Saturday, May 31, 2008

Moving Right Along

Well, here it is, the first week of June already - time for our annual trip to Cape Cod, along with my mom. As always, we have rented Cottage #4 for her and Cottage #5 for us, at our usual spot, Gibson Cottages in Eastham. And of course, Miss Diva will be accompanying us, and Friend #2 will be taking care of Baxter. I'm sure he will be Disgruntled about being left home alone again!

While we're at the Cape I am determined to create a post for my long-neglected travel blog, Marvelous Meanderings. It is way overdue for another post, considering my last one was in March of 2007!

One of these days I need to leave my job at the Big Corporation and just blog and read blogs full time. Because right now I don't have time to read all the wonderful blogs that I enjoy. I hope to make up for some lost time next week, although it won't be all that easy - our cottage does not have wi fi! But there is always the library and a cute little cafe' in Orleans that has access.

Before I sign off for now, I do want to mention one politically-related thing.

What is UP with the pastors at that church Barack Obama attends? I support him and don't really care what kind of church he goes to as long as he doesn't let it interfere with governing. But I couldn't believe it when I heard the news that this priest, who was a guest speaker at the church, went off about Hillary Clinton and said she was crying because Obama was "stealing her show" and related it to race.

I haven't been to church in quite a few years, so maybe I'm out of date, but back in the day when I attended church, the pastor didn't talk all that much. He did one major prayer - which was about God and religion and that sort of thing - and then a sermon. And the sermon usually was a gentle tale, often opened with a humorous little anecdote that led into a spiritual lesson. There was no politics, no mocking, no hostility to anyone. The idea was to leave the parishioners with a sense of peace and a wish to be better people, fleeting though it may have been. It even worked on me for the time I was listening.

Now admittedly, we did tend to have activist ministers at that church, which happens to be the same denomination as Obama's. I believe the minister we had back in the early 70's organized those in the congregation who were interested, to participate in a protest at the local supermarket. The purpose was to boycott lettuce in support of the labor movement led by Cesar Chavez. I remember my parents both participated in the boycott and marched around outside our Pathmark.

I have no problem whatsoever with the leaders of a church getting involved in boycotts and social issues as part of its ministry. But politics should not be preached from the pulpit, especially with such a mean-spirited tone.

Hopefully Obama has realized that the type of religion practiced at this church is not consistent with his message of unity and peace. He needs to not only distance himself from the words of these preachers but from the church itself; not just for political reasons, but because the messages being preached there do not appear to be positive and uplifting. And I'm sure any candidate for President needs as much uplifting and positivity as they can get. Just my two cents.

I know this is probably once again one of those things that is blown up out of all proportion and not worthy to be "news." But given that the Trinity Church pastors (and their guest speakers) must know by now that the media will be all over anything they say, you would think they would be more careful with their words, especially if they support Obama and want him to succeed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Cat's Eye View

Baxter here. I've had a busy week. My Humans went away for a couple of nights and left Me here Alone. However, I managed to Get By without them. Luckily That Dog went with them so I had the place to myself, always a Pleasure.

I hear they went up to that Place called the "Adirondacks" again. They told me they are "House-Hunting," whatever that means. After all, they have a perfectly good House right here. Why would they be Hunting for Another one? At any rate, they said they didn't find Anything yet so I guess Nothing is Changing right now. They did tell Me that once they find Something they may bring Me up there with them on Vacation. I am not enamored of That Idea. We shall see.

This is a new Picture of Me. How do you like my Piercing Gaze?

Let's see, what has been going on this past week? Oh yes. The Hillary Clinton Human made another Unfortunate Remark. In discussing why she is staying in the Race until June, she brought up the Fact that the Nomination was not Decided until June when her Husband, Bill, was nominated in 1992, and then talked about the fact that Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June of 1968.

Although she probably Didn't Mean It Like That, and she eventually gave a rather Perfunctory Apology (you know, the Kind that go "I apologize if I offended..."), it has to make you Wonder What She Was Thinking to bring up such a Subject so Matter-of-Factly, when she should know that People are Worried about the Obama Human being in Danger.

Now Me, I wasn't even a Twinkle in my Momma's eye when Robert F. Kennedy was shot. But my Humans remember it well, as well as the assassination of Martin Luther King, and of course they also remember when John F. Kennedy was killed in 1963. So to bring up such a Traumatic Event in such a Troubled Year as the Humans are in right now, seems Tasteless and Insensitive on her part, especially since the Obama Human is often compared to either Bobby or John Kennedy.

