Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"And, of course, we ought to ask ourselves just what, without form or guidance enforced by some battle-ax of a teacher or authoritarian school board, are these little wretches going to pray for during moments of silence or voluntary prayer? Inline skates? An 'A' on an exam they haven't studied for? To score with the homecoming queen or football captain? That the school will burn down?"

Article III
Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. (R, G.W. Bush)
Associate Justice John Paul Stevens (R, Ford)
Associate Justice Antonin Scalia* (R, Reagan)
Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy (R, Reagan)
Associate Justice David Souter (R, G. Bush)
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas (R, G. Bush)
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (D, Clinton)
Associate Justice Stephen Breyer (D, Clinton)
Associate Justice Samuel Alito (R, G.W. Bush)

Remind me to ask the "mainstream" senators from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Kerry, how the Alito filibuster is going.

*Contrary to published reports, Justice Scalia does, in fact, breathe fire.

From the World of Tennis
Despite my longstanding hostility towards the lousy, rotten Swiss, I've always had a little crush on Martina Hingis; so, I was pleased to see her back in action during the Australian Open.

Monday, January 30, 2006

O Canada
Hey, whatever you think of last week's elections in Canada and regardless of your opinion of the incoming Conservative minority government, there's no denying that Jean Chretien was a crook and Paul Martin was a douchebag. Also, notice that Stephen Harper is going to form a minorty government (Hyperlink!), one of the many perils of having more than two major political parties. Had the left been unified the Liberal Party's 103 seats and the New Democratic Party's 29 seats, for a grand total of 132, would have easily outnumbered the Conservative Party's 124 MPs. Bwa ha ha ha ha!

In a similar vein, Nader in '08!
My His Time Among the Vampires
I have done so in person already, but now I would like to do so publicly so as to potentially pressure some of you into emulating his actions: my congratulations to The Guy for demonstrating that he is an outstanding human being by donating blood to the American Red Cross. The Guy, you see, was for years terrified by the prospect of having a needle shoved into his arm, a needle that would then suck out his blood, the very juice of life. He wished to aid his fellow man, but was daunted by the needle. No more. Last week, The Guy cowboyed up and gave blood, possibly saving several lives as a result. Awesome.

Go be more like The Guy. Give blood.

Honolulu Blue Forever
I know very little about the new head coach of the Detroit Lions, Rod Marinelli, but I do know one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt: he is not the right man for the job. How can I say this if I barely know anything about him? Marinelli was hired by Matt Millen, ergo his tenure will be disastrous. I feel sorry for Mr. Marinelli and his family, but not as sorry as I feel for my fellow Lions fans who wish so desperately for a return to the glorious mediocrity of the Wayne Fontes years.

Simply put, Rod Marinelli is Matt Millen's man and Millen's five-year, 21-59 record proves his incompetence to run an NFL franchise. As long as the Fords own the team, but especially as long as Millen is drawing a salary, we are completely, utterly, and hopelessly doomed.

I hope there is a "Fire Millen" rally outside Ford Field on Super Bowl Sunday.

Hitler's Victory
Hyperlink. Of course the Europeans are going to keep funding the "Palestinian Authority" now that Hamas holds a majority of the parliamentary seats. Hamas is dedicated to killing Jews and the Europeans, well, they just aren't that fond of Jews themselves. Sometimes I wish the United States hadn't stood up to Stalin by conducting the Berlin Airlift. We should have let the Red Army march all the way across Europe to the English Channel. We shoudl never have implemented the Marshall Plan, we should have left those pompous motherfuckers to starve to death.

Germany, France, and Great Britain are going to give monetary support to an organization dedicated to wiping Israel off the face of the earth. The Fuhrer must be so pleased.

