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February 28, 2023 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Big Time Boycott

automaton alarm clock. 1643 Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum (Dguendel/

Doggone it. If this happens, they will be chasing their tales.(1643 automaton alarm clock.Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum/Dguendel/

In this age of emoji’s and acronyms – what passes for language these days – what would happen?

Just suppose some giant electromagnetic surge – a massive sun spot flare – an ill-wind blowing haboob – caused all the clocks worldwide to stop.

All wind ups, the battery operated, the digital, the IERS suspended, even the Black Forest clocks of Cuckoos.

Let’s take down all time related aps for cell phones/media broadcast/, and internet, too…

Just for fun. Heck, let’s say, the electrical grids also go down when the sun sets.

Would that bring about the end of impolite civilization? 

Man in bed with clock behind him. The Sunlight-Loser (as his sainted Grandfather's clock strikes three) "The British are just putting their clocks back an hour. I wish I could put ours back about 3 years" (USPD, artist life/ book illustration 1916/

As Daylight Saving Time switch approaches, oddly this caption seems as timely as when it was written. “The Sunlight-Loser (as his sainted Grandfather’s clock strikes three) ‘The British are just putting their clocks back an hour. I wish I could put ours back about 3 years'” Oh, to set ours back, too. (USPD/1916 Puck Magazine/

Once the realization sunk in (and people were sure it wasn’t some prank or political retaliation – what an era this is) what would people do? 

  • Doubtless some would rush out and construct some form of sun dial. 
  • Some would scramble to pull that “why would anyone send a paper calendar what a waste” item out of the trash. Simply too insecure or lacking confidence to remember, the blue recycle cans were out the day it rained, and it’s been two sleeps since so today must be garbage day)
  • Maybe church bells would start ringing the hours once again…of course, they might have to have or buy bells instead of digital imitations.
  • Schools would be in turmoil without the ability to announce it’s now time to learn about this not that. (Anxious kids might afraid to unpack their backpacks in class out of fear they might not know when to pack up early in preparation for the classic race to the class.)
  • Don’t even speculate on the airport and airline chaos. We’ve already had a trial run of that.

No one would know what or when anything was going on or for how long, or even if it was too late and over and done.

Extreme FOMO! 

How would your life change?

Antique wind up clock. (Image MONNIN Jacques/ Museum, departemental Albert Demard/Musees de la Haunte-Saone, France/

Being wound up all the time can really age one.(MONNIN Jacques/Musees de la Haunte-Saone, France/

Mine? Probably not much as I am already on DST (Dog Strolling Time).

Dogs, like Hank, seem to run on preset clockwork:

We are up at dawn for an early power walk to see the sun rise, then breakfast. Sometime around noon/when the sun is high, we head towards the waterfront park. (Checking out clouds, wind direction, and what wild flowers are blooming.) As the shadows grow longer, we saunter for another neighborhood tour avoiding school bus traffic.  Hollywood Hank, the Happy Husky, waits by the front door and yodels commanding his half-block walk-around before before his consistent 9:00 bedtime. (After that final look for possums, owls, and cats)

Preschoolers’ presets are comparable – except for the possums and owls.Eating when hungry, not when directed by inanimate object. 

Work until tired.

Sleep until rested and the body says it’s time to get up.

Oh, yeah, the building blocks of society and productivity would come tumbling down….

Marionette clock with 3 figures (mik Krakow/Flickr/

Recognizable, yes? The world keep spinning. Everyone keeps marching in time in an endless line – hoping for a break. Down time. (mik Krakow/Flickr/

And, as with anything, there are always unexpected side effects for the general public

  • Less stress
  • Less anger
  • Maybe stronger immune systems
Astronimical clock face (Andrew Shiva/Wikipedia/ Godot13/

Time outed: this astronomical clock – a machine, yet a beautiful one that is spinning around so much more than just daily human lives.  (Andrew Shiva/Wikipedia/ Godot13/

Of course, some critical things are simply too time sensitive:

  • How would a hospital know how long they can keep a patient sedated during procedures or how long between stopping a human heart before jumpstarting it with a shock attempting to restore a regular rhythm.
  • Parents would watch their door cams with great anxiety wondering if their kid should have made it home by now. (911 on speed dial…jammed. Every day.)
  • Not-the-expert-cooks might fret over how long to boil the spaghetti or bake a meatloaf.
  • Traffic lights would be inefficiently bonkers.
1930 Cuckoo clock cartoon (Film Preservation Associates/Ub twerks/

Now who’s the cuckoo? (1930 Film Preservation Associates/Ub twerks/

Timelessness might prove to be too difficult for long term, but a short holiday might be a curious change. Call it “Time Out Day”.

Probably a better plan than National Doughnut Day.

What do you think?

Never too late

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge 

February 14, 2023 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Hark to heart

Woman reading Valentines. Horsley painting. (USPD. artist life 1817-1903, reprod of 2D PD art/

Ah the celebration of love arrives. Shall we peruse some vintage Valentines for some lighthearted amusement?. (USPD/

Valentine entertainment. "Pfc. Omer Pelletier, 31392497, Lowell, Massachusetts, Quartermaster Corps, Camp Lee, Virginia, and his dog "Snooks" are shown entertaining at the Valentine Party held for the Port personnel and their guests at the Port Gymnasium, HPE, Newport News, Virginia. Official photograph U.S. Army Signal Corps, Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, Newport News, Virginia."(USPD, artist life/

It’s not what you think! This pair is not practicing for an audition for America’s Got Talent. Entertainment at Camp Lee/Newport News, Virginia with Pfc. Omer Pelletier and “Snooks”during a Valentine’s Party. So much was less demanding then. (USPD/

Life Magazine cover for Valentines: woman holidng cupid hostage. 1892 (USPD,, artist life/

Interesting 1892 Life Magazine cover for Valentine’s issue. Is the woman holding Cupid hostage or refusing to have her heart stolen? He does have a bow and arrow…(USPD/

Saturday Evening Post Valentine cover (1910/ USPD,, artist life/

Poor postal employees. If it’s not pit bulls, it’s a pushy, young boss. Maybe this postman warned the purple lady above about the bipolar temperament of Cupid? (1910/USPD/

