Spammers & Scammers & Trolls — OH NO!

I am NOT a criminal who is wanted in four states.  NOT!  However, below are four voice-mails I have received this month that might give you reason to question my statement:

May 15; 10:19 a.m.

The local police there are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment. We would request you to get back to us so that we can discuss about this case before taking any legal action against you.  Number to reach us is 585-633-2725.  Thank you.

May 16; 12:30 p.m.

There are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment.  We would request you to get back to us so that we can discuss about this case before taking any legal action against you.  The number to reach us is 917-382-7107.  Thank you.

May 21; 10.46 a.m.

Is there are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment.  We would request you to get back to us so that we can discuss about this case before taking any legal action against you.  The number to reach us is 607-595-3962.  Thank you.

May 22; 10:26 a.m.

There are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment.  We would request you to get back to us so that we can discuss about this case before taking any legal action against you.  The number to reach us is 347-384-3901. Thank you.

warrantNotice that my name is never mentioned?  Also notice the English is not very good?  I  listened to one of the messages to see if perhaps it was just my voice-to-text that was making it appear to be broken English, but no, they are speaking with a heavy accent and saying exactly the words you see here.

This scam started a couple of months ago.  The first was from Las Vegas, the next Florida, California, then New York.  All places I have not set foot in for at least 20-30 years.  I laughed it off and blocked the numbers.  But, as soon as I block one number, they pop up on a different one.  All of the above calls are from New York area codes.  At first it was funny, but after 3-4 months of this, I am no longer laughing.  I rarely get to bed early, usually somewhere between 3:00 – 5:00 a.m., so I do not appreciate an early call, when I have barely slept an hour.  I now keep my phone on ‘silent’ most of the time, for my phone ringer is very loud and obnoxious (intentionally, so that I can hear it when somebody actually calls).

funeral homeAnd then there are the ads that come in the mail for the funeral homes and old-age homes.  GAWK!!!  I walk 4 miles a day, weather permitting.  I maintain a two-story, three-bedroom, three-bath townhouse.  I cook 4-5 nights a week.  I do 12-14 loads of laundry a week.  I take care of 7 unruly kitties.  I do not think I need to enter an old-age home, nor a funeral home just yet and frankly, I am offended to receive as many as ten glossy advertisements in the mail each week encouraging me to hurry and plan my funeral before it’s too late!  I worked for a publishing/printing company, and I know what those glossy ads cost.  Frankly, I will be cremated, my ashes can be put in a Ziploc bag until the girls have time to dump them in a forest somewhere.  No muss, no fuss, no expense.  So stop sending me the bloody ads!!!

And then there is the spam email.  Sigh.  I was getting, on average, more than 200 per 24-hour period.  I have an excellent spam filter, so it is rare that any of it makes it to my inbox, but I still have to at least glance at every bit of it in order to ensure that something didn’t accidentally go to spam.  It happens … not often, but it happens.  So, last week I went on a campaign to ‘unsubscribe’ from every bloomin’ spammy email.  Every few hours I cleaned out the spam folder, unsubscribing to each.

'Wow! I've got one from someone I know!'First problem, some emails do not have an ‘unsubscribe’ button.  Second problem, some force you to provide your email address, and then pop up a message saying “Unsubscribe was unsuccessful.  Please try again later.”  Third problem, in some cases, rather than the emails stopping, they multiplied exponentially!  So, after hours spent trying to stop the spam, I am now getting almost emailsthe same amount I was before.

Notice to all spammers:  If I need an insurance policy, dental implants, plumbing repairs, genital enhancements, a hit man, Viagra, new windows, or a girlfriend, I will NOT be contacting you!!!

Okay, so we all have this same problem, and maybe I am making a mountain out of a molehill, blowing it all out of proportion, but I work hard, and I don’t have time to waste on such idiocy.  More and more, it is driving me nuts and I want to retaliate by giving the callers an earful, but I know – have been told by all the experts – this will only prove that mine is a working number and will increase the number of calls.  But, sigh, there ought to be a way to stop it.

What is most worrisome, though, even more than my annoyance, is that obviously some people are falling for all this b.s. and are being robbed. I am willing to bet that in most cases it is the elderly who are falling for the scams.  Take the phone calls, for example.  If I were to answer one of those calls, or call them back, I bet money they would say something along the lines of, “Oh … it could be a mistake … just give me your social security number and let me double check.  … … … Ma’am?  There was a mistake … it was not you, but somebody else.  My apologies.  Have a nice day.”  And now they have your social security number, possibly your driver’s license number, age, address, and maybe even your bank information.  What could possibly go wrong, eh?

The glorious age of instant electronic communication is not without its drawbacks.  Sigh.

Good People Doing Good Things — JJ Watt

I did not even have to go in search of this week’s ‘good person’ — he fell right into my lap.  Okay, okay, no not literally.  But he was a headliner today, so he wasn’t hard to find.  As you all know, sports is not my strong suit, and football (American-style, with the ovoid pigskin, for my non-US amigos) is definitely not my forte.  But yet, today’s good person is an excellent football player, I am told, but an even better human being.  Allow me to introduce today’s good person doing good things, Justin James Watt, better known as JJ Watt.Ellen tweetJJ Watt is star defense end for the Houston Texans and on Saturday it was announced that Mr. Watt will personally be paying for the funerals of all ten victims of the Santa Fe, Texas, school shooting the day before, Friday, May 18th.  That’s right – you heard me – he is paying for all ten funerals, 9 students and 1 teacher, who were shot and killed on that fateful day.  Now, that in itself would have earned him a place in this post, but there is so much more that he gets the whole post.

Watt’s history of helping out after school shootings dates all the way back to 2012 and the Sandy Hook shooting where 27 were killed.  Watt invited some of the children from Sandy Hook Elementary to meet him and participate in a day of football and much-needed fun at the Texans’ stadium.

“I just kind of wanted to give them as normal a day as possible, just running around, having fun, going out on the field. We were kicking field goals. They were trying to put it through the uprights. Just be kids. And to see them in a normal setting, having fun and big smiles on their faces was awesome.”

Watt-Sandy-Hook

On Monday, Watt visited with survivors of the Santa Fe High School shooting at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center and cheered both the victims and the hospital staff!

Watt joined the Texans in 2011, and has been doing good things for the community almost since day #1.  On July 2, 2011, the Berry family was traveling home from a vacation in Colorado Springs. The parents, Joshua and Robin Berry were killed in a head-on collision while also leaving their two sons, Peter and Aaron handicapped. Their daughter, Willa, suffered minor injuries. Watt met the children at a fund-raiser and grew close with them. He played wheelchair basketball with them and pantomimed rolling a wheelchair after sacking a quarterback in a 2012 game. The pantomime was an agreed upon signal between the Berry children and Watt as a post-sack celebration.

Justin J. Watt Foundation, a charity organization that provides after-school opportunities for children in various communities, in order for them to get involved in athletics in a safe environment. This foundation’s motto, “Dream Big, Work Hard” is sold on wrist bands and T-shirts. Since this foundation was launched in 2010, Watt has raised over $1 million.

Remember Hurricane Harvey that hit Houston last August?  JJ Watt started a fund-raiser to help the victims of Harvey and kicked it off with $100,000 of his own money.  He said he was hoping to get the fund up to $200,000 with donations from others.  But guess what?  Mr. Watt has some selling-power, for the fund blew past the $200,000 mark in a matter of hours and finally ended up at $37 million from more than 200,000 donors!  And he took a personal interest in seeing that the funds were distributed where they were most needed, often working into the night with relief groups and organizers.

In addition to Watt’s mega contributions to humanity, he does a lot of little things, too.  For example, there was the time he popped in to surprise his favorite teacher on the day of her retirement, thanking her profusely for all she’d done not only to inspire him, but all of the kids she’d taught during her 41 years as an educator.Watt-teacherThere is much negativity about sports super-heroes these days, their exorbitant salaries, arrogance and hedonistic lifestyles.  It is heartwarming to come upon one like Mr. JJ Watt, who is truly a humanitarian, who is using both his money and his voice to do things to help people.  Thank you, Mr. JJ Watt, for all the good you do and have done.Watt-tweet

He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk.  Two thumbs up to Mr. Justin James Watt!  two-thumbs

You Have Got To Be Kidding!!!

I started my afternoon in fine spirits … I really did.  And then, I sat down to troll the news.  It never fails to wreck my mood, but today’s examples of extreme stupidity sent me from laughter to rage in a short 10 minutes … maybe only 5!  So here are the four stories that led to a progressive declension of humour …


I laughed.  🤣 I couldn’t help myself … I laughed so hard that I scared Ollie off my lap! (They aren’t used to hearing me laugh much these days) And then I got choked and coughed for a while.  And then I returned to the story and started at the very beginning to make certain I hadn’t mis-read it.

House Republican Wants American Taxpayers to Crowdfund Trump’s $20 Billion Border Wall

Turns out that U.S. Representative Diane Black from Tennessee has a really ignorant idea for funding Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexican border … We The People, in addition to paying our taxes for Trump’s other egomaniacal purposes, will then donate whatever monies we have left over to build the bloody wall!!! Diane BlackHa ha ha ha … not a snowball’s chance in Hell!!!!  I would donate to hungry children, I would donate to foodbanks and soup kitchens, homeless shelters and medical research facilities, animal shelters … almost anything but Trump’s infernal wall.