I have not condemned the Palestinians themselves because, well, why wouldn't they vote for a terrorist organization like Hamas? Despite his Nobel Peace Prize, Yassir Arafat was a terrorist. Mahmoud Abbas is a terrorist. The Palestinians are the most contemptable people on Earth. They are a nation of terrorists. You can't blame a lion for eating a gazelle; so, you can't blame a nation of terrorists for electing terrorist leaders. The one upside of Hamas's victory in the PA parliamentary elections is that it may finally instigate a Palestinian civil war between Fatah and Hamas. And if they start killing each other they will probably be too busy to kill Israelis, and the last terrorist group left standing will be no match for the IDF. And that, my friends, is how you find the silver lining around even the darkest cloud.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Week of Awesome Solitude
There are things I have been meaning to bloggy blog about, but I haven't wanted to squander my blessed solitude sitting in front of my HAL. So far, I am greatly enjoying the W.A.S. I made a casarole on Sunday night, and it was delicious, but having the same meal for dinner two nights in a row was a bit of a drag; so, tonight I broiled some hot dogs.I think I'll finish the casarole tomorrow and then make pepper steak on Thursday. I can't cook many dishes, but those I can cook I cook quite well, if I do say so myself.

I miss Laundry Cat, but I am very relieved not to be cleaning up her poos (more on this later). Fox News has not appeared on any of our TVs since Friday, a glorious change of pace. Until this evening, I hadn't watched the news since last Friday; I shan't be doing that again until the return of the parentals. (Not quite The Return of the Rentals, but close.) I've been neglecting my studies, but on the plus side I'm making real headway in my recently acquired pile of Blue Beetle backissues. And, if all goes as scheduled, but this time tomorrow I shall have watched Joss Whedon's Serenity and we will know whether I shall have to punch The Guy in the stomach.

I miss you, my friends, but this is after all the Week of Awesome Solitude. Interrupt the W.A.S. at your peril. Kisses.

The Magic of Shazam!
I am fond, perhaps overly fond, of pairing Roman given names with modern surnames, the prime examples being Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Winter and his entire family from In Search of the Perfect Lesbian. So, I am rethinking the name Cincinnatus Butler for Mr. Scarlet. I haven't firmly declared it jetsam, but I am having an open casting call for names. I tend to think that all the names I create sound the same; so, I would appreciate being granted access to your creativity, gang.

As the name implies, Mr. Scarlet is a male, black (I'm just not fond of the term African-American), 30 to 35 years old, and from the Midwest. Brian Butler, the original Mr. Scarlet, was a district attorney who moonlighted as a mystery man. The new one is probably a college graduate and quite possibly an attorney, though right now virtually everything about him is up for grabs. Be creative!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Lies, Damned Lies, and the News
The Goldbricker watches all the Sunday morning network news interview shows (the broadcast times overlap, apparently; so, he tapes the first half of one while watching another in real time); thus, though I don't watch them I overhear them during breakfast and while washing the brunch dishes. This past weekend, on ABC's This Week, hosted by the reptilian George Stephanopoulos, a reporter was featured in the "In Memoriam" segment, which covers the previous week's notable deaths. David Rosenbaum had been a reporter for The New York Times for thirty-five years, though he was retired at the time of his death. Mr. Rosenbaum did not die while covering a story, he was not killed for being a journalist, he appears to have died a victim of ordinary, though monstrous, street crime.

I intend no disrespect toward Mr. Rosenbaum or any offense to his family, but how many 63-year-olds die in New York City every year as victims of crime? And how many of those lamentable deaths merit mention on This Week? Mr. Rosenbaum's is the first I have ever heard of, which strikes me as being quite offensive. I would understand This Week's attention if Mr. Rosenbaum had been killed covering a story for the Times, or if he'd been kidnapped by jihadists and murdered like Daniel Pearl. And I would understand the media frenzy surrounding the death of an aristocrat of the Fourth Estate, for example Dan Rather's eventual death, hopefully of natural causes. But David Rosenbaum was not famous. He did not die, as it were, in the line for duty. He was an unfortunate victim of the too-common violence that plagues our streets. So, what exactly made him worth of a tribute on This Week when so many other victims of violent crime, both young and old, are completely and utterly ignored by Mr. Stephanopoulos and his masters? David Rosenbaum was a reporter; so, in the eyes of certainly ABC and perhaps the rest of the media, too, his life was worth more than yours or mine.

