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September 29, 2007

Welcome Autumn

Autumn is making her presence known — Autumn the kitty, that is.

Autumn the Kitty

Autumn is a big personality in a teeny wrapper. She's brave and playful and extremely loving. She'll cuddle and lick you indefinitely. My friend, Susan, thinks she found her litter mates because there are several other female Calico kittens about Autumn's six months of age, who also have surprising personalities. One walks alongside her human while the dog gets walked. The gatekeeper at Susan's boatyard thinks that cats inherit personality traits as well as coloring. Why shouldn't that be so since it can be for humans? This is a shot of Autumn on one of her first forays into the rest of the apartment, as I am doing the slow breaking in acquaintance process with my other cats. It's important to do too, as they have some skirmishes when they all get together but all in all, things are progressing fine. I am lucky to have met this girl. Find a few more fun photos from Autumn's adventures here.

September 26, 2007

Tall Tails

While talking on the phone today to my new friend, Brian, I was surprised to turn around and see this view.

A Delicate Balance

Freestanding and quite tall, this cabinet has never been the receptacle for a kitty on top before. This cat has super long leaping legs and obviously got up there by sailing from a fairly good distance. I couldn't be mad at him — he looked so great and he didn't hurt any of the many glass and ceramic breakable things on top, below and inside the cabinet. Cats' stealth and poise catches me by surprise, even though its fame goes back to ancient tales (and tails).

September 21, 2007

Autumn Casts a Spell

Colorful kitty's working name is Autumn, which fits her artistic leafy coat aptly.


Escaping from the shed we had her in overnight, she must have scaled the wall on a small vine and gotten out through a hole we didn't see in the roof. Luckily, my friend Elizabeth found her yesterday afternoon, being slightly menaced by another tough cat under a car. She is so friendly that we were able to lure her with food. I took her to the New Rochelle Humane Society for a once-over and under the circumstances, she is healthy, which is great news. She needs some cleaning up and she's doing a lot herself. Her purrrsonality is so warm. Cats are as different as people and for those of us who have been taken under their spell, they are constantly fascinating. This little tyke went out and got herself a loving home, despite falling into hard times on the street. Would it were so that we all had such determination. See a few more photos from today here.

September 19, 2007

Colorful Kitty Rescue

Kitties kitties everywhere. So many to love. So hard to compare. Check out this super colorful kitty I rescued today, with the help of my fantastic friends.

Autumn, the Colorful Kitty

She looks as if Jackson Pollack had his way with her, which is a fetching way to look. She had been loitering in the alley next to my house in City Island. She is super friendly, which indicates that she probably belonged to someone at some point. She also seems very young so it's odd that she would be thrown away. She's a bit beat up, which doesn't really show in this photo. I'm having her checked out by a vet tomorrow. There's a possibility she may be pregnant, as people think they saw her cavorting with local tomcats but we'll wait to see. At any rate, she is safe and sound now and I pray she isn't sick. With her great disposition, she will make anyone an amazing companion and has already enriched the lives of the people who have come across her. What a creature. God knows what She's doing, even though it's a nutty world. See some more photos of colorful kitty here.

September 15, 2007

11 Kitties on a Houseboat

This week, I visited a houseboat that sits in the down-to-earth waters of the Bronx, NYC. This particular vessel houses its human couple and at least 11 feline companions plus one hospitable pooch.

Dale Eggers and Neil Corwin, mosaic artists, live here. I met them because they have a studio here on City Island. Their houseboat is 10 minutes from the island and I am now designing their mosaic work website. Their art is enticing and their feline family is too. Besides their own cat brood, the houseboat slip fills in as home to many semi-feral but lovely creatures, such as Tabatha, seen below, chicly coordinated with the rusty background on which she chooses to recline.

Outdoor Kitty Tabatha

Photo by Susan Farley

September 7, 2007

The Real Deal

Last night, I heard the Dave Liebman Band play at Birdland in Manhattan.

Dave Liebman Band

Dave Liebman and band members, L to R: Anthony Jackson on bass, Mike Stern on guitar, Dave Liebman on sax, Vic Juris on guitar, Marco Marcinko on drums and Tony Marino on bass — photo by David Sokol

Felt like poetry. Sounded like a breezy day. For any music afficionado, this is great stuff. My boyfriend studied sax with Liebman and went to college with drummer, Marco Marcinko, who is now my favorite drummer. I design the website for Euphoria Studios, owned and operated by David Sokol, where these great musicians sometimes rehearse. Dave took the excellent photo above. So there was quite a bit of small world cooperation. I don't like going into the city much these days (I'm in City Island, about 45 minutes to midtown) and the noise and hustle bustle isn't my thing any more, surprisingly to me. But this type of art at your fingertips is exactly what the city is famous for. And famous it should be.

Birdland is a very nice club too. The service is genteel and friendly. The sound balance last night was excellent. All in all, just what New York has been acclaimed for for a long time, though much else in the city has changed. A night well spent and the kind of experience that renews your faith in the creative spirit.

