Thursday 28 April 2011

Now You See Him – Now You Don’t

The word 'cynicism' comes from the Greek word 'kynos' – which is their term for those tail-wagging, barking idiots called Dogs. How dogs are associated with cynicism is beyond me: I'll have to ask Caedmon about that. In my book it should be 'cattacysm'.

Please excuse the articulation of cynicism you're about to read – I realise that it's not a characteristic normally attributed to kitty cats, but regular readers of this blog should be well used to it by now…

Here goes. It's so delightfully reassuring that the politicians and the Royal Family have such highly tuned foresight and moral principles to live by and work with. Like the prophet Moses carving a path through the open waters of the Red Sea, they too - in their own little way - blaze a moral trail for their unreflective and bovine followers to deferentially follow. With exemplars like that, we have every reason to be confident of a great future for the Kingdom of Northumbria.

I feel so much better now: it's akin to the paroxysm of relief experienced in making a long-deferred colorectal statement.

Let me explain. I'm sure you must be aware by now that the soothsayers are ceaselessly haranguing us with hideous tales of barbarity, cruelty and viciousness from the Cyrenian and Syrian despots, who are being relentlessly castigated for robustly resisting attempts to unseat them by their respective detractors, who are allegedly fighting to establish Freedom and Democratic Government in their homelands. Apparently, it's not good practice for a tribal chieftain, king or emperor to defend his position from usurpers. Perhaps they should benignly smile while allowing their opponents to plunder their realms and massacre their households.

If these rebels are fighting their fellow countrymen to establish the kind of 'democracy' enjoyed in the lovely country of Northumbria and the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire), they're in for an ocean of disillusionment. But I'm not the cat to tell them; that's for them to find out by their own bitter experience.

Among the invitees to the Great Royal Wedding (and I saw this on the guest list that Feaxede liberated the other week) was the Emissary of Syria. In view of the fact that the guest list was drawn up a few weeks ago – when the first stirrings of dissent and brutal governmental suppression had manifested themselves – it's a surprising choice, but who am I to question the infinite wisdom of Those Who Matter?

Anyway. One day before the Great Weeding Wedding, it has been announced through the soothsayers that the Syrian Emissary's invitation has been withdrawn.

Hardly has the poor fellow dusted off his ceremonial robes, scimitar and turban when he's had to put them all away again. It says a lot for courtesy, doesn't it? What kind of imbeciles make invitations that they subsequently retract? No, I don't understand, either. And with forethought like that, we're really going places, folks.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

What Bugs Mister Lugs?

It's been a relatively quiet Easter; the politicos have been ensconced in their own constituencies, so the babble of the political turkey farm has been relatively quiet. It's given me a pleasant break - and provided my master Cademon with an opportunity to redirect his own eloquent writing skills. I'm very pleased with his efforts: I've taught him everything he knows ;-)

Of course, the soothsayers haven't been as quiet. Like disembodied spirits lacking a place of peaceful repose, they've been flitting to and fro, wringing their hands and relentlessly jabbering away about the Cyrenian and Syrian internal conflicts (which are infernal, and far from internal, since the Holy Roman Empire - which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire - has been assiduously meddling). Naturally, the soothsayers have also been doing what they do best - waxing eloquently about all inconsequential things that bedazzle the Northumbrian public - like the forthcoming wedding of Price Walthelm and Lady Gytha. It gives them something to do. Bless.

One of Beeby See's favourite lackeys has been in the news himself today. I'm not permitted to mention him by name, since he's paid a lot of money for the Supreme Moot to place an order forbidding others to mention it. If I were to do so, I would be fast-tracked into membership of the august Dead Cats Society - and I'm in no great hurry to join the throng yet. But I can say that he is blessed with rather pronounced lugs, and it appears that he is a big buddy of the last 15.5 Redistributionist Faction leaders. Mr Lugs (for that is what I will call him) was engaging in behaviour which - to say the least - called his marriage commitment into question. So - to preserve his good name - he's hidden behind a Moot Order.

But there are a couple of things which don't stack up in my feline head.

First of all, how can you preserve a good name which you haven't got any longer? Hiding behind an expensive Moot Order doesn't undo facts about unpalatable behaviour; facts are facts are facts - and they can't be changed. It just proves that we have the best judicial system that money can buy - and it also demonstrates that a fool and his groats are soon parted. And however carefully they're suppressed, eventually truths come seeping out.

