Friday, January 30, 2009

Bowling is Even Better in Your Basement

I’ve never been an avid bowler. But on the odd occasion when I’ve been coerced into bowling with friends, I always seem to have what some people might call “beginner’s luck.” (Other people might call it being an “idiot savant”) Whatever their explanation, once I stepped onto the bowling alley, I became a different person. A person with a mission, with a goal, with an unnatural desire to knock down a set of pins. And for what? Money? Fame? No. Just to waste some time on a Saturday night.

So without even trying, I’d start getting strikes or spares, quickly racking up points that would shoot me to the top of the leader board. The problem is, once I’d had a few rounds of “beginner’s luck,” I’d start getting cocky, stupidly believing that I’d somehow inherited a Golden Arm when it came to tossing a bowling ball. And inevitably, that’s when my winning streak began to falter. When I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing, I’d perform like a Pro Bowler. But as soon as I put any thought into it, I become as awkward as Olive Oyl.

Nevertheless, bowling has always been somewhat amusing for me, as I always seemed to do well for at least the first four or five frames. After that, when I started throwing gutter balls like they were confetti, I toned down both my bravado and my swagger, often repeating to anyone who would listen “It’s just a game, you know. It’s just a game.” What a sad, sorry sack I was.

Anyway, I recently purchase a Wii (for some reason) even though I never play video games and find the whole gaming industry somewhat puzzling. (For more clarity on this topic, please refer an earlier posting of mine, “Why I Don’t Play Video Games.”) But I’d heard the Wii Fitness was a great way to work out, so I though I’d maybe integrate it into my regular routine of weight lifting and calisthenics. But the Wii system I purchased also had a free set of games inside that included skiing, boxing, archery, baseball, a bunch of other stuff…and bowling.

Naturally I wanted to try the bowling right away, to see if my video “beginner’s luck” would be anything like my bowling alley experiences. And sure enough, on my very first try, I got a strike. And that’s without even knowing how to work the Wii console properly. Still, my subsequent turns also rewarded me with similar results, and once again I started putting on the cocky attitude. Although at the time, the only ones to witness my pompous prancing were my two little kittens, Tipi and Tuck, who seemed confused by my constant strutting back and forth like an overzealous peacock. Eventually they both fell asleep, while I continued to not only bowl, but ski and go cart as well.

As a matter of fact, after an evening of playing with my Wii (no pun intended), I am completely over my aversion to video games. But it’s only because this kind of active play made me feel more a part of the experience, and therefore more worthy of my time. With games that you have to kill people or battle monsters to get to the next level, I never understood the point. But with these kinds of good old fashioned interactive sports and games, I am a new believer. Since purchasing the Wii, I’ve had a bowling party (in my basement) where I served Patty Melts, fries and milkshakes, and even wore my retro bowling shirt as host. It was a lot of fun, and much easier and less expensive than trotting down to the local bowling alley.

So in celebration of this new phenomenon, Basement Bowling, I offer you an older Cat Clips on the topic that has never yet appeared on this blog. So enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cat Clips--Little Boxes

Please click on the photo above to view the latest video from the "Cat Clips" series. In this episode, called "Little Boxes," the male cat discovers Tipi in the office playing with three little boxes. But why?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wallowing in Winter Whining

Did you ever have one of those days where you had absolutely nothing to say, and not one interesting idea to blog about? And it’s not like you don’t have millions of things you could talk about, or share, or poke fun at….and yet, for some reason you don’t have any desire or energy to put the effort into it? Well, if not, congratulations! You are simply an amazing individual, and should therefore feel free to go along your merry way without reading another word of this. (I mean it. Not another word.) But for those of you who may occasionally suffer from what some might refer to as “writer’s block,” kindly proceed this way. (Good, that’s one paragraph down.)

Personally, I usually have several topics on hand to blog about at any given time. As I think of things to write about, I jot them down on one of the many pads of post-it notes that pepper my desk. That way, if there should ever come a time when I can’t think of anything to write about, I would simply peel off a post it and jot down my thoughts on that particular topic. That was, of course, before the post-its started separating from their pads, thus becoming small individual pieces of paper that would get mixed in with the stacks of mail or work projects or junk mail or anything else that happened to come across my desk, and for some reason, remained there in a collective heap. The eventual result would be post-its that inadvertently attached themselves to the bottom of something I was throwing out, or they accidentally got between two pieces of paper that went into some file that I’ll probably never look at again for at least three years. (But boy, when I do look at it, I’m sure that missing post-it will give me a really great idea for a blog posting. Unless it’s something topical, like my thoughts on Paris Hilton, or the cancellation of “Dirty Sexy Money”---both of which I hope are no longer relevant or remembered.)

So I could certainly blame my lack of inspiration on the missing post it notes, or any of a dozen other excuses I could come up with to explain my predicament. (None of which would be the direct result of anything I did wrong, of course.) But I think there’s something even more sinister at work here. Something that seeps into your body around this time of year, causing you to feel even more tired and listless than usual. And if you work at home like I do, and don’t need to venture out into the world on a daily basis, than the monotony of your environment on a cold, particularly bleak winter week can make you feel like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.” It’s not exactly a full-blown case of Winter Blues, but it’s not general Slovenliness either. It’s some grey area in between, where everything literally feels gray.

And I’m not saying I don’t have distractions. The presence of two new kittens in the house has certainly kept me quite entertained, so it’s not like I’m ever bored. I just hate the winter. I hate not being able to go outside and sit in my backyard. I hate having to put on layers of clothes just to go to the supermarket to pick up that favorite ice cream I’ve been craving. Only once I’ve been out in the freezing cold for a good half hour, ice cream is probably the last thing I’m likely to eat.

So what’s my point in all this? Don’t worry, I’m getting to that. (Patience, please!). I’m just bitching about my least favorite time of year, and how it can make me particularly lazy when it comes to writing my blog. I have so many other things to do, including filming and editing my little videos, and playing with the cats, and going out with friends, and…the list goes on and on. In other words, I have plenty to occupy my time so I’ve sort of let the writing portion of my blog slip a little in the last few weeks. And instead of updating every three days, I’ve started updating every four, or sometimes five (shocking, I know). So anyway, for anyone who might have noticed this inconsistency in my posting habits (and for the two of you, I thank you), I apologize. And that, my friends, was the entire point of this posting. (Which just proves that I can pontificate on practically anything---once I find the right post it note, that is.)

But that’s just me. Are you having any trouble when it comes to your writing efforts in the winter time?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dog Days--Pair of Pugs

Please click on the photo above to watch the second episode of "Dog Days." In this episode, Lenny tries to distract George from eating food by sending him upstairs on a fake mission.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Unexpected Acquisition of Tipi and Tuck

When I lived in New York City four years ago, I didn’t have a huge apartment, so the only occupants that could live comfortably inside my rather meak quarters were me and my two cats. And even that was pushing it. (Thank God, the trash room was very close to my apartment door, as the cat box required frequent cleanings.)

Anyway, now that I live in a much larger house in the suburbs, I thought it might be fun to expand my collection of cats beyond the standard two. And since I’d always gotten my kittens from a rescue agency, I decided this time would be no exception. So with pen and pad in hand, I began perusing Google for the names of local rescue agencies that might have some kittens for adoption. And to my surprise, the procedure for acquiring an animal had gotten much more complex. There were legal papers you had to sign, and certain rules you had to follow, along with a background inspection of your veterinary records.

Who knew rescuing a kitten would require all this paperwork? I mean, I understand why they’re doing it--- they’re trying to protect the animals from people who might want to use them for less-than-ethical reasons. But the whole process made me feel like I was being punished for something before I committed a crime.

Nevertheless, I found an ad on Craig’s List that advertised for a Rescue Service that was having a big pet adoption fair on New Year’s Eve weekend from 1 to 4. So with my paperwork all filled out, I drove the forty-five minutes it took to get to the special facility, only to find out that the times for adoption were listed incorrectly in the paper. Apparently you had to have your kitten all picked out by three o’clock in order to get through all the processing by 4. And even though it didn’t list those particular requirements in the paper, and I happened to get to the agency at 2:50, I was not able to adopt a pet. And to add insult to injury, the women behind the desk made no apology for the mistake in the paper, nor did they seem to care that I drove out of my way to help them provide a nice home for one of their animals.

Disappointed that I wasn’t able to get my “instant kitten,” I went home and searched the Internet again for some shelter that was having open adoptions that weekend. Luckily, there were two in my area that held weekly adoptions on Saturdays at the local pet stores. (Pet Stores apparently no longer sell cats or dogs…they only provide food and accessories for them.) So on Saturday morning, I drove to the first pet store to find my two cats a new companion. But apparently, kittens were a scarcity at this shelter, as they only had mature cats up for adoption that day. And though my heart went out to all those homeless animals, I really had my heart set on a kitten, as I thought a kitten would be much easier to introduce into my current clan than a mature cat.

So off to the next pet store I went, only to find the same sort of situation. There were only mature cats available. And though I looked through the various options, and even played with a few, I still felt a kitten would be my best choice. Luckily one of the girls who worked for the rescue told me that Sunday was the day when most of the kittens were brought in for adoption, while Saturday was mostly for mature cats. Not sure why that was, unless there’s some sort of mass pilgrimage to the pet store after Church every Sunday.

Anyway, I decided to come back the next day to see what kittens might be available, although by this time I was already less than positive about what I might find. That was, until I saw Tipi (not her original name, by the way). And even though I was really looking for a male cat (as I’ve always found them to be much more affectionate), this little girl caught my eye…mainly because of her unusual multi-colored coat. She also had two brothers with her, one black and one grey, but her personality won me over immediately. And as soon as I got her home, I knew I’d made the right choice. She wasn’t upset to be in a new home, and didn’t seem to care that she was no longer surrounded by siblings. In fact, she took to her new surroundings immediately.

One day, while she was purring in my lap, I decided to do some research on her unusual markings, which looked like marble to me. As I was surfing, I came across a website that sold pure breed cats known as Bengals. They are a cross between a Tabby and a wild Asian Leopard Cat, and as you’d expect, many look like little leopards. Some have the famous leopard spots, but some are more marble colored, like Tippy was. As I began finding more and more information about Bengals, I became fascinated not only with their beautiful composition, but also how similar they seemed to the cat I’d just gotten from the local rescue.

To make a long story short, I decided for the first time in my life to purchase a pure breed cat. (Or a pure breed anything, for that matter. No longer will I only be associated with Mutts.) But I didn’t want to get it from a cat farm or puppy mill, or anyone who worked for such a place (even though those animals deserve to be rescued just as much as any other). After some searching and numerous phone calls, I found a breeder that was two hours away who’d had a litter of Bengal kittens with a golden male that was ready for adoption. She had great credentials and raised all the animals in her home, which made me feel like they would probably be somewhat better adjusted to domestic life than a cat born on the streets.

So I made the trip and fell in love with Tuck right away. (Again, not the name given to him by the owner.) And when I brought him home, he and Tipi hit it off right away. And since she was already a month older than he was, she became like his big sister, showing him all the ropes as well as teaching him to groom and wrestle fairly. Luckily, I have caught a lot of these interactions on film, so they will definitely be featured in future episodes of “Cat Clips.” For now, I am just enjoying my happy little zoo.

But that’s just me. Have you ever adopted or purchased an animal before, and how did you feel about the two options?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Winners of Latest Contest

I am please to announce the three lucky winners for my latest contest. They will each receive a Wizardofwit t-shirt and a copy of the "Cat Clips DVD, Volume One." If you are one of the winners listed below, please send me your mailing address via


Daisy of Daisy the Curley Cat

Grace of Broadway Matron

Sandee of Comedy Plus

Thanks to everyone who participated. I'm sure there will be another contest coming up in the near future, so don't be discouraged if you didn't win this time. I like to spread the love around.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cat Clips---And Tipi Makes Three

Today's episode of "Cat Clips" features the introduction of a new member to the cast--Tipi. To watch the video, please click on the photo above. In today's installment, "And Tipi Makes Three," a new addition arrives in the house, with some very interesting aspirations.

NOTE: Winners of the latest "Henson's Hell" contest will be announced on Friday. Good luck!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bringing Blogging to the Next Generation

Over the Christmas holiday vacation, I had the opportunity to introduce my niece and nephew to the wonderful world of blogging. And it wasn’t even my idea. One afternoon, we happened to be talking about the videos I was making, and I showed them a few on YouTube, which eventually led me to showing them my blog. Of course, my Nephew (who is eight) really loved the use of the word “H-E-double-hockey-sticks” in the title of the blog. (His father, however, did not.) Nevertheless, I explained to them how I could write about anything I wanted and put it on the web, and people would actually read it. (A feat, I must admit, I’m still pretty amazed by.)

When it was time for dinner, we all went to the dining room to eat and I thought that would be the end of it. But during the meal, my Nephew kept steering the topic of conversation around to my videos, or the blog, or what I liked to write about. Finally, in the middle of dessert, he blurted out a question that took me entirely by surprise.

“Uncle Henson, how did you get such a great personality?”

You can imagine how my heart melted. Everyone at the table let out a collective gasp and giggle. It was such an innocent question, phrased so perfectly, that I was quite taken aback. (Partly because I wasn’t really sure how to answer it, and partly because I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I didn’t want to come across like a blubbering idiot.)

“I think my mother and father had a lot to do with it,” I answered simply.

The next day, my Nephew begged me to help him create his own blog. And shortly after that, my Niece decided that a blog was something she would like to learn how to do as well. So I helped them set up their blogging accounts on Blogger, and then they sort of took it from there, anxiously pointing and clicking to select their titles, colors, design, etc. At some point, I was called away to watch something on TV, and they were left on their own to post whatever they wanted.

When I came back an hour later, they were trying to figure out how to add links to some of my videos. Apparently each of them had decided they wanted to post one of the “Bird Bits” on their blog. (Honestly, I did not prompt this or even think to suggest it.) My Nephew liked the “Skate Birds” episode, and my Niece favored the “Scavenger Hunt” video. (Again, I was touched by the fact they even wanted to include me on their blogs at all. It certainly wasn’t a requirement when creating one.)

Next, my Nephew asked me help him write something, as he wasn’t really sure how to start. He was very interested in giving his critiques on some movies he’d seen, as well as several video games he’d played. So, as I sat at the typewriter and his sister sat behind me, he dictated to me his review of some new Alan Quartermain movie that apparently “sucked big time.” I tried to make helpful suggestions and keep his story focused, but mostly the words came from him. (Okay, there were a few Hensonisms that I threw in, which had the three of us laughing so hard, I think tears were running out of all our eyes. It was absolutely the best time I’d ever had with them, and I felt like it bonded it us in a way we’d never been before.)

In fact, the rest of the writing session was filled with so much laughter and giggling, that several other members of the family stopped by just to see what all the ruckus was about. I felt like I was in my element in the “teacher” role and I treasured every minute of it. The rest of the vacation, the Niece and Nephew were obsessed with adding more pictures, videos and critiques to their blogs, and I became their resource for valuable information about how to create links, add pictures, etc. It was a role I was happy to play.

But that’s just me. Has a family member or relative ever asked you to help them create a blog of their own?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dog Days--Obedience School

Today I kick off a new series of videos called "Dog Days," which will feature many different types of dogs. The first episode, entitled "Obedience School," Bailey's mother gives her some pointers before her first day of obedience school. To watch the video, please click on the photo above.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A New Year, A New Contest

Many of you may recall the first contest I held back in August to honor the achievement of over 110,000 views on YouTube. At the time, I think I had about 135 subscribers and maybe 30 friends (who are also subscribers, but supposedly at a more intimate level). Now it is January, and my views are currently at 207,000, with 281 subscribers and 73 friends. Which means, it's time for another contest.

But first, I'd like to congratulate Debbie Lane of Wisdom Hynosis (pictured, above) for winning a special extra prize in the last contest. There were actually five winners of the last contest, and each person was given a special "Want a Quickie?" t-shirt from the wizardofwit website, as well as a special collection of buttons. For those five people, a second opportunity was also given to win a special prize. All they had to do was photograph themselves in a public place wearing the t-shirt, and the most original photo would win special recognition in an upcoming episode of "Cat Clips." Well, as you can see from the photo above, Debbie fullfilled the requirement and took a great photo in front of a local park sign. (She looks sort of like Vanna White here, right?) So sometime in the near future, look for Debbie's website to be featured in a new "Cat Clips" video.

Now on to the latest contest: The prize is a little different this time, and there will be three winners. Each winner will not only receive a wizardofwit t-shirt, but also their very own copy of the Cat Clips DVD, featuring 8 minutes of never-before-seen outtakes and behind-the-scenes schenanigans. To enter the contest, all you have to do is send an e-mail to Please write "Contest" in the subject line, and include your name and e-mail address. The contest is open to everyone and ends on Sunday, January 11th. Winners will be announced the following week.

Good luck to everyone!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cat Clips #35- New Years Surprise

Please click on the photo above to watch the latest "Cat Clips" episode, entitled "New Years Surprise." When the male cat suggests making their New Years resolutions, the female cat surprises him with a New Year's prediction instead.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE! I hope this year's surprises are only happy ones!