The First Church of Common Sense

TFCOCS4.0 by Reverend Xenakaboom

The Revolution Has Not Been Televised.

July 2014


Page Summary

July 19th, 2014

08:37 pm : Time for a friending frenzy!

November 28th, 2013

08:14 pm : (no subject)

July 16th, 2013

10:21 pm : (no subject)

March 16th, 2013

09:05 am : For that lone person who reads my RSS feed:

March 14th, 2012

09:53 pm : Writer's Block: National Pi Day

July 10th, 2011

06:22 pm : PUBLIC

January 11th, 2011

09:45 pm : (no subject)

December 28th, 2010

09:32 pm : A rare public entry, or SHIBBOLEET

November 16th, 2010

10:15 pm : Imagine

September 1st, 2010

10:24 pm : (no subject)

August 31st, 2010

10:24 pm : A rare public entry

July 5th, 2010

11:43 am : Writer's Block: Mind reader

June 14th, 2010

09:06 pm : (no subject)

June 1st, 2010

08:01 pm : Writer's Block: Evil Thoughts

May 25th, 2010

07:10 pm : One last thing...

March 15th, 2010

01:29 am : Writer's Block: Another sleepless night

February 26th, 2010

11:09 am : (no subject)

December 19th, 2009

11:00 pm : (no subject)

September 7th, 2009

11:55 am : The real reason I avoid using Windows

August 29th, 2009

08:13 pm : Writer's Block: Doh!

August 28th, 2009

10:14 pm : Writer's Block: Clock Punching

06:31 pm : The caption says HOPE.

August 26th, 2009

10:19 pm : Writer's Block: It Is What It Is

August 22nd, 2009

08:36 pm : Writer's Block: Going Without

July 29th, 2009

09:09 pm : (no subject)

April 11th, 2009

09:16 pm : Writer's Block: Confidences

April 5th, 2009

10:23 pm : (no subject)

March 17th, 2009

10:42 pm : (no subject)

09:07 pm : Ego Stroking

January 19th, 2009

11:19 am : Are Girl Scout Cookies made with real Girl Scouts?

January 10th, 2009

10:02 am : Writer's Block: On the Bus

October 13th, 2008

10:27 pm : PSA

August 16th, 2008

12:53 pm : Sir Nils Olav

January 12th, 2008

01:49 am : Dolls on Sale in Canada

01:00 am : Holiday

January 9th, 2008

06:35 pm : (no subject)

December 1st, 2007

06:16 pm : An open letter to Tony Bourdain

October 7th, 2007

08:15 pm : (no subject)

August 30th, 2007

07:19 pm : (no subject)

August 12th, 2007

02:44 am : Insomnia; Look at the newest arrivals at home

July 7th, 2007

06:34 pm : A speculative treatise on the role of feminism...

July 1st, 2007

01:13 pm : RANT

May 15th, 2007

10:56 pm : More about the Circuit City Boycott

12:24 pm : Overdue letter to Circuit City Corporate Management

March 24th, 2007

08:35 pm : (no subject)

March 16th, 2007

11:08 pm : (no subject)

09:56 pm : (no subject)

March 11th, 2007

01:51 pm : ...but no flying monkeys!

March 8th, 2007

09:35 pm : Tupey tail!

February 14th, 2007

05:04 am : SK becomes Oscar

Previous Entries | 0 - 50 |  
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Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
Reverend Xenakaboom
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7/19/14 (08:37 pm)
Time for a friending frenzy!

Name, nick-name or user name:

  • Kathy, aka Reverend Xenakaboom, Ministress of Earthly Counseling for the First Church of Common Sense

  • 47

    Where are you?

  • In my den, near Philadelphia

    What do you do for work?

  • Mental Health Social Worker

    What do you do for play?

  • Collect non-traditional Barbie dolls and tinker with the Linux distributions I have installed on my double or triple boot Chromebook(s)

    What are your 5 favorite -

  • Numbers and rankings are arbitrary


  • SHRUG. How about: Least favorite genre: Romance Novelists


  • Anything on Netflix

    TV Shows:

  • Anything high brow, like Masterpiece Theater, or low brow, like General Hospital


  • Whatever teams are in the city I live in, purely for self preservation; and, San Diego teams, for cultural identification reasons


  • Comfort types, although I can be adventurous. Have Epi-Pen, will travel!


  • Anything that resemble a sloth or lemur based lifestyle


  • My island of my own making

    Anything You Love:

  • Tough one...anyWHO or any WHOM you love should be the question...IMHO

    What kinds of things do you like to post about?

  • Self absorbed navel gazing, snark, rants...after all, I am a permanent member!

    Extra info about you that you’d like to share?

  • I have already said too much. Clowns will eat me!

    Did you bring a GIF or cute picture to share with the class? Post it now!

  • See icon. And, yes, that is me, and they are real.
  • Thursday, November 28th, 2013

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    11/28/13 (08:14 pm)
    From jathomas:

    From the author:

    PLEASE share this post and spread the word. Especially if you're an artist or crafts-person, or have some on your friends list.

    Thank you.

    You are welcome!

    Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    7/16/13 (10:21 pm)
    Here is an accidental selfie of me standing on Broad Street in this horrible hot weather, waiting for the bus. I look tired (I am), hot (I am), and, for the first time in my life, really really gray.


    I am not upset about it; I am actually intrigued by the silver. For once, one can see my eyes, as I had just come out of the salon about a block away. No, I am not going to dye my hair. I am interested, actually, in seeing how it plays out. Maybe I will be one of those women, like Emmy Lou Harris, who comes to flaunt it. A gal can hope, right?


    Saturday, March 16th, 2013

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    3/16/13 (09:05 am)
    For that lone person who reads my RSS feed:
    My annual public entry:

    First, Google announces that it is deactivating Google Reader, and now it is removing AdBlock Plus from the Google Play store? What is the deal with Google and its public relations arm? Are they actively sabotaging the company for a reason? To what end? Sadly, my primary email addresses are on Google, as are those of most of my friends. Mark my words, Wall Street, Google is about to go the way of Yahoo and AltaVista.

    Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
    Reverend Xenakaboom
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    3/14/12 (09:53 pm)
    Writer's Block: National Pi Day
    How many digits of pi have you memorized?
    5: 3.1428.

