All matters on Katrina are covered in the semi-regular “Katrina for Kaitlyn” posts.
Speaking of Katrina, the folks here in Serendipity Shore, which would be husband, myself, four cats and two dogs, are willing to take in one cat and one dog of the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
We will take care of them until the owners can reclaim them.
If anyone knows of anyone needing this offer please email me.
Although his lawyer says he didn’t.
Saddamn Confesses HERE
California and the Gay Marriage Issue
Even though the citizens of California passed a referendum stipulating that marriage be a civil ceremony only between a man and a woman, the fine and honest politicians of the California legislature still passed a law making gay marriage legal.
Ahnold vowed to veto the bill.
Scuttlebutt has it that the California legislature did that just to force Schwarzenegger to veto the bill.
Do they ever do their job, these politicos?
Gay Marriage Bill Passed in California
Arnold Vows to Veto Gay Marriage Bill.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Renquist Laid to Rest
May he rest in peace. No doubt he’d get a fine snicker from the cartoon below.
Political Cartoon of the Week
We saw it and hey, we liked it.
Prior Weeks Just Passed HERE
Permission to Laugh
Go on. Stop and have a laugh.
You have permission.
I am in receipt of your letter and would respond that I appreciate your concerns re your addled mother and her strange new behaviors. I could do nothing but smile as I read your somber missive and ponder how I could possibly respond in any fashion that would calm your fears. A letter, only a letter, I decided would do.
First, allow me to address your overall concern that I have taken some sort of permanent leave of my senses that will ultimately lead me to sadness and despair. Tim, trust this is not the truth. Charles and I are very happy in our life, though we live in sin. We are committed to the continued love and enjoyment of our family, but reserve the joy of our daily lives to the our pets and the animals and birds of our eco-gardens. We lay full claim to the pursuit of happiness as delineated in our American constitution and request that right even though we are older than 65, as there is no age restriction indicated in that great document. We choose to live, laugh, yea even make senile love, for the rest of our lives, however short. We do not, nor will we ever again, request permission to laugh, though there is an interesting story behind this expression that I shall, in that story-telling manner to which you have become accustomed, reveal.
"Mom, it's fiscally foolish to sell this house to move two blocks up the street to what is basically a similar, though smaller, house. There's all the packing of the furniture and family goods, the same amount of time to hook and unhook electricity, telephones, cable. If you're going to do all of this, why not move to the condominiums Sharon and I showed you last month?"
My son, Timothy, was pacing the sunny kitchen, running his freckled fingers through that shock of red hair and waving his arms with the exasperation of an excited chimpanzee. Seems he didn't cotton too much to the idea of my purchasing the old Rames' house, a block and a half up the street and on the water side from my current home of these past 20 years . Yet in all my years of living in Paradise Beach, a tiny waterfront community that desperately laid lie to its name, I'd always cherished the little Rames' house and would even dream that Hal and I would end up buying the place just as soon as Sharon and Tim were on their own.
"It's a beautiful little place, Timmy," I argued with my son. "The yard is small but flat. The plantings are well-established. There's a rose collection on the side that is priceless. I know because I spent many hours discussing the gardens with old man Rames. I dreamed that your father and I would somehow buy the place. But your father chose heaven over the Rames' place so I don't see why I don't have the option."
"Mom, it's on the water. You may think you'll like this, but I bet not. Fact is, the Rames place is going to cost about the same as you'll get for selling THIS house, although it will be much smaller and not as convenient."
"Ah," I responded, now to my daughter who joined her brother in the argument that would bring me sense, "but you forget about the Great Blue Heron that lunches everyday on the Rames pier." I turned away from my children to wash my dishes, content now to resume my task and render my offspring speechless with my reasonable rhetoric. "Can't put a price tag on him. And the kingfisher, goodness," I continued, smug that Tim and Sharon were rapt with my prose. "He chitters and flies just over the water line, wearying any minnows in his wake. He's like some sort of snoopy the bird baron, launching his colorful self with just so much bravado as to be laughable. Can't put a price tag on him either."
