Bye, bye, 2017; thanks for the laughs.

So, today is the last day of 2017. It gives one an opportunity to think about what has gone by over the previous year or so. Actually, the last 2 years have been immensely entertaining if you have been following American politics(that is, if it hasn’t scared the cat crap out of you.)  As I’m sure you know, 2016 was the year of the American presidential campaign and election. On the Democratic side there was very little entertainment value. However with the Republicans it was another story, thanks to the latest PT Barnum of American politics. Interestingly, in 2015, when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for  the office of President of the United States, Scott Adams, a noted observer and commentator on American life, gave him a 98% chance of winning. He reasoned at the time that Trump’s powers of persuasion would eclipse all other candidates. This is the same Scott Adams, by  the way, who is the author of the comic strip Dilbert, one of Mike’s favorites. Mike particularly likes Catbert, the evil HR manager. He is my favorite character as well.  Mike woke up the morning after the election in 2016 in a state of rage, dread, and disbelief. This has mostly abated although Mike says that he had a nightmare the other day in which in his dream he woke up to find that Donald Trump was president of the United States. Usually it’s a relief to wake up after a dream like that, but this time, not so much. One good thing is Mike has said that he never realized he loved his country so much. He and a lot of other people have been shocked into the realization that they can’t take their way of life for granted.

The dread factor has been much higher in 2017 in some ways, now that the nut-jobs and incompetents are in charge, but Mike’s rage has abated. It is a good thing that the ugly fascist underbelly of American life has been exposed. It is always better to know that the coyotes  are, in fact, lurking in the bushes. A better thing has been that the American judiciary and the Free Press, both under attack by the current administration, are responding to their moral and constitutional imperatives admirably. And in fact, it looks like the investigative  Committees in Congress are doing their jobs as well, looking into this Russian thing, even if Congress has otherwise been a fiasco. For example, while the recently signed so-called tax reform has some good ideas, I don’t think that robbing from the poor and giving to the rich is much of a good idea at all. Nevertheless, we will survive, and the current wisdom is that anything that doesn’t destroy you will make you stronger. May it be so.

It has been a lot of fun watching the political machinations of the party in charge as they struggle with themselves trying to accomplish their philosophical agenda. Probably the biggest loser in 2017 has been the Republican Party. Certainly the biggest loser in 2016 was the Democratic Party. It remains to be seen if either group can get it together. I hope so, because otherwise we will deteriorate into a parliamentary-like system of coalitions without having a parliament. I don’t think that will work very well and neither does Mike. The two-party system has served our country pretty well for a long time, and we need to get back to it functioning properly.

I think the biggest winner in 2017 was the Woman. American women have found a sense of power never seen before. They came together the day after the inauguration and have followed it up with an increased participation in voting that has turned at least one crazy election to the plus side. Roy Moore would’ve been the biggest disgrace to the American Senate since Joe McCarthy. Remarkably, women speaking up about sexual harassment in the workplace has been a huge story, and will have a lasting effect on American life. This is as big as the civil rights movement. And as with the civil rights movement, the enemies of freedom will keep on fighting. Freedom is all about the right to speak your mind and the right to vote and have your vote counted the same as the next person’s. So, ladies, the fight has only begun.

Mike has tried to keep me from getting too political in my blogging, but sometimes I can’t help myself. Please forgive me if you disagree with  me. We need to stop being so angry with each other. Abraham Lincoln famously said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” This is no less true today than it was at the time he said it. May the Spirit be with you all in 2018.

