Cat Horoscopes & Other Diversions

From editorial review:

How do you launch your own psychic hotline? Get the plumber to your house when you need him? Choose the perfect cat based upon the position of celestial bodies? Cat Horoscopes and Other Diversions is a cornucopia of indispensable information on these and other subjects--and you know how hard it is to find a decent cornucopia these days. These essays are selections from the syndicated newspaper column that Dan Borengasser wrote for Copley News Service.

Paperback: 116 pages
Publisher: Spring Street Books
Date: April 15, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0979520419
Artwork by Jamie Hayes
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 Willie Nelson Reads Cat Horoscopes!

Excerpt from the Book:
Cat Horoscopes:

Cats are, of course, one of the most popular pets. However, to properly care for a cat, you must understand the feline personality. This isn’t easy since cats aren’t exactly what you’d call “chummy.”

To help you better appreciate your kitty, I’ve consulted the stars, the sun, the moon and a one-eyed mystic from Oshkosh known as Swami River. From this research, I’ve compiled a comprehensive cat horoscope:

ARIES (March 21 – April 19): The Aries cat is sneaky, impulsive and loves to eat June bugs. Often shy and retiring, the Aries feline can hide under the sofa for weeks, coming out only occasionally to vomit.

Growing Old:

When are you an old person? It’s becoming more and more difficult to know.

On the one hand, Americans are living longer. Many people in their seventies and eighties are frisky as jackrabbits.

On the other hand, the American Association of Retired People, the official organization for coots, accepts membership as early as the age of fifty.

So how can you tell when you’re old? Here are some reliable ways –

If you refer to Methuselah as “that young pup.”
If your next birthday party will be hosted by the nice folks at Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
If you’re not allowed to an “R” rated movie without a paramedic.
If you’re the poster person for the National Prune Council.
If you’re dating an 80-year-old and people accuse you of “robbing the cradle.”
If you went to your high school reunion and you were the only one there.

Rules of Travel:

The lovely Mrs. Borengasser and I recently left the country. Happily, it wasn’t at the request of the State Department. We were going on a vacation to a small island in the Caribbean. As a result of that trip, we’ve developed a list of rules for traveling abroad.

Never believe a travel brochure.
According to travel brochures, the sun always shines, and the natives all think you’re the greatest thing since sliced guava. Your destination is a place where dreams come true. Dreams come true all right, especially if you’re dreaming of gale force winds, surly service and prices higher than Mt. McKinley. In brochure-speak, “overlooking the ocean” means you’re on the side of a mountain and you can see the water with a pair of military binoculars. “Romantic hideaway” means inaccessible by normal modes of transportation. “Rustic charm” means no electricity.


For many, dieting is a way of life.

If you’re wondering whether you, too, should be on a diet, here are several telltale signs:

Do you have to ask someone whether your shoes are tied?
When you recently tried on last year’s swimsuit, did you have to be extricated from it with the Jaws of Life?
Does the Pillsbury Doughboy have a better physique?
When you wear that old sweatshirt, does it look like Spandex?
When you refer to your chin, do use the plural?
Do you have wattles?
Perhaps you’re already on a diet. Then, the question to ask yourself is whether you feel reasonably happy and well adjusted. If the answer is yes, then most likely your diet is a bad one. For a diet to be effective, you should be miserable. Remember that the first three letters of “diet” spell “die.”

Income Tax:

The deadline for submitting your income tax is approaching. (The great thing about this statement is that it’s always true.)

The general rule of taxes is that, if you’re getting a refund, file immediately. If you owe money, stall.

To help you with your taxes, I’ve provided answers to some commonly asked questions—

QUESTION: What exactly is a tax shelter?

ANSWER: A tax shelter is a place to hide where the IRS can’t find you. It is also referred to as a tax “hidey-hole.” You’ve probably heard that this year there are fewer tax shelters. This is true, although there are still a few good ones in Northern Idaho and the Dakotas.

Diary of a Vegetarian:

I decide to become a vegetarian. And why not? After all, it seems to be the diet de jour of a guru, a guy who doesn’t have to do anything more than perch on the top of a mountain and explain the meaning of life. He doesn’t have to shave, and he has disciples. I’ve always wanted disciples.

Nothing to it. A salad for lunch. Spaghetti and a salad for dinner. No visions or inner peace yet, but it’s just the first day. You can’t rush spiritual enlightenment.

Another salad for lunch. I think something’s starting to happen. I break out in a cold sweat when I accidentally touch a package of bacon bits. Supper consists of a salad and a potato. Later that evening, I watch a ballgame and don’t really care who wins. Something’s definitely starting to happen.

Online Romance:

An increasingly popular place for seeking romance is the Internet.

Of course, wherever there’s romance, there’s misunderstanding, insecurity and heartache. And wherever there’s misunderstanding, insecurity and heartache, there’s the need for expert advice on relationships. Therefore, I decide to become Dr. Cyberlove, online advisor for the lovelorn.

In no time, I’m receiving questions from the love smitten and romantically miserable.

Dear Dr. Cyberlove:

My online romance suffered a giant setback when she found out that instead of being a 6’2” intellectual, professional rodeo bronc rider from Maui, I’m actually a 5’7” balding night clerk from Oshkosh. I’m thinking of giving her a dozen beautiful cyber roses. What do you think?

Reality Bytes

Dear Bytes:

Don’t be cheap. Give her a cyber Lamborgini or a cyber mansion. If you really want to impress her, give her 85 billion cyber bucks and let her get whatever she wants. Think of how grateful and secure she’ll feel. She’ll never have to hold down a virtual job again.


I don’t usually keep up with celebrity birthdays. I have a hard enough time remembering when family members were born.

But I realized that I recently missed the birthday of one of the most beautiful women in the world. I’m referring, of course, to Barbie.

Since her introduction at the 1959 New York Toy Fair, more than 800 million Barbies have been sold. And although her popularity continues to grow, there are some obscure facts that would surprise even the most compulsive Barbie collector.

For example, Barbie began her career as a model, but was so poor at first that she posed for cheesecake photos that can still be seen hanging in the barracks of G. I. Joe.

Over the years, Barbie has held down a number of different jobs. There’ve been Air Force Pilot Barbie, Baseball Player Barbie, Astronaut Barbie and Rock Star Barbie. But not all attempts have been successful, such as Sister Mary Barbie, Slut Barbie, Obese Barbie, Satan-worshiper Barbie, Acne Barbie and Psycho Killer Barbie.

The Cabbage Soup Diet:

The lovely Mrs. Borengasser reads about a miracle diet, called the Cabbage Soup Diet, which claims you can lose ten to seventeen pounds in seven days.

We decide to give it a try. The diet only lasts a week. How bad can it be?

DAY ONE MENU: Only fruit and as much cabbage soup as you want. No bananas.

I begin the day with a celebratory apple. Quite satisfying. Late morning, I have my first bowl of cabbage soup. Not bad, especially with the help of a little pepper sauce. This diet’s going to be a piece of cake (an unfortunate choice of words that gives me my first twinge of regret). But it’s a momentary lapse. I have a second helping of soup and regain my enthusiasm. I remind myself that one week from today, people will be describing me as “svelte” and “petite.”

DAY TWO MENU: Only fresh vegetables and as much cabbage soup as you want. No peas, beans or corn, but we can each have one buttered baked potato.

I quickly discover why raw broccoli isn’t a standard breakfast item. By noon, I’ve eaten so many carrots that I catch myself answering the phone with, “Ehhh, what’s up, Doc?” I have a couple bowls of cabbage soup for lunch. The rest of the day I spend fantasizing about the baked potato with butter that I’ll have for dinner, mostly about the butter. That evening, the lovely Mrs. Borengasser and I glare at each other’s potato with unabashed envy.


The term “leftover” comes from an ancient Greek word meaning, “maybe it’ll taste better tomorrow.”

That’s fine, but most of the time at our house, leftovers are not just left over. They’re left over and over and over and over and over. Here’s how it works –

We go out for a pizza and bring back a third of it to snack on later. Then, we forget about it. Six weeks later, we find it in the very back of the refrigerator, looking like nuclear waste, with a half-life of 1500 years.

The lovely Mrs. Borengasser is sensitive about the subject. “Did you know,” I ask her, “ that there’s something in the lettuce crisper that is black, has fur and throbs?”

“Oh, yeah,” she says. “I think that’s either half an avocado or a chicken wing.”

“Don’t we have to have some sort of license to create new life forms,” I ask tactfully.

“Don’t be silly,” she replies. “We can give it to the dog.”

“More likely, we’d be giving the dog to it.”
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