Let’s Talk ‘Downton Abbey’

February 14, 2012

By Karen

Since Adele’s last post seems to have segued into Downton Abbey, let’s go there.

I’ve watched from the beginning and, like the rest of the world, let out a hearty WTF?! last year when the miniseries ended just as things were bubbling and World War I started.

It was like pulling the plug on Gone With The Wind after 20 minutes, at the Twelve Oaks barbecue.

Fortunately, viewer outrage spawned a Season 2 — which has been all too brief and ends next Sunday — and Season 3, which I believe is filming right now.

Discussion points…

Mr. Bates has always been my favorite, and it was so nice to see him finally reward Anna’s unwavering patience and kindness with a wedding ring. But will the vengeful Vera Bates reach out from the grave to destroy their happiness? She was last seen dead on the floor, presumably from rat poison Mr. Bates bought. Did he lose it when she gave him a black eye and do her in? Did she commit suicide? Was she murdered? If so, by whom? Could it be yet another unholy plot by Thomas and O’Brien to ruin Bates?

Will we find out Sunday, or have to wait for Season 3?

WHAT WAS LORD GRANTHAM THINKING? We really didn’t see enough of Jane the maid to feel the attraction that made Grantham lunge for her, completely out of character. Are they trying to juice up his story as consolation for giving him nothing to do in the war but walk around in a uniform?

And what would the Dowager Countess say if she caught her son sucking face with a servant?

The sisters…

Lady Mary spells disaster for any man who crosses her path, yet seems oblivious that she’s about to unleash it on herself if she tries to dump Richard Carlisle for cousin Matthew.

Sybil and her chauffeur got Lord Grantham’s blessing and seem destined to live happily and boringly ever after — unless some disaster brings Sybil back to Downton.

That leaves Edith and the disappearing Patrick Gordon. Did he miraculously survive Titanic, or is he a master con artist? Was that peculiar little moustache wipe Lord Grantham noticed genuine, or something he learned from the real Patrick? Will Edith track him down and get to the truth?

The staff…

Will Cora’s evil lady’s maid O’Brien ever admit to leaving that bar of soap on the floor, which caused Cora’s miscarriage that robbed Downton of its rightful heir?

And what will become of Thomas, now that he’s broke after being outsmarted by even bigger crooks in the black-market? Will he be wanting his old job back at Downton?

The relatives…

The other plot twist that seemed contrived was Matthew regaining use of his legs (and, presumably, what’s between them), just before his fiancé Lavinia kicked the bucket to leave the way clear for him to end up with Mary.

Will war refugees really be enough to keep Isobel Crawley at bay, or will she decide Downton needs her more, just as Cora’s mother (Shirley MacLaine) arrives in Season 3?

The BBC can’t understand why Americans are so hooked on Downton, but they have a lot of theories.


Congrats from One Adele to Another

February 13, 2012

By Adele

When I was at the vet’s a few weeks ago having a claw issue, a male tech who looked about 18 asked Karen if my name has always been Adele. Weird.

Karen answered, “Yes, why?”

The kid said, “Have you ever heard of that singer Adele?”

Without missing a beat, Karen said, “Yes. She was named after my cat.”

Actually, the singer Adele was 11 when I was born so that isn’t true, but we’re both recognized internationally by our first names only.

Thanks to the singer, I predict the name “Adele” will start showing up on the favorite baby name list, possibly bumping off Emma or — yuck! — Bella.

It was nice to wake up today and hear everybody talking about “Adele.” My namesake won all 6 GRAMMYs she was nominated for:

  • Album of the Year
  • Best Pop Vocal Album for 21
  • Record of the Year
  • Song of the Year
  • Best Short Form Music Video for “Rolling In The Deep”
  • Best Pop Solo Performance for “Someone Like You”

Cats Working gives Adele 12 paws up. You go, girl!


Obama’s Shameful Mortgage Settlement

February 10, 2012

By Cole

President Obama has punished crooked mortgage bankers — by giving them a big kiss on the lips.

The 5 biggest banks have to cough up $25 billion in restitution — and Obama thinks we’ll see that BIG number and think, “Gee, he really NAILED them!”

Realistically, how far does $25 billion go?…

Right now, 11 million homeowners are “underwater,” which means they owe an estimated $700 billion more on their homes than the homes are now worth. Under this deal, maybe 1 million, about 9%, can get their loans modified. That won’t even begin to put a dent in it.

Obama said the settlement “will speed relief to the hardest-hit homeowners, end some of the most abusive practices of the mortgage industry and begin to turn the page on an era of recklessness that has left so much damage in its wake.”

Is he KIDDING?

The “hardest-hit” were the estimated 8 million suckers who fell for predatory loan terms and ended up on the curb. Under this settlement, about 750,000 will get a check for $2,000 — and the banks have 3 YEARS to get around to paying it.

Meanwhile, the banks were granted added protection against states pursuing civil charges against them.

Homeowners can still file criminal charges, but rotsa ruck to the little guy who couldn’t even make his mortgage payments prevailing over a bank’s army of lawyers in protracted litigation.

This settlement represents a limp-wristed swipe at bank profits. Even worse, NO bank honcho who condoned unscrupulous loans, or foreclosed with bogus documents and bank employees forging signatures, is going to jail.

There’s more: The banks are now free to complete millions MORE foreclosures they had on hold during negotiations. More homeowners already down on their luck can just bend over and wait for the screw job.

Mike Heid, president of Well Fargo Home Mortgage, said this “represents a very important step toward restoring confidence in mortgage servicing and stability in the housing market.”

It’s a total OUTRAGE that Obama or the banks think they’re fooling anybody.

Once again, when faced with bankers’ greedy, unethical, criminal behavior that is leaving millions of Americans in financial ruins, Obama rolls over and lets the bankers scratch his belly.


A Solution for Obama’s Contraception Dilemma

February 7, 2012

By Adele

Conservatives and religious zealots who believe some women should spend their lives pregnant are shocked, SHOCKED that Obama would mandate free access to birth control as part of healthcare reform, even in Catholic hospitals and with other groups that claim it “violates their conscience” to let women protect themselves from accidental pregnancies.

You’d think Obama was ordering all women to USE birth control, which he isn’t.

Mitt Romney, with his rich Mormon heritage of polygamy, with sister-wives producing literally HERDS of children, is all over this issue, calling it an “attack on religious liberty.”

Newt Gingrich, the newbie Catholic and likely practicing birth-control hypocrite, ditto.

As always, they ignore the REAL issue, which is…

WHAT BECOMES OF THE UNWANTED CHILDREN?

This bunch wants these babies born so they can grow up neglected, abused, and even murdered. Protect the fetus so the child it becomes can suffer unimaginably at the hands of adults. That’s the CHRISTIAN way!

Here’s my idea…

Like they do for unwanted puppies and kittens, establish kill shelters for human newborns. After delivery, they spend a week or two in the shelter (depending on space), and if nobody adopts them, they get the needle or gassed. Simple.

Babies born with obvious defects or any other problem that makes adoption a long shot get put to sleep on the spot to make room for those who have a chance.

Mitt, Newt, and the rest who refuse to face the reality that some babies are better off unborn can start stepping up to the plate. If they REALLY care about these infants — more than keeping women prisoners of their reproductive organs — they can adopt the stray babies before their time runs out.


Cat Predicts Super Bowl Winner

February 5, 2012

By Max

Three years in a row since 2009, the cats in a shelter run by the Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood, Oregon, have correctly picked the winning Super Bowl team. This year, can a calico named Sue Bee extend their streak to 4 years? Watch how she does it. (The gabby human in the helmet is pretty annoying. The prediction comes at the end, so feel free to skip ahead.)

OK, if you didn’t watch the video, Sue Bee picked the Patriots. Cats Working concurs because Karen is from New England, although we’ll have to read about the winner in the paper tomorrow because we’re not watching the game.

Karen tells us football is the only sport that makes men’s figure skating look macho. Why are so many Americans willing to spend hours watching grown men throw themselves to the ground on top of each other and dry hump? When the guys finally get up, they grab each other’s butts. The real sports action (running, throwing, kicking a ball) is sporadic and too brief.

You can understand why Jerry Sandusky was drawn to football. It’s like a puritanical form of gay porn that “regular” men don’t have to feel guilty watching. If the players didn’t wear helmets, they’d probably exchange chaste kisses (with a penalty for tongue — just to keep it “clean”) after every “play.”

Instead, we’ll be watching Puppy Bowl VIII on Animal Planet at 3 p.m. (ET). Yes, it’s dogs, but if any of them start humping, you’ll know it’s just innocent fun — they’re PUPPIES!

The Super Bowl can keep its stupid commercials and Madonna. Cats will be cheering for the Piggy Pep Quad and the Kitty Half-Time Show.


Got Anthem’s Annual Screw Job

February 3, 2012

By Karen

While Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act waits for a Supreme Court ruling, Virginia’s largest health insurer, Anthem, continues to merrily bilk its customers to maximize profits.

Virginia’s Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, is fine with that. He wants the General Assembly to do NOTHING to plan the state health insurance exchange that must be operational by January 1, 2014, so small business and individuals (like me) will have a prayer of finding the “protection and affordability” the new law requires.

Instead the Assembly is busy repealing the law that limits personal gun sales to one a month, because insane college kids and criminals everywhere are feeling the pinch of not enough weapons. More murders, more medical spending.

The Assembly also intends to FORCE women seeking abortions to first have an ultrasound, hoping to guilt them into giving birth. Not to mention adding to the cost of the procedure.

So yesterday I got Anthem’s annual notice of my new individual health insurance renewal rate. It’s going up $58 a month — 20%.

In 2011, it went up $25, or 9.6%.

Nearly 30% in TWO YEARS. Can you think of anything else, besides CEO salaries, that has risen that much? Me, either.

Anthem included a cryptic, sinister warning against making any attempt to cut the cost — like decreasing benefits or raising the deductible (again) — which would void “grandfathered” status if health reform ever really happens.

Naturally, Anthem didn’t state if my policy would be grandfathered, nor what benefits might be affected, but just implied that reform might cause me to lose something wonderful about my current stinking, inadequate coverage.

Being self-employed, I have an individual policy. I feel sure Anthem is striking back because I exceeded my $2,250 deductible last year with my breast cancer false alarm and they actually had to pay some claims.

It’s perfectly legal in the individual market for insurers to nail customers to the wall one at a time for daring to get needed healthcare.

And since I now have non-cancer in my medical record, I’m trapped with Anthem until SOMETHING changes with heathcare.

And the way it’s looking, it’s only going to get worse.


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