Monday, December 28, 2009

Guess What? Looks Can Buy Happiness After All

This piece is in response to an article that appeared online at MSNBC.com, titled "Looks buy happiness, but only in the city" (Wed. Dec. 16, 2009, 8:31 a.n. CST). The article can be viewed at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34433979/ns/health-skin_and_beauty/


In a stunning reversal of public service announcements, motherly advice, spiritual admonitions, and the Christina Aguilera music video for the song "Beautiful," it would appear that in American cities, looks do matter after all, at least for women. This is, of course, tragic news for those of us who don't look like a supermodel, but exceedingly good news for Clairol, Cover Girl, and every other beauty supplier in the country. Well, at least the women of America can now do their part to stimulate the economy by buying products that make empty promises about how we'll look like Gisele Bundchen if we just smear enough of it onto our eyelids.

This revelation is the result of a study conducted by a visiting assistant professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, and it's a good thing she was just visiting. If she worked there permanently, I shudder to think what she might have discovered... I envision a study titled, "You're ugly, your mama was ugly, your daddy was ugly, and now you're ugly" about the role nature and nurture play in a woman's personal "hotness" factor.

As it is, the actual study examined women in the city and in the country (no mice were included, by the way, just human women), and it clearly revealed that in the city, looks matter more. Apparently, there's much more pressure in the city and much more competition for limited resources, such as "social acceptance." I didn't know social acceptance was a resource, but it's in short supply in our nation's cities, right up there with a dearth of dirt roads, cows, and manure. (I don't know what our cities can do about this tragic lack, but I'm sure another psychologist will study it at some point.)

Fortunately for ugly women across the United States, they have safe, comfortable places to ease their souls when their lack of attractiveness gets them down... locations far from the madding crowds, referred to the sticks. In these places far distant from those mean old cities, women can rest assured that no matter how hideous their appearance, they'll still look better than a cow, smell better than manure, and brighten up an empty dirt road. In the country, there is plenty of social acceptance to go around, a situation that I expect will last only until some American corporation can figure out how to bottle social acceptance, at which point they'll ship it to the cities where they can make more money for it, since it's so scarce there.

I'm so glad this study was done, because I've been living my life up until now under the impression that my looks are fine, and I can relax about it. Now I know the truth. I can't relax at all, and I can only move as close to the city as my looks in comparison to everyone else's will allow. Once I hit the land of bathing suit beauties over 5 feet 6 inches tall, I'll have to back off and settle down. I think that's somewhere in Indiana, but I'm not sure. I'll have to Google Earth it to be certain. And then, I'll have to move there.

Interestingly, this study examined neither men's appearances nor the suburbs. I, for one, can't wait to hear how much social acceptance is available for 40-year-old fathers in aprons and oven mitts hovered around gas grills in the suburban areas surrounding Boston, Massachusetts. My hunch is that their acceptance will be in exact proportion to how skilled they are at getting the burgers off the grill before they're burned. But I could be wrong about that. After all, I was wrong about how much my looks matter to a visiting psychologist at UCal Berkeley.

Stay tuned for my next installment, where I worry endlessly about the size of my thighs due to a study done by a visiting anthropology professor at the University of Arizona. (I'm just kidding...that study hasn't been done yet...but I bet it will be!)

Copyright 2009 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why I Deserve an A

The inspiration for this piece comes from two disparate sources: (1) President Barack Obama, who during a recent interview on Oprah, gave himself a B+ for his work so far as president and then explained the circumstances prevailing against him to keep his grade from being even higher; and (2) my experience teaching freshman composition at community colleges, during which time I've heard plenty of excuses, explanations, protests, and pleas from students who were convinced, for no reason whatsoever, that they deserved a higher grade than the grade I assigned them (the grade they had earned).

So with tongue in cheek, here's my version of Obama on grades...

Hi, Professor America. This is Barack, from your first-term class. I was hoping I could talk to you for a minute after class. It's about the B+ you gave me. I mean, no offense, but I really earned an A, you know.

