Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cavalcade of Randomness

Random observations...

  • It is cold outside, and I'm working on a cold! Coincidence? I think not...
  • Nefertiti is visibly larger than she was when we got her. She's also become a very silky cat, and is beginning to fill out a bit. She is delightful!
  • James Mirtle estimates that the Oilers will need to go 12-9-1 to make the playoffs. This is extremely do-able, so I think they should go and do it!
  • I played this for the first time last night, and enjoyed it entirely! I think we won in the end, or at least didn't lose.
  • Erm... that's all I can think of right now Ok, so it was a short cavalcade.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Gas Metre Day!

So I stayed home this morning to await the arrival of the man from the gas company, who was coming to replace the old metre. His scheduled ETA was "between 10 and 12," so the cynical side of me was a bit stunned when the truck rolled up at about 10:15. The metre was replaced, advice on the care and feeding of the furnace was dispensed, much was made of the kitten (who was as good as gold and did not get underfoot at all), and off he went, all in the space of about 15 minutes!

All of which, of course, is merely an excuse to run this clip:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sign Of Spring

There is a sign of spring in the air, despite it being a solid -15 degrees Celsius outside right now! Furthermore, this sign has nothing whatsoever to do with sciophobic groundhogs! In fact, it is entirely encapsulated in the phrase: "pitchers and catchers report."

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Bizarre Non-Cat-Related Political Note

The phenomenon of political leaders hitting the lecture circuit after their terms of office are finished is well-known and widespread, so it's really no surprise that George W. Bush is packing his teleprompter and hitting the road. However, given how unpopular Bush was at the end of his presidency, he has had to be a little bit circumspect about where he kicks off his public speaking career. So where does he feel that he will find a friendly, or at least not outright hostile, audience? Well...

Bush picks Cowtown for debut
Private meeting will be ex-president's first speaking engagement
Michelle Magnan, Calgary Herald
Published: Friday, February 13, 2009

Former U. S. president George W. Bush is coming to Calgary for his first confirmed speaking event since leaving office last month.

The private event, which is being called A conversation with George W. Bush, will be held March 17 at the Telus Convention Centre.

Lest you think I'm reading something into Bush's choice of venue that may not actually be there, consider this quote from a poli sci type in Calgary:

"Alberta's a very conservative province and he's certainly seen as friendly to the oil industry," says David Taras, a political analyst at the University of Calgary.

"He's choosing a safe place to go test his image."

Interestingly, the Premier of Alberta seems rather less than thrilled about the whole thing:

Asked whether he welcomes Bush's visit to Calgary, Premier Ed Stelmach's response was curt before leaving a media conference Thursday.

"He's a free man, can travel to any country he wants," the premier said.

A very sincere "well done" to you Mr. Stelmach! And now, to get our minds off George W. Bush, here's more Nefertiti:

And Yet Another Picture Of Nefertiti!

Oh come now, you knew I was going to do that eventually...

Anyway, Nefertiti, who lived during the 14th century B.C., was the consort of the Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, who later changed his name to Akenhaton. Were it not for the famous bust shown above (now on display in Berlin), she would likely be known mostly for being the mother-in-law and stepmother of Tutankhamen.

And so here, some 3350 or so years on, is another video of her namesake (this is the video to which Chorus refers in the comments below)! Incidentally, the original Nefertiti is described in an inscription from Karnak as "Possessed of Charm, Exuding Happiness, Mistress of Sweetness, beloved one,... soft-spoken in all." Ok, the last one maybe not so much, but the first four definitely apply to the little kittoon as well!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Saga Continues...

Apologies for the shakiness of the camera in this one!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More from Nefertiti

Oh, I don't think there's going to be any shortage of blogging material this week!

Hey, get back here! * chases down and tackles *

Anyway, here's the kitten dealing with her fiercest nemesis - a wadded-up paper towel (and also the curtains).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Behold, pictures of a cat! The cat is named Nefertiti, and she is about four months old. And you had better believe that there will be more pictures in the days to come (as always, click on the pictures to make them larger)!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ya See, That's Why We Wanted A Coalition Government

There's an interesting little item in the federal budget this time around, under the heading "Further Developing a Highly Skilled Workforce" (it's about halfway down the page). This tidbit reveals that the government intends to raise the funding for SSHRC - The Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, which distributes grants to people working in, well, the social sciences and humanities (full disclosure time: the archaeological project with which I am most deeply involved would not have gotten off the ground in the first place had it not been for the generosity of SSHRC). Now, one's response to an increase in SSHRCC funding might very be "hooray, that's excellent!" And excellent it would indeed be, if the paragraph announcing said funding increase didn't end with this charming sentence:

"Scholarships granted by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council will be focussed on business-related degrees."

And that, Mr. Ignatieff, is why we didn't want you to prop up the Conservative government. Because in doing so, you and your party allow them to sneak little bits of their pernicious ideology into law through sleight-of-hand.


Fez tip to The Galloping Beaver.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


The image above (you may click on it to make it bigger) shows a fairly famous scene from ancient Roman history. You will notice the band of men in the foreground making a pyramid in order to ascend the last bit of Rome's Capitoline Hill. They are Gauls, and they are up to no good.

It was about 389 B.C., and the Gauls, irritated by a Roman violation of international law, had managed to take the lower city of Rome and pen the survivors up in the citadel atop the Capitoline Hill. This resulted in a bit of a stalemate, until the Gauls spotted a narrow track up the hill, and snuck up it one moonlit night, as depicted in the scene above. They were so successful in their sneaking that, according to Livy, they did not even wake the dogs. However, their luck ran out at the top of the climb, when the lead Gaul attained the summit and discovered himself in the pen containing the geese sacred to the goddess Juno (they are also in the above picture). His arrival did not please the geese, which brings us to the title of this post.

The resulting expression of avian dismay woke up one Marcus Manlius (later, as a result of his exploits that night, Marcus Manlius Capitolinus), he woke up his comrades, and the Gaulish assault was thrown back. One of the more amazing aspects of this episode, again according to Livy, is that the Romans had not yet gotten around to eating the sacred geese (the food shortage on the hill was severe, and in fact eventually led to the Romans simply paying the Gauls a lot of money to go away).

I mention this episode not simply because it is one of my favourite stories from Roman history (it is), but because that particular passage of Livy (V.47) turned up on my Latin comprehensive exam last week, along with some bits from Catullus and Vergil (I elected not to try my hand and the passages from Cicero, Horace, and Tacitus). And, just yesterday, I received the official word that I passed the thing, and indeed that the examiners thought that some of it had been translated "quite elegantly." So that is that out of the way, and it is now onto the Greek, thanks at least in part to Marcus Manlius and the geese!