Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spare Us, Please...

Oy. To be the butt of jokes for Jay Leno. To be the national embarassment. To have the FBI's SAC in Chicago say, "If it isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it's certainly one *%&^ of a competitor." The un-lamented governor of the State of Illinois is under an extraordinary indictment in a pay-to-play scheme to sell President-elect Barack Obama's senate seat to the highest bidder. The man who once claimed that he had more "testicular virility" than the entire state legislature is in it up to his well-coifed hairline. Methinks Roddie-boy has been inhaling the fumes of whatever hairspray he's using. I know - innocent till proven guilty. But this guy has a really, REALLY bad case of "Ryan-itis." That's the ailment that plagues the LAST governor, George Ryan, currently a guest of the Feds on racketeering and bribery charges (a/k/a "pay to play" in a license for bribes scheme with PLENTY of collateral damage). You see, George is petitioning for commutation of his 6 1/2 year sentence (it could have been 22 years, buddy) - claiming that he's "old" and his wife is in frail health. Well, he was old when he committed his crimes. And while he was committing them, maybe he should have thought about Lura Lynn having to spend her remaining years by herself. Ryan won't admit he's done anything wrong. His lawyer, "Big Jim" Thompson, another former IL governor, who arranged for his multi-million dollar defense to be done pro bono (that's free for the rest of us), while costing the TAXPAYERS of Illinois major bucks, has drafted an appropriately conciliatory "note of sorrow" telling us how sad he is and how he regrets what he's done. Yet Lura Lynn says, "George told me that if he had it to do over again, he'd do everything the same way." Nice job. Roddy's lawyer, upon his client's arrest, said, "He's sad, surprised and innocent." And may I add delusional?? He thinks he's done nothing wrong. Look. Patrick Fitzgerald doesn't issue 78-page complaints because he's got nothing better to do. Federal judges don't issue permission to wiretap because they've got nothing else to do (the Current Occupant's unauthorized wiretapping being beside the point right now). If he IS, by some Christmas miracle, proved not guilty, then mazel tov. But the stain is there. Spare us the embarassment of being the nation's joke. Resign, Rod. Fitzgerald has your "testicular virility" in a wringer. You and Patti need to take the girls and just go away. Now.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hard Lessons of Life

Yesterday, I was working the polling place as an election judge. I got a call from Hubby early in the afternoon to inform me that my Granny had been taken to the hospital with the suspicion that she'd had a stroke. Of course, I could do nothing but worry because I couldn't leave. We talked to the two boys and told them about their great-grandma. She's 94, has lived a good life, but in the past 4 or 5 years, her health has declined and she's pretty much wanted to die. All her siblings have died; most of her friends have died. She's just ready to go. And mad at God because she's not gone yet. The "boys" are mid-20s and nearly-20. They've seen "very old" and "very dead" people. They've never seen anyone seriously ill. When my dad died of cancer, before he died, he reached a certain point where he "banned" all the grandkids from coming to visit. He said, "They're young and I don't want them to remember me like this." So the boys have never really seen this up close. Granny can't remember Hubby's name. She remembered one of the boys but not the other. And she thinks Hubby is married to my cousin. She doesn't remember ever being married (she was married to my Grandpa for 61 years) and says she's 68 years old. She doesn't remember her younger daughter, but does remember her older daughter (my mom). She says she remembers me, but since we have the same name, I'm not sure if she's recalling the 'name' or the 'person.' The boys went up to visit Granny today. I'm proud that they did, without my having to take them there. But I was also worried. Kid # 2 sums it up this way: "Hospitals make me puke." And Kid #1 is just not good with the whole concept. I called Kid #1 today after the visit. He's in a pretty somber mood and said, "This really stinks. I'm really sad that she doesn't remember my brother." I feel bad. You want to protect your kids, no matter how old they are. You want them to be safe and happy and successful and never have to be hurt or sad. But you know in your heart of hearts that, eventually, they will have their own trials, their own heartbreaks, and they'll experience what you have: the illness and death of someone close to them. I don't know how this will all play out. She could remain just as she is or she could have another, bigger stroke which will give her what she wants: a trip to Heaven. Needless to say, I've been teary all day, when I think about it. I know in my own heart of hearts that none of us lives forever. I know how lucky we are to have her here at 94. And I know she's really ready to go. But I know that this is the Granny I've known all my life, and even at 50, something like this makes me feel 11 again and wishing that I could hide away till it's all resolved. But I can't. I have to be strong for my own kids. And I have to be strong for my siblings and my mom. The boys will learn this lesson as they've learned other lessons. And we'll cry and mourn when Granny dies. And we'll get through it. Yes, it's going to hurt, but yes, we'll learn this lesson, too.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