Many supporters of the Hillary Human are protesting that the Remarks were taken Out of Context, as so many Remarks have been in the Primary Race, on both sides. And yes, that is Probably True.

But for someone who is supposed to have So Much Experience and be So Much Better at playing the political Game than the Obama Human, she seems to be making a lot of Remarks that People are being Upset about. Does she really not know how her Remarks will be taken by Others? And if not, then how would she be at Negotiating with our Enemies or trying to get Congress to do Something? Makes me wonder, and I'm just a Cat.

Oh well, I know Most of You have been talking about this for almost a Week now so you are probably Tired of It. So we will Move On to other subjects.

I found an Interesting Article about a scientist who was the Victim of a Stroke and discovered "Nirvana" here on Earth. Jill Taylor was a neuroscientist working at Harvard’s brain research center when she had a Stroke that affected the Left Side of her Brain, which is responsible for all that Stuff that Humans have cluttering up their Heads all the time: Judgment, Time, Ego and Analysis. Suddenly all that Stuff was Gone and she was left with her Creativity, Empathy and a Sense that she is One with the Universe. As a Cat, I can imagine That pretty well, except for the Empathy part. I certainly don't have much Empathy for That Dog, for instance.

Although she has since Recovered, she is still able to Channel her Right Brain and block out the Left Brain when she wants to - a perfect compromise. She has taken to Speaking about her Experiences. You can watch a video of her being Interviewed by Oprah by clicking on the Link below:

Interview with Jill Bolte Taylor

In Surfing the Internet I was reading a Blog that I Truly Enjoy, as one of my Species is an Important Part of this Blog. Recently the Human who writes the Blog had a Whole Bunch of those Quizzes that Humans love to take. As a Cat, I usually avoid those sorts of Introspective Things but for the Fun of it I took one of the Quizzes, to understand My Catlike Personality better. Here is what I Learned about Wonderful Me, Baxter, the Cat:

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have low extroversion.

You are quiet and reserved in most social situations.

A low key, laid back lifestyle is important to you.

You tend to bond slowly, over time, with one or two people.


You have low conscientiousness.

Impulsive and off the wall, you don't take life too seriously.

Unfortunately, you sometimes end up regretting your snap decisions.

Overall, you tend to lack focus, and it's difficult for you to get important things done.


You have low agreeableness.

Your self interest comes first, and others come later, if at all.

In general, you feel that people are not to be trusted.

And you're skeptical that anyone else really feels differently.


You have low neuroticism.

You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.

Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.

Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is low.

You're a pretty conservative person, and you favor what's socially acceptable.

You think that change for novelty's sake is a very bad idea.

While some may see this as boring, many see you as dependable and wise.

Hat Tip to Sometimes Saintly Nick and his Cat, Alex!

Until Next Time, enjoy some Catnip (Responsibly, of course!) and I'll leave you with a picture of a Fellow Cat who must also be a Blogger:

more cat pictures

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Biobigotry in my Back Yard

Yes, I admit it. I am a Bio Bigot when it comes to birds.

I became interested in birdwatching when I was about 9 years old and we moved to Penfield, New York, in the rural suburbs of Rochester, from Nutley, New Jersey. In our town of Penfield we lived at the edge of a cul-de-sac that bordered a stream (always called "The Creek") and a wooded area that led, after a mile or so of woods, into a park.

Because of the location, we were able to see many unsual birds. During the migratory season we had many different kinds of warblers passing through, as well as some full-time residents that were uncommon (such as Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks). My mother and I went on many birdwatching expeditions in the little woods with our binoculars, and I took to drawing and coloring in pictures of the birds. My mother put them in a booklet and submitted the drawings to an Audobon contest. I actually won a prize - a week at an Audubon day camp in the area!

Each spring was heralded by the arrival, not of Robins (they were actually latecomers in that northern area), but of the Redwinged Blackbird. These blackbirds arrived on schedule at around the beginning of March - perching at the top of our little maple tree and announcing their arrival with a joyous bubbly call. And the little Goldfinches, which did winter over up there, turned a neon yellow as the Spring arrived.

As a result of this experience, I got spoiled. We saw so many "good" birds up there, that I expected to continue the experience wherever I lived.

When DH and I moved into our house, we started feeding the birds. But being in a very urban area of suburbia, we don't get the "good" birds. We get city birds. Oh yes, we do have Cardinals, and they do count as "good." But they are relatively common as well. We have English Sparrows, a few Juncoes, Chickadees, Mockingbirds, some Nuthatches and an occasional common type of woodpecker. Oh, and Blue Jays. Once in a blue moon a "good" bird will pass through but it isn't usual.

