A Review of a Post-Modern Painting of the Pear, An Object that Represents our Relationship with the Chaotic World

A Review of a Post-Modern Painting of the Pear, An Object that Represents our Relationship with the Chaotic World


I’ve decided to spread my wings and critique paintings made by humans.  A painting is where a human puts dabs of color on something called a “canvas,” white scratchy material stretched over slivers of wood.  They call this “art.”

I’m staring at a painting by Madam Butka that features pears.  It’s a wonderful piece and so skillfully executed that you can almost smell the fruit.  I find that the metaphorical resonance of the succulent pears verges on codifying how accessible her work is.  The pear is neither the object of objecthood, nor  the art-object.  It is rather the oblique object of her intentions.  She is an advocate of the Erotic Fruit aesthetic and the colorful representation of the sexy pears which threatens to penetrate caverns, explores the realms of chaos and heartbreak.

However, Madam Butka omitted one important element in her painting:  the feline element.  Her painting suffers from the lack of the puss theme which permeates our world, our lives, yea, even our senses and centers on an interest in the universality of our biological landscape.  She needs to catify her painting.   (Yes, “catify” is a word I invented.  If BillyBoy Shakespeare can invent words, then TeddyBoy Sinclair can also invent words.)  Perhaps just a cat paw that extends into the bowl of pears; or the tip of a tail that slaps the side of the bowl.

Dr. Brenda Butka has had a long career as a people veterinarian practicing as a pulmonary specialist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.  Not only is she an accomplished artist (although she needs to learn how to include the feline element in her paintings), but she is also a poet.  Her musings have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Annals of Internal Medicine, Threepenny Review, Florida Review, Slant, Cortland Review, and many other human poetry rags.

She currently lives somewhere in the Tennessee wilderness, whittling pencils to write poetry, and mixing pigments for her paintings.  She obtains her brushes from the feathers of a local chicken flock.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

I’ve decided to tackle and review an adult human book, rather than PawReview just human children’s books.  I think it’s very appropriate to review a book on Norse mythology as one of my cousins, the Norwegian Forest cat, is a descendant from a Norse god, named Balder–which is a little known fact.  But more about that later

A long time ago there were 9 worlds populated by gods and goddesses with a few giants thrown in for good measure.  Thor (god of Thunder), Odin (a pretty wise dude), and Loki (a god generally up to no good) played major roles.  The gods were always fighting among themselves (or fighting the giants), pulling tricks on each other and changing themselves into other animals; falcons, fish, wolves. And nothing was as it seemed.  Thor pretty much did as he wanted (a common personality trait in cats).  He had a powerful belt, named Megingjord which doubled his strength, and a hammer named Mjollnir.  Supposedly, this hammer could level mountains and would hit whatever object Thor threw it at, no matter how poor his aim.   I really like Thor, but it sounds like he’s exaggerating about this “magic” hammer.  Oh well, I guess gods can get away with this kind of thing.


Goddesses also populated these worlds.   My favorite, Freya,  loved cats and two of the them pulled her chariot.  I kind of think she was a party girl and had lots of boyfriends at the same time, if you catch my drift, a fact Mr. Gaiman glossed over.

While Mr. Gaiman wrote a very engaging book, I must fault him for one major lapse.He barely mentioned the role of cats in Norse mythology.  Perhaps, he was so busy concentrating on humans that he missed cats’ role.  Perhaps humans left more paper documentation (cats tend to tear up paper and chew it).   Which brings me to the god, Balder.  Balder was handsome, adored by everyone, and loved the sun.   Cats, of course, practically worship the sun.

But he starts to have bad dreams, nightmares about the world ending; of darkness, of being trapped.  And then one day, Balder dies, killed by a mistletoe dart.  (Humans use mistletoe as an excuse to kiss each other.)  Everyone is very sad, because Balder was such a great god.  The animals are sad, even the trees, and the metals weep over his death.     And then things get very grim.  The world starts to fall apart.  Winter never ends.  The sun and rainbows vanish.  Brother fights brother.  There are earthquakes and floods, and an evil wolf with flaming eyes and nostrils.  (I never did like wolves…members of the dog family.)

But, but, the sun comes back; the earth turns green again and Balder comes back from the underworld, alive and smiling in the sunlight.  Because Balder was actually a cat, a Norwegian Forest cat.  And as everyone knows, cats have nine lives. There you have it, Mr. Gaiman.  Balder rises from the dead, using up one of his nine lives,  and helps bring about the new world.

Mr. Gaiman would do well to heed the wise words of Mr. Pratchett that are posted under my photo at the top.   Perhaps future editions of this book will include changes that herald the role of cats in Norse mythology.


Madeline Finn and the Library Dog: by Lisa Papp

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog: by Lisa Papp


It seems some human children have trouble reading books out loud.   The words sometimes get stuck in their mouth like peanut butter.  Or the human kids stumble and make funny mistakes when they pronounce the words.  So they hate  reading out loud.  Cats, of course never make mistakes when they read out loud, but that’s another story.

In this book, a little girl just can’t seem to get this reading out loud thing down.  Then  one day a librarian makes a dynamite suggestion.  Why not read to a dog, a big fluffy white dog.  Well, by golly, who knew that a dog could help humans read.out loud?  At first, the little girl stumbles over the words, and gets letters mixed up, but Bonnie (that’s the name of the dog) just sits there and listens and never, never criticizes.  Sometimes Bonnie puts her big paw on the little girl’s lap to help her.  Well, guess what?  Next time the little girl reads in the classroom, she does just fine and the teacher gives her a gold star.

Well, I thought I would try out this method too.  You see I have a friend, a dog named Hope, who can’t read out loud either.  So I thought if humans can read to dogs and improve their reading skills, why can’t cats help improve a dog’s reading skills?  Well, let me try and be kind.  Dogs are not the brightest bulbs in the universe. Nope, not at all.   When I gave Hope the book about the Library Dog to read out loud, do you know what she did?  She thought the book was a hat and put it on her head!  I’ve got to remind myself that when it comes to improving dogs’ reading abilities, it is not an easy task!


The  iPrimio Perfect Scooper (Invented by Cats)

The iPrimio Perfect Scooper (Invented by Cats)

“Many humans buy their stuff from a river, called Amazon. I note that this scooper has five stars beside it. Have no idea what that means…perhaps some design motif.”

“I was so taken with the scoop that I just had to pose with it on my tummy.”

Finally, here is a nearly perfect poop scooper to clean out our litter boxes.  Although, I’ve been told that this scoop was designed by cat owners, there seems to have been a communication problem.  Cats actually designed it, but per usual, humans take all the credit for our efforts.

In fact, cats, designed such a great scooper that even we can use it.  That’s right.  As you can see from the above photo I’ve just finished scooping my own litter box and am quite satisfied with the results. I understand when humans use their own litter boxes and want to “move things along,” they often take reading materials with them.  They refer to this activity as “reading while on the can.”    So I attached the Sunday comics behind my litter box, so when I answer the “call of nature” I can read funny pictures that feature humans, which helps move things along.

We felines also came up with other great features.  The scooper is teflon coated, to prevent erosion and stinky poop slides off easily.  .    It’s solid cast aluminum so it won’t break under the weight of my “cat truffles.”  It’s got a short handle, which makes it easy to use in those enclosed litter boxes that look like small houses.  I was so taken with the scoop that I just had to pose with it on my tummy.

Many humans buy their stuff from a river, called Amazon.  I note that this scooper has five stars beside it.  Have no idea what that means…perhaps some design motif.

Click here to purchase the iPrimio Perfect Scooper (Invented by Cats)

My New Toy:  The Carrier Sling (which forces the human to carry me)

My New Toy: The Carrier Sling (which forces the human to carry me)

Darn it all….got this new toy that lets me cuddle and swing on my human’s shoulder while she walks down the path.   I have so much fun sitting back and surveying the world.    Yep, it’s the only way to go:  Have the human do all the work.  She choose a pretty blue color that looks great against my black and white fur.  Don’t you think I look quite handsome?   Since I also do PawReviews of human kid books, I can also tuck a book in the sling to take on my journey.  What a wonderful, lazy way to travel….a good book, a comfortable carrier, and a human to do all the work!

Bethesda Magazine (Almost Famous)

Bethesda Magazine (Almost Famous)

What a way to celebrate the New Year!  At last, the world at large is finally beginning to recognize my worth and wonderfulness.  I made it into a big-time magazine, Bethesda Magazine, in a column appropriately titled, “Almost Famous.”  Well better to be “almost famous,” rather than “not famous.”  The author, a Mr. Jeff Cirillo, mentioned that my caretaker posted “colorful shots” of myself on my very own website. He also mentioned how a few pets in the United States have “struck gold.”  Well I certainly haven’t “struck gold,” yet, but I think it’s only a matter of time.

I only have two beefs with the article.  First off, the author dared to also highlight the antics of two dogs.  In fact, he led the story with shenanigans of a dog named “Hoover.”  Well no one is perfect, so I figure I will have to educate Mr. Cirillo as to the superiority of cats over dogs. (“Cats rule, dogs drool.”)  And secondly, the author only interviewed  my human care taker and had the moxie to highlight her artistic pursuits, calling her a “Kensington-based artist.”  At least the author remarked how handsome I looked in two photos, one in which I’m  playing poker and in the other sipping a martini.  (Of course, he would have to mention that sometimes I’m a “challenge” when it comes to sitting for photos!)

I think next on the list in my path towards fame and fortune, is to have a star named after me (paging Neil Degrasse Tyson), or perhaps a stamp should be issued with my visage, or an island named after me, or yes, perhaps a pretty flower with my name attached.