Friday, December 29, 2006

Pictures in Review for 2006

2006 held some memorable moments for both my sister and I. The following ten photos are in no particular order. Please feel free to leave comments as to your favorites, or if you feel ambitious, tell me how you think they should be ordered!

1. Too cute to bathe myself

2. Chin thwap

3. Tolerance

4. All tangled up

5. Roundhouse kick to the face

6. Cover girl of Crazy Monthly

7. Postcards from around the world

8. Show me how the sumos eat.

9. You can't stop me.


10. Cranked on nip

Why not let your opinion be heard as well before you go? Take a moment to vote in our Reader Survey found in the sidebar! Results will be posted next week.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Thursday Thirteen, Edition 20



Thirteen Horrible, Terrible, and Absolutely Unnecessary Christmas Gifts


1. A one-year membership to e-Harmony given to you by your aunt

2. A one-year membership to Weight Watchers given to you by your mother-in-law

3. A racquetball racquet when you don't even play the sport

4. An American Express gift card: You get to pay for your own gift the first time you use it. Your $6.00: Don't leave home without it.

5. Dr. Scholl's Odor-eaters: Is there some sort of hidden message there?

6. The infamous toaster

7. His and her's matching bowling balls with coordinating bags

8. The Razorba back shaver

9. The Chia Pet and all new, Chia Alarm Clock

10. A homemade rubberband ball

11. Oops! Disposable Panties for that person on your list with incontinence

12. Spice World on DVD

13. Black Suede Soap-On-A-Rope

Write or Wrong Wednesday, Part 2

This is part two of a four-week series concerning writers who have found themselves to be challenged concerning their work but who have overcome such criticism to become acclaimed successes. If you missed part one, you can read it by clicking here.

In recent times, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, also known as Lewis Carroll, has received renewed interest in his life thanks to a provocative novel entitled In the Shadow of the Dreamchild by Karoline Leach. For the greater part of the twentieth century, many literary critics, psychologists, and historians believed Dodgson to have an unhealthy fascination with young girls as demonstrated by both his photography and his writings. Leach, however, dismissed this in her 1999 novel, stating that such theories concerning Dodgson are based on the morals and norms of the present and not those of the Victorian era in which the author had lived.

Dodgson's most famous writings were Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass. Most biographers and psychologists founded their theories concerning Dodgson thanks in part to both of these novels. Using Dodgson's profound talent for word play and symbolism against him, Sigmund Freud stated that the writings were in reference to the female journey through puberty. There are many critics, though, who would not agree with such analysis.

Those of us who live in the present will never know the full truth for the one we call Carroll. Did he use psychoactive drugs? Did he ever really consider the priesthood? Why did he suddenly stop speaking to the Liddell family shortly after the release of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland? Dodgson's genius, though, should be considered simply that: artistic and masterful. The mystery behind his craft is best left to history.

For more information on Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, please visit the following:

The Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Contrariwise: The association for new Lewis Carroll studies

Lewis Carroll's Logic Game

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Seasons greetings

Friday, December 22, 2006

Here's some Christmas cheer:

Dear Zeus and Isis,

I know that you might think I am a mean person, but I am flying out of town today to spend the holiday with my family. Do not think I love either of you less simply because I am not here. I will be thinking of you the entire time I am gone, especially when my family and I eat The Feast of The Seven Fishes. I will return soon, but remember: I have my eye on you even though I am gone!

Love you both,
Marina

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Write or Wrong Wednesday, Part 1

In light of the recent comments floating throughout the blogosphere pertaining to pet blogging, the creation of this mini-series occured. For the next four weeks on Wednesday, The Zeus Excuse will be presenting a brief, informative article on an author from the past who has withstood harsh literary criticism but has gained tremendous fame and respect. Consider this a reminder that good writing can happen concerning any subject, in any form, and at any time.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (J.R.R. Tolkien, if you prefer!) has been the source of much literary criticism throughout the years. Such condemnation has seemed to be oblivious to the millions of readers Tolkien has touched with his writings. His most prolific writing was The Lord of the Rings, but to those who would think of it as a trilogy, refrain from such heresy!

