Chapter 118: COVID Chronicles

August 13, 2020

By Karen

Day 155

Tony’s Fundraising Update & Biden Picks a Mate

As of this minute, Tony is ON the 2021 RAL Calendar but in 12th place, and $20 short of 11th place. This contest has become as nerve-wracking as the Kentucky Derby in the stretch. A lot can happen in the final nine days.

Yesterday, one Cats Working reader’s donation qualified for the match, and that helped loads, so THANK YOU to her and everyone who has supported our Tony. Donations are accepted until August 22.

I hate to be a noodge, but Tony’s got a real shot at this. I know I’m biased, but of the top 12, I think Tony’s a standout in name and looks, and his calendar page (should he get one) will be stunning…

I tried to get a nice headshot of Roc this morning, and this is how he cooperated…

Now, on to politics. I hope every treacherous fat cat who got a job from Trump enjoys his last five months at the taxpayers’ trough, because once Biden and Harris take over in January, the heads start rolling in Washington.

I initially wanted Kamala Harris for attorney general so she’d have the satisfaction of prosecuting the entire Trump administration. But then Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin reminded me of Sally Yates, and she’d be just as ruthless as AG because of all the shit Trump and his GOP clown squad in Congress have put her through, so there’s that.

Now I’m thrilled Kamala has the opportunity to redirect her aggression toward Biden’s foes as viciously as she attacked Biden himself in the primary debates.

Comedian Lauren Mayer’s singing may not be Broadway (or even off-off-Broadway) caliber, but you’ve got to give her credit for lightning speed in composing lyrics to extol our future vice president…

Trump did himself no favors yesterday by holding a press conference where he delivered the same litany of lies and boasts and called COVID deaths “fatilities” — TWICE. Someone has figured out that his team isn’t even bothering to write him new material every day, because he always reads it as if he’s never seen it before…

I wonder if Kamala will goad Trump into dumping Pence for former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. There’s nothing Tump would like better than to watch two women mud-wrestle over him in the VP debate on October 7.

If Trump does shed Pence, I hope he saves the news as his nomination acceptance speech’s big reveal on August 27 so cameras can catch Pence’s adoring gaze melt into excruciating pain as Nikki Haley plants a stiletto on his instep clamoring for Pence’s place beside Trump.

It’s a relief to know who our weapons are, so now Democrats across the country can fully focus on crushing what’s left of Trump.

BONUS: Since Trump is toying with delivering his acceptance speech at Gettysburg because he’s developed this delusion of being greater than Abraham Lincoln, comedian JL Cauvin delivers the Gettysburg Address, Trump-style…


Special Message from Tony

August 11, 2020

By Tony

First, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has already helped me raise funds to give cats (and dogs) who come to our alma mater, the no-kill Richmond Animal League, a chance at a good life. If your generosity makes me one of the top 12 fundraisers, I will be featured on a month in the 2021 RAL Calendar, which will not only show that Cats Working readers are the best, but it will also be a tribute to my namesake, Anthony Bourdain.

Right now, I’m in 14th place. So I’m close!

The humans running the 2021 RAL Calendar Contest announced today they have an anonymous donor who will match up to $2,500 in donations beginning at 10 a.m. (ET) on Wednesday, August 12.

So, if you have been toying with donating, anything you give tomorrow will be matched and equal double votes for me. I and the pets this helps will be thankful for any amount you can spare.

Here’s where you can visit my page to make a donation.

Thought I’d just let you know.

PS: I love you all!


Chapter 117: COVID Chronicles

August 10, 2020

By Karen

Day 152

Tony Has a Couch Breakthrough & “Resign or Hang” Has a Nice Ring

Max lies forlornly on the end table whenever he doesn’t feel the couch is safe, so I made him a special “spot” there. Now it’s his favorite spot…

I probably should move that figurine which looks like Adele. The kitty fountain is right below it, and Max looks like he could be plotting a drowning.

