t go to prison, and that’s the kind of  thing I keep expecting to happen to me when I find multiple Blue Jay feathers on the same day: a life-changing reversal of fortune for the history books, but so far, Nah.

Saturday began with another perfect Summer morning and I was about a mile from home when I heard another murmur of the company of angels alerted me to this:

The camera can’t capture what the trained eye sees, so here’s the close up of what I saw glowing under the low branches of this big old pine tree:

I’m not greedy. Well, yes I am, but on this day I was already done, thrilled with how things were going, three feather days in a row starting with a Three Feather Day, and so I continued on my route, filled with the exuberance of being alive on a fine August morn. It was on the return, about 65 minutes later, as I was passing the big old pine tree again, that I got the thought that maybe I should check it out in case the same Blue Jay who dropped one feather could have hung around to molt another. I never prospect for Blue Jay feathers, but this time I thought I’d actually go in search.

My fat finger got in the way of the camera lens, but here’s what I found against a root on the far side of the big old pine tree:

I got sap all over me when I climbed through the branches to get to the feather, but I got my prize:

Here’s the three-day haul:

I had a good week last week, is all I’m saying.

I even did a pet portrait! Requested by Dear Reader Alexandra, we have a cat we got to paint today.

Everyone, meet Katara:

Katara is a very special service cat who passed away this year, 

I LOVE to expression on Katara’s face, but I didn’t want to do the ears in their “fight-or-flight” position, so I drew regular ears on her (sorry, my pencil lines are really light):

I always begin with the eyes. I put several layers of yellow over green to get that weird “cat” color:

Dear Reader Jeanie asked me to some masking, so here’s what I bought. I chose to use Liquitex because the Windsor-Newton stuff I’ve been using for ten years has a child-proof cap that is very annoying and Liquitex has a flip cap, which is easy to use. I bought these extra-fancy toothpicks at my local Korean supermarket, H-Mart. They come in a screw-top container so I’ll never spill my toothpicks again. 

This is a shitty photo of me drawing whiskers with the masking fluid:

 

I like that Katara’s expression is asymmetrical, and each of her eyes is shaped slightly differently:

 

Katana is a gray cat, so I mixed white, pink, brown, and black for her fur:

 

 

I still get a kick out of letting the paint and the water and the paper react to each other:

Ears:

I’m working with very wet paper and very wet pants:

 

 

 

 

 

My girl needs a nose:

Picking up the masking fluid now:

Fixing the whiskers. In the future, I probably won’t use masking fluid for whiskers:

 

DONE.

I think I’m going to re-do this one. The ears don’t convince me.

Still, that’s the smartest this blog is going to get today because it’s time for the weekly news round up and Lordy, we all know that when it comes to current events, the stupid never tops.

 

 

 

 

Only  the StartTrek OGs will get this one:

 

 

Another day, another unvaccinated idiot get COVID-19.  This time, it’s a Missouri Republican state representative and her husband:

Walsh, who serves as majority caucus chair for the House Republicans, told KRCG-TV Thursday that she chose not to get a COVID-19 vaccination because vaccines were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration and she had concerns about risk factors.

She also told the television station she didn’t want a vaccination because she hadn’t contracted the virus for more than a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m i the mood for a retro quarantine joke; how about you?

 

 

Trump’s been out of office for 8 months now so we forget the high, high level of stupidity we had to put up with for four years, so to remind us, he got on TeeVee and said this (an actual quote):

How? How in the world did such a idiot get elected to be President? He’s not even sane enough to be elected Dog Catcher.

Speaking of insane, you know that his die hard believers are still insisting that Trump will be reinstated to the Presidency this month. The precise date keeps changing — reminds me of the Jehovah Witnesses and their iffy dates for Armageddon — so let’s keep on the look out for the miracle that’s supposed to happen at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

 

The company that made the voting machines that Trump says were hacked by Chinese bamboo shoots  still has a live law suit:

 

 

 

 

Actually, Rudy can represent himself in court because there’s no law that you have to be a member of the bar to do so, and people like me are dying to see that happen.

Meanwhile, Rudy’s buddy Trump is so broke that he’s stealing from his supporters but I don’t feel bad for them. If they are dumb enough to give this guy hey, they deserve to be fleeced:

New Federal Election Commission records from WinRed, the Republican donation-processing site, show the full scale of the financial impact. All told, more than $135 million was refunded to donors by Mr. Trump, the Republican National Committee and their shared accounts in the 2020 cycle through June 2021 — including roughly $60 million after Election Day.

“It’s pretty clear that the Trump campaign was engaging in deceptive tactics,” said Peter Loge, the director of the Project on Ethics in Political Communication at George Washington University. “If you have to return that much money you are doing something either very wrong or very unethical.”

The state attorneys general in New York, Connecticut, Minnesota and Maryland have also opened investigations into WinRed and ActBlue’s practices.

WinRed has sued in federal court to stop the investigation by saying that federal law pre-empts any state investigation. Last week, the attorneys general sought to dismiss the WinRed suit, arguing in a court filing that consumer-protection laws gave them jurisdiction.

 

This is the kind of guy who gives Trump his money:

A Donald Trump supporter from Minnesota will be barred from voting for five years, after he admitted to attacking an elderly couple with a golf club, and punching the 80-year-old man in the head, because they were waving an anti-Trump sign on a street corner days after the November election.

Mark A. Ulsaker, 51, of Lino Lakes, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of threats of violence in connection with the attack on Nov. 8. In addition to losing his right to vote for five years, Ulsaker was sentenced to five years of probation and 100 hours of community service, and barred from possessing firearms. The sentence means Ulsaker won’t be able to vote for Trump if he runs again in 2024. 

Five days after Biden’s victory, Ulsaker reportedly pulled up next to the elderly couple, ages 80 and 78, in his pickup truck before shouting a vulgarity at them, police said. He later walked up from behind the couple and began swinging a golf club at their heads, before punching the man in the head.

When police went to Ulsaker’s home, after receiving his license plate number from a witness, he resisted arrest and took a swing at one of the officers. After the officer drew a taser, Ulsaker calmed down and admitted to being a Trump supporter who was upset about the sign, adding that he also drove his pickup truck toward the elderly woman — but only to scare her.

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I dearly hope this guy is also a financial supporter of the Grifter:

The man is an Army vet named Michael McKinney, from Des Moines Iowa, and he got 10 years. The girl deferred a leg wound.

And now let’s see what’s happening to the morons who rioted at the Capitol on Jan, 6, 20201:

 

 

 

Other Republicans are getting arrested for things not related to the Jan. 6 riot. Here’s a few: (Please read the following to the end. It’s gets better.

Police launched an investigation into Suzanne Morphew’s  disappearance on May 10, 2020, after a neighbor called to report she did not return home after a bike ride.On May 5, 2021, nearly a year after his wife’s disappearance, Morphew was arrested and charged with murder. Days later, he was hit with new charges that he [allegedly] submitted a mail-in ballot on behalf of his wife for the 2020 election. The ballot for former President Donald Trump was submitted in October 2020—and included the defendant’s signature on the witness line.

“I wanted Trump… to win,” Morphew told FBI agents in April when questioned about submitting his wife’s voting ballot, insisting that she was going to “vote for Trump anyway” and thought he was allowed to vote on behalf of his spouse. “I just thought, give him… another vote. I figured all these other guys are cheating.”

 

After his arrest on August 3 on charges of felony child porn possession, a Maine Republican who is also a member of the Bangor School Committee posted $1,000 cash bail and was released.

It’s not known if Penobscot County Treasurer John Hiatt used a school-issued computer or tablet to download child pornography, but a department-owned tablet was seized by police during an earlier investigation into a harassment complaint against Hiatt. Sexually explicit images of children under the age of 12 were allegedly found.

Hiatt is already facing charges for the stalking and harassment of a woman on social media and in text messages earlier this year. He was arrested on May 14 on multiple charges that included felony invasion of privacy.

Hiatt had said that he was the real victim, alleging that the woman had sexually assaulted him. But when detectives tried to contact Hiatt about his allegations, he reportedly refused to speak with them.

