Monday, October 27, 2008

Message in a bottle

Greetings, faithful readers.
It's been roughly two months since I began this journey.
I am a blogger.
This is a blog.
Blog, a contraction of the term Web log.
Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, eh?
Which is as it should be, cause it doesn't exactly slide into a life.
It is insatiable. And unfathomable. Like tossing rolled up bottled messages into a vast Internet sea.

I put up a huge amount of resistance to this practice, as I have a hard time fathoming why anyone other than my friends and family would be interested. Which on the face of it is odd, because as a former Sunday newspaper columnist for the second largest paper in New Jersey, I was actually paid to write what came into my head.

But this is different. Unfiltered. Raw. Unedited by anyone but me. I never realized before the comfort an editor brings.

It gobbles up my life. There are always several posts underway simultaneously, most of which never make it online. As I go about my day, ideas flood my brain. When I empty my pockets, I find slips of paper with fragments. The book I am rewriting simmers on a back burner.

This is where the generation gap makes itself known. I mention to a younger friend that I'm blogging in dribs and drabs, during 15 breaks at work. And he responses with: That's great. Do a break blog.

A break blog? Never crossed this ol' broad's mind. I am busy cobbling moments together. He says the moment is enough. Ah, the difference several decades make.

Break over.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Game over

Deed done.
Final bell.

(Fat chance)

I'm Roberta Wells, and I approve this message for the relief I need.

Election day used to be fun. It was a holiday. Schools were closed cause that's where we voted. There was a celebration vibe.

Fast forward. We are expected to vote around our working hours. We're voting all over the place, like the Elks, as schools are open. Voting becomes a chore to be scheduled in a busy day. People curse the lines, casting glances at their watches.
(An aside: when my daughter lived in San Francisco, she once voted in someone's garage.)

Then I move to Florida and am assigned to vote in a church. A CHURCH! I am expected to pass under a giant cross to cast my vote in a land founded on the separation of same. No one else seem to think this is not appropriate. I am furious.

Enter early voting. I learn if I vote early I have my choice of venues, seven days a week. I opt for Fruitville Library. I like it. It feels like a school.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A gaseous tale

Once upon a time, in a land beneath our feet, there lived a people addicted to Big Oil, aka gasoline. While there was plenty of the black gold to be had within the borders of this lush land, an overindulgent and highly marketed people soon outgrew their homegrown. You might say demand exceeded supply.

The once idealistic people, you see, had fallen into a form of idolatry (and we all know where that leads). They worship their iron horses, aka automobiles. They wax, shine and caress these machines, creating every gadget their prodigious imaginations could conjure. As we all know, size does indeed matter, and autos grow exponentially, some eventually costing as much as a starter house did before the house bloat.

( A note: auto/oil addiction evidently makes people very thirsty, so cup holders become a most cherished option.)

All this pushes gas prices up and leaves these proud people at the mercy of OPEC, a Mideast Mafia composed of mostly Saudi potentates, in whose kingdom, women are not allowed to drive. (Although between the ibayah and the full face veils, their vision and movements are so impaired, that’s not altogether a bad thing, I suppose.)

Of late, though, events have taken a strange twist. The record high price of gasoline continues to plummet faster than the stock market. Yet supply remains the same. So what’s the deal?

It’s the silver lining in the economic storm cloud. Simply put, we are apparently driving less, therefore demanding less. With a drop in demand, the price drops. Free market 101. Geez, folks, there may be something to this capitalism thang after all, eh?.

This is marvelous. It demonstrates that we are not at the mercy of Saudi princes. WE control the price of oil, not OPEC. Not to mention how this is also a great thing for the environment…less greenhouse gas, less global warming et al.

You think?

Take heart, we can bring that feeling of doom right back. Just listen to some economic “expert” on the tellie. This reduction in driving, tantamount to the American public turning its back on its one true love—its automobiles, is sure evidence of a serious deepening recession—or so they say.

They sure know how to turn tarnish a silver lining,

Monday, October 6, 2008

Doggie Dominatrix

Victoria Stilwell is coming.
Victoria Stilwell is coming.

And I'm chomping at the bit. Who is she, you ask? She's the latest Brit to set us colonists straight--and make a pile of dough in the process.

To my total shock, I've been totally taken in by the dog training star of the Brit's "It's me or the dog." This intensely attractive woman dolled up in skin tight clothing and black leather boots, comes to the rescue of owners whose pets treat them like, well, dogs. These people are the equivalent of those unbelievable incompetent parents who can't control their offspring in Nanny 911.

Not to worry. Victoria, her posh accent, her chicken treats and her snazzy sports car are on their way across the pond to teach us her brand of tough love. She is often shot from below, arms crossed, making her look 10-foot tall and more intimidating than those women wrestlers. Regardless of her presentation, she is more lace than leather, unflappable but kind, confident and caring. I have picked up tips that actually work on my cat, Abbie.

I am entirely without sympathy for these clueless pet owners, many of whom claim to treat their pets like "children." Well, excuuuuuuuse me, but even THEIR children don't toilet all over the house.

And although I've become suspicious of the fairy tale outcomes, I still watch. (I just love the way she pronounces "dog".) This DD breezes into town for 2 days, turns the doggies and their OWNERS around and leaves for the owners to follow-through, checking back in two weeks and sometimes in 6 months.

Call me a cynic, but I find it difficult to believe that women-- whose dogs won't let their husbands so much as touch them for years and chase them from the connubial bed--don't have something a bit deeper going on. The men come off as pussy-whipped victims or sexist bullies who refuse to neuter male dogs who are abusing their partners, or walk a "girlie dog."

Animal Planet TV is taking over my house. I've become a regular viewer of animal cop shows (especially the one in NYC), wild animal rescue shows and have even watched the Grizzyman Diaries, made so poignant by its known tragic ending.

T'is a real puzzlement

My growing addiction to the Animal Planet is rather startling.. Looking over these posts, I realize a good many deal with pets. That also surprises me because I've never thought of myself as an animal person. For most of my adult life, I've viewed pets kindly, but at a distance. Much like people who chose to remain childless view other's kids.

As a child, I would discard one coloring book after another in search of one without those sickening baby animals. My interest rests solely in people. And my natural inclination isn’t helped by my youthful pet experiences.

I find my first pet, an adorable black and white Cocker Spaniel named Penny, gone one day as I return from my second grade class at South Grove Elementary down the block. My mother gives her away because we are not walking her. I never understood why she didn't let us say good-bye.

A few years later, it was Corky, a mischievous mutt, who also mysteriously disappeared. All I recall of Corky is my dad hitting her with a rolled-up newspaper while sticking her nose into her poo, as part of his "house training." (Our DD would have been mortified.)

Then it was Snowball, the first tiny calico cat. By then I was a teenager. And guess what? She went missing one day, never to be seen again. Decades later, my mom told me she was mauled to death by a neighbor's German Shepard.

So it's not a total shock it took me years get back on on the horse, so to speak. After my children are out of the house, I gradually acquire three cats-- the aforementioned Abbie and Rosie, along with my daughter's adult male, Starbuck. Over the past several years, I have cared for my aunt and uncle's Rottweiler, Tammy, and Angel, my friends Lab. And my bonding with these large, aging dogs has been intense.

So, Animal Planet it is. No politics, no financial moaning and groaning. Just a bit of barking now and then.