First, it has been proven by experts in the field, time and time again, that, a) it is not needed, and b) it will not stop illegal immigration from the south.

Second, wasn’t Mexico supposed to pay for the wall, Donnie?  What happened?  Did you have to eat some words there, Donnie?

Third, the current administration and Congress have been doing everything in their power to hurt We The People, especially the lower income ones.  So, if I have anything to spare, it will go to help people, not to build a useless and costly wall that almost nobody wants except Donnie.

Ms. Black is the typical boot-licking republican congresswoman who threw her full support behind the donor tax cuts in 2017, is against nearly all EPA regulations, and has glowing endoresements from the likes of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.  But we needn’t worry, for she will not be back in Congress next year, as she is instead running for governor of Tennessee.  They can have her!

But lest you think there is no reward for donating to the ignominious wall, Ms. Black floated the idea of putting up plaques along the wall to commemorate those who donate.  Um … who would want their name on such a hideous display of inhumanity?

Trump & Co currently claim the wall will cost $20 billion, but more realistic estimates run closer to as much as $75 billion.  With that, every single man, woman and child would have to donate $247.52 in order to pay for the abomination.  That is about … oh … $247.52 more than I would be willing to donate.


And then, this next one traded laughter for an eyeroll 🙄

White House Releases Commemorative Coin for North Korea Talkscommemorative coin

FIRST … there has been no summit as yet.

SECOND … it is unlikely now that there will even BE a summit in June, as originally planned, for Trump and Bolton could not keep their mouths shut, and now Kim Jong-un is considering calling it off.

THIRD … they got Kim’s title wrong on the bloomin’ coin!  Kim is not the Supreme Leader – ‘Chairman’ would have worked just fine. And the ‘U’ in ‘un’ is not supposed to be capitalized!  It’s Kim Jong-un … don’t these people know anything???

I have tried to find out how much we, the taxpayers, paid to have 250 of these dud coins minted, and cannot, but whatever the cost, it was yet another egomaniacal waste of our money that could have been used to feed the poor.


Hear that sound, folks?  That is the growl that has started somewhere at the bottom of my throat and is working its way up …

Assault Weapons Manufacturer Is Upset That School Shootings Are Costing It Money

Say what???

“Vista Outdoor, a major manufacturer of assault weapons, is complaining that school shootings, particularly the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead, is having an adverse impact on its profits.

The company blames “a substantial increase in the use of social media platforms, including blogs, social media websites, and other forms of Internet-based communications, which allow individuals access to a broad audience of consumers.

In the case of the Parkland shooting, Vista Outdoor cites “a campaign…launched on social media seeking the boycott of certain Outdoor Products brands because of their association with the Company and its brands that operate in the shooting sports industry.”” – ThinkProgress, 20 May 2018

Awwww … pobrecitos


And now, folks, with this next one I have gone from laughter to full-scale $%&@#!

NRA President Blames Santa Fe School Shooting On Ritalin

Oliver North“The problem we’ve got is we’re trying like the dickens to treat the symptom without treating the disease. And the disease, in this case, isn’t the Second Amendment. The disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence, they’ve been drugged in many cases. Nearly all of these perpetrators are male and they’re young teenagers in most cases. Many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten. Now I’m certainly not a doctor, I’m a marine, but I can see those kinds of things happening and endangering those two gals.”

aaurgh

Further, his proposal for a solution … not limiting guns in any reasonable manner, nor limiting who can get their hands on them, or banning assault weapons.  No, ol’ Ollie’s solution is metal detectors in every doorway in every school!  Brilliant, Oliver … we cannot pay our teachers a living wage, cannot afford to upgrade curricula, books and equipment, but we should invest millions, or more likely billions of dollars for bloomin’ metal detectors!!!


And so concludes another episode of America’s Stupidest People.  Thank you for joining us and stay tuned next week …

Hey Democrats — Listen UP!!!

As a left-leaning, liberal-thinking independent voter, I have had serious reservations regarding the ‘blue wave’ that everyone is talking about.  It is a theory that democrats will win big in November simply based on the fact that Trump and his sycophants in Congress are doing such a horrible job that all sensible voters will vote in a democratic candidate … any democratic candidate.  For months, I have said that it wasn’t enough, that the democratic party needs cohesion, that the candidates need a solid, respectable platform.  I have called for the DNC to find and support candidates who are ‘squeaky clean’, who carry no baggage that would give the GOP an opening for mud-slinging and under-handed shenanigans.  Last night I found my sentiments echoed by Anthony Zurcher, a journalist for the BBC.

“One of the ongoing criticisms of Democrats since Barack Obama moved out of the White House is that the party has been defined by what it opposes, instead of what it wants to do.

