Attack of the Mutant Crayfishes! And Open Thread

Hobbyists in Europe imported an attractive and large marbled crayfish from the United States. Then the damn things mutated and became parthenogenic. The females lay fertile eggs. Buy one, and in no time you’ll have a hundred. They’ve escaped into the waterways. Nobody knows what to do about them.


Jim, foolish literalist, offered up a pretty good explanation of that video of the wind whipping Trump’s hair away from his bald spot(s).


And Zooey is waiting for the North Korean parade.



Open thread!

Happy Anniversary To Us

A year ago today, Ric and Zooey came to live with me.

I had recently lost an older cat who had been with me only three months. A woman had to give him up, and it turned out he didn’t have much longer to live anyway.

He was the first cat I had had for a couple of decades. Chairman Mao, the most loveable applehead Siamese ever, had died at a time when my job was too demanding to have a cat at home too.

I was looking for two cats to keep each other company, and my preference was for tabbies or Siamese mixes. I pored over the Santa Fe Animal Shelter website and found a few possibilities. I went to the shelter and one of the stores that house cats in transition to see them all. The website listed a bonded pair, but I hadn’t seen them. I looked again, and they were at the shelter’s secondhand store, Look What The Cat Dragged In. Read more

Ann Arbor Cat Bleg Happy Update


Remember Freya and Sweetpea, who needed a new home after their disabled owner died? Just got a great update from Alexi:

I am glad to report that we have a happy ending for Freya and Sweetpea! They have a new home in Ann Arbor with Asuki, who was newly catless.

We used the wheelchair lift van to transport the gigantic cat tower and all their other stuff.

As you can see in the photo, Sweetpea is already using the tower to surveil the Huron River and the critters who live by it.

Freya mostly stayed under the couch, but she did venture out to investigate her litter box’s new location. Their new human guardian is semi-retired, so they will get plenty of attention.

Thank you to everyone for networking and brainstorming to help us relocate Sweetpea and Freya. It’s a huge relief for my friend, B, because she isn’t able to keep her apartment now that her partner has died. Having the cats really complicated the search for affordable housing, and she was worried about future vet bills. Now B knows that the cats at least will have a good home.

P.S. I asked about setting up donations, but B isn’t comfortable with that. We didn’t end up having any cat relocation costs except driving them across town. Thanks again to everyone who offered help!

Always good to have some happy news on a politically stormy day… which is just about *every* day, right now…

You Call That a Cat? THIS is a Cat…(With a Depressing Postscript)

Tikka has been in fine form lately, so I thought I’d share the force of his personality on a blog that can always use some more afternoon thread.

Here he is recently, showing some signs of mental wear and tear:

Tikka does not like strangers. And by strangers he means just about everyone who isn’t me.  He’ll tolerate my son and spouse, but after that?  We’ve had a lot of relatives staying over the last month or so, my wife’s sister for one, who is very much a cat person, and my own sister, likewise — she’s a pillar volunteer at the local pet shelter and all that good stuff.

My S-I-L has learned not to engage Tikka, and in his turn he now merely growls when she passes, and only very rarely whacks her as she goes.  My sister knows Tikka hates her, but can’t resist making eye contact. The result is increasing cat madness.  Those two bipedal monsters have both returned home now, and my fair feline is calming down quite a bit.  Hence this, taken about an hour ago:

A Cat In Full — and don’t you ever doubt it.

And now to some heavier material.  I’m very much looking to the next posts in Cheryl’s series on gender and national security (first one here). As we wait for those, you might want to check out this by Andrew Bacevich [corrected link], a professor at B. U. (and a retired U.S.A. Lt. Col.) focusing on national security.

A taste:

What makes a Harvey Weinstein moment? The now-disgraced Hollywood mogul is hardly the first powerful man to stand accused of having abused women. The Harveys who preceded Harvey himself are legion, their prominence matching or exceeding his own and the misdeeds with which they were charged at least as reprehensible.

…As far as male sexual hijinks are concerned, we might compare Weinstein’s epic fall from grace to the stock market crash of 1929: one week it’s the anything-goes Roaring Twenties, the next we’re smack dab in a Great Depression.

…All of this serves as a reminder that, on some matters at least, the American people retain an admirable capacity for outrage. We can distinguish between the tolerable and the intolerable. And we can demand accountability of powerful individuals and institutions.