    Sunday, July 10th, 2011

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
    Reverend Xenakaboom
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    7/10/11 (06:22 pm)
    I am on day three of my service outage. Verizon staff had arranged for someone to come fix the thing today between eight and five pm. With no one at my door by the deadline, I called again right before the window closed and got a song and dance. "Oh, you should have called us before five, since the tech office in Pennsylvania is now closed". No sh**, Sherlock. I called before five; you just didn't answer me until AFTER five. "Nope, we can not send anyone out there now, You will just have to have someone come this week between eight and five." Uh, I WORK for a living; the rep and later her supervisor gave me a song and dance, telling me that I could have someone come out NEXT weekend.

    "I guess I will be without Net service, without phone service and without cable for the next week. I guess I can put up the bunny ears."

    The supervisor was alarmed. "You can not use an antenna."

    "Of course I can! There is such a thing as over the air television." Idiot! "I am a relatively new customer, and this is how you treat me? If this is not resolved by next Saturday, you will be losing a customer for good."

    Great. THAT got her attention. Now I just have to call them at seven AM and beg them to send someone after hours tomorrow,

    Next stop: small claims court!

    Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    1/11/11 (09:45 pm)
    As many of you already know by now, olliesmama passed away last night. I first learned about it this morning, after reading reprobayt's journal, and then checking my email; Lynn, aka mizdandylynn, had dropped me a line early this morning, letting me know what had transpired. I am still piecing together what few details are floating around.

    My first thought, after the usual meditations about life and death, and our role in the cosmos, was her son. This may be premature, at least in this stage of things, but I want to float an idea out there: in lieu of flowers, I would like to send money to Michelle's parents so that they can establish a trust of sorts for Kelsey. It would not be much, but considering how many friends she had, together I think that we could set up a fund to help supply him with some pocket money for incidentals. He is now a teenager, and he is now motherless. No matter the circumstances he finds himself in as he grows into adulthood, I would like to make sure that even though his mother is no longer is physically with us, her friends and family are here on Earth, looking out for him, no matter the distance.

    Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    12/28/10 (09:32 pm)
    A rare public entry, or SHIBBOLEET
    Attention Comcast! You may have lost a customer for good tonight.

    On Sunday, I made the mistake of phoning your call center and speaking with a customer service representative (her name was, I think, "Yvonne"). I asked her to break down the current bill for me, line by line. I then asked her if there were any deals, since I had been considering going to another vendor for my media needs. She brushed me off, staying on point with her script. Nope, no counter offers were forthcoming. I shrugged, and went about my business, figuring that I might have better luck if I spoke with a representative again during business hours here in the US.

    I tried again this evening, having had some luck with getting my cell phone bill adjusted earlier today. "What, you are charging me an activation fee for a service that has already been activated?" But, I digress...

    Again, I contacted the Comcast call center, and figured that I would try to negotiate a deal, equipped with my research about competitors rates. "No, I can't get you a deal. Call back on Saturday, when we will have some new deals in place." Excuse me? You are turning away MY business? Me, a long time customer with automatic payments from my checking account? You do not care about alienating me?

    Nice knowing you, Comcast. I will wave to both you and Verizon when I walk past your satellite offices, conveniently located around the corner from my house. Your company has taken advantage of me for the last time (I hope).

    Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    11/16/10 (10:15 pm)
    The recent spate of press about civil disobedience has got me thinking.

    Boring thoughts on air safetyCollapse )
    Boy, was I in for a rude awakening. No sooner did I pass the initial checkpoint than did I encounter a body scanner, for the very first time. I told the screener, a woman* who, indeed was very nice, that I had had a stroke, and that my mobility was limited. She asked me if I could raise my left arm; I tried. She then told me that the images derived from the x-ray machine would be processed off site. Dang it, she was so nice and professional about it, and I was so anxious to get home, that I put myself in a sort of trance when she ran the machine, not unlike how I think of England when I have my annual pap smear. Later, I reused that coping technique when earlier this month, I, again went through security and was the recipient of a pat down by a rather embarrassed and apologetic female TSA worker. Think of England, home of Xavier's fore-mothers.

    I fantasize about starting a movement whereby all the airports in this country are picketed by ordinary folk like me, carrying signs stating "Ban the Sexual Exploitation of Children by the TSA". Others, though, may have beat me to it.

    Yes, Virginia, there are movements afoot in aviation circles ; the pilots, almost universally ballsy and proud people, are starting to mobilize, from what I have read. Guess who is spearheading this campaign? The US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA). You read that correctly: a union is challenging this juggernaut of corporate fascism.

    Sadly, I am too chicken sh** to complete this questionnaire. I fear being placed on the no fly list.

    * I wonder if social class came into play with her interactions with me. I was acutely aware that she was either older than me, or had had a hard life. Some of her teeth were missing, and others were either crooked or dead. She smiled apparently without a self-conscious manner; I inferred (correctly or otherwise) that she was possibly intellectually limited.

    Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    9/1/10 (10:24 pm)
    Dang you, LiveJournal administrators. I tried to use the .b-repost-item {display:none} modifier in my customized css file (thank you, oracle of everything, dear popfiend), and it worked for a hot minute; then it didn't; and now, after fiddling a bit, it is now back up. As for the login, the best I can do for now is Ad Block the darn FaceBook icon.

    Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    8/31/10 (10:24 pm)
    A rare public entry
    Dear Friends at LiveJournal,

    I recently observed the seventh anniversary of my Live Journal, and for most of this time, I have been a permanent account holder. I ponied up a nice sum of money to one of the previous owners of this enterprise, and I was guaranteed that I would never be required to host advertisement in order to use this site. I bought the account under those terms and conditions, and expected that the contract would remain in effect throughout my stay at this site.

    Imagine my dismay when I found an option for me to post a comment in my friends journals through my Facebook identity. I was repulsed, but appreciated the fact that my pals may be subject to different contracts with the Live Journal ownership. I then went to my own page, and went to post a reply to another comment.

    There it was, the blessed Facebook login option, right along with the anonymous, logged in, and OpenID options, right there on my comments page. How could this be? How could the owners of Live Journal impose this on me? At least with the Open ID login system, you yourself have control of how you are known on line. With Facebook, however, in order to use the site, one must compromise one's sense of privacy and create what appears to be a "real name".

    I am not here on LiveJournal to make my opinions publicly known. I am here to present a personae that is relatively anonymous, in which I am not obliged to toe a particular line of discourse in order to maintain relationships with my readership. Facebook is where one puts up a face, or a front; moreover, it is funded primarily through advertising revenue culled by the temptation of engaging in puzzles or games. Metadata garnered through a use of a SQL script is used for marketing purposes.

    Livejournal, on the other hand, has been a refuge from heavy handed marketing for those of us who have paid for our accounts. The insertion of a link to Facebook, in my opinion, is a form of advertising for a product I do not want. Moreover, it is an affront to the terms of the user agreement that I entered into freely five years ago.

    In conclusion, LiveJournal management, and I am looking at you, news, is violating my terms of service by forcing me to advertise a product against my will. Moreover, I am insulted that there is no effective way to "opt out" from advertising this swill.

    I would appreciate a quick remedy to this dilemma. Ideally, your organization should allow me to fully opt out of this "feature", as you have done in the past.



    Monday, July 5th, 2010

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    7/5/10 (11:43 am)
    Writer's Block: Mind reader
    If you were given the choice to read one other person's thoughts, but only if they could read yours too, would you take it? If so, who would you choose, and why?

    Didn't Dave Chappelle already answer this question?

    Monday, June 14th, 2010

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    6/14/10 (09:06 pm)
    Cancun, 2009

    I never thought I would say that I love the Carribean, being the Californian that I am; but I do, deeply.

    Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    6/1/10 (08:01 pm)
    Writer's Block: Evil Thoughts
    Have you ever thought about using your job for "evil?" What types of things could you do in your current role to cause chaos or destruction? Besides getting fired, what’s stopping you?

    My advice to anyone seriously considering this notion: watch the film Office Space, and THEN answer this question.

    Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    5/25/10 (07:10 pm)
    One last thing...
    Neil Patrick Harris is the Betty White of 2050.

    Monday, March 15th, 2010

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    3/15/10 (01:29 am)
    Writer's Block: Another sleepless night
    Do you suffer from occasional or frequent insomnia? Do you have any special tricks or remedies? How does it impact your life?

    It is Monday morning, and I have to get up in five hours. If I go to bed, then I am admitting defeat.

    Friday, February 26th, 2010

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    2/26/10 (11:09 am)

    This is Tupi, doing his cat chores.

    Saturday, December 19th, 2009

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    12/19/09 (11:00 pm)
    Day 7: The Moon

    Monday, September 7th, 2009

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
    Reverend Xenakaboom
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    9/7/09 (11:55 am)
    The real reason I avoid using Windows
    Humorous Pictures
    see more Lolcats and funny pictures

    Saturday, August 29th, 2009

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    8/29/09 (08:13 pm)
    Writer's Block: Doh!
    What is the dumbest thing you've ever done?
    Oh, L**d; I have been on this planet for far too long to actually be able to answer this question. Each day holds a shining new possibility for stupidity, for myself especially, which I promptly record in my journal at the witching hour.

    Friday, August 28th, 2009

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    8/28/09 (10:14 pm)
    Writer's Block: Clock Punching
    What was your first job?

    By my estimations, I had three "first jobs":

    I did my time as a baby sitter for my next door neighbor's children when I was thirteen or fourteen. I am the first to admit that I was not good at it. Keeping track of their family tree and ages was annoying; it was a house full of "yours, mine, and ours". I was eventually fired, after the children (all four of them) had a revolt, and petitioned their parents to get rid of me. No harm, no foul. I found them to be rather boring critters, to be honest.

    My second job, which was strictly volunteer, was as a campaign worker for a local candidate. I was sixteen going on thirty six, and I set the world on fire that year (ahem). Enough said!

    My third job, which was my first paid "adult" job, was as an under the table telemarketer for a broker at [REDACTED], a formerly prestigious Wall Street firm that is no longer in business thanks to the current recession. At the time, I got a nice bit of money for very little work that yielded rather poor results. I may have been a perfectionist at school, but I was not that vested in this position. What the he** would a seventeen year old know about finance?
    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    8/28/09 (06:31 pm)
    The caption says HOPE.
    I noticed this poster for the first time today.
    2009-08-28 18.16.56.jpg

    Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    8/26/09 (10:19 pm)
    Writer's Block: It Is What It Is
    What oft-repeated quote or common cliché do you find the most annoying when someone says it to you?

    * The commentary is what is going through my brain whenever I hear these pearls.

    "Oh, you are so BRAVE!"

    I have an orthopedic disability; the only thing that is brave about me is putting up with your blather without trying to ch--- a bit**; ahem.

    "Get over it."

    No. You first.

    "Stop crying!"


    "Act your age."

    Bi***, PLEASE!

    "Act like a lady!"

    Can't help it if my t*ts are bigger than yours, toots.

    "Why do you walk that way?"

    Because I once beat up a chick in a dark alley in the 'Hood; she looked a lot like you.

    Shall I go on?

    Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    8/22/09 (08:36 pm)
    Writer's Block: Going Without
    Have you ever fasted or done a cleanse?

    Interesting questions...

    From the top of my body: I normally fast when I have the flu, since I vomit everything up anyway. I also fast when I have had too many martinis, and need to get the toxins out of my body. That happened only once, a long long time ago, when I was young and stupid.

    From the other end: I had an enema the morning the Challenger exploded. I was in college at the time. The two experiences were not directly related.

    Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
    Reverend Xenakaboom
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    7/29/09 (09:09 pm)
    As both a cat lover and a Linux user, I adore this image:

    funny pictures of cats with captions
    see more Lolcats and funny pictures

    Saturday, April 11th, 2009

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    4/11/09 (09:16 pm)
    Writer's Block: Confidences
    Who do you think it is easier to talk about your problems with: your friends, your family, or strangers?

    Strangers. If it weren't, would be out of a job.

    Sunday, April 5th, 2009

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    4/5/09 (10:23 pm)
    < TAP TAP TAP >
    Is this thing on?

    I have a modest proposal. And, no, there is no direct link to either Johnathan Swift or Soylent Green with this line of thinking.

    In light of the current economic situation, I hereby propose that all recipients of welfare, either corporate or individually based, be subject to both drug testing and criminal background checks. As with traditional welfare, by enforcing these parity laws, corporate deal makers who test positive for cocaine would be treated exactly like a homeless person strung out on crack. Both the mogul and the itinerant would, in summary, be ineligible for benefits if they were using narcotics.

    Furthermore, those persons who take corporate welfare should complete the same paperwork that those attempting to get TANIF benefits have to complete. If a person has too many assets, like owning a car or a home, they should be compelled to spend down, just like every other person on the dole.

    What do you think?

    Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    3/17/09 (10:42 pm)
    I am not what one might consider a dog person, but I must admit I absolutely love this image.

    cute pictures of puppies with captions
    see more dog and puppy pictures
    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
    Reverend Xenakaboom
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    3/17/09 (09:07 pm)
    Ego Stroking

    Entertainment Blog Directory

    I saw this do-dad elsewhere, and figured "what the heck". The reviewer made this determination based strictly on the public material.

    Monday, January 19th, 2009

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    1/19/09 (11:19 am)
    Are Girl Scout Cookies made with real Girl Scouts?
    For my dear husband, who is obsessed about the cats' weight. He calls the expensive high calorie stuff that he gets at the vets office "kitten flavored" since it is for kittens:

    funny pictures of cats with captions
    more animals

    Saturday, January 10th, 2009

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    1/10/09 (10:02 am)
    Writer's Block: On the Bus
    Jam a bunch of people together in a tight space like a bus or the subway and something crazy is bound to happen. What's the most memorable thing you've seen on mass transit?
    I saved a bus from being stolen. Yes, true story...about eleven years ago, I was working late at the Hospital, and found myself sitting on a bus waiting for the driver to start the route. There were a bunch of us sitting on the vehicle; we were a wide assortment of people, from myself (a social worker, in high heels) to a guy who worked in a bowling alley. We all kept to ourselves, and minded our own business. Nary a word was said; we were all too tired and street smart to say anything other than the usual "hey".

    I sat there, up front (it was dark, and the stops in my neighborhood were close together). A plastic bag filled with torn transfers was lodged next to the steering wheel. I would see people try to take some of those transfers from time to time, and I usually ignored it. That night, however, a tall man reeking of ganja walked up the steps and made a bee line to the plastic bag. He took one, then lingered up there a bit, apparently seeing an opportunity in his drug-laden mind.

    My spider sensors went off, and I got off that bus like a bat out of hell. There I was, at around 9:30 at night, running as best I could in high heels and carrying a purse on one arm and a Tasty Cake in the other, in search of a cop. I limped up those stairs in the South Terminal*, and found a cop in the magazine store, standing next to the (then) long-haired bus driver who had that very route every night.

    "Excuse me!" The two men looked up. "A man is trying to steal a bus." The cop looked alarmed, and the bus driver looked at me, apparently in disbelief, The officer ran off down the stairs to the bus stop, while I stood there, still stunned by my observation. I gathered myself together, and went down the stairs more slowly this time around, and saw the bus in the middle of the driveway, surrounded by cops.

    Yes, my instincts were right. The man in question had apparently sat down in the driver's seat, and was able to pump the gas pedal such that he took off down the street, with passengers on board. How did he get caught? Well, it seemed that he stopped the stolen bus in the middle of the terminal in order to pick up a passenger who was running down the driveway trying to catch that bus.

    * For those who don't already know, I walk with a limp due to a childhood injury.

    Monday, October 13th, 2008

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    10/13/08 (10:27 pm)
    Over on chaptal's journal, my dear counterpart noted his enjoyment at watching the 1936 comedy My Man Godfrey. I may have gushed over that film in recent years, but it bears repeating: if you haven't seen it, you should. In some ways, this comedy is as relevant today as it was when it first came out.That said, I should mention that you can download that title, among many others, from the people that brought you The Wayback Machine at The Internet Archive. I am pleased to note that this past week, the Bela Lugosi classic Dracula (1931) was FINALLY added to the collection, just in time for Halloween!

    By the way, back in May, 2005, I created an RSS feed for this site, which you can access on LJ at archive_feature. I am, and remain, the sole subscriber to that feed. It just never occurred to me to publicize that feed, until now. So, do go on! And, enjoy the goodies!

    PS: The film Freaks (1932), which is the source of the images used in the icon accompanying this entry, was recently added to the collection. Happy hunting!

    PPS: Did I mention that all of the films located at the archive are IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN? You aren't pirating anything by downloading the films!

    Saturday, August 16th, 2008

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    8/16/08 (12:53 pm)
    Sir Nils Olav

    As many of you already know, I am a die-hard Linux user. As such, I have a special adoration of all things related to the penguin, which is the mascot (or should I say spokes bird) for the operating system. Thus, it should be of no surprise to you, dear reader, that in the course of my monthly trek to the Large Conglomerate Bookstore in search of Bizarre Magazine, I fell in love with and promptly adopted a Baby Emperor Penguin.

    Baby Emperor Penguin in His Natural Habitat

    I later learned, on that very day, an Emperor Penguin, named Nils Olav was bestowed the honor of knighthood by the Norwegian Kings Guard.

    The Emperor Becomes a Knight

    Thought of the day: If an Emperor becomes a knight, does that mean he has been demoted?

    The Emperor Inspects the Troops

    Of course, how could I not post a link to a video of the actual ceremony?

    Saturday, January 12th, 2008

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    1/12/08 (01:49 am)
    Dolls on Sale in Canada
    Cher in the 1970's

    I really like collecting Celebrity Barbies. As some of you may already know, I have quite a few of these figures, such as those depicting Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, James Dean, and Diana Ross, among others. Earlier this century (2001), the initial collaboration between Cher and Mattel yielded a rather demure doll. In other words, this version of Cher was fully clothed. When the newer dolls came on the market, I salivated over them, but was hesitant to buy them. "Oh, they will come down in price before they are sold out". I was right, kind of--the 1970's Cher sold out from the main Mattel, but was still available from my favorite Canadian dealer (My Favourite Doll). When the 1980's doll caame down in price, I pounced.

    Cher in the 1980's

    Yes, this doll depicts Cher's appearance in the 1987's video for "If I Could Turn Back Time", which, according to various sources on the Internet, was filmed aboard the USS Missouri. By my estimations she was about my age (41) when she got into that costume and strutted her stuff. Even then (some twenty plus years ago!) pundits (or what passed for pundits in those days) either denounced or applauded her for the effort. Since I lived in San Diego, when it came out, people in that part of the world applauded it, since, after all, it was filmed on a NAVY ship. That meant a lot to the natives in the Reagan era town. Forty one. Sigh....

    Anyhow, when I opened the doll's tissue wrapping to show Xavier (yes, Cher is still NRFB), we saw that the packaging covering her, uh, bikini line was delicately adorned with faux smoked glass, lest anyone readily observe the doll's well manicured lawn. Ahem.

    More Barbies Bought on SaleCollapse )
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    1/12/08 (01:00 am)
    Barbies!Collapse )

    Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

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    1/9/08 (06:35 pm)
    Why isn't Ruhlman a superstar (yet)? He has "the look", and he certainly has the hair. Just thinking out loud on paper...

