Showing posts with label Pets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pets. Show all posts

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Never Forget Chairman Meow

Read all about

Chairman Meow's amazing appearance atop the home of Skippy Jammer

Chairman Meow's narrowly escaped encounter with a coyote

Chairman Meow meets Scratch and Sniff

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Farewell to the King of Cats

Shortly after 6:00 PM, Saturday April 10, 2010, Chairman Meow, the twenty-three year old King of Cats passed away peacefully with all of his family with him in attendance. God-speed to ya, ya fine cat.

I took this photo of Chairman last night while he was still bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Today, rain is gently falling and accumulating on the leaves.

The Kombucha is brewed, bottled, and ready to be enjoyed.

The Solstice beast made a rare appearance to welcome Winter.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rhetro Santa Cruz

After closer inspection, what at first appeared to me to be a cute cartoon on the cover of Metro Santa Cruz, turned out to be one of the most offensive mainstream political cartoons I've ever seen. I've been a reader of the local free-paper for many years, and I'm surprised by their apparent oversight on the cover of this issue.

The cartoon, by Steven DeCinzo, depicts a giant, thousand foot tall Super Obama standing on the West Coast of the United States, with bo
th feet firmly planted here in Santa Cruz. His right foot has crushed the Santa Cruz Sentinel building, while his left foot has laid to waste the KSCO radio studios. Why is Obama crushing these two free-speech centers?

The Santa Cruz
Sentinel is your basic daily local newspaper that prints whatever information the Associated Press allows to trickle down, while KSCO is the only talk radio station in the Monterey Bay area whose format hosts numerous political and social views, and is certainly more diverse than every other radio station in the area.

The most unfortunate detail in the
DeCinzo cartoon, is a swastika at the base of the KSCO rubble. What pray-tell is Mr. DeCinzo implying? If he is saying that KSCO is a nazi organization, he should be aware how offensive that accusation must be to the Zwerlings, the Jewish family who owns the station as well as the other Jewish personalities and employees who work at the station.

Following is a tongue-in-cheek Rhetro Zenberg re-interpretation of the offensive cartoon.

A giant smirking monster, like something right out of Jason and the Argonauts, has began it's heinous attack on the United States, starting here in Santa Cruz. His first decisive act was the destruction of free-speech by crushing the local print and talk radio mediums. No voices of descent will be tolerated by the proud self-aggrandizing giant who takes time to pose. The powerful muscle bulge in his arms causes the fabrique of his swastika armband to tear and fall upon the rubble of KSCO at his feet. And he's only just begun.

I usually like some of DeCinzo's depictions of Santa Cruz. Below are two of my favorites.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

=@# - The Bunny Boy at the Rio- #@= Part 7

Bunny Boy Wanna-be in front of Rio Theater in Santa Cruz Friday Night

Wanna watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat?

I was born in the Year of the Rabbit. Maybe that's why I was so amused by the Residents' presentation of the Bunny Boy last night at the Rio Theater here in Santa Cruz, California. More likely, it's because I've been a Residents fan since the seventies.

Eye spy with my little I

I paid close attention to the goings on at the Rio all week, and I'm happy to report that I caught a few glimpses of those mysterious masters of anonymity, the Residents. Last night, I spotted one of them again as the doors to the Rio opened and the crowd began shuffling in. It was guitarist, Nolan Cook. He had come outside to view the spectacle of hundreds of Residents fans lined up all the way down Soquel Ave., all the way to Comerica Bank. What a strange feeling it must have been to stand so close to his fans, as they strolled past oblivious to him. Imagine if one of the Beatles had stepped out of a theater where they were playing what commotion would have ensued. Anonymity gives the Residents a bit of control over their fame.
. There were eyeballs and bunnies everywhere.
Waiting in line was almost as entertaining as the show.

The Rio Theater in Santa Cruz, CA
I can't imagine a better place to see the Residents

I saw Mr. Cook again inside, at the top of the stairs at the same spot I met Tony Levin a few years ago. "Welcome!" I said. "Thanks," he replied sheepishly, realizing his cover had been blown. We headed down the stairs to the lobby where hundreds of fans were coagulating. I stood in line to browse the merchandise, but none of it was manufactured in the United States, so I didn't purchase anything. Besides, all I really wanted was the Let
ters from Patmos CD, but it was not available at this particular show =8>(-

Those hoodies were really cool though.

