Opie, 2002 – 2019

So…we had to say goodbye to Opie yesterday. I want to say something like “0/5 stars, would not recommend,” but…it was time. The last couple of weeks have been rough on him, and well…like I said, it was time.

Let’s back up. We first met Opie back in 2002 when a local pet store had a bunch of shelter cats for adoption. Chandra first saw Stuart, who was screaming for freedom. She immediately wanted to take hime home. At the same time, she also spotted a little orange kitten, and he joined the family, too. What we didn’t know at the time, was that Opie was harboring some tiny bacteria that would soon wreak havoc on his digestive system. This led to him losing a dangerous amount of weight, and multiple trips to the vet. I don’t remember the entire timeline, but it took a good while for someone to figure out what was going on with him. Even when he was sick though, he still wanted to tussle with Stuart, and would paw at the paintings of kittens on the wall of the vet’s examination room. As scary as this time was, this kind of behavior gave us confidence he would pull through.

At the time, I was working from home, so I kept him company and nursed him back to health. He had a tiny plastic container we converted to a litter box, which we kept just behind my office chair in the basement. I fed him Pedialyte, encouraged him to eat as much as possible, and held him on my lap while I worked. I also cleaned that litterbox immediately after he used it, because Oh My Dear God.

Eventually, he got better and I swear overnight went from being a scrawny little kitten to *bloomp* Opie of the gooshy belly. He never got heavy exactly, but after that he always had kind of the physique of an adorable orange couch potato.

Through this, Opie and I bonded pretty closely. He preferred my lap above all others, and at night slept snuggled up against me. He slept hard, too— especially for a cat. More than once I woke up in the middle of the night convinced I had squished him, and it took a thorough toe-tickling or full body jiggling to get him to respond. As a kitten, he also had a tendency to suckle my armpit, which is where I had to draw the line. As I told him repeatedly, “Opie, that’s weird.”

Not that I was the only one Opie was close to. He and Stuart got along famously, playing and snoozing together, though Opie was never quite as into rough-housing as his brother. Back in Georgia, at dinner time the two would tear through the house, and when Opie was done with the game he would barrel under a small cabinet that was barely big enough for him. This was his timeout spot, which Stuart amazingly respected. Even later in life, the two still got into wrestling matches, though nearly always at Stuart’s instigation. Opie still put up with it, but with more of an air of resignation than full participation. They slept together less as well, but under the right circumstances could still be found sharing my lap, or at least lying in close proximity to each other, and not always just to share body warmth.

And yes, Opie liked Chandra, too, aka “Food Lady.” Frankly, he liked pretty much everyone, although it took him a long time to warm up to strangers. Until recent years, it wasn’t uncommon when we had company for him to bury himself under the covers in the middle of the bed to make an Opie lump, and he wouldn’t come out until they were gone. Once he realized that everyone had scratchies for him, he became much more open to meeting people.

He was also king of the nicknames, going variously by Opie, Opus, Opus Maximus, Professor, Sunshine Boy, Bumper Boy, Freckle Nose, Opie Kenopie, etc.

A note on one of those– when Opie was in a good mood, or just making the rounds, he would bump up against everything in sight– walls, door frames, table legs, people legs, chair legs, people legs again. Sometimes he did this hard enough there would be an audible “thunk.” It was his way of telling you he was happy. One one occasion, he was sitting in a doorway, and for whatever reason, I threw up my hands in glee and shouted, “Opie!” He responded by thunking his shoulder into the doorframe.

Yeah, I’m gonna miss that cat.

I don’t have a lot of good photos, but here are a few of him lounging, snoozing, or asking politely if it is time for one or the other. The top photo is from a few years ago, but the rest are all from this summer.

Opie in sunbeam

Opie with Stuart

Opie laptime

Opie wanting laptime


A limerick

There once was a prez who was racist
And possibly, a rapist
His friends, pedophiles
His supporters, so vile
Thanks to Fox they haven’t the vaguest

Thank you, I’ll see myself out.


A handful of reviews

We just got back from a few days in NYC, and I figured I would share some quickie thoughts…

Our first day there we saw Puffs, which I would describe as kind of a Rosencrantz & Guildenstern take on the Harry Potter franchise. Sadly, this one didn’t do much for me, though there were others in the audience who seemed to be having a good time. I’ll admit I’m not a huge Potter-head, but I don’t think the problem was familiarity with the source material. I got the sense that the cast may have been doing the show for longer than is perhaps healthy— there was more “talking at” than “talking to,” and not much connection between characters that I could feel.

