So, I’ve watched this about five times, and get equally choked up each time. Am I getting soft in my old age? Hormone imbalance? Perhaps. Or is this possibly just the sweetest video ever? That first little woman who hugs him kills me every time.
Big hugs to Elle for sharing this!


I’m almost 99% certain that my luggage tag is responsible for my frequent full-body cavity searches at airport security gates. There’s still a 1% chance that it’s my ginger perfume.
I’m also almost 99% certain that my recent iTunes purchases are responsible for my unprecedented levels of funk.
I’m Jenny-Jen and me love you long time.
How come every time you come around my London London Bridge wanna go down?
Dirty babe, you see these shackles? Baby, I’m your slave. I’ll let you whip me if I misbehave. It’s just that no one makes me feel this way.
I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind. There was something so pleasant about that place.
Does that make me crazy? Does that make me crazy? Does that make me crazy? Possibly.
Get your sexy on.
Get your sexy on.
Get your sexy on.
Get your sexy on.

The People Have Spoken

kodo and podo
Kodo and Podo
So say goodbye to Mr. Lionel Richie and Miss Dionne Warwick, and say hello to Kodo and Podo! There were so many good suggestions for new names, though, that I’m certain I’ll be rotating several of them into the lineup in the future.
And as happy as it makes me to have some cool new names for my cats, I think what pleases me the most is that finally we can all step out from the shadows of shame and openly admit that we love The Beastmaster.
Dammit – my name is Jenny, and I love the movie The Beastmaster (I do not, however, love the cheap knockoff television series).
Here’s what I like most about The Beastmaster:
I like the part when the Beastmaster sees through the eyes of the falcon. I like the part where we first meet John Amos’ character partly because I keep expecting him to yell at J.J. and ask Florida what’s for dinner. I like the part where if you look closely, you can see the stripes of the tiger that they painted black to make it look like a panther. I like the part where those witches have really hot bodies but hideous faces, and hover over the cauldron as they watch the Beastmaster’s every move. I like the part where they stab a hot poker into the eyeball that’s in the ring that stupid kid wore. I like the part when Tanya Roberts and the Beastmaster wrestle and it’s all sexual tension and stuff. And I really like the part when the little ferrets, Kodo and Podo, always save the day. Just like my cats would, if they had ambition.

Now, if I can only teach my cats to steal necklaces and chew through trees when I’m sinking in quicksand, my life will be totally on the right track.
So thank you to everyone for voting on the opinion poll, and thank you for accepting me for who I really am – owner of cats, writer of blog, lover of Dar.

Opinion Poll: What’s New, Pussycat?

I’ve always heard that it takes a big person to admit when they’re wrong, so I’m here to say that I was wrong. Dead wrong. And I don’t mean just a little bit wrong, like last week when I told Dee-Dee and Natasha that I thought Men in Trees might actually be kind of funny. I’m talking way out in left field, totally not on the same page, singing from a different songbook kind of wrong.
And the worst part is that I didn’t just hurt myself this time – I brought two innocent victims along with me. I mean, what was I thinking when I renamed my cats Mr. Lionel Richie and Miss Dionne Warwick? Sure it was funny the first time I said it, but the joke got old real fast, and those are really long names to yell when they’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing.
“Mr. Lionel Richie! So help me, if you don’t get off that table and stop eating my small curd cottage cheese…”
“Miss Dionne Warwick! This is the last time I’m telling you – if you keep batting those glitter balls under the refrigerator, I’m not going to buy you any more!”
There really wasn’t anything wrong with their other names – Punch and Judy, or Maddox and Zahara – so I don’t know why I felt the need to mess with a good thing, but the bottom line is that I did. I messed with a damn good thing and now there’s no turning back.
So this leads me to what may quite possibly be my most important opinion poll EVER. My only option now is to once again rename my cats, so I’ve gathered a few potential candidates. However, I also recognize that perhaps my judgment cannot be trusted, so I’m encouraging write-in suggestions as well. But first, I think it’s important that you understand a little about them so that you can make the right choice:
Boy Cat
[click for larger versions]
City cats
Totally tasted like margarine
Height: 14”
Weight: 13 lbs
Eyes: Blue
Age: 6 years
Sign: Taurus
Best Feature: Prominent nose
Likes: Trying to escape out the back door, sitting in window plotting escape route, medicinal catnip (for glaucoma), napping, attacking his sister, eating shoelaces, looking at spiders but never actually doing anything about them
Dislikes: Not being able to escape, collars, showers, hats of any sort, being placed underneath the laundry basket

Girl Cat
[click for larger versions]
America's Next Top Model
No really, I'm not kidding
Height: 12”
Weight: 10 lbs
Eyes: Blue
Age: 6 years
Sign: Taurus
Best Feature: Pearly white teeth
Likes: Apples, screaming, pacing in circles, eating plastic grocery bags, licking yogurt cartons, napping, stretching, feathers
Dislikes: Vacuum cleaners, ironing boards being opened, collars, bonnets, dishtowels tied around neck like a cape, manicures
I’m going to completely trust the popular opinion on this, unless there’s a write in candidate so spectacular that I have to utterly disregard what the majority of you want and think only of myself and my kittens. So now that you know a little more about my cats, their fate is in your hands.
Q: What should I rename my cats?
1. Kenny and Dolly
2. Moose and Squirrel
3. Starving Kittens in China
4. Kodo and Podo
5. Guinness and Harp
6. Other (please explain)


In a distinct departure from my normal lunch routine, I bonded with a group of complete strangers yesterday over an emotional discussion about religion. Well, more specifically, we bonded when we were standing outside a high-rise office building in the Loop and noticed a giant praying mantis near the entrance, sheltering itself from the rain.
“Oh my god! Is that…?”
“It’s a praying mantis!”
“In the Loop?!”
“Oh my god!”
“I know!”
“I’ve never seen one in real life before!”
“That’s what I was just saying!”
“Holy crap – a praying mantis!”
“Yup, praying mantis.”
“Right here.”
“Oh my god!”
“What’s he doing here?”
“Don’t know.”
“Staying dry.”
“Just like us – ha!”
“Ahhh! Ohmigod – what is that?!”
“He’s not gonna attack you.”
“Yeah – it’s just a praying mantis.”
“Holy crap, look at his arms!”
“His eyes are huge!”
“Is that a praying mantis?”
“Poor little guy.”
“Should we pick him up?”
“He’ll be okay.”
“They can fly, right?”
“I think so – or is that locusts I’m thinking of?”
“It’s a plague!”
“Praying mantis – sure don’t see that everyday.”
“Not in Chicago, at least.”
“That’s for sure!”
“Well, take it easy!”
“You too!”
“Praying mantis… ha!”


J: “So, I think I lost my favorite bra.”
V: “Really? How’d that happen?”
J: “No idea. But I can’t find it anywhere.”
V: “Some pervert probably stole it from your laundry basket.”
J: “Ew. You think so?”
V: “Totally. That’s exactly what happened.”
J: “Wait a minute… so the possibility never even occurred to you that I might have left it at someone’s house after a wild, erotic tryst?”
[dramatic pause]
V: “Are you suggesting that’s a possibility?”

[thoughtful pause]

J: “Some perv stole it.”

Top Banana

Although I had been friends with Laura since we were five, we had never lived together, so when we decided to share a flat the year after college, we had the usual roommate worries: Will our furniture match? What if our taste in TV is totally different? What if she steps on the bathmat with soaking wet feet?
As it turned out, living with her was a dream, all except for one thing – the refrigerator. Or more accurately, the refrigerator magnet. I distinctly remember the day Laura slapped it on the refrigerator, a grocery list held securely in its grasp.
“Uh, Laura? What’s this?”
“What? Oh – the magnet? My grandmother gave me that.”
It was a bright yellow plastic banana, with a smiling face, and the words, “Top Banana” written across the peel in permanent black marker.
“Your grandma wrote ‘Top Banana’ on a magnet and gave it to you?”
Laura nodded, “Uh huh,” and went back to doing the dishes.
A few minutes later, I walked back into the kitchen and said, “So… what? Your grandmother thinks you’re the top banana around here?”
“Pretty much.”
“That doesn’t seem right.”
“How so?”
“Well, what am I supposed to be?”
“Guess that would make you second banana.”
Month after month I was forced to stare at that banana, rubbing Laura’s status in my face every time I grabbed a can of soda or a piece of cheese. From time to time, I would move the magnet away from my line of vision – down low by the door handle, or on the side by the stove. But every day, it would end up right where it started – perfectly at eye level, mocking me.
Laura’s grandmother became known to us simply as “Banana Grandma,” and for years later, I would tease her that her gift to Laura made me feel inferior.
“Laura totally flaunts it, you know. The whole ‘Top Banana’ thing. I think you’re giving her a big head. I mean, who made her top banana?”
Her grandmother would just laugh whenever we brought up the magnet. Where was she from, with that sweet accent? I can’t remember. But I remember that she called me Jinny, and it reminded me of how Miss Harris, my first grade teacher, would say my name in her southern drawl.
A few years ago, I received a small package at work from an unfamiliar address. Marjorie? Who do I know named Marjorie? It became instantly clear when I opened up the package and found this:
I actually gasped when I opened it up, and immediately called Laura to gloat. Her grandmother had sent me a top banana magnet! Me! It was a decade later, but finally I had been vindicated.
Somewhere in the middle of my, your grandma loves me more speech, Laura asked calmly, “Does it say ‘Top Banana’ on it?”
I looked down at the magnet, turned it over, and said, “Well, no… but it’s the identical magnet! I’m positive!”
“But it’s just a plain banana, right? It doesn’t say ‘Top Banana’ anywhere.”
After a long pause, I said, “No.”
“So I guess we’re still clear on who the top banana is, right?”
I carefully placed the magnet back in its envelope and sighed, “You’re the top banana, Laura.”
“Just checking.”
I still keep it on my refrigerator, where it holds up a picture of my nephews. And since I see that magnet every day whenever I grab a can of soda or a piece of cheese, it just broke my heart to learn that Laura’s grandmother passed away unexpectedly last week. A lively, lovely woman with an easy laugh and a kind heart, she was truly something special, and the real top banana in my book.


She is practicing violin again, windows open wide to let in the almost fall breeze. If I had stuck with my lessons for more than a year, I might have some idea of the piece she’s playing. Sometimes I can’t tell if she’s practicing, or just listening to music.
It’s drizzling out as I am unloading my groceries from the car, but I pause by her window to listen as she plays.
I never was able to make a pure sound.
Her notes are true and clean, and cut through the grey of this day. In the apartment above hers, a cat sits inside on the windowsill, taking it all in. He reminds me of my old cat.
I think I liked the trappings of musical instruments more than the actual playing of them – the coolness of the chin rest against my face, the piney scent of rosin on the bow, the soft velvet lining of the case.
And my mother was fond of my violin teacher, Mr. Seeger, who looked like the man from the Dr. Pepper commercials, so while my lessons resulted in no actual talent, we all got what we wanted for a time.
She misses a note, pauses, and begins again, this time perfectly. The rain starts falling harder, and makes a soft pinging sound as it hits the plastic grocery bags in my arms. I shift them to one side as I wrestle for my keys, carefully avoiding the puddles that have formed.

Game On!

[Dear Ashbloem – the gauntlet? She is thrown.]
What the-? Why’d she put a tub of butter next to me?
Oh bitch, you did not just put butter on my nose.
Hmm. Kinda creamy, little salty. Oh, it’s butter all right. Son of a…
Enh! Can’t… quite… reach.
Damn! What side is it on?
Plblblblb… is this low fat butter? Sick!
Nice. After I already took a bath this morning!
That’s right. Take your precious photos. As soon as you fall asleep, I’m sucking out your breath.

Now With More Cat Tongue!

No really, I'm not kidding
She doesn’t know it yet, but I’m having a secret contest with Ashbloem. The rules are simple: obsessively photograph your cats in the hopes of catching them with their tongues hanging out. I’m not even sure if there’s a prize for winning this contest, other than seeing more cat tongue. So really, we all win.
I have the day off of work today, and plan on doing nothing but follow my cats around with my camera. I might smear butter all over them, too, just to jump start the licking.
Although really, if I’m being honest with myself, I could photograph my cats day and night and still never get a picture as good as this one of Ash’s Thundercat:
So, yeah. That’s the plan. Just me, two cats, a tub of butter, and a camera. This blog My social life is going downhill fast.