The New Adventures of MochaCat

 

 

Introducing Mocha

 

The hippest most right on cat in Portland. He’s dark, he’s smoooooth, he’s so cool.

We adopted him through an agency that helps find homes for homeless mom cats and their soon to be born kittens. They were great, they gave him all his shots and were very helpful in giving us care instructions.

 

What they didn’t say was that Mocha is no ordinary cat, not by any means.

Never have I seen a kitten jump so high, or run so fast. Never have I encountered such a keen intellect in a cat his age. He is only three months old but reads at a sixth grade level.

He is witty and charming but has a bit of a temper. And whatever you do, don’t trust him with your marbles as he is bound to steal them and put them in your shoes for you to discover later.

I don’t know who his mother was exactly. The adoption agency won’t tell me. I have a feeling she was born of noble blood and so was Mocha by the size of his ego and of his bank account. I didn’t know that kittens came with their own stock portfolio’s but apparently this one does. Once we took him home he immediately got on the phone and called his broker and then his accountant. I didn’t know cats had accountants.

I have a feeling that Mocha is money obsessed and it’s not good for him. He is a bit artificial and frankly snobby with the other cats that have come by and welcomed him to the neighborhood.

And he keeps buying things!  Like fancy pet furniture and cases of canned Mackerel. I don’t know where to put it all.

He goes down everyday to Starbucks and gets himself the Vente size Java Chip at Starbucks, he loves it there. And they love him!  They have named a drink after him, just shows how persuasive he is!

In fact he is paying me to write this fascinating and favorable post about him. Money does talk and since I am temporarily unemployed the money comes in handy. So watch for more stories about his antics. Maybe next time we can find out how he got such a silly name.

 

 

~nlm

 

Adventures in Mocha

 

Tuxedo Mocha Frappuccino

 

Mocha Quotes 

The voodoo priest and all his powders were as nothing compared to espresso, cappuccino, and mocha, which are stronger than all the religions of the world combined, and perhaps stronger than the human soul itself.

Mark Helprin

The modern mocha is a bittersweet concoction of imperialism, genocide, invention, and consumerism served with whipped cream on top

Sarah Vowell
Mocha Cheesecake Bites
Mocha Pancakes With Mocha Syrup

 

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Cats in Space

 

cat-my_god_it's_full_of_stars space cats funny

This is a scene from the upcoming musical remake of the Science Fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. It features an all-star all cat cast and is directed by and stars my famous feline Mario.  I know what you are thinking: How can a cat direct a movie?  I thought that myself at first but when he explained to me that he had attended “directoring school”  in one of his previous nine lives and that he was, and I quote, “Golden”   I felt he may be onto something. I mean he isn’t famous for nothing.

 

I had the impression from him that this would be easy but it has been anything but easy.    Cats never do what you want them to do, even the so called “professionals”.  They are demanding and picky. The cast members would send me out for tuna sandwiches and almost every single time they were dissatisfied with the quality of the fish and would meow mercilessly until I returned to the restaurant and demanded better. Half the delis in town thought I was a nut.

tuna cat

These actor types, what prima donnas…and the director himself you ask?  What a hot head. He was driven by some sort of vision but what that vision was, I had no idea.

Mario had no sympathy for me and no time.  Whenever I tried to talk any reason with him he would suddenly get up from his easy chair and utter in his heavily accented husky voice: “This conversation can serve no purpose anymore, goodbye” and sashay out.

 

The power has gone to his head I tell you. ( He’s gone quite mad you know)  

cat dance 1

 

Mario would stay up late at night practicing his dance moves and sing old bawdy sailor tunes from his past life as a ship’s cat. My goodness, those songs can get raunchy. The neighbors complained. The police have been out several times due to the loud music and the gang of mewing groupie cats that sit outside on the front lawn at all hours stupefied on what I think was very potent catnip.

