Archive for February, 2011

Interesting phenomenon

February 23rd, 2011 | Category: Travel

At just the right time this morning, like the scene in the indiana jones movie when the sunlight hits the jewel in the egyptian sceptre, the security peephole of my hotel door projected this beautiful multi-hued “comet” on the wall for about two minutes.


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Collective Bargaining Rant

February 21st, 2011 | Category: Uncategorized

<rant attribute=”enraged”>

I’m glad we can talk about anything in this country, but there are some discussions that should never take place; we should all know better.  For instance, do we need to “debate” the benefits of having sex with children?  How about debating if it’s ok for a US citizen to cross a state or county line without papers?  I’m not talking about academic discussions, but serious public conversations weighing the merits.

Outside of pure academia, why is it morally or politically permissible to debate whether or not it’s OK to restrict collective bargaining rights?  I know that unions can be inconvenient, but it’s nobody’s business who I choose to associate with or how I make my decisions (and I have never belonged to a union).

It’s none of my business how others bargain for their welfare.  I may not like it, but it’s just not up for argument.  They can do what they think is in their best interests, and as long as they don’t interfere with my basic freedoms, it’s simply not up for my review;  I don’t get a vote.  I can’t believe it’s even being discussed.  If I don’t like unions, then it should be up to me to organize my own movement against them, not outlaw them by restricting the speech and rights of expression of the individuals involved.

What else shall we “discuss” or “debate?”  Shall we “discuss” the merits of allowing women or blacks to vote?  How about torture…  oh wait.  This has happened.

Why is the country so slow to reform big business practices, but so quick to restrict the kinds of activities that give strength to “regular” people?



I love my pets

February 08th, 2011 | Category: animals

At 7:30 AM this morning, as I awoke to the sound of my dog whining and crying by the back door, I thought about how he had gently but persistently begged to be let out at 4AM.  When I’d risen to dress and take him for a walk (not having a back yard) I’d discovered a couple of piles of vomit in the living room.  Outside; his output had been impressive – so I knew that this wasn’t a false alarm either.


OK, that’s not my dog, but it’s an awesome photo (click for attribution).

For a dog owner, knowledge that the dog needs out now requires immediate response.  There are consequences.  So the sound of his crying from that particular location was like a submarine klaxon.  I leapt out of bed and vaulted down the stairs, reached the bottom and flung the door open.  The dog glanced at me gratefully as he loped outdoors with a strange, pinched gait.  Although there wasn’t a suitable place, he realized that he wasn’t going to make it to the woods, crept behind the A/C unit and crouched. The noise was like a mustard squirter the size of a beer keg, with an odor to match.

Exhausted, I let him back in.  On the way back to my bed, I saw two more piles of vomit on the rug next to the front door.  Thank god for the carpet cleaner.  After performing triage on the messes, I slumped into my bed, eyes at the end of blackened tunnels in my face.

But I couldn’t sleep.  Something was bothering me – or rather, someone was not bothering me – the cat.  I hadn’t seen her since yesterday afternoon.  Although she hides sometimes, she never forgets about eating – and two mealtimes had passed with no sign of the creature.  There was only one explanation – she had to have escaped.  Too exhausted to care, I fell asleep.

Fast-forward to lunch time.  I woke up, late for everything, and immediately tried to restore order.  The dog was desperate again.  Stains dotted the carpet all over the house.  The trash stank and the cat was still gone.

The monster had been unleashed on the neighborhood.  I felt as if I’d unlocked the mummy’s curse or opened Pandora’s box.  As long as she’d been locked in the house, the outdoors was safe.  But now… My semi-feral cat would kill everything she encountered, or be killed.  I visualized the scene from Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark, when the lid of the box is opened and beams of unearthly power shoot out, melting the Nazis.



I went outside and called her, banging on her food dish with a spoon.  After a few minutes with no luck, I realized that I had to drop everything to attend to the dog, who proceeded to impress me with his voluminous multi-orifice output.  It occurred to me that perhaps he’d eaten her, but the contents of the dogs stomach – quite thoroughly revealed to me by this point – didn’t contain chunks of cat.

Returning home, I found this:


This had definitely not been there before.  She’d heard me, arrived after I’d gone and left her calling card of death.  At least it was a house finch, a common and un-endangered species.  I looked for the cat. No breeze ruffled the leaves, no sound penetrated the still air.  The hairs on my back prickled; I sensed the huntress watching me from the shadows.


I went inside to get the food dish again.  When I came back, there she was!


This was one time that the cat was particularly happy to see me.  I took her inside and fed her chicken skin, which she wolfed down, being unusually affectionate.  She’d been gone for perhaps 24 hours, overnight in cold weather, and made her first kill.

I’d write more, but I have to clean the carpet.