Hell Holds No Pets

Meet Some of My
New York Friends

Paraphrasing Mario Puzo, keep your friends close, and the friends of your friends, closer. He may’ve known a thing or two about family sagas, but as far as animals are concerned, not so much. In fact, most of us wouldn’t flinch about harming a pet, even if Hollywood had an offer we couldn’t refuse.
Gentle beasts, they earn from us more than we could ever give friends, lovers, and relatives. So let me introduce you to a few of my acquaintances’ cats, and one tender dog, in the company of whom I satisfy my fix, and sense of loss, since mine left me long ago and I’ve run out of time to outlast new ones.
Life gives us no choice: once time comes, we leave it all behind. Which is fine. But unlike sons and daughters, there’s no telling them, now, go get your own place and pets to tend to. Once you’re together, you’re down for the long, or short, run, or whenever one of you checks out. Try to not to be the first.
For the accidental petsitter like me, it’s always clear which one of us is the needier, and who’s actually providing existential relief. Just like it was when they adopted us. So I tackle my duties like a priest sets up the altar for a mass: everything has to be carefully arranged to assure a safe trip to heaven for all involved.
Things usually follow a natural path, from wearily seizing each other’s out, to lending a tad of trust to the proceedings, to the time when it gets to be all fun and games. Such a progression may seem casual to the untrained eye, but let’s not let looks deceive us. For in the end, we may all feel better for having shared those moments together.

OLD SCHOOL & THE INTERLOPER
Ziggy was once the new kid on the block, but was never as big as his elder brother, who’s left us. When he finally got his shot at the top, KittyKat showed up and won everybody’s heart. Soon, he grew bigger and is now the dominant dude. Ziggy is right to be bitter.
Two beautiful Coons, they’ve got ways to go to get along, if they’ll ever. Most likely, Ziggy will keep on being cranky, despite such a Reggae name, while Kitty gets away with mayhem. And some dare to say that cats have it easy. Life has no patience for fairness. I love these two.

THE MAJESTIC QUEEN GRACIE
There are not enough superlatives to describe this lady, and to keep it simple doesn’t do her justice either. The thing about striking a feline-like balance when writing about a cat proves us how inadequate is our own sense of balance. And how poor. That’s not Gracie at all.
It took me a while to show her I was at her service. For she’d never demand anything. But when she finally vocalized her state of mind, I understood it perfectly. Many a silent sunset we’ve enjoyed together, as I dabbled in her generous name-sake mood. Everything about her speaks of harmony. I look forward to indulge her light again soon.

BIRDIE & SQUIRT, TWIN SHADOWS
These two could be spies, and I swear they like to play doubles. Just when I thought I knew which is which, they’ve proved me wrong. Twice. I’m sure at least one of them flies, when no one is looking. Then again, to wonder what cats do when we’re not around is like trying to build walls of shade. I think they can read my mind too.
Once I dozed off and just before I came to, I had this vivid impression they were staring at my reverie. But when I’ve opened my eyes, neither Birdie nor Squirt were anywhere to be seen. I’m sure they know something about me I don’t dare to imagine what. Next time, I’ll wear a disguise.

LULU TRAPEZIST & PRINCESS FURBALL
Lulu is the girl next door, who flirts with the string I flicker in front of her paws, and then disappears in the back. Princess came after, her beautiful fur covering up her round body. While she hardly moves, Lulu entertains dogs of all sizes. They both live in a pet store, you see.
Lulu‘s the one I seek when I need a quick cat fix. She won’t let (more)
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Read Also:
* Head Tails
* Ailurophile Caturally
* Suddenly, Last Caturday
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Lies & Weight

