Coming home to the #YatCats is heartwarming.
The #YatCats developed routines over the last few months. I attribute their consistency to the wife’s insistence we stick to a tight feeding schedule. They start to move around when her alarm goes off at 6am. They eat within the next half hour or so, then go off to do kitten things. Like cell phones, they need to recharge. So, when i come home from the coffee shop, I usually find them crashed out.
This is Nala’s typical coming home position. Helen’s tried a number of techniques to keep her off the dining room chairs. You can see the success of these attempts. Nala content to sit and watch Arwen be more active.
If Arwen had a smartphone, she would be one of the most active people on NextDoor. She loves to sit in the front window and look out. There are times when she’s playing, sometimes she’ll get all oooh-shiny and check what’s going on outside. We’re still not sure what she thinks about Rusty, the ginger tomcat who is the neighborhood mayor.
After writing in the morning, I need to rest my eyes. I come home around lunchtime, make a sandwich or a hot dog, then read a bit. When I sit on the couch, Arwen often jumps on the top of the back cushion and sprawls out. Yesterday was different. She walked up behind me, then slid down to sit next to me! Cuddle time in the afternoon. Hard to tell if I was missed or if she needed warmth.
Nala, of course, slept. Such a ginger kitty.
After a couple of eps of Star Trek: Discovery, Arwen got up to stretch. She joined Nala on the bed in LT Firstborn’s old room. Wife converted the room into an office for her and a guest room.
If you live in the New Orleans area, be sure to check out Animal Rescue New Orleans!
Cantrell silence is unacceptable
Cantrell silence on #kailascollapse
There’s an odd silence surrounding City Hall, from the mayor’s office to the City Council chamber. Politicians are not usually quiet creatures. They’re ambitious people. For the most part, they’re always running for something. While not every politician grandstands like Rudy! and Bush43 in the wake of 9/11, they are aware of the need to get out front and lead.
There’s no from City Hall or the Council Chamber on the collapse of the development at 1031 Canal Street that took place on 12-October-2019.
Uncharacteristic Council Silence
Why, then, are Mayor Cantrell and the seven members of the New Orleans City Council silent? The last two mayors, Mitch Landrieu and C. Ray Nagin, could barely drive home in the evening without coming under scrutiny from members of the council. Council members jump in front of microphones. More recently, they take to social media. They speak to the issues. They look forward. While some don’t aspire to remain in public service after their term, many look towards the next office. Silence creates a vacuum. Others fill vacuums. Voters listen to political aspirants as much as they do office-holders. The council behave like people who have something to hide, not leaders.
What do they have to hide?
“Laying low” makes sense, when you’re on the wrong side of an issue. Advisers and consultants tell politicians, let it pass. Laying low saved many a politician. David Vitter comes to mind. After becoming entangled in a prostitution scandal, Vitter stood up with his wife, confessed to a sin, and proceeded to keep his mouth shut. Silence enabled him to win re-election. Council members know this strategy can be successful. No accusations of wrongdoing have surfaced with respect to the current council. Nobody’s looked at, for example, campaign finance records, to see who took money from Kailas and his partners. Perhaps oppo researchers have this info in their back pockets.
Lawyer up, sluggo
Every time Donald Trump, Jr., says something incredibly stupid on Da Twittah, Charlie Pierce replies back with those three words. “Lawyer up” is a common action when one is even tangentially involved in a criminal investigation. The Kailas collapse is a homicide. People died, and not by accident. There are (hopefully) local and federal investigations moving forward, behind the scenes.
Silence enables politicians to ride out bad times. It also enables potential criminal defendants to avoid jail. Is this why our city government is so quiet?
Supper time for the #yatcats is pretty regular
One thing Mrs. YatPundit’s done with the #yatcats is to keep them on a tight schedule for feeding. Since they’re inside cats, they don’t forage on insects, birds and lizards like Amber did. The #YatCats lunge at the kitchen and bedroom windows when lizards climb the screens. Not sure if Hill’s Science Diet’s “Indoor Kitten” food is better than lizard or bird, but that’s what they eat.
Nala certainly has bulked up since gotcha day. She was a tiny thing, and now she’s over nine pounds. Arwen eats less than Nala. At first, we worried that Arwen muscled Nala out. No problem! Arwen isn’t gaining weight like her buddy, though. While her weight isn’t a problem, we’ve noticed that’s she’s just not keeping up. It’s hard to tell if Arwen dislikes the food, or just isn’t as hungry. No crisis, mind you, just something to monitor.
The kittehs know when it’s supper time. They know who feeds them, too. When Mrs. YatPundit left town for a work trip for a few days, the kittens didn’t stalk me as supper time approached. I sat on the couch or worked at my desk undisturbed. They heard the food bag, but didn’t see the regular feeder! On the next day, still no reaction. I wasn’t in charge of the food, and that was that.
