Friday, May 27, 2011

Inspirational Quotes

Feeling uninspired? Read some of these quotes for some quick inspiration! You may be surprised by what these historical figures have to say!

"I always fly first-class. Gotta love that extra leg room!" - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"This attic literally sucks." - Anne Frank (exerpt from The Diary or Anne Frank)

"Who says women have a terrible sense of direction?!" - Amelia Earhart

"What percentage of people actually know who I am?" - George Gallup

Wilbur Wright:
I believe I can fly.
Orville Wright: 
I believe I can touch the sky.

"Orange you glad I planted all these apples?" - Johnny Appleseed

"This raccoon makes a great hat!" - Davey Crocket

"The British are coming! The British are coming!" - Paul Revere

"Choosy moms, and dads, choose JIF." - George Washington Carver

"Has anyone seen my other glove?" -Michael Jackson

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." -Adolf Hitler

**Disclaimer: For privacy purposes, some names have been changed. Some names are in no way related to the assigned quotation. Recognition of the names is purely coincidental.**

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cartoon Cats

Cats are great at lifting up our moods. Whenever you are feeling down in the dumps, there is nothing like a little furry companion on your lap to make you feel better. For the unfortunate individuals who are allergic to kitties, perhaps you have been cheered up by a cartoon cat! Here are some cat drawings that you may be familiar with. Perchance one has a special meaning to you :)

Felix the Cat
He began as a simple cartoon figure, drawn by Otto Messmer in New Jersey. His fame quickly took off, and he became the first cartoon movie star. He has starred in several movies, as well as in a TV series. They soon had products of Felix, ranging from dolls to jewelry. The very first TV broadcast, in 1921, was of Felix the Cat. Since he was black and white and a doll that did not melt in the presence of much heat (due to the lights used at the time), he was easier to broadcast. According to TV Guide, Felix the cat is the 25th most recognizable cartoon character in the world.
Hey! Garfield likes coffee, too!
Originally the star of a comic strip started by Jim Davis in the 1970s, Garfield has also been in movies, TV series, and video games. Jim Davis named Garfield after his grandfather. Garfield's interested ranged from eating (his favorite meal was lasagna), sleeping, and terrorizing the dog, Odie. Garfield is the world's most syndicated strip; it appears in over 2,500 newspapers. Garfield's co-stars include his owner, Jon, the dog, Odie, and the veterinarian, Dr. Liz Wilson.
The Cat in the Hat
Dr. Suess was the creator of this cat, beginning with the well-loved children's book, The Cat in the Hat. Probably the most recognizable feature of this tall cat, is his red and white striped top hat. This mischievous feline causes trouble where ever he goes. He is also featured in the books, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back and I Can Read with my Eyes Shut!. There is also a full feature film released in 2003, starring Mike Myers as the cat. He has also starred in his own TV series, one recently released on PBS in 2010, called The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That!, as well as another series released in the 70s.
The Cheshire Cat
Surprising as it may seem, Lewis Carrol did not come up with the idea of the Cheshire Cat, though he popularized it in his novel Alice in Wonderland. The first recording of the use of the phrase "Cheshire Cat" was in A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, published in 1788, describing it as any person who smiles and shows both his teeth and gums. In  the novel, Alice in Wonderland, this cat speaks in cryptic riddles and philosophies that confuse Alice. In the movie, the cat is illustrated as a sort of villain, since he often gets Alice into trouble.
Hello Kitty
ニャオと鳴いてください! 私は猫です!
This completely adorable cat was designed by Yuko Shimizu, and was produced by the Japanese company, Sanrio. She first appeared on a purse, but later had an entire line of products devoted to her. Her full name is Kitty White, and she was "born" on November 1st. She is described as "a bright and kind-hearted girl, good at baking cookies and loves Mama's apple pie." She is featured on many products, including an airbus, a stratocaster electric guitar, wine, debit cards, and many more everyday products like pencils and erasers.
Co-starring with his owner, Calvin, in a comic strip by Bill Watterson, Hobbes is a friendly member of the feline family. He is actually a stuffed tiger, but he comes to life in Calvin's imagination. These two troublemakers go on adventures as well as terrorize many people they meet, especially their neighbor, Suzie. These two characters are named after the famous philosophers, Thomas Hobbes and John Calvin, and they often delve into philosophical topics themselves. Hobbes regularly pounces on Calvin, a six-year-old, to greet him when he gets home from school.
The Pink Panther
His first appearance was in the introductory and closing credits of the live-action movies, The Pink Panther, released in the 60s. The cartoon character was so popular that a studio made a cartoon series starring him. In the cartoon, the Pink Panther often harasses a man by painting his blue house, pink. In 1964, the animated short film, The Pink Phink, won the Academy Award for the best animated short film. The character typically remains silent, ever only speaking in two animated shorts.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Famous Cat-Lovers

Some of the greatest artists, scientists, and world leaders of all time were deeply inspired by their feline companions. Here is a list of a few notable cat people and their cats!

