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Cat in the Stax: Spring 2022 Semester Rewind

By Ethan Shea

"Casette"

For this final ‘Cat in the Stax’ of the semester, I thought it would be fun to replicate the way I ended our winter semester, with some highlights of the blog from the past few months.

Altogether, there were a total of sixteen Cat in the Stax blogs published this semester (counting this one). Out of all of them, it’s hard to choose just a few standouts, but I’ll give it a shot…

"Red Fox"

To begin, one of my favorite blogs to write was actually last week’s piece on our local wildlife. I enjoyed researching the names of birds I see so often but never could identify. Besides, I’ll always take an opportunity to talk about foxes, one of my favorite animals.Wordle

I also had a blast writing “The Benefits of Wordle,” a blog about everyone’s favorite pastime. Wordle has become a part of my daily routine over the past few months, and I know I’m not the only one who has become addicted to this game. Learning that some are advocating for Wordle to be used in the classroom was fascinating and made me feel a bit better about spending so much time contemplating my guesses.

Tracing the Easter Bunny’s roots back to Pennsylvania was a lot of fun too.  This blog coupled with the Groundhog Day piece that was published not too long before Easter showed me just how important small, furry mammals are in Pennsylvania. Out of every Cat in the Stax of the semester, these animals were integral to at least three of them, but maybe that says more about me than it does about our state.

"Curtains Poster"Lastly, I was excited when the ‘Cat in the Stax’ that highlighted Villanova Theatre’s production of Curtains: A Musical Whodunnit was featured on The Yawp: Villanova’s Graduate English Program Blog. You can check out that blog here. I was happy to receive the shoutout, and looking through the past productions that led to Curtains was fun too!

Aside from this semester’s Cat in the Stax blogs, I’d like to bring attention to the return of The Curious Cat blogs this semester, which wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Elijah McDow and the willing participants we always find here at Falvey. Both will be back before long!

Anyways, I’m looking forward to summer vacation and my return to Falvey’s stacks in the fall! Enjoy your well-deserved break, and I’ll see you next semester!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

 


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Cat in the Stax: Our Local Wildlife

By Ethan Shea

"Eastern Bluebird"

An Eastern Bluebird perched on a small branch

For this penultimate Cat in the Stax of the academic year, I’d like to take your mind off finals for a brief moment and encourage you to think of something much more relaxing…the great outdoors. Now that the weather is warming up, not only more people, but an increasing number of wildlife can be seen roaming about too. As birds return from their winter vacations, our mornings are full of song and beautifully painted feathers. Not to mention the increased presence of our favorite furry mammals!

Over the past few months, I’ve become a bit of an amateur birdwatcher during my morning runs. Almost every day, I run through Norristown Farm Park, which is about a twenty-minute drive from campus if you’d like to visit yourself. I’ve loved watching different birds migrate through the park recently, and some of my favorites are Eastern Bluebirds, Barn Swallows, and either Downy or Hairy Woodpeckers (I can never tell them apart). I even see some larger birds on occasion, such as the Great Blue Heron and Bald Eagle.

"Red Fox"

A Red Fox stands beside a tree trunk

Regarding the flightless inhabitants of the park, my absolute favorite animal to run into is the Red Fox. I’ve been lucky enough to get pretty close to a few because thankfully, they’re not aggressive. When a fox has to choose between fight or flight, it’s almost always going to choose flight. That being said, they’re still wild animals and should be treated as such.

There are also plenty of White-Tailed Deer and groundhogs around. In fact, this morning I must have scared a groundhog while running through the woods. I watched it scurry away then climb straight up a tree! I’ve always thought groundhogs stayed on…well, the ground, but I learned something new today.

If you’re interested in learning more about our local wildlife, Falvey Library is the place to be! For example, this book by Gerald M. McWilliams, titled The Birds of Pennsylvania, has everything you need to know about birding in our state.

To explore nature for yourself, you need not go much further than our campus. In addition to the scenic walks around our own Villanova neighborhood, just down the road, Haverford College has a great nature trail that is open to the public. I also recommend checking out the Schuylkill River Trail, which currently has about 75 miles of completed trail in different sections. There should be more than enough places to visit along that path!

