De' fliengde Vuogtlänn'r

Observations, rants, etc. from a guy who really gets around.


An Old Friend Says Good-bye

I'm sorry. I truly am. I realize that what I'm doing will affect a lot of people, but I can't help it. I've been battling depression since at least high school. I always thought things might get better someday. But "someday" never came. And I just don't have it in me to go on anymore. I can't make it on pills and platitudes.

I don't know what's going to happen to me on the other side. It can't be as bad as here. I wish I had time to tell you what it's been like. Nothing has ever worked out for me, no matter how hard I've tried. One can only try "one more time" just so many times. I just don't have it in me anymore. I don't know how it's going to get fixed, but the only hope I have left is that things get fixed over there.

I think the greatest tragedy in life is when a person loses all hope. Two very appropriate quotes come to mind:

"The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope." -- Samuel Johnson

"The masses of men lead lives of quiet desperation." -- Thoreau

No one knows what goes thru a person's mind in those last hours. This is why we should never judge people for this, but only pray for them.


Where's Daddy?

One day, Daddy packed me up in my travel box (which I really never liked) and took me for a ride. Next thing I knew, we were back at that place where he had first gotten me. I really didn't like that place much. The people were nice, but it was really noisy and there were dogs there. Dogs should have a separate place so they don't bother us.

Anyway, Daddy gave me to the people there, and they put me into one of those stupid cages! I couldn't believe it! Had I done something wrong? Did Daddy not want me anymore? I was all sad and scared, and I didn't know what to do.

Every day, the nice lady would come in and give me food and water and clean my cage, just like before. But she never had time to play with me or anything. She took care of all of us like that.

I was really miserable. I had really liked living with Daddy, and now he was gone. Would anyone else take me home? Would I have to stay here forever? It was awful.

One morning, the nice lady came in, and I thought she was going to give me food and water. Then I heard a voice. Daddy! Daddy had come back! Oh, I couldn't believe it! I got all excited and started fussing and I really wanted out of that stupid cage. I wanted to go see Daddy and tell him how much I had missed him and fuss at him for leaving me there, but it took that lady forever to open up my cage and take me out and give me to Daddy.

Boy, I really gave him what-for! I really fussed at him for leaving me there all that time. But he just stroked my head and laughed the way he does when he's happy and he gave me lots of loves and talked all nice to me. After a bit, I calmed down and Daddy carried me out to another room and sat in a chair with me.

We stayed there for a little bit while Daddy cuddled me and told me how much he had missed me and gave me lots more loves. I was just so happy Daddy was back.

After a while, Daddy put me in my travel box. I really didn't want to go in there, but Daddy said it was better that way. I wanted to sit on Daddy's lap. Oh, well... Daddy carried me out to the bus and we got in and he drove home as quick as he could. When we got home, Daddy carried me inside and then sat down on the floor and opened my travel box and let me out. Then he just sat right there on the floor and played with me and stuff. We had a lot of fun.

Finally, I got really tired, so Daddy stretched out on the floor and let me snuggle up next to him for a big nappy. That was really nice. Then I woke up and went over and got a drink of water. When I came back, Daddy picked me up and sat in his big chair with me. He told me all about how he had missed me, but the people where he had gone didn't allow cats, so he had had to leave me behind. Boy, I didn't realize how hard it had been on him.

The really good thing was that Daddy didn't have to go to work that day. He said he was going to spend the whole day with me. And he did. Even when he went to check the mail, he took me with him. And he gave me a couple of my treats, too. That night, he let me come in and sleep with him on his bed. That was the best part. After that, he let me come in and sleep with him anytime I wanted to.

I sure am glad Daddy came back for me.

How To Take Care Of Humans

Humans mean well, but they're not very bright. So we have to take care of them.

For some reasons, humans don't know how to go nappy, so they sleep all night. This makes nights boring for us, but if you're clever, you can find stuff to do. Most of them have a little box that makes noise. That lets them know when they have to get up. After a while, you'll know when that box is going to make its noise and you can get there first and wake them up. The best thing to do is rub your whiskers in their face or climb all over them. This can be fun.

Humans are always bringing strange stuff home, so you have to inspect it very thoroughly to make sure it's not harmful. Don't let them rush you when you do that.

