RIP Bailey, a Good Dog

Horrible news from Tamara this morning, as her beloved Bailey has died in her sleep. I will let Tamara fill you all in when she has more information, but we believe it was due to a ruptured diaphragm that was punctured and repaired during surgery when she was a puppy.

I spoke with Tamara this morning and she is devastated, so please send some good vibes in her direction and keep her in your thoughts.

RIP Gracie- A Good Cat


These are some of my favorite photos of Gracie. She had a good cat life and she had her uniqueness in our house. Gracie was nobody’s cat because she exerted ownership over Grumpy Code Monkey. Every night she would get into his lap (microseconds from his butt hitting a seat cushion), lean into him and gaze up at him with pure adoration.

We got Gracie from a co-worker at the software company we both worked at 16 years ago. She had followed his son home as a kitten and was completely enamored of little boys. Unfortunately, his son was very allergic to cats and we said we would be happy to take her. Whenever we had a little boy over at the house, from a contractor’s son to our nephew, she would follow them around and beg them to be hers.
She was horrible as a bed cat. When she wanted to get up or be let out of the bedroom she would lick Grumpy’s eyes. But she was actually more content to just sleep in the kitchen so she could let us know promptly when her meal was meant to be in front of her.

She was named after Gracie Allen for her wonderful, constant, always on meow and her complete and utter lack of grace when walking the furniture when she was a kitten. Gracie was our last tuxedo and I’m not sure our house looks right without one in it.

This has been a very hard year with losing Mishka, my heart cat, in February and now losing John’s baby just a month after losing one of our best friends to cancer at 49. Even though we don’t comment a ton, the Balloon-Juice community has been a source of sanity and hope for the two of us in this difficult year.

She was clearly such a good girl. I had the pleasure of meeting RonnieRoo and GCM a while back. Hope to do so once again next time I am in town. Give your pets some attention tonight.


I grew up in Bergen County and I must differ with Lucinda Rosenfeld’s attribution of Jared Kushner’s entitlement to his growing up there. I was there somewhat earlier than she was, though.

The neighborhood I grew up in was ethnically mixed, although yes, white. Czech, German, Irish, longer-time American, and, overlaid, Jewish and Christian. We were Democrats and Republicans. We were too working-class to aspire to the heights of New York society. We kids would have disdained that anyway. We had the local playground, the railroad tracks that our parents wished we wouldn’t frequent, and buses to get to the next town. Who needed more? We had good schools that continue to be good.  The diversity mix has changed, but diversity there is.

It particularly pains me when I read that Kushner attended a private school in Paramus. Paramus was, for me, a magical place. Read more

Cat Blogging: Rest in Peace, Dirk (August 2000 – Sept. 14, 2017)


Spare a thought for commentor Tissue-Thin Pseudonym (JMN) tonight…

I’ll never see him again; all I have is memories.

I remember finding him huddled under the tire of our car on a February morning when it was 0 degrees. He wasn’t moving anywhere, so our only choices were to take him in or run him over. He had worms and a horrible case of ear mites, so we didn’t bother trying to find the owner who had let him get into such rough shape.

I remember the cat who loved to pester Monster until she completely lost it and would repeatedly smack him in the head. He absorbed his punishment without complaint: that’s the price you pay if you pester the top cat. Dirk had no problem being at the bottom, but he wasn’t going to let Monster shirk her responsibilities.

I remember that he picked up more nicknames than any other cat I’ve had. One of them was Bus Person, from his habit of wandering around the house muttering to himself, like that guy who gets on the bus and you hope doesn’t sit next to you. He was loud enough to be heard from three rooms away.

I remember the way that he and Eddie would wrestle. The goal was to pin the other so that you could groom him. It was very sweet.

I also remember how quickly he grasped that Eddie didn’t want to wrestle anymore during the last year of his life. He treated sick, three-legged Eddie with great gentleness.

