I was not one of those who watched Kobe grow up. I was aware of him, and aware that he was going to be one of the game’s greats, but I had no personal investment. He accomplished what he set out to do in basketball, and his legacy is assured despite his early death. I can feel sad without mourning for what could have been.

I was more upset to hear about his daughter Gianna being among the dead. You see, I had seen her play with her AAU basketball team. She had the fundamentals and skills and passion for the game. She never got a chance to create her own legacy.

Kobe had a second act ahead of him as a coach. Watching his daughter’s team as he coached them, they had the fundamentals, skills, and desire that only good coaching can instill. One day his daughter was going to be grown up and gone off to college, and then he would have been bored and wondering what to do and someone would have called him on the phone. We’ll never know what would have happened after that. He could have been one of the great coaches, or he could have been another Magic Johnson, unable to repeat the magic as a coach at the professional level. For that I can feel a little wistful. But if Kobe was aware of anything as he died, I don’t think he felt sad for his own life. He had accomplished what he’d set out to do long before. It would have been his daughter Gigi that would have been in his last thoughts before he was forever gone, and sadness that neither of them would ever be able to see her grow up and become what she could become.

— Badtux the Wistful Penguin

Feral Christians are a greater risk than feral cats. Thus the importance of TNR — Trap, Neuter, Release. Plus give them their rabies and distemper vaccinations at that time. That should prevent the frothing at the mouth and brain damage that are so common in feral Christians, and should stabilize the population over time.

Unfortunately people keep throwing out their unwanted unneutered Christians so the job never ends, but as colony keepers we know it’s up to us to deal with these feral colonies because nobody else is going to do it. I just wish TNR wasn’t so expensive. The drop trap alone that we use to manage our colony was a significant expense, and a couple of live traps and a transfer fork make it even more out of reach of many would be feral Christian colony managers. Thankfully there’s charities out there that will lend the traps and provide reduced cost spay/neuter assistance else the feral Christian problem would be totally out of control.

So don’t just whine about all the ferals in your neighborhood and all the loud yowling they do. I understand that the constant howls of “Have you heard the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” can be disturbing in the middle of the night, nevermind their constant fighting (the Protestants and Catholics are especially prone to that) and constant breeding overpopulating the neighborhood. Be part of the solution. Adopt a feral colony today, TNR it to stabilize the population and improve its health and reduce the aggression of its members, and have a happier healthier neighborhood!

— Badtux the Tongue in Beak Penguin

So We were all sitting on the futon. Chuck was on the heated cat bed purring as I pet him, and T’Challa was on my lap purring as I pet him with my other arm.

Then T’Challa moved to beside me and started grooming himself and my arm. Then Chuck stretched out towards us and….

And T’Challa started grooming him and Chuck closed his eyes in bliss.

Operation “Find Chuck a friend for when I’m not at home” accomplished😺.

Uhm, yeah, stuff happening in Iran? Nope, today is all cat blogging, all day. I don’t want to even think about anything else right now.

– Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

I adopted my big boi black panther T’challa on Saturday afternoon from a cat rescue that is going out of business and needs to adopt out their “unadoptable” cats. He is about 2 years old and they had him since he was a bottle baby but people don’t want big black cats 😥. This is yesterday (Tuesday) evening.

T’challa is a big kitty, you can’t really tell from this picture due to the perspective but he’s about 1/3rd bigger than Chuck (15 pounds vs 10 pounds). But he is a Good Boi. He doesn’t have an ounce of meanness or aggression in him. He has been very respectful of Chuck’s space, when Chuck hisses at him to back off he backs off. But they’ve been nose booping lately and Chuck is playing with him (to his dismay, he’s playing with the racetrack toy and Chuck on the chair above starts playing with his tail!), so it seems to be all working out.

Okay, so it’s weird that a few months after Tux died, I end up with a big black cat again. But he was being handled by a bunch of people at the Petco, and he was being patient with them. Then I went over there after he was back in the cage and…. he sniffed my hand, head butted it, then started licking it! And was rolling with it and purring as I pet him with my other hand. It was love at first sight. The big boy knew he had a live one, and he reeled me in.

– Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Iran is not Iraq

* Iran is a largely mountainous country.
* Iraq is a largely flat country.

* Iran has been a country since the early 1500’s, when the Safavids conquered Persia from the remnant Mongol regime and set up a government that has continued to rule Iran for the subsequent 500 years with occasional regime changes. That Iran claims to be heir to a 2500 year heritage of being a unified nation. Iran is a country that has a long and proud history of being a country for longer than the United States has existed, and has a culture and heritage older than Western civilization as a whole.
* Iraq was never a country until the British cobbled it together from three Ottomon provinces in the 1920’s and then fought a bloody war against rebels in those provinces to enforce their rule.

* Iran controls all of their territory as a unified nation, and its military is loyal to the Iranian nation.
* Iraq has never been a unified nation, and even under Saddam much of the nation and much of the military was under the rule of warlords who were paid off by the national government to stay loyal. The slick thing the U.S. did was pay them more than Saddam paid them, so that they (and the army units they controlled) stayed home when the US invaded. Obviously that cannot be done with Iran.

* Iraq’s military was based upon obsolete Soviet export gear that the Iraqi military barely knew how to operate, and operated via Soviet military doctrine which assumed the availability of unlimited amounts of men and equipment and the ability to retreat and wait for winter if facing defeat.
* Iran’s military uses a hodge-podge of American-derived (reverse-engineered), ex-Soviet, Chinese, and home-grown gear, and has home-grown military doctrines to go with it that have been actually tested against a Western army in Lebanon in 2006 and worked relatively well, in that the invading Israeli army’s tanks were swiftly disabled and the Israelis were forced to declare victory and go home, towing their disabled tanks behind them.

* Iraq had MANPADs which disallowed using helicopters for close support, but that didn’t matter because it’s flat so the US could use tanks.
* Iran has MANPADs wich disallow using helicopters for close support, but the US can’t substitute tanks there for close support because the land is so mountainous.

* Iraq’s air defense system was obsolete Soviet gear that they didn’t know how to use.
* Iran has the latest systems from Russia and China, which aren’t perfect but mean that we can’t just fly B-52’s over Iran and carpet-bomb them until a very lengthy (and expensive) process of degrading those air defenses take place.

Summary: Invading Iran would be much different from invading Iraq. Expect a constant stream of explosive devices, missiles, mines, and rockets to bring progress of U.S. tanks along tank-trap roads in mountainous territory to a crawl. Air superiority will be a given but it won’t be usable in the early days of the war, when Iranian air defenses would make things miserable for U.S. aircraft.

Now add in the fact that the Strait of Hormuz is overlooked by literally tens of thousands of Silkworm anti-ship missiles, all of which will render it impassable due to being littered with hulks within minutes of an invasion of Iran starting, and you will see why only a lunatic would start a war with Iran. Or Donald J. Trump. But I repeat myself.

What’s going to happen? Not war, hopefully. But when it comes to Trump, “*nobody* would be stupid enough to do *that*” doesn’t seem to work anymore for predicting what’s going to happen….

– Badtux the Grouchy Penguin

What was interesting about life in Germany during WW2 was that until late 1943 when mass bombings of Germany began, life for the average German really didn’t change once WW2 started. Sure, everybody knew someone who’d been drafted and sent to the front, but you still got up, went to work, went to church, children played in the streets, grocery stores had food in them, etc. And yeah, “those” people had been taken away and put into work camps to build war goods, but so what, everybody knew “those” people weren’t any good anyhow, they were all criminals, so it was okay that Germany ran the biggest prison system on the face of the planet.

Then 1943 happened, with massive numbers of Germans killed on the Eastern front as the Soviets pushed back at German advances, and the beginning of mass bombings of German cities causing huge disruptions to daily life. Suddenly life became more desperate. Hellish, even. Support for starting new wars suddenly disappeared. People didn’t want to surrender, exactly, they were still patriotic Germans, but war was no longer a fun and happy thing for them.

The United States has been at war for 18 years now, and we’re still Germany in 1941. We’ll probably always be Germany in 1941 as long as we don’t have waves of bombers flying over us dropping bombs on our cities, because when war seems to have no cost other than full employment for our people, why *not* go to war?

Well, other than the fact that the last war we won was frickin’ seven decades ago, and we needed a huge help by the Soviet Union (which killed 3/4ths of the German military personnel killed during the war) to do it. But if victory isn’t your goal, well.

– Badtux the History Penguin

Who here remembers Checker Motor Company cabs? These were taxi cabs built 1950’s style all the way until 1980. They were *HUGE* inside. Like, a 7 footer would have had no problem in those back seats, there was literally four feet of room between the front of the back seat cushion and the back of the front seat! And the trunk held a whole family of Mafia victims.

They weren’t luxury vehicles by any means. They had washable interiors with vinyl seats and mostly-metal finishings. They predated state-down design, the floor was flat from doorsill to doorsill, and was covered by a rubber floor liner rather than carpet so that the taxi driver could use a water hose to clean out vomit from taking drunks home.

What finally did them in was that the stampings wore out and at around 8,000 cars per year, it wasn’t worth paying for new stampings. Add in the difficulties they were having getting emissions-compliant drive trains, they had been buying the Chevrolet 350 smallblock and matching transmission from GM, but GM discontinued it in all their passenger cars and the truck version of the engine was only certified for pickup trucks, which had more lenient emisisons standards back then. Clearly they weren’t going to develop their own drivetrain for just 8,000 cars per year. They looked at developing a specialized taxi cab version of GM’s then-new front wheel drive cars, maybe a stretched version of it, but in the end decided it just wasn’t worth the investment given the relatively small taxi market of around 8,000 cars per year, and quit making cars altogether. Checker Motor Company continued existing as a supplier making stampings for GM and Chrysler until 2008, when it went bankrupt when Chrysler and GM quit paying their bills, and the assets ended up sold off to the highest bidder, but they never again considered making taxi cabs during all that time.

So that’s why you end up with a Prius if you catch a taxi at the airport, and why Uber and Lyft have taken so much of the business away from the old taxi cab companies. There’s no longer anything special about a taxi cab — it’s just a car like any other car. If that’s the case, why go through the inconvenience of calling for a taxi and *maybe* one will arrive at some point in time, when you can instead use your Lyft or Uber app and *know* where your car is as it comes to you? The taxi industry in the end made the decision to rely on government protectionism rather than service to justify its existence, and reaped the consequences.

– Badtux the Reminiscing Penguin