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A Brief Goodbye to a Family Pet

A Brief Goodbye to a Family Pet

Cadenzaan improvised or written-out ornamental passage played or sung by a soloist or soloists, usually in a free rhythmic style, and often allowing for virtuosic display.

No extended post about this because, frankly, I don’t really want to be writing it.

It was around 19 years ago that my folks brought home a young calico kitten that couldn’t have been more than eight weeks old. My sister and I had wanted a kitten because we wanted a companion we could keep for awhile. We found a term in one of my sister’s musical dictionaries, Cadenza, which we attached to her because it sounded nifty. The day mom and dad brought her home, Cadenza managed to get herself trapped in their bedroom. And, well, let’s just say a tone was set.

Cadenza became a flying, furry little hellion who slid on the wood floors until she slammed into the walls, attacked every loose item lying around, and always managed to get into places she didn’t belong. On several occasions, she climbed up the awning we had on our balcony and got onto the roof just outside our attic windows – we frequently had to go upstairs and pull her in from the attic. She always seemed to have enough spare energy to run faster than the Mountain Dew-drinking cheetahs from the old Mountain Dew commercials. If there was so much as a pencil on the floor, she would attack it. She attacked phone cords and other forms of wiring and tried to get on the mantle more than once.

While Cadenza managed to get quite fat, she never did fully shed her kitten-sized body. She was a small cat, and that made it even more difficult to keep her out of the places she wasn’t supposed to go. She once tried to climb the Christmas Tree. Yeah, she epitomized the idea of curiosity killing the cat, but she never seemed satisfied. Our minds all boggled wondering how such a small cat could keep getting into such big trouble.

Despite her hellraising, Cadenza may have been the world’s only extrovert cat. If there was one thing she loved more than an insignificant little knickknack to obliterate, it was attention from her humans. Cadenza was a real lap cat who could plunk herself down on someone for literally hours. Her loud purring won her the affectionate nickname Purrball, and she wanted attention which she wasn’t getting, she would find a way to get it. She loved crawling up your lap and onto your chest and rubbing her face against ours if she was receiving insignificant time in our personal spotlights. Later, she resorted to tapping people with her paw. Cadenza was the cat who was able to befriend our dog, an 80-pound behemoth of white hair. If we had guests, Cadenza would be the first one to welcome them into the house. As far as she was concerned, anyone who tapped her on the head once established a permanent bond with her.

Beating herself up resulted in Cadenza developing terrible arthritis late in her life. Her vision and hearing slowly wore out, and she eventually took to prowling the hallway yowling periodically. Also, her small body began thinning out – she looked skeletal, and the family became afraid of picking her up for fear of hurting her. She wasn’t the leaping furball she was in her youth, but her spirit certainly never diminished. Even though it would take her multiple tries to jump up to the couch to sit with us – and alternate from person to person until it got annoying – she still did it. If there wasn’t enough food in her bowl, she would still walk around in the kitchen while everyone else was there, dodging our feet.

With her starving and in obvious pain, it was finally time for her to be removed from the world. She led a very full, comfortable, and by any account happy life with all but her first eight weeks in our company. And for that, my family and I felt a bit more complete. We’ve always been cat people, and Cadenza was the one cat we owned who lived almost her entire life with us. Or at least the one cat who spent her whole life with us in my lifetime.



I had to get a new phone number some months ago. My phone had been out of commission, and I didn’t know how long I would have to keep it that way, so I let my regular bill time roll by and kept my money pocketed. I was forced to replace it while I was away, all of a sudden, to touch base with home.

Unfortunately, I got one of those recycled numbers the phone companies love to use so much. My number apparently once belonged to a guy named Robert. I know this because I’m getting incessant phone calls every day from people who apparently have some kind of business connection with this guy. I’m halfway convinced they’re actually a criminal organization, or at least not a legit one: I’ve gotten two different answers to my question about where they were from: One said they were there on behalf of Citibank, the other said Discover Card. It really doesn’t matter much anymore though, because I’ve been very vocal about the fact that I’m not Robert, have no idea whether or not this Robert character even exists, and would like them to leave me the fuck alone.

No matter what, the way they’ve been coming at me probably places them in stalker territory. They’ve been calling me like clockwork, twice a day – once in the early morning, once in the afternoon – every day. Every time, I tell them the same thing: I’m not Robert. Robert doesn’t live here. Robert doesn’t even exist.

I’ve even tried calling them to tell them to leave me alone, but part of the reason I suspect they’re illegitimate is because whenever I call, I have to enter my own number to get into their account, and the voice machine tells me it doesn’t have the number on its record. Now, this isn’t the customer service number to Citi or Discover I’m dialing; it’s the one that gets left on my phone whenever this organization calls. What little information I’ve been able to coax out of them includes their address, which I asked for with the intent of going down to their office and straightening this situation out myself with some very unkind and pointed words. Sadly, though, Sioux City is too far away for me to just ride down there. My bike would need some serious preparations before I tried to make that trip.

These collectors have brought out my worst phone behavior. I’ve worked phone jobs before, so I have an excellent phone manner and a deep sympathy for those who are stuck working in that field. I try to treat telemarketers with the same kind of courtesy I would give them if they were trying to sell me something in person. I was doing that with whoever these guys are at first. Then I started answering and hanging up without saying anything first. Finally, I started returning fire. I hit them with my worst one afternoon as I was walking out of work, when they decided they had the time to call me four times that day, screaming myself hoarse into some guy’s ear. By then, I didn’t care anymore. They were guilty of not getting what I was trying to say.

The calls finally stopped after that, but a month later, they started again. I’m starting to fear a trip to Sioux City may actually be in order, but having been on the other side of this equation, I don’t believe it would do any good. After all, telemarketers have methods of getting back at customers they don’t like. They’re people too. They very frequently hate the fact that they were sucked into such awful work, and they have around the same tolerance level for rudeness as anyone.

10 Awesome Gifts for the Special One-Percenter in Your Life

It’s that time of year again! The time when all the gift-giving lists appear, giving you wonderful gift ideas at very reasonable prices. You’ll be able to find lists of gifts for your organic-living friend, your geeky friend, your friend who loves to build things, your pyromaniac demolitions expert friend, your friend who keeps used one-shave razors under the bed, and your friend who believes Santa Claus is real. And if you look hard enough, you’ll be able to find a great gift for your friend who is and does all of those previous things.

And that covers 99 percent of your friends. After that, there’s that trouble spot, the one percent friend. Who, thanks to a recent political movement, now has a term that can be applied: The One-Percent friend.

Buying gifts for your 99-Percent friends is pretty easy. All you have to do is look a little past the end of your nose in order to find a fitting, thoughtful, thrifty gift for the 99-Percenters you know. But what of that One-Percenter in your life for whom money isn’t an object?

Here’s a list of thoughtful gifts your One-Percenter will love.

An NFL Team
There’s nothing your one-percenter pal will love more than an new opportunity to make money hand over fist. The Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals may be losing, but if your friend owns an NFL team, he certainly won’t.

The NFL is a spectator sport which is priced for and advertised mainly to its secondary fans, with even the cheapest tickets exceeding three digits. Your friend will be able to rake in the dough through memorabilia, tickets, concessions, and advertising. And with one team or another always threatening to move if it doesn’t get a new stadium, he can pocket a little bit of tax money if he’s cheap and quiet enough.

Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon
Since your One-Percent friend probably already gets his cheap-ass labor from overseas, we can call this a little bit of a pro-American stealth gift. California’s Napa Valley is home to some of the most acclaimed and expensive wines in the world.

This particular wine is a mortgage at an average price of $2,618 a bottle. With fragrances of crushed berry, liquid stone, licorice pastille, violet, and graphite. It’s a little bit disorganized upon first taste, but then again, so is the economy.

Enzo Ferrari
What’s life in the fast lane without a fast car? The Enzo Ferrari can top out at 217 MPH and hit 60 from zero in 3.4 seconds.

Ha! I almost got that out without laughing. Yes, those speeds are real, but where is there a freeway where you can drive 217? Hell, they only get 14 miles per gallon! These suckers are status symbols. For $670,000, you should get your One-Percenter two, in case he decides to have some fun by driving one into his swimming pool.

Kizuna Encounter
You have to be a little nuts to try to complete a collection for any video game console, but there’s a special spot of insane for those who owned the Neo Geo. Even the cheapest games for that sucker hit three digits. And with less than twelve copies of this super-duper-rarity ever having been produced, you’re looking at a price tag of $10,000 and upward.

The game itself is a typical tag team fighter from SNK, the makes of quite a few popular fighting games, including Fatal Fury. Actually, in this case you can forget your One-Percenter. I’m a console collector. I’ll be happy to get a copy of this one.

Royal Copenhagen
You know what would go really well to serve Screaming Eagle in? Royal Copenhagen, a brand of China that graces the dinner tables of suck celebrities as Elton John and Oprah Winfrey.

Painted in beautiful leaf patterns, these simple, elegant pieces of china will set you back quite a variety of prices ranging from teacups ($1500 each) to dinner plates ($2150 each). A good five-piece set runs $8075. Hey, Oprah likes it, and if it’s good enough for the Queen of daytime talk, it’s certainly good enough for you!

Polo Equipment
If your One-Percenter is into sports, you might consider getting upgrades for his polo equipment. You can buy a perfectly healthy horse for less than $1000, but if you’re gonna get good polo gear for your friend, you need to do it right. That’s why you should first be setting aside $35,000 for a top-notch horse show jumper!

Of course, to actually ride the horse, you’ll need a good saddle, which is why Thornhill is there for you. Once you pony up (pun intended) $1995 for one of Thornhill’s platinum saddles, you’ll then need polo balls (Pro Chukker, Gold Box of 100 for $295), mallet ($120), and vented helmet ($230). And what if your friend is into other sports? They won’t be. Other sports just seem so 99 percent.

Vantare Platinum Plus RV
If your One-Percent friend like to rough it a little, this $2.5 million RV is just the ticket to let the world go during a long camping trip. It includes a 235-gallon gas tank which costs over $1000 just to fill up (you weren’t going to rudely present the RV without a full tank, were you?). It also features custom sculptures on the ceiling, marble steps to get up to the cabin, and if the towing car breaks down, there is a sports car which comes conveniently tucked underneath.

I remember once reading about a former US President who enjoyed hunting. He had his era’s version of the RV: Rail cars for eating and sleeping. He was also assisted on one trip by 1000 Sioux Indians. Wish your friend luck in trying to find any Indians willing to act as guides.

Almas Beluga Caviar
The word “almas” means diamond. It’s only a fitting title for this extremely rare caviar from a beluga, as it costs $25,000 for a single kilo.

There’s only one place in the world where this stuff is available, and that’s Caviar House and Prunier in London England’s Picadilly, where they sell it in a 24-karat gold tin. If you plan to glop it all over a cracker, better make it something better than the Saltines.

U2 – 20 Years of Achtung Baby – Uber Deluxe Edition
One-Percenters can be populists, right? Its been 20 years since the original release of the classic U2 album Achtung Baby, and U2 is celebrating it with a garish, overdone box set which might have gone better with their garish, overdone record Pop. It comes with the original Achtung Baby, the follow-up album, Zooropa, b-sides and reworkings of previously unheard material first recorded during the original sessions, four DVDs including a new doc called From the Sky Down, the concert video Zoo TV: Live from Sydney, and all the Achtung Baby music videos with bonus material. On the print side, there are five 7-inch vinyl singles in their original sleeves, 16 art prints taken from the original album sleeve, an 84-page hardcover book, a copy of Propaganda magazine, four badges, a sticker sheet, and a pair of Bono’s bitchin’ shades.

It doesn’t include any concert passes, but it does cost $630. You know, for the people.

The Hope Diamond
When all else fails, you can always go with the classics. The Hope Diamond is 45.52 karats and worth $350 million. It’s a little bluish diamond.

It’s also apparently famous for being a curse. Make of that what you will.