Kyo-Kun the Krazy Kitten!

Back in November, I wrote about how our newest kitten followed us home and became part of our family.  We named him Kyo-Kun, and he has settled into being the TURD of the house.  By that, I mean to say that I hear, “Stop that, you turd!” from the other room several times a day.  He absolutely adores Maggie, and likes to attack her sisters (that’s where the TURD comments come in).  He lies in wait, hidden from view, virtually invisible, and then jumps out… claws extended… and grabs Sam or Gwen’s rear ends when ever they walk by.  He tried it on me once…. ONCE.

Sleeping Kyo

Doesn't he look so sweet and innocent here? What a deception!

This little boy is a weird one, let me tell you.  I have witnessed him doing peculiar things like:

One day, he was sitting on the bottom shelf of the microwave cart when our gray tabby, Princess Leia, walked by.  Kyo climbed out and stood up on his hind legs, front legs raised above his head and paws opened wide, and then WALKED quickly over to Leia on his hind legs and attacked her.  It was bizarre to watch him do that, like a human kid doing a monster-gonna-get-you walk.  I wished I had THAT on camera.

This funny little boy also will walk over to the trash can, again walking on hind legs, and watch what I’m throwing away.  What, is he the recycling monitor?  Is he making sure I’m not throwing away anything good?  Sometimes I think he thinks he’s a human.

smiling little boy

Look closely, this smiling little boy is gripping Maggie's homework in his paws, after shredding it for her.

Yes, this little boy loves his girl so much that he likes to “help” her with her homework.  By “help” I mean that he attacks her pencil everytime it moves (just try to write without the end of your pen or pencil moving, not so easy, is it!), he’ll stretch out on her workbook, or chew on her paper.  Of course, I suppose he wouldn’t do that if she’d do her work at the table instead of in my bed, but hey! there’s no TV in there.  Brat and Cat-Brat, let me tell you!
Kyo chewing on Mag's pencil eraser Kyo getting Mag's pencil

This little Brat-Cat has a special affinity for pencil erasers, and has chewed them off of about half of our pencils.  We’ll be down to using caps and the long red ones before long!

Kyo eating the earaser.

Honestly, I have to wonder if the erasers will give him indigestion.

 

None of that compares to his latest escapade.  Okay, now we all know that cat-dog relations are rarely better than tolerating each other living in the same vicinity and sharing the same people, but apparently Kyo has a particularly deep loathing of the canine species.  So how does a cat like him express his detestation?  Puff up and hiss?  Not very effective.  Get in a few open-pawed swipes to the smelly-dog’s nose to the a satisfying sounds of painful yelps?  While fun, just not EVIL enough.  I know, drop bombs on the thing’s head while it sleeps.  YESSSSSS!

Kyo and the ARC-alanche pile

Here sits the EVIL Kyo, amidst my ARC-alanche pile... directly above Missy's bed.

Oh, yes… the cat has figured out a few things.  GRAVITY is a bitch.  BOOKS are heavy and have SHARP corners.  and that DOG sleeps directly below this stack of books.  Cue the evil cat laugh now!

Maggie and I watched him a few mornings ago sit up here like this, look over the edge to spy a sleeping Missy below, and then take his paw and shove ONE book at a time off in hopes that his aim was true.  I am NOT making this up.  The TURD looked over the edge AGAIN after dropping 3 bombs down to see if Missy was still there and if he’d done any damage.  Maggie and I just stared at each other and back to him, disbelieving he could’ve actually worked all that out.  The CAT sat there SMILING.  I’m serious!  HE WAS SMILING. 

Kyo hiding behind the ARC-alanche pile, waiting for Missy.

Is that DOG asleep yet?

I did get a couple of videos, but the lighting is bad here for videos at night.  Then uploading it to YouTube has made it even darker, so forgive the quality of the video.  I’m still learning :-)  Maggie had an orange feather and was playing with Kyo. Kyo had been jumping all over to get it, but, of course, when I brought out the camera, he quit. Maggie did get him to do it a couple times more here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay, I gotta give Missy her chance for a rebuttal… equal time, and all that.  So here she is, waiting outside Hardee’s for me to get her food and come back out.