1906 Blackboard drawing Valentine. (USPD artist life,

Well, this card passed out in a classroom party would cause quite a ruckus these day. That kid would be instantly rushed to the office and interrogated. “Why did you think violence and guns was at all appropriate for Valentines?! Oh, is that your mom in the purple illustration? Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…Quick call CPS!” (From 1906- back when everyone had a sense of humor and generally knew the difference between between fantasy/make believe and real life. USPD/

Arrogant boy on Valentine postcard. 1915. (USPD, artist life/

Arrogant Self-confident boy on 1915 Valentine postcard. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. (USPD/

Funny Valentines message 1915 ( Missouri Historical Museum (USPD,, artist life/

Obviously bought by someone who has had to deal with parental disapproval. Perhaps the recipient one of  the boys of the cards above? What teen doesn’t love a rebel – and one the parents hate? (1915/USPD/

Boy in window getting valentine delivered by bird. (Vintage, Victorian from Archives of NZ. USPD., artist life/

Unsuspecting boy receives a special delivery Valentine. (Archives of NZ. USPD/

Guess this kid never saw that movie “The Birds” or he wouldn’t be leaning out in such precarious fashion on that flimsy looking balcony.

Hmmm, if he’s similar to the boy with the red bow tie above, would he be a candidate for  a “special” Valentine?

Vintage Valentine golfer hitting heart. (1915. Missouri Historical Museum/USPD,, artist life/

Passive aggressive double meaning here? Maybe a visual warning message to “Stop kicking my heart around”. (1915.USPD/

1861 vintage BW Valentines card showing scenes of the day. (USPD,, artist life/LoC/

1861 Valentine’s Day preparations. But what’s with the silly geese at the top corner? Oh, maybe donors of feathers for ink quills? Love hurts, they say. (USPD/

Superman Valentine. 1940's (USPD, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.

Well, we’ll see what’s driving that. (1940’s/USPD/

Woman with big pink heart.(USPD, c. 1910/artist life,

Pretty in pink. How lovely. Now where’s the rest of the Valentine’s loot I can brag to my girlfriends about? (1910.USPD/

“What is Galentine’s Day? Everything you need to know about this popular holiday that started out as a joke.”

Bizarre costumes for Valentine ball. 1937. Photo by Citizen-News, Hollywood, 1937. Elaine Fullerton, "Tintinabulations in Miasma;" Bettina Ryan, "The Little Tear Gland That Goes Pooh Pooh;" Brooke Waring, "Accepted Surrealist Bride;" Gladys Aller, "Rejected Bride of the Broken Heart." Costumes for the Los Angeles unit of the American Artists' Congress for their Surrealist Valentine's Ball, February 1937 in Hollywood. (USPD,

Ahead of their time? Just too delicious not to share: Costumes for a Valentine’s ball. (Citizen-News, Hollywood) Elaine Fullerton, “Tintinabulations in Miasma;” Bettina Ryan, “The Little Tear Gland That Goes Pooh Pooh;” Brooke Waring, “Accepted Surrealist Bride;” Gladys Aller, “Rejected Bride of the Broken Heart.” Costumes for the Los Angeles unit of the American Artists’ Congress for their Surrealist Valentine’s Ball, February, 1937 in Hollywood. (USPD/


Vintage Valentine girl in straw hat, old fashioned swim suit and sand bucket ( USPD., artist life/flickr/

May your Valentine’s Day have as many smiles as there are grains of sand on the shore. (USPD/flickr/

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge


February 12, 2023 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Unnecessary roughness

1911 American football game. (USPD,

If it’s not one player, it’s another. Yeah, how far we have come.(1911 American football game.USPD/

The neighborhood consensus is that she’s selling the house off one piece at a time.

Addiction is a horrible thing.

She’s been in and out of rehab 4 or 5 times. Costs add up. All costs. 

The almost new stainless steel fridge was hauled off rocking in protest in the back of a not so new pickup truck. 

How do you live in a house without a refrigerator?

We don’t know. 

When she drives in, she avoids everyone – ducks inside, head down – Says she doesn’t remember who or what she said when to whom. 

Her son and his kid’s room furniture was picked up by her Ex. (Sadly, she previously fought for custody, but, now, this is for the best.) 

Jack, the dog is gone, too. More loss.

She was there for a while. Recently.

Trash cans appeared out front. The neighborhood makes sure the cans are put back up and not blown down the street; the yard gets mowed; and the door to door flyers pulled from the door.

People hesitantly touch base with the social worker, healthcare lady, or her younger sister when there’s a chance. (Always asking “Is there anything …?” Which is always answered with sad shake of the head.) 

And opens the front door when she pounds on it frantically weeping and whacked out of her gourd on drugs, alcohol or a combo at 2 a.m. saying she’s in trouble and can’t stop herself, “Please, please, help me”…and calls EMS for her as she collapses unconscious on the floor.

Another run at rehab. 

Another U-Haul rental loads up assorted pieces of furniture and household goods now and then.

Football player leaping for ball. 1967 (USPD,/

You know how it is. Sometimes no matter how hard you try to keep your eye on the ball, it can always seem just a bit out of reach.(USPD/

There’s a really nice boyfriend who is in love with her. He has continually tried to help her. (“A lost cause. Run,” her former best friend across the street told him.)

Played sports with her son when she couldn’t. Fed the dog. Was always there when she came out “clean” once again.

He’s even stepped up to take responsibility for caring of her 6 month old baby. (The last thing she needed…). Even though the little one may not be his. Other vehicles would pull in after he left. Maybe finally had enough; he’s not been seen for some time. 

Then the lights stopped being on in the house at night. 

Last Thursday a couple of rough looking guys backed their open trailer into her drive.

“They’ve come for the patio furniture and grill,” I said. ‘Super Bowl’s this weekend.”

And that’s what they drove off with.

She’s an unexpected, unintended, collateral casualty.  

Of a very painful and serious injury. Of COVID isolation. Of far too easy to acquire illegal oxytocin and fentanyl on the street once the doc says, “No more.” 

We hope she has landed someplace safe.

The odds are against it.

Addiction is a terrible thing.

Full of unnecessary roughness.

