Or why cats should rule the world

Runaway Trucks

Whew.  I’m bushed.

Mom was working on getting enough paintings for her art show when she got – The Call.  Yup, it was her work asking her if she could rush in West Virginia because of all the flooding.  She almost said no, but at the last second she decided she needed the money so Dad could get the siding fixed.  Personally, I think it’s a waste of money.  I never see the siding.  And if it doesn’t affect me directly, it’s frivolous.

But I digress.

The town Mom’s working in is the one we saw on the news back in Mouskin.  They had a thousand year flood and the news showed some of their houses floating down the river on fire!  Mom’s already talked to one of those homeowners.  There were some deaths in the community as well.  That always makes it harder, because in small communities like this everyone knows everyone.  One of the workers helped an applicant who lost her husband, mother and son at the same time.  She was remarkedly composed.  We think she was in shock.

We were supposed to fly into Charleston, WV, but the booking agency couldn’t find a plane that wasn’t full.  (I take that back.  For the Mouskin to Dallas flight the agent said, “I’ve got one seat left on this airline.  Do you want that?”  Mom said no.  I don’t even know why the agent offered it to us as it would take less than halfway to where we needed to go.  And besides, we’ve all seen Final Destination, right?

So they booked her on a flight to Columbus, Ohio (SOUTHWEST!  Mom’s mantra is If Southwest doesn’t go there, neither do I.)  We had a nice couple of flights, then after getting in after midnight, stayed at a hotel near the airport.  In the morning we drove for three hours to get to Charleston.

Driving in West Virginia is different.  On the interstate going south, Mom was doing the speed limit (70) and people kept coming up behind us, so close you could read the paperwork on their dashboards.  Then they’d yell for her to get out of the way (I can read lips) and speed past like we were standing still.  And when we passed a car which was going less than 70 mph, the cars behind us would speed up and tailgate us until we were out of the way.  Some of them turned on their headlights once they were close to us, and honked at us.  With a semi on one side and a cliff on the other, Mom just threw up her hands and said, “Where do you want me to go?”  She said it reminded her of Houston, except for the scenery.

The next night we stayed at a hotel in Ripley, WV.  It was about 40 miles from headquarters, so another fairly long and dangerous drive.  She got her equipment and after being sent to the National Guard facility to twiddle our paws, we went to the hotel.

In the morning Mom tried to take a shower. It was cold. She called the front desk and said, “Yeah, I’ve had the water running for quite a while and I’m not getting any hot water.”

The desk clerk said, “What room are you in?”

Mom answered, “145”.

“Oh,” the clerk replied, “You’re a fur piece from the boiler.  You have to let the hot water run for a while.”

So we waited for a quarter hour with the allegedly “hot” water running, but in the end Mom took a very quick, very cold shower.  I sat on the back of the potty and laughed.

Later that day we drove to yet another motel.  Victoria, our British GPS, sent us down the Old Coal Road. (She’s much nicer than the old GPS, Stella.  Victoria never says, “Turn right now.  Turn RIGHT NOW!  You missed it, you moron!”)  The Old Coal Road follows a railroad that twisted and swerved through the mountainous coal mines, producers of low-smoke coal.  It was built in the 1890s to fuel America’s Industrial Revolution. It’s obvious that this road was built for horse drawn wagons with upper limits of 25 mph.

Every mile or so we saw yellow road signs bearing twitching, black snakes with triangles for heads.  Some of them had five or six curlicues.  And those snakes did not lie.  It took us three hours to drive a 70 mile route.  But the scenery was beautiful and thankfully, nobody tailgated us.

When we finally got back on the interstate, we were in an area with very steep hills.  Signs along that road had pictures of black trucks barreling down acute angles.  Some of those stretches were 8% of grade.  It was tough for Mom to keep to the speed limit when going downhill and all she was carrying was our stuff.  Imagine a truck full of onions speeding willy-nilly down those hills, brakes blowing smoke and flying off the highway, crashing over a cliff, tons of onions broken and soppy on the ground.

That would be a spill to cry over.

