Friday, December 31, 2004

friday cat blogging - late edition

I haven't been able to get online all day due to congestion on the network with the dial-up provider I have to use when I visit my folks.

This edition of Friday Cat Blogging is Whitty's story.

Whitty sleeping on a footstool with her tail warapped around her

Her proper name is Whittleton KY 11, named for the Whittleton Branch Campground on KY State Route 11. She is more commonly called Whitty, Whitty Kitty, Meanie, Squeak, Kentucky Wildcat, and more recently, Stumpy. Whitty is being featured tonight because January 1 is her 10th birthday.

Whitty's story began in the summer of 1995, when I went camping with some friends at Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky. We stayed at above mentioned campground in the park. The first night, we walked from the campsite to the lake and nature center in the park. On our way back, a skinny little brown tabby cat came out of the brush on the edge of a parking lot, and approached the four of us, meowing pitifully. I talked to her for a second, asking something like "Where'd you come from?" She followed us for about a half a mile, all the way back to the campsite.

She hung around the campsite all week, while we were there. No one claimed her, and she didn't wasn't wearing any sort of collar. She was very friendly, and we started calling her "Kitty", and feeding her meat from our dinner in the evening - hamburger, hotdogs, etc., and some eggs in the morning. In exchange, a couple of mornings, Kitty left us a dead mouse in the campsite.

By the end of the week, no one had claimed her, and she was leaving our site less and less. I decided to bring her home, that she was an abandoned or lost cat, and needed a good home. So I loaded her up in my SUV, an my friend held her while I drove 2 hours back home to Indiana from the park. When I got home, I coaxed Kitty out of the car, and told Mom "Look! She followed me home. Can we keep her?" I told the story of how no one wanted her and she stayed at our campsite all week. So Kitty became Whittleton, named for the campground I adopted/rescued her from, Whitty for short.

When Whitty reached her full size, she turned out to not be a small cat. She is not fat by any means, a little softer around the middle now in her older years, but only a few ounces. She is a hearty 14 pounds of attitude and muscle. She is a calico tabby, with a ticked coat, which gives her a wild appearance. With all of her bulk and muscle, when she talks it is with this high-pitched little squeak - it's absolutely hilarious. This cat who won't take crap from anybody, and is Queen of All She Surveys, squeaks like a toy.

To be continued...
How Whitty Became Stumpy

the numbers keep climbing


That's how many are now confirmed dead from the earthquake and tsunami. 20,000 more believed to be dead in the province of Aceh, Indonesia, the hardest hit area. Thousands more unaccounted for and believed dead in other parts of Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, and other hard-hit areas.

How high will the final number be? It's impossible to comprehend that many lives lost so quickly. The number is now so large, it's just a number, it's too large to have a human connection anymore.

I didn't loose a friend or loved one in the tsunami, nor do I know anyone who did. It's so distant, so remote, so surreal. I'm sure those who are living it feel in part the same way. Surreal. Having an oddly dreamlike quality. That's what this seems like, a dream. One that we will never wake up from.

120,000 lives extinguished in a few short hours.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

aiding the tsunami devestated areas

In my previous post, I discussed the contributing factors to the death toll in southeast Asia, now over 118,000 according to CNN, with many thousands still unaccounted for, and presumed dead. Entire cities have been wiped off the face of the Earth, with no trace remaining.

The death will continue to rise as disease spreads through the areas affected. This is because there is no longer any sanitation, there are bodies that were not buried/cremated rotting in the tropical heat, insects carrying disease such as malaria, and people continue to not have any food or clean water. Some of the islands and communities are very remote, and have not yet been reached by government officials to provide any sort of aid. The survivors in those areas have been on their own since the disaster occurred. Some were lucky and received food and supplies that were dropped from aircraft.

If you wish to donate money to the relief effort,try to specify that your donation go toward the "tsunami relief fund" or something to that effect whenever possible. Otherwise, the donation will go into the organization's general fund, and while it will be used for a worthy cause, it may not be the specific cause you with to aid. My thoughts/suggestions on donating: don't do it out of guilt or sense of obligation. Do it out of love and compassion for your brothers and sisters in this world. Do what your heart tells you to do.

NY Times list of organizations list of organizations

Some words of caution - don't send any money to "organizations" that emailed you. In all probability, it's a scam. Even if the email appears to be from a known organization, don't respond to it, follow any links in the email, call any phone numbers, or open any attachments. If you want to donate to an organization, YOU SHOULD CONTACT THEM FIRST. Please, please be cautious and don't get ripped off. There are plenty sonsofbitches that would happily play on your emotions and generosity to steal money from you.

