18

Cat TV – Part 2

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So far – Josie and Kenny’s TV have gone out, and the technician won’t be available for at least three days. They are devastated, but Mom and Dad aren’t very sympathetic.

Josie: Mooom, I’m bored.

Mom: Did you do your homework?

Josie: Yes. Now I’m bored.

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Mom: Read a book.

Josie: I don’t have any.

Mom: Go to the library.

Josie: Yuck! What if someone sees me?

Mom: What if they do?

Josie (sighing): Mom, you’re impossible.

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Kenny: I’m bored.

Mom: I don’t suppose you have anything else to do either.

Kenny: Nope.

Mom: Then clean your rooms.

They look at her and roll their eyes. She doesn’t move. They stomp off to their rooms. At dinner:

Dad: You two look gloomy. Did you have a bad day?

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Kenny: We didn’t have anything to do, so Mom made us clean our rooms.

Dad: Oh, that is a crisis.

Kenny and Josie glare at him.

Mom: Well, tomorrow you can go visit Grandma. I’m sure she has something for you to do.

Josie: It has to be better than today.

The next day, they walk over to Grandma’s house. She’s outside getting ready to pounce on something. Josie and Kenny run up to her.

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Josie: Hi Grandma! Mom sent us over here because we’re bored. Do you have a TV we can watch?

Grandma: Goodness, no. What a waste of time. Wouldn’t you two rather run around the yard?

Josie: No TV?

Grandma: Josie, we’re cats. Cats don’t watch TV.

Josie: All of our friends do.

Grandma: When did you pick up that nasty human habit? Doesn’t it interfere with your running around and climbing things?

Kenny: Why would we do that?

Grandma: That’s what real cats do.

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Josie: Next thing you know, she going to tell us we should be out chasing mice and pouncing on bugs.

Grandma: Exactly! Those are excellent cat skills. Look over there; the bush is moving. Let’s see who can pounce the fastest.

The kittens thought it was silly, but since it was Grandma they played along. To their surprise, she was faster by far. She jumped at the bush, but the bird got away.

Kenny: Wow, Grandma! You can run a lot faster than we can.

Grandma: That’s because I’ve been running since I was a kitten. Now, see if you can catch me.

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Grandma took off with Kenny close behind. She got to the maple tree and ran up the side to the first branch. Kenny stood under her.

Kenny: No fair! How can I catch you up there?

Grandma: The same way I got here. Climb the tree.

Kenny: How do I get down.?

Grandma: It isn’t very high. Jump off.

Kenny: Wow! This is fun. Can you show us how to do all this old-fashioned stuff?

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They had so much fun that it was time to go home before they realized it.

Josie: Thank you, Grandma. That was great.

Grandma: I had a lot of fun too. But if you’re going to watch TV, watch Cat TV. That human stuff will rot your mind.

Josie: What’s Cat TV?

Grandma: If you have to be inside, watch what’s out the window. You’ll see all kinds of interesting things. You can practice your running and pouncing in your head.

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Josie and Kenny ran home for dinner.

Dad: Did you have fun at Grandma’s?

Kenny: It was pawsome! She taught us all the things she learned when she was a kitten. We ran around and tried to kill bugs and climbed trees.

Dad: That does sound like fun. You should be happy. The TV technician comes tomorrow. You should have TV by nighttime.

Kenny: That’s OK. We’re going to watch Cat TV instead.

Josie nodded. Their parents were astounded.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

 

 

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5

Cat TV

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Josie and Kenny Kitty came home from school, said hello to their mother, and turned on the TV. Everything was fine until the screen went blank, then said “searching for signal.”

Josie: Mom! The TV lost its signal again.

Kenny: That’s the fourth time this week.

Mom: Well, you’ll just have to wait for it to come back on.

Josie: But it’s our favorite show, “Tom Kat, Secret Agent.” Tom had just figured out who stole the catnip, but we didn’t know yet.

Mom: I’m sorry, honey. I can’t do anything about it.

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They waited for a few minutes, then turned off the TV. About an hour later, their father came in.

Kenny: Dad, the TV’s out again.

Dad: This is ridiculous. It seems like we don’t have TV half the time. I’m going to call the service people.

He calls the cable company and is put on hold. The longer he waits, the more irritated he gets. Finally, he gets through and explains the problem. He listens for a few minutes and hangs up.

Josie: What did they say, Dad?

Dad: They can’t tell us anything unless they send out a technician to check it out.

Josie: OK, what time will they be here?

Dad: Thursday, between noon and five.

Kenny: Thursday? But it’s only Monday. What are we supposed to do until then?

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Dad: Find something else to do.

Kenny: But I need the TV for my homework.

Mom: You’ll just have to tell your teacher that our TV isn’t working. Or go over to Henry’s and watch it with him.

Dad: What kind of homework did she assign that needs the TV?

Kenny: We’re supposed to write a report about the French Revolution, and “A Tale of Two Kitties” is on Mouseterpiece Theater tonight.

His mother started to laugh.

Kenny: What’s so funny. That’s about the French Revolution.

Mom: It’s not a true story. I think she meant that you are supposed to read something. A book or something I find you on the Internet.

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Kenny: Oh. Well I guess I don’t need the TV for that after all.

Mom: I guess not.

Josie: But we still need something to do.

Dad: You could read. Or go for a walk. Or clean your rooms.

Josie: I meant about TV. We’ll be the only ones at school who don’t know what’s happening on “Dr. John, Veterinarian to the Stars.” And “Susie Squirrel: High School Hero.”

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Mom: I think you’ll survive. You two watch too much TV. When your Dad and I were your age, we ran around, and climbed trees and had a lot of fun.

Dad (joking): I don’t know. That sounds pretty important.

Mom: Then go to someone’s house and watch it.

Kenny: That would be lame.

Mom: Why?

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Kenny: Their TV’s are all old. We have the only one where it looks like the mice are right in the living room when you play games.

Mom: Well, I guess you’re stuck.

Josie: It’s OK, I guess. We can stick around and keep you company Mom.

Kenny: Yeah! You can play games with us and teach us how to cook and stuff.

Mom: Maybe I should help you find something to do.

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What should two bored kittens do to entertain themselves when the TV goes out?

All pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

22

Cats Tell (Some) Secrets

Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. We thought that we would help you humans understand a little more about us cats. So we decided to try to answer some common questions.

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Why do cats spend so much time sleeping in the sun? 

Some of sleep in the sun because it feels so nice on our fur. It’s also nice and warm on cool days. Other cats are partly solar-powered. You can tell who these cats are by their behavior after dark. Regular kitties want to play with their humans before bed then sleep at the same time (more or less). Solar-powered kitties will play a little before bed. But when the lights go out, they turn on the stored solar energy. They race around the house, play with their loudest toys, and try to wake up their humans to play some more. If the humans lock the door, they will stand outside and cry or bang at the door.

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Can cats really use computers?

That’s an interesting question. We don’t like to type. The claws get in the way and our paws are really too wide to be effective. However, we can use Internet sites. For example, if the human has an Amazon account we can watch them sign in and type enough to copy it. As long as there’s a credit card and address registered, all is good. We cannot use Alexa. She’s pretty smart. She knows we’re cats, and cats can’t get credit cards.

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Do cats watch TV?

Occasionally there’s a show about cats or birds that’s interesting. And some of us like sports (the faster ones; cats don’t follow golf). But for the most part humans watch junk about other humans. Humans talk a LOT on TV. If we want to listen to humans talk, we have our own.

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What do cats like to talk about to each other?

That depends on the cat. Some (like Kommando) talk more than others. Generally speaking we talk about why the humans won’t fix the weather so it’s not so cold or hot or wet or snowy. Are there any good clothes around to lay on or paw through? Is there anything good to eat?  Did the humans forget to put anything away that we like to play with or eat? We complain about clumsy humans who trip on us. What’s on Cat TV? Should we tell the humans that they smell weird?

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How do cats feel about sharing the house with other animals (besides the humans)?

It depends on the cat and the other animal. For example, our housemate Horatio Hedgehog isn’t a problem. He has a cage and is pretty quiet. He’s nocturnal, so we don’t hear too much from him. Some sort of small rodent would be acceptable. It’s always fun looking at prey. Same for fish or small reptiles. Another cat or a dog would be totally unacceptable. Three humans and two cats live here. That’s a spare human in case we need him. Other cats prefer to be alone with their human. And some cats are really outgoing and say the more the merrier. We don’t really understand those cats, so we can’t comment.

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Why do some cats like to go out and others don’t?

Most of us like the occasional look outside. Some cats are naturally timid or have had bad experiences and are more than happy to stay inside. Some have complete access to nature and are happy roaming and coming home for dinner and bed. Personally, we don’t want to be snacks for the coyotes or hawks and are happy inside. It all depends on the cat’s personality and how unpleasant it is to be with their human all day, every day.

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Why do cats act so superior?

Because we’re beautiful and smart and don’t ask dumb questions.

That’s all we have time for today. We hope we’ve helped your understanding of cats. If you have other questions you’d like answered in the future, just send them in.

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

15

Snoops and Kommando: On the Prowl

Kommando: Hi everyone! We’ve been so busy interviewing other cats that we forgot our most interesting subjects.

Snoops: Who’s that?

Kommando: Us, silly!

Snoops: Things have been a little interesting recently.

Kommando: We got two new channels of cat TV. It’s pretty pawsome. They’re on the second floor.

Snoops: You may remember that we had four humans – two male and two female. Now we’re down to three.

Kommando: The younger female moved out. She brought home a strange male human one time. It was awful. He smelled worse that Horatio Hedgehog.

Horatio: Hey! I’m right here, you know.

Snoops: She didn’t mean it. You know we love you.

Horatio: Cats!

(He huffs and goes back to sleep.)

Kommando: Anyway her room is on the second floor and has views from two directions. One is even a new direction!

Snoops: It’s true. But it’s probably the most boring. There aren’t any trees that way.

Kommando: That’s true. But still, she was hiding it from us.

Snoops: True enough. It was so messy that it was hard to get over there.

Kommando: It hurt my delicate little paws to walk on it.

Snoops: Whatever you say, Kommando. Let’s move on to the pawsome TV show we found on human TV.

Kommando: That’s right; I almost forgot. It’s called “My Cat from Hell.”  Every time we see it, there are cats just being cats. You know, racing around and getting into stuff.

Snoops: Well, some of the cats are a little obnoxious. There seem to be awful lot of them who bite their humans. We don’t approve of that at all.

Snoops: She right. The pawsome part is that the human who runs the show, Jackson Galaxy, always blames everything on the humans! All the “bad” stuff that the cats do is because of something the humans do. Even scratching the drapes and pooping outside the litter box.

Kommando: Yep. They get homework and everything. And the humans work really hard to get their cats back to our usually sweet selves.

Snoops: He always says that there are no bad cats. We already knew that, but it’s really cool to hear a human admit it.

Kommando: Every week, the humans have done what they need to, and the cats have become snuggly like the rest of us.

Snoops: Life has been good.

Kommando: Well except recently. We got abandoned again.

Snoops: Oh yeah. Last night.

Kommando: Mom has been home with us 24/7 for the last few weeks. She had the other tunnel opened, on her left wrist. That’s two, so I think she’s done.

Snoops: It’s too bad. For the first couple of weeks, she wasn’t supposed to lift much of anything. And after that she had a weight restriction.

Kommando: It was great. Naps and snuggles and cuddles…

Snoops: It’s a good thing that she went back though. We used our last can of food the day before she went back. And she gets our food where she works.

Kommando: Oh, right. That would have been bad.

Snoops: At least she works nights. So we have someone here to wait on us all the time.

Kommando: And Dad had that flu thing a couple of weeks ago. He wasn’t much fun, but he was good to sleep on.

Snoops: And they get different days off, so they’re both here together.

Kommando: All right. I guess life is pretty good.

Snoops: And it would be perfect if we could get rid of all the noisy machines…

 

0

Peace in Our Time**

**A reference to World War One. Remember: I told you that one of the hazards of reading this blog was the possibility of learning something.

I wanted to remind you that this year is the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI. (Yes, we count the part before the U.S. entered.) Those of you with school-age children may want to be prepared for macaroni U-boats. I can also see a debate on the futility of trench warfare vs congressional debate. Maybe Congress could debate the futility of trench warfare. Would they see the irony?

Back to reality.This this post could have been subtitled “Technology Strikes Back Part, Part 2: Going Global.” Last week we lost all electronic connectivity.

That’s right. No Internet. No TV. No land-based telephone. If we wanted news, we had to read it. Which would have been a lot easier if the Internet had not caused the papers to either shut down or only print a few days a week.

As you may recall, I am not a huge user/lover of technology. When my husband came upstairs on Friday to tell me that Comcast was out, I don’t think I showed the proper level of distress. That really shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise. I’m the only one in the family who could have been home from work for three hours without noticing it.

My reaction was more along the lines of a sigh of relief. No Judge Judy (a family member’s secret addiction). No shouts of triumph at 2a because someone’s team had finally breached the wall and was attacking their arch-nemesis. No pieces of candy, marbles, flying pigs or whatever mesmerizing for hours. No more hour-by-hour updates of someone’s family (not mine) reunion.

Best of all, no solicitation calls at dinner-time. Admittedly we eat early (about 4p), but the timing is amazing. I’m told that non-profits were not impacted by the No Call rule. There seems to be some sort of team-tag going on. I will just get rid of one, when another one finds our number. Considering that it usually takes 3-4 repetitions of “I’ve told you not to call x times” before it gets through, I’m thinking that maybe my own pre-recorded response is the answer.

I probably could have been a little more sympathetic. My husband does use home email for work since the email at work is down for upgrade. I figure if they can use the excuse that their email server is down, so can he. He’s worried about a breakdown in communication. As if anything has been able to fix that problem since the beginning of time.

My son’s friends took pity on him and invited him to the modern equivalent of socializing: sitting in the same room and each person facing a screen instead of the other people. I had heard about it, but the first time it happened in our house it was a little unnerving. Back in the dark ages, if two or more people were in the same room and not talking they were either fighting or bored. Unless it was mixed male and female.

My daughter turned to cleaning her room. It was wonderful. She’s been promising to do it for some time. She’s going away to college in the fall. It’s going to be really nice to be able to leave the door open and not worry about losing the cats.

In a way, the timing was a little unfortunate. Edgar (my computer) and I had finally come to a meeting of the minds (so to speak). I realized what a sensitive personality he really is. And he realized that I could permanently disconnect his power source. We can generally get through an entire session without angst. It probably helps that my son taught me how to move around the screen rather than having the screen move around on me.

Nevertheless, I probably suffered disproportionately little. Even one of the cats was put out. She spends a lot of time with my husband while’s he’s on the computer. In his lap, not the keyboard (she’s a little non-technical too). No computer, no sitting, no warm-blooded furniture.

I guess we’ve all become creatures of the 21st century.

Update: It is now Wednesday afternoon (5.5 days later) and the connectivity has finally been restored (they did something in the backyard.) Maybe Comcast is right – their customer service couldn’t possibly be any worse after a merger with TimeWarner.

5

Happy as a Trog

TROGLODYTE

1:  a member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves

2:  a person characterized by reclusive habits or outmoded or reactionary attitudes

The other night when I was watching “Person of Interest” on TV, the woman who is the brawn of the operation (I love that! I also love that they are finally letting Jim Caviezel smile – he looks so much better) says that she has found “some sort of Bible.” To which the intellectual says something along the lines of “Yes, that’s the Gutenberg Bible.”  They did not elaborate on what the Gutenberg Bible was. I wondered if they thought everyone knew or if they just moved on since it was not important to the plot.

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit like a Gutenberg press in a Movable Type world. Ironically, while moveable type is the current standard in web design according to their press release, its roots are older than Gutenberg. It was developed in China by Bi Sheng in the mid-11th century. Gutenberg introduced metal moveable type to Europe in the mid-15th century. Note: the problem with trying to be an intellectual smart-aleck is that either people won’t get the reference or they will be able to show you why it was a stupid analogy to start with.

I am typing this on a desktop PC. I may be the last college-educated person in the country without a laptop. I saw an advertisement on TV for a product that promises to be a laptop when you need it to be and a tablet when you want it to be. I have no idea what that means. That should probably bother me.

I guess I have a stupid phone. Is that what they call a non-smart phone? I can make calls on it. I can even text if I don’t mind hitting the key two or three times to get the different letters. I’ve always hated telephones. I don’t know how to make small-talk.

They probably shouldn’t allow me to have a cell phone in the first place. I’m not allowed to use it at work, and I never remember to turn it on any other time. Most people know this and don’t bother calling me on it. There are two people who insist on calling me on it. They always wonder why it takes me days to get back to them.

We still have a low-definition TV (much to my husband’s dismay). He tells me the sound is also bad on it. I’m not sure. I can tell what the people are saying – most of the time. As soon as I find something on television really worth watching, I’ll worry about getting something better to watch it on.

We don’t have a Blu-Ray anything. We haven’t watched 90 percent of the regular DVD’s we have, so why bother? And the headsets are just creepy to me – people walk around looking like they’re talking to themselves. And then wonder why they’re being ignored when they do ask someone a question.

Even my Kindle is pretty low-tech. I have a regular screen, and only use it to read books. I have a keyboard, but no use for it. I love that I can take it to work and not worry about it getting dog-eared in my locker. I also love that I don’t have to remember to bring a new book when I’m close to finishing the old one.

A couple of people have asked me to go on Twitter. I don’t get Twitter. For every witty bon mot, there seems to be glut of “just saw jen. can’t believe what’s she’s wearing.” Then you have to go to Instagram (or whatever) to actually see it. Of course, it would probably make more sense if I had a smart phone and saw the tweets real-time.

I belong to two LinkedIn networks, one Google circle, and Facebook. I am guessing my old MySpace account is still floating around somewhere too. All of those people probably think that I have moved to Tibersk (or wherever you have to be these days to be unconnected). I think I’m just too anti-social for social media.

Now that I think about it, the Troglodytes might be insulted that I am comparing myself to them. After all, permanent shelter and fire were cutting edge in their day.