I’m sorry I took your cat

Dear Richard,

Thank you so much for hosting the society party last month. It was really tops, from the decor to the music. What do you call that genre again? Fancy? Stringy? Sleepy? Oh, that’s right. Classical. It was nice. I liked the part with the canons and violins. Remind me again who won in that song.

By the way, I’m sorry I took your cat. In my defense, you DO own 6 of them, and I own none. And, to be honest, it’s your cat who chose ME, not the other way around. If you could have seen the way she looked at me – like I was made of fish, and she hadn’t eaten in weeks. True, I had my fair share of the tuna-cracker appetizers, and your cat definitely noticed, but I could just tell there was more to it than that. (Full disclosure: I know the caterer didn’t prepare any tuna-cracker appetizers – they never do – so I brought my own.) We made a connection. Her eyes seemed to say “Take me with you, I can’t bear this place another second.”

At first, I tried to ignore her – thought I was misreading her signals – but then she rubbed up against my leg and purred. Do cats even do that? I always thought they were supposed to be aloof and disinterested. I just happened to have a trunk full of leashes that I won from Three-Haired Bernie in last week’s poker match. Poor sucker was going to pay me in cash, but I insisted on the leashes. Richard, some of those leashes are made with REAL FREAKING NAUGAHYDE and at least ten of them came pre-bedazzled! Anyway, I had this whole trunk full, and I’m thinking “Coincidence? No possible way.” I whispered “stay right here” to – oh, yeah, I don’t know what her name was before, but now it’s “Mademoiselle Pretty-Pretty Fish Mittens” – while I went to the car to retrieve my best leash.

Turns out, Fish Mittens is NOT leash trained. It took like 5 leashes to restrain her, and she settled a bit after I placed her in the box with my tuna-crackers. But still, the ride home was not her best moment. I managed to get her home safely, and after a quick shower and some Benadryl, she was back to her charming self. Oh, by the way, your butler, and the guests who arrived in fancy cars as I was leaving? They’re all out of Grey Poupon.

It’s been a good couple of weeks. She enjoys long walks, boy cats, and fishing out of the aquarium. (Oh, yes – I’m also sorry about taking your fish. I’m sure you understand, now that you know about the cat.) She also enjoys sleeping on top of warm things like my car hood or the window sill above the furnace exhaust vent, so I’ve taken to just leaving the oven on low all day with the door open. She really likes it, and it makes for great conversation when I invite the neighbors over for dinner.

So, I guess this is both an “apology” and “thank you” letter. Mademoiselle Pretty-Pretty Fish Mittens and I are both doing great, though I don’t suspect either of us will be back to visit anytime soon. Your butler made that clear after the whole Grey Poupon debacle.



P.S. Please enjoy this picture I drew of me and Fish Mittens taking a bath.


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Octopi Wall Street

The octopi have taken up residence on Wall Street.  Also, soccer futures are up.

Octopi Occupy Wall Street



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Baghdad Bob at Occupy Wall Street

Baghdad Bob visits the Occupy Wall Street Protests:

All of the protesters have gone homeBaghdad Bob – All of the protesters have gone home


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Come in to apply for cents!

Come in to apply for cents!!!

Lottery marketing, or job application fee?

As seen at the local Motomart.  Their new electronic display never has quite worked right.

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Cat Payback



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Fresh Flowers and Pure Lard

I totally sense a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup moment in the making here:

Fresh Flowers and Pure Lard - a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup moment in the making

Fresh Flowers and Pure Lard. Mmmm.

This flower shop is now closed, and a Chinese buffet has taken its place.

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New Orleans travel guide written by a guy who’s never been there

So, you’re headed to New Orleans for a vacation. I’ve never been there myself, but I’ve seen some movies, read a lot about it, and I order the N’awlins Skillet at Applebee’s all the time. Here are some things you’re going to want to know.

There’s this one area of New Orleans where they’ve created a street canal filled with

Bacchus, also known as "Mardi Gras" in French

Bacchus, also known as "Mardi Gras" in French

bourbon. This was done to celebrate the the patron saint of New Orleans, “Mardi Gras.” Mardi was French, born on a Tuesday, and was very fat. The Greeks called him “Bacchus,” but the French had to make up their own name for him (they do that).  Every year, people from all over the world come to New Orleans on Mardi Gras’ birthday, drink from the street of bourbon, and wear masks so their bosses won’t recognize their pictures that will end up on Facebook and Twitter.

New Orleans is also the only man-made island-city in the continental US. It is surrounded by a lake, a river, and the ocean. Since it’s below sea level, they had to build a giant wall (called a levee) around the city to keep the water out, otherwise, the water would seep in and seriously dilute the bourbon canal. The wall also helps keep the alligators out. They’re very thick in some places, and they live in swampy areas called “Bayous,” where it’s hard to distinguish between land and water. Despite the gator danger, some brave locals like to take their boats out into the water to go fishing. Sometimes folks fall in, at which point, they’re pretty much gator food. “Bye, you” (Bayou) is about the only thing left to say at this point. Late at night, if you listen carefully, you can hear the ghostly cries of the souls lost to the Bayou: “Aiyeeeeeeee!”

Some of the best music in the world comes from New Orleans. It’s a wonderfully inclusive musical culture. At any given moment, any old anybody can start a parade just by blowing on a trumpet. They even have a very “special” kind of musical parade reserved just for second chair band students. They call these groups “second line,” and they’re just so cute. Whenever I hear the second line, I just wanna reach out and squeeze some cheeks and say “Keep trying! You’ll make it to the first line soon!”  There’s also Cajun music, which is good for dancing and storytelling, though it’s hard to understand the words, so I’m not entirely sure about the storytelling part.  Zydeco music is a little like Cajun music, only faster, and they borrow some of the off-duty second line drummers and saxophonists to fill out the sound a bit.  It’s still hard to understand all the words.

You’ll want to know about the Cajun people when you visit New Orleans, as well. The Cajuns are basically French Canadians who left Canada in search of decent spicy Mexican food. They got in their boats, and ended up at the end of the Mississippi River (New Orleans). There, they discovered crawdads, shrimp, turtle, and even some alligator, mixed it with Mexican spices, and created many wonderful new Cajun dishes: gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice. My favorite is “Étouff, eh?”  This genre of food is also referred to as “French-Mex.”

The New Orleans healthcare system consists solely of shamans and psychics.  In fact, the head of the New Orleans Medical Association is a rather famous shaman-psychic: Miss Cleo.

One of Hendrix's Voodoo Children

One of Hendrix's Voodoo Children

She rose to power with a welcoming open-door policy which allows her patients to call her 24/7, 365 days a year.  Despite no documented cases of actual medical, psychic, emotional, or other assistance, Miss Cleo continued to rise in popularity, and cared for a good number of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Children.”  Miss Cleo later moved to Seattle and took up acting, but her legacy remains.  The Voodoo Children remain in New Orleans, and many have opened their own private “medical offices.”

I hope this has been a helpful summary of New Orleans for you.  In closing, my Bibliography:



  1. Easy Rider, the movie
  2. Applebee’s N’awlins Skillet, menu description
  3. The internet
  4. That one song about the Bayou they play on Sesame Street
  5. A strange dream I had after buying a sparkly red accordion from a neighbor’s yard sale.

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Workers Only

Coming home from work is like opening a treasure chest. Or Pandora’s box. Or a radioactive barrel of snakes, monkeys, and laser beams. I don’t know what kind of life Forest Gump’s momma lived, but it wasn’t like mine.

It’s hard to tell if this sign has a misspelling, or if it’s just out of order. It could very well mean that workers caught walking will be thrown. As evidence, I offer the swelling depicted on the worker’s knee. You do NOT want to end up like him.
post-it note warning from my daughter

Also, my son was given a new bike with pegs today. He is not a worker, but even if he was, he walks nowhere.
Home made sports tape bandage - result of trying out new bike

So basically, you will swell and/or bleed no matter who you are, or how you enter our house. Please wipe your feet on the welcome mat.

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Playing With Fire – Part 2

Playing With Fire – Part 1

Ant after the magnifying glass

As I grew older, making and controlling fire became more complex, as did my tactics to hide my activities.

The best thing about cheap telescopes is what’s inside:  awesome fire-making magnifying glasses.  I started with simple stuff – newspaper, piles of leaves – then quickly moved on to moving targets.  Ants, beetles, spiders.  I think I liked frying ants the best, as the big ones popped like popcorn.  I competed against myself for popping distance.  I confess – this activity still tempts me.  I’ve been known to roast marshmallows with magnifying glasses in the comfort of my own home when the sun shines through the kitchen window just right.