Also, there are many, many organizations not on those two lists that are very worthy. If you know of one, have some you prefer to support, by all means, please do. Just be cautious if you are not familiar with a group. Do some research online, check them out before you open your wallet.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

sunday's disaster in southeast asia

When I posted the end of the world is coming discussing a program on the History Channel, I did not know the earthquake in Indonesia and resulting tsunami had occurred. I'm not that cold and heartless to have written that, knowing that thousands had died in such a natural disaster. I will not remove the post however, I will not censor myself. I will post in response to events.

I want to express my condolences and sympathies to anyone who lost a loved one in the disaster, or does not yet know the fate of their loved one. What I write cannot adequately express my sympathies. Being a survivor is very hard, and there is nothing you could have done differently, there was absolutely no way of knowing this was going to happen. It will get better with time, each day will get a little easier.

I stand by what I wrote on Sunday. The earthquake and tsunami illustrate the point I was making. The quake was not the major killer, it killed less than 5,000. The resulting tsunami is what killed over 57,000, according to the New York Times. Many of the areas devastated by the tsunami are rural, and had no tsunami warning system. The residents of those areas had no idea the wave was coming until ocean level receded, as the water was pulled into the wave, just before the it hit. That only gives a person a few minutes. Another factor that contributed to the high death toll is the Indian Ocean area has no alert system, like there is for the Pacific Ocean. This is because there had not been a major tsunami in the Indian Ocean since 1883, when the Indonesian island volcano Krakatoa exploded. I'm seeing a trend of when a geologic event happens in Indonesia, it's historic.

I first heard about the quake late Sunday, on the Weather Channel of all things, and really only caught up on it this evening. I'm taking the week off from the world, relaxing, blogging, and sleeping. News? What news?

Monday, December 27, 2004

holiday travels

I'm spending this week in Indiana on the family farm, relaxing. Christmas Day I made the journey from Northern Alabama to Southern Indiana, right to the heart of the snowfall. I don't have any pictures of it yet, I have to get the film developed. (Yes, I use film, digital hasn't caught up with film as far as quality, yet) Noah made the journey with me, since he's the only one of the cats that enjoys trips.

I picked up Noah from Tom's house Saturday morning, as I was heading out. It's been about 3 years since Noah's been on a trip longer than the vet's, but he remembered the routine. I put a saddle blanket over the luggage and stuff in the back seat to protect it, just in case he got sick, and a towel in a spot as some extra padding for a bed. Well, apparently he had a big breakfast, and the poor thing got sick, fortunately for me on the towel, less than 5 minutes into the trip. I pulled into a church parking lot, rolled up the towel and stuck it in the trunk. After that he didn't have any more problems.

Noah spent the trip either sleeping in my lap or lying on the blanket behind my seat. For safety reasons, if he's going to be in my lap while I'm driving, he has to be lying down, no exceptions. That's always been the rule, and he's learned that. He keeps my lap warm better when he's lying down anyway.

We stopped a couple of times as we journeyed up I-65 through Tennessee and Kentucky. In Bowling Green, KY, I found a CVS pharmacy open, and bought Noah a leash and harness, since I'm a goober and forgot his. I got him harnessed up, actually 2 collars improvised as a harness, one around his neck and one around his chest, attached to the leash, and let him out for a walk. Ya know, taking a cat for a walk will get people's attention.

We continued north, and the roads became more and more interesting, however the roads only truly were bad on the secondary and tertiary roads in Indiana. After an all day drive, I finally made it, just after sundown. Eirene, her husband Orion, and their two boys were still at my parents' house. We opened presents, and I got a chance to relax and unwind.

Noah has decided he's definitely a Southern cat, and does not like the snow at all, especially when it's deeper than he is tall. Yes, when we arrived at the farm, Noah experienced the wonders of 30 inches of snow for the first time in his life. This is only the second time he's ever seen snow. He wasn't sure what to do when he sank in it up to his belly, except look up at me with a pitiful expression. He's joined my parents' cats and the hissing only lasted 12 hours. Whitty and George are trying to ignore him, Shadow isn't sure what to think of his new twin, and Cleo finally decided she has a new playmate. Ultimately, this is why Noah likes to travel, there are kitties at the end of the trip for him to visit and play with.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

the end of the world is coming...

I just got done watching the History Channel's program on the apocalypse, how the book of Revelations has been interpreted through the centuries. It also discussed natural and man-made disasters, and how they could be interpreted as signs. The disasters was the most interesting part of the program.

