I have raked up eight lawn bags full of leaves on Saturday morning. I added another two bags on Sunday afternoon. And there is plenty more leaves on the big maple tree, as well as the two trees just over the fence next door.
I used the bags because my town council has not yet announced the deployment of the town leaf-vacuuming truck. Until it does, I will not rake my leaves out on the street.
After the cold front and its rain came through, sure enough, the yard is covered with leaves again.
Last week I have refilled the hollows in the soles of my SAS shoes with sugru. It appears that sugru is good for a month or so of wear before I need to replace it.
Or so I thought. The next application of sugru did not stick well to the sole of my shoes, and peeled off too easily. Okay, this may well not work out. On the other hand, it costs about $170 for a new pair of SAS Time Out shoes, while sugru costs $9/pack of six five-gram sachets.
I have hooked up Nabiki, my backup computer, to the local network to update its software. It would not proceed past the bootstrap screen. It would just shut down. At this point, I concede that the problem is not Windows but the motherboard itself. It is time to replace it; and I am thinking a Mini-ITX format board. In the meantime, I have stored Nabiki in my closet.
I am also thinking of retiring my current blog (dysmey.andywest.org), based on the SiteBlog software on Hostway. I am not satisfied with it. I plan to go with WordPress after I figure out its pricing structure: While the basic blog is free, I will want to purchases its annual domain mapping, and map my newly-resubscribed domain name dysmey.org to it.
This past weekend was more or less a weekend with Daria. I have been working through the first three seasons and into the fourth of Daria, the popular MTV animated series from the late 1990’s into January 2002. I only caught some of the fourth and fifth seasons as well as the two movies; and I was glad when the whole series came out on DVD, because I loved the series.
I was also surprised that the series came out, because all that contemporary music used as background kept the series from DVD release for the longest time. The producers decided to just give it up, and pulled most of the original music out in favor of background music just for the series. It is just as well: The music of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s would have dated the series over time.
The series is about Daria, a sardonic teenage girl who refuses to see the world as others see it and refuses to put up with its follies. Unfortunately for her, because almost everyone else — her family, her teachers, most of the other students — needs to see the world thus in order to cope with it, Daria either is shunned as a
brain or has her behavior misinterpreted as depression or lack of self-esteem. And that suits her fine (usually).
You would think such a girl would find it hard to find anyone who is like her or who likes her. Guess what?
And in the one moment of good luck I’ve had in my entire life, I met another outcast who I could really be friends with and not have to feel completely alone. That outcast is an equally acerbic artist named Jane Lane. And the two are inseparable, no matter what tries to separate them.
First, let me repeat what I had written the day after the Muslim Attacks.
First, let me say that there is no such thing as a good or holy war.
Fanatics with dreams of earning a place in paradise, who kill themselves and take as many blameless people as they can, go to Hell. There is no salvation for them. They have thrown themselves away like used wads of toilet paper. Let such as they be remembered as the evil sons of bitches that they are. And let those who cheer the vile acts of these murderers have their suffering grow tenfold!
I stand by that statement still.
The destruction of human life, just because one does not like Americans polluting the holy soil of Islam, can only earn the murderers a one-way ticket to Hell. The murderers are still there, writhing in the misery of having been deceived — or, worse, forcing themselves out of pride to refuse to believe that they were deceived — while the deceivers live on, tucked in their hideaways, exalting themselves in the glory of the struggle.
And here is why this has lasted for so long. Those deceivers, while deceived in their eternal destiny, find justification in their struggle with the continual American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also stand by what I said about the World Trade Center: The buildings were ugly monstrosities; if not for the massive loss of life, their destruction was the best thing that could happen to the New York skyline. Now they are building even worse monstrosities on the site!
We had a reason to invade Afghanistan, true. But we should have left once a new State was founded. More than that, we should have taken out the root cause of the Taliban: Pakistan. Pakistan is from where the Taliban come, where they were taught by radical Sa’udi-funded Wahabist madâris; and where Pakistani spy agencies provide the money, protection and logistics that ensured the Taliban’s success. If we had invaded Pakistan to finish off the Taliban and their backers, we would have been out of South Asia sooner and Pakistan would not be such a bane.
