Posts Tagged ‘humor’

Iron Pigs

August 19, 2009

A few days ago I attended a baseball game. The Rochester Red Wings hosted the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. No, the Red Wings did not play a team of mechanized porkers, they looked like regular ball players to me.
As I sat there cheering the Wings on with my grandsons, son, and daughter in law I began to think about alchemy. Back in the day, some so called scientists claimed they could convert ordinary metal like iron pigs into gold ingots. There were serious efforts to do this with not so hot results.
In fact it did not work…..did the saying “Like putting lipstick on a pig” originate from this failed chemistry experiment?
Alchemy type baloney is not exclusive to the dark ages. We often hear this kind of stuff today. For example a trillion dollars additional national debt is really a way of cutting the cost of health care. Come on, paying for health insurance for 46 million more people is going to add to the cost of health care. Increasing the demand for a product without increasing the supply(more doctors, more hospitals) will cause a price rise independent of what our government spends. Let’s see, what would reduce or keep the price the same….hmm….rationing anyone? refusal of medical care for older folks? (full disclosure, I am an older folk)
The modern alchemy: the government can defy the laws of economics because ….well because it can. Since government is Force, it becomes “she who must be obeyed” and it will do as it wishes.

Read the consititution of the United States, your will find comfort there.


Cats….the animals not the musical

July 2, 2009


Over the years I have had many cats as pets or vice versa as some cat lovers would say. My first cat, Hank, was named after Hank Rearden, a character in Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged”. Hank was a strange cat who enjoyed salads. My Mother who professed hatred of cats would make a salad for Hank whenever she was visiting. He was grateful, I think. It’s hard to read cats, they are seemingly aloof, not that I am ascribing human characteristics to an animal…..what cats eat salad?!

Not long after Hank was hit by a car, Fred came into our lives. Fred was the namesake of the president of an ink company I worked for. Fred, the president not the cat, later fired me. Fred the cat was much nicer to me. He was more like me. He liked cheese balls, tuna, and riding in cars. When his buddy, Harry(grandfather’s name), came along Fred often spent time calming Harry’s frayed nerves as we rode along. No kidding, when Harry started caterwauling ( excuse the pun) Fred would leave his perch on my left shoulder and sit next to Harry. Harry would cease the yelling. Fred was dedicated to riding in cars. Our neighbor who left his car windows open went off to work one day only to find he was looking into Fred’s friendly face when he checked his rearview mirror. Fred was comfortably lounging on the rear deck enjoying the warm sun streaming through the rear window. Naturally, our neighbor drove back home to let Fred out. Well, Fred disappeared when we moved. I’d like to think that he may have caught a freight to parts unknown since we lived near a rail spur.

My wife brought a cat to our marriage. His name was Shamber. I sensed that he didn’t care for the name, so I called him Sham. Sham had an interesting diet. My wife, Cat Lady, prepared cooked beef liver for most of his meals. It had to be cooked just right, almost liver tartar. Sounds appetizing, NOT! This behavior by Cat Lady was fair warning but I married her anyway. Before meeting Cat Lady I had developed the calloused habit of feeding cat food to my cats with some noted dietary exceptions. Sham and Fred became good friends. If they had had thumbs they might have gone bowling together. Both of these cats were outdoor cats and spent part of each day enjoying nature. A problem developed with a neighbor cat named Jasper. In the human world he would have been known as a bully. He was always after Fred. One afternoon we heard a crescendo of angry cat talk and went outdoors to investigate. There was the fierce Shamber backing Jasper down the side walk. Fred, the milk toast, was quaking in his boots standing behind Shamber. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Shamber lived to the ripe old age of 14, probably because he ate half cooked liver every day.

The real excitement with cats began when my wife and I moved to Greece, NY. We became a boardinghouse for cats. At one time we had five. Mostly strays. Because these cats seemed to find their way, unerringly, to our house, the kids began to refer to our home as a stop on some stray cat underground railroad.

