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When things go Beeeeeeeeeep in the night January 2, 2012

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, Life at Casa Lobo, Photography, This 'n That, Videos.

So last night at 3AM I am awakened by a high pitched, deafening ‘beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep’ – ‘beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.’

Why do smoke alarms only go off during the wee hours of the morning.  Once my heart slowed down to a normal beat I assessed that there was no fire and most likely no carbon monoxide leak and jumped out of bed.

What to do?  What to do? (Benny the dog and Madsion the cat were not at all helpful).

I fumbled to get my big ladder out of the closet and climbed up (almost falling backwards in the process).  It was not a pretty sight. I could not reset the darn thing so I yanked it out of the ceiling.

It continued to ‘beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.’

I hit the reset button and this awful voice started yelling ‘FIRE!  FIRE!  FIRE’!

I hit the reset button again and the awful voice ceased but the high-pitched ‘beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep’ continued. OY!

I could not figure out how to remove the battery (it would have helped if I had put on my glasses).  So I wrapped the noise machine in two fleece blankets and stuck it in the refrigerator.  I returned to bed – not very optimistic about going back to sleep.  I finally relax and about to drift off when I hear a muffled ‘beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.’

Seven hours later, my wonderful building handyman, Ross, replaced the newly bought five year warranty 9Volt battery. He also showed me how to remove the battery if this happens again).  After a good laugh he then proceeded to tell me stories of other condo owners in the building with even funnier tales of smoke alarm low batteries.  I felt less foolish – but still…


Wet Dog, Dry Plants – an Irene Postscript August 28, 2011

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, Dogs and cats, Photography, Politics.

It is over for us.  Hurricane Irene came and left leaving most New Yorkers unscathed (if you are not counting all of the people that had to evacuate or are calling their insurance companies to assess their house/tree/car damage).

I have started to schlep my outdoor plants back outside (without the energy I had yesterday).  Benny has been on two walks since Irene passed us by –  which he much preferred to this morning’s very wet outside adventure at 6 AM.

a) Manhattan had no power outages.  Why doesn’t the Government spend stimulus money to bury all power cables underground?  Manhattan had no power outages because our cables are all underground.

b) The Battery did not flood very much considering it it all manmade and should be flooded all of the time.

c) Here is the one thing that was damaged in my neighborhood – an upset pot.

d)  Plants going back onto my balcony (a work in progress).

e) I know that life is back to normal.  The lunatic that stands on the corner singing and screaming with his guitar returned.

I hope your experience with Hurricane Irene was as uneventful as mine.  Unfortunately, Mayor Mike has informed us that the transit system will most likely not be up and running for tomorrow’s rush hour.  He is sure ‘we’ will figure someway to get to work because New Yorkers are tough.  Hey, Mayor Mike – you have a chauffeured lim0.  Want to pick us all up and give us a ride?

Waiting… August 27, 2011

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, Dogs and cats, Photography, Science.

I cannot believe it is only 3 PM.  I am not very good at waiting.  Yet, here we are at Casa Lobo, waiting out the impending storm.  I look out the window often. Here are a few things that caught my eye from my 11th floor perch.  Madison the cat has found having all of the outside plants inside very entertaining.  Benny is milking my being home by begging for a treat every time our eyes happen to meet.  Sadly, he usually wins the treat war.  I am a sucker for those fluid eyes.


Deconstructing Casa Lobo August 27, 2011

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, Dogs and cats, Photography, Politics, Videos.

We were instructed by building management to clear our balcony of any furniture, grills or plants before Hurricane Irene drops by.  Easy for you to say, Pedro.  Have you seen my balcony?  (All photos below).  So, I went to the gym at 7 AM to build up my strength for my upcoming arduous task.  My 24 hour gym is closing at 10AM today and will be closed tomorrow as well. In case you are living somewhere else and have not see the news – NYC is essentially shut down as of noon today.  No subways or buses and the airports (all three) are shutting down.  There are evacuation areas throughout the five boros and most food items are gone from supermarket shelves.

I checked my own pantry and found I had plenty of food for the pets, ample wine, pretzels and tuna.  What else does someone need?  Am I nervous?  No (except when I turn on the TV and hear the horrible warnings, statistics and blather).  So I turned off the TV and did my task.  There are now pots, plants and garden supplies all over Casa Lobo and both Benny the dog and Madison the cat are not pleased.  The cat retreated to the closet to hide and benny hid under the bed.  Now that the noise is over they have returned to their normal positions.

Do I think the Mayor and Governor have over-reacted?  I surely do.  I think if this hurricane had hit during the week when Wall Street does whatever it is they do – it would have been a different story.  However – ‘who works on the weekend’ –  the powers that be thought?  ‘Not anyone I know’ – so they shut it down.  Am I cynical?  You bet. Just because I am not blogging much on politics these days do not for one minute think that I have changed my tune or softened in anyway.  I am mad as hell and shake my fist at passing clouds all of the time.

So what will I do today and tomorrow?  I will devote myself to some projects that have been on a list for ages.  I will stare out the window.  I will most likely speak to my good buddy Carol several times and also will yak with my sister Terry.  One more thing – I will call and speak with my zoo buddy, Mary tomorrow as it is her birthday. ‘Happy Birthday, Mary’.

Good night Irene – good night.

Nine Years Later September 11, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, Dogs and cats, Photography, Politics, Religion.
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My dog Benny and I were out this morning as dawn was breaking and the sky had that September 11th feel.  You know , that crisp, cloudless blue sky that many of us remember all too well. I realize that September always brings those types of skies, but the memory of that particular Tuesday morning does not fade for me. Finally, work is being done at the World Trade Center Site (and I do not mean the shameful demonstrations at the proposed Islamic Cultural Center a few blocks away). I speak of the gaping pile of rubble, pipes, beams and sorrows that has been the World Trade Center for the past nine years.  I will be going to visit the site next week and will see for myself just how much progress has been made. In the meanwhile, last week’s Sunday New York Times had an interesting article about the rapid pace of construction as we near the 10th anniversary of that horrific day.  Do not forget to look at some recent photos of the progress.

–  Not a day goes by that I do not think about September 11, 2001 (unless I am traveling).  Perhaps the proximity of where one lives keeps the memory burning brighter. Every day when I walk my dog Benny, I see where the towers used to stand and it brings a knot in my stomach. We have come so far and in many ways have lost our path.  The crazies seem to be dominating the landscape and the voices of moderation are either too far from the microphone or are too busy quaking in their shoes to say anything.  Gail Collins wrote a fine piece about the ‘crazies’ in Thursday’s New York Times called The 5 Percent Doctrine.

–  Speaking of the New York Times — The publisher of the New York Times acknowledged Wednesday that the newspaper will go out of print — eventually.  Life as I know it – will change.  I am not happy.

–  So what is going on in my fair City since 9/11?  Mayor Mike is in his third term and although I am not a big fan – I do think that his words about the proposed Mosque near the World Trade Center site are pitch perfect and I thank him for his lack of waffling.

–  So why did the World Trade Center site take so long to develop? I blame then Governor George Pataki for the initial screw ups and then blame all of the other real estate hustlers and muckety mucks who would not get out of the way.  Shame on all of you.

–  I hate when out of town politicians and nut jobs claim some bull crap about the sanctity of the site.  Where were you when the bill for the healthcare for the first responders came to the floor and it was voted down?  Shame on all of you.

–  I hate when Rudy ‘9/11’ Giuliani pokes his head into something that has nothing to do with him and is still flying high off of that day in history.  His cohort Bernie Kerik is serving time. Shame on both of you.

–  I am not happy about much of anything political these days.  I am disappointed with President Obama’s lock step Bush view on torture, the law and our civil rights.

–  I am worried about the midterm elections.

–  My pal Carol, who still works a few blocks from the World Trade Center and one block from the proposed Mosque) site is doing well as is my favorite NYC Police Detective, Officer Matt.

Here is what I wrote about this day last year and the year before that.

–  Who knows what nuttiness, mayhem or event will steal the spotlight next year as the country remembers the 10th anniversary of the day everything seemed to change?

Keep the faith – regardless of how hard that seems to be right now.

–  That little kitten who walked into my lobby in October of 2001 is now nine years old and as ornery as ever (see her sitting in Benny’s crate in photo below).  And of course, no post about September 11th can end without sharing a photo of Benny the dog and Madison the cat.

Cinco de Benny June 18, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, Animal Videos, Photography, Videos.
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Today is five years since I adopted my dog, Benny. I know, I know – you are most likely saying to yourselves ‘only five years?’ Yes, it is true that I have taken and shared hundreds of photos of my little guy so it seems as if he has been around much longer – but it is only five years.

Those of you that have met him know that he is special. Other than that I am not sure how old he is or what he is – we think he is a combination chihuahua/pug/terrier/bat/truffle pig and a few other things thrown into his DNA. He barks when the phone rings thinking it is someone at the door.  He has too many toys (my fault) and gets too many treats (mea culpa as well).  He knows everyone on the block and his presence has allowed me to meet tons of other people in the ‘hood’.  He loves to go shopping at Staples, Barnes & Noble,  Bed Bath & Beyond with me and has met many new friends in those stores too.

There is something about the little guy that makes people smile – and that’s a good thing.  Nary a day goes by that someone does not stop me and ask ‘What kind of dog is that’?  My usual response is ‘He is something special’.

Happy Benniversary, little guy!  Enjoy your Cinco de Benny!

Me? An Opinion? March 9, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, art, Dogs and cats, Links, Photography, Politics, Videos.
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Today the first of Antony Gormleys 31 life-sized figures was installed on top of 204 Fifth Avenue, the home of Pentagram Design’s New York offices.  The art will surround Madison Square Park.

I took Benny, my dog, out to watch the installation with me.  He peed on a tree while I was being interviewed by someone from the press. She asked me if I had an opinion about the art.  I chuckled to myself, ‘Me? An opinion?’  I think she was sorry she asked as I rattled on and on about public art ( which I like) and art in general.  She asked if people walking by might be afraid of the art.  I said very articulately, ‘Huh?’  She said that maybe people would think they were jumpers.  I laughed heartily.

Anyhow – it is a very cool installation.  There will be a total of 31 sculptures overlooking Madison Square Park with four life sized sculptures at ground level.

As Benny and I turned to go I see Harold Ford. Jr coming my way (I was the only one to notice him and there were people from the press all around the area).  He was yakking away on his iPhone, dressed most handsomely in a dark suit.  I stopped him and said ‘You should have hung in there. You should not have let Kirsten Gillibrand off of the hook.’  He told the person on the other end of the phone to wait a minute.  He looked me in the eye and said ‘Thank you Ma’am – I appreciate that and I will be back.’ He took my hand and gave me a firm handshake. In all of the excitement I forgot to take his picture.

Pigs and Dogs on March 1st March 1, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, Animal Videos, Dogs and cats, Photography, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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March 1st is National Pig Day.  Let’s have a pork free day, okay?  Or better yet, how about giving up pork all together.  I have.

Here is the best satire of the Westminster Dog Show I have seen to date.

Nightmare at Sea World February 25, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, Animal Videos, Links, Movie Reviews, Movie Trailer, Photography, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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We cut our Southern Florida fauna and flora vacation short by one day because of the impending snow-icane in the Northeast.  My favorite airline, Jet Blue, let us get on a flight (of our choice) one day early with no fees, penalties or extra annoying charges. Go Blue.  So, I am watching Mr Toyoda squirm with shame in front of the House investigating committee (some of whose members I would like to grill) and also watching a rerun of an NCIS program when my sister, across the aisle, says that Shamu has killed a trainer at Sea World. I am horrified, shocked and hooked. For the balance of the flight I am flipping to get more incoming news.  CNN had the worst coverage.  They had already begun to turn it into a Nightmare on Elm Street type of reporting.

I have been to Sea World San Diego (June, 2008). These theme parks are both entertaining and disturbing.  They are guilty pleasures. These huge, beautiful mammals are wondrous. Deep down, you know they should not be in this environment but you still enjoy the show.  I think like a Nascar race, the audience, on some level, is waiting for the most awful thing to happen.  Yesterday it did.  Tilikum, the killer whale is actually the largest species of dolphin. He had been involved in three other human deaths in the past.  I can only imagine the horror that these spectators went through as they watched Tilikum drag his trainer to her death.  For the difference between a dolphin and a whale, check out this site.

–  Before you step foot in another Sea World or spend hundreds of dollars to swim with a dolphin you should go to see this amazing and heart breaking documentary film by director Louie Psihoyos (prior Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society and photographer for National Geographic) and writer Mark Monroe. Yes, this film is about dolphins, but similar issues can be raised about Orcas.  Read my movie review here.

If you, like me, are riveted to this whale tale you can click on these articles for videos of first hand accounts of what happened yesterday. Here and here.

–  Watch my video from Sea World, San Diego.

Here is my photo montage from 2008.

Best in Show – Sadie February 17, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, Links, Photography.
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Sadie, a four-year-old Scottish terrier, broke the losing streak for favorites at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday night when she was named best in show.
Sadie, a Scottish terrier, won best in show at the Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show.
Sadie was the eighth Scottie to win the championship. “She was perfect,” said her handler, Gabriel Rangel. “I couldn’t ask for anything else.”

I saw many fabulous dogs at my two days visiting Westminster.  Here are some of the ‘almost Best in Show’ for you.