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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Opinion: Sex, cats and blossoms

Friday, October 17, 2008

Here are some things -- most of them don't amount to a hill of beans -- on my mind this week.

There was a front-page story Thursday about legal action seeking to overturn a state law involving Halloween and sex offenders. How bizarre is that?

The new statute requires registered sex offenders to stay inside their residence on Halloween when children are out trick-or-treating. And the registered sex offenders must turn out their lights and post a sign on the front door saying "No candy or treats at this residence."


Where did this goofy law come from?

I'm not a fan of some lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, but I understand if we want to preserve one liberty, we must strive to preserve them all. In this suit, the ACLU hopes to persuade a judge to issue an injunction to nullify the new law.

I'm no fan of sex offenders, either. If I made the laws, I'd probably make sex offenders do a lot more than just register.

But I'm not in charge of making laws. Thank goodness. If I were, I'd ban the current fashion rage of wearing clothes that expose your underwear. I'll take your word that you have clean undies. I don't need to inspect them.

Here's what I don't like about the new law regarding sex offenders and Halloween: I live on a quiet street with almost no children young enough to go trick-or-treating. We haven't had a trick-or-treater in more than 10 years. Most of our neighbors don't buy candy or turn on their porch lights on Halloween. Thanks to this new law, the accidental trick-or-treater from another part of our town will drive down my street and assume, because our lights are off, we're a den of sex offenders.

Thanks, lawmakers. That's just what we need.

Miss Kitty, the cat that lets us live in her house as long as we keep her lawn mowed, is getting fat and sleek. She no longer is the lean, somewhat wild animal we took in a few years ago, thanks to her seldom empty dish of scientifically formulated food in the garage and the saucer of milk (the real stuff) and treats my wife (allergic to cats) gives her every night. Not to mention that Miss Kitty is an expert at doing what cats do best: sleeping.

It took her awhile, but Miss Kitty has shaped up the neighborhood. One-eyed Tom no longer slips through the cat door in the garage to gobble up her food and water. Neighbor cats rarely cross that invisible boundary that makes that ridge of fur down Miss Kitty's back stand on end.

What keeps Miss Kitty alert these days is waiting for my lap to become available when I sit down.

When I took her for her annual shots this year, the vet said Miss Kitty needed to go on a diet. Knowing Miss Kitty came from rough-and-tumble circumstances where food and a place to sleep were not always guaranteed, I begged to disagree.

"What's the life expectancy of a cat?" I asked. Twenty years or so, I was told.

"And what's the life expectancy of a fat cat? Nineteen or 20 years, I was told.

End of discussion.

If you don't know what a nasturtium is, you won't be the least interested in this bit.

A nasturtium is a brightly colored edible flower that grows on vines with leaves that look like water-lily pads minus the water. They are one of my wife's favorite flowers, but we've had little luck growing them in our yard. Until this year.

Experts say nasturtiums like poor soil. I think not.

This year I spaded an area about 4 feet long and 2 fee wide. I mixed in a healthy amount of composted manure and poked the nasturtium seeds into the ground. They grew. Boy, did they ever. The vines have spread, covering a large portion of the backyard, overtaking the nearby beds of lilies of the valley and Siberian iris and heading for the tomato vines outside the family room door.

If anyone wants a good-sized bunch of nasturtiums, let me know before frost.

R. Joe Sullivan is the editorial page editor of the Southeast Missourian. E-mail: jsullivan@semissourian.com.

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Joe Sullivan
River City Journal