Saturday, September 22, 2012

Grub Song and September Honeysuckle

It's been an eventful month for us, so it's been awhile since I've done a questions and observations post. There have been crises within my family, health wise and otherwise, the deaths of beloved animal companions, a wedding speeding to fruition that has been in the works for three years, and on and on. Sort of like life, I suppose. And life is good. I've written in the past about honeysuckle and the languid, sensual feelings in brings in me in summer. But Texas gets hot in summer, and often dry. We've had a bit of rain this summer, which ended today, thankfully, and the heat, though some records were broken here,  not nearly as record breaking as last summer. And last week I was walking with Abigail in back of our property, and I noticed the heavy sensuality of that smell. I looked to the fences, and here, mid-September, the honeysuckle bushes had developed a new set of blooms. Yes, September has been a hard month in many ways, but seeing and inhaling those lusty blossoms made it seem as if the good parts of summer would go on-even as the weather moderates.

I do have some questions, however, as is always my way here at
1. In the washroom at my office there is a cabinet where tissue is kept. There is a lone roll with a sticky note on it that says, "Do Not Use This Roll In Case We Ever Run Out." What does that mean, exactly, for the day we really do run out? Are we allowed to then use that one roll-and then what would we do the next time, since the saved roll would then be gone.

2. In recent early mornings, Abigail has left the apartment in full prey mode. She barely takes the time to do her business, she goes straight to one corner of the yard and starts digging up grub worms and eating them. As disgusting as that may be to us humans (or at least this human) she seems to enjoy it, and I would bother about it if I weren't out in the wee hours in my jammies with my dog. But she doesn't do that any other time of day. So I'm wondering if grub worms are nocturnal and only come near the surface at that time of day, or is there some kind of sonar-like whale-song, that Abigail hears that draws her to that one spot?

3. Here is one for any friends who are into physics. I am a science groupie more than a scientist, and physics has more math involved than I could grasp. But it occurred to me the other day that the famous equation devised by Einstein (E = MC2.) (Sorry, I'm not sure how to do hyper-script here.) The speed of light in this equation is said to be, if I recall, the "universal constant." Nothing can ever go as fast as the speed of light. So, if this question seems pedestrian, I apologize, but how then, can it be squared? I understand that numbers are infinite, but a 'universal constant' should be constant, No?

4. I got an iPhone 4S for my birthday. The "S" in that name stands for "Siri," the personal assistant included with the program who can remember notes, start internet searches, dial numbers, and any number of fancy things. My question is, why can't I name my own assistant? I asked Siri where she got her name, and her reply was, "That is a good question." This phone was not cheap, and I do believe I should be able to pick the name of the person who has done an internet search for me on where to dump a body, and fussed at me for cursing at her.

5. Someone I know is having an affair. Thinking about this person's behavior made me wonder something about the way society looks at people who cheat. How many stories have we all heard about the lonely, bored man who feels his wife doesn't understand him, and he uses that line to get another woman to sleep with him. She then becomes the "other woman," and in her eyes the wife is evil and wrong for not understanding and appreciating that man who is so good to the mistress, etc. Why doesn't that same approach work for a woman who is looking-or maybe not looking, to cheat? I believe I know the answer-when a woman feels she is not understood or appreciated, she tends to turn to girlfriends for a place to blow off steam and get advice about how to make the marriage better. If women used that "My husband doesn't understand me" line to catch a fling, she would still be considered wanton (not that anyone in the 21st century uses that term.) But it seems to me that there is a double standard, even with all the freedoms that the "sexual revolution" gave women when it comes to seeking comfort in an outside relationship. I don't know if that's as much a question as an observation. Feedback appreciated.

6. I do talk frequently about dogs, and cruelty to animals here. I guess it would be no surprise that I find bullfighting, dogfighting and cockfighting about as loathsome as any activities humans could devise. But I was recently reading an article about the 100th anniversary of the actor James Cagney's birth. I have loved Cagney for many years, and read his autobiography back in high school. The writer of this article quoted something that Cagney said in that book that hit me hard. Cagney was born and raised in abject poverty and violence in New York City. Some of his friends became gangsters, some died, and some went to prison. He said that when you grow up in circumstances like that and you see an opportunity to make a buck, you take it. You don't ask questions, you don't think about wrong or right. I thought of this in relation to dogfighting. It seems to me that every time I've seen people being arrested for dogfighting, or watched an Animal Police program in which dogfighting rings, or homes with dogfighting paraphernalia were found, it was in the dankest underbelly of the inner cities in places like Detroit or Houston...places so poor that the people who live in them have no hope of ever having anything better in their lives. Life is pretty cheap in those places, and while I still can't stomach the notion of fighting dogs, I believe it is because I have never experienced the lives these people live. I once read a book called "Random Family" by Andrea Nicole LeBlanc in which poverty was so ingrained in this ghetto family that they believed they actually had no choice but to become criminals, drop outs and teen aged mothers. No politician goes to those places, and neither do most of the people I know. That's why I can say I've never met a mean pit bull. I don't travel in the circles where people believe they may not feed their family if they don't make some money somehow, and therefore if their dogs aren't mean enough to win a fight, they might not eat. There are so may things about the culture of poverty that must change before anything can get better for the people or the other animals who live in those places.

7. Is education really the key? I recently saw former Florida governor Jeb Bush on a morning talk show discussing education. He talked about how to better teach the poor so that they can pull themselves out of poverty. And then he proceeded to spout all the simplistic answers that get no one anywhere toward improving the system. His blame landed squarely on teachers, and tenure and teacher's unions. I could tell by listening to him, and so many others like him, that he has no idea how to teach people out of poverty. He's probably never been to what used to be Cabrini Green in the slums of Chicago, or the 9th Ward in Houston to see just how deeply the culture of poverty goes, and how hopeless the children there become. I'm reminded of a line in a movie by Lawrence Kasdan from 1991 called Grand Canyon.  In one scene Danny Glover, one of the stars, is talking to his nephew who has been falling into gang activities. He asks the young man, "Do you want to be doing this when you're 25?" The boy says, "I ain't gon' make 25." That line was so deeply profound for me-and comes back to me when I see things like this interview with Jeb can't just walk in and perkily tell some kids that if they get an education everythi

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