Friday Links: Snow Art and Snatched Crowns Edition

snow penis
Nobody said this was a family-friendly blog.
  • Airline workers kill time by drawing a giant dick next to one of their planes. This actually sums up perfectly how I feel about winter. Plus it reminds me of the infamous “Below Deck” episode where the chief steward made blanket art in the shape of a penis but insisted it was a misinterpreted rocket ship. Man, I miss that show.
  • But guess what IS coming back!! Get your sweet tea iced and set your Tivo’s for March 9 for a preview episode, and March 16 for the full “Southern Charm” assault on the senses, y’all.
  • The Chief Jefe of Poe Communications and Mattress Merchandising Inc., and my personal-boss-for-life XFE has always wanted to stay at an ice hotel. I prefer not to sleep with my teeth chattering throughout the night. So just for him and his thwarted dreams, here’s a roundup of ice hotels by OMGFacts.
  • It’s hard to drag yourself out of bed when it’s 6 a.m. and 17 degrees. It’s even harder when you’re bed is heavenly. The ladies at Cardigans and Couture know: It’s all about the bed. We actually have the same mattress (Westin’s Heavenly mattress) and it is pretty awesome.
  • Following up on the Christmas break wine heist at the French Laundry, Central Texas has a brisket bandit on the loose. No word on if they prefer the “packer” or the “flat” cut.
  • Required reading for our cat, Petunia: Neurotic people probably make pretty great pet owners, according to a new study on overbearing pet parents. Now get over here and let me smother you with hugs and kisses.
  • My favorite story of the week: A Brazilian beauty pageant runner-up snatched the crown right off the winner’s head. (Oh yes, there’s a video. Things get catty around the 1:50 mark. The crowd goes wild). And she’s not sorry about it at all, as you can tell by this amazingly awesome quote in a Brazilian newspaper: “What I did was not on impulse, [it] was to show Manaus, Brazil and the world, that money cannot buy everything. I didn’t do it for me but for other candidates … She didn’t deserve the title.”

Friday Links: Anti-Climatic News Edition

It’s been a busy week here at Poe Communications and Heavy Manufacturing, Inc. Getting back in the freelance grind after the extended holiday, meeting with clients on the coldest day of the year, and assembling a cat scratch post can really take a lot out of a girl. Heck, I even hurt myself at the gym yesterday. Not by over-extending myself or anything, but by just working out at all. It had been a while.

It’s supposed to still be freezing this weekend, so I predict lots of pasta eating, wine drinking and Pinteresting, although I’m sure my head el jefe, XFE is going to try to make me do the gym thing again at least once. Brrr.

Here’s a little Friday reading:

  • Discovery and a whole bunch of other news outlets covered what is probably the most anti-climatic time capsule opening ever. Honestly, why did they feel the need to open it again if they already knew what was in it from the last time they opened it? Were they expecting new items?
  • Disco clams are a thing and they lure their prey with a fantastic light show before killing them. Or, maybe, they warn their predators away with their light show. It’s still not clear. Thanks, science, for not clearing that up at all. Scientists did, however, rule out lighting-show-as-conducive-to-mating-ritual, which goes against everything I learned back in my clubbing days.
  • Pandas were at least enjoying the DC snow this week. Pile on the cuteness indeed.
  • Speaking of snow, this MentalFloss list of obscure regional terms to describe snow will come in handy. The “hinges of hell” one threw me, since I’d always thought that was describing heat. My personal favorite: “Colder than a witches’ teat,” doesn’t seem to have made the cut.
  • Poe Industries HR President Milady Petunia Potpie is worth approximately -$29.99. Yes, that would be a negative sign. Still, I don’t think I would trade her for the unimaginatively named “Blackie,” a cat worth $25 million, according to this list of the world’s six richest pets. That rooster seems nice, though.

We Need Some Rules Around this House

Petunia P. Cat better get her act together.


(The ‘P’ is for Poe, obv. She’s actually got a hyphenated last name, but XFE doesn’t want his last name blasted out all over the blog. I think it’s because he’s worried he might get Catfished, or something.