No Cameras Allowed

You'd think that Robert Fripp was a Resident with a camera policy like that (I always think of Fripp on the guitar solo part of the Moisture video). Needless to say, I was disappointed that I wasn't allowed to take my camera inside. I
had hoped to get some great shots for the blog. I took a dozen or so photos with my phone, but the quality is poor.

I got a great seat on the fourth row and center. Perfect! Before me was the stunning snow-white set consisting of some fancy construction with 2" PVC tubing and a white, semi-opaque canvas-like covering. At each side of the stage was a half-dome structure. On the right, the half dome was concave to the audience while the dome on the left side was convex. Inside the concave dome was a guitar and a collection of electronique instruments. Obviously, this was the area the band would be positioned throughout the show. Shadow profiles of dangling bunnies could be seen on the fabrique of the left dome. I assumed it to be the secret room. Separating the domes was a three foot wide shrouded door with decorative video screen above it. Stage smoke spewed from behind the set, while new Residents intermission music played over speakers. I could already tell that this was going to be something special.

The Residents Bunny Boy show was kind of like, Aqualung meets Swinging Songs for Sybil's Siblings. Crazy! I'm going to critique the Bunny Boy album on another post, and will attempt to dissect this crazy carousel of dueling personas in Part Nine of the Bunny Boy Triple-Trilogy review. In the meantime, here's a handful of phuzzi fotoz from the debut show of the Bunny Boy Tour, taken with my scratchy* telephono lens.

* I miss Scratch

Friday, July 4, 2008

Pet Cosmology

The dog says, "My master feeds me, combs me, and cares for me.
He/she must be a god."

The cat says, "My human feeds me, combs me and cares for me.
I must be a god."
Field ID Chart by Richard M. Bennett

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Fiendish Side Of The Friendly Atom

The ghostly silent Big Wheel located in the evacuated town of Pripyat.
© Chernobyl Interinform
On this day in 1986, the masque of the friendly atom was ripped off to reveal the fiendish nature of nuclear energy. Every benefit humanity has ever received from atomic power was undone when reactor #4 at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station went critical after a series of explosions which destroyed the housing of the energy block, and resulted in an out-of-control meltdown. The ultimate cost of human life associated with this single event is incalculable.

Time was critical, and days went by before there was any official declaration by the Soviet Government that there was a problem* which would ultimately effect every person on this planet, making us all down-winders to the worst nuclear disaster in history... so far.


Gravity tugged at the heavy radioactive molten core... burning and
boring deeper with every passing hour. It would burn its way through to the core of the earth unless it could be stopped. Hundreds of experienced miners were brought to the zone to perform a task never before undertaken. Teams worked non-stop to dig a diagonal shaft to a point directly beneath the highly radioactive molten core. The brave and indefatigable miners hollowed-out a large cavern, then pumped in millions of gallons of liquid nitrogen to create a subterranean reservoir. Nothing like this had ever been attempted, so everyone had their fingers crossed when the core melted through the ceiling of the chamber and dropped into the reservoir of liquid nitrogen. Fortunately it worked, and the meltdown was stopped. Unfortunately, Chernobyl is still an international problem that hasn't gone away and radiation continues to escape the damaged reactor site.

How much is that doggy in the window?

Ten million people were evacuated, many of them farmers, and pet owners, but no accommodations were made for the animals. All the pets and farm animals had to be left behind to fend for themselves. But after it was determined that contaminated creatures could wander out of the zone, extermination teams, called hunters, were sent in to find animals... and kill them. Horses, cows, dogs and cats... nothing
was spared. The dead carcasses were dragged to the street, then loaded onto trucks and taken somewhere to be disposed of. Only one bullet per animal was allowed, therefore many were wounded and left to suffer and die.

The dogs barked excitedly. It had been a long time since anyone had been around, and they were happy to hear the voices of the men.
With their tails wagging, the dogs came running to greet the armed men.
"Problem? There's no problem... everything is great... fine... wonderful"
Got atomique?
Have a nice meltdown!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mr. Plow's Cruel Blade

Ding dong. The doorbell rang. I was still putting on my snow clothes when mom answered the door which revealed a bright snowy world. Two young children with sleds stood at the door. "Is this your cat?" one of the kids asked as he gestured toward his sled with a bloody white cat laying motionless on top of it. "The snowplow hit him," he added.

Boozer was barely alive, and suffering terribly. He wouldn't have stayed on the sled otherwise... I knew I had to let him go. My dad had other intended projects planned that Saturday morning, but he took on the awful responsibility of putting poor Boo out of his misery.

