Friday, July 29, 2011

Kindle's Okay, but...

In response to a message from Amazon:

"Thanks for the Kindle message. 

I automatically get an inexpensive download pdf at http://www.lulu.com/desertpeach

People can search and read it on the format I uploaded on Nook or IPad or any other device that will open a pdf.

Costs me nothing to upload. No extra machinery or reader.  And I do drawn books ("comics").  Kindle not so good with images.

Kindle's nice for prose, but it's expensive for customers, difficult to format, and people have to buy a specific device.

It's okay as the 8-track tape, but there are other trails, now, and people are taking them.

Donna Barr
Author first, publisher second"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Who Can We Screw Now?

There's a reason I refuse to publish my friends.  Becoming a publisher meant I Went To The Dark Side:  publishing other people is Going Asshole.

Now Marvel and the Kirby family are at each other's throats. If they discover any evidence Jack (I use that as a comics-industry title of respect) was forced to sign a Yellow-Dog Contract -- had no choice or chance to negotiate -- then the family may have something.  If not, he was working for hire, and let's hope he put money in a good fund for the grandkids.

I had a chance to make good money once, but the publisher wanted full copyright -- for a mere $150.00 a page.  When are publishers going to get it through their heads that copyright is expensive?  I would have gladly signed a work-for-hire contract if there'd been copyright-level money in it.  As it is, I have the art and I plan to share it any old way I want.  Let's face it -- if they can't afford to pay you full price, they can't afford to sue you either.

My editor at the Peninsula Daily News (and I have to cut the poor woman some slack; the publisher is in the same office, right where he can see her, and they have a culture of blame-to-not-pay in that place) is pulling on the next guy what she pulled on me.  After a recent blame game they couldn't resist so they didn't have to pay me, I decided they'd get work from me -- for anything -- if they caught up on their bills.  

Now they've found another photographer, and guess what?  They owe him $300.00.  I wonder how long they'll take to run through him.  My editor at The Forks Forum pays promptly when I bill the company -- and once (I swear to gods!) reminded me to bill him three days into a new billing period!  No, honest to gods!

This guy just started photographing for them, and they owe him triple digits?  WTF?  Years ago I had to virtually beg for $20.00 for a photo and $35.00 for an article.  I'm not blaming the photographer -- he's just doing his job -- but what are they paying him?  And why?  If this is because he has the danglies, they may not know how much trouble they're in.  If it's because he's a very hard and eager worker -- and he seems to be, then more power to him.  If not, they better think about their payment structure.

The Forum pays me even less, but they're the "country weekly" that's made fun of in The Devil Bat, an old movie with Bella Legosi and a couple smart-alecky newspaper workers who must have been written by Ben Hecht.  And you know the shape small newspapers are, with every podunk business up here demanding stories along with the ads.  I think they've finally all heard my joke:  "Ads are like male prostitutes.  You get the inches you paid for."  (Why am I repeating any of this?  Kipling took these people apart in The Man Who Must Be King).

Our county commissioner -- in front of a sheriff's deputy -- sneered about how hard I worked and how little I got paid.  With me standing there (at least he did that much).  The fire department's buddy sent in a rant about me -- and the PDN PUBLISHED IT.  So if anybody's crying about lost coverage up here, you can blame those people.  I won't work for people who won't pay me, won't back me up, and make fun of me.  The commissioner, at least, has realized he better be nice to me.  I'm all they got up here to save the papers gasoline on anything but Bleed Lead stories, and I CAN SPELL AND USE GRAMMAR.  Only one other person up here can do that, and she's smart enough to devote her time to the library.

It doesn't help that there are a couple of amateur papers up here that are taking ads -- and using volunteer stories.  Not a person up here can get it through their heads that, if they want to be part of the arts and tourism industry, they have to be paid for what they do.  Especially when there's ad money involved.  Then again, they think renovating a building makes you a "hero."  Yeah, THAT culture.  

They all run around saying "we" about the Mariners (you know... that fan culture that thinks they're on the field and don't mind guv'ment money getting used to build stadiums while the roads fall apart?).  Do they ever notice the only people who ever really get paid in sports are all those media people, including the artists, writers and photographers?  It's like 1910 out here for industry, and the 1950's for the attitude toward unions and workers' rights.