Another non sequitur is this: if Mr Lugs was so concerned to keep his name out of the grasp of the soothsayers, why did he sell his story to the soothsayer Dellimell, who is now at liberty to parade the sordid story to the universe and his dog? Did she offer him a more goodly sum of groats than the others? Did he take out the Moot Order so that he could sell his worthless tales to the highest bidder?

I asked Caedmon to explain this to me. He said he'd give it some thought. I'm still waiting for the answer - but I'm not expecting one.

Sunday 24 April 2011

An Easter Greeting

Caedmon writes

As before at Christmas, I'm giving my old Cat a break from his frenzied activities. He's such a busy creature: we humans can learn a great deal from him and his fellows. As Solomon says in the Proverbs, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise." I just wish that he would attend more to the things of the Church - but then, he's a creature who by definition doesn't share in responsibility for the Adamic Fall, therefore he doesn't have the same soteriological needs as we humans.

Today is Easter, when we celebrate our Saviour's resurrection from the dead. This is a glorious day - not because He isn't risen any other day of the year -  but because today brings these issues into sharp focus. He died, He lay buried, He rose again from the dead. History is unable to remove these facts.

The Church has many enemies ranged against it; these are dark days: in fact they are referred to as the Dark Ages by many godly and reflective people. But we are reminded at Eastertide that we are not simply on the winning side - we are on the side that has already won. Christ rose again from the dead - and there is nothing that anyone can do to reverse this. Therefore those enemies of the Christian Church and Gospel are not only losers - they have already lost their cause. They are simply working out their loss in various ways. Of course, the outward appearances suggest that they are winning the fight against the Lord of Hosts and His influence. But their victories are Pyrrhic and temporary. Death, evil, futility and hopelessness can't overcome Light and Life - it is simply impossible.

A Happy and blessed Easter to you all. And may the Light shine with increasing brightness upon us all.



Thursday 21 April 2011

Caedmeron's Cat O'Nine Tails

Well - as I predicted in my previous posting - it worked. Caedmeron now has an invitation to the Greatest Show On Earth - the Royal Wedding between Prince Walthelm and Lady Gytha. I'm so pleased. Not because he's received his conspicuously absent invitation, I must hasten to add. I'm delighted because at last, this Cat has obtained some clout in the higher echelons of Northumbrian governance. And he will use it to good effect.

But - the paths of life are never straightforward or easy. As soon as one crisis is resolved, another arrives post-haste to take its place. Caedmeron - the Chief Cock and Bluebottlewasher of the Tree/Liberationist Administration - hasn't got the right clothes to wear for the occasion. Now, I find that difficult to believe. In fact, it carries the fragrance of bull poop - and this is why: I know for a certainty that Caedmeron's a well-heeled fellow who comes from a highly privileged background. He's not short of a groat or two; he can afford to purchase a finely-woven tunic, a silken cloak, and a shiny ceremonial sword and helmet for the occasion. Goodness me - he could probably buy a new set for every remaining day of his life. So, what's the problem? Apparently, he doesn't want to wear tails.

I am very annoyed about this. In fact I'm spitting with rage. After all my efforts to save his miserable face, I think the least he could do to acknowledge his indebtedness is to wear them. After all, it's not demeaning to wear tails; cats and rats, monkeys and donkeys, dogs and hogs all wear them - we have no choice. We all have a dignity of our own, bestowed upon us by our Creator. So, why is the temporary wearing of tails beneath his dignity?

I'm so mad that I'm going to go and see the hysterical soothsayer Dellimell again - and this time with a different story. Once she gets hold of this, there will be hell to pay. I can hear the baying of the lynch mob already.

Mark my words: Caedmeron WILL wear tails at the Wedding - make no mistake. He has no choice. The Cat has decided the issue for him. The consequences will be disastrous if he fails to comply.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

The Cat's Consolation for Caedmeron

You'll never guess who I bumped into today. I'll give you a clue: he's clueless - and wily at the same time. No - (I know what you're thinking) - it's not my mate Feaxede; I see him quite often, so it's not such a significant occasion to meet him. I bumped into Caedmeron - the Dear Leader of the reviled Tree/Lib Alliance administration here in the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria.

