A year passed and they were still at it. Tundra and Mushroom fought on practically a daily basis. But now Tundra was just as capable a fighter as Mushroom. Mushroom had taught him everything he knew. This was about the time that we began to call Tundra the “White Tornado.” I vaguely remembered a TV commercial from my childhood about a floor cleaner that performed so sublimely that its duties were personified by a cartoon tornado. “Ajax cleans like a White Tornado!”

Tundra and Mushroom’s fights remained brutal and blood was drawn more than a few times, but certain aspects of them had taken on a comical nature. Their rooftop bouts, for example, April and I found especially funny. I personally witnessed this selection from their violent repertoire half a dozen times, if not more. Fortunately for them, our roof was too high to climb onto. But the neighboring single story roofs were all fair game.

It always started innocently enough, with one of the two cats napping on a neighbor’s roof. The cat on the ground would soon spot his napping prey, and then he’d climb onto the roof where a confrontation would take place, and then the fight would be on. What we found so entertaining about these fights was not their beginnings or their middles, which had many variations, but the way they always, without fail, ended, with both cats falling from the roof they had been fighting upon. They’d wrestle across the roof like a pair of Hollywood stuntmen on top of a movie set saloon. They’d grapple and claw until they inevitably rolled over the eaves and plunged to the grass below.

The third time this happened in front of me, I wondered if this had all been part of Mushroom’s master plan. Maybe the previous year, Mushroom had sensed something in Tundra that Tundra himself had been unable to recognize: a spark, a distant flame, something that Mushroom could develop and ultimately use to mold Tundra into the perfect sparring partner. And perhaps it even went beyond that. Perhaps Mushroom saw “himself” in Tundra and clearly understood that Tundra possessed a gnawing hunger deep down inside of him, a hunger that could never be satisfied with pop culture novelty catnip toys or overpriced gourmet pet treats. Maybe Mushroom’s sixth sense told him that Tundra would never be truly happy until he was force-fed a steady diet of violence.

Tundra and Mushroom resumed their fighting positions after falling from Josie and Ron’s roof, bouncing off the branches of a tree, and then landing in our yard. And, as I watched from the front door with interest, they, while growling threats, began to circle each other like Roman gladiators in the Coliseum. It then occurred to me that what they shared wasn’t hate—it was admiration, respect, and perhaps even love. A strange, unhealthy love, certainly, but love nonetheless. Their ambiguous relationship had evolved over the past year into a symbiotic one. And as Tundra leaped on Mushroom and bit his throat and clawed his shoulders, I knew they needed each other as surely as the flower needs the bee.

Comments

SDaniels March 3, 2010 @ 2:12 p.m.

"began to circle each other like Roman gladiators in the Coliseum. It then occurred to me that what they shared wasn’t hate—it was admiration, respect, and perhaps even love. A strange, unhealthy love, certainly, but love nonetheless."

So, basically you opted to hyper-anthropomorphize their feelings and personalities in order to justify your getting off on watching animals injure each other.

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PistolPete March 3, 2010 @ 2:35 p.m.

There ya go overthinkin' again, SD. Cats are cats. Cats fight. That's nature and it seems like Quillpena understands this. Not all cats are destined to become pets. Some are pets that have a natural desire to stalk, fight and maybe even kill. My mother's cat used to weigh 25 LBs. He was a fat son of a bitch but he could spar with the best of 'em. Sometimes he'd come home bloody. Sometimes he'd come home the victor. He was always leaving the heads of dead birds on the front porch as gifts of affection for my mother. I disposed of said heads and waited till the next one would show up. It wasn't a big deal.

Personally, SD, I think you need to move to the country. Find yourself a nice farm to live on for a few years. Move on back to the city when you've got a grasp of what REAL LIFE entails.

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quillpena March 3, 2010 @ 2:49 p.m.

I don't know what that fancy word means--but, yes.

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PistolPete March 3, 2010 @ 2:55 p.m.

In a nutshell, quillpena, to anthropomorphize something is to give it a human-like quality and representation. For example, dogs can sometimes be anthromoporphized when they give you certain looks.

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SDaniels March 3, 2010 @ 2:57 p.m.

I have lived in the country, Pete. I do understand life on a farm, and have witnessed cleanly done slaughter for food that fed me. I also understand that most animals are territorial by nature.