Maybe if the Photosynthesis Festival comes back again, they can begin to understand artists get paid.  Our local gallery owner -- lovely lady -- was freaked over the prices those people charge.  Welcome to REAL prices and rights for creatives.  The Makah seem to realize this.  Maybe all the trouble I've described is just more Stupid White People tricks.  Then again, the First Nations people invented copyright -- it just took palefaces a couple centuries to try to sort it out, mostly because we don't seem to have the Respect gene.

A local deputy who really enjoyed working the festival was telling people, "Under all those pretty clothes, they're real capitalists!"  His tone sounded as though he thought they were being hypocritical.  I THINK I got through his head that "no socialism = no capitalism."  No roads, no clean environment, no health care, no jobs people really want to do and not used as a stranglehold, and how can anybody buy anything?  I love that moment when the eyes begin to boggle and you can see the ideas leaking in.  I think it was when I said, "I'm a good capitalist -- and a good socialist."

They ARE learning.  Now maybe the Kirby family can help the rest of us learn. Remember, cheap at the beginning, expensive at the end.  Prostitute yourself, and you end up in the hospital -- or the morgue.  Same for artists.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Questions from my German Prof

I'm still friends with my favorite Professor from college.  We've been chatting, and she said I could share:

She's DL; I'm DB, unless it's a blank paragraph, then I think it's her.  This is a couple message after the conversation got started.

Part 1:

DL: I realized that the Desert Peach must receive a brief discussion in my current book project in the representation of the Nazi.

DB: I'm not really interested in the NSDAP.  Party members only show in my books to be made fun of or compared to the idiots we have today (my readers in Germany started asking me if we were crazy or stupid after 9/11).  My READERS knew what was coming, but what was the use of warning anybody else?  And here we are, in the very mess everybody else ignored.  The Desert Peach is actually about surviving in a lethal situation, especially when you don't fit in, and helping other people who might otherwise die survive.

DB: A new story starts tomorrow, at http://www.desert-peach.com  "Beautiful" -- Rommel served in Transylvania in WWI, which makes for a chance to write fun weirdness and spooky stories. 

DL: The main topic is German lit, but I di make reference to some films and illustrated books e.g. Memelmann's illustrated memoir of his mother and Mouse, which I don't like because of the projection of human stereotypes unto animals, making mice the Nazis.j

DB: Yes, besides, Germans are not cats.  They're horses.  :)  In "Maus" the mice are the Jews (a portrayal they often use themselves).  I kinda agree -- when the horses stampede, the mice get run over.  Again with the :)

(The British are dogs.  The Japanese are cats.  I think Americans are razorback hogs.)

Part 2:

(After some remarks about the subversive quality of my work)

DB: I dunno if my stuff is that "subversive."  As I've told readers repeatedly, I base my stories on real things.  "Germans" (does that include the black North African "honorary Aryans" of the Afrika Korps? Or the Jewish soldiers (fathered by Jews = officially German) allowed to visit their relatives (Jewish mothers = officially Jews) in concentration camps until the panic of the Wannsee conference?) ended up in camps (Dachau was originally a "re-education" camp, with all its brutal connotations), kept up fashion and commercial links across and around borders, overloaded a postal box that was supposed to catch spies just to talk to their relatives and friends among the Allies, drafted confused Tibetans, and the first German soldier to die in WWII died defending Chinese refugees crowded into a German diplomatic building in China.  WWII in Germany wasn't so much history as a box of dice.

So I don't even know how any views of Germans can be subversive, when they were all over the map anyway; no people is easily put into a single box, this one included. In fact, common the media representation may be the more subversive of the reality, especially the odd American view that "Nazi" meant a form of fashion and they seemed to have no childhoods and to come from the moon.   Or they were robots.  Or something. 

Oh, God, I've written about this for years.  Don't get me started; I can bore for England.

Part 3: 

Well, Germans. Germans are fiction, the home-spun myths of origin, Nibelungen, racial science, etc. is the stuff of the fantastic. The entire Nazi get up, banners, skull rings, uniforms, (Hugo Boss fashioned the SS uniforms by the way),the gleaming cars and boots, what theatrical staffage, all of which became the stuff of fiction and fantasy. Recently there has been an increasing literary interest in North Africa, i.e. Vertlib's Am Morgen des 12. Tages. Good book. historical characters mix with invented ones (not in the fantastic mode, though).

D:  For a lot of Americans, Germans are our relatives. You want to see a book will make a German-American (I got those in my ancestry) howl, get "German Humor -- On The Fritz."  It's about German Americans, not native Germans, but still.... It even shows you how to NOT make a peanut-butter sandwich, according to a German American ("See if I care.").

D:  There's something going on I've called (tongue-in-cheek) "KrautGrrls."  Girls mad about the uniforms and blonds, who slowly begin to be led into the actual history.  They're very self-aware about their likes and why.  I was one of those as a child, but it made me study the real history.  A German girl, one of my loyal readers, went to North Africa just to see, and married a Moroccan.  And thanked me for it.  So we authors have to be careful what we write.... :P

Just a few thoughts
Spiegelmann: unkind to cats, he unfortunately represented Germans as cats.

D:  Well, he was only reporting his dad's experiences.  I'm sorry, girl, but I've dealt with Germans AND horses, and YOU PEOPLE ARE HORSES.  Same sense of humor, posture and hiearchy.  Gods help you if a horse or a German finds out what bugs you and starts to tease you about it.

The creation of the exceptional unit led by Manfred R., great idea, undermines the notion of Nazi order and organization.

D:  It's what happened after Poland; bits and pieces thrown together to make patchwork units.  I didn't make it up, or the gold-rush (for the Indians) atmosphere of the regime.  If you get into the later part of the series, you'll find that what Pfirsich's up to is trying to rescue people, but, as he said, "THEY've got guns, WE've got paper, how is this fair?"  He gets awfully exasperated sometimes.

Part 4 (I think):
Things were rather chaotic in remote areas.

D:  "Catch 22" is more real than most people know.

Also excellent the notions of the corpse management by oddballs and misfits--"Germans" who did not quite fit the mold were usually not just done away with but relegated to low profile thankless jobs.

D:  Yes, it's NOT QUITE a punishment battalion, but if it were ever really examined, it could become one.  They're lucky the Nazis are running around with their heads up their asses.

And the gay and transsexual theme--it permeates NS history: Roehm, Goering in drag, and the homophobia that made it necessary to hide this "deviation from the norm."

D:  Goering did that to piss off Hitler.  Junker vs. middle class.  It must have been like the Bush whitehouse in there...  "Queer" as a slur was the excuse for the Night of the Long Knives.  The German army was a good place to hide, be you gay or the wrong blood or religion.  "Hogan's Heroes" got it weirdly right when the doctor sarcastically told Klink, "You can breathe and stand up for 5 seconds -- you've passed the physical for the German army."  (What the Germans did in that show was based on 150 years of German military humor.  But who am I telling this?  My old lit teacher!  I'm preaching to the chorus).

At any rate, it's the images that make the characters and the plot subversive. There is humor in the clothes and gestures (Red Baron), and in the creatures (face horse) that are on a level playing field with the Nazi characters. Most of all, the language and the use of German on different levels, vocabulary, accent mixed with English.

D:  Oh, me and my "Barrdeutsch."  It's almost its own language.... spoken by one person.  That's partially your fault, you know...

the annotation for unfamiliar terms as in a Sachbuch, the prim and proper Peach in sexy modified outfits reminiscent of the sexy outfit of young NS adjutants.

D:  Actually, the role Pfirsich is playing at the time is "fop" -- a very masculine role in the German and English armies.  In American, that would be "fairy."  In the military of the time in Europe, waving a handkerchief was the performance of an 18th-century gentleman's personality. It worked as a disguise. I had more and more fun screwing around with what things were supposed to be and what they really were (whatever real means).  But I'm lucky -- I have clever readers who GET it.

  The characters blend some expected accessories of the Germanic type embraced by the NS, but otherwise deviate from the established stereotypes (see movies like Jud Suess), notably in terms of sexuality: according to racial "science" and propaganda,  the Nordic type was chaste critter, a late bloomer, and pure in every way. The Peach has such features but the feminization take him beyond the norm. Immediately oppositional authors created anti-NS types that were grimy, generally unappetizing, and corrupt (e.g. Brecht, Fr. Wolf, Bruno Apitz). You feature examples of those types.

D:  Those aren't types.  Those are people I've seen (I've known too many weirdoes). Most soldiers are grimy and unappetizing all the time.  Most people have to be corrupt in a dying empire (do tell!) to survive. 