Let me explain. I was doing my rounds, checking out my territory in customary feline fashion, when I saw a solitary figure sitting on a log on the edge of a local wood. As I got nearer to the figure, I immediately knew who it was - and he was a picture of pure dejection. I approached him cautiously, and my intrusion on his solitude seemed to bring a glimmer of relief to his careworn features. "Hello, Kitty," he said. "It's nice to see you." I returned the compliment - although I'll admit there wasn't a great deal of sincerity in my reply. Having done the usual kitty thing of purring, rolling around and miaowing, I sat down beside him and asked him what he was so worried about (as if I didn't know).

He explained that he hadn't received an invitation to the Great Wedding - the principal event of the year. Surely his position as Premier should be recognised. I didn't comment, because I already knew this from Feaxede's recent discovery. I suggested that perhaps the invitation was sent, but somehow failed to be delivered by the messenger service. He said he's already made enquiries about that with the Palace, and no invitation had been sent. His eyes started to fill with tears. He blew his nose to a loud rasping tone in the key of C minor.

Listen. What I am about to tell you is in complete confidence. Please do NOT divulge this to a living soul - or else you will suffer from the most appalling bites, scratches and fur-balls for the rest of your life. (And I'll give my colon a thorough purging in your carrot patch. Every. Day.)

I told him I would remedy the situation for him. I would discreetly go to the soothsayer Dellimell and tell her everything. Now, I know for a fact that Dellimell is very much on Caedmeron's side - in fact, she worships the very ground he stands on. I also know for sure that she's very prone to very public hysterics and histrionics. If she kicks up a stink, the other soothsayers will mindlessly join in the chorus, and before long the Anglo-Saxon public will become restless and will start to revolt, since Dellimell reflects a lot of grass-roots opinion. The last thing the old goat King Alhfrith needs at the moment is a riot in the streets - least of all, coinciding with the occasion of a Big Royal Wedding...

And that's what I did. Caedmeron was very grateful - and he offered me a weekend break at his official residence. I didn't tell him that Láréow is a pal of mine. Or that he's my own undercover eyes and ears in the Temple Of Human Foolishness.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're wondering why I've helped Caedmeron, aren't you? In view of my aversion and antipathy towards politicos of all shapes and sizes, I owe no one any allegiance - and I give none. A cat can out-stare a king and get away with it.

But why on earth should that psychopathic, churlish grunt Guthmund the Brown get an invite - the very man who cheerfully brought the Kingdom to bankruptcy and ruin - while the one who tries to clear up the mess is uninvited? It just doesn't sound fair or reasonable to me. If I got my way, neither of them would attend. They should go and practise their playacting elsewhere.

So if you see Caedmeron at the Wedding, you'll know exactly why he's there - and who made it happen.

Just keep it to yourselves. Promise...?

Monday 18 April 2011

No Guesses for the Guest List

It's been quite a pleasant and peaceful weekend - other than having to console poor Feaxede. His application to stand as a  Redistributionist councillor in the Streonaeshalch local election has been turned down by the Faction; I can't say I'm terribly surprised. When he came over to tell me the bad news, I could see that he was close to tears. I told him that he was a very astute and worthy member of the animal kingdom, and he would only have become corrupted by those venal politicos if he'd been accepted as a candidate. It's a human-eat-human world out there.

The reason for his rejection was (ostensibly) that he hadn't been in the Redistributionist Faction for long enough - and he lacked the political experience. To all outward appearances, those reasons sound plausible enough, but I have a sneaky feeling that they're masking the true reason; it's my suspicion that despite their obsession with their inclusivist dogma, they're actually closet foxists - the sin that dare not speak its name. But I didn't share that reservation with Feaxede - it would be unkind of me. I'm his loyal friend - and I want to remain as such.

Feaxede came back to see me a few hours afterwards; his demeanour was quite different this time. He didn't give me a chance to greet him when he excitedly told me that he'd discovered a piece of vellum. This time it wasn't in the local dump - much to my surprise. When I asked him where he'd found it, he was rather bashful and reticent, but when I pressed him on the matter, it transpired that he'd decided to pay a social call to the house of the local Redistributionist Faction chief. To his surprise, nobody was at home, but the front door was open. He went in, found that there were no chicken carasses or other scraps of food, and he was about to leave the premises when he noticed a sheet of new vellum with fresh writing on it.

