Saturday, July 05, 2003
Today we should celebrate the hangover our founding fathers surely were suffering thru in Philadelphia on July 5th, 1776. Today, I am fairly certain there are plenty of folks experiencing empathy pains.
We took Mel out to the fireworks last night, which entailed us driving about a mile and parking the Forester on the side of the road, popping the tailgate and watching the Chandler, AZ fireworks from across a few miles of open field/ reclaimed desert. While the Chandler fireworks are about what you'd expect from a bedroom community's low property tax, one cool thing about living in the middle of a horrible stinking desert is that you can see really, really far. So in addition to the Chandler fireworks, we could see those in Mesa, Queen Creek, Tempe, Gilbert and a few other places I couldn't quite place. Es bueno.
Jim D. sent me an absolutely ridiculously large poster celebrating Marvel Comics circa 1988. It's truly a great gift and everything I said in the post below is a lie and I never meant a word of any of it. I hope to take a picture of the poster, because mere words would not do it justice. Even a 1000 words.
Thursday, July 03, 2003 Jim's attack on Randy today was worth reading. The point of Randy's post was that for all the money that will not be redistributed via government programs, people will have virtually nothing to show for it in their personal bank accounts and spending. The implied message in Randy's original post was that the addition of $20 means little to the individual when the point of taxation is that we can do more together than we can separately. Believing that you are investing an amount as small as $20.00 a month per person, when that amount ads up to millions every month, is not an irrational thing to believe.
The flummoxing 80's and the failure of Voodoo economics then was a trial run. We were supposed to know better now. Ignoring the last fifteen years of economic wisdom, the "fashionable" thing for conservatives to chime in with is that folks should be wisely investing their money in the stock market or be buying something to stimulate the economy. It's a nice idea, but most market watchers are suggesting people steer clear of the market right now. The trick is, most Americans don't earn enough that they can risk losing money in the stock maket given current trends. Turning $20 a month into $10 the next is not a winning proposition. You might as well suggest taking it down to the local casino and bet everything on black. I suppose that would stimulate the economy, too.
On top of this, a majority of economists are agreed that the tax cuts are not going to do much of anything to stimulate the economy (anyone remember their $300 from last year?).
Jim's stance seems to be that trusting the government to repurpose funding for anything from defense to child welfare does not occur. He seems to believe that "the government redistribut(es) income from one taxpayer to the next." This negates healthcare, medicare, roadworks, defense and all of those things voters care about at election time. It also covers such critical things as police sponsorship, federal and local prisons, FEMA, higher education, and the FDA. Jim also suggests that we are willing to pay taxes out of guilt. I'm not sure why we're not supposed to feel "lingering guilt about poverty and hunger" when we live in a wealthy nation, but clearly Dedman feels this is something to be ridiculed.
If taxes are so high that they are no longer needed to pay for worthy causes, why are there currently so many charities? Yes, there are options for donating to charities, which people occasionally do. In addition, Jim is suggesting Randy will not donate this money to a worthy cause, which he might well do. Jim never bothered to check Randy for a response on this, nor disclose what he, himself, gives every year before waving the finger of doubt. The point is being aware that most people do NOT actually give to private group charities. Not enough, anyway. Nor is there evidence that people would give more if they had more free cash to spend.
Anecdotally, The University of Texas sponsors the Hearts of Texas Campaign which draws money from your paycheck before taxes so that these funds may go to charities. Fully over a hundred people show up for the breakfast every year which kicks off the campaign, and generally fewer than a dozen participate. And this program asks that you not even write a check every month. I suppose everyone wants a free breakfast.
Believing in such institutions as public education, road works and basic healthcare are not sentimental fancies. But even these things are something we force ourselves to trim back by willfully reducing expenditures on them, and then refusing to find blame in ourselves. In fact, we set up our spending on schools to PUNISH poorly performing schools economically by dispersing funds to schools which are already excelling. So by removing resources, we're clearly enhancing the learning environment?
But going by the law of inverse proportions: If we can somehow reduce government to no taxation (which we did prior to Lincoln instituing a personal income tax) our government should be humming along nicely. Which would leave nothing but corporate income taxes. Which are being reduced now, too.
I'm in day 3 of my "vacation". I took off work this week and am trying to enjoy the simple pleasures of staying at home. In order to better celebrate this, I am going to take a shower and go to work for a few hours today. HURRAY!
9:53 AM |
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Hey. I hit 1000 hits today. WHOO-HOO!!!
imagine fireworks in this space ----> <-----
9:05 AM |
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
Quite a few months ago, Jamie and I decided we would be getting Melbotis a little friend so that his hours wherein Jamie and I are not at home would not just be spent with Jeff the Cat. Dogs are a social animal, and we were doing our best to appreciate that.
So, we’d done our reading and considered our options, and we decided to explore two options this weekend. PetsMart hosts adoption fairs every weekend in our area, and we have a fairly standard animal shelter up near campus in Tempe.
Our first stop was at PetsMart where we noticed, right off the bat, that there were no dogs to adopt. Apparently their current MO is to put photos online, and you select your dog based on a picture and an interview with the Adoption staff. Less than a minute into the interview, it became abundantly clear that being a dual income family with no children is, apparently, no place for a dog. I wasn’t really sure what went wrong, but the adoption agent got the same look on her face my high school guidance counselor got when I told her I was planning to major in communications. Short of saying, “fuck this,” I let it slide and we decided we would have better luck at the animal shelter.
If you are considering going to an animal shelter to adopt a pet, keep one thing in mind: It is going to be one of the most sentimentally heart-breaking things you can do short of having to select a child. There are rows and rows of animals in small cement cages, and they have nothing better to do than to stare at you through chain link.
We saw three dogs and settled on a little black and white border collie who had a very sweet disposition and warmed up to us immediately without jumping or biting. We had picked a winner. She was to be spayed and receive a battery of shots on Monday morning, and in the afternoon, I was picking her up.
Sunday we voyaged to PetsMart and picked up a “crate” for potty training and easy animal storage for the first few weeks of night time sleeping arrangements. I took a few days off work to be here for adjustments, etc… We even ran into the animal shelter volunteer while we were in the store, and we double checked with her that we were doing the right things and that we weren’t going to scar the little dog right out of the gate.
Monday morning I received a phone call from the animal shelter telling me that our dog had green mucus coming out of her nose, which would indicate either kennel cough or distemper. I was told that they could not diagnose which one it was, and that distemper was a neurological disease which is fatal and highly contagious. And, by the way, it’s your dog, so what do you want to do? The options did not include the shelter keeping her for observation.
So before I ever even got her home, I had to tell some anonymous lady over the phone to put my dog down.
Next, I was told I could get a refund or exchange, which seemed callous, but I wanted a shot at saving some little dog, even if not the one we had selected. And I had to call jamie and tell her what happened.
So yesterday afternoon Jamie and I were wandering through the kennels again, but it just wasn’t working. It’s tough picking out a dog when you’re not even sure if the dog you thought you were spending the next ten years or so with has been put down.
We returned home from the animal shelter, utterly exhausted over this stupid little dog, and the answering machine was blinking. It was the PetsMart based animal rescue group. They left a message telling us that they didn’t feel we were home enough and they didn’t really have any dogs right now which matched our schedule.
I tried again at the animal shelter this morning, and it wasn’t any better. I also found out that distemper gets pretty bad out here during the summer, and many, many dogs at the shelter contract the disease. No matter which dog we might select, we run a risk of exposing Mel and Jeff to Parvo or distemper.
I would never suggest that people not visit their animal shelter to select a dog, especially when puppy farms are selling dogs for hundreds of dollars. Those dogs at the shelter need a home as much or more than any thoroughbred. Right now, I’m just not sure I can give a home to one of those other dogs. And I am not posting any of this to keep anyone reading from adopting a dog from a shelter. That is not what this is about, and I think that's the worst thing you could take away from all of this. You run risks in losing anyone you want to get attached to, and I don't think Jamie and I really knew how much we wanted this little dog until we couldn't have her anymore.
Mel is sweetly oblivious to all of this. All he knows is that there is an empty metal kennel in the living room and a couple of bowls sitting empty inside. And I know I’m really, really lucky to have a great dog who I hope I treat better than people who let their dogs wind up in tiny cement cells.
We’ll fold up the kennel tomorrow, and we’ll try the shelter again in the future, but right now, we’re still saying good-bye to the dog who never got the chance to come home with us.
Sunday, June 29, 2003
The past few days have seemed longer than an ordinary weekend, and I hope to be able to blog tomorrow evening and fill you in a little more on the hows and whys. Nothing traumatic has happened, and nothing particularly crazy has happened.
Over the weekend I received two packages. One package broke down all sense of the digital and physical realm for me as RHPT.com sent me, completely unannounced, a comic book from the Death of Superman series in very, very good condition. gracias, Randy! Which book? I cannot say! This book is wrapped in a white, mylar collector's sleeve. Breaking the sleeve would render the comic suddenly worthless. So for now, I must speculate. I plan to track down the number and cover of this comic in the next few days and weeks.
I have most certainly READ this comic as I have Trade Paperbacks of the whole life and death of Superman run, but there's no cover to clue me in to what is what.
Patrotism met consumerism met my mother's strange gift-giving habits on Friday. I returned home from work and some friendly co-worker oriented boozing to find a white box on my stoop. Please understand that my mum is a good person. She's really terrific, and as much as she loves me, puppies and this grand Republic, sometimes her excitememnt gets the best of her. And so, this weekend, I received two beach towels.
Now the point here is, look... I love my country, and I love my mother. And I love puppies and kitties, too. And I even like going to the beach. But the upswell in patriotic grandiosity does not necessarily mean I want to mix all of these things together. Is this kind of tacky, or is it an act against our nation? Would such a scene cause Ann Coulter to point to me, my mother, or these packs of whiskers and noses as treasonous? What effect would this have upon mi mum if they passed an amendment saying you could not deface the flag? Could we both get in trouble for shipping tasteless towels interstate? Only the future will tell.
Oh, by the way, this is the most fun this country has had since the Jim Crow laws were removed... An AMENDMENT!!!! Not a law, not a writ, not Pat Robertson barking to himself on the 700 Club... A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT forbidding two people from openly acknowledging their love. I love my country, but some days I am amazed at what we do.