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August 3– Mr. the Cat, also known as The Mr., passed on July 31st around 2 am. I know some readers are saying He's just a cat. Just get another one. Well, pets are never just to their owners/companions. Some thoughts to ease the passage–for me.

RIP Mr. Cat

the mr.The Mr on his favorite perchthe mr. young mr.the mr. & belle

There are a lot of things I could say about the Mr.–equally friendly and demanding (part of which included a very loud meow, almost a roar), very precise in calculating jumps onto tables. He liked tuna water, the only people food he would eat. He liked boxes and baskets and other close places. None of these are particularly unique in the world of cats.

Four things stand out that made him remarkable:

--The Mr. was an affable cat–not clingy, but not standoffish, either.

--The Mr. was an excellent alarm clock. Every morning around 6, he would jump on the bed, onto me, and then start meowing loudly in my ear. When I started to move, he would retreat to the foot of the bed, and wait until I was out of bed and standing up. He had learned from experience that I would move the sheets around, sit up, and pretend to be getting up, so he put a stop to that. I found it remarkable that he adjusted to Daylight Savings changes within a day. At night, he would herd us to the bedroom, and guard the door until we were safely in bed.

--The Mr. (like many cats) liked to bump his head into my leg or other convenient body part. What was interesting was he had a thick, strong neck, and when he bumped, you knew you had been bumped, and then he kept pushing. I liked that. I don't know what he wanted or where he was trying to get to, but it was fun.

--The Mr. seemed very interested in life. He spent a lot of time looking out windows, particularly the front door. Belle joined him regularly, and the two of them gathered quite a following among the dog walkers and joggers. We heard people stop and say look at the pretty kitties, or sometimes wonder where the cats were if they were on a mission in another part of the house.

The poem below was inspired by the Mr.

You will be missed.   top

The next posting will be in about a week.


There are many ways to have a relaxing vacation.


Fred the Flower

It's the problems we never think of.

Fred the Flower

Fortnightly T-Shirts

Sometimes it's a mug, sometimes a meme, sometimes it's funny. But the price is always right.

T-shirts you just can't buy.

Poetry Corner


A poem inspired by The Mr.

I glance up

From my reading

Of Peterson's Guide

Just in time

To see the cat

Peer through the window

Over my left shoulder

As if picking out

A finch or wren

Chattering, chirping and squawking

To stake a claim

On a prime branch,

A raucous avian cacophony

Surely disturbing his meditation.

The cat loses interest,

Having secured his place

While keeping birds away

He drops his head

Onto his paws

And sighs.


Can't say

I disagree.

...the spirits are about to speak

they said it

There's no such thing as a wrong doodle,. There's no such thing as a wrong cartoon. .You can't listen to music incorrectly.

Mo Willems


My brother-in-law Harvey's academic-politics cartoon: SNAF-U

My sister Mary Pat's occasional musings: LaBrea Rambles

Suzanne's blog: The Tabard Inn

More quirky cartoons at The Oatmeal

Earlier We Said

From July 17

In honor of summer, and something called vacation, the Sunday and Wednesday posts have been combined this week. Apologies to insanely regular readers who were highly disappointed that there was no stand-alone Sunday post.

Need to Know? No!

More headlines with unread articles. WinePair wants us to know Brassa Cucina's Don Pirone could drink Negronis every day of his life. Also, from other sources, Bobu Beer is Here, and finally, in the abuse of judicial system category, Tesla drops lawsuit against critic after judge asks for evidence.


No, not the trailer for the movie version of the Broadway play, which is stinking the place up, I'm told. This is about our cats, Belle and the Mr.

Every now and again, we have tuna salad sandwiches for lunch. The cats really like the tuna water, and this is when they get it. They will be someplace else, but when they hear the can opener, or smell the tuna, they appear as if by magic. They drink, and disappear again.

At least that' the way it was. They started showing up earlier. As an experiment, I've been varying the order of preparation. I thought it was my going into the basement for the tuna. It's not the can opener. I open other cans, with no response. Now they appear when I start mixing the dressing long before there is any tuna on the scene. Plus, they used to wait patiently in the dining room until I put the bowl down. Now they are in the kitchen, getting progressively closer as I prep the food. Creepy-close. Alfred Hitchcock creepy close.

I guess it's nice to be popular but I wish they would spread some of the love after the broth is gone. back

Smell the Glove

Alternate title: Smells Like Teen Spirit

When you change grocery stores, you end up needing to know more things than simply a new store layout. Product names and sizes are different, so finding the best value takes more time. You may face a more limited choice in some areas (like produce ). And while you may recognize a brand, the store may not have a full range of choices in that product.

I know, I know, there's always the internet, or find another store, or adapt. For the most part, I've adapted. But there's one area that I'm having trouble with, and that's smells. No, not in the store. It's things that don't have to have a smell, but do, like cleaning supplies. or toilet paper (which I guess is a cleaning supply). For the most part, we've been getting unscented or neutral smelling products. But the new store does not carry the unscented laundry booster I've been using. So I settled for fresh scent.

It turns out that both fresh and foul start with f, and that's not the only similarity. It's strong and unpleasant and lasts forever. Clothes I washed two loads ago still reek of fresh. I tried using half the amount and doing a double rinse. Fresh still assaults my nose. I'm only thankful that's the only one smell I have to contend with. I can't imagine having an article of clothing that was subjected to scented detergent, scented booster, and scented dryer sheets, and having them all competing with each other and deodorant and whatever I have selected as my signature scent (eau de oldster).

So I guess there's one more thing that will join the brigade of half-empties, paint cans being the prime culprits. Alas.

The Two-Party System.

America has long prided itself on having a two-party political system. Unfortunately, much like George Washington's cherry tree, it's part of the myth of America. At the local level, many municipal and judicial races are competed not party against party but person to person, with some races featuring multiple candidates for a single race. School board races are often run on approaches or educational philosophy, as opposed to political persuasion. Elected judgeships ore much the same.

But at the state and national level, we sing the praises of two parties, currently Democrats and Republicans. We pat ourselves on the back for efficiency, and a workable system. There are no hard and fast ideological differences, just a sense that Republicans tend to skew conservative and Democrats liberal. But it was shades of differences, we believed–both parties supported the Vietnam War, and both parties supported the space program, to name a few. There were a few independents out there, but they usually aligned with one of the major parties.

Unfortunately, two parties just ain't so. Hasn't been since after World War II. First there were the Dixiecrats, who accepted the Democratic stance on economic issues but did not like or support social change, particularly in areas such as desegregation. Following the Bush election, Republicans swerved to the right, but for some (remember the tea party?(, they didn't swerve far enough right, and so we ended up with a rump group of congressmen who were able to hold some legislation hostage until they got their way.

We're seeing the same thing on the Democratic side, where certain party members/independents are swerving to the progressive/socialist side–the far left, which has more in common with far right conservatives than it does with the middle-of-the-road Democrats.

Which leaves us, really, with at least three parties: left Democrats, right Republicans, and the great unwashed middle, the new silent majority, who still sort of identify with one of the two major parties, but really, are unrepresented, at least by a strong voice.

Maybe the time for political parties is over. Maybe it's now a time of personalities and ideologies–whoever shouts loudest gets to make the rules. Whatever. It was fun while it lasted.

TomatoPlanet!! is a random collection of writing, cartoons, and things that strike my fancy. © 2003-2019, John McCarthy

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