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September 15, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Ready to rumble. Contender arrives

Corona ring girl at Boardwalk Hall, 2010.Brian Horowitz/Flickr/

She’s smiling. So are the rest of us.

Enthusiasm runs high in anticipation.

The proud long-limbed beauties are signaling Round One .

Flipping wild blown locks like combat swords as they pose and preen (They know the audience loves it.)

Giving notice: “Git reeeeady to rrrrrumble!”

American Ring girl. Arianny Celest. (US PD. work of Marine Corps.Lopez/

Please. A knock out.(US PD: by US Marine Corps.Lopez/

A boxing match of Epic Proportions. (That’s what they always say.)

The energetic, but seasonally young, upstart blowing in trying to provoke something. (Everyone knows time is on his side.)

The blustering Local Champ has grown heavier but is still able to pull a sea of warm support from his coterie established over the sultry summer. (A blowhard some dare to say.)

In any case it will be a punching match with blows, groans, and a few thunderous crashes.

No permissions granted. All rights reserved. Copy righted

Long limbed beauties whipping up enthusiasm. ©

Nothing beats the rattling of palm trees announcing the arrival of a chilled north wind and the inevitable confrontation by the warm Gulf air. A manic symphony of clicking and clacking as the palms slash the sky.

This morning won’t be the so-bright-it-must-be-Oz kind that quickly escorts out clouds and rain.

Not this early in the season.

The days preceding with extreme heat and humidity (Is that a threat to the locals by the hot air that’s been holding court all summer? Don’t change allegiance – or else? Hurricane season isn’t quite over.)

Then storms until one claims the title. Bout over.

But for now, it’s whiplash weather.

Most people just stay inside while the two sort the weather out.

(That’s the real reason broadcast football games were invented?)

no permissions granted, all rights reserved, copyrighted.

You can’t see it here, but these clouds were actually swirling overhead trying to form a tornado funnel cloud Friday. Don’t worry, the green haze was missing. ©

There’s always those who can’t wait for the winner to claim the match.

Some are willing to take in the rehearsals. The connoisseurs of works-in-progress.

Some have demanding dogs (and can no longer bear the smell of Resolve in the morning)

And some are just darn tired of being held hostage indoors. (Please, box up the summer.)

Falling for the preview,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

all rights reserved. no permissions granted/ copyrighted

And this was the day before as the Gulf champ bristled at the suggestion that Fall would take the match. ©


September 12, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Only by strength of will

2 terrified women. 1912. vintage film "Unseen Enemy". Dorothy Gish. Scrreenshot./US,

Moment of truth. Either use fear or fear will use you.
(1912″Unseen Enemy”Dorothy Gish/US,

  • It had been only a little kiss. Enraged he knocked out her teeth, broke her jaw, then set her on fire. Left her to die. She wouldn’t. She’d see the laws were changed.
  • Badly injured. Leg broken. He struggled up the stairs. Had a job to do. She needed him.
  • Tiny and dismissed, but the only one able to speak up for that child. A matter of will, not size.

Had to be done. They were the ones there. So they did what was needed.

You speak of rewards? (Tennis ball? Yes! Throw it. Throw it. Throw it!)

Exhausted Bretagne resting at Ground Zero. (Andrea Booher/Fema/

“A few minutes and I’ll be ready to go back in, Mom.”
(Exhausted Bretagne resting between searches at Ground Zero after 911/Andrea Booher/Fema/

The 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards finalists are posted:

Go. Sit. Read. Marvel. Vote.

All of them are already winners.

Oh, K9s4Cops has a dog in the hunt. A vote for KOTA benefits K9s4KIDS/

Read his story. Dogs don’t quit.

Kota 1/7/14. reunited with partner after being terribly wounded in line of duty (American Humane Association/

“Partner, I’d go through anything to keep you safe.” Kota was severely injured in a fall while apprehending a suspect. To protect his partner and finish his job, he crawled back up with shattered elbow and broken bones. (Amer.Humane Assoc./

All those doggy faces. Such stories…

Susie will win your heart. She now has friends in high places.

Kai, the public servant for a world once that rejected him. (Those Texas boys don’t know the meaning of the words “hopeless” or “impossible.”)