As for Iraq, we should never have gone in, no matter how many falsehoods El Dubya pulled out of his rear orifice. Or, as an alternative, we should have just killed Saddam Hussein and let his successors fight it out for control. The results would have been the same, either way. Nor does it matter what others say: We conquered the country for its oil and to clean up the mess El Dubya’s father left behind in 1990. (Why Tony Blair decided to make Britain join us is anyone’s guess.)
Then, after the conquest, we screwed up by dissolving the regular army and the state apparatus. Why? A certain bureaucrat decided that the Ba’ath Party is identical to the Nazi Party. And since the soldiers and bureaucrats had to join the Ba’ath Party to get their jobs — out they go! Not only was idea stupid on its face, it forced otherwise-cooperative but now-unemployed soldiers and bureaucrats to become the fighters and organizers of the many guerrilla groups fighting our troops!
But what is the most incomprehensive is that a president elected to end the war has instead continued the war in one country and the occupation in another. The American people want the wars to stop. The president has refused to do so, choosing instead to buy societal quietude with borrowed money, albeit to different recipients than the last one; and ignoring the coming crisis where those recipients far outnumber the taxpayers’ willingness to pay — and the willingness of foreign investors to buy our government bonds.
Meanwhile, the wars are are sucking taxes out of our pockets, ensuring that banks do not lend, businesses do not hire, and Americans do not work. These continuations of the policies of Bush the Younger, unless they end in the withdrawal of all of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, will make the current president the third in twenty years of incompetent presidents, with which the American people have chosen to bless themselves.
Finally, I would like to reflect on what the Muslim Attacks have done to our rights and freedoms. These rights and freedoms are more fragile now than ever. We are no longer our ancestors. We do not believe or assume what our ancestors took as givens. And, with those beliefs and assumptions, our rights and freedoms totter like a gutted building, ready at any moment to collapse.
The Judeo-Christian bedrock on which English common law and Reformation legal theory, on which in turn the Constitution was based — this is almost wholly crumpled away. It was a slow process, aided by the legal abuses of law professors and Supreme Court judges lubricated by monies from the newly ascendant business tycoons of the late 19th and early 20th centuries — all Europophiles in an age when Europe was about to undergo decades of self-destruction. By the 1920’s a prosperous and arrogant America began its own decline; by the late 1940’s — I use the SCOTUS Everson decision of 1947, defining the modern concept of church/state separation, as the transition point — it died a quiet death. It died, and a new United States, the one we live in now, was born.
The Constitution is still there. Our freedoms and rights are still there, in some fashion. But they are so fragile. They came under threat from the Law of 26 October 2001, which is slowing being undone. But the basic problem remains: The whining for security, especially among business types and other people in their affluent suburbs, and the politicians who cater to them. This lust for peace and security (
Peace and security, Paul of Tarsus centuries ago quoted those who would not see disaster coming upon them), or what Francis Schaeffer called personal peace and affluence, will be the corroder of those freedoms and rights that brought such peace and security about.
I have forgotten that I set Internet Explorer with a proxy server address. That setting was what caused Windows Update and Kaspersky to be so obstreperous, refusing to download updates they could not find. Removing the proxy address restored to both their ability to download updates.
I will repeat that I have installed Windows 7 on Madoka, my main computer. The installation was successful. The activation, at first, was not.
I had installed the same Windows 7 many times on Nabiki, my secondary computer. The activation server must have gotten tired of this. I have had to telephone the activation hotline and to follow the automated instructions. I learned to be very careful in using the service, partly from the seven strings I had to enunciate carefully (very carefully, because the telephonic automaton freaks out at any random noise, whether it is a sigh or my cat meowing in the background), partly from the eight sets of digits I had to type to activate my copy of Windows 7.
I had no real trouble installed my basic set of software: TextPad, WinZip, Winamp, Adobe Reader, Firefox and FileZilla. Then I had tried installing Bioshock, only to get the old
patch file is corrupt message. I had forgotten the port number I need to open in my firewall to the 2K activation servers (I found it later: It is 28900). But that did not work, either; nor did going into safe mode.
If the problem still happens the auto patch requires the TCP port 28900 to be open. If you use a router can you try adding it to the port forwarding.
All this appears to have crimpled the operating system’s style, because I cannot download upgrades for either Windows or Kaspersky, my new anti-virus/anti-malware software.
Have you noticed something? The news reports are so busy mentioning the weeping and gnashing of teeth from our nation’s leaders. Oh, oh, we should all get along! All this bookburning and rioting is tearing us apart!!