Sidenote to above sidenote: OBSESSED with that MTV show by the way. And the Manti Te’o story as well. Basically, any story about how shady seemingly normal people can be, grabs my attention. Along with the whole fall-from-grace thing. I’m looking at you Lance Armstrong. I read the entire 186 page report. SHAD. EE.)

What was I saying? Oh yeah. Toons. She apparently is falling down on her cat duties.

For example, she has never tried to help me escape from a Brazilian prison by smuggling in a cellphone, drills, small saws and other contraband taped to her ample body.

Poor kitty. That’s actually quite mean.

I’ve seen her carry mouthfuls of cat kibble from her feed bowl and drop them in her water dish, but I’ve never once seen use those chipmunk cheeks to do any good for humanity.

prison break

Nor, has she ever brought me any gifts of leaves, sticks, twigs, plastic cups or paper towels. And I seriously doubt that she’ll keep a vigil at my grave like this 3-year old Italian cat named Toldo. He has apparently been visiting the grave of his former owner every day for the past year and leaving small presents at the grave.

With Petunia, presents are a strictly one-way street and she’s on the receiving end of that cul de sac. For example: last weekend, we were worried that she might be getting a little bored. It’s understandable: she’s an only cat, left alone for hours a day. And she’d been tearing around the house from room-to-room in the middle of the night. It seemed like she had a lot of pent up energy and not enough stimuli.

So, being good little cat parents, we went out and bought her some elaborate jungle gym. Which she has since ignored. She did show some moderate interest in the box it came in, however.

cat gym
It’s exactly like this except without the arch thingy.

Also: she has been singularly unhelpful when it comes to household chores, such as the laundry.


She used to at least supervise the ironing, but nowadays she’s not even really doing that. She does still like to lay on folded clothes though, so there’s that.


Yep, Petunia better get with on that jungle gym, build up her core strength and start bringing me some damn twigs, or there’s going to be a lot less of this going on.

Rufus’s Tower

I know I promised no more cat posts, but I feel like the timing of this little video below was designed to turn me into a blubbering puddle of a mess.

First, some background, via the Los Angeles Times:

In the beginning of the video, Australian commercial and music video director Billy Browne explains that he and his cat Rufus were just emerging from a rough patch in their relationship.

Rufus had an ear infection that required Browne to put drops in his ears. Rufus hated the drops and had started running away from Browne when he got home from work. In the video Browne confesses that Rufus had been hiding from him for two weeks.

After the ear-drop nightmare had come to an end, Browne wanted to give the cat something special as a way to make up for the torture he had bestowed upon him. That something was a cardboard tower of a kitty’s dreams.

And my reaction to the lovely little video:

Let’s Play a Little Game of Outwit the Cat (She’s Winning)

I (tentatively) promise that this will be the last cat-drama update. In fact, I’m working on a post for tomorrow and it has absolutely nothing to do with sick cats at all.

When last we left this little saga, Petunia was using her litter box as a place to be alone with her very deep thoughts and little else. No pee. No poop. By Friday, after a day or two on the antibiotics, she was peeing, but still unproductive in the other area, so back to the vet she went. This entailed much hissing and spitting on her part, and more tears on mine. And a saint-like amount of patience on XFE’s part overall.

When we arrived at the vet, there was a bit of a miscommunication misfire. I had specifically called to make sure that Petunia would be taken in to be treated immediately, but the vet, I was told, was still in surgery and might very well be there for at least another 45 minutes. XFE and I abruptly turned into Tiger Mothers and basically threatened to tear apart the whole practice unless someone took care of our cat immediately.

A vet tech we’d previously dealt with was called out of assisting surgery to come out and assure us that (1) it wasn’t likely that it would be 45 minutes, and (2) our princess would be kept in her carrier until her procedure and NOT put into one of the holding cages. This was particularly important to me because she was impossible to get out when they put her in there last time.

We reluctantly left her and went home to work (remotely) and wait. Finally, they called and said we could come get her and leave a good portion of our paychecks for the privilege.

The upshot is she’s mostly fine and there isn’t anything wrong with her other than just a confluence of bad luck. One ailment (UTI discomfort) led to another (not wanting to go to the bathroom at all) until we arrived to Lack-of-Poop-Topolis (population 0.)

The vet gave us a whole bunch of stuff, including more antiobiotics and some gel that’s supposed to help expel/move hairballs. This led to this weekend’s primary preoccupation: Mind Games with a Cat.

First, there are the antibiotics, which, of course, she will not take willingly. We spent the entire weekend figuring out ways to trick the cat into taking her pills, only to have her one up us at every turn.

The vet gave us this stuff called Greenies, which I thought were the cleverest invention ever (at first). They’re little treats with holes in them that you can put a pill in. To further trick the cat, we cut the pills in half and squished them deep into the holes of two treats, and then mixed them into a little mountain with her regular treats.

This worked exactly one time. The next time we tried this tactic, she ate all her regular treats but left the imposters. So we took away her normal food and left just the drug-treat fakes. Reluctantly, she ate it.

Next we come to the hairball gel, which purports to be “tuna-flavored,” but it is apparently laced with Satan’s spit because Petunia won’t have anything to do with it. In fact, she overreacts completely when we try (unsuccessfully) to give it to her.

We were told by the vet that if she doesn’t eat it on her own, we should put it on her paw where she will lick it off. This is a total lie. The first night I sidled up to her with it, she sprinted away. XFE was sure I had gotten a tiny fleck on her, which we did not see later. I looked at my gel-covered finger and saw only failure (I really don’t think I even made contact).

Then she almost went into cardiac arrest last night when I daubed the tiniest little spot on her paw. Obviously, she did not lick it off and in fact ran repeatedly through the house with it still on her paw before hiding behind my toilet. When I caved in and tried to wipe it off with a damp towel, she snarled and wiggled away from me. And now, there it sits, a streak of dried brown, supposedly tuna-flavored gel, just making her angrier and angrier.

So now we’re back to the complete and utter distrust stage in our house. Well, that’s not entirely true. XFE has made some headway. He hid some of yesterday’s antibiotics in a spoonful of wet cat food, which she suspiciously ate, right out of the spoon. He held that stupid spoon in front of her for about a full three minutes. I thought his knees were going to go out from squatting in front of the cat for so long.


Calm Down Everybody, Petunia’s Fine

There have been a number of questions about my trip: Are you excited? Are you all packed? Where are you going to go? What are you going to do? Can you bring back a koala (requested now by two separate people. The answer is: I’ll do my best.)

But more than anything, I get asked, “What about Petunia?”

Believe me, I spend more time worried about the cat than I do my own vacation (OK, probably not entirely true. Probably not even partially true. But I do indeed stress about it).

Most of the time, honestly, we just put out extra food and an additional cat box. Lately, we’ve taken to leaving the cable box and stereo on (and the actual TV off) so there’s some human voices resonating through the house (we leave it on Bravo, naturally.)

We travel a lot and she’s gotten quite used to us being gone for days (well, as used to it as a non-verbal entity can be. Let’s just say she doesn’t complain).

Plus, Petunia ignores us pretty hard core even when we’re home. In fact, she’s not too fond of us putting our hands all over her without permission and at very specific times. For example, she likes me to pet her while she gobbles down her kibble. She’s really into it. She’ll even let my cat-neglected co-cat-parent XFE pet her when she eats on occasion. And she’s really aloof and surly when it comes to him. (She also likes it when I sing Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” to her. Which I do.)

So suffice it to say, Petunia’s ok with us being gone for a couple of days. And, she usually pays us back with excessive neediness when we return, such as head-butting us while we sleep. Weaving in and out of our legs while we try to walk from room to room. Insisting that bathroom doors be left open while we’re on the toilet.

But for a longer trip, we try to have someone stop by and let her know she hasn’t been abandoned. Usually, it’s the maid, but this time, we’re trying something different. Former Running Buddy Amy (“Former” because we’re on winter running hiatus. Actually, Amy is. I’m a treadmill slave4eva), will be stopping by and checking in on the Princess. Amy lives very close to us and her kitchen is being completely renovated, so the whole deal works out well for both of us.

So you can all stop worrying about Petunia. If anything, you should worry about Amy. Just look how creepy Petunia looked when I left (yesterday? Wait, what day is it?) morning. Licking her chops and glowing eyes? Amy better look out. (I have no idea why this picture is so small. Click on it and maybe it’ll get bigger)