Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Touch not the cat bot a targe

It’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by the delightful Linda G. Hill. If you think you’d like to participate, click the picture below and read the directions.

Click the picture to play along!
Click the picture to play along!

Today’s prompt is “Bat, bet, bit, bot, and but.” Linda says we can use all or just some of these.

I used to play the bagpipes in a band in Chicago, the Invermich Gaelic Society Pipes and Drums (later the University of Chicago Pipe Band, because the new pipe major was a professor at U of C). When I first started, there was no standard cap badge that we wore on our Balmorals (pretty much a Tam O’Shanter with ribbons that hung down the back). It was up to me to select one. So, one Saturday, I went off to Scottish Modern Imports on the far Southwest side and examined the cap badges, and found the one for Clan MacBean. I liked it almost immediately and showed it to Mary, who said “that’s the one!” This is what it looked like.

Public Domain. Source: Wikipedia
Public Domain. Source: Wikipedia

A rampant wildcat, holding a targe, or small shield. The motto of the MacBeans is “Touch not the Cat bot a Targe,” or “touch not the cat without a shield.” The MacBeans are members of Clan Chattan, or the Chattan Confederation, along with the MacPhersons and the MacIntoshes. Both of those clans use the motto “Touch not the cat bot a glove.” Again, the word “bot” is an Old English word meaning “without.”

There is an alternate spelling of MacBean: MacBain, or McBain. As in Ed McBain, the name Evan Hunter used when he wrote the “87th Precinct” novels.

The cover from Cop Hater, the first 87th Precinct novel (
The cover from Cop Hater, the first 87th Precinct novel (

McBain said the 87th Precinct novels were influenced heavily by Dragnet, with Jack Webb. 87th Precinct was itself a TV series; it ran on NBC for one season in 1961-62.

Robert Lansing played Steve Carella, one of the detectives of the 87th and the protagonist in many of the books. Carella is married to Teddy, who is deaf and dumb. In the TV show, she was played by Gena Rowlands. I always thought that Marlee Matlin would have made a good Teddy Carella, if they ever decided to make one of the books into a movie.

They did make a number of TV movies based on the series in the 1990’s. One of the recurring characters in the series was Detective Eileen Burke, who was used primarily as a decoy for suspected rapists and other lowlifes. In the TV movies, she was played by the beautiful Andrea Parker. Andrea also played Lt. Caitlin Pike on JAG (she was Lt. Rabb’s partner in the TV movie that started the series and in several other episodes over the duration of the series) and Miss Parker in the series The Pretender.

I’m still ticked about the way that show and the show Profiler were treated by NBC. They were both on Saturday nights and Mary and I watched them faithfully. All of a sudden, the networks no longer carried new programming on Saturday nights, opting to run reruns of shows from earlier in the week and newsmagazine shows instead. Guess they decided the 18-34’s were out partying on Saturday nights and the only people home then were the old farts (by that time, Mary and I were in our early 40’s and therefore considered “old farts” by the networks).

But back to the 87th Precinct. You’ll notice in the credits that one of the stars of the show was Norman Fell. He was an excellent actor who could do comedy and drama. He was also the punch line to a joke in the first season of CSI:, when one of the cases centered around a character named Norman who died when he was defenestrated (thrown from a window). It was the first episode to feature Jorja Fox as Sarah Sidle. In her first scene, she comes in while Gil Grissom (William Petersen) is trying to determine whether Norman was pushed, jumped out, or fell out of a window. Sarah made a pithy comment about The Ropers, the series Norman starred in after Three’s Company.

Three’s Company was generally regarded as one of the first “jiggle” shows. That was when the networks, in a stunning display of sensitivity to women, featured attractive, young, nicely proportioned, and scantily-dressed women in their shows, in an effort to boost their ratings among men from 18 to 34. When the “t & a” theme got a little out of hand, Saturday Night Live did one of their phony commercials, a promotion for an NBC special, “The Battle of the Network T & A,” which claimed such stars as Lynda Carter, Farrah Fawcett, Adrienne Barbeau, and others would be participating. The father of a friend of ours saw the sketch on SNL and thought there would be an actual show, and was very disappointed when he discovered it was a fake.

No offense is intended, by the way; I was just as disturbed by what the networks were doing. I guess that’s when I knew I had grown up.

Wow… another example of my stream of consciousness branching into areas I never expected.

8 thoughts on “Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Touch not the cat bot a targe

  1. E gads, John. I came here in thanks for you stopping by for ROW80 and can’t stop reading!!!! From Muddy Waters (an early favorite), to SofC and your witty comments, especially about the network’s tarting out tv shows. They even did this to Person of Interest and we nearly stopped watching. That’s nearly. But thank you for solving a character name. Bean is a common Orkney name. I’d forgotten about MacBean, but the name that drew me is MacIntosh. I currently have a character named MacTavish, but unfortunately, there was a ‘real’ person at that time and place with that name. Now, back to work on NaNo and thanks for the inspiration. BTW, I’m not writing in sequence. Gads! Should I be???? All the best.


    1. Glad I was able to help.

      We don’t watch Person of Interest; we saw a couple of episodes and didn’t care for it. I’ll take your word that they added some “eye candy.” Since we “cut the cord,” we watch a lot of the old shows on MeTV. Sundays are ’70’s cop shows and spy shows.

      You can write in any order you want. Just be aware that you’ll have to straighten it out later. Scrivener makes it easy to put scenes in the right order or even take them out if you want. It’s worth the money.


  2. I was confused by the title at first and then was captivated by your SoC writing, my mind does that too, one thing leads to the next, and then the next… I like your writing about old TV shows, it jogs my memory, and I like having my memory jogged, that sounded strange, you know what I mean… 🙂


  3. I love the badge! I can see why you were taken with it. 🙂
    They got away with SO much in those old shows. Back when there was no such thing as political correctness and we all just sat and cringed helplessly… ah, those were the days. 😛
    Great post, John! I like where it ended up. 😀


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