My dog reminds me of this whole world

19 01 2015

Death sucks.

I mean, I don’t what, if anything, it’s like for the dead, but for those who live past the dead, it sucks.

Two and a-half weeks ago, Jon Katz announced on his blog, Bedlam Farm, that his charming and ornery mule, Simon, had died.

Shortly thereafter, he noted that Lenore, the “Love Dog”, was out of sorts; she died less than a week after Simon.

Then, this morning, I popped over to Love & Hisses and found Robyn Anderson’s obit for her beautiful 5-year-old tabby, Corbie.

I cried for each of these creatures.

Yes, these are animals, not people, and these are not my animals—I had never met nor expected to meet any of them—but they were familiar to me, a presence, and now they are absent.

Such absence, of course, puts me in mind of my own critters—Chelsea and Bean, Jazz before them, and the family pets before them—and made me sad all over again.

While Katz doesn’t believe in the Rainbow Bridge, as Robyn does, he does believe that his animals will have a life beyond this life. I have no such belief in life beyond life—tho’, as an agnostic, I can’t/won’t completely rule it out—but understand the desire to believe that those who were here are not gone forever, but simply moved on to another place.

As a general matter, I consider death simply a part of our condition as living creatures: we are born into life and leave it at death, or, more succinctly, everything living, dies. For some it may come too soon, others, too late, and for some, as a relief.

I would like to live a while longer, but not everlastingly longer, and to have some sense of my death, when it does finally come. It will be my end, and I will be no more—a closing, not a loss.

No, the loss is for the living, when others are no more.





Take a chance

11 01 2015

Have I mentioned I’m lazy? I think I’ve mentioned I’m lazy.

Not in every aspect of my life, but certainly in too many. One of the more benign, yet highly irritating, forms is my middle-aged-onset laziness with regard to t.v. and movies: I don’t want to watch something in which I don’t know what happens.

This goes beyond not minding spoiler alerts into not wanting to endure uncertainty. I know something’s going to happen, and it about kills me not knowing the what and the when and the how.

I think that’s why I like procedurals: there’s such an established pattern with the plot that any anxiety over what-next is smoothed into mere waiting by the predictability of the genre: in Criminal Minds, for example, there’s the initial crime, then a second crime, then either the nabbing of a third victim (during which clock-ticking the team discovers something from the past) or a failed attempt that gives the team crucial information to identify the guy. Then they find the victim.

Bones had (has) its own pattern, as did Numbers, but they all had/have a pattern. I might roll my eyes at the predictability, but you betcha I rely on it.

That bothers me. Not that I like procedurals—who am I hurting?—but that I’m unwilling to try something else that I might like, might miss a movie which could move me, all because I get so wrapped up in not knowing the what-next that I can’t sit still for the what-is. And even when I am willing to try a new show—Flashpoint, Bletchley Circle, Lie to Me—what are they?

Prcedurals.

Pitiful. I used to watch so many different types of movies, read so many different types of novels, and while I might still read fiction, it’s not as much as I’d like. I used to enjoy, if not not-knowing, then at least, the getting-to-know or the finding-out. Not knowing was a chance, not a threat.

A little predictability isn’t the worst thing, but so much, too much, makes me feel small. I don’t always need to be big, but I miss the chance.





What a drag it is getting old

31 12 2014

Hey kids, what kind of fun are you going to have tonight?

Yer not out partying or else you wouldn’t be reading my rambling bits—so maybe you’re like me, sacked out on your (new-to-you!) loveseat, drinking beer (and maybe later, whisky) and watching bad t.v. shows and/or movies you’ve seen before, on Netflix.

Whoo-hoo!

Well, I will celebrate—not New Year’s, just the end of the evening—with my cats later. After I shut down the computer and turn off the lights, the critters run to the bathroom for big fun: Trickster yells at me until I set the faucet dribble to just the right rate of runny-ness, and when Jasper hears me scraping out the catbox (TMI?), he jumps in the tub and bats down the foam golf ball I’ve set atop the unused soap dish, and waits.

Yes, people, it is not even 2015 and I have discovered a great cat toy in the golf section!

Big Red Box Store was out of the foam cat toys, so I wandered over to the sports section on the off chance they’d have ping pong balls. No dice (which was probably good, as the noise those things make is annoying as hell), but I espied these foam golf practice balls.

I was intrigued.

I looked at golf wiffle balls, but came back to the foamers. They were light. They had give.

They were cheaper than the foam cat balls.

Sold!

Now, if you’ve used the foam cat balls, you know they kind of go dead after awhile, and then dry out completely after a greater while. That may happen with these things—lemme see if I can find a picture. . .okay, here one is:

Only mine’s in yellow, because orange isn’t my color. (Okay, yellow isn’t either, but but that’s all they had. And besides, it makes it easier to find underneath the new-to-me loveseat.)

. . . but the denser material makes me think it may last longer.

The real bonus is that, unlike the foam cat-balls (stop thinking that, you perv), these can get wet without getting gross. Which means I can leave in the tub for Jasper to play with without worrying about fungi or general disgusting-ness.

