Friday, July 01, 2011

A Gothic Tale of Feral Cats...

My neighborhood is plagued with feral cats; many neighborhoods of this country are, as pet abandonment is as prevalent as rice over here.  My house is sort of a magnet for the roving cat gangs, since I have nice balcony ledges which make nice launching/landing pads for inter-house leaps.
The other night I came home, actually it was just pre-dusk, but a little bit darkish, and while climbing the steep stairs that lead out of the darkened garden up to my top-floor of the 3 story house, when out of the corner of my eye I spy what seems to be a squashed rat.  Not wanting to directly 'see' this horror, I kept moving, but as I entered my house, my brain continued to churn the image over and over; it seemed like there had definately been squiggly guts all over, and the creature was splayed out like a dead dog.
Now all I could think about was that, how I was looking at a major cleanup job, and that I had no shovel, only a one-foot midget broom, that would probably need itself to be cleaned or thrown away.  Plus there would be gore and the smell, depending on how long I procrastinated.
I decided to put it out of my mind.  I would find a way, somehow.  Maybe the neighbors whose door it was closer to would man up and do the job.  But no, I'd seen dogshit right in front of their door and they did nothing.  They were hopeless.  But maybe a rapacious cat, not necessarily the mother, would eat the damn was meat, after all.  Don't cats eat weird shit like dogs do?
So after just letting all these thoughts fester in my mind for a while, and trying to busy myself to keep those images out, I had to go out again for shopping.  This time I assiduously avoided any direct gaze, but again, in order to avoid stepping on the thing, I had to catch at least a part of it out of the corner of my eye.
Hurrying out of my house, my mind began reprocessing the eyecorner image, like Nasa scientists poring over the latest shots of Mars...actually my incessantly morbid mind was now coming to a new conclusion; those squiggly bits were not guts splayed, but actually it was a stillborn cat fetus, and the squiggly thing was umbilical cord, and the non squiggly bit must have been a placenta.  I'm not sure the idea of a stillborn fetus was any less unsettling than a squashed rat, but somehow at least the idea of cleanup began to appear more cheerful.
I stayed out shopping an unusually long time, not wanting to have to go home and deal with the fetal removal by cruelly short broom implement....Somehow in the back of my mind I kept clinging to the 'roving scavenger' theory- although in all my time in Seoul I had never witnessed an eagle or a hawk, I was never more ready to witness a raptor swooping in than now, sort of like people in North Dakota waiting to see the UFO's....
So on the way back in my house it was dark, and I had to get my little red keychain light out, had to be very careful not to squash the fetus, or I would be back to square one on the cleanup nightmare.  So I stepped gingerly through the garden, and this time it was almost impossible not to look directly at the pile of meat on my step, if I wanted to be sure to avoid stepping on it, plus the spotlight effect of the light in the dark, and then i shit my pants.....

THE THING WAS MOVING!  A little head reared in the red light like a demon from hell....

I rushed back upstairs to pour myself a whiskey.  Now I really had a mess- I have to 'put it out of its misery AND clean it up! I sat there for an hour, thinking hard about how NOT to think about this...maybe a nighttime scavenger would still come and eat the thing, but I really hoped it didn't make a mess or even a horrorific sound as it did so....

About an hour later, I stumbled down the stairs to re-assess the situation, prepared for the worst, and the kitten was gone!  Apparently the mother had just chosen the WORLD'S WORST NEWBORN PARKING spot while she recovered from partum- I remembered that cats are always doing that, moving their babies all over Shit-dom.

Later after the second whiskey back in my house, I realized I had missed my there was one more feral cat in my neighborhood....

Friday, June 03, 2011

NAKED Breakfast Experiment.

I remember learning, a long time ago in school of some sort, that the difference between Naked and Nude was that Nude meant you had intended to be seen naked, as in Nude beaches, Nude art, etc.  Naked was a synonym of unprotected where the viewer's gaze was unwelcome and even uninvited.
I found little evidence of this distinction remaining in my breakfast experiment this morning, where a recent news blurb from wacky Florida  got me thinking:  Is there a gender distinction when we say Naked Man/Naked Woman or Nude Man/Nude Woman?
As is often the case with Breakfast Experiments, asking the question simply opened up deeper questions :
Experimental Proceedure:
Coffee:  100 g. of Panama 'Boquete' green beans was open flame-roasted in a skillet three days prior to the experiment and set aside.  On the morning of the experiment, an aliquot of the same beans were ground and extracted with boiling H2O using a crude beaker/filter arrangement.  Milk and sugar were titrated generously in preparation for the next phase.
Data:  A web portal-search engine service known as "Google" was consulted for the four combinations of phrases, both with and without quotation marks to act as controls.
Perusal of the headlines often led to some amusing/ironic examples such as
"Man Caught Making Coffee Naked in His Home." (wait, can they see me through internet?), as well as some disturbing examples, such as:
"Naked Sultan Woman Waving Severed Dog's Head Arrested and..." -in such instances as the latter, coffee was diluted with single-malt whiskey to help assimilate the information.  The author will leave it to the reader to fill in the ellipsis.

The results are shown in Table 3, below:

Gender “Man” “Woman” Ratio
Naked X arrested 4,600,000 1,800,000 39%
Nude X arrested 6,320,000 1,630,000 25%
“Naked X arrested” (with quotes) 1,410,000 416,000 29.5%
“Nude X arrested”(with quotes) 268,000 93,400 34%

What is interesting is that, consistently, there are about 3 to 4 Naked or Nude Men for every Naked/Nude woman.  Curiously, this confirms the author's casual observations on nude beaches at various locations around the world.  The question that it arouses, however, is whether this gender differential is more of a language, cultural, social, or biological function.  That is, are there actually more Nude/Naked men arrested because they are naked, or because they are men? Another way of phrasing this is, Do more men than women get naked in public in the first place, or is it more illegal for a man to be naked in public?

Any thoughts on the reasons behind this phenom? or is it just an artifact?