Well, yeah, I know that my grade averages out to an 85. No, no, I can see it's generous to bump up an 85 to a B plus instead of just a B, but still... I should have earned an A in this class, and I deserve an A. It's not my fault that my grade-point average isn't higher.

First of all, there's that guy, George Bush.Yeah, sure, he graduated, like, over a whole year ago and all, but he's still messing up the freshman classes, and he's not even on campus anymore. The dude is a crazy legend, man... kind of like Ferris Bueller. You can't fight that kind of mojo!

And secondly, I totally would have done better in class if the Constitution had told me what was going to be on the test, but it didn't, which is totally unfair! I mean, no one can succeed on a test if no one tells them what to study, right? You could tell I read the Declaration of Independence, right? Why didn't you curve the grades for me?

And third, it's totally not my fault that the dog ate my homework. I mean, that almost never happens. Dogs usually only eat elementary school homework and they leave you alone by the time you get to high school. I think the last time a sitting president had his homework eaten by a dog was, like, Millard Fillmore...and that was so long ago. If I had known that was going to happen, I would have bought the kids a cat.

Anyway... Maybe you could give me an extra credit assignment? I'll work really hard on it, and get it in on time, I promise!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Twelve Days of Okie Christmas

Even though I have lived in Oklahoma for a mere five years, I have taken poetic license and extrapolated what I know of this great midwestern state in order to write a witty and thrilling rendition of a really long song that is Christmas season's version of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"...something greatly needed at holiday time (long holiday songs, I mean, not beer). I have officially vetted these song lyrics with people who have lived in this state for far longer than I have, and they have all told me, "This pretty much covers it." As far as I'm concerned, that kind of proof is as good as a scientific study. (That's how professional I am about these kinds of things.)

With that brilliant introduction, I give you my song...

The Twelve Days of Okie Christmas
An homage to my adopted state of Oklahoma

To be sung to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas (in case this is somehow not obvious)

For my first Okie Christmas, my true love gave to me
     a picture of Pistol Pete.
For my second Okie Christmas, my true love gave to me
     two Boomer Sooners and a picture of Pistol Pete.
For my third Okie Christmas, my true love gave to me
     three oil wells, two Boomer Sooners, and a picture of Pistol Pete.
For my fourth Okie Christmas, my true love gave to me
     four tornado shelters, three oil wells, two Boomer Sooners,
     and a picture of Pistol Pete.
For my fifth Okie Christmas, my true love gave to me
     five tickets to Bedlam...
     four tornado shelters, three oil wells, two Boomer Sooners,
     and a picture of Pistol Pete.
For my sixth Okie Christmas, my true love gave to me
     six gaping potholes, five tickets to Bedlam...
     four tornado shelters, three oil wells, two Boomer Sooners,
     and a picture of Pistol Pete.
For my seventh Okie Christmas, my true love gave to me
     seven Rooster Days, six gaping potholes, five tickets to Bedlam...
     four tornado shelters, three oil wells, two Boomer Sooners,
     and a picture of Pistol Pete.
For my eighth Okie Christmas,  my true love gave to me
     eight rodeos, seven Rooster Days, six gaping potholes,
     five tickets to Bedlam...
     four tornado shelters, three oil wells, two Boomer Sooners,
     and a picture of Pistol Pete.
For my ninth Okie Christmas, my true love gave to me
     nine Indian tacos, eight rodeos, seven Rooster Days,
     six gaping potholes, five tickets to Bedlam...
     four tornado shelters, three oil wells, two Boomer Sooners,
     and a picture of Pistol Pete.
For my tenth Okie Christmas, my true love gave to me
     ten Garth Brooks albums, nine Indian tacos,
     eight rodeos, seven Rooster Days, six gaping potholes,
     five tickets to Bedlam...
     four tornado shelters, three oil wells, two Boomer Sooners,
     and a picture of Pistol Pete.
For my eleventh Okie Christmas, my true love gave to me
     eleven Will Rogers saddles, ten Garth Brooks albums,
     nine Indian tacos, eight rodeos, seven Rooster Days,
     six gaping potholes, five tickets to Bedlam...
     four tornado shelters, three oil wells, two Boomer Sooners,
     and a picture of Pistol Pete.
For my twelfth Okie Christmas, my true love gave to me
     twelve trips to Sonic, eleven Will Rogers saddles,
     ten Garth Brooks albums, nine Indian tacos,
     eight rodeos, seven Rooster Days,
     six gaping potholes, five tickets to Bedlam...
     four tornado shelters, three oil wells, two Boomer Sooners,
     and a picture of Pistol Pete.

Legal disclaimer: This song is written totally in jest and is in no way intended to be an endorsement of or commentary about any Oklahoma college football teams or mascots, Oklahoma residents living or dead, recording artists, music preferences, horse-riding as a sport or hobby, energy sources, weather patterns, road conditions, dietary options, fast food restaurants, or true love.

Copyright (C) 2009 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Black Friday

So, why do they call it "Black Friday" anyway? I'm talking, of course, about the day after Thanksgiving, which is supposedly the biggest shopping day in the world.

According to the website livescience.com, the phrase "Black Friday" was coined in 1869 to describe what happened "when several financiers tried to corner the gold market and the market crashed, and a depression ensued." Oh, happy day. (Not.) There have been other black days in the stock market, all leading to real down days financially speaking. I fail to see how borrowing this term to describe a shopping day at the mall is anything but truly twisted.

Trust me, I know that in accounting, being in the black is a good thing. Means you have more money than you're spending. And the stores at the mall want to be in the black. Of course they do. I'm sure they'd like to be there way before the end of November. Are they really that behind in their finances so late in the year? That's a scary thought.

But here's why I think we use the phrase Black Friday to describe the shopping day after Thanksgiving. It's because it is a black, black day indeed when so many Americans completely lose their minds like they do on this shopping day. I don't care how much money you save. When you're camped out in front of a Big Box Store at 2 AM, just hours after you're supposed to be celebrating family and blessings, in order to save $50 on a DVD player, you have a serious problem. When you'll trample other people to make sure you have a chance to get 5 CDs for $5, you're sick. And when someone dies in the stampede, but you just go on shopping anyway, you've lost your mind. Sorry. You have totally lost your mind.

So this Thanksgiving, if you see me wearing black, please know that I'm simply in mourning for the loss of America's self-respect, love for others, and financial responsibility... I mean, I'll be celebrating the American holiday season. Same difference, isn't it?

Sigh.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Love Comes in Words

In this quick update, I just want to say thank you to all my family and friends. You make me want to give up my perfectionism and just be a normal, healthy human being! I'm 14,600 words into my novel for National Novel Writing Month. Technically, since I started the project on October 25 and am due to finish November 25, I'm actually behind on the goal of getting to 50,000 words. But I may be able to catch up.


Still...keeping up with the word count isn't the hardest part of what I'm doing. The hardest part is keeping the duct tape firmly in place over the mouth of my inner critic. That's the voice every writer has inside, the voice that says, "Wow. I didn't think it was possible for writing to be this lousy...But it is. Wow." Yeah, the inner critic isn't a nice voice to have hanging around in your head.


But thank God for my family and friends, who are as kind and as encouraging as that darned inner critic is obnoxious. When I say, "It's a cheesy novel," my friends say, "Your writing isn't cheesy! Come on now!" When I say, "I have no plot and so my writing's all over the place and won't be good," my writing group says, "Don't be ridiculous. It'll be great. I'm proud of you!" When I say, "I'll let you read it, but it'll be bad," my family says, "We don't care about that. We're just excited to see what you've done."


All this positive reinforcement, all these invitations to just relax and enjoy myself, all these reminders that I don't have to be perfect... I'm so thankful for it all. I need it. God speaks like that...with love and encouragement. And my family and friends speak like that too. Your words carry your love to me. Thank you!


P.S. For those who want to know, the novel is a fantasy story, and it keeps changing on me, new characters keep popping up that I hadn't planned on, and the relationships between them are changing. These characters are keeping me on my toes, I'll tell you that. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

NaNoWriMo Has Begun!