I still was not facing my children, but I heard no scuffles of exit, so I continued with my reasonable arguments for which they had no rebuttal. "I don't have but a finite number of years to live. So do both of you, but hey, my time is now a lot more finite than either of yours. I decided I'd like to spend the allotment of my remaining years living in the old Rames' house. Case closed."
THEN I heard the scuffle of young adult feet. They both knew they would have no debate with the likes of me. I had a mind that tended to get made real quick. And after 65 years of practice, I was pretty much a study in predictability. Within six months, I'd handled everything, including the sale, packing, moving arrangements and the horrid job of turning over the phone, electricity and cable. Just as I knew I would, I loved my new home. In less than one month in my new home, I'd find myself in love with a new man and now my children were really beside themselves.
My four cats were also quite content in their new home, owing particularly to the presence of an ultra-long picture window that looked out over a beautiful cove off of the Chesapeake Bay. No longer restricted to wildlife watching that would include finches and doves, the cats were mesmerized by the Great Blue Heron and kingfisher of my description, not to mention the bulky mallards and noisy geese that also thrived just outside their window. I adored my new gardens. Old man Rames was quite a gardener. As was I. Or so I fancied myself to be. The gardens were smaller, more closely spaced and more artfully designed than the haphazard gardens of my former home. In my elder years I simply had to made some acquiescence to my senior bones.
"I admit, Mom, you've fixed the place up nice. I bet Dad would have loved it."
At that moment I didn't know if my son spoke in naive bliss or was surreptitiously palming off some sort of guilt trip. In either event, I wasn't buying it.
"If he hadn't died, Tim, he'd be right here with me. But he died. And I didn't. So I'm here by myself."
Tim arched an auburn eyebrow at my summary of the facts. Interesting that my children had learned the art of physical gestures so well, not that they could get a word in edgewise.
"What's that? A squirrel?"
It was just turning twilight when Tim made his pop in visit. I wished he hadn't stopped by just then because this was the time that the squirrels in the attic did their "settling in".
At first I didn't care too much for the scurrying noises that came each early evening from my walk-up attic. Most because of the realization that squirrels were actually living in my house but there was also the scary movie factor. And the cats were beside themselves in their efforts to access the attic for some squirrel hunting. I'd effected some sort of uneasy truce by banging my kitchen cupboard doors and yelling to the rascals to settle down. Over time, I came to like the idea that the squirrels lived in the attic and have taken to bidding them good night and occasionally leaving an offering of leftover baking nuts. I knew this would be too much for my children to assimilate, that their mother had squirrels living in her new house and straddled a dangerous abyss to keep the squirrel inhabitants from actually meeting the feline inhabitants. But I figured, if I didn't mind sharing my house with the squirrels, why should anyone else? Some things, however, you just don't tell your children.
"Mom, you know squirrels cause damage. They eat your insulation, chew the wires. You've got to get them out of there."
I scratched my greying hairs to ponder Tim's warnings. I too had heard horror stories of squirrel damage but so far, all my lights and my telephone still shone and phoned. This was a bridge that could be crossed when arrived at, though I did discover the rascals chewed off the cotton batting backing of my Christmas tree skirt. The material probably made for warm bedding. I told my son I would consider the problem more.
In fact, I was more interested in the problem of one Charles Heidl who lived directly across the street from my new home and regularly jogged in those fetching skimpy shorts.
Having been an inhabitant of this neighborhood for more years than my residence in the Rames' house, I knew a bit about Charles Heidl already. He and his wife were both members of my church, in fact. I also knew that Nadine Heidl died over two years ago after a long bout with cancer. I'd lost Hal two years before that. I sent Charles a sympathy card and a short note of condolence but that was the extent of my prior contact with him. Two months of watching him jog by in those skimpy shorts caused my interest to increase, though I was embarrassed to be feeling such and at my advanced age.
"Mom would be so happy to know the roses are still so beautiful," I overheard one late fall afternoon. Mindy Mays, Charlie's 30 year old daughter had stopped by for a visit. Father and daughter were walking about the yard while I, with a rake in one hand and a big ear in another, listened in.
"She would. She would," I heard Charlie say solemnly.
