Saturday, May 28, 2005

Short and Sweet. (Sweet and Sour?)

I like short stories that are easily understood on the most basic level. Then, and only then, do I want additional things to chew on like symbolism and subtext. It's like the expression about a bird in the hand beating two in the bush--a clear story with a clear point is the bird in the hand and all the rest, if it's there AND I get it, is gravy.

Entertain me, make me get something out of the experience...and then, after that, make me contemplate what the color red meant or if the woman on the beach was a sublimation of the guy's longing to talk to his dead mother.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Happy 11th Birthday, Riley!


It was a common occurrence at the shelter: people turning in animals because their children were not caring for them. Most of the time the animals were in fairly good shape, but sometimes they were emaciated to the point where we would make sure to get all the surrender's information, in case it was a cruelty case. (Usually not since we went easy on people who turned in animals, as opposed to having them confiscated.) Often the animals were poorly socialized.

Sometimes the parent would make the child tell us why the animal was being turned in. I suppose they did this as an object lession -- to really pound the lesson home. Usually it came across as just plain cruel. These weren't my kids and yet their tear streaked little faces as they told me why they couldn't keep Bingo would break my heart.

That's right...little faces. The kids ranged anywhere from 5 on up. How anybody expects someone who just learned the alphabet to have someone else life in their hands is beyond me. And how anyone can turn in an animal who is starving to death and say this was a child's fault -- well, it makes me understand the story of Noah's Ark. (Save the animals, but other than that...let's try this again!)

They were punishing their kids for not being responsible, completely missing the irony of the fact that they -- the parents -- had foisted their own own responsibilities on their children and then on a non-profit organization. Where were these children supposed to learn responsible behavior in the clear absence of role models?

Sometimes when going through the application process for adoption people would say that the pet was for their child. Most of the time, when asked if the children would be expected to be the sole caregivers, people would look at me like I was mad. (Than God!) However, a lot of parents really expect children to take on the responsibilities of an adult.

It goes without saying that, if an adult does not feed their young child, they will get into a lot of trouble. They can't say, "The kid is eight -- she can feed herself!" An eight year old needs to be parented. How can you expect a child -- who is not expected to care for herself -- to keep another creature alive.

You teach a child responsibility by being responsible. A child learns to care for a pet by parents caring for the child and by seeing the adult care for the pet. At 5 the limit of what you should expect is having the child "help" by working the can opener or setting the dish before the pet. Even when a child really is old enough to feed the pets you remind them and you ask if they did it and you certainly notice your pet is getting thin.

You don't wait until you have a fur covered skeleton in your back yard.


If you're thinking of adopting a cat or kitten this is a fabulous time of year to do it! Starting in late spring, and throughout the summer, the birth rate spikes and shelters begin the tragic task of making hard decisions when all the cages fill and the rescues can't take in anymore either.

June is adopt a cat month! This means many shelters have special adoption rates!

A lot of people like to wait until Christmas, but that's about the slowest time of year for cat birth rates. Now you can save multiple animals by adopting one -- the animal you adopted and the animal who can know go in that cage (and up for adotption!)

Want to know what the shelters (and rescues) in your area have up for adoption? Try Petfinder!
Since I'm on a roll (downhill): anyone with a growing puppy needs to check the collar occasionally for proper fit -- you should be able to comfortably fit two fingers underneath the collar.

A too tight collar can become embedded -- actually grow INTO the neck. In fairly minor cases this can lead to sores and maggots. In severe cases it can sever the artery in the neck, causing death.

Too loose however, can cause the dog to slip his collar during a walk or if lost...and there goes the id and the main way a good samaritan can secure your pet!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Low-Lying Fruit

My favorite take on the latest Bill Maher blow-up.
For those of you who missed it, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama) thinks Bill Maher is treasonous for commenting on the fact that the military is not making its recruitment quotas. Apparently a statement of fact is a crime against your country these days.

This was Maher's reponse to the matter: Fruit.

Anyhow, I guess we all have our own definitions of treason. I just never thought it included speaking about things which are not state secrets, but rather are public knowledge.

Allow Me To Clear Up Something For You.

Hey kid. You! Standing there was the other kids. Yeah, I know you're a teen -- maybe 16 or 17 --and don't think you're a kid, but go with it. You're wondering who this lame-assed woman is who's talking to you. The thing is: I know you are, but what am I? That is to say, I'm here to say to you: you're lame!

Don't be insulted...I'm trying to save you time. You're standing here trying to impress your friends, talking loud to make sure you're heard, trying to get off a few good jokes to make them laugh. Your friends are lame too

You had to suspect this, right? Your parents are lame...your friends tell you their parents are lame. (Even the ones that you secretly think are okay.) I know you slept through some of the classes concerning this...but you have heard of genes, right? That's right -- they passed on the lame gene to you.

