Oh woe and pity cats’
Nine lives!
What is not to envy?
Nine dies.



April Fools

Let’s go full kitty cat for the occasion with this short by David Hughes.

I don’t know why David Hughes titled this video “April Fools” but it was much nicer than most of the prank videos that I watched. The cleverest prank videos were either commercials or cruel.

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 geezer I am! There’s nothing for it. I is what I is. Not since adolescence have I changed in such absorbing and alarming ways. In winter, my hands become curiosities: odd wrinkles as if my fingers have spent far too much time in the bath of life. It’s beyond all imagining.

Photo by Roman.

My old cat Rainbow thought my hands were a marvel — all hands really, but I was hers so my hands were at her service and inspection. Sometimes she would try to make her own paw serve as a hand, like when she would rub her chin, paw palm up, when her pimples where troublesome. (Yes, cats can get pimples. A symptom of ageing, as I recall.) But generally she was quite adept at directing my hands instead.

Photo by Roman

Rainbow was right. Hands are a marvel. I’m so happy to have them, warts and all.


Glenwood Avenue

The northern end of Glenwood Avenue in Rogers Park can be a bit confusing. A railroad runs down the middle of it. That’s not unheard of, except that the railroad (the Chicago Transit Authority) is elevated above street level so as not to obstruct or collide with street traffic; it’s not obvious to a new visitor that the street number you may be looking for is on the other side of the tracks. The tracks were not always elevated, but growing traffic congestion and accidents moved the Chicago City Council to demand that railroads elevate their tracks. While the ordinance was passed in 1907, the project elevating what is now the Red Line was not completed until 1922.

Glenwood Avenue is also mildly unusual in that some of the original brick paving remains, albeit asphalt patched. Several other blocks of original brick paving exist elsewhere in Rogers Park. It hadn’t occurred to me until now that all of them that come to mind are North — South.

Looking south toward Lunt Avenue. Photo by Roman.
Looking south toward Lunt Avenue, but the west side of the tracks. Until a few years ago, this was still brick paving. Photo by Roman.
Looking north toward Estes Avenue. This block is still mostly brick paving. Photo by Roman.

I once met a five year old boy who was absolutely smitten by garbage trucks. It’s a fascination that I find just barely comprehensible. It’s big. It’s noisy. It’s powerful. It has all manner of moving parts. Check all those boxes, fine, but still…

Photo by Roman.

On the other hand, my cat Rainbow was always terrified of garbage trucks, even though (or maybe especially because) they were never visible from the apartment, just a terrifying roar with a ghastly stink. This makes far more sense: a monstrous predator with fetid breath. Even a cat’s imagination might be more alarming than reality… by a little bit.

Photo by Roman.

Comin’ to get you, kitty.