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Yay! The election is over and I can go back to catblogging. Popular, lucrative catblogging.

I try not to anthropomorphize my cats. I know what passes for feline thought processes is pretty basic stuff. On the other hand, I’m not one of these faux-scientific types who think animals are unfeeling machines and all behavior is mere tropism. Haven’t these dingleberries ever kept a hamster, for cri-yi?

But every once in a while, we who serve pets are rewarded with a little glimpse into the mysteries of petbrain.

This cement cat? We call him Monsieur le Grumpypuss (yeah, sick-making, isn’t it?). I bought him because we don’t have nearly enough statuary in our garden, and this bad boy looks thoroughly cheesed off. I like that in a garden ornament.

Problem — Charlotte thinks he’s a real cat. It simply never occurred to me she would react to a badly cast lump of cement, at least after she got a good look, but she spent a week creeping up to it in…horror? Fascination? Who knows?

Even after I pushed him over and patted him in the face and demonstrated to her in every way I could think that he was a lump of inanimate crap, not an actual animal of any kind, she still acts damn strange around him.

On warm days, she sits with him and keeps him company.


Comment from Ric Locke
Time: November 11, 2010, 1:37 am

Ah! The reason for my near-nil hit count — insufficient catblogging!

I have three here in the house: Lorna, Janice, and Daisy. Lorna might be Charlotte’s close relative, but I knew both her parents and never saw any ticket stubs… Janice is tortoiseshell except that her face is divided almost exactly half-and-half yellow and brown; I’ve posted a picture but can’t be arsed to find the URL. Daisy is the only one of the three allowed on my desk most of the time, because she knows not to get on the keyboard even when walking across my arms.

Outside are many πŸ™‚ Notable among them is Wil, a gray (fixed) Tom. Wil is Bobbe’s cat, and with her in the nursing home he won’t come inside any more.

I’m glad to have ’em. They’re company.


Comment from Andrea Harris
Time: November 11, 2010, 1:46 am

Maybe some stray cat peed on it and that’s why she thinks it’s a cat? “Strange, he smells properly of urine, but he doesn’t respond to my signals.”

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: November 11, 2010, 1:52 am

Stoatie, have you ever considered putting a speaker under the statue so that you can mess with Charlottes head? πŸ˜‰

Comment from EZnSF
Time: November 11, 2010, 2:37 am

I, for one, welcome the catblogging.
Wish they did more of it at the Wall Street Journal.

We all need a break.

Comment from Mark
Time: November 11, 2010, 2:51 am

But we haven’t heard anything about the chicklets in quite some time. Doth all goest well amongst thy bird-brained friends?

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: November 11, 2010, 2:55 am

I just tried to imagine catblogging WSJ-style, and I think I need to go have something adjusted in my brain!

Ric Locke? For what it is worth. . .I believe I just boosted your hit count VERY slightly. . .

On topic? Yeah, cats are inexplicable. We don’t by any means have the whole “animals do this or that because” thing taped. . .but I think it diminishes any animal to try to pretend it is a different animal, specifically a human being (except, of course, in the case of animals who ARE human beings. . .) I have a friend who swears that her cats can count, spell their own names, recognize shapes, and so on. And she has posted the videos on YouTube to prove it. I’m running out of polite ways to say “Nonsense!”

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: November 11, 2010, 4:01 am

Thank you, hark. Hope you weren’t overly repulsed.

Animals reason. They just don’t do it well because they have a limited amount of storage space for previous experience, so most things are ever-new to them. I’ve had horses, dogs, cats, cows, and donkeys who learned to open simple gate latches, and they do generalize; all the horses on my place know the category “feed bucket” regardless of precisely what it looks like. Felix, the new horse (to us; he’s 20) needed only two days to be right by his dish at feeding time, and Blue, the youngest, knows exactly where to go but prefers to be led because it means he also gets petted.

After spending a lifetime as a technologist, I discover to my wonderment that I’m pretty good with animals. When they have trouble, the boarders all come to me for help, even the fellow who works as a ranch hand. It would be better if I enjoyed it more, but I do like the critters.


Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: November 11, 2010, 4:23 am

Ric, I didn’t do much exploring, but I egoized all over yesterday’s post, so what could I possibly be repulsed by?

And, y’know, that makes sense about animals and reasoning. I’m not going to say anything about Russians and dogs and bells, but it is demonstrably observable that my two cats react to specific stimuli. . .it’s just that their reactions are (to me, at least) idiosyncratic and impossible to explain.

Comment from Monotone The Elderish
Time: November 11, 2010, 4:32 am

I have cat that can fetch. That is enough… well… fetching cat + 6 more… THAT is enough…..

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: November 11, 2010, 4:34 am

It got clearer to me when my wife had a stroke. It hit her speech centers; she can’t say anything but “Ai!” But she understands what’s said to her and recognizes people and things perfectly.

We once had a tomcat who spoke English. Beavis had a terrible accent and a vocabulary of only four words: “eat” (obvious), “out” (please open the door, regardless of which way), “toy” (playtime), and “hurt” (meaning uncomfortable, used most when he’d been held longer than he liked). But he used the words appropriately for the occasions.

He was mostly an outside cat, and eventually the worst happened: he got caught by a bigger animal. When I found him, curled up next to the warm dryer exhaust and looking like a bloody rag, he lifted his head, looked straight at me, and said “hurt”. I don’t cry much. I cried then.


Comment from Nina
Time: November 11, 2010, 5:18 am

I have four cats, and Ric, I can’t bear to even think about it

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 11, 2010, 11:33 am

Oooooh, Ric. That’ll haunt me.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 11, 2010, 12:49 pm

I can strongly endorse visiting Ric’s site. I wandered over there from Neptunus Lex’s site about a month ago, and he is now on the daily check site list. Ric writes in a clear and concise style. Go read him.

I had a calico named Thomasina, who had a 2 word English vocabulary, “out”, and “now”. She would stand by the door and say ‘out now’ when she wanted to depart.

Comment from Deborah
Time: November 11, 2010, 12:49 pm

Perhaps Charlotte “recognizes” Monsieur le Grumpypuss because you put him in the garden, so he must mean something special to you (like the chickens), and she is just trying to get along. But Monsieur is so terribly aloof

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 11, 2010, 1:39 pm

Apropos: Deutche Welle interview with Simon Tofield, of Simon’s Cat fame.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 11, 2010, 2:17 pm

Oh, thanks to Sissy Willis for the Simon Tofield link (where ARE my manners?). And I’ll third the recommendation of Ric’s blog.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: November 11, 2010, 3:13 pm

Gosh. With all those wonderful recommendations, I’ll be compelled to actually provide some content.

[who is wary of disappointing mustelidae, as they have sharp teeth]

Comment from Anonymous
Time: November 11, 2010, 5:57 pm

Thanks for the shout out. You don’t suppose your kitteh is practicing idol worship? So much fun, these interactions between our masters and ourselves. πŸ™‚

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 11, 2010, 6:22 pm

I’m going to assume that was Sissy πŸ™‚

Comment from Joan of Argghh!
Time: November 11, 2010, 6:58 pm

Did anyone pick DeLaurentis for the Dead Pool?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 11, 2010, 8:02 pm

The history of the brown paper bag. Via Kottke.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 11, 2010, 8:04 pm

Apparently not, Joan. Not per a quick thread search, unless the picker misspelled his name.

Comment from bad cat robot
Time: November 11, 2010, 8:06 pm

A major tragedy in the young life of my cat Ronin was his utter failure to convince the kitten in the mirror to come play with him. But then he’s a bit on the “special” side and has the attention span of a goldfish. My other cat knows perfectly well it is a mirror, useless, and ignores it. However they both think they can kick the guts out of a piece of string. I have promised them I will post the video on YouTube should they accomplish this feat.

Comment from Gromulin
Time: November 11, 2010, 9:08 pm

Mebbe Charlotte just wants a buddy. Our 16 year old puss even shows affection towards the dog now.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 11, 2010, 9:13 pm

Definitely not that, Gromulin. That’s partly what’s so weird — Charlotte hates other cats. She lived to chase other animals out of the Yard in Rhode Island.

For the whole two years I had Damien, she was so pissed she growled when I tried to pet her, even if he wasn’t around.

Though the biggest screaming fit she ever pitched was the time the next door neighbors’ five year old granddaughter came over to visit. Poor Charlotte clearly thought it was a new addition to the family.

Comment from Sissy Willis
Time: November 11, 2010, 9:23 pm

It was indeed I. πŸ™‚ I was wondering why your Avatar was in my comment.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 11, 2010, 9:34 pm

I hate graphical smilies. I replaced all WordPress’ stock smilies with tiny weasels. πŸ˜›

Comment from Dennis
Time: November 12, 2010, 4:25 am

That concrete cat looks like he’s holding his paw up to his face. Maybe Charlotte clocked him..?

Comment from Gromulin
Time: November 12, 2010, 6:20 am

Yeah, Punk was that way too (hence, the name) but he went through this transformation over the last five years. He’s a sorry old bag-o-bones these days, but he seems happier and friendlier than he’s ever been. Cats.

OT: Whatever happened to the old Veterans with the paper mache’ Poppys outside the supermarket on Veterans day?. I’ve seen none for years. They used to be out every year…I think they were from the VFW. I just remember Dad always chipping in a donation for one. Wife thinks I’m nuts…claims to not remember them.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 12, 2010, 1:12 pm

You sure that’s not a stray memory of England, Gromulin? I’m happy to say, remembrance Poppies are still everywhere here; most stores have a basket of them and a little collection bucket. Most everybody has one affixed somewhere.