They know the drill. I heard the door to wife’s car close and the beep indicating she locked it. Nala zoomed to the front door. She joined Arwen in the front. Tux kitty continued what I call her “NextDoor” shift. Arwen is a ginny-woman. Not sure if she’d use the app, but she sees a lot.
Other than a love for the milk left in my cereal bowl, these two eat just the Science Diet food. They sniff table food and move on. We’ll see if that changes!
String, bags, kittehs!
String, bags, kittehs
The #YatCats don’t miss me being up in Columbus, Ohio, teaching for Hitachi Vantara this week. Arwen (tux) took down the Christmas tree over last weekend, so it didn’t survive until Twelfth Night. Both of them were upset when it went out to the side of the house, to await pick-up for wetlands restoration.
The string on top of Arwen is over ten years old. I can’t remember where it came from, but Amber took to it at the time and played with it. LT Firstborn discovered she liked it and would play string with her. They were such a great pair.
When we brought home the kittens, the string remained hidden. It returned when LT Firstborn came home. He played with both kittens and the string so much over the holidays. While Nala (ginger) took to LT Firstborn, Arwen was a bit skeptical of him. Then the string came out and the three of them became fast friends. The boy would dangle both ends at the same time, and the kittens would go for it.
Amber’s string is a now part of the regular cat toy inventory. Kiddo’s girlfriend, who loves to entertain them so much, took up where LT Firstborn left off. Now, Arwen ends up with the string in various positions, just like her predecessor. Circle of Life. Or String, as it were.
Nala likes the string, but nowhere near as much as Arwen does. The ginger kitty is a Destroyer of Cardboard. She also destroys bags. We firmly believe this is some sort of Jungian-collective-conscious thing among ginger kittehs, since Amber did the same thing. Arwen likes to crawl in boxes and bags that are on their sides, but Nala rips them apart. Whenever there’s a box nearby, there is likely a corner with small pieces of cardboard around it. Total mess! This bag is easily the third or fourth she’s wrecked since coming to her forever home in August.
Iran background reading includes The Shia Revival by Vali Nasr
Iran background reading
Remember when The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was the go-to for folks looking to keep up with current events? Thirteen years later, the dynamics have changed. While the sources expanded, the process of learning about interesting nonfiction has not.
I watched Stewart interview scholar Vali Nasr in 2006. Nasr appeared on the show as part of his book tour for The Shia Revival, his book about Shia Islam, Iran, and Iraq. It was fascinating! I learned a lot about Shia Islam, and even more about how Persians think.
Nasr’s stories of how Iranians think kept my interest. Since 1979, way too many Americans view Iran as some evil monolith. That’s changed over the years. The Iran-Iraq war killed so many on both sides. Watching in horror from the US wasn’t a spectator sport, it was a nightmare. Both countries reeled from that war for a decade. Still, there was no real need for Iran background reading.
I didn’t think much about Iran in the 80s-90s. That changed, post 9/11, when the focus on radical Islamists grew. In the early aughts, we heard and read more about Iraq, naturally. As we did, the differences between Sunni and Shia Islam entered our discourse. Nasr’s book offered excellent Iran background reading. The author opened a door into the monolith.
That bit of Iran background reading sparked ideas in my head. When I wrote a story about dragon eggs, the notion of an “ancient Persian trading concern” popped into the thought stream. I discovered that legends hidden cities in the desert extend to Iran. I learned, like on so many other subjects, monoliths are not black-and-white. There’s the government, there’s culture and religion, and there are the people who walk the tightrope through these.
Keep up with Vali Nasr
I plan to re-read The Shia Revival next week. Additionally, I followed Nasr on Twitter. So, while following him, I also added a couple of people recommended by Da Twittah who connect to him. Check him out. I’ll share some excerpts from the book in your new Zuckerd00d group, YatPundit’s Pub.
YatPundit’s Pub is now a Facebook Group
I’ve been “YatPundit” on the Internet since the 1990s. @YatPundit is my primary account on Da Twittah. When I joined the Book of Zucker, YatPundit became my political presence, as a “page” under my main account, which is my name. While this works for my writing, it didn’t work for interaction.
The original page concept wasn’t bad, but the d00ds went public and needed to provide a return to shareholders. That’s when they started extorting page owners. Post something on your page, and you got “notifications” suggesting you “boost” the post for a fee. Then came the notifications that sounded like a protection racket in New York. “That’s a nice page you got there. Pity nobody’s going to read your posts.” The d00ds limited the reach of page posts. Even if thousands of users “like” the page, it may only be visible to hundreds. Unless you “boost.”