Bretagne, the last known 911 Ground Zero Search Dog still lending paw.(Proud of this hometown girl. Her big story here)

Hero dog. Susie's beautiful../American Humane Association/

Susie. More beautiful now than ever. She knew she had to survive for a reason. All her kisses welcomed now. (Amer. Humane Association)

Click here for their Today Show debut. (VIDEO, stories)

Read more about “American Hero Dogs. Meet 8 fearless furry finalists” here.

Then how about letting Walter, who knows how to keep balance in life and how to run to what’s important, inspire you to action.

If only humans had such focus and determination…(and steady footing?)

Dogs know: Work hard. Play hard.

Now where’s that tennis ball?

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Just a little extra giggle for Friday.

Dachshunds on parade as a memo: once serious work is done, set it aside.

No need to take yourself or the world too seriously.

Those who can’t laugh at themselves and life in general miss a great deal of fun.

Party on! (after you vote…everyday….)

Paws for peace. I, the German, approve this message.

Paws for peace. I, the German, approve this message.

September 10, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Better than an AK-47

Foot down. Hands in pockets.

Explosive anger has forever changed the way parents look at schools. Robbed childhood when there was so little left.

The “Birds and the Bees” talk used to be parents’ most difficult conversation. Now it’s more likely to shaky talks with Pre-K kids to teens about school invasions and violence.

A comfort knowing you are near. (

A comfort just knowing you are near. (

Kristi Schiller stopped wringing hands and decided to do something.

Her non-profit, K9s4COPS, was already providing law enforcement agencies the canines they desperately needed.

Then she realized trained well socialized dogs in schools could be part of a solution. K9s4KIDS  was created.

Watch the video and tell me a trained dog wouldn’t help. (Flying dogs! Bitie face! Waggle tails!)

(Oh, click the darn link. The German Shepherd spokesdog, Johnny Cash, is worth it.)

K9s4Cops spokesdog Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash hopes people get it figured out soon.( News)

Of course there are those instantly raising their hands, “My child is allergic to dogs!” And that must be recognized and addressed. (Speaking as one who had a dog allergic asthmatic brother). One possibility could be a dog free school option for those who need it.

In any case, dogs in schools have great potential for more than just security: as reading buddies, teaching kindness to help foster anti-bullying, and creating a calm atmosphere where kids feel secure so they can learn.

Schiller’s solution may not be perfect, but at least she’s doing something productive besides yelling back and forth about guns.

Remember the little red school house image? Little House on the Prairie scenes? Happy laughing children?

Can’t turn back the clock to more simple time, but a simple solution could reduce some of their modern-day fears.

1975 publicity promo for Little House on the prairie. NBC TV/US PD:, no copy right notice/

“Please. He won’t cause any trouble. It’s just so much happier when he’s around” (Little House on the Prairie,1975.NBC/US PD:

Guardian dogs: not just for sheep any more.

Just consider. Talk to school administration and district security. Send some links. Discuss.

Hands down. Hearts up.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Read more? Facebook here.

Paws for peace

Paws for peace. I, The German, approve this message.

Someone who smiles and puts her hands in pockets – for more than just treats?

  • Minnesota waitress wins lottery. Still working. Still volunteering as a regional German Shepherd trainer who raises and trains police dogs. She plans to buy a new truck for her dogs, donate a K-9 in her dad’s name to local police department, and pledged money to a local Police K-9 Foundation.
  • Video and story here:
Minnesota dog training Waitress wins lottery.(screenshot/

With a little time from friends. (Rhonda and German Shepherds. screen grab –

“Children trained to extend justice, kindness, and mercy to animals become more just, kind and considerate in their relations with each other. Character training along these lines will result in men and women of broader sympathies, more humane, more law-abiding-in every respect, more valuable citizens.”  (National PTA Congress)

Defuse anger. Derail violence before children see it as a solution for life’s problems.