CATS WORKING SCOOP: While I was doing my daily 7,500 steps, for the first time EVER, Tony took my spot on the couch…

He jumped down soon after this pic when he realized he’d been seen…

NOW, TO INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Lebanon’s government and Hezbollah apparently ignored a massive 6-year-old stockpile of explosives sitting at Beirut’s port until it detonated last week, blowing a huge hole in the capital city that killed 160 (so far), wounded 6,000+ and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

The understandably furious people are protesting to force out the entire government, rallying around the theme, “Resign of Hang.”

This is suffering on an epic scale, made even more tragic because it wasn’t caused by war, but probably self-inflicted through government corruption or ineptitude.

The Washington Post talked to people there. See if anything they say rings familiar…

“These thugs in power don’t represent us.”

“They stole from us, they looted us, they made us go hungry, they made us poor.”

“They are stealing everyone’s money, stealing people’s rights.”

“We lost everything, so hope is all we have left.”

A member of Lebanon’s Parliament who just resigned, Paula Yacoubian, said, “I cannot stay within the mafia. They stole everything, they destroyed the country and they want to continue doing business as usual.”

Here in the U.S., Trump’s stupidity and pathological sadism has sickened more than 5.1 million Americans and killed 165,000 (so far). Also, nearly 18 million people have lost their jobs and mass evictions are about to start because Congress can’t get its shit together to deliver more aid.

As of that weren’t enough, after decimating most government agencies using hand-picked toadies, Trump’s now trying to dismantle the U.S. Postal Service in a last-ditch effort to sabotage mail-in voting and stay in power, ending mail delivery as we know it.

And he wants to abolish the payroll tax, which does NOTHING to help the unemployed. No paycheck, no payroll tax deducted. But it will soon leave seniors with no income and no health care, because Social Security and Medicare are funded through payroll taxes.

Instead of squabbling over the irrelevant Confederacy, I’d like to see American protesters put their muscle behind “Resign or Hang” rallies around the White House, Capitol, and anywhere else congressional vermin burrow. There shouldn’t be a fence or wall high enough — anywhere in the country — for Trump and his enablers to hide behind. They need to see that consequences as direct and personally devastating as the physical harm they’re inflicting in some way on every American will be their fate if they don’t stop sabotaging the county or, even better, resign NOW.

Lebanon’s got it right. When your government is crawling with murderous thugs who are literally blowing up the country and its people, the punishment should fit the crime.


Chapter 116: COVID Chronicles

August 6, 2020

By Karen

Day 148

Tony Becomes Couch-Curious & Dreaming of a Trump–Lisbeth Salander Matchup

Tony’s over the moon that his post has raised $250 (Thank you!) in the Richmond Animal League’s 2021 Calendar Contest to help once-homeless dogs and kitties like Max, Roc and Tony get medical care and a second chance at life.

Tony hopes to be a top-12 fundraiser and get his name and face on a calendar page as a tribute to Anthony Bourdain. If you can help him by August 22 with a donation of any size, please do.

In the meantime, I think I need a bigger couch. Lately, Tony’s been angling for a spot, but Roc and Max aren’t giving an inch. This morning, Max wasn’t even in “the” coveted purple spot when Tony tested the water…

Now, to literature: When my friend Shelley told me about the Swedish crime novel, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, it didn’t sound like my kind of thing. But I read it and Lisbeth Salander, the “Girl,” has earned her place beside Jane Eyre, Jo March, Scarlett O’Hara and any other steely heroine you can name.

Larsson intended a 10-book “Millennium series,” but had only finished three, not yet published, when he died unexpectedly in 2004.

Films were made in Sweden of all three books, starring Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth…

What happened with the series after Larsson’s death between his long-time partner Eva Gabrielsson and his executors is an unfinished story in itself, which you can read about in the link above.

