Monday, May 29, 2017

Sadie the Hunter

The transition is now complete: Sadie is ours.

Sadie began coming to our house about two years ago. A neighborhood cat just leaving kittenhood, she would show up with Pepper, her brother or sister (we never knew which). They’d frolic on our front porch, to the absolute delight of my daughter, who has loved all animals without reservation since she was a tot.

After a few months, though, Pepper stopped coming. According to neighborhood intelligence, he or she was grabbed by a coyote – a common fate for small pets in these-here parts. From then on Sadie only showed up intermittently. Until last fall.

At that time, she began to visit almost daily, drawn by welcoming daughter Dana, probably. Dana sweetened the pot by buying kitty treats at a nearby grocery store. Soon she was adding kitty treats to my grocery list. Then dry cat food. Then canned. I went along with it, though my initial impulse was to get “Pet’s Pride,” the generic crap. Dana said that wasn’t good enough for our freeloading feline.

And so, encouraged by us, Sadie began spending more and more time at our place. I leave for work early in the morning; sometimes Sadie would show up during the hour or so I work in the kitchen before heading to the bus stop. I’d let her in and feed her. It didn’t take long for Sadie to search out Dana’s bedroom, and prolong her visit.

This went on for months. Dana began buying cat toys, including some that sharpened Sadie's hunting skills. It began to feel like Sadie was ours. I kept reminding Dana that no, she has another home two doors down. How would you feel, I asked, if a pet dumped you for another house? Undeterred, Dana informed me that cats tend to choose their people.

A self-serving argument, I countered. Some experts say cats don’t even like people all that much. “Living with a human being is an entirely practical arrangement as long as the conditions are favourable,” wrote a veterinarian I found via Google. Sadie had already proved that point. Not conclusive, Dana insisted, and would have none of it. She reiterated: cats choose you.

She may be right. Her relationship with that little beast is unlike anything I’ve ever seen: Sadie comes running when she hears Dana get home from work (she’s a barista; see one of her latte creations at the end of this post). Sadie seeks out Danas company and ignores everyone else. (She seems afraid of me, which is laughable, and runs at the sight of my guitar.)

A month or so ago I finally had a chat with Sadie’s real owners. They had just put a For Sale sign in their front yard, so clearly something had to give. Long story short: we all acknowledged the weirdness of the situation but they conceded that Sadie had ditched them. In mid-May a moving van showed up, and these neighbors were going going gone. It’s a done deal.

Throughout all this, Sadie has demonstrated remarkable hunting skills. She catches and kills her prey in our back yard, her happy hunting grounds (one reason, perhaps, she “chose” us). It’s overrun with mice and rabbits, and the occasional raccoon (but they’re twice her size, and Sadie keeps her distance).

She often leaves mangled caresses at the door: proof, Dana claims, that Sadie loves us.

Just this morning (my inspiration for writing these words) I saw her with a fresh victim, a baby bunny. She tortured it for a while before finishing it off.

When I went out to clean up the remains, I found bits of rabbit fur, one ear, inner organs I could not identify, and a not-so-lucky rabbit’s foot.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Interesting Times

Jon Ossoff is probably going to lose Georgia’s special election in June. I hope I’m wrong. But the Trump juggernaut has enough money, momentum, and dirty tricks to keep steamrolling progressive movements and candidates for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps we are cursed – for we live in interesting times.

As it happens, the very progressives I support have done an outstanding job of alienating me since election day last November. A coalition consisting of the Democratic Party, ActBlue, MoveOn and various others have taken a veritable carpet-bomb approach to raising money for Ossoff. With a mixed bag of tactics that includes flattery, shame, panhandling, and the good cop/bad cop game, they’ve been browbeating me and (no doubt) millions of others, via email, for donations that I, for one, can’t really afford but fork over anyway.

It is shameless and it is non-stop. I’ll spare you the details, but here’s a sampling of authentic email subject lines:

Are you getting our emails John?? [read today]
John, are you getting our emails? [please open!]
John, we're BEGGING you
We've got NOTHING left
Kiss all hope goodbye
Republicans PANICKING
Heartbreaking loss [Special Election]
John, if you are angry that the House passed Trumpcare...

These are all fill-in-the-blank auto-sends, of course, but they keep coming even after I donate – and I’m concerned enough to have made quite a few donations, spread out over many months. All have been small, but according to the panicky emails, “quadruple matched.” (By whom?)

More than once I’ve made yet another donation, and within an hour – always after an auto-generated thank-you – I’ll get another doom-and-gloom message. If Ossoff loses, they imply, it’ll be my fault.

It is so offensive that I sent ActBlue an email:

I understand the need to constantly raise funds, especially in these threatening times.

However, I firmly believe you do yourself a disservice...

And blah, blah, blah.

To my surprise, I got a reply.

From: Debby Gentile
Subject: Re: [ActBlue]
Date: April 15, 2017 at 2:11:19 PM MDT

Thanks so much for reaching out, and I'm sorry for the frustration this has caused.

[buck-passing BS deleted]

If there is anything else I can help you with, please let me know!

Best, Debby

Debby. Of course! Good old, don’t-blame-us Debby.

I hope Ossoff wins. Because of Trump we are in a dire position, one that threatens the very fabric of this country. Former White House counsel John Dean famously said there was a cancer on the presidency. Forty years later, the cancer is the presidency. But the resistance is real.

Since I began drafting this blog post, Trump fired James Comey. The nation continues to speed headlong toward a cliff. Depending on which pundit opens his or her yap, we are in uncharted territory and nearing a constitutional crisis.

Sorry for the rant. May we live in interesting, well-funded times.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Business As Usual

Everyone knows the king has no clothes – that Trump is incompetent, and totally unfit for the presidency. When can we stop pretending?

His most diehard supports may never give up the game. But I hope – and that’s all it is, hope – that in time, whatever collective common sense remains in this country will coalesce around the idea that the sitting president is a grossly inept and dangerous lunatic who, for the good of the nation, must be stopped.

I’m still naive enough to believe that good will prevail. I should know better. I do know better.

Yet I have to believe that Trump will get his comeuppance. If I see one more fist-pump by that arrogant fraud, that lickspittle to the one percent, I may scream. It confounds me (and many others) that he’s been thus far unscathed by what would have destroyed any other politician.

As the Trump campaign ramped up in late 2015, his personal physician stated in a letter that Trump “will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency” – an absurd statement and naked lie, probably written by Trump himself. Certainly, his appearance is unwholesome. Maybe he'll end up dying in office, and we’ll be subjected to 1) a televised state funeral, with all the trimmings, and 2) President Mike Pence.

A televised funeral may not be too high a price to pay. President Pence, complicit with Trump and equally evil, would be. He is a willing collaborator and enabler deserving his own awful fate.

Meanwhile, for Trump, it is business as usual. His lifelong modus operandi has been to destroy whatever stands in his way, accountable to no one. Utterly despicable, it was a winning formula in private life. In an officeholder it is unacceptable.

Lock him up.