I have seen the devil …

bag o bandit…and she is peering at me from inside a shopping bag.

Meet Bandit. She’s one of our cats. But she’s much more than one cat.

She’s a cat who thinks she’s a dog and hangs out with them, who’s near 10 years old and refuses to stop being a kitten, who likes to act crazy but really is diabolical and because of that has devoted her entire freakish feline life – nearly every waking minute of it – to pissing us off because she thinks it’s funny.

Other than that she’s perfectly normal.

I’m watching her right now, doing yet again what she truly believes is perfectly normal. She’s chewing a handle on one of those cheap grocery plastic bags. Inside the bag is a pair of my wife’s shoes – sensible pumps, mid-height heel, nothing sleazy.

As she has done 3.89 million times before, Bandit will chew through one handle. Not both, never both. When she’s done she’ll go across the room and settle into some nice little niche. And wait. Until my wife tries to pick up the bag and finds it only has one handle.

Possibly with furry trepidation, she awaits my wife’s stamp of approval.

“Dammit, Bandit!”

Her work is done.

A candid moment in the Waterman living room. Please notice Bandit, at right, lounging alone on a large pet bed, and that the three large dogs have given it over to her. They know better. Also notice the mummified remains of an elderly gentleman on the couch. He passed away  in 2003. But the dogs liked him and we didn't have the heart to take him away.

A moment in the Waterman living room. Notice Bandit, at right, lounging on a large pet bed and that the three large dogs have given it over to her. They know better. Also notice the mummified corpse on the couch. He passed away in 2003. But the dogs liked him and we’ve not the heart to remove him.


Bandit came into our world in a box. While the phrase most often is used for beings who leave this world, in our house it’s usually how fur-ball beings arrive in it. I remember the day, vaguely. I was taking a nap, a peaceful one. One that was about to be interrupted.

“Honey, wake up.” It was my wife and a friend by the bedside.

“Huuuuuh?”

“We-were-driving-downtown-and-we-saw-a-box-by-the-road-and-we-stopped-and-looked-into-it-and-guess-what-there-were-six-little-kittens-in-it-and-somebody-must-have-just-thrown-them-there-can-you-believe-how-cruel-some-people-are-so-we-couldn’t-just-leave-them-they-all-were-crying-so-we-grabbed-the-box-and-took-off-and-can-we-keep-them-please-oh-please-oh-pleeeeeeeease?”

“Where’s the box?”

“In the kitchen.”

Game over. I went back to sleep. Once one stray animal or six stray animals get inside my house, they never leave. But don’t blame my lovely wife this time – it was my fault. I fell asleep. I let my guard down. I should have known better. Now you know why I constantly drink coffee.

Bandit doing her best to look ... normal. But do notice Emma, at right, fast asleep yet with both eyes still open. She knows better. Bandit is waiting. Should her eyes close, she will roar up into the demon that she is and pounce.

Bandit doing her best to look … normal. But do notice Emma, at right, fast asleep yet with both eyes still open. She knows better. Bandit is waiting. If Emma’s eyes close, Bandit will transform into The Demon and attack.

Bandit is named Bandit because of the triangular bandana-like white swatch under her chin and on her chest. Only this bandit never pulls it up over her face – she wants you to know who she is when she commits crimes against our humanity.
One thing you can pretty much bet will never be in my house is a gun. Need I say more? I thought not.

One thing you can pretty much bet will never be in my house is a gun. Need I say more? I thought not.

She’s also named Bandit because we thought she was a boy. Found out different when she went with the others to the vet. Cat’s been screwing with us from Day 1.

But while life has been no normal picnic since Bandit’s moved in, there are some moments of triumph for us human folk. Well, at least for me. Like when I’m shaving in the bathroom and Bandit jumps up on the sink. One reason is to get in my way but if that’s not enough to rile me she’ll go into “bad cat mode”, triple-time.

She honestly becomes almost frantic, looking around for something bad to do to get my attention. She might try to knock off my shaving cream can – only I’ve put it away. She pulls on the strings of my hoodie – only I’ve taken it off. Her last gasp? She starts pulling and chewing on my toothbrush, sticking out of the nearby canister.

“Good Bandit, that’s your mother’s toothbrush. Go right ahead and chew it.” And damn, with demonic abandon, she’ll start chomping on the one next to it.

Reverse psychology – works every time.

Bamboo you

bamboo walkThe email was simple and to the point. It was sent to me by someone named “Dr. MaxMan.”

“We will make your device grow like a bamboo, try our method.”

Hmmm … interesting. Now, I’ve been around the block more than a few times. And during my travels I’ve heard a great number of claims about this wonder drug, or that super supplement, or this secret method for success. In fact we all know the drill too well. “Do this or use this or buy this and it’ll make you…

… strong like bull.

… smell like flower.

… smart like Wikipedia.

… big as a house.

… dumb as a rock.

… horny as a man left in solitary confinement for 27 years straight with no light and nothing but the Braille edition of the 1987 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

But I have to admit, I’ve never heard about one to make my “device grow like a bamboo.”

Oh, what the hell. Let’s give it a try. I didn’t click on the email address, but I did punch in the telephone number.Hello“Hi there. I’d like to speak to Dr. MaxMan, please.”

“Who may I say is calling?”

“Mr. WaterMan.”

“Do you have an appointment to speak with him?”

“Lady, you have a phone number. I have a device. I punched the numbers.”

“Please hold.”Dr. MaxMan

“This is Mr. WaterMan speaking.”

“You must be joking.”

“No more than you are, Doc. I got your email. I’ve got a couple questions about your offer to grow my device like a bamboo. First off, I want to make sure we’re on the same anatomical page here. What device are you talking about?”

“You know, that device.”

“Oh, you mean that device.”

“Yes, that device.”

“Cool. Now, say I buy your “method” here, Doc. How do I know it’s really going to work?”

“Trust me. I don’t call me Dr. MaxMan for nothing.”

“Try again. I need more proof than that.”

“OK, I’ll send you a picture of one of my satisfied customers.”

Ding goes my Inbox.bamboo woman“Very happy woman there, don’t you think?”

“Uh, that’s a lot of bamboo, Maxie.”

“She’s very popular. Has a lot of men friends.”

“Uh, I see that. But it sure looks like there are some, shall we say, side-effects here.”

“You say, grow my device like a bamboo, my method grows it like a bamboo. You get what you pay for. As long as you follow all of the directions, you’ll be fine. Only had one issue and that was because the man didn’t follow directions. I’ll send you another picture.”

swirled bamboo“Yeah, I can see what you mean. Sheesh, how did that happen to him?”

“Says right in the directions – big letters – NO TWIRLING. You twirl, well, I think you see what happens.”

“Definitely. But thinking about it, you just may have forgotten another one, Doc.”

“What do you mean? I know of no others. You must be joking.”

“No, no joke. Let me send you a picture.”

Ding goes his Inbox.

Panda-Bamboo-2

Battling White Death, again

White Death NYC 1947When I worked at a newspaper, we used to call big snowstorms “White Death.” Well, at least I used to call them that – run around the newsroom exclaiming “White Death is coming! We’re all gonna die!” and the other editors would roll their eyes and tell me to shut the hell up.

Who’d have thought censorship would run rampant within the very bowels of red-white-and-blue journalism itself. But I saw it – I was there. You’d think I was running around yelling “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater or something. Sheesh.

Anyway, we suffered another pretty substantial snowstorm yesterday, the latest in what’s becoming a long string of snowy misery not just in my part of the country but in many regions of the nation. Just ask Georgia and North Carolina if you don’t believe me. Oh, I forgot. You can’t. They’re all frozen stiff in their cars on the interstates.

White Death strikes again, southern-style.

So, in lieu of anyone else still alive to tell the tale, allow me, as a lifelong resident of The Land of Ice and Snow (a.k.a. White Death), to offer some advice on the best ways to dig oneself out and keep at bay the “I-Have-Seen-The-Devil-and-He-Is-White-Death-and-He-Is-All-Over-My-Freaking-Driveway.”

First, for one to successfully survive, one first must know how to successfully succumb. And then not do that.
toeplowStylish? Yes. Effective? Pitifully, no. That is unless you are attacked by White Death once … a decade.
bicycle snow plowJudging from the exceptionally “busy” amount of gadgets, doo-dads and add-ons applied here, creating this White Death weapon obviously took much thought and work. Unfortunately, too much thought and work. Poor man hasn’t anything left to actually fight the battle now. If I’m not mistaken, the cage-like apparatus on the back may be a variant of the old coal-mining canary-in-a-cage warning system. If you see your canary frozen, you’re about to be frozen. Verdict: Dead.SnowmowerSigh, another nice try. But you know what they say – the family that mows the snow together … dies from White Death together.snow vacuumAh, God bless the man who happily helps with the housework around his humble homestead. For him there’s reserved a special place in Heaven, far from the White Death that claimed him – called the Beach of Perpetual Warmness.

Alrightie – so we now know how not to battle White Death. But there’s got to be a way to fight and live to see another snowstorm, right?

A couple, actually.snowshovellingNO, NO, and another NO. You didn’t really think I’ve strung you along all this way for this???? Good, you had me worried there for a second.
remote snowplow 1snowplow 4White Death can’t kill what it can’t get its frozen little hands on. Brought to you by Superdroidrobots.com, let me introduce you to my little friend – the Custom RC 6WD Robot with Snowplow. Absolute brilliance-in-motion! I can feel White Death cringing.

Sadly, cringing only for a moment. Alas, Mother Technology’s answer to Mother Nature is … out of stock. Even at $8,500 apiece. But you can get your orders in now for next winter.

Yes, I hear you. Next winter?!?! Next winter?!?? How do we survive to next winter!?!
al-gore-flamethrower1Yup, that’s Al Gore. Screw global warming. This is war.

