Chapter 121: COVID Chronicles

August 27, 2020

By Karen

Day 169

Melania’s Got a Fidel Fetish & Tony Takes a Big Leap

I haven’t watched more than a few minutes of the Republican… Festival of Fear? Carnival of Corruption? Extravaganza of Exaggeration? Bacchanal of Bullshit?

I dropped by Tuesday just as Melania confidently stomped into the Rose Garden she’s had stripped of all beauty, maintaining its new color-free theme in her out-of-season khaki long-sleeved tribute to the fashion of Fidel Castro…

Some hapless assistant probably got her head bit off later for forgetting to accessorize Melania with the jaunty little cap and a cigar.

You could feel Melania’s joy overflowing as she read from the teleprompter and showed the nation that in three years at the White House, she’s made no effort whatsoever to improve her English…

Her doting husband Donald sat front and center looking so pleased and proud…

Talk about a steaming shit show.

CALENDAR UPDATE: I learned this morning that the Richmond Animal League is having the calendar contest winners select their months in the order they placed, so Tony as 12th gets whatever month nobody wants. February maybe?

I also learned that the professional photographer who’s coming to the house has had COVID, but she assures us she’s clean now and has immunity for three months.

I think I’m going to need a bigger bottle of bleach.

ANT UPDATE: There hasn’t been one ant on the kitchen counter in nearly a week. Rain soaking the ant killer I sprinkled around the foundation did the trick, for now.

MEDICAL UPDATE: I ventured to the dentist for a cleaning. I had to call them from the parking lot so they could let me in and take my temperature (97.6). Then they did the whole masks, visors, distancing thing. It’s nearly a week later and I’m not sick, so knock on wood.

I felt emboldened to schedule my mammogram due this month. Turns out they’re backlogged and the soonest appointment is in mid-November.

CAT UPDATE: Max is due for a vet checkup, but he doesn’t need shots so we’re skipping it. The vet’s protocol is that I sit in the parking lot while Max goes through whatever on his own. That office staff has never inspired confidence (I could tell stories), so no.

Tony’s not letting his new local celebrikitty status go to his head. Tuesday I was standing at the sunny balcony window checking how my solar-powered watches were charging when Tony decided to get involved. In a first for him — or any cat I’ve lived with — he LEAPED onto my back and hung between my shoulder blades by his right paw.

Thankfully, he let go while I was screaming and trying to figure out how to get him off me. My back on FIRE, I ran downstairs, sure I was leaving a trail of blood. But my T-shirt must have absorbed a lot of claw because my back hardly bled and I’m fine now. And who could stay mad at this face?…

Roc has decided Fuglen the Bird needs to be my constant companion and brings it to me everywhere, even when I’m in the shower. (BTW, Roc left Fuglen on that slipper for two days, and then relocated him to the living room)…

BONUS: Here’s comedian JL Cauvin as Trump (snorting Adderall?) critiquing Melania’s speech…

Chapter 86: COVID Chronicles

June 22, 2020

By Karen

Day 103

Experiment Update & More British TV

While I read the newspaper every morning, sitting on the living room floor, sometimes I feel eyes on me…

Tony is still basking in the glow of picking actual contenders (even if one was only momentary) in the Belmont Stakes and dreams of doing even better in the Kentucky Derby in September.

Sadly, we’ve suffered two losses. We haven’t seen the cardinals in the holly tree outside the kitchen since Saturday, shortly after I discovered their nest. I think I scared them off and hope there aren’t any eggs now.

And after chives dwindled to one viable stalk in the dirt, I tossed them. That last one’s roots had taken hold and grown. The others had no roots at all. So, if you want to regenerate chives (or green onions or scallions) do it hydroponically.

It was an interesting experiment. But since Tony’s began taking an interest in them and onions are lethal to cats, I had to pull the plug before he accidentally poisoned himself.

I’ve been binge-watching a British detective series on Amazon Prime called DCI Banks, which had five seasons from 2010-2016 and stars Stephen Tompkinson…

DCI Banks reminds me of Doc Martin

In addition to actors Stephen Tompkinson and Martin Clunes resembling each other physically, DCI Banks has Doc Martin’s keen intelligence and determination to get to the bottom of things and do a good job, but minus the Asperger’s.

