The last post in my Mythological Beasties and Co. blog was about Pegasus. Pegasus is the amazing winged horse from Greek mythology who helped more then one ancient hero complete his tasks. Not long ago, I found a framed Thief of Bagdad poster for sale at the local flea market. Though not an original movie poster, it was a very nice reproduction from the seventies by Portal Publications. As the flea market was winding down for the day, the vendor said I could have it for $20.00. Believing that was a good price for a well framed poster, I bought it. Pegasus and Douglas Fairbanks are now hanging on my wall. I have to say, Pegasus looks awesome. Douglas looks o.k. too.
To read a review about the 1924 movie, visit the Ain't it Cool blog.
It's almost Halloween and guess what day it is? That's right, it's Frankenstein Friday! I never heard of Frankenstein Friday until I did a search on strange national holidays. So if you've never heard of it, that's fine with me. This particular strange holiday was created by Ron MacCloskey of Westfield, New Jersey. Westfield, as you may not know either, was also the home of Charles Addams, the creator of the "Addams Family." Westfield certainly is a creepy place.
The Addams Family
MacCloskey invented the holiday to celebrate the monster, and his famous author, Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley. Mary wrote the novel in the year 1818 when she was only 21 years old. Her youthful age makes me feel a triffle slow and uninspired. Oh well! I WILL be creating some chocolate chip cookies soon if I can tear myself away from my computer.
MacCloskey encourages enthusiasm for Frankenstein and his holiday by awarding "The Franky" to anyone making an outstanding contribution towards advancing the monster's specialness.
So what can you do to celebrate this unique day? You could watch a Frankenstein movie, or read Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley's novel. You could even bake some cookies. Which reminds me, I need to get to the kitchen and start mixing, baking and otherwise creating a big mess before it's too late.
Cute little monsters!
These cookies are from the Martha Stewart website. I don't see any recipe, but I suppose they're just sugar cookies with green icing.
I just read a great story about a black labrador puppy named Cain, a charming fellow who lives in Chatham, Massachusetts. Chatham is found on Cape Cod, that arm shaped region of New England popular with vacationers and crazy people like me. I actually grew up on Cape Cod, so I'm familiar with the Chatham area. Cain's "people" are Jeff and Megan Patterson, whose wallets became noticeably thinner when their puppy started self-guided chew toy foraging. The problem all started when Jeff took the eight week old Cain into Job Lot. Job Lot is a local discount chain that sells all kinds of products at a remarkably reduced rate. Like any good discount store, they have a pet section full of food, beds, anti-stink shampoo and toys. Jeff hoped new chew toys would help save the beleaguered furniture at home. The observant and clever Cain happily received a pig's ear and was lead from the store. A short time later, Jeff and his wife started finding mysterious pig's ears strewn around the backyard. Where did they come from? As I mentioned before, Cain was both observant and clever. The little devil was escaping his yard, taking the back roads to Job Lot, entering the automatic doors, grabbing a pig's ear, then quickly leaving. Cain was outstandingly efficient about his thievery, never stopping to chat, or try the doggie beds. Jeff eventually returned to Job Lot and paid $20.00 towards Cain's purloined toys. Cain, though now an adult, still occasionally helps himself to the odd ear. The store notes his "purchases," and saves his receipts for Jeff's future payment. What a guy has to do for a little chewy fun!
I recently learned Rhode Island has a state tartan. It was chosen by the St. Andrews Society of Rhode Island in the year 2000, and officially registered with the Scottish Tartans World Register a short time later. It's a very attractive tartan. Though to tell you the truth, I really like New Hampshire's state tartan better. It has a certain retina scorching joy about it.
New Hampshire's tartan.
Not every state has a tartan. A list of those that do can be found HERE.
What's really amazing is Rhode Island's state bird. It's a chicken! The Rhode Island Red chicken to be exact. Not every state can have a chicken as a state bird!
Not long ago, I posted a quiz about what personal species of mythological creature you identify with the most. Today, the horse is in the quiz spotlight. What breed of horse are you? I took the quiz, and learned I'm an Appaloosa. Since I'm prone to freckles, being an Appaloosa makes sense.
What breed of horse are you?