 

space cat face

Seriously I had my doubts. I mean the whole thing was filmed in our backyard and most of the sets were imaginary.  I was never allowed back there during filming. I would go to the side gate and leave the tuna sandwiches. I had no idea…but it just goes to show why my Mario is as famous as he is…

 

cat space burger

 

The advance reviews have been “stellar”. I don’t get it, but the critics loved it.  I hear it is a “tour de farce” and a “cinematic meowsterpiece”. I can’t believe it but my cat’s movie will premier at the Canne Film Festival.

It’s just goes to show that you never know and don’t doubt the dreamer until you see the fruition of a dream.

~NLM

 

Pink Floyd Echoes and 2001 A Space Odyssey 

(Pink Floyd Echoes synchronized with 2001 A Space Odyssey – Jupiter and Beyond The Infinite. 720p version.)

 

 

A Befriending of Crows

The morning sun shines in stripes through the slats in the blinds and onto the wooden floor. There is a golden hue to the light at this time of year. I see a squirrel bounding across the yard looking around for a nut or two to store away for the quickly approaching winter but you wouldn’t know it from today’s weather.  There is a slight chill to the air but the sun feels warm and welcoming. I step out onto the front porch, plastic bag in my hand. I pick a few peanuts (in the shell, unsalted of course) and toss them high in the air and onto the walkway that leads to the sidewalk. Immediately a black crow swoops down to the neighbor’s tree. It waits until I am inside then it swoops down again but this time it is right on the walkaway. It goes right for a nut and so does it’s partner. They both get a good grip with their beaks then it’s off to parts unknown across the street and behind the neighbors house.

 

I throw a few more nuts and the fun continues. We are joined by a pair of Scrub Jays. One squawks high atop the ornamental cherry tree broadcasting it’s new-found bounty. It hops down and captures a nut or two before the crows return. It is more timid and unsure of itself but is the first to see the three nuts I left on the step. It scores all three. Right on! I am impressed. In fact I am impressed with Corvids in general.

The Corvid Family of birds include Nutcrackers, Jackdaws, Ravens, Crows, Jays, and Magpies.

common_raven_calling_nps raven not crow corvid bird
Common Raven

 

 

crow _little_by_shochin-d4otx57
American Crow

Corvids are the most intelligent of all birds, and among the most intelligent of all animals. They have a strong sense of organization and community. Most such as Crows typically mate for life. They live in family units where members of an extended family care for all the babies collectively. They are also protective of all the others in the family pod. They readily accept other adult and baby crows into the group. They form bonds and attachments. Crows are even known to visit their parents years after they leave the nest.

 

Crows like most successful animals are adaptable.  They have  excellent memories and problem solving skills. They can remember a face years after an encounter. Which can be good or bad considering the encounter.

Crows are agile learners like all Corvids. Some have even been known to make simple tools and pass on their knowledge to others of their kind through observation and imitation.  Great apes are the only other animals besides Man known to use tools in such a fashion.

Crows are large, noisy, and social, and they’re not so shy in the presence of people. They have a sense of humor; they play pranks, tease other animals, and engage in aerial acrobatics for fun. They live alongside us and have found many ways to exploit our kindness and curiosity. They also give back and have been known to reward their benefactors with gifts.

Eight-year-old Gabi Mann feeds the crows in her garden - and they bring her gifts in return.
Eight-year-old Gabi Mann feeds the crows in her garden – and they bring her gifts in return.

They are seen as pests by farmers and city dwellers alike and a harbinger of bad things by others.  They are impressive: They are loud and brassy and can be aggressive if threatened.  They exhibit dramatic behavior. We find them in folklore, legends, literature and variety of artistic expressions.  Their voices are used to accompany dramatic images associated with bad situations. Crows are frequently used as a symbol of death .  A flock of them is called a Murder.

hitchcock and-the-birds-corbis-large movie crows
Crows were used in Hitchcock’s “The Birds” not only because of their impressive looks but because they are so trainable.

 

If any bird has a bad rap it’s this one. I think though that crows aren’t given their due when it comes to the positives of this magnificent animal.

