This Was Almost a Blog About Cats

I, who am no fancier of cats, by any means, was just about to write a blog about cats–interesting things I learned about cats from a 2-foot-tall coffee table book imaginatively entitled Cat Breeds. A book I never would have read but for the sheer seduction of its size. We’re talking life-size, full-color cats on every page with breed names like Norwegian Forest, Australian Mist, Cornish Rex.

(I wish cats prowled the forests of Norway and lurked in the mists of Australia, but they don’t–I’m not referring to wildcats. I wish regular cats did those things. What I mean is, I wish there were no domesticated cats, just feral cats that look and behave exactly like house cats. I wish that you could be out hiking in the Norwegian weald and suddenly a fluffy little kitty appears batting some lingonberry leaves around at the side of the trail. And your entire party is like “Did you see that? What the eff?” Because seeing cats is a rare and awe-inspiring event. This could only happen over several generations if all house cats were repatriated to the wild. That is precisely my wish and I think a very good plot for a science-fiction novel, or at least a subplot in a science-fiction novel about a totalitarian police state that dislikes cats.)

Anyway, I was at a friend’s house trying to read my own book on the Atlantic Ocean, a normal size book, with this frickin’ huge cat book in my peripheral vision. It made my book seem quaint, silly, pseudo-serious–which is ironic because if there was ever a subject that deserves to be super-sized at the printing press, it is the Atlantic Ocean. But instead we are given a monstrous book about kitty cats. I can only assume this is print media’s answer to the ever smaller, sleeker, more convenient world of digital literature. Persons sitting around a board room said, “Well then, let’s make books bigger, immovable, more unwieldy!” Oddly, it worked. I spent my afternoon reading gigantic hard copy on cats.

I learned many interesting things…how the Egyptians first domesticated wildcats to guard their grain supplies from mice…how the Prophet Mohammad once gave up his cloak during prayer so as not to disturb a cat that was napping on his hem, that my ambivalent/hostile feelings towards cats pretty much reflect those of all medieval Europe and the entire subcontinent of India.

But I can’t blog about cat lore. I can’t. I think only crazy people blog about cats. And besides, when I did a dry run of my fun cat facts on some friends they were not impressed. I told my friend Brian that cats can turn 180 degrees in mid-air and he was like…”Big deal, so can I.”

Then I told him that a cat’s forelimb is attached to the rest of its body only by muscle and he was all, “You mean it doesn’t have any tendons or ligaments or bones?”

I don’t know, Brian. I am just quoting the book verbatim. Thanks for making my fun facts so much less fun by demanding I explain them.

But that’s how Brian is. He’s a physicist. He owns a scanning electron microscope and enjoys being subjected to dental work.

So I decided not to blog about cats. Instead I am going to blog about some really hilarious things Victorians believed regarding: the Atlantic Ocean–more specifically the properties of very deep water.



I introduced my blog. I forgot to introduce myself. That’s because I assume anybody reading this is my friend or relative. But I’ve made many false assumptions in my life…many egregious errors in both deductive and inductive reasoning, not to mention retroductive inference. There is no logical system that I adhere to with any sort of scrupulousness. The Greeks would consider me a very fallacious thinker. See, I’ve already done it, mentioned the Greeks, and I assumed I wouldn’t do that for at least another month or so. I am wrong, wrong, wrong.


My name is Gail. Here I am in Santa Barbara trying to look alluring for a portrait. Instead I am falling off a rock.

That about sums it up.

Why, Where, Wherein, Wherefore

For the Spartans, actual war was a holiday compared to their brutal training–Plutarch

This is not a blog about war, or the Greeks, or picnics in the Laconian countryside. (Though such common tropes are bound to crop up.) It is a blog about the Absurd–the sweet, intoxicating, death-defying Absurd. Secondary themes will be the Wondrous, Ghastly, and Sublime. Tertiary themes might veer into the Psychotic, Perplexing, and Mundane.

What, pray tell, qualifies me to write such a blog? Well, I have interesting/absurd friends. Friends who have almost been crushed by helicopters in Antarctica, who carry firewood when they jog, who study at seminary. I have one friend without a toilet who pees on the same hay bale every day. It’s called a pee bale. So maybe if this blog is dull you should blame my friends. By that I mean, blame yourself, dear reader. If this blog is dull, look first at your own life and ask if you may not have a part to play in that dullness.

But I also read interesting/absurd things. Terribly, terribly, painfully interesting. I am going to share that pain with you. But it will be the good kind of pain, which is called pleasure. Phoenician seaports, bullet ants, French cinema, herbal tinctures, funny things about the American Civil War, are all likely topics.

I picture this blog as a monologue of sorts. A soliloquy. Well, it will be a monologue when I am addressing you, the reader, directly. Other times I won’t acknowledge your presence at all, and that will be a soliloquy. But only if it’s spoken. All of my blog entries are meant to be read out loud actually, performed on stage. If it doesn’t work on paper, it’s not my fault.