The cover of a book I will not be giving to my mother-in-law.
Mark Rayner’s new novel, Marvellous Hairy
, has gotten some great reviews
, and some marvellously entertaining press
. It’s been published just in time for the major gift-giving holidays. The paperback comes in an attractive compact format, and it also comes in an economical ebook
version. You would think this would make it an excellent gift.
In spite of this, I will most definitely NOT be giving a copy of this book to my mother-in-law. Here are the main reasons why:
The 12 Main Reasons I won’t be giving Marvellous Hairy to my mother-in-law:
- The novel contains “adult” language.
- The book uses colorful descriptive language, and I mean beyond describing a room as having been painted “belligerently pink.”
- I’m talking about sentences like the following:
He had long greasy black hair that clung to his head like an octopus humping his skull, and then fell onto his his shoulders in oily post-coital exhaustion.
- The book has sex in it.
- The book has sex and monkeys in it.
- My mother-in-law would be fairly scandalized by something that induced me to compose a sentence including both the words “sex” and “monkeys.”
- My mother-in-law has probably never spent any significant amount of time contemplating what it would be like to grow a tail.
- It is extremely unlikely that the phrase “Release the monkeys!” would make her giggle.
- She wouldn’t know what to make of a playful romp of a novel that is described as “part literary fun-ride, part fabulist satire, and part slapstick comedy.”
- Especially one that has been called “deeply, unsettlingly weird.”
- She certainly would not take well to the suggestion that she get in touch with her “inner monkey.”
- She would probably much prefer some lavender-scented hand soap.
Disclosure: Since I’m a big fan of The Skwib, Mark Rayner’s humor blog, I was all set to buy a copy of this book. (Though not for my mother-in-law.) It was already in my Amazon shopping cart and everything. But then Mark offered to send me a copy. (For FREE! Sucker!) How could I resist? (The monkeys made me do it.)
(Monkey images from wpclipart.)
I just can’t get enough of those socks. I figure you can’t either. So, I’ve rifled through my sock drawer to share with you this sock-themed ThThTh list.
- knock your socks off: an idiom meaning “impress” or “surprise in a good way,” as in The excitement of this sock list will knock your socks off.
- put a sock in it: “be quiet.” (Differs somewhat from “put it in a sock.”
- bobby-soxer: a 1940s term for a teenage girl, especially fans of Sinatra
- The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947): a movie with Cary Grant and a teenaged Shirley Temple.
- sock hop: a dance popular in the US in the 1950s in which participants took off their shoes and danced in their socks
- Christmas stockings: socks hung by the fireplace as part of a Christmas tradition. They are then filled with eggs by the Easter Bunny. (Do I have that right?)
- Fox in Socks: A Dr. Seuss book (featuring a fox wearing socks) filled with particularly tricky tonguetwisters:
Who sews whose socks?
Sue sews Sue’s socks.
Who sees who sew whose new socks, sir?
You see Sue sew Sue’s new socks, sir.
- Pippi Longstocking: A character from a series of children’s books by Astrid Lindgenwho wore socks that were not only long (long stockings) but noteworthy for being mismatched
- Diddle Diddle Dumpling: a Mother Goose rhyme featuring (at least in some versions) stockings:
Diddle diddle dumpling
My son John
Went to bed with his stockings on
One shoe off and one shoe on.
- bluestocking: a term for an “educated, intellectual woman” used commonly in the 18th and 19th centuries. Also Blue Stockings Society.
- Red Sox: a baseball team based in Boston, MA
- White Sox: a baseball team based in Chicago, IL
- Chartreuse Sox: a baseball team based in my imagination
- sock monkeys: stuffed toys traditionally made from socks. (Perhaps less traditional is the sock monkey dress.)
- sock puppets: hand puppets made out of socks.
- sock puppet: a dummy internet account
- The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theater: a sock puppet duo of YouTube fame
- The Bureau of Missing Socks: “the first organization solely devoted to solving the question of what happens to missing single socks. It explores all aspects of the phenomena including the occult, conspiracy theories, and extraterrestrial.”
Once upon a time, in the kingdom of a Giant Bookstore, an events Calendar would grace the cash registers and bulletin boards of the store each month, listing book signings and readings and happy occasions.
One day, a hapless customer stumbled across something startling in the upcoming events: a signing scheduled with one of the authors who contributed to an anthology of Inspirational Writings for the Children of the Kingdom. The book was lauded in the Calendar Scroll as a “copulation of stories for children…”
For it so happened that the writer of this Events Calendar had been caught unawares by the perils of the Spell Check. Under this evil Spell, an innocent Typo was turned into something much more sinister and inappropriate. Having likely typed copilation in place of compilation, the Spell was recast, transforming the innocent word into copulation.
This caused great embarrassment in the land, and caused many a tree to be felled for the Improprer Calendars to be re-scribed.
The difference of a character or two in the title of story can mightily change the character of the story. In that spirit, I offer you this copulation of children’s stories and rhymes. Many of which may not be suitable for children.
A Copulation of Children’s Stories and Rhymes
Table of Contents
I. Poplar Stories:
- Goodnight Moron
- The Very Hung Caterpillar
- Bicurious George
- The Runway Bunny
- Frog and Toad are Fiends
- Charlotte’s Weed
- Hairy, the Dirty Dong
- Mike Mulligan and his Steamy Shover
- The Cat in the Heat
- Mary’s Poppin’
- Clifford the Big Rude Dog
- The Wine in the Willows
- Lite Women
- Where the Reefer Grows
- Harpy Pooter
- The Wonderful Wizard of Ooze
II. Nunnery Rhymes:
- Marty Had a Little Lamp
- Hickory Dickory Dick
- Humpy Dumpy
- Little Ho Peep
- Little Miss Muff
- Poop Goes the Weasel
- The Farmer in the Deli
- Do You Know the Muff Man?
- Wee Willy’s Winkie
- Little Jack Horny
- Peter Peter Pumpin’ Beater
III. Classic Fairy Tails:
- Snot White and Roe Red
- The Little Math Girl
- Goldilocks on the Three Bears
- The Princess and the Pee
- Jack and the Beatstalk
- Puss in Boobs
- The Twelve Panting Princesses
- Little Red Riding Ho
- Snow White and the Shaven Dwarfs
- Beauty and the Breast
- The Three Little Prigs
This week’s Monday Mission was to write a post in the form of a children’s story or poem. (Yes, I realize it’s Tuesday today. This is hardly the only thing I’m running late for.)
This typo really did happen back when I worked in the bookstore, and it still makes me giggle these many years later. (I can do that, because I wasn’t among those who wrote or proofread the calendar in question.) I’d been wanting to share this list and story for a while, so this seemed a good occasion to do so.
Phoebe got a real bed a couple of weeks ago, inspiring me to think about beds for a ThThTh list¹.
A bed list²
- make one’s bed and lie in it: an expression meaning that one must accept the consequences of one’s actions. The wording of the expression is somewhat variable, with various subjects (and agreeing possessives) possible, some variation in tense/aspect of the verb make, and variability in the the following clause. eg. You’ve made your bed, and now you must lie in it. or He made is bed, so now he’ll have to lie in it.
- The Princess and the Pea: a classic fairy tale in which a pea is hidden under mattresses to test whether a girl can feel the lump under the bedding
- “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed.” Something the bears say in the fairy tale Goldilocks.
- flower bed: an area, such as in a garden, that has been planted with flowers
- bed of roses: an expression meaning an easy or luxurious situtation. More often heard with a negative, such as “it was no bed of roses.”
- fortune cookies: If you add “in bed” to the end of the fortune when you read it, hilarity will ensue (in bed).
- hotbed: an environment conducive to rapid growth
- Beds Are Burning, a song by Midnight Oil. (youtube video)
- “5 little monkeys jumping on the bed:” a children’s song/rhyme of the “counting down” variety:
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said
“No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”
Subsequent verses are sung with one fewer monkeys jumping, until one reaches the final “no more monkeys” state. There’s a book based on the rhyme, too.
- “10 in the bed:” another kids’ song of the countdown type.
Ten in the bed and the little one said “roll over! roll over”
So they all rolled over and one fell out…
- in bed with the enemy: an expression meaning “consorting with the opposition”
- strange bedfellows: an expression used to describe a situation where unlikely individuals cooperate, having been brought together to by unusual circumstances. Taken from a line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest: “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.”
- “In Bed with Madonna:” The title of the 1991 Madonna movie (“Truth or Dare“) as it was released in various countries. I saw it in Brazil as “Na Cama com Madonna.”
- “My Bed is a Boat:” a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson from A Child’s Garden of Verses
My bed is like a little boat;
Nurse helps me in when I embark;
She girds me in my sailor’s coat
And starts me in the dark.
- “Come, Let’s to Bed:” a Mother Goose rhyme:
“To bed! To bed!”
“Tarry awhile,” says Slow;
“Put on the pan,”
Says Greedy Nan;
“We’ll sup before we go.”
- bed head: hair that has been messed up during sleep, or that at least appears that way
¹Also at times inspiring me to miss the cage-like qualities of the crib. Is duct tape really so wrong?
²You know, I pretty much never make my bed. But I’m clearly not opposed to making a bed list.³
³You know, I really need to get to bed.
girl in bed image source: Ella M. Beebe Picture Primer (New York: American Book Company, 1910), Copyright: 2008, Florida Center for Instructional Technology
It’s Thursday again, and that means I’m due for a ThThTh list. What with my having the upcoming election on the brain, it seemed a good time to bring out the donkeys.
- The Democratic donkey: the donkey is an unofficial symbol of the U.S. Democratic Party. The jackass was first associated with Andrew Jackson in his 1828 campaign, according to the official Democratic Party’s website page on the history of the democratic donkey.
- Pin the tail on the donkey: A party game in which blindfolded participants attempt to attach a representation of a tail to a drawing of a donkey. The one who gets the tail closest to the tail end of the donkey wins.
- Donkey pronoun: a term in linguistics for a certain type of pronoun in which the syntax does not map straightforwardly to the semantics. Named after this example, in which “it” is the donkey pronoun:
Every farmer who owns a donkey beats it. — Peter Geach, Reference and Generality
- Hee Haw: a country-themed (in the sense of “rural” and “Western”) sketch comedy show with a donkey mascot. It was mostly on in the 70s. (The show’s title is the English onomatopoeic word for the sound of a donkey’s bray. For the record, my post titile makes reference to the sound, not the show. I find the show, or the memory of watching the show as a child, somewhat painful.)
- Eeyore: the gloomey donkey from Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh.
- The Golden Ass: Another name for the Metamorphoses of Lucius Apuleius, an ancient Roman novel in which the protagonist turns himself into an ass.
- Nick Bottom: a character in the Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Bottom’s head is turned into an ass head.
- Benjamin: the donkey in Orwell’s Animal Farm.
- Donkey: the animated donkey, voiced by Eddie Murphy, from the Shrek movies (2001, 2004, 2007).
- Dapple: Sancho Panza’s donkey in Cervantes’ Don Quixote.
It was recently pointed out to me that October is Breast Awareness month. Our society is far too oblivious to the existence of breasts. Every day, millions of women around the world have breasts. In spite of this, breasts go largely unnoticed by men, women, and advertisers alike.
Wait, maybe it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. That probably makes more sense.
Pink has become the color associated with breast cancer awareness, originating in the use of the pink ribbon symbol in the early 90s. So this month seems a good time to bring out the pink things. In the spirit of my Themed Things lists of green, red and blue folks and critters, I give you a list of pink animals, characters and other creatures.
Before the pink fur starts flying, let me direct your attention to the button to the right. If you click on that, you’ll be directed to a site that funds free mammograms to women in need. All you need to do is click a button. So…you know…click on it.
Ok, once more into the pink.
Some Pink Creatures
- The Pink Panther. A cartoon character originally appearing in the credit sequences of the (live action) Peter Sellers movie The Pink Panther (1963), but who later got his own TV show.
- Barbapapa. A shape-shifting pink blob character who appeared in kids’ books and short animated shows. I have vague but fond memories of the cartoons from when I was little. I also had at least one of the books.
- Serendipity. A bright pink, aquatic, dragonlike creature from the book (of the same name) by Stephen Cosgrove. (One of the first books that I ever read.)
- several Care Bears are pink, such as the one called Cheer.
- There are likewise various My Little Pony characters who are pink. (One called Pinkie Pie, for example.)
- pink elephants Said to be seen by those who have had too much to drink. The expression seeing pink elephants is believed to have originated in a book by Jack London. Pink Elephants were featured in a scene in Dumbo (1941), along withe song “Pink Elephants on Parade.”
- some Muppets are pink, such as one of the Martians, or “Yip-Yips.” (You can see the Yip-Yips discover a radio on this YouTube clip.)
- Pearl: A pink octopus from Finding Nemo (2003)
- the Energizer bunny. A mechanical drumming bunny toy with pink fur used in Energizer battery commercials.
- flamingo. A bird with pink feathers, at least as an adult:
Young flamingos hatch with grey plumage, but adults range from light pink to bright red due to aqueous bacteria and beta carotene obtained from their food supply.
- Plastic pink flamingos are a popular lawn ornament in the US starting in the 1950s. They are often considered the epitome of kitsch.
- Amazon River Dolphins. There is a species of freshwater dolphin living in the Amazon. For real. I actually saw some when I was travelling in the Amazon in 1991. (Or I may have possibly seen tucuxi, which are apparently saltwater dolphins, but live in the Amazon and can be pink.)
- pigs. While the actual pigs I’ve seen haven’t been, pigs are often shown as pink in cartoons, toys, etc. The Disney version of Piglet, for example is bright pink. Cincinnati’s flying pig mascot is pink, as is the Kids in the Hall Flying Pig.
image sources: Barbapapa, Serendipity, Care Bear, flamingo and elephant, Pink Panther.
It’s fall now up here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the squirrels are busy squirreling away their nuts for the winter. Meanwhile, I’ve been eating a lot of nuts, and going a little nuts. And reading about nuts¹. It’s almost as if nuts have been falling out of the trees and bonking me on the head². So, grab your nutcracker³, because I’ve gathered up a few nuts to share with you for this week’s list o’ Things.
a selection of mixed nuts
- nuts. (adj.) An expression meaning “crazy.” As in “you are totally nuts.” There are also other nut-themed variations, such as the additional adjectives nutty and nutso, and nouns like nutjob and nutcase.
- Nuts (1987) A movie starring Richard Dreyfuss and Barbra Streisand.
- Nuts (2007) A short movie directed by Irvine Welsh. (You can actually watch it on IMDB.)
- nut: a piece of hardware: “a type of hardware fastener with a threaded hole.” Typically used with a bolt.
- wingnut: a kind of nut (the hardware kind) with the appearance of wings
- wingnut: someone with extremely right-wing political views. As in “please don’t let us have a wingnut for vice president!”
- nuts: a slang term for testicles.
- Mr. Peanut. The mascot for Planter’s nuts. An anthropomorphic peanut wearing a tophat.
- in a nutshell: an expression meaning “in summary” or “in brief,” evoking the compact size of a nutshell, and what can be stuffed in it.
- O’Reilly’s In a Nutshell series: technical reference books, such as Perl in a Nutshell and Java in a Nutshell
- The Nutshell Library: A box set collection of miniature books by Maurice Sendak. Not about technical topics.
- “Death in a Nut“: A folktale (in various versions) about a boy who tries to save his mother from death by stuffing Death into a nut shell.
- “Thumbelina“: a fairytale about a tiny girl. She had a cradle made of a walnut shell.
- Kate Crackernuts: an English fairytale about a girl who frees her stepsister from a curse that hides her beauty. The nuts are somewhat peripheral to the story. Kate collects them while going about her tasks and eats them for breakfast.
- Nutcracker: a device used to access nuts that are encased in a hard shell. Decorative ones sometimes are made to look like people.
- The Nutcracker: a ballet by Tchaikovsky, based on the story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E.T.A. Hoffmann featuring a decorative nutcracker toy.
- Harlan Pepper, played by Christopher Guest in Best in Show, likes to name nuts:
I used to be able to name every nut that there was. And it used to drive my mother crazy, because she used to say, “Harlan Pepper, if you don’t stop naming nuts,” and the joke was that we lived in Pine Nut, and I think that’s what put it in my mind at that point. So she would hear me in the other room, and she’d just start yelling. I’d say, “Peanut. Hazelnut. Cashew nut. Macadamia nut.” That was the one that would send her into going crazy. She’d say, “Would you stop naming nuts!” And Hubert used to be able to make the sound, he couldn’t talk, but he’d go “rrrawr rrawr” and that sounded like Macadamia nut. Pine nut, which is a nut, but it’s also the name of a town. Pistachio nut. Red pistachio nut. Natural, all natural white pistachio nut.
¹ Two of my favorite bloggers coincidentally (or perhaps both sparked by the start of school) wrote about how they are dealing with nut restrictions in their schools. Emily wrote Nutty, and Denguy wrote Aw, Nuts, two thoughtful posts that raise awareness about nut allergies. (I’d like to add that neither of them has a child with a nut allergy, and in fact have kids who love peanut butter. But they are both concerned and considerate.)
² That happened to me once with a chestnut. It hurt.
³ …or your epipen…
Thumbelina image from Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy Tales (Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, ND).