Tag Archives: alternative facts

SNIPPETS (8-20-18)



A short video starring the furry felines at the Friends of Cats from my 2½ hours volunteering on August 19, 2018.


I will be volunteering at Friends of Cats for 2½ hours each day, Sunday through Thursday. Yesterday I spent most of my time letting the FIV cats know that they have not been forgotten. They really enjoyed having me with them. Except this one. I wasn’t fooled. I saw him watching me.

Cat eye


I have a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management from Texas A&M University. So I do, uh, kinda like trees. However, treeless mountains also can be quite beautiful, like these over near Death Valley National Monument in California.

Treeless mountains


Now, along with alternative facts and fake news, we have Rudy Giuliani telling us that “Truth isn’t truth.” Zoey the Cool Cat agrees, I think. Maybe not. Maybe she’s just being sarcastic.

Truth isn't truth!


While volunteering at Friends of Cats for National Clear the Shelters Day on Saturday, I met my first heterochromia cat. Previously all I had seen were pictures. Now I have my own picture.

White cat with heterochromia

Heterochromia can occur in humans and dogs as well as cats. With cats, it occurs mostly in white cats. One eye almost always is blue in humans, dogs, and cats.


When I came home Saturday after 8 hours volunteering for Friends of Cats, I went to hug Zoey the Cool Cat. She smelled me and gave me a look that said, “Dude! You’ve been cheating on me!” A video of many of the little furry ones that I had the pleasure to cheat with on my first day of volunteering


While I was roaming the country a few weeks ago, I made it a point to visit all the great railroad spots, such as the historic California railroad yards in Barstow and Yermo. Here’s a video of a Union Pacific freight train heading west into the Barstow yard. From there it will go either to San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego.


This little guy’s name is Chuckie. He lives at the Friends of Cats shelter in El Cajon, California. He is a finicky eater, preferring only whole chicken from Costco.



Got the official diagnosis Saturday on Zoey the Cool Cat’s blood, poop, and pee analysis. She’s diabetic, although not severe enough to require daily insulin shots. The vet wants to give her a significant change of diet.

Zoey the Cool Cat book


It is often said that you don’t choose a cat, a cat chooses you. I saw that on Saturday while volunteering all day at Friends of Cats shelter in El Cajon, California. It was very moving.

A teen boy came in with his mom. They sat on the floor and were petting cats. A black cat (yeah black cats!) named Ace, a “problem cat” that had been in the shelter for several years, came up to him, flopped on the floor, and proceeded to let the boy rub his tummy and head, and even pick him up. Ace wanted to snuggle and generally told this boy that he was the one. The boy took him home.

Staff was astounded because Ace had never done such before.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

A piece missing—Am I my father’s son?

A Piece Missing

Over on Facebook, people are asking questions like,

What’s the most interesting thing that happened to you in 2017?
What do you think will be your best memory of 2017?
What do you think will be your worst memory of 2017?

I haven’t answered any of those questions but the first question led me to reflect on the most interesting thing I discovered in 2017.

In April 2017, I got interested in genealogy. Since I’ve been estranged from both sides of my family for 24 years, I sometimes wonder what happened to cousins, nieces & nephews, aunts & uncles, even brothers & sisters.

I got really ambitious last year and took out a membership at Ancestry based on a long-time friend’s genealogy posts on Facebook. It was interesting because Ancestry looks at the names of people you enter and then searches its database to find matches and links to others who have entered the same names.

It was through those links that I was able to find several documents relating to my father. The first was an application for a headstone:

Dad's headstone marker application

The application was made by my wise old grandmother, Mary Agnes Kirk. I learned from that document that my father served in the Air Force from December 18, 1950, to December 17, 1954, as a member of the 728th Squadron, Aircraft Control & Warning, and was discharged as a Staff Sergeant. All interesting but it’s the service dates that I think are critical here, being discharged on December 17, 1954. I tried to find more information about the 728th Squadron because I wanted to see if I could find someone who knew my dad. No luck. So I have to make presumptions, and those could be completely wrong.

The next document I found was my dad’s death certificate which told me that he killed himself on January 18, 1961. I never knew until last year that he had killed himself. I was led to believe that he had died in the Korean War. Hmmm.

A few email messages to survivors who would know about this indicated that my father killed himself due to my mother’s indiscretions. Here’s where it gets interesting. Apparently my father was in the Air Force in Korea. That’s important to know because I was born on March 11, 1955. Nine months earlier would have been June 11, 1954. At that time, from what I can determine, my father was in Korea. Hmmm.

There is a possibility that my father was home on leave. That’s why I wanted to see if I could find someone from the 728th Squadron who was still living and might have relevant records of that kind of stuff.

According to others who might know, my parents fought often. I’m thinking that whether or not he was home on leave, sometime in January 1961, perhaps during a fight, my mother blurted out something like, “Russel’s not even your son! He’s the milkman’s son!”

So, am I my father’s son? Interesting question.

That’s the most interesting thing that happened to me in 2017.

However, related to this and also found during my genealogical research are these juicy tidbits:

  1. I had always been told that my mother had been born in Helena, Montana. Even my mother told me that. Nope. She was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Why the lies?
  2. I had always been told that my oldest brother lived for 13 months. Nope. He lived just over four weeks. Apparently he drowned on his baby bottle in the middle of the night. Sources say that he was crying and that my mother got up and gave him a bottle, and then went back to bed. Why the lies?
  3. Baby Boy KirkI had always been told that my youngest brother died at birth. Nope. He died on the same day he was born but lived long enough to be given a name. I always knew him as “Baby Boy Kirk.” Even his gravestone, which I helped pay for, says “Baby Boy Kirk” on it. His name actually was Randy Kirk according to everything I have found, including the 2012 obituary for my mother. Why the lies?

Was my family the progenitors of the Republican liars of today? The fake news purveyors of today? The alternative facts of today? Inquiring minds want to know.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

I seriously hope the United States fails

Did you know?

Shortly after the U.S. presidential inauguration I watched the movie “1984.” I last had watched it in, uh, 1984. Imagine that.

I normally only watch movies once because, well, there are just too many movies out there that I want to see, so I don’t consider it a good use of time to watch a movie multiple times.

In this case, though, I thought it might be appropriate to watch it again.

1984Even though I was 29 in 1984, I didn’t think much of “1984” other than as a science fiction dystopian novel. I never really thought that it might come about in my lifetime, but I think it’s here. Now.

I noticed that at the same time I was watching the movie, the book was zooming to the top of best seller lists everywhere, including Amazon and USA Today because of Kellyanne Conway’s famous quote about “alternative facts.”

While Winston Smith (John Hurt) is being tortured by O’Brien (Richard Burton), this dialogue takes place:

O’Brien (Richard Burton): How does one man assert power over another?

Winston Smith (John Hurt): By making him suffer.

O’Brien: Exactly. Obedience is not enough. Power is inflicting pain and humiliation. Otherwise you cannot be sure. Power is tearing human minds apart and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Power is not a means. It is an end. In our world there will only be triumph. Everything else we shall destroy. The past is forbidden. Why? Because when we can cut man from his own past, then we can cut him from his family, his children. There is no loyalty except loyalty to the party. There is no love except love of Big Brother. All competing pleasures we will destroy.

In another scene from the movie, O’Brien says that the purpose of war is not to win, but to continue.

I wanted to read some in-depth analyses of “1984” so I went searching and found this:

In 1984 the government of Oceania produces enough supplies to fuel itself. Winston says himself there is always a shortage of something, razor blades, bootlaces, etc. Yet Oceania ALWAYS has enough supplies and could, if the Party wished it, supply everyone and make everyone happy and comfortable. However they don’t, this is because war is used as a means to destroy the surplus. Think of it like they making a ton of shoes for their country. They give a certain number to their country but the rest they throw into the furnace. And then they continue to make more shoes, and repeat this over. War is no longer a means of victory, it is a means to control the population, through propaganda (by giving them something to cheer for, to campaign for) and to keep the world self-sustaining and self-destructing, to keep the world stable. That’s all 1984 is about, freezing the world at a certain point of time in history, essentially. What better way to ensure your government never fails than by “stopping time” and not allowing advancement.

I really do believe, and fear, that the current president is doing all he can to go to war with many other countries, including some of the longest and strongest allies of the United States.

This might be the only time in my lifetime where I seriously hope the United States fails.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

In memory of the victims of the “Bowling Green massacre”

Friday Flower Fiesta

There are so many alternative facts (lies) coming out of this administration that I can’t keep up. I’m sure glad I’m not a professional fact checker because I’d be working 120 hours a week. I feel like my head is going to burst from all these alternative facts trying to take up residence in it.

So in the midst of all these alternative facts, I’d just like to post a picture of this single white rose in memory of all the people who were killed by terrorists in the “Bowling Green massacre.”

Single white rose in memory of the people killed in the Bowling Green massacre.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Alternative facts are the new fake news

I live in my own little world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since Facebook and Twitter are trying to put a stop to fake news, or at least tag it as fake news, the current administration seems to have come up with a way to get around that by calling their fake news alternative facts.

My oh my.

Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, brought up alternative facts on “Meet the Press” this morning, and the world is having a lot of fun with it. Even Urban Dictionary is getting in on the fun. Their definition:

When truth is so unfavorable to a pathological liar that they must invent a whole new category of lies to describe their nakedly intentional acts of deception.

Examples: “Kellyanne Conway told CNN that the President and his Press Secretary presented alternative facts about inauguration photographs that prove conclusively how few people attended the ceremony.” #lies #falsehood #intentional lies #pathological lies

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

If these alternative facts didn’t have the capacity to do so much damage to so many people’s lives, it would actually be funny.

It has encouraged me to write two books concurrently, one about the history of railroads in San Diego County and the other a day-by-day account of this administration alternative facts.

Alternative Facts

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I might die of laughter before I die from lack of health insurance under this administration.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat