Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category

Interesting thread on the Covid-cancer connection

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I came across a thread that begins with this post:

Epstein-Barr virus, human papillomavirus, hepatitis B and herpes virus-8 are all viruses that can increase the risk of cancer. There is preliminary evidence #COVID19 could also. We won’t know for many years, by which time, many will have been convinced to repeatedly be infected because they were told it was safe & they didn’t like masks. An ounce of prevention today could be worth a ton of cure later. Why be a lab rat and only find out later you should’ve been more cautious today? #WearAMask

Along the way, someone commented:

my 3 cats got covid when I did in 2020. Now 2 are dead from cancers, and the 3rd has kidney disease

One was only 30, in human years

And see also this article in Nature: “COVID drug drives viral mutations — and now some want to halt its use.” The Eldest tells me that that particular drug is already highly restricted exactly for the reasons described in the article. Moreover, as she points out, “Now that COVID is in animals (deer, cockroaches, etc) and so many people are having second and third rounds of infections because they have discontinued masking, there will be many, many new mutations in any case, sadly. Each new infection is a chance for a successful mutation.”

Be careful out there. Wear an N95 mask in indoor public places.

Written by Leisureguy

8 February 2023 at 10:46 am

RIP Molly, 4/17/2007-12/1/2022

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A beautiful orange Maine Coon cat, 8 years old, 7 years ago.
Molly, around her 8th birthday, April 2015

Today we said goodbye to Molly, who has been with us since August 2007. She was always a good kitty, very kind and gentle, with a sweet disposition. She was a Maine Coon cat. She suffered some illness in her later years but endured the discomfort with grace. 

Written by Leisureguy

1 December 2022 at 4:21 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Molly

A Parasite Massively Improves A Wolf’s Chances Of Leading The Pack

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Rachell Funnel writes in IFLScience:

There’s a parasite at work among packs of grey wolves in America’s Yellowstone National Park, and bizarrely, the animals it infects have a far greater chance of leading their pack compared to wolves who have swerved infection. The culprit? Toxoplasma gondii – the parasite responsible for toxoplasmosis, a disease we can pick up from infected feces and undercooked meat.

T. gondii is a strange parasite, having been associated with risk-taking behaviors in human hosts as well as animals. Research has linked infection with the parasite to certain political views, and even suggested it can make you more attractive to others. Now, a study has found it could have unexpected benefits for wolves with big ambition, too.

The research looked at grey wolves (Canis lupus) living in Yellowstone, Wyoming, to see if or how infection with T. gondii influences wolf behavior. Armed with 26-years-worth of data and blood samples from 229 wolves, they were able to look for correlations between geography, behavior, and infection status.

Yellowstone is also home to cougars (Puma concolor) who are known to carry the parasite, and sure enough, wolves living in close proximity to pumas were more likely to be infected. Curiously, the analyses also showed that infection with the T. gondii parasite made the wolves much bolder. . .

Continue reading.

T. gondii also commonly infects housecats, and mice can get the parasite, which changes their behavior to be more foolhardy, thus making them easier prey for the cats.  More info here.

Written by Leisureguy

25 November 2022 at 11:53 am

When life gets exciting

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Something’s out there!

Written by Leisureguy

5 October 2022 at 9:46 am

Posted in Cats, Daily life

What an “okay boomer” has to say to young people

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Ellen Beth Gill has an interesting article in Medium:

My young co-worker OD’d to his death on Friday night. Might have been an accident, but at the very least, he was self-medicating. He wasn’t the greatest at the job, but he was such a sweet guy, and I wish his world had been a better one.

That got me thinking about what I’d say to young people, given all the mistakes I’ve made in my 62 years. I know. I know. “Okay, boomer,” but what I’m going to say might not be what you think I’m going to say.


Nice to go to college if you can afford it. Don’t go if it gets you or your parents into debt. Whether you go to college or not, read everything you can get your hands on, except the Bible, but I’ll get to that later. With that exception, the most interesting and talented people I know are well-read.

If you were home-schooled, get into a GED program and try to get a year or two of community college. You need to learn something not filtered by an agenda. Home school programs are based on a political agenda. If there was no agenda, were you left in front of the television? A lot of home schooled kids were just kept from school, and not actually home-schooled.

Also, learn how to do stuff, how to make stuff, how to rehab stuff. There’s a man on Tik Tok who says you don’t lack good stuff because you’re poor. You lack good stuff because you’re lousy at being poor. He shows people how to make treasures from trash, great homes from the worst. I’ll post a link if I can find it again.

I once asked my Facebook friends how to darn a sock. The most popular answer was “Thrown out that darn sock.” No one knew how to do it. Now, you can find lots of YouTubes or TikToks on how to darn a sock. Keep what you own nice.

Learn how to cook, and cook cheaply, but without processed stuff like boxed mac and cheese or packaged ramen with the mystery flavor packet. There are a lot of videos online where they recorded their Depression era grandma teaching them how to cook. Always listen to grandma or great-grandma about cooking, though probably not about religion and politics.

Learn how to garden, grow food, not lawns. Try to move to a place that lets you plant food. There is nothing worse than giving lots of money to a gardener or an HOA that spends it on watering, killing weeds with poisons that will kill you, and cutting grass. Unless you have a herd of cattle or sheep or goats to eat it, you do not need a lawn.

Jobs Part 1

This is a tough one because I’d like to tell you not to get one, but most likely you need one to eat. So, I’ll start out like this: first and foremost, do not be a consumer. The less you need, the less you need to make.


Consume as little as possible. Need as little as possible. Share, trade and do without as much as possible. There are free stuff and trading communities. Start a free stuff and trading community if you don’t find one locally.

You do not need a fancy, gas guzzling car — demand your communities keep up public transportation systems. The rich want communities to abandon public transportation. They don’t care that public transportation is better for everyone for lots of reasons. They just want the lowest taxes possible.

You do not need a large luxury home, more floors to wash, more bathrooms to clean. Do not go into debt, any debt, to buy a home. Try or create co-housing opportunities. You don’t need a bank on your back and your boss doesn’t need help exploiting you.

Nobody needs a lot of clothes anymore. If your job requires you to dress up all the time, ask management if they own stock in a clothing conglomerate.

You do need a reliable smart phone, a laptop and maybe a good sized monitor if you do any digital art. Beware of Internet subscription services that have you lease and pay monthly or yearly for what you used to be able to purchase once.

One of the happiest people I know is a woman who lives out of her truck and travels around the country sometimes alone and sometimes with other women similarly situated to help the homeless.

Jobs Part 2

If you need a job, try to get a job outside of an office or with some outside time. I know delivery jobs stink in their own ways, but it’s really bad, and bad for you, to be stuck in an office all day, every day. Most of what you do there has very little value to anyone, and will leave you feeling empty. Think about what skills you have or want to have that involve the outdoors.

Don’t let jobs take your life away from you. You have to work the set work hours, but you do not have to participate in mandatory after-hours social or team-building events or mandatory charity events where you do the labor and management gets the accolades and tax deduction. You are not part of a team no matter what they tell you. Proof? Try unionizing and you’ll learn that management does not want you to be part of any team. They just want to control you.

Don’t fall into the “professional” trap. Professional is a fake status to get you to give up your weekends, overtime pay, and keeps you out of a union. Knowledge workers do the work, but don’t get the pay or bonuses that managers get. Lots of places give the manager a large bonus and suggest they share it with the knowledge workers and staff, but that is not mandatory and they rarely share.

Try and avoid part time jobs where the schedule is irregular. That makes you a full time worker for a part time salary.

Talk about your salaries with co-workers and don’t rat out co-workers for talking salary. It is not unprofessional to talk about salary. It’s inconvenient for management.

Unless it’s in your specific job description, do not  . . .

Continue reading.

If you hit a paywall, you can also read the article here. But first try reading it on Medium.

