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Periodic Table

Previous posts have alluded to the fact that Buddy is a gifted (albeit little-known) scientist. In recent days while the caretaker has been gallavanting about to visit a new bay-bee in the family, Buddy has set his mind to categorizing the world around him. He has peered with moderate interest at something hooman scientists call a “periodic table” (actually, he fell asleep while staring at one on the computer screen), and he has concluded that hoomans are notorious for making the world much more difficult than it needs to be. So as his contribution to science, he would like to present his extremely simplified periodic table, from a feline view of the world. He fully expects that his breakthrough will qualify him for the Nobel Prize in science.

His list of elements, in no particular order, is provided below for your instruction:

Fd

Long name = Food. Fd is normally found in cans or bags, and if it is covered with Gy (see listing below) it is delicious. Unfortunately, the caretaker is not always careful about what she classifies as food. Buddy has learned that if the adjective “health” precedes it, then it should no longer be considered Fd but rather Rf (see listing below).

Gy

Long name = Gravy. At first glance, Gy might be considered a subset of Fd, but Buddy insists it is a category unto itself. Not everything that is called food is edible. Gravy is always edible, and usually even slurpable. Buddy’s fondest dream is that the earth’s core is made of gravy.

Bd

Long name = Bed. Bd appears in many forms and colors, and therefore its atomic weight varies greatly. Anything that can reasonably be used as a sleeping surface is classified as Bd.

Ju

Long name = Jumping ramp. Jumping ramps differ from beds in that they must be strategically placed and sturdy enough to hold several foot-pounds of cat and to support the “pushing off” motion of the back feet that propel the cat into the air gracefully. Ju is a particularly useful element when the cats are playing “The Floor Is Lava.”

Gl

Long name = Glass. This element is important to indoor cats because without it there would be no Cat TV. Fortunately, Stratford Palace is rich in Gl.

Fs

Long name = Face Scratcher, not to be confused with Scratching post (see below). In those few minutes of the day that cats are not eating or sleeping or watching Cat TV, they are interacting with the world in various ways. The primary way is to rub their faces against any protruding surface. Wall corners, chair arms, hooman hands, and multiple other objects can serve as whisker scratchers. For that reason, the caretaker keeps a cover on her toothbrush, which has previously been classified as belonging to the element Fs.

Sp

Long name = Scratching post. The name of this element is tricky because even though the caretaker has purchased several items that other hoomans called a “scratching post,” the cats will have nothing to do with them. Instead, Buddy and Bear use many other surfaces that are not suitable beds or jumping ramps as scratching posts. These include the back and sides of the sofa, the sides of the cloth ottoman (the top of the ottoman is Bd), and the edges of cloth on the dainty chair with the picture of the dancing man and woman. The caretaker disagrees with Buddy’s categorization of the furniture as Sp, but then, she is not a scientist, is she?

Rf

Long name = Refuse. Buddy toyed with the idea of calling this element “garbage” or “trash” but he likes the play on words achieved in the sentence that defines the term: Anything that Buddy would refuse is known as “refuse.”

Buddy will keep his gentle readers informed if any other elements are discovered, but for now he is quite sure the world of Stratford Palace has been properly described. And now the caretaker must end the post abruptly because the orange mouse toy has become trapped under a closet door and Buddy is howling inconsolably.

Hope for the best, gentle readers.

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The caretaker would now like to share a few entries from the journal of Buddy the Scientist, just in case the homes of any of our gentle readers are infested with laundry beasts. Buddy’s solution may not be the one you would choose, but don’t say he didn’t warn you.

11/12/2012, 0900: The caretaker has just begun to engage in that most hateful of activities that we cats know as “pelt sorting,” but which she insists upon calling “laundry.” These euphemisms are getting out of hand. For example, what I call “sheer torture” she calls “grooming.” Worst of all, Bear has succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome and now actually begs to be “groomed.” Never fear, faithful reader. We, the royal “we,” shall not fall prey to that trap. Nor shall we let “laundry” get the better of us. We are entirely too cunning for that.

11/12/2012, 0920: During the laundry portion of the week, we are accustomed to the caretaker’s wandering to and fro with armloads of pelts, subjecting them to water torture and then to the heat chamber. But today she has added an unusual level of horror, apparently reserved for only a few of the pelts. It involves a special torture table and a dreadful monster that she keeps concealed in a closet. It is smaller than me, but it has a hard shell that is impossible to crack, and so we have not yet been able to defeat it. We suspect its only vulnerability may lie in its long, thin tail because the caretaker is always careful to prevent us from chewing on it. How is a scientist supposed to make accurate inferences if not allowed to gather data?

11/12/2012, 0930: As we are able, we sneak up to sniff the monster, but the caretaker keeps pushing us back and warning us that we could “get hurt” if we continue. (We take special note of that thinly veiled threat.) One of the times we got close to it, we found it to be emanating an oppressive wave of heat, and our heart sank within us. Is it not enough that these pelts have been through two levels of torture? Must they also be singled out for scorching? There is no end to the treachery of this woman, who is so bold as to serve us HER choice of food on HER schedule. If the Geneva Convention doesn’t cover these fell deeds, it should be amended. (It may, of course, continue to omit the tormenting of bugs and rodents from the list of unacceptable activities. We are quite satisfied that these acts are sports, not crimes.)

