“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” -Sigmund Freud

Though it’s generally considered good sense to approach anything Sigmund Freud said with skepticism, I agree with him on this one. And since even Freud probably couldn’t stretch a metaphor far enough to make a cat into a phallic symbol, I think we’re safe.

I’ve written about my family’s nuisance of house cats before, but it’s been, like, weeks, so I think we’re due another cat post.

So here’s Samwise’s User Guide to Kittehs:

First of all, congratulations! By adopting a little ball of fluff you have made your first steps toward the form of insanity known as cat ownership!



Anything so cute has to be evil.

Raising and caring for a cat of your own can be a very rewarding experience, as long as you don’t actually expect them to listen to you, or love you in return. Actually, and no one will tell you this until after you adopt a cat, but that little shite is going to do whatever the heck it wants until you learn to put up with it. And you’re going to love it anyway. The most common misconception is that you can train your cat to certain things, and well, the idea is honestly just laughable. Your new cat, on the other hand, is trying to teach you the rules of cat ownership.

The first lesson your cat is trying to teach you: Expectation will always lead to disappointment. 

Living under the tyrannical rule of one of our feline overlords can be frustrating and disillusioning. I guarantee you that four out of five times you, the human, want to have a positive or emotional connection with your lord and master, your furry friend will snub you like yesterday’s beef and gravy bits. Whether you’re trying to play with their catnip mouse or wanting to snuggle before bed, you will most likely be beneath your liege’s notice.

Their emotional detachment will hurt you. Their offhanded rejection will come as a surprise, and it will only leave you craving their attentions more. The most important thing here is to accept it. You see, what is an abusive relationship between members of our own species is the expected norm in human-feline relations. You will spend much of your time vying for their approval, while they, in turn, do their best to accept your existence.

The second lesson your cat is trying to teach you: Learn to recognize my moods.

Cats are very different creatures from the other common, and clearly inferior, domestic species of dogs. They will not greet you with a wagging tail and a slobbery tongue, as they are not such base creatures (however, if you have forgotten to prepare their majesty’s regular meals, they may insistently remind you of your duties.)

As cats are higher beings, their moods are beyond our lowly comprehension. In their wisdom, however, they deign to approach their human servants with three recognizable “moods”: Happy, Angry, and Hungry. 

As I just said, a hungry cat will be actively seeking your attention as you have failed in your duties. Your furry master will most likely rub up against your legs, and then lead you to their dish. They will not lead you to where the food is kept, as they are above such matters and really, it’s your job to know that anyway. Should you not respond within the appropriate amount of time, usually five seconds, your lord or lady may also give you a short but sharp verbal rebuff.

Happy cats are seemingly hard to recognize for the inexperienced human. A Happy cat looks like this: url


A closed mouth and shut eyes are good signs of a content overlord, as well as a lazily sweeping tail. If you are successful in pleasing your cat, they will generally settle down for a nap, or if you’re lucky, a cuddle. Our masters also may vary their forms of affection, from a light nip to a heavy purr.

Angry cats are another story altogether. See how the Happy cat above has a gentle expression and perky ears? If you anger your cat, they will adopt a very different visage:



Oh shit.

Those humans who anger their overlords find that they experience fear on a primal level. An angry cat will make a human instinctually draw back, as we are subconsciously cognizant that a cat should never be angered. As you may have noticed, the ears are flattened instead of upright, the eyes are slitted in disgust, and the fangs are bared. Should you encounter an angry cat, your only hope of survival is to placate them as best you can, or run for your life.

Newcomers to cat ownership may commonly find their liege-lord with this expression:



Do not be concerned. This expression simply means the cat is experiencing a level of reflection or emotion that you are not able to understand. You should not feel the need to act, though placating your overlord is always a good idea. 

The third lesson your cat is trying to teach you: Learn how and where to touch me.

