Thursday, July 31, 2008

This Is Just Wrong

By now you've heard the story about the fat cat that was found wandering the streets in Jersey and weighed a whopping 44lbs.

No secret: I am a cat lover. It's just not that I love my three cats individually, which I do.
I love cats as a species.
Nothing compares to the magnificent creation that we call a cat.
So beautiful, sleek and athletic.
Possessing the attributes of a finely tuned predator, yet gentle enough to serve as a cuddly companion.

Try spending a few minutes truly studying a cat at it's most cat-like behavior, and you cannot deny that there is a Creator above us, and this is His masterpiece.

That said, to allow a cat to grow so grotesquely fat and deformed is an act of animal cruelty.
No. Even worse than that.
It's sacrilege.
A crime against the Creator Himself.

I see other fat cats at the vet whenever I bring one of my beautiful babies in for their check up. I tell ya, it's appalling what some of these cat abusers get away with.
And I don't keep it to myself.
I tell them how I feel.
I tell them they suck.

Cat abusers like this should not be allowed to own cats.
They are no better than those who allow their cats to roam around breeding fodder for the shelters.
It's that simple.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What's Happening With Me

Nearly a few months ago, I was informed by a specialist that the swollen appearance of my right cheek was likely a cyst, but possibly a tumor. "Tumor" scared me. At which point she said, "Ah, don't worry about it. We'll schedule some more tests and take it fom there."
(You don't just go throwing out words like 'tumor' as if it's no big deal. Not to me, anyway.)
Needless to say, I worried about it.

Some background:
Normally, I'm the 'go to' guy in the family. The one everybody goes to when they got an issue, big or small. (Talk to Gino. Go see Gino. Gino will straighten your shit out. Call Gino. What did Gino say? Gino will help you. Get Gino over here. Where's Gino?) Now you know why I find bliss in 'aloneness'.

I had one 'go to' of my own. Rarely did ever I needed it. But every few years, I would hand in my chit. Generally, news such as this would require a phone call or visit to my sister. She was always good for it. Making me feel 'safe' when I was aprehensive or fearful or overwhelmed. Her voice more soothing than anything I could hear from a parent or spouse.
Surely, most of what she had to say was bullshit. I knew this. But it didn't matter. From her mouth, bullshit was soothing, even if it was bullshit. I knew it was heartfelt, and that's all that mattered.
Her shoulders were willing. Her arms always ready. She would fight The Demons so I wouldn't have to. Big Sister was down for me no matter what. Always.
I didn't need her often, but I absolutely needed her then.

I drove home, looking forward to hearing the one voice that mattered say 'I love you'. I needed to hear that. And I needed it from her.

Dialing her number and getting a voice recording, I left a brief message and hung up, expecting a return call shortly.
Not five minutes later, the phone rang: Mary was dead.

I was being 'gone to'.
My own shit didn't matter any more.
And I had nobody to talk to about it, anyway. So I just buried it, and got on with more pressing matters.

To be Cont'd.

The World Is Waiting

OK, so now that we got this out of the way, when are we going to apologize for invading a sovereign neighbor and it's subsequent years of mistreatment and subjugation?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Why does everybody assume that I have special powers to see through huge stacks of boxes; piles of assorted (and mostly not sorted) miscellaneous crap; reams of papers and files; mountains of clothes,shoes and jackets; all spread out over three zip codes, to find that one special item that Mary used to have?

(Of course, I have all the good shit. Three tons worth, all hidden under my bed where nobody else can have it.)

I know she's laughing at me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Let's Talk Football

Recently developed by Piedmont High School in California is something not seen before.
It's called the A-11 offense.
It has an official site.

Read up about it.

I'm wondering how long before it makes it way to the NFL in some variation or another.
I'm also assuming it relies heavily on speed/quickness off the ball. With no O-Line, the QB has to get rid of it quick.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Duty Sucks

For the fifteenth time, or something like that, I had jury duty again. Round these parts, they call you in for one day, and if not seated on a jury, your service is over. At least until next year, when you may or may not, get called again.

The last time I was called was about nine years ago, so I thought the system had really forgotten about me.
I expect to start getting called more often when the house is finalized. The new digs are in the next county, and last time I lived there I was called up every year. And I lived there over eight years.

As is the way it works for me, I get assigned to a jury panel, but never called beyond that. So, I spend all day fighting off sleep in the jury room, an occasional jaunt to a courtroom where they ask questions of almost everybody else, sent back to the jury room and instructed to return after lunch.
After and hour and a half for lunch,I'm told sit in the jury room until 4pm, and then sent home for the year.

I ache to get on a jury and actually decide a case. But when I never make the first 'cut', I find it hard to believe I'll ever get that chance.

So, the topic for discussion:
Have many of you have ever served on a jury?
Was it a good, juicy, chainsaw-style murder case?
Was it a cool thing to do, or just kind of a drag?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pepsi Points Scandal

Before I signed up for the Pepsi Points promotion I took a good hard glance at the stuff they were offering. Mainly, I was interested in the DVDs and Cd's I could get for free.
Not expecting much, I was surprised to see hundreds of really good movies available, separated according to genre. A wide variety of indie/art house films, lots of foreign offerings, and the classic type action movie were all included.
Basically, the stuf-

If you are among the 500 folks who google your way to this page everyday you need to let it go. The promotion is over. And it sucked,anyway.

Take care.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Curve On The Highway Of Life

I've mentioned of my plans to leave California and begin life (almost) a new in another land. As it turned out, Fort Smith, Arkansas was to be my destination.
I found a suitable property to purchase (just across the stateline in Oklahoma) and contacted my agent, making plans to jet off one weekend to finalize the deal.
Within months, or less, I would be no longer 'here', and was looking forward as I've never looked forward to anything else in my life ('cept the birth of my first-born).

As I've said before, The Blonde and I separated four years ago, maintaining the marriage from separate quarters. (It works. Judge me not).
She was to join me in Arkansas after I got settled in, say, in a few months or so.
Two days before the weekend I was to leave to finalize the sale, we got word her step-mom was ill with cancer, and wouldn't likley be with us long. As a result, her dad would need her help, as he is also too old/sick to live alone. This also wasn't expected to last too long.

Together, we decided to wait a while longer to make this move. Figuring, maybe a couple of years. We decided to look for a home together, and wait out the remaining years, her helping me to 'keep my eye on the prize'.

We set out house hunting, trying to find the right place to rent, not knowing when/if her Dad would be moving in/or not. Too many questions unresolved made it difficult to find a place that would cover any contingency.

The months rolled along. Still hadn't found a place.
In May, I was hit with the tragedy of my sister's death.
I should be in Fort Smith by now, starting the next phase of my life. Fishing. Hunting. Hiking. Relaxing. Breakfasts at the Waffle House. And deciding if I was with The Sooners or The Razorbacks (this matters over there).
Instead, my sister's death has left me as the only sibling able (or willing) to look after my mom.
And believe me, Mom needs (demands) looking after.
(And is a big reason why my brother decided to re-enlist, and stay a continent away)

Mom is seventy-two, in good physcal health.
And I'm stuck here.
Maybe forever.

The Blonde and I decided maybe we should try to buy a home,instead. The real estate collapse has left tremendous bargains for those in the right place at the right time.

For cheaper than rent, we can buy a house bigger and nicer than what we were looking to pay for rent.
Last week, we submitted an offer on a fabulous house and crossed our fingers:
Five bedroom. Large loft. Three full baths. Three car garage. 3200 square feet. Built in 2006. Still like new.
More house than I had ever dreamed I could possibly own.
And still cheaper than rent.

Last night, I signed the bank's counter offer and handed them an earnest check.
It looks like we'll be moving in on or before August 25th.

Life is changing. Not the way I had planned. But for now, I'll roll with flow, and still keep my eye on the prize.

Besides, it ain't a bad house.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Live And Become

I wandered back to the art house to find something of value after perusing so much-garbage-masquerading-as-cinema, i.e.:our domestic offerings. Sorry, Hulk fan, there's just too many super-hero comic book movies out there. I saw one last week, and that should do it for me for the next twenty years.

Opening with a scene from "Operation Moses", as a 9yr old Christian boy's mother drives him away to 'Live and become' as he is taken in by a Falasha mother who just lost her last child to the famine and disease of the refugee camps.
Secretly, he is passed off as a Jew, renamed Solomon (Schlomo)and told to forget his history, and memorize a whole new (and foreign to him) identity.

Days after arriving in somebody else's 'promised land', he is orphaned again when his new 'mother' dies of disease(TB), which she contracted in the refugee camps. Soon, he is adopted by a left-wing Israeli/French couple with two kids who are not very religious, but assume he is, and enroll him in a Torah school, where the Rabbi soon learns, in a light-hearted film moment, not to call on him for answers.

Soon, Schlomo tackles his studies, get high marks, and masters the French and Hebrew languages. He constantly is pained by his real mother's rejection, and the rejection he faces every day trying to live as a Jew in Jewish land where it seems about half the Jews wont accept him.

Jewish racism is a big part of the story, as he keeps his real identity hidden even from the family that loves him, telling no one, and living in constant fear of repatriation (back to the squalid camps of death).

