Bits and pieces

Friday, July 22, 2011

With U.S. politicians playing foolhardy games instead of leading the nation through its current debt crisis, there are still some diverting moments. Here are some examples.

* It has taken Missy Kitty, the New Cat (Registered Trademark), who also is clearly the Smartest and Cutest Cat in the World (Registered Trademark), less than a month to train her human servants. That would be my wife and myself.

I have become the official Lap Unit (Patent Pending), which is of little use to Missy Kitty until she has been given her afternoon milk and treats by the Human With Opposable Thumbs Who Opens the Refrigerator Door (Official Registered U.S. Patent, Registered Trademark, Best Invention Ever). That would be my allergic wife.

Despite her allergies, my wife gets a kick out of the routine that precedes each day's allotment of skimmed milk, enough to cover the bottom of an empty imitation butter container, and four crunchy kitty treats.

As my wife opens the refrigerator door and pours the dab of milk, Missy Kitty does a solo tarantella with several clockwise turns followed by a counterclockwise repetition. It's a wonder the cat isn't too dizzy to enjoy the milk or treats. All that twirling doesn't seem to bother her a bit.

Once the milk and treats have been distributed and consumed, it is time for the Lap Unit to sit in his La-Z-Boy with as little squirming as possible. If the Lap Unit gets too warm, Missy Kitty heads for the wicker chair that has been designated an Approved Cat Sleeping Zone.

I'm sure my wife and I will be expected to learn more tricks as Missy Kitty thinks them up. Stay tuned.

* One bit of relief from the financial and economic malaise the world currently endures comes from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which this week earmarked $42 million for efforts to improve toilets in Third World countries.

This is a serious problem for dense urban areas with no sanitary sewers or treatment facilities. But the good old boys in Killough Valley in the Ozarks over yonder got the giggles when they heard about spending that much money to build a better outhouse.

Keep in mind, outhouses were still in use in the 1970s in Killough Valley. I remember when my aunt and uncle, over the hill in Greenwood Valley, installed a septic tank and finally began using the toilet in the house they built in 1950.

Bill and Melinda have billions of dollars to give away, and they are to be commended for the many good causes they support. Still, $42 million for toilets? Give me a minute .

* Some of you wonder why recent columns have been aimed at Big Issues rather than kittens and fruitcakes. We live not just in interesting times but in perilous times. And the politicians we keep electing to do stupid stuff have to be held accountable.

It's a tough job, but .

Joe Sullivan is the retired editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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