Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rabbit's Circle

It's only got five weeks to go, but we bid 2013 good riddance.  It's been like a year-long store closing:  "Everything Must Go!"  We did not, as usual, make several vacation plans in February; we must have had an inkling that would not work this go-round. 

Things started out fairly well; we spent some time in June house-sitting for brother Ron and Claire in California, which is hard to beat.  Even the usual "June Gloom" foggy and overcast weather was only partially present, and N. made an impressive multiple-flight trek midway through that time to surprise her brother on his retirement in Kentucky.  And I guess to end the year on a like high note, they (brother Tom and his wife Cherry) will be here for Thanksgiving.  And how lucky are we to have a chef son to prepare a dozen-course feast for all of us?  The weather won't be good but we won't be going anywhere for 24 hours after that.

The losses between those points have been staggering.  Mom passed away in the hospital in Florida, Dad got sick at the same time and never returned home, going from local hospital to rehab center to the nursing home here near us.  We cleared out and sold their home during the summer, ending their 17-year sojourn amongst the palm trees.  At least they got to live their retirement dream for a considerable time.

Our nine-year-old tuxedo cat, Gilligan, was struck by a blood clot which paralyzed his hind legs and there was no way to save him -- and we would have not considered the cost if there had been a way.  His playmate, three-year-old Blackberry, has been despondent ever since.  Chasing a paper ball just can't compare to successfully ambushing his senior mentor from around the corner of the sofa.

That all should have been enough.  But recently B. B. Bunny (that was short for "Big Boy"), our sweet old rabbit, passed away just from old age at twelve and a half years, peacefully next to his box homes.  He was never sick once, never had to live in a cage, and was a wascally wabbit until the final days.  I finally removed all the devices I had installed in his half of the basement to keep him from eating up another dryer vent hose or getting stuck behind the furnace yet again.

The boy loved to be petted -- would quiver with delight and lick your skin off -- and loved to eat even more.  He was just as delighted today with his shredded wheat squares as yesterday or last year; flew to his bowl for the morning blueberries, and made it clear he liked carrot tops over the orange root part by leaving the latter for eating the next day when everything else was gone.  I don't think any child at Christmas was more excited about presents than he was about a couple slices of fresh pear.  We finally hit on the idea of shredded paper for litter (which we used an enormous amount of) after going through several sorts of bought types in gigantic bags.  Document security, junk mail disposal and bathroom efficiency all taken care of at once.

Old B. B. is buried out front near the big holly tree, the last of five rabbits who have lived here.  I found him at PetSmart one day in an adoption display put up by the rescue group Bunny People.  It was funny he had the Silver Marten color pattern even though the rest of his family (all there, rescued from a photographer's back yard after being "used" for the Easter season) was tan and white.  I looked in; he came up and practically jumped up in my hands.  I went through the store with the little guy on my shoulder, adopted him with a phone call, and he lived the rest of a long and happy life here, never leaving.

His life circle will be completed tomorrow, when I take his leftover food, hay and bowl back to the rescue group's adoption display at PetSmart to donate it.  What a year.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mon Doux Jeudi

Back in the late 70s I had a fascinating co-worker Alan who explained, when I asked why he was usually late and in considerably worse shape on Friday mornings, what he called "Little Friday."  College students get into the habit of partying on Thursday nights due to few or later classes on Fridays, but primarily to start the weekend as early as possible.  Alan continued this despite the 8 to 4, five day week world being a different one, one he had no intention of changing for.

I went to one of his parties, and on Friday morning felt and looked like he did.  One was enough.  But I think I learned something.

Many years ago N. and I tired of the traffic and lines everywhere on the traditional going-out nights, Friday and Saturday.  We took a cue from Alan and that much more adaptable and happy society -- collegians -- and made Thursday night date night and Sunday morning a lazy sojourn at an oasis (home or a favorite cafe).  Thursday from close of business to Sunday night is ours (and as the song says, you can't take it!)

Thursday is just the jewel of the week.  It's television's festival day and you used to have to miss some of your favorites or watch them on alternate weeks before VCRs and DVRs.  It is fun now, though, to find a missed Seinfeld episode twenty years later.  Old but new, like a vintage toy in its original box.  Thanksgiving is a Thursday specialty (although in Islam it's the preferred fasting day of the week), and now some employers understand that you'll be in no shape to be at work the following day, Friday, and so give you a four-day weekend.  You will need at least that much time to clean up, anyway.

Fictional characters and famous people have been named after the other days of the week:
Nicole Kidman's daughter Sunday, actress Tuesday Weld, the Addams Family's daughter Wednesday, and both My Man and Girl Friday.  The only Thursday I could find was a character on Ugly Betty.  The day itself is, as you could guess, named after the Norse god Thor; Thunor's Day in Old English.  In the Roman world, it was named after Jupiter, and Thor would have been identified with him.  It's a wonder we retain those pagan god names for our weekdays after 1700 years of supression of the old religions. 

Here's to Thor and his fine day.  Just give the old boy a martini glass to raise instead of his hammer.


(Added 11/23/13:)

How could I have forgotten about one of ole Cliff's high school bands, the legendary "Thursday Night"?  He says they suddenly got their first gig and didn't have a name.  The dance was on Thursday night, so...
Their tagline, "swinging teens," still brings a grin.  And how about that clarinet in the illustration?
Sure they had one of those.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Maybe We Can

"Now you need to chill, President Putin."

Presidential limo

Tomorrow is local election day.  Like a lot of people, I used to ignore these thinking (1) I don't know who they really are and (2) it didn't matter because they were all the same.  Now that I'm not away working or losing my mind to commuting time, problem (1) can be solved with a little effort, but unfortunately condition (2) still applies.

To wit:  there are exactly two Republicans running for a judgeship.  One is the establishment's choice, and has solid, longstanding connections to the wealthy elite and their pockets.  The other is a retiring Congressman who was first elected with Dubya and was a reliable vote for the neoconservatives, but was certainly no Eric Cantor or Pat Toomey; he was not harmless but not nuts. 

Just a Hobson's Choice...  The first candidate is undoubtedly being put in place to rubber stamp real-estate developers' constant applications to build where it makes no sense to and get exceptions to any and every law, regulation or ordinance (I'm thinking of you, McNaughton, and your relentless attack on that lovely open space in Newberry Township, which is supposed to be protected by covenenants and already-settled agreements).  The problem is our establishment man is much more qualified for the post.  The former Congressman, on the other hand, is leaving after six terms as he originally promised, but is just seeking another taxpayer-funded job for life.

Sometimes when faced with the situation (OK, it happens every time), I write in someone.  Last time it was Frank Zappa, but I need someone who's alive who would look, um, more credible.  What we need is candidates from a new party who would blow these sad creatures we're currently offered right out of their stagnant water. 

I think we need a Surf Pirate party!  A Jolly Roger on a surfboard would be our logo; we'd appeal to the religious with tiki gods present at all events (fire-breathing ones, natch); the surf lifestyle would appeal to the Greens (recycling old woodies, loving nature, living the simple life); and we'd turn the pirates loose on the banksters, the PACs and think tanks, Monsanto, and AM radio millionaire blowhards and TV evangelists.  That's where the money is, and you know they like their booty.

Think of a possible candidate everyone likes and who would win by write-in easily -- how about Jimmy Buffett for governor (or president someday)?  Dick Dale for superior court judge (he's a stern dude and pretty wise)?  Johnny Depp -- and he could finance a huge campaign.  Keith Richards would probably give it a go if he didn't have to actually read anything or be up before 3 p.m.

If there were a State of the Union speech beginning with a comprehensive surf report, I'd actually tune it in.  And Talk Like a Pirate Day would be the national holiday it should be.

That's it.  I'm writing in Mr. Dale tomorrow instead of the Bert and Ernie who are running for judge.  Righteous.