Calling All Cat Lovers

Since my cat always lies behind my chair like and editor, it’s [probably time to post this little song–I don’t know who wrote it, but have sung it with a band many times.

Early early in the morning when you’re fast asleep

Hand over hand up the blanket they will creep

To yowl in your ear and escape you with a leap

I believe the cats are taking over!

Down into the kitchen, settle on the grate

They fix their big eyes on you as they set them down to wait

To yowl in your ear and escape you with a leap

I believe the cats  are taking over.

Up and down the fence at night, yowling loud and shrill

The cats are making more cats, and they do not use the pill

Their babies come in litters, and they do not take the pill

I believe the cats are taking over.


Who AM I?

A question more and more people are asking, and are having answered via, and Henry Gates, DNA research.

I am an only child, with no close relatives living nearby. I cannot recall being very interested in genealogy and my parents rarely said anything about it. However, one day my father gave me a genealogical chart, which would prove to be a great adventure. Following one strand on the paternal side, begins with a Fritz Levy, who lived in Denmark. So Fritz was a Jew–how did he get to live in Denmark? This question would not be answered until much later.

Now my great uncle Lewis, whose wife aunt Maida was, graduated from West Point in 1903, Douglas MacArthur class. The story goes that  great uncle Lewis brought Macarthur home several times, and that he once danced with my grandmother (who was a Quaker!)  Uncle Lewis had the prejudices of  a man of his day–he was anti-Semitic. They set out to track down the ancestry, and, when he found he had had Jewish ancestors in Denmark, he turned around and went home! Fortunately, Aunt Maida was not so biased so she got all the pertinent information she  could, which led to two sons, Kurt and Meyer Levi nothing to snort at, being a Levite! was his grand neice’s reaction years later.( Kurt)  Charles wounded up becoming the king’s physician–not a popular choice, except to the King!

His brother, Meyer, came to America in 1833 and in 1866, was named Consul General to Denmark,Norway and Sweden, , and wrote music and drama columns for the Baltimore Sun. He anglicized his name to Martin Lewis, and married a gentile, Rebecca Freyer–we have a sampler she sewed when she was 8 years old downstairs, which I never understood before!!

Meanwhile, back in Denmark, Charles’ daughter, Fanny, also married a gentile Lawritz Muus. Th ey had four sons. It was only when my relative came to visit that I learned the true story of the four sons” Muus was infertile, so Fanny had four sons by four different men- Following straight down that line, one son, Kai Muus, became a diplomat; his daughter, Vibee, married an Ernst Bencard–a French-souding name. One of her sons was named Flemming.

At that time, I asked a fellow-WFA member who had lived in Denmark if she could give me a steer toward Flemming.'”Everyone in Denmark knows Flemming Muus!  He is a national hero!” This was quite a bit to absorb!  There is a book he wrote about the Resistance, The Spark and the Flame, and another book out is a biography of  Flemming’s mother-in-law, Christina. Oops!  She also helped in the resistance, rowing out into the lake behind her home to recover drops from the British, and burying them on an island  in the middle of the lake . She was caught, tried, and sentenced to a German POW camp, where she died–her body was never recovered.

Her daughter, Varinka (Inkie) married Flemming; they had no children. This takes me into the present, as Varinka was sstill alive; she wrote me that the first time Flemming saw her, he asked her to marry him; she didn’t know him from Adam, besides, the British had given him  enough plastic surgery so h e could pass his own mother on the street undetected!

However, his brother had children, one of them, Mogens, whom we met, and is vastly interesting himself Meanwhile, there is a rift between Danish historians about who really led the resistance; there were local organization native to Denmark, while Flemming was dropped in from the British after coming up from Africa by canoe, having the ship he was leaving on bombed and sunk, so, leaving on another.

At story’s end, a friend told me how Fritz got to Denmark. Frederick the Great wished to attracted professionals north to his country, which at that time, was mainly agricultural.



The War Wanabe

Once again, Donald Trump has shot his mouth off, remarking that John Mc Cain was not a hero just because he was captured and tortured.  It’s a dinosaur, but a real one–it used to be thought, indeed, that it was unheroic to be captured rather than just go down with your boots on.

After WorldWar I, William Butler Yeats put together a collection of war poets into which he would not put any poetry by men in the trenches, because he considered “passive suffering”unheroic.  Time has proved his opinion outmoded, and that also he missed some great poems like Wilfred Owens’ Dulce et Decorum Est.”

But there is another peculiarity about war” the warrior wanabe. These are men who claim to have been in the military, but actually, were not. I heard the statistic one that for every man who actually served in the Lafayette Escadrille,  100 said they had. My Sunday school teacher told us her uncle was in the Lafayette Escadrille.  When I grew older and checked the roster of  the L.E, there he wasn’t. They will often study the war extensively by reading  or military history conferences.

There are aspects of being taken prisoner which are quite dangerous. If an officer has given the order “take no prisoners,” you won’t even get a chance to try!  The moment of surrender is really a matter of a  life or death situation an individual opposing soldier can shoot him because he just does not want the trouble of a prisoner.

World War I and its aftermath removed the glamour from war. You could die from a shell explosion miles away by a man you never even saw. Yet the idea of bravey and courage resists dying off  completely.

War is an experience unlike any other, which creates an atmosphere Teilhard Chardin describes as “magnetic.” He is not alone is using that word. George Bernard Shaw tried to minimize his visit to the front by entitling an essay on his visit “Joy Riding at the Front.”  (Nothing was bigger than GBS!)Everyone who had a chance to visit the front took it–Edith Wharton had to be restrained from going further!

