My cat Milo is a street thug. Well, he isn’t really my cat anymore. Or maybe he never was. Okay, let me go back a bit and explain.
I had the best cat ever in the history of earth for sixteen years. His name was Pooky and he was a cross between a Persian and a Himalayan. So he had Himalayan markings with that beautiful Persian fur, but without his nose being quite so mashed in.
He was the once-in-a-lifetime kitty, the cat no other cat will ever compare to. He went with me to college. He went with me when I got married. He had the most peaceful, Buddha-like energy. He talked to me in this funny little voice that sounded nothing like a cat, but more like a little chirping bird. He hung out sleeping about 23 hours a day, even when he was little, and hunted the smallest bug or ant in the house, and drooled when I patted him. He let me hug him, kiss him and even patiently let me make him dance (albeit with a totally disgusted look on his face). To make it even better, although he was completely docile with me, he hated everyone else, which made him all that more endearing in my mind.
I didn’t bring him with me to Philadelphia when I moved here last fall, and I’ve been driving my family crazy asking them almost daily if they’ve remembered to check on him, water him, give him crickets. “Did you spray the frog?” I always ask. Which really means, “Did you use the reptile spray bottle filled with room temperature water and pump it 40 to 50 times into his terrarium to mist the air since he is from a humid climate and Utah is a desert?”
He’s a tough little guy. The people at the pet store said he’s never make it that first day when I bought the terrarium, a soaking pool, and a container of crickets. “He probably won’t last more than four or five days. Frogs just don’t do well transferring from the wild into captivity. Keep the receipt.” Keep the receipt? So I can return the terrarium when he croaks? Abelard has done just fine, going on three years now. Who would think you could be that attached to a frog? Go figure.
So for me, it’s in honor of Abelard, and not Mark Twain, that I’m celebrating National Frog Jumping Day. The roots of this holiday come from Mark Twain’s first short story, the famous “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” It was first published in 1865 as “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” and has also been called “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” In honor of the holiday, you should read the short story.
It’ll take you five minutes flat and you’ll feel very literary. Barring that, I’d say go to your local pet shop and buy yourself a green tree frog. Call her Heloise.
So the world is ending in six months. Damn. I guess I’ll never go to Paris; I guess I’ll never write that novel. There’s that list of books to read in the back of my mind though—the classics, the Must Have Read Before You Die titles. What would I read if I only had six months left to live?
Here at Quirk, we like our classic literary mash-ups. But we like the original classics too. Happy birthday to Charlotte Bronte (April 21, 1816), who more than one hundred and fifty years ago wrote a bang-up tale of orphans, ghosts, betrayal, and all-consuming love featuring one of the most independent, kickass heroines in all literature.
If you haven’t read Jane Eyre lately, it’s time to pull it off the shelf and give it a go. It’s good. Really good. In fact, it’s better every time you read it. But if you’re not up for quite that big of a time investment, try one of these movie versions of Jane Eyre instead:
Mia Wasikowska (Albert Nobbs and Alice in Wonderland) and Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, Shame, 300), are impressive as actors and might garner great attention, but when acting together there’s no sexual tension.
In fact, if you don’t already know the story, it’s hard to see why this young Jane would fall in love with this master of the house. When you want Jane to go off to Africa with St. John, you know something is wrong!