Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Our Civic Doody

Ferguson Missouri has a sixty seven percent black  population. Their mayor is white, only one of the six city council members is black, and nobody on the school board is black. Now I understand the urge to march and protest the killing of a black kid by one of the fifty white police officers (only three are black) in Ferguson, but that isn't going to get anybody anywhere. The real reason the black population of Ferguson is totally unrepresented is the fact that nobody votes. Other than presidential elections, nearly no one votes. The black turnout for the last municipal election in Ferguson was seven percent, which allowed the seventeen percent (also abysmal) of white voters to out vote them.

Yesterday was primary election day here in Florida. I know that a lot of people vote early and by mail now, but I don't think it's all that many. Early yesterday Mark and I toddled on over to the quaint little church where we vote. I like Mark, still get a kick out of the actual going to the polls and voting on election day. It seems to add a bit of excitement to the process. So we walk into the place and over along one wall are eight voting booths. On the other wall are two electronic ballot scanners. Out in front of the church was an election official who advised us to have our I.D.'s ready, which we did. the nice lady sitting just inside the door took my driver's license and scanned it. She then gave me a little receipt, "Take that over to those tables honey." Sitting at a long table were three more election officials, one for republican, one for democrat, and one for something else. Possibly she was in charge of it all. I handed my receipt to the democratic official, and he handed me a ballot and directed me over to a little spindly, cardboard voting booth. It was very dark over where they had set up the voting booths, and I had a little trouble with the names and the small circles I was supposed to fill in, but I managed. I now walked over to the person in charge of telling me to slip my ballot into the scanner. "Please, slip your ballot into the scanner.", she told me. So I did, and the ballot got sucked in, and then the ballot came shooting back out. "Oh dear, something is wrong." the lady in charge of the scanning exclaimed. She took my ballot, marked it spoiled, and instructed me to get another from the long table. Suddenly the whole polling place was in an uproar. Nobody it seems actually knew what to do. "You must have colored outside the circles on the ballot." one person said. "Do you need some help voting sir?" another questioned. "He's blind, he's legally blind, yes he needs help." blurted out another voice very similar to Marks. "I'll help him vote." Mark told them. "Oh, no! He has to request that somebody help him". So I requested that Mark help me vote, which resulted in more forms being filled out, and more hand wringing.

Here's how it went. Seven polling place officials, eight voting booths set up in a darkened corner of a little church, along with Mark and me. Nobody else in the place. Nobody else came in the place the entire time we were there. I walked over to one of the little booths and again voted, but this time I just handed the ballot to Mark and let him fill in all the little circles. I didn't even tell him which ones I wanted. I'm sure he/I voted for every black candidate on the ballot. When I walked back over to the lady in charge of scanning, she again told me to insert the ballot into the machine. This time it worked. The lady also pointed out how many people had voted before me. Ten. Ten people had voted as of eleven o'clock in the morning. So if we get a bunch of buffoons elected this time, nobody can bitch about the politicians we elected. Nobody except me, Mark and the nine other people who voted.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cat Poop

There's a smell out by the front porch. It's a very strong, pungent odor that smells like cat poop. Probably because that's where cats have been pooping lately. Ever since the yard guy cleaned out all the vines from the front yard, every cat in the neighborhood has claimed our front yard as the communal litter box. I've asked around for ideas on how to mitigate the obnoxious odor, and the one I find most intriguing comes from Mark. He told me that five pounds of lime spread around the area should kill the odor, and that it is readily available at Home Depot. By the way, Mark pretty much told me last night that he does not want to move to Chicago. He is dead set against it. So, if five pounds of lime can kill the stink of cat poop out in the front yard, how much would I need..... 

Monday, August 25, 2014

IS You IS, or IS You Not Afraid?

Here we go again. I was laying in bed watching the Sunday morning political blab shows, and there they were. The blithering idiots who inhabit these Sunday morning shows trying to scare the poop out of the many chicken hearted in our country.
"Many (ISIS terrorists) with European accents have passports that would grant direct travel to the U.S."
"...with enough space and planning, this could become the most significant terror threat we have ever faced in this country."
"...there's a number of Americans, a number of Canadians and a number of West Europeans who went to Syria to join ISIS to fight with them."
"...we need to worry about a 9/11-style attack by ISIS."
So we're supposed to be scared to death of a bunch of idiots seven thousand miles away, who may or may not try to come to the United States, armed only with a passport. Because unless they have a navy, or an air force, the only way they'd be able to get here is on a commercial airline. "But!" you say, "That's how they got here on September 11th, 2001."  Well, yes it is. Unfortunately, that was our own fault. How was that our fault, you ask? I'll tell you. Way back in 1969, within eleven days of each other, two airplanes were hijacked in the United States. After that it seemed like it was open season for hijackers. What did the government do to stop hijacking of airplanes. They hired a bunch of nitwits to look through our carry-on luggage and pass a 'wand' over our bodies before we boarded our flights. What they should have done was secure the cockpit doors on every single airplane that flew into and over the United States. A secure cockpit door that was strong enough to withstand any force, that was bullet proof, and 9/11 would have been much different. Also, we would not have had George W Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld scare us into spending trillions of dollars on two dumb ass wars. If they couldn't get into the cockpit, they couldn't have flown those planes into those buildings.

So no, I am not scared of those morons running around the desert with the equipment that we gave the Iraqis, that the Iraqis left behind when they ran away. What I am afraid of are the people right here in our country who despite the slaughter of twenty first grade children, despite the slaughter of twelve people who went out to simply watch a movie, despite the slaughter of thousands of Americans every year, still insist that no controls what so ever need to be instituted against guns. I am terrified of the hateful racist cops who beat and kill unarmed people without consequence. My blood runs cold when I realize that there are hundreds of cult like hate groups in the United States who would love to murder me just because I am gay. Is ISIS scary? Yes, if I lived in Iraq. But I don't. The assholes who stood on the highway overpass in Nevada with automatic weapons aimed at the Federal agents who were trying to collect unpaid taxes from that nut bag Cliven Bundy, that's scary.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Things Change

My old house on Wellington in Chicago
 Mark and I are planning to move to Chicago next year. Well, I am planning to, Mark is grudgingly "considering" it. This is going to be a massive undertaking for somebody like me who is basically lazy. I moved here twenty six years ago with no more than my car towing a trailer, three cats, and an ex-boyfriend who wasn't an ex yet. I had a furnished townhouse in Fort Lauderdale waiting for me so it was easy. This time it will be much more difficult. I have to sell my property here, buy property in Chicago, then move a massive amount of crap there along with two dogs, possibly two cats, and a kicking and screaming Mark. There is a lot of planning to do between now and then.

Having moved from Chicago twenty six years ago I realize things have changed. The neighborhood I moved from is out of bounds for me now. I cannot afford it. The street where I actually owned a house back in the 1970's is out too. I sold that house for twenty two thousand dollars. The house sitting on that same lot now is worth over a million dollars. It's not the same house of course, they tore that shit box I lived in down. So Mark and I will have to look farther out, you know, just a neighborhood or two further than the hip and happening neighborhoods. That is why I have to find an affordable place on a nice tree lined street with a fabulous kitchen. Yes, the kitchen will have to be fabulous. Because if the house isn't up to his standards, if the kitchen looks like Aunt Bea's, all old and smelly, if it isn't just right, getting Mark through the front door would be like trying to put a freaked out feral cat in one of those little cat carriers.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Flip Flop Family

I have nothing against flip flops, on other people. I myself cannot stand wearing them. That thing that sticks between your big toe and the one next to it bugs the hell out of me. In fact on those occasions I have tried wearing flip flops, I ended up with my between the toes area being rubbed raw. I just can't see walking around all day with those things on, stomping on down the filthy street full of dog crap, used chewing gum, other peoples spit, and the grime of the world.

Yesterday I was standing at the Walgreen's pharmacy counter waiting for my antibiotic eye drops, because now the illness I caught in Chicago has moved into my left eye. It was a fifteen minute wait for the prescription so I sat down. Right next to the pharmacy was one of those Dr. Scholl's custom insole machines, you know, the one you step on and it tells you which insole they should sell you. After a bit, a large plump man wandered around the corner and stood there staring at the machine. Soon he kicked off his flip flops and stood on the little foot outlines with his bare feet. While he was poking at the computer screen a little girl came bouncing around the corner, "Oh daddy, can I try it?". So she kicked off her flip flops and plopped her dirty little girl feet, probably all sticky from candy, on the machine. Before she was done another overweight man with another little girl walked up, obviously part of the family. "Me next, me next!" the smaller girl with smaller flip flops and dirtier feet cried. Sure enough, she had her turn followed by the fat man, again barefoot, and flip flopless.

I don't think the Dr. Scholl's Company meant for everybody to share their athlete's foot, plantar warts, toe nail fungus, and other infections. But now I know not to ever use one of those custom insole kiosks. God forbid I should have somebody else's germs spread to my feet by some hick in flip flops. At least that was what I was thinking while hacking up a fresh phlegm ball while waiting for my prescription.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wishing You Were Here

Me being molested by three Jack Russells in the Canaryville neighborhood

We spent eight days in Chicago. Besides going to see a show, Motown, going to a wedding, eating every type of food from great to bad, and catching an awful illness, we got to tour the neighborhood that we are thinking of buying a house in. Mark and I also spent an afternoon eating ribs with my mom from her favorite rib joint. Yet the whole time I was there, there was something missing. My dogs. In the past we have driven to Chicago so that the dogs could come along. This time we were only staying a week so I had to leave them behind. Luckily for me, right around the corner is a lady named Mandy who baby sits dogs for a living. So while I was gone, Chandler and Bette got walked three times a day, fed twice a day, and got to sleep with the nice lady in their own bed. Every evening I got a text and a photo of the two dogs lounging around the house. On the first night Mandy asked me in the text if Chandler always needed to be lifted onto the bed. It turns out that Chandler was playing her. For eight nights Mandy lifted that eighty pound mutt onto the bed. I know that is the case because now, every night since we have been home, Chandler stands at the side of the bed and gives me a look that says, "Well asshole, aren't you going to lift me up?" No, no I am not going to start lifting that moose up onto the bed. There will be plenty of time when he is older that I will give in and do things for him, but as long as I know he can do it, Chandler is going to pull his own ass up onto that bed. As for Bette, she literally flies across the room bouncing off the chair and into bed. I really missed those two dogs while we were in Chicago. Really, it got to the point that I was accosting just about every person who I saw in Chicago with a dog. I was boring everybody with my story of leaving my dogs alone in Florida. It got really weird when I started offering to come by and walk their dogs later. That's how much I missed them.