Fireworks  were mostly forbidden by my parents, which meant that I could only purchase supplies enough to last from the time school got out until they returned home from work.  Just setting off fireworks by themselves is boring, though.  They must be bound to or inserted in something else to realize their full potential.  As I’ve never been content to allow energy to remain kinetic, I felt it my duty to assist with said realization. With the help of friends, I scattered ant colonies, sent army men into space, and turned hubcaps into UFOs.  The pinnacle of my firework experiences had to be the Batman car.  I bought a 10″ black plastic toy car, then glued, taped and bound about 2 pounds of fireworks to it.  The results weren’t quite what I was expecting, but satisfying just the same.  The car flipped, spun, surged, then melted until it was one with the asphalt.  In the aftermath, I had but a few quick seconds to stomp out several small fires in a 20 foot diameter before running from the cops.

Continuing with the automotive theme, I began to dream up new ways to dress up my Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby car.  I carved out some thick wooden wings, attached them with wood glue, hollowed out the back of the car, and inserted a model rocket engine (“D” sized – the biggest available locally).  The test launch resulted in immediate wing removal, many screams, a chaotic flight path that was impossible to predict, and a crash landing in my neighbor’s garden.  Make that an ON FIRE garden.  I stomped it out, ran away, and slept on it until I could come up with a better plan.  Day 2 improvements included roller skate wheels (looked like a hot rod), and a safer launching area – the school playground.  This time, I gathered my friends, as I knew these new improvements were completely FOOLPROOF.  The roller skate wheels helped – a little.  At launch, the car stood straight up, rose slowly, and hovered just above everyone’s head.  More screaming.  Only 1 hat destroyed.  Win.

And then there were the propellants.  If it had an active ingredient that ended in “ane,” it was fair game.  Hairspray, bug killer, WD40, PAM – this stuff would keep me and an arson buddy occupied for hours.  I think our favorite activity was filling our mouths with the propellant from near-empty hair mousse bottles, lighting a match, then breathing fire.

Now that I’m nearly 40 with children, I’ve restricted myself to the occasional “Oops, filled the BBQ up with too much propane before I pushed the button” incidents, and throwing acorns into campfires.  But, if someone steals my stapler again, I might just have to kick it back up a notch.




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Playing with Fire – Part 1

I used to* light things on fire when I was younger.  The best fires were typically made without my parents’ knowledge or consent (bless their hearts).  I blame lack of color TV or video games for leading me down this path.

In kindergarten, I was in a sort of secret club with the girl down the street from us.  We were constantly trying to one-up our previous creative pursuits, each activity slightly more dangerous than the one before.  It started with intentionally slathering our hands with glue, waiting for it to dry, and seeing who could peel the largest pieces off.  (Side note:  Yep, no TV.)  Later, we graduated to stuff like making our own bows and arrows, drawing treasure maps and digging just about anywhere without calling JULIE (neighbor’s lawn, alleys, and next to those green metal humming boxes with the lightning bolts and CAUTION signs), and finally – making fire.

My parents had a nice variety of matches on the fireplace mantle.  Enough that they wouldn’t miss a pack or ten.  So, I provided the matches, and she provided the location.  We decided it would be best to light these fires in the woods (The Olympic National Forest, to be precise), out of view of the grown-ups.  I know – smart, right?  Totally fool proof.  We found a hollowed out log that stayed fairly dry inside – perfect for storing our stash of matches.  We started with piles of leaves and dry pine needles, and gradually worked our way up to small camp fires.  When we were done for the day, we’d simply stomp out anything hot or red, hide the matches, and head home.  This would have kept us occupied for MONTHS, had it not been for HIM.

Just days after we’d started to get the hang of incendiary tactics, our doorbell rang.  It’s another kid that I didn’t recognize.  He’s holding some of OUR matches!  “I was playing with these matches in the woods, and my mom found out, and now I’m s’posed to ask you if they’re yours.”  CRAP! Game over.

The next day, the whole family drives down the the local fire station where we meet the chief.  He talks to us about how dangerous fire is, shows us some pictures of burned-down houses and firemen who’d died in the line of duty.  I was in kindergarten.  I couldn’t really comprehend all of that, but it did make an impact.  We got to check out the fire trucks, ring “the bell,” and my brother and I were each given fire hats to take home with us.  A pretty cool day, actually.  Not punishy at all!  Rad!

So, I stayed away from matches for a good 2-3 weeks, and temporarily moved on to playing with the knife that my dad kept on his dresser.  That didn’t last long, as I soon cut my finger, got mad, threw the knife into the horse pasture next door, and left it there.  I knew that the horses would trample me the moment I climbed the fence, so I made plans to return to fire . . .

*Have not made any fire so far today

Playing with Fire – Part 2

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