We lost Della Street two years ago this coming Monday. I still miss her. She would have whipped Claire Trevor into shape by now.
Here are a few of Della’s greatest hits:
Finally, Miss Street with her namesake:
It’s hard being Claire Trevor. Sitting on two crates of fizzy water can’t be comfortable. She doesn’t get my Napoleon and Wellington jokes either.
Speaking of Waterloo:
Dr. A takes most of the cat pictures I post at First Draft. She specializes in pictures of our cats sitting in my chair at the table when she’s eating breakfast. I am not an early riser but Dr. A is.
These shots of the late, great Paul Drake and the current incumbent Claire Trevor are quite similar. Oddly enough, PD does not look twice as big as CT, which he was. Oh well, what the hell.
Our favorite neighbor has 4 legs. His name is Tank, and he weighs 60-65 pounds. He’s an incredibly sweet pooch but has a rivalry going with Claire Trevor who weighs 7 or 8 pounds.
In her day, Della Street was known to faceoff with this “ferocious” Pitbull, but she was not obsessed with dominating Tank. Claire Trevor is made of sterner stuff.
It typically starts with a bark outside. Then Claire assumes her position on the end table next to a window facing her nemesis. Her tail swishes back and forth making a thumping sound. Tank barks at her, Claire arches her back and glares at him. Eventually, Tank backs down proving Claire’s dominance.
The moral of our story: Never underestimate a kitty femme fatale named for a cinematic one.
Here’s a better picture of the boy next door:
When I was a kid, I was kind of obsessed with animals, and especially the Rex Harrison “Doctor Doolittle”*. Unlike my childhood obsession with Watergate , I think that made me a relatively normal kid. But the one thing that always bothered me about that movie was the Pushmi-Pullyu.
Maybe it was because I was growing up in a family with 3 girls spaced within 3 years, but the Pushmi-Pullyu reeked of only 1 thing to me: conflict. Oh I know it was supposed to be a delight, the rarest creature on Earth, fanciful and fearful at once. But all I saw was a Pandora’s Horse of anger, fighting, and unhappiness. Even at a young age I knew all creatures, great and small, wanted their own way and only discipline, sacrifice, and an eye to the greater good could ever change that.
Which leads me to the new half of the GOP (“Q Party”) Pushmi-Pullyu, West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito and her working group on infrastructure. It started off with a laughable proposal that essentially ignored President Biden’s list of items. As criticism mounted, Capito said it was a starting point and that there was room for it to grow. Seems hopeful and reasonable, right?
Naturally Newton’s Third Law of Motion kicked in and the other half of the Q Party Pushmi-Pullyu, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, harrumphed out his objections to any additional spending. Capito must have kicked back swiftly and on target because his next phlegm-ridden squawk quickly aligned his position with his other end.
Capito and friends met again with President Biden this week and I give him a lot of credit. Everyone knows that even if the Democrats agreed to everything the Q Party wanted, they’d still vote against it! And I mean, even if it had everything, including leaving their precious corporate tax rate alone, they have no intention of giving Biden and the Democrats another accomplishment. That’s because:
There won’t be any Q Party votes for any Democratic proposal. Ever. The 2 senators from West By God Virginia are both trying to bring bipartisanship back to our politics, and in the abstract, I think that is a very worthwhile use of their time. But only Joe Manchin, the Democrat, knows that the mission is doomed from the start (so does Biden, but he’s just playing along).
How will Capito–who needs to burnish her procurement bona fides as an heir to the late Robert Byrd—react when she gets burned by McConnell’s eventual order to sink the entire bill in the Senate? West Virginia needs this funding. I don’t know, nor do I care. Fuck her and her careful kowtowing to McConnell over the people who elected her to help them. I only hope Manchin has set us all up for a major plot twist in Act Two.
