Category Archives: Popular Culture

Sappy Cat (and more) Blogging – 4/12/13

No animals were harmed (or even embarrassed) in the creation of this slideshow.

“Zoo Portraits” – Yago Partal

Yes, there are cats in this gallery (images 24 and 25).

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Musical Monday

It’s official. “Soulja Boy (Crank Dat)” is no longer the most obnoxious hip-hop song (and I use the word VERY loosely) ever made. I just looked up “Harlem Shake.” Yuck.

In order to get that out of my brain, I’m listening to and sharing good dance music.


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Tuesday musings – 1/22/13

In the spirit of last Tuesday’s post:


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The List of Awesome

During a recent library trip, I found blogger Neil Pasricha’s The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket, and Other Simple, Brilliant Things. I was in the mood for some light reading to mix with my Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, so I picked it up. (I never got around to reading The Lord of The Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia when I was a kid. Don’t judge me.) I found myself nodding along, saying, “Oh yeah, I totally get that,” on just about every page.


In the spirit of that slice of life, I humbly submit my own List of Awesome Things.


  • Reading kids’ books as an adult, either revisiting old favorites or reading something you never got to.
  • Having a cat, dog, or kid sleeping on you. Even with claws, shed hair, and the possibility of ear-shattering howls, there’s nothing that rivals that absolute trust. Having both Medium Fry and Small Fry sleeping in my arms at only a few weeks old ranks among the happiest moments of my adult life. Both my cats like to sleep on me, and they tend to divide and conquer; Big Trouble stretches across my lap or down my legs, while Little Trouble perches on my chest.
  • Coming inside after being out in the cold. Whether you were working or playing, it feels good to shed the extra layers, curl up in a blanket, maybe drink something hot.
  • Hilarious Facebook updates. One of my closest friends is a military wife transplanted from the South and currently living in the upper reaches of the Midwest. Our mutual best friend and I have told her several times she needs to write a book, because her accounts of her Lego-stealing cat and her kindergarten-age daughter mishearing “pregnant” as “pagan” are too funny not to share with the English-literate world.
  • Watching Facebook friends who don’t know each other get into a conversation. It’s interesting to see how my cousins, my sorority sisters, my high school classmates, and my pastor all respond to the same post and to each other.
  • Being able to wear sneakers to work, instead of just for the commute to and from work.
  • Homemade macaroni and cheese. I think I was in college before I tried it, because my Mom a. is allergic to milk and cheese, and b. worked night shift and was more interested in actually eating a meal with her husband and kids than in making said meal Food Network material. Ergo, when we ate macaroni and cheese, it came from blue, black and white, or (rarely) red boxes.
  • The smell of pizza baking. Even if it’s really crummy, greasy pizza, it smells so good.
  • Popcorn popped on the stove.
  • Getting a recipe right after you’ve made it several times. I still remember the first time I made a really good peanut sauce for a stir-fry. I’d struggled with it for more than a year before I finally made it the right consistency and flavor.
  • Watching a cheesy B-movie with friends and doing your own “Mystery Science Theater 3000” commentary.
  • Inside jokes and pop culture references. Renaissance Guy once made his future wife and me crack up during church by saying, “I think he said, ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers,’ ” (from “Monty Python’s Life of Brian,” in case you were wondering) sotto voce, in a perfect Cockney accent, during The Sermon on the Mount. My parents’ parish priest must have thought we were completely nuts.
  • Listening to elderly people talk about old times. Bonus: listening to several elderly siblings, siblings-in-law, or friends share their memories of the same place, person, or event.
  • Finding your perfect karaoke song: you know all the lyrics, it’s in your vocal range, and you can actually sing it passably well.
  • Bread and cheese, preferably fresh, crusty bread and sharp cheese. If there’s butter involved, so much the better.
  • Big, sturdy umbrellas on a rainy day.
  • The conversations you have in the car on the way home or in the kitchen cleaning up.
  • Laughing till your face hurts.
  • Really cold water on a really hot day.



Neil blogs at Check him out.

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Tuesday musings — 12/18/2012

“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph.” — Shirley Temple Black

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I have a beef with Jurassic Jimmy

Disclaimer: I am an Episcopalian with a great respect for science. If you believe the world was literally (rather than metaphorically) created in six days 6,000 years ago, you may wish to stop reading at this point, as I will be talking about evolution. Caveat lector. 


