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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…


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

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.

Keith and Kovacs April 13, 2011

Posted by judylobo in art, Links, Politics, Videos.
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Boy, do I miss Keith Olbermann.  Last night, thanks to my sister Terry, we went to the Paley Center (the Museum of Television and Radio) to enjoy 90 minutes of ‘The Life and Legacy of Ernie Kovacs’, moderated by Keith Olbermann.

‘Cerebral and surreal, Ernie Kovacs was one of television’s most daring and subversive originals. From 1950 until his untimely death in 1962, the outrageous comedian used the small screen as his personal comic canvas, challenging the medium’s conventions and assumptions. Moderator Keith Olbermann, himself a master of pop culture references, will lead a discussion about Kovacs’s offbeat sensibility and how it paved the way for future experimentation by Monty Python, David Letterman, and MTV. George Schlatter and his wife Jolene Brand will put their friend’s life in perspective, while two of the most innovative creators of contemporary television, Robert Smigeland Joel Hodgson, will examine why Kovacs remains relevant today. Historian Ben Model will reveal how he curated the definitive box set of Kovacs’s work, which will be released by Shout! Factory on April 19. The evening also will feature exemplary highlights of Ernie’s art, testifying to his personal motto, “Nothing in Moderation’

The evening was funny and entertaining but what I enjoyed most of all was seeing Keith again.  I have missed his Countdown more than I realized.  Yes, I have been distracted these past few months about politics, the world and the demolition of our system of government as we know it, but last night I was energized again.

Contractually, Olbermann is not allowed to speak about his separation with MSNBC so there were vague and subtle references all evening about his estrangement with the network that the crowd enjoyed.  Keith will be back on the air on Current TV sometime soon.  I for one, will tune in.

If you are not familiar with the work of Ernie Kovacs there is a treasure trove of snippets on youtube and the new boxed DVD set is now available.  He was a genius who tragically died in a car accident at the age of 42.  Below are just two of my favorites.

Something to jump for… February 17, 2011

Posted by judylobo in Links, Photography, Politics, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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Finally, something to jump and shout about.  One of my favorite former Senators, Russ Feingold, has started a movement. I signed up and made a contribution – how about you?  Let us not just watch the rest of the world in revolution mode – let us join the excitement. Progressives United is founded by Former Senator Russ Feingold. Progressives United will lead the movement to curtail corporate influence on politics, and we will never compromise on our integrity in the allies we work with, the candidates we support, or the donations we accept.

Happy Holidays from Casa Lobo December 25, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Dogs and cats, Photography, Videos.
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A very happy holiday season to all.  Let’s hope for continued good news from the Obama administration in 2011.  Peace, joy and of course — compromise.

Yes We Did December 23, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Photography, Politics, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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It feels pretty good doesn’t it?  I was jubilant at this past week’s achievements out of the usually impotent Congress of the United States.  And yes, I was feeling a little guilty about my disappointment over President Obama.  It turns out he IS the smartest guy in the room and really can get things done.  I guess it is the way that he works his magic that makes me crazy.

Am I content with out President?  Not at all. I am especially angry at his continuance of some of the Bush policies such as indefinite detention and the ongoing state of Guantanamo. The economy is still in dire need of an injection of stimulus.  I could go on with a longer list of disappointments but decided to look at the bright side of this week.

– Don’t ask, don’t tell, repealed
– The START treaty passed
– The 9/11 Zadroga Bill passed

Check out the Obameter for the actual promises kept, works in progress, stalled and promises broken.

Happy holidays to one and all.  Enjoy this week’s victories because when the Repugnants come back to town after the holidays it is going to be raining a nightmare of investigative hearings.  Sigh…..

Hanukkah Shmanukkah Redux December 1, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Dogs and cats, Jewish Stuff, Photography, Religion, Videos.

My top 10 thoughts about Hanukkah Vs Christmas

1. First off, they are not the same thing.  Hanukkah is NOT a Jewish Christmas.

2. Jewish people do not have to wear awful sweaters with menorahs or dreidels on them as a substitute for those wacky Christmas outfits that get pulled out of mothballs once a year.

3. Hanukkah is a moving holiday. It lands all over the place (that darned lunar calendar). For those that like to plan ahead – 2011: Dec. 20-Dec. 28,  2012: Dec. 8-Dec. 16.

