Friday, February 9, 2018

The Wolf Year

It was so. The November corpses laid down by Gooney spelt out in rodent runes the bleak months of darkness, disappointment, death.
Mr G. F. O. Pekoe

The world of The Stupid Ones was in turmoil also.

I like to think that world doesn't touch me in my basement, but it does. The booming was heard less frequently. My powers waned in that year.

Yet we renew. Halibut grows strangely quiet, his black form dwindles. You can also see that Gooney's shanks are leaner under his ridiculous fluff. We remember Bhisku, wise monk, resting under the peony. And yet: while Gooney killed mouse after mouse and the winter grew colder, a new ORANGE ONE came.

Orange Charlie was another who dwindled, then disappeared altogether. And here was ANOTHER.

Not long after the Solstice, at the beginning of that Wolf Year, he crept round and round the foundations of the house, hiding under the shed, taking hasty meals set out for him in cardboard boxes. Orange Charlie went down in the west. Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe rose in the east, out of bitter cold snow, egg shells, and apple peelings.

We trapped him, like a skunk. He is quick and violent, joyful in war. There are no more mice in this house.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Eight Days before the Solstice

The dark days have returned. These will be the darkest yet.

One sign -- a dozen signs -- in the tally of a dozen mice, crushed by machine or shocked to death by the surprisingly venatory Gooney. They tried to escape the darkness outside, the sudden descent of this petrifying cold, by seeking asylum in My House.

Yes, it's a hundred years old and made of wood, with many mouse-friendly gaps. But I still boom in the basement. And little Mr G stalks around upstairs, deiseil, shouting for the return of the sun.

Friday, December 27, 2013


The sky is white today. Myriad sparrows scream stupidly in the hedges.The blue jay has grown fat on the endless droppings of seed from the feeder.

It is the fat of the year. Also the midnight of the year.

All the time I should have been planning the Festival of Misrule that is Halibut's Solstice Feast (with Ritual Dance and Dismemberment), I was asleep in my cave. Taking a leaf from the barren tree of hibernation.

Too late to send out the invitations now. Too bad.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Predator's Progress: Mouse on Deck II

Exactly a year, and the mouse – a different mouse – is again using the deck as a climbing frame and promenade to crumbs and seeds from the winterfeed. Looking back at my notes of a year ago, I should say that Gooney has made great improvements in bloodthirstiness. He knows how to sit, for a long time. That is the beginning of all predation. He takes an interest in the rank smells that mark the zone. It's true that he still finds flies more exciting to snap and leap at. It's also true that this small mouse is still at large. (I have deliberately witheld my paw to give the young giblet a sporting chance.) It is progress nonetheless.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to remove the smell of cat urine from your books

A "friend" asked for my advice on the topic above. It is not only a pile of incunables that makes an enticing cat bed. Any books ill-advisedly left in a cardboard box -- after a move, for instance -- can suggest to cats that there is a new lavatory arrangement in their new home. Unpack those books now! (Then smear your friend's paws with butter. Not only will this reward him for his patience during a trying time, it will establish your cat in his new human-built environment.)

If it's too late, here is the advice of a librarian, which I republish for the benefit of those who need it. I don't mind myself.

But if you don't get the smell out, then you will have de facto a new litter arrangement: on the floor where the book lies, on the shelf, in amongst the shredded paper made by your resident recycler. Bog book not required -- there will be plenty to read for your literate furry friend while he does his business.

How to Get the Smell of Cat Pee [sic] out of Books -- Basic Instructions

It is best to be prepared.
(1) Open the books and sprinkle each page with baking soda. Be sure to cover all areas of the books, including the covers and bindings.

 (2) Place a table in the direct sun on a hot day. Stand the books on their ends, inside the plastic bags, with the cover and pages open to allow to maximum airflow inside the books. Place the thermometer inside the bag, near the opening, and seal the bag with a twist tie.
 (3) Allow the books to stand in the sun for two to three hours. Open the bag just enough to fit your hand inside to reach the thermometer. Do not open the bag more than necessary or you will allow too much heat to escape.

(4) Read the thermometer. Once the temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit the bacteria will be destroyed. {That is 60 C -- very hot.}
(5) Remove the books from the bag and brush off the baking soda with a clean dry cloth.

Glossed by Librarian with Cats 

Best practice - ziplock baggie with book and about half a cup of baking soda.

