September 2007 Archive
29 September - Ex Voto Pulpo II
eBay seller Granconopio is offering another superb octopus-related ex voto. Here's the translation:
When I left to fish the sea of the dawn was as a silent puddle of fused silver calm and quite, but sudenly I felt that my boat shook and from the waters an enormous octopus came out and I saw in the paleness of the moon how tentacle by tentacle it climbed to my boat. I invoked the Virgen de Guadalupe because the animal was dangerous and my boot staggered, I heard a fly of wings and I saw as two birds flying around the octopus that tried to sent them away without getting it, until very annoyed it rushed again to the sea , in that moment the first gold of the sun melted with the silver and in that gleam I saw an angeles miracle that went away flying and I thanks.Quite wonderful, but I prefer the Museum's octopus ex voto, 'cos our octopus is the hero, sent by the Virgin to save the fisherman, instead of your stereotypical malevolent monster, as pictured here. But it's still very nice.
29 September - Decisive Feline Moment
Friend of the Museum Rodger Kingston was kind enough to send me a fine wad of images from his Forgotten Photos collection to share here. This one's been my absolute fave for years - the very essence of intrepid catly determination in the face of clueless human interference.
27 September - This Just In
Very pleased to announce that Richard Thompson has started a blog - Cul de Sac. Very interesting, so far - he touches on grappa and prawns - two of my favorite subjects, but also mentions Gabby Hayes, who terrified me when I was a tot. I think Richard ought to steer clear of the scary stuff, and do more entries about grappa. And cats.
25 September - Cul de Sac
Way back in June '06, I reported rumors that Cul de Sac, the Sunday-only comic strip penned by Friend of the Museum Richard Thompson would become a daily syndicated feature. It has now come to pass, so it's time to start pestering the comics page editor of your local rag to pick it up. Meanwhile, one can appreciate the strip online.
I love the two two Otterloop kids, Alice and Petey, but I confess that my heart beongs to Mr. Danders, the debonair class guinea pig of the Blisshaven Academy preschool.
Richard Thompson, by Richard Thompson
Richard also draws Richard's Poor Almanac for the Post - also available in its highly recommended book form, and is the editor of the classic presidential poem, Make the Pie Higher.
25 September - The Baltimore ID Master
Over at our companion site, Panabasis-Photo, we're beginning to feature some brilliant pictures from a collection of the work of an unidentified Baltimore photographer, active from the 1940s through the '60s. He made a lot of ID photos for cops, firemen, and security guards, so we've dubbed him the Baltimore ID Master. Powerful stuff, I think.
24 September - At the Gazebo
Tragically, it was a busy weekend with no leisure to sit at the keyboard and do an update or two; but there were a couple of minutes left over this afternoon to stroll over to the gazebo in Wallingford Park with some friends - above, from the left, Leroy, Kitten Nutmeg, and Natasha. We like the gazebo; a very pleasant spot to sit, meditate, and occasionally hiss at one another.
21 September - Tragic Love
Here's another superb cat ex voto currently on offer on eBay through the 24th. I admit to having mixed feelings on this one, and not only because of the creepy "come hither" look on the face of the cat on the right. Here's the translation, supplied by the seller:
I thanks to the Virgen de Guadalupe because I noticed just in time that my beautiful cat it was being courted by an ugly alley cat and because I could avoid that she accepted his indecent proposals, my cat comes from a pedigree family and I want it have descendant with a cat of good ancestry and not with a an alley cat and now I will look for her a good husband.I have to say that I'm offended that an ex voto is being used to further class divisions. Further, the narrator's desire for her cat's offspring to have "good ancestry" is a purely human construct. The "indecent proposals" made by the "ugly" alley cat (who actually looks quite handsome, though a bit overly enthusiastic, in the painting) are, again, a merely human reading on a quite natural catly situation. And the narrator is fooling herself if she thinks that she could deflect the alley cat's so-called "indecent proposals" - she may have a bit of a surprise in from 58 to 65 days - I'll enjoy seeing an ex voto about that!
Really, she should have considered spaying.
Which reminds me of when I adopted good old Cat Zagnut. The cat shelter lady put me though a long, detailed interview, then read off a long list of requirements that I would have to fulfill. At one point, she paused, looked me in the eye, and said:
"...And you know, we do require neutering."
I replied - "...Oh. Oh, OK, I guess... Oh - do you mean the cat?"
UPDATE - a comment from Friend of the Museum Lisa Grossman:
I think you may have missed part of the point on this. The thing *I* find most offensive is that she seems to be using an ex voto as a personal ad to find the "right" match for her cat. Isn't there some kind of rule against this? It certainly violates the laws of taste. I think she's asking for a serious karmic whack upside the head.Other Cat Related ex votos:
Canción de los Gatos
San Pascual's Cat
Aunt Honorata's Cats
The Perfect Cat Storm
Cat Pi Milagro
Greedy-guts Miracle Cat
21 September - More Moody Stuff
Over at our new page, Panabasis - Photo, we're featuring the moody and hauntingly beautiful image also shown above - a Versailles parterre in December, all summer finery gone, with only the bones of the garden showing. The chateau appears pinkly in the background. Unless you're into flowers and crowds, December is a fine time to visit Versailles.
Other images in our series of Moody and Hauntingly Beautiful Images:
Bassin d'Apollon, Versailles
19 September - Llama Update
Rainmaker the Cria - photograph by Mark Taylor
Breaking news reported by Mark Taylor at the Taylor llama ranch near Lluray, Virginia - two more crias (baby llamas) have been born, which makes it five crias in all, so far. Also, Coffee Cake the cria has been renamed - is now known as Snowball, because of her knobby knees. Mark would like me to remind readers that a heavy investment in llamas is just about the smartest move a savvy investor can make. I get a finder's fee for any business I rope in - I get to dip my beak - so I second Mark's advice. It's got to be better than real estate, right?
Financing can be arranged.
16 September - Porchtime
Fall-like conditions - crisp, clear, and cool - made it a fine morning for Leroy to hang out on the porch of the Historic Cottage with his coffee and the paper and to check his email.
15 September - Investment Opportunity
Friend of the Museum Mark Taylor is pleased to announce the birth of three crias (baby llamas) out at the Taylor Family Llamasary. Here's one of his snaps, above - Rolling Thunder is on the left, and Rainmaker is the cute little black one. Not shown - Coffee Cake, who was born a couple of days after the photo session. Mark says that Rolling Thunder and Rainmaker are both suri llamas. Mark reminds me (often) that llamas are great investments - one can sell the prized wool - Friend of the Museum Mark Taylor is pleased to announce the birth of three crias (baby llamas) out at the Taylor Family Llamasary. I believe that Friend of the Museum Lisa Grossman, the Tsarina of Tsocks - is in negotiations with Gen. Taylor for this year's production. And one can open one's own llama operation and sell one's own crias to other llama enthusiasts (FOM Brian Nicklas claims that llama means "Ponzi" in Spanish). Or, one can use a llama in one's clown act:
Above, from Berserk! (1967), starring Joan Crawford (not shown). And, of course, the Army's interested, too. Mark says that llama time-shares are available, and convenient fractional ownership opportunities can be discussed, too.
15 September - Our Expanding Blog Empire
Near Seneca Creek
I'm pleased to announce the launch of Panabasis - Photo to our growing family of blogs. P-P will, as the name implies, be the place for more purely photographic postings; it'll feature my own poor efforts, works by Allan Janus, vintage photography from the Museum's collections, and maybe a cat snap from time to time.
Remember, I'm doing all this in addition to my regular back-breaking work here at the Museum; please to remember the blogger.
15 September - Canción de los Gatos
Here's another superb cat-related ex voto currently on offer on eBay. The translation:
When my husband went to work to the north I was very lonley and I went out to sit at nights in to the yard to play the guitar and sing, little by little my songs were attracting all the neighborhood's cats that surrounded me and they listened to me fascinated. I thank the Virgen de Guadalupe for this miracle, because the company of the cats helped me to tolerate the long hours of solitude until my husband returned after some months.Other ex voto gatos featured here:
San Pascual's Cat
Aunt Honorata's Cats
The Perfect Cat Storm
Cat Pi Milagro
Greedy-guts Miracle Cat
9 September - Swain's Lock
I perceive that it's been a while since I've posted an installment in our continuing series of moody and hauntingly beautiful images. This was taken at Swain's Lock, along the Potomac.
If you enjoy the Museum's efforts in moody and hauntingly beautiful image outreach, please feel free to encourage us through a generous donation. Oh, I really hate to bring up the subject of money - the Curator makes me do it, I swear it. Times are tough all over.
8 September - Book Browsing
The Story of Kiddo from Animals Aloft from Google Books
When I grab people by their collars and inquire why they haven't purchased a damn copy of the book yet, I'm frequently told that - sure, they'd buy a damn copy if they could just, you know, look at it first. Like, it could suck big time, they imply. Then they remind me that it's hardly in any stores at all, except for the Janus Museum shop and the shop at the Air and Space Museum, so they don't have the opportunity to have a little peek, and, you know, determine that it doesn't suck big time. Well, thanks to Google Books, one may now have that little look in the privacy of one's home. Google Books' preview features about ten pages, including the exciting story of Kiddo the Airship Cat. After having a good browse, please feel free to buy a copy through this handy link, which enables the Museum to dip its beak, a bit. Or, one may purchase a signed copy with my hand-written corrections here. Unless, you know, you decide it sucks big time.
Remember, inexpensive used copies are dangerous sources of infection - people sneeze into them - fact.
4 September - Passion on the Porch
Here's a taut, edgy domestic thriller - Cat Booper, sitting on the porch of the Historic Cottage, watches as Kitten Nutmeg approaches to hoover up a little catnip. Both watch Natasha as she approaches nervously. The drama ends on a tense note of uncertainty as all of the cats stare at each other - fade to black. I was hoping for a shattering climax, but then the phone rang, and when I returned to the set, it was deserted.
The charming soundtrack features Marion Verbruggen on the recorder, playing Jacob van Eyck's Onder de Linde Groene from the album Der Fluyten Lust-Hof.
Yes, I know the porch needs painting. Not my department - talk to Gus, our maintenance man.
3 September - Apology for Catwalking
I have to admit that your normal average catwalk doesn't really make it as a form of healthy aerobic exercise - one ambles along at cat speed, which is pretty moderate. One makes frequent stops as the cat stops to take a sniff, or climb a tree, or for a refreshing wallow, or just throws itself down for a little break. As an aid to meditation on the tranquility of nature, it also falls short, as one has to deal with the occasional feline misunderstanding.
No, I'll never get rich with a best-selling catwalk exercise book and a line of chic catwalking exercise clothing, nor yet a lucrative series of PBS fund-raising time specials on the Zen of Catwalking. But I have to admit that a catwalk with a clutch of well-conducted cats is still a charming way to pass the time. The riches would be a help, though. I won't deny that.
1 September - Munizioni delle Calamari
Tsarina Lisa Grossman, old Friend of the Museum, eminent knit artist and author, sent me a box of Lego brand squid ammo. It seems to be meant for fighting off the horrible vampire squid. I'm totally convinced that it'll come in handy someday.
By the way, Lisa is also the creator of our beloved mascot, Archie Architeuthis. Oh, and also of my excellent smoking cap. Some may think that we now have enough swag, but I assure you that there's always room for more.
1 September - Wallow in the Woods
Leroy and Peake demonstrate their flashy wallowing moves to Kitten Nutmeg during Thursday's rare four cat catwalk. For contractual reasons, Leroy uses his nom de video.