Strange company's all a-flutter this week.
And so are the cats.
This week's News of the Odd:
All together now: What the hell is this?
The star-crossed history of Marie Antoinette's watch.
The puzzling Stonehenge Archer.
The saga of Soldier Jennie.
I can't decide if Brunelleschi was a freaking genius or just one sick son-of-a-bitch. Perhaps both.
An interesting study of unreliable memories and our penchant for rewriting our own history.
The coins that may rewrite Australian history.
Motto: "I Date Dead People."
Oh, just another story about mustachioed ladies taking an axe to their admirers.
Oh, just another photograph of a woman walking her pet bear.
Some handy tips on ballroom etiquette. Don't forget to throw your flower-pots at the linkman!
"I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity": Edgar Allan Poe describing the death of his wife.
Some wonderful old photographs of the Tower of London.
It's nearly the weekend. Time to party with Learned Pigs.
Or better yet, with Stone Age Zombies.
Setenil de las Bodegas, world's most rockin' city. Seriously.
The Mystery Booms just keep on coming. (A footnote: I was among the many people unfortunate enough to experience the Northridge Earthquake of 1994. As I recall, in the days before the quake, loud booms were occasionally heard in the area from some unknown cause. For the sake of the good people of Onaway, let's hope there wasn't a connection.)
"But stay! these walls--these ivy-clad arcades--
These mouldering plinths--these sad and blackened shafts--
These vague entablatures--this crumbling frieze--
These shattered cornices--this wreck--this ruin--
These stones--alas! these gray stones--are they all--
All of the famed, and the colossal left
By the corrosive Hours to Fate and me?"
-Edgar Allan Poe, "The Coliseum"
Somehow, it seems fitting that the largest organism on this planet is a old fungus.
Let's round things off with my favorite tweet of the week:
My cat is sad because he's worried that Charles Dean who lives at Facebook might be having some form of breakdown. twitter.com/MYSADCAT/statu…
— WHY MY CAT IS SAD (@MYSADCAT) May 17, 2013
A Postscript: I'd like to get personal for a moment. For some reason, I have a peculiar urge to share an episode in my recent past. I’m not sure why I’m doing this, except perhaps as a way of proving that my real life is weirder than anything I put up on this blog. Let’s call it The Case of the Copy Cat.
Some months ago, a cat suddenly started hanging out in my back yard. It had somehow gotten into the crawlspace under the house, and would spend most of the day under there, periodically coming out to munch on the catnip growing in the yard. It was a large, very unusual-looking long-haired Siamese. However, the cat wouldn’t let me near it. I couldn’t get close enough to tell if it was male or female, so I called it “Lola.”
Shortly after Lola turned up, I saw, about two or three miles from my house, a sign advertising a lost cat, whom I shall call “X.” There was a photo, and X was a dead ringer for Lola, who was, as I said, quite distinctive-looking. X also disappeared just before my first Lola Sighting.
I called the number on the sign, and X’s owner came over. Much to her dismay, Lola avoided her, too. The cat would run and hide under my house whenever the owner tried to get her. However, the woman got enough of a look at her to agree that this was indeed X. She showed me more photos of her cat, and, yes, it was unmistakably my uninvited guest. We both wondered how X got from her house to mine, as it was a trip of several miles across some very busy streets.
The woman camped outside the crawlspace for the rest of the day, trying to persuade the cat to come out, but Lola/X blew her the raspberry. Finally, we decided that I’d just put food out for the cat, and, hopefully, make friends with her enough to grab the runaway. Then, I’d call the owner to come fetch her.
Well, Lola became quite insistent about getting her two squares on my back porch every morning and evening, but I had no luck getting nearer than a couple of feet from her. (And I know what you’re thinking: “Undine, you idiot, why didn’t you put out one of those live animal traps for her?” Lola laughed at traps.)
This went on for a few weeks. Then, I got a phone call from the owner.
“Oh, hi!” she chirped. “Just wanted to let you know I found X.”
I looked out to the back yard, where I saw Lola contentedly plopped on top of a catnip plant.
“Huh?” I said.
She told me that one of her neighbors had found X in his garden shed. She was skinny and bedraggled, but she was sure this was her cat. She wished me luck with Lola.
I had always suspected this neighborhood was a suburb of the Twilight Zone, and now I finally had proof.
Life went on. I gave Lola breakfast every day. I gave Lola dinner every day. She remained as aloof as ever, but boy, could that girl eat. She began to resemble those life-size replicas of woolly mammoths.
Then, one day, she was gone. I never saw her again. I missed the big fat unfriendly scowling lug and worried about what might have happened to her. Then, it suddenly hit me that Lola disappeared at exactly the same time people who lived a few houses down moved out. It then hit me that she first appeared at exactly the same time those people moved in.
I put my Sherlock Holmes cap on, and the next time I saw the woman who had lived next door to them, I asked her if that family who just moved out had a cat.
“Why, yes,” she told me. “A big long-haired Siamese.”
So, there you have it. My life is a parade of cat doppelgängers pulling fast ones on me.
Well, have a good life,
And you owe me big time for all those cans of cat food.