Page owners pushed back. They asked their friends to set “get notifications” for the page. Page visibility increased. Still, it wasn’t a good situation.
The last US election cycle exposed Zuckerbook as a bad actor in the process. One of the steps taken by the d00ds to rehab the image was to shift focus from pages to groups. They clam to have tightened up pages, so Petrograd bot farms can’t just create them and spread misinformation. The effectiveness of this move remains to be seen.
To improve user interaction on the platform, “groups” now have a bigger role. The d00ds want users to stay on the platform as long as possible. With pages taking a back seat, groups offer users gathering places. Post visibility increased. Group owners set their own rules. While they’re not quite “safe” spaces, it’s an improvement.
YatPundit’s Pub – come on in
The Pub welcomes you! Be warned, the politics are left-leaning and the beer is strong. If you’re a Trump supporter, or you hate Mitch Landrieu, this probably isn’t a good place for you to be. Otherwise, speak up, lurk, do whatcha wanna.
YatCats start off the New Year at YatPundit
We lost Amber, are eighteen-year old familiar, over last summer. It was devastating to lose the most important member of the family! We go on, of course, and at the end of August, I convinced Mrs. YatPundit that it was time for a kitten. So, we went to the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter to add to the family.
Amber was an outside cat. She eschewed her litter box and did her business outside. We regularly received presents of birds and mice. Remind me to tell y’all about the time she caught a bat and brought it home! As she got older, 15ish, though, Amber still wasn’t interested in the litter box, and needed to go out more often throughout the night. That disrupted our sleep patterns a bit. Mrs. YatPundit decided that, next cat would be an inside kitty. I agreed, with the condition that we would bring home two kittens. Amber had friends and foes in the neighborhood. I didn’t like the idea of an inside cat who didn’t have cat companionship. It wasn’t a hard sell.
Orange and Black
Mrs. YatPundit loves ginger kitties. Her cat growing up was an orange tabby. Then we got Brandy when we moved out to #themetrys. Brandy was with us for ten years. Pippin, her cairn terrier partner in crime, was with us another six years, then we got Amber. So long as one of the kittens was a ginger! So, off to the shelter we went to get YatCats.
The Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter is a no-kill shelter. We checked in and they took us to the “intake” room. That’s where they have the itty-bitty kittens. We looked at each orange tabby in there, but they were all males. Girl ginger kitty was one of the requirements. After striking out with the littles, the volunteer showing us around took us to the “older cat” room. It’s a room with chicken-wire walls and lots of shelves and things for Cats To Sleep On.
The kittens in this room were all 12-16 weeks. Some of the smaller ones huddled around us, but the volunteer had one in particular in mind. There was a ginger female sleeping on one of the shelves. She was the target.
Since we were planning to bring home two YatCats, I got to pick the second. I wanted a black kitten. You know all the stories about how black cats are the least adopted. So, to get to the ginger kitty, the volunteer had to pull a black kitten off of her. Both were asleep on the shelf, two peas in a pod. That made up my mind as to which black cat was coming home! I figured, if these two got along enough to sleep that closely, this was a pair. They’re not litter mates, so I call them “pound mates.” I picked up the black kitten, and it turned out she was a tux/socks cat rather than a midnight. No problem.
By the time I put down the tux, I turned to see wife with the ginger. It was all good! We did the paperwork, and they were scheduled to be fixed the following Monday morning. We picked them up that afternoon.
Nala cat is the ginger. I learned something new about cats. All-orange gingers are overwhelmingly male, but this little bit is a girl. Brandy and Amber were orange-and-white, and Amber actually had more white than orange. Nala is all-orange and a cutie. She’s a short-haired ball of floof. Nala looked like the runt of the littler when we picked her up. The backstory is she was dropped at the shelter with two siblings. They were fostered by volunteers and returned to the shelter at six-ish weeks. Nala’s put on a lot of weight since becoming one of the YatCats.
Arwen is the Evenstar. The paperwork listed her as “medium-hair.” There’s definitely more hair on her than Nala. Arwen is more a people-kitty than Nala. Arwen likes being in the same room with us, where Nala will go sit on the bed, or in a window sill by herself. Since I teach a lot from home now, Arwen comes into my office and hang out while I’m teaching. Her meow is like a bird-chirp. It’s cute. She will pace around my feet while I’m on WebEx, delivering a class. Then she’ll start chirping and I’ll have to pick her up. I wonder if the students can hear her purring?
Arwen is walking around the house with a fabric mouse in her mouth, and just settled under the Christmas tree. She’s chirping at it. Nala is napping at wife’s feet. Life is good.
#YatCats will be a weekly event here!
Check out Let’s Talk New Orleans!
Let’s Talk New Orleans Episode 1
Let’s Talk New Orleans Episode 1
The inaugural episode drops here on YatPundit. We’re setting up a site for the pod this weekend. In the meantime, have a listen here.
