Monday, December 6, 2010

Those Terrorist Cats

A lot of you know that I have a soft spot for cats. Persians to be precise.GooGoo-07 Raised them for years and used to go to shows. My cats still go to shows, but being blind, I kind of get lost looking for the concession stands. But, I have ‘cat’ friends who take my cats to the shows and still stay in touch with a lot of cat people.

Just this weekend there was a show here in Portland and I sent two of my girls. A friend who shows a different breed than Persians shared the following story in an email this evening, and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

See, times are tough, even amongst people that still pursue this hobby. So, she took her two cats to the show hall, and found out that parking near the Rose Garden was $8.00 a day! So, being the thrifty person she is she decided to park across the busy  four lane road in a shopping mall. She diligently read the sign that said ‘Complimentary 4 Hour Free Parking for Mall Customers’. So, she decided that if she went in and grabbed a latte from ’that place’ she’d at least be technically a mall customer. She was even thoughtful enough and dedicated enough to go move her car every 4 hours.Somali Cat

All went well Saturday, and she even did some Christmas shopping at the mall after the show Saturday and had another over priced coffee before the show Sunday. But that is where the happy story ends.

She came out of the show Sunday, around 4:00 pm, had her cats and all the paraphernalia that cat people haul around to show, carriers, combs, corn starch (does marvels if your cat has an accident) shampoo, brushes,anti static spray, “Summers Eve” feminine hygiene spray, which believe me is used for even bigger accidents and is a cat show persons secret weapon, and to quote Arlo Guthery, other implements of destruction.…she had all this loaded on a little four wheeled cart and secured by bungee cords so she could cross the street safely. She makes it across the street and approaches her Toyota Sienna Van-brand new and perfect for hauling all your cat show stuff.sienna

I remember talking to her when she bought it and suggesting the vanity plate (a pun in itself) of CAT BOX. Well, she couldn’t get that plate but she did pick out a great vanity plate. You see, she shows and breeds Somalis, like the reddish fellow upstairs on the right. By the way, she got a great deal on this van from another cat friend who works for the Toyota dealer in Corvallis, OR. She has even managed to find stickers, like you see saying “Proud Parent of an Honor Student” only these are of Somali cats. I think it’s terrible to put bumper stickers or any other stickers on a car, especially a new car, but you know these crazy cat ladies….

You probably haven’t been able to miss the story all over the news about the young American student that went to school at Oregon State…in Corvallis. The one who was born in Somalia and with the assistance of the FBI managed to plant a dud bomb near Portland's Pioneer Court House 

I’m sure you can see what’s coming. My friend gets back to her car. A van, with the Somali Vanity plate and the dealer license plate frame from Corvallis Toyota. She is immediately surrounded by 5 mall security vehicles and officers with there guns out. Right behind them is two squad cars from the local PD. She immediately cops to beating the $8.00 a day parking at the Rose Quarter, but explains that the sign wasn’t excluding others from parking, and besides she had her coffee cup still proving she was a legitimate mall customer. Give them credit, they didn’t have the bomb disposal van there. They demanded to search her van. So, she opens the back and besides the cat toys, cat beds and other cat items, she has a box of plastic 1 gallon mason jar type containers of detangler. They all stepped way back and conferred in hushed voices. Believe me, we spend more of cosmetics and toiletries for these cats than we do on ourselves. She finally caught on to why she was getting all this attention and asked point blank (pun again intended) if it was because of her license plate. They said, “Well, yeah.” so she proceeded to open one of the pet carriers and show them the cat and the ribbons proving it was a Somali cat. They had another conference and finally let her go on her way with a stern warning about how not to look suspicious. One even suggested she think about a different vanity plate.

A few weeks ago this may have just been a funny story. I may have even been a bit proud that law enforcement was so serious about public safety, but now….I’m not too sure.


The Dirty Lowdown

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hard Boiled Noir

Hard Boiled Noir 001So, just finished reading ‘Dan Brown’s’ The Lost Symbol, Which I’ll be doing a review on shortly. Enjoyable read. Whole story takes place in about 10 hours, which makes you think, in retrospect, that the characters are ready for a marathon and will damn sure win it. Definitely big screen ready and Hollywood bound. It’s very  involved and will have you Googling  to see if he’d left any possible conspiracy theory untouched. But, this isn’t about that.