Boo was my cat. I was there when he was born, and chose him from Pooker's litter as the first cat I called my own. He was my big fat fluffy white cat. As dad took my doomed Boozer around the house to do what he had to do, I sat on the living-room sofa mourning my fluffy friend's fate, when I happened to gaze across the room at the china cabinet who's sparky clean glass reflected the downward swing of the hatchet in my dad's hand... and Boo was no more.

I went outside and walked down the street to find evidence of Boo's accident. It didn't take long to find a patch of bloody snow in front of Pooch Erickson's house. As I examined he scene before me, it was apparent that the plow had intentionally swerved to hit my cat who had been sitting on the cleared walk watching the goings on in the neighborhood. The kids had witnessed it, and kindly placed my bloody cat on a sled and dragged him to my house.

In Rhetro-spect, I should have sued someone, but I was only nine years old and didn't consider such a thing. I wonder how many other animals have suffered at the cruel blade of Mr.Plow?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Squatch Watch

I was trying hard to fall asleep, but the raccoons outside were making noise finishing off the residue that remained in the bottom of Chairman Meow's food bowl. It wasn't the first time I had heard noises on the deck at night... the raccoons show up like clockwork every night about the same time to pick up any scraps my twenty-year-old, finicky feline leaves behind. It was later than usual... "Those pesky little critters should have come and gone by now." I thought to myself as I sat up in bed, and leaned forward to pull the curtain aside, and peered outside into the darkness. The Redwood deck was illuminated with moonlight, and I expected to see two or three masked bandits scampering about, but to my surprise, less than two feet in front of me, just on the other side of the big sliding glass door, stood an eight foot tall Sasquatch looking majestically away, not noticing me on the other side of the reflective glass. As I sat there camouflaged, looking up at the big hairy beast standing before me, I began to laugh out loud... realizing that I was dreaming.

There are no Squatch in Santa Cruz.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

sKratCh and Sniff vs Chairman Meow

We were in Heaven... that's what we called our new place. It was a beautiful home on Happy Valley Road, on a hillside with big beautiful gardens filled with exotic plants. There were exactly one hundred steps from the parking lot to our front door... an arduous climb at the end of a difficult day. Once in Heaven, there was no reason to leave, at least no reason good enough to merit descending and ascending the stairway to Heaven again.

Chairman Meow moved there with us, and was very happy there... until one day, when Mighty Mo and Punk Girl came home with two little tiny twin tabby cat fuzz balls. They soon became known as sKratCh and Sniff. The two little tumbling tabbys showed great interest in Chairman Meow who wasn't at all interested in their kitten curiosities, and quickly made it clear to them that he was in charge.

One day we got a call from a woman who identified herself as Mrs. Mizelle. She told us that she lived in our old place a half mile away, and that a strange cat showed up at the house, and she wondered if he might be ours. Sure enough, Chairman had had enough of the kittens, and walked all the way back to our old place. We found him sprawled out on the carpet, cozy, and unencumbered by kittens. We took Chairman home, but soon had another call from Mrs. Mizelle informing us that Chairman was at her place again. It was the last time he did it. He probably figured it wasn't worth the long dangerous walk through the woods if he wasn't going to get to stay there.

Chairman Meow was a great mentor to both sKratCh and Sniff, but particularly to sKratCh. Sniff was a bit of a clean freak, and didn't waste his time hunting, although he was happy to share a mouse with his brother.

When sKratCh and Sniff were about a year and a half old, our economic situation required us to leave our pricey abode, so we begrudgingly moved from Heaven to a place that had once been a school, and was converted into a home. It wasn't nearly as cool as Heaven, but it was located on forty acres of trails, with lots of giant Redwoods, a creek and an ocean view from the top of the property.

We were careful to keep the cats in the house for at least two weeks... at least that was the plan. After about a week of being cooped up in the house, sKratCh figured he had had enough, and broke out by pushing against an open screen window above the kitchen sink until it gave way. He squeezed through the opening, and disappeared into the night.

Two weeks passed, and we hadn't seen sKratCh since his great escape. It was dark, and I was doing some cleaning around the house. I like to listen to music while I clean, so I chose five discs for my carousel, to play randomly. All the discs were latter-day live King Crimson, (B'boom, Heavy Construction, and A Beginner's Guide To ProjeKcts), and the windows were open wide as the loud music boomed in the night air. As I walked into the kitchen, there was sKratCh outside the very window he had escaped from two weeks prior. I walked outside, helped him down from the window sill and took him into the house.

