Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Saturday, December 31, 2011

50K and Clearing

On the last day of the year, my blog viewership cleared the 50,000 mark.  To celebrate, let's have a year-end musical closer that's divisible by five.

Let's see now.  We've already done "Five O'Clock World," by the Vogues (1965), as well as "500 Miles Away From Home," by Bobby Bare (1963).  I could do "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover," by Paul Simon (1975), but that doesn't really fit a celebratory mood.  (Or maybe it does . . .)

Actually, there are many songs with the number five (or a variation thereof) in the title, but I've chosen what I think is a fairly good pop song that's representative of the bunch.

Here is the Scottish band the Proclaimers with the group's hit song (and music video), "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)," which was included on the album, Sunshine on Leith (1988), but which was subsequently released as a smash single in the UK (1989) (#11) and Australia (1989) (#1) and the USA (1993) (#3), with their highest chart position indicated in parentheses.  The song appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Benny & Joon (1993), which explains its American single release tie-in.  The two lead singers are identical twins.

Another Year Under the Collar

New Year's Eve is traditionally a time to weigh the past year's events and the coming year's anticipations. I hope 2012 brings good tidings (from the Old Norse tithindi, "news of events") to all my loyal readers. The future has the advantage of not having happened yet, so potentialities abound. I'm optimistic that good things will come.

Happy New Year,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Holiday News Beat

P.S.  Procol Harum's "Quite Rightly So," from the album Shine On Brightly (1968), borrowed a bit of musical phrasing from "Auld Lang Syne," a traditional folk song that originally appeared as a poem by Robert Burns (1788). You can hear it especially at the beginning of new verses or during the organ solo.  The song's subject is love lost, according to lyricist Keith Reid, whose American romance at the time fizzled.  My take on the lyrics and music is different; I hear more of a spiritual message.  The hymnal quality of the music supports this perspective.  The album's last track, "In Held 'Twas in I," which is something like 18 minutes long, carries an eastern-oriented spiritual message, although there are plenty of mundane elements (such as the reference to Jimi Hendrix as "Jimi the King" during the circus imagery).  The song's composers said they were just experimenting with different musical and lyrical themes and hadn't intended to create such a lengthy piece; rather, sound engineer Glyn Johns strung all the separate bits together to make it sound like a single-take recording.  Of course, you may hear different meanings altogether.  That's the wonderful thing about lyrical music.  There are ambiguities that allow room for personal interpretation.

P.P.S.  In case you're interested, here's all 17 minutes and 40 seconds of "In Held 'Twas in I," from the Procol Harum album Shine on Brightly (1968).  This song may have inspired Paul McCartney in developing the "ongoing song" format to side two of the Beatles' LP, Abbey Road (1969).

P.P.P.S. Dan Fogelberg (1951-2007) was an incredibly gifted singer/songwriter. "Same Old Lang Syne" appeared on the double-album set, The Innocent Age (1981), which is featured on his official website. "Auld Lang Syne" has become the traditional new year's anthem over the years, and Dan's exploration of its themes was marvelously presented, with keen understanding and heartfelt, personal emotion.

Friday, December 30, 2011


Today (December 30) is National Bicarbonate of Soda Day.  I kid you not.  How do you use baking soda?  Here are some suggestions, by order of importance.

  • Deodorizes kitty litter
  • Absorbs odors in refrigerators, closets, storage areas, and cabinets
  • Works as a human toothpaste
  • Relieves human indigestion
  • An ingredient in kitchen fire extinguishers
  • Assists baked goods in "rising"
  • Tenderizing meats
  • Reduces flatulence when cooked in water with beans
  • Removes burned food from utensils
  • Works as a cleanser
  • Polishes silverware
. . . plus a plethora of other applications.

Obviously, cat litterbox odor reduction is a critical utilization of bicarbonate of soda.  It works pretty well, too!  I don't want to get into brand promotion, so suffice to say that any old baking soda will do the trick.  If your litter doesn't already include bicarbonate of soda in its ingredients list, or even if it does, you may wish to supplement what's there (or add what isn't) by liberally sprinkling and mixing some baking soda into the cat litter with each changing.

