Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the tag “T. S. Eliot”

NaBloPoMo 16. Snarky Cats CatFurDay Commentary

Hello World,

Missy Jan has given us kitties this very special day, CatFurDay (some call it Caterday), as our own special day on her blog. Finally. It took her long enough.

Usually she just sticks us at the end of her post, but we in no uncertain terms politely demanded told her suggested that she should give us more air time. We are just tired of being second-class catizens.

Don’t you think that would be more fun for us to talk than to listen to her rant all the time?

She agreed to our insistent nagging polite ultimatum umm hint…surprise of surprises!

So, we thought we would share some important cat stories.

1. Cat Safety Signage.

We are quite pleased (purr, purr) to see that our local municipalities are finally responding to our polite requests (you know how polite we are, right?) to post signs in the neighborhood in order to improve feline communication and safety. Here are the first two:112

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And finally, finally, finally, we have this one. Why did it take so long? Penny-pinching human bureaucracies!

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2. Kitty Transport Services

Bikes. Twenty-five mile ride? Wow. Mary Jane (MJ for short) hangs out with her human, Rudy Salvia, for long bike rides. Fun, fun, fun.

Trains. How about this London kitty who rode the Victoria line train from Seven Sisters Station to Vauxhall? Guess he got tired of his current living accommodations and wanted to do something about it. And really, those station signs were just not written clearly enough. How’s a cat to know? Anyway, all’s well that ends well. “Oyster” arrived safely at the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home (BDCH) and is now looking for his old owner to humbly and penitently come and fetch him. If not, the BDCH will find more suitable living accommodations with a human underling who knows how to treat royalty. (By the way, did you notice Oyster’s eye lines? Remember Cleopatra? She tried to copy this style, but she never quite got it right. Humans. What can you expect!)

cat on train - Oyster

Buses.

We kitties love to ride buses. Here are a few of our stories.

Casper is a regular bus commuter.

Miss City Kitty loves the bus, too, and she never gets lost!

Mystery McCavity rides the bus to the local fish and chips shop.

Artful Dodger rides the bus routinely.

Maybe these kitties belong to our old friend T. S. Eliot.  Remember him from this post? The Naming of Blogs is a Difficult Matter. Lots of famous, talented kitties in that post! Go read it. Now. (Okay, pretty please. Is that a little more polite?)

Kitty Whisker’s List: Personals, Items for Sale, Community Notices, Housing Adscat whiskas 2

BTW, you might wander over to Whisker’sList.com (the Craig’s list for kitties) where there’s all kinds of kitty-related stuff for sale. (#Justkidding!) But no kidding, you might find this an interesting site. Then you might be tempted to buy the book!

That’s the last meow for now, folks. Next time Missy Jan lets us post on her blog, we want to tell you about more kitty surprises.  See you all again very soon. Now back to our very lovely, cheerful human blog post writer. Take it away, Missy Jan.

Hey, Snarky Cats. Yes, you.

Missy Jan here. Can I at least have a little corner of this post? I want to kick you off the post Thank you for bringing jan in floridasuch fun information to my blog. I bet my readers will hate love it all. Maybe we can NEVER do this again! And if I do let you do another post, you’d better get it finished earlier. No more sneaking it in just under the wire at 11:48 PM (with just twelve minutes to spare in NaBloPoMo 16). That’s just too stressful!

What do you folks think? Should I let the Snarky Cats take over my blog on a few CarFurDays? (Personally, I am not so sure they can handle so much responsibility, but if y’all think they can do, I’ll give them another chance.)

Missy Jan 

WANAfriday: Your Favorite (Cat) Quote, Of Course

The WANAfriday prompt this week is to cite your favorite quote, but choosing a favorite quote is like going into an exquisite little Italian bakery and pastry shop in Poggibonsi, Italy, and trying to pick out only one delectable item. (You can read more about that here: Italy: Breakfast (La Prima Colazione) in Poggibonsi, Tuscany, Italy.)

How about a cheesy loaf of bread served with rosemary infused olive oil or a crusty roll flavored with pesto and garlic;

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a crusty, hollow rosetta roll just ready for some butter and jam or thin slices of ham and cheese;

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a deep-crust pizza topped with tomatoes, cheese, and basil;  543

or a limone tarte, carnetto (sweet croissants), la sfogliatella (filled, flaky-layered pastries), crostata di frutta (fruit-filled rustic tarts), tiramisu, an amaretti (small amaretto-flavored cookies).

