Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Oliver went back to the Humane Society this afternoon. It was really, really hard to let him go since he is such a sweet (to humans) cat, and quite a character.

Twitch is still not able to sit, but the swelling has gone down and it seems to be hurting him a lot less. Stanley says Twitch is taking his medicine much better than he thought he would, not drooling very much at all. The vet said Twitch will heal pretty fast. Hope so.

posted by lee on 11/28/06 at 09:14 PM

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Monday, November 27, 2006

oliver can’t live here anymore

It’s sad: Oliver is a sweet, terrific cat—with people. But he bit Twitch so badly we had to take Twitch to the kitty hospital this evening. Ginger barks and growls at Oliver because he’s been hurting Twitch.

So we have to take Oliver back to the Humane Society tomorrow. We, and our vet, think he will get adopted again very quickly since he is a great cat, very affectionate and beautiful—we just have to make sure that they make clear in his description that he does not get along with other cats or with dogs. Needs to be an only pet. I feel so bad about it because I like him, but it just isn’t working out—and we did get him to be a companion for Twitch.

So, we’ll give Twitch some time to heal and recover from the trauma (this is the first time he’s been hurt—even my sister’s psycho cat didn’t hurt Twitch) and then look for a kitten to adopt. The vet said they might have a kitten when we’re ready—and if not, there are always kitties at the Humane Society.

Expensive lesson, though. It cost us $60 for the fee for adopting Oliver, then $113 this evening for the exam, morphine, rabies booster, and antibiotics for Twitch.

Ah, damn.

posted by lee on 11/27/06 at 11:45 PM

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Friday, November 17, 2006


A couple of weeks ago, a new section launched in WestportNow.com: Pets Seeking Homes. The section has photos and little bios of dogs and cats the need adoption from the Connecticut Humane Society in Westport and Westport Animal Control (dogs only, no cats here). It’s my responsibility to post and update this section—and I gotta tell ya, it’s very hard to do this. In most cases, I want to adopt them all myself. Fortunately, Stanley has more sense than I do.

We got both Twitch and Ginger from the Westport Humane Society five years ago, and we’ve been really happy with the beasties.

Anyway, one of the cats needing a home caught my eye (clutched my heart), so we went down to meet her. But she and Stanley did not get along. Not at all. Sometimes pairings are just not meant to be. We went there intending to adopt her, but it didn’t work out. We then looked around at the other cats, leaning toward an adult cat because people always want the kittens and ignore the wonderful adult cats available. Since we couldn’t take them all home, we narrowed it down to two, an adult and a kitten. Rather, I narrowed it down to two and Stanley narrowed it down to one. Fortunately, I really like the one. A five-year-old male orange tabby. A gorgeous boy.

And big. He weighs 17.5 pounds. Not fat at all—just very, very big.

Name of Oliver, abandoned by some guy who didn’t want to be bothered taking care of another creature anymore (“I travel too much.” Yeah, right.) so he abandoned his cat at the Humane Society.

oliver 11-17-2006

I don’t have a picture of him yet, but I’ll try to take one tomorrow. Stanley took some, so maybe I’ll get one here are two of his (click to see bigger photos). I want to get one of Ollie and Twitch together—it reminds me of Laurel and Hardy. Which is why I think Ollie suits him.

Oliver, who doesn’t answer to his name, is nervous. Twitch wants so badly to play with Ollie (that name seems to feel right), but Ollie is having none of it yet. They’re touching noses, and sort of getting along. Ollie would probably be pretty much settled in except for ...

Ginger. Ginger loves cats. Ollie doesn’t care, at least not yet. I think it’s going to take another couple of days before Ollie feels comfortable walking by the dog—he’s starting to, but is still very tentative.

To look at Ollie, since he’s so big, one might assume he’s tough. He’s not; he’s a sweetheart. Definitely likes people. There’s was one point when I was holding him that, if it had been any other cat, my forearms would’ve been ripped to shreds. Not Ollie. It’s weird—he seems to be checking himself. But I’m glad because he is such a huge cat he could do some serious damage.

I’m looking forward to giving him a good brushing, but that won’t happen until he’s comfortable with Ginger being near him—Ginger is like my barnacle. Hopefully soon. Ollie is settling in faster than I thought he would, considering all of the trauma he’s been through since November 6, the day he was abandoned.

oliver avoids ginger


posted by lee on 11/17/06 at 04:16 AM

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

i heart brand blogs

So I was glad to see a brand new one: Brand New http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/—another Under Consideration production (they also do design encyclopedia http://www.thedesignencyclopedia.org and Speak Up http://www.underconsideration.com/speakup)

posted by lee on 11/16/06 at 07:45 PM

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

what a deal from household bank visa. not.

