Yesterday

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Sad news on several fronts. Balloon Juice proprietor John Cole lost his beloved cat, the fabulous and floofy blog mascot Tunch, yesterday in a particularly awful way. Those who wish to do so can leave a donation to Marion Animal Resource Connection, an animal welfare organization, to honor Tunch.

Cole also got confirmation that long-time Balloon Juice (and Rumproast) commenter General Stuck has died. He was a prolific participant in debate across the blogosphere, and when he went missing, people suspected something was wrong. Well, it was.

Still trying to wrap my head around the Zimmerman trial verdict, even though I figured Zimmerman would skate. So now young black males not only have to tread on eggshells around cops but also around every officious little neighborhood busybody who decides kids don’t look like they “belong.” Fuckity fuck.

Posted by Betty Cracker on 07/14/13 at 07:12 AM • Permalink

Categories: CrittersPoliticsNutters

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Headstrong and quirky, with a completely unconvincing schmucky veneer over genuine decency.  No wonder Tunch and Cole were feline-human soulmates.

On the heels of his letting folks know their worst fears about the good General had indeed come to pass, it seemed like just too much.  And then the Zimmerman verdict. 

The dignity of Martin’s parents and the outpouring of affection at Balloon Juice (and the blogosphere)... thank goodness for these things.

Yesterday sucked, for sure.

General Stuck took cover here for a while when the Juice was going through one of its baggier phases, and it was great to have him around. Here’s him and me chewing the fat during the Weinerpaloozza a couple of years ago:

For a public person to walk around every day with a name like Weiner, you got to figure on something like this happening at some point, as kind of a latent big fuck you to a lifetime of Weiner jokes. self fulfilling something or other. Almost like he wanted the nightmare to end, or at least for sharing with all the rest of us. I know that’s kind of deep and my shrink license has expired. But the dude is just too smart to set himself up like this, without some freudian goings on at play.

Comment by General Stuck on 06/06/11 at 10:00 PM


General, Ms YAFB and I had a conversation earlier where I floated that very theory, based on his reported proclivity for making sometimes inappropriate dick jokes! I wasn’t using it as any sort of excuse, but she wasn’t buying it. ;)

Nominative determinism. You can’t explain that.

Comment by YAFB on 06/06/11 at 10:29 PM


YAFB, From my readings around the web, the lady folk out there aren’t having much to do with sympathetic theories not including Weiner as our current national villain. I can’t blame them much, him married and all. But some of us have to keep our cool wits and think this thing through as to why, so the nation can hopefully move on at some point. It’s a lonely task, but the sacrifice must be made.

Comment by General Stuck on 06/06/11 at 11:25 PM


Damn right, General. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. And by gum, we’re just the crew to pull it off.

I do harken back to the days when my every utterance didn’t sound like it was lifted from a Benny Hill script, though.

Comment by YAFB on 06/06/11 at 11:38 PM

I’m very grateful for John’s perseverence in figuring out what had happened to him.

As for Tunch, I was aghast when I saw John’s RIP thread, and was waiting for some sort of punchline, like Tunch is (not literally) dead because he ganged up with the girls to steal a prime cut of tuna or something. Then it pretty soon became apparent that the punchline wasn’t funny.

They’ll both be sorely missed, and my thoughts go out to those they left behind. Our Gus has been getting even more fuss than usual.

Regarding Zimmerman—for me the worst thing is going to be waiting for this fucker to shoot someone else. At which point there will be an epic bout of hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth, as White America bemoans that it had to—HAD TO—let this guy go that first time…

That may be the worst thing, though I suspect lots of us are going to be sorely offended when Zimmerman starts his new ‘career’ as honored guest and speaker at every NRA convention, gun show, Kock bro’s get together, etc. 


I am shocked to hear of the loss of Tunch.  This is my first trip to the web today, and I always stop here first.  So sad.

I agree with John Ball that Zimmerman is going to end up shooting someone else, probably an elderly black person who gets too close to his imaginary maginot line of self defense or who he thinks looks at him crosswise. Zimmerman is living proof that even paranoids (eventually) have real enemies and he is going to become the most fearful and suspicious of men.

