Sunday, 3 April 2016

On Machiavelli, Venereal Disease, and Cat-Sitting

It is when you find yourself reading Machiavelli, genuinely hoping to pick up some advice on how to sort out your life, that you realise there is no progression happening anymore - you have already gone to hell in a handcart.

Leaving aside, however, the existential aspects of reading Machiavelli, here are the main tips we have picked up from this Renaissance mover and shaker:

1. Don't ever let your soldiers put their loot in a bank, or bury it. Make sure they spend everything they've got, so that they will always be hungry for more fighting.

2. Don't ever build a fortress on high ground, as this is easier to mine, and thus break into. Build your fortress on a plain, and dig wells, to channel the blast from any mines placed under your walls.

3. Don't be changeable, frivolous, effeminate, cowardly, or irresolute.

4. When invading a country, remember that a state with one strong ruler (like for instance Turkey) will be harder to take, but easier to hold. In contrast, a country with a weak ruler and many regional lords (think France) will be easier to take (there will always be a discontented baron who can be bribed), but harder to hold (you then have to put all the barons in their place and make sure they don't betray you in turn).

5. Don't let the children of your dead enemies live, out of misguided mercy. They will inevitably try to kill you in ten or twenty years' time. Off with their heads!

6. It is better to be feared than to be loved. At least if your aim in life is to rule a Renaissance-era city-state, or equivalent. (Machiavelli is firm on this point. Fear, not love.)

Machiavelli offers no advice on how to deal with syphilis, which is odd, considering this is a disease that plagued all strata of society in the 16th century, not excluding, of course, the Vatican. If we may offer you our personal advice in this area, it is this: Syphilis isn't that bad these days, but, whatever you do, don't catch gonorrhoea.

Moving on to more toilet-related concerns, we asked Meandering Friend if she still had the video of the famous disco toilet of Stavanger. However, it turned out she had only recently deleted it from her phone, in order to free up space! This is a tragedy of Titanic proportions, but never fear! We will simply have to conduct a field trip to Stavanger to drink beer and go to the toilet - let us know if you're keen to accompany us.

Meandering Friend writes:

Här kommer ett random toafoto istället från min nuvarande position som kattvakt i Lund (kanske kan göra nåt av det bloggmässigt? )
1. Smart konstruktion gjord av billigt-flygbolagstejp och toarulle för att alltid, när en inte är där, hålla toadörren öppen (#ingenjörskonst)... 
(Here is a random toilet photo instead, from my current position as catsitter in Lund (perhaps you can make something of it, blog-wise?) 
1. Smart construction made of cheap-airline tape and an empty toilet roll in order to always, when one isn't there, hold the toilet door open (#EngineerArt)...)

2. Gå på toa med en fyrbent kompis? (#neverwalkalone)
(Go to the loo with a four-legged friend? (#neverwalkalone))

Meandering Friend adds that there may be a film clip from a random waste disposal centre in Norway coming, if she can find a way of sending it via her phone.

We are not naturally of a Machiavellian bent at the Privy Counsel (except of course when people hang the toilet roll the wrong way round - there is no limit to how long we can carry on a toilet roll feud). Sometimes one needs to remind oneself that it's ok to stop trying so damn hard, and just drink some beer.

(Unless of course you are running a Renaissance-era city-state (or equivalent). All the bodily idioms apply here - you need to be on your toes, looking over your shoulder, keeping a firm grasp on your accountants, and steering everything with a steady hand. No beer for you!)

Festive Video - Billy Currington, Pretty Good at Drinking Beer

Related Reading

Ok, so actually, we sometimes get paranoid and say things like "the enemy is mobilising", which is fairly Machiavellian.

Previous posts featuring Meandering Friend:
Disco Fever in Stavanger

Our favourite cat blog is still, by the way, Catstrophil. It has many pictures of cats.

1 comment:

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