King Crimson is no stranger to our stereo, and no doubt sKratCh recognized the music, and was able to navigate home once he heard that familiar sound looming in the darkness. Now that sKratCh was back, it seemed like it was time to let all three of the cats out, so the next day, we granted the cats their freedom. By the end of the day, all three cats were gone. sKratCh soon returned to the same kitchen window the next day, but we never saw Sniff again.

Chairman Meow was missing for two months when one day I got a message from a woman who said, "I think I have your cat." Apparently she had seen one of our "lost kitty" flyers. I called her back ASAP, got directions to her house, and quickly drove there. As I pulled into the driveway, the woman greeted me. I got out of my car, and was escorted to where she had seen the cat. She said, "He's been hanging out under that old car there for a few days... we haven't seen him come out." I knelt beside the car, peered underneath, and said, "Chairman Meow! What are you doing under there?" He said, "Meowah," and immediately came out from under the car. I picked him up and told him "I am so happy to see you."

This particular day was July Fourth, a special day in our family because it is Mighty Mo's birthday. She was shopping at the time, and I wanted to get home before she returned, so I thanked the woman, and hurried home. Knowing that Mighty Mo would be home soon, I sat on a chair in the middle of the living room, with Chairman on my lap. We would be the first thing she would see as she entered the house. Chairman was happy and purring when Mighty Mo walked in. "Happy Birthday" I said as she viewed our prodigal cat on my lap. "This is the best birthday present I have ever had" she said. Likewise, Punk Girl was thrilled to have her wish cat home. It was a joyous reunion.

Friday, April 20, 2007

George Killed Ringo - - By By Birdie

As I mentioned in an earlier blogue, I was a huge Beatles fan when I was a kid. I even named my Parakeets after two of the fab four. Ringo was a beautiful green and yellow colour, and had a very friendly disposition. He would fly about the room, circling and swooping, and land on my finger. I could walk around the house with him on my shoulder. George was quite different in every way. He (actually she) was a light blue colour, which is why I named him (her) George... IE Blue Jay Way, and For You Blue. It is difficult for me to imagine George Harrison doing or saying anything malicious. *!%@# George the Parakeet, unlike Mr. Harrison, and his (her) cage companion Ringo, was the nastiest of all things that fly. Instead of standing on my finger, like Ringo, George would bite me. He (she) drew blood from every member of my family... mostly fingers and ears, (fortunately no eyes). One morning, when I was about ten or eleven, I removed the cage cover to find Ringo laying on the bottom of the cage, dead, and there stood George with some of Ringo's feathers in his (her) talons. Mom! I yelled. "George Killed Ringo" I exclaimed as I burst into tears. The cage was situated just outside Mom's bedroom door, and she mentioned that she woke up to some commotion coming from the cage early in the morning. I remember taking Ringo's dead body out of the cage, and scolding George for killing him. I wrapped the body in soft tissue paper, and placed the loosely wrapped mummy into an empty tennis ball can which had previously contained three fuzzy yellow/green balls... ironically the same color as the new feathered occupant. A small procession of children walked two blocks to West Elementary School where, at an undisclosed location, we placed the tennis ball can and its contents into the ground, and said good by to Ringo.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Viva La Meowa - A Chairman Meow Adventure

For an outdoor cat, life in the Redwoods is both wonderful and dangerous. Wonderful because there are so many little critters to hunt down, torment, kill, carefully dismember, and consume. In his day, Chairman Meow was a mighty hunter, and kept our yard free of vermin. I once had the opportunity to watch him carefully remove the skin from a mole with the skill of a surgeon. It looked as though he had done it a thousand times before. There's always plenty of time for sleeping for the King of Cats when he's not enjoying a tasty snack.

Unfortunately, life in the Redwoods isn't always eating and sleeping. There are times when the hunters become the hunted. Coyotes and Mountain Lions just love to snack on little Fluffy, and will do it with the same precision used by Chairman. An outdoor cat has only about a two year life expectancy, so it is quite amazing that Chairman has made it all these twenty or so years in the big outdoors. There have been close calls for him, and I was witness to one such event.

At the time my computer was in an upper room which looked out onto a Redwood deck, with a view of Roses, flowering Plum Trees and mighty Redwoods towering in the background. One afternoon, as I sat at my computer whappety tapping away, I heard some rustling in the woods just outside the sliding door I had open to let in the cool air. In my mind it sounded as though a deer had its antlers tangled in some brush, and was thrashing about trying to get untangled. I stepped out onto the deck, which was about eight to ten feet above the ground, just as Chairman Meow exploded out of the woods, running faster than I've ever seen him move, with a Coyote hot on his heels. Out in the open, the Coyote would have been able to overtake the Chairman, and was about to do so when I stomped on the deck as hard as I could, and hollered, "Hey!" The loud sound distracted the coyote long enough for Chairman to dive into an underground 12" corrugated metal drainage pipe. The Coyote realized that his meal had been thwarted, and ran off to try his luck elsewhere.

I found Chairman hiding in a tree about two hours later. Apparently he ran through the pipe under the driveway, and up into one of the big Plum Trees where I found him. Viva La Meowa!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Chairman Meow The Magickal Wish Cat

Little girls are powerful and persuasive creatures. If magic exists on earth, it is in them.

We used to call my daughter Punk Girl because she's a rough-and-tumble, tree-climbing run-through-the-redwoods kinda girl. Like most little girls, Punk Girl loved little cute cuddly animals... especially kitties. I remember her making a wish one night. Her fingers were crossed, eyes tight as she vocalized through her clenched teeth, "Oh, how I wish I had a kitty!" The words had a vibratory energy that went out into the universe. How cute, I thought, touched by the conviction in her voice.

At that time, our home was surrounded by huge towering redwoods. Loggers had taken the largest trees a century earlier, but these trees have had many years to grow, and are now well over one hundred feet tall. Being close to the ocean ensures a lot of moisture in the air, and the Redwood bark becomes quite saturated from either rain, drizzle, or good old condensation. When the morning sun strikes the trees, the wet water in the bark heats up and begins to evaporate into clouds of vapour. When this occurs, it looks as though the trees are about to burst into flames. It is quite beautiful to enjoy with a hot cup of my homemade chai in hand (I make the best chai in the whole wide world, and someday I'll reveal my secret recipe). The morning following my daughter's wish was such a morning. I was outside with my neighbor Melissa 'watching the trees explode', and could hear a loud meowing, or maybe a baby, (and I was really hoping that the stork hadn't dropped off another one). I asked Melissa, if it was one of her cats. As we looked around, we could see both Sphere and Cipher, and neither one of them was meowing so it obviously wasn't one of them. The sound was coming from the cottage down the driveway where Jammer's lived, (and continue to live to this day*).

As we walked down the driveway, we could see that the first rays of the sun were hitting the wet wooden roof tiles of Jammer's cottage, huge outgassing clouds of vapour ploomed from the rooftop, illuminated by the early sun's low angle rays directly behind it. In the midst of the mist was a large cat pacing back and forth along the ridge of the roof line. With loud cries of "meowah" it was now certain that the mysterious meower had been identified. It looked pretty cool too, in a kind of glorious way. The cat was mostly black with touches of white. At first we thought it was Jammer's cat Helix because it appeared to be about the same size, and colour.

I picked up a nearby crate that Jammers use to put empty beer bottles in, placed it upside down on the ground under the eves of the roof where I could reach high enough to grab the cat and help "it" down. I stood on the crate calling to the cat who responded and quickly scurried down the sloped roof toward me. Pulling the cat from the roof revealed not just a cat, but a very large cat. Possibly the largest cat I had ever seen. I placed the cat on the ground, and he continued to meow. Alpha, Jammer's faithful dog, (rest her doggy soul), seemed concerned, and only sniffed the mysterious cat. Normally Alpha would have reveled in territorialistic rites, but she exhibited none of that, and seemed genuinely concerned about this very vocal feline who followed me up the drive to my house where I gave him some tuna from a can.

My daughter was so excited that her wish had come true, it was going to be hard to let her know that this kitty belonged to someone else, and was probably lost, and that we'd need to find the owners. As it turned out, we could never locate the cat's rightful owner, and the cat has remained with our family to this day (with a couple of exceptions when he ran off because we got two new kittens, and another time he got lost after we moved to another location).

Now that he was our cat, he needed to have a name. Our daughter said he seemed to hop around a lot, (fleas - it turned out), and clearly said "meowah" so he was given the tentative name of Meow Hop, the name used the first time we took him to the vet who told us that he looked like he was probably eight to ten years old, and was male, (not female as we had all assumed). His name soon changed to Chairman Meow, because of his stately manner. He has been with us for many years, and is now approximately twenty years old. He's still the King of Cats.

Skippy Jammer is one of the greatest freestyle frisbee and disc golf players in the whole wide world. He has been world freestyle champion more than 10 times, and held the De Laveaga Disc Golf Course record for many years.