Coming off of the success of The Hobbit in 1937, Tolkien was asked to repeat the process with similar stories. In response, he had produced The Silmarillion, a five-part mixture of poetry and prose relating the stories of Middle Earth prior to The Hobbit. Unfortunately, when this work was shown to his publishers, George Allen and Unwin, it was turned down because the novel was viewed as not commercially viable.

Tolkien had been crushed by the news concerning The Silmarillion; however, he agreed to try again to craft a sequel to The Hobbit. As he wrote, Tolkien held great concern for The Lord of the Rings. He often penned a letter to his publishers that displayed his personal critique for his writing and his internal debate as to whether or not his style would be accepted (which included invented names, invented languages, and invented writing systems). He continued nonetheless, keeping in constant contact with Allen and Unwin.

The first edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring had 3,000 copies released in July, 1954 in Britain. Houghton Mifflin in the United States had purchased the rights to print the American copy, and several months after the initial release in Britain, published 1,500 copies. When the second installment, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, was published in 1954, there had been 3,250 copies printed for Britain and only 1,000 in America. By the time The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was prepared for print in 1955, more than 7,000 copies were prepared by Allen and Unwin while in America, 5,000 copies were bound.

Amazingly, the novels were met by equal love and disgust. On one hand, they developed a huge cult following where, on occasion, people would secretly clamber into the subways and spraypaint "Frodo Lives!" along the dilapidated brick. The phone calls and letters Tolkien received were numerous and overwhelming, so much so that he and his wife were forced to remove their phone number from public listings and move. On the other side of the proverbial coin, critics deemed his work to be too eclectic and hard to follow. Others felt that his books were encouraging people to deny progress and to fantasize about a world long gone. Regardless of how one feels about Tolkien's work, it is undeniable the influence he has had on our imaginations, our spirit, and our culture.

For more information concerning J.R.R. Tolkien, please visit:

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biographical Sketch

Tolkien.co.uk

A listing of books and pamphlets concerning Tolkien

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Prank of a lifetime

Some of you readers might know that I can be a bit of a prankster when I want to be. Who can forget the time when I lured Blackie into the bathroom so he could give the human pet a nice shower surprise? It takes skill to actually get someone to follow you around the house with such blindness that he never sees it coming. Then, of course, there was the time when I managed to get Blackie drunk. That poor kitty still begs and pleads for more carbonated kitty water. Now, it's nightly entertainment to watch him open up the refrigerator and stumble out with a few bottles.

However, the best prank I have ever done has nothing to do with my friend, Blackie. It was with my sister, Isis. Now before you get upset, reader, please understand: My sister is too easy a target to let alone. If you were here in this house, you would probably be drawn to her gullible nature like bees to honey.

It all started as we gathered in the living room to watch television one evening. The human pet was laying on the couch, Isis was snuggled on the loveseat, and I was perched high on the back of the same couch as my sister. We were observing commercials when suddenly, flashing lights and bright wording zoomed onto the screen. I glanced over to the human pet to see if she knew what it all meant, and she reached for the remote, muttering, "Stupid Lotto Texas."

As the human pet felt around the table and underneath the couch for the remote, I watched as two homo sapiens stood behind a machine filled with bouncing, white balls. One of the humans excitedly said, "Tonight's drawing is for over thirteen million dollars. Let's see what lucky numbers are going to bring this jackpot to life!" The other human reached into the machine and pulled out a ball while the speaker announced what number was on it. They continued in this fashion five more times, and at the end, both humans stated that they "hoped you were a winner!"

After the lottery ended, I let out an intrigued purr as I laid on the couch. The wheels in my mind began turning as a plan was being concocted. I wonder...no, it's almost too easy...I couldn't...oh, what the hell...

A week later as the lotto was about to come on, I casually padded back into the bedroom and with a soft touch, turned on the television. I jumped off of the bed to see if either of my adversaries had noticed the noise, but the human pet and Isis both remained in the living room, unaware of my movements. Turning my attention back to the television, I mimicked the scratchings of the human pet and brought up the menu for the TiVo.

"Would you like to record this showing?"

"Oh yes. Very much so."

Day two of my operation was harder than the first. I entered into the computer room to create the final piece in my puzzle and slid into the chair. I opened up Microsoft Paint, created the proper size box, harnessed the power of the text box, and added a bit of coloring to the side. I was careful to place the numbers exactly in the correct order. It was perfect! I hit print and snatched my masterpiece. Before anyone could spot me, I ran into the bedroom and hid it under the bed.

It was hard to keep my cool until ten o'clock that night, but somehow, I managed. As the time drew closer, I casually padded my way up to Isis who was curling up in her pet bed. "Psst! Psst! Psst!"

Isis' eyes blinked several times, and she rubbed at her nose. "What is your problem?! Stop spitting on me!"

"I need you to come to the bedroom with me. It's an emergency!"

"You know, Mama told me about how boys use these stupid lines on you to get you into bed, and guess what, Zeus? I'm not falling for it!"

I hung my head and sighed. Isis was a special kind of stupid which required a special kind of tactic. "Look: I just need you to come back there for one moment. I'm having problems getting one of our toy mice from under the bed, and you're smaller than me. Would you be able to get it for me please?"

Isis went into a deep, long stretch and said, "I suppose, but you're going to owe me." I followed her back into the bedroom with a smirk.

As Isis looked under the bed for the nonexistent mouse, I leapt onto the covers and flipped through the various recordings until I found the one of the lottery. I let it play as I tucked the falsified lottery ticket nonchalantly into the sheets. I then sat back on my haunches, waiting patiently.

"I can't find it. Are you sure you lost it down here?"

Just then, the loud cacophony accompanied by the flashing lights began. It was time.

"Isis..."

"Did you hear me? I said I can't find it."

"I think you better get back up here."

"What is your problem, chunky butt?! You ask me to come in here, and then you tell me that -"

"Isis, I really mean it! Get up here now!"

Isis crawled out from under the bed and jumped on top of the covers. The numbers began streaming across the screen, and I left my jaw wide open in disbelief. Isis looked at the television with a tilt of her head and then turned her gaze on me.

"What? It's just the lottery," she said.

"Look!"

I pointed at the card tucked away in the sheets. As Isis flicked it out from under its confines with her claws, I paused the recording, leaving the numbers lined up across the screen. Isis read the numbers and then looked at the screen. Her eyes grew large, and once again, she checked each number and confirmed it with the screen.

"HOLY MOTHER OF CATFISH! WE WON! WE WON!"

She snatched the ticket in her teeth and leapt off of the bed, running as fast as she could into the computer room. I flipped onto my back, rolling with laughter. I didn't need to be in that room to hear what happened next.

"Isis, where did you find this?"

Isis apparently tried to tell the human pet the whole story, but unfortunately for her, all the human pet heard was meow, meow, meow!

"Isis, this isn't funny. It's a fake lotto ticket done with Microsoft Paint. Go play with Zeus or something."

As I lay on the bed with tears of laughter streaming down my face, Isis came back into the room. She stood in the doorway with an evil glare in her eye as she said, "I want you to know I hate you. I really, honestly, truly hate you." She turned and walked away with her tail straight in the air, attempting to recover some sense of her lost dignity.

All I could do was laugh harder.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Secret Paws

Christmas must have come early for me! What could be inside?

Well, would you look at that? My very own stocking! I especially like the fact that it shows my correct standing in The House.


A proper Texan feline should never be seen without his bandana. Thank you, Conner Cloud, for the great Secret Paw gift!

Wait a minute. You got a gift too, Isis?

Of course, I got a gift, chunky butt! It's not all about you!


This is one nice blanket. Mind if I lay here with you?

Yes, I mind! You never share your toys with me so why should I share with you?

Prepare to feel my frustrations, Octopus!

Mmm...tasty! Thank you, Ratsies of Poiland, for the fabulous Secret Paw gifts!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Updates just for you

Today was filled with lots of hard work, and it is all for you, dear reader! If you are new to the blog, or you just want to catch up on things that you have missed, please check out any one of the three new reference areas found in the Links section:

  • Bona Fide Classics: This section will point you to some of the more interesting posts found within The Zeus Excuse archives.


