TCB [Non-Photographic Tuesday Edition]

We used to think that Andromache was a lesbian submissive, but more recently we found out that the enormous neighbour’s cat with whom she used to wrestle playfully in the bushes was a boy. (That’s the cat that’s enormous, by the way, not the neighbour.) Our neighbour has been told by a vet, however, that her cat must lose weight soon OR HE WILL DIE, as his heart’s not in a terribly good way right now, and this has spurred us to put collars on our cats and magnets on the collars, so that they, and only they, can get into the house through our catflap and eat whatever crunchy tuna-flavoured food that they might find there.

Andromache was in a bit of a sulk about wearing her elegant green collar for a few days, but she seems to have adjusted to it, and is back to her usual friendly, perpetually purring self.

Enkidu, on the other hand, has managed to get his collar off three times in three days. On the first couple of occasions he did it in the living room, so I could scoop it back up and put it back on him. Now he’s removed it outside somewhere (and woke me up just before 7 this morning banging at the flap – which he can’t get through any more).

So now I have to get some spare magnets, to replace the one that he’s lost somewhere in the great wide world, but I’m also keen to pick up tips from the Friends of the Cat who read the Virtual Stoa – and I know there are some of you out there – about how to choose and fit a collar onto a cat who has managed to remove a pretty securely-fitted collar three times in quick succession. Any ideas?

World Cup Final, II

So I didn’t have to prepare my “Only Zinedine Zidane can interrupt the inexorable logic of history” post, after all. But I did laugh when I noticed this morning that Le Monde‘s pre-match supplement had the headline “Zidane, la touche finale”, the words appearing just above where his forehead was in the picture.

UPDATE [5pm]: Make sure you read Daniel Davies’s tribute to Zizou’s headbutt over at Comment is Free.

World Cup Final

In the various World Cups since 1966 (excluding 1982, owing to its funny 2d-round group format, which messes things up), England has failed to win the World Cup in only three different ways. EITHER by not qualifying at all for the Finals (1974, 1978, 1994). OR by going out to the eventual winners in the knock-out stages (1986: Argentina [QF], 1990: Germany [SF], 2002: Brazil [QF]). OR, more interestingly, by going out in the knock-out stages to a team that goes out in the next round, usw. (So, in 1970: England lost to West Germany [QF], who lost to Italy [SF], who lost to Brazil [F]; in 1998: England lost to Argentina [2R] who lost to Holland [QF], who lost to Brazil [SF], who lost to France [F].)

Of these three patterns, only the third is still in play. On the basis that this kind of inexorable historical logic is, well, inexorable, I therefore predict an Italian victory tonight.