Thursday, December 31, 2009


It's New Year's Eve and I for one am staying up just to see 2009 put to bed once and for all.

Not that in retrospect it has really been a bad year here in bunnyland but the unpredictability of it all has been hell. We all seemed to be skating on the edge of a precipice, never really sure if we could hold our balance or if it would all tip into the void on the other side that we all knew was there but we all feared. That part of it, if nothing else, sucked. If you know me at all, you know that the unknown is one of my greatest fears.

I'm a planner and while plans change and go awry, this year passed has been the planner's worst nightmare in that nothing of precedence could be leaned upon and everything was cut at a moment's notice.

At the stroke of midnight, 2008, I was sitting outside a martini bar in Florida with my beloved, toasting in the new year. This year I'm at home and wishing for that bar, solely to be able to sit outside in reasonable climes. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy, healthy and well but at the same time cold. The vernal equinox can't get here soon enough.

In February of '09, I was in a bar in Minneapolis with a colleague watching the world around us melt down. Couple of bourbons in, I opined that those of us who could hold on to work until the end of the year might just make it. To what I had no idea, but survival from one day to the next was success back then. Come to think of it, it still is.

That same month the folks that pay our bills reckoned that our bills were too high for the times we were living in. A good friend worked hard to argue our case and re-negotiate more favorable rates but I had to cave in on my promise to my staff that "everyone stays employed this year" and somebody had to go.

Sometime in the winter of the year passed, another friend was let go from his position. He and I had worked together years ago, and I launched Caustic Bunny by his inspiration so it was pretty devastating when someone I considered to be at the top of his game was shown the door.

Springtime didn't come quickly enough but once it did I staggered out the front door to connect with the Knitting Circle for the first time in six months. Strange how fellows you used to see daily now show up once or twice a year and you don't care about a damn thing going on other than catching up, wishing everyone well and hoping you're in shape to catch up with them next year, this time.

Summertime was as usual, a delight in that the days were warm, long and happy. I worried about my friend's employment and my other friend's absence from blogging but raised a fair batch of tomatoes in the battle against stinging nettle.

August rolled around and I got on a plane for work and just got off one about ten days ago. Been that kind of six months. During which I found out why one friend had not blogged for months and that another had more than enough to talk about.

The former lost a mother. One day, I will lose mine, the last blood relative I have and I will grieve as she did. I don't know my friend well. I did not send condolences publicly but did think of her and wish her best privately.

The latter landed on his feet and I was never so happy to see where he wound up. Nice going, fellow. Bet it feels pretty good to be the master of the ship. None of this is to minimize the angst of relocating, pulling the family into a new city, working day and night to right a tilting ship but today, in the magazine aisle of my favorite grocer I picked up a copy of the January 2010 issue and, flipping through the pages, thought: Nice work. If anyone can do it, you can.

September found us in Europe, me visiting a dotty old aunt who I most likely won't ever see again. I wish I could have said the same for a dear uncle I lost last year but he passed and while we hadn't seen each other in over a decade, I still miss him.

With November came Thanksgiving and dinner consisted of roast beef sandwiches in a gas station. Not a bad thing, just a bit of poor planning and we more than made up for it by draining the bar of gin a few hours later.

And this Christmas, for the first time ever I got to spoil three generations. Believe me when I tell you that sometimes, Santa Claus is really a crotchety old rabbit with a cigar who happens to adore you.

Been a weird decade that started in a big modern house watching the computer hopefully not melt down and winding up in a more seasoned home watching the Ganges of the Basement. I'd fill in the details but all you really need to do is click on the archives at the right hand side of your screen. Don't worry, no one has ever read this before.

All of which brings us to now, an hour and a half from the next decade. We're still (as far as I know) employed, so there's a chance. There's still food in the fridge, beer in the cellar and a jaundiced view of the world so there's more bunnies out there.

Happy New Year all. Thanks for being part of the ride. Well done. Sympathies and thoughts. Hope you're all around 365 days from now to continue the adventure.

Bunny on.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Remember, You Can Always Return It

Ok, so if you've been paying attention, Christmas has kinda come and gone. It was that turkey or ham flavored thing that whizzed past last weekend, no doubt while you were trying to shush Aunt Claire at charades.

Remember Aunt Claire? She's a little dotty, doesn't hear too well and the text editor in her brain needs a bit of defragging. Anyway, about two on Saturday, just after the twins have shown up, she mistakes "calling card" in the first "sounds like" round you're playing with the cousins so that the father in law doesn't prematurely begin to yell for dinner and Claire's certain that the word is cuningulus which of course she shouts repeatedly at the top of her leathery lungs.

Hope you had a good one and hope you got what you wanted. I really did mean to post my usual top ten hot Christmas toys about a week and a half ago. Its the one where I make fun of the real top ten Christmas toys and both of you readers wander the aisles of the local Mal-Wart looking for a Sir Pants A Lot action figure or a Fisher Price My L'il Shrinking Trust Fund.

Really I had. It was all laid out from the riffs on Zu Zu's Pets to a few pokes at Disney's Net Pal. But I was tempting the muses until the muses got tired of being tempted and struck back. As such, I was airline-bound and hotel-kept when usually at this time I would be surfing the web muttering things like "that would be a nice gift for me" and "I'd certainly appreciate that under the tree" and winking and nudging Thumper to no good effect.

So we'll miss a year and see you with the hot toys of 2010 which hopefully won't be fly-off-the-shelf items like "a job, finally, for my dad" and "end of the month without juggling too much." Instead, let's not tempt the muses, let's pop them in the tit and offer up the "Top Ten Hot Business Travel Gifts" of this year and years to come.

10) Self-extracting laptop: Because after taking off your shoes, belt, necktie, purse, rolling your socks into a clockwise ball if they're argyle, counter-clockwise if cotton, dumping the cellphone, blackberry, tape dispenser, antacids into trays and bowls, at least the laptop could pop out of its case on some sort of display shelf and not leave you with a shirtsleeve stuck in a zipper.

9) Pre-heated hotel room: Nothing like showing up in the Fargo Holiday Inn Express or Super Eight at ten thirty at night in January and have to stick a room key into a slot to activate power in the icebox before you jump into the sack only to slide off the sheets.

8) Likewise for rental cars: Why is it that the distance between meeting and restaurant in any climate favoring a space below freezing is exactly equal to the point the thermostat begins to open and release warmth into the cabin?

7) And while we're at the rental counter: Ok, so I've been too lazy to sign up for the "dash to your car" program that everybody offers but if we have to suffer in line, can we upgrade a few things? Namely, instead of offering upgrades at every page, can we please just get a few agents that announce "we're putting you in a cheap shitty car that you can return a quarter full, sound ok?" and suggest "you don't want all this tacked on insurance crap, now do you?" and can punch you out into your Hyundai Accident or KIA Killed In Action in seven minutes or less.

6) I don't give a crap about Flipper: So don't post his mug right next to the towels, trying to guilt me into drying off with a facecloth. Here's something really radical. If you insist on pulling down every cotton sheet to pamper yourself with you can pay a five dollar charge per item on top of your bill above and beyond one towel, one facecloth per person per room.

5) Charge this: The only in flight announcements I want to hear are "Please prepare for takeoff", "Kindly turn off your cellphones, Blackberrys, stop trying to pretend that the world will end if you don't get this one call. Sit back, relax and if you're texting by the time this announcement is over, one of the crew will legally punch you in the face", "We are preparing to land, please raise your seatbacks, return your traytops to their upright position and if you go for that text message one more time, a member of the crew will legally blacken your other eye." Do NOT interrupt my forty minutes of sleep from Chicago to Columbus with offers for your frequent flyer mile credit card with available cash transfers and low introductory interest rate offers or I WILL call the office from 35,000 feet.

4) You are limited to one carry-on piece, and one piece that can fit in the overhead. If your overhead piece won't fit there and you damn well know it won't, a member of the crew will allow your overhead luggage to ride in your seat and we'll stuff YOU up there for the duration. And don't expect in flight peanuts.

3) GPS that can read maps: Make decisions, that sort of thing. Not some disconnected, sexless robotic voices that remind me of ex-girlfriends that advise me to pull off on the ramp to my right then exit the left lane four hundred feet and six lanes of high speed traffic hence. Oh, and if you ever take me to an empty parking lot instead of the rental return counter at five thirty in the morning again, I'll back up over your happy ass in the crappy half full rental car with no insurance.

2) Wha-Fu? Can we find a Wi Fi operating system that doesn't dump its favorite settings and make you re-program back to epsedic every time you come across a new server?

1) I'm paying for this seat: After you've been strip searched for contraband jelly beans, snarfed down an Auntie Ann's Chili Express Sbarro Starbucks dashing to gate Q-365, boarded zone 16, can you at the very least occupy the doll-house-sized seat on the aisle you were assigned? That's not to say the plane was over-booked, that's to say the 235 pound donut sucker has gotten the middle seat next to you and is now spilling over into your seat cushion. You're very intimate with the left hand armrest. If you take up more space than should be allotted to a human being. That is to say if you flow over armrests and cascade into the seat cushions of others...

Pay for two seats. Don't like it? Take the bus. But if you routinely get sat alone at one side of a table for two, if you have a couch all to yourself, if your butt cheeks play dixie hanging over your bicycle seat and into your rear wheel spokes, well these are all nature's way, along with the flight crew slathering the door jambs with Crisco in hopes that they can push and pop you into the cabin like a happy little puss-filled zit and openly fret that you'll be able to get out the same way...of telling you you shouldn't have sucked down that second slice at the Duty Free. Now stay out of my seat. I've got forty minutes of sleep to Columbus and if they don't shill another credit card I might get there half awake.

Bunny on.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Catching Up with Some Child Stars

Where are they now? CB caught up with some seasonal stars who hit it big as kids on the small screen! Folks you may not have thought about in years but who once warmed hearts all year long but especially in the magic month of December.

Pebbles Flintstone: Literally born on the set of the series that ran from 1960 to 1966, Pebbles just celebrated her 48th at home in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania. Remembered as the adorable redheaded baby in the original series, Pebbles re-launched her career in the late seventies with her child co-star and now domestic companion, Bam Bam. The two appeared in a rock band in the second, short-lived series and Pebbles and Bam Bam moved to Hollywood where she began working in advertising. Bam Bam kept pursuing acting but without Pebbles at his side, he found that he wasn't the draw he thought he could be. The couple eventually married, had twins but the marriage foundered shortly thereafter. Pebbles lent her name to a breakfast cereal who's royalties paid the bills. She struggled in her career, which wasn't helped when her now estranged husband agreed to star in a pornography film. A moderate success in the smut business, "Bam Bam Bam Bam Bam!" was unfairly associated with his ex-wife and cost her several promotions.
Pebbles, now single, dated several celebrities, Gene Simmons among them but never formed any lasting relationships. Her self-esteem slipped and she at one point binged on brontosaurus burgers. She ballooned to over 200 pounds before she decided to move back east. Settling in a suburb of Allentown, she adopted exercise, lost her excess weight and became a fitness spokesperson. Now a marketing executive for the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, she can be seen at major cycling events, has been considered as a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and is rumored to be in a relationship with Lance Armstrong.

Cindy Lou Who: When she was no more than two, she caught "Santy" taking away her Christmas tree. Cindy never pursued acting after the original "Grinch" but rather settled in Grand Couteau, Louisiana "as far from freaking frozen Mount Crumpet as I could get." A waitress at the renowned "Catahoula's" in Grand Couteau, Cindy earned a respectable if anonymous living. She once dated Gene Simmons but the relationship faltered in 1982. Cindy is a lifelong member of the NRA and in December 2007 was awakened by the breaking of a Christmas ball ornament on the floor of her small home.

Cindy Lou Who, who was no more than sixty two, crept to the living room to see what was new.

There she met (paroled felon Lewis) Grinch, dressed as Santy Claus, stuffing his sack of goodies up the chimney.

"Santy" she said, "Why? Why are you taking these things that I own? Things that I've worked for. For me alone?"
"Well, my child," the fake Santy Claus lied, "There's a setting on one side of a bracelet that's missing. A diamond or ruby or saphire would be stunning. So I'll put it into my sack and take it to my workshop at the North Pole. I'll fix it up there, and I'll bring it back here."

"Nice try ersatz Kris." Cindy replied "But while fooling me once, twice hurts my pride. I'm older and wiser and on to your game, so pardon me now if your lies come out lame."
"Its been a hard life and I've earned all I keep, so I'm not going to give in to some felon creep."
And with that being said, as Grinch stood by her heater, Lou Who drew out her nine millimeter.

When spring came along, a pine box was Grinch fitted, and later in May Ms. Lou Who was acquitted.

Lucy Van Pelt: Doctor Lucille Van Pelt retires next year after a successful career as a psychologist, self help author and celebrity therapist. In the early eighties she distanced herself from her brother Linus, lead vocalist of "The Blankets" and turned her attention to writing self help books. A degreed psychologist from Johns Hopkins, she turned away from private practice "I wasn't exactly getting rich, a nickle at a time" to write I Can Fix You For Five Cents. The book was a New York Times bestseller and solidified her position as a populist guru of mental wellness. She counseled Schroeder, then conductor of the New York Philharmonic but dropped him as a client when rumors of inappropriate contact surfaced. Other clients include Patty Halperin, the "Peppermint" woman whom she guided through a difficult coming out period in the early nineties. She was romantically linked to Gene Simmons in the mid-nineties.
Dr. Van Pelt established herself in 2001 with her book; Auuugh! What to do When Life Pulls the Football Out from Under You. That blockbuster earned her appearances on Larry King, Oprah, Doctor Phil, Regis and Kathie Lee, The Weather Channel and made Van Pelt a household name in self-help therapy. Dr. Van Pelt has not announced her retirement plans but is thought to be working on a memoir of her life and work, tentatively entitled "I Ought to Knock Your Block Off."

Bunny on.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Michigan J. Cat

"You made tuna last night."

"How do you know it's tuna?"

"Can opener. Everything else has a pull top. Whitefish, turkey, stew, lamb, or at least the varying re-concentrations of something or others that get pressed into a can and labelled something you can relate to and think we like to eat. They all have pull tops. Except tuna. You have to open it with a can opener."

"You've been paying attention."

"Our relationship, until now, has had limited dynamics. Food, attention, that sort of thing."

"Litter box cleaning."

"Would it make you feel better if I flushed for you?"

"Forget it."

"Uh huh. Anyway, it's been restricted in our interactions. Limited to the simple things. Food, water. So a lot of things repeat. You start to sense patterns. Can openers, pull tabs. I'm sure you see it in your world."

"We call them ruts."

"Hey, you're talking dirty."

"Ok, boring then. But I get it. Patterns."

"Patterns. You look for them. See what they mean. Some mean danger, some mean something good. Some don't mean a thing. They just are."


"I guess. The way you and Colleen used to sit on the couch. You'd watch TV. She'd lean into you. You'd twirl her hair and stroke her neck. It didn't mean a thing. It wasn't dangerous and nobody was getting fed. So I guess that was boring."

Harry looked out the window above the kitchen sink for a moment. "Not boring." he said.

"So what's boring?"

"Not that. That meant that we were comfortable and happy. With each other. With the way things were. We felt safe."

"We sleep."

"So do we. Together."

"That wasn't sleeping. That was a lot of thrashing around. It meant danger to us."

"Before she left her old man, it meant danger to us too."

Boris yawned and let his jaw snap shut. That part of the conversation at least was ended. Before he started talking (the cat was talking, right?) that was a non-verbal signal of annoyance. Harry guessed it still was.

"Before I feed you, can I ask you something?"

"I'm getting hungry." Boris scowled for a moment. "Ok. Go ahead."

"You're talking."

"And you're awake. And you're sober. Satisfied?"

"No no. Not that. I know I'm in control of my senses. But you're talking. You're a cat. Let's leave the larynx aside for a moment. Your brain has the capacity of speech? Of thought?"

"And it's not the behemoth that your brain is? Is that where you're going?"

"It's not the size of a human brain."

"Size matters? Didn't you watch the news last night? Guy got stuck in a cave? That's a brain?"

"He's an adventurer."

"Every day is an adventure. Doesn't mean I stick my head in a fanblade. Remember what I said about spotting patterns? Some are dangerous. Look, let me explain it another way. Your computer; couple of years ago, you moved the big one out, now you're working on the little one?"

"The laptop. So?"

"So the first computers, Eniac I think it was. They were huge. Now they're small. But by all accounts they're better. Just because my brain is smaller, why should it not adhere to that trend?"

"How do you know about Eniac? Don't tell me you read Wikipedia when I'm not home."

"Oral tradition. We don't have a written history. It's all oral."

"So there was a cat at Eniac?"

"Geeks replacing vacuum tubes need friendship too."

Harry put the bowl down. Boris, who had been talking, had been talking as his face drew more and more into a scowl. Non verbal cue, Harry supposed. There was a knock at the door. Boris kept eating. His bowl was on the other side of the small counter that separated the kitchen from the dining room. As such, the kitchen door was in another room and not an immediate visual/aural stimulus. Harry supposed noise alone didn't bother the cat. It was when things started to compound that Boris usually ran away at various speeds. Harry looked over to the door where Jim was looking in and holding his hands up, palms out and fingers extended away from his body.

"What's up." Harry said, suddenly a little more adept at linking body gestures to the spoken thought. He motioned Jim in.

"What's up?" Jim asked.

"Morning. Not a lot. How you?"

"Not bad, hey Boris," the cat kept eating "Wondering if we're running Sunday?"

"Yeah. We are. Seven as usual? Doing twelve?"

"Yep. What're you doing?"

"Talking to the cat."


"He's answering."


"As in answering. Words. Thoughts. Complete sentences."

"You ok?"

"Fine. Boris?"

The cat kept eating, chasing a last flake of tuna around its bowl. He worried it up the steep side and then gravity pushed the morsel back towards his mouth where he caught it on his tongue and drew it in. He sniffed the bottom, then the sides of the bowl and satisfied that nothing was left, sat back on his haunches, licking his chops.

"Boris?" Harry asked again.

The cat angled his head and looked at Harry. Then he looked at Jim. Then back at Harry. He meowed. He got up and walked into the living room where he sniffed at the couch then jumped on to lay down. Harry smiled at Jim.

"See ya Sunday." Jim said, grabbed a banana from the fruit bowl on the butcher block island and walked out the door.

"Sunday." Harry said and said no more. He closed the door behind Jim. He took his own banana and walked into the dining room. He picked up the empty cat dish, walked back into the kitchen and put it in the sink. He filled it with water to soak. He cracked the stem of the banana and peeled the peel back a third of the way down the fruit. He took a bite and walked into the living room where he stood at the couch and looked at the cat. The cat looked at him. The cat said nothing. Harry said nothing, eating his banana. When he was done, he went back to the kitchen, threw the peel into the compost bucket, then walked back through the living room and up the stairs to the bathroom. He stopped for a moment halfway up the stairs and looked at Boris for a moment. Boris was looking out the living room window. Harry continued to the bathroom at the head of the stairs and just as he was closing the bathroom door the cat sang out:

"Hello my honey, hello my baby, hello my ragtime gal!"

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