Since I’ve put one in the tub for Jasper, he now expects me to bat one around with him for 5 or ten minutes every night before bed.

Exciting, I know. And I wonder why I don’t have boy- or girlfriend.

Anyway, happy feckin’ new year to youse, however you may celebrate it.





Happy trails to you

30 12 2014

My friend J. moved to California, which makes me sad.

But she sold me her loveseat, cheap, which makes me glad.

The cats freaked out just a tad.

And I got rid of a chair that was. . . bad.

. . . aaaaaaand that’s enough of that.

I’m actually happy for J., that she’s finally got out of the city. I’d been a shitty friend to her this past year—wasn’t really tuned in to her hints about how crappy a previous relationship had become—but I did get to spend some time with her (and her new(ish) beau) before she left.

We had such a good, if too-short time; why had I not made the time, before?

Anyway, she is off, and finally able to try to find her own life.

Not a bad way to go.





Wait, what?

29 12 2014

Lazy, I’ve been sooo lazy. Sooper-dooper lazy.

So, um, merry happy peaceful, y’all. Yeah.

Okay, so I have all sorts of detritus sloshing around me brain pan and I just can’t be arsed to turn them into real posts so I’ma just give you those ramblin’ bits in Quick Hits and say that’s that.

And no, I won’t be turning it into some sort of end-of-year-clear-out theme because I’ve got so goddamned many themes going it’s like a goddamned park in here.

Anyway, here’s a goofy-grinned bat to set the mood:

Pavel German

Apparently an Island Tube-nosed bat, which, okay, is a pretty darned accurate description.

h/t PZ Myers, Pharyngula





I want to ride my bicycle

8 12 2014

The next time I whine-think Ehhhn, I don’ wanna take the train the gym and I don’ wanna sit on a stationary bike at the gym and It’s really not that cold out and I’ll just bundle up when I ride. . .

. . . I will remember this 30s-degree-gusty-winds day, with my dead-cold toes and quivering thighs and pissed-off tits and I will grab my fuckin’ MetroCard and a book for the bike and take the goddamned train to the gym.





Bless the beasts and the children

18 11 2014

Why one law for all?

Yes, I have and will continue to bang on about principle and theory, but sometimes concrete examples work best.

Such as dead children.

Jeez louise, you might be thinking, do you really have to get all extreme about this? I mean, aren’t you exaggerating just a wee?

Nope.

Despite the deaths of least 12 children from “faith healing” Christian families in their state, lawmakers and public officials in Idaho have refused to challenge a state law providing a religious exemption from manslaughter and murder charges, Vocativ reported.

There is little push to change the laws.

“This is about religious beliefs, the belief God is in charge of whether they live, and God is in charge of whether they die,” state Rep. Christy Perry (R) said. “This is about where they go for eternity.”

The move from doctor-centered to patient-centered decision-making has, on the whole, been good for patients, and one of the most important powers which has migrated to patients has been the right to refuse treatment.

I am foursquare in favor of such a right—for an adult, for herself, for any reason.

When making decisions on another’s behalf, however—especially a child whose care the state has charged one with providing—the exercise of such power ought to be scrutinized.

Or, to put it less abstractly, parents ought not be able to refuse life-saving care for their kids, especially when such care is routine and effective, because God said so.

Parental custody is conditional, not absolute.

This shouldn’t be a controversial statement: parents who starve or beat or neglect—including medically neglect—their children may be charged with crimes and have the kids taken away from them.

But throw a veneer of religiosity over such neglect, and well, whatcha gonna do?

Jackson Scott Porter, a newborn girl. . . lived for just 20 minutes before dying in her grandfather’s home. The girl’s mother did not receive any pre-natal care. Her cause of death was listed as untreated pneumonia.

“That’s the way we believe,” the grandfather, Mark Jerome, told KATU at the time. “We believe in God and the way God handles the situation, the way we do things.”

KATU also reported that local officials believe that another minor, 14-year-old Rockwell Sevy, had undiagnosed Down’s syndrome before he also died from pneumonia, in 2011.

Sevy’s father, Dan Sevy, refused to discuss his son’s death with KATU last year, citing his right to freedom of religion.

“I would like to say, I picture freedom as a full object. It’s not like you take ‘a’ freedom away,” Dan Sevy said. “It’s that you chip at the entire thing. Freedom is freedom. Whenever you try to restrict any one person, then you’re chipping away at freedom. Yours and mine.”

This is the dumbest goddamned argument about freedom this side of Galt’s Gulch, which dumbness would make it pathetic were it not pernicious—which is to say, had it not resulted in a boy’s death.

This religious exemption necessarily removes the children in these homes from protections of the law, specifically, of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment: in allowing parents to neglect their children for religious reasons, the children in these religious households are given fewer protections of the law than children in other households.

I had thought such exemptions were narrow (confined to vaccinations, say), but they are, dismayingly, widespread.

The right of the parent to inflict her religious beliefs on the child, even if it kills him, apparently matters more than the child himself.








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