All That Phil Gramm Mail


I hate the way italic type looks on the screen. It is ugly and hard to read. So I try to use bold for book, movie and magazine titles--whenever I remember.

General News

And Now For Something Completely Different: Around The House

There comes a time in every columnist's life when you have to jot down a few words about the rest of your life. The non-public policy part. The personal part. It makes you seem human. George Will writes about baseball. William Safire writes about words. Ellen Goodman writes about her vacations.

I'm going to write about my cats. We had a black domestic shorthair in Casa Schindler for eight years. Her name was Minuit. She was the second-smallest cat in the litter. We had a number of adventures with her and loved her as a member of the family. When she was about four, the vet told us only one of her kidneys worked and that she had a year to live. We fed her a special diet, took good care of her, and gave her four good years. She never weighed over seven pounds. Last summer, she began to fade. She was hospitalized twice and died on Labor Day, just three days before we were going to have her put to sleep.

After a suitable period of mourning, we went to the Oakland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals late in January, determined to adopt two kittens (We'd decided Minuit had probably hated being alone). The SPCA doesn't get many kittens. It does get adult cats, though. Remarkably, there was a pair of brothers named Oscar and Nerber, orange domestic shorthairs whose previous owners said they were two years old--and who asked that they be adopted together. They'd come in last Fall, been adopted and returned and had been in a cage since Christmas.

I don't know if you've been to the SPCA lately, but it can break your heart. Here are a bunch of people who really care, in the nicest facility they can afford, facing the absolute certainty of having to kill a majority of their residents for lack of space. They do a wonderful job under terrible circumstances.

Despite their being rather older and heavier (14 pounds--twice the heaviest cat we'd ever had) than what we were looking for, we quickly bonded with these two cats. The SPCA had already neutered them and given them their shots and tests. We know for sure we got a couple of healthy guys this time.

Collectively, we call them the boys. Individually, they have been renamed Champagne and Jagermeister (a vile green German liqueur; don't ask). I have trouble telling them apart if I can't see their collars (Cham is red, Jager is blue). Both have spent much of their first two weeks here hiding under Rae's bed. Champagne comes out much more often that Jagermeister.

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say Champagne is going to be a fine companion and Jagermeister is going to be that other cat we never see, but who keeps Champagne company. They are really cute together.

As they go through life, doing interesting, amusing and brilliant (or stupid) things, I will chronicle their adventures here. In the meantime, if you have the time, money, love and lack of allergies, adopt a companion animal. It beats the hell out of their alternative.

Coming up: applying to college and girls' high school basketball.


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