In our childhood, most of us learn the parts of the cat like this:



Not only is the above diagram simplistic, but it also has no real functionality. The terms used there are too general, too applicable to other animals. Cats are on an entirely different plane of existence than other animals (including humans), and therefore require a set of diagrams. Specifically, their anatomy is determined by their emotional state (refer to Lesson 2).

The Happy Cat diagram:

Happy Cat Parts


The Happy cat diagram is the most common.

The Angry Cat diagram:

Angry Cat Parts


The Angry cat diagram is probably the most useful.

The Scared Cat diagram:

Scared Cat Parts


No, scared cats aren’t invisible; they’re just gone.

Knowing the proper names for the parts of the cat is a good place to start, though you should also know where your kitty will prefer to be touched, as shown here:



Remember to always aim for the “Hell Yes” and the “Awesome” categories.

Well, that is it for this installment of Samwise’s User Guide to Kittehs. Hopefully this information and these diagrams have been useful to you. Remember, your cat is a tiny, furry Buddha, and they have much to teach you.


“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” -Bill Gates

Thank you for choosing Dickendustries’™ Social Interaction Tech Support!

In order to better accommodate our Users, we have compiled a series of FAQ’s, separated by Social Interaction OS. (To speak with a Dickendustries® Support Specialist, call 1-800-252-8661 at the low rate of $9.99/minute.)

I. Boyfriend 2.0/Girlfriend 2.0

  • My Boyfriend 2.0/Girlfriend 2.0 keeps throwing up error messages.

This OS is known to occasionally have errors, which is usually a sign that User maintenance is needed. While all errors have been known to occur in both Boyfriend 2.0 and Girlfriend 2.0, there are a few differences. Girlfriend 2.0 is more likely to run the crying.exe program, whereas Boyfriend 2.0 is more likely to initiate a system lockup and become unresponsive.

Due to the variety of issues that may occur, Users are advised to run a System Inquiry and a virus scan. Users should also make sure they have the most recent updates for the Communication Player application, or the Inquiry Report may not render correctly. IMPORTANT: Do not allow error messages to continue unchecked, or the OS will likely crash.

  • I’ve recently upgraded from Boyfriend 2.0/Girlfriend 2.0 to Spouse 7.1, but a number of programs seem to have stopped working.

Spouse 7.1 is an excellent upgrade, but it is not a direct extension of Boyfriend 2.0/Girlfriend 2.0 as many Users seem to think. It is possible to run all the same programs such as BodyImage, Romanticism, and even the fun add-ons like Compliments, but the Spouse 7.1 OS is designed for long-term reliability and User adaptability, with a highly flexible processor. In contrast, Boyfriend 2.0/Girlfriend 2.0 are adapted for shorter-term, flashier interfacing.

All programs from Boyfriend 2.0/Girlfriend 2.0 have cross-platform compatibility, however they have been reformatted to give the User in-depth, personalized returns like the Commitment Virus Protection application, instead of the spontaneous DateNight features of the previous model. Users should be able to run old applications by using the Remember When search feature, and Spouse 7.1 should quickly re-incorporate these programs into its Love&Understanding back-up feature.

  • My Boyfriend 2.0/Girlfriend 2.0 has crashed. Is there a way of recovering the OS?

It is possible to shortly recover the Boyfriend 2.0/Girlfriend 2.0 after a terminal crash, but Users have largely found the recovery process to be limited and short-lived. If a User has lost their OS and are not ready to look for a new model, we recommend trying our Cat 1.2 OS (see below.)

II. Supervisor 4.5

  • My Supervisor 4.5 seems to have a virus, and I can’t get any work done.

Supervisor 4.5 is an older model, and very virus-prone. If the User is experiencing error messages such as shouting.exe or incompetence.tif, we recommend taking Supervisor 4.5 to the local Dickendustries© Tech Repair outlet. Many models of the Supervisor 4.5 are also likely to have a malfunction in their A.S.S. Port, and there may be debris lodged inside. If the User’s Tech Repair Specialist cannot fix the virus or dislodge the debris, we recommend shutting the OS down by running the iQuit application, and then purchasing a new Supervisor 4.5.

III. Cat 1.2

  • My Cat 1.2 seems to be malfunctioning.

Cat 1.2 is impervious to errors. If the User finds their Cat 1.2 is running scratch.exe or hearing the Yowling.aif error noise, it is likely that Cat 1.2 is simply running it’s primary application, FeedMe.

“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” -Edgar Allan Poe

A week ago I asked you to give me an everyday object, promising I would, “Haiku the crap out of it.” Well the time has come, so you can judge for yourself whether I succeeded. Also, once again I took every suggestion despite my claim I only take one from each person, because I am a liar.

• From Danni: “Pillows or Pillow Cases”

Whether for sleeping

Hiding, biting or fighting

Pillows are the best

Does not protect much

I love having a pillow

but its case is odd

• From Chris: “Doorknobs, or strigil, because I’m a jerk” (I may be paraphrasing)

Which came first, the lock

Or doorknob? We need both, it’s

Just a wall without

What is a strigil?

Had to do some quick research

Chris you are so strange

By the way, this is a strigil. Talk about ‘Things that are weird.’

• From Ian: “Reese’s Pieces”

Peanut Butter in

Chocolate skin, I love your

Candy in my mouth

Thank you everyone for your submissions! Keep it up!

****Next week’s challenge****

Give me a noun and I’ll work it into a poem in Iambic Pentameter! (Fact: You cannot ever have enough Iambic Pentameter.)

“Lists today are a way of trying to get through the day, because we are losing a sense of time.” -David Viscott

As many of the columnists from our parent’s generation seem bent on spending all of their mental efforts giving us weird labels such as “Millenials,” and generally disparaging of our ambition and efforts, we seem to have turned to each other for advice, though primarily through websites like Cracked and Buzzfeed. While I’m totally in favor of supporting each other, these columns tend to be in the list format usually reserved for Cosmopolitan magazine, to which I object. And so, in the face of “12 ways life is different after College,” and “7 things you only understand if you’re a 90’s kid,” I present:

6 reasons why we need to stop putting things in lists.

1. It’s pretentious.

These list-format articles are always written with a sense of finality, as if what the author has to say is the only thing that matters. This is pretty typical of an advice column, but that was in newspapers with establish columnists who directed their advice at specific readers who wrote in asking about a problem. While websites like Cracked and Buzzfeed have some writers who write consistently, a lot of the time you’ll never have heard of the contributor before. So you’re not taking advice from an effective stranger—you’re taking advice from a complete stranger.

2. It’s misleading.

The list format leads the reader to believe that the article is complete and needs no additional points, as if every problem can be broken down into parts and solved a little bit a time. Yeah right, that’s totally not how the world works. You need to try to solve everything at once and drive yourself crazy, like everyone else. Otherwise you’re not doing it right.

3. It’s unrealistic.

These articles trivialize actual problems, often giving too little attention to serious issues (like who to take on the Zombie Apocalypse) and too much effort is put towards ridiculous garbage (like harassment.) Wait, I mixed those up. Or did I? Anyway, the point is that a lot of the actual advice is oversimplified because people would rather write about how to defend from a raptor attack.

4. It’s recursive.

You may have noticed the previous three points are pretty similar, which is very much characteristic of these list-format articles. Contributors tend to only address general issues and/or useless information, about which you can only produce so much grandiose rhetoric. At the point which a real problem might actually have reached a resolution, these posts pompously prattle on about proper pronunciations.

5. It’s tedious.

After reading a few of these points, most people just tend to skim through the rest to see if it’s worth reading. I’ve done it myself: you end up just reading the titles of each section and skipping down to see if the next will hold your interest. You know you’re one of these people if you missed the raptor attack and the alliteration.

6. It cuts off without a conclusion.

Kind of like this.

