Friday, October 24, 2014

The Cat's Pajamas Link to the Times Union

For all Cat's Pajamas blog posts, please click the link below and you will be redirected to the latest postings under the Cat's Pajamas banner.

Starting Monday October 27, 2014 @ 5.30AM the Cat's Pajamas is officially launched with the Times Union:

click here to access

Brian Huba

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Off to the Times Union

Effective Monday, October 27, 2014, the Cat’s Pajamas will be relocating to the Times Union. Working with the Capital Region’s largest paper will help generate a wider audience and a deeper interaction with the content. This is an exciting new chapter in the Cat’s Pajamas, and I’m excited to have the readers make the leap with me.

In addition to a more professional site and wider audience, working with the TU creates an opportunity for the Cat’s Pajamas to be featured in-print in the paper’s Perspective Section. Nothing else will change, except the URL, which I’ll keep posted on this site right here. The Cat’s Pajamas goes live every Monday morning and will always be a click away.

Thanks to everyone who reads and occasionally comments. I’m eager to start pumping out new opinion pieces to a larger universe. I believe the Cat’s Pajamas is the best kept secret in the area, and now it’s time to tell a few more the little secret we’ve shared the last several years. I also believe Pajamas readers are smart, forward-thinking people, and that’s the best part.

The Cat’s Pajamas started with a little blog about my idea to bring back the draft: and ended this past weekend with my take on the Hoffman’s Company partnering with Huck Finn’s:

The almost five years in between we’ve discussed everything from pop culture, to community events, sports, and music. You’ve heard me praise THE SOPRANOS and defend Barack Obama. I called DMB the best band ever then abruptly took that back. This forum has helped me through some of the hardest losses of my life and the good moments. It’s been a wonderful story--it’s been our story--and the big wheel churns again on October 27th and every Monday after!

The last words go to one faithful fan/commenter who wonders the same thing many have wondered about the Cat’s Pajamas. His name is anonymous (think that’s a Greek name) and he says, “Can someone please explain . . . is this supposed to be funny or witty? My eight yr old has better sense.”

See you again on the 27th!

Brian Huba

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Memories on the Move

Remember the circa-August rhetoric about getting to Hoffman’s Playland one last time? Yep, the Latham-based amusement park was on its last leg, so bring your friends and pose in front of the roller coaster for those final Facebook photos. All that sappy media coverage. All that crap about reclaiming childhood memories. In the end it was a waste. Hoffman’s Playland lives again, as Huck Finn’s Playland, reopening on the exciting Erie Blvd. over Memorial Day Weekend 2015.

If you didn’t catch my sarcasm about Erie in the previous paragraph, I’ll clarify: Erie Blvd. is the most depressing blvd. on the planet. If you don’t know what Erie Blvd. is, let me paint the picture. As you move south on 787, going past the city of Albany on your right side, you’ll see a string of eye-sore buildings and brownish warehouses and rail yards choked in tumbleweed. Bingo was his name-o. You’re looking at Erie Blvd.

I’ve heard the talk about Hoffman’s to Huck Finn’s beginning an Albany boon. But I can’t imagine that stretch of industrial wasteland as a fitting backdrop to little-kid fantasy. And the crowned jewel of this terrifying site is the Huck Finn’s Warehouse itself. I love Huck Finn’s furniture and reasonable prices, but going there on a Saturday afternoon is soul sucking. It’s like they followed the blueprint for Birkenau when constructing that place. The depressing Subway Restaurant. The depressing loading dock. Nothing’s worse than Huck Finn’s on a Saturday.

I don’t know if the Hoffman’s magic can be recaptured there. Even the 787 off-ramp to Erie is sad and scary. You have to turn right at that creepy gas station and nondescript/crumbling edifice behind it. Then drive into nothingness before hitting the first business. The other reality here: the Hoffman’s magic isn’t that magic. It’s been kind of overblown for nostalgia sake. It was a few third-rate rides and a decent ice cream joint. The best part of that place: location, location, location.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope that Huck Finn’s Playland with that terrifying furniture retailer in the backshot is the marriage needed to jumpstart Erie. But I doubt it. The problem is Albany’s not destination now. Don’t believe me? Drive down Central Ave. tonight at eight p.m. Sure, it still has some good restaurants, and the biggest car dealers, and the State offices. But nobody wants to live in Albany or play in Albany. U Albany’s not even in Albany. They’ve been trying to get that Convention Center built since Bush I was in office. One look at the Greyhound Station down there and you’ll understand why that never happened.

