Monthly Archives: June 2015

New Rules to Live By

Man has always been fascinated by, constrained by, and challenged by rules. We have the code of Hammurabi, the 10 Commandments, the Magna Carta, the Mayflower Compact, the Code of Canon Law, the Constitution. Rules are usually only used by the rule abiding to measure the severity of broken rules and mete out justice to rule breakers.

I was recently exposed to some new rules. But there is a backstory (isn’t there always?).

My youngest daughter used to read historical fiction about other girls her age. She was mesmerized by American Girl. I think all we ever heard was American Girl doll this, American Girl book that. I got enough catalogues in the mail to heat my home for a week. The librarian in town convinced her to read a different work about Jewish immigrants in the late 1800s and early 1900s. We’ve been on quite a journey ever since.

From there, we visited a synagogue an hour away. She (with my help) conducted an interview with a female rabbi. We even have yarmulkes from our visit as it was a more liberal congregation (if that’s the proper word). We’ve eaten latkes and explored kosher cooking.

With the exception of a brief hiatus (not brief enough) on Disney’s Frozen, she has read Anne Frank’s diary. We’ve started exploring the Holocaust and Nazis and all the darkness that the human soul can mastermind.

Our latest milestone on this unusual journey was watching Anne Frank’s Holocaust on the History Channel. I love Jewish people, and I deplore to the point of perpetual nausea all the evils of that time that I recall from high school German class and Schindler’s List. Those were two of the darkest hours I have ever spent with my child. I breathed deeply and set my jaw, weeping on the inside, trying to discuss and explain the speechless horrors we saw of neighbor turned against neighbor, majority demonizing a minority, and..

Anyway, one of the last quotes in the show that was repeated without giving attribution (maybe I was still too dazed and horrified) touched me as a human whose bullying and abuse survived pale and turn melodrama queen in comparison to the horrors suffered by Jews… and Catholics and gypsies and homosexuals and the disabled and the mentally ill and the mentally retarded (if I can still use that word in reference to this situation).

So I’ve done a little research. I’ve found the rules in writing, compared them in several sites, and learned a bit about the source.

The source is Yehuda Bauer. He is an acclaimed Holocaust author and scholar today. Born in 1926 in Prague (current Czech Republic), he was reared in a family that loved Jews and was considered Zionist. His father actually spent the 1930s raising money to move his family to then Palestine. In March of 1939, the family got on a train and managed to avoid the Nazis and make it to Palestine. Yehuda Bauer has spent his life studying Judaism, genocide, the Holocaust, and Israel.

The quote is as follows (and it is so deep and meaningful that I will say nothing more about it in this post, although future posts might explore other facets of the truth diamond) and distilled from several sources:

Do not be a perpetrator. Do not be a victim. Above all, do not ever be a bystander.

Zippy Takeover, #6

It’s been a while, and I’ve had a lot of time to think (thanks to my mom and the v-e-t).

Indoor Rain Showers

My humans are so crazy. When we’re outside and water falls from the sky in the form of rain, they run and take me inside. Don’t get me wrong; I’d rather be inside.

But then, everyday, they go into this room. I’m not allowed to be in there with them. They step into this kennel with walls and a weird blanket. They turn this odd shaped bone, and water starts to fall like rain out of another bone.

They like it. I can sense them moving and splashing water; one of the whelp even sings (singing is the human form of our howling). When they come out, they smell not natural and nasty and they have different artificial fur (they call them clothes).

Why would you bring a way to make rain showers inside if you don’t like them outside?

And then they have this little pond they pee in. And they won’t let me drink from it, even after they’ve gotten all the bad stuff out and put good water in.

But the most horrific thing of all is that they put me in this unnatural rain shower. Regularly. They don’t seem to get my message that I don’t like it when I shake all the water off. And I have to use some not natural and nasty stuff (no, mom dumps it on me and rubs it all over–I don’t ever choose to use that stuff).

And when mom’s done, she makes a hot wind storm. I can’t leave until my fur is dry. I hate the way I smell when she’s done. No moping ever stops her.

Weird Bones

My humans make me so angry all the time. They have these weird bones. They point some at the rectangle, and it makes the pictures change. They slide others by the keyboard on the other rectangle, and it makes the words and pictures change. They have another that makes a sound that make them run to find it, and then they bark… er, talk into it. But they won’t share them with me. And when I try to hide the weird bones to play with them, my humans get angry.

I’m so confused. I thought bones were for sharing. ‘Zee drops a bone for me to find all the time when I visit her. I am always sharing my blue bone with my humans, but they throw it back at me.

V-E-T

I hate it when my mom makes me go to the V-E-T. She acts all happy like it’s a good thing. Then she makes me sit still in that moving kennel of hers (I think the word is car). Sometimes, I’d like to make her stand on a rectangle and then lie still on a cold table and have a weird bone in her tail.

However, I have to admit the last two times I went, the V-E-T made me feel better. A while ago, I went with this itchy thing on my eye; I came home sleepy and tired and without the little thing on my eye.

This last time I just had this patch of itchy, yucky skin. I think something tried to bite me, but my mom keeps me so yucky smelling that it gave up and crawled away to die from the stench. BUT it made me itchy. I scratched and scratched until my mom and one of her whelp wouldn’t even touch that patch to scratch me and make me feel better.

I came home with pills to take all the time and a spray that I hate but feels good. I’m not sure how I like the one set of pills because they… make me… sleepy… zzzzzzzzzzzkjk;akdfj;kfj;adlkfjlkfjalkf

Sorry, fell asleep for a bit, and at dark when I like to move too. Think I’m just going to go sleep. No more thinking, it’s too human for now.

The Fool?

We’ve all seen the outfits… the historical prototype of the modern clown with the piebald outfits who told jokes and sang songs and did various creative feats of skill.

The court jester figures throughout history and literature as the character sometimes loved and sometimes hated. Although on occasion the jester was more the village idiot (which I won’t discuss here because his behavior was excused due to biology and misfortune preventing the person from following standard social etiquette), the more interesting figure is the licensed jester.

The licensed jester was hired by nobility and royalty to provide entertainment. The fool told stories and jokes, sang songs, did magic tricks, and performed juggling and acrobatics to entertain the employer and the employer’s guests.

While none of us wants to be a fool, the licensed jester got away with a lot of things because of his skills:

  • Psychology: The jester had to know people to tell jokes and stories that made sense and did not get him ousted without further employment. He also had to be able to find ways to criticize those he was entertaining without getting undue negative attention and punishment.
  • Politics: The jester had to understand the way people interact to wrestle for power and position. If your joke or story made an enemy for you, you might find it difficult playing to the crowd in the future.
  • Current Events: The jester had to understand all the contemporary people and happenings in his corner of the world to be able to tell stories and jokes and sing songs that would both entertain and educate without the listeners even being aware.
  • Communication: Not only did the jester have to have a mastery of the language in which he was performing, he had to read the non-verbal cues that told him the audience was bored or he pushed a boundary too far.
  • Wit and Wisdom: The fool had to be creative in selecting songs, stories and jokes to remember and share. He also had to sometimes create songs, stories, and jokes that satirized the life and times of his patrons.

Maybe, in getting to the root of the jester, playing the fool isn’t such a bad thing after all.