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Archive for the ‘cats’ Category

This blog has been silent too long. I’ve had some health issues affecting my hands; maybe I’ll write about them eventually, but for now let’s just say I’ve recovered enough to tentatively revive this blog, though probably on a low scale.

It’s Caturday; and since the Kittywampus hiatus coincided with an issue that put the word “pussy” in the mouths of the journo-commentariat (they’re still trying to spit out the furballs), it seems only fitting for this blog to support those three brave Russian feminists who are now serving a jail term for questioning the rottenness of their state.

Sure, we’ve got our own rottenness here in the U.S., too. When was the last time the pundits or politicians spared a thought for Bradley Manning? Why do I find far more Canadian sources than U.S. ones on this week’s deportation of war resister Kimberly Rivera from Canada and her arrest at the Canadian border? How can the Obama Administration possibly justify its defense of the NDAA?

But see, it’s not a question of ignoring abuses of the rule of law at home while highlighting abuses abroad. We can deplore the state-sanctioned violence against Manning even as we condemn Russia’s sentencing of Pussy Riot for being loud and insulting in a cathedral (their real crime was criticizing the state).

At the New York Times, Vadim Nikitin wrote last month that Western supporters are simply jumping on a bandwagon, merely [u]sing dissidents to score political points against the Russian regime.” This is too facile. The Russian regime is profoundly anti-democratic. It deserves to have points scored against it. While I respect his point that using dissidents as pawns is a game that goes back to the good ole Cold War days – and thus ought to come under scrutiny – the fact is, Putin is gutting what remains of Russia’s fragile democracy.

Nikitin also joins a number of North American feminists in decrying some of Pussy Riot’s most overtly offensive stunts – in particular, those involving public sex. I will gladly concede that I do not see the political or artistic merit or utility of such stunts, while I definitely do see how they would just reinforce the objectification of women to most casual observes.

But none of these caveats present a roadblock to supporting Pussy Riot, and Nikitin insistence that they’re dealbreakers strikes me as disingenuous:

You can’t have the fun, pro-democracy, anti-Putin feminism without the incendiary anarchism, extreme sexual provocations, deliberate obscenity and hard-left politics. … Because what Pussy Riot wants is something that is equally terrifying, provocative and threatening to the established order in both Russia and the West (and has been from time immemorial): freedom from patriarchy, capitalism, religion, conventional morality, inequality and the entire corporate state system. We should only support these brave women if we, too, are brave enough to go all the way.

Actually, even though I’m not a hard-core anti-capitalist, the Pussy Riot program all sounds pretty good to me. But Nikitin creates a false dilemma. You most certainly can support Pussy Riot in their moment of persecution without agreeing with all of their stances or tactics. We do this all the time, as when we defend the right to freedom of expression for people whose speech we find abhorrent.

The three band members made eloquent closing statements at their trial, showing that they understood, deeply, that this wasn’t a case about punk music constituting blasphemy. The stakes were nothing less than authoritarianism, human rights, freedom of artistica and political expression, and the state manipulation of media. Pussy Riot knows this. We too should recognize it – and dwell upon the ways in which the U.S. government, too, is systematically eroding liberties and making martyrs of dissidents. The rule of law hangs in the balance, not just the freedom of three young women, and not just in Russia either.

And so, by the great power invested in my by this blog, I hereby declare today Anti-Authoritarian Caturday.

Authoritarian kitteh courtesy of Cheezburger.

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What I Want for Christmas …

… would be a cat. But I won’t be receiving a kitty any more than you’ll be getting a pony. (Allergies in the family. Meow.)

So instead, here’s a wish that all kittehs get whatever their hearts – or paws – desire.

(If you can’t see the clip, click here.)

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Quilted Caturday

I am not a quilter, though I often wish I were. These feline quilt blocks make me yearn for the skllz and the time. They come from a blog with the enviably goofy name Katinka Brusselsprouts. It’s a beautiful blog worth a visit even if you can’t thread a needle. Katinka will lead you to the original source for these patterns, Regina Grewe, whose site is also an Augenschmaus (treat for the eyes – yes, she’s German).

This one looks like a little imp – equal parts charmer and stinker. Such an adorable face!

This little guy looks like he’s sleeping in perfect repose in a perfectly alert posture – the ultimate Zen practitioner (after Shironeko, that is).

Little Miss Daisy (my nickname for her)  looks like the picture of pure innocence. But she’s a cat, so you know she’s got to be cooking up something.

And finally, the Cat before Christmas, who has his very own quilt. To be honest, I love the first three best, because their focus is so intently on the cat, without any distraction from the background. But this little guy is still sweet and seasonal. Merry Catmas to all! (Or should that be “Merry Quiltmas”?)

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About three weeks ago, I informed the Sungold universe via Facebook that I was in love. No, not that I was in a relationship. Not that I’d gotten divorced. (Indeed, my dear mate and I were enjoying a local high point.)

It was, um, far more complicated. I was smitten with a kitten. And my husband is allergic. Like, asthmatic allergic, which is cruel, since he loves him some kittehs.

On August 11, a thin orange cat with stunning mackerel markings walked up to me as I was pulling scuzzy weeks from my driveway. He said, plaintively, “Meow?” as cats tend to do. Of course I answered in kind.

Within moments my kids informed me that this little guy could be Little Lion, a much-loved cat their friends had lost earlier in the summer. I held on to Orange Kitty until Little Lion’s family confirmed that we hadn’t found him. We then checked to make sure OK wasn’t an escapee from our friends across the street, who at one point had had two orange/ginger cats. No luck.

That night, Orange Kitty drifted off to sleep in the comfort of our porch furniture, seemingly secure in the knowledge that these silly humans who’d fussed over him all evening and provided stinky fishy cat food would carry on their tuna-scented gravy train in the morning.

But (cue Dragnet music or Darth Vader’s theme): The Ditch Witch arrived sometime between 7 and 8 the next morn. Despite the absurd, even cutesy name, this digger is the H-bomb of the construction world. It commenced to tunnel under roads and sidewalks, preparing the way for 21st century gas delivery. (My town is the poster child for the urgency of infrastructure repair.)

By the time I checked on Orange Kitty, he had vanished, like any intelligent kitteh would. And he stayed vanished for a full four weeeks.

This very last Thursday night, I spotted him in our backyard at 6:20 p.m., evidently hot on the trail of a mouse. He broke off his hunt to issue his trademark pathetic meow and allow us a whisker rub. I was elated. He greeted me! He came trotting up to me! He begged to get in the back door! But my kids were about to be late to music lessons, so I couldn’t dally. By the time I sped back home, the only orange was a streak in the sunset.

But hey, at least we knew he was alive.

Yesterday, Friday, he appeared in once again in the early evening. I was sitting on my front porch – just in case – as I’d done faithfully all those weeks before.And yet he took me by surprise. (Which is actually not surprising, in light of the dozens of porch-hours logged in vain hopes of finding him.) He came meowing up to the porch, instantly seizing my attention.

We were ready this time. We wined and dined him like the prodigal kitten. (And no, we didn’t overfeed him – he’s very thin and we want the food to stay inside him – plus the wine was for me. Obviously.) He again fell asleep on our porch furniture after a few longing glances toward the living room.

Today, I went onto the porch around noon to call him. No kitteh. I slipped back into the house and commenced a samba-esque rendition of “Just the Way You Are.” I got to a rest … and heard “meow! meow!” in the key of G#. A Billy Joel fan?

We’ve spent the rest of the day with this charming pumpkin. I bought him toys and food and worm pills. Two of the three were a grand hit. I figure I’ll need to take him to the vet this week, which will take care of the de-worming. I’m fully aware the vet visit could bring heartbreak. (I notice Orange Kitty is breathing too fast, though his gums look pink to this rusty observer, and he doesn’t seem to be sneezing or coughing, nor is he evidently in pain. He eats well and likes to play.)

We need to ascertain, too, that no one has lost him. Surely, he was once loved and fed with kindness; otherwise he’d be skittish and feral instead of sweetly social.

But my heart can’t help but leap – nay, pounce! – at the hope that we might have ourselves a part-time kitty, one who could live outdoors due to my sweetie’s allergies, yet enjoy lots of mutual love. And feeding, which would be a whole lot less mutual unless he starts sharing his mice (ugh). (Ideally, I think cats belong indoors, but when the alternative is life as a stray, an outdoor gig might be a decent compromise.)

