Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

A funny thing happened on the way to the office


I couldn’t believe what i saw. A trailer in front of the store, tipped on to its end. That must’ve been some adventure when they were unloading it.

Cat Napping in the Neighborhood

Sorry, this is a long post, but it is a story I want to tell fairly completely.

Our family cat Sammie is about 10 years old, on the small size, and pretty skittish. She has always been a bit aloof, as she sometimes does not let even Sherie and I approach her easily. But she has survived well for 10 years; the first few in Benicia at Sherie’s house, and then in Albany when we moved in together. She goes outside in the morning to roam the back yards of our house and some neighbors, seldom going to the street. And she comes in when called in the evening to eat and to sleep indoors.

Anyway, the past couple months she and our other cat had been acting strange when called in at evening feeding time: they were shy to come in, and did not act hungry. Then, on May 10, Sammie did not come home at night at all. No answer to our calls; Sherie and I looked around, and Sherie stayed up all night watching and listening. Sherie made some Lost Cat signs and posted them in the neighborhood. But still no Sammie the next morning.

On the afternoon of the next day (a Monday) Sherie knocked on some doors in the neighboring houses. Sure enough, the tenant two doors down (where Sammie likes to hang out in the sunny backyard) said that her landlady (Brigitte Kershaw) traps feral cats, and the tenant thought that Sammie might have been trapped in her backyard. When Sherie contacted the landlady’s husband (Tony Kershaw). You bet, Sammie had been trapped. They had been baiting the cats with food for weeks, and they caught Sammie when they had an appointment at a vet to have her fixed and inoculated.  (Of course, she was already fixed and innoculated!)

Although we cannot keep a collar on her as she always wrestles one off within hours, Sammie does not look feral. She is clean, has healthy eyes and coat, and is an athletic healthy weight. And most folks who live in the neighborhood know her by sight. But the do-gooder landlady did not talk to the neighbors before trying to catch the cat. In fact, she did not heed the lost cat sign on the tree in front of her house when she took the cat from the garage of that house to the car for the trip to the vet.

Even worse, because she is a regular feral cat trapper, her veterinary partner (Dr Lee Prutton, D.V.M at Abbey Pet Hospital) did not scan the cat for a microchip. Now Sammie is chipped; any vet could have her name and address within minutes of seeing her in the office (see this link.) But to save time and money, he did not scan her, but “trusted” his partner in crime to vouch that the cat was feral. He anesthized the cat, trimmed off the top of her ear, gave her shots, and was getting ready to neuter her when he saw her existing abdominal scar.

Sammie was delivered home that evening, thanks to our neighbor getting her landlord’s contact info to us. But not without lots of grief, and some lessons learned:

  • ALL vets should scan ALL cats suspected of being strays EVERY time they see them.
  • ALL volunteers should not trap cats in neighborhoods unless invited by residents.
  • ALL volunteers should talk to neighbors within reasonable distances of trapped cats EVERY time they trap one.

If Dr Prutton had been more understanding to Sherie when confronted that he violated a basic procedure when he did not scan Sammie, she and I might feel differently. But he has ignored a basic procedure with our cat, and does not plan to change his ways when handling “ferals.” We recommend that you find other vets to support.

I have asked the people at the Feral Cat Foundation to modify their website to instruct all volunteers about the points taken above. I hope they do; I also hope they talk sense into the Kershaws to no longer trap cats in neighborhoods without the express invitation of the residents. And the Fix Our Ferals organization, for which the Kershaws are volunteers, already instucts members to talk to neighbors before trapping cats in neighborhoods.

By the way, now that the Kershaws no longer feed our cats in the backyard of their tenants house (and who knows how many rodents, racoons, strays, etc.), our cats are much happier and less skittish in the evening when they come in.

Snow on the Peak

Grizzly Peak, that is.

The early morning showers here in the East Bay flats broke up on our way to the office, revealing the snow-capped peaks of the East Bay hills. What a sight to see, white on Grizzly Peak! From below, the snow seems to start somewhat above the top of the lab, so I would estimate the snow level this morning at above 1200-1400 feet.

