She came in through the bathroom window

Poor night’s sleep last night. In no small part due to being pounced on at 3.30 by the neighbour’s cat, which climbed in through an open window.

This has prompted some reflection on the national characteristics of cats. In the US, I notice that cats tend initially to be friendly until they discover that I have nothing of interest to offer them. Here in South Africa, they look at me as if I’m an axe-murderer, dart for a corner, and then creep through the house in the dark of night so that they can sit on your head. Admittedly, this is an unscientific poll – my N of South African cats is too low to be able to make statements of any real statistical significance. But I do think that this is an under-explored avenue of enquiry, and look forward to seeing a paper on it at APSA.

Peace! Land! Bread! Panel Discussion!

The Onion is on the ball this week, with news of a repossession.

Following years of threats, the World Bank foreclosed on the World Farm, a 64,000-square-mile plot of arable land in Dodoma, Tanzania that provides wheat, cattle, and goats to much of the Eastern Hemisphere. “This farm has been in my family since Zanzibar was a British protectorate,” World Farmer Mwana “Clem” Mazooka said Monday, angrily waving a pitchfork. “I’ll be damned if I let some world-city creditors get their grubby hands on it.” In spite of Mazooka’s protests, World Bank representatives said the World Farm Auction will take place on Oct. 24.

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Sticks and Stones

Seems I’m not the only one with a potty mouth. The good comrades of Jubilee South Africa went on a march against the World Bank and the IMF on Thursday, with slogans such as “International Mother Fucker”. More here. Seems, alas, that the World Bank didn’t pay much attention to their demand that the Bank withdraw from South Africa within 12 hours. It might be time to move on to something stronger than stiff language, and at the Social Movement Indaba tomorrow, I suspect they’ll be talking about precisely that.

Long time no blog

Actually, in the bigger scheme of things, six days isn’t so long not to have blogged, especially since I’ve been doing things like seeing Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. But I’ve also been reading a lot of poetry recently. I ought to be directing you to a sheaf of fine South African poetry, and soon I will, but in the meantime here’s a very digestible nugget from Agha Shahid Ali.

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