No Escape from Telecommunication Hell

October 30, 2007

By Karen

I made several technological leaps recently. Out of thriftiness, I switched my phones from Verizon to Cavalier. A smooth-talking Comcast CSR named Sheila persuaded me to upgrade cable TV from analog to digital. And with glee I abandoned dial-up for high-speed Internet access with Clearwire.

Two out of three decisions I lived to regret.

Clearwire was the only company who delivered as promised. I had their modem within 24 hours, it took seconds to install, and it worked perfectly. They’ve billed me exactly what they quoted.

Not so with Comcast. I was told digital would cost about $5 more a month, but it’s actually $15.

The new digital box compelled me to shell out another $250 for a VHS/DVD recorder to replace my analog VCR and a DVD player.

I was getting lousy reception on NBC and the Food Network, so I called for service. Comcast replaced my digital box without telling me, which caused the universal remote to stop working with my new DVD recorder, and I can’t fix it. Then they billed me $24.95 for the call, like it was my fault their “upgrade” botched up two channels.

My honeymoon with digital TV was brief. Channels jerk and skip content. HBO goes black for extended periods. On Demand isn’t always available. TV has become hit-or-miss.

But Cavalier Telephone took dishonesty and incompetence to new heights. They started me off with no phone service for three days. During that time, I spent literally hours on hold on my 10-cents-a-minute-only-for-emergencies prepaid cell phone, only to have Cavalier do nothing when they finally did answer but blame Verizon.

When the phones started working, some significant functionality was missing. This inferior service ultimately cost more than Verizon because Cavalier failed to quote $27 in additional monthly taxes and questionable charges, like the extra $8 per month per line to use phone lines.

The only time Cavalier excelled was in disconnecting me yesterday when I crawled back to Verizon. I had no phone for another half-day while I waited for rescue. Verizon, playing their upper hand, forced me into a FIOS upgrade, but at least I got all my calling features back.

So, now I hear a tinny echo when I talk, and God knows what FIOS is really going to cost. Verizon sold me unlimited long-distance to ease the pain.

Can the First Amendment Save Larry Craig?

October 28, 2007

By Fred

First, a correction: Larry Craig has never fathered children. He adopted his wife’s litter.

In Craig’s quest to be a red-blooded stud, he’s got the ACLU saying that foot-tapping and hand-waving are protected by the First Amendment.

Yeah, and so are whisker-twitching and tail-swishing.

Craig’s also floating the argument that charging him with disorderly conduct is unconstitutional, which must mean he thinks hassling the guy in the next stall was orderly conduct.

I caught Matt Lauer’s interview with Craig and his wife Suzanne on Dateline recently and learned a lot. For instance, Larry’s been leaving a trail of men since college. And when he was a new congressman in 1982, there was another congressional page scandal and he was the only one involved who tried to deny it.

Once, a man tried to prove Craig’s gayness by describing his private parts. Suzanne scoffed that the guy got three things wrong. I wondered how she’d know, if they’re really God-fearing conservatives who only “do it” on their birthdays with the lights off. She’d need better eyes than a cat to catch a glimpse of Larry’s jewels from missionary position.

My ears perked up when Craig said he’s been in that particularly well-known gay “hot spot” in the Minneapolis airport many times but, “to his knowledge,” has never been solicited for sex.

To his knowledge? Was he implying that guys have hit on him, but he just didn’t get it?

Note to Larry: If you have nothing to hide, weasel words don’t help.

As California’s wildfires are tragically proving, where there’s tons of smoke… The more Craig protests, the gayer he sounds.

Laura Bush’s Misplaced Breasts

October 23, 2007

By Adele

I almost hurled a hairball when I saw Laura Bush’s obsession du jourbreast cancer – in the United Arab Emirates.


I dug up that, as of 2005, the UAE was only 32.4 percent female. So the good news is that Laura’s potential to stir up more trouble in the Middle East is fairly limited.

Laura Bush

The UAE is so rich, corporations and individuals aren’t taxed, and they report no one living in poverty. It’s slightly smaller than Maine, and its seven emirates marinate like savory sardines in oil reserves.

The government throws around titles like president, prime minister, and cabinet, but the Federal Supreme Council is the highest authority, made up of the seven emirate rulers. In fact, the FSC “elects” the president and VP.

They recently decided to start an Electoral College, of all things. Their EC members are appointed by the emirate rulers, and they’re the only people allowed to run for office. The only people allowed to vote for them are the other EC members.

