Archive for September, 2009

KTOP

September 29, 2009

I arrived on Thursday night at the house of my cousin Ashley and his wife Kathryn. They served a wonderful dinner of lasagna and super fresh salad, along with terrific conversation. Friday a.m. I acclimated. The weather was warm enough to have coffee on their deck, which looks out over the city of San Francisco and the bay. Directly below is the Claremont Hotel, from which issued the faint sounds of music on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The fog obscured about half the view of the city and the bay, but the vista was still dramatic. I never did get to see the Golden Gate Bridge from that perspective, though the uprights would occasionally poke through the fuzziness. The weather turned downright hot in the afternoon, which made getting to the car even more of a challenge. That little adventure occurred because the house is on a path rather than a road. It consists of blacktop that rises at a steep angle, interspersed with steps every few feet. My guess is that the change in elevation between their house and the top of the path is probably 50 feet – spread out over about 75 feet of incline. It was even more of a challenge walking up from the bottom of the path, which is longer and seemed steeper. I was breathless when I reached the top and noticed they were, too, even though they’ve been doing that walk two or three times a day for six years. Ashley said he lost 25 pounds when he moved there.

After giving the GPS time to wake up, I drove into downtown Oakland and met Ashley for lunch and a tour of KTOP, the city of Oakland’s television station, where he is the station manager.

The place is huge, filled with equipment that the station uses and rents to outside groups. It’s one of the few city agencies that actually makes money. The revenue is much needed in these times. The place is staffed with busy, happy people – a diverse crew who have all been there for years. A couple of the studios were occupied with “guests” who were recording. One guy was working in 3-D. I couldn’t visualize how he was doing it even though the images were right in front of me.

Ashley has begun posting video on Youtube, which seems to be a great way to spread the city’s message. I’ll have more on KTOP’s coverage of the city council meeting in another entry.

From the station we walked to lunch at a Japanese restaurant. The place was much more traditional than East Coast establishments. They do not give you spoon for soup but expect you to drink directly from the bowl. I had sashimi, which had the usual tuna and salmon, plus octopus, mackerel, and squid. Ash had an enormous roll filled with shrimp, crab, spicy tuna and avocado. The seafood in both was fresh enough that it could have been swimming in the Pacific just hours before, but I suspect it was probably flown in from Japan.

Then we walked down the street to meet our other cousin, Anna, who had taken BART from the airport. After her tour of the station, she and I drove back to the house where I made tea and we talked and giggled until Kathryn came home. Once Ashley arrived, we ate another terrific dinner of asparagus and pasta pesto that he prepared. Then we looked at his family photos, which included many taken in Old Saybrook at the grandparents’ summer cottage before the 1938 hurricane.

Ashley’s dad had hand-colored some of the photos, an amazing feat. When he worked at James’ Pharmacy during the summers that meticulous, painstaking work was apparently part of his job. Ashley also knows how to do it but could only find one.

I was still operating on EDT so retired early.

Home Again

September 29, 2009

I have returned from the Left Coast – a true voyage of body, mind, and spirit. Verdict: Will happily visit whenever asked but will never live there under any circumstances. The traffic is horrendous with rush hours that start at 3 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. Even in the less congested outer areas, the car density is beyond ridiculous. Plus I got dizzy more than once as we teetered on the edge of a hill in San Francisco. The idea that an earthquake could send those hills crashing into the sea just added to the trauma. Oh, and did I mention that my cousin’s house is right on the edge of a fire zone? Most of the properties around his have been rebuilt since the 1991 Oakland Firestorm. It was so bad it gets capital letters. As I’ve said before, I’ll settle for the occasional blizzard and the very occasional hurricane.

Otherwise, the trip was terrific. Our Saturday foray was to Napa for an open studio event featuring art work and wine tasting where I got to play sculptor on a piece of soapstone. A study in contrast arrived on Sunday with a trip to Costco (my first).  Another contrast a day later when Anna and I took a cable car from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf via Chinatown. On another day we saw the blocks-long farmers market in the mall by City Hall and ate terrific soup when the weather turned windy and cool. Another day featured a private guided panoramic tour of the city: the Embarcadero, Golden Gate Park, Pacific Heights, the Presidio, the Castro, the Mission District. Over successive days we saw the coast as far north as Bodega Bay and as far south as Santa Cruz. And we got to watch a part of the Oakland City Council meeting. It may not sound exciting but 150 people showed up to protest the rules change for parking meters.

We ate healthy (well, mostly) and terrific meals and enjoyed the fabulous views of the Pacific and San Francisco Bay.

I’ll be writing about this stuff in detail over the coming days but will follow the advice of the King in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: “Begin at the beginning … and go on till you come to the end, then stop.”

At the beginning was an uneventful but oversold flight out of Bradley to Dulles. We waited a few minutes to take off. The pilot blamed traffic out of New York. When we landed, we had to walk out on the tarmac to the terminal because the plane was too short to reach the gangway. We must have missed the rain by just a couple of minutes. Inside the terminal it was a shock to encounter the smell of cigarette smoke. I had forgotten that Virginia is tobacco country so of course they have not caught up with the rest of the country to ban or at least limit things so nonsmokers aren’t poisoned.

Despite a two plus hour layover, I had to walk only a few steps to my connecting flight so I sat and listened to a woman yakking away on her cell phone because her mother had gone to the wrong building for therapy. The phone talker was trying to get her relatives to hire an “estate attorney” to handle a conservatorship or whatever. While she talked, she kept eating and eating and eating from plastic containers of stuff that she’d brought from home. I glanced up at her. She could have given the anorexic Olsen twin a run for her money.

Once I boarded the long flight to SFO, travel deteriorated. They had no room left in the luggage bins when I arrived so I had to check my bag and then of course had to wait at the baggage claim, which defeated then entire purpose of carry-on. At least they didn’t try to charge for it. Note to self: Next time fly Southwest, which doesn’t charge for baggage.

Then the flight was delayed leaving the gate. We sat and sat and sat with no explanation. The pilot never said a word for the entire flight except “Seat belts, please” when we hit a bit of turbulence.

I sat with a guy who had played football at USC and was returning home. He sported a championship ring, which attracted the notice of the other guy, a veterinarian from Long Island who was going to San Francisco for a wedding.

Remainder of the flight was uneventful, but it was hot when I landed. Lonely Planet said to expect cool weather. I found my way through rush hour (it was 7 p.m.) to my cousin’s house which is nestled in the hills of Berkeley. They have a gorgeous view of San Francisco and the bay when fog doesn’t obscure everything including the building that’s about a city block away and a few hundred yards down the hill.

To be continued.

Almost Ready

September 17, 2009

Today consisted of packing 10 days worth of stuff into a bag meant for overnight. Aside from the baggage fees, I refuse to allow another airline to lose my luggage. This bag is pretty roomy, and I did manage to remove the computer padding, figuring I can always use the quilted pullout from my actual computer bag if I needed it.

Then the computer started screaming that it needed to do a full scan, so I’m typing at half speed. Then I had to run defrag and diskscan. At least the computer will be fit, rested and ready when I return.

As I was running around today I encountered a new variation on the ugly American. I went to get my nails done so I won’t look like a total ragamuffin, and the parking lot in front of the place was missing – actually the blacktop was missing. A nice man directed me to park behind the building and told me I could leave the normal way. I nodded my thanks, parked and entered the nail place through the back door. All was calm except for the back hoe ripping up the pavement out front and the dump truck pulling in and out and the other two smaller pieces of heavy equipment pounding back and forth across the exposed dirt.

A bit later, a woman came lurching in the front door. “What IS this? What am I supposed to do? I can’t walk back across that after I get my pedicure.” The lovely employees of the nail place speak pretty good English (they’re from Korea), but I was pretty sure neither of them caught the words through the woman’s hysteria.