It’s the suburbs now. Not just here but everywhere like here. Don’t believe me? Try finding a hotel room in Latham, CP, or ‘Toga tonight. You’ll get laughed at. Try going from Albany to Malta at four pm on a Friday. Hope you got a good book. Jennings had the best idea to build up Albany: do it through the bar scene. It worked for a while then the cliental changed. Party over.

I say Hoffman’s can never be redone in the City of Albany. They should’ve moved it to Ballston Spa or let this past summer finally be the Playland’s last.

Read more:

Brian Huba

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

You Can't Trust a Cat

I saw a posting for a cat in need of adoption. It was a beautiful tiger with gray fur and green eyes. And I thought to myself: 3 dogs AND a cat? We’ve flirted with the idea of adding a feline a few times. Maybe this was the one to move on. Then I read the info and the provider wanted the adopter to pay a $250.00 fee. This wasn’t an agency or humane society. It was a private individual. Instead of paying $250.00 I could walk into any Petco and have a cat for free and/or drive to the dumpster behind Hannaford and have a whole family. It was a frustrating ignorance of the supply-demand cycle in the cat world. I walked away.

You can't trust a cat. I’d pay $250.00, put the cat through the battery of vet fees and fixing procedures, then bring him home, where he’d promptly climb the fence and take off into the neighborhood, never to be seen again. Cats are different than dogs. I’m not sure a cat is even meant to be domesticated. They don’t seem loving. They claw furniture and crap in a box and go "rrreeeerrr" in a scary way. Here’s what you know with a cat going in: The animal’s going to give you nothing super stimulating but will no doubt cost you cash and heartache. The cat is such a selfish animal. It’s like living with a Kardashian.

What does one do with a cat? Do you walk the cat? Do you take the cat on hikes into the mountains around Lake George? How could you? The cat would take off in two seconds. I don’t understand why people get cats. What’s the point? Cat People strike me as people who want responsibility but not that much responsibility. Sorry, Jack Byrnes from MEET THE PARENTS, it's true. A cat doesn’t need human beings. At my mother-in-law’s last month I watched through the window as her cat captured and ate a mouse in two bone-crunching bites. I didn’t even know they owned cats. Yeah, they have several, they live in the basement. You’d know if several dogs lived in the basement.

Nothing rips my insides harder than a news story about dog abuse and/or those ASPCA Sarah Mclachlan commercials. Mclachlan herself has admitted to changing the channel when that spot airs. I refuse to read MARLEY & ME (But argue THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN is the best book ever written, except LEGS of course) and bawled at the end of WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. But cat stories don’t move me. If someone has too many cats and can’t feed them, just open the back door and wave goodbye. Those cats will be fine.

My favorite thing in the world is sleeping late on Saturdays. I did it today. I love rolling over in the wee hours of 11AM and seeing my little Sophie Dog’s face on the pillow next to mine. I saw it today. If I rolled over and saw a cat so close, I’d scream in horror. That cat was about to claw my face to a thousand strips of confetti. You can’t trust a cat.

The first dog we bought was Lola James, in 2007. Eight months later we added Sophie Cinnamon. Back then we lived in an apartment complex that went from young yuppie to the recruiting ground for Al-Qaeda in the two years we stayed there. The couple who lived a few doors down bought a baby beagle named Pepper. That dog was all the rave. Lola and Sophie loved playing with her. But something wasn’t right. There was a fear in Pepper.

We started having Pepper over to our apartment in the evenings. I’d come home from work, go get Pepper, and we’d keep her till dinnertime. When I brought her back, the woman who owned her would deliver Pepper to a blanket-covered cage, then lock her inside. It was eating me alive knowing Pepper was living like that. Then one day, that woman came to our apartment and asked if we wanted Pepper. She told me she’d charge us $250.00.

Check or cash?

Now Pepper (Pepper Jackson AKA "PJ") is part of our family and will be forever. She lives the good life. We don’t speak about her first family. I would’ve spent twice that much to have her freed from that woman. And I wouldn’t give any of my dogs up for all the money in the world. Money means nothing to me. But $250.00 for a cat: Are you crazy?

You may ask: How can a guy called the Cat's Pajamas write something called "You Can't Trust a Cat?" hmmm, ummm, ugghhh ... shut up!

Brian Huba

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