Sunday, July 02, 2006

Kansas vs Missouri

Kansas vs Missouri

I’ve always had a very traditional view of Missouri and Kansas. Being a Missouri resident, I tend to view to state line as something much more significant than a line on a map. The suburbanization of Kansas City, with the majority occurring in Johnson County, Kansas is a very significant social commentary about this region.

What is concerning me a lot these days about Missouri and Kansas is how the Missouri political environment is starting to reflect Kansas. The Democratic Party is slowly being minimized in Missouri. Rather than seeing debates among Democrats and Republicans, Missouri is being treated to the Kansas-style struggles of social Republicans versus economic Republicans. This debate is raging in Missouri’s 8th Senate District as social conservative Matt Bartle is being challenged by fiscal conservative Bob Johnson. The Democrats are no were to be seen and it goes without saying that Bartle v Johnson is the real election. Whoever wins this contest will be the next Senator.

I really don’t want to get into my personal views on this debate. However, let’s just say that I’ll be voting in the Republican Primary this summer. One candidate seems to jump on any passionate issue to divert attention from the more important and pressing issues of the day. I know which way I’ll vote. I just fear that Lee’s Summit, fancying itself as Johnson County-East will push the election in an undesirable way. There are too many children without healthcare, instances of unwarranted corporate welfare and other such problems to be thinking abut whether two unrealized cells are a “human” or whether it should be illegal to burn a flag. Just my two cents.

Monday, June 26, 2006



Well, I finally got my new Dell Axim to operate the way I think it should. Well, so far so good this week.

Basically, I had to rebuild the entire software set. Dell believes that several legacy software systems actually significantly and dramatically affect the performance of Windows Mobile devices. So, I reinstalled everything and slowly started to put on third party applications. What I miss most is Norton Antivirus for Handhelds.

Next, I installed the Broadcom Bluetooth stack on the device. The native Bluetooth stack is horrible. In fact it will only receive signals and won’t send or allow you to send phone numbers or the like to a cell phone. The old Bluetooth stack is a little slower than the new one. But, on the upside, the new stack does ACTUALLY work!

Most people on the Aximsite seem very upset with Dell and Microsoft for choosing to license software that clearly took two steps backward. I completely agree.

Now, for the bad news. I’ve started to notice that boot time is starting to increase. It may be a matter of time before I’m forced to rebuild the system, yet again!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Drip, Drip, Drip

When I came home from work I replaced the valve mechanism inside one of our toilets. The valve was broken and water was occasionally dripping from the top of the unit. A constant drip would echo through the house, especially at night. This task posed no great challenge except that my wife had just put one of those dye tablets in the tank. I had to get all that out before I could get the water out. Anyhow, I traded everything out and it worked exactly like it was supposed to without a single drip inside or out.

As I was sleeping later that night, my wife told me that I the water wouldn’t shut off in the kitchen. I could hear the water running, so I woke up and turned off the water at the main, to keep the water from running all night. When I woke up, it occurred to me that the rubber seals likely had been cut or were not working in some way. I took the faucet apart, replaced the faulty parts, put everything back together, turned on the water, and everything worked fine.

This really isn’t worth writing. However, I always feel very good when I do a pluming project. I spent lots of time watching my Dad fix pipes. I’m not close to as talented as he was. But every time I undertake a project like this…even a simple project… I feel a certain family pride. I feel that my Dad knows and is happy. It’s odd, but these minor events that make me think about my Dad always makes me happy to have been his son, and sad that he’s no longer with us.

Not my best post…but really what was on my mind as we approach Father’s Day.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

One Moore Time

One Moore Time

A friend of mine asked me to weigh in on the Dayton Moore hiring. When the Royals hired Dayton Moore as their General Manager, people throughout the region started to envision a return glory.

First question. Where is it written that the Royals MUST hire General Managers with a bizarre first name? I mean, Dayton follows Allard (who many Royals fans call “Alan” to this day). Allard followed Herk. Herk? I’ve never met anyone named “Herk.” Of course, G.M.s John and Joe in Kansas City managed to put together World Series contenders. In all fairness, Cedric was the master architect of the Royals success. But I have met other people named Cedric. For the record, apart from the town in Ohio, I’ve never heard of “Dayton.” I’m concerned.