I couldn't quite get a handle on Charles Heidl. Indeed, my knowledge of him would have, at that time, included only the many shorts he had for jogging and the dimensions of his muscular legs. I knew him to be in his early 70's, reasonably healthy, goodness what with the jogging and all. I knew he had three grown children who, like my own, visited often and expressed concern for his health and happiness.
The difference between me and Charlie, though, was that Charlie really never seemed to be happy. Not that he seemed depressed or anything. He always nodded when he jogged by, uttered a cheery "Good Day." He decently walked his yard with his little schnauzer, waiting for the dog to do his business and telling him a dutiful "Good boy". He spoke soberly and respectfully to his children.
I decided Charles Heidl had way more class than me.
This judgement would require, if I ever had hopes of luring Charlie into my lair, that I would too, have to be a bit classy. There was never any doubt that Charlie would graciously accept any offer I were to make for a pleasant home-cooked meal. We were neighbors, after all. But I planned a bit more than any neighborly meal, so my study would be rewarded by a glimpse of appropriate behaviors that would cause Charlie to fall in love with his new neighbor or, at the least, allow her a glimpse of what's under those jogging shorts.
"I always loved Valentine's Day," I told Charles, after my offer of a Valentine's day meal. "I figured it wasn't the sort of holiday we'd want to spend with our children. So I thought you might like to join me in my specialty of Prime Rib au juice followed by a dessert called "chocolate decadence". This isn't the sort of meal I'd prepare by myself, you understand, but for some friendly company?"
I figured I'd covered all the basis with that invitation. It's tricky, inviting a member of the opposite sex for dinner on Valentine's Day. Such is bound to be misunderstood. Owing to Charlie's and my advanced age, I was able to couch the invite in glowing, but non-threatening terms.
For myself, I had every intention of seducing the guy and planned on bringing out all the ammunition. There would be the long bath in perfumed waters and the donning of that little black dress that showed a modest but believable bit of cleavage, not sagging too badly I submit proudly. There were many candles of various scents that I planned to light. I placed a chess set on the coffee table, pieces fully configured. This seemed a classy touch and if worse really came to worse, I always could actually play a game. The "chocolate decadence" teased seductively from my china sideboard. Prime rib studded with garlic roasted and tantalized.
I put all of the cat fellows in the spare bedroom. I wondered what Charlie would think of cats, hell if he'd even approve of cats. Much less squirrels living in the attic. I gave these fellows a heaping pile of nuts early in the evening. Didn't want them scratching about, leaving Charles to think I was so unsanitary as to actually have rats.
The dinner did go well. Charlie was a gracious man, ever complimentary of my lovely dress and as appreciative of the garlicky prime rib and twice-baked potato as a man could be. It was when the squirrel got out of the attic that things went to hell.
Charles had almost finished his second helping of prime rib, dipping the meat pieces pointedly in the horse-radish I'd personally ground myself. The screeches and thumps that then came from that spare bedroom would wake all but the dead. It woke Charlie's little schnauzer that was snoozing by the door. Yes, I also invited the dog, what?
I don't know what possessed me to open the door to the spare bedroom other that it seemed the thing to do by the cat screams and sounds of breaking glass, not to mention that ominous blinking of the house lights. A healthy nut-fed squirrel darted from the room first, followed by four very angry cats and finally by one schnauzer that also decided it was the thing to do.
What followed was unbelievable. To the max, as my grandson would say.
Remember all those lit candles? One by one they fell over from the animal rampage. Always onto something flammable. I screamed to Charlie to bring the fire extinguisher, which he did. He began spraying foam at all the little flames. I yelled that I was going down the hall to get the other extinguisher. And I almost had the thing when I heard Charlie's roar of pain that caused me to run right back to the living room.
The squirrel had ran directly up his pants legs! Four cats and a schnauzer sniffed Charlie's feet, not fooled that the squirrel had somehow disappeared. Thing was, the squirrel was trapped by Charlie's belt and squirrels, they don't like to be trapped. I grabbed a pair of scissors and, starting at the cuff, cut the pants right off his body. That was the first glimpse I had at what lay under those jogging shorts, but things were happening too quickly for me to dwell.
