Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Before we begin, I'd like you to click on the YouTube video above and keep the music rolling as you read the rest of this post.

Done it? Ok, good. Then let’s begin.

You’ll recall that a few weeks ago, I posted a photo of my daughter asleep on the sofa with Fino--the bigger and sexier of my two cats.

Little did I suspect the outpouring of lust for that big hunka chinchilla-soft fur and bulging muscle-mass.

So overwhelming was the global infatuation with Fino, that I was strong-armed by the desperate masses to write a stand-alone post about him. Far be it from me to deprive the masses--desperate or otherwise.

Fino was born on September 8, 1997 in the Tonkatykes cattery in Lansing, Michigan.

His full name, as registered with The Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc., is “Tonkatykes Fino La Ina.”

He is the son of "Kipkat White Knight of Tonkatykes" (father) and "CH Tonkatykes Rising Star" (mother). Perhaps you saw his parents in the off-Broadway production of "Cats on a Hot Tin Roof."

He is a pure-bred Tonkinese; which is, more or less, a mixture of Siamese and Burmese.

Fino never graduated from college, but he is a long-standing member of the Local 3420 Pipefitters’ Union. He is also certified fishmonger, a third degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and former bass guitarist for the rock band, "Moby Grape."

Aside from his Michigan birthplace, Fino has lived in Oak Park, IL, Barcelona and (now) Castilla-LaMancha.

Healthwise, I can make two interesting disclosures about Fino.

First, a veterinarian once told me that he was unlikely to live beyond the next few months because of some unpronouncable virus that turned-up in his blood test. That was in 1997.

Second, no veterinarian has ever--EVER--heard his heartbeat. No...it’s not because his heartbeat is weak or irregular. Rather, it’s because his purring--which can only be compared with the growl of a Harley-Davidson exhaust pipe--drowns-out every other sound that’s filtered through the stethoscope.

Yes, Fino is one helluva happy cat. In fact...were it not for his meticulous use the litter box, I might question whether he were a cat at all. He's more like a dog.

He comes when called. He refuses to leave when asked. If you’re ever looking for Fino, you need only take a step and will surely find him underneath your foot--a habit that will eventually cost me either a lawsuit or a broken hip.

If you sit on my sofa, he will be on your lap within three seconds. He will be on your chest within four. His left ear will be in your left eye within six.

Make no mistake--this boy lives to make love. And if you should ever visit, then he *will* make love to YOU--whether you want it, or not.

That’s why I call him, “The Love Machine.”

And if you listen closely to his deep, buttery, baritone purrrrrr--you, like I, will come to believe that Fino is more than just a cat.

He is the reincarnation of Barry White.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


He's just insanely busy!

- Housework.
- Childcare.
- Preparations for Christmas.
- Quick business trip to Germany the other day.
- Christmas party at Acme Low Carb Tongue Depressor, Inc.'s Madrid office tomorrow.
- Flying over to Amsterdam to hang with an old friend this coming weekend.
- Yadda-Yoda-Yaaaaah!!!

I still owe you a post about "The Love Machine." I haven't forgotten. I'm just waiting for the right mix of time, energy, caffeine and guilt to power me through it.

Well...at the very least, I should have something interesting to post about Amsterdam when I return Sunday night. If not, then I'll make something up.

Gotta run, now. The llamas need to be fed and brushed.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I don't foresee myself having the time or the energy to write a new Christmas poem for this year; so I'll recycle last year's--which, I think, was a pretty good one.

You need to understand a few things about Spanish Christmas traditions to fully appreciate the poem. Specifically, that Christmas (and the arrival of Santa Claus/Father Christmas/Papa Noel) isn't the huge event for kids in Spain that it is elsewhere.

Rather, Spanish kids get the majority of their gifts from--and thus, save the vast, vast majority of their enthusiasm for--the Three Wise Men (aka, Los Reyes Magos). Three Wise Men's Day takes place on January 6 (i.e., the Epiphany).

And, so..with that background in mind, I give you your slightly recycled 2007 Christmas poem.


T’was the night before Christmas
And all throughout Spain
Towns were dry, scorched and dusty
Another year without rain.

Water bottles were placed
By the doorstep with care
Although nobody seems to know
Why thery’re put there.

The Spaniards were nestled
All snug in their beds
A day’s intake of brandy
Left dull pains in their heads.

I sat at my Apple
Filled with dread; feeling blue
Yet another damn holiday
With NOTHING to do.

When outside the house
There arose such a clatter
Could it be those damn goats?
Spreading more fecal matter?

I ran to the window
Threw open the pane
T’was a man dressed in red
With a bushy, white mane.

He said, “My name is Santa”
“And I’m ready to scream!”
He seemed to be suffering
From low self-esteem.

He said, “The children of Spain”
“Don’t give a hoot about me!”
“They only want those Three Wise Men”
“I feel as small as a flea.”

I said, “Calm down, my friend”
“There’s no reason to bleed”
“A little re-branding”
“Is all that you need.”

I put my hand on his shoulder
And gave it a pet
And said, “I’ll go fetch my razor”
“Drink some chilled Freixinet.”

With a wave of my hand
And some shave cream to match
I trimmed his beard down
To a funky soul patch.

Then we drove to Madrid
To meet a biker I knew
I said, “My friend here’s in need of”
“A “Keep on Truckin’” tatoo."

A half hour later
His bicep was glowing
He looked in the mirror
And his face seemed all-knowing.

With a confident swagger
He walked into a park
And seized children’s attention
With a loud, mighty bark.

He said, “Listen up children!”
“Or I’ll give you a punch!”
“The fat man’s in town!”
“He eats Wise Men for lunch!”

The children were frightened
Yet they thought he seemed cool
Then they sat on his knees
As he sat on a stool.

With eyes like milk-saucers
Kids looked up to his face
“I’ll bet you’ve dated Madonna”
“And even got to third base!”

When the children disbanded
He wore a Cheshire Cat-grin
“So it’s true that it’s marketing”
“That makes the world spin.”

Then he rose to his feet
Donned Armani sunglasses
He puffed out his chest
And turned his back to the masses.

With a newly-found vigor
He hopped into his sleigh
And said, “From this day forward”
“Spain does Christmas *my* way.”

“There’ll be no more Roscón!”
“No more Wise Men parades!”
“The *true* Christmas ‘El Gordo’ ”
“Stands before you in shades.”

As he flew out of sight
I swear I heard him squeal
“Merry Christmas to all!”
“And to Sal...a BOOK DEAL!”

[This poem is dedicated to my fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Bailey. No, no, no...he's not dead. But he is the original silly Christmas poet.]

Monday, December 04, 2006


It happened last December, and now it has happened again.

Call me a buzzkill, but I think that I'd rather eat mincemeat than personify it.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Reason 1 of 1.