As a result, I realize I have become a "biobigot." When a "good" bird does arrive in our yard, it is an Event. And if something happens to that bird, I am bereft.

My neighbor has cats - lots of cats. I am a huge cat lover so I don't usually worry about them wandering into our yard. But a few years ago, my whole family underwent the traumatic experience of seeing one of them grab a baby Cardinal. Of course it had to be a Cardinal, not a sparrow.

The father Cardinal was helping to teach the baby to fly, and the little one was flying all over our back yard while we sat out having a barbecue. All of a sudden, the baby bird lost its bearings and flew right into the back of our neighbor's garage and fell to the earth like a stone - RIGHT in front of a waiting cat that had been hiding in the bushes. It was like manna from heaven, as far as the cat was concerned. It immediately pounced, grabbed the bird and ran off, with the father Cardinal - and me - chasing it. Our efforts were to no avail. The father bird spent the rest of the day flitting around in the bushes calling desperately for the baby. It was so sad. But would we have been as sad if it was "just" an English Sparrow?

The reason I bring this up today, is that we have a Good Bird living in our yard; in fact, two of them. They are wrens, and they have taken up residence in an old bird house we had hung on my neighbor's garage years ago. No bird has ever bothered to use it - until now.

The other day I heard the sound of an unfamiliar bird song in our yard, and finally was able to see it through the binoculars and identified it as a wren, a common House Wren, to be sure, but still unusual for OUR yard. It was flitting in and out of the bird house. Then yesterday, after three days of singing, the wren apparently attracted a lady of his same subspecies! So there are now two of them.

But they not only sit up in the tree and sing, they also flutter around temptingly on the ground in the bushes. I don't know what they do there - catch bugs? Pick up twigs for the nest? - but it doesn't seem wise. All those cats are just waiting. Luckily we have a fence between the neighbor's yard and ours, but of course the birds don't realize the situation and could just as easily start flitting about in the neighbor's bushes.

So now I worry. Every day I get up and listen carefully to make sure I still hear that wren's song. If I don't hear it one day I will be neurotic and worry that the cats have had their way with the wrens.

It just doesn't pay to get emotionally invested in wildlife. I know this. But nevertheless, I worry.

If I just didn't care whether a bird was "good" or "ordinary," it wouldn't be as worrisome. But I can't help it, biobigot that I am!

(Here is a picture stolen from the Internet that shows a wren on top of a bird house very similar to ours:)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Do you ever reach a phase of your life when you suddenly feel as if everything is up in the air? When you feel as if you're at a crossroads, that new possibilities are opening up, that changes are in the air and your life may be on the edge of a new beginning? It includes feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, but along with it, a sense of excitement.

I feel that way right now. I think it's partly because my job situation at the Big Corporation is about to change fairly drastically in mid-summer, and while I know I will still have the same general job, it will be in a new location and there are a lot of unknowns. It could be different and more interesting. Or it could be the same old thing. I won't know until it happens.

Another factor is, I'll be turning 55 in September, and although I probably can't afford to retire yet, it is making me think about what I want to do next. Once I hit that magic number, I am at least entitled to collect my pension, whether I choose to or not, and this opens up more flexibility in what I might be able to do. I feel as if this is it; if I don't do something new now, it will soon be too late.

Another piece of it is this idea of buying a place in the Adirondacks. Although the plan is for it to be a weekend getaway,and a place we can go for summer vacations, I feel as if it could be more than that.

I am envisioning it as an escape, and as a result am developing an obsession with finding that cabin we're looking for. Now that we've decided to buy something up there, it makes me want to just leave my job, leave my town, and move there permanently, escape from everything.

Perhaps it's some kind of midlife crisis. I feel as if there are too many responsibilities here, too many worries and too much stress. I think I've started to think of this imaginary cabin as the solution to all of it.

If we could just go there and never come back, we could live a peaceful and quiet life in the mountains. We'd awaken at dawn to the sound of thousands of songbirds in the dense woods surrounding the cabin. We'd sit in front of a glowing fire at night and actually talk instead of watching TV. In the winter the snow would pile up outside the windows and it wouldn't matter because we wouldn't have to dig out and go to work the next day.

So then I start fantasizing about this whole idea of completely changing our lifestyle...we'll take up hiking and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing! I'll grow my hair long and wear it in one long gray braid, and never have to buy new clothes again. And we'll actually cook every day and eat healthy food and take up yoga and raise our own vegetables and herbs. I'll learn how to play the guitar! Maybe we'll even live "off the grid"!

