The Rant 

Obama's Inaugural speech ... and too many cats in Olive Branch.

"Oh ... mmm. I know a place. Ain't nobody cryin'. Ain't nobody worried. Ain't no smilin' faces ... Mmm, no no ... Lyin' to the races. Help me, come on, come on. Somebody, help me now ... (I'll take you there). Help me, y'all ... (I'll take you there). Help me now ... (I'll take you there). Oh!"

OR: "Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch! Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead. Wake up, sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed. Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead."

I don't know which one of these seems more appropriate to me after President Obama's inauguration: the famous Staple Singers song or the Munchkins rejoicing when the Wicked Witch is killed in The Wizard of Oz. But when is the last time you've heard one good thing about being conservative and rigid and backward (not that all conservatives are, mind you), and when is the last time you heard anyone utter the words "Tea Party," other than to comment that they lost, they are gone, and the country is moving right along on a new path that looks like all America might finally be dancing in the streets and trying to get along?

The president's speech, which I watched him deliver with a lump in my throat the size of Luxembourg, was more than even I had expected. It was like some cloud of reelection angst had been lifted, and he spoke what he really feels in his heart about how every single person in this country deserves to be treated equally. Now, I am not naïve enough to think it's going to happen in my lifetime or maybe even not that of the children I know, but at least he feels it and he said it.

For the first time ever, a sitting president talked about gay rights — or at least it was the first time a president has said they should have equal rights. He talked about the poor, immigrants, children who needed to be kept safe from guns. No wonder it was reported that Mitt Romney was relaxing at one of his many estates and didn't plan to watch the inauguration. It just gave me the feeling that we have a chance now to experience a big-picture shift toward goodness and decency and fairness for a change, instead of let's run out all the immigrants, treat gay people like lepers, and dismiss the 47 percent that won't try to be responsible for themselves.

Now, I have a few more things I would like for him to address. One is this six-cat limit per household in Olive Branch, Mississippi, the efforts to take away two of a poor guy's cats just because he had two more than they think he should have. And they are trying to make him choose which two. It's Sophie's Choice, only with cats. People can have 100 assault weapons and 1,000 magazines of ammunition in their garages and underground survivalist bunkers, but this man and his mother can't have eight indoor cats? Who the hell came up with this?

That family in Arkansas that's always on the Today show can have more than 20 children, and they are trying to take away this man's cats, which are like children to him and don't bother anyone? What kind of nonsense is this? The worst part is that one of the cat's names is Mama Cat and I have one by the exact same name and if anyone tried to take her away from me they would return her as fast as they could because she is CRAZY and eats more than a teenage football player. I heard her meowing the other night on the front porch through my open window, when that big storm started crashing around, and when I looked out, there was a 17-foot raccoon staring right at me, moving toward the window. Mama Cat and the others mounted themselves like palace guards to keep the post-nuclear-war-sized beast from coming at me.

I shudder to think what might have happened if someone had taken some of my cats because I was over my "cat limit." Please. Olive Branch, let the man keep his two cats.

I also want President Obama to start enacting some grammar laws for people on television who get paid enough that they should know better than to constantly butcher the English language. In my last column, I mentioned the cooking show Chopped! and its awkward premise, and I can now barely make it through Unique Eats without losing my voice from yelling at the television. The entire premise of this show is that chefs and other foodie celebrities talk about foods they love from various restaurants and what makes the dishes unique. And all the way through every episode they say things like "so unique" and "very unique" and "sort of unique" and "kind of unique." Damn them to hell. If something is unique, it is unique! Period. A thing can't be "kind of unique." It is not only bad grammar, it is just not possible considering the definition of "unique." The show's producers probably spend $100,000 to film each episode, and they can't get this right? It drives me crazy. Give me that money so I can defend that man in Olive Branch in court so he can keep his cats.

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