Sugar boy, what you trying to do?

30 10 2011

No more boy kitties; boy kitties break my heart.

Chillin'. It's what all the cool cats do.

My particular kitty-boy, Jasper, is in the hospital, with a problem which particularly affects males. (My old cat Jazz died from this, although he was much older than Jasper. I swore then I’d never get another boy cat. So much for swearing.) The doc should be calling me shortly to let me know how the procedure (to unblock his ureter) went—I expect it went fine—and I’ll pick him up tomorrow.

Of course, he should be in the hospital for at least another day, but I can’t afford that. To be honest, I don’t know if I can afford the care he’s currently being given. If his bill comes in toward the low end of the estimate, we’re fine. If not. . . .

I have no idea how I’ll pay it.

And then, of course, there’s the after care, which I also have no idea how I’ll afford.

But he was crying and I was crying and as I asked C., what, I’m going to let him die because I can’t afford to keep him alive?

C. did do me the great favor of looking for 24h care and telling me about CareCredit. I qualified for it—it pays the vet and then I pay it—but not enough to cover all the costs. Had I known about this before, I might have been able to get him into the vet before it became a costly emergency.

[*Update* The vet just called. He came through fine, his kidneys are fine, and he's awake and groggy. So yes I'm still hyperventilating about the money, but at least Jasper's okay.]

So, if you have pets and not a lot of cash, get CareCredit before anything bad happens; then maybe you can afford to pay for the little bad before it turns into the big bad.

Like it did with Jasper.

_____

*Update2* I learned a bit more about low-cost vet care—which, again, had I known about sooner, I might have been able to prevent this. (Joyce at Safety Net/Pets  for Life was very nice about this, however, saying that this might have happened anyway. Thanks Joyce!)

So, for those of you in the New York City area, there are two (more) options you should know about:

  1. Safety Net/Pets for Life (ACC; updated site at Humane Society) at 917 468-2938. If you’re low-income or on public assistance, they can help you find vet care at a reduced price, as well as low-cost or free spaying and neutering. As I mentioned, I spoke to Joyce and she was very helpful.
  2. Low-cost vet mobile. This hits the different boroughs on different days; the one in Brooklyn parks at the Animal Care and Control site at 2336 Linden Boulevard every Wednesday from 10-6. They do everything but spaying/neutering (another mobile van does that) and extended hospitalizations. Intake exam is $25, with additional costs for other services. It’s a walk-in clinic for the most part, with appointments for surgeries.

I don’t have a contact number for the vet mobile, but if you’re in another borough you could call Safety Net for locations and dates.

I had looked previously for low-cost vet care, but somehow in my searches I didn’t find any of these services. Yes, I found the low-cost spay/neuter mobiles, but as I wasn’t looking for those services, I didn’t click on those links; had I done so, I might have also discovered the regular vet mobiles. And I  messed-up in not finding the Safety Net program. I don’t know what search terms I was using, but they were clearly the wrong ones.

Jasper’s care cost a fair amount of money, and, more importantly, a great deal of distress to him. Perhaps had I taken him in when the problem first hit, we might have been able to avoid this. Joyce tried to reassure me by saying, well, even a vet can’t necessarily prevent blockages, and he would have had to have been unblocked anyway.

Finally, even if you’re not in New York City, you might have a Safety Net/Pets for Life program in your area. The NYC one is apparently run through the Humane Society, but it also has a page on the Animal Care and Control page. Check your local animal care societies to see if its available near you. And get CareCredit (which doesn’t cost anything to apply for and keep it on hand), just in case.





All things weird and wonderful, 9

29 10 2011

Seahorsesy!

Photograph by Marc Mistersaro

h/t National Geographic Photo of the Day, October 28, 2011





All things weird and wonderful, 8

25 10 2011

About that last post. . .

Lynda Barry, as ever

I’ve never been a fan of bugs. Ladybugs, okay. Butterflies, yes, and caterpillers, cool (centipedes: not cool) but anything else, nuh-uh.

Some just bothered me, the way they bother everyone—flies, ants, mosquitoes—while others (silverfish: brrr!) seriously freaked me out. (That may have had something to do with the proximity of the attic to my childhood bedroom, and on more than one occasion pulling back the bedspread to find a—brrr!—silverfish darting about the sheets. Nobody wants that.)

Spiders, for some reason, never really bothered me, although I have a memory of getting up close and personal with a daddy longlegs in the crawlspace underneath my cousin’s cottage and seeing fangs. (That can’t be right, but that’s what the data in me old noggin says.) I was offered the chance of ex post facto explanation of this bug-discrepancy when I learned that spiders were arachnids, not insects, but, honestly, I think this is just a glitch in my general bug-phobia.

My friend B., on the other hand, didn’t mind bugs at all. Worms and snakes (or maybe it was just snakes) freaked her out, but she’d pick up a bug and bring it in close and just sort of go, “huh”.