We bought three this year, as I lost my first one. They don’t put pins on them any more, just a little plastic barb. Oh and Uncle B’s fell apart and had to be Frankensteined back together.

I prolly should have blogged about it.

Um, I guess I just did.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 12, 2010, 2:57 pm

Behold, the WTF Japan Seriously blog.

Click the videos and you will never be the same again.

Comment from Dennis
Time: November 12, 2010, 3:19 pm

Yeah, Gromulin, I remember that. They were done up on wires which you twisted into a buttonhole or whatever. Probably been a decade since I’ve seen one. I think they were more a focus of WWI and most of those people are gone now. When I was a kid, the poppies on Veteran’s Day (I can still vaguely remember it being called Armistice Day)always reminded me of the poem Flander’s Field which we all had to learn and recite. I was born and brought up in the era of WWII and most of the adult men I knew had been in that and would talk to a kid about it. The older WWI men wouldn’t and seemed engulfed in sadness when they remembered it.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: November 12, 2010, 5:40 pm

Poppy distribution still happens around here, some, but as mentioned it is/was mainly a WWI thing in the US.

Stoaty, did you ever scroll down to the bottom of the Japan WTF site and play with the fish?


Comment from bad cat robot
Time: November 12, 2010, 6:03 pm

I remember the old coots with the poppies outside the grocery stores here in the States, and they definitely aren’t on the scene as much these days. I would always buy some because a) yay vets and b)I had two great-uncles, still alive then, who had served in WWI. One would tell me stories. The other wouldn’t. The one who would had also served under Pershing chasing Pancho Villa on the Texas border and told *great* stories.

Comment from Mags
Time: November 12, 2010, 9:04 pm

They used to have people selling them in my part of the states too, and not that long ago, as I have not achieved as many years as most on this blog. I haven’t seen one since high school though. There used to be an old woman who gave them out by the school on Veteran’s Day. I think I may have been one of the only students to take one – no one knew what they stood for.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: November 13, 2010, 12:31 am

It was a Very Important Ritual when I was a wee badger cub, in England. We were expected to take a few pennies to school and the poppies were sold during a lesson. Any kid who didn’t have something to put in the collecting tin was (rather conspicuously I always felt) given a poppy by the master, who would make a donation for him.

I used to think it was all a bit ostentatious and unnecessary but later realised that most of those teachers would have been through WWII and their fathers through the Great War, before them.

No wonder they viewed our antics with a mixture of amusement and contempt.

It is still taken very seriously here and the protests from Muslim lunatics yesterday, out on the streets with their placards reading ‘British soldiers burn in hell’ aren’t going down very well.

Um… that’s British understatement, in case it wasn’t bleedin’ obvious.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: November 13, 2010, 12:49 am

Uncle B, the protests are going down much better with the British than they would have were I in charge.

After all, the response does not involve use of machine guns.


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: November 13, 2010, 1:30 am

Ric Locke – if only!

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: November 13, 2010, 5:35 am

I remember paper poppies, but can’t place the memory in time or space–so it must have been quite awhile ago. But the memory is visual, so I’m pretty sure I actually saw them sold.

Of course, I also remember Remembrance Day poppies as a literary plot device–major mechanism in one of Dorothy Sayers’ mysteries. Funny, the sources from which you learn stuff. . .Veteran’s Day was never a big deal anywhere when and where I was growing up, but I came to see its significance in part because of that mystery novel. . .

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: November 13, 2010, 5:37 am

Oh,my! I just discovered that Weasel Blog Time is just 5 hours ahead of my watch. Couldn’t think why it was showing that I had posted on the 13th. . .maybe I should pack it in for the night.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 13, 2010, 10:38 am

I read on Police inspector’s Blog that there isn’t must British Police can do, other than watch the disturbances turn into riots. They can’t even use non forceful means of dispersal, such as one that always works well at this time of tear, setting up a pumper a block or so upwind of the nasties, streach two 2 1/2 inch lines with the nozzles set to fog, and send the gift of ice cold mist down upon them. Police Inspector says no water cannon, tear gas, or anything projectile are allowed to UK police.

Can they even Stomp Step? A procedure where the Police line up across the street with riot shields in front. As the line steps forward, in step, the left foot is slammed down. As the right foot is brought up, you whack the front of your shield with you nightstick. You get 30 or so guys doing it, and it is very intimidating. Intimidation is good, because it’s always better to get the nasties to cooperate non violently, and disperse.

If that doesn’t work, then one has no choice but to release the crocodiles to eat the protesters. This being Wisconsin, we, of course, use big arctic crocs, brought down from Canada. They look so nice at this time of year, with thier thick white winter pelts.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: November 13, 2010, 12:19 pm

I’m sad to report that the British police force has largely been corrupted by the PC brigade (at least from about halfway up the command chain) and has lost the support of the naturally law-abiding classes, to a quite astonishing degree.

Thus, it was perfectly possible to break middle class heads during the Countryside Alliance (a peaceful rally of rural people protesting against the banning of fox hunting) but absolutely out of the question to show any opposition to Muslin lunatics in case it offended their “‘uman rights.”

I suspect this might sound unlikely, but if you read the letters pages of the conservative Press here you’ll see a constant stream of complaints about our police treating real criminals with kid gloves – or, a more frequent complaint, avoiding having to tackle them at all- and taking the easy targets instead.

It’s a favourite theme of conservative columnists here and it’s given rise to increasing calls for local control of the police – something they are fiercely lobbying against.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: November 13, 2010, 4:00 pm

Uncle B —

A favorite parlor game among science fiction fans: If you had a time machine you could only use once, who would you go back and shoot?

It generally brings out the conventional candidates — Vladimir Ilyitch, Iosip D., Adolf, and the like. But for a long time now my very favorite has been Bobby Peel.


Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 13, 2010, 5:22 pm

Because of his oppression of the Irish? Or a basic dislike of the fuzz?

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: November 13, 2010, 6:13 pm

Both, Scott. One is an aspect of the other.

As a society we need haywards and watchmen, Tolkien’s “Bounders”, but the first thing a tyrant needs is a gang of enforcers; you can’t have Prohibition without them. Any “police” force bearing sovereign authority — which was Peel’s innovation — ends up an okhrana, no matter how conscientious its members are.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 13, 2010, 6:54 pm

Hard to wrap my head around the idea that there were no cops on the street here before the Peelers. And people resented it very much when they were introduce.

A watchmen looked for fires and such, but people looked after themselves and each other for burglary and so on.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 13, 2010, 7:11 pm

Weasel, even today, there are maney people would be just as happy not to have piggy-wigs, bears, city kitties, and Badgers out prowling about. We keep them from doing as they see fit. I myself belive that we perform a useful purpose, in acting as a societal governer on human tendencies to excess. Given what I observe, I don’t belive humanity would survive, sans police.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: November 13, 2010, 7:26 pm

Scott, the problem is that once you and your fellows exist as a coherent force, you become a target for people who want to use that force for what they define as Good. Getting control over what you do becomes a principal aim — and the attitude that “we don’t make the Law, just enforce it” makes it worse, not better. Whether it’s sodomy or building setbacks, you find yourself being used by Utopians of one stripe or another instead of paying attention to thief-taking and suppressing muggers and rapists, and things get worse instead of better.

No need to protest; I’m not dissing you or any other police; it’s the system that’s the problem, and I’ll believe we’re on the same side when the first POA goes out on strike for a simple and straightforward legal code to enforce. It’s a matter of work rules.


Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 13, 2010, 7:55 pm

Fortunately, I live in WI, where the Legislature is to busy bickering with itself to spend much time planning oppression. The City of Madison has a pretty good grasp on it, however. I think that there are those in City Govenmet there that would be quite happy to have a kempeitai of thier own.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: November 13, 2010, 10:21 pm

Please don’t take what I said as any sort of sleight against the police in genera, Scott. It’s a career I (briefly) considered for myself,in fact. We just have a very distorted situation here in the UK, thanks the the best part of 50 years of socialism.

Comment from Deborah
Time: November 14, 2010, 1:32 am

Is it too late to talk about Buddy Poppies? As a young girl in Camp Fire Girls, I hawked them for for five years, as a service project. People would give me a quarter for a poppy when I first started (around 1962) and in my last year (1967) a quarter was still the standard donation, but occasionally someone would donate a whole dollar for one poppy.

Later, while working with a VSO (Veterans Service Organization), I distributed poppies at the bank and the grocery store. People in the grocery store would walk right past me and avoid making eye contact, but almost everyone who came into the bank would stop for a poppy.

A few years ago, I found a VFW Post that had Buddy Poppies, and I gave them $20 for ten poppies. I still have seven, carefully tucked away in a little chest. They’re made out of polyester now instead of shiny red paper, but they still have the green-tape-wrapped wire stem and paper tag.

I think we don’t see poppies as often now because the VFWs are losing their aging members very quickly now, and the younger veterans aren’t interested (yet) in joining a VSO.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: November 14, 2010, 12:35 pm

Oops! Yes, I did mean ‘slight’ not ‘sleight’…

Pingback from A Little Catching Up « Ric's Rulez
Time: November 14, 2010, 9:24 pm

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