Rod Stewart vs. Sterling Holloway: Who Wins the Ultimate Cool?

Mamacita says:  Does anybody else think that Rod Stewart sounds almost exactly like

Sterling Holloway, who did the voices for

Winnie the Pooh, and

Kaa, from The Jungle Book?

They even look a little bit alike.

But Rod Stewart was never in the Twilight Zone.  Sterling Holloway was in several episodes.

Twilight Zone

Rod Stewart never played cool eccentric professors in the old Superman tv series with George Reeves and Noelle Neill.

George Reeves as Clark Kent, with Sterling Holloway

George Reeves as Clark Kent, with Sterling Holloway

Rod was never on the screen with Andy and Opie and Aunt Bee and Floyd the Barber.  Sterling Holloway was.

Andy Griffith and Sterling Holloway, 1962

Andy Griffith and Sterling Holloway

Rod Stewart never got to hobnob with Gilligan and the Skipper.  And Mary Ann.  You know, like Sterling Holloway did.

Sterling Holloway and Mary Ann

Sterling Holloway and Mary Ann

Rod didn’t have a recurring role in Circus Boy, with pre-Monkee Mickey Dolenz, but Sterling did.

Little Mickey Dolenze as Circus Boy

Little Mickey Dolenze as Circus Boy

Rod Stewart never met Buffy and Jody, but Sterling Holloway did.  Sterling probably got to meet Mrs. Beasley, too.  Not Rod.

Buffy and Jody, of Family Affair

Buffy and Jody, of Family Affair

Sterling Holloway also worked with Rin Tin Tin.  Rod Stewart never did.

Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin

Rod never met Hazel, or Wrangler Jane Angelica Thrift, either.  Sterling did.

Shirley Booth as Hazel & Melody Patterson as Wrangler Jane

Shirley Booth as Hazel & Melody Patterson as Wrangler Jane

All Rod ever got to do was sing like Pooh and hang out with supermodels. Poor Rod.

Rod Stewart and supermodel

I bet he wishes he was lucky like Sterling Holloway.  What could trump Winnie the Pooh, Kaa, and one’s name coupled with every black and white icon in television and movie history plus a few technicolor scenes?  That’s so much cooler than Maggie May.

Also, I bet Rod would have picked Ginger over Mary Ann, even though Mary Ann was cuter and smarter.  Men who go for supermodels don’t always recognize cute and they don’t often appreciate smart because glamour and dumb tend to team up with testosterone, blocking common sense and blinding older men to quality.  It’s a quick, easy fix for aging, insecure male hormones.

Political? Maybe. Analogy? Possibly.

Mamacita says:  Some of you might think this post is a political analogy.  You might be right; then again, you might not.  Use your own judgment.

One of my college boyfriends was diagnosed with cancer. The tumor was small, at first, and the doctors tried to treat it with medication. This did not work, so the doctors tried more aggressive treatments; the goal was still to remove the tumor without harming the rest of the body.

This tumor would not go away. It persisted in its hold on the man, and the more doctors tried to shrink it or remove it, the more it debilitated the man: the more it weakened him. The more doctors tried to deal only with the tumor, the weaker my friend’s immune system became.  He died, and the doctors honored his request that he have an autopsy.


Upon looking closely at and into the body, the doctors realized that if they had gone aggressively into the tumor right at the beginning, and forcibly carved it out before it put out feelers and roots and infiltrated the body completely, the man would have lived.

You see, that tumor really didn’t care anything about the man himself; it cared about the man only in as far as the man could be used as food and as a home base for the tumor. It cared about the man only because the man’s resources helped the tumor grow strong. The tumor cared only about itself; it became more than a parasite: it became the focal point of the man’s body.

As long as the doctors tried to treat the whole body of the man by focusing on one small intruder, the man perished. If the doctors had treated the whole body of the man by removing the tumor instead of trying to appease it, the man would have lived.

Appeasement doesn't work in politics, and it doesn't work in medicine, either.

Appeasement doesn’t work in politics, and it doesn’t work in medicine, either.

I am not a doctor, but if I am ever invaded by a pernicious tumor, I want it cut out and burned, not appeased with first one thing and then another, trial and error. No patting a soothing medication on it in hopes that it will go away. No pretending it’s not there in hopes that it will go away by itself. No numbing it so it can’t actively DO anything although it’s still there to intimidate the useful body parts. I want it removed and burned, so the fear is gone, and the tension is gone, and the stress is gone, and the other body parts can heave a sigh of relief and go on with their rightful business.

Analogy? Why, no. It’s about a malignant tumor, and its potential to destroy a human being completely if it’s not forcibly removed by someone trained to do so.

Why, what were YOU thinking?

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. Happy Birthday, Princess. Happy Birthday, My Little Son.

Mamacita says:  Father’s Day and my daughter’s birthday and my son’s birthday are within a few days of each other.  Sometimes, they’re on the same day.  That is because calendars are alive and love to mess with us, and because those selfsame calendars, parts of them anyway, dwell in the past with emperors, gods, and goddesses.  We can mess right back by denying our ages.  But I digress.

My daughter is over 21, if anyone wants to ask me any questions.  Please be sure your resume is current, including gainful employment and a love of steampunk cosplay.

She used to be the most beautiful baby girl in the universe, but not any more. She hasn’t been that for a long time.

She is, however, the most beautiful young woman in the universe. She’s strong and brave and smart and hilarious. She’s a lot nicer than I am.  Her sense of direction is almost perfect. Her sense of ethics and behavior are superior. She can sing like an angel. She can walk into an expensive dress shop and walk out with a $300.00 dress that she got for twelve bucks and matching $125.00 shoes that cost eight – the honest way. She’s kind and caring and patient, unless she’s dealing with an idiot in which case she, sadly, takes after me. She’s the best daughter any mother could ever hope to have, even when she takes the occasional pissy fit, and even then a good margarita will fix that mood swing right up. Mommy knows how to take care of her baby girl.

I didn’t teach her to stick her head in a waterfall, but only because the subject never came up.

Sara in the waterfall

Happy Birthday, Princess.

My son is also over 21, if any of you want to ask me any questions. Please be sure your resume is current, including gainful employment and a love of computers, kayaking, camping, and creating awesome internet capabilities with safety pins and belly button lint.

He used to be the most beautiful baby boy in the universe, but not any more.  He hasn’t been that for a long time.

He is, however, the most beautiful young man in the universe.  He’s strong and brave and smart and hilarious.  He can look at an ancient television set in his grandmother’s living room that seven professional repairmen have given up on, tinker with it for five minutes, and turn it into a clear, bright receptor of cable delights.

He’s kind and caring and patient, unless he’s dealing with an idiot in which case he, sadly, takes after me. He’s the best son any mother could ever hope to have, even when he takes the occasional pissy fit, and even then a good margarita will fix that mood swing right up. Mommy knows how to take care of her baby boy.

I didn’t teach him how to make a robot costume when he was three years old, but he did a pretty good job.

Andy in a robot suit

Happy Birthday, my little son.

My dad has been gone for several years now, but we never really ever stop missing the people we love.  We recover, and get on with our lives, but the memories are still there, and aren’t we all glad they are?Dad and Sara Dad and Andy

Dad wasn’t perfect, not by a long shot. He and all of his brothers and their father before them were quick-tempered and easy to, as Mom used to say, “set off.” He was also funny and smart; he could sing and he valued education, HIGHLY. He would have been a success at college, but he never went. Instead, he sent four kids through college, and continued to work day after day in a factory, “so we would never have to.”

He taught me hundreds of poems and songs, and he liked to pick me up and stand me on a table and make me sing or recite for people.  (not lately)  “Purple People Eater” and Robert Frost: I still remember.

My sister Teresa and I had a daddy who was playful and laughing. My two younger siblings had a daddy who was cranky and yelling. Dad’s illness began long before anybody realized it, including himself, and the personality changes were just brushed aside as part of the aging process or, possibly, his true colors. Nobody actually said “true colors,” but we all thought it.

By the time dad had had both legs amputated and was bedridden and too weak to feed himself or turn over, we all realized that the diabetes had begun to affect his mind long before it took his body.

He stayed at home and Mom took care of him. I don’t think she went anywhere for three or four years, except her runs to the grocery and drugstores while Dad was at dialysis.  Let me tell you something:  if ever I’m sick like that, I want Mom to take care of me.  I watched her.  She was divinely patient with his dreadful moods, and meticulously careful with his meds and IV’s.

My father is gone, but he still lives in my head, daily. And to that loving and playful and laughing and singing father, I want to say, “Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.”

I knew all along that mean yelling daddy wasn’t really you.  I just wish my two youngest siblings had met that daddy.

So on June 15, I salute my beautiful baby daughter; on June 21, I salute the good daddy I loved, and on June 24, I salute my beautiful baby son.

Dad on Steve's motorcycle

This is my brother’s motorcycle, by the way.  You know, the one I used to ride all over town without my mother’s knowledge.  She still doesn’t know.  She never will, unless YOU tell her.

I don’t think my brother knew, either.  I was into the stealth before it was cool.



Things I Still Haven’t Done Yet: Media Version

a round tuit, scheiss weekly Mamacita says: I never realized how many things I hadn’t done yet until I started this semi-regular series. Here are yet more things I haven’t done yet.

1.I haven’t watched a single episode of “Gilmore Girls.”  It just never caught my interest.  Still doesn’t.  All the hoopla about bringing it back, reunion, etc?  Don’t care.

Gilmore Girls

2.  Ditto “Friends.”  Not interested.


3.  Ditto again “Everybody Loves Raymond.”  Wait, I did watch two episodes of this because my sisters loved it,  so I gave it a try.  Two episodes.  I’ve never heard such whining in my life, counting all those years in the church nursery.

Everybody Loves Raymond

4.  I’ve never gotten hooked on any kind of reality show, and by “hooked” what I really mean is “remotely interested.”

5.  I’ve never been able to see the appeal of any show that features stupid people, or glorifies or makes in any way acceptable people being ignorant on purpose.9.

6.  I have never been able to tolerate people like Honey Boo Boo or any of her family.  I include that show with the long-beard-for-profit guys who make duck calls even though most of them are college graduates and belong to country clubs but pretend to be rednecks, again for profit.  Can’t watch it.  Nope.  Don’t even care enough to try.  Horrible people.

Honey Boo Boo family

Duck Dynasty men

7.  Shows with laugh tracks are like that one uncle who always laughs at his own jokes because nobody else is.

8.  Any show, for adults or children, that condescends.  ESPECIALLY a children’s show that condescends.  Absolutely not acceptable.

9.  I have not watched a TV show regularly for probably thirty years, although I do watch a few things online or on DVD seasons.  The last couple of TV shows I liked got cancelled, so I am probably the kiss of death for a TV shows actually on TV weekly.  “Downton Abbey” has only one more season, so you see, THAT’S what happens when I announce in public that I am in love with a show.

Downton Abbey

I am in love with this show; therefore, it’s circling the drain.

10.  I haven’t watched a show actually on TV once a week since MASH went off the air.  There, I’ve outed myself as an old person.  Or didn’t you know. . . .   young people aren’t usually this curmudgeonly.


Best care anywhere. Best show, too.

To be fair, my schedules have seldom allowed me the luxury of tuning in to anything on a regular basis, and I just got out of the habit.  My friends have recommended several shows to me that sound really good, but again, I’m out of the habit.  From the sound of some of these shows, I need to get back into the habit, but so far, I’m still not ready.  My younger days were full of TV watching, so somewhere deep inside, I probably want to, but just can’t yet.

I also kind of like to say things like “Oh, I don’t watch TV” when people are raving about a show, especially if it’s something like the above-mentioned tripe.  (MASH and Downton are not the tripe, by the way.)  Except to someone, they are, just as those other things are beloved to them but are worthless tripe to me.  And since I do watch segments online, well, that’s TV, isn’t it.

Lots of kinds of cereal on the shelves. . . . lots of kinds of shows on the air.  Which is as it should be, but why are the ones I love always the ones that get discontinued or cancelled?  Surely I’m not that quirky.

Shut up.



Things That Are None of My Business

Mamacita says:  There are so many things that are so absolutely none of my business – or yours – and here are just a few:

not my circus, not my monkeys

1.  How you feed your baby.  The world is full of people who are very interested in how you feed your baby, to the point that they will physically assault you in public if they see you doing so in a way that they do not personally approve of.  The fact is, how you feed your baby, as long as you do feed your baby and your baby is thriving, is nobody’s business but yours and your baby’s.  Breast?  Fine.  Bottle?  Just as fine. Wet nurse?  Cool. Everybody butt out.  Seriously.  BUTT OUT.

mind your own business, Anne Landers

2.  How you shop for groceries.  The world is full of people who are very interested in how you shop for groceries, to the point that they will handle the food you have placed in your grocery cart and tell you that you’re doing it wrong.  The fact is, the food you are buying, as long as your family is eating well and reasonably healthy, is nobody’s business but yours and your family’s.  Organic?  Fine.  GMO?  If that’s what you have chosen.  Vegetarian?  Your business, not mine.  Everybody butt out.  BUTT OUT.

ain't nobody's business if I do

3.  What you are wearing on the beach or at the pool.  The world is full of people who are very interested in what you are wearing on the beach or at the pool or anywhere, actually, to the point that they will actually throw a towel over your shoulders or snap a picture to post on social media without your knowledge or permission.  The fact is – and this isn’t really  a fact; it’s just my opinion – that what you wear, wherever you are, is your own business.  I do think people should be respectful, both in the wearing of and in the critiquing off, but ultimately, clothing is nobody’s business except the person wearing the clothing.  I am very sensitive about my thighs and upper arms, and have too much regard for the feng shui of the universe to allow that much cottage cheese-like skin to be seen – I don’t even like to look at it – but that’s just me, and if you aren’t as sensitive as I am, go for it.

Benjamin Franklin's coin,the Continental Currency Dollar

The Continental Currency Dollar

4.   What you are eating or drinking. The world is full of people who are very interested in what you are eating or drinking, to the point that some of them will walk right up to your table in a restaurant and tell you that you’re putting poison into your body or – gasp – into your child’s body.  If you walk up to me and tell me I’m killing myself or my child with my Diet Coke, or my cheeseburger, or my child’s Happy Meal, I will probably smile, toast you with it, and carry on with my lunch.  If you then go further with me on this subject, I’ll call the police and have you taken where you don’t get to choose your own health food and will be grateful for what you do get.  And by the way, what are YOU doing at McDonald’s?  Having a salad?  That sounds like fun.

This is only four things that are none of my business – or yours – but that’s enough for one post.  Let’s give these people a few days to calm down before we give them more fodder for their heart palpitations over things that are none of their business.

In the meantime, I think I’ll have some french fries and yet another big Diet Coke.  At 11:00 p.m.  Care to join me?  No?  More for me, then.

Enjoy your bean sprouts and kale.


Have I ever told you how glad I am we’re not enemies?” Eragon asked. “No, but it’s very sweet of you.”  — Christopher Paolini, Brisingr

12 Strong Female Children’s & YA Literary Characters

Mamacita says:  There are a lot more strong female characters in children’s and YA literature than some people might think.  I’m of the opinion that those who don’t know who they are, just aren’t looking in the right places.

Here are a few – just a few, mind you – of my favorite strong female literary characters, in no particular order, because why in the world do they need to be in any kind of order?

1.  Anne Shirley Blythe.  Our beloved Anne of Green Gables doesn’t stop with that one novel, you know.   Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside, and countless appearances in various short stories. . . red-headed, stubborn, loving, loyal Anne is everywhere, if you know where to look.  Anne, and her husband Gilbert, and her best friends Diana, Stella, Ruby (oh, poor Ruby!) Jane, Priscilla, Phillipa, Leslie. . . all smart, strong women.  College-graduate Anne, who, with Gilbert,had seven equally smart, strong children, losing son Walter to WW! and wee daughter Joyce a few hours after birth. We are privileged to know Anne from age eleven to her mid-sixties.  L.M. Montgomery’s Anne is, even now, one of the most popular heroines in literature.  Mark Twain would agree.

Anne of Green Gables series

2.  Emily Byrd Starr.  Again, one of L.M. Montgomery’s heroines, and the one most closely modeled after herself.  Black-haired, dreamy Emily writes.  She has to.  Emily has a trilogy:  Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, and Emily’s Quest., taking her from age eleven to her early thirties.  Emily’s best friend, Ilse, and her two best male friends, Perry and Teddy, and the older man who also loves her, Dean Priest, are some of the most interesting people a reader will ever meet.  Like Anne, Emily is being raised by people other than her parents: people with little understanding of a child who is not prosaic in the least, and whose imagination both fascinates and horrifies her elders.

Emily of New Moon series

3.  Jane Stuart.  Montgomery’s Jane, of Lantern Hill, is my personal favorite of all the author’s heroines.  Jane, who does still have a mother, is, however, being raised by a stern, unloving grandmother who makes no pretense of liking Jane, let alone loving her.  Jane’s finding of the father she had believed dead all her life is the saving of her, and no reader can help but love Jane.

