Tiger Tale Journal -- Cat Thoughts on Life, Religion and Politics

The greater part of what my neighbors call good, I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? --Henry Thoreau

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Location: Frostbite Creek, Minnesota

Can you ever really know a cat?

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Staying Home from Church to Watch George Snuffleupagus

"So, you didn't go to church." Wadena was sitting in a warm sunbeam, licking a paw and using it to fine-tune the angle of her ear.


"Why not?"

"Maybe I just needed a Sunday morning to think."

She paused in her licking to look at me. "Don't think too much......you won't ever go back there again." Her tone was more condescending than usual.

Wadena thinks church is a waste of time. She knows nothing of my church except what I tell her or what she overhears--but that makes no difference.....she thinks all church is a waste of time.

Don't get the wrong idea. Wadena is not an atheist. She's actually an enthusiastic theist. She not only believes in God......she thinks she IS God.


She claims Abyssinian blood--thus she believes she is descended from the cats worshipped as Gods in ancient Egypt (strangely enough, the fact that she was found starving in the deep woods doesn't seem to interfere with her belief that she is a God).

So, any form of worship other than feeding her or attending to her litterbox is........to her--idolatry. She is offended by my straying off to church to worship other gods. But, most of all, she simply finds my faith ludicrous.

"So," she said, "you will read the Sunday paper, watch the sycophantic Snuffleupagus, drink coffee and relax.

"Stephanopoulous. He's a respected television journalist."

Wadena stopped her grooming and gave me the look. "He's a fake-smiling wimp who tries to agree with everybody to keep his job."

"Whatever. Anyhow, I'm not going to church."

"Very wise. That God you worship is dangerously crazy. He loves you. He hates you. He kills you. He brings you back to life. He forgives you. He wants to marry you (really kinky). He seems to have bizarre mood swings. This God is an abusive husband. Had you not noticed that?

"It's not exactly like that," I say.

"Ah, but it's EXACTLY like that. Massacres of children. Talking snakes! Virgin birth and blood-drinking rituals. Saved by works, saved by grace, loved but sent to eternal torture--you don't think all that's crazy?"

"Maybe to a cat."

"Maybe to ANYBODY with an IQ higher than broccoli!" Wadena started licking the other paw and I knew she would now ignore me for a while. She had established my inferiority and gullibility.

She had a point. Christianity seemed so normal until you looked at it from her point of view. All of a sudden it could seem pretty far-fetched. We had discussed it before and I found that I really had no satisfactory answers. All my teachers had always ended such discussions with statements about God moving in mysterious ways.

"That's why you have such severe problems with self-esteem."


Wadena looked positively Cheshire-like in her happiness. "You know what I mean. Since you were a baby your religious masters have told you that you are a wretch.....weak, poor, naked, blind and unworthy. You are a poor, miserable sinner......less than nothing without Jesus."

"I don't have a problem with self-esteem," I said.

"HAH!!! You go to church and your masters insult you and call you names......and then you give them money. You could take that money and buy yourself a nice big fish........but you DON'T! Why? Because you're not worth it! You're just a wretch. Better not get your religious masters mad at you......you NEED them. Scum like you would go to Hell otherwise, right?"

"No! And I DON'T have a problem with self-esteem!"

Wadena just sat and grinned at me......Cheshire-happy again.

That reminded me. I looked at my watch. It was time for George Snuffleupagus to come on and flash that big fake grin at everybody and try to stay popular with all viewers.

I turned on the t.v. No doubt watching a snuffling, smiling, sycophant would make me feel better about myself.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Wadena Meets a Stray Cat

There was a small form huddled just outside the patio door.

It was a cold night. Not just the silent frozen still dead-calm cold of late December Minnesota.....this was the howling-wind cold that breaks you.

Cold that you can hear. Cold that stirs long-dead and ancient memories of how it was to live outside.

Cold with a wind that freezes tears in your watering eyes and hardens your face in seconds and chills you right through your many layers of heavy clothes.

It was the grim wind-blown cold that convinces.

And there was a small form huddled just outside the patio door. A pile of wood somewhat sheltered it from that swirling wind and a snow drift curled close around it. It was a black cat.

Wadena, on a rug on the warm......INSIDE, side of the glass, stared out at the intruder.

"A cat," I said.

Wadena sighed. "Once again you amaze me with your ability to figure out the really hard stuff."

"Looks cold," I said.

Wadena stared at the cat.....a frosty stare that out-iced the -40 wind chill. "Ya think?"

"Maybe we should let it in to warm up," I said.

"Even again you amaze me.......with a really bad idea--even for you."

I shrugged. "Seems like the right thing to do."

"You really don't think these things through, do you?"

I hesitated......mulling it over, not wanting to look stupid in front of a cat. "What?"

Wadena turned the stare on me. "What?! What if it has fleas? What if it bit me? What if it ate all the food? Does it look like it's had its shots? What if it has some nasty disease? What if it stinks? Opening the door would make a cold draft. Why would we want one more cat in a house that doesn't have enough food now, anyhow? That's NOT a litter-box trained cat, you know.....that's a crawl-behind-the-couch-and-make-a-mess kind of a cat. "

"Can't just let it freeze," I said.

"Freeze? It's happy out there. Some cats choose to live that way. They like it."

"It's shivering."

"No......it just looks that way....that's the wind in the fur."

"I don't think so," I said, "maybe we should give it some food."

"Let it catch a mouse," Wadena said, "there are mice all over the place out there. If it catches its own mouse it will be able to keep its self respect and dignity."

"Ah," I said, "I just realized something."

"That it would be stupid to let it in?"

"No......you reminded me of a man I saw on t.v. He was a politician.......he said that if you GIVE a man a fish you feed him for one day.....but......"

Wadena sat up. She's always especially interested in any conversation about fish. "But what?" She said. "And what kind of a fish was it?"

"I don't know.....but he said.......rather than give a man a fish--you could give the man a job in your fish canning factory at minimum wage. He could work for you and make enough money to buy food for himself. And with any luck at all, his children and grandchildren would eventually work for you, too. And you would become very rich."

Wadena nodded vigorously. "But....was it a big fish?"

I took the cat inside that night. It was very sick. It wouldn't eat or drink. I called the Humane Society, but they had no room at their inn.

Budget cuts, they said.

I'll take it to the vet in the morning, I thought. In the morning.....it was dead.

Wadena said it was all for the best.

I had to agree.

"You're a Republican, aren't you?" I said.

Wadena yawned. "Of course. All cats are Republicans.......if you want something panting, drooling and caring--you should buy a dog."

"Now there's a thought," I said.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Christian Pie American Talking Blues Song

Eating Pie in the Name of Jesus

I know you would be encouraged, if you knew me back in the day
I know your heart would swell with pride to see me go about my way
I know I was good for the children, I know I was good for the world
I know that Jesus cherished me, well, whatever….I was gonna be heard.

I was eating pie, eating pie, eating pie in the name of Jesus.

I was helping all the sinners, I was setting the captives free
I was eating pie for the poor, oh, I was eating pie by the Christmas tree
Eating pie, eating pie, eating pie in the name of Jesus.

I was saving the wandering Muslim, I was taking Holy Land for the Jew
I was eating pie to help the hungry and weak and I was eating more than a few.
I was eating pie, eating pie, eating pie in the name of Jesus.

Every Sunday after service, yes, the evening service too,
Every Wednesday after the special service for the Very Holy Few
We’d all go to Perkins, yes, our whole Holy Crew
We were having more pie, a lot more pie, abundant pie in the name of Jesus.

We were saving babies and we were giving sight to poor blind fools
We paraded past the flag pole, we got the kids to pray in the schools
We got the proper people elected to save the homosexuwules.
We were eating pie…….eating pie, yes, eating pie in the name of Jesus.

We helped the poor to help themselves working at a minimum wage
That wasteful health insurance for kids wasn’t really needed anyway
We were walking tall for Jesus, the salvation of us all
Oh we ate pie…….(Oh, you know…..sing it now.) Pie, pie, etc. etc.

We invaded Iraq, it had to be done, we knew exactly why
Chemical weapons, mass deceptions, there were bombers in the sky,
If Iraq didn't do it, somebody did, and some Muslims had to die
We were eating pie, the price of gas was too high, we needed more PIE......
Yes we did, oh sweet Jesus.

We were holier than Swiss cheese and holding all the Kingdom keys
We were strong and standing tall, as the poor and weak were on their knees
Our rolling holy agenda, it was guaranteed to please
We were eating pie, never gonna die, we had all the pie, and we had Jesus.

And our Jesus.....he looked just like us, he was plump and six feet tall
And he ate pie, a lot of pie, yes, up in the sky, our sweet Jesus.
Oh he ate pie, and we ate pie, we all ate pie with our sweet Jesus.
We had to be right, everything was all right......we're getting THE ENTIRE PIE
With our sweet Jesus.

Mark Twain and the Pie-Eating Jesus

Mark Twain's bigotry would appear to be religious in nature.

While it may be true that he loved the black folk of his youth.....what was the difference between them and the brown and black folk of the Muslim Faith?

His black folk were Christians who had accepted the blue-eyed, American jingo Jesus.

Bingo jingo. On his pie-eating cruise he met people who not only had no pie.....they didn't WANT the pie of The Great Satan America.

That's what he hated. He couldn't stand anyone who rejected our pie and our plump, white, pie-eating Jesus.

About Me

Blue Only Goes With Sunshine

My favorite color is sunshine

I love the way it smells

It sparkles on the water

With the flashing sound of bells.

It’s better than the color blue

Which always made me sad.

My mother loved that color

The only one she had.

She taught me all there is to know

About the color blue.

She helped me learn that blue’s no good

If sunshine’s not there too.

My father loved the color red

And Mars, the god of war.

He bottled up the sunshine

And he sold it in his store.

His riches were exceeded

By the torment in his life,

His noisy desperation

And the clouds across his sight.

I’m looking at the ocean

Below a perfect sky.

My clothes that were so wet and cold

Are now sun-warmed and dry.

I’m smiling at the dolphins

And understanding why

The blue is good in daylight

Against a sunny sky.

And though I’m yet unable

To join them in their play

I understand the dolphins

And envy them their ways.

There’s so much heavy past

Infused with deep and solid blues

But sunshine whispers "it’s ok,"

My life is what I choose.

My favorite color is sunshine

I love the way it smells

It sparkles on the water

With the flashing sound of bells.

Mark Twain's "Innocents Abroad," Same Old/New Stuff

Love Mark Twain. Still hadn't read "The Innocents Abroad," so I picked up a copy real cheap on e-Bay.


The book was a best-seller. America loved it. Maybe for all the wrong reasons.

In "Innocents" Mark Twain writes as representative of a rich and xenophobic America as he enjoys a luxury cruise. He is annoyed by most people and dislikes some even more than others.

He slams the French, especially, but saves the worst of his venom for the Arabic people.

It seems that, to him, they are perilously close to being sub-human creatures.

Twain is quite adept at trashing them.

All this was quite remindful of the current state of America--this rampant animousity toward things French and things Muslim.

So..... the common and current and most ugly ill-will was alive and in robust health more than 100 years ago.

I (perhaps along with many others) tend to think of it as a more recent fad--a new rage--a dark flower of fashion that blossomed as gas prices went up in the 1970s and then hit full bloom with the 9/11 attack.

Naw.....America's hate and fear have far deeper and older roots, I guess.

Not many are chopping at those roots, either.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

TigerTale Journal

There's a reason for the names.

TigerTale Journal: Because she loves to twist the Tiger's tail.

Wadena: It's where she was found. I found Wadena alone in a thick and tangled pine forest in Wadena County.

She was loudly calling for a mama who either had a new litter of kittens or had maybe been a split second too slow when the softly flying Horned Owl came to call in the moonlight.

Wild cats in a wild place.

With all the noise Wadena was making......it was only a matter of time before a fox or coyote would come and have her for lunch. Luckily, I arrived first.

Understand that Wadena, though tiny and vulnerable.....WAS a proud, independent and totally undomesticated feline.

Wadena was quite sure who her mama was and it obviously wasn't me. I had to chase her down (which would have been impossible had she not kept up her complaining and allowed me to find her again every time she vanished in the brush).

So I carried her home. It was lucky that it was a cold morning and I was wearing heavy gloves, because she wanted to end our relationship and was using her excellent claws for traction. It took her some time to forgive me for the indignity of this capture and for the additional insult of such undignified transport. She was obviously sure that she could make it alone out there in the woods.

She slowly became a reluctant part of the family. We had three other cats. Being (in her mind) a temporary resident, Wadena wiled away the hours until such time as she could escape. She killed time by scientifically driving our other cats to distraction.

Taking ownership of tail tips was only one of the ways she accomplished this. She showed her wild heritage by exhibiting great intelligence and ingenuity, and many were her tactics--the ambush, the blow-your-doors-off close scamper and the sudden pounce without mercy were just a few.

But her favorite was twisting the tiger's tail.

I'm sure we'll be twisting some tails as we move through the blogosphere together.....she has forgiven me and our lives are now inextricably intertwined. We are now embarked on a literary mission for truth and social justice and the pursuit of elusive cursors.

She, radical cat that she is, comes up with all the ideas. Me? I just type.