Respite Open Thread: Game Over

How we all felt when we realized our phones were listening to us…

I’m gonna come at you like a Burrowing Owl…

Have a good Saturday everyone. I’m off to garden, then out to dinner and then to a musical.

Respite open thread.


103 replies
  1. 1
    Yarrow says:

    Angry Birds!

  2. 2
    chopper says:

    you know what stuart, i like you…

  3. 3
    Kristine says:

    I posted when this was making the rounds on Twitter that I love how owls always look pissed.

  4. 4
    Keith P. says:

    Was the camera disguised as a little cartoon pig?

  5. 5
    debbie says:

    I love that angry bird! “Who you lookin’ at?” Surprised to see they dig a nest in the ground like a gopher or prairie dog.

  6. 6
    Mike J says:

    Gawker is just never going to learn their lesson. You can’t plant secret cameras in people’s houses and broadcast it on the internet.

  7. 7
    p.a. says:

    Dollars to donuts the first owl is male and was all WTF is that?!… Squirrel!! and the second owl is the female and was *sigh* I’ll take care of it you idjit.

  8. 8
    MagdaInBlack says:


  9. 9
    Ohio Mom says:

    @debbie: There is a Carl Hiassen book for middle-schoolers featuring burrowing owls. Along with shady real estate developers and kids who save the day.

    That’s the only reason I know about burrowing owls. (Already knew about shady real estate developers but I suppose the book’s target audience may not.)

  10. 10
    Ken says:

    Our phones have to listen to us. How else will they know when to call someone? This isn’t the Stone Age, when people had to touch tools with their hands.

  11. 11
    bemused senior says:

    I’m happy because my sixth and last chemo cycle is over, my pet scan was totally clear, and I am starting to feel like a person. Yay!

  12. 12
    oatler. says:

    Anyone remember Alan Garner’s “The Owl Service”?

  13. 13
    trollhattan says:

    That video is splendid. These owls do not want your mess.

    For anybody who hasn’t seen them, burrowing owls are tiny and fascinating. I seldom see them anymore around town now, as much of their territory seems to have been developed.

  14. 14
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @bemused senior:

    Yay indeed! I’m very happy for you and hope you continue to thrive.

  15. 15
    Yarrow says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Have you had the chance to talk to Mrs. EFG recently?

  16. 16
    Jeffro says:

    I see that the chair of the Federal Election Commission, Ellen Weintraub, is going on the offensive over trumpov’s “VOTER FRAUD!” Lies (specifically, that he was denied victory in New Hampshire due to all kinds of fraud).

    She noted that there’s never been any evidence of this, and told him, “in terms a former casino operator should understand, lay your cards on the table or fold.”

    The question is, can our national snooze media actually press Agent Orange on this, and then follow up by reporting how he never has evidence for ANY of his claims about voter fraud (or anything else, for that matter)?

  17. 17
    gene108 says:

    Saw “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” yesterday on Netflix.

    Wish I saw it in theaters. One of the most visually stunning movies I have ever seen.

  18. 18
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Owls are the coolest. I have only seen one in the wild in my more than half century on this earth.

  19. 19
    Ohio Mom says:

    @bemused senior: Woot! Woot!

  20. 20
    Amir Khalid says:

    It’s like them owls actually know what the camera is, and why they don’t want it there.

  21. 21
    Miss Bianca says:

    I know this is a respite thread, and all, but…Just saw something on FB that triggered some bad memories. An acquaintance from my school days posted a picture of a girl we both knew, who died quite young, and talked about how much she missed her, what a good friend she had been, etc.

    And there I was thinking: Wow. She is talking about a *completely different person* than the one I knew.

    What do you say about a schoolmate who died young? That evidently she was this warm, wonderful person whose passing everyone laments…except me. Who only remembers that this person was tirelessly, relentlessly, purposefully – not because I had ever actually DONE anything to her, but just because I was weird – a stone-cold bitch to me and encouraged all her friends to act that way to me as well – and although most of *them* grew out of it by high school, she never did.

    It is truly mind-blowing, the difference between the way her friends remember her and the way I remember her. I know, I know…”Say nothing but good of the dead”, and all…and maybe if I had encountered her as an adult, when we had both knocked around a good bit more, we might have achieved some sort of rapprochement. As it is, my impression of her as a spiteful, shallow, snobbish, *cruel* creature are encased in the amber of high-school memories, and I am hard-pressed not to say, “She’s still dead? Good.”

    Maybe she was right to hate me. Sigh.

  22. 22
    Msilaneous says:

    @bemused senior: How wonderful – congratulations!

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Ruckus says:

    @bemused senior:
    Feels pretty good doesn’t it?

  25. 25
    Amir Khalid says:

    @bemused senior:
    Yay you!

  26. 26
    Yarrow says:

    @Miss Bianca: No one is right to hate you. She may have been both a good friend to them and a horrible person to you. If she was horrible to you, she was probably horrible to others as well. They’re choosing not to remember that part of her, just like they ignored it at the time. Says more about them than you.

    Say nothing and go live your best life. They’re getting something out of their rose colored memories. You get nothing but pain out of revisiting your amber-encased ones. You are not obligated to validate their version of those years and you don’t need to revisit it.

    Also, all people are weird in their own way.

  27. 27
    Yarrow says:

    @bemused senior: Congratulations! That’s awesome news.

  28. 28
    --bd says:

    @chopper: Maybe that Johnny Wurster kid got chased up that tree and couldn’t admit it to Stuart’s buddy at that moment.

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Miss Bianca: I know it’s not the same thing, but when people show my a picture of their baby or their baby grandchild and the kid is not actually cute, I look for an observation that I can make that will come off vaguely as a compliment. “Wow, he has a lot of hair. How old is he?” That normally gets me through. Could you try some variation on that theme?

  30. 30
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Thanks for the reminder. I’ll give her a call this afternoon.

  31. 31
    Old Dan and Little Ann says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I was walking my dog about 10 years ago through the woods. I just happened to look up and spotted an owl sitting on the branch of a tree. Of course I had left my phone in the car. Still pissed I didn’t get a picture.

  32. 32
    MattF says:

    The owl video made me wonder whether there is a latinate adjective for ‘owl-like’ and it turns out there is— ‘strigine’. A new word for me.

  33. 33
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @trollhattan: that’s too bad that they’ve been priced out of their natural territory. I thought Prop 13 would have helped.

  34. 34
    zeecube says:

    @Miss Bianca: Sounds like she was an asshole. May she rest in peace.

  35. 35
    Luciamia says:

    What musical?

  36. 36
    Barbara says:

    @bemused senior: Hoping you have many plans that you can start fulfilling!

  37. 37
    Yarrow says:

    My respite right now is rugby. It’s the lead up to the Rugby World Cup so there are lots of matches to watch.

  38. 38
    Amir Khalid says:

    Liverpool got the three points at Southampton, but it was an unexpectedly close thing: in the 80th minute with Liverpool pretty much cruising at 0-2 up, keeper Adrian gives the ball away for no reason to Southampton striker Danny Ings, who scores. A routine win suddenly becomes a 14-minute nailbiter to the final whistle. I guess they’re feeling the strain of travelling to Istanbul in mid-week and playing a 120-minute match plus penalties.

  39. 39
    opiejeanne says:

    @Amir Khalid: Just defended you to Ol’ Blue. Possibly a mistake, but I don’t care.

  40. 40
    Barbara says:

    @Miss Bianca: I wish I had the same good memories that you do? Probably better to say nothing.

  41. 41
    Ruckus says:

    @Miss Bianca:
    Had a cousin like that. She changed dramatically as she grew up. For the much better. As we can all see every day, some people don’t do that. They get older, bigger, not any smarter, not one bit better.

  42. 42
    Amir Khalid says:

    Thank you.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Just talked to Marilyn. She has the whole family visiting this weekend — Kate, son-in-law, almost six-year-old granddaughter, and almost one-year-old grandson. They’re doing a cookout this afternoon and celebrating the birthdays early before school starts.

    Marilyn is still aiming to move next April and is doing the whole downsizing thing of “This is too big but it has such memories.” I completely understand!

    I told her that Peter/EFG is invoked frequently here at BJ, and that even though it’s been many months since he left us, we love him and miss him. She seemed very pleased to hear that.

    We didn’t talk long, as I knew she wanted to get back to the kids, but she sounds happy and optimistic about the new directions her life is taking.

    Thanks again for the prompt.

  45. 45
    trollhattan says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    Last Sunday, NWSL arch rivals Portland and North Carolina played for first place. NC scores three goals and Portland, none. Portland wins, 2-1.