They’re not Donald Trump. They’re against travel bans, border walls, trade wars, financial and environmental deregulation, corporate tax cuts and repeal of the Obamacare health insurance system.

But what are they for? What are their ideas?”

It’s true.  Think about it … we know exactly what the GOP stands for because they are loud and obnoxious about it.  They will defend to the death their 2nd Amendment rights, they applaud Trump’s vision of a wall along the southern border, they want immigration stopped, they want environmental regulations removed on businesses, especially the fossil fuel industry, and the list goes on.  There is no doubt what they stand for.  But ask the average person what the democrats stand for, and the answer would likely be … the opposite of all of the above.  They know what they are against, but they don’t know what they are for.  Which, of course, is not quite true, but one could be forgiven for thinking it was, given that the democratic party as a whole is not speaking above a whisper these days.

“We’re not going to win if we spend all our time bemoaning that he’s there. He’s there. And we have to offer an alternative.” — Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar

“People ask how come you’re not offering alternatives. And I say we are.” – Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown

During a recent “Ideas Conference”, democrats tried to zero in on the party platform …

  • Minimum wage increases
  • Expanding public schooling
  • Ethics, reform and oversight
  • Dismantling the oligarchy
  • Guns, the environment and health care

That’s it … that is what comprises the core values of the democratic party.  Okay, I am on board with all of the above, but there is so much more.  And why are the three arguably most important issues lumped together at the very end???

My concern is that this election will devolve into a mud-fest.  I am also concerned that for democrats, it will become a single-issue election:  gun regulation.  While gun regulation is certainly among the top concerns today, if it is allowed to become the central focus, I’m not sure how well the democrats will fare, for it is also the single most contentious issue on the docket, with far too many being told by the GOP that democrats want to abolish the 2nd Amendment and ‘take all your guns’.

While political ideologies do have a base platform, the day-to-day issues tend to be reactionary.  In this, the era of Trump, they are typically a reaction to whatever horrific thing he has most recently said or done, and there is no dearth of material on which to react.  But this gets us nowhere, it pulls us down to the level of the GOP, and it won’t win elections in November.

The Democratic Party stands for many things:  social & economic equality, social programs, labour unions, affordable college tuition, universal health care, equal opportunity for all, consumer protections, and environmental protections, to name a few.  This, then, is what the candidates need to be focusing on, the message they need to be getting out.  It will help that Trump & Co are making a mockery of our government, and the anger that generates will certainly play a role, but it is not going to be enough to carry the day.  It is absolutely essential to the continuation of this nation as a democratic republic that the demographics of Congress be changed.  The current majority in both the House and the Senate are naught but sycophants, book-lickers, who will bow to Trump’s will and who will fight to keep the madman in office, for he is their job security.

Please, democratic candidates, focus on the issues rather than simply being the “anti-Trump”.  Trump will, I firmly believe, help sink his own boat as well as that of the GOP, so leave him to it, and focus on presenting a united, sensible, humanitarian front. It is easy to argue against every single thing Trump has done or will do between now and November 6th, but there is a bigger goal here, and to achieve it, we must do better than to be the “Party of No”.

A Squirrelly-Jolly Monday …

Good Monday morning friends!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are ready to head back to the salt mines!  Do any of you actually work in salt mines?  No?  That’s what I thought.  Where did that expression come from anyway … I’ve never in my life known anybody who worked in salt mines.  Sigh … now you know my curiosity is stoked and I have to know … hold on a sec …

According to one site,  “This term alludes to the Russian practice of punishing prisoners by sending them to work in the salt mines of Siberia. Today the term is only used ironically.” So now you know … you’ve already learned something this week, and it’s only Monday morning!

Since I was lazy last Monday and didn’t provide coffee & donuts, I got up extra early this morning to bake some special treats.  So, grab a cup and a snack, pull up a chair, and let’s see what fun things we can find to start out the week!


Squirrels, squirrels, squirrels!!!

squirrel clipartEverywhere I looked for fun stories, it seems I came across … squirrels!  The first one involves six baby squirrels who had the most unique problem … their tails were all tangled together!!!squirrels-1squirrels-2Luckily, some good Samaritan noticed that something was not quite right, as the squirrels were all moving together as a single unit.  Closer inspection showed their tails all tangled together.  Animal control was called, and the babies were taken to the Nebraska Wildlife Rehab center where Laura Stastny gave them a mild sedative, covered them with a towel to comfort them, and went to work untangling.  It turns out that tree sap was the culprit, making their tails sticky.  After snipping off as much as she could of the sap-covered fur, Laura gently untangled them.  They are doing fine, according to Laura, although several of them will need surgery to remove parts of their tails that were damaged while tangled.


