The word of the day is rollick.

Rollick (verb) display boisterous high spirits: to have fun, especially in a loud, rowdy way.
[Early 19th century. Origin uncertain: probably a blend of roll or romp and frolic.]

I've been listening to Henry Butler and Corey Harris rollicking through some Louisiana blues with such devil-may-care dexterity that it makes me feel all... well... rollicksome. The licks and flicks just flow out of Henry's hands in a cavorting gamboling romping frisky rollicky way. This sort of blues makes me feel very un-blue. It energises.

Anyone feel like a rollick?


What am I reading? I'm back to Greg Bear's "Blood Music" after deviating to read Phillip Gwynne's "Deady Unna?". I wanted to read Deadly Unna before tomorrow night since I'm going to an author spotlight on Phillip Gwynne at the local library. The last author spotlight was pleasant, but it would have been better if I'd read some of the author's work.


It is well known that cats have nine lives. This was a special dispensation by the creator to compensate for inflicting them with an excess of curiosity. What is not well known is that some cats have more than nine lives.

Whenever there are exactly nine kittens in a litter, the ninth kitten is granted nine lots of nine lives. Even eighty one lives don't last very long, particularly when you have eight mischievous and competitive siblings. When a litter of nine is born under the ninth full moon in the year of the cat (based on the Egyptian calendar), the ninth kitten receives nine times nine sets of nine lives. Seven hundred and twenty nine lives would last about a thousand years if the lucky cat was as careless as your run-of-the-curtains house cat. However, after the first few hundred lives there is less and less to be curious about and a lives-expectancy of ten thousand years wouldn't be out of the question.

You are probably already dismissing the idea of long-life cats as a baseless fabrication. I know I would if it were not for the paw prints of evidence left on history's pages. I have been gradually uncovering the trail of a particular life-endowed feline who has been cheeky enough to mark out his territory in human literature. I refer of course to Dick Whittington's cat. The fame this cat brought to Richard Whittington (1350-1423) seems to be his signature scent. He had obviously lived long enough to develop a keen political sense and a good business head. I suspect the experience with Dick raised his profile a little higher than was healthy for a cat. He remained out of history's view for the next 150 years.

The assertion that Shakespeare could not have had time to write all the literature that is attributed to him remains valid. Some still hold that Bacon wrote some or all of the works under a William Shakespeare pseudonym, but since the alleged cryptographic evidence has been debunked the only support for the argument comes from similarities in background knowledge, vocabulary and style. A more plausible explanation is that our marvellous William was merely a scribe, desperately trying to keep pace with the dictation of his mouse-eating muse. In fact we even get some insight into the relationship at times when the cat was obviously tired and his scribe was too thick to distinguish dictation from affectionate small-talk. e.g.

To sleep, purrrchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub

Yes, it is still speculation that this is the same cat that guided Dick Whittington to his considerable wealth and four times Mayorship of London, but the depth and quality of Shakespearean literature is hard to attribute to some ten year old moggy. Clearly, it was dictated by a cat with class.

It's difficult to follow a 400 year old trail with any certainty. It is only at the start of the 20th century that we find this cat's arrogance exceeding his caution. He had the audacity to insert autobiographical material in the poems he dictated to another scribe - Thomas Stearns Eliot. Here are excerpts from T. S. Eliot's "Old Deuteronomy":

Old Deuteronomy's lived a long time;
He's a Cat who has lived many lives in succession.
He was famous in proverb and famous in rhyme
A long while before Queen Victoria's accession.
Old Deuteronomy's buried nine wives
And more - I am tempted to say, ninety-nine;

And then from "Gus: The Theatre Cat":

'I have played', so he says, 'every possible part,
And I used to know seventy speeches by heart.'

He makes some pretense to modesty when he describes himself as understudy:

In the Pantomime season I never fell flat
And I once understudied Dick Whittington's Cat.

But he gives the game away when he admits his ability to take on any Shakespearean role without rehearsal:

At a Shakespeare performance he once walked on pat,
When some actor suggested the need for a cat.

How this cat's influence remained undetected after the publication of "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" I'll never understand. I guess it's just that:

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:
At whatever time the deed took place - MACAVITY WASN'T THERE!