If you can, try to take some time between exams to relax and enjoy the nature we’re fortunate to be surrounded by. Good luck on finals, Wildcats!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


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Curious Cat: Summer Plans!

By Elijah McDow & Ethan Shea

"Curious Cat Banner"

The hiatus of the Curious Cat was two years too long. When Elijah and Ethan were asked to revive this beloved series a few months ago, they were thrilled to take on the task. Over the course of the spring semester, they’ve enjoyed brainstorming several questions of the week, writing blogs, and getting to meet so many fellow Wildcats.

With the last week of classes and finals on the horizon, this week’s Curious Cat will be the last installment of the academic year. For their final question, Elijah and Ethan asked: “What are you looking forward to doing this summer?”

In total, they received six responses from a handful of Falvey patrons. Here’s what they had to say…

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“Driving to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, with my friends.”
— Deidra Cali ’23  MA

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“Taking time to relax and enjoy my last summer before the ‘real world.'”
— Katie Dahyun Park ’22

“Looking forward to golfing this summer.”
— Connor Hamel ’22

“I’m looking forward to going to the beach!”
— Alex Whang ’22

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“Lifeguarding at my pool and seeing my best friend Grace.”
— Neve Hehir ’25

“Going to Hilton Head Island with my family!”
— Sean Stepanek ’25

Thanks for tuning in to the Curious Cat this semester. We’re looking forward to returning in the fall!


Elijah McDow is a College of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Student.

 

 

 

 

 

Ethan Shea is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

Headshot of Ethan Shea


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Cat in the Stax: All About Boston

By Ethan Shea

"Boston Marathon Start Sign"

Photo by Sports Illustrated.

Just a couple days ago, on Monday, April 18, the 126th Boston Marathon took over the streets of Massachusetts. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the first official women’s field, when only eight women raced the prestigious marathon. On Monday, over 12,000 women took on the journey from Hopkinton to Boylston Street.

The 126th installment of the Boston Marathon was one of the most exciting in the race’s history, as the leading women, Peres Jepchirchir and Ababel Yeshaneh, went back and forth for the last couple miles until Jepchirchir pulled away to win by just four seconds.

In the men’s field, Evans Chebet earned a decisive victory, finishing in two hours, six minutes, and 51 seconds, only 30 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

For a complete list of results, check out the official Boston Athletic Association’s website here!

Meb Keflezighi WIns 2014 Boston Marathon

Meb Keflezighi wins the Boston Marathon. Photo by CBS.

There’s so much to be said about Boston and marathon racing in general that someone could fill a book, and luckily for us, many people have. For example, one of the most decorated American marathoners, Meb Keflezighi, is the author of two books, most recently, 26 Marathons, his account of every marathon he’s raced.

Meb Keflezighi famously won the Boston Marathon in 2014, only a year after the bombing. Meb was the first American to win the race in 31 years, and no American has won since. Keflezighi retired from running just three years later.

If you’d like to run Boston yourself, check out Jeff Galloway’s book, Boston Marathon: How to Qualify! It’s full of training plans and advice to help you run your fastest marathon. Galloway’s training methods are beloved by many due to their accessibility. His walk-run method and emphasis on rest days is designed to guide even novice runners to the finish line injury-free.


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Curious Cat: Who’s Your Celebrity Crush?

By Elijah McDow & Ethan Shea

"Curious Cat Banner"

In this edition of The Curious Cat, Elijah and Ethan set out on their recurring mission to obtain an answer to a timely question of the week. With Spring Semester 2022 winding down, they’re choosing each question with increasing amounts of care, as they know there will only be a few more opportunities to do so!

To introduce this week’s question, Elijah and Ethan decided to capitalize on the fact that celebrities have taken over the cultural zeitgeist over the past few weeks. Awards season has wrapped up with the conclusion of the Oscars and now the Grammys, so it seemed there was no better time to ask some Falvey patrons, “Who is your celebrity crush?” Our Curious Cats received eight responses, so without further ado, here’s what our participants had to say…

“Sebastian Stan.”
— Sydney Hutchison ’25

“Chris Evans.”
— Kelsi Membrino ’25

“Louis Partridge.”
— Hailey Bierling ’25

“Emma Watson.”
— Rafael Velasquez ’24

“Sam Claflin.”
— Lauren Ghong ’24

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“Eileen Gu.”
— Justin Wong ’24

“Vanessa Hudgens.”
— Max Burkett ’23

“Ariana Grande or Addison Rae. I can’t decide.”
— Eric Devlin ’23

 

If you’re inspired to do so, share who your celebrity crush is in the comments below! Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful break!


Elijah McDow is a College of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Student.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

Headshot of Ethan Shea

 


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Cat in the Stax: The Easter Bunny’s Pennsylvanian Roots

By Ethan Shea

""

Did you know the Easter Bunny has Pennsylvanian roots? As those who celebrate prepare for Easter, here in Pennsylvania, we can rest assured that the Easter Bunny won’t forget to leave plenty of eggs.

According to TIME Magazine, “the Easter Bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare.”

The Free Library of Philadelphia backs up this claim and expands upon it here: “Georg Franck von Frankenau first wrote about the Alsatian tradition of a Hare bringing Easter eggs in his De ovis paschalibus or About Easter Eggs in 1682, but it was the Pennsylvania Dutch who brought the tradition of the Easter Hare or Oschter Haws to Pennsylvania.”

When it comes to holidays involving small mammals, Pennsylvania reigns supreme. Name another state that both the Easter Bunny and the immortal Punxsutawney Phil can call home! All we need now is a state bat for International Bat Appreciation Day on April 17. If you have any ideas for names, I’d love to see them in the comments!

I know I’m looking forward to a home-cooked meal with my family. Regardless of whether you celebrate Easter, I hope you enjoy a well-deserved break!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Curious Cat: Rainy Days

By Elijah McDow & Ethan Shea

"Curious Cat Banner"

In this week’s edition of the Curious Cat, Ethan and Elijah worked hard to come up with a question. After some brainstorming, they decided to ask about the wet weather. Sometimes it feels like cloudy days are dragging you down, but gray skies and puddle-filled streets aren’t all bad! Our curious cats received a total of four responses from students around the Library, all answering the question: What do you like to do on rainy days?

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“Look at and listen to the rain fall.”

— Rose Dietrich ’23 MA

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“Watch movies in my dorm.”

— Mario Turco ’25

"Curious Cat"

“Nap, Netflix, and be unproductive.”

— Ben Artz ’25

“Get work done while I can’t go out.”

— Jacob Artz ’23

This week’s Cat in the Stax also confronts our recent weather, so if you’d like some reading recommendations inspired by the rain, check the blog out here! As always, feel free to leave a comment answering the question for yourself! We love to hear your responses!


Elijah McDow is a College of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Student.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

Headshot of Ethan Shea


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Cat in the Stax: April Showers

By Ethan Shea

""

Everyone knows the saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” but how true is it? According to this weather blog, the saying actually comes from England. Although April is usually a fairly wet month, it isn’t always the rainiest. June and July often compete for the top spot in both the United States and United Kingdom.

All I know is that as I’m writing this blog and looking at the weather forecast, April looks like it’s off to a fairly damp start. To fit the somber mood that comes with this wet weather, I’ve compiled some of rain’s most famous appearances in literature. Everyone knows the best way to read is beside a rain-soaked window, so feel free to check out these recs and read them at your leisure!

"Canterbury Tales"Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer

Perhaps the most famous invocation of rain is the opening of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The poem even directly calls upon April specifically as a month that brings rain. In direct contrast to Chaucer, over five centuries later, T.S. Eliot would begin his magnum opus, The Waste Land, with the phrase: “April is the cruelest month,” showing how incredibly deep Chaucer’s influence runs.