Your parents, like you, most likely tried to fight it for a while. Yeah, quite possibly they stood with their friends talking loud and trying to crack a joke that goes over well. They were wearing really stupid clothes at the time...don't laugh: so are you. (Look at a picture of yourself in 10'll see.) One day, they just said, "Fuck it!" and decided to just stop worrying about it. Shortly afterward you decided to worry about it on their behalf.

Or maybe your parents never denied what they were...maybe they sought out other uncloseted lame people. If so, you should be proud that your parents were out there on the front lines of the Lame Rights Movement.

Remember when you were little? Yeah, you know where I'm going with this: you were beyond lame, and didn't know it. You just did whatever was fun, had a good time with it, and didn't worry. Then you went to school and someone pointed out that your clothes were stupid, and your hair was stupid, and that -- quite possibly -- your stupid, too. Crappy feeling, right? And you're still trying to prove you're okay. Give it up!

Because on the day you were taught that you were not good enough you started to lose your flavor. Sure, before that you had that high pitched scream that hurt everyone's ears, but the female of your species still does that sometimes anyhow...when her lame parents tell her "no." The point is you were much more refreshing when everytime you saw a dog you did a happy dance and wanted to pet the puppy. You were -- ironically -- at your coolest when you didn't know you were lame,

What I'm saying is: it doesn't have to be this way. You don't have to worry that you could be lame -- you are! And you don't have to worry that people will find out you're lame -- they will. Instead you can embrace it now, get it over with, and start discovering what you really like in life.

You may now pretend you have no idea what I'm talking about, and whenI walk away you can discuss how lame I am with your friends...maybe I'll try to explain to you tomorrow how time flies and youth is wasted on the young...otherwise I'll catch you in 10-15 years, sitting on a park bench, and watching your kids chase puppies. That is, unless they are denying they know your lame ass.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I'm a competitive and vicious want to be my friend, right?

Where were you
When we needed you
Well you could not be found
What can I do
Oh, I believed in you
You're running me around

Well you can take it as a warning
Or take it anyway you like
It's the lightning, not the thunder
You never know where it's gonna strike

Our love's in jeopardy, baby
Our love's in jeopardy, baby
Jeopardy, The Greg Kihn Band

I'm competitive...but only in the sense of always having to win. Since I was born without coordination, my competitive streak mainly manifests itself in board games and game shows. I must know more useless trivia than anyone around me or I'm distressed. At the same time, people have to understand my references or Im equally distressed.

I know this guy, and well, if I weren't married I would be very attracted to him...but I am married so I barely register his studliness. Anyhow, I could never be with him, even if single, just on the level of him knowing as many bad 80s songs as I do. Oh, and showtunes. (Yes, he is straight...why do you ask?) It would drive me insane to not have superior knowledge!

I can also be slightly argumentative. I like a debate and once I really don't like you, um, I'll sorta enjoy making you look like an ass. Maybe it's because I'm an only child that I don't always play well with others. (But if I like you, we can disagree quite civilly.)

You all want to be friends with me, right?

On the positive side, I'm very loyal. Once I like you, I'll defend you with all the enthusiam of a starving piranha. In fact, I hate when my friends don't defend me as hard as I defend them. I have no diplomacy when it comes to coming to the aid of people who are important to me.

Um, now do you want to be my friend?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Face of The Enemy.

I don't talk about politics that much 'cause no good would come of it. Either it would cause fights or I would have to debate some intolerant jackass who I'll picture flushed and with eyes bulging out...on the brink of a heart attack.

I'm not saying the "other side" is filled with intolerant jackasses. No, all sides are filled with intolerant jackasses--that's why I know that no good will come of it. No matter what my opinion would be, someone would accuse me of being, um, something.

It seems obvious that someone can disagree with me (or most anyone else) and have the best intentions in mind. I try to remember that. I hope that the person who disagrees with me also keeps that in mind, but more often that not these discussions become an effort to vilify the opposing viewpoint.

If you look at the Terri Shiavo case, and believe all the screaming that was the result, you would think that there were two camps--those who wanted to murder her and those who wanted to prolong her suffering. Of course, the truth is that people on both sides for the most part came to their belief based on what they considered to be the best decision.

All political parties are filled with people who chose their party based on what they felt was best. Sure, there are villains, opportunists, and people with severe chemical imbalances, but for the most part people choose their infiliations based on what they believe to be right.

I took a quiz recently and I expected it to show me to be pretty liberal. What a surprise...I'm, for the most part, middle of the road. I'm actually rather conservative on crime and the only area where I skew really liberal is the environment. Every one of my beliefs is based on what I feel to be best. I can only guess that those people who want to rape the land feel they're right also. (Just checking to see if you're paying attention.)

The truth is that I don't want to argue with someone who goes into it thinking I'm either idiotic or evil, but it sometimes seems like this is the only stance from which many people debate an issue.

