Karla Keffer

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hades, the Bad Little Gray Cat 1995-2009

In Uncategorized on October 6, 2009 at 9:58 pm

sleeping in the rain helps me forget things like I am going to die and you are going to die and the cats are going to die but it’s still good to stretch out and know you have arms and feet and a head, hands, all the parts, even eyes to close once more, it really helps to know these things, to know your extensions and your limitations, but why do the cats have to die, I think that the world should be full of cats and full of rain, that’s all, just cats and rain, rain and cats, very nice, goodnight.
–“Storm,” Charles Bukowski

My cat Hades died of a heart attack this morning in the vet’s waiting room. She’d been having trouble keeping food down for quite some time, so my dad brought her in for an X-ray. She was curled up on a chair next to my dad, hissing at the other animals, when she rolled onto her back as if she wanted my dad to rub her belly. When she started to slip between the two chairs, my dad suspected the worst. The vet tried to revive her for over an hour, but he couldn’t – she may well have been dead the moment she rolled over onto her back. My dad and I are still stunned – just last night, Hades was frolicking around, mewing for ice cream and whatever else she wasn’t allowed to eat.

An old friend of mine likes to trot this poem out when cats of his acquaintance die. This is, thus far, the only Bukowski poem I’ve ever liked, perhaps because my back brain recognized its pertinence before my front brain did. Hades was a kitten when a college housemate “plucked her out of the rain,” as my friend Deb so beautifully put it, and introduced her to our midst. A security guard discovered her and nicknamed her Storm, and shortly thereafter we had to find her another place to live. So she went to live with the friend of another housemate and was returned to us when she peed in the friend’s dad’s suitcase. We hid her in the attic for two months until spring break, when I brought her home to my dad. What was supposed to be a temporary stay ended up lasting over thirteen years, during the course of which she terrorized our declawed cat Cecile, knocked an Entenmann’s cake off the top of the refrigerator, kidnapped a cheap stuffed bird of mine and chewed off its wings, bit and scratched any number of humans who wanted to show the big, beautiful gray cat some love, and, yes, peed in my dad’s suitcase. (It was a cheap suitcase; there weren’t any clothes in it, and my dad doesn’t believe in returning cats to from whence they came.) But she also snuggled up with our diabetic cat Sally the night before she died, and with her humans when we were sick, and she liked to roll around on her back and down the stairs to the rec room, and she meowed like a cat in a picture book, so articulately you could almost see the word balloon coming out of her little cat maw.

Rest in peace, dear little gray Hades. You were long among us, and yet it’s never enough. May you have all the salmon Fancy Feast and toy mousies you ever wanted. We miss you terribly already.

A ten-minute cease fire between Hades and Cecile, c. 2002

A ten-minute cease fire between Hades and Cecile, c. 2002

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On Roman Polanski

In Uncategorized on September 30, 2009 at 9:29 pm

He drugged and raped a thirteen-year-old girl, pleaded guilty, and then fled the country for thirty years. I like and admire his work, but I think anyone who rapes anyone, let alone a thirteen-year-old girl, should go to prison, and I don’t care if that person directed Chinatown or makes a living picking cigarette butts off the street. I harbor no particular animosity toward Polanski, so I don’t consider my opinion on this matter calling for his blood. That said, I did harbor a great deal of animosity toward Elia Kazan for the admittedly lesser crime of becoming a “friendly witness” during the McCarthy era because he wanted to work, and I was not pleased when he won a Lifetime Achievement Oscar, and it disturbs me that I should be so outraged at Kazan and not Polanski, who committed a crime I frequently think is worse than murder. The people in the Hollywood film community who are using Polanski’s artistry as a defense for his crime are being idiotic, although I don’t know how I would react if a close friend of mine were in the same situation, and maybe I would use a similar defense. Having the Manson family kill and gut your pregnant wife is a horrific event that will fuck you up for the rest of your life, and while I do think its effect on Polanski’s mental state at the time of the rape should be taken into consideration, I don’t think it should let him off the hook. And finally, the victim has long since forgiven him, and considers the media’s badgering more traumatic than the crime itself. Having undergone therapy that ended up being more destructive than the trauma that precipitated it, I tend to believe her. The victim would like to see the case closed. Perhaps we should heed her wishes. Perhaps we should make the victim’s wishes a vital part in deciding all cases, not just death penalty cases, and for all people, including those who make their living cleaning up cigarette butts. And for good measure, we might also want to rethink the tactical strategy of sentencing a person to forty-two days in jail, deciding on a plea agreement, and reneging on it. Of course a person is going to run. Then again, I’m not sure I would, and I don’t think that’s as much about a sense of honor as it is about being terrified I’d get caught.