Snowmageddon 2.0

So, it has been snowing all day here today. I don’t remember this much snow since we had Snowmageddon 3 or 4 years ago. It started snowing like mad around noon back then, and they let out all the schools and businesses and government offices at once. The roads were icy and there was a traffic jam-up like you could not believe. Judy was driving back from her volunteer work at the cat shelter and got about 3 miles from the house when everything came to a halt. She  progressed less than 200 feet over the next hour. She called Mike at the office who told her to park the car and walk home. She did so and said that she made  better progress than the cars on the road. Mike didn’t even try to come home that night from the office. He had enough heat and some food and a couch to lie on, so he was fine. One of his doctor colleagues decided to try to get home at about 9:30 or so. He left the office and was fortunate to be able  to get back to the office at all because he certainly couldn’t get home. That little trip took him about 6 hours. That was the night that Mike finally took the opportunity to read the Narcotics Anonymous basic recovery text. It was a good read. The city was still shut down the next day, but Mike was able to get home around noon. Mike has been home all day today as he was  not scheduled to work, so I don’t know what the roads are like but they couldn’t be good. Michelle came over around noon and said that they were starting to get slippery. I guess she’ll spend the night and not try to go back to her own place tonight. We had a power failure for about 45 minutes this afternoon but we have our lights on again. None of this has that much of an effect on me. I’m just letting you know in case you’re interested. Mike was doing something on the computer and he lost all the work when the power failed. He doesn’t seem too put out about it though. If I had been writing when it happened I would’ve been very annoyed. I get into that  creative moment that I don’t think I can replicate. So if I lose it, it’s gone and I have to come up with something else that’s equally interesting and clever. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. But about the snow, I have to tell you it’s really beautiful. Mike took some pictures that we might be able to post. We will give it a shot.


Marietta, Georgia, for crying out loud!

It wasn’t easy but we did it. Mike needs the computer to dictate another report, so I’ll get back to you later. Maybe it will have stopped snowing by then. I think I’ll stay indoors this evening. If you live around here you might want to do the same thing.

Well, that was a while ago. Some people had up to a foot of snow and I think we probably had 8 to 10 inches. A lot of people had no power for over 2 days. That can be a real hardship when you’re old or sick. We probably lost power about twice for 5 to 6 hours each time. Michelle stayed at the house for a week because she had lost power when the electrical wires pulled off the side of the house and were dangling from the meter. That wasn’t too safe. A couple of huge oak limbs fell around her house but nothing landed on top of it. The snow finally melted about a week later. Mike still has some branches that he has to cut up and clear. His neighbor David was very helpful to him with his chainsaw. They had a lot of fun. It was a good day for me to stay inside.

So a few days ago Mike got a letter from the city of Marietta. It had some pictures and writing on it. The picture as far as I could tell was of his little hamstermobile in the foreground at a traffic intersection with the Marietta Confederate Cemetery in the background. The cemetery is at the corner of Powder Springs Street and the South Marietta Loop. It’s a nice place to hang out if you’re a cat, but it’s a little bit too far from the house for me to  visit. There are over 3000 soldiers from all 12 Confederate states buried there. I understand it’s the only Confederate Cemetery where white soldiers are buried on the same property as black slaves. There are also free Blacks that are buried there. That area is called the Slave Lot. If you want to read more about this go to You might find it interesting.

If you read my grandfather’s book, Autobiography of a Georgia Cat, you might recall that my grandfather Black Jack, used to hang out with other cats at the Marietta National Cemetery on Washington Street and tell stories. (The National Cemetery is not really that far from the Confederate Cemetery, maybe a half mile or so.) They would particularly enjoy listening to a wise old cat, Talks with Wolves, who was  very knowledgeable about feline mythology. There was good energy there to tell these kinds of stories. There are over 10,000 fallen Union soldiers buried there. There are also veterans from subsequent foreign wars buried there. In fact, Judy’s grandfather is buried at the cemetery. If you look around at the monuments  you’ll see that high on a concrete obelisk sort of thing is a carving of a badger, of all things. This is the Wisconsin monument. I understand that the property that this cemetery sits on was sought by the Confederate authorities as a possible site for the capital of the Confederacy. However, Henry Cole, the owner of the property, was a union loyalist and said that he wanted the property to go for a “better purpose”. Eventually he was able to donate the land when the Union army came through, for the burial of the Union dead. Cole Street, which runs by the west side of the cemetery, is named for Henry Cole.

But back to this mail with a picture of Mike’s car and the cemetery. Mike seemed quite annoyed when he got this picture in the mail and I saw him grumbling as he was writing a check. He tore off part of the picture and put it in  an envelope along with the check. I wonder what that was all about.