Its funny, and this isn’t revisionist history, but I remember having a sinking feeling when John Schuerholz left the Royals. It turns out my hunch was right. Kansas City looks at Atlanta and wonders what could have been. I don’t know if that is fair. But this obsession with Schuerholz is not healthy.

A few years later after he left, I remember Schuerholz talking about trades. To paraphrase, he said, some go good and some go bad. He recounted trading David Cone for Ed Hearne as a bad trade. However, he glowed about trading for a starting right fielder that turned in an All-Star season for a prospect (Jermaine Dye for Michael Tucker). KC was so inept that we gave away Dye, who would later be a World Series MVP. So, in Schuerholz’s win some, lose some story…the Royals lost both times!

Allard Baird was not horrible. I mean, he did screw up the Jermaine Dye trade. He chose to “lock up” Mike Sweeny instead of Carlos Beltran (Murphy’s law). But could he have done much better given this support? I really don’t think so.

My fear is that Schuerholz is giving us another Jermaine Dye. What does that mean? I think Moore will be great. I think he has the potential to restore the Royals to glory. However, I fear that he won’t be a winner until he moves on. Just like Jermaine Dye.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

British Television

British Television

About a year ago, we migrated from Comcast Cable to Dish Network. Frankly, we got really tired of the fact that our cable company was always increasing our rates and requiring us to buy equipment that we didn’t want. We’ve been very happy with our decision so far. A really nice unintended consequence of the move was that we got BBC America with our subscription.

I’ve just finished watching “Ed vs Spencer.” Right now, I’m watching “The Thick of It.” I became a big fan of “The Office” long before NBC made their version. About the only thing I dislike about BBC America is the reliance on Benny Hill, and Monty Python. I love Python, but those series went off the air over 30 years ago. Hasn’t British humor evolved some since then? I’m also not a huge fan of the British versions of the TLC shows, like What Not to Wear and Trading Spaces. Of course, the British versions came first. But whether I see a fashion disaster from a Tyneside village or from Knoxville, Tennessee, does it really matter?

Maybe I’ll catch up with some of the other series in future posts. Ed vs Spencer is a very fun show. Two roommates (and apparent friends) are given a challenge and compete each week. I’ve seen an episode where Ed and Spencer compete to see who can become more famous. Another episode has Ed and Spencer competing to see who can make the most money. Ed sells all of Spencer’s clothes and rents out his room. Spencer tried to be an illegal cabbie, but can’t find anything. It’s a great and original show. Be looking for an American knockoff any day now.

Monday, May 15, 2006



There’s a U2 song called, “40.” If I could figure out a way to attach a wav file, that song would be playing behind this post. So, if you could, please hum that song while reading this post.

So, I’ve been awake and conscious as a forty-year-old for a couple of hours now. Frankly, I can’t tell the difference between 39 and 40. I can only barely see the difference between 30 and 40. Now, there is a difference between 25 and 40. I mostly feel that in my knees and on my scalp where my hair used to be.

Forty is an interesting milestone. Given my nature, it becomes very clear that lots of things, including life itself, are half over. On the other hand, enough time has passed that I’ve had a lot of positive experiences and memories. So far, I’m happily married to the love of my life. I’ve swum with sharks and sting rays. I’ve walked along Roman walls and roads. I have a job that I love and feel that a truly make a difference every day. Truthfully, that just scratches the surface. There are so many good times, good memories, and good friends in my forty-year wake.

So, today is a day of reflection for me. There are lots of wonderful times, places and people to recall today. At the same time, it is fun to think about the next forty years. I can only hope that the next forty years are as fulfilling as these last forty.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

When newer isn't better

When newer isn’t better.

I recently decided to upgrade to the Dell Axim v51. This may have been a huge mistake. I’ve been an Axim 3 user for several years now. Generally, I’ve like the Axim 3. I decided to upgrade due to some sale pricing and discounts. The Axim 3 tends to eat up battery life when using wireless. The Axim v51 is much better on power. But that’s about all I can say right now.

It takes forever for the device to power up and to become accessible. For instance, once you power up, it can take 10 seconds or up to a minute for the screen to receive input commands. The video is supposed to be far superior to the Axim 3. However, the graphic rendering on software applications is horrible. Sometimes, it doesn’t paint classic games (like Conquest) correctly, and performs very poorly.

One thing that I really dislike is that some of the functions in the previous version of Windows Mobile don’t translate (as far as I can tell). For instance, one thing I always liked was the ability to dial or transfer data via Bluetooth to my telephone. It doesn’t seem to have this ability at all. Although discussed in the manual, it just isn’t there.

I thought that I had waited long enough for the bugs to be fixed on the new Windows Mobile. I was wrong. Hold off purchasing a Windows Mobile device for a while. At least hold off until Microsoft becomes more interested in providing support on the website. Right now, they are obsessed with support for Windows Mobile for cell phones. There isn’t a lot there for PDAs.

BTW, for some odd reason, my Axim 3 died just as I was putting together my new device. So I can’t go back!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Liberal News Media

Liberal News Media.

Several years ago, I read a book called, “What Liberal Media?” by Eric Alterman. I really enjoyed it. One point that Alterman made was that, while the rank and file of the frontline beat reporters may be liberal, the editorial board of most media outlets, along with the ownership tend to be moderate, if not conservative.

Alterman made a great point about the fairness doctrine. Back in the day, you had to provide equal time for political commentary. In other words, when Rush Limbaugh and Shawn Hannity apologize for the administration for six hours on the radio, under the old standard, ratings or not, the station would have to provide six hours for people to counter their partisan ramblings. The point is that, at one point, fair and balanced reporting mattered more than ratings. And, just to pre-empt you, dear reader, just because someone says that they are “fair and balanced” does not make it so…no matter how many times they say it!

I think that if there was any doubt whether the news media was tilting to the right came last week when news commentator Tony Snow was named White House Press Secretary. Off the top of my head, I don’t know that I can remember a sitting member of what is reported to be the national media being named press secretary. Further, I think this is more evidence that commentary and opinion are now passing for news.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Hows the weather?

How’s the weather?

I learned a long time ago that you should avoid talking about religion or politics if you want to keep conversations civil. It has always been pretty safe to talk to people about the weather. That is, until a few years ago when people really started talking about global warming. Suddenly, a discussion of the weather could degrade to fisticuffs.

Here’s my take on global warming. I agree that there are great trends in the weather cycle. In Kansas City, winters were bad in the 1950s (according to my dad) mild in the 1960s (again…my dad) and bad in the 1970s and early 1980s (I remember deep snow all winter and ice storms about every other year). People who agree with global warming point out this year there was virtually no snow in Kansas City this year. However, we may be in the middle of a cycle. However, are there very unique trends. My sister lives outside Fairbanks, Alaska. My brother-in-law pushes snow (like lots of people). However, my sister said that he only had to push snow three or four times all winter. Sometimes he has to push snow three or four times a week! I guess my issue is that I can accept that there are cycles in the weather. However, I would be shocked and amazed if Fairbanks ever had a winter like this last one.

I think that climates may be shifting. I think there are changes in the weather. There are problems and issues with our stewardship of the planet. I guess the safest conversation in the future is to discuss how poorly the Royals play.

Monday, April 17, 2006

And yet...

And yet…

I’ve recently discovered an author I really like. I’m not much of a fan of fiction. However, I really like Max Barry. The author of Jennifer Government and Company, Barry is fresh and original. Several reviewers point out that his stories often run out of originality and “steam” before the end of the novel. I’m willing to cut him some slack. Frankly, his stories are so original you don’t mind coasting to the end. Although, he could use some work on how he transcribes dialog.