Have a great weekend :-)

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

Title:  Dewey:  The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

Author:  Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

Hardback:  277 pages

ISBN:9780446407410

That’s life.  We all go through the tractor blades ever now and then.  We all get bruised, and we all get cut.  Sometimes the blades cut deep.  The lucky ones come through with a few scratches, a little blood, but even that isn’t the most important thing.  The most important thing is having someone there to scoop you up, to hold you tight and to tell you everything is all right.

For years, I thought I had done that for Dewey.  I thought that was my story to tell.  And I had done that.  When Dewey was hurt, cold, and crying, I was there.  I held him.  I made sure everything was all right.

But that’s only a sliver of the truth.  The real truth is that for all those years, on the hard days, the good days, and all the unremembered days that make up the pages of the real book of our lives, Dewey was holding me.  He’s still holding me now.

-Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter, page 271

*sniff I am not going to cry

Dewey Readmore Books was one of the luckiest felines in the world, but his life didn’t start out so hot.  In fact, it started out very cold, when he was dumped into the book drop box of the Spencer Public Library on the coldest night of the year.  When author and then assistant director of the library, Vicki Myron, and her co-worker Jean Hollis Clark found the eight-week-old shivering gray ball of fluff, his foot pads were frost-bitten.  It wasn’t until after giving him a warm bath, through which he purred non-stop, that they discovered he was actually orange, he had been so dirty.  After working through a bit of red tape and the cat charming the hearts of the library board, one member at a time, it was decided he would live there and become the Spencer Public Library cat.

Called Dewey after the inventor of the Dewey decimal system, used by libraries as a way to organized books effectively, it bacame official after allowing the town to vote on his name.  “Readmore” was added by the Children’s Department and “Books” gave his name an official and stately feel.  Not only was his name a reflection of his living arrangements, but turned out to be an auspicious challenge “Do we read more books?”  Spencer, Iowa answered yes, and library attendance rose dramatically.

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World tells how this small cat, this extraordinary feline, came along just at the right time and helped provide the bridge between people, gave hope to those who were down, lent his ear to the lonely, and loved every single person, from infants to the handicapped to the elderly, and made each of them feel special.  He loved them through their hard times and, in the process, put Spencer, Iowa on the map of the world. 

I really enjoyed this book.  Funny story on it, though…  Originally, I bought a copy when it first came out.  I saw the bright-eyed kitty on the cover and was compelled to pick it up.  After reading the description and the first few pages, I was hooked and had to buy it.  Being from a midwestern small-town, and a farming community to boot, I could relate to the people and the feel of the story-telling.  The book sat on my TBR shelf for over a year.  Then last week I decided I wanted to read it.  After reading Homer’s Odyssey, I was in the mood to read another touching kitty book, but when I went to look for Dewey, he was no where to be found.  Poo!  And I so wanted to read it!  I gave up and decided to go to the next book on my short stack, but I couldn’t stop wanting to read Dewey.  So I went to my small-town library and checked out The Small-Town Library Cat.  After reading the book, I think this is all very Dewey… lol.

Besides being touching and heart-felt, Dewey is written from the heart of a librarian.  I love Myron’s description of how we picture a library:

When many people think of a library, they think of a Carnegie library.  These are the libraries of our childhood.  The quiet.  The high ceilings.  The central library desk, complete with matronly librarian (at least in our memories).  These libraries seemed designed to make children belive you could get lost in them, and nobody could ever find you, and it would be the most wonderful thing. -page 118

She also beautifully answers the fears many have that books are a dying genre, and libraries with them…

And when you walk into the library, you still notice the books:  shelf after shelf and row after row of books.  The covers may be more colorful, the art more expressive, and the type more contemporary, but in general the books look the same as they did in 1982, and 1962, and 1942.  And that’s not going to change.  Books have survived television, radio, talking pictures, circulars (early magazines), dailies (early newspapers), Punch and Judy shows, and Shakespeare’s plays.  They have survived World War II, the Hundred Years’ War, the Black Death, and the fall of the Roman Empire.  They even survived te Dark Ages, when almost no one could read and each book had to be copied by hand.  They aren’t going to be killed off by the Internet.  And neither is the library.  -pages 163-164

I could not help mentally drawing a comparison between Dewey and Homer’s Odyssey, the other cat book I read recently.  Is there a need for two cat books?  Doesn’t it get redundant?  I mean, both started out their lives being rejected and unwanted, and both found a niche in the hearts of almost everyone who met them.  So how are they different?  Well, both cats are unique individuals.  They had similarities, but where as Homer changed Gwen’s world, and those in her orbit to a lesser extent, Dewey’s life was much more public.  Gwen writes about how her life was blessed when she saw value in an eyeless kitten and decided to build her life around him, where as Vicki writes about how Dewey touched lives, gave hope and helped heal a community and beyond.  Both have very different and worth messages, and it makes me hug my own kitties and pause to think what they have done for us, as well.  Did I save them? or did they save me.