When humans sit down, they look really funny. But they make a thing called a "lap" which is a really nice place to curl up and take a nap. Just be sure to purr a lot so they know you're OK.

Sometimes, humans get together and they make lots of noise and get a bit careless. The best thing to do is find someplace to lie low until it's over.

It's always best to tell humans something two or three times so they get it. Sometimes you have to nip them on the hand or the arm to get them to pay attention or they might misunderstand.

If you have a hairball or your tummy gets upset, it's best to yack it up in the middle of the floor so they don't miss it. They'll fuss a little, but it's important for them to know you're not feeling well.

Most humans have to go to something called work, which is very stressful. So it's really important that you make them sit down so you can help them relax and feel better. Sometimes, they're so stresssed out that you really have to fuss at them about this. Just don't give up.

Every once in a while, some silly human will try to get you to do something called a "trick". This is ridiculous. Tricks are for dogs, not cats. Don't give in to this. No sense encouraging them.

Anything that humans leave lying around is fair game for playing with. If they don't want it played with, they shouldn't leave it lying around.

There's probably more stuff, but that's all I could think of.


Bad Kitty!

I've figured out which cat is my favorite. They both come around and get all friendly with me. Rio spent Monday night, but kept waking me up, purring in my face. Not that I mind; she's really very sweet.

However.... yesterday, Hampton lost any chance she ever had at the top spot. She was in my room, climbing all over everything and purring at me and being all nice. Then she went over and took a leak on my bed. Yeah, somebody got a good whack on her little ass. She spent the rest of the day in Rick's room, hiding under the bed with the door closed. It'll be a cold day in hell before she gets back in here.

Meanwhile, Rio came in to keep me company. (The two refuse to be in the same room at the same time.) She even spent last night, getting even friendlier than before. I think she knows who my favorite is now. And for good reason. She really is very sweet-tempered, and almost as affectionate as Mauki was. Hampton was acting rather contrite today, but I think she realizes she's still in the doghouse, so to speak.

Not-So-Easy Rider

The big status symbol when I was a kid was a bicycle. Roller skates were fine, but "big kids" had bikes. I can't even remember when I first started wanting one, but I didn't get one until the Christmas before I turned 12. My Dad took me over to Sears and bought me The Best Bike In The World. By then, I had learned to ride, I just didn't have one of my own to ride.

A couple of years later, he wanted to get my sister a bike, but the only thing he could come up with was a used three-speed, known as an "English racer". It was a nice enough bike, just not fit for a girl. So, what he proposed was that I give my bike to my sister and take the 3-speed.

No dice. He was definitely fighting an uphill battle, trying to get me to give up that bike. He told me in great detail all about how superior the 3-speed was compared to the one I already had. I still didn't budge. Finally, in exasperation, he asked why I wasn't willing to give up that bike.

"Because you bought it for me."

All these years later, I think I can appreciate my Dad's reaction to that. Somehow, though, he prevailed upon me to accept the deal, and the 3-speed was actually a pretty decent bike. But I never forgot the other one.

Unfortunately, my sister got into a disagreement with a fence over who had the right of way, and the bike was history. I never really got over that.

What I actually started to write about was the process of learning to ride.

Back in the early '70s, I heard a guy speak at Church, and he was comparing the process of finding one's path in life to the process of learning how to ride a bicycle. As I listened, it sounded like he had been spying on me. He talked about how people get on a bike and try to ride it, but they're so worried about avoiding the glass in the street, or the potholes, or the vehicle parked in the way, that they lose track of where they're headed.

So it was when my best friend let me use his bike to learn how to ride. We started out in the alley out back of my house. I got on while he and my older sister held onto the bike. They held on long enough for me to get rolling, then let go. Half-terrified, I tried to steer the bike down the alley, all the while trying to avoid a small pile of broken glass on the right side, a pothole in the middle, an overgrown hedge on the left side, and a panel truck farther down.

Well, I made it as far as the truck, which I sideswiped. Not bad for a first outing, but I had a long ways to go. (It was only about 100 yards total.) Obviously, I survived, but just barely.

The point of the man's talk, though, was that one should pick one's path -- a path not encumbered by hazards -- and then simply travel that path. Then you don't have to worry about the hazards.

Over time, I've pretty much learned to do that.

The Games People Play

A couple of times over the past week or so, I've had conversations with people about the games we played as kids. It seems kids today (where have I heard that phrase before?) just don't know how to have fun.

The beauty of growing up in a row house in Baltimore was that we had an alley out back. To make it even better, we lived just a block away from Wyman Park, which is where Johns Hopkins University is located.

Many's the summer evening we played games like SPUD or In-Free. There were others, I'm sure, but that was over 40 years ago. Those two games are the ones I remember best.

SPUD was simple, but tricky. The person who was "It" was chosen by lot. Someone else threw a large ball (the size of a volleyball) as high as possible into the air. Whoever was "It" had to stand there and try to catch it when it came down, while the rest of us scattered. As soon as he caught it, he yelled "Stop", and we all had to freeze.

Then he'd look around for the nearest person. Taking four steps -- as long as he could make them -- he spelled out "S-P-U-D-period!", at which point he had to stop. Then he had one chance to nail the nearest person with the ball. If he hit someone, that person became "It" and the whole thing started all over. If he missed, he was "It" for another round.

"In-Free" was probably more popular. We all gathered at the same location (base) near a lightpole next to one family's garage. Again, "It" was chosen by lot and had to cover his eyes and count to 100 while we all scattered. I can still here the cry of "...100! Here I come, ready or not! Anyone around my base is automatically 'It'!" Then he had to try to find us.

Oh, the creative places we hid! The rule was that we had to stay in the alley or in the yards fronting the alley. From there, it got creative. I still remember one guy hiding in an unlocked parked car. Another guy hid on the roof of the garage. The idea was for "It" to find each of us, then run back to the base, bang the can on the ground three times and chant "1-2-3 on _____, hiding in the trash can!" (or wherever). That person was then out.

The other part of it was for those of us hiding to try to sneak up to the base, grab the can, bang it on the ground and yell "Olly, olly, in-free!", in which case we started all over again, with the same person as "It".

What I wouldn't give for an alley, a #10 can and some kids....


More School Daze

One thing I learned early in life is that bureaucrats are idiots. Time and time again, that's been affirmed. But I got to thinking today about one little incident a co-worker told me about 20 years ago.

He had come over here from Germany as a young lad and, as part of assimilating into our school system, had to take some tests and also be interviewed by a school idiot administrator. During the interview the idiot administrator asked "Did you study any foreign languages?".

"Yes", replied Heinz. "Spanish and English."

"English is not a foreign language", sniffed the idiot administrator.

"It is where I come from."

Back in those days, even US students had to study two foreign languages. So which two did Heinz study?

Yup, English and German. :-)


Things You'll Never Hear

The Top 36 Things You'll Never Hear From a Southern Man

36. I'll take Shakespeare for 1000, Alex.
35. Honey, I think we should sell the pick-up and buy a family sedan.
34. Come to think of it, I'll have a Heineken.
33. We don't keep firearms in this house.
32. Has anybody seen the sideburns trimmer?
31. You can't feed that to the dog.
30. I thought Graceland was tacky.
29. No kids in the back of the pick-up, it's just not safe.
28. Wrestling's fake.
27. Honey, did you mail that donation to Greenpeace?
26. We're vegetarians.
25. Do you think my gut is too big?
24. I'll have grapefruit and grapes instead of biscuits and gravy.
23. Honey, we don't need another dog.
22. Who gives a hoot who won the Civil War?
21. Give me the small bag of pork rinds.
20. Too many deer heads detract from the decor.
19. Spitting is such a nasty habit.
18. I just couldn't find a thing at Wal-Mart today.
17. Trim the fat off that steak.
16. Cappuccino tastes better than espresso.
15. The tires on that truck are too big.
14. I'll have the arugula and radicchio salad.
13. I've got it all on the C: drive.
12. Unsweetened tea tastes better.
11. Would you like your fish poached or broiled?
10. My fiance, Bobbie Jo, is registered at Tiffany's.
9. I've got two cases of Zima for the Super Bowl.
8. Little Debbie snack cakes have too many grams of fat.
7. Checkmate.
6. Does the salad bar have bean sprouts?
5. Hey, here's an episode of "Hee Haw" that we haven't seen.
4. I don't have a favorite college team.
3. Be sure to bring my salad dressing on the side.
2. You all.

And, Number ONE is:

1. Duct tape won't fix that.


The Black Hole

My friend Stacer cracked me up with a blurb over at her blog about finding stuff under her washing machine. Apparently, her cats have been "losing" stuff (including: 5 ponytail holders, 3 milk top tabs, and 3 catnip-stuffed mice. Brought back some fond memories of my high school days.

When I was in high school, we had an Orange Marmalade cat named Bridget. This was in the day when you still used a "church key" to open beer bottles and most soda bottles. Shortly after we got her, we gave her a bottle cap to play with. Mostly, she kept it in the kitchen, where she could bat it around the floor. One day, it wound up underneath the refrigerator, and she came and fussed at me to fish it out for her.

For the rest of her time with us, the refrigerator was The Repository Of All Things Lost. No matter what it was, no matter where she lost it, she'd head for the refrigerator and try to fish it out. Really comical.

My sister has two cats, Bailey and George (and she swears their names have nothing to do with Jimmy Stewart's famous movie. George is full of mischief, but if you look into Bailey's eyes, there's just nothing there.

Anyway, they had quite a few milk tops and such which eventually wound up in the first floor entryway. There's a closet down there that has almost ½" of clearance. Every day, I'd go down, open the closet, and sweep all their "stuff" back out onto the floor for them to play with. Like Bridget, when they ran out of toys, they'd hang around the closet, waiting for me to retrieve their toys.

One of the reasons I always referred to Mauki as The Smartest Cat In The World was because he didn't fall into that trap. His favorite toy in all the world was "Paper" -- the foil inner wrapping from a Hershey Bar. I think the main reason he liked it was because it was shiny and sparkled when he batted it around.

One day, he got it wedged somewhere where he couldn't retrieve it. He came over and fussed at me, somehow getting the idea across that he had lost "Paper". "Well, show Daddy where it is", I told him. He got up, walked over to where he had lost "Paper" and stood there like a dog on point, looking at his lost toy. I got down and fished it out for him and set it in front of him so he could play with it some more. Nothing doing. Daddy had to make it go again. So I flicked it across the floor and he chased after it, having the time of his life.

After that, whenever he lost "Paper", he'd come tell me and I'd let him show me where it was so I could fish it out for him. The original one got completely lost one day, and we never did find it. Even when we moved out of that apartment and thoroughly cleaned the place, I never saw it again. I guess it fell into a Black Hole somewhere, along with all those odd socks and all that missing airline luggage.


Taking Care Of Business

Boy, most people have no idea how much hard work is involved with being a little kitty cat. There's so much to do! It was a big place and I had to explore everywhere and inspect everything. That took a lot of time. And I had to protect Daddy from any bad old bugs or other cats that might get in.

One evening, there was a really big cat that came over and looked in our door. I didn't like that, 'cause Daddy said he didn't want any other little kitty cat except me. Anyway, I fussed at him and Daddy came out to see what was going on. He even went outside, but that other cat was already scared of me and ran off. And when Daddy came in, he was laughing and asked me if I scared that other cat off. Well, of course I did! Somebody had to protect Daddy. Daddy said he was proud of me and he got me one of my treats and we sat in the big chair and he gave me lots of loves.

There was lots of other stuff I had to do too. I had to make sure Daddy woke up on time every morning. He had a little box in his room that would make music every morning when it was time to wake up. But I'd hop up on his bed and tickle his face with my whiskers before the box started making music. Then Daddy would laugh and let me lie down next to him for a little while.

And I had to make sure he took care of my food and water too, 'cause sometimes he'd forget. Usually, I had to supervise when he got me my fresh water. I'd follow him all the way out to the kitchen and then back, just to make sure he did it right and put my bowl where it belonged. When it was hot outside, he'd even put an ice cube in it for me, just to keep it cool.

Also, I had to inspect everything that Daddy brought home. He relied on me to make sure everything was safe and good for us. He said I was a smart little guy and I'd know if there was anything bad. I never found anything bad, but I always had to check.

It's no wonder I had to go nappy so much. It's really exhausting, being a little kitty cat.

Airport Profiling

"President Bush said in Wisconsin Thursday this nation is at war with Islamic fascists. We have a strategy for victory. We're going to search every Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Jew, Mormon, Buddhist, Presbyterian and Episcopalian who walks into the airport until the Muslims die of hunger and thirst waiting in line."