I was the only customer in the place, so I said, “You should pull around behind and come in through the back door. Didn’t they tell you?”

“No. There was truck parked across the entrance. I’m going to move my car. Is there a back door?” She was too upset to listen, obviously.

A minute went by, then two, then three, then five. She must have confronted one of the workmen because she came huffing in the back door. “He called me a bitch! I’m calling the company.” She sat herself down in the pedicure chair and dialed, told someone her version of what happened. Then she said, “Yes, all right.” And repeated the story. Then she listened for a minute and said, “Oh, I don’t know. He was short, wearing a hat, had frizzy gray hair, and he was very dirty.” I had seen the guy she meant driving one of the pieces of equipment, which means he’s probably a member of the Operating Engineers. I thought, yeah, and he probably makes about four times more an hour than you do. And of course he’s dirty – he’s working road demolition and construction!

Both the manicurists were occupied at that moment, but the “lady” said, “I’m ready. I’m ready now!” One of the woman started work on her and then send, “What color do you want?” And the woman said, “Oh, he upset me so much, I forgot to pick a color. Anything pink is fine.” I’m thinking she should have something in glaring red. The colors are all sick puns – I’m wearing Light My Sapphire. Have previously worn Tasmanian Devil Made Me Do It. So maybe Seeing Red Bull for her? I gave a smile of sympathy to the other employee. Then I got out of Dodge as fast as I could.

My computer access will probably be limited for the next few days, though I may be able to post here and there. Full blog will return will when I do.

Lunch and Dinner for Three Days

September 15, 2009

RIP, Patrick Swayze, the second sexiest white man in America. (The first is Sean Connery. Even though he doesn’t actually live in America, his sex appeal makes it across the ocean). Swayze, unlink Connery, seemed like a genuinely nice man – and boy, could he dance! If you want a great laugh, check out SNL’s take on the Chippendales’ audition. He’s trying so hard not to laugh!

Today is a modestly quick hit because I’m trying to pack and otherwise get organized for my trip. Why is it so hard to find travel size contact lens solution? Why is the regular size 3.4 ounces when they could drop the 0.4? Then I could take what I already have instead of buying a new bottle, which I can’t keep till the next trip because the stuff has a three-month expiration?

I did have lunch today with some former colleagues from the Hartford Courant. This time there were nine people of whom three are still employed at the paper – two part time and one full time.

We ate at a place call Joey Garlic’s. It was the first time that my former boss, who normally eats his own lunch and everyone else’s leftovers, couldn’t finish his meal. The place is Italian themed – grinders, “New Haven style” pizza (which means thin crust), pasta, etc. When the first grinder arrived, Susan said, “Oh, my God, you could move into that thing.” She wasn’t kidding. I ordered the Sicilian orange salad and subbed goat cheese for Gorganzola. I ate about a quarter of it and had to put the leftovers in a pizza box because there was too much to fit in a regular takeout container. Besides the orange pieces, there were two kinds of black olives, grape tomatoes, capers, red Bell peppers, fennel (finocchio, pronounced “f’nok” to the Italians) romaine and iceberg lettuce, a huge round of the cheese. The menu listed onions, but I didn’t see any. Maybe the fennel substituted. The thing was already gargantuan, and it was resting on a pizza! At least that’s what I called it – very thin crust with just a little olive oil and garlic and sprinkling of cheese. They called it “fresh baked flat bread.”

Joe our boss (as opposed to Joey the restaurant person) couldn’t finish his grinder in part because of the appetizer, a mountain of eggplant fries that arrived right at the same time as our sandwiches and salads. The eggplant was cut into strips about the size of medium french fries, battered then fried and served with a marinara sauce. We all ate a generous portion of those and I nibbled at a couple of french fries, which were decently crispy but way too salty. I’m still guzzling water.

