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One cat’s career path

[A lot has happened since I began this blog in August 2015. This is one of the early posts.]

Today, a little about me.

You probably know that Mouser is just my nickname. My real name, recognized by The Cat Fanciers’ Association, is Conyers Cat Harbor Hooligan. (Appropriate, really. I am a bit of a bomb-thrower.)

You have a birth certificate. I have official papers that look like an NCAA basketball tournament bracket.

My dad was CH Conyers Cat Tugboat Tommy. My mom was Kittikop I Luv Lucy of Conyers Cat. (These names are long and stupid because no two cats in the history of the association can have the same name.)

I live in the Atlanta area with my sister, Conyers Cat Portside Patty, also born late in 2008. She thought her name made her sound like a fat, tattooed waitress serving beer and shots to longshoremen.

So she became Muffie.

My career path was in flux early. For a while, I was being groomed to appear in cat shows, which are insufferable (surly cats and old ladies dragging around older men checking their watches every five minutes).

Luckily, I got too big, too friendly and too smart, so it was decided a place would be found where I could rule as a monarch.

Like Mel Brooks says, it’s good to be the king.

Muffie always wanted to go into showbiz. We approached Cartoon Network with a show called “It’s Muffie, Starring Muffie as Muffie.” They were out of development money in the kid side, so they sent us over to Adult Swim.

The pitch meeting never happened. Everybody there was stoned.

All hail real service dogs

[This originally ran March 2.]

I dislike dogs. Many are ill-mannered louts. They smell because they won’t groom themselves. We often field complaints here at the palace about stupid canines barking in the middle of the night when a twig cracks. Chihuahuas are famous for it. Maybe Mr. Trump’s wall will fix that.

Worse yet, dogs are suck-ups, almost as bad as the average junior executive in Corporate America.

OK, rant over. Today’s post is about dogs I respect, the ones who help humans with disabilities. They are called service dogs. But some humans are taking advantage of laws that permit service animals in places like restaurants. From The Associated Press:

“People who falsely pass off their pets as service animals – think of the woman in Wisconsin last year who claimed the right to bring her kangaroo into McDonald’s – have frustrated people with legitimate needs to such an extent that legislators in several states are considering laws to restore the animals’ credibility.”

Florida has already taken a hard line, passing a law that makes misrepresenting a service animal a crime that might carry jail time.

Service dogs are not to be confused with emotional support animals, which provide comfort but in most cases are not formally trained. Businesses are not required to accommodate support animals, which can be of any species, including cats. (Feel free to think of me as your spirit animal.)

In Maine, a task force recommended weeding out fake service dogs with a state-issued card and an official emblem to be attached to the dog’s vest. Much as I hate the idea of more government intervention in any area, the backers of this proposal have a point. Call the bill something catchy like the Keeping Kangaroos Out of McDonald’s Act.

R.I.P. Johnny Olson

[This ran last year on this day. Now it’s been 31 years…]

Thirty-one years ago today, one of the great voices in TV history was stilled. Johnny Olson died at the age of 75.

Of course, TV has pictures, so many never noticed Johnny O announcing a game show. But his voice was so distinctive that if you went to YouTube and heard it, you’d say, “Oh, I’ve heard him.”

Johnny O broke into the big time in 1944, running a game show called “Ladies Be Seated.” He also hosted shows on the Dumont Network, the remnants of which years later would became Fox. Eventually he found his niche as an announcer best remembered for working on “Match Game” and “The Price Is Right” for Goodson-Todman.

There were plenty of deeper voices around (“better pipes,” the radio guys used to say), but game show moguls Mark Goodson and Bill Todman gave Johnny O all the work he could handle because of his ability to warm up audiences. They called him their “audience ambassador,” and he was the best in the business.

Johnny O invented the catchphrases “Come on down” and “Get ready to match the stars.” In the latter stages of his career, he appeared on camera more frequently on “The Price Is Right,” as a sidekick to Bob Barker.

John, R.I.P. As for you, Barker, I haven’t forgotten about that spaying and neutering thing.

True “Match Game” fans know all about the day John had to fill in on the panel when Gary Burghoff was late for a taping. From YouTube, the intro to that show: http://tinyurl.com/popckq5

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