One day last week, Kellen Moore of Gaylord, Michigan, started his car, but noticed a really strange noise that seemed to be coming from the air-conditioning.  So, he turned the car off, got out and popped the hood, to find …pinecones under hoodThat’s right, folks … pinecones!  About 50 pounds worth of pine cones, in fact.  Turns out squirrels had been stashing the pinecones there … and it took Kellen and his co-worker Gabe Awrey nearly an hour to remove them all.  Now … I’m a little puzzled and wondering just how long the car had been parked in the same spot, because it seems to me that it would take quite a long time for squirrels to carry that many pine cones and stash them under the hood. squirrel with pinecone


A resident in the Southwark neighborhood of London last week called the RSPCA to report there was a squirrel stuck in their toilet! squirrel in toiletAnimal Collection Officer Kirstie Gillard was able to put the handle of a mop into the toilet, the squirrel climbed onto the mop handle, and she was able to pull him out to safety.  He was uninjured, and was released back into the wild.


Karamel is the squirrel’s name, and she lives in Turkey.  No, not the bird, Joe, the country!  Karamel was caught in a hunter’s trap 😠 and both her front legs had to be amputated.  But now for the good news.  In Istanbul, about 700 miles from Batman, Turkey, where Karamel was rescued, there is a man named Tayfun Demir, who is a rescuer of squirrels.  Karamel was taken to Mr. Demir, who saw to her recovery and adopted her into his family of squirrels.

But Tayfun wanted more for Karamel … he wanted to help her regain her mobility, so he enlisted the help of professionals from Istanbul Aydın University who had experience in building prostheses and other mobility devices.  It took a while for Karamel to recover, and a few tries before the mobility device was just right for her, but … well, see for yourself …


A squirrel-less tale …

Dushaun Henderson-Spruce submitted a U.S. Postal Service change of address form on Oct. 26, 2017 requesting a change of address from an address in Atlanta to the address of his apartment on Chicago’s North Side.  The post office duly updated the address, and Henderson-Spruce began receiving mail at his new address.  Only problem was, it wasn’t his mail he had diverted, but that of the United Parcel Service, commonly known as UPS!

UPS truckNo, he wasn’t receiving packages, but the address in Atlanta that he had changed to his own was the business office of UPS, and he began receiving mail addressed to UPS. The scam went on for three months, and prosecutors say that he deposited ten checks totaling $58,000 to his account during that time.  The mail contained personal identifying information of employees, as well as business checks and invoices, according to the affadavit. He was also sent American Express corporate credit cards.

Finally, on 16 January, UPS realized something was not right and contacted the Postal Service.  It took another 12 days, but finally on 25 January, postal inspectors searched Henderson-Spruce’s apartment in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood and found about 3,000 pieces of mail addressed to the company in Atlanta.

Now, Dushaun wasn’t too bright, for he tried briefly to claim that it was just a mix-up that wasn’t his fault, and that his identity had been stolen.  Obviously that didn’t fly, and he now faces federal charges of mail theft, which carries a maximum sentence of five years, and mail fraud, which can be up to twenty years.  I will refrain from any snarky comments about the efficiency of the USPS.


And last, but not least … take a look at these pictures.

Great photography, yes?  No! These are not photographs, but paintings by Kei Mieno, a 33-year-old Japanese artist born in Hiroshima who has been painting professionally for more than 10 years.  Kei specializes in hyperrealism, and the details and texture of his paintings are so precise that it‘s not difficult to confuse them with a photo.


Okay, my friends … let’s get this week started, shall we?  It might help if I remind you that next Monday is a holiday in the U.S., Memorial Day, so you’ll be getting an extra day with your weekend, followed by a short work week!  I hope you all have a wonderful and maybe even productive week this week.  Please do remember to share those gorgeous smiles I see on your faces … they are too precious not to share!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa.

An’ from me, Boo!  ‘Member me?
Boo  pawprint

toon-1toon-2toon-3toon-4toon-Maxine

There Was An FBI Informant Asking Questions Of President’s Campaign Team In 2016

For several days, Donald Trump has been claiming his campaign was spied on, infiltrated, by the FBI. To what end? Who knows. It is a paranoid delusion from the mind of a madman, if you ask me. As always, our friend Gronda is on top of the story with a nice summary of what is true and what isn’t, and what Trump’s likely goal is — to shut down the Mueller investigation. A man who is innocent does not act guilty, as Trump is doing. Please take a minute to read Gronda’s summary, for it clarifies the issue nicely. Thank you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

Image result for cartoons of fbi informant trump

The FBI has been resisting providing the name of one of its confidential informants to GOP members in the White House and the US Congress because this would risk the informant’s life. But the GOP who are doing the president’s bidding could care less.

President Trump and his supporters including the US House Intel chair, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) are convinced that finding this man could derail the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe being led by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller III.

