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January 18, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Crying wolf.

prehistoric elephant painting (image by Nagarjun Kandukuru/Commons.wikimedia.org)

You can’t exist over 12,000 years without some changes. (Nagarjun Kandukuru/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Elephants and wolves: intelligent, family oriented, and survivalists.

If these animals clearly got the message, adapt or die, any surprise humans may have, too?

Mozambique’s elephants appear to have realized it was “lose the tusks and you’ve got a chance.”

Mother knows best: hide, remember traumatic events, and get rid of problematic stuff, kids. “Elephants have evolved to not grow tusks”

Of course, like playing a game of pool, whack one thing and others move: a tuskless life for elephants results in changes in feeding habits and behavior interacting with the environment (“Implications of tusklessness” in National Geo. article)

Interestingly, the tuskless females have also developed a very protective “culture of aggression” with low tolerance for vehicles and people – distinctly different than the calm, indifferent behavior of family groups previously seen.

Hmmm. Cranky, over-protective, prone to road rage moms…sounds familiar.

Exhausted woman at table. (Gladys Brockwell, 1922 screenshot from Oliver Twist/First NAt. Pictures (USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Sleep? I remember hearing of it. Might actually be able to get some someday.” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Do stressed out, working human moms also adjust for protection of the species?

  • That New Year’s epidemic diet frenzy reasonable: “Human diet causing catastrophic damage to the planet”.  Guilt from environmentalists weights on nurturers. However, even best of intentions are hard to keep up after a few weeks with Valentines Candy, Mardi Gras, St Patrick’s Day…nobody’s perfect. Every little bit helps. Better luck next year, Earth.
  • What’s a mom to do? Threats of food shortages with these: “any chance of feeding 10 billion people in 2050 within planetary boundaries” or are humans “at the limits on Earth’s capacity to absorb human activity”? A declining birth rate in the US and many developed countries across the world (“Nordic countries crying for kids”) could be a sensible, survival response.
  • On top of that, there’s the prediction of fewer jobs as AI is poised to replace 40% of jobs in 15-20 years according to a technology pioneer and AI expert. (Read more: Investment Watch, CBS news, or Entrepreneur) Gads. The thought of having kids never being able to afford to move out on their own is would be hard to survive. (Shiver)
  • Or moms may just helping school teachers survive by having smaller class sizes to look forward to. Considerate.
Young red wolf pups (ABC 13 Dallas screenshot)

Huh? What about us? What happens at Galveston Island, should stay on Galveston Island.(ABC 13 Dallas screenshot)

If wolf whistles are no longer charming females, maybe a pack of wild canines found on Galveston Island offers some surprises.

Environmentalists and biologists are thrilled to see this hybrid wolf-coyote pack which seems to carry a “substantial amount of red wolf genes.” The red wolf was declared extinct 40 years ago in Texas with less than 40 in existence in the whole country.

So double surprise: a “piece of an endangered genome has been preserved in the wild,”(preserved by the wild…better than the human attempts) and conservationists/researchers are having to rethink that hybrids between species are “rare” and undesirable with negative outcomes.

“Galveston, TX wild dog appear to carry DNA of wolf declared extinct” (ABC Dallas), “Galveston wild dogs carry DNA of extinct red wolf”  (Houston ABC)

Don’t mess with Mother or Nature

As said by Queen Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, and satirist Jonathan Swift

“Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew and dog will have his day.”

Every dog has his day, unless he loses his tail, then he has a weak end. (Musician June Carter Cash)

So let’s not cry wolf quite yet.  Get out there and thrive, you animals.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

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January 16, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Fast times and cornering sharply

Three children rollerskating with girl in lead pulling two boys.1949 example of role-reversal in comic books. Popular in postwar era relecting on vital role women played in war effort. Archie Comics Pub, Jan 1949 (USPD, pub.dat, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

You’re gonna have to work hard to keep up with her.(1949.USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Inconvenient goofs: motor mouths and lesser sharp ones.

Ford’s Mustang channeling Henry the 8th?

Both history driven.

Boasting their Mustang Shelby GT500 one will leave the competition standing around like worn-out nags, Ford may be avoiding a weighty truth: this new version maybe more Budweiser Clydesdale than buff equine icon of the plains – the Mustang rumored by gearheads to be weighing in between 4000-4200 pounds as opposed to the Camaro’s leaner weight of around 3883.)

 So is it promises, promises?  While most agree Mustangs always offer a nice sports car interior (Hey, Henry – 8th and Ford – knew image counts), the company won’t release actual horsepower figures until fall. But put enough power behind a brick and it’ll fly.

“This 700+ horsepower ‘Stang has its knives out for Chevy’s Camaro ZL1 and Dodge’s Challenger Hellcat…”

All sorts of reasons for updates and redesigns. 

Ford responded to market demands with a rear wheel drive Explorer.

The lovely Explorer’s Marketing Design team leader glibly explained the change was to make it easier to design the vehicle (?)…and (quickly and quietly said) police departments jumped at the chance to buy fleets of new rear wheel driven cars.

When the Crown Victoria Police Interceptors were discontinued,  Ford’s front wheel drive sedans and others cars like the Chevy Tahoe did not live up to expectations or wear. Front tires wear out faster with front wheel and police cars handled better with power and weight in the rear.

Knowing the customers and market mood is critical for a company.

Those blades masters might consider that. Gillette, some cutting remarks:

  1. Don’t want social lectures from products.
  2. Exploitation and hijacking an issue. This is obviously “Bad publicity is better than no publicity.” Free, free, free product placement on primetime news and across all social media platforms? Music to any Marketing Department. All about the money.
  3. Most glaring: Do you really know who some of the WORST bullies – the MOST VICIOUS and violent fighters in schools and neighborhood – the CRUEL BEYOND BELIEF internet trolls – are? It’s very often women and even young girls. A lot little shavers cutting across those…

Metal is sometimes sharper than people.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Man and woman standing in identical outfits. I love Lucy PJ ad. 1953 Ad (USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Alike but different, yet in it together. (1953/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

 

January 14, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Meatless and moving

It’s Meatless Monday. It used to be on Tuesday. Sounds better than Wheatless Wednesday, or  Poultryless Thursday (both which could be considered tasteless as well as selectively discriminatory)

Honestly, trust something stirred up by the likes of Citizens Food Committee and Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection?

No, Al Gore did not invent it  – neither did Paul McCarthy. Probably by some exhausted cave mom who boulder was bare.

People. Prehisoric cave dwellers. (1918 book "Women Triumphant" USPD.pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Look. They’re your family. You invited them. It’s stone soup or nothing.” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Oh, Happy Old New Year for those starry-eyed or old-fashioned fans of the Julian – the Julian calendar, not the Julian politician.

People gave Caesar his due from 46 B.C to around 1750 A.D. until it became obvious that things weren’t adding up – and that ditzy Spring equinox along with the leaping minuet of minutes out of step with the seasons. And it affects Easter (Do not mess with a lady’s Easter fashion or that bunny resurrecting Spring’s Easter eggs)

Astronomers – always looking to the stars and the future – made the switch Oct. 15, 1582. But some rowdy Brits weren’t so eager to change the day. Supposedly there were Calendar Riots and cries of “Give us our eleven days!”

Seriously, who’s a sensible citizen of the British Empire going to believe: a bunch of monks who never dress for occasions or an Emperor? Surprising Henry the 8th didn’t mandate a purely English calendar while he was resorting religions, too.

Giant Yellow Duck. Floatie suspended from ceiling at Boat Show. (© image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Just Duckie here…for pontoon boats, fishing boats, jet skis. Sail boats do not lower themselves for this.(© image)

If you’re hungry for more meaty information or entertainment, click on…

It’s cold but sunny here – May be the only sunny day this entire week before the Polar Vortex slashes with icy fingers.

The organic, natural time piece serves well.

Good day. Sunshine.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Those grey rainy days boring your pet?

The annual techie show has something for that..

RC Cat says, “What? I didn’t request Cat Uber. We do get tired chasing the dog, so this will be handy.”

Molly says, “Where’s the rope tail so I can swing it around like Jolly Ball? Oh, it’s bowling for dogs.”

They both snort, “Do you really want to know….?”

“And those who lack respect for pet privacy may reap what they roll at us…”

 

January 10, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Crunch time

Every get a show stopper to wear in anticipation of going to a cool event…only to not be invited have life intervene?

