Author: winter b

Midday Matinee – Monkids? Monkey Moms?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. They call themselves Monkey Moms, and their “forever babies” Monkids. Cute? Maybe not. I understand the desire to have a pet. I understand the desire to have a baby. What I do not understand is why anyone in their right minds would think a monkey of any type would fit either bill. I am among the first to think monkeys are cute, especially the smaller species. And when they’re babies, they do indeed remind us of infants with their huge eyes and clinging behavior. But to take one of these animals in your home, raise it as a child, and think it will be your “forever baby” is abusive to the monkey, and stupid to the extreme. It makes no more sense than bringing a lion cub into your home and then wondering why you have problems when it’s no longer a cub. Monkeys are wild animals with needs and instincts, and most of those needs and instincts don’t match up with life indoors, sitting in a high chair and eating a human diet. As these “babies” grow, they become more aggressive, and when frustrated can do serious harm to humans, other pets, and your house. Seventy percent of monkeys being raised by humans develop diabetes. In the wild, no monkeys...

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Midday Matinee – A little help, please?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. In a desert you can find more hospitality and human caring than you can find on most city streets. In a barren place which provides almost nothing for subsistence, you can find the greatest generosity. (More) I recently watched a TV show starring Dr. Zahi Hawass, the guy who runs the Egyptian Antiquities program. It’s sort of like Indiana Jones with attitude, and Dr. Hawass has plenty of attitude. But fundamentally, as tough and even temperamental as he can be, he shows at heart an instinctive kindness when someone is hurt, in danger, or in need. You kind of wonder where that comes from, given his difficult nature. Well, I think I found out, and it’s something we could all learn from. In the episode, Dr. Hawass, his archeological fellows and assistant, and a camera crew, had to take a detour because of military exercises. Dr. Hawass drove them out into the desert to an oasis where they could spend the night.  By the time they arrived, his assistant was seriously ill. At once the good doctor’s concern kicked in and he determined the man needed to eat, since they hadn’t had any food since leaving the city seven hours earlier. But the food they had brought with them had spoiled in...

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Furthermore! – Sisyphus and 9-1-1

Imagine you’re walking along a high ridge and you see a large boulder poised on the very lip. Amazingly, it’s been hanging there like that forever. Then you brush it by accident and it starts rolling. Not even Sisyphus could stop its fall. But he’ll try. We all think we’re familiar with what happens when someone calls 9-1-1. We’ve seen it countless times in movies, and we’ve even seen people make a call, discover they’ve made a mistake, and cancel the call. Well, that’s not quite true. You see, I dialed 9-1-1 by accident yesterday, and I subsequently watched an amazing, embarrassing, and ultimately astonishing boulder roll down a hill. And, like Sisyphus, I could push back against it, but it just kept rolling. I had dialed an insurance agent. I thought. Imagine my surprise when the voice that answered immediately was, “County 9-1-1. What is your emergency?” I caught my breath and answered, “I’m sorry. I don’t have an emergency. I must have misdialed.” Pleasant young man, hereafter “He”:  That’s quite all right, ma’am. Are you sure you’re all right?” Me:  “I’m fine, I just misdialed. I’m so sorry.” “No problem. It happens. But you’re sure you’re okay?” “Absolutely.” “Great. May I have your name and address please, so I can close out the call?” Now of course he had my address right off, it was on his screen. But I obligingly answered. “And you’re sure there’s no...

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Noontime News Roundup – July 5, 2010

Noontime News is a snapshot of our RSS feeds from the noon (Eastern time) hour.   Haiti quake also shaking up traditional view of women “PORT-AU-PRINCE — Cendra Guillaume walks into the dusty depot of manly machines, passes fellow female workers, and steps into the front office with a familiar look of determination.” ∞ No Dissent Allowed: Leading Conservatives Call For Steele To Resign For Daring To Question War “This past Friday, video surfaced of RNC Chairman Michael Steele speaking at a fundraiser in Connecticut about the war in Afghanistan. While some of Steele’s comments at the fundraiser were clearly inaccurate — such as his claim that the war was of “Obama’s choosing,” when it was started by his predecessor — he also made reasonable, debate-worthy arguments that engaging in a prolonged land war in Afghanistan is unwise.” ∞ BP used oil industry tax break to write off its rent for Deepwater rig. “Transocean, the company that owns the failed Deepwater Horizon rig that caused the Gulf oil spill, used well-known tax havens in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland to lower its U.S. corporate tax rate by almost 15 points. And due to a break in the U.S. tax code, BP was also allowed to write off the rent it paid to Transocean on its own tax bill, saving it hundreds of thousands of dollars per day” ∞ As...

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Furthermore! – “My walk of shame”

One of the saddest sights I’ve been seeing over the last six months is the growing number of people standing in the median at busy intersections, holding signs, and begging. These are young people, and on ratty pieces of cardboard they tell their stories. “Laid off, 4 kids, can’t pay rent.” “Laid off, 2 kids, going to be evicted.” They cram as much as they can about their circumstances in the little bit of space provided by the end of a carboard box. They walk up and down in the heat and rain, hoping someone at a stoplight will take pity. Few people seem to. There’s a tendency not to believe these signs, mainly because people who’ve never been there don’t realize how little assistance public assistance actually provides. And then an awful lot of people just think, “Get a job.” Well, if you go out for any job opening these days, even the part-time ones at fast food places, you’ll find hundreds of applicants for that small number of jobs. Job seekers are standing in line for hours to fill out applications, hoping to get an interview, and in the end only three or four will get hired. Time and again, I hear people say, “I’ve been looking for months. I never even get an interview.” It took my daughter a year and a half, but she’s 17....

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