In today’s mail I got a check for $10 from Household Bank. If I cash it, I will be entitled to the benefits of Household Bank Visa rewards of 2% back on every purchase. Wow! What a deal! Only ... oh, I see, if I don’t cancel the free trial, I get slapped with a $99 fee ($109.99 next year) and, oh, 2% of up to $5,000. Let’s see, doing the math—oh, that’s $100. So, I get to pay $99 to get back $1 IF I charge $5,000 on this card. And there are four $10 bonus coupons I may get to use on food or gas ... and those super discounts at places I never shop at, like Sharper Image, Pretzel Time, and Planet Hollywood. (What’s Pretzel Time?)

This kind of stuff must rope in enough people to pay for the cost of printing and mailing the come-ons. They know that most people won’t remember to cancel the free trial in time. What a ripoff.

Which brings me to Amazon. They offered a three-month trial of Prime, the service where they mail stuff in two days for $2.99 or something in that range. When they pushed the offer on me, one of the selling points was that converting to the $79-per-year membership deal would require my express authorization. But—they didn’t do this, just charged my credit card without my authorization. I was pissed—and cancelled the service as soon as I discovered it (about three weeks after they charged my card). Amazon.com did refund the money pretty fast, but why in the hell would they risk alienating a ten-year customer like this? Or any customer? I guess they, too, were banking on me forgetting.

I did the math for this, too—there’s no way the number of orders I get per year justifies the fee, and a good portion of those orders are from Amazon vendors, so are not even eligible for Prime shipping.

When bargains really aren’t. Caveat emptor. Or something like that.

posted by lee on 11/14/06 at 05:28 PM

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

what ever happened to ...

the word “me.” As in “This blog was designed by me.” When did “myself” become a substitute for “me,” and why? To me, it just sounds as if the person using “myself” inappropriately is a boob. No, make that pretentious boob.

For those of you with a grammar disability, here are the rules from Dr. Grammar:

Me, Myself, or I?
According to The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style, “Myself is best used either reflexively (I have decided to exclude myself from consideration) or intensively (I myself have seen instances of that type). But myself shouldn’t appear as a substitute for I or me. Using it that way is thought somehow to be modest, as if the reference were less direct [emphasis added]. Yet it’s no less direct, and the user may unconsciously cause the reader or listener to assume an intended jocularity, or that the user is somewhat doltish. E.g.: ‘The exclusion of women and women’s concerns is self-defeating. For instance, myself and other women in Hollywood [read many women in Hollywood, including me,] would deliver millions of dollars of profit to the film industry if we could make films and television shows about the lives of real women’ (L.A. Times)./ ‘My wife and myself [read I] were in a religious cult for over 15 years before the leader fell over dead’ (Bloomington Pantagraph)(224). Some useful suggestions from The Grammar Bible:
1) “The reflexive pronouns often refer or reflect back to the subject of the sentence. I gave myself the day off. My parents treated themselves to a night on the town. In the first sentence, the pronoun myself refers back to the subject I. In the second sentence, the pronoun themselves refers back to the subject parents. In a sense, these pronouns are turning the action of the verb back to the subject of the sentence.
2) The reflexive pronouns may also fill an emphatic role. Here, these pronouns place emphasis on another noun or pronoun in the sentence. You yourself told me to ask for a raise. Janet built the house herself. In the first example, the pronoun yourself emphasizes the subject you, and in the second, the pronoun herself emphasizes the subject Janet.
3) Never use a reflexive pronoun in place of a standard personal pronoun. They are correctly used only in the reflexive or emphatic roles. The following sentences are incorrect:
John and myself repaired the copy machine. (incorrect)
Jane drove Sherry and myself to the movies. (incorrect)
They should read:
John and I repaired the copy machine. (correct)
Jane drove Sherry and me to the movies. (correct)
This problem most often occurs when someone substitutes the singular, first-person reflexive pronoun myself for one of the singular, first person personal pronouns I or me. Be careful! (Strumpf 191-192).
4) The Grammarlady offers the following advice: “DO NOT USE THE SELF WORDS TO AVOID CHOOSING BETWEEN ‘I’ and ‘ME.’” “IF ONE OF THE PRONOUNS IS ‘I,’ IT COMES LAST IN THE SERIES” (Dear Grammar Lady 6-7). Example: “Myself, my sister Mary, and my mom went to Chicago last week.” Put the I last in the sequence, and the sentence would read, “My sister Mary, my mom, and I went to Chicago last week.”

