5.31.2006

My Life in Cats, Part II: Mookie & Mugsy


Let me set the scene: 1992. Just moved to Fresno for school. First time away from home for an extended period of time (sure home was 40 minutes away, but I had 16 units and was working 40 hours). Girlfriend lived in Hanford (also 40 miles away) and had her own thing going on. I'm living in some shady apartment on Bulldog Lane. I know nobody, except my married landlady who keeps hitting on me (don't ask). I missed Kirby, even though I'm sure Kirby was more than happy to be rid of my pestering. Cut to the chase: I'm lonely and homesick. Kind of like now, come to think of it.

ANYWAYS (I'm borrowing that affectation from Chuck Klosterman), there's a ton of strays in the complex, but none of them will accept my offers of food, shelter, and belly rubs (hey, that can be my new pick-up line). Then one day, I noticed all the strays gathered around a particular kitty, who looked like she wanted to be anywhere but there. She was cleaner than the other cats, a beautiful white and gray tabby, and looked desperately out of place. I shooed the other cats away, assuming she'd run away, too, but at least she'd postpone being feline gang raped a little bit longer. Long story short, she likes me, she really, really likes me and becomes my new cat.

I name her Mookie. Yes, a female cat named Mookie. Why? Well, although at the time I was much more Soundgarden than Pearl Jam, I liked the fact that Pearl Jam was originally called Mookie Blaylock, after the basketball player. So, yeah, I stole that idea. Guilty. Plus I had to keep the whole sports theme I started with Kirby. Instead of being a plagiarist, I just say she was named after Mookie Wilson. Shhh. It's our little secret.

Okay, so Mookie brings me companionship. I learn the joys of cleaning a litterbox. Mookie starts getting fat. I'm too dumb to realize what's going on. I just assume, like me, she's putting on the college twenty. Mookie picks a nice spot in my closet, on some dirty clothes, and proceded to pop out some kitties. I try to balance my wonder at the miracle of birth all with the fact that some mangy cat (or 2, or 15) has defiled my snookums. I can no longer look at her as a pure virginal gift from heaven.

I decide I will keep one kitten, but with all of the cuteness clouding up my living room, I cannot imagine deciding which one to keep. It would be a feline Sophie's Choice. But I typically root for the underdog, so I decide to keep whichever kitty no one else wants. The last one standing was, well, I hadn't named him/her yet, I didn't know which one would be left. Derr.

As you might expect, the one kitty left was the most “normal” looking one. Your garden variety male gray tabby. Keeping up with the sports theme, I named him Mugsy, after 5'3” NBA guard Mugsy Bogues.Don't laugh, the other option was Manute.

Mookie and Mugsy formed a pretty strong bond, even after Mugsy grew up, as evidenced by the above picture. They also formed a strong bond with me, and vice versa. When I took a long trip to Vegas, I called home to check on the, First words out of my roommate's mouth: “Dude, the cats miss you.” I was oddly touched.

The odd thing about the two was that Mookie was a stray, yet had the kindest disposition a cat could possibly have. Mugsy, on the other hand, born in my closet, coddled and spoiled his whole life, was a mean son of a bitch. Mugsy loved nothing more than going outside to look for a fight. The scars on my arms are testaments to his ferocity.

ANYWAYS, grad school came around and it was time to move to San Diego. Let's just say you should never, ever, ever try and drive six hours with two unsedated cats who hate cars. Kitty life in San Diego was fine, until one day I came home and found Mugsy, the badass, cowering in the closet. I went to pick him up, and his underside was extremely mushy. I freaked out, and headed to the emergency room.

The vet did some tests and x-rays on Mugsy, and determined he had some sort of major trauma which resulted in a major hernia; Mugsy's body cavity had been ruptured. I never found out how, but the vet assumed he got hit by a car.

The vet said that they could fix Mugsy up, but it would cost over $2,000. I was barely getting by on student loans at the time. Easy decsion, right? Wrong. I whipped out the plastic and they went to work. Within a week, Mugsy was home, battered and bruised, but still itching for a fight.

So, I ended up getting a three bedroom house, and the beginning of my series of insane roommates began (that will be the subject of another blog series). One of them , Mike, was fucking weird. Mookie would bolt whenever Mike came around. I truly believe cats can sense something about a person's nature, and I should have taken that as a sign. Why? Because one day Mookie just up and disappeared. Mugsy, who loved to roam, I could understand. But not Mookie. Mookie liked to get some fresh air, but wasn't a big wanderer. I still get a little emotional when I think of my trips to the animal shelter looking for her. I was heartbroken, Mugsy was heartbroken. My other roommate Marco told me that Mike had talked about wanting to shoot a cat. I can't imagine he would have done it in a residential area, but that dude was weeeeeeiiiiiiiird. Anyways, whatever happened to Mookie, she didn't deserve it. She was a really sweet cat and was a good friend for six years.

Now is about the time when my father's Parkinson's took a turn for the worse. I was just about to start work on my Master's thesis, but it became unavoidable that I would have to move home. My girlfriend helped pack me and Mugsy in the U-Haul in one of the more emotional nights of my life. Me moving was the beginning of the end for a lot of things; my relationship, my dad's health, my thesis and all the work I had put into school, and, you guessed it, Mugsy.

Mugsy, the cat Fresno and San Diego couldn't kill, somehow managed to succomb to Lemoore. Within a month, Mugsy went out one night, never to return. I like to think she got a whiff of Lemoore's cow manure aroma and said “Fuck this, I'm heading back to Daygo, see ya!”

So, within a short period of time after moving to Lemoore I lost my two closest friends (well, Mookie was before the move) of the past six years, my girlfriend was six hours away, I was unemployed, school was shot to hell, I couldn't stand up for more than 15 minutes at a time because of sciatica, my nephew had stolen and totaled my car, and my dad's health was much worse than I previously thought. It would only get worse before it would get better, but I knew I wouldn't be able to keep my sanity without another friend, so off to the pound I went.

Up Next: Bogey and Sasquatch.

5.29.2006

Hippo Krits

Hypocrite #1: Peter King, Congressman from New York, Republican (go figure).

Flip:
At the urging of the White House, Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) inserted a provision into an immigration reform bill being considered by his panel making presence in the United States without proper documentation a crime, said Jeff Lungren, a spokesman for the committee. The felony provision became part of the overall immigration reform bill cosponsored by Sensenbrenner and House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-Seaford).
Flop:
A three-man crew of immigrant laborers had just finished the lawn work at the yellow house: grass trimmed, flower beds neatened, sidewalk edged and swept.
The workers said they did not know the homeowner personally, but the one driving the landscaping truck, Elmer Martinez, 34, said that he must be someone important because of the brass plaque on the front door.
"Congressman Peter T. King," the plaque reads, "3rd District, New York."

...Another worker in the crew, Alfredo Garcia, 27, said that he, too, had emigrated from El Salvador to have a chance to make more money. Mr. Garcia said he had paid a guide to smuggle him into the United States through a combination of cars and trucks.
Hypocrite #2: Denny Hastert, Speaker of the House, Republican (I'm shocked, SHOCKED!)

Do as I say, not as I do:
After holding a press conference at a local gas station in Washington, D.C., House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was photographed several blocks away getting out of the hybrid automobile he used at the event and getting back into his gasoline-powered SUV.
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5.28.2006

Memorial Day

It has always seemed odd to me that in the United States we celebrate Memorial Day by getting drunk and having barbeques. Memorial Day is intented to memorialize those who have died while in the service of the U.S. military. With troops currently stationed in Iraq and the death toll there rising daily, it seems sad that most people won't give even a moment during their beer run to think about those who have died and their families. You don't have to agree with the politics of this or any other war in our history to recognize the service and sacrifice of fallen soldiers. There are noble wars and there are shameful wars, but soldiers do not deserve the blame for decisions made by presidents.

I do not have any answers as to how to properly "celebrate" such a somber holiday. I just wish we weren't so apathetically American about it. And yes, I'm a complete hypocrite about it, too. If I'm invited to any barbeques, I'm going to go, and I'm probably going to have a good time. I just wish the 2,464 soldiers who have died in Iraq could do the same.

5.27.2006

10 Things That I Don't Understand

1. James Blunt. That fucking song makes me want to stab my ears with kebab skewers.

2. On The Sopranos, if they wacked Vito because he was he had a touch of teh gay, why did they ram a poolstick up his ass after they killed him? If undressing a man, turning him over, spreading his fat ass cheeks, focusing in on his bumhole, and then sticking something in it doesn't qualify as gay, then what does?

3. Adult Swim. It's not hip or funny, it's just trying to be, and sucker motherfuckers believe the hype.

4. Family Guy. See above.

5. AFI. Back in 94 they were a semi-decent punk band. Now their fanbase is a bunch of goth chicks. What the fuck happened?

6. Why there are so many goddamn shady mofos in Sacramento. Everywhere I go there's either a) some shifty eye dude assessing the situation or b) some person who sits down right next to me and starts to have a converstion with no one in particular.

7. People who still defend George Bush.

8. Why I don't have a jet-pack yet. When I was a kid I'd watch these football specials about the first Super Bowl in 1967. I don't know what the context was and what it has to do with football, but the half time show or something had this dude flying around with a jet-pack on his back. In 1967! It's 2006. Where the hell is my jet-pack?

9. The Cuban Embargo. We have normalized relations with Vietnam, China, and Russia, but we shit our pants over a poor island in the Carribbean?

10. Why this picture is everywhere:

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5.26.2006

RIP Desmond Dekker


Oh man. Legends are falling left and right.

I've never been that big of a ska or reggae fan, but when I'm in a mellow mood, some Desmond Dekker always hits the spot. Some of his lyrics were incredibly punk rock, a decade before anyone knew what punk rock was.

Full story here:
Desmond Dekker, the orphan who trained as a welder alongside one Robert Marley and led the march of Jamaican music on to the global charts, has died aged 64.

The singer and songwriter, whose 1969 hit "Israelites" paved the way for reggae and the success of his former apprentice colleague Bob Marley, collapsed from a heart attack at his home in south London early on Thursday.

5.24.2006

Chuck Norris Has NOTHING On Pat Robertson

Pat Robertson, the televangelist who makes Christians oh so proud by
endorsing the assassination of Hugo Chavez, blaming 9/11 on the gays, and predicting God would smite a Pennsylvania town, is apparently the biggest badass of all baddasses.

On a website where Pat hucks his special formula protein shakes, it states that o'l Pat can leg press 2,000 pounds.
Did you know that Pat Robertson, through rigorous training, leg-pressed 2,000 pounds! How did he do it?
Yeah, I'd like to know how he did it, too. Especially since the leg press record, set by Florida State's Dan Kendra, is 1335 pounds.

Gee, I wonder how hard it was to leg press 1335 pounds?
...When he set the record, they had to modify the leg press machine to fit 1,335 pounds of weight. Plus, Kendra's capillaries in his eyes burst. Burst.
Don't fuck with Pat Robertson. Unlike pussies like Dan Kendra, he can leg press 2000 pounds without having the motherfucking capillaries in his motherfucking eyes motherfucking burst.

That, or he's lying.

5.23.2006

Please, Bill O'Reilly, Boycott Me

It had to happen. Bill O’Reilly, Papa Bear himself, has taken on Mexico.

In response to Mexico’s foreign secretary saying Mexico reserved the right to file a lawsuit against the U.S. if its citizen’s rights were abused by the National Guard, O’Reilly huffed, and he puffed, and intoned:
OK, then, Mr. Secretary, here’s a no-spin message right back to you: If the Mexican government files one lawsuit in the U.S.A., one, pertaining to the National Guard, I will call for a total boycott of Mexican goods and no travel to your country. ..So once again, any action by the Mexican government that impacts border security and the U.S.A. will be met with a boycott call. And if you don’t believe me or you think it doesn’t matter, Mr. Secretary, why don’t you give the French ambassador a call? He’ll fill you in.
See, back in 2003 O’Reilly called for a boycott of France. He cites its "success" whenever he gets on his megalomaniacal soapbox. Like when he threatened a Canadian boycott after Canada debated on whether or not to extradite deserters from the U.S. Military:
O’REILLY: Now if the [Canadian] government—if your government harbors these two deserter [sic], doesn’t send them back … there will be a boycott of your country which will hurt your country enormously. France is now feeling that sting.

[Toronto Globe and Mail columnist Heather] MALLICK: I don’t think for a moment such a boycott would take place because we are your biggest trading partners.

O’REILLY: No, it will take place, madam. In France …

MALLICK: I don’t think that your French boycott has done too well …

O’REILLY: ...they’ve lost billions of dollars in France according to “The Paris Business Review.”

MALLICK: I think that’s nonsense.
Someone give Mallick a prize! It was nonsense on two fronts:

1. There is no such magazine as the Paris Business Review. It simply does not exist.

2. French exports to the U.S. since 2003 have done nothing but go up.

French Exports to the U.S.:
2003: $17.1 million
2004: 21,263.3 million
2005: 22,402.2 million
So, Mexico, hope and pray that O’Reilly boycotts you. It will do wonders for your economy.
Now if I could just figure out a way to have Bill boycott me. I could use the money.

Fuck Bring Your Child To Work Day

So today was “Bring Your Child To Work Day” at my particular place of employment. It might as well be called “Hey Childless Loser, Your Life Must Be Empty And Void Of Any Meaning Day”.

For those without kids, it should be “Stay Home From Work Day”. First of all, it's just depressing. I already grapple everyday with the fact that I'm in my thirties, single, and childless. I don't really need it thrown in my face by having everyone's kids running around and being all fucking cute and shit. I should at least be able to bring my cat, Pixie, to work to equal shit out. Secondly, those who do bring their kids to work pretty much get a free day. I, meanwhile, have to work. Where's the justice in that?

I always thought the whole purpose of “Bring Your Child To Work Day” was for your child to see what you did for a living. By seeing how meaningless and boring your adult life is, maybe your child would learn to truly treasure their innocent youth while they can. Or maybe they'd see the robot you've become, working for the man, forty hours, a week and have their first thoughts of suicide. Who knows? But instead, it's a bunch of kids and their parents playing at work, going on tours, listening to speeches by professional wrestlers. Yeah, that's what mommy and daddy do every day. Good god, if that's the message these kids get, they're gonna actually want to grow up, only to be crushed when they find out that work is not a paradise of potato chips, coloring books, McGruff the Crime Dog, and WWE wrestlers.

You may think this is just the ramblings of a jaded, bitter, childless, single dude. Well, I have news for you: um, well, actually, yeah, that pretty much describes it.

5.21.2006

Unhinged Moonbats Wearing Tinfoil Hats

So, I usually read the same ten or so liberal blogs, and for the most part, they pretty much reinforce each other. I don’t have a problem with that, as nine time out of ten I am on the same page. In fact, for a lot of the stories, I fail to see how there could be an opposing side. This made me think that maybe I’ve become a little too ideologically rigid and unaware of other points of view. This is something I’ve always feared, so in order to see what else is out there, I decided to bookmark and regularly check out some of the more popular right wing blogs. So I spent a week reading Michelle Malkin’s blog. Here, in one paragraph, is a summary of her views and typical posts (keep in mind one of my pet peeves in blogging is when people create cute little catchphrases and beat them into the ground, i.e. "kool-aid drinkers", "wingnuts", etc.):
Moonbat unhinged tin-foil hat unhinged unhinged moonbat unhinged tin-foil hat moonbat I hate Mexicans. Moonbat unhinged unhinged moonbat tin-foil hat tin-foil hat moonbat unhinged moonbat tin-foil hat I hate Arabs. Democrats are evil and moonbat moonbat tin-foil hat unhinged moonbat tin-foil hat unhinged. Moonbat moonbat boy, I wish I were white moonbat unhinged tin-foil hat moonbat.

5.15.2006

What Would Hitler Do?

The following was posted by some pussy with a keyboard on WorldNetDaily, a right-wing site that gets referenced by the right-wing types all the time. They consider it to be a totally rational and legitimate website. I consider them to be out of their fucking minds.
And [Bush] will be lying, again, just as he lied when he said: "Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic – it's just not going to work."

Not only will it work, but one can easily estimate how long it would take. If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn't possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don't speak English and are not integrated into American society.
Yes, you read right, if the Nazi's can do it, we can. That's a great thing to aspire to, ain't it?

Every day it becomes more and more apparent to me that this whole illegal immigration uproar boils down to insecure honkys hating Mexicans. Well, white folks, I have a news flash for you: Time is not on your side. This is going to be a Hispanic majority country at some point, so get used to the idea. As a white guy, this doesn't bother me in the least. We're not going to become Mexico, we're going to be the United States Of America, just not as white and boring. The idea of the United States as a free country where all are treated equally, while not a reality, is strong enough to survive demographic shifts. If you don't believe that, then you don't really believe in the United States at all.

To a certain point, I understand the reasoning behind the uproar. "There are rules and laws that are being broken blah blah blah". Okay, fine. But the law is not only being broken by "illegals". If you are really serious about wanting to fix the "problem", and your first solution isn't to go after companies that hire illegals, then shut your trap, because you're not really serious after all.

Besides the Palestinian territories and Israel, nowhere in the world are there two countries which border each other that are so economically distant. If you lived in Mexico and you could not provide for your family, you would head here, too. In fact, if you didn't, you would be an asshole. So save your "they should stay and change their own country" rhetoric and join us in the real world, where you it's a wee bit hard to fight for change when you're hungry and destitute. Marc Cooper summed it up the best in The Atlantic:
This spring, the Senate is expected to craft its own border-reform package, one likely to be somewhat more in touch with reality than the House measure. But virtually no one involved in the debate is willing to guess what a final conference package will look like. Not willing, because they know that for some decades now, our border and immigration policy has reflected only our internal fears and fancies, and has in no significant way been informed by the realities on the ground. The border between the United States and Mexico, much more than a mere political boundary, is the volatile meeting point of economic and social tectonic plates. Legislating against the resulting earthquakes makes little difference.

One thing is for certain: those battered vans in Altar will continue to load up every afternoon, and every evening, their human cargo will find a way across the border. If the migrants run into some new Sensenbrenner wall, they will simply go around it. Or over it. Or under it. Mexicans will show as much ingenuity in getting into the United States as Americans would in breaking into British Columbia if the Canadian minimum wage were $70 an hour.

5.14.2006

5.12.2006

While You Were Busy Hating the French…

…France was busy helping us out and not acting like third graders:
Lebovics enumerated the ways in which France has come to the aid of New Orleans, including sending tons of food and supplies, a team of divers to help assess and repair damage to the port, and funds to reopen bilingual-immersion schools where young teachers from France, on loan to Louisiana, have for thirty years taught what Lebovics called “French French.”

The French Minister of Culture, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, was the first foreign dignitary to visit New Orleans after the storm, and the government quickly decided that France could be most useful in helping to preserve the city’s artistic attributes. A “solidarity” concert in Paris raised money for musicians; the Louvre, the Georges Pompidou Center, and the Musée d’Orsay are planning a major exhibition of French art at the New Orleans Museum of Art early next year. And the French government raised a million dollars for Louisiana schools. The French are offering six-week residencies in France for artists displaced by the flood. “The idea is to offer them good conditions—lodging and a stipend, and contacts with people,” Lebovics said. “A fresh oxygen.”

5.11.2006

YOU Are Al-Queda

What else can you conclude from the following statements?