So Kid 1 and Kid 2 are having a "spirited" discussion. What you have to know is that Kid 1 is our resident cynic. He's convinced the world is headed to Hades in a handbasket and that we - my generation - have been the last in a long line of people who've screwed it up totally. Beyond the repair of his generation or his brother's generation. Kid 2 feels pretty similar, but he has a small belief in the "process" so that if enough people get involved, it can be a sea change. He sees his generation as the potential to start that change. Kid 1 is probably not going to vote. But he'll gripe about how rotten the system is, how politicians are corrupt and how we're all eventually going to screw ourselves into premature planetary implosion. Kid 2 just voted early with us - his first time to vote. The discussion, which included a few mutual friends, ended when Kid 2 said, "You know what? It ultimately comes down to this: VOTE OR SHUT UP. "The system is what it is till WE change it. And if you're not interested in VOTING, then you have no right to complain about how crappy the system is. Obviously, it's not crappy enough to make you get off your butt to change it. So then you essentially have nothing to complain about, right? "So either VOTE OR SHUT UP." Out of the mouths of babes...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Links You Need to Read...

One of these is kind of long. But the others are fairly short. Read 'em and contemplate... These are things we need to discuss before we have another 4-year disaster on our hands. And the thing is, according to most of the polls (if you ignore the right-wing slobbering hordes who thought she did well just because she read her script and didn't actually answer some of the questions), even Alaskans felt she didn't win the debate. Expectations low enough? THAT is scary.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Am I dreaming???

I want the following in a President and Vice-President. I do NOT want to have a beer with either of them. Both of them should be so smart that they scare the heck out of anyone. I want 'em so smart that they speak at least ONE other language fluently; have at least a Master's Degree in SOMETHING; have a successful career in SOMETHING; and can look any world leader in the eye and say, "No, there's a better way to do this where we'll all benefit." And that way usually doesn't include preemptive invasions and blowing things up. Yeah, Bill Gates is scary-smart and he never finished college, but he's unique. So are Steven Hawkings and Amy Smith, a MacArthur Genius grant-winner. I want all-around-genius-smart. And I want a personality that's imposing without arrogance. Someone that has a clue about what REAL "servant leadership" is about would also be good. I'm not picking on anyone. I'm just saying that someone who will be the leader and second-in-command of such a powerful nation - they have to be pretty special and "not ordinary" people. I am ordinary. I don't want "ordinary" leading this nation. We deserve better. We've had 8 years of Yogi Berra-like malapropisms and near-total cluelessness. We have had 8 years of a puppet government. We've had 8 years of "trying to get my Dad's attention." For the sake of our kids, grandkids and the entire planet, we need better. And we're the only ones that can make that happen. OK, I'm snapping out of my dream.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Intelligent Political Discussion...Is it Possible?

My idea of intelligent discussion, for anyone smart enough to understand words with more than one syllable, is a discussion wherein ANY party's talking points do not become the centerpiece; the only intersections of discussion; the be-all and end-all of any argument; and the only knee-jerk response to anything said by someone who disagrees. That's pretty clear. Once people can actually talk about their beliefs - even owning those that are obviously sexist and racist, though over half the time we don't even admit them to ourselves - then, we talk. Otherwise, it's all hot air. And compost. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As you can see, someone got my goat. If you can't argue your position, maybe you need to re-evaluate your hold on it and your investment in it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Don't Breathe???

So. Today was THE day. The Annual Squish. And of course, last week, my cycle shifted just so that, 3 days ago, I was in full "Dolly Parton" mode. It was unpleasant, unplanned and painful! I got to the imaging facility and was able to go right in. I had a lovely technician, by the name of Janet, who "felt my pain." You see, the mammograms are digital and I have dense tissue (those of you who know me? Spare me the "dense" jokes!!). So, Janet says, the equipment has to "press down harder" to be able to get a good view. "Stand with your hips and feet facing the machine. Place your left arm and shoulder above the plate; don't GRIP the bar, just hold it. Scoot your butt out a bit. Now, hold still." Whirrrrrrrr; down comes the Plate of Pain. Janet goes behind her magic screen and says, "Now, hold your breath." Please. Like I could even THINK about breathing?? She apologizes as the Plate of Pain lifts, then we get to do it over on the other side. Then, the fun begins. We get to do the "sideways images." Stand with your toes and hips at a slight angle; tip your chin up so the plate doesn't whack you in the face. Bend slightly forward "so the tissue moves forward." Janet says, "Well, I know this is uncomfortable, but look at me" (which I can't because I'm squeezed in place) - "I'm all scrunched under here with my head under this part." Yes, dear, but I'm squeezed IN that part! I feel for my "less gifted" sisters - this is one test where more really IS better. I have a friend who's on the "boyish" side and she says that every year, she comes away bruised and feeling "scraped" by the Plate of Pain. So I guess it's good that I got the "family allotment of bosom" as my sister says. I give mammography technicians credit. They're handling a very aggravating test day in and day out. They are so professional (at least the ones I've run into) and matter-of-fact that they make you feel good about taking care of yourself. But even the pre-procedure aspirins did nothing today when "Dolly Parton" met The Squisher. That's ok, though. I came through this one without having to do any of the images over, and I'm done for a year.

Friday, September 05, 2008

This is "change"???

The sad part is, we could have predicted exactly how the RNC was going to go down. Mean. Rotten. Nasty. Much Hot Air - No Substance. They don't feel they HAVE to tell us what they'll do. It's enough that they're (R) - can't you people tell that they've only got our well-being in their hearts? Where have you been in the last eight years? The surge is working. Maverick. The economy is booming. Maverick. I don't know how many houses I have. Maverick. My kid's pregnant and I'm forcing her into the middle of a political inferno. Maverick. I've intimidated people and tried to fire a librarian because she wouldn't ban a book I didn't like. Maverick. I am willing to shill myself and my family for my own ambition. Maverick. Global warming is a myth - ignore that recent MSN story about two large ice sheets in Canada breaking off. Maverick. That has nothing to do with anything. Maverick. Drill in ANWR. Maverick. Alternate sources of energy don't work. Maverick. Endangered polar bears? What are you talking about? POW. Victory. Surge. POW. Victory. Surge. They should have paid me to summarize the entire convention; it wouldn't have taken 4 days. At this point, McCain says "Change is coming." It is. And it's Democratic. Finally.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chinese "women" Olympians??

It can't be just me. The bloggers out there have found that the "women" on the Chinese gymnastics team are really no older than about 14. Why do they feel compelled to cheat? They apparently altered passports to show that the girls (because that's what they are) were the minimum age of 16, but others found that, through records of regional competitions, the girls were actually about 14. Bela Karolyi pointed it out. He should know from "massaging the system" because of his work in Romania. I'm not casting stones; just pointing out that sometimes socialist systems have different versions of "acceptable truth" than some other systems. Think about it. Shawn Johnson was so thrilled because she "just" made the minimum age requirement. So what makes the Chinese immune from the rules? Because they're the host country? Or because economically they may own half the world with various countries having received loans from them? Whatever it is, it's not fair. And it's not only not fair to us the viewers, but it's not fair to the Olympians who ARE following the rules - and above all, not fair to the girls themselves. What are they teaching them? That it's ok to not obey the rules - in a country that has, for ages, thrived on obedience and conformity, this is somewhat laughable. Except it's not funny to push young bodies to do the things they're doing. It's not true to the Olympian spirit. And it's just not a good example to set for the team members who are, in all likelihood, just girls.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

There Goes the Neighborhood...

To the lady (and I use that term loosely) in the Ford Fusion who was ahead of me in the turn lane tonight: You are a BAD mom. And you got your driver's license out of a vending machine for a quarter. Do you know what that big square vehicle is with the whirling red lights and "whooop, whooop" sirens? It's called an AMBULANCE. When an AMBULANCE approaches an intersection, there's this little sensor, and it changes the lights on the side of the intersection where the ambulance is traveling. That means MOVE OVER NOW. That does NOT mean "flip off the driver behind you who honks her horn." That's your first problem. Your second problem is "the bird." You are a mom. There was a kid in the car. What kind of example are you showing your kid? A bad one. An example that tells him, "Manners don't count. It's ALL ABOUT ME." Listen, missy: It is NOT all about you. Get your snotty head out of your sit bones, crank the music down, look in your rearview mirror and see the big square vehicle with the whirling red lights and foghorn-like bellow coming up behind you. It's people like you that teach your kids that they are the center of the universe, and they can dump on everyone else. It's not about you. It's about the ambulance. Ambulances carry sick people. Have you ever ridden in one? I gotta tell you - it's a very nasty ride. The industrial-strength shocks make for a very bumpy ride, and if you are sick or hurt enough to be in an ambulance, you really ARE in need of quick transport to the nearest hospital. Ambulances have the right of way, at least in this state. At least when they're not confronted by bumble-headed nitwits who can't see past the bird they're flipping at other drivers who are between the two of them. Get over yourself. Maybe teach your kid manners - though I doubt you have any. Teach your kid that "the bird" is a bad thing. Teach your kid that ambulances and other emergency vehicles take first place on the road when they have their lights and sirens going. If you can't teach this information to your kid, maybe - just maybe - you might KNOW someone with manners. Or send me a message - I'll find someone to teach your kid, since you are obviously not providing a good example for him. In the meantime, if you can't see an ambulance or hear it, you really do not need to be driving, especially with a kid in the car.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Oh my.

