Nugget and Maxwell by Wonkette Operative 'Flemish Spy'

As an only child, I can't speak on the matter with any authority, but I have a feeling the photo up top may very succinctly summarize the relationship between a whole lot of younger and older siblings.





Whole bunch of nice things for you today!

Let's Do Another Book Club!

With the holidays out of the way, it's time to get the ol' Wonkette Book Club rolling again. Yr Editrix had a heck of a good suggestion, given the current news: Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, by Michael Isikoff and David Corn. First published in 2006, it's suddenly very, very relevant. (And yes, I know, war stuff isn't exactly nice; don't worry, we'll get to the kitten videos soon). The linky there gives Yr Wonkette a nice kickback, and can be used to get the book in paperback ($11.69), ebook ($12.69), or audio format ($17.95), and you can also find it used or at your local library. (Yes, we know, Amazon is evil. But it's also a revenue stream for us. Life is complex, and we'll never make it to the Good Place anyway.)

I'm thinking we should start discussing Hubris in two weeks, starting January 19. The book should still be topical, just maybe. I'll announce details like our schedule (two weekends or three? What chapters for each chunk?) next weekend in Nice Things, and maybe this time around I'll even remember to promote the Book Club during the week, too! (Or maybe, since Stephen is working Sundays now, Nice Things and book reviews will switch to a weekday and I'll have a real weekend? We'll figure this out.)

And now the mandatory kitten, from our latest enthusiasm, the subreddit "IllegallySmolCats." Here is a little kitten who somehow escaped from an anime.

very smol and very cute


Relatively Easy Listening

I've been trying out the Audm app for a few months; it's a subscription service that offers audio versions of a selection of articles from sources like The Atlantic, New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, ProPublica, Vanity Fair, New York magazine, and suchlike. It's like audiobooks for longform journamalism (just in case you aren't already listening to a zillion podcasts). Audm was originally limited to iPhones, but an Android version launched last summer. I like it, pretty much, especially since you can download articles and listen to 'em away from wifi, like in the gym or the car (but not with headphones in the car, you). Content updates daily, and covers a wide range of news and analysis.

Is it worth the subscription fee, currently $7.99 a month (or $74.99 a year)? Depends on how much you use it; I got the month-to-month plan to try it out, and haven't yet decided whether to upgrade or not. I might, since I keep finding stuff that's useful for Wonking, but your mileage may vary. Many (but not all) of the audio articles are embedded in the publications' online versions, though they're streaming-only, so you're tethered to wifi. And of course, several of the sources, like New York magazine, The New Yorker or The Atlantic, throw a paywall at you after a limited number of reads per month, so Audm might be more affordable if you're only after the must-read stories at any given time.

With that in mind, here are linkies to the print versions of some neat stuff I listened to yesterday while playing dumb video games and doing/avoiding chores. (Because I scrolled back through the offerings, the first is from October, but that reflects me catching up, not the timeliness of what's on the app!)

"How Technology Sabotaged Public Safety", by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic (October). A hell of a good thinky piece on how new tech has in some cases undermined public safety measures that took years to get in place. We don't think twice anymore about buckling up our seatbelts, and most folks wouldn't dream of driving around a babby without a properly secured car seat. But fewer than half of people use seatbelts when they take an Uber, because they often assume short trips are less dangerous, or "(wrongly) perceive a lower risk of harm in the back seat." And who wants to drag a child seat along to the ballgame or a party? In another arena, smoking rates were declining and the tobacco industry seemed headed for oblivion, until vaping took off. It's a terrific article that will leave you saying "holy shit, I hadn't thought of that" a lot. Particularly Bogost's observation that "The tech industry has undoubtedly improved people's individual, private lives. But it has not necessarily benefited their communal ones." Freaking techie libertarians!

"Embarrassment of Riches" by Sheelah Kolhatkar, New Yorker (current issue; web version has a different title). A profile of the "Patriotic Millionaires" group -- rich people who want the government to scrap supply-side economics and increase taxes on rich people like them. These folks, such as Abigail Disney, will definitely be the last up against the wall when the revolution comes. It's fascinating, brilliant writing.

"Miss Girard's Christmas Gift," by Skip Hollandsworth, Texas Monthly (December). THIS IS SO WONDERFUL. A retired special education teacher came to help police after they picked up Chris Barrington, a severely autistic man who'd been wandering along a highway; all he would say about why was, "My daddy's sick. My daddy can't walk." But he didn't remember where he lived. Barrington was Michell Girard's former student, and the story of their reconnection will make you smile and cry and possibly yell about the need to improve social services, dammit.

On top of those, I also loved two profiles from New York magazine's end-of-the decade review; they interview writers Ta-Nehisi Coates and Margaret Atwood. Caution: New York tosses its paywall at you after entirely too few free articles, the boogers.

Here's How To Help Australian Firefighters, Fire Victims, And Wildlife

Australia is on fire, and people all over the world want to help out. The Guardian has a guide to groups helping the volunteer firefighters as well as the people displaced by the fires, and CBS News has another, which also includes organizations helping Australian wildlife.


Two recommendations from noted political pundit Our Girlfriend. First, this 2012 vid (It's part of a series, find the rest yourself). It's silly fun!

Cat-Friend vs Dog-Friend

Also, too, a true-life tale of accidental dognapping.

To be fair, the dog has the same name as his wife, for whom the guy was picking up the dog, and both dogs are white floofs.

Clearly he knows his wife's dog real good.

If you're not following BodegaCats on Twitter, you should.

Spoiler warning: different chips packages, different cats.

You should also probably follow Iditarod musher Blair Braverman:


Connie Schultz, Sherrod Brown, and their doggo:

Cats wanna be sedated.

That was Thornton after I'd been visiting Yr Editrix and family at Thanksgiving. I lucked out; replies are full of cats who get surly when you get back. Obligatory Thornton, reclaiming his time, human, and the Kurt Vonnegut tee noted pundit Our Girlfriend gave us last Xmas:

This'll be Wonkette Toddler in a few years, prolly (also, not the MST3K Mike Nelson):

She says in a follow-up that the cat was riding around on the pig for a while before anyone even noticed:

Mirror neurons?

PURE BABBY GIGGLES!!!! Don't know whether those nails ever got trimmed. Which may have been babby's strategy.

Cute AnaKura - Giggling in Hysterics | Dad tries to cut her nails

Another good follow: Bonebone, a big floofy Japanese cat:

A Public Service Reminder. Neither cute nor hilarious, but useful, no? Copypaste-n-save!

Science fiction / fantasy writer NK Jemisin is terrific, and knows how to talk to a kitty:

He adds that he found the musician, Good to see people doing Twitter due diligence. Apparently one of multiple doggo songs!

Finally, a reminder that Historians at the Movies happens every Sunday at 8:30 EST. Historian Jason Herbert announces each week's flick in advance, then at 8:30 eastern you fire up the Netflix and check out the commentary on Twitter at #HATM. You can even join in if you're not a historian at all! This week's movie is 2015's Suffragette.

Now get out and do nothing! Have a great Sunday! And get cracking on your assigned reading!

[Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War / Audm / Atlantic / New Yorker / Texas Monthly / New York (Coates) / New York (Atwood) / Guardian / CBS News]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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