US governmental shutdown crisis

When I tried to understand the dysfunctional Belgian parliament a couple of years ago, my Belgian friend Anthony posted a video that made a very complex situation perfectly clear!

When I tried to explain the dysfunctional US Congress and the probable shutdown of the US government, yesterday, I realized my explanation for why he, Anthony, (and the rest of the world) should be concerned fell well short of a clarification.

Here is a pictorial explanation, Anthony, starting with the Democratic Party point of view of the probable US governmental shutdown crisis: viewed by Democrats

…as viewed by Democrats

There. Keep that image in mind when comparing the Republican point of view with that of the Democrats: viewed by the Republicans

…as viewed by the Republicans

Of course, there is a significant subset within the traditional (rational) Republican party, the Tea Party. Here is their point of view: viewed by the TPers

…as viewed by the TPers

There! Though it seems desperate, the three political elements of this crisis actually aren’t all that far apart in their respective points of view!

I hope this is more clear, Anthony. (As a guy who appreciates his maths, I hope you like how I threw in a little maths jargon for your amusement!)

Are You A Crazy Cat Lady? Know The Symptoms

Well, Megan (author of this blog and Chester the tabby cat’s human servant, but not in that order), there is a male variation on this neurosis. Let’s call it “crazy cat guy syndtome”, which I recognized in your list specific to crazy cat ladies. I have two cats, so I must be at least twice as crazy as you!

anarchy and revolution

I turned off the television news and went to bed early last night. My headed pounded. My anger at what a handful of congressmen and one senator were doing to our country was just too much. There are ways to get your way in our system of government. Forty-three votes proved now is not the time; win the hearts and minds of the voters in 2014, and try again.

I slept well. Exhausted by the hate and anger building, poisoning my system, I slept the sleep of the dead.

Then I woke up, a smile on my face and with a memory of a dream I’d just had. I dream, I know, but I rarely remember them. This one was different. This one was in response to characterizations of the behavior of the Tea Party faction as being a revolution, of the participants being anarchists, not legislators, let alone statesmen! (I steamed up and bubbled over at the time, and knew it was bed time or a heart attack!)

The best way to handle revolutionaries and anarchists is to put them in front of a wall, and shoot them! Well, guillotines work, too.

The best way to handle revolutionaries and anarchists is to put them in front of a wall, and shoot them! Well, guillotines work, too.

WHAT! I know I’m upset when I start thinking in extreme ways. Remember my “radioactive glass” post? This is not the person I am, nor is it the person I want to be.

I sat on the edge of my bed. Andy and Dougy watched me, anxious for breakfast. Dougy jumped on my bed: “Get up, human! I’m hungry!” Andy sat in the next room, grooming and washing the sleep out of his eyes. Domesticity! Cute fuzzy cats! Aw! Dougy purred in anticipation of yummy catfood.,

The image of Ted Cruz and the errant congressmen standing in front of a wall faded, and this came back to mind:


Thank you, pastor. This isn’t the only time this quote got me through all-consuming hate and anger. It isn’t the first time it helped me feel whole again.



I’ve since received notice that the screw up is “unscrewed”. Ha! Oh well. I should be pleased I got a daily blog out of it, and that my boo-boo might help someone else avoid making the same mistake.

While I thank Maggie for being a good dog and urge her to have a peanut butter treat or two for her quick response to my boo-boo, let me recommend you visit her blog. There’s a link below to maggie0019, a well-written, entertaining blog about Maggie a rescued dog, a rehabilitated dog, and (ultimately) well-trained dog serving others.

It is both amusing and inspiring. She’s a pit bull, which means she has to overcome a strong bias against her breed. In many jurisdictions, she would have been euthanized at the shelter, but Maggie got a second chance at a happy life. With love, training, and patience…well, read the blog!

Go over to the far right, and scroll down the list of blogs I follow till you hit Nr. 7. That’s Maggie’s!

“Morning Joe”

I make the mistake of starting my day with “Morning Joe” on MSNBC. “Joe” is Joe Scarborough, an articulate former Congressman who’s inclined to talk over his guests and his co-host, Mika Brzezinski. There are times I’d like to reach through the television screen and choke him!

He does, however, represent a rational conservatism, whether I agree with him on many topics or not. I feel I can listen to what he has to say and hear a legitimate conservative point of view, not some Ted Cruz anarchist crap.

Mika and Joe

Mika and Joe

Recently, for whatever reasons, he seems not to be there on set as much or else he participates in the first segment from some location other than the studio from which “Morning Joe” originates.

On the days Joe isn’t there, hosts and guests speak in complete sentences, try not to step on each other’s points by talking over each other. There is no loud talk, no interruptions of the news when Mika reads it, no need to reach through the screen to choke somebody. You know who!

One needs to hear all sides of an argument, not just the ones that match one's closely held prejudices....that's where Joe comes in.

One needs to hear all sides of an argument, not just the ones that match one’s closely held prejudices….that’s where Joe comes in.

To my amazement, Mika actually is articulate, is a great moderator of the discussions, and she smiles! On days Joe’s in studio talking over her, she frequently doesn’t get to complete a thought, and she has a nearly show-long scowl on her face… even though she is close enough to reach over and choke Joe in person, something I sit there urging her to do since I can’t reach through the television set.