I questioned Feaxede's morality in doing such a deed, and he told me that he was so upset at his rejection that he wanted some kind of reassurance from the Resistributionist boss. Since he wasn't even at home, Feaxede decided to console himself with a 'borrowed' item. I asked him where he'd put it - and he led me to his lair, where the splendidly elaborate vellum was already stretched out. He asked me to read it to him, and I told him in no uncertain terms that he must return it to its rightful place if I were to do so. He solemnly assured me that he would.

The vellum turned out to be a guestlist for Prince Walthelm and Lady Gytha's forthcoming wedding. It had the names of some of the invited guests. This information was like a goldmine, as I knew that the list of names is a closely-guarded secret. Among the invited guests was King Jose Borracho - the megalomaniac Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire) and his faithful half-witted henchman Hermit. It also listed O'Daffy (the chandelier-swinging, khat-chewing leader of the Cyrenians), the deposed Pharaoh of Egypt - Chesney Mubarak O'Barmy and the former Redistributionist Premier Guthmund the Brown. But Caedmeron and Edweird the Milliner were conspicuously absent from the list. My secret agent Láréow wasn't on the list either, sorry to say. The choice of guests leaves a great deal to be desired; I suppose that King Alhfrith and his dirty-mouthed Queen Hillida aren't too fussy about the company they keep. If I were some bandit chief or small-time gangster boss, I suppose my guest list would be similar.

This begs an interesting question. How on earth did some low-grade Redistributionist lackey get hold of such privileged information? The name of the Faction leader wasn't on the list either, so it was of no consequence to him. Having given the matter some thought, I concluded that the Redistributionist had also come by this information through dishonest means. Feaxede was surprised. What should he do with it?

I told Feaxede to take it to Beeby See or Guardy-Ann and offer it to them in exchange for anonymity and a substantial reward. I reckon Feaxede has a lot of chicken dinners coming his way. That's all the consolation he needs. He deserves it.

Friday 15 April 2011

Fox News

I bumped into my pal Feaxede the other day. For the benefit of those who are newcomers or late arrivals to this blog, he's a fox and - unusual for my fellow creatures - he's quite a political animal himself. He's been busy since I last saw him. I should qualify that: he's always a busy chap, as there are various chicken runs kept in the Streonaeshalch settlement and within the precincts of the Abbey, and there are also various dumps where he conducts his environmental research. He also finds some good scraps of food there as well.

Feaxede is politically inclined because he takes a close interest in human affairs; he's an urban fox and a habitual town-dweller, so his perspective is that anything that affects the local human population will inevitably have an effect on him too. He recognises the symbiotic relationship between his kind and the human race. He's also a paterfamilias (four cubs), so there's an additional motive for his interest. He and I often exchange observations about the ever-changing affairs of human corruption and stupidity in governance and politics; in many ways, he and I are kindred spirits.

So it came as something of a bolt out of the blue when he announced to me the other day that he was considering standing as a candidate in the forthcoming local elections. Apart from the fact that it's highly unusual for a four-footed creature to take a up a leadership role in the human world, I was also concerned with the legality of what he was intending to do. He told me that the good people of Hartlepool (just a few miles further up the coast, on the other side of the mighty River Tees) had actually elected a monkey to the office of Alderman - so it would pose little or no difficulty. Hmmm...

When I picked myself up from the floor and managed to absorb this earth-shattering piece of news, I asked him what he had to offer the humans in his particular ward; he told me that he was going to sell his undying energy and enthusiasm for politics. I can certainly give him credit for that. I get so world-weary of the twisted mechanics of human politics at times, and he's frequently rekindled my flagging zeal by enthusing about things he's discovered or overheard.

He also has a lot of intelligence as well - he's a bright as a button, and nobody can pull the wool over his eyes. He's no fool. But one disadvantage is that he doesn't know how to read or write, and I told him as much. He would need to read lots of briefing documents, reports and agendas. How would he manage to do that? He looked a little bashful - and then asked me rather coyly if I'd be willing to give him assistance? I reluctantly agreed, but it's my suspicion that there will be more reading and writing than he bargains for. And I'm not sure about his image, either - but I didn't like to say anything about that for fear of upsetting him...