Got to be feeling that.

The seasonally oblivious poinsettia in the flowerbed suddenly decided to bloom today.

Unclear on the celebrities’ rule of smooth: arrive late, leave early

Party’s over and no place to go, Red.

flower. plant. Poinsettia by fence. (© image all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Like Lucy Ricardo, red was always her color (© image)

It was a mercy buy. Three dollars. You know.

Knocked by a customer rushing into Home Depot and crashing right at your feet; what dirt there was in the cheap little pot spilling out everywhere. Unable to avoid the guilt of leaving it behind, I took it home Christmas before last wedged it into a wind protected spot on the front porch and offered it hospice.

Somehow it sensed this was a place to live.

Quietly surviving the summer in deep shade, last fall it was given a pot abandoned by a selfish unappreciative, expensive plant. Then it proudly bushed out – ignoring the fact that it was there to hide the tall sprinkler stalk and stop the dog from racing across the back of the flowerbed. It must have felt purpose. Thrived.

And suddenly realized it had been so happy rooting around in new dirt, that it missed its’ bloom cue.

Things generally turn out like they are supposed to if you let them.

A straggler batch of Monarch butterflies just arrived. Hurrying to feed and rest up before moving on before the next bug cold front.

Poinsettia is like a butterfly billboard – proclaiming “Last chance Rest Stop: Water, final location of blooming flowers, and sheltered sunny spots. Next Rest Stop several hundred miles across the sky.”

Water seeks its own level.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

And here’s more proof plants have personality and are far closer to human qualities than we like to believe:

plants huddled against the house on the patio (© image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

You see that broad-leafed middle plant? The one sandwiched between the palm and Schiffilera – and behind the alyssum (a compassionate one – always trying to keep cane plant’s feet warm) and the miniature rose (who is not afraid to stick up for herself)  It’s the prima donna middle child. Always fussy:” too much sun. It is bleaching my delicate arms. I demand you lug all the others out of that corner so I can be there. Oh, now the gutter is overflowing and dripping too much on me. Oh, now it’s too cold, I demand cozy shelter – let the others freeze on the outside off the pile. Oh, my arms are cold, I want a sweater. Oh, now I need more light…light, not sun….” The youngest, the rose wanting to feel the wind swirl freely around her stem and relish the full winter sun on her buds, has just about had enough with the complaints. A thorny response, “Darn it, bloom where you are planted!” 78 degrees F yesterday.(© image)

 

 

January 7, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Another First. Battle of Kings

You can shove the gym memberships and Mediterranean diet aside a bit longer. The parties are not over.

Happy FMNY! (First Monday of the New Year). Oh, let the Kings Battle on!

Couples at diner. Woman despairing. Movie still from The Payment/The Moving Picture World/ USPD. artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“OMG. First she couldn’t eat the nachos because they weren’t on her diet, and now she’s broken her tooth on that darn baby in the cake.”(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Nope, not all about football’s chosen champions out to uphold the reputation of their towns.

I had to grin at Seattle’s coach’s comment after gazing around Dallas Cowboy’s cathedral of sports AT&T stadium.

Said playing there “was like playing in a night club”.

Astute comment: so loud people can’t hold normal conversations, lots of colorful flashing lights, big screens showing games, expensive foods, pretty girls in attention attracting outfits, lots of drinking, some men falling down…

Sounds a lot like Mardi Gras

Starting with Jan. 6th, the battle of King Cakes gets sticky. 

Día de Los Reyes (Mexico and other Latin/Hispanic countries) is celebrated in honor of the Three Wise Men who upon arrival at the manger in Bethlehem gave gifts to the infant Jesus.

The last in a series of Mexican Christmas festivities, often gifts were/are exchanged more at this time than Christmas.

A new dream market for Hallmark and merchants “honoring” cultural diversity.

Rosca (“wreath”/oval shape representing a crown) de Reyes (kings) or King Cakes are served with a bean, candy, or small doll baked inside to represent the Christ child. (See Louisiana’s best King Cakes here and here.)

Tradition says whoever finds the “baby” is supposed to take it to the nearest church on Feb. 2 when Jesus was presented to the church. The winners usually then host a party for friends and family in Feb. 2.

Never enough parties. Hey, Church approved!

