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My Benjamin Netanyahu Story March 8, 2012

Posted by judylobo in Jewish Stuff, Photography, Politics, Religion, wildlife, Zoos.
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2 comments

My friends are now rolling their eyes and saying ‘Nooooo – not the Benjamin Netanyahu story AGAIN!’ But since he is back in the news as the Prime Minister of Israel some stories just need to resurface. So here goes –

Time: March 2001

Place: The Central Park Zoo

Background: As a long time volunteer Zoo Guide in the education department at the Central Park Zoo I was asked ‘if I minded’ giving a tour to the recently ousted Prime Minister of Israel and his young family. Did I mind? Did I mind? (We Jews like to repeat ourselves). Heck, no.  I was thrilled.

Story: So after the formal introductions, Bibi, his wife, their two young sons, two undercover Israeli agents, two under cover NYPD officers and the head of security at the Central Park Zoo and I took off for an informal tour of the Zoo. The boys were excited, the Netanyahu parents seemed relaxed and the under cover officers were tense. I was trying to look cool, calm and collected. The only Hebrew I could recall was ‘shalom’ and how often can you say that on a zoo tour?

Meat of the story: As we toured the upstairs close-up gallery in the tropical rain forest we stopped at the tarantula exhibit. I spoke for a very short while about tarantulas. The boys and Bibi were fascinated by the creepy crawly critters.

I say to Bibi – “Do you have tarantulas in Israel?”

Without skipping a beat, looking straight into my eyes, Bibi replied – ‘”Only in politics”.

Oh yes, he was good. Very good. I just wish he were not such a hawk. Oh well. That is my Benjamin Netanyahu story. The above photo was taken of us by Tom,  the head of Zoo Security. I told Tom at the time that if the photo did not come out – I would have to kill him.

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Yellowstone’s Winter Wildlife January 22, 2012

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, Photography, Travel, wildlife.
3 comments

Yellowstone National Park is spectacular anytime of the year but especially stunning in the winter. The crowds are gone and the wildlife and landscape are a snowy sensation.  Here is Part One of my photo montage/homage to Yellowstone’s winter wildlife.  For reference, the photos include the ever present bison (who have the right of way on the roads), pronghorn, big horn sheep, Barrow’s goldeneye ducks, a Dipper bird, Trumpeter swans and elk.

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.
12 comments

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…

Fasten your seat belts… January 1, 2012

Posted by judylobo in Photography, Politics.
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If you thought 2011 was a roller coaster – fasten your seat belts. The 2012 campaign for President, Congress and local Governments are going to be bigger, louder and nastier than ever.

The Year in 100 seconds

What to Wear to the Revolution October 6, 2011

Posted by judylobo in Photography, Politics.
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4 comments

We (my sister and I) decided it was time to go downtown and see what the Occupy Wall Street Protest was all about.  So, decked out in the usual protest gear (jeans and a black turtleneck), traveling light (just in case we got arrested), smiles on our faces, we hit the streets. My first impression was that tiny Zuccotti Park looked like a street fair that had just broken up.  Cartons everywhere, tables of food in no particular order, and the oh so gentle smell of marijuana in the air. It was generally a sloppy, disorganized mess, and seemed to be filled with rag tag characters out of a 70’s hippie movie.

We wandered around for about an hour, criss crossing the small park.  We read all of the posters, spoke with a few people and generally felt a cheeriness throughout the air despite the gloomy signs and ocassional creepy outfits.  We saw people getting free haircuts.  They asked me, or I thought they asked me, if I wanted a muppet?  A muppet? I said.  They laughed and laughed. No they wanted to know if I would like a mullet!  Then we all laughed heartily.

We spoke at length with a guy who had a scary beef with Johnson & Johnson. Really serious accusations about attempted murder, etc.  Being J&J shareholders, we did not like what we heard. Oy!

The street was theater and felt like performance art.

Then again, was it the beginning of a movement?  We donated some money here and there and hoped against hope that this was, indeed, the start of something big.

The Left needs to lift its voice and get its air time back from the Right.

Did we get arrested? No we did not. In all my years of placard carrying, bra burning, women’s rights, war protesting and then some – I have never even gotten close to being arrested and today was not going to be my first arrest.

When I got home after 8 PM there were a couple of voice messages from my dear friend Carol and her husband Matt, the Police Officer.  Did I get arrested?  Why wasn’t I home?  Worry, worry, worry.  When I phoned them back I realized that I had failed to tell them that after the Protest we went up to the Museum of Modern Art to see the DeKooning show and then went to The Paley Center for Media to hear Susan Orlean speak about her new book on Rin Tin Tin. For some reason, Carol and Matt found this incredibly funny.  What?

Keepin’ the faith….

Laboring on Labor Day September 5, 2011

Posted by judylobo in Photography, Politics, Videos.
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Labor Day is a day when we are supposed to honor the laborer by not laboring.  In today’s job market – that is an easy task.  Jobs are hard to find and the horizon does not seem any brighter.  Today’s headline grabber in the New York Times indicates that the Post Office is on the brink of shutting down and the possibility of 120,000 postal workers being laid off (talk about ‘going postal’).

I am a long time believer in unions and do not blame them for our present economic problems.  That is just one more ‘class warfare’ tactic that the Repugnants use to attempt (quite successfully) to break the unions. Do we have to look any further than Wisconsin to see what an of control Repugnant legislature will do?

Am I at all optimistic about the President’s jobs speech this Thursday to a joint session of Congress?  No, I am not.  I will listen and count on my fingers all of the things he will propose and then try to figure out when he will cave on them when dealing with the other side.  I have begun saying to my friends that we already have a Republican in the White House and we do not need another election to switch parties in that branch of Government. Oh dear – I am wandering off topic.

Back to Labor Day. Last year on Labor Day I wrote “I would like to proudly say that I have never crossed a picket line but three of my friends would know that’s a big fat lie.  Does it count if I was out of town while guiltily crossing the picket line?  Here’s the story in a nutshell.  We were on a fun holiday to Chicago.  I had no idea the hotel I booked us into was on strike. I gasped when I saw the picket line.  What to do? What to do? Luckily I found a side door that I could sneak in and out of each time we entered and left the hotel but it was extremely unpleasant for me (my pals got a good laugh out of my discomfort).  So, in conclusion, I will proudly say that other than those four days in Chicago, I have never crossed a picket line”.
‘The first Labor Day in the US was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the US military and US Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously (can you imagine anything unanimous in Congress today?) and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.

The only effective answer to organized greed is organized labor – Thomas Donahue

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

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

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.

A Shout Out to Governor Cuomo June 26, 2011

Posted by judylobo in Photography, Politics.
5 comments

The anual Gay Pride Parade goes directly past Casa Lobo.  It is always very loud and festive but this year – even more so.  I cheered rather loudly myself when Governor Cuomo passed by.  A HUGE shout out to him for promises kept.