Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Boys' Adventure Club: Campfire Games (More Fun Than a Barrel Full of Monkeys)

I bet there are people reading this blog right now who have played circle games.  But for those of you who haven't, let me clue you in about what you could be enjoying if you were members of the Boys' Adventure Club, which meets monthly at my library.  This month (Monday, Feb. 28, 2011, from 4-5 p.m., for those keeping score), the BAC, which includes boy people from grades K-6, will be learning campfire games.

First, I need to be clear about the whole campfire thing.  Although they're called campfire games, there will not be any actual fire involved.  This saddens moi, of course, because, as anyone knows, felines love to stretch out before a roaring fire to bask in the wonderful warmness, smell the wood smoke, and basically become all toasty.  But there are fun games aplenty, and the boys in company BAC certainly know funness (not a word, but oughtta be) when they experience it.

(I stand corrected--funness is listed in the online urban dictionary, but it is sarcastic, so we'll just leave it there until it learns how to be nice.)

Broadway Gal, who runs the Youth Services show at my library, gave me the inside scoop about the campfire games:
  • Hula Hoop Pass:  This five-minute game requires amazing coordination!  Kids get in a circle, and they have to pass themselves through a hula hoop without breaking the hand-chain.  Like so:

  • Concentration:  Keep the rhythm, everybody!  Let's play!  (Scowl-Face is already out . . .)  Improv Encyclopedia calls this an improvisation game.  Here's the how-to of one version.
  • Hand Game:  Hands put on the ground.  Not as easy as it sounds.  Watch the video below, and you'll understand why.

  • My Name is ... and I Like to Dance:  My name is Cauli, and I like to dance the stray cat strut (apologies to Brian Setzer and The Stray Cats).  It works like this:

  •  Indian Chief:  (Okay, Native American Chief, for you politically-correct types out there.)

  • People to People:  This would be more fun with felines.  Well, at least for moi.

  • Lap Circle:  This one, I wish we had a video to explain.  Kids get in a circle and move together until the circle becomes so small that people are sitting in each others' laps.
  • Stand Together:  Nope.  Can't be done.  Must be an optical illusion.


(Thanks to the Ultimate Camp Resource for many fine YouTube videos embedded in today's blog.)

  • 1-2-3, Look!  Broadway Gal says this is a quiet version of Scream Machine.  Everyone closes his/her eyes (at BAC, it's all "his's" 'cause they're guys) and lowers his/her head, and the leader calls out 1-2-3-Look!  (But, of course, they can't see anything, because their eyes are closed!  D'oh!  Oh, wait, there's more.)  At the call to look, each person looks up at one specific person.  If the person you're looking at is also looking at you, then you're both out.  No fair changing who you're looking at.  If the person you're looking at is looking elsewhere (elsewho?), then you get to stay in the game, and the cycle repeats until only two players are left.  The winners get to feed me my supper  (extra portions, woo-hoo!) (okay, I made that last part up).
Each of these games, Broadway Gal explained, improves the participants' physical coordination, directional skills, spacial awareness, and mental alertness.  But, more than anything, they are just flat-out fun to play.

This month's BAC session is filled, I think (15 participants), so you'll need to sign-up for their next event on March 21, 2011, which is Building With Popsicle Sticks.  Guess who gets to eat all the popsicles first?


The green pops are so tasty!
(Not moi, but an incredible simulation!)



A Truly Original Stray Cat,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Fun-and-Games News Beat



P.S.  For those who got (or not) my jocular reference to the Stray Cat Strut, here's a  music video, but not with the band (sorry, Brian Setzer fans).


More Cool Than You'll Ever Be

 P.P.S.  Can't let The Monkees reference in this blog's title go without at least an attempt at humor.  Next to The Beatles, The Monkees were Scowl-Face's most favoritist rock-and-roll band.  (That explains a lot.)  Watch one of their videos and see if you don't feel likewise.  (Michael Nesmith, by the way, invented MTV.  You can look it up.)


Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith are actually playing their instruments (electric piano and electric guitar, respectively) in this video.  (Peter could play a dozen instruments, and both he and Mike were accomplished musicians/composers.)  Micky Dolenz is making a fairly lame show of drumming--he was, after all, a relatively famous child actor before the Monkees gig--and Davy Jones is goofing around with the bass.  Davy was another actor/singer--he played to rave reviews as the Artful Dodger in the London and Broadway productions of Oliver!, appeared in a few American TV sitcoms, and, in his youth, trained to be a jockey (yes, riding horseys at races).

Scowl-Face could (and would) go on forever about this, but I've heard enough.  Time for supper.  Go to bed, old man!




Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Slobberdog Biscuit Appreciation Day -- What's Up With That?

Can you believe it--today is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day.  (That should be slobberdog biscuit.)  As famous humorist Dave Barry says, I swear I am not making this up.  Click here if you don't believe me.  (A huge thank-you to CircMaster [she's on the list] for alerting this reporter to this often, but not surprisingly  [since no cats are involved], overlooked holiday.)

How these slobberdogs get all of these fancy holidays I can't begin to imagine.  We felines slave eight days a week, 35 days a month, 417 days a year (that's 52 weeks times the eighth day each week), never taking a minute to ourselves, and, yet, inexplicably, slobberdogs are lounging around getting the day off (paid, no doubt) to drool all over themselves and eat expensive biscuits that no dignified cat would touch.  What is the world coming to?

Slobberdog people are always inventing nutty ways to give their goldbrick canines a vacation.  What's to appreciate about slobberdog biscuits?  They taste like sawdust, are tougher than rhinoceros hide, foul already rancid slobberdog breath, and give the woofers the winds like you wouldn't believe.  I mean, slobberdogs are gas bags, as a general rule, but, well, hey!  Don't pile on the stink fuel.

You CHEW it now, Einstein


Not a biscuit eater, but a wiener dog
(HAHAHAHAHAHA)


Oh, for crying out loud!



There are even nicely produced YouTube videos explaining in straightforward terms how to cook all-natural, healthy, homemade slobberdog biscuits.  (As if!  Like we ever would.  Felines do not cook; we are cooked FOR.  It's an important distinction.)


If that didn't creep you out, this will.

What we need is International Canned Tuna in Oil for Felines Only Day.  I'll sponsor if somebody can line-up the votes in the United Nations or wherever they decide such things.  We definitely need more cat holidays.



Sweet chocolate biscuits and red rosy apples in summer, *

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Rubber Biscuit News Bureau

( * Apologies to Elton John and Bernie Taupin.  Lyric lifted unceremoniously from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, which you may listen to by clicking here.)

What do ya want for nothing, a rubber biscuit?  (More apologies, this time to Dan Aykroyd, the late John Belushi, and the Blues Brothers in general.  If you can stand it, click here to hear the song.)


Oh, and you slobberdog-owning people types out there . . .

Watch where you step

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Huge Secret Rocket Transport Endangers Supper Dish

Today a huge secret, multi-stage rocket ship, which was being hauled by three really big tractor trailer semi monster trucks, successfully negotiated the turn at the intersection of West Main and Monroe Streets in Mooresville, Indiana, near the public library, where I work as Roving Reporter, literally risking fur and tail to deliver this hair-raising scoop.

The turn was fraught with danger, mostly to my supper dish, which somehow got placed beneath the library's electronic sign (Scowl-Face, I hold you accountable).  The possibility of the rocket's gigantic first, second, and third launch stages crashing into my supper dish, and, incidentally, into other appurtenant fixtures in the vicinity, was real and, honestly, quite terrifying.   One could only imagine what would have happened if the liquid oxygen/hydrogen/chocolate/whatever contained in the rocket's fuel tanks had exploded.  Destruction of my supper dish would have been assured, which is pretty alarming news, I can tell you.

Luckily, thanks to the absolutely fantastic driving skills of the truckers, as well as the alert assistance of the Mooresville police department, the vehicles and cargo completed the staggeringly difficult turn (westbound on Main, turning northbound onto Monroe) without mishap.  Alert photographer Scowl-Face risked life and limb (eye-roll) to take these less-than-spectacular photographs.