I admire their pluck and tenacity and their intelligence. They are the ultimate survivors. They live alongside us in our cities. They thrive where others do not. They are misunderstood, underdog, misfits and considering all of this, of course I want to befriend a crow or two.  I know this may sound crazy but may not not surprise you.  My only concern was if the crows would want to befriend me too, hence the peanuts.  This has been a natural progression of adoration for me; the more I learn about them the more I am drawn to know more.

I feed them sporadically. I don’t want them to grow dependent on my help too much I suppose; a few times a week at most.  It’s the same pair.  I recognize them by their trust of me not by appearance, they all do look pretty alike to my ignorant eyes. I have not given them names although I reserve the right to do so if a flight of whimsy suggests it.

 

I think I am well on my way to befriending these two; My friends the crows I call them.  They seem to know me and we have become pretty close. The bolder one has hopped up onto the porch a foot away and  looked at me before securing a peanut and flying off to stash it near the rosebush; burying it under a few leaves with it’s beak.

I feel good with this Befriending of Crows. I like to watch them. It’s better than TV to me. My daughter has recently joined me in this bird watching which has added to the enjoyment.

We are all connected and it feels wonderful!  This becomes more clear as time passes: you and I,  the crow, the peanut, the earth, the sea. Everything. I stand on the front porch pondering this and watching the crows, I wonder if they feel this connection too…

 

~NLM

 

baby crow bird cute

 

 

References and Related Articles

Grateful Dead - Mountains of the Moon 3/1/69
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CROWS
The girl who gets gifts from birds (BBCNews)
The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe read by Vincent Price
Secret Life of Crows(full documentary)HD
NATURE | Ravens | Ravens Playing in Snow | PBS
Corvids: The Birds Who Think Like Humans  (io9.com)

 

Life with a Celebrity Cat

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.” 
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

cheshire cat 5

Warning

The following post holds no significance whatsoever. It wasn’t designed to make you think or question anything. It promises nothing. It exists solely to make no sense at all so…if you enjoy a little nonsense now and again 

keep reading...

*

If this sort of thing isn’t your thing and you are looking for some deep philosophical discussion you will not find it here, not today anyway.Check out the archives; pick out a subject from the top of the front page and dig right in. You may be surprised. 

 and so for those of you that are staying: THANK YOU.

SBI Presents   **************************************************

LIFE WITH A CELEBRITY CAT

Mario my famous cat
Mario my famous cat

I have received countless letters and emails over these last half-dozen months asking me about my famous cat Mario–inquiring about his adventures. Are there are any new loves in his life? Are there any upcoming movies he’ll be in or new albums he will be recording? Questions on his stance on the political issues of the day, you know, common stuff… he is quite the popular cat. This is not surprising, but what it surprising is that many of the letters have been directed to myself personally; asking what it feels like to live with a celebrity such as he.

Sure there are the fans, the crowds wherever he goes. Forget about going to a restaurant or to a club, he gets swamped with paparazzi and multitudes of hangers on.  All this fame isn’t easy.  It’s endless phone calls from dignitaries and captains of industry, the top people in science and medicine and of course, the well-known patrons of the arts.  We have been so busy trying to keep up with all the correspondence we hired a staff of 6 people and one really smart squirrel to handle it all.

Despite Mario’s privileged upbringing and consequent fame Mario has stayed amazingly down to earth. He enjoys the simple things in life; like sunsets and long walks on the beach, poetry and napping.

mario in box

You can just feel his charisma can’t you!. His appeal reaches through the screen and grabs you, just like that. I know.  What goes through a mind like that?!  Look at him here.., You can tell from his picture….those deep penetrating intellectual eyes.  He is poetry in slow motion–see how he stalked, hunted down and overran this common cardboard box.

Mario has claimed it for his own and has been napping in it ever since.  What prowess

I like to call him lovey boy in front of MM just to annoy him, Mario purrs extra loud and we get a great laugh out of this. That and card games. I don’t know if it’s well known but Mario was quite the card shark in his day. He played the Vegas circuit many times. He once even was kicked out of -the Bellagio for card counting.  It was then he decided to never to gamble again and devote is free time to pursue a career in film and music. Much to his credit he has not gambled since and all he ever plays for now are cat treats.

