Wednesday, April 30, 2008

One with the Bow

Kink hopped up on my lap, circled around a couple of times, clunked down and kneaded me in the thigh with his claws. I remained motionless throughout all this so as not to get even more damaged. I winced slightly as the claws dug through my jeans.

“So, how’s the book going,” Kink asked, licking his paw and wiping his ear.

“Not bad,” I replied rubbing my leg, “not bad. It’s out there, you know, and the public will make up their own mind. We did our best and I think it was a good effort.”

Kink pondered this for a few minutes, then looked up at me with his liquid yellow eyes, whiskers thrust forward indicating curiosity, and said, “How do you know you hit the mark? I mean, you took a shot but what were you aiming at? How do you know you scored points on the target?”

I thought about Kink’s conjecture. Given no target how does one know one hit the mark? What points were to be scored? In other words, given a subject how does one know one addressed the subject satisfactorily? Where were the scores posted?

Kink and I sat there for quite a while as I puzzled out his puzzle. Kink purred as I grew more agitated.

Finally, I spoke.

“Well, I’ll take it on faith that I hit the mark. Considering your analogy a bit farther it’s like being a blind archer. You’re given the distance to the target and perhaps someone tells you a little bit higher, or a little bit lower or left or right, but in the end you’re blind and you have to let the arrow fly. Perhaps it hits the target, perhaps not.”

Kink licked his tail then scrunched down in my lap. “So, you mean it’s just random chance? Luck of the draw? Que sera sera? Ready, fire, aim?”

I reached down and scratched Kink behind the ears. He closed his eyes and arched is back. “No,” I replied, “not random chance. I am guided by the words and actions of others. I rely upon my experience, the experience of others and guidance. I can hit the mark if I use all that I know and all that is known. We learn, we move along, we get better at what we do. They say you have to become One with the Bow. Whatever that means.”

Kink yawned, stretched his paws out and gripped my thigh with his claws. He said, “So how do you know you’ve hit the target?”

I didn’t answer for a while by which time Kink fell to sleep, his breathing becoming regular, interrupted by the occasional twitch.

“How do we know, my little friend,” I whispered to the sleeping Kink, “we don’t, exactly. We do our best, we set the arrow in motion and we hope that it goes roughly in the direction of our aim. If it doesn’t, well, we aren’t in control of the arrow, we’re only in control of the bow.”

Kink rolled on to his back, stretched his body to full length and let out a long sigh.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Book Sales Rank: #623 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)
Popular in these categories: (What's this?)
#1 in Books > Parenting & Families > Humor
#3 in Books > Parenting & Families > Family Relationships > Fatherhood
#5 in Books > Entertainment > Humor > Essays

Moving on up! Sales Rank: #293 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)
Popular in these categories: (What's this?)
#1 in Books > Parenting & Families > Humor
#1 in Books > Parenting & Families > Family Relationships > Fatherhood
#3 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories

Not an obsession.

Not that I'm obsessing over this, he said breathing deeply into a paper bag, but Dooce's book has risen to NUMBER 38 in Amazon's overall Bestseller List!

3 8 ! ! ! ! !

Will it reach the coveted Numero Uno spot?

Stay tuned!

(Memo to self: Order another pack of exclamation points. Running low!!!!)

Shameless Plug

Tonight is the eve of "The Book" being published.

What is The Book?

Check out the sidebar to the left.

The Book is Heather Armstrong's (aka Dooce) book an anthology on Fatherhood and I am a contributor. Tomorrow I hope to see the book in my local Barnes and Noble and I'll be in early to check out the shelves.

Meanwhile, snag a copy for yourself! Click on the sidebar and do the Amazon thing.

It's a great book, really. Funny, poignant and insightful the contributing authors each gave their own point of view about Fatherhood, whether they wrote about being fathers or about their own fathers.

Of course, I give it ten thumbs up, but I'm biased. This is Heather's first book and I think she did a masterful job especially considering that she didn't know what we, the contributors, would write about! It was a wild ride and I'm looking forward to seeing the book on shelves and, hopefully, some nice reviews.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fast Like a Kink on a Cardinal

“Leapin’ lizards!”

That was Little Orphan Annie’s expression of surprise, and she was surprised often. I enjoyed reading about Annie’s adventures in the comics as a kid. Great stuff.

Today, leapin’ lizards has a more literal meaning as Kink the Cat has become an expert lizard hunter and, oh, so proud of his trophies. You probably know where this is heading.

But, going back a year when Kink was just a kitten, he was extremely playful and loved to bring you his toys: a bit of string, a piece of paper, eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat; that sort of thing.

One of Kink’s favorite toys to this day is the little plastic ring that’s left on a half-gallon of milk after you twist off the cap. He loves those rings and will carry them around the house for days. He also likes to hop up on the bed at the crack of dawn with one of his toys and play with it on your pillow around your head. You can buy yourself another 30 seconds of slumber by tossing his toy across the room or down the hall. That usually distracts him for a while.

Let’s see, how many things have I tossed off the bed while half asleep?

Milk jug rings
Wads of paper
Christmas present bows
Hair bands
Catnip mouse toy
Large cockroach
Real mouse

I say “lizards,” plural, because lizards have become the toy de jour, and take it from me, I’m the one who’s doing the leaping.

Nothing gets the heart pumping in the morning faster than grabbing something dropped on your ear only to have it grab back. If Kink ever joins the Navy he’ll already have the vocabulary.

This morning, though, I would have taken a weeks worth of lizards rather than Kink’s latest conquest.

This morning started out as most mornings. Birds chirping at 5:30. Barky dogs barking at 6:00. Golf course crew terraforming the planet outside my bedroom window at 6:30. Kink coming through the cat door (flip flap) at 7:00, probably with another lizard.

This morning the bird chirping was quite loud, like, in the same room loud. And there was the flapping like a bird was right there on your ear. Flapping. Chirping.

I rolled over, opened my eyes and came face to beak with a very unhappy, and somewhat worse-for-the-wear looking, cardinal.

I flew out of bed! (which surprised the cardinal considerably) The cardinal flew out of bed! Kink sat on the floor watching all the flying with great interest.

The cardinal darted here and there, flapping and shrieking the “I’m in a room with a cat!” shriek. I had to catch the bird and get it out of the house. But how?

I needed a net! Yeah, that’s what I needed. A net. I could catch the bird with the net and take it outside. But, I don’t have a net. No matter. I raced to the garage and looked around for something to catch the bird.

I began to have desperate, crazy thoughts.

Lawnmower. No.

Chainsaw. No.

Tent drying out from the weekend. No

And, then, there it was, the pool skimmer net.

Pool skimmer. YES!

Attached to a 10-foot pole.

Rats! I couldn’t wield a net on a 10-foot pole. I just needed the net, but it was screwed on tight. I searched my toolbox for a wrench and finally found a monkey wrench, although very large, would do the job.

Finally, net in hand I raced back to the bedroom...

...but it was too late.

I thought I had been fast in the garage getting the net, no more than 20 minutes, but Kink was faster. Darned giant monkey wrench.

The cardinal was an ex-cardinal. Kink trotted into the kitchen for breakfast while I surveyed the crime scene. I had no idea a cardinal had so many feathers.

I took the victim out back, buried it in a shallow grave in the garden and returned to the kitchen to get the morning coffee going. I made a double batch because I had some unexpected housework to attend to.

Thanks, Kink. Never a dull moment with you around, old buddy.

Kink, looking out the window, spied a lizard running across the deck and ran to the cat door. (flip flap)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

He Said Beer, She Said Wine

Marnie and Sam. They're speaking the same language only using different words. Or are they using the same words and speaking a different language?


This delightful book will be one you keep in your kitchen to refer to over and over. Marnie and Sam joust in the arena of food and beverage compatibility, and there are only winners. Whether you come down on the side of the beer drinkers or wine suits your delicate palate you will enjoy how Marnie and Sam approach the complicated subject of understanding the subtleties of wine and beer and how they relate to food.

First, the book explains wine and beer in clear and entertaining terms. Wine can be complex, but so can beer. Marnie and Sam step you through the process of understanding how the various taste components mix and match in both wine and beer.

Second, the book provides many Rules of Thumb without which Western Civilization as we know it would collapse. What if you are serving fish and are fresh out of chablis, but you have a crate of Corona Lite? What to do, what to do? Never fear, beer is here!

Third, there are the dinner challenges. Cook up a dinner of sirloin steak or pork chops or glazed ham. Invite your friends. Provide a sampling of beers and wine and let your guests decide which combinations go well together. It's a fun way to have a surprising evening full of banter, discussion about food and did I say fun?

He Said Beer, She Said Wine is a fun read and a great reference book. Who knew that the perfect compliment to pecan pie was Norrebro La Granja Expresso Stout? I might have guessed that in 100 years or so, but there it is right on page 203.

Finally, although I was captivated by the wealth of knowledge in this book and it's humor, I was unprepared for all the recipes in the final chapters.

Grand Marnier mousse with d'Asti wine and Frambroise beer will be on my menu soon, especially as it is strawberry season. Heavy cream and beer. Hmmm, I'll plan on going to the gym NEXT week!