11/12/2012, 0933: She has now been scorching one particular pelt for 3 minutes, moving it about methodically so that every square inch is subjected to the searing heat. During this process, we have observed that the beast is an obedient accomplice in these endeavors. It seems to have no mind of its own, and very little sense. For that reason, we first thought it might be a dog, but then we remembered that it smells nothing like those dreadful creatures. Too bad, really. We always enjoy an opportunity to teach a dog his place in the world.

11/12/2012, 0935: A new observation finds us astonished on many different levels. The monster must have caught sight of our royal person, for it began to hiss violently. With this new data, we are ready to name the creature. Its hard exoskeleton, its long tail, its ability to emit heat, and its hideous hissing can only mean one thing: it is a throwback from the era of dragons and dinosaurs, so we have dubbed it “Hissorapter.” Our sincere hope is that it cannot spit out poison. If so, we must flee this place immediately and abandon our observations. As serious as we are about our scientific work, we have no desire to sacrifice our royal person for the sake of a few facts. The pursuit of science ends where the endangerment of life begins. Especially our life.

11/12/2012, 0955: The caretaker’s taste for torture must be waning, for she has hung up the last pelt and set the hissorapter on the floor, with the explanation that she is concerned we would have “accidentally” knocked it off the table. Ha! If such a thing were to happen, it would be no accident, we can assure you. But as it is, we are left staring at the beast, hoping it does not turn on us. But then we realize that it has no legs. The treacherous caretaker has obviously lamed it so that it cannot escape. But we must not pity it, given its willingness to cooperate with the caretaker’s schemes. No matter what the circumstance, it is our responsibility to fight evil, for besides being a scientist, we are also a king. With such weighty matters on our shoulders, is it any wonder that we sleep so much? Just being who we are is exhausting. We would invite you to try it sometimes, but you would collapse under the weight of responsibility. You are, after all, only hooman.

11/12/2012, 1010: The monster’s heat has now abated, so we have done the only honorable thing. With one swift stroke of the paw we toppled it, spilling its contents. But those contents reveal the last bit of data we need for our scientific assessment. If that animal had a proper heart, it would be oozing blood, but it spills only water. Thus we may now walk away, confident in the knowledge that we have destroyed the very source of evil itself. And in that act, we have learned the caretaker’s euphemism for the beast, for the she is now spouting forth its name as she scolds us and sets it upright: “Buddy, WHY did you knock over my iron?!?!?”

There it is, faithful reader. As is only fitting, its name is a four-letter word: IRON, meaning “evil hissing beast that emits heat for the purpose of torturing pelts.” Such evil can only be conquered through the sheer force of scientific endeavor. That, combined with a strategic slap of the paw.

Science always wins.

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A while back, the cats promised to provide career advice, and then they failed to follow through. But the recent brouhaha over notebooks filled with job candidates for government positions has the cats wondering if they have been marketing themselves effectively. They have only this humble blog to showcase their massive talents, but apparently they should have been fitting themselves into binders. They have, therefore, spent considerable time between naps polishing their résumés. They would like to preface their curricula vitae with these four compelling reasons that governors, presidential candidates, and other hiring managers should consider cats to fill their cabinets:

  1. The very fact that the cats made promises they did not keep should qualify them for key positions in virtually any government agency. If not, they can always run for office.
  2. Although a reasonable number of women have served in government, cats have been consistently under-represented. The last one we remember by name is Socks Clinton (may he rest in peace), and it has been almost twelve years since he was Chief Executive Cat. The fact that cats do not have opposable thumbs that would allow them to open binders efficiently should not disqualify them from gainful employment. This is America.
  3. Cats are at least as productive as some government workers, and that could be good for the economy. Buddy’s theory is that the less each worker does, the more jobs will need to be created in order to get the work done. As a result, hiring more cats could solve the unemployment problem for less intelligent beings such as yourselves, gentle readers.
  4. Cats love cabinets. They love to explore them, hide behind them, and sleep on them. Putting a cat in—or on—a cabinet would certainly be a win-win situation.
Buddy demonstrates his cabinet experience

Buddy demonstrates his cabinet experience

So get your binders and three-hole punches ready; here are two stellar résumés, straight from Stratford Palace, in the heart of the American south.


Résumé of His Majesty, Merlin Buddy Blacktail
Sovereign of Stratford Palace

PROFESSIONAL PROFILE

Skills: Napping, snacking, shedding, running aimlessly, executing surprise attacks

Experience:

    • Bag inspector, including purses, grocery sacks, and suitcases
    • Photographer’s model (portfolio available upon request)
    • Night watchman
    • Ninja warrior
    • Scientist/explorer

Ideal position: TSA officer or double naught spy

PERSONAL PROFILE

Favorite television show: Criminal Mimes

Favorite food: Our second favorite food is gravy. Our favorite would be whatever is at the top of the endangered species list at any given time, but the caretaker refuses to purchase contraband. She is most disobedient.

Biggest fears: Thunderstorms, trains, and laundry


Résumé of Rijn Bear
Mere Resident of Stratford Palace

PROFESSIONAL PROFILE

Skills: Napping, snacking, napping, staring disdainful, napping, producing fur balls, napping

Experience:

    • Food taster for royalty
    • Pest control techician, specializing in moths and crickets
    • Food critic
    • Music critic
    • Crime scene investigator
    • Mattress tester

Ideal position: Prone

PERSONAL PROFILE

Favorite television show: Downton Tabby

Favorite food: The one that wasn’t served

Biggest fears: Brooms, mops, and surprise attacks


Any reasonable offer may be referred to the cats’ caretaker/secretary. The cats are napping and cannot be disturbed.

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