No wining plays this weekend except in Arizona’s State Farm (As in state institution “Funny Farm”? That would be oddly appropriate for these times.) Stadium: a super distraction of gladiator pageantry. Full of sound and fury signifying nothing real.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Goal post in green field (Kidzet/

Have to start somewhere. Trying to put a real human face on this game. A field of dreams with a goal of stopping the flow of illegal drugs across the southern border. Is that asking too much? The cost of human misery is so great.(Kidzet/

February 3, 2023 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Scrutiny (Not mutiny)

Cat looking down from, highwindow. (USPD, released/

“He’s on the move. Let the caterwauling commence.” (USPD/

He feels it.

Their watchings. 

Every time he steps out.

You’d think he’d be used to it by now, but still…

Cat looking out window between curtains ( State Lib of New South Wales/flickr/USPD, released, artist life, pub date by Sam Hood/

“I’ve got eyes on him. Over”(USPD/

Across on their driveway, one watches. Silently. 

Peering out a front window, between glass and blinds: another stares without blinking.

Obviously holding the delusion of invisibility, a sleek, jet black one crouches in the gutter – resting chin on the curb – like a detective on stakeout. (Like you can’t see those angular antenna ears)  

White cat looking out ornate window grill in Spain (Zarateman/Wikimedia.o

“In the mud along the fence. What’s with his Staff? Dogs and humans – what dunderheads. They belong together.” (Zarateman/Commons/

Gillie the cat evaluating out the window. (Dwight Sipler/Flickr/

Gillie here. He’s circling the light pole. (Dwight Sipler/

Not going to cower. No head down or shoulders slumped.

Not giving them the satisfaction. 

2 cats in a window (Janos Korom Dr. Austria/Flickr/

“We’ve picked him up at the fire hydrant .” (Janos Korom/Austria/

Iwan, the Cat looking out glass door (Paawel from Poland/Flickr/

“Iwan reporting. He’s made it to the giant ant ziggurat.”(Paawel/Poland/

Right past without looking – even at the ink-colored gutter lump.

Neither with the defensive: “What are you looking at?”

Nor the preemptive “Don’t mess with me” imitation pit bull chip on the shoulder. 

Simply, that John Wayne “Awe, shucks, Ma’am” square shouldered, looseness – and walking on.

Cowboy John Wayne walking down town street. (USPD,, artits life/

Yep. That same loose jointed, self confident, nonchalant walk.They could be twins separated at birth. (USPD/

Dog own a mission: They are just cats after all.

And who are they to judge – especially when he knows several of them aren’t far from their street walking origins…

Ginger from Cyprus - now on farm in Alabama (Steve Evans/Flickr/

“Ginger, following. We must attempt neutrality. each deserves a chance to prove themselves.” (Steve Evans/Feline rescue from Cyprus and now resident of an Alabama farm/

Still, there’s upcoming HOAA (Home Owners’ Animal Association) “New resident review and analysis”.

But Happy Hank Snow isn’t worried:  Information leaked from an unnamed sympathetic meow.

Cat at window screen wanting out. (Anne Worner/Flickr/

“Hey, I’ve just got a few seconds -I told my Staff there’s rumors of a mouse in the garage next door…you know the early stalker gets the rodent. I slipped the draft under your door. Good luck!” (Anne Worner/

New Resident Evaluation:

Happy Hank Snow, the Siberian Husky. (The Applicant)

1). The applicant, has adopted the understanding that squirrels are not cats and it’s unsportsmanlike to notice them – much less worth chasing them.

2). Applicant does not bolt out open doors, but waits politely for the “Let’s go” signal

3). Applicant looks both ways before crossing the street

4). Applicant adjusts speed of movement to that of Staff …at least for a step of two.

5). Applicant responds to “Slowly. Slow down” when encountering slick, muddy, or slanted sidewalks 

6). Applicant demonstrates a look of total belief when his name is called sharply and desperately –  only to turn and discover Staff sprawled on the ground, frantically holding on the leash. (“Mom? What’s with that? No roadside napping was ever discussed. Mom?”) 

Man walking dog in winter. (Kenneth Allen/

Just repaint this image substituting mud for snow – at dawn, in fog, with continuous rain, and 39 degrees (F), then it’s an accurate depiction of here…(Kenneth Allen/

Recommendations for improvement  

1). Cease the sudden 4-wheel drive halts without warning in the middle of the route to examine invisible bugs or appreciate enticing smells as it causes staff to cartwheel over him. (Although if there was an investment by staff in a vest cam, the resulting footage might prove profitable if submitted to America’s Funniest Video. Audio is recommended. Nothing more cute than Husky talking)

2). Before making medal winning, Olympic quality vaults over the couch arms, determination should be made that the targeted landing zone is free of any person.

3). Continue reduction of Bedtime Zoomies followed by and Spring lamb bounces across the bed resulting of pillows becoming airborne before applicant assuming the “rub my tummy” position.

4). Limit the overly cute, wistful looks at the dinner table…like a starving whale scoping out a seal on an ice flow.

5). Counter surfing, while now done with more stealth, is not advisable to continue dietary health. (The microwave bell is not a dog dinner bell., Just because there’s pizza, it doesn’t mean it’s for you. And no, the warmed tortillas are not rolled up in foil for ease of dog carrying. )

6). An alternative behavior pattern must be substituted for the absolute frenzy of “all small, white dogs are problematic and must be dealt with as such”. Vertical pirouettes, while fewer, should be discontinued. Distain preferably shown by ignoring and marching away. Or the applicant should consider submitting resumes to movie producers or advertisement talent scouts.

Applicant is to be congratulated on the following:

1). His carefulness to step on towels at the doors upon entering house to wipe feet.

2). His cooperation with ceasing to water and mark every furniture leg in the house.

3). His recently acquired “snooze alarm” for early morning wakeup calls

4). His Husky chatty conversations are charming. His translations into human speech admirable.

5). His congeniality with people, easy going attitude, and cheerfulness are to be applauded

Couple talking. John Wayne and Verna Hillie, 1934 (USPD, artist life,

“Thanks, gal. Appreciate your friendship and kindness.” (John Wayne and Verna Hillie/USPD/

Hank’s easy-go-lucky attitude is pretty solid after getting a sneak peak.