Image result for cartoons of fbi informant trump

As per a May 17, 2018 Washington Post report, “President Trump’s allies are waging an increasingly aggressive campaign to undercut the Russia investigation by exposing the role of a top-secret FBI source. The effort reached new heights Thursday as Trump alleged that an informant had improperly spied on his 2016 campaign and predicted that the ensuing scandal would be “bigger than Watergate!”

The fact is that there was an informant…

View original post 889 more words

Den of Thieves …

Do you remember the name Blake Farenthold from my December 3rd post titled He Stole Our Money?  He is a representative to the U.S. House  of Representatives from Texas, and what put him on my radar back in December was that he had settled out of court, an accusation of sexual misconduct and gender discrimination, and he had done so to the tune of $84,000 … on our dime.  Yes, folks, he used taxpayer money to pay money so that he wouldn’t be sued, for he knew he was guilty.  I concluded my December post saying, “Mr. Farenthold must be made to serve as an example, for if there are no repercussions for him, he will not be the last to play fast and loose with our money.”

The very next day, Farenthold promised to ‘hand a check over this week.’  No, I really don’t think it was anything I said, but more likely pressure he faced from his fellow House members.  Well, that week came and went, another, and another, until it was March, and more than 100 days after the promised check that seemed to have been forgotten.  And no doubt it would have faded into the shadows, but for Representative Jackie Speier, who sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, requesting that he hold Farenthold accountable and demand repayment of the $84,000.

Farenthold came up with a series of excuses, one being that he was waiting to see if the House passed a bill on sexual harassment in the workplace.  The House passed the bill … still no check from Farenthold.  Then he said he would wait to see if it passed in the Senate.  It did … still no check.  Then he said he would wait to see if Trump signed the bill.  He did … and, sigh, still no check from Blake. Estimates of his net worth vary significantly, but the lowest seems to be $5.7 million!  I think he can afford the $84,000 we paid because he couldn’t keep his fly zipped.

Paul Ryan took no action, but in April, the House Ethics Committee warned Farenthold that it was about to rule against him in its investigation into whether he sexually harassed members of his staff, used official money for campaign purposes and lied in previous testimony to the committee.  On April 6th, Farenthold abruptly resigned from his seat in the House of Representatives, thereby avoiding any punishment that would have been handed down by the Ethics Committee.

Last Tuesday, May 15th, Farenthold told a reporter with ABC News …

“I will say this on the record: I have been advised by my attorneys not to repay that.  That’s why it hasn’t been repaid.”

Farenthold has a new job, by the way, as a government lobbyist at the Calhoun (Texas) Port Authority, earning $160,000 annually.  My understanding is that, legally there is very little that can be done to force Farenthold to repay the money.

Farenthold-pajamasWe paid for a man to wiggle out of a situation he got himself into by sexually harassing his staff, yet we are told that we cannot afford more funding for schools, cannot afford to provide healthcare to lower income families, cannot afford the bills for food stamps and housing subsidies for those living below the poverty level, cannot afford to reduce the interest rates on student loans … and the list goes on.  But we can pay for ol’ Blake’s indiscretions.  I see a problem here … do you?

Jimmy Kimmel Speaks …

It says something when a comedian shows more intelligence, more compassion, and more humanity, than the men and women we elected to administer and oversee our government.  Jimmy Kimmel is a comedian, not a politician.  He makes his money cracking jokes, making people laugh.  But on a number of occasions, he has used his platform, his voice, to send a message to our elected officials, and also to We The People.  Last night was one of those occasions, when he spoke briefly, yet eloquently of yesterday’s school shooting in Texas.

“Hi. Before we get to our guests—and the jokes tonight—I want to take a moment because, as you know, we had another school shooting today. This time in Santa Fe, Texas. At least ten people were killed, ten are wounded. Mostly high school kids. 

And, once again, our leaders are sending their thoughts and prayers. President Trump said he is with the people of Santa Fe in this tragic hour and will be with them forever—except for when it comes time to do something. Then he will not be with them. And neither will any of the congresspeople—or governors—who don’t ever do anything because they are fearful that it will hurt them politically. They know the truth. They know this has gone too far. But they’re too cowardly to do the right thing. They care more about the support of the NRA than they do about children.

So they sit there, with their hands in their pockets, pockets that are full of gun money, and do nothing. They just wait for the outrage to pass, because it didn’t happen to their children. There’s only one way to look at this: How would you feel and what would you do if these were your children who were killed today? The truth about our democracy is that the people don’t make laws, we vote for those who do. So… the least you can do is register to vote right now. I mean the only way we can make any meaningful impact on this epidemic is to make sure we vote for politicians who will do something.”

I give a standing ovation to this man for having more sense and being a better person than those who are sitting in the Capitol or the Oval Office today.

 

Meet The Significant Seven …

I promised this post last week, as a few of my friends had asked to meet the Significant Seven, the family members who walk on all fours. But for reasons best left alone, I was not able to make any headway last week.  So, I promised, promised, promised it this week.  Now, the funny thing is that I started to write about my band of warriors, my ragtag crew of moggies, but when they saw what I was doing, Ollie made it clear … no uncertain terms … that they would much prefer to write about themselves than to leave it to my possibly biased opinion.  We sat down together, me, Ollie and Boo, and came to terms.  I am allowed to introduce them, but then I am to step back and let each tell a bit about themselves.  I am allowed a brief blurb at the end, but otherwise, as it is their story, they will be the tellers.  (Just don’t believe everything they say, especially Tiger!)

0220141617a

This is what happens when Miss Goose gets comfy …

The Gang, oldest to youngest:

Orange

Princess Nala

Oliver (Ollie for short)

Pandora (Pandi for short)

Booker T. Washington (Boo for short)

Tiger Lily (Bitch for short)

Isabella (Izzy for short)


OrangeOrange-2Hi!  I don’t like my name, but sometimes they call me Big O or Old Man, and I like those better.  Miss Goose named me when I came here, but I don’t remember, ‘cause I was just a tiny baby.  Some kids found me somewhere, and they took me to every house on the street, but … 😢 … nobody wanted me.  And then they brought me here, and Mom-mom (Chris) and Miss Goose wanted to keep me, but Grammie said “NO”.  So, on down the street we went, but Mom-mom told me later that in just maybe one minute, Grammie changed her mind and said, “Go get ‘im”.  And I’ve been here ever since.

The thing is, though, that I’m getting very old, ‘cause I came here in 2000, so I’m, like 18 years old now, and that’s pretty old.  A few weeks ago, I had something happen to me and I couldn’t stand up.  Grammie said she thought it was a ‘stroke’, whatever that is.  But, I got some better, and I still fall sideways sometimes when I walk.  I used to be really fat, but now my hip bones stick out and I’m just like a furry skeleton.  But I’m happy, and I get lots of pats, so life isn’t all bad.

They tell me I’m an ‘Odd Bodkins’, ‘cause I like some foods, like oatmeal, yoghurt, pumpkin goo and ice cream that moggies aren’t ‘posed to like.  I ran away from home last summer, and Grammie & Goose had to spend hours trying to find me.  That was fun, but now, anytime the front door is opened, they lock me up in the bathroom.  Hmph … nothing like trust!

Ollie is my bestest friend and he takes care of me sometimes, especially when I get all dirty.  Grammie calls us ‘the gay hombres’, but I’m not sure what that means.0203141522a


NalaNala-1Hey!  Introduce me properly, Grammie – you’s supposed to curtsy to the princess.  Oh … eh … heh heh … hi.  My name is Princess Nala, but you can just call me ‘your highness’.  I’m the second oldest and I’m special.  If I need to go to the litter box, I just let out a cry, and somebody comes and picks me up and carries me.  An’ when I’m ready for bed at night, my servant Miss Goose carries me up the stairs. That’s ‘cause I’m royal and shouldn’t have to wear out my beautiful royal paw-pads walking all that way.  (It’s actually because she’s fat & lazy, but don’t tell her I said so)

I got in trouble a few nights ago, but it wasn’t my fault. They left me in the bedroom too long and I peed on the bed.  Oopsie!  It was mom-mom’s bed, but Grammie got the maddest, ‘cause she had to wash the sheets and it was some special day called “Mother’s Day”.  But she’s not a ‘mother’ anyway … she’s just Grammie.

I get picked on a lot by Tiger.  Don’t let her pretty face and fluffy fur fool you … she’s vicious!  I don’t play … play is for juveniles like Boo.  I am above that, ‘cause I am a Princess.nala-2.jpg


OliverOllie-1Hi, I’m Oliver, but they call me Ollie-bug, cause when I was a baby I always rolled up in a ball, and Grammie said I looked like a pill bug.  When me an’ my sissy, Pandi, was just teenie, tiny babies, we got throwed into a big trash dumpster.  I took care of my sissy, an’ I got out of the dumpster and went across the street, screaming!  I can scream real good!  I screamed and screamed, and then Mom-mom was walking back from the mailbox and she heard me, an’ she picked me up an’ brought me here.  But I kep’ tellin’ her dat my sissy was still there.  Finally, she listened an’ she went back an’ found Pandi an’ we’ve been here ever since.  I guess we have a pretty good home … I never had any other, so I don’t know.  But they buy us good food and we get lots of pats and sometimes catnip.

Every mornin’ I wait outside Grammie’s door for her to come out and she ruffs my head an’ always says the same thing: “Hey bud, how ya doin’?”  I think she forgets that my name is Ollie, not Bud.