Whatever happens, I take the appearance of Orange Kitty as blessing in my life. A mitzvah. An arc of grace (at least until he falls off the porch furniture; it seems I still attract rather clumsy cats).

Oh, and my statement that we might just have us a part-time cat? Scratch it. We all know who “owns” whom – on whatever temrs he chooses.

Night-night, sweet Orange Kitty. May you please favor us with your presence tomorrow, the next day, and all the days thereafter.

And it not: Well, the cat came back. Not once, but thrice. Reason for hope, even if – as one of my friends has suggested – OK is just one of those “nonmonogamous” kittehs.

(Click here if you can’t see Laurie Berkner singing “The Cat Came Back.” Yes, she’s a “kids’ singer,” but not only – not in the least.)

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Scary Caturday

If you thought last week’s Caturday post was alarming, this week’s is downright scary:

(Click here if you can’t see the clip.)

And yes, I realize this blog is in danger of turning into a mere catblog. That’s what the Kittywood conspiracy is all about. I’m hoping, though, that with the kids back in school I’ll have a little more time to devote to writing about gender and politics.

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Conspiracy Caturday

Ever wondered if there’s an elaborate plot for kittehs to take over the Internets? Well, here’s the expose we’ve all been waiting for.

(If you can’t see the clip, click here.)

“If you don’t want to do your job and put Maru in a box, I’ll find someone who can!”

Perhaps more alarming than the conspiracy is the fact that I recognized nearly all the kittyvids mentioned in the clip.

Oh, I believe! And so should you! The kitteh conspiracy is real. Just be skeptical when they say that kittens don’t dream. We all know they do.

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Technically, there are not any cats in the old Al Stewart song, “Year of the Cat,” but its lyrics are evocative and elusive, so maybe there’s feline element to it after all. Even though I’m now old and jaded enough to roll my eyes a bit at its “mysterious exotic woman” trope, I still love this song, which I listened to incessantly back in 1976/77. (You can thank Al Stewart for jolting me out of my Barry Manilow phase.)

Since my vinyl is packed away in a box, I hadn’t heard the song in years and only rediscovered it through the magic of Facebook. This live version is heavy on crowd noise, thanks to a boisterous German audience (it aired on Musikladen, similar to Wolfman Jack’s “Midnight Special”) but its long virtuoso piano intro more than makes up for the noise.

We’re actually in the Year of the Cat right now, according to the Vietnamese calendar, which swaps out the cat for the rabbit. Nothing against the rabbit, but since it’s “my” year, I prefer to have been born in the Year of the Cat. Lucky me!

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If you haven’t seen this sweet kitteh hugging her very young baby, you probably haven’t been on the Internet this week. Watch for the real hug about halfway through:

If the hugging mama kitteh is already old hat, then you’ll want to proceed straight to these three clouded leopard cubs, born in the Nashville Zoo (via William K. Wolfrum). There’s no actual mother in this clip, only a human simulation of leopard-mama technique. Watch for it starting at 1:05. (My first thought: Oh, if only my son the Tiger had enough of a scruff for that trick to work!

And on the theme of calming our cubs, I’m besotted with the cover of this book,

Go the F**k to Sleep,

which isn’t out yet, but is eagerly awaited.

The cover art alone gets the Kittwampus pawprint of approval for felinity. Want to see the cozy cat family inside? The whole cubs, kits, and kaboodle has been leaked and put up on YouTube:

Sweet dreams! I, for one, am off to emulate that lucky mama tiger, except I won’t be using either of my cubs as a pillow.

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A Caturday Easter

I know Easter always falls on a Sunday, but it can still be a Caturday, too. Thanks to Tim (in comments to the previous post) for enlightening me!

(Click here if you can’t see the clip.)

I like the message of mercy.

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Swedish DIY Caturday

As usual, we at Kittywampus are happy to bring you yesterday’s warmed-over news, along with viral videos that have been around so long they’ve caused people to develop antibodies. Especially if cats are involved. This Ikea commercial has been around for a while, but I only saw it a few days ago, so here you go!

(If you can’t see the clip, click here.)

My first thought upon watching this was: If they released 100 cats in an Ikea store, how many did they lose? I mean, I’ve come close to losing a child or two at Ikea. It turns out they did lose at least one, though he was rescued unharmed. The backstory is fun viewing, too:

(Or click here.)

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It’s been one of those loud Saturday evenings in my neighborhood. All those wild professors, acting out! Actually, the students living near us have been pretty reasonable this year. It’s just that it’s the first Saturday of spring quarter, and even though spring weather is nowhere in sight, they need to party on principle. I could call the cops (in principle) ’cause they’re clearly violating the noise ordinance, but I’m not a big enough meanie.

It could be worse. We could be living with a cat whose purr routinely exceeds 70 decibels and has been variously compared to a lawnmower or a Boeing 737 about to land. This lovely kitteh, Smokey, was rescued from a shelter. Maybe she’s just so grateful to be alive that she can’t contain herself. Maybe her little walnut-brain is wired even more oddly than the average cat’s. In any event, she’s gorgeous.

(Click here if you can’t see the clip.)

Thanks to Lisa Simeone for being my Smokey detector.

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Classical Caturday

The “Duetto buffo di due gatti,” falsely attributed to Rossini, evidently composed by early LOLcats.

(Click here if you can’t see the clip.)

This was performed by Les petits chanteurs a la croix de bois in Seoul, 1996. They are just adorable – and perfectly convincing as cats!

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Charlie Sheen is a serial abuser of women, as Anna Holmes argued persuasively in the New York Times earlier this week. As Holmes wrote, his current two live-in partners are “disposable,” not least because they are presumed golddiggers who tarnished their virtue in sex work. I don’t care if they’re only with Sheen for the money, fame, and drugs. We should be worried for these women’s lives. Sheen’s “goddesses” (his word) are living 24/7 with a control freak with a long record of domestic violence charges and no discernable ties to reality.

Despite his evident break-up with the reality-based world, Sheen appears to have his two partners in thrall. That gives even more cause for concern. A People Magazine story portrayed the women’s relationships with him as downright Stepford-ish.

“I’ve always felt that a man should be able to be with as many women as he likes,” says Rachel Oberlin, 24, one of Sheen’s two live-in girlfriends. “I’ve never had the opportunity to share that with any man before because, honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been with a man who was even deserving of that.”

Consenting adults can order their households however they like. But what’s good for the gander ought to be good for the goose – yet here, it only the gander has the privilege of multiple partners. My understanding of ethical polyamory is that it’s based on equality, not hierarchy and paternalism. That’s the exact opposite of how Sheen describes his relationships to People Magazine quotes:

“They don’t judge me,” Sheen repeated. “They don’t lead with opinion. They don’t lead with their own needs all the time. They’re honest enough to tell me, ‘Hey, look, you – you know, park your nonsense. You gotta help me solve this.’ And we solve it.”

When it comes to household decisions, he said, “Everybody’s vote has equal importance. But when we’re approaching crisis, I remind them, ‘Look, I’m 22 years further down the road … my plan is gonna be the best one in the room. So, just trust me on that and everybody will win. Everybody will win and everybody’s needs will be taken care of.”

This is creepy, coming from a guy with a history of physically hurting women. What happens if a goddess dares to express an opinion? The old brick in the face, a la ancient Mesopotamia?

Patriarchy isn’t dead. It has just moved to Hollywood and allegedly developed an epic coke habit. (“For the win!” as Sheen might say.)

Also, the idea of Charlie Sheen as a problem solver and crisis mananger (???!!!) would be hilarious, if he were living in a universe occupied solely by the body and ego of Charlie Sheen. As it is, someone stands to get hurt.

Nonetheless, it’s Caturday, so let’s not just soberly criticize Sheen’s behavior. Let’s mock him, too! (Yes, I know he needs help. He’s making too much money off of not seeking it that mockery is perfectly fair.)

There’s lots more Sheen-y cattiness at the blog Medium Large – check it out. (Thanks to Lisa Simeone for the tip!)

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Potty Humor Caturday

As you might imagine, my seven-year-old loved this.

The gray tabby midway through the clip looks quite a lot like Grey Kitty – including her expression of pure confusion.

(Click here if you can’t see the clip.)

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Yesterday, as I was trying to figure out how to tell a colleague where to find my blog on the Google, I did a quick test run – and here’s what I found:

This blog has finally landed on the #1 search spot on the google for “kittywampus”! We have finally beat our archrival, Urban Dictionary, and rightly so, for they are chronically short on cats. (Full disclosure: Due to husbandly allergies, my off-screen life is also catless, which saddens me awfully.) Various incarnations of the old Kitty on Blogger follow, just down the list. Ditto for my Twitter account.

Of course, dominating the Google doesn’t always bode well. Just google “santorum” to see why ex-senator Rick’s presidential chances may be incrementally worse than my own.

But for a Kitty to be at the top of a tree? Why, it’s a pretty nice place to perch.

Until, of course, the first responders have to be called to pluck you out of the treetop, as happened once to the patron cat of this blog. But that’s a story for another day.

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Empty-Bubble Caturday

My Grey Kitty had a way of staring into space that might have been deeply philosophical. My husband, however, always suspected that if you could see a cartoon depiction of her thoughts, it’d be an empty bubble. Other cat-owned humans have likely seen this in (in)action. Those who knew GK will know precisely what I mean.

GK had white highlights on her face and more of a sprawling belly, but otherwise the likeness isn’t too bad.

(Philosopher kitteh from ICHC? of course.)

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New Year Caturday

I don’t feel like reviewing the year that just ended, and I have no chirpy resolutions to offer, so let this ring Kittywampus into the new year:

(Click here if you can’t see the clip. Via Feminist Philosophers.)

A new Simon’s Cat video is always a gift. This one happens to be Christmas-themed, but its silliness transcends the season.

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Messed-up FIFA Caturday

Why Qatar is the wrong choice to host the 2022 World Cup:

(Soccer kitteh from ICHC?)

Lots of oil. Plenty of petrodollars. A severe shortage of LOLkittens.

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PB&J Caturday

This has got to be my stupidest Caturday entry in a long time – probably ever. I thought this clip might be dredging the deepest, dumbest depths of YouTube, but then I saw the video of the same kitteh dancing to Britney Spears. It gets even worse, folks.

YouTube also offers kittehs singing that old Christian Sunday School tune, “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in My Heart.” That one’s unbearable, even for my kids.

But my seven-year-old Tiger adores this PB&J kitteh.

I do not. Especially after five viewings. Watch at your own risk.

(If you can’t see the video, click here, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.)


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Prop. 19 Caturday

I don’t live in California, so I don’t have a chance to vote for Prop. 19, which would legalize catnip marijuana. But I still loved this comment in Michael Pollan’s recent interview posted on Alternet:

I always kept a little patch of catnip in my garden for my old tomcat, Frank, who really liked it. It’s not a very difficult plant to grow. The patch was hard to miss, because it was so shrubby. But every evening around five or six o’clock, just around the time that I was going to the garden to harvest something for dinner, Frank would come down there and look at me. What he wanted to know was where that catnip was, because he managed to forget every single night. And I would point it out to him or sometimes bring him over to it, and then he would pull some leaves off, sniff them, eat them, and start rolling in the grass. He was clearly having a powerful drug experience. Then he would sneak away and sleep it off somewhere.

But the interesting thing was, as much as this became part of his daily routine, he could not remember where the catnip was. And it occurred to me that this might be a kind of evolutionary strategy on the part of the plant: instead of killing the pest, it would just really confuse it. Killing pests can be counterproductive, because they breed or select for resistance very quickly. This happens with a lot of poisonous types of plants, as it does with pesticides. But if the plant merely confuses the pests or disables their memory, it can defend itself against them overindulging. Pure speculation, as I say in the book. It occurred to me that it might help explain what’s happening with cannabis, which of course also disables memory.

(Read the rest here.)

Of course, it’s easier to muddle memory when the brain in question is the size of a walnut. And even so, Grey Kitty always knew exactly where the nip was stashed. One time while we were out, she got up on a high kitchen shelf and pulled down the baggie. We found her sprawled on the living room floor, stoned out of her little gourd. She was lying in front of the television, as if she was hoping it might magically turn itself on.

Picture of two cats, one sprawled on the ground, the other admonishing him for overdoing the catnip

Stoned kitteh from ICHC?

 

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