We know that spring is just around the corner. [Seriously. We saw it peeking this morning.] And what with Daylight Savings and the imminent confusion of wearing the wrong coat when you leave the house, we thought we'd take a different approach this week. Something a little more minimalist. Something made manifest in one of the noblest of house pets: the indolent cat. And who better to exemplify this noble spirit in print than the Japanese. Which leads us to . . . 

Now, if you’ve not had a pint-sized shrieker harry you into hiding in the bathroom because they must (they must! they must! whyyyyyyyyyyy won’t you let me plaaaaaaaay!) check what their cats are doing on your mobile device, then you are probably oblivious to the simple-minded, butterfly-batting-nature of the Neko Atsume cats. That deep emptiness in your life comes to an end now, because everyone needs more cat pictures.  


And look! An activity book as well. The small noise-makers who tumble about underfoot can now leave stickers in inappropriate places all over the house. You will be confronted with blissfully cheerful cats everywhere you look. Constant reminders that life is full with just a string, a ball, or a dead fish. Everything else is phantasmal and fleeting. Embrace the now. Bat the ball. Watch how it rolls away from you. The ball does not care about you. It will not come back. Such are all things in life. Better to have batted it away than to wonder—endlessly, fruitlessly—why it does not care about you. Suffer not the indifference of inanimate—oh, look! A sardine!

Anyway, in light of these cats and their minimalist poetry, the remainder of this week’s newsletter will done in haiku. 

Giant robot hand
Science struggles for answer
Asking who watches who? 

Clever biography
Not just a rabbit writer
Victorian genius

Impossible heist
Fairyland is coming back
Shape the future now!

Ace monster fighter
Must save the world from Sea Queen
Toughest challenge yet! 

Another zombie book
The walking dead keep walking
Volume twenty-nine

Good fish. Tasty fish. 
Don’t be frightened of seafood. 
Cook it like a pro.

Burning Man art book. 
So many pretty pictures. 

A race to three poles
Top and bottom and highest.
No blank spots on map. 

A super meta
Book about a book about
Falling in love. Swoon!

Hero climbs tower. 
It is impossibly tall. 
Look out for pirates!

We are all special 
Says super guru author
Good thing he is funny. 

Be sure to drop by for Write Time next week. We have some fun things planned. And later in the week, we'll have our bi-monthly meeting of the minds with A Good Talk Salon. You know the drill: three presenters; topics near and dear to their hearts; lots of snacks and commentary. 

Meanwhile, Outside the Battered Casket »»

COLBY: Hey, Podge. What are you doing here?

PODGE: Oh, hello. I . . . uh . . . need to deliver some mail. 

COLBY: Mail? 

PODGE: Yes. You know, like . . . 

COLBY: Oh! Where did you get those?

PODGE: From Leonard. By the stream. 

COLBY: Who’s Leonard? 

PODGE: He’s a duck. A fulvous whistling duck. 

COLBY: What kind of duck? Fulminous? 

PODGE: No, fulvous. He whistles. 

COLBY: How does he whistle? Aren’t you supposed to put your lips together and blow? 

PODGE: No. It’s more of a piping sound. Like air escaping from a balloon. 

COLBY: . . . 

PODGE: What?

COLBY: “You know how to whistle don’t you, Steve?”

PODGE: I’m not Steve. 

COLBY: Never mind. Some of these are just for me. Anyway, you have mail, which you got from a duck. In the woods. 

PODGE: Yes! And I need to deliver it. 

COLBY: In the bar? 

PODGE: Yes! Some of them, anyway. But there’s a man inside who looks like he might eat me. 

COLBY: Oh, that’s Thor. That’s his job. 

PODGE: Eating otters?

COLBY: No, making you feel like you’ve done something wrong. 

PODGE: But I haven’t done anything wrong!

COLBY: Really?

PODGE: Well, not today. 

COLBY:  Good enough. Come on. I’ll introduce you. 

PODGE: You’re not leading me to my doom, are you?

COLBY: Gosh, no. You won’t see that coming. 

PODGE: That is hardly reassuring. 

COLBY: Welcome to life in the city, my friend. Oh, hey, Thor. How’s it going? 

Thor: Mmm. Marmot. What’s up? 

COLBY: You, big guy. 

THOR: This cat with you?

PODGE: I’m not a cat!  

COLBY: Yeah, he is. 

PODGE: I don’t taste good!

THOR: He know the rules? 

COLBY: Do you know the rules, Podge?

PODGE: There are rules? 

COLBY & THOR: No splashing in the toilet. Wash your hands when you are done. Don’t scratch the furniture. Stay off the light fixtures. 

THOR: And no biting. 

COLBY: Since when? 

PODGE: That’s . . . that’s a lot of rules. 

COLBY: The list is even longer for big people. 

PODGE: Wow. How do they manage? 

COLBY: Not very well, sometimes. 


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