Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Year of the Cat

Well, thanks to yesterday's Instalanche, I figure I have a few more readers of this blog, so I'd better keep on posting. Tonight's topic, as I sip a little George Dickel and Coke Zero, will be cats.

I am not a cat person. I grew up with a family dog, from when I was six years old to when I left for college. They might have had cats before me, but I never got into them, and it did not help that I was/am allergic to their dander.

For the past several years, a wild calico cat occasionally wandered through my yard and I always shooed it away. When I got married and my wife moved in, she would sometimes "talk" to it while I was at work. She swears she never fed it, but I wonder.

Last year was a scorcher here in Nashville and that cat showed up on our doorstep, sick and weak. We gave her some food and thought that was the last of it. Of course, she kept coming back, and one day she appeared with a bloody mess on her face from a fight she had gotten into. We tricked her into a cat cage and took her to the vet, where they patched her up and gave us the bill. We now have a cat.


Her name was originally Cat, Jr., before we spent real money on her. The name came from "Raising Arizona" where the Snopes brothers have their "own little Gale, Jr. now". Her new name is Simone, from "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" and because, being a calico, we had been referring to her as Le Chat L'Orange, which we pretended meant " the orange cat". It probably doesn't though.

Anyway, she has turned into a "mostly house" cat, but she does enjoy long walks in the dark and catching baby bunnies, which I then have to drive 30 miles to deposit at the animal rescue clinic. She has done for us what most pets do: given us something to look after and care about and be on the look out for. I think those are human qualities that need a little help these days, and Simone is doing a fine job.

Speaking of Year of the Cat...Playing around with my Line 6 KB37 keyboard with a Grand Piano patch in Garageband and I stumbled upon the intro to the "Year of the Cat", the 1976 single from Al Stewart. I've always loved the song for it's arrangement and great sonics. Engineered by Alan Parsons and co-written by the late Peter Wood, the song is an impressionistic tale of exotic romance with a cat lady in some Casablanca-esque locale. I think.

I love the string arrangement, the acoustic and electric guitar solos, and the fabulous sax solo that ties it all together. The intro is over a minute long. It's doubtful that such care and craftsmanship will be put into any pop songs in the foreseeable future, but I hold out hope that somewhere there's a kid with all of this technology who wants to record real instruments playing real music in an effort to bring some beauty to the world.


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