austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

We must be lonely side by side; it's a perfect way to hide

I've gone on about this new application too much this week, so here's a cat story: the first is from yesterday, when my father came home early to make sure I didn't get lonely being at home all day not watching Hollering Idiots News, and told me the eldest cat had gone missing. He'd searched all the rooms, the closets, under the beds, and no sign, and asked me to search around. I did some circuits around outside, up and down the block, shaking the catnip box and finding nothing. My supposition in this case was that above all else, she'd come home when she got hungry. (Or bored.) After my father asked again and then again I had an inspiration, and looked to my closet -- not just the nearer half, but the farther and slightly less accessible side, where I found her sleeping on a pillow in the dark.

Despite her protests I took her out to show my father that the cat was not missing, and he was endlessly relieved and grateful. He speculated that she just wanted to catch up on her sleep all day. My guess is she maybe just wanted some privacy and solitude, and I told her that I agreed with her, before she swatted my face and scratched my wrist, fleeing.

Trivia: The USS Philadelphia, captured by Tripoli in 1803 and burned by Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, jr, in 1804, had carried four American flags, the largest at 22 feet by 38 feet. Source: The Pirate Coast, Richard Zacks.

Currently Reading: The Wizards of Armageddon, Fred Kaplan. One of the interesting things about university library books is the notes made in the margins, and this is one heavily-commented by a person who's a bit sarcastic to the historical participants. (Admittedly, many of participants in forming United States nuclear weapons strategy can only be accurately described sarcastically.) One that stood out as unfair: calling the RAND corporation on the brilliance of hiring as consultant Albert Wohlstetter, who'd failed in the postwar years as a prefabricated home contractor whose ideas were a bit too much at variance with those of the Los Angeles building code. The comment came to ``they were hiring a genius who didn't know there were building codes?''

But failing at business isn't necessarily a sign of stupidity, and with a radically new form of construction it's hard not to challenge building codes. These can be revised, though, if it's clear the building is needed and the old standards are inappropriate, and it's not a priori absurd to suppose they might be, particularly given the postwar housing shortage. (Kaplan doesn't say what the exact problems were, but one appears to be the development of buildings that could be assembled without nails, which would be really slick and require a lot of zoning board hearings.)

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