    Saturday, December 1st, 2007

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    12/1/07 (06:16 pm)
    An open letter to Tony Bourdain
    An open letter to Anthony Bourdain:

    Tony, Tony, Tony. I remember back in the day when I read about how, to your dismay, you were not particularly famous in Philadelphia. No one noticed you here, you whined in your writing.


    Okay, fine, you were not whining; you were waxing nostalgic about being about to travel incognito in the City of Brotherly Love, where no one knew your name. I would be able to believe that, too, had I not just seen a rerun of your No Reservations: New Jersey Episode on the Travel Channel. When speaking of the lowly sandwich, served on a long roll, you mentioned "the hoagie, from some city I can't remember the name of", at which point my jaw dropped. I am not even a native, and you pissed ME off. But, heck, its only television, right?

    Then, you came here to say hello to your fans. I will ignore the fact that the event was overbooked, and a few hundred of us had to sit upstairs and watch you speak via closed circuit television. That is not your fault; it is actually a tribute to both your writing skills and the talents of your spin doctors. No, annoying as that was, I have no beef with you about that. Hell, I forgive you the fact that you were too tired to even stand without leaning on the lectern (from what I could see on screen). You travel, you have a new child, your world is now pink, yadda yadda yadda. No, what gets me is your disingenuous response to the unseen lady who queried about your favorite restaurants in Philadelphia.

    Yes, Philadelphia: the city which has Le Bec Fin, Susanna Foo, Alma de Cuba, and, G-d help me, Bookbinders. Philadelphia, the city whose culinary lore was immortalized in the film "Lifeboat" (and, which was, by the way, mentioned among various audience members up in the peanut gallery). Philadelphia: the next stop on I 95 before you hit Baltimore.

    "I am sorry; I don't have any favorite Philadelphia restaurants. I don't really know this city."

    "Where are you eating tonight?"

    Come on, throw us a bone, Tony!
    Yeah, Anthony, throw us a bone!

    "I am not going anywhere tonight," you replied. "I am going home to spend time with my daughter."

    Okay, you win, Tony. I get it. No day trips for you now that you are domesticated again. But, don't fucking lie to us, Tony. If you don't like Philly, just tell us. I promise you, we won't get mad and egg your car. Chances are we hate it here, too. The only reason some of us stay here is the relatively low cost of living, especially when compared to The City. We might slash your tires, but we won't egg your car. I promise!

    With Much Admiration


    Okay, maybe I was a little harsh when cataloging the charms of my adopted city in the last entry. I have a love-hate relationship with this town; I love the accessibility, and I hate the barriers. Enough about my lack of civic pride! Back to the book signing event:

    I got to the auditorium where the Man was scheduled to speak a whole hour early. The venue was the Free Library of Philadelphia, and, to the author's credit, the event was sponsored by an independent book store in Center City. Joseph Fox Books, for those who might be interested, is located on a minor side street in Center City (Telephone: 215-563-4184). I have visited the place once or twice before, and I have to say, considering the size of the book signing venue and the small row home that houses the enterprise, I am rather impressed by their efforts. The library, in comparison, was (is) a gigantic edifice, with marble walls and a pervasive odor of ennui.

    I took the 33 bus to the event, and was fortunate enough to have a guardian angel driving the machine. He asked me if I was going to the library, and, when I said yes, told me about a shortcut that was accessible through the basement. Go down those stairs, and when you get to the double doors, walk through the children's section, he told me. I thanked him, and followed his instructions. The children's section looked, at least visually, somewhat gritty, like what happens when one forgets to clean the caulking in the bathroom. It was tidy, but not clean. Then again, tiny fingers and toes are not always the most sanitary things on the planet. I suppose that my reaction was to the fact that not everything was "shiny and new". The staff, though, were friendly and helpful. I hope they get paid well; they deserve it.

    The librarian was kind enough to give me directions. "Just follow the paw prints to the auditorium. When I cam in at noon, there was already a long line of people waiting to get in." Drat. I was early, but not TOO early, lest I be flagged a fan girl (which I am, but don't tell anyone). Unfortunately, even though I was early, I was five or six back in line before the guards closed seating due to reaching capacity. Fire codes, of course, prevented people from letting people stand in the back of the room. Instead, those of us who were turned away were set upstairs to the public lobby where chairs had been set up for guests to view the simulcast. The screen was large, and, I suppose, met every ones' viewing needs. When I arrived upstairs (eschewing the elevator), I found staff from the bookstore selling Bourdain's latest, "No Reservations", as well as "Kitchen Confidential". My copy of KC was in my bag, having purchased it months ago from, but I bought the new book for full price. I like to support authors and independent book stores; without the stores, where would publishing be in this country? I shudder to think.

    Most of the seats were already taken by the time my debit card cleared, so I stood in the back row, right behind the last row of seats. I stood there, in my brace (which no one could see, since I wore jeans), for nearly an hour before the event started. I kept to myself, since when I go to things like this, I avoid human contact. I suppose crowds freak me out a bit, so much so that I elected to come alone, rather than risk arguing with Xavier (my heterosexual life partner): "How do we get there? Where do I park? This way! No, this way! Stop that! Oh, my G-d, you are embarrassing me!". I am funny that way; I like solitude.

    Two or three other nearby parties did not share my approach to attending public events. One pair, two women in their sixties, stood to my immediate left. They were like yipping dogs. "Oh, is that a seat? Is that a seat? Excuse me? Is that seat taken? Yes?" Finally, at one point, they appropriated a chair that had been occupied by a father and infant son. The father had gone elsewhere with the baby, leaving a stroller behind. Another party included a woman in her late sixties who appeared to be a full foot shorter than me. She kept pushing and prodding as she stood behind me, hitting my bag like an untrained two year old. I kept turning around and avoiding the urge to stare her down. I pretended that she was beneath me (which she was, if only in the strictest technical sense).

    At one point, I could smell the distinctive aroma of vodka seeping from the pores of some unlucky soul (no, Tony hadn't come through the lobby). Then within minutes, I smelled the distinctive odor of ganja (again, Tony was nowhere to be found). The crowds grew larger behind us, extending all the way from the restraining curtain out to the metal detectors (for books, I hope). The scene was starting to resemble a cocktail party. People were greeting each other from across the room, getting out of their seats to leave the typical spouse to guard the precious spot. Many of the people around me started to whine about standing, and, at one point, the midget geezer and her (daughter?) granddaughter had the audacity to cut in front of the line I stood in, and sit on their jackets in the middle of the aisle running between the two aisles of seats. Meanwhile, the security guards who were looking out for our welfare were corralling the herds (moo) so as to clear the outer aisles.