Women Are Stupid, Uptight Drunk Sluts, Take #47,810

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Well, perhaps that’s just my interpretation of it, and what do I know? I’m a stupid uptight drunk slut!

Seriously, what is the purpose of these studies about women and sexuality? It’s hardly news that some women (and, omigod, some MEN, even!) like to hit the sauce before hitting the sheets. And it’s always presented in this way that implies women are “bad” for needing to get a little lit before fucking, and it’s “all our fault” for not being able to relax on our own. It’s never because the guy is a crappy lay; it’s never because we’re toting around some pretty damn crushing emotional baggage about sex – emotional baggage that other people thrust upon us, mind you, but it’s all our fault for carrying it around in the first place – and it’s certainly not because guys play on our insecurities about not being thin enough or pretty enough or whatfuckingever enough. Nope, we’re just stupid uptight sluts who fuck too much and are frigid bitches because we need booze or pot to enjoy sex and we need to lower our standards yammer yammer yammer.

I don’t want to fall into the trap of blaming all men for this crap, because I do happen to know some decent fellows who, for the most part, don’t buy into it, and when they do, are pretty good at giving themselves a slap upside the head and realizing they’re being kind of piggish. And I do think women, myself included, have become very, very good at playing the male chauvinist game, and we need to stop being complicit in destroying ourselves to keep it going. So, yeah, it takes two to tango and other related truisms, but goddammit, it’s becoming more and more impossible for me to remain calm and logical in the face of the increasingly Sisyphean task of bearing the responsibility for all things dull and ugly while taking none of the credit for their opposite.

So I will end this post, calmly, with the following: If booze helps you enjoy The Sex, aces. Use it judiciously. If it doesn’t, then don’t. And gentlemen, “Let’s have sex” does not constitute foreplay. If you continue to insist that it does, then you have no right to get angry when we consume an entire gallon of vodka in order to endure your “lovemaking” or, gods forbid, refuse to fuck you in the first place. You’re welcome.

Oh, yes, and please don’t tell me to lower my standards. If I hear that phrase one more time, I will be forced to blow my brains out with a nine-millimeter. I say this calmly and logically.

So many uses for it...

So many uses for it...

Isn’t that kind of like waving at Helen Keller and yelling “Over here!”?

In Uncategorized on September 7, 2009 at 12:03 pm

A Bank of America branch in Tampa refused to cash a man’s check, even though he provided two forms of ID, because he couldn’t provide a thumbprint. You know, seeing as he was born without arms. Shoving aside the picayunish matter of the Americans With Disabilities act, did it ever occur to these bank employees to get, like, a toe print or something, if they’re so hell-bent on preventing customers from cashing checks made out to their spouses?

I hate it when I’m bitching about something relatively trivial (or not, as the case may be) and some do-gooder chimes in with “You should be grateful to have arms and legs!” So, unfortunately, it’s rare that I’ve considered myself lucky in limbic regard. This is one of those rare times. That, and I don’t have an account at Bank of America.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The Grapes of Wrath

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2009 at 8:28 am

grapes of wrath

Doesn’t matter if you know the ending. There’s a whole book in front of it, and it’s awesome, and devastating. But most of you probably already knew that.

If we’d read this in high school, I might have actually enjoyed it even then. Alas, ’twas not to be, for the book discusses both sex and Communism in rather frank detail, thereby promoting both.

