July 31, 2010
My cat protected me from Norman Bates’s…
Every morning when I showered, Boo would come into the bathroom, lay down on the rug, and carefully watch the door, standing between me and any knife-wielding characters with Mother fixations who might happen to come by. We never knew why she did this – maybe she saw “Psycho” as an impressionable kitten. All I know is every shower, she was there and as I stepped out of it, I thanked her for protecting me.
Then she was off, on her way to some other cat duty…
Boo came into our lives eight years ago, in October of 2002. Dee Dee was driving one night and saw a box sitting in the middle of the street. Through a hole in the box, a pair of eyes looked at her.
Stopping and opening the box, she found a young cat, tied to a brick so she couldn’t get out. Someone, obviously, had put her there to get hit by a car. Someone, obviously, needs to be beaten to death…
She came home and I met her at the door. She said “Surprise! We have a new member of the family!” and handed me a box full of kitty.
She named her Boo. It was nearly Halloween, what else could she name her?
Boo was maybe six months old. She was skinny, still full of kitten energy, and very affectionate to us. She loved to play with toys, she loved to climb on things, she loved to nap on the waterbed.
As the years went by, Boo grew up. We got other cats, which she either regarded as her kittens or toys, as the mood struck her. And though she was the smallest of our four cats, she was always the alpha, the cat in charge, the queen.
Queen Boo was mistress of all she surveyed – and she kept trying to get higher so she could survey more. She cheered us up when we were depressed, amused or annoyed us when we weren’t. She demanded many good scritchings a day – especially on the sidewalk as we left or arrived at the house – and bits of whatever we were eating. Actually, she wanted all of what we where eating, but we managed to keep her little piddy-paws out of our food enough to get some of our own meals.
Of course, they were actually her meals, as she would tell you.
When Boo wasn’t lording over the inside of the house from the cat-throne (the back of the chair), she would lay on the front porch and watch her subjects go by. Then she’d stroll down to the sidewalk to watch the water show – or what we call “the sprinklers going off” – and then come in and have a good nap in the window, belly pressed against the screen to catch the cool breezes. Then it was up again to demand something to eat – preferably with tomato sauce.
Boo loved tomato sauce.
This morning, like years worth of mornings before, I let the cats out. About an hour later, three cats rocketed inside and I heard Boo hissing out front. Running to the front door, I saw her being attacked by two coyotes. They come down from the mountains this low sometimes. I ran them off and picked up Boo, crying in pain, and brought her back to the house. Her movements slowed and she died, on the porch from where she ruled the world…
Boo – 2002-2010
The bested cat in the world: We know, she always agreed when we called her that…
June 29, 2010
The recent Gods and Politics conference in Copenhagen adopted the following Declaration on Religion in Public Life. The conference was the first European event of Atheist Alliance International, and was co-hosted by AAI and the Danish Atheist Society.
We, at the World Atheist Conference: “Gods and Politics”, held in Copenhagen from 18 to 20 June 2010, hereby declare as follows:
We recognize the unlimited right to freedom of conscience, religion and belief, and that freedom to practice one’s religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights of others.
We submit that public policy should be informed by evidence and reason, not by dogma.
We assert the need for a society based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. History has shown that the most successful societies are the most secular.
We assert that the only equitable system of government in a democratic society is based on secularism: state neutrality in matters of religion or belief, favoring none and discriminating against none.
We assert that private conduct, which respects the rights of others should not be the subject of legal sanction or government concern.
We affirm the right of believers and non-believers alike to participate in public life and their right to equality of treatment in the democratic process.
We affirm the right to freedom of expression for all, subject to limitations only as prescribed in international law – laws which all governments should respect and enforce. We reject all blasphemy laws and restrictions on the right to criticize religion or nonreligious life stances.
We assert the principle of one law for all, with no special treatment for minority communities, and no jurisdiction for religious courts for the settlement of civil matters or family disputes.
We reject all discrimination in employment (other than for religious leaders) and the provision of social services on the grounds of race, religion or belief, gender, class, caste or sexual orientation.
We reject any special consideration for religion in politics and public life, and oppose charitable, tax-free status and state grants for the promotion of any religion as inimical to the interests of non-believers and those of other faiths. We oppose state funding for faith schools.
We support the right to secular education, and assert the need for education in critical thinking and the distinction between faith and reason as a guide to knowledge, and in the diversity of religious beliefs. We support the spirit of free inquiry and the teaching of science free from religious interference, and are opposed to indoctrination, religious or otherwise.
Adopted by the conference, Copenhagen, 20 June 2010.
Please circulate this as widely as you can among people and groups who advocate a secular society.
April 12, 2010
So let’s get to them now:
“1) The stock market will eventually hit as low as 7,000-7,500 before it starts crawling back up. And I mean crawling – if it’s above 8,000 again by the end of the year I’ll be surprised.”
Well, color me surprised, then. It both got lower than I thought (lowest was 6,626) and got way higher than I thought (10,520!). I had thought investors would have been more gun-shy than that. I’d be tempted to call the lowest a “near miss,” but the highest is way out there.
“2) Gas is not going to hit a dollar a gallon. It’s pretty much as low as it’s going to get now. It might – briefly – hit a U.S. average of $1.40 a gallon, but only if the economy is doing a whole lot worse than it is now. Admittedly, this could happen…”
Mind you it didn’t…because gas definitely didn’t hit below (or even at) a dollar.
3) The recession will not be over by the end of the year. The Feds will declare it over sometime in early 2010, but of course, for real people, it’ll be at least another three years before it’s over.
I’m calling this one a hit. Mind you, people are still just toying with calling it over, but that’s because no one wants to be the next “Mission Accomplished” faux pas out there on YouTube. As for the second part…yeah, it’ll be about three years before regular people start to see improvements…
4) Psychic, astrological and other woo-woo predictions for the year will average less than random chance…and only do that well because they put in some obvious guesses like I did.
Well my accuracy rate was 66%…more like 80% if you accept the “near miss” for the lowest market price – anyone want to bet they can find a “psychic” who did that well?
April 12, 2010
January 6, 2010
…and see the harm.