The first book I read from Barry was Jennifer Government. This story takes place in the near future where companies have become so important that people give up their surnames and take on the names of their employers. There are several storylines; Hack Nike, Billy NRA, and of course, Jennifer Government (who works for an agency like the FBI).

Company is wonderful. As you start reading, you are sure it is the ultimate satire in the tune of Dilbert, Office Space, or The Office. One man is obsessed with who is parking in his space. Another man has a favorite coat hook. Then there’s a guy who knows some stole his doughnut. You follow around a new guy, Jones, who finds that there is much more about Zephyr holdings than meets the eye. They are the Alpha and the Omega. It is a great cautionary tale for people in senior management (like me).

Barry is a near futurist, telling stories about a world that is not unlike this one. Much like Orwell, Barry’s world is a troubling one. Although, I think I laughed much more at Barry’s world than George Orwell’s.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Another Day on the Farm

Another Day on the Farm

Leigh Anne and I went to the farm to visit with her parents yesterday. Our treks to the farm are always enjoyable, but becoming even more so! We always start by stopping by “At Sarah’s Table” in Kearney. Sarah and her husband are good friends and it is always fun to see them and chat a little. Besides, as Leigh Anne has testified to everyone, Sarah makes “most excellent pancakes.”

We went to the farm, on up to Bethany to shop and eat, and then back to the farm. There was a huge power outage in Bethany. Of course, that really didn’t stop anyone from shopping at Wal-Mart…they just couldn’t cash out!

Lee and I went to the farm pond to try our luck. A while back, I caught my first bass in that pond as I reacquainted myself with fishing. After a pretty short amount of time, I landed a decent sized bass. Lee moved around the corner and caught a nice sized bass, too. After a while, we had caught several bass, bluegill and crappie. Most were small, so we released them and vowed to get them another day.

We decided to stop for the day. Then, the wind picked up, and Lee started getting some impressive strikes. He pulled in two really nice bass. At his urging, I cast back in again a couple of times. I got a very strong strike! It pulled and fought. It was easily one of the biggest fish I had ever caught! I pulled and reeled. I could hear Lee becoming more excited as the fish came closer in. In fact, at the time, he seemed more excited than I was! Once we got it in, we saw that the fish was not one of the large bass. It was a sixteen inch long crappie and weighed two pounds. Lee said he had never caught a crappie that big, and proclaimed that I would never catch another crappie that big if I fished for another forty years. We had a very impressive string of fish. Fortunately, Leigh Anne had just come over to the pond and we had our photographer.

We returned to the farmhouse and then went along the treeline to look for mushrooms. All along the way, he and I talked about the adventure along the pond. Lee kept saying that we had a day we could talk about forever. How can I disagree?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

An offer you cant refuse

An offer you can’t refuse.

Several years ago, I subscribed to Audible.Com. I discovered several years ago that I didn’t like to read fiction. However, listening to novels while I exercise or while I’m driving is another story altogether.

Recently, I downloaded The Godfather Returns. The unabridged version has over twenty-one hours of listening. The story chronicles the “missing” periods from the Godfather novel and movies. I’m still not through the book, but I absolutely love it. It details what happens after the death of the heads of the five families at the end of Godfather I through the start of Godfather II and the death of Carmella Corleone.

One thing I found really interesting was the back story on Fredo Corleone. It really goes into much greater detail on why Fredo betrayed Michael and why Fredo was so tortured. The revelation that Fredo was gay was a bit of a surprise, though.

There’s more back story on Tom Hagan and his brief tenure in the U.S. House. There’s back story on how Pete Clemenza died. Johnny Fonataine (AKA “Frank Sinatra”) is better explored and we are introduced to the Shea family. Shea was an Irish ambassador who worked with Corleone as a bootlegger and was set on making his war hero son president. Sound like Massachusetts family? There was follow-up on Sonny Corleone’s twin daughters. Some of the most interesting back story though is the story of young Michael and the family before 1946. I just started listening to that part and really can’t say much.

The book itself is not really written very imaginatively. In fact, it is almost written in a boring way. But the story is great!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

"I caught you a delicious bass."

