We Had A Good Day Here

This guy:

…is in remission and no longer needs any diabetes medication. It was a terrific surprise. Here he’s giving Maddie the once over as she wanders by.

I love my vet – Dr. Steve has an entire mobile van and is as reasonable as our old vet clinic – and today I had him not only do a routine check on Jake, but everyone else in the tribe (well not the ducks, but more on that later).  My credit card is still smoking, but everyone is healthy and happy and the whole visit was stress free. And of course the great Jake news made the whole day.

This was Bailey’s first full vet check since she came to live here (the rescue group vet did one before I adopted, so I didn’t see a reason to stress her anymore those first few months). And she is as beautiful as her photos would indicate. Dr. Steve says her bone and muscle structure are good and she doesn’t look like she’ll have any structural issues down the road.

Bixby is not so lucky – he broke a toe early on and it’s going to continue to give him issues going forward that we’ll address as needed. He also, because he’s so rough and tumble, has a continued strained muscle along his shoulder and rib cage. Not that any of this stops him from anything. Just things I’ll keep an eye on as he ages.

Emma, Mabel and Maddie (right to left)

Dr. Steve is on the hunt for a family to adopt the Ladies and I have to tell you I felt a twinge was we talked about it. But we’ll see what he comes up with before I go all to pieces about letting them go.

How is everyone else this evening?

Open thread



Stray Thoughts and Mental Misdemeanors

I’ve been quiet for the last several days* for several reasons. I’ve been heartsick; paralyzed with rage, unable to form sentences;** and, perhaps most to the point, unable to add much, if anything, to what everyone else has been saying.

What’s more, I’m well behind on my book project, and just about ever last erg of writing energy I may have by rights has to go there. Plus I’m heading off this weekend eclipse chasing, then off-the-grid resetting (a place in NE California that lacks cell signal and any form of internet, 13 miles from the nearest hamlet, no town electricity or services at all.  IOW:  paradise).  So I’m not going to be adding much to the conversation for a while yet, as in, for some months.

But I don’t want to remain completely uncounted, so here I’ll just say two things.  First, of course, is to sign on to what every other, more responsible poster has said here:  Donald Trump is not just a bad president. He’s an existential danger to the US and the world — and he is allowed to be so by a Republican Party that is wholly complicit in his failure, his corruption, and in accepting his embrace of evil.  As we do our best not just to resist but to overcome, we must aim not just for Trump’s fall, but for salt to rain on the fields of the entire, and thoroughly misnamed Grand Grotesque Old Party.

And second, because not even dire political straits can be navigated by rage and desperation alone, here’s a treat I discovered as I took one of my winding journeys through the ‘tubes.

That is:  I’m writing (inter alia) about the South Sea Bubble.  I was, for reasons that, trust me,*** make perfect sense in context, trying to discover a little more about the forestalled first voyage of the South Sea Company ship the Royal George.  Googling around that I was led to an image of the so-called South Sea shilling — part of a coinage in several denominations minted in 1723, three years after the Bubble, using silver the Company found in one of its few successful maritime ventures.

That led me to Spink and Son’s website to see if I could pick up such a coin as a curio and a keepsake.  Spink’s is a fabulous too-English establishment, with retail premises in London not far from the British Museum, and an astonishing collection of rare coins and medals.  It’s not really the right place to look for my coin — South Sea shillings are way too common and plebian, it turns out, and Spink’s likes to quote numbers with way too many zeroes in it for my bank balance.  But you know how it is.  Once there one can’t help mouse around — and cruising over to their private sale page, I found this:

The Dickin Medal

Awarded to 3 year old pigeon NURP.41.SBS.219 The Duke of Normandy, 21st Army Group, D-Day 6/6/44, AFS, No. 1086, DM No.45.

Here’s Spink’s photo of his grace’s medal:

The Duke of Normandy’s citation reads:

“For being the first bird to arrive with a message from Paratroops of the 21st Army Group behind enemy lines on D-Day, 6th June 1944 while serving with the APS (Allied Pigeon Service).”

That would have been the crucial information that paratroopers had managed to secure a key German battery overlooking Sword Beach in time for the D-Day assault on that position.

BTW:  if you want that bauble, it’s offered at £15,000.

Here’s the Duke himself, a fine specimen of pigeon-hood:

Some of y’all are likely much better informed than I am, but for me, the Dickin Medal was novel territory, so some further research was clearly required.  Of course in idle surfing, that means a quick trip to Wikipedia.  It turns out that the Dickin Medal is often termed “the animal Victoria Cross,” which apparently makes the human Victoria Cross people rather cross, which ISTM is their problem.