That may be why they also have “Runaway Truck Ramp” signs .  (Not, as I originally thought, was a ramp for trucks unhappy at home).  As we went by those ramps, I got a look at what would happen to trucks using it.  The first one had about 400 yards of road going downward, a 12-foot pile of sand and a cliff after that.  The second one went upwards, but it curved sharply around the mountain.  I can’t imagine that a speeding, brakeless truck would be able to make that curve without flying off sideways.  The third one (yes, it was that steep!) went upwards and had a slight curve.  It ended with a tree in the middle of the road.  None of those alternatives seem quite adequate.

It’s put me off long-haul trucking for a while.

We checked into our third hotel.  Remember, that morning Mom took a cold shower.  When we walked into the room, there was a huge pool by the bed.  Mom called it a “Jacuzzi”.  She filled it with hot water and turned on the bubble machine.  I thought she was nuts going into deep, boiling water like that, but she just put her toes against the jets and said, “Ahhhh”.

In the morning we went to work.  There are a whole lot of her coworkers there, more than I’ve ever seen in one place.  They also have four (count ‘em,four!) SBA folks.  Mom knew one person there, Jeri.  They worked together in Quincy, Illinois years ago.

So we’re making new friends.

 

America as a Business

It’s election year and once again we are hearing candidates talk about America.  It seems every few cycles there’s some millionaire or billionaire who inherited his wealth from his daddy who wants to be president.  These people want to run America like a business.  But America is not a business, it’s a country.  And we cannot submit our citizens to bottom-line economics.

But let’s just consider if the United States were a business.  The United States has high name recognition.  It also has a very bad reputation.   We are hated and ridiculed around half the globe.  Even our allies are laughing nervously.  So as a business, what do we have to offer?

A business provides products and services to its customers.  Customers pay for these commodities.  And in order to be a successful business, it’s important to offer what something the customer wants.  So just what is the business of America?  What is it’s product?

The product of America is Americans.

And as a business (as an ethical business) it’s important to put out a good, reliable product.  And Americans, as a whole, seem to be as ethical as most businesses.  Corporations spend money on research and development in order to put a newer, better version of it’s products.

 

But are we really putting out a quality product that others want?  Are Americans considered quality resources in the world-wide market?  As a business we should make sure our products are top of the line.

The raw materials for Americans, children, are being left behind by the education system. Yet funding for education is spotty.  Schools are struggling to keep quality teachers, to obtain necessary materials and meet educational goals set by political entities. By the time high school graduation comes along, the average senior is reading at the seventh grade level.  Does that make them ready for university?  No, it does not.  So product quality suffers.

One of the primary identified causes of this condition is poverty.  There is a direct link between family income levels and children’s progress in school.  So when the government cuts funding to those at the poverty level: subsistence, housing, nutrition and health, what kind of raw materials are we getting?  The majority of people in this country who are receiving government benefits are children.  So when leaders cut assistance in order to motivate recipients to “get a job”, they are talking about putting minors to work.

The number of children receiving benefits is twenty percent.  One in five children in this country are receiving some form of pubic assistance. These children are under nourished, under educated and without access to medical care.   If a business were purchasing materials that were substandard twenty percent of the time, it would fail.

The care and nurturing of future workers begins before birth.  The United States has the highest infant mortality rate of all developed nations.  Much of this is due to lack of pre-natal care, education and support.  Children can’t develop properly unless their mothers are knowledgable, healthy and well-fed.  Safeguarding human life in the pre-natal stages is such a high priority for so many, but when it comes time to support that same child as she becomes a high-quality worker, these same people want cuts in subsistence-level programs.  Thus her usefulness of the resource is limited.

So as a business, where does the United States need to look for high-quality human resources?  Countries with the best education systems.  And those countries are:  South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Finland, United Kingdom, Canada, The Netherlands, Ireland, Poland.  They all have more successful education systems than the United States.  In many of these countries, teachers, who the United States holds in blatant contempt (as characterized by the low-pay, union breaking and general lack of respect), are held in the same esteem as doctors and lawyers.

But not in the United States.