Journalists claim to do what they do in the service of the Republic, to further the common good, to champion the little guy against the powers-that-be. Of course, that;s not actually true. If it were, David Rosenbaum's murder would have received no more coverage that any other random street crime, and he certainly would not have been featured in "In Memoriam." I am not generally fan of populist rhetoric, but it happens to fit this gcase like a glove: the media see themselves as an elite, that is why the death of one of their own is news while the death of your grandfather is not. They think they're better than you.

Who Watches the Watchman?
Last week or the week before the ombudsman of National Public Radio, Jeffrey Dvorkin, said in an interview on the program Day to Day that, and here I am forced to paraphrse as I do not have a transcript in front of me, there may be ways for NPR's reporters to arrive at the truth without having to be objective. Sweet. Merciful. Crap. I guess this in an admission that NPR's reporters don't need to base their stories on objective facts, those terribly inconvenient things, because "the truth" is made up of more than just "the facts." In the absense of objectivity, by definition subjectivity reigns. Mr. Dvorkin also said that "balance," in context he was referrign to balance between the two poles of the political spectrum, was not necessary for good journalism. A tactless way of summarizing Mr. Dvorkin's statements is that NPR's reporters don't need to report the facts and they don't need to pretend to not favor one political part over the other.

I am ashamed to have ever donated money to help support my local NPR station. I am ashamed that a portion of my federal taxes goes to pay the contempable Mr. Dvorkin's salary. NPR is a monstrosity, one that Congress must starve of funds. If it is the last thing I do, I will see that NPR is shut down permanently. Damn them all.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Monkeys! To quote the august Philip J. Fry, "That's the best thing I ever saw!" Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!
The Magic of Shazam!
I'm thinking I want to introduce a new Mr. Scarlet and I think his alter ego is going to be Cincinnatus Butler, no relation to Brian Butler, the original Mr. Scarlet. (Someone stop me.*) Mr. Scarlet's sidekick will also be updated from the unfortunately named Pinky, the Whiz Kid, to Cardinal. I wanted to keep the red theme going and I like Cardinal better than either Crimson or Vermilion. Plus, as Cardinal can fly the name works on two different levels.

*To my shame, I actually thought up and wrote down the name Butler O'Brien. To my credit, I immediately punched myself in the stomach and denounced the idea as moronic.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hyperlink! There was a story yesterday about a pitiful little band of hippies who planned to picket the launch of the New Horizons probe (awful name, by the way) in protest of its nuclear power source. Those damned, dirty hippies are against science! And if you're against science, I'm against you. Science!

Also of note is this item: second hyperlink! I never knew the story of the naming of Pluto. We're taking science back to the people! Anyway, actually being responsible for naming a planet - a planet, for Bog's sake - is just about the coolest thing I can imagine.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Good Riddance, Kitty
I hope no one is interpreting the "Good Riddance, Kitty" topic title as a gesture of ill will toward Laundry Cat. Posts about Sam appeared under the titles "Hello, Kitty" and "Goodbye, Kitty," and as fond as I have become of Laundry Cat over the past three weeks, my affection for her in no way approaches the love I felt for Sammy; so, I felt it inappropriate to use his headings as I chronicled our difficulties with her. I will be very sad to see Laundry Cat go, even though that now seems to be a virtual certainty. She didn't poo outside of her box at all on Sunday, but she pooed in the bathtub this morning and in her favorite corner of the dining room just a few minutes ago. Of course, that seems to be the way her time here has gone: just when I was getting my hopes up that she'd turned the corner and could stay, she poos all over those hopes. I mean, maybe maybe maybe we can keep her if she is perfect from this moment forward, but nothing I have seen since Boxing Day leads me to believe that will happen. So, I'm just going to try and enjoy what time we have left before I have to drive her back to Susan's family on Saturday.

I missed Sammy more than I can say when we had him poisoned in March, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy not having to change his litter box every other day. I will miss Laundry Cat, but I won't miss the anxiety of wondering where and when she's going to poo next.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Queue
There are times when I read more books and times when I read fewer books. For the past couple of months, I've been experiencing one of the latter periods. I never hate books, sometimes I just have little interest in reading them. That said, here is the present queue:

Natan Sharansky, The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror ***on hold***
Gerald Green, The Last Angry Man ***in progress***
Sarah Vowell, Radio On: A Listener's Diary
Jung Chang & Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story
Robert Soderstrom, The Big House: Fielding H. Yost and the Building of Michigan Stadium

The Goldbricker gave me two off-list books, Mao and The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire, as Christmas presents. I can only assume that my father thinks I am soft on Communism. Tell me, gang, am I soft on Communism?

