Why I’m a Dog Person

I’ve always preferred dogs to cats but respect others rabid love for the species.  Most times when I’ve encountered a cat I’ve been greeted with some belligerent hisses rather than warm fuzzy purring.  Before you defend all these cats actions by saying they have good judgement most dogs greet me with uncontrollable tail wagging and face licking.  I’ve just accepted that dogs have better taste and as far as cats go “live and let live”, making sure not to invade each other’s space.  But my opinion of cats became even shakier with a recent experience where a cat ignored the “stay out of my space” thing and I felt like I was in the middle of a “Wild Kingdom” episode.

My wife and I usually go on a run in the morning and then sit in our front porch rocking chairs to enjoy a coffee in our tranquil environment watching some Colbert videos, solving the world’s problems, and planning our day.  As the sun shined, birds sang, and butterflies danced from flower to flower, I noticed the across the street neighbor’s house cat wandering around their yard.  When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, the cute little tabby cat leaped into the air to grab a song bird right out of the air.  The bird was mortally wounded but managed to, with one last gasp, escape the cute house pet turned predator.  The bird’s flight path was a desperate effort to avoid becoming part of the food chain spiraling through the air, smashing into our house and dropping to the ground five feet in front of us. We sat there stunned as the now crazed killer raced to his prey.  But before he claimed his prize he acknowledged us with a “this is mine, don’t screw with me” hiss-growl channeling all the nastiness of your worst nightmare monster.  This cat had invaded my space.  We were frozen in a WTF just happened state as cat nonchalantly picked up his bird to feast in a more private setting.  And I’m sure after his feast this Sybil like cat morphed back into a cute house pet continuing to fake innocence and hide his killer side by cutely purring and licking, with bird breath, his owner’s faces.cat growling cartoon

And that confirms my preference for dogs!

Donate to Hurricane Harvey Victims Without Getting Scammed

The New York Times has some great advice on donating to the victims of Hurricane Harvey

Where to Donate to Harvey Victims (and How to Avoid Scams)

A large and complicated rescue operation is underway in Houston as floodwatersHurricane Harvey Flooding
continue to rise, fed by unrelenting rain.

So far, there’s no end in sight.

Tropical Storm Harvey is expected to produce 7 to 13 more inches of rain
through Friday over the upper Texas coast, where some areas — including the
Houston metropolitan area — may see accumulations of up to 50 inches.

Here are options to help (Click here for full article)

Eclipse Party UNC-Chapel Hill

As per the University of Chapel Hill Morehead Planetarium website:

A total solar eclipse is considered by many to be the most awesome natural occurrence.  During totality, it turns dark in the daytime, the temperature drops, and the Sun’s corona and bright stars and planets become visible.

The last time that a total eclipse crossed the entire contiguous US from coast to coast was in 1918.  When the Moon passes in front of the Sun, the entire United States will experience a partial solar eclipse and those within the “path of totality” (a roughly 70-mile wide path from Oregon to South Carolina) will experience a total solar eclipse lasting a couple minutes.eclipse map

I live in Chapel Hill, NC which isn’t in the direct path but has a projected 93% partial eclipse.  Charleston SC would be the nearest city where I could witness a full eclipse, but with the projected traffic problems and too-many-people in a given space problems the 93% seems to be the wiser choice and I’m psyched for the 93 because I’m going to a party!traffic warning sign

The world-famous University of Chapel Hill Morehead Planetarium is hosting a solar eclipse party.  This is the mother ship of astronomy with a storied history of training astronauts andeclipsechapelhill some of our best scientists.  Viewing the eclipse in this scientific environment with thousands of other happy-to-see-93 will make up for not seeing the full Monty.

Since traffic and parking is going to be a problem in any site hosting an eclipse viewing my wife and I bike the 3.5 miles to the event.  We pedal into an amazing geek party where we can all unite in celebration with a break, albeit short, from adolescent tweets, Russia, North Korea, Isis, healthcare, and global warming (thanks for cooling us off moon).

It’s a diverse, smart University crowd with many treating the eclipse at the same level as the Cubs winning the World Series.  University bells rang and the crowd cheered at 2:43 when the eclipse maxed and all the spectators united to celebrate this rare natural wonder.  As spectacular as the eclipse was the party was the real story uniting a diverse group to watch an amazing show.  People shared solar viewing glasses and UNC scientists shared their expertise to maximize the experience.  Watching and feeling the excitement reinforces my choice to stay local.

  • It's an Eclipse party at UNC-Chapel Hill Morehead Planetarium

So when is 93 better than 100?  It turns out that Chapel Hill’s 93% partial eclipse may have been a better experience than Charleston’s 100% full eclipse where millions had endured traffic and lodging problems to be disappointed in a cloud obscured event.  So while we were enjoying a scientific party people are probably still trying to get out of parking lots to crawl on to highways that become parking lots hopefully to be home before the next full eclipse in 2024.charleston eclipse