(Excuse me for the break, but there’s one other bug that’s cool. Wait, two. Dragonflies. And praying mantes. THE ANTI-BUG POINT STILL HOLDS.)

We joked that we’d be great in the rain forest: I’d be clutching her screaming about all the bugs, and she’d be clutching me screaming about all the slimy crawly things.

Still, growing up in SmallTown Wisconsin, we rarely encountered any truly egregious species. Hell, I didn’t even see my first live cockroach until I was in Madison, and it was dead. (You know what I mean.)

Roaches, man, I. . . can’t. Let’s just say that living in Albuquerque, with it’s big-roaches-are-the-southwestern-ant was a trial. And the first time one flew off the wall at me, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh, it’s a wonder my eyes didn’t curl into the back of my head permanently.

And no, calling it a “water bug” doesn’t make it so.

(My grad-school friend D. told me of the time he was living near the U of Chicago, stuck his foot into his shoe, and, well, you know where this is going, right? I shook out my shoes before I put them on EVERY TIME when I live in Albuquerque. One never dropped out. Which was good, as I almost certainly would have tossed those shoes.)

I once looked at an apparently nice apartment in Steven’s Square in Minneapolis, and just after the rental agent assured me the building was roach-free, one fell on to the floor between us. We were both mortified.

My completely irrational and outsized fear of roaches actually impeded possible earlier moves to New York. (One of those moves landed me in Albuquerque. Oh, irony!). K. was a fellow grad student who had attended NYU, and she described how she couldn’t keep food in her apartment, for all the scuttling bugs. All those years, and I still remember the story. (That, and K. wore big wool turtleneck sweaters and kickin’ boots.)

And now, yes, I’ve seen the scuttling bugs in my apartment, and I get sprayed, but I have more-or-less successfully suppressed my hysteria at the sight of a roach and have managed to stop my thoughts from galloping toward the if-there’s-one-in-sight-there’s-twenty-thousand-in-hiding multiplier; now, my reaction is a curse, a sigh, a scoop-into-the-toilet-and-flush, and near-instant obliteration of the fact that there ever was a bug.

(Why the scoop-and-flush? You don’t actually expect me to step on those things, do you?)

J., who grew up in Tucson, did help to put the little bastards into context when she noted, at least they don’t bite—unlike, say, scorpions.

So, no, roaches aren’t weird and wonderful and neither are scorpions, but Lynda Barry is and this made me think of B. and J. and that is, if not weird, certainly wonderful.

On a completely unrelated note, B. and I, who volunteered as camp counselors (lifeguards! the best duty!) at Camp Bird in Crivitz, Wisconsin, were walking back from our cabin to the nightly campfire at the waterfront (which looked just like the waterfront in the Friday the 13th movies) and joking about, I dunno, whatever, when we heard this SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMIII IIIIINNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGG sound slicing through the cabins just to the right of us.

We stopped dead on the trail. Whatthehellwasthat?! Was that a naked bloody screaming boy running through the woods with an axe?

We stood there. And stood there. And stood there. I don’t think either of us had a flashlight. And we stood there some more, until someone else with a flashlight came by and said something like, Hey.

We later told ourselves it was probably just a loon*. They had them there, and didn’t it sound like the screaming went over the lake? A naked bloody screaming boy with an axe couldn’t fly over the lake, could he? Could he?!

A loon, yeah.

_____

*Click the tremolo—that comes closest. And if it wasn’t a loon. . . oh, come on, it was. It had to be.





All things weird and wonderful, 7

24 10 2011

I’m not much for bugs (to use the technical term), but I do get a kick out of these dudes:

Could use some voice-over from that Honey Badger guy, though.





We are circling like sparrows

20 10 2011

YouTube commenter lemontarsier nailed this one: Exquisite music; truly terrible video.

Anyway.

Jtte. asked me (in her inimitable, directive way) today what I thought would happen with the various Occupy movements: Tell me, what do you think. . . .

It will probably fail.

No!

I’m not saying it will fail, but I think the odds are against it.

But this could! lead somewhere.

Yes, it could. There’s a chance, a small chance, that this could work. Before, there was no chance, now there is; that matters.

Yes! [pause] But this is such a conservative country.

Wellll. . . .

No! If you have liberal students from the university leading protests, that is a mark of a conservative country. If you people who are protesting because they lost their houses to foreclosure, it is a conservative country. They don’t want to change anything, not really, they just want to fit in.

Okay, I see your point.

This man, this Murdoch? Murdoch, yes, he was giving a speech to teachers, and this African-American man stood up and started to yell, and shoom! the police came and took him away. And then a teacher, a woman, at another table, stood up, and another woman and another woman, six teachers, African-American, white, Latino, they stood up and they were dragged away, and you know what the rest of those teachers did? Do you? They clapped.

