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In the Catbird Seat/Joe Kirkish

Archie the cockroach returns

October 27, 2011
The Daily Mining Gazette

Dear boss: After a couple of wonderful months spent with my favorite cat, Mehitabel, I'm back to your computer again. She surprised me by hitching rides all the way up here for a summer visit - and then stayed on - but now she's back again to her old haunts in the dingy alleys of lower Manhattan.

She would have stayed longer, but the chilly weather was tough on her arthritis (she's getting a little long in the tooth and you know how that is).

She left for another reason, too - a new litter is on the way. As she took off in the back of a semi, she shouted to me, "That's life, Archie, just one darn litter after another." I miss her already, boss.

But now I'm back, your humble cockroach, diving down on your keys again, bringing you more observations from a self-deprecating, philosophical angle.

Boss, I have to tell you, we really enjoyed the colors in the woods around here - beats the fall season in the Big Apple, where smog overhead and grime below turn everything into a dull grey. I overheard some people say it wasn't as brilliant as usual, but we thought it was gorgeous. Mehitabel hated to leave, but...

Meanwhile I've been thinking, boss, about the activities around here. Whoever said nothing much happens outside the big cities - might be true, but what you hear sure makes up for it.

Actually, there's something going on all the time. Church groups go out of their way with one program or another, libraries all have something exciting to attend, free movie showings around the community every so often (good ones, too), art gallery openings, live musical entertainment from ambitious locals to high class entertainment from abroad - many luring us in with plates of goodies to boot. And that doesn't even count the sports activities, boss. Posters, radio announcements, and your newspaper all clue us in. And you know what? I don't even have time to watch TV much anymore; I'm enjoying too many other things going on.

Speaking of TV, boss, I have to say that it's not getting any better. New season, same old same old. And the commercials! What happened to the FCC rule that no more than 10-minutes of advertising would be permitted for each half hour show? And they're so stupid, boss. I might not be very bright, but what's on that boob tube even insults MY intelligence. And now their ads are creeping onto the screen even while the show goes on. What next?

One night, when no one was around, I found a web page on your computer that showed old penny postcards. Shades of the past! I spent hours looking at them. They included the whole country, but I focused on Houghton and the Detroit area. Boss, what an insight! So many of the places are still around, some like the Douglass House look the same, while looking down main street at horse/buggy rigs and a streetcar coming down the middle on rails have really changed - and there would awesome shots inside the mines. Here's how I found it:

Back to the present, Boss. In my spare time, I was glancing through pages of your newspaper just to see what I missed. Sad to say, nothing much. Wars still erupting everywhere, riots and rebellions, tight economy, people with short memories looking for scapegoats for the hard times, blaming today's leaders for yesterday's misdemeanors; at the same time movies and TV still flood the country with lessons in free sex, excessive violence, materialism, graft, kooks and petty crimes. Sigh.

But I'm a confirmed optimist. If I can live in harmony with Mehitabel's crazy lives (all 9 of them), I guess I can find a way to do the same in your crazy world. I'll stick around a while longer to see if I'm right.

Your friend, Archie

Rotten Tomatoes averages: "Paranormal Activity 3," B; "Three Musketeers," D



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