Ok, so you're asking yourself, "NaNoWriMo? What's that?" Don't worry, it's not contagious. It's just the abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November. This year, I've decided to give it a try. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That's about 1,667 words per day, for a total of around 200 pages by the end of the month. That's a lot of writing. I'm doing it for two reasons: (1) I want to get into a more regular habit of writing fiction every day and writing plenty of pages, rather than worrying so much about editing my writing that I never get anything done. (2) I'll be able to say I've written a novel, no matter how crappy it turns out. And if I can write one novel, I can certainly write others.

For the next 30 days, I'll be busy writing for NaNoWriMo, and that means I may not be writing as much on this blog. I'm determined to write here once a week, but it will probably be simple entries for the next four weeks...a short hello, a thought for the day, or an update on my NaNoWriMo fun. When November is over and December rolls around, I'll be back to more formal entries here. So stay tuned.

Here's a thought for the day to jumpstart your week: Remember the simple joys of childhood, and let that joy bring a smile to your face today. Halloween was a few days ago. I remember how much fun it was to dress up and go trick-or-treating door to door with my brother. I loved seeing what kind of candy each house would have for us. Talk about carefree days! When you're that age, you have no worries...or at least, you shouldn't. God wants us to have that same carefree attitude, that same in-the-moment joy of living, no matter what age we are. So think back to a time you felt that kind of simple, childlike delight in life, and let that feeling fill you today and carry you through the week.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Autumn Leaf

Author's Note: I saw the One-Minute Writer's Prompt today to write an autumn story. But I decided to write a poem instead, something I haven't done in a long time. But the contrast between the warm, riotous colors of autumn and the grey coldness of approaching winter intrigued me, and I thought it best served up in the poetic imagery, rather than prose.



Autumn Leaf

Landing at my feet,
crisply curled and silent,
the leaf falls to the ground.

Its bright shock of display
of orange-yellow hue
proclaims without a sound

a raucous love of life
in a happy colored leaf;
But I dare not be swayed
By its sacrifice motif.

It fell onto the ground
to follow fast its brothers,
forgetting in its haste
the tree, its loving mother.

Bold though it may seem
It has left its life, the branch.
Thus death is in its colors,
swift as an avalanche.


Copyright 2009 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

In Recognition of Extraordinary Efforts...

The One-Minute Writer's latest writing prompt:
Give away your own Peace Prize to one person, living or dead. What would you say when presenting it?


My response:
I award the Peace Prize to God, in recognition of His extraordinary efforts to establish peace between Himself and humankind. His unique and impressive approach to diplomacy has produced truly significant accomplishments, including authorship of the world's best-selling book offering His view on what true hope is, and how true change can be effected. Ignoring frequent disrespect toward His person, He continues to reach out in forgiveness, working toward d├ętente wherever possible and maintaining diplomatic relations with all peoples. He expends tremendous energy toward peace through every means possible, including the establishment of an entire nation to represent His will, the appointment of His own son to a diplomatic post in a highly volatile location, and the sending of His spirit to work with people all over the world. I can think of no individual more worthy of a prize that honors the efforts of peace in our time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Food for Thought (If Only You'll Eat It...)

Author's note: This follow-up to my last post explains why I wish colleges taught a course in individual, critical thinking.

Food for Thought (If Only You'll Eat It...)

I believe that thinking for oneself has become a lost art.

Perhaps I notice this problem in our culture because I prefer being an independent thinker. I do not like it when I am handed an opinion, or even a fact, and told, "This is the way it is." It's always been my nature to ask the question, "How do you know that's the way it is? Where is the proof? Are you sure?" This seems a logical response to anything I'm told, and I'm rather surprised how many people don't ask these questions.

I mean, truly surprised...because the list of things we're told that no one questions is endless.

My first adult encounter with a failure to sift an idea through the mesh of analysis occurred around 1990-1991, when Bill Clinton emerged as a presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. I will not speak of politics right now, but I will admit that I had a major problem with his candidacy—not because he was a Democrat, but because he made promises I knew he couldn't keep. And I knew he couldn't keep them for the simple reason that when he made them, I didn't take them at face value. I'm an independent thinker. I asked questions.

Case in point: Mr. Clinton promised universal health care if elected. Actually, the man had the nerve to assert, "I will do this." (Those "I will" statements cause trouble among humans as well as angels, apparently.) I didn't reject what he said out-of-hand, but I didn't swallow it whole either. Instead, I asked myself, "How can he say that so assuredly? Is that really possible?" I considered all the major players at the time...insurance companies, HMOs, private and public hospitals, the AMA, doctors, nurses, employers, and the American people. I thought about the major issues involved...private care vs. government-mandated care, freedom to choose doctors, freedom to choose insurance coverage, costs to individuals and corporations, people's reluctance to embrace change of any kind, politicians' love for grandstanding and promoting themselves regardless of how their constituents feel, and so on.

I evaluated all these factors in relation to one another, read between the lines, refused to take "facts" at face-value, hunted down the basis for commentators' conclusions, wondered what wasn't being said. And then I concluded, logically, that a cohesive agreement on universal health care was impossible. Could Bill Clinton keep his promise? No way. The various players in the healthcare system would never come to an agreement. The politicians wouldn't either. And the American public wouldn't agree to pay the taxes it would cost.

Therefore, Clinton could promise all he wanted, but he'd never be able to deliver. His goal wasn't to deliver, but to get elected. Not my kind of candidate. I wouldn't vote for him. Q.E.D.

The process I went through to make that decision is called critical thinking, and it is sorely lacking among college students these days. (I've taught them, and I know.) It's also sorely lacking among older adults who you might otherwise think should know better. But they don't. One of my coworkers in 1992 said she was voting for Clinton because he promised universal health care. When I told her there was no way he could pull it off, she was surprised. When I went over my reasons why, she was even more surprised. She hadn't considered any of what I had considered. And when presented with information that should have colored her decision, she still wouldn't receive it, because she had made up her mind. Without logical thought. She simply swallowed the lure—hook, line and sinker. She wanted it that way.

Unfortunately, we Americans have a dangerous tendency to swallow what we're told. A lack of critical thinking, thinking for oneself, leads us into all sorts of problems. We fail to ask questions, and simply believe things at face value...everything from whether the McDonald's healthy menu is actually healthy to whether a Palestinian state occupying half of Israel is the way to bring peace to the Middle East.

Even we Christians do this to ourselves. We want someone else to tell us what to believe. Or we hear what we want to believe and simply stop there, without looking it up in the Bible or taking it to God in our prayer time to see if what we want to hear is true. Suppose it's not. But also suppose it is, and there's more that God wants us to know about it, to flesh out our thoughts and help us build an even firmer foundation on truth that would save us from trouble down the line. If only we'd take the time to ask questions...

I could go on, but I won't. I simply invite you, as a reader of this blog, to make sure that you always think for yourself. And then I invite you to go a step further by doing what you can to influence those around you to begin thinking for themselves. Critical thinking is a crucial component to solving the problems America faces these days. We won't emerge from our troubles if we simply take things at face value. We must ask questions, analyze everything, and sift until we find the truth. It's just wisdom to live that way. And if we really want the truth, we'll find it. We have a promise from God on that.

I'm leaving you with food for thought. I hope you make a meal of it!

Copyright 2009 Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Author's Note: I got this writing prompt from the One Minute Writer blog, a daily source of topics that writers can use to hone their skills. The idea is to take 60 seconds to answer the writing prompt. The one I've listed below caught my attention because I've taught freshman writing at various community colleges on and off for years. Naturally, I could easily write (or talk) much longer than 60 seconds on this topic, but I'll be good and follow the spirit of One Minute Writer. This is what I came up with in 60 seconds, no edits except to correct typos.

Writing Prompt: Colleges offer courses like English 101 and Biology 101, teaching students the basics of those subjects. What "101" course do you think colleges should offer to help 18-year-old students learn what they really need to know?

Ready...GO!

Colleges should require all incoming students to take a "How to Think for Yourself" course. Far too many students have learned to be lazy in their analysis...if they even know how to analyze at all. Which means they take everything at face value. Which explains how our elections in this country have become so messed up...

Further note: I may discuss this topic more in a future blog, since it really needs to be fleshed out and explained further. But here's the plus: no typos to correct after all. Wow, I rock.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Transition Rant


Author's note: This is a personal essay I did for my writers' group on the subject of transition. Rest easy... I am no longer in such an uncomfortable time as I've written below. But I thought since we all go through transitions in life, you might enjoy these thoughts!
Getting the Cat Into the Carrier: A Transition Rant
Some people think of “transition” as a mere word. A three-syllable, 25-cent word, but still just a word. It sounds smooth, doesn’t it? Just listen to it flow off the tongue: transition. I can almost hear James Earl Jones reciting the word in his deep, melodious tones, as though it’s the brand name of a fantastic new car that you just have to buy, right now, this very second:
“Visit our showroom today and test drive a new Transition. You’ll be glad you did!”
To some people, transition sounds that bright and exciting. And I get that. Some people want so badly out of where they are now that any change seems good.
But not me. I hate change. And lately, transition has not been giving me a smooth ride the way a luxury sedan should. I’m not cruising down Rodeo Drive like a perfect princess in a sleek Cadillac Transition.
Instead, I’m hurtling up and down some freakish, roller-coaster mountain roads in my possessed, Stephen King’s Christine of a car! This is my current transition: a car from hell with no brakes on steep hills.
Do I need to say how much I hate transitions? Or have I already made myself clear?
Let me make a confession to the brethren. Not long ago, I left my home state of Connecticut to live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And honestly, I thought the transition of leaving Connecticut for Tulsa was the epitome of bad. From Connecticut to Tulsa . . . that’s like Jesus leaving heaven for earth!
Well, okay. That’s a huge exaggeration. I admit it. But that should help you see where I’m coming from. The change of location and culture was so drastic. And unlike Jesus, I didn’t exactly handle my Connecticut–Tulsa transition all that well. Personally, between you and me, I did consider it robbery — highway robbery — to have to leave. And I still do, in a way. Like I said, I’m not a fan of change.
But that transition was a pleasure trip in the Caribbean compared to the one I’m going through now. Right now, I’m doing what I heard someone describe as the “Abraham transition.” That’s the “go to the place I’ll show you” transition — the one where you know things are changing and you have to make some moves, but you have no idea where you’re going to end up.
The Abraham transition is fine and dandy when you’re in the back of the car yelling, “Are we there yet?” to your harried parents in the front seat. But when you’re the one driving because it’s your car, and you’re the one yelling, “Where are we going? Are we there yet?” — Uh, yeah. Not so much fun.
If you want a different metaphor for what the Abraham transition feels like to me, I have the perfect one for you. I feel like a cat that’s being stuffed into an animal carrier. And specifically, I’m being pushed through that tiny door built into the top of the carrier.
Now, if you’ve ever owned a cat at any point in your lifetime, you already know exactly what I mean. But for those who have not had the pleasure of this experience of cat-ownership, let me share it with you:
Cats generally hate being put anywhere they were not already planning to go on their own. Doesn’t matter where it is. It’s just the general idea of being put that they don’t like. The cat therefore says to itself, “Well, I wasn’t planning to go over there. So I’m not going.”
And this form of cat resistance is made at least a hundred times worse when you’re trying to put the cat through the small opening in the top of a cat carrier, because the feeling of going top-down is really, really loathsome to cats for some reason I have not yet been able to determine. After all, they always land on their feet, so why should they care? Nevertheless, if cats aren’t doing the top-down drop of their own volition, they get extremely hostile about it.
And they resist.
When cats resist, they tense up. They splay out their legs like ramrods. They stiffen up and turn into stone. And suddenly you can’t fit them through the hole in the top of the carrier, because they’ve made themselves too big and wide and stiff to fit through it. I’m talking about furry cat legs thrown out in all four directions, thrust out toward the four compass points, like the arms on a windmill.
And that’s how I’ve been feeling.
As you might imagine, this resistant cat behavior is not the ideal way to enter and embrace a time of transition. It’s not embracing at all, is it? It’s resisting with everything that’s within me. And yet in spite of the fight inside me, the transition hasn’t stopped.
So I’m going on the journey uncomfortable. And I have no idea where I’m going. And I have no GPS. Except for God’s latest direction to me, as vague as a quick note scratched on the napkin of my prayer life, reading: “Relax. The next place isn’t open yet.”
Great.
But I have to confess this one last thing: I guess I’m settling down into this time of transition after all. As of right now, I no longer feel precisely like a cat with its legs splayed out, a veritable Mr. Windmill.
Before you get too proud of me, though, let me warn you that this change of attitude still isn’t much to brag about. All it means is that God finally stuffed me into the carrier.
So now I’m just sitting here. In the carrier. A little grumpy, like a cat who’s lost the argument, you know. Sitting here, ears flaring, fur a little ruffled and puffed out. You can see I’ve been in a bit of a fight. But now the fight is over, and I’m just sitting here now, a big, grumpy cat stuck in a carrier.
All I can do now is pray I’m not going to the vet.
(C) Copyright 2009, Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved worldwide.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hi, all!

