Dear Stupid Dogs,

While you were trotting around the house with your tail tucked and your ears down, moping over some stupid and obnoxiously loud piece of orange rubber toy, I was responding to a higher and more noble cause, plotting the revenge of the BP and TransOcean CEOs who have caused much sadness in Mama L. lately. Because I can. I’m a cat. We are naturally gifted when it comes to the psyche and the intellect. Unlike you stupid dogs who can’t even think beyond your next meal.

I must have a chat with my friend, Ms. Squirrel, to see how progress iscoming along. It’s really hard to track her down when she jumps from tree to tree like that. Oh, there she is. She looks like she’s in deep thoughts again. Maybe she has contemplated a really good plot to get rid of those evil men. I just want to dump them in the same ocean that they have contaminated and see how they hold up. They probably wouldn’t learn anything anyway.

Mama L. is so mean!

Dear Diary,

I had thought my Mama L. was the bestest person on earth yesterday when she brought home a new Mr. Squeaky Lion for me. I had really missed him! I was so happy when Big Sis and I ran all over the house with Mr. Squeaky Lion squeaking the entire time! You should have seen us!

I guess we got a little too happy because I started chomping on Mr. Squeaky Lion with a little more enthusiasm than usual (so he can squeak a little louder), when all of a sudden his right ear came off.  

I didn’t do anything wrong. I was just being happy with Big Sis. But Mama L. chased after me and hollered something incomprehensible (something about “swallowing rubber” again, as if that was a big deal). And then she took that picture as if it was evidence of my crime!

I ran all over the house looking for Mama M. to intervene — I knew she would have spoken out and stood up for me — but she was in the shower with soap all over her face so knew she wasn’t much help.

Then I ran back to Mama L. to see if she had come to her senses. (She didn’t.)  This was the last I saw of Mr. Squeaky Lion.

My Squeaky Lion

Dear Diary,

Next to food, Mr. Squeaky Lion is my most favoritest thing in the world. I play with him everyday, as often as I can. There’s something about that squeak-squeak-squeak that makes me so happy. I think it makes the Mamas happy too, although they always claim to be annoyed by it.

Every morning, right after my morning food, Mama L. would throw Mr. Squeaky Lion as far as she can for me. And I’d run to retrieve him, and Big Sis would run after me and try to wrestle him away from me. But I’m a lot faster and smarter and more mean than she is so I always get it in the end. Mama M. likes to play, too, but she’s really sneaky with her toss. Sometimes she throws it in the kitchen, sometimes she throws it in the bedroom, sometimes she throws it in the bathroom. I can never tell with Mama M. and sometimes Big Sis Madeleine would get there before I can. But that’s ok. I don’t mind sharing most of the time.

When Mama L. gets in the shower in the morning, I would drop Mr. Squeaky Lion in the tub with her. If she doesn’t throw him fast enough, I would jump in the tub and sit there and bark at Mama L. so she would feel more encouraged. I find this method to be particularly effective because my bark is much louder in the bathroom for some reason and Mama L. would yell at my barking and throw Mr. Squeaky Lion a lot faster. I do this about a dozen times every morning. It gets awfully wet, though, and the tub is so slippery that sometimes my paws don’t work.

I like to have Mr. Squeaky Lion with me at all times, if possible. I’ve tried to sneak him in bed with me a few times — one time I even managed to get him all the way down the bed under the sheets — but the Mamas would always find him! Then they would put him away and I would have to wait until morning. I suppose that’s fair because Big Sis is not allowed to bring her Laser Light to bed either.

This morning Madeleine and I got into a vigorous game of Chase the Squeaky Lion all over the house. That’s when she bit down on one of his ears and I on the other. Mr. Squeaky Lion stopped squeaking after that, and Mama L. said no more Mr. Squeaky and threw him in the trash can. She said something about swallowing plastic pieces, which, frankly, does not bother me in the least bit, so I don’t know why she has to make a big deal of it. I don’t know what I am going to do now. I think I am going to be really sad for a while. He was my most favoritest thing in the world. Next to food.

Maybe I’ll go look for Mama M. and practice my sad eyes on her. I bet she’ll give me a yummy treat.

“The Idea of Ancestry”, by Etheridge Knight

My friend Juniper shared the following poem many years ago, and it has remained one of my favorites to this day.

1

Taped to the wall of my cell are 47 pictures: 47 black faces: my father, mother, grandmothers (1 dead), grand-fathers (both dead), brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins (1st and 2nd), nieces, and nephews. They stare across the space at me sprawling on my bunk. I know their dark eyes, they know mine. I know their style, they know mine. I am all of them, they are all of me; they are farmers, I am a thief, I am me, they are thee.

I have at one time or another been in love with my mother, 1 grandmother, 2 sisters, 2 aunts (1 went to the asylum), and 5 cousins. I am now in love with a 7-yr-old niece (she sends me letters in large block print, and her picture is the only one that smiles at me).

I have the same name as 1 grandfather, 3 cousins, 3 nephews, and 1 uncle. The uncle disappeared when he was 15, just took off and caught a freight (they say). He’s discussed each year when the family has a reunion, he causes uneasiness in the clan, he is an empty space. My father’s mother, who is 93 and who keeps the Family Bible with everbody’s birth dates (and death dates) in it, always mentions him. There is no place in her Bible for “whereabouts unknown.”

2

Each fall the graves of my grandfathers call me, the brown hills and red gullies of mississippi send out their electric messages, galvanizing my genes. Last yr/like a salmon quitting the cold ocean-leaping and bucking up his birth stream/I hitchhiked my way from LA with 16 caps in my pocket and a monkey on my back. And I almost kicked it with the kinfolks. I walked barefooted in my grandmother’s backyard/I smelled the old land and the woods/I sipped cornwhiskey from fruit jars with the men/I flirted with the women/I had a ball till the caps ran out and my habit came down. That night I looked at my grandmother and split/my guts were screaming for junk/but I was almost contented/I had almost caught up with me. (The next day in Memphis I cracked a croaker’s crib for a fix.)

