Thoughts

Whaz Up?!? Mourning Magawa


Howdy y’all!

The first week back after a long holiday is always tough. You gotta play your way back into game shape. Unfortunately, the spring term is riddled with holidays and interruptions. I guess we’re going to muddle through somehow, though. A few spurious thoughts from the news:

  • BURNING NOSTRILS AND WATERING EYES: I bought a box of tissues of the Kleenex variety the other day. Upon first use, I discovered that its scent burned by nostrils and caused my eyes to water. Further investigation revealed that its scent was supplied by eucalyptus. Go figure.
  • DYING #COVID19 DENIERS and anti-vaxxers are proof positive that it is all fun and games until someone gets their eye poked out. I guess moms around the world were right after all.
  • AG GARLAND may be on the right track after all and legal Twitter just doesn’t know what it’s talking about as the Oathkeepers are indicted for seditious conspiracy. Go figure. The fella that led the prosecution of the Oklahoma City Bombing and a lifelong DoJ lawyer and judge knows more about bringing a case than folks on social media. Again, we now live at the speed of social media, but the rest of the world doesn’t.
  • FLOATING PETRI DISHES really is the best description of cruise ships. #COVID19 should be the death of that industry. Why would anyone willingly get on one of them is beyond me.
  • IS IT JUST ME or do celebrities seem to be dying at a faster rate than they have in previous years? I lose count and haven’t done any kind of statistical analysis, so likely as not it is just cognitive bias, but it does seem like we’re losing celebs at a quick clip. We said goodbye to Bob Saget and Adalia Rose Williams.

And, yes, I did miss the Saturday posting deadline. Otherwise, there’s been lots of news in the news and on the blogs. This is what I read this week:

Animals in the News

  • RAT HERO of Cambodia dies peacefully in retirement at age eight. Magawa was one of the rats that the non-profit, APOPO, trained to sniff out landmines in Cambodia. The rat helped clear 225,000 square meters and found over 100 mines and other explosives. The British veterinary charity, PDSA, awarded him a medal for animal bravery and service. RIP Magawa!
  • DRIVING GOLDFISH! That’s right, Israeli scientists have created a vehicle that can be driven by a goldfish! Turns out, they’re easier to teach to drive than your average teenager and safer, too. Sounds like something someone somewhere will market one day. Maybe they could combine it with a vacuum and your goldfish could spend its day running from your cat vacuuming your house… retirement might come sooner than I thought.
  • VITAMIX STANDOFF! A cat herd in British Columbia has organized their members into a round the clock stand-off with the owners of Vitamix. The cats refuse to get off of the box so that it can be opened and used. Things have gotten so bad, and so popular, that the Vitamix company sent them three empty decoy boxes! And, there are still those among us who believe cats actually LIKE their humans.

The Blogs

  • EVERYBODY NEEDS A HOBBY, Suze has quilting, at least when she gets around to it. Join me in congratulating her in bringing an 18 month-long quilting project to a close and admire the photos of the end result. (Suziland)
  • HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to Alaska! It’s the fiftieth anniversary for the 49th state, but who’s counting? Apparently, the University of Alaska who put on a pictorial display celebrating the event and blogged about by Dan Wall complete with pictures of the pictures! (northierthanthou)
  • SOMETIMES IT’S THE QUESTIONS. Tally blogs about questions she has, and every so often, every quarter or so — so being the operative term there — she reviews those questions. Somehow, the questions are most satisfying. You can choose which ones you seek answers to. (The Chatty Introvert)
  • MONTEZUMA’S REVENGE seems to be much on the mind of usfman, our favorite traveller, especially as he gets older. Still the bold adventurer has catalogued all the food he has passed up or regretted having tried for one reason or another. See if you can add a comment about some of the foods featured there. (Snippets of a Traveling Mind)
  • MORE THAN TWO CENTS WORTH. The blogosphere is lousy with platitudes about how to live a healthier, happier, hipper life. None come close to Wendy‘s health advice, Don’t get hit by a truck. She includes that and other wry observations about bill paying in her two-cents worth of thoughts on various events. (Greater Than Gravity)

The Friendly Blogs

It’s always nice to have friends, and it’s nice to have gratitude, so it’s doubly nice to have friends that you can be grateful for. Here are a few of the friends of the blog.