USA Today:
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.
AP:
"Our intelligence activities strictly target al-Qaida and their known affiliates," Bush said. "We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans."
That begs an obvious question, posed by Senator Patrick Leahy:
"Are you telling me that tens of millions of Americans are involved with Al Qaeda?"
In the meantime, fuck AT&T and Verizon, who were more than willing to sell you out at the government's request, and props to to Qwest, who refused.
Among the big telecommunications companies, only Qwest has refused to help the NSA, the sources said. According to multiple sources, Qwest declined to participate because it was uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants.

5.07.2006

GG Allin & The Backstreet Boys, BFF

If you don't know who G.G. Allin is, well, he was probably the most controversial, vile, filthy, disgusting, hateful, yet fascinating dudes ever in punk rock. His live shows were absolute chaos, with GG punching whoever he could, bloodying himself by smashing his own face with the microphone, shitting on stage, rolling in his own shit on stage, throwing his shit at the crowd, and cutting himself with whatever was handy. GG always spoke of his final show, where he would commit suicide onstage. But before that happened, GG died of a heroin overdose, just like a normal fucking rockstar.

There's a documentary about GG, called Hated. Given all you now know about GG Allin, would anyone care to explain to me the following screenshot I took from Blockbuster Online (Hint: look at the "If You Liked" section?

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5.03.2006

Steven Colbert, American Hero

So, every year the White House and the press have this big circle jerk called The White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. It's usually a mild-mannered affair where the President pokes some fun at himself, and then an invited guest does the same. It's usually not very controversial, but this year it was.

Steven Colbert, star of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, was the invited guest. Apparently organizers were unaware of what Colbert does, which is to display the ineptitude of the Bush Administration by playing a parody of an extreme right wing talk show host who unabashedly supports the president. Anyone who appreciates irony, and sarcasm gets it. Those who don't, well, don't. There's not a lot of grey. You either get it or you don't.

Colbert proceeded to unleash an absolutely blistering satirical monologue against both the Bush Administration and the press, which has all to often not asked the tough questions. Well, since the press and the administration were in attendence, there was not a lot of reaction to many of the jokes. Apparently, the overall mood was "uncomfortable", as the crowd was probably expecting a lame, comedy-lite, Jay Leno-ish ribbing instead of an effective comedic critique of all that is wrong with the Bush Administration.

But do not confuse the lack of laughter with Colbert not being funny. Colbert was hilarious. A lot of the bloggers on the right are saying that Colbert was being rude, ungrateful, and just plain not funny. Nonsense. They don't know what they are talking about, perhaps because they are right wing bloggers.

If you don't think the routine was funny, you are an idiot. "But Jerry, everyone has their own opinion." Yes, but see, here's the thing: your opinion is wrong. There's not a debate on the matter. If you don't think it was funny, I'm guessing you are a big fan of Carrot Top and Rob Schneider movies, and therefore unqualified to comment on the subject of what's funny and what is not.

That Colbert was funny was great. That he said this stuff unflinchingly to the president's face is fantastic. That the president was pissed and the crowd was in stunned silence was motherfucking priceless.

You can download a video of the event here.

My favorite lines are:
I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.

Sir, pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means it's 2/3 empty. There's still some liquid in that glass is my point, but I wouldn't drink it. The last third is usually backwash.

The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday.

So the White House has personnel changes. Then you write, "Oh, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!

Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the chocolate city! Yeah, give it up. Mayor Nagin, I'd like to welcome you to Washington, D.C., the chocolate city with a marshmallow center.
If you think Colbert is a hero, you can thank him at Thank You, Steven Colbert.

5.01.2006

Why I'm No Longer Catholic: Reason 164654374684

NYT:
Church officials recently confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI had requested a report on whether it might be acceptable for Catholics to use condoms in one narrow circumstance: to protect life inside a marriage when one partner is infected with H.I.V. or is sick with AIDS.
Might be acceptable? That there's even a debate on the issue is waaaaay more than you'd ever need to know.

Fuck the Pope. Yeah, I said it.