Monday, January 30, 2012

Cheating on the Cat

I haven't quite been able to look Buzzy in the eye since Saturday night.

He knows something's wrong. In all honesty, he sensed it...or, more accurately, he smelled it. Literally. But he's playing it cool, not saying a word. He's waiting for me to speak the words. Confess.

I spent some time with another cat.

I couldn't help it. At first I figured that what Buzz Buzz didn't know, wouldn't hurt him. And it was only once, after all. I've always agreed with the advice columnists who suggest cheaters refrain from admitting a one-time indiscretion. Why wound someone permanently because of your own weakness? It's not going to happen again....right?
Say it isn't so!

But the truth has a way of rising to the top like scum on chicken soup before you've strained it and discarded the carcass.

First it might be a telltale whiff on the clothes-- a type of cat food not found at home is discerned by the perceptive feline nose. Perhaps Whiskas or Fancy Feast...

Maybe there's the hint of an unfamiliar, perhaps even prescription hairball medicine or a flea powder from another's Rubbermaid container of pet meds. With a nose as sensitive as Buzzy's, are there any secrets, really?

Then Seth says something casually as we prepare for bed. "Gee, wasn't Mr. Puff's fur soft?" he asks. I glare horribly, shushing him with a fierce look but it's too late. Buzzy's ears have swiveled in our direction, his kneading paws slow a bit on the comforter, he pauses to lick his foot. Then his balls.

Did he hear what Seth said? He's not letting on.

Climbing into bed, I can't help thinking about the other cat: his sleek coat, the little brush stroke of white on his nose, the stripes on his tail. But the thing about Mr. Puff that made him so difficult to resist was that he let me pick him up, remaining in my arms until I put him down.
What did I hear?

He's one of those cats who seems to have no spine. You can drape him on your shoulder, around your can do almost anything with Mr. Puff. And he knows the power that has.

Buzzy will allow himself to be held for only the briefest periods. After a moment or two of attempted cuddling, he will brace his foreleg against my collarbone and free himself with a mighty push, sitting on the floor afterward -- just out of reach -- to groom a gray foot or wash an ear so vigorously that he turns it inside out.

"Come here, Buzzy, let me fix your ear," I implore, wanting to trick him into another hug but he saunters to the litter box, instead.

I haven't decided whether I'm going to tell him about Mr. Puff. Nothing really happened...just a bit of tummy scratching, a little wearing Mr. Puff like a scarf for a while, is all. Do I need to burden Buzzy with my minor indiscretion or unburden myself with a full confession?
This is an outrage.

I'm not sure yet. I suspect I will tell him the truth because I know he will ultimately forgive me. We have something special, Buzzy and I. After all, who gives him the tips of the Costco shrimp after they've thawed or allows him to clean out the tuna can while I make salad?

And while pliant and soft, Mr. Puff isn't half the man Buzzy is. Who needs a cat I can wear when I have a cat who sits vigilantly by the computer while I write and shares my Greek yogurt as we watch Entertainment Tonight after supper.

I will never so much as look at another cat again.

It's me and Buzz Buzz 4-ever...but you knew that already.
You bitch.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Half A Woman at Whole Foods

Yesterday, I found myself in one of the fancier sections of my state with time on my hands when I passed a Whole Foods Supermarket, lit up like the White House.

My modest neck-of-the-woods will soon have a new Whole Foods of its own and the neighborhood (more likely, just me) has been a-twitter over it's arrival. Never having been inside one of these fabled meccas of organic, sustainable deliciousness, and extremely curious, I pulled into the parking lot.

It was raining hard so I was happy to see many open parking places close to the entrance but, as I turned into a spot by the door, discovered that the entire row was reserved for people with "fuel efficient, low emission vehicles only."

I had never heard of such a thing. Is vehicular discrimination suddenly acceptable in this country? Does Ron Paul know about this? Blinking, I pointed the car towards another empty row of spots but these were for "our energy conscious car poolers" with two or more riders in the car. Oh my God.

Deciding that the many voices in my head qualified me to park in the car pool section, I swung in and, chip firmly on shoulder, entered the store.

Unused to such indirect, romantic lighting in a supermarket, it took several aisles to realize that my fellow shoppers -- indigenous, I suppose, to the fashionable town we were in -- were longer of bone and whiter of tooth than yours truly. Translation--they were all tall, blonde and gorgeous.

In this new world of the toned and winter-tanned, I was the supermarket hobbit who had wandered in mistakenly from Middle Earth. Squinting at the granola and barely able to see over the salad bar, I marveled at my surroundings...

The prices were shocking, the signs were ridiculous annoying made me want to vomit cute (Ex. "We want you -- yes, you -- to have a great shopping experience!"), the help condescending and, speaking of the salad bar, there were so many options that I became hopelessly exhausted somewhere between "Moroccan Quinoa Delight"  and the "Winter Root Vegetable Melange."

The choices of vegan cheese were astounding, I had no idea that Iceland produced so many varieties of dark chocolate, the diapers were all aggressively organic and I am almost certain that the guy behind the coffee bar was openly smoking a joint.

Determined not to leave empty handed, I grabbed an organic cabbage despite the fact that I did not need or want one. Very confused by all the tall people gliding around the aisles in their natural fibers, I was determined not to leave empty-handed.

After being talked to like I was a naughty child by the cashier and glared at by group of car-pooling giants, I leapt into my getaway car, unbagged cabbage in hand. I remember little else but was so out of it by this point that after spotting a sign off the highway for Phoenix University, I wondered how I ended up in Arizona.

Needless to say, I am less excited about Whole Foods arriving in my neighborhood. In order to afford anything more interesting than a cabbage, I will have to finally start that phone sex line I've been considering out of Tom's old room.

Have a great weekend. Thanks for reading this week. See you all on Monday!
Meowza! Did you see the price of cat food?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

AOL...Just Too Scary?

My sons don't want me to use AOL anymore.Like Baltic Avenue on the Monopoly Board, they believe it is not a desirable address. 

While it doesn't indicate rats in the cellar, it does indicate that one's techo-skills are in the basement. And, according to the boys, lack of motivation to move up the ladder to Gmail or Hotmail (or Snotmail or G-Spotmail or whatever the heck is out there), makes a person, somehow, less.

They feel I should be embarrassed when I give my email address to someone and it ends in

But I am not embarrassed to be a "retro-techie." Since AOL, like its competitors, is free, I don't understand what the issue is. Is it a big deal that I've had the same email address since 1996?

Comfortable like a pair of worn bedroom slippers, with AOL I am able to navigate the web at a comfortable pace. And yes, I like the format and the color scheme.

It's not all beer and skittles with AOL, however. What I don't like about it is that -- if you have it -- you live in fear.

AOL "news" and the tabloid headlines on their welcome page, inescapable when you sign on, ensnare you like a fly in a spider web.

AOL focuses on a steady stream of missing person cases, mothers brutally killed by their offspring (recently a man offed his mom because she offered him a sandwich when he wasn't in the mood....I sent that one to Tom), husbands who dismember wives in order to facilitate running away with their transsexual lovers (Seth got that one, just in case), seven years olds who drive cars (Charlie) and animals who eat their owners (Buzzy).
Vote no.

There's also a spate of stories about people flinging kittens off bridges, "innocent" symptoms that -- unchecked -- will kill us, yetis invading suburbia, birds taking over small towns, six-legged lambs, two headed frogs, Alec Baldwin running for office and really, really scary pictures of Rihanna.
Why do you think my
hair is always so neat?

Just today I learned that Tim Gunn hasn't had sex in 29 years, how an aftershave has been developed to disguise the fact that your husband has been spending time in a strip club (that one got shot off to Seth, too), a climber is planning to scale Kilimanjaro barefoot (why???) and that someone flicked Mitt Romney's ear from behind and he went ballistic (okay, I made that one up).

All in all, this has made me a nervous wreck (watching for kitten flingers on bridges alone is stressful enough). If I ever decide to leave AOL behind, now you'll know the reason why....
"Did you flick my ear, you  &$#^%**%$!???"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Two Middle Aged Women Discuss Marijuana

Actual conversation between me and a fellow shopper --a woman about my age --  at Trader Joe's...

The scene: The organic poultry section where we were both listlessly patting the packaged drumsticks and antibiotic-free ground turkey.

Her: "This song reminds me of high school..."

Me: (focusing on the piped-in music and recognizing the familiar notes of "Saturday in the Park" by Chicago) "Yes, me too, I guess."

Her: "I used to smoke a lot of pot back then."

Me: "Is that so?"

Her: "I still do."

Me: "Okay."

She looked at me expectantly as if it were now my turn to elaborate upon my own hallucinogenic habits both past and present--of which there are none.

Me: (instead of nodding politely and continuing to my original destination -- the Pirate's Booty display, one aisle over) "I really didn't smoke pot."

Her: "I know where you can get some."

Me: (a little shocked at this point and not wanting her to know how totally uncool I I had just seen an episode of "Intervention" the night before and figured I was up for the challenge) "I have asthma. I can't smoke anything."

Her: "Put it in brownies."

Me: (now regretting that I'd allowed the conversation to go this far and wondering if this was some sort of entrapment sting, began to back away yet, inexplicably, responded again with another moronic statement) "Nah...too much sugar."

Her: "You can make tea with it! You put it in one of those little metal tea thingies that you hang over the edge of the cup..."

Me: "Oh, you mean a teaball!" (Why was I still talking?)

Her: "Yes! A teaball! I couldn't think of what they're called!"

Me: "I know! I forget words all the time these days!"

Her: "Getting older is a bitch!"

Me: "It sure is!"

Her: "Well, have a great day!"

Me: "You, too!"

Just another afternoon at Trader Joe's. How was your day?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why I Suddenly Might Actually Like Football

Last night something very odd happened.

I not only watched a football game but I enjoyed it.

Okay, maybe not the entire game.That might have proved too much for a first experience but I showed up soon after half time, plopping down next to Seth who was in a state of pleased agitation.

It appeared the Giants were doing well. 
The pacing leader

As far as I'm concerned, the game itself remains a big mystery. It involves a lot of very large men (with the exception, apparently, of a rather delicate "kicker") running about in patterns that make no sense, falling hard on unprotected elbows-- mouthpieces flying out between the bars of their helmets while other other men sit, wrapped in team blankets staring grimly as one apparent leader, wearing headphones, paces on the sidelines, clipboard in hand. 

This, however, was what I enjoyed about the game. If you're able to watch on a relatively large screen with the clarity of high def TV, you have a front and center seat to a fabulous display of great human drama.
There are four separate emotions
exhibited in this photo.

While I admit that it certainly didn't hurt that many of these men looked rather snappy in their tight pants and had nice toned arms, it was their faces that I  most enjoyed.

I witnessed what felt like every possible emotion during the second half of that game: there was hope, determination, stress, despair, frustration, anxiety, joy and elation unfolding before my very eyes.

I asked all kind of questions which Seth did not enjoy answering: How do you think they keep those uniforms clean? What kind of underwear do they prefer? How do they run like that in a jock strap? Why is the kicker so small? Do they shower together? If so, do they like it? How much do they eat before a game? What exactly do they eat Do you think they cheat on their wives? Why are there so many starts and stops during the action? How can they get up again and again after being knocked to the ground? Do you think they like each other? Do they have pets? Do their pets like each other?Would they like me?

Bravado? Exultation?
Just pointing?
Seth expressed his displeasure with an occasional extended stare but I needed to know these things since my focus was not the score but their psyches.

And footballs players, apparently, do not hide their feelings. They grunt, groan, weep, flinch, mope, rage, look to the heavens, leap skyward, grin, high-five and, ultimately, run around like crazy children when they win. It was great.

I felt very mainstream American as we watched. Baseball is my game of choice and is considered the apple-pie of sporting diversions but it doesn't seem to give me the same sense of Americana that I achieved in just one night of watching a football game. 

This may apply only to an important game like last night's. 

Conscious that so many people were watching simultaneously all over the country, I may have experienced some kind of electrifying group dynamic as energy combined in front of television screens everywhere. But I have to admit, I was kind of into it.

And it didn't hurt that Seth's bowl of air-popped kettle corn was within reach of my grabby hands, either.

I would not have wanted to be in the stands, however. Crowds terrify me as does the idea of how long it would take to slowly snake ones way to the car and out of the parking lot.

Watching from home you get to see the faces, the close-up intensity so much better on TV and their are no lines at the restroom (hopefully).

Instead, show me the eyes of the players inside their helmets--the whites as wide as a racehorses as they rear before the gate opens, the quarterback's face as he checks the play, the arc of the coach's hand as it slices upward to his hair in a moment of stress and the intimacy of the coin toss as those huge men wait quietly for the decision of a quarter as it lands on the grass.

Will I ever become a real fan of the game? Probably not. But I might buy a football shaped dip platter and drive Seth insane with more questions on Super Bowl Sunday.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Plumber's Monkey

 Kevin Trudeau, predator.
Would anyone out there care to discuss the wilderness?

Nope, it's neither the farthest, most remote corner of the Australian outback nor an uexplored finger of the arctic...but it is desolate, and it is populated by awful predators.  
Between 3 and 5 a.m.

It is the world of very late night TV and it's a rough place to find yourself at half past three in the morning.

Aimed at the exhausted, the sleepless, the lonely and the vulnerable, the TV of which I speak represents a subculture of conscienceless opportunism. I highly recommend that you do not venture into this world alone. 

Next time you can't sleep as a result of worry, stress or that last piece of clam pizza and, dragging your cat and covers downstairs, reach for the clicker, make sure your credit card is well-hidden or wake someone to watch with you.

The really scary stuff doesn't seem to start until it's extremely late...when your defenses are totally down and you are most likely to punch in the number of the Time Life Library and numbly order that 12 volume CD anthology of The Golden Age of Barbershop Quartet...with the bonus DVD and sing-along pamphlet.

If only it were as innocent as barbershop quartet....

Just last night, that total thief and convicted scam artist, Kevin Trudeau was in fine form.

Incarcerated in the 90's for larceny and credit card fraud, his books on nutrition and natural healing have been cited as being "dangerous to human life."

Currently, he "knows for a fact" that the U.S. government has millions of dollars of undistributed "free money, there for the taking." Only his new series of books from which he swears he doesn't "make a penny" will unlock the secrets of this untapped wealth.

Presented in a format deceptively identical to that of a popular home shopping channel, he sits with a pretty hostess who expresses impressively feigned skepticism until he manages to convince even her that his ideas are legit.

Famously gullible despite my crusty exterior--as an adult, I was convinced by my mother that plumbers train and use monkeys to climb into small places to do basic jobs. Based on this, it's very possible that I might -- in a state of wakeful madness -- grab my credit card if it weren't already safely hidden, thank God, between Seth's ass cheeks as he slumbers.

After all, who doesn't want "free money?" I am outraged that the networks sell him advertising time.
We threw our money away
on this crap. You can, too!

Fast forward a half hour. I am now being told that if I strap on what looks like a weight belt with a batteries, it will work my abs, giving me the six pack I've always dreamed of.

It seems that years of medical research have been put into this amazing device that comes with a remote control and can be effectively for "guaranteed" results.

Buzzy and I were finally getting sleepy so I never learned how much this miraculous device would cost the hardworking -- but hopeful -- flabby, but the worst late night pitch came a few years ago.

It involved a reptilian pastor with black patent leather hair and a catalog of homespun tales of people whose sorry lives had been transformed by the prayers a donation to the Church of the Greedy Bastard would buy.

Waving a bible and tearfully emoting into the camera, this land shark assured sleepy viewers that he felt our pain, loved us deeply and needed our money so he could keep doing the lord's work. 

He was asking for a specific dollar amount. I can't recall the number. It wasn't huge but it was a solid chunk of change and he kept saying, and I am not making this up, "Even if you can't afford it...."

I was sickened as I sensed lonely old ladies all over America signing checks in a quavery hand, mailing the week's grocery money to this horrifying charlatan. Thankfully, he disappeared from the airwaves pretty quickly. I hope he was wearing the ab belt and was electrocuted after it short circuited.

I agree. Do not wake the cat.
The moral of the story is, if you can't sleep, leave the cat alone (after all, it's your problem not his) and do not turn on the TV.

Read a book, instead...but not the one Kevin Trudeau is hawking.

Take it from me and the Plumber's Monkey, they are not selling anything you need on late night TV.

"Mommy, I don't want to be a plumber's monkey when I grow up!"
"Don't worry, dear, they don't exist."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Accents I Have Known and Loved

I grew up in a house full of accents of varying degree. I was the only one roaming the halls of that three family brownstone whose first language was English.

Most of the accents were Hungarian.

If you can conjure (or click here) the way Dracula spoke in the 1931 classic film of the same name, you get the idea of a classic Hungarian accent. As a result of the film, many people associate that accent with men in capes who sleep in coffins during the day.While I'm pretty sure I actually had a great uncle who did just that, I associate the accent with home, family and love.
Not everyone in the house was Hungarian, however.

My Uncle Tommy's wife, Mary, born in Puerto Rico, speaks with a Spanish/New Yor-ican accent. While she became an adept cook of my uncle's favorite Hungarian dishes, she can't pronounce their names without giving them a distinct Latin flair.

Though born in the very house in which she (and I) grew up in Brooklyn, my mother's first language was Hungarian, not English. But by the time I showed up, she had no discernable accent other than that of her native borough.

My grandpa, who lived to be 92, was one of those people whose accent grew heavier the longer he lived. To hear him bellow at the Mets -- as they blew game after game on the old cabinet TV -- in his thick accent, was a summertime routine.  

Needless to say, I am very fond of the Hungarian accent. If I hear it in public, spoken by strangers, I sidle over and, inconspicuously,  try to listen to the familiar inflections as memories rise around me like high tide at Coney Island.
"Wanna get some cawfee?"

I, myself, did not escape an accent and freely and loudly speak Brooklyn to this day. I can turn it on or off as the occasion dictates. For example, I toned it down ever so slightly when being introduced to Charlie's professors last year at graduation but  let it rip when I'm with old friends from the neighborhood.

Speaking of which, many years ago when I was 21 and dinosaurs freely roamed the earth, I visited California to spend some time with family.

My relatives were true Californians....complete with a Cali way of speaking and a laid-back attitude.The trip included Los Angeles and San Diego but I ended up in Palm Springs--the arid, chic playground of the then-stars, such as Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra.

One evening, we all went to a restaurant called "Pal Joey's" which, I was told, was an occasional hang-out of none other than Mr. Sinatra, himself.

Roughly eight of us were seated at a large, centrally located table when I noticed, lingering at the bar, a leathery middle-aged gentleman looking  at me very intently. I soon realized that, not only was he staring but he'd begun a slow stroll towards our table.

Wearing a tight-fitting black shirt, with a semi-longish comb-over, he had the look of a 70's hit man. As he approached, I become nervous, bracing myself as he came right up to the table.

Did I remind him of an old girlfriend who had done him employee who'd embezzled his money...his long-lost mother who'd run away with the circus when he was just a boy? Was I about to be accused of something, thrown out, shot by the concealed pistol he kept tucked discreetly into his polyester waistband?

Arriving at our table, he suddenly grinned. And, out of his smiling lips, came the purest form of a Brooklyn accent I'd heard since I boarded my flight west. Looking directly at me, his teeth very white against a deep, desert tan, he said,"YagottabefromBrooklyn! WhatpartaBrooklynyafrom?"

Laughing in relief and delighted to meet a New Yorker in the alien environs of California, I listened as he explained that he hadn't heard the accent of his homeland up close in a long time and that he missed it very much. We chatted as the table of west coast natives looked on in confusion. I honestly don't think they understood a word we said.

It turns out that he was the owner of the restaurant--a Brooklyn native adrift in a sea of valley-speak, drinks were now on the house.

As memories go, I will nevah,evah fuhggedaboudit.

Take a listen to Fran Fein and how English should be spoken.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No Snow This Year? You Can Thank Me.

Remember how last year, I took the blame for some very extreme weather Mother Nature dropped on us here in the northeast?

Specifically, I was distraught about the post-Christmas Day blizzard that shut down the tri-state area and wrought havoc from New England down to the mid-atlantic states.

I blamed myself because I had flippantly voiced a desire for a snowstorm that would "cripple the northeast." I did not count on the babies born in vestibules, city residents being snowed in for a week, the scores of emergencies that police could not reach due to blocked streets....I was very, very sorry I'd angered the snow gods with my arrogance.

The good news is that, inadvertently, I saved you all this year, suckas!
No, no! I said
Queen Latifah, not
John Travolta...

Yep, just as last years snow-pocalypse in the northeast was undeniably my doing, so is this years's winter of mild temperatures and lack of snow.

Why am I sure it's me and not the meteorological phenomena (wind currents, the earth's axis, Queen Latifah's breast reduction are all, supposedly, to blame) that weathermen have yapping about now for the past few week?

Easy: I spent good money on two pairs of Yaktrax at Costco. One for me. One for Seth.
Even Vanilla Ice
slips on ice.

Last year I wasted a lot of time lying on my back in my driveway. Not by choice...I would usually end up that way after some sort of spectacular fall involving the several-inches-thick ice on the driveway.

Agile and balletic as I am, I am no match for slick conditions and  would fall almost every time I stepped out of the garage.
So does Ice Cube.

This led to a period of self-imposed incarceration which translated to added poundage and distorted notions about reality (I thought I was Queen Latifah) so, when I saw these ice-busting babies advertised, I knew they were meant for me.

Little did I know that I would also be saving the region from a bad winter.

It's the same theory of deciding to carry an umbrella when rain is predicted: If the rain gods spot your umbrella, they are denied the fun of watching you enter your office soaked to the skin, or -- if it's summer -- seeing your underwear through your clothing. When they see that umbrella, they take their bag of tricks and go home.
Yaktrax at work

The same applies to ice and these magical shoes. For the past week, so convinced am I that they have chased away the ice spirits that I've taken to holding them aloft on a daily basis and waving them at the sky. And no, nothing makes my neighbors raise an eyebrow any more. They've seen it all.

So far, so good. Even after a light dusting of snow was deposited on my area this morning, the temperatures have risen and everything is melting away. No ice.

You are very welcome America.* After last year, it's the least I can do.

* I do, however, apologize to ski resorts, snowmobile dealerships and the entire cast of  "Jackass."

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dr. King

Martin Luther King Day will be celebrated this coming Monday on January 16. Here is an archived post from last year because it still effectively expresses how I feel. I hope you enjoy it....

I remember the day Martin Luther King was killed very clearly.

I was in fourth grade and attended a typical public school in a typical neighborhood in New York City in which relations between the races were typical of the time --tenuous but getting better.

The Civil Rights Movement was in the news and New York was ready for its overdue concepts. As a ten year old, I was into it---I loved Dr. King's speeches and what he stood for. I was thrilled by the footage on the news when he spoke at the Lincoln Memorial and thrilled again, years later, to stand on the very spot upon which he stood--it's place in history marked by a metal plaque.

In my school that afternoon, there was crying in the hallways and children were given the option to go home early.

As aware as I was, I knew mostly what I viscerally sensed that day--that Dr. King's assassination was something huge, horrible and monumental in the importance of a movement that, although devastated, would not be derailed---even by the loss of its leader.

I am very glad that one of the many results of that awful day is that, for the past 25 years, we have been officially honoring the memory of a great man, taken in his prime from not only a public who needed him but from his own young wife and small children.

Take a moment to watch the video below to watch Dr. King, in grainy black and white, deliver his great speech, "I Have a Dream," and you may experience the goose bumps I got as a little girl and still get today.

Enjoy your day but remember it's more than an opportunity to finally tend to that dry skin on your feet or shop the sales at Best Buy---it's the birthday of a man who advocated non-violence, love and unity. Your feet and the latest techno-crap can wait--go forth and spread the word.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mr. Fluffy Pants Pays a Visit

The air in the house had gotten very stale.

Before some predicted cold weather snuck into the region, I decided to do something about it while the temperatures were still on the mild side, so I made my way through the house, systematically opening each window wide.

The cats, who react very differently to specific categories of events -- for example, yawning and going back to sleep as I flail while choking on a stale marshmallow or panicking and running away when I decide to make the bed or walk into the living room -- became very restless as I opened the windows.
Cookie: Who is he?

Was it that, acutely aware of the seasons, they were distressed at the opening of windows in the dead of winter?

Were they concerned by what it costs to heat a house? I share this concern and was touched that this might be the problem.

Cookie, in particular, seemed very stressed as the fresh air began to pour in. Was she cold? She's an old lady, but does sport a nice fur coat for just such an event. Second in agitation was Nifi who started to make those unearthly low-in-the-throat cat moans....
Nifi: I will teach that
vagabond a lesson!

Was the opening of the windows causing PTSD since, during the warmer months, none of the cats seem to be able to remember that there are no windowsills in this house yet consistently try to leap up and look out. This always causes an embarrassing fall back to earth as they bounce off the screen and scramble for their footing.
I don't care if he has balls.
I am more handsome.

Were the cats reacting to the cloying stink of the smoke from my neighbors wood stoves? The approaching change in the weather? The new cast of Dancing With the Stars? 

Why were they meowing and milling?

I checked the water bowl. Full. Same for their trough of food--plenty to nibble between naps and trips to the litter box.

Then I saw him...

A huge grey and white long-haired male cat I'd never seen before. Handsome and limber, he languidly plopped on the winter grass, unashamedly licking his kitty privates for all to see. His presence on the outside was causing great turmoil on the inside.

Making it clear to the males that he has the run of the neighborhood while they (minus their testicles, no less) are stuck inside and, providing feline beefcake for the girls, he stretched and groomed in the pale sunlight.

I had little choice but to close the windows but the cats were already pretty upset. In an attempt to distract them, brushings were given, there was lots of vigorous under-the-chin rubbing and, finally, catnip was distributed to all.

Getting the cats good and stoned seemed to banish the vision of Mr. Fluffy Pants flaunting his freedom outside our windows. I hope he's moved on by summer.
Sleeping it off.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Welcome to the World of Crazy Celebrity Names, Blue Ivy.

You want to name her WHAT??
I have the winter doldrums.

This year I was blind-sided because the weather has been very mild but the lack of daylight has been the same as it is every year and I, therefore, get a little nuts.

I try not to involve the kids. But last night, Charlie called when I was sobbing over a recent Ex-Lax commercial (People are constipated? Waaaaahhhh!) and, in vain, tried to cheer me up. Not even news of the stupid name Beyonce and Jay-Z gave their new baby girl could raise my spirits.

Learning that yet another celebrity has given a child a ridiculous name usually perks me up a bit.
Jason Lee: Idiot
For example, Gwyneth Paltrow naming her daughter after a fruit gave me tons of material for the daily stand-up routine I do for the cats.

The same goes for when the Jolie-Pitts chose to evoke the memory of one of the most racist American politicians in recent history with their choice for their son, Maddox. And, when Jason Lee, of "My Name is Earl" lack of fame, picked the odd and misspelled moniker of Pilot Inspektor for an innocent child, I was happily snarky for days.

Now the schizophrenic Beyonce (Is she the demure, giggling, small town girl who blushes on talk shows or the sneering vixen of her videos? Men love the dichotomy but some of us lose sleep trying to solve this riddle) has not only named her daughter after both a color (or, a depressive state of mind), "Blue" and "Ivy," a sturdy plant.
Yes, Blue is after Jay-Z's ground and record breaking album, Blueprint. Big deal. 

And, while I knew a girl named Ivy and actually like the name, in tiny Blue Ivy's case, it's after her mother's favorite roman numerals, no less. IV. Four.

They thought a "number." Some will think "climbing plant" while I, in my current state, think "needle inserted by fumbling technician in the hospital, meant to transport fluids and medication into a sick person's veins."

Beyonce and Jay-Z (poor things, billions of dollars yet no last names) are not alone in the crazy name department.

Bono, that incredible walking ego, named his daughter Memphis Eve. Compared to Kal-El, the choice of the Nicholas Cages, this is no big deal until one recalls reading that Bono once purchased a first class seat on an airplane to transport his favorite hat safely to its destination.
I don't even know who I am.

Rob Morrow (who?) named his daughter Tu. (Say it: Tu Morrow) and Penn Jillette, the hulking doofus of (yawn) Penn and Teller fame named a tiny baby girl who arrived, sinless, in this world, Moxie Crimefighter.

What if Moxie and Pilot get married? The wedding announcement would read "Pilot Inspektor to wed Moxie Crimefighter." They would have no choice but to name their own child Nazi Hunter.

Jermaine Jackson, however, wins the day.

While his daughter has a cousin nicknamed "Blanket," he gave his baby girl a name so insane and hilarious that I cannot even be mad at him.
Blanket: My real name is Prince Michael.

It's a name that must have been hovering in the ether since his own name was bestowed upon him by the stable and loving unit of Mr. and Mrs. Jackson and, gauging by the rest of the hijinks in that group of nut jobs, it was inevitable....

Jermajesty Jackson.

Perfect. Hopefully, in the bizarr-o world inhabited by that entire family, reality will never touch her. So far, things are looking pretty good in that department.
And you thought your family was dysfunctional...

Well, I am feeling better. 

I would like to extend my congratulations to Beyonce and Jay-Z upon the birth of their daughter, Blue Ivy.

May she never be blue. May she always be strong and enduring like ivy. 

And, when the moment arrives, may she give her own daughter a simple name like Mary or Alice or Deborah. By the time she's ready to have children, those names will be considered really, really weird.