So, by now everybody has probably read the Atlantic article on “How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy“:
… Starting in the early 1990s, [Jaroslav Flegr] began to suspect that a single-celled parasite in the protozoan family was subtly manipulating his personality, causing him to behave in strange, often self-destructive ways. And if it was messing with his mind, he reasoned, it was probably doing the same to others.
The parasite, which is excreted by cats in their feces, is called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii or Toxo for short) and is the microbe that causes toxoplasmosis—the reason pregnant women are told to avoid cats’ litter boxes. Since the 1920s, doctors have recognized that a woman who becomes infected during pregnancy can transmit the disease to the fetus, in some cases resulting in severe brain damage or death. T. gondii is also a major threat to people with weakened immunity: in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, before good antiretroviral drugs were developed, it was to blame for the dementia that afflicted many patients at the disease’s end stage. Healthy children and adults, however, usually experience nothing worse than brief flu-like symptoms before quickly fighting off the protozoan, which thereafter lies dormant inside brain cells—or at least that’s the standard medical wisdom.
But if Flegr is right, the “latent” parasite may be quietly tweaking the connections between our neurons, changing our response to frightening situations, our trust in others, how outgoing we are, and even our preference for certain scents. And that’s not all. He also believes that the organism contributes to car crashes, suicides, and mental disorders such as schizophrenia. When you add up all the different ways it can harm us, says Flegr, “Toxoplasma might even kill as many people as malaria, or at least a million people a year.” …
Now Perry Stein at TNR looks for explanations of “Why Cats Run the Internet“:
…[T]he reason that cats have catapulted to cyber-fame isn’t purely biological: There are social factors at play as well. Steve Dale, a cat behavior consultant and pet journalist, told me that cat aficionados have been particularly drawn to the Internet because they lack other public safety valves where they can express their affection. “In the world of cats, there is no dog park,” Dale says. “For cat owners, the dog park is the Internet.”
Indeed, the Internet isn’t only a high-volume marketplace of cat memes—it’s also home to very intense communities of cat owners, who gather to share stories and seek answer about their pets. Mieshelle Nagelschneider, author of Random House’s forthcoming book Cat Whisperer, said that cat owners, have taken to the Internet as a means to actively, and collectively, reverse the stigma attached to them: Cat owners have long felt that they don’t get the respect of their counterparts who have dogs, even though there are more domesticated felines (a total of 86 million, according to the Humane Society) than canines. “I think the web has helped emerge this undiscovered beachfront property, that is cat owners,” Nagelschneider says…
Apart from due obeisance to our household parasite-and-meme-spreaders, what’s on the agenda for the day?
Everything has good and bad aspects to it. Consider how much trouble you can get into if you participate in sex.
The question is whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
[Answer: Duh! Of course!]
And my elderly, 100% black insanity-spreader sends a purr to you all.
I don’t know. Does Megan McArdle still work there? If so, then no.
ah, a new one for the BJ toxonomy. I wrote longish post & clicked submit. It cranked away for a while & then pretended it was finished but never posted my comment. This goes next to the intermittent presentation of the mobile page I was getting overnight. ARG
The WCHA Womens Championship is this weekend in Duluth. 4 of the top 5 teams in the country playing off. Its Wisconsin V Duluth in the matinee & Minnesota v The Team That Shall Not Be Named (really, the morans in North Dakota want to enshrine that name in their State constitution). Gonna be there for all three games & expect them to be close. Duluth is having an off year & is playing a particularly ugly form of hockey so WI is going to have their hands full, I truly hope nobody gets seriously hurt. Both UND & WI play a clean, physical game but WI has more speed & talent. MN does not get put off by the physical play but probably prefers the speed & finesse.
The cats will be miffed that we left them home for the weekend alone. They will withhold affection for an hour or two after we get home as punishment.
Harold Ford is explaining that Exxon Mobile is people.
Interesting – when cat owners think this:
is it them or the parasite talking? Last I checked, dogs handle leases very well and are easy to train to heel … cats, not so much. Not gonna see a cat park any time soon … .
As for the parasite, yeah, it is serious but cats are far too common to ever have people accept the truth – what we need is a treatment (for cats) so the parasite can be controled. I’d bet it would be worth $$$$.