Rocket Stage One attempts a backdoor maneuver
(from West Main St. backwards onto Monroe St.)
Note scale of rocket against MPL water volcano.

Secret Code Name of Rocket Project
(Logo looks like a command capsule)

 Mooresville's Finest are on-the-spot
to protect the public and my supper dish

The backdoor maneuver was unsuccessful, however, and so the first monster truck made several attempts to find the best turning radius, or "groove," as the pros say.  (Well, they're golf pros, but that counts.)

Making a wide turn & heading toward MPL sign
(LOOK OUT SUPPER DISH!)
WHEW!  That was TOO close!
(Not to the sign, of course; they weren't within six feet of it.
But my supper dish!  Disaster was a hair's-breadth away.)

 That, folks, is just simply amazing driving skill.

 Rocket Stage Two follows suit.

 Rocket Stage Three brings up the rear
(But watch out for that renegade semi monster truck!)

Sources close to the top-secret rocket project were understandably tight-lipped about the shipment and its ultimate destination.  Bystanders speculated that the convoy was heading for the Indiana Space Camps to launch an interplanetary mission of exploration and discovery.  Details were sketchy, but slobberdogs were definitely slated as crew members, and the purported destination was Pluto.

Laika, early Soviet space slobberdog, who flew into outer space aboard Sputnik 2


Artist's conception of modern American space slobberdog traveling aboard super-secret rocket
 

 Possible space slobberdog crew member for Pluto Project


At press time, there was no further information, except that my supper dish narrowly escaped grievous harm.  It is now in the custody of the Lady With the Red Hair, who will doubtlessly take better care of it in future.  Or else.


Hey, Mr. Spaceman, won't you please take me along for a ride, *

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Mission Control News Beat


( * Apologies to the Byrds.  Click here to watch a video clip of the band's live, albeit lip-synched,  performance on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967)--sorry about the advertisement.  Byrds fans--where's David Crosby, and why is Gene Clark playing in the footage, if this is 1967 video?)

Perhaps a more apropos lyric for my signature tag-line would be . . .

Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids, **

Cauli

( ** Apologies to Elton John and Bernie Taupin.  Click here to listen to Rocket Man [1972]).


Sunday, February 20, 2011

You Say Pyjama, I Say Pajama; Time or Thyme, It Was

You Say Pyjama, I Say Pajama
Let's Call the Whole Thing Off


(Apologies to George & Ira Gershwin)

Fans of the 1937 movie Shall We Dance will remember different lyrics to the Gershwins' tune Let's Call the Whole Thing Off, but my minor modification serves as an apt segue for today's blog.  If you can guess the actual topic (hint: two words), then you might win a prize (but won't).  Here's the next lyrical clue, courtesy of popular folk musician and songwriter Paul Simon (of Simon & Garfunkel fame) and his song, Bookends (following his song Old Friends on the Bookends album):

Time it was and what a time it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences


We could also reference Simon & Garfunkel's album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme for the time/thyme homophonic joke, but you'll need to look-up homophone in your online dictionary, and I fear that the word alone will invite some off-color humor.  

So we will get straight to the point, giving away the game by telling you that these lyrical clues are our introduction to the Mooresville Public Library's Pajama Time.  You may have expected something more spectacular, but let me assure you, Pajama Time is pretty darn exciting.  It is, as the old cliché goes, the cat's pajamas.  Or pyjamas.  As long as they're comfortable, I'm not complaining.

There are certain rules for Pajama Time at the Library, to-wit:

  • You must be a human child between the ages of birth and six years;
  • Your caregiver must accompany you;
  • You must wear pajamas (or pyjamas, if you're British), but not the cat's pajamas, as I'm wearing those;
  • You must come to the library every other Thursday, between 6:30 and 7:15 p.m.;
  • You must register in advance (call 317-831-7323 and ask for Youth Services, or visit our website calendar at http://www.mooresvillelib.org/ to register online); and
  • You will have a ton of fun.
What goes on at Pajama Time?  There are bedtime stories, music, and activities that help relax these young people patrons and get them ready for sleepy time (or thyme?).  It probably helps relax the grown-up people patrons, too, and prepares them for transport to the land 'o nod, which is also the name of an old motel on U.S. Highway 31 in Franklin, Indiana.


