Jul 19 2013

Hug Him And Squeeze Him And Call Him George (Video)

You’ve probably heard the line “I will hug him and squeeze him and call him George.” As I just wrote on Facebook, teaching it to my children is one of my great accomplishments as a parent. (Remember, quoting yourself may be tacky, but it makes fact-checking much easier.) I always thought the line came from a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Now I’m not so sure.

I might even have the line wrong. If so, I’m not the only one.

What follows is a condensed version of my attempt to figure out where “I will hug him and squeeze him and call him George” came from, which led me down a big Internet rabbit hole (pun intended) of cartoons, John Steinbeck, and other stuff.

At first the Internet seemed to be telling me that the cartoon in question was “The Abominable Snow Rabbit”.

In the video above, the line is, “I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him…” Not an exact match, but very close. (Daffy Duck has a great line as well: “I know I’m a louse. But I’m a live louse.”)

Then I stumbled across an intriguing tidbit: “The Abominable Snow Rabbit” is an homage to John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.”

OK. Sure. Why not?

However, according to the Internet there are many cartoon homages to “Of Mice and Men.”

Really. There are.

Here is “Lonesome Lenny”, a 1946 Tex Avery cartoon, described thusly on IMDB: “Screwy Squirrel is bought in a pet shop to be the companion of a daft dog so strong that he squeezes his playmates to death.” Well all righty then. The dog’s name is Lenny, and he calls his new pal George. (Lennie and George are the main characters in “Of Mice and Men.”)

(Tip of the hat to the folks on this AWN forum page for pointing me towards “Lonesome Lenny”.)

But there is another Tex Avery short, “Of Fox And Hounds”, released in 1940, that is also an “Of Mice and Men” thing. This is where the immortal line “Which way did he go, George? Which way did he go?” came from. (I taught that one to my kids as well. I’m an awesome dad.)

(Hat tip to LanguageHat.com. No pun intended that time.)

Research note: Lest anyone think that my sources are limited to Wikipedia and pages I found via The Google, here is a link to The New York Times’ review of the 1939 film version of Steinbeck’s book (starring Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney, Jr.), which states that “Of Mice and Men” has been “endlessly parodied in Warner Bros. and MGM cartoons”. (Personally, I prefer “homage” to “parody” in this case. But let’s not split hairs. Or hares.)

“Of Fox And Hounds” seems to be the first animated homage to “Of Mice and Men.” But, with apologies to Bono, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. None of this tells me the source of “I will hug him and squeeze him and call him George.” Thinking that perhaps the words came from Steinbeck, I did some searching on Google Books, eventually changing my query to the phrase “Tell me about the rabbits George.” That opened a whole new rabbit hole of references.

Lennie, George and rabbits are apparently quite the thing. Who knew?

What did we learn? A lot. Haven’t answered my original question. But that’s OK.

(Thanks to the Facebook friends who inspired this post.)

Classic Looney Tunes – YouTube.

May 17 2013

Buy Mike Adamick’s Awesome Book of Awesomeness

So is it fair for me to call a book awesome if I haven’t read it? Can I tell you to buy Mike Adamick‘s book, Dad’s Book of Awesome Projects, simply because I think Mike himself is awesome?

Of course I can.

Mike Adamick is a dad and a writer. I guess he’s a SAHD WAHD like myself, although I don’t like to bestow that acronym upon anyone other than myself because of the way it sounds when you say it out loud. (Try it, I’ll wait.) Anyway, I know Mike from way back when we both wrote for Babble at the same time (he was there first).

The full title of Mike’s book is Dad’s Book of Awesome Projects: From Stilts and Super-Hero Capes to Tinker Boxes and Seesaws, 25+ Fun Do-It-Yourself Projects for Families.

Here’s a bit of the description from Amazon:

This book shows you and your kids how to build:

– Comic book shoes
– Rope swings
– Homemade goo slime
– Eggshell cupcakes
– Ol’-fashioned fruit crate scooter

Dude, you had me at “goo slime,” but only because I saw that before I saw “comic book shoes.” I don’t even know what comic book shoes are but I want to make them.

Anyway, I’m buying a copy. You should too.

What? You’re still here? Go get it already!

Oh, and visit MikeAdamick.com.

Sep 19 2012

Guess What? Reading Is Good For Your Brain

A book being read

Turns out that reading is good for your brain. Duh.

But you know something? It’s good when people point this out. In this case it was an item on Huffington Post.

Reading is valuable — not only for entertainment or knowledge value, but for exercising your brain.

I never used to think about that aspect of reading. Then I saw an episode of Boston Public where Denny Crane, the character played by the possibly immortal William Shatner (toupee or no toupee, the guy has a lot of energy for an 81-year-old), visits a doctor to discuss his brain decay. (I’m simplifying.) One of the doctor’s suggestions was that Mr. Crane do more activities that exercise the brain — crossword puzzles, and yes, reading more books. That little moment of television stayed with me and I now make an effort to do crossword puzzles, play word games, and yes, read more books.

But that’s about me, an adult. (An adult who loves superheroes, comic books, and cartoons, but an adult nonetheless.) How about reading and kids?

A DaddyTip About Reading, And Why Reading Isn’t “Nerdy”

With children, it’s always a good idea to get them started with reading as soon as you can. Read more »

Apr 23 2012

Runaway Bunny Reviewed By A Maniac

The Runaway Bunny reviewed by a maniac

Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if the book The Runaway Bunny was reviewed by a maniac? Wonder no more!

According to one particularly peeved person, the book that we all thought was cute is “like a horror movie where the mom has gone insane and hunts down her child who dearly wishes to escape her.”

This is good stuff, folks.

Personally, we were always troubled by the line in the book when the little bunny tells his mom, “If you become the wind and blow me…” But maybe that’s just us.

The review was highlighted by the site LeastHelpful.com, a collection of less than helpful user reviews posted on Amazon. Great idea. And yes, we’re a little jealous that we didn’t think of it first.

If you disagree with the above reviewer and want to buy The Runaway Bunny anyway, you may do so at Amazon.

Papermag via LeastHelpful.com


Dec 12 2011

Book Review – So Now You’re A Zombie [Child Labor]

So Now You're A Zombie

Here is a review of the bookSo Now You’re a Zombie“, by John Austin. Review written by my older son. This does not count as child labor. Or so we believe. Read more »

Sep 21 2011

Yes, There Are Comic Books For Kids

Tiny Titans - Welcome To The Treehouse

The website Sequential Tart (great name) has a story about comic books for kids. A lot of great comics are mentioned, and I wanted to weigh in.

Read more »

Aug 03 2011

My New Favorite word: Unmanning

A Game of Thrones - A Song of Ice and Fire - Book One

I have a new favorite word. Unmanning.

Never heard it before? Well, it does not mean “one who is unlike Peyton, Eli or Cooper Manning.” (I had to put Cooper in there. Not that he seems to mind not playing in the NFL. )

Read more »