If you go back to my post last year called “Tis the Season” published on December 26, 2016, you’ll see that we didn’t have a Christmas tree last year. I’m happy to report that the tree is up this year with lots of pretty lights and cat toys on it. Thankfully, we haven’t had any workmen tearing up the house for a long time. You may also note that I said in that post that there were 3 things that Mike thought would never happen in his lifetime that had in fact already happened. I said that one was the Cubs winning the World Series; and another one was him getting a hole-in-one. The 3rd one I couldn’t remember at the time but I now remember that it’s America electing a black president. He never thought that would have happened, maybe in 500 years. It seems to have generated quite a backlash, and the next guy that was elected was racially, politically, personally, intellectually,and philosophically the polar opposite. You might think that this is either a bad thing or a good thing. But it certainly is a thing. It will be interesting to see what happens. Either it’s a momentary retreat from traditional American values of decency and liberty,  or it’s the beginning of the end of America as a defender of freedom and carrier of the moral standard in the world. You may agree or disagree. In any case, the main thing is, the cats will be fine. Here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas, happy Kwanzaa, or other greeting of the season as may apply to your particular situation. I understand it is too late to wish you a happy Hanukkah this year but my hope to all my Jewish friends is that your latkes were delicious and all your dreidels spun in a clockwise direction. Farewell until my next communication from Happy Meadows, and be safe, y’all.


Wiener biscuits

So, I saw the Jacksons coming down the street last night walking their extremely lethargic Greyhound, Joseph. Greyhounds as you may know are famed for their ability to run very fast, especially when chasing mechanical rabbits. There are even places that a person can go and watch them race. I suppose a cat could go too, but I don’t know why one would want to. If greyhounds aren’t chasing mechanical rabbits, they don’t want to move at all. Anyway, when people go to these dog tracks they bet money on which dog will be the fastest. I’ve heard Mike say that there is a dog track in Alabama not terribly far from here where people go and lose their hard earned money. It’s a kind of addiction I guess, an obsession of the mind. It was chilly last night, so Joseph was wearing his ridiculous multicolored blanket-coat that serves to keep him warm in the cold weather. He kept his head down as they walked by. He knew what I was thinking, and I knew that he knew what I was thinking. And of course he knew that I knew that he knew what I was thinking; which was of course that he looked absurd wearing that stupid coat. Another bad moment for a dog. Life is good.

I suppose it’s worth mentioning that Joseph isn’t the greyhound’s name at all. His name is Bubba. I just call him Joseph because the coat  reminds me of that Bible story about Joseph, the next to the youngest son of  the Jewish patriarch, Jacob. Jacob was a complicated dude, and it’s worth looking at him more deeply; but first, the coat. I don’t know if you have seen the wallpaper theme on Mike’s phone. I don’t suppose you could have but it’s probably  on many others. It’s a Samsung, maybe a 5 or 6. It’s a geometric pattern with many colors going from various shades of yellow to orange to red to purple to green and blue. Joseph’s coat is kind of like that except the lines are more curved than straight. There is also some reflective thread woven in to it so that if they’re walking at night he can be seen easily when car headlights strike it. Not that he ever goes out walking by himself, but considering what a bad idea the coat is, this part of it is probably a good idea. Unlike Joseph “Bubba”Jackson, Joseph the son of Jacob, loved his coat. For one thing it was very attractive and expensive. For another, it signified that he was the favorite son of his father and it symbolized all the privilege that he held in the family. But all that glitters is not gold and later in the story the coat, soaked with blood, shows back up on Jacob’s lap together with a big lie that Joseph must have been killed by a wild animal. One thing about the Bible is that it doesn’t always reflect the patriarchs or their offspring in a good light. In fact, it’s clear that people were just as rotten then as they are now, thousands of years later. Maybe worse.

