Friday Cat Blogging: Step Away, Walk Away Edition

The other day, I was reading around the Blogosphere, as I am wont to do, and this made me spit my Joint Juice:

I’m going to guess that “men” (and by men, Gallagher also means several women, none of whom count because hey look ocelots. [sic]

Long story short, men have a culturally bred higher tolerance for risk which has a lot more to do with generations of expectations that men go out and risk themselves to provide while women stay home and tend to what’s provided. Except when women do it, which again doesn’t count because jungle cats!

Naturally, I resented this because Resentment is my middle name. Also: Frances. See how those go together? Anyway, the thing I learned was that we’re not looking at enough adorable ocelots, so here is one.

I feel smarter already.

Yesterday, I stayed home from work, where they get very distressed when I lie on my cubicle floor and complain about my back, not to mention my shoulders, my neck and that I’m not allowed to drink delicious, painkilling scotch on company time. But that’s not important. What is important is that I was at home, trying to hold very still when the doorbell buzzed. Sharkey hates my doorbell. He says it sounds like Dad got the wrong answer and here come Richard Dawson’s lips. Anyway, I grabbed a kimono because it was Grandma’s and who was more modest than Grandma and answered the door. My hair was standing up straight. The super asked if he could show my apartment so he could, you know, rent it. I looked at him. I looked at me in foundation garments, a cotton nightgown and my grandmother’s kimono and said, “Gimme ten minutes” knowing full well that if I hadn’t been there, he would’ve marched the people waiting on the sidewalk right through my door.

After the people left, I could not find Topaz and Drusy. Hang on, then –

Ocelots are the cutest thing since pink noses. Sometimes they have those! Anyway, I hunted for the invisible pussycats all over the one bedroom apartment. I searched the bathroom and the litter boxes. I searched the kitchen near the food. Nobody came running! I searched the carpet-covered cat-scratchy pillar o’ cat fun thing. I searched the top of the curtain rods, the laundry shelves and the dryer. I searched windowsills for inflatable stairs like for plane emergency exits. No dice! Topaz and Drusy had gone Full Kitty Invisible. There was nothing to do but wait for my darlings to reappear.

As I’ve moved things out of the apartment, new kitty resting spots reveal themselves – to the cats, anyhow. Drusy’s new favorite place to nap is the top shelf in my closet. I looked there. You’ll note this closet, pictured, is empty of anyone resembling Drusy or Topaz, but this is not my closet so that’s not really a surprise. I’m at work, where I don’t have digital images of my closet. Do you? Duh!

Anyway, after about half an hour, the Invisibility wore off and there was Drusy at my feet, making that adorable bugling sound that refers to me. I believe the cats all call me “Shep” but it’s a family name so I don’t mind. And there was Topaz, reflecting light again. I didn’t even ask where they’d gone. I was just glad to have them back.

Also: I called the super and told him to make an appointment next time. If I’m surprised I might be wearing something very high risk.

She Was Dark At the Top of the Stairs

During the Men’s Individual All-Around last night, Elfi Schlegel said that little girls admired Olga Korbut because she was cute. That was true – to a degree.

Some of us admired her because she kicked a whole lot of stale, ladylike ass.

His Hair Was Perfect

Pete took these beautiful pictures of my family being herded like cats on a beach in Cape Cod. Grandpa turned 96 and Miss Sasha’s baby Panky being seven months old meant Mom hired a photographer, issued a dress code order and refused to hear complaints from anyone. I do mean anyone. When Grandpa was done for the day, we got in the car and drove off while Mom was still threatening to cut off our inheritances. We weren’t fooled. While most people have some intention of dying and leaving their children something, if it means parting with her stuff Mom’s going to live forever.

Pete, lifelong observer of my family’s politics, dressed according to the dress code and appears in some pictures. This is because nobody ever gets to leave my family without getting a restraining against half the town, so he’s stuck with us. Mom had lots of pictures planned: Grandpa’s direct descendants, Mom’s and Tom’s children and grandchildren, smaller family units. So Pete had plenty of time to take pictures of the beleaguered yet cheerful photographer herding us like cats. By the time the little boys were bored, throwing rocks and digging for China seemed like an awesomely awesome idea. Pete loves Cape Cod. Plus: throwing rocks and digging for China – ya hunh!

Before the photographer arrived, we parked and wandered around on the beach rocks. I handed Pete the camera and asked him to take pictures of the chaos, and they are fantastically quirky. The beach, Tom told us, is one of the few spots on the East Coast where the sun sets over the ocean. Since the place was so special, we were all surprised when the photographer moved us across the street to a spot next to the salt marsh. The path was rocky and we all worried about Grandpa’s footing, but he managed with a cane and four nervous helpers. The spot where we stopped lay between two banks of rose hip bushes, all the more amusing because Daria’s wildly allergic to rose hips. So, you know, it’s not just a mildly hostile and odd image, it’s a brush with brushy death.

Mom wanted a picture of her grandchildren and great-grandson before the photographer arrived. They all sat on the rocks and Pete caught this wild image of babies crying, grandchildren arguing, children laughing, spectators like myself gasping for breath as the sun bobbed above the horizon behind them. My brother Todd’s little son was hysterical so Todd scooped him up and dropped him back down for the pictures my sisters frantically snapped off to Pete’s right. Here, Todd’s still trying to comfort the inconsolable toddler.

We spent two days with much of my family during which the screaming of children was pretty much to be expected. It was the incessant screaming of their parents that took Pete and me by surprise. Tonight, we watch the Olympics in near silence and listen for the padding footsteps of perplexed pussycats. For the moment, we are at home.

Rise Up In the Sweat And Smoke Like Mercury

Sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you make a movie with Rula Lenska.

Fortunately, my stepmommy Darla is looking out for my best interests. The word cinematic doesn’t quite cover this career opportunity.

HENCHMEN NEEDED
(London, but planned worldwide expansion)

Turtleneck sweaters! Oh goody!

20-30 henchmen needed for moderately-sized supervillain organisation with large expansion potential (fortresses built into geological structures, corruption of government officials, possible genesis of ‘nemesis’ vigilante). Electrical theme.

Applicants must be willing to learn new skills, including but not limited to operation of specialised ‘lightning guns’. Applicants will also be required to wear specialised uniform when at work (functional rubber suits with my logo on front), except in cases where deception is required (posing as hostages in order to ambush vigilantes, etc).

Desired (but not necessarily required) in applicants:

-interesting deformations/obsessions/powers(?) giving rise to interesting nicknames (e.g. Claws, Pyro, Buzzsaw, and similar)
-unwavering loyalty
-being a corruptible government official
-ability to work as part of a close-knit team (unless interesting obsession is of the ‘lone wolf’ variety)
-grudge against any well-known vigilante
-flexible moral code

This seems ambitious. Can I apply for entry level Minion?

Equal opportunies employer. Both henchmen and femmes fatales absolutely welcome.

Great promotion opportunities – right-hand-man position constantly being unexpectedly opened. Would look good on any future supervillain resume/CV.

Send an email with details of any prior henchman work, or details of what is driving you to join the ranks of a supervillain organisation. Will reply to all serious applicants. Hope to hear from you, and with luck, welcome you into a rewarding and promising career!

– Jacque (The Zapper) Zerapi

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I just read the words prior henchman work!

* Location: London, but planned worldwide expansion
* Compensation: £20,000pa starting salary, with added commissions based around success of supervillain operations. Contracts negotiable depending on applicant’s personal skills/powers.
* Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
* Please, no phone calls about this job!
* Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

Well, of course not! Creating a supervillain organization is going to take up your whole day. Thus, we still have all night to puzzle over this vomity vomitrociousness:

Hat tip: the guy who sits next to me in the library.

Ephesians? You read your kid Ephesians and wonder why she can’t fucking sleep? How about something a little more secular and age appropriate like those lovely Bronte Sisters: “It was the only house on the moors and it was creepy. Beautiful and creepy. Cathy and I fell in love, which was beautiful and creepy. One day, she was annoyed and the next day she was dead of fever, which made her beautiful, though no less creepy. I mourned her as only I, Heathcliff, could mourn her, beautifully and creepily. And in death she hounded me to mine. Which is, you guessed it…” I suppose Goodnight Moon is out of the question because it might interest the little darling in science or bears or something – but listen, I have one important word for the maker of these terrifying pajamas: headbands.

A bazillion years ago, headbands became an overnight sensation. I can’t recall seeing them on the street, but I can’t remember if I’m wearing shoes, so that’s no certain indicator. Anyway, suddenly, everywhere a person turned, there floated the smiling face of Olivia Newton John sporting a headband and warbling Let’s Get Physical, which was hugely mortifying. If you had a pulse. I immediately understood what had happened: a small group of people in a closed environment had one stupid thought and because of the pressurized environment it blew up and made a giant, fashionable mess. Headbands would not have happened if even one person – one person! – had said in a stern voice, “You all look stupid. Cut that shit out and get back to work. Those thighs aren’t going to firm themselves.”

This has got to be said: Crazy person – and I mean that in the nicest, least judgmental and not at all spitting-mad manner – Crazy person, despite your best intentions and despite what you think you see, your children look like the best dressed Klansmen on the whole fashionably doomed Templar crusade. Burn these terrible costumes – not on Iman’s front lawn, mind you, no matter what she’s peddling at Target. Resist the impulse. I can tell you feel it! Get rid of these hateful things, plunk your kids into some soft, pastel footie pajamas and read them some motherfucking Winnie the Pooh. Save your children a lifetime of wishing YOU would get therapy.

The Bottom of the Bottomless Blue Blue

Comedienne Paula Poundstone had an excellent bit about kittens. I can’t do it justice myself, so I’ll humbly paraphrase: Sometimes we’re proud of the wrong thing. My cat climbs the curtains. I don’t want her to do that, but she’s way up at the top. When she’s way up there, what does she say? “Mom! Mom! I’m up sooooo high!”

This protester, whose zen-like white middle class obliviousness has been disrupted by high oil prices, an uppity Negro with the gall to run for high office and Italian lettuce, is digging her adorable kitty claws into the curtain rod.

Via Dependable Renegade.

Don’t Go Out the Back Door

Some months ago.

Miss Sasha: We’re having ‘Panky christened in August.
Tata: In a church? Like, splashy-splashy, scrub off the original sin?
Miss Sasha: Yes, and then we’re having a luau at Dad’s house.
Tata: You’re serving roast pig to old Jews on a Catholic occasion and setting it to soothing hula music?
Miss Sasha: When you put it that way…
Tata: Lightning’s bound to strike. I’ll go roller skate under an antenna in some other town.

Later.

Daria: You’re going.
Tata: I’m not going.
Daria: You’re going.
Tata: Nope. Not going!

Also.

Tata: Dude, I can’t go.
Minstrel Boy: It ain’t about you. Zip yer lip and go.
Tata: Thanks for setting me straight, cowboy – as straight as I get, anyhow.
MB: Well, gotta mosey off into the sunset, fight crime and mix metaphors. Burr whisk, away!

Later.

Daria: You’re going.
Tata: Maybe.
Daria: You’re going.
Tata: Maybe. Man, I’m sick of talking about this.

After that.

Tata: I cannot in good conscience spend my whole week fighting the homophobic and anti-choice rhetoric and violence of the church and show up on Sunday in a grass skirt. Hey, did you know I could say the words in good conscience without laughing hysterically?
Miss Sasha: Fine. Wear your coconut bra to the party. I know you have one.

Thursday.

Miss Sasha: I have potentially upsetting news.
Tata: I’m still the black sheep of an increasingly angry family?
Miss Sasha: My biological father’s coming on Sunday.
Tata: Who knew that black sheep came blacker? Because there’s one now.

Saturday.

Tata: I thought you were staying in Cape Cod and coping with a plumbing disaster.
Mom: If he goes to the christening tomorrow I’m not going.
Tata: Have you made this declaration to Miss Sasha?
Mom: Not yet. If I call now it’ll ruin dinner.
Tata: …Whereas if you wait, you can wreck her entire evening! I’ll have to try that next time.

You will no doubt be pleased to hear that no one was killed in the baptizing of this baby.

Time To Let It Grow

If I hadn’t recently started taking bellydancing lessons I might not have noticed this right away. The teacher lives in the house directly behind me as I pointed my camera toward the town’s main drag. Many streets in this town look just like this: large, old houses and snug, old Cape Cods, surrounded by trees and plants. A large number of the houses were built by the same builders in the early twentieth century. My great-grandfather bought a house for his wife and seven children eight blocks away in 1917. The trees are an important part of the character of the town, which prides itself on being a walking community: you can walk to the store, to a restaurant, to buy a snow shovel. A few years ago, the Department of Public Works began doing something mysterious: cutting off the tops of healthy trees and leaving fifteen or twenty foot stumps. Two avenues over, there’s a block that looks like totem pole training school.

One day, I drove past the teacher’s house and saw a Department of Public Works crew had taken the treetop of the tree on the corner and started hacking asymetrically at the next one. I was horrified but not as horrified as the teacher and her family, who were traumatized. After some thought, I proposed the homeowners turn that one tall stump on the corner into art supplies by inviting woodworking sculptors to make something of it. They’d have to wait a year for the wood to dry, but it could be done. As you can see, surprises were in store.

If this story sounds confused time-wise, there might be a good reason for that: I was frantically working on other things. Each time a treetop came off it was after crews departed, apparently finished, but returned. On Thursday as I drove home from work I saw five crew trucks and a large crew taking down the second and third trees. I had my digital camera with me but I was so busy fighting the urge to turn a chainsaw on a chainsaw-wielding lunkhead it didn’t occur to me to menace same with a camera. So: that’s totally my fault. I’ll try to remember next time to calmly threaten cobags with Kodaks, their natural enemies. The moment passed, but there’s one important thing to remember: the trucks weren’t from the Department of Public Works. They were from a private contractor, the trees were on town land and were town property.

Sometimes the town takes down a tree when it interferes with the electric lines, but these were no different from trees anywhere in town in that the had grown up around the wires. So what’s to stop Public Works from deforesting the entire town? This drives my brother-in-law Dan crazy. He’s a landscape architect. Every time I tell him the Department of Public Works is up to something he gets a weary look in his eye like he’s retired from crimefighting, hung up his tights and it’s someone else’s turn. He says the last tree the crews cut has a hollow, round spot, which made me wonder if they’d started with the wrong tree and kept going. He says, “The trees must have been a hazard of some kind, right?” I’m so mad about this Dan’s in grave danger of explaining to a judge why I should be denied bail.

When I took these pictures yesterday the sunlight was so bright I couldn’t see the pictures I took. I was guessing. The teacher turned into her driveway as I stood there, staring at electrical wires and wondering what the camera saw. She was shocked to see the fourth tree apparently cut in half after she left the house that morning. My sister says a consultant working for the Department of Public Works gets paid to decide to take down trees and if there’s no deciding there’s no job. That may or may not be the case. The town has a committee that makes decisions about trees. Yesterday, that group’s website was down.

There may be a perfectly rational explanation for what’s happened here. I’d like to hear it. The homeowners would like to hear it, too.