But this is not about me, though you would attempt to make it so. It is about a man who seemed to love cats, and observing them, but took it way too far. Domesticated animals need to be cared for by us. They cannot survive well or very long on their own. Because we have interfered in their lives, it is up to us to make sure they are fed, sheltered, and safe from harm. The things I listed in Tundra #6 that a vet would observe hold here. Cats can injure each other in ways that cause fatal infections, not to mention very painful injuries.

Instead of understanding the true nature of cats, Quillpena has here decided to anthropomorphize them to his own ego's satisfaction, and to justify his desire to see animals fight. Cats are not "like" gladiators, and they do not sit there thinking about the nobility of the challenge. Tundra was not a little 'soldier-son' to be proud of, and whose courage needed a boost, as well as some training in fighting by an older 'sensai' cat. This is ridiculous and irresponsible.

They feel fear, and instinct makes them attempt to protect their territory. That's it. Quillpena needed to take his cat in and keep it away from the other cat, so they did not injure each other. Period.

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PistolPete March 3, 2010 @ 3:06 p.m.

/face palm

It's perfectly natural for a cat to fight, SD. Most house cats don't fight because we as domestic pet owners refuse to let Snookums get outside. After all, we just payed X thousands of dollars for Snookums shots and spaying/nuetering, right? We have to protect our investment even if it means cutting it's balls off to appear to be a responsible pet owner. It's quite ironic, SD-How come we as a society spay and nueter our cats so there isn't a huge population of feral cats in our neighborhoods but we do the EXACT opposite when it comes to Catholic worshipping minorities? Yes...yes....quite ironic indeed....

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SDaniels March 3, 2010 @ 3:24 p.m.

Gotta run, but I'm not avoiding the conversation, and will be back--just want to say for now that quillpena, I have enjoyed your writing immensely, and hope you can understand that while I take issue with this as an irresponsibility, it doesn't mean that I have any less respect for what you've written, or any less gratitude for the enjoyment you have afforded me. Anthropomorphizing is what we do with domestic animals, who unfortunately, cannot live very easily in the outside world we've made. I'm all for outdoors--but protection from direct injury.

Ciao for now!

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PistolPete March 3, 2010 @ 3:24 p.m.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating setting up a fight ring and letting Snokkums or Fido fight the neighborhoods cats and dogs. I'm just simply saying, let nature take it's course. There's nothing wrong with trying to prevent Snookums or Fido from fighting but it's an animals free will if they get past you and beat the s*** out of the neighbor's pet because you left the door open a bit too long.

I'm also not knocking those Catholic worshipping minorities either. If you want to contribute to overpopulation and poverty, be my guest. Free will isn't just a trait for cats and dogs...

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MsGrant March 3, 2010 @ 3:38 p.m.

Pete, must you always overlook important facts in an effort to prove your point? People have babies, one at a time, MAYBE two unless you're the octoass. Animals have LITTERS that can rapidly become hundreds unless you spay and neuter. Cats as young as six months can have a litter. At least MOST humans wait until they are at least 20 before they start reproducing. The animal kingdom is very different in terms of reproduction. Choice is not an issue. Instinct is.

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MsGrant March 3, 2010 @ 4:14 p.m.

No. One single human being cannot be responsible for the birth of hundreds of lives over the course of five years. One unspayed cat can.

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PistolPete March 3, 2010 @ 4:41 p.m.

Again, my point went right over your head. If we spayed and nuetered our population like we do our housepets, there wouldn't be overpopulation or poverty, would there?

Let me answer that for ya:NO!

See the irony and hypocrisy yet?

I'd much rather deal with a s***load of feral cats and dogs that can't really harm me than desperate, hungry people who claim they worship God then turn around and point a gun in my face demanding my wallet.

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MsGrant March 3, 2010 @ 6:27 p.m.

Pete, that is called selective breeding and you are dangerously close to some very bad theories. Desperate, hungry people are poor and sometimes ignorant (and I hate to use that word because I do not practice Catholicism at all in my adult life and cannot speak for those that do, the fear of repercussion no longer a driving force in my deeds). All feral animals are equal. You want to sterilize poor people because they might rob you and are possibly misguided regarding religion? Is that your point?

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antigeekess March 3, 2010 @ 7:01 p.m.

Welcome to yet another edition of "The Pete Show," where the subject matter -- no matter what the blog entry is about -- always turns to exactly the same things.

Over.

And over.

And over.

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PistolPete March 3, 2010 @ 10:12 p.m.

Obviously I'm powerless to stop it and even if I could, I wouldn't. The point isn't what I think. The point is the irony and the hypocrisy. We nueter and spay our pets but don't hand out condoms to poor Catholics? Maybe I'm missing something but I find that highly hypocritical.