Written by Leisureguy

18 September 2022 at 10:29 am

Portrait of Molly

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The Wife took this portrait-quality photo of Molly today as Molly sat on her table by the window.

Written by Leisureguy

29 August 2022 at 6:13 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Molly

Reflection of Molly

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The photo, taken by The Wife, is a reflection from a framed image, with the reflected lamp closer to the glass than Miss Molly, lying in the sun on a table.

Written by Leisureguy

13 August 2022 at 2:11 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Molly

The Incredible Story Of Carl Akeley’s Fight To The Death With A Leopard

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A fascinating entry in the blog Stuff Nobody Cares About:

Anyone who has been to New York’s American Museum of Natural History is no doubt familiar with its amazing African mammal collection. The large hall featuring 28 diorama’s with specimens from Africa is named after preservationist, hunter and explorer Carl E. Akeley (May 19, 1864 – November 17, 1926).

The centerpiece of the hall is a freestanding group of eight elephants, poised as if to charge,

What you see in the  Akeley Hall of African Mammals is an accurate portrait of what Akeley and other explorers saw in Africa from the Belgian Congo to the Serengeti Plain.

In 1923 Akeley wrote In Brightest Africa (Doubleday, Page), an account of his travels in Africa. It remains an exciting read today.

One of the most incredible stories is Akeley’s description of killing a leopard with his bare hands.

Akeley’s account:

The sun was setting, and with little to console us the pony boy and I started for camp. As we came near to the place where I had shot the diseased hyena in the morning, it occurred to me that perhaps there might be another hyena about the carcass, and feeling a bit “sore” at the tribe for stealing my wart hog, I thought I might pay off the score by getting a good specimen of a hyena for the collections. The pony boy led me to the spot, but the dead hyena was nowhere in sight. There was the blood where he had fallen, and in the dusk we could make out a trail in
the sand where he had been dragged away.

Advancing a few steps, a slight sound attracted my attention, and glancing to one side I got a glimpse of  a shadowy form going behind a bush. I then did a very foolish thing. Without a sight of what I was shooting at, I shot hastily into the bush. The snarl of a leopard told me what kind of a customer I was taking chances with. A leopard is a cat and has all the qualities that gave rise to the “nine lives” legend: To kill him you have got to kill him clear to the tip of his tail. Added to that, a leopard, unlike a lion, is vindictive. A wounded leopard will fight to a finish
practically every time, no matter how many chances it has to escape. Once aroused, its determination is fixed on fight, and if a leopard ever gets hold, it claws and bites until its victim is in shreds. All this was in my mind, and I began looking about for the best way out of it, for I had no desire to try conclusions with a possibly wounded leopard when it was so late in the day that I could not see the sights of my rifle.

My intention was to leave it until morning and if it had been wounded, there might then be a chance of finding it, I turned to the left to cross to the opposite bank of a deep, narrow tug and when there I found that I was on an island where the tug forked, and by going along a short distance to the point of the island I would be in position to see behind the bush where
the leopard had stopped. But what I had started the leopard was intent on finishing. While peering about I detected the beast crossing the tug about twenty yards above me. I again began shooting, although I could not see to aim. However, I could see where the bullets struck as the sand spurted up beyond the leopard. The first two shots went above her, but the third scored. The leopard stopped and I thought she was killed. The pony boy broke into a song of triumph which was promptly cut short by another song such as only a thoroughly angry leopard is capable of making as it charges. For just a flash I was paralyzed with fear, then came power for action.

I worked the bolt of my rifle and became conscious that the magazine was empty. At the same instant I realized that a solid point cartridge rested in the palm of my left hand, one that I had intended, as I came up to the dead hyena, to replace with a soft nose. If I could but escape the leopard until I could get the cartridge into the chamber!