After finishing this non-fiction heavy group, I am thinking of reading C.S. Lewis's entire The Chronicles of Narnia. I've never read all the books, and the ones I have read I read in fifth grade.

The Netflix Queue
And now on to less weighty matters, the next ten DVDs in my Netflix queue:

Smiley's People (Disc 2 of 3)
Smiley's People (Disc 3 of 3)
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
The Bedford Incident
Ice Station Zebra
One Day in September
The Battle of Shaker Heights
Jersey Girl
Lady Jane

Vote For Kodos
Bog, the Alito hearings were hilarious last week. Senators Kennedy, Leahy, and Biden really should consider some sort of road show. I was honestly surprised that none of them just asked directly, "Judge Alito, why do you hate women and African-Americans?" Low politics, but high comedy.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Good Riddance, Kitty *sniff*
I'm hoping for a miracle, as Laundry Cat has one last week to prove she can be a good kitty and only poo in her box. I really, really don't think we'll be able to keep her, but I really, really want her to stay. Don't get me wrong, I am not in any way pleased with having to clean up after her (I think I hate moving the furniture more than I hate scopping up the actual poos), but she's just great the rest of the time. She's such an adorable little thing. I love how angry the Goldbricker gets about her illicit pooing, since he hasn't lifted a single finger to clean up after her once since she arrived last Boxing Day. Mom and I are pulling for Laundry Cat, but I just don't think she's going to make it. I'm going to miss you, sweetie.

Friday, January 13, 2006

My Time Among the Vampires
I received a free T-shirt today when I visited the Red Cross and and unloaded some spare blood I had sitting around. Sadly, the folks at the ARC passed up the obvious but perennially hilarious gag, "I gave blood to the American Red Cross and all I got was this lousy T-shirt," instead handing me a T-shirt bearing the likeness of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In quotation marks was written "I have a dream," and below it was the unquoted phrase, "We have a dream to save lives." The whole episode was not without levity, though, as the volunteer who handed me the T-shirt said, "They're all the same size. One size fits some." Ha ha!

Go give blood, you selfish bastards. Yes, I'm talking to you, Guy, you fucking coward.

Deus Ex Machina
The BTW Forums have once again disappeared with neither warning nor explanation (this is no way to run a railroad); so, I shall do my soapbox bitching here. This evening's installment of Battlestar Galactica set a new standard for lazy writing. The maniacal Admiral Cain needed to be gotten rid of, both President Roslyn and Commander Adama agreed, but assassination is such a morally messy business. How to kill her while keeping our "heroes" from getting blood on their hands? I know! Let's have the Pegasus's version of Number 6, a Cylon saboteur for whom we are supposed to feel sympathy because she was raped and tortured by Cain's evil crew, kill Cain! Deus ex machina, baby! Great day in the morning, this is what passes for "great science fiction" now that Star Trek has been murdered? Bog help us all.

In any event, I'm tired of complaining about Battlestar Galactica; so, I'm just never going to watch the show again. I'm sure someday I'll go back and rewatch the miniseries and the first two episodes, "33" and "Water," but I'll never watch another new episode. Like Lost, I'd put out my own eyes before watching Battlestar Galactica again. Fuck you, Ronald D. Moore.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

"I want to wish you a Rosh Hashanah,
I want to wish you a Rosh Hashanah,
I want to wish you a Rosh Hashanah
From the bottom of my heart!

I want to wish you a Rosh Hashanah,
I want to wish you a Rosh Hashanah,
I want to wish you a Rosh Hashanah
From the bottom of my heart!"
--Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, "Hava Nagila (Christmas Arrangement)" set to the tune of "Feliz Navidad" from Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah (live)

And now's as good a time as any to say:

"A short skirt,
A Gimmes shirt,
A Jones Soda,
Ain't life grand?"
The Magic of Shazam!
I've been crunching the numbers and there's just no way I can reintroduce King Kull or introduce The Perfect or the Gnomes of Zurich before "The Red and the Black" starts in The Magic of Shazam! No. 45. I've got all but one or two issues between No. 1 and No. 58 assigned, and a few one-shot ideas I can install in those slots. There's just no time to tell all the stories I want to tell. To create a little breathing room, I've made No. 75 the start of the five- or six-part "The Conqueror Worm" instead of the conclusion, but even so I know the issues between Nos. 59 and 74 are going to fill up fast. Holy moley.

Of course, one way to take some of the pressure off would be to add an eight-page back-up feature, "Fawcett City Follies." That would be the perfect forum for the lighthearted misadventures of Uncle Dudley and Mr. Tawny or independent Bulletwoman and Spy Smasher tales (though I also have a couple ideas for a Spy Smasher mini-series or two). The Crocodile Mob would be perfect for the "Follies." I've got a story called "The Pirates of Lake Michigan" that is strong enough to fill up a couple issues on its own, but I wouldn't be able to get to it until at least the mid-60s, more likely after the conclusion of "The Conqueror Worm" around No. 80. Ghost pirates attack Fawcett City, a perfect premise to be chopped up into bit-sized eight-page nuggets.

Of course, all this assumes a) I'd ever get the chance to write the blasted thing and b) it wouldn't get cancelled after forty-seven issues like Jerry Ordway's The Power of Shazam! Oy.

No. 1 "Giant Atomic Robots, Part 1 of 5"
No. 2 " " "
No. 3 " " "
No. 4 " " "
No. 5 "Giant Atomic Robots, Part 5 of 5"
No. 6 "Faerie Tale, Part 1 of 3"
No. 7 " "
No. 8 "Faerie Tale, Part 3 of 3"
No. 9 "The Mechanical Man of Mystery"
No. 10 "The Crocodile Mob in... 'A Piece of the Action'"
No. 11 "Kristallnacht, Part 1 of 2"
No. 12 "Kristallnacht, Part 2 of 2"
No. 13 "I, Robot Marvel"
No. 14 "Ibac's Back"
No. 15 "The ODESSA File, Part 1 of 3"
No. 16 " " "
No. 17 "The ODESSA File, Part 3 of 3"
No. 18 "Night of the Crazy Chicken"
No. 19 "The Red Oni, Part 1 of 3"
No. 20 " " "
No. 21 "The Red Oni, Part 3 of 3"
No. 22 "Man of Science, Part 1 of 4"
No. 23 " " "
No. 24 " " "
No. 25 "Man of Science, Part 4 of 4"
No. 26 "It Came From Outer Space, Part 1 of 2"
No. 27 "It Came From Outer Space, Part 2 of 2"
No. 28 "Heck in the Pacific"
No. 29 "The Faerie Queene, Part 1 of 3"
No. 30 " " "
No. 31 "The Faerie Queene, Part 3 of 3"
No. 32 "Fight Club"
No. 33 "Manhunters Are From Mars, Worms Are From Venus, Part 1 of 5"
No. 34 " " " " " " " "
No. 35 " " " " " " " "
No. 36 " " " " " " " "
No. 37 "Manhunters Are From Mars, Worms Are From Venus, Part 5 of 5"
No. 38 "V for Vengeance, Part 1 of 3"
No. 39 " " "
No. 40 "V for Vengeance, Part 3 of 3"
No. 41 "The Red Oni Strikes Again, Part 1 of 3"
No. 42 " " " " "
No. 43 "The Red Oni Strikes Again, Part 3 of 3"
No. 44 "Captain Marvel vs. Sadie Hawkins"
No. 45 "The Red and the Black, Part 1 of 6"
No. 46 " " " " "
No. 47 " " " " "
No. 48 " " " " "
No. 49 " " " " "
No. 50 "The Red and the Black, Part 6 of 6"
No. 51 "The Revenge of Theo Adam, Part 1 of 2"
No. 52 "The Revenge of Theo Adam, Part 2 of 2"
No. 53 "From Here to the Rock of Eternity, Part 1 of 6"
No. 54 " " " " " " "
No. 55 " " " " " " "
No. 56 " " " " " " "
No. 57 " " " " " " "
No. 58 "From Here to the Rock of Eternity, Part 6 of 6"

