01 May 2015

Don't Go In The Basement!

My brother made a snake cage once.

It was a scout project and the plans for it came out of an old Boy Scout Handbook and consisted of a box made of thin plywood on four sides and measured one foot square and eight inches high.  The front was screened as was the top lid.  The hinges were pieces of old leather belt and a hook-and-eye clasp kept it closed and locked.  JW hung a light over the cage so we could watch our captives, and to provide warmth.

I was five or six and JW was eleven and we filled the bottom of the cage with newspaper and grass clippings and populated it with seven garter snakes captured in a near-by vacant lot.   They were young snakes with gray bodies, pale cream bellies and all with a colored stripe running lengthwise.  Some stripes were red and some were yellow.  We gave them names.

29 March 2015

Sasquatch Is Found, Captured And Imprisoned In Oregon

A hunter, walking in the woods near his home in Manning, Oregon,  in October of 2013, had a close encounter with the fabled Bigfoot... and actually had a conversation with it before being attacked by the creature.

Jeff McDonald, the hunter, at first wasn't fearful because he carried a deer rifle and the Sasquatch was unarmed, and didn't look like the big hairy ape-like movie/TV characters he'd seen. This one looked like a naked man.  It even had a name, Linus Norgren, and spoke English and claimed to be from a family of Sasquatches. 

As they walked and talked McDonald tried to steer Norgren  to a road, thinking to help the naked man back to civilization and a nice warm loony bin.  Late Fall  hunting season in the western Oregon woods can be quite chilly and wet.  This particular Sassy had other ideas and hit McDonald in the head with a rock.

06 January 2015

Five Million Dollars To Disappear

How much are your family relations worth to you?  

I wonder this because I watched my wife's sister, Dee (not her real name) playing and cuddling with her only grandson, whom she was denied access to for a couple years.  He is now back in her life on a regular basis and both of them seem to be very happy about it.  
I asked her, when her grandson, A-boy (not his real name) was gone home with his father, "If someone offered you a million dollars to never see, and never communicate with A-boy ever again, would you agree to that deal?"  

20 September 2014

Why Testing Positive On Any Of The HIV Tests May Not Mean Much

Here's a list of factors that just might skew the results of an HIV test.  So if you test positive, you might not want to rush out and order a coffin and burial plot, just yet. 

 I've highlighted a few of the factors below that seem problematic to me because they just might affect a lot of people not in the risk groups associated with AIDS deaths.  For Example:  seventy-to-ninety percent of the (adult?) population has Herpes simplex I and twenty percent of sexually active adults have Herpes simplex II.  

18 September 2014

Why I Will Never Knowingly Allow Myself To Be Tested For HIV.

I remember when the big AIDS scare broke out in the '80's.  

Breathless commentators predicted that the deadly disease would ravage our society.  Even though it first erupted among the male homosexual and illicit needle-using communities, it was caused by a virus and could easily jump, we were warned,  from bath house to Baptist picnic.  

Our bodies would have no resistance to this new virus, and it would strike us down as easily as smallpox--brought from Europe by the pilgrims--smote the natives in the New World.  Initial estimates were that in the United States alone, a hundred million of us would succumb to the dreaded HIV.

Well, that never happened.  Casualties pretty much stayed in the first groups of male same-sexers and needle junkies.  

26 July 2014

Suckers And The Death Of Adrienne Shelly.

When the “Waitress” movie came out in 2007 my wife and I went to see it at the theater.  Andy Griffith is in it in his last role before he died, as the no-nonsense owner of Lulu’s pie café.  There are three waitresses that work at the café and talk to each other about their relationships.  They are likable humble put-upon women.  

Especially the lead character, Jenna, who is pregnant and hides money from her husband, eventually to escape her marriage.  He finds out and smacks her for her financial infidelity, so you don‘t much care for him.  The rest of the men in the film are not much more likable.

Jenna (Keri Russell) is a genius at making unique tasty pies and names them for events in her life.

She has an affair with her married physician, Dr. Pomatter.  In the end she stands up to her husband and wins a pie contest and has a daughter and the movie ends with the two of them walking off, manlessly, confidently, hopefully into the sunset.  Shelly’s own daughter, Sophie, makes her screen debut as the little girl.

I mention this movie because I stayed to watch the credits and saw a memorial to the director of the film.

I realized it meant Adrienne Shelly, forty, the writer, director, co-producer and also an actress in her own film, must have died before it came out.  Curious, I looked up what happened to her and learned she was found dead hanging with a sheet knotted around her neck from a shower rod in her office bathroom. 

The day she died, the first of November, her husband dropped her off in Greenwich Village, at an apartment she used for an office at about nine-thirty in the morning and when he hadn’t heard from her and couldn’t reach her he went there and, along with the doorman, discovered her body. 

Police initially considered Shelly's death a suicide, but this was vehemently protested by her husband and family.  She had a movie coming out, and many other projects in the hopper, and a three-year-old daughter.  "There's no way on this planet that she would have left that child," said husband Andrew Ostroy.  "Nobody is ever going to tell me that woman walked away from Sophie."

06 April 2014

The Evil Roy Slade Way

I was reading a movie review type blog where one of the posters couldn't understand the stance of conservatives about government welfare programs.  I felt compelled to write him an answer to the question he posited: " why is it evil to want to help those in need?"  

"It isn't," was my reply.  "It becomes evil when you use force to accomplish it, and government is force." 

If I don't pay the taxes imposed on me, government agents with guns will eventually show up at my house, after a deluge of threatening letters and legal notices, and arrest me,  auction off all my property and throw my family out in the street.  If I resist they will kill me.   That is the threat behind all your wonderful state-run charitable schemes.   It behooves us then to limit, to the absolute minimum, these coercive "good works" rather then expand them.