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I am depressed because of my guinea pig. I'm not referring to a person I call a "guinea pig" because I'm always trying things out on them. I'm talking about an actual guinea pig. I am a childless, guinea-pig owning grown-up.

My husband is terribly, perversely, insistently allergic to cats. We weren't mature enough to handle a dog. So I researched small, furry mammals, tried to find the ones that looked most like miniature capybaras, and got two of them.  They are named Benson and Stabler. Benson is small and wily, and Stabler is tubby and indignant. Actually, they're both generally indignant. They live in the guinea-pig cage equivalent of the Sun King's court, make regular angry noises because they feel they deserve a constantly-replenished supply of hay, and look a bit like vaguely-startled (and indignant) slippers.

Now Benson is sick. Benson, who rushes about, squeaks, and rushes about some more, is now listless, despondent, and refusing to eat. I rushed her to the vet today and she's going to have to stay the night and be subjected to a battery of tests. I am depressed for a number of reasons:

1) It is crazy to have pets. Pets, as a rule, tend to die before people do. If you decide to live with animals, you are inviting the promise of loss into your home. 

2) Pets can't talk. Benson just stares at me with giant, expressive, terrified eyes and there's no way I can explain to her what's going on. Of course, if I could explain things to her and she could understand me, she probably wouldn't be all that reassured.

3) One of my most vital and meaningful interpersonal relationships is with a guinea pig. 

4) People sometimes acknowledge that it's traumatic when a cat or dog dies. Almost nobody takes it seriously when a guinea pigs dies. In fact, they usually feel the need to say something like, "Oh, when I was a kid, we accidentally starved ours to death", or "I threw mine down the stairs when I was a kid and then starved it to death", or "I was intending to starve mine to death, but then it escaped into our basement. We never found him." Even if Benson recovers, she will eventually die, and when she does, almost everyone will be bemused when I am plunged into deep mourning. Stabler will not mourn. Stabler doesn't like Benson very much. In fact, neither of them like me all that much. 

Which leads me to:

5) One of my most vital and meaningful interpersonal relationships is with a guinea pig. Who doesn't like me very much.

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Update: RIP Benson. You were a spirited and sweet-tempered guinea pig, and smarter and cuter than most people.

Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.


 
 
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Of course she didn't. You didn't really think she would do anything crazy like that, did you? She's not (as far as I know) dishonest in a sexual way, which means anything else she happens to be dishonest about just doesn't matter.

Bev Oda, the Minister of International Cooperation for Canada's Stephen Harper Government (TM), was recently reelected, despite having been embroiled in a regrettably un-sexual political scandal. Oda, according to one reputable source (Wikipedia, obviously) "admitted to directing one of her staff to add a hand-written annotation to an already signed Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) memo in 2009 that resulted in a funding recommendation for KAIROS being ignored. The memo was altered by the addition of 'not' into the recommendation line of the document. When asked about the matter, Oda had at first told Parliament that she did not know who had made the change." Before she could be punished or anything, there was an election.  

Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper bravely decided not to value honest or integrity in politics and announced she would be staying at the Canadian International Development Agency. Apparently, neither the leader of nor the people of Canada care whether Bev Oda lies a whole lot.

Everyone knows that in France, politicians are always having extramarital sex and that everyone there thinks that's wonderful. Everyone also knows that in puritanical North America, politicians can accept bribes, tell lies, and start random wars, and so long as they don't accept bribes from a mistress, tell lies to a mistress, or start random wars against a mistress, nobody really cares. It's the sex stuff that really loses elections, not the political stuff.

I, because I buck the trend towards apathetic unprincipledness and am brimming with integrity and self-righteousness, am distinctly annoyed that Oda has been reelected and allowed to remain at her post. There's only one way Harper will be moved to remove her: she has to have a sex scandal.

PLEASE, Bev Oda, do one of the following things:

1) start hosting wild "bunga bunga" parties at your Ottawa home, and interfere with a police investigation to protect a young "friend" from Hull (who you claim you thought was the son of the Prime Minister of Belgium).

2) disappear from Ottawa (telling everyone you're going hiking on the Cabot Trail) and visit your lover in New Jersey.

3) send a topless photo of yourself to a man you found on Craigslist.

OR, why not make a real name for yourself, and do all three? 

Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident. Totally by accident.


 
 
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What have various experts had to say about the now-iconic photograph of all those Important People watching or maybe not watching the take-down of Bin Laden? Obama reveals his humility and profound presidential confidence by not needing to sit on a giant chair. The presence of Clinton and that other woman is visible proof of the increasing visibility of women in photographs of important events. The fact that Clinton is holding her hand to her mouth is visible proof that women are dangerously emotional and should not be allowed to take part in the taking of iconic photographs. Things like that.

I myself find the fact that Clinton and that other woman are in the photo profoundly disturbing. Any little girl or boy will now be able to pick up a coffee table book or commemorative plate, see that photo, and think that women can grow up to do things other than shop for small, decorative tables, hug one another, and learn Romance languages. 

Thank God for the Orthodox Jews.

Celebrating the fact that "women should be appreciated for who they are and what they do, not for what they look like" and respecting "Jewish laws of modesty", Di Tzeitung, an Orthodox Jewish paper published in Brooklyn, published the following version of the White House photo:

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I applaud their resourcefulness! If women insist on showing their faces at moments of historical import, simply airbrush them out. 

I have only one complaint: shouldn't Biden, Obama, and all those other people whose names I'm not going to bother looking up also be respected for who they are, what they do, and not what they look like? I know I find it hard to focus on the significance of the image because I'm so busy furiously objectifying Joe Biden. So here's a retouched offering I hope will satisfy everyone:
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Perfect.

Di Tzeitung has also inspired me to release a new photo of Stephen Harper's victory speech.

Before:
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After:
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Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.

 
 
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I have just discovered I am claustrophobic. No - I'm not afraid of elevators, or of being trapped in some small space underground. I don't have to steer clear of closets or crawl-spaces. You see, I'm not actually suffering from the traditional form of the condition. I've been trying to come up with a name for what ails me, but I can't find anything either appropriate or catchy. "Psychological claustrophobia"? "Political claustrophobia"? I couldn't even scare up a pun.

What I'm trying to describe is this oppressive sense I have of being surrounded by people whose beliefs I do not share. The symptoms first popped up after Rob Ford was elected mayor of Toronto. They have became noticeably worse since Stephen Harper won a majority government.

So if claustrophobia is (according to Merriam-Webster) the "abnormal dread of being in closed or narrow spaces", what I'm stricken by is the "abnormal dread of being in the company of closed or narrow people". I know that being a warm-hearted, diversity-loving left-leaner means that I should respect other people, that I should try to understand other points of view and mentally embrace my adversaries. That kind of thing. But for the past few days, whenever I see people, I think: "Are you one of them? One of the stupid people I don't agree with and who voted for a Prime Minister who is going to put women who want to have abortions in mega-prisons?"

At some point, I'm sure I'll feel a renewed sense of the beautiful contradictions inherent in the Human Condition, and a renewed sense of smugness about how I'm able to sense all those beautiful contradictions. But right now, I just wish I could live in a place where everyone shared my beliefs. Why do they have to do all that hating of immigrants in Sweden? If it wasn't for all the racism in Sweden, I could totally live there. 
 

Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.