I heart John Steinbeck now, and that makes me feel smart(er)(ish)(esque). How in god’s name did I ever get an MFA? Pathetic.

The Great Gatsby

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2009 at 10:22 am

gatsby-stamp

Maybe if I’d been allowed to discover Fitzgerald on more sober terms instead of having him shoved down my throat as An American Icon, or if I hadn’t been convinced I was stupid because of my failure to embed his Iconic Greatness in my bone marrow, or if I’d had an eleventh grade English teacher with imagination enough to expand our unit on Gatsby beyond “What is the theme?” and “What is the symbolism of the green beacon?”, it wouldn’t have taken me until last night to be able to read the damn book and actually like it, thus sparing me years of unnecessary self-loathing and contempt at the hands of pompous asswipes who merely know how to sound smart about literature.

Livid, just livid.

The Eagle Has Landed, Oh Yes, Oh God Yes

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Happy 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing! I remember it like it was yesterday, except not, because I was age T-minus seven years and counting in 1969. And happy 40th anniversary to Marilu Henner on the occasion of her virginity loss! Standing up! In the shower! See, I do remember the 20th anniversary of the moon landing – my mom, who was a seriously self-aggrandizing Baby Boomer, told me about how she was watching what I thought was Carson (it was actually “Later” with Bob Costas) and “so-and-so from ‘Taxi,’ oh, you remember her, yes, you do” was a guest, and she claimed to be able to remember where she was on any given date, and when Bob Costas lobbed the softball date on July 20, 1969, she realized she’d been in the shower, giving the big gift, tm “That ’70s Show.” It wasn’t until she published her sca-aa-ndalous memoir that I figured out that so-and-so from “Taxi” was probably Marilu Henner – not that Carol Kane isn’t lovely and nutty, but she never struck me as the sort to speak freely about her virginity loss on national TV, whereas anyone so WHORISH as to not only do the Posturepedic Polka with John Travolta, Tony “Don’t Confuse Me By Giving Me A Different Character Name” Danza, and Judd Hirsch, but to write an entire book about it would have no such qualms. (You do realize I’m kidding about that whorish thing, right? That lady who wrote to People magazine to suggest a more appropriate title for Marilu Henner’s memoir would be Mariloose sure wasn’t! I wonder what she’s up to these days, and if she’s still got that self-righteous log up her bum. She didn’t bone that many people by Baby Boomer standards, Lady! It just seems that way because they’re famous and they’re all crammed together in one book. Capisce?)

I’m just relieved Marilu Henner settled into marriage and whelping and thus redeem herself and her WHORE!ish ways. Snerk.

Happy Mother’s Day: Attack of the Clones

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2009 at 3:47 pm

attack of the clones

Actually, I think this may have been taken at Easter. I don’t think we took pictures on Mother’s Day. I do remember a Mother’s Day on which Grandpa and I got the wrong kind of chicken for dinner (we got KFC; Mom and Grandma wanted Roy Rogers), but there aren’t any pictures of them getting pissy with us. Not that I can blame them for that – KFC is a bloody disaster. I guess they washed it down with beer.

Anyway, if you’re still debating the existence of replicants, the above photo should quell the discussion, or perhaps stave it off for a bit.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Judy Blume Supports Planned Parenthood; Anti-Choicers Freak Out

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2009 at 9:54 am

judyblume

Judy Blume is under fire from anti-choicers because of this recent appeal on behalf of Planned Parenthood. I’m not going to link to any of their blogs or websites because I don’t want to drive any more traffic their way. They’re trotting out the usual arguments – if Judy Blume were a good mother, she wouldn’t support baby killing; Planned Parenthood is a front for the eugenics movement (its founder, Margaret Sanger, reputedly supported eugenics as well as birth control, which is not good, but it was fairly common in the 1920s). That whole rigmarole.

To show your support for Judy Blume, click here. And I do mean support. If you’re thinking of getting cute with it and using this as an opportunity to send Judy hate mail for supporting a woman’s right to choose or for writing books in which teenage girls masturbate, then start your own blog and whinge to your heart’s content.

