Can’t Say My Entire Perception of Male Cat Owners Isn’t Shattered By The Godfather Owning A Cat

Cat Fancier

When I moved into the apartment I’m in now, I had the understanding that a single man had occupied it previously. It had been uninhabited for some time, so while dusting behind the stove, under the dishwasher, etc., I was very disturbed to find what can only be described as a grown-man’s-dumpsworth of uneaten cat food bits.

It reinforced a long understood axiom of mine that grown men should not own cats. Not by themselves anyway.

I get it. Cats are tidy. They keep to themselves. A good litter box and they’re reasonably low maintenance, perfect for a guy who’s always on the go, traveling for business, or just bedding a lot of strange women at their place. It makes a lot of sense. Dogs you’ve gotta take out, walk them, feed them, give them at least 60 seconds of attention: all things you don’t need to do with a cat.

But the main reason you get a pet is for companionship, and cats, while pragmatic, are soulless creatures that would rather kill you than look at you.

My family has a cat back in Arkansas. We got him around third grade or so, so he’s led a full, nice life. He’s like a dog, this cat, Smokey. You’ll be sitting on the porch, and he’ll come up and nuzzle and cuddle with you, just like your best Golden Retriever or Labrador. But I don’t think for a minute that if Smokey were vested with the power to grow to the size of a lion, or the brain power to operate heavy machinery, that he wouldn’t rip me and a friend or family member of mine that he’d ever come across into as tiny of bits he could manage just to see us BLEED. You can see it in his eyes. YOU CAN SEE IT IN THEIR EYES. I’ve seen what they do to squirrels.

This perception has been a cornerstone of my upbringing, and, as I watch The Godfather on this afternoon, I am shocked to realize something I hadn’t ever before: Vito Corleone, the best Godfather of them all, owned a cat.

It wasn’t his wife’s or his grandchildren’s cat. It was in his office with all of the other important people in his inner sanctum, answering the requests asked of him on the day of his daughter’s wedding, REQUESTS HE COULD NOT REFUSE. This was an integral part of the ENTIRE COSTA NOSTRA. It wasn’t just roaming the house like an idiot. Barzini could’ve just nabbed him and made the little sucker SQUEAL. He got Abe Vigoda, after all.

So maybe there’s something to cats after all. I mean, if the Godfather can have one, why can’t anyone else? Why shouldn’t I be able to get a little feline critter if I see fit?

Quite simply, I’m just not that guy. The Godfather can pull off a lot of things I can’t, liked slicked back hair, cats, and cotton balls inexplicably being jammed in my mouth. Plus, I think my awesome, 95 lbs. dog would destroy a cat in whatever hilarious fashion he saw fit.

Because dogs are awesome, you see.


Trying To Stifle Rising Skepticism For This Show ‘Memphis Beat’

I don’t make a habit of catching TNT dramas. Mainly because, for the most part, they, ya know, suck heinously.

So when I first heard that TNT was releasing a show called “Memphis Beat” this summer, I was immediately like, “Oh, no they di’n’t.” Not in my city, where I lived for four years during college. They’re not going to take a not-so-much-known-as-remembered-faintly and overly-advertised dump on my Beale Street, are they?

Oh yes, they are.

The show’s already here. It’s been made. It’s being produced. Actors are acting in it. Right now, the same people who put Holly Hunter and Kera Sedgwick in front of my Saving Private Ryan and John Q reruns are fanning their well-trimmed and thin goatees, waiting to find another project to likely lose money on. The train has left the station. So in the spirit of enjoying the ride, I’m trying to think of some good things to say about this show, so that I can enjoy this, uh, “tribute” to a city I enjoy so drunkenly thoroughly.

Jason Lee is pretty cool. I liked My Name Is Earl and his Kevin Smith-film work is pretty funny.

But that’s about all I can say. There are a couple of points that I can’t seem to wrap my pea-sized brain around with this show. Right off the bat, let’s start with the premise: That Lee is some kind of sweet-talkin’ Memphis po-lice officer who knows the streets so well, the smart criminals just turn themselves in! Howdy! Why doesn’t this Yankee-lady-cop get it? This guy knows what he’s doing because he knows Memphis, amiright?!


