SFO and Air New Zealand Responds

It looks like justice is imminent for my dog friends. SFO responded first offering profuse apologies but saying all they could do is contact Air New Zealand and ask them to deal with the problem. Next came a note to Tails of the City (who excerpted the tail of Doug, Higgons, Molly, and Brissie). United continues to be the spawn of Satan (I still haven’t recovered from my trip 10 years ago) delivering crickets instead of at least a note of sympathy.

You can read the Air New Zealand note below.

Justice for the little guy always puts a tear in my eye.

Howard Out!

Hi Amelia,

We deeply apologize to Doug, Higgons, Molly, and Brissie for the inconvenience and heartache they recently experienced. Air New Zealand takes traveling with pets very seriously and we are investigating this incident. We understand how emotional flying is for both the owners and animals, and we will do everything we can to correct the situation. Can you please provide Doug’s contact details?

All the best, Sarah

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Higgons, Brissie, Molly, and Doug’s Tail of Travel

Folks, I know it might come as a surprise that I, Howard Hawks, feline extraordinaire would post about the travails of dogs. However, what happened to my three four-legged friends and their Can Openers at the hands of Air New Zealand, is a tail (and yes, I mean tail and not tale) worth repeating. Let this be a warning to anyone traveling with pets.

Additional warning: it’s a long one.

Howard Out!

The Tail of Travail (as told by my Can Opener)

These days we’re hearing more about how airlines are working hard to make traveling with pets safer. Unfortunately, when it the time comes for actions to backstop words, two airlines—Air New Zealand and their partner at San Francisco International Airport


(SFO)—got it wrong.

My tail about flying with pets is told from the perspective of a friend picking up a Doug (friend on two) and Higgons, Molly, and Brissie (three friends on four) after a thirteen plus hour flight from Auckland, New Zealand to San Francisco. Knowing full well that Doug would arrive exhausted and stressed, having endured what probably felt like an eternity of turbulence and worry over things like “is the climate control working in the cargo,” I decided to check in with the airport as to how exactly animals arrive in the international terminal.

I started with www.flysfo.com, doing a search on various forms of flying with pets, but couldn’t find any relevant information. Next, I called the airport. They referred me to airport security, which referred me to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, who assured me the animals would proceed through like luggage — i.e., come off the plane and be waiting for their owners to retrieve them after they cleared passport control. I then called Air New Zealand to confirm that there would be nothing unusual and was given information that matched U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Armed with this information, my friend Scott and I loaded up the 1978 Nissan truck with treats and water and headed to SFO.

I’d like to say it all went smoothly from there. Sadly, it didn’t.

Continue reading

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News Junkie Post likes Sounds Like Crazy

Another great review for the Can Opener’s book.

Sounds Like Crazy’: Mahaffey’s Darkly Comic Novel Kicks Up Emotional Sand

Howard out!

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Brief thoughts on “The End”


Did they die in the plane crash? Did their island life happen? Are you satisfied? Are you peeved? I think the one thing everyone can agree about is the Lost finale is polarizing.  Beyond that, I will let all the other fantastic reviewers dissect the finale (See below).

Me? Well, I checked out “The End” with the Can Opener. It was her repeat viewing, the one where she only had me and Raphael (and him only intermittently) to ridicule her if she cried. Not only did she cry, even I had to put my paws over my eyes as she broke down several times and went into full weeping like the last movement of one of Mozart’s most lively symphonies at the end. Over a damn dog.

Afterward she wondered aloud who’d be waiting for her at the end. No need to worry. I’ll be there. Even in the afterlife, someone has to open my can.

Howard Out!

A sampling of some excellent Lost Reviews:

Marc Oromaner’s The Myth of Lost (Can Opener wants to marry this guy!)


Vozzek69 (Can Opener’s favorite Dark UFO blogger)


And of course, Doc Jensen from EW


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One True Thing Interviews Shana Mahaffey

The Can Opener is interviewed by Jennifer Haupt, author of the Psychology Today Blog One True Thing. You can read it here.

The best part? The interview is chose as an “Essential Read” by the Psychology Today editors. Nice!

Howard out!

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Something smells in my hallway

Today I want to talk about global problems illustrated on the local level. It starts with a smell in the hallway between our front door and the great beyond (great beyond in feline terms equals that which lies beyond the fence, gate, or other forms of protective barriers that keep me in and you out, unless we open the door).

Sorry little friend

The Can Opener in the front has a cat who should be banished from Felis domesticus, because he is the quintessential Felis Wimpis. Why? He chases rodents, captures them, and then does an “Oh my, did I hurt you,”  drops the maimed creature and departs.

A real cat kills.

But my beef with the feline vegan living in the flat between me and the street is not whether or not he kills his catch, it’s that he vacillates once venturing down the path.

In life people, you have to be decisive. Think before you act. But, regardless of whether you think or just act, once you’ve initiated the act for the love of Pete, finish the job. Do not leave it rotting in front of my door, gathering dust and stinking to high heaven.

I’ll leave it to you readers to make the connection between the local and the global here.

Howard out!

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Blog Tours

The Can Opener was Reviewed! Awesome reviews by a bunch of awesome reviewers. They do this in their own time for the love of reading. It just makes me happy to know people are still reading!

Check out the reviews below…

Howard out!
A Blog of Her Own
The Scholastic Scribe
Chefdruk Musings
Life in the Thumb
Heart 2 Heart
Knowing the Difference
Raging Bibliomania
Jenn’s Bookshelves

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I grow old … I grow old …

“Old rockin’ chair’s got me/ Cane by my side/ Fetch me that gin, son/ ‘Fore I tan your hide.”*

Old age my friends. If I wore pants, the bottoms would be rolled.

Old age–your hearing goes, your lift off goes, getting up and down the stairs becomes enough of a burden that you take advantage of “the box” that’s suddenly appeared again in the bathroom after many years even though you made a promise to yourself that once you had freedom, you’d never deposit on faux soil again.

Another King of Cool

Another King of Cool

With my dotage staring me in the face, I finally asked the most important question: do I model myself after Frank Sinatra and go there with dignity, transforming myself from roguish boulevardier to Lion in Winter, or do I go down, fist shaking like Steve McQueen?

Given that I’m the King of Cool, anti-hero who’s always done my own stunts, last Caturday morning, I decided to declare war on age.

I went over the fence.

Then old age declared war on me—I couldn’t get back.

It took my Can Opener, the Chief of Staff at the compound, several other itinerant Can Openers, a twenty-five foot ladder, and some serious agility on the part of my Can Opener to get me back home. Once there, I ate breakfast, then composed a note of thanks to Pete Guinosso for the excellent yoga instruction my Can Opener has received this past year. As an aside, any practice that has you posing like a dog is not for me (Note to Buddha: grouping cat with cow don’t cut it, then again, no cat would ever face down…). Someone in the family needs to stretch, though, and it makes sense that it be the one at my beck and call. Believe me, if I’d declared war and gone over the fence a year ago, the Can Opener would have been getting to know our neighbors instead of doing the splits and hoisting herself up a six foot wall of wood.

   So there you have it: Old age 1, Howard 0.

   The casualties of the day were the Can Openers PJs and my pride… for a split    second.

   Then I put on The September of My Years and sang it loud enough for me and everyone within a ten block radius to hear.

I am the Lion in Winter now. Take that old age. There will be no fooling this Cool Cat twice.

Howard out!

* Thanks to American music legend Hoagy Carmichael

PS: I hope I don’t need to tell you where the title comes from….If I do, learn your literature my friends.

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Earth Hour Tonight

Join the world in celebrating Earth Hour tonight. Turn off your lights from 8:30-9:30 PM, your time zone. Can Opener is unplugging all the stuff before she departs for a liberal location where the lights will be off.

Me? I have a story to tell. Tune in the next couple of days.

Switch off your lights at 8:30PM. Lots of fun to be had in candlelight, darkness…

Howard out!

oin the world in celebrating Earth Hour tonight. Turn off your lights from 8:30-9:30 PM, your time zone. Lots of fun to be had in candlelight, darkness…

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Frederick, MD inhabitants come on down!

My can opener left me to do book things on the East Coast (I don’t travel!). Not to worry, I am in excellent hands. Now those of you in and around the Frederick, MD area (near DC, Baltimore, etc.) come and see the Can Opener either at First Saturday downtown or Sunday at MaGoos. Details are below:

March 6, 2010
First Saturday Downtown
Corner of Market St. and Second St.Frederick, MD
March 7, 2010
MaGoo’s Restaurant (downstairs in the bar)
1-A West Second St.
Frederick, MD

Howard out!

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