Are there any health risks for felines using litter that contains baking soda? One manufacturer says it's safe for pets, but there's a clear vested interest present, so we'd like to see some neutral scientific studies, if you please.  Cornell University has conducted research in the effects of bicarbonate of soda on plants (primarily as a fungicide), but its studies apparently didn't involve animals.  Since bicarbonate of soda fizzles when it becomes wet, this could annoy your kitties, who might then choose not to use the litterbox.  It's best to experiment with "regular" litter boxes as controls, introducing baking soda-treated boxes gradually, to determine how your cats will react.

How will you put baking soda to use to celebrate today's "holiday"?  Just be sure to follow directions carefully.

Baking Soda Works as a Human Deodorant, Too--Just Saying, Scowl-Face,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Holiday News Beat

P.S.  Want to see a short video about some of baking soda's various uses?  YouTube has everything visually imaginable.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Pilgrimage to the Big Apple

Buffalo Gal and Tough J Dude agreed to take moi along on their fact-finding (translation: shopping) trip this week to New Jersey and New York City.  It was a grueling 12-hour car ride to get there, but we finally did, and yesterday we visited the Big Apple.  We took a train from New Jersey and started pounding the pavement the minute we hit the station. When you're in New York City, you have to put your head down, set your jaw, put on your most determined face, and plow ahead through the crowds of pedestrians and motor vehicles.  Scowl-Face would fit in well here.

Buffalo Gal used her magic phone to take some photos.

For moi, the absolute highlight of the trip was my pilgrimage to New York Public Library.  Here I sit with my stone cousin, one of the NYPL lions, who stands guard out front.  Let's include some snappy dialogue for the folks who inadvertently appeared in Buffalo Gal's photo.

Cauli:  "Hey, pal.  It's a camera.  Light goes in one end, and pictures come out the other."

Red Coat Lady:  "It's a library.  Where are the hot dog vendors the travel brochure talked about?"

Camera Guy:  "Nope.  Still out-of-focus.  What's this button do?"

NYPL Lion:  "Enter all ye who seek knowledge.  Or rest rooms.  Your call."

New York Public Library Reading Room

We entered the wondrous and enchanting New York Public Library filled with awe and expectation.  It is ginormous--the largest public library in North America.  We visited the reading room, fiddled around with the online public access catalog (OPAC), asked for reference assistance ("Where are Sparkle the Designer Cat's books?"), and tried to check out a book using our Evergreen Indiana library cards.  That didn't work, because NYPL is not part of the Evergreen Indiana library consortium (we knew that).  We just tried it for laughs.  Nobody else was laughing, though.

Modern Decor in N.Y. Public Library Interior

Scowl-Face wanted to know if any of his books were housed in NYPL. Surely, their collection development librarians have more sense than that.  Take a look for yourself, Scowl-Face.  We've got shopping to do.

Buffalo Gal & Moi
absorbing some classic art

Skyscrapers!  Everywhere!

Chrysler Building (way off in distance, center)

Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center (I Think)

Times Square

Times Square, Too

It was quite the full day for our little troop.  We did some power shopping (well, looking, anyway), but I didn't buy anything.  Where would I keep a wallet or credit cards?  Just asking.  (No, I am not wearing a fanny pack. We've covered that before.)

We're driving back to Hoosierland from New Jersey today.  Well, I'm curled up in the backseat, snoozing.  (Well, not right this second; I'm blogging, after all.)  Thanks to Buffalo Gal and Tough J Dude for the ride and big adventures.  Sorry you had to work, Drawer Dude.  Maybe next time.

When and Where's Our Next Road Trip, Buffalo Gal?  Just Asking,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Travel News Beat

P.S.  "New York State of Mind," by Billy Joel, was featured on his album Turnstiles (1976), which was the first Billy Joel LP that Scowl-Face ever bought.  It remains one of our personal favorites.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More YouTube Channel Changes

We've changed the MPL YouTube Channel to simplify navigation.  Given the frozen viewership counters on our uploaded videos, we decided to delete the "Top 50 Most Viewed" video playlist.  There is an easier way to see our most popular videos.  From our YouTube Channel Page, it's an easy two-step dance with your mouse (if you're using a computer) or your finger (if you're using one of those fancy hand-held Internet-accessible gadgets).  Click to bigify the screenshots below.

This will give you a listing of our most-watched videos.

You may also access our playlists from this screen, as shown below.

