Thumper’s Ashes

Thumper’s ashes.

Losing Artuso recently had me thinking about Thumper’s ashes. Thumper was a big part of our lives. She was a part of us and now she’s gone. It has been almost two years and it’s still painful to think about how she’s no longer with us, though it isn’t as wrenching as it was when she first passed away.

For a long time, we couldn’t have her ashes set out because it was too painful, but now, with Artuso gone as well, it felt wrong to me to have Artuso’s ashes placed in a nice location while Thumper’s were still stored away, so I put her ashes on the shelf by my desk, near my plants. The area is sunny all day and she’s surrounded by life, which seems fitting to me since she brought so much life, joy, and happiness to us while she was alive.

A shout out to my buddy Artuso. RIP.

RIP Artuso Peroni.
2017 – 30 Apr 2021

It’s been a little over two weeks since Artuso passed away. Like Thumper before him, he passed away from cancer. He had tumors in his back-right leg that eventually broke the skin and were causing him a lot of pain. Except for his favorite Greenies treats, he stopped eating. Then he stopped using his hammock. When he started having trouble just walking, we knew it was time for him to move on.

We only had him for a year and a half, and I wonder if he already had this illness when we found him and that’s why he was abandoned in the street in Little Italy in the Bronx. The timeline seems about right. But I don’t suppose it matters whether he was thrown out because he died loved and in a good home.

Artuso was incredibly sweet and gentle. You could tell he appreciated every act of kindness and affection we gave him. Unlike some of our other cats, he always wanted to be right next to us just for the sake of being next to us. He didn’t have ulterior motives like trying to wake us up early for food. That’s a difference between street rescues and cats raised at home that I’ve noticed. Rescues tend to not take affection and comforts for granted.

Artuso was always fascinated with the bedroom, and he enjoyed spending hours on our bed bathing in the sunbeams coming through the windows. Because Artuso enjoyed being in the bedroom so much, I put his ashes on the dresser near the bedroom window. The sun shines on that dresser for a good part of the afternoon so I think he would appreciate being placed there.

Artuso’s ashes in a nice, carved wooden box.

Thank you for being a part of our lives, Artuso. I wish you’d been with us longer, but I’m glad we had a little time together to learn from and enjoy being with each other.

Liberal elites and “right-wing populists”

“I think right-wing populists hate the ‘liberal elite’ more than economic elites because they’ve grabbed all the jobs where you get paid to do something that isn’t just for the money – the pursuit of art, or truth, or charity”, notes David Graeber, an anthropologist whose ideas helped shape the Occupy movement. “All they can do if they want to do something bigger than themselves and still get paid is join the army.”

― Sarah Kendzior, The View From Flyover Country: Essays by Sarah Kendzior

Something about this quote doesn’t sit right with me. I highlighted it when I read The View From Flyover Country a few years ago and I can’t remember why. Maybe I thought it made sense at the time, but from a 2021 perspective, it comes across as insulting. Maybe I just don’t know enough about politics.

I don’t think “right-wing populists” hate liberal elites because they supposedly have a monopoly on certain jobs. There are conservatives that are financially successful who don’t like liberal elites. There are conservatives who are artists, or work in some art adjacent position, and that contribute to charity. I’m not even sure what job is being referred to when Graeber mentions the pursuit of truth. What is that? Journalists? Most journalists aren’t even journalists anymore. They’re entertainers.

What’s being overlooked here is that conservatives aren’t being excluded from these fields due to a lack of ability but rather because of the good old boy system. Getting jobs at higher levels is more about who you know than what you know and once a certain number of people in a position to welcome you into that circle of good old boys are adherents to specific ideology, then of course most of the people that they add to their ranks are going to follow that same ideology.

People want to be comfortable. They don’t want to surround themselves with people who challenge their point of view or outlook on the world. So, it makes sense that certain professions and institutions would be dominated by people with the same outlook.

Graeber’s comment about right-wing populists only being able to join the military makes it seem as if all conservatives are poor and have no options in life, and it implies that the military is full of low achievers, which isn’t the case. Clearly. America may fall behind in a lot of metrics, but we’re really good at blowing up other countries because we have the best military in the world.

It’s more likely that right-wing populists dislike liberal elites because liberal elites say things like this quote by Graeber. Liberal elites infantilize and talk down to conservatives. They constantly insult conservatives and try to sideline or minimize their existence.

An old missing cat poster I created in Singapore

We were looking through old photos on my wife’s old laptop a few days ago and we found this poster that I made when we lived in Singapore.

10 years ago, I posted this missing cat poster around Pasir Ris in Singapore. We had been feeding this cat below an HDB there for a few months and, one day, she suddenly went missing. We did eventually find her. One day, she just showed back up under the building.

I still wonder what she was doing during the week or so that she was missing. We were in contact with other people in the area that were caring for her and we knew she had already been spayed, so it wasn’t that.

Maybe she was exploring? Or had a bad encounter and was hiding out?

I like to think that someone else had decided to adopt her but then saw that other people were concerned for her and let her back out. It’s nice to think that there are a lot of people who care about animal welfare.

Anyway, this cat isn’t really “Mini” anymore. She’s about 11 now and she lives in Manhattan, New York City, with my Mom. We brought her with us when we moved.

I guess she’s pretty spoiled now. She eats shrimp, steak, and other table scraps in addition to her regular food. She has an apartment and a balcony to herself as well. No other cats to compete with.

Marble, living the big life in the city.

What an official absentee ballot for Bronx County, US looked like for the Nov 2020 General Election

Just in case anyone was curious, this is what an official absentee military ballot looked like for residents of Bronx County, New York City, for the 2020 general election.

I wound up not using it. I went to the polling station and voted in person. I was doing some house cleaning, found it, and thought it might be useful to someone in the future.

PDF available below: