Thursday, November 27, 2008

Who you gonna call? Drunkbusters!

There's nothing more embarrassing when you're driving drunk than running over yourself. I love that New Mexico has a "Drunkbusters hotline" for reporting drunk drivers. Now if we only had 1-800-A-HOLE.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Like I said, George Bush hates bald eagles

Before Bush leaves office, somebody better get a serious surveillance camera set up in Crawford, Texas. Bald eagles just aren't safe from him. Hastily issuing pardons before he vacates his office, Bush made sure to expunge the record of convicted bald-eagle poisoner Leslie Owen Collier. Collier received two years' probation and a $10,000 fine for killing several eagles, which at the time were protected by law under the federal Endangered Species Act. The convicted felon will now be allowed to possess firearms again. Not sure about his continued access to poison though.

Collier set out to poison coyotes, and the toxins went up the food chain and killed the scavenging eagles. Know why Collier wanted to kill the coyotes? To increase the wild turkey population. "I got it in my head that if I eliminated some of the coyotes it would give the turkeys a jump-start," Collier said.

If Benjamin Franklin had gotten his way, the wild turkey would have been our national bird, not the bald eagle. He wrote:
"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.
I suppose Republicans would view bald eagles as nature's "welfare cheats."

Maybe it is out of respect for Ben that politicians feel compelled to pardon turkeys this time of year. At least Bush's pardon today of two turkeys was slightly less gruesome than Sarah Palin's photo op. There's probably no one that hasn't yet seen the video of Ms. Palin's pardon of a turkey—an act that brought, said Palin, a little "levity" to the holiday. Indeed, nothing could have been a bigger hoot than the bloodbath going on behind her as she mugged for the cameras!

As a footnote, Ben Franklin made an alternative suggestion for the rattlesnake as an appropriate symbol of "the temper and conduct of America."

Hiss. Rattle. Indeed.

Click to view a list of Bush's other pardonees and their crimes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy anniversary to me

Eleven years ago today, I met the Madame. Shortly after that, I met the Mister. She says he was reluctant to meet me at the time. That was because he knew what usually comes after the "meeting." It's the "moving in."

My purpose, besides being a welcome addition to the rather (in my opinion) substandard assortment of felines living here, was to be a "service cat." The Madame would take me to places where old and sick people are forced to live without feline companions (oh, the cruelty). My job would be to make them feel better. The lady who originally "rescued" me said I could be taken on a trial basis to make certain I could fulfill my mission. The Madame assures me now that she would have retained me whether or not I passed any test. But it turns out, I did pass the test. I was escorted to a "nursing home" and made the rounds to meet all the people there. Conservatively, I'd say I let about 20 people touch me. They were all nice enough. No one tried to restrain me, which I have no tolerance for. I just sat on their laps and allowed them to admire my lovely coat, which I'm told feels as soft as a bunny's. I purred a little bit too, just to sweeten the deal.

There was one woman at the home who was lying on her back in her bed. She was "unresponsive." The Madame placed me on the bed. The woman didn't look at the Madame or at me, but she began stroking my fur. In a little bit, she told me she loved me. And I hadn't even done anything! (This could have been the beginning of my rather fluffy ego.) Madame got pretty choked up later about that old lady. She tried to explain to me the import of what had happened.

The Madame had hoped that I would be able to visit other places. But, alas, nursing homes and hospitals and such are pretty anti-cat. For some reason, felines haven't been able to break into the world of animal therapy like dogs have. I don't understand why there is such prejudice. Even with dog therapy, there are a million hoops to jump through (dogs are more inclined to jump through hoops than we). Certification. Liability. Blah, blah, blah. The Madame says it saddens her deeply when people become unable to take care of themselves and are forced to "give up" their animals when they go live in a special place. How could a place be special when there are no animals there? Will Rogers did not even want to enter the Pearly Gates without his pets. Said he: "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."

The Madame is about to cry. I'd better go and comfort her. It's what I'm here for.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What does Michael Phelps smell like?

