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Friday, October 9, 2015

Wild Life

As y’all know, I’m a sucker for animals. When a small skunk showed up at breakfast time, back when we had three bold porch cats in residence, I brought out a plate for him/her. I don’t chase off our occasional opossum or raccoon visitors either.

There are foxes in the area. I imagine they’ve dined at Bob and Donna’s Famous Valhalla Diner too.

Adorable as they all are, they do NOT belong inside. They’re wild. Even B.O.P. (Big Orange Pumpkin), a stray who moved in with us, made it clear that he HAD to have outdoor privileges. He needed to come and go. After all, he needed to defend his territory, off birds and mice, take down the occasional elephant and, just generally, caper and cavort. He had a real Call of the Wild thing going on. The more vile the weather the more he just HAD to be out in it.

I respect that. I may dream of having all manner of big beautiful beastie living with us but I totes get that this wouldn't be fair or groovy for them.

Coco? Not wild. While she likes to do the occasional runner, she’s generally happy as hell to just view the universe from her front window perch. And Rocco? Retired. He likes to sit in our bedroom window sometimes but, mostly, he enjoys laying about in bed, having me pat him and fetch his treats.

My cousin Albert posts pics of gorgeous large cats on my Facebook page, inspiring big WANT in me. Here’s the thing, I know they don’t belong inside. I’ve no prob (obvs) feeding visitors but KNOW they wouldn’t thrive as indoor beasties AND, given that we live in densely populated Hough’s Neck, it’s unlikely that our neighbors would feel comfortable with a pet tiger out for unleashed walkies.

And then there are bears.
Ohio Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Erica Hawkins said Daniel Chambers was not in compliance with the state’s Dangerous Wild Animal Act because he did not have a permit to own exotic animals on his property.
Chambers’ wife, Ashley, was at home Wednesday during the seizure. She said she looked out her front door and saw armed officers lined up around the property. Officers used sniper guns with darts to tranquilize the bears, which were then dragged into trailers, she said.

“We tried to comply with the law,” Ashley said. “My husband submitted the proper paperwork that they asked for, but they never let us know that it wasn’t completed correctly … By the time they did, it was after the deadline.”
Following the raid, Chambers said he couldn’t describe the depression he was feeling, but vowed, “I’m not going to let them get away with this.”

“They think they’re immortal and they’re not,” Chambers said.
It seems there are pieces of the story missing or there's a liar in the mix. Also they think they’re immortal and they’re not def sounds like a threat, don'cha think? Doesn't exactly instill confidence in the Chamber's side of the story.

From the BBC ethics guide:
It is only ethical to keep an animal as a pet if both the animal's biological and psychological needs are properly catered for.
From the ASPCA:

Minimum Requirements for Captive Bears
  • A large enclosure, preferably measured in acres rather than feet
  • Natural substrate, such as soft earth, grass, and mulch that provides
    opportunities to dig
  • Boulders and logs to rub against
  • A pool large enough to submerge
  • Denning areas and materials for nest building•Climbing structures and hammocks
  • Visual barriers that provide privacy from the public and other bears
  • Environmental enrichment that provides sensory stimulation, foraging
    opportunities, and materials to investigate and tear apart—offered frequently throughout the day to alleviate boredom and to encourage exercise
  • A varied diet that includes fresh, seasonally-available produce presented in a stimulating manner in order to encourage foraging behavior
  • Opportunity to den-up during the winter
I very much doubt that Daniel Chambers, in his suburban Dayton, Ohio neighborhood, had all these things goin’ on for his bears. I hope they’ll be moved to a place where they’ll have all they need.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Winged Creatures and Expectorating Four Leggeds

The Amazing Bob and I have decided that Coco and Rocco would maybe be quite unhappy about sharing our nest with a vulture. Quite likely actually. So, despite the stone attractiveness of the tuxedo clad vulture that we saw on last night’s news program, we’re gonna have to pass.