And then after No. 58 is the logical place for "A Man of Righteousness," Xia Timur's bid to claim the Wizard's power as the Scion of Shazam... yeah, and I can revive King Kull after the Scion's defeated and/or driven off. And because Vandal Savage was created by Alfred Bester, I have to use him in The Magic of Shazam!, and to me it makes sense to pair Savage with the savage King Kull. And then I can do "In the Hall of the Mountain King" and "The Gnomes of Zurich," finally introducing The Perfect. Ooo, but somewhere in there I have to fit "Radioland Murders," one of the very first ideas I had for MOS!, which has been pushed back from before "Man of Science" to Bog knows when. There's just no time! And then of course "The Conqueror Worm" kicks off with No. 75 and I still need to introduce the new Red Oni and do some more with the Monster Society of Evil... plus, I have to find space to make Billy (Captain Marvel), Mary (Mary Marvel), Freddy (Kid Marvel), Veronica, Uncle Dudley, Mr. Tawny, Whitey, T.M.I. "Timmy" (Robot Marvel), Deanna (Bulletwoman), Avi (Spy Smasher), Mr. Sterling, Beautia, Beatrix & Benedict, Cissie, Aditi, Nick & Nora, Detectives Darling & Barnes, Inspectors Woolfolk & Pax, Joan, "Headline" Harry, and the Wizard fully realized, multidimensional characters, the one thing that makes any work of literature (even "sequential literature") worthwhile. Again, oy.

And there's just no space for "The Metropolis Marvel" or the "Wonders and Marvels" team-up/crossover. *sigh*

Monday, January 9, 2006

Not N.O.W., Not Ever
Hyperlink! I'm not defending Paterno's comments, which were insensitve but which have also been misconstrued, I just want to ask once again, Where in Bog's name was N.O.W. when the President of the United States was accused of having a sexual affair with a twenty-one-year-old employee? If the fiftysomething CEO of a large corporation pressured an intern the same age as his daughter into an affair, don't you think N.O.W. would have cried "sexual harrassment" from every mountain top in the country? But N.O.W. has plenty of vigor to go after Joe Paterno, a man who is five minutes older than the universe itself? That's nice.

And while it may seem quaint to some, I think it important to mention that A.J. Nicholson hasn't actually been convicted of having committed any crime. Isn't a man supposed to be presumed innocent until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law? I personally believe that all rapists should be subject to capital punishment, but that is neither here nor there until Nicholson has been proven to have actually broken the law.
Good Riddance, Kitty
It is important to understand that ninety percent of my anger at Laundry Cat comes from the fact that I love her and I am afraid of losing her. The remaining ten percent comes from the fact that I do not at all enjoy moving furniture so that I can clean mushy cat poo out of the carpet. The last Laundry Cat post was written while my ire was raised; at the time I meant every word, but my hatred for L.C. is fleeting and when it has passed love always resumes its proper place of primacy. The timeless wisdom of Yoda is useful here, "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate lead to suffering." I am afraid of losing Laundry Cat, I get angry at the behavior that is going to cause me to lose her, and I hate her for her for that behavior. And then I suffer thinking about how much I'm going to miss her once I've lost her. If watching Anakin-cum-Darth Vader burning alive in the lava fields of Mustafar didn't hammer the point home, the dark side sucks.

I love the fact that my hands are covered in small scratches. Laundry Cat is playful in a way that Sam never was, not even when he was a kitten. She chases toys that we dangle in front of her and bats at our hands, her little eyes wide in wonder. She is not yet a lap cat, but I believe that were she able to stay she would learn to be one in time. Of course, as I was walking from my room to the Mountain's room, site of the HAL from which I bloggy blog, I saw Laundry Cat walking out of the bathroom. She'd pooed in the bathtub again. She's not sick. I cleaned her box as soon as I got home this afternoon, a mere two days since it was last cleaned; so, I cannot imagine how that could be the problem. And our efforts to potty train her have thus far failed. We offer praise and affection when she goes in her box, condemnation and confinement when she... freelances; neither technique has altered her behavior one iota. I am at a loss and at the end of my rope, a combination that spells doom for Laundry Cat, doom being spelled O-H-I-O.