I thought no actress could compete with Noomi Rapace until an American Dragon Tattoo came out starring Rooney Mara…

Several years later, Americans filmed the third book, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, with Claire Foy, the softest incarnation of Lisbeth…

But back to the books. After Larsson’s nearly complete fourth novel and notes for others got tied up in squabbling, his publisher hired Swedish author and crime journalist David Lagercrantz to continue the series. He wrote three more and now says he’s finished. I’m reading his last book, The Girl Who Lived Twice, and it’s a shame because he has stayed true to the characters and added some great twists.

In the past week, I’ve also rewatched movies starring all three actresses. I’ve chosen Noomi Rapace’s Lisbeth as best to deal with Trump.

A bit of backstory: Larsson’s original title, which was oddly translated to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was Män som Hatar Kvinnor (Men Who Hate Women). Being abused and tortured by misogynists all her life is what turns Lisbeth Salander into literature’s ultimate avenging badass.

My Salander-Trump match-up fantasy is a situation from the first book. Picture this:

Trump has been put in charge of Salander’s personal finances (that’s all you need to know). Before she can get an advance on her “allowance,” he forces her to give him a blowjob in his office. The next time she needs money, he invites her to his apartment. She expects more oral stuff, but he ties her up and violently rapes her.

Can you picture Trump doing that to a woman? Sure you can.

When she comes back AGAIN, he thinks she’s into him. Instead, she tasers him, strips him, trusses him up like a steer, and forces him to watch a secret video she filmed from her purse while he was attacking her. She threatens to use it to ruin him if he ever crosses her path again.

As a final touch, she tattoos, “I’M A SADIST PIG AND A RAPIST” in big, bloody, sloppy letters all over his chest.

Now that I think of it, this is probably something like Trump fears Putin will do to him if he ever makes a peep against Russia.

Lisbeth Salander, I wish you were real.

BONUS: When Trump called Yosemite National Park “Yo-Semite” and “Yo-Semin-ite”…

My sister Keri and her actor friend Dan Ruth made this parody, which Keri hopes will go viral…

DOUBLE BONUS: I just loved this scene of Hitler bemoaning Trump’s miserable crowd failure in Tulsa…


Chapter 115: COVID Chronicles

August 3, 2020

By Tony

Day 145

I’m a Philanthropist & Other FYIs About Me

Karen adopted me last year from the Richmond Animal League no-kill shelter and the rest, as they say, is history

Well, Karen has entered me in RAL’s 2021 Calendar Contest. She says I’m the most photogenic. Twelve animals who raise the most for RAL will get a professional photo shoot and appear on a month’s page.

I started in fourth place and was a shoo-in. But the competition is hot now with 110 contenders. Last time we checked, I’d dropped to 22nd. Some of these animals are AMAZINGLY well-networked (or rich) and have raised huge sums.

Max and Roc (and the late Adele, Cole and Yul) all came from RAL, so our ties run deep and we want to help RAL kitties be healthy and find forever homes.

We’re a little embarrassed to ask for your support because things are tough for everyone right now, but if you could help — even just a little bit — please visit my page and make a donation by August 22.

We’d appreciate that SO MUCH. If I can claw my way back into the top 12, having my name, Tony Bourdain, in the calendar will be a tribute to my namesake, and I’ll look totes adorbs doing it, right?…

As thanks, I’ll sharing some little-known personal facts about myself with you…

  • I don’t know how to be petted. Roc and Max take it like pros and even purr. But I I’ve got this habit of biting the petter. Not hard, but my teeth have a nervous tic.
  • On the other hand, I want to be petted. I sidle up to Karen and push my head under her hand until she gets it, then when she starts petting me, I bite her.
  • My litter box etiquette is impeccable. I squat to pee, always cover my business and I (usually) exit carefully to avoid litter scatter.
  • My favorite playmate these days isn’t Roc, but a rock. It’s red. When Karen threw away the dirt from her failed chives experiment, I pulled this rock from the bottom of the pot and we’ve been inseparable. I like how it skitters across the kitchen floor…

