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Curious Cat: Your Favorite Holiday Characters

By Olivia Dunn & Ethan Shea

"Curious Cat Banner"

Happy Thursday, Wildcats! It’s the first day of December, and the Curious Cat is back. To kick off the final and most festive month of the year, we asked some Falvey patrons who their favorite holiday movie characters are. We received a lot of unique responses, so keep reading to check them out!

"Curious Cat 12/1 (1)"

“The Grinch from the live action Grinch with Jim Carrey.”

— Lauren Picard ’23

“Burgermeister Meisterburger from Santa Claus is Coming’ to Town.”

— Seamus Daniello ’23

"Curious Cat 12/1 (2)"

“Hermey the Elf (the one who wants to be a dentist).”

— Alise Adornato ’23

“Frosty the Snowman.”

— Emma Burnham ’24

“Buddy the Elf.”

— Bridget Ritchie ’24

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“George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life.”

— Matt Villanueva ’24 MA


Olivia Dunn HeadshotOlivia Dunn is a senior at Villanova University. She works in Falvey Library as a Communications and Marketing Assistant and majors in Communication with specializations in both Journalism and Public Relations.

 

 

 

 

 

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Cat in the Stax: The Fast-Food Graveyard

By Ethan Shea

"McDonald's"

If you’re reading this blog on the day of its publication, you’re in luck because today (Nov. 16) is National Fast Food Day! Partaking in this seldom celebrated holiday is simple. All you need to do is stop by your local fast-food chain and enjoy a meal.

In honor of this momentous occasion, this week’s Cat in the Stax blog will take a close look at fast food in the United States.

"Spicy McNuggets"

Image Courtesy of BuzzFeed

One fact that caught me off guard concerns the number of locations each fast-food chain owns. Guess which restaurant has the most locations in the United States. McDonald’s? Maybe Starbucks? If these were your guesses, you’re close but still incorrect.

According to Business Insider, as of 2019, Starbucks and McDonald’s respectively owned the second and third most fast food franchises in the U.S., but the most common fast food restaurant in America (by a long shot) is Subway!  Maybe it’s just me, but I was surprised to learn that Subway has 24,798 locations compared to Starbucks’ 14,608 and the 13,914 held by McDonald’s.

This number has almost certainly changed over the past few years, but it’s nonetheless a surprising statistic.

Another one of my favorite topics is what I like to call the fast-food graveyard, a.k.a discontinued menu items.

"McRib"

Image Courtesy of BuzzFeed

Almost everyone has a beloved meal that disappeared without warning. McDonald’s has a particularly iconic list of retired menu items, from the Cinnamelt to Spicy McNuggets.

However, one discontinued menu item has recently been resurrected. That’s right, for the umpteenth time, the McRib has returned to say its last goodbyes. McDonald’s describes the ongoing McRib revival as the sandwich’s “Farewell Tour,” but we all know this isn’t the end of the infamous pork sandwich.

On a personal note, I have to eat a McRib at least once a year. I don’t even know if I enjoy the annual meal, but there’s just something about consuming a carefully measured dose of restructured pork…

Anyways, another fun fact I learned about McDonald’s concerns the Big Mac. Did you know the iconic burger was invented in Pennsylvania? Jim Delligatti created the Big Mac in 1967 and sold it for the first time in Uniontown, PA. You never know where you’ll find a pivotal piece of Pennsylvania history!

Fast food is a topic that you can learn even more about at Falvey. If you’d like to become an expert on the phenomenon of fast food in the United States, check out these resources:

Fast Foods: Consumption Patterns, Role of Globalization and Health Effects – Marlin Sanford

Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age – John Jakle

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal – Eric Schlosser


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Curious Cat: Holiday Tunes

Olivia Dunn & Ethan Shea

"Curious Cat Banner"

Happy Thursday, Wildcats! We hope your November is off to a great start. For this week’s installment of the Curious Cat, we take on a controversial topic…

Some people begin listening to holiday tunes the moment Halloween ends, but others prefer to wait until after Thanksgiving before they start rockin’ around the Christmas tree. That’s why we chose to ask some Falvey patrons when they begin listening to holiday music!