One cold winter night I heard loud meowing at our door. Investigating the noise I found a big stray tomcat standing at our threshold yelling his brains out. Needless to say I told him to scat and not come back. Since I travelled quite often, I was not present for this tom’s next visit. Cat Lady (my wife) answered the door and let him in!(She had to, his tail was frozen! What?) He didn’t leave, except for vet visits, for many years. Naturally, he headed right for my chair and sat down, leaning one elbow on the arm of the chair. He was all black, no markings. If his eyes weren’t open, he looked like a big, black fur covered head with legs. We named him Buckwheat after the Our Gang character. He was an intimidating presence among the other cats. He was king of the hill. One tactic he used was to stand on one side of the cat door to our enclosed porch and dare any other cat to come through and enjoy the sun. There were no takers. One night he was accidentally left on the porch when I slid the plastic door over the opening. The next morning we woke up to find the shattered cat door on the floor by the porch door and Buckwheat sitting placidly in my chair. Now there’s a cat who could use his head!

It’s important to note that our cats have been well cared for with regular visits to the vet and all the required vaccinations to keep them healthy. They all have been neutered because the last thing I want is more cats. Sometimes they even have eaten cat food. They all seem to have a favorite human food, though. As we have become veteran cat keepers we have stopped letting them out. Too much going on out there that could kill or hurt them and keeping them in helps prevents cat leukemia.

We now live with a cat, Guy, who survived distemper to live a life of ease in cat paradise (our home) and another cat who is called Lovey? They eat cat food.Guy and Lovey

Remembering David M. Taylor

June 29, 2009

An early memory of my younger brother is David chasing my cousin and I down the street. That wasn’t unusual in itself, he always wanted to hang with the big boys. My cousin and I were home for lunch during our second grade class. What separates this chase from others is that David was naked from the waste down. My cousin and I may have been teasing him while he was taking care of business, chanting “Stink Bomb Harry”. David was an action man from the start and jumped off the throne to chase us, no pants and all.
David was a loyal brother who would do anything to help me. Like the time I was involved in a fight with a neighborhood kid. The kid and I were flailing away when from the left there came a blur propelling itself toward the kid’s legs bowling him over. It was David. He decided I was losing the fight and needed his help. Everybody but me was laughing so hard the fight was forgotten.
We lived in a small village in Western New York and grew up in the sixties. In that small town the sixties were pretty much like the fifties. Kids could be kids. We avoided adults like the plague. The best adult was neither seen nor heard. David and I did not have a father around, so we stuck together.
When Dave was in his late teens he began to experience mental problems. He had a break down and was treated with electro-shock therapy, which might qualify as torture under the rules of our latest political sages.
We found him asleep on our back porch or he would be hallucinating that the CIA and FBI were following him. I asked what made him so important to have this kind of surveillance. David couldn’t say but it seemed reasonable to him.
With the onset of his illness, he was a different person, not the brother and friend I had known.
His wife came home one day to find everything(lamps, chairs, couch, table) from their living room on the front yard. It was arranged exactly as it had been in the house. Why did he do it she asked. Looked better out there. We were all happy that he did it during the summer.
Over the years, David’s illness worsened and he spent time in an asylum. To control him the staff doped him with Thorazine. We worked to get him out of there into an outpatient facility. He then had a period of respite and managed to graduate from college with a business degree. He had amazing energy and optimism.
His life was a crazy quilt of a strange Christian sect that did not associate with non-believers except when members needed money, remarriage, and a move to Houston, Texas. Through all of this he took his medicine, he didn’t take his medicine and his illness waned and waxed with each behavior.
After his second wife died in a horrific traffic accident, he lost everything and we lost David. He was somewhere in Houston but we could not find him.

On August 13, 2007 a Houston hospital emergency room called to tell me that David Taylor had collapsed and died on his way to a day labor office. Was I David’s brother? Yes.

When I met the staff of the Houston day labor office, I learned that David was a kind and generous client. He always had a word of encouragement for the staff and his sense of humor was well known among the staff and other laborers.

For those wishing to know, David was schizophrenic, paranoid, and bi-polar. He was fifty five years old when he collapsed and died.
But for me, my brother was a tow headed kid who defended me at the drop of a hat, the kid who wanted to be around me all the time, and he was Stink Bomb Harry.

Rest in peace, my brother.