  • I’m into people cheese. When Karen makes a sandwich for lunch, my slice of turkey must come with crumbles of Havarti, Muenster, Swiss, Gruyere, Colby-Jack, Cheddar or even Feta. I’m not picky.
  • My next go-to people snack is shrimp. I’m also not averse to white meat rotisserie chicken.
  • I have a brother. We were brought to RAL together. That’s all I know about my family of origin.
  • I make requests with utmost delicacy. When Karen’s doing her daily steps in front of the TV and I’d rather she waved a stick toy for me, I’ll tap her shoulder from the kitty perch ever so lightly, no claws, and wear my most needy look when she turns around. Roc and Max just meow incessantly.
  • I’m the champion bug-hunter. Roc’s lethal if a bug throws itself at him, and Max is a pacifist, but I’m a HUNTER. My favorite catches, because they’re fast and try to flee three-dimensionally, are spiders, flies and the occasional wasp.
  • From my first night here, I’ve been obsessed with a blankie Karen considers an embarrassing failure. She crocheted it for Adele from thick baby yarn, but nothing about that idea worked out. It even got holes. But every night, Karen folds it beside her so I can knead and suckle it. (Yes, I still suckle. I lost my mom at 6 weeks, I’ve got issues.) To me, this blankie will always be beautiful…


Chapter 114: COVID Chronicles

July 30, 2020

By Karen

Day 141

Baking Bread & Trump’s Headed For a Fall

Before I get started, Tony sends his regards, relaxing by his favorite mess…

BTW, it’s day 13 and still no sign of the rubber band.

Now, to the kitchen: I don’t care much for the bread my borrowed bread machine puts out, which my parents LOVE, so I made Jacques Pépin’s quick and easy-peasy Soda Bread the other day. I know I made it once before and liked it.

The book it’s from, Essential Pépin, also has a PBS TV series I’m slowly working through. Writing this, I just discovered he makes this bread in episode 17, so I must jump ahead to see that. These are the only ingredients it requires…

You spend no time letting the dough rise because it’s never dough, but a pile of goo…

I think my first mistake was not mixing the milk into the dry ingredients fast enough, and probably stirring it too much.

I lowered the oven rack to accommodate the stainless steel bowl you put over the bread for the first 30 minutes of baking. The bread steams rather than rises because there’s no yeast in it. Warning: Removing the bowl releases steam that can easily scald you. Trust me. Here’s how the bread looked after the bowl came off…

The lowered oven rack was too hot to move, so I think the bread was too close to the heat and the bottom almost burned. I was also worried the parchment paper it was on would catch fire because it got crispy, too. The finished loaf looks decent enough…

It didn’t rise much, and I could have used a chainsaw to cut it, but once I did manage to break some off, it tasted good with butter.

My third mistake was putting the loaf in the fridge because I couldn’t really slice it thin for freezing. Now it’s like a paving stone. Tonight I may try to whack some off, soak it in egg, and make French toast. I think that’s my only hope to salvage it.

Meanwhile, COVID creeps ever closer to Trump. Dipshit Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert has it now, blames it on wearing a mask, and will treat himself with hydroxychloroquine. I wish he’d asked his witch-doctor for a Clorox enema.

Every time Trump wears a face mask, which must be disorienting, Trump flirts with face-planting on camera. He was in North Carolina the other day and fell backward (splayed hands to steady), then lurched into a jerky little bow before he could settle into his knuckle-dragging ape stance to balance…

When Trump inevitably does fall, he’ll blame the mask. Ninety-six more days before we vote and send that monster to hell, where he belongs.

THIS JUST IN: No sooner had I pressed “Publish” on this post than I came across the news that Trump’s BFF Herman Cain has died of COVID, after a month in the hospital, after have the last time of his life at Trump Tulsa rally. Wonder if Trump will skip Cain’s funeral the way he dissed Rep. John Lewis this week?


Chapter 113: COVID Chronicles

July 27, 2020

By Karen

Day 138

Cats are BAACCKK! & More TV Time

The humidity is still terrible in Richmond. I’ve lost count of how many weeks straight it’s been feeling over 100o with only occasional violent thunderstorms. No end in sight.