But then reality hits me. Of course we can't do that, and really wouldn't even want to, since our families and friends are here in New Jersey. And how can we afford to own this new property if we don't stay at our jobs at least until the mortgage is paid? And I'd have to have the Internet! How could I live off the grid?

Sigh. Why does reality have to be such a party-pooper?

But still...I get the urge for going...

With that I'll leave you with this great video of a very young Joni Mitchell, singing "Urge for Going" back in 1966. I tried to embed it but it didn't work for some reason, so just click on this link!

Urge for Going

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Cat's Eye View

Baxter here. I have had a Very Bad Week since I last posted. Last Thursday morning I got up in a Good Mood and I was rubbing around my Humans' legs and purring, trying to convince them I needed some Food and Water, which for some reason had been Unavailable since the previous Night; and all of a sudden I was picked up and thrust into that Carrying Box. I knew right away Something was Wrong.

Sure enough, they brought me to that Awful Place they call the Vet's. I went in there feeling Fine and by the time my Female Human picked me up later that day, I felt like Crap. I felt Woozy and my Mouth hurt. My Female Human told me she was Sorry, but when they cleaned my Teeth they had to pull out some of them.

Well, now that a Week has passed I feel pretty good. I guess it wasn't That Bad. But it sure ruined my Weekend.

Now that I'm feeling better, I feel up to Blogging again, so here I am.

Lots has happened since last week. Tuesday was another of those Primaries. And even though the Obama Human is winning this Delegate race, the Clinton Human won big-time in West Virginia. Some People say this means a Big Problem for him in the Fall. Let's hope he figures out how to reach the West Virginians and similar People in other States. There are lots of Theories as to why he isn't winning with these people. Jon Stewart had some ideas last night:

"He's simply not their kind of guy," says one commentator. Jon Stewart questioned, "So she's 'their kind of guy?'"

Whatever the Obscure Reasons the Obama Human lost in West Virginia (and likely will in Kentucky), these setbacks probably won't Bother him much. In the meantime, the other Human that was running for President earlier this Year, John Edwards, endorsed the Obama Human Wednesday evening at a Rally in Michigan. In his Endorsement, he said:

"There’s one who understands the need to create one America, not two Americas, and that man is Barack Obama."

This was Great News for the Obama Human and Not So Great News for the Clinton Human. In fact, she was probably as Mad as a Wet Cat about it. (And no, calling her a Cat is not a Sexist Remark; it is a Common Expression among us Cats, so don't take it Wrong).

Since then, 7 of the Edwards Delegates have now switched to the Obama Human plus 3 more of those Humans they call Superdelegates.

So that is the Big News in Politics since I last Posted.

In other News, the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the Right to Marry, striking down two State Laws that limited Marriage to being between a Man and a Woman only. I for one am Very Happy that this has happened. Of course, we Cats don't Marry but we can certainly understand why others might want to do it, and why shouldn't Anyone who wanted to be Allowed to? Now of course the Religious and Conservative Groups are having Fits and say they will support an initiative on the November ballot that would amend the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages and overturn the Decision. Let us hope that it Does Not Pass.

On to less serious Subjects.

I found this article about how some Animal Shelters use a Personality Test to match up Cats with prospective Owners. Seems like a Great Idea to me! After all, you don't want a Really Shy Cat being teamed up with someone who wants to be rubbed on and purred at 24/7. And Some People come into a Shelter looking for an exact Replica of their Old Cat in looks, but then find out the New Cat is nothing like the Old Cat in personality.

According to the Article, there are lots of types of Cats. One Cat, Barnaby, who had an outgoing personality, is called the "Leader of the Band" type of personality.

"All of the types have fun, vivid names and descriptions. Barnaby is "leader of the band." His opposite, a cat low on both scales, is called a "private investigator," who stays out of trouble.

A more middle of the road cat is familiar to many people: the "personal assistant." "You're working on the computer? Let me press the keys. Reading the paper? I'll hold the pages down for you... You'll wonder how you ever managed without me," according to program literature."

I guess I kind of fit with that "Personal Assistant" type Cat. Especially when I help my Female Human Blog.

They have this same kind of Test for Dogs. I can only Imagine what That Dog would be called. I wonder if there is a Category just called "Diva"? It would certainly fit!

In News of the Gross,it was announced recently that astronauts living on the International Space Station will be recycling their urine into - get this - Drinking Water. Yep, that's right! They apparently have a $250 million machine that will do the job! According to the article:

"NASA has spent decades perfecting a system to transform urine into water that can be used in space for drinking, food preparation and washing. Agency officials say the water from the system will be cleaner than U.S. tap water."