    The two early baby boomer women to my left, in between hustling for a seat, caught up on old times. "How is she?" "Oh, she is good. She has cancer, you know.""Oh, yeah, I heard that." "I didn't believe it, because she is such a drama queen." I would say "MEOW", but that would be an insult to all the cats I know and love. Good lord, let the thing start. The screen was still empty, devoid of any graphics save for the stationary camera fixated on the maroon back curtains. One of the women spoke again. "Have they (the event organizers) forgotten about us?"

    Oh, good Lord. Just START the damn thing, will you?

    The Event

    After looking at that large screen for what seemed like hours, we finally saw some activity at, believe it or not, the exact moment the event was supposed to start. From what I could see from my vantage point in the peanut gallery, a fifty-ish woman with grey hair ascended the stage and introduced the man of the moment. He stumbled to the podium, either inebriated, stoned or sleep deprived. Personally, I was betting that he was hung over; he is too high profile (and too opinionated) to get away with doing lines these days, and he had not seen his daughter in quite a while. I could have been wrong; he mentioned in his rambling and humorous monologue that he had been simultaneously taping the next season of his television show AND participating in the book tour. That would explain it; or maybe not. His shtick was humorous, once he got his bearings. Sadly, I had been exposed to much of it already as I had stalked researched his literary and modeling career online. Blah, blah, blah. The question and answer session was amusing. Mercifully, no one had the audacity to ask about his divorce; the first question centered around the birth of his daughter. He was visibly proud that he had procreated. Right on cue, he noted that "I live in a pink world.". Where was Ottavia? Oh, yeah...eventually, he mentioned "my wife". I would venture to say that he mentioned his wife once for every three shout outs to the baby. Sex sells, right? If he mentioned that he was happily monogamous, his sales would plummet.

    The questions followed a basic formula. "You have changed my life by [witty explanation]. I would like to follow up with: [Choose One: Animal, Vegetarians or Mineral Rights]". Seriously, the questions focused on the political, food or desire. The food questions were alien to me; I could give a rat's ass about the slow cook movement, or the role of organic food in the ascendancy of the Whole Foods Market. He must have read an advance copy of Sunday's New York Times, since he had a lot to say about the importance of fertilizer in eradicating world hunger or growing food or some such humanitarian thing. That morning, the Times, of course, would print a front page story about the role of subsidized fertilizer in eradicating hunger and promoting self reliance in Mali.

    You could say that food is a political issue, and I would not disagree with that assessment. Other issues were more politicized, though, as with the issue of the role of immigrants in the restaurant business. Later that night I started to tell Xavier about the audience member's question about "illegal immigration", and, believe it or not, my mild mannered heterosexual life mate started yelling. At the time, I was somewhat astonished that he had that reaction, since he is not that passionate (shut up), and, secondly, both of his parents emigrated to this country. The audience, at least in this matter, were more subdued about the topic. Perhaps that was a function of us all appearing to be members of the North Eastern Elite. I did notice that when Bourdain went on his rant (speech?) about the importance and reliability of the immigrant worker, I appeared to be the only person in either audience who understood that, when Bourdain noted that Spanish speaking staff often refer to customers as pinche chingada hijos de putas, they were NOT rhapsodizing about us gringos being great tippers. Sad, very sad...

    Bourdain was all but dismissive of graduates of culinary schools, favoring the work ethic of the immigrant. "If I had to promote either a grad or a Mexican salad chef who has been working for me for seven years, I will choose the immigrant every time. The grad will stay there three months, then leave to go skiing in Colorado, leaving me high and dry. Give me an immigrant, with the good work ethic, any day." It follows that this explanation illustrates why Bourdain hates the Grateful Dead (but not why he hates Billy Joel). "Deadheads have a poor sense of time. Punctuality is not their strong suit." As for BJ," well, that is a personal preference."

    Naturally, as I could have predicted like clockwork, the next voice was from what appeared to be a young woman (remember, I was watching this through a stationary closed circuit television hook up). "Hi!" Squeak. "I am currently in my second year of culinary school at the New England [insert fake pretentious sounding descriptor] School--" Bourdain visibly flinched- "and I am interested in becoming a television cook. How do I go about doing that?"

    You could hear the audiences groan at that one. Bourdain started to wake up. He rolled his eyes. "Uh," he sneered, "maybe you should work in a kitchen for a few years." He took a sip of his water and corrected himself. "No, wait. You are young, and have no experience. You would be perfect. You could be another Rachel Ray." You knew THAT was coming, didn't you? If you didn't, you are not a fan. His diatribe ended up eliciting the follow up question: "who would you root for in a death match: Rachel Ray or Sandra Lee?" You could see him conjuring obscene images in his mind. "Are they naked?" He corrected himself, then visibly shuddered.

    The other question that piqued my interest was the reference to his withering critique of the US Embassy's (non) reaction to the 2006 Beirut uprising. Oh, boy, they were pissed. "Seriously, though," he noted, "for five or six days, every time I called, I heard a recording. 'Your call is very important to us. If you have an immediate question, you can reach us on the Web at ---". His assessment of the U.S. Marines, on the other hand, was, dare I say it, worshipful and gushing. "The Marines are like the poets of the English language. They invented most of the curse words."

    And then...and....then....he looked at his watch. The fatigue, or nausea, was starting to get to him. A few more "questions" were fielded: "I am over fifty, and I have to say, you are one sexy man." Yes, the woman said it in front of G-d and everybody. She was lucky the camera did not pan to the crowd. Bourdain didn't miss a beat; he did not blush, but he momentarily averted his eyes.

    The Denouement

    After Bourdain finished his hour long diatribe, which he concluded by (correctly) anointing Julia Child a saint, us groupies were herded out of the building and around the corner in the bitter cold, and told to line up against the wall on Wood Street for the formal signing. People clustered together, with their affected accents and gushing, yet in a a "hipper than though " fashion, about Tony's influence on the "Food Scene". I admit it; I eavesdropped on the phalanx behind me. One guy brought a copy of a book containing the infamous Boner picture. Right on cue, an older woman in his party, upon viewing he picture, became audibly hot and bothered. No, I did not wince; I freely admit I had the same reaction to the image when I stumbled upon an online version of it while doing my "research".

