Monday, June 20, 2016

"Grog Commits To A Miss Demeanor"

I know I said I'd never love again and I meant it at the time. Love can be painful. Unfortunately, however, things happen we can't control. So, though I still say I won't love, it seems Grog has. Which means I'm stuck too. For me it's not love but a good bit of like. Typical of Grog, he chose a non-human which may be the only reason I'm allowing it. 

Grog has been pretty good so I finally gave in and got him a toy. I knew someone who had a litter of kittens and had one in particular they really wanted gone. A "problem" cat they'd named Spaz because they said she was unhinged and food aggressive. Seemed the perfect candidate for Grog. A challenge for him. We changed her name to Miss Demeanor though. She's a Spaz no more. Now she's a felonious feline. 
Now, I knew I'd probably be the one stuck taking care of the critter most of the time just like I do with Grog. But maybe they could keep each other occupied. If he didn't end up trying to eat it when I wasn't paying attention. 

Right away Grog was a little unsure. "Fuzzy cat thing is tiny. It has bitey things on it. Grog need groom it." He was right, though, this thing was covered in fleas. Turns out it also had worms and, at 8 weeks old, they'd made it a mostly outdoor cat. Being the runt of the litter it probably had to fight for every bit of food it got but I think the fleas and worms ate all the nutrients so the poor thing was constantly starving. 
First order of business: get the tiny feline free of parasites. A pretty quick and easy undertaking. 

It climbed up in my lap right away and fell asleep. Grog just shrugged "we eat it now?" No, monkey man, we aren't going to eat it today. Maybe later. "Ok. Grog make fuzzy cat thing fat first."  Good plan. I could only hope he'd change his mind about eating it eventually. 

So we got it a box and litter because cats have us trained to bring the outside indoors and give them shitboxes for us to clean. Crafty little devils. Food, box, brush, toy and treats. We went shopping. 
I think Grog was already starting to enjoy himself. If he'd had his way we'd have spent an hour playing with cat toys before we picked one out. He's a doofus sometimes but he's my doofus. 

Thus began life on the road with a tiny kitten. Grog plays with it and lets it practice its hunting and fighting skills. Ever have a kitten "attack" your hands with impunity? From fingertips to elbow my right arm now looks like Helen Keller used it to write her autobiography. Seriously, it's horrible. My arm is so shredded it's ridiculous. And Grog just laughs and laughs the whole time. "Grog teach kitty thing to be warrior!" Thanks, Grog. Ugh. 

We've learned a few things about cats. Like they're manipulative. We have this game that Miss Demeanor started. I pretend I'm a truck driver trying to safely drive an 80,000 pound vehicle and she pretends she doesn't care. Instead she hops up in my lap then slowly claws her way up my shirt to the collar. Then she hangs there and lets her hind legs dangle. I reach out and support her weight so she doesn't tear my shirt to shreds. Once she feels my hand touch her she releases the claws, collapses into my hands and goes to sleep instantly. 
Since she's self-centered, if I set her in my lap so I can use that hand she just sits there and stares at me for a few minutes. Then she'll climb back up and we repeat her little game. 
I did get to laugh at her once for it. As soon as she started to collapse into my palm I moved my hand. As she landed in my lap she gave me a "hey, asshole, that wasn't funny" type meow. Even Grog chuckled though. 

Another fun lesson I learned: cats must be related to squirrels. They'll climb anything. I drive in jeans most of the time now. My legs look like I waded through a briar patch. I'm fairly certain I've lost enough blood to qualify me among the undead. 
This little Velcro gymnast does laps sometimes while I'm driving. Fun to watch? Sorta. Except when I'm part of the course. She's started at my ankle and climbed to my shoulder. At a breakneck pace. Countless times. While I'm hurtling us down the highway at 70 mph. 

However, I was smart enough to take pictures of her when she's being cute. I did that for her protection. See, that's why kittens are cute to begin with: so you don't kill them. So far so good. Grog doesn't want to cook her up anymore. He actually likes her. She shares our pillow. 

Grog was pretty sure his kitten was broken the first time she used the shitbox. Nothing living should ever put off odors like that. "Grog need bury cat." No. Easy fella, she's just going potty. "Kitty thing eat zombie?! Grog see buzzards circle when cat thing poop."  Yes, I know. But she will bury it and we got special odor control litter. "Litter is poop covering dirt? Grog think it broken. Grog's eyes leak from smell." It'll be alright. Here, I'll roll the passenger side window down. "Aaaahh! Now it stink AND Grog hot! Kitty trying to kill Grog!" 

And so we started the ritual of cleaning the litter box three times a day at minimum. She's cute and cuddly but something is rotten inside her. The good news is she's not food aggressive in the least. She's not aggressive in any way until Grog gets her riled up. I've found he enjoys brushing her two or three times a day though. It relaxes him. 

We get up, exercise and get all pumped up then brush the kitten. After we exercise at lunch and dinner we usually follow up with me doing busy work in my head while Grog brushes his little friend. I think things are going to work out well. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

"Killing In The Name Of..."

I had planned on posting something lighthearted and fun today. Had it all written up and everything. I wanted to be that "fun guy" but, nope, now I've gotta be the asshole again. 
It's been a while since I've actually offended someone, I think. So I guess I'm overdue. You guys ready to be mad, call me names and cancel your subscriptions? Let's go then. 

I'm going to start off by saying that any senseless death is tragic. I offer my deepest condolences to the families of those killed in that club in Orlando over the weekend. It was needless, tragic and inexcusable. A deplorable act perpetrated by a misguided zealot. 

That being said, here's where I start making people mad. See.... I saw postings all over the internet where people weighed in. I saw speeches made by Emperor Nobama. I read and heard a lot of things that were just tremendously STUPID. 

First off, the Obama speech: he feels "gun control laws" are the issue. This Idiot in the Oval Office thinks we should blame guns. Hmm. Gun control. Well, let's see, if the folks in that club had had guns then a lot less of them would've perished, I'm sure. He was able to shoot as many people as he did because no one could defend themselves.
However, "gun control" will not keep people with murderous intent from killing. Quick to cry for gun control we forget several factors. Don't worry, we'll get back to the rest of this post afterward. I doubt there'll be a good segue because there's nothing humorous about this level of stupidity so bear with me. 

Factor one: the bad guys don't give two shits about gun laws. Period. Paris has pretty strict gun laws. Did that deter the terrorists in the slightest? Didn't appear to. 
Chicago is a "gun free zone" yet people get shot there pretty frequently. New York City also has shootings despite being "gun free". Apparently the bad guys there also just don't care about the gun laws. 
If people want to kill they simply will whether they're using planes (World Trade Center), trucks full of fertilizer (Oklahoma City Bombing), pressure cookers (Boston Marathon), knives, hammers, rocks, etc. When Cain slew Able do you think he cared that killing was bad? And he certainly didn't use a gun. 
Factor two: guns aren't the problem. People are. For millennia people have killed one another. Long before the advent of guns. You simply can't prevent extreme behavior and you usually can't predict it either. 

Factor three: stricter gun laws will only serve to keep people from being able to protect themselves. The best way to stop an active shooter is to shoot him back. Period. How did SWAT stop him? They shot his ass dead. 

Now, back to the story. I saw someone post that they blame Donald Trump because "he said things that promote hate and fear." Seriously?! This is Trump's fault now?! How asinine can you get? The ONLY person to blame for this was the radical Islamist who did the shooting. No one else is responsible for his actions. 
This goes hand in hand with me reading the other day about a girl who committed suicide because she was "bullied". The family says the kids who bullied the girl were to blame for her death. False. SHE killed herself, they didn't kill her. Though it's tragic to lose a loved one, she was responsible for her own actions. 
Accountability. We lack it sorely. Everything that happens we have to find someone to blame. (This prompts me to tell you that there will be another inflammatory post soon). 

Next up. I'm kinda curious about something here. People keep clamoring for "equality" and shit. "We need to quit labeling people..." I've seen this fun little gem in posts about transgender, LGBT, color, etc. 
So why was it necessary to immediately tell everyone it was a gay club? Is that supposed to raise the level of severity? I felt I was appropriately sympathetic for the families then I found out it was a gay bar. So does that mean now I've gotta be even more upset? 
Thinking back, I remember there being plenty of violence in a few of the bars I've worked in but I don't remember the papers or news saying anything about a "stabbing in a straight/heterosexual bar". Did we really need to differentiate what type of bar it was? "Don't label us but make sure you draw attention to our sexual preference when appropriate." What the hell? 
Same thing with the girl who committed suicide. "She was a promising young black woman." Couldn't she have just been "a promising young woman"? I'm unsure what skin color had to do with her level of promise or with her killing herself. 

There will always be separation of color and sexual orientation as long as BOTH sides are quick to point it out. Yes, I feel bad that someone radical thinking shithead killed those people. No, their color, age, gender or sexual preference didn't make me feel any more or less bad. When we can simply address each other as people instead of our sexuality or color THEN we will have made progress towards change. Until then it's just different levels of segregation. 

No, I'm not done. There's another thing about this that pisses me off. I saw several posts and pictures of tweets wherein people say variations of "I'm glad he killed perverts and not innocent people." That is an exact quote. Look, these were innocent victims. Have respect for them and their families. I know that there are Christian extremists who claim homosexuality is "an abomination to God". 
Let's set the record straight here. Christian extremists are no better than extremists from other religions. Religious extremism is wrong no matter your religion. 
Remember, it was Christians who slaughtered people in the Crusades, who tortured people during the Spanish Inquisition, that burned people alive at the Salem Witch trials, who slaughtered Native American men women and children wholesale, who drove Aborigines off cliffs... The list goes on. 

I subscribe to no religion and don't believe ANY religion should be an excuse for committing atrocities or being stupid. So you can call me whatever names you want but, before you go telling me how great your religion is, make sure you know your history because the most powerful weapons are knowledge and reason. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

"Get The Truck Outta Here"

I'm a polyglot. That means I speak multiple languages. Three of them are European though I'm not quite fluent in German or Italian yet. But I'm working on it. I went to school for one European language, the other two are kinda "self taught". I've got this nifty app called Duolingo and I greatly enjoy it. 
Among the languages I know, several aren't taught online or in the classroom. Life and experience has helped me master "snark", "sarcasm" and "asshole" to a level far above "scholar". These, in addition to just plain English, have become my most common forms of communication. Unfortunately, however, I haven't learned to speak "dumbass" yet. Which led to yesterday's miscommunication. 

See, there's a new Petro truck stop in Illinois and I had to stop there for fuel. Nice, big place with pleasant employees. Inside things were great. When I walked back out, however, things went not great. There was a guy outside with a sign advocating getting trucks off the road. 
My first thought was, "is this some radical new form for committing suicide??" I couldn't help myself. Target acquired and locked. Prepare to engage! 

"Um, excuse me, what's with the sign?" 

We are a group supporting Bernie Sanders' proposal to get trucks off our roads. 

"Hmm. You're a Sanders supporter AND you're at a truck stop advocating putting trucks out of business. So that already tells me what I need to know about you but I'll play along. This could fun for a minute." That was my internal thought. What I said aloud was "you know you're at a truck stop with this, right? That's about like a rabbit hopping into a wolf den.
"So why're you wanting trucks off the road?"

"Because they cause too many deaths and accidents."

"Hhmm. Ok. How many deaths and accidents a year are trucks responsible for?"

"A lot"

"Wow. A lot, eh? Is that an official number? Try this number out: the department of transportation states that in accidents between cars and trucks, the car is at fault for 86% of those accidents. 86%. That's an actual number. 
"So maybe we should advocate to get 86% of the cars off the road and the roads would be much safer. Whatcha think, Sparky?"

"Well trucks go too slow and clog up traffic too."

