Louie the Cat Surgery Sale!

Let me tell you about my cats!

Louie is an 18 pound love beast that we rescued from a chicken wire cage in someone’s garage, where we were told he was “vicious.” He jumped into our arms and mauled us with nuzzles. We learned later that his meanness toward others was due to allergies causing chronic infections that ruptured his eardrums. We’ve tried expensive treatments, but the vet says the best course now is to permanently drain his bad ear.

So it’s time for a book sale! I have copies of Bad Boy Boogie, Life During Wartime, and Blade of Dishonor. $16 each shipped US, or $15 each for 2 or more. All signed or inscribed, plus a free gift from my hoard of books, comics, and silliness! And cat hair.

Contact me via this form if interested.DpolbuJW0AAynoG.jpg_large.jpg

 

Happy Halloween from Pyewacket!

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Kim Novak and Pyewacket, her familiar from Bell, Book, and Candle

One of my favorite Halloween movies is Bell, Book, and Candle. Tonight I’ll be watching The Witch, though. I highly recommend it, if you like disturbing stories. It tells a tale straight from the Salem Witch trials, as if the stories told were truth, and it succeeds with chilling efficacy.

But if you don’t like being scared, here’s a very funny pastiche of Lovecraft and Schultz, by John Aegard, over at Strange Horizons:

The Great Old Pumpkin.

I loved it. And here’s my costume, the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. My favorite line isn’t why a raven is like a writing desk, but rather when Alice says, “I don’t think…”

and he quips. Then you shouldn’t talk!

Nasty fellow, that Hatter… lay off the mercury.

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Goodbye, CatLoaf

Goodbye, CatLoaf

My not-so-little arm warmer succumbed to kidney disease yesterday. When we adopted him from an acquaintance, she said his name was Shadow. We called him CatLoaf. We quickly surmised that he was called ‘Shadow’  not for his dark fur but for his preferred loafing spot, behind you in direct opposition to the sun. When he wasn’t desperately attempting to sneak underfoot, he would sit on the couch behind your head and give you a scalp massage whether you wanted it or not, find devious ways to climb on the table and sit on your hand or stuff his entire head into a drinking glass like a feline Jerry Lewis, or knead the pillow by your head and purr in your ear.

CatLoaf needed to be within three feet of a human at all times, but not touched by one. He was a feline electron, negatively charged, in a rigid orbit around you. Petting was okay, sometimes. Holding was forbidden. He never achieved his dream of living inside our refrigerator, sleeping on Firecracker’s keyboard, or climbing on top of my head while I used the toilet, but he never quit trying. His last days were spent loafing, getting stroked, and eating treats and drinking tuna water when he could keep it down.

He was a friendly cat who would approach any stranger without an inkling of fear, only an expression of deep curiosity and comradeship. He would let you pet him, and when he had enough, he would tell you in his way, which was by nipping the tender skin between your fingers. The only things he ever ran from were his nemesis and nap buddy Charlie Crookedpaw, our rescued Siamese, and his own droppings, which when caught in the fur of his prodigious hindquarters must have felt like the very jaws of death snapping at his empty scrotum. I have wrestled 300lb athletes to submission, but was not able to hold CatLoaf still for more than a few moments during his prime. He would rather die than give you control. And he was of course, black as your soul.

He was a companion that grew on you, and stepped on you, sat on you, leaned on you, sneezed on you, and occasionally hawked hairballs on your shoes, bed, and clothing, but over the years he became a beloved part of our lives, and we will miss him terribly. But not his breath. No, not his breath, which fellow cat-lover H.P. Lovecraft would tenderly describe as more wretchedly unwholesome than the fetid emissions of Azathoth’s hindmost parts.

Goodbye, sweet CatLoaf. We made you happy for a time, and you returned the favor.

The Edward Gorey House


I’ve been a fan of Edward Gorey’s macabre little books since my friend Peter introduced me to the Gashlycrumb Tinies back in high school. Gorey drew twisted little figures in a creepy mirror of the bored and insulated world of New England’s idle rich. From the bizarre penguin-like creature in tennis shoes who shows up for dinner in “The Doubtful Guest,” to poor Millicent Frastley abducted in the dark of night to be sacrificed to “The Insect God,” he managed to evoke a frightening and wonderful world that seemed to spring from disturbing childhood daydreams.

He was an eccentric cat-lover who wore an ankle-length raccoon coat and tennis shoes, and is likely most famous for designing the gothic animation sequence to PBS’s “Mystery!” series and the stage design for the play of “Dracula,” starring Frank Langella. His figures have a wispy quality, as if they sprung from the infamous Puritan gravestones littering New England warning the living that all flesh is grass, and God is firing up the Toro any moment now.

His house is everything one might expect. It looks perfectly normal at first, but something is off. It is about to be devoured by an enormous Southern Magnolia tree overtaking the backyard, a plant that shouldn’t even be able to survive, much less thrive, on the deltoid of Cape Cod’s atrophied bicep. The cut-out of a plump tabby in a sweater welcomes you, and a wrought iron “Doubtful Guest” tiptoes through the back yard, strangled with vines, like a living topiary beast. Fans and friends have decorated his yard with all sorts of homages to his work, such as tombstones to the Gashlycrumb Tinies and an enormous sperm whale painted with his work.

The house itself is crammed with the odd ephemera he collected, from old cheese graters to matchbooks, with shelves and walls plastered with his work. The Tinies are immortalized in a scavenger hunt game, with all 26 of the ghastly alphabet undoings hidden around the house- from poor Basil assaulted by bears, to Nevile, who died of ennui, peering from a hidden window. The museum is run by fans and friends of the late Mr. Gorey, who keep his twee and morbid spirit alive. I purchased a few books and gifts in the gift shop, and a delightful print that I plan to hang over my bookcase, which reads “Some Things Are Scary.”

Words to live by. Some things are scary, and we delight in the thrill of seeing them from a safe distance. In Gorey’s tales, we get uncomfortably close to twisted people and banal horrors. While the Addams Family were the odd ones on the block, Gorey’s world mirrored our own in that something scary was just beneath the surface.


The Gashlycrumb Tinies

Visit The Edward Gorey House website.