Wednesday, April 17, 2013

If Babies had Guns . . .

Way back, when hubby and I were young (ish) and care-free/less, we took a road trip.  We drove from our home in Fontucky, SoCal to my mom's place in Utah for a visit.  On the way back to California, we planned to do some rockhounding, some exploring in old ghost towns, etc.

One of the places we wound up?

Rhyolite, Nevada.

While you may not recall ever hearing the name "Rhyolite," you've probably seen pictures of the bottle house.

That's right--it's a house made of bottles.  Built in 1906 by a local saloon-keeper named Tom Kelly, the house is made mostly of bottles from Adolphus Busch Glass Manufacturing Company.  We call them Budweiser these days, and they were, apparently, quite popular in the saloons of Rhyolite.  

Now, why would a guy build a bottle house?  I dunno--maybe because Rhyolite, in the middle of the Nevada desert and right at the gateway to Death Valley, didn't have a lot of lumber to work with?  Or maybe because he didn't have anything better to do with all those empties?  Regardless, the house was built, but the town wasn't long for this world.  The mine was failing, and, by 1911, closed.  Many of the town's buildings were actually moved to new places, including Beatty, Nevada, which is not too far away.  A movie studio came into town in the 1920s and repaired the bottle house for use in a couple of movies.  Then the Thompsons moved in, and they sold antiques out of the place until the late 1980s.  It has since fallen into disrepair, or so I've heard.

One of the striking features of Rhyolite is the stray cats.  The town is full of them.  On the day hubby and I got there, we immediately gravitated toward the old bank building because it is striking.

Cook Bank Building 1908

Cook Bank Building 1995

We had only been poking around town for a few minutes on our way toward the bank when, right outside the small jail building, a dirty, dusty, obviously-just-had-kittens cat appeared.  She was an orange tabby with great, golden eyes.  She rushed toward us, and I, of course, thought, "RABIES!"

She ran at hubby, launched herself at his leg, and then climbed up his leg, his back, and came to perch on his shoulder.  Purring madly.  Rubbing her face feverishly against hubby's head.  It was beautiful and incredibly sad.

We dubbed her "Smudge" (from an old PC game we were fond of), and she toured the town with us.  She spent most of her time on hubby's shoulder, but sometimes she would leap down and lead us into buildings or along trails.  After a few hours of exploring, it was time for us to head on--we still had many miles to go, and the day was better than half over.

We agonized over Smudge.  Should we take her?  We already had five cats (in an apartment that only allowed two).  Plus, we didn't know where her kittens were, and, while she was happy to lead us into buildings and along trails, she wasn't leading us to her kittens.  We decided to leave her there so she could care for her babies.  If we'd had the money, we would have rounded up her and her family and had them all fixed before returning them to their home, but we were super-poor.  Driving a beat-to-hell 1978 Corolla wagon with huge rust spots and a hatch that had to be tied down with twine poor.  We couldn't take her.  And so we dug through our stores, pulled out the meats, the cheese, the things a cat would like, and left them for her.

Yes, we knew it didn't really matter, that they would sink or swim regardless of our couple of days worth of treats.  And we were indescribably sad when we left her.

Smudge, on the other hand, seemed fine with it.  She cuddled, purred, but when we got in the car, she turned and walked away.

Poor Smudge.  It's been almost 20 years.  Smudge is long gone, as, likely are her kittens and probably their kittens, too.  I think the saddest part was how friendly she was.  Made me think she had, perhaps, been a pet dumped.  I would like to pinch flesh off folks who dump pets.


Hubby shared with me last night a squidge of idiocy that came dribbling across his Facebook feed.  It was hilarious, actually, and I'd like to share it with you because it's really captured my imagination:

Isn't that amazing?  I mean, seriously!  Think about it!  What if babies DID have guns?

Okay, the likely gorefest of pregnant women accidentally blown to smithereens and delivery nurses and doulas blasted to bits in the birthing center aside, let's take a look at this.

If babies had guns . . .

  • They'd be breastfed on demand because no baby would rather have formula.  Ever tasted formula?  Ever tasted breastmilk?  I rest my case--if babies had guns, they'd all be breastfed, and they'd be breastfed when they wanted. Or else.
  • They'd never be awakened from naps before they were ready; if they fell asleep in the car, that's where mom and dad would spend the night just to avoid waking them.
  • Carseats?  Please!
  • The family dog would almost certainly wind up dead the first time it went on a licking fest or snatched a cracker out of baby's hand.
  • Vaccinations would be a thing of the past.
  • No green foods EVER!
  • Circumcision would be OVER!
  • Every toy they ever wanted would be in their hand almost before they knew they wanted it.
  • No booger-sucking bulbs again!
  • The very concept of "Ferberizing" a baby would go the way of the dodo.  When baby cries, baby is picked up and loved.  Period.
  • Every Republican who ever whined about takers, 47%ers, moochers, or otherwise moved to cut housing, food stamps, or WIC would likely live in fear of the armed babies.

Seriously, "If babies had guns . . . ?"  Are Americans really just this DUH anymore?  I know, it was just one dull-wit who said it, but you know what?  People voted for him.  And worse, someone out there was stupid enough to make a cheerleading meme out of this!  And you KNOW there are people passing it on and saying, "YEAH!" as they do so.

The mind boggles.


Speaking of circumcision?  We are the only western country that routinely takes sharp objects to infant boys' genitals.  All those handsome Canadian, British, Irish, Scottish, and European actors you think are so sexy?  Uncircumcised.

It's not "just skin"--it's highly innervated tissue that serves several important functions, sexual and otherwise.  It is flesh that is attached to the penis much as your fingernails are attached to your fingers.  To be removed, something dull must be jammed down between foreskin and penis, tearing the flesh away from the penile shaft.  That skin's not just hanging there, waiting to be cut--it is ATTACHED.  It must be TORN away.  Then the skin is slashed and crushed.  It's torture, nothing less.  It's not "necessary for cleanliness or health."  And even if it DID prevent cancer and AIDS and urinary tract infections, so does basic, five-second bathing and condoms.  If we're not going to carve up baby girls' genitals in order to prevent infections, why would we do it to boys?   After all, little girls have far more infections than intact boys.  If girls get antibiotics, why do boys get amputation of the foreskin?

There are many other links out there.  Yes, the videos and photos are graphic, but they're no more graphic than what happens to boys when they are circumcised.

Again, the foreskin isn't just inert flesh waiting to be torn, slashed, and crushed.  It's healthy, vital tissue that serves several important purposes.  Just because someone CAN manage to function without it doesn't mean they should have to, and it doesn't mean they haven't lost something important.

This is not about making parents who've already done it feel bad, and it's not about riling up that knee-jerk "there's nothing wrong with ME" feeling in men who've been cut.  It's about doing better because we're learning better.  My dad did better for my brother than his dad did for him.  Because he'd learned better, and he knew not to visit the practice on his own son just to feel better about what had been done to him.  My husband did better by his son than his parents did by him.

And these Jewish parents are discovering that they can do better for their boys.

That's what it's all about, right?  Knowing better so we can do better?  And if it's too late to do better for our own, we can help others to not make the same mistake.

And that's it for today.  Here's a really ugly wall.  And counter.  And cabinets.  Dang.

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