Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Why no uproar about changing the name of Thanksgiving?

It has become fashionable in the last few years to eradicate any spiritual connections to Halloween and Christmas. Why not Thanksgiving?

The holiday is most certainly connected to the pilgrims, who were most certainly Christians who had fled from the church of England to pursue their own form of Christianity.

I guess it is because the word “Thanksgiving” does not contain the word “Christ, or does not openly celebrate witches and demons. People who are not Christians can find all sorts of things to be thankful for without attributing them to God, or a god. People celebrate Christmas in a purely secular way as well. Even Christians put on all the trappings of a secular celebration when they put up a “holiday” tree and give worldly gifts to each other. Yes, the magi came bearing gifts. But the whole tree thing is a direct rip off from north European medieval pagan celebration of the winter solstice. Santa Claus was a marketing gimmick by Macy’s department stores stolen from the legend of a European rich guy who gave gifts of food to the poor. (only one of many google search hits)

For that matter, why is Hanukah or any other non-Christian holiday not coming under the microscope of secular consternation?

I propose we change Thanksgiving to Thanksgetting. In this way we are more truly celebrating the pervasive attitude of society that it is better to get than to receive. Oh, no, most people would never openly admit that they would rather get than to give, especially during the X-mas season. (even calling Christmas "X-mas" has been around long before the current furor over making Dec. 25th solely a day of sharing, caring and keeping the economy stable)

But it is true. In our self centered world where self discovery, self as god, self as, well self, we give lip service to the warm fuzzy feeling we get ( see, WE GET) of giving to others, but inwardly are more concerned about what we will get from giving. I count myself in on this attitude. I too often think of what’s in it for me when making decisions. Even if I am giving money to a charity, or working with the homeless (which I keep meaning to do someday), my major motivation is how good it will make me feel. I cannot remember any specific instance where I have done something totally out of the goodness of my heart (see, there is the word “my” again) and not expected something in return.

Well, there is one thing that I did out of my compassion for another being where I knew I was doing it solely for the benefit of the givee and not to make me feel better. In fact I knew I would feel worse after doing it. I had to make the decision today to have my 13 year companion put to sleep. Yes, my cat. I could have kept her around for another few weeks, but it would have been for my comfort of putting off negative emotions and not her comfort of dying without suffering. she was too good of a friend to ask her to do that just so I could put off feeling sad

I am not asking for, or taking any “good for you”, or “you did the right thing” commiserations from my friends. It was not good for me, but I did do the right thing. So, I am pleased even through my tears. That is why I am a Christian. Because Jesus had it right. When we do the right thing, even suffer for it, we are actually relieved, even pleased. That could sound selfish as well ie: To know that we would eventually feel good about making a decision that would make us suffer first.

There is no end to that circular argument, and I am not going to go looking for one. I am just going to rest easy knowing that God is so smart and loving that he gives us warm fuzzzies for giving selflessly even if it hurts.

It is His way of saying thanks for giving.

A Robservation 11-23-05

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

“South Bound Cat” – Feline farts smart

Here is an x-ray of my cat Maggie. You will notice I have labeled where her head and heart is. I also noted where $217.00 went this morning.

Previously I wrote about my old house and the problem I was having with the bathtub drain. Now I have a problem with my old cat and her, uhmm, drain.

For the past couple of weeks Maggie hasn’t had much of an appetite. I figured she was just all jumpy from strange people trampling through my house while I was trying to sell it. Now that the house is sold and life is back to calmness, I figured she would come a runnin’ when she heard the tuna can open. Well, she would come a runnin’, but she would only nibble at a few bites, then walk away.

I noticed that after she nibbled she would work her jaw like she was trying to chew and swallow a wad of gum. Since Bubble Yum is not on her menu, I became concerned that she had developed a tumor in her throat. It’s always a tumor isn’t it?

I took her to the vet this morning. Trying to get her into the cat mobile is a story in itself, though I imagine anyone with a pet knows about their paranormal ability to divine when it is time to go to the doctor. In fact, I was telling a friend of mine who called while I was unsuccessfully chasing Maggie around the house about her telepathic sense. She laughed and said that she has to put her cat carrier out in the living room 2 or 3 days before she tries to catch one of her cats so it thinks the carrier is a coffee table or something.

The vet asked a series of questions, gave me a concerned look, gave Maggie a quick eye, ear, nose and throat exam with his doctor thingy ( an Otoscope, no kidding, I looked it up on the internet) with the little light on the end and said, Well, she doesn’t have anything stuck in her throat that shouldn’t be there.” Boy was I relieved that Maggie hadn’t swallowed a 13” carving knife like some stupid dog did that I read, and saw the x-ray, about on the internet

He flipped through Maggie’s chart, did a series of mental calculations about how much his next boat payment would be and re-assuringly told me he wanted to do some blood work. He said she had shown a high level of kidney something or other the last time she was in, and oh, by the way he also wanted to do a thyroid test.

Twenty minutes later he came back and said, “I have some good news”, which was not also followed with the typical “and some bad news”. The good news was that her blood test showed everything looked great, especially for a cat almost 15 years old. He thought it puzzling that her kidney levels had returned to normal without any medication. But, he let it slip that he had actually been looking at the blood analysis of another animal named Dolly and not Maggie’s the first time around. I refrained from any comment about this little whoops.

He didn’t say anything about bad news, but the inference was since she didn’t show any physiological signs for her symptoms, he really didn’t know what was wrong with her. He did some more very quick boat payment calculations, this time adding in the rising fuel costs for a Sunday cruise around the lake with his daughter (at least he said it was his daughter), and announced authoritatively that he wanted to do a full body X-ray. I guess he had seen the same X-ray I had of the dog who swallowed a 13 inch carving knife.

Another 20 minutes pass and he walks in with the X-ray and an assistant. They had dour expressions. I gulped, knowing that he had found a tumor choking my poor beloved pet. I guess the assitant was there to catch me when I fainted when I heard the bad news. He drew the suspense out by giving me a quick anatomy lesson as he pointed out her head (obvious), her heart and lungs (kinda figured what those were), her liver, and stomach (where they should be). Then he took a pen out of his pocket and dramatically circled the area on her south end which looked like a bowl of spaghetti and informed me that this was her intestines (which seemed to make anatomical sense given the vicinity of the area with respect to her head). He then circled a large dark oblong balloon shaped area and said, I am not kidding, seriously, he said,” and this is gas.” “Maggie has a gas problem.” He wasn’t farting around, and neither was Maggie.

I don’t know whether I laughed for joy or the ridiculousness of the findings. Maggie wasn’t dying of a throat tumor, she was sick because she had severe gas bloat back-up. The medical term is non-gaseous passeous.

With the diagnosis complete and a prescription for human baby anti-gas drops in hand I thanked the learned veterinarian profusely and stuffed my cat balloon back into her cat mobile and headed for the check out line.

The methodically itemized medical termed gibberish invoice cheezed out at $217.00. I was blown away, but not by Maggie.

For that, I could have gotten Maggie a life long supply of Beano and taken the re-fried beans off her menu. At least she wasn’t dying of throat cancer. I guess knowing that all she needed was a good gas pass was worth the money. Now all I have to do is figure out some way of getting north bound medicine into a south bound cat.

If you would like more information on feline farting and other fun fart facts, I googled a site There is a very complete FAQ on the subject with important questions like:
Why do dog and cat farts smell so bad?
Is it normal for dogs to like the smell of human farts
Do fish fart?
How long would it be possible not to fart?

A Robservation 11-02-05