  • Animals: Teachers of compassion and tolerance. (Southern Poverty Law Center.)
  • Cesar Millan’s Foundation: Mutt-i-grees Program combats Bullying (Junior’s in that video, too)
  • Paws for Reading. CA testimonials. Paws for Healing promotes stress-free environments in after-school programs and libraries. Many groups around the country provide animals as reading coaches and simple calm encouragement for students.
  • Teaching kindness and empathy, anti-bullying, consequences for actions – toss in some state standards connections. HoustonSPCA programs available.
  • Paws against bullying. (TV/article). Dogs are great for all: soothing nerves of university students to beginning readers. Anti Bullying programs. Of course the kids always assume the bigger dog is the bully….Video on Angel Paws
Dog in front of school lockers (

Yep, best take a look in there. Always better to be proactive than reactive. (

September 8, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Progress Monitoring: Fall’s Failing.

Fall leaf, no permission granted. All rights reserved, copyrighted

There. Behind the green. Hide and seek in whimsy or warning of sneak attack? ©

Don’t know what this looks like to you, but it’s got me worried.

Not fallen by wind storm flailings. And, as St. Augustine grass knows, it’s not due to drought this year.

Fall leaves now? So wrong.

red leaf in grass - all rights reserved, no permissions granted, copyrighted

The evidence. Dropped by an E.T? ©

It’s the semi-tropics here.

Currently, there’s hummingbirds, Monarchs, and hawks squinting overhead.

Putting together a fall wardrobe means packing up the short sleeve tropical t-shirts and getting out the autumn-colored short sleeve t-shirts. Add some nice dark brown or black flip-flops

Teachers search for pictures of New England’s Fall blazes of reds and oranges or Aspen’s shimmering golden trees to show students what the textbooks are referring to with “Autumn colors”.

Seasonally deprived.

Cool-ish around Christmas, maybe.

crepe myrtles in fall. All rights reserved. No permissions granted. Copyrighte

DECEMBER 17,2011.Happy dance! Cool enough for long sleeves…atleast until noon.©

When that first real cold front finally does arrives, there’s a brilliant change overnight.

Makes everyone giddy.

Able to skip gleefully down leaf covered sidewalks only a few days before Christmas.

Merry and bright. Nothing to slow down any reindeer’s deliveries here.

All rights reserved. no permissions granted. copyrighted fall leaves on sidewalk

Pretty on DECEMBER 22.2013 Red coordinates nicely with festive holiday lights.©

So what’s the deal with the sidewalk scene last week?

Spill it. “Punked”, right?

An eco-friendly version of house toilet papering initiations by high school band kids? (Everyone is encouraged to be “green” now. Kids are early adopters.)

Some teacher or librarian dropped her bulletin board materials?

Did Hansel run out of pebbles or bread crumbs to drop while marking the route home?

all rights reserved. no permissions granted. copyrighted. Fall-ish Leaves on sidewalk

What? Odd. Very odd. Whatever does this mean? SEPTEMBER 4,2014.©

A joke? A cosmic one, perhaps.

It’s a worry.

You know how the stores have been flinging sequential seasonal merchandise rapid fire into aisles faster than fearless toddlers going down a playground slide?

What if Mother Nature took note?

“You want the seasons all jammed together and rushed? Fine. Will be happy to provide weather appropriate for the merchandise. Enjoy.”

The 2015 Farmer’s Almanac’s winter predictions are out for Canada and the U.S.

These forecasts are based on the Almanac’s founder’s “secret formula”, temperature and precipitation records for the past 30 years, and measurements of current sunspot activity.

Curious what their 2015 Long-range Forecast for your area is? Click here.

Contingency plans for tropical potted plants appear to be a good idea.

Maybe there’s hope Molly will actually retain the majority of dog hair on her body rather than sharing it with guests and hallways….small hope.

Leafing any other conclusions up to you.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

golden leaves at edge of sidewalk No permissions granted. all rights reserved copyrighted

Kick them off and ignore? Could lead to an F- in Seasonal Studies. ©

September 5, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Strays. Thoughtful ones at least.

Poor mother and child.1919 movie: Daddy Long Legs/ Mary Pickford/Film Fun/US

The first step is to admit the problem. Then there’s probably paperwork – in triplicate. Might as well laugh to lighten the load. Then there’s half a problem. Or is that half wit? There you are. Done. No problem.(1919.Mary Pickford/US

Is it a virus? Genetic? Addiction? Face it. I have a problem with strays: animals, people, notions, weird facts.

It’s just impossible not to see those pathetic faces – desperate postures. Somewhere there’s a home for each and every one. Oh, talking about the thoughts and facts. Wild abandoned thoughts. Now that’s really sad.

Things intentionally sense what will appeal and immediately adopt the most needy pose once a vacancy is spotted.

Plant Nursery sign. Dorothea Lange 1895-1965/NARA.1372774/US P:by fed.employee/

Hear those desperate little voices? Click the plant link that follows. Run. Run far. Run fast.(Lange 1895-1965//US fed.employee/

Even plants….you know those racks of half-priced-nobody-wants plants at the store?

I swear the earth tilts so the outcasts’ rack rolls right into my path. …”A bit of water, and they will be fine”. Raised eyebrows by those around the weak explanation as they move away: it might be catching.

But don’t want to bore you. Got to be piggy with time.

Wild boar running as mink and beaver watch.1921.Argosy of Fables.Cooper/Bransom,ill./NYPub.Lib/

Stick around if you want. I’m not waiting for a fairy tale ending.(1921Bransom/

Time and time again, they warned, it’s not on your side.

In Kansas, anyway…Stomp and click those hooves together all you want, there’s no homey place for feral hogs in Kansas anymore.

Oh, that’s a little harsh reality, but the only place feral hogs are tolerated there is in Bourbon County in SE part of the state. Before breathing a sigh of animal rights’ relief, it’s not really a refuge. Landowners refuse to allow USDA biologists and Kansas Dept of Ag. to bait traps or allow aerial gunning by helicopter. Not out of benevolence, though. They apparently enjoy hunting feral hogs with dogs.

So be don’t be mislead piggies. Just know if hogs gone wild get out of that area, there’s hired guns looking for them.

Texas and Oklahoma are taking note of Kansas’ eradication success. First thing might be confronting hunters/game ranches who purchase live-trapped hogs in order to establish feral hog populations.

Then discourage their runs into other states.(Are they after Blue Bell ice cream? Protest insulting football mascots? Looking for a ride in order to visit European relatives in  the old country? Fall always seems to encourage family reunions.)

A place for everything and everything in its’ place? 

In case of whole hog adoration, catch them here: “Feral hogs? Not in Kansas anymore”

WIld hogs.feral boars.US Fish and WIldlife Service.Steve Hillebrand/

Marge, grab some snacks and gather the kids. We’ll never get to your sister’s before dark at this rate. Roads getting crowded. (USPD: US FWLS.Hillebrand/

Been hearing some glowing reports of feral hogs in Germany.

Marauding wild boars are taking it to the streets.

Are they upset by Simpson’s use of Blinky, the fish out of a river that is downstream from Springfield’s Nuclear Reactor? Totally irritating. (Especially to that fish caught in Argentina.)

The feral hogs didn’t ask to be radioactive from the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, but had expected some extra liberties since it happened. Hoping to discourage the European appetite for their meat, the wild hogs continued to dig truffles and mushrooms which efficiently absorbs radioactivity. It’s been a challenge to keep contaminated meat off the dinner tables.

Counting on human guilt, boars seem to be demanding to enjoy the freedom found on the autobahn.  Faster transportation is a plus when you have big boarish families. Germany’s got a wild boar baby boom with milder winters and more corn being planted.

So radioactive boars: 1. Hunters – oh, also 1 as they get paid for lost income. Diners of delicacies? Wheel of Fortune for probably the next 50 years.

More? Hoof over: “A Quarter of a Century after Chernobyl: Radioactive Boar on the Rise in Germany”

Avoiding bores is pretty universal.

(1920.Mary Pickford pub.still. Suds.United Artists/US

She’s out there. All alone! ((1920.Mary Pickford/United Artists/US

Cows just want to have fun. Didn’t anyone warn this one about hitchhiking?

Can’t trust people. Often doesn’t end well.

Easily led. Trusting in the kindness of strangers. Lured by talk of wide open spaces?

Who knows, but wonder if a seat belt extension was offered. Did the seatback pocket have a bag for crud?

