Thursday, August 25, 2011


Most cat people are familiar with Toxoplasmosis.  It's the most often cited villain by the proponents of the American Bird Conservancy's Cats Indoors! program & doctors as to why cats are bad - bad - bad.  Cats are cited as being responsible for spreading this dread disease to unsuspecting humans.  The cat haters, of course, ignore the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control that most people who contract Toxoplasmosis get it from undercooked meat (mostly pork). 

This study ( shows that rats who are infected with Toxoplasmosis (a brain parasite) lose their fear of cats, one of their natural predators, and are actually attracted to them.  This allows the parasite to complete its life cycle in a cat's intestine. 

Don't get me wrong.  I believe that cats should be kept indoors. 

There are too many dangers on the street.  There are people who take pleasure in hurting cats, so keeping cats out their reach is necessary.  But, feral cats exist because of irresponsible humans and they have been and will always exist.  All we can do is continue to try to reduce their numbers through Trap/Neuter/Return and education.  Feral cats are the victims in this scenario, not the villains.  And they don't deserve to be killed in shelters simply because they don't have an "owner." 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Make Up Your Mind!

My feminist consciousness was awakened in the late sixties, when I was in college.  Unfortunately there was not a Women’s Studies program at my alma mater.  My university was brand, spanking new; located in the boondocks of Orlando.  This was pre-Disney and Orlando was a small, Florida cracker town.  The second wave of feminism was relatively new, and Orlando was about 5 -10 years behind the rest of the country, at that time. 

I devoured Ms. magazine and any books that I could find to further inform myself.  Patriarchy, misogyny, new terms to me, but I recognized them and they made my experience, as a fat, of above average intelligence, left-handed woman, make sense for once.  Stereotypes attributed to women in our society had rarely, if ever, applied to ME. 

I’m reminiscing now because of two, seemingly, unrelated things that I’ve seen in the past few days.  Coincidence?  I think not.  It’s, IMHO, the latest Trend in our political system.  And, what these 2 separate items made me remember was that charming (SNARK!) old adage:


Remember that?  It always pissed me off.  Women, compared to men, just didn’t know what they wanted.  They were/are inscrutable.  Women simply are too addle-pated to make up their minds.  Women are mindless twits.   Of course, it was men who promoted this ridiculous “Truth” about the (again their description) Opposite sex.  Why did this hit me today?  Well, it starts with The Rachel Maddow Show last Friday night. 

The Great Flabbergasting!  This segment nearly had me standing in front of my television cheering.  Rachel & her staff did an excellent job of research on this post.  As Jon Stewart would say, NAILED IT! In one of the clips, President Obama, says “they keep moving the goal posts.”  That’s something I’ve been saying for months now.  But, I don’t think either of us is correct.  They (the Right Wing) are actually changing the game.  They say, “hey, let’s play basketball.”  So, you say okay and meet up with them,  bringing  your basketball.  Upon arrival, they say “where’s your mitt and baseball bat?” 

As you will have seen in the video segment, it’s about giving Them what they want and They say, that’s stupid and we don’t want that at all.  Why, oh why, can’t you give us what we want?  And then this morning I get a link to this on Facebook:

Crystal River, Kings Bay on the west coast of Florida is one of the main areas in which the endangered manatee can be found year round.  It has long been an area of contention for a variety of reasons.  Most recently the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) has issued a proposal to make all of Kings Bay a slow speed zone to protect manatees.  As you will read in the article, the FWCC proposal is EXACTLY what the Waterfronts Advisory Board and the City Council told FWCC they wanted to see adopted.  However, once the proposal was presented the Tea Partiers in Citrus County went ballistic and the story went viral on the Internet.  The head of the local Tea Party was quoted as saying that this proposal was against “The Bill of Rights and the Bible.”  Mother Jones, The Huffington Post and many others picked up the story.  Dear Edna, the president of the local Tea Party, is now famous.  I’m just waiting for her to get her own show on FOX. 
So, now – in my always searching for connections brain – was reminded of that repugnant phrase used to describe/understand women, way back when. 


No, ladies, it’s not us who can’t make up our minds……it’s the Right Wing being pushed even farther and farther to the Right by the Tea Party.  It’s past time for the sane, logical ones among us to point this out.  As long as the leadership within the Republican Party continues to cater to the lunatic fringe, the rational and reasonable among us need to revive this phrase, but update it to reflect our times:


Derogatory?  Possibly.  It certainly was derogatory when applied to ALL women.  Applied to the entire Republican Party?  Not as long as they continue to walk in lock step, endlessly parroting each other, sticking to their preordained script.  Repitan por favor, as one of my high school Spanish teachers would say.  Repeat it, please.  Repetition improves learning, it doesn’t make it the Truth. 

We The People need to stop negotiating with terrorists.  We need to stop giving into their demands.  If we’ve learned nothing in the past 3 years, it should be that by giving in to their demands, they will only ask for more and More and MORE!  It seems to me that they won’t be happy until They have it all and the rest of us are left with NOTHING!   And at the risk of offending my feminist sensibilities, to really piss Them off, we should tell Them to STOP ACTING LIKE GIRLS and simply MAKE UP THEIR MINDS!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What Columbus wrought

I have so many things on my mind lately, politics in particular since the Race for the Presidency is off and running.  But, there’s plenty of time for that, right?

I listened to a re-broadcast of Fresh Air with Terry Gross this afternoon (  She interviewed the author of 1493: Uncovering the World Columbus Created.  Not only is there a vast amount of history that we are never taught in school, or see on television or in the movies, but the author, Charles C. Mann, delves into how drastically ecosystems in both the New & Old Worlds were changed by this epic event.  You can go here:  for more information as well.  

Did you know that the New World did not have smallpox, malaria, measles or influenza?  Why?  Because there were NO DOMESTIC ANIMALS in the New World.  

Did you know that by exporting bird guano (aka bird poop) to the Old World to use as fertilizer, along with potatoes from Peru that the Irish Potato Famine was put in motion?  More about the Irish Potato Famine here:  I never realized just how terrible things got in Ireland until I watched an episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?”.  A celebrity, and I don’t remember who it was, was searching for his/her roots and the path went back to Ireland.  The celebrity’s ancestors lived and died during this period.  

Many years ago I started reading The Conquest of Paradise by Kirkpatrick Sale.  After reading how Columbus and his men cut off the hands of the indigenous people and/or set loose dogs on them to tear them apart, I stopped reading.  I’m going to have to find that darn book and do my best to make it all the way through. 

But, what I take away from all this, now more than ever?  We do not know the full consequences of our actions, even when they are seemingly benevolent.  And, throughout the Fresh Air broadcast, the argument over native/non-native species is really, pretty much, moot.  European bees caused the die-off of native bees.  Earthworms did not exist in the Americas and caused native trees to die off, allowing new species, like pines, to replace them.  So, to all you cat-hating scientists out there, let’s talk about cattle, goats, sheep, horses, earthworms, bees, etc. in addition to cats when we start bemoaning the damage done by non-native species.  Then again, had the Europeans just stayed home, few if any of these non-native species would be here today. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tough Times

Both my father and mother were born in 1915.  That may seem like a long, long time ago, but it isn't even 100 years ago.  They grew up during The Great Depression.  They were married in 1936 and my brother was born in 1939.  Then my father enlisted and went to fight in Europe.  Nearly all of the young men in America fought in WW II.  The women were left to take over the jobs vacated by the men who were fighting. 

My mother worked in a factory that built airplanes for the military. 

She and my brother survived the incredible restrictions placed on Americans during the war. 

To find out more about rationing, ration books, scrap drives and more, visit this link:

Americans at home were encouraged to cut back on everything.  I remember my mother talking about stockpiling toilet paper.  Growing up, the last of 9 children, their family didn't have much.  Her father worked for a wealthy man, taking care of and training his horses for sulkie racing, or harness racing.  They lived on property and mother learned to garden and can the produce.  During WW II, Americans were encouraged to plant Victory Gardens.

Although buses and cable cars were still in use around the country, many people had cars too.  Gas was also rationed for the war effort.

Those were tough times, maybe worse than those we are facing now.  Our parents and grandparents made incredible sacrifices.  Ones they hoped we would never have to face.  Several men in Congress have expressed the need for Americans to do their part during these difficult times.  Both Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Mitch McConnell come to mind.  They, however, are talking about the middle class and poor.  Those folks who continue to make more and more money are safely protected from doing their fair share.

Many of us have made sacrifices during these tough times of our own.  Each of us, myself included, can do more.  We need to consume less and conserve more.  Reduce, reuse and recycle, especially knowing that this is just what the folks who lived through WW II did, should be adopted by each and every one of us. 

Let's help ourselves and each other and make thoughtful choices before we buy something or throw something in the trash.  Personal and natural resources are limited.  Let's protect them both.