Phenomenal speech by Obama. If he can do one-tenth of what he is saying, this will be a successful presidency. It will be an interesting campaign to watch.

Religious Hall of Shame...

Normally, I'm pretty happy being a Catholic. Of course, like every human being, I've had my crises of faith. But generally, the ability to believe in a deity who is "somewhere out there" and is watching over us humans (and often shaking Her head, I'm sure) is somewhat comforting. The trouble is when humans get involved in the whole idea of religion. Considering the gospels, who decided there should only be four? And why were those four written by men? Jesus did have female followers. Who says priests should only be men? One of the wisest preachers I knew was a woman, and it was she who changed my own narrow vision of what a "pastor" is. And I don't care what I was taught; I've come to believe that Mary Magdalene was NOT the prostitute she was made out to be. I'm not sure what she was, but I have come, in my maturity, to believe that she may have been painted with the wrong brush, for the sake of expediency and a good story. Fast forward many centuries, and we have the current issues facing the Catholic Church. The pedophile scandal which has people confusing sexual predators for gay men - guess what, folks, they are NOT the same thing. Think about it and look it up or ask someone. Use the brain God gave you. It won't hurt, I promise. Our Church lied, shuffled offenders around and did what it does best sometimes: it stalled, hoping that the problem would "go away." Hey, your Holiness: Since that Vatican II thing, parishioners aren't just dumb pew-jockeys. We are involved. And we know how to be activists. And we will. You lied to us; you lied to the world. And you want us to just forgive and "forget" what happened. Oh, and pay the legal bills, too. Not gonna happen. You've lost a chunk of my generation, and you have potentially lost the generation my kids inhabit, too. They see past the collars and see flawed humans. And they wonder why we in my generation let this fester. Most recently, there's Fr. Mike Pfleger in Chicago. Being a priest is a 24/7 proposition. You are never NOT a priest, even if the collar is off. And when the collar is ON - well, you really need to watch your Ps and Qs. And Fr. Pfleger most certainly did not watch anything. He didn't heed that voice in that deep part of the brain that says, "Whoa, there, Pilgrim! Watch what's coming out of your mouth." And Cardinal George certainly didn't help with that milque-toast tap on the wrists. Fr. Pfleger has embarassed many Catholics. He's embarassed many Christians. He did the usual "pseudo-apology" thing but it's too little, too late. And again, Cardinal George, where's the starch in YOUR collar? I don't think Pfleger needs to be kicked out. I think he needs to be re-assigned. He's been at St. Sabina's for what? A couple of decades? Yes, he's done fine things. But you know what happens when you've been the "face" of the organization for a long time? You tend to get complacent. You forget the vows you made, and you "become" the organization. Sometimes, that works. This time, it didn't. He not only embarassed Catholics, he embarassed his own parish. Even though there are people who stood up for his right to speak, he violated a basic principle: Don't do anything that you wouldn't like to see on YouTube the next day. Now, he's upset at YouTube. Fr. Pfleger, please look in a mirror. THAT is the person you should be mad at. You let theatrics and histrionics get the better of logic and theology. You had no right to use a pulpit - any pulpit - to say what you said. There has historically been a separation between church and state, and for good reason. You may very well have endangered Trinity's tax exempt status, at the least. At the most, you've given one more negative impression of a church which has done quite a bit for its community. There are people out there shaking their heads saying, "Just what DOES go on at that church? Are they all whack-jobs?" Probably not. But they sure know how to put 'em on the pulpit. Fr. Pfleger needs to be reassigned to a post where he can contemplate his actions and his future. Out of the spotlight. For a while. Maybe then, he could be reassigned to another parish, and not as the guy in charge. A large dose of crow wouldn't kill him. It may make him stronger and potentially temper his "speak before you think" habit. He's not a bad man. He's just started to believe his own PR. And when that happens, nothing good usually comes of it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Baby Birdies!!