I love to chase mousies.  Not real mousies, but we gots mousies with catnip in ‘em and I can even throw dem in the air and catch ‘em!  Grammie says I’m the best behaved of the bunch … ‘cept Izzy, but she’s artistic or sumpin like that.

Ollie-2

They’ll never find me here!


PandiPandi-1My name is Pandi and I’m really, really nervous of just about everything.  My favourite room is the bathroom, ‘cause I can sit and look at me all day in the shiny thing.  Ollie already told you how we wuz found, yeah?  I was so scared, and I’ve never stopped bein’ scared, even though we get so much love.  I bit Grammie the other day, and I felt bad.  I wanted her to pet me, but when she did, I just … bit her. I dunno why.  I think I’m a mean kittie, an’ I really don’t wanna be … I just get so scared.

Sometimes I do play, though.  I even take the mousie back to Miss Goose when she throws it for me!  She tells me I’m smart, and then I get all happy.  I got in trouble once.  Grammie had some flowers that Maha gave her and I knocked them off the shelf and the water went in some electric thingy and ruined it.  I got yelled at, but then Grammie said she was sowwy.Pandi-2


Boo

Boo-2Hi!  It’s me, Boo!  Booker T. Washington is my whole name, but folks around these parts just call me ‘Boo’.  Me ‘n Ollie, are the only normal moggies around here, but don’t tell that to the girls, ‘cause they get … well, you know how girls are.  I am educated … more than my sibs.  I love to read books … if Grammie or Mom-mom leave a book open, I’m on it!  Literally!  I even loves to sleep on books!  Annndddd … I can send emails and write notes!  One day I wrote a big long note on grammie’s computer when she forgot to close the lid.  I had more than 1200 letters in it!  I kinda got in trouble, though, ‘cause I typed the word ‘shit’.  😏

The humans?  Well, we all (mostly) love ‘em, but they’re weird about some things, like that word I just told ya.  Every time I call one of my sissies a bit–, I get squirted with the water bottle.  Heck, I learned the word from Grammie!

I like to play.  Do you like to play?  Wanna play wif me?  I gots a stick thingy wid feathers on the end and I loves it when people play that with me.  An’ my favourite thing is to pull the legs off o’ these things they call ‘crickets’.  Grammie yells and take them outside, but I like to play with ‘em.

Well … gotta run now … I see mom-mom left the lid up on her computer and fell asleep … gonna go write to my girlfwiend!  Tee hee …

0716132135

 


TigerTiger-2I am Tiger Lily and I am the most beautiful of all the kitties!  My fur is thick and fluffy, my tail is so fluffy that everyone who sees it wants it for their own.  And I am tiny and … what’s that other word?  Petite … I am petite and dainty.  I am not mean!  I just don’t like anybody else, for they are all inferior to moi!  I especially don’t like Nala, ‘cause she thinks she’s a princess and she tries to boss us.  So I attack her every chance I get!  I get squirted with the water bottle a lot.  😔

I only let Miss Goose hold me or pet me, and even then, not for long.  I don’t pick on Orange, though … none of us do, ‘cause he’s old and sick, so we all leave him alone.  Miss Goose named me Tiger, ‘cause I have such beautiful stripes!  An’ since my name is Tiger, I feel I must live up to the name and be vicious!  ROAR … 🐯

Grammie said she was gonna give me away a few weeks ago.  I don’t much like Grammie.  She calls me a bad word sometimes.  She did say she was sorry later, though.  I still don’t like her.  I almost shredded her hand and bit her too, one time when she tried to pet me.  Tee hee heeeeeTiger-1


IzzyIzzie-2My name is Izzybelly an’ … an’ … I askeered of you … ‘bye  💨


Sorry ‘bout that, folks, but Miss Izzy has some issues.  She lives under the sofa, only comes out on occasion, and has to be coaxed out twice a day to feed.  If we have visitors, it is often a full day before she can be lured out. Depending on which professional you believe, she has either the feline equivalent of Down Syndrome or Autism.  I lean more toward autism, but we will never know for sure.  And really, it doesn’t matter.  We just give her as much love as she will allow us to and make sure she eats.

So there you have it, folks, the Significant Seven in all their glory.  Once upon a time it was the Terrific Ten, then the Notorious Nine, then the Enduring Eight, and now the Sig-Seven.  All are rescue kitties and have their own special needs, some emotional, others physical.  At least once a day I threaten to trade the whole lot for a good dog, but the truth is that we love them dearly … and they know it, too!

One final note:  Please do NOT give Boo your email address, for he has been known to send ridiculously long, rambling emails!

Photo credits:  Natasha K. McClain (aka Miss Goose)