We talk German history and food in New Orleans. German-speaking folks have come to New Orleans since the 1720s and are a major influence on the city’s culture. From John Law’s expeditions to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans, through the Colonial period, to the establishment of St. Mary’s Assumption Parish, the German influence remained strong. Listen to Ed and Jessie discuss this wonderful history.
Naturally, it was lunch at a German restaurant that got Jessie and Ed started on Germans in New Orleans. Bratz Y’all is a restaurant on Piety Street in the Bywater. Jessie’s been several times, and this was Ed’s first visit. The restaurant is next door to Pizza Delicious, a popular Bywater joint with a metro-wide following.
We started with a salted pretzel and the Bavarian Caraway Brie dip. So good!
Jessie ordered a special off the chalkboard, “The Big German” — a huge brat with sauerkraut.
Ed got the Hunter’s Schnitzel. Impressive! There will be a YatCuisine post on schnitzel now. This was incredibly good.
There was beer drunk as well. Overall, this was a wonderful lunch. We always try to have lunch once a month and catch up. Even when you’re back-and-forth on Da Twittah all the time,
Worth the trip
Bratz Y’all is very much worth the trip down to the Bywater. The ride there and back is a history lesson in itself!
Tell us what you think!
Please give us your feedback on the pod! Tweet at us, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
A letter about wearing bras leads to #DearPrudence thoughts
The latest ep of Dear Prudence, Slate’s advice podcast and column, included a letter written by a woman asking advice about wearing bras. The letter and conversation between the host and his guest had me fascinated.
The “Dear Prudence” column goes back to the early days (if not the beginning) of Slate.com. I love it and always have. Prudence redefined advice columns. The column departed from traditional “Dear Abby” letters. They considered sex, serious relationship issues, and workplace thoughts. Over the years, several writers assumed the role of Prudence. Daniel Ortberg is the current incarnation of Prudence.
The column remains. It also morphed into a podcast, like so many things have. Danny brings a fascinating perspective to the conversation. His guests read letters and share their takes on the questions. Many are queer, another dimension that makes the pod so good.
So, Prudie and her guest this week, Tonya Mosley of KQED, read a letter about a woman who likes to take off her bra when she gets home. While that’s quite common, the problem comes in when company come over, after she’s lost the bra. Her husband wants her to put a bra back on. She doesn’t want to. The vibe from the letter indicates hubby thinks wife is inconsiderate to guests.
Prudie and Mosley roasted the husband. Danny (Prudie) is transitioning. He hated underwire bras. They both agreed that men who have never worn a bra don’t get this at all.
I have questions!
First, for y’all: would you put your bra back on?
Second: who has company over that would give shit? It’s evening. You escape reality in your home. Off comes the bra. If you knew guests were coming, would you have taken the bra off in the first place? This woman’s answer is, clearly, fuck yes.
What do you think?
It’s another Lit Thursday edition of YatPundit’s Pub 30-May-2019.
YatPundit’s Pub 30-May-2019
Two literary-themed brews on tap in YatPundit’s Pub 30-May-2019. First, we’ll talk about Memorial Day as a writing theme/prompt. Then we’ll review a novel, The Carousel Carver, by Perdita Buchan.
Memorial Day in New Orleans
While other parts of the country continue school well into June, Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the end of the K-12 school year in South Louisiana. There are two reasons for this. First, we start school early here. Up in New England, folks spend the “Indian Summer” days squeezing the last little bit of relaxation and daylight out of the summer season. They grudgingly go back to school after Labor Day. Many schools here used to start after Labor Day. They learned that kids fare better taking the hot days on the chin at the beginning of the year. By the end of May, they’re done. Done with a D. The other reason we end school in May is hurricanes. We build “storm days” into the schedule by starting in August. If things go badly, well, then we stretch into June. Otherwise, time gets built in.
So, by the end of May, families are ready for a vacation, even if it’s a quick run to the coast, to Florida, or to Disney. Let’s look at writing potential in that.
The Carousel Carver
A couple of months back, I received a message from a friend. He asked me if I’d read the galleys of a new novel from his friend’s publishing company. I said sure. The novel was The Carousel Carver, by Ms. Perdita Buchan. I figured, skim it, get a feel for it, say something nice. Well, that was the plan. I read the book and enjoyed it. While it’s not my regular reading fare, The Carousel Carver was a fun read. It’s a period piece, starting in Philly in 1912, following the main character to the Jersey Shore in the lead-up to World War II. I enjoyed it very much.
- Hardcover: 143 pages
- Publisher: Plexus Publishing, Inc. (May 14, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1940091047
- ISBN-13: 978-1940091044
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces