Tuesday, June 7, 2016

If the Founding Fathers Went to Hogwarts

Because it's important to mix and match your fandoms! (Disclaimer: some of the people mentioned are classified as "founding fathers," but I'm more inclusive than that, so have added some important people who, for certain reasons (biological or otherwise), will never had that elite classification.)


Traits: Energetic, determined, mischievous, intelligent, deeply sympathetic, self-sacrificial, sincere

Is remembered for: Advocating for public education for girls

Memorable Quote: "I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic."

House: Hufflepuff


Traits: Private, quiet, disliked by many for his views, feared unrest and destabilization, argumentative, strove for black and white justice

Is remembered for: Blaming fasting for the reason he didn't get reelected

Memorable Quote: "The happiness of society is the end of government."

House: Slytherin


Traits: Political, leader, well-respected, decisive, agitator, influential, worked for the greater good

Is remembered for: His namesake beer

Memorable Quote: “It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”

House: Gryffindor

Traits: Outdoorsy, leader, ambitious, protective of his group of people, confrontational

Is remembered for: "His" furniture and leading the Green Mountain Boys (shout out to the 802!)

Memorable Quote: "It is bad policy to fear the resentment of an enemy."

House: Slytherin


Traits: Strives for personal glory, perseverance, ambition, being flip-floppity, brilliant, epicurian

Is remembered for: Killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel

Memorable Quote: "Law is whatever is boldly asserted and plausibly maintained."

House: Slytherin


Traits: Honest, humorous, faithful, eccentric, creative, intellectual

Is remembered for: Electrical experiments

Memorable Quote: "Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn."

House: Ravenclaw


Traits: Brave, works for the common good, likes action and adventure, seeks glory

Is remembered for: Being hanged as a rebel spy

Memorable Quote: "I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." 

House: Gryffindor


Traits: Ambitious, cunning, unafraid of conflict, concerned with his reputation, polymath, vain, arrogant, prideful, uncompromising, protective of people in his corner

Is remembered for: Founding America's first national bank

Memorable Quote:  “A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.”

House: Slytherin


Traits: Ambitious, political, highly efficient, devoted, family-oriented

Is remembered for: Starting the first public orphanage in NY

House: Hufflepuff


Traits: Integrity, consistency, bravery, popular, outgoing, showy, friendly, influential

Is remembered for: His comically enormous signature

Memorable Quote: "There! I guess King George will be able to read that without his spectacles!"

House: Gryffindor

Traits: Private, deep thinker, stoic, creative, ambitious, polymath, quill skill

Is remembered for: Writing the Declaration of Independence

Memorable Quote: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

House: Ravenclaw


Traits: Sagacious, able to see practical application of theories, works for the common good, unafraid of conflict, fearful of power

Is remembered for: Being a staunch advocate for the Bill of Rights

Memorable Quote: "The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse."

House: Hufflepuff

Traits: Passionate, persuasive, fiery, devoted to his cause, quill skill, agitator

Is remembered for: "Common Sense" and "The Rights of Man"

Memorable Quote: "These are the times that try men's souls."

House: Gryffindor


Traits: Honest, virtuous, wise, dislikes philosophical discussion, self-sacrificial, works for the common good, traditional

Is remembered for: His honesty, his virtuosity as the first president of the USA, resigning from power to show America's strength

Memorable Quote: Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.

House: Hufflepuff


Traits: happy, kind, helpful, gregarious, trustworthy, strong convictions, private

Is remembered for: Refusing to attend her husband's inauguration because she opposed his being president

Memorable Quote: The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances.

House: Hufflepuff


Traits: persuasive, pedagogical, values education, quill skill, organization, ambition, likes order and rules

Is remembered for: Being America's greatest lexicographer

Memorable Quote: “The foundation of all free government and all social order must be laid in families and in the discipline of youth."

House: Ravenclaw

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Blog for Cats

When I was in second grade, Mike Tine said to me at the bus stop, "If a cat comes onto my property, I'm gonna shoot it." I remember him wearing a baseball cap with the Chevy logo in place of a baseball team, chewing on a golden wheat stalk, and proudly rolling a pocketknife back and forth in his palm, though probably only two of those things are true.

Cats have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Despite all the old wive's tales that warned parents that cats would suck the breath out of babies, I made it through child - breath intact - with a bevvy of feline friends by my side.

Although I don't remember him well, Sullivan (Sully) was, I suppose my first cat, although I have earlier photos of Jocelyn sleeping in my crib. I remember being at my aunt Leigh's and my mother speaking to the vet because he had feline leukemia and we had to put him down. I don't know how old he was when he went, but I will credit him for my endless affinity to large orange cats.