I'm going to post more regularly from now on . . . promise! But just to whet your appetite a bit, I thought I'd talk briefly about a couple of my recommended links. (You'll see them under the Chipper Muse Recommends tab to the right.)

Among the links for writers and magazines, you'll see a few things that may intrigue you:

The Chiappetta Crew
That's my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew. They're all amazing, especially my nephew David Joseph. He is a two-year-old miracle. Doctors said he'd never survive to be born. Yet here he is. Every day, he's doing things no one thought he'd ever be able to do. God is amazingly powerful, able to do greater and more fantastic things than we can imagine, and David Joseph is the proof of that. Check it out, and send my little man of God some love!

The Jesus Geeks
This is a highly entertaining podcast and related website by two guys, Chris and Cliff, who offer a Christian perspective on life, religion, and all things geeky (you know, like Star Wars, Batman, you name it). Oh yeah, and they offer a geek's perspective on Christianity. I love this idea . . . because I think you can enjoy science fiction, comic books, and all that cool stuff and not be a sinner. And they think so too!

Crimson Dark
This is an online comic book, drawn and written very nicely by a guy who, as it turns out, is a Christian as well as a comic book artist. Imagine that! Such a person exists . . . and he's talented too. I'm a think-outside-and-beyond-the-box kind of girl, and I'm always looking to see Jesus Christ invade all walks of life. I'd love for you to check out the author, David C. Simon, and his work.

Oh, and did you know the producer of the movie Wall-E is a Christian? Yep. We're out there, making a difference. I'll talk more about him in a future blog, probably.

I'll call it a night now. Like I said, just whetting your appetite. Keep your eyes out for more from your very own,

Chipper Muse

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The FAQ of My Life


Chipper Muse…What’s that mean?

Good question. There’s a story in the answer, and I’m a writer, so here goes. Chipper is a nickname. One day, a guy I worked with called me “Chipper.” And since I am normally a very smiley person, I assumed he was referring to my breathtakingly bubbly personality. Turns out he was simply playing on my last name, which starts with the sound “Chip.” I was understandably crushed by his pedestrian choice, but…whatever. I think Chipper is a cool pseudonym, so I’ve kept it.

Muse is a reference to the artist in me. In Greek myth, the Muses inspired creativity. This blog is an outlet for my creativity, my personal muse. But I also hope that what I write influences you, my readers, to think creatively, to see life differently than you usually do, and to be a little better off as a result.

So, I am humbly delighted to offer myself to you as your own Chipper Muse.

Christian, Italian, musician, writer, sci-fi fan, Mensa member, etc. You sound amazing! Are you really all these things?

Yes, I really am all those things. That’s why I see life from an unusual perspective. I haven’t met many people who are quite like me. I’m unique. Hooray for me! Ideally, you will enjoy this uniqueness as much as I do.

Hmm…Is there anything you can’t do? 
HAHAHAHAHA! Seriously, yeah sure, there are things I can’t do. I just couldn’t resist putting this question in after the previous one.

How often do you post?
Ideally, I’ll be posting a new blog entry once a week. Some may be short, others long. But they’ll all be my musings. Enjoy!