FFI- GO COLTS!!!

a heart

And…here we go!

1. I know _I’m in desperate need of a house elf, it’s a hot mess around here!_

2. _Just ask any kid, December is_ the longest month.

3. You can’t help but _feel sorry for Saints fans… everyone knows the COLTS are gonna win!_

4. _The Big Blue has a message for the Saints_; bring it on!

5. Where have you looked _for signs of Spring?  Did you know I heard some robins singing the other morning_?

6. _My middle daughter, she’s a big Michael Jackson fan, informed me that the DVD of “This Is It”_ is now available.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to _reading some more of James and the Giant Peach with Mags, sort the laundry, do the dishes and make some of my special recipe spaghetti (OMG, it’ll have meat in it, even!  It’s been so long since I had my special recipe)_, tomorrow my plans include _maybe breakfast out with Mags at White House, a visit to the library, shoe shopping with Gwen for the dance she wants to go to, and hopefully finishing James_ and Sunday, I want to _go to church, have fun at the library’s pre-Super Bowl party, then watch the COLTS WIN_!

you can find more Friday Fill-Ins here.

Also, don’t forget to check out my giveaway!  I’m giving away a copy of Push by Sapphire, and the more people sign up, the more prizes!  If 50 or more people enter to win, I’ll add $10 to spend on Amazon.com for the grand prize!

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Festivus – I’m Ripping It Off, and I Don’t Even Know What It Is!

Trish at  Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? has written a post called Festivus – Let’s Air Our Grievances in which she wrote down a few (and good) things that have ired her this season and invited readers to do the same.  Her point is that, at this time of year with the holidays (aw, hell.. It’s CHRISTMAS, dammit… enough with the PC crap) upon us, only fellow bloggers are reading blog posts right now.  Because of that whole “you can do it and not get caught” thing that we all enjoy, Trish encourages her readers to be emboldened and relish the joy of being naughty… no one’s lookin’ 😀

That reminds me of a joke:

Sign placed above a bowl of fruit in the lunch line of a Catholic school:  “Take ONE… God is watching”

A few food items down the way, above the platter of chocolate chip cookies, a sign written in a child’s scrawl says, “Take all you want!  God’s watchin the apples”

As for me, I’ve been so busy trying to reach my self imposed goal of 75 books (I’m almost there!) that I’ll be taking the time during Bloggiesta to write the reviews for the last seven books, as well as sign up for all the challenges and everything else.  I’m looking forward to the New Year, so I can slow down!

So, Trish started her post with the following:

Last year, because blog traffic is slow around the holidays, I celebrated Festivus, which kicks off with the Airing of Grievances. Since only other bloggers are reading blogs around this time of year (’cause we’re crazy like that), it makes sense that we should get some things off our chest! Vent! Proclaim what is wrong with the world (or our families), so that we can start the new year with a clean slate ready for new frustrations.

I had way to much fun in her comment section, and decided to take time away from my Glenn Beck book (couldn’t tell that’s who I was reading, could ya) to write up my own post.  I felt like I could go on sooo much longer, but didn’t want to hijack her post any more than I already did, so here goes…

Things that really PISS me off…

1.  People who want to tell you that you’re a narrow-minded religious fascist for saying “Merry Christmas”.  “Happy Holidays” has slowly become the more widely used phrase because -God forbid.. or goddess, Allah, the moon… The leprechaun in that Lucky Charms commercial (Hell, there’s weirder religions than worshipping a god who’s Magically Delicious)- we offend someone with our well-wishing.  I admit it, I used the “Happy Holidays”, too, because.. to be honest… I’m too lazy to say “Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year”.  Two words are more verbally economic than eight.  But the next person who says “Happy Holidays” to me, I SWEAR I’m gonna wish them “Magically Delicious winter festivities”.  It’s Christmas.  Merry or Happy… it’s Christmas. 

