Category Archives: Animals

The waxing and waning of generational blame

Ashes to ashes2Hi readers     Thanks for coming by.

I don’t believe I ever doubted anytime during my 74 times around the sun that my parents and their generation experienced far more difficulties on average in life than did my own generation.    I’d go a step further and conjecture that in general all previous generations to mine tended to be more challenging to the folks living in them than my own as a genre experienced.

To me this doesn’t seem a subject of controversy .   More than likely the great majority of people who traveled that piece of time with me would agree.

But unless I’m mistaken, we’ve come to a place in history where convictions of that sort among the young no longer exist.    Everything I see of young people suggests to me they believe their generation actually doesn’t have it as ‘good’ as their parents or their grandparents.     As measured in almost everything they value.

In some ways I believe they are right.   The baby-boomers beginning during WWII in the United States were blessed with an affluence beyond anything that’s gone before in the entire history of mankind.   We lived in a time when the pantheon of individual choices ranged from entrepreneur, to beatnik, to hippy, to hitch-hiker to corporate climber.    Or any combination of those and countless others.

It wasn’t our fault.    We lived in a world in transition, born into a bubble of expectations and hope that allowed us a confidence we had no reason to doubt, but no business believing.     And because of that, while many of us merely submerged ourselves in numb mediocrity, a substantial piece of the whole went out and lived our lives in ways that left no doubt that life could be lived.

So what happened to convert the confidence and enthusiasm, the trust, of the 1950s, 1960s, and to some extent, the 1970s, to the slough of despond and hopelessness  that emerged among the youngsters in the 1990s and 2000s?

I don’t believe, despite their perceptions, that younger people have it more difficult than my generation.   In fact, in many ways they appear to have it sufficiently easier to qualify as appalling.    True, there aren’t a lot of manufacturing, skilled labor, whatever-middle-class-hell jobs were around back before everything went to the 3rd World.     And it isn’t clear how the current population of mediocrity will provide for themselves so’s to accumulate tons of appliances, entertainment, transportation, bass boats, clothing and cosmetic surgery.

But is that really a quality of life issue?    Isn’t it, rather, a challenge of personal values and priorities?

I’ll confess, reading posts of young people on FaceBook hasn’t given me much sympathy for them, hasn’t inspired much hope they’ll make the world a better place during their time here.     But then, when it comes down to it, neither did mine own generation.

Sure, a lot of people I knew were moderately-to-wildly successful at accumulating wealth.   A lot of them surpassed themselves in various ways far greater than anyone would have expected of them when we were kids.   And many of them handed everything to their kids with a silver spoon, spoiled them beyond recognition.    Indulged in precisely the same mindset as my generation’s parents who went through WWII and the great depression, determined that their children would have it easier than they, themselves had it.

But my generation had it so damned easy, making it even easier on those that followed might qualify as a crime in a better world.   Might qualify as condemning our progeny to expectations that bear almost no relationship to anything related to happiness, fulfillment, or genuine satisfaction.

This isn’t the first generation in the history of man where many have been reduced to the moral and economic equivalent of flipping burgers to earn a living.    The simple fact is, the affluence derived from a minimum wage 21st Century job would have been coveted by so many of our ancestors so far back we’d lose count trying to identify them.

“We’ is a terrible word.    It pretends there’s some group of individuals who share some accomplishment, some responsibility, some abstraction.    Something that happened on our watch.

And the fact is, there isn’t any such we.      I’ve lived a life of 74 years and I didn’t have a damned thing to do with anything that happened during my time on this planet.   Not a single damned thing.

And I honestly can’t say I’ve been in personal contact with anyone who did.    The people who made things happen, who drove the events of my lifetime might as well have existed in comic books, movies, television shows and epic poems.   Because I sure as hell never encountered one.

Jeese, what a life.    What a ride this has been.   What a phony, sexy, drug-induced hallucination.

Old Jules

Advertisements

There’s something about pet cemeteries

ship cat

n Memory of Simon, Served as ship’s cat on HMS Amethyst – Simon’s heroic ratting saving the crew from starvation during the hundred days the ship spent trapped by Communists on the Yangtze River in 1949. Simon was originally the Captain’s cat, a privileged creature who fished ice cubes out of his water jug and crunched them, but after he survived being blown up along with the Captain’s cabin, he was promoted to ‘Able Seacat’ and became pet of the whole crew. Unfortunately, the decision to bring the feline hero back to Britain proved the end of him as he caught cat flu in quarantine and died. http://spitalfieldslife.com/2018/03/18/at-the-pet-cemetery/

Jeanne sent me an email with a blog post about a pet cemetery in the UK dating back almost a century:   http://spitalfieldslife.com/2018/03/18/at-the-pet-cemetery/.    Maybe because I’ve lost so many cats so dear to me over the past few years, but it really struck home.     I rarely get an emotional reaction when I visit human cemeteries, but by golly, a click to that blog did the job.

cemetery entrance

Unfortunately, the Ilford Pet Cemetery is currently closed to visitors due to safety concerns after a Eucalyptus tree was brought down by the snow, but you can contribute to a fund to remove the tree and reopen the cemetery by clicking here http://spitalfieldslife.com/2018/03/18/at-the-pet-cemetery/

For those who have read this blog for several years, but don’t recall their demise, Shiva the cow cat died while we were with Jeanne back when I was trying to finish dying on her couch in Olathe.     She’s buried in the backyard of the house where she first arrived in Kansas and had her litter of kittens.

Shiva in bathtub

This was taken when we lived in the mountains in Placitas, New Mexico. Shiva hadn’t yet graduated to the lofty status of ‘the cow cat’. That came later during the several years we spent together on a ranch in Central Texas.

Hydrox Top Cat RIP

Hydrox, Top Cat, RIP 2016, found his burial place among the ruins of out-buildings at the Blackjack Battlefield. That’s where John Brown and his followers attacked a group of pro-slavery settlers in an incident some prefer to believe was the ‘real’ first battle of the Civil War. It’s a middling distance from Leavenworth, but when I can trust the car I visit him as frequently as possible.

 

A couple of good cats just vanished from my life this century.    There was Mehitabel #3, whom I eventually found the hairy tufts of at the base of a telephone pole in Grants, New Mexico, where eagles often perched.    And:

MIA – Permanent Mouse Patrol – Niaid

Andrews, Texas, December 2013, when I was going through my diagnostic challenges with the VA in Odessa and Big Spring…. I suppose that was the most difficult aside from Hydrox, and the fact she’s in some anonymous grave in the sorriest part of Texas anyone’s likely to find anywhere probably suffices.     During those times I thought I might join her at any moment.

So I’m inclined to think those pet cemeteries, though mawkish, are something of a plus.     If we’re lucky we’ll have a lot of animalcules to share parts of our lives, and over the decades we’ll endure the consequence of their lives being so much shorter than humans.     Knowing they’re lying in some prepared spot where we can visit them if we wish, shed a few tears, and say a few more goodbyes seems worthy of them.

Old Jules

Mister Midnight’s flaw

mr midnight bracelet 2 all

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by.

A cat only has so much dignity he can hold on to. We all know that. So imagine how tough life must be for a black cat forced to go through life with a silver bracelet of hair on one of his back legs.
mr midnight bracelet
Naturally I find myself trying to grab that leg for a closer look at it. And naturally he’s become particularly sensitive about it.

Oh yeah, I tell him it’s great, it’s what I like about him. What makes him special. But every time I grab for it to have a better look, the tries to jerk it away, sometimes even bites at me an hisses.

Because deep down, no matter what I say, Mister Midnight knows the truth.

Old Jules

The love affair with automobiles

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Experts agree that almost everyone born in the US between 1950 and 1960 was conceived in the back seat of a Ford, General Motors, or Chrysler automobile.  The overwhelming majority of the comparative few exceptions were mainly Studebakers because of the convenience of the suicide-style back doors opening forward to allow more horizontal legroom.   The highest percentages go to the 1949 Ford Club Coupe, the 1954 Chevrolet Sedan, and the 1956 Ford Crown Victoria.

But I’ve digressed.  My point is, almost nobody was conceived in a pickup or passenger car with a floor shift or bucket seats.  And nobody, not one pregnancy resulted from sexual congress in a hotrod.  Which is the reason parents allowed youngsters of the day to build and drive them.  A young man with a hotrod had little time or need to devote himself to the pursuit of female company.

Naturally the music industry approved this means of birth control and tried to the best of its ability to stimulate interest in and sing the virtues of coffins on wheels, speed, running from the law and other non-sexual avenues of endeavor for young men.

Red Foley’s, ‘Hotrod Race‘ was the first of these:

After a tasteful passage of time this was answered by Charlie Ryan’s, ‘Hotrod Lincoln‘, claiming to be the person driving the Model A who passed Foley and the car he’d been racing against in ‘Hotrod Race’.

George Hamilton IV, in “If You Don’t Know” attempted to combine an interest in girls and hot cars by driving a ’54 souped up Ford Deluxe with high compression heads and overdrive, which succeeded for speed but had mixed results with females.

The Beach Boys were a bit late off the starting line with “Little Deuce Coupe” in 1964 because the sexual revolution had come along allowing babies to be conceived elsewhere than the back seats of automobiles.  However, I mention it here to demonstrate the lingering nature of fads, once begun.  Long after hotrods were no longer needed to protect the virtue of young men in the US, the sound of a burned out muffler still caused a faster heartbeat.

