Stray Cat

I love this poem. Francis Witham was a 19th century British poet, and that he wrote such lovely verse about stray cats proves that old plus ca change expression.

Stray Cat 

“Oh, what unhappy twist of fate
Has brought you homeless to my gate?
The gate where once another stood
To beg for shelter, warmth, and food.

For from that day I ceased to be
The master of my destiny.
While he, with purr and velvet paw
Became within my house the law.

He scratched the furniture and shed
And claimed the middle of my bed.
He ruled in arrogance and pride
And broke my heart the day he died.

So if you really think, oh Cat,
I’d willingly relive all that
Because you come forlorn and thin
Well … don’t just stand there … Come on in!”

JFK – 55

Yesterday was both American Thanksgiving and the 55th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy. In honour, I present some clips of JFK at press conferences – such charm and wit! I notice in this clip there are a few questions from May Craig, a real pioneer among journalists. You can see his real affection and regard for her in their interactions – you can also see a kind of flirtation and fun that would get a politician raked over the coals in our day. We have gained much with feminism, but also lost a fair bit, including humour. So unfortunate!

More re. Pittsburgh

Some excellent links regarding Pittsburgh specifically and anti-Semitism generally. First, a couple of articles from John Podhoretz, a real anti-Trump guy who does not blame Trump for this attack (and I am in total agreement there). Elder of Ziyon weighs in here and Ruth Wisse here. And the always-worth-one’s-time Brendan O’Neill offers his thoughts. 

This piece, written before the Pittsburgh massacre, is spot-on correct, and made me think of certain relatives of mine and some other folks I know. Terribly sad. Finally, we just passed the 80th anniversary of Kristalnacht (and the fall of the Berlin Wall), and David Frum wrote something at which you ought to take a look.

Armistice Day 100

So many truly moving ceremonies this morning, in so many countries. I thought the service at the Arc de Triomphe was particularly lovely. I am from the generation that read The Guns of August in school, and while it is an excellent book, I think a much better book for anyone who wants to understand (in as much as one can) the origins of World War I is The Sleepwalkers.

I think this article is worth a read, though it is painful. It is about animals who die in war. I know my uncle wrote frequently about animals during his training period in the UK, and also fondly about the dogs “adopted” by his regiment. Please do continue to visit this website, where I am posting my uncle’s letters home from World War II (as well as his poems and family photographs and documents).

Kentucky

I have no idea whether this woman will win or lose tonight (and unlike many of my friends and acquaintances, I am not particularly invested in these mid-term elections), but this is one fantastic, utterly inspiring campaign ad.

Pittsburgh

It might seem strange to say this, given what happened, but I love America. I love America because I know this horror is not all of what America is. America is so much more. I love America because it is also this:
kaddish
And this:


And it is so, so much more that is good and kind and brave.

Six Years

My brother died six years ago today. I never have sufficient — or original — words for this anniversary, so I’ll leave it to John Ford. Alan was a big fan of Ford’s films (as am I), and Ford was fond of one hymn in particular. Enjoy these scenes from Tobacco Road, My Darling Clemetine, Wagon Master, Seven Women, Stagecoach, The Searchers and Three Godfathers.

Alan adored The Searchers, in particular.