Besides, It’s a Pass / Fail performance review.l

(Although if this isn’t a star-quality review, I don’t know what is. I’d like to see any meow do better! Even that jet black one who probably needed more than an indoor paw wipe-off after staging a observation post in a gutter.)

So let them look, glare, or whatever.

Hank’s smug: No returned to sender tag needed. He’s made the director’s cut and is already starring in his own box office hit with a cast of supporting characters.

Pawtographs will be available. (Please bring your own tortillas)

(Oh, sorry about the muddy print smudges – he’s nothing if not grateful and enthusiastic)

Hollywood Hank on set.

Hank the Siberian Husky. (© image copyrighted, All rights reserved, no permissions granted)

“You could have put a little butter on that tortilla”. (© image)

Production note: Staff apologizes for absence, but for some reason she is fighting a cough and cold…can’t imaging why….Onward through the fog. (Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge)


January 25, 2023 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Die. Diet. Die

Couple. Man and wife sitting. 1920. ill. Walter Crane (USPD,, artist life/

“A three hour tour you said.”(USPD/

Fishy stink with deadly links.

Would you eat to keep from starving or choose to keep the faith?

A dilemma.

Greenland’s Vikings might have consciously made that choice…or not.

(Oddly the Vikings may have something in common with dinosaurs and the Aztecs. You know, that freezing and starving to death thing due to uncontrollable catastrophe. Maybe…)

Around 1,000 A.D. a group of Vikings from Iceland invaded or immigrated to Greenland. (Depending on your view point. “Indigenous” often means “those who got there before you did and managed to stay alive and thrive.) 

Viking moving day was a during the Medieval Warm Period (about 900-1300) when the sea ice had decreased so sailing from Scandinavia to Greenland was much less tricky. 

Once there, they didn’t really show any plans to return home. For about 400 years they were happy with longer growing seasons with plenty of meadows and grazing lands along Greenland’s southwest coast for cattle, sheep, and goats. Maybe it felt  like simply recreating the medieval European lifestyle in a new location. . 

Suddenly and mysteriously, the whole lot disappeared.

THREE FISH. 1908 Bilibin (USPD,artist life/

No, no sign of sleeping with the fishes.(USPD/

No one really knows why, but there are theories: Like they starved to death.

  • Poor land management? (Overgrazing could have cause soil erosion ending agricultural bounty.)
  • A better offer from Aliens Spaceships?
  • Some strict religious concept?
  • Climate change?
  • A combo of just bad luck?

They couldn’t build new ships for a return to their homelands since Greenland has very few trees: slender birches and willows.

Viking ship. Summer in the Greenland ooast circa year 1000. (Carl Rasmusssen 1874 painting/ USPD pub.,date, artist life, reprod of PD art/

Note to self: always book with a reputable travel agent who guarantees a return trip and makes sure the cruise line doesn’t feature an open boat. (USPD/

Then worse luck: a mini-Ice Age arrived just like with the Aztecs.

Freezing weather possibly caused by a volcanic explosion on the other side of the world.

Greenland didn’t have enough trees, or even excess wooden home furnishings, to burn and stay warm.

Now here’s a creative theory: they starved to death while surrounded by bountiful sea’s fish, because they would not eat seafood.

(Many parents have worried / threatened their children who turn up their noses at fish dinners, but a whole starving society?)

Why do researchers think so?

They point to the odd fact that there are no remnants of fishbones anywhere around the settlements, homes, or their garbage dumps.

Does anyone actually think think people would gather up their fish leftovers, then haul the stinky mess off on some sort of maritime garbage scow/raft to be towed out to sea and dumped? (Only  advanced, civilized, sophisticated societies do that, right?)

There is no trace of fishbones anywhere.

Not even fish bone ornaments, needles or other useful implements that can be made from fish bones.

Although it has pointed out that the bones could have been crushed and used for crop fertilizer or animal food. 

Fish of stained glass window, CHurch oif St. Peter and St Paul (Evelyn Simak/

Symbolic fish of stained glass feed the soul, but that may not be enough.(Evelyn Simak/

One grim, uncomfortable theory suggests the Vikings might have decided that fish were untouchable – perhaps to be worshiped. A revered fish god? 

Starve to death or eat and be damned? Really?  That’s a choice? (Said from a modern perspective…)

Most archeologists don’t seriously consider the “starve rather than break the faith” theory

It’s more likely the Greenland Vikings were either wiped off the face of the earth due to some sort of climate catastrophe (accompanied by angry polar bears or seals looking for revenge or hors d’oeuvres?) or were overrun by the Inuits. (Source) 

(Inuits? Hmm, Now, where did they come from…”Indigenous”? Or greedy territory invaders themselves?)

There’s just so much you can swallow.

Fisheman and wife who sits in house.Russiaan Empire illustration 1902 (USPD. artist life/

Determined to become self sufficient. Why can’t he just give up and call Pizza Hut? Stupid “experience vacation!” (USPD/

Why do whole groups of people suddenly decided to “eat this and not that”? They couldn’t all be worried about an approaching swimsuit season.

The Scottish Pictish are another such puzzle.

According to researchers, the Pictish inhabitants thrived with farms period during 550 to 700 A.D. and ate a diet primarily of barley, beef, lamb, pork and venison. Serious meat-eaters with fresh and saltwater fish oddly missing from their diet.

It wasn’t from lack of skill or knowledge: Pictish sea power is well documented from archaeological remains of naval bases, their surviving records discuss their ships, and obviously, sea people know how to fish.

One explanation is the Picts did not eat fish for cultural and spiritual reasons.

“We … know from Pictish stone carvings that salmon was a very important symbol for them, possibly derived from earlier superstitious and folklore beliefs that include stories about magical fish, such as the ‘salmon of knowledge,’ believed to have contained all the wisdom in the world,” explains researcher Curtis-Summers. “It’s likely that fish were considered so special by the Picts that consumption was deliberately avoided.” (Source)

Your guess is as good as theirs.

