A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

She's BEYOOTIFUL And She Knows It

Sometimes you just have to get yourself a little something special, to make life worth living. You know, like when you get all depressed and shit. Or, if you're really lucky, you have a wonderful partner who delivers the proverbial kick in the pants with a beautiful new 85-mm lens for the beautiful new Nikon D7000 he bought you.

At any rate, the Nikon was 2013's birthday present, and the lens was 2013's anniversary present, and it's a damn good ROI on 14 happy years together, so there.

And wut better way to celebrate one's favourite toy than by featuring one's favourite beasts through its ever-alert eye? Here's Madu:

And Gojira.

Who would ever believe they were brother and sister? Or, as I'm sure they put it, Bother & Satanspawn. Guess which is which.


We're totally pussy-whipped in this house. And not ashamed to admit it, either.

It's true that Boy doesn't get equal camera time. He's usually asleep, and when he's not, loud noises, sudden movement, or light will scare him into running out of the house in a snit. Whereas Miss Thang is convinced she is the most beautiful creature in the world and all the pandemonium is just her fans showing their appreciation.

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Saturday, February 08, 2014


It's raining!

Ordinarily, we don't care for this pissy little thing that passes for rain in these dry damned parts. We like REAL rain. Like thunderstorms, with pelting water from the sky that hits your head hard enough to hurt, and lightning flashing in sheets and bolts, sizzling near one's feet as one runs screaming through the wet dark streets on a warm tropical night to the sound of rolling thunder. THAT'S rain.

Not this endless minge of gray fog and gray damp drizzly skies and gray-brown hills all sere from the long, dry summer, and gray wet roads and gray wet buildings looming grayly out of the gray swathe of city streets and byways.

But it's been dry. How dry? Dry enough that people are vaguely starting to resemble some sort of lizardoid alien. Cracked lips and wrinkly dry shiny skins. Talking about reducing showers and graywater systems and single-rinse laundry cycles kinda dry. And the trees were dying from the dry, leaves drooping and dull, twigs wrinkled at their tender ends instead of plump babyish fists of leaves. It was so fucking dry I thought I'd lost my WISTERIA, for Christ's sake, and that thing has survived nearly 30 years of my lazy-assed failure to feed, water, or otherwise care for in any way; yearly hot Santa Ana winds; a fire that took down 2,000 houses in the vicinity; earthquakes; temporary use as a gravesite for murdered squirrels (looking at YOU, Ramon Rivera of the Rainbow Bridge) and god only knows what-all else kinda disasters and shenanigans.

So this rain's a welcome addition, right now. A surprise, but welcome nonetheless.

We're supposed to get all kinds stuff fixed around the old homestead, stuff I haven't been able to take care of for a decade because I was so badly disabled. Yes, yes, we're using the D-word now, admitting to a whole fuckin' lotta suffering and shit. The house is almost literally falling down around our ears. The fabled thousand-step stairs need replacing with some solid construction-type construction. The retaining walls are collapsing. The deck supports need shoring up, and replacement in parts. Bleh. Lotsa work.

And you can't work in this rain.

Oh, fuck it, it's Caturday. Have a wonderful one, y'awl.

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Sunday, December 01, 2013

Goodbye, dear Gustav

Gustav is gone.

After 13 years of living with us, he has taken his earsplitting yowls and his chrysanthemum bud of a tail to the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, there to await us with a cynical expression and a complaint, no doubt.

He was not the easiest of cats, but the poor little guy had a very hard life before we got him. Abuse, neglect, abandonment, kicks, and beatings were his lot from birth, pretty much. He was rescued, with his mother and siblings, from a drain in which he was born. Some cruel person had dumped the pregnant mama cat in there and poured liquid on her. Ants were biting her and the babies. You could say his hard life began at birth.

He survived a few years of being passed around -- nobody wanted him, because he was not a 'pretty' animal. He was lean and rangy and the suspicious look got worse, I imagine, after a few different people rejected him with kicks and blows. When he came to us, we had a houseful of cats. We took him in because his alternative was death. We will never regret saving his life. He was not an affectionate cat, and it took him years to learn how to play with toys, or interact with us. The first time he ever played with a toy, after he'd lived with us for two years, he sneaked downstairs in the wee hours of the morning. We were awakened by odd, scrabbling noises in the living room. When we turned on the light, there was Gustav, lying on his back, batting at a ball -- looking embarrassed as hell.

