Monday, May 22, 2006
Illegal Immigrants From Mexico
Today I read that one in seven Mexican workers is here in the US sending home about $20 billion dollars every year. Well, I can't get mad at them. What they're doing here, is, they're working. Not sitting around looking for benefits. They are willing to do the awful jobs. I think it's time we got off their backs, stopped fighting them. We should do one of two things;
1) Attack Mexico and totally take over the place, make it the 51st state, run without it's traditional corruption. Make it part of the USA whether it likes that or not. Say to this small, insanely-run country, "You want to be in the USA? Fine. You're in. Now behave.".........or....
2) Adopt an open border policy, decriminalizing the free passage of people back and forth. It's just too expensive trying to keep them all out and it isn't working. Maybe if the fences and police made any kind of difference, it would make sense to continue this effort to hold the door shut. The problem is that in Mexico there's such rampant ignorance and poverty. Everyone in that country who can walk and chew gum is walking toward the Rio Grande.
If we decriminalized border-crossing, right away all of Mexico would move here. The entire country, en masse, like the Hebrew children in the desert on their way to the promised land. And like the Hebrews getting to Canaan, they'd kick us out of our own country to a certain extent. Then US citizens could go south of the border and buy the place, develop it, industrialize it, get it's agri-business on a profit footing and first thing you know, all the Mexicans would want to go home again. Arriving back home, they'd find themselves in a place where it would be possible for a person to make a living. They'd stay home. They'd leave us alone.
We'd have to import Eastern Europeans to do all the grunt work formerly done here by Mexicans. Kind of like the situation in Europe now. Both France and Germany used to have troublesomely poor neighbors in Spain and Poland. Now that the open doors policy has brought prosperity to all, the poor neighbor problem is largely solved. We should give this a try.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Today, May 16, 2006, is Porque Choppe's happy fifth birthday. Porque BlinkingHere is a bit of Porque Choppe footage in celebration of the occasion. She isn't doing anything special, just sits there blinking politely, a perfectly excellent little chihuahua.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Last spring I invested in gorgeous hanging plants, the flowering kind, beautiful blue flowers, exactly the color of the trim on my house. I watered the plants, I admired them. Oooh. Ahhh. Then one day I saw little birds flying in and out of one plant. Uh-oh,nest building. I yelled at the birds, waved a broom at them. Took down the plant and set it where the neighbor's cat could get at it. Then I regretted my meanness and hung the plant back where it had been. Those birds destroyed my plant because once the mother bird sat on the nest, I could no longer add water. The plant died and hung up on my porch looking forlorn. Then one day I saw little heads bobbing up and down where flowers had been. I must admit that I enjoyed watching baby birds grow up, learn to fly, finally leave the seriously ugly thing still hanging on my porch. But I said, "That's it. No more hanging plants. Once birds nest in a place, they come back." I did say that, but I forgot. This spring I saw fabulous hanging flower baskets at the hardware store, bought two, hung them and watered them and enjoyed them and then....
Those little birds are back. The nest is built, another plant doomed.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
This morning someone sent me a link to a series of press conference clips in which the president of the USA repeatedly make a fool of himself. Yes, it was pathetic, but the real fools are the voters who put that man where he could do the most harm.
I have long felt that we'd have been better served with a monkey in the White House...
1) A monkey would not have sent a lot of young Americans to die on the other side of the earth in order to destroy a Middle Eastern country which refused hard line Islam as a form of government.
2) A monkey would not brag that we defeated a major oil producing country while we struggle with the highest gasoline prices ever.
3) A monkey would not saddle our schools with the most stringent standards ever and then take away a huge chunk of education funding.
4) A monkey would not deal with the problem of illegal immigration by trying to build a no-fault swinging door betwen the USA and Mexico.
5) (pet peeve) A monkey would not keep on killing young Americans in an unwinnable war because, "We owe it to those who already died."
Mostly a monkey would do nothing but trash the White House and bite visitors. That would be expensive to fix, but nowhere near as expensive as $3.00/gallon gasoline, a megabillion dollar war, local municipalities forced to replace no-longer-available federal school subsidies, the cost of caring for untaxable millions of illegal aliens. Yes, during press conferences, a monkey might embarrass the nation by gibbering, by jumping around and flinging monkey doo at reporters, but hey. If we tax payers had to shell out a million dollars for every single bitten visitor to the White House in the last 6 and 1/2 years, that would still be less costly than a couple of days of the war with Iraq.
We'll never get a monkey on the ballot, but I'd vote for it if we could. George Bush's IQ is only far enough above a monkey's to get us into trouble.
Friday, April 14, 2006
I Need To Rant A Bit
The other day something happened that made me angry. As in flames shooting out my ears. However, I pretended that it was all good; I smiled, chuckled, made jokes. Funny thing about getting mad. We're all ashamed of it when we're angry. Like it's an admission of weakness. Or maybe we're just afraid to let outselves go for fear we won't be able to stop. Whatever. I was as mad as I've been in the last twenty years...at least. For two days afterwards, I kept imagining ideas about how to exact an appropriate revenge.