The Stomach as a Storage Space
& Other Tales of Medical Wonders

The popularity of the gastric bypass procedure, combined with the economic crunch, has produced a curious by-product: restaurant discount cards. For those of lighter body complexion (not our fault, not our fault) and exercise-as-diet proponents (not our type, not our type), the trend does provide a moment of reflection.
But we won’t touch that, are you kidding? Whatever rocks your boat (without sinking it), we’re all for it. Besides, much more impressive is at least two other things doctors have done lately with the abdominal cavity: they’ve used it as a storage space, or forgot things in there.
Before we get to that, though, let’s just say something about the obesity crisis that’s been going on in this country, its possible deep psychological causes, and why it’s so hard for some to lose weight, while absolutely unnecessary for others to go through it: blah blah blah, and this and that, and so on and so forth, plus taxes.
With that out of the way, the number of bariatric surgeries in the U.S.
________________________________________________
*************This is the complete version************
________________________________________________
has recently plateaued, after an initial surge in the middle 2000s. Seven years ago, the procedure was performed 170,000 times, according to a medical trade group, but now it’s done at an annual average of 113,000, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Both the gastric bypass and the laparoscopic modalities of the surgery can be complex, but complications have fallen since the horror stories of the early 1990s. The costs to the health care industry remain Continue reading

Weight & See


The Stomach as Storage Space
& Other Medical Tales (Part II)

This is the conclusion of a two-part post about weight loss, medical wonders, and the business of being healthy or sick in the U.S., circa 2012. For Part 1, click here: Lies & Weight. For the complete post, click here: Lies & Weight (2). Enjoy.

***

It’s about time that food portions served at restaurants and delis across the U.S. get cut in half. Thus, a trend set by bariatric surgery patients may, hopefully, be extended to the rest of the population, or according to cynics, those who can’t afford to be fat. Or can they?
The cruel irony is that obesity hits the hardest Americans at the lowest income bracket, who simply can’t afford to buy better quality food. So chances are, they will be hardly affected by the trend.
It’s still worth the effort, though, if out of the whole discussion, a new consensus may emerge about our relationship with food. In the meantime, would you like another slice?
YOUR PERSONAL STORAGE PLACE
We don’t mean to sound gross, but there’s a lot of stuff that can be found, taken out, or be left in, once someone’s abdominal cavity is sliced open. Mostly benign or necessary, if it’s up to experienced surgeons. Every once in a while, though, along comes someone with a crazy idea, that makes the whole medical establishment scramble to explain, why it hadn’t been thought about it before.
Jaimie Hilton, a former Miss Idaho, was just one of those lucky cases. She was the recipient of a revolutionary procedure that may have saved her cognitive ability, no less. Hilton had a terrible fall in June, while out in the ‘great outdoors,’ and hit the back of her head.
The accident caused her to stop breathing, and hadn’t she been airlifted to a local hospital, she wouldn’t have survived. Not in one piece anyway. While still unconscious, she underwent a long surgery to drain her swelling and bleeding brain. To do that, doctors had to remove some 25 percent of her skull.
And now comes the impressive part: in order to preserve the piece of bone until the pressure on her grey matter would subside, they literally Continue reading

Lies & Weight

The Stomach as a Storage Space
& Other Tales of Medical Wonders

The popularity of the gastric bypass procedure, combined with the economic crunch, has produced a curious by-product: restaurant discount cards. For those of lighter body complexion (not our fault, not our fault) and exercise-as-diet proponents (not our type, not our type), the trend does provide a moment of reflection.
But we won’t touch that, are you kidding? Whatever rocks your boat (without sinking it), we’re all for it. Besides, much more impressive is at least two other things doctors have done lately with the abdominal cavity: they’ve used it as a storage space, or forgot things in there.
Before we get to that, though, let’s just say something about the obesity crisis that’s been going on in this country, its possible deep psychological causes, and why it’s so hard for some to lose weight, while absolutely unnecessary for others to go through it: blah blah blah, and this and that, and so on and so forth, plus taxes.
With that out of the way, the number of bariatric surgeries in the U.S.
________________________________________________
*** First of a two-part series that concludes tomorrow. ***
________________________________________________
has recently plateaued, after an initial surge in the middle 2000s. Seven years ago, the procedure was performed 170,000 times, according to a medical trade group, but now it’s done at an annual average of 113,000, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Both the gastric bypass and the laparoscopic modalities of the surgery can be complex, but complications have fallen since the horror stories of the early 1990s. The costs to the health care industry remain relatively high, at $1.5 billion annually. It’s way less expensive to simply exercise and regulate one’s diet, but apparently not everyone thinks that these can be done by everybody.
Although we disagree with the view that obesity can be equated to race and sexual orientation, for example, as a target for public discrimination, there is indeed a small percentage of purely health Continue reading