@Raven: I yelled “Die in a fire” and scared the cat.
From the reading I did on the subject, Europeans are much more infested with the parasite than North Americans. That makes me think the effect is benign rather that otherwise.
@Raven: I assume he said people on welfare who should be tested for drugs.
@Raven: Lol, idiot doesn’t realize a lot of oil is being exported. Duh, how’s that going to help us
Morning Ho has their 591st show giving a full throat blow job to Chris Christie. And the so called “liberal” network has its 979th union bashing show. Teachers unions, post office unions, public employee unions, autoworkers’ unions – whatever Ho will find a way to bash ’em. Meanwhile, Jack”The Tortoise”Welch gets a blow job and full head to toe massage for turning GE into a loan processing company.
OH NOES! KATZ KAUZE SO-SHALL-ISM!!!1!
Since GE and Exxon are technically on welfare (they pay no taxes but get large refunds instead) can they be tested fro drugs?
Cermet, is this really true:
“dogs handle leases very well”? Because my dog couldn’t even pass the bar.
Well . . . . maybe.
I welcome our old/new cat overlords!
@kindness: If you have a cat, it has been your overlord for some time. I for one, welcome our new toxoplasmic overlords though.
Most dogs can’t even pass a fire hydrant.
I wrote a short SiFi story when I was in High School. The premise was that this race had sent out an advance team to scope out a planet to take over. A million years went by & they never heard back from the team so they sent a second mission. When they got here they discovered that the advance team had done very well for themselves & were highly upset at the new arrivals who were insisting that the aliens kill off the humans & take over the planet. The advance team thought they had a better idea, as cats they got feed & petted and really didn’t have to work that hard to get by. They like things just the way they were!
@Schlemizel: It’s gonna take a lot of plastic cups but why not…
Stop calling it the ‘War on Women.” Call it the “Republican War on Women” because it’s mostly Republicans.
@Ron: Well, I don’t pet the toxoplasmic organism so much. It doesn’t purr up a storm like my kitty does.
Feline overlords indeed. It just took me a minute and a half to come up a flight of sixteen stairs to the office because I was being preceded by Her Royally Rotund Highness Zoey.
Who would go up two steps…pause for pets…go up two more steps…pause…etc etc. She is now occupying the location shown in the photo, which (not coincidentally) is underneath a halogen desk lamp. As all right thinking persons know, these are actually cat sunlamps.
Resistance is futile.
@mai naem: i saw a snippet of that: “attacking unions is not the same as attacking the workers, is it Chris? nom, nom, nom – sluuuurp! nom, nom, nom”
I’m one of those introverts that needs a day of alone time every so often, so that’s today’s program. It’s coming up on 3 in the afternoon and I just got dressed so I could grab some wine and challah at the corner store for supper. Other than that I’ve been alternately working, re-reading Poul Anderson (Baen Books has collected his entire Polesotechnic League future history into six volumes), napping, and chasing the cats around the patio.
Now I believe it’s time to open this bottle of Gato Negro malbec and start pre-gaming for Shabbat.
By initiating his own investigation, is Richard Cebull just buying time in hopes he can retain his job? The email was one thing but since judges are suppose to be apolitical his anti-Obama statements seem enough to me to have his resign.
I’m not a lawyer and didn’t sleep at the holiday inn btw.
@DanielX: gorgeous indeed!
“O glorious silken creature! May I offer you the universe?!”
@Raven: Harold Ford is this guy?
This reminds me that Roger Ailes called the local police every time he got something in the mail that made him wet his pants. Guess Limbaugh is just so sure that liberals give a shit about him that someone would actually try to take him out with a bomb:
>By initiating his own investigation, is Richard Cebull just buying time in hopes he can retain his job?
He doesn’t have to do anything to retain his job. He’s a federal judge. The only thing that can remove him is impeachment by Orange Julius’ House.
How can we get to 30 comments without any mention of Tunch??
TUNCH IS RUNNING THIS BLOG! DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND!?!?!?!
@Joey Maloney: Well that will happen when hell freezes over.
Actually, the original caption was “You are barely worthy. Get me some tuna, subhuman.”
Who makes a plaque commemorating Lincoln’s assassination? and I don’t think Limbaugh wants to be in business with him now.
