Introducing Claude – Malcolm B Duncan’s Cat

Pubsters will already be familiar with the late Malcolm B Duncan, and his excursions into The Land of Nadir and The Great Australian Novel. At last the time has come to introduce to The Pub Mr Duncan’s cat – the ubiquitous Claude. (The reasons will become apparent over the next few days/weeks/months.)

Both Claude and Mr Duncan are now but echoes in the ether; nevertheless, both are still well worth perusing. Claude is, of course, more than capable of introducing himself – this is what he pawed in October 2007:

Cornflake Pizza

Well, I suppose I ought to introduce myself: Claude’s the name and I’m diabetic. Fat and Rude has saved my life by nursing me back to health a few times so I suppose I owe him. But enough about him for the moment: I’m a cat, so I’d rather talk about me.

I was born somewhere about 16 years ago. Didn’t know my parents very well because one was Persian and the other was Siamese. I guess that would make me the perfect terrorist – well, if I weren’t a cat. Don’t know about the rest of the family, I think I came out on a boat. Is that one of those damned Cockatoos on the balcony? Lousy eating and vicious.

Frightful thing, diabetes: you get terribly distracted very easily.

Balcony? Ah, yes, the balcony. It’s in Wentworth looking west. It’s maintained (in a fashion) by Fat and Rude and She Who Must Be Disobeyed (“SWMBD”). Well, truth to tell, I’m a cat and they both have to be disobeyed. Differentially, sequentially and disruptively. Preferably at 3 in the morning.

Now, how did I fall in with them? Well, truth to tell (and you have to accept that, bright as I am, I only have limited language skills and I am from migrant stock or, as Fat and Rude calls us, “Reffos”) it was like this. SWMBD’s father got crook shortly before I was born. An undecorated war hero from WWII, he had a bad turn, and SWMBD’s sister had the idea that I would be a good companion while he was recovering from a massive heart attack. And I was – that’s why I’ve always wondered why they subjected me to The Operation. He put in a cat door and I used to bring him the catch of the day: rats (lots of rats around Kingsgrove), assorted wildlife, you know the stuff. I used to play a wonderful game with him by climbing trees or getting on the roof of the laundry and waiting until he got a ladder to get me down when I would jump down all by my kittenish self and show him how clever I was. He was pretty active for a bloke who’d had a heart attack.

Then, one day, he left us – he got stuck in a dishwasher, and I was stuck with the Lady. Now, I tried. I understood how sad she was and I did try to help. I brought I don’t know how many rats, small mammals and the like by day and night, but none of it seemed to cheer her up.  Then, one day, I just got dumped with Fat and Rude and SWMBD. But they had great furniture. Fat and Rude likes tapestry upholstery. The only thing better for sharpening your claws than tree bark is tapestry upholstery. I discovered a thing called kapok – better than rats and doesn’t move as fast.

And I moved to the big end of town. No more Kingsgrove for me. Suddenly, I moved from a marginal Labor [sic] electorate to a place where labour is only known below stairs. Then I got the diabetes. Well, it’s a bit of a pain having to be injected with insulin twice a day but after 6 years I suppose I’m used to it. It’s fun going to the vet too. I’ve managed to wound 1,273 vet students who’ve tried to take blood curves, and I’m the only transgender teenager registered at the needle exchange in Darlinghurst Road. But you might be wondering why I’m telling you all this. Well, Fat and Rude is running for Wentworth and he’s asked me to keep a diary. He says I have the same IQ as the average voter and it will save him some time.

I must admit though, I’m a bit scared of Malcolm Turnbull (I am a cat after all), but I’ll try to do my best. If they ever let me off the bloody balcony, I’ll let you know what’s happening on the campaign trail.

Free Aussie Stock

(well, Claude did had a thing about sulphur-crested cockatoos . . .)

466 thoughts on “Introducing Claude – Malcolm B Duncan’s Cat

  1. Whatever, it’s a good idea.

    After all, I’ve been wanting it to be Friday evening ever since Tuesday . . .

