Monday, August 27, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

(Thanks to All Hat No Cattle for this unauthorized use of their picture.)

It's bye bye, Bertie, and it couldn't happen to a more deserving guy. With Karl Rove also exiting, one gets the mental image of rats scurrying off a ship that is not only sinking but making that giant sucking sound as it goes under.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Life Outside My Door

Those who know me at all know I'm a critter person. Finned, feathered or furry, I love 'em all. (I'm not crazy about the multi-legged, antennae'd crowd, but I'm working on it.) My friend E. calls me "Jim" from Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, and to a certain extent, she's right. It can have fangs flashing, hackles raised, deep-throated growling going on, but if it's furry, finned or feathered, I'll likely try to make friends with it. And since I still have all my fingers (attached -- not, like, in a jar next to the bed), I reckon I've been pretty successful so far.

I dig critters. I can't help it. Some people are addicted to gambling. Some people have this deep biological need to spawn. Some people live in Springfield, Illinois. There are lots of inexplicable behaviors out there -- this is mine.

When I was 19, I gave up eating critters because I just couldn't do it anymore. The Donner party may have started in my home town, but I, for one, don't eat my friends.

But everything, and I mean everything, eats cat food. Who knew? It must be like manna from heaven, this stuff, because it's rare that I walk by my backdoor and there isn't something out there, face down in the bowl I leave out for my "guest cat," Siam. And after dark, it's even crazier. I have now learned to recognize the different crunching sounds made by cats, raccoons and opossums. (The stellar jays don't chew, so them I recognize when I hear what sounds like a herd of old ladies bitching about the service.)

My cats -- the indoor-only ones -- love to sit, perfectly safe, inside the gated back door and stick their perfectly safe tongues out at the raccoons. The raccoons, when finished with all the cat food, wrap their tiny little hands around my gate like prisoners who have been extraordinarily rendered to my back door. They can usually wheedle a second scoop of Purina for their efforts.

I try not to feed the critters too much. I don't want them to get dependent on me (except for Siam, who has a disability and can eat at my door as long as she needs), and I don't know if cat food fulfills all their nutritional needs. It's a little like Halloween, actually; they come around with their masks and knock politely, and I give them some treats and warn them to be careful and look both ways if they're planning to cross a street any time soon.

Hey, if you were that cute, I'd give you cat food too.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rove Goes!

Karl Rove is set to resign by the end of August, so the race to destroy what little of America's democracy is left is on.

Apparently, and I know this is going to come as a shock, Rove is resigning to spend more time with his family. As excuses go, this one is thinner and less credible than Posh Spice. I realize it sounds better than, "I'm hoping the Democrats won't try to indict me on my many crimes, so I'm hightailing it to some island with an inbred, drooling, monkey-faced monarch I can manipulate and without an extradition treaty," and since when has Karl Rove ever opted for the truth? He leaves office as his entered it: with a smug smile on his face, a ready lie on his lips, and George W. Bush's testicles still firmly gripped in his white, doughy, fat little hands.

I'll celebrate anyway.

I'll celebrate even though his resignation will be as meaningless as his pledge to support the Constitution. I'll celebrate despite the fact that he'll still have a white-knuckled grip on the reins of power, and the Dems in Congress have so far proved unable or unwilling to undo the vast damage he has done. Why the yippees and the confetti?

Executive privelege. Civilians don't have it.

It'll be interesting to see if the Dems. have the will to go after Rove. Everybody knows the man is evil and his plan to attack Iraq was probably hatched over a bubbling cauldren of boiled virgins. Just because the "architect" of this murderous, misbegotten house of cards is resigning doesn't mean he's no longer responsible for what he set in motion.

Rove isn't going to sit quietly in Ingram, Texas, after all; he'll be on the phone daily, issuing orders, making threats, leaking names. It's time to hold the man accountable, and if he won't obey subpoenas, then we send an officer of the law to go get him. Yes, he's going to stick his tongue out and go "nyah nyah nyah" and try to hide behind the White House and executive privelege, but he's an ordinary citizen, despite the horns and pointy tail. Go get the bastard and put him in jail, if he won't comply. We have the power and the authority. If you have to wait until September 1st to get him out from behind Cheney's skirts, then fine. We've waited through 6 1/2 endless years; we can do another 18 days standing on our heads.

So, as Karl Rove emerges from the White House, head covered to avoid direct sunlight, we will begin hearing the voices which will no doubt be raised in nauseating praise of his commitment, his loyalty, his unwavering determination to support George W. in all his nefarious schemes. As he joins the swelling ranks of former Bush MisAdministration officials, he will be lauded by the last remaining neocons as a true patriot, a genius, a warrior.

Stomach-churning though that praise will be, we'll get through it with our eyes on the prize: he's leaving. And that's got to be good.

Now, who has Dog the Bounty Hunter's phone number?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Smoked by an Angel

OK, so have you ever pointed to a thick trail of smoke in the sky and said, "That's my smoke right there. That smoke's for me"? I'll bet not. I have. And here's why:

On Saturday, BF Toasty and I had planned to ride our bikes to the I-90 bridge to watch the Blue Angels do their annual thing of buzzing around noisily and generally being REALLY FRICKIN' COOL. Now, I'm as anti-militaristic as they come, and generally people in uniform had better be bringing me my mail or otherwise effing off, but I love the Angels. Can't help it. The noise, the speed, I love it. I would love it less if they were dropping bombs on my house rather than flying really really close together to impress me with how really really close they can get without whacking each other out of the sky, but there you are. So far so good.

Anyway, Toasty had stuffed his oversized bike into his car, and now the two were more thoroughly joined than a pair of amorous weimaraners.(fahrfegnugen!) He did a lot of tugging, I considered throwing a bucket of cold water on them, and by the time he got them apart, the Angels were already in the air. Too late to bike to our usual vantage point, we opted for cold drinks on the roof of my building.

I live on Beacon Hill, and my building has a sweet open rooftop deck from whence one might at least see the Blue Angels turn around. (It has to be a pretty nifty piece of machinery for me to be excited to see it turn around, for crying out loud.) So we stood and watched the Angels make a cul-de-sac out of a bit of sky over our heads.

At one point, the formation of four looped out from the lake, made a giant U-ey out of Elliot Bay, then headed back, my building dead ahead. They were coming straight at us, and me being the major Angel-hag, I started jumping up and down and waving. And then. Oh, then. Just as they came at us, the number four guy at the bottom of the diamond shot us a second's worth of smoke.

There's no smoke like Angel smoke, baby.

So, to the pilot in jet #4, the guy who would be playing 2nd base if this were a baseball diamond tipped up at home plate, thanks for the hello, Blue Angel style. You have no idea how you made my day.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Pen Snob

a Westminster Teal by Conway Stewart. One of only 100 made in the model of the original pen.

OK, and I don't really want an answer to this question, but what does it say about me that I have a "loaner" pen? I realized this the other day when one of my students asked to borrow a pen. I brought out my cheap Japanese pencil case (which I NEED -- it keeps the pens from stabbing holes in my pricey, posey, Timbuktu I'm-a-biker bag so just shut the heck up), dug through the pens in there, and was genuinely relieved to discover that I had a loaner.

The loaner, just like at the auto shop, is the crappy one. It's your basic narrow-barrelled ballpoint snoozer pen. It has no character, no vibrancy, it's just a pen, and I likely stole it from some place dull like a bank or one of my many schools. It may write perfectly well for years and years, or it may inexplicably stop writing in the middle of the next sentence. "Inexplicably" because you can't see the ink cartridge inside it, and you can't exchange it for another. It is, above all else, disposable.

The other pens in my case are these: a fabulous ultra-fine-tip marker bought at a Japanese store in Alderwood Mall. (My Japanese students always have the best pens.) I have a disposable fountain pen which I use only sparingly because of its transient nature. I have a mechanical pencil that uses the finest lead. You know the kind -- you look at it too hard and the lead snaps and puts out the eye of a boy across the room. These are not loaners, so don't even ask.

OK, even I acknowledge that my attachment to my writing instruments borders on the obsessive, but let me ask you this: what do you have that you won't loan out? Bloggers, let me hear it. Commentors, you too.

Incidentally, my loaner pen, the one I handed over to the kid in my class on Monday, never came back. Today's Friday. Having a spare loaner means I don't have to hunt the kid down and snap pencil lead in his eye.