  • FEAR THE NEXT GENERATION: In what has become one of my favoritest serieses, Bobcabkings gives the best commentary on how we’ve protected our children from #COVID19 will come back and bite us in the ass in one short quote by Marcus Aurelius ! (Of Cabbages and Kings).
  • SEPARATED AT BIRTH: Sure, we’re all hating on Manchin and Sinema right now. Proof our exhaustion is that we aren’t burning up social media with more memes like this, though. Sinema leaves a skidmark in all of her memes. (Mock Paper Scissors)
  • TEMPTING TO BE SURE, but let’s just keep it as a meme and satisfying fantasy. Ten Bears says what we’ve all been thinking, and what we need to remind so many voters around the country of: without the feds redistributing the wealth and resources of the blue states to the red, most red states would be living in hopeless poverty. I doubt it will help elect more Democrats to Congress, though. (Homeless on the High Desert)
  • MORE MEDICAL ADVICE: Burr has returned to the land of the blogging with this sage medical advice: screaming continuous agony is not as much fun as people may think. I no longer recommend it. He’s got that and other interesting stuff that he’s collected from the Interwebs to survey on your Sunday. (Fair and Unbalanced)
  • NOT USING ENOUGH RUM seems like good advice since I discovered coquitos for Christmas. Anywho, Scottie has his cartoon roundup up and links to lots of other worthwhile stories. (Scottie’s Playtime)
  • GOOD FRIENDS to have are the folks running Crooks and Liars and their daily column, Mike’s Blog Round Up. A good source of news and entertainment. Be sure to check them out.
HUZZAH!
Jack

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Image Attribution

“APOPO HeroRAT – Rosie by rattyfied is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I looked everywhere for an open licensed image of Magawa but couldn’t find one. This is Rosie being trained by APOPO the non-profit that trained Magawa.

29 replies »

  1. I mourned Magawa, as he was an extraordinary hero in saving humans—mostly children—from losing life or limb, or dying from undetected TB. I’ve been donating to Apopo, the org that trained him and his fellow hero rats, since my brilliant rat-loving friend Peter died and had requested donations there. If you have time/interest, I wrote about the hero rats twice: in a tribute to my remarkable friend; and in a fun piece I titled “Oh, Rats!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Annie!

      Do I have time!?! I don’t have time not to! What I didn’t have time to do was do a WordPress Reader search or else I woulda found them that way. I’m heading over right now to bookmark them for reading.

      Rats, as it turns out, are easy to love. They are smart engaging animals if you give them the time to be. I’ve been a big rat fan since Sniffy the Virtual Lab Rat came out for operant conditioning.

      Thank you for supporting APOPO and the rats, too. Landmines are a big big problem all around the world, but especially here in Cambodia. I’ve done as much as I can to support the victims of landmines here.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Annie!

          It used to be on the “Ye Olde Blogge” page, but I updated it sometime last year. I do that every so often.

          I used to be a social worker. Got burned out and turned to teaching. First, I taught ESL in South Korea from 1996 – 2007. Now, I’m an international school teacher. I teach social studies in middle and high school. I frequently teach IB Psychology as a result. We’ve lived and taught in five countries: South Korea, Viet Nam, Kenya, China, and, now, Cambodia. It is the best way to live internationally.

          I don’t want to leave the misimpression that we are self-sacrificing teachers of orphans and refugees. We’re not. We teach the children of the elite, the children of NGO, diplomatic, government, and business.

          We’ve been in Cambodia for two years. I hope to retire from here in two more.

          Bits and pieces of the story are posted around the blog in the more personal entries.

          I’m happy to talk about our experiences and what we’ve done; it just isn’t the focus of the blog.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Like

  2. Thanks for the shout out. When looking for pithy observations on how democracies and republics fail, it is hard to beat those Greeks and Romans.

    The indictment of the Oathkeepers should have the leaders and enablers of the Proud Boys and Threepercenters singing a worried song. As Woody Guthrie said, “It takes a worried man to sing a worried song.” They have reason to worry.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope those mo’fo’s are sweating bullets right now. Those folks just piss me off.

      I don’t know why I’m always so surprised when I read something about democracy from the Ancient Greeks and Romans that shows tremendous insight into how it works. Those guys, especially the Greeks, it seems to me, actually understood how democracy worked and interacted with the human psyche, which hasn’t changed since then. I wish I had more time to read more deeply in the area.

      There is a lot of interesting work being published right now about how democracies fail. That probably is going to be our focus for the remainder of the year.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

      • As the Romans learned it from the Greeks, the Greeks learned it from someone else. What was it Plato said, “We’re all just children?”

        Thanks for the shout-out, someone’s gotta’ say it …

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Greeks and Romans did invent the formal structures of group public decision making at scale, and then got to see both the best and worst of it.

        We have a lot of people writing about democracy and how it can fail. How it can be kept from failing once on the downward slide is a harder subject.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Bob!

          I think my attention is turning more to how do we restore it once it is gone. I think we’re dead people walking right now. With the Supremes voting the way they are — There were maskless Justices during the arguments regarding the vaccine mandates when Breyer and Sotomayor have comorbidities, for Christ’s sake — Manchin and Sinema steadfastly blocking voting rights legislation, and the states eroding voting rights, I don’t know how the next election is anything remotely free and fair.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Liked by 1 person

          • Been a while but I have made the observation a number of times “everybody wants a revolution, but nobody has any idea what to do on the other side of one.” What’s that dog gonna’ do with that car? I’ll admit I’m a bit guilty … of not having any idea what to do on the other side of one. I’m not even sure about The Revolution; not a fan of British bar-bands but if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao …

            It is obvious we need to stop doing what we’re doing, it isn’t working.

            All of it is moot in the generally accepted vernacular, a waste of time, money and air, is beside the point. The thin layer of potentially toxic gasses we live in enveloping the only ball of rock we know of we can live on … does not recognize “nation/states”, or their squabbles internal or ex …

            Liked by 1 person

            • Howdy Ten!

              I remember coming to the same conclusion after watching the Sandanistas win in Nicaragua. I was disappointed that they fell into the authoritarian leftest way of running the government, too. It’s all fun and games until you actually win and have to go to work. On the other hand, when an organization actually can deliver on the day-to-day needs of people, then it enjoys wide support and deep forgiveness for all its assholery. Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Tammany Hall come to mind as clear examples.

              Huzzah!
              Jack

              Like

            • Howdy Bob!

              Watching the raping of Democratic counties in Georgia is pretty sobering. It lets us know that they are serious about voter nullification and stealing the election as openly and in as broad of daylight as they committed the Insurrection and the fraudits. That’s what is going to make it such a nasty fight. They can’t be shamed into changing. They openly want authoritarian minority rule.

              Huzzah!
              Jack

              Liked by 1 person

                • Howdy Bob!

                  I’m hoping that Biden’s press conference earlier today is the emergence of Fighting Joe Biden. He was landing some punches. The press was loving it. Let’s hop Biden is in active campaign mode and ready to fight for democracy.

                  Huzzah!
                  Jack

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • I think he is. For one thing, he is blocked on other options. He handled the hostile questioners and their attempts a Gottcha questions very well, particularly asking rhetorical counter questions.

                    I also think that both Manchin and Sinema should have primary challengers now. A lot of people (regardless of party affiliation) in both states have just discovered that the enhanced child tax credit money has stopped showing up in their accounts. The message needs to be, “If you want to know why that money is missing, the answer is Joe Manchin. He stopped it.” The same would go for all the other ways those two are costing their constituents already.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      I hope the Dems hammer home the voter suppression nullification angle and make it a single issue campaign. Democracy versus authoritarianism; moving forward to address the problems we face versus regression and reactionary. The fiery response of Klobuchar to a reporter’s question over voting rights the other day is what the whole campaign should be like. Her floor speech citing the 161 exceptions made to the filibuster was the kind of rhetorical clarity that we need.

                      But more than anything else, we need Biden to out there leading. Being visible. Not necessarily squabbling with the GOP and pundits in the press, but doing more of what he was doing at that presser being clear and honest and straightforward.

                      Whatever happened to the gaff-machine Biden, though?

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • One fact that needs frequent repetition in political speech and the coverage of it is: THE FILIBUSTER IS NOT IN THE CONSTITUTION!!!!!!!! Too much of the time is is treated as an immutable fact, carved in stone (probably as the Eleventh Commandment).

                      The Democracy versus authoritarianism message has to be primary, but with pointing out that the accomplishment of everything else that desperately needs to get done depends on it.

                      Hmmm – It is tempting to think that the gaff-machine was more in the ears of the pundits than in the mouth of Biden.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      I dunno. I remember some of Biden’s gaffs and his awful plagiarism incident in the ’88 campaign. I also remember his gaff when he said that he supported marriage equality and prodded Obama to do so, too. So, there may have been some method to his madness. I dunno. I think he got more discipline with age… kinda like the rest of us.

                      I’ve read that some Dem candidates think that it would be a mistake to run on the threat to democracy message. I guess it is based on polling that suggests it is a low priority for most voters, but the low ranking may be due more to not understanding the situation and the both sidesism of the reporting on it.

                      Hopefully, the public hearings of the Commission will change that somewhat and the repeated airing of the soundbites of GQP Congress people’s condemning Trump and the insurrection immediately after it and their softening of it will move the needle a bit.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Well, there is a large segment of “most voters” who do want only their votes to be counted. That said, among the rest there is some reason to hope they will get tuned in to the problem.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • It’s the framing problem all over again. If you ask voters about counting votes fairly, they’ll say they’re for it. But, if you ask them about eliminating the illegal votes, they’ll say they’re for that, too. Then, you add the disbelief that anyone in America would want to destroy our democracy and the stark evidence that we still have a democracy because people voted, and you get white voters not punishing Republican politicians for screwing them over.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yep. It’s not the art of the deal, but the art of the con. The con man has to keep the mark distracted and confident and trusting until after he has walked away with their life savings.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  • Another thought: I see a possible path for at least some of the Biden agenda. Those five senators he mentioned who live in fear of a primary challenge stand a good chance of getting one and losing to a more fiercely radical and loyal trumpster. They are not alone in that among GOP members of both Senate and House. What will those who lose those primaries do when they become lame ducks?

                    Liked by 1 person

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