The playlists automatically sort from newest to oldest, which frankly isn't the order I'd like to see, but we can't seem to get it to default differently. You, however, may change the playlist ordering from your end.  Click the drop-down menu on the right to change the playlist ordering from newest-to-oldest to oldest-to-newest.  This should present the playlists a little more logically.

This new format for the MPL YouTube Channel has some definite advantages, but we're just trying to adjust to the changes in how things operate (if they operate, that is).  Like the video viewership counters, some of the new features seem clunky at best.  Either that, or we're not using them correctly.  It could go either way.

Nonetheless, YouTube is a free service, so we're not going to complain too much.  We're fortunate to have a popular forum for our Library's videos.

We Need More Videos of Moi, Broadway Gal -- Just Saying,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Library Videos News Beat

P.S.  YouTube's democratization of video distribution is reminiscent of the evolution of music videos, which began as independently-produced "musicians performing on videotape" and eventually were absorbed into the huge industrial music-making machine, like popular music itself. Arguably, the Beatles were one of the first (perhaps THE first) rock-and-roll bands to create short films of some of their single releases.  The Monkees, of course, were the American television spin-off of the Beatles, and each weekly episode of the Monkees' television program included at least one song, often showing the group lip-synching to a studio recording.  But the true pioneer of videotape as a music medium, and the progenitor of MTV, was Michael Nesmith, who was one of the Monkees. Whoever posted this clip on YouTube suggested that "Eldorado to the Moon" was released in 1984, but I'm fairly certain that it appeared on Nesmith's music video/comedy special, Elephant Parts (1981), for which he won a Grammy.

P.P.S.  This music video was definitely included in Elephant Parts.  "Cruisin'" was released on Michael Nesmith's LP Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma (1979).  Check out Mike's Pete Townshend parody at the end of the video.  SENSITIVE VIEWER ALERT!  If you do not want to see a bodybuilder wearing a bikini brief swimsuit, then do NOT watch this video!  That's fair warning, I'd venture.

Why Your Library Should Do Videos

At MPL we love library videos (especially with song parodies).  You could probably tell by a quick visit to our YouTube Channel.  We're just following a trend among libraries worldwide.

Broadway Gal discovered this gem from Westfield (Massachusetts) Athenaeum.  It is a parody of "Hey, Soul Sister," by Train (2009).  The credits are included on Westfield's YouTube page, as well as at the end of the video.

Take a look.  What a fantastic job!  A truly grand library promotional video.

Meanwhile, Broadway Gal reported that she has begun working on our new library music video.  If you haven't seen our old one ["Librarians Do Taio Cruz" (2010)], there's no time like now.

There is no better library promotional tool than music parody videos.  Actually, I'd venture to say that library videos of any sort (book trailers, program or promo trailers, local history videos, music videos, blog trailers, etc.) uploaded to online social media (like YouTube) are one of the most imaginative methods to market libraries.  For instance?  You betcha.  Hasn't everybody seen "Librarians Do Gaga"?  If not, 'bout time you did.

Of course, libraries needn't do music parodies to visually promote their resources and services.  Consider the Williams College Library Mystery Tour (2006).

Or try on for size Harper College Library's humorous tour video (2007).

"Going green" is the latest environmental catch-phrase.  Libraries have always been "green," as demonstrated in this public service announcement (PSA) by Monterey (CA) Public Library.

Libraries are constantly faced with changing technologies.  When VHS became a dinosaur format, Tea Tree Gully Library (in Australia) decided to make a VHS domino video.

Music parody videos allow libraries to deal with difficult subjects in a humorous fashion.  If we can't laugh at our problems, then we are whupped slobberpups.

Looking Forward to Our Next Music Parody Video,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Library Marketing News Beat

P.S.  No need for a musical closer today.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

MPL YouTube Channel View Counters Stuck Again

The viewing counter on the MPL YouTube Channel is stuck again!  Not just the one for the entire channel, but the counters for each of our posted videos are also frozen.  Apparently, lots of folks are experiencing this difficulty.  Google has posted this explanation.

This makes it tough for my minions to update the top 50 most popular MPL videos playlist.  Google Analytics will tell us the current viewing count for each video, if we log-in and call-up the data individually.  We have 234 videos presently uploaded to YouTube, so checking stats for each one takes considerable time.  More time than I've got to spare at the moment!  So we'll have to be satisfied with knowing that our YouTube viewership has just passed 80,000.

