Saturday, March 31, 2018

Real Men Don't Hate Cats

Recently, I heard a male television presenter - one I had hitherto respected - declare that he doesn't like cats. I experienced immediate disappointment and expressed to my family that on this basis, I didn't like him as much as I had.

My daughter immediately dismissed this as nonsense and a stupid way to determine a person's likability. Perhaps. But I maintain that the stating that 'I don't like cats' is indicative of some deeper issues - ones that smack of misogyny and a considerable distance to travel before becoming a socially and spiritually evolved individual.

Why? Well for starters, 'I don't like cats' (or worse, 'I hate cats') is a very different statement to 'I prefer dogs (or fish, or birds, or guinea pigs...or whatever)'. A lot of people I know prefer dogs, including lots of women. Totally fine by me. This statement indicates a general affinity for animals, but a preference for the characteristics of dogs (or whatever). 'I don't like cats' writes off the entire species, and makes no allowance for individual differences. Further, it indicates a dislike for the characteristics common to cats and for anything they might stand for.

And consciously or otherwise, they stand for the feminine. We've all heard the saying 'Cats were once worshiped as Gods and cats have never forgotten this'. In point of fact, Cats were primarily worshiped by the ancients (like the  ancient Egyptians) as Goddesses, female Gods. Goddesses such as Bastet, an Egyptian Goddess were associated with the moon, considered feminine due to the similarity of its cycles with the cycles of menses. The link with cats was due to the moon-like qualities of cat's reflective eyes.

Cats are enigmatic - as Sir Walter Scott says, 'a mysterious kind of folk'. They can't be nailed down, they are visceral and other worldly. They are often moody and are fiercely independent. These are characteristics often associated with women. We call difficult, contentious women 'catty' or 'bitches' (the derogative term synonymous with that which refers to female dogs). There is something overwhelmingly feminine about cats, and as such, they don't appeal to some men.

Men who 'don't like cats' often talk about how the only good cat is a dead cat, and apparently fantasise about ways to eliminate them in the cruelest and most undignified ways. I don't have the best experience with horses - suffice to say horse-riding lessons were a disaster. But I still respect horses as beautiful, even magnificent wild creatures. I would never do anything to hurt them. Non-cat people, though, are often highly amused by inventing ways of torturing and maiming cats. I have no well-researched evidence, but I am willing to bet that the majority of cat-hating men, tend towards the chauvinistic. How many male perpetrators of domestic violence have 'I hate cats' on their CV? By contrast, many learned and creative men are self confessed 'cat people' : Christopher Walken, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jules Verne, T. S. Elliot, Sigmund Freud and even Chris Hemsworth among them.

Yes, real men, the ones worth knowing at least, don't hate cats.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Coastal creativity

What has become an annual break at the Sunny Coast proved to be a relaxing and creative break, despite the odd trip back to Brissy to take care of a few things that couldn't be done earlier. Some photos, including some art work that I managed to do whist inspired by the magnificent view.

Saturday, December 2, 2017


The other day when I got home, my daughter told me she had heard a bird call that sounded like a peacock. I admit that I dismissed it at first. But very shortly I heard the same call - definitely a peacock. Probably half an hour later what should stroll past the lounge room?  This beauty. He had obviously absconded from somewhere and was strolling around our estate. Haven't seen or heard of him since. Hope he got home okay.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Koala spotting

A bit hard to see due to fading light, but this koala was in one of our trees at the front of the property this evening. Koalas are very vulnerable due to indiscriminate land clearing, particularly around here, so it is good to know that our little patch is sustaining some individuals.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


Spring has sprung, and I have been inspired to photograph some flowers. These ones are just from plants under my patio the other day...orchids (yes, I have orchids - they are alive and everything!), a slightly out of season zygocactus and the weird and wonderful broms). The hot weather has convinced them to all pop out, although today it is wet and cool. Not that there is any such thing as climate change, mind!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Local wildlife

Today I went for a 'wildlife' walk instigated by my son who had previously discovered this little gem in the next suburb that I didn't even know about. I am discovering that Moreton Bay Region is home to many of these little reserves of nature that defy the built up areas around them. This one is Mungarra Reserve on the North Pine River down stream from Young's Crossing. Here are some of the creatures we encountered today, including an impressive shag and a mum and baby koala combo.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mosaic Metaphor

This last term I had a lovely bunch of year 8s for a ceramic unit. I got them to make some 'practice' tiles so they could experiment, understand the process, make mistakes etc before working on some animal sculptures. Many of the tiles didn't make it to the first firing, but I wanted them to persevere, as part of the learning. I wasn't going to mark them or anything - I have a strong allegiance to the idea of learning through play. Before glaze firing, I realised that I could take it further by using all of their experimental bits in a mosaic. It is small, only the end of a wall, but it constitutes the first permanent student art work on campus, and is a bright spot amongst all of the gun-mental grey that someone thought was the best background colour for a vibrant place of learning! Beyond that, the kids learnt that mistakes don't matter and can even lead to something beautiful, that even seemingly insignificant components can contribute to the significance of something greater, and recycling is easy and doable. A very good term's work, I reckon. Their animal sculptures are awesome too.