It’s not much of a spoiler to tell you that Dewey passed away.  The language of the book gives you that.  I only add that here because I know there are some people who want to know that before choosing to read a pet book.  He didn’t die a horrible, painful death or anything… honestly, Vicki’s own life stories made me run through more hankies than Dewey’s death.  What was more heart-tugging was how far-reaching the news of his passing was and what he meant to so many people from his own small-town and those far away from it. 

I give Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron 5 out of 5 stars.  I also recommend you check out Dewey’s website at http://www.deweyreadmorebooks.com/  There are videos there of the Dew himself, as well as other tid bits :-)

Find your place.  Be happy with what you have.  Treat everyone well.  Live a good life.  It isn’t about material things; it’s about love.  And you can never anticipate love. -page 270

Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper

homers-odysseyTitle:  Homer’s Odyssey:  A Fearless Feline Tale, Or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat

Author:  Gwen Cooper

Hardback:  289 pages

ISBN:  9780385343855

Challenges:  ARC Challenge

The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.

Everyone warned that Homer would always be an “underachiever,” never as playful or independent as other cats. But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo, a tiny daredevil with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease and leapt five feet into the air to catch flies in mid-buzz. He survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night.

But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that inspired Gwen daily and transformed her life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized Homer had taught her the most important lesson of all:  Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.

Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion.  It celebrates the refusal to accept limits -on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds.  By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.

-Inside dust cover of Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper

Okay… breathe…  I’m going to do my best to review this book on the its merits alone, and not gush about the author herself.  It would be easy for me to go on about how, upon hearing that my daughter, also named Gwen, loves animals and has a black cat, was really excited by the book when I got my advanced reader copy and wanted me to read it to her, emailed me for my address and not only sent her a signed copy of the finished book with a beautiful hand-written card and pictures of Homer, but also sent her a copy of the audio book.  AND that, with all that she’s got going on in her life with book-signings, fundraisers and feeling under the weather, she still takes time message us and even remembers my daughter’s cat’s name.  But this is a review of the book, not the author, so I will focus my attention on that.

Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper is a memoir of how the things that we might never choose on our own can be exactly what we need.  It is about recognizing value in someone or something and building your life around it.  It is about how, by looking at life and love through the eyes of another, we take on the traits we admire in that person.  In Gwen Cooper’s case, that person was a blind wonder cat, through whom she learned courage, how to love, and perseverance.

One thing I really like about this book is the format.  It’s set up as a journey from who and where Gwen was when she got the call from the vet about the eyeless kitten whom nobody wanted and would likely be put down if she, his last chance, didn’t adopt him, continues through jobs and moves and romances, and ends with what she has learned and insights she has gained through knowing and loving and living with Homer.  But, each chapter is also a tale in and of itself, making it a book that can be devoured straight through (honestly, it’s very hard to put down) or you can nibble on it and ponder each lesson.  Also, each chapter begins with a picture, usually of Homer, but occasionally of Scarlett or Vashti, Homer’s big sisters, and a quote from the other Homer, the Greek storyteller.

Another thing that I enjoyed with this book is Gwen’s sense of humor.  There are so many laugh-out-loud moments,  like bringing her date in and the two of them being greeted by a cat who not only discovered the tampons, but how to unwrap them, proudly carrying them in his mouth to show to his mommy.  Also, there is a quality to her writing that made me feel like we’ve been friends for years.

Like life, though, the book isn’t all sunshine and roses.  There are real dangers and some terrifying moments, like waking up to find a burglar in her apartment.  As well as the heart wrenching days after September 11th, when Gwen tried desperately to get back to her cats who were trapped in their apartment, just blocks from where the two towers had stood.