Stupid human tricks, Part 2

More dumb peopleAs I said a while back in my first installment of “Stupid human tricks,” before there could be “Stupid pet tricks,” there had to be stupid people to train them. But stupid people don’t need no stinking pets to be stupid! No, they just need to, well, all they’ve got to do is … breathe.
chip on her shoulderNow, before you start shaking your head in disbelief or disgust here, just consider this – you think you could do this? I didn’t think so. Now, consider this – why the hell are you even thinking about it?
Coke manYou know, we hook this guy up with the woman above and POOF – we have two people who just can’t seem to eat on their own but together … she can get a drink and he gets the cookie. They might call it sympatico. Or maybe stupidico.
mumGeorge! George, wake up … have you seen my broom? I just had it a minute ago and now I can’t find it. Dammit George, wake up and get out of that recliner and help me find my broom!
tortoise manSorry, this was supposed to be a photo of “The Tortoise and the Hare” but the twerp in the rabbit suit took off. Which just leaves this twer… er, tortoise.
peoplejumpAnybody with a horse can stage a steeplechase, but how many people would even come up with the idea of a peoplechase? Not many, for sure. And if that horse don’t pull up his hind hooves a little higher real soon there’s going to be one less of them. Go, Nellie.
tiger sleepingOK, so you’ve been spending the whole day at the zoo, walking around and around and around. Man, could you use a nap right about now. Oh look, there’s the tiger cage. So what should you do – sleep on the floor, or sleep on the tiger? Sleep on the floor, or sleep on the tiger … sleep on the floor, feed the tiger …

What a way to go

king-tut-coffinHere’s one question that always comes up at some point in everyone’s life – your death. Actually, your after-death.

So, how do you want to go … after you’re gone? You know, post-croak. Past your “best-if-used-before” date. Nod off for The Big Sleep. Cash out in the final checkout line. Exit, stage life.

“I don’t want to be buried,” my wife told me a while back when the subject came up. “I don’t want to be in the ground. That’s too creepy and gross.”

“Me neither,” said I.

“So you want to be cremated too?”

“Nope. I want to be stuffed.”

“Stuffed? Like a raccoon or a bear?”

“Ayup. Have me stuffed standing up, with a big friendly smile on my face.”

“Anything else?”

“Just a couple more wishes. Plant me standing up in the front yard, by the side of the road with one arm up in the air. Maybe with a little motor in it so it waves it back and forth to the cars going by the house. In fact, maybe pull out the mailbox and put me there. You could attach the box to me and then put my other arm to good use.”

“I’m afraid to ask, but I must – for what?”

“Arm up – and the mailman knows there’s outgoing mail in the box. Think of that. I’d not only be decorative, but practical too. Perfect.”

“Really, that’s disgusting.”

“I suppose discussing Christmas lights would be over the top then …”

Now, before you write off my last request as just another goofy thing only my mind is capable of concocting, think again. I’m not the only one out there. And I know this because some pretty odd final requests … have been granted.

And in this corner …
puerto rican boxer wakeIf you haven’t noticed, Christopher Rivera Amaro of Puerto Rico is a boxer. It was his life. Well, it was until tragically he was killed in a shooting in January. A funeral home director handling the burial services for Rivera’s family told the Associated Press they wanted to stress his boxing. So the funeral home suggested posing him in a ring for his wake.
puerto rican boxerLooks like they were happy with the idea. That’s his mother on the left, his wife at right and his son kneeling in front of him.

Riding off into the cemetery …
Man-Buried-Riding-His-Harley-Davidson-MotorcycleBilly Standley loved his 1967 Harley. So much the Mechanicsburg, Ohio, man wasn’t about to leave this physical world without it and he told his family about it. He bought additional grave plots next to his wife and his sons built the special plexiglass coffin so he and his vintage Electra Glide …
Man-Buried-Riding-His-Harley-Davidson-Motorcycle-3… could ride off into the topsoil.

Now, about those Christmas lights …

Sucki Olympics breaking news!

U.S OLYMPIANS NAB FIRST SLOPESTYLE SNOWBOARD GOLD
2014-02-09 09.22.43Americans Sage Kotsenburg, upper left, and Jamie Anderson flew, twirled and flipped off the rest of the world’s best snowboarders to take the first gold medals awarded in the brand-new Winter Olympic event. To most observers not really a surprise since we Yanks invented the damn sport. But probably not to one observer, fellow American Olympian and snowboarding icon Shaun White. He sadly backed out of the event, declining to tackle the slopestyle’s inclines possibly after discovering that clipping his hair may have clipped his aerodynamic wings. His comment: Yeah, whatever. I got my own clothing line of boys clothes at Target.

And in other breaking Olympics news …

RUSSIAN PLUMBERS TURN WATER INTO GOLD AT SUCKI
2014-02-09 09.19.57Russian President-for-Life Vladimir Putin may not walk away with a personal gold medal for his Sucki Olympic Games, but look at him – does that look like a man crying about it? Nyet! As the world leader single-handedly promoting stray-dog shooting as an Olympic demonstration sport says: I ain’t blowing $50 billion U.S. for nothing, comrades.