Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Incivility in the Body Politic

Here's a picture of an idiot, Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina, R, at the moment he was telling President Obama, during a speech to a joint session of congress on September 9, 2009, "YOU LIE!" in reference to a statement made by the President. Is it me, or does this weasel look like Frank Burns? Or perhaps Beavis? What a small, petty, impotent man. So much for that happy "Southern Gentleman" horseshit. The republicans, by and large, still refuse to believe Obama and the Democrats won the election. Tsk Tsk. Your mama shoulda raised you better. The President's did.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said, “I think if Speaker Pelosi were still capable of human facial expression, we’d see she’d be embarrassed.”

Castellanos would never be embarrassed. He is master of deceptive, manipulative smear ads (look at his Wikipedia entry, with references) which are filled with half-truths and pander to fear and race hatred. Funny that a guy who comes from Havana and has a name like Castellanos would be a race baiter, but there it is. But I suspect he is one of the Hispanic brand who believes he is somehow above your basic Mexican. Castellanos does not believe in America, he believes in spinning and winning and making himself more money.

He wants politics based on appearance? Doesn't he look a little bit like the Frito Bandito? How about all those lazy greasers in the 40s movies who are on a quest for the never-ending siesta? Put a sombrero and a poncho on him and let him lead his little burro around. Put a gun in his hand and you have your basic menacing bandito.

Republican talking heads have long used personal attacks, smear and innuendo in place of reasoned debate. I believe the election in November was the beginning of a backlash against that policy. The republicans still haven't gotten the message.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Cheneys

Need to shut the fuck up.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

On living at the ends of the earth where animals mean nothing.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the
way its animals are treated." - Mahatma Gandhi

I thought of this quote immediately when I came across 3 kittens with their heads bashed in with a rock, lying scattered and dead in the rain on the morning after Easter, when I went to care for a feral cat colony in Sherwood. I just wonder what kind of person or persons could do this to small, helpless animals on Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday!!! Cruelty to small animals is how Jeffrey Dahmer got his start, and it is illegal. As is leaving out pans of antifreeze, otherwise poisoning, or shooting them with pellet guns. Its also kind of sick, and a bad example for children.

I have been lauded and reviled in turn for taking care of these cats, depending on your perspective on cats. I first started feeding them after the local grocery store closed and their source of food disappeared from the dumpster. I drove by those freezing, starving, and miserable, largely earless cats on the way to get the mail for most of one winter thinking that someone should do something about them, when I had the epiphany that perhaps that someone was me. I certainly couldn't kill them; I could no longer watch them starve, so my only option was to take care of them. In fact, I have found out since that there are a lot of closet feral cat caregivers in town, and I salute you all for your humanity.

Since then I have fed and watered them daily, made shelters, had cats spayed and neutered and have gotten them shots. I've found homes for about 15 cats and kittens. Over the course of the last 3 years the colony has dwindled from about 30 cats to about 12 at the current time through attrition and adoption. This is a proven management technique called trap-neuter-release, and is highly regarded as such in large cities where feral cats are a giant problem. The neutered cats defend their territory so no outside cats move in, and their numbers diminish naturally over time. In the meantime, owners must be required to neuter their pets, and/or discover that cats can live happily and much longer and healthier lives as house pets only.

The city can waste resources trapping them, taking them to the pound and having them killed at 25 bucks a head, but the problem will never go away. That process just creates a vacuum that more cats will fill as soon as someone gets sick of an adorable kitten that turns into a raucous adolescent, or someone dumps a mama cat and an unwanted litter on a side street, or someone moves away and leaves darling Fluffy behind to fend for herself. As God sees every sparrow that falls, so he sees that raggle-tailed cat sleeping in the sun, and so he sees the one who would persecute it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AIG AIG EXEC: What part of BROKE don't you understand?

I can't believe the AIG employee who resigned in the New York Times this morning and is donating his bonus to charity (tax write-off) and quitting in disgust. He was whining about how his bonus was promised to him, and that Ed Liddy had mischaracterized the bonus payments as "distasteful." Guess what Mr. Ex-Exec: Your company is broke. It is kaput. I don't care if it wasn't your fault. Your company has no bonus money to pay. It's not fair to the employees of GM or the airlines either that some idiots have run their company into the ground and they've lost their pensions, their salaries, their health insurance, and their jobs, but that's life for us working folks.

