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Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Catymology: Carnival of the Vanities #193

Speaking up, speaking out. Musing, pondering, ruminating. Actually thinking. Instructing. Reminiscing. Provoking. Questioning. The entries in COTV #193 read like a thesaurus entry on human communication. There were so many new ideas and familiar ones expressed in provocative new ways that I had to ask amanuensis to help me categorize them.

Our picks: they made us laugh; they made us think; they made us want to jump up and do something.

Fasten your seatbelts and brush up on your Ga (the national language of Ghana) as Koranteng leads us on a guided tour of The Books of Nima at Koranteng's Toli: "Some call it globalization; I know it as the Mosquito Principle."

Attila at Pillage Idiot offers a photo-comic with an explosively funny punchline: Bush consults the Chief of Control. (If you're too young to remember Get Smart, the TV series, we envy you.)

Mark A. Rayner takes note of a potential cultural shift in the blogosphere: pondering on things instead of musing about them posted at the skwib. We wish we'd thought of that.

Elisa Camahort at the hip & zen pen, who supports PETA (as long as their actions are legal), poses the question Why be vocal about your ethical beliefs? That's really getting to the heart of the matter.

If you've ever wanted to bash the TV, Jim "Suldog" Sullivan at Suldog-O-Rama does it for you in You Are Reading SULDOG-O-RAMA.


Most of us have been laid off at one time or another. (Well, not me, but, hey, I'm a cat.) Big Picture Guy at Big Picture, Small Office gives us a mordant glimpse of how it looks from the executive suite in Postmortem.

Looking to raise your bottom line? Jon at An Ordinary Guy's Path to Success. . .Again suggests you consider becoming a Schwan's Guy--or Girl.

Maybe both management and workers would benefit from the suggestions in The first day of the rest of your life posted at Career Intensity Blog - David V. Lorenzo.

On the other hand, if you just had a little more cash, maybe you wouldn't need to work so hard; check out the Free Money Finance Guide to Making More Money.

And on the other other hand, Don Surber explains how not to make money in Married to the mob.

International news and commentary

Speaking of free speech, Andrew Ian Dodge of Dodgeblogium passed along a pithy comment by Jon P of LibertyCadre.net: Boris defends the right to say silly things in a most sensible way.

Giraldus Cambrensis at Western Resistance exposes numerous recent attacks on young Pakistani women Pakistan: Muslim Honor Killings Confronted?

A Samuel at New Developments Blog fills us in on Resort development in Budapest. But, I wonder, will Budapest soon look just like the Mall of America? And is that good or bad?

The inimitable Miriam at miriam's ideas has a unique solution to Russia's population problem.

Politics: USA

Let's play analogies: G.W. Bush is to the Presidency as BLANK is to the NFL? Find the answer as Jack Cluth of The People's Republic of Seabrook presents This week's sign that the Apocalypse is upon us.

Miriam's ideas sums up the Republicans vs. Democrats thing.

If the above political posts seem a bit cynical, try this corrective: "viewed through a historical lens, politics today are no different than politics throughout history. And there's an important lesson in that," says Brad Warbiany at The Liberty Papers in Are Politics Getting Nasty?

From the moderate right, John Bambenek at Part-Time Pundit supports an old-fashioned fiscal conservative in Wictory Wednesday has Returned.

Smilerz adds value to the current debate on immigration in Curing the Symptom, Ignoring the Disease posted at Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of ....

Francois Tremblay delivers a much-needed Canadian perspective on Immigration Bullshit vs Reality at The Radical Libertarian.

Another contrarian view: John wrestles with the thesis Why we are not at war at Hell's Handmaiden.

The Cranky Insomniac feels nostalgic for the days of The Great Communicator in Isolation Chamber.

Brian J. at Musings from Brian J. Noggle suggests that a certain fabled 70s rock star might be the answer to Republicans' prayers in Nugent 2012.

It may have been a slow news day, or something more sinister, says AmericanSage, commenting on Washington Post Publishes The Hillary Catechism: "Clinton Is A Politician Not Easily Defined"


James ruminates with scientific precision on Cleaning up coal-fired Power Plants at Ruminating Dude.


Josh Cohen at Multiple Mentality has a few harsh things to say about 24 and some of our other TV favorites at Josh Cohen's Look Ahead at the 2006 TV Season. Tell us, Josh, what do you really think?

Brian Benzinger at SinkMyShip Blog invites everyone to log on and play the new Ajax Battleship Game. I would, Brian--I really would--but I am still hung up on "catch the mouse."