Stuck in the Middle With You,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Social Media News Beat

P.S.  "Stuck in the Middle With You," by Stealers Wheel, seemed a suitable musical closer to this posting.  The song, composed by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, appeared on the band's self-titled debut album (1972).  Here Stealers Wheel (Gerry Rafferty singing lead) lip-synchs the song on the BBC television programme Top of the Pops (1973).

P.P.S.  Technological problems can be quite frustrating.  Just ask Scowl-Face, whose face is presently beet-red over the whole YouTube viewership counter freeze-up thing.  He should take Michael Nesmith's advice and "Roll With the Flow," from Papa Nez's album And the Hits Just Keep on Comin' (1972).

P.P.P.S.  Want another "freeze" song?  Sure you do.  Here's "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" from the LP Born to Run (1975) by Bruce Springsteen.  Yes, that's the actual long-playing record (33-1/3 r.p.m.) playing the tune.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas at the Zoo (Part Trois)

Last episode we were about to encounter slitherdarts at Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo.  Watch out, Lady With the Red Hair!  These dudes mean business.

What Kind of Slitherdude is This Slitherdart? 


 Don't Let This Hoosier Put the Bite on You

 Not My Type of "Cat" (Catenatus)

Yep.  Venomous.  Guess E.M. Rules.  Pretty Much.

 Open Wide, Slitherdart!  Let's See Some Cotton

Funny Story About This Slitherdude

I've got a funny story about one of those cottonmouth slitherdudes. When Scowl-Face was just a young whippersnapper, he and his family took an extended vacation (i.e., they "dropped out" of the "rat race").  It's a complicated story that would probably bore you to tears.  Anyway, while they were stumbling around the Okefenokee Swamp in Southern Georgia, Scowlly stopped on a dirt road he was walking along to catch his breath. He turned to his left, looked over his shoulder, and hanging from a tree branch less than five feet from his head was one of these cottonmouths, with jaws widely parted (and white mouth lining glistening in the sun) as he (or she) prepared to put the bite on.  You know how those characters in Warner Brothers or Hanna-Barbera cartoons jump into the air, hang there with legs flailing, and then, without touching the ground, they fly in any direction opposite a cartoon danger?  That's what Scowl-Face did, pretty much.  (Well, it seemed funnier in retrospect.  At the time, it was fairly frightening.  But nobody got hurt, so it's okay to laugh about it.)

We left the Indianapolis Zoo's desert exhibit and continued to look at the holiday lighting and outdoor critters who were still awake and active.  We saw my favorite felines--the big tigers--but they were cat-napping, mostly.  The bats were awake but not in the mood to pose for photographs.  I hung out with them last summer, as you may recall.

"Flat" Cauli III became rather pesky about wanting her picture taken, so we obliged a few shutter snaps.

"Flat" Cauli III Takes a Breather on a Zoo Park Bench 

Notice the Similar Snouts -- Must Be Relatives of Some Sort

Since it was about a half-hour till closing time, and the dolphin show had been sold-out all day, we decided to wrap this party and head for the hills. It was a beautiful evening, full of colorful lights, exciting critters, and squeals of delighted youngsters.  A nice night out on the town, I'd wager.

Love My Pals at the Indianapolis Zoo,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Zoo Holiday News Beat

P.S.  "Bungle in the Jungle," from the album War Child (1974), by Jethro Tull, seemed appropriate as a musical closer about our zoo visit.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas at the Zoo (Part Deux)

I promised more photos of my recent trip (last Friday) to the Indianapolis Zoo for its special Christmas evening celebration.  Apologies if the quality is not up to snuff, but Scowl-Face and night digital photography are two ships passing in the night.  More like sinking, actually.

Always Drawing an Audience

One of our first stops at the zoo was the waddleskiffer exhibit.  These marvelous winged wonders are terrific swimmers.  They asked me to speak to their group as guest of honor.  I told them to keep chasing those elusive swimming dinners and to get their fancy tuxedos cleaned and pressed at least monthly.

Moulting Season Already?