Try for one of those 2 gallon or "supersize" baggies; you want to be able to open the book while it's in the bag, without opening the bag itself.

Get the extra air out of the baggie (don't go crazy, just don't leave it too puffy with lots of air - smoothing it out with your hands is fine.)

Leave the book + soda in the baggie for a few days, and during those days, every time you walk by, shake up the baggie to get the soda all dusted about again. Open up the book and let the pages flip while the soda is all floating around - flip the pages through a few times per shaking session to really get the soda in contact with the individual pages and the insides of the hardcovers and into the crevices of the spine.

Aim for shake/flipping pages about 4 times a day, and at the end of each day, take out the book, discard the baking soda from the baggie, and put new soda in with the book again.

You're done when you can't smell cat pee anymore. (This could take a day, it could take a week. If it takes more than a week, it's usually a sign that you're not going to win this one.)

As a bonus round, if the book still smells a little "off" but not recognizable as cat pee, follow up the baking soda routine with a day in a baggie with a few dryer sheets. They'll absorb smell and slightly "perfume" the book, to mask a little bit more of the funk. 

Does the baking soda leave any marks or discoloration on the pages?   It won't discolor the pages, and if you have a laminated-cover (plastic-slick feeling) book cover it will be fine there also.

The only thing I can see you having trouble with is an older or cloth-bound book; you might get some lightening effect on the cloth if it is at all damp or wet.
Even then if it is light-colored, there won't be an issue.

Short Version - I would only worry about rich or dark-colored damp/wet cloth covers - everything else will be fine.

☜ A fifteenth-century scribe had no such good advice at hand, only curses and rude drawings.

As I have often said of my self,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A la recherche du chat perdu

A la recherche d'un endroit confortable
For a long time, Gooney used to go to bed whenever he possibly could. Before breakfast, after breakfast, in the middle of the afternoon, anytime before or during or after dinner, when it was dark, when it was not. In fact, he still does this.

He sleeps. Then he wakes up and thinks about sleeping again. So he sleeps again. And so on.

When a cat is asleep, all the birds he has chased in vain circle round him like a host of jeering demons. He stretches out his paw in dream and they fly away, gone forever. Only in desultory fading gusts does the sweet and tasty birdsong touch his trembling ears. Touch and fly.

So it is with the past. It is a vain labour to attempt to pin it with one's claws. It is past the reach of teeth. It is only in some objet, only in the senses awakened by a thing that chances to come within range, that we can once again cry havoc among the twittering fools of youth.

And so, like a machine, Gooney responds to the clatter of the tiny moulded cat biscuits on the hard floor. Like a vacuum cleaner. He touches his lips to the nearest morsel. No sooner has his saliva dissolved the hardened chicken protein than a shudder runs through the entirety of his lithe frame.

What is this extraordinary thing? He does not know. It is a like a giant rodent deep in the earth, deep in himself. He does not yet know what it means, but he can feel it rising, can hear the echoes of the great plains across which it travels.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gooney finds a new publisher

I may, on occasion, have spoken slightingly of Gooney. Sometimes he appears to have no brain at all.

On reflection, appearances are spot on in this case.

Nonetheless, the sacred flame of poetic fire may kindle in an empty vessel. A hollow gourd. Its very emptiness proves the presence of the divine muse. Gooney is, in short, a poet.

Imagine then, my tooth-gnashing, claw-rending, tail-lashing rage upon seeing Gooney's Genius cheapened by the degraded commercial mind. Look at this and snarl: mrgooneyblog botched by mercantilist filth
Since Gooney has not a penny with which he can 'upgrade' to the blessed clear air of ad-freedom, he is doomed to make poems in the vicinity of poor pictures of pink brains with ludicrous exhortations to 'train'. Oh that we could have the real thing, not to train, but to splatter and then clean delicately from our paws.

WordPress! Éditions Flétains raises its tail and sprays angrily and reekingly upon you. From where do you press your words, you so-called Publisher? From between your loathsome, unlicked flanks?

I refuse to allow my simple innocent kitten-savant to be so soiled. From today, mrgooneyblog joins the select few published by Éditions Flétains, here:

Gooney and I are even now batting a few frozen chickadee corpses to and fro across a corner of the cave, negotiating a book deal for the collected poems. Before long I must rescue the lot.