This is what happens when companies fail, and you are really far away from Cruel Reality when you think your circumstances should be any different. This is how the rest of us live honey. I'd look up your name, but you are not of that much consequence, frankly.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tidy Cat

This is Marco Polo, who will climb into any space. He is the embodiment of the old adage of "curiosity killed the cat." Once he got the register cover off and he and a couple of his buddies headed under the floor for a tour of the ductwork. I was quite amazed to get out of the shower and hear meows not from within the vanity, another prize spot, but under the vanity. Here we have Marco Polo shrink-wrapped, and it kind of looks like Nutro has created a new and interesting form of dog food. Cats. They're not just for breakfast anymore...

Monday, March 23, 2009

How Can You Sleep When the El Zagel Temple is Under Water???

I have been watching the Red River Valley flood news with interest. I lived in the valley for 20 years, 5 in Fargo in the second half of the 1970s, and then the rest in Grafton, about 120 miles north, so it is a lot like hometown news from a distance. Fargo is expecting a river crest around 40 feet, so they are busy sandbagging like crazy. Even CNN is paying attention. They are showing North Dakota on the weather map instead of going straight from Chicago to LA like they usually do, without acknowledging the majority of the country outside of the coasts.

It flooded in Fargo 3 out of the 5 years I lived there, and as an intrepid college student, I spent some cold nights filling and lugging sandbags. The one place I remember in particular had huge windows facing the river to the east, and while we froze and sweated and lugged and puffed we could see the residents therein having lovely snacks and drinking nice hot coffee, and when we figured out everyone who lived there was inside having a party, we abandoned them for a more worthy venue. What we didn't think about at the time was that they had been living with this mess for weeks and were probably exhausted and perhaps thankful for the break. But dammit, they weren't thankful enough to bring us any coffee or at least step outside the door and give us a wave and say thanks, which would have been nice, regardless of the level of sincerity, so off we went.

The only occupants of a house near the river who made any sense to me were the family of a professor at NDSU whose first floor was basically concrete with roll-up and moveable wall and floor coverings. Move the furniture and throw a few sandbags around the house, and if the river gets in, grab the garden house and a little bleach and you're set to move back in. If I remember correctly his name was Vincent D-something Italian. I'll have to ask Bonnie next time I talk to her.

My friends were a bunch of night owls in the Department of Architecture,and once spring hit I could expect a phone call at any time of the evening or night: "How can you sleep when ____ (fill in the most low-lying landmark) is under water!!!" and off we'd go on Flood Patrol, which usually ended up at Perkins Family Restaurant for breakfast. When El Zagel Temple, the Shriner's lodge, was under water, we knew it was a baaaad flood. When you could stand on the Main Avenue bridge and watch the water literally under your feet, it was a bad flood. The sound of the river and its movement in the moonlight were mesmerising. Add to that the smell of spring at the end of a long, dark, frozen winter and just the general fact of being young and care-free, we were intoxicated with life.

Its probably not politically correct to look at floods so lyrically, but North Dakota doesn't have these flash floods that kill people unawares. Everyone knows these are coming, so they take precautions. Even during the flood in 97 I think only 2 people died, and they went across a bridge they shouldn't have been on and were swept away in the water when the river was coming up rapidly. We might lose stuff here but people are generally safe during floods. And I have to say, I can't really feel sorry for people who have had a major flood every decade out of the last 50 years and still don't a) have a flood control plan; and/or b) have sense enough not to build next to a cranky river on a big giant pan-flat ancient lake bottom.

I don't have a lot of sympathy for people whose pain is self-inflicted, myself included. Fargo needs to consider a flood contingency tax, and if you are stupid enough to build on the river, you put your money in a pot to pay for the cleanup. You could invest it with some nice solid insurance company, and when you need it ... oh never mind. Put your basement right on the bank.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Yes, I realize I am shouting!

As an avid quilter and an irreverent sort, I spend some of the time I am supposed to be working, as in right now, at the blog of the editor (Mark Lipinski) of my favorite quilt magazine (Quilter's Home"). Recently Quilter's Home published some art quilts that would not generally be seen at our local quilt festival, and JoAnn Fabrics refused to carry the issue. Anyway read the article referenced above. A professional has put together a better synopsis of the magazine, the article, and the "controversy" than ever I could. Mark Lipinski's magazine reminds me of why I miss my gay friends from college so much. Its basic message to me is that it is good for me to be me not only as a quilter, but as a human bean. Anyway, back to work!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I know Runch Limpballs was looking straight into a full-length mirror when he thought this one up.

I've had it with the talking heads (sans their brains mostly) who are talking about "the failed Obama presidency" and counting down the fabled 100 days as if everything is going to be fixed at the end of 100 days. They have to stop it already.

