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.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Judgment Day

Judgment Day this year is May 22, which is a Sunday, if you don't have a calendar handy. I know this to be true not because I'm a prophet or because of visions or dreams I had foretelling of said event. No voice(s) spoke to me in the dark and the only cult I'm guilty of associating with has more to do with cats than the end of the world. No, this knowledge was imparted to me from a billboard on the way to the veterinarian's office. Normally, I wouldn't remember this particular public service announcement any more than I remember the those announcing the next gun show, except that this one offers something others lack: a guarantee. That's right, Judgment Day is "guaranteed" to happen on May 22. Guarantees of this sort are hard to ignore, so naturally I've begun to evaluate whether or not on May 22 I will ascend to loftier heights or be sent further south than I already am.

Like all people, my life has not been sin-free. The degree of my sinfulness has fluctuated over time, with my younger years being oriented more toward vice than virtue and my more recent years being not so much more virtuous as less inclined to vice. I think that come May 22 the transgressions of my youth will be overlooked and the focus will be on who I am now. Using the Seven Deadly Sins as a benchmark, I feel I'm well positioned to be judged favorably, despite some noticeable flaws:

I love large portions of food and drink. While I publicly renounce America's gluttonous lifestyle, I am guilty of not being able to hold myself to just one cookie or brownie or doughnut. I believe that the more french fries there are before me, the better off I am, and if you want to get my attention, just say, "buffet."

People piss me off and most are no damn good. My anger at their (and my own) incompetence bodes ill for me on Judgment Day. Generally speaking, if I don't allow myself to dwell on the bad that other people do or to use power tools that I've never used before, I'm usually pretty mild mannered.

I'm not so much lazy as I am undisciplined. I'm not a good project manager because I often just stop projects and let them be; I lose interest easily and my wandering mind then focuses on something else only to lose interest again. Knowing this about myself, I simply don't start projects. For instance, I want to have chickens but that requires building a coop which requires using power tools which will make me wrathful, and so I don't try to build a coop and subsequently I don't have any chickens. I'm hoping that my intentions more than my inaction will have some impact on the Judge(s).

So, I have some work to do boosting my life's resume before May 22. How you will fare come Judgment Day this May, I don't know. I know some of you will exult in eternal bliss, while're goners. One thing I've learned from watching "Judge Judy" that might help is that you should always go to court well-dressed, so on May 22, please wear your finest. But don't overdue it; Pride is the worst sin of them all, and if on Judgment Day you're looking and feeling too fine, too sure of yourself, then, you're going down. Guaranteed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Given to Fly?

I like to fly. Or, rather, to be flown somewhere, since I have neither wings of a feather or a pilot's license of my own. I like how I can board a plane in the morning and be on the ground, eating lunch hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from where I was only hours before. I love staring out of the window at the world below me, and I'm always awestruck when on cloudy days the sea of clouds stretches endlessly like I imagine ice does in Antarctica. Flying for me never loses its wonder...unless I'm in the middle seat, and then the whole experience pretty much sucks. Nonetheless, flying is quite possibly humankind's greatest achievement. And, yet, I don't think we are supposed to be up there with the clouds and the birds. I understand that we can and are able to fly; it's just that I'm not convinced that simply because we can and do, that we ought and should.

Life in the clouds was once reserved for the heavenly hosts, whether they were on Mt. Olympus or just beyond St. Peter's gate, but when man in his airplanes broke through the water vapor separating us from the divine and, to the delight of atheists worldwide, debunked the vision of harps and angels and so forth, that spiritual connection was lost. We've pushed the heavens out into planetary orbit, so that all we have now is the sky. I like the sky very much, but I miss the days when there was more mystery to it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

If You Can't Control Your Dog...

Recently a man in Colorado Springs shot and killed a dog that attacked his dog while out for a walk: What annoys me the most about this story is the attitude of the owner of the offending, now deceased, dog: "...she thinks the greyhound's owner did not give her a chance to regain control of Flato before using his gun." The simple fact is that Flato would be alive today had his owner not been so irresponsible and lost control of him. If I had been the owner of the greyhound, I would have done the same thing. Of course, I'd need a gun, but that's a story for another day.

It's something I encounter regularly when I'm out walking our dog, this holier-than-thou mindset on the part some dog owners that makes them think keeping their dog under control at all times doesn't pertain to them. Or maybe it's just careless stupidity. Controlling your dog means more than keeping him on a leash; it also means being able to prevent him from, say, bolting after another dog (or squirrel, cat or kid). If your dog is big enough to make you lose your balance or prevents you from having complete control of the situation, then you have no right bringing him out in public. I see it all the time at the park: tiny women "walking" their Pit Bull or Boxer or Rottweiler or Lab and almost falling over trying to stop it from breaking away. Big dogs are like bottom-shelf tequila; if you can't handle it, don't order it.