    We marched into the building like cows to a pasture. While others were talking, I was observing my surroundings. When we first got in the side door, I noticed that we were parading through the law room. About six "civilians" were working in the room; they were a heck of a lot more diverse culturally than we were. No one paid us any mind, save for the security guards who functioned as our escorts.

    And then, I saw IT.
    Looking over the room was a large head shot of Abraham Lincoln, apparently photoshopped to look like he was wearing a leather jacket and chaps. Kudos to that subversive librarian who exposed us to that bit of gay history. I wish I had taken a picture of it.

    Then, we were led down a long barren hallway, illustrated with black and white photos of prisoners and ex-convicts, both in the slammer and out in the world. Each image was accompanied by a written narrative, in the subject's own voice, about how they ended up behind bars and what they were doing now that they were free. The social worker side of me was impressed by the photos; the cynic in me wondered what the subjects had left out of their stories.

    Oh, yeah, and I got Bourdain to sign the book. As had been rumored by those in line, it took two assistants to get the book to Tony. The first person who greeted me had a post a note pad in his hand. "Who do you want Tony to make this out to?"

    I chickened out. "Uh, Kathy." Blink. "Traditional spelling. K-A-T-H-Y." I almost, ALMOST, requested TFCOCS. Hell, Michael Moore had once inscribed my copy of "Downsize This" with "To Reverend Xenakaboom". But then again, MM wasn't yet famous at the time. He had not yet won his Oscar.

    A female attendant took the book from my hand, with the Post a Note affixed to the title page (which was the only page that he would inscribe). "Katie?" Oh, good lord. She couldn't even get my REAL name right. "Kathy," I spewed. "Right, Kathy!" She handed to book to The Man. He barely looked up, glancing at the post a note, writing my first name (and correctly, I might add), and signing with a huge watermark. It didn't look like an inscription; it looked like a drawing. I stared at him, taking in his beauty, thinking "he is only a human, like anyone else." I mumbled something about liking the part in the day's presentation where he told us what the Spanish speaking crews really said in the kitchen. "I like how you didn't translate it for the audience". His weary face had a flicker of recognition; perhaps he was thinking "oh, yeah, I said that". He smiled, then slid the book across the table to his left, as if he was working an assembly line. Next!

    website statistics

    Sunday, October 7th, 2007

    Reverend Xenakaboom [userpic]
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    10/7/07 (08:15 pm)
    ...oh, yeah, while I am on a roll, what the hell is going on with LiveJournal's servers being harvested for addresses? I mean, sure, someone can easily use the wget function, but if I, a nonprofessional computer wonk, can easily see by looking at the headers that the LiveJournal servers are being used as a conduit for spammers, why aren't the professionals catching it?

    I may have developed a temporary solution to this problem, at least from an end user's perspective. I have written a mail filter that appears to isolate those pesky offers to enlarge my non-existent penis and otherwise take my money and filter said correspondence to the Junk folder: any mail sent to my USERNAME AT LIVEJOURNAL DOT COM that does not have "livejournal" in the body of the message is marked as spam. Clean, elegant and to the point. Et tu, Six Apart?

    Thursday, August 30th, 2007

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    8/30/07 (07:19 pm)
    "Your ex is a sixty year old crack addict? What is that, 120 in human years?"

    Sunday, August 12th, 2007

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    8/12/07 (02:44 am)
    Insomnia; Look at the newest arrivals at home

    Alice in Wonderland
    Take a gander at the slightly over-sized head on this doll. This is not to the BRATZ level of helium, but the oversized child look does make one think.

    The proportions are still a wee bit off here, but he looks his age, unlike the other doll in this shipment.

    Saturday, July 7th, 2007

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    7/7/07 (06:34 pm)
    A speculative treatise on the role of feminism...
    ... in the demise of the well pressed cuff.

    Reposted and edited, from two comments I made in jdquintette's journal. Warning: his original post is graphics heavy.

    Perhaps the demise of the well pressed cuff is a direct result of the third wave of feminism? Think about it---housewives were often tasked with the drudgery of ironing their husband's shirts, and some may have actually taken pride in their work. A well dressed man, after all, could have been expected to make more money than a less fastidious colleague. Since the gentle art of the domestic sciences has been deprofessionalized, what with people like yours truly being in the workforce, and not devoting an adequate amount of time to the ancient (third oldest) profession). Hence, I (among others) am personally responsible for the decline of the starched and pressed shirt cuff.

    Yay or nay?

    Sunday, July 1st, 2007

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    7/1/07 (01:13 pm)
    Comcast, as a service provider, you are getting on my nerves. I LITERALLY live around the corner from your local office, and you are still an hour late.

    Last night, I spent five hours on three different phone calls, trying to get my Net service to work, and ended up having to gerry rig a few machines just to get my own service to work. Poor Xavier---I tried to install a wireless gadget on his XP machine, just so he would avoid the DT's, but, alas, I was unsuccessful (to be fair to myself, he DOES use XP).

    So, the upshot of this mess was that I had to get up at 8:00 am on a Sunday and wait for a repairman to come between the hours of 9:00 am and noon. It is now one o'clock, and I only just got a call from Comcast to inform me that the technician would be here within a half hour. Unfortunately for the poor tech operator, I had just spent nearly an hour on hold with customer service, never even penetrating the techno-wall that surrounds the operators. Twice, TWICE, I found myself in Comcast Telephony Purgatory, waiting for someone, ANYONE to pick up the phone, with an insipid four note chord playing an endless loop, OVER AND OVER AND OVER....and it is still going......on and on....

    Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

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    5/15/07 (10:56 pm)
    More about the Circuit City Boycott
    Old but important newsCollapse )
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    5/15/07 (12:24 pm)
    Overdue letter to Circuit City Corporate Management
    Overdue letter to Circuit City Corporate ManagementCollapse )

    Saturday, March 24th, 2007

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    3/24/07 (08:35 pm)
    Barbie now has a toilet. My collection is complete. ;-)

    Friday, March 16th, 2007

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    3/16/07 (11:08 pm)
    NOW I can see Juan Carlos! I used GIMP to brighten the image!
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    3/16/07 (09:56 pm)
    This is Juan Carlos! Trust me, it is, somewhere under that small chair. He is the one with a licker problem. He licks my hand whenever I play with him!