Our conversation did not dwell on the recent “aggregation” outrage at the Courant. (See “Aggregation, Plagiarism, or Theft?” September 2.) The employees continue to be outspoken in their lack of respect for the publisher.

Another Quick Hit

September 15, 2009

Quick hit today because my week is in chaos in anticipation of the trip to San Francisco. Forty people celebrated the Middletown Press reunion on Sunday. Everyone seemed to have a fabulous time. We started arriving at the venue as the March of Dimes motorcycle cavalcade was departing for the annual fundraising ride to the Shoreline. But it was no sweat for the folks who serve. They changed gears from Harley riders in leathers and a Twisted Sister tribute band to retirees in sports jackets and reporters in jeans who were listening to CDs from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

The food drew raves. I can vouch for the roasted vegetable medley: zucchini, eggplant, carrots, and broccoli – as well as the penne marinara. Everyone else devoured the porchetta and lemon herb chicken. There was more than enough to feed the crowd that ranged in age from two to 92.

Many folks brought photos or souvenir editions of the paper. One guy brought a piece of the actual building, which was destroyed under rather strange circumstances to make room for a Rite Aid. Strange because Rite Aid was occupying a perfectly good building two doors away. We all decided that the Middletown Press was the best place to work – and some of us have had extensive experience to form a basis for comparison. I said if Derry and Woody D’Oench still owned the place, I’d still be working there. Everyone who heard me nodded their heads.

So after a day of reminiscences and relaxation, today is occupied with Reiki and organizing some information I want to research while I’m in Earthquake Land. Tomorrow I have lunch with my Hartford Courant colleagues and do a final bit of laundry. Can’t wait to hear their take on the “aggregation” incident from late August.

Wednesday I will undoubtedly be running around in circles before wheels up on Thursday.

Tire Biter

September 12, 2009

Remembering with sorrow those lost on 9/11. And remembering those who struggled to save them. And prayers for those who still suffer.

Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty much lost causes. I forgot my volunteer jacket when I went to the hospital on Tuesday and was debating whether to go back home and get it or wing it without my badge and grab a jacket from the volunteer closet. A guy walking by pointed at my car and mouthed something I couldn’t make out. I thought he meant I’d left my gas cap open. Since I hadn’t bought gas in forever, I thought that was a bit suspect. Plus my car yells if the least little thing is left undone, and it hadn’t been shrieking at me. Of course the seat belt warning and the lights-left-on warning don’t seem to have worked in a while but the door- and trunk-left-open signals still yell with gusto.

I got out of the car and discovered I had a seriously flat tire on the rear passenger side. I have no idea when it happened and I didn’t feel it when I was driving. So I went in and told the secretary in the volunteer office that I might not make it. Then I called AAA. The service facility happens to be the same place where I take my car for oil changes, etc., and it’s within walking distance of the hospital and of my house. Anyway the AAA tells me the guy will be there in 45 minutes. I call Larry to let him know and while I’m on the phone, the guy from AAA calls and says he’s 10 minutes away. Then he says, “Don’t I know you?” I said, “Yeah, I spend far more time at your place of business than I would like.”

He shows up and pulls the spare out of the trunk. It is – be still my heart – a full sized tire and not a “doughnut.” Not that it matters since the station is so close. Then he asks me for the key to unlock the lug nuts. I had no idea what he was talking about, didn’t even know they were locked. He said check the glove compartment. I knew it wasn’t there. It’s full of old insurance cards, even older maps and deposit envelopes for the ATM. So he’s getting ready to put air in the flat so I can drive down to the station where they do have a key, when he feels in the little plastic packet that holds the jack – and voilà! a key for the lug nuts.

He pulls off the old tire and there is a nasty looking nail in the tire. He says the service folks can fix it. So I drive down and leave the tire. They say it’ll either be later in the afternoon or the next morning. And that they’ll have to put that tire back on because the spare is a steel wheel and the others are alloy. I say fine. By this time I’m hot and tired and need to get on with my errands. So I go mail my cousin’s birthday present and return a couple of books to a couple of libraries. Now I’m even hotter and tireder [?!] and hungry, too.