    Wild match.

  46. 46
    opiejeanne says:

    @Miss Bianca: I agree with Yarrow. No need to say anything to this person(s) who must have seen how she treated you or was maybe even in the cohort she got to torment you.

    At my 10 year HS reunion this guy showed up and was telling my husband what great friends we were. We were most certainly not good friends. He wasn’t even in the class of 68, he graduated a year later. He was a total dick to me for no reason, stole a box of candy bars from me that I was selling to raise money for the annual band trip. Back then, $18 was a lot of money to me. He did a bunch of other malicious things that he thought were hilarious that cost me money. He was just a fucking bully in HS.
    I just gaped at him and walked away, and took mr opiejeanne with me. I have forgotten his name, which is revenge enough.

  47. 47
    mrmoshpotato says:

    Never knew there was audio too. Them’z owls sound pissed.

  48. 48
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m taking the “say nothing…say *nothing*…” route. Except, you know, here. : )

    ETA: It’s actually kind of shocking to me to realize how many of my schoolmates have died comparatively young. My graduating class was only 67, so it’s not that many in relative terms, but still…

  49. 49
    opiejeanne says:

    @Yarrow: @Yarrow: You’re a good egg.

  50. 50
    Miss Bianca says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Yay for this update! I suppose “fuckem” probably wasn’t high on the list when you spoke to Marilyn, tho’… ; )

  51. 51
    Yarrow says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Thanks for calling her and thanks for the update. I’m glad she’s sounding optimistic and looking forward to the future. We do miss efg.

  52. 52
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    I didn’t have to say it. She knows!

  53. 53
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @opiejeanne: @Amir Khalid: That commenter has clearly decided that adherence to his aesthetic is more important than clear communication. His choice, of course. That being said, if I am not in the mood to translate stuff into standard English, I just scroll past now.

  54. 54
    trollhattan says:

    When you’ve been yelled at by an owl, you’ve been yelled at by the best. “Woo?”

  55. 55
    Ixnay says:

    We have friends in Tecolote, NM. It’s Spanish for burrowing owls. Have seen the burrows, but not the birds themselves.

  56. 56
    Ixnay says:

    While we’re on the topic, one of my all time favorite (very) short stories.

  57. 57
    opiejeanne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Me too.
    I don’t understand what it is that he’s trying to do, really. What is his accent supposed to be? I appreciate a well-written regional accent, once I figure out what is being said (sometimes by reading it aloud). His accent doesn’t seem to add any value to his stories.

  58. 58
    Miss Bianca says:

    @opiejeanne: Yeah, me three. Pity, because the rare times when he drops the affectation, I like what he has to say. But most of the time I just say, “Oh, Lord, *this* again,” and scroll on by.

  59. 59
    Amir Khalid says:

    Wikipedia lists ten birds in the category “subterranean nesting birds”.

  60. 60
    opiejeanne says:

    @Ixnay: In the 90s my husband worked for the city of Hayward, across the bay from San Francisco. He was doing some work on the municipal airport and found out that a Boy Scout troop had done a study of some burrowing owls that were living beside the runway and contacted the troop leader for help in locating the burrows. The leader didn’t remember exactly where the burrows had been but after scouring the entire field, everyone decided that owls had moved on, hopefully for better, quieter lodgings.

  61. 61
    trollhattan says:

    Speaking of Portland, yet again fascists are flocking. I hope their police chief handles this one differently.

  62. 62
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    His abusive responses to criticism over his style of communication should have earned him at least a time-out, I think.

  63. 63
    MattF says:

    @Amir Khalid: Interesting. However, my favorite is still ‘List of Fictional Ducks’.

  64. 64
    Mike J says:

    @Amir Khalid: That’s my fave Dylan song.

  65. 65
    trollhattan says:

    @Mike J:

    “Johnny’s in the burrow, mixin’ up the mouse guts.”

  66. 66
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: My go-to’s for baby pictures also include “Such a nice head of hair” as well as “What an alert baby,” “What an expressive face!” and “Who do you think he/she takes after?”

    Then I say babies are meant to keep you up all night. When we all lived in caves, if the parents fell into a deep sleep, a bear could whisk the little one off for a snack.

  67. 67
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @oatler.: Yes. Creeped me out. The BBC did a TV version which is on YouTube and is apparently well thought of. Trying to get the nerve to watch it.

  68. 68
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @oatler.: @Cheryl from Maryland: I never heard of it but I am intrigued…

  69. 69
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Ruckus: I have a cousin like that too, who has grown to be compassionate and tolerant in her middle age. If we weren’t related, I would have lost track of her and never enjoyed the transformation.

    To be honest, I have another cousin on the other side who probably thinks the same of me. I can’t say why I felt so uncomfortable with him in our child and young adult-hoods but whatever that was, it has happily fallen away.

  70. 70
    scribbler says:

    First time commenter. Delurking to say a word in defense of ola azul.
    I look forward to his comments. Does everything have to be communicated in “standard” English? He can be incisive, sarcastic, hilarious, and tell beautiful, evocative stories (as with his story last night).
    As others have said, you can always just scroll by.
    There now. I think I’ve managed to stake out a properly contrary position, as befits a first timer, trying on my jackal suit for the first time to see how it fits.

  71. 71
    Miss Bianca says:

    @trollhattan: Ha ha…altho’ “shreddin’ up the mouse guts” works for me, too.

  72. 72
    Msilaneous says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Thank you for checking in with Mrs. EFG. A good friend went through a similar transition when her husband died a couple of years ago. Her daughter and son-in-law and especially her grandkids made all the difference. So happy to hear Marilyn is doing well.

  73. 73
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Good news Jackals.The British Government has apparently made a decision on my Husband’s visa. Unfortunately it is a secret because they didn’t tell us what the decision was when they e-mailed us that they had made the decision (typical bureaucrats) so we won’t know until his passport arrives to him via UPS on Tuesday. Guess I am going to be biting my nails until then!

  74. 74
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: It must be like waiting for biopsy results — I didn’t eat for the better part of a week. I’ll be checking the threads Tuesday for your news.

  75. 75
    Barbara says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It only works for short bursts. Flannery O’Connor apparently wanted to write the narrative to Wise Blood in the dialect of the protagonist (southern mountain twang) and quickly realized it didn’t work. So the twangy, slurred dialect is for direct quotes only. I skip those comments entirely . . .

  76. 76
    tybee says:

    i don’t mind the affectation as much as i used to. he’s got some interesting stories…but…

  77. 77
    debbie says:


    I’ve stopped reading a couple of books when it became evident that trying to figure out what was being said was ruining the actual experience of reading.

  78. 78
    NotMax says:

    @Ohio Mom – @Omnes Omnibus

    “You must be very proud” covers a lot of ground. A LOT of ground.

    @Barbara – @Omnes Omnibus

    Yup. The thicker the shtick, the more of a workout the scrollbar gets, with alacrity.

  79. 79
    zhena gogolia says:


    So what did John Forsythe do to you?

  80. 80
  81. 81
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Shane in SLC: Steer clear of Bodega Bay.

  82. 82
    NotMax says:

    @zhena gogolia

    Suffice to say it involved a photo-taking opportunity (with the photographer off somewhere to change film), JF’s hands and sudden unagreed to over familiarity.


  83. 83
    zhena gogolia says:


    Wow. I had a crush on him when he was in Bachelor Father.

  84. 84
    satby says:

    @zhena gogolia: wait, what?
    And I missed another lecture on being close-minded? Darn.

  85. 85
    NotMax says:

    @zhena gogolia

    Remember that show well. This would have been when he was again riding high during Dynasty. No animus, for me was a case more of surprise than offense.

  86. 86
    zhena gogolia says:


    You’re not going to Taylor Swift him? (Is he alive?)

    Guess not, died 2010.

  87. 87
    NotMax says:

    @zhena gogolia

    Water under the bridge. Have always been more of a roll with the punches type of fellow. Makes for a slightly unusual anecdote, nothing more.

    There did exist the photo eventually taken of the two of us, but a grandmother snatched it long ago and have no idea what became of it after she died.

  88. 88
    SRW1 says:

    Have you annoying humans never heard about owl privacy laws?!

  89. 89
    NotMax says:


    Same happened with a photo of yours truly with Madeline Kahn taken at the same affair. IRL she was a tiny thing (it ought go without saying packed with enough talent for two giantesses)

  90. 90
    NotMax says:


    To be perfectly clear, when I say same happened I mean the same grandmother made off with that photo as well, not that anything untoward took place.