There is a (dated) song from the 80s which comes to mind:


Written by Sting [& Sergei Prokofiev!]

In Europe and America there's a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
Mister Krushchev said, 'We will bury you'
I don't subscribe to this point of view
It'd be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too

How can I save my little boy
From Oppenheimer's deadly toy?
There is no monopoly on common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

There is no historical precedent to put
Words in the mouth of the president
There's no such thing as a winnable war
It's a lie we don't believe anymore
Mister Reagan says 'We will protect you'
I don't subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me and you
Is if the Russians love their children too

And is there a reason to believe the other side doesn't love there children too--other than the historical fact that it's always been easier to go for the throat if you don't have to look someone in the eye and see they are much like you?

The reason why people have trouble with that is how called "hate speech" is because words that deny another person's humanity can start the process with ends in taking away their rights, their dignity, and even their very lives.

For the record, I firmly support free speech, but I think we need to accept responsibility for the words we choose. Too often when political debates occur the words become unnecessarily ugly. They are words that, when calm, we'd never want to claim as our own. And that's why I rarely discuss politics.

Religion? The same things apply...I'm just not aways smart enough to leave that one alone.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Like Movies...Only With Pages

Leesa tagged me for a book meme.

A) Total number of books I've owned: There is no way I could answer that...oodles.

B) The last book I bought: I don't know...I buy several books at a time and then forget about them for a while.

C) The last book I read: Purgatory Ridge by William Kent Krueger

D) 5 books that mean a lot to me:
1. These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
2. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
3. On Writing by Stephen King
4. Watchers by Dean Koontz
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

E) Tag 5 people and have them fill this out on their blog:
Same as last meme...if you see this and want to go ahead, please do. (Drop a note in comments so I can check out your picks.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Movie Meme

Paula tagged me with the film meme. She had been tagged by Badaunt.

Total number of films I own on DVD/Video:

Tough...most are packed away, a lot are tv shows. I'm going to guess 15-16 with most of them bought in the giddy first days of having a DVD player. No videotapes -- we sold them at a yardsale or tossed them out.

The last film I bought:

The Incredibles.


The last film I watched:

Um, the movie from the South Park people..... Team America. (Yes, I do watch movies with real people...why do you ask?

Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me:

Tough. There are lots and I have trouble thinking on the spot.

1. Legally Blonde
2. Working Girl
3. Shawshank Redemption
5. Where The Heart Is

Tag five people and have them put this in their journal:

I hereby tag...the next 5 people who see this entry and want to do it! Just leave a comment if I don't know you and I'll give you a visit.

Crazy Co-workers

I think we all have worked alongside the certifiable. Here are some of mine.

Ted: During my fast food career I worked with a guy named Ted. He was pretty damned cute--until you got to know him. He had really blue eyes and was a natural blond, although he had a tendency to dye it black, but even that looked good on him.

In his first week of working there -- there being the home of the Whopper -- several of us were hanging out in the parking lot when he blew cigarette smoke in my face. Well, everyone knows that's a sign the person wants to "do you." (You all knew that, right? Anyone?) Anyhow, I was somewhat amenable to that possibility...until I got to know him.

He was fond of taking off his shows and playing with his feet in between orders. Although we convinced him to wash his hands before preparation. He also liked eating food out of the trash. He eventually hooked up with a pretty blonde named Kim who found all of his repulsiveness hot.

(Note to people who know me well...Kim was one of the girls in the pool party story.)

Beth: Beth was a compulsive liar. Yeah, she was fond of claiming things like she'd had an appendectomy over the weekend.

One of her best stories was an imaginary boyfriend named John. Sometimes she would claim to be talking to him on the phone, but nobody ever heard his voice. Sometimes she would claim, when someone came into work, that they had just missed meeting John. Sometimes she would run out of the store and around the corner, only to claim John had just walked by but was too shy to come in the store.

Towards the end she claimed to be pregnant. The store closed down and we all parted ways. Eventually I did see her with a baby in a stroller, but I wouldn't put it past her to have borrowed the kid!

Deanna: The name is pronounced Dean-ah...not Dee-anna. If someone said it wrong all hell would break loose. Anyhow, Deanna was crazy in too many ways to even go into.

One of her quirks was always having to have a sadder or more dramatic story than the person next to her. We worked together at a music box store and she once told someone buying a box to go into a coffin of a teen nephew, "Oh, you think you have problems?" She then proceeded to tell a really horrible story while the grieving woman just stared at her.

Another time she was at a beauty salon and a woman was crying because she's just lost her husband and didn't know how she was going to pay her bills. Deanna said her patented, "You think you have problems?" and then said she'd just dound a lump in her breast. Whenever sharing this story I end it by saying that Deanna is the only woman who would be happy to have cancer because it trumps everything.

