Category Archives: true story

The New Normal Will Never Be Normal


(I’ve got to start writing content for this blog again. In the meantime, I’m reposting this piece from November, which holds up well I think.)

(11/18/16) At this moment, I’m sitting in New York’s Winter Garden, across the street from One World Trade. It was the first place to be rebuilt after 9/11. It’s difficult to believe that was fifteen years ago. And everyone who was in New York will tell you how extraordinarily beautiful the weather was, and that it was a Tuesday. There was no hint of the coming catastrophe. Workers showed up, piling into their cubicles as usual. There were warnings, which were ignored by W and Condaleeza, but we, the people, didn’t know anything about that.

Today is a little colder than that morning was. Of course it’s November already. Almost Thanksgiving. It’s nearly lunch time. Office workers are window shopping on a break, or walking through on their way to the food court. Tourists are taking pictures. There aren’t many homeless people here, Continue reading The New Normal Will Never Be Normal

New Yorker Caption Win!

As this will probably be the only way I will EVER get my name in the New Yorker, I am thrilled to announce that I have won this week’s New Yorker cartoon contest. I’d show you my winning entry, but I’m afraid they’d sue me, so you can go here and see it for yourself.

I’ll wait.


Wasn’t that fun? They shot me an email to tell me I was finalist and check how I wished to be identified. They also asked if I would like to share how I came up with my totally original caption that was probably similar to many others. I explained that I had lived with cats for a long time, so I often thought of what I’d say in that very situation.

It used to be the winner would get a signed copy of the cartoon with his or her caption on it, but they seem to have cut that service right out.  Still it is an honor to have won.

Would you like some advice on how to win the caption contest? Be funnier than everybody else.

(You can thank me for my awesome, life-changing, and totally free posts by checking out my books on Amazon. There’s no donation button, but nothing says thank you like buying a [cheap] book.)

Our Cat of the Day

Just a brief, belated shout-out to our rescue tabby, Walter. Last week he was Cat of the Day, and you can read all about him at the link. The story also led to more hits on this video of Walter and I going out for a walk:

I keep saying one day I will write a blog post, or a book about walking him on a leash, not about teaching him, since you can’t “teach” a cat anything, but about what I’ve learned from walking with him.

Toilet Training Your Cat is a Terrible Idea

20160711_134602 (1)This brilliant video originally posted on Facebook by the  Cat Adoption Foundation has gone viral. Why? How shall I put this? If you see only one cat video this year, this is the one you must watch! Seriously, I don’t want to spoil it. I’ll wait till you come back.

It proves that cats are bright enough to learn to use the toilet, and it shows why we shouldn’t teach them to use it. Some people claim their cats copied this behavior with no pressure from their humans. Live and let live if that’s the case. It’s between them and their cat, but in my (informed) opinion they should keep the litter pan handy in case things go wrong.

After viewing the video, I wondered how often cats wind up stuffing the bowl with paper and or whatever else is handy in a desperate attempt to bury the evidence? I never got a clear answer but in my web travels I came across a video of Jackson Galaxy ranting (or waffling) about the evils of toilet training. I like Galaxy, but he wasn’t very specific as to the reasons why toilet training is just wrong. He talked about the beauty of the “raw” cat and how we must respect it, but was vague on the details, and given all we do to our kitties — like neuter them for starters, keep them indoors, force them to live with other cats they may not like and even dogs, etc. — it’s hard to make the case that toilets is where should draw the line. Here’s that video:

As you can see, he also rants (or waffles) about non-consensual cat cosplay. I wonder what he’d think of Walking Walter’s super cute hoody?

Would he grant me an exception because I only make him wear it on our leash walks because it’s also a harness? Oh yeah, Galaxy is totally okay with walking your cat on a leash and doesn’t think that takes away from your kitty’s wildness.

So in answer to those who aren’t convinced yet, I’m providing some solid reasons (no pun intended) why training your cat to use a toilet is all kinds of wrong:

(1) Domestic cats have evolved as both hunters and pray. Therefore hiding their crap by burying it is a very specific survival strategy that evolved over time. Leaving smelly piss and crap in a toilet feels wrong to a cat, and will never feel right. Watch any video of a cat on a toilet. They will try to bury it. Therefore, every trip to the toilet involves stress and frustration. Stressing out a cat is likely to result in various physical and behavioral issues; plus it’s not nice. And no they aren’t bright enough to also learn to flush.  And no an automatic flusher wouldn’t help because if you get fell he/she would be traumatized if not injured.(2) Toilet seats are not made for cats — especially very young cats or older ones that might have mobility issues. A cat can fall in and given cats’ aversion to both water and filth, that would be very traumatic for a cat. This could also lead to real problems if a cat has gotten the message that the toilet is the only acceptable place to go. (3) Half the time human males don’t remember to put the seat down making it even harder. (4) Sooner or later someone in the cat’s designated bathroom will close the seat, which may lead to a nasty surprise left in your sink or bathtub. (5) Your cat might not want to “wait” while you or someone else is using their spot. (6) Sometimes your cat may need to go to the vet or some other places where the toilet thing isn’t going to happen. He/she may be confused about what he or she is supposed to do. If they go back to doing what comes naturally, they’ll need to retrained again. (7) Given that cats won’t flush, do you really want smelly cat crap in your toilet until you get around to flushing it. (8) Getting multiple cats to use the same toilet could be an issue. (9) Is this a toilet that a human will sometimes be using? Do you really want to share it with a cat? (10) If it is a toilet that humans will use, chances are there’s going to be toilet paper. See the video linked at the beginning of this post. From a cat’s point of view, stuffing the toilet with paper is a very logical thing to do. Do you really want to clean up a dirty toilet bowl stuffed with toilet paper by your cat?

I could probably think up a few more reasons, but what it comes down to is that training your cat to use the toilet is dumb. Feel free to comment and discuss amongst yourselves.

(Nothing says: “I liked this post and found it useful” like checking out the author’s work on Amazon.)

She’s Back

So I haven’t posted in forever. Some of this may have been owing to a crisis in confidence, the belief that I have no audience so what’s the point in actually putting words down even virtually? Yeah, I know, shouldn’t I be past all that by now? Something happened, which shook me, the influence of one of those toxic individuals we all come across, te insidious kind who may actually believe s/he is being helpful. Fortunately, there may be a story in there, and when I’m ready to tell it, you’ll be the first to know.

Plus there are those time constraints we’re all under, other projects, paid work, etc.

However, anyone who’s ever come here and found anything useful they’ve liked could probably look around and find more from old posts. Plus, if you want to encourage me, commenting here, increases in my book sales, etc etc will revive me like applause brought back Tinkerbell.

You can also keep up with snarky television recaps and other writing about television over at Happy Nice Time People — where they actually pay me sort of.

I’m also up for suggestions as to posts. Seriously, if there’s something you’d like to see me write about, just let me know.