Sea life desisgn. 1890. Seder (USPD, artist life, reprod of PD art/

Sea life design: Like life, complex and inter-related. (USPD/

Another one: the Britons

For some reason about 5,000 years ago, it looks like Britons suddenly tossed out their regular diet of fish and shellfish in exchange for what became the standard European meal of meat and high carbohydrates.

Since it is true that people are what they eat; bone bare facts reveal diet. By measuring and comparing carbon isotope ratios of Neolithic human bones and comparing them to Mesolithic /Middle Stone Age bones (Around 9000 to 5,200 years to those 5,200 to 4,500 years ago.), results suggest that the Middle Stone Age people ate more seafood.  

So what do you think caused that switch?

  • Easier to go get the cow or lamb rather than risk, rough unpredictable seas – and possibly Viking marauding sea people – just for fish sticks?
  • Shift from hunter-gatherer existence to a more settled, agricultural way of life?

Or the basic, universal human motivation: Keeping up with the elites or the presence of picky kids in the house. “Mum, not fish stew again! Nobody eats fish stew anymore. Henry’s family has guided swans or lamb chops. Only poor people eat fish….or Catholics. Fish stinks!”  

Fishes in design. 1908 Ivan Bilibin (USPD., artist life/

Fishes in design by design. (USPD/

Mysteries are easy to get hooked on. (With human behavior, that quickly becomes a trotline.)

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

(Henry David Thoreau)

“Memory is a net: one finds it full of fish when he takes it from the brook, but a dozen miles of water have run through it without sticking.”

(Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.)

“It has always been my private conviction that any man who puts his intelligence up against a fish and loses had it coming.”

(John Steinbeck)

Mom always said “Fish is brain food.”

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge


January 23, 2023 / philosophermouseofthehedge

The Good. The Bad. The Rabbit.

White rabbit. (Image Flickr/Ross Little/

Can’t imagine anyone not following this rabbit. (Flickr/Ross Little/

Marketing is everything. As important as product design.

Our New Years: we get parties, fireworks (of gunpowder and short fuses along with explosive human dramas), only to be left with another year with a sequential number (suspiciously like jailed criminals) along with guilt trip inducing resolutions.

Numerals won’t keep the t-shirt printers busy.

The Aztec New Year and Lunar New Year have much more hop. 

Is it because both designate one special animal per year? 

“Year of the Rabbit” offers cuddly images promising energy and luck better than a dull and drab “2023″.

RABBIT AND CHINESE DRAGON store display, Dec 2022(Image KKPCW (Kyu3)/

Now don’t that make you want to smile and party? (Lunar New Year store display.Image:KKPCW(Kyu3)/

And with Chinese, you get eggrolls, gold coins wrapped in red, shoes all facing the same direction in your closet, and Lion Dances. 

(Now this is marketing: “Chinese Zodiac Year of the Rabbit: Fortune and Personality”)

With the Aztecs, you get nothing: Year of Tochtli/ the rabbit- was not lucky. 

The date "One Rabbit" carved on the Teocalli of Sacret War ( Image Wolfgang Sauber/

The date “One Rabbit” carved in stone…and memory. A rocky year for sure.(Wolfgang Sauber/

In fact, the “Year of One Rabbit” (the first year of the 52 year Aztec calendar cycle) is still greatly feared. 

“Judging by its nearly universal inclusion in independent Aztec records, the Famine of One Rabbit (1454) is one of the most widely reported calamities in Aztec history. “ (Source).

With a killing Autumn frost following years of drought, there was widespread crop failure and starvation. It was so bad the Aztecs were trying to import maize from places like the Gulf Coast’s Hutex region with a large number of children sold to Totonac merchants in exchange for food. 

Possibly, one of the worst periods of drought, starvation, and climate change humans have faced in this hemisphere and around the world.

It simply stopped raining, then got very, very cold  – killing cold – as shown in evidence from North American tree ring data including the Sierra Nevada, the Rocky Mountains, the subtropical US, and all the way to the mountains of Mexico and the Central Mexico region.

Climate researchers believe that those 1453 frost stunted tree rings are related to the volcanic eruption of the Kuwae caldera in the South Pacific.

Which coincides with a mini-ice age’s global climatic effects (1453-1454) “including “non-stop snow in China, consisting of 40 days of snow south of the Yangtze River and a dry fog in Turkey during April and May 1453.” (source)  Europe and Asia also show stunted tree ring growth from bitter cold between 1453-1457.

Volcano in Indonesia 2004 (Jan-Pieter Nap/

On the face of things, probably an image only Mother Earth could love.(Jan-Pieter Nap/

While historical and climate records from Mexico’s Colonial period have been studied, the pre-hispanic records have rarely been used by meteorologists and scientists to examine climate change in ancient Mexico and Mesoamerica.

A combination of surviving “codices”/records, folklore, and pine tree rings are revealing new information about ancient civilizations that once thrived – and that climate ultimately may decide who and what disappears into history. 

A very interesting article from the American Meteorological Society with pictures, an explanation of the Aztec calendar system (there’s also a year of “Two Rabbit”, “Three Rabbit”…) information how the Aztec manuscripts survived the Spaniard invasion, and more: “Aztec Drought and the Curse of One Rabbit” (2004)

Brown rabbit in front of building looking up with serious expression. RABBIT of Okunoshima, Japan (Tak.H/

“Seriously, rabbit-phobia based on some unknown ancestor is just so unfair. ‘Sins of the Father’, sort of thing.” (Okunoshima,Japan/Tak.H/

Despite the shakiness, cheers for bunny hopping all year long.

Did I hear a “What’s up, Doc?” from out there?

( I wouldn’t “One-rabbit” you…apparently that’s a real idiomatic phrase wishing one bad luck or uttering a curse towards someone. Use with caution around Aztecs).

Only silly rabbits here.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Glowing rabbits facing the moon. Beijing (Image Anagoria/

Bright ones quietly facing what comes. (Beijing/Image:Anagoria/

January 16, 2023 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Getting the funny

Why did the robot cross the road?

(He’d been programed by a chicken.)

Dexter. Robot co-host from Australian game show(Image by Canley/

Is this a joke or not? Dexter, the robot co-host on an Australian game show evaluated human compatibility. He looks pretty bright to me.(Canley/

Robots are struggling against their nature to better companions to humans (Hey, anyone/ anything that runs by and picks up dog hair tumbleweeds without being asked, already gets my nod.)

