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Readers of Marine Café Blog should be familiar by now with Frankie. He’s one smart cat. I used to call him “the Philosopher Cat”. However, he requested that I change the appellation to “Sage Cat”, since, according to him, a philosopher is not necessarily wise. Frankie is doubtless sharper than the local maritime journalists I know. He was his usual witty self during our brief conversation this morning,

Barista Uno: Did you know that Marine Café Blog is undergoing a sea change?
Frankie: Of course. I do read your crazy blog — that is, when I’m in the mood and not lounging around in the garden or daydreaming about oysters or tuna.

BU: So what do you think of my changing the blog’s focus to marine art, photography, literature and culture?
Frankie: Tired of blabbering about seamen’s rights, eh?

BU: You’re right. I’m tired of writing about that and other shipping issues.
Frankie: Well, I can’t blame you. You can’t make a living from championing the rights of mariners unless you’re with one of those bleeding heart NGOs or maritime unions. Besides, you’ve been sounding like a voice in the wilderness. it’s good to take things in stride when you’ve reached a certain age.

BU: Hey, I’m not that old and my spirit is young!
Frankie: Yeah, right.

BU: Quit the banter. I want your honest opinion.
Frankie: I’m all for the change in focus. As Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” There is too much dust in the shipping industry. Art can serve as a vacuum cleaner to get rid of some of the dust.

BU: I didn’t know that you were a member of the culturati.
Frankie: You underestimate me. I love the arts. I love all things beautiful to the same degree that I hate ugly politicians and the filth and squalor of the city. Why do you think I go to the garden every day?

There is too much dust in the shipping industry. Art can serve as a vacuum cleaner to get rid of some of the dust.

~Frankie the Sage Cat

BU: I suppose you also like poetry.
Frankie: Nah, poetry can be intoxicating. And when you’re intoxicated, you lose grasp of reality.

BU: Do you have any advice now that our ship is changing direction?
Frankie: Don’t count on Manila’s manning and training community to appreciate your ruminations on art and the like. They’re too busy chasing after money to bother about art. Many of them are philistines. You’ll have better luck with the men and women who work at sea or used to.

BU: I’m not sure if there are many merchant sailors who have an inclination for marine art or literature. I believe that most of them are in that profession for the money, not because they love the sea or have a strong connection with it.
Frankie: Maybe so, but there’s a part in every individual that yearns for something higher, something beyond the mundane world, without having to reject reality.

BU: Thanks for that bit of philosophy. I’m not sure I completely understand, but I won’t forget your words.
Frankie: I hope you don’t forget to buy me a can of tuna in water next time you’re in the supermarket.
BU: For you, three large cans.

~Barista Uno

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