Here are the answers we received:

"Curious Cat 11/3 (1)"

“My family starts listening as soon as Thanksgiving dinner ends.”

— Kathryn Scotto ’24

“It’s 100% okay after Thanksgiving, but sometimes you just need to listen to Christmas music. I remember listening to it in October during my senior year of high school.”

— Maggie Hutchins ’24

"Curious Cat 11/3 (2)"

“I start listening on November 1.”

— Bridget Ritchie ’24

“The day after Thanksgiving.”

— Anna McCarthy ’24

“I’ll listen any time, but November 1 is most acceptable.”

— Alise Adornato ’23


Olivia Dunn Headshot

Olivia Dunn is a senior at Villanova University. She works in Falvey Library as a Communications and Marketing Assistant and majors in Communication with specializations in both Journalism and Public Relations.

 

 

 

 

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


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Cat in the Stax: Mario Day

By Ethan Shea

"Luigi, Yoshi, and Mario Figurines"

Tomorrow on March 10, it will officially be Mario Day, as in the beloved Italian plumber from the Super Mario Bros. video game franchise. You may be wondering why this date was chosen to celebrate Nintendo’s most successful series. Well, the reason is simple. When tomorrow’s date is written with the month’s abbreviation and the date directly next to each other (Mar10), it sort of looks like the word “Mario.”

I’m a huge fan of Mario games, so I’m glad to have the opportunity to write about this underappreciated holiday. From Mario Kart DS to Super Mario Odyssey, I’ve been spending time with Mario since I was too young to remember. I’ve even gotten my family addicted to the Mario franchise, since we used to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe together every night throughout the lengthy quarantine period back in 2020. My parents have since moved on to Mario Golf and continue to play almost every day even when I’m away from home.

"Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack Book Cover"I was actually surprised that I could learn so much about Mario here at Falvey even without the aid of a Nintendo console. For example, Andrew Schartmann’s book, Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack, takes a deep dive into what makes the classic Mario theme song, among other pieces from the soundtrack, so timeless. As a song that is less than three minutes long, it’s honestly amazing that this theme has been playing on repeat since 1985 and still hasn’t gotten old.

Another fascinating read you can find online at Falvey is a compilation of biographical and academic info on Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the leading minds behind the Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and The Legend of Zelda franchises. This book rightfully puts Miyamoto’s name besides other renowned masters of their crafts such as Steven Spielberg and Vincent Van Gogh. As game studies becomes increasingly relevant within academia, it’s great to see the talent behind everyone’s favorite games be recognized by scholars.

Falvey Library may specialize in books, but our walls are well acquainted with gaming since the Library hosts the Villanova Gaming Society (VGS) on a weekly basis.

So to celebrate Mario Day tomorrow, do as VGS would and indulge in your favorite Mario game!


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


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Happy Lunar New Year!

By Ethan Shea

"Paper Lanterns"

On Feb. 1, it will officially be Lunar New Year 2022! Because of the lunar calendar that dictates when festivities occur, this celebration can take place, on any given year, between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20. Lunar New Year is celebrated throughout most of Asia, and although many Lunar New Year celebrations take place on the same date according to the Chinese Lunisolar Calendar, there are several differences in how celebrations are carried out in different nations.

The term “Chinese New Year” is often used synonymously with “Lunar New Year,” but celebrations in Vietnam or Thailand, for example, are obviously not the same as Chinese New Year, even if they fall on the same date. Not to mention the Lunar New Year celebrations that take place in other parts of the world like the Middle East and North America.

"Phases of the moon"

Phases of the moon

Regarding the Chinese Lunisolar Calendar, 2022 will be the first Year of the Tiger since 2010, as the calendar operates upon a 12-year cycle. Anyone who was born in 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, or 1938 is in luck this year, as those are all the most recent Years of the Tiger.

