Friday, 30 June 2006

How Not to Start the Day, Part III

Turns out Cleo might be a "he". There weren't a lot of androgynous names in my vocabulary that day when I sat down to write the post. The name stays. After what happened this morning, neutering the feline is now an option.

This morning, under the porch, sitting next to the broom next to the lower half of a mouse was a small pile of regurgitated meat. Up to now, I always thought only big cats would hoard left-over kills for a rainy day. Following that thought is a sense of relief, knowing that lions, et al never evolved the attributes needed for domestication. I'd have a very difficult time explaining the presence of a partially-eaten neighbour in my front yard.

I'm sure they had a great night of hunting, and it'd be rude not to share, but we hairless apes live on a different kind of diet. And Sisters #1 and #2 are a bit more squeamish than I am. The last gecko they brought home sent Sister #2 into an angry, insecticide-spraying frenzy - to no avail, I should add.

As I was disposing of it, Cleo and the other black cat (whom I shall label "Cloud") walk past the gate. I quickly conclude my business, clean up, lock the gate and drive off to work. If it was their doggie-bag that I'd just dumped, I do not want to be near either one when they're hungry. At least they'll be able to eat. My appetite, meanwhile, checked out for the rest of the morning.

Friday, 23 June 2006

The Rude KLite

The Deputy Prime Minister objected to a Reader's Digest poll that ranked Kuala Lumpur among the top three rudest cities. While the results don't exactly indicate the true nature of KL (which is also a mixed bag), those who took an online poll organised by The Star Online begged to differ.

The overwhelming majority of the 286 readers who took part in an online poll found nothing to disagree with in the Reader’s Digest survey that rated Kuala Lumpur the third-worst among 35 cities in terms courteousness.

...with many voicing concern that people in the city seemed unable to say "thank you" or "sorry".

There's something else they unanimously agreed on: motorists are the rudest. Being one myself, there's nothing I can do to refute that. But there's no way you can get the whole picture based on input from 286 pollsters, especially when they're only airing their grouses, rather than genuinely contributing to the survey.

Non, one of Mix FM's better DJs, took up the issue with callers in his evening shift, and asks, "If the rude person is someone you know (or recognise), would it change how you feel?"

You know what? It does, and it explains the DPM's sheltered world-view - who would dare to be rude to the second-most powerful man in the country?

Thursday, 22 June 2006

Smacking The Blogosphere, Et Cetera

Is the blogosphere the vanguard for the new media? Not if the mainstream media fogeys have anything to say about it.

Andrew Sullivan reports on the drubbing of blogger Instapundit and (unscrupulous) online reporter Jason Leopold by the fogeys. The Davids vs Goliaths battle seems to be shaping up, but it won't be on the scale of a WWE Smackdown event. It's only a verbal battle, after all.

On a related note, Counterpuncher Alexander Cockburn is unhappy because bloggers in that big lefty-blogger event, the YearlyKos are beating on dead-horses Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, instead of the other equine-carcass, known as the Iraq War. Iraq, says Cockburn, is a much bigger spectre than Rove and Old "Sneering" Dick. And he's taking out his frustrations on the "blathersphere".

Disappointment. Not a burden everyone can carry with dignity.

15-year old student, Ava Lowery shot to fame after creating and publishing an animation critical of the Iraq War. Since then, she's produced lots more, all of which are available on her web site. There's even a blog and an online store.

I keep hearing about how grown-up American teenagers can be, but this is hard to swallow. I'm also questioning the US lefties' motives in putting her in the spotlight. Can she handle the pressure, the scrutiny and the snark, all meant for older and more experienced pundits? For all I know she could be in this spot because her hobby just so happens to coincide with the left agenda. Reading her story, I recall with horror the Gaede twins, who were only 13 years old when they recorded their racist album.

In the US, the law says teens are too young for sex and booze, but not showbiz, politics or xenophobia - apparently.

Monday, 12 June 2006

Beware of Cat

Another reason to respect cats:

Jack, a 15-pound orange and white cat, keeps a close vigil on his property, often chasing small animals, but his owners and neighbors say his latest escapade was surprising.

"We used to joke, 'Jack's on duty,' never knowing he'd go after a bear," owner Donna Dickey told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Friday's editions.

— via Yahoo! News

Note that only male cats are that territorial. The black bear in question is probably an adolescent or a newcomer in the neighbourhood. Either way, any creature that encounters a cat for the first time wouldn't have known what to make of a hissing furball with claws and teeth.

Had it been an orange and black cat, there'd be plenty of Garfield references.

Sunday, 11 June 2006

Too Sexy For The Pitch

It has not been a good start for the Big Guns of football. Although I'm not following the competition, I'm happy to just skim the sports sections for the final scores and watch other people beat their brains out commenting on this millennium's most dismal World Cup. Watching the matches is as strenuous as playing them.

The most notable signs were Germany's hard-fought four/two win over Costa Rica and England's "victory" over Paraguay; if not for the own goal, the Poms might have been humbled in the penalty shoot-out.

"See? T'was roight t'get Rooney 'ere. 'E's good luck, 'e is."

And what's this I hear about hot weather being a factor in the teams' shoddy performance? That's rich, I tell you. Retreating ice caps. Megahurricanes. More frequent thunderstorms. Amphibian extinction. Degrading coral beds. Now it's under-performing football athletes. Too bad the countries allegedly responsible for global warming are also those that don't care or don't even have a chance in hell of reaching the quarter-finals.

Is it still about the game any more? Seems to me it's more for the money, product endorsements, and the chance to roll in the hay with a supermodel or a member of a hot all-girl band. When it's time to finally play ball, the catwalks, press conferences, photo shoots, filming, sex and booze have already taken their toll.

Thursday, 8 June 2006

Sucker for Felines

After a two-weeks without iced drinks and curry, I entered a mamak1 eatery and got myself re-acquainted with fried noodles, curry and roti canai (with kaya, the local coconut custard). Not to mention the salty crispy fried chicken, gleaming yellow from the overpowering turmeric marinade. Who can resist the lure of a cheap and versatile staple that threatens the position of rice in my community?

Halfway through my fried noodles and chicken, I see a ball of fur. It saunters towards my table and sits down. It lets out a heart-rending meow every time I make eye contact. The humble cat may be a self-sufficient predator of the highest order, but in the city, it's not above scavenging or pan-handling. Anything to get by, I suppose.

I fall for it most of the time.

I donated some chicken, more afraid of the cat (which I named "Oliver") ignoring the morsels than the half-score or so vicious-looking floor staff in the vicinity. I finish my meal and go after my warm coffee. I take another look at the floor.


. . .

Darn cat.

I find myself picking whatever edible bits I could from the pile of bones on my plate and gathered them into a tiny mound. Fearful of the pinch of chicken-scraps falling all over the floor when I dropped it, I hesitate. Oliver encourages me with a swipe of his right paw. No worries about wastage here; he cleaned up whatever I dished out.

If the real Oliver had that much pluck, he could've taken Fagin on with only one arm.

The footnote of my catty day ends with the presence of another transient in the front yard. A black ball of fur that I assumed to be Cleo peeks out between the grills of the iron gate that shields the sliding glass doors. A careful peek behind the glass doors revealed a bigger, rounder face with equally bigger and rounder eyes, and a lot more fur. Not Cleo.


Good grief. The lair is becoming a cat hostel.

1 The local tag for an Indian-Muslim, as opposed to Indian-Hindu. While all Indian-run restaurants look the same, you won't find beef in Indian-Hindu places.