I remember how annoyed he got when three month old Harry followed him everywhere around the house. Harry worshipped him, and Dirk learned first to tolerate it, and then to enjoy it. And Dirk’s gentleness with Eddie was repaid by Harry seeking him out and snuggling with him when Dirk was declining. Harry still worships him, and I’m not looking forward to tonight, when Harry starts to realize that Dirk isn’t coming back.

I remember Dirk losing weight and kidney function over the last two years. My plan was to let him decide when to check out, when he stopped eating, but he defeated that. He kept eating, even as his kidneys and heart and brain failed him. He kept trying to move around even when he struggled to keep his paws underneath him. The last few weeks, he adopted a sprawled out eating stance as his hind legs, especially the left one, slid to the sides.

And I remember his exquisitely soft fur, the last thing I got to experience of him, even after he had stopped breathing. I’ll be cleaning that fur off of everything I own for years still.

I miss him so much, and it’s only been an hour.

ABL for the Win!

This was all over my facebook page this a.m.:

Even on vacation in Italy, our Angry Black Lady is killing it. Miss her here, glad I can follow her on twitter.

Meanwhile I’m thinking about all our BJ jackals in Florida. Stay safe and keep checking in with us over the weekend.

Open thread..

Opportunity Space now and in the future

I could go all wonky and technical right now. Intellectualizing has always been one of my favored coping systems. But I just want to highlight two short threads on Twitter. The first is between me and my sister.

This is a vote to make our country a whole lot nastier and crueler and sicker. As I’ve mentioned a few times before, my mother is a zebra full of odd medical edge cases. Whenever she goes to Mass General Hospital, the interns are called into her exam room so that they can see some unusual scenario. My family has a history of a variety of genetically linked cancers, asthma, a potpouri of mental illness and other things.

I want to come back to a post that I wrote when Obergfall became the law of the land and my kids:

I don’t know much about how my kids will turn out when they get older. I know a few things though.

I know my daughter will be a massive dork (as she cried last night that she missed school as she was not learning enough new things at summer camp, and could we buy her some new math workbooks). I know she will be a goof ball with a massive amount of empathy and a strongly developed sense of fairness. I know that when she is adult, her possibility space will be massive….

Their possibility space just widened a little bit this morning. Being their dad, that makes my day.

Today is a contraction of the possibility space.

Now, the other vignette I want to highlight is an economic success story. Tim Williams covers the Pittsburgh Pirates. He runs a profitable small business website, Pittsburgh Prospects that tracks the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system. I am a subscriber as the writing that he and his team of paid writers produce every day is great. Pittsburgh Prospects started as a labor of love and turned into a great and geeky resource.

Underwritten insurance in the individual market shuts down a lot of dreams that can turn into viable businesses such as Pittsburgh Prospects as well as keep people from taking a risk.

I’ll have more to say including something about the most recent round of Byrd droppings tomorrow morning. We’ll also start talking about what else can be done.

Small Site Updates, greennotGreen News


I’ll be tweaking the sidebar a bit today and hope to add some nifty things to the comments either later today or tomorrow. Also, a rotating quote line is coming today!

On a more personal note, Terry, greennotGreen’s sister read the memorial thread and let me know how helpful it was:

Alain, I noticed the celebration thread up on BJ. Thanks so much. I’m actually going to use some of the quotations from Carol Ann for the memorial service. She would love the idea of writing part of it herself!

So there you go folks, well done!


Open thread!


ETA: OK, folks, exciting things just went live. Look below the comment form – there is now a comment help/tips section with lots of useful things (more to come, as things change).  And perhaps more importantly, a built-in pie filter. Use it to block annoying commenters and their comments. It’s harmless – enter a name or a comment number and all comments from that person will be turned into statements about pie. It works on a per-browser basis, storing your list in the browser’s site data.

All hail Major Major Major Major and cleek. Their help to convert the filter from something that you had to tack-on in a specific framework into a built-in function of the site was immense. Thanks guys, your help made this a better place for all.