See the thing is, MsGrant, I've got you up against an idealogical wall because it isn't about how I think or act, but how reality is percieved. You know that what I say is true but your belief system doesn't allow you to admit it.

Like I've asked before, "Regardless of the amount each produces, are we or are we not overpopulated by not handing out condoms to poor, Catholic people just the same as if we don't spay or nueter our pets?"

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quillpena March 4, 2010 @ 1:28 a.m.

This has nothing to do with anything; it’s just something interesting that happened. My mother lives in a very rural neighborhood in Ramona. She, and all her neighbors who own them, allows her cat, Thomas, to be an inside/outside cat. If they’re cunning enough to avoid the coyotes, then the cats, as far as their owners are concerned, have earned the right to prowl the neighborhood at night, if they choose to do so.

One morning, a few month ago, my mother let Thomas out. She expected him to return four hours later for lunch, which was his custom. But he was a no show. He returned late that afternoon. Not only did he seem disoriented and groggy, but he’d been neutered and had had the tip of his right ear cut off. Apparently someone in the neighborhood thought Thomas was homeless and they called the Feral Cat people on him. I always wondered how they caught him. Did Thomas just allow himself to be approached and handled or did he put up a fight and they had to shoot him with a tranquilizer gun or snare him in a net? It could have gone either way, I suppose: a very calm event or one fraught with drama and excitement, like Marlin Perkins wrestling a leopard on “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild kingdom.”

My mother’s taken it all in stride. “He seems much happier,” she told me. “Now he likes to stay at home most of the time and just relax. He doesn’t have to bother with the silliness of fighting, staking out territory, mating, and all that other nonsense. Yes,” she said with conviction, “he’s a very happy cat now.” (Neutering Tundra and Mushroom only made them angry.)

My younger brother Jake, however, was unable to dismiss the whole thing so offhandedly. “Who the hell do they think they are, anyway? They can’t just go around neutering cats whenever they feel like it.”

“Well, he wasn’t wearing a collar,” my mother pointed out. “How were they supposed to know?”

Jake found no immediate satisfaction from this fact, but eventually he was able to let the whole thing go. Maybe he, as I have, has noticed that Thomas really “does” seem happier and more relaxed now.

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PistolPete March 4, 2010 @ 1:58 a.m.

What people like SD and MsGrant seem to conveniently forget or ignore is that when you let cats be cats(or dogs be dogs for that matter), you're allowing natural selection to occur. Survival of the fittest isn't just a tired cliche, it's a fact of life. I feel bad for the Ambers and Chelseas of the world but since I became a survivor instead of a victim, their deaths don't shock me.

Like I said before, I'm not advocating or encouraging anyone to throw two cats together to see who's king of the territory but if it happens, sit back and enjoy nature. Afterall, they're just cats. If one dies, wait 5 seconds. There'll be 20 more to take it's place in the cat world.

Sounds to me that Tundra and Mushroom having a sparring partner. It might each other's lives if another cat decides to challenge either of them.

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CuddleFish March 4, 2010 @ 3:31 a.m.

Quill, SOP for the Feral Cat Coalition is that the volunteers set traps for cats they believe are feral, take them to a pre-assigned clinic site, then after the cats are tested for FIV, and looked over by the vets, they are spayed or neutered. The volunteer then takes the cats they have had spayed or neutered home with them and watches them, usually overnight, then releases them back into the neighborhood. What you are describing sounds very unusual, ... When did this happen? Day, month, year, neighborhood?

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CuddleFish March 4, 2010 @ 5:39 a.m.

Or I should say, that's how the FCC volunteer I know works. She, or sometimes I help her do this, will set traps on a pre-arranged Friday, the day before a Saturday clinic, we check the traps throughout the day, release any that are already tipped, clean and re-set the traps, until we fill as many traps as we've been able to, then she picks them up on Saturday morning and takes them to the clinic, the cats are examined, if they are ill or injured and the volunteer can house them while they are being treated, the vet will work on them, if they are deathly ill or have a contagious disease, generally they are put down. The ones who are healthy enough are then spayed or neutered, and handed over, she drives them home and watches them overnight, the healthy ones are released, the sick ones she treats until they are well enough to be released.

What you have described sounds like a very short turnaround time, but it may be other volunteers work differently.

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MsGrant March 4, 2010 @ 7:56 a.m.

No, Pete, the difference between you and me is I stand up for things, while you in turn stand against them.

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quillpena March 4, 2010 @ 9:29 a.m.

