January 20th, 2007

krazy koati

I've been for a walk

Let me just step in belatedly with a couple thoughts about Art Buchwald. Back when I was a much younger version of myself and used the newspaper mostly as a way to read that day's Peanuts and the other non-soap-opera strips, his column was one of the first that I noticed on the editorial page and that caught my eye as having interesting things regularly written in it. Finding stuff that was humorous in what I had always seen as a perfectly grim section was enlightening, and it opened me to the thought that there was the whole newspaper filled with things that I didn't know I'd like to know. (I had read the plain news, but irregularly.) And besides, his explanation of Thanksgiving for a French audience was one of those ``Eureka'' moments of my life, that there was this whole kind of humor that I hadn't ever imagined in the loopy explanations of ordinary things, obviously a genre that I'd take close to my heart.

He didn't stay my favorite humorist forever -- his writing was more often amusing than laugh-out-loud funny and I was probably a bit too young for much of it, and there was this more obviously funny guy writing for the local evening paper. Eventually I discovered Dave Barry, Ian Shoales, S J Perelman, Robert Benchley, and so on, but you don't really forget early models.

Day six of cat-sitting: the older, gray cat stared and meowed at me when I got in, then trotted a few feet out and meowed again. I followed. She jumped onto the back of a recliner and growled. Not purring, although it was a similar rrrr-rrrr-rrrr noise; she never got the hang of purring. I asked, ``Yes?'' and the rowling stopped for that word, but resumed immediately after. I repeated the question, and the rowling stopped for just long enough. I tried meowing back at her, and saying things like ``You wanted my attention, now what?'' and found she stopped rowling just for me to talk. Apparently the grey cat is in simplex mode.

Yesterday we woke up to a light flurry, and the small, white cat ran tome when I woke up, then ran to the back door and meowed out at the snow, like it was my fault or something I could do something about. She was at it for a while before racing around and swatting at the other cat. Also, one of them -- I suspect the white one -- has lifted the shower's drain gate, two days in a row now. I don't know what either hopes to gain from this, other than the simple joy of opening something that had been closed.

Trivia: On 20 January 1863 Abraham Lincoln met with railroad congressmen and lobbyists to decide on the standard gauge for the transcontinental railroad. The next day he announced he favored the five-foot gauge. Source: Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad, David Haward Bain.

Currently Reading: Sir Gregor MacGregor and the Land that Never Was, David Sinclair.