Thursday, May 26, 2005

Really, I'm Not that Pitiful

You know how easy it is to agree to do something if it's requested months in advance?
Sometime last winter, my social worker friend Jenna cornered me at a party while I was doing some drunken, stream of consciousness comedy shtick for the gang.
She asked if I'd do some standup for an event her hospital was planning in June.
Sure, I said, thinking June was light years away.
Turns out the event is to celebrate National Cancer Survivor's Day, and I've been billed as the (get this) "Cancer Surviving Comedienne."
I had to go to a local radio station earlier this week to be interviewed for a PSA touting the June 5 event. I showed up, ready to make the radio audiuence howl with laughter.
It was almost surreal to hear the show's host introduce me.
"Today we have CANCER SURVIVOR Karen Zipdrive to tell us a little about how she coped with the crisis of cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Karen, tell us a little about what it's like to survive the frightening disease of cancer."
How's that as a lead in for a comedienne?
As the interview progressed, the host used the term 'cancer survivor' about 20 more times when referring to me. I almost felt sorry for myself by the time she was through reminding me of it, even though it was five years ago and took only four or five weeks from diagnosis to cure.
Anyway, as it turns out, I had underestimated the scope of Jenna's request.
What I thought would be a small gathering in the hospital parking lot has turned into a huge event, with information booths, carnival games and a luncheon. Hundreds of people are expected.
Now I gotta juggle writing shtick that's funny but not cavalier, seeing as how the audience will be filled with people still on chemotherapy and radiation, not knowing their ultimate fate.
This being a family event, I can't swear, talk about sex or get too graphic.
So I have to figure out how to discuss how fucked-up having poontang cancer was, without using my traditionally colorful verbs and adjectives.
And I better not wax eloquently about how much fun I had on the morphine drip or the two Percodan scrips they gave me after the surgery. People are so touchy about those of us who can find joy in a few simple doses of dangerous narcotics.
I guess all that leaves me to mine for humor is lime Jell-O and hormonal changes.
Holy cow, I'm in fuckin' trouble.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Blog Scraps

Sorry for the long gaps in Blogging, my friends. Sometimes life, not to mention video poker, has a way of interfering with my Blog time.
There are so many snippets in the news that beg for my unsolicited opinion, so I may as well get started.

Ha. Those crackers in Georgia don't mess around. The Grand Old Jury in the county runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks ran away from have decided to indict the hell out of her for wasting police time and money. She'll have to face the music once she gets out of the psych facility. Her fiance, who initially vowed his continued aim to marry her, has been suspiciously silent ever since. Perhaps he was bitten by the common sense bug.

Watching Vily Fualaau recite the very lovely marriage vows he wrote himself convinced me that he and his bride Mary Kay Letourneau are at about the same level of emotional maturity. I think the kid's an old soul and I think the bride is on her first go-around in life. I don't condemn them for getting married at all. I think they proved to the world that whatever they have has some staying power. Mazel Tov, you crazy kids.

The Bushian wingnut branch of the Senate Repugnicans has vowed revenge against moderate GOP party members who decided to stick with the Senate's 200-year-old filibuster tradition and not allow the fanatics on the right to ramrod Bush's right-wing activist judicial nominees down America's throats without benefit of lengthy Senatorial debate.
Bush has been whining about "activist judges who want to legislate from the bench," when it's not their activism he dislikes, it's their leftist (and even moderate) activism. He has nominated some conservative doozies like Texas jurist Priscilla Owen, whose Texas Supreme Court record reflects her total obedience to big business and indifference toward tax paying consumers.
Targeted for the wingnuts' vitriol are GOP radical liberals like John McCain and Bill Frist.
Man, I have had it with these tightass clowns who hide behind Jesus, publicly rant about revenge and think they have some divine right to demand unwavering party loyalty to their ideals of radical, fundamentalist zealotry.
They are going to end up forcing old school Republicans- you remember, the kind who like fiscal responsibility and less government, into forming another party.
And the Jesus I've read about might end up smiting those vengeful old crackers for being such God damned phonies. Unless companies like Enron and Halliburton are considered branches of the Christian church, it ain't their religion these creeps worship.
A word to John McCain: how many times will you let the rabid faction of your party stick it up your ass before you admit you kinda like it? You'd have to, considering...
And to Bill Frist- aren't they obnoxious when they turn on their own? Wise up, stupid.

