Friday, February 24, 2017

Our Boy, Patrick.

A little after two this morning, I was awakened by a couple of strange cries coming from the bathroom where our cat, Patrick, liked to sleep on a blanket laid out for him. He suffered a seizure about a year ago, and it seems he'd had another, or maybe a stroke. He died almost immediately, as far as I can tell. My wife and I rushed to revive him, but death, as you know, is quicker than the best intention and deaf to the most desperate prayer.

He was about two months shy of his eighteenth birthday, which somehow equates to about 88 in people years. Although he took a pill twice a day (kitty chemo, we called it) and had other health problems, we sat there with him for a while, stunned, petting him and saying his name. Our boy was gone.

We always called him our boy. Donna had him longer than she's had me. I had the two of them for almost fifteen years. She found him as a rain-soaked kitten in Myrtle Beach and took him in. She tried to give him away many times because they hated each other at first. Then they came to an understanding, and soon they loved each other. I guess it took him a while to tolerate me when they joined me in Oregon. He certainly seemed to like me just fine once I was doing things for him, such as giving him water upon request (he liked it warm from the tap, lately insisting it be poured into the bell of a watering can for him to lap at). "Spoy-YULD!" Donna would say, as if she wasn't constantly inclined to indulge him herself.
She knew the meaning of every purr, chirp and yowl. We wondered if, in his dotage, he was in any pain, but he seemed mostly okay. He had trouble getting around for the last ten years or so, since a fall from our deck nearly killed him. But he rallied and survived, even if he had less grace to show for it.

It hasn't been a full day yet but it feels like a week. If I'm upset, then Donna is devastated, inconsolable. I want him back, she cries.

I look around at the many artifacts in our now-quieter home that evince that he existed, and the thought occurs to me to be rid of them all now, to sweep them away like a tearful drunk clearing a tabletop of spent bottles with the swipe of an arm. Then I think I want to preserve them just as they are for ever (which would be odd), and then a moment later I'd like to collect them all together, right here in front of me, like a museum display or a shrine (which would be even odder).

I guess the watering can will go into the bathroom closet now. Should I push the blanketed ottoman away from the window, where he took his sun-bathed naps, and return it to the edge of the chair where it supposedly belongs? How do I change his litter liner--no, not change, remove, the last one, this last time--without blubbering like an idiot?

He was just a pet, right? Well, no. He took care of us. Not like we took care of him of course, but he cared. I can see his face now, close, as if inches from mine, like when he'd lay on my chest as I reclined on the couch. He'd look right in my eyes and I'd wonder what he was thinking. I suspect he looked at me and thought, Who are you? But I think he knew. I'd look at him and think, who are you? And I knew, too.

He was our boy, Patrick.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Newsday TV Book, February 6-12, 1983.

I hope everyone enjoyed the 1972 TV listings I had been displaying here, but I feel I've ignored other years long enough on this blog. Thus, here's a look at a Newsday TV Book from 1983. Not a great year for TV, as I recall. Flipping through this edition it seems I hardly watched anything in network prime-time. I mean, Dukes of Hazzard? Powers of Matthew Star? Little House: A New Beginning? Gimme a Break? Give ME a fuckin' break!

Okay, I watched Fall Guy and Newhart and Family Ties, and of course Hill Street Blues. None of which I've ever really felt compelled to revisit.  This particular week saw premieres of Condo with MacLean Stevenson and Luis Avalos from The Electric Company, and Amanda's with Bea Arthur. The latter was one of several American takes on Fawlty Towers. Read the Wiki here if you're interested in the story behind the show, and why wouldn't you be. Bea Arthur.

Alright, let's get to the thing. The Winds of War, an expensive and flavorless WWII mini-series courtesy of Dan Curtis, made its debut this week, and probably the best thing about it was this sick Viskupic cover.(Click pics to enlarge, you know.)
 
 In the TV Line, folks ask about cutie Kathleen Beller (later married to Thomas Dolby), LI's own Stray Cats, and whether Valerie Harper holed up on Shelter Island.
 
Harriet Van Horne, always entertainingly disdainful of innocuous pap, actually rather likes this week's made-for-TV offerings.
Here's the ad for that Gary Coleman movie she was disarmed by. As you can see, he played a two-foot-tall gynecologist employed by Our Lady of Mercy. (I thought the role was a stretch. Ka-BOING!) If the Steve Martin special is even funnier than its title, well, I just don't know if I'd be able to handle it.
Here's a Tuesday close-up for Caddyshack on network TV, which I doubt I watched since I'd seen it two-hundred times on HBO. WOR Channel 9 took over for WABC channel 7 when the latter shit-canned The 4:30 Movie, and on this day at that time aired Horror at 37,000 Feet, which was about being forced to watch Take This Job and Shove it on a flight to Columbus.
The Audio Video Update guide features yet another freaky Viskupic scene.
The Apple IIe was a tremendous upgrade from the old model, adding more memory, an RF modulator, a denaturizer, a sloppy disk drive, and, for the first time, a question mark to the keyboard. (That last one alone was a big improvement!)
Here's a double-page spread for The Video Connection. It almost convinces you that Coleco Vision may not suck. (We Intellivision owners know better. Yes, that's present tense.)
I'm going to be charitable with this noseless, Nutcracker-shaped glamor gal and assume the X's in the corner represent kisses.
Ba Ba Baldy! Cinemax tests the outer limits of your taste with both Diner and Norman... Is That You? in the same day.
I loved spending an eclipse at the South Bay Motel, especially once they added mirrors to the amenities.
"Off Camera" breaks the news that Mike Douglas is bailing, and touts the TV movie One Cooks, the Other Doesn't. I remember watching it and mocking the dweeby kid character, who early on claims to be into punk rock but later totally creams his corduroys over Toto tickets. Pbbpht, scoffed super-cool, prematurely jaded, 13-year-old me.
I guess that's it. There are many more interesting computer/video ads in the guide section, but really, don't we have other things to do? (See, there's that question mark--man that's convenient!)