Catbird Hairboll

Photo by Roman.

Possibly someone saved the fur from a shedding dog over time to create this.

I was in the habit of doing something similar with fur from my cats, Rainbow and Bellybird. They were long-hairs, silver persians, and could shed an enormous quantity of fur when I groomed them. I ceased combing them early on; they really did not like combs (especially the steel combs used by cat fanciers) and Rainbow in particular was not shy about letting me know. But they were okay with me breaking and removing tangles. It may be they felt it was grooming they could better control.

The resulting fur I would roll into balls, nowhere near the size of the photo above but maybe the size of a small mouse. Both cats would play with them. Rainbow would often be willing to play fetch but after the third or fourth return she’d get bored or distracted.

Sometimes she would wander away.

Sometimes she would begin knocking it about, playing with her food, as it were, her human playmate forgotten.

Sometimes she would pick up the furball and wander through the apartment, calling, until she put it down, still calling. If I came over, she would stalk away, apparently no longer interested.

At the time, I might have said she had intended it for imaginary kittens: go away, human! This isn’t for you! But now I wonder if the whole point was to end the game with me coming to the furball instead of her: when cat wins; game over.

Both Rainbow and Bellybird have been dead for decades, but I still have one of the furballs.

A Brief History of Fat

This has gotten quite a bit of circulation on the web so perhaps you’ve seen it. If not, this is almost everything you might care to know about fat but were afraid to ask… with animation!

I’m most certainly overweight — obese to be blunt. It’s not a state that I like. Feel free to like it yourself as I don’t mean to body shame but for me… no. Over the past three years, I’ve lost about a dozen or so pounds. Not enough.

Why? It’s not health. It’s not sex appeal. It’s not longevity. It’s not even not having wannabeclever people greet me as “Santa” on the street. (“Shhhh…” I says, “Mrs. Claus don’t know I’m here. She thinks I’m in Nome, bargaining with the elves. Breath a word and you’ll get coal ash or worse in your stocking!”)

No, if I continue to lose weight, there’s a closet full of clothing that I could wear… Even some bell bottoms…

After all, Social Security pays only the rent and nothing else.

Future Echo

The Director, Julian Hand, provides some post-apocalypse narrative to explain what this all means, but I say: nonsense! This is just very nice drug paraphernalia, straight outa one of the Merry Pranksters’ acid tests… except instead of being from in San Francisco back in the 1960s, this is 2010 or so from the U.K.

Inhale deeply and hold it in!

Heads up: a whole bunch a strobing goin’ on.


Above and Beyond

The National Veterans Art Museum‘s exhibition Above & Beyond is on the third floor of Harold Washington Library Center through February of 2020. The art installation features over 58,000 hand-stamped replicated dog tags representing U.S. soldiers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. The dog tags are suspended from the ceiling of an open 13 feet x 34 feet installation on our third floor near the escalators. Nearby is an interactive kiosk where you can look up the names of veterans and find the location of their hanging dog tags. The piece was created by veteran artists and is meant to help viewers reflect on the impact of war. This is the only memorial to Vietnam veterans outside of Washington, D.C.

Photo by Roman.
Photo by Roman.
Photo by Roman.

The exhibition is too easy to ignore. The tags hang silently, motionless, the weight of them no more than that of a passing cloud.

But “reflect on the impact of war?” What could those of us without the experience of it really know?

Not nothing. Neither you nor I can plead total ignorance. Here are the two things I know:

As of 2019, even though the fighting has long since ceased, the Vietnam War is not over and will continue for decades in the future. People continue to die as a result of it: injury, suicide, chemical contamination, unexploded weapons. It continues to cost money, both public and private. And as violence begets violence, echoes of the mayhem continue.

And finally, those 58,000 dog tags are really only our side of the story. The dismal tally of death from that criminal fiasco is two orders of magnitude greater. Imagine that hanging from the ceiling. Imagine that accompanied by the moans and sighs of the bereaved.

Pacifism is probably foolishness, but keep this exhibition in mind the next time some politician asks you to endorse a war or “military intervention”.