Chardin refers to war is something which thrust itself up through our fixed universe. And war costs money.  This is probably the untold toll.  War stops: inflation sets in, followed by a Great Depression.. and we are all effected . For every earthwuake, there is always an aftermath.



Aw, for goodness sake!

Something actually good enough to make the center column of the Financial Times happened yesterday. Prince Alweed Al Saud just said he will leave “his billions to  charity,” He says the move  he has made was inspired by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Hey, something good about America for once!  Someone who didn’t play the great American-guilt campaign. Whatever we give in aid, it is “never enough.” I have learned over the years, especially in the case of Nigeria at present, where a  polio epidemic is raging because the people have been told it is a plot to harm them, rumor and greed have again triumphed,.

When we give–not loan–money for something, we are not allowed to ask for accountability for it, because each country is a sovereign power. Does it trickle down, or does it simply line the pockets of those in power?  All too often, the latter; nor am I saying it is absent in America, where some cut cost shoddy work was found in the World Trade Center by some contractor who is now, as my husband puts it, “basking in the sun in Florida.”

Corruption is universal. In America,l we often catch up with it.   For example, a Nigerian priest who came to America blaming Norway for not giving money to Nigeria from the Norway-Norwegian pipe line found it was the  Nigerian government to blame for a no trickle down of aid,  not to mention the oil bunkers who steal crude oil from the pipeline (which is in the plot of my novel, Intrusion) which created such a mess that Norway sold the pipeline back to Nigeria. Then of course, the crude which will be used for gasoline, for example, must be refined–guess where some of the biggest refineries in world are? Along our southern coast line. Yes, we have our own share of guilt, but it is not something which ought to be played on like a piano. Next time someone tries to bait me about America, I am going to ask them, “what have you done for AFRICA?  THE RUMOR THAT  aids WAS PLANTED THERE BY THE uNITED sTATES? (sorry about the caps, folks, my computer has a mine of its own).

Most importantly of all, what are young people absorbing about their own country? What are they being told at places, for example, at places like Yale? Friends from Ghana sent a son to Yale, where he learned that the US was the biggest monster in creation. The parents were quite upset about it, because they were immigrants.

Politically, I am an independent, as probably many of you are,too. But,having learned all this, at least, being an American, I can now hold my head up when, in Denmark, we were jeered by a group of Danes. Enough, already!

What the hell is hell?

As I reported, my former blogs have been hacked, so–begin at the beginning, a very good place to start!

Since my topic was evil, I’d like to write about the changing concepts of hell. For many years it was the fiery pit, and much great art so depicts it, including Michelangelo’s ceiling. While it is true the Bible refers to being thrust into “the fiery furnace,” the exact interpretation of “Fiery” need not be actually fire. In the twentieth century, at least two artists defined it as repetition–Ingmar Bergman in The Devil’s Eye,” and George Bernard Shaw in the detachable third act of Man and Superman,Don Juan in Hell.

What would it be like to awaken every day, knowing t he same thing would happen,  as in Bergman?  (An idea used in making the film Groundhog Day). An eternal state of boredom? Fortunately Bill Murray discovers the key: love, attention to one’s fellow humans.

More complex (and funnier) is Bergman’s The Devil’s Eye.Here is a direct confrontation between good and evil, a simple country pastor, and Don Juan, the great seducer, sent back to earth to seduce the pastor’s daughter, for there is an old saying, “A Virgin’s chastity is a stye in the devil’s eye.” There are many subtle interchanges between the characters–the parson and his wife, his daughter and her fiance, the pastor’s wife and Don Juan’s servant, Pancho) I hope I got it right) and the pastor’s wife. Like Bergman’s masterpiece, The Seventh Seal,it poses many things to think about. I am not a student on the subject, but I know some theologians believe hell goes on forever, and some do not.

Slightly before Shaw, Paris was considered,  the capital of black magic, and if it interests you, get a copy of J.K. Huysman’s La

Bas. Please pardon  the lack of accent marks; I had it all down before this hack occurred.  However, one priest has Jesus tattooed on his heels so he will always step on him. During World War !, the French soldiers called No Man;’s Land La Bas.

So–I’d love some comments on your ideas on the subject!

On Jordan’s stormy banks I lie…..

I have just discovered that my blogs have been hacked . . . speaking of evil!

SO I will start again, and, I’d like to note that I know women in Jordan are free–I have a friend from Jordan, and she never wears anything that doesn’t look basically American. What I was getting into here are the Bedouin, who appear to retain their own culture. I know that arranged marriages can be made, but also, that both man and woman have latitude to say what they want or don’t want in a spouse! Still, in other places,women have a rough time still. 90% of women India report being raped more than once. Women in parts of Africa are still having .clitorectomies.   .And her in the US, a father slit his daughter’s throat when she decided to go out to work.

I seem to recall there was a bit of a flutter over the photo of King Hussein and Queen Noor on his motorcycle…I have can’t remember what the issue was now. At any rate, I am reading as much as I can, currently a book, I married a Bedouin  written by a woman from New Zealand: they lived in a cave in Petra.

Also, there is  the matter of more than one wife. I also know a Moroccan woman who is the fourth wife of a man in New Jersey, so I assume it still exists in some parts of the Middle East, and elsewhere.

This novel takes place in 1999, the year King Hussein died–a much admired man here in the States. At the last moment, of course, he changed his heir to King Abdullah–a military man, probably a good thing currently, as Jordan is, I believe, opening a “neutral zone” for refugees. I read that he came to  Bedouin camp once and asked if they wouldn’t like to live in better quarters, and some said no, they liked their way of life. They gave Queen Noor the same answer , so she said, “So do it!”