Oh, and Mr. Athiest-seperation-of-church-and-state-boy… It hasn’t been a “Christian” holiday… ever.  It’s a pagan holiday.  The Catholic Church hijacked the day from the Romans who wished to celebrate Saturnalia, a weird calendar event in which the last 5 days were left uncounted and therefore the thought was “Anything goes because the days never happened!”  It was a time for them to blow off steam, have orgies… there wasn’t any “rape” during this time, because if one person wanted it they could take it.. and a lot of other behaviors we would call unlawful at the very least.  The fact that the celebration of the birth of Christ was superimposed upon this hedonistic festival is probably a good thing.  But, to be honest, as much as the modern Church tries to remind people that “Jesus is the reason for the season”, the long line at Wal-Mart this evening proves that they gave Jesus and his other hispanic friends the day off so they can follow their true pursuit of the season… gifts.

2.  This year I have just about had ENOUGH of Maggie’s griping about the present Gwen gave her.  Seriously, I’m almost ready to say No more presents will be given under my roof EVER AGAIN!  TO anyone BY anyone.  And that includes Christmas, Kwanzaa (If we ever convert and celebrate it), Chanukah (ditto the previous stipulation), Chinese New Year (again, conversion needed first, I think), Sinterklaas, Birthdays, Boss’s Day (Bruce Springsteen’s birthday?), Arbor Day, Groundhog’s Day, Bring Your Kid to Work Day, or any day of the week ending in the letter Y.  What’s led me to this level of irritation?  Gwen, who apparently has bad taste in presents, gave Maggie a plastic Kabuki-esque doll because Mags collects China dolls.  Now, in Gwen’s mind, she thought they were similar enough to count, and thought Maggie would love it.  Maggie, on the other hand, thinks it’s the most hideous piece of crap that ever suffered molecular cohesion. 

Maggie's Doll  face  back

In fairness, the thing IS a bit ugly.  But, isn’t it the thought that counts?  Gwen could’ve just got something for herself, but she saw this doll and thought, “My little sister would love that!”  And Maggie was NOT gracious in her reception.  At all.  When people are not gracious about receiving, when they act like they’re ENTITLED to something better than the trash one deigns to give them, it makes those who give feel disinclined to do so ever again. *sigh*  It’s becoming a take-take-take, gimme NOW, society.

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3.  Okay, I’ve got a grievance with the whole PC-crap.  It has, of late, been made obvious (not that I wasn’t aware before) by my ten-year-old daughter how absurdly ridiculous all the Political Correctness crap is.   You know, I am NOT saying that we shouldn’t be a bit more considerate of others and think before we speak, Proverbs (sorry athiest-boy) tells up that a wise person keeps his mouth shut lest people think he’s an idiot but the fool suffers verbal diarrhea and removes all doubt (Koolaid paraphrase).  But the PC movement has become nothing more than censorship and terrorism committed by a few LOUD-MOUTH (see Koolaid’s paraphrase.. they’ve removed all doubt) bullies who want everyone to do things their way or suffer the consequences.  ‘K… I’m short, fat and starting to crest that hill.. not over it yet, but getting to the summit…  I don’t expect someone to say I’m a “gravitationally challenged post-youth of an alternative size”.  What the hell is up with that?  I’m fat because I like to eat.  A lot.  Gravity isn’t singling me and throwing down the gauntlet.

LOL.. my dad always said “The purpose of communication is to convey a thought from one person to another in the fastest and most accurate way possible.”  The PC-crap, instead of sponsoring understanding and acceptance (I presume to hope was their original intent), does more to breed discontent, distrust and resentment.  “Why should I talk to you?  I might say something to offend your stupid sorry ass and wind up in court, lose my job and become the social pariah of my community!”  Ah, can’t we all just get along?

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4.  Along the same lines are those people who fling hate-filled words at people who happened to disagree with them.  If I don’t want my 15-year-old daughter hanging out with a loose-moralled, already a mother, now decided to be gay classmate who continually sexually harasses her and makes her uncomfortable, it’s NOT because I’m a homophobic religious prude.  Oh, I forgot “hatemonger”.  The girl WON’T leave Gwen alone, after she’s told her she’s not interested.  She continues to touch and make rude comments to her, but if I say something about this, I’m a bigot.  If this girl was a guy, EVERYTHING… EVERY THING… would be different.  The police would investigate, he’d be in jail, and several administrators would be sent to a “sensitivity training seminar”.  The fact it’s an Out-of-the-closet, vocal lesbian means that my daughter must suffer her attacks.  Bull shit.

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5.  I tell you, one of the things I think is great about our country is that everyone is entitled to DUE PROCESS.  A chance to go before a jury of his or her peers and face his or her accuser in a court of law.  And, if you are wronged, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries.  HOWEVER… there are a few bad apples that have latched onto the system and have gone completely and certifiably NUTS.  Everyone remembers, I’m sure, the woman who went through the drive thru at McDonald’s and ordered a HOT coffee… repeat, she asked for a HOT, as in warmer than tepid, HOT coffee.  She put her HOT, as asked for HOT, coffee between her legs and then spilled the HOT contents on her foofer.  She then decided it was McDonald’s fault and she was owed $2.86 million dollars for her scorched hoohah.  In the end, she only received $640,000 for her injuries and NOW every foam cup you get from any restaurant bears the “CAUTION: Contents may be HOT!” just in case some other dumb ass decides to take their morning joe BOTTOMS UP.

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Ahh… this has been a LOT of fun.  I have to say, I feel a lot better now after venting… not to mention all the laughing I’ve done finding and watching the videos.  And to the question of “What is Festivus?” The following clip from Seinfeld sums it up…

Okay…  Who’s gonna RUMBLE with me in the FEATS of Strength?

TSS ~ If Cats Ruled the World… oh, wait… they do. Nevermind.

This week has turned out to be the week of cats.  I finally got my review of Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper written and posted, then realized I’d forgotten the video clip I had wanted to tack on it.  A couple days ago, Maggie introduced me to an adorable website that also has an app for facebook (I spend entirely TOO much time on facebook lately) called FooPets, offering virtual cats and dogs (really kittens and puppies, perpetually) that you can feed, water, play with and even dress up and enter into fashion shows, as well as become a virtual breeder.  Now I have a virtual pet of my kitty-baby-son who passed away about 8 years ago, as well as a virtual one of our kitty-boy Dabu.  And then, to put the hairball frosting on the tuna cake, an adorable creamy orange tabby kitten followed us home from the grocery store and decided we were his people… no matter how much I screamed NO MORE CATS! 

So, first up… the forgotten Homer video 🙂

Some people don’t want to read animal books for fear the beloved pet will meet an unhappy end.  These people were no doubt scarred by books like Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, and The Yearling as children, and have vowed to never read a depressing pet book again.  For those people, as well as those curious to see and hear Gwen and Homer… like me… I had planned on putting the following video clip at the end of the review, as is my normal thing.  But being a bit out of practice, I totally forgot.  Better late than never 🙂

Able to leap tall bookcases! Catches flies mid-buzz! Yet the feline hero of HOMER’S ODYSSEY is blind, and this is his inspirational love story that completely changed the life of author Gwen Cooper.

Oh, and a new one I hadn’t seen before…  Gwen reading a passage from the book while Homer really gets into the gift of catnip 🙂

When Maggie came home the other day announcing she had just adopted a new kitten, I immediately boomed an emphatic NO!  She quickly chimed in that it wasn’t a real cat, but a virtual one found on a website her friend had shown her while they surfed on the computer farm at the library.  We sat down at my computer and she showed FooPets.  You’re greeted at once by the soft, furry face with big, hopeful eyes waiting to be loved and fed.

You can interact with your pet, feed and give him water, pet and play with him.  You can also take him shopping and buy him clothing and enter him in fashion shows.  And you can make him a her if you so prefer.  Maggie’s pet is a grey tabby named Laya (her own real-life cat is a grey tabby named Leia, but she couldn’t spell it 😉 )  This one is my FooKitten named Rambo.  Here he is dressed and ready for a fashion show.

Honestly, only a virtual cat would allow someone to dress him that way…

And all of that led up to the short-lived stance against taking in any new pets.  I mean, honestly… we already have 2 cats and a dog and 3 children.  Isn’t that enough animals?  I had told the girls months ago that as the pets died off, I would NOT be replacing them.  I’m tired of buying pet food and cleaning up the after effects of the pet food.  Tired of rewashing clothing because a cat enjoyed the comfort of the full laundry basket.  Tired of hairballs on book covers and seat cushions… do you know how much work you have to do to get cat vom out of upholstery? 

