A cat by any other name

Squish me to the moon


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Meow at me

On the very rare times that I actually get a chance to go to my office (not the place I'm currently assigned for this project, but my *real* office, where I have a desk and a door with a nameplate and pictures on the wall and everything), I drive through a series of back country roads to get there. It's kind of fun to try to figure out what the farmers are growing, although I think they should be required to put signs on the side of the road with names or at least pictures so those of us clueless people driving by can figure out what the heck those green leafy things are going to produce someday without peering out the window and nearly ramming the big old faded yellow tractor that Joe Bob is tootling down the road at the high speed of oh......13 miles per hour. But other than that and yelling back at the roosters who continually do their best to prove that chickens really have *no* brains by running head-first into oncoming traffic, there's usually not much exciting to see.

Until recently, that is. As I was driving to the office a few weeks ago I noted something rather peculiar going on. There was a large gathering of trucks and assorted big construction type gadgets assembled around a rather large pile of mud in the middle of a field. And on top of this pile they were assembling what looked to be some sort of tower.

The next time I drove by I had a friend in the car and so I slowed down to take a closer look.

"It's like a rocket launcher," she mentioned, and I had to agree. Granted the only time either of us has seen a rocket launcher was from watching old new clips of various spaceships taking off, but hey, this was the closest description we could come up with. There was this tall tower with steps and stuff and a whole handful of really long and skinny poles and lights and everything.

Of course this started the imagination going and we pondered why it was that someone would be building a rocket launcher in the middle of a farm field in the back of beyond that surrounds the town I live in. I mean, for all I know, this could be some secret experiment - someone finally figured out a use for all the road-kill tomatoes. Rocket fuel!

Those of you who do not live near a tomato processing plant are probably eying that last phrase in a bit of confusion, but trust me, anyone who has spent time in my part of California in the summer understands the concept of road-kill tomatoes. They hire college kids each year to drive the tomato trucks - big rickety trucks that sport two huge bins, which are piled high with tomatoes and then carted to the factories, where they leave their larval form and become what the Goddess intended them to be - sauce. In the process of taking the tomatoes to their final destination, however, sometimes these drivers are a bit too eager on the turns, and every so often a few dozen tomatoes grab their chance and leap from the truck to commit suicide on the side of the road. Their poor little bodies are then squashed to death by passing cars. Road-kill tomatoes. They are everywhere in the summer. You can trace the path from field to factory by following the trail of bleeding little red carcasses.

But anyway, back to the rocket launcher. It's been there for the past few weeks and I've had fun trying to imagine just what it was that they were going to do with this odd tower. Sadly though, as I drove home today I realized I may never know. Whoever built it is now taking it down. The tower is lying on its side on the pile of mud, still surrounded by trucks and assorted construction equipment.

Sorry, NASA. Guess you need something stronger than ketchup.