Do hope there wasn’t too much turbulence with bins and doors popping open. (And why does that one get to sit in the exit row? Really. Doesn’t look willing or capable of assisting others out in an emergency. I protest.)

Perhaps she wanted fame. Willing to tolerate an unflattering camera angle.

The plot was mooving, but by now she may realize movie producers in compact cars are not to be trusted. Should have waited for that Limousin - Limousin cattle call, that is. Sigh. The French  – so well-bred.

There are those concerned about the daring cow riding off in search of the meaning of life. Peta is protesting the cow was forced and wasn’t going under her own free wheel. You decide. View the video: “Peta investigates cow being forced into car”

Cow formally dressed.Aesop's fable. 1857. Charles Bennett1828-1867:US PD. of PD art:artist

Now that’s some bull.(Aesop’s.Bennett/US PD.

Thoughts are wandering, too…and I’d better go catch them…the neighbors, you know.

Hey, close that gate tightly when you leave.

Anything wrapped and clutching your ankles or stuck to your soul, well, consider that yours.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Read more?

Vintage Seed catalogue.Theodore Payne/CA Hisotrical Society/

It’s a pain you never really know what will grow from what you plant, but you can always say the seed company got things mixed up. Theodore realized that.(Payne/CA.Historical Society/


September 4, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Magic doesn’t weight

He’s not there, I know that…but perhaps he left a little. Some might have slid out of a box – on purpose. He’d do that.

Before Dumbledore, another enchantment quietly searched for those ready.

Fall River, Rocky Mountain National Park /Footwarrior /

Fall River, Rocky Mountains/Footwarrior/

Oddly so much the same:

Twisted path there.

Crags, cliffs, lakes, wind, and whispering dark forests.

An imposing castle, complete with ghostly sights and moans, commanding attention high above the village.

A footpath over the river, and through the woods, (Yes, just like the song – only no Grandmother waiting).

A large creaking water wheel (cheerfully assuring no trolls lurked) hurried visitors across the rough bridge to the door of a small brown cottage with a drooping roof on the edge of town’s shops.

Hagrid would have felt comfortable there. Beasts, legends, and magic.

Estes Park, CO/Stanley Hotel District. Nat.Reg.of Historic Places/Renoman58 /

Stephen King’s “The Shining”inspired by the Stanley Hotel.(Nat.Reg.of Historic Places/Renoman58/

The heavy swollen door always stuck with a slightly sour old wood smell as it was shoved. A brass bell over the door would wake and giggle encouragement. Rainbows from window prisms washed the room.

And he looked up across the glass counter.

As if he’d known forever that they were coming and was pleased they’d found their way.

The Almost Sisters.

While friends, not twins, almost mirror images: mid-elementary school age, all flailing legs, knees, ankles, elbows, and streamers of pale hair.

Still young enough to roll out of bed early and bounce down trails in rumpled clothes and no makeup.

Brave enough to silently creep up on the buffalo herd – and smart enough to know when noticed and run faster than everyone else in the meadow without falling down.

Silly songs. Vogue-ing videos

Duo almost always in motion – until the Magic Shop.

no permissions granted all rights reserved. copyright

A door unexpectedly whooshed opened.

Suddenly enthralled as they surfed rolling waves of magic.

No more interest in tourist trinkets. No, couldn’t compare with stacks of wonders.

The afternoon Magic Show on the Green was always on the scheduled. Never forgotten.

He noticed their intense scrutiny of each trick’s moves.

Shortly they conned him into spilling the secrets. (It didn’t take much begging.)

An afternoon pattern emerged: while the Magician closed shop and ate his sandwich at a table in the meadow, they’d demonstrate their newest lesson.

He’d laugh and play the audience along with the Rocky Mountain Jays in the trees who, some say, came for the crumbs – of food, wit, or magic? A tough audience to practiced banter on in any case.

In the shop he’d pull the “special ones” out of the case – the real ones professionals used. If the girls couldn’t decide, he’d point out “You are good at this type of move, so this one would be better than that. Try it this way.”

At the end of a few weeks, his apprentices left with bags of tricks and much to practice all the way home and all winter long.

The Magician, too, closed shop and left for winter quarters, smiling at his protégés’ progress. His work begun and done.

Historic water wheel in Estes Park/

Pure childhood magic. Wade in the creek. Watch a magician on the green. Water wheel always troll vigilant.(

Each year summer magic waited until that door was shoved open. The shop’s bell jingled them inside.

Until mountain summers went into hibernation as other opportunities begged for attention.

Adventures continued, but the girls eventually sorted into different houses and paths.

One seems to have packed all her gathered magic – juggling it like a jester with joy.

The other seems to have misplaced hers and wanders lost with vague unfocused eyes.

Hotel featured in "The Shining".Stanley Hotel. Estes Park, CO/PD by Sgerbic/

Frozen. The magic only slumbers. (Stanley Hotel/USPD:Sgerbic/

Need to travel back to that small dark brown cottage past the waterwheel over the bridge at the edge of town. (It dutifully continues to warn trolls away.)

The store now stands dark and empty, I know.

Window stark without rainbows as her life seems to be.

But perhaps a little bit clings to the corner of the window sill? Or tucked just inside the swollen door jamb?

He’s bound to have known and left an emergency portion.

Magic can’t simply disappear. Can’t be totally erased from a place. It lingers.

Where’s one tiny piece? Even a smidgen could jump-start that forgotten spark.

From the trees the jays watch. One holds a bright shiny piece in his beak.

“Fly,” I call. “Fly. Find her. Please. Guide her through one last trick: Magic to lighten life’s weight.”

The best one saved until last.

Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

no permissions granted. Clouds. All rights reserved. copyright

Silver lining? Nice trick, Dumbledore! ©


September 1, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Kiss. Don’t tell.

Cinderella always held special meaning for her.

Not that she sat on the kitchen hearth – or wore rags.

No, there was always polite kindness. The sort given to those not true sisters.

She was theirs, but a half-note different. Felt.

No permission granted. All rights reserved. Copy righted

Dreams, like prism rainbows, are real. ©

She dreamed. Dreamed of a warmer smile and tighter embrace. The one without thought given to their own.

Cinderella. Or perhaps Snow White?

That one bloomed where planted and endeared herself by her thoughts and deeds to those not her own.

So she, too, was determined to do  – in hopes that someday…

The day had been dreary.

She carefully avoided being underfoot.

Came immediately when called.

Oh, too fast.

Princess in hallway. 1920 Princess and the Goblin.Jessie Wilcox

Oh, no! Will this ruin everything? (1920Jessie Wilcox Smith/

She’d intruded. Frozen. Hardly daring to breathe.

A mistake.

No summons would have given.

Now standing like a black sheep among the snowy.

Afraid to even shiver.

Then, she was noticed. A slight stir of uncertainty swept the room.

Fairy tale illustration old woman and child.1920. Princess and the Goblin. Jessie Willcox Smith.1863-1935/ life+75/

You think We did not notice your efforts, child? (1920.JW Smith/

The Dowager, with cat-like grace, glided to stand directly in front of her.

There, in front of the entire court of the Realm, the Regent leaned over and softly planted a kiss – then another – directly on her nose before settling her Great Self regally down.

Stunned silence held the room.

Dare she risk breaking the spell by expressing thanks? What was the protocol? She leaned forward -

“Close enough!” Accompanied by RC Cat’s half raised paw. “Do not, my dear Molly. Take care that you do not overreach. You now have Our permission to withdraw.”

Hardly able to contain her delight, the Molly cautiously backed out of the room and scampered down the hall to the couch.

It HAD happened. It was Not a dream.

Molly stared cross-eyed at a spot on her nose that was still slightly moist and breathed in deeply – sighing over the remembered soft warmth of that feline Kiss of Recognition.

Was it wrong to be kissed and tell? 

After all, finally, all in the family.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

(While it would be delightful to see pictures of the recent Kiss of Recognition, Staff has been warned by RC Cat that to publicize such private honors would  mar their significance.)

It was real. Dare I hope it will happen again?

It was real. It did happen. Does this signal the cease of hostilities? Time to “Tear down those door gates!” (Nice of everyone to call a holiday in honor of this great event.) ©



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