As she came up the bank on one side of the point of the island, I dropped down the other side and ran about to the point from which she had charged, by which time the cartridge was in place, and I wheeled — to face the leopard in mid-air. The rifle was knocked flying and in its place was eighty pounds of frantic cat. Her intention was to sink her teeth into my throat and with this grip and her forepaws hang to me while with her hind claws she dug out my stomach,
for this pleasant practice is the way of leopards. However, 

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

18 February 2022 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Guns, History

Calvin and Hobbes

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Gabrielle Bellot, a staff writer for Literary Hub whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The Paris Review Daily, The Cut, Tin House, The Guardian, Guernica, The Normal School, The Poetry Foundation, Lambda Literary, and many other places, writes in Literary Hub:

“To an editor,” Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, wrote in 2001, “space may be money, but to a cartoonist, space is time. Space provides the tempo and rhythm of the strip.” Watterson was right, perhaps in more ways than he knew. Newspaper comics, he wrote, provide a unique space for many readers before they start their day; we get to pass, briefly, through a door into a calmer, simpler world, where the characters often remain largely the same, even down to their clothing. Not all newspaper comics are like this, of course, particularly the more complex narrative comics of the past like Little Nemo in Slumberland or Terry and the Pirates, and the worst comics—of which there are many—retain that sense of sameness by being formulaic and uninspired. But this, too, is related to space. Space, broadly speaking, is what defines Calvin and Hobbes.

The strip follows Calvin, a blonde six-year-old American that Watterson named after the founder of Calvinism. Calvin’s first appearance was actually in a rejected strip from before Calvin and Hobbes called Critturs, in which he is the younger brother of the main character; the syndicate suggested he focus on this sibling instead, and that led to the creation of his flagship comic. Often, Calvin’s imagination represents a more exciting, more marvelous vision of the world around him; instead of listening in class to Miss Wormwood (herself named for C. S. Lewis’s apprentice devil in The Screwtape Letters), he may be dreaming of fleeing from aliens in other galaxies. An only child, Calvin’s best friend is a tiger named Hobbes, himself named for the author of Leviathan. To everyone but Calvin, Hobbes appears to be a stuffed tiger, while Hobbes is a real, talking tiger to Calvin. In Watterson’s words, Hobbes’s true nature is never fully defined by the strip, which is one of its beauties; Hobbes is a kind of ontological marvel, and yet utterly mundane all the same, for he is whatever he needs to be for whomever is perceiving him.

Calvin and Hobbes feels so inventive because it is: the strips take us to new planets, to parodies of film noir, to the Cretaceous period, to encounters with aliens in American suburbs and bicycles coming to life and reality itself being revised into Cubist art. Calvin and Hobbes ponder whether or not life and art have any meaning—often while careening off the edge of a cliff on a wagon or sled. At times, the strip simply abandons panels or dialogue altogether, using black and white space and wordless narrative in fascinating ways. Like Alice, Calvin shrinks in one sequence, becoming tiny enough to transport himself on a passing house fly; in another, he grows larger than the planet itself. In “Nauseous Nocturne,” a poem in The Essential Calvin and Hobbes that reads faintly like a parody of Poe, Watterson treats us to lovely art and to absurd yet brilliant lines like “Oh, blood-red eyes and tentacles! / Throbbing, pulsing ventricles! Mucus-oozing pores and frightful claws! / Worse, in terms of outright scariness, / Are the suckers multifarious / That grab and force you in its mighty jaws”; the “disgusting aberration” “demonstrates defenestration” at the sight of Hobbes. In one gloriously profane strip, Calvin even becomes an ancient, vengeful god who attempts to sacrifice humanity. Nothing, except perhaps the beauty of imagination, is sacred here. Watterson dissolves the boundaries of highbrow and lowbrow art. The comic’s freedom is confined—it’s not totally random—yet the depths it can go to feel fathomless all the same. Few other strips allow themselves such vastness.

