Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blicky Hacks Second Life: Shout Out to My Geek Peeps

Blicky Kitty has been really curious about this virtual world, Second Life, he keeps hearing about and since he still cherishes an unfulfilled belief in futurist utopia he decided to hack his way in. Being a monochromatic kitty creating his avatar was a snap. Moving it around was a different story. Yes, he patiently submitted to the training tutorial about how to move, fly, give yourself enormous breasts, etc, but the second he left, he wandered into lava pits and walls and got stuck in trees while flying.
Luckily, he met a faerie named Una with a sparkling bindi and elaborate mehndi on her hands and feet and who, as luck would have it, was begrudgingly willing to show him around. This is an emersive 3D art installation at the amazing Kelly Yap Studios in second life. It's exciting to see how artists and architects are taking advantage of free materials, new possibilities for 3D and movement and not having to adhere to Newtonian physics. Blicky learned all about fractals by one of the artists/geniuses who creates installations, avatars and sculptures in second life.
Blicky's brain was starting to hurt, so he decided to go dancing at Jopsey Pendragon's Cloud Chateau. Blicky immediately friended Jopsey which, judging from the hushed whispers of his new friends, was the SL equivalent of having Johnny Depp on your friends list in Facebook (Which incidentally Blicky also has. His status today was "Johnny Depp is still suffering from existential angst."). All of a sudden it struck Blicky that he could be anything; human, dragon, animal, male, female, alien, cloud and do anything in Second Life. That's what things started to go downhill...
After about a week we noticed that Blicky was on the computer all night, then in the morning he'd wander around, eyes as big as saucers, mumbling about how he had to stay up for when his friends in India and Europe logged on. It was getting bad. He started forgetting his kittens' names, putting their shoes on their front paws, cooking their pet guinea pigs instead of breakfast etc. and we hoped it might be a phase. He got an SL girlfriend named SexyMysterious Starbeam and I'll spare you the details, but you know when you're little and you play with Barbies and you finally get the satin dress over her boobs and you realize she needs to be dressing up for a reason so you take Ken and you smush 'em together and squish 'em all up and make them kiss with the kissy kissy noises? Well a lot of people think that's a fun thing to play in Second Life.
Luckily, our intervention worked and as you can see he's made some more responsible and stable virtual companions. He even has a Second Life spouse, who complains about doing most of the virtual cleaning, and a mortgage, so he's been spending time off the computer to "get away from it all." He seldom spends any time there these days, but his kittens are fully clothed in the morning and they're thinking of getting a new guinea pig. While Blicky decidedly took the wrong road into Second Life there are so many others doing stunning and creative things there. Where else can you go to a lecture in a Victorian library, sit in on a buddhist discussion with people from around the world, fly in the apse of a virtual cathedral with a dragon, tour the Parthenon and listen to an in-world broadcast of Science Friday with Ira Flatow? I'm just curious about where these immersive environments will lead us. I mean this inter-a-web thing sure seems to be getting popular.

Oh and here's your Mandatory Fun:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Well the permafrost is finally lifting here in MA, and we're emerging from our winter dens, somewhat grouchy and bewildered. We took the opportunity last week to go to the Audubon Society's Environmental Education Center in Bristol RI for a nature walk. They had a lovely picture of a red-winged blackbird on their brochure and sure enough, there he was within five minutes of our arrival like a Walmart's greeter. I guess it's time for spring cleaning....

Cynthia, over at Muse Swings tagged me to divulge cleaning quirks. 

The "Before" Picture. (Hey Cynthia, check out my Amaryllis)

I already had done a post about Blicky's unusual green cleaning tips, and I won't do it again because my hands just looked too blicky in the photos. I do try to clean every single surface assiduously in the few precious moments when I am able to move the cookie cutters off the bedside table, the potato masher off the writing desk, the minuscule Polly Pockets clothing off of the stairs and the Twister game off the dining room table (where I presume it has been serving as a polka dotted house for its two little denizens). So it is usually quite clean underneath the heap of toys and surreptitiously purloined utilitarian objects.

