Tuesday 31 May, 2022

An evening sky

Quote of the Day

”Photography is truth. And cinema is truth twenty-four times a second.”

  • Jean-Luc Godard

It’s baloney, of course, but it makes a good sound-bite.

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Richard Wagner | Siegfried Idyll


I know it’s long, but it’s beautiful. Just let it run while you do other stuff. It was a birthday present to Cosima, after the birth of their son Siegfried in 1869.

Long Read of the Day


Lovely essay by Venkatesh Rao on what he’s learnt about ageing from his elderly cat.

My 18-year old cat (around 80-100 in human years) is teaching me about infirmity and providing a sneak preview of my own future. He can no longer run but he can sort of hurry-walk. He can no longer jump, but he can just about manage to clamber up on the couch with a sort of still-elegant half-bound. But he prefers a ramp or stairs even for that.

And his mobility has a precarious quality to it. He can walk in a straight line, and make slow turns, but a slight unexpected sideways bump will topple him. And from some positions, such as being on his side on a slight slope, he has trouble getting up again. The days when he could stumble from a height and twist and turn in the air to land on his feet are long gone.

This quality of precarious nominality extends to all his life processes. Any change to his routine upsets him, and he has trouble coping and recovering. But he seems to have developed a curious kind of patience — sometimes grumpy, sometimes placid — for the coping and recovering too. There is a gentle, self-aware insistence on choosing life every day, despite the growing costs…

It’s a wise, reflective, thought-provoking essay which made me reflect on what I’ve been discovering about our last remaining cat — who is the same age as Rao’s. See below.

On not going quietly into that goodnight…

This is Tilly, who is now 18 — and therefore even older than me. Her sister (or perhaps I should say litter-mate), Zoombini died  almost a year ago and since then she has become more needy (which, given that she and her sister were inseparable, is understandable); but sometimes she is now also ostentatiously imperious. She’s in pretty good physical shape for her age, though, like me, she suffers from arthritis — so one of the standard comic routines in our household is watching her and me descending the stairs in slowly cautious lock-step.

My hunch is that she is less philosophical about ageing than is Mr Rao’s cat. Tilly sounds more like a cantankerous elderly person who doesn’t like getting old and wants to make her displeasure plain to all and sundry, including the domestic staff of her luxurious retirement home.

My commonplace booklet

Jason Kottke is taking break. He’s been one of the nicest presences on the Web for years, but he’s currently not in great shape. He needs a break. Here’s how he puts it:

There’s a passenger ferry that goes from Cape Cod to Nantucket and there’s a stretch of time in the middle of the journey where you can’t see the mainland behind you and can’t yet see the island ahead — you’re just out in the open water. That’s what I need, to be in that middle part — to forget about what I’ve been doing here for so many years without having to think about where I’m going in the future. I need open water and 5-6 months feels like the right amount of time to find it.

Here’s what Mozart would wish for him: Soave sia il vento

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