laughter after pain

July 31, 2013

On Jul 31, 2013, at 3:10 PM, (name removed for politeness) wrote:

Jimmy asked me to let him type his own email:

*OG Provocateur and Tabitha,

While I must admit that I found the video you submitted humorous, I can hardly consider it relevant in the debate surrounding the intelligence of one species over another and I’m left to assume that the subject line, “proof that cats are smarter than dogs” is nothing more than a hyperbolic attempt to engage me in a larger discussion regarding the nature of intelligence in animals writ large.

It has frequently been said that because cats do not respond to commands nor can they be coaxed into performing complex “tricks” they are exhibiting an independence from their human companions and are therefore considered “smarter” than their dog counterparts – or even their owners (preposterous!).  While the cat may show signs of independence, it should hardly be confused with intelligence.

In fact, I instead propose that felines simply do not understand the incentive-based relationship uniquely shared between humans and canines.  While the rewards may be small – a cookie, a pat on the head or a few drops of beer – the dog at least understands that by accomplishing the complex tasks asked of him, he will be rewarded. This is not unlike humanity itself and it is this shared, goal-oriented drive that has indelibly bound the dog and human for eons.

It is my hope that you at least consider this position and pause the next time you receive a reward for a job well done.  Whatever task you are asked to perform: sit, roll over, find the drugs in a smuggler’s vehicle, tell yourself “Good dog”.  For when these frail shadows we inhabit now have quit the stage, we’ll all be good dogs.



From: Tabitha D

Subject: Re: proof cats are smarter than dogs

Date: July 31, 2013 4:46:35 PM PDT

To: (name removed for politeness)

Cc: (original provocateur)

Dear James,

It is with utmost sincerity that I must argue my innocence in the case as you present it. While I find your points well considered, eloquent and persuasive, I feel unduly beleaguered by your assumption that I believe persons of the feline persuasion to be more intelligent than those of the canine. Guilty by cc, apparently.

I will say, however, that there are abundant proofs for each side when debating this issue. The representatives of each party will doubtless find any number of articles, videos and whatnot supporting their own particular viewpoint. I submit, therefore, my humble opinion that dogs and cats, albeit quite different from one another in neurobiological traits, can coexist peacefully only when each side recognizes the differing yet equivalent intelligences of the other. As this mode has not yet been adopted by any known species, I understand that this email most likely falls into the aforementioned category of hyperbole. However, it is my fondest desire that we all embrace those harmless differences of ours and everyone else’s and chill the hell out; hyperbole is frequently the last resort of the reasoning mind, for the night is dark and full of terriers.

With warmest regards,


(good dog)

I am


money for muscle

July 31, 2013

So apparently (in case anyone else was wondering) microwave explosions are at least somewhat (perhaps even mostly, barring the presence of metals or internal organs) related to the shape of your micro safe container. I made some more oatmeal and minestrone soup today, several hours apart and not mixed together of course, and I made them both in a wide, shallow, open mouthed bowl, and neither of them exploded. We are conducting an audit at work right now so my brain is frayed like a cat’s favorite screen door, but I am trying very hard to have intelligent thoughts about this experiment. So far I have arrived at, coffee mugs are not good for making oatmeal in.


I am

So I have been bitching ever since I was eight years old and broke out a tooth (front, by the way) by falling from a high expedition in a black cherry tree directly onto the sidewalk about how stupid it is that we (humans) only get two sets of teeth. Really, evolution? You can do all this other cool stuff but you can’t do anything about the fact that ‘toothless’ is a description of persons that has been handed down from generation to generation without fail since the dawn of handing things down? Toothless is not fabulous! Toothless needs to go.

So this particular tradition busting hopeful finds its origins in a slightly salty, nasty place, but in my opinion and I wasn’t there so who knows, so did most of life.


I am

They say you never forget your first love. My first love was the mail lady. I doted upon her daily arrival and as soon as she appeared at the gate I would go running down to meet her and get the mail. This is how I broke my arm at the age of four; nothing cool or badass or adventurous, just running down the front steps to meet the mail lady and tripping over one’s own beloved dog.

I was wondering today, as I watched a mailman go swinging down a front step the way they always do, what sort of characters my kids will develop their first baby bumbling crushes on. There are rumors at large that the USPS may not be long for this life; I remember my first crushes, the mail lady, the garbage man, the ice cream man, the Marlboro man…one down, one still jaunty shorted in the face of possible obsolescence, two probably destined to be several of the last services standing as the human race burns out. At least that much is comforting: when the cowboy has faded into the sunset and only junk mail and wedding invitations are paper, there will always yet be the working class hero with the cool truck to fall in young love with.

Interesting. I never really put it together until just now but all of my early crushes have cool trucks (or horse). I also loved the UPS man.

I am

a new storm chasin’

July 25, 2013

My oatmeal exploded.

I put it in the microwave this morning for its usual amount of time and when I came back from standing on my desk taking pictures of my window duck with snappy city backgrounds, it had exploded.

The same thing happened to my minestrone soup yesterday, but I totally just thought that was the soup’s fault, for being so overcrowded with noodles. I do not so much like noodles. They can almost exclusively be replaced to the greater good with rice, although obviously every Italian pasta is exempt from this. So now I think it must be the microwave fritzing out, although actually now that I really think about it perhaps it is just the different shape of the mug I’m cooking in. I mostly use a big old campbell’s soup mug, and it is the best and fat and fabulous, but this morning it is dirty and I don’t feel like washing dishes so early in the morning when all I’ve had for dinner last night was popcorn with cheese. I wonder if microwaving things in a taller skinnier mug makes them explode.


I am

I think the biggest problem in my life is that I forget that my goals are attainable. I make them and they’re great and they’re totally desirable and then I build them up in my head like it’s going to be some other layer of life instead of just a steady glide, give or take bumps etc, from this frame of life into the next or some next several months of Sundays away.

And the funny thing is, my goals are totally attainable. I don’t resonate with the idea that if you set your bar low enough you’ll never be disappointed…this makes me just feel like you’d be constantly disappointed not to mention disappointing…but I do believe in digging the feylines out of your own soul and knowing what they are and aren’t before laying them down like a roadmap of potential to guide your movements. I don’t know about anyone else out there, although I have of course my own opinions, but as far as I’m concerned the point of upward, forward, or ecosexual dance positive mobility (whatever floats your oft quoted boat) is knowing who you are and what you want and whether what you’ve got in the toolbox is going to get you there. Sometimes revamping the plan to deal with the fact that you can’t or shouldn’t or are simply fucking disinclined to do something you thought you ought to do for the sake of the blueprint is the most cathartic, rocket launcher propelling mechanism for getting you closer by more notches to where you wanted to be.

In short, I love a mercury retrograde, and I feel that we have most of us been systematically told our entire lives that the goals we hold close to the chest are the best, that they are the very ones we should pour the majority of our energies into, and that we cannot possibly hope to achieve them; or that we can only hope to achieve them through the coldhearted clipping of many green leaves from our branches, cutting the life off of moments and skill sets to leave room for the overblown foliage of duty and survival and eternal security.

I would rather move along at the speed of one fully painted brick at a time. I don’t want to look back and see the blank, gaping holes in my life path that represent things I missed that are now too late forever, or things I could have done that will no longer give off the same magic. One brick at a time, my hamsters, and this one I currently inhabit is dang good and probably green and turquoise.


I am

I heard a small sound and suddenly felt that I was not alone. I turned around, and in the doorway stood two young men with beards and sideburns, dressed in black and wearing flat hats and sliver spectacles. My heart stopped.

They stood looking at me mildly, and I realized that this was in fact an office, and that they clearly expected me to do something about it.

“Hello,’ I said.

“Hello,’ the taller one replied, “we are here because we are wondering if anyone who works here is Jewish.”

My lineage on my dad’s side is rather dubious apart from Irish and Cherokee, but while I do not really know for a fact that I do not have any Jewish blood, I certainly do not know that I do; and I was the only one in the office, and am almost always the only one in the office, and will continue to be the only one in the office for lo these many days.

“Not…that I am aware of…” I managed, and they blinked mildly at me again and thanked me and left as suddenly and quietly as they had come in.

I know that they are gone but I keep having to check over my shoulder every so often.

I am