I found Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper to be moving and inspirational, at times hilarious and touching, and am thankful that there was a vet who refused to accept that an eyeless kitten was better off being put down, that Gwen Cooper was in the vet’s contacts list and opened her heart to him, and that she has shared Homer and his wisdom with all of us.  I give Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper 5 out of 5 stars.  It’s one of my favorites and I’ll be rereading it again and again :-)

Fruits Basket volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya

Fruits Basket 1Title:  Fruits Basket Volume 1

Author:  Natsuki Takaya

Paperback:  216 pages

ISBN:  1591826039

Challenges:  Manga Challenge

From the back cover:

A family with an ancient curse…

And the girl who will change their lives forever…

Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home.  Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she’s introduced to the Sohma’s world of magical curses and family secrets.  Discover for yourself the Secret of the Zodiac, and find out why Fruits Basket has won the hearts of readers the world over!

First off, a caveat:  This is my first manga, and my first review of a manga book.  I’m not exactly sure how one writes a review for manga.  I could read a bunch of reviews then write it, but I’d probably end up regurgitating what I’ve read, then.  I don’t even know if the title is supposed to be italicized like novels, and can’t exactly use a quote from the book since it uses pictures to tell the story.  But, here goes….

I first heard about Fruits Basketfrom a friend who said his niece loved it.  I’d been circling the manga pool and dipping my toe in every time I went to the book store, but had not as yet jumped in.  I’d also been sampling anime with Maggie, and so I thought this series would be a great place to start.  This book was originally published in Hane to Yume magazine in 1999.  It was finally published in English in 2004 by TOKYOPOP (if you click the link, you can read the first chapter online).  It is also a 26-episode anime series, AND an online petitionpleading FUNimation to make a second season of the show (I’ve signed, btw ;-) )

So, right from the start, I know I’m going into a beloved series and am fairly safe in thinking I’ll like it, which, of course, I did.

The story is about how orphaned Tohru, who has never fit in anywhere, comes to stay with the Shigure, Yuki and Kyo Sohma, members of a family who suffer from a strange curse that transforms them into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.  It’s a book about transformations, both the humorous, and often inconvenient, physical transformations of the Sohmas themselves (and embarrassing, especially since transforming back to human form renders them naked).  It’s also about how Tohru’s kind and quiet spirit affects them, causing them to mature and let go of some of their anger and bitterness, and to grow in affection and acceptance of one another.

Maggie’s Review:

I really love-love-LOVE Fruits Basket!  Yuki and Kyo are cute and it’s so funny when they fight.  Yuki’s mysterious and it’s funny when Kyo gets mad (which is all the time) and gets cat ears, eyes, teeth and tail and hisses at Yuki.  I like the whole Zodiac thing.  It’s funny, especially when Shigure is acting like a pervert :-D  Kagura is CRAZY!  She’s in love with Kyo, and she shows it by destroying him and beating him up and flipping him through the wall.  One thing I did NOT like about it is that it’s got a lot of cuss words in it.

Maggie is funny, she says she doesn’t like the cuss words, but she sure does laugh a lot at them.  BTW, the cuss words used are Damn, Dammit, and Bitch and Bastard are used once in the second book when Kyo and Uo are playing a card game (both have anger issues).  No F-bombs, or other strong words are used.  The books are labeled for teens, which I didn’t catch until after she’d watched the whole anime series, read book one and got halfway through book two. 

and now, a few moments of love’s reflection by Kagura Sohma :-D

and, after writing this, I realized that, technically, Vampire Kisses:  Blood Relativeswas my first “manga,” though it’s not really manga because it reads like a normal American book, not right to left.  It’s the right-to-left reading of FB that’s made it so dificult for Mags to read on her own.  I’m sure a few books in and she’ll be okay.  Also, since she won’t let me put FB on BookMooch or PBS… she’s already made off with the book… I guess she’ll be re-reading it on her own, which should help her manga-reading abilities.

Well, off to Hardee’s for dinner and to finish up FB vol 2 :-D

I Love You GWEN COOPER!

Okay, I had to HAD TO blog this.  Wendy from Musings of Bookish Kitty talked about the book Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper yesterday

Amazon.com Review
Book Description
Once in nine lives, something extraordinary happens…

The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.

Everyone warned that Homer would always be an “underachiever,” never as playful or independent as other cats. But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo, a tiny daredevil with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease and leapt five feet into the air to catch flies in mid-buzz. He survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night.

But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that inspired Gwen daily and transformed her life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized Homer had taught her the most important lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.

Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits—on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.

In her blog post, The Spoiler Odyssey (Well, Sort Of), Wendy relayed the humorous details of her quest to know whether the cat Homer suffers or dies before deciding to read it.  She put forth the question in her online reading group with some interesting results (go and read it, it’s quite a fun post ;-) ).

