By Frank Indiana and Dennis Knight
January 6th is Will Someone Feed The Cat’s birthday. That being the case, we decided to compose a Wrap, featuring 10 of Cat’s offsite articles.
It’s our way of saying, “Thanks for caring about others with passion and for making OS an even better and more inclusive place than it ever would be without you.”
For those of you who don’t know Cat, her real name is Lorraine. She writes for The Toronto Star and The Hamilton Spectator. Her columns run twice weekly.
Yep. That’s two deadlines a week.
Lorraine has also been published in various other forums and publications; most recently being awarded, January’s Humor Writer of the Month by the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, and featured in their January Newsletter.
Lorraine works tirelessly here at Open Salon, finding and spotlighting the talent of OS members in her now famous (or infamous) Friday Wraps.
She does this for free. Unless you count the standard accumulated tippem fees which I’m guessing are probably somewhere between .000001 - .0000001 ¢ents per year - just like the rest of us.
She reads our stuff, writes succinct and heartfelt reviews, and gives Open Salon writers what they hope for: a chance to shine and be read by others.
Oh. And the opportunity to wear a tiara.
As a disclaimer, Frank is a former recipient of the coveted Friday Wrap Tiara Award. It now resides in his trophy room, along with hundreds (actually thousands) of other awards.
We were going to ask Lorraine to take a picture of herself wearing a tiara for this piece. But it turns out she wears one most of the time in real life. Here she is being photographed with a pal on a recent trip. Note the headgear. Sheesh.
Okay then. Enough introduction. Here’s our birthday present to Lorraine. 10 articles written in Lorraine’s inimitable style and reviewed by us - with a tiny featurette at the end, titled, Cat Nip, revealing a few little known and somewhat shocking truths about her life.
Happy Birthday Lorraine. You done good kid.
Lorraine’s Articles from Wheels - Reviewed by Frank
In an auto industry gone “Humpty Dumpty” (Lorraine’s most apt description), what makes you think everything’s going to be the same when you turn in your leased vehicle? As usual, Lorraine’s way ahead of you. In Returning Your Lease? Don’t Get Gouged, she chats up the president of Automobile Protection Association, who offers lots of tips for people whose leases are about to expire. “He also notes that APA experts, on average, have reduced the estimated tab to lessees by as much as 50%,” says Lorraine. Dang. Who even knew there was such a thing as the APA?
We all personalize our vehicles. Some people go for fuzzy dice. Some people want statues of St. Christopher and dream catchers. (I go for cracked jewel cases and candy wrappers on the floor.) In My Next Car Comes With A Chainsaw, Lorraine has some words for you: “Windows are to see through, not declare where you’ve been, what you’ve done, or that you’re protected from evil spirits. I remain baffled by consumers who revel in owning all the latest in airbag technology and the finest braking systems, who then plunk a box of Kleenex in their back window and a GPS in the centre of their field of vision.” Note the Canadian spelling of “center.” Don’t even ask about the chainsaw.
Don’t get Lorraine started on names. It seems that Renault has decided to name its newest model “Zoe.” With an umlaut over the “e.” (Shades of Spinal Tap!) And lots of prickly French parents have their berets in a twist. But in What’s In A Name?, Lorraine points out how car names have become kid names. Many of us know a Mercedes, a Dakota, a Sierra. Back in the ‘80s, I considered naming my son Gremlin after the car I was driving at the time. I passed. But his middle name is Country Squire.
I make no bones about it: I am terrified of motorcycles. I come by my terror honestly; from the time I was old enough to ride a trike, my mother made me understand that “motorcycle” was a synonym for “instant death. Butch Kelly’s parents agreed with mine. But that didn’t stop her from marrying Jim and becoming part of a group known as the Steel City Riders. “Part of a group like your heart is part of your body,” notes Lorraine. Lorraine was there when Butch was inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame—and wrote a beautiful portrait of Butch for her readers. Which include me. There’s nothing scary about reading about motorcycles, especially when Lorraine’s doing the writing.
Leave it to Lorraine to provide holiday tips for—wait for it—parking. Boxing Week Rules is a practical mediation how to keep everything—including your car, your packages, your keester, and, most of all, your sanity—safe this holiday season. Hey, the parking lot is a dangerous place. Lorraine shows you how to negotiate it with her typical grace and good humor. She also references “Boxing Week,” which is apparently something they celebrate in Canada.
Lorraine’s Articles from Motherlode & Other Features - Reviewed by DennisOkay. I admit this is one of my personal favorites. Picture Lorraine trying to talk her sister Gillian into appearing on a Canadian reality TV show called, Mantracker. Got that image firmly in your mind? Now add the concept of the show: Lorraine and Gillian are “the prey,” released into a remote wilderness in Canada for 36 hours and hunted by Mantracker - Terry Grant. This is classic stuff folks.
Lorraine’s family is often the inspiration for the funny as well as the nostalgia in her posts. This one features a Canadian TV show about people who never throw anything away, “to do” lists that may never get done, and undiagnosed metal disorders as the fodder for the whimsy.
Ever have to take your kid to get his driver’s license renewed? Well, imagine a similar scenario in Canada except it’s the renewal of a health card. Watch Lorraine and her son spar in the government office and smile along with them for the camera. This link takes you right to the Toronto Star.
If you’ve never visited Lorraine’s blog you really should. Her blog is a little different than her columns. She’s a bit freer to express herself at her snarkiest. Which is always very entertaining. Scroll down to the entry for December 21, 2009, titled, “Slate and the Explainer.” Prepare to hold your sides and become an instant fan of the blog.
Last but not least, Lorraine writes an advice column titled, Blame It On Lorraine. Yep. You can send in a question and receive an answer. You’ll find her replies are witty, wise, and whimsical. You’ll also recognize the same caring compassionate heart we’ve come to admire here at Open Salon, offering counsel seasoned with kind humor.
Lorraine says she loves to meet pressing needs in her community. We’re not really sure where that community is. And we’re not really sure we want to know.
As most of you know, the only member on Open Salon that Lorraine has chosen to “favorite” is The National Geographic Channel.
The reason for this is not really much of a mystery.
Lorraine is fond of boasting about her Canadian citizenship. But in the course of researching this piece (okay, using the Google on the internets) we came across this embarrassing photo. Note what appears to be the Canadian border flag in the distance.
Lorraine met with us in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to discuss this birthday article.
She expressed outrage after realizing that we both use stock photos boosted from the internet for our avatars. We had assumed her photos were fake too.
Lorraine partied with us anyway and after plenty of gin, Night Train, and a few warm pints of Guinness she talked us into posing for a photograph.
She threatened to expose us by posting the photo of our actual faces unless we promised not to publish this birthday piece.
We weighed the consequences and decided to outfox the Cat and post the photo ourselves. Here's Cat with the two of us, whooping it up at the Florida club.
The rest of this post is for the Open Salon family to leave whatever comments you want for Lorraine. Try hard to embarrass the heck out of her :)
We were able to contact only a few of you about this post. All of you would have been contacted if we had not run out of time. Open Salon is a huge family now. So please know that each and every one of you is important, appreciated, respected, and - equally - asked to comment on this post.