I don’t like cats. I don’t like their skulking, their diffidence, their prissiness, their meowing, their fur — in fact, I don’t like any characteristic or quality of cats. Give me slobbering, blundering, shallow, happy-to-see-you dogs any day.
Still, although I despise cats, I don’t wish them or their misguided owners ill. So I was sorry to read that studies are indicating a link between cat ownership and serious mental illness. The causal chain goes something like this. Cat feces contains a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Cat owners come into contact with the parasite in the feces when they clean litter boxes. The parasite then can cause an infection that may produce schizophrenia and lead to suicide.
It’s bad enough that cat lovers are cursed with wanting to have haughty, secretive, unappreciative creatures living in their homes and having to tend to smelly kitty droppings as a result. It seems grossly unfair that feline fanciers also have to run the risk of going off their rocker, too.
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Posted in America, The Economy, World, tagged America, Europe, European Debt Crisis, The Economy, The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, World on July 2, 2012 |
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Doesn’t it sometimes seem like we’re caught in some kind of Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode where nothing ever changes? Every week or so they’ll be some big story that dominates the news, and when the coverage finally subsides, we realize we’re right back where we were before.
So it is with the Supreme Court health care ruling. We now know that the Affordable Health Care Act (h/t to Cousin Jeff) has survived, and when we raise our heads and look around, things everywhere are still stuck in neutral.
Guess what? European leaders are having another meeting to try to figure out how to solve — once and for all! — that sovereign debt crisis that never seems to end. (Hey, but this time they’re serious!) The European debt crisis must be the longest-running, most ineptly handled financial crisis in history. We keep hearing that the crack-up is coming, and it surely is, but European leaders merely respond with another “summit” that produces talk and resolutions and a shrimpy bailout approach that doesn’t do the trick — and in a week or so the process starts all over again. In the meantime, economies are moribund, and the European unemployment rate rises. It’s like a kind of torture, wondering when the big, crushing crack-up will come and the European “leaders” can dither no more.
In America, different pieces of economic news roll out every week, and they’re inevitably bad. Consumer confidence is falling. The unemployment rate is ticking up. Home prices are dropping again. And most recently we learned that the domestic manufacturing sector of the economy, which had been a relatively strong performer, is now contracting. There don’t seem to be many glimmers on the horizon, or “green shoots” in the American economic soil — just more of that sapping, ever-present bad news. We’re being conditioned to cringe in anticipation whenever the business news is announced.
Could Rod Serling please appear and bring this episode of unrelenting sameness to an end?
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There are morning walkers, and then there are morning joggers. Walkers uniformly greet each other with a hearty “good morning!” Some joggers, on the other hand, just . . . wave.
Actually, calling it a wave isn’t all that accurate, because there’s no side-to-side motion. It’s just a flip of the wrist and showing of the open palm, as if the jogger wanted to demonstrate that he isn’t carrying a knife or revolver. It’s like the hand that appeared above the head of Paul McCartney on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover, which was supposed to be another of the clues demonstrating that McCartney was killed in a car crash. No wonder the joggers’ wave doesn’t exactly warm the cockles of my heart.
I’m not quite sure why the joggers’ wave bugs me. It’s a bit embarrassing to say hello and get the joggers’ wave in return, but that’s not the only issue. It’s like the joggers who do the flip wave think they are better than the walkers, because they’re moving faster and they wear spiffy jogging outfits and have bottles of water hooked at their beltlines, whereas the walkers look like they’ve just rolled out of bed. The joggers are willing to condescend to acknowledge the existence of the ant-like walkers — so far below the Olympian joggers — but they don’t want to be too familiar and encourage too much unwanted interaction.
Maybe I’m reading too much into this. Maybe the joggers just don’t want to let the walkers know that they are so gassed they can’t say hello without gasping for air. Maybe they can barely summon the energy to do their lame excuse for a wave without stumbling to the side of the road and sprawling on the grass.
I’ll think of that happy thought the next time I’m walking the dogs, say hello, and have to endure another desultory joggers’ wave.
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