Painting With Shotguns XXXIV

If you go ahead and try to pronounce XXXIV, I bet you’ll end up with something that sounds like “shiv.”

Which is exactly what I’m going to do to you right now. I’ll set down the shotgun on this fine day and instead will shiv you betwixt the ribs with a sharpened piece of wisdom that I broke off of my brain.

Forget Painting With Shotguns.

It’s Stabby Time With Shiv Wisdom!


Cats Are Awesome On The Internet, But Not So Awesome In My Yard

Our neighbors on both sides have cats as “pets.”

I slap quote marks around that word because, for all intents and purposes, what they have is a habit of keeping cats outside and feeding them whenever it’s convenient. These are not responsible pet owners. These are people who don’t want the responsibility of, y’know, having to clean up after their animals or having to take them to the vet to get fixed or having to give one whit about the safety of these animals about which they pretend to care.

Let’s take a look. At present, at least five cats orbit our yard. One black, one gray, two black-and-whites, and one orangey beast. None of these animals are particularly pleasant. Yesterday, at least four of them were involved in cat fights in and around our yard. All that squealing, hissing, and spitting. Good times. The dogs love it. And by “love it,” I mean, bark endlessly at the Feline Race War going on outside our windows. And by “bark endlessly,” I mean, “distract Chuck from writing.”

These cats use much of our front flowerbeds as a toilet. I know they do so because, if you go out on our small patch of front lawn during a hot day, the area smells like cat urine. Cat urine. Such a delightful odor!

The cats also perform other lovely tricks for us on our property. Like, say, they chase away or kill the pretty birds. Any bird feeder we put out there is basically “lunch buffet” for the kitty-cats. Oh! And the baby bunnies, they kill those, too. And they kill mice and leave them around our yard, which is really awesome when the dogs find them. That’s just what I want — I want our dogs to find a diseased mouse carcass left behind by what is likely a diseased cat. Yes! Score. (Cats, for the record, are not good pest control. They destabilize a local ecosystem.)

Sometimes, I just find blood. No animal. Just blood in the snow or blood on the grass. Serial murder on our lawn. Call the blood spatter analyst. Stat!

Cats are excellent vectors of disease, by the way. Toxoplasmosis is the big one. But they can carry all manner of parasite. Indoor cats aren’t a problem. But outdoor cats do all kinds of awful things you don’t know about, like, ohhh, eat sick animals. Which makes them sick (go figure!) or able to spread sickness (surprise!). Kids and other pets are susceptible in return.

These cats, at present, have not yet tried to battle our dogs, though other cats have.

Like, say, that cat above.

That cat — mostly a friendly one — is named Midnight.

Oh, wait, no, was named Midnight.

Where is Midnight now? Midnight is jolly well fucking dead. And before you freak out, no, I did not kill him. Some other animal killed him. Raccoon, maybe, I dunno. Midnight joins the neighbor’s other cat, a fat fluffy tabby by the name of… I dunno, Fuckface or Shitpuff or something, who also died similarly.

They died because the neighbor just… let them wander. Roam endlessly! Go, kitties, go. How sweet! How fun! How independent! How dead-by-raccoon-scratches!

A couple years back, I hit a cat with my car. Cat darted out on a fast road, slammed into my tire, not under it, and died. I felt awful. The cat had a collar — no tag, but this was someone’s pet. Where do I go? Who do I tell? I don’t see many dead dogs on the side of the road, but I see dead cats all the time. Because people treat their cats like they’re disposable.

So, here’s the plea. If you’re one of those cat owners who thinks their cat is some precious little independent lioness, and you “respect the cat’s right to roam,” you’re not helping. You’re hurting. And yes, you’re an irresponsible pet owner. At least, at least get the cat fixed so you don’t propagate the problem (and fixed cats roam less). But I beg you: keep your cat inside. Your cat has no more right to roam than my dog. I wouldn’t let my dogs just amble aimlessly so they can crap in the neighbor’s yard and run out in front of cars. “But cats like to be free!” So do mice. And snakes. But if you have them as pets, do you let them out?

If you care about the cats, keep them controlled.

If you care about your neighbors, keep your cats controlled.

For the record, despite my allergies, I like cats. In fact, I think I like cats more than some cat owners. My neighbor’s reaction to her two cats being eaten was a sad shrug, like, “It was inevitable.” No, it wasn’t inevitable. It’s like letting your child wander into the tiger pen at the zoo and when the child gets mauled to death you’re like, “Well, it’s a hard world out there.” No. It’s a hard world inside the tiger pen, dipshit. Her current cat (the aforementioned orangey one) is another wanderer. No control. No anything. It wanders. Aimlessly. Roaming toward whatever fate awaits.

It’s a passive form of animal abuse, is what it is.

Getting Lost

Will you miss Lost when it’s gone? I will, but I’m also happy it’s ending — I like that it’s moving toward a natural conclusion. More television shows should come with a built-in time limit. The “endless seasons” syndrome actually lets a lot of shows go bad on the vine.

Did you see last night’s episode?

I won’t spoil. Not that it much matters — everywhere I turn, from Twitter to TV Guide, somebody has already spoiled the big deaths.

Is it a spoiler to say, “People died?”

If it is, too bad. Some folks died.

Actually, none of the articles mention one of the dead characters. Which is sad. I loved this character, and this character’s last words are perfect for said individual. No one is mourning this character. Sad.

Everybody else, well, it’s interesting. My wife reacts to character death as if the creators have betrayed her. She actually goes through the stages of grieving, I think.

I won’t recap the episode, really — that’s Hindmarch’s job, and a fine job he does with it — but I will note that I think the Sideways world is possibly not the result of the bomb going off, but rather the result of whatever happens at the end of this season. I think the Sideways world represents a nicer future (present and past, too) for these characters, and what we’re seeing is the hell they had to go through to rewrite time and space to make that happen. For most, the Sideways world is actually a better one. (And by the end, I think this’ll be especially true — I think we’re going to see lots of characters we like die, and die badly.)

Ride The Lightning, Taser Kid

So, in case you didn’t know, some dumbass teenager ran out onto the field at a Phillies game, got chased around for a minute, and then when the cop had a shot, he Tasered the shit out of the kid. Er, maybe not literally, I don’t know if the lad voided his bowels or not.

Lots of chatter as to whether or not it was necessary force.

I mean — ehh?

In this day and age, especially when we just had a terrorist car comb in Times Square, it’s not the best idea to violate space you shouldn’t. Somebody doesn’t Tase him and he suddenly is able to detonate some kind of “underpants nuke” and kill everybody in that stadium, well, then it’s a big ol’ oopsie, innit?

Alternately, it was clearly some doofy fanboy, and where the fuck was he going to go? You’ve basically got him in a giant cage known as a “stadium.” Is he going to grow wings out of his ass?

Lots of questions about how safe the Taser is, but I assume it’s just as safe as tackling the dude to the ground where you could’ve, I dunno, internally decapitated him or something.

Really, the big thing for me is –

Holy shit, what a great photo.

You seen the photo? The AP photo?

I dunno. Am I allowed to post an AP photo on my blog?

Probably not. I’d argue that’s kind of bullshit, but hey, whatever.

Here’s the link to that photo. Incredible shot.

Chain Link Fence

May 5th is CINCO DE JUNIUS! Fellow DMLA client Seth Harwood is rocking pre-orders of his new book at noon today. You should go and check it out. While you’re checking things out, have you popped on over to Tyrus Books recently? Do that, too. For me. You know you love me. And you will perform my every whim.

I like what Andrea Phillips says here about “Reclaiming Your Rut.” I adore my routines.

I feel like you haven’t been checking out Russell Bailey’s new gaming-slash-pop-culture blog, Fantasy Heartbreaker. Tsk-tsk-tsk. You have 30 seconds to rectify it. Fail to comply, and I will explode your face with cats. No, I don’t know what that means. But it sounds bad, doesn’t it?

Great thought from Hindmarch on control, writing, and superstition.

Eddy Webb points out: “Free Time Is Not Free, Dick Goblins.” I might’ve added the “dick goblins” part. But it’s what he meant. Trust me. I know Eddy Webb. Intimately.

Maggie Carroll has a new website. Rick Carroll has a new website. These websites must do battle.

That is all.


  • I love cats. I hate them as pets. There, I said it.

    Cats don’t do anything but piss you off and clean. Dogs at least have decency to act goofy and floppy. I enjoy watching cats. I enjoy thinking about how mysterious they are (even though they are more concerned with eating their own crap that exploring the Underworld. Fuck you, Egyptians).

