Friday, February 24, 2012

Angry cat


I posted a photo the other day of my cat, Pico, and figured I’d follow that up with a word or two about her.

Why? Well, I see all these posts out there on the blogosphere about wonderful cats doing things like hiding in boxes, sleeping next to children, mowing lawns, setting up Excel spreadsheets and other “cute” things. Pico isn’t a bit like that. She’s ill tempered, has a bit of ear missing from one of her many fights with our other animals, limps a bit (she broke a paw before we got her and it never healed quite right) and is rarely seen as she prefers to be alone.

Let me explain. We got Pico (a name which I believe is some kind of foreign for “I hate you,” “fussy,” “nasty” or something else equally awful) back in 2002 when she was approximately two-years-old. A friend of my mother-in-law claimed that she could no longer keep the dear, sweet cat because of an allergy. My wife talked me into taking her in as a merciful gesture and that’s what we did.

Pico settled in and started fighting with our other animals and hiding from the children. Her claws were removed as I got sick of being clawed by the thing and she attacked my daughter one time too many. We learned in a hurry that there was something fundamentally wrong with the cat. She hated other animals and, in fact, hated every soul on the planet except for my wife and me (and she barely tolerated us).

After we’d had Pico for about a year, we visited the woman who talked us into taking and noticed the lady had three cats living in her house. Oddly, she didn’t want us to return Pico to her. Obviously, we had been duped.

So, we’ve kept Pico all these years and she’s not going anywhere. I only see her for about five minutes a week as that’s when she’ll come out of hiding and demand that I pet her. After a few minutes of petting, she’ll try to bite me (she succeeds when I’m not quick enough) and then runs off to hide again. She lives under our bed and has a bit of a nest built in our closet where she’ll hide and screech like crazy if we find her and dare look at her.

Since the cat isn’t starving, I’m fairly certain she’ll sneak out from time to time and grab some food when she believes she won’t run across one of us or our dogs.

Oddly, I like the fussy old grump as she’s really not any trouble. She mostly wants to be fed, left alone and petted on those rare occasions when she feels like it. I’ll catch her sleeping next to me on my pillow about a half dozen times a year and it’s creepy to wake up with that thing glaring at me (she’ll run off as soon as I wake up and look at her, of course). There are even times when I’ve managed to pet her without her trying to bite me (she’ll still get up and run off as fast as she can after a time, however). Taking her to the vet once a year is a miserable experience, but she doesn’t require much of anything the rest of the time. As long as she’s got food, water and a clear path to our closet, she’s content.

So, there you go. Pico isn’t cute and cuddly at all. She’s mentally ill and rarely any fun. It’s a good thing she’s with us – other people would have gotten sick of her years ago.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why I still say ‘Space Jam’ is great


It seems that Space Jam – that 1996 movie staring the great Michael Jordan and a bunch of Looney Tunes characters – isn’t exactly held in high regard in some quarters.

That’s a real shame. Well, it might not be a shame and it might be totally understandable. But, here’s the thing – Space Jam is entertaining when viewed under the right circumstances.

Let me explain. Back around Christmas of 1996, my immediate family was all together and spending time at my parents’ house. We decided it would be dandy fun to head to Little Rock for dinner and then take in a movie.

Ah, but what movie? We debated that at length and my brother pointed out that if we paid to see Mars Attacks!, we could watch the following showing of Space Jam for free at one theater. Two movies for the price of one? Why that was too good of a deal for us cheapskates to ignore.

So we headed off to the theater for an evening of fun. Ah, but there was one problem with that plan – Mars Attacks! is a dreadful film. Frankly, I can’t remember a time when I’ve been so angry during a movie and felt so cheated.

SuckAttackMars Attacks!, for those unfamiliar with it, is one of those Tim Burton things that was apparently supposed to be a parody of cheesy, low-budget science fiction flicks from the 1950s and 1960s. It failed on every level. Not only did it lack the low budget charm of the films it was making fun of, it was darned annoying as well. I don’t remember a whole lot about the film, frankly, other than it irritated me and seemed to go on forever. To this day I still think of Mars Attacks! when contemplating the things I absolutely hated about the 1990s. Yes, folks. The film is that bad. Don’t dare watch it. You’ll regret it. It’s absolutely worthless and couldn’t even be made entertaining by the crew at Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Although the film was horrible, we toughed it out. We groaned. We complained. We threatened to give my brother a well-earned beating in the parking lot after the movie had finished. When that dog of a movie finally ended, we tried to decide whether to pack it in and write the evening off as a loss or see is Space Jam was any better.

While some in our party decided they’d been tormented enough and decided to go back to my parents’ house, a few of us remained and decided to give Space Jam a chance.

I’m glad we did. It was rather like the clouds parted, the sun started to shine and we all forgot about how miserable we were while suffering through Mars Attacks! While no one will claim Space Jam is one of the finest movies made, it was pure gold compared to the film we saw before it.