Off the top of my head, I would've guessed chlorine. Turns out, the Olympic swimmer is partial to a cologne by Yves Saint-Laurent. How do I know this? Because People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive will hit newsstands tomorrow. The issue features "scratch and sniff" ads—based on confessions by several celebrities of what fragrance makes them feel sexiest. Some actor I've never heard of who is on a show I've never seen ("Gossip Girl") reveals that freshly cut grass does it for him (not sure how his girlfriend—or boyfriend—feels about that). Actor Taye Diggs digs vanilla, chocolate, sandalwood and musk essential oils. Why would anyone wear a fragrance that smells like food? the Madame asked me. That'd just make be hungry. I'd tell the Mister: Stop pawing me—I'm savoring my chicken-fried-steak perfume.

Apparently this type of sensory advertising is nothing new at People. In 2006, they included a "lick the page" ad designed to tempt readers to buy Welch's grape juice. Oh my lord! Don't people know where that magazine's been?! She explained to me that People is the magazine that shoppers usually flip through as they're waiting in the grocery line. Then they put it back in the rack after they've left their grubby fingerprints all over it.

No one in this house licks magazines, though if you accidentally drop one on the floor, the very confused, troubled fat cat Isabel might pee on it. Trust me, that's a scratch-and-sniff you don't wanna be a part of.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

E-pologies: The newest way to adulterate your contrition

Occasionally, I throw up on things. There was that ill-fated modem catastrophe. And there's been a time or two when I wasn't able to jump off the bedspread in time. But the Madame and Mister are very forgiving. I apologize for being sick, and then they apologize for attempting to poison me.

But often it's inconvenient to apologize in person. Or to call. Or even to craft an e-mail. Sometimes you just want software to do it for you. Announcing: I'm For free, you can e-mail a virtual olive branch to anyone you've wronged. Shell out a few bucks, and the person will receive a fancier card. You can even send housewares and apparel with the I'm Sorry logo—including the I'm Sorry boxer shorts ($20) and the I'm Sorry beer steins ($15). You know, so the person will always remember the time you "accidentally" dropped a hair dryer into her bathtub.

Supposedly, the folks at I'm donate part of the money to charity (although I have no idea how you can verify this). This way, your transgress-ee knows that you're not only terribly sorry about him or her, but also about starving children. It's hard to not forgive someone like that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Forgive me Father, for I have voted for Obama

If the smackdown over a Florida priest's stinginess with communion wafers wasn't enough, now a priest in South Carolina doesn't want to give up the goods either. If you voted for Obama, that is. Father Jay Scott Newman wrote in the St. Mary's Catholic Church bulletin:

"Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ's Church and under the judgment of divine law," wrote Father Newman. "Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation."

He added: "Our nation has chosen for its chief executive the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for president."

Really? I wish Father Newman (or someone else) would point me to his sources. And for crying out loud, hasn't it already been established that Obama is the most radical, socialist, baby-killing, terrorist-coddling pinko ever elected President? Enough already.

Newman wrote: "This election was effectively decided by the votes of self-described (but not practicing) Catholics, the majority of whom cast their ballots for President-elect Obama."

Well, that's one way to conserve wafers.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Floridians taking communion too seriously

A Jensen Beach, Fla., man who got a little too greedy with communion wafers "outraged" and "offended" his fellow parishioners and ended up in the slammer this morning. The man reportedly grabbed a handful of wafers from the priest and then tried to flee, but his fellow worshipers blocked his path and held him down while police were summoned.

Dag, I thought. Where is this Jensen Beach? And what kind of rough-and-tumble town is it?

So I Googled on down to Florida and did some virtual sightseeing. Turns out, Jensen Beach is just 15 miles away from the community of Fort Pierce, where on Monday a man allegedly pummeled his ex-girlfriend for eating his sardines and Vienna sausages, which the newspaper described as "a popular canned weiner product" (the Madame informed me that the proper pronunciation is Vy-EEN-uh sausages, like hyena).

In the same town, whose tourism Web site extols the residents' "peaceful quality of life," an 11-year-old boy hit his mother in the head with a saw Thursday and then offered her five bucks not to call the police. He was later booked for aggravated battery. My first thought was, what kind of mother calls the cops on her kid for inflicting a minor laceration? But it turns out, there's something seriously sociopathic going on, and I don't want to make light of that (let's just say, the family cat has been really, really lucky). Still, I've got to wonder what the heck is in the water down there.

You're on dangerous ground, Madame. Are you SURE you want to go there?

I remember when the Madame found out that Brad Pitt had insulted his dear bride by cavorting with Angelina Jolie. Ugh, she moaned. What the bloody hell is wrong with that guy? Pitt's stock dipped further when he surrendered completely to the Angelina vortex. (Hmm. That sounded dirty. But I'll leave it. I think you know what I mean.)

On the matter of looks, the Madame believes there is no contest between the fresh-faced, adorable Aniston and the sphincter-pouted Jolie. Just behold her on the cover of December Vogue. But that is superficial—none of us hopes to be judged on those traits.

On the matter of talent, there has never been a question, she says. In her Oscar-winning Girl Interrupted performance, Jolie was as annoying as the movie, the Madame opines. Aniston is the superior actor, and she usually makes better choices.

On the matter of charity, the Madame is not going to knock anyone's contributions. Jolie's have been admirable. Aniston's have been more under-the-radar, but she has done her share and she seems more graceful about it. Less obsessive. Less frenetic. More Audrey Hepburnesque.

On the matter of temperament, the Madame says, Jen easily trumps Angecrazy. She seems nice, sweet, humble, wise, grounded. It would knock the wind out of the Madame if Jen showed up on a talk show with a vial of someone's blood around her neck.

Why do you care? I asked. You don't even know her. You've never been obsessed with or impressed in general with celebrities. I don't know, she says. There's just something about down-to-earth people that makes the world seem more navigable.

I think the Madame has been drinking the Kool-Aid. And now I'm off to enable "Moderate Comments," as I feel a sh@t storm approaching.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I've been tagged (but not yet released)

My colleague over at The Political Cat swatted at me and connected. She "tagged" me to join a virtual confessional in which participants reveal six random things about themselves. I cannot compete with TPC, who has clearly lived a more precarious life than your faithful feline correspondent. Still, I shall add my revelations to the collective:

1. I believe that I gained my self-awareness after nicking scraps from a magical dumpster.

2. When I lived on the streets, I once stole a sandwich from a homeless person.

3. When I was born, my mother looked at me and said, "Some day, all the world will perch on your every word." OK, I made that up. What she actually said was, "Here are the milk dispensers. Wipe your mouth when you're done. I'm going to take nap."

4. I like rats. Not to eat. To observe. I admire their cunning, their creativity and the great extent to which they value extended family.

5. In cat years, I am 13. Thereabouts.

6. For many questions of style and grammar, I consult Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, which doles out very stern advice while still acknowledging: "The shape of our language is not rigid; in questions of usage we have no lawgiver whose word is final."


• Sungold at Kittywampus, a political hero.

Hipparchia at Over the Cliff, Onto the Rocks (Lemmings, Cliff, Rocks, Splat).

David at Leave Me Alone, I'm Digging.

Debbie at Debbie Does Life. She's really good at lists.

• Margaret and Helen over at Margaret and Helen, though they are probably way too famous to have time for this. I think it'd really be smashing if Margaret revealed six things about Helen, and vice versa. Those birds have known each other for 60 years. Imagine the secrets they could spill!

Mrs. Wigglebottom, in care of Aunt B. at Tiny Cat Pants. Confess yourself, oh great and wondrous pit bull!

(should you choose to accept this mission)
* Link to the person who tagged you.
* Post the rules on your blog.
* Write six random things about yourself.
* Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
* Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
* Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

* * * * * * * *

Confessions of my colleague ThePoliticalCat (with my responses in italics)

1. I once worked as a blackjack dealer in an illegal gambling club.
I once challenged a street cat named Blackjack to a duel. He lost.
A toe, an eye and his entire paycheck for the month.

2. I once had a reasonable degree of prowess in eight different languages,
thereby proving that you lose it if you don't use it.

I can communicate with Persians.

3. I once lived in a place with no electricity or water,
drawing my own water from a well and chopping wood to cook food.

I once lived in a place with no roof.

4. I helped my Dad make a lotus pond,
the enjoyment of which was mostly ruined by the drinking habits of a tigress and her cub.

I never met my dad, but my mother said he was more ruinous than a family of tigers.

5. I hiked 22 miles in a single day before I became a gimp.
Wow. I can't top that. My paws ache to think about it.

6. I once distracted a cobra so my siblings could flee before it spat at them.
I once lapped up some beer from a half-drunk bottle of King Cobra discarded in an alley.
I did a spit-take and sprayed malt liquor all over my siblings.

The Hate Talk Express: Still on the road, still spewing noxious fumes

Here I am, still cogitating about what Michelle Obama will wear to the Inaugural Ball, when THIS item crosses my desk. John McCain is back on the campaign trail, trying to help primordial ooze-sack Saxby Chambliss of Georgia get re-elected to the U.S. Senate. This is the man about whom McCain said in 2002, when Mr. Sham-bliss launched a TV smear campaign against Democratic then-incumbent and triple-amputee Vietnam vet Max Cleland:
"I'd never seen anything like that ad. Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to the picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield—it's worse than disgraceful. It's reprehensible."
Chambliss is facing a runoff election against Democratic challenger Jim Martin, which is scheduled for Dec. 2.

If I had a swivel chair like Keith Olbermann, I'd be a feline centrifuge about now, howling to anyone who'd listen: For the love of all that is holy, John McCain, please cease and desist being The Grandfather of all Disingenuosity. Do the right thing. Be humane. Can you do that? There are some animal models that could help. The HSUS is a good example. Look into it.

"One less hate-mongering bigot in the world. Good riddance."

This was the Madame's cavalier comment when I told her about a story my intern dropped in my inbox yesterday. A woman in Oklahoma traveled alone to Louisiana to rendezvous with some KKK'ers she met online. A Welcome Wagon of eight Klansmen and Klanswomen drove the wannabe to a remote campsite for some "initiation" rituals. After they shaved her head and had her run around in the woods with some torches, according to St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain, things went awry. Perhaps bored with the inferior pyrotechnics, she asked to be taken back to "town." The leader of the group shot and killed her, and the others tried to cover it up. A few of them stopped by a local convenience store and asked the clerk how to get bloodstains out of their clothes. The clerk dropped a dime, and the sheriff came and arrested all eight of them, who apparently comprised the whole of the chapter.

If you want to see an example of why cousins shouldn't marry, here's a magnificent photo gallery of the entire braintrust. I expect they'll be off to prison soon, where their supremacy will certainly be embraced with great enthusiasm.

Ah, the human race. What would my inbox be without you?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

John McCain: Still an a-hole

I swear, if I could find that statement on a bumper sticker, I'd force the Madame to put one on her car.

McCain was back on late night television Tuesday, yucking it up with Jay Leno. He said: "I really believe that Sarah Palin is amongst some ... that I think are the next generation of leadership of our party," he said. So, vitriole, venom, vituperation, .... there's life for you yet!

As for McCain, I am sick to tears of people praising his "classy" concession speech. Hollow, hollow, hollow ring. McCain—either on his own or via his nasty surrogates—flung everything he could at the wall during his campaign, praying that something would stick. And he failed. He called his opponent a dangerous radical, socialist, Communist, anti-American terrorist sympathizer. Did I leave anything out?

"Who is Barack Obama?", McCain asked ominously at his rallies.

He's your new president, you malodorous, complicit piece of asscrack.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Michelle Obama's inaugural gown ... what will it be?

Before a First Lady had even been "elected," Project Runway alumni were challenged to design an inaugural gown. My girl Leann Marshall, self-described fashion assassin and winner of Season 5, stepped up her game to create a fetching frock out of potato sacks. Unfortunately, it was better suited to Cindy McCain. Really. She would have rocked it. Maybe she could wear something like it when her husband is presented the Mr. Incongeniality Award.

Thankfully, it will be Michelle O. twirling 'round the dance floor on Inauguration Night. With the notable exception of the very Halloweeny dress she selected for Election Night, Mrs. Obama is impeccable in her taste. I wonder how she'd look in red velvet or silk. One blogger has suggested a turquoise satin gown with a sweetheart neckline. I'm open to that. She was pretty in periwinkle on the cover of Newsweek. Very flattering color. Wow, this is not inaugurally appropriate but, wow.

I have only one request of her: Please don't choose a gown with pockets. I'm so sick of seeing celebrities and socialites slouching about in evening gowns with their hands shoved into their pockets. No woman is supposed to look that comfortable in a formal dress. I fully expect them to start mopily kicking a can that fell out of their skirt.

