Thursday, May 31, 2007

Logomania Beautiful Blue

Logomania is out again with Beautiful Blue...Rich with associations, blue features in many colourful expressions.

I'm very interested in how cats see colours.

For the longest time many people insisted cats can't see colours. However, cats have rods and cones in their retinae just as we do. However, from the number of these, it is assumed that cats see as we do but aren't quite as good at distinguising subtleties.

So you can ask your cat to sit only on the blue chair and to keep off the yellow, green and red furniture, but your kitty will have difficulty distinguishing the biscuit coloured throw rug from the straw coloured throw rug next to it.

On the other hand cats have brilliant night vision. So when we're trying to distinguish the sofa from the wall, they're shuddering at the clashing colours of the pink pullover you left hanging around on the orange sofa cover!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Price Hike!

I went to the wet market in SS15 in Subang Jaya this morning to do my weekly shopping. And what a shock it was!

Chicken wings, drumsticks etc now cost RM10.50 per kilo rather than last week's RM6.
Beef costs RM20 per kilo instead of last week's RM17 per kilo.
Onions cost RM2.40 per kilo instead of last week's RM2.
Tomatoes cost RM8 per kilo instead of last week's RM4.50.

Every single item in the market has been subjected to similar price hikes.

The traders say the prices are up because civil servants have had a pay rise. Why this should mean everyone suddenly has to fork out double for ordinary foodstuffs is a mystery. And as I haven't had a pay increase in 3 years, does that mean I should pay prices from back then?

The government says they will stop this exploitation but they said the same thing when prices escalated a few months ago after fuel price hikes - and nothing happened.

I've told Scoop he can expect fewer roast chicken treats in the future. This price hike has struck too hard!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

That's Purr-Fect!

Au is in the Star today, having the back of his neck rubbed.

At the moment the little fluff is flat out on the sofa, enjoying a light snooze before lunch.

But the clouds are gathering and if it's anything like yesterday, we're in for a spectacular thunder and lightening storm.

As Au is a bit of a coward about noise, that will send him straight under the bed.

Apparently lightening doesn't strike there!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Logomania: Salty Language

The Star has published my latest Logomania column: Salty Language an article discussing origin and use of phrases such as To take something with a pinch of salt, To rub salt into the wound, To be worth one’s salt and more.

Comments, brickbats, comments on where to find better etymological sources etc welcome...

The guy on the far left is Ferdinand Magellan, the old salt who set off to sail around the world. He was the first person to lead an expedition sailing westward from Europe to Asia and to cross the Pacific Ocean but he died in the Philippines in 1521 but his crew made it back under the charge of Juan Sebastián Elcano, the man with the fancy feathery hat.

I like sailing but the idea of setting off across an unknown (and possibly unending!) ocean with just a packet of biscuits and a motley crew is not my cup of tea.

If you're interested in reading more than the Wikipedia articles linked to above, a good start is Eyewitness History.

PS The Magellan pic is an anonymous work of art from 16th or 17th century now part of The Mariner's Museum Collection, USA and the Elcano pic is a line drawing by J. Donon in 1854, now part of the Royal Spanish Navy collection (Historia de la Marina Real Española).

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Cat Poo Coffee

I thought this was a spoof but it isn't:

The world's most expensive, and rarest, coffee is Kopi Luwak. It is made in neighboringcivet cat Indonesia from coffee beans found in jungles.

And guess what, the only beans used are those that have been passed through native civet cats.

The price is a cool $1,000 (RM4000) a kilo.

As Wikipedia reports, "Civets are omnivorous, supplementing a meat diet (both hunted and scavenged) with fruit, eggs, and possibly roots. One of the Common Palm Civet's favorite fruits is the coffee "berry." The coffee bean within often survives, and it is sometimes gathered and sold as caphe cut chon (fox-dung coffee) in Vietnam or Kopi Luwak (civet coffee) in Indonesia."

Anyone for a cuppa? I thought Yuk but apparently the coffee connoisseurs in Oz are digging in happily. See here and here for news articles.

I wonder if Scoop and Au would like to eat a few beans? It might be a whole new cottage industry.

PS This image of the civet cat was originally called "Malaiischer Palmenroller, Paradoxurus hermaphroditus Schreb. 1/5 natürlicher Größe." It was created by Gustav Mützel and comes from Brehms Tierleben, Small Edition 1927. It's copyright is now expired so the image may be used by anyone.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


We’ve been tagged by Kitikata and Sharlene and the Spice Cats. This tag challenge: 7 things about Au:

I started life as an abused kitten and was thrown out of a moving car.
I now live in the lap of luxury with Scoop and 2 personal slaves.
Ham is my favourite treat of all time.
I sharpen my claws on my own stack of newspapers every day.
My cardboard box is my castle.
I’m tough but I shiver when there’s thunder.
I love to hog the furniture, especially the office chair!

And in our turn we are tagging:

My Cute Paws
Mighty's Life - A Cat's Eye View
Daisy the Curly Cat

Monday, May 14, 2007

Milk Bar

kittens enjoying a drinkThe kittens at the back seem to be a tough lot; all four come rushing in twice a day for biscuits. Their mum still holds back and snarls and hisses and growls, but her kids know there's nothing to fear in this house.

In a few weeks I'll be looking for homes if anyone cares to adopt a pair of small kittens with no pedigree?

Here are two of them, enjoying a session at the milk bar.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Car Cats

I washed and polished my car the other day.

At first both cats kept their distance. Scoop sat on the wall and watched with pleasure. He always likes to see people working hard. Au on the other hand refuses to be anywhere near soapy water. He watched from behind the living room window.

But the second the car was clean and dry, they bounced up and inspected it, putting dusty paw prints all over it. Here they are, looking smug and not the least bit guilty as always!

Scoop and Au

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Double-cross and doublespeak

There's a new Logomania column out today, all about doubles...

DOUBLES suggest partnerships such as tennis partners, extra bounty as in doubling of profits, and also duplicity or cheating. With such a rich variety of meanings, it’s no wonder that this word forms part of many colourful expressions.

Check it out to learn more about doublespeak, doublethink, double whammy and other expressions.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bad, Bad, Person

Au on the stairs
When Au asked for biscuits on Sunday evening, I discovered we had none in the house. It was an awful moment. There was Au, sitting on the stairs, saying meow? in a friendly voice. I confessed and apologised. Au smiled, thinking it a good joke. Then, when he realised I really meant it, he drooped.

Au lay on the staircase, looking at me pathetically. How, his eyes said to me, could I have done such a thing? How was he, he said pathetically, a lovely and loving little cat, going to survive the night?

I offered cat food from a foil packet, tuna for people, and his all time favourite ham, but Au wanted something crunchy.

Luckily we were rescued. Our neighbour Umi who lives across the street feeds strays in her back garden. She donated some biscuits to Au who ate them with a satisfied crunch!

Since then we've stocked up on biscuits so the crisis is over. Au has forgiven me but I still feel guilty. I'm a bad, bad person...