Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Monday, February 29, 2016

My Retirement Travels, Part Trois

Since my retirement as MPL feline roving reporter last year, I've been world-travelling. We've already talked about my visits to Montana (in search of relatives) and Peru.  Next on my itinerary was Saint-Marc-sur-Mer, France, birthplace of my ancestor, Cyrano Le Chat (1924-1937), about whom I blogged previously.  As always, click the photos to bigify.

Moi sitting next to the statue of
Jacques Tati (as Monsieur Hulot)
(from Tati's film comedy, Monsieur Hulot's Holiday [1953])
(sculpture by Emmanuel Debarre) (erected in 1999)
at La Plage de M Hulot ("Monsieur Hulot's Beach)

Saint-Marc-sur-Mer is a seaside resort located six kilometres (3.7 miles) west of the center of the town of Saint-Nazaire.  I was able to locate Cyrano's birthplace in Saint-Marc-sur-Mer.  The house has been heavily renovated but was originally built around 1920.

Birthplace of Cyrano Le Chat
Saint-Marc-sur-Mer, France
(House constructed circa 1920)

Cyrano was a superb "mouser," as humans call cats adept at catching rattermeeces (sometimes also spelled rattermeeses), so, in 1926, Cyrano became ship's cat first class aboard the French passenger liner, S.S. Île de France, which was built in Saint-Nazaire and was the first post-World War I French vessel to exceed 40,000 tons.

S.S. Île de France (1926)

Cyrano disembarked in New York City to requisition canned tuna-in-oil for his feline shipmates when he was abducted by a sixteen-year-old American girl from Brooklyn, Clarice Monsanto, who was at the docks awaiting her grandparents' arrival on another ship.  Clarice assumed Cyrano was a stray who needed a home.  So, like it or not, he had one, in which he eventually settled down.

I wandered the beach and resort, in which we had a very nice room.  My tour minions were able to capture some decent photos, but not including moi.  What's up with that?

 La Plage de M Hulot,
Saint-Marc-sur-Mer, France

La Plage de M Hulot,
Saint-Marc-sur-Mer, France

Tune-in again to see where my world travels took moi next.

Your (Retired) Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Retirement Travels, Part Deux

We continue my retirement travelogues with my next destination (last April/May, 2015): namely, Machu Picchu, in the Cusco region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District, in Peru.

Machu Picchu, Peru
(Click Photos to Bigify)

My Library's composer, whom I call the Music Man, and his wife, whom I call Ms. Moonlight (after a string quartet composition the Music Man wrote for her), travelled to Peru to visit family.  I tagged along, because every adventure is more fun with moi added to the mix.

After a relatively short flight from Lima, the capital of Peru, to the Cusco region, we took a long, harrowing journey by bus up the mountains to Machu Picchu.  

 Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu

Urubamba River is 2,000 feet below Machu Picchu
(Photos courtesy of the Music Man)

The reason you don't see moi standing in the photo (above) is that it's a two thousand foot drop straight down to the Urubamba River.  I wasn't going anywhere near that edge, I can tell you.

The Inca built Machu Picchu over 500 years ago, when their civilization had no wheel, no iron, and no steel.  The Inca must have been master architects and engineers to have constructed such an elaborate town so high in virtually inaccessible mountains.    Modern estimates were that fewer than a thousand people resided there.  In 1911 Yale professor Hiram Bingham was led to the site by a Peruvian guide and became the first Western scholar to see the "lost city of the Inca."

It is a truly amazing spectacle.  If you ever have an opportunity to visit, you should.  My descriptive powers cannot begin to do justice to the wonders experienced there.  This National Geographic website does an excellent job, as does this UNESCO website, but you might also wish to watch these DVDs available in our Evergreen Indiana catalog.

I would like to mention a family legend associated with Machu Picchu. According to myth, one of my Incan ancestors, Apaec Ozcollo ("fanged creator god" and "wildcat or ocelot"), lived among the humans at Machu Picchu in the 15th century.  She was worshipped for her power to create contentedness merely by her presence (or the presence of her feline children) on humans' laps.  This was, of course, before the Spanish invaded in the 16th century.

I certainly felt Apaec Ozcollo's influence as I walked around Machu Picchu. Or else it was the high altitude that was making moi light-headed.  Oddly enough, the altitude at Machu Picchu is 7,972 feet above sea level, while the altitude at Beartooth Pass (where I was shortly beforehand) is 10,947 feet above sea level.  I don't recall feeling any effects of oxygen deprivation there; so I shouldn't have been suffering from it in Peru, either.  So it must have been the spirit of Apaec Ozcollo calling out to moi across the centuries.

Next time, join moi for another exciting travel adventure.  I know where, because I've already been, but you haven't.  Well, maybe you have, actually. You won't know for sure until my next blog posting.

Your (Retired) Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

My Retirement Travels, Part Une

Since I retired as official MPL feline roving reporter last March, I've been frequently asked what I've been doing with my free time.  Among other things, I've become a world traveller.

Butte, Montana
(Click Images to Bigify)

My first destination was Butte, Montana, home to one of my ancestors, Anaconda Le Chat (1878-1891).  Amazingly, I happen to have a photo of Anaconda with her human friend.

Anaconda Le Chat with her human friend, Cabbe Carde (1877-1952)
(Butte, Montana, ca. 1880)

Butte, Montana (September, 1881)
(Photo by Charles Roscoe Savage)

I even managed to find Anaconda Le Chat's home in Butte.

Moi sitting in front of the home of Anaconda Le Chat
(Butte, Montana)

I'd give you the address, but the current owners asked moi not to, because they don't want to be overwhelmed by tourists taking selfies in front of one of my travel destinations (I'm told a "Cauli Le Chat was here" historical marker is being contemplated by the Montana Office of Tourism.)

Cabbe's father worked as a bookkeeper at Butte's Anaconda copper mine, which operated from 1881 to 1947.  When Cabbe became an adult, in 1898 he moved to Helena, Montana, and opened a dry goods emporium.  He took along Pierre Gaultier Le Chat (1890-1906), who was Anaconda Le Chat's grandson.  Pierre was named after the French Canadian explorer, Pierre Caultier de Varennes, who travelled up the Missouri River in 1738 into what is today western North Dakota (just 70 miles east of modern Montana).

There's some confusion about how the Anaconda copper mine was named. Michael Hickey, a prospector who filed a claim for the mine (before selling out to Marcus Daly in 1881), was a Union soldier in the Civil War. Legend has it that Hickey read Horace Greeley's account of Ulysses S. Grant's forces surrounding Robert E. Lee's troops "like an anaconda," which supposedly prompted Hickey to adopt the snake's name for the mine. Frankly, I think there's a far simpler explanation.  The mine was obviously named after my ancestor, Anaconda Le Chat, who was born three years earlier.

Next, I visited one of the prettiest places on Earth:  Beartooth Lake and Butte, just across the Montana border in northern Wyoming (in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness).  Just a few miles east is the Beartooth Pass, close to which sits the Top of the World Store.

Beartooth Butte & Lake

Moi standing outside the Top of the World Store
(near Beartooth Pass along the Beartooth Highway,
running along the Montana-Wyoming border
in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness)

This is a special place, because the Top of the World Store once sat directly across from Beartooth Butte (during the 1940s).  Scowl-Face's maternal grandparents owned the store between 1941-1947.  It was here that another of my ancestors, Hamilton Le Chat (1940-1955) (Pierre Gaultier Le Chat's great-great-great-great-great grandson), escaped from a car travelling along the Beartooth Highway.  Hamilton found his way to the store in July 1941, where he lived for the remainder of the summer before being adopted by the Beltone family in nearby Red Lodge, Montana, where he and his descendants lived for many years.  (He was called Hamilton after Scowl-Face's mother's hometown in Ohio.)

Next time I'll talk about more of my retirement travels elsewhere around the world.  Next stop:  Machu Picchu in Peru!

Your (Retired) Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Friday, February 26, 2016

Where Are My Royalties? Just Asking

Although we wound-up this feature last December, I couldn't help coming out of retirement to ask this important question:  Where are my royalties, minions?  Just asking.

Royalties for what, you may ask?  (Go ahead.  I can wait.)  Well, Scowl-Face recently presented a program about Samuel Moore, founder of my hometown, Mooresville, Indiana. He created a video in which "Samuel" addressed folks at the Old Settlers Picnic in August, 1885.  Considering that there were no digital recording devices back then, it's surprising to hear "Samuel" speaking to the crowd. He sounded just like Scowl-Face.  A lot.

"Narration" of Samuel Moore at the Old Settlers Picnic (August 1885)
(Dramatic Reenactment)

At the 2:27 mark in the video, you'll see the East Fork of White Lick Creek.  Notice the prominent presence of moi in the lower middle-right.

Click Image to Bigify

Correct moi if I'm wrong, but that photo first appeared in this blog.  Its use elsewhere entitles yours truly to some canned tuna-in-oil (as royalties), I'll wager.  Make with the chow, minions!

Apparently, Scowl-Face's program was well-received.  There's no accounting for taste.

The Samuel Moore presentation was part of a Celebrate Mooresville's Heritage series that my Library is presenting as part of the Indiana Bicentennial (1816-2016).

Click Image to Bigify

I immediately noticed one glaring omission among the program subjects.


When will MY program be featured, Boss Lady?  Just asking.

Don't forget those cans of tuna-in-oil, minions.  I must be well-fed in my retirement.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat