Early Morning Open Thread: Zinnia

From commentor Cat Hair Everywhere:

My cat Zinnia was part of a feral litter born under a bush at my former school several years ago. The custodian was watching over the litter (he loves cats too) and one day when the kittens were only two weeks old, he found the mom kitty dying. It appeared she had gotten into some kind of poison or something. He was devastated, and called the SPCA to come put her down. When I came through the office, the box of kittens was sitting next to the secretary’s desk. I grabbed the box and took it back to my classroom. The teacher next door called her husband and he brought us kitten formula and bottles. The custodian, much relieved, made the kittens a comfortable bed in the box and, with the help of my students, we bottle fed the kittens. The custodian took them home with him at night, and we traded off weekends. My principal pretended he didn’t know what we were doing, and conveniently never
visited my class during the weeks the kittens were there.
My first and second period class was a English class for students who didn’t qualify for special education, but were reading 3-grades below level. It was kept under twenty students, but many of them were drug or alcohol babies and many had emotional and/or behavior issues. Because the class was my smallest and because it was the time when the kittens most wanted to be out of the box, I let them wander around the classroom. Several of my tough boys told me they didn’t like cats. I told them that was their loss, but they always had the option to ignore the kittens. I also warned them if they were mean to the kittens they would be in big trouble. Pretty soon, I noticed those same boys were holding their pencils under their desks, trying to lure the kittens over to play. Then I started hearing, “Mrs.! Mrs.! The kitten is sitting on my lap.”. I would tell them that they could gently put the kitten on the floor if it was bothering them, and they would reply, “Oh, that’s okay.”
In the first two pictures, you can see Zinnia’s brother and sister, Stripe and Duchess sitting with a coupleof my ‘cat hating” boys. When the kittens were old enough, I took Zinnia, the custodian took Stripe and the other boy, and Duchess and the other girl went to loving homes. The custodian and I trapped one other feral who we thought was an sister to our kitties from a previous litter and had her spayed. She still lives at the school, and the custodian still feeds her on the patio outside the teachers’ lounge.
Zinnia (bottom picture) is still a little shy, but she is a sweet and loving cat. She brings my husband live rats and bugs for the two of them to “play” with. I’ll never forget the time he was lying on the floor doing the crossword and Zinnie dropped a huge, live bug right on the crossword, then looked at him like, “look what I brought you!”

Open Thread: Retreat to the Library

“Modesty did not come naturally to her; she seemed to have a knack for drawing attention to herself, a characteristic that went largely unnoticed in a family of spirited exhibitionists. No one took the trouble to put her in her place.”

Online reading has greatly damaged my ability to focus on anything as demanding as a whole book, but fortunately there are so many of them around here that I keep stumbling over “new” (to me) wonderments anyway. Just finished reading Young Bess (Margaret Irwin) and liked it so well that I’m ordering copies of the other two parts of the trilogy. Now I’ve started Marion Meade’s Eleanor of Aquitaine, from which the quotation above is taken.

What are you reading, apart from the interwebz? Any recommendations for the long winter nights?

Early Morning Open Thread: Don’t Stop

DJ Earworm’s mashup of the top 25 pop songs in 2010:

DJ Earworm’s Website

Some of the original songs don’t suck, but I still like the 2009 version better.

Also, I am officially Old, because I’ve been mixing up pictures of Kei$ha and Taylor Swift, which would annoy both of them, not to mention the 97% of you who think knowing either of those names is a bad sign. Too, I now believe it was a good thing that Katy Perry got un-invited to her Sesame Street guest spot, because you know there are too many parents who would assume the official ‘California Gurls’ video was safe for preschoolers.

Open Thread

I feel like we sort of forgot about you all.

I went to dinner at the folks and crashed on the couch. Did we all have our pork and sauerkraut tonight?

Open Thread: For the New Dieters

I will state for the record that black-eyed peas in a rice cooker make the kitchen smell amazing, and many thanks to commentor Stuckinred for recommending Camellia Brand, too also.

That taken care of, here’s an abstract from the Proceedings of the Royal Society on “Canaries in the coal mine: a cross-species analysis of the plurality of obesity epidemics“:

A dramatic rise in obesity has occurred among humans within the last several decades. Little is known about whether similar increases in obesity have occurred in animals inhabiting human-influenced environments. We examined samples collectively consisting of over 20,000 animals from 24 populations (12 divided separately into males and females) of animals representing eight species living with or around humans in industrialized societies. In all populations, the estimated coefficient for the trend of body weight over time was positive (i.e. increasing). The probability of all trends being in the same direction by chance is 1.2 × 10−7. Surprisingly, we find that over the past several decades, average mid-life body weights have risen among primates and rodents living in research colonies, as well as among feral rodents and domestic dogs and cats. The consistency of these findings among animals living in varying environments, suggests the intriguing possibility that the aetiology of increasing body weight may involve several as-of-yet unidentified and/or poorly understood factors (e.g. viral pathogens, epigenetic factors). This finding may eventually enhance the discovery and fuller elucidation of other factors that have contributed to the recent rise in obesity rates.

Full article in .pdf format at the link, and hat tip to Jezebel for it.

So, even our street rats are livin’ large( r ) in this modern world?

Non-Sports Open Thread

This is for anything but sports. Also, too: Nina is in fine form here.

“We Start With The Side of A Cow” — Or How To Fill In The Hours Until John Can Usefully Post an NFL Thread…

Check out this video from Wilson on the making of NFL game footballs. (Scroll down to the bottom of the column, as my attempt to link direct to the video failed abjectly.  My link-fu is exceptionally weak.)

Y’all may have noted that compared to JC, I’m actually good at this going Galt business. School starts again on Monday, (for my 10 y.o., not me) which ought to improve my posting performance, but I thought this little bit might amuse.

Most impressive to me:  these are old fashioned skilled craft jobs on display.  Shortest work stint featured at the Ohio factory in which Wilson makes its NFL-acceptable footballs was 28 years.  And check out Emmit at 2:17.  There is a man who works hard for the money.  He’s been doing it for 35  years.  I’d give myself ten minutes, fifteen tops, before screaming “Uncle!”

I guess this is an open thread, though mostly it’s just an excuse to start with the side of a cow.

Image:  Paul Gaugin, La nuit de Noël (La bénédiction des bœufs),1894-1903.