He never liked people. He was not the kind of cat to approach people looking for petting. He shrank away from them and yowled loudly, convinced they meant him no good. He came to us with his mother, Greta, to whom he was greatly attached. He would attack any cat who came near her. He never attacked people, to his credit. But he did not like sharing Greta with anyone. Greta was a sweet, affectionate kitty, and it was difficult to interact with her, with Gustav getting anxious and yowly when she would approach us for pets or treats. Unfortunately for us all, she died shortly after her arrival. She threw a blood clot. A terrible death. Gustav was never the same after, although Bandicoot, the best of all kitties in the world, took him under a mighty fraternal paw. The Coot was easily three times Gustav's size, weighing in at an impressive 20 lbs in his fattitude, whereas Gustav never got much beyond 7, maybe 8 at the most. And the Coot was very fluffy, and he would let Gustav curl up in his enormous furry coat to sleep. So Gustav was somewhat consoled by the Coot, although he got on everyone's nerves with his unending complaints, and occasionally, the Coot would bite him about the ears. Which just made him complain louder.

After the Coot passed on, Gustav started deteriorating pretty quickly, poor guy. His legs got weaker and weaker, and eventually he couldn't get up on our giant bed any more. We couldn't train him to use the kitty stairs we bought, so we made him a comfortable bed on the floor. Little by little, his world shrank to the scope of the bedroom, although he did still go outside when it was warm and sunny. Then he got a nasty infection in his eye, right around the time we learned that our beloved friend, Cris, had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Life became very hard, then, with Gus on the verge of losing his eye while Cris died by inches.

It cost us a lot of money and he needed a veterinary opthalmologist's services, but we managed to save his eye. Shortly thereafter, Cris died. I lost a dear and very much-loved friend, someone I had loved for nearly two decades. And I thought we had saved Gustav.

Lately he seemed to have more and more difficulty walking. His feet were acting strange, and his gait was very unsteady. Sometimes he would trip over his own feet because one foot had turned inward or outward unexpectedly. And the crying was getting worse. It was hard to tell whether he was just screaming because he screamed a lot of the time anyway, or if he was screaming because he was in pain. We had him on pain medication for his arthritis, but his kidneys were going and his digestive system was pretty messed up and he had lost most of the sight in one eye, and he never could smell very well because he'd always had herpes.

So when we heard him yowling on Friday, we thought, it's probably time for his pain medication, poor guy. But then the yowling got very strange, and we ran into the bathroom and found him lying on the floor having a seizure, or something. His body was rigid and trembling, he was lying on his side, he had peed himself and was drooling and frothing at the mouth, with one foot drawn up to his chest. We dried him and wrapped him warmly in a towel and held him and tried to calm him, but it was obvious something was very wrong with the old guy, and not so clear that anything would help. But we called the vet anyway, and finally found someone.

She didn't know much about his history, so she suggested we try to save him. Apparently, Gustav's retinas had blown out, so he had suddenly gone blind. The treatment she recommended would have meant medicating him daily. He might not regain his vision. And it was just a matter of time before his kidneys gave out anyway. He would have to stay in the hospital for 36 hours.

We did the right thing by the boy. It was a hard choice, not because there was any possibility that we were wrong, but because it feels so arrogant to take a life, when we cannot give one. But for Gustav, there was no quality of life left. Blind, surrounded by two rambunctious younger cats who seem to remember how he attacked them when he was younger, not really enjoying his food, unable to see, smell, walk, or hear very well, in a house full of stairs? If I were in his place, I'd want the bliss of the needle. Can't eat, can't shit, can't walk, can't hear, can't smell, can't taste, can't see? What's left of life to enjoy?

And for a cat so averse to human contact to be picked up and medicated three times a day? He only let us medicate him when he was very, very sick, because he was too weak to run away. As soon as he got his strength back he started fighting me over the medication. He's never bitten me, but he has, on occasion, got a claw stuck -- deep -- in me and caused some not insignificant bleeding. I know he doesn't mean to, but that doesn't make it hurt any the less. And he's very good at refusing to do things. Plus, he never really learned to interact with people. He's always preferred the company of his own species. And these last two remaining cats of the family never liked him and never will. His life would have been hell.

We said goodbye to him at the doctor's after assuring ourselves that he suffered no more. I hope by the time we go, we have the same option. Goodbye dear little Gustav. You tried so hard to be a good kitty. Life was not very fair or very kind to you. We tried our best to give you everything that made you happy, dear. We miss you very much, and always will.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Is A Funday

Hey, even WE can't do politics alla time, OK? Or else we'd go stark raving bonkers and start slapping random people unconscious. "Do you watch Fox News? (slap!) Well, DO YOU? (slap!) Wut? (slap!) Wut's that you say? (slap!) You DO? (slap!) Really? (slap!) You little ... "

Enough of that fantasy. So it's a beautiful sunny day, the birds are singing their little fecking heads off, the garden is coming into bloom in a scraggly sort of way (didn't plant anything for the spring), and the wisteria is a fragrant purple cloud on the porch. Lemons are blooming, too. The echium is making the bees drowsy, and I can see the Naked Ladies preparing themselves for bloom season. Daffodils and hyacinths didn't bloom much this year. It wasn't much of a spring at all. But we did have a perfect cloud of plum blossom in the brief dry blue days (for two whole days). And the solanum jasminoides put forth starry purple flowers with golden hearts, and our veronica (a beautiful bluish-purple shade, you might know it as speedwell) spread forth, prostrate, to intertwine with the pink puffballs I got from Cris's garden so many years ago. Pineapple sage is blooming scarlet, but the hummingbirds like the sugar-water we left them. An enormous ruffled burgundy blossom on the little camellia near Faridah's grave. The pink and white camellia in the back, which burned to the ground in the big fire 20 years ago, is back, taller than me and bursting with bloom. A perfect companion to the climbing Cecile Brunner with its dainty pink and white fragrant flowers.

Tomatoes are out getting acclimated. We have two eggplant plants this year. I must put in squash, and work on the bed downstairs. A gardener's work is never done, have you noticed? Every weekend it's several hours of weeding and watering, and digging and sieving and digging in compost, picking off pests, foliar spray, calcium for the 'maties ... and we're just piddly-ass home gardeners, not even trying to feed a family on our produce.

Little worried about tomatoes this year. A chilly wind's been blowing every day, or at least every night, it's one of the cooler spring seasons and experts predict a cool summer overall. Well, tomatoes will not set fruit at anything under 55F, not even those tough Russian heirlooms. Plus, the cold seems to make their skins thicker. OK, they're loaded with anthocyanins and flavour, but still. Tomato skin is what gets stuck in your gullet and it itches and makes you cough, and our ancient pipes are delicate, goddammit, especially after 50 years of fucking smoking our lungs out.

We've got some new varieties to play with this year, better adapted to our microclimate. We did well two or three years ago, with up to 150 fruit per plant, Black Krim, Black from Tula, Black Sea Man, Japanese Black Trifele, Cherokee Purple, a couple of Swedish varieties (early, haha, they didn't set fruit till all the others did). The Brandywines didn't fruit at all, we've given up on those.

Happy gardening, y'all!

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Saturday, April 20, 2013


Yeah. Dat Ting.

It's that time of the week again, and we at La Casa de Los Gatos send love to all the good people of Boston. Man, y'all had a hellacious week!

Fortunately, it's over now and y'all can sleep. Rest. Take it easy.

Meanwhile, over in TexASS (sorry, y'all. You know we here try to keep the love flowing in all directions, but right now TexASS is totally on our shit list), this-all happened.

The death toll is up to 14. It's a small town, so that's a lot. Neighbours are rallying around, which is great.

What's not so great: That outrageous IdiotAsshole Rick Perry, the erstwhile governor of a once-proud state, an imbecile who can't count to THREE without prompting — remember when he wanted to SECEDE from these fine United States? — well, now that cheap-ass motherfucker with his rhinestone boots and his mushmouthed drool wants a "quick turnaround" on federal aid money. SAY WHAT, you asshole? Say FUCKING WUT? Are you on your knees yet? Is your begging bowl up?