We saw a couple different things at the New York Musical Festival, starting with a talk about putting on a “spectacle”, followed by Illuminati Lizards from Outer Space and Buried. “Lizards” was as campy as you might expect from the name, and reasonably entertaining, if maybe a little…unfocused? I preferred “Buried,” about a pair of serial killers who fall in love. The one thing I would note is that it does that thing you sometimes get in indy comedies from the UK & Ireland, where it’s billed as a comedy but it drifts into more serious territory for healthy chunks of the production.

We only hit one museum this time around, The Museum of Arts and Design. They’ve currently got an exhibition called “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics 1976-1986”. If you like posters, album covers, zines, etc from that era you’ll get a kick out of it. My only complaint was that there was no exhibition book to go with it.

We decided against the Jazz Museum in Harlem, but we did make it to Amy Ruth’s for soul food. I had “The Reggie Harris,” aka southern honey-dipped fried chicken. I would just call it “so good” and leave it at that, but I think this calls for a “y’all,” as in “so good, y’all.” (Am I doing that right?)

Oh, and the power went out across much of the city. It was nine PM before it hit us and we were already back in the hotel, so didn’t affect our stay much beyond prompting an early bedtime. We had to have just missed walking through a darkened Times Square, though.

The last show we saw was A Musical About Star Wars. After the disappointment of Puffs I was a little trepidatious, but it turned out to be really good! It was warm and funny, and had something more to say than “aren’t fans of Star Wars silly,” which is all I expected from it going in. Of the four shows we saw, this is the one that I would heartily recommend people go see— especially now, when the performers are the writers of the show.

Also, I give air conditioning an A+. We’re going to miss that this weekend.


How Anti-Immigration Policies Are Leading Prisons to Lease Convicts as Field Laborers – Pacific Standard

Under lucrative arrangements, states are increasingly leasing prisoners to harvest food for American consumers at a rate not seen since Jim Crow.
— Read on


Like the result of a rusty guillotine…

This is poorly executed, but I can at least move on now to other ideas.


He was missing a part, so I fixed it. Can you guess what it was? If you said, “his soul,” I’m sorry– that’s not it. “His sense of empathy!” I hear you cry. Well, no. He doesn’t have either of those, to be sure, but I wasn’t able to add them. As a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, there’s nothing I can do about him missing those. He’s accurately rendered as far as anything resembling compassion or self-awareness, too. No, I just forgot to draw his nose.


A haiku

Wizards were pooping

in the hallways of Hogwarts?



In which I express my sympathy for Michael Cohen

This post left intentionally blank



If you had any hopes two terrible years ago that Donald Trump would govern as anything other than the rank dick he has been his entire life, you know better now. If you had any hopes that Republicans would rise to the occasion and hold Trump to the same standards they held Democrats, you know better. You know the only way to slow Trump down is to elect Democrats. The only reason to vote Republican is because you want the America Trump and the GOP want.

Because of that, you deserve our contempt and our rage. You are the thugs. You are the gangs. You are the terrorists. You are anti-American.



Which side is that, again?

President Trump’s Enemies List

One side has a President repeatedly ramping up racist incitement, attacking the press as the “enemy of the people.” One side has a President who routinely leads cheers about imprisoning political opponents. His congressional supporters accept his rhetoric and now increasingly ape it. One side has a President who routinely fabricates outlandish falsehoods intended to generate outrage, fear and hate. One side has a group of rightist paramilitaries operating in various parts of the country. One side has mass ownership of high capacity firearms as a central part of its political ideology. The same side frequently focuses on private weapons ownership as a hedge against “tyranny”. In other words, they focus on the need to stock firearms for the potential need to use them against government officials and civil servants.

Left unsaid, but I’ll say it— one side is proto-Fascist at best. One side runs on bullshit and lies. One side is a danger to the country and the world. The sole motivating principle of one side is power. One side lives for cruelty. One side lacks all empathy.

Two years ago if you supported that side I might have forgiven you for misguided, ill-informed tribalism. If you still support that side, with everything that has happened over the last 24 months? “Deplorable” doesn’t even begin to cut it. You are evil. You are a degenerate, and a sociopath. You deserve nothing but scorn.

You know, normally I would tag something like this “Politics,” but at this point that’s the wrong label. This isn’t a “reasonable people can disagree” kind of thing anymore. We’re in black and white, right and wrong territory. The only grey here is in the ashes of Republican souls.


Dietary Restrictions

The only Mexican food Republicans should be allowed to eat is day-old Taco Bell.