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Don't say you weren't warned.

So, the noble whale of London town is dead. What's more, a dead porpoise was found yesterday on the shore at Putney (I can't seem to find an online source for this Important News Item, but I assure you it's true - I saw pictures yesterday as part of Sky News' continuous live whale coverage).

In summary, dead and dying marine mammals are hurling themselves at our shores. You know what Cassius Dio would say. Get out of the stock market - now!

The next stage, apparently, is for experts to examine the body to ascertain the cause of death. I do hope they will pay special attention to the liver, since everyone knows that's where the gods most like to leave their messages to humanity.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
miss_next
Jan. 22nd, 2006 12:39 pm (UTC)
I shouldn't laugh, but... :-D
megamole
Jan. 22nd, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC)
That's surely the porpoise of auguries - to prevent much weeping and whaling...?
strange_complex
Jan. 22nd, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

*collapses, groaning in pain, to the floor*
(Deleted comment)
strange_complex
Jan. 22nd, 2006 02:53 pm (UTC)
*hearts the cyute icon*

The one below ain't bad, either - you've been doing some nice work, there, my girl.
davesangel
Jan. 22nd, 2006 03:47 pm (UTC)
Myself and my friend 'A', (WINOLJ) were in London during the weekend and were hoping to see the whale (but didn't), until I heard how injured it was. At this point I decided there was no way I was going to see it, it would be far too upsetting. I hate seeing creatures in distress and it seemed that the rescue operation (albeit very well intended) may have caused more harm than good.

In other news: I was in a souvenir shop on The Strand yesterday afternoon and it had a lot of Dr Who merchandise, but also a Dracula doll (Christopher Lee). It looked startlingly like Mr Lee and I was so tempted to buy it for you but unfortunately I'd run out of money at this stage :( London is just far too expensive, even for a weekend break...
strange_complex
Jan. 22nd, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks for the thought anyway! It sounds like a really cool doll.

I don't think the whale was actually injured in any external sense. It seems just to have been very stressed out, and had been beaching itself on the edges of the Thames several times during the course of Friday. We'll have to wait for the postmortem results to see if it was ill, had some kind of internal injury, or was simply lost and distressed.
steer
Jan. 22nd, 2006 08:49 pm (UTC)
I've just been rewatching I Clavdivs (lent to me by the gorgeous rosamicula. I can imagine Livia saying "I had it disected and its liver was tremendously clear."

At least it didn't suffer as much as the Tay whale which went through tremendous indignities in the name of
Science and
Art
.
strange_complex
Jan. 22nd, 2006 08:59 pm (UTC)
Oh dear gods! I can't decide which is worse. And *euww* about its tongue falling out!

In fact, the whole incident is more Claudian than you might think. Check out this extract from Pliny the Elder's Natural History, 9.5.14-15:

"A killer whale was actually seen in the harbor of Ostia, locked in combat with the emperor Claudius. She had come when he was completing the construction of the harbour, drawn there by the wreck of a ship bringing leather hides from Gaul, and feeding there over a number of days, had made a furrow in the shallows. The waves had raised up such a mound of sand that she couldn't turn around at all, and while she was pursuing her banquet as the waves moved it shorewards, her back stuck up out of the water like the overturned keel of a boat. The emperor ordered that a large array of nets be stretched across the mouths of the harbor, and setting out in person with the praetorian cohorts gave a show to the Roman people, soldiers showering lances from attacking ships, one of which I saw swamped by the beast's waterspout and sunk."
steer
Jan. 22nd, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC)
Excellent -- I love the "like the overturned keel of a boat" image -- vivid for someone who had never seen such an animal. The idea of Claudius "locked in combat" with a whale is particularly compelling if taken literally.

"From huh-huh-hell's heart I stab at thee."
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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