Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mission (un)Accomplished

There's one thing I'm not going to do, I'm not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete.

(he said in a speech setting the stage for high-stakes meetings with the Iraqi prime minister later this week.)

"We can accept nothing less than victory for our children and our grandchildren.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Tues tribute 18th Street

Scathe spot

Thursday evening, we took in the worst City Lights downtown lighting event I've been to.

I guess you can't make up for there being snow on the ground (last year, I think) or the blinky light buttons (that they handed out the first year), but seriously, the lights were much fewer than they used to be, with buildings that I know were lit before now dark and with the music-synchronization-blinky part of the event very short.

Corporate sponsors were not pasted along Bartle Hall's east-facing wall, either, which is probably the main sign/explanation that I'm looking for. I didn't go "early enough" for the speeches-part, so perhaps I missed something other than the fact that the Salvation Army was putting this one on. Maybe that was it. You know, Labor Party-types from the earlier part of last century used to call them the "Starvation Army." Good thing they give out free turkey dinners now. . . .

After the lights, even though it smacks of trendiness and things that make me go "ugh," we went to JP's Wine Bar and Coffee House to celebrate my friend's birthday. I hadn't been there since my own birthday. (It was my idea.)

Thursday also was the debut of the 2006 Beaujolais wine, so the place was packed. We lucky five somehow got a booth and then spent $80.

I happen to like that kind of wine, by the way, so I can't be accused of trendiness. It's smooth, basic and lacks the usual crappy table wine bitterness.

I prefer JPs in the light of summer evenings, I found, with hardly no one else around so I can pretend my living room is pretty and there are people in my employ who like to bring me cheese and wine in proper glasses. Next summer, I'm looking forward to using their new outdoor cafe space.

Leaving, though, being the downlooker that I am, I noticed this lovely bit of fine craftsmanship on a utility pole outside. Note white sock without blood.

I'm just saying, if I really wanted to or if I had been really drunk, I could have found an injury. I like how whoever it was folded the metal binder back for safekeeping.

Friday, November 17, 2006

La gata

Our cat doesn't care what language we speak to her; the response is the same, the usual "cat thing," of turning her head in the other direction, "surely, you're not talking to me."

Modern medicine, which I rail against when it has to come to my body, seems to have worked a needed "miracle" on this fur beast of ours.

Within 12 hours of our shoving a soggy gel cap of anti-fungal powder down Katrina's throat (she howled, she bit me with one of her seven teeth), as well giving the first dose of the much-easier-to-administer liquid antibiotics, the cat is actuall alive.

She rolls over coquettishly, she asks for attention, she meows, she even plays and finally grooms. Now, she's set to become a nuisance, the regular kind of cat that I was afraid of having around. Gone seems to be the sleeping lump. I guess she was in a bunch of pain.

Speaking of Katrina, it seems that all of us should be hoarding antibiotics ourselves. The five seconds of the only episode of Jericho I caught already taught me that. That and we are not well-armed. The director of the Kansas City Health Department, Dr. Rex Archer (what a name, eh?), reported to the Neighborhood Committee on Wednesday (City Council) that more people were hoarding.

He introduced a new hire, who is in charge of educating the public about pandemic things such as bird flu. In the course of that, which was mostly mumbled, much like nearly everything else that was "said" during the meeting, he alluded to how people are "getting the message" about preparedness. The federal and state governments won't be able to help you, that's the nature of pandemic, resources stretched too thin, no one available on the other line, etc.

No one I know is stocked up, except for the 50- and 60-somethings (hello again, boomers) who have more freezer space than they know what to do with. They also know how to can things and have shelves. Apartment people such as we can hardly find space to store a week's-worth of eatables, much less nutrition for any kind of long haul.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lazy Americans

I want to laugh at Missouri Rep. Ed Emery, of Lamar, Mo. (R), who admits to inserting this language into the final report of the House Special Committee on Immigration Reform:

“The lack of a traditional work ethic, combined with the effects of 30 years of abortion and expanding liberal social welfare policies have produced a shortage of workers and a lack of incentive for those who can work. . . . Today’s growing affinity for government dependency has created a class of potential employees who are not eager to work.”

For one, where does one look to find the root of why a "traditional" work ethic is no longer widespread enough to be called traditional?

Umm, what culture spawned people my age? Boomers, right? I doubt that my parents, aunts/uncles and their friends would consider themselves liberal or having deliberately destroyed my generation's work ethic. Chime in, 50-60-somethings, with your view, please.

Personally, my work ethic is average, I think. I struggle to find someone who has an affinity for government dependency. (And, how long can a person be thusly dependent anyway? We limit "welfare," you know,* except for SSI disability, right?)