    Sunday, March 11th, 2007

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    3/11/07 (01:51 pm)
    ...but no flying monkeys!
    Dorothy Dorothy
    Dorothy and Toto
    Glinda Glinda
    A Good Witch
    Wicked Witch of the West Wicked Witch of the West
    Xavier found this doll to be "hot", in an X-Men kind of way!
    The Tin Man The Tin Man
    Xavier thought that the heart made this character look like a rapper.
    The Cowardly Lion The Cowardly Lion
    A Friend of Dorothy: This is one of my favorites. I love the ringlets!
    The Scarecrow The Scarecrow
    Where is the brain?
    The Munchkins The Munchkins
    I think Mattel dropped the ball on the Munchkins. Instead of having these characters portrayed as the fully formed adults that were cast in the film, Mattel elected to infantilize the roles. By the way, the original porcelin Barbie dolls commemorating the Wizard of Oz, which were produced in 2000, did a rather good job of depicting the performers who portrayed these characters. The Wicked With of the West from that series looked just like Margaret Hamilton in full makeup. That series also had, I kid you not, Flying Monkeys. If only I had been a collector when those first came out!

    Thursday, March 8th, 2007

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    3/8/07 (09:35 pm)
    Tupey tail!

    Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

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    2/14/07 (05:04 am)
    SK becomes Oscar
    When I heard the news of Oscar's passing, I went into shock for about an hour. I went about my business as if nothing had happened. Then, Yvette yelled at me for something when I got back to the office, for reasons that were appropriate but still humiliating. I turned numb, and ignored her. I promptly walked to my office (Dana was elsewhere, but I knew that she was in today, since her radio was still on). I shut the door, and cried. And cried. And cried. I loved Felix, but Oscar was my soul.

    Oscar and I met when Xavier and I were living in Texas in 1991. I was in graduate school, going for a degree in Government, living in an apartment complex located along a free shuttle line going to the university. Every night that first semester, I would see a black and white kitty perched atop a pillar, staring at me. Later, Xavier had a similar encounter with the critter, and coined him "Suicidal Kitty".

    That October, SK hung out near our front door. On one strangely cold evening, he slipped into our home, and refused to leave. He made a bee-line for the kitchen, as if he lived there. Perhaps he had at one time? Xavier was annoyed, and told SK to skedaddle. He did, but he kept coming around. By the time Spring rolled around, I had dropped out of school, and was between jobs. SK would come over and sit with me in the doorway while the soaps were on television. His back would twitch, and, for some reason, I thought he was a pregnant girl kitty. He would then leave the foyer, and go back on his rounds at the apartment complex. One afternoon, he missed his appointment with me. I thought he had other plans, so I just went about my business. An hour later, I heard a rather loud meow. It did not come from the front door, as he was nowhere to be seen. I kept hearing the lovely sounds, and wondered "where could he be?" I happened to open my drapes as I pondered this question, and saw, lo and behold, SK sitting on the roof of the apartment management office opposite our second story apartment balcony, staring right at me. SK was serenading me!

    This went on for about a month, until one day, SK got his visiting hours mixed up, and showed up on the doorstep late one cold Texas night. When I opened the door, Xavier rolled his eyes, and went back to watching television. SK then marched right in, and jumped into Xavier's lap. Needless to say, less than ten minutes later, Xavier became smitten with kitty. He was there to stay. Suicidal Kitty became Oscar that night.

    Our newly christened kitty pal as taken to the vets the next day. I doubt that he had ever been in a car before that journey, because he was eager to go and explore the world. Little did we know that this would not last long! Within another two hours, he was neutered (yes, she was now a he, much to my embarrassment). To say he was angry was an understatement! When we got home, we let him out of his carrier, and he promptly ran out the door. "Dang it," muttered Xavier, "we just spent eighty dollars to cut your balls off!" I got the tuna out, and we went hunting for kitty. He ended up hiding on the patio of a neighbor living on the first floor. Since we did not know this neighbor, we were not exactly in the position to jump over the wall and grab him. Instead, we loitered outside the fence, like dirty old men at a porno theater (look that up on the Net, kids). His cat-like instincts led him into the tuna trap, and VIOLA, he was back in our arms.

    By the time summer rolled around, we had decided to return to the East Coast, with Oscar in tow. Unfortunately, we were so disorganized that we ended up cleaning and packing up until midnight on the last day of our lease. We got the U-Haul packed, the car tethered to the truck, and the kitty in the carrier. Oh, he wailed and wailed! The noise lasted for about an hour, until we pulled into a Motel Six in Waco, TX. No, we were not going to the vets at this hour! After that, Oscar was well behaved for the rest of the journey. There was more to this car thing than just going in for a tune up!

    Eventually, we made it to Philadelphia, and settled into our split level apartment. Oscar, Xavier and I puttered around for a year in that big old place, discovering new things every day. One day in January, the year before we expanded our family to include Felix (RIP), Oscar and I had the pleasure of seeing his first snow. He sat on the windowsill in the den, transfixed by the ice falling from the sky. His head bobbed up and down, following each flake as it hit the ground. I envied the neighbor who we spied walking her snowball doggie in the complex; she could take her pal out on a leash! Oscar would have none of that silliness. He had his pride!

    Oscar remained a solo kitty for another year, until we adopted his brother. I must give the Tuxedoed One his due: he took to the kitten like a Mama bear and her cub, gender roles aside. He parented his own species, and he was good at it. Who would have thought a former street kitty like Oscar would nurse? Or that he would suffer the indignity of being cruised by his own kitten brother not two weeks later? I can only imagine their conversation, in Kittenese.

    Life hit a rhythm, and everyone had a role to play. Felix was the Joker, and Oscar was the quiet, dignified leader. He humored his brother, but he did not suffer foolishness. If the kitten started a game of tag, Oscar would display his inner Tiger and play along. Sometimes they would snooze together, especially when the weather was cold. During the summer, though, Oscar would sleep at our feet, or near our heads, while Felix would be on patrol in the living room.

    One day, in the wee waking hours of the morning, when our bed was against the wall facing the street in our apartment (we had moved to the third story apartment by then, after the Great Melt of 1996), Oscar had a mishap while jumping from the window sill to the bed. He was not hurt, but his pride certainly was compromised. He had, upon descent, accidentally landed on Xavier's right eyebrow. X woke with a start, felt his face, and felt blood. I called 911, and the medics arrived. Keep in mind that at the time (in fact, up until about a month ago) we lived in a small town, with only ten thousand residents. When the police arrived, I saw that there were three cars and an ambulance.

    What? No SWAT team?
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