Lunaya Pravda

28 October 2006

Apology to an Arachnid

Dear Spider,

I apologize most profusely for my behavior yesterday morning. You see, when I got into the shower, I had no intention of killing anything. However, because you chose to make your appearance at a rather inopportune moment - and nudity, namely mine, was involved - I couldn't help but end up flattening you with a pumice stone in a fit of uncharacteristically girly squealing.

See, it wasn't just that I found you in the shower; although that probably would have caused your demise, it would have been relatively silent. No, dear spider, it's because I found you On My Head. In my hair as I ran my hands through to rinse. And you weren't particularly tiny, either.

I feel it was rather rude of you to make such an entrance, especially as my original skittishness regarding your ilk started with your kin sliding down into the bathtub of my childhood and popping out from under the bath mat. See the connection? I'm nude and vulnerable, and one of your relatives pops out. Though I will say not one of them were ever so churlish as to end up ON me.

I still have no knowledge of your original hiding place. My suspicion is that you took cover in the relative darkness of a folded washcloth, and landed on my head as I washed my face.

Please accept my sincerest apologies for my part in your untimely gory demise. I hope your relatives will soon commit to memory the concept that so long as they remain outside, we all can live in harmony.

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27 October 2006

Quote of the Day

From The Dilbert Blog:

But the best part of this story is the cleric’s defense that he was just quoting an “ancient scholar.” Apparently that strategy worked out pretty well for the Pope, so he thought he’d give it a go. People understand that sort of thing. Here’s an example of how you can use this method at home:

You: “Your mother smells of horse crap and sailors…”

Other Guy: “You take that back!”

You: “…said the ancient scholar.”

Other Guy: “Oh, sorry. I thought it was you saying it.”

I'm going to have to remember that one the next time my mother and I get into a round of name-calling. There MUST be an ancient scholar somewhere who once referred to his mother as a crap weasel. (Mom, you'll just have to conveniently forget that I typed this - and by convenience, I mean mine.)

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26 October 2006

The Dude Abides

For anyone who enjoyed The Big Lebowski - The Fucking Short Version.


23 October 2006

Everything that's wrong with government

From the Bonehead of the Day Award - Evil Parallel Universe Section:

Yee A Sleaze

In the Evil Parallel Universe, politicians support everyone's view on an issue.

San Francisco California state Assemblyman, Leland Yee, cosponsored a bill requiring that each semiautomatic handgun sold in California must leave a unique numeric signature on the expelled bullet to make it easy to identify the weapon that shot the bullet.

* He bragged about how proud he was to be a bill cosponsor.

* He was proud to be named to the honor roll of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence for his having cosponsored the bill.

* He sent out a news release announcing his role in sponsoring the bill.

So, how can he appear to be on both sides of the fence?

Here's the left side of the fence

When his own bill came up for a vote, Yee not only voted against it but made sure it came up for a vote when some of the bill's supporters were not, at the time, in the Assembly, therefore assuring the bill's defeat. The bill failed by three votes.

Now the right side of the fence.

With the bill defeated, Yee, because he was not the deciding vote, was allowed to go back and officially change his vote to a "yes."

"Thus, Yee can still brag that he officially voted for the bill -- even though his actions helped kill it."

I'm speechless.


Oregon and Asset Forfeiture

Oregon has its faults, but in some significant ways (death with dignity, medical marijuana), those folks sure are ahead of the curve.

Court upholds Oregon law restricting forfeitures

Before the measure passed, police were able to use civil courts to seek forfeiture of money and property believed to have been obtained in criminal activity, such as drug buys, or purchased with the proceeds of criminal activity.

But civil liberties groups objected, saying police could take property even if its owner never was convicted of a crime and without proving their case by the high standard required in criminal trials.

The 2000 law, known as Measure 3, raised the bar, requiring police to get a criminal conviction before they could pursue a forfeiture. It also tightened the rules on what is subject to forfeiture, effectively slashing the amounts police could claim and cutting off a major source of funding for narcotics investigations.

I probably need not mention how silly it is that police think they can, in essence, convict inanimate property of a crime, especially when there isn't enough evidence to charge the owner with anything. Score one for the little guys. Asset forfeiture has become one of the largest abuses being perpetrated by police in this country, and it's good to see that the residents of at least one state are telling their law enforcement that they've had enough of these unjustifiable police garage sales.

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21 October 2006

Fat Cat

Some time ago, I purchased two feline harnesses and two leashes for my cats. I figure in some emergencies, cat carriers just won't be feasible, and I'm NOT leaving my animals behind. Well, to put it delicately, one of my cats isn't delicate enough to fit into a one-size-fits-all feline harness. He's not even close to fitting into one, actually.