Survivor's Rob and Ambah recently got married on TV. I skipped watching it. I'm gonna hold out for the televised special that'll feature Ambah giving birth to their upcoming twins, Procter and Gambol. Yeecch. Enough already.

Queer As Folk is back on Showtime for its final season. Gee, I've missed watching Brian sodomize his little bar buddies. It's sort of a refreshing change of pace from seeing more nauseating sex scene footage of The L Word's Tina and her big gorilla nipples and enormous, pregnant belly.

Michael Jackson's pedophilia trial is winding down. On E! channel's daily reenactment of the trial, I was amused to learn that comedian Jimmy Kimmel put on a fake chin and a gray wig and played the part of Jay Leno.
Having watched a lot of Court TV's coverage of the trial, I am convinced that Michael Jackson has had his hand in more little boy's shorts than a pediatrician at Boy's Town.
My gloomy prediction is a conviction, followed by Jackson pulling a drug overdose/suicide attempt during the appeals process. I can't see the King of Pop becoming the Queen of Pelican Bay.

That stupid Laura Bush. Getting heckled during her visit to the Middle East was a foregone conclusion. She's lucky they didn't fire bomb her ass.
For the Bushinistas to think they can globetrot her around on diplomacy missions as if she's Hillary Clinton herself shows how desperate they must be.
Maybe she told the crowds about how cute Dubya was, back when he decided to be a rancher and tried to milk a stallion.
I have nothing against bland librarian church ladies from Muffin, Texas, as long as they stick to making Jell-O molds for Methodist potlucks and stay the fuck out of international diplomacy missions. It's embarrassing for the Bush family to represent America overseas, and we're lucky the Arabs didn't catch Laura hot-boxing a Newport behind a minaret.
I guess their next move will be to send the twins over to show Arab chicks how to do tequila body shots without spilling any on their burqas.
Oh well, this is what happens when we allow oil field trash with money to steal elections.
Meanwhile, in the Texas legislature recently, gay marriage was struck down and a law forbidding naughty cheerleading moves was enacted.
That's why I live in Texas. It's too funny to leave.

On a personal note, my kitten Nick is a definite alpha cat. He's already conquered my three-year-old cat James and made him his giant bitch. He's now trying to outlast me and do the same. In all my life, I have never seen a more oppositional baby, but at least he's learned some cute moves in the process. He gets up on my desk and I yell, "Nick-DOWN!" So he lays down on the desk, the clever little bastard.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

What He Said:

Stephen Pizzo: 'Bush: Worst president ever?'

Herbert Hoover may have triggered the Great Depression, but he didn't invade another nation on false pretenses, authorize torture of prisoners, or try to stack the courts.

By Stephen Pizzo

For the record, I don't like George Bush. And I don't like most of the people who work for George Bush. So, diehard Republicans can just brush aside my remarks as so much partisan blather.

But by now I suppose very few diehard Republicans ever read what I write. So do me a favor -- e-mail this to the diehards in your family and circle of friends. Ask them to tell me why I am wrong about this:

George Bush is the worst president of the United States of America, ever. Hands down.

And here are just a few reasons why I believe that statement is true.

America the Disgraced

President Bush's actions and policies have destroyed America's image as a nation that adheres to a set of core values, such as the rule of law, humane treatment of prisoners, presumed innocence, trial by jury and respect for international laws.

How do I know this? Because the world is telling us so, whenever we care enough to ask.
Positive views of the U.S. in Russia have risen 11 points in the past year. But U.S. favorability ratings in France and Germany are somewhat lower than last year and there has been a larger decline in Great Britain (58 percent now, 70 percent last year). Young people in Great Britain, France, and Germany have more negative views of America than do people in other age groups. An important factor in world opinion about America is the perception that the U.S. acts internationally without taking account of the interests of other nations. Large majorities in every nation surveyed believe that America pays little or no attention to their country's interests in making its foreign policy decisions. This opinion is most prevalent in France (84 percent), Turkey (79 percent) and Jordan (77 percent), but even in Great Britain 61 percent say the U.S. pays little or no attention to British interests.
Nice going George. Even Richard Nixon couldn't tarnish America's image that much.

