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Night Owls
The problem with the August full moon is that it wakes the sheep up.

The sheep are locked up at night, along with the one stray rooster that doesn't get along with anyone else, but when the moon is bright it looks like morning, and the sheep wake up, and get bored, and start chasing the rooster for sport. They like the loud sounds the rooster makes, and if he makes those sounds at three in the morning, when all proper animals have gone to sleep, so much the better, and when the windows are open upstairs in the big farm house because it is hot, and August, the sound of the two sheep chasing the one rooster at three in the morning on the night of the full moon echoes through every last bedroom until someone finally gets up and goes outside and rescues the loud angry rooster and yells at the laughing, bleating sheep.

But the problem with the rooster getting chased is that the noise wakes all the other chickens, because chickens stick together and even if they're in different pens or different sheds or different chicken social clubs they all know the loud squawks mean another chicken, somewhere, is in trouble, and every chicken is hardwired to want every other chicken to always know when there is a single chicken, somewhere, in trouble, and that it might be a sheep or a bear or a bobcat or any one of the half-dozen vehicles and weed wackers and gas-powered chainsaws that all the chickens know are out to get them, personally, every day of their chicken lives, just as soon as they turn their little chicken backs. So now every single last hen and rooster is yelling warnings to all the other hens and roosters, because that is what they do.

The problem with the chickens yelling, though, is that it sets the cows off. The far-away cows, the ones next door, the ones in the cow field, not the sheep pen or the chicken pens but the ones that free-range through wide fields of tall grass and generally have a fine time every single day, glorious and unimpeded, at least until that one final day when the big truck drives up. The cows in the next field over don't speak chicken, they don't speak rooster in specific, and they don't know the difference between the roosters yelling about another rooster yelling and the roosters yelling because it is morning, what with the moon being so bright that it looks like morning, and the cows start lowing and mooing because the cows know that in the morning, they're going to get fed, and since the chickens think it's morning and the sheep think it's morning it only stands to reason that it must be morning, and they're going to get fed, and they low and moo and ignore the acres and acres of tall grass around them in anticipation of the few buckets of daily something that apparently makes all of cow life worth living, each morning, in the wee orange hours before it gets too hot.

The problem with the cows mooing and lowing is that the dogs across the road from the field do not speak cow, but they know that if the cows are speaking cow that usually means that something is happening in the fields that is either very good, or very bad, and no matter which of the two it might be all self-respecting dogs know that they want in on something like that. Especially at three in the morning, when the moon is so bright that it might as well be morning anyway. So the dogs start barking. All the dogs. It could be that the cows are being chased by the coyotes again; it could be the shy lone bobcat that shows up from time to time, the shy bobcat that comes once a week to look wistfully at the cows (too big) and sheep (too tricksy) and chickens (the delicious, delicious chickens behind the strong wire fence) and dream of fine shy bobcat meals. Or the cows could just be having a bit of fun—no matter, the dogs do not speak cow but they do speak dog, and the translation of every other animal noise into dog is the simple and earnest we play now, even at three in the morning, even if they are many fields away.

The problem with the dogs barking is that the cats in the back room, the cats that go out during the day but are kept in the laundry room by the back door at night because they most distinctly do not speak bobcat, and do not know that the bobcat is looking through the dark laundry room window at night at them in exactly the same wistful way the bobcat looks at the chickens behind the strong wire fence, and do not know that the bobcat is only one of twenty different nighttime things that would make a meal of them if it were not for that one damn door—those cats do not speak dog any more than they speak bobcat, and are fairly certain that the dogs barking means the dogs want to do them harm, or not, or who cares, but in any event if the dogs and the cows and the chickens and the sheep all agree that it is morning then it must be morning.

The cats are already hard pressed to believe in sleeping through the night like all proper animals should, but if the dogs and the cows and the chickens and the sheep are all awake then the cats must be the only ones getting left out, they reason, and so the cats start scratching at the door with their sharp, sharp claws, the claws that have already taken a good bit of paint off the freshly painted laundry room door and take a little more off each morning when they feel the cats are the only ones being left out of things, and it makes a horrible scraping sound throughout the house, a sound that sounds exactly like work and money being scratched off a door, and even if you can sleep through the sheep bleating and the chickens screeching and the cows mooing and the dogs barking, the sound of fresh new paint being scratched off a brand new door will dig into your dreams whether you like it or not, and you will have dreams of sheep and chickens and cows and dogs and cats all working together, all in league, plotting, all meticulously scratching the paint off of all the freshly painted doors because it is three in the morning, the moon is very bright, and there is absolutely nothing else to do.

And that is the problem with the August full moon.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2007Embracing Vietnam:

In the middle of Iraq's bloodiest summer yet, on a day that brings the news of the deaths of 14 U.S. soldiers and the deaths of at least 20 Iraqis in yet another attack on a police station, Bush goes Nixon on us. It's a strange tactic for selling the continued occupation of Iraq--evoking the second worst geopolitical and strategic blunder of modern times.

One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of Americas withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like "boat people," "re-education camps," and "killing fields."

(Just an aside, for the sake of historical accuracy. As Josh points out: the killing fields were in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, not in Vietnam, and actually that genocide ended when the Communist Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in 1979 and overthrew the Khmer Rouge. History is complicated.)

Tweet of the Day:

Funny thing abt people resisting using name Chelsea for Manning: it's not like making request publicly is going to make her life easier.

On today's Kagro in the Morning show: the safety instructor who accidentally shot a student has another accidental shooting in his past. Greg Dworkin on MoDo's screw-up, a doc's perspective on "the best health care system in the world," and Atlanta school hero Antoinette Tuff. A new documentary on Lizz Winstead's heroic (really) tour for Planned Parenthood. Fox concern trolls "government intrusion," as Rs push drug-testing for food stamps. Lynn Cheney busted for bogus fishing license. Emptywheel on the news that Qwest cooperated with NSA spying after all. RH Reality Check pits actual facts about abortion regulation, and—surprise!—reality doesn't fit the Gop narrative.

High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

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