Before his arrest for child porn, Hiatt had vowed  to seek reelection in both his positions, on the school board and to the Miane state legislature. He is also a member of the Republican State Committee.

“I am deeply troubled by the allegations against John Hiatt,” Maine GOP chair Demi Kouzounas said Wednesday. “While John will have his day in court, he should do what is best for his community and resign from all political positions immediately,”

If convicted of either his child pornography or felony invasion of privacy charges, Hiatt faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

The FBI confirmed Anton Lazzaro’s arrest in Minneapolis on Thursday morning. A ten-count indictment  against him was unsealed in federal court in the afternoon.

According to the indictment, Lazzaro has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, five counts of sex trafficking of minors, one count of attempted sex trafficking of a minor, and three counts of obstruction of justice.

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Ashli Babbitt is the Trumper who got shot in the Capitol as she tried to climb into the Senate chamber through a broken window:

Oh, hell no:

 

And now for those things that make you go, Huh:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would never take a bath in a hammock tub.

 

 

 

 

I fact-checked this. It’s true: there is a Pizza Hut that has this view. It’s on the golf course that’s thiiiiis close to the Pyramids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it for this week, Dear Readers. I will be re-painting Katara so tune in next week to see if  that was the right strategy. 

Have a great weekend, everyone. If next Friday rolls around and Donald Trump has been reinstated as President, let’s all meet here and plot his downfall (again).

Here’s a picture of Teddy doing his Horta impersonation:

 

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I can’t believe that we are back in full blown pandemic mode. Again. Still. Are we all weary?

All we had to do was get vaccinated, FOR FREE, and there’s plenty of vaccines to go around. 

But Nooooooo, some people have to be assholes . . . 

 

So we are back to this, again:

It’s good to know that, after 17 months of a pandemic, that in Alabama they seem to be catching on:

Tennessee, not so much. This guy is at it agin:

(I encourage you to watch the video. I can’t believe that this guy is a pastor and gets people to go to a church to listen to him but yeah, they do, and I hope they all listen Real Good. Keep them masks off, y’all! We’re thinning the herd!)

This guy:

Tennessee state GOP Rep. David Byrd is urging people to take COVID-19 seriously and get vaccinated after his eight-month struggle with the coronavirus, in which he was hospitalized and put on a ventilator for 55 days.

Here’s the story: In June of 2020, Byrd voted for a resolution that accused the media of sensationalizing the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, last November, he attended a retreat for Republican politicians where they hung out together at barbecues and took several boat tours – everybody was unmasked, of course.

Then, the day before Thanksgiving, about a week after that Republican germ fest, Byrd was diagnosed with COVID-19  and admitted to the hospital on December 5. He says, “I got sicker and sicker, and more and more anxious,” he said. “Every breath was pure agony.”

When his lungs got better, his liver started to fail, and he developed jaundice, again putting him at risk of death, he said. Overall, he spent eight months in the hospital and a rehabilitation facility, he added.

 “Up until that point in my life, I’ve been pretty healthy and active.”(ACTIVE and HEALTHY? Look at his photo. He’s obese and he looks as if just sitting up makes him sweaty and flushed)

“Foolishly, I believed this virus only seriously affected people who are at high risk. “

Byrd said he hoped that sharing his experience would show that the virus is “an enemy that knows no skin color, economic status or political affiliation.”

I’m wondering what took him 8 months to come out and try to convince people that COVID is real. Was he afraid that he wouldn’t bet invited to this year’s Republican clam bake if he “came out” as a believer?

And here’s a big Yay for Texas:

This headline doesn’t spell it out, but H. Scott Apley died of Covid. One down, so many more to go.

And here’s the story about William Carter, who took $12,000 is sick pay when he claimed his family had Covid:

Now that we’re caught up on the Covid news, I want to fill you in on the momentous happenings in VivianWorld this week, but let me start with clearing something up about last week’s blog. I had a series of photos of people with their pet’s reaction to a kiss. If you remember, they were so sweet!