Here's what happened. Lydia/kids/I all walked to the dog park, well, Benny rode his bike. Once inside the park, poor little Porque Choppe was rushed off her feet by five dogs at once. She was scared and begged me to pick her up, which I did. The biggest dog would not accept that Porque was no longer available to be treated like a snack waiting to happen. I held Porque up over my head. The dog climbed right up me to get at Porque. I yelled and kicked at the dog. That made the dog angry at me so it situated it's excretory apparatus over the back of the baby's stroller beside me. Then it urinated at least a pint of doggie urine into the diaper bag, soaked everything. And then it turned to Benny's bike which it baptised in urine front to back. Lotta urine. Big dog. The two young men who own that dog thought it's behavior was hilarious. They laughed themselves red in the face. They did not call the dog, didn't yell at the dog, didn't apologize. They laughed.
Lydia got the dogs' big water pan filled with fresh water and sloshed it over the bike. The diaper bag was beyond our capacity to fix.
I thought of the movie, The Godfather, where the little man came to plead for revenge for his daughter. Poor guy, he knew that if the Godfather did something for him, he'd owe forever, but he needed that revenge so he stood humbly, hat in hand, "Godfather, please..." He got his revenge and it was sweet although it cost him bigtime.
So I imagined myself saying, "Godfather, there are two young men who allowed their dog to seriously disrespect me. And they laughed. Is there any chance that come Easter Day when they're all dressed up in new clothes to go see Mom, someone could hose them down with urine and then shut them up for a while in a small space partly filled with doggie doo? Oh, you could do that for me? Yes, I know it would mean that I'd have to do free legal work for you for the next two years, but it would be worth it."
Then I imagined myself making the kid next door an offer he wouldn't be able to refuse, "Bubba. Would you like to make some serious cash? Good. Here's what I want you to do. There's a house near here...I'll show you which one...and I want you to break into the car in the driveway. I'm going to give you a bucket of stuff I bought from the zoo. Uh, actually it's elephant doodoo mixed into a bucket of elephant urine. I want you to slosh that stinky stuff all over the front and back seats, then lock up the car again and go away. You'd do that for me? Good boy!"
The late great psychologist Hymie Ginott said that when we're angry, we should use a great deal of language, not just a few worn out pejoratives. He thought it therapeutic to have an angry person fully and completely explain all of his feelings, loudly, at great length, omitting no detail however minimal. Say it all. Tell the person who injured you exactly what you're thinking. I love this idea, but it wouldn't work as a universal palliative because so many people would run out of language before they'd completely aired their grienvance. They'd start hitting. However, it would be great for someone like me, a person who never runs out of something to say. If those two loutish young dog owners were forced to stand in front of me until I had entirely expressed my attitude toward their behavior, they'd be standing for a while...and it would make me feel a lot bettter. Isn't going to happen, of course, so if I can get the Godfather's phone number.....
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Today the kids and I trekked down the road to Petsmart to take little Leroy, the Boston Terrier, to his first day of school. Dan and Benny did the honors as trainers. All did a good job. Leroy was a good pupil. Benny behaved.
This was my first chance to see what clicker training amounts to. It's a good idea. I was surprised how well it worked on all the puppies.
Some of the puppies looked to be a bit long in the tooth for the class. One in particular was big and aggressive. It tried to chomp and intimidate the next dog in line...successfully. Its owner was quite chagrinned.
A little old man helped me try to find a particular brand of dog treats. Dan was running through the sack of treats he'd brought and I thought he'd better have more. So I couldn't find the desired type and this little old fellow was halping me. We got talking and he accompanied me back to the dog class and stood watching with me. When the overly aggressive puppy really got rocking and rolling, the old guy says, "He'll be in my class soon."
Upon inquiry it turned out that he teaches the class for delinquent dogs, the problem dogs, the ones whose owners are more than half way to thinking, "Time to go to the pound." He said that the aggressive dog had originally been entered in his class at the suggestion of the person who interviewed the owner. Then this lady got home and thought about it and called back, wanted her dog put in with the regular puppies because she was insulted that her dog might be considered a problem.
HA! By half-way through the class, she'd gotten down from her high horse and was sorry she'd brought the dog out in public where it embarrassed her to pieces. She had to sit on the floor with the dog and it lunged and snarled and barked and bit at everything within reach. She was more than a little afraid of her dog and it had no respect for her whatsoever. In my opinion, it needed to be taken home and taught the meaning of the word NO before she tried to go public with it. I never saw a dog more in need of a firm owner.
In all, this little excursion made me kind of proud of how Porque Choppe is doing. I haven't taken her to any classes, but I've been working on her and she's a far nicer dog than she was last March when she came home with me. I don't use a clicker and I don't use treats, but little Porque is coming right along. What it is, I'm the alpha dog in our little dog pack of two. As Cesar Millan says, "The alpha dog doesn't give any of the other dogs in the pack a treat, but they're happy."
A few times when I tried to use treats, the treat was all that Porque was thinking about. She didn't start to think until I put the bits of roast beef back into the fridge. Now I give her a treat every day when we get back in from her long walk. It's just a little snack, not payment for being good. As soon as I release her from her harness, she rushes into the kitchen and sits by the cupboard where I keep dried chicken strips. I take out a treat and toss it into the dining room onto the carpet. Porque grabs it and runs into the living room, hops up on the sofa, partly disappears under an afghan, and quietly enjoys her favorite food.
I don't have anything against anyone else's use of treats while trying to train their dog, but for me, it's silly. When I want Porque to listen to me, I don't distract her with food.
Monday, January 16, 2006
Today the Christmas tree came down and went back to its lair in the garage. Benny worried about my tree. The Netzer tree, of course, as with all other things Netzer, was properly managed at the correct time. The other day Benny tried to talk me into taking down my tree saying, "Let's do it. I'll help." I thanked him but decided to leave the tree to someone able to hoist its sections apart. That thing weighs a ton. Today Lydia took apart the tree and William, my yard worker, stored the tree in the garage.
William happened to be here locked in mortal combat with the area at the side of the house. It is full of roots and little stumps. Today William was determined that all stumps and roots would go byebye. He was out there excavating and sawing and chopping and hammering most of the day. In places he dug up the area so deeply that he was down in a hole well over his knees. I assured him that he needn't take the job so seriously but having begun to get rid of the stumps and roots, he persevered.
So the Christmas tree is gone and the ground is getting prepared for spring planting. Looking more respectable all the time, here.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
This week I hired people to build a railing on each side of my porch steps and to clean out my back yard in preparation for the privacy fence I want built. I expected to pay by check, but, at the last minute, had to run to the bank for cash. They don't have a bank account, cannot get one, and, so, would be unable to cash a check.
At first I scorned this absurd idea, "WHAT? Sure you can get a checking account. Who ever heard of a bank that turned down money?"
This morning over breakfast coffee I began with Wachovia Bank Online. Hm...in order to get a checking account or to establish a savings account, you must have a social security photo-identity card.
These young people don't have drivers' licenses. How could they get a state identity card? Well, they'd have to present a birth certificate as well as proof of residency. Oops.
Can't present proof of residency if you only shack up in a vacant garage, don't have an address where people send bills...don't actually have an address at all. They're here. They've been here for a long time, but can't prove it.
OK. I guess those kids won't be getting a bank account. Come to think of it, I don't see how they'll ever get one. They aren't eligible for housing because they don't have any of the paperwork a landlord would require. No one is going to rent to a tenant with no documentation. No utility would hook up phone/water/heat for just a guy who said, "Here's some money. Hook me up."
This suspicious world where everyone has to carry proofs, it's a tough time and place if you're young and in trouble. Who but someone like me would hire these folks? When might they expect to see themselves indoors with heat, a bathroom, and a telephone? How can they ever hope to rise above the most hand-to-mouth poverty?
Once more the plight of the homeless has me vicariously scared, thankful that my life is so comfortable, worried about an underclass of undocumentables born and raised in the USA but unable get on the road out of poverty because they lack the necessary paperwork.
There's that public outcry about undocumented aliens in the USA, using government services but not paying taxes. What I had not considered prior to this week is the bad situation of USA citizens who can't prove that they belong where they are and...worse, who won't maybe ever be able to assemble those proofs because of an inpenetrable web of requirements.
Monday, January 9, 2006
Today's so hot that I had to turn on the air conditioning...January 9 in Norfolk. It was a good day to begin my next home improvement project.
A few weeks ago I stopped to talk to a young couple who've been working on a house nearby. They claimed to be jacks of all trades, so I showed them the hideous, unbelievable mess in my back yard. They said they could get rid of all the car parts, tree trunks, broken glass and metal, weeds, etc. and then put up a nice privacy fence around my newly cleaned up space.
Today they showed up at 9:00 A.M. and worked like dogs all day until 5:00 P.M. I went to Home Depot and bought all the stuff they said they needed for this job. Over the course of the day, I heard little hints and bits here and there which made me uneasy. I walked Porque Choppe around the corner to the house where the young couple has been working. Their ex-boss was there with a guy who's going to plaster for him. Together we had a thorough discussion about these two young people.
Seems that they've been homeless and are now shacking up in a garage. They have no transportation. Someone must drive them to all their jobs. Both of them are under 25 but they've done a lot of hard living.
Once again I am impressed by how fortunate I am, how thankful I should be. I've never been in the dreadful plight of these two, up against it in such a real way. In their place, I would be depressed beyond redemption, but they're cheerful.
About 1:00P.M. I went out and told them that in my opinion they should stop and eat lunch. There was no need for them to go on doing that kind of terribly hard physical work without stopping to eat. They looked at each other and then she said, "Oh, no. That's alright. I'm not hungry." He chimed in too, "Not hungry." I insisted that they stop and eat their lunches. Finally the truth came out. Not only did they not have lunches, they hadn't eaten for two days...no money.
Well, you know what happened next. I fed them until their sides creaked. I have no idea whether at the end of this week my yard will look better, but I do know that God sent these kids my way so that I could keep them from starving. I'm always glad to hae a chance to pay back a tiny fragment of all that God has given to me. If I gave with both hands for the rest of my life, I'd still die in debt.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
My Christmas card to you and everyone else is here.
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