Contents copyright 1997 by Thomas G. Digby, with a liberal definition of "fair use". In other words, feel free to quote excerpts elsewhere (with proper attribution), post the entire zine (verbatim, including this notice) on other boards that don't charge specifically for reading the zine, link my Web page, and so on, but if something from here forms a substantial part of something you make money from, it's only fair that I get a cut of the profits.
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A discussion on The WELL of crazy things involving pets reminded me of this incident from my past (people with WELL accounts will find it in Unclear topic 173, response 75):
Once back in the Sixties I had a psychedelic light-show thingie consisting of a box with a motorized mobile hanging in it, with a paper screen in front and colored lights in back to cast shadows of the (otherwise invisible behind the paper) mobile on the screen.
Then I moved in with someone who had cats. All seemed OK for a while, but then I noticed that the shadow-mobile thingie seemed to be getting simpler and simpler and simpler. Or was it just my imagination? I wasn't really sure I remembered its original glory right. Then one evening I switched it on and there on the screen was the shadow of a kittycat batting at one of the few remaining pieces of the mobile.
I rebuilt it, this time with the previously open back blocked off, and it's been OK since.
And have you ever played with one of those laser pointer thingies around cats? Some will ignore the little dot of red light, others will sniff at it but lose interest when they can't smell anything, and still others will chase the dot back and forth across the room and down the hall until you get tired of the game. One way I often end it with this last category of cat is to direct the dot under some piece of furniture that's too low for the cat to get under, then shut it off. Some of the more gullible cats will wait quite a while for it to reappear.
Someone mentioned the book "DOS for Dummies". The title reminds me of why I think I don't invent more gadgets and gimmicks: I cope too well with things as they are. For example, I find programming a VCR easy, so I have no incentive to invent something like VCR Plus. I learn MS-DOS computer commands easily, so I have no incentive to write graphical menu shells. And so on. Maybe I need more friends who have trouble doing stuff, to give me a reason to invent more.
Someone I know breeds dogs for a living. Someone else brought up the idea of creating a new breed of dog and got told that a new recognized purebred breed would be too big a project and take too long to be feasible. My reply to the breeder, slightly edited:
Your statement that creating a new purebred breed would take fifty years leads me to wonder if they'll even be doing it that way then. Perhaps by the middle of the next century someone who wants a particular kind of dog would be interviewed in depth by a computer which would then figure out the DNA sequences required and have an embryo cloned therefrom.
Kennels like yours will probably still be around for two reasons: (1) The cheapest way to bring an embryo to puppyhood may still be by implanting it into a bitch and letting nature do the rest, and (2) Some people are still going to want the traditional breeds bred the traditional way, no matter how much it costs. But the traditional breeds may no longer be the norm.
Since I personally prefer cats, I imagine similar services will be available for them also. And I suppose some species not now domesticated could also be modified to be suitable pets, although this may be a slower process since each species is likely to need different modifications.
Some cigarette company has been running magazine ads showing people sitting out on the wing of an airliner because they aren't allowed to smoke inside. And some airline is calling itself something like "EVA Airlines". Leads those of us who know what "EVA" means in the context of space missions to wonder ...THE SEA ANEMONE She never found out how her name had gotten entered, But she had won a free sex-change. Full of vague dissatisfactions she'd never really acknowledged She thought she'd at least check it out. The shop was one of those places you read about in old books That hint of things beyond our rational world. And when she wasn't sure about taking the obvious type of sex-change They handed her a 200-page catalog. She finally decided to put in a sea anemone. When she returned to the singles-bar scene Reactions were, you might say, Interesting. Many a Casanova followed her home, Interested in only one thing And that one thing Was not a sea anemone. More than one had run screaming into the night. She got quite adept at finding out which insane asylum To deliver the left-behind clothing to. Others, made of sterner stuff, Plunged ahead anyway But soon learned that sea anemone tentacles Have little stingers, like jellyfish, For hauling in prey. And if that didn't stop them Their manhood would go numb Until they couldn't be sure It hadn't already been digested. Since she swung both ways She brought home some singles-bar women. "Can't do much with that," they'd say And take their leave. Then through the grapevine She began to hear of other anemone people. They'd lie together in the night Feeding each other sardines down there And thrilling to a sensation Others had no words for. But even this lacked something. She drifted away from the singles bars And began putting more of herself Into other parts of her life. Then once in a great while She'd meet someone special, Sometimes man, sometimes woman, Or sometimes someone with another anemone Or flowers or something. Exactly what didn't seem to matter. "Can't do much with that," they'd say, Looking between her legs, But then they'd find plenty of possibilities With the rest of her And with the rest of themselves. These were the ones she treasured. They soon learned how that part of her liked sardines And how other parts of her liked other physical pleasures. But they also knew that the most important parts Were not between the legs, But between the ears And in the heart. Tom Digby email@example.com written Feb 27, 1995 23:20 edited Mar 1, 1995 22:05
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