Baby’s back, dressed in dark gray

Today marked the return of my favorite cat site, Baby’s No Help, a single-minded project devoted to chronicling the adventures of one complicated cat and her friends. The cat in question, Oakland’s own Baby, is an especially devoted guardian of Earth and its inhabitants.

Not everyone appreciates the work that cats do in protecting us all from the trans-dimensional creatures (TDCs) that pose a constant threat to our way of life. In fact many of us remain blissfully unaware of the threat and of the fact that, without the constant vigilance of our feline defenders, the TDCs would wreak havoc on our dimension. No one is sure exactly what they would do, and Osiris willing, we will never find out; but without a doubt it would be terrible indeed.

Now you may be saying, “But wait, my cat sleeps upwards of 20 hours a day. What kind of protection is he or she against anything?” Well, the fact is that the TDCs appear on our plane of reality only rarely, often in the middle of the night, local time. Thus it is vitally important that the cats are well-rested at all times, so that they may respond swiftly and decisively when the moment comes. There is some kind of circuit in the feline brain that warns them when the dimensional barrier is breached (it is particularly strong in female cats for some reason), and this is why even a cat who seems to be wrapped in the deepest reaches of slumber may suddenly come alert, looking this way and that at what appears to be nothing at all.

This is also why cats feel entitled to anything they want to eat, the warmest places to sleep in, and as many hours of uninterrupted repose as they care to enjoy. So the next time you see a sleeping cat, by all means do not disturb it; instead lean over and whisper your thanks quietly in its ear. It may appear entirely oblivious, and may well be so, but rest assured the message will get through somehow.

Girls on Film (and Video)

The love that cannot speak its name.

The love that cannot speak its name.

Over the years I’ve had numerous crushes on women who are, to varying degrees, less than real. For the most part, these fall into two categories: sitcom characters (Bailey Quarters, Elaine Nardo, Lisa from NewsRadio, Pam from The Office) and movie stars (Marilyn, Jessica Alba, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson). The nature of TV is such that one tends to conflate the actress with the character, and I’m not sure if that makes the crush object more or less real than a movie star, who has the name of an actual person but is experienced as a series of identities that change from film to film. And I’m not sure how to categorize feelings you might have for the image of someone who died before you were even born (technically speaking, that does fit the definition of necrophilia).

I also have a strange, longstanding attachment to the character Trillian from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, who started out as the smart, sexy, and I’m pretty sure brunette voice of Susan Sheridan in the BBC radio series, became a literary character for many years, morphed briefly into a blonde bimbo for the TV series, then turned into Zooey Deschanel in the movie—which was doubly confusing, because I like Zooey Deschanel very much, but I hated that movie.

The Sad Truth About De-Evolution

Dev2.0: The house band in my own personal hell.

Dev2.0: The house band in my own personal hell.

I was recently alerted by my friends at Dangerous Minds that Devo is preparing to release a new album, Something for Everyone. This worries me.

For several years in the early 80s, Devo was not just my favorite band, but pretty much the only thing I listened to. For a smart, strange, and somewhat alienated kid, theirs was the right message at the right time: they and I and those like us were not weirdos but superior mutants, and the future belonged to us.

In some respects this has turned out to be true; certainly Devo’s vision of an increasingly technology-centric, fragmented, and surreal world was spot-on accurate, though knowing it was coming didn’t necessarily help us prepare for it, and may even have been something of a burden.

Five years, what a surprise

And just like that, it’s over: 5 years, 500 posts, 533 comments. Given how much I wrote in the first year, that means I’ve been awfully lazy in the last few; but that’s OK, because at least I’ve written more than nothing, and that’s something, right?

A few notes and updates:

  • Almost five years after I first wrote about him, Abe Vigoda—against all rational likelihood—remains alive. In fact he seems to be getting better; he even appeared in this ad broadcast during the most recent Super Bowl:

  • The mural on the side of the former Dave’s Coffee Shop has been repainted and looks more or less as it did before, with the same Gandhi quote in big bold letters. This gladdens my heart.
  • I correctly predicted that the Easy Star All-Stars would record a version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, though in retrospect I wish I’d correctly predicted they’d cover Abbey Road or the White Album. To test the strength of these powers, I’m now going to predict that their next project will be The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardub and the Spiders from Mars.

Which brings us right back, again, to David Bowie, who I’ve written about probably more than anyone. In the future I think that Bowieism will be recognized as a viable religious option, probably after the great man himself passes on to the next Bardo, assuming he ever does. It’s possible David, Lou, and Iggy will be granted eternal life by the aliens when they land in 2012, having travelled many light years to follow up on that Chuck Berry we sent them a while back.