Fleet-footed anger aside, the predominant emotion Laundry raises in me is sadness. I love her. She is charmingly playful and sickeningly cute. Her nervousness and fear of everything (omniphobia?) is adorable. In my head, I had already begun to compose a Newsletter column about her, "Go, Laundry Cat! Kill! Kill!" I really thought she was going to be our new cat, an institution in my parents' house for the foreseeable future. Sure, she might not have lasted eighteen-and-a-half years like Sammy, but she was going to be ours, an integral part of what makes this house a home. But she just won't stop pooing and peeing outside her box. We're not selfish bastards, we just don't want to spend the rest of our lives cleaning the carpets and corners of the house several times each day. (We may be selfish bastards in the grand scheme of things, but not because of this.) After I cleaned up L.C.'s latest bathtub mishap and after Dad and I chased her down and caught her, I carried her back to her litter box, set her down on a pile of towels covered in kitty fur, and spent several minutes pettign her. She is such a sweet, pretty girl. She just can't stay here. Bog, I'm going to miss her.

Back Inaction*
The Goldbricker goldbricks again! On Friday, the Goldbricker stayed in bed until 4:00pm, claiming to have been struck by a double whammy, a chest cold and back troubles. Oh dear! Of course, when he got out of bed at 4 he discovered that we were low on coffee; so, without any apparent physical difficulty he set out for Meijer to purchase more of the demon beans. In an odd turn of events, he evidenced no back problems on Saturday when he and I carried the disassembled Christmas tree back to the shed or when we restored the rest of the Christmas decorations to their storage space over the garage door. And he was fit as a fiddle when he and I put a new alternator in the Mousemobile, perhaps unnecessarily, yesterday (watch for a forthcoming "Autobahn" in The Newsletter). This morning, like motherfucking clockwork, he told my mother he back hurt. Someone cue the world's smallest violin. Now, in seeing him move around the house since I returned home in the latter part of the afternoon, clearly some movements do cause him moments of not insignificant pain. But, more often than not he raises a hue and cry and yet there is no wolf; so, I have limited sympathy even when he is in genuine pain. At least he was healthy enough to help me with the Mousemobile yesterday, and to help me corral Laundry Cat this evening. Thanks, Goldbricker!

*Inspired by America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction.

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Hello, Kitty? More Like Goodbye and Good Riddance, Kitty
At some point, I may recount the entire sage of Laundry Cat, the kitten we were gifted by the family of the Mountain's girlflesh, Susan. For now, all you need to know is that we "have" and/or are test-driving a kitten named Laundry Cat and that there is an eighty percent chance Laundry Cat will be returned to Susan's family in Ohio. I think it says a great deal about the difficulties we have been having that Laundry Cat arrived here at the Wilson household on Monday, December 26, nearly two weeks ago, and we still haven't decided to keep the misbegotten horror. Today was not a good day for Laundry Cat; in the last twenty-four hours, she pooed outside of her box on at least six separate occassions in four disparate locations. This situation is intolerable. Over the past week, Laundry Cat made real progress toward pooing only in her box, only to undo all the resultant goodwill with today's display. We have taken her to the veterinarian in case this dog-like pooing behavior was the result of illness and have now given her the full course of medication prescribed by the vet (for gas, or some such), without apparent effect.

I'll be completely honest: right now, I hate Laundry Cat. Earlier today, I was playing with her in the living room, waving a cloth bird on an elastic strong in front of her, when she turned and walked upstairs. A few moments later, she walked back downstairs. I went to investigate and found that she had fulfilled my fears: she had pooed in the bathtub. She had been downstairs and went upstairs to poo. Her litter box was in the downstairs bathroom just around the corner from where we were playing in the living room. She had to travel three or four times the distance to her litter box in order to defecate in the bathtub. She went literally out of her way to shit in the wrong place; she put forth extra effort to avoid her box, which I had just cleaned that very morning. I am going to take her to the vet's office again on Monday to explain that the previously prescribed treatment was spectacularly ineffectual and to determine whether her uncatlike pooing habits have at their root a medical or behavioral cause. If Laundry Cat has a prayer of staying in Michigan and ever being considered a Wilson, she had damn well better be sick. Otherwise, it'll be roadtrip time for the Mousemobile.

