The Truth about Black Cats and Halloween

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There are many stories about black cats and Halloween. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what they really do on October 31.

They make a list and check it twice

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Gotta make sure who’s naughty and nice

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First the naughty:

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Mouse in the bed here

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Missing candy there

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Making mischief everywhere

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Then the nice:

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Watching for trouble

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Protecting the treats

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Nuzzles and snuggles that can’t be beat

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At the end of a long night

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They can be seen

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Asleep in their beds, enjoying a dream

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This post is dedicated to Tigger, my parents’ first cat. She was a beautiful, long-haired tuxedo cat who would sit very still in the back corner of the porch and watch the trick-or-treaters. Every once in a while she would move, startling the kids who thought she was a decoration.

Cheeseland News Classified Ads

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Image result for help wanted sign clipart   Help Wanted

Dam Builders. We are looking for some strong beavers who don’t mind working hard for the community. We are building dens for beavers left homeless by the recent storms. Must have good dental hygiene. We provide temporary housing. Potential long-term position for the right candidate.

Guard for senior mouse village. Must be alert and flexible in ability to respond to a variety of dangers. Experience preferred. No carnivores please.

Locksmith. Looking for someone who can make our house child-proof. Particularly young, blonde females. Something easy to use with paws. Must not be afraid of the woods or large bears.

 

Image result for for sale sign clipart  For Sale

Cat door. We have finally trained the humans to let us in and out on demand. Some damage from dog trying to squeeze through. Newer model. Both entrance and exit functional.

Empty nest. Perfect for those couples who were surprised to find out that they need a permanent abode for the season. Secluded location, safe distance from the ground. Furnished with rabbit fur and dryer fluff. No leaks. Sheltered from the rain.

Running wheel. Husband wanted to run to keep in shape. Ran after girl next door instead. Barely used. You won’t find a better deal.

Sheep’s clothing. Full set, size XXL. Slight smell of wolf should disappear with airing.

 

Image result for heart clipart  Personals

Image result for calico tomcat  Handsome Calico Tom looking for beautiful young kitties seeking fun and adventure. Weight proportional to bone structure. Not looking for an exclusive relationship.

Image result for brown bear  Lonely Male Brown Bear looking for ongoing relationship with a kindred spirit. Someone who likes long walks in the woods and long naps together. Ideally you will also love fishing and tree climbing. Not interested in an aggressive partner. No taste for humans.

Image result for gray squirrel  Female Gray Squirrel looking for foraging partner. Someone to gather nuts with and play chase around the woods. Must have good memory. Potential winter nest for the right guy.

 

Image result for money clipart   Business Opportunities

Perfect opportunity for feline entrepreneurs. Get in on the ground floor of Catnip Unlimited. Develop your own field of specially developed, extra-potent catnip. Easy to grow, easy to sell. Franchise opportunities available in many locations. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Potential franchisees will be subject to a background check for history of addiction.

Always wanted your own humans but didn’t know what to look for? Try time-sharing with other animals. You can buy into this unique arrangement for a small down payment. See whether you like living alone with humans, with of other species, or fellow animals of your own species. Our humans have been carefully chosen for their ability to get along with a variety of animals.

Are you tired of your food and belongings smelling of human? Need some extra money for the holidays? Become a Human No sales agent. Practically sells itself. Comes in a variety of scents. Will remove even the most pungent smells. Makes your home smell like home again.

Cat Forum: Halloween Safety

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Snoops: Greetings, fellow felines. Welcome to Cat Forum where we catch the news that the others drop.

Kommando: Do you like that? The marketing folks thought we needed a slogan and that’s what they came up with. It makes me think of a dog sitting under the dinner table.

Snoops: Regardless …

Kommando: Seriously, Snoops. Do you want a slogan that makes the audience think of drooly dogs?

Snoops: We can deal with that later. We have a very special guest today. She is Captain Ginger McPhurrson from the Cat Safety Patrol. She is going to be giving us some tips about Halloween Safety. Welcome Captain and thank you for being here.

Captain McPhurrson: Thank you for having me. I would like to commend you for planning ahead. So many cats think that all you need to do for Halloween is get some kibble treats and send the kittens out around the neighborhood.

Kommando: See? The other people didn’t even get a chance to drop this. It’s a dumb slogan.

Captain McPhurrson (laughing): You may have a point there, Kommando. There are three things I would like to talk about: trick or treating, catnip, and humans.

First is trick or treating. If you are planning to allow your kittens to go out this Halloween, you need to go with them. The days are gone when the fathers could take out the kids and hang out drinking spiked cream while the kittens went door to door.

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Last year, we caught a band of cats who were ransoming kittens for tuna and other goodies. A whole neighborhood bought tuna steaks to get their kittens back.

Snoops: That’s terrible. Those poor kittens!

Kommando: Those cats should be sent to a dog shelter!

Captain McPhurrson: We agree. The important thing is that no kitten should be out by themselves on Halloween. This also applies to the 1-year-olds who think they are all grown up. No parent means no trick or treating.

Snoops: That is definitely good advice. What else do you have for us?

Captain McPhurrson: I want to emphasize that Halloween is meant to be fun, but catnip needs to be used responsibly. Every year the hospitals are full of hallucinating cats.

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Snoops: Can you tell us how much is safe to use?

Captain McPhurrson: Well, that’s part of the problem. Some cats don’t seem to be affected by it at all, while others seem to be “nipped” after a few leaves. We recommend that every party have at least one or two non-nippers. That way they can watch for friends who seem to be overly frenzied.

And under no circumstances whatsoever should catnip be given to a kitten under one year old.

Snoops: You said you also wanted to talk about humans.

Captain McPhurrson: Our best advice is to avoid them as much as possible during the Halloween season. Those of you who live in cat communities should stay in your neighborhoods. Humans are all wrapped up in their own kittens and don’t watch where they’re going. Besides, human kittens are scary on Halloween. They usually dress up so they don’t look like humans.

Kommando: The really funny ones are the ones that try to look like cats.

Captain McPhurrson: They are scary looking.

You cats who keep human servants have a different issue. Some of those humans will try to get you to dress up in little costumes or use you as a prop for their party. You shouldn’t sacrifice your dignity for the humans, no matter what treats they offer. Before you know it, you will be on Instagram or Facebook and all your friends will know.

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Snoops: That is a lot of really good advice, Captain. Thank you again for being on our show.

Captain McPhurrson: I enjoyed being here. I hope you both have a happy, safe Halloween.

 

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(All other pictures courtesy of Google Images)

The Five W’s (and H)

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(Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How for you non-journalists)

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This is what happens when my brain doesn’t have enough to do:

Who decides when the orange barrels go up for a construction project? Sometimes they go up weeks before the project and sometimes they magically appear the day before. My theory is that sometimes they have nowhere else to store them.

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Who was the person responsible for the company needing to put “for external use only” on curling irons to prevent another lawsuit?

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Who decided that making robocalls from various area codes would really make a difference in the number of people who pick up? Why would I answer a call from Wichita more readily than one from Washington or the local campaign office?

What is the point of a clock in an emergency room? So a person can tell the staff exactly how long they’ve been irritated?

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What happens if I don’t feel amazing when I read a blog I’m following? Do they lose one amazing follower and gain a slug?

What would happens if you took Sominex (a sleeping pill) with two cups of coffee?

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Where do old soldiers fade away to? (Douglas MacArthur: “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”)

Where did the leprechauns get gold in the first place?

Where do fruit flies come from? Ours seem to appear by spontaneous generation.

When do the cows come home? I’ve always heard it as an expression meaning some time in the future, like when pigs fly. Pigs still aren’t flying, but I think cows come home somewhat frequently. Maybe there’s some kind of hierarchy among the cows, the pigs, and hell freezing over?

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When do time travelers get a chance to wash their clothes and check email?

When do texters/tweeters have time to think about what they’re “saying”?

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Why do I always panic when I have to get a specimen for the doctor? It’s not like my kidneys and intestines are going to stop working for that one day.

Why do some people slow down to 60 mph on the freeway when they see a police car on the shoulder two lanes over? The trooper is not going to give you a ticket if you stay at the limit (70 mph).

Why can cats and small dogs push large dogs around?

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How do some of the truly reprehensible political ads get on the air? Is there someone who wants to be known as being that nasty?

How many digital pictures of someone’s child must I look at before I can claim eye fatigue?

How much time does the average shopper spend critiquing the purchases of the person ahead of them in line?

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(pictures courtesy of Google Images)

Is My Phone Smart or Stubborn?

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It was absolutely beautiful at the retreat I went to in July, so I wanted to take some pictures. It was an unusual urge for me. Part of my non-love affair with technology is a healthy ambivalence about photography and videography.

I really didn’t/don’t mind looking at other people’s travel pictures when they were/are actually travel pictures or pictures of people I knew/know. I don’t need to look at more than a couple of pictures of someone I don’t know. Back in the Dark Ages, you had to ask someone to take your picture in front of a scene or object. It seriously limited the number of pictures of the traveler.

You can guess where I’m going with this. I really don’t want our civilization represented in future ages by 253 pictures of baby Doris’ first birthday party and 25 selfies of John getting wasted on his 21st birthday, repeated several million times all over the world.

Anyway, I woke up the phone and, sure enough there was an icon that looked like a camera lens. So I tapped it. Something came up in the viewfinder. Yeah!! Something intuitive. The screen says to center the box on what I want to take a picture of before I snap it. OK.

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There’s a “Next” arrow at the bottom of the screen. Of course I followed it. There were some technical directions about photography that I didn’t understand (I thought this was point and click).  Tap “Next” one more time. More advanced directions that I don’t need. It’s a bunch of trees and a lake.

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This appeared to be the last screen so I tapped on it. (I don’t know why. It seemed to work everywhere else.) Still had the words on the screen. Suddenly I was looking at myself. Remembered something about gently shaking the phone to get it to reverse the screen. Apparently in my frustration, I have shaken the phone sufficiently to reverse the screen. Something clicks. Great. I have a picture of me. Shaking “gently” does not reverse the lens.

I texted my daughter. She said to ignore the words, they would go away after I had taken a few pictures. (?) All I had to do was point and click. So I let it go to sleep and woke it up again. The camera was pointed in the correct direction. I pointed and clicked a couple of times. I found the gallery on my own. (I was impressed.) What do you know? My pictures. My fuzzy pictures (none of my face). Oh yeah. I was supposed to get the subject in the box and let it focus. Oops.

Went back out and tried again. I could see it focusing. This is not the camera for an action shot. I followed its rules. The words went away. The pictures turned out beautifully. I got rid of the icky ones. I’m still not sure why sometimes it would snap when I tapped it with my finger and other times I needed to use my nail.

Verdict: Stubborn

But it does fit into my back pocket better than the old one, and isn’t that what’s important?

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(See – I’m learning already. I much prefer the vertical pictures on the slideshow. But putting them on “paper”, the horizontal pictures look better)

If It’s a Smart Phone, Why Does it Act Stupid?

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(1896 Swedish Telephone – Wikimedia)

As you may recall, I was very attached to my “dumb” phone. All I could do on it was text and make phone calls. And all I wanted from a phone was to text and make phone calls. You’ll notice that I am speaking in the past tense. That’s because my carrier said that it was not economical to support that technology anymore.

How dare they? They make so much money, I’m sure they could write off whatever it costs them to support me and the three or four other people who still have that phone.

So a few months ago I got an Android. The more technologically progressive members of the family hate Apple – something about them wanting to control all aspects of our data. I don’t really care. I have hated being on the telephone since I was a teenager.

Yes, I know. Being on the telephone no longer means you have to try to be interested in what happened to Millie’s mother-in-law’s niece’s husband for three hours while you can only move three feet. Or inadvertently picking up a call from that friend you’ve been avoiding for six months since she told you that everyone else thought you were getting fat, but she didn’t.

First thing I did was to enter everyone’s phone number. My SIM card was so old it wouldn’t transfer to the new phone. I opened the contact page. The first line wanted the name. I looked around; there’s no keyboard. Oh. You have to tap on the field to get the keyboard.  Went down to phone number. Had to tap the phone to get the keyboard back up. The phone’s not smart enough to figure out that if I put a name in, I’m probably going to have something else to enter?

I wasn’t available the first time I received a call. I got a notification that I had missed a call and should call xx number. I didn’t know anyone at that number, so I ignored the message. The second time I got the message, I asked my son why I kept getting calls from that number. He didn’t even roll his eyes when he explained to me that it was the number for voice mail, not the number that was calling. So I have to pay to retrieve my messages? Yes, that’s the way everyone does it now.

I’m beginning to see why they wanted me to change phones.

I heard my phone ringing. There’s a sort of target-looking thing in the center of the screen. I supposed I needed to press that. Nothing. There’s a red phone at the bottom of the screen; I pressed that. Nothing. The call went to voice mail. Of course.

