In addition to all the tsuris of the last week, I’m starting to have the sort of computer problems that are nothing but dire portents — sudden freezing, crashes, you know the drill. If I were a conscientious person, I’d have spent a chunk of Sunday at the Apple store. But you know what I did instead?
I went to the pool. First I did yoga, then rode my bike to the pool. I swam no laps, but practiced my back float and lazy sidestroke. I was haphazard with my sunblock, so I have some rosy spots here and there. Then I came home and Alan fixed me a Moscow mule. It was delicious and precisely what I needed. The last 10 days have been all work. I needed a little play, and I got some.
And now I have a new car, the Grosse Pointe mommiest car possible — a 2006 Volvo XC70 wagon. Five cylinders, meh gas mileage, but safe and all-wheel-drive, which after last winter feels like pulling into a safe harbor. It’ll hold all the DVAS plus most of their gear. It’ll hold a bike or two. It’ll hold a lot of stuff. That’s sort of what Volvo wagons are known for — their holding capabilities. That, and their safety features. This thing has everything but an iPod jack, but I’m going to call around on that today and see what the damage is to have one installed after-market. I’m sure, in 2006, the Swedes thought this iPod thing was just a fad and there was no need to alter their world-famous design to accommodate such a silly gewgaw.
And on top of everything else, we had comp’ny Friday night, although it was J.C. and Sammy, who are always welcome. We took them out to meet some of our Detroit friends, and a good time was had by all. At least I think so. How bad can an evening be when everyone unites in shared hatred of the waitress? She treated us like we had ebola. Of course I tipped her 20 percent.
Fortunately, I have some great bloggage.
If you asked me if I would like to read a mid-length essay about a man’s love for his cat, I’d have said, “Why, no, but thanks for asking.” Which is why I’m glad I overcame my snap judgment to read “A Man and His Cat” on the cover of the NYT Sunday op-ed section. It’s a stitch:
I’ve speculated that people have a certain reservoir of affection that they need to express, and in the absence of any more appropriate object — a child or a lover, a parent or a friend — they will lavish that same devotion on a pug or a Manx or a cockatiel, even on something neurologically incapable of reciprocating that emotion, like a monitor lizard or a day trader or an aloe plant. Konrad Lorenz confirms this suspicion in his book “On Aggression,” in which he describes how, in the absence of the appropriate triggering stimulus for an instinct, the threshold of stimulus for that instinct is gradually lowered; for instance, a male dove deprived of female doves will attempt to initiate mating with a stuffed pigeon, a rolled-up cloth or any vaguely bird-shaped object, and, eventually, with an empty corner of its cage.
Although I can clearly see this syndrome as pathological in others, I was its medical textbook illustration, the Elephant Man of the condition. I did not post photographs of my cat online or talk about her to people who couldn’t be expected to care, but at home, alone with the cat, I behaved like some sort of deranged arch-fop. I made up dozens of nonsensical names for the cat over the years — The Quetzal, Quetzal Marie, Mrs. Quetzal Marie the Cat, The Inquetzulous Q’ang Marie. There was a litany I recited aloud to her every morning, a sort of daily exhortation that began, “Who knows, Miss Cat, what fantastical adventures the two of us will have today?” I had a song I sang to her when I was about to vacuum, a brassy Vegas showstopper called “That Thing You Hate (Is Happening Again).” We collaborated on my foot-pedal pump organ to produce The Hideous Cat Music, in which she walked back and forth at her discretion on the keyboard while I worked the pedals. The Hideous Cat Music resembled the work of the Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti, with aleatory passages and unnervingly sustained tone clusters.
I’ve never had a cat, but all of my dogs have had approximately 7,000 diminutives. You all know Wendy, aka Wendall, Wemberley, etc. Enjoy.
Coozledad sent this thing, a sketch of life aboard the custom jet used by Led Zeppelin, Elton John, the Rolling Stones and others during their ’70s super tours. Take a look at that fake-fur spread on the queen-size waterbed and imagine what it would have looked like under a UV light. Ew.
Finally, another NYT link, for which I apologize, but it was a good Sunday paper for August: Missouri is considering adding right-to-farm to its state constitution. What a…terrible idea. Those of you who don’t live in an agricultural state cannot know how wealthy and powerful these farm-advocacy groups can be, all the while poor-mouthing about the Plight of the Farmer. And why is this happening?
…(A) coalition of state farming groups and major agriculture corporations have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take aim at the Humane Society, which led a successful fight in 2010 to regulate inhumane dog-breeding practices in Missouri.
Backers of the amendment are wary of laws that have passed in other states, like California, where voters in 2008 approved roomier living conditions for hens, and Oregon, where a rural county’s ban on genetically modified crops was overwhelmingly passed in May.
…Opponents have protested that the amendment would be a boon for large industrial farms that would like to avoid potential laws controlling their treatment of animals or the environment, allowing them to pollute the land, extend the use of genetically modified crops and freely experiment with the use of antibiotics in livestock, a trend that has concerned scientists.
As someone who lives in an urban area a lot of people are hot to farm (and are farming), I can tell you these laws are all written to favor rural landowners and their interests. If I lived in my native state (St. Louis born!), I’d be voting no.
Seriously. You know why half a million people in Toledo are without water today, why it can’t even be boiled to safety? Algae blooms caused by agricultural runoff. Imagine these folks with a constitution backing them up.
But I vote yes on this upcoming week, and hope yours is wonderful. I sure hope mine is.