Earnest Hemingway
Hemingway shared his Key West home with over 30 cats. That's a lot of cats! Ernest Hemingway was given a six-toed cat by a ship's captain, and some of the cats that live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat, and many of them have six toes. What made cats so special to him? He claimed that "a cat has absolute emotional honesty; human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not."
Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac, famous for his laws of motion and gravity, was a cat lover who was deeply concerned about the welfare of his feline friends. Perhaps one of his lesser known accomplishments was inventing the cat door, so that his experiments would not have to be interrupted by his cats wanting to go in and out of the house.
Charles Lindbergh
Charles Lindbergh's cat, Patsy, sometimes accompanied him on flights (though not on his famous flight), how adorable is that? A Spanish stamp commemorating his record-breaking flight from New York to Paris shows Patsy watching as his plane took off (see below).
Freddie Mercury
This famous lead singer of the band, Queen, had a favorite tortoiseshell cat named Delilah. He loved his cat so much, he even dedicated Delilah, a song released on the album "Innuendo." When on tour, he would call London to talk to his cats.  Freddie dedicated his first solo album, "Mr. Bad Guy," to his beloved cats; Tom, Jerry, Oscar, Tiffany, Delilah, Goliath, Miko, Romeo, Lily. He is shown below holding Oscar and Tiffany.
Edgar Allen Poe
Poe used cats as symbols of the sinister in several of his stories, although he himself actually loved cats. His tortoiseshell cat, Catarina, was the inspiration for his story The Black Cat. In the winter of 1846, Catarina curled up on the bed with Poe's wife, who was dying of tuberculosis, and provided her with warmth and comfort.
Pierre Auguste Renoir 
This French artist loved cats and depicted them in several paintings, mostly accompanying a young woman.
Alexander Dumas (Dumeow!)
Dumas owned a cat called Mysouff. This cat was known for his extrasensory perception of time. Mysouff could predict what time his master would finish work, even if his master was working late. Mysouff once ate all of Dumas's exotic birds, but he still loved the cat just the same. He had another cat named Le Docteur.
Sir Winston Churchill
Churchill has had many cats in his lifetime. One of his favorites was named Nelson, after the famous British admiral. Churchill claimed that “Nelson is the bravest cat I ever knew. I once saw him chase a huge dog out of the Admiralty. I decided to adopt him and name him after our great Admiral.” Churchill's marmalade cat, Jock, slept with his master and shared his dining table. He was a present for Churchill's 88th birthday. Jock was a trouble-maker, known for shredding furniture and carpeting from sharpening his claws. If Jock was late for meals, Churchill would send servants to find him, waiting to eat until the cat was present. Jock was with Churchill on his deathbed. His other cats included Margate, Mr. Cat AKA Tango, Bob, and Nelson.

Charles Dickens
He had a cat named William, until he (actually a she) had a litter of kittens in his study! He then re-named her Williamina. Dickens was determined not to keep the kittens, but he fell in love with one female kitten who he named "Master's Cat". She kept him company in his study as he wrote, and whenever she wanted his attention she would snuff out his reading candle.
Claude Monet (Clawed Meownet?)
This famous artist of the impressionist era began his career drawing pastels of cats. Below is his portrait of his own sleeping cat. Adorable, isn't it?
Albert Einstein
Since he was fond of all animals, especially cats, Einstein adopted a male cat, Tiger, who would get depressed whenever it rained. Einstein would talk to his cat during rainy days, claiming he "[knew] what [was] wrong, dear fellow, but [he didn't] know how to turn it off."  Einstein also said, "A man has to work so hard so that something of his personality stays alive. A tomcat has it so easy, he has only to spray and his presence is there for years on rainy days."
Theophile Steinlen
Steinlen's home in Paris was called "Cats Corner". In addition to paintings and drawings, he also made a few sculptures, most notably figures of cats that he loved greatly. Many of his paintings also include images of cats. Recognize this painting?
Mark Twain
Twain shared his farm in Connecticut with eleven cats. Twain wrote, "I simply can't resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course." Another cat quote by Mark Twain states,"If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat."

Are Dictators Cat Haters?
The cat lovers that we are, it is difficult for us to imagine that some people dislike cats. Of these "cat haters" many of them are infamous dictators. Perhaps it is because these men who can control entire countries and hope to conquer the whole world cannot stand the fact that they cannot control independent and strong-willed cats. These dictators included Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Benito Mussolini, and Adolph Hitler.