At dinner, my husband and son explained that I need to swipe from the target thingy to the right to answer the phone. If I swipe to the left, I disconnect them. The red phone at the bottom is to hang up. If I have a red phone to disconnect, why would I need to swipe left? Just because.

I left my husband a text, and didn’t hear back from him. He said he didn’t get it. I tried a few more times over the next few days with no luck. He said that maybe the software wasn’t working right in my phone, so at dinner he tried sending me a text. Hummmm. The text arrived. I responded, and it went to his cell phone. I tried to text him. Nothing.

Finally, he looked at my phone. He told me that I was texting to his work phone. How did that happen? I had gone to his icon and sent the text. The first number assigned to him is his cell phone; why would it send it to the work phone?

That’s not how you’re supposed to send texts. You’re supposed to go to Contacts and tap on the message icon for the correct number. It’s not smart enough to just use the first number?

You call people the same way. Go to Contacts and choose the phone symbol by the correct number. This is not making my life easier. I may go back to memorizing people’s numbers.

I asked my daughter how to send a text to two people at a time. I was out of town relaxing at a retreat and had wanted to let her and my husband both know I had arrived safely. She told me there was an icon near where I typed the message. I still can’t find it.

 

(Next I try the camera)

 

One Last Look at the Animal Olympics

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(Words in italics are translated at the bottom.)

The sloth 10-meter race was amazingly quick this year, coming in at less than five days for the first time in Olympic history. The winner, Maria Perezoso of Costa Rico, said that she credited her intensive training regime with moving vines for her victory. She also said that the climate in Rio was similar to that at home which helped her breathing.

One of the best ideas this year was to separate the gorilla gymnastics from the rest of the competition due to the weight differences. After the tragic accident in London where John Gorilla misjudged his landing and fell on the monkey team practicing on the next apparatus, there was no question that something had to be done. This year’s competition was thankfully accident-free.

The biggest upset of the year was the victory of Lin-Lin Panda in the 20-meter tree climb, beating heavily favored A. M. Biri. Mr. Biri is challenging the results. The Olympic Committee is awaiting drug-testing results before making a decision.

Once again, Russian bears won all of the wrestling medals: Igor Obez’yana – gold; Sergei Obez’yana – silver; and Petya Obez’yana – bronze. The Canadian Alan Brown Bear ended in fourth place, the best result for a non-Russian bear in the last eight years. Russian cubs are taken into training when they are four months old, which probably accounts for their dominance. Unfortunately, there is some impact on social development and these bears rarely mate.

As expected, Samuel Duma dominated the short running events. His only real competition was I.A. Duma, his training partner. Hando Paa came in third, undoubted aided by the cheetah who was close behind. Mr. Paa said that instinct took over and propelled him to his bronze medal.

The long-distance running events took an unexpected turn when Dubai entered several camels in the races. On the hot track, Abraham Jamal easily outpaced his competition. Ishmael Jamal took the silver. Alexander Kudu from the African savannah was the third-place finisher. The camels will be definite contenders going forward. The other competitors found them rather rude and almost mean.

Unfortunately most of the swimming events had to be cancelled. When the water was tested prior to the first race, the officials found a significant amount of chlorine. Suspicion immediately focused on the Russians whose Siberian tigers had been disqualified due to failed drug testing. The tigers had been heavy favorites to win several events. The other theory is that the maintenance crew had been given the human requirements by mistake.

The other animals laughed at the idea of the hippos entering a team in the water polo competition. No one is doubting now that they have won the silver medal. Their style is definitely unorthodox, using their snouts to propel the ball. Their coach, Jonas Kiboko, credited the team’s desire to prove the critics wrong for the strong showing. Unfortunately, the elephant team ended the hippos’ run. Their long trunks provided superior accuracy, and the team went on to win their fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal.

Overall, the games were a huge success. Now the animals can relax until their human counterparts are finished and provide them with a ride home. Unfortunately, the animals lost their petition to attend the human games. Apparently the cheetah eating the capybara early in the games has led some humans to fear for their own lives. For their part, the animals are hoping that there are no hunters on the human side.

 

Spanish – sloth, Hausa – gorilla, Hausa – monkey, Russian (transliterated) – bear, Swahili – cheetah, gazelle, Arabic (transliterated) – camel, Swahili – kudu, Swahili – hippo (Translations provided by Google. The African translations are limited by the number of languages available.)