Tonight, I'm raising a glass in your memory. You were an insightful writer who inspired many in your role as a film critic, and you inspired many more during the last eight years of your life as you faced cancer with grace and courage.
I remember taking the movie beat for my high school paper, and writing my predictions for the Oscars in the hope that I'd match or beat you. I never did, but I tried because of "Sneak Previews" (yes, I remember the PBS show) and "At the Movies."
America's most beloved movie fan is gone. Tomorrow, newspapers will be filled with political cartoons, homages, and accolades acknowledging one of their best. It will be long before we see his like again.
My sincerest condolences to Chaz, his widow. Know that we honor you, too, and all that you did to ease his suffering. He will never be forgotten.
If there is a heaven, I'd wager that Gene Siskel is there to greet his old rival and friend. Both are now at peace. Cancer cannot hurt them any more.
For a time, we were considering either two Ragamuffins, a Ragamuffin and a Ragdoll, or two Ragdolls, but after considering some pros and cons, we think it's going to be best for the kittens if we go with two litter mates. I think it will be less stressful to them to adapt to a new environment if they have a familiar face there, so to speak.
I've narrowed it down to three breeders:
- Crabapple Ragdolls here in Georgia
- Rags2Riches Ragdolls in North Carolina
- Misty's Ragdolls in Florida
Each one has pros and cons. Crabapple is right up the road from us, but as one of the few reputable Ragdoll breeders in Georgia, has an extremely long waiting list. Rags2Riches is the oldest Ragdoll cattery in North Carolina and has some gorgeous cats, but they're way up around Durham, and their pricing is a little odd. Though, if we did go with them, we could have a nice visit with quandry, and my old bosses. I'd say we'd wave to rdansky, too, but he'd probably be on the road yet again. :)
The leader in my mind is Misty's Ragdolls. I like Misty. I've spoken with her on the forums, where she has a positive rating, and she seems to really have her act together. She also truly empathized when I expressed my difficulties in finding a breeder. Here's a quote:
And, truthfully, some people might actually be great breeders but they are not so great at the other things. Some are great at socializing the kittens and breeding but maybe they aren't so great at speaking with potential adopters, or keeping up with their paperwork, or answering questions, or following up with people in a timely manner, or sending pictures and updates to adopters, or creating and maintaining their web site, etc.
I also like that she breaks down the colors and patterns she is capable of producing, and offers show-quality kittens to those who are interested: she is not just trying to offload her pet-quality cats so she can keep the best breeding stock for herself. Best of all, she is so super-serious about the health of her cats that she offers an unheard-of five year guarantee against any genetic issues.
In no way has she solicited my business, either. Indeed, she's one of the two breeders on the forums who referred me to Crabapple, as they're the closest reputable breeder.
I'm going to at least e-mail Crabapple, just to see how insanely long the waiting list happens to be, but more and more, I'm leaning toward driving to Tampa, Florida.
Worse, as I continue to go deep and do carloads of research and homework, it appears there's a significant controversy about the Ragdoll in terms of what is and what isn't one. The CFA site is all, "La-di-dah, go to a show to meet breeders," but that's not very useful given how hard it can be to find a cat show within reasonable driving distance and the fact that there are no guarantees whatsoever that, if you go, the breed you're interested in will be shown. We attended a cat show last weekend, and there was exactly one Ragdoll breeder there. One. Carloads of Persians, armfuls of Maine Coons, a decent number of Exotic Shorthairs, several Abyssinians, and even a couple of Sphynxs ... one Ragdoll breeder. One.
Indeed, as my research has progressed, it appears that Georgia in particular has a problem in terms of Ragdoll breeders, at least if one is basing one's definition on official guidelines.
The disproportionate majority of Ragdoll breeders in Georgia are offering mink and sepia cats, which are not officially recognized and cannot be shown at CFA shows. Indeed, it's significantly questionable, regarding their genetic profile, as to whether they can be called Ragdolls at all. I won't bore you with the details, but essentially, there's a strong argument that these cats result from a Ragamuffin outcrossing and possibly other unrecognized sourcings, which complicates things further.
Worse, breeders selling these cats, either stemming from their own ignorance or a deliberate intent to mislead, don't disclose this fact to unwitting customers. I'd be willing to bet that 95% of customers who purchase these cats have no idea about this situation. Most people don't put the time and effort into this that I have invested, and they shouldn't have to do so. It shouldn't be this difficult. Folks who want a pet cat don't have time for that sort of investigation.
I'll be honest: I'm feeling a little discouraged and angry that this is as hard as it is. I know I'm right to be very cautious about finding an ethical breeder: there are a lot of horror stories out there. Sadly, mills and "backyard breeders" exist for cats as well as dogs, but ... well, let's just say I have never before encountered an industry so desperately in need of proper oversight. I cannot overemphasize that caveat emptor should be displayed in big, blinking red letters in front of every potential customers' eyeballs if you are thinking of buying a purebred animal.
There is a very real possibility that we may have to drive as far as Raleigh, North Carolina (a little over 400 miles) to find what we want in terms of litter mates. I refuse to go much farther than that: six hours in the car is plenty, thank you very much.
Anyway, enough ranting. On the bright side, the Namaqua rain frog meets Taylor Swift, and it makes me smile every single time. :)
Full credit to my wonderful husband for finding and sharing this one with me. :)
I think this will be a somewhat difficult choice: some of my favorites from each season are present, so part of it is definitely going to come down to how the challenges play out.
The competitors are:
From Season 1:
- Nina Flowers
- Tammie Brown
- Pandora Boxx
- Manila Luzon
- Alexis Mateo
- Yara Sofia
- Mimi Imfurst
- Chad Michaels
- Latrice Royale
- Chad Michaels (The total package)
- Shannel (girl can seriously beat a mug, and she didn't get a fair shake from Santino in S1)
- Nina Flowers (innovative and a sweetie) / Pandora Boxx (both funny and stylish)
- Chad Michaels
- Raven (I've always felt she was kind of a one trick pony, but they'll keep her around as the season's villain)
- Manila Luzon (before this week, I might've said Pandora Boxx here, but Sahara Davenport, Manila's partner of six years just died, so she may have a strong sympathy vote if she wasn't eliminated before Sahara's passing).
Here's the most recent trailer:
Some stunning looks there! I can't wait. While writing this post, t realized that I lacked a RPDR LJ icon, so I made a very basic one just now. I'll have to come up with something better, but it'll do for tonight.
Will any of you be tuning in?
Warmest wishes for a good new year to all who are observing Rosh Hashanah.
- Ray Bradbury brought literary respect to science fiction (USA Today)
- Dreams of Ray Bradbury: 10 predictions that came true (Washington Post)
And here are two from Neil Gaiman:
Of course I’ve read numerous Bradbury stories throughout my life and watched them on film, but, hard though it is for me to believe, I only read Fahrenheit 451 for the first time near the beginning of 2011. I was stunned by the craftsmanship. As a child, the imaginative tales got me, but as an adult I realized that the man could flat-out write. And that he'd influenced everyone and everything to the point that some of today's successful writers and directors wouldn't have created quite the same stories were it not for Bradbury. Stephen King. Steven Spielberg. Mark Frost (co-creator of Twin Peaks) has been paying tribute to him all day on Twitter.
Here's Bradbury's official web site.
This was already in the publication hopper before he passed away: I'll likely pick it up when it is released in July: Shadow Show
He was kind: based on everything I've heard (co-worker knew him) and read, he used his powers for good. He encouraged so many young writers by generously giving them his time, focus, and counsel. He loved cats. He was an enthusiastic advocate for libraries. He never won a Pulitzer, but even Pulitzer belatedly recognized his contributions by honoring him with a special citation in 2007 “for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.”
Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for sharing all the trips through your imagination with the rest of us. It was truly a marvelous ride.