Sunday, July 31, 2011

For What It's Worth

Many years ago, back in 1967, people got right riled up about injustice. I was in the middle of the riled-up pack.

One night that schizophrenic summer I went to a concert in San Francisco. Don't remember if it was the Cow Palace or Filmore West, but it was a big venue. The lead group was just beginning to get a little airplay. Something called Buffalo Springfield.

Their set was okay, until they started a song written by one of its members. Stephen Stills wrote an angry anthem, "For What It's Worth." The crowd went silent, and then demanded the group sing it again. They did.

I kept thinking about one line in that old song: "Nobody's right if everybody's wrong." Stills could have written it today, but for one thing. Where are the thousand people in the streets?

Our country teeters on the eve of destruction (with all due respect to Barry McGuire) and no one seems to care. Why aren't my protest peers out there, contacting their elected representatives, demanding compromise? Maybe they are, but Tweeting and sending emails lacks the newsworthiness of a visual of thousands of people demanding common sense. Anyone know where we went?

Must run and Tweet again. It's just so not satisfying...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Introducing Mocha

Meet Mocha, the kitty that decided she wanted Terry and me as her forever family. After Nikki died, we knew we wanted a new cat but not right away. When we began feeling something was missing in our family, we realized we needed a cat.

I spent time on weekends on local no-kill shelter web sites looking for a calico or tortiseshell. I found several, so Terry and I began making the rounds. We found a couple of strays that had been surrendered, but none came to us, an important trait. I wanted a cat to pick us as much as I wanted to point to one in a cage and say, "I'll take that one, please. Wrap her up."

Terry and I knew we wanted a spade female. I don't trust male cats not to mark their territories with spray, neutered or not. A shelter in Roanoke had a bright calico kitten and another calico cat. We went in with high hopes, only to be hit with a horrible smell. I've never been in a shelter that smelled so bad. Still, we looked at the cat first. Five years old, but the drawback was coming with a black litter mate. I want two cats, but not both older cats. The kitten was in surgery and we couldn't see her.

A week ago we went to the shelter in Franklin County on the other side of the lake. The kitten room was full of action, with black and orange kitties bouncing off the walls. I howled at their antics. Then we went into the adult room. Orange tabbies. Gray tabbies. Long and short hair cats. We sat down and watched to see if any would approach. A tan tabby wandered over and jumped on the bench. She put her head in Terry's hand. Love at first sight.

So, one week ago Mocha came home. In my next post, look for the naming challenge we faced.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fowl Weather Warning

Fasten your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen. There's fowl weather ahead.

On the one hand, we have a herd of ostriches. These are our elected officials who do not believe in global warming, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, compromising for the good of the country, or raising the debt ceiling. These same officials are at the center of the "Party of No." A minority with enough clout to change or block legislation. So far, it's hard to understand what this block of Republicans doesn't get about the debt ceiling. Even when the well-respected Paul Ryan explained the problem in terms of one syllable, several talking but empty heads denied there was a problem.

Next, we have the Chicken Littles, who run around crying that the sky is going to fall on August 2 if we don't raise the debt ceiling. These same Chicken Littles demand a cut in spending, which most sentient human beings would agree is needed. They deny any need to increase revenues, saying that tax cuts for the wealthy will create jobs. I may not be the sharpest tool in the box, but I know that tax cuts for the rich create wealth for the rich. These CEOs line their pockets with tax cuts. It's their companies that should create jobs, but the companies are sitting on trillions. Why? Because there is no demand for the goods or services they provide. No demand, no increased supply.

Next are the magpies, who screech and hog the cameras, spouting their well-rehearsed sound bites. Maybe if people like Eric Cantor say the same thing over and over, we will suddenly become smart it enough to get it. They want what they want and they want it now. Not flipping likely. And no, Eric, you can't have a cookie before dinner.

Think about flocks of song birds. They compete for the same food at a deck bird feeder. They fly together and keep the flock stable. They look after each other. They sing at dawn in joy of a new day.

We need more song birds in Washington than we do magpies. We need compromise. We need common sense. We need the Gang of Six to bring their ideas to a vote at least. We need our leaders to lead all of us, not just a small subset of the total population.

Even buzzards have a use. They clean up carrion. I looked out the window this morning and saw about ten buzzards lazily circling across the cove, waiting for something to die. I hope it wasn't the United States.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shock and Awe

"I'm shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on here!" So said Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca, as he pocketed his winnings from the illegal gambling going on in the back room at Rick's Cafe Americain. Sorry, wrong movie.

I listened to several talking heads on news programs beginning Friday night after the latest jobless numbers were released. Until I became thoroughly bored with everyone saying the same thing, I couldn't help but laugh at the protestations of shock and awe from the politicos in Washington. OMG, the sky is falling. Jobless numbers went up. Only 18,000 jobs created. OMG, no one saw this coming.

Ah, come on. Cut me some slack. Everyone should have seen this coming, that the June numbers would be bad. July is going to be worse. Why? Because many states balanced their budgets on the backs of layoffs. They had to cut services. They had to cut education. And those cuts had to come from somewhere. They came through layoffs and attrition.

Anyone who professed shock that the numbers were bad were smokin' something funny. Anyone who even tangentially follows the news should have seen this coming. There will be more layoffs when the full impact of state budgets is felt.

Wanna bet we have another round of shock and awe when that happens???

And whose fault will it be? Why, Washington's, of course. Yeah, right.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ear Worms

I can't get rid of my latest ear worm. You know what those are, don't you? The annoying songs that echo through your brain every waking moment.

I remember years ago catching a new-fatal ear worm on a cross-country from between SFO and LGA. Five rows in front of me was an adorable child who sang an unadorable song for the entire flight. It took weeks to get "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" out of my mind. You can't ask a mother to make her child be quiet. I wanted to, but it wouldn't work.

A couple of weeks ago I linked a nine-minute video to my Facebook account. No cuts, no splices, just nine minutes of Don MacLean's "American Pie." Yup, took a week to get rid of it. How did I do it? I bumped "American Pie" with the latest ear worm.

I'm reading an advanced reader copy of Sharyn McCrumb's newest ballad novel. When I said I'd review it, I never, ever thought that "Tom Dooley" would about drive me nuts. Don't get me wrong. The book is excellent, and I'm a big fan of my old Kingston Trio song. Just not all day.

I played a great joke on an elevator full of obnoxious strangers in midtown New York once. A group of tourists violated the elevator code: No talking. Locals in New York ignore everyone else in an elevator. You could be standing next to Paul McCartney, and you wouldn't say a thing. Just not done. Several locals hissed at the tourists, but nothing stopped their incessant yapping. When I got off, I left them an ear worm. I started singing "It's a Small World After All." Off key. Loudly. And I leave you with that little ear worm, because it is a small world, after all.