On a stupid lighter note, the new GOOP is nestling in my inbox (and yours, too, if you subscribe), replete with manscaping tips. Thrills!

Everybody Hates Gwyneth

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Oh, the brow is low and needs a-pluckin’. I’ve wanted to kick Gwyneth Paltrow in the teeth since I was twenty and I read an article in which she was quoted as saying, “It’s so sad that most people’s cultural reference for Emma will be Clueless. I mean, that is an obscenity.” (Gee, I wonder how she feels about “What’s Opera, Doc?” Stupid pretentious twat rag.) At the time, I just thought I was a jealous bitch and a dumbass for failing to appreciate The Literary Greatness That Is Jane Austen. Those things are probably still true, but what a relief to find out wanting to push Gwynnie off a bridge and run her over with a speeding semi is a normal, healthy reaction! I did that whole Facebook “Pick Your Five People You’d Like To Punch In The Face” thing and three of my friends, all of whom are far more stable than I and one of whom loves Jane Austen, proudly admitted they felt the same way! Even more awesome – the friend who loves Jane Austen (and who writes some pretty kick-ass adaptations of her work, and puts them up in our acting class), admitted that she can’t even call Blythe Danner’s Daughter by her given name and that she wants to get a Bozo Bop Bag and paste a picture of her on it. I think she should incorporate that into a kick-ass adaptation of Emma.

I'm so pretty. I'm so pretty! Don't you think I'm so pretty? Oh, you're just jealous.

I'm so pretty. I'm so pretty! Don't you think I'm so pretty? Oh, you're just jealous.

It’s times like this I really miss my mom. Vikki could talk smack. I keep thinking of the time she and I were watching the news and that Kelly LeBrock Pantene commercial came on – you know, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” – and my mom kind of cocked her head and pretended to consider the matter, and then said with a straight face “Well, you’re not beautiful. But I still hate you, because you’re an obnoxious bitch.” She probably had to put something of a sock in it because I was eleven and she didn’t want me telling everyone at school that she said KLB was a total fucking cunt. I’d love to know what she’d say about Gwynnie Pizda, now that I’m thirty-two and Arpanet has long since become Teh Intarwebzisez. We’d probably be sitting at our shit day jobs, reading the Fishstick posts on D-Listed and emailing each other back and forth about how she needs to get off her upper-class asshole and see how real people kick it. And when that got boring (and it would, because there are only so many bullet holes you can put in the same fish in the same goddamn barrel), we’d nourish our inner aspects together by taking the piss out of Blythe’s Daughter’s magnum opus, GOOP. (Warning: Unless you’re in need of a lifesaving emetic or you’re a well-armed, well-practiced sadomasochist, don’t click that link.) Or maybe she’d yell at me for being a jealous, hateful bitch. Hard to say. I think that’s part of most mothers over a certain age’s repertoire – that whole “we try to like everyone/jealousy doesn’t become you” schtick. I hope this generation of mothers explains to its daughters that while it’s not okay to be a shit to those you dislike, it’s perfectly okay to dislike people, and while you may well be a jealous bitch, you don’t have to be ashamed of that, because it’s normal and there are certain shitweasels out there who provoke it, and you’re well within your rights to call them on their bullshit. It would save us all a lot of torment, not to mention money and time spent on therapy.

Special thanks to the lovely ladies who threw off their childhood conditioning for the time it took to smack-talk Gwyneth Paltrow, and extra-special (ed.) thanks to Skippy for hooking me up with D-Listed. Another warning: D-Listed is a world of awesome, but Michael K. is really, really foul. If you’re easily offended, best to give it a miss. Even if you’re not, read it in moderation. I feel like I’ve spent the past five days gorging on nothing but Russell Stover’s chocolate and Texas sheet cake. Guess I should make like The Piz’ and give myself a flaxseed enema. So to speak. I think I’ll just put myself on a strict diet of NPR for the next five days. Much less messy.