King Cakes rule in New Orleans and are closely tied to Mardi Gras and carnival. 

The tradition seems to have been brought from France in 1870 with the “official colors” of purple (for justice), green (for faith), and gold (for power) documented by the Krewe of Rx in 1872.

The one that finds the baby in the cake agrees to host the next Mardi Gras Party.

Parties – a similar theme..but these maybe not Sunday School variety.

Woman surrounded by rows ands rows of shoes. Bessie Barriscale, 1921, Exhibitors Herald, 1921. USPD, artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Ah, a shoe-in for the New Year. One for every party and church service.” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

The tradition said to have been brought by Basque settlers in 1718 to the Southern U.S. (Florida panhandle across to East Texas).

King cake parties were well documented in the 18th century there with the “winner” of the baby search receiving good luck for the year ahead – and who had to furnish the King Cake for the next year.

These celebrations just less famous as they were possibly less raucous than New Orleans? You never know just how settled those isolated settlers were when they gathered…

Blue Bell ice cream company knows how big Mardi Gras is in Galveston, TX area.

So local grocery stores were some of the first (2004) to offer a special limited edition: Mardi Gras King Cake ice cream.

The first few years, people scrambled and traveled distances to get some before it was gone. Now the flavor is more widely available (and we won’t be getting calls from, friends elsewhere begging us to buy and stop some for them.)

Time to pack up the Christmas t-shirts and freshen the vintage Mardi Gras collection.

Icing on the Christmas cake

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Ice Cream. Screenshot (Blue Bell Ice Cream image)

It’s good. Mardi Gras season and Blue Bell’s ice cream…any flavor.

January 4, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Nagging and a Porsche stalled.

Horses. Two horses in barn with frost on ears. (© image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Look closely. A natural frosting on the tips of the ears.(©image)

A conversation overheard:

“While I’ve always admired the Palomino look, this isn’t exactly the sun-streaked pony tail of my dreams”

“Fell for the old ‘It’s a new year, how about a new you’? Craved show horse bling, myself. Maybe a touch of frosted around the ears to frame the face. It may be organic and natural as the rich and famous promote, but far too chillin’ for me.”

“Can already hear the horselaughs from the Budweiser Clydesdales. Celebrities don’t live like the rest of us.”

Horse with ice on tail. (© image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

This is the end. (Should have wrapped up with a blanket instead.) (© image)

horse water tub with ice. (© image: no permissions granted, all rights reserved, copyrighted)

Stick around. Good to have one when it’s 28 degrees F. at the ranch in N Central TX.(©image)

Speaking of expectations dashed, some fancy car owners will not accept any little thing not working right.

This owner of a 2013 Porsche 911 Turbo S was quick to complain to the National Highway Safety Transportation Board: (And in all caps, no less..)

“I WAS PULLING INTO MY GARAGE AND NEARLY RAN OVER MY WIFE DUE TO THE GLARE ON THE WINDSHIELD . THIS CAR HAS A VERY LIGHT COLORED DASH TOP. THE GARAGE WAS SHADED BUT THIS WAS A BRIGHT SUNNY DAY.”

Seriously.

Thoughts?

  1. Have the local police been out there for a welfare check on the wife?
  2. Dude, you don’t deserve this car. Give it to me.

“Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people” (W.C. Fields)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

 

January 1, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Spirits and spirit animals

Early 1900 society seems obsessed with frogs.

If certain eras develop affection towards a particular creature – Like trendy social mascots – Selecting spirit animals so to speak as some shortly become spirits…

What critter would represent 2018?

Mad cow.

Sorta fits

We gotta reset with 2019

Happy New Year – Let’s make it a good one.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Frog holding champagne bottle with glasses at his feet and small clovers and horse shoes for good luck. 1908 post card for New Years(USPD. artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Don’t ask. It’s not easy being green. Social anxiety requires a little liquid fortification. The luck of four leaf clovers and horseshoes only goes so far.” (1908.postcard/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

A vintage couple celebrating New Years post card, 1916. Nat.Lib. of Norway. USPD.artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Oh, Dahling. Cleverly done with that formal dinner invitation. You are right, though. Greeting him at the door with ‘Oh, you are so cute I could just eat you up’ was a bit insensitive.” (New Years post card.1916. USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

 

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