Memphis, to put it mildly, is crazy. I don’t know if you’re familiar with what Memphis is most known for when speaking within the context of how society works there or how police enforcement functions, but I have a little knowledge, and it isn’t nearly as charming. Off the top of my head, there’s this story about a mother bringing a sword concealed in a walking cane to her daughters school (a regular enough occurence, I know), riots (with shots being fired) at the Zoo on free admission day, and four officers injured at the ever-fly Plush Club. Never mind a buddy of mine getting abducted rather randomly for about 12 hours for his wallet and cell phone. Memphis is a special kind of crazy, and that kind of crazy creates a certain kind of crazy police officer.

Now, I love DJ Qualls as much as the next guy. But if this guy asked for my ID at an on-campus party, I’d laugh at him. I would only suspect that other people in the Memphis community would do the same or worse…like abduct him for 12 hours and take his wallet and cell phone. I’m not saying they need to make “The Wire: Part 2” or anything like that, but something a little closer to that and a little further away from “Las Vegas” or “Leverage” is probably in order.

By probably, I mean definitely.

Also, there seems to be a heavy Elvis influence which is…meh. I like Elvis. I really, do. But I never once went to Graceland, and I don’t plan to. After seeing Jason Lee do some sort of performance, I’m pretty sure they’re going to lean heavily on the Elvis stuff. They purport to also cherish the blues, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m very curious to see if they’ll showcase the actual mayors of Mempis, Three 6 Mafia. One of my fondest memories of college was after the 2007 Academy Awards, when the rap trio won for Best New Song in a Film for “Hard Out Here For a Pimp” in Hustle n Flow. At the time, it was Martin Scorsese – zero, Three 6 Mafia – one on the “How many Oscars do you own?” scale.

In the post-award interview, if my memory serves me correctly, it was DJ Paul who pointed to his golden, highly coveted Academy Award and said “I’ma hafta melt this thang down; You can’t buy weed and pussy with this.” True story (also a Dave Chappelle reference for the keen ear).

So I’m hoping they’ll have more of that.

But I’ll watch it. When they’re filming in sunny, clean and bright Los Angeles, I’ll notice and harumph, but when they cut to their stock footage of Beale Street or something, I’ll smile fondly. I earnestly hope it’s good, because Memphis is good. I just hope they can capture some of that Memphis awesomeness, rather than make it that sort of awkward-TNT type of dramedy that fat women go nuts for.

Needless to say, I’ll be in Memphis this weekend. Hope to see you there.


Terry Gaither Advice on Friendly Bosses, Wal-Mart, and Hobbies

Terry Gaither Advice is a sponsored advice column in which Mr. Gaither lends his own advice and wisdom from his twenty years of working in the professional field on Wall Street and his last six years working from his cell in a maximum security, 24-hour watch mental facility.

“Dear Terry,
My boss seems to be getting chummy with everyone in the office…except for me. I haven’t minded until I realized business decisions were being made in their down time. What am I to do?
Typical Taylor”

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do here. For the love of God, people, do NOT give me these gender-ambiguous names. Clearly, the name ‘Terry’ is no exception, which is probably why I hate that name and any other androgynous name so much, but please, I hate those names so much. So, so much. I’ve never met not one person with such a name and been impressed with anything about them. It’s just too much effort to even process what it is they’re trying to put in your head, you’re too busy imagining them in (if male) in girl clothes or (if female) with even more facial hair.

Also, just technically speaking on what it is I do, it’s hard to give gender-neutral advice. Frankly, what’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander. I don’t know which is which, but really, geese are horrid, terrible, vicious creatures in general. Much like you, Taylor.

Now Talyor-Woman, here’s what I would do were I in your ill-fitting shoes: go nuts. Seriously, you should just do that whichever is most erratic at any given time. Smash someone’s coffee mug to the ground while walking past, grinning from ear to ear. Walk in a strict straight line all day, climbing over cubicle walls and desks from room to room. If the walls are that thin dry-wall material, bust right through. This will attract enough attention to make sure that any important decision is not made without your knowing as no decisions will be made other than God, what are we going to do about this female wrecking ball?!

Taylor-Man: You’re clearly not liked. Go ahead and punch people in the groin as early and often as possible. You’re going nowhere but out the door anyway. Swing away. But make sure you land some punches, because with a name like Taylor, people are expecting quite a limp wrist. Continue reading “Terry Gaither Advice on Friendly Bosses, Wal-Mart, and Hobbies”