Thursday, March 26, 2009

of cats and men

The Voyeur should consider himself lucky if he survives the week. I do not pretend that my furniture is anything special, but he's doing quite a number on it. This is a battle of wills between me and a creature who does not contribute financially to the household. I marvel at the patience shown by you veteran cat co-habitators.

The historian John Hope Franklin has died, after nearly a century of making the field look easy. Plenty of obituaries and rememberences have already been recorded, and I'm sure that the OAH and AHA will get their in (and plenty of follow-ups) over the weeks, months and years to come. (Historians are not always prompt.) What impressed and impresses me most about Franklin is his willingness, nay, enthusiasm, t be a teacher and to give his students every possible assistance. The ivory tower pays lip service to the importance of good teaching, of being a mentor, of genuinely cultivating the next generation, but the true investment is not often made. Franklin invested and, unlike AIG, his dividends will only increase in value.

Monday, March 23, 2009

a quiet peace

The son of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes Nicholas Hughes has taken his own life.

It's often said that children of celebrities bear additional burdens simply by virtue of their DNA; here that DNA presents a double whammy. Plath is an icon to so many - and so many are still angry at Ted Hughes for the breakdown of their marriage. Their children have carried such a challenge through life, and seem to have managed it in quiet and with dignity.

Hughes must have known that in ending his own life that the comparisons with and commentary on his mother would increase. Even in misery and death, the poor man isn't "Nicholas;" he's the son of poets with emotional problems and an aura of literary celebrity.

Is - now was.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

advice requested

The Voyeur is an adult male cat, neutered, and the alpha of his pack. he's established that Sam is not a threat, but that the dog still outranks him.

I can handle the late night concerts and the tendency to be underfoot, but he deliberately pees in inappropriate locations, particularly when I am watching. Shoes I can wash and carpets can be cleaned, but he's attacking library books.

Any ideas?

(Is it felicide to murder a cat?)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

a multi-tasking holiday

Quoting Mass Moments eMoment : 1901, the City of Boston officially celebrated Evacuation Day for the first time. In early March of 1776, Continental troops managed to move heavy cannon to the top of Dorchester Heights. When the British realized what had happened, they knew they could no longer hold the capital. The lowly Continental Army forced the British to evacuate Boston. One hundred and twenty-five years later, the Mayor proclaimed March 17th, St. Patrick's Day, a legal holiday. The city could commemorate an important historical event — George Washington's first victory in the American Revolution — and celebrate its place as "the capital of Irish America." Even today, schools and government offices are closed on March 17th in Boston and Suffolk County.

(c)2009 Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday monday

As of noon, March will be half-over, thank goodness.

The Voyeur has taken to indoor dumpster diving, i.e. digging through the trash can. When Sam does this it is to express his displeasure at being left alone too many time too often. The Voyeur does this because it is his right. The Voyeur is wearing his welcome and my patience thin.

The Vampire still avoid me and the Enigma quietly examines her surroundings. Only when I take corned beef out of the refrigerator does she react. Perhaps she's Irish?

Thought for the day: Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do. - Jean-Paul Satre

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

back and better

Long time no blog. Again.

I have a theory that much of the nation spent December and January in a state of anticipation, holding on by our very fingernails until the presidential hand-off. Then the hangover hit and we realized that matters went from dreadful to - well, what's worse than dreadful? - and we all spent February in dreadful moods.

Anyway, I didn't want to do yet another post about how tired I am of winter, so I've been quiet and tried to take life on its own terms.

Thanks to all who asked after Sam; though his deafness is official, the meds are keeping him spry and very active. Last night something did not please either his eyes or his nose and he gave the fence line a long, hard bark. It's been a good long while since he did this, so I let him bark his heart out.

Lemming headquarters has been temporarily augmented by the addition of three cats. Sam has adapted quite well, though he is baffled that they leave food in their dishes after meals and that I won't allow him to eat it. "The Vampire" seems content to stay out of my way. He mostly emerges from his cave after I go to bed, so we have very little contact. "The Voyeur" is a constant source of trouble. I am accustomed to a dog, one who knows better than to jump on countertops and who does not relieve himself on household items to express his inner feelings. The third one, whom I think has the most personality, spent three days thoroughly examining headquarters, only to decide that the windows provide far better options for entertainment than watching me grade essays.

As research for my new lifestyle, I have been rereading mysteries from the Cat Who series. One of these years I need to read all twenty-two books in order, as skipping about means that I lose track of who is now dead, who has gone insane, who has switched jobs, etc.

One aspect to Lilian Jackson Braun's books that I do admire is that she sneaks in the occasional vocabulary word, foreign language phrase or food term that forces me to the dictionary. As economizing means less fancy dining, it is fun to drool over her menus of fish, crab, beef with mushrooms, cheeses...

Excuse me.