Yeah, as if we were ever together in the first place! Those fools were not making peace: They’re gassing about it!
Nobody mentions whether that redneck preacher, who intends to burn the Quran on the anniversary of the Muslim Attacks (this Saturday), is burning the Quran in English. If he is, there is nothing to be concerned, because the Quran in any other language than Arabic is not the Quran, merely an interpretation.
According to modern Islamic theology, the Qur’an is a revelation very specifically in Arabic, and so it should only be recited in the Arabic language. Translations into other languages are necessarily the work of humans and so, according to Muslims, no longer possess the uniquely sacred character of the Arabic original. Since these translations necessarily subtly change the meaning, they are often calledinterpretations.
Of course, all the ignorant apelings in the abode of Islam do not see it that way, so riots and attacks on Americans there are to be expected.
The Labor Day weekend is over.
The lawn has not been mowed for the past couple of weeks. The grass is brown and dormant because there has been almost no rain. There as been plenty of plantain, which is so conspicuous that it is easy to find and pull out.
Madre found yet another pair of shoes that Padre bought for himself, only to have left the box unopened somewhere for Madre to find on Sunday. I got me another pair of new comfortable new sneakers.
It is time to get a tombstone for Padre’s resting place. The problem here is that the tombstones available are so … vulgar. I have already gone over the tombstones I have found in the cemetery. Now I have seen, from the two brochures Madre has been reading, where the stupid things came from. Madre has shown the gravestone of Madre’s former boss to my sister the editor (who found that one of the items in the book lists on top was misspelt) and my sister the teacher.
On Saturday I was recruited by my sister the editor to help in removing the swivel base from Madre’s now-broken armchair and to install it on a new armchair she bought this morning. It was difficult doing: The chair base was cheap wood on which Vickie was proposing to fasten the metal swivel, and built such that simply attaching the swivel to it was not possible.
We had to fix the bracket, on which the swivel base rested, to the wood base of the new armchair. This involved cutting two pieces of ¾″ × 3″ to fit inside the new base, and fastening them with wood screws. Then we fastened the old swivel base on the new armchair’s base with wood screws on one end and bolts on the other. Then the swivel itself is fastened to its base with two surviving bolts (to its base) and two long wood screws (to the wood planks).
My sister insisted on using whether bolts and screws Padre had left behind. But Padre’s collection did not have the right parts for the job, and it was getting late in the afternoon. So I rushed to the local hardware store (which is only a couple of blocks from Madre’s) and bought the bolts and screws necessary to complete the job.
The newly swivel-based armchair was a couple of inches higher than it was, and it gives the feeling of sitting on a throne. Madre is pleased with the job we gave it.
The video card in my main box, Madoka, was giving up the spirit this weekend. It had reached the point where the boot text was corrupt (unless nVidia really did exist in 1916) and it worked only when Windows was in safe mode. So I went out on Labor Day morning to buy a new nVidia GeForce 9800 GT video card with a full gigabyte of video memory and PhysX® drivers for superior gaming performance. I got to admit it made playing Bioshock a lot smoother.
But all that was finished when I backed up all my data from the computer, and did a fresh install of Windows 7. Apart from all those experimental installs on Nabiki — which forced me to make a telephone call to get Windows activated — the installation worked fine.
First, I want to thank everyone for their kind condolences for the death of Padre. I appreciate them.
It is quiet now at Casa de Madre.
Last week I stopped by Madre’s house with my pair of steel-toed shoes. I bought the shoes a couple of months ago from Sears, which had them on sale. As they were 10½ wide, I thought they would fit well. And they do, for the most part, except that they rub my toes hard. After a day of wearing the shoes, my toes are bruised. Being diabetic, I cannot afford bruised toes, lest they become no toes at all!
Anyway, I brought the shoes (after Madre called my cell to remind me), so that my brother Bill can try them on. The shoes fit, so he got them.
Madre is sorting through Padre’s clothes, including his shoes. I chose two brand-new or bearly worn shoes that happen to fit my feet. All his shoes are 11 wide; but to shoemakers, ‘wide’ is a relative term. Padre has a pair of dress shoes which he wore only once (to his sister’s funeral). These are labelled 11 wide; but the shoes crush my feet, so I cannot wear them. Most of the other shoes are well-worn, and I already have shoes like that!