I do know how to clean and I like to do it thoroughly. I just marvel at people who can tame clutter. I feel so much better reading the blogs of other moms. What a relief to learn from Ann at Ann's Rants that other people had feline vomit issues and that at least there is a name for it. I do know moms who have lovely clutter-free homes. From where I sit though, it might as well be a superpower. I mean, why don't they just fly? They might as well. They just wave their superpower arms, and *poof* the cat food that's been poured into the water dish and transformed into crunchy soup instantly vanishes. While I sit at my computer and blog, they are going around their beautiful houses (probably singing) and using their super anti-clutter powers. While I'm spending hour after hour online.... I often puzzle over how they do it. Well I think I've finally found a way to even the playing field: Photoshop!
Now look at my kitchen! Don't worry, the kids and cats are still there — behind a cleverly designed storage panel. I also put a French chef in, but I dragged him into the larder with my mouse and created a new layer over him (how would that sentence have read a century ago?). Check out my bedroom too! I erased all of the cat hair without any harsh or toxic chemicals. I just erased one of the neighbor's houses, and the view is great now!
OK spring cleaning, check!

* * *

In other bloggy news, Blicky is just beaming with joy and has become rather unbearable after reading a panegyric in his honor over at Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes. Not only did our friend Kat post the banner he designed with his own paws, but she created another beautiful and fun poem for her readers to enjoy. Thank you Kat! 

Also, I'm not confirming or denying that I know this beautiful little blogger or anything but every time I read her posts I'm seized with an inexplicable maternal pride. She is cleverly ensconced in bloggyland with her own nom de plume and avatar. She likes to blog about the books she reads (voraciously) but lately many of the posts are about life in second grade and have ended with the sad little plea "please leave a comment." I know she would love a few words of encouragement. :) Rumor has it that she even wants to create a character that is a cat. Hmmmm....

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Don't Be A Procrasti-hater

I've been meaning to do these for awhile. I owe some custom graphics to my friends who won my Valentine's Day Karma Event. These take me a bit of time sometimes when I'm not doing silly Blicky Stuff. This is an homage to Kat over at Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes, who aside from being an amazing and talented writer, is a really wonderful bloggy friend. Check out her blog here!

Kat, feel free to use it (or not) as you wish. I was thinking of how your poetry really balances inspiration with wit and fun.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Non-Representational Joke

Ursula von Rydingsvard, Wall Pocket, 2003-04, MoMA, New York

We've all experienced nonrepresentational art; beautiful or jarring abstract forms that provoke in our mind as well as our senses. It has the unique distinction of depending almost entirely upon the museum or gallery wall for its interpretive context. Abstraction splinters the way we think about an artwork because it prods and challenges us to break the experience down into essential units of color form, sound or texture. The reactions it inspires run the gamut from pretentious reverence, abject distain, utter dismissal, playful arousal to befuddled head scratching.

Alma Thomas (1891-1978), White Daisies Rhapsody, 1978, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC

In our house we have something called the non-representational joke. We had several at the dinner table tonight and I'm thinking of calling the Whitney Museum to see if one of the moppets could submit a performance piece for the Biennial. They go a little something like this: 
Why did the chicken cross the road to the water?
Because he dropped his sippy cup?
No (thinking hard).
Because... he was friends with a duck?
I give up.
Because he was a rock and roll boy chicken.

Mark Rothko, Untitled (Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on Red and White), 1949, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

I know, I had the same reaction! It is so sophisticated and masterful the way she smashes the conventional structure to pieces. So subversive! This is all completely uncharted territory in both avant-garde circles and the comedy world. Here's another gem I learned tonight:

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Tutu who?
(Laughing about the sound of "tutu who?") Orange.
Say orange who?
Orange who?
Orange tutu.

Marcel Duchamp, The Bride Stripped bare by Her Bachelors, Even/The Large Glass, 1915-23, The Philadelphia Museum of Art

(This one always reminded me of Odysseus' poor Penelope being beset by suitors.) 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Do the Dog, Not the Donkey...

It's more than just a killer Specials song, 

I really, really, really want a dog. 

I know what you're thinking, "Yeah, you just want one to eat your cat." True, true. But I also just miss having a dog. In today's era of central heating we really don't need to gather around a hearth anymore. But when you have a dog, there's a real sense of loving warmth that a family can gather around. The kids get to fight over who the dog loves more. "Just look at the way she looks at me. She secretly doesn't like you at all and just wags her tail to be polite."