The Democrats will eventually get their bills through, though Biden won’t get everything he wants (nor does he expect to—the stimulus bill was a happy fluke). I’m not upset with all of the stuff both West Virginia senators are doing on the side because the Senate can’t act on anything until the House writes the bill, and that isn’t expected to be voted on until the first week of July. Back to the show.
*Our cat Finn is too. Here’s a photo of him watching it:
The other day we watched Hitchcock’s The Birds. I hoped that it would be an entertainment two-fer: a great movie that drove the cat crazy. Instead, Claire barely reacted to all the bird noises and slept through most of the movie. I was simultaneously disappointed and impressed. Perhaps she knew it was a movie. Beats the hell outta me.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t travel with my cats loose in the car. Some folks do, including the mother-daughter team of Lisa and Rachel.
Don’t worry. Smokey the Siamese cat wasn’t miserable, she was emoting for Rachel. Dig those crazy blue eyes.
The dark side of Claire Trevor:
Here’s my kitty’s namesake cuddling with a Maine coon kitten in the 1952 movie, My Man and I.
Next, a picture of Claire’s hand with Nikki, the same cat from the same movie:
One of young Claire Trevor’s many quirks is the way she stretches before leaving her ottoman. It took awhile for Dr. A to capture this phenomenon. The resulting picture makes her green eyes look blue. I think it’s the rug, which is mostly blue.
The post title is a play on Crystal Gayle’s hit song Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue. She gets the last word.
Dr. A and I just finished binging the fabulous British TV show, Vera. We’ve fallen under the spell of Brenda Blethyn and use several of her catchphrases when addressing Claire Trevor. That’s why we call her the Wee Bairn, which is a Northern English and Scottish expression for a baby and a wee one at that. Beats the hell outta calling her the Terror of Tiny Town.
I’m surprised that I’m so upset over a pretty minor thing, but it’s bugging me, so I’m going to write about it. I’m really upset about how the media is covering the Biden dogs, and especially Major and his ongoing issues.
Here’s the thing: rescue animals have problems. Even the most well-adjusted rescue pet has had to deal with the trauma of being taken from where they were and placed in the shelter or rescue facility. When you disrupt their daily lives, those issues are going to come back into play.
A few years ago, in the span of 6 weeks, we lost our pair of tabby cat brothers, Connor and Liam, to old age. Liam was a few months shy of his 19th birthday, and Connor was only 10 days from his 19th birthday. They were rescues only in the sense that they came from the vet once they were weaned (their mother cat died giving birth to the litter) and then raised by my husband. They were 6 years old when I first met them, and I grew really attached to them and was devastated when we lost them both so close to each other.
In time I returned as a volunteer to the shelter I like to support and resumed socializing young cats and adult cats with behavioral issues. When I went into “the kitten room” the first kitten I met was Finn, then known as Iggy. He was so large that at first I thought he was a momma cat that needed to be kept near her delicate kittens. I also met his sister Rey, then known as Sissy, because she parked herself next to me on the bench and kept poking me whenever I stopped petting her.
We don’t really know what happened to them before they came to the shelter as they were left in a carrier tied to the fence around the facility. That road hosts a lot of tractor trailer traffic, so you can draw your own conclusions as to how they react to noise now. From the note in their carrier we know they were abandoned by a breeder and it’s easy to see why they were abandoned—Finn has a white spot on his belly and Rey was clearly the runt of the litter: very small, little coordination, and definitely behind in her progress. Finn is a Russian Blue and Rey is a Russian Black. His white spot and her slow progress meant no one would breed or pay an exorbitant price for either of them–which is why you should adopt, not shop.
In addition, Finn was easily overstimulated, which was characterized as his having a bad temper. He was just a super-loving kitty who loves to be petted, but back then could not actually handle a lot of petting. In the shelter setting this meant he swiped at people who gave him the attention he craved. I had been a volunteer there long enough to know that he’d never get adopted with that behavior, and if he never left the shelter, his shy and struggling sister wouldn’t either. So I brought my husband in to meet them. Rey immediately jumped in his lap. We brought them home a few days later.