I don’t recall what the story was about. I just know that I was utterly taken with the boid’s beauty. I think it was, a White Backed Vulture. Stunning AND would’ve fit in well, aesthetically speaking, with our resident Tux’s. TAB solidly vetoed this. Huh. Prolly something to do with the smell of carrion...I guess.

Ah, to have all the animals I’d like living here with us. It’s not just cats that I love, don’cha know. I’m keen on bats, yes bats. They’re an important player in our world, oh yes they are.

Bats eat insects.
Most bats eat insects and are called insectivores. These bats especially like to eat mosquitoes, beetles, and moths. And they sure do eat a lot of insects. Did you know that one little brown bat can eat 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour? Now that's a lot of insects.
They’re also great for farmers. Less insecticide is needed to preserve crops which saves the farmers money AND means that we get healthier fruits and veggies. Win/win.

Bats get bad press which I’ve never really understood. Yeah sure, they’re kinda creepy looking but in a cute fuzzy way. See?!

I want bat houses. If they have their own houses and don't have to come inside ours for anything (where do bats go to the bathroom?) how could anyone object? Maybe this spring, eh?

Llamas—I like the way they look but I hear tell they spit. That’s solidly unappealing. Do llamas really spit? I looked it up.
Llamas do spit on each other from time to time. It’s their way of expressing irritation or displeasure with other llamas.

Llamas that spit on humans were probably raised by humans and haven’t spent much time around other llamas. When this happens, they treat humans just like they would other llamas.

If you train a llama well and give it time with other llamas, it usually won’t spit at people unless it’s mistreated. In fact, well-trained llamas are usually very friendly and respectful animals.
I think Coco and Rocco’d go along with having bats and llamas and vultures (Oh my!) as long as our new friends did NOT encroach on their space. TAB too for that matter. Also, I’d be the one to change the llama’s litter box. They use litterboxes…right?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Emotional Iintelligence

I know I've touched on this before but it's worth revisiting.

What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict.
AKA Interpersonal/Intrapersonal Intelligence.
Attributes of Emotional Intelligence include:
Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior, know your strengths and weaknesses, and have self-confidence.
Self-management – You’re able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
Social awareness – You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
Relationship management – You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.
Folks who lack Emotional Intelligence? Donald Trump and his ilk, the idiots that I briefly worked for at a small print company fall into this boat too (Pro Tip: Smiling when you tell me that I’m a lazy slag is NOT a motivator AND, given that I was working faster and with greater accuracy than most of your other employees, makes you look even more stunningly clueless and breathtakingly fatuous).

We’ve all had a boss, co-worker, friend, relative and/or acquaintance who just can’t seem to make a point without bellicose insult, without sneering condescension.

Telltale signs that you lack emotional intelligence from the Harvard Business Review:
  • You often feel like others don’t get the point and it makes you impatient and frustrated.
  • You’re surprised when others are sensitive to your comments or jokes and you think they’re overreacting.
  • You think being liked at work is overrated.
  • You weigh in early with your assertions and defend them with rigor.
  • You hold others to the same high expectations you hold for yourself.
  • You find others are to blame for most of the issues on your team.
  • You find it annoying when others expect you to know how they feel.
I’ve one addition to that. You feel that everyone should write, behave, believe and emote just like you.

There’s a list of things at the link that you can do, should you recognize yourself in any of the above points.
Being an emotional dumbfuck doesn’t doom you to failure. After all, there are many forms of intelligence. There are ways to make up for this lack, like the blind person who has more finely tuned hearing or the deafie with higher visualization skills. BUT being self aware and able to control your outbursts will, sure as Bast made little black cats, get you a lot further in this long life.

Emotional Intelligence—GET SUM!

Words for the Day:
Bellicose: adjective—inclined or eager to fight; aggressively hostile; belligerent; pugnacious.
Pugnacious: adjective—inclined to quarrel or fight readily; quarrelsome; belligerent; combative.
Self-Aggrandizement: noun—increase of one's own power, wealth, etc., usually aggressively.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Good News, Bad News

I had my annual appointment with Doc Plotkin, my neurologist, yesterday. Given last year’s pronouncement that that he was “concerned” and “we’ll need to keep a close watch” on me, along with my perceived slight uptick in symptoms, I figured this’d be an operation year.