  2. First Hillary then Donald ok? Hillary is short and simple, she just wants more of the same…

    Clinton Politics Made Simple

    Oxfam recently published that 62 people own as much as half the populationof the entire world. The entire pitch of the Clinton campaign is that this is absolutely fine, provided half of them are black and the appropriate proportions from ethnic minorities.

    Identity politics have become well and truly established as the antidote to demands for social progress and for an end to the massive growth in wealth inequality. This is essentially an American development, although the idea that the purpose of feminism is for Emma Watson to get $12 million a film has caught on with at least some British people, and is the whole basis of the political stance of the modern all-American Guardian.

    Hillary summed up the psychological trick of the faux egalitarianism in a simple sentence:
    “If we broke up the big banks tomorrow … will that end racism? Will that end sexism? Will that end discrimination against the LGBT community?”. It is brilliant rhetoric, a masterpiece of sophistry. Of course breaking up the banks will not directly end these other evils. But neither would ending those things end the appalling level of wealth inequality. It comes directly back to my opening question of whether multi-billionaires are OK as long as they are appropriately representative of black, female and LGBT.

    The truth of the matter is that almost everybody who campaigns against wealth inequality is also strongly against racial, gender, religious and sexual inequality. But many of those who focus on identity politics not only have no concern for general equality, but are primarily concerned with the ability of themselves and those like them to propel themselves into the ranks of the elite.


    Rigoli clearly knew this, which is why he told young Bernardo to write an inscription on the ruined wall of a home in the village of Fagare, where they were holed up:

    “Better to live one day as a lion than a hundred years as a sheep.”

    Rigoli perished in the battle: Bernardo lived to tell the tale. And almost a hundred years later, a researcher looking for ways to smear GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump stumbled across a reference to it and attributed it to Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator.

    A reporter for Gawker, the notorious gossip site that’s been sued for libel more times than I care to discover, had set up a parody Twitter account named “Il Duce,” and the reporter, one Ashley Feinberg, tweeted the not-said-by-Mussolini quote at Trump, who promptly retweeted it. Shortly afterward, Trump was confronted by reporter Chuck Todd, who wanted to know why he was retweeting something said by Mussolini. Trump wouldn’t back down: “It’s a great quote,” he said, quite correctly. That refusal, and the content of the quote itself, underscores and explains why he is winning and why the hysterical smear campaign directed at him and his campaign is failing big-time.

    • ” “Better to live one day as a lion than a hundred years as a sheep.”…”

      Has anyone ever considered asking the opinion of the central characters about this?

  4. Russia expert Stephen Cohen on Trump

    Stephen Cohen was on the John Batchelor Show on Feb. 16. At around 38:00 — audio at TheNation.

    Cohen is professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University. His books include Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War.

    Cohen: ‘In my lifetime, in such moments of dire international crisis, I do not ever remember a presidential campaign or season where the candidates, on their own or because they were forced to by moderators or by the public or the media, won’t tell us what they think other than a bumper sticker like “I hate Putin and I won’t talk to him,” things like that, tell us what they would do if they were president today or tomorrow. Of the Republicans, since Rand Paul left the race, all of them simply say “we’ll punch Putin in the nose and that will solve the problem.” Only Donald Trump, also in bumper stickers, has said something different. He said:

    1) ‘He doesn’t accept all of these criminal allegations against Putin because there’s no proof, they’re just allegations, and in America we have due process.

    2) ‘He keeps saying that he’s a man who knows how to make a deal with Putin. So I interpret this for Donald Trump, who never uses the word, to mean “diplomacy.” That he would do diplomacy.

    ‘Now what there’s been since the beginning of the New Cold War is a complete collapse of American diplomacy, or the militarization of American diplomacy towards Russia. Kerry is struggling, as we have already spoken, to demilitarize American diplomacy and to restore real negotiations. Trump in his odd way — “I’m the greatest deal maker in the world, I can make a deal with anybody, Putin doesn’t bother me, I’ll sit down and make him an offer he can’t refuse, and will make a deal and things will be okay.”

    ‘Alright, he probably doesn’t know exactly what he means. But I would prefer a president who tells me not that “I’m going to send more troops to Russia’s borders in order to provoke them into a war,” but a president who tell me “I’m going to sit down and discuss this with you and see if we can work it out.”’

