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Maybe a Mutt or Mongrel

Maybe a Mutt or Mongrel

July 31st is Mutts Day.

What is a mutt, anyway? Is it the same creature as a mongrel?
Traditionally, a mutt is a mixed-breed dog, also known as a mongrel or a Heinz 57 pooch. Canine breed enthusiasts may bark about their favorite pedigrees, but many dog lovers actually prefer those of assorted or even uncertain parentage.

Our family, for example, recently added an adorable and sweet puppy to our fold (see photo). We know she comes from several different breeds: Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Labrador and God-only-knows what else.  

Etymologists trace the word “mutt” to the 18th Century term “muttonhead,” which referred to slow-witted or foolish person.

Perhaps this meaning is linked to the nickname of cartoonist Bud Fisher’s syndicated cartoon strip, titled “Mutt and Jeff,” which started in 1907 and still reprints in some American newspapers.

Is a mutt a muttonhead?

We beg to differ. Our mutt is a dear dog, not a dolt. And she is the smartest, most trainable up we have ever had.

Who’s your best friend on July 31st?

By the way, July 31st is also Friendship Day, a doggedly delightful reason for tossing a Frisbee or just hanging out with a favorite pup … especially a marvelous mutt.

Puppy photo copyrighted by Linda Ann Nickerson – Nickers and Ink
“Mutt and Jeff” cartoon – Fair Use

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Should his antidote mount a stumbling soup?


New PMS milk ads: Savvy or sexist?

New PMS milk ads: Savvy or sexist?

Have you seen the California Milk Processor Board’s new advertisements? These ad spots are making quite a splash, as fans and frenzied critics claim the promos are either witty or downright repulsive.

Take a look at these images from the print ads, created by San Francisco’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

What do you think?

Does your stomach curdle to think of dairy products being linked to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or even menstruation?

If you are a woman, have you ever actually craved milk while PMS-ing?

Gee, did anyone mention chocolate? How about salty-crunchy? Where does milk actually fit into that scheme of PMS cravings, anyway?
Are your heckles raised yet?

Do you find it offensive that the commercials seem to claim milk can cure PMS or that they poke fun at this unpleasant condition? What’s your take on these ads? Do you think they mock men or women?

How about that website,

Is this milk ad series funny or just plain foul?

Maybe the headline-hogging scandal is actually advantageous for the West Coast dairy producers, giving them a chance to milk this promotional opportunity for all it’s worth. 

Or has it gone sour, with all of the claims of sexism?

Still, the ads beg the question. Do men suffer from their own variety of PMS? What would you call it, if they did?

Photo screenshots (widely circulated) from California Milk Processor Board advertisements

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Michelle Obama's Independence Day dress: Love it or hate it?

Michelle Obama's Independence Day dress:  Love it or hate it?

Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS), stepped out in a red-and-blue printed sundress for the White House barbecue on the Fourth of July. The 2011 gala, honoring members of the U.S. Armed Forces and the White House staff, was held on the South Lawn.

The occasion also marked daughter Malia’s 13th birthday.

Barack Obama, the President of the United States (POTUS) and FLOTUS’ husband, wore a navy polo, neatly pressed khaki trousers and shiny brown laced wingtips.

Where did Michelle Obama find her 4th of July dress?

The First Lady’s frock was selected from Sophie Theallet’s Spring 2011 collection. Saks Fifth Avenue prices the same dress at $995, plus tax and shipping (if applicable).

The bright all-over floral batik print echoed 1960’s Marimekko designs and featured a fitted bodice, pleated waist and wide black grosgrain ribbon shoulder straps. The festive fully lined cotton dress has side-seam pockets and zips up the back.

Sophie Theallet’s apparel lines may be found at such upscale stores as Nordstrom, Saks, Serenella and Tootsies.

Tying her hair in a sensible upsweep for a hot summer day in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Obama also wore strappy, crystal-embellished Lanvin flat sandals (which retail for $955), a bunch of bangle bracelets and large hooped earrings.

Do you love the FLOTUS’ 4th of July outfit, or do you hate it?

What did you wear for Independence Day celebrations this year?
Michelle and Barack Obama
Fourth of July 2011
Screenshot – widely circulated White House photo

Fashion promo photo
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4th of July Weekend and Fast Foods

4th of July Weekend and Fast Foods

The holiday weekend is here! Across America, families are packing their cars for road trips and jaunts to patriotic picnics.

The smartest folks filled up their tanks early in the week. How many noticed how petrol prices dropped a week or so, only to rise by Wednesday afternoon before the holiday weekend?

I filled up at $3.57 and thought that was a great deal. (How did we get to that point?)

What are you doing for the 4th of July Weekend?

Speaking of gas, did you ever wonder which U.S. states consume the most fast food? has actually published a list of the top 10 states for fast food eaters. Here’s the roster of dubious honorees, posted alphabetically:

  • Alabama
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • West Virginia

Is your state on the list for top fast food consumption? Does this list surprise you?

Intriguingly, has also published a list of the Top Fat States, based on obesity statistics. Here they are (in descending order):

  1. Mississippi
  2. Alabama
  3. West Virginia
  4. Tennessee
  5. South Carolina
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Kentucky
  8. Louisiana
  9. Michigan
  10. Arkansas and Ohio (tied)

Maybe fast food customers in Maryland, Ohio, Texas and Utah are ordering salads at the drive-through. Keep reading to see how well Utah residents burn off their fast food consumption!

Gee, perhaps folks in Arkansas, Michigan, South Carolina and Tennessee may need to get moving … or stop stopping for fast food so often. (Just sayin’.)

Which states boast the slimmest folks?

The lowest rates of obesity, also according to, are found in these U.S. states:

  1. Colorado
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Connecticut
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Hawaii
  6. Vermont
  7. Washington, DC
  8. Utah
  9. Montana
  10. New Jersey
Does this data change your 4th of July travel menu?

Who’s ready to save calories and cash by packing a healthy picnic basket for the 4th of July Weekend family road trip? Do we really need to pick burgers, chicken nuggets or fries on the way to a barbecue ... where we will likely be served similar fare? (Even Freedom Fries?) 

Obviously, it's a personal choice, but the results may be reflected in next year's state statistics.

Pass the apples, cut-up celery and carrots and Rye Krisps. Toss those water bottles in the cooler, would you?

Let’s roll for a fabulous, safe and healthy 4th of July Weekend!

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