So I’m home having a large restorative cup of tea when the phone rings. The guy at the repair shop says “Ooops – can’t fix the tire because it was driven on too far when it was flat and it ruined the inside.”  At least I think that’s what he said. I just heard that it was going to cost me more money. And it wouldn’t be ready till the next day because they didn’t have that tire in the shop and it was getting late – it wasn’t 3:30 yet, but I didn’t argue. So they’d call in the morning. I said fine.

Next day, the morning passed and I was wondering if they’d forgotten me. They finally called about 12:45 and said they had the tire. They prorated the cost of a new one because I had bought the tires from them and there was a partial warranty. So I got about half off the price. The culprit turned out was a large industrial staple, which I’m sure I picked up in our garage.

Hoping that’s the end of this set of gremlins.

Class Meets Crass

September 11, 2009

The two-day story of my flat tire will have to wait. I have to write about the president’s speech and the fallout from it.

I started out on Twitter: commenting that I was watching Hillary shake hands with all 535 legislators. Then watching Obama being hugged by all 535 folks (not quite, but it did seem that way.)

The man delivered the goods: The speech was clear and specific. He’s still allowing Congress to decide among several alternatives, which is a smart move considering how Bill Clinton’s proposal crashed and burned after he tried to ram it down the throats of unwilling legislators. I didn’t Tweet it but did wonder how Hillary must have felt about rising to applaud a great many of the items she proposed all those years ago. Final Tweet came somewhere down the line when I speculated that I might at last be able to afford a medication I need that has a monthly co-pay of $100.

The Republicans again showed how they continue to occupy a planet somewhere near the outer rings of Saturn with their inability to grasp reality. Protecting doctors from lawsuits won’t gain the average restaurant worker gain health insurance.

And last night they again signaled their abject fear of the change that Mr. Obama’s election symbolized: The country is moving on and leaving that group of old white men behind. I don’t understand how the representative from South Carolina could decide that the reform plans cover undocumented workers when not one of the proposals that has passed any committee includes this group of people.

And then one of the GOP compounded the felony today by saying the Democrats won’t limit provisions to citizens. Of course they won’t. Anyone who is in the country legally should be entitled to the same coverage as a citizen. Otherwise, I suspect that a great many folks will leave their jobs, with their employer-provided health plans and go back to England or Sweden or France. Hell, even Cuba provides health care to non-citizens who are in the country legally.

The plus side is that Rob Miller, the Democrat who opposed  Rep. “you lie” last year, has received a huge boost in fundraising with almost $500,000 as of 8 p.m.

Mr. Obama, of course, handled the eruption with his usual aplomb.

As for me, the lyrics to a Mardi Gras song began running through my head: “Meet me, boys, on the battle front/The Wild Tchopatoulas gonna stomp some rump.” I say put Rahm Emanuel on the case and that’ll be the end of that.

Married at 9:09 on 9/9/09

September 10, 2009

A friend of ours got married this morning at 9:09. He and his new bride were far from alone, though some were waiting till 9:09 p.m. The Las Vegas wedding chapels started slow with 9 couples booked for the morning rotation and would be hopping with 99 in the evening. The cost? $99 of course.

Aside from the symbolism, the grooms said they’d never forget their wedding day.

They could have saved $98.01 if they’d gone to Hollywood where the 99 Cents Store was offering a few weddings for … 99 cents.

China bested the US in the number of nuptials category. Some thought it was because the word “nine” in Chinese is a homophone for the word “forever.” And one couple who registered on 9/9 will have their ceremony and banquet next month, on 10/10.

I won’t get into the numerology debate, but here’s a link to what some folks think is the meaning of the number nine.