At this time of year  in the Jewish calendar the story of Jacob comes up. He is sent to a relative to find a wife. Jacob also needed to get out of Dodge because he had  cheated his older brother, Esau, out of his birthright. His brother came home from his day’s activities tired, hungry, and thirsty, and traded his birthright for a sandwich and a beer; or something like that. He also tricked his father, Isaac, who had lost his eyesight, with his mother’s assistance and encouragement, into giving him his blessing instead of giving it to Esau. But it’s obvious from the text that Isaac knew it was Jacob and not Esau, so what’s up with that? Rachel’s relative, Laban,  cheats Jacob and makes him work for him for 14 years before he can marry his daughter Rachel. In the meantime Laban tricks Jacob into marrying another daughter, Leah, who must not have been as pretty as Rachel. More trickery  ensues and Jacob tricks Laban into giving him most of his flocks of sheep and goats. If this is hard to follow, don’t worry about it. You get the idea. After 20 years of this, Jacob decides it’s time to go home, reunite with his family, and make peace with Esau. But he has no idea if Esau is going to accept his apology. It seems that Esau doesn’t know either, and there is a good likelihood that he is going to cut Jacob’s throat. The night before they get back together Jacob goes off and sleeps by himself. A being comes to him in the night and they wrestle for hours. Jacob’s hip is dislocated in the fight, but neither prevails. At daybreak the being insists that he has to leave and that Jacob let him go. Jacob demands a blessing in exchange for his release. The being blesses him and tells him that he now has a new name, Israel, which translates from the Hebrew to “he wrestled with God”. This is a marvelous story with all kinds of spiritual and psychological implications. I particularly like the name change which signifies that he is transformed into a person with heightened spiritual awareness and a sense of humility and purpose. As Israel he is able to meet with his brother and make peace with him. I think that neither one of them are actually that crazy about each other but they don’t fight any more throughout their lifetimes. The story has all  the classic elements of a heroic quest. I might talk more about this  some time. In my grandfather Black Jack’s story “Autobiography of a Georgia Cat” he relates our most important feline myth, the Tale of First Cat, who  through his heroic actions, guided by spiritual forces, saves the world; and in the process his name is changed to Follows the Sun. If you are interested, look it up. You might enjoy it.

But enough of that for now. When I got home I went into the family room and Mike and Judy were in there watching a little TV. The other 3 cats were also in there nosing around. There is a big chair in the family room that has an Afghan draped over the back. The Afghan is extremely soft. Ladybug was on the Afghan making biscuits very slowly. People refer to the kneading behavior of cats as making biscuits. Kittens knead their mother’s tummies to induce the release of milk. Domesticated adult cats retain the kneading behavior. It seems to calm us down and give us pleasure. It is often accompanied by loud purring. I don’t think feral cats make biscuits but I’m not sure. I’ve seen cats making biscuits on other cats, blankets, the furniture, people, and even dogs. It was obvious from the look on Ladybug’s face and her demeanor that she was having a relationship with the Afghan. She was really deep into it when I got there. It reminded me of Tiger who used to have a relationship with the same Afghan. Tiger is no longer with us. You could tell that he was having a relationship with the Afghan because as he was making the biscuits you could see his little erection appearing all pink and everything under his tummy. Mike and Judy called this behavior making wiener biscuits.It was pretty funny. I heard about some guy that got caught texting a picture of his own private parts to some woman, not his wife. I think he was some big shot in Washington DC or New York or someplace. Mike told me his name was Mr. Weiner. You can’t make this stuff up.

I’m sure that you know that wiener is another name for a type of sausage commonly known as a hot dog. Mike grew up in Chicago which has a rich hot dog tradition. He and his friends used to go to a Vienna Hot Dog stand on 83rd Street where they would gorge themselves on these delicacies. Traditionally, Chicago-style hot dogs are all beef, steamed, and served on a poppy seed bun. The bun is then piled high with chopped white onions, yellow mustard, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, sliced tomato, celery salt, and pickled peppers. Notice that ketchup is not included. To this day Mike does not put ketchup on his hot dogs. When he and Judy were in Chicago a couple of years ago he made a point of treating her to a Chicago-style hot dog. I think they had the meal at the Lincoln Park Zoo. If you are ever in Chicago, I suggest that you have a local hot dog experience. One of the things Mike likes the most about traveling is eating foods that he can’t get at home, and may never have tried before.

This might not mean anything to anyone else, but I would like to make note of the fact that I have been blogging now for one year. It’s been a lot of fun and I plan on keeping it up. There is too much good stuff going on in Happy Meadows to keep it all to myself. Here’s wishing merry biscuit making to everyone, and to all a good night.