Now I Know - Now I Know: But That Cat Never Left!

But That Cat Never Left!


Hi! 

As long-time readers know, on Fridays — like, you know, today — I do a week-in-review type of thing. Today, I actually want to do a little review of something from two weeks ago. On Wednesday, January 12th, I shared this story titled "But the Cat Came Back." 

Many of you, like reader Darin R. quoted here, wrote to say that you appreciated my "sneaky reference to a classic piece of CBC animation." And as I've said before, I like to hide easter eggs in Now I Know stories. But in this case, I didn't actually hide that egg. In fact, I had no idea what "classic piece of CBC animation" Darin and many others were referring to.

Well, kind of. The title of the story is a reference to a children's song titled "The Cat Came Back" -- that I did intentionally. And the preheader (that's explained here) should have read "a goner but he just wouldn't stay away") was also a reference to that song. And the animation Darin is referring to, seen here, is based on that song. It is a legitimately famous animated short film, at least insofar as animated short films go; it was nominated for an Academy Award in 1988. While it didn't win, it was definitely visible enough where, if you were a young child in 1988, you probably saw it and liked it and therefore, saw it again and again. 

But I wasn't a young child in 1988 -- close, but I'm a few years older than the target age range for that film. I'm an older brother so there's a chance one of my siblings saw it, but I don't have any recollection of it. That doesn't mean I never saw it; I just don't recall seeing it. If memory serves -- and it probably doesn't -- I knew the song and its lyrics because my elementary school music/choir class probably had to sing it for some concert. The original song is from 1893 -- that's not a typo -- and it gained some mainstream popularity in the U.S. and Canada in 1979 when a singer named Fred Penner released it as the titular track from his debut album of children's songs

In any event, I wasn't thinking of the animation when I came up with the title for that story. I'm glad, however, that so many of you thought I did. You introduced me to the little cartoon, which is pretty funny, and also sent me into a rabbit hole as I tried to figure out how I learned about this kids' song. 

The Now I Know Week in Review

Monday: A City Fit for a King: A story about Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday: The Crime Tip from a Non-Tip at the Tip of the Nation: Be kind and tip your server. 

Wednesday: When Fake Burps Have Real Consequences: I truly cannot believe this happened.

Thursday: 30 Years Ago Was a Good Day, Maybe: It was 25 years ago when I wrote the story five years ago. 

And some other things you should check out:


Some long reads etc. for the weekend.

1) "My Grandma the Poisoner" (Vice, 16 minutes, October 2014). This is, legitimately, one of the strangest things I've ever read. A warning: the story is disturbing.  It's both sad and horrible at the same time; I flipped between feeling terrible for the grandmother and being terrified of her more than once. It's also, potentially, a story being driven by misplaced speculation by the author, but like most stories I'm drawn to, it's so absurd it almost has to be real. (Oh, and he keeps calling Long Island "Lawng Islund," which I found grating.)

2) "These Academics Spent the Last Year Testing Whether Your Phone Is Secretly Listening to You" (Gizmodo, 7 minutes, July 2018). First off, the answer is no, it isn't. Second, this article is from four years ago, so potentially, things have changed -- but probably not. 

3a) "How A Group Of Twitter Colleagues Blew Up Wordle" (Buzzfeed, 6 minutes, January 2022). Last week, I talked about games I'm playing. One of them is Wordle, and here's a story, via reader Brett W., about how it went viral. 

3b) A new, quick game I tried this week: Take Wikipedia entries and try to place them on a timeline (via Kottke.org). This is harder than I thought it would be. I tried a few times and the longest streak I could get was 5.

Have a great weekend!

Dan
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