The Dickin Medal has been awarded 67 times since it was instituted in 1943.  The first went to the pigeon White Vision, who flew into headwinds for nine hours to deliver a message that led to the rescue of the crew of a flying boat that was forced down near the Hebrides.  The most recent award went, posthumously, to Reckless, a Mongolian mare who served with the US Army in Korea.  Here she is under fire…

And here in happier days:

She was, apparently, something of a character:

Out of a race horse dam, she was purchased in October 1952 for $250 from a Korean stableboy at the Seoul racetrack who needed money to buy an artificial leg for his sister. Reckless was bought by members of the United States Marine Corps and trained to be a pack horse for the Recoilless Rifle Platoon, Anti-Tank Company, 5th Marine Regiment1st Marine Division.[1] She quickly became part of the unit and was allowed to roam freely through camp, entering the Marines’ tents, where she would sleep on cold nights, and was known for her willingness to eat nearly anything, including scrambled eggs, beer, Coca-Cola and, once, about $30 worth of poker chips.

She served as an ammunition resupply horse–which is itself a reminder that for much of the twentieth century mechanized war was a hell of lot less internal-combustion-powered than you might think.  See, e.g., this glimpse of German resupply on the Eastern Front in 1942:

Back to Reckless: her medal-winning feats came during the Battle for Outpost Vegas, during which she made 51 trips, covering 35 miles, ferrying over four and half tons of artillery ammunition to the front lines.  She was wounded twice, and received two battlefield promotions, to corporal and then sergeant, and survived the war to live out a comfortable retirement in the United States.

As with the Victoria Cross, it’s not uncommon for Dickin Medal winners to have died in the action which earned them their award for valor, and many of the most recent winners have been dogs trained in the discovery of IEDs.  Here’s Buster, an RAF sniffer dog who, thankfully, survived his service in Iraq in 2003 to make it to the very respectable age of 16:

All of which is to say that there are so many much better creatures in the world than the vileness currently infesting the Oval Office, and all those who in any way made or make that continuing disgrace possible.

But we knew that.

So to close:  here’s to the Duke, to White Vision, to Reckless and Buster and the rest of their gallant company — and to all those who keep us company, who are, if unable to banish Trump, are still able to ease our spirits, the better to fight the bastards again tomorrow:

Over to y’all.  Try to have some fun.  We’ll all need it.

*not on Twitter, TBH.

**with more than 140 characters

***in general, whenever you hear that, or even more, Trump’s favorite imperative, “believe me,” put both hands on your wallet.  Someone’s lying to you.  But not this time.

Images: Spink and Sons, Duke of Normandy Dickin Medal.

Paradata, The Duke of Normandy,

Camp Pendleton Archives, Reckless Under Fire,

US Marine Corps history division, Sgt. Reckless, Camp Pendleton

Bundesarchiv, German Supply Wagon in Mud1942

Me, Tikka, Hairy Eyeball, 2017

 

 



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: “My Pride of Tigers”

Some much-needed happy news — a rescue update from catspaw commentor Marc:

A little over two years ago, DemTaters had a sweet kitty show up at her home, and sent out a bleg, as she could not take in another pet. I responded, having lost my little kitty Sabrina two months prior, and my condo was feeling a bit empty. Dropped off along with Miri was a generous donation by juicers for her spay. I setup an appointment with Banfield for her checkup and wellness care. During her vet visit, she was pronounced to be ‘in the family way’ — with three little ones. On 14 August 2015, five little ones came into the world.

When the time came, I was able to find forever homes for two – several people stated they were interested in getting one of the others, but all backed out for various reasons. November rolled around and I was starting to worry about the three left – if they stayed too much longer, I’d get attached. Shortly after Thanksgiving was when I threw in the towel, and so Miri wound up filling my home more than I expected.

Here are a few pictures of my Tribe of Tigers at Two:

Miri is the most ‘people’ cat I’ve known. While her kids scatter if another person comes into the condo, she walks up to them ‘meows’ and asks to be petted. While not a lap kitty, she loves lounging on the computer desk while I’m using it.

Tigger is the biggest of the Tribe – and a real bird toy killer. He played so hard with a chirping toy, that the soundbox came out of it – but only after it had run out of power.

Sylk is a sweet Princess – still adventurous, but also very much a lap kitty. I’ve found her on top of doors, and on top of the plate cabinet in the next photo.

Flynn is the clever one – he opens cabinets, dresser drawers, and the door to the computer room (if left unlocked).

You can’t spell homeowner without a ‘meow’.

If Miri doesn’t have some ‘oriental’ Siamese-style genes — and her nosiness about people coming into her home argues she does — her kittens sure do. Even apart from Sylk’s blue eyes, those aerialist climbs and drawer-opening skills are well-known Meezer stunts. Meezer-type cats can be hella aggravating, but they’re never boring!
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Apart from blessing all the rescuers, what’s on the agenda for the new day?



I Suppose It’s Bad I’ve Named Them: Thursday Evening Open Thread

Just wanted to let you know there will be a Writing Group post this Sunday. Get your pens ready.

Last week a couple of people asked me for an update on the ducks. They are still here. I’m in foster mode, so not too attached. But they did acquire names. It’s difficult when you have a ten year old for the week to NOT name them.

Mabel (the Rouen – brown with iridescent green markings) is recovering nicely. She was quite weak and wasn’t eating well for the first few days. Now she eats all the time and keeps trying to steal Bailey’s dinner. I’ve addressed that, so poor Bailey can eat in peace. The Blue Swedish is Maddie and she’s hell on wheels. And keeps an eye on me.

That’s not creepy at all, right? They are clearly hand raised – they eat out  of my hand, they come running when I go outside and are unfazed by cats, dogs or 10 year olds.  Funny thing, yesterday I was sitting on the steps, feeding them when Mabel mistook my nicely painted toenail for a snack. We both got a surprise.

I suppose none of us will be surprised if this turns out to be a foster fail. But I’m not there yet.

How about a happy news, politics free open thread? Have any good news to share?

ETA: Thanks to dmsilev for this








This Was Not How I Expected To End My Day

After a very long week away and an even longer 8 hour drive home, this happened. A neighbor spotted these two at the local playground (with pond) and they tried to follow him home. This was yesterday and he was worried. So, since my niece and I had been driving all day, we decided we could use a walk and went to see what we could see.

These two came right up to us. They were hungry, friendly and completely ill-equipped to survive on their own. I had brought cat food along (mine ate cat and dog food along with chicken feed for that well rounded diet, LOL – or just to annoy the four-footers in the family) and they took it right out of my hand.

The only thing I had to capture them with was a cooler a friend had lent me for the trip. Deciding I’d just buy her a new one, I corralled them (one in the grass, the other I had to snag from the water) and brought them home.

Their photo is now on the neighborhood lost and found website page and they are tucked away in the garage, with food, water, cilantro – a duck favorite. Bixby is beside himself with curiosity, but I don’t want to stress them, so he’s banned from the garage.

The good news, the excitement has tempered any disapproval from the dogs about my long absence. The bad news? I’m attached (I love ducks) but am in no position at the moment to add more critters to my menagerie. There may need to be an intervention.

I. am. exhausted.

Open thread!








Saturday Morning Open Thread: Call Him Jared

I particularly love the other two dogs, giving Mr. Happy Laps the hairy eyeball — and a wide berth.

Apart from maybe hitting the pool, what’s on the agenda for this summer weekend day?

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Speaking of ludicrous instinctive actions from an organism not bred for critical thinking…

Jared Kushner failed to disclose dozens of financial holdings that he was required to declare when he joined the White House as an adviser to President Trump, his father-in-law, according to a ­revised form released Friday.

A separate document released Friday also showed that Kushner’s wife, presidential daughter Ivanka Trump, had been paid as much as $5 million from her outside businesses over an 84-day span this spring around the time she entered the White House as a senior adviser and pledged to distance herself from her private holdings.

And they both continue to draw large sums from outside interests: The couple has jointly made at least $19 million in income from business ventures and listed more than $80 million in real estate and other revenues since the start of 2016, the documents show…

Ivanka Trump also listed ­receiving $2.4 million in hotel-related revenue from the Trump International Hotel in Washington. She said she earned $787,500 from a publisher’s advance for her book “Women Who Work,” which debuted in May. And she reported $2.5 million in salary and severance from her “continued participation in employer-sponsored 401(k) plan” of Trump Payroll Corp., a side entity that handles Trump Organization wages.

For his part, Kushner earned millions from his family’s real estate over the past year, his filing shows. He pulled in between $1 million and $5 million between January 2016 and March 9 of this year from BFPS Ventures, a holding company valued at between $5 million and $25 million.

An earlier version of Kushner’s disclosure form described BFPS as a company focused on “real estate in New York.” However, public documents revealed, and Kushner’s legal team later confirmed, that it held a wide range of entities, including an Oklahoma oil and gas firm that has been sold…



Saturday Morning Open Thread, No Politics (Except by Implication) Edition

Blair Braverman is a dogsled racer; that peculiar vehicle in the background is how you transport a whole team of extremely hyper, very fit dogs to Their Happiest Place on Earth (and believe me I’ve known flyball competitors and even some AKC conformation handlers who’d at least consider using a similar trailer).

I could do seventeen Trump-Crime-Family posts every day, except (a) I have a life, believe it or not; and (b) I do not wish to be responsible for any readers throwing themselves or even their devices out the nearest window.

Political or not, what’s on the agenda for the day?
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Especially for beloved commentor SiubhanDuinne…