Is this Karma week or what?
If so, I don’t know what I did. I’m in my four day if a cold that turned into a sinus thing and I haven’t slept. Doctor today. When behind-the-counter Sudafed, Dayquil, and Benadryl HAVE NOT MADE A DENT, it’s time for bigger guns.
And everyone knows my pro-cats stance.
Proud to be a crazy cat lady
Ivan Ivanovich Renko
Wait, wait– this motherfucker has security CREWS?? Like as in fucking plural?
Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
@WereBear (itouch): That’s exactly what I was thinking. Who would want such a thing?
@jibeaux: You’ve never seen a confederate general store, have you?
(link not for the faint at heart)
@Ivan Ivanovich Renko:
That’s cuz he’s a job creator.
He gots maids and cooks and gardeners and chauffeurs too.
A cute cats-and-the-Internet story:
Capsule summary: Owner’s cat sleeps on router, knocking the antenna around. He complains, tongue in cheek, to his ISP. ISP responds, “For many years this issue has bothered our customers…” They send him a decoy router the cat can sleep on.
@aimai: Sorry, too early in the morning and maybe I’ve been around too many cats. besides, I’ve known a few lawyers that do make dogs look smart …or is it that they own cats? … .
@Joey Maloney: That doesn’t remove him – after the house votes to remove, then a vote by the senete to remove is required to get rid of the asshole.
With all the dog whistles Rush Limbaugh blows, it’s not surprising that someone who would make a plaque commemorating Lincoln’s assassination might think that Rush would like to join in on some sort racist-style business venture.
@Egg Berry: I am pleased to say that I am born & raised in the South and I have not. Well, I did once see in Charleston (in the former slave market -soooo far beyond tacky) a store selling confederate flags etc. But that’s the other Carolina. And I’m going to click the link, I’ll just take your word for it.
We’re probably all Breitbarted out, but here’s a story on the man’s last 2+ hours. Which don’t sound too bad.
No cats involved (in this telling).
Red wine, friendly conversation, constant crackBerrying, then a walk home under the moon. Maybe even tucked the kids into bed earlier after a family dinner.
Still hope Shirley Sherrod takes his corporate self to the cleaners.
@WereBear (itouch): Beside nose spray (to open sinuses in order to drain – best used before going to bed; use as little as possible) and vitamin D (improves the bodies’ ability to fight off infection (proven medically, by the way.)
@jibeaux: Be glad you’ve missed that spectacle. The one I saw was built in the early 2000s, and was still growing when I left that hellhole.
Is it possible that this time Limbaugh has gone so far afield that stations will drop his how?
The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik
Don’t look now, but more dipshittery is coming out of Wisconsin, and for once it’s not from Walker himself. State Sen. Glen Grothman wants to re-write state law so the state must officially declare “nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”
In other words, single mothers = abused children. And this isn’t just conjecture, either. He kind of has a hate-on for single parents as is, insisting they’re part of a leftist plot.
Oh….and he was one of the recall targets this past go-around, which sadly failed.
@45 Cermet: Thanks: tried Ponarus, (which might help in the future with the very dry office) and the saline spray, and I do take vitamin D; everyone should!
We moved into a brand new building this fall; many of us have been not just sick, but serially down with respiratory, ear infections, pneumonia. Worried about that.
First a frontal assault on women, and then news that one of your dittoheads want you to go into business to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
This after years of ugliness (but he’s just an “entertainer”).
Li’l Bitsy is on my lap, makes typing a one handed affair. Got my Lytro light field camera yesterday. Can’t use it until they come up with a Windows version of their software. Not gonna buy a Mac. Spring, they say. Maybe March, they say.
Camera for sale: Mint in the box.
Daniel Pearl was proxy baptized by the Mormon church last June and his family is not too happy about it. http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/01/mormon-proxy-baptism-of-daniel-pearl-draws-familys-ire/?hpt=hp_t2
@jeffreyw: That looks like a really cool camera. Too bad about the wait, and how unusual they would only have a Mac version of the software. Usually it’s the other way around.
Glad you came through whatever storm unscathed.
How be those appealing baby puppies?
Very sad that I can’t take one.
I did a stereo system install once where the customer was moving a system from one room to another. He insisted on buying a new power amplifier and leaving the old one plugged in, turned on and disconnected in the old room. His cat had gotten used to sleeping on the amp’s warm spot and he didn’t want to disappoint Fluffy.
@DanielX: is there ever enough tuna? i mean in the entire world, is there ever enough??
I have seven since we adopted a little guy who someone dumped here 3 weeks ago. I think both of these authors need to get a life.
Villago Delenda Est
What is all this “cat owners” nonsense? Dogs have owners. Cats have staff. This has been long established.
Need some new flip-flops? Well just in time for summer…Mitt-flops!
I have $50 that says there’s a velvet Elvis somewhere in that store.
Oh great, like I don’t have enough to worry about. I was (am?) infected with toxoplasmosis, and had to have surgery to remove the lymph node in my neck. I THOUGHT THIS FIGHT WAS OVER, YOU DAMN FURRY DESPOTS! LEAVE ME ALONE!
My cat just told me that Breitbart’s father in law was Orson Bean who I remember from late night talk shows when I was in college.
@Cermet: Yeah, I know, but I was posting from my iPod and it was too much of a PITA to type the whole thing out. House vote: necessary but not sufficient.
Feel free to call me a fucking idiot if I’m just not understanding How Cats Work, but if the problem is the organism in the shit in the litter box, then could that be addressed by something like changing the cats’ diet or even making it shit outside?
@WereBear (itouch): I always skim the articles about this parasite because it kind of worries me, and I’m afraid I will get too freaked out of I actually read it all. Is there any treatment for this thing?
You folks are funny. Limbaugh has a ton of karma to live down. Look at the guy… overweight, get’s worked up over the bullshit he knows is bullshit, likes Dominican prostitutes (underage).
We don’t have to be too concerned over the moran….the FSM works in strange ways. One more round on the links followed by cocktails and viagra & teen hookers and he’ll be clutching his chest just like Breitbart.
Ahh the moderation monster. I tried to say:
You folks are funny. Limbaugh has a ton of karma to live down. Look at the guy… overweight, get’s worked up over the bullshit he knows is bullshit, likes Dominican hookers (underage).
We don’t have to be too concerned over the moran….the FSM works in strange ways. One more round on the links followed by cocktails and boner pills & teen hookers and he’ll be clutching his chest just like Breitbart.
And here I thought I was merely a Cole-esque misanthrope.
I’m an angry driver – usually bitching about someone in front me being an idiot merely because they’re in front of me, only to discover that I’ve been driving with my left hand turn signal on for blocks on end – I don’t care for crowds in any way, shape or form, I have terrible stage fright (I’m in a local band), and I can’t seem to make small talk with customers at work.
Is there a vaccine for this nonsense?
He ought to be fucking paranoid. He’s been asking for it for years.
@Scratch: I haven’t seen this bit of news. Link?
It sounds like your bosses may want to get a mold inspection, or at a minimum have all of the filters in the building replaced. Sick Building Syndrome is a real thing.
@Scratch: Oh, fuck. Never mind. Goddamn cat parasite.
@Mnemosyne: Hopefully WereBear’s boss doesn’t have any moral or religious objections to treatment of sinus/ear infections.
It’s funny, but Toxoplasma gondii is the first thing that came to mind when John Cole said Tunch had been dipping paws into his water.
Our office is in a double-wide trailer built in the early ’70’s. When it rains, the windows leak. In the summer, when the A/C is on, it drips onto the desk below. We frequently have mice and a perennial ant problem. Now that we only get custodial services once a week, we’re lucky to get our trash emptied; forget about mopping the filthy floors. Oh, and we have no running water, and have to go outside to another building to go to the bathroom.
And they wonder why it’s rare for a day to go by where no one is out sick. But hey! The Chancellor needs her car allowance; corners have to be cut!
@WaterGirl: anti-malarials and an antibiotic; also, cats can be treated with a specific antibiotic (there are apparently three kinds that work). Further, Cornell disagrees that it’s easy to get from cats.
Someone mentioned that the Toxo is more prevalent in Europe. I wonder if that it because there are very few cats in Europe that are confined indoors. No screens on the windows and doors to keep them in.