Urban Thought


My Cat Bennie

My sister lives in a small town in Northern California.  She has living with her, 3 dogs, 3 cats and a turtle.  She moved and she finally realized that 7 animals was just too much and she asked me if I would like to take Bennie home.  Now Bennie is a Manx cat, which means he has no tail and his hind legs are longer than his front and he acts like a dog.  No kidding, that's one of their characteristics.  And he's very big and really liked me, for whatever reason cats use to decide who and what to like.  Whenever I came for a visit, he was the one who would curl up on my lap or behind my head.  So I agreed.  I was concerned that Bennie would miss the dogs and cats that have been in his family for years but my sister assured me that he wouldn't.  "Are you kidding??"  I forgot to mention that Bennie is a dead ringer for Morris, the stuck-up- pitch-cat for 9 lives, in looks and attitude.  You get the picture.  So we left his home that in all likelihood he'll never see again, buried under a foot of fresh snow and 23 degree temps for sunny Southern California. 

   Of course the first thing he commenced to do was shed his winter coat, and continues to shed his winter coat, much like the tree in my front yard that starts dropping leaves in September and doesn't quit until February.  

    I love this cat.  He's regal.  His paws are huge, almost over-sized, and with his tawny coat and large head and body, somehow he reminds me of a lion.  And he's so affectionate.  Yes, he is like Morris, in the sense that he'll sit Sphinx-like staring at the wall, TV, or out the window and ignore you.  But he is affectionate.   I don't think I'v ever seen a cat that is so much like a dog.  He follows me everywhere, and not just when he wants to be fed.  He loves to be stroked and petted and won't tear my hand off when he's tired of it.  He just walks away.  When he does grab my hand, its not to rip and capture, although he does pin it down with claws extended, its so he can LICK it!  Strange cat this Bennie.  

    He comes to me when I call him.  By his name, no 'here kitty kitty' around here.  Its 'come here Bennie'.  End of story.  He'll come and tuck me in when I finally go to bed at night, nuzzle my face and then go curl up at the end of the bed.  But only for a little while.  I'll hear him hit the floor, though I can't feel him get up, he's very stealthy.  He goes off somewhere else to sleep.  In the morning, the second I wake up-I'm not making a sound-he somehow hears me.  Or feels me.  I don't know.  But anyway, up jumps Bennie onto the bed and he'll sit there patiently waiting for me to get up.  Or if he gets a bit impatient, he'll nudge my hand with his paw.  Once I wake up its on until I pad into the kitchen and feed him.  

     He's a great cat, a real noble animal, with a real sixth sense and I suppose 9 lives although I never want that myth/truth to be tested in his case.  He used to hunt rabbits, birds, mice and rats and run from coyotes, cougars and bears in the snow, rain and sun, but now he lives the gentleman's life.  Eats boiled chicken breast, pacific salmon, and friskies cat food (doesn't like science diet??), sleep, eat some more, sleep, and wait for me to pet, brush and love him.  A city cats life no?       



Words Matter

Its been a week since the terrible events in Tucson, a fine southwest city in its own right, and much has been said about the causes of this tragedy.  The question has been asked 'do words matter?'  Did one madman act alone, isolated from the incessant political drumbeat of vitriol bandied about on talk radio, TV, pundits and propagandists, or was he wittingly or unwittingly influenced by it all.  I say yes.  A resounding YES!  If not, if words don't matter, then why do corporations and companies flood the airwaves with ubiquitous commercials pitching everything and anything?  Why are billions spent trying to sell something using WORDS if words don't influence?  Why during political campaigns do candidates hire media wizards and word-smiths to craft commercials with the sole intent of bringing up their man while denigrating or dis-crediting the opposing person?  Because words matter.  

    Was this murder by a mad man a political act?  Yes.  If it wasn't, he would have simply walked into a supermarket and shot random people for a random reason.  But he chose his target, he mapped it out and he executed, if you'll pardon the pun, his plan.  

    Its interesting that the popular climate has been described as an 'atmosphere of vitriol and hate'.  The metaphor could not be more perfect.  We ALL breath the same air, the same atmosphere.  If its polluted smoggy air, we all react in different ways. Those with asthma sometimes end up in the hospital.  Clean air has the opposite effect doesn't it?  But everyone is affected in some way by the atmosphere, be it a literal one, or a subjective one.  