I do not want to draw inappropriate parallels between Laundry Cat and my late, beloved Sam, who in his long decline and pitious death became the apotheosis of feline virtue, but according to those old enough to remember clearly Sammy's first few weeks as a Wilson, he stopped pooing outside of his litter box by the end of the first week. Laundry Cat is approaching the end of her second week here at a perilous speed. Sammy did occasionally poo outside of his box in his declining years, but they were his declining years; his kidneys were failing and dragging the rest of his organs with them. If Laundry Cat is not suffering a similar infirmity, and her playfulness and vigor suggest she is not, then she is simply an ill-mannered jerk. Sweet fancy Moses, if I wanted a jerk of a pet that pooed wherever it damn well pleased I'd get a dog-monster like the Pug Uglies. Half the point of getting a cat is that they are self-cleaning: they pee and poo in a litter box and obsessively lick their fur clean. In order to teach Laundry Cat to poo in her box, we have been locking her in the downstairs bathroom at night (if we don't, we wake up to find her little presents scattered throughout the house). When I let her out of the bathroom yesterday, I'd found that she pooed on the floor directly in front of her box. She couldn't be troubled to move six inches before pooing? Jerk.

I loved Samuel Bubbles Sink Cat Wilson more than all but a handful of the people I've known in my life. I wouldn't sully his good name, Wilson, by applying it to that pathetic piece of filth Laundry Cat. If (when) we send Laundry back to Ohio, I will do a little celebratory jig. Good riddance, you monster.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Holy Mother Church
The latest words of wisdumb from Pat "God Hates Dover, PA" Robertson. Hyperlink. I take great comfort in the thought that there is a special place in Hell for those who preach idiocy and blind hatred in the name of the Almighty.

According to Protestant theology, salvation is by faith alone; thus, Robertson will go to Heaven. Catholicism teaches that though salvation is the result of Grace and not achieved through our own labors, faith alone is not enough to receive Grace. Good works, faith, and participation in the sacraments will get you into Heaven. When it comes to Pat Robertson, I find the Catholic version, which will result in the eternal damnation of his dark and twisted soul, to be much more comforting.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
I don't think I've ever enjoyed any Wisconsin or Ohio State victory as much as their dual wins in yesterday's bowl games (the Badgers bested Auburn 24-10 in the Capital One Bowl and the Buckeyes defeated hated Notre Dame 34-20 in the Fiesta Bowl). And Penn State's triple overtime victory over Florida State (26-23 in the Orange Bowl) was magnificent. Yes, the noble Big Ten finished a lamentable 3-4 for the bowl season, but the three best Big Ten teams all triumphed against quality opposition. No undue offense is meant to either The Professor, an alumnus of Florida State University, or Reed, an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame, but woo and hoo. Besides, as an alumnus of the oft-defeated University of Michigan, I know your pain all too well.

For those of you who are familiar with my implacable enmity for both the University of Wisconisn and THE Ohio State University and thus confused by my glee at their victories, all can be explained through three little words: Big Ten loyalty. Sure, I hate Wisconsin and Ohio State, but they're still family. We fight, but family always closes ranks when confronted with outsiders like Auburn (SEC), Notre Dame (independent), and Florida State (ACC). However, no mistake should be made, Big Ten loyalty does not extend to Michigan State, not that those losers will be going to a bowl game any time soon. I hate the Spartans under all circumstances.

And Now For Something Completely Different
Of late, I have been very intrigued by the name Millicent. How does Millicent Wilson sound? Millie Wilson. Yep, I definitely like it.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Brave New Year
I understand that "Sunday" and all related indica are registered trademarks of the National Football League, and I am a fan of the NFL, but today is New Year's Day and there is not wall-to-wall college football on my television screen. This is a farce.

Also, it is important to remember the distinction between the words "flout" and "flaunt."