Rey has since filled out, gained confidence and strength, and is a lively, loving kitty who will nip you if you make too much noise. Finn is now a cat you can pay a ton of attention to without fear of getting scratched. It took a good bit of time to redirect his energy from being focused on you and what he wanted from you to do for him right now, to being focused on a toy, and then on toys he could entertain himself with. He’s learned to use his tail to signal to us that he’s growing agitated with how we’re petting him, and if we forget he doesn’t like it if you put your arm across him while he’s lying on his side, he gently pushes your arm away with his back feet instead of scratching you. He’s so sweet now that he climbs under the covers and sleeps with me on cold nights, only occasionally poking me with a claw if I roll over too far.
I think about Finn when I read about Major Biden. Major is a good dog. He doesn’t have a temper—he has a problem with being overstimulated. And there are too many unfamiliar people around him and he doesn’t have his own Person to look after him during the day. When Finn was a crazy kitten, I made a point to cuddle up with him every day—to pet him and handle him to make up for the months of socialization he didn’t have during his long shelter transition—so he knew he had me to come to when he was scared or thinking about acting out.
Instead of using Major’s issues as a teaching moment for people who don’t understand dogs, the press is using them to bash the Bidens. On Wednesday the big news was that one of the dogs pooped on a floor in the White House. (Remember the furor when President Obama’s dogs did the same thing? You don’t? I wonder why that is.)
On Tuesday, Lester Holt accepted the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award and said this:
“I think it’s become clearer that fairness is overrated,” he said. “Before you run with or tweet that headline, let me explain a bit. The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in. That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention.”
I really don’t know if our media wants to do the work to drop the “both sides” nonsense. The same media that spent years trying to normalize the previous president* is both-sidesing the increasingly-popular Biden by trying to paint him as a bad pet parent with dire implications for the future of this nation. I can train a problem cat. I have no idea how to fix our broken news media.
I’ll let Norah Jones take it from here.
We brought a new to us piece of furniture home last weekend. Claire Trevor has already staked her claim.
Claire Trevor is still obsessed with her nutty walnut box. I’m still obsessed with her green, green eyes.
Cue theme song:
Here’s Claire Trevor looking regal:
The devil eye picture is a family tradition. Here’s Claire Trevor’s first:
The last word goes to the Guess Who:
I wish I could say this was a Life Imitates The Sopranos moment but it’s just Claire Trevor in a walnut box. Besides, Paulie Walnuts hated cats. There’s no accounting for taste.
The cold weather is gone for now. We haven’t run the heater for a few days. Yay. I shudder to think what our next utility bill will be, but it won’t be like the budget-busters in unregulated Texas; at least I hope not. Freedom, man.
I’m feeling cautiously optimistic on the COVID front. But some people are already getting carried away. That’s been the pattern and it’s a lethal one. I’m keeping my guard up even after I get vaccinated, which should be in the next few weeks. Let’s be careful out there.
The featured image is by Archibald Motley who was a Jazz Age modernist active during the Harlem Renaissance. The image is of well-dressed Black ladies having cocktails. I’d call them flappers but that could cause a flap, Jack…
This week’s theme song was written by Peter Frampton for his 1973 semi-solo, semi-band album Frampton’s Camel. It’s the ultimate rock hangover song.
An edited version of a live version from the monster hit album, Frampton Comes Alive later became a hit single. How’s that for a version diversion? I hope it was diverting.
We have two versions (there’s that word again) of Do You Feel Like We Do for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a 2000 live performance.
We’ll have more about Peter Frampton after the break. We might as well go now.
Claire Trevor is a typical cat: she likes cold weather. She loves this red blanket almost as much as the space heater.
The last word goes to Split Enz:
For some reason, Claire Trevor resisted boxes until I put a bag in one. Go figure.