This is about violence and sex (not at the same time….usually). Rye whiskey and fedoras. It’s about characters with tough attitudes. Cool, cocky, flippant and cynical one liners. It’s about dirty cities at night. I wanted Terry Mack and Race Williams. Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe. Characters nearly beyond redemption. So, I went to the shelves, let’s see I’ve got Cain and Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Walter Mosley (one of the best ‘modern’ noir authors and an American treasure). I’ve got Cornell Woolrich, Dorothy B. Hughes, Jim Thompson, David Goodis, Charles Williams, Chester Himes, Mickey Spillane, Ross Macdonald, John D. MacDonald, Robert B. Parker, Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton and even  Elmore Leonard. But I had recently read Leonards', When the Women Come Out to Dance. Hammett and Chandler are a bit too familiar as I am always rereading them and still love the short pulp stories. Recently reread most of Walter Mosley’ EZ Rawlins books-always fun and I always find something new. The others, though admirable and true to the genre, just were quiet there. Then I found James Ellroy Because The Night. I had forgotten I even had this! Cat’s must have knocked it down behind the book shelf. It was next to an empty bottle of Thunderbird wine and a crumpled pack of Lucky Strikes with a book of matches displaying an anonymous phone number for some one named ‘Dixie’. Lip stick on the corner and hearts in place of the ‘dots’ over the ‘I’s’ in Dixie. There’s the advertisement for an All-Nite Bail Bondsman on the cover.

This is written before Ellroy became the "Demon Dog of American crime fiction." before he had fully developed that postmodern historiographic metafiction, staccato, no-verbs allowed style.

Because The Night is the second in the Lloyd Hopkins Trilogy. Lloyd Hopkins, a LAPD detective with almost as many flaws as admirable traits. He has an very high IQ., is a sex addict classic womanizer and sometimes feels entitled to break the law in order to right wrongs. In short, Lloyd is the classic hard boiled, noir, character. Just what the doctor ordered after Lost Symbol.

Here’s a taste:

Lloyd laughed. “Nice pad, Linda. Out of the low-rent district.” Linda feigned a return laugh. “Don’t be formal, call me suspect.” Lloyd stuck his hand in his jacket pocket and pulled out snapshots of Thomas Goff and Jungle Jack Herzog. He handed them to Linda and said, “Okay, suspect, have you seen either of these men before?”Linda looked the photos over and returned them to Lloyd. There was not the slightest flicker of recognition in her eyes or her hands-on-hips pose. “No. What’s this about Stan Rudolf? Are you with Vice?” Lloyd sat down in the easy chair and stretched his legs. “That’s right. What’s the basis of your relationship with Rudolph?” Linda’s eyes went cold. Her voice followed. “I think you know. Will you state your purpose, ask your questions, and get out?” Lloyd shook his head. “What do you know?” “That you’re no fucking Vice Cop!” Linda shouted. “You got a snappy come back for that?” Lloyd[‘s voice was his softest; the voice he saved for his daughters. “Yeah. You’re no hooker.” Linda sat down across from him. “Everything in this apartment calls you a liar.” “I’ve been called worse than that,” Lloyd said. “Such as?” “Some of the choicer shots have included ‘urban barracuda,’ ‘male chauvinist porker,’ ‘fascist cocksucker,’ ‘wasp running dog,’ and ‘pussy hound scumbag.’ I appreciate articulate invective. ‘Motherfucker’ and ‘pig’ get to be boring.” Linda Wilhite laughed and poked a finger at Lloyd’s wedding ring. “You’re married. What does your wife call you?” “Long distance.” “What?” “We’re separated.” “Serious splitsville?” “I’m not sure. It’s been a year and she’s got a lover, but I intend to out last the bastard.”

Classic noir, from the pessimistic worldview to the jazz slang, cop patois, and creative profanity. It’s even got a ‘mad scientist’ …okay, mad psychiatrist as a bad guy and is filled with dirty cops dirty tabloid journalists and more irredeemable characters than you could find in South Centrals drunk tank on a Saturday night. I’ll have to look under the book case more often. Maybe I’ll call Dixie.

The Dirty Lowdown