Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, S.Z.!

UPDATED below.  And Up-Updated. And Up-Up-Up-Updated with Cats O' Plenty!

Well, you probably saw the kerfuffle yesterday; right bloggers went into a paroxysm of ultrasonic outrage, squealing and shrieking that online progressives were covering up for my supposed "gaffe."  Yes, it's true that in delivering birthday greetings to s.z., I departed from my prepared remarks and referred to her as the "Founder of World O' Crap," whereas wingnuts have always considered her the "Father of WO'C," -- at least since Vox Day was marginally polite to her that one time because he thought she was a gay man, rather than an uppity woman.
 Good?  She's the best!

But then, s.z. was always hard to categorize, because unlike a lot of bloggers she didn't have issues, just a point of view, which could perhaps be summed up as:  stupid and mean-spirited opinions are a bit like graffiti and garbage -- if left to accumulate, they make for a depressing and unhealthful neighborhood -- but a measured application of gentle mockery, like the judicious use of broom and scrub brush, can work wonders at brightening up the place, so let's all pitch in and make this a better Internet!  And that, at least insofar as I understood the charter, is what World O' Crap was created to do.

When I started moving the archives over -- thousands of posts, from the original Salon blog and our previous domain -- I was amazed at how she always managed to stay funny, despite some pretty repugnant provocations, and how she never lost her temper, regardless how much the source material might have offended her moral sensibilities.  (And Sheri is probably the finest, the most moral person I've ever met; smart, but self-effacing, she lives a life of service that our conservative Christian politicians and bloggers, who beat their breasts with the subtlety of Ricky Ricardo abusing a Conga drum on the dance floor of the Tropicana, could never, and would never be tempted to, match -- first by serving her country, and when illness made that impossible, by serving her community with the same selfless, and often exhausting dedication.)

Perhaps that's why WO'C has never suffered the chronic troll infestations that have plagued (and, frankly, amused) a lot of other lefty humor blogs.  S.z.'s ability to dismantle any hate-filled screed in that graceful, witty, even-tempered way of hers didn't leave much room for sputtering rebuttals, although we came close with the Marley Brothers, those Save Christmas in Massachusetts guys who haunted our comments section for several weeks, cut-and-pasting urban legends about the Death of Santa by a thousand "Happy Holidays".  As you may recall they got a little face time from Fox News, and used their notoriety to rouse the rabble and bring pressure to bear on mass market retailers.  To contribute toys and clothes and food to needy families and make this truly the Season of Giving?  Nah, the Marleys boys were just peeved about Wal-Mart's modest decorating scheme, and the lack of benedictions mouthed by their cashiers.  But it did prompt this piece from Sheri, which both infused me with the Yuletide spirit, and caused me to aspirate my Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice Latte.
I don’t know about you, but I had a hard day warring on Christmas today. First, I visited a lady with cancer who is currently undergoing chemo, and made arrangements to take her to the nursing home tomorrow to see her husband who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. We laughed together over her new hairstyle, I commiserated with her over her nausea and weakness, and we talked hopefully about better times in the future. She thanked me for the visit and for the little Santa teddy bear I had got her from the Dollar Store. Then I punched her in the gut because she didn’t wish me a “Merry Christmas.”

Next, I went to Sam’s Club and bought a large bag of Meow Mix for Shirley’s cats. Shirley, who lives across the street from my parents, is on welfare and has been having some serious health problems for a while. Her cats, which live outside and prowl the neighborhood, have been looking kinda thin and raggedy lately. So, to make me feel better, I spent $9 to buy them some food.

After ringing up my purchase and taking my money, the cashier smiled and thanked me for shopping there — but she didn’t wish me a “Merry Christmas,” so I slapped her.

After exiting the store, I gave a few bucks to the college students who were there collecting for the community food bank. They didn’t wish me a “Merry Christmas” either, so I decked them.

Then I went to Shirley’s house, put out food for the cats, and visited with Shirley for a few minutes. She was clearly touched that somebody cared about her and her cats, and thanked my several times for the cat food – but she didn’t wish me a “Merry Christmas, so I broke her thumbs.

On the way home, I stopped to see drop off some cookies I had bought for my neighbor Linda at the new Mexican bakery in town (of course, nobody THERE said “Merry Christmas” to me, so I was forced to torch their business). Linda has lost control of much of her body due to the ravages of MS, and finds it hard to speak. She did manage to tell me a little about her black cat, to tell me about what she was watching on TV (“Little House on the Prairie”), and to thank me for the cookies, but … well, you can guess the rest.

But enough traipsing down Memory Lane.  We do have our traditions here, so let's get to s.z.'s horoscope:
Jupiter joined with Uranus is also found in your Solar Return chart, and this suggests the need for progressive change in your life.
Granted, that was pretty embarrassing for all concerned when you came home unexpectedly early from church; still, I wouldn't regard it as an omen.  I would, however, recommend changing the locks.

Happy Birthday, Sheri!

Riley:  Damn!  It's another birthday!  And it's coming right at us!

Moondoggie:  Is that cake?

D.Sidhe was kind enough to email this glamour shot of her cat Nagi recumbent in the sink, as a gift for s.z., and I can't think of a more fitting tribute to someone who spends so much of her time, money, and energy caring for the least among us.

If you've got a photo of your own furry friend -- cat, dog, or whiskery Grandma -- send it along (my email is at the top right) and we'll make it a menagie a trois.

It's a officially a party!  I just received this pic from Margaret Nolan, who is best remembered for her role as "Dink," James Bond's masseuse in the opening scenes of Goldfinger (although it might be a different Margaret Nolan, we didn't really get into details):
"More Birthday Greetings to S.Z.!  When we wake up, we'll sing to you."

Incoming from Gappy...!
 Oh hai s.z.  You caught tryin' to wrap up your bifday gift.   Is me!
 Ah gots you flowers too.  Happy bifday!

Next! From Brian Schlosser, and his Lipizzaner Kittens!
 Kittehs #3 (Abbie, left) and #2 (Lucy, right) converge on an elusive feather...
 Lucy sez "I will getz dat fether for u, SZ, wif my lion skilz!!"
 "happee birfdae, SZ! Fether mite be pre-nommed, tho!"

"Kitteh #1 (Thursday Next, not shown) is a Jehovah's Witness, and does not celebrate birthdays..."

And acrannymint writes in with the following gangbang of cute:
"In honor of s.z.'s b'day from Ceridwyn, Sam, Tess and Boris."

And at last...heydave's long-promised cats, Hoover and Coolidge!
Here we see (Madame President Herbert) Hoover and (Madame President Calvin) Coolidge hungrily stare at food from the “cat pyramid” intended to let them feed themselves.  With a name like Hoover, I’d expect her to vacuum up food wherever it is.  But despite their seeming intelligence, they are absolutely confounded by such and intricate device.  Maybe they’re cat savants?

Anyway, when I told them it was s.z.’s birthday, they gave me the smartest blank stares ever!

And from KWillow: "Cat photos for the birthday girl."
Here are a couple of our cat "Smokey" aka "Chester" 
 ♫ I'm just a cat in a gilded cage... ♬


Bill S said...

Happy Birthday, s.z.! I've been a regular reader/commenter of this site since its Salon days, thanks to you!
She also posted my first guest column. I actually only wrote it as an e-mail to her, never expecting that she'd put it up on the site. I must have done something right. Or she was ill that day and needed something to put up until she recovered.
Hope you have a great day, and once again, thank you for making us laugh at life, and idiots.

D. Sidhe said...

Happy birthday to the internet's foremost supermodel/astronaut/spy! You're like the Molly Ivins who's still with us: doing the right thing for the right reasons *and* having fun doing it! (Plus, I'm pretty sure you will one day have a pig-wrangling block party story of your own for us. Your neighborhood seems like that kind of place.)

Not to get all mushy, but man, I'm glad you're around, and that you started blogging. Years of hilarity and sincerity in equal measure have made this place my true internet home. Thank you, seriously, for that.

I hope you have a great day, full of cat purring and dog slobber, and may any idiots you have to deal with today be funny. Like, you know, this.

And yes, I hope that's cake too. :-)

Woodrowfan said...

happy birthday, and many, many more!

Brian Schlosser said...

Happy Birthday to S.Z., calm and sober yin to Scott's raging yang!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the safe snark haven, s.z. You have brought so much joy to so many of us that I hope it spills over onto you.
Happy Birthday and may you and all the cats have many more.

Li'l Innocent said...

Well! I never knew *saints* had birthdays like ordinary citizens, SZ - I just assumed you're timeless, because your humor has a wonderful above-&-beyond flavor to it, like the asininity of the wingnut world can't really make a mark on you! You see it, you know it for exactly what it is, you draw your curvaceous bow and silver-tipped arrow, and thkk! you puncture it. *And* you're a cat goddess. *And* you help out your fellow humans, which I wasn't really aware of before.

