39th Annual Houston International Boat, Sport and Travel Show Nineteen paved acres of boats, sporting and travel goods on display for ten whole days. There are families, and we won't say whose, where instead of presents around the tree or gifts from Santa, there was a simple announcement: "Instead of a bunch of little gifts ...." Yes, the Astrohall/AstroArena complex of the Astrodomain will be filled with tense fathers and anxious families bent on spending the entire Christmas budget on a family boat. These families will get a gander at everything seaworthy, from one-person kayaks to genuine yachts. We hope that these families take the time -- and seeing everything at the show will take more than one day -- to look carefully at all the boats available. And we hope that these families do not spend the entire boat budget on Dome beer and caramelized nuts while they're looking. No word on whether or not Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel, will make a return appearance, and the heck with that lame rodent -- this show features "the world's only live touring killer shark show" (that was underlined and bold faced in the press kit, so you can be sure it's pretty exciting). So far, Marco and Phillip Peters have not been devoured by their charges, but you never know. The 39th annual opens today at 5 p.m. and continues through the 15th. Astrohall, Loop 610 at Kirby. Call 791-5050 for details. $5, $2 children under 12.
Houston Audubon Society A rare chance to get cold and muddy in the Gulf Coast area of Texas. P.D. Hulce leads a field trip in Chambers County (which is known as much for its large alligator population as it is for bird watching). Experienced and novice nature hikers are welcome. Novices are reminded to bring a lunch, liquids, binoculars, insect repellent (even though the weather is chilly), rubber boots and maybe a notebook or log or something for taking notes. Reservations are required and only 20 people will be allowed on this trip. Leaving at 7:30 a.m. from the parking lot of Stuckey's at I-10 and Jenkins Road. Call Gretchen Mueller, executive director of the Houston Audubon Society, for reservations, 932-1639.
45th Annual Charity Cat Show See fancy show cats reclining in their carriers! See famous actor felines perform live stunts!! Stock up on everything at the "Kitty Shopping Mall"!!! Yes, the cat show is back and better than ever. As in recent years, Hollywood animal trainer Scott Hart will be on hand with trained cats. And booklets are distributed, booklets that offer tips on training the ordinary house cat to do simple tricks. A good way to have fun at the cat show is to walk about and ask cat owners if they were at last year's show, and then to ask them if they have been able to, in the last year, train their own ordinary house cat to do simple tricks.
This year, along with the trained cat show, there will be a live demonstration of how to bathe a cat. (Animatronic cats, designed by the same team of crack scientists and robotics experts responsible for the Disney hall of presidents and the Stepford Wives, will be featured in the "trained cat" exposition, the "live demonstration" of cat bathing and the so-called "local companion cats in costume and trick competition.") The show is open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Through January 8. George R. Brown Convention Center, Hall C, 1001 Convention Center Boulevard. For information, call 468-0409. $5, $3 children under 12.
Legislative Action Grass Roots Style Bob Kafka, a pioneer in disability rights advocacy, has already done a great deal for people with disabilities in this great state of ours, but he's not resting on his laurels. The purpose of this Kafka klatch is to educate people with disabilities -- to get them up to speed on the issues being addressed by the new Congress and the coming session of the state Legislature. Kafka and the Houston Center for Independent Living see a need for affordable housing, barrier free public transportation and more money for personal assistance services. (Those who have huge trust funds or some other means of almost total independence and don't care a fig for politics can come to swap service-dog stories.) 1-5 p.m. Houston Center for Independent Living, 7000 Regency Square Boulevard, Suite 160, 974-4621 (voice/tty). Free.