Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pepe


My Middle-cat has a car named Pepe. Pepe has been buried under 2 feet of snow for the better part of a week.

This morning, the Big-cat dug out Pepe so that the Middle-Cat could go for a drive.

I think that if it snows any more, the Big-Cat can put a roof over Pepe's parking spot...the walls are already in place.
PK

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Good Start

I'd like to give a shout-out to my readers who have fulfilled my request for Fancy Feast. This is a picture of the response so far. Special props to Michelle P and Doreen H for the many cans of F.F. That should keep me happy 'til Friday.

It was another tough, tough day here at the Kaatz household. My Middle-Cat's mom and Michelle tried to give me treats and I ate them up and even played with them for awhile. What was I thinking??? Don't despair -- I gave them a good hissing when I realized what I was doing.

Big-Cat's now off work for the holidays. Just what I need... another human hanging out at home. Please, I implore you, send more Fancy Feast. If I can't sleep all day, I might as well pack on some holiday pounds.

PK

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I hate snow days


Some cats love them. But I hate them. My Big-Cat, Middle-Cat and my Middle-Cat's mom have been hanging around waaaaay too much for my liking these last couple of days.

How's a girl-cat supposed to get her beauty sleep with all this ruckus?

I can't even go outside to escape.

Help me! Send Fancy Feast!
PK

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's about time!!!



Wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc, who won five gold medals and set three world records at the Beijing Paralympics, was named winner of the 2008 Lou Marsh Award on Tuesday.


The award, decided by a panel of sports editors, reporters and broadcasters, is given annually to Canada's most outstanding athlete by the Toronto Star. It is named after a former Toronto Star sports editor.


The 38-year-old from Montreal finished ahead of six other finalists: figure skater Jeffrey Buttle, wrestler Carol Huynh, equestrian Eric Lamaze, baseball's Justin Morneau, tennis star Daniel Nestor and triathlete Simon Whitfield.


Petitclerc has won 14 gold medals over a span of five Paralympic Games and has another five silver and two bronze. She hasn't lost in 10 consecutive Paralympic races dating back to 2004 in Athens.


In Beijing, she often beat competitors who were 16 years younger.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Big Cats


The Big Cats just got home from a week in Hawaii (and one day in Seattle). They tell me the weather was much nicer in Hawaii than in Seattle or Vancouver.

While they were in Hawaii, they were mooned by a goat (see attached).

The Big Cats got home really late Sunday night (or rather, really early Monday morning) so they haven't even unpacked their suff from the trip.

I hope when they do unpack, there will be something in there for me.
PK

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Seattle Seahawks

They are 2 and 10 this year...which isn't so good. But they are only one win out of second place in their four team division.

If only Detroit was in their divison instead of Arizona, the Seahawks could still have won their division.
PK

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I can

http://icanhascheezburger.com/

I'm more than a little disturbed by the new internet phenomenon "I Can Has..." (see URL).

It portrays cats as poor spelling, grammatically challenged, balls of fluff. When in fact, we all know that cats are very intelligent.

My big-cats insist this website is hilarious but what do they know, they sill walk on two legs.

Now if this website was about dogs, it WOULD be funny.
PK

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Just Call me Hoppy

videoI had a little accident on Saturday and have spent the past three days limpin' around. This is me today. I'm getting around much better now thanks to a lot of TLC and a steady stream of Fancy Feasts. Thanks for the lovin' and the pug karma. PK xo

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hallowe'en

ic
I don't understand Hallowe'en. My big-cats cut up poor defenseless squashes (see picture) then invite hordes of little kids dressed up in scary costumes to come to their front door and receive gifts of sugar.

Very strange.
PK

President George W Bush and his friends,

and how they have fared in office.


The illustrators forDer Spiegel's cover pages have said it better than I could ever



In 2002:




































In 2008:
Note that the US Embassy in Berlin ordered 33 copies of the 2002 cover page (in poster form) for the White House. Der Spiegel notes that there has been no word yet as to whether orders have been (or will be) placed for the 2008 version of the cover page.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Halloween, it must be time for Thriller

I was channel surfing earlier today while the big-cats were at work and I stumbled across Michael Jackson’s video for “Thriller”.

I find it interesting that every Halloween this video gets played over and over; principally because it features zombies and Michael Jackson in a costume.
















But what I find ironic about this video, is that Michael Jackson looks scarier now than he did in the video.
















I’m not sure when or why he took leave of his senses, but I blame Bush and Cheney.
PK

Monday, October 20, 2008

Two phrases I hope I never hear Sarah Palin say



#1 Freeze! I have you in my sights.

#2) I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

PK

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lisa Marie Presley a mom again


She just had twins...and this picture brings a question to my mind...

Did the Obstetrician beat her up or is her publicist a cruel person?
PK

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Thinking of you


I wanted to give a shout out to Rae in LA; a long time reader of my blog.

Keep your head up, I'll be thinking of you.

Good luck,
PK

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Firemen



Last night while the middle-cat was cooking dinner, first one, then the second carbon-monoxide detector in our house went off. (One is very loud...two is deafening). The Big-Cat had to unplug both detectors and remove their batteries to make them stop....then big-cats opened a bunch of windows.

The big-cats weren’t sure what to do next, so they asked the Internet; which suggested they call the fire department....so a couple minutes later, a big fire engine pulled up in front of our house and three firemen came in the front door (I have drawn a picture of what the fire truck looked like from my perch under the bed).

The firemen were wearing their regular, lounging around the fire hall clothes (not the big raincoats and masks). They said that dinner smelled really good (too bad they didn’t bring garlic bread) and that they don’t often get to go on calls where they get to take their boots off.

The Captain (or Cap, as the other guys called him) wandered around with a carbon-monoxide gauge. He tested the furnace and the areas around the house and didn’t find any abnormal readings.

They told the big-cats to call them again if there were any problems and they’d come back (with garlic toast?)

We’re sill not sure what caused both carbon-monoxide detectors to go off; but everything is a-ok right now.
PK

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cost of living increase


The banking crisis is ruining everything...the economy is in the toilet, the value of my RRSPs is falling quicker than Palin's popularity, and now this...the price of a can of Fancy Feast has increased by almost 15% in the last week (especially the ones without Melamine).

My big-cats came home from the store with the shocking news that a tin of Fancy Feast now costs 89-cents and that due to the price increase, I would have to cut down on my consumption of them.

Will someone please fix this financial fiasco that we are all in?

I hate investment bankers.
PK

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I can see Russia on my TV


Maybe I can be VP...if you have a vacancy (soon).

John, call me...
;)

PK















Wednesday, September 24, 2008

$700 Billion Wall Street bailout


The US Congress is currently discussing whether or not to authorize a $700 Billion bailout of Wall Street banks due to a crisis caused by the banks' own greed (and stupidity).

This crisis (as I understand it) was caused by the banks lending money to people to buy houses that they couldn't afford; which drove up house prices; which enabled these same people to borrow more money against that equity (on top of the loans they already couldn't afford).

During this time of lunacy, the managers and officers of these banks were getting bonuses based on how many loans they could make.

And now that housing prices have gone down in most parts of the US, these loans are all going bad...with people defaulting on the loans because the amount they owe on a house is substantially more than the house is worth (and besides, they can't afford to pay the monthly payments anyway).

And now Wall Street is asking the US Government to help fix this mess; but the managers and officers of the banks are not being asked to give back their bonuses. Gordon Gekko would be proud.

There is some urgency to this bailout, so President Bush is asking Congress to authorize it with no debate. But Congress is nervous about that, because $700-Billion is a lot of money.

$700-Billion is approximately 5 times the amount Canada spent on Health Care in 2006. It is about 65% of Canada's 2006 GDP. It is about 50% more than the 2007 US Defense budget.

And it could buy (get ready for this) 1-Trillion Fancy Feasts...which is about 250-Billion pounds of Fancy Feast (which would weigh the same as 12,500 Eiffel Towers). That is a lot.

PK

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Middle Cat needs a new hobby


My Middle-Cat and I are enjoying a nice evening... just us girls. Know what would make it even better? If my Middle-Cat stopped reading Petfinder.

I think she may have a problem because she keeps reading the stories, even though the Big-Cat tells her not to. Some of the pet stories are very, very sad and they sometimes make the Middle-Cat weepy.

So... I am trying my darndest to distract her this evening. So far, I have meowed at her a lot, attacked her crinkly Globe & Mail and spilled Fancy Feast on the kitchen floor. (That last one was an accident on my part -- I would never spill FF on purpose.)

PK

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chantal Petitclerc


Yesterday, Chantal Petitclerc won her 5th Gold medal (and third World Record) of the 2008 Bejing Paralympic Games.
During her career, she has won a total of 21 Paralympic medals; 15 of which have been gold.

It's too bad that the TV coverage of the Paralympic Games has been so spotty that most people in Canada haven't had the ability to see her race in Beijing this year.

I hope she will finally be recognised by Canada this year by winning either (or both) the Lou Marsh Trophy (awarded annually to Canada's top athlete) or the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award (annual award given to Canada's best female athlete).

She has been nominated for both awards in the past but has not won either. I wonder how many times she would have won if she had the same level of dominance as a hockey player.

If she doesn't win this year, I'm sending her a Fancy Feast.
PK

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One novel way to get at the birdies


This is one smart kitty. He has managed to hollow out a tree in order to get high up in it and get some birdies.

I've always had to wait for an older, slow birdie come down to the ground (near where I am laying in wait) in order to catch them.

I wish I had a tree like that; I'd never have to beg for a Fancy Feast again.
PK

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Great Outdoors


Tonight I nagged my big-cats into giving me a Fancy Feast. A couple hours later I found myself locked outside of the house when the Middle-Cat "accidentally" closed the patio door while I was outside.

Eventually the big-cats saw me jumping up and down against the outside of the patio door and let me in.

All I can say is that the Great Outdoors is a big, scary place.
PK

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius of South Africa is today's Olympian on my blog.

His legs were amputated when he was 11 months old but he didn't let that stop him from becoming a world class athete.

He holds the world record in the 100m for T44 amputees (10.91 seconds) and he just won the Gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

To put his world record in perspective, it is exactly one second slower than the bronze medal winner in the men's 100m race in the 2008 Olympics; and Oscar would have won the silver medal if he raced in the Women's 100m race in the 2008 Olympics.

Oscar almost qualified for South Africa's 2008 Olympics 400m team (he missed it by 0.7 seconds).

You can see Oscar run at the end of Nike's "Courage" commercial
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ae3tFI8wXE

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Betty needs some friends

videoThe Middle-Cat has a putter named Betty. Betty lives at home with us. Currently, Betty is an only child.

The big-cats' friends, Stacy and Darin (the big-dogs of my friend Gus) think that Betty needs to have some friends come live with her...this makes a lot of sense once you see the Middle-Cat play golf. She's a natural.
PK

PS Here is a picture of my friend Gus.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Saint Josie?


My Big-Cat recently took this picture with a special camera that can see inside a person's soul. I think the halo over the Middle-Cat is a pretty accurate depiction of her.

My big-cats refused to show me a picture of the Big-Cat taken with the same camera; so I'm suspicious about what they are hiding.....
PK

Monday, September 8, 2008

Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese


The big-cats were away this last weekend and so I had a nice a weekend alone where I caught up on my sleep.

The big-cats stayed at Fairburn Farm and had a great time. Their host (Mara) is a wonderful cook and a very nice lady.

While they were at the farm, the big-cats saw some of the water buffalo calves. Each one had a nice human name (these two are Harry and Nellie).

Hopefully soon, Nellie will be producing milk to make into buffalo mozzarella cheese while Harry will be making more calves.

Mmmm, cheese.
PK

Sunday, August 31, 2008

McCain's VP Wants Creationism Taught in School

...one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

All things must change, I guess. Even the Pledge of Allegiance existed for 62 years before the words "under God" were added to it after the Knights of Columbus lobbied President Eisenhower.

Why shouldn't an unkown beauty queen Governor from a rural state decide what should be taught in US schools?

After all, she opposes abortion for rape and incest victims and supported a non-binding referendum for a constitutional amendment to deny state health benefits to same-sex couples.

Come to think of it, I wouldn't want this woman guarding the Fancy Feasts; let alone being the VP to the oldest President in the history of the US (if McCain wins).
PK

PS Plus she hunts animals!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Josie and Chris are home....

and things are back to normal.

I love my cat-family.
PK

Monday, August 25, 2008

Middle-Cat

My Middle-Cat gets home today after being away for seven cat-months.

I've prepared a speach of all the things that I've done while she was away.

I hope she remembers me!!
PK

Somalia's Olympic team

Here's another great story from Beijing (thanks to Miss Kim Bird for passing it along).
PK


BEIJING – Samia Yusuf Omar headed back to Somalia Sunday, returning to the small two-room house in Mogadishu shared by seven family members. Her mother lives there, selling fruits and vegetables. Her father is buried there, the victim of a wayward artillery shell that hit their home and also killed Samia’s aunt and uncle.

