Thursday, January 31, 2013

Can you handle the cute?

I've had a crappy month -- and a migraine since some time early this morning. (I am a human barometer. If you want to know when a big storm is coming, just ask me.) So cute videos are about all I can handle today. That and getting my washing machine repaired. (You know how they say that laughter is the best medicine? Well cuteness -- and Rizatriptan Benzoate -- are a close second.)

First up, predicting which team -- the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers -- will win Super Bowl XLVII, using adorable golden retriever puppies!

I don't know what the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon crew put in those bowls, but I think the Puppy Predictor was rigged. (We are rooting for the San Francisco 49ers.)

Next, "Baby Panda Diagnosed with Acute Cuteness," courtesy of the San Diego Zoo. (Apparently Advanced Tickling is now a required course at veterinary school.)

I can't believe Xiao Liwu is six months old! Panda cubs, they grow up so fast.

And I'm not sure this last video, "Jedi Kitten with the Force," falls under "cute" or "disturbing," but I decided to include it anyway.

May the cute with you!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jimmy Fallon, Brian Williams slow jam the debt ceiling

Only Jimmy Fallon and Brian Williams (aka Brilly Willy and Honey Bri Bri) could make singing about the debt ceiling sexy. Ooooh yeah.

Among my favorite lines in "Slow Jam the News: Fiscal Cliff*":

"Ain't nothing worse than a soft Boehner."

"Our economy could really use a shot in the arm. Sounds like a job for Lance Armstrong."

"How was third grade for you, Jimmy?"

"Fifty shades of Brian Williams."

Though they are not nearly as funny taken out of context.

For another amusing (albeit non-sexual) explanation of the debt ceiling, check out my post titled "Everything you need to know about the debt ceiling... clearly explained in just over three minutes."

*Just curious: Is this Fiscal Cliff any relation to Jimmy Cliff? ;-)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter SUCKS

You would think that having spent my entire life in the Northeast and the Midwest I would be used to winter by now, perhaps even enjoy winter.

But you would be WRONG!

I hate the cold -- and am always cold. And I miss being able to bike and take long walks. I miss the sun.

Sure, snow is pretty. You want to come over here and shovel a foot of the stuff?

And do not get me started about snow days.

Oh wait. That was the phone. It just started to snow, again, so the superintendent of schools has called for early dismissal. This after I just dropped my daughter off at school 90 minutes ago.

Have I mentioned I hate winter? But I'm not sure what the alternative is.

I have already announced to the spouse that we are either moving or spending the winter someplace warm after the teenager goes to college. But where to go?

While I detest the cold, I'm not sure I'd fit in in Florida. And I want to live someplace with some form of culture (museums, shows) and a National League Baseball team (so I could occasionally see my Mets) as well as a football team (though the latter is not as important as long as we can watch Giants games -- and Jets games, if the Jets don't totally suck). And I want to live someplace near a beach. (My favorite activity? Taking long walks on the beach just before sunset, when it's still warm out.) Where I can also walk to shops.

Does such a place exist? I have no idea. But if you do, please let me know via a comment.

All I have left to say is, that groundhog better not see its shadow on Saturday.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's time for another '80s music blog post!

One of the blogs I follow has a habit of using lyrics from 1980s technopop songs as post titles. And earlier this evening I saw the title/lyric "Riding on the range, I've got my hat on," which any '80s New Wave music aficionado knows is from "I wanna be a cowboy" sung by Boys Don't Cry.

Of course, that got me to head on over to YouTube, so I could watch the video. Which led me to The Vapors' "Turning Japanese."

No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women, no fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it's dark.

That led me to the Pet Shop Boys' "Opportunities (Let's make lots of money)."

I've got the brains, you've got the looks, let's make lots of money.

Which got me thinking about the Kinks' "Destroyer," which holds a special place in my heart (which only my friend T. would understand).

Feelin' guilty, feelin' scared, hidden cameras everywhere! Stop. Hold on. Stay in control.

Which naturally led to "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

I could go on, but instead I'll save it for another 1980s music blog post.

(To see past '80s music blog posts, click on the "1980s" label, below.)

You know what turns me on?

An organized closet.

What turns me on even more? A guy with an organized closet.

(Alternate title to this blog post: Every girl's crazy 'bout an organized man.)

I don't know about other women, but there is something incredibly appealing -- and, yes, even sexy -- about a guy who doesn't leave his shit all over the bedroom and/or the rest of the house (consciously or unconsciously expecting you -- or "the elves" -- to pick or clean it up) but puts things away where they belong.

Sure, sure, looks, brains, and success are all fine and good, but a guy who keeps his closet and office tidy? Priceless.

Call me an organization addict (or, okay, a neat freak), but I had a hard time not shouting out "yes, YES, YES!!!" while watching this segment featuring organizer extraordinaire Peter Walsh on the Rachael Ray Show yesterday. (For the record, Rachael Ray was also very excited.)

That said, while I am all for order (and detest chaos), I would not want to be married to this guy (though I would never put a record back in the wrong place).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Everything you need to know about the debt ceiling...

clearly explained in just over three minutes.

And people wonder why "Congress somewhere below cockroaches, traffic jams, and Nickelback in Americans' esteem." (Actually, I don't think a lot of people are wondering, but work with me, people.)

If only cutting the budget was this simple....

Seriously, are there any accountants in Congress? Anyone? Anyone?

I may have to rent the movie Dave.

BREAKING NEWS! Congress just approved suspending the debt limit until May 18. But before you get too excited, and start thinking that the 113th Congress is actually going to get anything substantive done, remember who we are dealing with -- and that this is just a delaying tactic. Though on the plus side, the stock market should have another up day.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

More proof that cats are smarter than humans

While some of you may think that cats are dumb and/or lazy, think about this: Who is that feeds them, waters them, cleans their litter box, and buys them toys and treats while they lay around the house napping 14 hours a day? Uh huh. See, cats aren't so dumb or lazy after all.

Need more proof? Check out this video of Kido the cat playing the shell game.

I now hear Kido's owner is teaching him to play blackjack. Vegas, you have been warned.

[H/T to friend of the blog RS for sending me that video, which has since gone viral. Hey RS, let me know how the shell game training is working out with your kitties.]

And if that wasn't impressive enough, how about the orange tabby cat who beat out a team of professional stock pickers to win the Observer newspaper's portfolio challenge?

As Jimmy Kimmel illustrates in this video titled "Cats Better Than Experts at Picking Stocks," maybe it's time that financial advisors tried a more feline approach to picking stocks.

Reliable. Innovative. Adorable. Yup.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Were people always this awful?

The other day, while whichever political/celebrity/sports scandal was unfolding, I turned to the spouse and said, "Were people always this awful* or is this a new phenomenon?" To which the spouse replied, "People were always this awful. There are just more people."

This led us to debate:

a) If, percentage-wise, there were the same number of awful people as there were 50 or 100 or 1000 (or however many) years ago, or if the percentage of awful people had gone up (or down).

b) If awful people had more or less power now than they had 50 or 100 or 1000 years ago. For example, while what Bernard Madoff did, bilking thousands of people, was pretty awful, and ruined lives, it pales in comparison to what Adolf Hitler did, i.e., murdering millions of innocent people (among other awful things).

And c) While there have always been awful people, or people doing awful things, does it seem like there are more awful people or more people doing awful things because of our 24/7 media -- cable news, Internet news, blogs, talk radio, newspapers, etc?

What do you think?

*By awful I mean bad -- or screwed up or crazy or mean or psycho.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The rehabilitation of Tiger Woods?

It's been a little over three years now since Tiger Woods' multiple infidelities were revealed and his reputation was severely damaged, some said irreparably.

And while Tiger did not disappear from the golf scene, the sport that made him a star, televised golf tournaments were probably the only place you would have seen him over the last three years.

But as those of us in PR know, three years is an eternity in our celebrity- and celebrity athlete-obsessed culture. (Heck, few of us can remember last month's celebrity or other scandal, let alone something that happened three years ago. And even if we can remember it, or are reminded, chances are we are apathetic about it at best.)

Now Eldrick "Tiger" Woods is back, in a new Nike Golf ad titled "No Cup Is Safe" with fellow golfer Rory McIlroy -- the current top-ranked golfer in the world who is also considered very likeable. And the video has gone viral.

[I don't know about all of you, but the Nike Golf "No Cup Is Safe" ad totally reminds me of this classic McDonald's spot featuring Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.]

So is one ad, albeit a very amusing one, enough to rehabilitate Tiger's tarnished image? Maybe. Maybe not. But if Tiger starts winning tournaments again, I have no doubt the sponsors will be lining up -- and all will be forgiven.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Schoolhouse still Rocks!

It is hard to believe that Schoolhouse Rock! turned 40 on January 6. (H/T to my Facebook friend ADN for reminding me.) Now I really feel old.

Although the original Schoolhouse Rock! ended in 1985, it still resonates with me and with many of my peers in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Indeed, I can still sing along with most of the Grammar Rocks, America Rocks, Science Rocks, and Multiplication Rocks songs.

Conjunction junction, I totally know your function.

Among my favorite Schoolhouse Rock! songs were (and still are)...

"Interplanet Janet"...

Bummer about Pluto.

"Unpack Your Adjectives"...

He was a hairy bear,
He was a scary bear,
We beat a hasty retreat from his lair.

"Sufferin' Till Sufferage"...

Now if we could only get more Senate and Cabinet seats, and partnerships and executive positions -- and get paid as much as men.

And "I'm Just a Bill."

That last one could probably use an update, to include lobbyists and filibusters.

So what are (or were) some of your favorite Schoolhouse Rocks! songs?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Do you like green eggs and ham?

Do you like green eggs and ham?

I like green eggs and ham.
And I would eat them in a boat.
And I would eat them with a goat.
And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good so good you see!

Thanks to the Saugatuck Craft Butchery -- and Dr. Seuss -- for inspiring today's green eggs and ham* blog post.

*technically prosciutto

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mm mm tasty

Looking for something rich and moist and creamy with great mouth feel, ladies? Well, have I got a treat for you.

Presenting "How to Ice a Cake..." Frosting never looked so yummy. 

Mm mm tasty.

I don't know about all of you, but I could sure go for a nice big hunk... of cake.

Dibs on the spatula.

[H/T to Cat of Sugar Daze, F/K/A Little Miss Cupcake, who knows her way around frosting.]

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The end of our affair with social media?

As scientists have proven, passionate relationships have a shelf life -- of approximately two years. After that time, you either transition from passionate love to companionate love or the relationship dies. Which is why I believe social media is ultimately doomed.

Sure, there are millions of people who sign up each week for social media accounts -- on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest -- or create a blog. And for the first few weeks, or months, or even a year or so, they are visiting and posting stuff like crazy. But at some point, typically around the two year mark (give or take a few months), the romance wanes, and they stop visiting and posting as often. Or shut down their account.

Take Facebook, for example. How many of you initially fell in love with Facebook when you discovered that it could help you find and reconnect with that old camp or high school or college friend you lost touch with, or that old boyfriend, or colleague? Come on, confess: you felt a little thrill with each new friend request, didn't you?

And wasn't it great to have a place to see photos of your friends, find funny pictures and sayings, and see what your friends were reading? Even better, you finally had an audience, of hundreds! maybe thousands! to potentially share your thoughts and feelings, photos and articles with -- and receive instant feedback and positive reinforcement from! You "like" me! You really "like" me!

Admit it, you couldn't wait to log into Facebook -- or you just kept Facebook open all the time -- those first few giddy weeks or months.

And then how long did it take before you got weary, or bored, or annoyed with Facebook and then stop using it or deactivate your account?

Fact: About 18 months ago, I was curious to know how many of my Facebook friends actually used Facebook, that is, posted something at least once a week AND commented on other people's posts. The answer: only around 20 percent. And the percentage continues to decrease. Granted, I may be an exception, but I don't think so.

Same goes for blogging -- and commenting on blogs. What an amazing thing, a blog, where you can write down and share your thoughts and photographs with the world and (hopefully) get (positive) feedback from total strangers! For free!

And how cool is it that you can comment on blogs and articles and get feedback about your comments, indeed, hold deep intellectual (or not) conversations with other commenters, people you don't even know?! It's like you are part of this cool virtual community where everybody knows your name (not your real name, of course), a virtual Cheers!

And how long did that infatuation last? Yup, I'm guessing around two years (if that long) -- when you got bored, or weary, or annoyed, and couldn't be bothered to blog or to even comment. (Case in point, check out the number of comments on this blog from 2008 and 2009, the first two years, or some other blogs, compared to 2011 and 2012. Way fewer comments. Similarly, I periodically purge my blog roll, to eliminate those bloggers who stopped blogging months or years ago.)

As for Twitter, having to pack your thoughts into 140 characters or less may seem like a fun challenge at first, but it quickly becomes tedious. And how many people can you realistically follow, or want to?

And I've been hearing and reading a whole lot less hype about Pinterest these days.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about social media. As a writer, I love having a place to write short-form prose and to share my thoughts about pop culture, politics, sports, and, yes, cats. And I love the idea behind Facebook, that is a forum when you can connect or re-connect with old friends and colleagues, share pictures and articles. But I also find Facebook depressing and isolating -- and don't miss it at all when I am traveling or too busy to check in.

What are your thoughts on social media? Leave a comment in the comments section.

Then again, if I am right about social media, you probably didn't read this far -- or can't be bothered to leave a comment.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Don't know why I can't get no sleep

While working out at the gym this morning (half asleep), I happened upon this brilliant new song titled "Sleep" by Allen Stone -- and had to share.

Love his voice. So soulful.

So what keeps you up at night?

[FYI: You can find the lyrics to Allen Stone's "Sleep" here.]

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

And now a word about sloth(s)

As we enter the doldrums of winter, let us take a moment to contemplate -- and, yes, honor -- the sloth, whose name is synonymous with laziness, sluggishness, indolence, and idleness.

So the next time you're stressed out and worried about getting stuff done, remember this sage advice spoken by the (very funny) narrator of "True Facts About Sloths": Sloths don't do shit and they haven't gone extinct.

Also, try hanging upside down.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

If cats made new year's resolutions

If cats made new year's resolutions, what would they resolve to do in 2013? Nap more? Exercise less? Eat more kibble?

To find out more, I purr-used the Caternet and came up with this video titled "Cat's New Years Resolutions 2013" from Furball Fables...

And I can confidently report that my cats have already accomplished all of these new year's resolutions. (Hmm... maybe there's a lesson to be learned here.)

I also found this cute video titled "10 Most Common New Year's Resolutions as Illustrated by Cats," which is technically not about what resolutions a cat might make but as it features cats, I'm including it.

Here's to enjoying life more and fewer hairballs in 2013!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Good Things Jar Challenge

I am not into making New Year's resolutions, but at the end of last year, the teenager and I decided that we could use a bit of an attitude adjustment -- to focus on all the good things that happen to us instead of harping (and obsessing) on the bad. No easy task for a teenage girl and a jaded middle-aged woman.

So on New Year's Day we created the Good Things Jar (technically the Good Things Rubbermaid Container, but "Jar" had a better ring to it).

As you can see, the Good Things Jar is currently empty (though the teenager found out last night that she got a 97 on her end-of-year Math test, so that will go into the jar later).

The goal: to fill the jar -- maybe even create a second jar! -- by the end of 2013. Not an easy task for two people whose philosophy is "hope for the best, expect the worst," though the teenager used to be way more positive before her hormones and high school kicked in. Still, I think it is possible for each of us, certainly her, to find one really good thing to note and write down each day. That said, things like "found a good parking spot," "school didn't totally suck," "I didn't burn dinner," and "had a good hair day" don't count. Items that go into the Good Things Jar have to be true accomplishments or good deeds. But that just adds to the challenge, in a good way.

Will give you a progress report over the summer and again at the end of the year.

In the meantime, wish us luck!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Rare polar bear sighting!

Scientists and wildlife preservation groups have made a big deal about global warming's affect on polar bears. And, indeed, temperatures near the North Pole have been rising, causing Arctic ice to melt at an increasing rate. This has led many polar bears to seek haven farther south, resulting in some unusual polar bear sightings.

Who needs ice bergs? (Also, I hear the guests are delicious.)