Friday, February 4, 2011

the view from the big round bed

Scoop, by Saba Italia
I love men. 

Big, burly men.  Decisive, friendly, efficient men.  Cheerful, joshing, smiling men.

So... even with our living quarters a complete, disassembled mess, this lovely group of tonsured monks -- our flooring installers -- have kindly advised me to plant my booty in the middle of our half-mile wide round bed and just relax.  It's the polite way of telling me to get out of the way. 

They are working around  me, literally.

Our menagerie is less than thrilled.  I don't think Dobby has blinked in several hours.  I actually had to poke him with my GimpGrabber to make sure he was alive.  Even then, he didn't blink -- he allowed one ear a quick twitch, that was it.  I offered him his most coveted treat -- a salmon Pill Pocket, of all things -- and it is still sitting there by his front paws. 

But we are not bereft of the "awwww" factor, because Marmy Fluffy Butt and her brother, Uncle Kitty Big Balls, who usually are not the friendliest of siblings, are so intertwined that it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Still, Marmy's huge fluffy butt provides a big hint to the edges of their ontological division.  Uncle Kitty Big Balls' tail is more like a stiff bottle brush and though it is a perfectly fine tail, it doesn't hold a candle to her monumentally large and wispy rear end.

What do I think of the flooring?  Have you ever spent so much time choosing and pricing some home improvement material that by the time your project is finished you just don't care anymore?

Well, have you?

I like it.  I don't love it... yet.  It's very different from the plush, toe-grabbing carpet we're used to -- although  we never quite felt comfortable dropping crumbs on the museum-quality medieval silk tapestries that the Haddocks use as area rugs and bath mats.

Fred is saying all the right things:  "It makes our rooms look bigger!" being his favorite.  His next favorite thing to say is "Now we're gonna hafta paint!"   [When pigs fly will Fred willingly take up a brush... No, he is thinking in terms of gesso and murals.]

I didn't sleep much due to... oh, what was it?  Oh, I remember!  This soul-sucking pain!  So I caught up on world news, then read until my eyes failed to focus.

Events in the middle east are breathtaking.  As I watched USAmerican news coverage of the revolution in Egypt, what also proved interesting were the attitudes toward this nascent democratic struggle.  It makes people nervous.  Raucous applause for the Egyptians peaceably protesting in the streets and squares against the decades of repression under Hosni Mubarak alternate with worried whispers about the "direction" and "allegiances" the new Egyptian leadership may assume.

Then there is the "thug" factor.  Middle eastern "thuggery" shares many characteristics with the mysterious "outside agitators" so common to western protests.  Mubarak's paid plants add another element of confusion to the mix of the police and the military, the secular and the religious...

Anti-government protesters are heroic in the face of violence -- police vans plowing through crowds, snipers shooting from bridges, human rights activists detained, journalists harassed and arrested. STRATFOR reports, via Egyptian newspaper Al-Mesryoon, that 

Leaders from Egypt’s ruling party, members of the People’s Assembly and security commanders attended a secret meeting in Alexandria on Feb. 2 and made plans to mobilize hundreds of 'thugs' to attack demonstrators and disperse them by force... According to sources that attended the meeting, a number of People’s Assembly members offered 250,000 Egyptian pounds ($42,700) to finance the attack, while security officials offered hundreds of clubs and explosive devices for use against the demonstrators.
It will be interesting to watch the wrangling for position in the political vacuum left by Mubarak, particularly the role of the changing Muslim Brotherhood, a popular and populist group about which, I think, western attitudes will evolve -- in spite of the not-terribly-insightful journalism of CNN's Eliot Spitzer (certainly my choice for moral and political guidance) and Piers Morgan, Insta-Pundit.  I am not suggesting any pardon of violent acts such as Sadat's assassination -- just a willingness to assess them according to their present context. They are, for instance, supportive of Mohamed ElBaradei.  Unfortunately, the group's growing temperance and history of good works in the social arena can be obscured by a single mention of Al Qaeda and the Brotherhood in the same journalistic breath.

Last night, Spitzer elicited a pledge against violence from MB representative Mohamed Morsy, and even acknowledgement of Israel's right to exist.  Morsy said:
We are not against people. We are not against mankind. We are not against the Jews. We are against Zionism. We are against torturing the Palestinians.

Immediately, CNN posted the subscript "Muslim Brotherhood against Zionism"!

Ah... the smoke alarms are going off.  That can't be good.  It looks like I must budge from this comfy bed and go see what progress has been made and whether there actually is threat of a fire (no, there is no fire, only some smokin' saws!).

The Monks are about half done and are calling it a day.  We have only another 24 hours or so of disorganisation and chaos. 

Peace out.  Later, if I've the energy, I'd like to share my enjoyment of my current read, The Liar's Club: A Memoir.  Talk about revolutionizing the genre!

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