Your Result: Appaloosa
You have a unique pattern of spots, as well as a love for people and pleasing others, though you can be a bit naughty or grumpy at times. You sometimes have a spotted 'blanket' that can lie across your back, rump or even under your stomach. Your not flashy, but still the beloved horse to many.
Though the handsome horse in the picture above is only half Appaloosa, the distinctive spotted coat is plain to see. This breed frequently has striped hooves that coordinate fetchingly with its fashionable splotches and dots. The base color can be bay, black, chestnut, palomino, buckskin, dun or grullo. It's hard to tell what color an Appaloosa foal will ultimately be, as they tend to be born a lighter color than later manifests. They have a white sclera of the eye, and mottled skin around the eyes, lips and genitalia. The eyes can be brown, blue, hazel, or two different colors simultaneously.
An 18,000 BC Paleolithic cave painting in France
Archaeologists and other scientific individuals have found pictorial evidence for spotted horses reaching back to the Paleolithic era in Europe. This was a very long time ago indeed. Spotted horses were later represented in the art of Ancient Persia (Iran), Ancient Greece, the Tang Dynasy of China, plus 16th and 17th centery France. Apparently, Louis the XIV of France employed Appaloosas as coach horses to impress the peasants.
Chinese Spotted Horse - Tang Dynasty?
The Tang Dynasty (618 AD) of China had an Appaloosa like horse called the Soulon. Modern day Chinese have developed a new breed of horse called the "Tiger", based on the genes of their ancient Soulon horses. I'm not sure how they did this, but I'm not a geneticist. The Soulon often had a spotted coat.
Spotted horses from Ancient Persia.
I know nothing about this picture except it's described as a Persian conquest. There are several spotted horses in the fray. I like the elephants.
In America, the Nez Perce people of the Pacific Northwest bred spotted horses to be hearty and versatile due to strict culling of inferior animals. The Nez Perce were one of the few tribes who practiced gelding of male horses deemed less desirable. White settlers called these horses "a Palouse horse" after the Palouse River that ran through Nez Perce territory. The name soon became Appaloosa. Unfortunately, the Nez Perce lost most of their horses after the Nez Perce War in 1877. Though the breed went into a serious decline, many committed individuals continued breeding them until they became one of the most popular horses in America today. The Appaloosa registry was founded in 1938. Appaloosas also became the state horse of Idaho in 1975.
"I was wondering if you could do a little something extra for us?" a client asked me. The woman, named Cathy, had finished introducing her two pet cats, and now looked concerned about asking a favor. "We've been feeding a feral cat," she continued, "and hoped you could do so while we're away." She called the cat Honey, and was very concerned about his health and well being. Taking me outside, Cathy was happy to find Honey peering around the corner of the garage as we discussed his care. I said I would be glad to feed Honey and give him his daily cat vitamin.
Honey was not the first feral cat I've cared for. There are many feral cats throughout the country in need of understanding and attention. Today is the ten year anniversary of National Feral Cat Day, founded by Alley Cat Allies to promote the care of feral cats living without a human family. Here are a few facts about feral cats:
*Feral cats aren't the same thing as stray cats. Feral cats are born in the wild.
*As feral cats aren't socialized to humans, they can be difficult, if not impossible, to tame. It has been done however. Kittens are easier to acclimatize to humans if caught young enough.
*Feral cats live in large complex groups called colonies. Mother cats often sit each others kittens.
*As animal control services almost always kill captured cats, it's advised not to call them.
Alley Cat Allies promote the Trap-Neuter-Return program. Neutering and returning stops disruptive fighting, caterwauling, the birth of new kittens and improves the overall health of the cats. Disneyland has employed Trap-Neuter-Return with great success. So have many collage campuses with Cats on Campus. Here is a link to Rhode Island's pawswatch.org, a volunteer network working towards the well-being of feral cats.
Though I don't have a photograph of Honey to show you, he looked a great deal like the black kitty in the picture above. Sadly, Honey disappeared one day and was never seen again. My client and I often wonder what became of him. So on National Feral Cat Day, remember the wild cats around us, and think what you can do to help. The cats would appreciate it.
My job as a pet sitter requires being on the road a lot. Though roading around is usually uneventful, occasionally an event occurs to add spice to my day. Last week, while screaming away from a client's home, my car's oil light flashed on. This was a surprise, as the oil light never asserted itself while the car was actually in motion before. Being concerned, I drove my sickly automobile to Jack the Mechanic. I've been taking my car to Jack the Mechanic for routine oil changes, and other repairs, for years now. Jack's an o.k. guy, but has an annoying habit of calling me "sweet heart" and "my dear" suggesting a general shadiness in the particulars. My car, a mature Toyota Corolla, has a talent for aggravating Jack as it rarely needs major work. Standing before Jack, I could feel his monetary excitement producing a heady atmosphere in his expensively redesigned waiting room.
He said his "boys" would take a look at it right away. While waiting anxiously for the bad news, I read Manly Man Illustrated and Shady Mechanic Monthly magazines. Time ticked by. Finally, Jack entered the room. "Well my dear," he scowled in concern, "you have a leaky seal and a rusty oil pan. I will order you a new pan. The seal can be fixed now." Since Jack's parts are delivered by yak, it was my turn to scowl in concern. "Don't worry about a thing!" he said with flying gusto, "We'll take care of it. The part will be here tomorrow morning." Yeah! RIGHT!
I entered the Twilight Zone of Jack's garage.
The following day, I was informed the part had not arrived as scheduled. A new appointment was made for the next morning. Feeling foolishly optimistic, I drove my car to Jack's for the needed replacement part. The yak had a broken leg. Expressing grave sympathy for the offended yak, I asked when the part might possibly limp to the finish line. The Wednesday of next week was cautiously suggested. No longer feeling optimistic, I drove to a nearby Jiffy Lube to have the oil level checked. The level was fine. Days passed until finally the big day arrived! My pan was HERE! Words cannot express the joy I felt, as I drove into the garage knowing the yak pulled through. It was that special combination of Christmas Day happiness, and that sinking feeling you get when you learn you owe the I.R.S. money.
Joy tinged with psychoneurotic hysteria.
The shiny new oil pan sat in its box waiting for quick installment. Jack pulled it out to show me. The pan looked as expected, though it took so long to arrive, an oil pan wife and lots of little oil pans would not have been surprising. The oil pan did not travel totally alone however. It was accompanied by a skinny box concealing something called a GASKET. Though I had no idea what a gasket was, it was certainly very thin. Perhaps, like a dehydrated sponge, the skinny gasket would expand when exposed to oil. I went home while the "boys" laboriously introduced the pan and gasket to my car. Several hours later, I was told the patient was waiting to be taken home. Though my car is now happy, I can't say so much for my wallet. It's as skinny as the gasket.
As it's been a while since I've experimented on my cat's taste buds, I decided it was time to try something new on hungry Madison. I chose Purina Friskies Select Indoor Cat Food to stop his persistent complaints and pacing. There's nothing grumpier than a ravenous siamese.
The flavor filling his bowl was called Saucy Seafood Bake with Rice and Garden Greens. The first five ingredients listed were water sufficent for processing, sardines, wheat gluten, meat by-products and ocean white fish. The rice and garden greens (spinach) were eleventh and twelfth respectively. The food looked like small chucks of mushy meat with bits of spinach here and there. For more information check Friskies website.
Unfortunately, fussy Madison turned his nose up at the special indoor cat food. So instead of happily washing his stomach and toes, he's still pacing and yelling while I type this post.
Zackary is a pretty Bermese with lots of things to say. An accomplished lap warmer, he gave me many massages with his kneading paws. He's one of two kitties I sat last week for a client in Lincoln, RI. Though Zack is outgoing, his sister Abbie is shy and a bit cranky at times.
I snuck up on Abbie with my camera's zoom feature for this picture. At least her lovely face occasionally appeared so I knew she was safe and healthy. Abbie would stare briefly, than sniff my coat and purse. After examining my paraphernalia, she'd glance outraged and stalk off to find a sun patch. Some bashful cats are like phantoms. You know they're there, but rarely see them. Fortunately, Abbie was always around somewhere. I do have a good record of persuading phantom cats to come out and pass the time. Cats just have to check new people out.
