The ants go swimming one by one, hurrah...

I've been finding ants swarming around my kitchen for the past few days. Not any sort of harmful kind, but just the annoying tiny black ones. You know, particularly annoying because they do stuff like weave across the floor in a perfect squiggly line, parade around waving a crumb like a head on a stick, and so forth.

So this morning I found about 5000 ants in the cat food dish. One of the cats seems to find them sort of amusing and fun to paw at and the other cat is terrified of them. I emptied out the cat food dish, cleaned it thoroughly, and vacuumed up about 4999 ants (one went squiggling under the stove). Hey, they were alive when they got sucked up the hose, so that means I wasn't responsible for killing them. Well except for the one who marched one by one across my toe who I therefore had to smash. Sorry, Buddha.

10 minutes later, I go into the kitchen, and the ant I missed has, through some miracle of immaculate conception, multiplied into another 5000 ants. Who really enjoy cat food. This time I got smart. After wasting another bowl of cat food (I should also mention that the cats won't eat if the bottom of the bowl is showing. One of them doesn't seem to mind if thousands of ants are showing though.), I set the cat food bowl in the middle of a large baking pan and poured water in to make a moat around the cat food bowl.

An hour passed and I dared to go into the kitchen. I was relieved to not find any sort of army in the cat food this time, though there were 3 ants who did make it into the cat food. And about 50 drowned little ant corpses. Sorry, Buddha.

They can SWIM.

Tomorrow I'm headed to CVS first thing to buy myself a package of those little ant Auschwitzes.
Deal with it, Buddha.



International Women's Day/Women's History Month

KING FM in Seattle (also has a 24-7 streaming station at king.org) is broadcasting music by female composers and/or female recording artists all month in honor of Women's History Month.

Unfortunately, they seem to think "women" is an adjective and keep referring to "music by women composers." I've e-mailed them and I just got a reply saying they'd fix this. Excellent.

A lot of other great things are going on today and throughout the month, both on-line and off. I'll spare myself the effort of googling and pasting, since there's so much going on, but just wanted to mention this.



We do still have libel laws, don't we?

This morning's Herald has a (300-point) headline reading BEATEN TO DEATH along with a picture of Dontell Jeffers, the little boy who recently died while in foster care.

I didn't get the, uh, opportunity to read the actual story, but I see in 3 other accounts of the story that all that is known now is that the boy died shortly after going into cardiac arrest while in the hospital and that relatives had raised questions of physical abuse after visiting with the child recently. No one's been charged with anything, no cause of death has been determined, and there's no mention of any other findings during the child's hospitalization.

Talk about jumping to conclusions.

If the cause of death is determined to be anything other than a direct result of blunt trauma intentionally inflicted by another person, I'll be the first one to start a fund to sue the Herald's ass off for libel.

Oh, and it's especially infuriating that Mitt Romney is commenting on the "enormous failure" of the foster care system. After he's made huge cuts in foster care, group care, DSS, MassHealth and therapeutic schools. And has publicly stated that it's wrong to give needy children families in GLBTQ homes.



I'll take word meaning for $1000, Alex

"Trash collection is on regular schedule with delays."

~City of Boston homepage



Snow-covered myopia

The alarmist snow closures are getting even more ridiculous. Today all of the transportation for a network of programs that provide services for people with disabilities was cancelled. The transportation company hires almost entirely salaried workers who get a paid "snow day" today.

This isn't the case for most of the people who are forced to stay home because of the transportation company's decision to shut down despite the roads being completely passable.
The employees with disabilities mostly do piecework. You know when you buy a package of 6 of something? If you bought it from a small, local company, the 6 items were probably counted out, placed in a bag, sealed, and packed for shipping by people with disabilities.

The workers are paid for each piece on which they complete their designated task. They might be paid 10 cents for each bag they run through a sealer. They are only guaranteed pay of 2 hours at the minimum wage for each day they report to work. They are paid nothing when they can't come to work, and it goes without saying that none of them can afford their own ride when transportation decides to take a snow day. These folks do get some SSI benefits (or SSDI in the rare case of folks who have acquired their disability after having worked) but the small increase they'll get from having missed a day of wages isn't anywhere near the actual amount they'll lose for the day.

Most of the people who make the agency possible did not make any money today. Aside from the small salaried staff of professional job coaches at the work centers, most of the people who provide services to the folks at these programs are paid for actual work they do. The people who come in to do counseling at these sites did not make any money today. The people who come in to work on specialized tasks with these folks, like personal hygiene, or crossing the street, or counting money did not make any money today. The employees who make slightly more than minimum wage supervising the workshop did not make money today.