Confederate statues continue to disappear. One night last week they spirited away a bunch of busts and figures from the state Capitol (including a Robert E. Lee), while a court battle still rages over the the huge Lee statue on horseback standing on Monument Avenue.

Virginia has yet another Lee statue at the Washington, D.C., Capitol and wants to remove it but hasn’t decided what to replace it with.

In the meantime, our only daily newspaper, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, must delight in having Civil War “news” for the front page every day.

Tony Rubberband Update: It’s been 10 days since I think Tony swallowed the rubberband and so far we have had no “outcome.” I wonder if having that much indigestible elastic in his tummy will work like stomach stapling to lower his capacity and he’ll lose some weight. So far he seems fine. He got right up in my face to say “Hi”…


Max and Roc have finally reached an amicable sharing arrangement on the couch, and mostly take orderly turns. Max even returned to the rocker for a spell…

And Roc, lying in the path of a fan as always, says “Howdy!”…

Movie Recommendation: I don’t know what made me DVR it, but I caught this absolute confection of a movie last week from 2008 called Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, a light, lavish 1930s-style Art Deco screwball comedy, complete with Cole Porter music.

To top it off, the cast included a few actors I love, like Stephanie Cole (Waiting for God, Doc Martin) and Tom Payne of Prodigal Son on Fox.

Prodigal Son is in the second half of its first season, and I’d liken it to a less gory Dexter. Payne plays Malcolm Bright, the son of a serial killer known as “The Surgeon,” a real-life surgeon with a family who committed at least 23 murders on the side. Payne grew up unwittingly learning the ropes from his father and now works as a profiler with the NYPD.

The show would be your typical murder of the week police procedural except that Malcolm has mysteries from his past to unravel. While trying to do that and solve crimes, Malcolm often has to consult with his father, who’s now in prison, crazy-brilliant and still homicidal.

Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex) plays The Surgeon. In the few scenes he gets, he always steals the show and keeps drawing the other characters to him like an evil magnetic force. Anyway, I love it.

BONUS: Randy Rainbow raided West Side Story to compose “Gee, Anthony Fauci!”…

DOUBLE BONUS: Trump’s in his last 99 days of playing a tyrant, and comedian Sarah Cooper shows how he mastered “person, woman, man, camera TV”…

PS: As Mary Trump’s been making the talk show rounds to promote her book, Too Much and Never Enough, I’d like just one journalist to ask her why she thinks Trump became a Republican to run for president. I feel sure the answer would be a real sock in the jaw to his supporters.

PPS: I’m now on a twice-weekly schedule, planning posts for Mondays and Thursdays.


Cats Take a Little Break

July 19, 2020

By Karen, Max, Roc and Tony

Day 130

Tony’s Up to His Old Tricks

Max: After putting out 112 COVID Chronicles in as many days, amounting to roughly 56,000 words, or the length of a book, Karen says, we’re taking a week off and will return July 27, probably on a twice-a-week schedule rather than daily. Who knew blogging is so much work?

We’ll still be watching for comments and pounce to respond, so if you want to peruse the Chronicles and add your two cents at any time, we’re here.

Roc: Karen’s been neglecting her Norwegian lessons lately, and she’s still reading Mary Trump’s book and working every day while we lie around in front of the fans in fur coats not made for tropical heat. It’s all exhausting. But Tony, little ham that he is, couldn’t leave you without a cliffhanger.

Karen: Yesterday afternoon while I was upstairs working on the blog, Tony got his paws on a big rubber band. I found these two pieces in the living room (the whole one underneath them is to show you the full size it should be)…

I’ve looked under the fridge, the furniture, EVERYWHERE, praying to find the rest, but no luck. So I can only assume Tony has eaten it. I hope he chewed it into a couple of pieces first and it’s not the full 7” or 8″ winding through his system.

So far, he’s fine. Playing, alert, good appetite. Here he is a little while ago, trying to climb me…

I’ve given him hairball medicine, hoping to help the thing slide through, and I’ll see if I can grease up his food. But this could take a week or longer.

