December 24, 2004

Holiday Joy.

There are many times when I crank on my blog and just rant about how screwed up the world is today. Times are changing. People are rude. Folks are stupid. Blah blah blah.

Today isn’t one of those days.

Earl and I decided to do some last minute Christmas shopping while we’re down here visiting his family outside of Philadelphia. We stopped at the local mall, I believe it’s called Neshaminy Mall (which has a Chick-Fil-A, by the way) and made a tour of the big three anchor stores – Boscov’s, Strawbridges (we call it Kaufmann’s back home) and Sears.

Sears was Sears. Apparently its not where America Shops as much, because it was not busy at all. But the service folks were friendly and we were able to find a DVD player dirt cheap. For some reason I’ve always equated the typical New York City accent with “rough and tumble”. Harsh. I find the Philly accent to be similar, but not quite as harsh. So once I get past the accent used to wish me a happy holidays, I’m good with it.

We then went to Boscov’s, which I find delightful simply because it feels like a store from about 15 or 20 years ago, but with modern clothes and such. I’m going to continue to seek out Boscov’s on shopping excursions. Again, the shoppers were pleasant and the cashier was friendly as well. Strangers were exchange well wishes, and that does warm the heart for all involved.

Then we went to Strawbridges, which is owned by the same company that owns Kaufmann’s back home. A cashier, from another department, tried to alleviate congestion in the line we were standing in by moving us to another register, which had a longer line. I don’t know what she was trying to accomplish, but we wished her a Happy Holidays anyways as we moved back to the line we were originally standing in. Under normal circumstances, the people that moved out the line to the other register would have been forced to the back of the line by the others and would have been poo-poohed. “So sad. So stupid.” But no, we all decided to let everyone back in their original place in line. Holiday spirit and all. Again, Merry Christmases were shared with everyone involved and smiles were exchanged.

Oh, by the way, Boscov’s and Strawbridges both get major geek points for using their old NCR cash registers year after year and just reaccessorizing them with the latest checkout gadget and software instead. Sears, who replaces their registers every six or seven years, loses points for yet again upgrading their equipment but doing nothing to improve the software.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because it warms my heart a bit just to see that in the flurry of all this crass commercialism that has become bigger than the holiday itself, that the decency, cordial behavior and spirit of the holidays continue to live on. Despite the red or black ink on the ledger.

Enjoy the holidays.

Let’s Name Him Ditto.

As I was taking the time to catch on the world’s events today, I noticed a little furry face plastered all over the cable news networks and the internet. He’s a little kitten, just a cute as can be. He was in a carrying case, around eight weeks old, marveling at the world. Come to find out, he cost $50,000. And he’s a clone.

I find this very sad for a number of reasons. First of all, and most importantly, cloning is not an exact science by any stretch of the imagination. There’s about a million and a half things that can go wrong, and since cloning is very new, we don’t know what can happen down the road to something that is cloned. Health risks, trauma… who knows? Dolly the sheep, the first cloned creature if I recall correctly, only lived six years. Her species’ average life span is 12 years.

Secondly, the woman that had this little guy cloned from his, well, donor because she missed her beloved pet so much. I get the feeling that she’s under the delusion that her cherished pet of 17 years is back from the dead. Of course, this is purely my belief, but I don’t think reincarnation works that way. Personally, I don’t believe that pets even reincarnate. They’re already perfect. They have no need to reincarnate the way humans do. Humans reincarnate so we can continue to experience life and learn lessons. She’s almost cheating the memory of her deceased pet by trying to Xerox him. Let him live on in her memory. Listen for and enjoy his spirit when he comes to visit, scampering around from The Other Side. Don’t cheapen his death by thinking you can play God and make a duplicate, because that’s not what’s happening here. You’re not fooling anyone.

Thirdly, can you imagine the pressure this little kitten is going to be up against? He’s going to be expected to behave exactly as his predecessor, because after all, he should be a duplicate copy of him. Any chance of him being himself in any way different than her former pet is going to be discouraged. This could make him very unhappy. Maybe “Fluffy version 1.0” didn’t like Meow Mix, but “Fluffy version 2.0” does. So sorry, you’re stuck with Friskies because that’s what “you” always liked before. That’s just mean. And delusional.

And lastly, the rich old bag spent $50,000 to have her cat cloned. $50,000! FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!! Can you just take a moment and imagine how many cats and dogs could be rescued, or even just given more time to live at the animal shelter? There are thousands upon thousands of abandoned, abused and discarded pets that are just looking for a happy home, with a clock ticking away in the background. Even a $10,000 donation would help the local animal shelter immensely. But this old bat spent $50,000 to have her own designer kitten made. It makes me sick.

We Americans seem to be going too far away from nature and the natural order of things lately. The world is getting very weird. We’re forgetting our roots. We’re becoming very selfish. I hope the little kitten I saw today on the news grows up to be a happy and healthy cat in a loving home. And I hope he gets all the love he deserves. I just wish he didn’t have to grow up in such a fushed place and time.