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Today in My History

2001:  Love Notes
2002:  Somebody's Friend
2003:  Love Makes the World Go Round
2004:  Mom and Honey
2005Avant Gard

2006:  You CAN Get a Man with a Gun
2008:  Valentine Scam
2009:  Stuff'n'Nonsense
2010:  Through a Head Blindly
2011:  POW Memories
Letters, We Get Letters
2013: Valentine's Day Surprise

Bitter Hack
Updated: 1
Elemeno Pea

Books Read in 2014
"Port Mortuary"

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Ernest & Vanessa's Visit

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Airy Persiflage

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mail to Walt


14 February 2014

This picture is one of the funniest I've seen in awhile.

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I don't read San Francisco Columnist Jon Carroll all the time, but I really should.  He has the Erma Bombeck-ian type of wit that I would love to have.  He observes the world and reports on it in a way that you never would have considered.  Sometimes I wonder where he gets his inspiration.

Take cats, for example.  Carroll is a big cat fancier and frequently writes about cats but his latest columnn was classic.  It concerned that fact that cats seem to have been written out of history.

He points out that in Nativity scenes, you never see cats.  You see cows and sheep and goats, but never cats.  As he rightfully notes, with cows, sheep and goats, you have food to feed those animals.  And where you have food to feed those animals, you have mice and rats coming in to steal the food (and presumably leave the kind of diseases that lead to plague).  If you have rats, you certainly must have cats, the original "better mousetrap."  And yet there are no cats circling Mary's legs or popping over the edge of the manger to have a look at the Baby Jesus.

Perhaps all artists are, at the core, cat haters.  Who wouldn't want an image of a cute little kitten sleeping with the Baby Jesus? Artists apparently.

There are cats aboard ships, too, or there used to be. You needed cats to battle the on-board predators. It was nature red in tooth and claw out there on the high seas. Where are the paintings of noble cats saving the ship's stores, the very food the men on the ship would eat?

Literature abounds with tales of noble dogs doing noble things.   Lad a Dog saving the Master and Mistress time and time again from nasty predators, helping cripple children walk, and risking his life over and over again.  Greyfriars Bobby, the hero of Scottish lore.  Statues are erected to this little dog who spent 14 years of his life guarding his master's grave.  Lassie saving Timmy from the well every time.  RinTinTin, rescued from a World War I battlefield and going on to a hit TV career saving guys out in the wild west.  White Fang, the fictitious wolf-dog who wrote so eloquently that he taught us how dogs view the world.

And then there was that mail dog, Owney, who was first the unofficial mascot of the Albany, NY post office and then the nation-wide postal mascot from 1888-1897.  He was so famous, they made a postage stamp for him.

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But where are the cats of history?  I'm not cat fancier.  I don't dislike them, I just don't think about them much.  But surely there are important cats in the history of the world.  Perhaps T.S. Elliot is the only person who cared about recording their deeds for posterity.

Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat, the Cat of the Railway Train
There's a whisper down the line at eleven thirty-nine
When the Night Mail's ready to depart
Saying, "Skimble, where is Skimble?
Has he gone to hunt the thimble?
We must find him or the train can't start"



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