Your work is subversive in that it evokes and erodes expectations, stereotypes, and applies humor and the grotesque in an unlikely environment. Undoubtedly it is a very uncomfortable text for neo-Nazis as well as for the sanctimonious.

D:  I'm very proud that the American Nazi Party (at least according to the child of one of the members) declared me an "Antichrist."  I wish I could prove that. I think I converted one of them with the Peach (not in sexuality, but tolerance).  I know I've helped homophobes examine their fears and turn around, helped homosexuals come out and accept themselves and even helped Jews stop blaming themselves. My Jewish readers say that they're constantly taught about the abuses without seeing how it built -- or even that all they were were an excuse for so many things, including economic grab -- and they end up doing what victims with no reasons do; they ask, "What did WE do wrong?"  When they get to see the stupidity and greed of the structure they can lay it back where it belongs.  It's not so much the horses were hunting down the mice as mice, but that the barn was burning the horses started to run, and the mice got trampled.  The war made it impossible for anyone to examine the building process, and as usual when it's all guys, Ejaculation Thinking won out over Pregnancy Thinking (I don't think I gotta explain THAT!"

D:  I'm really disgusted that we've used Nazism to ignore what the Germans went through, and take it as a warning. Or maybe that's just us being our usual stupid City On The Hill Selves ("God loves us so we get to kill everybody and everything and own and steal everything.").  It's fun watching the First Nations begin to use the international laws that came into being after 1945 and were first applied to Germans to come after us.  I'm enjoying it.  Americans are finally beginning to realize that, compared to us and our history, youse guys were amateurs.  We did it longer, worse, to more people and land, with more legal intent, and got away with it.  And provided the studies of race (as an excuse for slavery and manifest destiny) that would poison the future.  "Pioneer" is not so much a term we want to brag about any more.  The Indians are coming out of hiding and using the laws.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha. 

DL:  Be that as it may, I am sitting in the sun room with a lightly snoring geriatric cat next to me who will need her milk to improve den Stoffwechsel.

DB:  Well, you can't ask for better than that.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Only White Men Get Fish?

A local deputy is evidently going around telling other people who fish that I "feed the fish to a cat."  Is this gossip?  Why it pissed me off:

Yup.  Price.  Who wouldn't eat anything else.  Yeah, I'm doing a big sinful thing giving precious resources that belong only to these guys to a family member.  A member of my family who was dying.
And if I want to use the few fish I can catch to feed the heads to my cats, the bodies to me, and the scraps to the chickens -- if fact, if I want to use them to fertilize corn -- that's my business.

But evidently only white males are supposed to get anything in this country.

And yeah, make smart remarks about a cat I had to fight for since February to try to keep alive.  When I have a DSL account.  And a blog.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Crampons Keep Tearing Loose.

Okay. Screw it. This stupid Writer's Plateau? First of all, I've spent the last three years processing books for Indyplanet (search The Desert Peach or Stinz or Bosom Enemies or Hader and the Colonel). So the plateau jump is not that old.  It doesn't even have fossils in it, yet.

To best explain a "plateau" think Hitchcock's The Trouble With Harry as the moment the ladder pulled out of the cliff.  Think Family Plot is the nice base camp when he got up onto the plateau.  When you're a young writer, there are few plateaus, or they're so small and close, you think they're just orgasm (there's a reason the thrill of writing often shows up down there).  When you've been at this game awhile, nothing -- repeat nothing -- is good enough.  Sometimes plateaus can take ten years.  People who think of them as "blocks" -- with its connotations of entrapment and the inability to move -- have been known to commit suicide.  There are too many examples among artists and writers.

I always have an end-of-project panic.  I go into learned helplessness.  Everything is a plateau, and they keep getting bigger.  Sometimes I scramble up a smaller hill because it's easier.  The recent death of my cat, with all its struggles, doesn't help.

Right now the only writer money I'm making is off the POD books (which is small, steady and growing and very much WWWID*) and checks from the country weekly I freelance for.  My blessing is an editor who understands the insane distances and confusions up here, and who is in charge of his little paper, without a publisher in the same office breathing down his neck who does not seem to understand the difference between gossip and research -- and uses the blame game to not pay the freelancer.  Oh, am I now talking about the county daily I don't ever want to hear from again (unless they PayPal what they owe me into my account and start paying me Canadian writer prices)?

