From Hence Ye Beauties Undeceived……Risk Analysis & Tommy Gray Outcomes

Best Experienced With:          The New Radicals                   Hope I Didn’t Just Give Away The Ending

(please right click on the link below to open the suggested background music to this evening’s musings on sunk costs and risk analysis in a new browser window)





Many of the fostered cat moms that have made their way through Chez Mully over the years have been abused.   Makes sense because loving pet owners tend not to dump pregnant female cats in cardboard boxes at animal shelters.  You can tell the ones that have been abused because they shy away from food when you put it in their bowl.  Abused fosters will not eat with a human in the room for weeks.   Abusers will use food to get their pet within reach and then they abuse.   This is easily overcome with the proper mix of love and smelly cat food delivered three times a day.

The current foster mom, Shirley hid for two weeks and got comfortable eating around me right around week two.   Allowed me to pet her without growling right about the same time.  Five weeks in, when she got her purr back, we would have long conversations about the permanent adopted home she would get by June 15.  I’d regale Shirley with tales of the loving family that would surely adopt her on June 15.  There would be all the smelly cat food she could handle, buckets full of catnip at the ready, and cats toys littering the floor of every room.  Shirley enjoyed these conversations:  she was very much looking forward to getting adopted in a loving home.

One of the keys to any successful product launch is a thorough risk analysis created before the project begins and iterated upon throughout the project’s life.   A risk analysis examines threats to success, the probability of their occurrence, and the impact each occurrence has on the success of the project.  The best risk analysis methods use both quantitative and qualitative measurements and use statistical inference to compare results based upon different inputs.   One of the most common mistakes in product launches is checking the risk analysis box at the end of the first phase and choosing to not recalibrate as the project goes forward.  This leads to failure.

Another key to any successful product launch is the ability to say the following line aloud with conviction:  “sunk costs don’t matter”. The best planning in the world cannot control for The Random and The Random likes to play with its food.  Emotion, invested time and emotion, and ego veer most folks away from the “sunk costs don’t matter” path, most often with disastrous results.  When all signs point to disaster, stick a fork in it and walk away.   Sunk costs don’t matter and when sunk costs are held as tightly to one’s chest as your first teddy bear when you were three years old, the odds of failure increase.

Back to Shirley.     Three weeks ago Shirley and the kittens made a vet visit for the little morons first shots.   Always entertaining to watch foster kittens get that thermometer in their butt for the first time.   It’s always fun and games until someone shoves a thermometer up your butt.

We had no medical history on Shirley so she got a physical after Ruben, Keith, Danny, Tracy, Laurie, and Chris got their anal probe.  Vet noticed it was hard to hear Shirley’s heart so they shot film and saw her intestines shoved up near her heart.  “Up near the heart” is a very improper place for intestines.    Great place for lungs and such, but a poor location for intestines.   Not only was she abused before getting dumped, preggo, in a cardboard box at the shelter….Shirley had also been hit by a car at some point and has a ruptured diaphragm.   Bore, fed, and raised these little morons with her intestines virtually wrapped around her heart.   Tough cat:   she must be Irish.

The group for whom I foster, Friends of County Animal Shelters (FOCAS) has a shoestring  budget, financed through donations and run as a virtual organization with folks that donate their time to foster, run the adoptions at Pet Smart, etc.   California is a euthanizing state at the shelters and there has been a significant uptick in abandoned animals over the past two years as the economy did its tailspin thing.  Absent foster homes, preggo mom cats dumped at shelters in cardboard boxes are euthanized.   The euthanizing sessions happen each Friday afternoon like clockwork, 52 weeks a year.

Shirley’s surgery to repair the diaphragm has a very low probability of success.  Moreover, even with the discounts the program vets give FOCAS, the opportunity cost of spending that money on Shirley’s surgery would take away the chance for dozens of dogs and cats to find new happy homes.  FOCAS called this afternoon to explain their risk analysis for Shirley.  She leaves Chez Mulligan at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow to go join Martin, Abraham and John.

Clearly, Shirley will be canonized when she hits heaven tomorrow because she is either has super powers or God had His eye on her.   According to the vet, she should not have been able to have the kittens and raise the kittens with such a severe injury.  Thus, each of the six kittens must also have a super power and I look forward to seeing what that super power is over the next three weeks.

Please encourage your friends to spay and neuter your pets.    Always look both ways before you cross the street.   Remember that sunk costs don’t matter and when you run that risk analysis, pay very close attention to what it tells you.   Hope is not a strategy and sometimes what “is” simply “is”.

The Mind of Mully

She wanted to be a nun

Until that fateful day we met

I beat the crucifix

In a game of Russian roulette

For more detailed information on risk analysis, feel free to visit the following web site:

For proof that sunk costs do not matter, go here:

Night……….thanks for having super powers, Shirley.   Your kittens will find womderful, interesting homes next month.   Give my best to Gandhi.


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7 responses to “From Hence Ye Beauties Undeceived……Risk Analysis & Tommy Gray Outcomes

  1. Hester

    Sorry for your loss, Dan. Hugs!

    • surfer1965

      Thanks. Vet looked at me while showing me the x-ray and said “no way this girl should have lived through delivering six kittens and raising them for seven weeks”. I smiled and said; “well, she’s a Mulligan and there is no kryptonite in The LJ”.

      Bad ass cat, that Shirley. God may choose to sic her on Michael Vick when Mikey gets to hell.

  2. Hester

    So you help abused cats and I help abused kids…who knew we would be similarly talented.

  3. Dan B

    Shirley is trooper; if we could only be so.

    Love the link to sunk cost bias. Maybe I should wallpaper my place with it.

    • surfer1965

      Glad you dug the link…..good thoughts and ideas there, eh? Sunk costs never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever matter.

      Thanks for visiting, Dan B. Always a pleasure to have your very big brain up here with us. Please keep me first in line to pimp your electric ride? Have a long list of ideas for the pimping of the electric ride.



  4. Melinda (your OLDER sister)

    What a great dad/friend you were to Shirley!!! Now we have to hope the kittens get good homes! Love you!

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