Monday, April 30, 2007

sick cat

Over the weekend Christina and Guerin came over for dinner, and Christina mentioned that Lancelot seemed much skinnier than she last saw him, which would have been about a month ago. He's had a bad few weeks, going from being a very pukey cat (he's always been) to being probably among the top 10 pukiest cats in town. I called the vet first thing this morning and we got him in later in the morning. They drew blood, examined him, and gave him some subcutaneous fluids. Of course, I was thinking back to the summer of 2001, when Morgan died of sudden liver failure (it was suspected at least), after a couple weeks of doing her brave best. I was crushed. Morgan was a wonderful cat.

Lancelot is a wonderful cat in his own right, and in the last couple of years, now that he's an only cat, he's come into his own. Still, I'm horrified that he'll turn out to be very sick. We find out tomorrow morning. He's nearly 15, for crying out loud.

Anyway, he's nowhere near as sick as Morgan was, and as happens, the subcute fluids have helped him feel better this afternoon.

So it was certainly a great boon to my mood to read the following on the package of the new sponge-scrubby thing we picked up at Target (punctuation and grammar uncorrected from the package copy; emphasis in the original):

"nothing beats the feeling of clean. when everything is bright and sparkly. when your life is spotless and the possibilities are endless. and just for a moment - sigh - everything is perfect. until it's time to clean again."

Target has commodified my dishwashing.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

not allowed

Since the NHL playoffs are ongoing, a couple further entries to the list of those banned from the house from the hockey world:

* Mark Messier. Though he's retired and 46, he's still not someone I'd like to run into in a dark alley, or a well-lit alley, and especially not in my living room. Lauren frequently notes that, even in a neat well-pressed suit, he looks like he is going to eat your face.

* Darcy Tucker. I love watching Darcy Tucker play, because he gets a shark-eyed look and becomes quite clearly insane. He fights, he scores goals, he wreaks havoc.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

the "Virginia Tech shooting"

Lots of people have said lots of things about the "Virginia Tech shooting." Even calling it that says something pertinent about why lots of people have said lots of things about it. It's turned into a media event - or maybe is practically from the start a media event. But it's not the media's fault.

Adam Felber put it better than I could.

What above all I have to say about it is that I'm terribly terribly glad we don't watch TV news.

Monday, April 16, 2007

abstinence makes the heart grow faithfuller

The breaking news is that abstinence education abjectly fails to decrease either teen sex or risky teen sex. The reason this is breaking news has nothing to do with the study results that draw this conclusion, because that would be the foregone conclusion of people thinking rationally about these problems. The real news here is that America is experiencing a crisis of faith!

If we would only believe hard enough, abstinence education would work, global warming would be "junk science," and Iraq would be taking strides toward stability and peace. Despite the continuous increase in our work productivity (i.e., profitability), it seems that Americans are losing ground in faith productivity. That's what this nation really needs: not more faith-based initiatives (where the bulk of the $120 million spent on abstinence education went), but a Federal Faith Initiative. Faith itself must be restored through a concerted government program before any of these programs can reach fruition. F.D.R. had his New Deal. The Bush Administration should pursue something like this, a New something or other - New... New... well, they'll think of something; they're good with names.

The millions poured into new federal government projects for Compassion and so forth, and earmarked for groups who proclaim a particular religious outlook (and/or who happen to have supported President Bush's campaign in 2000) have produced very little clear success. This is clearly because of the faith productivity lag. After all, how could abstinence education have overcome the fact that an estimated 90% of the target population has intercourse, unless enough of us believed that "just say no" would work? The Administration can lead the way, by refuting studies that deny the effectiveness of abstinence education and reaffirming their conviction that abstinence is the way to teach safe sex.

Speaking of "just say no," consider how badly the War on Drugs is going. If only we all got together and believed drugs would go away, clearly they would, and we would win the War without firing another shot.

As for so-called global warming, in this case it's obvious that once the rapture comes, climate change won't be an issue, so I suppose we needn't worry about believing it's junk science any more. This is good, because we'll need to concentrate our faith productivity on those areas where we can make a real difference: sex and drugs.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

staying put for a bit?

We got back from LA in plenty of time for my loveliest to get to choir rehearsal. It was an unpleasant drive up the Crankster Freeway, the seasonal northerly wind gusting across the road and apparently pushing slower-moving SUVs with drivers talking on cell phones over into the left lane. I lost count of how many times I was cut off by someone in a large vehicle, or a semi rig, by the time we got to Earlimart (which is the halfway point, and also the name of an indie alt band.

So I'm more or less officially sick of driving up and down the Moose-forsaken central valley. On the other hand, I have developed a sudden and demanding craving for Yosemite, and also for letting a couple hours drift by while I watch ocean waves. Back in the car!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

collective action

The tentative agreement between CFA and CSU is good news. It's good news, obviously, for faculty: we're tentatively getting raises we deserve, and tentatively won't have to go on strike. It's good news for the CSU administration, because a strike by faculty would be embarassing, especially given how much political pressure and scrutiny they're under. It's good news for students, because classes won't be interrupted, and because CFA didn't accept the ridiculous offer the CSU made, which was contingent upon CFA not speaking against student fee increases. CFA remains able to advocate for students and the good of the university.

Someone on the Lecturers Council conference call last night ut the matter well: this is good news not only for us, but for a public that has become more and more disaffected, been treated to ever-increasing exploitation and disenfranchisement by hierarchical power. The good news is: collective action works.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

tentative agreement

CFA announced today that it reached a tentative agreement with CSU on a new contract. More on that later. It's latish, I'm still recovering from the road trip to Arizona and back, and I've got a lot of pent-up job-action-related energies, anxieties, and so forth that I suddenly don't know what to do with. So I'm going to take a chance on relaxation and sleep.

The CFA website reference page for the tentative agreement info, I've just noticed, is called "settlement.html." I wrote a tune by that name, that I haven't written a lyric for yet, but which I think will include the line "set everything on fire and split the ashes," or words to that effect. The song, it should be noted (no pun intended) has nothing to do with collective bargaining. It should also be noted that the lyric line I've just quoted has nothing to do with the terms of the tentative agreement.

The agreement looks, on the whole, like a CFA slam dunk. But much more. And more on that, too, later. (Think: musings on the power of collective action.)