I can't remember exactly, Cuddlefish. I think it happened in July (longer, I guess, than a few months ago), and maybe he did come home the next day; it's been awhile since I heard the whole story. Thomas is a big orange cat, and my mother lives off of Wild Cat Canyon Road, an appropriate name, near San Vicente.

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CuddleFish March 4, 2010 @ 9:44 a.m.

Thomas, a big orange cat, sounds like a tasty treat for coyotes.

Is this the last episode of Tundra, or are there more to come?

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quillpena March 4, 2010 @ 10:01 a.m.

Thirteen more to go, CF, thanks for asking.

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PistolPete March 4, 2010 @ 1:31 p.m.

LMAO, MsGrant. I don't see you helping humans. Oh! That's right. Humans aren't as important as your precious animals because animals can't talk back. They don't have brains capable of telling you you're f***ed in the head. Is THAT why you're more likely to help a poor, widdle, defenseless cat instead of some bum down on his luck at the beach? Yup. Elitism at it's finest. Funny how how the bleeding heart Liberals yell the loudest about minority rights but are afraid to roll up their sleeves if it means they have to enter the ghettos...funny...

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MsGrant March 4, 2010 @ 1:58 p.m.

Funny. I just wrote a story yesterday about how I helped both. A homeless bum down on his luck at the beach and a kitten. I'll post it later so you can see how f***ed in the head I am.

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Rocket_J_Squirrel March 4, 2010 @ 2:21 p.m.

"I helped a kitten." By MsGrant

Sooooooo, how do you feel about helping a "down on his luck" flying squirrel?

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quillpena March 4, 2010 @ 2:44 p.m.

Well played, Natasha, I mean, Vell played, Dahlink.

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MsGrant March 4, 2010 @ 3:05 p.m.

Down on his luck?? At least you can fly!

Yes, I figured that would tug at your heartstrings, PP.

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PistolPete March 4, 2010 @ 3:26 p.m.

My GF was a cat breeder long before I met her. I showed this thread to her last night and even she said, "Yeah. And?" She used to let her purebred cats fight when they wanted to. She knew she was powerless to stop nature.

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nan shartel March 4, 2010 @ 5:57 p.m.

Quillpena

come see me i got a really cute cat pic for ya...Nan

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SDaniels March 8, 2010 @ 2:48 p.m.

re: #19: And yet again, Pete tries to work through divisiveness, and conveniently, without following up on the logical consequences of what flies from his keyboard.

Dumbass: I have worked with the FCC doing just what CF describes, and safe to say I know WAYYYY more about the doings and instinctual habits of cats and feral cat populations than you do. You can feel free to ask me about it if you like, because I seriously doubt you've been out there trying to help "spay and neuter" ('e' goes before 'u,' and do you even know what these terms mean, or which goes to which?) pets and ferals.

re#26: People like Grant are doing things to make the world better, while as she said, you are just there to waste air and scoff pointlessly.

And your so-called GF is an even bigger idiot than you are for allowing her cats to fight. It isn't something they "need" to do, and of course it isn't an issue of being completely powerless, if you give a crap about the cats' welfare. I'm not a breeder and have no particular knowledge of breeding, but know that you can separate the cats having an issue, for one. You check and see if you are perhaps stressing them, overcrowding them, and putting too many "up high" cats together, vs. "up high" and "ground" cats together. It is elementary, rudimentary knowledge. If you get to know the personalities of your cats, you know which ones are going to get the territorial rules settled with each other quickly, and which ones need to be separated. If you don't gain a second sense of this stuff, you probably shouldn't be breeding animals.

As for your ridiculous theories about survival of the fittest, blah blah blah, they just go in the same category as your racist obsessions. You probably wet dream at night about creating some kind of master race of mini-yous, and good for you. Know what? AG is right--every thread becomes the "Pete Show" and goes to the same issues over and over, with you learning exactly zilch from others. It's getting mighty old, and I do believe I'm pretty well done with it. At this point, it is like trying to light a candle in a soggy bog of hopeless errors of logic and soulless, selfish, unconcern. Screw it. Ok, folks, rant over.

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CuddleFish March 8, 2010 @ 3:18 p.m.

Sorry, Daniels, your job is just beginning. You have been chosen to take the troll on as your improvement project. I for one will pray novenas, many many novenas, for your success. :)

BTW, you do realize he's lying about that GF breeding stuff, don't you? No breeder of purebred cats would allow their merchandise to become ruined through scarring, or worse losing merchandise and profit through injury or death, by allowing them to fight. I realize certain people are idiots but I would guess they are no less mercenary for all their stupidity. Either the GF doesn't really breed purebred cats, or the troll is lying, or they are both as intelligent as a box of rocks. All indications suggest the third option.

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PistolPete March 8, 2010 @ 4:07 p.m.

LMAO. I didn't even know my GF when she bred cats. I'd like to see any of you guys who claim to have such knowledge of the cat kingdom try and physically pull apart two cats who are battling it out. Can't be done. The human will ALWAYS get more hurt than the cats. Like I've said over and over, cats fight. Life goes on. Cry yourself a river, build yourself a bridge and get over it.

BTW, SD, Spay refers to the female dog and cat population. Neutering refers to the male dog and cat population. I'm also smart enough to realize the difference between a feeral cat, an alley cat and a house cat.

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Rocket_J_Squirrel March 8, 2010 @ 5:03 p.m.

MY GOD! Pistol Pete has been abducted by aliens!

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Rocket_J_Squirrel March 8, 2010 @ 5:16 p.m.

WHEW! THAT was CLOSE! For a while there, ALL TRACES OF PP were MISSING!

You don't feel a need to take over Earth, do you?

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Rocket_J_Squirrel March 8, 2010 @ 5:20 p.m.

Let's see.....Brazil nuts, check!...peanuts, check!....walnuts, check!....

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MsGrant March 8, 2010 @ 5:22 p.m.

I knew it!! Back in a heartbeat. What did you say that finally got you bounced?

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CuddleFish March 8, 2010 @ 6:37 p.m.

Shall we hold our breath for the third troll incarnation?

BTW, MsG, this is priceless:

The troll is toast.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2290/2331723217_a2f309bc7c.jpg?v=0

By MsGrant 5:02 p.m., Mar 8, 2010

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MsGrant March 8, 2010 @ 6:45 p.m.

That's hilarious!! I don't know, how many lives do trolls have?

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CuddleFish March 8, 2010 @ 6:50 p.m.

My Lord, what will we do without him?

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Rocket_J_Squirrel March 8, 2010 @ 9:57 p.m.

And now, on behalf of my feline buddies, my purry furry friends:

http://www.friendsofcats.org/

Please send dollars, euros, shekels, catnip, nuts, swiss francs, pound sterlings (or is that pounds sterling?), mice (made of rubber), pesos - on second thought - no pesos, yen, or even some good old rubles. What the heck, if it's spendable, send it!

Thank you.

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antigeekess March 8, 2010 @ 10:01 p.m.

I had once a cat who brought me a squirrel as a present.

:)

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Rocket_J_Squirrel March 8, 2010 @ 10:03 p.m.

No salt please....it raises my blood pressure. A hypertensive squirrel can be a very dangerous thing.

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CuddleFish March 8, 2010 @ 10:27 p.m.

Oooooh I had a cat that brought me a squirrel, too!

By the way, in which country are nuts and catnip considered spendable currency?

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Rocket_J_Squirrel March 8, 2010 @ 10:30 p.m.

We furry critters have our own currency. You might say it's spendable in "Critter Country".

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SDaniels March 9, 2010 @ 4:26 p.m.

Rocket_J, I like your style. Have you considered blogging for nuts, p'haps?

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Rocket_J_Squirrel March 9, 2010 @ 4:59 p.m.

Actually, I have reached my blog limit. I'm going to join Bullwinkle in Germany.

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Rocket_J_Squirrel March 10, 2010 @ 9:29 a.m.

Well, I'm back. Germany is a little chilly this time of year. The large ungulate says "Gruss Gott!" (Howdy!)

I learned this: DON'T let a moose eat SAUERKRAUT! PHEW! Combine that with beer and watch out. The Black Forest isn't dying because of any bark beetles - it's all Bullwinkle's fault. I also learned this: Gluckschwein = Marzipan Good Luck Pig (for the New Year). Marzipan is made of almonds! Almonds are nuts! Squirrels like nuts! This squirrel is in Himmel! (Heaven)

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SDaniels March 11, 2010 @ 12:55 a.m.

I thought gluckschwein was that wassel-style heavily spiced warmed wine...?

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Rocket_J_Squirrel March 12, 2010 @ 8:36 a.m.

Gluhwein makes THIS squirrel feel FINE! Prost! (glug-glug-glug)

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SDaniels March 14, 2010 @ 5:35 p.m.

Hee hee, knew you'd do something with that, Rocket ;)

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