—Argus Hamilton


Mauki's Big Adventure

We lived near a really big street where lots and lots of cars and trucks came by. Daddy said he didn't want me going outside, 'cause something bad might happen to me and he'd be all sad and never forgive himself.

So I mostly stayed inside, except for a couple of times I snuck out. Then Daddy caught me and showed me the place where the inside ended and the outside started and said out there was "Ah!" and I wasn't to go out there anymore. So I didn't. Not even that time that a big leaf came by and I wanted to run out there and chase it and play with it. I looked around and saw Daddy was watching me and he said I was a good little guy for not going out and he picked me up and cuddled me and gave me one of my treats. That was nice.

Once in a while, Daddy would take me outside and we'd play on the lawn. Or we'd walk up to where the mailboxes where and he'd check to see if he had any mail. Once, he even put me up in the box and let me look around. It was no big deal, but I was glad Daddy took me with him.

A couple of times, Daddy took me up the street and around the corner to a place he called the Post Office. He put me on top of this thing that wasn't very steady and then he said I hadn't grown a nickel's worth. Well, I was just a little guy anyway.

One day, he took me back to that place where he got me. I got all worried, 'cause I thought he was taking me back. But Daddy said the doctor had to look at me and make sure I was all right. So we went in and waited and after a while, the doctor looked at me and said I was doing really well. But then he poked me with something really sharp and it really hurt. But Daddy picked me up and said it would be OK and we sat down for a while and Daddy cuddled me and talked nice to me and it didn't bother me that much anymore.

After we got home, Daddy tried to make me feel better by playing with me. But my tummy was really upset and I wound up throwing up on the floor. I got scared 'cause I thought Daddy would get mad and scold me, but he just picked me up and went over and sat in his big chair with me and told me it was OK. He said that what the doctor did would keep me from getting sick, even though it upset my tummy. Then he cleaned up the floor and came back and cuddled me some more and I was happy again. And I never got sick.


Water, Water, Everywhere

Daddy used to do really strange things. One time, I went in where my potty was and Daddy was sitting in the big white thing. I went over and got up on my back legs so I could see, and the thing was full of water. Water! Daddy was sitting in all that water! He laughed and said that's how Daddy takes his bath. Wow, humans are strange. I didn't know what to make of that.

There was lots of other really strange stuff in our home. Daddy had a really big bed that he slept on. And when he rolled over, the whole bed moved! Even when I jumped up on it, it would move. But it was nice and warm and I could go nappy over by Daddy's pillow where it smelled like Daddy. That was always nice. If I was sleeping when he came in, Daddy would come back and sit on the floor next to the bed and stroke my head and talk nice to me. I liked that.

There was a desk, too, with a big box on it. Daddy would sit there and look at it and do stuff. He called it work. That didn't sound good. Most days, Daddy would leave in the morning and come back late in the afternoon. But then he had to do work at home. That wasn't fair. I don't like work. I think work is stupid. People should be able to stay home with their families.

In the kitchen was another strange-looking box. Daddy would put food in it and it would light up. After a while, it would make a noise and the light would go out. Then Daddy would take his food out and eat it. It almost always smelled nice and sometimes Daddy would give me some. One time, he made something called "chile" and it smelled really good, but Daddy wouldn't give me any. I didn't like that, so I kept fussing at Daddy until he gave me some. Ouch! That stuff burned my tongue. I had to go get a big drink of water after that. Daddy said I should listen to him about stuff like that. I think he was right.


Fun And Games With Daddy

That first day at home with Daddy, he helped me explore everything so I wouldn't be scared. Daddy had lots of neat stuff, and it was lots of fun looking at it all. Boy, I was tired afterward! So Daddy laid down on the floor and let me come over and go nappy next to him. After that, we sat in his chair and watched TV. That was strange.

When it got really late, Daddy took off his shirt and wadded it up and put it on a cushion for me in my hidey place so I'd have a nice place to spend the night. Then he went back to another room and closed the door. I fussed at him a bit, 'cause I really wanted to go in there with him, but he made me stay out there all night. That wasn't any fun.