Jane of Lantern Hill

4.  Judy Bolton.  Most young readers might list Nancy Drew as their favorite mystery-solving teen detective, but Judy Bolton far surpasses Nancy in plot, character, and personal growth.  Nancy never ages past 18, but Judy starts out at 15 and gets a little older with each volume.  Nancy seems a bit stunted and stilted as far as personal growth, but Judy gets married.  The mysteries themselves are more complicated and rely more on a reader’s general knowledge than do Nancy’s simplistic storylines.  Margaret Sutton based many of Judy’s mysteries on actual Pennsylvania history.

The Vanishing Shadow, the first Judy Bolton series book


5.  Beany Malone.  Beany and her entire family live the life of a typical motherless family during and after WW2.  There is talk of rationing, and baking cookies for soldiers.  In fact, the domestic side of life is everywhere in every one of the many volumes about Beany.  Cooking, sewing, cleaning, caring for others. . . girls – and boys! – who know how to do these things are presented as smarter and more relevant than those who don’t know how to do these things.  Boyfriends, horses, allowances, stretching money, budgets, war, heartbreak, patience. . . many things modern teens never learned are presented as ordinary life here.  Lenora Mattingly Weber is no longer well known, but as far as I’m concerned, she’s still just as much beloved.

The Beany Malone series

6.  Hermione Granger.  What can I say?  She’s brilliant, practical, loving, loyal. . . all the positive virtues of both sexes all rolled up into one fabulous young woman.  People who disapprove of the magic are missing the point entirely – these books are about friendship and caring and love first.  The magic is secondary.  If you are one of those people who have forbidden your children to read these books, I have no respect for you.  None.  And J.K. Rowling is my idol.

The Harry Potter series

7.  Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The semi-autobiographical novels may have been put together and heavily edited by her daughter Rose, but the personality stays with us forever.  Laura taught us how real families really lived in those decades after the Civil War.

Little House series

8.  Mona and Randy Melendy.  Elizabeth Enright’s novels of family life during and right after WW2 will teach us more about history than any history book every written.  Strong, independent young girls going about daily life, sharing their dreams and listening to their elders and doing work that most of today’s girls would have no idea how to do.  It’s a series, of course: The Saturdays, The Four-Story Mistake, Then There Were Five, and Spiderweb for Two.  Their brothers are pretty cool, too.

The Melendy series

9.  Portia Blake.  Again, an Elizabeth Enright heroine, Portia is not afraid to set out and explore countryside she’d never set eyes on or foot in before.  She’s not afraid to befriend elderly strangers met in these strange surroundings.  She’s strong and self-reliant, and considers herself on an equal footing with the boys in the two-part series: Gone-Away Lake, and Return to Gone-Away.

Gone-Away Lake, Return to Gone-Away

10.  Jane Eyre.  No, Jane is NOT old-fashioned, nor is she outdated.  She overcomes a childhood of severe abuse to become a young woman who is not afraid to take a stand.  She is not easily talked into abandoning her own moral code for convenience or joy’s sake, and I absolutely love the way she talks and thinks.  There are some who don’t think Jane is a YA heroine, but I do.  Maybe it’s just because too many adults can’t manage the book these days.

Jane Eyre

11.  The March girls.  I know, I know – Jo is supposed to be the sister we love most, but I love all the sisters equally.  I did find Jo’s unusual (for the times) romance with Professor Bhaer much more satisfying than Amy’s romance or Meg’s, but that’s just me.  I love that each sister was absolutely distinct; there were no two girls even remotely alike in that house, but the mother, Marmee, understood them all and knew how to manage each daughter.

Little Women

12.  Irene Miller.  Irene was one of my heroines when I was a really small child, because she was a girl scientist who shared in the adventures of Danny Dunn, boy scientist.  Back in the day, it was hard to find a nerdy girl who loved science, but authors Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin were, whether they realized it or not, writing for little girls like me. There’s a whole big series about Irene and Danny; they’re a little difficult to find these days, but well worth the search.

Danny Dunn, boy scientist

I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of wonderful children’s and YA literature featuring strong, smart females, but these few more obscure titles plus a few well-known, easily found titles, might be a start for your daughter’s – or your son’s – or YOUR – summer reading.  If your child – or you – learns to love novels placed in the past, there are lessons to be absorbed about how actual people dealt with actual history on the home front, as well as wonderful plots and awesome characters.  History is best learned in the home and with the family, not from a textbook.

I reread my favorite children’s and YA books every summer.  It’s a kind of tradition for me.  Try it.

On a related note, none of the above heroines watches television.  They’re too busy doing things, having adventures, meeting people, solving mysteries, and living.