    We have a cat. Our cat is named Belle. I would happily throttle Belle if given half a chance. Belle likes to shit. This is her favorite past time. That means I spend a lot of time scooping a little box. Belle likes to sharpen her nails on the mirror attached to the dresser in our bedroom. Belle likes to do this when we turn the light off, just as I am about to fall asleep. Maggie then hisses at Belle. Belle is never impressed by this. Belle goes back to scratching, and I can almost hear her saying “who the fuck is this guy?” The smell of cat food makes me ill. I do not like feeding Belle. I end up feeding Belle fairly often. I am thinking about starving Belle. Belle is not fixed. Belle should be fixed. Belle reminds us that she is not fixed every couple of weeks. Belle is very loud when she does this. Kicking Belle does not satisfy her. To be perfectly sure, I will kick Belle again next time. I wouldn’t want to be accused of not exhausting the possibility.

    Seriously, I love Belle, but I hate her as a pet.

    That entire story about this kid reminded me of the scene from Airheads, where the guys are on the way to the radio station and talking about the kid who got tased and his nut hair fell out. Good times.

    Thanks for the call-out. I think right now that her site would beat the crap out of mine.

    • @Rick:

      I dunno. Your two sites are neck-and-neck. Punch by punch. Blow by blow.

      Heh. “Blow.”

      Anyway. Cats!

      Cats as pets is why I don’t have cats. And, I’m allergic. I prefer “dog loyal” to “cat loyal.”

      But have you considered getting Belle fixed? Getting fixed changes an animal’s behavior — I mean, it’s sad and all, I’d love to have our dogs have babies (er, dear god, not together), but it definitely changes their temperament. I know this is true for dogs and I’ve heard it’s true for cats. Makes them better pets.

      – c.

  • Yup, I am allergic also – but very mildly. Every now and then it gets to me (scratchy eyes, itchy skin, mutated cancerous protrusions on my clavicle) but for the most part I can handle it. I absolutely want to get Belle fixed, but we don’t have the money to afford that. There is some government run plan here dedicated to making sure these irritating fleebags never reproduce, but I exist in a weird semi-legal state in Canada, and I can’t put in the paperwork to get the subsidy. Maggie is supposed to get that in; she’s been getting around to it for the better part of two years.

    Heh. You said “blow”.


      We have local programs that allow you to get animals fixed cheaply.

      But, then again, we’re in the land of hot dogs and liberty. You’re up there in Canadiastan, land of maple syrup and fascism.

      – c.

  • He made *that guy* chase him on a hot day? He’s lucky he wasn’t shot.

    Also, “Shiv Wisdom” sounds like a 1am talk show host. “Late Night With Shiv Wisdom!”

  • Cats jump on your lap, rub all up on you, and seem to enjoy being pet until they flip the fuck out and claw the shit out of your legs and arms. I dont get it.

    I keep meaning to post this link for you. Its not exactly painting with shotguns but it is pretty cool

  • I used to think I was a cat person. Now I realize I’ve always been more fond of dogs, I just lived in apartments for a long time.

    Still stuck with two cats, though.

  • My cat thinks he’s a dog. He jumps up and puts his front paws on you, licks hands and faces if he’s allowed, and plays fetch. And he wouldn’t know what aloofness was if it bit him on the ass.

    He’s the perfect cat.

  • Neuter your cat (it won’t wander too far away), keep up to date with its shots, feed it healthy stuff (remember to mix it up a bit too), check it for ticks regularly (and your dog. And yourself. When you live in tick country like I did, you check yourself after every trip to the woods.) and train it to come home for the night.

    That’s what we do with our cat. She’s eleven and still kicking butt. The bonus is that she doesn’t need a litterbox, as she does most of her business in the old apple grove.

    My girlfriend has a cat and he’s a mangy, city-grown beast. We will probably get ourselves one when we get a house of our own, but we’ve already decided: I am going to train it.

  • Hey, Rick? Send Belle down to visit us, we’ll get her fixed and send her back.

    Seriously, Chuck, I’d report your flipping neighbors if I were you. Animal cruelty. Put on your gloves and grab those cats the next time they come in your yard and cart them off to a shelter. The whole idea of “outdoor cats” makes me absolutely crazy. We have three Irish Terriers, and terriers are ratters so occasionally we get unpleasant presents (birds, toads, rabbits, possum…) but it’s not like having cats. And our dogs don’t roam the neighborhood leaving presents for our neighbors.

    • @Laura:

      I’d report, but I can’t imagine any good would come of it in our slackabed borough.

      I am considering trapping the cats — the only caveat there is, doing so means I buy the trap ($50), and I take it to the shelter, and almost without exception the cats get killed. No local non-kill shelters that I know of. Too many cats in these shelters. My mother caught a caught last year, took it to the shelter with its kittens and wanted them to take it, and the made her sign documents that said, “I give you these animals to kill.”

      And, yep, they killed all of ‘em.

      My Dad used to just shoot cats on our farm. Claimed they were as much a pest as anything.

      – c.

  • As soon as our tax return comes in, Damsel will be getting shot up (and maybe Spark will have his shots renewed) and de-uterused, and then it’s outside for the kitties!

    Kidding, kidding. I do feel sorry for cats spending their entire lives in little boxes (I know I’m going stir-crazy and I’m allowed outside), but I’d never just let a cat roam. It is cruel, as you said. Where we’re moving, we’ll be right on Main Street in Lansdale, and that’s a pretty good recipe for “dead cat on the side of the road”.

    That said, I don’t necessarily think having outdoor cats is bad. In Josh’s old apartment in Norristown, his backyard was fairly closed in (it wasn’t near any roads but it was open to other people’s backyards) and everyone would go out with their cats a couple times a week and socialise them together. It was very controlled and there were always people there, like they were dogs or kids or something. Last summer we’d take Spark out to the little tree patch behind our place, but there were no other cats for him to growl at so he mostly just rubbed up on plants and ate grass. He could have split, and our place is right near the driveway, but he’s fat and lazy and he knows this, so he doesn’t try. Damsel I don’t really trust, since she’s young and rambunctious and not fixed, so we haven’t taken them out this year.

    It’s too bad our new place doesn’t have a real back yard. At my parents’ complex, the people across from my parents’ back yard have a cat that they let out on a leash that’s connected to a stake in the ground. It can wander all it wants within that radius, which I think is a good middle-ground since it’s not really possible to “walk” cats. It gives their kitty a bit of freedom, but not really.

    When we do get Damsel shot up and fixed I want to get the cats harnesses so we can take them out to the park across the street. You might not be able to walk cats, but I’ll sure as fuck try! Plus awwww, cute.

    Jesus fuck I could talk about cats all day. I love kitties. I’ll stop now.

  • Really I’d just let them out and keep an eye on them, like we did with Spark, but like I said, I don’t really trust Damsel. If I’m staying near them anyway and need to watch two cats at once, might as well have leashes, right? I don’t really plan to “walk” them, just kinda let ‘em roam in a controlled way. That way they don’t destroy the ecosystem. Cats are killers.

  • Yes, I have been somewhat lax getting the paperwork filed to apply for the Break Your Pet program our community offers. I’m lazy like that. BUT. I’m not permitting to let my cat run around outside with her parts working so she can slut up to the horny toms and demand child support in a few months. She’s strictly an indoor cat.

    I probably won’t let her run around outside even when she’s fixed. It’s almost flea season, after all, and the collars and/or the drop on the back of the neck are not 100% proof against parasites. I’ve lived with a major flea infestation before — the upstairs neighbour *coughsisterinlawcough* in the duplex I lived in 3 years ago had a zoo of animals she let roam around as she saw fit, and they brought enough fleas that they built a nest in their floor (ie: my ceiling).

    She had a lot of animals. I mean, A LOT. I’m talking multiple cats, a pair of dogs, four kids, breeding mice to feed the snake and a partridge in a bear tree.

    No, you read that right. A BEAR tree.

    Because a pear tree doesn’t have fur.

    And a bear does.

    And that’s all it takes for my brother’s woman to want to have it inhabit her house.

    And the worst part is, she rotates the animals out A LOT. She’ll have a dozen cats, get bored of them, give them all away (or let them run away, for all I fuckin’ know) and then restock and resupply on small fur-bearing mammals from entirely new sources. Or one of them will turn out to have “scratched up the children” — of course they’re going to scratch up the children! I love my nieces and nephews, dammit, but I’ve SEEN how they sometimes pick up that surly cat, FFS! Tails are not handles! — and it has to go.

    Gonna stop there before I really get going, because I can continue ranting about that woman all. Freaking. Day. And no one, least of all me, wants that.

    So yes. I have been lazy about getting my animal fixed. But like I said, she’s a strictly indoor cat, and I have no intentions to ever permit her outside.

    Or her boyfriends inside, for that matter.

    It’ll be good practice for when Amber’s hit puberty.

  • If the animal does not have a collar, it is a stray. You can call animal control. Some areas (such as ours) also have programs where you can get a humane trap, collect the feline, take it in for free spaying, and then re-release it.

    We have a couple people in our neighborhood who feed the local feral cats. One woman puts out something like six cans of cat food a day. In addition to feeding the two or three indoor cats she has. It’s crazy. What’s really fucking annoying, though, is that she’s simultaneously feeding the local family of skunks. I frequently exit my house to the lovely odor of Pepe Le Pew. Fortunately, our dog has only been tagged once, when I didn’t realize the kitty he’d chased under the car had a stripe.

    I love my cats. I love my cats as pets. Even when they are annoying, and even though they cost us close to $150 a month in upkeep. I do not love feral cats, though. I let my dog chase them (though he’s never off the leash, so he can’t catch them).

    One of the basic issues with tasers, according to a couple reasonably serious sites I’ve read, is that cops view them as safe and harmless, yet extremely effective (and viscerally satisfying). They are taught not to shoot people with a gun except under extreme circumstances. They have a hard-wired reluctance to hit people with their nightsticks (those without that reluctance tend to get transferred to LAPD). Pepper spray is nasty, tends to make the victim flail and scream instead of submitting peacefully, and makes you feel bad for the victim.

    Tasers are kinda fun, harmless in 99% of situations, and extremely effective at giving the cop instant control of the situation. As such, a lot of cops will go for the taser sooner than going for their negotiation techniques. It’s just more likely to succeed.

  • Okay. I admit it. I’m a cat person.

    But shit yeah, they can be annoying. We have three. Yes. Three.

    Won’t let that happen again.

    All fixed. Two indoor and one out (50/50 in warm weather). The one we let out is because she’ll drive us bat-shit crazy her meows, mews and scratching at the door. It’s like with your wife. Sure you don’t have the money for that new whatever-whatits that she wants. You don’t want to hear that constant nag or begging, though the begging can lead to better things. Point is, it’s not that you don’t love her, you’d just rather suck it up and let her have her way. You didn’t really need to eat lunch this week. Think of it as a diet. Sure.

    Oh, and I’m not being misogynistic. It works the other way around, but women tend not to back down unless there’s a fair trade, or at least beneficial outcome. They’re smart that way.

    Anyway. Yeah. Cats. They can be a needy bunch of piss shits, but there’s something soothing about rubbing a soft …

    I missed most of last season of LOST. So the plan is watch it fully once the series is over. Not sure I can bare it though, knowing now people die. Damn!

    Oh we do have a dog, BTW. A neurotic spasm that thinks she did something bad every time we yell at the cats. She’s getting up there in age, so we’ll probably be getting a real dog in the future.

  • I have a cat that shouldn’t be alive, but because she’s my pet, she beat the odds. We was the runt of the litter, is allergic to poultry, and has — no shit — a disease named “mega colon.”

    Without human science and my willingness to keep her alive as a pet, Dublin wouldn’t have lived more than there months.

    Now, she’s the perfect pet. She has a personality. She greets me at the door when I come home at night. She plays fetch, has her favorite games, and does tricks. And we enjoy our time together despite her daily medications and my cat allergies. She’s a part of my family and I treat her as such.

    If I had a kid, I wouldn’t let them roam the neighborhood to eat and fuck whatever they wanted. That’s bad parenting. It should be the same with an animal. If you love it, take care of it and it will love you back.


    As for the runner at the Phillies game, Preston & Steve brought up a few good points:

    #1 – If the kid drew a gang of police onto the field just to subdue him, that’s less police in the stands keeping the peace (which at any Philly sporting event is a priority)

    #2 – We just paid $125 million for Ryan Howard. I’m surprised the cop didn’t shoot him in the kneecaps with bullets after tasing him just to make a point. We have to protect our investments.