Then came the ignorant years, before mom and I heeded Bob Barker's plea to spay and neuter your pets. The slew of cats that we had then were bountiful, graced each year with a litter of kittens that we would give away, much to my heart break. I would have kept every last one of them until all the corners of my house were laden with cats. We had another fluffy orange cat, Toodles, named after the Peter Pan character and Ta-Ta, a name my mother hated. When we moved to Brook Street, Ta-Ta got hit by a car and we got Eliza, named after Eliza Doolittle and eventually the first syllable became too cumbersome and she was just Liza.
Bartholomew, L.C., and Leopold

Liza and Toodles had several litters of kittens, but I kept two. Cats, not litters. Rascal (my most normative and shameful cat name) and my gay little prince cat, L.C. (Little Cow) who saw me through leaving for college. Whenever we took him to the vet, L.C.'s name was written as "Elsie," a name which I didn't know existed, but apparently all the vets thought was normal. L.C. let me hold him on my hip, drag him around with me, and, even though my mother said, "Never ever ever" slept on the bed beside me.

Jojo Bean
Long after Liza and Toodles were gone, Rascal left - he just wandered off - and we got Bartholomew and Leopold to accompany L.C. I was a junior in high school and we had finally answered the spaying and neutering call, but not the "keep your cats indoors" one. L.C. was probably 11 or 12 by this point. Bartholomew was nearing a year and Leopold - Poly-pants - was a wily little eight week old kitten with a white mustache, white paws, and a little heart on his belly.

These were the years of heart ache and devastation for the cats I loved. After I left for St. Mike's L.C. died of old age (and, I like to imagine, of sheer heartache). Polypants went outside one day and never returned. An ex-friend of mine adopted three kittens two of whom were killed by her dog and the other of whom, Girlie, we took in. She also died too young of the perils of outside.

One of my favorite cats of all time came to me from a neighbor. His name was Jojo and he was
another tuxedo kitty. Jojo loved pipe cleaners, stealing my clothes, and me. He was very protective of me, but he was also a pain in the ass, even more so than a normal kitten. So we got him a friend: Jonfen. Jojo barely made it past three before he died and Jonfen, a somewhat dimwitted but extremely good-natured orange tabby, wasn't far behind him.

My Best Girl - Emily Louise
A year before I graduated from Smith College, I adopted Emily, my contraband kitty who I had hoped would solve all my problems. Her shelter name was Bootsie, and I saved her from that horrible eternity. In return, she gave me a really sweet little face to gaze at while I wondered if she actually liked me, which I didn't discover she did until after six months of living with her.
My Sweet Desmon

After I finished college and moved out, I adopted Desmond Huey
Samson giving head butts
Lewis Jones: the Bub. And then Samson came along, his story of abandonment tearing my heart in two. I didn't care if he lived two weeks or two years - that poor cat was coming home with me. He was the best cat ever. His little heart loved so much and his big ol' belly flopped towards the sky was a sign of his eternal trust, just
as his feet waddling after you on your way to the bedroom were a sign of his eternal devotion.

After he died at the ripe old age of 17.5, my husband and I waxed content with our little family: just us and Emily Louise and Desmond Huey Lewis Jones. Until the Cat Who Has No Name entered.

His shelter name was Kiki and he was only supposed to be with us for a couple of weeks until he gotover his cold. I hated the name Kiki and started calling him Weezy, because that's what he did most of the time. He, like Samson, seemed so grateful to have people who cared about him and let him snuggle up on the bed or the couch that resigning him to a life of "maybe someone will adopt him" seemed to cruel. So, he came home with us, just a week before we left for Turkey. (Shout out to my mother!) He's been through several names since, and I think we've finally settled on one: Hamilton. (Fully Alexander Hamilton)

Boo Radley
Turkey has gifted me with a colony of cats who know my footsteps and my voice, let me pet them, sit with me when I go outside to read, and always make me smile. Boo, of course, came to live with us after two tragic accidents and now I am so happy that he has a forever home. In our spare room (Boo's room, I call it) now I have a little kitten whose right eye is swollen shut, dripping with whitish mucus, and who generally hates me for taking her inside, trying to clean her eye, and forcing antibiotics down her throat. That I'm also the person who feeds her seems to have evaded her knowledge. I'm hoping that, with a few days of treatment and a safe, clean place to sleep and all the stinky wet food that she can eat, she'll get better and I can return her to her three siblings and mom.

Cats are amazing animals with distinct personalities and quirks that are unbelievably endearing. I remember all my cats so well because they were family - they ARE family - and because their lives have so enriched mine. I am so grateful to have known and loved so many tremendous cats in my life and I hope to know and love many more. Send good thoughts to the sick little kitten in Boo's room and, if you have a cat, consider yourself the luckiest person on earth.