Towards the end of the 20th century the freedom of flow of information led to a rise in the likelihood of detection of such an influential cat. In an age where just about anyone could access information about almost anything, this wiley old flea-bag adopted a new tactic. He took up with a Canadian comedy act called The Arrogant Worms. How better to disguise his influence than via the medium of satirical comedy? Even when the Worms produced a serious song about him, the results could only be seen as ridiculous humour.

I was excited when I heard this song because I knew I was hot on his trail. I managed to contact the Arrogant Worms' road manager to make enquiries. BigFat (as he called himself) told me about Trevor Strong's cat, Tommi. Tommi travelled with the band in the early 90's, attending every gig. It was obvious from the way he spoke that BigFat had no love of Tommi. He seemed very keen to tell me how Tommi had gone missing during an overseas concert tour in 1995 and how it was much easier on the road when he didn't have to empty a sand tray.

The trail is cold again, but I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open for this feline. I suspect he still has a lot of lives left.

Another sonnet

Not sure where this one comes from. ;)

Mine eyes knew not the colours of the spring
for winter's soulless clouds enslaved my sight.
My heart knew not the warmth that thou couldst bring
to draw me home from bitter, prowling night.
Oh, can it be that I didst drink life's cream
and taste the pleasures of thy touch so sweet?
'Twas like fulfilment of my deepest dream
to share thy bed, e'en only at thy feet.
These eyes, now opened to such light as this,
no longer crave the kinship of the gloom
except to mute the memories of lost bliss
that threaten all my moments to consume.
  Still I beseech the gods above that thou
  wouldst heed once more my piteous meow.


WifeOfVirge drew my attention to one of the latest in fad diets - the WWJE diet. Yes, that's right. There is a What Would Jesus Eat diet. This had to be the funniest gimick since Slim with Him fired up the American heartland's guilt receptors.

Funny though it is, the WWJE diet sounds like it should work. Well, any reasonably moderate, balanced diet coupled with a good motivating tactic should work and leave you healthier. This one allows you to get closer to God as you eat. And the diet's disciples know it must work - have you ever seen a picture of an overweight messiah?

Next we'll have wine manufacturers with a WWJD campaign, a range of overpriced fashion shops called WWJW, tobacco companies promoting WWJS, and perhaps some enthusiastic marketeer will propose an OS slogan of "Where Would Jesus Want To Go Today?

The Sonnet

Recent browsing reminded me that I had never tried writing a sonnet. I decided to try. Having no experience with sonnet writing I decided to follow a simple Shakespearean rhyming scheme and structure. Since the subject matter is modern, I strove archaic language to shun and inversions to avoid. ;)

I find my life reflected in a song;
not just its lyrics - in its form as well,
as though each decade were a minute long,
condensed by some ennui-removal spell.
A reverent piano patiently
invites my timid vocal to begin,
apologising for what seems to be
the signs of passion testing chains within.
The beast released four minutes from the start
is richer, wild, yet even now constrained.
The rosined voice that swells the solo part
feeds counterpoints to keep me entertained.
  I must find ways to spur the artist on
  for when that solo ends, so does the song.

Instant Update

What am I listening to? Nick Cave: The Boatman's Call
What made me laugh? Deflector Beanie and Circlemakers

Emergent Glurge

Perhaps I should take up the idea of Anti-Glurge in a serious fashion. Don't you think it would be wonderful to receive a delightful vignette about the cruelty of life and the courage of a resilient young soul where the expected miraculous twist at the end takes a detour and ends up even worse than you could possibly imagine? It would restore your faith in human nature. It would help to make sense of this crazy world.

"You received this message of encouragement from a friend. Pass it on to your friends to let them know how much you care. Go on. You know you must do it now that the email has commanded you. That's right, use the mousey thing to click the 'forward message' option and send it to all your AOL buddies."

There once was a naive young Virge
who thought global mind could emerge
from a network of souls
sharing worries and goals
but it drowned in the spam, sex and glurge.

View More Limericks

Instant Update

What am I listening to? Stephane Grapelli: Are you in the mood?
What's interesting? Celebrity Worship Syndrome
What's quirky? Six Feet Under Adverts

Virge L'Anti-Glurge

"Many people will walk in and out of your life. But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart."
- That's all well and good, provided they don't wear stiletto heels.

In case anyone hadn't guessed, I am allergic to glurge. It makes me break out in cold shudders. See Daddy's Day for an example of why.

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