  91. 91
    Miss Bianca says:

    @NotMax: Madeline Kahn…sigh. One of my comic genius icons.

  92. 92
    zhena gogolia says:


    Oh, you scared me. I couldn’t imagine Madeline Kahn copping a feel! She was classy.

    She was a brilliant singer and comedian. Her scene at the airport with Mel Brooks in High Anxiety alone makes her a legend.

  93. 93
    NotMax says:

    @zhena gogolia

    Was fortunate enough to catch her on Broadway during her too short stint in On the Twentieth Century.

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Meh. I wouldn’t bother to say anything. You’re alive. She’s dead. You won.

  95. 95
    Ruckus says:


    May she rest in peace.

    I think this might be appropriate.
    May we rest better in her silence.

    I do think we need to understand that we will always have assholes. Ignoring them seldom helps all that much, especially the major assholes. For example, currently we have a major asshole as president. Are you going to say “May he rest in peace” when he’s gone? I’m not. Nor am I going to lose sleep over the lack of dignity that it may portend for the country. What the people that voted for him wanted and what he wanted to do for the country doesn’t deserve any respect or positive attention, because he’s all negative, all the time. We all have the capacity to hate, we don’t have to fulfill that capacity every day. This isn’t my world, or his, it’s ours. The school that Miss Bianca went to didn’t belong to the bullies, it belongs to everyone. The bullies shouldn’t get rewarded for being bullies.

  96. 96
    Steeplejack says:

    @bemused senior:

    Congratulations! Clear sailing ahead, I hope.

  97. 97
    Ruckus says:

    @Miss Bianca:
    67? Same year here.
    I was friends with a guy who was a lot taller than me, and a lot of the other kids. But then in fifth grade he started picking on me. One day I’d had more than enough and let him have it, full bore. At first he got angry that I was defending myself and tried calling me out to fight. That wasn’t his first mistake but it was the last one he made with me. I don’t like to fight, but there is a time and place for most everything. Often it isn’t worth the effort nor the possible payback but this time it was. I lost a “friend” but gained a lot of self respect. I haven’t been in a fight since. To me the moral is that we are supposed to grow up – mature as we age. Some of us take longer or never make that level of mature(ish). But for me it was part of recognizing that everyone has agency and no one is above that. Your “friend” probably never realized that or maybe she did. But recognizing it while it’s happening is the key to change, otherwise the damage can be permeant. I don’t think my “friend” ever bullied anyone again. Hell of a way to learn, or teach, a life lesson. But life isn’t always easy and is never a straight path.

  98. 98
    Ruckus says:

    @Ohio Mom:
    I left out of the story that she was this way from a very young age. And she lost her mother to congenital heart failure when she was 12. Four kids, oldest 12, youngest 1 year. Dad was a saint. She had changed from brat to actual human by the time she was 18, not middle life. And the family had been through having her brother die of crib death 2 yrs before mom died. He was six months old. Most of the kids went on to live good lives, as far as I know they are all still alive.
    Yeah this. Don’t expect too much, have a good life and make it possible for those around you to as well, and live it for all it’s worth. That’s winning in my book. Being around longer to enjoy it, a bonus.

  99. 99
    Tehanu says:

    @oatler.: Flowers, not owls!

  100. 100
    scribbler says:

    Tried to be a first time commenter much earlier, but my comment was in moderation and never appeared.

  101. 101
    opiejeanne says:

    @scribbler: I saw it. He has every right to write what he wants but when we complain that his writing is made difficult to wade through he does not have the right to become surly.
    If you like his nonsense, fine. We don’t dislike him but we dislike his attitude and his silly insistence on writing nearly-opaque monologues.

  102. 102
    scribbler says:

    Wait a minute. This is the website that is filled with jackals, right? Where a surly response is the expected response? I haven’t lost my direction? I think ola azul is allowed some latitude to respond negatively when he is so often chastised for his choice of language.

  103. 103
    Amir Khalid says:

    It’s fine to be a curmudgeon around here. It’s fine to argue with another jackal, and to criticise the thickly laid on rustic affectations that you reckon make his writing all but unreadable. It is even fine to defend one’s own use of such affectation. It is maybe not so fine to respond to criticism in an intemperate and often abusive tone.

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