I’ve always loved the way that the best books—including comics—change as we do. The narrator of Borges’s “The Book of Sand” receives an inscrutable book from a bible-seller that literally changes every time he opens it, for it is impossible to find the same page twice; conversely, another of Borges’s protagonists, Funes the Memorious from the story of the same name, cannot forget anything he reads or perceives at all. Reality is somewhere in the middle of these extremes. Some books are palaces or grand multilayered structures like the etchings of Piranesi; we may only find secret doors and halls and rooms in them on our second or fourth reads, and there are some doors one reader may stumble upon that no one else ever will, including the writer of said text. “The days are just packed,” Calvin tells Hobbes in one of Watterson’s strips, in a line that would serve as the title for a collection. And so is the comic itself, which I’ve reread in its entirety many times, and yet I keep finding new little hidden rooms in it.

I’ve gotten more into comics as I’ve grown older, but Calvin and Hobbes is the one that has stayed with me from childhood to adulthood. Though focused on suburban American characters, it crossed cultural borders for me in Dominica because so much of it seemed universal. I lived at the edge of a mountain village, and on the days when the wind had stopped blowing and everything felt still and stricken with the melancholy of a too-short Sunday I enjoyed retreating into a room and disappearing into the world of a book collection of Calvin and Hobbes. (I had . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

17 November 2021 at 7:19 pm

Posted in Art, Books, Cats, Daily life, Humor

Text message from The Eldest

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Written by Leisureguy

29 May 2021 at 6:51 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life

Tagged with

Guilt? or just say, “What?”

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Hearing a noise from the other room, The Wife investigated. She writes, “Molly was digging in the bag of food to find something she likes better than what’s on her plate.” This is the look Molly gave her.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2020 at 2:09 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Molly

John Gray: ‘What can we learn from cats? Don’t live in an imagined future’

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Tim Adams interviews John Gray in the Guardian:

What’s it like to be a cat? John Gray has spent a lifetime half-wondering. The philosopher – to his many fans the intellectual cat’s pyjamas, to his critics the least palatable of furballs – has had feline companions at home since he was a boy in South Shields. In adult life – he now lives in Bath with his wife Mieko, a dealer in Japanese antiquities – this has principally been two pairs of cats: “Two Burmese sisters, Sophie and Sarah, and two Birman brothers, Jamie and Julian.” The last of them, Julian, died earlier this year, aged 23. Gray, currently catless, is by no means a sentimental writer, but his new book, Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life, is written in memory of their shared wisdom.

Other philosophers have been enthralled by cats over the years. There was Schrödinger and his box, of course. And Michel de Montaigne, who famously asked: “When I am playing with my cat, how do I know she is not playing with me?” The rationalist René Descartes, Gray notes, once “hurled a cat out of the window in order to demonstrate the absence of conscious awareness in non-human animals; its terrified screams were mechanical reactions, he concluded.”

One impulse for this book was a conversation with a fellow philosopher, who assured Gray that he “had taught his cat to be vegan”. (Gray had only one question: “Did the cat ever go out?” It did.) When he informed another philosopher that he was writing about what we can learn from cats, that man replied: “But cats have no history.” “And,” Gray wondered, “is that necessarily a disadvantage?”

Elsewhere, Gray has written how Ludwig Wittgenstein once observed “if lions could talk we would not understand”, to which the zookeeper John Aspinall responded: “He hasn’t spent long enough with lions.” If cats could talk, I ask Gray, do you think we would understand?

“Well, the book is in some ways an experiment in that respect,” he says. “Of course, it’s not a scientific inquiry. But if you live with a cat very closely for a long time – and it takes a long time, because they’re slow to trust, slow to really enter into communication with you – then you can probably imagine how they might philosophise.”

Gray believes that humans turned to philosophy principally out of anxiety, looking for some tranquillity in a chaotic and frightening world, telling themselves stories that might provide the illusion of calm. Cats, he suggests, wouldn’t recognise that need because they naturally revert to equilibrium whenever they’re not hungry or threatened. If cats were to give advice, it would be for their own amusement.