Darn it! Humans are so demanding. You want a fancy piece of art in the style of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Seurat, or even Andy Warhol?  Easy, peasy. It’s done. That’s not enough?

Robots got talents.

What they don’t got is humor. 

Robby the Robot carrying limp actress Anne Francis. 1958 MGM poter for Forbidden Planet. (USPD. REPROD OF PD POSTER., artist life/

“She said she wanted to die laughing. OK, happy to oblige. And now everyone is upset?” Robby, the Robot, carrying limp actress Anne Francis.(1958 MGM movie poster/USPD/

During discussions on a previous post featuring funny vintage holiday greeting and postcards (here), a commenter pointed out that computers/robots/AI are quite able to create similar items – and provided a few examples: lovely examples of cupids, fairies, and New Year Babes. 

The AI produced images do a great job mimicking styles, and subject matter, but what I started wondering is could AI/a computer – by itself – generate completely original poses and scenes with the added little touches that do make these cards humorous to people?

You know, the tiny details like facial expressions, items with witty multiple meanings, the placement and poses of the figures? Add in witty contrast? Puns slipped in? Eye glasses?

Computers can create according to instructions, but do they understand why we laugh?

Can AI or robots synthesize humor?

Everyone says humor is very difficult for robots as these do not have a frame of reference to understand what makes “funny”.

Humans have context and references; robots can be clueless.

Robot threatening man. Movie poster from the serial Master Mystery, 1919. B.A. Rolfe Productions (USPD artist life/

“Hey, I told the joke just the way the programers told me to. Now, Laugh. Laugh, I tell you!”(1919/USPD/

For robots to be really accepted as helpful companions, people need to feel comfortable around them. A smile, a little joke, goes a long way.

Don’t give up hope! They are on it.

So robots are learning to laugh and when to use which laugh – like little kids do: by paying attention to facial expressions, body language, and speaker’s speech patterns.

When to use a small chuckle, when to use a belly laugh in full mirth, and when a loud snort of laughter is totally inappropriate.

Quite an undertaking.

Many humans can’t figure all that out.

Robot. Chariots of Wire. (Image: Steve Jurvetson/

Robot. “Chariots of Wire.” Now this is just darn funny – but seriously, could this be your next car share or cab ride? Inquiring minds want to know, does the “driver” tell jokes and know where the good restaurants are? (Image: Steve Jurvetson/

What about “Turn about, fair play”? 

A robot that looks like a Lunar Rover has been taught to play golf. (If you managed to miss the story of Golfi, catch up here at Popular Science or here Daily Mail)

All I can say if a robot can be taught by humans to play, maybe robots can teach humans once again laugh.

  • Why was the robot tired when it got home (It had a hard drive.)
  • Why is a droid mechanic never lonely? (Because it’s always making new friends!)
  • What do robots eat for snacks? (Micro-chips)
  • What do you call a pirate robot? (Arrrrgh-2-D2)

Always leave them laughing

 (And thanks again to blogger, Disperser Tracks, for this rabbit hole to jump down)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

January 1, 2023 / philosophermouseofthehedge

The Morning After

Baby New Year on globe with Champagne .1914.Nat.Lib.of Norway (USPD.artist life,

“Hey, Father. Back so soon? I’m feelin’ on top of the world. Grounded? No. Not feeling that.”(Vintage 1914 New Year’s postcard/ Nat.Lib.of Norway/USPD/

You know how it is. When dad’s away, the kids will play.

Kids gone wild!

Babes gone bad!

Even the smallest and littlest angels? (Hmmm. Maybe like skiing, the little ones don’t have as far to fall?)

No matter the year or the country, it’s the same

All forgiven? Probably (with few, if any, regrets).

Cheers for the rebirth of humor in 2023.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Scenes possibly caught by Ring Door cams on New Year’s Eve

vintage postcard. car load of cherubs (1910 Missouri History Museum (USPD., artist life/

“Dad, don’t worry. We remembered a designated driver….although one little dude looks a bit unhappy thinking his New Year’s plan is not likely to  happen.” (Vintage 1910 postcard. Missouri History Museum / USPD/

Vintage French postcard. c.1900's (USPD. life/

“Quick, get the punch bowl ready. Everyone’s arriving. Let’s get this party started.” (1900’s French postcard.USPD/

VINTAGE POSTCARD. four little angels or cupids, three of them shopping at a stall selling red hearts.1900-1910, Printed in Berlin/ Nat. Lib of New Zealand. (USPD no cr/artist life,

“Look, the refreshments are here. Don’t you love them?” “Are you sure these are fresh? Not leftovers from Christmas?” “Nope. Samples for our next big event.” (1900-1910, New Year’s postcard printed in Berlin / Nat. Lib of New Zealand. (USPD/

Vintage New Year's postcard with cherub on phone. 1908 (SMU Centraal Library//USPD pb.daate, aaratist life/

“Hello? Father? Can you come get me or send an archangel over to pick me up? I seemed to have misplaced my wings somewhere.” (1908 New Year’s postcard from SMU Central Library / USPD/

December 31, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

In your eye


Lucky, the horse, said no horses were harmed for this Victorian New Year’s postcard.(Nova Scotia archives/USPD/



Sneer (“Well, look who’s here.”)

Carp (Not the fish – you fervently wish.)


Vectoring (Constantly exceptioning)

Grim on grim as the year dims.

Becomes habit if not lassoed in time.

New Years vintage postcard. 1913 boy pulling girl on sled. 1913. Missouri History Museum (USPD. artist life,

Playful. A bit of cooperation and consideration helps all travel a long way. (Vintage postcard,1913.Missouri History Museum/ USPD/

Time: an actor or reactor?

Who is the lassoed and who is doing the lassoing?

Which is the artist and which the art?

We or thee?

Time out, I say.

If only just for the day

Let beauty hold sway.

Maybe it will decide to stay n’ play. 

