The Classes of the Indoor Housecat: Felinus Fluffibutticus

I’ve finally cracked it, people–the previously inscrutable code of cat archetypes. Cat-kind has long been deliberately enigmatic. Such a nature is what makes them endearing, yet dangerous companions/overlords. I have spent forty years (yes, I confess this to you in the name of science) observing cats in their natural elements: Blankets, laps, sunny windows, keyboards, food bowls, etc. It has, indeed, taken me this long and the observation of several subjects of varying breed and background in order for me to crack the code and distinguish cat personalities so that one might classify them according to archetypes.

My findings are astounding. First, one must acknowledge that it is universally known and accepted that all cats are females (just as all dogs are males). Genitalia and reproduction do not alter this fact. It is known. Second, I share with you now the discovery that all indoor housecats fall into at least one of five basic archetypes. I have described them below for your better understanding.

1. Mother Hens

The Mother Hen cat is the caretaker of other cats, but not necessarily people. If a cat is sick or dirty, or just young, the Mother Hen will bathe her head and other bits to remove offending odors. The Mother Hen is also likely to cuddle kittens or sick cats. She does not shy from her job, though it can be a burden and very tiresome. A Mother Hen need not actually be a mother for this personality to develop, though such traits will commonly not emerge until the onset of adulthood. Mothering cats may or may not develop a favorable relationship with humans, and do not necessarily need to care for the furless ones.

2. Hidden Cats of Scaredy Pantsington

We have all met one of The Hidden at some point or another, and hopefully we do not have them in our own homes, for while some cats have a greater disposition toward being scaredy pants, such a personality trait is often the result of mistreatment. Sorry, this isn’t to say that a scaredy cat has been abused. Sometimes an environment can be entirely wrong for a cat–perhaps too much noise, an overly tidy spouse, children who are handsy, or humans who try to apply rigid rules to felines. Cats, clearly, are not meant to be managed or taught lessons. When a cat feels consistently threatened or harassed, then even a pre-determined archetype will be eschewed for the Hidden Cats of Scaredy Pantsington model. That said, some cats are wired to embrace the ways of the Hidden Cats more readily than others. And even a very secure and happy cat may have been transformed into one of The Hidden during a previous living circumstance. Worry not, with love and affection, some quiet, and lots of treats, your scaredy cat may develop other facets to her personality.

3. The Generalissimo

This is your basic dictator model. A cat who has amazing physical prowess, aggressive confidence, and the ability to work through puzzles is a member of the Generalissimo brigade. Such a cat may express affection for humans or other cats, but is still likely to pounce, scratch, bite, or chase. Most little Generalissimos exhibit higher levels of intelligence and express behavior similar to the raptors from Jurassic Park. You may also have the uncanny sense that your cat is marshalling the other cats and pets to serve their whims–stealing food, framing the dog for crimes, convincing the guinea pig to weet-weet at feeding time (oh, it’s happened). This basic cognitive superiority is important to not only their confidence, but also to compensate for physical decline later in life. One she has trained her army of minions, she need not tackle them in order to make her will known–a withering glare will suffice.

4. Clingy Cuddle Blobs

This is a fairly uncommon feline class, but exists primarily in those cats who reject the other precepts of cat behavior. The Clingy Cuddle Blobs seek to smother humans with affection and cover them with a sphere of heat, and that is all. Such cats are not interested in caring for other animals, nor are they scared, nor are they inclined to hatch a plot. Playing is overrated, as is walking. Sunshine is a nice diversion when humans won’t settle down, but a good human lap is the best thing for a Cuddle Blob. They are especially fond of strangers who don’t like cats or are allergic to them. A Cuddle Blob can sense this immediately, and once convinced that said visitor will not hassle them, they will immediately move to lay across the person’s lap or arm or head. Due to such a deliberately inactive lifestyle, this cat will often be fairly rotund, or “fluffy”.

5. The Weird

The Weird is a very special class of cats and is the least understood of all–by design. The Weird exhibit behaviors that defy logic, reason, and sometimes even physics. While they may actually hatch plans and be extraordinarily intelligent, the focus of any such plans can never be worked out by our simple human brains. For example, a weird may encircle a bed with socks every night for exactly one month, and then never again. A Weird may seem to be in multiple rooms at once. A Weird may form seemingly unhealthy attachments to people, animals, things, or shadows. I’ve suspected at least one of my Weirds of time travel. Now, a Weird need not be hyper-intelligent, though it is more typical. This class can be very affectionate, and very rarely aggressive. Typically, this is a passive, peaceful class that is more interested in the invisible things in the corner than causing trouble. Unfortunately, people sometimes attempt to train or trick their cats into appearing Weird for the sake of video phones or photos. The ineffable qualities of The Weird cannot be taught. It is an archetype that is established at birth and may never be undone.

Have you yet discovered your kitty’s class? At least one of these should apply to every cat, though I will note that there may certainly be overlap between classes. As noted in our diagram above, there are specialized sub-classes to which any cat may be naturally inclined. This I submit to you for your study and appreciation. Please refer to this chart upon welcoming another cat into your home so that you may respect their machinations and desires. All hail our furry overlords.

And Now, My Cat Invades Star Trek: Voyager

From the recesses of the Delta Quadrant, comes Star Trek cat!

Very little needs to be written about the following images. My senior Tonkinese cat, Maisy, decided to assist (or sometimes surprise) the crew of Voyager.

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We don’t ask how she went from floating in space to sitting on the bridge.

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One thing is for sure though, Maisy doesn’t give a shit.

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She can’t even give a shit when the Doc is all worried.

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Okay, that’s a little alarming to her.

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Time for her to review procedures with Captain Janeway.

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Maisy also takes time to supervise underlings

….when she isn’t playing hide-n-seek with the Captain and Seven of Nine.

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Oop! They found her!

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Maisy also wants everyone to remember to never split infinitives. May you all go boldly where no cat has gone before.

Playhouse From Hell

Remember when Craig’s List was a legit thing?

There was a time not so long ago in a galaxy not so far away that Craig’s List was a legit and kinda safe place to find bargains in your community. It was, like, 2008. I remember it well. See, I had a toddler back then, so I was broke and jonesing for the hot new toy that every mom had to have or they were bad. BAAAAD. It was the good old days of driving 20 miles to pick up someone’s junk that they valued at just five bucks under retail, but then you half-load the shit in your car and are like “Naw, I have a ten. You want me to take your garbage or no? Sucker!”

Back in 2008 I was scoping out some giant plastic playhouses for my toddling daughter to hide in whenever mommy decided to sit down and eat a whole cake in one sitting like a snake unhinging its jaw. Because it was Craig’s List, most of the playhouse offerings were pretty ridiculous – tables are missing, phone receivers are missing, plastic faucets have been broken off, and water trapped in the walls was growing new cultures of black mold in at least half of the houses I scoped.

But that’s not the worst of it. Oh no. There was one listing that made me wet my pants a little when I read it, and lives in infamy to this day. This was an honest-to-Elvis Craig’s List listing in SE Michigan, word for word:

Little Tikes Playhouse – $15
White, pastel blue & pink playhouse/cottage w. pretend oven range inside. This had a yellow jacket’s nest in it over the summer. Husband plugged up the hole, but there is no way to really take the nest out unless you cut apart the plastic. You can’t really see it. We don’t believe in using pesticides so it has not been sprayed. Queen yellow jackets can survive in the nest over winter so you’d want to be sure to get rid of her if you can or if you don’t mind spraying chemicals, spray it. It’s only $15 due to the nest.

Yes, all you need to do is hire an exorcist, light a couple matches, and wear a gas mask, and you’re good to go! Fun for the kiddies!

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You see that yellowjacket above? It’s laughing. Laughing at the idea of eating your children right now. Laying in wait inside that playhouse. But at least – thank the gods – you can’t see her (as the ad graciously reminds us). You can’t see her nest pulsating and growing inside your child’s cherished plaything. Because if you can’t see deadly insects, then they don’t exist.

Why – you might ask – why wouldn’t someone just banish this house-shaped nest casing to the pits of landfill hell? The garbageman won’t object – because apparently the queen is overwintering right now!

And WHAT HOLE did the husband plug up exactly? And what did he plug it with? A gasoline-soaked rag? A bag of crucifixes? It better have been flames. If you have to say “due to the nest” in your ad, then any holes should be plugged with flames.

But no. They thought, “Another child should have this nest.” These people who walk among us in society, who are neighbors and family to somebody, apparently spent time researching yellowjacket life cycles, threw flaming crucifixes inside the walls, and thought “I can get a Costco sheet cake out of this!” 

LEGO Help Vouchers for Little ‘Uns: Free Download

Parental LEGO freedoms are vital part of our society.

It’s summer vacation right now and I couldn’t be more thrilled that my daughter is rifling through my old-school 1980s red plastic LEGO briefcase and assembling new sets. But she is a pain in the ass. I say this with love. I can spend my entire day by her side, chatting, assisting, bringing her food and beverage, and when the sun goes down, there she is again. She pops into the living room where my husband and I have a movie going asking for help finding a piece that, apparently, has fallen into some magical invisible abyss that can only be accessed by parents. It’s every 15-20 minutes. And us retiring to our bedroom doesn’t help. The LEGO neediness has had a severe impact on my marital happiness.

I’m not joking. This has become a mental health issue for both parents, here. The LEGO tyranny must end.

Before you go thinking I’m a monster for not being more supportive, check yourself. I give my daughter lots and lots of attention and support, but I need freedom of thought, quiet, and ability to listen to adult entertainment and conversations.

And she needs to wean herself. Any 1980s kid knows that half of the awful euphoria of LEGOing is hunting for the elusive brick piece until your eyeballs nearly fall out, and then suddenly spotting it. Or figuring out how to make it work some other way.

This is her time for that mania. Not mine. So I finally had to draw a line between “Hellscape Monster Who Yells at Her Kid to Bugger Off and Find Her Own Damn LEGOs” and enabling parental sap who does everything for her kid. I can’t be her bulldozer. Not with LEGOs, not anymore.

This is my solution. Vouchers. LEGO help vouchers. There are three of them, and she can hand one to us at any reasonable point during the day (maybe I should’ve put an evening time limit on them, hmmm), and we’ll give her a hand. The goal? I want some damn critical thinking on her part about whether or not it’s worth using up one of her daily vouchers. And when the three are done, she’s done with help for the day. Tough love, baby.

Maybe I should’ve only printed two. I don’t know.

In my case, I printed these puppies, attached them to cardboard backing (upcycling ftw!), cut them out, and then laminated them with packing tape. It was a bit much. You don’t need to get so elaborate. Especially since when I handed them to her, she responded with “gee, thanks”, and chucked them irritatedly into her nightstand drawer. Her eyerolls were monstrous. Eleven is just a peachy age.

Note that she is LEGOing right now, and she has not come out of her room to ask for help in over thirty minutes. I think she spitefully refuses to acknowledge the voucher existence for the time-being. But there will be a time soon when she’ll come a-knockin’ (probably just as my husband figures out how to get my bra off), and she had better have a damn voucher in-hand. LEGO freedom for all parents!

Anyway, I am sharing them here because share and share alike. Happy LEGOing.

Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 3.04.37 PM.pngDownload for free right here: LEGO vouchers 

Know Your Irish Road Signs

Thinking of visiting Ireland this year on vacation? Getting around in a new country can be tricky, confusing, and startling. Don’t panic.

This is why I have assembled the following guide to help you navigate the unfamiliar roads of the Irish countryside*. It is based on my wisdom gleaned from living here for just under a year’s time. And let me tell you, at first these signs were a bit befuddling, but I think I’ve finally caught on.

Irish Road Signs-from HauntedCoconutcom

*Sign instructions are probably wrong. Do not consult for actual safety or driving purposes. 

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Mr. Boogedy is Totally Misunderstood

If you were a child of the 80s, then you likely know the tale of the silly and harassed Davis family who bought a haunted house in Lucifer Falls and then battled an evil ghost with a magic cloak. You watched Kristy Swanson (the worst actress ever) pout on a picnic blanket with cheese curls, and a robe-clad Bud Bundy get pulled kicking into the air by an inflated fireplace shovel. The kid from ALF even bickered with a little kid ghost over a snot-soaked teddy bear, and all the spirits glowed in neon. It was the spooky and mesmerizing children’s tale called Mr. Boogedy, which originally aired as a Disney made-for-TV movie in 1986.

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I’ve been watching and rewatching this movie every October for many years now, and it has come to my attention that there is, in fact, something very haunting about this tale. But it isn’t the house or how the Davis family was plagued by ghosts. It was the treatment of a misunderstood man named William Hanover that lasted for hundreds of years. You see a hamburger-faced demon zapping lightning at a wisecracking family, whereas I see a trod-upon and anguished soul.

To see my point, let us all go back to the beginning. Boogedy’s beginning.

The Origin Story

Here is the story of Mr. Boogedy–as he is known pejoratively known–in the words of crackpot historian, Neil Witherspoon:

300 years ago, long before any of us were alive, a small group of pilgrims lived on this very spot. They were a hard-working, decent group of people. Once in a while of course, they would enjoy a good laugh. Most of them, that is.

Continue reading “Mr. Boogedy is Totally Misunderstood”

If You Were Stranded On a Desert Island, and You Could Only Have…

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only play one favorite workplace lunchroom game…it would have to be the ol’ desert island scenario.

There you are, you poor bastard. You’re stranded on a very tiny desert island for what you can only assume is an indefinite amount of time. A few concessions are made by the universe toward your predicament: Apparently, you have at least a meager source of fresh water and food–enough to survive, even if you get the “coconut runs” daily. Sadly, though, it is presumed in most scenarios that you have no companionship.

Curiously enough, whatever crisis led to your surprise crash or abandonment on the little island, you are given some options–maybe by the grace of generous pirates? Well-connected mer-people? So, now is the time to choose. Your benevolent porpoise or pirate wench has given you but moments to decide the small comfort you may be afforded for your eternal, sandy sabbatical. I hope you have your answers ready to go. Wish-granting squids are notoriously impatient.

If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could only have…

Two Books

This is the standard smartass conundrum. Are you one of those insufferables who believes you are terribly clever in declaring that you would bring a guide to building boats? Or the longest book possible so the pages may act as kindling?

Piss off, if you are. That isn’t the exercise. The point is to decide what you read for your mind, spirit, and soul. And the merman will tell you so. Offend the merfolk and they’ll swim off and leave you with nothing, you wanker.

Trilogies, series, etc. are against the rules, mostly because the porpoises can only carry two books, and the pirates are far too drunk to retrieve more. You don’t get a little coconut library.

Here’s the the issue: It isn’t just about the title, but also the tone of which books you pick. For example, I’d be tempted to select some Poe short stories, a Stephen King novel, or Catcher in the Rye. But I have to be careful not to pick anything too damn depressing. The whole idea is to promote survival and sanity. I want to be removed to a happy place where I can remember the beauty of humanity and maintain my imagination.

So what would you pick? The Bible? A medical guide? Moby Dick? David Copperfield? Watership Down? Dune? The Hobbit? A comic book? A baby book? An autobiography? A diary–maybe an empty one (one of those from the stationary store that comes with a pen)?

Here are my picks:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Since my own game rules won’t permit me to have the whole series, I will limit myself to just the first book. And even on its own, this book is worthy of one of my choices. It’s light, enchanting, and whimsical. It’s absolutely the perfect bit of fantasy to forget how much sand is in uncomfortable places.

     2. Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg

Perhaps you can tell by these selections that I have a fondness for young, doe-eyed characters who face adversity but still have heart and imagination. I think facing down the prospect of rancid water, raw crab meat (okay, yum) and pouring rain storms, I might need a reminder of innocence, optimism, and imagination. And this book is like chicken noodle soup. If you haven’t read it yet, you must.

If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could only have…

Two Movies

Continue reading “If You Were Stranded On a Desert Island, and You Could Only Have…”

Oldies Music is Creepy and Disturbing, Vol. 1

Surf City here we come, indeed.

I grew up listening to 1950s and 1960s “oldies” music on the radio and records and cassette  tapes. It all seemed really normal since it was my mom’s favorite, until I realized that she was born in 1955, which means that she was still worshipping music from her preschool years–and worse yet, subjecting me to it throughout my impressionable youth. Thanks, Mom. I could have been raised on the Stones. Or The Doors. Or even ELO. Those were your contemporary groups! Instead, I spent the 80s listening to Buddy Holly and the Crickets tracks over and over on some enormous headphones that would’ve fit in at NASA.

Okay, I kind of like it. There were some beautiful tunes and amazing vocals that still hold up. And if that all fails, there’s always great kitsch (see “Sugar Shack” and “Sunshine, Lollipops”, etc.).

But as an adult , I’ve started to hear some of the oldies lyrics in a much different light. I’m rocking out to some of the classics in my kitchen, washing dishes and cooking dinner, and suddenly I catch what I’m singing in front of my daughter and I’m halted upright and make that lemon-sucking face.

What did I just sing out loud? Oh my god, did I just sing about sexually attacking a teenager?!

And I want to hit the “next track” symbol or start nervously laughing at Alexa as if it was her fault the song came on. “Oh, Alexa! What kind of crazy music do you think I like? Ha. Ha. Yeah. Next track! Next track!”. But the truth is, some of the creepiest songs are also the catchiest, so my finger hovers over the iPhone and then I just keep grooving, while making coughing noises and mumbling over the choicest lyrical bits.

Damnit, Baby Boomers, you guys are messed up. Your generation sang about some pretty sick relationships, and you weren’t trying to be shocking or emo. You were happy and bopping about it! Dudes. Messed up.

Can’t recall what I’m talking about? I present as evidence, five pretty horrible offenders:

“Surf City” – Jan & Dean (or The Beach Boys) (1963)

I don’t buy for a moment that this tune isn’t all about a few twenty-something dudes getting some teenage fish tacos down at the beach. A lot of them, apparently.

“Two girls for every boy.” That is the main thrust (ziiiiing!) of the entire song.

Apparently that is what awaits them and their “woody” which isn’t “very cherry, it’s an oldie but a goodie”. Enough talking about your penises, already. “Surf City here we come.” Of course, by “Surf City”, they mean vaginas.

“You know we’re goin’ to Surf City, gonna have some fun, You know we’re goin’ to Surf City, ’cause it’s two to one.”

“Yeah, and there’s two swinging’ honeys for every guy, and all you gotta do is just wink your eye”

That had better be a really impressive woody if all you have to do is wink your eye. I mean, record-breaking. And still, you expect a lady to respond to a wink and then share? Never, ever gonna happen.

If you think that’s the worst of it, it gets really crude near the end of the song. Are you ready for this?

“And if my woody breaks down on me somewhere on the surf route, I’ll strap my board to my back and hitch a ride in my wetsuit. And when I get to Surf City I’ll be shootin’ the curl.”

I understand that these are all legitimate surfing terms, but puh-lease. That last stanza could be a euphemism for several nasty things, including the guy losing his boner and giving her oral instead, or him getting rejected so he rubs one out behind his surfboard. Either way, yikes, Jan & Dean.

“Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen” – Neil Sedaka (1961)

This is the song that everybody wants to be able to play for their daughters, sisters, or friends on the day they turn 16. Until they listen to the lyrics. Sedaka makes it weird.

“Tonight’s the night I’ve waited for, because you’re not a baby anymore”

What the hell’s happening tonight, Sedaka? She’s still a minor, by the way. Keep those pants zipped, buddy.

“When you were only six I was your big brother…but since you’ve grown up, your future is sewn up. From now on you’re gonna be mine.”

So, how old are you?? Here’s a hint: Sedaka was singing this tune to girls in the audience starting when he was 22. So a 22 year-old is planning to bag a girl who, just yesterday, was only 15. And she has no choice about it. I wonder if he’ll dim the lights before or after she does her homework. Gross.

Continue reading “Oldies Music is Creepy and Disturbing, Vol. 1”

It’s Thankstivus! The Much Better Alternative to Thanksgiving

I’m declaring a brand-new holiday from this year forward: THANKSTIVUS!

It will be observed on the traditional Thanksgiving day. The holiday does not require decoration, but should you choose to, the thematic colors are blue and black, to symbolize the bruising of our souls by Thanksgivings of years past.

Thankstivus Traditions

The celebration of Thankstivus should be observed as follows: First, all parties must sleep in until a very late hour, for family is exhausting. Then all participants gather at one home in the mid to late afternoon. Children should be immediately evacuated to an insulated room elsewhere in the house with nourishment and entertainment to last hours.

Wine and Cheese Reception

The holiday commences with a pregame wine and cheese reception, that will last exactly 15 minutes, during which no one may speak. This is a time of reflection, relaxation, intimidation of other parties, and–above all else–drinking.

The Airing of the Grievances

Borrowing from the magical holiday of Festivus, it is more appropriate than ever at the beginning of the holiday season to air the grievances. Once the wine and cheese reception is complete, the most eager and loudest person may begin telling everybody how they have disappointed them in the past year. Physical contact (especially hugging) is prohibited, and crying will not stop the proceedings (nice try, Mom). Heavy drinking is permitted, and encouraged.

This will last until everyone has aired their grievances, or one hour maximum, hence why it is important to make your grievances heard loudly and first above all other voices.

The Feast

The grievances are to be set aside, as if purged and cleansed, and everyone is to dine. Each person will bring their own food of choice, since not everyone likes turkey or conforming. Hot dogs, chicken wings, lasagna. There is no wrong meal at Thankstivus. This is a time to feed the stomach and the soul in preparation for the holiday season ahead. You will need your fortitude for gift shopping, light hanging, tree tinseling, and cookie baking. Now is the time for nourishment. And more alcohol.

Nap Intermission

All parties are at liberty to nap on any couches, beds, or armchairs available with no malice toward the sleeping. This nap is to last at most one hour, so as not to skunk the entire damn holiday. Parties not interested in napping may watch mindless television and movies, but no one shall clean or perform other chores. This is a time of mindful rest and meditation.

The Feats of Brilliance

The final ritual of the holiday is the Feats of Brilliance. All members are required to participate, with no exceptions or excuses. The group shall sit down and compete in a tabletop board game, or several, as deemed necessary to declare a Thankstivus Champion. The prize for the Thankstivus Champion is unlimited rights to leftovers from any participant, taking none that she or he does not want, free of guilt or obligation. The Champion may not participate in the cleaning of the dishes or other insipid post-holiday chores (moving tables and chairs, finding Tupperware lids, taking out garbage, etc.). Further, the Thankstivus Champion may drink from any other person’s cup for the rest of the night, as all alcohol becomes spoils of the Champion. The Champion shall reign superior until a new Thankstivus Champion is declared one year later.

I think we will all find that this will be a holiday of cleansing, preparation, and arming ourselves for the jollity ahead. I say to you that autumn is not a time of thanks, but a time to be royally pissed off at the cold and darkness, and the pressure of the oncoming holidays and bleak winter. Rue on, good November people. And Jolly Thankstivus to you and yours.