I commented:

I have the book on my ARC-alanche pile, and I’m dying to get to it. My middle daughter’s name is Gwen and she loves cats, so she wants me to read it to her (she’s special needs and reads at about a 2nd-3rd grade level)….

and was surprised to receive an email from Wendy forwarding the author’s comment offering to send a finished copy of the book as well as an audio book for my daughter, adding “What’s not to love about another Gwen who loves cats??? :-) ”  It is such an absolutely sweet and wonderful thing for her to do, and I got a little lumpy in my throat reading it.

Here’s Gwen in her first video appearance after I read her the comments:

I Love you, GWEN COOPER!! and Wendy for letting me know ;-)

Sunday Salon ~ Settling down… Maybe…

 The Sunday Salon.com

Oh man… Today our church had services outside and then a picnic and fun and games after.  Gwen, my 15-year-old, entered the watermelon eating contest and came in second.  She at an entire melon and hasn’t felt up to much eating since.. lol.  Cotton candy, snow cones, hillbilly golf (no idea what that is), three-legged races, sack races and so much more.  All told, we were out on the blacktop in the unhindered sunshine for about 3 hours, and went home hot, FULL, and ready for fellowshippin’ with Pastor Pillow and Sister Sheets!  Not long ago, after scratching my forehead, I f0und my skin to be rather warm and sensitive.  My arms are a warm pinky color, but my face is a shiny red sunburn. yay.  Guess I’ll be tearing into the aloe plant in a bit ;-)

I finally got the bookmarks from my old computer and put them on here.  The kids are being good little troupers and not complaining about the lack of internet.  Someone suggested I get a router to plug into the modem, and then plug my and their computers into it.  I hope it’s not terrible expensive, I’m already a desk and 25-foot cable into it.

Also, since my desk has been covered with stacks of books, which all went onto my bed when I took out the old computer and put in the new one, making sleep nigh impossible that night (especially since Mags had crawled in my bed while I was working), I finally broke down and got a new bookcase… a HALF bookcase, I don’t intend on filling it… nope, no way… nuh uh!  But, within 24 hours, it had been claimed by someone else.

Wait, THAT'S not on my TBR pile!

Wait, THAT'S not on my TBR pile!

Well, I’m hoping for a better week of reading and looking forward to maybe settling back down into a routine, again.  I’m also wondering if maybe I should go through Mt. TBR and being honest with myself, “Am I really ever going to read this?”  Especially if it’s something I know a lot of people have wishlisted.  I’ve already found a home for The Audacity of Hope, which I got last year along with McCain’s book with the plan of doing a post of opposing candidates.  Honestly, I’m not going to read it now, and BM had 199 people wanting it, so it’s going on to a new TBR pile.  Maybe they’ll read it, lol.

I’ve come to a point in having too many books *gasp, clutch pearls!  That’s blasphemy!* where I’ve bought or mooched books I already had, and, if I never got another book, it’d take me at least 3 or 4 years to get through them all.   I should unsubscribe to Shelf-Awareness… lol… but I’d just go to the website.  Too many books and NOT ENOUGH TIME!

K, so now I’ve come to the point in the post to announce the winner of the Something Beyond Greatness giveaway :-)  And that winner is:  sdechantal!  Congratulations, if you’ll send me your address, I’ll get that out in the mail to you next week :-)

and now, a video of MY OWN :-D  YaY!  I love my computer, I can now share my pics and vids from my new camera!  This is my dog, Missy.  She’s a Rat Terrier, and her favorite thing in the world is Hardee’s.  Can you guess what her LEAST favorite thing is?

and while watching the vid here, Missy started getting excited and prancing around.  She thought I was saying these things, NOW, to her… LOL….

Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel

Title:  Bad Kitty Gets a Bath

Author:  Nick Bruel

Illustrator:  Nick Bruel

Paperback:  128 pages

Publisher:  Roaring Brook Press

Publish Date:  August 2008

ISBN:  9781596435209

BE PREPARED.

The first lesson that all cat owners must learn is that …

 For your own safety, please repeat this to yourself four thousand eight hundred ninety-three times.

