Thursday, August 11, 2011

Footin' It for Felines

Please consider sponsoring me as I run a half-marathon to benefit Furkids, Georgia's largest no-kill, cage-free animal shelter. Learn more at Footin' It for Felines.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wiggin' Out: Episode #1

The rage within builds. While walking Boo the other day a neighbor's big brown mutt charged us from their open garage. I shot at him with the pepper spray but missed. He got the picture, though, and stopped, at which time his owner came from around the side of the house, slow and unapologetic. She uttered the same response that all owners of aggressive dogs utter: "He won't hurt you." It took all I had not to give her a dose of pepper spray just for good measure, and so I left her with a simple, loud, "F**k." I'm tired of the thoughtless and the selfish, but short of all out medieval violence, I don't know how to rid my world of those people.

We've decided that it's just a matter of time before I simply wig out. I'm not prone to violence - which is probably why I'm in this mess - so I don't think you have to worry about seeing my mugshot on CNN any time soon. Then again, maybe you do. Running can only soothe the burning anger for so long and drinking only makes my tongue more of a liability than an asset. I don't know anyone who sells crack and meth is just too scary. I ask God to forgive my trespasses as I try and forgive those who trespass against me, but all that seems to come of those supplications is more trespassers. Karma (and the threat of prison) prevent me from swinging madly at the world. I wonder what I did in a past life to warrant being surrounded by so many people wearing blinders. Perhaps I was one of them once and my soul is paying its dues. Either way, I don't have much confidence that religion will save me from doing something rash.

The thought of pulling a Ted Kazinsky and living out my days in a shed in the mountains has its appeal, but 1) that's not high on Ida's To Do List, and 2) hiding only lasts for so long. They'd find me eventually; those you want to be furthest from are always on your heels.

I'm not sure what will ultimately send me into a tailspin. My guess is it'll be another dog incident, but maybe it'll be the texting driver that slams into my car or someone's kid chasing a cat or perhaps even a library patron that pushes my customer service Do Not Push button too many times. The pressure is building and I kind of want me to just explode just to get it over and done with. It reminds me of when Homer Simpson goes to buy a handgun and is told he has to wait 24 hours. Homer replies, "But I'm angry now!"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mission from God

We recently attended a fundraiser for FurKids. I can say with a measure of certainty that most of those in attendance were cat people, and since cats were the one thing we all had in common, cats were the main topic of discussion, at least at our table. Non-cat people don't understand how cat people can talk for hours about cats. Dog people will talk at length about dogs, of course, but eventually they move on to other topics, their attention span being much like a dog's, short. Cat people are more focused, beginning and ending most conversations with something about cats.

I can't explain why it is I like cats. I'm not fanatical about them; I just like them. Part of my fondness for them might stem from the fact that the domesticated cat is the only animal that we have been unable to truly domesticate. Every single cat has the urge to hunt. Some are better at it than others, but all cats are all born with that instinct intact. We haven't been able to breed the wild out of cats.

That unwillingness to bow to the human animal is one reason why the cat has been and is far more demonized than the dog. Despite there being more cat than dog owners in the U.S., cats are more often victims of abuse, torture and basic maliciousness than dogs. Once in the backwoods of Canon City, CO, I stumbled upon a grey tabby that had been strung-up with a wire. Last year there was a story about a cat that had been nailed by its paw to a utility pole, and the case of a man throwing a kitten on a grill made international headlines in 2002. Urban and rural hicks like to boast about how if they see a cat in the road, they speed up. I like to believe that only the in-bred among us find that funny. And just yesterday while on my way to work, I saw the still madly twitching body of a kitten on the inside lane of I-285. It would have been impossible for a cat that young to cross four lanes of rush hour traffic, only to get hit in the fifth, so it either escaped from a moving car, or more likely, was thrown from one.

Cats are my calling. What that exactly means remains to be seen, but it's now clear to me the meaning of my life. Cats are my mission, and I shall carry it out with religious zeal. You will, I hope, forgive me if I digress little from that mission and, perhaps, forget that you exist. When we do talk again, I will try and speak of non-cat things, but don't be surprised if I let slip something about cats into our conversation. You should expect nothing less.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Nothing to Say

I got nothin'. My brain constantly hums with ideas, opinions and deep thoughts, and yet when I go to put them into words, nothing. Some of my ideas and opinions are half-baked anyway, while others might not go over so well with my limited audience. I'd like to sound off, for instance, on pit bulls, Israel/Palestine, unions, Christians (not Christianity), "patriotism", lame Pearl Jam fans, and selfish people. All those things (and more) make me madder than Hell, but I just don't have the energy to fight the good fight. And I don't want to get angry; I'm tired of being angry. Some of what is on my mind has already been discussed ad naseum so my input would only add to the mess. That's the price I pay for being someone who tries to think about something before shooting off about it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Just Breathe

This is for my little friend, China, who was euthanized Monday due to complications related to renal failure. China was our foster cat, a partially blind, partially deaf, elderly cat who was so thin she could've been the poster child for starving cats. A birth defect affected the structure of her face so that it was almost flat and no one is quite sure why her legs were bent this way and she walked that way. She had long back feet that reminded me of a jack rabbit. We gave her pills for hyperthyroidism, wiped her chin after meals because she didn't groom herself, administered subcutaneous fluids, and mashed her food to mush because she only had a few teeth left. She was a mess, really, a being Mother Nature would normally never have let live to be 12-13 years old. Someone took care of her, however, and when she was abandoned, other people found value in her, and we were eventually led to her. We were able to fill her last few months with what we all deserve: comfort, companionship, and love. The last I saw her she was laying peacefully in her carrier, relaxed, aware, and ready.

In retrospect, China gave me signs that her time was near. She stopped meowing, rarely strayed from her room, and slowly she began to stop eating. She never tired of being petted, though, even during her last night, and I think if she could have said as much, China would have echoed the final lyrics of Pearl Jam's "Just Breathe":

Nothing you would take
Everything you gave
Hold me 'till I die
Meet you on the other side.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's All About Me

This blog is an exercise in egotism. It's very existence means that I believe you want to know something about me: what I think, do, say or feel. No one asked me to start a blog or said, "You know, you're a funny guy. You should start a blog." I am quite funny, but mine's the kind of humor that only my wife finds funny. Nor is this an extension of my professional self, although in a previous blogging life I did vent a bit about my chosen profession. I'm certainly not getting paid for my efforts to grace you with what's on my mind. Unfortunately, I have no expertise to lend you, no wares or services to peddle; I'm not part of a network of people sharing photos of cats (but I certainly have some to share) or swooning over vampires; and though I would like you to think, believe and act like me (because if you did the world would be a better place), my goal is not to convert you religiously, politically or philosophically. I simply have things to say and felt that you might like to hear me out.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


To get to and from work, I travel a total of 36.4 miles, and in Atlanta that amounts to almost two hours in my car each workday. That car is a 2002 Saturn sedan, and though we've traveled over 94,000 miles together, I'm not that attached to the Silver Bullet. For starters, nothing about him is automatic. I have to use a key to open his doors and passengers have to be reminded to lock the door behind them. My elbow actually moves when I roll down a window, and I have to stretch across the front seat to roll-down the passenger window. Rolling down the back windows requires pre-planning. The radio is factory-made, and I have to manually remove the antenna each time I take him in to get washed. The one feature the Silver Bullet has that many on the road lack, however, is a horn that speaks volumes.

The American car horn is a notable exception to poorly made American products. The horns of foreign-made cars can barely reach a fevered "beep!" while their American counterparts elicit a blasting "honk!" They are loud, annoying and difficult to ignore. It's important to me that the object of my honks understands my point fully, and beeping just doesn't do that.

I'm not a car-person - for me, they serve only a practical purpose - so I can't speak with authority on car horns; however, I know that my Saturn has a horn that packs as much punch if not more than the SUV's bearing down on me. And I'm not afraid to use it either. Having appointed myself the arbiter of good and bad driving, it is my duty to pass judgment on others' driving skills, or, more appropriately, their lack thereof. I'm particularly fond of honking at someone who isn't paying attention when the light turns green or who fails to signal before turning. People who talk on their cell phones or text while driving are also favorite victims. I'm looking forward to the day when I pull aside someone texting while driving and just letting the Silver Bullet's horn blare away.

Not everyone shares my affinity for the car horn. In Montreal, it's considered rude to honk at someone, and once I could barely contain myself when my mom let a car pull out in front of us, then stop, go in reverse, and then do a u-turn right in the middle of the street without so much as a honk. Her response? "We don't honk in Colorado." Arrrgh. Chicago and New York are more my style. In Chicago, the person five cars behind the light will start honking in anticipation of the green light, and New York just isn't New York without a 24-hour chorus of car horns. Music to my ears.

The Silver Bullet is aging, and the day will come when I will have to replace him. My next car will have power-everything, including a power-horn, and I plan to submit each car horn to a test. Any model that "beeps" is out of the question.