Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Cat's Eye View

Baxter here. It's been Some Week around here. My Humans have been Very Busy, so they left Me in charge of paying Attention to the News.

The Big Story of the Week, of course, was the Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Arrest, which Unfortunately eclipsed what President Obama wanted us to be talking about.

In case you have been Living Under a Rock, Mr. Gates, an African-American Professor at Harvard, was arrested by Cambridge police when he had been sighted trying to get into His Own House by a Passerby...who happened to be White...and she called the Police. A Cambridge Policeman, who also happened to be White, showed up, and because Mr. Gates got Understandably Annoyed at being Accused of being a Burglar of his Own House, arrested him for "disorderly conduct."

Not sure who is right or wrong in this Mess, I'm sure there may be Blame on Both Sides, but there is a Tendency among Humans to still harbor Racism even if they don't believe they feel that way. Ask any African-American and I'm sure he or she will Regale you with Many Tales of being treated unfairly by Humans Who Are White, I'm Sorry to Say. This analysis shows how both sides may have interpreted everything Differently because of their Different Backgrounds. But in My Opinion, this situation would not have happened had Mr. Gates been an older White Man.

Be That As It May, President Obama had an Unguarded Moment during his recent Press Conference and happened to let slip what he REALLY felt about the case - said the Cambridge Police acted "Stupidly" - and all Hell broke loose. Suddenly the Conversation about Health Care became a Non-Issue and the Henry Gates thing became The Big Issue of the Week.

I think Jon Stewart explains both the Health Care Issues and the Gates debacle all in one good clip:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
White House M.D.
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

Of course, the Loyal Opposition known as the GOP (and their Minions) are Making a Big Deal out of this to Distract the Public from wanting Health Care. And in the Meantime they are trying to Scare Everyone by talking about Bureaucracy and the Government Making Your Health Care Decisions for you - as if the Insurance Companies don't do that already.

I'm glad, as a Cat, that my Humans make all my Health Care decisions. But as my Female Human's mother likes to point out, she has a Government Health Care program - called Medicare - and she's never been denied anything she needed done.

Moving On. My Female Human's mother told her about an Ad she just saw against taxing Soft Drinks. So I searched on Youtube and found it, being an Enterprising sort of Cat. Sure enough, there it is; an ad by "Americans Against Food Taxes," whoever They are, complaining about Congress plotting to take our "Simple Pleasures" away. I wonder who Really Paid for that ad? Lobbyists for soft drink manufacturers is My Guess. No one is trying to take anyone's Simple Pleasures away. They're just trying to think of ways to pay for Health Care so Poor People don't die in the Streets from lack of care. Anyway, what more does Anyone need than to have a Purring Cat in their Laps? That is the kind of Simple Pleasure that is always free! Here is the Ad in case you are Interested.

Let's see, what Else can I tell you about? Oh yes, my Humans went up to that Place they call the Cabin again a couple of Weekends ago and while they were there they bought and had delivered a Propane Refrigerator and a Propane Stove. They also put up some Shelves and other stuff. Then this Past Weekend, the Male Human and That Dog went up there By Themselves to await delivery of some Rustic Furniture that the Humans had ordered. I am a Suburban Cat so am not sure what Rustic means but I think it means the stuff is made out of Logs or something.

My Female Human stayed home because her Aunt had an operation on Friday. She is doing well but my Female Human had to visit her and also take care of my distant cousin, Geoffrey, who is the Cat that owns her.

Anyway. My Female Human and I had the House all to Ourselves on Friday night. It was Wonderful. I slept on the Bed with her all night and That Dog wasn't there to chase me off. We had a Lovely Time and I Purred a Lot. Unfortunately the Male Human (who is fine by himself but he usually has That Dog next to him) and That Dog came back the next Night.

My Humans did want me to share a few pictures taken up at the Cabin so you can see how it is all coming along. So Here they Are.

The Bedroom - with new corner shelves added (the only Things that Fit in that Little Space).