It all very cozy, autocratic, and male-dominated. They need one of Laura Bush’s “wishful thinking” campaigns like they need sand for litterboxes. She hopes to erase the cultural stigma of breast cancer and get Emirati women to seek early detection.

Meanwhile, back in the U.S., some woman gets the bad news every three minutes. Our problem isn’t shame, it’s getting treatment without insurance, or fighting for coverage from greedy insurers who prefer you die while they still have your premiums in the bank.

Laura Bush harping on other countries’ healthcare issues while her husband and his cronies coddle the calamitous system here at home is as ridiculous as… a cat discussing the United Arab Emirates.

Cats Weigh in on Ellen & Iggy

October 18, 2007

By Yul and Adele

We seldom defend dog rights, but as fellow former shelter dwellers, we support Iggy, the terrier Ellen DeGeneres tried to adopt from a two-bit outfit called Mutts & Moms.


Ellen spent several $K to get Iggy up to speed before he clashed with her three cats. Fortunately, the cats aren’t taking any heat for what happened next.

Ellen found Iggy a new home with her hairdresser’s two pre-teen daughters and another dog.

When M&M followed up, Ellen explained what she’d done. At first, this Mom seemed OK with Iggy’s new situation and said she just wanted to drop by to “check things out.” Instead, she showed up with the police to repo Iggy, who was probably thrown back into a cage until she found a third owner.

Iggy’s going to need years of therapy…

Ellen has pleaded with M&M to return Iggy to the little girls, and her fans chimed in with death threats.

The Moms obviously have control issues and misplaced aggression, because they blame ELLEN for everything, citing some loophole-riddled contract they use.

If Moms weren’t too busy picking up dog-doo to watch TV, they’d know Ellen’s a well-known animal-lover whose path any pet would be lucky to cross.

Ellen’s now asking everyone not to kill the Moms in hopes they’ll return Iggy to the girls, whom the Moms say are too young to have a small dog.

Dorothy and Toto must be spinning in their graves.

So poor Iggy’s in an undisclosed location (maybe Cheney’s his new owner!). With any luck, he’ll get another name and anonymity – unless M&M have a rule against that, too.

Moms, please stick to mutts, because cats can do without “friends” like you.

Laura, Fermez La Bush

October 16, 2007

By Adele

Just when I suspected women lose their tongues when they marry into the Bush family, Laura ends her seven-year streak of taking pride in never saying the wrong thing. Or anything that matters.

The White House slapped her name on an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal and has her making nasty cracks to any reporter who will listen. She’s supposedly livid about the violent government crackdown on recent pro-democracy demonstrations in Myanmar… Burma… whatever. It’s so hard for a kitty to keep up!

What does Laura know about democracy, except how to set it back? She’s married to this country’s first truly ruthless despot. He uses his power to enrich his fawning admirers and surrounds himself with sewer rats.

Maybe getting vocal at this late stage is Laura’s way of bringing her approval ratings down to George’s before they’re both sent back to Crawford. Maybe she knows he’ll never let her hear the end of it unless she does.

Laura Bush

With her perpetually glazed expression and eerie cat-who-ate-the canary smile, she just doesn’t cut it as a hatchet chick. Criticism and threats coming after years of coy oblivion just sound like yowling at the moon.

Laura’s been first lady since I was a kitten, so she’s the only one I’ve ever known, but I can’t think of a single reason I’ll remember her. Least of all her sudden obsession with all things Myanmar.

Cats in Government

October 9, 2007

By Adele

Yul recently said it’s only a matter of time before cats get the vote. But who needs to vote when you already have the run of the government?

A black-and-white First Cat named Socks wielded significant behind-the-scenes power in the White House during the first Clinton era, and publicly displayed his disdain for the First Dog, Buddy.

It’s a little-known fact that a black cat lives in the Bush White House right now. Her name is India, but she lets them call her Willie.

India - White House photo

She also allows the current First Dog, Barney, to be a shameless media hound and hog all the attention. In a word, she’s a doormat.

Like all the Bush women, Willie is keeping her opinions to herself and has not come out from under the bed long enough to champion any cause. She’s been quite a disappointment.

However, a cat recently moved into 10 Downing Street to join the government of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Sybil - BBC News

Sybil is a tuxedo cat who hails from Scotland and she must have a good sense of humor. Her namesake is Basil Fawlty’s wife from the classic Britcom, Fawlty Towers. She graciously shares her flat above the government offices with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, and his wife.

The English call their cats “moggies,” and it’s not necessarily a compliment because it once was what they called cows and slutty-looking women. I expect Sybil will change that. With any luck, she’ll become a role model to spineless Willie and inspire her to leave her mark somewhere in the White House before she leaves, even if only to shred some upholstery in the Lincoln Bedroom.

OK, Larry. Enough’s Enough!

October 5, 2007

By Fred

It’s clear to everyone but Idaho Senator Larry Craig that his political career is kaput. He should take up ballet next because his pirouettes are breathtaking.

Unfortunately, the judge refused to throw out Craig’s guilty plea. He didn’t believe Craig was in a Minneapolis-induced panic two months later when he tried to minimize the alleged gay incident in the airport men’s room.

It sure doesn’t take my tail two months to bush out when I panic.

Who knows why Craig really wants to stick around Washington? His Republican cronies think he’s the dog who rolled in a dead skunk. They’re not going to slap his back with an, “OK, never mind,” and give back his committee seats. They’ve got too many years of judgmental shunning precedence at stake.

He’ll be excluded when they hatch their next harebrained plot to pass senseless laws discriminating against yet another harmless group many of them secretly belong to – like maybe denture-wearing seniors.

Craig’s family aren’t swine. They won’t enjoy wallowing in the mud he’ll be trailing until he shuts up and gets out of public life.

But wait a minute! Maybe this whole thing is bigger than Craig. Maybe he’s another White House fall guy, chosen because they know a sleazy scandal is the surest way to divert our attention from the Iraq fiasco. They’re predicting public hearings in an ethics investigation will be juicier than giblets and gravy. C-Span must be drooling.

It appears “Larry’s Senate Sideshow” will run until Idaho voters give him the hook. If they’ve got any self-esteem left, they should be sharpening their pitchforks right now.

Bush Abandons Strays – In Iraq

October 4, 2007

By Yul

While sitting on Time magazine, I just read that the United States has let in fewer than 1,700 fleeing Iraqis since Bush decided to flatten their country and kill their leader, although it’s estimated that 2.5 million Iraqis have left.

If anyone had grounds for being granted asylum here from political and military persecution, it’s Iraqi civilians. On the other hand, to come here would be asking their abuser to protect them, and that makes no sense.

One country Bush loves to hate, Syria, which is just slightly larger than North Dakota, has absorbed a million of Bush’s now-homeless souls in just the past two years. Even far-off Sweden welcomed 8,950 last year.

Bush has one thing in common with cats. He likes to see things buried. Literally. If you’re one of the 2.2 million Iraqis displaced by his war without the means to get the hell out of there, you must spend every day wondering when you’ll be getting buried.

After indiscriminately using his military claws to shred Iraq and “free” its people, Bush has left them as destitute as strays, living with fear and deprivation until they find kind-hearted strangers – in any country but the U.S. – to take them in. Too bad nobody told Bush to build plenty of no-kill shelters for humans in Iraq until he could provide new homes for them.

It makes me glad to be a cat.


The Dow Hit a New High. Why?

October 2, 2007

By Adele

As Yul likes to remind me, I have a bod for sin, not for math, but I follow the Dow Jones index more closely than anyone suspects. Somebody’s got to monitor catnip futures.

In a frenzy of optimism that came from nowhere, the Dow yesterday hit a new closing record of 14,087 and everyone is agog. Why? A new high is the prelude to the next crash, which will happen just as mysteriously, and probably sooner than you think. After all, it’s October. Don’t they say, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it”?

I love watching humans try to rationalize their new-found paper fortunes: The out-of-control housing market’s irrelevant! It’s the fourth quarter! Nokia’s going to buy Navteq! Bush changed his socks!

Everybody’s so giddy on an imaginary high, company stocks like Citigroup and Countrywide Financial soar. Alan Greenspan, that wizened troll who thinks he channels the Oracle at Delphi, will spout some tongue-in-cheek gibberish to explain it all. Everyone will take him seriously while he snickers up his sleeve that he’s so clever and they’re so stupid.

Greenspan must have been a cat in a past life.

But let me tell you how smart cats handle investing. Whenever we get new (toy) mice, we don’t let them collect in one basket. We stash a few under the fridge, a bed, a bookcase, the couch – anywhere a human’s not likely to check. In other words, we hoard, yet we diversify. It’s all under our control, regardless of outside influences.

No broom or vacuum ever cleans us out completely, and we rest easy knowing where our next playtime is coming from.

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