Monthly Archives: April 2017

Fat Cat

photo-downloadI went to my writing group today and we made a general consensus that we were dog lovers. Well, to tell you the truth, I like dogs, but I am a cat person myself. I like their independence. And really, don’t you just love this one! Lounging, no doubt. One fat cat!

But there’s more than one meaning to that fat cat. Sure, it could mean a very healthy weighted furry animal — and then it could mean the money man, the fat cat of politics. You know, he’s the guy who carries the money purse with power and influence to whoever is in office. It’s how our government runs. The fat cat is the one who calls the shots, tells us how our world will run over the next years. It’s been that way for a long time — maybe since the beginning of political times. When you use “fat cat” for that political money man, it is meant in a derogatory way. I could picture that “fat cat” looking just like the cat pictured above. Lounging back, giving orders on how he wants to see the world evolve.

DonCaricature_of_-Organized_Big_Business_Interests-‘t get the money man mixed up with moneybags. Moneybags refers to a wealthy person, and usually people refer to that big spender outside of his earshot, but moneybags is not used derogatively, it is simply referring to a person who has wealth and throws it around for everyone to see. We have all seen those people during our life, whether their wealth is real or superficial. People love to show their money!

Then, there is the “fat cat” which refers to a rich and greedy person, or let’s say a corporation. We are used to those types of people and corporations in this 21st century — think of Bernie Madoff or the big banks. Here, it’s still derogatory, but in a different sense. These “fat cats’ are greedy — want what they have and what you have. I say run, don’t walk, from these fat cats.

The other “fat cat” is the one who becomes lazy and self-satisfied because of his privilege. Notice, I say privilege, not wealth, even though wealth is implied. I really can not think of any of those people in today’s society. I am sure there are those around, but those who come to mind with this meaning were the genteel class of the 19th Century — you know the land baron in England where all they had to do was whittle their time away reading poetry and partaking in fox hunts — think “Downton Abbey”, which I absolutely loved watching on PBS. And you know what happened to them — the time ended for them, and they actually had to work for a living. Amazing. Just goes to show you that the “fat cat” better be busy his entire life or the fat cat will become the lean cat.

Whichever way they are, I still like cats. The furry kind, that is.

Until later…have a good one!

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Late Bloomers

1081-1271374948s8MYI am a late bloomer. Or so they said.

My blooming had nothing to do with the flower, rather my late blooming had to do with where my birthday fell in the year. When I started school, the cut off to start first grade was December. My birthday is in November, so in September, this 5 year old started first grade. I had already went through kindergarten at the age of 4.  And it was always a struggle for me in the beginning because I was really a year behind my peers. It showed everywhere, from having a difficulty learning how to comprehend a story to still wanting to play with dolls when the other girls wanted to play with boys to wearing bobby socks instead of nylons. My mother always said she should have kept me back that first year, and honestly, she should have. I know that because I have many friends who are 10 or 11 months older than me and they had no problems in school or boys or nylons. The other evidence is that I did catch up with the comprehension, wanting to play with boys and wearing nylons — only a year later. I was considered a “late bloomer”.

A label.

Let’s take a look at the other “late bloomers”. Take Rodney Dangerfield who did not start his comedy act until he was 42. Grandma Moses started painting in her 70s and Colonel Sanders began his franchises in his 60s. Laura Ingalls Wilder did not publish her first “Little House” novel until she was in her 60s.

Now that I am in my 60s, I am publishing my first collection of short stories — and then on to my series of books. Move over Laura Ingalls Wilder, I am following in your footsteps. Actually, I look around and see the talent that is exuding from people who have been consumed with everyday life and now that they are retired they can pursue their passion. Is that a “late bloomer”? If you want to put a label on it, yes, but I think not, I think we are aging like fine wine. And our wine is our passion.

I have one friend who sings. We recently talked and I asked her what she would have pursued in life if she had not taken on the role of mother and caretaker. She said she would have developed her voice. Actually, she has a good voice and with a bit of practice and determination, she can succeed with a life she only glimpsed at before babies and working for the man took hold. Of course, she will not sing at the Met, but she will sing if she wants to. For me, I will not be awarded a Pulitzer, but I will write for enjoyment, and possibly make other people laugh or think by my writing. And that is what is all about anyway. Doing what you love at any age, for any reason.