“I caught you a delicious bass.”

This is one of my favorite lines from Napoleon Dynamite. I need to take time to reflect on Napoleon Dynamite sometime. I absolutely love this movie.

The point of this posting is my gradual reacquaintance with fishing. I used to go fishing a lot with my grandmother and great-aunt. We used a lot of live bait (like crickets and worms) and caught a lot of bluegill and crappie.

As I grew older, got busier, I lost time for fishing. Recently, my father-in-law started inviting me to fish on his farm. Last summer, we caught some catfish. This was my first attempt at stream fishing. Today, he took me fishing at one of his ponds and I caught my first bass. The first one I caught today was a pretty good size fish. It was a nice fight, but clearly stacked in my favor. I caught several other, much smaller fish and released them. I had a really nice time.

What I discovered last year, and today, was that the worst day of fishing is typically better than the best day of just about anything else. I really like standing near the water, casting, hearing birds (and cows on the farm) and enjoying nature. Honestly, I could do that for an afternoon without catching a single thing.

So, I have my two bass filets in my freezer and a great day of relaxation.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

My day as a model

My day as a model.

Last week, a company we work with notified us that they wished to profile us in their upcoming annual report. As part of the profile, they decided that they wanted a picture of one of the library staff. Since the Director and Assistant Director were out of town, I got the job. What I discovered was that the company intended on sending a professional photographer from Cleveland. He would fly in during the morning, take the pictures, and then fly out when the job was done. I was surprised that they were willing to send someone this far, and with this sort of expense just to take my picture. Now I guess I understand how our business partner spends money! Rather than having the photographer come all the way to our office, and having nothing much more impressive than a traditional Board Room or my office, I asked if he would want to meet at one of our libraries near the airport.

When he arrived, we decided on a few places that might serve as a good back drop. He took pictures of me surrounded by books, holding books, and standing in the book stacks. He started snapping and snapping. And then snapping some more. Before I knew it, he told me that he had taken over 100 shots. It was sort of fun, but really very boring after the first hour. I know this is nothing like being a real model, but I think that the “hard work” that models talk about is mostly a combat against boredom. I spent the rest of my day investigating the construction on our Platte City location, meeting with one of our trustees, and scouting greenspace for new libraries. This really is more to my liking and more my speed.

The photographer promised to send copies of the useful images to me. I’ll post them online sometime.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

My taste of Cuba

My taste of Cuba

When I was on vacation in January, I ran across two interesting culinary treats from Cuba. I realize that my “discoveries” are likely as exciting as someone discovering burnt ends or barbequed ribs on a trip to Kansas City. However, growing up landlocked in the center of the United States, and not being exposed to Caribbean culture until our recent trips, I really had not experienced the food of the islands. I take that back. I ran across some Jamaican cuisine when I was in England. I discovered the wonders of jerk chicken and ginger beer at that time.

The night before our cruise, I noticed a sandwich called the “Cuban” in the hotel restaurant. I wasn’t sure if it was just a colorful name or a traditional sandwich. I discovered that it was the latter. What I got was a grilled and pressed sandwich on pannini bread with melted cheese, ham, pork and pickles. It really was a taste sensation. I capped the trip with another Cuban at Casa Bacardi. Last weekend, I found that “Cheeseburgers in Paradise” (the Jimmy Buffet Caribbean themed joint in Kansas City, Kansas) also serves Cuban sandwiches. Of course, I ordered one! This is my new favorite sandwich. I suspect that I will have to order one whenever I find one on the menu. Cuban cuisine isn’t very common in cowtown.

Another item that is much more common is the Mojito. Our friend, Sarah, told us that this drink was all the rage among the beautiful people these days and we resolved to try one on the cruise (note: you can see my first Cuban sandwich in the foreground). The first time we were able to try one was at Bacardi in Puerto Rico. We learned that it was one of the first mixed drinks in the world and first created in Cuba. It uses water, soda, limejuice, rum, and crushed spearmint leaves. It is very tasty, but very “old school.” In a day with seventy different martini flavors, this really is a throwback. It is very refreshing.

