Wednesday, December 16, 2020

2020 in Review

The main event of this year was the near death of our Cat, Jazz. I'll let him tell you about it in his own words, from Facebook: 

Hello. My name is Jazz. I am an old cat, born Feb. 1, 2004. I have been in a lot of pain. I had never left the house until Tuesday when my humans took me to the vet. It was very scary. The vet said I had a tumor on my tongue and a weak heart. When my humans gave me an antibiotic, it was even more stressful than the car ride and the visit to the vet. I ended up puking most of it which you can see on my whiskers. Along with blood. But finally, after several days of pain, I was able to sleep all night last night. My humans too. My humans bought my favourite cat food. I'm not meowing in pain all night any more. The vet said my coat was oily and scruffy. That's because my brother Blues died last year so there's no one to lick me. I hope I live longer to enjoy my favourite food and the love of my humans, before I join Blues in cat heaven. 


 Thankfully, Jazz is better now. While he was recovering, I read 2 books that her friend had recently given to Fumiyo, about a man and his cat: 

 The relationship of James and Bob reminded me of the relationship between the dog Strongheart and his human J. Allen Boone in one of my favourite books, Kinship With All Life. I couldn't recommend these books more highly.

And speaking of cats, when I was in 3rd grade in 1959, we studied Egypt and I learned that the ancient Egyptians worshiped cats, particularly the cat god Bastet. I have wanted to go to Egypt ever since. The play I'm writing now takes place during the Egyptian revolution of 2011, while I was eating transcendental food in Vegas. I stayed at the pyramid-shaped Luxor hotel when I was in Vegas in Feb, 2019, and had planned to go there again this year until Covid happened. 

In the Firesign album Boom Dot Bust, a TV programme called Inside the Money Bubble features an interview with Billville builder Bill Sprawl. Host B. Buck Bunnymumble. Sprawl replaces the window view of his neighbourhood with, what appears to B. Buck to be the Land of the Pharaohs. “Close, but it's Vegas” explains Sprawl. “Is the pyramid opening?” asks B. Buck. “Not 'til Thursday,” says Sprawl. 

Well, maybe I had that "worship cats" thing all wrong. Indeed, Bastet was one of their gods, but they worshiped Bastet with mummified cats. Although Wikipedia says it was illegal to kill cats, they raised them on cat farms specifically to be mummified, I learned from the recent TV series Egypt's Unexplained Files. They were slaughtered on an industrial scale, like we slaughter chickens. Strange kind of "worship." My 61 year interest in Egypt has considerably lessened. 

Although that TV programme was profoundly disturbing, I've seen some great science series this year. Currently enjoying Cosmos, Possible Worlds and earlier greatly benefited from watching The Age of Nature and H20, The Molecule That Made Us. 

The Bowen books weren't the only great books I've read this year. My awareness of my environment was greatly enhanced by reading On Looking by Alexandra Horowitz. A book review by David Graeber in The New York Review of Books turned me on to this author in 2019. His recent death sent me to the local library to get his books Bullshit Jobs and Debt, the first 5,000 years. Another book that had sat on my library shelves for a long time but I finally got around to reading was Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of Love. Most of the books I read are research for my weekly radio collages, which I have just learned will have a permanent home in the Library of Congress.

Not only no trip to Vegas this year (Westjet won't give me my money back, but will honour my ticket until Sept. 2022 when hopefully I'll be able to return) but only one restaurant meal this year. Thankfully it was at my favourite Vancouver restaurant Cioppino's, with Fumiyo, our grand daughters and their parents. 

My lemon halibut was about as good as my favourite fish can get. The girls are already serious foodies and chefs, and I hope to take them to my favourite Vegas restaurants some day, if those restaurants continue to exist.

Some good news on the political front. Our excellent provincial government was re-elected in a landslide, and south of the border, the recent news reminds me of this passage from Tolkien: 

It seemed to them, that, black against the pall of cloud, there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightening-crowned, filling all of the sky. Enormous it reared above the world and stretched out towards them a vast, threatening hand, terrible but impotent: for even as it leaned over them, a great wind took it and it was all blown away, and passed; and then a hush fell.

JRR Tolkien, The Return of the King



At 8:05 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I had no idea about the Eygptians raising cats and mummifying them. Learn something new every day I say.


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