Dear Reader Megan was quite taken with one of the pets photographed, but was at a loss to identify the animal: 

I happen to be familiar with this critter so I can tell you, Megan, with certainty that this fluff ball is a Chinchilla. And let me tell you all that, if you ever get the chance to kiss a chinchilla, DO IT. 

 

 

And if looking at photos of chinchillas hasn’t put you in a better mood already, I found some old photos  when I was going through my iPhoto files that will boost your serotonin:

 

Last week my sister in Florida sent me a photo of her recent thrift shop treasure, a 6-inch by 8-inch painting of a landscape that she recognized as a famous cobblestone street in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico:

My sister even recognized the artist, a man called Edie Rosado, who is well known in Puerto Rico and whose larger works usually sell for a couple hundred dollars. This little image was priced at $1.99, but it was Half Off Day at the Salvation Army so my sister got it for 8 bits.

I was inspired to go treasure hunting at my local Salvation Army for the first time since last March, and although I enjoyed looking at all kinds of old ball gowns, end tables, long sleeve shirts with interesting buttons, picture frames, and cocktail glasses, I didn’t find anything that I had to take home with me. But hang in there, Dear Readers, because I collected other people’s great thrift shop discoveries and I loaded them up at the end of this week’s news round up.

The biggest news story of the past week was a revelation of just how far Shit Stain Trump was willing to go to overturn a free and fair election last November:

This is the New York Times story:

WASHINGTON — President Donald J. Trump pressed top Justice Department officials late last year to declare that the election was corrupt even though they had found no instances of widespread fraud, so that he and his allies in Congress could use the assertion to try to overturn the results, according to new documents provided to lawmakers and obtained by The New York Times.

The demands were an extraordinary instance of a president interfering with an agency that is typically more independent from the White House to advance his personal agenda. They are also the latest example of Mr. Trump’s wide-ranging campaign during his final weeks in office to delegitimize the election results.

The exchange unfolded during a phone call on Dec. 27 in which Mr. Trump pressed the acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and his deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, on voter fraud claims that the department had disproved. Mr. Donoghue warned that the department had no power to change the outcome of the election. Mr. Trump replied that he did not expect that, according to notes Mr. Donoghue took memorializing the conversation.

“Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me” and to congressional allies, Mr. Donoghue wrote in summarizing Mr. Trump’s response.

It’s been a while since I’ve had to say it, but what the hell:

Remember that ballots re-count fuck up, sorry, “audit”, they were doing in Arizona? The one that was looking for evidence of bamboo in the ballots to prove that China had hacked all of Trump’s votes and turned them into Biden votes? the one that was promised to take 60 days and cost $150,000 but has been going on for 7 months and has cost, so far, $5.7 million and is still not done?

This is the letter from the Maricopa County board of Supervisors:

Dear [State] Senators,

It is now August of 2021. The election of November 2020 is over. If you haven’t figured out that the election in Maricopa county was free, fair, and accurate yet, I’m not sure you ever will. The reason you haven’t finished your “audit” is because you hired people who have no experience and little understanding of how professional elections are run.

The Board has real work to do and little time to entertain this adventure in never-never land. Please finish whatever it is that you are doing and release whatever it is you are going to release. I am confident that our staff and volunteers ran the election as prescribed by federal and state law. There was no fraud,  there wasn’t an injection of ballots from Asia nor was there a satellite that beamed votes into our election equipment. It’s time for all elected officials to tell the truth and stop encouraging conspiracies.

Release your report and be prepared to defend any accusations of misdeeds in court. It’s time to move on.

[Signed] Jack Sellers, Chairman, Maricopa County board of Supervisors.

So this is what the Trumper in charge of the crazy in Arizona did:

An Arizona state senator has called for members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to be imprisoned after they sent a letter to condemn and mock the county’s election “audit”.

Wendy Rogers, the state senator who spearheaded the “audit”, who is a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, on Monday tweeted: “I would like to know if we have enough solitary confinement cells in Arizona available for the entire Maricopa Board of Supervisors and the execs at the fraud machine company. We are going to need a lot.”