When I asked him which faction he was going to represent as a candidate, he told me that he was going to stand as a Redistributionist Faction representative. This also amazed me, but when he explained that the Trees were in favour of reinstating the currently illegal practice of fox hunting, I could immediately understand. But I don't think - for all his zeal - that he's temperamentally committed to the foaming-mouthed, fly agaric-chewing ideology of the Redistributionists. He's too much of a maverick and a free spirit to tie himself down to the mantras of those chancers, losers and wasters. But he's charming and sly - which is a necessary prerequisite for those aspiring to political office. And I suspect he's not only thinking of the public service. He's thinking of the extensive, expansive and expensive chicken buffets. I know him too well.

Will he get elected? I must say, I'm not holding my breath...

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Wed Sales In The Sunset

There has been some controversy rolling around the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria concerning the multicultural agenda being foisted upon the realm. This is nothing new: multitudes have come to these shores from other exotic lands for centuries, bringing their strange customs, odd languages, bizarre cookery and exotic religions with them. Indeed, the Roman occupants of these islands who preceded the Anglo-Saxons weren't for the most part Latins: they were a mixum-gatherum of Syrians, Greeks, North Africans and Persians, conscripted into the occupying armies. No country is an island unto itself - not even these beautiful islands upon which we live. Only fools and fantasists imagine that only Franks live on the other side of the Channel in Gaul, only Vikings live in Denmark and Norway - and only Anglo-Saxons and their Jutish and Danish cousins live here. 'Twas never thus.

But the rub comes when the powers that be decide - without reference to those they purport to represent - to allow unlimited access to these shores from the Great Unwashed Horde From Abroad. And when the aspiring immigrants employ ingenious methods to justify their permanent residence in this green and pleasant realm, things start to get interesting.

Romance is a significant reason for the melding of cultures here. There are various Vikings who have settled here, fallen in love with a Saxon girl and have merged into the culture. As long as they don't lecture the Saxons about the alleged superiority of their Norse gods and Eddas, don't eat too many magic mushrooms and go berserk, they make no waves. Even people with more distinctive features from Cathay, Araby or Mauritania have established themselves here and mixed with the locals. But some people are so desperate to get the welcoming nod from the Northumbrian State that they're prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to secure permission to stay here. So there have been some surprising marriages between people of disparate national, cultural, religious and linguistic traditions where either the wife or husband-to-be has been a Northumbrian citizen - and rats have been smelt.

The soothsayers recently highlighted the arrest, subsequent Moot appearance and imprisonment of a naughty priest who made it his business to perform marriage ceremonies (at a price, of course) exclusively for those wishing to gain a foothold onto Northumbrian soil. No questions asked. Pay up the groats, wear fancy coats, just say the oath, one name for both, sign on the line, everything's fine, say nothing more, walk out the door.

Business has therefore been booming - and the fact that the happy couples have quickly dispersed into their previous unmarried habits immediately following the official transaction has finally reached the attention of some zealous, sharp-witted investigators. The conclusion has been drawn that a lucrative scam has been going on to make immigration easier and quicker.

In view of this, the Holy Church has drawn up guidelines for priests in order to avoid this sort of thing becoming fashionable - and to prevent further damage to the reputation of the Church - and the institution of marriage. The priests are to check the following things:

Do the bride and the groom actually recognise each other when they come into the church?
If the bride comes in fashionably late, does she stop to ask anyone to point out who the groom is?
Do the happy couple know each other's names? Can they even pronounce them?
Do either or both of the couple look furtively and nervously from side to side?
Do either of them know where each other comes from?
Do they actually speak the same language and understand each other?

Good grief...

Monday 11 April 2011

A Burning Issue

Life would certainly be boring if human beings and their institutions were wise and sensible. If that were the case, I wouldn't bother writing my blog - after all, I've better things to do - like catching mice and birds, and depositing fur-balls and post-alimentary offerings on Beeby See's carpet. But that would be too mind-numbingly pedestrian for this kitty. I'll leave the mundane cat activities to my prosaic cat colleagues. They have nothing better to think about.

Here's one piece of news that's reasonably fresh and steaming: a Northumbrian National Faction member has been arrested by the Costumed Thugs for committing an execrable offence. Sit down, close your eyes and take in a deep breath, children... he burned a copy of the Vikings' sacred book - the Eddas - in the privacy of his own home. The consequent  fallout has been considerable, and the governmental hordes have been foaming at the mouth in hysteria. The soothsayers have - as usual - squealed like demented pigs.

Now, as far as this cat is concerned, he doesn't give a gnat's whisker about the Eddas; they may be sacred to the Vikings, but they're not sacred to me. Anyway - what's special about a book? Granted, it takes some considerable time to write one out, and it's an expensive exercise; I'm sure sometime in the future, they'll devise a way of producing them quickly and cheaply. But a book's a book - covers, binding, pages and writing. It's nothing magical. Now, I'm aware that there are certain Christians who have an undue reverence for the Bible (as if it were more significant than the One who inspired it), but they don't actually worship it: that would be a desecration of the Second Commandment. But the Vikings thus revere their Eddas; according to their strange creed and theology they believe that they were dictated directly by the god Odin to somebody or other. And the Witangemot, their hangers-on and the legions of no-hopers who help to prop up this shabby wasteland of a Kingdom have - in their infinite wisdom - decided to favour the Vikings above other religious groups. So the desecration of an abbey or a church would be deeply upsetting to the many Christians of the realm, but should that happen, they'd simply be expected to put up with the injustice, turn the other cheek and manfully carry on.

The Vikings, however, aren't likely to take such iniquities lying down. They would proclaim a sacred fast, chew sacred mushrooms and go on the rampage, sacking, butchering innocent bystanders and pillaging Anglo-Saxon settlements. The upholding of Odin's honour is their justification for such unruly and brutal activities. It appears to me that Odin is pretty well powerless to defend himself, so he's dependent on his warrior followers to fight his own battles for him... bless.

Anyway. The main issue is that some bright spark decided to burn a copy of the Eddas in the privacy of his own home. Big deal: every Anglo-Saxon's home is his sacred and inviolable castle; he is king of the realm of his own hearth. Why shouldn't he burn whatever he likes? If he wants to burn a book, that's up to him - if, that is, he bought it or obtained it by other legitimate means. My master Caedmon burns copies of his poems that he's dissatisfied with; nobody cares about that.

But there's a nagging question. Why was this Northumbrian National Faction member arrested? Were members of the Costumed Thugs peeping into his doorway to make sure he wasn't burning something forbidden? I struggle to imagine that this were the case. Nobody pops their head through Caedmon's doorway to check on the kindling.

Did someone in his household see what he was doing and report it to the Costumed Thugs? Possible - but family loyalties are very tight here in Northumbria. So I'll rule that out as a valid reason. So, that leaves me with one remaining theory. The Northumbrian National Faction member announced beforehand that he was going to wind up the Vikings - and the knuckle-dragging authorities - by burning a copy of the Eddas. He was making a public statement. What other possible reason could there have been for his arrest? A show trial in the Moot is likely to follow with Beeby See and Guardy-Ann licking their slavering chops.

He made a statement. And the statement he made to the world is this: "I am terminally stupid."


Thursday 7 April 2011

Caesar Opportunity

We're half awake in a fake empire.
The National: Fake Empire
(Bryce Dessner)

If I were to take on board all of the misery peddled by the soothsayers and suchlike, I'm quite sure I'd be a neurotic, gibbering kitty by now. Day after day pours forth a further torrent of gloom and despondency from the soothsayers, flavoured by all kinds of alarming developments in the world of human beings.

Cuts, Health Scares, Murders, Battles, Wars, Pestilences, Plagues, Poxes, Pizza, Tax Increases, Global Warming, Mildew and Rising Damp are all standard fare on the gloom-monger's breakfast table. And, of course, there's more of the same for lunch, tea and supper too. And how about a tasty nibble of Desolation between meals? It won't spoil your appetite. Much.

But a lively Christian faith balanced with a sense of humour and ridicule get you a long way, and they go far to help me regain a balanced perspective on the world. And when I hear about Hermit - the half-witted henchman of King Jose Borracho of the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire), I can't help but smile. Bless his little padded jacket ;-)

It appears that the Emperor Caesar Borracho has - in his unbounded wisdom and magnanimity - wheeled Herman out for an hour or two, and even permitted him to move his mouth and to utter quasi-intelligible noises to a congregation of window-licking lackeys and soothsayers. Now, that's a very dangerous undertaking, since it's by no means predictable what the dolt is going to say. But life is full of risks, isn't it?  Just ask any out-of-work Health And Safety Administrator for details.