The question becomes, where to get my dog? What kind of dog will I have? I do cherish a fantasy of having the Beautiful-Dog. You know the ones; custom dyed to match the L.L. Bean dog bed and your Volvo station wagon. My dream Beautiful-Dog would be a Rhodesian Ridgeback. But then there's this to consider:

Yup, those Beautiful-Dogs have more birth defects than the Hapsburgs. Prognathic jaw, hip dyplasia, tendency to try to rule the Holy Roman Empire ("Bad dog! Your heavy taxation to support costly wars will erode your support among the Castillians.")... all worrisome signs that those Beautiful-Dogs have been mixing it up with the cousins if you know what I mean. I have to ask myself, do I really want to contribute to the overbreeding? Do I want a commodity or a family member?
So what's left? I am down with having a mutt, but the local shelters are pit bull-o-ramas. I think New England is just where they get sent, like a maximum security prison for all the most hardened criminals. The people at the shelters don't like to talk about it, but I'm sure those pit bulls sneak drugs in. They do some pretty hard time in the Massachusetts big house. Also, the issue of canine incarceration rape (CIR) is seldom discussed outside of veterinary mental health circles. It's sad, I know, but do I really want a pet with substance abuse and sexual issues? 

I love the rescue organizations, but even they're getting a bit steep these days. I think the cost of spa treatments for the rescuers is built into the requested donation. Plus, how do you know they don't have some latent, sleeper cell pit bull DNA waiting to emerge and bite you in the arse? What if the Beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue dog that you've paid 500 bucks for is really the Manchurian Candidate that's been trained to eat toddlers whenever he sees the queen of hearts?

I guess I'll just keep my eyes peeled for now.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Blicky Scores First Interview with Real Author

Blicky was initially excited when I assigned him to interview Holly Barker, coauthor of The Consequential Damages of Nuclear War: The Rongelap Report, but was crestfallen to discover that the book wasn't advocating nuclear war and wouldn't lead to any new lucrative defense contracts.

Blicky Kitty: Mao, what in the world are the Marshall Islands?
Holly Barker: The Marshall Islands is a republic of about 29 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Australia. The Marshallese live on small narrow islands of sand that lie atop coral reefs. These reef systems form a country that is the size of Mexico, but whose total landmass amounts to some 70 square miles.
BK: Mao like Waterworld with Kevin Cosner?
HB: I guess...the Marshallese are consumate seafarers. Much of their culture and livelihood centers around the ocean. 
BK: Notice you spelled nucular "nuclear." Is that some pretentious liberal conceit?
HB: Yes.
BK: What role did the Marshall Islands play in the development of nucular weapons that I use when I covertly manufacture nucular weapons in the basement as we know them today?
HB: Well the U.S. nuclear testing program was conducted in the Marshall Islands from 1946 through 1958. The U.S. government detonated atomic and thermonuclear weapons with the aim of achieving world peace, but its actions essentially inflicted nuclear war conditions on a fragile atoll ecosystem and vulnerable population. The Marshallese, despite appeals to the United nations, were powerless to stop the testing and were left unprepared to address the resulting problems. The biggest and dirtiest nuclear detonation ever conducted was the Bravo test, on March 1, 1954. It was the equivalent of 1,000 Hiroshima bombs and it produced a mushroom cloud that was 25 miles from sea level.
March 1, 1954
BK: What was is like for them?
John Anjain describing the explosion from the Bravo test
HB: We published an account by John Anjain (shown above) who witnessed the Bravo explosion from the nearby Rongelap Atoll. They saw a light and many beautiful colors; yellow, green, pink, red and blue. Then they felt a gust of wind and we saw the smoke cloud. There was a clap that was louder than thunder and the women and children fled to the woods. Later Anjain went fishing and felt a fine powder falling all over his body. He was somewhat afraid when the powder began coating everything. It fell all day and all night. The next day, when they saw that the powder had turned the water yellow, they realized it was harmful. Later that afternoon a seaplane came and two men surveyed the damage. They left after about ten minutes which worried the people on the island. On March 3 everyone on the atoll was evacuated. The people of Rongelap were relocated in 1957 after assurances from the Department of Energy that there wouldn't be any risk. Mr. Anjain wrote that "However in 1958 and 1959 most of the women gave birth to something that was not resembling human beings."

A US worker measuring radioactivity on the roof of a Marshallese home with a geiger counter.