  • Cats: I have 2. They are indoor cats and I like the little buggers. They are quiet, clean, and seem to know when I’m pissed off so they stay the fuck away. They chase down and eat any bugs that wander into the home and they love to play with the kids. I also have a dog. He’s not very bright but that’s ok because our male cat is an idiot too. Watching those two play around with each other is like watching “Dumb and Dumber”. The female cat is smart and likes to watch the two dimwits play. Now I have met some angry, mean, jerkass cats. I hate them. If my cats were like that I’d send them to their death via SPCA.

    Taser: As a former Military Police Officer, I had to do 2 very unpleasant things. The first was to stand inside a small room while drill sergeants filled the space where precious, breathable air with horrible OC gas. This was unpleasant to say the least. The second thing I had to endure was being tazered. Getting tazered hurts. I can’t even explain the feeling as their really is no way to convey the pain in words.

    Now I have no problem with that kid getting tazed. He deserved it, no question. Fuck him.

    • @Paul:

      Dumb cats are awesome. Smart jerk cats are dangerous. We should force all stupid cats to breed to create the stupidest, awesomest I CAN HAZ CHEEZKITTY ever!

      Cat eugenics, baby.

      On Tasering: was that so you understood what it was you were doing when/if you had to Taze somebody else?

      Have you ever Tasered somebody?

      Have you ever Tasered a cat?

      I have to ask these questions. It’s required by law.

      – c.

    • …jaw, agape.

      How I missed that Jack Chick femslash is… is… well, it’s sad. Sad that I missed it.

      You could do a whole blog of that. Not kidding.

      – c.

  • @Russell The Elfstar piece is wonderful. Truly fantastic. I shared it on my Google Reader Buzz thing. I really want it to turn into a fixture of internet lore.

    Maybe I can spam Wil Wheaton into tweeting a link to it….

  • To answer your questions:

    Yes I had to be tazed in order to know what it felt like before tazing someone else.

    Yes…I had to taze the guy that was supposed to be tazed after me. We called him Toppo (His last name was Topoleski) and he was a good man that I liked very much. He and I shared some fun times in boot camp. This was not one of those times. I did NOT want to do it after getting lit up myself. The look on his face as the voltage coursed through him was horrible. I imagine that it’s what most guys look like when they get stabbed in the throat at the pinnacle of an orgasm. Thankfully I never had to taze anyone besides him.

    I have NOT tazed a cat. I wanted to, many times. Sadly, while it’s perfectly legal to taze a human being…tazing an animal can land you in jail.

  • We are a cat house. (No, not that kind!) Sadly, we fostered a cat for awhile that sprayed, and one of our cats picked up the habit. Even after we got him fixed, he still sprays. He remains an outdoor cat, but I am happy to say that getting his nuts chopped did make him stay closer to home.

    My companion of 17 years passed away this winter. He was the best mini-panther ever. He even brought me home a rabbit for dinner one night. No, not a baby-rabbit. A full grown jack-rabbit. Not a mark on him. (It was odd, we were tight on money, and got cat food, and food for the kids, but we adults went without for a few meals… that’s when he brought it to me. He did this little chatter at me that sounded like a scolding when I opened the door too.)

    I think his spirit lives on in his successor. A foundling that has been with me for a month now. We think he was dumped. Skittish but not feral, fixed, and only a little skinny and dehydrated. He has a very similar personality than my mini-panther did, and some of the same habits and traits that I loved. (He’s very upset at me right now. Pacing and telling me it’s way past time for bed.)

    Each of the cats we have definitely have their own personality, and are very bonded with their respective humans.

    However, they all share one trait in common: too much intelligence.

    We’re not sure which one learned it first, but they can all open doors (thankfully the door to the outside and the sliding glass door have eluded them thus far, but all the interior doors are fair game).

    My new companion learned how to from the others in the first week he was here. He’s done them one better and now opens up cubboards and drawers too.

    Now, if only we can get them to shut everything behind them, we’d be golden. Of course, I’m still trying to teach my kids that too.

    Bedtime. The sun is up and I’m getting the stare of ‘If you don’t get your butt to bed missy, you’re going to find a dead mouse in your shoe’.

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