Although Mario has constant demands placed on him because of his popularity he still finds time for this napping; devoting at least 19 hours a day to this his most favorite of hobbies.  But the center of his universe remains his food dish and there I suspect it will remain.

One would think that living with a celebrity cat would be more exciting. I have been holding out hopes that some of Mario’s famous friends like George Clooney or Oprah  would drop by for a visit…

…but so far he hasn’t been up for visitors.  He amuses himself by following me around while I clean the house, do the laundry and make dinner. This is not the glamorous life I was promised…

Don’t get me wrong. Its not like we don’t have good times because we do, I mean he is not famous for nothing. He is quite the entertainer and what a master of the art of conversation. He has perfected what we call around here: The Silent Mew. It is timeless and it is amazing, oh what form he has. He is suave and graceful and lots of fun to be around.

He can be fussy and whiny and also seemingly aloof and then instantly demanding. He is a handful alright, but he is my cat and he’s alright with me.

Strawberryindigo.

.

“In ancient times cats were worshiped as gods; they have not forgotten this.” 
― Terry Pratchett
This is a Mario-stand in. The actual star of stage and screen was not available for pictures the time this was taken.
This is a Mario-stand in. The actual star of stage and screen was not available for pictures the time this was taken.

***YouTube****

Stray Cat Strut by The Stray Cats

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I Speak for the Cats

beautiful-cat
Credit: Public Domain

What I am about to say may come as a surprise because it is quite amazing and hard to believe but true, so without much fanfare, I will just come out with it. I have an intense almost supernatural power over cats.  Yes, you heard it correctly; cats.

I know you are thinking; “Why didn’t she tell us before?” I know this is something to brag about but I am not one for self promotion.  I am a shy and reserved person in real life. I prefer to blend into the background but I do have my moments when I become quite feisty, and this is one of those moments.

I was having a deep philosophical discussion with Mario, my famous cat, as is our habit on rare idle afternoons.  He mentioned the bad press that he and his fellow felines have been getting lately; apparently a report has surfaced calling our friends the cats massive serial killers hellbent on killing every bird and mouse in their perspective neighborhoods. Mario was, of course, upset and justifiably so.  He asked me to say a few words on the behalf of the feline-kind due to my amazing ability to understand and speak cat.

I too am outraged. I have a natural affinity for cats and being quite cat-like myself, this is not only an insult on him, my beloved friend and business associate, it is an insult on me and I have taken it upon myself to speak for the cats…

Call me the cat whisperer if you will and I have something to say and this I will not whisper…I will shout it from yards, fence posts and the tops of trees: Cats are not killers!

Credit: Public Domain
Credit: Public Domain

As sophisticated and intelligent as they are, cats are animals with all the instincts for survival. They are carnivores and being as such, they like to chew on a bit of meat once in a while. For the most part our domesticated homebound pet cats are content with the food we humans provide, as you fellow cat owners I’m sure can attest to. My cats are not killers. Mario and Sunny prefer napping to killing. They are really just big babies and I will vouch for them on that…I repeat: they are no killers. Most of the culprits in these awful incidents involving birds and mice are feral cats. The poor homeless variety of cat that live on the margins of our society.  They did not ask to be there and I’m sure they would love to be provided a nice home with food and love, but these poor unfortunates have been dealt a hard hand by fate and humankind.  They have no choice but to hunt for their subsistence.

I don’t know the stats on this and I want to remain blissfully ignorant on the subject but I have to bring up the question: how many innocent animals are killed to provide subsidence to humankind?  I am a meat eater myself and I am not trying to guilt anyone into vegetarianism although I do have a great respect for our noble vegetarian and vegan friends. I am just pointing out a bit of what I think is pertinent here.

I have an intense intolerance for hypocrites. I am a very forgiving and understanding person.  I love sinners and I love reformed sinners even more but judgemental righteousness gets my dander up.

angry cat bigger
Credit: Public Domain

Sorry you had to see this side of me but I need to express my feelings on this. We as the dominant species on this planet have a duty to protect and care for those which cannot care for themselves, our beloved pets among them. So if you are considering getting a pet please do so with all the seriousness it merits. Make sure you have the room, time and resources to devote to a tiny life that will grow to love and depend on you. If you have not already done so, spay or neuter your animal. This is a crucial step in preventing any more unwanted ones, there are already too many. Another way to help is to donate to some fine organizations out there such as The Feral Cat Coalition  that is helping to protect our furry friends. And one more thing; as a favor for me, Mario, and all the other cats out there. If you hear anyone bad mouthing our feline friends; put in a good word…cats are wonderful animals and do not deserve the reputation they have.  I know they’d stick up for you.

Thanks for listening and have a purrfectly wonderful day!

Strawberryindigo. 

cropped-cat-eyes.jpg

 

Fresh Quotes: August: ANIMAL

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.”

George Eliot

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”

St. Francis of Assisi

“Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.”

Kinky Friedman

TIME SPENT WITH CATS IS NEVER WASTED.

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight –

it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

“There is something really mysterious about lions. They could rip you apart if they wanted to, but at the same time they look so cuddly. Can you imagine what humans look like to animals? They must think we’re so weird.”
Lee Ryan

“The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.”

“The privilege of absurdity, to which no living creature is subject to but man only.”

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

George Orwell

I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.

   Hippolyte Taine

HAPPY AUGUST!

Strawberryindigo.

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Winged Jewels and Flower Kissers

Hummingbirds

I have always been entranced with Hummingbirds, those iridescent jewels of the air. They dazzle the beholder in their almost seemingly abrupt emergence from nowhere. These tiny creatures are almost magical as they perform feats of the seemingly impossible while seeking out sources of nectar in our gardens and feeders.

It always takes me by surprise every time I see one; darting across the yard, its wings going a mile a minute. I feel the quick energy emitting from its diminutive body. You can never get used to seeing such a spectacle. I am in awe of this tiny life and I cannot take my eyes off it. This sense of wonderment stays with me long after it has darted off again.

There are approximately 320 species of Hummingbird. All are New World birds; existing only in The Americas. Their range extends from Alaska to Chile with the greatest concentration living near the equator.  (See →List of Species of Hummingbirds)

History

Huitzilopochtli The Aztec Hummingbird god

Native Peoples throughout the Americas have been intrigued with Hummingbirds since the beginning. The Taíno People of The Caribbean and Florida, the first people to meet Columbus in the New World believed the Hummingbird was “The spreader of life on Earth”.  Hummingbirds became known as “Doctor birds” a name that is still used today in the West Indies.  Hummingbirds figured prominently in the religion of the Aztecs. Their most powerful god was Huitzilopochtli whose name meant Hummingbird sorcerer that spits fire.  Aztec warriors were thought to be reincarnated as these jeweled birds. Hummers also figure prominently in the lore of the Hopi Indians and the Pueblo Peoples of the arid southwest who believed the bird brought them much-needed rain.

Hummingbirds also impressed the Europeans. Tales of the winged jewels reached Europe through early naturalists such as John Lawson and John James Audubon who observed that “The Hummingbird does not shun mankind as other birds do”.

There is truth to this statement as many can attest to. Hummers are known to be intelligent creatures with excellent memories.

Awesome Aerialists

Hummingbirds are masters of hovering flight: suspending themselves stationary in the air, without the aid of wind or thermal updraft; beating their wings backward and forward at the rate of 20-80 times a second. This accounts for the bird’s namesake “humming” sound. They can instantly accelerate in any direction and even fly upside down.

Winged Jewels and Flower Kissers

Hummingbirds are pollinators and some plants have evolved for bird pollination. They have certain characteristics in common, which either attract birds or deter competitors such as bees or butterflies.