Robert Mitchum followed the formula in Ballad of Thunder Road, combining fast cars and running from the cops with filling up the spare space in the automobile with mountain whiskey instead of females.  The song led to many a high-speed chase around the cities of America providing thrills to both police, and teenagers.  And frequently ambulance and hearse drivers.

When the Nash Rambler hit the market nobody mistook it for a cool aphrodisiac setting for launching future generations.  The car was considered ugly, though it appealed so a certain type.  But since it wasn’t for the one thing, it must be for the other.  At least in the minds of the music industry:

Although I doubt many children begin their long journey toward birth in modern automobiles now, there are a lot of similarities to the hotrod part of the 1950s love affair.  People love being seen in Hum Vees and dooley trucks.  Everyone wants a SUV.  And a person still sees the occasional racy sports car.

Mostly today the guys don’t roll up their pants cuffs, though, and some do find themselves attracted to women.

Old Jules

Cats can’t sing either

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Old Hydrox has become a frequent singer in his dotage.  Jeanne described the ones happening several times per night lately as ‘annoying’.  And I haven’t found a way to discourage him doing it, nor thought of any explanation.

I tend to think he misses being around several cats, possibly [especially] Niaid, his litter-mate who went on permanent mouse patrol slightly over a year ago in Andrews, Texas.  We were all together 17 years, so I’d imagine if a cat’s capable of ‘missing’ another creature Niaid is one of his night songs.

On the other hand, it’s clear Shiva is a part of all this.  He’ll walk over and sit on the floor in front of the chair where she’s sleeping and begin the serenade until he runs out of lyrics.  Sometimes it’s Sweet Betsy from Pike, other times Otis Redding or Roy Orbison.  Fortunately that usually happens during the hours of daylight.

The night songs seem to be triggered by dreams, or by Shiva creeping through the living room where Hydrox and I bed down.  She has to go by here on the way to the litter box, a few laps of water, or to check out the food dishes.  And there’s no way she’s getting past here without the keen ears of Hydrox detecting it, head jerking around to stare.

Usually he’ll contemplate what he’s seen until she passes on her return trip.  Then he’ll jump to the floor and follow her with his immortal prose or a few stanzas of Pretty Woman Walk on By.  Or My Girl.

If he had a better command of English and had ever shown any signs of being susceptible to reasoned argument or persuasion I’d try it.  But a whispered 2:00 am yell at him only results in a brief pause and stare.  Getting up and chasing him around also only gets me back under the blankets with my teeth chattering and him carrying on where he left off.

Maybe I misinterpreting the song.  Hydrox might just be saying, “This getting old is hell.  I surely do miss ambition.”

Cyrano de Bergerac remembering the moon.

Old Jules

 

Post Christmas sunshine

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

There’s something new on the Universal Love front to begin pondering:  Hydrox and Shiva-the-cow-cat appear to be slouching into some sort of hanky panky.  They’ve been observed lying side-by-side on Jeanne’s bed.

These cats have known one another for more than a decade and never a kind word has passed between them.  Hydrox surprised me last year when he began licking the face and inside the ears of Tabby whenever she got aggressive, but Tabby was an entirely different matter.  What Shiva’s always wanted was to be left strictly alone by other cats.

Until now.  She’s the one jumping on the bed as the party of the second part, not the first.

Also, sometime around 2 am Christmas Eve I heard cat racing noises, sat up in bed and saw Hydrox run from Jeanne’s bedroom into the kitchen.  With Shiva in hot pursuit.  I shook my head and wiped my eyes in time to see Shiva race out of the kitchen closely pursued by Hydrox, back past Jeanne’s Christmas tree into her bedroom.

I’m convinced they’re teetering on the brink of a Christian Era.

And meanwhile Wavy Gravy Duff, managing editor over at Veterans Today did a wordy Christmas post bragging of his past life without being too obviously obnoxious nor untruthful.  For that matter, aside from Jonas Alexis there were no Jew baiting/hating articles during the Christmas truce.

g duff 2

wavy gravy

g duff

Soooooooo if we’re not teetering on the brink of a Christian era I think we’d better all start digging bomb shelters.

Old Jules

Don’t trust the vet to euthanize your terminally ill pets

Hi readers.  If that death penalty fiasco in Arizona didn’t teach anything else worth knowing, it taught that.  If Arizona State Department of Corrections took over the animal killing from the Humane Society the animals would all be dying of old age, getting healthier while everyone waited with bated breath for the final solution.

Thank goodness it was a human being they did that to instead of a cat.

Old Jules