We have two - but right now, here's a shot of the first one. We can see his (?) beak above the nest now, as the parents go through the feeding frenzy. We'll get more shots as we go. This has been really fun to watch up close.

More pics will come.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lead Dog Syndrome

On my daily commute, I see the "usual suspects" and the usual - once foreign, now common-place - behaviors. Cell phone conversations that slow the driver ahead of you to a crawl; women putting on make-up (the mascara in the rear view mirror always annoys me for some reason); men balancing a newspaper with their coffee cup as they drive; my husband's all-time favorite: teens texting as they drive... And the most recent behavior I've witnessed, I've decided to christen "Lead-Dog Syndrome." I've had huskies for most of my adult life. Huskies are outstanding sled dogs, and from what I'm told about mushers, they know a good lead dog when they see it. That's the dog who always wants to be in front. Always. No matter where the dog is in the formation, the one who ends up being "lead dog" is the one who is bound and determined to make its way to the front and stay there. Today, on the way in to work, I saw the most aggressive exhibition of that syndrome. Mind you, on one of the routes I take, it is an interstate highway, though the part near my home is a 2-lane road. It's narrow. There's a big old valley on one side, and a forest preserve on the other side. And very low guard rails. And no where to go if some idiot is driving like his or her shorts are on fire. Anyway, this person (I didn't catch the gender because of the movement of the vehicle) was in one of those small cross-over autos. And the driver was zipping in and out between us - no signal of course, because that might have been courteous or (gasp!) safe. The driver actually didn't get very far because he or she was only getting ahead one car at a time, and this 2-lane highway does have stop lights on it. What causes this? What is the point? Are you really getting that far ahead? Do you know how absolutely annoying your behavior is? And shouldn't you get a safer hobby - like, say, maybe fire-eating? Traffic on this road in particular is very congested for a number of reasons: increase population; route change because of construction; high volume of large trucks. This driver didn't give a hang. He or she was GOING TO BE IN FRONT if it killed him (or her) - or anyone else in front of that vehicle. I would suggest to those who absolutely insist on being in first do one of a couple of things: get up wayyyyyyyyyyy earlier than the rest of us so you have the road to yourself; find alternate routes that nobody but the geese are using; or, my personal favorite: deal with the fact that if you do want to get to the head of the line, sign up for the Iditarod. I hear there's plenty of space on that trail.

Friday, May 23, 2008

This is too much.

I'm supposed to be in a very "valuable" demographic, at least as far as one Democratic contender for the presidency is concerned. I'm a woman in her 50s. I'm college educated, have a Master's Degree and I'm white. And I am so far out of her preferred demographic that it's not even funny. Especially now. Hillary Clinton, the woman who's gotten the farthest in any presidential contest in this country, has just, in my opinion, torched herself. Well and truly torched her chances of any sort of victory. Well and truly alienated any thinking woman or man in his or her 50s. Commenting on the reason for her not dropping out, she brought up the assassination of Robert Kennedy in California. The 40th anniversary of that killing is coming up soon. On the heels of Ted Kennedy's recent, devastating diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor. And, when the comments elicited the righteous outrage they deserved, her spokesperson in essence said that (a) Hillary didn't exactly say that; and (b) people were "reading too much into that." Hillary herself noted that she was just quoting history. No. Well, yes. Yes, she WAS just quoting history. But she was quoting - and invoking - the most bleak and painful aspect of our history as a nation. Our history of killing our leaders is long, considering the actual age of our country. We are, after all, only 232 years old. And during that time, people who have either mental imbalance or some weird sense of their own importance or the importance of their own agenda, have tried (often succeeding) to kill our president. The list of those killed: Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Kennedy. The list of those attempts: Jackson, T. Roosevelt, FDR, Truman, Ford, Reagan. Let's not forget that RFK and MLK also gave their lives. And they weren't presidents - they were, however, leaders. So. She's put out there what, probably, many people have worried about. But many of us who may have, and still do have, concerns about this do not have a worldwide platform upon which to air our views. We keep them inside, or talk about them to close friends. She "put it out there in the air" as my guitar teacher says. And then subsequent namby-pamby pseudoapology? Did she ever stop to consider that the same whacko that might consider putting a bullet in one candidate's head might well target her? Or, since her "sniper fire in Bosnia" fantasy, has she become immune to the power of a gun?

What is absolutely astounding is the thought that any of us who are old enough to remember the dark times in our history would want them even brought up again! I was a kid in the 60s. But I clearly remember where I was when JFK was killed. I think all of us who are old enough remember that. And all of us are determined, no matter what the past 8 years have been for any of us, to NOT go back to those days where it seemed that our politicians were killed before they could get going. And who knows what it was that they could have accomplished, if they'd have lived. How different would the nation be if each and every person on that list of "successful" attempts had lived his full allotment of years? It was remarked that Hillary is a "professional politician." Well, maybe so. But I don't like her particular version of the game of politics. And I don't appreciate being lumped into a demographic of people who "will" vote for her just because of her - or my - gender. Hillary, you stepped into it up to your hips. There's no graceful way to exit this particular bit of self-inflicted sniper fire. It's time to fold up your tent and go home. Maybe Bill was right in a recent Chicago Tribune article. Maybe it's actually going to be Chelsea's time. And not yours, because you've proven by your many mis-steps that you're just not ready for prime time. Not now, and possibly after all this, not ever.

...And here's Mamma!

Here she is, in all her maternal glory. Pappa divebombs anyone or anything foolish enough to get close. Although they let the goldfinches feed right next to them.


This is a nest - apparently, Mamma Robin has decided that our bird feeder makes a perfect spot for her nest. What a "bird's-eye" view we'll have for the fledglings!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment, May 14, 2008

Here's the link. Pass it to everyone you know. Yes, it IS that important. This is the most cogent, coherent, pithy and precise comments on the current Shrub in the White House that I have seen in a long time. I try to comment on general things, but this one commentary says a lot to me. Can 2009 get here any sooner?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Two New Species of Birds Identified!!

We know that, just like the passenger pigeon and the great auk, the dodo has gone on to greener pastures, we hope. However, I found two new “birds” out there. Maybe because there are so many folks moving into our area? Or maybe because I’m watching everyone in cars these days, as I don’t trust other drivers to understand or obey the traffic signals. The first species: “Omnipresent Butt-Flicker.” This bird operates year ‘round, fair weather or foul, frequently flicking cigarette butts out the driver’s side window of a vehicle, whether moving or standing still. This species apparently lacks an ashtray in its vehicle, though I’ve noticed it driving cars that may indeed still have them, though maybe not where this species would like them located. This species is unaware that butt-flicking is littering. Often crying, “It’s only one cigarette butt,” it’s common in more urban areas. It also walks, and does its thing without a car window to facilitate flicking. The second species: “Constant Ash-Tapper.” This bird eventually morphs into the Butt-Flicker, tapping its ashes out of the car window as well, never knowing (or caring) where the ashes may go. This species often utters, “Well, I don’t want to smell up my car.” Too late. Plastic, leather, and cloth are amazingly porous materials that suck up smoke just like a large pair of lungs. All you Butt-Flickers - get your heads out of your ashes. Realize that those nasty little butts do have a hot end. One day, you’ll flick one “just right” and it’ll end up in the car behind you. In someone’s lap. Who’ll be none too happy with your species and who may well cause some road rage once he or she stops the “seated tap dance” that’ll ensue upon contact with a hot butt. And yes, you’re littering. Paint a mental picture, if you will, of all your flicked butts piled up in your front yard. All you Ash-Tappers – get your heads out of your butts long enough to realize that, even if your car doesn’t have an ashtray, you can buy one. Put some double-stick tape on a cheap plastic one and whack it to your dashboard or stick it in one of your cup holders. Yes, you’ll have to empty it – hopefully in an approved container and not at an intersection. But you wash your car every once in a while, right? So either suck the stuff up with a vacuum or dump it into a trash can. Make like the Butt-Flickers and just imagine all that piled up in your living room. According to an article from Reuters Health, worldwide, smokers toss at least 4.6 trillion (yes, with a “t”) butts each year. The paper and tobacco parts are biodegradable; not the filter. Made of cellulose acetate, it’s not environmentally friendly. We can correctly assume that "environmental responsibility" is fairly low on the list for the tobacco and cigarette folks, so I'd venture to guess that an eco-friendly filter isn't coming our way anytime soon. It’s very demoralizing to see these bits of litter in our parks, on streets and just about anywhere that the two aforementioned species congregate. While I recognize the choice these two species have made to smoke, I also wish to remind them that many of us choose not to smoke. We also choose not to litter. Therefore, when their right to smoke infringes upon our right to have a cleaner planet, we must draw the line and insist they curb their flicking and tapping habits and attempt to imitate those of us who prefer our planetary nest as free of litter as we can get it.