Friday Five

1. A book with history. A lot of you were really excited to hear about the Little Free Library in last week’s Friday Five. In Brooklyn we already have our own Little Free Library which is also known as our stoops. People regularly leave books for passersby to pick up, which is how I came across this old, tattered copy of All Creatures Great and Small. The cover is ripped, the pages are more brown than white and, yes, that’s tape holding the cover to the spine. It looks like it’s been hanging around in someone’s basement since the book was published in the early 70s, and by the retail price of $1.75 on the cover, I wouldn’t doubt if that’s true. I enjoyed reading a book that had a bit of history, as if the book itself had a story to tell. Of course the actual story was wonderful too. James Herriot is just beginning his career in the 1930s as a country veterinarian in the rural areas near Yorkshire, England. His patients range from dogs and cats to pigs and cows. As he weaves his animal tales (pun intended), he also paints a portrait of the windswept moors and the hardy, hardworking farmers (and even wealthy socialite widows). It’s warm, but not sappy; insightful, but not preachy. Now I think I’ll leave the book on my stoop for the next person to pick up and enjoy.

2. This weekend, Reggie and I took a long walk around Prospect Park. The weather was flawless. We stopped at the pond for a rest and I decided to take a photo. Every time I take a photo of Reggie, he gives me this pose the moment I press the button. I think this is his Blue Steel look (how great was Zoolander anyway?).

Exhibit A. 

Exhibit B.

Exhibit C. 

Reggie Noir

3. Serena Kovalosky, who was featured on Shine a few months ago, had an interesting post asking if video games could be considered art. There is an exhibit called The Art of Video Games at the Smithsonian Institute that answers that question with a resounding yes. It’s the first exhibition of its kind. There’s certainly a lot of creativity involved in developing the games, but art? If you’re a bit skeptical like me, check out this clip from curator Chris Melissinos and decide for yourself.

What do you think? Are video games art? Why or why not? 


4. The Tao of Reggie. Reggie teaches me something new every day. Sometimes I learn little things like tissues are delicious, and sometimes I learn heavier stuff like the best way to live in the moment by sleeping in a patch of sunlight. The latter is echoed in a wonderful book called Guardians of Being by Eckhart Tolle and illustrated by Patrick McConnell (of Mutts fame).  It’s a lovely reminder of the joy of being present.

Just watching an animal closely can take you out of your mind and bring you into the present moment, which is where the animal lives all the time – surrendered to life. It’s so wonderful to watch an animal, because an animal has no opinion about itself. It is. They have become Guardians of Being.

5. Vacuums R Us. How many times would you try something before you threw in the towel? Ten times? One hundred times? Five hundred times? James Dyson developed 5,127 prototypes over 15 years before coming up with a vacuum that worked. I came across this old article from written by Dyson about why he was able to stick with it so long. “It’s time to redefine the meaning of the word failure. On the road to invention, failures are just problems that have yet to be solved…Unfortunately, society doesn’t always look kindly on failure. Punishing mistakes doesn’t lead to better solutions or faster results. It stifles invention.”

What if we weren’t afraid to fail? What if we were even encouraged to fail? Dyson started a foundation to encourage young people to make things with their hands, solve problems and maybe (gasp) failing along the way.

‘We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.’ ~Lloyd Alexander

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? 

Have a great weekend, everyone! 



  1. Oh yes, definitely Blue Steel, with only minor (artistic) variations. LOL!!

    Love the photo and nutshell review of ATGS. Wonderful on all counts. How great to live in a community where folks leave books out on their stoops for others to enjoy!

    “Sometimes I learn little things like tissues are delicious, and sometimes I learn heavier stuff like the best way to live in the moment by sleeping in a patch of sunlight.” That just made my weekend, Jackie. Thank you 🙂 You have a good one yourself.


    1. I’m reading another “stoop” book right now. It’s Anne Tyler’s The Amateur Marriage. I’m a fan of hers but had never read this title. A big karmic thank you to whomever left that out.