Maybe we will have a wet winter after all…

Meeting (Famous) People

Like Joe Posnanski, I am not very good at small talk. Some people have a talent of getting someone to indicate what interests them, and when the listener also knows something about one of those subjects, asks an intelligent question. Like Sean the sales guy at our company, who figures out what sport and team the guy was into, and then always has a lead in question whenever they may meet. (How ’bout them ‘Boys? or Can the Sox win it again?) And then the ice is broken and the listener is engaged and volunteers information about “business” more readily. But not me; unless I know you pretty well, getting to that common subject just can take forever.

Even if you are not a sports buff, this is a good read at While you may not understand the sports references, you should understand the small talk and lifestyle points.

New Blog Site

Thanks all for waiting for me to get the blog act together. I give up on Yahoo Geocities, and have moved to WordPress. This is definitely a better blog way to go. I also splurged for the domain, although the blog and home page are hosted by WordPress.

I have moved all old posts from Geocities. It just couldn’t serve pages reliably, several of you have told me of urls that became obsolete or resulted in gibberish. I hope this works out better.

More to come later.

River Canoes

No bike ride today. Marla and Philo drove up for the day. We enjoyed a day in the sun, warming up to the 70s, lazy paddling canoes on the Russian River to Healdsburg. We did the half day paddle from River’s Edge company from the old bridge . The river water was still cool, too cool for swimming, but the current was only moderate so quite easy to keep the boats away from obstacles. Enjoyable watching the birds, and the occasional steelhead in the current fighting upstream.

Feet Washing

I love my wife, for who she is. And she loves me, in spite of my faults, too.

That written, sometimes we get frustrated with each other. But we do kiss and make up, because we both understand what is really important.

Now years ago, a doctor told me to limit myself to one shower/bath a day to control my excema. And that an occasional day without a bath would be good for my skin.

Of course, with our active lifestyles and my sweaty traits (thanks for the genes, Dad), sometimes my wife thinks that the tradeoff for better skin may not be worth the momentary unpleasant aroma.

But at least she did not go to the extremes that the woman in China did, according to this Reuters report.

Greg Pallast Story

The Chron today ran a story on Greg Palast. In my opinion, the real problem with the news today is that it reports what it is fed, not what if uncovers.

From the Chron story:

“The average American does not see the type of reporting that Greg Palast is doing,” McMillon said. “The average American gets their news from FOX, CNN and the talking heads at ABC, NBC and CBS. What has taken the place of real journalism is reporting that is safe and will keep the public calm.”

How are the masses to be informed about all the real stories from sources other than big gov or big biz? That is Palast mission. See him here.

Social Grace Letter

This is an interesting story. I guess no one could tell the old farter to his face about their personal disgust…

Paul McHugh Retirement from Chron

Well, I finally found out why Paul McHugh no longer has a weekly column in the Sports section of the Chron. Paul retired while we were in Ladakh, so I missed his last column until today.

I had the privledge in Tahoe of being a McHugh contact for the ski biz. I always looked forward to a chance to chat with Paul about changes in gear, and how skis are marketed.

I hope Paul and the Chron don’t object to this extended quote from Paul’s last column:

Three tips for a great future outdoors

— Intelligence is not simply a matter of mental computation. It’s also the ability to move one’s body skillfully through all elements of our environment. Haul your heinie outside. Constantly entertain and invigorate your brain with fresh challenges and fresh oxygen.

— Don’t fear involvement in a crusade for parks, greenbelts, wildlife or public access. Rather, fear not being absorbed in one or more of these confrontations. In this time of swelling human numbers, declining resources and over-stretched public funds, you’ll need to fight on behalf of everything you hope to keep.

— A reed or a twig on its own is an awfully frail thing. But once bound into bundles, they grow stout and secure. That’s the meaning behind “fasces,” those ribbon-wreathed rods, an ancient Roman symbol, once stamped on the back of U.S. dimes. No matter what your outdoor sport or environmental concern might be, join a like-minded affinity group. Not only for the camaraderie, but also to become mighty enough (collectively) to get tasks of major significance accomplished.


Flickr Photos