Some articles mentioned “dressing to the nines” as a way to celebrate the day. Even though I intended to spend my time in warmups and flip-flops, I had to find out where the expression came from. The Phrase Finder dissects various theories and concludes that the expression relates to “the Nine Worthies,” people who had a significant on western civilization (read: dead white men). They were Hector, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Joshua, David, Judas Maccabaeus, King Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey de Bouillon, one of the leaders of the first crusade. I can see a whole lot of people objecting to ol’ Godfrey and some serious argument about a couple of those other guys. Was Hector real? Ditto King Arthur? All in all, they’re a pretty influential crew.

Another 9/09/09 anomaly: The usual run of “end of the world” predictions. For the Brits, it’s exceptionally angst-producing since their version of 911 is 999. Yipe! But for end of the world accuracy, I’m putting my money on the Mayan calendar, which says the world will begin a new cycle in 2012, specifically on 12/21/12. Some folks have taken that to mean the end of the world is coming. It may be the end as we know it, which might not be such a bad thing.

There’s a new movie called “9” opening today, though the preview looks like the movie has ripped off pieces of every action flick from “Blade Runner” to the Harry Potter series.

Probably the best event of the day is the release of the Beatles stuff. The Beatles Rock Band has received excellent reviews from Ringo and Paul – and from Yoko and George’s widow, Olivia Harrison. It may be the first time they’ve all agreed on something.

“Revolution 9” has been renamed “Revolution 9/9/09” The new remastered complete works will add depth to the group’s amazing creativity.

Weird note of the day: I was reading a history of San Francisco in preparation for my trip and came across the following in a timeline: “1850 – September 9: California is admitted to the Union.”

I tried to file this entry at 9:09 p.m. EDT, which would be 1:09 a.m. 9/10 GMT in WordPress time. But it turned out to be later because I wanted to hear what Mr. Obama had to say about health care and to count the applause pauses – I counted 23 standing o’s and 15 applause-only interruptions. More on that tomorrow.

Then just as I was ready to file, the site decided it wanted to make my entry rag-right and move the cursor left when I wanted it to go right. Here it is, finally.

Living in the DMZ

September 9, 2009

I live in the DMZ between New York and Boston sports teams. One walks a course of landmines this time of year as the baseball season winds toward the playoffs and the football season begins for real. The latter is not nearly as dangerous as the former.

About half the people in central Connecticut are NY Yankees fans and the other half would give their life’s blood for the Boston Red Sox. Oddly enough a good number of the Sox fans are also NY Giants football fans. I’ve never been able to get them to explain why, beyond something muttered about rooting for the underdog (that would be the Sox). Not sure what they have against the New England Patriots.

There are a couple of hold-outs, too. Larry has former high school classmates who are still supporting the baseball Giants because they used to be in New York, even though they moved to California in the Pleistocene epoch. And I believe there is at least one Brooklyn Dodgers fan. The team has been in Los Angeles since BPC (before personal computers), but I don’t think anyone has the heart to tell the poor guy.

The biggest difference between Sox and Yanks fans (aside from their teams’ stats) is that Sox folks get all worked about hating the Yankees. I was on a trip to watch the UConn women’s basketball team at Madison Square Garden and half the folks booed as we passed Yankee Stadium. On the other hand, Yankees fans just ignore Boston. It even shows in the quick sports wrap-ups on the radio stations. The Hartford station gives the scores for both teams. New York gives the Yankees and the Mets. Oh, yeah, I forgot about them. But only about 10 percent of folks in the area root for the “other team.” Could have something to do with their record.

But lots of folks go west when it comes to football. I did find one anomaly in recent months. The guy is a rabid Yankees fan, a rabid football Giants fan, and an equally rabid Boston Celtics fan. He couldn’t explain it either except to say that Larry Byrd is “the man.” “The man” retired more than a decade ago, but I guess that minor detail doesn’t matter. Another mystery of this fan’s obsession: He’s the only one of these die-hard people who seems to have a preference for a pro basketball team. Everyone else thinks (and I agree) that the sport is full of thugs who are best ignored.