The waddleskiffer habitat was some rocks (or reasonable facsimiles thereof) and really cold water.  (Salt water?  I didn't test it myself, and my minions declined rather pointedly.  Good help is hard to find these days.) Not a television in sight, much to the disappointment of all Monty Python fans everywhere.  (Of course, we wouldn't want proper waddleskiffers to explode; just television comedy prop waddleskiffers.)

We saw lots of swimming dinners, including a moray eel, which definitely was not on my dinner list, although I would probably have been on his!  Or hers.  I didn't stick around to ask any personal questions.

Do NOT Bigify; This Moray is Big Enough Already

The moray eel would lunge out from inside a crevice, which apparently startled some of the onlookers.  We heard this high-pitched squealing and wondered what young child had been startled out of his or her wits. Turning around, we discovered Scowl-Face huddled behind a waste receptacle.  (Okay, he dove into the receptacle.)  That could explain the utterly out-of-focus picture.

"Come Closer to My Crevice, My Little Pretties . . ."

Two words, Scowl-Face:  Auto-Flash.  Just saying.  (Okay, that's one word, but hyphenated, so it's nearly two.)

Next we visited the petting shark tank.  Yes, humans were reaching into the water and petting the sharks. Not moi, I can assure you.  Mama Cat raised no imbeciles in my feline family.

That's Yours Truly on the Rock, Safe and Sound
(Tough Break, Little Sharky)

At the Shark Petting Exhibit,
Count Your Fingers Afterwards

I'm joking about the sharks biting folks.  They're quite docile if you don't touch their heads, fins, or tails, and you use only two fingers to pet them. The large ones are at least twice my size or more, so I'll just keep my paws to moiself.

"Flat" Cauli III with the Lady With the Red Hair
(a "Desert Rose," For Sure)

After all these aquatic critters, I decided that we should get someplace warm and dry.  The desert exhibition seemed like a safe option.  I hadn't bargained on slitherdarts.

Watch for the exciting conclusion in my next blog posting!

How's That For a Cliffhanger?

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Zoo Holiday News Beat

P.S.  If you haven't read Mr. Popper's Penguins, by Richard and Florence Atwater, then you should treat yourselves to a wonderful children's story. It is available in our Evergreen Indiana online catalog.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas at the Zoo (Part Une)

Last night "Flat" Cauli III, my minions, and I visited "Christmas at the Zoo," a special holiday evening program at the Indianapolis Zoo.  Be forewarned:  night digital photography is not Scowl-Face's long suit.

Elkenfroster at the Zoo Entrance

Outside the front entrance of the zoo was an elkenfroster.  This one was much larger than the youngster that visited my Library during Mooresville's Victorian Christmas celebration.  We weren't able to get a photo with "Flat" Cauli III posing with the elkenfroster, because the audience was too large.  So we paid our wooden nickels (that's an old family joke) and entered the zoo grounds.

Holiday Lights Were Everywhere!

First thing we noticed when we were inside the zoo was the glorious spectacle of holiday lights that shone everywhere we looked.  It was a beautiful sight to behold, to which Scowl-Face's shaky photo does little justice.  "Flat" Cauli III then began clamoring for a photo op, so we took her picture to quiet her down.

"Flat" Cauli III poses beneath a light-strung bush

Some discourteous dude made a crack about how he couldn't believe Scowl-Face was taking photos of a "cardboard chunk" out in the cold.  The dude's leg made an ideal scratching post for moi.

There were several wild critters in lights all around the zoo.  The photos are blurry when bigified, but they don't look too bad in the smaller scale (below).

Love My Big Cousins in Lights! 

It's Morgan the Library Bunny in Lights! 

Glow Bear on the Prowl 

"I am the Walrus, goo goo g'joob"

In Part Deux of our holiday zoo visit, we'll see some real wild critters with moi and more silly poses by "Flat" Cauli III.  Stay tuned.

"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together,"

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Holiday Zoo News Beat

P.S.  Now I've got "I Am the Walrus," by the Beatles, running through my head.  Here's the song from a clip from the group's television movie, Magical Mystery Tour, first broadcast (in black-and-white) on December 26, 1967, on BBC1.

Even the Smallest Serendipity Changes Lives

Even the smallest serendipity can positively change lives forever.  So says Donna VanLiere in her novel The Christmas Shoes (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2001).  The book is available in our Evergreen Indiana online catalog.