Things are going to be getting very interesting in the world over the next 10 years or so. With the weather we've all had recently, I've heard a lot of "What global warming? This is the snowstorm of the century." Basically, as the planet warms and the ice caps continue to melt, lots of fresh water is being dumped into the north Atlantic. This is disrupting the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean, causing it to not re-circulate and re-warm the water. As a result of this disruption in the ocean's currents, weather patterns are changing. North America is seeing colder winters. It's predicted that the average temperature will drop 10°F in the next 10 years. This week could become the norm for winter, or something similar.

In addition to world weather patterns shifting, the program discussed massive earthquakes, volcano eruptions on the order of Krakatoa, massive tsunami, droughts, asteroid impacts, global epidemics, etc. Events that could cause people lots of problems, and cause thousands, even millions of deaths. All of these events would be devastating on a regional or even world-wide basis. Yes, it would cause a human tragedy with the number of deaths. Fortunately, the world will keep spinning, life will go on.

Life adapts to changes in environment. Even the human race will survive, society will continue. I know this sounds brutal and cold-hearted, the world is overpopulated. I wish we'd stop reproducing so effectively, I don't want to see human suffering. I also know you can't save everyone. Tragedy happens. We can't predict earthquakes, so we can't evacuate an area before one. Tidal waves from earthquakes move fast, and hit remote areas that can't be notified in time. All we can do is help the survivors and bury the dead. The planet will survive, even if we manage to wipe ourselves out. All of the rest of life on Earth will continue, and some of it will be better off with us gone.

carnival of the cats #40

The Christmas edition of the Carnival of the Cats is up at This Blog is Full Of Crap. There is lots of fuzzy goodness for everyone.

Past Carnivals at Carnival of the Cats (amazingly enough).

No Christmas pictures yet, so here's a couple from the archive.

Amon packed up and ready to go.

Eep posing for the camera.

morning after christmas

Another Christmas has come and gone. Noah is enjoying leftover turkey up here at my parents in southern Indiana, the great frozen wonderland. There's 2-3 feet of snow on the ground, some drifts are 5 feet tall. The farm is beautiful, where Dad hasn't cleared it, the perfect winter scene. No one is going anywhere unless it's been plowed or shoveled, not even the cats or dogs. Everyone is simply trying to stay warm and out of the drifts. The cats all are looking for laps.

Earlier today, Noah was settling into his new favorite chair, looking out one of the windows, happy he wasn't outside in the snow. As I watched, he stood up, and began growling. I thought one of my parents' cats had decided to explore him some more, and he was being unfriendly, although I was suprised, since the worst of the growling ended this morning. As I watched, he stood up, and looked out the window, still growling. Suddenly, a little dog head popped up, looking in, and it wasn't one of my parents' dogs. Dad and I went to the door, and saw a coon-hound puppy, maybe 6 months old, standing on the drifts. She was cold and scared, looking for some shelter.

We let her in. The cats hated it. Yesterday I brought Noah, who they tolerate, but a dog today? How much worse can it get? She checked them out while we found a dish and gave her some food and water, and warmed her up.

It's the day after Christmas on the farm. Yesterday's present already found it's way to their door. Someone was so desperate, so eager to get rid of her, that they went out on roads that are barely plowed to dump her. Yesterday's present was shivering and hungry, trying to get someone's attention. Yesterday's present already "went for a ride." At least they didn't shoot her, and left her here, where it's obvious someone takes care of dogs. At least they didn't dump her in the middle of a field and leave her to freeze to death. A bullet would be kinder than that fate - quicker and painless.

Noel has a home now. She's been introduced to the other dogs, is sharing their food and their house. She will sleep with the pack, share their warmth. Noel has a home.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

thoughts and musings - words to live by

This is a collection of some random philosophies, quotes, creeds, and proverbs. Who said them isn't important, it's the meaning that's important. If you must know the source, Google the phrase, and you should get good results for the ones that aren't original.

  • Harm none, do what you will
  • Not all who wander are lost
  • Cogito ergo sum (Literally translated - I think therefore I am. Meaning, I doubt therefore I know - we can only know we exist because we can doubt our own existence. That which is not real does not doubt it's own existence.)
  • Live each day as if it is your last. You never know when your last day on this world will be
  • If we do not learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it
  • Plan for tomorrow and live for today
  • If you love someone or something, let them go. If they return to you, cherish them forever


Yes, I'm going bitch about the cold, and give a somewhat objective report. It's a whopping 24°F with a wind chill of 11°F. It's snowing right now, flurries, just enough make it feel like Christmas. It's slick in some places, but not the ice event that could have happened. My car's doors were frozen shut, and there were beads of ice covering the car. It could have been worse.

In Southern Indiana, I've been told it's a historic snowfall. Mom and Dad report 33 inches on the farm. The National Weather Service is officially reporting 14-29 inches in Southern Indiana, with some counties reporting 4 and 5 foot drifts. Eirene reported about 24 inches at their house this morning, and her boys were loving it. Eirene is taking pictures for me, and I will post them when I get them. And the temperatures up there? Damn cold. High of 7°F tomorrow, low of -8°F tomorrow night. Eirene's and Mom and Dad's cats all have absolutely no interest in going outside. Their attitude is, as Eirene so eloquently put it, "Fuck this shit!"

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

if you don't like our weather, wait a few minutes...

It's not too bad right now in Northern Alabama. It's raining. Lots of rain, some thunderstorms. The National Weather Service is threatening us with floods. Could be worse, we could be getting tornadoes to go with everything. For those of you who aren't familiar with this region, I'm not kidding about the tornadoes. North Alabama has a second tornado season in November, with any month of the year fair game for us to have one or two spin up. We're talking big, mean, killer tornadoes, too. I'm not even going to fuss about the temperatures right now, it's a balmy 53°F (12°C) right now. The 1/8 inch of ice we're supposed to get tonight is what's going to be loads of fun. Oh, yeah. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

See, there's a reason I don't live in Indiana anymore. Mom, Dad, Eirene and family, enjoy your 18+ inches of snow. I'll see y'all Christmas morning, when it will be a brisk -1°F (-18°C). Dammit. And to our Canadian neighbors, my heart goes out to you. -13°F (-25°C) isn't any more fun.

I'll continue to sit here in Alabama and gripe about the cold whenever it approaches the freezing mark. :)

wrapping presents with a cold cat

Original post from Your Moosey Fate

39 Simple Steps for Wrapping Presents With a Cat

1. Clear large space on table for wrapping present.

2. Go to wardrobe and collect bag in which present is contained, and close door.

3. Open door and remove cat from wardrobe.

4. Go to cupboard and retrieve rolls of wrapping paper.

5. Go back and remove cat from cupboard.

6. Go to drawer and collect transparent sticky tape, ribbons, scissors, labels, etc.

7. Lay out present and wrapping materials on table, to enable wrapping strategy to be formed.

8. Go back to drawer to get string, remove cat that has been in the drawer since last visit, and collect string.

9. Remove present from bag.

10. Remove cat from bag.

11. Open box to check present, remove cat from box, replace present.

12. Lay out paper to enable cutting to size.

13. Cut the paper to size, trying to keep the cutting line straight.

14. Throw away first sheet because cat tried to chase the scissors and tore the paper.

15. Cut second sheet of paper to size by putting cat in the bag the present came out of.

16. Place present on cut-to-size paper.

17. Lift up edges of paper to seal in present, wonder why edges now don't reach, and find cat between present and paper. Remove cat and retry.

18. Place object on paper, to hold in place, while cutting transparent sticky tape.

19. Spend next 20 minutes carefully trying to remove transparent sticky tape from cat with pair of nail scissors.

20. Seal paper down with transparent sticky tape, making corners as neat as possible.

21. Look for roll of ribbon; chase cat down hall and retrieve ribbon.

22. Try to wrap present with ribbon in a two-directional turn.

23. Re-roll up ribbon and remove paper that is now torn, due to cat's enthusiasm in chasing ribbon end.

24. Repeat steps 12-22 until down to last sheet of paper.

25. Decide to skip steps 12-16 in order to save time and reduce risk of losing last sheet of paper. Retrieve old cardboard box that you know is right size for sheet of paper.

26. Put present in box, and tie down with string.

27. Remove string, open box and remove cat.

28. Put all packing materials in bag with present and head for lockable room.

29. Once inside room, lock door and start to re-lay out packing materials.

30. Remove cat from box, unlock door, put cat outside door, close door and re-lock.

31. Lay out last sheet of paper. (Admittedly this is difficult in the small area of the toilet, but try your best!)

32. Seal box, wrap with paper and start repairs by very carefully sealing down tears with transparent sticky tape. Now tie up with ribbon and decorate with bows to hide worst affected areas.

33. Label, then sit back and admire your handiwork, congratulating yourself on making good of a bad job.

34. Unlock door, and go to kitchen to make drink and feed cat.

35. Spend next 15 minutes looking for cat, before coming to obvious conclusion.

36. Unwrap present, untie box and remove cat.

37. Retrieve all discarded sheets of wrapping paper, feed cat and retire to lockable room for last attempt, making certain you are alone and the door is locked.

38. At time of handing over present, smile sweetly at receiver's face, as they try and hide their contempt at being handed such a badly wrapped present.

39. Swear to yourself that next year, you will get the store to wrap the darn thing for you.

Head over and check out things in the North. As much as we may complain about the cold here in Alabama, it could always be worse. It's going to be a high of -25°C (-13°F) Thursday in Winnipeg. That's the high, folks. Damn.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

it must be a slow news week...

Alabamian's site had this post which is keeping everyone on top of the beaver situation in the Huntsville area. I'm not kidding, apparently the Huntsville Times has been upholding it's long-standing, world class tradition of aquatic mammal reporting in North Alabama.

Feisty Lady won her beaver battle

Award OK'd in beaver dam suit

These are unrelated stories. It's not as if the properties are adjacent, and it's the same group of over-ambitious animals. If there are any other updates, I'll be sure to pass them on.

Monday, December 20, 2004

a little stream of conciousness writing


soft, warm, silky, smooth

my fingers weave through the fur
soft, fluffy, warm, purr

soft fur, soft paws, warm weight, bright eyes
she shifts and settles, stripes always moving, pattern changing

she sighs, she settles, she sleeps
soft, sleeping, warm on my lap
my fingers weave through her fur

Sunday, December 19, 2004

the naming of things

For those of you who are I have named on this blog, close friends and family, you're probably wondering how in the hell I came up with the name I chose. For Tom, I needed a name fairly quickly, so I chose a common Biblical name, Thomas, which had a common nickname. For my brother-in-law, I decided to stay in the Biblical/saintly theme. Since he is an artist, Luke, the patron saint of artists seemed to be an obvious choice.

For my sister, I wanted a name that related to spring in some way. I found Eirene, Greek goddess of Peace and also of Spring. Eirene is one of the three daughters of the goddess Themis (Law) and Zeus in Greek mythology, called the Three Horai. Her sisters were Dika (Justice) and Eunomia (Order). My roommate is just as much of a CSI nut as I am, so Dika seemed very appropriate. Eumonia is very much like myself, organized chaos is a good description for my organizing system. "Don't move anything, I know exactly where everything is! No, really, I do."

Where does my name come into everything? If you are a regular reader, you've noticed the slight schitzophrenia with switching between Cetus and Mira. Mira has won out as my name in the blogosphere, simply because I like the sound of it better. Both are from astronomy. Cetus, the Whale, is a constellation, and Mira is a star in Cetus. Well, a variable binary star system, a white dwarf orbiting a red giant. Read more on Mira at Wikipedia.

For anyone who I have not given an alias and would like one, let me know. Pick one, I'll pick one, whichever. Use it for posting comments or to sign posts if/when I decide to have guest bloggers.

some stellar observations

It's a nice, clear night here in Alabama, which inspired me to break out the binoculars and scan the sky. Living in the city, I have to deal with a certain amount of light pollution, which wasn't too bad at 0030, since most of the city had gone to bed. Orion was high in the southern sky, with the Great Nebula in Orion just visible to the naked eye. I have a pair of 10x50 Bushnell binoculars, which aren't too bad for city viewing. With naked eye, the sword of Orion was visible as 2 "stars". With the binoculars, I was able to resolve the Trapezium at the end of the sword, as individual stars. M42/M43 appeared to be a single brightly glowing area that is most definitely not a star.

photograph of the Constellation Orion
The constellation Orion, the Hunter.

Reflection Nebula in Orion's sword, NGC 1973-75-77
The top "star" in the sword of Orion, the reflection nebulae NCG 1973-75-77.

The Great Nebula in Orion, M42/43
The middle "star" in Orion's sword. Messier 42 is the large pink nebula in the center, M43 is the small nebula just above M42.

The Pleiades, M45, was another object that was easily viewed from the city this morning. With the naked eye, I could resolve 4-5 stars of the cluster. With the binoculars, I was able to see about 9 stars, the main named stars of the cluster, which were distinctly bluish. I am not able to say for certain I could see any of the reflection nebula around the cluster. I was not able to hold my hand steady enough to get a clear view of that type of detail.

photograph of the Pleiades, M45.
Photograph of the Pleiades and the nebulosity. Image with the names of the major stars.

Quick overview on nebulae and the colors. Red/pink nebulae, called Emission Nebulae, are from hydrogen ions being excited by energy from stars in the nebula, causing the hydrogen to emit the red/pink light we see in photograph. Blue nebulae, Reflection Nebulae, are caused by dust around stars scattering the light. This is the same thing that happens with smoke, which is why it appears bluish, and the Earth's atmosphere scatters light from the sun, causing the sky to appear blue. Wikipedia has a good article on nebulae, if you want a more detailed explanation of the colors.

Friday, December 17, 2004

friday cat blogging - mccullough's story

McCullough laying on the bed, trying to ignore the camera
McCullough trying to ignore the world. "I'm not paying any attention to you..."

Today is McCullough's story, who is also known as McCully, Cullough, Fur-ball, SnuggleBunny, Dammit, and "You're not very bright, are you?"

McCullough was the resident apartment cat at the building my best friend Eunomia, where she, the cat, lived in the crawlspace under the building. Eunomia took pity on her as it became colder, took her to the vet, and adopted her. Eunomia is very much like myself and Tom, never able to say no to a cat in need of a home, so she already had Cleo, Soleil, and Little Boy (a monster of a kitty I think I could put a saddle on and ride) living in her apartment. What's one more, right? Well, Soliel hated McCullough with a passion. McCullough ended up living under the kitchen sink, and would sneak out to use the litter pan when Soliel was asleep. Literally, she lived under the sink. Time didn't help the two tolerate each other either, McCullough stayed under the sink.

So, when it became apparent that the situation was hopeless, McCullough came over to stay with her "cousins" for a little while. Amon pretty much ignored her. Noah was happy to have a younger cat he could play with, and tried to be friendly. McCullough wasn't too thrilled about a new apartment and new cats, and unfortunately took Noah's attempts at play as attacks. Noah would walk over to her, then slowly reach out with his paw toward her. He would hold it there, then quickly and lightly tap her. "I'm not touching you.... I'm not touching you... I'mmmmmm noooooot tooooouchinggggg youuuuuu.... TAG - YOU'RE IT!" He'd then prepare for her to attack him, which didn't happen. McCullough was so used to being actually attacked, and not played with by another cat, that she would take off running. So, Noah would take off after her, thinking she had changed the rules of the game or something. After a few weeks of this, McCullough settled down and became relaxed enough where she would "attack" in return. She always gave Amon plenty of respect, and never did quite know what to think when he actually wanted to play with her. Noah is the trouble-maker who would attack Amon and not care if Amon being a grump.

After Eep came along, McCullough still didn't get any respect. Once Eep was cleared from her quarantine, she had already developed a pretty disagreeable attitude. McCullough is not a cat that handles agression from other cats well. Over the past couple of years, I have noticed a "bite me" attitude start to appear regarding Eep. It's hilarious to see Eep grump and growl at McCullough, and McCullough give her a look and body language that clearly says "bite my ass, fluffball".

McCullough is a sweetheart that loves to snuggle and cuddle. She's very much Tom's cat, and has always liked men better than women. Not that she'll turn down any lap or nap partner, but she definitely has her preferences. With the weather getting colder, she especially wants a lap and wants it yesterday. She is also a very good bed kitty, loving a good warm bed. This cat loves to snuggle so much, that when she gets into either Tom's or my lap, she tries to get as close as physically possible. If she got any closer, she'd have to be surgically removed.

Alas, poor McCully isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. I swear, most days the only thing between her ears is air. It's especially bad when she gets the moments when looking at her face, one can hear the wind whistling in her head, she has this look on her face "What? What you looking at? Umm, I'm fuzzy."

McCullough lying on the bed, enjoying the attention
Come skritch me. Even better, I need a lap for my nap.

The Friday Ark is up at Modulator. There should be plenty of kitties and other critters.

Sunday's Carnival of the Cats will be over at Sharp as a Marble. Of course, most of you know that, since that's probably how you found my site. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

update - renal calculi

For my readers who give a crap, mostly my friends/family since I can't remember who I've told what to. :)

Nothing showed up on CT scan or X-ray. Ok, stuff showed up, like 2 kidneys, a bladder, other organs, and a skeleton. No stones or other stuff that's not supposed to be there. So, either I passed the offending stone before the scan, or the whole problem was a kidney infection. Either way, I'm not having any problems now, which is all I care about.

general lack of ems related posts

I'm sure some of you are wondering when I'm going to write something about being an EMT and running calls. Well, first I have to run some calls worth writing about, which I have not done in the past 3 months. I'm not saying that I haven't been on any calls, there's just nothing remarkable about any of them. I only work 1, maybe 2, 12-hour shifts a week anyway, (being an EMT is not how I earn a living), so the odds of doing anything noteworthy is slim. EMS (emergency medical service) tends to be like this anyway, mostly boredom until all hell breaks loose.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

the peterson sentence and fetal homicide laws

Jury Says Scott Peterson Should Die for Murder

Controversial issue of fetal homicide arises in Laci Peterson case

At this point I'm probably the only person on the web who hasn't registered an opinion on this case, so I'm going to fix that.

Since I did not sit on the jury and have the benefit of seeing all the evidence in the case that those present in the court did see, I will trust the judgment of the jury. The jury found him guilty of one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder, and recommended the death sentence. Rot in hell, motherfucker.

The part of this case that bothers me is the fetal homicide law that was used to make it a double murder case. At what point is an unborn child considered an independent legal entity, which can be murdered? After a live birth? At conception, the zygote stage? At first movement in the womb, or "quickening"? When the embryo has developed into a fetus, about 7 weeks?

The problem I have with fetal homicide laws is the potential there is for using them to weaken abortion rights laws, or at the very least, to influence the public's perception of abortion rights. Most people are going to hear/read about fetal homicide laws, and know that it's against the law to kill a fetus. The general public isn't going to be bothered with learning or caring about the exclusions for legal abortions. In turn, physicians, nurses, and others who work in clinics which offer abortion services will face even more negative public opinion. Too many health-care workers have been killed and maimed in this country for performing a legal medical procedure that some people don't agree with. With the publicity surrounding the Peterson trial, I'm concerned that there will be more of a backlash against such health-care workers, simply because of public ignorance.

Of course, without the fetal homicide law in California, the prosecution would have only been able to prosecute for a single case of first-degree murder, which in California is not a capital offense. By using the fetal homicide law, the prosecution was able to get a conviction for one case of first-degree murder and one case of second-degree murder. Committing a first-degree murder while committing a second-degree murder is a capital offense in California. The prosecution gets what they want, the death penalty for a high-profile and gruesome case.

There's no easy answer. In this country, there is a tendency to be very reactionary in lawmaking, to pass laws as a result of high-profile cases, and appease the public. There are other legal devices to prosecute someone for harming/killing a fetus without considering it a separate legal entity. North Carolina has laws providing punishment for harming a fetus, in one case the defendant was found guilty of "using an instrument with intent to destroy an unborn child". Lawmakers just need to actually think about what they're trying to do, be proactive and not reactive.

(Mira slaps herself)

Got a little idealistic there, I forgot well how Congress and the state legislatures get bogged down with getting themselves re-elected. "You mean we're supposed to actually create and pass laws while we're here?"

Sunday, December 12, 2004

carnival of the cats #38

This week's Carnival of the Cats is up over at

Even Eep approves of the kitty goodness.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

updating the blog

Since I've been ill lately, and have a general lack of ideas for content, other than the cats, I've been updating the structure of the site. There is now a Who's Who section with a short profile of the cats and people in my life. There are also now new photos of the fuzzies on Flickr, some of which are not on this site at this time.

Friday, December 10, 2004

friday cat blogging - noah's story, part 2

Today's installment in the Story of Noah.

Noah looking out the window from his kitty bed, after having covered himself up

Noah looking out the window from his kitty bed, after having covered himself up
Noah looking out the window from his kitty bed, after having tucked himself in.

Noah became very spoiled very quickly. As a part of Noah going on trips, he learned to wear a harness and leash. He never would walk on it and go where I wanted him to. He would go where he wanted, and not play "dead cat" and refuse to move.

A few months after Noah entered my life, Amon wandered in. He and Noah eventually became buddies and playmates, Noah needed another cat to play with. Amon, who was no youngster when he entered my life, needed to play just as much. At the time Tom and I lived in a 2 story townhouse apartment, so one of the cats' favorite games was "herd of stampeeding wildebeests". This involved running hell-for-leather, up the stairs, in the bedroom, across the bed, out the bedroom, back down the stairs, through the living room/dining room, back up the stairs...usually at 3am.

