Monday, December 31, 2012


In 2013 I will try to pay attention.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Midnight Hellcat

I met her at the Replay Lounge
Attracted by a growling sound
Blue-back hair and silver rings
I wondered what the morning brings

Cos she's the midnight hellcat
Peering through the gloom with perspex eyes
Swishy when she wants to be
Darkness is her cloak and her disguise

She cracked a smile, she broke my spine
Then left me in the firing line
Mind and body scream in pain
When can we do that again?

Cos she's the midnight hellcat
Creeping up the streets and down the lanes
She was my favorite birthday present
Gift-wrapped in leather and chains

She's the midnight hellcat
Peering through the gloom with perspex eyes
Swishy when she wants to be
Darkness is her cloak and her disguise

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dear State Farm II

Dear Mark:

I feel flattered that so many State Farm agents in Vegas are soliciting my business. Please see the appended e-mail to your colleague Jeff for a brief summary of why the odds of me using State Farm as an insurer are slightly worse than State Farm wishing Fidel Castro a happy birthday.

Best regards ~ Kat

Dear Cake Poker

Hello Kat, 
Thank you for your email. 
Due to the current delays we are experiencing with cashouts, I'm afraid we cannot confirm a timeframe as we could not guarantee a timeframe and we do not wish to mislead you. We are hoping you won't be waiting much longer and we will email you as soon as the funds have been sent. I'm very sorry for the inconvenience caused.
Please let us know if we can be of further assistance

Kind Regards,

CakePoker Support


Dear CakePoker Support:

Concerning your previous e-mail and the continued "pending" status of my withdrawal... I appreciate your desire "not to mislead" me, but given the ridiculous amount of time this withdrawal is taking to process I'd prefer you to give me a timeframe even if it is a complete guess. If this turns out to mislead me at least I will have a fleeting period of hope that I might actually see these funds, whereas the current situation offers no hope whatsoever.

Thanks ~ Kat

Dear State Farm

Hi Jeff:

I'd be most grateful if you'd take me off your mailing list. I have used State Farm in the past for my insurance needs, but would never consider doing so again. The fact that State Farm uses its profits to support the social-engineering neo-fascists at ALEC is bad enough, but my previous experience with State Farm in Kansas was so abysmal that my opinion of the company couldn't be lower. Of course it's quite possible that your own office runs smoothly, since basing anything on what happens in Kansas is probably unfair. I swear some of the people working in the Lawrence office had webbed feet. But your national TV commercials are horrible too, so... you know... let's save time and paper.

Best regards ~ Kat

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Two Adoptable Black Cats

A couple of months ago I described my adoption of Louis from Foreclosed Upon Pets, Inc. I am delighted to report that his early transformation from a frightened figure huddled under my bed to The King of the Apartment has continued. He now prefers to sleep curled up by my pillow where he also washes my hands in between scritches.

The process has given me a much deeper appreciation of the difficulties in adopting neglected and abused cats, but more importantly it has shown me how much such an animal can change and adapt, particularly when placed in the right environment and treated with love and patience. Most striking of all is the huge reward adopting such a cat can bring.

I'd like you to also enjoy the reward. And I'm giving you two distinct options.

Buddy is a neutered male cat, around 4-5 years old, with a black medium-long coat and an endearing raspy voice. He was found wandering the Vegas streets, apparently abandoned. He is a territorial alpha male and for this reason needs to be an only pet in a peaceful environment without children. He enjoys human attention, including petting and brushing, but currently does not like being picked up. This may be because he is in a shelter where the sound of other cats and dogs overstimulates him. Indeed his discomfort around other animals means that rapid adoption is highly desirable. His vaccinations will be updated prior to adoption. If you'd like to meet Buddy please call 702-272-0010 or e-mail:

Kenny was abandoned and subsequently trapped and was about to be sent to the pound when a neighbor intervened. Kenny is a large neutered male, long-haired Tuxedo, about 5-6 years old and current on vaccinations. He doesn't seem that impressed with human beings at the moment, but my experiences with Louis and those of countless other adopters suggests all he needs is love, patience, and a secure environment. He does enjoy the company of other cats, and would thus make a wonderful addition to a home already blessed with one or two feline members. If you feel you could provide such a home, please call or text his foster mom at 702-205-1234 or e-mail

If you do choose to meet either cat your first reaction may be that they are cautious, stand-offish, or just plain frightened. Louis was petrified when he arrived at my apartment, and I confess there were times during the first few days when I wondered if I was going to find a way to get him past his fear. I should have trusted that most unique of all cat qualities: they love being loved. And whatever horrors they may have experienced at the hands of humans they somehow retain the ability to reconnect with those who deserve their affection.

And then they stop being scared and alone.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tales From The Riviera Bank: The Ball

First hot day and tempers frayed in the Riviera poker room. Steve is breaking up with one of his girlfriends via text and seems by far the happiest at the table. I have just been reprimanded by the cocktail waitress for ordering my bottle of water too slowly and the new guy directly to my left is muttering to himself darkly. There is an unnerving undercurrent to this guy. Tension and displeasure radiate from him like the insistent heat from glowing hibachi coals. He is overweight, balding, a less attractive and possibly more violent version of Tony Soprano. Looking up from the table he glares at the pickets.

The poker room is a shallow flight of steps from the Las Vegas Boulevard doors, outside of which pickets with placards march at a commendable clip in the 108F temperatures. 

Senior VP Noah Acres wanders out and is met with cries of "shirt, shirt, shirt..." (isn't "suit" more standard?) and the assertion that something is unfair. Brief pangs of guilt since I am instinctively pro-union. Maybe if I played blackjack for a bit and counted cards it'd be showing solidarity with the strikers?

Then The Ball appears.

It is hard for The Ball to look anything other than cheerful thanks to the beautifully stylized fifties grin stretched from arm to arm, and on its arrival even the gloomiest of grinders at the table briefly look less miserable. The Ball ambles around the blackjack pit waving at the punters, then pulls up short at the bottom of the steps to the main doors, apparently transfixed by the striking casino employees.

It is about this time that the gentleman to my left slams his fist onto the felt. I had lost track of the hand, being more interested in The Ball, but based on the board it seems Tony Soprano just got outdrawn. As the cards for the next hand fly around the table a vein starts to pound in his neck. Everyone has become very quiet. I can hear his dental enamel delaminate and think of Scrabble. The future victim of a massive coronary folds flamboyantly out of turn and storms off.

I glance at Steve who is watching the receding broad back of the unhappy customer. Then he leans over the table to read his name from the Bravo system.

"Jeremy!? He can't be a Jeremy. Maybe a Butch."

"Or a Vinny," I suggest.

"Yeah, but not a Jeremy," says Steve. "'Raging Jeremy?' It just won't do."

"He seems to have issues."

As does The Ball.

It's not entirely clear how The Ball got outside because the doors are not wide and The Ball is, but get outside it did. And according to a player to my right who had responsibility for watching The Ball rather than Raging Jeremy, it seems The Ball said something out-of-line to the strikers. And this is why three or four of them are now taking shots at The Ball with their placards.

The Ball doesn't care! The Ball is bad ass! The Ball wanders outside in 108F ambient (135F track?) and starts opining on industrial relations with Local 495. And sticks and stones are having no affect on The Ball thanks to the considerable padding.

Then even from my vantage point directly above a pair of fives I notice that The Ball has realized its own weakness. And as the anti-Ball contingent concentrate their attack on its north side, it has dawned on The Ball that it is a 4.3 mile roll down Las Vegas Boulevard to the Luxor where the ground finally levels out.

"On you Kat!"

I apologize, realize the open-raise from Clem-the-Rock ranges him [QQ+, AKs, AKo?] on a loose day and that he's short-stacking. I pitch my fives.

"Where's The Ball?" I say, looking up and only seeing strikers marching with their placards.

"Just passing Peppermill," says Steve as he folds and picks up his phone.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Foreclosed Upon Pets, Inc. (FUPI)

Few cities were harder hit by the recession than my recently-adopted home of Las Vegas. The combination of an economy dependent on the disposable income of others and a housing market that went from boom to free-fall led to high rates of unemployment and home foreclosures. The resulting human suffering has been well documented, but perhaps less appreciated is the terrible toll the recession took on pets.

Many pet owners suddenly found themselves with insufficient means to provide for their pets, or were forced to move into rental housing where pets were not allowed. The responsible owners took their pets to shelters; others simply abandoned their pets or left them without food in their vacated homes.

Foreclosed Upon Pets, Inc. (FUPI) was formed to specifically address the rapid increase in abandoned and otherwise homeless pets. The FUPI website explains:

Foreclosed Upon Pets, Inc (FUPI) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the rescue of domesticated animals that have been abused and/or abandoned by their owners as a result of economic hardship, including home foreclosure, loss of employment, insufficient income, or death and illness.

FUPI is staffed by volunteers who work incredibly hard to look after the cats and dogs at the FUPI shelter and to find both short-term fostering and long-term adoption for the pets that come into their care. While donations to fund their operations are always welcome (and tax deductible), and volunteers are also sought, the most important help anyone can give FUPI is to help find forever homes for the animals.

FUPI has regular sessions at Petsmart where you can meet some of their pets. Dates and times are listed on their website or you can e-mail FUPI at

Alternatively you can go to their website for currently available cats and dogs. Their adoptable pets are also listed through the national Petfinder service. FUPI also has a page at Facebook.

Many of the animals FUPI adopts out have had difficult pasts; that is usually why they are at FUPI in the first place. These difficulties range from the trauma of losing their homes and families to neglect and abuse. As a result, adopting these animals can involve a little more work than picking up a kitten or puppy at the local pet store.

The extra work is worth it. The young man below is Looey (a.k.a. Ludo Louis IX). The details of his story are not known, but he was found abandoned and in pretty poor physical shape. He is mostly Maine Coon and his magnificent coat had become seriously matted. In addition to his painful physical condition, his response to humans made it clear he had suffered considerable trauma, somewhere on the spectrum from neglect to actual abuse.

Such animals do not show well to potential adopters and Looey was in temporary foster care for over a year. His foster Mom did a magnificent job of helping heal his psyche, but he was extremely frightened of unknown people.

For the first four or five days after joining my household, Looey lived under my bed. Concerned that he would dehydrate I fed him bits of wet food on a fork. As he began to trust me he ventured a few feet out from the bed and accepted his meals from a bowl.

He now runs my apartment. In fact based on the above picture it seems his only adversary is his shadow, and he's winning that battle.

Most of you reading this will not currently have room for a new pet. However, many of you know someone whose life would be enriched through adopting a pet from FUPI. The benefits of a forever home to the animal are beyond measure.

Please share this post with anyone you know in the Las Vegas area, and if you live in other parts of the country or the world, please consider adopting a pet or supporting shelters like FUPI in whatever way you can.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


It's been so long since I posted the tools have changed.

This is what the never-ending sale of a house will do to you. And it's still not sold, so I can't stop, but...

If you've missed my observations on poker, most can be found at Blind Straddle except one issue where there's something weird with the indexing and I'd hate you to miss the cross-dressing article.

I've also started writing about music again, except... seriously, the house sale has skewered this too, but if you want to know about the greatest band Vermont has to offer, my piece about Persian Claws at The Musician Network is a must read.

And what about Feline 9ine?

I thought I'd take a hint from my own blog title and devote this site to cats.

Stay tuned.