Rescued from a kill shelter in Manteca, Petey Pumpkinhead III entered
our lives 7 years ago. Abused by a previous owner he was skittish and
nippish. That changed with love, affection and attention.
He was a majestic furry orange tabby. His coat emitted a perpetually
lovely fragrance. He had the sexiest strut with an ever present erect
tail and endearing behind.
Petey had simple needs. Belly rubs topped the list. He loved resting in
his backyard igloo. He would prance out when I entered the yard and
open wide for belly rubs and rolly polly.
He bonded with Klimey who also was rescued from a shelter. Klimey loved
licking Petey and taught Petey how to love back. They were inseparable.
Petey-Weedy (as we called him) evolved into the sweetest and most
gentle of companions. When hungry, he would jump into bed and
delicately place his paw on my face. No histrionics, just a love tap
and breakfast was on.
He loved sleeping inside the space between my legs or alongside the
curve of Clara's thigh. His body language suggested the most delicious
of dreams. He also had the squeakiest yawn when awakened.
Petey had a ravenous appetite and wore his weight well. That changed
last October when he dropped 2 pounds in short order and was diagnosed
with congestive heart failure.
He continued to lose weight but his sweet demeanor never changed.
Although not a lap cat during his youth, lately I would place him in my
lap in the back yard and we would stay together for long periods. These
were cherished moments. Klimey would join us and stay by Petey's side.
Strong medication was required every 8 hours to dissipate the fluid in
his lungs. No matter how much lasix was dosed, it could not stay on top
of the progression of his heart disease.
Last week Petey hit a low point and could hardly breath. He hadn't
eaten for 2+ days. We upped the lasix and he recovered miraculously.
His breathing appeared normal and he started eating - but only food
fresh out of the can. He ate more than he had in months. He had playful
sparring sessions with Klimey, tons of rolly polly and belly rubs, his
tail was erect and he slept next to my face the other day.
Today he had a good appetite in the early afternoon. I didn't see him
the rest of the day. When the thunder rumbled and the rain came pouring
down I went outside.
He was in the igloo. I tipped it and he ran inside. But something was wrong.
His breathing was labored. Petey could not catch his breath. He had
breathing attacks before and I had feared the worst, yet Petey always
An hour or so later when Clara came home, Petey's condition had
worsened. When he walked from under a table to lie down in the litter
box that was an alarming signal. I picked him up and he let out a cry.
Petey went under the bed where Klimey was and continued to make
We left him alone. Petey soon emerged and we put him in a blanket by the heater.
He wanted to be left alone.
Petey-Weedy barely could walk and stumbled out the bedroom and down a
few steps to the cat door. Somehow he pushed himself through. The igloo
was two feet from the door.
We let him be.
An hour later Clara checked on Petey.
His fur was gorgeous. His body still warm.
But Petey had passed.
He never made it to the igloo.
October 5-21 2014
3 Spaces left
Click for Testimonials
2013 Itinerary in review
Sumru Agiryuruyen and Cenk Erdogan
performing at an intimate venue during the May 2013 Tangents Turkey Music Tour. Our group sat a few feet from the performers.
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2014 Tangents Turkey Music Tour Sampler (click here for playlist)
not only immerse ourselves with the locals but even wild boars as this
one approached us in a
friendlly manner as we picknicked by the Aegean
during the May 2013 tour.
"Best Turkish Music Tour!
I can't imagine a better way to explore
the richness of Turkish culture than through its music. A guided music
tour led by World Music expert Dore Stein would be unforgettable. Dore
opens doors that music-lovers who travel on their own don't even know
Tom Brosnahan, Turkey Travel Planner
TTP is the best on-line resource for all things Turkish.
is the dean of Turkey travel writers who wrote the first five best selling Lonely Planet Turkey guides.
Listen to Tangents
Sat. nights, 8-mid, KALW 91.7 FM, S.F.
