Friday, April 06, 2007

Thought For The Day

I think I'll get a dog and call it Fortescue. Basically so I can have an excuse to shout out things like this on a regular basis:

Fortescue! Get your nose out of that!

Fortescue! Drop that this instant!

Fortescue! What did I tell you about eating that?

Fortescue! I didn't take you to the vet for that little operation just to have you go and do that to the nearest chihuahua, did I?


This thought for the day has been brought to you by Tim. Kindly forward on your hate mail complaints to the nearest RSPCA branch, thanks.


Karen said...

My sister called her cat Aeneas and she's a vet, so she really should know better. I call him "Porkchop" instead. Folks who call their dogs Ptolemy get very snooty about the pronunciation, she tells me.
My little girl is Lizzie, after Goblin Market: "White and golden Lizzie stood", etc. It's a lot for a cat to live up to but I think she's got what it takes.

TimT said...

Pets often get inflicted with undignified names (Spot, Blackie, etc) or awfully dignified names (Ptolemy or, alright, alright, Fortescue). My brother's dog is called Boots (a good name, I think: he's a black dog with one white paw). Of course, I'm a bit of a snob and my brother isn't, so I'll go for a ridiculously aristocratic name like Fortescue anyday. So few animals get normal names, though!

I'm pretty sure that dogs will identify with the first one or two syllables of a name - 'Fort' or 'Pto', for instance. (How on earth would you pronounce 'Pto'? It sounds like you're spitting.) My family used to have a fox terrier called 'Bella', and once when we were talking about the composer Johannes Pachelbel, she heard the last syllable and thought we were calling her.

Lizzie is a good name for a cat. Something to live up to, but companionable as well.

Contrary to this post, I have no immediate plans to get a dog. I'd first have to get myself a more flexible job schedule, maybe doing casual/freelance work. (This isn't entirely out of the question).

Karen said...

I do like Boots. Most of our pets come already named as we always get them from the RSPCA or a shelter, so my dog is just Max (which is the most common dog's name, according to my sister). My sister's partner gave in to her demands for a cat recently, but he's insisting that it be a pure bred one, which is a real challenge to the family ethos.
I really like Toby as a dog's name. And I don't mind Fortescue, which is certainly dignified but also a little eccentric, which adjusts things a bit, I think.

A word of advice- do not say anything which the cat nut may see as a prompt for her rambling!

TimT said...

I think, in 'The Dark Is Rising' series, one of the characters, Bran, has a dog called 'Fortinbras'? Must go and check.

TimT said...

How would you like a pure-bred four-legged duck for a pet?

What about a two-headed piglet?

(About the dog: I checked - Fortinbras is from A Wrinkle In Time!

Chief Bastard said...

Sure beats calling your dog 'Syndrome' When he jumps up on you, you can call out 'Down, Syndrome!'

Karen said...

Um, all those links lead to the same page!

I did have a duck at one point, christened, much to my shame, Henry VIII. She turned out to be a girl, became very clucky about her eggs and would nip people when they tried to hang up the washing. Because of the trouble caused by the duck, I was able to successfully con my parents into letting my sister get a ferret ("I really think this is your best option," I reasoned). My much-loved childhood cat had three legs and no tail on account of a car accident.

Last night I was coming out of a Japanese restaurant I like (forgive me, Alexis, but I ate raw beef and it wasn't the first time) and I ran into a chap who works in the library. I haven't seen this man for some time but he remembered me. Does this mean that I officially really need to get a life?

TimT said...

How curious. I think some anti-spam mechanism may have been activated in blogger? I distinctly recall pasting the individual links, one by one, into the comments box. (It's either that, or blame myself).

Let's try that again:

A two-headed pig:

A Wrinkle In Time

Let's hope that Ferrett didn't get a chance to Feather it's Bed... it's a great story, though - right up there with a picture book I remember being released about a decade ago, "The Marriage of Cat and Dog".

Karen said...

Thanks for that. I thought it was probably just me- it generally is! You would be shocked at how often I get the word verification wrong here!

I probably shouldn't get into what my sister says about stories like the two-headed pig. I remember there was a big story on the Herald site about a cyclops kitten a little while ago. The poor little thing only lived a couple of days, no doubt suffering terribly the whole time, and all the human world could say was "How novel and how cute!".

Is A Wrinkle in Time a personal favourite? I don't read much children's lit or fantasy or sci-fi and I think I really should. It's hard for the uninitiated to know how to navigate the trash and the treasure.

The horrible little yapper from next door feathered its bed in the end, I'm sorry to say.

TimT said...

A Wrinkle In Time is great, extraordinarily well-written fantasy. The characters are, for once, extremely good - Meg (an awkward girl who doesn't fit in at school), her brother Charles Wallace (an extremely intelligent whizz-kid) go halfway across the universe with three eccentric, semi-angelic Aunts to find their father, who turns out to be trapped on a planet of endless suburbia ruled over by a grotesquely gigantic brain (called, if memory serves me correctly, 'It'). You really care about the characters, and sympathise with them, even if the denouement is one of the most appallingly corny I've ever read.

Not sure what your opinions on C S Lewis are, but I'd say L'Engle sort of takes up where he left off. Most child fantasy novels are crapulous in the extreme, but Lewis and L'Engle can sometimes pull it off.

Karen said...

I read the Narnia books several times as a child, so I feel much affection for C.S. Lewis. And it's nice for an awkward girl to read about another awkward girl!

I just realised that what I said about the cyclops kitten probably sounds rude and a little bad-tempered. I didn't mean for it to come across that way, so I'm sorry if it does.

TimT said...

No, no, no offence taken. I have a healthy fascination for stories like that, but it's good to be reminded of the other side of those stories. In a sense, we are all freaks anyway, since human, animal, and vegetable genetic variation depends on mutations from the norm.

C S Lewis is a fascinating author; doubtless L'Engle is too. It would be great to read some of her other books (I've read one other, and have another ready that I got at a bookshop in Manhattan). Lewis' great fortune - and misfortune - was to write a set of famous children's books; his other writing has gone largely ignored. I reckon I've got an article or two about him waiting to be written...

Karen said...

I don't know if the Melburnians have been informed, but they're bringing back the whole "freak show" thing at the Sydney Easter Show this year. It can be ambiguous, I agree. Glad you're not offended!

a bookshop in Manhattan

The one with the 5 or 8 or however many it is miles of books? I can't remember the name- starts with an S, I think. No, wait- is it the Strand? Strand Books? I haven't been to NY since 2001. Sigh!

I've read more C.S. Lewis, but it was so long ago I can't remember what. Something about love, I think.

TimT said...

No, no, it wasn't at the Strand, I got a Freddy book at The Strand. This L'Engle book was purchased somewhere on Madison Avenue. (I was nostalgic for the city as soon as I left it!) I had difficulty finding bookstores there, actually - there are a lot, but heaps of them are all secreted away in weird basements and the like.

Karen said...

Much to my chagrin, I had never heard of Freddy! I don't know which I love more- New York or San Francisco (spent a horrible amount of money in City Lights). I certainly wish the cheesecake here was like the cheesecake in New York.
I found a lovely little basement bookshop in Melbourne one time, with a really excellent selection of poetry (they had Augusta Webster!), but it wasn't there last time.

TimT said...

Move to Melbourne! We have all types of cheesecake (and great cake stores in general), and the basement bookstores are still here. (Some of them have moved, that's all).

My only problem with San Francisco was I didn't have enough time to familiarise myself with the literary scene there and go to a few more of the poetry nights and writers' groups.

Alas, last time I visited Sydney, I found the only poetry bookstore I knew of (on Norton Street) had shut up shop, probably several years before. And for some reason, one of the best Glebe Pt Rd bookstores (Sappho books) had shrunk to about one-third their original size...

TimT said...

And when I say great cake stores, I mean GREAT cake stores.

Karen said...

Yes, I know all about the cake shops in St Kilda, of course. Thanks for the taunting picture- I have to make do with my tea and my easter eggs tonight, alas.
I always have a very nice time in Melbourne, but sadly cannot move there, for the nuttiest of the nuts I have a habit of collecting in my life are currently in residence there. I love these people dearly, but would have to throttle them if we were at close quarters for an extended period of time. My current 5-year plan is to move to England.
Sydney bookshops- I tend to go for Abbeys. Am impressed that you check out the poetry scenes- the number of glasses of wine I'd have to drink to have the nerve to do that doesn't bear thinking about!

Karen said...

Hello again!
I'm trying to work out if we've met, since your resume suggests that we should have crossed paths at uni. Of course I'm not the most sociable person, but we probably did first-year English at the same time at any rate. I'm sorry if I should remember.
Oh, and I wanted to say that, in spite of what the previous comment may have implied, I do not have a drinking problem, in case you were wondering!

TimT said...

I was incredibly unsociable. It's hard to remember now, but I had Barry Spurr in first-year tutorials. For the first three years at least I divided my time between music at the Seymour centre and literature at the Woolley building. I had David Brooks as a tutor in second year, and did courses in English romanticism, Modern English lit (up to 1945, and the other one, after 1945) as well as several others which escape my mind at the moment. I was especially lazy, and if I had my time again I would definitely have focused on the literature side rather than music, but that's life. If you don't remember me then it was probably due to my ridiculously inept social skills at the time.

Maybe a drink or two would help me remember. That's my drinking problem, I don't have enough. If you come to Melbourne some time I'll shout you as many (or as few) drinks as you wish to help you remember (or forget, as may be)...

Karen said...

Let me see: Barry Spurr for first year tutorials too, but I think he did just about all of them. I can't remember who I had in second year- the years kind of mesh together. I did a lot of things which were run as seminars. My other major was Performance Studies (just to branch out a bit!). I also did a little Philosophy. I had a horrible suspicion that I was having one of my periodic dopey moments- that you might know who I am and that I might embarrass myself imminently.
I was very unsociable indeed (gradually improving on that as I get older) and I hit the books hard. I always found Sydney Uni very cliquey and I hate that sort of thing, so I spent a lot of time in the UTS bar instead. If I go to Melbourne I will buy you a drink or two too, as penance for not talking to the very interesting people who were right under my nose!

Email: timhtrain - at -

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