“The Rainy Day” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This somewhat depressing poem is worth reading when you’re down in the dumps on a rainy day. The most famous line from this poem is: “Into each life some rain must fall.” A quote worth remembering when bad weather and anything else going on in your life makes everything seem overwhelming. A little rain just makes the sun feel brighter afterwards!

“April Rain Song” – Langston Hughes

Hughes makes a refreshing change of pace here as he declares his love for the rain with this poem. His ability to find beauty in pools of rain on the sidewalk and enjoy the musicality of raindrops on his roof is inspiring. You just have to respect the ability to take something that may seem bad and turn it into something beautiful.

“Rain Poem” – Emily Dickinson

Although it is referred to as “Fascicle Thirty-Eight” in this collection, “Rain Poem” is another piece that seems not to mind the wet weather. While placing all these poets aside one another, it’s fascinating to see how nature inspires them in such dramatically different ways even when under the same damp conditions.

Hopefully you enjoy these pieces and are inspired to search for some more, as there is an innumerable number of literary works inspired by the rain. Moreover, April just so happens to be National Poetry Month! Not that you needed another reason to indulge in some classic verses.

Happy reading, and stay dry out there…or don’t!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 

 

 


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Curious Cat: Superstitions & Pre-Game Rituals

By Elijah McDow & Ethan Shea

"Curious Cat Banner"

For this week’s Curious Cat, Elijah and Ethan are tapping into Villanova’s recent March Madness success. Our campus’s enthusiasm for the Wildcats inspired them to ask the question: “Do you do any superstitious pre-game rituals before watching basketball games?” A total of six Falvey patrons volunteered to answer this question. Here’s what they had to say:

"Curious Cat Photo"

“I actually don’t, aside from making sure I watch the game.”

— William Crites ’23

“A lucky pair of socks I haven’t washed since the tournament started.”

— Kevin Heist ’23

“The same shirt I’ve worn to other games we’ve won.”

— Lilly Kaye ’25

“I don’t, but I’m gonna start chewing the same gum during all winning games.”

— Hannah Slattery ’25

“Wearing the same jersey during every game.”

— Jane Maleady ’25

“A lucky handshake with my friends before every game.”

— Alice Korolev ’25


Elijah McDow is a College of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Student.

 

 

 

 

 

Ethan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library

Headshot of Ethan Shea


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Cat in the Stax: Mysteries & Musicals from Past to Present

By Ethan Shea

"Curtains Poster"

On March 31, Villanova Theatre will put on the very first performance in the Topper Theatre of the new John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. This show, Curtains: A Musical Whodunnit, will be directed by our very own Villanova University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD.

I was lucky enough to gain access to some memorabilia from past Villanova Theatre productions that inspired the upcoming performance. These flyers, photos, and programs were collected by Kimberly Reilly, Director of Marketing for Villanova’s Theatre Program, so this blog would not have been possible without her help!

To begin, the 1999 production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood was another mysterious musical directed by President Donohue. The photo below shows Demetrios Bonaros, Polly Donovan, Mark Gornto, John O’Conner, Susan Bolt, and Sara Macerelli in a scene from a performance of this show which ran from April 14 to May 2.

 

"Edwin Drood Photo"

 

City of Angels granted President Donohue yet another directorial credit in 2003. This play is also a musical, but it sets itself apart from others through its adaptation of film noir characteristics. The image below shows how the cover of the program for City of Angels encapsulated the theme of film noir.

"City of Angels Program Cover"

In 2013, Villanova Theatre performed a different play inspired by noir. This time, the production was Red Herring, a murder mystery about marriage and nuclear espionage during the Cold War.  The photo below shows how a flyer used to advertise this play made use of the comic art style indicative of the its setting, Boston during the year of 1952.

"Red Herring Flyer Cover"

Lastly, you can check out this poster for Something’s Afoot, a murder mystery musical directed by President Donohue back in 1986! As you can see, the theatrical “whodunnit” is truly timeless.

"Something's Afoot poster"

The latest production from Villanova Theatre will be showing from March 31 to April 10, so be sure to get your tickets now! You can find more information here. We hope to see you there!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Last Modified: March 30, 2022