"Oh, but he just wants to play." Well, dude, we don't want to play with him, so get him the f**k away from my dog.

With some big dogs there's not enough time to "regain control" before the damage is done. A dog as big as a mastiff can seriously hurt if not kill another animal by the time the owner "regain[s] control" of it, which is why owners of big dogs need to have complete control of their dog at all times when out in public. Have you ever noticed that owners of big dogs that attack animals and children universally place the blame on the victim? They will claim their dog has never hurt anyone or anything before, and that the dead dog or maimed child must have done something to provoke the attack. If you can't control your dog, you don't deserve to have him.

But it's not just big dogs that need to be kept under control. Those yappity, snarling bundles of fearless fur are no less dangerous when not controlled. I don't care if your dog is the size of a football and can't hurt anything but itself; just keep him away from my dog. Sometimes I take a spray bottle with me when I walk Boo to keep him in-line (it's called RESPONSIBLE dog walking), and one time this little Jack Russell muttly thing came running up behind us and sniffing at Boo. I shot the f***er square in the face with a stream of water and sent him hightailing it back to his no-good hippie owner who, then, leashed him. In a fight, Boo would've taken him, but that's not the point: keep your dog under control and away from my dog, or else.

Or else what? Well, I don't have a handgun, and despite the effectiveness of a spray bottle, I doubt it would do much good against a dog hell-bent on doing harm. But know this: if your dog hurts my dog (or cats), I will go medieval on its ass. I may be a card carrying member of the ASPCA, HSUSA, and Best Friends Animal Society, but I will not let your irresponsibility go unchecked if it threatens my dog. I love dogs, I truly do, but I love mine more than I love yours, and if I have to kick, beat, bite, gouge, scratch, strangle or run over your dog to protect mine, trust me, I will. So, keep your dog leashed and under control, and there won't be a problem. Someone should have told as much to Flato's owner.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hug a Cop

As you near the top of the escalators in Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, you'll notice two or three senior citizens donning red, white and blue and waving little flags. All arriving uniformed military personnel are met by these enthusiastic seniors with clapping, handshakes, and words of thanks. It's probably the same in many of our airports: veterans and average civilians personally thanking our enlisted men and women for "all that [they] do." It's a good thing. Whether or not you agree with our foreign policy the men and women who volunteer for military service do deserve our gratitude.

I find it sad that we don't extend the same gratitude to police officers. Clearly there are differences between the two, and I'm not equating patrolling the streets of Norcross, GA, with those of Kandahar or Kabul. Nonetheless, when you volunteer to become a police officer, to serve and protect, you, too, place your life at risk for the greater good. Many police officers have made the "supreme sacrifice" in their service to our country. How many of you knew that 1) 161 police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2010, and 2) that only 16 of those deaths were considered accidental or health-related? Take a look for yourself.

Why don't we give the police the same respect and adoration we give our soldiers? Two reasons come to mind. One is the common (mis)perception that the police can't be trusted, that all police officers are corrupt. "All cops," I've been told, "are bad cops." Unfortunately, there are police officers who engage in racial profiling, destroy evidence, use unnecessary force, commit sexual assaults, and participate in those criminal activities they're charged to stop. However, you can no more say that all police officers are bad because some of them are bad anymore than you can say that all soldiers humiliate and torture prisoners, rape and murder civilians, and throw puppies off of cliffs simply because some of them have done just those things. The Department of Defense contends that such actions on the part of our soldiers are isolated incidents and those soldiers are in no way representative of the majority of men and women serving in the military. And we believe that because we know it to be true; we need it to be true. Well, I contend the same for our police force: the illegal and immoral actions of some officers are not representative of all officers. If you are one of those who believe that all cops are bad based of the actions of a few, then by your own logic, you must also believe that all our soldiers are rapists, murderers and animal abusers.

The other reason people don't readily give hero status to police officers is that the police have the power to punish us for our bad behavior, and we don't like that. Police have the thankless job of keeping us in line. They stop us for speeding, tell us to keep the music down, ticket us for public drunkenness, arrest us for shoplifting. We bitch that a cop is never around when we need one but are just as quick to bitch when they bust us for breaking the law. We want the enforcement of laws to apply to everybody but ourselves. And while we hystericize about police states, we conveniently forget that if it wasn't for the police there would be a lot more wife beaters, child molesters, gang bangers, dog fighters, rapists, burglars, and murderers hanging around neighborhoods, schools, and parks. Why don't we thank them for that?

Soldiers aren't perfect and there are some who aren't worthy of hero status; still, we recognize that most of them do the best they can and we honor and thank them for trying. Your local police officer deserves no less.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Twelve Year Lie

Jackson and I have been together for 12 years. The shelter folks told me it was unlikely I would find a kitten in January since it wasn't "kitten season" but I found him tucked away in a cage, a small orange ball. I lied on the adoption application, saying I lived in a house where pets were allowed and that he would be an indoor cat. My application was approved, and we went home to my 400 sq. ft. apartment where pets were not allowed. I had successfully adopted an out-of-season, red-headed cat using lies and deceit.

Living with Jackson has not always been easy. His younger years found him in constant conflict with the world and me. I can't count the number of objects I've hurled at him to prevent one behavior or another (but he's fast and I always missed). I once had a bean-bag chair that he considered a litter box and a litter box that he considered a sandbox, sending litter far and wide, so I started to let him go outside. He was promptly pounced upon by another cat, chased through the screen door by a dog, and bumped by a car. He remained (and remains) undeterred; the outdoors are his oyster. What with all the cat fights, illnesses, syndromes, and, yes, even an animal behavioralist, I can't calculate the amount of mental and financial resources that have been spent on Jackson's physical and mental well-being. Throw in a 48 hour mystery disappearance and a blundering vet tech who nearly caused Jackson's liver to fail, and you can say he's become quite the drain on resources.

It hasn't been all roses for him either. I use to dip the tip of his tail in Tabasco because he used to suck on it and the sound woke me up. He got blamed for tearing up the toilet paper when it turned out to be Lucy's handiwork, and he eventually had to share his life with three other cats and a dog. Still, he's been a trooper. From Austin to Chicago (and two years stuck in an apartment) to Ithaca to Atlanta, Jackson traveled well, claiming wherever it is we lived as his own and letting everyone know it. He's a model patient, taking his medicine without much complaint or hassle, something that can't be said about the rest of our brood. Jackson's a poor hunter, but that didn't stop him from trying to snag a wild turkey and he twice refused to back down to some shifty deer who thought they had the right of way. And when trouble rings the doorbell, he's quick to cast differences aside and hide under the bed with Algebra.

At 12, Jackson lives a quieter life. I miss seeing that mischievous gleam in his eyes but it's also nice not being forced to walk around the neighborhood shaking keys or tapping his food dish with a spoon trying to lure him home. He still has an attitude problem, and everyone, including Boo the dog, knows to respect his personal space, that our casa is his casa. His lower canines are gone so his bite doesn't inflict the same damage it once did, and at 16 pounds jumping on and off the counter requires more effort. Almost every morning he sits on my lap while I drink coffee and at night he'll get on my lap and lord over the rest of us.

Better (and lesser) writers than me have and will pen their experiences with their cat or dog and become best-selling authors. Over 12 years, Jackson has provided more than enough material for a book, and it's to my discredit that I didn't keep a journal of his escapades, brushes with death, eccentricities, and overall impact on my life. Matt Damon would've made a good me in the movie version.

I did lie on the shelter application, but I've never reneged on my signed pledge to provide Jackson with the best life possible. Few cats have had it better than Jackson; few people have had a better companion. Not all lies have bad endings.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Rock Feels No Pain

There isn't much that surprises me, and I pride myself on being able to handle the unexpected. To face trouble and uncertainty with a calm and detached manner is what I've trained myself to do over the years. In a crisis, emotions get in the way, and I've taught myself to set them aside when necessary. It's not that I'm indifferent or that I lack emotion; I simply know when to shut that part of me down. It's a skill that has allowed me to constantly move forward when times get rough. In such times, you can count on me to hold down the fort, to stand tall, to be a pillar to lean against. My emotions are reliably in check.

Or such was the impression I had of myself until last Sunday when word came that one of our cats was seriously ill. Suddenly faced with the realization that one of our household might not be with us much longer, I buckled. All other thoughts left my mind - job, family, friends, bills, weather, everything evaporated from my mind with this news. My one consuming thought was of the cat and a life left to live without her. I crumbled inside. Not knowing what else to do, I had a drink, and my three and a half year wagon ride was over. I cried.

It's a shock to the system to find out you aren't who you thought you were, to learn you aren't as strong as you thought yourself to be. I'm not a rock after all, and that disappoints me. There's nothing wrong with men showing their emotions, and I don't think of myself as any less manly for feeling them. What troubles me is that I cracked when I should've been solid. When one is as lacking in natural-born talents as I am, one has to find something about themselves to hold on to, and I latched on to my ability to calmly face a crisis. And it's not like I haven't experienced death before. Like most in this world I've lost family and friends and pets before, and so death is no stranger to me. Like all living things, our cats must someday die. I just thought I'd be ready when the time came, and I realize now that I'll never be ready.

Some might think I'm over-reacting, that a cat is a cat. I know this sentiment exists because people have told me as much. "It's not," I was lectured, "like a cat is a person, a child. It's a cat." Some people raise children that will grow up to be doctors and lawyers and such, while others will raise "children" that will be lions and tigers and bears. They have their family, and I have mine.

The future isn't as bleak for our cat as it was a few days ago, but the our time with her is drawing to a close. I'll buck up and show a good face because that's what I expect myself to do; inside, however, I'm in tatters.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Actors Behaving...Well, Not the Way I'd Like

A lot has happened lately that might ordinarily evoke a comment or two out of me, such as the AZ shootings, blood libel and the Week Atlanta Stood Still. I do have my opinions, but they're probably nothing very different than those forced upon you by others. No, my thoughts have been focused on the much more pedestrian but no less important departure of Steve Carell from "The Office." Apparently, he will not be finishing out the season and the last three episodes of "The Office" will be sans Michael Scott.

I think that's selfish. I mean, the fact that he's leaving the series to "focus on his movie career" is selfish enough but to not even finish the season is a slap in the face to the show's viewers. Entertainers have an obligation to entertain if they want to continue to reap the benefits of our adulation, and when the form of that entertainment is a character on which the existence of an entire series rests, well, said entertainers have an obligation, nay, a duty! to continue performing in that role. Carell OWES it to us to finish out the season! Millions of people have sacrificed 30 minutes every Thursday night to be entertained by "The Office" (not to mention countless hours of re-runs) and to have that sacrifice thrown back in our faces by Carell's departure is an act of treason. It's as though it doesn't matter to him what we want. "Howl, howl, howl, howl! O!, you are men of stones!" (That's a Shakespeare reference)

"The Office" owes its popularity to Carell's performance, and the producers and directors are fooling themselves if they believe the show can survive without Michael Scott. Television history is replete with excellent shows landing in the Nielson ratings trash heap because of acts of betrayal on the part of actors thinking they can make it big in the movies:

Northern Exposure:
Rob Morrow left to pursue a movie career, and one of the best series to grace the TV screen dissolved. Morrow's movie career was a bust and, lo and behold, he's back on TV.

The X-Files:
Special Agent Fox Mulder wanted to believe and we believed in him. David Duchovny eventually dumped the beautiful Agent Scully for Hollywood sirens, and though the series lasted a few more seasons, it was lackluster at best. So, too, was Duchovny's movie career, and he also finds himself back on TV.

The most watched show on TV for, like, eight years, CSI dried up in the Las Vegas sun when the character of Gil Grissom went in search of insects (and William Peterson went in search of a stage). Now you don't even see "CSI" advertised unless it's the Miami or NY spin-offs.

That 70's Show:
Ashton Kutcher did launch a successful career after bailing on a pretty funny show, but it certainly wasn't in the movies. He is more famous now, but we all know it's not because of his acting talents.

Add to those a string of failed movie careers by former "SNL" stars and the vast television audience is left empty-handed. Sure, it's selfish of me to think it's selfish of an actor to take his career in a new direction; I very much doubt Carell would mind if I took a step up from the academic to corporate (or CIA) library world. Then again, I'm a nobody and he's not. I'm the consumer in this relationship and being selfish is part and parcel of the role that I play. Actors should play their roles out to the end. Without Michael Scott, "The Office" won't last much longer, and we'll all eventually forget about the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin. That makes me sad. I sure hope Steve Carell can sleep at night.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Banned Words List

Lake Superior State University published its annual list of banished words for 2011. As a librarian, I'm supposed to be opposed to the banning of things such as books, ideas, and words, and for the most part, I am. Censorship raises my liberal hackles in much the same way freedom of speech for everyone raises the hackles of conservative pundits. Still, I find myself opposed to the use of certain words and phrases, mainly because of their rude and crude nature. If I had my way, I'd have the following familiar words banned, banished, and binned:

Recently I heard a woman tell her toy dog to go "poopsies" and it took all I had to stop myself from yelling to her that the dog doesn't know "poopsies" from "shit" and that she should grow up and use adult words. "Poop" just sounds stupid.

Whether referring to a certain part of the female body or a bumbling doofus, I don't like it and now is the only instance you will know me to write or say it. "Knockers" should go, too.

The word is as bad as the sound and that which follows. Please keep the word and action to yourself.

Men should never say it.

Both words are repulsive in their sound and imagery, especially the latter. Tanner from The Bad News Bears is perhaps the only person to use the former without sounding, well, like a booger-eating moron.

It's a toilet.

Pussy cat:
Call my cats that and you die.