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Sunday, April 09, 2006

My cat has an eating disorder. How does this happen?

She comes from a good family. I've never mistreated nor neglected her. She's well fed. By all accounts she should be happy and content...and yet, here we are.

It's called Pica, which is an eating disorder typically defined as the persistent eating of nonnutritive substances for a period of at least 1 month.

My cat has been doing this for several weeks. Her non-food item of choice is paper products. She started with newspapers, worked her way up to notebook paper, and now I believe she's sneaking the occasional scraps of wood - after clawing them off the doorframe - when I'm not looking. Some of my bills are just plain gone and I have to keep my money under lock and key for fear she'll devour that as well. The paper money, not coins which - at least for now - she has no interest in.

Among individuals with mental retardation, pica is the most common eating disorder. But my cat ain't retarded, so I don't know what her deal is.

As for treatment, I've looked up some recommendations such as:

1. Remove targeted items. Since my place is stacked with papers and books, short of leaving everything behind while I relocate with my cat to a nice roomy cave, I don't see that happening.

2. Provide lots of structured play. If that actually worked, I'd start eating paper just so my friends would provide me with lots of structured play.

3. Make targeted items aversive. The recommendation I read stated: "Occasionally, applying aversive substances (e.g. hot sauce, Bitter Apple, etc) to an item may deter a cat from chewing it. If this is not possible, spraying strong smelling substances (e.g. citrus air freshener, potpourri) on an object may prevent cats from approaching." Yeah, that'll be great. I'll just splash some hot sauce, and for good measure spray a little citrus air freshener, on every piece of paper I own. Nobody will talk to me because that'll be a stench that won't ever wash off but, hey, at least my cat will stop eating paper.

4. Provide alternative items to chew or eat. Do you mean like plastic bags? I've got plenty! And nothing beats that yummy chemical taste.

I'd like to think there's a simpler solution so, instead, I'm trying to find a high-fiber brand of cat food so she won't feel the need to consume her own inappropriate dietary supplements.

If that doesn't work, then the next time I catch my cat eating paper I could just give her a couple of good whacks with a rolled up newspaper - but she'd probably eat that too.

Maybe, to teach her a lesson, I should crack open a copy of War and Peace and tell her, "Start eating and don't stop until you've finished all 992 pages!"

If all else fails, I could take her to an 'animal psychic'.

"Your cat tells me she's depressed. Also, she was once a human being who worked in a paper mill in a previous life. It was the early 20th century and the workers barely made enough to put food on the table, so they'd sometimes eat wood pulp just to survive. This is a habit she's carried over into her new cat life. Also, she says the taste of paper and ink makes her taste buds dance."

Like I originally asked: How does this happen?

posted by Pete 3:22 PM
Thursday, March 30, 2006
[[ Vive Idiotez! ]]

I made the mistake of driving with a friend through downtown Phoenix on Tuesday afternoon.

There I was, the "designated white guy", surrounded by hundreds of cars filled with Mexican flag-waving Latino youth. Street traffic was moving slower than the DREAM Act through Congress.

What should've been less than a ten minute trip turned into over forty-five minutes, as these young activists made a slow crawl toward the State Capitol in protest of federal House Bill 4437, which would make it a felony to be in the United States illegally.

I'm all for peaceful organized protest. I believe addressing the illegal immigration issue is long overdue. Hell, I don't even care if you know how to speak English but if you're going to live in this country then you damn well better learn how to drive!

You don't stop in the center lane to let your friends out of the car so they can run over to, and climb into, another vehicle that's a half block away. You don't get out of the car and stand in the middle of the next lane, blocking traffic, so you can talk on your cell phone for several minutes. And the only time there should be over a dozen people packed into the back of a pick-up truck is if they're hidden under the floorboards and you're taking them across some country's border illegally.

The police were of no help. Standing on the sidewalk while calling over your radio, "There's a situation on 5th Ave, we need back-up!" is not help when nobody can get near 5th Ave because of Latino high-school students playing in traffic and gumming up the street with vehicles going every which way - all going as slowly as possible on the rare occasion the driver doesn't decide to stop completely even when there's several car lengths of space ahead. So, instead, a few police cars parked blocks away and the officers spent their time videotaping the scene and calling over the radio - probably calling for more back-up because, after all, you can never shoot enough video, now can you? It almost made one nostalgic for the good ole days of fire hoses and rabid dogs, when the line was firmly drawn and both police and protesters knew their place.

Up until now, I really hadn't taken a position on the whole illegal immigration issue. Now I'm leaning towards deportation, just as long as we don't let those deported drive themselves back across the border. An exodus by car would take several years, there would be numerous traffic accidents, and nobody would get in or out of either country for the foreseeable future.

I'm sure all my French-Canadian friends, who've been living quietly but illegally in the U.S. for decades, would be mighty disappointed in my attitude. Habiter et apprendre! Habiter et apprendre!

posted by Pete 4:28 AM
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
[[ 21 Wishes ]]

I wish I could forget.

I wish him luck. He's sure gonna need it.

I wish I could be better.

I wish unicorns were real. I also wish I had a hunting license.

I wish I could quit you, ma bell!

I wish you were here. And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts? Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze? Cold comfort for change? And did you exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage? In that case I'm kind of glad you're not here. I'm so disappointed in you and, for that matter, so is Roger Waters.

I wish art museums would make a special pass for people who only want to look at one or two paintings.

I wish people would stop being obsessive. I've been wishing for this one a lot.

I wish I had a reason to use stamps.

I wish I knew then what I know now. Alternately, I wish I were as blissfully ignorant now as I was then.

I wish when I wished upon a star it made no difference who I are.

I wish you would.

I wish it would rain today.

I wish Trix weren't only for kids.

I wish we could talk like we used to.

I wish I could fly like Superman. But I'd settle for the x-ray vision.

I wish I could, I wish I could… but then, I'm no little engine.

I wish for world peace - or a year's supply of free groceries. One or the other, I'm not too picky.

I wish I was deserving of a second chance when I know others who've done far worse, far more often, were given third and fourth chances.

I wish I were more careful about what I wished for.

I wish I'd known this when I started.

posted by Pete 12:12 AM
Saturday, December 31, 2005

Resolutions are as old as the New Year concept itself going back to 4000 BC with the Babylonians. The most popular resolution then was to return borrowed farming equipment.

Like today, after about two weeks people gave up on their resolutions which means the borrowed farming equipment was never returned.

To avoid the trap so many others fall into, I’ve decided to make resolutions I know I can keep.

Here are my New Year’s resolutions:

Gain weight

To accomplish this I must first give up salads, fresh fruit, and any other healthy crap that’ll keep my weight down. I must also increase my junk-food intake. Not only does this mean larger portions – two Big Macs instead of one, for example – but also side orders. Do I want fries with that? I sure as hell do! And a milkshake would be nice too, thank you.

Instead of snacking on fruit, I’ll eat potato chips and plenty of them. I will eat them with dip – plus an assortment of jumbo pretzels, cracklin’ pork rinds and heaping helpings of cheese whiz.

Be less organized

I had something really witty to say here and even went through the trouble of writing it down in advance. However, I’ve now lost my notes. See, it’s working already!

Increase my smoking habit

I’m barely finishing one pack per day, but resolve to smoke two packs each day in the coming year. To aid in this, I plan to start smoking in bed – no matter how tired and/or drunk I am at the time. Certain sacrifices must be made if I’m to keep my eye on the prize.

Exercise Less

Mostly this involves sleeping more and only moving my body when absolutely necessary.So, for example, if a truck barreling down the road jumps the curb and is headed directly at me I’ll jump out of the way. That’s exercise.

However if the phone rings, and I have to get out of bed to answer it, I’ll let the machine get it. When I later have to move, like if I have to get up to pee or something, I’ll make it a point to check my messages. Otherwise, that would involve – in some small way – exercise. Of course, if I keep an empty bottle next to the bed I could reasonably avoid a trip to the bathroom for days or even weeks. Yes!!!

Initiate sex less often

I may buy the ladies drinks... and plenty of them. I will say things that are enticingly charming but not mean a word of it. However, I will not initiate the sex act. But let's face it, the words "initiate" and "sex act" are somewhat open to interpretation and that's a gray area only a court of law can define. I'm not on trial here, goddammit!

But for the record, masturbation doesn’t count as “initiating sex”. Neither does looking at free Internet porn. I just wanted to make that clear now, so nobody can come up to me later and claim I broke this resolution.

Stop dating flaky women

With God as my witness, I will stop dating flaky women. I might as well rename this resolution join a monastery and take a vow of celibacy because, you know, we are talking about women here.

Luckily, there’s a built-in loophole with this one.

“Dating” implies taking the woman out in public, to a restaurant or movie or some such, but if you simply pick them up at a bar when they’re drunk and just take them home with you… well, that’d be o.k.

As long as you don’t call them the next day or “make plans”.

Usually, if she's really drunk she'll initiate the sex too -- so I can still avoid that. In the morning, as an added bonus, when she doesn't remember what happened I can tell her how she wantonly seduced me in a sloppily drunken sexual frenzy the night before. Then I doubt she'll even want me to call. Sweet!

Save money

See previous resolution. Also, I resolve to stop blowing my money on bad porn and questionable investment schemes. God, I'm going to save a lot of money. Sad but true!

Spend less time with friends and family

Friends are overrated and most of my family lives too far away to make a visit practical. This one is a slam-dunk.

Don’t take a trip

I hate flying and am not too keen on driving either. In fact, stepping out my front door is often a hassle. I think I’ll stay inside for 2006 and silently stew in my own bitter juices instead. That sounds much more productive than going to places I really didn’t want to visit in the first place. This also helps me to avoid friends and family, killing two resolved birds with one stone.

Be more of a jackass

Some reading this may argue that it isn’t humanly possible for me to be more of a jackass. I beg to differ. Every so often I have a weak moment and do something kind for somebody else. That’ll stop in the coming year.

posted by Pete 7:05 AM