“Your cat may be even smarter than you think” — headline on the Hill’s pet food website
Only up to a point, dudes.
Stringing me along
Luna looked at me indifferently as I dangled a string in front of her.
“Come on, girl,” I urged. “Let’s play with your string!”
She yawned. “I haven’t been playing with it. I was using it to test string theories.”
“Oh really,” I said, humoring her. “I didn’t know, Luna, that you’re interested in physics.”
“One must keep abreast of the scientific issues of the day,” Luna opined, rolling over to display her own marshmallow-white breast.
“I’d already rejected Bosonic,” she continued, “because of the tachyon issue, but what of the other four theories? After deep thought and complicated calculations, I’ve come down on the side of IIA.”
It was time to call her bluff. “Which is … ”
“Supersymmetry between forces and matter, closed strings only, and massless fermions spinning both ways. That is, nonchiral,” she added kindly, to make it more clear for me. She rolled back onto her belly and began licking her left front paw.
To bee or not to bee?
“Oh. Well, how about this?” I reached back into her toys basket and pulled out a stuffed bee on a black elastic string. “You used to love playing with your bee.”
“Only as an aide-mémoire while I pondered Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ from The Tale of Tsar Saltan. Why did he decide to punish musicians with those nearly uninterrupted runs of chromatic sixteenth notes?”
“I’ve often wondered that,” I lied.
“And the lyrics – ‘Ну, теперь, мой шмель, гуляй, судно в море догоняй’ – absurd! A bee couldn’t possibly follow a ship at sea! And then I remembered that Nikolai was an officer in the Imperial Russian Navy. He loved the sea, so he’d be keen to work that into his operas, and as a military man, he was doubtless used to punishment.”
“I could have told you that.” I dropped the bee in the toys basket, silently resolving to look up Rimsky-whatis on Wikipedia at the nearest opportunity. “Well, Luna, you still need some exercise. How about I put on your leash and harness and take you outside?”
“I don’t think my harness will fit you.”
When she’d finished laughing at her own joke, I got her buckled in and we strolled out into the front yard.
“Your Viburnum macrocephalum isn’t flowering,” she remarked. “Have you checked it for Botrytis and Verticillium wilt?”
I was beginning to feel a bit peeved. “Why don’t you do that now?”