Charlie was, by now, wearing his shoes, socks, underwear, shirt, and a belt around his middle below which drooped about an inch of pant fabric. The squirrel, cats and schnauzer headed for parts unknown but indicated by the sound of breaking glass. I got the other extinguisher and between Charles and I, managed to get all the fires extinguished.
The squirrel, still chased by four cats and a schnauzer, ran back through the living room, directly through my artfully placed chess set. The pieces flew all over the room, causing both Charlie and I to trip on one each; his was the knight, mine was a rook. We both lay, helpless and unsure of the quantity of broken bones, when the animal rampage ran back through, this time dislodging "chocolate decadence" from the china sideboard to land directly on Charles and I, most down my sagging bosoms, but much in Charlie's hair and on his underwear.
"We've got to get that squirrel out of here," Charlie shouted, struggling to get upright and slipping either because of broken bones or chocolate decadence. His underwear, goodness, soiled like that, it was too much to bear. I threw my head back, smack into a pile of chocolate decadence, and laughed myself to incapacity.
Charlie did manage to squish his way across the floor, open the front door, and, by calculated use of a cake cutter and a Chessboard, veer the animal entourage out the front door. Standing directly in the path of the squirrel, four cats and a schnauzer, was Mindy, Charlie's daughter.
After letting out an appropriate scream and jumping high enough in the air to allow the animals passage, Mindy regarded her father, with his unusual cutaway pants and strangely soiled underwear.
"Dad?" she asked the unbelievable.
I was beyond any sort of help, laying upon the living room floor with cake in my bosom and a fire extinguisher between my legs. And in the throes of a laughing spasm that would leave me forever the disdain of Charles Heidl but too good to pass up, nonetheless.
Charlie than added to my surprise.
With his daughter peering in from the front stoop, Charles lay directly down on the floor with me, and proceeded to laugh just as hard. The man frightened me, he laughed so hard. In fact, Mindy called, first my children, then an ambulance.
We managed to convince the ER techs, who arrived with cardiac equipment guaranteed to shock to regular heartbeat half of New York city, that we were just fine. They regarded my bosom dubiously and Charlie's underwear even more dubiously.
We got our children sent off with assurances of our good health.
"I told you you should get that squirrel out of there, Mom," my son Tim said for his last word. I kept my trap shut. He deserved it.
After the techs and children left, we managed to round up the errant cats and schnauzer, assess the damage as repairable, and share a steamy kiss that tasted like decadence...chocolate that is.
"You gave me permission to laugh," Charlie told me later. "I needed a way out from under that horrid umbrella. Everyone was so sure I was perpetually sad. So sure that the loss of my wife of over 25 years wrought inconsolable desolation. But I wasn't desolated. I was happy! Happy to be alive, happy to pet my dog, happy to jog. Yet I felt guilty about this. What right did I have to be happy? That was the eternal question."
I snuggled a bit closer to Charlie, now really familiar with all that lie below the jogging shorts. Now darn, I spent so much time trying to get my man, setting up everything so classy and just so. And it was the stupid squirrel that caused me to snag the guy. If the evening had went according to my plan, I figure Charlie would have dissolved back to his house across the way, once again confined to his life as others perceived it should be. The guy needed permission to laugh, imagine that?
So Tim, I know you know about this story. But I'll tell you something you didn't know. You didn't know that I rigged it up just so that squirrel would get out of that hidey-hole just as Charlie and I finished our meal. It's where I hid his nut treat that night. Though I admit I hadn't thought about the fire problem.
I knew damn well Charlie needed permission to laugh because hell, lots of folks think older people need permission to laugh.
I appreciate your letter as well as your concern, Tim. Read my story again if you have to, because for damn sure Tim, much as I love you and Sharon, I'll never ask for your permission to laugh.
More Smashing Fiction HERE
On Cindy Sheehan
Received this via email. Veeeeeery interesting.
What is most interesting is that the press gives this little bunch of people who are protesting with Cindy so much air time without discussing Cindy's background. This is a case of more press bias. It has been pointed out on just a couple of media outlets that Cindy divorced her first husband and left her son with him to be raised while she became apolitical activist for the Democrat Party.