Besides being a very sweet companion, who is always more than ready to cuddle, Noah has a mischevious streak. This is not helped by the fact he knows what thumbs are, he sees myself and Tom using ours for all sorts of neat things, and desperately wants a pair himself. He knows how to use doorknobs, but can't get enough of a grip on them to open doors. Unless he is really hungry, he picks up his food with his paw, brings it up to his mouth, and eats it piece by piece. He has also demonstrated he knows that if he is on one side of a door he has to puch it open, and if he's on the other, he has to pull it open. I'm not claiming that Noah is any smarter than the average cat; most just don't show off so they can get their human to do what they want. He would be truly dangerous with a pair of thumbs.

Noah looking out from his stacking crate cubbyhole bed
Noah in his stacking crate cubbyhole. His cubbyhole was about 4 feet above the floor; he would climb up the fromt of the crates like a ladder.

From and early age, Noah also took an interest in my art supplies. He was constantly fascinated by the little sticks I held in my hand that would make all sorts of strange marks on paper. For some reason, his mommy got very upset with him whenever he tried to "help" and make some marks of his own. Every onec in a while, I would get careless with a project, and end up turning in a drawing with a few paw prints that I didn't intend. I had to be careful when I worked in ink, Noah decided for some reason that he liked black India ink. Liked, as in liked the taste. He would dip his paw in the jar of water I used to rinse my brushes in, and lick his paw dry, since he couldn't reach the water with his mouth. He would repeat this as long as I would let him. I didn't get upset, since I purposely bought non-t0xic ink. It was just too funny, to this day I joke he was trying to make himself completly black. (He has about 10 white hairs on his chest) Now that he is older, and some of the kittenish mischief is gone, he is content to sit on my work table, or nap by my chair. Even when I work in oils, Noah is right there, watching or napping. For those who are not familiar with oil paints, the fumes are very strong, so with cats' very acute sense of smell, I'm suprised the fumes don't bother him.

There are 7 years worth of tales I could tell, which will be the subject of future, short posts. This ends my introduction of Noah. I hope you enjoyed it.

Noah looking out the window from the arm of the couch
Looking out the window from the couch.

Be sure to check out the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

Also, Sunday's Carnival of the Cats is at

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

carnival of the cats #37

In case you missed it, the latest Carnival of the Cats is over at The People's Republic of Seabrook, and has beeen since Sunday. Kinda late with my obligatory post directing people to the latest Carnival, it's still one of those kind of weeks.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

saturday cat blogging

Tonight's post is part 1 of Noah's story.

I adopted Noah from a local no-kill animal shelter in 1997. He was born on May 2 of that year, according to the shelter's records. My then boyfriend Tom and I went looking for a kitten, to, among other things, keep me company during the day when I was home alone. My Crohn's Disease was acting up at the time, so I was taking a very light load of classes at college. Tom was taking more classes, and working, so I spent quite a bit of time alone. We went to the shelter to find a kitten.

The cats were all at a pet shop specializing in cats. Cats and kittens everywhere, having free run of the shop. We were looking for a kitten, so we ended up in the kitten room. A small room full of little balls of fluff. As soon as I walked in and sat down on the couch, a little black kitten came up to me wanting to be held. He was adorable. We wanted to look at the other kittens, not choose one without checking out several, so we held, skritched, and played with the other kittens. That little black kitten didn't want to go away. Well, we ended up adopting that little kitten, who was thrilled to have a home.

Noah became my buddy and my shadow. He was constantly by my side, and slept with me at night. Whenever Tom and I went on a trip to visit either of our families, Noah went with us, and learned to enjoy riding in cars. Wherever he went, Tom's family or mine, there were other kitties at the end to play with. He would either lay in the back window and watch the world go by and sleep, or curl up on my lap and sleep. Even if I was driving, he would curl up and sleep, not cause any problems. If he wanted to look out, he would simply get up and walk on the console to the back seat to look outside.

Noah has been my buddy now for 7 years, and should be for many more. Stay tuned for more of Noah's story. It's time for me to get some rest now. Noah agrees.

Update - Noah's Story, part 2

another round of the creeping crud

Ok, this has been kinda a suck-ass month for infections for me. I have some chronic health issues, the details of which are another post, so I'm somewhat more prone to infection than the average person. Another round of bronchitis, whee. So after 4 days of antibiotics, albuterol, cough syrup, fluids, and rest, I'm feeling better. I'm breathing much better now, so it's all good.

Update on the kidney stone, or more accurately, lack of one. No stone on x-ray or CT scan. So either I passed it one of the days I was having pain before the scan and x-rays, or it was, you guessed it, and infection. Either way, it hasn't bothered me in 2 weeks, so I'm not going to worry about it.