This is the Olympic story we never heard.

It’s about a girl whose Beijing moment lasted a mere 32 seconds – the slowest 200-meter dash time out of the 46 women who competed in the event. Thirty-two seconds that almost nobody saw but that she carries home with her, swelled with joy and wonderment. Back to a decades-long civil war that has flattened much of her city. Back to an Olympic program with few Olympians and no facilities. Back to meals of flat bread, wheat porridge and tap water.

“I have my pride,” she said through a translator before leaving China. “This is the highest thing any athlete can hope for. It has been a very happy experience for me. I am proud to bring the Somali flag to fly with all of these countries, and to stand with the best athletes in the world.”

There are many life stories that collide in each Olympics – many intriguing tales of glory and tragedy. Beijing delivered the electricity of Usain Bolt and the determination of Michael Phelps. It left hearts heavy with the disappointment of Liu Xiang and the heartache of Hugh McCutcheon.
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But it also gave us Samia Yusuf Omar – one small girl from one chaotic country – and a story that might have gone unnoticed if it hadn’t been for a roaring half-empty stadium.

***

It was Aug. 19, and the tiny girl had crossed over seven lanes to find her starting block in her 200-meter heat. She walked past Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown – the eventual gold medalist in the event. Samia had read about Campbell-Brown in track and field magazines and once watched her in wonderment on television. As a cameraman panned down the starting blocks, it settled on lane No. 2, on a 17-year old girl with the frame of a Kenyan distance runner. Samia’s biography in the Olympic media system contained almost no information, other than her 5-foot-4, 119-pound frame. There was no mention of her personal best times and nothing on previous track meets. Somalia, it was later explained, has a hard time organizing the records of its athletes.

She looked so odd and out of place among her competitors, with her white headband and a baggy, untucked T-shirt. The legs on her wiry frame were thin and spindly, and her arms poked out of her sleeves like the twigs of a sapling. She tugged at the bottom of her shirt and shot an occasional nervous glance at the other runners in her heat. Each had muscles bulging from beneath their skin-tight track suits. Many outweighed Samia by nearly 40 pounds.

After introductions, she knelt into her starting block.

***

The country of Somalia sent two athletes to the Beijing Games – Samia and distance runner Abdi Said Ibrahim, who competed in the men’s 5,000-meter event. Like Samia, Abdi finished last in his event, overmatched by competitors who were groomed for their Olympic moment. Somalia has only loose-knit programs supporting its Olympians, few coaches, and few facilities. With a civil war tearing the city apart since the Somali government’s collapse in 1991, Mogadishu Stadium has become one of the bloodiest pieces of real estate in the city – housing U.N. forces in the early 1990s and now a military compound for insurgents.

That has left the country’s track athletes to train in Coni Stadium, an artillery-pocked structure built in 1958 which has no track, endless divots, and has been overtaken by weeds and plants.

“Sports are not a priority for Somalia,” said Duran Farah, vice president of the Somali Olympic Committee. “There is no money for facilities or training. The war, the security, the difficulties with food and everything – there are just many other internal difficulties to deal with.”

That leaves athletes such as Samia and 18-year old Abdi without the normal comforts and structure enjoyed by almost every other athlete in the Olympic Games. They don’t receive consistent coaching, don’t compete in meets on a regular basis and struggle to find safety in something as simple as going out for a daily run.

When Samia cannot make it to the stadium, she runs in the streets, where she runs into roadblocks of burning tires and refuse set out by insurgents. She is often bullied and threatened by militia or locals who believe that Muslim women should not take part in sports. In hopes of lessening the abuse, she runs in the oppressive heat wearing long sleeves, sweat pants and a head scarf. Even then, she is told her place should be in the home – not participating in sports.

“For some men, nothing is good enough,” Farah said.

Even Abdi faces constant difficulties, passing through military checkpoints where he is shaken down for money. And when he has competed in sanctioned track events, gun-toting insurgents have threatened his life for what they viewed as compliance with the interim government.

“Once, the insurgents were very unhappy,” he said. “When we went back home, my friends and I were rounded up and we were told if we did it again, we would get killed. Some of my friends stopped being in sports. I had many phone calls threatening me, that if I didn’t stop running, I would get killed. Lately, I do not have these problems. I think probably they realized we just wanted to be athletes and were not involved with the government.”