  5. ejames
    “Kerry is struggling, as we have already spoken, to demilitarize American diplomacy and to restore real negotiations. ”
    Recently saw an interview with a former US ambassador. He made a comment that the US has not bothered with diplomacy for about 25 years. I suppose in a unipolar world they found it too tempting to ignore Churchill and instead go “War war is better than jaw jaw”

  6. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    David Wroe on the simmering anger within the Coalition over Abbott’s grenade throwing.
    Turnbull bets the house on the negative gearing scare campaign.
    Mark Kenny on Turnbull’s leadership challenge.
    Michelle Grattan – Bowen is outshining Morrison in the tax hurdle race.
    Morrison is painting a false picture on negative gearing.
    Stephen Koukoulas examines how government policy has impacted our economy.
    Fergus Hunter asks who is the better destabiliser – Rudd or Abbott?
    Michael Pascoe says that the government just claimed to be too stupid to govern.
    Labor calls for a Reagan-style tax policy to shut loopholes.
    Gareth Hutchens and a call for a code of conduct for economic modelling.

  7. Section 2 . . .

    Waleed Aly – The slow motion death of conservative politics.
    Coles takes the gloves off in the supermarket war.
    Pell’s “hard and honest” meeting with survivors.
    View from the Street” looks at the performances of Pell and Morrison.
    Davis Marr on Pell’s evidence yesterday.
    And Kristina Keneally has her bit to say on the matter.
    The legal fiasco pushing up electricity prices.
    What will THIS do to this street’s reputation?
    Mitt Romney’s had his fill of Donald Trump!
    Is it time to think the unthinkable as Trump continues his march through the primaries?

    • This is an excellent photo. You’d think they’re both handsome men looking at it. Which of course they’re not really … imo

  8. When my sister was here she told several tales of village life in the Apennines where she has lived for the last forty or so years. Tales of events and people…tales of devious machinations of inter-family feuds and what-not..She told these tales in the oral tradition, neither over-worked in the grammatical sense, nor over-worked with great depth of detail…as a matter of fact, thinking back on them later, one could pick gaping holes in the sense and plot of many of them…but that didn’t matter at the time…they were compelling in their intensity and curious behaviour of the folk involved.

    I believe that with this “intensity” and the mode of delivery, not so much in the fact of “oral vs. prose”, but in the fact of their “complex simplicity”…something has been lost in the simple art of story-telling. The seeming demand these days of verificated detail, back-grounding and reasoned psychological plotting has removed or has had removed, the spontaneous magic of the unseen and unknown from the story-line. With the oral style, one is presumed to have a back-grounding and fore-knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of human behaviour or of the actual people involved..and even if one doesn’t really have that knowledge, it didn’t matter!

    Perhaps we as readers have become more sophisticated in our understanding of the psyche of behaviour that there is a demand for greater complexity in story-telling to make it more compelling and interesting. I have also, in my own tin-pot way noticed a certain deliberate detachment by many from emotive involvement in certain stories. I sometimes wonder that with the “oversupply” of ghastly news from all corners of the globe has made us withdraw from what could be an endless vale of tears.

    Anyway…they were great stories..I might just pinch a couple of plots and re-work them into a tale or two one day…and I might try to recapture that elusive “immediacy” of the oral tradition.

    I’ll tell you about them sometime…

    • Yes, well..I have to be careful not to reveal the true identities of the culprits..because as my sister warned ; even from over here there will be those who could just recognise themselves or their family and then bring the ‘evil-eye” upon me!…. oh yes!…you mark my words!

  9. In re. Chris Uhlmann’s call of the week in politics (that Labor won it).

    Lest we forget: Chris is an Abbott fan.

    So, Labor has landed an unexpected (and welcome) uppercut and put Turnbull on the mat for an 8-count the first time.

    Now they need to pummel the body and wear him out further. More policies please, ALP. Almost any policies will do, but as far away from tax and Negative Gearing as possible.

    The Media still believe Malcolm has a secret plan. He doesn’t. We know what Malcolm does when he gets cornered: he goes the biff. He did it to Brendan Nelson. He did it with Godwin Grech. He did it with his girlfriend’s cat and even with Kerry Packer. Turnbull has an anger management problem.

    He also has an investor’s lazy preference for a quick return. Grech was one of those. It looked so easy, a clear path to the top. But the calls for Rudd’s resignation came too early. Malcolm didn’t check his sources. There probably was more to it than met the eye (Labor’s failure to prosecute Grech always baffled me), but Malcolm went in too quickly and ruined his chances.

    The only problem for Turnbull is, however, that he’s developed and projected this sense of elan and insouciance. Getting nasty doesn’t sit well with the image he’s cultivated of being above the fray. If he goes feral, then he’s just like all the others: vicious, in-fighting and crude.

    Let’s remember that Abbott does “vicious, in-fighting and crude” FAR better than Turnbull ever will or can do. To Abbott, fighting justifies itself. Revenge is a goal in its own right. Hatred makes him feel better.

    To Turnbull, getting one’s own back is a tool to be used so that he can rid himself of his opponents, and then he can relax again, watching yachts on the Harbour from his Wunulla Road patio. It’s not a modus vivendi.

    Turnbull can’t crush Abbott, because he’d have to lay waste half his party to do so. So he has to put up with him. But Abbott is someone up with which no sensible person should put. You can scare him off, but he always comes back, like a cockroach, or a termite infestation, but more malevolent.

    And there’s the problem: Abbott has to go, but to get rid of him Turnbull has to burn down the house. All Turnbull can do is get nastier. And “Nasty” Turnbull is not what the punters thought they were getting.

    Using the tactic of the haughty denunciation of Labor, the smiling dismissal, the cliched reference to “debt and deficit disasters” or “economy wrecking” only gives Turnbull less time to do something for himself. The status quo – more accurately, maintaining it, frozen in a time capsule dated “2013” – is not the brief that Malcolm has given himself.

    The Coalition made the mistake of believing its own publicity. They really thought that gravity – poll gravity – could be defied. The Press Gallery said so. Malcolm could be PM for as long as he liked. Hard to credit them with such stupidity, but there you go: they were that stupid. In the process of defying gravity they deified Malcolm Turnbull. What a waste of six months (he writes, cheering).

    Every chance to innovate – the NBN, Climate Change technology, getting rid of the greedier aspects of negative gearing – has Turnbull’s personal red pencil through it. Unless he thinks we’re all going to write apps (or as 2GB’s Ben Fordham put it, “wake up in the middle of the night with a cure for cancer”) innovation really only means “Have a go, Australia.” It’s a big ask to require the nation to have a go when its government will not.

    I’m sure there will eventually be some ideas. But they’ll be ideas that only tinker, and only have the air of brain farts trumped up to save the day. The reality is that there are no instant solutions, the types of solutions so beloved by investors with accounts in the Caymans, or hedge funds that use accounting tricks to turn a failing consumer electronics company into the mirage of a half-billion dollar oasis of productivity. Doesn’t happen, Malcolm. Doesn’t happen unless you put the hard yards in. Building a nation isn’t hiring a manager, when YOU are the manager.

    Turnbull has never been good at politics, and he’s never been good at building. He’s been good at spruiking and sleeve tugging, at getting the inside skinny on what’s hot. When he inevitably goes the biff the blood and guts will spray everyone. It WILL happen. It’s just a matter of when. Maybe it’s happening already.

  10. BK

    Remember a couple of weeks ago when links were hard to find and I said you’d get busier later on. Well I was thinking later on would be around Easter or the Budget. Um, I think I was wrong.

  11. BB

    I agree with Fiona 500%. I wonder if the media will keep on it or let it all go. I have been screaming all week at 774 for talking about everything but Fed Politics, but today the dam has started to spill over the top a bit today.

  12. Turnbull has never had to be a manager or do anything anywhere near hard work. His reputation as an alleged brilliant lawyer was, like Costello and the Dollar Sweets thing, built on just one case, and even then some poor clerk or solicitor did all the hard work. All he had to do was speak in that posh voice and look convincing. Being Kerry Packer’s lawyer does not make one a great legal mind, it means he sucked up to a rich bloke to get a job. Turnbull, even then, was happy to sell his soul to advance himself. As for his supposed and much-hyped ‘businessman’ status – balls to that.

    His wealth has been accumulated by –
    1 – inheriting a few million and a very nice property portfolio from his dear old millionaire dad.
    2 – buying and selling real estate
    3 – marrying a very wealthy woman
    4 – getting lucky by selling his stake in Ozemail at just the right time.
    5 – paying financial experts like his friend in New York to invest his money.

    He’s a complete and utter fraud, and a lazy bastard as well. Never had to lift a manicured finger to earn any of his money, and I very much suspect without Lucy in control he would have lost most of it years ago.

    I hope that some day soon the MSM will cut out their stupid ‘Turnbull the self-made man, the brilliant businessman who built himself up from nothing’ garbage and tell the truth.

  13. Ducky & Leone,

    Any of the suggestions we have made flip the switch to bad revue, rather than vaudeville . . .

  14. Andrew Probyn, in the Joe Bullock poster article –

    The Opposition knows it has to tackle Turnbull head-on, to chip away at the points of his star. They know that if Turnbull still glistens on election eve, Bill Shorten loses

    Simple. Just feed the MSM plenty of lovely gossip about Turnbull’s very dodgy past. They should lap it up, seeing as they were so fascinated by the false allegations about Juliua gillard and her bathroom tiles. They went on and on about that crap for years.

    Just imagine what the MSM could do with all this, if they wanted to cause a stir –

    Turnbull, Goldman Sachs and HIH/FAI.
    Turnbull the minister for the environment giving his campaign finance chief (Rupert’s nephew to boot) $10 million in government funding for a rain-making project just before the 2007 election. Money which certainly found its way to Turnbull’s Wentworth foundation.
    Turnbull’s part, as chairman of Axiom Forest Resources, in an ecological disaster in the Solomon Islands, caused by make-a-quick-buck-and-hang-the -consequences logging operations.

    Just a bit of the ocean of information out there –

    Even the way Turnbull was pre-selected for Wentworth is scandalous, he turned a very safe Liberal seat into a marginal one, winning only on the preferences of Peter King, from whom he stole the seat.

  15. Fiona

    Could we be virgin on the brink of seeing the first female Liberal PM?

    My guess is that they’ll do something even more disastrous for them although it’s hard to imagine who exactly. I doubt Bishop would do it anyway – to risky.

  16. Fiona
    I keep forgetting to say thank you for the thread starter. Claude was a most handsome chap, and it’s good to know his story.

  17. Leone,

    I have fond memories of Claude.

    There was one evening when, to his horror, four humanes were sleeping in the flat (including moi, on the couch in the living room). He eventually found a strategic position where he could more or less keep an eye on all of us at once.

    I was up very early the next morning, with a train to catch. It was an interesting exercise, as Claude was determined to make sure I had left the building, while I was equally determined that he should not leave the flat.

    I won – by a whisker.

  18. Funny how these NBN hook-ups keep popping up in electorates that are a bit knife-edge for the government.

    Robertson is Deb O’Neil’s old seat, she lost it to the Liberals’ Lucy Wicks last election, and there’s a good chance it could go back to Labor this year.

    I don’t know if fobbing the voters off with a fifth-rate FTTN piece of crap is going to win many votes, or save the seat for the government. Especially not after the very same government defied the wishes of the locals in Gosford and is going ahead with building a huge, ugly ATO office block on waterfront public land that had been set aside for community use.

    Looks like other arrangements, at half the cost, could have been made.

  19. Abbott’s new mega-scare campaign kicks off.

    • Yeah..but as if they can hold back social media from going all over it and then making sure the negatives get magnified a thousand times over!!…dickheads!

    • Exactement!

      The press gallery think this is about Turnbull vs Abbott, but it isn’t. It’s about the success or failure of the quality control systems that make representative democracy possible. The press gallery and those who employ them are part of those systems, and they’re quite simply fucked.


  20. Tlbd

    The search is on for “Mitch”. I’m not quite sure what they’ll do to him when they find him

    Finding ‘Mitch’? He probably flew in from somewhere and is already gone or is the President of the local ‘Young Liberals’.

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