CATS

HATE

BATHS

 

Kitty + bath = explosion

-Bad Kitty Gets a Bathby Nick Bruel, pages 29, 32, 33

Bad Kitty Gets a Bathby Nick Bruel is a funny manual-esque book about – What else? – giving a cat a bath.  Most of us who have or have had a cat knows the mortal danger of this proposition, and yet we still attempt such folly.  As Bruel points out in this second book about Bad Kitty, there are times when it is necessary to baptize our feline family members for their health and our scented pleasure.

When these times occur, you must be prepared.  Be aware you put your life in peril, risking the chance of suffering extreme blood loss and soiled underwear. 

You need the following things to give Kitty a bath

-Bad Kitty Gets a Bathby Nick Bruel, pages 38-39

After using bribery, begging and reverse psychology in a failed attempt to get Kitty into the tub, tell Kitty that you’ll be giving the dog a long, icy cold bath AFTER her.  Her desire to watch Puppy suffer may help her to overcome her hatred of baths.

Without being mean-spirited or cruel, Bruel slides in facts about cats, such as their tongues are covered in papillae made from the same material as finger nails and facts about other cat species, making Bad Kitty Gets a Bath both entertaining and educational.  It’s humorous pictures and funny content hides the fact it is a chapter book… the dreaded CHAPTER BOOK… and Maggie happily read it through.  Her favorite part being the picture of Puff-Ball Kitty after she was dried.

Any time an author can teach while delighting young readers, especially those who balk at the bigger books, then the book is a success.  And few things are funnier than the whole concept of bathing a cat, an animal with 20 daggers on its feet as well as needles in its mouth and toxic saliva that abhors the very mention of submersion and will shred you for thinking it let alone trying it.

I give Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel 4 out of 5 stars.  You don’t have to be a child to enjoy it, either.  I’ve had it on my wishlist since it came out last year.  Maggie told me that the book fair her school’s having this week was selling it, so I sent her with money this morning and read it (out loud to the kids, lest I look silly) immediately :-)

I couldn’t decide between the last video or this one. Enjoy!

few things in this world are more pathetic looking than a wet cat. Poor kitties!

Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy

Title: Confessions of a Contractor
Author: Richard Murphy
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publish Date: August 14, 2008
ISBN-13: 9780399155079

The first thing a woman needs to know about renovating a house or apartment is simple: do not, under any circumstance, sleep with your contractor, no matter what your husband or boyfriend is doing to you, or not doing to you. Some people in the building trade will consider this statement a direct violation of the Man Code, and you won’t find additional information on this subject at Home Depot -even though it should be there, in its own department, right between electrical and plumbing, managed by a woman who has made this very mistake.

The first line of this book competes with Tan Lines in shock value, though the use of the word “clitoris” clearly gives Tan Lines the win. However, where Tan Lines was dirty and gritty, totally lacking in emotional value and real character, Confessions of a Contractor is Tan Lines opposite.

To steal borrow from Traci over at Traci’s Book Bag, if I were to give a one word review of Confessions of a Contractor, that one word would be: Pleasure. This book is fun and sexy, but without all the filth found in Tan Lines. Henry is a likable narrator, and Murphy writes him with a self-deprecating humor that most of us can appreciate. Confessions is more than the sexual romp it appears to be in the first few paragraphs (which was all Tan Lines ever was), it is much deeper -but still fun! It’s no Oprah book. It’s a story of a man trying to do right by his standards, bumbling it often, but still getting up and trying again, and it is a story of friendships. It’s about the sometimes misguided things do to help their friends, like threaten your friend’s fiance’ with a salad fork and promise to be his worst nightmare if he hurts your friend, or like taking a cordless drill and saw and going after the self-important ass who causes your friends and their families a great deal of grief and trouble.

As Henry is remodeling the homes of two women who used to be best friends, both withholding why they are no longer friends, he finds himself falling for them both. One of whom, Rebecca, is married to a turd with whom Henry had dealt with years before when he worked on a house owned by the husbands mistress. The second woman is a bit on the wild side, with whom he gets involved after she holds a “dark” dinner where everyone’s blindfolded. At this dinner, he finds himself in a human sandwich with the hostess and an unknown second woman. The search for the identity of the second woman leads him to take jobs for the other women who are at the party… more work he has no time for.

Also plaguing Henry’s life is Gia, his ex-girlfriend who’s engaged to the man she had an affair with and shows up on Henry’s front door step to demand ask him to go to couples therapy, even though they’re not a couple anymore, so that she can move on with her life and marry Mr. Terrific with a capital T.

