Cat Owners Independence Day
Marchipelago 9, 41 A.B.


First Things First:  Happy Cat Owners Independence Day!  If you're a typical cat owner, TODAY is the day you've finally worked enough this year to feed, clothe, and house your precious little bundle of joy - congratulations!  Tomorrow you can start working for you, your spouse, your kids, or your bail bondsman!  (Got two cats?  Your big day comes May 17!  Got 3?  Circle July 25 - or September 4 if you have furniture.  Got 4 or more?  Gee - do you think you really ought to be wasting time reading this when you should be working at that second job you have as a jewel thief??)

Old Business:  Yesterday I said that I cleaned out my gutters.  And I did.  But only the gutters on three sides of my house.  The west side I never clean.  Why?  Because the main power line to the house runs along much of its length.  And I use an aluminum ladder.  If I had the money (i.e., if I didn't have a cat), I'd pay to have that damn line buried.  I'd still probably forget it's there and die when I hit it with a shovel, but at least my last words would be "Dang!  I never saw it!" rather than "Gee!  A wire?  Really??  I just thought it was a real long, thin crow...."  

Weird Business:  So once again I get my newspaper first thing in the morning and there on the front page is another story about a guy going nuts with a gun, this time in Memphis.  Two firemen and a deputy killed.  Awful.  And the first 8 paragraphs make it clear just how awful it was.  Then I get to the 9th:

The shootings occurred in a neighborhood of mostly one-story brick houses and well-kept yards at the edge of the city.  A golf course is a few miles away.

Say what?  I read that again.  And again.  I just can't quite grasp the significance of the murder site's proximity to a golf course.  Is the paper trying to tell me "This is a real nice area, so don't you stupid suburban readers keep thinking it can't happen to you!"  Or are wealthy retirees the main audience for the newspapers these days and the reporter was just trying to give them a landmark they can relate to?  Or was a sports writer pressed into service because the regular reporters all called in sick?  I don't know.  I can't say.  But I don't recall ever hearing about how far Columbine High School is from the nearest driving range.  And if Dallas' Dealy Plaza abutted so much as a putt-putt course, the Warren Commission seems to have overlooked it.  Maybe that whole Kosovo mess has less to do with ethnic hatreds going back centuries than with slow foursomes refusing to allow faster couples to play through?  The mind, as they say, reels....

First Apology Of The Entry:  Yes, I know - I sound just like Mary Hartman the time she read in the paper about how a guy killed his family and pets and pigs and all she could say was, "How could anyone do that to their pets and pigs?"  I'm sorry.  I don't mean to trivialize insanity or murder.  It's just that, given the fact that America is obviously a crazy place that's never going to seek counseling for its deadly firearms addiction, it's the odd fact that tends to jump out.  You know - it's like I'm in a plane going down, and to keep from thinking about the plane going down, I concentrate my attention on the suddenly weightless tear drop hovering in front of my face.  Sorry.  I'll try to keep my defense mechanisms to myself from here on out.

Gas Prices:  Gas prices here are now running about $1.50 a gallon for regular.  Lots of people are complaining.  A few people are pointing out how cheap gas remains compared to what it costs in most places in the world.  Since I'm temporarily lawnmowerless I'm not using gas, but I do admit to feeling a bit smug because I got two full gallons last October when gas was maybe 20 cents cheaper.  Yay me!  So what if I only got that gas because I thought I'd try to use my mower to clear snow this winter?  I never got around to doing that so now - now I have two full gallons of cheap gas exactly as if I had bought it last October because of some deep insight into the future of international oil prices.  If you overhear me at a party claiming the latter after admitting the former, please don't tell!  (I promise to make it worth your while once I have my seat on the Federal Reserve Board.)

Other Prices:  A lackey of the oil companies had an amusing letter in yesterday's paper.  This lackey basically said that people complaining about gas prices ought to shut-up because it's still much cheaper than lots of other, far less necessary things.  For example, Gatorade goes for about $10.17 a gallon, Snapple for about $10.32, and Evian water for a whooping $21.19.  What's more, Whiteout allegedly goes for $25.42/gallon, Scope mouthwash $84.48/gallon, Pepto Bismol $123.20/gallon, and Vick's Nyquil (better sit down) $178.13/gallon!  All I know for sure is that, on the basis of an ad I saw in the paper today and simple math, cottage cheese hereabouts sells for $6.82/gallon.  I can't wait to go to the grocery and ask the clerk for a gallon of cottage cheese just to see if I'm right....  

Shocking But True!  The liquid vitamins I get from the vet for my cat, Jester, cost $17.55/ounce or $2246.40 a gallon!!!  

Merciful Good News That I Use To Shore Up My Sanity:  We only need to give Jester 10 drops of these vitamins a day.  Like, major WHEW!

Fail-Safe Sanity Shorer-Upper:  The knowledge that the wine I drink still sells for less than a gallon of 89 octane gas at Shell.

Second Apology Of The Entry:  Sorry but you'll have to excuse me - I feel the profound need to go do some serious shoring up of my sanity right now.  (Thank goodness I had the foresight to buy a lifetime supply of Pepto Bismol chasers back in 1975 when they were just $76.15 a case!  WOOO-HOOOO!)           

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