Here’s to my “discovery” of Cuban foods.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I want my D.V.R.

I want my D.V.R.

You know, Dire Straits sang, “I want my MTV” several years ago. I really can’t imagine life without my DVR! In fact, I was watching a movie with my mom and wife today and really wanted to rewind it to see the scene again. One problem – we were sitting in a movie theater!

The ability to pause and rewind life programming is such a great thing. I don’t have to wait for a commercial break to refill my coffee. If I really want to hear that idiotic comment from a Bill Maher’s conservative guest, I can rewind it and see it again, and again, and again. A good friend of mine purposely starts watching NFL games 30 minutes after kickoff so he can skip commercials. Between running his own instant replays and the natural time delay, he tends to catch back up to “real time” in the 3rd quarter or so.

The DVR is a great invention. If you don’t have one, queue up the music for “Money for Nothing” and sing a lot.

I want my
I want my
I want my D.V.R.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Good Night and Good Luck

Good Night and Good Luck

I was very excited to learn about the new movie, “Good Night and Good Luck.” I know several people who are journalist groupies. I’m not exactly there. However, Edward R. Murrow is certainly in my pantheon of heroes.

Murrow was very important in the creation of television news. Unfortunately, I think he’d be ill over what now passes as “news” in America. In fact, I think he saw the hand writing on the wall during his lifetime. Of course, in his lifetime, there was the Twenty-One scandal. Don’t get me started on Fox News.

Murrow was amazing. His coverage of the Blitz, Hear it Now, See it Now, and even Person to Person were very important in the history of news programming. It is amazing what he did to check McCarthy ... at a time when Eisenhower and the "real" Republicans just sat on their hands. We really could use a few more Murrows today. People need to be able to question the status quo without being called a communist, terrorist, or unpatriotic.

As for the movie, I really want to see “Murrow” again. I saw that movie on HBO several years ago. As I left the theater after seeing “Good Night and Good Luck” I felt really under-whelmed. Now I really want see the previous biopic (Murrow).

Oh...BTW the "battle of the bulge" is going very well. I'm down 12 pounds.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thank heavens for Michael Scott (and David Brent)

Thank heavens for Michael Scott (and David Brent)
The parenthetical comments translate for a British audience

I watched The Office on NBC this week and nearly fell out of my chair laughing. Michael’s constant attempt to participate in the “Women in the Workplace” seminar until being banished from the entire office by Jane was hysterical. Then, when Michael went to the warehouse and wound up wrecking the place and accidentally pushing the employees unionize, I could not stop laughing. Then, I realized something. Of course, given my position, I am much closer to Michael Scott (David) than to Jim (Tim). Is that a bad thing?

As I was thinking about Michael Scott (David Brent). Then I started to think about the Sprint/Nextel commercial where the executive explains that his phone plan is “his way of sticking it to the man” only to be reminded that he IS the man. I think it is clear that, like it or not, I am much more close to being “the man” than I was fifteen years ago…at least at MCPL.

What has always frightened me is becoming a man like Michael Scott (David Brent). What makes me enjoy The Office so much is that I know that while I may be “the man” I am not becoming “that man.” So, I guess it is still alright to laugh.

Besides, the show is damn funny!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Visiting the Capitol

Visiting the Capitol

For the last several years, I’ve visited the Missouri State Capitol in February. Several librarians descend on Jefferson City toward the start of each legislative session every year to inform the legislators about how their recommendations might affect libraries in Missouri. That’s the work.

What I really enjoy is visiting the Missouri State Capitol. I’m a native Missourian, and I feel a real connection to the site. Most visits, I visit the exhibits on the ground floor. I haven’t visited to the Thomas Hart Benton murals of Missouri’s history in many, many years. I really must go view them the next time I visit.