Throw into the mix Bill, Henry’s friend who goes to dinner parties to eat everything and stuff what he can’t into his pant pockets, including deviled eggs. Bill is the opposite of a germ-a-phobe: he pursues germs in order to build up his immune system for the coming man-made Apocalypse. Bill is the guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who’s the right man for whatever less-than-legal thing you need to have or have done.

My only complaint about this book is that it ends. Thirty pages from the last page, I’m tearing up… not from the story, but from sorrow that my time with Henry and Bill, et al will soon end.

I give Confessions a 5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it to anyone wishing for a fun, breezy book that still has depth without the teary Oprah moments. :-D

Viral Video Wednesday – Has Gone to the Dogs

I’m still kind of lagging behind in sleep and reading (and housekeeping, but that’s always lagging) since my mom’s visit, and THEN I finally checked out an internet thing my friend’s been doing for years and I’ve resisted since first hearing about it: 2nd Life. YEah… no. That’s some life sucking stuff right there. I got on at four in the afternoon, blinked, then it was four in the morning. I just don’t have time for that; if I was on there I’d never get anything read or do any blogging. I think a first life is more than enough.

So on to the VIDEOS!!

This week, v v W is focused on videos about our best friends: our pets. We love our kitties and puppies, and I know there are several bloggers who include their fur-children in their posting. *Waves at Emmy, and all the other bloggy kitties and doggies out there.*

To kick it off, let’s start which a little classic theatre. I found this video about a year or so ago, and emailed it to everyone I knew. It’s hilarious, whether you are a cat lover or not.
Cathead Theatre Presents: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act II, scene 2:

On October 3, 2008, Disney is releasing a new movie called Beverly Hills Chihauhau, which we will, of course, be seeing. However, I think I may have found the video that inspired Disney’s new movie. The poster has titled the video “Cutest Ever Music Video,” and while I’m not sure about cutest, it is pretty high on the AWWW meter.

Okay, check your glucose levels… I don’t want anyone going into a sugar coma with this next one. Gwen, my middle daughter is an animal lover and she’s always fetching videos with them in it. This one is from her personal favorites collection:

Another one from Gwen’s folder, the following video was found shortly after our Pug-dog Frank, who looked a LOT like the dog in this, died. It took me a while before I’d even look at the video, but I now love watching it… and singing it.

And in the interest of bi-specienship, here are kitties morphing and rocking: Kitty Said What?

And now for one of the most annoying songs, the kind that’s stuck in your brain for days and you find yourself walking around mumbling it unthinkingly, but definately a cute and fun video: Cat, I’m a Kitty Cat!

The YouTube member who posted the following video wrote, “I made this video for my neice who is cat crazy she is only 2 and she loves this” in the vid’s info section. As near as I can tell, this is The original “Cat, I’m a Kitty Cat!” video:

And finally, one of the original virals, and a vid that will cure you of the “Cat, I’m a Kitty Cat!” song stuck in your head…. because this song will be stuck there instead…. Is it a bird? Is it a dog, or a cat? No! It’s a hamster… and he’s dancing:

For a bit of Internet historical trivia, before there were viral videos to spread their way through the ethernet, there were viral emails. The original Hamsterdance email was created by a Canadian art student named “Deidre LaCarte, who was competing with her best friend and sister to see who could generate the most traffic, designed The Hampster Dance in August 1998 as a homage to her pet hamster, named Hampton Hamster. Using four simple animated GIFs of hamsters and other rodents, repeated dozens of times each, and a loop of background music embedded in the HTML, then a fairly new browser feature, she named the site Hampton’s Hampster House and had Hampton declare his intent to become a “web star”…. Until January 1999, only 800 visits were recorded (about 4 per day), but without warning, that jumped to 15,000 per day. The Web site spread by e-mail, early blogs, and bumper stickers, and was eventually even featured in a television commercial for Internet Service Provider Earthlink…. In 2005, CNET named The Hampster Dance the #1 web fad.” -From Wikepedia

Now it’s your turn to scrounge up some videos. Can you pack together a few viral vids with pride? Share some of your favorite animal vids in the comments, or post your own V V W on you blog :-D

The Sunday Salon – DEATH to Mr. Manners!