(People think I make this stuff up, but I don't.  Well, not all the time, anyway.) Scowl-Face insists that I add that this is not a commercial endorsement or advertisement.  My jokes usually only work (if they work at all) on one or two levels, neither of which includes Madison Avenue men (or women), mad or otherwise.

All you parental human types out there whose little people kiddies are babies up to kindergarteners (possibly first graders, actually, if they're six) should register for Pajama Time and bring in your youngsters.  They need to unwind, and, frankly, so do you.


Winding Down Myself, But Somebody Took My Pajamas,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Sandman News Bureau

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Being a Basket Case (Dream Weaver's Siren Song)


Fans of Gary Wright's 1976 #1 hit Dream Weaver were probably not thinking of basket weaving, but perhaps they should have been.  Back in college (when this song was on the charts), the Lady With the Red Hair remembers that easy courses were generically called "basket weaving classes," supposedly because arts and crafts were not sufficiently challenging and unworthy of higher education.  That, if you will pardon my French, is a charge de poo cheval. Anyone who has tried to weave a reed basket knows that it is tougher than the hide of a stickerpig [see note at bottom]. Art in any form takes real talent and practice to develop the skills, so all you smarty pantses (it's a real idiomatic expression--you can look it up!) out there had better straighten up before doughy midsections get clawed, big-time.  These four-pawed retractables aren't landing gear!

Even though basket weaving requires dexterity, patience, and attention, people patrons can, with a little practice, become quite adept at making these creative wonders. But only a rabid, frothing scooterbandit [see note at bottom] would attempt it without proper guidance and instruction.  Consequently, my library offers beginners' basket weaving classes, taught by the fine folks at Baskets From Junior's Farm.

On March 12 (1:00-4:00 p.m.) and March 16 (6:00-9:00 p.m.) in the MPL Community Room, if you pre-register, you can learn to make a basket like this. (Each date is a separate class, so you would only sign-up for one date.)  Cost is $10 per participant.



Class sizes are limited to six persons, so you should register faster than a scurrydog [see note at bottom].  Visit our web site and click calendar on the left-side menu to register online, or call (317) 831-7323 and ask for Meghan (whom I call Programma Mama).  If you have questions about the class, email basketsfromjuniorsfarm@yahoo.com -- type "MPL Basket Class" in the subject line.

You may well ask about the really cool logo designed by local artist Brian Mills, whom I call Drawer Dude.  Well, let's not keep you in suspense.


®

That is just so way cool.  Betcha'd like one for yourself.

Who is this Junior of Junior's Farm fame?  You've seen him before, but a fellow this cute deserves a repeat performance.


Junior starred in an MPL Book Trailer, which we reprise below.


Basket supplies will be provided at the class.  Learn this truly enjoyable hobby that will teach you a talent that you may parlay to practical purpose.  Think of the great gifts you can make for family and friends!  Think of how many kitty treats (for moi, of course) you can store in baskets that you yourself have woven.  It boggles the imagination.  Time for a nap.


Dream Weaving Authentic Archaeological Artifacts (If You Bury Them, They Will Be Worth a Fortune in a Thousand Years),

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Basketeering News Bureau


Notes at Bottom (at Scowl-Face's insistence, although I'm sure you know exactly what I meant):


Stickerpig

Scooterbandit

Scurrydog


Le Cheval

Mr. Ed, the Talking Cheval
("Willl-burrr")




Ghost Critters: Real and Unreal

Folklore (feline or otherwise) abounds with ghost stories.  Human ghosts are popular among people, as one might readily suspect, but they also seem to like animal ghost stories.  There are shelves of these types of books, but one that caught my eye is . . .


"Ghostlorist" Randy Russell has collected and retold 22 kitty ghost tales (or tails?) that are bound to raise the hairs on the back of your necks (or backs, if you're a cat).  Much folklore consists of legendary accounts of haunted places or spectral figures that witnesses claim were authentic, sensory experiences.  As the tales are passed along, they evolve into more convoluted descriptions, infused with fictions and exaggerations until the legend is larger than life.  Russell's recountings are fictionalized, to be sure, but whether based on fact or fancy, they are fun to read and are a little scary to boot!


Kim Sheridan, however, delivers her stories squarely in a nonfictional vein.  Animals and the Afterlife: True Stories of Our Best Friends' Journey Beyond Death, which received Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year award, presents accounts from "everyday," regular people who have experienced a paranormal encounter with the purported spirits of their deceased beloved pets.  The book is sure to stir the emotions of anyone who has loved and lost a cat, slobberdog, horsey, or even a scamper-runt (rat--ed.) or a swimming dinner (fish--ed.).



Artist Raymond Bayless spent much of his professional life researching the paranormal, and among his many books is Animal Ghosts.  Like Sheridan's work, Bayless relates a multitude of case studies suggestive of animal survival of bodily death, but Bayless applies a more scientific approach to his analysis of the data.

Joshua P. Warren, a paranormal investigator best known for his television and radio programs about the supernatural, also has employed scientific methods to study cases involving animal apparitions.  He interviews animal experts and suggests techniques that readers may use to discover, record, and contact a deceased pet's surviving spirit.

Human skeptics, naturally, are quick to guffaw and do not hesitate to shrug away such reports as hallucinations, misperceptions, outright frauds, or by-products of overheated imaginations.  The authors invite readers to be open-minded and to critically and rationally evaluate their information.  That seems fair to me.  "Don't dismiss your dinner before it's served."  (Kitty Proverb #647, Book of Feline Wisdom.)

(Okay, I just made that proverb up.  But, you have to admit, it sounds fairly cool.)  By the way, you may find each of these books at my library (click here to search our catalog) or other libraries in the Evergreen Indiana consortium.

Lots of humans grieve when they lose a beloved family member.  I can understand that.  All intelligent life forms establish emotional attachments to one another, and it is perfectly natural to mourn.  Most people, however, can only see a very narrow band of the visible light spectrum.  Felines and slobberdogs, on the other paw, can see higher and lower vibrations.  That's why we often stare into space looking at apparently nothing.  But, rest assured, we see plenty.  Ask us to elaborate sometime.  We are most talkative when served canned tuna in oil (remember to use the good china or crystal).


Seeing More Than You Might Imagine,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Paranormal News Beat

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Most "Egg-citing" Youth Services Program

This is the most egg-citing youth services program ever to appear at my library since I became a roving reporter last December.  It is eggs-actly the type of event you don't want to miss!  If you will eggs-cuse these awful puns, I will tell you all about it in eggs-quisite detail.

Two-legged winged lunchables Baby chicks are coming!  These tender, succulent treats cute little fluffy fellers will start their life journeys as eggs placed in an incubator on March 15, 2011.  You can see the eggs behind the Youth Services Information Desk, where Wild Thang and Supreme Cat-aloger Gal are often found buried under work piles that would cripple lesser folks.  (Broadway Gal, who runs the youth show, has her own office, and we roving reporters are frankly jealous).  They take everything in stride, though--including these tiny would-be winged dinners wonders--and are prepared to answer your many questions, such as:
  • Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
  • How do those chirping fluff balls fit inside those little eggs?
  • How do they break out of their shells?
  • Why are some chicks so yellow and others not so?
  • Are they served with parmesan sauce?
Before I began reporting breaking news for the library, there was a baby chicks thing happening almost a year ago.  Here are some photos from last year's grand event.

Incubator (My Easy Bake Oven?)

Weird Devil Chick Glowing in Dark!
(Actually, just checking to see if s/he's growing okay)


Eggs a Plenty!  But Before Long . . .
 
 Tiny Lunchable Winged Tot in Post-Egg-sistence Phase
 

Ideal for ROASTING Watching!
  

May I Place a Take-Out Order?


(Scowl-Face said I should stop thinking about food because I get bowls full of special kitty chow and should be happy with that.  Guess it's time to sulk in the corner.)

You will be amazed at this miracle of life-in-the-making that will unfold before your very eyes!  Watch eggs become chicks!  But when will it all happen?  The eggs arrive on March 15, and the estimated hatching date is April 4.  The library will be asking for families to volunteer to foster pairs of new baby chicks (where can I sign up?)  Why pairs?  Baby chicks thrive in pairs.  For me, it's all about serving size.

If you have any questions, please feel free to stop by MPL Youth Services and talk with Broadway Gal, Wild Thang, or Supreme Cat-aloger Gal.  They will be happy to take your orders answer your queries.


Waiting With Bated Breath for the Ides of March,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Little Chicken (or Chicken Little) News Beat


Saturday, February 12, 2011

You Can Learn Lots From Cats

British zoologist and ethologist Desmond Morris likes to watch animals, including humans.  His 1967 bestseller The Naked Ape shocked lots of people folks by its emphasis upon human animalistic behavior.  He wrote several bestselling books about felines, including Catwatching (New York: Crown Publishers, 1986) and Catlore (New York:  Crown Publishers, 1987) (several subsequent editions, too).



(Both of these titles are available at my library.

Morris carefully and clearly explains the entire ambit of feline behavior, and, for a human, he seems to have a pretty fair grasp on the whys and wherefores of kitty conduct.  You may browse the Catwatching table of contents (click here) for more details.  These books are a wealth of information, and, although they seem somewhat dated in terms of descriptions and language (the author was born in 1928, so he is "old school" for sure), they are excellent resources for understanding feline behavior.

One of Morris' observations is that kitties "chitter" when watching prey.  Tinkerbell (below) illustrates, and the video description cites Catlore as a bibliographical reference.


Morris briefly discusses why cats like to be stroked.  He gets all Freudian about it, likening it to a momma cat's grooming of her young with her tongue (sounds gross to people, but, hey, it's what we do).  I can tell you in much simpler terms why we like cheek-rubs, back-rubs, or general massages.  It feels good.  It is relaxing.  That's pretty much the whole story, as the photo below reveals.


Yours Truly -- "Purrrrr Purrrrr ..."

(That's the Lady With the Red Hair giving me a head scratch.)  That's pretty close to Heaven right there.  After a relaxing rub, it's back to browsing the shelves for more kitty books to talk about.


Hmmm ... Smells Like Hoosier Pride ...

More Yearbooks (Several From Mooresville High School)

Take it from me.  A good cheek-rub or head-scratch will do wonders for your disposition and will brighten anyone's day (even for Scowl-Face).  Try it and see.


Ready For My Post-Massage Iced Beverage, Please and Thanks,
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Relaxation Guru News Beat

P.S.  Bet somebody out there figured I'd make a lame comment comparing Desmond Morris' surname to Morris the Cat of Nine Lives catfood TV commercial fame.  Get outta town already.  That's not even a clever pun.  Give me a little credit.  They don't even look alike.



Okay, there is a resemblance.  Kinda creepy, come to think of it.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Faux Animal Kingdom Invades MPL Youth Services

Herds of faux animals have invaded the youth services department of my library.  Greeted by (mostly) delighted shrieks from younger people patrons, these slow-moving, primarily inert members of the nonhuman animal kingdom are encamped throughout the book stacks of the children's collections.  Thanks to my alert photographer, the Lady With the Red Hair, we have digitally captured some of these elusive creatures.

Faux polar (some say Teddy) bear greets young people patrons
at the MPL Youth Services Information Desk


Faux scurrydog, who might just try to steal my supper


Faux frozen flipper birds--papa and baby



Faux Teddy in apparent hibernation (surely not inebriation!)



Famous faux felines of Lion King fame


Faux Clifford, the Big Red Slobberdog, along with Tigger and Sylvester, famous animated felines



My faux big cousins



Another faux cousin, along with a treecrawler and a good ol' bear

These guys really make youth services a warm and welcoming place.  Little people patrons should enjoy browsing the bookshelves along with these friendly fellows.  It's nice to have such pleasant, peaceful volunteers helping out our hardworking youth services staff.


Faux Animals are Better Than No Animals, and More Cuddly,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Faux-For-All News Beat