Saturday, May 28, 2005


You, me, your dog, and your parakeet all have salt in our blood. Under normal circumstances, its concentration is 0.9% sodium, barring electrolite imbalances and disease.

There are two probable reasons for this . One would be that this is how That Higher Being Whom We Revere designed things to be. (Nod to Heinrich Boll, who wrote a short story about a talk radio show in which the word "god" had the above substitute phrase used in its place.)

The other reason would be that 0.9% was the ocean salinity about 650 million years ago, when life began to crawl out of the seas and onto land. Lifeforms carried this salty genetic heritage with them as they populated the lands.

There need not be logical exclusion between these views. But only one of the above notions is a scientific theory.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Community nurse rondo

She said "I was a nurse way back before you were born." Not to sound argumentative, I suggested that perhaps I was a little older than I looked, but that didn't change her story.

She was doing community nursing when she knocked on a client's door, and heard a sing-songy "Come on i-in" from within.

But nobody came to the door, so she knocked again and called out a "Hello? Anybody home?" and the same mellifluous "Come on i-in!" came back to her.

Again she knocked, frustrated that the voice had not opened the door to her, and again the refrain "Come on i-in!" Now she was really banging on the door. She had other appointments to meet that day. Finally the elder occupant came to the door and let her in.

The nurse asked why the client didn't come sooner, and they replied that they hadn't heard her there.

Then who was imploring her to enter?

The parrot.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Triumph of the Kibble (Cat Blog Number Two)

When I told this story around the lunch table at the hospital in the mountains by the lake, Dr. H. blew coffee out his nose. The brief tale itself involves coffee, and this story belongs to Riley, the departed gray tabby.

Riley liked to sit up on the kitchen counters, and there was nothing we could do about it, so we just got used to it. One morning my spouse had placed her cup o' joe not far from him. She had turned away for a moment, then got her cup and resumed the morning caffeinization.

Later she recalled that the coffee tasted a little bitter.

As she neared the bottom of the cup, the bitterness increased, and then she noticed the partially-digested, but still-formed, bits of cat food kibble marinating in the bottom of her java. She then did what we all would have done in a similar situation: she spewed.

Apparently Riley, the ever-sly one, had discreetly woofed up a mouthful of kibble with which to flavor my spouse's coffee. His version of those trendy Torani or Davinci syrups you see lined up like soldiers behind coffee-house counters.

Good kitty! Licking his paws, with a "why are you all looking at me like that?" expression.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Our current president apparently chose to look the other way as Bayoil and other firms paid Saddam millions of dollars in kickback, violating the so-called sanctions against his sordid regime. U.S. Navy ships in the Gulf stood down and let these tankers through. Nice, that. Money for Saddam's purse, and gas for your car. No food for Iraqi orphans, though.

Let us now take time to recall that Bush's grandfather got his bank taken away from him, as punishment for trading with the Nazis.

What is it with these people? Is it really so difficult to make a decent living honestly?

I am ashamed of this president and his malignant administration. But how many of my fellow Red-Staters maintain not only ignorant pride, but even jealousy of these greedy sickos? How many Circle-K-jerks would gladly jump the cash register to defy sanctions and trade with the enemy, for nothing but money, and how many of them also have friends or family serving in our back-stabbed military?

For that is what this boils down to: Every dollar made by any American company in defiance of those sanctions is a knife in the backs of our servicepeople, and a meal taken away from a child standing forsaken on the burnt sands of Araby.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


As surely as our planet spins, so today, as in every day, some Republican blowhard somewhere will spin the abortion debate against any and all political threats. They've been doing it for over twenty-five years, since the annointment of B-movie actor Ronald Reagan to spearhead the Alzheimerization of this country's noble experiment with democracy.

Once in a great while, and usually at the state or local level, a Republican effort to stifle access to abortion succeeds. Red meat for red state "values" voters, these accomplishments serve to hassle poor and working women who need the service, but the procedure itself still thrives and anyone with the money can get one anytime.

So, the next time you see Representative Redfaced Knuckledragger (Snotsdale) on Faux News screaming at his political opponents about the evils of abortion, keep this in mind: the Republicans do not ever want to lay down their biggest club. They've been bashing the Democrats with this issue for decades, and if abortion is truly banned, they will lose a trusted weapon. They will never outlaw abortion. They need it. Without it, they would not survive as a political party.

What? They could continue to run on economic and foreign policy issues?!

It has been written that our current chief knuckledragger, the Preznit himself, drove his then-underage pregnant girlfriend to have an abortion way back when. (Bartcop laid this out years ago. It's in his archives. Names are named.) We all know about Bob Barr writing a check for one.

It's OK if you're a Republican. Youthful indiscretions. Pre "born again." The sun got in their eyes.

It's the same with military base closings. The Republicans do not want to save money by closing bases, but they do want to threaten Democratic districts with the economic hit that would go along with the loss of a local military installation, and reward Republican districts with military pork.

Obsolete desert airbases, the other white meat.

It's the same with gay-bashing. The Republicans are virulently anti-homosexual, except when it comes to an undisclosed Whitehouse insider who rewards JimmyJeff GuckertGannon with a spiffy press card to presidential briefings, as a token of appreciation for being such a good "top."

It's the same with the sanctity of marriage. Red state divorce rates and the serial marriages of Limbaugh, Gingrich, and the guy who sued his political opponent because he was really only married five times, not six, as she had claimed; Henry Hyde's girlfriend, the guy who had a donkey for a girlfriend when he was growing up on a farm... These are the Republican defenders of the institution of marriage.

Republican commitment to marriage is about as intact as Ann Coulter's hymen.

So again I ask my Republican friends: why do you buy all this?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Where Have I Seen That Before?

It was a commercial for some kind of truck, and one of the selling points was that it got "the best gas mileage of any truck in its class."

People really do care, don't they?

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Cat Rambo Hang

We had parakeets at the time, two lovely sweet little things that we kept in a round-sided wire cage suspended from the ceiling in the den of our apartment. We also had two cats: a grey tabby named Riley and a flame-point named Tristan. This is Tristan's story this time around.

It was yet another cold winter night, so we decided to go for Mexican food. There was usually a long wait at the one in Saranac where we lived then, so we drove to Placid. Same food, same owners at that time, but we seemed to like the one in Placid better anyways. It was about a fifteen minute drive.

Even here in The Great Southwest it's hard to find a chili relleno dish as good as the ones at Desperado's. You would not think that. But it's so.

When we got home, we heard faint cat wailing. That weak, tired, "stuck" sound that meddlesome kitties sometimes make when they've come to a sorrowful situation.

We walked through the living room... no problem there; and through the kitchen, into the den.

Tristan had jumped from the back of a chair and latched onto the bottom rungs of the birdcage, where he was hanging from his paws as if strung up by his thumbs (but yes of course cats do not have thumbs.) His own down-stretched body prevented him from unweighting to unlatch his claws from the cage. He mewed pitifully at us. No telling how long he'd been hanging there. An hour or two maybe.

He turned to appeal to us and one paw did come free, leaving him hanging like Stallone in that mountain movie, from one long tired cat-arm.

As we pulled him to relative safety we laughed and laughed. Kitty hugs and solace for Tristan, while Riley looked on with his usual disdain and disgust, as if he were shaking his head and saying "for shame, Tristan my friend, for shame."

Tristan was lithe. But after that he looked like he'd gotten longer.