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|Essays · Travelogs · Poetry · Comedy · Art · Digifilm||spring 2007|
I used to happily get questioned on the street, when people saw my license plate, "What's a Moocat?" If I had time, I'd explain, "that's a cat that's not sure if he's a cat or a cow." If I didn't have time, or if I needed to be more serious, I'd say, "Oh, it's a character from a song." Now I more often am asked when people first see my email address or, of course, this website.
Well now it's time the truth be known. Some time back in 1988 or so, I was feeling especially happy for some reason in my then-home of Riverdale, Maryland, and this song sprang into my mind more or less fully-formed, and I sang it aloud:
Note: You can hear it sung, with Casio accompaniment, either here or within this issue's "Cajuns on Fire" piece under the Whimsy section.
Well, the name stuck, and its legend grew. When I bought my first-ever automobile in 1991, I got a personalized license plate and named my new 1973 VW Beetle, "MOOCAT." I was gratified to notice that in high-strung, professionally politicized, overly serious Washington, DC, where I lived for 8 years, my MOOCAT plate made people smile.
Years later, when I was traveling the world and staying in Chiang-mai, Thailand, I decided to launch a Web literary magazine. This was 1996, and it was still a not-too-common endeavour. I would call it, "Moocat Unbleached." Although it took me 5 years to finally get to it, this site is the direct descendant of that effort. I had even made some graphics for it, out in the tropical low-tech latitudes, using the most rudimentary tools (Windows 3.1 "MS Paint" applet and a DOS freeware program called, I think, "Graphics Workshop").
In 1998, when I first decided to go ahead and take the leap and buy a domain name for my 'moocat' idea, I consciously chose to buy "moocat.net" and NOT "moocat.com," since I wanted to make it clear that my site was about literature and art and ideas, not about commerce. Several years later, after I had formed a limited liability company for myself, should I ever undertake Web development work on an independent-contractor basis, I thought to go ahead and register the ".com" version, since my company name was "Moocat Internet Consulting, LLC." To my surprise, "moocat.com" was now taken! And so was "moocat.org"! The .org site seems to be a Web gallery for the work of photographer R. Samuel Klatchko. I have no idea how he came upon the name "moocat."
The .com site is the site of a British drinking/social group called "The Moocats." I actually wrote to them, offering to swap the domain, "moocats.com", which I had acquired and which actually seemed to suit their group's real name better than "moocat.com," in exchange for "moocat.com", but they never answered my repeated emails. Even though I had a legal entity with the name "moocat" prior to their purchase of the domain name "moocat.com", under the rules of domain name dispute-resolution, I'd have no chance of winning.
So I've settled with moocat.net.
The moocat ASCII graphic goes back almost as far as the name 'moocat'. I first discovered the Internet as a real venue in 1993, after my breakup with Michelle and after I began exploring Gay avenues to happiness. Through a local Gay paper I had heard of a Gay BBS called "GLIB," Gay and Lesbian Information Bureau (which now exists as a Web site). Since I had made the audacious purchase of a then state-of-the-art 28.8 baud modem, I was able to easily access GLIB with my then-not-too-out-of-date 386 PC, which I had bought from a friend. I discovered and was immediately consumed by the "Chat" feature, which exposed me to an entirely new form of communication. I choose the handle "moocat" of course, and came up with the moocat graphic as part of my ASCII signature.
Which, I suppose, brings us up to date. Yes, the lyrics to the song are a bit disturbingly psychological and strangely dark for a song that sounds like a child's tune. In my most candid moments I'll speculate that the "Am I a cat or a cow right now?" theme is an expression of the inherent internal conflict associated with the Western concept of 'bisexuality.' But then again, a writer who deconstructs his own work has a fool for a... deconstructor.