Cats Who Steal Our Clothes

Towels, underpants, the odd bra or two, and lots and lots of socks–why are these cats making off with our clothing? Of course, with somebody standing there filming them, they aren’t going to reveal their true intent. Is it to dress someone else? Someone who might be hiding out under the porch? Or do they just like rolled-up socks?

Memory Lane: Venus Paradise Colored Pencil Set

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So there you were, expecting a real wowser of a snowstorm that would have kept the schools closed on Monday and led to a glorious day of sledding and snowball fights–but all it did was rain. What to do with your Sunday afternoon?

I loved these Venus Paradise pencil sets. Each set came with a raft of colored pencils and a bunch of pictures to color by number–always with a wonderful result, if you didn’t make careless mistakes. The pictures we got back then were complicated and it took a couple of hours to color one in. But it was worth it!

I don’t think these are available anymore, and I wonder if kids today would have the patience to enjoy them. After all, it’s not electronic. And no mayhem. Just really nice pictures of ducks flying over the cattails in a marsh, or a scenic covered bridge on a sunny day in the fall–stuff like that. All you needed was a pencil sharpener, and a bit of peace and quiet. There are still some similar toys around, but once you fell in love with Venus Paradise, nothing else would do.

I’ve still got some of the pencils, but the pictures are, alas, long gone.

More Unimaginable Peril (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCXLIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “I have been reduced to the expedient, as I write this, of having my neighbor, Mr. Pitfall, stand over me with a length of rubber hose to make sure I finish the chapter. He is actually a very nice man, but for his ungovernably violent temper and his penchant for unpredictably flying into rages.”

It seems Lady Margo Cargo has not been sucked under the vicar’s backyard wading pool, after all, but instead suffered a bout of extreme absent-mindedness during which she lost her upholstered wooden leg and, hopping along on one foot, wandered into the dreaded Scurveyshire Fens. She does not know where she is. All she knows is that she is probably going to be late for her wedding. The only silver lining to this cloud is that she forgot to wear her wedding dress. The sticky black mud of the Fens would have spoiled it.

Sardanapalus Tingleworth (or whatever his name is), the man with only one buttock, has volunteered to go under the pool to try to rescue Lady Margo. Seizing an opportunity when no one was looking, he has fled Scurveyshire. He will eventually wind up joining a traveling “curiosity show” in Alsace-Lorraine and make a decent living exhibiting his unusual anatomy.

But what of Lady Margo’s crusty butler, Crusty, who was pulled under the pool by a gigantic tentacle? “Mr. Pitfall has encouraged me to tell you that after some fifteen minutes which seemed more like fifteen hours, Crusty was thrown out from under the pool.” He makes his way back to the now disorganized wedding party, where everyone is very surprised to see him.

“It didn’t want me!” he reports. “It thought I was disgusting! So it threw me back.”

“But did you see any sign of my bride?” cries Lord Jeremy. “What did you see, down there under the pool? Speak, man!”

“Mostly I saw a lot of flattened grass that’s turning yellow, and some large earthworms,” says honest Crusty. “Not a sign of my poor mistress! She should’ve married me instead of you–then this wouldn’t have happened!” He leaps for Lord Jeremy’s throat, but Constable Chumley collars him before he can do any damage.

“There, yair,” the constable consoles him, “‘twon’t do nae brecken to flur thy wakes.”

Ms. Crepuscular has Mr. Pitfall’s permission to conclude the chapter there.

Nudists Seize Control of Canadian Government!

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Somebody said I might get more readership if I wrote catchier headlines, so let’s see if that works. Any headline with nudists in it ought to inspire curiosity.

Meanwhile, every day I get emails from alleged “conservative” organizations with headlines like “See how Trump put Pelosi out of business for good!” And then you open the email and it’s an ad for socks or something.

Then again, I never went to journalism school, so maybe there are compelling reasons for doing this that I just never heard of.

‘Bell Mountain’ in Portuguese (?)

Joshua alerted me this morning to a translation of my book, Bell Mountain, into Portuguese. What?

Now I remember. Years ago, somebody named Felipe in Brazil wished to translate the book into Portuguese. That was the last I heard of it for a long time, and I’d forgotten about it.

So what’s up? Search me! The publisher will have to tell me what’s going on–like why, for instance, is the listed price so ridiculously high ($117 and change)? But he’s out in California and three hours behind me, so I won’t be hearing from him for a while yet.

Naturally, I’ve very happy that my book has now appeared in a second language. I have a ways to go before I catch up to Agatha Christie in that department. But you gotta start somewhere! So this is my start.

If I learn anything more about it, I’ll let you know.

‘Do Deer Read Road Signs?’ (2016)

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But can she type?

Remember this one? Lady calls up the radio talk show, upset because she thinks “Deer Crossing” road signs are misleading the deer…

Her whole argument was premised on her belief that deer were reading the signs and coming to a wrong conclusion.

The United States of America spends more money on “education” than any civilization in world history, has “educated” more people than any country ever, and has achieved an adult literacy rate that is the envy of… well, nobody.

But our deer our pretty smart!

‘Be Born in Me’

I had never heard this one before–Be Born in Me, performed by the kids at Fountainview Academy.

Jesus Christ is the answer.

Endearing Young Sloths

My wife has a fondness for baby sloths. A lot of people do. They make cute baby sounds. There’s also a kangaroo in this video. Don’t ask me how that happened.

Back in the day, giant ground sloths got as big as elephants. I wonder what their babies were like.

By Request, ‘In the Garden’

Both Erlene and Phoebe called for this one, so here it is–In the Garden, sung by Alan Jackson.

And now to wait for the snowstorm…

Oh, No! A Snowstorm’s Coming!

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We have a “winter storm” in our forecast this weekend, and my town is freaking out over it. The mayor made his traditional state of emergency robo-call, urging residents not to park on the street. If you don’t have a driveway, he added, park in the municipal pool parking lot, a mere two miles from this neighborhood.

I’ve lived here all my life, and not once have I seen the town get snowed in. Even after the rare storm that drops two or three feet of snow on us, the streets are clear and everything’s open again a day later. Nevertheless, mobs of terrified residents flock to the supermarket to stock up on milk, bread, and batteries: they’re ready to sit out a week’s confinement to their homes. I can’t believe people in other states are quite as silly about snowstorms as my fellow Jerseyans.

What usually happens is there’s hardly any snow accumulation at all. I remember one Sunday, some years ago, when the media went into a full-scale hoot-and-holler about “the mother of all blizzards” on its way to bury us alive. Mayors, businessmen, and school boards acted on Sunday to declare towns, stores, public offices, and schools closed the next day. But Monday came and went without a single snowflake falling, and people got rather cheesed off about it. Threats of lawsuits abounded, but none of them came to anything: the weathermen had just been wrong, that’s all.

So I don’t expect this weekend’s weather prophecies to amount to much; but I’ll let you know if they do.

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