Now a governor's duty is to help the citizens of his state as and when needed. We all understand that. But do the rest of us need to help people who CREATE their own problems? Remember how unsympathetic all those pork barrels, I mean, Southern legislators, were when it came time to help the dying BLACK victims of Hurricane Katrina? Why, some of them actually got up on their hind legs and averred it was an Act of God. Though what kind of God drowns helpless sick old people in their beds, you gotta wonder. When people were losing their homes and livelihoods as a result of Sandy, those selfsame assholes averred as how people had "made bad choices," and must put up and shut up, since it was their own goddamned fault in the first place. Nice. Real nice. Assholes.

But this here dumbass MOTHERfucker, Rick Perry, he SLASHED funding for firefighting in his state. TexASS has had droughts nearly every damn year since I can remember, and BAD wildfires, too. Lil Ricky thought he was so damn cool, cutting those budgets, snippy-snippetty. So he could make the REST of us pay for his refusal to spend on his own people? What kind of idiot slashes firefighter funding by 75% in a state prone to droughts and wildfires?

This kind. Idiot.

And that's not all. Here's that humbugging manwhore with his tattooed eyeliner, DroopyDawgII, aka Ted Cruz.

Image from

This cheap piece of shit wannabe Texan — yes, born in Cuba, emigrated to Canada, then decided Americans were stupider and easier to con, maybe — had the unmitigated GALL to vote against relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Remember that, y'all? Remember when your friends and relatives on the east coast were shivering their asses off in winter, homes destroyed, cars wrecked, kids killed? Occupy was asking people to chip in for sandwiches and blankets for the victims?

That's when this worthless gusano, this perro, this piece of dog shit you would scrape off your shoe, stood up and voted AGAINST aid for those people THREE FUCKING TIMES. Now this piece of shit wants Federal money — OUR fucking tax dollars — "all available resources," and he wants it pronto.

If you have a Twitter account, go let him know what you think of this. He's @SenTedCruz. If you *don't* have such an account, consider getting one, especially if you're from NY/NJ/MA. He wants your tax $$? Tell him to film himself kissing Chuck Schumer's ass first. Both cheeks.

Think we're being too hard on Texas? Read this, from Alternet:

[...] in 2008, the Center for American Progress found a fertilizer plant that stored millions of pounds of anhydrous ammonia in Pasadena, Texas to be among the most hazardous chemical facilities in the country, with more than 3 million people living in range of a worst-case ammonia gas release.
Anhydrous ammonia will blow your shit all to hell. You know. Like what just happened to that little town of West.

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Monday, December 31, 2012

Can healthy taste good?

I think so.  And after all these years I stumbled on doing something simple with broccoli that sure tickled my taste buds.  And I mean, how simple is this?


I used 5 heads of broccoli,
1 pound of shallots
a dozen large mushrooms
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
garlic powder
black pepper

And I made enough to last over several meals with healthy helpings!

1.  Slice the shallots into thin slices.

2. Fry the shallot slices in a frying pan with the olive oil, garlic powder and pepper to taste.

3. Chop the broccoli into spear and boil with the mushrooms until you can just stab the broccoli with a fork.  The broccoli should not be too hard or mushy, but firm and just right.  And the mushrooms should still be firm too.

4.  Drain the broccoli and mushrooms and thoroughly toss and mix the caramelized shallots in until the broccoli is coated with the olive oil.

5.  Eat.

6.  Yum!

I called TPC earlier this evening with this simple recipe and wouldn't you know it?  She has been doing this same thing for years.  And I only just discovered it.   Oh well, but I think if I had more time I might have tried slicing or pressing some actual garlic cloves but I was in a hurry and the garlic powder was a quick solution.  Give it a try and see if this doesn't add a spark to your healthy broccoli!

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Monday, December 24, 2012

This Holiday Season

Image from Vriksha Nursery, which also offers a marvellous explanation of mistletoe. And amazing plants. Checkidout.

It's Christmas Eve and La Casa de Los Gatos hasn't felt so un-Christmassy in years. In our somewhat misspent youf, we regularly attended (for us) Midnight Mass at the old church near our school. The lurid stained-glass windows depicting the beating and torture of an unarmed man sort of really gets you into that Christmassy mood, but fortunately, was not quite so overpowering at midnight; and the procession began and ended at the nearby statue of the Blessed Virgin (lemme tellya, there was plenty of questioning about what exactly was this thing called "virgin," especially after the introduction of "virgin" oils and wools, and the like. You can't explain virgin without explaining sex, and the nuns would probably have preferred a red-hot poker up their collective ass to explaining sex to us kids). Said Blessed Virgin was a gentle, rather faded-looking lady with a sort of blue and gold burnous about her and lots of candles burning at her shrine. But in those days, Christmas for us meant a religious festival, and the joy of lighting one's candle at the shrine and proceeding around the church to the chanting of prayers and the singing of hymns had its own special beauty. Some of us who shall remain forever nameless appreciated that in our shrivelled black atheistic little hearts, for the sonorous beauty of the music, the grave measure of feet marching around the old building, the sight of tiny golden tongues of flame licking at the pitch blackness around the gray church walls.

So it's Christmas Eve, and tomorrow we pop a fat goose in the oven and roast a ton of little potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, yams, rutabagas, and onions in goose fat, and braise some brussels sprouts with a little pancetta, and saute some red cabbage with wine vinegar and tiny currants, and handfuls of herbs and spices and orange and lemon peel, and La Casa de Los Gatos will smell like our idea of heaven, and we will eat a Christmas dinner with our beloveds.

We hope you are all doing the same. Our love to those of you who will be missing loved ones this year. We've suffered some heavy losses this decade, too, and will be remembering those who are gone. And remember, THIS is the REAL reason for the season:

Love each other and hold each other close, dear ones. We don't do it often enough, so use the holidays as an excuse if you must, but reach out to your loved ones with all your heart.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Would you rather have ...

... a gun to hold in your hands and cradle in your arms?  To feel the kick when you fire it?  To feel its cold hard steel momentarily warmed by the bullet screaming out of it, while it smokes its breath into your nostrils?  To hear the clang of the empty shell on the ground after you fired the round?  And then hear the dead thud as the bullet strikes its target, leaving an empty hole and all to often grievous death in its wake?

Or perhaps would you rather have your child to hold and care for and love?  To see the little one grow and blossom before your eyes, this new life you created?

I can imagine how many people are answering that question for themselves right now.   And I'm sure more than ever many people out there saying give me my child, because their child means more to them than even their own life.  And tonight there are all to many parents with empty arms because others chose guns instead.

I hate guns.  If I could have my way I would rid the world of them.  Unfortunately I can't and so you gun freaks out there can breath easy.  Your precious guns are safe from me.  Your precious.

I have personally seen though, what a bullet can do to human flesh.  Years ago I had a friend who was shot along the side of a freeway by someone in a car who supposedly stopped to help after his motorcycle broke down.  But instead of helping they shot him once in the gut and that bullet damn near cut him in half as he spun away from the shooter.  He somehow survived and spent months in a hospital recovering and showed me the scars afterwards that went clear around him.  The scars were ugly as hell.  But I'm sure the asshole who shot sure must have felt like a man.  Look!  See what I can do with a gun!

To be sure, I'm sure there are many NRA members out there who are as outraged as me over this slaughter of 20 children in school this past Friday.  And I am sure many of them are just as outraged over the NRA opposing any sort of gun control legislation no matter how sensible that legislation is.

But for all those people who oppose gun control legislation, they have blood on their hands.  They have blood all over them.  And yes, I blame them.  God damn them I blame them.  They may not have held and shot the gun that killed those children but their opposition to any sort of gun control whatsoever for whatever reason including that they might be inconvenienced a little bit makes them an accomplice to this horror.

I wonder what they would say to those children and their parents if they could have looked them in their eyes and talked to them on Thursday night.  "Sorry kids, you have to die because I don't want to be inconvenienced.  Sorry parents, your lives will have to be forever shattered with grief because my guns are more important to me than the lives of your kids."

God damn those god damn gun freaks.  God damn them.  I hate them.  I hate all of them.  And I hate the NRA.  May they rot in hell.

I hope this time though, that this nation is waking up and is understanding the first 4 words of the Second Amendment, "A well regulated militia" and I don't think the founders were thinking of regulating pantaloons.