      Reggie would like to point out that his version of Blue Steel is way better than Zoolander’s. 🙂

      Have a great weekend!


  2. Oh, All Creatures! That book (and PBS show) was huge in our house growing up! We watched the show religiously and then read the books–I have such fond memories of both–so glad you found them. (And last I checked Netflix offered the series on download. Just sayin’.

    And oh, not one but *3* pictures of Reggie–my day is made! He gets more handsome with every week! Be sure to tell him I said so 😉

    Wishing you both a wondrous weekend, my friend!


    1. Oh, there will be no living with him after this! I think he’s perfected the “over the shoulder” look. It’s his signature move.
      I see you have a new pub date coming up… I will be very much looking forward to it. How exciting!


  3. Great collection, Jackie. I especially like the Reggie poses and the Tolle book.
    I’ve heard of people leaving books on the subway and buses for other people to enjoy. I also like that idea.

    You have a great weekend too!


    1. Guardians of Being is such a treasure. I re-read it several times. Such a simple premise yet so profound.

      BTW – I’m so enjoying your Maui photos!


  4. I love the idea of the little free library and I really like Herriot’s books. Reggie is a photogenic.
    I learn from my cats every day. They are amazing teachers. Not all is useful – like sticking your nose to a little slit in the wall in which a bee has a nest… Narrow escape… for the nose today. I still haven’t read my Tolle books.


    1. Sometimes too much curiosity isn’t good for the cat! I hope your kitty stays Zen and keeps far away from those bees.


    1. As soon as I can get Reggie to understand that lesson about sock, I’ll get back to you. 🙂
      Have a great weekend!


  5. My mom has a hardback copy of “All creatures”. I do believe it is one of her faves. I should ask her how many times she has read it.
    I so very much heart Reggie and his pose. Our dogs teach us and remind us about the importance of being, too.
    Jackie… you mentioned vacuums again. Am I confusing you with someone else? Didn’t you buy a vacuum several months ago? You never mentioned the brand.


    1. Either you have a great memory, Lenore, or else I talk far too much about cleaning machinery. I hope it’s the former. 🙂

      BTW – I did get a new vacuum and I love it. Picks up Reggie fur like nobody’s business. I’ll go on record as saying it’s a Hoover.


  6. Loved All Creatures Large and Small and the book was made into a series in the UK.
    I bought a Dyson some time ago and it’s great at picking up Lotte’s hair. And failure and picking oneself up again, what about The Wright Brothers, Roger Bannister etc etc. We learn that if we fail we are certainly in good company. I wrote a post on this way back in November.


  7. Reggie. So hot right now. Reggie.
    *in my best Mugatu*
    That Dyson story was kind of inspiring too, Ms. C…
    makes me feel a bit better about doing a perpetual face-plant into the pavement.


  8. I grew up with the TV version of ACGAS. I had a crush on James Herriot. I was very disappointed when he got married! What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? That’s a good question to get to the heart of your true goals in life, not just the ones you, your family or society tell you you can achieve. And as an aside, your ‘Reggie Noir’ photo reminded me of something. Have you seen this youtube video of Henri the existentialist cat? I think it may be right up your alley…


  9. I love the idea of passing books on. It’s a beautiful way for people (especially in a big city) to share things.

    Read all of James Herriot’s books when I was a teenager – and of course wanted to be a vet!

    The photos of Reggie made me laugh because Rosie does exactly the same thing. Sometimes when you point a camera at her, more often when she wants food. Her eyes will occasionally dart in your direction to see if you’re still paying attention.

    The Tao of Reggie: Totally agree – our animals teach me something new each day. They are just so smart!

    Re: the quote by Dyson. I’ve heard some other successive inventor say the same thing i.e. that you have to be prepared to fail if you want to succeed.


    1. I’ve tried to hold Reggie’s attention when I’m taking a picture by showing him a treat. But then he gets up and totally gang rushes me to get to the treat.
      I enjoyed James Herriot’s book so much. I didn’t want the stories to end. I couldn’t help but Google him when I was through and found out that James Herriot is a nom de plume!


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