See, it’s much easier just to use “me”—so stop with the myself abuse already.

posted by lee on 11/12/06 at 12:50 AM

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

more post-election analysis

David Sirota, who worked on strategy for the Lamont campaign, pointed out that more than half of Connecticut voters voted against Lieberman, and that’s true. It’s just that Ned didn’t get all of the votes against Joe. He wrote his take on why Lieberman won instead of Ned, blaming mainly structural problems. His article for In These Times, Learning From Lamont, outlines these reasons for the loss:

Sirota does admit that the campaign made mistakes. Lamont trusted Charles Schumer and others to get Lieberman to back down—and was betrayed by Schumer and other Democrats who really didn’t want Lieberman deposed and as a result, lost momentum (though he says, really, the media didn’t cover Lamont during the weeks after the primary). And, and ... well, that’s all he said the campaign did wrong. Sirota claims there were no Beltway consultants misleading the campaign. He claims one Washington consultant honed Ned’s anti-war position. But I was watching and participating in the entire campaign. Immediately after the primary, the media and others were asking where Ned was when a couple of issues came up. And many of us, via the campaign blog, kept warning that Ned’s ads, both tv and print, were preaching to the choir and not doing anything to convert anyone still on the fence or undecided. And Ned’s campaign relentlessly plastered Joe’s name and face all over the campaign literature and the blog instead of Ned and his message of change and hope. And the anti-war message didn’t start getting hammered until near the end of the campaign. I kept hoping the campaign would be reframed and promote Ned as THE choice rather than overfocusing on Lieberman. And Ned’s campaign pretty much abandoned those who got him his primary victory: when we, members of Connecticut Choice Voice (progressive women for Lamont) asked how the campaign message-makers wanted us to focus our position (on our website) after the primary, we were told that the campaign was no longer “doing constituencies.” That was disheartening and a dumb move for an unknown candidate who needed “constituencies” to campaign our hearts out for him. I blame the outside campaign staff for this as it doesn’t seem like the kind of error Tom Swan would make. Or Ned, for that matter. Of all the reasons for Ned’s defeat, I really think the top two are the lack of support by the Democrats and the mis-messaging of the ads and literature. The latter is something that can be fixed—just take a look at the successful campaigns and see how they did it. The former, though, is the most disheartening. The Party clearly thinks very little of the rank-and-file members—what we want doesn’t matter. And it very clearly demonstrates the need for two things: publicly funded campaigns with stringent campaign reform (why should only the rich be able to run for Congress?) and term limitations. (The amount of money spent on this campaign is obscene: think about how many textbooks, vaccines, aids treatments, scholarships, boostrap businesses, and meals for the homeless that money could have funded.) I truly hope Ned Lamont runs for public office again—I’ll campaign even harder for him. He’s smart and decent and Connecticut definitely made a poor choice in choosing the opportunist over the idealist. I think he probably learned a lot from his campaign—and it is a remarkable showing for someone who went from totally unknown to 450,000 votes in just ten months. Again, don’t forget: more than half of us did NOT vote for Lieberman.

posted by lee on 11/11/06 at 05:51 AM

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

feed your need for silly

Took a look at my Amazon Gold Box offer (yes, that’s singular now, offer, not offers), a gazillion Hit cookies. I love Hit cookies so it was a Good Thing that the deal was sold out. I guess this is Amazon’s version of Woot. Anyway, based on a comment I saw, I checked out the reviews for this product: Tuscon Milk. I especially like the comment from the cat. Gave me the giggles, the comments did. Oh, and the banana comments, too. I wonder if any of the upcoming Gold Box daily offers will be for a case of milk (to go along with the case of cookies)?

Maybe I need to get more than four hours of sleep tonight.

posted by lee on 11/09/06 at 06:57 PM

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

ah damnit, but how wonderful too

Despite Ned Lamont’s loss, I don’t regret a second I spent working on the campaign. I would campaign for him again—this is a man who would be a great benefit to us serving in public office.

Yes, I’m very sorry he lost. Could the loss have been avoided? Maybe. If the Republicans would’ve supported their own nominee instead of throwing him under the bus in favor of Lieberman. If Ned’s campaign hadn’t dropped the ball right after the primary and had continued the campaign they ran during the primary, maybe. If Ned’s ads, both broadcast and print, focused more on what his positions are instead of hammering Joe’s face and name at us over and over, maybe (and yes, I and other supporters voiced this a lot during the campaign—but it’s very hard to tell the choir that the message isn’t reaching the back rows). It was a long shot that he won the primary, and an even longer shot when there were, essentially, two parties campaigning against him.

One thing that will result from this loss is that Connecticut Democrats know now what the Democratic Party thinks about what we want: if it doesn’t toe in with their big plans, they don’t give a rat’s ass what the rank and file wants. We’re not going to forget Dodd’s tepid support, Bill Clinton’s lack of presence, the lack of campaign literature and phonebanking by the party. How dare we select an outsider? Democrats in Connecticut feel betrayed by the national party—and we have long memories. Connecticut Republicans should feel the same way about their national party.

So yes, I’m disappointed that Ned lost; that we lost. But Ned, count me in for your next race. My friend and former colleague, Rudi over at Random Duck, has this excellent analysis of what happened: http://www.randomduck.com/2006/11/07/disappointed-but-not-shocked

As I said, I would do this again. For Ned or for another candidate I can believe in. I esepcially liked meeting other volunteers and staffers—and despite the long hours, I really enjoyed poll standing for Ned and “Line B” (the Democrats) on Election Day. Even if we didn’t win, it was particularly heartening to be among those who, instead of just bitching and moaning, actually got off our asses to try to do something about what’s going on. Wish there were more of us—and I for one don’t intend to be a do-nothing ass-sitter in the future.

So now we turn to the other Democrat who lost in my Congressional District. Diane Farrell. Who lost her own election. I’m sorry she wasn’t one of the Democrats swept in on the tsunami or whatever the talking heads are calling it. I did vote for her. But I’m neither surprised nor particularly upset that she lost because, despite Chris Shays’ blinders about the war in Iraq (which I think have been removed now) and his support of a couple of other things I disagree with, he is a good and ethical man. It was actually hard for me to vote against him and I wouldn’t have if not for Iraq. And I know a lot of people who feel the same way.

I filled out forms to volunteer for Diane’s campaign (both times), I called her office, I asked for signs and a bumper sticker, and I never heard back from her campaign staff. Not once. (I did eventually receive one robo call from her asking me to “Press 1 to volunteer, press 2 if you can’t do anything for me at this time,” a couple of days before the election.) The only time I heard from Diane was to receive invitations to $1,000-a-seat fundraisers—as if I could afford this. I was never invited to a rally or a picnic or asked to contribute just $25. Her campaign wasn’t inclusive enough to appeal to a broader spectrum of people than the die-hard Democrats. From what I could see, she ran on just two issues: Iraq and transportation. That, apparently, wasn’t enough. The robo calls didn’t help her any—geez those were nasty. But they weren’t enough to cost her the election.

Looks like, as I write this, the Senate is 50-49 (I hope Webb’s lead holds in Virginia so it becomes 51-49). And the House is now Democrat. And a woman is third in line for the presidency (and the woman is NOT Hillary). I hope the Democrats don’t let us down. I hope they immediately start working on getting us out of Iraq. That is the first step in fixing all that Baby Bush has broken.

And Joe, you think you were under scrutiny before? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens next. Let’s hope this election slapped some sense into Bush, Gates, et al. I wish Cheney would just go too, whatever it takes to get his poison out of our goverment once and for all.

posted by lee on 11/08/06 at 05:21 PM

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

einstein at 14 weeks and election stuff

Einstein was 14 weeks old on November 5. ish. So here are a couple of shots of her now (click the image to see larger pictures)—her eyes are really pretty, I think, though she really does look a little demented. As if she is in total control and knows it.

einstein cat at 14 weeks

Einstein at 14 weeks closeup

Stanley and I will be poll standing between 10am and 8pm, when the polls close. We’ll be at our polling place, Nathan Hale Middle School in Norwalk, which is great because we live next door, so it will be easy to head home to let the dog out and grab coffee and all that. I toyed with the idea of volunteering for the entire day, but getting up at 4:45am is a lot more than I can handle. Stanley would’ve just checked me in to the local loony bin, whichever one takes our insurance plan.

Poll standing is greeting voters and suggesting they vote Line B, which is the straight Democratic line. We’re putting our money where our mouths are—we’re losing quite a chunk of change taking the day off to do this, but I feel as if we’ll lose even more with two more years of unchecked lunacy in the White House. Maybe the Dems won’t be able to do a whole lot while Bushie is in the White House, but at least they can prevent any more damage. As in checks and balances as envisioned by the founders of this country.

The latest CT senate race poll numbers I saw are Lieberman-48%, Lamont-44%, and Schlesinger-5%. This is from Polimetrix from its press release “Handicapping the 2006 Election: What are the odds of the Democrats winning control of the Senate?” (pdf).

We went to a quick rally Monday evening, at Norwalk headquarters. Even though Ned campaigned all day, he didn’t look tired when we saw him around 6:00ish pm or so—I was amazed at that. Our rally was on WTNH on the 11pm news, but the video isn’t up on their website (yet, anyway).

I just have this feeling we’re going to win—that Ned and Diane will win Connecticut and the 4th District, respectively.

VOTE! It really counts this time.

posted by lee on 11/07/06 at 05:30 AM

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