I had to get a new keyboard and the one I purchased sucks. I'm used to a split keyboard and this is called a "wave" keyboard and the letters are much to close together. Oh well. Try, try again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Measuring up to the Republicans

Senator John Thune (R) South Dakota, declared that if 1 trillion dollars the money in the stimulus package was piled up in 100-dollar bills it would be 689 miles high. Or around the earth at the equator 39 times. Now I just saw him on Utube and he had charts and did a whole thing about this on the floor of the senate. And your point is, Mr. Thune? Is this a jobs-creation bill, vis a vis stacking bills around the equator? HOw do you keep them from floating away in the ocean? Does that count the surface of the water or did you include to the natural geography of the ocean as well? Was this part of a 5th grade project? I just heard another repub doing the same thing. The country is falling apart, people are losing their homes in record numbers, business are shutting their doors daily, and this is what we get?

I guess the gun lobby got exactly what they paid for, and the people of South Dakota
got someone who can multiply.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Putting my money where my mouth is

Today a friend of ours sidled up beside me at the counter of the local gathering spot. "Hey,do you know what our new national anthem is?"
"No, what."
"Movin On Up."
I met this with silence and I told him that I didn't much care for what passes for Obama "jokes" and I have made a personal pledge not to pretend to laugh at them just for politeness sake. "However," I said helpfully, "I will still laugh at Norweigan jokes."
"I want to know why people who get all pissed about Obama jokes don't get pissed about Norweigan jokes."
"I'm not pissed, but if you can tell me about any Norweigans who were forcibly taken from their homes and held as slaves for 300 years, lynched on a whim, and denied the right to vote until 1964, I won't laugh at those either."
Maybe some day I'll learn some tact.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Winter, Begone!

This has been a very, very, very long winter, starting with a snowstorm October 10, a melt and a little respite, and then the day after Thanksgiving wham, it has been cold, snowing, blizzardy, nasty and evil since then. I'm always highly amused when the weatherman on CNN talks about the "brutal cold" when it's 2 degrees in New York City, when here it is -30 and then add a wind chill to that. We haven't had 10 days above freezing between Thanksgiving and now, and that's a long cold spell. And February is usually the ICKY month! My aging scottish terrier has decided he wants to go for a walk so he can do his stuff outside of the yard (which is de riguer in the summer and fall and spring), but the problem is we get half a block away and his feet are so cold I have to carry him. Yes I have those darling boots, but when I put them on him he stands in one spot and shakes, paralyzed. So I get to take him out every hour until he finally relents and will go in the auxillary magic poop spot. I also take care of a group of feral cats and they get watered at least once a day, and I have to portage food in to them as well. This is the first winter I have really had to drag myself to take care of those cats, but I do. And they eat commensurately more just to sustain their body temperature.

Frigid weather takes planning. I have to take 2 of my cats to be neutered tomorrow and they need to be there at 8 in the morning. This is very early for me. Appallingly early. Its dark. Its cold. I will have to go start my car at least half an hour before I dare take off across the tundra - my pampered darlings might catch a chill. In my car I have a goosedown sleeping bag, a couple of blankets, extra clothes and socks, a shovel, a couple of candles and a tin can to burn them in, matches, toilet paper (!) and a deck of cards or a book. If you get stalled on the road or stuck in the snow and can't get yourself out, you hunker down and wait. People who leave their stalled vehicles in the winter in North Dakota die, or lose parts of their bodies they'd prefer to keep. A cell phone will not keep you warm if it is storming too badly for help to get to you. My car always has a heavy-duty battery in it so it starts in all but the very coldest weather, so if I didn't, I'd have to go start my car every couple of hours or so just to keep the engine limbered up. I don't drive after dark if I can help it. But I'm old and not as adventurous as I used to be. Sometimes I even wear socks.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


This is most of my cat collection. I always have company while I'm at the computer. Unfortunately, another of their favorite places to relax is right across the keyboard. This is not conducive to productive work. I think they are too large for their bed, but they don't. Maybe because it is heated? I need to rearrange my desk so they can have an even bigger lounge area. I draw the line at a litter box. There's one missing who is very shy, but she looks just like the little white cat in the top picture. That's because she is his sister. I think it's great how those two on the left posed themselves. The ones on the bottom are way more casual.

