The Hot Dog War

I don’t love hot dogs. I don’t hate them, either. A few times a year, I actually get a craving for one, although I honestly believe that craving is more attached to sauerkraut, mustard and a good ball game.

Let me tell you this: If I came to your house and you served me a hot dog, I would eat it knowing it won’t have the same life-changing impact on me as a young woman I know.

Let me explain: The biggest impression a hot dog ever left on me was after Hurricane Katrina. On mission trip 4 or 5, working on a roof, we learned our homeowner’s pantry factually consisted of two ingredients: eggs and rice. So, our team leader called and asked for a few more sack lunches to be made and brought out, and delivered them with the invitation to join the crew for lunch.

To thank us, the very next day, these people with nothing but rice and eggs spent whatever small amount they had to purchase and serve the entire team hot dogs. There was a declared vegetarian in our group, and to my astonishment I heard she ate a hot dog. She could have easily said, “No thank you.” No one asked her to change her beliefs for those 5 minutes, but for this young woman, the immensity of the gift outweighed her objection.

Let me point out: This was her choice – I am not advocating for or against. I wouldn’t expect anyone else to do the same, and I do not know how or if her convictions remained or changed. I do know that disrupting an annual well-attended, televised hot dog eating contest isn’t doing anything to support a cause or solve the world’s problems.

Let me ask you this: When was the last time you saw carnivorous humans gather intent on disrupting an animal rights meeting with meat pelting, sausage face-slapping, hot-dog slinging, chicken chucking, egg bombing or storm a vegetarian restaurant blood-splashing, ruining clothes and chairs and livelihoods and profits and whatever else may be with complete disregard?

I Googled it – many different ways. Couldn’t find anything close.

Let me be clear: My objections are not aimed at or around the hot dog industry or animal rights activists. They’re aimed at the outdated media-created notion that any type of publicity is good publicity, and the truth that purposefully hateful and idiotic behavior isn’t going to drive me toward your idealism.

Whoever you are – whatever your point – stop wilding, causing confrontation and property damage in the name of conversion.  You’re just being bullies.

Yep, some of those who cry loudest demanding “respect” for whatever point of view they hold and complain about being bullied for their beliefs see no hypocrisy in attempting to bully others out of theirs.

Want to make a difference in this world? Stop being ridiculous.

Share intelligent information, intelligently.

Patiently, kindly, explain your educated point of view

Be passionately professional, calm and rational.

Remember no one’s perfect; we’re all works in progress.

Love your fellow humans without reserve and forgive them their trespasses.

Maybe then….

Quote for the Week:

2015 07 28 How to Change the World jakorte

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Open Doors


She walked in through the front door and helped herself to pizza.

It was, after all, just sitting there invitingly. All warm and cheesy, flipped open on the coffee table waiting for the Friday night after work sofa plop.


(Back track: 12 year-old Talli’s kidney issues had taken their final toll. I chose not to take that ride with him to the veterinarian’s office two blocks away. I said my goodbye’s and handed him to my husband, happy to hold onto my memories.

A short time later, my husband was home, asking if I wanted another cat. Talli was such a lover, a hugger, a good one. We were beginning the search for a non-rented home, planning to be married, working full-time jobs, selling at craft shows, budgeting. Partly too heartbroken, partly too logical, I said, “No.” We donated Talli’s food, waterer, feeder, and an unused bag of litter; tossed the litter box, used toys and collar.)


We picked up our traditional Friday night fare of pizza, and soup. Jeff always had soup with pizza. He set up dinner as I ran upstairs to change. He stepped outside to get the forgotten soup out of the car.

Just as he came back in the door, I came down the stairs. We met at the juncture and stared. There was a furry black lump the middle of the pie, licking its way to a full tummy. Green eyes barely glanced up at us. We glance at each other, laughed, which startled the cat under the couch. We couldn’t leave it there, so Jeff crouched calling, “Here, Fred. Here, Fred!”  Fred jumped into his arms, and casually sat there are we decided what to do.

I put on my coat, picked up the saucy kitten, and went trudging through the snow door to door asking anyone who answered my knock, “Is this your kitten?” A few folks confessed to feeding it once in a while, although it mostly fed from the dumpster. Someone had tried a few times to catch the stray to take it to a shelter, but did not succeed.

Within a half-hour it was clear no one wanted to take ownership, and we weren’t going to send it back out in the freezing snow. So, we put the toilet seat down, secured the downstairs half-bath door closed; threw out the pizza, and headed to Pamida.

Another half-hour later, we had all the makings of cat accommodations; litter box, litter, food, treats, collar, toys, waterer, feeder and a new addition to our lives.

It was another week before Fred was able to make it to a Saturday health check. How my farm-knowledged husband mistook Fred for a Fred remains a mystery. Despite well-meaning recommendations of alternate names like Fredericka and Francine, she remained Fred. Although, to avoid confusion, her fill-in form name was always listed as Miss Fred, and amusingly explained as Miss Fred the Misread Cat.

She disappeared once – on the day Jeff’s mom died. I hysterically surmised she must have jumped into a half-packed moving box, fallen soundly asleep and been accidentally sealed up inside. He rationally believed she must have run out an open door unnoticed. He was right. One night later he heard her distinctive pigeon-mew, and opened the door.

Freddie wasn’t at all like Talli. She disliked being held, had an anti-purr dove coo, didn’t care to play, but loved her catnip. She tolerated our new baby Jack Russell to an extent. She would sit under the rocking chair and slap Sadie’s puppy nose as she ran by in pursuit of a ball. We always thought we could easily make $10,000 on America’s Funniest Home Videos, but Freddie never cooperated when the camera was rolling.

At 11 years old, she seemed bored, slept a lot and was getting chubby. A friend of mine rescued an adorable stray. I checked with a vet and was told as long as the new kitten was a boy, we should all be fine. Three years into being a two-cat household, H. Blu was still willing to be friends, and Freddie was still not.

When we moved into the condo this past March, the frequency of Fred’s 3 AM “I’m-not-amused, I-don’t-like-you, I-don’t-want-to-play-with-you-and-never-will” zombie wailing lessened, but never went away. Mid-April, her voice changed a little, she began losing weight, and making funny sounds when she swallowed.

Two and half a months of vet visits, decongestants, antibiotics, and steroids only slightly slowed down the tumor making its way from her ear canal down her throat. Her dry food became painful to swallow, so I fed her tuna and chopped pork.  When she stopped eating soft foods, I created tuna water and offered milk.

After two separate veterinary recommendations, I made an appointment at a specialty clinic for Wednesday. The information on their website almost talked me out of it siting statistic such as 92% of feline nasal tumors are malignant, and extended survival after treatment is an average of 382 days.

Sunday night, she refused both cold liquid dinners, so I warmed up some beef broth. She worked at it a while, and maybe got 2 tablespoons down. Monday morning, we woke up together as the alarm went off. I went through 3 snooze cycles just enjoying her company, even though she could only get one eye open, and was trying to purr but couldn’t. I phoned the vet again.

This morning, at 14 years old and 9:00 AM, I opened a can of Hunt’s Garlic and Cheese Tomato Sauce, spooned some into her milk dish, and set it down with a prayer.  She didn’t understand, because she couldn’t smell it. I scooped a bit on my finger and touched her mouth. She didn’t hesitate a second, and when that finger was clean, I scooped another bit, and another. Her feasting sounded painful to me, but she kept going, and kept her nose pressed to my finger between extra-long breaths.

When she had enough, I sat with her for a while then scooped her up. She didn’t resist or complain, and for once went quietly into the carrier. I missed this part with Talli.

It was better and worse than I imagined; sad and painful, but only for me. Miss Fred went quietly through another open door, and I went home without her.

I doubt pizza is a staple in cat heaven, but I’m sure Jeff will find a way to get it for her.

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2015 07 21 strength to watch love leave jakorte

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I’m always jotting: ephiphanatic fragments.

Knabbling for bites that may be interesting enough to share.

I’m also always trying to decipher what seemed like obvious notes to clear thoughts.

Sometimes, I can’t remember the point; sometimes texting myself in the dark comes out one-key-to-the-left garbled because I am too tired to slap around for my glasses and afraid that a rare near-sleep state will dissolve if I were to make any miniscule effort above.

The weird thing about this constant comment dialog I keep with myself is that I’m rarely running around doing fabulous stuff. I never really review relevancy until Monday evenings, at which point, most everything I thought was worth thinking seems a bit mundane.

These are my Mondanes; shining a little too much light through drowsy holes in my logic, raising questions instead of reflections. Even if they do hold up, they’re sometimes shelved as inappropriate, anyway. Fear of repercussion holds them back, timeliness runs out.

I file dangerous pulsers away under “if I ever get desperate” on nothing-to-say rainy days. Others slip into the “there’s no way I’ll ever be able to word this wisely” pile, wisely waiting for the someday book of things no one thought I would ever say.

So, while sway doesn’t always strike, tie-togethers don’t always make sense, leaps are left invisible, and I sometimes forget to nurture a Godly nature, I still hope for understanding.

Even if all that can ever be understood is that I’ll never entirely be understood at all.

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2015 07 14 I hope for understanding jakorte

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Cement Balls

I have to admit, my kind of Nashville tired makes things look different. Makes me think different, too. Different on top of different; you know what I mean.

Working my way around town between Music City Center and LP Field on a schedule that didn’t allow for fancy photo ops, I went ahead one evening and booked the time. There’s quite a bit of fascination to be found if you’re inclined to look.

I found a break with some lead-in art stuffed behind what seemed to be a white cube-truck turned smoker. At least that what it smelled like, which was way nicer than any usual back alley, between buildings smells.

It’s amazing that some things are exactly the same, and that some things just weren’t there before.  Strolling the Walk of Fame revealed a few added star blocks, some pretty plantings, and cement balls. Serious. Spherical, smooth, perfectly placed, cool-to-the-touch cement balls.

I can’t decide if they were decorative or purposeful or some combination of the two. They seemed to strategically block potential drive-on attempts, but then again, food trucks, trailers, stages, booths were established past them. Maybe they were movable. I didn’t check; star struck by light-play, stuck-tired by round craft, confused by tempor.

I sort of fell in love with them.  I’m sure I looked a little loony crouched for the best angle, fighting an emotional  surge of tears for bittersweet beauty.

The medium is well-known, long-term unstable, temperamental, temporary. Cracks are to be expected. Dust-wear. Crumble. Dissolve. Replacement. Not a long-term choice.

We’ve seen what happens to it on the walks and drives of life. Rarely keeping shape, settling, bulging, lifting, sinking. None of these surprise us, and we no longer cow to superstitious childhood fears because backs don’t actually break.

We don’t hard-core worry about cracks or divots, unless we’re moving over ignored terrain. We hesitate a second, considering slightly larger craters – construction grown, anomalies of frost, or weakened with wear or by age. Our season gauges size and significance or insignificance.

We pass over, accommodate and navigate around and through these easily accepted imperfections.

Rote faith. No big deal.

Life’s like that. Beautiful. Temporary. Cement.

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2015 07 07 There’s quite a bit of fascination to be found jakorte

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