As espoused in the popular media, the idea of governing on the business model seems based on lowering taxes and cutting benefits.  But if America truly wants to run itself as a business, it’s important to realize that in the long term, investment in and development of future resources provides the most reliable source of quality product: healthy, happy, well-educated employed Americans.

Concur FAQ

Concur is the federal government’s new system for paying travel expenses.  It is a mystery to everyone.  So here are answers to some of the FAQ from federal employees:

What is Concur?

Concur is an attrition system.

What is an attrition system?

It’s a program designed to lower costs.  Dictionary.com defines attrition as follows:

“1. a wearing down or weakening of resistance, especially as a result of continuous pressure or harassment.   2. a gradual reduction in work force without firing of personnel, as when workers resign or retire and are not replaced”

How does Concur apply attrition to the workforce?

Concur is designed to create high-stress situations that wreck credit ratings and threaten employment for its employees.  These high stress situations cause strokes and heart attacks that remove the older, higher paid employees by death or disability so new employees with lower wages may be hired.

Why does FEMA apply attrition?

To lower it’s budget.

Can we get training about how to use Concur?

Employees get training in Concur either as a confusing, single sheet set of instructions or in small, tightly packed classrooms during which the instructor becomes agitated because of all the questions.  These instructors’ main goals are to lower morale.

What is the Parent/Child thing about?

In the Parent/Child model, Concur is the parent.  You are the child.

Isn’t that demeaning to employees?

Yes, it’s both an ERO and a harassment issue.  However, the ERO department and its staff are also using Concur, so they don’t have time to help employees with any but the most blatant violations.

How long does it take to use Concur?

Let’s add it up:  For each call to Concur’s Helpline you will wait anywhere from eighteen to 30 minutes on hold.  Then it takes another twenty to sixty minutes for them to confuse you completely.

By this time employees are suffering from hypertension, shortness of breath, chest pains, head aches, strokes, cardiac infarction, coronary thrombosis, loss of consciousness, coma or death.

Then they hang up on you.

Add another hour and thirty minutes for the next call.

The average number of times an employee calls the Concur Helpline is six to ten times per voucher at two calls per question.  Then add the two hours it takes to attach receipts one at a time because the uploader, which is supposed to be able to load ten documents at a time only loads one at a time.  So, an employee filing three vouchers for a 30 day work period, at 8 calls of 90 minutes per voucher, plus six hours of uploading receipts, spends approximately 78 hours of government payroll trying to get travel reimbursements.

Why do employees spend so much time on hold while calling the Concur Helpline?

FEMA has approximately eight hundred  Disaster Assistance Employees who only work one or two 30-day periods per year, if at all.  They use Concur for a month, then go as long as 2 to 6 years before they use it again.  The Concur Helpline employs just six people: Portia, Michael, Carmen, Frank, Heidi and Glen.

Why is Concur so confusing?

Concur is an accounting system designed for the convenience of accountants which disaster employees are required to use.  Most disaster employees are not accountants.

What if you make a mistake on Concur?

If you make a mistake on Concur you may get a cryptic email that says, “Your travel document listed below was just stamped RETURNED TO TRAVELER”.   This email has no return address.  Thus it generates another two calls to the Concur Helpline just to find out what the problem is.  Or they may not contact you at all.

What happens if I am unaware of a mistake on my authorization or voucher?

The government credit card goes unpaid, which will result in a lowered credit rating for the employee, an employee security violation and/or loss of employment.

Is Concur going to become more user-friendly?

There is a new interface being designed for Concur.  It was supposed to go into effect in March, then April, then May.  It is still not in place.  And once it is, consider the government’s probable definition of “user-friendly”.

Is there anything I can do to make this process easier?

Inasmuch as the employee has absolutely no control over the process and all the responsibility, there is nothing you can do except turn to drugs, alcohol and aberrant sexual behavior for stress relief.

What if I die on the job of stress-related illnesses exacerbated by Concur?

Your family will be notified and your body shipped to your place of residence.

Who pays for the shipment of remains?

You do.  And you have to use Concur.

 

 

Gators on the Fire Truck

It’s so humid I just scratched the air and left marks.

We’re still in Louisiana where Mom is working.  There have been floods, earthquakes and volcanoes wreaking havoc and destruction around the world.  But here in northern Louisiana, we just hope it won’t rain.

It’s been great here.  Mom and I love Louisiana.  It’s beautiful and the people are great.  So’s the food, they say, but eating tiny lobsters is just too much for me.  They’re very spicy and their antlers get in my eyes.  Mom and Annie ate some the other day and some of the girls had frog’s legs and alligator.  Although it’s gratifying to know one of those beasts bit the dust for a meal, I don’t have a taste for lizards.

Speaking of lizards, one of our friends here has been getting marriage proposals.  One of them is from a little guy who is about the size of a garden gnome.  He’s sine dentium which makes him smack his lips when he talks.   And he’s been trying to charm Kathy into going out with him.

Gnome Guy:  “I can take you out in the swamps and show you where the gators are.”  (smack)

Kathy: “I don’t think I want to see them up close.”

GG:   “I know where the bobcats are, too.” (smack)

Kathy:  “I really don’t want to see them either.”

GG:  “I’ll get a fire truck and put you up on top of it and take you out there.” (smack-smack)

Kathy: “You want to put me on a fire truck?”

GG:  “Yeah, I know where the big gators are.  They’re so big they go from one side of the road to the other.” (smack)

Kathy: “I don’t think I want to see anything like that.”

GG: “Well, I can bring you some gator meat.”  (smack-smack)

Kathy: “No, that’s okay.  Thanks, but we can’t take gifts from our customers.”

GG:  “Can I bring you some donuts?” (smack)

He’s very persistent.  He comes in a couple days a week for some good jawin’.  Then he leaves, presumably back into the swamps with the gators and his fire truck.

And they’re others.  Just a few days ago a man came in and sat in front of Kathy.  Her trainer was looking up his case and he was passing Kathy notes.  The notes had his phone number and asked her out.  Kathy tried to ignore him, but he kept doing it.  Finally her trainer asked him point blank, “Is this woman in your case your wife?”

She was.  But still he kept pushing Kathy notes.  Finally she asked, “Why do you want to do that? You’re married!”

He just smiled and passed her another note.  She said, “Where are you going to do something like that?  You have a wife at home!”

He said, “I’ve got a car!”

It was time for him to go.

There have been others as well.  She’s very cute and the fellas seem to like her.  Yet another one tried to entice her, “I have kids downstairs, but I live upstairs. I have furniture and a barn and everything!”

She passed.

The people here are nice.  There’s a lake close by and lots of men and women catch fish from there.   The clothing styles are interesting.  Most people where fairly normal clothes: jeans, tees, blouses, slacks, sneakers.  But we have noticed that a lot of these people are invisible.

Day after day we sense men who walk around dressed in camouflage from head to toe. Because they are in camouflage, of course, they can’t be seen.  So sometimes we see a pair of pants walking around by themselves because the guy is wearing a shirt that blends with the background.  Sometimes we see a “Slap Yo Momma!” tee shirt floating down the street- no pants.  (Camouflage).  Every once in a while you’ll see just a bearded face fly through the door.  They’re wearing camouflage hats, shirts, pants and shoes.

It’s really eerie.

We have some interesting birds here.  Two kinds of blue birds (Mom says maybe Eastern Blue Bird and Blue Jay) and red ones, too (cardinals).  They’re so much more colorful than our brownish-grayish and black birds.  They sound nicer, too.

I’ve only been able to spot three cats since I’ve been here and two dogs.  Not a lot of other animals, some dead possums and armadillos by the side of the road.  I’ve only seen one squirrel.  Maybe they’re being eaten or maybe they’re just scared to show themselves because of the camouflage guys.  Either way, someone around here is doing their best to stop the Squirrel Apocalypse.

We’re getting ready to close down the office here.  Kathy and Annie are leaving tomorrow and the rest of us on Thursday.  Things are dead in here.  Not really dead, but it’s so quiet you could hear a crawfish drop.

Well, gotta go.  There are files to file and curtains to scratch.

Perry

 

 

 

 

 

Going To The Lake

We’ve been in Louisiana for a while now, and it’s been lots of fun. Mom is working with some really nice folks, so she’s not griping all the way home every day. And I made her promise to show her emails to Annie before sending them so she doesn’t get in trouble.

Originally we were staying at the Faraday Inn. That’s not its real name, but Mom calls it that because neither our wi-fi nor her phone were working there. This was because people had to be able to get hold of Mom and the only way she could call out staff was to stand in the middle of the parking lot in her pajamas (not a pretty sight, let me tell you).

We had to move.
 But now we’re in a really nice place with a little living room (my room, she told me) and a fridge and very good reception. That’s the important thing, keeping the computer going.
So every day Mom and Annie were driving about 30 miles to work and 30 miles back along a nice, straight road and across Lake D’Arbonne. It’s very pretty, and the people who live here say there are lots of cats in it. At first I thought they were actually sending their cats to sleep with the fishes, but no, they meant catfish.
(Whew, that was a close one)
Annie and Mom call the road The Highway to Heaven because there are so many churches on it. On their day off yesterday they wanted to visit the lake. They counted all the churches that were visible along that road. There are nineteen of them! That’s more than a half a church per mile. (.63333333333333333 to be exact). We figure that if the South is the Bible Belt, this road must be the Buckle. There are lots more churches once you get to town, but Annie didn’t have enough toes and fingers to count them all.
The first time we went out to lunch, we drove down a back street. There are several notable places there. First there’s a building with a sign that says:
 
Memorial Funeral Home
Memorial Life Insurance
I guess it’s a one stop shop for the widow on the go.
Right down across the street is another church. I can’t remember exactly, but it’s something like Blooming Bush or Blooming Tree or Blooming Onion. The Blooming Onion Church. That sounds right.
The next thing you see on the street is a sign that says:
 
HOLY GHOST HEADQUARTERS
Mom says she always wondered where He hung out. Now she knows. But the building behind the sign is small and old and all boarded up with broken glass. I guess if the Holy Ghost is in there, he’s not coming out anytime soon.
Yet another sign on this road says:
GINGERBREAD HOUSE DAY CARE
Wait, didn’t Hansel and Gretel go to the Gingerbread House?  Does that mean a witch lives there?  Who eats children?
Wow, that’s a great plan!
But I digress.
Yesterday we wanted to see the Lake up close. So we asked a gentleman in town what would be the best way to get there?
First he said, “Well, I’d send you out here to the development, but the road washed out in the flood.”
Helpful.
“You would have liked going out there. Some millionaire put up a something like 28,000 square foot house.”
That’s over half an acre. (0.64279155 acres to be exact).
“Yeah, that would have been amazing,” Mom said to him. I gave her a look. Sarcasm is not what we needed.
“So you want to go up to the spillway?” he asked.
“Yeah, that sounds good,” Mom answered him.
“Well, you can’t go through the development, the road washed out.”
“So is there another way?” Annie asked sweetly.
“Sure. Let me tell you how to get there.”
I thought Mom would take notes, but she didn’t.
Direction Guy: “Go on up through town there on two.”
Mom: “Is that the Silverberg Highway?”
Direction Guy: “Yeah, that’s the one. You turn right on that.”
Mom: “Okay.”
Direction Guy: “So you go on out two, all the way past the Wal-Marts.”
Mom: “I’ve been to that Wal-Marts.”
Direction Guy: “When you get outside town there’s a little bridge.”
Mom: “Bridge, okay.”
Direction Guy: “It’s a little bitty bridge.”
Mom: “Okay.”
Direction Guy: “So you go over the little bridge and go about a half mile, quarter mile.”
Mom just nodded.
Direction Guy: “Then you’ll see a little road off to your right. That’s Bear Bottom road.”
Mom: “Got it.”
Direction Guy: “Okay. You don’t take that.”
By now both Mom and Annie are trying not to giggle.
Direction Guy: “You go a little ways past that and there’s a road that kind of veers off to the right.”
(Hand veers to the right. Annie has to move out of the way)
Mom: “Okay.”
Direction Guy: “You take that up to a four way stop.”
Mom nods again.
Direction Guy: “Then you take a right, and you’re at the spillway!”
Mom and Annie both thank him for his help. We follow his directions, get to the four way stop and turn right (without taking Bear Bottom road). Then we keep going and going and going past houses, a little store and gas stop, an airport, some more houses, one mansion and finally, the spillway.
Annie and Mom get out and look around. It’s really nice, a spot under some shady trees with a breeze blowing off the lake. Out on the spillway there are bunch of people fishing. Annie points to a fisherman in a boat and says, “Wouldn’t that make a nice painting, a fisherman in a boat?” Then we realized he wasn’t fishing, he was trying to untangle his line from some trees sticking out of the water. After he finally gets his line clear, and his other pole gets tangled.
He’s not catching any fish today.
A man came off the spillway. Mom asked, “Did you catch anything?”
He said, “Yeah!”
Mom said, “Can I see?” (She’s so weird)
He says, “sure!”
So we all go and look in his bucket of fish. It was just plain scary. Two of his fish were bigger than me! I went back to the car.  Muscle fish like that can probably jump up on the spillway and eat me.
There’s so much more, but I don’t want anyone getting reader fatigue.
We’ll talk later.
Perry

