Monday, May 31, 2010

The Great Uromastix Escape took place today but...

I should have known better than to let it happen. Then again, sometimes we all goof up and I guess I goofed up today. I did it by starting off doing something I do every year once the nice weather rolls around. I did it only with good intentions but sometimes good intentions are not enough so I took precautions when I did it and thought they were enough but I should have known better. The precautions apparently were not enough.

What I did was I put my tortoises and one remaining Uromastix out in the yard to sun themselves. No, I did not just plop them down out in the middle of my yard. Although I well could have done that with my female Hermann's Tortoise and maybe even with my newly acquired male Hermann's Tortoise, there was no way I was about to allow my three small Redfoot Tortoises or the female Uromastix to roam around out there. The Redfoots are small enough to possibly get under my gate (though it would be a squeeze) and the lizard (the Uromastix is a lizard) could have easily squirmed through anything or climbed over anything to escape. So I put them all into a pen, that I built a few years ago, just for the purpose of housing my animals outside so they could bask in natural sunlight now and again. Being it was a few years old and made of painted plywood, let me just say the weather, the sunlight, the termites and time have all had their effects and there are a few eaten away spots. One hole near the top where the hinges for the screen cover were screwed in and one in the bottom front corner. I had no worries about the hole up high, none of my animals could get to it to get through it. The lower one was right at ground level so I covered it over with a few bricks snug against the wood. Nothing was getting out, that is at least not without help and there was no one to help them get out so they were just not going to get out that way. I was satisfied and left them in there but I should have known better.

Then the dogs heard the lizard scampering about and the tortoises plodding back and forth and they got curious. I had to shoo them away a few times but then they lost interest. To make sure they would not pester the lizard, the tortoises usually are not bothered by the dogs unless they try to use them as chew toys, I decided to put the dogs in the house. Then I went outside to enjoy some left over BBQ while sitting on the patio. Once I was done, I went inside and puttered around online in a gun forum. When I went out later to try to talk my wife into taking an evening ride, or to go to Home Depot to buy some flowers for the garden, I also decided to check on my critters. I noticed a much bigger hole in the front corner of the pen. It was dug away, or so it looked, from outside. Then I realized my wife had let the dogs back outside to join her in enjoying the nice day. I suppose, that as usual, if they are not barking up a storm she pays them little attention as they roam around our postage stamp sized backyard. She had been reading a magazine, about dog training of all things, and also had been relaxing and just taking it easy. Then she chatted to one of our next door neighbors over her fence. I guess she had not been paying much attention at all to the dogs. I thought she knew better, but I should have known better. I know the blame is not hers and I am the one who should have known better. You see, about 2 years ago, one of the dogs chewed up one of my tortoises, putting a few nice grooves in its shell, after my wife left the dogs outside unattended with my tortoises. I warned her that time but must admit today I did not but I should have known better. I just thought she knew better even though I was the one who was responsible for them but I should have known better. I guess I just figured all would be well but I should have known better.

Well anyway, it looks like the dogs, or at least one of them, went at the corner of the pen paws flailing and dug out the old hole, making it bigger, and knocking away the bricks that had been flush against the inside of the pen while doing so. That done it wound up that help actually had been there for the lizard to escape. I thought there was no chance of that but I should have known better. As it turned out they really did help one of the inmates to escape, specifically the Uromastix. I thought it was secure but I should have known better. When I came in either I should have insisted that the dogs stay inside or I should have brought in my little sun worshippers and put them in there inside enclosures but I left them outside thinking all was well but I should have known better.

Now we have a lizard on the loose all because I should have known better and done something in a different way. Hopefully it will not terrorize the neighborhood. Even better would be if a neighbor sees it and calls me to come rescue it. I do not have a lot of hope but then again until all hope is dashed to the rocks below the cliffs, hope springs eternal but I should have known better in which case I would have still had the Uromastix and not needed to depend upon hope to make things better.

Later for you, I have a lizard to look for.

All the best,
Glenn B

Memorial Day - Do Not Forget Them Though They Be Gone...

...for it was only through their sacrifice that we have carried on.

Many youngsters, today, and even many adults (usually those newly arrived in this country but sadly some who were born here and lived here all their lives) would not understand what I mean by the words I just have written above. Too many times in my life I have encountered people who have no idea of the reason for or the significance of Memorial Day. For many memorial Day is the event that marks the official start of open beaches, for others it starts the BBQ season, for others it an excuse to have a good time celebrating the nicer weather, for others it still have some significance tied into our military and they go to a parade or other such event. Yet, some do not even recognize it as a holiday by way of purpose and others simply are totally ignorant of it.
Over the years the meaning of Memorial Day has become watered down, especially during long periods of peacetime and during our modern age when anything old or traditional seems to need change in the eyes of some. It has become a day of convenience, convenient to use as each person sees fit. So much so that Memorial Day is indeed a prime example of something that those who rewrite history would seemingly like to change to fit their own agendas. Politicians use it as a day to gain the support of veterans, veterans use it as a day to gain support for veterans' services, religious leaders use it as day to impart the wisdom of their teachings about morality, commercial businesses use it as a day to fill their tills, and others - such as revisionists or progressives - use it simply as a way to spread their message to us about whatever their agenda may be. If you do not think I am correct about how our interpretation of Memorial Day has and still is changing, or about how some would like to change it, then go to Wikipedia and read, what in my opinion, is one of the saddest descriptions of Memorial Day I have ever seen:

It is somewhat wrong from what I can tell, starting in the first paragraph, when it says Memorial Day commemorates those who died while in U.S. military service. As if that were not bad enough, that statement is backed up by a reference from, of all places, the United States Department of Veterans' Affairs! Even the government seemingly has gotten it wrong but is that any wonder under our current and extremely liberal administration that seemingly wants to change everything!

Allow me to be blunt at the cost of upsetting some who have wrongfully but innocently believed otherwise for years: Memorial Day does not honor those who died while in the military service of this nation; at least it was never meant to do so by so broad a definition and should not be used to remember any but those whom it actually was intended to honor no matter how noble our intentions. Memorial Day was meant to, and should, honor only those who have died in U.S. military service who have lost their lives during time of war. Let us not forget that last and very important aspect of Memorial Day, that it honors they who have perished in our country's service, DURING TIME OF WAR.

Some though, despite others trying to change it, still have it right. They have not forgotten the true meaning of this day. Read about the significance of Memorial Day here, a piece prominently displayed on the web site of the Veteran's of Foreign Wars site as I write this post:

The VFW asks us a very important question, a question that in essence describes the significance of memorial Day:

"Do most non-veterans really recognize the importance of the day honoring their fellow Americans killed in war?"
As for its history, Memorial Day is a shoot off of Decoration Day. Decoration Day was in essence a day on which people came out to honor the dead of war, specifically the Civil War (but some believe the practice went further back) by placing decorations on the grave markers of those who fell in combat serving our country. This remembrance was done in the south and the north and was a popular practice during the Civil War and gained in popularity after the Civil War. In short time it became a popular day of importance through all of the states and was soon adopted on state levels as a state holiday. There is no wonder that it should have done so for the Civil War tallied up the highest amount of war dead our nation has ever suffered in any war. Whether known as Decoration Day back then, or as Memorial Day now, or by any other name throughout its history, there was one theme that ran throughout and that was that this day was to honor the servicemen and women who died during wartime for the United States of America.

It was never intended to be a holiday to celebrate those who served in the military, never a holiday to celebrate those who fought in the military, and never intended to be a celebration of anything at all. No, it was not meant to be a celebration but rather to be a solemn remembrance, an honoring of, and a memorial to those who perished while serving during wartime while in military service to our country.
Yes, many have tied to capitalize on this day and change it to fit their needs whether due to politics, religion, economics, entertainment, a feel good attitude about the military, national pride or whatever else but we must never forget that this day was set aside to honor they who, while serving in the United States military, made the extreme sacrifice during time of war. They are whom we honor today and we should not forget it, not ever. Let us not dishonor their memory by clouding it with other things though of great import themselves, things that would best be remembered in their own light without stealing the glow of twilight's last gleaming from they who made the ultimate sacrifice. Let the memory of their great sacrifice, of their final sunsets' last glow, shine on forever.

All the best,
Glenn B