Of course, That Dog probably would not be Offended by this. She will drink Anything. If my Humans did not close the Toilet Bowl I have no Doubt she would be drinking out of it.

I will end with a Very Appropriate LOLCat. I must say This seems like a Good Idea to Me. If I had realized in time they were going to drag me to the Vet I might have tried something like This:

more cat pictures

Monday, May 12, 2008

Passing Time

Your Brain's Pattern

Your brain is always looking for the connections in life.

You always amaze your friends by figuring out things first.

You're also good at connecting people - and often play match maker.

You see the world in fluid, flexible terms. Nothing is black or white.

H/T to Phydeaux.

Thought this was pretty interesting as I think it's rather true of me! I even played matchmaker to two friends of ours a few years ago - not intentionally, but it happened.

Check it out and see if your description works for you!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Three Mothers

I consider myself to be very lucky that at my age, nearly 55, I still have my mother with me, living down the street in her cozy senior citizen's apartment.

But in fact, I am lucky enough to have three mothers. I am truly blessed.

My husband's parents have always treated me as the daughter they never had (DH is an only child) and I really do feel as if his mother is another mother to me.

When we were all younger, DH's parents were always helping us; when we bought our fixer-upper of a house 21 years ago, they came up regularly to help us bring it back to its former glory. They single-handedly painted many of the rooms in the house, including the seemingly endless woodwork. They even wallpapered the living room for us!

We enjoyed going on many trips with them throughout the years; Portugal, Italy, and numerous times to Hawaii. And of course they welcomed us to their home for countless dinners and barbecues.

Adventurous travelers themselves, after my father-in-law retired, he and my mother-in-law went on some great trips of their own - an Asian cruise that stopped in Bali and Singapore; a trip to China and Hong Kong; and they went skiing in the Alps every winter until about three or four years ago when my mother-in-law could no longer ski. They were great role models for us - I only hope we will be as adventurous when we are that age.

Throughout our relationship, my mother-in-law was nothing like the mothers-in-law everyone jokes about. She bent over backwards not to interfere in our lives. An immaculate housekeeper herself, she ignored the clutter in our house, and if I apologized for it she would just laugh and say it looked lovely. No white gloves ever came out to test for dust! (And a good thing, too!)

Even though she probably wished for a grandchild, she never said a word to us wondering if it would ever happen. No "When are you going to have kids?" "When will you give me a grandchild?" She was just happy to spend time with us.

DH had been married before, but you would never know it - the name of the first wife never passed her lips for the entire time I have known her. No comparisons, good or bad, were ever made. As far as she was concerned, I walked on the same water her son did, and she made me feel like her own daughter.

Sadly, as you know, my mother-in-law now has Alzheimer's Disease and is in a nursing home, but we are grateful to still have her with us on this Mother's Day.

Who is the third mother, you are probably wondering? That would be my aunt - my mother's sister. She was the sister who didn't marry, the one who ended up caring for my grandparents when they got old and frail. We were always close to her throughout my childhood and saw her almost every weekend.

When I was little she babysat for me, took me to the park, and sat on the floor and played with me when I'd come to visit. She and my grandmother would keep me entertained for hours while my mother went shopping or ran errands. One of our favorite games was "Button, button, who's got the button?" They would hide a button somewhere in the living room and I'd have to find it while they told me if I was "cold" or "warm." Kids nowadays probably wouldn't enjoy something so mundane but I thought it was great.

When I was a little older I thought my aunt was quite exotic, sort of a Mary Tyler Moore-type role model. She was the career woman of the family; she had a job down in Newark and was the supervisor of a lab at a company called Englehardt Industries, which processed and sold precious metals for industry. I thought it was quite impressive that she worked and had an important job like that. She went off on vacations with her girlfriends to the Virgin Islands and other far-off places; she took a tour of the Canadian Rockies by train; she went to Colorado and saw the Grand Canyon.

When I was in my early teens, she joined my parents and me on a trip to the British Isles and we had a grand time touring around together.

She's always been at every Mother's Day celebration because she deserves the same recognition as all the mothers out there. I always manage to find the appropriate card - "To an aunt who's like a mother to me" and we all celebrate together.

My mother and she are opposite sides of the same coin. My mother is the optimistic one who never worries; my aunt worries about everything. My mother is neat, my aunt more on the sloppy side. My mother sleeps till noon and is up till two a.m., my aunt is up at dawn and asleep before midnight. My mother is always late, my aunt is as punctual as Big Ben.

If you met them you'd practically think they were twins - two little ladies with similar features, one with wavy silver hair turning white, the other with darker, straighter hair, both with their glasses and smiling faces. But their personalities are opposites!

