It's a birb for a change!

'Marco' By Wonkette Operative 'Wide Stance Hubby'

Switzerland ignited a very civilized -- if somewhat jittery -- outcry last week over its decision to stop stockpiling coffee beans as part of a century-old program to make sure that basic essentials of life can be made available to all Swiss folks in case of an emergency. Smithsonian magazine explains:

In the wake of World War I, Switzerland's government decided to stockpile enough essential items to sustain the country's citizens for three months. If the landlocked country faced severe shortages, the plan's creators reasoned, its residents would be able to survive on the rations. Today, writes BBC News' Imogen Foulkes, the list of staples earmarked for stockpiling includes fuel, fresh water, animal feed, medicine, sugar, flour, cooking oil, rice and—to the great satisfaction of Switzerland's caffeine-loving population—15,000 tons of coffee.

The Swiss government noticed that coffee has no real nutritional value, but came to the erroneous conclusion that means it's not an essential of life. Swiss people respectfully disagreed, and if they hadn't had their morning coffee, may have been somewhat less respectful. The government is now reconsidering the decision. Especially since a lack of coffee may constitute an emergency in itself.

Along similar lines, we would like to think that in these Hell Times, a regular supply of cat pictures, please, and other fluff may seem easy to dismiss, but nonetheless necessary for mental health. Or at least a welcome reminder that even in the deepening gloom, your dog is finally getting enough cheese.

From The Producers Of Polish Freedom Cow, It's Bovine Survivor

During Hurricane Dorian in September, quite a few horses and cows on Cedar Island, North Carolina, were swept out to sea by the storm surge. This week, at least three surviving cows were found at the Cape Lookout National Seashore park on the Outer Banks. As the New York Times explains,

The cattle are believed to have arrived at the federal park by swimming at least two miles across the Core Sound from Cedar Island, according to a park spokesman, B.G. Horvat. He said that the cows' caretaker, Woody Hancock, had identified them as being from Cedar Island.

"It's a tremendous story of how they made it," Mr. Horvat said on Wednesday from the park, which has 56 miles of beaches and is known for its black-and-white-checkered lighthouse, surf fishing and wild horses. "If the cows could talk, imagine the story they can tell you of enduring that rush of water," he added. "That must be incredible."

The Park Service is working on a plan to find the cows' owner and get them home. As Kurt Vonnegut, whose birthday we marked this week, might say, "God damn it, you've got to be kine."

During Prohibition, Jesuits Stood Up For Sweet, Sweet Booze

The Jesuit magazine America brought us this neat historical ramble reviewing its own efforts to oppose Prohibition 100 years ago. Editorials in America decried Virginia's state prohibition law in 1919, condemning the "small army of detectives and 'stool pigeons'" needed to enforce it and warning that prohibition of alcohol constituted "a menace to the peace and welfare of the community, immeasurably greater than the disorderly conduct of a mob of drunkards."

The editors also went all Social Justice against the law, too, noting that the citizenry pursuing Prohibition as a "Christian" endeavor would never support such tyranny in the name of "Mohammedan tenets," and doubting that the law would be equally enforced. Because when do moral crusades ever affect "the barons of wealth" as harshly as "the street-cleaner," huh? (See also Anatole France on the "majestic equality" of the law, which "forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread" (1894).

Even before national Prohibition went into effect, America noted,

The rich are "stocking up," and will suffer no want; but after his day of exhausting labor, the poor man may not have so much as a single glass of harmless, necessary beer.

Once Prohibition got rolling, America's editors also fretted, not unreasonably given the general anti-Catholic climate of the day, that the Volstead Act might eventually be used to confiscate communion wine, although that never came to pass, and in fact, the law's exception for religious uses kept some wineries in business.

By 1922, the editors were calling Prohibition "the most stupid and most insincere of all our laws," and listing its ill effects for the Republic, such as

widespread and absolute disrespect for the principle of authority, an army of desperate bootleggers who are growing rich through lawlessness, hosts of half-hearted Prohibition agents, around whom run rivers of whisky that arise from inexhaustible fountains and flow into the houses and clubs of the rich man, an enormous increase of drunkenness and deaths from alcoholism, a great rise in the tax-rate, international complications, and many other more or less serious detriments.

Modern historians, we should note, point out that Prohibition actually worked in some ways as a public health measure, reducing overall drinking and drinking-related deaths. Although that might have been even more successful it the government hadn't also decided to make industrial alcohol more poisonous to discourage people from drinking it, which resulted in thousands of deaths. Ah, "deterrence" by Getting Tough -- an idea that seldom works but is always beloved by authoritarians.

That Time Patti LuPone Was In A Musical About A Haunted Laundromat

We were busy with news and Book Club during Halloween, so we had to save this beautiful New Yorker piece about a 1984 pilot for a PBS series that never came to be. Called "Hip Pocket Musicals," the series would have featured

a different half-hour mini-musical with the same group of actors. The first one was called "Love Cycle: A Soap Operetta," and it starred LuPone as a vengeful ghost who haunts a laundromat. [...]

It has everything you want in a ghost story. LuPone's character, Rachel, has died in a tragic laundry accident and now dwells in a malfunctioning dryer. "In that dryer / burns the fire of Hell," one character warns, in song. When someone uses it anyway, Rachel emerges to take revenge on her ex-husband and the woman he left her for. But, when the couple, who have broken up, arrive at the laundromat, the two women sing a ballad about forgiveness and letting go, and Rachel, finally at peace, ascends to the Great Beyond—but not before returning all the unmatched socks she's been stealing from the machines. So that's where they all went!

It's simply a lovely piece of writing about a neat idea that didn't go anywhere, and OMG there's a copy of "Love Cycle" on the YouTubes, watch it, watch it, watch it.

Love Cycle: A Soap Operetta

And Now For The Amusing Tweets And Videos!

Doggo playin' inna leaves:

Dog Loves Jumping In Leaves

Doggo hidin' inna leaves:

Same doggo? Yellow lab, so I think so?

Another camouflaged doggo:

Why would you accent your video game adventurer costume with glue guns? Makes perfect sense if ...

Mystery cat (?). You'll want the sound on.

Talking porcupine would like a word with you. Or perhaps just kicking ass and taking noms:

My, what a fetching whale! "Excuse me, human, you dropped this. Be careful; I can't just keep bringing it back to you every time you do that, silly."

ProPublica journalist Jessica Huseman was immobilized by her dog, Walter, who will soon have his own Twitter checkmark we bet:

This is why Yr Dok Zoom is glad he works at home:

The lamp was eventually removed from Thornton's ear.

The robot apocalypse will be adorable! When Skynet becomes self-aware, it will either try to kill us, or will snuggle right up in our laps. Then kill us. (Or, once again, demand cat pictures.)

We will close with two examples of Huskies Sassin' Back. The first, via alert Wonkette Operative "Helena Hansomcab," is tweeter Kimberly Johnson's own dissenting pupper.

The second is not Johnson's doggo, but provides a convincing rebuttal to Gary Larson. While it's true that most dogs may just be saying "Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!!" some dogs also say, "Fake News! FAKE NEWS!!"

We now demand you have the best Sunday you are able to! We will be back next week with more nice things and coffee! Enjoy your open thread!

[Smithsonian / "Cat Pictures Please" by Naomi Kritzer / WaPo / America / Vox / Vox / Smithsonian / New Yorker]

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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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