So this morning, making my run to Petsmart to stock up on cat food, I wandered over to the dog harnesses to see if I could find one that fits that I don't think he'd be able to wriggle out of.

So which size harness did I end up taking home for a trial? A small, not an extra small. This is a harness for dogs with girth of 14-20 inches, and it's a good thing I didn't try for a the smaller one.

My parents had a book entitled "What Dr. Spock Didn't Tell Us". It described, with illustrations, humorous "afflictions" children often get, such as the unbridled impulse to show off and wiggle a loose tooth. One childhood condition it chronicled was known as "Spaghetti Leg". This is a condition whereby a child becomes completely unable to stiffen his leg when an adult is attempting to put boots, socks, or any other foot or legware on him.

Putting a harness on my corpulent feline apparently induces what I'll now call "Boneless Cat Syndrome". He became physically incapable of standing, or sitting, or cooperating in any way. He didn't try to run (hmmm, could that correlate to his size?), apparently deciding that the doom about to befall him, while inescapable, also didn't deserve his assistance in the form of a single muscle contraction. It felt like I was manhandling a furry rag doll.

With some struggling and readjusting and rolling him over, I managed to get him into the harness and size it properly, and it fits much better than that horribly tight feline harness I have, so that's one more thing off my preparedness list.

Long and short, if you want any hope of cooperation from your pets - get a dog.

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12 October 2006


My neighbor, Frank, passed away the night before last from complications arising after a hip replacement. Though I'd known him only a year, his death has left a bit of a hole in me.

He epitomized the kindest, friendliest, most generous neighbor you'd ever hope to have. When my home was burglarized, he came over that night and helped me seal up the damaged door that wouldn't close. When I planned to be out of town, he kept an eye on the place for me, and often parked behind my house to present the illusion that someone was home. He mowed the parking strip in front of my home when he happened to be out mowing his own. He always put my garbage cans out because they were right next to his own. And just about this time last year, he was giving me bags upon bags of his fabulous home-grown cherry tomatoes.

And then there is the life he led in his younger years - the life I got only brief glimpses of during our conversations over the fence. He was something of a local celebrity in building and racing cars (a Google search lead me to an old trophy of his recently sold on eBay). He played fast-pitch softball - the same Google search brought up a picture of him being inducted into the local old-timer's baseball-softball association Hall of Fame a year ago.

He'd lived in the same house since 1957, and though I never saw much left to improve, he spent much of his time working on his house and garden. His garden puts most gardens to shame. He'd rotate out flowering bulbs once the blooms had fallen off, and replace them with some other green plant currently in bloom. The earthy smells of fresh dirt and cut grass that often wafted over to my home were intoxicating. Both front and back are, even now, filled with blossoms, fruits, and vegetables.

There were the things we never got around to doing. He'd always said his basement was large and full of trophies. His son was a well-known major league baseball player back in the 70s and early 80s, and whenever Frank mentioned him, there was a notable hint of pride in his voice. I always said that "one day" I'm come over and see his basement, because it was clearly a source of pride. He could cook authentic Chinese food, and our future plans included a dinner at his home one day.

Something wasn't right Monday. I wasn't sure if he'd had the surgery yet, but I hadn't seen him in the yard over the weekend, an uncommon occurrence. Late in the night I was awakened by an idling diesel engine, and discovered a fire truck sitting in front. Two unhurried firemen were sitting in front, filling out paperwork, and I saw no ambulance. The truck stayed there for over an hour, the firemen occasionally glancing expectantly back in the direction of Frank's unlit front stoop. I shrugged it off, rationalizing that any serious emergency would have awakening me to sirens and flashing lights and the hurried movements of uniformed people, not a fire truck rumbling placidly at the curb. But Wednesday morning as I was wiping the dew from my car windows, his wife Jenneane came out to tell me he had passed away in the night. A clot had formed in his leg following surgery, causing fatal complications.

And now I'm sitting here, tears forming at the corners of my eyes when I think that I'll never again see him shuffling around his garden or puttering in his garage, tending to beauty that, though it wasn't mine, I was blessed to enjoy. I'm feeling silly and guilty for the times I wasn't in the mood to chat when I drove up, and ducked in the house to avoid conversation, for never following through with my intention to see the basement he was so proud of. "One day" seems so perverse, so wrong, so irresponsible and wasteful. "Thank you" always seemed so inadequate for all of the help and favors he did for me, and it remains inadequate still.

Frank, I'll miss you.