The toy store where I’m working during the Christmas season has a wonderful line of friction-powered vehicles made by WOW Toys ( Among them are a garbage truck named Flip ‘n’ Tip Fred, a tractor named Harvey Harvester, and construction vehicles named Dudley Dump Truck and Dexter the Digger. Bright colors, sturdy materials, gender-diverse people to go in them, no batteries required. Apart from the lack of racial diversity and the fact that they’re manufactured in China (though designed in Great Britain), I have no complaints. There are even vehicles targeted to girls, although there’s certainly nothing to stop you from buying your little girl a Fireball Frankie instead of a Whiz-Around Amy. I considered one of their vehicles for my toddler-age niece but settled on other gifts instead.


But then, there’s Jurassic Jimmy. A jeep piloted by a Cro-Magnon man (at least I think he’s Cro-Magnon; he doesn’t look Neanderthal to me), with a trailer behind and a space in the trailer for a cute little purple Apatosaurus. I grew up watching and enjoying “The Flintstones,” and later, “Dinosaurs,” but Jurassic Jimmy still annoys me. You see, most boys and many girls in WOW’s target demographic (ages 1 1/2-5) think dinosaurs are incredibly cool. Said children also ask a lot of questions, and may well get around to asking whether dinosaurs and humans were ever around at the same time. A thoughtful parent will say, “No,” and give a preschool-appropriate explanation of the different theories why dinosaurs became extinct, then conclude by saying that human beings have only been on Earth for four and a half million years. The child will listen to his (I’m being presumptuous and assuming it’s a boy simply based on my own experience) parent, then look at his toy, and experience some cognitive dissonance.


I should probably be equally annoyed by George’s Dragon Tale, which has a knight and – you guessed it – a dragon. But for some reason, I’m not. Maybe I read too much medieval literature in college.

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Sappy Cat Blogging – Double Feature

Cats reacting to and dancing to “Gangnam Style” by Korean pop artist Psy:

Bonus since I missed last week:

The Most Intelligent Beings

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Sappy Cat Blogging

I love this vintage Meow Mix commercial:

and this vintage Friskies Kitten commercial reminds me of Little Trouble:

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What do you mean, “She don’t eat no meat”?

Earlier this week, I accompanied my client Mrs. A (not her real initial) to lunch at the local senior center. The special of the day was roast chicken, which was pretty but turned out to be too dry for Mrs. A’s taste. I ended up boxing it up and taking it home. Mrs. A insisted that either her evening caregiver or I needed to take it home with us. Technically, we’re not allowed to eat a client’s food, but our boss has told us that we’re also not to argue with a client who requests that we take food, for example, if it’s something the client doesn’t like and is never going to eat.

Mrs. A asked me first. “RG, you’re taking the chicken home with you.”

Me: “Thank you for offering, Mrs. A, but I don’t eat meat.”

Mrs. A: [Gives me a look like I’ve just told her that I’m an alien writing my doctoral thesis on geriatric female humans]

My relief: “Well, some people don’t like meat . . .”

Mrs. A: [Still looking completely dumbfounded. ]

Mrs. A has turkey bacon every morning for breakfast (she prefers the real stuff but is under doctor’s orders to limit salt) and has a salad with lunch meat every day for either lunch or dinner. I knew explaining that I’m vegetarian was going to be an exhausting conversation.

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Well, this is cool.

I’ve only been at this blogging thing for a bit longer than a month, and The Ranting Papizilla (one of my very first followers) nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger award. Thanks, ‘Zilla!

Rules of Participation:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

1. I’m first-generation American on my mother’s side.

2. I read an obscene number of books.

3. I changed my major three times in college.

4. I’m growing my hair out so I can donate it. I’ve done this once before and would like to do it again while my hair’s still mostly brown.

5. I’ll listen to just about anything. Classical, country, old-school rap and R&B, folk music, reggae, classic rock, alternative, you get the idea.

6. I’m working on a children’s book.

7. I have three living grandparents, all in their 90s and in remarkably good health.

Now for the hard part – nominating *only* 15 bloggers:


Thanks for inspiring me, both to start blogging and to keep blogging.



Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Popular Culture, Writing