“I think the person who takes a job in order to live – that is to say, for the money – has turned himself into a slave.” -Joseph Campbell

It’s a commonly held opinion that everyone should have to work in the service industry at some point, preferably when they’re young. Or at least, those of us who have worked in a restaurant or retail store think so. If this is news to you, you probably never had to work in a menial, customer service-based hellhole.

Working in a fast-food place, a pizza shop, a cafeteria, a coffee shop, or a warehouse-style hardware store teaches you some valuable life lessons, first and foremost of which is that people are jerks. I do, unfortunately, actually know this to be true because I have worked all of those jobs. Plus a few others.

It’s important to know people are jerks. You need to know that people aren’t always going to treat you well. You need to know what it feels like to have someone take their bad day out on you. You need to know that you didn’t do anything, and you don’t deserve it, but that it happened anyway.

And most importantly, you need to know what it feels like to take someone’s crap and not be able to retaliate.

Service industry jobs teach you what it feels like to be powerless in the professional environment. This is crucial, because you will carry it the rest of your life. When you deal with a waiter, or a cashier, or the person in the drive-thru window, you will remember what it was like to do that of job. You will understand that person, and maybe not give them such a hard time.

You will be amazed at how many times you use the empathy you learned through a customer-based position. I notice it constantly, even in my current position (which to be fair, Interpreter jobs are largely hourly and very customer-based), whether I’m answering the phone or explaining something to a patient, it’s a constant reminder of what kind of person we should all try not to be.

In fact, I would push this lesson farther: I think everyone should work healthcare positions too. You could probably say that people need to work any job before criticizing the person in that position, but I think working in a doctor’s office should be essential, and for one simple reason: When something goes wrong in a clinic you’re working with a person’s needs, not their food or their clothes. As much as insurance companies try to make it so, healthcare is not a commercial practice, not really. You know how people got upset in your restaurant job? In healthcare, they skip the “irritated,” and “angry” stages, and go straight to “furious.”

But hey, working as an interpreter has taught me some new ways to swear in Spanish, if nothing else.

******Challenge for next Thursday******

Give me an everyday object, and I will Haiku the crap out of it.

“All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.” -Aristotle

I have mentioned that I spend a lot of time thinking about the future, and this is especially true in my current situation because I am saving money and waiting to be able to travel. The other day, however, my reverie was disrupted due to an altercation between my supervisor and another coworker.
The conflict itself didn’t surprise me, though it did escalate rather quickly, because these two individuals have never gotten along in the first place. No, what shook me was how much it bothered me that the workplace was disrupted in that way. Here I am, one foot out the door (though nobody knows that, so shhhh!) and somehow I was upset that things were changing.
Just to clarify, I am not referring to my annoyance and disappointment in regards to my coworker and supervisor. Those feelings were expected. What I wasn’t ready for was thinking, “Aw man, we had something good going here,” because I have always considered this job to be temporary.
I’m not trying to be too suspicious of these feelings, because I know that I am happy enough at my job and get along with my coworkers. Getting comfortable, however, scares me because I know how easy it is to stay in one place. My job is easy, the people here are easy, and I’ve gotten used to waking up early and driving here every day.
But I’m not challenged and I’m not excited. I do sleep easy and save money, and there’s value in that (literally, heh), but only because I see much brighter horizons around the corner.


“The best thing you’ve got going for you is individuality.” -Richard Thompson

We interrupt your regularly scheduled “Things that are weird” programming to bring you the newest in College-oriented personality-substitute technology!

Is your personality flat, easy to overlook, or mind-numbingly dull? Do you lack the pizzazz that your friends and family so effortlessly exude? Do you want to stand out in a crowd, but not have to work too hard?

Introducing Dickendustries’™ 2015 line of College Uniform Personalities! Guaranteed to make-you at least 30% more interesting! These easy-to-acquire personalities will set you apart while simultaneously lumping you into a large group of people!

Stop wasting precious time skipping class just to find yourself! Use one of our patent-pending Uniform Personalities, and you can resume using that time from skipping classes to get drunk!

Returning for our fourth year running, the classic and classy, Hipster Guy Uniform (Summer Edition)!



Our “Hipster Guy” has become quite the standard for young men in college, and never fails to give off the “I pretend not to care though actually I really, really do, but that’s because I’m an artist and have intense feelings” vibe. Drives ’em wild every time!

How is this Summer Edition you ask? Well, we’ve made slight modifications to the well-known and well-loved 2014 model. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to roll up those sleeves or unbutton those collars!

Worried the summer heat will mess up your painstakingly tousled hair? Not anymore! The 2015 model comes with the sides of the head shaved, or even everything shaved but the top! Swap out your off-colored skinny pants for some off-colored shorts, and you’re golden. Also, Ray Ban thick-rimmed glasses can be replaced by Ray Ban thick-rimmed sunglasses, though both are still optional.

“But Dickendustries®!” You exclaim, “I just graduated this year, though I’m not moving away. Also the gallons of beer I drank have ruined my skinny-hipster-guy figure!”

Don’t you worry, citizen! Dickendustries© has a Post-Graduation Personality option that has you covered! Plus you get to keep on boozing with our Hipster Brewer Guy Uniform Expansion Pack!



Swap out that flannel for an obscure baseball-tee and find a Craft Brewery to either work at or hang around, and you’re set! Don’t know of a local Craft Brewery? Ask next door, go down an alleyway, or look under the stairs, because they’re just popping up everywhere. For those few who can’t find a local brewery, start making your own beer or just start talking about making your own beer!  You can’t go wrong!

Next, just in time for Summer, the Yoga Girl Uniform!



Whether you’re at the grocery or just sipping a Macchiato at Starbucks, you’ll always look like you just came from a workout! Designed to be incredibly easy to pull together, the Yoga Girl personality requires very little upkeep. Plus you get the Yoga Pants Effect from men and women everywhere you go! Talk about Hot Yoga!

This Uniform also has a wide range of adaptability! Just add a North Face jacket and a pair of boots that look like they are made form the gutted remains of a Teddy Bear, and you get this:



Dickendustries© Preppy Girl Fall Expansion Pack! This Uniform has longevity and practicality! You can stay warm without giving up the Yoga Pants Effect! Plus it’s only complimented by a Starbucks cup.

“But Dickendustries™!” You exclaim again, “My friends and I aren’t soulless clones! We don’t want to be confused with every other girl on campus, though we do want to be able to share each others’ clothes. Also big brand names are the devil!”

You’re right, big brand names are the devil*! Which is why we offer a secondary Expansion Pack, the One With the Universe Personality:


Switch out those close-fitting Yoga Pants for a flowy Mermaid skirt, wear your grandmother’s jewelry and stop shaving your legs! This Uniform is good all the way through Fall, and when it cools off you can simply add countless second-hand or hand-made sweaters. Tattoos and Piercings are optional, but highly recommended!

Hope you’ve enjoyed your sneak peek at Dickendustries®’ 2015 line of College Uniform Personalities! Remember, individuality is overrated!


*= Unless it’s our brand.


“A piece of spaghetti or a military unit can only be led from the front end.” -George S. Patton

Happy Memorial Day!

Since this is a holiday, I figured I’d use this time to update you on the blog. Not to Clear the Air will continue it’s meandering course and continue to update every weekday, don’t you worry (I know some of you were worried.)

I’m introducing a couple of new elements, the first of which is the “Navigating the Blog” page (found at the top of my blog, next to “Home” and “All about the Blogger.”) This page explains the categories which my posts have been and will continue to be sorted into, and hopefully help you, the reader, find similar posts to the ones you like. You can visit the “Navigating the Blog” page at any time and click the name of the category, which will link through to all the posts in that category. The categories themselves are also found on the right side of the site if you’re reading this on a desktop.