I know this looks gross, but it's a spitty old toy I kept finding in their food bowl. I've had other pets do the same thing. I have no idea why toys are placed in bowls. It's a pet mystery.
Here's a nice picture from my client's yard to apologise for the gross picture. I'd include more pictures, but I'm having trouble uploading photos from my computer. What's the matter with Blogger now? It couldn't possibly be my thousand year old computer causing the problem. Could it? Ha!
I like art featuring animals. The paintings by Horatio Henry Couldery, though sentimental, capture animals in a way recognisable to anyone with a pet gracing (or destroying) their home.
Horatio Henry Couldery was born the fourth of nine children in Lewisham, England in the year 1832. Though originally apprenticed to a cabinetmaker, he soon expressed displeasure, and entered the Royal Academy School at the age of either 23 or 25 depending on which source read. Since he specialized in painting animals, his classmates nicknamed him "Kitten Couldery." This is not a bad nickname, as there are much worse things than being associated with kittens. Besides painting cats and dogs, he also portrayed ducks, pheasants (not peasants), rabbits, mice and fish. I mentioned the peasants in honor of an old history professor who disliked reading student answers about the "pheasants" of the middle ages.
A True Reflection
Though Couldery's paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy, and often used to illustrate children's books, he was not a wealthy man. At his death in 1918, his estate was worth only 250 pounds. I find this a sad state of affairs.
The Reluctant Playmate
Art critic John Ruskin wrote Couldery was "skillful, detailed, in sympathy with a kitten's nature, sensitive to the finest gradations in kittenly meditation and motion - unsurpassable."
The New Arrival
Couldery's paintings can be seen at the Glanmore Museum in Belleville, Ontario. Glanmore has the largest collection of Couldery's work in the world. Apparently, they own at least forty-two of his paintings. A very large collection indeed.
It's not easy being good!
Newfoundlands are great dogs. This one looks very business like.
Couldery's images have become popular on greeting cards.
An Unexpected Guest
Sometimes cats will adopt a puppy if it needs a mother.
What would you do if confronted by a large field of enticing squash calling your name? Would you say "Oh, nice squash!" and walk away? Would you fail to notice it completely? Or, like Dave the Paper Guy, would you steal stealthily into the field and help yourself to the nice verbal squash? Dave is a dealer in paper items (books, old photographs, etc.) I met at the consignment store I rent a space in. He's a nice guy, but has to be watched. Lately, he's been trying to sell an old rock as a "prehistoric fetish" for over $100.00. He actually had someone interested in the false fetish. Dave and his fetish is a prime example of Barnum's Theory about suckers.
Before I met Dave, the consignment store's owner told me Dave looked like Charles Manson, but was a really nice guy. Personally, I think he resembles an old hippy with hair down to his butt and aerated shoes. He lives with his mother in a home containing his personal collection of paper.
Not for the pot I hope!
The assaulted field holding the helpless squash is behind the weekly flea market in Seekonk, Massachusetts. Dave noticed the squash while examining rabbits offered for sale. The squash field was directly behind the rabbit cages. The squash was saying, "Dave. Dave. Dave." Squash has a limited, but effective vocabulary. It's only squash after all.
Two is better than one!
Dave always arrives at the flea market by five in the morning when the first vendors set-up their wares. It's dark, cold, and isolated. In other words, the perfect environment for squash thievery. Carefully entering the field, Dave picked an enormous butternut veggie squash. Suddenly, he started to worry! What if someone sees me, he thought nervously. Hiding the squash in tall weeds, he returned to the flea market intending to collect his pilfered vegetable at a safer time. The "safer time" was not until the following week. He couldn't find the squash! Where was it? Well, there was only one thing to do! Take two new squash fast and run like heck. The vendors were so busy setting-up they didn't notice a thing. I asked Dave later if he ate his illegal squash. He said, "No, it's curing." So if you ever meet Dave, don't be alarmed by his old hippy look, but do cling to your squash.
Anyone interested in discovering their mythological alter ego should visit my alter blog, Mythological Beasties and Co.. You'll find a quiz link called What Mythological Creature are You?. After I dutifully answered twelve questions, it told me I was an elf. Though I'm not sure about the pointy ears, I can live with that assessment. If you take the quiz, tell me your result. I'm interested.