Bathroom - with Propane-Powered Lights, new Medicine Cabinet with Mirror, and new Shelf over Toilet.
Views of new "Rustic" Furniture Below and farther Below:
Propane-Powered Refrigerator and Stove:
That Dog relaxing on the Deck:

From what I Understand, the Cabin still does not have Running Water. The Humans brought Water with them last Weekend when they stayed there. The only step left is to have the Generator hooked up to the Well Pump and then they can Stay There for a Long Time. They keep telling Me that if they go for a Week they will bring Me up there too.

I have Mixed Emotions about this. I am a Cat that likes Routine and does NOT like to have it Disrupted. However, I might enjoy looking out the Windows at Strange Birds that may come by the Cabin. We shall See.

In the Meantime, enjoy your Catnip and I will see you Next Week. Let's all hope that President Obama can get Congress and the Nation back on Track to finalize some Health Care before the Autumn sets in. I think he is at a Precarious Moment in his Presidency and needs to get a Victory. I am hoping that he has been Playing with the Opposition the way we Cats like to play with Mice and that in the end he will get what he Wants.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Death Never Takes a Holiday

In fact, lately Death seems to have become a work-a-holic. It seems as if everyone is dying left and right this summer.

As everyone has already noted, we lost Walter Cronkite over the weekend, who was the voice of the news for so many of us in my generation. The NY Times had a fitting tribute to him in today's paper.

"Some deaths end only a life. Some end a generation. Walter Cronkite’s death ends something larger and more profound. He stood for a world, a century, that no longer exists. His death is like losing the last veteran of a world-changing war, one of those men who saw too much but was never embittered by it. Walter Cronkite’s gift was to talk to us about what he saw, and we are very lucky to have been able to listen."

Then it was Frank McCourt, cut down at 78 by melanoma. Another sad loss; I'm sure he had many more stories to tell and more teaching to do.

I also read of the death of the world's oldest man, Henry Allingham of Great Britain. He lived to be 113, but should be remembered for much more than that, as he was Britain's last WW I veteran of the RAF, and on top of that he made it his mission that no one should forget those lost in the Great War, as it was called back when he served.

"He was the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland in 1916, a survivor of the Battle of Ypres in 1917, and the sole survivor of the original RAF.

Henry's astonishing stamina, determination and loyalty to lost comrades saw him work constantly to ensure his memories - and their sacrifices - were not forgotten.

Blind, almost deaf and gnarled with arthritis, he made scores of personal visits each year to tell his stories to young people and spread a message of peace."

And at the personal level, the mother of one of my closest childhood friends, whom I've known since I was only 14, passed away over the weekend. She had been ill for quite awhile with cancer, and was in her late 80s, so it was not a shock, certainly not for her children who had been watching her decline. But she was their only remaining parent and now both of them are gone. It must be a strange feeling to suddenly stop being someone's child, no matter how old you are. I lost my dad in 2005 but still have my mother. I know that could change at any time, since she is 90, and I try not to think how that will feel.

To quote John Donne,

"No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

I am feeling very diminished today.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Haiku Tuesday

Today's News in Haiku

It's no easy road
To get on the Supreme Court
But so far so good.

Sonia's responses
Have been calm and reasonable;
She's one smart cookie!

She had good answers
And she really knows her stuff;
She follows the law.

Health care reforming
Is on the House agenda
The bill's been laid out.

It would tax the rich
To pay for others' health care
I'm OK with that.

This is not the end
But it is the beginning
And it's about time.

Cheney's pet program
To kill al Qaeda leaders
May be investigated.

Pet Airways has launched
Your pet flies in luxury
Without any risk!

Barack Obama
Threw the first pitch from the mound
At the All-Star Game.

It wasn't perfect
But it made it to the plate
That's what really counts!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Cat's Eye View

Baxter here. I am finally able to Blog again. My Humans have been Hightailing it off to That Place they call The Cabin so many times I haven't had my Time to Blog and I am Quite Annoyed. So much News has happened since I last posted that I just don't see how I can Catch Up. However, I will try.

First of all, how could even I ignore the Death of Michael Jackson. It is truly the Gift that Keeps on Giving for those News Programs. One breathless account after another. First, he's Dead! Oh My God. Then, why? Why did he die? We still don't know. So it will continue to Fuel the Controversy and Morbid Curiosity for a couple more weeks until we find out the results of the so-called Toxicology Tests. As a Cat, I'm not quite sure what it's all About, but something to do with Too Much Catnip I guess.

Personally, I can't Imagine any Cat being so Notorious as to generate that much interest among Fellow Cats. Sure, we are sad if one of our Number goes to that great Catnip Field in the Sky to be with Ceiling Cat. But hey, that's Life. Or Death. Whatever. We don't make a Big Deal about it. Oh well, Humans are different from Cats I guess.

Moving on. President Obama's approval rating among Independents is starting to Slide. It's hard to tell whether It's the Economy in General or his handling of Things that is disappointing them. There has also been a Lot of Outcry among Liberals and the LGBT Community about his not Keeping Promises he made during his Campaign. Personally, that bothers Me more. The Economy wasn't Broken in six months and won't be Fixed in six months. But some of his Promises could be Kept very quickly.

Be that as it may, it is not unusual for a President's approval level to Wear Off a bit after the inauguration. That's why they talk about a Honeymoon Period. I guess his is over. Let's see what Happens next.

On the Plus Side, President Obama is in the midst of a worldwide Trip which should help distract Folks from some of the other Stuff that is going on. He met with Putin in Russia, the Pope in Italy and is now in Africa. Thank Goodness we now have a President that people abroad actually Respect.

Well, what else has happened since I last Spoke to You? Oh yes, the whole Sanford thing. The guy who Up and Disappeared from his duties as Governor of South Carolina to be with his Mistress in Argentina and then got caught on his way home. It's not so much the Sin as the Hypocrisy and Stupidity, in My Opinion. We Cats are not known for our Faithfulness, but then again, we never Profess to be all Honorable and Goody-Twoshoes about Sex. But this Human did Profess to be all Upstanding and Moral. Then he thinks he can Get Away with running off for five days without anyone knowing where he was. Hello? You're the Governor? Someone might miss you? Sheeesh.

Speaking of Republican sex scandals, I won't get into the Ensign thing but just in case you want a little Help in figuring out Who did What recently, TPM posted a nice chart to help you Keep Track.

And of course there was Sarah Palin quitting being the Governor of Alaska. (Things having to do with Sarah Palin always seem to Happen when my Humans are in the Adirondacks. They were there last year when that McCain guy announced he was picking her for VP Candidate too.) At any rate, that was a Shocker indeed. Here was this "possible Presidential Candidate" with almost no Experience deciding to give herself even Less Experience by quitting the first Big Political Job she even had. Beats the heck out of Me why she did it. All kinds of Theories Abound. But Columnist Ellen Goodman has a theory of her own - Midlife Crisis anyone?

That was about It for the main News that I have missed talking to you about. If I think of anything Else, I'll be Back. In the meantime, have a great rest of the Weekend and enjoy some Catnip (responsibly, of Course). And with that, I'm outa here!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Interesting Wildlife Sighting in the Adirondacks

Will write more later now that we're back from our trip to the Adirondacks. And of course, it's Baxter's turn to do a news update. But I just wanted to show you what we came across right on the side of the road that goes past our property up near Lake George.

We first came across him while we were walking the dog and saw him when he was coiled up and he looked mostly black with a few goldish X's on him. But later we drove back to take another look, and he had uncoiled. And you can clearly see, on the end of his tail...a rattle. Yes, he (or is it a she?) is a timber rattlesnake.

They are supposed to be endangered. Apparently not in our neck of the woods. We read that their range extends up into the southeastern Adirondacks - which happens to be where our cabin is located. Looks as if we'll need to be a little more careful when we walk around in the woods! We had tromped all through this area a couple of months ago putting up "Posted" signs. Luckily we lived.