My first cat Coco once swallowed a chicken wing elbow and it came through days later. The late Fred once ate about a foot of dental floss. It took a week, but the whole piece finally showed up as a wad in the litter box.

Tony has done this trick once before and I didn’t even know it. The piece was only about 3″ and he pulled it out of his butt himself. Digestion hadn’t changed it a bit. I hope this time is just as uneventful. Since this rubber band is red, it should be easy to spot. In the meantime, all rubber bands have been hidden for the rest of his life.

Tony: I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Karen has no idea about a lot of yucky things I’ve eaten. It’s better that way. She’s watching me now like I’m a ticking bomb, but I feel fine.

Karen: While we’re on blog vacay this week, assume that no news is good news. If there’s any “movement” in the situation, or if it “works out” soon, I’ll report immediately. I know you all want this little fella to be OK.

In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for us!


Chapter 112: COVID Chronicles

July 18, 2020

By Karen

Day 129

Brotherly Love

Last night Max let Roc have the coveted corner of the couch, and then Roc unexpectedly decided to show his gratitude bu giving Max a friendly lick…

This had been going on for quite a while before I started filming. Max was clearly surprised, but then must have thought, “What the hell, I’ll let him take care of some places I can’t reach.”

But when Max tried to return the favor, Roc would have none of it, so Max told him to bug off with a hiss.

BONUS: The hastag #TrumpIsALaughingStock has been trending on Twitter since yesterday. This lady gives Randy Rainbow a run for his money with her lyrics…


Chapter 111: COVID Chronicles

July 17, 2020

By Karen

Day 128

Cats Having a Heat Wave & Trump’s Probably Having a Hissy

Richmond’s seven-day forecast is 90os every day and, thanks to humidity, feeling like 102-108o. Afternoon thunderstorms will keep that steam rising.

Despite being indoors with air conditioning and fans, we’re all feeling lethargic. Last night Max neatly pushed aside the fleece blanket on his bed in the Man Cave to sleep on acrylic, which must feel cooler…

BACKSTORY: I knitted that little blanket at least 50 years ago for my first guinea pig, Guinevere. I had just learned how to purl and did a basket weave pattern. The fringe was also a new skill. The yarn is indestructible and you can see it’s still in pristine condition.

Here’s Roc just now, lying on the floor behind me, directly in the path of the fan…

I caught Tony last night in his usual routine, sacked out for a few hours after dinner to get his second wind. He’ll hate me posting this because he says it makes him look like he’s fat and has big feet…

Well, he’s not fat.

Rachel Maddow has been on vacation all week. When I saw that Mary Trump was on her show last night, I feared the second-stringer would get the interview, but Rachel hopped back in the saddle.

They’re probably repainting walls in the White House today from Trump banging his tiny burger-greased fists all over them.

Watch how Rachel so carefully leads Mary to state she heard Trump say the N-word and anti-Semitic slurs, like the rest of his family…

This should be a big deal because no journalist has found such a credible witness to confirm this before. The White House responded to Rachel’s request for comment by calling “the book” a bunch of lies. But Rachel says that claim isn’t in the book. (I’m still reading it.)

But let’s face it. In the epic saga of Trump’s corruption and crime, we know he’s a racist, and that he calls people foul names is the least of it. In every book I’ve read about Trump’s reign, his normal conversation has F-bombs in every sentence. It’s a wonder he cleans it up as much as he does in public, given the growing holes in his brain.

What we should be terrified about is that Mary confirms that Trump not only doesn’t care how many Americans and immigrants his policies (or lack of) kill. He enjoys it. The more people he destroys, the more he gets off on it. He’s a sadist.

Yet, we’re supposed to wait until November to destroy him unless his own health takes him down first. There’s not one soul in our government with the guts to initiate Trump’s immediate removal, indictment and imprisonment, despite having an avalanche of charges to be brought against him.

Oops, a thunderstorm is rolling in. Got to wrap this up quick.


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