The novel was based on the #1 hit single "The Christmas Shoes," by Newsong.  Perhaps this music video will shed some light on the underlying themes.

If you like Donna VanLiere, we have another book trailer that we made almost two years ago for one of her later titles, The Christmas Secret (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2009).  The book is available in our Evergreen Indiana online catalog.

Holiday books are inspirational.  We could all use some of that.

Serendipity Happens Everyday to Someone,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Readers' Advisory News Beat

P.S.  The Serendipity Singers were a folk group that charted several hits, including "Don't Let the Rain Come Down (Crooked Little Man)" (1964), which reached the top 10 on Billboard's folk charts.  This television recording (surprisingly in color, for 1964) shows the band performing live.  The clip was included on the PBS television program My Music: John Sebastian Presents Folk Rewind (2010).

Friday, December 23, 2011

On the Road to Rwanda

Thanks to CircMaster, we have some rather exciting "flat" traveling news. (Flat as in "Flat" Stanleys, or, in our case, "Flat" Caulis).  "Flat" Cauli II, who, you may recall, enjoyed a Caribbean cruise with Boss Lady, is now bound for Rwanda.  This will be her first trip to Africa (and only her second trip anywhere outside the Hoosier state), so she was pretty excited, as you might well imagine.

"Flat" Cauli II will be reporting as our special flat feline correspondent to Africa.  Perhaps she and her travel companions will send us some cool photos and exciting reports.

Kigali Kitties at a Youth Hostel

We were curious to know about cats from Rwanda.  What's it like over there from the kitty viewpoint?  We spoke via Skype with some cats who live at a youth hostel in Kigali, the capital city.  They reported that life is pretty much the same for them as it is for many of us felines in America. There's dumpster diving--pretty much a universal street kitty thing worldwide--but there are also loving human friends and plenty of wild critters to play with.  Kigali is a large city, but it is clean and safe, mewed our cat contacts.  There are many interesting attractions, some of which are of the small winged dinner or rodent variety.  Cats everywhere are predators, whether our food comes in tins or on the run (or wing). Everybody has to earn his or her din-dins!

Here are some "tourist photos" to give you some of the many intriguing sights awaiting "Flat" Cauli II in Rwanda.

Mount Muhabura on the Rwanda/Uganda Border

Rwandan Highlands

Rwandan Rugby Team as Fathers Christmas

Rwandan Mother & Baby

As I say, these are just some "tourist pictures" from the Internet, but we are hoping to receive many more from "Flat" Cauli II and her new travel friends once they arrive.  We are most interested in life in different cultures and places.

My Library has some interesting books about Rwanda and its recent tragic history and contemporary revival.

  • Christophe's Story, by Nicki Cornwell; illustrated by Karin Littlewood (Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2007).

Wish I Could Travel Like "Flat" Caulis, but Somebody Has to Blog at the Library,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
"Flat" Travel News Beat

P.S.  Let's enjoy these Rwandan girls performing a traditional dance and song near Ruhengeri (Musanze) in Northern Rwanda.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our Happy Holiday Wishes To You

I, and all my minions at Mooresville Public Library, wish all my wonderful readers the happiest holidays!  May you have all the canned tuna-in-oil that your minions can carry.

Click to Bigify

Since the photo was printed on card paper, it's a little fuzzy.  The ink soaked into the paper!  It happens.  Here's a higher resolution photo (without moi), which we used in a tearful previous blog.

Click to Bigify

Also here to wish you happy holidays are Wild Thang (Miss Jaymi) and Sammy the Toucan.

If you missed Wild Thang and Sammy's most recent alphabet blog post (the Letter L l), check it out on their early literacy blog or watch the video below.

Be Safe Over the Holidays,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Holidays News Beat

P.S.  Here is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra playing "Christmas Canon Rock," from the CD The Lost Christmas Eve (2004).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Corresponding With an Imaginary Lover

What with the whole cyberspace Internet deal thingee, communicating with a "pen pal," or "pencil pal" (as Charlie Brown did in the comic strip Peanuts), is entirely different today than it was, say, 53 years ago (when Charlie Brown began handwriting letters to his "pencil" pal), or, going further into the past, a century ago, when Eleanor Hallowell Abbott wrote (and Walter Tittle illustrated) the romantic novel, Molly Make-Believe (New York: The Century Co., 1911).