She had very little to do with her son in his growing years. She remarried. The 1st husband
remarried. The original father raised the son with his new wife. They miss their son and mourn the loss of his life. They have stated that they are very proud of their son and that they agree with the stance of American Iraq and on terror. They said that their son was eager to serve and to go fight the terrorists in Iraq. He volunteered. How many news stations carried their interview? Not many. So the son dies in Iraq and then Cindy shows up to make a stink. She gets an audience with Bush.
That was not enough. She goes to Crawford and demands another audience. How many news stations carry the ongoing saga of Cindy? Practically all of them. Cindy didn't care about her son. She let another woman raise him. Cindy doesn't care about the other soldiers in Iraq. Cindy cares about her liberal, feminist agenda and about using the death of her son to lobby against Republicans and Bush. And the press is helping her. Why?
Then 2 days ago, Cindy's 2nd husband filed for a divorce from Cindy. Cindy sounds like a feminist opportunist who did not have the sense of responsibility to even raise her own son. It
looks like her 2nd husband is fed up with Cindy. We middle Americans should be fed up with Cindy also. We should be fed up with the press. they manipulate us into their "group think" and into the responses that they want on their polls.``
Last week I made a post to BLOGCRITICS (HERE) that was not posted on this Blog.
It was, I say modestly, a humble missive that laid it out flat about the REAL bad premise as regards response to that natural disaster. Below some comments on that article from Blogcritics.
Great read, Patfish, and I think that most of what you say will be proven. I'm curious, though, how all levels of government reacted to the hurricane forecast that was published in April which pretty much foretold what was coming for this hurricane season. There are some interesting numbers: PROBABILITIES FOR AT LEAST ONE MAJOR (CATEGORY 3-4-5) HURRICANE LANDFALL ON EACH OF THE FOLLOWING COASTAL AREAS:
1) Entire U.S. coastline - 73% (average for last century is 52%)
2) U.S. East Coast Including the Florida Peninsula - 53% (average for last century is 31%)
3) Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville - 41% (average for last century is 30%)
4) Expected above-average major hurricane landfall risk in the Caribbean Then comes their addendum in the August forecast. If these people are correct, and they have a great track record, we are in deep shit. There's a major chance the U.S. will get hit with one more Category 3+ hurricane this season. We haven't even arrived at the season peak yet. The report published yesterday foretells of impending disaster: This year should be one of the most active and is already the most destructive hurricane season on record. The lessons learned from New Orleans hopefully will get applied to the next community that gets nailed. That is, of course, provided it's not the Gulf which gets the next one.
Comments: But are we ready for the next disaster? We've got 11 weeks remaining in this current Hurricane Season. The peak hasn't even arrived yet and that frightens me. There are reports of dysentery in Biloxi. Fear of other diseases is becoming reality. There are small communities all along the Gulf that remain under water with no clue as to how many bodies are entombed there. Realistically, there could be upwards of 10,000 dead. To hell with who's at fault and who knew what when! Government at all levels had best be prepared because there's a good probability that these emergency preparedness people are going to face another test before Thanksgiving.
Blue and Red America-Finally, a Logical Argument
The most frequently hit Blog post on this site,The Lie About Blue America HERE has a slew of comments attached to it.
Some of them are quite stupid.
However, one commenter posted a link with a suggestion that I check it out. The argument was that this picture was more accurate than mine.
And so I compiled a pic of BOTH versions of America's red/blue Demographic below.
Note that one depiction shows areas as being EITHER blue or red. That one is the one I used in the post.
The commenter's link lead me to a more detailed picture showing the country in SHADES of blue to SHADES of red.
I accept that this picture might be more representative than mine.
Still, I argue, the vast majority of this country is more red than blue. And those very blue areas are generally in big cities and the great Indian reservations. Places notorious for voting in politicos that will continue to give them money for doing nothing.
Which is usually a Democrat. Hey, check the statistics.
In the interest of fair and balanced, consider this arguably more accurate picture of blue/red America. Both are below. Yon reader is smart enough to figure it out.