But the interim government has not been able to offer support, instead spending its cash and energy arming Ethiopian allies for the fight against insurgents. Other than organizing a meet to compete for Olympic selection – in which the Somali Olympic federation chose whom it believed to be its two best performers – there has been little lavished on athletes. While other countries pour millions into the training and perfecting of their Olympic stars, Somalia offers little guidance and no doctors, not even a stipend for food.

“The food is not something that is measured and given to us every day,” Samia said. “We eat whatever we can get.”

On the best days, that means getting protein from a small portion of fish, camel or goat meat, and carbohydrates from bananas or citrus fruits growing in local trees. On the worst days – and there are long stretches of those – it means surviving on water and Angera, a flat bread made from a mixture of wheat and barley.

“There is no grocery store,” Abdi said. “We can’t go shopping for whatever we want.”

He laughs at this thought, with a smile that is missing a front tooth.

***

When the gun went off in Samia’s 200-meter heat, seven women blasted from their starting blocks, registering as little as 16 one-hundredths of a second of reaction time. Samia’s start was slow enough that the computer didn’t read it, leaving her reaction time blank on the heat’s statistical printout.

Within seconds, seven competitors were thundering around the curve in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest, struggling to separate themselves from one another. Samia was just entering the curve when her opponents were nearing the finish line. A local television feed had lost her entirely by the time Veronica Campbell-Brown crossed the finish line in a trotting 23.04 seconds.

As the athletes came to a halt and knelt, stretching and sucking deep breaths, a camera moved to ground level. In the background of the picture, a white dot wearing a headband could be seen coming down the stretch.

***

Until this month, Samia had been to two countries outside of her own – Djibouti and Ethiopia. Asked how she will describe Beijing, her eyes get big and she snickers from under a blue and white Olympic baseball cap.

“The stadiums, I never thought something like this existed in the world,” she said. “The buildings in the city, it was all very surprising. It will probably take days to finish all the stories we have to tell.”

Asked about Beijing’s otherworldly Water Cube, she lets out a sigh: “Ahhhhhhh.”

Before she can answer, Abdi cuts her off.

“I didn’t know what it was when I saw it,” he said. “Is it plastic? Is it magic?”

Few buildings are beyond two or three stories tall in Mogadishu, and those still standing are mostly in tatters. Only pictures will be able to describe some of Beijing’s structures, from the ancient architecture of the Forbidden City to the modernity of the Water Cube and the Bird’s Nest.

“The Olympic fire in the stadium, everywhere I am, it is always up there,” Samia said. “It’s like the moon. I look up wherever I go, it is there.”

These are the stories they will relish when they return to Somalia, which they believe has, for one brief moment, united the country’s warring tribes. Farah said he had received calls from countrymen all over the world, asking how their two athletes were doing and what they had experienced in China. On the morning of Samia’s race, it was just after 5 a.m., and locals from her neighborhood were scrambling to find a television with a broadcast.

“People stayed awake to see it,” Farah said. “The good thing, sports is the one thing which unites all of Somalia.”

That is one of the common threads they share with every athlete at the Games. Just being an Olympian and carrying the country’s flag brings an immense sense of pride to families and neighborhoods which typically know only despair.

A pride that Samia will share with her mother, three brothers and three sisters. A pride that Abdi will carry home to his father, two brothers and two sisters. Like Samia’s father two years ago, Abdi’s mother was killed in the civil war, by a mortar shell that hit the family’s home in 1993.

“We are very proud,” Samia said. “Because of us, the Somali flag is raised among all the other nations’ flags. You can’t imagine how proud we were when we were marching in the Opening Ceremonies with the flag.

“Despite the difficulties and everything we’ve had with our country, we feel great pride in our accomplishment.”

***

As Samia came down the stretch in her 200-meter heat, she realized that the Somalian Olympic federation had chosen to place her in the wrong event. The 200 wasn’t nearly the best event for a middle distance runner. But the federation believed the dash would serve as a “good experience” for her. Now she was coming down the stretch alone, pumping her arms and tilting her head to the side with a look of despair.

Suddenly, the half-empty stadium realized there was still a runner on the track, still pushing to get across the finish line almost eight seconds behind the seven women who had already completed the race. In the last 50 meters, much of the stadium rose to its feet, flooding the track below with cheers of encouragement. A few competitors who had left Samia behind turned and watched it unfold.

As Samia crossed the line in 32.16 seconds, the crowd roared in applause. Bahamian runner Sheniqua Ferguson, the next smallest woman on the track at 5-foot-7 and 130 pounds, looked at the girl crossing the finish and thought to herself, “Wow, she’s tiny.”

“She must love running,” Ferguson said later.

***

Several days later, Samia waved off her Olympic moment as being inspirational. While she was still filled with joy over her chance to compete, and though she knew she had done all she could, part of her seemed embarrassed that the crowd had risen to its feet to help push her across the finish line.

“I was happy the people were cheering and encouraging me,” she said. “But I would have liked to be cheered because I won, not because I needed encouragement. It is something I will work on. I will try my best not to be the last person next time. It was very nice for people to give me that encouragement, but I would prefer the winning cheer.

She shrugged and smiled.

“I knew it was an uphill task.”

And there it was. While the Olympics are often promoted for the fastest and strongest and most agile champions, there is something to be said for the ones who finish out of the limelight. The ones who finish last and leave with their pride.

At their best, the Olympics still signify competition and purity, a love for sport. What represents that better than two athletes who carry their country’s flag into the Games despite their country’s inability to carry them before that moment? What better way to find the best of the Olympic spirit than by looking at those who endure so much that would break it?

“We know that we are different from the other athletes,” Samia said. “But we don’t want to show it. We try our best to look like all the rest. We understand we are not anywhere near the level of the other competitors here. We understand that very, very well. But more than anything else, we would like to show the dignity of ourselves and our country.”

She smiles when she says this, sitting a stone’s throw from a Somalian flag that she and her countryman Abdi brought to these Games. They came and went from Beijing largely unnoticed, but may have been the most dignified example these Olympics could offer.




Saturday, August 23, 2008

New friends

The Big-Cat was telling me when he got home that one of his fondest memories about Beijing will be how friendly the people of China were; from the doormen at the hotels, to the shopkeers, to the people in the street, to the volunteers at the events.

Everyone was so proud of their country...what they have achieved economicaly in such a short period of time, what they have achieved culturally over their country's history, and what they have achieved in the medal count at the 2008 Olympics.

As my friend Mika said in her blog on Aug 14th (http://www.mika-ryan.blogspot.com/), the Chinese people are not 'brainwashed' and honestly don't unerstand why the world sees them in a bad light. All the average person in Beijing wants is to have a better life for their children plus health, wealth, and happiness for themselves, their friends, and their families.

No matter what you may feel about the Chinese government and it's internal or foreign policies, don't lose track of the fact that the average person on the street in Beijing is very much like the average person in Vancouver. They want to have nice things, they want to eat good food, they want to drink clean water, they like spending time with their friends, and they want to fall in love.

To paraphrase Sting:
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us me and you
Is that the Chinese love their children too

PK

Friday, August 22, 2008

Chinese Lessons


The Big-Cat has come home from Beijing and is teaching me how to speak a little bit of Mandarin (which is all he knows).


knee-how = hello
zai-jen = goodbye
duay = yes
boo-yao = no
shay-shay = thank you
wo-ting boo-dong = I don't understand
mow = cat (I'm not kidding)

There was also a popular verb (bo-cog) created by Westerners for the Olympics which is an acronym of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games. Bo-cog is roughly translated as "sorry if you got screwed, but that is a price you pay for doing business in China".

A couple of uses:
- McDonalds was bo-cogged when they built a huge restaurant in the Olympic Green area before they found out that no one without a ticket to an event that day would be let into the Green (restaurant usage was about 25% of what was estimated).
- That not-as-cute little girl was bo-cogged when she was not able to be seen during the opening ceremonies (even though she recorded the song).
- Some citizens of Beijing were bo-cogged when their house and neighborhood were moved so the Chinese government could build the Bird's Nest Stadium.

I wonder what Van-ocked will mean?
PK

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Best Olympic Memory, (Feb 12, 1998)

Kenyan finishes last, but wins respect
image: [ Philip Boit is met on the finish line by Bjorn Daehlie ]
Philip Boit is met on the finish line by Bjorn Daehlie

Kenyan cross country skier Philip Boit has gained the respect of his fellow Olympians, despite coming a resounding last amongst the finishers of the 10km cross country race (note that he finished ahead of six skiers who gave up during the race).

The 26-year-old Kenyan, who only saw snow for the first time two years ago, finished the course in 47 minutes 25.25 seconds, almost exactly 20 minutes slower than the gold medallist Bjorn Daehlie (who had enough time to do post-race interviews and clean his skis before heading to the finish line to wait for Boit).

