Subject: Building A Better Mousetrap, Day 1
Date: May 5, 2007 9:05:42 AM EDT
When I sent you the message concerning the Warner Brothers animated film Cats Don't Dance, I made an allusion to the benefits of having a sentient, anthropomorphic feline as a secretary. The more I thought about it, the more certain of my belief I'm sitting on a veritable gold mine. Take a little money, time, study, and research and … viola! … the end result is lots of little kitty secretaries for which the world would beat a path to my door. Surely a better mousetrap in more ways than one!
With that goal in mind, this morning I mailed my letter of resignation to my employer, went to a yard sale, and bought a used chemistry set, a used microscope and a gene splicer (Okay, it's really a roll of Scotch tape, but if I cut it very, very, very thin, I'm sure I can splice some genes with it). The SPCA refused to give me a cat so I then went to a local farmer who sold me a chicken.
I know it's not a cat, but I'm not discouraged. I'm certain I've read that all the great scientists who made breakthrough discoveries started out with chickens … Einstein, Edison, Madame Curie, Booker T. Washington, da Vinci.
I will keep you informed as to my progress as I continue toward my goal of creating the world's first sentient, anthropomorphic cat. Mark this date well. I am sure to go down in history!!!!
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Dr. C. Loewen
* * * * *
Subject: Building A Better Mousetrap, Day 2
Date: May 6, 2007 10:55:42 PM EDT
The chicken blew up.
I'm really not all that discouraged because Wikipedia tells me most famous scientists had their chickens blow up the first few times around. In fact, I discovered that Edison blew up over 100 chickens before he realized they made poor light bulbs.
And how many chickens did Booker T. Washington bury before he finally discovered peanuts?
Anyway, my laboratory is covered with chicken feathers and I must go do some cleanup. Well, my laboratory is really my coat closet 'cause my wife won't let me work anywhere else, but, MARK THIS DAY! Someday, when my kitty secretaries are making coffee and taking dictation, you will be GLAD you knew me in these early halcyon days of my genius.
I would close by laughing fiendishly, but I discovered that I'm allergic to chicken feathers and I'm stuck on a coughing jag.
Dr. C. Loewen
* * * * *
Subject: Building A Better Mousetrap, Day 3
Date: May 7, 2007 6:05:42 AM EDT
After the chicken debacle, I decided to follow the literary example of Mary Wallstonecraft Shelley, author of Frankenstein and procure another subject more suitable for my experiments.
Therefore, last night, under the light of a crescent moon rising in the east with clouds of heat lightning illuminating the west, I snuck into the local pet cemetery and desecrated the grave of Piffles … Beloved Pet.
Hurrying home with my ill-gotten volunteer, I prepared to make history!
I remember it so clearly. The Jacob's Ladders were arcing, the gyros were gyrating, Tesla coils were spitting out spikes of electricity, filling the air with the odor of ozone and casting dancing shadows on the coat closet walls (none of them actually do anything, but I do have a flair for the dramatic). As the lightning storm intensified I pulled the lever that opened the roof and turned the great crank that lifted the bed that bore the cold lifeless corpse of Piffles … Beloved Pet into the sky amidst the gusting winds, the lashing rain, and the bolts of lightning.
Suddenly, the laboratory rocked as massive bolts of energy each bearing millions of watts of electricity slammed into the bed, each bolt hotter than the surface of the sun. The thunder cracked windows and was matched only by my howls of mad laughter as I watched bolt after bolt surge through my machinery and the body of Piffles … Beloved Pet which lay so high above my head.
Within moments I was turning the crank to lower my creation back into the laboratory.
Sadly, Shelley was wrong. Lightning does not bring deceased matter back to life. In reality it deep fries it to a crisp crackly crunch. I went and reburied Piffles … Beloved Pet.
However, as I was tamping the last spadeful of earth back onto the grave, a little white kitten came out of nowhere and began caressing my ankles and purring. With a shout of triumph, I swooped her up to discover I had obtained a little white spitfire.
The doctor in the ER said that with therapy I might get full use of my left hand back someday.
Nonetheless, I have my cat. I will keep you fully informed as to my progress as I make my way toward becoming a millionaire. MARK THIS DAY! Someday, you will be glad to say, "I knew Craig before his Nobel Prize."
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!, etc.
Dr. C. Loewen
* * * * *
Subject: Building A Better Mousetrap, Day 4
Date: May 8, 2007 9:05:42 AM EDT
Before my progress report, I feel compelled to respond to your previous message sent to me on May 8, 2007 5:19:19 AM EDT:
Craig, Exploding chickens? Have you thought of the weapons potential of this? Smuggle a chicken in and use it to attack people or destroy military defenses or annoy your friends! If the weapon thing bothers you, think of this as a great party gag. Remember, some of the best research was stumbled upon and I say you stumble with the best of them. -- The Col.My dear, I must say that it appears you are not taking my research seriously. My goal to create a sentient race of feline secretaries goes far beyond military uses or party gags. I search for a higher, nobler purpose which shall someday place my visage on Mount Rushmore as well as make me rich beyond my wildest dreams (and my dreams can be quite wild!). Of course, I'm being all very humble about this and what not. But I digress …
You can imagine my delight when I discovered in the Ladies Home Journal an article listing a mail-order source for carrier viruses for genetic research ("Cooking With Vegetables You Mutate Yourself!" April 2007, pp 125-128). A quick phone call and 24-hours later I was growing carrier viruses loaded with a heady blend of Homo sapien and Felis catus DNA.
As I victoriously carried the Petri dishes from the growing chamber to the work station, I sadly broke one of the samples, the glass deeply cutting my thumb. It appears the tragic accident is one of those good news-bad news type of events. The good news is that I'm no longer bald. The bad news is that my hair color has changed from red to a sort of calico.
Nonetheless, I will not let a minor set back dissuade me. You’ve seen pictures of Albert Einstein and how his hair suffered from his experiments with relativity.
The DNA has been doing its work quite rapidly in my little white kitten friend. I have seen signs of expanding intelligence which I am cultivating by showing video tapes of Sesame Street and other assorted PBS shows played at the fastest speed possible. Her first exposure to a word processing program resulted in her first typewritten missive:
"I kill Big Bird."
I would write more, but tears of joy have made the screen blur and my mascara run. MARK THIS DAY! Someday, you will say, "I knew Craig before his face was carved on Mount Everest!"
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Dr. C. Loewen
* * * * *
Subject: Building A Better Mousetrap, Day 5
Date: May 9, 2007 9:32:42 AM EDT
On May 9, 2007 5:22:32 AM EDT, you wrote:
Craig, I have a question: is the little white cat blue-eyed? Doesn't that mean its deaf? Won't a deaf secretary be a bit of a problem. How will it take dictation? Answer phones? Yell at annoying servicemen (repair type, not military type)? -- The Col.My dear, dispel all your worries since Pepsi, whom I have named after the sustaining beverage that has carried me through these many days, has developed into an exquisitely-formed, five foot, two inch tall, green-eyed, anthropomorphic feline beauty. The only difficulty is that I got her at the start of her shedding season and, as you're a cat owner and know how cats shed, you can imagine what a five foot, two inch tall cat can do. My house looks like an explosion in an albino mink fur factory.
Mounds of fur aside, I've clocked Pepsi at ninety-five words a minute on a Dvorak key board, but, sadly, she has inherited a tad too much of the feline nature. When she doesn't feel like working she says things like, "Bugger off!" or "Want me to claw your eyes out?" Several times when I asked her to do something for me, I found the task left undone while she read Garfield cartoons from the paper. Most unprofessional, if you ask me.
She also ate the computer mouse.
And it may be just my imagination, but I think my stash of catnip tea is disappearing too.
I may have seen success as a tad premature, but I shall endeavor to keep you posted on my slow, but determined march toward fame and financial success.
Dr. C. Loewen
* * * * *
Subject: Building A Better Mousetrap, Day 6
Date: May 10, 2007 3:31:42 PM EDT
It appears the experiment has fizzled. Pepsi has left me and ran off to join a traveling veterinary convention as an exotic dancer.
You may say it's sour grapes, but I'm relieved the experiment ended this way. She was costing me a bundle in kitty litter and all last night she kept us awake working on a hairball.
I've given up on sentient feline secretaries. Fortunately, my letter of resignation to my employer returned due to insufficient postage, so I still have my day job.
Now I'm working on another idea—sentient food. This would give lonely people something to talk to when they eat at McDonald's.
The farmer has agreed to sell me another chicken tomorrow.
(Title graphic is labeled for noncommercial use with modification. Owner of the graphic is unclear, but may be located here.)