And Hermit hasn't disappointed. He stated that he - singlehandedly - well, with a teensy-weensy bit of help from the Franks, the Anglo-Saxons, the Jutes, the Danes, the Gauls, the Dacians, the Magyars and Uncle Tom Cobley and all - has successfully prevented O'Daffy - the chandelier-swinging psychopathic despot over Cyrene - from beating his rebellious opponents to a pulp. Not one innocent person has died as a result of the Imaginary Empire's military looting, pillaging and sacking  adventures. One more stunning triumph for the emerging Beast From The Sea - Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire). Hooray! Rejoice with me, people.

Consequently, there have been parades, flags and celebrations here in Streonaeshalch. There's been dancing and the unrestrained drinking of ale and mead in the streets; the bunting has been flapping merrily in the breeze. When I asked some half-cut Saxon youth what he was celebrating, he looked at me blankly and managed to say through slurred words that he had no idea. But everyone else was celebrating, so he was simply joining in. He then went off to disgorge the entire content of his stomach somewhere. For understandable reasons I didn't hang around.

I can't help but cheer up when I hear deluded claptrap like that. There's a saying that those whom the gods wish to destroy they make mad first; certainly Nebuchadnezzar learned that lesson from the Almighty - but he was fortunate enough to have his sanity restored. The empires of men have always been established on the same illusions and fictions used to perpetuate them. The problem is that there are always casualties resulting from their delusions of grandeur and adequacy. Sooner or later, something is going to sink its sharp, needle-like teeth into the padded posteriors of the kings, the princes, the satraps, the nobles and the hangers-on who wallow in their self-importance and feast off the ill-gotten fruits of the labours of the serfs. Its name is Reality.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Whiting Writing Wrong

Sometimes - in my weaker moments - I wonder whether the wheels of human imbecility will ever stop turning; from time to time I have to be reminded by Caedmon or one of the monks at the Streonaeshalch Abbey that the effects of the Fall - including death, disease, decay, decadence, hubris, fleas, flatulence, flies, fevers and monumental stupidity - will one day cease on the Day when the Almighty regenerates all things. As far as I'm concerned, as a cat, that day can't come soon enough. It's not our jolly fault that Adam trespassed the Divine Injunction and consequently opened the Pandora's Box of evil and imbecility upon the world. We critters just have to put up with it - and that's what we do.

But - until such a time, I have to hear things like this piece of news I came by today: an atheist philosopher called Hazy Dizzy Whiting has decided to write an atheist's Bible. Just in case you've missed this in your speed-reading haste, sit down slowly and take this in. I repeat - an atheist has decided to write an atheist's Bible. Take a swig of something strong, people - you read it correctly.

My human master Caedmon refers to atheists as irrational theologians, and I'm inclined to agree with him; they vehemently deny that the Almighty exists. In fact, they're so obsessed with this damn-fool idea that they simply aren't content to let the matter rest there; they're also intent on foisting their religion on those who don't happen to share their wild-eyed enthusiasm for a philosophy of pointless absurdity and hopelessness. That's certainly irrational. Now, I may be a dumb animal, but it occurs to me that if atheism were self-evident, they wouldn't need to continually attempt to prove it to a skeptical majority. Sooner or later, the reasonableness of it would be obvious to to all, and its godless premise would bed itself down in human consciousness. But it doesn't. And it won't, because it can't. Before we even begin to consider atheism, there's already a 'Theos' to prefix the letter 'A' with. What are the first four words of Sacred Writ? In the beginning, God. Bereshith Elohim. In principia Deus. En arche epoiesen ho Theos.

And for goodness' sake - why has Hazy Dizzy Whiting found it necessary to write an alternative Bible? What's all that about? Is he extracting the smelly yellow waste? Is it really necessary to ape Jannes and Jambres in Pharaoh's court and do a monkey's imitation of the real thing? Does the whiff of sulphur reach my nostrils?