Streamed live at kalw.org
also webcast on Berlin's multicult.fm
The most recent Tangents show
is archived on KALW
Tangents Radio is also on
Songlines Music Travel
(click for details)
Shares the Tangents philosophy that nothing beats experiencing music at its source.
Serbia - Guca Brass Band Festival
August 7-12 2014
Romania - At Home with the Gypsies
September 20-28 2014
India - Rajasthan Musical Adventure
October 7-21 2014 & October 10-21 2014
Senegal - Never Mind the Mbalax
November 21-30 2014
Cuba - New Year Celebrations
December 29 2014-January 12 2015
Tangents House Concert Israeli guitarist Itamar Erez Friday August 15
(click above for info)
Daily Update as of July 30: 20/40 50% sold
note: Tangents parties sell out in advance.
Click above for 'Gaza Corner' archive
(Archve does not view in Google Chrome)
Click headlines below for full stories
Music Feature: Gaza Corner
11pm, Tangents, 91.7 fm, SF, kalw.org
weekely feature includes news from the Middle East often ignored by the
mainstream press coupled with music from the region.
Gaza Corner was conceived to help focus attention on relieving the
humanitarian crisis in Gaza which has been under a severe economic
blockade imposed by the Israeli occupation since 2006.
Gaza Corner Audio Broadcast by Dore Stein 7/26/14
(click for audio)
note: my apologies to Gabor Mate who in my live comments was mistakenly referrred to as 'she'.
The Beautiful Dream of Israel has Become a Nightmare
(by Gabor Mate, Vancouver based author, speaker and Holocaust survivor
who wrote this opinion piece in the
Toronto Star, 7/22/14)
a Jewish youngster growing up in Budapest, an infant survivor of the
Nazi genocide, I was for years haunted by a question resounding in my
brain with such force that sometimes my head would spin: “How was it
possible? How could the world have let such horrors happen?”
It was a na´ve question, that of a child. I know better now: such is
reality. Whether in Vietnam or Rwanda or Syria, humanity stands by
either complicitly or unconsciously or helplessly, as it always does.
In Gaza today we find ways of justifying the bombing of hospitals, the
annihilation of families at dinner, the killing of pre-adolescents
playing soccer on a beach.
In Israel-Palestine the powerful party has succeeded in painting itself
as the victim, while the ones being killed and maimed become the
perpetrators. “They don’t care about life,” Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu says, abetted by the Obamas and Harpers of this
world, “we do.” Netanyahu, you who with surgical precision slaughter
innocents, the young and the old, you who have cruelly blockaded Gaza
for years, starving it of necessities, you who deprive Palestinians of
more and more of their land, their water, their crops, their trees —
you care about life?
There is no understanding Gaza out of context — Hamas rockets or
unjustifiable terrorist attacks on civilians — and that context is the
longest ongoing ethnic cleansing operation in the recent and present
centuries, the ongoing attempt to destroy Palestinian nationhood.
The Palestinians use tunnels? So did my heroes, the poorly armed
fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto. Unlike Israel, Palestinians lack Apache
helicopters, guided drones, jet fighters with bombs, laser-guided
artillery. Out of impotent defiance, they fire inept rockets, causing
terror for innocent Israelis but rarely physical harm. With such a
gross imbalance of power, there is no equivalence of culpability.
Israel wants peace? Perhaps, but as the veteran Israeli journalist
Gideon Levy has pointed out, it does not want a just peace. Occupation
and creeping annexation, an inhumane blockade, the destruction of olive
groves, the arbitrary imprisonment of thousands, torture, daily
humiliation of civilians, house demolitions: these are not policies
compatible with any desire for a just peace. In Tel Aviv Gideon Levy
now moves around with a bodyguard, the price of speaking the truth.
I have visited Gaza and the West Bank. I saw multi-generational
Palestinian families weeping in hospitals around the bedsides of their
wounded, at the graves of their dead. These are not people who do not
care about life. They are like us — Canadians, Jews, like anyone: they
celebrate life, family, work, education, food, peace, joy. And they are
capable of hatred, they can harbour vengeance in the hearts, just like
I used to believe that if people knew the facts, they would open to the
truth. That, too, was na´ve. This issue is far too charged with
“People’s leaders have been misleaders, so they that are led have been
confused,” in the words of the prophet Jeremiah. The voices of justice
and sanity are not heeded. Netanyahu has his reasons. Harper and Obama
And what shall we do, we ordinary people? I pray we can listen to our
hearts. My heart tells me that “never again” is not a tribal slogan,
that the murder of my grandparents in Auschwitz does not justify the
ongoing dispossession of Palestinians, that justice, truth, peace are
not tribal prerogatives. That Israel’s “right to defend itself,”
unarguable in principle, does not validate mass killing.
But can we not be sad together at what that beautiful old dream of
Jewish redemption has come to? Can we not grieve the death of
innocents? I am sad these days. Can we not at least mourn together?
A Palestinian woman carries her belongings past the rubble of houses destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun.
Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
the dangerous streets around the hospital in Beit Hanoun, the buildings
were, by and large, still standing on Friday afternoon. By Saturday
morning, after a day of intense Israeli bombing and shellfire, the
hospital in the northern Gaza town was standing in a sea of rubble, its
walls pockmarked with gunfire and torn by shrapnel.
The skyline, until so
recently regular and neat, had been transformed into something torn and
ragged. The tops of a pair of minarets had been blown off, and the
graves in a cemetery smashed to pieces. Houses, offices, apartment
blocks and shops were collapsed or collapsing.
What happened here in Beit
Hanoun, and in other neighbourhoods of Gaza hardest hit by the Israeli
assault, will inevitably demand an explanation: whether the extremity
of violence unleashed in these residential areas in recent days was
proportionate, or if the destruction amounts to a war crime.
Those are questions for the
days ahead. On Saturday, however, in the midst of a 12-hour
humanitarian ceasefire, the concerns were more immediate ones, as
thousands of Palestinian residents flocked back to their ruined
neighbourhoods to see what remained.
As they came on foot and in
cars, they were accompanied by fire engines, bulldozers and ambulances
of the Red Crescent, whose crews by mid-afternoon had recovered 85
bodies, many of them partially decomposed, buried under the rubble of
Gaza's most damaged neighbourhoods. Officials said the death toll among
Palestinians had passed 1,000.
In some places visited by the
Observer whole blocks had been flattened, dozens of buildings at a time
reduced to a moonscape from which the smell of death at times wafted.
"My house, my house," said
another man, hitting his head with his hand. Nothing, it seems, had
escaped the flying pieces of white-hot metal thrown out by the bombs –
not electricity cables, or cars left behind, not windows or doors.
Near the hospital a man
leads a horse out of the ruins, a long streak of blood staining its
hindquarters where it was struck by shrapnel. Elsewhere, we come across
donkeys and cattle killed where they were left tied up in the street,
scorched, stomachs swelling with gas.
A group of men show us the home of the Shabat family, seven of whom died when it was flattened by a bomb.
It is hard to imagine that anyone who did not flee could have survived the attack, but a few did.
"We lived through a
night of horror. The shelling was all around our house," says Hanan
al-Zaanin, standing with four of her children outside their home.
Zoheir Hamad is with his wife
Umm Fadi next to a home that is little more than a few barely standing
walls; the water pumping station next to them is also badly damaged.
"We left at the beginning of the war," says Zoheir.
"It is the first time that we
have managed to come back." Umm Fadi adds: "We're staying in the UN
school in Jabaliya. We came to get clothes for the children. But there
is nothing left."
It is the phrase we hear
throughout a long day: "Nothing left." And it is true. Whole areas that
were once inhabited have been reduced to a landscape of earth and dust
and broken shapes.
Although in places there is
evidence fighting has taken place, what is hard to comprehend is the
Israeli justification for the scale of the destruction, save
destruction for its own sake in pursuit of a policy of collective
Ahead of probable
international criticism over the scale of the destruction, some Israeli
political figures were trying to deny the scale of the attacks was in
any way disproportionate.
And if Beit Hanoun is largely
destroyed, Shujai'iya, an eastern neighbourhood of Gaza that has been
shelled and bombed for a week, is incomparably worse.
In the midst of an area of
rubble the size of two football pitches in the last of these areas, we
meet three brothers standing on what was once the four-storey building
in which their families lived in four apartments. Next to them is a
bomb crater measuring 10 metres across and six metres deep.
Alaa Helou, 35, a carpenter,
points to what is no longer there. "That was a two-storey house. There
was three storeys and over there was four storeys high. We came to see
our house. We thought it might have been damaged by a shell. But there
is nothing left of it."
"We spent 20 years making our place nice," says his older brother. "We spent all of our money on our homes."
If there is something
worse than the scenes of destruction, it is what is visible in the
faces in Beit Hanoun and Shujai'iya. A man is led away down one street
in Shujai'iya; staggering and blind with grief he his held up by two
others. Women sit in the dust, crying.
We find 33-year-old Rifaat
Suqr sitting outside his gutted house, a stunned look on his face. "It
is like an earthquake hit this street," he says. "An earthquake."
Except that this was not an earthquake. This was the work of men.
mourners at the funeral of members of the Abu Jami family, 25 of whom
were killed when Israel bombed their house in Khan Younis, 21 July.
(Ezz al-Zanoun / APA images)
We will not “return to a living death” of siege and blockade, say Gaza civil society leaders.
As academics, public figures
and activists witnessing the intended genocide of 1.8 million
Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, we call for a ceasefire with
Israel only if conditioned on an end to the blockade and the
restoration of basic freedoms that have been denied to the people for
more than seven years.
Our foremost concerns are not
only the health and safety of the people in our communities, but also
the quality of their lives – their ability to live free of fear of
imprisonment without due process, to support their families through
gainful employment, and to travel to visit their relatives and further
These are fundamental human
aspirations that have been severely limited for the Palestinian people
for more than 47 years, but that have been particularly deprived from
residents of Gaza since 2007. We have been pushed beyond the limits of
what a normal person can be expected to endure.
A living death
Charges in the media and by
politicians of various stripes that accuse Hamas of ordering Gaza
residents to resist evacuation orders, and thus use them as human
shields, are untrue. With temporary shelters full and the
indiscriminate Israeli shelling, there is literally no place that is
safe in Gaza.
Likewise, Hamas represented
the sentiment of the vast majority of residents when it rejected the
unilateral ceasefire proposed by Egypt and Israel without consulting
anyone in Gaza. We share the broadly held public sentiment that it is
unacceptable to merely return to the status quo – in which Israel
strictly limits travel in and out of the Gaza Strip, controls the
supplies that come in (including a ban on most construction materials),
and prohibits virtually all exports, thus crippling the economy and
triggering one of the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the
To do so would mean a return to a living death.
Unfortunately, past experience
has shown that the Israeli government repeatedly reneges on promises
for further negotiations, as well as on its commitments to reform.
Likewise, the international
community has demonstrated no political will to enforce these pledges.
Therefore, we call for a ceasefire only when negotiated conditions
result in the following:
Freedom of movement of Palestinians in and out of the Gaza Strip.
Unlimited import and export of supplies and goods, including by land, sea and air.
Unrestricted use of the Gaza seaport.
and enforcement of these agreements by a body appointed by the United
Nations, with appropriate security measures.
Each of these expectations is
taken for granted by most countries, and it is time for the
Palestinians of Gaza to be accorded the human rights they deserve.
Link for signatures.