What do you think Mrs. O should wear?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pound puppies for Obama

President-Elect Barack Obama has a lot of advisors—some he didn't appoint. Notably, the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who are pressuring the President-Elect to choose a "shelter puppy" for his daughters. Back before the Presidential primaries, I evaluated the candidates based on their record on the treatment of animals. I did not have enough information at the time to endorse him fully on those grounds, saying "Barack Obama doesn't have any pets, but he says he plans to give in to the solicitations of his kids and get a dog if he wins the White House. Hmmm. He appears to listen to his constituents. That's encouraging."

I have a very personal reason for wanting the First Family to set an example by adopting an abandoned animal—given that I was once homeless and might have easily perished at the pound in spite of my charm. There are many charming homeless animals for whom there is absolutely no room—mathematics win out in the end.

But whether the Obamas adopt a mutt or purchase a pedigreed pooch (though I'm sure there are plenty of breeders who'd make a gift of one), he has shown great wisdom and maturity regarding pet "ownership" (I hate that word) so far. His stock rose with me when he said that he wanted Sasha and Malia to first understand and accept the responsibility that having a happy, healthy pet demands. He said they must realize that a dog must be cared for even when it's not convenient, for example, that they would be obligated to walk the dog outdoors faithfully, even in inclement weather. Lack of such forethought is the reason many people get a dog, then abandon him when he misbehaves due to lack of training or becomes too much of an "inconvenience." It's unforgivable, but true.

I read one blogger's acerbic condemnation of people who criticize people who buy purebred animals. The author said that people who want pedigreed dogs should not be made pariahs due to their unwillingness to compensate for the irresponsibility and carelessness of dog dumpers. The author asked why a potential dog owner should be stuck with "rejects." While there may be some valid reasons for dog breeding at some level, I took offense at the tone.

In countless ways, Barack Obama has shown that he is thoughtful, kind and forward-thinking. The Madame, Mister and I hope he goes with a rescue pup, but are at least certain that either way, he would never strap his dog on top of his car while driving (like Mitt Romney) or surrender his pet to one of his staffers (like Bill and Hillary Clinton). Nor would he raise two daughters who would ever inflict cruelty on animals (like Mike Huckabee's son). The Obama family will undoubtedly set a fine example for both the clueless and the clued-in with regard to pet ownership. I am going to be open-minded and give him my pre-endorsement.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Out of hibernation

The Madame received this e-mail today from a dear friend in the now-blue state of Ohio:

"This is how bears must feel when they stumble out of their dens into Spring, groggy from winter's hibernation, pretending that the long days and months of privation never really happened. The warmth and beauty of Spring feels right and natural to them; and future seasonal changes are long off, nothing more than a wayward bug to be flicked off. So let's enjoy the Spring. I hope it will be long and drawn out, like the Carolina Springs of my memory."

Monday, November 3, 2008

The real election map: Take heart, fellow liberals

If you live in a blue state, it's easy to feel like sad anomalies as you watch Election Night maps get color-coded. The map at the top is much less depressing than the one at the bottom. And it's more accurate too.

Both of these maps reflect the results of the 2004 Presidential contest between John Kerry and George W. Bush. The map at the bottom "gives the superficial impression that the 'red states' dominate the country, since they cover far more area than the blue ones," says a trio of researchers at the University of Michigan. "However, as pointed out by many others, this is misleading because it fails to take into account the fact that most of the red states have small populations, whereas most of the blue states have large ones. The blue may be small in area, but they are large in terms of numbers of people, which is what matters in an election."

Michael Gastner, Cosma Shalizi and Mark Newman of the University of Michigan corrected this distortion by using a cartogram, "a map in which the sizes of states have been rescaled according to their population. That is, states are drawn with a size proportional not to their sheer topographic acreage—which has little to do with politics—but to the number of their inhabitants, states with more people appearing larger than states with fewer, regardless of their actual area on the ground. Thus, on such a map, the state of Rhode Island, with its 1.1 million inhabitants, would appear about twice the size of Wyoming, which has half a million, even though Wyoming has 60 times the acreage of Rhode Island."

The Michigan scholars will be preparing a similar re-interpretation of the traditional election map used in tomorrow's presidential election. The map will be available on their Web site Nov. 5, 2008.

The swirly, psychedelic shape should provide additional comfort to Obama supporters, who are already hopped up on hope.

Groovy, man.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Miss Precious, I feel your pain

Yet another sad example of feline housing discrimination. Godspeed, Keith Olbermann!