As for the rest of his clothes, neither Bill nor I can wear them: He is too tall and thin, and I am too fat and my arms too long.
I also got back the Braun blender I got for Padre as an XMas present in 2004. Padre had used it a few times. Then it was put back in its box, put under a table in the dining room, and forgotten until it made its way onto a shelf in the garage.
I ordered two items during the past two weeks. One was for two LED lamps like the one I installed over the kitchen sink. It has not come yet; when it does, it will go in the space under the stairs, where is little illumination.
The other order was for sugru, described by the customs sticker on the package that came today as
non-hazardous silicone domestic repair material. Its Web site, from which I ordered the stuff, describes it better.
Its use is simple. It comes in five-gram sachets, six to a package. Open a sachet to find a blob of sugru the size of a man’s thumb. Work it in your hand and apply it to whatever you want within thirty minutes of opening. It cures into a tough, firm material.
I am putting sugru to the test on one of my pairs of SAS shoes, which has developed hollows in their soles from extended use. I have filled those hollows with sugru to see if it will further extend the life of those shoes.
Tuesday afternoon was the visitation. There was a closed casket flanked by flowers from the board of trustees and Friends of the local library. It was evident that Padre was a private person, as these were the only flowers (apart from the wreath on top of the casket). On a flat-screen television in one corner was a collage of photos of Padre during his life, from high school through his military service, his marriage to Madre, his life with us kids, his ultralight hobby and his vacations out west.
Among the folks who showed up for the visitation were:
And, near the end of the visitation, my brother’s family, consisting of his ex-wife and their four children.
Among the interesting things that came out of the visitation.
The next morning was the service. It was very short, no more than twenty minutes, held at a blue awning over the spot where Padre would be buried. The Rev. Leo Moore, who used to work at Dana with Padre and who is now a minister at a chapel that was once the Baptists’ fellowship hall, gave a few words of comfort and encouragement to those of us who attended — all my family except my sister/editor, who feared having to listen to Bible verses — an unwarranted fear as the Reverend gave none.
After the service I changed clothes and got to work burning the mound of vegetation, that had been accumulating since last fall. It was a nice change of pace, as I used to like burning trash until the town forbade it in the early 1990’s. After hours of burning, I came to know that it was impossible to burn it all in the time I had. So, I got some yard bags from home and filled seven bags of hay, weeds, sticks and branches. Even then, at the end of the afternoon, there was still some stuff left. There was also a lot of soil formed from composted material. Bill suggested Madre hire a mini-bulldozer to scrape up the soil.
I washed up, put on some clean clothes, and returned to the funeral home one more time. Capping a very bad week, I learned that Roger, one of the two owners of the Giant bar and grill (ex-classmate Anna Justus is the other) died suddenly Sunday morning. I went to pay my respects and offer consolances to Anna. This has been a very bad year for her: First her nephew Titus gets killed in car/train crash a block and a half from my house. (The crossing now has stop signs to prevent this from happening again.) Then her father pass away. And now, this.
As an aside, while I was walking home from Madre’s Tuesday morning I found a group of people at the old Fairmount High School, on a cherry-picker, opening one of the windows leading to the auditorium. I found that the group was the Lions Club, who had bought the stage inside and were going to dismantle and remove it from the building in order to store it. It is just as well: The building is doomed, and the Lions wanted to salvage the one remaining intact item from James Dean’s time here.
I did not know whether it was okay to get my usual Thursday evening dinner from the Giant bar and grill, now that one of its partners was no longer with us. When I visited, I found the place packed with revellers, with Anna dancing with some guy to music from the juke box. Hey, even my neighbors from next door were there! There were two thoughts going through my head at seeing this:
So I left, intending to try again tomorrow.
This has been a bad week, apart from Padre’s passing.
This month’s library board meeting dealt with the budget, not only for next year, but for the rest of this year, too. In order to qualify for a cost-of-working increase for next year, plus the ability to repay an internal loan to our rainy-day fund, the board has had to cut $21,000 from the buudget for the remainder of this year. Everything had to be cut: Books, magazines, wages, supplies, utilities, the works. We were in session until a quarter to ten to get this done.
I sought to lighten the burden this would create by going to Sam’s Club and stocked the library with what is best called patron cleaning supplies.
I would like to remind everyone that the library exists not just for the books. People, especially those who cannot afford computers and an Internet connection, use our computers to look for jobs, type up resumes, and communicate with people who do have Internet access. It is our community’s access to the outside world. Threatening this, the existence of Fairmount’s library, just because the state of Indiana is in a spasm of parsimony over the excesses of Indianapolis and Muncie, is an exercise in folly that does our citizens no good.
On top of that, one of the board members appears to be over-enthusiastic: So much so as to create a conflict of interest. This needs to be resolved quickly.
I have compelled myself to mow Madre’s lawn and then my own, despite the incredible heat that we have been enduring over the past week. It is just as well: It rained heavily the next day.
Since I will not in at work on Tuesday or Wednesday, I will have to come in early on Monday to finish the five remaining iMacs for Ed Res. I do not know when the Mac space will become available; nobody does. I want those machines to be ready when the time does come for them to be redeployed.
It has not been all bad.
There is a new Bioshock game coming. It is not known whether this will be Bioshock 3, but its basic themes — utopian setting, powered player, powered and armored enemies, and an internal guide — are the same as with the current two games. The overarching theme is not the biopunk of those two games, but steampunk.
Bioshock Infinite takes place in Columbia, a Laputa-like city floating over the American countyside. Its founding philosophy is an American imperialism, complete with eugenics, as corrupt as Andrew Ryan’s objectivism or Sofia Lamb’s collectivism. The resulting corruption is evident everywhere to your protagonist, a super-powered disgraced Pinkerton agent named Booker DeWitt, whose mission is to liberate from the city an equally super-powered woman named Elizabeth.
|Bioshock||Rapture||Jack Ryan||Atlas (1st ½)
Brigid Tenenbaum (2d ½)
|Andrew Ryan (1st ½)
Frank Fontaine (2d ½)
|Bioshock 2||Rapture||Subject Delta||Eleanor Lamb
|Bioshock Infinite||Columbia||Booker DeWitt||Elizabeth||unknown as yet|
The announcement of the game came with a trailer:
You move across an ocean landscape until you see the outline of a city around which swims a big fish. It reminds you of the Bioshock trailer … but no: The fish is a goldfish, and the
city is a nicknack commemorating the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. It turns out your head was in an aquarium, out of which you are pulled and flung to the floor. Your attacker is a hugh but crude cyborg. The cyborg picks you up and tosses you out a window. You view a city, with American flags flying from odd-looking towers, floating over farm fields miles below. That last detail becomes real to you as you fall a long way until you land on a blimp and manage to break your fall by grabbing its torn fabric.
As you hang from the blimp, catching your breath, you see more of the city: An American city from the early 20th century, complete with American flags and red-white-and-blue bunting hanging from buildings. As your blimp moves along, you see strange posters among the billboards. One has two children at a parapet, watching a parade, and the caption
It is our HOLY DUTY — to protect them from the foreign hordes and treacherous anarchists. You pass another billboard of Columbia, the personification of the city, holding a healthy baby and rejecting a sickly one with the words
Burden NOT Columbia with your CHAFF! Then you see a man dancing on a balcony to the music of a record player playing You’re A Grand Old Flag. Next comes a view of how these buildings can float: Giant bags of hot air are inflated around the foundation of a building, raising it into the air.
Suddenly, the fabric tears out of your hands, and you resume your fall. But, a cloud of roses emerge from a building. Your fall is broken, and you float towards a balcony wrapped in a rose briar. A young woman in a blue and gold dress has caught you with her mind and is pulling you towards her. Just as she is about to grab your hand, the hand of another cyborg emerges from the darkness behind her. It grabs the woman and pulls her inside. Her concentration broken, you resume your fall until you are smacked in the face by a rose.
My father, Robert Andrew West, passed away Friday morning, just one month shy of eighty. He had been ill for several weeks, failing to recover from cancer.
He had been patient with me during the long time I had been in college, then in looking for a job good enough for me to move to a house of my own. Since his retirement, he and Madre had enjoyed road trips and vacations to Vegas, until the Muslim Attacks put an end to them. He had also enjoyed his hobby flying ultralights over the Indiana landscape.
I was told the visitation will be on Tuesday afternoon at the local funeral home, with a graveside service the following Wednesday morning.
The hospital discharged Madre on Friday. I did not realize this until I visited the folks’ house to feed the cats. She seems to be okay, but there would be no Sunday dinner while she recovers. And I will still check on the cats to make sure they are fed.
I had my own Sunday dinner consisting of steak and Zestie fries. The steak turned out to be bigger than I could handle in one go, so a third of it went into the fridge for me to eat later in the evening.
My sister the editor’s birthday was yesterday, so I got her a card and helped her mow her yard. Okay, I wanted to try out her electric lawnmower. It is a corded electric, running off a long yellow electric cable. It works quite well on her lawn, with the thick grass.
On Friday I drove to Indianapolis for the WhoNet meeting, which usually happens on the first Friday of the month. But not this month, which I should have found out if I had read this month’s issue of the Gallifreyan Gazette more thoroughly. When I got to the church, I found nobody from the club, the meeting room dark, and some strange singing in the background. I drove back and mailed off the mailing labels I usually bring with me.
I did a 64-bit installation of Windows 7 (Win7) this afternoon. It worked just fine, at least long enough to get the drivers and the basic set of programs (TextPad, Winamp, WinZip and Paint.NET) installed. After I installed Kaspersky AV and run its update, the machine crashed.
After trying to resurrect it for a few minutes, I left it alone for a couple of hours. Then I turned it back on, and it ran just fine. Evidently the problem is overheating: The motherboard goes bonkers if it gets too hot. So, I bought a crossflow fan like the one in the main computer. In the meantime, I cannot use Nabiki for more than an hour at a time.
Meanwhile, the ants are back, this time coming from the crack under the back door. I was ready with ant traps this time. I had to use the front door until the traps swept up enough of the little critters. After that came the chalk to seal up the crack under the back door.
My 32-bit incarnation of Windows 7 (Win7) has collapsed due to some hardware error that I cannot find. The blue screen of death gaves me the details, but it does not stay put long enough for me to read it. And Win7’s Startup Repair Program loads files and does nothing else. At this point, I have decided to let Nabiki rest until this coming weekend.
Wednesday evening was the book signing at the library for the Fairmount history photo book compiled by a local author/blogger. I bought two of the books and had one of them signed by the author herself. I also had ice cream and cake. But I could not stay.
I had to gather and take out the trash at the folks’ house, which would be Madre’s job if she were not in the hospital. Padre told me Madre’s room number at the hospital, so I drove down and paid her a visit. I was just in time for two nursing assistants to come in and take her vital signs. After a day in hospital, she sounds a whole lot better.
Oh yeah, the cold front came through, and with it some very nasty weather, which I drove through to and from the hospital … which I walked through in and out of the hospital. Even with an umbrella, I got wet. It also knocked out power over a large part of the state. I know I lost power because the clock on the microwave oven is out. Ball State lost power, too, because from the e-mail I read this morning the servers were down.
Speaking of those servers, I had to drive down to the office to fix the wireless printing server. I can restart the server remotely; I cannot fix remotely its tendency to add an extra step to every wireless print job. Well, I could, but I do not remember the password right off my head … which, I suppose, is the idea of password security. Anyway, I asked the folks to provided us with the service why I could not just turn off that extra step.
I had thought that I had to return to campus to redeploy the iMacs in the lower level. Nope: The carpetters are using that area as storage while they pull up the old carpeting and lay down the new in the lobby area.
Yesterday I mowed my lawn, now that the rains have brought the grass back up. Normally, I would shower after that, but I remembered promising to mow the folks’ grass as well. So I mowed the grass there as well. The folks think that their lawn is bigger than mine; it is only more complex because it has side lawns, gardens, laundry-hanging poles and the like; mine, in turn, is one big lawn with only a big maple tree and a basketball court to break the expanse. Their lawn is, in fact, smaller.
Then I learned that the hospital had moved Madre to another room, into an actual hospital room as opposed to the observational room she was originally in. Evidently the doctors decided that she needed to stay. So I paid her another visit, just in time for her to get her dinner.
This morning I had to clean out the outdoor catfood dish because it was full of goo. I had at first thought it was from the male cat, Sugarpuss, being overly slobbery. Then I learned from my sister the editor that the folks’ back yard has a resident slug … a big slug … a slug as long as a grown man’s hand. I have not seen this creature, but if I do, it will be dumped in the compost heap out back. Cat food is for cats, not for applicants to Yubâba’s bathhouse.