Mom got a call about a week ago from those mighty Gods of Homeland Security, and was told to fly Monday and report to work Tuesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  It’s not uncommon for Mom to work in Louisiana.  She’s done it before and will likely do it again.  The State of Louisiana was built on a huge bad weather magnet that sucks in tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, excessive heat and general crappiness.  The state is beautiful, though, and the people out in the western part of the state are great.  Mom actually loves Louisiana.  I’d prefer if they put it in Nebraska so it wasn’t so dang hot in the summer.

The first thing Mom did was send a text to our friend Annie who was with us on our last adventure in California.  “Going to LA.  Need a lift?”  Annie doesn’t drive so Mom and I always give her a ride.  She’s really nice and fun and loves cats.  But, we never heard back.

So Mom started the usual laundry and packing thing she does.  But lately she’s been kind of forgetful, so I had to keep her on task and remind her what goes into the suitcases: hot weather clothes, cold weather clothes, catnip, medicine, shampoo and conditioner, extra socks, catnip, laundry soap balls, extra shoes, wall chargers, catnip, light jacket, computer, federal badge, passport, her FEMA shirts and finally, catnip.  Packing for me is easy: Food.  Water.  Catnip.

We got everything ready and Mom packed her new suitcases.  They’re really more like giant duffle bags with wheels and handles.  Even after she put her underwear in a giant plastic bag (because the TSA likes to go through everything), there was still enough room for several other cats or a couple pair of boots.  Mom told Dad, “I hope I’m not forgetting something.  I think I’ve under-packed.”

Dad looked shocked.  “What?  You under-pack?”  He was right.  Mom and I hate doing laundry and often don’t have time after long hours at work to sit in the hotel laundry room all night with one washer and one dryer that each require three dollars in quarters to run.  So she packs a couple of weeks worth of clothes into two suitcases.  She’s better than she used to be.  She would take all this stuff she wouldn’t wear like dresses and jewelry and steamers and lots of other crap.  Now she just does jeans and shirts, socks, a couple pair of shoes, stuff like that.

So we got on the plane in Mouskin and flew to Houston (totally the wrong way).  We were on one of those little planes with two seats on one side and one on the other.  They are generally filled with grumpy tall people who hit their heads on the overhead compartments and squeeze their legs into spaces that aren’t as long as their femurs.   And crying kids, of course.  Mom spent most of the time reading her Kindle.  I chewed catnip to relax.  I don’t know how those little things stay in the air.  I often leave claw marks on the seat cushions (which can be used for a flotation device? Yikes!)

We got on the plane to go to Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana.  Mom settled down, put on her seatbelt and guess who sat right in front of us?  Annie!  Yup.  Mom asked if she got the text, but she didn’t.  We thought it was funny out of all the people on the plane they assigned the seats that way.

Once landed, Annie went to the hotel shuttle and Mom went to rent her car.  They told her she had an upgrade coupon.  She said sure, use it, as long as the price is the same as a compact car.  When she got to the parking garage, she saw she had an SUV!  Holy cow.  It seats seven!  I wanted to put all the seats down an run around in the back, but Mom said no, if that heavy luggage were to slide around, it could kill me.  So I sat in the front, disappointed.  Honestly, it’s so big we could sleep in it.  But Mom has to have a “proper restroom” with a “shower”.  Why can’t she just lick herself clean and pee in the weeds like me?

When they arrived, they found that the headquarters for this disaster (flooding in Louisiana?  Who’d have thought it?) was the same one they were in for Hurricane Katrina.  Mom said it was a dump then and it’s still a dump.  Someone told her they’ve spent millions upgrading the facility, but aside from a few columns outside that block the sidewalk from people with wheelchairs and a couple of extra walls, it’s exactly the same.  This place has the slowest elevators in the universe.  I think we actually time-travel between floors.  Mom wouldn’t mind using the stairs to go down, but using them to go up while laden with a very heavy computer case is just out of the question.  At least for now. She’d have to work up to that.

When we unpacked at the hotel Mom couldn’t find her Kindle.  We looked and looked in every single pocket and cranny in the luggage, her purse and the car.  It’s gone.  She called the airline to put in a missing item alert, but they didn’t find it either.  So we’ve had to contact Amazon, put an alarm on the device so when it is turned on it screams for three minutes, wipes the memory and locks.  The Amazon password had to be changed and she had to deregister it.  Then she had to delete all the credit cards on her Amazon account and change the password there as well.  Now, no matter who finds it, it will be nothing more than a noisy paperweight.

I swear, Mom would lose my tail if it wasn’t hooked on.

Anyways, we went to the headquarters and sat for several days (typical) until they decided to send us all out to where the flooding actually happened.  That’s where we like it best, away from headquarters where there’s a constant stream of drama and with the people who really need us.  Today we went to see where we’re going to be working.  As those things go, it’s pretty nice: new building, good roof, nice sturdy fence with three strands of barb wire on top.  It makes a federal employee really feel like they’re home.

And we get to work with Annie!

More later.  My claws are getting ragged.

 

 

 

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Pope Christmas IV

Humanity is inherently narcissistic, that is they believe that the world revolves around them.  This is evident in the misuse of resources, purposeful extinction of species, world wide pollution and destruction of our protective ozone layer.  Humans don’t believe that anything on the earth can be denied to them, even the lives of other creatures.

Cats, on the other hand, understand that they are part of a planetary population that requires interdependency to survive.  Cats respect other creatures and perform basic, life supporting functions.  Eating a mouse or a bird is a hereditary behavior required for survival. We don’t wipe out all the birds or kill all the mice just for fun.  (Well, it can be fun)  We, like all other species on the earth (except for humans), take only what we need and use what we take.

So here are the ten reasons cats are not religious:

  1. Cats are amoral. Our behavior is guided by our heredity and experience.  Morality is irrelevant to our existence.
  2. Cats don’t judge.  We have no opinion about the motivations of others.
  3. Cats don’t need anyone to tell them what to do.  Cats do what cats are supposed to do.  Humans believe they require guidance.
  4. Cats don’t believe in an afterlife.  We don’t believe in anything.  We know.
  5. Cats don’t discriminate.  It doesn’t matter what color a creature is, who its parents were or where it came from.  Those kinds of value judgments are the sole province of humanity.
  6. Cats are gods.  Well, we used to be.
  7. Cats are not superstitious.  Luck, or the lack of it, is a ridiculous concept.  Humans, however, kill black cats out of fear.
  8. Cats have no ambitions.  We don’t need status or accomplishment.  Survival and a nice spot in the sun are reward enough.
  9. Cats don’t follow. Anything or anyone.
  10. Cats aren’t arrogant.  We don’t consider ourselves to be greater than other creatures.  We’re just a part of the whole.

 

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