  • Common Routines: This section features regular articles such as my infamous interviews, my tips on wooing females, and of course, my Thursday Thirteens.


  • The Amazing Zeus Series: If you ever wanted to read the entire story, all of the articles are ordered from beginning to end for your viewing pleasure.


  • Reveal Your Blog Crush 2006

    As I was browsing the internet late this evening, I came across a notice thanks to my new friend, Bone. Apparently, December 15 was marked the day to come out and proclaim to one and all your blog crush. I perused the definition, read the rules, and I believe I have three big blog crushes:

    1. Memoirs of a Feline Empress in Exile: If you haven't read the fabulous life of Kukka-Maria, you just don't know what you're missing. She's the reason I wake up from my seven naps a day, the reason the kibble tastes so delightful, the reason I have that special spring in my step as I enter my litterbox. She's simply divine.

    2. The Ayatollah's Teachings: Bow down and worship the pug! Ayatollah Mugsy and his Armed Revolutionary Forces (ARF) bring fresh, new insight into the mysterious and somewhat misunderstood religious sect known as Pug Life Ministries. Be sure to leave some doggie biscuits in the collection baskets!

    3. For All The World To See: You know you love a blog when you attempt to visit it incessantly even though your browser crashes every time you open it up. Though I have been having problems lately visiting my friend, Colleen, that doesn't stop the fact that she is a force in creativity and ingenuity. Definitely check her out when you have a moment!

    Now that I have revealed my blog crushes, please check any of the following that apply:

    ___ I like you too, Zeus

    ___ I don't like you, Zeus

    ___ Yes, we can go steady

    ___ No, we cannot go steady

    ___ BFF!

    Friday, December 15, 2006

    Survival letter to Bear

    Dear Bear,

    I have been watching your show, Man vs. Wild, for the past five weeks. At first, I wasn't sure whether or not you were a real "survivor". After all, it's quite clear there are people with you as you traipse about the hellish location of the day, but I haven't seen these mystery people joyously jump into a frozen lake just to show others how to properly get out, ravenously dig a snow cave into the glistening face of a mountain, or eagerly attempt to ride a wild horse while traveling the Sierras.

    I've come to the conclusion that you don't get a lot of help from those camera technicians, and that even if they did know how to save you from some diabolical predicament, they'd probably record your death for an upcoming show.

    If you have a moment, I have two questions.

    One: Why is your name Bear? Is there some sort of funny story to this? You have no idea how long I was confused every time I watched. It's quite disorienting to see a man named Bear; your world flips topsy-turvy.

    Two: I failed horribly at your Life or Death Survival Game. Who knew a wooden pole could perform so many functions, but I digress... Because of my disappointing performance on this test of skill, I was hoping you might show me in person how to survive out in the wild. Would it be possible for me to join you on your next expedition so that I might learn first-hand from the master?

    I hope to hear from you soon, and I will be watching the Discovery Channel tonight at 9 pm Eastern to see your latest adventure!

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Thursday Thirteen, Edition 18




    With my human pet accompanying me, I toured the town to find the most interesting selection of Christmas lights for my Thursday Thirteen. It is up to you, dear reader, to select one as the best and one as the worst. Make sure to post as such in the comments! Without further adieu, I bring you:

    Zeus' Thirteen Lights of Christmas

    1. Thoughtful, sensible, and at times, classy:

    2. Mixing your whites and your colors:

    3. How many items can fit on your front lawn:

    4. Clearly, a lot according to House #4:

    5. Not sure what the color scheme is here:

    6. Christmas cows or Christmas pigs? You decide:

    7. Welcome to Candy Land:

    8. Nascar Santa:

    9. Proof that Santa does land on your roof:

    10. Simple and clean:

    11. Sometimes, Santa doesn't use a sleigh. He uses a plane:

    12. A vast array of color for the eye:

    13. This Christmas tree is over 40 feet tall: