Archive for October, 2008

Four years ago we went to Disney and put our dogs in a kennel. I was a wreck and wept for hours.
We just got back from leaving Quinn at Little Paws Pet Resort. I guess once you have to put a pet to sleep and know you’ll never see him again, having the other pet be away for a few nights isn’t as bad.

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I fully expect to get the usual comments about how people need the money and this is not a thing to worry about. That’s cool.

I know there is a lot of demands on limited money in almost everyone’s household these days. With all the talk about the market jitters, folks don’t have a lot of extra money. I completely get that.

This story at ‘Coma’s reminds me, though, of the innocent who are suffering without voices to speak for them.

As foreclosures rise the amount of pets abandoned by the owners who can no longer afford them is out of control. A lot of people who are forced to leave their homes are leaving their pets behind–often without food or water.

This has been going on for more than a year–the story I linked to at ABC was actually 10 months old–and there isn’t much we can do to change it. The desperate people who leave the animals have other concerns.

When you write your mortgage or rent check this month, please consider making a $5 or $10 donation to the Humane Society in your local area. They’re the ones taking in a majority of these animals,and your donation may keep a few cats and dogs alive to be adopted into a home that actually loves them.

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I don’t think any explanation is necessary…but I do apologise in advance.

Catch you on the flipside!

(burglars beware my housesitter!)

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I’m moved by this is a certain sort of way.

I can appreciate how someone who grew up black in the USA of 90 years ago would feel a sense of triumph when voting for a black presidential candidate. I understand how that creates a symbol of rising above the muck that has entrapped your culture for centuries.

But I can’t shake the fact that I’m disturbed when people are more excited about voting for someone because they are a black person or an estrogened person or a left-handed person than whether or not that particular person will be the best leader of the Executive Branch of the United States of America.

I’m torn because I really want to feel like this is some grand moment where we as America move ahead and into some brave new world that has such people leading it. But I can’t help feeling more like we are in some sort of adolescent proving ground where surface characteristics like skin colour and gender matter more than policy. It’s wanting to date the quarterback so you can wear his letter jacket. It’s wanting to drive a BMW when you go down to Brentwood so you don’t feel out of place in the parking lot. It’s wanting to prove to the rest of the planet Earth that we aren’t just a bunch of naive gun-loving upandcomers and we ARE cosmopolitan enough to pick a black president.

I know a lot of people like the policies proposed by Obama. Good for them and I hope they get what they want. (I say that knowing ahead of time that they won’t. High Office politics are an ugly business that corrupt the most earnest. Three years from now when the Democrat Idealists become as business as usual as the corrupted Republican incumbents I fully expect that those who rejoice at this proposed Democratic victory will be as damned disappointed in the dregs they’ve got as the fiscally conservative among us are right now. The White House is painted in the blood of the better angels who were slaughtered on the path to residence there.)

I personally will cry after leaving a voting booth when I get to vote for a third party candidate who has a prayer of dialing back the power game in Washington. Who isn’t owned and owing to special interest groups. Who didn’t have to barter for his presidency with corrupt preachers and worldly wise men and photographers. Who didn’t have to trade his character for his chance at leadership.

That’s when I’ll cry. Now I just look for the new boss resignedly. You know what they say about him…

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As he usually does, Rex Hammock summed up the feelings that have been nagging the back left corner of my brain for months now.

I haven’t been blogging forever–it’s only been something like 2 and a half or 3 years. Of course I read blogs long before that, and got to know people’s online written presentations of themselves pretty well. Blogs were where introverted wordy nerds got to blow off some steam in the most sympathetic way possible–in writing and from a safe emotional distance. When I first got into this seriously it was where I found like-minded folk to play with in a way we all grokked. Words. Sure, we weren’t all like minded politically or religiously or sexually or movie-viewingly. But we all loved to read and to write and to jumble and assort those 26 letters into something more than just symbols. We talked. Eventually we braved public meeting places. Those first meetups were all shy smiles and oh-my-gosh-it’s-YOU sort of happy gatherings. We genuinely liked the people we’d come to know because we were kindred spirits of a multi-sided die/chess club sort.

Then the “entrepreneurs” found us. The first business person to truly tap the use of blogs at least had the decency to become one of us. Jim Reams took the time to actually write good stuff and get to know people the way bloggers used to. He’d read your stuff, you’d read his stuff. You both realised you liked this band or that politician and he’d make you laugh and you’d say you laughed. Then he opened a business and cleverly used his blog contacts as a way to get more publicity for that business.

All was good.

I don’t know quite when it happened, but the other entrepreneurs that followed started to steamroller the social aspect. It stopped being about “hey I liked your post on Jesus and Granola” and started being about Who Are You, Who Do You Know And How Many People Consider You A Worthy Contact. I’ve actually been asked by more than one person what my daily hit count is. If it isn’t X, than it isn’t high enough and I don’t rate.

I’ve become close friends with more than one blogger. One of them is one of the more highly-sought-after in terms of “metrics”. (“Metrics” is what they want to call it when they care about the amount of money a venture capitalist will give them if you are somehow involved.) Yet I can’t shake the feeling that those who care about Metrics don’t really care at all about the thoughts and ideas that happen here there and everywhere.

I didn’t get into blogging to become a whore. I resent those who come to blogging in order to pimp. I’m sure there’s a nicer way to express that thought, but I’m at a loss for those particular words.

See also Brittney, Aunt B.

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Pa Walton is on NCIS!!!

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No, I don’t like either presidential front-runner. But I do respect the basic idea that one of them will be the president for awhile.

