“You are not going out with that boy unless his parents are driving and that's that. I'm not just Spitting Grits here, young lady!”

. . . My father, John Thomas Cravey, USAF, to me in 1956.

An Internet Purse

I’m not in the business of pushing products, but I’m making an exception. Understand that I am not getting anything from this product. I just think it’s a really useful and FREE internet service. It almost shut down, and I had a conniption fit. Not that my conniption had anything to do with saving it.
It’s kind of like a purse. Or accordion file folder.
And let me say, I’m picky about my purse. I loathe digging around in a bottomless pit passing itself off as a purse. I have to know where stuff is when I start fishing around for something without being able to look inside, like when I’m driving.
Ooooops. It’s not like texting!
Digging around and fishing for Web sites and blogs: You know the drill. You’ve got find the internet URL address, maybe in your Favorites or history; then you have to either register or sign in; then you can get e-mail from them or sign up for an RSS feed; then you’ve got 153 e-mails to sort through, which leaves no time for checking out your favorite sites and blogs.
Help in the Bottomless Pit
There’s help. It’s Bloglines, at http://www.bloglines.com/. You can stash all the stuff you want to skim or to read from the Web in one place, like in a purse with lots of compartments or in an accordion file folder, including most of your RSS feeds, Web addresses, and blogs.
You don’t download anything. You just go there and register. Then you set up your site by “subscribing” to your chosen Web sites, blogs, and RSS feeds; then they magically show up in the left file-folder column.
No fishing around for Web addresses. They’re located in one place. Alphabetically.
It looks like this:
I’m way into made up words, so a New York Times blog called Shott’s Vocab,  is a favorite. I went to my Bloglines account and simply clicked on Shott’s Vocab, rather than do it the GSFCSC way:
Go to the New York Times site, click on Today’s Paper, sign in, go over to their left column, findBlogs” and click on it, scroll down through the blogs, and FINALLY, click on Shott’s Vocab. A process I call GSFCSC! Which I just made up. Aaaarrrrghhh.
Today’s (11-18-10) word is one I want to use: sofalising. Really funny. So I went up to the Blogline tabs at the top of the left column and clicked on “Clippings,” where I put that sofalising piece from Shott’s. Aaaaahhhhh!
Some of my favorite blogs and sites, like SpaceWeather.com and Refdesk.com, don’t have RSS feeds and cannot be added to my Bloglines list. I got on their e-mail subscription lists, which lets me decide whether to go to the actual site to see something of interest. But more and more internet and Web sites have RSS feeds and can be added to your Bloglines list. The Pew Research Center, for example, often has interesting news and information and has an RSS feed, which means I can add it to my Bloglines list. I did, in fact, add it.
Try it out. If you like it, how about adding http://www.spittingrits.blogspot.com. Thanks.

A Message from Henry’s Story

As most of you know, I began following Katie Allison Granju’s very popular blog, Mamapundit, last April after she came forward with her story of being the parent of a drug addict. Her son, Henry Granju, was admitted to a hospital in Knoxville, TN, after suffering a drug overdose and massive head injuries. He remained in the hospital until his tragic death at the end of May.
Since then, Katie has faithfully chronicled the grief, trials, and tribulations that followed and continue to follow. While she took some criticism for being public about her private heartaches, the vast, vast majority of readers applauded and appreciated her courage, as well as her ability to present drug addiction in personal, very human terms.
I believe that we have also seen through her story the Internet functioning at its very best.
Last month, WBIR in Knoxville aired a video, Henry’s Story, as told through his mother’s, eyes. “This is what a drug addict looks like,” she says.
Indeed what you see is a young, handsome, healthy looking kid, which, I believe, is one of the most important messages in the video. Drug addicts most often begin as pure potential -- very young, regular kids with their lives before them.
If you haven’t seen the video, I would urge you to watch. As you watch, I would ask you to remember what the most common trajectory of a drug addict’s life is: First, like most kids’ lives, upwards, towards the clouds and dreams; second, the sharp and fast descent; and last, toward jail or prison or a coffin.

What can re-direct this trajectory? Treatment, education, and research.

Setting Traps, Playing Possum, Living Like Dogs and Cats

Maggie, my white yellow Lab, is fast catching up with me. She’ll be nine next month or 63 next month, depending whether you’re a dog or a human. It means that Patty Cake, who was attacked by a coyote last year and nearly killed, will also be 63 in a year.

1M P

above: Maggie and Patty Cake in 2003

But right now she’s a lot younger than I am, and here’s what she’s doing for entertainment these days: Laying traps for the raccoons that come up to the patio. Because I feed them. Sometimes leftover muffins. On a good night, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Raccoon looking for food


Here’s how I know that she had malice of forethought: At first she would just run barking toward the patio table where I put the food when she smelled the raccoons. No luck.

Then she started lying still on the portico, hoping she’d be able to sneak up on them while they were distracted by food. That didn’t work. Raccoons aren’t that stupid.

Then she started hiding just around the corner in the garage. By now I’ve noticed that she actually has tactics and strategies, but who’d believe that one?

This next one sealed it: She got UNDER the park bench on the portico to hide, thinking, I guess, that no one would see her. Trouble is, she’s a bit overweight and at 56-1/2, she could no more bolt out from under that bench than I could.

But this next one freed me up to tell someone, so I’m telling you. She left food in her pan. Food. Food she didn’t eat in hopes the raccoons would be desperate enough to come up on the portico where she could catch them red-handed.

Or just catch them? Suddenly I wondered what she’d do if she really got one.

The other night I kind of got the answer. All this barking and noise on the patio signaled that I’d better get out there. Joanna Leigh was right behind me. I threw on the lights and looked over at the food table. She had one trapped. I looked more closely. No, it wasn’t a raccoon; nevertheless, Maggie was just standing there, sort of pointing, even though she’s a retriever. Barking.

Joanna Leigh said, “Is that a raccoon?”

I looked again. “No. It’s a possum. Yuk. A possum.”

“We don’t like possums,” said Joanna Leigh flatly, commandingly.

“No, we don’t,” I said.

“They’re YUK,” she said.

“Yeh, they are.”

The ugly thing looked like his tail had gotten wedged in an opening in the brick wall, leaving him hanging upside down and trapped, Maggie barking and barking. What was I going to do? I went inside for a while, trying to think how to get the thing off the wall.

I went back out with the broom, thinking I’d just use it to flip him up and off the wall. But he was gone and Maggie was just standing there.

So, I doubt Maggie would do anything if she actually caught a raccoon. So, I’ll go on feeding them.


above: Maggie and Patty Cake 2010

In a year, Maggie and Patty Cake will be 70. I’ll be 68. Joanna Leigh will be 4-1/2. I think people learn too late that time passes as quickly as dogs and cats reach 70.

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