Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Though ads can be silly, its practitioners take it very seriously.  On the other hand, silly things can happen to advertisers.  In 1940 the Burma Vita company put up the row of little red signs reading:

With Glamor Girls
You’ll Neve Click
Like A
Burma Shave

And an ominous letter came to the Minneapolis headquarters postmarked from Union Station, New York City.  “Keep up this sort of thing,” it warned, “and the old red herring will really get you.”  About a week later a package arrived with the same postmark, also addressed to the president of the company.  He was starting to open it when he heard an ominous ticking.  He hurried to the factory floor, to a deep sink able to immerse the whole thing in water – to the explosion of laughter from everyone in on the joke.  They’d found an alarm clock with a nice loud tick and had it mailed to him.

I should have put this in my April 1 column!

We’ve been having a lot of problems with our orange tomcat Snaps.  He’s always had a delicate digestion, but lately he’s losing control at both ends of his alimentary canal.  We went to grain-free dry cat food, then to really expensive canned cat food.  Our other cat, Panzi, simply bloomed on it, but it didn’t work on Snaps.  He's become alarmingly thin, lethargic, and his coat has lost its smooth sheen.  So we invested in a big bag - it only comes in big bags - of prescription cat food, “hydrolyzed protein.”  He was crazy about it, trying to climb up my leg as soon as I walked into the apartment carrying the bag.  It’s a very pale color, lightweight, almost odorless, and he ate the whole generous serving in one sitting.  And left a big white expensive puddle on the carpet that night.  So now what we’ve done is divide the daily ration into five little servings and put them into our Pet Safe, which is a battery-operated turntable with a clock inside it – we’ve had it for years, it’s great when we’re out of town for a weekend, because it can be set to turn to the opening once a day so they can be fed.  It can also be set to turn five times a day so Snaps can’t make a pig of himself.  Right now it’s working – no cat vomit for eight days.  And it’s not racing through him like his other food used to, either.  And he’s looking better. We’re holding our breath, because if this doesn’t work, our vet is our of  ideas.

Darned If You Do is due at Berkley April 14.  The last part of it is going to be kind of sketchy, but it’s going to land electronically on my editor’s computer on time.  Then I’ll keep working on it, so by the time she gets back to me with some editing, I’ll have some of my own to give her.  Right now I’m feeling optimistic about the storyline, I think it’s pretty good.

Did you know there’s a lab that specializes in DNA testing of pets?  It has solved some terrible crimes.  Here’s a story about the lab, with anecdotes: http://jewishworldreview.com/0414/dimond040714.php3


Linda O. Johnston said...

Sorry to hear about Snaps' digestive problems, Monica, and I empathize since our younger dog, Mystie, has Irritable Bowel so we have to really be careful what and when she eats. Glad to hear you're meeting your deadline, but I'm not surprised. And I enjoyed your Burma Shave post and your description of the danger from the red herring!

Betty Hechtman said...

Monica, one of our cats has delicate digestion, too. In other words, he throws up all the time. However, he started having problems with the other end. My vet put him on flagyl for a week or so and it took care of the problem. The other end problem - he still throws up.

Good luck with your deadline.