This great sax playing calls to mind one of my rug designs at left below, titled Sax, inspired by my sax-playing honey, shown here next to another design called Think, inspired by the Abstract Expressionist artists, both available at Katie's Modern Rugs

Katie's Modern RugsKatie's Modern Rugs

September 5, 2007

The Exquisite Cat

Cats are so elegant, it astounds me.


I'm still fostering a kitty named Sasha and trying to give him the best possible experience he can have and assure him that life is going to be good no matter what from here on in. Above is a captivating photo I took of him in a deluxe carrier I just got him because he was discarded with a carrier that would only hold a newborn kitten, it was so small. Below are a few more shots of this great carrier that I highly recommend. It's lightweight, comes in striking colors, has numerous compartments to store papers, toys, treats plus multiple vents and mesh windows to allow the kitty to see outside. It's meant for airline travel and complies with those standards. Get it at The Cat Connection — ask for the XL size for $5 more to allow for more room. The standard (large) size is fine but I like the bigger one (this cat is exceptionally tall too, which you can't see in these shots) and both are very light. More good colors are available than what they show if you ask. The carrier folds up easily for storage but I like to leave carriers out so cats relax in them and when it's time to go out, there is no fussing — it really works.

Sasha the KittySasha the Kitty

Sasha the kitty checking out his new Sturdibag from The Cat Connection.com

September 2, 2007

Tex Avery's “Red Hot Riding Hood”

1940s animator Tex Avery's “Red Hot Riding Hood” deftly mimics human foibles through exaggerated cartoon characters.

Wolfie Hot on the TrailRed Hot Riding Hood

Cells from “Red Hot Riding Hood” with an excited Wolfie and a provocative Red 

The short starts out to tell the “Little Red Riding Hood” tale with typically drawn characters. The cast starts complaining that the story has been told this way a thousand times. The narrator relents and unveils the risque new version “Red Hot Riding Hood.” Red is a sexy lounge singer, Wolfie is a debonair “dog” and Grannie is a hot-to-trot after-hours club owner. Red is based on several leading Hollywood glamour girls of the time (Betty Grable's body, Heddy Lamour's hair, moments of Katherine Hepburn's voice). Wolfie wants to devour Red but Red fends him off, liberated as she is; Grannie wants to devour Wolfie and cartoon hijinks ensue. Cute and silly, the cartoon still represents a morality tale of sorts. Wolfie is overtaken by his passions and dies trying to conquer them. Poor Wolfie.

September 1, 2007

Lenny Bruce's “Thank You Mask Man”

Voiced and written by Lenny Bruce, the animated cartoon, Thank You Mask Man, follows the adventures of a masked hero. Mask Man's fans are trying to thank him but he keeps galloping off so they start to get mad. Then he decides to bask in their adoration and misses helping out on a crime. Then he decides to check out homosexuality and the fans are grossed out. It's very cutely drawn.

Thank You Mask ManThank You Mask Man by Lenny Bruce

Stills from Lenny Bruce's co-created (with John Magnuson) hilarious animated film “Thank You Mask Man” from the 1960s

Lenny Bruce strongly shaped what we consider funny today. Leading comedians George Carlin and Richard Pryor credit him for influencing them. Lenny Bruce is famous for being funny in a groundbreaking way (bringing in current events and ideas), for using obscenities, for having a six-month trial (for obscenity charges but having also upset authorities in the Catholic Church, the police and elsewhere) and for dying young (age 40) of a morphine overdose.

Lenny Bruce appeared on TV only six times. In 2003, 37 years after his death, he was granted a posthumous pardon for his obscenity conviction by New York Governor George Pataki. It strikes me as ironic to see the small button at the lower right corner of the YouTube screen: "flag as inappropriate." I agree that it needs to be there but it's funny to see it sitting there calmly below this Lenny Bruce cartoon, which no one would call inappropriate today.

Still from Thank You Mask ManMask Man Character

More great stills from the original “Thank You Mask Man” Lenny Bruce cartoon 

Becoming Yourself Through Creative Expression

Finding Forrester is a compelling movie released seven years ago.

Finding ForresterFinding Forrester

Sean Connery and Rob Brown star in “Finding Forrester”

A black teen played with heart by Rob Brown has big writing talent that shows up in an unexpected environment. This character befriends a wizened Pulitzer-prize winning hermit-like man played superbly by Sean Connery. They live in the same seen-better-days Bronx apartment complex. Stories about unlikely friendships are often good. The movie is well made overall, including a superior jazzy soundtrack that doesn't get in the way of the action.

William Forrester, the Connery character, hurls ideas at Jamal Wallace. He challenges him to become himself and let his talent breathe. We all have this chance every day, the chance to be who we really are through creative undertakings. Being creative frees us and opens us up to possibilities. It's more common to think of a teenager finding themselves as they grow up but everyone has the chance to live with creative freedom (at least in this country), no matter what our age or past. One of the well-written aspects of this film is that both characters help each other to grow and be free, illustrating that being creative and true to ourselves is a lifelong need.