The medical treatment that the Rongelap people received was more for the purposes of research rather than optimal care. They were interested in documenting the radiation burns (some people had radiation burns down to the bone and weren't even given painkillers) and the thyroid cancer, but didn't respond to complains of reproductive abnormalities.
BK: Hiding the nuclear fusion rod in his pocket. Why were they researching this?
HB: The Bravo explosion was designed to keep the fallout local so they wouldn't alert other countries to the event and so they could use the Marshallese as test subjects to study the effects of nuclear radiation.
BK: That's nucular. N-U-C-U-L-A-R.
HB: Declassified documents show that they knew the wind would carry fallout towards inhabited islands. Project 4.1  outlines the study of the effect of nuclear radiation on human subjects. The Marshallese believe that this project of human study was conceived before the Bravo explosion took place but the U.S. government contends that it was accidental.
BK: People were so mean and clueless back in the 50's. Thank goodness we're so smart and enlightened nowadays.
HB: There still is no oncologist in the Marshall Islands to this day.
BK: Ta eo kwöj ba? Enana
HB: Blicky Kitty, how on earth did you learn Marshallese? 
BK: Mao. Ña DOE. One last question. What nefarious form of mind control have you used on my human to make her think you're the most awesome rock star of a human being in the universe?
HB: Well I've known her a little while (see above photo). Now Blicky, you said Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would be here to hear about the Marshall Islands.
BK: Oh look! Something shiny!
HB: Damn you Blicky Kitty, Damn you!
BK: Kommol tata! Yokwe! Ñe ebar nana m wilim, inaaj kinake eok ñan mama.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Meanwhile in Fifteenth-Century Italy....Part 3

Click here for a link to part 1 or 2

Courtly Culture During the Reign of Borso d’Este (1450-1471)

During Borso’s reign, the court became larger and more complex, and the humanist was demoted to a position that differed little from other court functionaries. And while Leonello preferred a simpler, classicizing aesthetic and his commissions favored the acquisition of Latin books, Borso’s patronage was more closely linked to the propagandistic and ritualistic functions of the arts, which attempts to merge and conflate an aristocracy with its metaphorical representation.[1] In other words Borso had some mad bling.

The Este court became larger as a result of a gradual bureaucratization during Borso’s reign.  Distancing the relationship between himself and various officials, he delegated many duties.  Notaries and chancellors became mere functionaries, executing orders from above. He then assembled what one scholar called a "kitchen cabinet" of his most intimate circle of courtiers, which included his personal friends (such as Dick Cheney, who was actually born already), and the Ducal Secretary.[2] 

Guarino da Verona

By most accounts Ferrara’s intellectual elite were not included in Borso's inner circle of trusted courtiers.  Many documents attest to this change in status of the humanist in Borso's court.  In a Papal brief of 1458, Pius II intervened on Guarino da Verona's behalf after Borso had docked his pay. The changing function of scholars in the Ferrarese court can also be seen in the increased quantity of encomiastic literature dedicated to the Duke.  The first alphabetical inventory of the Este collection, produced during the reign of Ercole, lists seven books whose titles begin with the expression of "Laude" to Borso.[3]  Humanists (like the 24 hour news networks today) were valued for the contributions they could make to Borso’s public persona.

By making the hierarchy more rigid in the innermost circle of his court he was less vulnerable to threats to his power. But while those who interacted directly with the duke were far fewer than in previous years, Borso also made the spectacle of the court open to a greater number of participants.  He employed calculated generosity to create a quasi-feudal system of dependent relationships thereby insuring the full allegiance of his courtiers.  Borso’s court extended extraordinary possibility for both nobles and non-nobles.  The court library became a place where greater numbers of people had access to the resplendent illuminated manuscripts of the Este family allowing them to participate in the discourse and the fashions of the court.

Although the books inhabited the same physical locations during the consecutive reigns of the two brothers, lending practices, manuscript patronage and collection maintenance differed vastly.  By controlling access to the manuscripts and determining how books could be used and by whom, the marchesi ruled the intellectual activities of the court.  During his reign, Leonello d’Este demonstrated a more exclusive, curatorial stance towards his collection.  Under Borso, however, the courtly space of the library was transformed into a more public one.  The Duke allowed both the members of his court and outsiders to borrow more freely from the collection.  Individual manuscripts were also incorporated into part of public spectacles.  In the case of the Bibbia, the book was transformed into an ostentatious statement of piety and the library became an itinerant space.

Courtly Space

So how do we define courtly space? In order to understand our friend Borso it makes sense to reconstruct as best possible the Renaissance definition. The most fundamental definition of courtly space is any location where the court resides. Scholars point out that in Sforza Milan, the word corte bore five different meanings.[4]  Two of the meanings referred to tangible architectural structures which could accommodate and contain the court.  The term corte could be used to identify the persons traveling or staying with the Duke; his “retinue” or “entourage.”[5]  It could also denote the establishment or institution of the court. In order to see courtly space through the eyes of the fifteenth-century courtier in Ferrara, one must relinquish the conception of space as a rational and solely physical entity. 

Renaissance rulers made manifest their political power on the physical, social and metaphorical levels of a courtier’s life. They exerted control over their courts in a physical sense by the ordering of bodies into court rituals, by determining the prosperity and deeply affecting the physical lives of their dependents, and through the ordering of courtiers within the architecture they commissioned. Like dance, spectacle and ceremony ordered the bodies of participants into a lyrical manifestation of marchesinal power.

In a system where favor from the monarch often represented a tangible material gain in the form of a fief or a commission, the nuances of social intercourse; speech, gestures, gazes became primary preoccupations of the courtier.[6]  Access to power was predicated upon a courtier’s knowledge of court rituals and his fluent understanding of the symbolic language of the court embedded in the social interaction between courtiers.

The power of the Marchese was made manifest on a metaphorical level as well through reflections of courtly life through the artistic expressions commissioned by the Este dynasty.  Representations of the rulers, the ladies and lords of the court adorned the frescoed walls of Renaissance palazzi.  Their elegant forms graced the elaborate tapestries and the margins of resplendent manuscripts creating a duplicate courtly space.  Art and society existed in a reciprocal rapport, each defining and influencing the other to the extent that they would not have been viewed as entirely distinct. The Este marchesi manipulated the arts not only to captivate viewers and to reinforce their own sovereignty, but also as  Lauro Martines points out, they could “control the perceived reality of the surrounding world.”[7]  Much as representations of space defied physical laws, the imagery of the court could defy political realities to reinforce and celebrate the Este hegemony.  

(Palazzo Schifanoia. Figure 11. For a more contemporary example of the visual language of power one need look no further than our nightly news with flags and military images flanking our political leaders) For the courtier under the rule of Borso d’Este, courtly space was an expanse of wonder and delight, imbued with the mystical allure of power.[8]  For our purposes, we’ll define courtly space here collectively as any physical place, a social gathering or a metaphorical space that serves to delight, evoke reverence and to reflect and reinforce the social structure of the court.


[1] See Marco Cattini and Marzio A. Romani, "Le Corti Parallele: Per una Tipologia delle Corti Padane dal XIII al XVI Secolo," in Papagno et al., 649.  The authors describe the arts in the Northern Italian Renaissance courts as an instrument of intervention upon reality.

[2] Gundersheimer, 141 - 142.

[3] See Appendix II in Bertoni 1903.

[4] Ibid., 95. The first definition referred to the Palazzo dell’Arengo, the second to the Corte Ducale, or the castle courtyard, and a third to a type of farm buit around a central courtyard (the fourth and fifth definitions refer to the ducal retinue and court functionaries respectively).

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., 94.

[7] Lauro Martines, Power and Imagination; City-States in Renaissance Italy (New York: Vintage Books, 1979), 229.

[8] Lubkin, 96.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Look Something Shiny!

Well I was happily and morosely nursing a long bout of ague, just minding my own business and being treated with large doses of calomel and a lovely chloride of mercury with cathartic properties, when in burst that impertinent waif, Lil Cindi. I knew she was up to no good the second I laid eyes on her. "Have her removed" I managed to breath to my physician, "she's trouble." He responded my giving me an extra large dose of laudinum, which come to think of it is his response for everything.
"She's not even sick, doc, look she's just squinting to see what we're talking about. Make her come back to bloggyland and ride on the choo choo."
Thanks a lot Cindi, I had breakfasts in bed and now I'm back to cleaning the house again. This evening I was even expected to cook again.


So since I'm back, I thought I'd tell you about an invaluable phrase I've learned from my sister-in-law which indispensable for those difficult conversations you'd rather not have. I give you; Look, Something Shiny! 

As highly evolved as we might think we are as a society we seldom have the strength to resist the siren call of the shiny, sparkly object. All you have to do when the conversation heads in a direction that you'd rather it not is point right behind them and say it, then just sit back and enjoy the magic. Here are some everyday conversational uses to get you started out:

Ma'am you can't park here. There's already a car in that spot!
Look, something shiny!

Is that your child over there teaching the whole playgroup how to say "damn"?
Oh look! Something shiny!

Ma'am, you do know that private kidney harvesting is illegal and dangerous.
Knock Knock. Oh who's there you ask? Something shiny!