We always joke that I've inherited my aunt's worrying and sloppiness, and my mother's lateness and night-owl tendencies. I do think, though, that I have my mother's inherent optimism underneath my anxiety!

Since both DH's and my families were small, we always celebrated Mother's Day together. We'd have my mother and aunt, and DH's mom and dad over to our house and have one big get-together for Mother's Day.

This year we celebrated it separately for the first time.

My father-in-law brought my mother-in-law home to his house from the nursing home today for a Mother's Day brunch of waffles and ice cream. We met them there and helped Mom into the house in her wheelchair. It was her first time back at her home since she had gone into the nursing home in February. She seemed to be glad to be there and was talking a lot by the time she finished her waffles, not making a lot of sense most of the time, but I think we all understood what she meant.

After that DH and I came home and went over to my aunt's for Mother's Day dinner and had a nice evening with her and my mother.

So all in all, it was a good Mother's Day - with my three mothers.

Haiku for My Mom:

She was always there
Wielding the Mercurochrome
Whenever I scraped my knee

Then came the Band-Aid,
The kiss to "make it better,"
Off I ran again.

She made me my lunch
Peanut butter and jelly
And a glass of milk.

Oh, and carrot sticks.
Can't forget the carrot sticks.
And then a cookie.

I brought home a mouse
Please let me keep it Mommy!
It lived in a jar.

Then it got bigger.
It was time to set it free.
So we let it go.

She put up with me
When I found caterpillars
And kept them in jars.

They made their cocoons
And hibernated for weeks;
Became butterflies.

My mom loves nature
We used to go birdwatching
And hike in the woods.

She loves the Red Sox
She brought me up on baseball
It's still the best game!

When things got me down
I could always talk to Mom
She would lend an ear.

So here's to my mom
And my other two mothers
Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

What's Her Game?

Last night, Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama in North Carolina by a hefty 14 percentage points, and squeaked out a tiny victory by only 2 points in Indiana, which was too close to call until after 1 a.m. She had been hoping to close the gap in North Carolina - indeed, polls going into the primary had shown her doing just that - and to take Indiana decisively. She did neither.

The various pundits have declared the race is basically over. As Tim Russert put it,

"'We now know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to dispute it,' he said on MSNBC. 'Those closest to her will give her a hard-headed analysis, and if they lay it all out, they’ll say: ‘What is the rationale? What do we say to the undeclared super delegates tomorrow? Why do we tell them you’re staying in the race?’ And tonight, there’s no good answer for that.'"

Obama and Clinton both made speeches last night that had a certain indication of moving beyond the primaries. Both pledged to support "whoever" got the nomination. This was heartening. Hillary had cancelled her morning television appearances, so it seemed she would be thinking long and hard about whether to continue fighting, especially after having to loan her campaign money in order to keep going.

But no. Today's newspapers declare "Clinton Pledges to Fight On."

"'I’m staying in this race until there is a nominee, and obviously I’m going to work as hard as I can to become that nominee,' Mrs. Clinton said at a news conference in Shepherdstown, W.Va., where she flew in a last-minute change of plans Wednesday."

But her own campaign officials realize that even if all the delegates from disputed primaries in Michigan and Florida were seated at the Democratic convention, Mrs. Clinton would still not have enough delegates to clinch the presidential nomination; she would still be about 100 delegates short.

So what is the point of continuing? Is it so she can go out on a positive note by winning a couple of the smaller states that remain and are likely to go her way? Is it to be able to make a case that she should be Obama's running mate as VP? Or to garner a position in an Obama cabinet? Is she actually delusional and really thinks she can still win?

I am not heartless; I know how disappointing it must feel to her, after all this work and all this effort, to come up short at the end, with a newcomer like Obama stealing her show. But the people are speaking, and they are saying they want something new, a new outlook, a new paradigm. Maybe Obama isn't perfect, as he himself said in his victory speech. But he is trying to do something different. In his own words:

"Yes, we know what's coming. I'm not naive. We've already seen it, the same names and labels they always pin on everyone who doesn't agree with all their ideas, the same efforts to distract us from the issues that affect our lives, by pouncing on every gaffe and association and fake controversy, in the hopes that the media will play along.

The attempts to play on our fears and exploit our differences, to turn us against each other for political gain, to slice and dice this country into red states and blue states, blue collar and white collar, white, black, brown, young, old, rich, poor...

... this is the race we expect, no matter whether it's myself or Senator Clinton who is the nominee. The question then is not what kind of campaign they will run; it's what kind of campaign we will run.

It's what we will do to make this year different. You see, I didn't get into this race thinking that I could avoid this kind of politics, but I am running for president because this is the time to end it.

We will end it -- we will end it this time not because I'm perfect. I think we know at this phase of the campaign that I am not.

We will end it not by duplicating the same tactics and the same strategies as the other side, because that will lead us down the same path of polarization and of gridlock.

We will end it by telling the truth.

We will end it by telling the truth forcefully, repeatedly, confidently, and by trusting that the American people will embrace the need for change, even if it's coming from an imperfect messenger, because that's how we've always changed this country, not from the top down, but from the bottom up, when you, the American people, decide that the stakes are too high and the challenges are too great."

These are the reasons that Obama continues to bring out new voters, to get them to come to the polls. I'm not saying he and Hillary Clinton don't have similar visions for the improvements they want to see in this country. But how they get there are very different. And people are tired of the old way.

David Brooks had an interesting column in the NY Times the other day, comparing their two world views. He sees Obama and Clinton as having two conflicting views of how to get things done: "Combat vs. Composure."

On Obama:

"Thoughtful and conversational, he doesn’t seem to possess the trait that Clinton has: automatically assuming that critics are always wrong.

Obama still possesses his talent for homeostasis, the ability to return to emotional balance and calm, even amid hysteria. His astounding composure has come across as weakness in the midst of combat with Clinton, but it’s also at the core of his promise to change politics. He vows to calm hatred and heal division.

This contrast between combat and composure defines the Democratic race. The implicit Clinton argument is that politics is an inherently nasty business. Human nature, as she said Sunday, means that progress comes only through conquest. You’d better elect a leader who can intimidate. You’d better elect someone who has given herself permission to be brutal.

Obama’s campaign grows out of the longstanding reform tradition. His implicit argument is that politics doesn’t have to be this way. Dishonesty and brutality aren’t inevitable; they’re what gets in the way. Obama’s friend and supporter Cass Sunstein described the Obama ideal in The New Republic: 'Obama believes that real change usually requires consensus, learning and accommodation.'"

Brooks concludes with:

"...amid the storms of the presidency, their basic worldviews would shape their presidencies. Obama is instinctively a conversationalist and community-mobilizer. Clinton, as she says, will fight and fight. If elected, she’ll have the power to take the Hobbesian struggle she perceives, and turn it into remorseless reality."

This is what the voters are realizing, and that is why, when they go to the polls, many are not giving their votes to Hillary Clinton. It's a pervasive feeling that if she wins, this rancor and fighting will go on and on. People are tired of it. Yes, Obama fought back against Hillary when he was attacked; I'm not saying he didn't play the game a bit himself. But it wouldn't have been necessary if she hadn't gone on the offensive in the first place. It isn't his nature to be that way. But it is hers.

Maureen Dowd also had some comments about Obama and Clinton, questioning whether Hillary has sold her soul for the White House prize.

"It’s hard to believe that this Hillary is the same Wellesley girl who said she yearned for a more 'ecstatic and penetrating mode of living.' What would that young Hillary — who volunteered on Gene McCarthy’s anti-war campaign; who cried the day Martin Luther King Jr. was killed;...who once returned a bottle of perfume after feeling guilty about the poverty around her — think of this shape-shifting, cynical Hillary?

She’s so at odds with who she used to be, even in the Senate, that if she were to get elected, who would voters be electing?

...As she makes a last frenzied and likely futile attempt to crush the butterfly, it’s as though she’s crushing the remnants of her own girlish innocence."

I think even Hillary's ardent supporters would admit that Hillary has run the gamut of methods to try to win the White House, and these have included saying or doing whatever it takes to get there. Dowd asks the same question I had asked not long ago; if she were to be elected, who would she be?

I think it's time for her to realize that, no matter how hard you try, you can't always get what you want. If Hillary truly wants to help the country and prevent John McCain from "serving out Bush's third term," as Barack Obama said, she needs to do the noble thing and stand aside and support Obama. No, it isn't fair. Yes, she had the experience, she had the bona fides, the credentials, the grit and intelligence. But she is not winning. He is.

If she wants to maintain her standing in the Democratic Party, and have a good chance of an important position in the new administration, it is time to unite the party and move forward. If she really wants universal health care, if she really wants to help the American people, now is the time to help Obama rather than continue to fight a useless and divisive fight. Because now the tide is turning against her and she can only cause harm if she continues.

John McCain is waiting in the wings. He has already announced his intention to appoint conservative "strict constructionist" judges to the courts, including up to three possible Supreme Court nominees. The future of our country depends on defeating him. Now is the time for Hillary Clinton to look at the bigger picture. As Humphrey Bogart said in "Casablanca,"

"I'm not good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three [or two!] little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."

It's time for Hillary to make that speech and gracefully step aside.

Friday, May 02, 2008

New Bush Coins

From Blip-TV, here is an all-too-credible view of a future where we no longer measure money in dollars but in gallons of oil. Enjoy this apocalyptic vision of one possible future.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Cat's Eye View

Baxter here. My Female Human has not gotten around to returning to any kind of a Schedule to allow Me to Post, but what can I do? I'm dependent on Her to type! I sit Here in front of Her and Dictate my Words while she tries to see through my Beautiful Self to the Screen.

So, let's see...where were we with this Political stuff? Oh yes. Reverend Wright. It never ends, does it? Here we thought the whole thing was SO Over, and instead Reverend Wright Himself gets on TV and starts acting like a Dog - that is, acting all Excited and Wanting to be the Center of Attention. Now mind you, we Cats like to be cosseted and catered to, but we don't like to Call Attention to Ourselves in a such a Blatant Manner.

I'm really not sure why Reverend Wright did all this, but it hasn't helped the Obama Human much in this Primary Race. In my Surfing of the Net, which I am able to do, since I can use the Mouse myself, I found an interesting Article by one Roland Martin, of CNN. In this Article he is giving the Obama Human some advice on how to get past the Reverend Wright Issue. Some ideas he has:

"Let voters know that you will be calling the shots, not Wright. I've seen e-mails from voters who say they will not vote for Obama because of Wright. The junior senator of Illinois must challenge them directly.

Tell them flat out that Wright will not keep their homes from foreclosure.

Tell them that Wright has absolutely nothing to do with gas prices doubling under the presidency of George W. Bush.

Make it plain that your name is on the ballot and not his, and you're the guy who has the right plan to transform the country."

He goes on to say:

"Then you must back that in-your-face campaigning with an economic message that speaks to the masses, especially those blue-collar voters. Show them that the Bush tax cuts that McCain wants to continue will benefit those same business owners who are shipping their jobs overseas.

Tell blue-collar voters that the hedge fund owners that are snapping up companies and slashing their jobs don't care about them, and will be happy to fund the campaign of McCain."

Then, a Very Important Point that should Appeal to Hillary Supporters:

"Make it clear to women, especially white women, that Roe v. Wade will be extinct if McCain wins. The next president is going to choose three Supreme Court justices."

Now, I don't know why it would only be White Women who would care about this issue, but that's what the Man said.

So go, read the rest of the Article, and see what You think. I think his Advice is pretty good. Of course, I'm only a Cat. Some of you may have some more Ideas.

In better news for the Obama Human, former Clinton supporter Joe Andrew switched his support to Obama. This Andrew Human was once a Democratic Party leader under the Hillary Human's husband's Administration, and is one of those Superdelegates, so this is a Good Thing.

He explained his Decision as follows:

"Andrew said the Obama campaign never asked him to switch his support, but he decided to do so after watching Obama's handling of two issues in recent days. He said Obama took the principled stand in opposing a summer gas tax holiday that both Clinton and McCain supported, even though it would have been easier politically to back it. And he said he was impressed with Obama's handling of the controversy surrounding his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright."

So that's the News in the Political Arena. I'm going to try to Lighten Up a bit here, as it's been awhile since I posted something Frivolous.

My Female Human is a member of a pet network called Dogster, and they send her e-mails. She got one inviting her to take quizzes to see what Celebrities That Dog and I would be. It was Amazingly Accurate. Here is what it said about That Dog:

What celebrity would your pet be? I'm Jennifer Lopez! Find out at

So then she did it for Me. I am Proud to be considered Al Gore!

What celebrity would your pet be? I'm Al Gore! Find out at

I'm sure You will be interested in trying this Quiz for your Pets.

I would also like to share a couple of my Favorite Comic Strips. I have Noticed lately that many Comics are getting Political even if they are ordinarily not. Do you think maybe Cartoonists tend to be Democrats? I do!

And now I will close with one more Amusing Tidbit or two for You. Some LOLCats!

Now here is the First One. This does look VERY tasty:

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And here is a Sad Commentary on the Way it Is Today:

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This morning I had to tell my Female Human about my Dish. It was Empty. I had to remind Her at 5 a.m. So I can identify with this one:

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Let me tell You, I would NEVER do THIS to That Dog:

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see more crazy cat pics

And with that I will say So Long for Now. Have some Catnip, enjoy your Weekend, and I will see You Next Week!