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?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Wadena's Fishing Adventure? Yes.......soon.

Those eager followers of that illustrious saga concerning the cat named Wadena's fishing trip on the dark and menacing Big Hard-Hearted River can relax.....the third (final?) installment is now being written. Not real fast, but being written. If you haven't read the first two parts, now's the time to do it.

Part I (The High Ground) and Part II (The Swamp).

Also, to add to my workload, a Radical Middle of the Road blogger is chatting with me back on "Why the Zionists Will Fail."

A blogger's work is never done......as I am finding out.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Hamas Win Helps Bush

Let's just say--just to throw out an idea......that Bush really WANTED Hamas to win that election.

He has caused radical factions all over the world to gain in strength over the moderates because people fear Bush and support those who vow to destroy him.

Iran. Egypt. Lebanon. Palestine. Iraq. All showing wins or strong gains by radical anti-American political parties.

Fear and hate helped Bush gain power in America.

Fear and hate of Bush help his enemies around the globe to gain power.

Stupid, hateful and fearful people of many nations voting stupidly ...... making decisions based on fear and hate and skillful propaganda.

Bush is simply crafting an endless supply of enemies to fear and hate.....because he knows that he can thus ensure votes for Republicans who vow to destroy those enemies and save America.

Bush loves democracy? Of course he does.

Now I see the master plan.


Hamas won for the same reason that resistance is getting stronger in Iraq.

Hamas won for the same reason the radical Shias have virtually taken control of the new Iraqi government.

Hamas won for the same reason Iran has elected a hard-liner who is determined to make Iran a nuclear power and confront America.

Hamas won for the same reason North Korea wants to go nuclear.

Hamas won for the same reason that radical Muslim parties have made huge gains in power in both Egypt and Lebanon.

Hamas won for the same reason America is now hated by so many nations of the world.

Hamas won because the use of brute force only brings brute force in return.

Brutal begets brutal. Hate begets hate.

People all over the world are looking to make the best fight they can because they know that America is coming for them.

The Predators are circling like birds of prey.

A relentless and malevolent America is coming for anyone who dares disagree with her.

We are entering into a new escalation of brute force met by brute force.

All because of one little cowboy.......George W. Bush.

It seems that people in many parts of the world are ready to die on their feet rather than live on their knees.......bowing to the evil ideology of a pathetic little cowboy.

Count me in, world.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Democracy gave us.......George Bush and Hamas.

Stupid people, poorly educated......choosing what they saw as the lesser of two evils.......emotional and driven by propaganda.......making bad decisions.

Democracy could work......given an educated and thoughtful AND COMPASSIONATE electorate.

For us.......for the Palestinians.......it gave us the tyranny of the angry, brainwashed masses.

Democracy? It sucks.

The Stolen Children and the Coming Theocracy

I've noticed an interesting thing.

In my town there are three churches that are slowly gobbling up almost all of the available children.

They are all Radical Religious Right FundaGelical Churches. Their only competition is each other.

They have money, hot music, high-tech multi-media capabilities, emotional worship, hot religio-political issues, patriotic war-fever, the smell of success from electing the politicians they wanted, and, most of all, they have the kids.

Kids want to go to events where there are a lot of other kids.

Kids are now choosing where families go to church because the parents are too often uninvolved or uncaring. Many kids are going to church WITHOUT their uncaring parents.....because they have fun with all the other kids and they are made to feel special and loved.

Kids are choosing to go where all the other kids are going.

And in my town, that turns out to be almost exclusively the Radical Religious Right Churches.

Other youth programs, other traditional and liberal mainstream churches.....are dying as their increasingly elderly populations die without replacements.

What happens 20 years from now when the brainwashed kids of the FundaGelical youth programs start to take over leadership of this nation?

If you think America has serious problems now.......wait.

I think that most Liberals who worry about the coming theocracy are totally unaware that the war is being lost right under their noses.

What's happening in your town?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Why the Zionists Will Fail

Someone asked for more about Palestine and the Zionist destiny.

I tend to take a dark view of the situation in Palestine. I think the Zionists will be defeated and removed. I think that will take 50 to 100 years and many millions of lives destroyed.

Certain Jews coveted a homeland and (with considerable help from the British) took it by force--in blatant violation of their own holy laws.
The prophet Jeremiah said, “Thus says the Lord: Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place.”
Their harsh treatment of the Palestinians? Again, blatant violation of their own holy Jewish laws.....they flushed their own sacred book down the toilet.

Am I saying God is punishing them for that? No. What I am saying is that when they spurn their traditional ethnic and religious values--they lose confidence in their destiny and they begin to falter and stumble. Courage and resolve to win come from the integrity of the heart--and they search and find none. They become more desperate, they commit uglier atrocities--and they spiral downward.

Any nation that is so fallen as to violate its own deepest and most holy values and principles will perish--because such violation tears the heart out of the very people who make up that nation and leaves them morally bankrupt and weak.

They have looked in the mirror and seen the mark of Cain (and they know in their deepest hearts that Cain's punishment reflects the fate of their nation).

In this, of course, America and Israel are blood brothers. Look to your own deeds and your ominously gathering weakness, America.

Gotta LOVE Harry Belafonte

Harry calls black Republicans "Tyrants."

Harry flat out has guts. Faux News pays him the ultimate compliment of rolling their eyes in cowardly spin to utterly demean and dismiss him (they do that when terrified).

Harry knows Bush and shows it.

He speaks out loud and clear and the major media hush it as much as they can.

They label his remarks as a "tirade" (gosh, was that MORE spin?).

(Such sophomoric editorializing would cause even a high school journalism teacher to trash the article and assign someone else to write it.)

Oh yes, the rich media bastards fear his boat-rocking truth.......ALL the rich bastards fear his boat-rocking truth.

Harry Belafonte......God, I wish he were much younger.....we need more men like him.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel accused Iran and Syria on Friday of planning and funding a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that raised tensions ahead of next week's Palestinian election.

Thursday's bombing posed a major challenge to interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who assumed power after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's massive stroke on January 4, and could pressure him to retaliate against Palestinian militants.

Sharon aide Raanan Gissin told Reuters that Israel has "ample, concrete evidence" that the Tel Aviv bombing, claimed by the Islamic Jihad group, was bankrolled from Tehran and planned in Damascus. The bombing injured 30 people.

And so it goes....another bomb goes off and respected journalists call it terrorism.

Muslims bad, Zionists good. Iran and Syria are luridly labeled as the "Axis of Terrorism."

How tragic it is that this never-ending barrage of propaganda guarantees that the killing will continue unabated.

The charge is made: TERRORISM. Iran bankrolled--Syria executed.

Yet a glance at reality shows us thousands of dead Palestinians (resisting the occupation of their land) in hundreds of incidents where:

America bankrolled--Israel executed. But was that called terrorism?

And yet another glance at reality shows us thousands of dead Iraqi people who were killed resisting the occupation of their land by a crushing and totalitarian American occupation.

And was THAT called terrorism?

Oh yes, there was the cowardly Predator drone strike that murdered Pakistani women and children......was THAT called terrorism?

And if America strikes out against Iran and Syria? Will the media call THAT terrorism?

No. Because in this "Might Makes Right" world.....the mighty are always right and the weak and oppressed are always wrong.

The mighty control, not only all the effective weapons, they control the media--and the media control the minds of the people. The pen is mightier than the sword and the poor and oppressed have neither the sword nor the pen.

Americans are bombarded daily with media accounts that portray anyone who opposes America as a freedom-hating terrorist. We good. They bad.

And in this "We good, they bad" world.....war will continue unabated until America's economy is totally destroyed.

Yes, I'm saying America (and her surrogate, the Zionists of Occupied Palestine) will lose this profoundly stupid war against the poor and weak.

It's only a matter of time.

We could win the peace.....we will choose instead to lose the war.

That choice is a display of arrogance and ignorance that is unparalleled in human history.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Neo-McCarthyite Republican Alumni Group Attacks UCLA's "Dirty Thirty"

As an indicator of how far we've fallen toward some kind of bizarre Orwellian police state, I offer the story of how a Republican Alumni group is harassing professors at UCLA. This group is so crazy that this story could easily be mistaken for satire.......but it's not. This alumini group is real......called the Bruin Alumni Association.

These nuts are paying students $100 per quarter to record teachers in class in hope of catching them brainwashing poor conservative kids with commie-pinko ideology. They've come up with a list they call the "Dirty Thirty," which is a black list of profs they want to terminate.

One of their greatest complaints is that these subversive profs forcefully confront any student who supports George Bush. Ummmmmm......Hello. Are teachers not supposed to teach? Is Bush an idiot? Should the teachers not TEACH that REALITY to any unfortunate student who is so ignorant as to be unaware of it?

Apparently, the Alumni group thinks that criticizing Bush in class is tantamount to brainwashing.

This link will take you to their website's sampling of what they call hatemail.

Actually, most of the mail seems to properly chastise these crazies for their Gestapo tactics.

Where is the public outrage about this McCarthyist vendetta?

I'd say there's an incredible shortage of hate mail criticizing it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Greatest Anti Republican Anti War Song Ever Written.

How to Grow Up Big and Strong
Mark Heard

Strong man strangle universe
He drown the stars
Blinded by the mission of a thousand wars
He fit and dominant
Not wonder why
He heed the battle cry

Strong man is survivor
He live to pound
Little wooden crosses in the bloody ground
He fit and dominant
He stand a chance
He not bound to circumstance

And the world keep on turning
And the sun keep on burning
And the children keep learning
How to grow up big and strong
How to grow up big and strong

Strong man take no prisoner
Favor no plea
He leave no gold in teeth of enemy
He fit and dominant
He rise above
He not have the word that mean love

And the world keep on turning
And the sun keep on burning
And the children keep learning
How to grow up big and strong
How to grow up big and strong

Strong man beat the plowshare
He forges sword
He take the flower and he curse the thorn
He crush the serpent
He bite the fruit
His hand is absolute

And the world keep on turning
And the sun keep on burning
And the children keep learning
How to grow up big and strong
How to grow up big and strong
How to grow up big and strong

You can find and hear this song at the Kid Brothers of St. Frank Website.

This is new to a lot of people because Mark Heard was a pretty obscure writer of mostly religious music and died young. Rich Mullins (who also died young) put it on one of his albums. The website doesn't display well on my browser and you may have to hunt a bit for the song, but it's well worth hearing.

If you click on "music" and then "song list" you should get an array of albums and the eighth one down the column will give up the "Strong Man" lyric. Then you should be able to click at the top of that page on the music symbol and hear it.

Both of these artists have done some excellent work along with some stuff that is clearly commercial and aimed directly at the Fundy crowd.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Listening.......for the Predators

I've spread this question around blogworld today and I'm still asking.

Can George Bush blow up any house that he thinks any one of his many millions of enemies might visit?

If so, can anyone be safe?

And we were worried about him listening to phone conversations?

Maybe you should be listening for the sound of Predators?

"Listening for the Predators."

Sounds like a great name for a new blog.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bush (Predator One) Grabs Pakistan Joystick (Secrets in Nevada)

A secret trip to the Nevada desert. So secret......that if you choose to read this--someone may have to kill you.

A heavy-set Air Force Master Sergeant bellowed it out, "ROOM, TEN-HUT!!"

The little cowboy walked in quickly, chest thrown out.....his stiff marionette arms pumping high. "As you were, men.....back to work. I'll be here for a while." Five bird colonels and two generals, their chests covered with vast arrays of medals, were at his side and grim men in dark suits flanked them.

He was wearing a flight suit and a leather flying jacket with "Predator Command" insignia. The room was stunned. He smiled a huge smile. A general handed him a cup of coffee. It was a heavy stoneware cup emblazoned with a mailed fist clutching a joystick that resembled a mace.

He smiled broadly and raised the stoneware cup to honor them. "I hear we're gonna lay the hammer on some ter-ists tonight. That's good. That's real good. You boys do a fine job here. I been watchin' you real close and I'm real proud of you boys."

He jerked his head back suddenly, eyebrows raised, "Uhhh, you girls too. Of course we have girls here too, I knew that. Why don't you make us some fresh coffee, darlin'? This coffee is like Texas coffee....ranch coffee! Maybe you could make a new pot and leave the horseshoe out this time." He laughed and the two generals laughed, followed by the colonels, followed by the rest of the room. Everybody laughed a lot, except the men in the dark suits.

The little cowboy put down his cup. "Well, how long we got 'til the fun starts, General?"

"We're at strike plus two minutes and 35 seconds, sir."

"Ok. Well, good!" He scanned the row of young officers. They were focused with great intensity on the screens in front of them. He tapped a lieutenant on the shoulder. "How 'bout you, son? Want to slip out and let Red Leader have a little time on that joy-stick?"

The lieutenant frowned. "Yes, sir. Where is he, sir?"

The president stared at him. "Well, here! I mean, me dammit! I'M the Red Leader!" He looked at the generals and they both nodded vigorously and motioned the lieutenant to get up. He did, but slowly, looking around the room as he rose.

The little cowboy laughed as he sat down. "I hope you're not misunderestimatin' me, son. I'm an old fighter pilot and I'm briefed and ready. I got a whole Predator simmilater system in a little room just down the hall from the oval office. I been making simmilated ter-ist toast for months and tonight.....tonight I'm gonna toast some for real." His lower jaw pushed out and moved back and forth jerkily as though he were putting an exclamation point on his statement with his chin.

"Yes sir, Mr. President."

"Call me 'Red Leader' today, Son.......and I'm gonna name you 'Stick.' Lieutenant Joey Stick. I almost named you Schmuck, but I see you're learning quick to jump when the Red Leader talks."

"Yes sir, Mr. ummmm.....Red Leader."

The Red Leader looked at the complex array of symbols on his screen. "All this stuff......this is some fine technology here. Why.....if we'd a had these Predators in the Texas National Guard I probably would have had a lot of kills in Vietnam. Wished I could have gone there to Vietnam to lib-rate the brave working people there, but I couldn't. I had huge family responsibilities, of course. Things were happening. Lazy employees were tryin' to form unions."

"Yes sir, Red Leader. Watch your flight path. Your weapons are armed. We're hot and closing on the target."

The president grinned and swung the joy-stick back and forth with gusto. It matched the back and forth motion of his chin. "This Predator is now Air Force Predator ONE!!!!"

He flicked dust off the screen with his finger. "HOO-AH!! Air Force Predator One gonna get us an evil ter-ist!!! Not just any ter-ist either. I'm gonna personally light up that Mr. Abdul El Zaheinie, the big Heinie......the number two hater of America in the entire world."

He winked. "Hey Stick......who knows? Maybe......maybe I'll even get number one, the tall, skinny guy with no kidneys. 'Course, all this has to be secret for now, but later......when I write my book, everybody will know that a courageous American president, me, led the mission that turned the tide in the war against the haters of America."

He turned to one of the Generals. "Have one of the girls write that last line down. I'm savin' good lines for the book. Damn well outsell Clinton's book even WITH his damn overactive zipper."

The displaced and nervous Lieutenant Stick was edging closer. "Yes sir, Mr. President......better take it up a bit, sir.......sir, you're pretty low. And, you may be a little close to one of the other aircraft, sir.

The little cowboy leaned in toward the screen, staring intently. "No problemo, Stickboy. Just watch my six. This is just like riding a bike. Just like that simmilater. I want to get in nice and low. I want to see Mr. El Zaheinie pee in his pants. This is gonna be a Texas turkey shoot."

He leaned in closer to the screen, squinting presidentially. "Hey Stick, after I get ol' Heinie I want you to come back to the ranch as my guest and we'll do a little bike riding together. You'll have to be the hero 'til later when my book comes out. Good photo op. Like when I had that nice young bike ridin' champion out to the ranch. He was a good young man even if he did ride in that damn sissy race in Froggie-land. But I'd like a good patriotic boy like yourself to come out.....maybe give you a big medal after we finish this op. You got a bike, son?"


"Well, you can use one of mine. " He jerked the joystick back violently. "What the hell was THAT? That looked like a goat!!" The sound of alarms wailing filled the room.

"Sir! Sir, I think......."

"Easy, Stick......I'm doin' fine. What the hell IS that, a goat-alarm?? Stay calm now. Remember, I'm a pilot too. Why can't I see anything?! I saw a goat just a second ago. Was that a ter-ist goat? Didn't look like a ter-ist goat. I can't see the target, though......I think we got a computer glitch here son, the cameras must be pointed all cock-eyed. AWWWWW......some of the other boys are firin' their Hellfire missiles already and I can't even see a damn thing.....oh hell." He got up. "You take her son.......damn computer locked up tight as a tick. If you can gett'er fixed I'll push the button."

The lieutenant collapsed quickly back into the chair, drenched with sweat, resetting controls and immediately coming to a conclusion. "No chance here, sir."

"Oh hell, has ANYBODY got any missiles left? This is bullshit.....I'M THE DAMN RED LEADER and I didn't get to shoot a Goddam thing! What kind of shit IS this??" He grabbed for the joy-stick again. "Lemme have it! Lemme mash the damned button!!! I wanna shoot!!!"

The generals looked alarmed. The lieutenant said, "I think you already shot, sir. Recon says it looks like you crashed, but you took out.......uh, well......you took out one of the other Predators and some kind of small building.....I think it was a goat shed." He wiped sweat off his face like a bad news messenger sensing death. "But it could have been an important goat shed."

One of the generals elbowed the other. "That goat shed looked like a terrorist--I mean--a ter-ist hideout to me."

The other general had been staring blankly at the computer screen that was now blinking with a 'Aircraft Inop' message, but he recovered quickly. "Damn!!! Why didn't WE think of that. That's EXACTLY where Zwahiri would hide! Brilliant thinking, Mr. Red Leader."

The little cowboy was stunned for only a second. "Zaheinie? You mean maybe I got him after all?"

The general frowned. "We can't be sure. The man is an evil Satanic fiend and, of course, fiendishly clever. So far, we know we took out several buildings that we're sure contained a number of people. We won't know until all the reports are in.....but, I have to warn you......there will probably be women and children among the casualties."

The little Cowboy looked very somber and stuck his jaw out and wiggled it back and forth again. "And goats," he said, slowly rubbing his chin and pondering the gravity of the thing. "Well, we all know that war is hell and........my intelligence tells me they're all ter-ist sympathizers and haters of America anyway. Hate us because we're free. Potential homicide bombers. I'll have Fox News put the proper spin on it. Get me the word on old El Zaheinie as soon as you can."

All the president's men in dark suits closed around him and they headed for the door. "That Stick is a fine young man, general. I want him to have a medal even if he did crash. It was only because his computer locked up.....it could happen to anybody. I'm so proud of the way our boys have been fightin' this war on ter-ism.....I want everybody in the room to have a medal.......maybe even the girls could get a nice bracelet medal or some earring medals. Hell, give yourself a damn medal if you got room for any more."

The little cowboy headed back to Air Force One. "Maybe I should drive," he said.

The men in dark suits glanced quickly at one another.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Lighting up a 'Ville........2006 Version (Mai Lai Pakistan)

DAMADOLA, Pakistan — A U.S. airstrike on a suspected Al Qaeda hideout in Pakistan near the Afghan border that killed at least 17 people targeted the terrorist network's No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri, but the suspect wasn't there, Pakistani officials said today.

Yesterday, in the grand tradition of Mai Lai, the Bush Crime Family "Lit up a 'Ville," in a new country.

The "suspect" wasn't there. Some innocent "suspects" were killed and some were maimed.

Yes, in an apparent attempt to reaffirm that this is 'Nam all over again, the old ritual of "Lighting up a 'Ville" was performed in Pakistan.

But this one was really a NEW ritual, differing in distinct ways from the old.....it's the new, improved, Bush version.

In Vietnam, if we suspected that some bad guys might be in a village, we'd lay all the ordinance we had into that 'ville and if anybody shot back we'd call in an air strike. When nothing was moving anymore, we'd go in and check it out and do a body count.

That COULD be dangerous. Mostly fatal to the indigenous population, but dangerous to us because some bloody somebody might still have the strength to pull a trigger or lob a grenade.

The new ritual, in honor of, and befitting a man who spent his own wartime National Guarding the friendly borders of Texas, posed no such dangers. Yesterday, we just sent a swarm of machines without pilots.......a swarm of drones. Unmanned war planes that struck (as Custer used to say until it happened to him) in a "surprise attack without mercy."

No danger to us. Safe as flying a remote control airplane. Safe as spending the war in Texas.

And, as usual, we killed the wrong people. Our intelligence was "flawed."

Our intelligence was "flawed???" Whoa! Heard that one before!!

So.....let's review.

Yesterday we did a cowardly, remote-control attack on a village of innocent people.....hoping some bad guys might be among them. We killed a whole bunch of innocent men, women and children.

So, other than the increased cowardice.......how does that differ from the Mai Lai Massacre?

But our Crypto-Fascist media (who condemned the Mai Lai Massacre) sounded positively giddy when first reporting this current massacre. Major networks, ABC, NBC, CBS were all sounding jubilant over this absolutely boneheaded and cowardly military action in Pakistan.

We can assume they are sad today. We missed the bad guys. Our intelligence was flawed.

Maybe we'll get them next time.

When will they ever learn?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Thanks to Lily, I've Shrugged Off My Depression!!!

Thanks to Lily.....I have shrugged off my depression over the Alito debacle.

Even the thought of fish could not drag me out of this dark depression--but then......Lily passed this gem along on her blog.....And I quote:

"""Run, don't walk, to Mary's at Knock Knock to see the link she has to a quicktime video. It is so funny! Disclaimer: not for the reverent."""

Irreverent......but truly moving.

FundaGelicals, you may as well not go there.....you will be offended.

Carry on. Love and humor will save the day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mrs. Alito Weeps

What a scene! She weeps!


Somebody slap that woman and inform her that she's married to a misogynistic Crypto-Fascist bastard!

Excuse me.....I feel a hair-ball coming on.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Part II: Wadena Fishes Big Hard-Hearted River (The Swamp)

Click here if you haven't read part one.

The Tale continues........

In a shockingly unusual state of affairs......Wadena's paws were now muddy (THAT IS a cause for alarm). She looked uncharacteristically stunned. "Face it," she said. "We are in a quagmire. If this were a war we'd be declaring victory and sending token numbers of troops home. Let me be the first to volunteer to go home."

A cold mist began to fall......drifting in softly between the dark spruce trees and forming tiny droplets that hung diamond-like on the tips of the deep green needles. September in the north of Minnesota can be a cruel, fickle and capricious month. The clouds had come quickly and simultaneously with our entry into the swamp and our cool and beautiful sunny day was suddenly a dismally wet, cold and nasty afternoon. Every time I brushed against a branch I got wetter.

"It's not that easy," I said.

Wadena was dolefully staring at her muddy paws and her head snapped up. "Don't give me that."

"Well, it's like this." I said, "We can't just 'go home.' We have to keep moving. We have about a mile to go along the river before we can cut back overland to the road. Besides, we might still catch a fish on the way."

Wadena seemed massively unconvinced. She did, however, turn and press on.

It turned out to be much more than a mile and things got rougher. The brush got thicker, the mud got deeper, and I did something I never do. I sprained my ankle. It hurt. I sat down and took a look at it. It didn't look or feel good. It needed ice and I didn't have any. It needed to be wrapped and I had nothing to wrap it with.

"I am NOT Lassie," Wadena said. "I can't run back to the road and bark and get someone to follow me back here to save you....it's just not a cat thing."

I was busy cutting a walking stick. "Never mind. It's not that bad." I wasn't sure if I was lying or not.

I'd been a runner for many years and in thousands of miles of town and cross-country running over curbs, rocks and rough trails--I had never sprained an ankle. If there was one thing I was sure of, it was that I could always cover ground fast without any problems. Now one slippery rock had undone me. I started to wonder if we might be spending the night in the woods. I didn't mention that possibility to Wadena.

"Ok, let's go," I said.

She seemed heartened by my mobility and ran ahead again. After an hour of slow going, though, she put her (muddy) paw down firmly. She was now looking, not just muddy-footed, but bedraggled. "I need the backpack," she said.

I picked her up and put her inside, zipped up with just her head sticking out.

"Better," she said.

I needed a lift myself. I was limping. I had one good leg and a cat on my back. Either my map was wrong or we had somehow gotten onto a branch of the river that didn't show up on the map. There had been a beaver pond with what looked like another small river inlet and I had ignored it because it looked too small to be anything and it looked even more swampy......I started to get that uneasy feeling that you get when you start to think you just might be lost.

"I think we might be lost," Wadena said.

"Hmmmm....." I said, putting off the inevitable admission.

"You know, if you were more willing to stop and ask directions, we wouldn't GET lost."

"Yeah, right. Very funny.....like I could stop at a gas station.

"Well, you DO tend to just blunder on."

I made a growling noise at the cat on my back.

So she abruptly changed the subject. "Also, I think something is following us."

I walked on. "Oh come on.....I have enough problems."

"That doesn't change the fact that something's following us. I heard it before. It crossed the river to get to our side. Part way splashing through the water and then walking along a fallen tree to our side. It was big. And now that I'm up here, I've seen it moving back there twice."

Having given up any pretense of fishing, I marched silently on through the brush. I was cheered by the sight of a maple tree. Maybe higher ground? The swamp seemed a little less swampy and the brush was thinning a bit. The cold and mist were, however, getting worse. "Maybe you're hallucinating. You might be getting hypothermia."

From the backpack: "Baloney. I'm warm in here now. I heard what I heard. I saw what I saw." It sounded like she had her head inside the backpack now.

I was totally outside in the cold wet. "I'm glad YOU'RE warm! Maybe I'M getting hypothermia and I'm imagining this conversation!"

"I'm warm, but I'm getting hungry. I don't suppose you could catch a fish. We ARE fishing, right?"

"I'm kind of in a hurry. I'd like to sleep at home tonight. And as you've noticed, we might be a little bit lost."

"I know what it is," she said.

"What WHAT is?"

"Duh. The thing that's following us."

More later.

Waiting for More of Wadena's Fish Story

Wadena is lost somewhere on memory lane--deep in the woods. So, I'll stall.

When I was very young and a cute little girl didn't return my affections, I remember my mother saying, "There are plenty more fish in the sea."

Which made me feel better.....and was wise.

And I remember people saying of a guy with a girl friend, "Oh, he's really got her on a string."

Or sometimes I'd hear people say, "She's really got HIM hooked!"

I remember a girl I knew in Japan who used to constantly ask me, "You catch Jo-san?"

She was asking if I already had a girl friend or if I might be available. Such an honorable girl, she was. She worked in a bar, but she had way more integrity than a lot of allegedly higher-class women that I've met. But there it was--a fishing metaphor again......as if she assumed I was constantly trolling for women (which, at that point in my life, may have been at least somewhat true).

And, we continue to find ways to express ourselves in fishing talk. There is a contemporary vernacular that talks of "hooking up" with somebody (and these must be conservationists with barbless hooks, because it appears there's a lot of catch and release being practiced).

Romance, it seems, is often expressed in fishing language. Which is understandable, I guess, (we too often seem to be angling for trophies to improve our feelings about ourselves) and explains Wadena's use of a fishing tale to comment on human relationships. She seems to find humans to be quite pretentious and unrealistic about their relationships.

And she says that religion, low self-esteem and an unhealthy acquisitiveness are always lurking very near.....attached to us like dark shadows that take over and pull us into dangerous, even toxic places.

We tend to give up too much of ourselves in trade for what it is that we think that we want.

Me? I wonder if we'll ever get it right. So Ted Hughes was not so nice to Sylvia Plath. She killed herself. That makes him a bad guy? Maybe he was. So why did she marry him in the first place? Maybe that's the only truly valid question. Somehow, she failed to take care of herself. Why? Why do far too many of us become enmeshed with destroyers instead of taking care of ourselves?

Cats, on the other hand, always take care of themselves.

Cats know that you're the only one who will always be there for you........and that fishing is a profoundly uncertain business.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Wadena Fishes the Big Hard-Hearted River (The High Ground)

Snow was falling softly outside. A thick, ghostly armada of snowflakes, big and fluffy, floated slowly and gracefully to the ground. The snow was piling up and all the outside sounds were getting more and more muted and muffled as the snow got deeper. The low sizzling sounds of the amber coals in the still-hot but slowly dying fire lightly touched my ears.

I was cleaning up some old fishing gear. Wadena was napping as close to the fireplace as she could get.

A glowing log shifted and clunked and Wadena's head popped up. She stretched and then yawned. "Well. This is nice," she said. "I'm warm clear through."

I was rubbing some oil into the leather strap on a much-used creel. "Time to retire this to wall-hanging, I think."

"It's older than you," she said--sounding amazed.

"We used it when we fished the Big Hard-Hearted River."

"I remember. You gave me a fish." She said it with her eyes dreamy and half-closed.....remembering. She's rarely nostalgic and it's invariably over fish.


It had been a beautiful cool fall day that time on the river. Golden autumn with sunshine and fiery maple trees that were in red, orange and amber party dress--having a last fling before discarding those leaves for the coming season of snow. The fallen leaves filled the air with their very own crisp smell--the smell of fall. They crunched and swished loudly as we walked.

I can still clearly picture the little brook trout between her gray paws.....it was in vivid fall colors, too--deep speckled green and fins aflame with the bright red tints of mating season. A fish spectacularly lovely as only a brookie in September can be. A jewel of the wilderness. A gift from me to her.

It was a beautiful day and a sad time--sad because I knew I was close to getting a divorce. We discussed this difficult thing as we walked along.....trying to understand it. The walking was easy at first, with nice trails on high ground along the river. Many had walked and fished here over the summer. As we moved farther, though, the trails grew thin and the walking more difficult.

"You humans," she said, "you get so emotionally entangled with each other. Cats know better."

"Cats take non-entanglement to extremes," I said.

She sat on a stump as I wrist-flicked a short cast under an overhanging limb. The hook and worm made a pleasing plop as they hit the water. "Extremes are all in your point of view," she said.

The line started to move on its own, slowly at first and then zipping to the dark, undercut place at the bank below the tree, where the clustered tree roots lived. It was exciting to see that line move in the dark water, knowing a good brookie was moving it.

This was not fly-fishing water. There was no room for a back-cast here. These were the small streams far above Lake Superior. They were slowly finding their way by gravity and instinct toward the big lake. They were narrow, brushy, winding rocky runs with wild brook trout and hardly room to walk. The brush snagged at my wrists as I set the hook and the rod tip pumped down heavily as the fish protested.

Wadena rushed to the edge of the water, pushing through the brush and watching the line move. "There's one! That's a good one."

Of course it was a good one to her. She had never met a fish she didn't like.

This particular fish, apparently, didn't like me. The line went slack and I reeled in an empty hook.

"You lost it!" Wadena gasped....one paw raised as though in protest or as to somehow reclaim the loss.

"It wasn't meant to be," I said. We fished on.

The brush got thicker and the soil muddier. The leaves no longer crunched. They were wet and muddy and the walking was less noisy and joyous. The water, too.....seemed murkier. The forest changed from deciduous to coniferous. The trees had become mostly deep green spruce--older evergreens with slate-gray trunks that were tall enough to block the light. Moss hung in sea-green masses from the dark, spreading branches.

We had not fished this stretch of river before. We had parked on the gravel and walked far on a grassy logging road and then cut cross-country for nearly a mile to catch a remote part of the river. Now Wadena found small animal trails and I was forcing my own trails on riverbanks where humans rarely traveled. At first it had been pretty and bright but it was rapidly turning swampy and gloomy.

Wadena found paths more easily than me, but still said, "I don't like this place."

I made my way, fending off branches with one hand and holding the rod in the other, finding spaces so the line didn't hang up in the brush. "It gets this way sometimes," I said.

She ran ahead as I struggled. "When it gets this way, " she said, "cats go the other way."

"It'll get better," I said.

"You hope." She sat on a rock to wait for me. "Doesn't look to me like it gets better."

More later.

So......is Religion a Warm Towel?

So..........IS religion simply for comfort?

And, is a Sunday nap under a warm towel fresh from the dryer--just as good?

Is staying home from church the smart thing to do? The cat below thinks so.

(Cheshire smile.)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happiness is a Warm Towel Fresh from the Dryer

THIS....is starting off the new year right!

Staying home from church.

Yes, even for a PURPORTED Abyssinian Cat-God.....

A warm towel, fresh from the dryer.....is sheer bliss.

Let the stupid human watch Snuffleupagus, I'm napping.