Happy Birthday, then, you superior person!

maryclev said...

A very Happy Birthday to our beloved S.Z. If I may, I'd like to get a little sentimental, for a moment; There was a time, when I decided I wanted to BE SZ when I grew up.

Well...I'm a woman, now, and I realize that while there is an actual SZ--living and breathing--I will NEVER be SZ.

So, thanks, SZ, for being gently hilarious and all around awesome, even though I plan on killing you and taking over your gentle hilariousness, and overall awesomeness, in which case, it's nothing personal.

A very happy birthday to you, SZ!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday S.Z. World O Crap is one of my talismans from stress (unfortunately I require several) and your snark is my good luck charm! Enjoy the day, week or however long you feel you want to celebrate your birthday. ALL my kitties (only Smudge and Evangeline opted for the photo shoot.....Mojo and Theda Marie bowed out!)wish you the best.

D. Sidhe, Nagi is a particularly good looking cat...I have always been partial to black kitties tho my skill with a camera isn't a high a level as yours. I can never seem to capture Mojo's golden eyes in a sea of black fur well.

Anonymous said...

Oh and the "talisman" comment is from Anonymous #2 aka Gappy. I always forget to sign off

heydave said...

Happy Birthday! To you!

But wait, there's more!

For you, I offer the magic thrill ride o' love at Daveland! At seriously reduced prices!!1!

Yeah, I wouldn't bother either; vagrants have really torn the place up. Why can't we have any nice thrill rides in Daveland?

Seriously, love you and thanks for being, s.z.!

preznit said...

s.z., hope you had a wonderful birthday, sorry for the belatedness of the wishes. thanks for the many years of laughs and tasty snark

Anntichrist S. Coulter said...

Welp, I hope that you check yer e-mail soon, Sheri, 'cause no matter how hard I tried to truncate my wall-o-text comments, iot just never went RIGHT. With all the love & appreciation in the universe,


James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

This time I have an excuse for being late: waylaid by kute kitteh pictures. That, and early onset dementia. So three excuses.

Many happy returns, darlin', and would it kill you to visit more often?

AnnPW said...

Wow, I share my birthday month with the COOLEST people!! Yes, I know I'm late, but I claim all the exemptions mentioned above - Happy Birthday Month!

Chris Vosburg said...

Late as usual. Look I've been BUSY, OKAY? DAMMIT!

S., you are the best, and no mistake. I also missed the chance to say the same thing to D. Sidhe a few days ago, and Scott's screen capture from MST3Ks Pod People cover has once again put me in the mood to sing Idiot Control Now, Joel's brilliant best guess on the unintelligible lyrics of the song that takes up space early in the movie. Never get tired of this one!

With a pickle mind
We kick the nipple beer
Steady as a goat
We're flying over trout
Ghetto down the highway
At the speed of light
All I wanna feel now
Is the wind in my eyes
Sack of monkeys in my pocket
My sister's ready to go!
All: Hear the engines roar now!
Idiot control now!
Hideous control now!
Ninny on the road now!
Minnie in control,
Wheels on fire,
Burning rubber tires!
All: Blurry jelly rolls now
Hiddy lets it go now
Needy inches bow down
Pitying a poor boy
Here the engines roar
Bees on pie
Burning rubber tires

So: Sacka monkeys in my pocket, darlins! burnin rubber tires! Thanks for everything, to you both.

Chris Vosburg said...

By the way, you all have magnificent looking cats-- KWillow especially, whew. I don't have a cat any more (Cato, my old friend, is long dead), although I'll try to snap a pic of a new friend who shares dinner with me occasionally. A longhair, not sure where she lives (if anywhere) I've taken to calling her Thea (Von Hairball, get it?).

She is most definitely ze coquette, as described by Charles Boyer-- and Pepe Le Pew.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Happy belated birthday, S.Z. I just don't have an alibi large enough in my bag of excuses to apologize for missing out on all the fun only to mumble that it's been a busy one...deadlines to meet, essays to write, the lady of the house ain't home and besides, we mailed you people a check last week!

I never stop being proud of the fact that if it were not for World O'Crap I would never have had the stones to create my own blog...I mention it every chance I get and will probably continue to do so despite the fact that those angry people holding a vigil out on your lawn won't go away. It sounds like your birthday was as swell as mine (well. mine had considerably less cats) so I wish you the very best of natal anniversaries. Mazeltov!