The pack rat gene

April 7, 2009 Behold, the pack rat. Genus Neotoma, this rodent, smaller than the average rat,  has a well documented propensity to accumulate “stuff.” It is known to drop whatever it’s carrying to pick up bright, shiny objects, then scurry home to decorate its nest with the new treasure. Stories of it leaving common stones in exchange for jewelry have led to it also being called the trade rat. I doubt that the woman that received a pebble for her diamond ring thought the trade was fair, but the rat surely didn’t care.

What humanity?

April 7, 2009 We really don’t want to know what evils humanity is capable of.Those who have been following John Demjanjuk’s story can probably understand. Demjanjuk, of Cleveland, is accused of being an accessory to 29,000 murders while serving as a Nazi death camp guard. Now 89 years old, Demjanjuk makes the argument that he is in frail health and it would be tantamount to torture to force him to go to Germany to face charges, which Demjanjuk denies.

Celebs using ‘tweets’

April 6, 2009 Actor Ashton Kutcher, who has played in several big-screen comedies and shocked a lot of people when he married older actress Demi Moore, has more than 720,000 followers on the social-networking Web site Twitter. Moore has more than 400,000 and actress Soleil Moon Frye, best known for her 1980s role as “Punky Brewster,” has more than 150,000 followers.Apparently, there are several celebrities who use Twitter, a way to socialize with others on the Internet through posts, or “tweets” in 140 words or less.

Legislators eye order

April 6, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers were already eager to stop sending millions of dollars of state money every year to three Pulaski County districts.A federal court’s ruling last week upholding the desegregated status of Little Rock schools makes some of those legislators downright giddy about the prospect.

Stimulus limitations

April 3, 2009 There’s an old saying that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”Add to that — courtesy of a March 20 Obama administration directive — “… and marked with the occasional constitutional pothole.”The White House directive attempts to limit the influence lobbyists have on decisions about the distribution of economic stimulus billions. The goal is to prevent improper influence on officials in charge of doling out the unprecedented funding for federal, state and local projects.

Fried green liberalism

April 3, 2009 My friend Bill G. offers an apt term to describe what is going on in Washington: Fried Green Liberalism.Bill is the type of fellow upon which every great civilization is built. He sacrificed long and hard to get himself through law school. He’s worked harder ever since to provide for his family and sock away dough for college and retirement.Like many fine citizens, Bill follows current events closely and participates in his republic actively. He’s been mighty worried by the “modern liberalism” that is taking over our government of late.

‘1800 and froze’

April 2, 2009 Climatic aberrations caused 1816 to be called the Year Without Summer.It also was called Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death and the Year There Was No Summer. Some also called it Poverty Year, as the summer abnormalities destroyed crops in the American Northeast, eastern Canada and Northern Europe.

At a turning point

April 1, 2009 Forget world peace, we just need to make money.To recycle a phrase made popular during another political season — it’s the economy, stupid.You can’t open the newspaper, surf the Web, or watch TV without hearing someone either suggesting a plan for fixing it or arguing why the other guy’s plan won’t work.

Cat conspiracy, Part 2

March 31, 2009 A while back I told how I came to be cursed. Well cursed might be a little harsh. Blessed, maybe? As a cat person, that is.My childhood is filled with memories of kittens and cats. That first kitten my mother got me for Christmas I dubbed Tinker Bell, having recently seen the Peter Pan movie. My red-haired sister, always having a strong opinion even at the age of four, preferred Shooting Star, for some obscure reason. So the poor little thing answered to two names.