   People in leadership positions, high profile positions and positions of power must realize that their words carry consequences.  They fall on the sane and the insane alike.  And hateful metaphors are taken by some as literal truths, ment to be acted upon.  

   Do I lay the blame on this despicable act on Sara Palin or Glen Beck or Rush Limbaugh?  No, not directly anyway.  Do I think that the constant drumbeat of 'the government is your enemy', 'they're taking away our guns', putting targets and bulls eyes on public servants and demonizing the other side contributed to a subjective motivation to act out?  I do.  There is no direct evidence of this at this time, however, there are many things that cannot be proven by direct evidence until probed deeper.  

   At the very least, a cleaner, saner more civil atmosphere would do us all good, in the same way that clean air makes for a better quality of life than thick brown smog.  As a dweller in a city that significantly cleaned up ITS smog, I can testify that its a much better place to live.  

   What do YOU think?              


For those of us who live in the city

And like, need and enjoy our technology, we all have an iphone.....However, YOU CAN'T MAKE PHONE CALLS !  On the 'phone'!!!  That's because AT&T, to put it mildly, SUCKS.  Especially in the city.  I actually have better reception taking a drive to northern Ca, driving up lonely hi way 99 than in my own LIVING ROOM!!  I have better reception at my sister's little house sitting in the Sierras than I do sitting in downtown San Francisco or Los Angeles!  I don't know about New York, but sources have told me its even worse there.  

   I have 789 pictures on my iphone, many of them quite nice.  Its fun to scroll through them when I have nothing to do for the next hour.  I have  a full gig or more of music, 10 apps, a fine compass, and Google maps.  I have a virtual piano on it and I can see the weather in 9 cities, more if I chose.  There's only one fly in the ointment in my, uhhh, 'phone'.  I can't make or take a call. Texting is almost as difficult.  That is unless i'm sitting directly under a cell tower, or standing in line at the AT&T store waiting to bitch them out.  Every one i'v been in has PERFECT service.  Amazing.  

   However, like the calvary finally showing up over the hill, help is on the way!!!  Verizon has just secured the iphone, the evil empire's hold is finally broken and like hoards pouring forth from newly liberated gulags, you will soon, to para-phrase Ross Perot, hear a great sucking sound-from AT&T to Verizon.  

    In the spirit of the celebration, I have included John Stewart's comment on this very subject.  I think he puts it better than I do.  Check it out!


January 7th

Today I drove downtown to the fashion district to buy inventory for my business.  My business is selling purses and sunglasses 'wholesale' to as many people as i can find in this city.  But as for the garment/fashion district, its part bizarre, part circus, part actual wholesale/retail stores and part zoo.  The heart of it is 'santee alley' and you can see a pic of it in 'urban art'.  This is an alley full of handbag stores, suit outlets, perfume and sunglasses stalls and stores and clothing stores.  All of these stores are run by a cornucopia- of- the -world bunch of vendors.  A veritable melting pot of vendors from all over the world:Pakis, Mexicans, Jews, Indians, Koreans and Chinese.  Black guys from Senegal listening to the koran in the morning and African music in the afternoon.  Rasta guys chillin to the reggae mon, selling pipes and paraphernalia.  And some guy from Juarez or Tijuana blasting out banda, my most disliked music ranking somewhere next to polka.  Everywhere in The Alley are people bustling to buy.  Blond soccer moms from Orange County who made the 'dangerous' trip downtown for a fake designer handbag, Salvadorian mothers pushing baby carts looking for socks, bored guys being dragged around by their wives and girlfriends, and me, trying to dodge everyone in my endless pursuit of inventory.  Whatever.  All I know is, you better not go there on a saturday because saturday is the official shopping day of the Latin American community and if you do not get there by 9 am, you will find yourself swept along in a sea of humanity and screaming babies, which, though a part of humanity, are defiantly a sub-culture unto themselves.  A very loud one.  I love The Alley.  Its exciting, interesting and fun.  And very much a part of downtown.  



Life in the city

life in the city infuses me with energy.  Everything moves, breaths, interacts.  Cultures mingle, art becomes life and life becomes art.  The sleek, sometimes stark lines of a tall building dissolve into the soft graceful curves of a woman crossing the street and disappearing into a steaming coffee house in winter.  

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