We typically stay at the “round” hotel. It’s been known as the Monroe, Quality Inn, and is now Hotel Labella. I really like the updates that they’ve made in the rooms. They now have small refrigerators and microwaves in the rooms. They closed the restaurant upstairs. I think this may be both good and bad. The restaurant always had very slow service. In fact, one year, they didn’t have a server at all. We wound up serving our own coffee, water, etc. Now, they have free continental breakfast, and no other meals. So, it is still self-serve, so to speak.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Battle of the Bulge, rejoined.

I’ve decided to use my newly found time to seriously dedicate myself to exercise and weight loss. Right before my dad passed away, I weighed about 190 pounds and was in great physical shape. Since then, I’ve put on about 35 pounds and lost just about all my muscle tone. I’m at a point that my clothes don’t fit very well. Frankly, I’m too cheap to buy new clothes…so the weight has to come off.

I’ve started a pretty strict diet and cardio exercise four times a week. My hope is to get myself jump started, before I start to toy with resistance training again. My initial goal is to drop 25 pounds. I’ve done it before. Given that I don’t have the school and family stress that I’ve had before, I really think that I can get back to a more idea weight before summer and before all this extra weight makes me sweat like crazy!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Charlie Continued

Charlie (Continued)

Charlie is a very sweet cat. Clearly, he used to live with people and just got lost or was dumped. When we picked him up from the vet after our vacation, everyone said very nice things about him, commenting how gentle he was. Our only concern, albeit a great concern, was the warning given to us by the vet about the possibility of FIP. When the vet opened him up in a vain attempt to spay an already neutered male cat, he found some fluid in the abdomen, which is a symptom of FIP.

Charlie also had a small bladder infection, so the doctor gave us some pills to give to Charlie. Our other cats require significant effort to “pill” including prying open the jaws, holding them open, and throwing the pill down. Then, holding the mouth closed for an extended period until the cat finally swallows the pill or it dissolves away. One morning, Leigh Anne started to “pill” Charlie like we were used to with our other cats. Charlie clamped down on Leigh Anne’s two index fingers with his fangs. Leigh Anne’s right index finger was penetrated very deeply. It even appeared that the tooth may have went all the way through the tip of her finger.

Over the next several hours, the finger started to swell greatly. Leigh Anne went to her doctor. The next day, since the swelling and pain was continuing, we went to the hospital. They probed the wound and found no infection, but did drain the finger and released the pressure.

Leigh Anne’s finger is much better now. She still cannot bend it all the way, but feeling is slowly coming back. My initial feeling was that this action would seal Charlie’s fate. FIP or not, I could not believe that Leigh Anne would want to keep the cat. Much to my surprise, Leigh Anne took the attack in stride. Her greatest concern is still the FIP related to our other cats.

So, how do we pill Charlie? We discovered that this cat is so calm and tame that all you have to do is put his pills in his food and he eats them. People have always told us that cats will do this, but that had never been our experience. The whole issue could have been avoided had we treated Charlie like a “normal” cat instead of treating him like our weird cats.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Its Charlie

It’s Charlie!

First, please excuse the lack of postings. As I completed my MPA, my hours became very precious. I have much more time for posting again.

Over the past few weeks, other than completing my Masters in Public Administration, Leigh Anne and I went on an Eastern Caribbean cruise and we have tentatively adopted a third cat.

Leigh Anne has several bird and squirrel feeders in our backyard. All these animals tend to be a “draw” for neighborhood cats. One day, a black and white cat started to frequent our backyard. After several days, we noticed that the cat was living in our backyard. We decided to invite it inside. After a couple of days, and one very cold night, the cat came in our basement. We were sure the cat was female. We took inquired around, but found no owners. Being on our way out of town, we boarded the cat, and instructed our vet to do all the typical workup on her.

When we got home, we discovered that, no only had we mis-sexed the cat, but the vet did, too. It was not until they had opened the cat to spay her, that they discovered the error. So, on our return home, “Chelsea” became “Charlie.”

We brought him home and he has been living in our basement for about a week now. We are going to slowly introduce him to our other cats. Of course, a slow introduction, it wise. In addition, the vet thinks there is a very small chance that Charlie may have FIP. Until we can get a better handle on his health, he will be the basement cat.