Here's the plot in a tuna tin:  A bedridden young American businessman is recovering from an ailment.  His self-absorved girlfriend escapes the cold northern winter for balmy Florida.  She's too busy (or thoughtless) to write him letters, so she suggests he hire letters from a company that will send them regularly for a fee.  There are many letter types, but our recuperating fellow wants love letters.  So "Molly Make-Believe" faithfully sends them.

Soon, the predictable happens.  "Molly" becomes the most interesting person Carl knows, and, so it seems, vice versa.  Romance develops at a distance.  But Carl decides to attempt to bridge that space between and discover, once and for all, if "Molly" is the beautiful girl of whom he has been imagining, whose words and mind have so captivated him.

Having been first published 100 years ago, Molly Make-Believe possesses the language, attitudes, social conventions, and stereotypes typical of the time period.  There are unfortunately some racial biases present--standard for Caucasian American society in the early 1900s--and some readers may find these annoying (Scowl-Face certainly did).  Similarly, the dialogue between the characters sometimes seems stilted and contrived.  Critics consider it a bit of romantic fluff.  Well, it's a turn-of-the-20th century American romance novel, so what did they expect?  Leo Tolstoy?  (By the way, Tolstoy was a great romantic writer.  Read Anna Karenina, for instance.)  Franz Kafka?  Upton Sinclair?  Henry James?  Florence Marryat?  You get my drift.  Abbott intended her short novel to be a pleasant diversion.  Walter Tittle's jaunty sketches revealed as much.

Sorry, but you won't find this book in our Evergreen Indiana online catalog.  However, there are digital copies available online through the Project Gutenberg eBook Project.  Here's a hypertext version with illustrations.

I'll Take That Tuna Tin Now, If You Please,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Readers' Advisory News Beat

P.S.  "Love Letters" (1945) was composed by Victor Young (music) and Edward Heyman (lyrics).  An instrumental version was the theme song to the movie by the same name (also 1945) starring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotton.  The song was nominated for an Academy Award for best film song.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Great Holiday Book For Your Felines

Broadway Gal gave me a wonderful present during our department meeting this afternoon.  (I now consider moiself to be a department head kitty, since I presently have five "Flat" Caulis under my direct supervision.  It's not official unless Boss Lady gives me the paws up, however.)  It was this terrific book of feline carols.  Perfect for the season!  My copy's cover looks like the top photo (below).

Author Laurie Loughlin and illustrator Mary Ross team-up to present this fantastic collection of holiday songs that your felines will love to sing--well, caterwaul, anyway.  Here is one that is particularly apt for moi.  Sing the lyrics (below the following video) to the Hanukkah song, "Hevenu Shalom Aleichem."  Here's a video (the first of its four songs) so you can get the rhythm of the song.

Here are the feline-oriented lyrics:

We want some tuna and chicken
We want some tuna and chicken
We want some tuna and chicken
We want some tuna, chicken,
Beef would be nice, too

(repeat several times, increasing tempo each time)

There are lots of other feline favorites, such as "Joy to the World."

Joy to the world
'Cause cats are here
They fill all hearts with love
Let everyone prepare them food
And let them eat their fill, and let them eat their fill,
And let, and let them eat their fill

Who can forget the classic "Oh, Come All Ye Furful."

Oh, come all ye furful,
Hungry and well-rested,
O, come ye, oh, come ye to
The master bedroom
Come and behold them
Snoring loudly 'neath the sheets,
For now it's time to wake them,
For now it's time to wake them,
For now it's time to wake them
On this Christmas morn.

(Second verse omitted)

I don't want to reprint too much from the book, or else there would be no need for you to read it!  I hope these samplings are sufficient enticement to peruse its playful pages further.  It is available, quite rightly, in our Evergreen Indiana online catalog.  If you've got an E.I. library card, check it out.  You'll have a laugh riot, if you're a cat fancier.  Even slobberdogs will think it's funny.

Thanks Again, Broadway Gal, For the Super Gift!

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Readers Advisory News Beat

P.S.  If you like feline humor, take a whirl with Henry Beard and his French for Cats book series.  This was only our second book trailer, so it's kinda rough around the edges.  You may find one of Beard's titles available in our Evergreen Indiana online catalog.