George's Vietnam

Then there's the war that is largely responsible for that drop in our international image. President Bush really screwed this one up. First, everyone not drinking the neocon Kool-Aid tried to warn George not to pull that trigger. Then Army chief of staff, Gen. Shinseki, warned Bush that a war in Iraq would not be the "cake walk" his neocon Rasputin, Paul Wolfowitz, promised. Instead, he warned, we would need a lot of troops in Iraq for long time. For that piece of advice he was first publicly embarrassed by his boss then shown the door, according to The New York Times:
At a Pentagon news conference neither Mr. Rumsfeld nor Mr. Wolfowitz mentioned Gen. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, by name. But both men were clearly irritated at the general's suggestion that a post-war Iraq might require many more forces than the 100,000 American troops and the tens of thousands of allied forces that are also expected to join a reconstruction effort. "The idea that it would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces I think is far off the mark," Mr. Rumsfeld said.
That was 2003. Here's a story from today's paper.
BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 19 - American military commanders in Baghdad and Washington gave a sobering new assessment on Wednesday of the war in Iraq. ... In interviews and briefings this week, some of the generals pulled back from recent suggestions, some by the same officers, that positive trends in Iraq could allow a major draw-down in the 138,000 American troops late this year or early in 2006. One officer suggested Wednesday that American military involvement could last "many years."
Gee. Who saw that coming?

So, thanks to George W. Bush and the handful of Neocon nuts you listen to. Now we are stuck in another Vietnam-type war thousands of miles from home. All the Vietnam trappings are here for anyone who cares to notice -- indigenous insurgents, driven by a fanatical ideology, supported and supplied by "spoiler" nation-states with their own anti-U.S. agendas, thousands of dead civilians, American soldiers dying by the gross week in and week out, with no end in sight.

Nice going, George. Maybe because you skipped out on the Vietnam War you didn't know this could happen. Or maybe you really are as dumb as common road gravel.

Sovietization of America

One of the Republican party's proudest boasts is that Ronald Reagan defeated the Soviet Evil Empire. The irony is they are now recreating pieces of that police state here at home now.

Hyperbole? You judge -- while you still can. From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON, May 18 - The Bush administration and Senate Republican leaders are pushing a plan that would significantly expand the F.B.I.'s power to demand business records in terror investigations without obtaining approval from a judge, officials said on Wednesday. "This is a dramatic expansion of the federal government's power," said Lisa Graves, senior counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington. "It's really a power grab by the administration for the F.B.I. to secretly demand medical records, tax records, gun purchase records and all sorts of other material if they deem it relevant to an intelligence investigation."
Now, the Patriot Act -- you know, the law that among other things allows federal agents to demand your local library tell them what books you are reading -- is about to be expanded.

Little by little this administration has chipped away at state powers by transferring them to Washington. And nowhere has this process been more pronounced than in the area of law enforcement and the courts. The FBI, which once had to defer to local and state law enforcers when on their turf, can now barge right in and take charge. All they have to do is an investigation a "national security" or "homeland security" matter.

Federal courts, which have acted as a brake on law enforcement abuses, are being systemically stacked with rightwing judges less likely to side with victims of overzealous cops or invasions of personal privacy.

That's why this is going on right now:
WASHINGTON, May 18 - The Senate plunged into an intense partisan struggle on Wednesday over the fate of stalled federal court nominees and the governance of the institution itself as the two parties locked in a debate over the right of the minority to prevent votes on a president's judicial candidates. "If Republicans roll back our rights in this chamber, there will be no check on their power," said Senator Reid. "The radical, right wing will be free to pursue any agenda they want. And not just on judges. Their power will be unchecked on Supreme Court nominees, the president's nominees in general and legislation like Social Security privatization.
The Bushites are on a neocon roll and the federal judiciary is their final obstacle. If they can stack the appellate courts and appoint two rightwing Supreme Court justices before the end of Bush's final term, it will be "game over" for civil libertarians -- and America as we knew her.

Peasantization of Workers

Over the past five years we have seen the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of money. The already wealthy have become mind-numbingly rich under George Bush. Where did the money come from? It came right out of the pockets of working Americans and the poor.

I heard that groan from the right. Same old liberal, bleeding-heart bullshit, right?

So, you judge.

What the right has accomplished in just five years is the creation of a low-wage economy -- a management wet dream -- a country filled with high-skilled workers so desperate for jobs they will work for peanuts. Once powerful labor unions have been powerless to stop the flow of once high-paying blue and gray-collar jobs to cheap overseas venues. The jobs that replaced those lost to outsourcing pay an average of ten grand a year less. (As I said above, the money came straight out of workers' pockets.)

Deflating Inflation

The administration likes to boast that it has kept inflation in check. Yes they have, at least somewhat. But the reasons inflation remains low are all bad reasons that will result in very bad news down the road.

First, consumers have less money to spend, as noted above. Since consumer spending power is a prime driver of price inflation, prices on many core consumer products have remained low. And many of those now low-price products keeping inflation low are no longer made here but in cheap-labor countries like China.

But inflation has many causes, not just consumer spending. Raw materials, shipping costs, currency fluctuations. And deep inside the bowels of the economic gut, rumbling can be heard.
WASHINGTON -- Consumer prices jumped again last month, primarily reflecting sharp increases in food and energy costs, the government reported today. But prices for items other than food and energy were flat in April, while oil and gas prices have fallen since then, the Labor Department said, boosting hopes in financial markets that the recent inflation flare-up may be fading. Food prices climbed 0.7 percent last month, largely because of the rising costs of fruits and vegetables. But the so-called core-CPI, which excludes food and energy costs, was unchanged in April and is up 2.6 percent from April of last year.
Inflation is not as benign as the government figures pretend. This is because of how they calculate inflation on individual items in the CPI and can fiddle with the facts. For example, if HP replaces a printer with a new model that might include a few modest enhancements over it's predecessor which sold for $100, but prices the new model $125, government economists can claim the price really did not go up because the new model is better than the old model.

Trouble is you can't buy the old model any longer, but never mind that. Even though you have to pay more for basically the same printer, the price did not go up -- because "they" say so.

How much of that is going on in calculating the CPI? Plenty. And if you shop you know it. They keep saying inflation is in check, but the checks I have to write for everything from my utilities to the food keep getting larger.

The point -- figures don't lie but liars can figure -- and they are.

Keeping Up Keeping Up

If things are so bad, why hasn't the economy slipped back into recession? Because it's been running on credit. During Bush's first term the economy perked up because Bush pumped $1.6 trillion in tax rebates into it. That was like giving a dying patient an injection of meth and then claiming he was cured because he was up and jerking around in bed.

Once consumers consumed their paltry tax rebates and the wealthy had deposited their hefty rebates into family trust accounts, the economy would have slowed again -- had it not been for low interest rates and easy credit. Consumers turned into home-equity vampires and credit card addicts in order to maintain the middle-class lifestyle their new low-paying jobs could no longer finance.

And, the government as well went on a borrowing binge running up a national credit card debt of just over $7 trillion.

All that damage in just five years! It's almost unimaginable, but true. And the negative long-term implications stagger those who understand that there really is no such thing as a free lunch, that deficits do matter, be they government deficits or consumer's.

Christian Jihadists

I will not belabor this point, except to say that, at the very time Bush berates religious fundamentalists abroad, he has breached the wall between religion and state here at home. He has jimmied open this Pandora's Box and there will be hell to pay for it eventually -- as there has been everywhere on earth where this was done.

All the above, and more, is why I contend that George W. Bush is the worst president EVER. Hands down, no one else even comes close.

Herbert Hoover may have triggered the Great Depression, but he didn't invade another nation on false pretenses, authorize torture of prisoners, or try to stack the courts. Franklin Roosevelt did try to stack the courts but Congress said "no" and he said "OK," and went on the save the world from fascism and secure the lives of America's elderly by creating Social Security -- which Bush now wants to subvert.

Johnson and Nixon did fight an illegal and immoral war but Johnson lifted millions out of poverty and got the Civil Rights Act passed, much to his own party's determent. Nixon tried to subvert the Constitution but was caught and thrown out of office before he could succeed.

But I fear it's too late to stop George W. Bush and his band of right-wing revolutionaries. We have let them get too far along now to stop them. We have let them neutralize too many constitutional checks and balances. And once they deep-six the filibuster it truly will be game over.

Yes, the Democrats have begun to fight, but too little and now too late. The only recourse soon will be public demonstrations of the kind and size not seen here since the 1970s.

The only question is, are there still enough of us out here who give a damn.

Stephen Pizzo is the author of numerous books, including Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans," which was nominated for a Pulitzer.

Reprinted from AlterNet:

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Just Because I Don't Write About Those Fuckers Much Anymore...

For the record, I loathe George W. Bush and all his cohorts more than ever.
He's just too sickening to dwell on, and he doesn't deserve even his record-low public opinion numbers.
But for those still keeping track, so far the entire Abu Ghraib detainee torture scandal has been pinned on three women.
One was a Brig. General reservist who was tasked with overseeing Abu Ghraib and 27 other facilities in Iraq. The other two were semi retarded, low ranking grunts who didn't have the smarts to orchestrate making pancakes, much less masterminding the systematic, sadistic torture of male detainees.
Sure Rumsfeld, blame it on the women, you cowardly, lying son of a bitch.
A pox on all their houses!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Survivor Finale TONIGHT

The final four start the show with mimosas and hugs, only to return to back-stabbing and whispering soon after.
Tom and Ian are poised to be the last two standing, but Ian's silly promise to Katie will fuck him up in the end, causing him to slip from the #2 spot behind Tom, to the #3 spot behind Katie.
Jenn will be booted off first.
As I have always suggested, the #2 spot usually belongs to someone who's creepy: Clay, Lillian, etc. Katie certainly fills the bill this time, and she owes it all to Ian, who deserved the second spot and the $100,000.
Tom will win sole Survivor and he deserves it.
2. Katie
3. Ian
4. Jenn
Your picks?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Survivor and the Apprentice tonight

After last week's brilliant move to take out Gregg, we all think Jenn will be next, right?
Nope. Jenn's been neutralized with Gregg now gone. Look to Caryn to finally get the boot-she's gotten by on doing nothing long enough, and she's so shifty nobody trusts her allegiance.
Reward goes to long armed Ian, who takes Tom with him in his new little red Corvette, and pisses off Katie in the process.

As for the Apprentice, Kendra is bright but Tana has better people skills.
Both will fuck up their challenges, thanks to the returning imbeciles Trump stuck them with as helpers, but Tana looks nicer when she's cornered and afraid.
Tana will be the next Apprentice, and she'll be damn good at it.

Your picks?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


The following Blogitorial™ has been brought to you by the Committee to Stop Bad Lesbian Scriptwriting. It may or may not reflect the views of the publisher.

After Sunday night, the writers of The L Word have managed to create dialogue and plots that have managed to make me dislike the entire cast and most of their guest stars.
Let's start with Alice.
Her new insecurity, whining and sullenness about Dana's dinner with her ex has turned her into the kind of woman I cross the room to avoid. Alice used to be strong and funny. Now she's hosting a movable pity party, with herself as the guest of honor. That wistful expression she's been sportin' lately makes me want to projectile vomit.
Dana is supposed to be a world class tennis pro. But she never practices, never goes to the gym, and unlike every pro athlete on Earth, doesn't even bother wearing the gear. Plus her hair is greasy and looks like Ruth Buzzi's did in "Laugh-In." And since she's fixin' to cheat on the clinging vine, that makes her even more despicable.
Tina is disgusting. All that wanton horniness leads to her willingness to strip naked at every possible opportunity, exposing us to that gigantic pregnant belly and those saucer sized nipples that frighten me and give me bad dreams. She doesn't know what she wants, so she toggles between that pinched twerp Helena and Bette, who is so depressed with her life she probably needs some Librium suppositories.
Bette is not sexy with that hang dog expression. She looks like she's been smelling mildew, and she just isn't that much fun in the beaten dog role. Now she's fixin' to lose her job, which will give her plenty of time to reflect on the fact that the show she's on is so bad it actually killed Ossie Davis.
Shane and Jenny are still allowing that criminal pornographer Mark to loiter on their premises. I would have pressed criminal charges against him, filed a civil suit and hocked all his video equipment so I'd have the funds to hire a big, hairy Palooka to beat the living shit out of him. And I'd save one of his cameras so I could capture the beating on tape.
Shane is dumb. Forget all her alleged boyish appeal, she's dumb and even forgets to close her mouth sometimes when she's listening. That skinny tie and untucked shirt get-up she wears over her super low hiphuggers is played. Without hips, hiphuggers just look sad.
And so is that cat-sucked hairdo. Sad.
Jenny has finally lost the rest of her mind. Stripping at a club filled with roughneck migrants, hoboes, drunks and blue collar slobs so she "can control when she decides to take her top off" amply illustrates the bad writing on this show.
I mean, come on. I decide when to take my top off and I don't have to go to an El Segundo stripjoint to do it. The previews show her cutting herself next. Last week she explored the fetid underbelly of S&M clubs. Her psychoses are getting on my last nerve. She needs to be committed to an institution for the next 10 years instead of raiding the Goodwill, babbling in Hebrew and coyly eating Eggo waffles that Mark is making in the kitchen he has no business being in.
Helena isn't even being a good villain lately. She needs to get Bette fired, then kidnap Tina's newborn, using forged but ironclad documents that give her full custody of the baby.
Then she needs to buy the house across the street from Bette and Tina's, install a huge bay window, and let them watch her shake the baby she stole.
Carmen needs to move to another state and forget she ever knew Shane or Jenny. For someone whose favorite expletive is, "Oh my goodness," she's mixed up with a duo of maniacs who will drag her down with them, into the abyss of bad haircuts, sophomoric fantasies and prose so trite it's the written equivalent of clown paintings on velvet.
Kit is, well, Kit is Pam Grier and she's the worst actress who ever lived. No way could that father produce a child like her. She needs to fall off the wagon, lose her business and start smoking crack that she bought from the proceeds of stolen art from Bette's home.
Now let's talk music.
The new theme by an unfortunate group called Betty is a cross between "the Love Boat" and "Love, American Style" theme songs. The part where they sing, "loving learning licking sucking puking bleeding drinking drugging..." makes me want to claw my ears off.
But what's worse is they treat that horrid ditty like it's a sacred anthem.
When Jenny is having one of her tedious fantasies, please note that the background music is the L Word Theme, tortured and mangled into some sort of freakish, baroque chamber music.
Same for the circus fantasies- the goofy calliope plays that same tired theme song, mangled into a new arrangement.
Marina was wise to leave the show before it ruined her credibility as a serious actor.
I give it one more season before the lesbian community marches on Showtime and begs for it to be canceled. Note that the rightwing nutjobs aren't demanding it be axed- it's too silly for them to sit through.
The L Word makes Queer As Folk look like Masterpiece Theatre.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Survivor & The Apprentice Tonight