Rogers was referring to the baseless claim that Dominion Voting Systems, whose equipment is used in Maricopa County, helped flip votes from Trump to President Joe Biden.

“Should stolen elections be considered treason?” Rogers wrote in a subsequent tweet, referencing the baseless theory shared by Trump and his allies that the 2020 election was illegally rigged against him through widespread voter fraud.

 

Not to be outdone, the Republicans in Washington DC did this:

Republican leaders they took their approach to new and misleading extremes, falsely blaming Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the violence.

Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York and the party’s No. 3 leader, held a press conference and said, “The American people deserve to know the truth that Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility as speaker of the House for the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6.”  

It amounted to an audacious attempt to rewrite the history of the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries and pre-empt the damning testimony of four police officers who were brutalized by the mob of Donald J. Trump’s supporters.

 

Speaking of the troubles of January 6, let’s check in with the deplorable:

A former mid-level State Department aide in the Trump administration who is accused of being on the front line of the “first wave” of the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, will be held in custody pending trial, a judge ordered on Tuesday.

U.S. Magistrate Zia Faruqui said Federico Klein’s alleged role in the deadly siege, while he was still a government appointee, makes him a danger to the community. He is the only known Trump appointee to be swept up in the sprawling federal investigation.

The 42-year-old is charged with six counts including obstructing an official proceeding, obstructing law enforcement and assaulting an officer with a dangerous weapon.

 

 

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) on Wednesday asked a federal judge to grant him immunity  from a lawsuit filed in March by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), which accuses Brooks of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

In the suit, Swalwell alleges that Brooks, former President Donald Trump, and Rudy Giuliani knew when they spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally ahead of the Capitol assault that they were lying when they claimed the 2020 election results were rigged. During Mo Brooks’ address to the crowd, he wore a “Fire Pelosi” hat and declared that “today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”

Brooks is representing himself, and earlier argued that his remarks were within his scope of duty as a member of Congress, and that the case should be dismissed. The Justice Department rejected Brooks’ assertion that he was doing his job, stating that fomenting an attack on Congress is “not within the scope of employment of a representative — or any federal employee.”

Floating a theory of immunity in a 44-page filing on Tuesday, Brooks claimed he was simply “cooperating” with the “White House,” a decision affecting his ability to perform his congressional duties.

However, the lawmaker also noted that he has been “faithful to his wife” of 45 years, has never received a speeding ticket or smoked tobacco, and that none of his four children have been divorced.

 

 

Are Republicans shitty parents?

 

 

Meanwhile, in Antarctica:

A Russian scientist working in Antarctica is facing attempted murder charges after allegedly stabbing a colleague for telling him the endings of books he wanted to read.

Sergey Savitsky, an engineer, is accused of stabbing welder Oleg Beloguzov in the chest. Beloguzov was evacuated to Chile for medical treatment, and his life is reportedly not in danger.

The stabbing took place at Bellingshausen Station, a Russian research station in the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica. Savitsky, the alleged attacker, was taken to St. Petersburg and arrested.

The alleged attack was said to be the result of an argument between the two over Beloguzov’s habit of spoiling the endings of books that he’d read from the remote outpost’s library.

Although he faces criminal charges in the Russian city, Savitsky will probably have access to plenty of books that Beloguzov hasn’t already read.

The Russian news agency Interfax reported that Savitsky “surrendered on his own and without resistance to the station manager.”

Alexander Klepikov, the deputy director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, said of Savitsky and Beloguzov, “They are both professional scientists who have been working in our expeditions, spending yearlong seasons at the station. It is down to investigators to figure out what sparked the conflict, but both men are members of our team.”

Some reports suggest that alcohol was involved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As promised:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus Christ, would you look at the time.

This comes to you a little late today because I had a heart attack about three hours ago when everything in the blog disappeared. After regaining consciousness, and after much swearing and many long looks at the vodka, I was eventually able to get into the guts of this WordPress program and slowly excavate the lost items. Whew.

So, then, Dear Readers, have a great weekend everyone. Be good, and go cough on a Republican.

Here’s Teddy doing his impersonation of a chinchilla:

 

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