When Daehlie met Boit at the finish line, Daehlie urged him to pursue his career. "He deserves to be encouraged. It was hard for him but he never gave up," said Daehlie, who had just made Winter Olympic history by winning his sixth gold medal.

Boit, who missed two weeks of training when he had to go into hospital last month with a stomach complaint, was fortunate not to be disqualified when he broke into a skating style on the uphill sections.

Course officials followed him home and he broke into an arm-pumping display of energy as the Japanese fans cheered him home over the last 200 metres.

"My goal, my aim, is to become a world or Olympic champion. I'm dreaming about becoming the first African to do it. I will do it," he said.

"When you start something you have to give your best and by competing against all these great champions I get experience, I learn their secrets".

Citius, Altius, Fortius
PK


Today's Olympic Hero

The Big-Cat was in the Bird's Nest last night to see two amazing things....one being Usain Bolt winning the 200m race in world record time (by about 7 metres)...see picture taken by the Big Cat.








But, in my humble opinion, an even more amazing thing was watching Roqaya Al-Gassra from Bahrain run the 200m Women's semi-final. She didn't win, in fact, she finished 6th in her semi-final heat and did not qualify for the final that was to be run on Thursday evening. Roqaya missed qualifying for the final by only 12/100ths of a second. What I find amazing about Roqaya is that she runs in a full hijab...especially since Bahrain does not require its athletes to compete in traditional Muslim garb, but Roqaya Al-Gassra chooses to wear the full hijab while she is sprinting against the best women in the world.




















She had won her quarter final heat in the 200 meter dash on Tuesday and she says she wears the full hijab as a personal choice. “Wearing the hijab shows that there are no obstacles,” she said. “I’ve set my best times wearing the hijab.”

She wears the hijab to respect her religion and her customs. She wears it because she chooses to; and that is what the Olympic ideal is all about.














Keep in mind, the Olympic moto is Citius, Altius, Fortius (Swifter, Higher, Stronger)...and it's not just about being Swifter, Higher, Stronger than everyone else in the world... but it is really about being Swifter, Higher, Stronger than you were yesterday; Swifter, Higher, Stronger than the perceptions of your society; or Swifter, Higher, Stronger than whatever limits have been placed on you (or limits you have placed on yourself). And Roqaya demonstrates all of these goals.

Despite her not making the final of the 200m, Roqaya is truly Swifter, Higher, Stronger.
PK

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Come home, Big Cat!

It's been a long week without the Big Cat here. I have to say -- I'm looking pretty cute. Lots and lots of beauty rest!

The Big Cat is going to have a long day tomorrow. He has to go through the brand new Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital Airport. Terminal 3 is big. Like, really big. This one terminal is larger than London Heathrow's five terminals combined! I hope he doesn't get lost.

I will be waiting by the door patiently. I have prepared a little lecture for him. But, I'll give him a couple of minutes before I start my scolding.

See you tomorrow, Big Cat. Bring a present!

PK

Monday, August 18, 2008

China



As of this morning, China has won 38 Gold medals and at every medal ceremony, their national anthem is played and the Chinese flag is hoisted.

Today I got up and decided to discover why the Chinese Flag has one big star and 4 little stars.

The colour red symbolizes the spirit of the revolution, and the five stars signify the unity of the people of China (the four little stars representing peasants, workers, bourgeoisie, and capitalists) under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (the big star).

I think the flag looks pretty...then again, I do look good in red.

Zai jen,
PK

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This is how they treat a friend?


The Canadian Men's 8 rowing team just won a gold medal in Beijing. While I was watching the race, I kept looking to see if my Big-Cat was in the boat (he's in Beijing) but I didn't see him.
After seeing how the rest of the guys in the boat treated the smallest guy at the end of the race, I am glad that the Big-Cat was at the Velodrome instead (no Canadians on the track, but Great Britain did set a World Record in the team pursuit).
Great work to both teams!!!
Now when does the ice hockey competition start?
PK

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bad dream




Well, I woke up with a start this morning in a bit of a panic. I had a dream that the big-cats were in a far away land climbing on a big wall (some might say it was a Great one), watching other big-cats lift bars of heavy things over their heads, watching bikes go round and round on an oval-like path, and most stressing....petting strange little cats.


I was so upset by this dream, it took me almost 10 minutes to get back to sleep.

PK


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

8 days, 3 Fancy Feasts


Well, the Big-Cat is leaving today to go to Beijing to see the Middle-Cat. He's going to be gone a week. Two of the big-cats' nieces will be dropping by to make sure I'm okay...to me they are known as "Nellie the whisker puller" and "Brenna the tail puller"; or at least that's what I tell the big-cats ;)

In order to bribe me to be nice while he's gone, the Big-Cat has left three Fancy Feasts for his nieces to give me while he's gone (I'm not counting the fourh one that I ate last night...that was just a regular Tuesday in my books).

So there are only three Fancy Feasts for eight days...doesn't seem fair. Anyone that wants to help a poor little-cat down on her luck, please send treats or Fancy Feasts (or birdies with bad wings) c/o the Hagels.

I even made up a sign to help out.


PK

PS At least I'l be able to get some sleep.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The big Switcheroos

There have been a couple interesting slight-of-hands recently in China during the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The first two have been getting a lot of press:
1) The cuter little girl that lip-synced the national anthem sung by the little girl with the crooked teeth during the opening ceremonies,
2) The "fireworks" representing the footsteps to the Bird's Nest stadium that were digitally added during the opening ceremonies.

But no one seems to be talking about another thing that the Chinese govenment did during the run up to the summer games; in order to bring a more youthful look to China.

What I am talking about is the iconic grown white cat with the raised paw that is on display in a lot of shops and restaurants to bring good luck to the places of business.

Very quietly, this grown cat has been replaced by a cuter white kitten (see picture showing both the former and the new good luck cats).

As a cat who is a bit long in the whiskers, I find this bit of ageism offensive. I thought is was only in North America that long-time, loyal partners were replaced by versions that look 1/2 their age.

Shame.
PK

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Eoghan

Today my Big-Cat went to his nephew Eoghan's 4th birthday party and had lots of fun there.

Eoghan is one of my favorite nephews (by that I mean that have I hissed at him less than any other nephew...but that may be only because he is my youngest nephew).

Eoghan likes yellow, trucks, pirates, soccer (aka football), his cousins, and chocolate (not necessarily in that order).

All of these things were well represented at his birthday party and his dad cooked up a great dinner for everyone who attended.

The only downside to Eoghan's party is that his aunt Josie (aka the Middle-Cat) was not able to attend because she was in Beijing.

Eoghan did promise the Big-Cat that he saved a hug for aunt Josie for when she got back home.

While I didn't get a Fancy Feast while the Big-Cat was gone to the party, I was able to catch up on almost 7 hours of sleep; which made me very happy.
PK

Friday, August 8, 2008

Svein Tuft

Svein is my new favorite Olympian right now (he passes Johan Olav Koss for a couple hours)...but don't worry, JOK, you'll regain #1 in about 7 hours..once the men's road race is over.

Svein is a guy that went cycling with his dog for a couple years (towing him in a home built trailer) because the two of them wanted to see BC and the west coast of North America.

He never really planned to be an Olympic athlete; in fact he never intended to be great at what he does...he just became great.

He may not win today's race, but he is a champion in my mind.

Here's his story if you want to read it
http://www.bcsportsbeat.ca/More/olympian_svein_tuft_story_719.htm

PK


2008 Olympics


Well, it's 8-8-08 today and the 29th modern Olympics opened in Beijing (I think the Middle-Cat is over there organizing the games).

The Big-Cat just taped the opening ceremonies and we watched it (taped delayed) while eating dinner (with Lainey Gossip inspired chow mein).

It was quite the spectacle, and I really liked the drums and the guys in neon outfits covered in tiny light bulbs. It was pretty cool, but there was a serious lack of cats during the ceremonies.

The Big-Cat told me that he was going to visit the Middle-Cat in Beijing in six days and that he would bring me back a souvenier.

I hope that he brings me back a Fancy Feast; which is how I celebrated the opening ceremonies (see below).
PK

Thursday, August 7, 2008

To sleep, perchance to dream


I love to sleep.

I don't think of it as being lazy, I think of sleeping as restorative and rejuvenating.

Even though I am old enough to get a Class 7 driver's license in Alberta, I'm still spry enough to run around and chase birdies, string, and the occasional toe.

I have been know to sleep all day, get up to eat, then go back to sleep.

Weekends are always tough on me. The big-cats are usually home, and they make so much noise that I can't get my 22 hours of daily sleep. I like it best when they go out all day and then come home with crinkly plastic bags and Fancy Feasts.

The only bad thing about sleeping? It sometimes gets in the way of my naps.
PK