Ok, though, here's what makes me ill, the implication that American citizens are aborting the kids who would otherwise fill the ranks of our shrinking domestic working class.

Not enough of us (or does Emery mean "them?") are having kids who want to be good, stay in school and graduate from substandard, unaccredited institutions (just enough to be qualified) to work as hotel housekeepers, roofers, yard workers and line cooks.

On the other hand, those of us who do have enough money already to get our kids in suburban or private schools, or those who are simply great parents and very involved in their kids' education so that they turn out ambitious and with critical thinking skills, well, we're not doing that just so they can only flip burgers, dig holes, scrub toilets and hammer nails in the sun.

I know people who have done these jobs, of course; I and most of my friends have all worked in the wondrous fast-food industry at one time or another. The only reason someone stays long in a place like that is because they have to - they are not skilled enough to do anything else or they have a criminal record or they are working their way through school still or are in need of a second job, etc.

Count me in as not doing my part to contribute to the working population, at any rate.

Not enough "American babies" being born as worker bees? Sounds to me like Emery is hinting that the populace is getting too smart and/or cranky to submit to being mere drones their entire lifetimes. I know, I know, work and you will advance, work hard and you can be anything, even an elected official, even a superstar like Denzel or Oprah.

What about the fact that American employers like cheap labor, period? $5.50/hour gets you $10,920 a year (before any taxes), and, well, that does tend to stretch farther if you're spending it chiefly south of the border while living in some urban crumbhole with 12 other guys up north. Although, I hear that Tyson pays about $9/hour for ripping up chickens with your hands.

You could raise a whole family of replacement workers on that!

*"The time limit is one of the major differences between the old AFDC system and the TANF system. Federal block grant monies cannot be used to provide benefits to families beyond a 60-month limit, although states are free to use their resources to provide benefits beyond the 60-month limit (Michigan and Vermont have no time limit). Missouri maintains the federal limit of 60 months. Missouri was one of the last states to implement the time limit. There are no extensions allowed in Missouri."
(from Welfare Reform in Missouri, MSCDC Economic Report Series No. 9803; June 1998, by Peter Eaton of the Center for Economic Information, University of Missouri-Kansas City)

Why we don't have kids

Took Katrina to vet for one-month follow-up and booster shots. Infection not healing sufficiently, duh, as "fungus" has generally abated from ears but is invading nose an brows, threatens eyes, includes patch on back knee.

Finally, the oral medication, which I would have administered first-off, being a being of intuition. Now we'll try anti-fungal plus an antibiotic for good measure. One was free. The other was $25. The Advanage for no-fleas (I am the only one being bitten at this point, so I really should be wearing flea collars on my ankles and wrists, I suppose) is also $25. The shots were $45. Add it up. Cat is becoming as much as a plane ticket.

Cat doesn't do much, except when at vet and hearing yelping dogs, then she's squirmy. I left her back at home, pouting, so she can't be all broken.

"If this doesn't work," vet said, "there is a possibility she's allergic to her own skin. It's an auto-immune condition, takes a few tests to diagnose, but let's not worry about that yet."

Yes, let's not. You know that episode of "King of the Hill" in which Hank agrees to take care of a soldier's pet while he's on duty in Iraq? My vet isn't even one of those high-end ones with a fancy office and bunches of advanced expensive equipment. I can just hear how much more blood tests would cost.

I didn't set a budget before we started. We only said, "I'm not spending thousands of dollars on a cat/dog like ___ did."

Auto-immunity is difficult to diagnose in humans, much less some random feline. I hear that cats, unlike dogs and humans, can survive just fine indefinitely on cortizone, which manages the symptoms of the self-infectionness.

They say people are like their pets/vice-versa. This cat doesn't just sit still 23.9 hours a day but is actually alseep for most of that time. The balance is given over to "getting comfortable" or, when not horizonal, to walking to and from litter box and/or food/water.

She did manage to gain .15 pounds since we took her in.

Skin issues, sleeps all day, purrs when you touch her, likes laps. She's quite fine with us, even though the receptionist/assistant at the vet said "what a boring cat."

She fits our lifestyle; I don't like overtly needy things, things that want to play and need active attention. Anti-fungal sprays, gel-caps, eye-droppers down the throat, scab clean-up, and hundreds of "disposable income" dollars on medical care, these things I can handle.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Gratuitous cuteness

This wee beastie is a token morsel for Mr. Daisy, and also the reason why on Friday night I slept well (I was at a friend's house in Columbia, where there are no pets, and no helicopters and no sirens).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A modest proposal

I'm not talking, as Mr. Swift did, of eating children in an ironic twist about (twist and shout) how starved were the Irish under British (English) oppression.