Look to Gregg to win the reward and watch him take Jenn and Katie with him to enjoy it.
It's a good thing Gregg gets to have one last fling though, because rumor has it Ian works behind the scenes to have Gregg booted.
Yes, everyone thinks Caryn will get the boot, but she's no threat and far too bland to be singled out quite yet. So it makes perfect sense to get rid of a macho man like Gregg, and break up the cuddling alliance he has with Jenn in the process.

The Apprentice is down to the stems and seeds now, and Trump simply has to find a way to get rid of that arrogant shoe shine executive Craig, lest he accidentally be stuck with him. Tokenism can only take that sexist clown so far, and he's had a free ride because of it all this time.
Trump has to decide between the amiable and sunny Tana, who has shown great people skills and the ability to enforce her own boundaries without being hateful about it; and Kendra, who has less maturity but amazing marketing skills and a head for winning.
Both are worthy choices, but I think Tana could command a large staff more effectively.
But then Kendra could make Trump more money, so she may be the final choice. In this case, I don't think her bitchiness will clash with the Trump organization.
It didn't seem to hurt Carolyn any.

Your picks?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Kitten Update

My older cat James is not relishing his promotion to senior staff cat.
As I was holding Nick and talking babytalk to him last night, I noticed James watching us from the doorway with a wistful expression on his face.
I immediately put Nick down and picked up James for a deluxe belly scratching, back massage and a long talk about how he was still my main cat and how I gotten Nick so he'd have his own kitten to play with. James listened as if he actually understood what I was saying.
He still likes me but I think his feelings are hurt and he's developing some classic sibling rivalry. My house dynamics have turned into a psychological cliche.
As a baby, James used to pester my recent escapee cat Bart all the time. Bart was patient with him as only a mature and emotionally secure cat can be. I only saw Bart kick James's pesky little ass a few times, and believe me, James had it coming.
Now I see James straining to be patient with this little maniac kitten.
As an adult, James has developed a very dignified demeanor. He seems to think he needs to act like a serious grown-up around the baby, and he's hiding his usual tendencies to play and act goofy.
He hasn't gotten aggressive with Nick even once. Instead he's just staring him down and trying to psych him out by pretending he's seething just beneath the surface.
Nick is smart and he keeps upping the ante by getting in James's face more and more aggressively. James will eventually lose patience and knock him into the next room, but I doubt Nick will give a damn. He's King Baby now and he's not giving the crown back to James.
Apparently, today he has assigned himself the tasks of clearing off all the flat surfaces in the house and chewing on all the shoelaces he can find. I'm allowing him to be as wild as he wants for a few more days so he can acclimate himself to a new household.
Right now he's seeing how many square feet of flooring he can cover with the Sunday newspaper. He likes the glossy ad inserts the best; they slide really cool.
By next week I'll be fed-up and start my traditional German dominatrix routine.
Luckily, Nick has a huge nose so I'll have a wide target to thump when he's misbehaving. Already he's shown total indifference to the word NO delivered at high volumes, so he's gonna need some seriously tough love.
It's pretty pathetic when I have to sit and contemplate how I plan to outmaneuver a three-month old kitten with a brain the size of a grape.
Either he's an exceptionally smart kitten, or I have completely lost my edge. The truth remains to be seen.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Two Pounds of Sheer, Fuzzy Gall

I couldn't take it any longer.
James, my three-year-old cat, has been inconsolable without Bart, his surrogate daddy cat who I think went middle age crazy and took off a few weeks ago to hit the road, kill some birds and maybe chase some squirrels.
James has been stuck to me like a Bonobo monkey since Bart split. He sits on my lap while I'm online. He sleeps on my stomach and meows if I move. He follows me into the bathroom and stands there while I shower. He meows about 700 times a day- a plaintive, whiny meow that tells me he misses his pal and feels very lonely in my now one-cat home.
I had to finally relent and get James a little kitten of his own.
Enter Nick, a three-month-old, silver and black striped tabby with perfectly symmetrical cream markings on his face that give him a look of royalty. His nose is huge and the leather is a color that could only be described as puce. He's long haired, with that hilarious kitten tendency for the fur to stand straight up like something exploded nearby. His paws are huge, but his little body weighs fewer than 2 pounds.
We worried that James would pounce the baby once we took him from his carrier.
James spent all day yesterday shivering under the couch, consumed with jealousy and fear, with pupils so large his eyes looked like black olives.
Several times, Baby Nick went under the couch to tease James. Nick looks about as scared of 16-pound James as I am of SpongeBob Squarepants.
In fact, while James spent all day yesterday hiding under the couch, Nick explored the entire house, pausing to play with all 50 dozen of James's leftover baby toys.
Because I like big male kittens who mature into large, lazy good old boy kitties, I noticed immediately how much Nick likes to control the entire household.
He thinks getting up on the dining room table and casually strolling around while I eat will remain perfectly acceptable behavior.
He is mistaken.
He thinks it's allowable to attack peoples' stray hands and feet, biting them hard before he skitters away.
That habit has to cease immediately.
He thinks the basket filled with cat toys looks much better with the basket empty, knocked over and the toys spread haphazardly throughout the entire house.
But in reality, he prefers playing with a wadded up sheet of legal pad paper to all the action-packed cat toys that ever were.
He thinks his bed is located in the middle of my abdomen, where he likes to pace around in a circle a few hours before he sleeps.
He is friendly and cuddly, but he likes to determine the length of time he's willing to be petted or held. If I exceed his limit, he stiffens up like an ironing board and screams in a stage voice, "WAHHH," until I put him down. Not meow, not mrrow, he says 'wahhh' like he rehearsed the crybaby pronunciation since infancy.

I think he actually believes his job was to set the house rules for dealing with baby kittens.

He has no idea how mistaken he is. I treat my cats like they are celebrities, and their job in turn is to amuse and entertain me as needed. I am the boss and they are sort of like my furry employees.
I was using a step-stool yesterday and Nick climbed up on the top step with me, oblivious to the dangers of my size 9 shoe mashing his little body to a furry pulp.
This morning, James very cautiously came out from under the couch, presumably to check out the baby. Nick spotted him and chased him back under the couch.
The sight of a two-pound, fuzzball kitten chasing off a 16-pound, muscular adult male cat with home court advantage defies description. It's almost as if Nick's alpha male attitude is so intense, he wanted us all to understand he'd be running things from day one, from now on.
I have known him since he was an infant slurping kitten formula from a baby bottle, and he always behaved in a sweet, good natured manner.
Now just two months later, the little pisher thinks he's Donald Trump.
I just caught him posing in front of the big mirror in the living room.
I could be wrong, but I think I heard him say, "Who's your Daddy, James?"

I think my household is about to get a lot more interesting. James better start buttering up his new pal before Nick uses his paw to open the front door and shove James outside.