Then Thursday night, as Mags and I walked home from the grocery store, we happened to cross paths with a creamy-orange tabby cat.  Being the ever-loving animal lovers, we put down our bags and gave him a few appreciative strokes and some warm, cooing words, then set off for home.  Maggie updated me every few houses that the kitten (about 4 months old) was still following us, had crossed two streets and was continuing to follow us, and then all evening she informed me that he was still on our front porch.  To which I immediately resounded “NO, we’re NOT keeping him!”

When bedtime came, I kept having to yell at them to go to sleep everytime I heard the front door creak open.  Sometime around 11:30, Maggie whined that she couldn’t sleep because the poor kitty was crying (I never heard him) and it was cold outside.  Genuine tears of concern ran down her tired cheeks.  I told her to put on a CD and turn the volume up.  The cat was NOT staying. 

By 3:30 in the morning, when I was couldn’t sleep because I knew that poor baby kitty was cold and hungry, I went to the door and opened it to see if he was still there.  He was lying on the table on the porch, curled up tightly to keep warm, and didn’t even offer to slip in through the door crack.  It was as if he was saying it was enough to just dwell on our porch… to expect a place inside was too much to hope for.

I picked him up and carried him in and cuddled in my bed with him.  I’m worse than the kids.  LOL… I have no spine.  My will power was no match to this:

We’ve already named him Kyon-Kyon after the Fruits Basket character, Kyo.  He’s very loving and friendly, hisses a little at the dog and at Leia, but oddly enough gets on well with Dabu, who’s also a male… go figure.  And there just seems to be this gratitude that rolls off of him whenever you pet him, like he’s thankful to have a warm home and a family that loves him.  He’s a Thanksgiving kitty 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

The Sunday Salon ~ In THIS Corner, Wearing the Blue Trunks…

The Sunday Salon.com

And now for a mostly video Sunday Salon… Well, we did read Fruits Basket, volumes 1 and 2 this week… So now for some fun stuff.

We went for a walk out in the gorgeous day yesterday… it was a little on the warmish side, but not too bad.  We decided to go to Hardee’s for supper and took Missy with us…

Right now, Missy is sitting by me in her bed with her ears cocked up and a very excited look on her face (and a tail that’s going 30 miles a minute 😉 

On a normal walk to Hardee’s, we walk the main streets, but with Missy in tow, we have to walk down what we call Ex-Lax Alley.  There are about 6 or 7 dogs in the yards on that alley, and Missy gets so excited that she never makes it out without… erm, “Paying the TOLL.” 

Missy’s very interested down there in her bed… I should cam her when one of these vids are on.  The dog in the next vid, I think, is a boxer or a pit.  He’s gotten out a couple times and is fairly good natured.  I still pick up Missy and carry her when he gets out, though.  Nice doggy though he may be, she’d still just make a two-bite brownie for him!

and the next video is a group of dogs that Missy USED to be friends with…. apparently they’ve had words and are now Frenemies or something…

It was surprising to me that they were no longer doggy-pals.  She’s either getting crotchety in her old age (all of 4, I think) or the dogs just don’t like her no  more, but she’s running out of pals!  Just the Jack Russell next door, named Spike, and that’s it.  Poor sad lonely friendless Missy 😦

LOL.. and NOW, as we were almost to Hardee’s, I was telling Maggie about how many views Missy’s videos have gotten compared to theirs… a fact that she firmly believes is Gwen watching them 500 times.  I joke around with Maggie, who’s the youngest, that Missy is, IN FACT, my baby and that the dog is my favorite “child.”  Maggie always play-fights with me and Missy when I say it, and this time Gwen had to chime in with her two-cents.  Maggie gave it back to her with interest! (It’s all play and fun, btw, no one got hurt).

And then we made it to Hardee’s, got our food and went home.  The End.  LOL.. I did have a vid of Missy getting her food, but my messy dining room was visible in the background so I deleted it.  She loved her food, though, and ate it with great relish.

And now… off to make supper.  Maggie has requested Meatloaf.  Yum!

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 😉

My First Dewey 24 Hour Read-A-Thon :-D

Read Nekkid!

Dewey’s Read-a-Thon

Mt. TBR’s first post was on June 11, 2008, and was the WordPress standard Hello, World!  Not long after I started blogging my reading, there was a 24 hour read-a-thon.  I didn’t participate, but I read a lot of the updates of those who did.  I was unable to join in the October one, but read several of those as well.  So this time when I read S. Krishna’s announcement that she’s throwing in her hat, I decided to give it a try.

One of the reasons I haven’t joined before now is that I’m intimidated by the “updating.”  What if I mess up?  What if I do it all wrong?  I don’t want to screw it all up and make the whole blogosphere collapse because of my ineptitude!

Okay, so maybe that’s a littleexcessive, but still…  Do I have to collect donations?  Is it like the Math-a-thon I did as a kid, going door to do collecting pledges on how many problems I solved?  Do I get my friends and neighbors to donate a penny a page?  Ach!  It’s so confusing!

So okay… I’m not doing giveaways or mini-challenges here…. at least not this time, at least not now.  And I’m not going to put together a list of what I’ll read… I’ll read what I would normally.  If I’ve not finished with Empire Falls by then, I’ll finish it, though I’ll probably be deep into Dune by then… If I’m not done with that one, too.   I’ll probably read a couple of books Maggie and I picked out, maybe pick up Warrior Cats with Gwen again.  There are a couple books Sam’s read and she’d like me to read, too… So maybe I’ll make it a family “read and share” read-a-thon. 🙂

So… beginning bright and early at 8 in the morning (Indiana time) on  Saturday, April 18th, 2009, I shall check in to let you know I’m awake… coffee and Krispy Kremes in hand, preparing to read like a maniac 😀

Click target=”_blank”>Dewey’s Read-a-Thong if you’d like to join in the fun! PS, like my button?

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From his book, Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders, Neil Gaiman reads the poem “Instructions.” I love Gaiman’s writing, and look forward to reading more of his books sometime. Stardust and Neverwhere sit on Mt. TBR right now, and I think there may be a third somewhere in there. I suppose I could pull Fragile Things out again… not like it stays on the shelf long, anyway… for when I get board with reading on Saturday.

TSS ~ I’d Sell My Soul for a House Elf!

The Sunday Salon.com

Yay!!! Spring Break is here and two of my three lovelies have flown away to daddy’s for the week.  I still have Gwen, but without Maggie to fight with she’s rather tame.  She’s made plans to have sleep-over parties with her friends this week, too, so it’s going to quiet this week.

Our library will be having several movie events this week, including Twilight, which never did show at our theater.  I’ll have to take Gwen to it and do some other special things with her since she so rarely has me to herself.  She’s the middle child, so she’s often waiting on the side for her turn.  She always enjoys vacation times when the other two are gone.

I finished reading The Book Thief on Tuesday, but my brain has yet to put it down.  My mind wanders back to it often, even while reading one of the five books I’m currently working on. It’s now my favorite book, and I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t read it yet to do so.  It’s a beautifully written and haunting tale. 🙂

I’ve finally gotten around to picking up the sixth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and am almost halfway through it.  It’s fun and okay, but somewhere along the way I’ve lost the wonder for the series I once had.  It’s the same book over and over again.  Harry knows some deep dark truth and no one believes him.   Even his best friends think he’s off his nuttter.  Then a horrible thing happens that proves Harry was right all along.  Sorries are said, forgiveness given, and everyone leaves Hogwarts with smiles and looking forward to next year…. when they’ll repeat the cycle all over again.  Add to all that pimples and crushes and love potions, and you get the gist of HP and the HBP.   Meh.   The Goblet of Fire has been my favorite so far.

I stopped into the Catholic thrift store here in town to check out their books and left with Christopher Marlowe’s play Doctor Faustus.  It’s okay, and the thought occurred to me while reading it, “Would Marlowe have been more widely known if Shakespeare’s plays were never wrote down?”  It’s an interesting thought, and makes me wonder about authors today.

What modern authors would be read more but for the mega-star writers like Patterson, Clancy, Grisham, King, and more?