They don’t want to be disturbed.

Exactly! They should be supporting their fellow teachers and what are they doing?! They’re siding with the police!

[n.b.: Jtte.'s father is a Marxist and a retired teacher in Puerto Rico]

What kind of working class do we have in this country? No, they are too comfortable.

They have escape routes besides revolution, so they escape rather than revolt.

Exactly! . . .

[And then we went on to discuss class struggle, social movements, reform, radicalism, culture, legislation, gay rights, women's rights, and then, inevitably, the Catholic Church and authority, by which time nothing we were discussing had anything to do with OWS.]

[Anyway, while I do think the occupy movements will dissipate, maybe they won't. Maybe this opening grows larger, maybe something happens.]

[Exquisite song, in any case.]





Names scattered in the wind

17 10 2011

I don’t know if it’s the tin whistle, the fiddles, the syncopation, or the tens of thousands of jumping Irishfolk, but damn. . . .

I don’t understand, I don’t understand this at all.

People leapin’ about stage, singing and shouting and moving in all sorts of strange ways and. . . and performing as if, ah, as if the song and singing and the strangeness all mattered.

And yet it does.

h/t Andy Hall





Three babies

17 10 2011

Bit more than that, actually, and stolen, I mean.

What had initially been reported as almost 300 is now a hundred thousand times larger than that:

300,000 babies stolen from their parents – and sold for adoption: Haunting BBC documentary exposes 50-year scandal of baby trafficking by the Catholic church in Spain

By Polly Dunbar

Last updated at 11:55 AM on 16th October 2011

Up to 300,000 Spanish babies were stolen from their parents and sold for adoption over a period of five decades, a new investigation reveals.

The children were trafficked by a secret network of doctors, nurses, priests and nuns in a widespread practice that began during General Franco’s dictatorship and continued until the early Nineties.

Hundreds of families who had babies taken from Spanish hospitals are now battling for an official government investigation into the scandal.
Several mothers say they were told their first-born children had died during or soon after they gave birth.

But the women, often young and unmarried, were told they could not see the body of the infant or attend their burial.

In reality, the babies were sold to childless couples whose devout beliefs and financial security meant that they were seen as more appropriate parents. (more)

Oh, the good old days, when authority was never checked or questioned.




Where we open up the floodgates

16 10 2011

Goes without saying, doesn’t it?





Libertarians suck (part nth-mplth)

15 10 2011

Yes, I read Marginal Revolution, and no, I’m not able to restrain myself from reading the comments.

But this post—yeesh!

Por ejemplo:

8 October 14, 2011 at 7:28 am

Universal suffrage is a bad idea.

Reply

msgkings October 14, 2011 at 11:58 am

It’s incredibly elitist and non-pc to say so, but I agree.

And it doesn’t have to be as complex as evaluating for ‘bad’ voting behavior. Simply apply intelligence testing to voting rights. Not every dumdum is a ‘bad’ (disengaged, useless, etc) voter, but obviously the smarter your voting electorate, the better your outcomes.

I’ve come to believe that the democratic system set up here in the late 18th century worked so well for so long because suffrage was NOT universal. You had to be a landowning white male to vote in the early years. This didn’t guarantee that each voter was of a higher caliber, but it undoubtedly made the average or median voter of greater quality and intelligence. In this day and age of course you wouldn’t need to restrict based on race or gender, or wealth. But I think restricting voters AND candidates to IQs of 100+ (sorry Perry and Palin!) could only help outcomes.

It goes without saying that this will NEVER EVER happen.

Or how about the commenter who cites Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers approvingly:

Thoma Hawk October 14, 2011 at 11:58 am

This veteran agrees with you. As I state later in this post, I think suffrage should be given only to those with demonstrable responsibility, education, service, maturity, and loyalty.

Robert Heinlein’s vision in Starship Troopers was one where only discharged veterans had the right to vote and hold public office. It’s a move in the right direction.

Age is an arbitrary determinant. There are incredibly mature and intelligent 19 year olds. There are incredibly immature and uneducated 30 year olds. But age and maturity are strongly correlated. And certain experience are worth many times as much as a year of education.

So how about raising the voting age with a military service exception? I’m open to all suggestions for improvement, including persuasive arguments the franchise age should be lowered. I think lowering the voting age was a political ploy and not much thought went into it.

No, they’re not all nuts, but Dasher, Donner, and Blitzen, it makes me want to take away their rights to comment on blogs.

(Okay, okay, I know: I have to make the argument on why libertarianism-as-governing-theory is bad, and not just snark on libertarians, but it’s Saturday night and I’m drinking wine, so gimme a break. The argument will have to wait until coffee.)





All things weird and wonderful, 6

13 10 2011

Of the contemplative sort:

Annie Dillard, For the Time Being








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