[But] compare their culpability to that of the high-ranking officials who have presided over or promoted this country’s various military misadventures of the present century.  Those wars have, of course, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and will ultimately cost American taxpayers many trillions of dollars.  Nor have those costly military efforts eliminated “terrorism,” as President George W. Bush promised back when today’s G.I.s were still in diapers.

…war has become a habit to which the United States is addicted.  Except for the terminally distracted, most of us know that.  We also know — we cannot not know — that, in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. forces have been unable to accomplish their assigned mission, despite more than 16 years of fighting in the former and more than a decade in the latter…

Bacevich isn’t quite talking about what Cheryl’s begun to lay out.  But it seems to me that the two may be striking some of the same notes.  Anyway, I am as I have long been astonished, angered, and deeply saddened by the way so many of our leaders — lately but not always mostly Republicans — have been so profligate with other people’s kids.


The old Lie.

Damn — that’s a downer ending for a cat post.  Sorry. The times are what the times contain.

Wednesday Night Open Thread: Scout Puppeh!

Here you go..

She’s almost 17.5 lbs and getting tall.  She brightens every day and Bixby is Bixby again. I am so very grateful for that. There many more photos of her and Bixby here.

Bonus kitteh:

I suspect she’s called this meeting to let me know my performance review is going to go badly.

Open thread.

Cat Rescue Bleg — Ann Arbor, MI


From “longtime BJ lurker/infrequent commenter” Alexi:

I’m hoping you might help lend your megaphone to the effort to find a home or homes for Sweetpea and Freya.

Sweetpea is a neutered male, 5 years old, dark chocolate colored with black markings. His name comes from his bright green eyes. He is affectionate with family, though shy with strange humans. He gets along well with other cats and dogs.

Freya is a spayed female, about 3 years old, tortoiseshell. She is friendly to humans, dogs, and other cats.

Both cats currently live in Ann Arbor, Michigan; we are looking to place them together or separately. They have only lived with each other for a year, so we think they could adapt if separated.

They belonged to a good friend of mine who died in December. Her family doesn’t have any resources to take care of the cats due to the inhumane nature of the Medicaid/SSDI system. My friend had spinal muscular atrophy, which causes progressive paralysis. She wasn’t allowed to have savings of more than $2000, and her partner (also disabled; they couldn’t marry due to Medicaid) was employed as her care aide for the last 20 years, so now the partner has no income until she can get herself back on SSI. It’s just a tough situation, and it would be a big help if we could find placements for the cats.

I have attached photos of each kitty. Apologies for the quality on Sweetpea’s portrait.

If you’re interested / know someone who might be / have a lead for an alternate placement, leave a comment below, or email me directly at

Happy Cat Rescue Update: Tripod Tex

The little ex-feral is doing most excellent! Heard from Reilyn, who couriered Miss Callie:

A quick follow-up…I sent a note to Lori, the organizer, right after the donation; letting her know this was the leftovers from the Callie collections from the BalloonJuice community and therefore asking that she use the rest to either cover additional vet care for Tex or use to help other kittehz in need:

“Thank you! I will use extra money towards insulated outdoor shelters for the cats in Tex’s colony, and to help defray costs of TNR of the colony (and any friendly kittens we can adopt out)…

“I cannot thank you and the folks in your group enough for all of your incredible generosity for Tex!! My husband and I are pretty much speechless to receive such support from people we don’t know, for this wonderful little cat.

Tex loves to run and play. He purrs if we just look at him. I took him to our vet last week for his rabies vaccination and his first distemper vaccination. He’ll be neutered before he’s adopted out.

I have one couple that might adopt him, but if not, he’ll be on soon through the no-kill cat shelter I volunteer with,, here in Albany, NY.

Again, please thank everyone for me — Tex is such a happy little guy. That bad leg would have killed him with that bone infection … He is definitely worth keeping in this world for as long as possible! :) Lori”


I just heard from Lori that the Balloon Juice contribution for Tex’s GoFundMe—which brought her to and over goal — arrived. As a thank you, she’s sending a few pics of Tex for you and the Juicers.

Thanks so much; it means a lot to la Caterina and me, but far more to Lori and Tex.

We did good, guys.