However the branch of “white america” that celebrates his getting off will never “wring their hands” if he kills another black person and probably won’t worry much if he kills another person of the white persuasion. They never thought he was innocent—they thought he was justified. And so the next shooting will seem justified, as well.  People avoid experiencing things that cause cognitive dissonance or that make them uncomfortable.  If you wanted to see Zimmerman as justified, an ordinary man faced with the ordinary task of policing his neighborhood against the ravening hordes of black youth, you saw him that way. And in keeping with the authoritarian mindset you will continue to see him that way. No matter who he kills next he will always be “one of the tribe of the justified.” Unless its a cute little white girl. Then they will throw him overboard as a hispanic.

Thanks for putting up this thread, Betty.

I’m shocked at the General’s death. He was such a genial, friendly presence, and good-naturedly put up with a considerable amount of BJ invective while seemingly never breaking a sweat.

Is it bad to wonder why good people seem so fragile but awful jerks seem to go on and on?

Zimmerman’s whole entourage is displaying remarkable and unsurprising lack of grace since he was set free to brandish his firearm again, what with crying reverse racism and slandering the teenager Zimmerman killed. Why, it’s as if they know we know they got away with murder.

And I can’t believe this world is short one roly-poly, obstreperous Tunch, after one horrific, irretrievable moment.

Cole was extremely kind to us when Strange, and his cats, had his crisis. I hope he knows how we appreciate him, and honor his buddy, who was the best orange-tailed top banana in showbiz.

I guess I pretty much expected the Zimmerman verdict since the press was trumpeting about how the prosecution did a lousy job.  And the defense lacing its closing argument with dog whistles didn’t help much either.

And, as sorry as I was to hear about General Stuck, his absence from the blogs and not responding to emails made me fear the worst.  He was a cool guy and it’s really sad to know he’s gone.

Tunch was a total shock, though.  Like a punch to the gut.  As a cat lover myself I can’t imagine what John’s going through.  His brother must feel awful but why do you even keep a dog like that?

It was as if Friday the 13th waited until Saturday.

Two unpleasant words: Bernhard Goetz.

The last time I looked at BJ, John is blaming himself for Tunch’s death; I know that pain, and it lasts a long time.  My best cat ever was the victim of my being a college student who suddenly had to find a place when the one I had contracted for fell through.  I was lucky enough to get a duplex with a fenced back yard, but then the woman who had the other side got a roommate with a dog and my best kitty buddy wouldn’t go there anymore.  Chasing birds in the front yard too close to the road, and then he was gone.  I still blame myself 25 years later.  John really needs his friends right now.

That may be the worst thing, though I suspect lots of us are going to be sorely offended when Zimmerman starts his new ‘career’ as honored guest and speaker at every NRA convention, gun show, Kock bro’s get together, etc.

I keep getting this sick feeling that he’ll be next year’s CPAC keynote speaker.  I can also see him showing up in Arizona as a boil on Joe Arpaio’s ass, the “good” Latino who found his way off the “democrat plantation” and is now a GOP poster boy.

I think I shall now be sick!

@ Mrs. Polly—Zimmerman’s brother really needs to STFU. He was on CNN after the verdict basically implying that Trayvon Martin had to be put down like a rabid animal, and that it was poor brother George’s sad duty to do it. Even if he believes this in his heart, why go on TV and say that now? The mind reels…

@ Mar—It was John’s sister’s dog that the brother was watching while she was out of town. The sister rescues hard-to-place animals and sounds like a real sweetheart. John told the brother to put the dog in the yard, thinking Tunch was in the house.

They are all blaming themselves, and it’s just an awful, tragic situation all around. They aren’t blaming each other, though, which is a good thing.

My sister sounds a lot like John’s—she’s had a series of scary rescue dogs that she spends a lot of time and money keeping in safe circumstances, but sometimes shit happens. In her case, it’s PEOPLE she has to worry about, as her dogs have occasionally bitten visitors.

I can see the argument that some dogs can’t be rehabilitated, and I think it’s especially strong with dogs that are aggressive toward people. But there are plenty of dogs out there, and not just pit-mixes, that will go after smaller critters. It’s their nature.

I’m honestly not sure what the right thing to do is, aside from muzzling the dog when it’s outside. But even that can be a problem; one of my stupid boxers went through a screen the other day and I had to chase her down. (I think it was an accident; she leaned against it, and it popped out. Good thing it was a ground floor window!)

There’s never going to be a day when we can keep them absolutely safe. Even if they’re “in” cats.  My cat fought with my mother’s cat when a door was left open at Christmas.

Luckily, Squeaky’s wounds were more ugly than life-threatening. But it was a holiday, one cat wasn’t on his home turf, and animals’ attention doesn’t flag the way humans’ does.
That’s just how we’re built. An open door, a single horrific moment.

Or it’s a spilled chemical. Or not knowing that my dog would eat Combat~~a call to poison control and a cab to the animal hospital saved him.

He also survived my mother keeping a pound bag of M&Ms; in her camera case. And the bag of birdseed…...I tried to be vigilant, but he was ever more so.

Our human lives mean our pets exchange the danger of the Wild for hazards like frayed electrical cords and traffic. They still live longer, and better, with us than without, although it could be argued thst they wouldn’t have ever existed in the wild anyway. Feral pug dogs?

I’m sure John’s sister’s dog was tense and questioning his place in the universe being on foreign ground and without his human. Tunch was not one to let John know where he was because of his essential Tunchness. How often today I’ve been thinking of him.

I would like sometime to discuss keeping cats in not just for their safety, but because they’re destroying songbird populations.  But another day. Today, I’d just like to wish the Cole family some ease.

I keep my cats in because we have coyotes now.  Two of my cats disappeared almost at the same time after being let out in the morning.  I’m sure coyotes got them as there were many reports of coyote sightings in the neighborhood and neither of these cats were wandering types.  This was several years ago and I still blame myself and feel sick when I think about it.

Protecting the songbird population is also definitely a consideration.  Teh adorable kittehs are also extremely efficient predators (ask the mouse or two who’ve been foolish enough to venture into my house.  Well actually you can’t because they are “ex-mice” now).  As I understand it, unlimited access to the critters in early humans’ grain fields was a primary reason the lovely beasts consented to move in with us in the first place.

I know this has been traumatic for the whole Cole family.  I hope John is able to visit a shelter soon and pick out another furry buddy.  There will never, ever be another Tunch but there are some great cats living in those places just waiting for a home.

Here’s another “hell yes” for making cats into indoor-only pets.  Just like Mar, we have coyotes here, and last week we saw a bobcat in the back yard right by the deck.  As the coyote population has gone up, the number of wandering cats has approached zero, and now we have tons of songbirds.  Our rescue kitty was none too thrilled with being indoor-only, but 3 years later she’s less interested as she navigates cat middle age (12). 

I am sorry that General Stuck is no longer with us.  He was an evenhanded, steady presence that is sorely missed.

Just a short note to say that both John and Tunch are in my prayers—today, and I suspect for many days to come. I have lost enough of my cat friends through the years to believe that death is not an unbreakable wall of separation, but rather a unifying bridge between slightly different but equally valid forms of being.

To both of you I say: Smile, love, be generous with your affections…and above all, via con dios.

and above all, via con dios.

And to you Strange, my friend.

As the coyote population has gone up, the number of wandering cats has approached zero

Our coyote population has actually gone down, due, I’m pretty sure, to “coyote vigilantes” who (and I’m not kidding here) wander the streets late at night with shotguns or 22’s or something and shoot the coyotes.

This is apparently a reaction to the fact that the Dept of Wildlife basically laughs at you if you call to report coyote sightings in town.  I’ve actually heard the gunshots late at night.

This has not changed my decision to keep my cats in but a very big consequence of it has been the increase in the wild rabbit populations.  I’ve got f**kin bunnies living in my back yard and eating my landscaping & vegetables!  They’ve dug holes under my fences!  Any suggestions for dealing with this are WELCOME!

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