Oh, nice to meet you both. I knew your wife back in boarding school. Boy was she....
What does Kojak's head and that big thing right behind you have in common? They're both shiny!

Ma'am you do understand that this Flight of the Conchords tattoo on your lower back is permanent and can't be removed right?
Oooooooh. So shiny.

Ma'am we have a small catlike individual down at the station claiming to be a feline weapons contracter / budding rap artist and he said he belongs to you. We picked him up after he drove through a church bazaar in a hummer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sicky Kitty

Gentle Readers, in case you're admiring my bed pictured above, it's a snorkedischkedurgeborg (mork, mork, mork) from IKEA.

Note to future self:
 Oh self, the best cure for a bad chest cold/bronchitis is not pretending that it's not there and going for eleven mile runs in the middle of winter. This doesn't make you more more obdurate or stalwart....more Scottish. If that were the case, doctors would prescribe a good battle cry and a double serving of haggis (to be taken with plenty of water). Alas, the only thing it makes you is tragically stupid, and oh yeah you may or may not end up with pneumonia.

Here's a rap to serve as a mnemnotic device in case you forget this missive. Kindly provide your own bespittled percussive riff.

You're no Tenacious D,
Unless the "D" stands for duh,
Cause that's not how it should be,
Even when you're the mammuh,
You threw a dinner for eleven
Then you started gettin' peakish,
And by quarter to seven,
You was lookin' pret-ty freakish
Your good friends they ditn't know,
That you was feeling so blue
They thought beaujolais nouveau?
O peut-etre prime rib au jus?
So although you're lookin' yuck-tastic,
There may still be some hope,
Cause they call you Mrs. Bombastic,
And your rhymes are so dope.

In celebration of my brightly plumed little visitors, who have decided that we need a hint of springtime music in New England right about now, here's some Mandatory Fun:

Friday, March 6, 2009

Steamboat Blicky

Hi bloggie friends! Things are pretty busy this week chez Blicky and I'm working on a few more detailed posts, so I decided to recycle an older post from way back when my only reader was my mom. (Thanks Mom!) In light of the stealthily creeping gas prices and reports that GM might discontinue the Hummer brand, this might be a fun thing to repost. I know what you're thinking, he looks sooo different. He's been colorized of course, but this was posted was way back in the time that the internet was still in black and white. I guess this is sort of like Steamboat Blicky.

Beware the Hypermiling Feline

Well, I was just so appalled after reading that Melanie at Bean Sprouts doesn't love her dog enough to give him bottled water that I ran out and bought Blicky a Hummer. We chose the H3 Alpha. Now I was surprised to find that they were even still available. Apparently the liberal media is still convincing people to consume less gas.

So I was finally able to find one and it only cost 40,000 USD. But you get so much! It is 73 inches tall and 6000 pounds. You can haul 1500 pounds of groceries in it and when you peel out of the parking lot, you can go from 0 to 60 mph in 8 seconds. I think it's the perfect vehicle for your pet -- especially if he has a defense contract and needs to haul around some heavy and dangerous raw materials. 

It is such an environmentally friendly car too. According to their Web site it's 85% recyclable. That means if gas goes too high or polar bears take up residence in your garage, you can just drive it to the recycling side of your local dump. The only little snag is that gas is a bit on the pricey side: 13 mpg. But that's OK. We've come up with a new solution: hypermiling. Blicky averages an impressive 20 miles per gallon now, but he often comes home with small animals, various assortments of shrubbery and slower-moving humans stuck in the front grill of the H3 and his kittens all have whiplash and contusions from his whipping around corners.

We prefer a more measured approach:
We're starting to use a bike when possible (tough with car seats).
We try to plan driving carefully and get errands done on the same trip.
We've seen a small increase in our mileage by coasting in neutral at times, accelerating slowly and not braking too often.
We buy local produce either at farm stands and farmers markets or (as we're attempting this year) growing our own.
We're even thinking or buying a more fuel efficient car for our pet next time.

Have any other tips (serious or otherwise) for saving gas? Feel free to email BlickyKitty@comcast.net or leave a comment.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Blicky's Rock & Roll History Charades....Part 1

For your entertainment this evening Blicky is going to act out some great moments in the past forty years of musical history. Of course we provide this as a public service, so you can forward this to your friends and see how cool they are. To read the answers posted below simply perform a graceful handstand directly in front of your computer monitor.