Weekly Wire
Nashville Scene Gizmos and Indulgences

Catbox, dog soda, and a contraband chair

By Walter Jowers

MARCH 1, 1999:  A goodly number of folks have taken an interest in wife Brenda's Christmas present, the self-cleaning electronic catbox. I've gotten a load of e-mail since I wrote about the thing a few weeks ago, and neighbors keep coming over to see it.

To recap: The Jowerses are proud owners of one Windmere Litter Maid, which knows, by way of infrared beams, when the cats get in the box, and when they get out. Ten minutes after a cat gets out of the box, a rake combs through the litter, and deposits clumps of cat waste in a sealed plastic container. The container has to be thrown away or emptied every two or three days.

The cats' feet and tails stay clean, wife Brenda doesn't have to scoop cat funk, and the freshly-raked catbox looks for all the world like a little Zen garden. The catbox is a fine, fine thing.

After seven weeks of Litter Maid ownership, here's what I can tell you: The catbox is a little smarter than we originally thought. If the little electric rake gets hung up on a big clump of litter, it'll go back to the start position, rest up, then keep trying until the clump is gone.

Brenda offers one bit of advice to would-be Litter Maid owners: Use a fine clumping litter, rather than a coarse one. Coarse litter makes the rake hang up. Brenda recommends the Fresh Step litter.

Dog Soda

Special thanks to reader Miss Linda for focusing my attention on Rebound!TM, a sports drink for dogs.

In the past, people who regularly stressed their dogsshow, trial, and hunting dog peoplegave their dogs Pedialyte or Gatorade to replace lost fluid and those all-important electrolytes. Today, though, folks can re-hydrate their thirsty doggies with Rebound!TM, a dog soda developed by a team of veterinarians.

I've got to tell you: This dog drink makes me proud to be an American. In communist countries, dogs have to stand in line all dang day just to get a mummified pig ear. In developing countries, dogs have to scrounge trash heaps and drink out of mudholes. But here in the U.S.A., our companion animals have their own bottled sports drink, complete with vitamins E, C, and amino acid supplements.

The stuff's distributed by a company called Atlanta's National Pet Supply, and it's for sale at Sam's, in 1.5-liter plastic bottles. I don't have a dog, and I don't want one. Even so, I do plan to pick up some Rebound!TM. Two reasons: First, I want an unopened bottle for the Jowers Pop Culture collection, which includes a hair-eating Cabbage Patch doll and the full set of Teletubby dolls. Second, I've just got to try the stuff. When I was a kid, I took a chomp out of a Gaines Burger, and I bit an end knob off a Milk Bone. I won't be satisfied until I know what Rebound!TM tastes like with just a tiny little splash of Jack Daniels.

Alabama, the Dildon't State

Last year, our neighboring state of Alabama passed a law aimed at shutting down strip clubs and the dildo trade. Last week, concerned Alabamans asked a federal judge to strike down the law.

"We just think (the law) demonstrates a bias toward conduct that is perfectly normal," lawyer Mark Lopez, of the American Civil Liberties Union, told U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith.

The lawsuit was filed by a group of women who oppose the current law, which bans the sale of vibrators, certain types of condoms, and other sex gadgets. The plaintiffs include B.J. Bailey, who sells sex toys and novelties at parties, and Sherri Williams, who owns "romance boutiques" in Huntsville and Decatur, according to Reuters.

"It's a $10,000 fine and a year of hard labor if you get caught selling vibrators," Williams told Reuters. "They set out to eliminate strip clubs, but along the way they snuck in sex toys. Not only did they take away your entertainment, but when they were done they also took away your right to entertain yourself."

I'm with Williams on this one. I'd hate to see our Tennessee lawmakers join the Alabamans in shutting down the vibrator trade. That could effect my personal life.

My list of personal goals is short and modest. I've never been out of the country, and frankly, I don't care if I never go. I've always wanted to fly in space, but I doubt that'll ever happen. But one day, by God, I mean to have one of those vibrating recliner chairs from Brookstone. I've test-sat the one at the Green Hills mall, and I'm here to tell you, it's the daddy of all vibrators. I just want to flop down in it after a hard day's work, drink a fine import beer, and watch the Discovery Channel. But if Brenda and I decide one day, in the privacy of our own den, that there's a higher and better use for that chair, that's our own private business. We don't need any state troopers kicking down our door.

Visit Walter's Web site at http://www.nashvillescene.com/~housesense, or e-mail him at walter.jowers@nashville.com.

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