To be sure, this tragedy no doubt has roots in a failed healthcare system too that does little to provide for mental health, let alone the health of people in this country as well as other societal ills.  But we need gun regulation now.  And that regulation should outlaw these god damn assault style weapons with these stinking fucking large bullet clips that make such slaughter not only possible but inevitable.

And we can't do this soon enough.

From Roger Waters album, Amused to Death, the song,

"The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range"

You have a natural tendency
To squeeze off a shot
You're good fun at parties
You wear the right masks
You're old but you still
Like a laugh in the locker room
You can't abide change
You're at home on the range
You opened your suitcase
Behind the old workings
To show off the magnum
You deafened the canyon
A comfort a friend
Only upstaged in the end
By the Uzi machine gun
Does the recoil remind you
Remind you of sex
Old man what the hell you gonna kill next
Old timer who you gonna kill next"

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Saturday, December 01, 2012

And now for something completely different

... kind of in honor of Caturday, although no cats were involved in the making of this movie.   Sorry TPC.  :-)

But do I rant on about a lot of things that piss me off and maybe sometimes you wonder if there are things that make me smile.  And there are, like for example this youtube video of a South American moon walking bird, the manakin.

I think Michael Jackson could have learned a thing or two about moon walking from this little flyboy.  Pretty amazing performance if you ask me!

But as if that weren't enough, how about this bird that can not only perfectly imitate the song of other birds, it can also mimic the sounds of other things it hears, including humans or cameras ...

... or sadly even, chain saws.

Nonetheless, isn't nature wonderful and amazing!  To be sure, nature isn't always funny and it can be brutal, as life is a jungle for the wildlife out there, avoiding natural predators and all that, as I experienced a few weeks ago after arriving home late one afternoon to see the hawk in the image below dining on a morning dove it had killed in my backyard.  It sure left a pile of feathers from where it tore up the dove!

Predation by hawks is natural though and while it is sad for the dove, it was an amazing thing for me to witness this bit of wild nature right in my own backyard.

 But speaking of predation, that reminds me of cats, those wonderful furry little friends of ours that often grace our homes.  But I have to ask, beg, and plead.  If you have cats that you let outdoors, put a collar with a bell on them.  I attract and feed birds in my backyard and enjoy their presence immensely.  They make my yard come alive with their variety, color, song, and beauty.

I hate to say it though, but many of those little song birds I have been feeding have fallen prey to neighborhood cats, who are expert at ambushing and killing them, leaving only a few feathers to suggest the bird was ever there.  And I have actually caught the cats in the act of murdering birds.  When I see them in my yard, I throw water at them, hoping to discourage them, though I'm not sure it is working yet.

Nonetheless, there is a horrific slaughter of our wild songbirds by cats in this country where cats kill hundreds of millions of birds each year, probably as many as 500 million birds.

I love cats, they are marvelous animals and pets, but as pet owners, people need to take steps to protect both their pets and birds and other wildlife cats would prey upon.  Keeping your cat indoors is best, but if you must let it out, please, please, please put a collar with a bell on it.  Give our wonderful wildlife a chance too!

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Friday, November 30, 2012

What Saint President Hero for life Reagan (for RePIGliCON's anyway) had to say ...

... about Social Security.  And given how much RePIGliCON's worship Reagan, I wonder if they will even bother to listen to what he had to say about Social Security back in 1984.

Norman Goldman has an audio link on his website where Reagan talks about Social Security and its impact on the debt, which he was running up.  Listen here, along with an intro by Norman Goldman.

Norm says lets make this clip viral and this is my effort to get it out there, because don't you know, the RePIGliCON's out there want to cut and privatize and steal Social Security and the money involved for themselves and their billionaire fat rat pig bastard buddies on Wall Street.   And I hate to say it but far to many people in this country are either so god damned stupid or uniformed and ignorant that they'd fall for the RePIGliCON claims and hand it over to the fat rat pig bastards on a silver platter.

And by the way, I am so fucking sick and tired of hearing Social Security and Medicare called entitlements that I could scream, and more.   We worked for, and paid for and earned those benefits.  Call them that!  Call them earned benefits!

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming ....

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