A Leg and a Piece of Tail

Continuing our irregular series of posts featuring feline body parts left behind…

Watanuki is still the leader in this category, but Tuxie can do a rather respectable job of it, too. The other day I spotted him just outside the fence. Well, except for his tail and one leg.
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I was fairly sure something had distracted him as he was leaving. It took a couple of minutes, but eventually the distraction got far enough from the fence for me to see it.
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One lonely turkey. Which is fairly unusual, actually. When not going about as a flock, they most often travel in pairs or pairs of pairs*.

* I’d say “quartets,” but the Turkey Trot doesn’t lend itself to arrangements for four.

I’ll admit I still don’t understand the relationships among our various neighbors. I’d have expected wary detente or restrained hunger between feline and foul, but both of them seemed no more than casually alert. I’ve seen MM and Tuxie show more hunger at the sight of deer, which they would have even less chance of bringing down. On the other hand, the deer seem more afraid of the turkeys than they do of humans.

Politics make strange bedfellows, indeed. And when the politics are inter-species, there’s no telling who’s going to wind up in your bed. ¬†Or which body parts the negotiations will cost you.

SAST 2

That’s Short Attention Span Theater, by the way.

So the highly-anticipated battle for sidewalk dominance between the Wild Turkeys and the Jehovah’s Witnesses fizzled out. Tension was building nicely, with the two groups staring at each other across the intersection. And then the turkeys turned into chickens.

No, not literally. I may be coughing and feverish, but the fever isn’t that high.

The birds dressed their ranks, forming into four files of five birds behind their leader… You know, I’m not even convincing myself here. Actually, the whole flock milled around for a few minutes, then made a sharp right turn into a side street, avoiding conflict entirely.

Just as well. Had the turkeys not backed down, things would have gotten messy. Call it a victory for moral principle (you do know that Jehovah’s Witnesses are conscientious objectors, right?)

Also not happening: despite all the coughs I’ve left under my pillow, the Lung Fairy hasn’t left me a cent. Maybe I should try putting my head under the pillow?

No, the brain reboot hasn’t happened either. You might have guessed.

I did watch some baseball Tuesday. I hadn’t expected it to be educational. Foul balls flying into the seats have been part of the game since its beginning, but with bats–and fragments of shattered bats–finding the seats more often, there’s a good argument for putting up protective netting.

Turns out the Japanese have come up with an approach that satisfies both fans seeking protection and fans who prefer the traditional mode. There’s netting running dugout to dugout, giving protection to fans in the highest risk area. But there are also seats in front of the netting: seats that come with a helmet, a glove, and a warning card describing the risks of sitting in the section.

Try that in the US and half the helmets would be broken and three-quarters of the gloves stolen by the All-Star Break.

In the sections beyond the netting, where there’s typically more time to react to a foul ball, the ushers are equipped with whistles, which they blow when a ball is headed toward their section. Imagine the lawsuits arguing that either the whistle wasn’t blown soon enough, or that the constant whistle blowing ruins fans’ enjoyment of the game.

A shame, really. That’s the kind of compromise I could support.

What I can’t support is the term “extra bases” for a double. I heard that a lot Tuesday. A double isn’t extra bases. At most, it’s extra base. Singular. And even that’s arguable.

Do the math, people. Yeah, right. I did the math for you. Blame any errors on my cough syrup.

Anyway.

According to MLB’s statistics, there were 42,276 hits during the 2016 regular season. 27,539 of those, just over 65%, were singles. So yes, singles were arguably the default hit, and a double would be “extra base”.

But there’s another way to look at it, one just as valid. Throw in the 8,254 doubles, 5,610 home runs, and 873 triples, and we find that the average hit in 2016 was worth a smidge over 1.6 bases. So that double? Yeah.

“Looks like an extra four-tenths of a base for Ortiz.”

Sure, it sounds a little odd. But we’ll get used to it, and it does far less violence to the English language than awarding multiple extra bases to a guy who’s clearly not even going to try to stretch his line drive off the wall into a triple.

SAST

Just so you know, I’m part of the majority these days. Specifically, the majority of people who had their flu shots this winter. Turns out this is one of those years where the vaccine was significantly less effective than we all hoped–according to my doctor, sixty percent of those who got their shots also got the flu.

On the bright side, that means forty percent didn’t get it. I regard you lucky minority with envy.

I tell you this not because I’m advocating against flu shots. Quite the contrary. I’m well aware that some years are better than others, and we just drew the short straw this time around. I’ll get my shot next year, and the year after, and so on until medicine comes up with something better. Hell, I’d get my shot even if I knew 40% was the best it could do. It’d be worth it to have a shot at being in that group.

Nor am I telling you this because I’m looking for sympathy or because I’m announcing a temporary suspension of civil libertiesthe blog. Posts will continue. They just may not be hugely coherent.

Yeah, go ahead and get it out of your system. “How can we tell the difference?” I know there’s at least one wiseass out there thinking exactly that. I’m going to ignore you with dignity.

Right now my attention span compares unfavorably to Sachiko’s. She’s seamlessly shifting between watching birds at the feeder and sleeping in front of the heat vent. That’s about one and a half more things than I can do right now. And I can’t even blame it on drugs. No, this is all on my body, too busy diverting resources to the battle against the viral invader to spare anything for linear thought.

Look, it’s so bad, I can’t even turn on a ball game until I finish the blog post. If I were to turn it on, I’d bounce back and forth between the computer and the game, appreciating neither and–

Excuse me. I was watching a flock of turkeys walking up the street. They’re about to collide with a crew of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This should be interesting. My money’s on the birds winning right of way.

Unless the Witnesses make a fort out of their copies of The Watchtower. Then maybe they can stand off the birds by hiding inside and playing loud music. “All Along the Watchtower,” maybe? Hendrix version, naturally. Turkeys, being contrary souls, would probably prefer the original Dylan version.

Where was I?

Oh, right. Who needs coherency anyway? Other than laser manufacturers, that is. An incoherent laser is just a power-hungry flashlight.

Sorry. I’ll shut up and go watch some baseball now. See you Thursday when I just might have finished rebooting my brain.

Changeless

Some things don’t change much at all.

The spider’s had to rebuild her web a couple of times, but she’s still hanging around in front of the house.
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And hiding on days when I have the good camera handy. I presume she’s concerned about having her picture out on the Internet in this age of facial recognition.

Yuki still thinks Rhubarb is the greatest pillow known to felinity.
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And snoring. Not surprising with his head at that angle.

The turkeys are still terrorizing the neighborhood. This shot was taken shortly after they held off the dog next door while stealing everything edible in his yard.
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And they’re beginning the preliminaries to their mating rituals. It is that time of year.

Rufus is still negotiating territorial rights with Watanuki.
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And there is much staring.

The Price of Liberty

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

–Leonard Henry Courtney (among others)

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Leonard may not have been a tuxedo cat, but ours keep his spirit alive.
Who do they guard against? What villains do they seek to warn us against?


29-2You might think it was these guys, but you would be wrong. They don’t come into our yard, and if they’re outside of the fence, Sachiko and Watanuki don’t, you should excuse the expression, give a shit whose yard the deer shit in.


No, the Tuxedoed Terrors sit forthright against a flock of evildoers so fowl even their name causes the homeowners’ association to quake in its collective britches.

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What crimes do they commit?

That’s right: turkeywalking. (What, you thought they would stoop to jaywalking?)

The Epitome of Cool Under Pressure

Thanksgiving is a week away, a time when the Universe really is out to get you. Assuming you’re a turkey, that is. And yet our local flock remains blissfully paranoia-free.
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They continue to roam the streets, staring down–sometimes even blocking–cars and terrorizing the local canines.

According to my sources, the flock is larger than it’s ever been. No doubt that gives them a sense of invulnerability. We’ll see if they still feel the same this time next week…

Weather Coming

We were supposed to get the first rain of the year Thursday. Not just any rain, but the beginning of several days of storms, accompanied by wind gusting up to sixty mph.

While we were checking to be sure we had imaginary gas for our non-existent backup generator (the one we don’t have and thus can’t use when the power goes out), the neighbors made it clear they weren’t worried.

The turkeys left their galoshes at home.
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And the cats didn’t bring umbrellas to the backyard bowl at dinner time.
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Why should anyone worry? It was blue skies and temperatures in the sixties all day. So naturally the feline politics went on as usual.
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Hopefully everyone has someplace dry to hole up. For those of you east of the Rockies, I’ll add “warm” to the wish list.

Hi-Ho Bugeater!

It’s been a while since I talked about the neighborhood turkeys.

They’re still around, but they’ve been less noticeable lately. I think the Toikey de Tutti Toikeys ordered them to back off a little in the name of community relations.

They don’t seem to be traveling in large flocks, filling the street and arguing with drivers as much as they used to. Instead, we get scenes like this:
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Yup, it’s the Lone Turkey.

The Lone Turkey isn’t any less aggressive than the flocks were. It took him a good five minutes to cross the street, including a brief stare-down with a driver. He knows he’s a member of a protected species, and he’s quite willing to use that status to his advantage.

It’s worth noting, though, that the driver won the stare-down. He was able to pass the Lone Turkey and continue down the street (much too fast, as usual). Faced with a full pack, he would certainly have had to wait for them to clear the street before he could proceed.

So it’s incremental progress in neighborhood politics. Hopefully the end of the drought–if it ever ends–won’t signal a return of the large flocks.