28 December 2011

Shakespeare on the OWS movement

Coriolanus, Act I, scene i:

Menenius: What work's, my countrymen, in hand? where you go
With bats and clubs? The matter? speak, I pray you.

First Citizen: Our business is not unknown to the senate; they have had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do, which now we'll show 'em in deeds. They say poor suitors have strong breaths: they shall know we have strong arms too.

Menenius: Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbors,
Will you undo yourselves?

First Citizen: We cannot, sir, we are undone already.

Menenius: I tell you, friends, most charitable care
Have the patricians of you. For your wants,
Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well
Strike at the heaven with your staves as life them
Against the Roman state, whose course will on
The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs
Of more strong link asunder than can ever
Appear in your impediment. For the dearth,
The gods, not the patricians, make it, and
Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack,
You are transported by calamity
Thither where more attends you, and you slander
The helms o' the state, who care for you like fathers,
When you curse them as enemies.

First Citizen: Care for us! True, indeed! They ne'er cared for us yet: suffer us to famish, and their store-houses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich, and provide more piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they bear us.

20 December 2011

First tragedy; then farce

In light of the recent death of Kim Jong-Il, I had this stray thought that Pyongyang's dynasty is showing a remarkable resemblance to the first three emperors of the Roman Empire.

Kim Il-Sung => Caesar Augustus: The deified founder of the dynasty who created the political framework upon which it works (more or less) and saved the nation.

Kim Jong-Il => Tiberius: The reasonably competent despot who commanded the loyalty of the ruling elite largely because of his father's charisma, and whose suppport was broad but shallow and not heart-felt.

Kim Jong-Un => Caligula: The dissolute, far-too-young-to-have-this-job grandson of the first emperor whose reign will be short and bloody.

Fortunately for the world at large, North Korea is not the hegemon that Rome was in its day, but the prospects for the peninsula, at least, don't look promising.

04 December 2011

Malcolm - RIP

Malcolm - c. 2000 - 22 November 2011

Soon after moving in to the apartment complex where I live, me and Malcolm met. I work a second shift and normally get home around 11:45 or so in the evening. One night, I was walking along the path from the carpark to the apartment when I saw two feline figures run across the path and into the bushes. As I came abreast of the bushes, I saw that one of the cats remained under the bush - a black-and-white kitten who was mewling piteously. Figuring that mom would come back as soon as my offensive presence was removed, I continued on.

However, I grew curious about the kitten's fate so - after about 45 minutes - I went back outside only to find the poor little guy still under the bush, still crying. So - against common sense, which is often wrong anyway - I picked him up and brought him inside.

Malcolm (aka, The Niblet, as he was known while still a kitten) smoothly fit in with my other at-the-time four cats - Emma, The Monkey, Calvin & Meggie - and he proved to be a good natured, friendly and very special little cat (even if he never saved me from a life-threatening situation or parlayed his good looks into a lucrative (for me) career hawking pet-related products).

For the last six months he'd been gamely battling severe kidney disease. Part of his medical problems included increasingly severe anemia and uremic ulcers developing in his mouth (which made it difficult for him to eat and made his saliva bloody). On the 22nd, his mouth began bleeding uncontrollably and I rushed him to the vet's. Dr. Dais, our "family" physician, wasn't there but my second favorite vet, Dr. Kelban, was. She took a look at Malcolm and recommended that it might be best to put him to sleep. I had always known that we would reach this point sooner or later - At what point did his quality of life become so bad that I should let him go.

I just didn't wake up Tuesday morning expecting that this would be the day that I would have to make the decision.

But he was losing weight, the numbers in his blood/urine analyses were getting worse and worse, he could hardly eat and he was spitting up blood. The vet wrapped Malcolm up in a warm blanket and let me have some time to say good-bye. Then we put him to sleep.

He will be missed.