To celebrate Lunar New Year yourself, there will be many opportunities to do so near our area, especially in Center City. If you’re able to take a trip to Philadelphia over the weekend, you should check out the festivities in Dilworth Park on Jan. 29. There will be dancing, ice skating, and lots of delicious food!

Additionally, we have plenty of resources here at Falvey Library to help you celebrate or learn more about Lunar New Year. For example, you can take a look at the book The Spring Festival, which is titled after another name for the holiday period surrounding Lunar New Year, to find out more about these holiday traditions.


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

 

 


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Stax in the Cat: Opposite Day

By Ethan Shea

""

It’s a classic ruse. Your parents tell you to do something, and you proceed to do precisely the opposite. They’re shocked by your actions. “Why would you do such a thing?” they say. You smile as you triumphantly declare it to be Opposite Day.

This hallowed holiday is generally treated as a means to evade chores, but in fact, Opposite Day officially occurs on Jan. 25. To honor this annual tradition, I’m doing the opposite of what’s expected by publishing this blog the day after Opposite Day. It wouldn’t be very festive of me to actually post a blog about Opposite Day on Opposite Day. That’s just too predictable.

"President Calvin Coolidge"

President Calvin Coolidge

Opposite day is a tradition dating back to the 1920s. The holiday originates from everyone’s favorite president, the one and only “Cool Cal,” or Calvin Coolidge if you’re a fan of formality. Before campaigns for the 1928 election began, Coolidge, who was President at the time, claimed “I do not choose to run.” The ambiguity of his statement led many people to believe Cal meant the opposite of what he said.

I don’t know about you, but the fact that Opposite Day is really just a way of making fun of a politician’s poor choice of words makes the holiday even more entertaining.

To complicate things a bit, whether Opposite Day can even exist is an ongoing debate. If I declare it to be Opposite Day, and it becomes Opposite Day, does that not mean the opposite of my statement is true, so it would just be a normal day, right? Contrarily, if I say it is not Opposite Day, it is just a normal day, so my statement stands, and it really isn’t Opposite Day. I guess if we all agree to celebrate Opposite Day on Jan. 25, no one has to say anything, and Opposite Day can finally prevail.

There are plenty of ways to celebrate Opposite Day here at Falvey Library! One way is to take a minute to look through our collections on polar exploration. There are several artifacts and stories about voyages to both the North and South Poles. It doesn’t get more opposite that that!

If you’re feeling hungry, check out some of Falvey’s culinary books and search for a recipe with sweet and sour sauce. Who would’ve thought opposites could taste so good!

Lastly, if you can’t find the words to describe how you feel about Opposite Day, look through a thesaurus to browse an endless number of synonyms and antonyms, the epitome of opposites in the world of words.


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


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Cat in the Stax: Holiday Traditions

By Ethan Shea

"elf on the shelf"

The holiday season is fast approaching, and I’m prepared to partake in some annual traditions or perhaps even make some new ones. Traditions may be religious, personal to your family, or just something goofy you do every year, but regardless of their origins, traditions make the holiday season worth looking forward to.

The Christmas Pickle"Christmas pickle"

One tradition that’s always exciting is the hunt for the Christmas pickle. Since most of my family celebrates Christmas, during our annual holiday party, we make a competition out of finding a hidden ornament resembling a pickle in the Christmas tree. The color of the pickle blends into the pine needles, so finding the faux finger food is never an easy task. Usually there are several rounds of find-the-pickle, and the winner of each round receives a small gift. I’ve read that this tradition has German origins, but there doesn’t seem to be any consensus on how the mythical Christmas pickle came to be.

Cutting Down the Christmas Tree

My family also makes a tradition out of cutting down our Christmas tree together, and we always make sure to bring our dogs. The pups never fail to be as loud as possible, but I wouldn’t have our annual arboreal expedition any other way. When we were younger, each of my siblings used to take turns cutting down the tree, but since we’re all either torpid teenagers or lazy twenty-somethings now, my step-dad is usually forced to play lumberjack.

Wrapping Paper Fights"Wrapping paper"

Each year during our family Christmas party, while presents are being opened, everyone takes part in what is essentially a massive snowball fight with wads of wrapping paper. When you least expect it, you may receive a crumpled lump of Scotch-tape-infused paper to the face, so you can never let your guard down during this part of the gathering. We always make sure to pepper any new attendees, usually significant others, with extra wrapping paper as a sort of initiation into the family. Things get wild when my younger cousins silently stockpile wrapping paper ammunition and unleash a synchronized frenzy of paper balls upon their older relatives. Needless to say, wrapping paper warfare isn’t for the faint of heart.

Elf on the Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf is my youngest sister’s favorite holiday tradition. Every year, usually in mid-November, Santa sends an elf to our house. This elf tirelessly watches my family and documents our conduct for Santa before he makes the final edits to the “Naughty or Nice List”. To be honest, I’m skeptical about this tradition. It feels wrong to condition my siblings to uncritically obey an omniscient authority figure…but hey, maybe that’s what Christmas is all about!

And don’t worry, I’m not the only one in the library with traditions. Here are a few more holiday customs overheard at Falvey!

Jenna Renaud, Graduate Assistant

“As we open presents on Christmas morning, we always make sure to have the oldest person open presents first, and we work our way down to the youngest. I’m not exactly sure where this tradition came from, but I think it’s just a way to keep the children from getting distracted by their new toys.”

Kallie Stahl, Communication & Marketing Specialist

“After attending church on Christmas Eve, my entire family meets at my grandpa’s house to play card games (yes, card games…I grew up in the Midwest). We have multiple tables setup with a different game at each table—Euchre, Pinochle, Rummy, Dominos, etc. Rotating tables (to ensure we get to chat with everyone), we all bring our favorite appetizers to share with our table.”

Shawn Proctor, Communication & Marketing Program Manager

“Every year we research the best Christmas lights in the area and drive out to visit some of the houses. It’s fun to see how creative some displays can be, including radio stations with music and synchronized lights.”

Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication & Marketing

“Each year we participate in Wreaths Across America because both my father-in-law and mother-in-law are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Capt. Jack Q. Quinn, USN was a fighter pilot and founding director of the Naval Staff College for international officers at the Naval War College, Newport, RI. Betty Quinn had what many consider the toughest job in the Navy – Navy wife.”


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


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Weekend Recs: December 3

By Jenna Renaud

Happy Friday, Wildcats! After a year off, Falvey Memorial Library is bringing back Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Jenna, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

Thanksgiving is over, and it’s officially December, which means it’s fully time to celebrate the holiday season!

This weekend I’m providing recommendations to get you ready for the most wonderful time of the year. Take a break from studying to get into the Christmas spirit–I promise it will be the perfect stress reliever and put a smile on your face. Whether you have less than 10 minutes or the whole weekend to relax (if that’s you, tell me your secrets!), I have the perfect recs for you! 

If you have 5 minutes… and need to prioritize studying next week, stop by Falvey’s Carrel-tas Commitment station and enter to win a drawing for an exclusive study room for one night next week. In addition, you’ll be entered in for the grand prize that gives you access to the Falvey room 206 study suite for you and five of your friends during the entirety of finals week (Dec. 10-17). Read more about the contest here. 

If you have 20 minutes or a whole evening… drive around the area and look at people’s Christmas lights and decorations! Get some inspiration and then bring it down to a smaller scale to decorate your dorm room or apartment.  

If you at least 90 minutes… watch one of the movies on Den of Geek’s Christmas Movies: A Complete Holiday Streaming Guide. Seems like a big claim to have the complete streaming guide of holiday movies, but they definitely did have some good ones on the list! 

If you have 2 hours… read The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R. Tolkien. A quick read, the book is a collection of letters that Tolkien, as Santa and Santa’s right-hand polar bear, wrote to his children and their responses. The book is available in Falvey’s collection! 

If you have 4 hours… drive into the ‘burbs and visit Shady Brook Farm’s drive-through light display! The display is on most Philly-area Christmas lists and is a must-see if you haven’t been before. After you drive through the lights, park to walk through their market, grab some hot chocolate or other drinks, and cozy up around one of their many fire pits.  


jenna newman headshotJenna Renaud is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.


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Tony Awards Take on Adaptations

By Ethan Shea

""

On Sept. 26, the 74th Tony Awards took to the stage. Having been delayed an entire year, the ceremony was a welcome sight on Broadway. One aspect of this year’s Tony Awards that stuck out is the prevalence of adaptations among the winners and nominees. Falvey Library has access to many of the works that inspired these award winning shows, so if you would like to learn more about how this year’s Tony recipients came to be, check out the links below.

Additionally, feel free to browse a complete list of the winners and nominees here.

The Inheritance and Howard’s End

The Inheritance became one of the biggest winners this year by taking home the coveted award for best play. Matthew Lopez, the playwright of The Inheritance, stated that E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End is his favorite novel, which is unsurprisingly why he took inspiration for his play from it. In Howard’s End, Forster tells the story of three conflicting families living in England around the year 1900. Critiques of social conventions and discussions of economics surround an unconventional love story between two members of opposing families.

The Inheritance is far from a strict adaptation of Forster’s novel. Rather than England, the play takes place in New York a generation after the height of the AIDS crisis. E.M. Forster was a closeted gay man when he wrote Howard’s End, so The Inheritance uses the text’s queer subtext to create a play fit for the 21st century. The performance is a whopping 6 hours long and is presented in two separate three hour performances. Although the plots of these two stories are very different, if you are interested in theater and what inspired this award-winning play, I’d recommend you check out Howard’s End while keeping in mind the underlying themes that brought its theatrical offspring to life.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Moulin Rouge!"Moulin Rouge! Play Image"

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a more direct adaptation of its source material. Rather than a novel, this play was inspired by the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film of the same name. The over-the-top nature of the film translates beautifully to the stage. As a result, this play was the biggest winner of the 74th Tony Awards and walked away with 10 prizes. A few of the awards Moulin Rouge! won are for scenic design, costume, lighting, and sound design, which are similar to some of the Oscars won by Luhrmann’s film that celebrated the extravagance of the costumes and set.

One point of departure between the film and play is that the songs used are distinctly different. In the film, Luhrmann famously mixed modern pop songs with the score, and in the same vein, this adaptation used songs that were written in the 17 years since the film’s release.  For example, Katy Perry’s hit song Firework and Sia’s Chandelier are both incorporated into the show’s musical performances.

"A Christmas Carol"A Christmas Carol and A Christmas Carol

This play needs no introduction. The adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella is truly timeless and has been adapted countless times. Nonetheless, this most recent production became the first holiday play to win a Tony. Not only did A Christmas Carol win a Tony, it won five, including best score, making it the first play to beat every contending musical in that category.

The reduced competition due to the COVID-19 Pandemic certainly affected the Tony Awards this year, but that should not take away from the achievements of these shows. Regardless, theatre-goers worldwide are certainly looking forward to a much more crowded theatre schedule in the coming months, which should make next year’s installment of the Tony Awards all the more exciting!

 


Headshot of Ethan Shea

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

 


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Happy Frankenstein Day!

""

By Ethan Shea

Each year on Aug. 30, the world collectively comes together to celebrate one of the most influential novels of the past few centuries and the writer who brought the legendary monster to life. The book in question is Frankenstein, and its author is Mary Shelley. Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only 18 years of age, and the novel was subsequently published two years later. Surprisingly, the story came about in the midst of a friendly competition between Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron. The three wanted to see who could write the best horror story, and in brief, Mary Shelley blew her competition away.

Frankenstein Day fittingly falls on the anniversary of Mary Shelley’s birthday on Aug. 30, 1797, so if you’d like to take part in this holiday’s festivities, drop by Falvey Memorial Library and grab a copy of the classic novel for yourself! In addition to the book, there are countless films featuring the undead monster we all know and love. Whether you decide to watch Frankenstein (1910), the original silent film, or something as new as Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie (2012), you’ll be paying homage to Shelley and her timeless story.


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

 


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Last Modified: September 1, 2021