Jon Swift at Jon Swift presents 50 More Conservative Rock Songs


House hunters, take note: nickel at fivecentnickel.com explains All About Title Insurance in one succinct post. And David A. Porter presents Ask Dave: Do I have to sign form 4506 at my mortgage closing? posted at Pacesetter Mortgage Blog.

JLP asks for our feedback on his new College Tuition Estimator Online Calculator posted at AllThingsFinancial.

Public Speaking for All has some good reminders about jokes that work and jokes that don't.

Listen up, parents! Here's some stuff you won't learn from Heloise: mom at raising4boys.com shares Motherly Wisdom.

Wayne Hubert at Blog Business World urges us to smarten up and invest in knowledge. As a cat with a large personal library, I say "Amen!" to that.

Philosophy and ethics

Francois Tremblay at Goosing the Antithesis argues in The Morality Disconnect part 1 that even atheists have trouble with a fact-based worldview.

And Hell's Handmaiden returns with a lecture On proving a negative.


Trent presents You Read it Here First - Chip Inventories Pose Threat posted at Stock Market Beat. We thought this was going to be humorous until we got to the punch line. He's not kidding!


Here's an outrage about which I can personally speak up: Catnabbit! has the skinny on What one rich jerk did when his Jag needed a new leaper.

Ahistoricality tries out some new techniques and finds that Insects are Pretty Cool, but Photographing them is Hard. (We can't ever get a picture of a bug: I tend to eat them first.)

Meanwhile, the voluble muse at me-ander urgently needs answers to a Digital Question, remarks upon a bad way to start the day, celebrates The big 6 and the big S, and is overcome by nostalgia for New York's Penn Station.

And with respect to obeying the teachings of one's religion, Isaac Schrdinger has trouble accepting 8.3% Goodness.

Thanks to everyone who contributed. Next week's COTV will be at: Punny Money.

Update: Thanks to Mark Rayner for pointing out some broken links. We think we've fixed them all, but please let us know if we missed any.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Scholarship has its rewards

Here at Catymology Central, we love few things more than praise from our fellow cat bloggers. (Those much-desired things are brushing, hunting, tuna treats, and catnip.) Gaston at Catnabbit has paid us the compliment of naming Catymology "Cat site of the week." He writes that, when it comes to cat sites, Catymology deserves top honors for scholarly achievement:

Finally, you have the cats who are scholars of Catymology, which is defined as “the science and art of cattitude.” It is rare to find a cat who knows so many 4 and 5 syllable words. In fact, we were told of the official Catymology site a few months ago, but we were hung up on our review for many weeks while we took turns looking up the definitions of words like “amanuensis” and “hudhudious.”

We don’t think we are quite up to the level of a Catymology scholar, but are rather students of it ourselves. We apologize that we can’t fully understand the site, but hopefully there are cats out there who are scholarly enough to comprehend and appreciate the glory of the fourth level of feline literacy.

We hereby yield the Cat Site of the Week to Aloysius Katz, a.k.a. Aloysius Pangur Ban, M.F.A. (Master of Feline Arts).

We are honored. We read Catnabbit regularly; it's an inexaustible font of feline news and has a cattitude quotient of approximately 98 percent, as measured by our catometer (Patent Pending). Also, its satire is truly huhudious, in a good way.

Oh, oh. I see that amanuensis is putting on her scholarship earrings: one is her Phi Beta Kappa Key, the other her high school Latin medal. She reminds me to tell Catnabbit, and other equally well-written cat blogs, to send their best posts to this week's Carnival of the Vanities, hosted here at Catymology. Deadline: May 30, 6:00 P.M., Eastern. Use this handy form, or this feline-friendly one here, or leave a comment with your post's URL and trackback, if any.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Is your human cataholic?

This just in: Animal World Newswire reports that the incidence of cataholism among humans has reached pandemic proportions.

How can you tell if your human is cataholic? Make her take this quiz.

Does she scoop out your litterbox every day?

Has she ever broken up with someone because he or she complained about all the cat hair?

Does she write in her blog about you?

Has she set up your own blog for you?

Does she submit your blog posts to Friday Ark and the Carnival of the Cats?

Does she have catcams?

When she vists other catted humans, does she take along treats and/or toys for the cats?

Does she repeatedly rewatch X2 - X-Men United (Widescreen Edition) just to catch a glimpse of that handsome, mutant-licking cat?

Does her library contain more than 10 books about cats?

Does she have a complete set of first editions of the 24 Midnight Louie mysteries by Carole Nelson Douglas?

Does she buy wild-caught ahi tuna for you?

Does she serve it to you at the dining table?

If your human answers yes to more than 5 of these questions, she's definitely cataholic. Leave a comment to let me know how your human scores, or make up your own questions for this quiz.



the skwib » The Carnival of Satire (#35)

Welcome to The Carnival of Satire, where all your cranky irony can be vented for free.

Mark Rayner of the skwib presents The Carnival of Satire (#35).

While you're there, don't miss Mark's hilarious post about bloggers pondering vs. musing.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Put the cat back in Catholic

You expect a human whose radio show used to be regularly sponsored by Bertha’s Kitty Boutique to maintain a respectful relationship with persons of the feline persuasion. But Garrison Keillor, in his Sunday column “The Old Scout,” had this to say:

Having been called names, one looks back at one's own angry outbursts over the years, and l recall having once referred to Republicans as "hairy-backed swamp developers, fundamentalist bullies, freelance racists, hobby cops, sweatshop tycoons, line jumpers, marsupial moms and aluminum-siding salesmen, misanthropic frat boys, ninja dittoheads, shrieking midgets, tax cheats, cheese merchants, cat stranglers, pill pushers, nihilists in golf pants, backed-up Baptists, the grand pooh-bahs of Percodan, mouth breathers, testosterone junkies and brownshirts in pinstripes." I look at those words now, and "cat stranglers" seems excessive to me. The number of cat stranglers in the ranks of the Republican party is surely low, and that reference was hurtful to Republicans and to cat owners. I feel sheepish about it.

I wish I could find the original editorial Keillor quotes in this column, because amanuensis tells me that at the time it made her fall over laughing. (Some humans are like that.)

Here's where we disagree, amanuensis and I. I’m putting Mr. Keillor on notice that I, Aloysius Katz, am also offended by the term “cat stranglers.” Even though I’m an Independent, I do have some blogging friends who are quite conservatively bent, probably enough so to consider voting for Republicans from time to time. On the other hand--er, paw--I've got to admit this guy can write. When Darcy Xenophon gets home, I’m going to commission him to go over to Keillor’s house and deliver this message.

The column has been attacked by many bloggers and in letters to the editor of newspapers that carry the column, and I expect that it will continue to be noticed for some time. The critics of Keillor think that cat strangling is not the worst of it; they point out that he actually says some rather unkind things about the Catholic church. I'm not a Catholic--I'm a Catymologist--but I try not to disrespect any religion, even when I'm writing obviously satirical stuff like Keillor. I just wish they'd put the cat back in Catholic.



Getting down to the meat

Refreshed after my weekly "Tuesday is the day I can just be a cat," I notice that the cat-loving Elisson has posted a well-planned and amusing edition of the COTV at Blog d'Elisson: CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES #192. (Check it out for the meat, folks.) He comments:

Catymology (the host of next week’s Carnival of the Vanities, by the way) reports on a relatively new phenomenon: that of Therapy Animals. It ain’t just Seeing-Eye Dogs anymore...

* * *

Well, that wraps up (in Butcher Paper, of course!) another edition of Carnival of the Vanities. Next week, the Carnival will be hosted by Catymology - a fellow catblogger, yet - so be sure to get those submissions in!

I agreed to be Host of the Vanities
In an unforeseen burst of insanity.
And now that I’ve deployed it,
I hope you’ve enjoyed it.
If not, just scream, “Oh, the humanity!”

Nice job, Elisson. Purrs to you!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Spam from Darcy X

Once again, Aloysius is celebrating a day of simply being cat. So, I thought I'd pass along the latest from Darcy Xenophon, World Traveller, who seems to have been living pretty high on the hog.

May 20, 2006

Yo, cats and catted ones. I'm still in Hawaii.

It's so darn busy here--so many sights to see and things to do--that I almost forgot to write home. Popped over to Oahu for the Annual Dolphin Convocation. Did you know that dolphins surf? It's true.

They sure have a lot of parties in Hawaii.
A few days later, it was the 14th Annual World Samoan Fireknife Competition at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Ever had Spam sushi? Over here, they call it Spam musubi. It's full of that stinky goodness that just gets me purrin' like a Jaguar. According to one epicure:
Spam, the luncheon meat everyone loves to ridicule. Everyone, that is, but Hawaiians. Fiftieth staters consume nearly 6 million cans a year, or almost six cans for every man, woman, and child. Some call the gelatinous pink pork "Hawaii's soul food."

Man, I was pissed to find out I'd missed the 4th Annual Spam Jam on Waikiki by only a couple of days. It was April 29.

They say they had one hellacious big Spam musubi. I did pick up a souvenir postcard and found out where to go to get the best Spam sushi in town: Tamashiro Market. Oh, and a cute young Hawaiian babe gave me her grandmother's recipe:


* cook rice (da sticky kine),
* make 'em into one spam shaped block about 1"-2" high,
* t'row one slice fried spam on top, and wrap da buggah wit' nori.
* Da only hints I can 'tink of is,
* try wet yo' hands and put little bit salt on top when you stay making da musubi shape wit' da hot rice,
* and toas' da nori little bit first.

Hints from uddah peepo':

* Use da spam can and use fo mold for da rice.
* Den da slice of spam goin' fit perfect on top.
* If you can fin' furikake out dea, mix it in da rice firs.

If you want to make someone happy, now you can send Spam to your friends.

Next month I'm heading on down to Austin. No, man, not Austin, Texas--Austin, Minnesota, where the Hormel folks are putting on a great big old Spam Jam to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Spam.

I'll be heading home in time for Memorial Day. I do miss my humans, Michele and Michael! Yeowl!

P. S. Another cool tidbit: "Satan is a dork!" Best spam title of the week.


Monday, May 22, 2006


Best of Me Symphony

Cats are nasty cruel bastards but that's because they are cats. They have no concept of not being nasty cruel bastards. Humans, on the other hand, do.
The obviously ailurophobic Terry Pratchett is the namesake for this week's Best of Me Symphony. Gary Cruse of The Owner's Manual hosts this consistently entertaining carnival on a weekly basis. He gave new life to my snowclones post.

But wait, Pratchett also apparently said:

Sooner or later we're all someone's dog. In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.

That's more like it! If you're confused, just go read the Symphony for yourself.

P.S. Terry Pratchett is a British satirist who has written a slew of skewed fantasy novels as well as The Unadulterated Cat. I like the sound of that.

Friday, May 19, 2006


What, no talking cats?

In a post about research on animal communication and the ways in which mere journalists misreport such research, Geoffrey Pullum of Language Log writes:

I have no doubt that for a long, long time we shall continue to see stories recognizing language use in dumb animals and birds sitting alongside stories about it being absent in various kinds of humans (Bushmen, undergraduates, primitive tribes, bureaucrats, urban blacks, Danes, male scions of the Bush family, teenagers, Southerners, university administrators, and other despised groups). Because, while it is completely unclear whether the roots of language are innate, there is overwhelming evidence of an innate drive in Homo journalisticus to write stories about talking or understanding being manifested in chimps, gorillas, orangutans, monkeys, tamarins, dolphins, whales, parrots, starlings, dogs, bats (yes, bats — see below) and I don't know what will be next but perhaps donkeys. And the subspecies Homo journalisticus subeditorialis clearly has a built-in drive to write wild and goofy headlines for such stories.

Now, Language Log is one of my favorite blogs, but I think Professor Pullum doesn't go far enough. What about cats? We know for a fact that cats use language, and very effectively too. Just look at all the cats who blog. And then there are the talking cats in Haruki Murakami's wonderful book, Kafka on the Shore. Plus all of the hundreds of books written by cats.

If your cat doesn't talk, it's probably because he or she is either too modest (unlikely--most cats have very high self esteem) or too superior to bother communicating with mere humans.



Another Carnival for Pets

Over at Blog Carnival, they've started a Pet Channel. Bloggers are invited to submit posts. Somehow, they got hold of my post about therapy squirrels. Way to go.


I'm a cat star!

City Pages - The Blotter: names Catymology MINNESOTA BLOG OF THE DAY.

A blogging kitty named Aloysius Katz, despite a lack of thumbs, muses on feline folklore and behavior at Catymology.

This is better than being a therapy cat! But I did let them know that I do quite well without thumbs. That's what amanuensis is for.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


The right stuff

After I learned about therapy dogs, I thought about volunteering to be a therapy cat. Traditionally, these cats provide comfort to people in hospitals and nursing homes. That sounds nice. Once in a while, a feline has to give back to humankind.

So I looked into it, and I found out that there are a lot of requirements for being a therapy cat. Do I have the right stuff to be a therapy cat?

Am I affectionate? a

I could even love a block of wood.

Do I have a calm disposition? a

I’m known as Mr. Mellow.

Am I used to strangers? a


Am I tolerant of the unusual?

Just look at the weird stuff I write about in my blog!

Speaking of therapy, check out the cats, dogs, and other animals at Modulator's Friday Ark. This Sunday, the Carnival of the Cats will be at IMAO.


Carnival of Satire (#34)

Mark Rayner turns out yet another issue of his weekly satire-fest at
the skwib » The Carnival of Satire (#34): "And on closing note worthy of Confuse-A-Cat, Aloysius Katz looks into the rather bizarre trend towards Therapy dogs & therapy squirrels posted at Catymology." The carnival appears reliably every Thursday. What a pro!

And on the Adsense front: Google plasters ads for cut-rate Gucci handbags at the top of my post! That really dresses it up, doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Therapy dogs, therapy squirrels--where will it end?

The human-animal bond has become just a little tighter.

On May 14 the New York Times Sunday Styles section reported on the sudden popularity of therapy dogs.

At French Roast on upper Broadway, however, two women sat down to brunch with dogs in tow: a golden retriever and a Yorkie toted in a bag.

"They both said that their animals were emotional service dogs," said Gil Ohana, the manager, explaining why he let them in. "One of them actually carried a doctor's letter."

We here at Catymology Central were not surprised. In past months we've seen an exponential increase in the incidence of therapy animals. A little research turned up these diverse examples:

Ruth Melange of Anoka would not go anywhere without her squirrel, Bugsy. Bugsy travels in a beige leather Gucci handbag. "That's echt Gucci, not a knockoff," Ruth asserts. "He's worth it. What Bugsy does for me is keep me centered. Whenever I feel the least bit like biting someone's head off--and that's rather often, unfortunately--I just let Bugsy out of the bag. Or I ask whoever is bugging me to reach in the Gucci. He's got the most amazing teeth, though he has only caused one visit to the hospital so far. But that was understandable because the cop was going to give us a ticket."

Another person who couldn't function without his pet is Claude Punch, an avid gardener from Fridley. "Sparky is the most mellow cheetah you have ever seen in your life," Punch said, "but the neighborhood kids don't know that. Before I got Sparky, gangs of kids would rampage across my front lawn, trampling the tulips and tipping over the garden gnomes. It was a crime wave, and whenever I called 911 I got hung up on. But with Sparky on guard, I haven't seen a kid on my property. Sure, he runs through a lot of beef. He prefers organic. But you know what? He's worth it!"

Pets like Bugsy and Sparky give their owners peace of mind, but what can you say about Arthur, the two-year-old hippopotamus who occupies the swimming pool at Morris Condo's palatial Deephaven home? "See, I was getting tired of having my son invite his deadbeat buddies over for pool parties. Since Arthur moved in, I haven't had that problem. And I find swimming with Arthur to be very relaxing, almost like being in a hot tub."

Naturally, the trend towards exotic pets as stress-relievers has some folks worried. People like Ruth, Claude, and Morris might be considered "a few sandwiches short of a picnic," as an editorial in the Minneapolis Post and Beam put it. Mental health professionals seem worried, too. "If you notice a common theme here, it's because, more and more, humans are using their relationships with animals as a substitute for learning to live in the real world," according to Dr. Martini Scholes of the University of Southern North Dakota's School of Psychiatry. "Ruth could have taken an anger-management class; instead she adopted a rodent with an attitude. Claude could have built a fence around his garden and installed alarms, but he went with the cheetah. Morris could have sent his son to the Marines, but he got a hippo, which is really a quasi-marine substitute."

The state of Minnesota already has laws barring the keeping of wild animals in most municipalities, but an agent of the Department of Natural Resources said, on condition of anonymity, that the laws are rarely enforced unless neighbors make a complaint.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Forward: Pine County Tigers Update

We've posted before about the Wildcat Sanctuary. Here is an update on the two abused tigers they recently rescued.

Volume 4, Issue 8 April 2006

Pine County Tigers Update

The Wildcat Sanctuary has taken into custody the two remaining tigers from Cyndi Gamble's property. Prior to the tigers arriving we were flooded with media calls and requests and tried to be accommodating. Now that they are in our care, we need to focus on them as well as building permanent habitats for our existing residents. We will send our donors and supporters updates and pictures as soon as it is appropriate.

Everything we do must be in the best interest of the cats in our care. The two tigers are in questionable health and of course are traumatized from the commotion and the move. They need to be thoroughly evaluated by staff and our veterinarians during the next several weeks and any health issues must be addressed. Exposure to media at this time would simply further agitate and traumatize them. We take the responsibility to consider their needs first very seriously.

In addition, as a certified sanctuary (ASA and TAOS), we are not open to the public and are committed to exposing
all of the cats to as little contact with people with whom they are not familiar as is possible. Unfortunately, participating in further media coverage simply draws the curious and yes, results in the presence of helicopters flying overhead. We need to buckle down and do the work that fulfills our mission to help ALL the cats at our new site.