Later on, I found out that Daddy was worried about rolling over on me in his sleep and hurting me. Silly Daddy! He should have known I wouldn't let that happen. After that morning when he wasn't feeling well and had to go back to bed and we took that nap together, he figured out that it was OK and let me come in at night and sleep next to him. I liked that.

It was easy to get Daddy to play, and that was mostly fun. But sometimes, Daddy would do something really mean. I'd be sitting up on his lap and we'd be playing and he'd tickle my little belly and say "You know what Daddy's gonna do with you? Daddy's gonna unscrew your little belly button and make your tail fall off." Now that was just mean. I need my little tail. So I'd pull away and go sit by the glass door and watch outside. Big ol' meany! I made him sit there by himself until he was ready to play nice.

I figured out how to get Daddy back, though. I'd hide somewhere and when he'd come walking by, I'd dash out and grab at his ankles. That always freaked him out. :-)


More Of Mauki's Musings

When Daddy brought me home from that place, it was kind of scary. They had taken me from my Mama when I was only three weeks old, and I was in that place for four weeks with no one but the people who brought me food and water and cleaned my cage. And they didn't have time to play with me or anything. Daddy said that wasn't good for little kitty cats, so he'd make it up to me. Daddy was always being really nice to me, and he liked it when I'd get up on his lap and purr at him and get all kissy-face with him.

Living with Daddy was really nice, because we took good care of each other. He made sure I always had food and water, and sometimes he'd give me little treats. He gave me fresh water twice a day, and I hardly ever had to fuss at him for it. When it got really hot outside, he'd put an ice cube in my water to keep it cool. That was really weird. I had to keep pushing the ice cube out of the way in order to drink. Daddy would laugh.

Most days, Daddy went to something called "work". I didn't think much of that, because he had to deal with people who weren't very smart and sometimes he'd come home stressed out. He said I was a lot smarter than a lot of the people he had to deal with. But even when he wasn't feeling good, he'd stll let me come up and sit on his lap. Sometimes, he'd lie on the floor and watch TV and let me come over and lie down next to him. That was nice, and it seemed to make him feel better.

One day, something really scary happened. I could tell the weather was changing, so I got up and sat in Daddy's lap, just in case he needed me. There was a flash of light outside, way far away. Daddy took ahold of me and said it would be OK, but then there was this really loud bang and it scared me. I was going to run over to my hidey place to get away from it, but Daddy held onto me and said it was OK and he wouldn't let anything happen to me. I was still scared, but I let Daddy hold me, just in case he was scared too.

Then, a few minutes later, it happened again. I didn't get quite as scared this time, but it still bothered me. But Daddy was holding on to me and I knew he wouldn't let anything happen to me, so I stayed with him instead of going to my hidey place. I think it made him feel better too.

After a bit, the rain came. Wow! It really rained! I hadn't seen rain like that ever. Daddy got up and went over to the window so I could see outside. There was water everywhere! It didn't last very long, and then the clouds went away and everything looked like before, but it smelled funny. Daddy said it always happens like that. After that, I didn't get scared by the storms anymore. I knew Daddy would take care of me.

Once in a while, a nice man would come to visit with his son and they'd sit and talk with Daddy for a while. The son said he didn't like cats, but Daddy said everyone like me. And that was true. Everyone who came to visit was really nice to me. After a while, even the man's son let me sit in his lap. Daddy and I laughed about it later on.

What was really fun was when I got to wake Daddy up in the morning. I'm not sure he always knew when to get up, but sometimes I think he was just pretending to be asleep. I'd jump up on his bed and nuzzle him and purr at him and he'd finally start giggling and let me lie down next to him and we'd just relax for a bit. Then he'd get up and check my food and water and do all his Daddy stuff. That was always a nice way to start the day.

Daddy said that in Heaven, I'd get to know all the other cats he'd known and we could all be friends. I think that would be neat. We could all gang up on Daddy and have some real fun. I bet he'd like to play with us all together.

Mauki Writes More

Another previously undiscovered entry from the journal of Mauki The Wonder Cat.

Daddy was pretty easy to train. He figured out really fast that when he came home in the evening, he was supposed to go sit in his chair so I could come up and get in his lap and say hi and all. And he knew how to play with me, even if he didn't always know when to play.

Since he couldn't be there with me all the time, Daddy got me some pretty neat toys to play with. First was Ball. It was only some round thing made out of wire with a bell inside of it. It was OK, but it wasn't great. I could hit it and it would roll across the floor and the bell would tinkle, but that was it.

Lots better than that was String. Daddy made that himself from a piece of yarn and a stick. We used to have lots of fun with that. Daddy would wave it all around and I'd chase it and grab at it. I could even catch it most of the time. Sometimes, he'd drape it over me and get me all tangled up in it and I'd have to work my way loose. That was lots of fun.

Then there was Mousey. Mousey smelled funny. I could rassle around with Mousey and smell that funny smell and it would make me feel all funny and then I'd need to go nappy. Daddy used to laugh a lot when I'd play with Mousey. I think it was as much fun for him as it was for me. Or almost as much fun anyway.

Best of all was Paper. Paper was all shiny and smelled like that sweet brown stuff Daddy used to eat after dinner and I could bat it around and it would go every which way, unlike Ball. Ball only traveled in a straight line. Paper was lots more fun. Whoever invented Paper should have gotten some kind of prize. Maybe the Nobel Prize for Inventing Really Neat Stuff.

Daddy and I had lots and lots of fun with Paper. He'd make it go for me and then I'd chase it all around. Sometimes, I'd get it stuck somewhere and couldn't get it and all I had to do was go tell Daddy it was stuck and he'd go get it for me and make it go again. Daddy was nice like that.

But the most fun of all was playing directly with Daddy. Sometimes, I had to fuss at him a bit to get him to play, but he'd almost always play with me when I wanted. I'd get him down on the floor and climb all over him and we'd rassle around and I'd grab his hand and chew on his fingers and stuff. He'd always laugh a lot when we did that. We'd play until I wore him out, then he'd let me come over and snuggle up next to him and we'd take a nap together. Then we'd go sit in Daddy's chair and listen to nice music or watch TV and I'd still play with him a little bit.

Daddy told me once about a place called Heaven. He said all little kitty cats get to go there. I hope they let Daddy go there too, so we can play and stuff. That'd be neat.


The Differences Between Men And Women

1. Names
If Laurie, Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara go out for lunch, they will call each other Laurie, Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara.

If Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla, Peanut-Head and Scrappy.

2. Dining Out
When the bill arrives, Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom will each throw in $20, even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.

When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.

3. Money
A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.

A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need - but it's on sale.

4. Bathrooms
A man has five items in his bathroom: a toothbrush, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel he stole from the Marriott.

The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify most of these items.

5. Arguments
A woman has the last word in any argument.

Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

6. Cats
Women love cats.

Men say they love cats, but when women aren't looking, men kick cats.

7. The Future
A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.

A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

8. Success
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.

A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

9. Marriage
A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.

A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change and she does.

10. Dressing Up
A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the garbage, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail.

A man will dress up for weddings and funerals (and church, of course).

11. Natural
Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.

Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

12. Offspring
Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.

A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

13. Memory
Any married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same things.


World's Heaviest Element Discovered

The heaviest element known to science was recently discovered by University of Adelaide physicists. The element, tentatively named Administratium, has no proton and no electrons and thus has atomic number of 0.
However, it does have one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 70 vice-neutrons and 161 assistant vice-neutrons. This gives it an atomic mass of 244. These 244 particles are held together in a nucleus by a strong force that involves the continuous exchange of meson-like particles called morons.

Since it has no electrons, Administratium is inert. However, it can be detected chemically, as it impedes every reaction it comes into contact with.

According to researchers, in one experiment, a minute amount of Administratium was added to a reaction, which took four days to complete. Without Administratium, the reaction ordinarily took less than one second.

Administratium has a normal half-life of approximately three years, at which time it does not actually decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which assistant neutrons, vice neutrons and assistant vice neutrons exchange places. Preliminary studies show that the atomic number actually increases after reorganization.

Research indicates that Administratium occurs naturally in the atmosphere, but it tends to concentrate in artificial structures built at lower altitudes, such as government agencies and universities. It can usually be found in the newest, best-appointed and best-maintained buildings.

Scientists warn that Administratium is known to be toxic. They recommend taking plenty of fluids with alcohol content and getting bed rest after exposure to even low levels of the element.