4. There is only one way to spell Christmas. Sigh – like most things Jewish, you get lots of choices and opinions. Does it have a ‘C’, 2 ‘N’s, some K’s? What letter does it end with?  There are more than 20 different spellings of the Jewish Festival of Lights and, of course, no one has told us which is the definitive spelling. You know the old adage about the number of opinions amongst Jewish people all depends upon how many Jews are in the room. Here’s the current list of the way you can spell this Festival of Lights.  Channuka, Channukah, Chanuka, Chanukah, Chanuko, Hannuka, Hannukah, Hanuka, Hanika, Hanukah, Hanukka, Hanukkah, Kanukkah, Khannuka, Khannukah, Khanuka, Khanukah, Khanukkah and Khanike. Sometimes even Xanuka (but that spelling seems too much like Xanax to me).  The basic problem is that it’s translated into English from a five-letter Hebrew word meaning “consecration,” which lacks the gutteral, rolling-in-the-throat opening sound. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has “Hanukkah” as the main entry, with “Chanukah” as another option. The Associated Press Stylebook, considered the spelling bible by most newspapers, also goes with “Hanukkah.” The New York Times uses ‘Hanukkah’. The Daily News uses “Chanukah,” although other versions are used. The bottom line is you cannot misspell this word.

5. Hanukkah is not a major holiday. It falls into that group of Jewish holidays with that old familiar theme – they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.

6. Hannukah has a very small carbon footprint. We use candles and do not have a surging electric bill from decorating the house with a million light-bulbs.

7. Hannukah songs are not that great. Christmas songs are terrific.  The consoling news is that most of the popular Christmas songs have been written by Jews.

8.  Most Christians do not have a clue what any of the Jewish holidays mean.  They get them all mixed up.  “Is this the one where you eat Matzoh”?  “Is this the one where you don’t eat at all”? The fun part of being Jewish around Hannukah is that I can make anything up and my gentile friends will believe me.

9.  Jewish people do not have a Hannukah bush.  It is a menorah – not a candelabra (Liberace had a candelabra).

10. And finally, this just cracks me up.  Richard Lewis said “Most Texans think Hanukkah is some sort of duck call”

11.  Okay, okay – so I have 11 Top 10 thoughts. We used to go to the movies and eat Chinese food on Christmas.  Now a lot of other non-Christians have caught onto the idea and the movies are very crowded on Christmas.  Maybe I will go to the zoo this year.

Eight Gifts of Hanukkah song:

Chipmunk Chanukah –

– So tonight is the big night. We bring out the Menorah and light the first candle at sundown. Factoid about my Menorah. Years ago, I saw a Martha Stewart show where she said if you put your Menorah in the freezer for awhile, the wax will chip right off of it. It was a good thing. Martha probably did not have in mind what I did after that. I now store my Menorah in the freezer all year long. It is a good thing and makes me smile every time I open my freezer. Now where did I put the dreidel?  Where is the Hanukkah gelt? Where should I display the menorah? Is anything going to catch fire after I light the candle? Does my box of Hanukkah candles contain the correct number so I am not short candles?  Do I have any matches? So many questions and only eight nights to figure it all out.  A very Happy Hanukkah to one and all!

Still one of my favorites – Marley The Hanukkah Dog Sings Oh Hanukkah

I Still Have a Dream (but it is getting murky) August 28, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Photography, Politics, Videos.
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August 28, 1963 was a momentous day. Forty seven years ago (yes, I was really young) I was lucky to be among the 250,000 other people in Washington, DC that historic day along with my sister and new brother-in-law (who thought my going to the March alone was not a good idea). We headed down to DC, from Brooklyn, in their green VW Beetle not knowing that we would be witnessing history. If you look carefully at the photo on the left you might see the three of us on the right side of the reflecting pool (we are waving and smiling).

Luckily, my sister is the saver of mementos in the family and during a recent trip down memory lane, in one of the family souvenir boxes, I stumbled across the March on Washington pin (below) that she had saved from that day. Thank you, Terry for taking care of our treasures.

My memories of that day are murky, grainy. I remember it was hot and I had never been with so many people with one purpose in mind. It was life altering. I continue to fight the good fight to this day. And that day did change things. It changed the course of civil rights in our country. Shortly after the March, the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the National Voting Rights Act (1965) were passed.

Bob Herbert writes eloquently about today’s Glenn Beck self-aggrandizing event.  “America is better than Glenn Beck. For all of his celebrity, Mr. Beck is an ignorant, divisive, pathetic figure. On the anniversary of the great 1963 March on Washington he will stand in the shadows of giants — Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Who do you think is more representative of this nation?

Consider a brief sampling of their rhetoric.

Lincoln: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

King: “Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter.”

Beck: “I think the president is a racist.”

Those feelings of hope and promise that I felt 47 years ago, as a young girl, are always stirring inside me. Today’s rally in Washington by that divisive, hate monger Glenn Beck soils that day for all of us. I too, still have a dream, but these days it is getting very murky.

Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins July 24, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, Photography, Videos, wildlife.
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On the return trip out of Gloucester, MA we came across this fabulous pod of Atlantic White-sided Dolphins.  Make sure to catch the baby swimming long happily with its mother in row two.

This is not my video but it looked just like this.