This yr there is a gray stone wall damming my stream, and when the falling leaves stir my genes, I pace my cell or flop on my bunk and stare at 47 black faces across the space. I am all of them, they are all of me, I am me, they are thee, and I have no children to float in the space between.

_______________________________

For more wikipedia info on Etheridge Knight

Birds and Bugs

  • An eagle can kill a young deer and fly away with it
  • Over 1,000 birds a year die from smashing into windows
  • Ants stretch when they wake up in the morning
  • The ant, when intoxicated, will always fall over to its right side
  • A hummingbird weighs less than a penny
  • The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards
  • Slugs have 4 noses (I know this is not quite “insect”, but I don’t want to have one just for slugs)
  • Owls are the only birds who can see the color blue
  • Honeybees have hair on their eyes
  • In its entire lifetime, the average worker bee produces 1/12th teaspoon of honey
  • Bats always turn left when exiting a cave (OK, not quite a bird, but they fly…)
  • The penguin is the only bird who can swim, but not fly
  • A one-day old baby cockroach, about the size of a spec of dust, can run almost as fast as its parents
  • The Madagascan Hissing Cockroach is one of the few insects who give birth to live young, rather than laying eggs
  • The world’s largest roach (which lives in South America) is six inches long with a one-foot wingspan
  • A cockroach can live a week without its head. The roach only dies because without a mouth, it can’t drink water and dies of thirst
  • Roaches can live without food for a month, but will only survive a week without water
  • The oldest group of insects are the cockroaches, dating back 300 million years
  • Bats always turn left when exiting a cave (it’s not a bird, I know, but it flies…)
  • A dragonfly has a lifespan of 24 hours
  • Dragonflies are one of the fastest insects, flying 50 to 60 mph
  • The male deer bot fly is reputed to develop flying speeds of several hundred miles per hour, but this is probably an exaggeration. A tabanid fly, related to horse flies, has been clocked at 90 miles per hour. Hawk moths have been timed at 33.5 miles per hour. A dragonfly of the species Anax parthenope has been clocked at almost 18 miles per hour. Honeybees fly at about 7 miles per hour, and have to beat their wings 190 times per second to do it
  • Painted ladies migrating from Africa to England must travel over 3,000 miles
  • The praying mantis is the only insect that can turn its head
  • Baby robins eat 14 feet of earthworms every day
  • An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain and weighs 3.3 pounds
  • Crickets hear through their knees
  • A flamingo can eat only when its head is upside down
  • There are more plastic flamingoes in the United States than real ones
  • The average chocolate bar has 8 insect legs in it
  • Fleas can jump 130 times higher than their own height. In human terms this is equal to a 6 foot person jumping 780 feet into the air
  • Homing pigeons use roads where possible to help find their way home. In fact, some pigeons followed roads so closely that they actually flew around traffic circles before choosing the exit that led them home
  • The queen of a termite colony may lay 6,000 to 7,000 eggs per day, and may live 15 to 50 years
  • The biggest group of insects are the beetles, numbering 330,000 species (wow!)

Dear Stupid Dogs,

Surprised? That’s right, I know you keep a stupid diary or journal or whatever you call it. I just want you to know who’s boss around here. Yes, you are cute. Yes, all the attention is on you right now. And yes, maybe somebody poisoned your little pea brains to think that dogs are superior to cats, but I am here to tell you otherwise. You just remember who’s got the sharper claws. You just remember who can clear a 6-foot Japanese screen without even breathing hard. You just remember that I was here long before you were even conceived. I’ll let you have your fun right now, but ultimately in the end, you’ll know who’s the real boss…

Beatrice, THE Cat!

Somebody had a crush on me today!

Dear Diary,

Usually, it’s Madeleine my Big Sister who always has the boys and girls chasing after her at the Dog Park…she knows how to work it with that tail of hers wagging the whole time. But today, I had my very own fan for the very first time!

His name was Luka and I think he might have been a Chihuahua or a MinPin or some little yap-yap dog like that. Oh wait, Mama M. always says “yap-yap-yau-yau” around me, and then she would laugh, so maybe that’s not such a nice thing to call somebody. Anyway, Luka was chocolate brown and I guess he was kinda ok looking for a dog. He was smaller than me even!

At first, Luka tried to hump me. But Big Sis had tried to do that to me so many times, I kinda rolled my eyes and just sat down. Luka didn’t know what to do after that, so he just started following me around. It was sort of sweet and cute in the beginning, but then he got in the way every time Mama L. tried to throw the cute tennis ball. Then he would just stare at me or sniff at my nose. It got kinda irritating after that and then I just wanted to go home, except that I knew the Mamas would be bathing me and I am not fond of the B-A-T-H.  Yes, I know how to spell.

But, Mama M. ran both Big Sis and me towards the other end of the Dog Park, where there was less activity going on. Madeleine started getting silly and wanted to play chase. So I tackled her and she held on to my cheeks and I growled and Madeleine growled back and then we raced around like crazy puppies and she tried to bite my tail but I was a little too fast and she tripped and fell on my head and I slid sideways on the grass for a good long bit. It was so much fun that all the hair on my back from the top of my head to the bottom of my tail was raised straight up and Mama L. was laughing and she told Mama M.  that my hackles were raised. I didn’t know that’s what my hair was called, but whatever it was, it sure felt good! I like having raised hackles!

All in all it was a great day except for my stupid crush!

Maybe I’ll see him again next week.