The Duchess shortly before euthanasia.Well, last night we did it. We put my old cat The Duchess to sleep after 15 years of companionship, and buried her in the back yard behind the garage. We took Emily and let her watch, and the cat did a great job, the vet did a great job, and Emily did a great job. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in a long time, and I’m hoping I’ve got at least another 15 years before I have to do it again.

But being a writer, it’s hard to avoid the temptation to indulge in a wee bit of gallows humor, as the Lady Janet put it when we were making puns as I buried The Duchess. So be it…

As a reader of Asparagus Pee, you are most likely quite familiar with Monty Python’s classic Dead Parrot sketch. But just in case, I will do a brief quote here to refresh your memory:

‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!

OK, so here are a few of my own originals: Duchess is strictly an outdoor cat now. We’re going to be keeping her in the back yard from now on. I emptied her litterbox tonight, and I’m not filling it back up. I’ve informed the vet to go ahead and close her file. She’s a cat with no uncertain future.

Now, folks, this might seem a little morbid, but I’m going to post a picture of her lying in the grave that I dug for her, partly because we here at home all found it strangely comforting – if you think it might disturb you, don’t click it. I’ve named the picture 12345678.jpg so that some sick freak Googling for pictures of a deceased felis domesticus won’t run across our last picture of The Duchess.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the screen in the shot below, but I hope you never do. This is the guy that keeps hijacking my browser homepage. It writes a bunch of junk to the registry for default search behaviors, then it changes the IE homepage to the screen below, but it’s called about:blank, and it redirects to all kinds of popups and nasty stuff.

I am not a violent man, and I don’t support the death penalty, but I really would like to bring back a good old-fashioned flogging and a day in the stocks for spammers in general, and I’d like to do this guy myself.

How can I stop this guy???

The Swingset.I guess I should title this “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” or something, but it’s more like “How I Spent the Three Weeks Leading up to Memorial Day Weekend, and Leaving Town on Business.” Anyhow, this is a representative picture of the new play structure that we’ve built for Emily. What a lucky kid, huh?

On a completely unrelated note, my “out of town on business” comment is because I’m in Chicago right now trying to represent our company at the Audio Publisher’s Association conference (APAC) and Book Expo America (BEA). APAC was today, and I was actually a guest speaker on a panel discussion of The State of the Industry, so I guess I’m now officially an expert in that small area. If you need advice on marketing audiobooks, apparently I’m your man.