To top off the comparison, the actress Caroline Catz joined DCI Banks in Season 2 when the female lead Andrea Lowe really got pregnant and took maternity leave (which they wrote into the plot to create some good twists). Catz had played Doc Martin’s love interest Louisa. As DI Helen Morton, her relationship with Banks is platonic because she’s married (and he has the hots for the one who now has a baby). She’s typecast as an uptight, exacting woman who borders on bitchiness, but somehow makes you not hate her.

(Aside: I didn’t immediately connect the dot that Tompkinson also starred for the first few seasons in Ballykissangel as the English priest transplanted to a small parish in Ireland who falls for the mouthy pub owner, another series I loved years ago. Now I may have to revisit that.)…

Photo TV Guide

If you watch British TV, you’ll see other crossovers. Father Brown’s inspector has a regular role, and Father Brown’s criminal nemesis, Flambeau, pops by.

I almost fell off the couch when even Baxter, Lady Cora’s maid from Downton Abbey, played a character who would have given Cora a coronary. (No spoilers!)

One reason I like all these shows is the absence of smartphones. DCI Banks started out in 2010 with a flip phone. Then Catz showed up with her smartphone and there was even a scene where DCI Banks remarked, somewhat annoyed, how much she used it for everything.

By Season 4, smartphones are the usual intrusion. Characters receive meaningful plot turns over the phone and you have to guess what’s going on by their facial reactions or unreadable text message exchanges.

If you have Amazon Prime and like fairly low-tech crime shows, I recommend DCI Banks.

Chapter 85: COVID Chronicles

June 21, 2020

By Tony

Day 102

Belmont Recap & Funny Business in the Holly Tree

For my first time ever seeing a horse race, I’m pretty proud of my predictions for the Belmont Stakes yesterday. I gave Tiz the Law the benefit of the doubt, since he was the humans’ favorite, and they were right. He won.

But there I was, glued to the screen when MY favorite, Fore Left, shifted into high gear and stunned everybody on the track when he looked for a moment like he was going to pull off a big upset…

Here was the leader board…

Unfortunately, Lefty’s boldness motivated the other horses and some of them overtook him. I’m glad his jockey let him relax back to 9th place because it made no sense at that point to run him to death.

One of the horses that charged in the end was my other favorite, Max Player. He really showed his stuff in the stretch and finished third!

At home, we had some excitement, too. It started when Karen noticed some dead branches on the holly tree outside the kitchen window. When she went to investigate, she found this nest…

There’s this cardinal who’s been giving Roc and me the stink-eye from that tree for about a week now. Little did we know he was shacking up out there…

Turns out he’s married. When Karen was tugging on the dead branches before she saw the nest, he and his wife were having a fit, flapping and squawking. Here he is again (top) and his bride…

She doesn’t look anything like a cardinal, so we thought it was a mixed marriage (do birds do that?). But Karen looked it up and girl cardinals are gray. Also, cardinals are monogamous and keep the same mate for life, so rather than the carefree playboybird he made us think he was, he’s spoken for.

The wife plopped down in the nest as soon as Karen came back into the house. This is their mating season, so she’s probably hatching a litter out there. The nest is too high for Karen to peek into. Cardinals are born in about 12 days, so Roc and I are keeping an eye out for a sudden population explosion.

Innocent Housecats Under Attack

February 1, 2013

By Max

A new survey claims domestic cats are homicidal maniacs who kill BILLIONS of mice and birds.

Here’s a news flash: Karen has killed more mice than me and Adele COMBINED. (I can’t speak for Cole. He’s mum about his feral kitten days.)

In this study, LiveScience researchers surmised there are about 84 million cats owned in the U.S. They pulled numbers out of their ass and claim we each kill 4-18 birds per year and 8-21 small mammals annually.

They failed to acknowledge that, of those 84 million housecats, MANY are indoor-only.

And who’s weeping over fewer mice and voles? There’s a reason they’re called “vermin.”

OK, chipmunk deaths are regrettable because they’re cute, and some are even great singers.

But this anti-cat wack job in New Zealand named Gareth Morgan has a blog called Cats to Go and says he’d pay the SPCA $5 for every cat it kills.

Who says birds are more important than cats? Has Gareth never heard of avian flu? Did BIRDS save Europe from the Black Plague?

Gareth should visit India. There aren’t many cats there, and rats devour the grain so people starve.

And what about our contribution to technology? The Internet full of BIRD videos is unthinkable.

I Can Has Cheezburger with lolBIRDS? Are you kidding?

Here’s just one example of Gareth’s cat-hate:

Before you say it, even well-fed cats kill. The fact is that cats kill on instinct, not because they need to eat, it is one of their most pleasurable activities. In one study, six cats were presented with a live small rat while eating their preferred food. All six cats stopped eating the food, killed the rat, and then resumed eating the food.

It was a RAT! Those cats did humans a favor, even though they had to finish their meal with rat hair in their teeth.

Yet this Gareth clown makes it sound like a bad thing.

Cats Working appeals to every cat-lover with a social media presence to denounce Gareth Morgan.

Instead of calling for our deaths, he should adopt some cats, keep them indoors, and learn what delightful companions we are — as opposed to dogs who just want to cover every ‘hood with poop.

Humane neutering programs will take time to eliminate feral cats, but people could speed things up a lot by offering more kitties good homes — indoors.

More killing is NEVER the answer.

Cats Working vs. Kamakazi Bird

March 30, 2009

By Adele

Alfred Hitchcock would have loved this psychotic robin who lurked in the holly tree outside our kitchen window for 2 weeks, throwing himself at the glass every 30 seconds from sunrise to sunset. His incessant muffled thumping was the stuff of horror flicks.

Whenever Bird Brain took a break from beating himself senseless, he’d preen in Karen’s car windows, dribbling sour scream sprinkled with rat turds down the doors.

What's with birds and chronic diarrhea?

What's with birds and chronic diarrhea?

If Fred, Yul, or I were outdoor cats, this scene would have been a “wrap” in one take, if you know what I mean. Yul seriously considered slipping outside and evading punishment by charming Karen with an edible gift of “Mystery Poultry” upon his return.

But instead, we watched Karen’s futile attempts to scare off Bird Brain by taping pictures of a tiger and peregrine falcons to the window.

The bird didn’t miss a beat. Literally.

Then she tried enlisting us for windowsill sentry duty. The bird would scram, but we had napping and noshing to do, so we soon declared a strike.

To keep Narcissis from crapping all over her Saturn while admiring himself, Karen wrapped her car mirrors in yellow newspaper bags.

Finally, Dollar Tree provided relief in the form of three sharp plastic “wind catchers” that Karen nailed outside the windows.

Yul thinks, "Bird Brain could save me a step and debone himself on these."

Yul muses, "Bird Brain could save me a step by deboning himself on these."

We haven’t heard a thump since they went up, and the car remains sour-cream-free, so the robin’s reign of terror seems to be over.

If you ask us, he got off way too easy.

A Tale of Two Parrots

May 22, 2008

By Fred

As a cat, my interest in birds is purely sporting, but I do admire one smart parrot who refused to crack under police interrogation when he got nabbed after 2 weeks loose in the ‘hood in Nagareyama, Japan.

The red-tailed African Grey parrot had committed no crimes, so he was transferred to a veterinary hospital. After a few days there, he started singing like a canary – literally – serenading the hospital staff with children’s songs.

Then he casually told the vet, “I’m Mr. Yosuke Nakamura,” and gave a full address. Looking it up, the staff discovered Nakamuras really lived there.

Yosuke’s owners had spent about 2 years teaching their bird his name and address. Apparently they didn’t realize microchipping him would have been a lot faster.

On another perch, Charlie is a parrot in Benijofar, Costa Blanca, Spain, who was dropped off for boarding at a pet store 5 months ago. His owner was supposedly taking a 9-day trip to the UK, but never reclaimed his bird.

Last month, the owner called the store and said he was coming for Charlie, but didn’t show up. The store left voicemail messages on his cell phone until the number went dead.

Charlie will only say his name and that he’s a “pretty boy.”

These two birds would be perfect in a parrot version of My Fair Lady – Yosuke as Henry Higgins and Charlie (in drag) as Eliza Doolittle.

Charlie and Yosuke could make show biz history singing, “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain,” and Charlie’s owner will rue the day he abandoned his bird.

%d bloggers like this: