A trio of updates to ongoing stories today.

First, the backpedaling has begun at KFOG. They’ve announced that Rosalie Howarth, one of the fired DJs, has been re-hired and will return to the air this weekend.

According to the program director*, this move was planned all along. I’m dubious. Who lays someone off for six weeks? It seems even more improbable when you consider that at the time of the layoffs, Rosalie was only on-air six hours a week. Even allowing for the fact that she had the longest tenure of any of the staff who were let go, if the plan was really to bring her back, it wouldn’t have killed the station’s budget to put her on paid leave for those six weeks.

* A gentleman by the name of Brian Schlock. The petty-minded are welcome to make jokes about appropriate namings…

And let’s not forget that those six hours a week were hosting the popular “Acoustic Sunrise” and “Acoustic Sunset” shows on Sundays. Wouldn’t KFOG have wanted to counter some of the ill-will generated by their programming changes by announcing that the shows* would return?

* Actually, only “Acoustic Sunrise” is coming back–and it’ll be subject to the same anathematization of pre-nineties music as the rest of the station. On the other hand, “Acoustic Sunrise” will be an hour longer than it used to be.

KFOG clearly considers bringing back Rosalie as tossing loyal listeners a bone. Given the dubious spin, I suspect most of those listeners are going to consider it more of a chicken bone than a meaty T-bone.

Moving on, remember the Bay Bridge?

It looks like the Chron has a replacement for our old friend Jaxon on the Bay Bridge Bolt Botch Beat. Say hello to Melody Gutierrez. Since her main focus is politics, we can hope that she’ll spend some time looking into those apparently non-existent approvals we’ve been asking about.

Her first bridge report is a brief update on those improperly-grouted rods. You know: the ones that anchor the bridge to its pilings.

Steven Heminger and his colleagues on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission have approved a plan to re-grout the rods to prevent further corrosion. The cost is only $15 million–a drop in the bucket (sorry) compared to total bridge budget. The commission is satisfied that the rods don’t need to be replaced, which would have cost a hell of a lot more, so this seems like a reasonable expense. So does the additional million they approved for a corrosion survey of the bridge foundation.

But I’d still like to know why the grout wasn’t properly tested when the rods were installed. Melody, keep us posted, OK?

And finally, here’s the latest in our intermittent series of posts documenting the feline campaign to rule the world.

A group of cats in Britain has decided to wipe out the British economy by targeting the advertising industry. They plan to replace the usual subway advertisements urging commuters to buy, buy, buy, with photos of, well, cats. They’re only going to take over one station, but you can be sure that’s only the beginning–have you ever known a cat to be satisfied with only one toy?

The felines aren’t about to pay for their nefarious plan themselves. There’s a funding campaign running on Kickstarter. As I write this, the pledges are a bit short. With three days to go, they’re only 53% of the way to their goal.

Whether you want to help the cats’ plan for global domination is, naturally, a matter for you to settle with your own conscience.

Still at it

Never let it be said that I’m unwilling to indulge–even pander to–the tastes of my readers, especially when they take the step of sending me research materials.

One reader pointed out that I’ve been neglecting my responsibility to keep you all informed on the activities of our feline overlords. No, not the ones who have taken over my house, the ones who are actively working towards world domination.

  • First, we’ve got a brief note in the police report for Bucyrus, Ohio. On May 9, at 9:45 in the evening, “A report of someone trying to break into a house in the 500 block of South Poplar Street was investigated. It was actually a resident of the house on the roof trying to rescue a cat.”

    Of course, we know what was really going on. The “resident” was clearly under the mental control of the cat. They were preparing a break-in for money or material to support the cat’s nefarious plans. When the police arrived, the cat pulled a “these are not the droids you’re looking for” routine on the hapless officers. No doubt that the break-in continued as planned as soon as the police left.

  • Next up, KDVR in Denver reports that the so-called “Cat Lady of Aurora” has won the release of five of her forty-six cats from the shelter that was holding them hostage.

    The official story is that Schultz fell ill, and to preserve the lives and health of the cats, they were taken in by Almost Home Adoptions. At the time, AHA agreed to return five of the cats when Schultz recovered.

    Naturally, there’s more to the story than that. What’s really going on becomes much clearer when you recognize that Karen Schultz’ home had been co-opted by a local feline supremacy group. Schultz illness and the agreement with AHA were arranged by the cats as a way to spread themselves throughout the community. The five who were to return to Schultz’ home were to act as cadre for the next trainee battalion. AHA’s unwillingness to honor the agreement put the plan in jeopardy, but it appears that it’s back on track.

    I suggest we keep our eyes on the Denver area over the next few years. I’d be willing to bet that we’ll see an upswing in cat-related crimes as the forty-one cats still with AHA settle into new homes and begin exercising control over their new human toys…

  • Then there’s the tale of Tara. At first glance, it appears heart-warming. When a dog attacked a young boy, the feisty feline leaped on the dog and chased him away. The security camera video posted by the boy’s father has been viewed more than 6 million times and received almost 15,000 comments, most expressing approval of the cat’s actions.

    Doesn’t sound much like our typical evil genius moggy, does it? But think about it for a moment. The cat is a former stray (read “emancipated feline”). Two years before the boy, Jeremy, was born, Tara was adopted by his parents-to-be. Jeremy is now four years old, nearing school age. What better time for a cat who needs a human stooge to begin solidifying her mental control? Jeremy now considers Tara his “hero”, and when she begins exerting mental control, suggesting that he take action to support her goals, he’ll be that much more willing. In the meantime, she’s gained the worship of tens of thousands of people around the world and the good will of Jeremy’s parents. Not a bad return for the minimal effort of controlling one dog’s mind for a few seconds!

Finally, I’ll leave you with this report–it’s not directly about criminal cats, but as we’ll see, it may be connected–from Mike Fossum of WebProNews. According to Mike, the recent radiation leaks at the Waste Isolation Pilot Project near Carlsbad, New Mexico may have been due to a change in the type of kitty litter used to absorb liquid in nuclear wastes.

Traditional clay litter has been used for decades in the stabilization of radioactive waste. However, Mike theorizes that a change from clay to a modern “organic” litter composed of plant matter “may have contributed to the chemical reaction that caused the WIPP decontainment.” Take Mike’s theory for what it’s worth–he also takes pains to point out that “kitty litter also houses Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that exists in cat feces.” Mike is, it appears, under the impression that WIPP stabilizes radioactive waste with used kitty litter. I have to wonder if he thinks that the cats in question are resident at WIPP, or if there’s some kind of national used litter recycling project providing WIPP with its materials.

Personally, I suspect that WIPP is actually a cover for a feline-controlled project to produce giant, mutant cats: the next generation in feline attack technology.

Remember, you heard it here first!

They’re At It Again

Time for another roundup of cat-related news from around the world.

Adriana Lee reports that her cats didn’t take it well when she installed a home monitoring system to keep tabs on them.

We’ve talked about the risks of insufficiently-secured home monitoring systems before, but we missed this one. According to Adriana, the system had been in place for less than a day when the motion sensor alerted her to feline activity in the bedroom. She switched on the camera just in time to witness one of the cats lying down on her pillow, looking at the camera, and then coughing up a hairball on her side of the bed.

Clearly the cats were up to something nefarious and didn’t want her to catch them at it. We all know from the movies that premature revelation of a villain’s plans for world domination are the most common reason why the plans fail. Surely the cats are well aware of that fact too.

Or maybe they’re not after world domination. Maybe they’re members of the growing class of feline masterminds. Adriana doesn’t say where she lives, but it could be that her cats are controlling James Lawlor of Clearwater, Florida. Mr. Lawlor was arrested when he tried to walk out of Walmart pushing a shopping cart filled with cat food.

He claimed that he planned to sell the food to a friend with 300 cats, but how likely is that? It seems obvious that his claim is really a cover story to avoid revealing his feline controller, who’s attempting to set up a food supply independent of any human. Stocking a secret command post is an expensive proposition; any savings you can realize through control of weak-minded humans is money you can put into catnip-infused champagne for your victory party.

A bit of sad news on the subject of feline overlords: The infamous Colonel Meow passed away last week. The Colonel’s minions request that memorial contributions be sent to Seattle Persian and Himalayan Rescue. My presumption is that SPHR is a front established by the Colonel’s successor, and the funds will be used to further the Colonel’s dream of world domination.

Not all cats are as blatant in their methods as Colonel Meow. Take a peek at this post by Devan McGuinness. The post, clearly ghost-written by a cat, makes it clear that humans should dump their spouses and lavish all of their love on their feline overlordscompanions. Her ten reasons why a cat is the perfect valentine are a frightening peek into the way cats want us to think of them. I’m particularly taken by number 4: “Hanging out at home is also their idea of a really good time.” Forget all the times the cats have tried to dash past your feet when you open the door or squeeze out of a barely-opened window. They don’t want to get out to further their nefarious plans at all. You clearly are hallucinating. Your cat wants nothing more than to stay at home and watch “Love Actually” with you (per reason number 8).

One last note. Our feline masters are figuring out that sometimes it’s worthwhile for them to team up and work together to extend their control over humans. Case in point: there are currently two groups competing to open the first “cat cafe” in the U.S. Both groups are in the SF Bay Area, and one suspects that the competition between them owes as much to the rivalry between San Francisco and Oakland as it does to the battle for market- and mind-share. Both groups are affiliated with rescue/adoption organizations, so the potential for the feline masters to use the cafes to infiltrate formerly cat-free homes is obvious.

The race to open first–both groups are targeting this summer–is still neck-and-neck. Both groups have tentative approval from the appropriate zoning and health departments, both have secured partial funding, and both are still looking for appropriate spaces.

KitTea, in San Francisco, seems to be somewhat ahead in website development, but Oakland’s Cat Town Cafe has an active Indiegogo page for funding, as well as pledged support from Pet Food Express.

Stay tuned. When (or if) either group manages to get their venture off the ground, I’ll be sure to do an on-the-spot report.