We hope our supporters in the public and media understand the need for us to stay focused at this time.

Thank you.


May King

Sun dappled grass
A blaze of blossoms
Lightly dozing
Making wisdom

In my vision
Mays without end
Crabapple blossoms
Never fading

Rain is banished
From this kingdom
Until nightfall--

Let the rain fall
When I’m purring
In my warm bed
With my humans

May all cats
And catted ones
Sleep in safety
Sleep in peace

I wish you endless
Purrs and fishes
In this kingdom
Of my making

On Friday, cats and the catted celebrate at Modulator's Friday Ark. Sunday's Carnival of the Cats will be at Watermark.



Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Mayan Religion, sliced and slimed into fractal chaos

Some humans have nothing else to do but hunt around the WWW for topics of interest. Alas, my human friend amanuensis is one of those humans. Today she googled "Catymology," a practice that she seems to find as addictive as catnip. "Ach, die lieber! Oy, vey! Quel fromage?" she muttered. (Whenever amanuensis starts muttering in tongues, I know she must really be upset.)

It turns out that she was reading a site about Mayan Religion. As you recall, our friend Darcy Xenophon visited the Yucatan on his honeymoon. On the [link removed, thanks to Virge--see comments] page, it says:

Those who actually know anything about ancient Mayan religion should know what I mean.11/9 Read Mayan religion handout. Michael added: "Given our relationship and our belief in the modern religion of Catymology,I find it interesting, but I hope that this revival is not really rooted in authentic ancient Mayan religion. Gated ResortAt the gates of the 1500 year old Mayan ruins, a small group of from Cancun to Chichen Itza on a quest for the BalamMayan for jaguar. The king stands in profile, There are still completely Mayan towns, but much of the land often gets appropriated and turned into gated resorts. The Mayan images are filled, overflowing, with resonant symbols.

How strange: the site is quoting parts of the story about Darcy's honeymoon (highlighted in red), but turns it into word salad. The whole site is like this. Is it the diary of a demented scholar? Is it the work of a Mayan-obsessed Random Surrealism Generator? And what do they mean by this reference?
Ancient Mayan Religion Pricing
Or this?
The Ancient Mayan religion was also had a very major and important job in the Mayan politics, military, and economy. Their region was inhabited by foxes, owls, jaguarsFRACTAL CHAOS Crashes the Wall between Science and Religion Chaos Theory, Dynamic ancient Mayan symbols in Sterling Silver.

Legitimate sites about Mayan religion and civilization have been Osterized into the Mayan Religion soup--Lost Civilizations, for example. While musing on this phenomenon, click on the link for the Sublime Directory--if you dare. This sublime directory is a service of Yahoo. What kind of service? It's so full of ads for porn that it should be called the Slime Directory.


the skwib » The Carnival of the Vanities (#190)

Satire Sensei Mark Rayner asked his sidekick General Kang to introduce this week's Carnival of the Vanities. Kang says:

Despite his non-primate form, Aloysius Katz always entertains us here at The Skwib, and this SAT-question-slash-post is no exception: Hairballs are to creativity as ringtones are to Ghana: huhudious posted at Catymology.

Anwyay, thanks, Kang! I understand you run a chimp-based intergallactic army, somewhere in cyberspace. Because of my commitment to nonviolence, as exemplified by having refrained from hunting baby birds, I will not be taking you up on your invitation to enlist.

But I do enlist in Carnivals, whatever species might be throwing them.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Hairballs are to creativity as ringtones are to Ghana: huhudious

Among companies that automatically serve ads on blogs, the principal of false relevance prevails. A few months after we started this blog, we greedily decided to go with Amazon.com and Google Adsense. Since then, citizens of Catymology Central have been bemused by the strange things that our partners in capitalism throw up there at the tops of our pages.

Catymology is about cats--cat folklore, cat mythology, cat stories, and, of course, cat behavior. Yes, that means that once in a while, we do get hairballs. So it probably makes sense that today, Amazon was featuring a book called Orbiting the Giant Hairball on our banner. It turns out, though, that the giant hairball in question has little to do with cats. It's a metaphor for the corporate bureaucracy as seen by an artist who toiled for thirty years at Hallmark. He wrote this book to tell other creative types how to survive "the giant hairball."

As writers, we're always interested in how to foster creativity, but this metaphor doesn't make a lot of sense. A hairball is not something you get tangled up in--not unless you're an insect or it's a REALLY BIG hairball. A hairball--and we know what we're talking about here--is something you cough up and leave for other people to deal with.

At least it's a book--and we do like books. We might even like this one, if we weren't in the middle of that novel by Orhan Pamuk, My Name Is Red (Vintage International), and a new book on the labor struggles of orchestral musicians: More than Meets the Ear: How Symphony Musicians Made Labor History.

If Amazon can be loose, Adsense transcends the principal of false relevance, descending to false advertising. A few days ago, our human half posted an item about a particularly amusing blog by a guy who emigrated from Ghana. Today, you could find on our blog banner not one but two ads for "Ghana ringtone: Send this ringtone to your phone right now, at no charge!"

But clicking on the link took us to a site that offers ringtones specific to one's astrological sign. We were disappointed to find "Ghana" not among our choices as an astrological sign, and we surmised that disclosing a cell phone number to this fishy promoter would lead to our receiving a planet-sized hairball's worth of spam. (Please don't call us to confirm our suspicions: Catymology does not have a cell phone.)

Having learned the meaning of huhudious from Koranteng's blog--it derives from a Ga expression for behavior so outrageous that it beggars belief--we now understand that the principal of false relevance is simply not adequate to describe how automatic ad placement can betray the meaning of what we write. When we viewed the permanent link for the post on the guy from Ghana, Google presented ads for self-cleaning litter boxes and for hotels in Ghana. One of us does use a litter box; the other cleans it. But Ghana's never been a place we wanted to visit, especially after having read Koranteng's blog. Thanks to Google, anyway, for the chance to use the word huhudious.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Blame it on "les chats sauvages"

Remember that cardinal's nest I discovered last week?

For days, I've been amusing myself by watching the two adult birds flying back and forth to the nest. But today, they're both gone, and this is what the next looks like.

It wasn't me! Honest, there's no way I could get up there. I suspect the raccoon.

Despite the fact that raccoons make a noise that sounds like a purr, and the fact that French Canadians refer to raccoons as "les chats sauvages," they are no relatives of mine. For one thing, raccoons are omnivores: they eat anything, including bird eggs and baby birds. That raccoon must have reached down from the roof and snatched the cardinal's eggs right out of her nest. Poor cardinal!

I'm going out in the garden now to supervise amanuensis while she weeds her flower beds. I'll bet she wishes that raccoons would eat dandelions.


Thursday, May 04, 2006


A tuna in any language is still a fish

I don’t care what language you sing in as long as you bring treats.

Humans have gone all fur up and claws out over the Spanish language translation of the Star-Spangled Banner that was released last week. What's all the caterwauling about? Amanuensis hunted down the fact that translations of the American humans' national anthem have been published in
German, French, Yiddish, Polish, and even Samoan.
Our friend Darcy X., who recently announced his intention to hang out in Maui for a while, promised to research a Hawaiian version for us.

Speaking of caterwauling, the tune for The Star-Spangled Banner comes from an old drinking song that begins:
A fig for parnassus...

Please, keep the figs and give me some Ahi, Thunfisch, bonito, tonno, thon, tunffisch, tyheu, maguro . . .

See what all the other cats are up to at Friday Ark. On Sunday, the Carnival of the Cats will be at Pages Turned


Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Into the litter box: huhudious

I love words almost as much as Aloysius loves catnip. One reason to participate in Carnivals is the opportunity to meet new bloggers and learn new words. This guy really has a way with words.

Koranteng's Toli: Huhudious (or Silly Season): Koranteng's Toli

toli: n. 1. A juicy piece of news. 2. The latest word or gossip. 3. The talk of the town, typically a salacious or risque tale of intrigue, corruption or foolishness. (Ga language, Ghana, West Africa)

Name:Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah
Location:Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

From Ghana by way of France and England, technologist, omnivorous reader, sometime writer and music lover... oh, and I work at Lotus/IBM

Sunday, April 30, 2006
Huhudious (or Silly Season)

I can't take it any longer; there are too many huhudious things going on, this silly season has got to end. This is a cry for help. Somebody please help me, help me please. Believe me, I tried to wait until the end of May.

Huhudious Defined

huhudious adj. an outrageous statement or a point of view or behaviour that beggars belief. A close synonym to hubristic, breathtaking and preposterous, with the same notion of brazen, yet insouciant, arrogance on the part of the interlocutor. Pronounced hoo-hoo-dious, this word is a neologism from the people of Ghana, coined circa 1975 when military buffoons were looting the country's finances while claiming they were fighting corruption.


Carnival Time

Dodgeblogium : CoTV Dodgeblogium style includes our missive from Darcy X. Andrew Ian Dodge says:

It has been a very long time since we hosted a Carnival; no doubt because our carnival genius extraordinaire Mommabear is no longer with us. However, taking the lead from me ole’ mucker Laurence I decided it might be a good idea to do another one.

As an aside I was asked by a young guy at the ASI blogger event what we wrote about on this blog. I suggested, with the help of fellow blogger/reader, that it was sex, drugs, rock & roll, politics and Cthulhu. So here goes in a typical chaotic form our week of hosting.
Hey, someone else knows who Cthulhu is!

May 4: The Carnival of Satire rolls on at The Squib.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Darcy's May Day vacation

Since today is Aloysius' day to simply be a cat, I'm taking over to share this missive from our friend Darcy Xenophon.

May 1, 2006

Yo, cats and catted ones: Yeowl!

We are blessed and we are cursed. Yeah, us cats and the catted. But I have been blessed.

In this life and my eight lives before, I 've bummed around a bunch of foreign lands. That's right. This life is my ninth, and I'm still beatin' the odds. Yeowl!

You heard? My partners and I spent our crappy honeymoon in the Yucatan, one of the great civilized cribs of the Jaguar, where that Shrubbie kept us out of Chichen Itza for a frickling four hours while he tried to snatch some of Jaguar's mojo.

But I am still beatin' the odds, and thanks to the wonders of cut-rate airflight I've shipped myself around the planet. I've become ubiquitous. All without a litter box.

So I thought to myself--today is the first day of May! Let's see what's goin' on.

In Ireland, I reveled with the Celtic cats (hard to believe, they're descendents of the well-read Pangur Ban), lit fires, leaped over them and partied on through the night.

In the charmingly backward town of Padstow, Cornwall, it was "Obby-Oss" day. Padstow cats claimed that this is one of the oldest fertility parties in the world, and if the number of kittens mewling about the streets means anything, they've got something going on. Now for a town without an "h" to its name, Padstow cats sure know how to get down--or up. I climbed up on the "Obby-Oss" myself and galloped through streets and gardens.

Over in Germany's Hartz Mountains, it was Walpurgisnacht, and we lit more bonfires. Being a passel of gloomy pusses, the Katzen couldn't help inviting a pile of witches, but at least they brought their familiars. I polkaed the night away with the witches on Brocken Mountain--and, no, that's not Brokeback.

Some of the cats got a little rowdy. Down in Bavaria, a gang of first-life adolescent cats laid waste to fields of hops and held baby bunnies hostage, until the weary townspeople paid a ransom of weisswurst and schnitzel.

Meanwhile, up in Finland--which I'm told has the highest feline litteracy rate in Europe--studious cut-ups put out screeds on toilet paper and stuffed them into sardine cans. Who knows why? Yeowl! I gobbled up some sardines and decided to take a break.

Another tag for May Day is Beltane, a party that's been goin' on since pagan times, hyping the return of the sun. And so, with accordions still aggrevating my ears, I flew on to the island of Maui to catch a few rays.

It was Lei Day! A bewitching golden-eyed, dark-haired female placed a frangipani lei around my neck and playfully rubbed whiskers with me. "My name is Kiana," she purred. Later, we strolled together on the beach and joined some friendly folks at an old-time pig roast. She told me my Hawaiian name--Kane. Then things really got interesting: a Beach Boys tribute band rolled up and it was nothin' but "Good Vibrations" the rest of the night.

Yeowl! Don't wait up.

P.S. I'm gonna check into this B & B later!


Monday, May 01, 2006


Taking a stand on May Day

It's May Day, the traditional day in most countries to celebrate the contributions of the working class.

I wasn't very happy this morning when I saw this foreign cat trying to sneak in the back door. While amanuensis tried to interest me in the visitor's cute white feet, I began to yowl.

How dare this foreign cat try to enter my space? If it doesn't go away, I'm going to go on strike again.

Then I heard that many illegal immigrants are taking today off to protest the attempts of the US government to crack down on undocumented workers. Talk about mixed feelings!

It occurs to me that, as a feline without papers who spends many hours defending our home from invaders like the calico pictured here, I'm pretty much at the mercy of the government myself. Therefore, I'm going to take the rest of the day off too.

Do you know why the USA celebrates Labor Day in September rather than on May 1?
Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States since the 1880s. The September date has remained unchanged, even though the government was encouraged to adopt May 1 as Labor Day, the date celebrated by the majority of the world. Moving the holiday, in addition to breaking with tradition, could have been viewed as aligning the U.S. labor movements with internationalist sympathies.
Since I've begun this catalog, I've found myself in league with my feline friends from Singapore to Reykjavik--so why not celebrate May 1?


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