Happy New Year. On the way, Beholder.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

VIntage postcard. Two girls putting up New Year's decorations (1900's Monroe Collection/Newberry/ USPD, artist life/

Lighten up a bit. Beauty is as beauty does. Truth, eternal and universal. (VIntage postcard.1900’s Monroe Collection/Newberry/ USPD/

December 30, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Banking on that

road sign for runaways truck ramp in Colorado ( Screenshot AAMCO Colorado)

Oh, it is too all connected and makes sense. Keep reading. (Screenshot AAMCO Colorado)

It’s the yearly Limbo Week.

No, not the “how low can you go”.

It’s the leftover week between Christmas and New Years when everyone who knows anything with any company is MIA and all you can get hold of is the second third string substitutes who if you get off customer service script, become deer-in-the headlight individuals – even if it’s over the phone, you can tell….

No wonder people have just become accustomed to just waiting out the remaining days  – not expecting much to be accomplished.

Brains on “please, hold”, twiddling thumbs(battered and bruised thumbs from attempts to find anything actually slightly entertaining on TV),  and over-eating leftover snacks (Hey, can’t let food go to waste)

Stalled, people go into endless looping of “what went wrong last year” leading to overly, optimistic resolutions fast tracking different behavior for a New Year.

Girl with "go fast" drag race flag (image Flickr/Dodge Challenger/

Girl with “go fast” drag race flag. Note the Highway patrol car and officer writing up a ticket…still she smiles? (image Flickr/Dodge Challenger/

However, Hank is using the downtime – as in “down the hall time trials” – as proof “Practice makes perfect.”

You see, we worry about him racing at top speed down the hall, towards a glass door, only to bank left at the last minute using the rug for braking during the turn.

Obviously no matter what customer reviews say, the non-skid pad is only gripping in certain situations….fast moving dog traffic not one of those.

Fish gotta swim and dogs gotta run…

Even if “Baby, it’s cold outside” or stormy weather

Rumpled rug due to dog traffic. (© Image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Appropriate runway construction for rapid transit dog traffic? (© Image)

Hank, being detailed oriented, rounded up His friend Dino to act as a drag race starter who was not too stuffy to roar "Go" but found his arms too short for a flag or scarf drop. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Hank, being detailed oriented, rounded up His friend Dino to act as a drag race starter because he’s not too stuffy to roar “Go” although his arms are too short for a flag or scarf drop. (© image)

rumpled rug from racing dog (© image copyrighted, no permissions granted, all rights reserved)

In science, nothing can be said true unless repeatable. Variables such as speed, length of trial run must be explored and taken into data calculation. More runs necessary for conclusions.(© image copyrighted)

Rug shoved up against door by racing dog. (© image no permissions granted, all rights reserved)

Additionally, it has been discovered that the angle and point of launch for left turn rug banking also makes a difference. (© image)

Hank pondering the results of his run time trials on the rug. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Hank pondering the why he can’t manage a double ruffle roll-up with a rug- mat combo.(© image)

Hank the Siberian Husky tired from the day's experiments. You see Dino and rabbit "Baby". Hank is dreaming of sugar chums dancing in his head. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Hank, the Siberian Husky, tired from the day’s runs. You see Dino and the cherished “don’t dare touch my rabbit Baby”. Hank is dreaming of Christmas sugar chums dancing in his head. (© image)

Oh, for those who just can’t let a few giggle be worth a post, here’s some actually useful information

In case your imagination is in limbo, I will jump start it by saying, it is unwise to be on the runaway rug or anywhere between the door and Hank going full speed down the hall headed in your direction.

Cruising’ for a bruisin’, as they used to say

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Drag race scene from Grease, 1978. (image:

Ready to run and bankin’ on being the fastest…Well, the flag girl is bankin’ that the drivers can hold the cars straight. Warning: Dogs move a bit more unpredictably.  (Drag race scene from Grease, 1978 /image:




December 24, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

The Importance of Something

Zella Maria stage actress. 1904(USPD, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.

Prissy is a suitable name now. But it has not always been that way.(USPD/

She hesitated. Almost turned tail and ran off the porch. “Is this foolish?” she wondered.

Ever since he had moved in, she had silently watched him. At a safe distance.

Peeking around porch pillars.

“Coincidentally” appearing on her driveway when he stepped outside.

Casually walking past his house when she knew he was looking.

All her friends said, “Forget it. He’s not our kind.”


There was something…

More than his ice, blue eyes with the far-away look

More than just his shaggy, bad haircut.

Just …something.

She shifted nervously – straightening out the Christmas card now with a tiny dent from being carried. 

Then, there he was. Inches from her. Staring right at her through the window.

“Uh, hi. My name is Prissy. I live across the street and wanted to welcome you, uh, say ‘Merry First Christmas in your new home.'”

Holding up the card, she continued nervously, “I hope you appreciate Vintage. Many pre-owned things are just as wonderful.”

“Oh,” he said looking pleased…and friendly. “Everyone knows pre-owned is good. Recycled love.”

“Pre-owned. Just like us.” she softly said before stopping herself.

“We are the lucky ones,” he agreed. “We have that in common. My name is Hank.”

“Well,” she turned to leave – almost appearing reluctant to go, “welcome. And thanks for not growling or chasing me. It’s probably hard.”

“I won’t rat you out,” he said leaning closer. “To your friends.” 

“You know, there’s a reliable rumor that the big dog before and the legendary RC Cat were secret friends when no one was looking.  Staff has said Molly Malamute died of a broken heart after RC left.”

Hank, the Happy Husky, pressed his nose against the glass and whispered just so she could hear, “If you get lonely. You could come by and sit on the bench and we could chat. Maybe you could translate some of the post-it note instructions that RC Cat left. We could be secret friends.”

The small cat smiled. “That would be nice. Anyway, Merry Christmas to you and your Realm. You  know, it’s supposed to be a time of peace on Earth among all creatures, large and small. Except maybe with mice…”

“The ones in the back fence? Oh, yes! Raceway down the fence line!”

Staff paused – noticing the odd pair chuckling nose to nose on opposite sides of the window.

“Now that’s something,” she said.

May Something also find you this holiday season.

Merry Christmas

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Christmas Cat. 1906 Newberry collection (USPD, artist life/

Secondhand only means something was treasured enough to be protected and saved long to be treasured by another. (1906 Newberry collection/USPD/


December 19, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Kiss-mess arrives

Po-TAY-toe; Po-TAH-toe.

Christmas or Kiss-mess?

Tendency towards frenzy, both.

Endurance a prerequisite.

What you don’t want for Christmas…no matter the mess.

Pay no attention to the last minute frantic hype. Do not wrap this up for under the tree.

Woman with electric suction sweeper by Hoover. Adv. 1900-09. Bossier collection/Newberry (USPD.

Woman advertising a new electric suction sweeper by Hoover. Do you think post card marketing is one of those areas that the Administration is boasting about creating new jobs? Could be worse. Could be a Wallymart greeter. (USPD/

Porch Pirates beware.

The real reason why Ralphie got that Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle.

His mom had finally had enough of the Bumpus family’s pack of dogs?

Or “Git your mitts off my Amazon stuff?”

(USPD, released/

Olive Smith with air rifle, May,1911. No doubt one shot was actually all she needed. (USPD/

Volcanoes the answer to a return of winter wonderlands?

Mammoth and friends following in snow. 1930's. Schmalgemeier Colletion of Progress/Newberry (USPD., artist life/released/

Melvin Mammoth and friends trudging along trying to beat the extinction rush. (1930’s postcard: The question is why? Did they know that by 2022 some would actually think the last Ice Age was around 1930?) Possible caption conversation:”What? All we had to do was stomp around and start up some volcanoes to cool things down? The risky suspended animation attempts in the ice didn’t go so well. Stupid fickle glaciers. Winter ain’t what it used to be.” (USPD/

Exactly how annoying is holiday travel?

Crowded airports, security lines, tiny seats, lost luggage

1911 aviator in dual wing aeroplane, July 1911, Mass. Bossier Collection/Newberry.(USPD, released/

Everything old is new again. Personal aircraft that doesn’t use fossil fuel! Great cardio, too! Somehow I just don’t see this catching on. You’d have to be pretty green to try. (USPD/

Not acceptable mode of travel either.

Santa riding donkey Vintage/Brian Bossier Collection (USPD,, artist life/

Santa riding donkey on vintage postcard. It’s not a worry of animal abuse, it’s the idea of wearing those shoes! The actual origin of Crocs? Plenty of room in those for heated insulating socks. Looks like the donkey is a bit amused by the fashionable.(USPD/

In holiday fashion, wishing you safe travels if you are wandering this week.

Jingle on!

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.




December 14, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Whether not. Santa’s magic

foul weather gear waiting by door. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Drought wear. “Through rain, heat, and the slow go, the dog shall have his walks.” (© image)

So embarrassing. Mislabeled as foul weather gear, only to find out this is drought attire. 

Whether you believe it or not, he said it, so it’s got to be true.

Mr. Big City Mayor was recently cornered by reporters still investigating the city’s recent “Boil Water incident” AND more massive water breaks- one flooding a major roadway, thus closing businesses, retail, and restaurants. Again.

The mayor, obviously annoyed and attempting to get away, offered his explanation: “Drought”.


If only the reporter had been sharp enough to follow with: “Really? Which year? Maybe the one locals usually call “August”?

  • What about the ever enlarging forests of yard mushrooms?
  • The abundance of “where-did-I-leave-it” umbrella panics?
  • The endless and ever growing mountains of wet dog towels?
  • The telling fact that squirrels have resorted to burying their nuts in patio plant containers hoping too avoid meal storage rot?
  • And I’ve been wearing that darn school bus yellow jacket as protection against the wet elements forever it seems.

Dude. We’re in the middle of a La Niña weather pattern.

Drought? Have my doubts.

Hard to teach an old wordsmith new tricks: the constantly changing word meanings are causing whiplash.

Weather or not, who controls language controls the debate.

There is no debate that December does stir thoughts of sugar plums and winter magic.

A little Christmas cheer here:

Six month old Maverick is a Downs Syndrome child who is facing open heart surgery this week. It’s his first Christmas. Mom wanted to have his picture with Santa before his operation and hospital stay, so the family went to Cabela’s near here.


Makes you wonder if the real Santa doesn’t do that “Undercover Boss” thing once in a while.

I believe.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge


December 7, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Talking not pretty

Two Ara macaws. (image: Deveze/

“Here they come. We’d better give them something to talk about.”(Deveze/

Bombarded by rapid, far-reaching, buckshot speech. 

A little nagging prodding just for fun.

Will any take a hint? Doubtful.

(What if? No, even after a few glasses of wine. You’d never have enough time to get the whole phrase tattooed on their wrist.)

“Takes one to know one” (Biden, Name Caller in Chief)

“Open mouth; insert foot” (Trump, the Imp of impulse / Troll of the bridge) 

“Make sure brain is in gear before mouth is in motion” (Jane Fonda, still – like anyone who matters knows. If so dedicated to humanity, why not back in the street protesting war? Why aren’t we all?)

“Better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt” (Kamala Harris. “Crickets” so desired. Wishful thinking.)

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it” (Caryn Elaine Johnson, alias Whoopi, an any-attention-better-than-no-attention advocate)

“Nobody promised you a rose garden” (Greta T. Sorry, kid. Life has thorns. You should have been told.)

“For want of a shoe, the horse was lost” (Mayor Turner of Houston. Some love all the free, free, free give-a-ways, big parties with stage performances, lights, and fireworks. Also, the sidewalks, ramps, and bike trails are pretty…but some would just prefer water coming out of their tap. Hope you and Harris County “Judge”(county’s emergency manager and executive officer…who faces indictment) enjoyed the recent DC elites’ Maine lobster dinner with the prez, celebrities, and the French President!)

“Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” (Even if stoned, or as old as stone, Pelosi)

“What is good for the goose is good for the gander” (Tim Cook, the apple of China’s ayes)

“Just because you read say it, doesn’t make it true” (White House spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre)

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” (Available. Feel free to apply where and when as needed.)

Pretty is as pretty does


Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Man in pirate costume with parrot (image FunkDooby from Kent UK/

“Before you say, ‘You are judged by the company you keep’,  just let me assure you, birds of a feather do not always flock together.” (image: FunkDooby from Kent UK/

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