Hummingbird flowers are usually large trumpet-shaped flowers. They mostly have no scent as hummers have no sense of smell.  These birds are specialists and have developed bills for their favorites. These hummingbird flowers are found only in areas where breeding hummers have had enough time to exert selective evolutionary pressure on the plants.  The number and variety of these flowers decrease the farther north one goes.

It has been widely known that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red whether this is entirely true is up for debate. Some have suggested that the birds are blind to the blue end of the spectrum and neglect blue flowers in favor of the more visible red ones. It is known the bees, a competitor for nectar are blind to the red end of the spectrum, adding to this theory.

This has been studied with many concluding that hummers learn from trial and error which flowers offer the best sources of nectar at a given time in the season. They will go to those flowers regardless of color.

Interestingly enough most of the flowers in North America that attract hummingbirds are red. Bringing up the theory of convergent evolution, whereby a variety of plants have adopted the very same solution as in how to attract the beautiful birds.  Red stands out against a backdrop of mostly green serving as a sort of advertisement to migrating hummers so they can quickly determine sources of nectar from unfamiliar plants.

Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbirds are constantly pushing the envelope and extending their range northward. The proliferation of feeders seems to be the primary reason.  Feeders provide hummers with a rich food source while natural sources are not yet in bloom.

Some biologists view this supplemental feeding with some reservation. Feeders can expose hummers to unnatural predation, disease or other dangers. The feeders need to be kept clean and supplied with the correct sugar solution. There is no need to buy commercial mixes. Hummers get their nutrients from natural sources of nectar and from the insects they eat to supplement their diet.

Rufous hummingbird

Exert from:  Hummingbird.net

Penny Elliston, a licensed hummingbird rehabilitator, wrote about the dangers of relying too heavily on commercial mixes.

“Please, do not put honey, Jell-O, brown sugar, fruit, or red food coloring in your feeder! Honey ferments rapidly when diluted with water and can kill hummingbirds. The effects of red dye have not been not scientifically tested, and it is not necessary to color the water to attract birds to your feeder. Further, there are unverified reports that red dye can cause tumors in hummingbirds; this may or may not be true, but why take the chance?”

The recipe for artificial nectar:

  1. Use one part ordinary white cane sugar to four parts water.
  2. It’s not necessary to boil the water. The microorganisms that cause fermentation don’t come from the water; they are transported to the feeder on hummingbird bills.
  3. Store unused syrup in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

This mixture approximates the average sucrose content (about 21%) of the flowers favored by North American hummingbirds, without being so sweet it attracts too many insects.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Unless you are prepared to keep the feeder clean and supplied with the correct solution please do not use a feeder. Instead consider planting a hummingbird garden.

Hummingbird Gardens 

Hummingbirds need a mix of sun and shade and a source of clean water. Many of the plants that attract them also attract butterflies and beneficial insects.  Please do not use pesticides!  This will harm the birds and kill off the insects they depend on.

It is wise to find out which hummingbirds visit your area and plant accordingly.  Here is a List of plants that feed and attract Hummingbirds to get you started.

Anna’s Hummingbird

With careful observation you will get to know which plants they prefer.  The Anna’s Hummingbird’s that frequent my garden love the pineapple sage that is a stunning feature at this time of year.

The plants that attract Hummers also attract butterflies and beneficial insects. Planting a hummingbird garden is a win-win situation for all.

Conclusion

Hummingbirds, in my opinion are a wonder of nature. They are beautiful as well as strong. They are excellent fliers and never cease to amaze me.  We in the Americas should consider ourselves lucky to have these wonderful birds.  Flower kissers, winged gems, rays of the sun or just plain hummers; whatever you call them, I call these iridescent jewels of the sky SPECTACULAR.

Strawberryindigo.

References and suggested reading:

Welcoming Wildlife to the Garden” © 2004 by Catherine J. Johnson, Susan McDiarmid and Edward R. Turner

“The World of the Hummingbird” © 1999 by Harry Thurston

Hummingbird Images-Copyright free

World of Hummingbirds (Website)

Hummingbirds.net (Website)