Readers of Gray will recognise this book as a postscript or coda to Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, the 2002 bestseller in which he elegantly dismantled the history of western philosophy – with its illusory faith in our species living somehow “above” evolving life and outside the constraints of nature. That book aimed its fire particularly at the prevailing belief of our time: that of the inevitably steady forward progress of humankind brought about by liberal democracy. When the book came out, as George W Bush was demanding “regime change” in Iraq, it struck a particular nerve. In the two decades since, its argument that the advance of rational enlightened thought might not offer any kind of lasting protection against baser tribal instincts or environmental destruction or human folly has felt like prophecy.

Gray never bought the idea that his book was a handbook for despair. His subject was humility; his target any ideology that believed it possessed anything more than doubtful and piecemeal answers to vast and changing questions. The cat book is written in that spirit. If like me you read with a pencil to hand, you will be underlining constantly with a mix of purring enjoyment and frequent exclamation marks. “Consciousness has been overrated,” Gray will write, coolly. Or “the flaw in rationalism is the belief that human beings can live by applying a theory”. Or “human beings quickly lose their humanity but cats never stop being cats”. He concludes with a 10-point list of how cats might give their anxious, unhappy, self-conscious human companions hints “to live less awkwardly”. These range from “never try to persuade human beings to be reasonable”, to “do not look for meaning in your suffering” to “sleep for the joy of sleeping”.

Does he see that 10-point plan, offered half in earnest (“as a cat would offer it”) as an answer to those people who criticised Straw Dogs for offering little in place of what it debunked? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2020 at 4:01 pm

Miss Molly comes to visit

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Fumigators at The Wife’s apartment today, so Miss Molly is spending a day with me. After a certain amount of obligatory sniffing around the apartment, she found a sunny spot on a comfortable chair and settled down for a nap. (She’s now snoozing.)

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2020 at 9:12 am

Posted in Cats, Molly

Molly on TV again — the trick explained

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Written by Leisureguy

12 April 2020 at 10:38 am

Posted in Cats, Molly

Molly on TV

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Just this morning:

Written by Leisureguy

11 April 2020 at 11:09 am

Posted in Cats, Molly

I like it when cats show up in movies

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This was just a quick 3-second shot, but I like the kitty:

Written by Leisureguy

21 December 2019 at 9:02 am

Posted in Cats, Movies & TV

Which Xmas ornament doesn’t belong?

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The ornament is the face of my grand-cat Wheezy, whose mom is The Eldest. The other cat, Harry, is too mature for such shenanigans.

Written by Leisureguy

19 December 2019 at 3:17 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life

How to distract an Egyptian god

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Written by Leisureguy

14 August 2019 at 10:19 am

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Religion

Walk flowers

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The top of the photo is severely cropped because I wanted to remove the close-up of my finger. To make up for that, here’s a photo of Molly resting.

Written by Leisureguy

30 July 2019 at 1:50 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Molly

Another wooden-tub shaving soap, with Baby Smooth and Blenheim Bouquet

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This is a fine vintage (now) shaving soap, which I believe was made by Truefitt & Hill pre-out-sourcing. It was a private-label soap sold by a vendor who’s now retired, the business name sold to a disreputable dealer (alas). But the soap: the soap is wonderful, and my Rooney Style 1 Size 1 created a superb lather.

The Baby Smooth is a great favorite and I love the shave I get with it. Speaking of favorites, Mantic59 wanted to know which of these razors is my favorite. The problem is that (as the article plainly states), they’re all my favorites: those are my favorite razors, as the title states. But he’s working on something and needed to know The One, and I found I couldn’t do it. I went in and stared into the razor drawer and finally came up with a Favorite Five, but at another time I would probably have a different Favorite Five.

I ended the shave with a good splash of Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet on a totally smooth face. A fine way to start the day.

Yesterday afternoon was not hot, just pleasantly warm with a light breeze, and Miss Molly took a nap on the sofa:

The tummy is irresistible, and she doesn’t mind at all if you pat it gently, just lies limp and seems to enjoy it.

Written by Leisureguy

25 July 2019 at 8:50 am

Posted in Cats, Molly, Shaving

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