I was pretty certain of it.

My plan was, that if Plotkin was on the fence about surgery now, I’d opt for it. Better to get it over and done with than have it hanging over my head all Sword of Damocles-like.

Surprise! He feels it’s better to wait. Warum? There’re some new, less invasive, less intense options coming down the pike but they’re not up and ready to go yet (lasers, radiation, magic elves!). Possibly, I’ll never need to have my melon sliced open as of yore. Wouldn’t that be sweet!

I grilled the good doc—you’re sure that I should wait. He said that he’d advise his sister to wait.

I replied, yeah but do you like your sister?

Heh.Yes, yes he does.

So that was the good news. What’s the bad? Eh, this means I won’t get a hospital induced boost in my dieting. I always drop the pounds while in there. Yes, that’s the only bit that I’ll miss. As much as I've been at the ready for surgical battle against these motherfucking tumors, I've not actually been jonesing for OR time. Rilly.

What about those perceived, increased manifestations? Apparently illness—colds, infections—can trigger double vision and headaches. Like a runner whose old knee injuries flare up after a jog on a cold wet day, a UTI or bout of rhinitis will set off my poor head. Joy. More reason to excerise, eat healthy and just chill.

Workin' on it!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Uncut and Unencumbered?


If ever there was a headline that was absolutely guaranteed to nauseate all but the one percenters and hard core brain-free crowd, this might well be it. Still, I bought the paper and read the article. Why? As much as these utterly clueless, untalented, self involved, obscenely rich pools of reptile snot offend my not-so-delicate sensibilities, I had to look. Train Wreck Syndrome don’cha know.
By the end of the first chapter of Ann Romney’s new book, you learn that she has had a miscarriage, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and that husband Mitt worried about intimacy issues with his wife.
  • She’s had a miscarriage. Huh, just like up to 25% of us regular women.
  • She was diagnosed with a heavy duty condition. Yep, that’s rough. I know. Believe me, I know.
  • The Mittster worried that he wouldn’t get nookie anymore. Yup, she’s married to an incredibly narcissistic, selfish, self entitled piece of re-chewed dog vomit.
But she loves him and had five sons by him—of course. She had to stick by him and pop out the bairn lest she miss her shot at Mormon Heaven.
‘You know something? I am not afraid of anything anymore. Nothing intimidates me.’
That’s lovely dear. Glad you came to that point.

Very few people have the financial resources that this woman has. Her multiple sclerosis is in remission now. Good for her. She’s 66 years old and, unless her health makes an unexpected, sudden nosedive, she’ll live a full, very comfortable life. Good for her.
She explained that the book is not just for those suffering from MS, but for any others facing struggles.
Oh rilly? Even us in the cheap seats who she's referred to as you people? How in Bast’s name can anyone outside of the One Percenters Club relate to her struggles? The vast majority of us have to work full time WHILE we tackle our major health issues, care for our families and, ya know, clean our own damn houses.
…she and her husband told the Obamas to “start packing,” because in Ann’s words, “It’s Mitt’s time. It’s our turn now,” to live in the White House.
Mister Oblivious
 “It’s our turn now” This woman just kills me. She became known as Ann Romney Antoinette for good reason.
The biggest legacy Mitt left as governor was making Massachusetts the first state to mandate health insurance — Romneycare before there was Obamacare. She believes her struggle with MS helped Mitt understand the importance of health care for all.

“I take no credit for Romneycare, but I’m glad that I was part of Mitt’s motivation and determination to create and implement it,” she writes. “Perhaps my MS had a small but real influence.”
Could be, could be but let’s be crystal clear about this. Romney's biggest contribution to healthcare reform in Massachusetts was vetoing benefits for those with low income as well as seniors and disabled legal immigrants. You know, healthcare for me but not for thee—you peasants!