I don't know how bad it was there and then.

Just this:

We need a police scanner at the place at which I "work," for apparently, 30 minutes before I got too bored and too vegetable hungry and left mi oficina, some kids with guns were a block away from me getting ready for a standoff that is still going on six hours later.

And folks (braver than I, I suppose) ask me why I don't live in Northeast.

Sorry I can't give you either links or my photos; KCTV 5 is doing it on T.V. and not the Internet(s), and, as I said, I am not anywhere near there.

Oblivious and/or "lucky."

C'est moi.

Try and find "standoff at James Elementary School."

I heard the city was installing "Safe School" signs near there tomorrow afternoon.

If my paper publishes that, you'll know I was being ironic and/or hopeful.

Wait, I change my mind: we all really should eat our children.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I don't see why someone would "suddenly" feel like they are going in the wrong direction and need to flee in such a way as Rumsfeld. It's not like half-plus of America (and others in other countries) haven't been complaining about his crummy management and role in ruining America's moral high ground ever since they started the Iraq invasion. Seems like he's worried about being grilled by the "new" Congress.

Sacrificial lamb to help Republicans do better in '08.

Only days ago, Mr. Bush had voiced confidence in Mr. Rumsfeld, as he had consistently done since the start of his presidency, in declaring that Mr. Rumsfeld was “here to stay.”

But Tuesday’s elections produced a furious reaction from the American public over a military campaign that has cost the lives of nearly 3,000 members of the armed forces and that many people of all political stripes have described as poorly managed.

It's all so transparent.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Shooting for America

Tonight, I'm going to go see Joe Miller, and I even bought another book just so my friend would go with me. We're going to argue over which school/library to donate it to, but saying "argue" is an exaggeration.

Today is the day for exaggeration. And anticipation. Maybe hope.

My friend was a bit hesitant to come out tonight to something that starts at 7 p.m. — right when the polls in Missouri and Kansas close — because she admits to being a return-watcher junkie. We figured out that she can listen to the radio on her way home to Lawrence, Kansas, then be back in front of the television (which she literally uses probably once a month, maybe just four times a year, when there's an election) for the tickers.

They say the balance of Congress is in the balance.

I don't see Montana going Democrat, but who knows. Here at "home," I'm stuck with being a swinging state, divided nearly in half between a former prosecutor/auditor Claire McCaskill and an incumbent Republican who sends me lots of press releases about highway money and veterans' money and even about designating our Negro Leagues Baseball Museum as "national."

According to my government, Republicans have held the majority in the House of Representatives since 1994. Ah, 12 years.

The Republicans also controlled the Senate from 1994 until 2000 (when everyone was "mad" at Bill Clinton and wanted to make the last six years of his eight-year administration difficult). He blames the lack of Osama bin Laden-getting on them, you know ….

Of course, in 2000, GOP Bush came to power (and Republicans kept their House majority). At the time, both parties held 50 Senate seats, but, of course, that means that the VP's in-case-of-tie votes would sway the GOP way, "yielding the Republicans unified control of the federal government."

It seems more recent than "pre-9-11," but it was June 2001 when Republican Senator James Jeffords quit his party and gave the Democrats a teeny majority in the Senate, which they blew somehow in 2002.

In 2004, Republicans got four more Senate seats, and they had a net gain of three in the House (partially due to a Democrat's death on New Year's Day 2005).

As it stands, I hate that things are so bi-partisan at all, that you can "predict" votes based solely on whether someone is a Democrat or Republican, whether they are "for" or "against" the president and his/her party.

But, like my friend, I do get all goofy-patriotic on election days, which in places like Africa and Mexico lead to violence and deaths.

The artwork featured here is a piece currently on display at the Belger Art Center, titled simply "Bullet Flag" and made of 23,000 9mm and .22 caliber spent cartridges. It's by someone simply "Moses," who still owns this piece (48"x72"), and about whom I can find no information.

My polling place

Traffic seemed steady from 8 to 10 a.m., which is the only block I can account for. This is a church. The sidewalk is in need of some serious PIAC money. The car, I think it belongs to one of my election judges, but parking it that way sure makes the treacherous stupid sidewalk even more so.

I'm "able bodied," by most accounts, and not wearing high heels, but even I almost twisted my ankle getting to the door. Yes, I'm exaggerating, but it's the only thing I can do with my seethingness should I encounter a friend later today or this week who gives me some lame-ass excuse why they didn't or "couldn't" vote today.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006