I cannot understand this constant willingness–make that eagerness–to tear down the various candidates and taint them with scandal. What purpose does that serve the good of the country?

See, to a bunch of you it’s a game. You want your guy to win so you play by whatever playbook has worked in the past. Where this differs from a football game (aside from elections being slightly longer and much more expensive) is that whoever wins a football game is just the “winner”. They may get a trophy. They may get a ring. They may go to Disney World.

Whoever wins the election is the most noticable American leader for the next 4-8 years. That person is our representative of who we are and what we are. To all parts of our country and all parts of the world.

Now I haven’t been thrilled with Bush’s spend-all-we-can-and-just-print-more presidency. But I was thoroughly disgusted with that damned “we’re sorry we didn’t vote for him” thing that went on where all the smug and self-righteous emo kids stood around with signs or painted “sorry” on their boobs or whatnot. It was disrespectful to the rest of the country who DID vote for him and disrespectful to the office of the president.

I think it’s just as distasteful to make the opposition candidate look as bad as possible. The rest of the world won’t say “oh never mind, it was just the election process” and then respect that president in a way that is beneficial for our country. I see a lot of pro-McCain people doing their level best to make Obama appear to be an adulterating terrorist who grows pot and poppies in his backyard. That disgusts me as much as the “we’re sorry” thing because in its own way it, too, is sorry. Damned sorry.

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My last post started was about how it’s easier to weather down economic times if you live on cash and eschew credit and it was all good-for-me and smug and preachy and whatnot and then I got to thinking. Let’s be honest. What helps me get through a lot of down economic times isn’t the fact that I don’t have a credit card and isn’t the fact that I am 40 years from retirement and isn’t the fact that I just think I’m so wonderful.

It’s that I play the Sims.

It’s an expensive game because the company that puts it out realised they could make a lot more money by releasing parts of the whole game piecemeal. The game I’ve assembled now with the base and expansion packs could honestly be sold as one game for $50 instead of the $350 over 3 years dribble, but it’s worth it.

Any time I want designer clothes, I can get them for my sims. Instead of spending thousands of dollars remodelling my kitchen, I just satisfy my travertine-envy by pimping out a sim domicile. I’ve wanted a wall-mount plasma screen for years, but it just hasn’t been in the cards. A few of my sims have them, though.

The Sims is retail therapy on the cheap and I love it. It’s also a source for a lot of cute moments and a way to have kids you don’t have to send to college and dogs you don’t have to take to the vet.

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The Duh Factor

I haven’t seen much of Patrick and Lydia since they got pregnant and I got sicker. I keep in touch with them mostly through blogs. (That’s one of the reasons I think blogs are terrific. You can keep in touch with other people and maintain a level of knowledge about them even if you can’t see them. Although it is still weird to me to have people I haven’t seen in a year know so much about me. I guess I like having it both ways, huh?)

A few days ago Lydia was blog-griping about how the talk shows are all embracing the stock market drop by doing stories about how to save money. Part of me thinks if they’d done those stories before–instead of encouraging people to buy the latest $56 dollar shampoo–then some of the financial mess that was created by chicken little panic would have been avoided. One of the reasons I can afford to be blasé about the market drops is because the market isn’t the only basket for me to keep my eggs in. I can afford to be blasé about the credit crunch because I use credit sparingly.

I wish more people would be more open about the joys of saving money and not using credit cards. I can honestly say that the first two years of weaning yourself off credit are a BITCH. But once you’ve done it you’ll be a lot happier.

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I was reading the comments on a post over at Aunt B.’s and something just didn’t feel right. The post itself was about the current budget shortfall in Tennessee and the necessity for an income tax to make things right. Of course we all can just rest comfortably in the knowledge that I’m agin’ it. (The income tax.)

But it wasn’t just that. It was something that I’ve seen not just at TCP but really at every place I’ve gone to read about what folks are saying about the economy. I don’t personally think we’re headed for another great depression, but I’m very interested in the thought processes of those who do. I want to know why they think another GD is going to happen and what they think we should do about it.

But over and over again I keep reading these long diatribes about how we are in this mess because of irresponsible spending, greed, etc. I also read about how we shouldn’t spend our money to bail out the fools who made stupid mistakes and created this problem.

What strikes me as odd is how much of this type of diatribe I read from the same folks who are adamantly pro-choice. It strikes me as odd because having grown up in the very pro-gestation world of conservative Christianity, I’m very familiar with that speech. Except it’s usually directed at 17 year olds who find themselves with child after having sex. I think it’s very ironic how “you should have just kept your legs together” has been replaced with “you should have just not invested in the subprime market.”

Now I don’t quite know yet how I feel about the bailout in the long view. In the short view I feel like it’s sort of similar to taking your cousin to prom–not ideal, but maybe worse than the alternative of sticking it out without your cousin’s help. I do know that I’ve been saying for years that folks in real estate development were being shortsighted by building far more million-dollar homes than there were people with the money to buy that product. Nevertheless, I’m still a bit put off by the strident judgement and truculent so-thereness of a lot of anti-bailout arguments.

I think any of us over the age of four can realise that people make mistakes. A lot of mistakes. They make bad choices and bad decisions on almost a daily basis. I don’t know if it’s helpful to just ridicule people for their mistakes instead of helping them find a solution. It always bothered me when I heard people rudely write off pregnant teenagers. It bothers me when the same tactic is employed against investment banks. In both cases it seems to betray a lack of willingness to understand, sympathise and work for a happy ending.

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