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My Cat Was A Brat (And I Can't Think Of Anything Better Than That)*
  *"Kobe" Cobalt Blue, my awesome 19-year-old Russian Blue, passed away just 3 days after the Bryant tragedy

Never during brunch,
Did I mind sharing a perfect melon
That he proved was ripe via yowlin' and smellin'.

Never when dressing
Did I discourage his helping with laces
Despite his whiskers getting in some really tight places.

Never at our morning love seat share
Did I ever say a cross-word to that cat...
Just because that was where he usually sat.

Never while riding me down the stairs
Did I begrudge claw holes in my shirt shoulder,
Even when grip outworked balance as he got older.

Never while watching TV
Did I object to waking the dog from her nap
When all that was wanting was his fair share of the lap.

Never did I see the glass half empty
While he was lapping at low water
From a whisker-wide sixteen-ounce tumbler.

Never did I forget (in his later years)
To pat that old brat on the head
Before saying goodnight and going to bed.

Never will I not miss him
Or not see him in my mind's eye
Sitting right there...or off in that kitty condo in the sky.

At 12, I was a Warriors fan, in the Rick-Barry-on-the-radio days, but at 21 I became a die hard Lakers fan.  It wasn't just Magic, Kareem, Worthy and Coop that stole me away, but the dynamic game calls of "Old Golden Throat", Chick Hearn, whose "jersey" is hanging at the Staples Center next to those of other Laker greats.  Chick was no nonsense and announced 3,338 games in a row.  When the games became more available on television we turned down the audio and "watched" on the radio until the network wised up and had "Chicky Baby" simulcast.  Chick routinely invented colorful descriptions of the game action (some have been added to the English lexicon) - so here's a sample: no look pass, dribble drive, slam dunk, finger roll, stutter step, give and go, matador defense, throws up a brick, ticky-tack foul, charity stripe, triple double, frozen rope, put the baby to bed, pressure cooker, colder than a delicatessen turkey, hangs in the air, Kamakaze steal, sent back airmail special, didn't draw iron, high archer, leaping leaner, nailed to the floor, that was so obvious you could call it with Braille, swallows the whistle, mascara call, bunny hop in the pea patch, picked his pocket, faked him into the popcorn machine (he's covered in butter), faked him out of his socks, camping in the lane, so many turnovers they could start a bakery, using the rim as an ally, yo-yo-ing up and down, sky hook, baby hook, swing left shoot right (and vice verse), they couldn't beat the sisters of the poor, he couldn't shoot a pea into the ocean if he was standing in a boat, the eggs are coolin' and the jello's jigglin' (it's in the refrigerator), 30 foot lay-up (re. Jamaal "The Silk" Wilkes), somebody must have left a door open (therefore the air ball), that ball's going to come down wet (a la the Purvis Short very high arching shot), King Kong on a ladder couldn't have reached that pass, he was inside his jersey on that defense, the coach is pounding the Wrigley's, attacking 47 feet of this 50 by 94 chunk of wood, caught with his hand in the cookie jar (reaching foul), the mustard's off the hotdog, beating a tattoo down the court, back and forth like a windshield wiper (Hakeem Olajuwon setting up a shot), no harm - no foul - no blood - no ambulance, the boo-birds are out tonight, 17,505 referees here tonight but only three of them are getting paid, if the Lakers lose I'll buy everybody a hotdog (he rarely had to shell out), you're having Chicken Stew (as in Chick and Stu Lance) tonight, and...if there's really 17,505 here tonight, a lot of them are dressed like seats.  Thank you, Marge, for sharing your marvelous Mr. Hearn with us.

Bye Bye Birdie (image of taxidermied cat and bird from Eva & Franco Mattes art works)

Inca was the last Carolina parakeet
Who became a museum display for the elite
Until she was poorly stowed and the specie loss became complete.
These too brave confederates went extinct
Because shotguns pushed them past the brink
When they kept returning to the site of the plink.

The Koa Finch went missing
Thanks to bird collecting
And the lure of imitative whistling.
The great ornithologist Rothschild
Was key to Koas going from the wild
Along with eight other Hawaiian avian species he compiled.

Tibbles the cat hunted down many tens
Of flightless Stephens Island wrens
For lighthouse master Lyall's collections.
Some others were bottled, sold and sent
To collectors like Rothschild for exhibition.
And soon after, Tibbles' kittens completed the extinction.

Also extinguished by man were the 12-feet tall Moa,
The Great (awkward) Awk and the funny looking Dodo.
The Maoris hunted the Moa and burned their habitat to farm,
Long before European seamen deemed dining on Dodos would do no great harm.
The flightless Great Awk fished waters off of St. Kilda, the Faroes, Iceland and Funk
Until down collectors plucked every flippered one...and stomped on their last egg like it was junk.

And when it comes to wings, Wisconsin's billion Passenger Pigeons could blot out the sun
Where worried farmers vied with burning sulfur, whiskey-soaked grain and guns.
Communal roosting and gregariousness made these pigeons sitting ducks,
And in one shot contest the victor downed 30,000 of them to win a few bucks.
The last free bird, Buttons, was mounted by the Pike County, Ohio, sheriff's wife;
With Martha, the last prisoner pigeon, passing away at the Cincinnati zoo in addled strife.
That's Dough Doh

"I kneed some dough" said the sour baker to his apprentice.
"Sorry, but it hasn't arisen" wafted out with the Franciscan fog
"Go yeast young man" followed in a Dutch crunch crusty manner.
"Bagguette?  Or would you prefer a box?" countered the cashier.
"Potato bread is rubles, nostrovia!" came a Russian toast in a wry tone.
And when the cobbler next door asked about pricing he was told it's a pumpernickel.
The bakery CPA sighed "how can I balance these sheets when their so full of bagels?"
The baker asks the dieter "which bread?" and the reply, of course, is "I'll have naan."
When asked for the rent money, the baker replied "sorry, I'm all out of flatbread."
"Should I get a pack of pilot bread, a box of crackers, or a dozen matzo to you?"
Asked why the soda bread was so plain, the baker replied "there's no raisin in it."
To open the oven door, the seedy assistant just intones "open sesame".
An Italian baker's aide asked if he should get to work and heard "it's what ciabata do."
Wanting to add a new twist, the baker/author brioched a new plot.
"How long will it take for the dough to rise?"..."It'll take all leavening long."
Seeing the completely covered board, the assistant asked "where next?" and the head
  pastry chef replied "we'll bridge that croissant when we come to it."
A Brewski Makes For A Tipsy Tankard

The disciple reached as far back into the frig as he could go to get older Budweiser.
Attacked by paparazzi drones, the east coast beer enthusiast sent two Sam Adams.
The thirsty sibling of big bottom folk might go looking for a Heineken.
A dry mouthed old film buff sometimes yells for a Stella.
Asked "friend or foe?", the Rockies fan replied "I'm a friend of Coors".
"Will lager heal me?" is sure to return "sure, for whatever don't ale ya."
"You ask me what a anticommunist likes to drink?  And I say their into Killian's Red."
The IPA aesthete, asked what he liked about the microbrewery, replied "I'm just hoppy to be here."

Baby, I count ten Malones
Until good words alone
Suit my reply...
To your "who am I?"
And this hon,
I've come to find,
Is what comes to mind:
"You are the one...
That makes me fly."
                                                                               [This one is for my wife, Judi Pivetti, the love of my life]
Drinkin' with Jack


What separates man from the beasts
Is making bread and beer with yeasts,
And hardening apple pressings to cider
For barreling, whence it gets drier.
Then we iceth it and sieve it as applejack.
And, Jack, that's still where it's at;
Not fermenting in some industrial vat
With hints of berries and pears from Monserrat.
'Cause around here we'll go on swillin' our fill
From Johnny Appleseed's natural still.

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"Rebounding from a tough quarter, the front court is hoppin' around the kangaroo court, but it won't win the game if the hotdogs come with a side of slaw."
- Solomon Tall (03/12/2020)

more Tall-isms here

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