Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reality bites.

A couple of months ago I posted a short piece about World Spay Day. I don't think I've mentioned, however, that Jeannie and our friend Bonnie (one of my hamburger party pals) are involved in a project where they feed a bunch of feral cats that live around a shopping center close to our neighborhood. Their goal, besides keeping the cats alive, is to trap them and take them to a mobile veterinarian to have them "fixed." Then they either transfer the cats to a no-kill shelter or return them to their colony.

J says that the feeding part is a lot easier than the catching. While they've fed the critters too many times to count, they've caught only four. Three were girl cats and the other was a boy. But J says that just fixing a female so she can't get pregnant can possibly save hundreds of homeless kittens from being born,* a prospect M says would probably give his Republican friends the creeps. (I wouldn't know a Republican from a Rastafarian. I swear, sometimes that man speaks in tongues.)

*There's a lot of stuff on the internet about how a single female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in a seven-year period. But this number is way too high, according to the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project. For a more realistic estimate, check out pages 2 and 3 of their February 2006 newsletter.

Here's a picture of "Penny," the first cat that J and B caught:

B named her Penny because she used to hang around a closed-down bank building at the edge of the shopping center.

And this is "Pogo," who has got to be the ugliest cat I've ever seen:

That poor thing would have to sneak up on a bowl of water to get a drink! Can I hear an amen? J and B couldn't wait to turn him loose.

Then we have "Callie" and "Pumpkin." Some time ago, after having a litter of kittens, Callie was trapped (not by J and B, but by a friend of theirs named Bob), spayed, and put back into her colony near the bank. But she has since disappeared. Pumpkin, who has not been spayed, had a litter of kittens a few weeks ago. No one has been able to find them--or to catch Pumpkin, though she shows up regularly for her dinner.

We don't have any pictures of the last three cats that J and B trapped. The second one, "Blackie," went to live at a shelter called Cat Tail Corner. The third was a boy--a little black bob-tail Manx kitty. They called him "Cash" because he hung around an online gambling joint in the strip mall. And the fourth was "Brandy," a tuxedo cat that looks a lot like Arlo, except that Brandy is a girl. She also lives near the gambling place. There's another tuxedo who lives there--a female Manx they call "Stumpy." J and B are going to try to catch her tomorrow night, with the help of a security guard who has befriended her. We'll see how that goes . . .

Which brings me back to Cash--and here's where we all get pretty upset. I started to call this blog post "No good deed goes unpunished," but decided against it because obviously some of them do. But poor old Cash and one of the other gambling joint cats ran out of luck Friday night or early Saturday morning. He and Brandy had just been trapped Wednesday and taken to the Pet Vet Cruiser Thursday morning. They spent that night in our garage, and Friday morning Mike took them back down to the shopping center to release them.

The original plan was to relocate them to Cat Tail Corner, because they tended to hang out in a big concrete storm drain, which is right next to a busy parking lot, and J and B and M thought it wasn't a very safe situation. But some of the people at the gambling place enjoyed feeding them and talked J and B into bringing them back there. As soon as they were released, Brandy and Cash disappeared into their storm-drain hideaway.

That night it rained--hard. At three in the morning the skies opened up. The dry season--which had been their entire life and frame of reference--gave way to the wet one. And in minutes the storm drain became a flash flood. Cash drowned. So did another tailless Manx--a pregnant female that J and B didn't know about. The water in the drain rose so fast the unfortunate kitties couldn't touch bottom and couldn't jump out. I suppose they swam until they could not swim anymore. Saturday morning, after the water went back down, M and J picked their little stiff bodies out of the muck and brought them home, where we buried them in our back yard. Brandy escaped, probably by the luck of having left the drain before the rain started. Of course we didn't know that until hours later when somebody spotted her. Saturday night she avoided another drain-filling flood--maybe by learning from her recent good fortune. I hope she keeps on remembering.

Here is the newest addition to our pet cemetery:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My dog Sam eats purple flowers . . .

Wow! That has to be one of the greatest song lines ever!

What the rest is about, though, is anyone's guess--starting with the title, which is "Draggin' the Line." M says that might be because it comes from the same era--the 1960s and '70s--that gave us the "Sleepy Jean" tune we posted on J's birthday a couple of weeks ago. He says that while some of their dogs may have been flower powered, a lot of the songwriters back then were more into magic mushrooms and wacky tobaccy, and this often made for some mystical lyrics.

But this particular song has a really catchy beat, and between that and ol' Sam the Dog's quirky palate, I'm hooked like a snook in a brook. See what you think. (If you prefer the full-size clip, here it is at YouTube. The advertisement at the beginning is pretty annoying and isn't part of the song, so you can skip that if you want to.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Whoop-tee-doo! Buddy is TWO!

Yes, friends, it's been 366 days since my "first" birthday last April 13th. (The math is correct. Remember this year is one of those leap things.) Today is also, by my own Proclamation of 04-13-2011, the Budd-ese New Year.

No big party plans, unlike last year. Just a quiet day of lying around in the dirt and mulch and mostly-dead grass while M and J try to un-uglify our landscape. This is basically what I used to do down at the abandoned old house by the tennis courts. Only now the neighbors don't call Animal Control or yell at me to go away.

Here I am recently, practicing for today. It might be dead grass, but it's MY grass.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cleanup on aisle 9 . . .

Mike says that Publix Super Markets has a company motto: "Where shopping is a pleasure." But now this needs to be amended to say, "Unless an airplane falls through the roof."

That's exactly what happened shortly after 7 o'clock last Monday evening at the Publix near our house. M and I had just come home from our walk when Jenny called to say that a plane had crashed into Publix. She'd read about it on Facebook. M turned on the TV and flipped through the channels, but there was nothing being reported yet.

Soon, though, it became the topic of the evening, with local news anchors talking on the phone to witnesses, asking them such Pulitzer Prize-worthy leading questions as "So, Mr. X, how loud were the people screaming?" and "How surprised were you when the ceiling tiles fell and that fireball erupted right in front of you?" and "Was it absolute chaos in there, with everybody pushing and shoving and scrambling for the exits?"

The good (and surprising) news is that no one was killed in the accident, not even the two people on board the airplane--though they were injured pretty seriously. There were also three shoppers who were burned. Two ladies were treated at the local hospital and then released. The third injured shopper, a young man who attends Stetson University, was flown to Orlando Regional Medical Center, as were the plane's two pilots.

Here's a story about the crash from yesterday's Daytona Beach News-Journal. It has several good pictures, including a map that shows how the Publix store sits a half-mile from the airport where the plane had just made its takeoff--and almost directly in line with the runway.

And here's one from a Tampa online newspaper that says the injured Stetson student is from that city and a graduate of Plant High School. (What a small world: That's where M and his parents and a lot of his aunts and uncles and cousins went to school.) This webpage also has a video clip from WFLA-TV News in Tampa.

Whoo-eee! The things I never thought I'd be reporting!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cheer up, sleepy Jean! It's your birthday!

Jeannie seems to feel tired a lot these days. I can relate. M showed me this video of some singing monkeys doing a song that seems appropriate, especially since today is J's birthday, and she ought to get up and enjoy it.

Truth be told, I'm not a hundred percent sure what the song's words mean. Well, I can understand a few at a time. But when they string them all together, it gets confusing. I am pretty sure, though, that the singers aren't real monkeys. I asked M if he knew what the song is about, like on some deep philosophical level, and he said, "Search me. I just like the way it sounds. It makes me feel good. Maybe some of your readers can explain it."

See what you think, readers, and let us know. And Happy Birthday, J, from me and ol' M.

(Here's the YouTube link, if you'd rather watch it there. M says in either case, if you get one of those annoying pop-up ads, just close it the first chance you get.)

PS - Thanks to Google, I just found out I was right--these guys aren't monkeys, but instead are four boys who used to be famous for monkeying around. Sadly, I also learned that the one doing most of the singing and dancing and whose name is Davy Jones died just a few weeks ago--on Leap Day--right here in Florida.