Let’s take a look at the common definition of “late bloomer” — refers to young children who develop skills such as reading, language and social later than other children. Really? Those so called “late bloomers” include Albert Einstein because he suffered from speech difficulties as a child. Then, take a good look at the dyslexia people of the world — the Richard Bransons, the Charles R Schwabs, the Pablo Picassos, the Tom Cruises, or the Whoopi Goldbergs. But the best one of all was Thomas Edison. This man, as a little boy, was considered hopeless and sent home to not be educated. Instead, his mother home schooled him, and well, we know what he went on to do.

There are different thoughts in the schools today where they are trying to get away from the labels. But they are still there. My only thought is that all those “late bloomers” will someday be able to follow their passions and enter the world of us other “late bloomers.” And, oh, when they do, how sweet it is!

Have a great weekend …

 

 

 

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Too little, too late

“I’m late, I’m late for a very important date. No time to say hello, good-bye, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late…” that was what the White Rabbit said in 1951 when we watched Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. And, isn’t that how we feel some of the time, most of the time sometimes, it’s all about time?

maxresdefault (1)I’m always looking at the clock — don’t want to be late for that important date. If I am too late, then, I may be too little, too late. Then, oh my, people may have been waiting, and then once I get there, I may not be able to be useful to the situation. Oh my, I was running late because I was baking a cake, and then I ran out of time, and now it’s too little, too late. The dinner is over, and people are beginning to leave and the cake I took so much time to make is not useful because I am late. Oh my.

I’d rather be in the nick of time, when I arrive late but the dessert has not been eaten. At least people will be able to enjoy my time spent on the cake. Of course, my cake was the only dessert served, so people everywhere are telling me I have arrived in the nick of time. Or, when they are a bit perturbed that I am running late, they may say, well, it’s about time! They want to tell me they have been waiting a long time, and wondered if I was going to arrive before it was too late. You know, too little, too late….

Which brings me back to the White Rabbit and Alice in Wonderland. In Lewis Carroll’s book, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” the white rabbit is introduced in chapter 1 with “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late” which was converted to what we know as the white rabbit saying, “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date…” which was converted to Grace Slick’s psychedelic song “White Rabbit” when she sings with Jefferson Airplane, “One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small and the ones that mother gives you don’t do anything at all….” which brings us to the Netflix “White Rabbit Project” which brings us around to China’s White Rabbit candy or Moscow’s White Rabbit restaurant.

And it all started with one little white rabbit being too little, too late for his important date with the Queen of Hearts, or maybe he just made it in the nick of time as everyone yelled it’s about time….

It’s time to reread Alice.

Have a great one…

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Cooking with Gas

I’m on a roll, cooking with gas — and that has nothing to do with cooking a meal or a dessert. It means, I’m on fire, full of enthusiasm. Everything is going right, and all is well with the world (for the minute!). Not only that, but since I am on a roll, the cooking just keeps on cooking. I am pumped!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I may be cooking with gas, but it might have something to do with “now you’re cooking”. When a person responds to another with “now you’re cooking”, it means you are doing what you should be doing. It’s kinda like “now you’re talking” because you finally have a good idea, the right idea, which will bring you to cooking, doing what you were meant to do, which, with time and patience, you will be cooking with gas, and that will lead to being on a roll, having that cooking continuously happen.

9And none of this has to do with preparing a meal. Or even about a stove, even though the phrase/idiom began with someone from the gas industry.

Back in the 1930s there was a man named Deke Houlgate who worked for the American Gas Association. The gas industry was trying to persuade the American public that cooking with gas was the most efficient way to cook. So, Deke coins the phrase and then passes the phrase on to Bob Hope’s writers, and voila’, the phrase is passed around Hollywood and through the television set, becomes a household phrase.

Thumbs upBut, please do not confuse “now you’re cooking” with “cooking with gas”. There is a difference. When you’re cooking, you are doing something right. It’s like the thumbs up you feel as you continue down the road, knowing you are doing something right.

Then, along comes “cooking with gas”. See that flame above. Now that’s enthusiasm. Lots of it. You’re hot, pumped, better than a thumbs up, the almighty sign that it is right. When you’re cooking with gas, you are that flame, ready to heat the world.

And so it goes…

Have a great weekend…

 

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Fit as a Fiddle

Here, in the U.S. of A., everyone talks about being as fit as a fiddle. You know, have that trimmed, toned, muscled body that screams to us from ads and celebrities who attempt to shape the mind and muscles of the masses. The word “fit” is associated with that exact image — being healthy and toned.

kourtney-kardashian-trainer-4

In fact, body/personal trainer is now an occupation that you can learn at your nearest university.  Here, the famed celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson is watching the celebrity lunge to the perfect form.

 

jillian-michaels-cover-jumping_0Or take Jillian Michaels, who has inspired many with her exercise programs as well as her no nonsense approach to making the extemely overweight into a healthy weight on The Biggest Loser. 

These two personal trainers are two who have gained notoriety, but there are personal trainers everywhere today, waiting to take the masses to the next level of fitness so they can become fit as a fiddle.

 

Well, read on a bit, because I have a sneaky feeling that the masses are not that inspired to become this fit.

DougkershawSo, how in the world did fiddle get in this equation? Here you see Doug Kershaw play the fiddle at the 2009 Festivals et Creoles. The fiddle is in the same family as the violin where it has strings, pegs and a bridge that must be cleaned and taken care of.

So, if a fiddle/violin must be well cared for, so must our body. We must clean it and care for it by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Some sort of exercise  is better than becoming a couch potato where the muscles atrophy and eventually become useless.

Let’s back up a bit. “Fit” is associated with having a healthy, toned body, but that was not always the go-to definition of the word. Prior to this popular definition, “fit” meant to have a standard of purpose — such as “that meat is fit to eat”. Our ever-changing words push some definitions to the back while the other definition forges to the limelight and we forget the other meanings for words. Consider, do you think the people in the 1800s would consider “fit” as meaning healthy? I think not. Now, we have products with “fit” in it — think of the fitbit, fit tea wraps, or Rosetta Stone Fit Brains. Fit is all around us today, giving us the message that we have to be fit, fit as a fiddle, take care of our body by having a healthy, toned body.

But, really!?! Two-thirds of Americans are considered overweight or obese. 2/3. That is two out of every three people in America are not fit as a fiddle. Not even close. I have my own thoughts on how this came about (thank you fast food industry) because I know most people try to do some form of exercise, whether it is walking or gardening or cleaning a house. As for being as fit as a fiddle according to the health gurus of America, no, I do not think that the average person, the masses, has any desire to be that fit because we know we can not maintain that without exercising for 4 hours per day and who has that kind of time? I will take that a step further and say, who wants to exercise for 4 hours a day every day, every week, every year? I think not.

What we do want is to eat a semi healthy diet (the word “semi”  leaves room for desserts!), do some sort of physical exertion every day for maybe a half hour, and always struggle to lose that last 10 or 20 pounds. We’d be happy with that. And I believe the majority of us would feel that we would then be as fit as fiddle!

Until Friday… be healthy….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

Just try to figure out what this means! I have heard this idiom/phrase my entire life and I have yet to make sense of it. Really???

birdWhen I look at the words, I see “a bird in the hand”  and then I look at the second part of the sentence, worth two (birds) in the bush — whatever that means. Two birds on a limb?

 

two-birds-in-the-bush

So, exactly, what do all these birds mean, and where in the world did the saying come from?

Actually, this saying is cautionary to not count your chickens before they’re hatched (will go into that idiom another day) or simply that it’s better to be content with what you have instead of taking a risk on getting more.

Ah, now I know why that is so hard for me to understand. I am not content with what I have been given in life, never have been,  and I constantly seek to improve what I have (whether it be knowledge or creativity, and of course money, but it’s not about the money, as anyone who is a risk taker will tell you, it’s about the wanting of change). The risk of change, of not knowing what is on the other side and still treading toward it. Not being content with what I have.

So, I wondered where this saying came from, and I found many references to its origin — one was from the 6th century BC (Assyrian) proverbs of Ahigar which referenced the Biblical Book of Proverbs to more recent John Ray’s (Wray) 1670 collection of proverbs in his Handbook of Proverbs.