The Sunday Salon.com

Good Morning All!! Happy Sunday, and whatnot. I fell asleep with the TV on CNN and had some very weird dreams. Something about the book Daddy Long Legs, how that got in there I don’t know, along with sitting pool side in Beijing watching Phelps win the 8th gold medal, I doknow how that got in there… it’s only on every five minutes! mixed together with Obama, McCain, housefires and hurricanes to make some weird unconscious cocktail of imagination.

BERNIE MAC died? I just happened to glance over at the TV and just found out. I really love Bernie Mac’s comedy. Guess Who? is one of my favorite comedies, and I love the Bernie Mac show where he’s taking care of his niece and nephew. And I guess Isaac Hayes died, as well. Crap! I need to at least watch the news more.

Chocolate prices is on the rise. That sucks. But I’ll have to say what the smokers say… If it get up to $1.00 a bar, I quit eating it! and then still buying chocolate when it’s $2.50 a bar. Chocolate and books…. they are my crack!

My Friday-Fillinsthis week sparked a bit of interest. It seems you can’t say you intensely dislike your neighbor and suggest we all dress up like my neighbor so we can create mayhem in his (and her) image without getting a couple comments of laughter and curiosity, as well as a few who understand. So I thought I’d explained a little more about the joy and rapture I feel NOT! about my friendly cough next-door neighbors.

When they moved in I said hi and was friendly, and I gave them some tomatoes from my garden and some baked goodies. A few weeks later, Mr. Manners knocked on my door at 10 o’clock at night demanding I turn down my TV. Their grandkidstore up my yard, left their toys and stuff in the grass which made my lawn mower happy, and even played on my front porch with my kids’ stuff when we weren’t home. Mr. Manners made a vague threat he was going to kill my cat by locking him up in his garage and leaving him there for a couple weeks. Last year, when I was walking Missy, our mini rat terrier, he whistled to her in a friendly way, and she went happily to him… after all, every human loves her and has always been good to her. Suddenly he started chucking rocks at her, cussing her out and threatening to kill her if she ever stepped in his yard again. He cussed out my oldest daughter because she was standing too close to his POS van… she was a yard and a half away from it!

A couple weeks ago, Maggie had a lemonade and cookie stand to make money to go to our local amusementpark and asked my neighbor’s grandson if he wanted some. When he went to ask, Mrs. Manners told him he couldn’t have anything she was selling and he wasn’t allowed to talk or play with Maggie and she didn’t want Mags on her property. What? I gave them a box of homemade.. MY made.. cookies and goodies at Christmas, they didn’t die from them then, what gives my cooking cooties now? They were miffed about her out in from of the house hawking her goodies for sale, but then when Mags and I came out to go for breakfast at White House, it looked like their house threw up all over their front lawn. My kid was scum for having a lemonade stand, but here they are having a yard sale! I loudly told Maggie (loud enough for Mr. Manner’s to hear) she should set up her lemonade stand today so she could benefit from Mr. Manner’s yard sale traffic.

What makes matters worse, Mr. Manners happens to be my landlord’s maintenance man. So I have to let him in my house on occasion. The last time he came, Maggie answered the door, took one look at him, screamed in terror, slammed the door and ran to tell me he was at the door. Oh joy… I told him she shouldn’t have answered the door; she should have told me someone was at the door and let me get it. I don’t know if I told him she was scared of him or not.

So, that’s my neighbors. Feel free to wear a disguise that makes you look like them and go create madness and mayhem at the local 7-Eleven. :-D

A couple other things: My grandmother died on Thursday, so my presence on the blogs and ‘net may be a bit thin, particularly on Wednesday (which is the viewing) and Thursday (which is the funeral). The daily Booger factoids will still be posted, so continue to come by and comment, and I’ll put the entries in when I get home.

I don’t know if my little brother (he’s 32, not so little) is coming, and don’t know if I’ll have anyone staying with me in my home. I doubt my mom will. I’m about 90% certain she’ll choose to stay at a hotel, a room of her own and maid service as opposed to crashing here and cleaning up after all of us… which she will, no matter how much I say not to. If my brother and his two sons come up, he might stay with me if mom doesn’t pop for a hotel for them. And he’s a big tech nerd, so I’ll have to threaten to break his fingers if he tries to “improve” my computer. He’s always trying to get people to go Linux. I’m adamantly opposed for the sole reason that he’s so rabidly for it.

OH, and don’t forget to sign up to win that $10 Borders Gift Card! at Boogers and Book Bucks Giveaway!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 494 other followers