Rhapsody’s Second-Chance New Year Spectacular

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Happy 2016, kittens! Welcome to Rhapsody’s First Annual, Never-To-Be-Repeated, Second-Chance New Year Spectacular, in which we bid farewell not only to the preceding year, but to the already busted resolutions of three weeks ago.

It’s all right friends: Rhapsody is here to freshen your drink, and your self-esteem with a totally new approach. At today’s gathering, we’ll grant ourselves a second chance to enjoy 2016, not just sand it away grimly, day by earnest day, with “goals” and “challenges.”

True, there are some who are still pumping away on their elliptical trainers, scaling the imaginary hills of self-improvement, but I don’t like those people and neither do you, so let’s leave them to their step-counting and do something that’s actually fun, shall we?

You’re welcome.

Participation is simple. Just choose one healthy, worthwhile, life-affirming activity—any thigh-firming, mind-sharpening notion you like—and do it with enthusiasm, just once.

Then, do not do it again until at least January of 2017.

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How to avoid PTO meetings and other civic duties (with free pamphlet on Bitch Face)

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Hello, Kittens, and welcome back to the salon. I’m glad you made it, because we have serious matters to discuss. I’ll be as brief as I feel like.

It is an unfortunate fact of Western Civilization that small groups of people left to their own devices will tend to form committees. And when small-group intentions are good, the results are almost always bad.

(Yes, I know what Margaret Mead said. Please be quiet.)

Committees go to work on ideas like viruses in a Petri dish: they surround it, study it, then kill it, having appropriated just enough of its DNA to disarm the defense systems of the next good idea they meet. The idea’s entrails are then written up and published in a newsletter.

Why must this committee formation happen, when groups could just as readily form a religious cult, a chorus or a circus act? Alas: committees are formed, resolutions are taken up and pretty soon, just when you thought it might be safe to sit down amongst friends and have a cup of coffee—perhaps even a muffin—you are grabbed around the ankle by a Strategic Plan and dragged, screaming, into service.

And that’s why, when the monthly PTO meeting at Brioche’s school rolls around, Rhapsody is always indisposed. Under a mountain of work. Fighting off a highly contagious strain of strep throat. Down with the cramps.

It’s not that I, or other committee-phobes don’t see the value of civic projects, or even that we don’t want to help, but we’re shade plants of the social world, and all that cheer and industry from you non-morose types is like too much afternoon sun on our tender leaves.

Are you exasperated by my attitude? If you think I’m hard to take as a blogging actress, you’ve got it easy, my friend. I could be your wife. I could be your mother. You just think about that for a moment, while I pour you a whiskey sour in these special holiday tumblers I’ve dusted off for today’s gathering.

And before we go on, please initial that you have read this Vital Disclaimer: Although I am a rabid volunteer elsewhere, I have not yet actually attended a PTO meeting at Brioche’s school. This post (like most of my life) is based on supposition and hearsay. Also: I am a blogging celebrity—not a real person. So if this post hurts your feelings and you think Rhapsody is talking about you, please consider two things:

  1. Confronting me will require you to admit that you are being teased by an avatar—a gorgeous, chimerical demon made of pixels and stardust. How does that help your cause?
  2. Sarcastic. Bitter. Acid-tongued. You keep using these words but I do not think they mean what you think they mean. Instead of arguing with me, why not try sword fighting as a way to relax?

Now, then. Shall we do as they do at Town Meeting and get this bitch over with? Continue reading

I Think We’re Being Followed: Rhapsody’s Guide to Blogging the Good Life

Friends, it’s the six-month anniversary of Rhapsody in Cool and I hardly know where the time has gone.

Moments ago, I was peering into the void at WordPress, thinking, “Do I dare? Is it ethical to squeeze another blog into that great Cloud that, when it finally bursts, will rain down enough toxic prose to kill us all?”

So I went right ahead, of course.

But if I’m going to keep at this—and stats be damned, I am—then I’ve got to share what I’ve learned, or at least what I am pretending to know as I add to this spiraling mess of text and misappropriated imagery.

By holding court here in our salon, mixing cocktails and expounding on topics unbound by any detectable theme, I’ve learned a thing or two about blogging. And like any good blogger, I took those two things and expanded them into a list of twelve things.

This guide is dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of new bloggers who have signed on at WordPress since Rhapsody took up the keyboard last December. That’s a researched fact by the way. You might like to take it with an aspirin, or better yet, a Gin Fizz—the preferred cocktail of seasoned bloggers.

But enough of this insiders’ jibber jabber! Let’s begin, shall we?

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If Fran Lebowitz is right that the opposite of talking isn’t listening but waiting, then blogging is even nicer than talking, because it eliminates the wait. Continue reading

Rhapsody’s Rules for The Naming of Cats And Children (Not a Difficult Matter At All)

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In the early days of Rhapsody in Cool I said advice was “a sordid business” that I was not going to get mixed up in.

I spoke prematurely.

Why deprive the Rhapsody salon-goers of these 16 valuable tips? My brief presentation will reduce stress, strain and poor choices, and allow me to try that wonderful blogger’s trick, the Numbered List, which works like a supportive bra to hoist up wobbly prose.

In honor of today’s salon topic, I’m serving Love Birds (vodka, sweet-and-sour mix, rum and grenadine). So get yourself a highball, friends, and let’s click to the first slide!

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1. Nothing that produces hairballs has any business going by the name Shakespeare, Bronte, Faulkner or any other famed author. It goes without saying that this also applies to babies, given what they are apt to produce. If you feel a literary name will increase your child’s odds of being a writer, consider that he can rise to fame with the name Tim just as easily, and without the burden of expectation.

Some of you will insist on writery names, but before you yoke your child with Ovid or Yeats please remember that there are also important poets called John and Anne.

Lastly, if you think that giving your cat an erudite name will raise the cat’s opinion of you, remember that cats use just one name for all humans and it is Jerk Face.

2. A note of caution. Making fun of the names other people’s children and pets is one of the last socially sanctioned forms of snobbery, so stop and think before you speak. Then, after a moment’s thoughtful pause, continue as before.

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Why I Never Give Advice, and You Shouldn’t Either: A Basket of Holiday Wisdoms

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“I’m here to have a good time and say exactly what I please. I hope you are too. But if it’s balance you want, go take a Pilates class.”

[A-hem. There is a photo credit below.]

Now that the wild applause of the critics has died down after our first post here at Rhapsody In Cool, I think it’s time for a little pre-holiday gathering. You know, just us chickens? An informal chat before we all head into our kitchens and perform the time-honored holiday ritual of thrusting our arms elbow-deep in a turkey’s bottom.

I had been wondering if Rhapsody should be an advice columnist, and then I decided—giving my drink a thoughtful stir—no, there’s so much advice-giving already, especially at the holidays, that I’m banning myself from the whole, sordid enterprise.

But before I do, I have a couple of nuggets that it would simply be selfish of me not to share. Both are selected for their usefulness at this hopeful merry unavoidable time of year. I hope you’ll accept them in the spirit in which they are meant, which is the spirit of absolute and irrefutable truth. Continue reading