These cats, except the tortoise shell with the yellow stripe on her nose, are rescue kittens from a group of ferals I take care of. I'm doing my best to get them all fixed, but it is a daunting and expensive process. The gray and white tabby was so sick with pneumonia that he couldn't outrun me, so home he came. I had him for 3 weeks before I was sure he had both of his eyes. He was a wreck, but he's doing much better now! The aforementioned tortie with the yellow stripe on her nose came from the animal shelter as a friend for the first kitty. I found the white kitten with the black ears after an early snow storm, and I brought him home so he could have a nice warm place to die, which my vet said he would indeed, in 15 or 20 years. He was nothing but skin and bones, literally. I could feel every vertebra. He is beautiful and affectionate and so loving and trusting. I watched the kitten with the intriguing black mask all summer, and when I had the opportunity, I trapped her. She was an older kitten and very suspicious, and disappeared for several days. After living on top of the gun cabinet in my office for 3 weeks, she decided to come down and be sociable, and she is the first one to come sit on my shoulder when I sit on the sofa. She talks too. She has the thickest, softest fur. The little yellow cat being used for a pillow was handed to me by someone who was astonished that he wouldn't eat meat or anything else. It could have been that he was so constipated he couldn't eat anything, and besides, he didn't have any teeth. He has turned into a very laid-back cat. You can pick him up and drape him over your arm like a stole, or he flops over and lays upside down in your arms and purrs like the dickens. Anyway, that is part of the cat herd. Now I'd better get to work, which I have been avoiding.


I live in a small town in ND, and since Barack Obama has been elected and now inaugurated, I am extremely disappointed at the off-hand bigotry and the casual way racist "jokes," and comments are just thrown out there like that is normal speech, and that no one within hearing is disapproving of what they are saying. There are some wonderful things about living in a small town, but this is not one of them. This is a highly partisan Republican section of a very conservative state (the newspaper in the largest town in this area criticized Obama for not "fixing" the sliding stock market a week after he was elected). I am hoping that this is the shock of having Democrats back in charge, and not entirely the fact that President Obama happens to be black.

The new president and his family have so much in common with the collective "us" here in this little burg. They come from modest circumstances and are self-made, value their education and their families, are loyal to their friends, are open and honest about their faith. It will be a shame if we don't learn some tolerance from their example. I think the best thing I can do is not to let these things passed unchallenged. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Today my best friend from high school came to my house at 10:30 a.m. and we popped a cork and cried and toasted the new President of the United States. And made rude comments about the departing #43. And Jill Biden's mini-skirt and black boots. And Michelle's bowlegs. I have watched the weekend festivities, mainly on CNN (which is turning into the Cooper News Network, but that's a topic for another day. Or not). There was a subtle difference in the crowd shots behind the reporters or maybe it is just my imagination, but there is such joy and and pride and a sense of belonging in all those faces; a heads-up-and-shoulders-back look of confidence and being at ease. I watched a lot if MLK history yesterday and saw those sad little dull-eyed black children in the newsreels, and compared them with the faces on the children from the Ron Carlson Academy in Atlanta, and the contrast was stunning.

I was 4 or 5 years old in 1963 and I vaguely remember watching the 5:30 news with Walter Cronkite (like scripture in our house!) and seeing those same pictures, and knowing on some level that what was happening was wrong. Being from Lily White North Dakota, I had no concept of race. Later on I learned from my mother that she had been in Georgia during WWII, where she was working in the defense industry. She was riding on a bus, and protested to the driver when a young black woman was ordered to give up her seat for a white person. She told him that the woman's husband was wearing the same uniform as hers, and that woman had as much right to sit in that seat as she did. I think they both got tossed off the bus, but I was always very proud of my mother for standing up for that woman. It did not strike me until recently how courageous, and dangerous, an act that was, in the deep South in 1944, and wondered what possessed a skinny little girl from ND to speak up in that manner.

And now I am proud of our country for doing the right thing by looking past this gifted young man's color and making him our President, and I feel like I can stand up a little taller too.

Holy mackeral, I am older than the President of the United States. Shocking revelation.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Rabid Right

I just read a few posts from a couple of right-wing blogs and I was struck by the vituperation I found in them. You would think that with the evil that had been bestowed upon the world and the nation by Dubya, they would keep a little quiet, but they don't. There is not one scintilla of humility. Rush Windbag wannabees. The right wing likes to call names, I notice, and make mean, nasty, and hateful comments. Here's an imaginary conversation. Lefty: " Barack Obama won the election by a sizeable margin in the popular vote and the electorial college, he has vast good will throughout the country and the world, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the next 4 years will be like." Righty: "You fat bitch."

Translated for Sarah Palin fans:
Vituperation: Haarsh spoken or written abuse; abusive, often with ranting or railing; expression of bitter, deep-seated ill will.

Scintilla: shred; tiny, barely detectible amount.

Rush Windbag: Descriptive nickname for a drugged-out rage peddler who can't get it up. Synonyms: Rush Limpballs, Rush Oxycontinbaugh.

It has occurred to me that there are going to be more people on the mall in Washington DC to witness Barack Obama's inauguration on Tuesday than there are people in North Dakota and South Dakota.

I also read that they are going to have 5000 port-a-potties on the mall for "ticketed" participants. Am I to assume that the "unticketed" participants will have to hang their asses over the curb? Are there going to be toilet concierges to tell you which pottie to use? Will there be first, second, and third-class crappers? Will there be a velvet robe behind which you must stand before you go to your appropriate toidy? I think it would be great. "Now serving number 1. Now serving number 2. Now serving number 1. Now serving number 1. Now serving number 2." et cetera, et cetera. I'm sure that's a logistical nightmare, and I would prefer to stay home and watch the inauguration, and wait for my summons to the White House to invite me to receive the Medal of Freedom for my scintillating work in the blogosphere. (not to be confused with scintilla, SarahPalinFans).

With that I return to work. I'm working 60 hours a week now for two-thirds of the wages I made just a year ago, so you can see I have done so much better under the Bush League. Ta ta for now! It is 29 degrees above zero but the wind is blowing. Still beats the hell out of 40 below.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

No Good Can Come From Getting Up at 5 a.m.

CNN just reported that Israel has dropped white phosphorus bombs on the UN Relief Agency in Gaza. John Ging who is the guy heading that effort in Gaza said he had warned Israel hourly that their shells were getting closer, but apparently that didn't phase them. White phosphorus is a terrorist weapon, plain and simple, and they've been dropping those bombs on innocent Palestinians and denying it. Evil begets evil, and they are sewing the seeds of their own destruction with every child they kill. I am not excusing Hamas, but this is beyond all reason.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oh my goodness, has it been that long?

I promised myself I was going to keep up with this thing a bit better in the new year and its time to get started. After all, I have missed making so many scintillating and witty comments about the presidential campaign and the election and election night that I can hardly bear to think of all the wonderful thoughts that I never got written down. In fact, I logged in with a perfectly wonderful thought in my mind, and I thought "you have got to start blogging again," logged in, and promptly forgot what it was I was going to write down that was so fabulous. Which leads me to believe it wasn't really so fabulous, because you don't forget fabulous things. You just don't. Witness "Fourscore and seven years ago, et cetera." OH YEAH now I remember. I was listening to CNN talk about Obama's train ride to Washington, where he is going to follow the steps Lincoln took on his way to the White House oh say, 148 years ago, and I was wondering if he was going to do it all to the letter and sneak into Washington in the dead of night wearing a big old cloak. See, it wasn't that fabulous at all. I am just so happy he's going to be president. His election renews my faith in humanity. I wish him and the Country well and I pray for both daily.

By the way, it is 26 degrees below zero with wind chill of minus 51. Just thought I'd throw that in for historical purposes. It is supposed to be minus 35 to minus 40 tonight, and then warm up toward the end of the week, and be above freezing on Monday, for the first time since right after Thanksgiving. This has been the longest cold snap I can remember, and I'm getting old enough to remember a lot of cold winters. I take care of a colony of feral cats living at an old lumber yard here in town, and I feel very sorry for them. I've made them shelters and they have food constantly and water daily, but man, 30 below is 30 below. Two cats have migraded south from the neighbor's 1 block north of here, and have taken up residence in the dog house, which has a heated floor and a little kitty sleeping bag. Really, it came in its own little stuff bag. Every morning I reach in under the covering over the door and pull out their food dish and slap a couple of cans of Friskies' on it, and slide it back under and close the flap. I see little cat tracks heading for the bird bath (open water) and peeholes in the snow, and the cat food disappears, so I know they are alive, but they stay snuggled in pretty good. They are beautiful cats, huge orange cats with long hair and sweet faces. I would have loved to have adopted them and brought them in the house, but they spray everything outside, and I doubt they'd have any compunctions about doing the same in here. So out they stay. They're both fixed and so they don't waste a lot of energy running and fighting, which is to their benefit. Right now I am sharing my office desk with 3 half-grown kittens who are curled up on a little bed they've had since they were little kittens. And that's only half of the ones who live here - I like to tell people I have 4 cats and am fostering 2 more, but the truth of the matter is that I have 6 cats. They're all fixed or will be shortly and have had their shots, so I am not The Cat Lady yet. Yet.