You need to understand who John Ray was. He was an English naturalist known as a parson-naturalist. This was a person who was country priest who lived in the parish and studied natural sciences as an extension of his religious work. Parson-naturalists gave insights into philosophy and theology as they studied the natural world. Now, I understand how this saying came into being. It is best to control the masses when they are compliant, and how best to be compliant is when you are content with what you have been given and not to look for bettering your life.

Then came Darwin, who originally was studying to be a parson-naturalist when he went aboard the Beagle and changed on how he viewed life. With that voyage he went from being compliant to thinking totally different and changing the world with his theory of Evolution (which we are still debating to this day!)

So, let’s go back to John Ray and being a country priest — mind you, he compiled the book of proverbs, did not write them. I wanted to understand more, not be compliant with this explanation, so I looked at the Biblical Book of Proverbs. Solomon, King of Israel. Ecclesiastes 6:9.

According to bibletools.org Ecclesiates is saying that it is better to have little and enjoy what you have than to dream about much and never attain it. But isn’t that what the American way is? To not be content with what we have. To strive to work hard and to attain. Bibletools.org continues with the explanation by saying that dreaming is not wrong, it’s simply the motivation behind it. It should be for the glory of God and not for the man or himself. Okay, I get that. When a person puts God before himself or a person who is hungry or hurt or without shelter before himself there is a satisfaction that can not be measured, and the funny thing about this is that when I do put God or another before me, goodness comes back to me. I don’t ask for it, it just does. Maybe a smile, maybe a penny from heaven, maybe a kind word. But it is returned.

Then, I found Biblegateway.com and it stated the Living Bible as explaining the proverb/idiom as meaning “mere dreaming of nice things is foolish; it’s chasing the wind.”

Ah. Now I really get it. Those birds that are in the hand and in the bush have to do with dreaming, but not the foolish kind. If you are going to dream, have a plan and go for it. Otherwise, be content with what you have. If you don’t have a plan, you are simply chasing the wind. Which gets you nowhere. Dream big. Plan bigger. Do. And do again until it is reality. And if you are not up to that, then simply be happy with what you have. And that’s okay, too.

And I finally understand this proverb/idiom. And I still don’t like it.

Until Friday … have a great week.

 

 

 

 

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Dirty Laundry

I am a creature of habit. Every morning, I wake up to the radio playing, and more than not, there are certain songs that air about the time I wake for the day. One of those songs is Dirty Laundry by Don Henley. I really like his beat, and I really like his words, and these lyrics are so true for yesterday, today, and more than probably, tomorrow. The song starts with “I make my living off the evening news…People…love dirty laundry…”

laundry-servicePeople don’t really like dirty laundry, and he is not singing about the dirt that stains clothes.

He is telling the listener about words and acts that have no business being aired; yet, that is exactly what some news is all about….”kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down…” He is telling us that is the job of the newsman, the evening newsman, alive in every living room across the nation. Ready to air the dirty laundry, and if you are around, whether you like it or not, your dirty laundry…”kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down, kick ’em all around…” It’s the newsman’s job, the evening newsman, alive in every living room across the nation as we sit mesmerized in front of the boob tube, believing the five seconds of news as gospel truth.

That is what is strange about dirty laundry. Believing words spoken, second-hand words, hearsay words, as gospel truth.

Gossip-1I believe everyone has met at least one gossiper in their lives. And who doesn’t like the office gossip? You know, who’s doing what to who? Then, there is the gossip that turns to dirty laundry — talking about things that should be kept private.

Happens all the time, especially today with social media. Really, folks, how much information out there is none of our business? I know, for me, that there is so much information that I do not need to know or care to know that I don’t even pay attention to most of it any longer. I am immuned from all the dirty laundry. Simply, I believe nothing today. Nothing.

Actually, I do not watch the evening news any longer. Another murder, another robbery, another way to hurt another human. “Kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down…dirty little secrets…dirty little lies…”

Dirty laundry. Words that should be kept private.

If you are interested, you can hear the song on You Tube.

Until next week…have a great weekend…

 

 

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