On days Joe appears from another studio, he participates, of course, because he is articulate and has fully formed opinions on the news of the day. Not to say he’s infallible, of course, but he, at least, isn’t an ideologue like so many on Fox News are. (I find Shep Smith and Chris Wallace usually are watchable, professional journalists; the rest leave me reaching through the television set to choke them…!)

Also, on the days Joe appears from another studio, he is less likely to step on other people’s comments by talking over them. Those days are more meaningful, as I actually can hear what everyone says – I have total deafness in my right rear, and some hearing loss in my left, so this over-talking makes listening difficult to impossible. On those days, though Joe is more subdued, I actually like him. Closed Captioning helps, but isn’t the whole answer for me.

I note that Joe Scarborough is my conservative of choice because he presents an argument rather than proclaims an opinion as a fact. You might call him the Chris Matthews of Conservativism. (Cheap shot! Cheap shot! I love you, too, Chris! But you do walk over other people’s comments.)

Where I live, in Nebraska's 3rd Congressional District, people sent to Congress tend always to be Republicans who get around 70% or more of the popular vote. The district isn't red, it's screeching scarlet!

Where I live, in Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District, people sent to Congress tend always to be Republicans who get around 70% or more of the popular vote. The district isn’t red, it’s screeching scarlet!

I also note that I watch most of the MSNBC political and news programs in the afternoon and evening. They tend to be liberal, as charged, though they are honest about their biases, unlike Fox, where they routinely parade Republican Party propaganda as news, with the exception (in my opinion) of Chris Wallace and Shep Smith.

All I ask of newscasters and pundits: honest arguments based on credible facts. That and a desire for Joe to shut up and listen more to Mika and his guests rather than risk me reaching through the television set to choke him!

I didn’t intend to write a review of a television show today or get political. It occurred to me, however, during today’s dose of “Morning Joe”, that a lot of my upset about the Obamacare defunding/debt ceiling mess originates with this start to my day. That and the fact that Joe Scarborough irritates me when he talks over guests before my morning joe kicks in.


Incidentally, it was reported on the news that 26% of all Texans are without health insurance. What about that Senator Cruz? Wouldn’t working to correct deficiencies in the Affordable Care Act make more sense to your constituents than you working to deny them access to some form of affordable health insurance?

Just asking, sir. Maybe you’d even look presidential if you worked for the people instead of self-aggrandizement. Nevermind. It’s too late for you now.

Cruzin’ for a bruisin’

When I was a little guy, this is the taunt my older siblings called out as I left the scene of some conflict:


The sordid scene in Washington these days makes me think often of this taunt. I worked a lifetime to acquire sufficient funds to pay my way in retirement, and the shenanigans in Congress are so scary to the markets that there is a real chance Congress is about to cost me – AND you! – a lot of our hard-gained pieces of the American dream. Bastards all.

birthday toy blahs

The television advertisement showed happy cats slobbering all over the toy. Even old, fat cats spring up and play, the advertisement suggested.

You bought it! Now, weeks later, your cats mostly ignore it – and it runs on three C-cell batteries whether they play with it or it just sits there running, intending to seduce the little furballs!

I flipped the toy’s cover up on one side to expose the “mousie”. That, surely, will bring the boys in. Webcam ready, I turned the toy on: Dougy came at a full gallop! Here we go:

Hunh!? “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”?

Dougy has his priorities, and first priority apparently is paper!


The name of the second song, incidentally is Waunobe March, not Waunebe March, as it appears in the credits.

“Waunobe March” ~ Kevin MacLeod ( 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

The first song also is a Kevin MacLeod piece:

“Cantina Blues” ~ Kevin MacLeod ( 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Dougy vs. the newspaper

I never know what kind of show to expect from the boys. Today Dougy decided to take on a newspaper on the light stand by my chair. (“My chair” because neither cat likes to lounge in it…!)

Most newspapers I read are on the Internet, but I still get a “hard copy” of my cousin Sharon Wheelock’s weekly, the Grant County News. It is that newspaper Dougy shamelessly attacked. I’m glad it is an old issue, one I left there as a buffer to coffee and water drips when I put a mug or glass down on the stand.

The bad part about making cat videos is naughty behavior oftentimes is the best for video. So, when I should be encouraging Dougy or Andy to cool it, I’m grabbing my camera instead.

If people didn’t encourage me with positive comments on my videos, I wouldn’t make them. It’s your fault Dougy and Andy are naughty boys, then! Ha!

hoarfrost on the dill and other scenes from Autumn 2010

October 27 2010 first freeze

October 20, 2010, when this photo was taken, we’d had our first hard frost of the season. Conventional wisdom is the middle of September is when the first hard frost comes.

rosa blooming

Thanks to a favorable micro-climate close to the stucco exterior wall of my apartment, this rose was blooming well into November 2010.

dill with hoarfrost

Taken December 12, 2010, of hoarfrost on dill that grew in my little herb garden, this photo also is a favorite photo of Louie the ginger cat, on his morning walk.


You’ve seen a similar photo recently, also from Autumn 2010. The other shot of this same row of trees, however, illustrated a comment on clouds. What the heck! Here that “cloud photo” is again:


Have a happy Autumn, keep your toes toasty, and enjoy the fruits of the harvest! Two hours to go!