"Hmm. Let's explore that. Most companies govern, that's limit the speed of, their trucks for insurance purposes. My truck isn't governed. Should I run around driving as fast as you guys do? Let's also remember most cities restrict trucks to certain lanes but not cars. So you guys are free to get around us slow rolling wildebeests of the road.
"Since we're here, though, let's talk some more. Let me ask you, how long can you be up and driving before you're required by law to stop?"

"That's absurd. No one tells me when I can and can't drive. But at least I'm smart enough to get off the road when I'm tired. You guys aren't. You drive tired all the time."

"Ok. So you can drive as much as you want. Do you know that the department of transportation limits us to no more than 14 hours on duty, meaning 'up and doing stuff', with no more than 11 hours of those being drive time? And, of those 11, we can't be on duty for more than 8 hours before being required to take a break. 
"Look around, Tiger, you see all those trucks in the parking lot? Those guys are sleeping or taking their required break. Our choices for places to stop are more limited because of the size of our vehicle but we do stop when needed.
"Now, what's your solution to trucks? People need stuff. We bring stuff. It seems to work that way."

"We could just move everything by train. It's better for the environment and won't cause so much trouble on the roads."

"Capital idea, my man! Capital idea. Wait. You seem to be wearing store bought clothes. So let me ask you, if I may, when you went to the mall to get your clothes did you happen to see... Oh, I don't know, a TRAIN STATION there? Get your car at a dealership? See a train depot on the lot? At the gas station? The grocery store? Should I continue or are you getting the general idea here?"

"We could build more railways. It would create more jobs."

"Oh. You mean jobs for the 650,000 plus people you're looking to put out of a job? You ever pick up one piece of railroad rail? It's heavy. How do you plan on getting that rail everywhere? Got a train that doesn't need rail? Yep. It's called a truck.
"Look, killer, right up until I saw your sign and you started speaking I assumed you were brighter than your shoes. After that I rapidly changed my mind. I recommend Tony Chachere's."


"Tony Chachere's. It's a seasoning. We like our food seasoned. Good luck out here, you're gonna need it. I've gotta run. But, before I go, consider this:
You want trucks off the road in your county, imagine when you've gotta drive to the next county for pretty much everything you need that you can't grow. Welcome to the Wild West, pardner"

Now, as it turns out, the website he mentioned (yes, I've omitted their website because I simply don't promote their cause) was founded by a woman who lost her 8 year old grandson due to a "collision with an 18 wheeler". Let's process that. Not "was hit by", but collided into. 
In other words, THEY ran into the truck. The loss of a loved one is tragic, I understand that. However, to fault trucks for people in cars not knowing how to drive is idiotic. 

We (truck drivers) deliver products that everyone needs. Just like the rest of you, we are simply trying to do a job. We don't run around looking to cause problems for cars. More often than not, cars are the ones causing the accidents. Think long and hard about what life would be like if you couldn't just go to the store to get what you want. What life would be like if you couldn't just stop in and fill up your car at the gas station. Even what it would be like if there were no lumber stores or buildings to get materials needed to build or run your home. 

People hate that our giant vehicles get in the way and slow them down. They blame us every time they cut us off and cause an accident. They want us off the roads but they fail to realize how much we drive the economy. Highway usage taxes and fees in the billions yearly that help support construction of new roads and repair of old ones. They fail to realize how post apocalyptic the world would be within a week if we all just stopped. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

"Stop Monkeying Around"

Lovely how we humans do things. We invade animals' habitats, build our homes where theirs used to be, then we get upset that those animals are invading "our space" because, you know, we live there now. Living next to a forest I get bears, cranes, turkeys and snakes aplenty running around. I don't want them exterminated or locked away; I just enjoy watching them. They were here first. WE are invading THEIR space but humans are arrogant as well as destructive. 
We push animals into endangered status, hunt them nearly into extinction and then cage them for "conservation of the species".  Unless they're creatures that frighten us or we deem useless. Then we just keep killing them. Too bad we can't do that with humans. We'd need a lot less of those invasive homes. 

Instead we end up with zoos. That's where we take animals out of their natural habitat, lock them up and put them on display. So people can see the nature we are destroying. Maybe it'll help us appreciate how good we destructive creatures have it. 
Most days I think it should be humans caged up instead. 

So last week a kid wandered away from his mom at the zoo, did a Spider-Man routine and climbed a few barriers to end up in the gorilla enclosure. Cost that poor gorilla his life because it suddenly became "is he trying to save him or is he going to kill him?"  I get that part, I do. But, again, I'm all for natural selection. 
Do I think things could've been handled differently? Eh. Maybe. Shoot that sorry excuse for a mom and toss her in there to distract the gorilla. 

Now, here's the thing, we took these gorillas out of the wild for "conservation purposes". We built them a fun little enclosure/home. This kid deliberately climbed into it. He basically broke into their home. So we kill the gorilla. For having his home broken into. Only in America. 
Look, I'm not saying the kid was solely at fault here. He wasn't. I blame his "mother". She works at a daycare facility? And her response is "accidents happen"?!

Seriously?! People trust her with their kids?! Well it's obvious she's never taken her class on a field trip. Leave with 20, come back with 3. "Where'd the rest of the kids go?" Eh. Accidents happen, I guess. 
Accidents like people like her being allowed to watch kids. That seems a pretty terrible accident. With fatal results for a gorilla after her neglect allowed her child to break into said gorilla's home. 

Surprisingly, I've seen people post in her defense. "She did the best she could. You can't watch a kid 24/7...." True. But, c'mon, how about at least long enough for a trip to the zoo? How's that for a start?? 
I know, I know, I may be asking too much. I must be like world's strictest parent. "Let's go to the zoo, kids, but I expect you to not wander into the animals' homes..." But daaaaad! "Nope. Im going to actually stay with you guys and watch you. We will stay together during the whole trip. Like a family." Daaaad. You're no fun! 

Some of the comments are like "this poor lady is punishing herself.." Blah blah blah. "How would you feel if that were your kid?" Yada yada yada. Simple: she's not punishing herself. Her attitude about it says it all. "Accidents happen". Translation: "it's not my fault." Bullshit, lady. It IS your fault. You're the parent so when stuff like this happens on your watch it's entirely YOUR FAULT. 
As for if it were my kid... Simple. It wouldn't be. I actually watch my kids. That's kinda my job as a parent. Hell, I'm sure my kids would be more scared of me catching them trying some stupid stuff like that than they would be of the gorilla hurting them. 
But I'll play the hypothetical game. Let's say that somehow one of my boys did do something like that. You can bet that I'd be in that enclosure right behind them in a hurry. Not to fight off the gorilla but to light that kid's ass up. They'd be begging the gorilla "please don't let my dad find me..." 

We lack accountability these days. I've seen it in many places, not just in this zoo situation. Go to the mall and you'll see kids acting like wild animals. Or Walmart. Dear lord, the people I've seen there! Kids running amuck to the point you want to run them over with a cart and sometimes their parents are just laughing at how shitty their kids are behaving. Makes me want to slap the parents in the head with a bottle of Ajax. "Clean up your damn parenting skills!" 
Since that's frowned upon or labeled assault all you can do is try to avoid the monkey house that is retail stores. I'm a hermit when I'm home and I'm sure my friends sometimes think I'm borderline agoraphobic because I cringe when they invite me places. Outdoors doesn't scare me, modern society does. 

The other day I saw a video on Facebook of some little kid relentlessly beating on his mom. And she's siting on the couch trying to cover her face. I call bullshit. Smack that kid until he's seeing stars. 
That behavior wasn't just something he suddenly started either and you know it. That's years of failing to discipline. To me it's just like with pets. There are no bad dogs, just bad owners. Same with kids. It's the parents' fault. 

Are my kids perfect? No. They're kids. But they're well-behaved kids who should turn into well-behaved adults. That's how child ownership works.