I could go on. I won’t. This woman disgusts me. And WHAT was The Globe thinking? Do they NOT know their audience at all? This was front page, above the fold. Slow news day maybe? Were they counting on a lot of enraged readers to part with a buck fifty?

It worked.
I stand corrected. Apparently the Mittster did more than just veto bennies for the poor. A lot more actually. He, (not alone by a long shot BUT he was fully on board), got Romney-care up and happening before he tried to shut down access for for those in great need.

AND Ann worked for/in a bunch 'o' children's charities while she was First Lady of Massachusetts. She didn't just stay home ordering the servants around. GOOD!

Lastly, in her quest for health she explored alternative medicine:
She has partaken of reflexology, acupuncture, and craniosacral therapy, and has said, "There is huge merit in both Eastern and Western medicine, and I've taken a little bit from both."  

I imagine her example in this regard may help others.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Holy shit, I see the sun!!! After what feels like a week of rain and mega windy days it looks like we’ll finally have a little brightness today. And the water's blue versus murky green again!

Thank Bast.

Dunno if this has been what’s up with the herd but Coco and Rocco have been wickedly needy over the last few days or so.

Rocco in a rare patch of sun
Coco on her preferred lap
If The Amazing Bob isn’t downstairs in his big chair, Coco’s in my lap (generally speaking, my lap is deemed not-all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips-ish). I'm just her personal Bantha, her Tauntaun. I carry her around so she can see more of the world without having to soil those dainty feet, I bring her meals and muck out her litter box. I am not the lap she is looking for. Yet, over these past few days, our princess has climbed aboard and settled in. That is, until TAB resumes his recliner post.

And then there's the boy. If I’m in bed reading (which was pretty common occurrence with this cold that won’t go away) Rocco’s at my side. He makes it clear that he needs pats (and keep em comin!) and hugs...unless of course he’s patiently sitting in front of his food bowl which is his way of saying ‘What’s a fella gotta do around here to get a meal, huh?’ Was our schmoozy old kitten ever feral?

There was actually a point yesterday when Coco was upstairs camped out on the bed (since Sergeant Rocco moved in, she avoids our bedroom like last year's fashions) while our former warrior looked on from his bed a top the linens shelf in the closet. They actually shared the room for, like, a whole 30 minutes. This is new!

Maybe it’s the change of seasons, the closing of all their fav surveillance windows, the chill in the air, the heat coming on. Yeah, I get it. I'm a bit weirded out too. It's getting to be time to don socks! I can't wear shorts anymore! I have to wear a sweat shirt over my tank top! *sniff, sob*

Ah well. I've got some killa' socks and jackets. I'm good. And on that note, it's time to go trike!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Words for the Day

There are two.
I can’t see this word without thinking of Winnie the Pooh. Of course. I walked into Jen and Oni’s kitchen yesterday, shivered dramatically and pronounced that it was a grand mas blustery day. Oni replied that we were “inna this here blusteration.” Yes indeedy. We were.

Can't find blusteration in the dictionary and blustery just gets a brief mention. Huh.

This is what I found:
verb (used without object)
1. to roar and be tumultuous, as wind.
2. to be loud, noisy, or swaggering; utter loud, empty menaces or protests:
He blusters about revenge but does nothing.
verb (used with object)
3. to force or accomplish by blustering:
He blustered his way through the crowd.
4. boisterous noise and violence:
the bluster of the streets.
1520-30; perhaps < Low German blustern, blüstern to blow violently; compare Old Norse blāstr blowing, hissing 
At Chambers I found one little snippet on blustery:
 blustery adj said of the weather: rough and windy.
1. Usually, fantods. (Ed note: like breasts, they usually travel in pairs—or more) a state of extreme nervousness or restlessness; the willies; the fidgets (usually preceded by the):
We all developed the fantods when the plane was late in arriving.
2. Sometimes, fantods. a sudden outpouring of anger, outrage, or a similar intense emotion.