And what does this piece of fantasy fiction have to say? For a distillation of its metaphysical content, do we read:

In the Beginning, Hazy Dizzy Whiting Redefined the Mysteries Of Life..
Eat, Drink and Be Merry - for Tomorrow You Die.
If You're Near the End of the Road, Tough Luck, Pal.
Prepare For Nothing: Life is a Sick Joke...?

What are his ethical teachings? Are they such as:

Be a Good Boy.
Share the Magic Mushrooms - don't keep them all for Yourself.
Be Nice to Animals and Other People?
Don't Pull Wings Off Butterflies...?

I hope he's written some nice stories to replace the accounts of Israel and the Early Church. Can you imagine it being read at the bedside of a dying man or woman? Or being used to comfort a bereaved person? Hmmm..

It sounds to me like a celebration of window-licking barminess. I predict that it will become a best seller, make Hazy Dizzy Whiting a few groats, and it will collect dust on bookshelves, unloved, forgotten and unread. I don't think Caedmon will buy it. Unless it sells cheaper than firewood...

Monday 4 April 2011

The AV Lark

The stench of battle is all-pervasive here in the lovely county of Northumbria. Perhaps I ought to say at this point that I'm not actually referring to the brutal and imbecilic activity of opposing tribes, beating each other to a pulp and hacking off each others' heads. Nevertheless, this particular field of conflict is equally moronic - even though the bloodshed and the resulting death count is zero. The battle lines are drawn concerning the issue of the Alternative Voting system - and the rhetoric is heating up. People on opposing sides are making provocative and pugnacious statements about their opponents.

Voting for your local illusionist to (pretend to) represent you in the Witangemot used to be such a simple affair; you went to the polling station, where your name was taken. You were handed a stick, and were then told to deposit it into the box of your choice - one box being allocated for each candidate aspriring to the pantomime we call Witangemot. At the end of the day, the boxes were separately emptied, and the candidate with the greatest number of sticks in his (or her) favour was duly elected to the Greatest Show On Earth. Simple.

Well, it was simple - until some groups started to bellyache and whinge that the process wasn't fair - particularly if the voters supported the Liberationists, who always received a minority vote (I wonder why?). Then the Northumbrian National Faction started to make the same whining noises. Then the Northumbrian Fun Factory Faction. And the One Red World fanatics. And the One Green World fanatics. It simply wasn't fair. All those votes for them were wasted, and the aspirations of the losers were simply swept aside as the winner took all. Get your tissues out, children. Have a good blub. It's a hard, hard world out there.

So, some bright spark from the Liberationists decided that the way to keep everyone happy was to have an Alternative Voting System. Instead of one stick to put into one box (or into the latrine if you wanted to spoil your vote), why not give every elector a number of sticks with different colours? Then the process to elect someone to the Magic Circus then would be to put the black stick into the box of your first choice, the white one in the box of your second choice and subsequent shades and colours according to rank of preference. Colour schemes to be agreed. That'll take a long time, then...

I think it's a great idea. It's an inspired idea. For the stickmakers, that is. They'll get unlimited work at taxpayers' expense. Happy days are here again. Whoopee. But there are some problems with this magic mushroom-inspired system. Suppose I'm colourblind? How would I know that I was voting for the right person with the right stick?

Suppose I want to vote for the Redistributionist (if I'm deranged enough)? Why would I want to cast my second preference stick in the box of someone I can't stand? Why should I? If I want Edweird the Demented Milliner as the Head Honcho, why should I cast a vote for Caedmeron if I hate his guts? (I don't - I simply don't trust him.) I wouldn't want to dignify him with my vote at any cost. Anyway, it's too much hassle and aggravation having to run through a list, deciding how to rank my preferences. Could take all day if I were indecisive. If I were allowed to vote as an intelligent, politically-minded cat, I simply couldn't be bothered.

And then there's the counting. How's that going to be simple? I can see nervous breakdowns on the horizon for those unlucky enough to have to tally the votes up. A night's work should then take a fortnight, with stomach ulcers as an added bonus. Hmm. Sounds like a tasty deal. If this is going to become standard practice, I'm going to suggest that the voters only cast one stick as before - and I'll drop a curly, malodorous stick into the Liberationists' box to send them a resounding message. And I'll campaign to make sure that every cat in the Kingdom follows suit. We cats fight dirty when the mood takes us...