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Each delectable offering is irresistable and taunting. How can I just choose one? How about a little of this and a little of that. And maybe that other one for later in the morning.

It’s just as bad as going into a gelato shop and having to choose one flavor. Nope, it can’t be done.

241Well, you can try.

gelato-Laura Griffin photo

And choosing a favorite quote is as hard as choosing a favorite kitten from a box of sweetie-pies sitting outside the neighborhood grocery store. Just impossible.

cats in box - kittens
But I must admit, that I do have a few favorite quotes that I toss out from time to time. And wouldn’t you know, most of them are about: cats. Cats and poems about cats make me smile.

T.S. Eliot in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (later to become CATS, the Broadway musical) has some of my favorite lines, starting with:

T.S. Eliot, The Old Possum's Book of Practical CatsThe naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t one of your holiday games.
You may thing at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
. . .
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified.
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his wishers, or cherish his pride?
. . .

There’s more to this delicious cat-naming silliness, but you’ll have to pull it up on Internet yourself.

Royalty, Photo Credit: Elsie the Cat

Royalty, Photo Credit: Elsie the Cat

The Last Meow

How does one name a feline of such obvious royal character and lineage? Now tell me. T.S. Eliot got it right:

But above and beyond there’s still one name left over.
And that is the name that you never will guess;
 The name that no human research can discover-
But the CAT HIMSELF KNOW, and will never confess.

Meow for now. =<^ ; ^>=

Here are some favorite quotes of a few of my WANA112 blogger buddies:

Ellen Gregory reminds you that Your Stories Matter
Cora Ramos shares Four Steps to Writing a Novel
Kim Griffin presents Understanding Life and Ice Cream Happiness

By the way, what have you named the royal king, queen, prince, or princess in your household? And does your cat approve of this earthly name? I’ll write a post next week on the royal names you send to me.

Q is for (Eleven) Questions and Lonely Eleven

A to Z Blog Challenge: Letter Q       Blog Game: Eleven Questions       

Bonus at the end of this post: Lonely Eleven

I was just tagged by justjacqui2 in a bit of foolishness game called Eleven Questions. And as luck would have it, I have been tagged a second time by Mike Schulenberg. His questions are different than Jacqui’s, so I will answer his as the *drum roll* Second Eleven.

How handy. The letter Q in A to Z Blog Challenge is coming up here. I can check off two three birds challenges with one post.

And that also gives me one more item to add to my blog post on “10 Best Procrastination Techniques for Writers” (which I am putting off until May): get trapped tagged in one more blog challenge.

This Eleven Questions challenge requires three things:

  1. Answer the proposed set of questions. (Okay, but short answers they will be. I’m not seeking literary prizes!)
  2. Ask 11 new questions. (Easy. Guaranteed.)
  3. Identify 11 friends former friends blogger acquaintances bloggers who might will might answer the questions. (Okay: Sue, Mary, Ellen, George, Sabrina, Sarah, Lola, Henry, Tina, Angie, Robert. If your name is on this list, you are tagged!)

Seriously, this is sorta fun. And it did give me an idea for the A to Z letter of the day: Q for Questions.

First, I have to answer Jacqui’s questions.

1. Would you rather be trapped in a sanitarium or a Stephen King novel?

I understand that a sanitarium is a quiet resort in the mountains or by a beach where people go to rest. That sounds good to me. The beach would be fine. You think I am crazy enough to be trapped in a Stephen King novel? No way!

2. What’s the one thing that makes you smile no matter what?

Kittens, half-grown kittens, cats, YouTube videos of kitties, Simon’s Cat cartoon books….whatever, kitties always, always, always make me smile. (I wonder how my poor, non-cat-loving friend, Mo, puts up with me!)

3. What do you like most about yourself?

Do I have to answer that? Really, I don’t want to embarrass myself with the length of my list compendium catalog.

4. What is your greatest fear?

That I will get inundated with tags in the 1000 Quickie Question Quiz. I hear it’s going viral. Watch out, it might get you, too.

5. How do you want to be remembered?

I want to be remembered when my friends make plans for their next trip or cruise. I’ll be ready to go when you are. Anytime. Anywhere.

6. Where do you want to be five years from now? Ten years?

Five years: At a nice beach anywhere in the world. Ten years: At a nice beach anywhere in the world. I just need to make sure I can plug in my computer somewhere.

7. Ninja or Samurai?

Ninjas are turtles. They like beaches. So I guess I’ll go with the turtles ninjas. One problem though. I posted a video of an attack turtle giving a passel of kitties a very hard time. My ninjas have to be pacifists. No fighting with my kitties! Or else!

8. Pick two: happy, humble, famous, rich.

Happy and humble. They both start with the letter H. Happy, Humble Heck has a nice alliterative ring. (I’ll add those qualities to my catalog in question 3.) Famous and rich don’t rhyme, and they are not alliterative words. They just wouldn’t go with my personality.

9. What is your favorite piece of music? 

Recently I have been singing the Hallelujah Chorus a lot–at church, in the shower, in the car. So that must be my favorite piece of music for now. Next week, I will be singing something else.

10. If you were a fictional character, what would be your fatal flaw?

Like Colombo, being enough of a smart alec that people won’t take me seriously. Really!

11. Telekinesis or pyrokinesis? Why?

I rather like the idea of telekinesis. Maybe I could get someone (my husband?) to pick up the broom and sweep the floor or open the dishwasher and empty it.

Now for Mike’s Eleven:

1. If you could live in a fiction world, where would that be?

A world where I would have to learn a new culture and language. I would prefer to live in a nonfiction world and learn a new culture and language in Italy, Spain, or France. I’d like a little kitty there, please.

2. Fiction or non-fiction?

I prefer nonfiction (memoirs, history, travelogs), but I also read a lot of fiction (mystery, suspense, crime, historical fiction). I read a lot, but I wish I had even more time to read. My TBR pile is enormous. And even my Kindle is getting heavier with all of my selections.

3. Do you read in noisy or quiet places?

I can read anywhere. I can read and carry on a conversation. Of course, I won’t remember what you say, but no matter.

4. Do reviews influence your choice of reads?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. A good review will make me go and buy the book. For nonfiction, intriguing titles catch my attention. I recently read Indigo, In Search of the Color that Seduced the World by Catherine E. McKinley and loved it. I found it on the New Books shelf at the local library.

5. Audio books or paperbacks?

Both. I like audio books in the car. Paperbacks at the beach. My Kindle the rest of the time.

6. What was the first book you remember reading?

I remember reading all the stories in my basal reader in school–before the class read them round-robbin. Yes, I went to school a long time ago. And I loved the stories in the basal readers. Well, except for the Dick and Jane stuff.

7. Favorite author?

Poet T.S. Eliot, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

8. Classic or Modern Novels?

Probably classic novels.

9. Have you ever met your favorite author?

When I was in college, I went to Boston to an event where T.S.Eliot read his work. That’s where I met Old Possum and his Practical Cats. There was a big crowd, so I didn’t meet him personally.

10. Book groups or solitary reading?

Both. I belong to a book group in my church, and we meet once a month. I also read a wide variety of material on my own, mostly nonfiction.

11. If you could read only one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Something timeless, that encourages strong values, with memorable selections, some poetry, some prose, some biography, some history, some intrigue, maybe a few murders, maybe some philosophy, religion… Hmmm, that sound remarkably like the Bible.

Now for eleven questions to be answered.   This means you: Sue, Mary, Ellen, George, Sabrina, Sarah, Lola, Henry, Tina, Angie, Robert. Anyone else, feel free to answer! I need some new people to pick on in challenges friends.

Really, I would like to get to know you. Seriously.

  1. What is the name of your blog?
  2. What is the address of your blog?
  3. What is the logline of your blog?
  4. What is the theme of your blog?
  5. How long have you been blogging?
  6. WordPress, Blogger,Technorati, Weebly, or Hub?
  7. What do you love about your blog host? What do you hate?
  8. Which blogger challenges have you been hit with bombarded tagged with?
  9. Do you like mayonnaise or mustard with your blog?
  10. What do you wish you could do over with your blog?
  11. What was your biggest mistake on your blog?

BONUS TIME:

Now, for those of you who have hung in there this far, here is a little treat: one of my favorite Sesame Street cartoons: “Lonely Eleven,”  by Amanda Heck and Mari Jaye Blanchard.

Mari Jaye did the illustrations and Mandy (my step-daughter) wrote and sang the lyrics. Heck, it’s a good cartoon, even without cats. Really. Seriously.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBJbhu35Ejw

The Naming of Blogs Is A Difficult Matter

Poet T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), author of Old Possum’s Book of Practical CATS, thought the naming of cats to be a difficult matter, but I dare say the naming of blogs is harder.

Even though I dearly love cats and would love to have a cat’s name in my blog title, I can’t use such clever names as Jennyanydots (the Gumbie cat), Growltiger (the one-eyed, one-eared cat), or magical Mr. Mistoffelees (the original conjuring cat). No, with Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical production of CATS (www.catsthemusical.com), these feisty felines have become too famous to be ordinary blog cats. And anyway, they would not fit my blog on serious topics (education, books, writing, grammar, spunky seniors) or occasional frivolous topics (a cat-a-log of cat-antics and maybe a cute puppy or two).

No, I have to be more practical.

My Twitter and blogging friends have already taken names I fancy: Cat’sEyeWriter, Kitty_writer (and all of its various permutations), bloggingcat, catgossip, ittybittykitty, SassyCat, catblogosphere (Blogging Cats Unite!), littlecatdiaries, and even ThePsychoKittySpeaksOut. Who could top this last one? “Blogging isn’t just for humans anymore.” (Squidoo.com).

My serious writer friends have taken DailyWritingTips, writingwarriors, TheWritePractice, TerriblyWrite, ThePassiveVoice, copyblogger, GhostWritingonWriting, WriterGranny’sWorld, judythewriter, TheFridayBookReport, TheQuivering Pen, and MessyThingswithWords, and so many more.

My eagle-eyed grammar-loving friends sign on as GrammarGirl, Grammarsnark, GrammarMonkeys, Dr.Grammar, or Grammarly. A few of these even sound a bit…ummm…scary: GrammarPolice, GrammarRevolution, Confessions of a Grammar Nazi, The GrammarVandal, the Blood-RedPencil, and the MightyRedPen. (Say this last one with your deep announcer voice!)

In fact, hundreds of blogs by poets and writers can be found listed at http://NewPages.com. And WordPress claims that 415,524 bloggers have posted today just on WP alone (on thousands of topics). Astounding. But now it’s MY TURN! I just need a blog name.

Fortunately Internet advice for naming blogs proliferates faster than a Google spider hatching babies.  How about using the Blog Name Generator or the Amazing Meganame Generator?

Jane Friedman, now e-media professor (http://janefriedman.com) advises a blog name that has a very specific angle, topic, or audience focus that tells people why they should read your blog. Sounds reasonable.

Dan Blank (http://WeGrowMedia) emphasizes the need to focus on your target audience and what they need and want. Yes, of course.

But Kristin Lamb, (http://warriorwriters) the social media guru from the great state of Texas, tells her #WANA friends (that includes me!): “Use your own name as your blog title in order to ‘brand’ your blog.” Sounds good to me. (Type in #WANA112 or #mywana on Twitter and see what comes up!)

Who knows, if I use my own name as my blog title, I could be discovered in the blogosphere and end up with a book and movie deal! Julie Powell did it (Julie on Julia, http://juliepowell.blogspot.com). Why shouldn’t it happen to me? Why not Janice Heck and The Grammar Connection? That’s compelling and maybe even a bit intriguing, you know, almost like The French Connection! No? Hummph.

So what should I call my blog? Which blog title will entice Google spiders to crawl all over it and give it high exposure on search lists?

After numerous messy lists (on my own lo-tech paper blog name generator) and many false starts, here’s what remains:

1. Janice Heck, On Education and Writing (Too broad!)

2. Grannie Jan’s Grammar Goodies (There’s a story behind this one!)

3. Janice Heck, Grammar Connection (Too narrow?)

4. Cat-A-Log of Cat-Antics (Too frivolous?)

5. Grammar-You-Can-See (What?)

6. GED Writer (Tried that-didn’t work! Way too narrow!)

7. Janice Heck

Oh heck, I think I’ll stick with Kristen Lamb’s advice and just use my name and forget the clever cat names, alliterative names, and other snarky titles.

Oh. Wait? What?

Kristen says I need a log line? Oh. (*hums* Whatever Kristen wants, Kristen gets!)

Well, ummm, what would T. S. Eliot say? This? “A blog’s a blog; a CAT’S A CAT. And that’s enough of that!”

YOUR TURN: How did you decide to name your blog?

Tags: Janice Heck, teaching, education writing, grammar, grammar-you-can-see, GED, cat blogs,

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