And the final mystery is why no one seems to care about hockey. My former boss Ken Robinson (see “RIP” and “Bad Day/Sad Day,”) used to get so emotional during the playoffs that he cried. On second thought, I rescind my comment about Connecticut folks not caring about hockey. They do care, but they’ve agreed to stay angry at the Whalers for leaving Hartford, which I believe happened in the Middle Ages, which would be somewhat more recently than the Pleistocene but still far enough removed to put it in the fog of history. Connecticut’s lack of a professional sports team seems to be the excuse for everything from West Nile virus to poor scores on the No Child Left Behind requirements.

Anyway, these sports loyalties can create the same kind of climate that existed in the Civil War when brother fought brother. I know one family were Mom is a Sox fan; Dad is a fan of the Baltimore Orioles (don’t ask); and Son roots for the Yankees. Fortunately they have three TVs in their house. And they all cheer for the football Giants, so if there is to be an Appomattox it’ll happen sometime in late October or early November.

That family’s favorite watering hole has three TVs. If the Sox and the Yankees are playing someone besides each other, the games will be on screens at opposite sides of the bar, and the fans divide accordingly. I really think the DMZ for the Great Baseball Divide might run through the middle of the place. The third flat screen is reserved for important stuff like the UConn Women Huskies.

I had occasion to do a sociological experiment when I went from the Meriden Record-Journal, where all but two people in my department were Yankee fans and where the boss took the top managers to a couple of games every season, to the Hartford Courant where all but two people were Sox fans and the folks organized trips to Fenway Park.

As for me, I say I’m a Yankees fan to keep my father’s shade away from the door. (Everyone remembers Hamlet, right?) Otherwise, I’ll be ducking for cover whenever any of these combustible groups collide.

Cats Rule, I Mean, Cat Rules IV

September 4, 2009

This post carries the cats rule headline only because I’m keeping track of them. It’s actually got a bunch of other little items.

Noted with glee: Amazon is accusing Google of creating a monopoly. Talk about the pot …

Noted with extra glee: the Hartford Courant acknowledged that its “aggregation” was in fact plagiarism.

Today is a day for chores because we have two events tomorrow, one Sunday, and one Monday. The one Sunday is here, so I’ll be running to the store (again) and doing laundry and generally trying to figure out what I’ve forgotten to do in what order. Plus there’s a book that HAS to go back to the library and I haven’t finished it.

And I’m going to spend the weekend worrying about my cousin who is spending the five days on her property in the San Luis Valley, which is off the grid, lacks running water or any way to heat what she hauls in, also lacks cell phone service except for some World War II era thing (I think). She’s planning to live on some kind of weird trail rations. And she said if she dials 911 there’s one person for something like 95,000 square miles and the call might not go through on the “Grandaddy Fought in the War” cell thing-y anyway. My cell and I have become inseparable for the next five days as I await her call.

So, to cheer up everyone (or at least me) here’s the next (and mercifully the final) installment of the cat rules.

Sleeping: As mentioned above, in order to have enough energy for playing, a cat must get plenty of sleep. It is generally not difficult to find a comfortable place to curl up. Any place a human likes to sit is good, especially if it contrasts with your fur color. If it’s in a sunbeam or near a heating duct or radiator, so much the better. Of course, good places also exist outdoors, but have the disadvantages of being seasonal and dependent on current and previous weather conditions such as rain. Open windows are a good compromise.

Scratching Posts: It is advised that cats use any scratching post the humans may provide. They are very protective of what they think is their property and will object strongly if they catch you sharpening your claws on it. Being sneaky and doing it when they aren’t around won’t help, as they are very observant. If you are an outdoor kitty, trees are good. Sharpening your claws on a human is not recommended.

Humans: Humans have three primary functions: to feed us, to play with and give attention to us, and to clean the litter box. It is important to maintain one’s Dignity when around humans so that they will not forget who is the master of the house. Humans need to know basic rules. They can be taught if you start early and are consistent.