The film moves along, basically in three parts: The young Schlomo, teen Schlomo, and finally the adult Schlomo who moves to France to become a doctor.
Along the way, he is guided not only by his Jewish family, but also watched over by an Ethiopian Rabbi who helps him write to his mother back in Ethiopia and deal with the challenges of his new world.

As a teen, he falls for a white Jewish girl who chases his affection incessantly while he keeps his love for her to himself, their friendship forbidden by her racist family. The relationship continues long distance through the years.
Eventually, they marry and her family disowns her, and he finally reveals his secret to her.
He joins Doctors Without Borders and heads to the Sudan, and the refugee camps, to help his people, and hopefully find his mother again.

The story ends rather abruptly. Kinda like slamming into a brick wall. It's a shame, for the final scene had so much to offer if only they took the time to develop it.
Brevity, I guess. This film is already nearly two and a half hours long. But the story is rich and deep, the acting sufficient, and the writing is good.
I can see where a story this complex could easily have issues with character development. Gladly, this is not the case. You get to know each character well in the first scene in which they appear. Kudos to the cast,directing, and writing for melding together so well.

There is a bit of a morality play. Who are we? Is our identity a matter of where we were born? Where we live? How we live? Who we love? What our religion is? The answer: all of the above. And is displayed in ever frame of every scene.

An Israeli-French production, filmed in Amharic, French and Hebrew and apparently, largely in Israel. Produced in 2005, I don't why its just now making a showing here. Do not be put off by the subtitles. This an epic story based around rather recent geo-political history. It humanizes the newstories and documentaries we've all witnessed.
And you should see it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

It Looks Like A Near Certainty

Brett Favre asked the Packers to release him so he can return to the NFL with another team after apparently being told his latest retirement reversal wasn't welcome news in Green Bay.

The story names NFC North rivals Minnesota and Chicago as possible teams Favre may sign with. I can't speak for Minnesota,or Chicago for that matter, but as a Bear fan I would rather they not sign him and use the money to buy another running back and instead concentrate on developing a quarterback that we can use for a few years.

So, to those interested readers, what do you think about the idea?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Common Ground Of Polar Opposites

It's not often that I agree with Andy, but he's striking the bull's eye today.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Hite Beer

I saw this stuff in a large plastic bottle at a local Korean supermarket.
Plastic bottle? It was enough to pique my curiosity.
Imported from Korea, a product of Hite Brewery Co, it claims right on the label "Fresh taste beer".
Also on the label: 4.5% alcohol. So far, so good.(in California, this level is a special feature).

I took it home, made it cold, and gave a try.

Suprisingly not good.
I put it right up there, so to speak, with any mass produced cheap watered down American lager. Thin and watery, with little after taste, no aroma, and zero mouthfeel.
I imagine it would go well with a plate of kim-chee, but not much else.

You would think if somebody went through the trouble of putting this stuff on a boat, and shipping it thousands of miles to retail, that at least the product would be worthy of the effort and cost (at least in somebody's mind).
I can't see it.

Movie Review: Ironman

Tony Stark is the billionaire playboy-wizkid-frontman-media darling of his family's business building hi-tech weaponry. The whole character itself would seem overblown and over the top were it not for a great, believable performance by Robert Downey, Jr. He handles the character superbly, and brings life and credibility to the part so well that not enough can be said.
Unfortunately, it stops here.
Any comment to the rest of the casts' performance is already saying more than is deserved.

Another in a long line of movies inspired by comic book superheros, Ironman is part Robocop,part Terminator, part Superman,part Giant Robot,part Spiderman, etc.
In other words, you seen everything here somewhere else before.
In a credit to Ironman, though, his superpowers are wit,intellect,hard work, creativity and ingenuity, making him not so super in the superhero kind of way. Instead, he's human. Just like us, only better at it.

Lots of whizz-bang for the buck,the action never really stops for long. Dialogues are clever and funny with lots of light touches.
Like I said, Robert Downey,Jr. carries the whole show and makes it work. Also stars Jeff Bridges and that goofy dame married to the Coldplay guy who named her kid 'Apple'. Her name escapes me at the moment.

Overall, not that great, but good enough. And considering the fare currently being offered at cinemas, it was probably the best I could do this week.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

It's Over, Now Get Over It

Brett Favre says he wants to return to football

As much as I respect him, I think he's showing bad form now. He's already, finally, left the stage and now it's time to let Aaron Rodgers have his day.

Not to take anything away from him, as his accomplishments will forever be talked about, but he risks losing all that goodwill he left behind with his continued 'will he or won't he' year after year.
Brett, you're retired.
Stay that way.
And stop whining.

(With insincere apologies to my way-too-numerous cheesehead readers, this was the best picture I could find.)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


As I get a lot of Canadian visitors, I just thought I'd throw a little recognition their way.

Not sure what you're celebrating, but have at it anyway.