The second element has already been kind of introduced, which is the “Challenge” category of posts. I am planning on doing a challenge post every thursday, and providing prompt for the next week’s challenge at the same time. (This coming Thursday won’t be a challenge, but I’ll give you a prompt for the next week.) Please, please, please respond to my prompts for challenges, because otherwise it’s kind of a useless effort. Kind of like the rest of the blog. Also, you have ideas for challenges, just leave me a comment either on WordPress or Facebook or Twitter. I will find it.

Anyway, that’s all I have for the update.

Oh, and in the spirit of Memorial Day I have some military funnies. If you’re like me, Memorial Day is excellent because you get a three day weekend. Oh, and you support the troops and stuff, because it’s unpatriotic not to.

(Click the photo to get to a funny Cracked.com article. What? Did you expect me to work on a three-day weekend?)

Humorous Military funny picture (217)

An open letter to the Texas judicial system

Dear judiciary of Round Rock, Texas:

First off I just want to say thank you and well done. Nineteen-year-olds making pot brownies and generally making stupid choices used to keep me up at night, but now that you’ve finally apprehended the menace named Jacob Lavoro, I can sleep easy.

I’ve heard some criticism about your 5-year-to-life ruling, but I wanted you to know you have my full support. Those naysayers are spouting silly technicalities like how there’s no precedent for the ruling, or that you weighed the baked goods as a whole in order to make a more severe ruling, but it’s all a load. Those idiots probably live in one of the 21 states (or Washington DC) which use marijawana for medicinal purposes. Two of them even use the demon-weed recreationally! Damned hippies.

No one else seems to understand that in Round Rock, a city with less than 100,000 people and with nearly 200 violent crimes and nearly 3,000 property crimes per year, you have to be hard on all transgressors. You can’t let your law enforcement and legislative powers get soft. Hell, you should probably just give all crimes the same sentence, ‘cause everything’s bigger in Texas. God bless America!


A true American and fan of your work.

P.S. I was disappointed to see what my favorite news station, Fox News, had to say about the Lavoro case. I thought they loved America as much as I do. I think they’re getting a little too liberal for me .

“This totally counts as a legitimate post because I told you it was going to happen ahead of time.” -Me, just now.

A week ago I challenged you, the reader, to provide me with any combination of an everyday object, a concept, or pretty much anything you can imagine, and I promised to turn them into metaphors. You had the weekend to leave a response for me.

We’ll start off easy. Here we go:

1. Dictatorship/A clowder of purring kittens (pairing submitted by Christopher)

Dictatorship is a clowder of purring kittens: it sounded like a good idea but then you made a wrong move and it’s all tiny, razor-sharp needle-claws.

2. Transubstantiation/moldy gym socks or a snotty tissue (pairing submitted by Ian, who is determined to get me in trouble with any Catholic readers I have. This is the least offensive thing I came up with.)

Transubstantiation is accepting someone’s snotty tissue: symbolic of trust, but touching the actual product would make you cringe.

3. Beyonce/A box of Cheerios (pairing submitted by Austin, who is determined to get em in trouble with Beyonce fans, i.e. pretty much everybody.)

Beyonce is the Cheerios of modern music: objectively the best around, but never as exciting as you were promised.

4. Funding for the Arts/A paper napkin (pairing submitted by Kent.)

Funding for the arts is a single paper napkin at a restaurant: Not enough to do the job and it’s a huge production when you inevitably must ask for more.

5. High School Prom/Scientology (pairing submitted by Kent, again.)

Scientology is your High School Prom: most people recognize its not as important as they were told, but some people get really into it and never seem to let go.

6. topsoil/Millionaire bigotry (pairing submitted by Kent, who missed the memo where I said “one per person.”)

Millionaires are the topsoil of our economy: the richer the ones are mostly full of shit.

7. the 9/11 terrorist attacks/nose hair (pairing submitted by Kent, who is apparently determined to get me in trouble with the NSA. Fun fact – they make up most of my readership.)

9/11 is the nose hair of America: terrible when it first happened, but we’ve reminded ourselves of it so frequently that we just can’t work up the energy anymore.

There we go! If any of you readers are still following me, I’ll be back next week!