One time around the holidays she invited my husband and myself over to her house. She said we would have some refreshments and some snacks. For a reason lost in the mists of time, I accepted.

We got there and she told us she didn't have time to shop, but we could have a glass of water. (Let's allow that to sink in for a moment.) We sit on her couch with our water and she has us promise not to spill. The doorbell rings and two men in suits enter.

It soom becomes abundantly clear they are from Amway. They would like us to join their pyramid scheme, I mean cult...oops, organization. They have slides and graphs. They keep asking us questions...they are having a more formal brain washing session, I mean meeting, and would like us to attend.

My husband points out he's working that evening at the store. (He had a full time job but was doing stock at the music box store for extra holiday cash...I was his boss, and had to yell at him one time for rolling his eyes at me like we were at home!)

Deanna excused herself and went in the next room. She came back a few minutes later to tell my guy that she called the store and asked for him to have that night off!! Um, he was a little pissed. Anyhow, he did not attend and the store manager was appalled Deanna had asked behind his back. (I never could understand why she thought CrazyWoman would be calling on his behalf to begin with.)

She also told everyone that the district manager was pussy whipped and it got back to him. Oh, and she also acted like an ass in front of the vice president of the company. And yet, there was no firing. I always maintained she would survive us all at that store...and she did. She was there until the day it went out of business.

Addam and Aaron: The first time I met Addam was at the shelter along with his cousin, Aaron. Addam was crazy and Aaron was psycho.

Now I'm very hard to offend...and more likely to be the offender, but Aaron was a pig! He took to calling me (decision on whether to type the word or hint at it)the "C" word and grabbing at me.

One day I'd had it and told him one more time I would report him. 5 minutes later was the one more time. He was instantly fired which was impressive. (The joke was they would always get a full day's work out of you so you only had to worry if they called you in the office at 4:30.) Be was on parole so I had to put in writing that I did not want to press charges.

Of course I also had to prove I wasn't a Miss Priss looking to get people fired. It was my absurd penance.

Well, Addam remained and held a grudge. Back then we used to work in teams to clean our section of the shelter in the morning and Addam and I were a team. He took to having conversations with the radio and responding to voices that were not there.

One day he asked me what I was reading and I said a novel by Donald Goines that someone had insisted I read. Goins wrote gritty gangsta novels set in Detroit. Addam began yelling at me about thinking all black men were pimps and criminals.

Then came the day that he told me Aaron was out of jail (he had been there for another parole violation) and was marrying a girl who ran a daycare. I asked Addam why in the hell he thought I cared. Addam then muttered something about, "If certain people hadn't led on other people and gotten them fired..." I then told Addam he was out of his mind and that Aaron was one of the ugliest people in the history of the planet and the prevailing feelings toward him were disgust and revulsion.

After a while we got un-partnered and my interactions with him, while still strange, were short. He had a habit of walking into the lunchroom, punching the table, and walking out...with no explanation. One time he interrupted a staff meeting to ask could he go get a piece of bread or something 'cause he was hungry. Hours later he walked into the lunchroom with all sorts of food, someone told him jokingly they didn't see any bread. He then stood up and told them if they were "Feeling Froggy -- all they had to do was say jump." (Meaning did they want to fight.)

When I first met him he told me he was planning on being celibate because a college professor (Addam wanted to be a undertaker) told him that a man only had so much semen in him and Addam didn't want to run low. He figured anything more than once a year was pushing it. By the end he was chasing after everything with a skirt and one time told me I had a nice ass. (Gah! It must run in the family!)

Anyone else have stories of insanity in the workplace?

Keepin' It Short & Sweet.

Several months ago someone pointed out that I tend not to use contractions when I write. I thought he was crazy...until I looked. By George, he was right!

I assure you that I don't talk like a robot or alien in real life. I also think I have a good ear for dialogue, but something about my mind tends to steer away from contractions when I write.

Just the knowledge that this was an issue seemed to make me vigilant enough to automatically self-correct most the time. It was only an issue when I wasn't aware of it. I have a lot of old stories that I look at now and I see this habit a fingerprint in dust.

I know it's common for people to have expressions or quirks in speech that they are unaware of overusing. Early on, I noticed my husband had a habit of answering the phone, "Uh? Hello." It drove me still drives me nuts. How do you forget the word hello? I feel that there is little to no chance this habit will be broken.

I used to live next to a Southern woman who would pronounce any meat prepared by anyone other than herself to be "dry as a bone." I had a boss who ended lectures by asking, "Does that make sense to you?" In high school lots of guys thought the word was "volumptuous" instead of "voluptuous"--and I have to imagine that some of them still do. I had a junior high teacher who said "cornflict" instead of "conflict" and. since he taught English and History, he said it an awful lot.

Does anybody else have quirks in their writing or speech patterns?
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