Watching Michael Jordan run through around with a bunch of cartoon characters, seeing basketball players try to act and everything else was legitimately entertaining. The notion that Michael Jordan quit playing baseball and went back to the Bulls because of a game he helped Bugs Bunny and company win is a hoot, too.

Had I seen Space Jam under different circumstances, I might not have enjoyed it so much. However, just about anything would have been an improvement over Mars Attacks! Space Jam was so much better than that awful piece of trash that I still watch it from time to time and enjoy it about as much as I did when I saw it in the theater.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: angry cat plays nice


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Monday, February 20, 2012

Horoscope for the week of Feb. 20

It's a new week and you know what that means – it's time to turn to the wisdom of the mysterious and wise Dr. Zodiac to see what the stars have in store for us in the coming days.

Dr. Zodiac – our resident soothsayer and general purpose mystic – said the stars are all suffering from what can only be described as a case of the winter blahs. They were almost too lazy to talk to him this week and that is a good thing – if they’re too lazy to commune with Dr. Zodiac, they probably haven’t spent a lot of time figuring out ways to torment us this week.

Let’s find out, shall we?


Mar 21-Apr 19

You always scoffed at the idea of being prepared, Aries, but you’ll wish you had heeded that advice this week. While the stars weren’t specific, they said you will find yourself in need of various things at different times this week – specifically, a roll of duct tape, a set of jumper cables, a picture of a frog (yes, you read that right) and a dime. Don’t ask questions. Just get those items ready. Your lucky number this week is 10.


Apr 20-May 20

Big Star – the undisputed leader of the stars – said you will be worked to a frazzle this week. Yes, your enemy will be sapped, so make sure to keep plenty of Red Bull (appropriate, huh?) on hand for when the going gets tough. When I, the famed, Dr. Zodiac, asked Big Star about what would keep you busy this week, he just shrugged and said, “You know, a big project or something like that. Just tell him to be ready to be tired.” So, there you have it Your lucky number this week is frantic.


May 21-Jun 21

Have you ever wondered why pairs of socks don’t stay together? Regardless of how hard you try, it just seems your short one sock per pair every now and again. This week, you will find out what is behind that bizarre phenomenon. It’s not the most exciting fortune, but you could walk away with some knowledge that will make you a hit at parties. Your lucky number this week is 2.


Jun 22-Jul 22

Get ready, Cancer – it’s going to be one of those “romantic” weeks for you. Get ready to be punched in the gut by love. Get ready to become all twitterpated. In short, you’ll get nothing done this week as you’ll be too preoccupied with mushy, lovey stuff. It happens to be the best of us. Your lucky number this week is 3rd times a charm.


Jul 23-Aug 22

You schedule will become a complete mess after you remember you forgot to account for leap year. Yes, that’s right – 29 days in February, meaning March 1 starts a day later than you expected and that will throw your life into chaos. Hey, at least you caught it early. Your lucky number this week is 28.


Aug 23-Sep 22

You’ll be fully in grips with election fever this week. Indeed, you’ll worry that the entire nation will fall into chaos if you’re favorite candidate doesn’t get elected president in November. The sooner you realize that politicians don’t care one whit about you, me or the guy down the street, the better off you’ll be. Your lucky number this week is apathy.


Sep 23-Oct 23

Electricity is your enemy this week. The stars weren’t clear on what that means, but I would avoid contact with anything having to do with electricity for the next few days. While that means you’ll have to sit in the dark, can’t drive your care or really do anything but sit in fear and worry, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Your lucky number this week is 60 Watt.


Oct 24-Nov 21

It’s a real drag when all that technology upon which you rely doesn’t work, isn’t it? Yes, that’s a shame and it’s exactly what you’ll have to deal with this week. Your computer will give you fits, the television will annoy you and your cell phone will drop calls so much you’ll swear it was made by Apple (and it might just be, in fact). Hey, it’s only a week. Your lucky number this week is 16.


Nov 22-Dec 21

Got a few sick days stored? You might want to take them. Why? This is one of those weeks where you will be bombarded with annoying meetings and pointless ceremonies at work. There are few larger wastes of time than meetings and you’ll be hit over the head with them. So, if you’ve got a few sick days in the bank, you might as well take them – you’re not going to get anything done at work this week, anyway. Your lucky number this week is 101.


Dec 22-Jan 19

An old friend will reenter your life this week and annoy the heck out of you. You’ll be so aggravated, in fact, you’ll remember why that individual is an old friend and not a current one. Good luck. Your lucky number this week is 1991.


Jan 20-Feb 18

Your car will smell bad this week and you’ll never figure out the reason why. You’ll not find any food under the seat, a dead animal in the undercarriage or anything else. You’ll not be able to combat that stench, either, but here’s what’s really odd – it will go away next week and the “car smell” will return to normal next week. Hey, that just happens from time to time. Your lucky number this week is 7.


Feb 19-Mar 20

It’s getting close to tax time, and the stars have but one question – are you ready? You probably won’t be, much to the stars’ amusement. Here’s some advice – don’t put off your taxes until the last minute. You’ll regret it. Trust me on this. Your lucky number this week is W-2.