Monday, May 28, 2007

The Gift

I got back from Christmas that year on the 27th and that night it snowed. The next morning, I thought it would be a fine thing to take a walk in the park next door and enjoy the unspoiled beauty before melt and lots of foot traffic marred it. Of course it was brisk and pretty and invigorating and good.

On the way back, I noticed one thing slightly spoiling the perfection of the scene, in addition to my own footprints. A spot of trash, no doubt left by careless park-goers. I would pick it up. As I neared it, I saw it was a bag with what looked to be the remains of a six-pack in it. Nearing, I saw some bottle caps still on. Then I saw all the bottlecaps were on! I reached down, exposed it, and saw it was Lowenbrau, my favorite brand! Pristine, chilled in snow! It was like divine providence! A great omen!

So I picked it up and noticed a receipt in the bag, and wanting to solve this mystery, I looked closer. Not a receipt - a handwritten note. And it said, "Merry Christmas, Jumper." Unsigned. And for one brief moment I thought God had sent me a message.

It took a while and two incidents to get it all straight. A week later my friend called and asked if I had gotten my Christmas present. He explained he had dropped it at my door when I was gone.

About two months later I found a note on my door. "Come get your dog at the pound. Call this number. Signed, the Dog Police." My dog Lucky! So I called. The man said he had discovered Lucky shacked up in the woods with a female German Shepherd and their brood of puppies, and they had attacked the landscaping crew, defending the pups. All this a complete surprise to me.

The last piece of the puzzle. And it also solved my question about why Lucky had been pushing his food bowl down the stairs all the time. He was actually trying to carry his food to his secret family in the woods. And he had been carrying all sorts of likely presents to them as well. Such as a six-pack from my front doorstep he undoubtedly planned to open when he got there.

Lucky was trying to be a good father. The result was that his family was jailed, I had to bail him out and leave them to their fate, and not only that, I couldn't afford to get him out of the calaboose unless I agreed to have him neutrified. Which they did.

+50 Million since 1990...

I'm pretty much a "liberal" if not a screaming leftist as some accuse me of (I'm not), and I have some concerns about immigration that I wanted to share with you.
First, those who say we are a nation of immigrants are correct, obviously. I see a difference in today's world, however, in that it's understood that resources are not unlimited. This is different from the past, I believe. Population growth may kill this planet. Advanced societies have seen this, and I cannot include the US varied populace of scientifically illiterate know-nothings in this group. Nevertheless, in combination with various social changes including the consumer culture's drive to put, more than in the past, women in the job market; and birth-control and delayed childbirth, the US essentially stopped population growth in our country, except for immigration. Without the draconian measures the Chinese implemented.
This is something good. Unless curtailed, population growth WILL destroy the entire ecosystem of the earth, and I would pre-emptively request you not disparage this fact.
I do not want an increase in the population of the USA. I do not want a population of 350 million here. I do not want McMansions built with subsidized / deliberate underpaid labor here. These huge expansions in the building business, and make no mistake, no energy efficiency is seriously attempted in these huge ego structures, are a liability and will cause more pollution here than ever. I don't want that crap in Mexico, either.
Having said that, and understanding that there are simply no jobs in Mexico as rewarding as those in the US, what should my position be?
Mexico has been a poor country since I was born in the '50s, and it's poor today. I ask myself, "What policies has the US taken, if any, that have contributed to this?" I believe US action, and inaction, HAVE contributed. It's a disgrace for us to not have been helping our neighbor, and the disgrace continues today. Why has not the wealth of Mexico's rich trickled down to the populace? Why has there never been a huge push towards a not merely good, but a superior public education system made in Mexico?
More to the point, what has the US done to help Mexico to avoid ruining Mexico's land and environment; and what has the US done to help Mexico see the value of population control? What have we done to help?
Nothing much. Some.
I get the impression from some that they feel the following things are simply impossible in Mexico: Widespread education and adoption of ecological awareness by large amounts of people. Investment in good well-paying jobs.Less corruption, better healthcare, decent houses, cleaner water. Hope for a sustainable future.
If they don't believe that's possible there, why should I think they hope that's possible here?
In conclusion, what do I think should be done? I don't want to cause cruelty or hardship, that's for sure. I don't have any problems with Hispanic culture. I am uncomfortable with wages being kept low. I'm very uncomfortable with Mexicans being used in jobs where hazardous conditions are present. Make no mistake; these guys out there breathing the dust from sawing concrete blocks and bricks, and sheetrock dust, all will pay a horrible price one day. I don't like to see that. Or get exposed to concentrated pesticides, either.
I don't know if I've made any case at all on what changes if any should be made with US policy on illegal immigration. I simply don't know. But those are my concerns. Regarding the current status of illegal immigrants living and working in theUS, I believe the concept of amnesty might be well applied in the followingsense:
"Amnesty" often implies that those offered amnesty give up something in return. I propose that these hard working folks be given this opportunity: if you are willing to be thumbprinted, and registered, get a passport, and then give up all information you have regarding those who supplied you with your counterfeit documents, and give up all information regarding the immigrant-smugglers or"coyotes" who may have arranged for your transport into the US, then certainly a deal can be reached to expedite your green card.
And then enforce exactly those terms. This would have multiple advantages. The document counterfeiters and coyotes should be sent to prison ensuring that further entry is hampered, and illegals would lose their anonymity and go mainstream, while being thoroughly identified and noted as having helped law enforcement as well. 4/10/06

Wild Thing

My dog Lucky seemed to have a past. A past during which he had spent some time wild in the woods. I always suspected his owner's yard had been demolished by hurricane Hugo, and Lucky had taken the opportunity to escape.

He was shy, but I coaxed him out of the woods with some dogfood and he and I agreed that he would live with me thereafter. Life was good.
You wonder how a wild dog survives. Twice he showed me some remarkable food-acquiring skills.

One late summer day I was sitting quietly on my back stairs, sipping a beer. Lucky was loafing in the grassy area of our dirt driveway circle. Not really paying attention at first, I saw him get up and start snuffling the ground with his nose like some kind of crazy roothog. Trying to plow up some turf with his nose. Crazy dog, I mused. Lucky lay back down and became motionless again. About two minutes went by. A robin alit near him and started hopping near where Lucky had apparently stirred up some bugs with his nose. Dinner for robin.
So robin, picking at bugs, hops a bit closer to Lucky, and Lucky smoothly puts out his paw and pins robin to the ground. Dinner for Lucky.

I barely believed my eyes. "Holy S-word!" I shouted. Lucky looked up, thinking I was scolding him, removed his paw from robin, and robin flew away, no doubt shaken. "Sorry, Lucky," I called to him. He looked at me accusingly.

One other time I saw Lucky get a free meal from the wild in a way that shocked me. Walking the perimeter of the property in late spring, I noticed a fledgling baby bird just out of the nest, swaying unsteadily on a branch about seven feet off the ground. Lucky noticed him, too. As I walked away from that area, Lucky began a hard charge towards that bird, right in front of it, locking eyes on that birdie as he leaped high, right towards the bird! And I knew that Lucky was not going to make a seven-foot leap, and I think Lucky knew, too. But the bird was so frightened he fell off the limb! And Lucky got a snack.