1835-40; apparently fant(igue) (earlier fantique, perhaps blend of fantasy and frantic; -igue probably by association with fatigue ) + -od(s), of obscure origin;
More word origin:

From Infinite Detox:
I had also always assumed that this was one of those totally obsolete words that hadn’t seen common usage for hundreds of years, until Wallace single-handedly resuscitated it. Wrong. It actually has a strong pedigree in American literature — Mark Twain used it in Huckleberry Finn: “These was all nice pictures,… but I didn’t somehow seem to take to them, because… they always gave me the fan-tods.” In this passage Huck is describing pictures drawn by a girl who died at the age of 15. Which, I think, jives quite nicely with a general sense of the heebie-jeebies.
And World Wide Words has some, em, good words:
Where it comes from is mostly a mystery. Of the singular the Chambers Dictionary says, “a fidgety, fussy person, especially a ship’s officer”, which is intriguing but doesn’t get us very far. Some etymological works point to its presence in Dorset, Kentish and Lincolnshire dialects, and suggest it probably arose from the dialectal fantique, which may ultimately be from fantastic or fantasy. This turns up in yet another spelling here, meaning an escapade:

“You’re a amiably-disposed young man, Sir, I don’t think,” resumed Mr. Weller, in a tone of moral reproof, “to go inwolving our precious governor in all sorts o’ fanteegs, wen he’s made up his mind to go through everythink for principle.”
The Pickwick Papers, by Charles Dickens, 1837. Dickens is here faithfully recording the London pronunciation of the period, which often turned vs into ws.
Edward Gorey was a fan of fantod. He published 28 books under this imprint.
AND there’s a pack of Fantod Tarot Cards. I believe I’ll need to pick those up.

Friday, October 2, 2015

At War with Ourselves

Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe.
~Arundhati Roy, Public Power in the Age of Empire 
And in the case of yesterday’s massacre, the 45th of this year alone and the 142nd (or so) since Sandy Hook, these massacres will not end until we all care for the mentally ill in our communities and stop enabling the death merchants. Yes, the people who commit such horrors are mentally ill. Of course they are! How's about we make it so the violently, batshit insane aren't able to legally gain access to guns. That's a start, right? Hmmmm?

Saint Reagan, on taking office, ixnayed the Mental Health Systems Act before it could even get out the door.
President Reagan never understood mental illness. Like Richard Nixon, he was a product of the Southern California culture that associated psychiatry with Communism. Two months after taking office, Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, a young man with untreated schizophrenia.  
Maybe we could try to get help for the troubled before they shoot up an elementary school, a college cafeteria OR a president? Doesn't that sound like a good idea?

Denouncing evil is a far cry from doing good.
~Philip Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families  

What can we do besides not buy guns or just be entirely responsible gun owners (yes, I know they exist)? I know that, here in very liberal Massachusetts, I feel a bit helpless. My senators are both loud and proud with reality, with what needs to be done BUT in April of 2013, the senate rejected a measure that would have tightened background checks for gun purchases.
The bipartisan push to tighten rules on gun purchases has failed in the face of fierce NRA opposition. Howard Kurtz on why the post-Newtown legislation fell short.
Check at this link to see how your reps voted. Don't like how they went? Work to vote the NRA 'tutes OUT!
After a mass shooter murdered 35 people in Australia in 1996, the nation enacted strict gun control laws — and as of 2013, they hadn’t had a mass shooting since, Will Oremus wrote at Slate.
If they can do this, why can't we?

And that good-guy-with-a-gun-will-stop-the-bad-guy with-a-gun ethos? Believeing that fallacious stew of rotted maggot feces is a solid tell that you’ve watched too many Hollywood fantasies. NO, real life just doesn’t work that way as the folks in Houston just very clearly witnessed. 

From Obama:
We are the only advanced country on earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every month.
There are scores of responsible gun owners in this country,” he says, and they understand we need to change our gun laws. “There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America. So how can you with a straight face make the argument that more guns will make us safer?”
We have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun violence. How can that be? This is a political choice that we make. To allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who love their loved ones because of our inaction. 

Do your reps oppose sensible gun control? Who are their big campaign contributers? Who's their sugar daddy? Find out and vote those fuckers out.