Baltimore, dot-communism, General Chaos

Picture this

Last night, as Paula was frantically trying to put the finishing touches on a school project, I was playing Little Dutch Boy–handling all the things that had slipped while I was away in New York for two days. Among those things was Jonah's fifth-grade social studies project for the month: creating a “Rosetta Stone” of his own and a poster with a message written with the heiroglyphics from said “stone”.

Considering that they weren't even talking about ancient Egypt in the class–the teacher cribbed all of the projects from the woman she replaced, and hasn't modified any of them to match the current curriulum–this was a pretty stupid, makework project. So I had Jonah draw all of the heiroglyphs for the message he wanted to use (the first verse of “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”), and then scanned them into Adobe Photoshop to lay them out with their meanings. Then I printed off his code onto a piece of red construction paper, as the directions called for, and printed larger versions of the heiroglyphs themselves. He cut, pasted and colored the large heiroglyphs onto a poster board.

Time to complete this logistical challenge: two and a half hours.

Today, after dropping Jonah off at school, I came home and drew my own heiroglyph to show what I thought of his teacher:

Then I uploaded it to Cafe Press and made a T-shirt out of it. Maybe I'll wear it to the next parent-teacher conference.


The Mooch

We've become regular hosts to a cat that has apparently been living in our neighborhood for several years. Paula started feeding him, and now we're a regular stop on his route. If we didn't have two cats already dwelling in our house, we'd take him on–but I'm sure it would be a temporary arrangement.

I've considered taking him to the SPCA. But considering that he had a flea collar on when we met, and he appears on very close examination (while willingly sitting in my lap) to be in very good health, he may very well have a house that he calls “home” — or at least did recently. The flea collar was old, so it could be that he's a runaway. But he's getting along pretty well, and considering the rat population in our neighborhood I think we could use a few outdoor cats around here.

He's a tom tabby with lynx-like ears, and he's pretty well socialized; he's been known to climb up on laps and administer a hug (one paw on each shoulder, head rubbing against recipient's chin). Our neighbors across the way say they fed him until he bit one of their kids–knowing their kids, I suspect some rough handling was involved, and no blood was drawn.

We're apparently not his only current regular meal ticket. Our next-door neighbor keeps a bag of cat food at the ready for him, and he seems to have a well-established territory. We might not see him for a couple of days, and then he'll show up on our doorstep, awaiting his breakfast.

Anyway, he owns us now–he's got us calling him by name. It all started a few weeks ago when I stepped out the back door and was greeted by his plaintive meowing. “Good morning, moochy cat,” I said. And it apparently stuck. He is now Moochy Cat, or Mooch, or (on occasion) Steady Customer.

And we've made an investment in him, beyond the food. Two weeks ago, my daughter made me buy Moochy a new flea collar. He let me take off his old one and put on the new one–but bolted before I could fully adjust it.

But clearly, we don't own him. The next time I saw him, his new collar had been adjusted and trimmed.

Who can really own a cat, anyway?