Par'm the moment of bitchiness.  I did hear from my Good Editor's wife that he remarked it was nice to work with a professional.  Pobably because when I do screw up -- and that's often enough -- he asks me to rewrite the correction, and I'm happy to do it).  I told her I like working with a professional who not only pays immediately upon being billed -- but reminds me to bill him if I forget.  

This guy is a surfer dude, by the way.  The supposedly flaky people.  How come the supposedly professional people are such losers, and the artsy types are so laid back and goal-oriented?  Oh.  Well, that explains that.

ANYWAY (I should call my blog "anyway"), to continue what I started up there, I'm going to poke at this very bad prose novel until it rises from the dead.  So to speak.  

And continue to work on A Little Death, because my agent is a comics agent, and he is trying very hard to sell my collected work and is scaring the entire mainstream book industry half to death.  Lord, lord, lord. 

*Will Work When I'm Dead.

Envy and Rage

Is one of the steps in grieving bitterness?

A perfectly nice man's perfectly nice dog ran up to us again.  She's very old, white-faced, deaf, has had repeated strokes.  She's happy, silly, and full of life.

I can't help but be bitter when I see these nice creatures, because all I can think is, "Why did sweet happy Price have to go through such a bad end?  Why is this dog still alive after she's been through so much?"

There is, of course, no "Why."  Shit happens.  This only makes sense if there is no god.  Because if there were, he's an undipt pinhead, nasty, brutal, with a short memory.

Dogs and humans seem to wander along for years after strokes, heart attacks and rheumatism.  Horses and cats seem to be well all their lives -- and then collapse, quickly and often horribly.  Dogs fade and give us a chance.  Felines rip our hearts out.  Dogs don't hurt any less, but they seem to bitch-slap us less.  This is just me thinking with a keyboard, nothing more.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Price -- The Day After

Here's my Facebook Page entry (with additions):  "Thank you so much, everybody. We had a lovely funeral, walked the beach, waded around in the mouth of the Clallam river, then went to the Clallam Bay Inn for MacNJack and Fish and chips.This morning I bumped into an invisible kitty hock and accidentally put down the same number of bowls (which I left; I figured he'd get the spirit food). 

Thank all of you so much for all your prayers and thoughts for him. I think funerals let us cry for ourselves, too (why dry-humored Britain went to pieces over Princess Di). I'm sharing the t-shirt quote. It gave me the first laugh today."

The T-shirt line:  "All our kitties and our favorite t-shirts are waiting for us in heaven."  

After a thorough washcloth bathing the night before, and being formed into a comfy posture and left to cool down and compose himself on a red towel in the back bathtub,  Price was wrapped in a grey, silver-shot pashmina I'd found years ago scrunched down in a knot in a filthy muddy hole  in a Seattle sidewalk and not only resurrected, but wore for years.  His outside wrap was one of Dan's maternal grandmother's quilts, on the bed for years and beginning to fray (We use respected old fabrics as funeral wraps). They were both handled by us and the cats, so they would smell familiar.  As we dug the grave, he got to lie in the middle room on the guest bed, which he'd always loved.

The grave was in sand, bedded with salmon-berry branches, then the mummy bundle -- head to the west -- topped with a wooden bowl with milk, margarine and a chunk of freshly-cooked salmon, wrapped in a red silk shirt I'd been saving for a funeral, covered with peach and plum twigs and some sword fern, then more salmon berry, then filled in carefully with goodbyes and hopes.  On top went a crystal vase with a red wrapped beeswax candle, surrounded by four Rainforest incense sticks.  The candle burned all day.  The salmon-berry birds sang in the woods into evening.

We should all get such funerals.

Good traveling, Price.

Price in my Seattle Pashmina

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Goodbye Price -- Running to Catch Up

I won't go into all yesterday's details, but Price has gone beyond all pain.

We sat outside with him all yesterday in the sun.  I asked a good client for time, and was told not to worry (Thank you!).

My editor emailed me at one point and said he needed details for a Fun Days story.  I whipped downtown on my bike and while there, picked up a nice pink salmon from the Jack Mackerel Seafood Company.  Put the body down in salt for smoking, micro-waved the head and tail.  Price hadn't been eating, not really, for days, nor drinking water, so I didn't have much hope of him sampling the food.  He was at the stage where they take a sniff and turn away in disgust.  I ran a little warm water over it, in case he would take some liquid.
This time, his neck arched and he jetted his face into the salmon, gobbling chunks and slurping up the salmon water.  We were surprised and a bit worried; "Is he just packing for the last journey?"  Clouds came over the sun as the afternoon passed, and we all went inside, where I set him up on his nice plaid blanket.

He'd been doing so well, I took a break and went to the beach for a walk.  There, the beautiful rainbow of a sundog pulled me into watching the sun set.  I was probably gone fifteen minutes.

When I came back, I was shocked to hear Dan choke, "He's safe.  He's gone where he can never hurt again."  

Right at sunset, he gave a little meow, that Dan says sounded like, "Wait for me!"  His legs -- all four of them -- ran a few steps as he lay there, and, as Dan said, "He just ran out of his body."

His heart stopped, and he was gone.  Maybe he zipped down to the beach to say goodbye to me, in his brand-new spiffy young spirit body.  But I can't see spirits, I can only hear them; in two weeks or so, Dan should see him run down the hallway and look at him before romping off.  We've done this a lot.

Funeral today.  Thank all of you for the kind thoughts and hopes.  Thank our good vet and his staff for helping us so much.  We remember.

Final video from yesterday: Price licking his favorite rock (loadable to IPad).  This is so Price.

video

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Price The Good Cat - He Wins.


Don't want to bum anybody out, but many people have been rooting for Price.  We did, however, know what was coming.

Price has really stopped eating, drinking or grooming himself.  I'm not going to bother him with his wheelchair any more; that can be saved for the next problem in another cat.  If he wants to go outside, he can limp along pretty well at this point; he has his little bootie on his limp foot.

Here he is, after a little Diazapan, freshly washcloth-bathed, on his comfy sofa.  The gray blanket is one of two, at this point being used like a diaper.  Sometimes he'll take an edge of the plaid blanket on his back.  This is just before the drug kicked in.  It's a very small dose; just enough to relax him and let him sleep in comfort.

There's a point where you stop bugging the old person and let them work on their last job.  He's 16 years old, warm, safe, relaxed, pain free.  As we say on Facebook:  Price wins.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Price and his wheelchair.

This is Price in his new wheelchair.  Now it can be seen.  He's figured out two ways to get out of it -- jump up on the couch, or roll it over.  CATS.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Price's First REAL wheelchair.

The only reason I'm not posting Price's first tryouts in his real wheelchair is because these folks asked me not to until we'd gotten it properly adjusted and working. We ordered the cart in the PM and got it in the AM the next day (admittedly, they're kind of around the corner from us, but it still came by a circuitous route and still made it).

Been monkeying with the adjustments, after watching the CD that came with the cart. Every piece of the cart adjusts.  About 2:40 on Youtube you can see one of the carts in action.

Yesterday, when he was in the cart, along with all the griping and complaining, he headed for the door.  "Let's see what this babe will do on grass!"  I told him he had to practice a few days first, and get adjusted right.  Instead, he spent the day behind the solar panels by the house, curled up in the grass, enjoying being outside with Dan, who was doing yard work or reading.  Dan needed some sun, anyway.
Price never was much of a touchy-feely cat, and he wouldn't take being covered with a blanket. He now spends his days and nights on the couch, tucked in with a plaid blanket.  In the evening, he wants to be snuggled up under my chin, purring and getting petted. So I have to lay on the couch petting Price rather than getting any art work down, and that's just how it is.  Gonna have to just change my ancient schedule, I guess, retrain my brain to do art in the daylight.  I'm glad we have sets of DVDs, like Treme, from the library.

Price ate very well yesterday, but not today.  He seems to be eating and drinking every other day.  We'll give the adjusted cart another try today, and film it for K9.

I'm quite worried about a hard lump in his belly, but the vet says it's probably scar tissue -- and he just didn't want to cut on him any more. Not after the massive surgery he's already had.  How much suffering do we want to put an old person through?  

In the meantime, he's resting and wanting outside occasionally.  Yesterday he almost got away from me, three legs and all, as he slipped out the door past me and whipped down the stairs.  There's life in the old cat yet.