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February 16, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Tilt a world

Vintage building on The Strand in Galveston right after Mardi Gras 2018 (Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

Out of kilter? Locals and leftover tourists recuperating in the sun simply shrugged and said,” Well, day after Mardi Gras…” This vintage Galveston Strand building hadn’t tired of her Mardi Gras attire on Valentines Day.(Image:©)

We noticed her as the waitress moved away to get our appetizers: Very Audrey Hepburn-ish.

Casually draped on the chair like an artist’s model at the patio’s sunny edge.

Striking in silky black.

Eyes evaluating each person strolling along the pier.

Calm. Cool. And collected. Obviously waiting. It was Valentines.

She glanced our way, then model-walked over to our table.

To chat.

To pass the time.

Galveston street into The Strand from the wharf /docks. (Image: all rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted)

Popular walking area in Galveston with The Strand ahead down this road and the ports’ wharf /docks behind us here. To the right is a small marina where boats sometimes tie up while owners eat at one of the restaurants along the waterfront. Also tourists board boats for a short ride. (Image:©)

“Do you come here often?” we inquired.

“Oh, yes, I’m a regular. BOI (born on island). The staff knows me quite well.”

Which was confirmed by the waitress’ “Oh, I see you’ve meet Olympia,” and a smile at the young miss.

Statue of man and seagulls on Pier 21 of Galveston, TX.Three jackup rigs in for service across channel behind him. (Image: all rights reserved./copyrighted/ NO permissions granted)

Across the channel are shipyards. Currently 3 jack-up rigs are being refitted and serviced. The cruise ship terminal and docks are just out of the picture to the left. This Pier with the statue is a popular spot for dog walkers, bikes, or just sitting in the sun to read a book or not.(Image: ©)

That afternoon on the patio was as warm and luxurious as the finest cashmere.

The three of us like lizards relaxing in the sun.

Watching the shrimp boats waltz back and forth across the channel as the sea gull swooped around them.

Olympia was enchanting – despite the differences between us.

So witty. So charming. So polite.

Had to be coaxed into sharing a bite or two of this and that. “Only a nibble, thank you. Used to late diners.”

“Your party must have been held up,” we worried as the shadows moved across.

“Oh, just on island time. But this has been very pleasant. Thank you for your kindness and company.”

And with that she strolled stylishly to the next table – it looked like they had an excess of shrimp. 

Cat formally dressed for dinner at Olympia Grill, Galveston, TX. (Image: all rights reserved., copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Olympia formally dressed for meat and Greek at the Olympia Grill.(Image:©)

Galveston's Strand. Vintage buildings' facing north/to their backside on Harbourside Drive. (Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

View of the backs of Victorian buildings on Galveston’s Strand. Built just across from the wharfs and the docks so products and materials could roll in and out the back doors. Old, but solidly built despite the storms they have weathered, these buildings are constantly being renewed and re-purposed. Usually the top floors become studios or residences with shops or restaurants below. The balconies are prized as the Mardi Gras parades travel down The Strand in front of these buildings.(Image:©)

Harbourside Drive behind Galveston's Strand. New chain eateries among the vintage buildings (Image: copyrighted, all rights reserved/NO permissions granted)

Harbourside Drive parallels behind Galveston’s Strand. I guess it’s inevitable that new chain eateries will be built among the vintage buildings, but I wish it was otherwise. You can see Starbucks with the green awnings and Jimmie John’s to the left of that. (Image:©)

Oh, hope you’ve got your red on (Tell me it’s a coincidence with Valentines Day happening when it did this year.)

It’s Chinese New Year (February’s new moon: Feb.15th-16th) depending on where you are.

Tradition says the color “red” wards off evil spirits and bad fortune, so many choose to wear red underwear everyday – or at least on Chinese New Year.  And it’s supposed to be bought by someone other than yourself – so you see the Valentines connection. Hey, it may be on sale now, too.

If you’re not going for the red, at least make sure all your shoes are placed pointing the same direction in your closet…to make sure you go in a straight line towards success this year without getting distracted or sidetracked.

I know, you’re reeling.

Life’s a tilt-a-whirl.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.


Galveston Strand building wearing Mardi Gras decorations on Valentines Day. You can see elegant stone facade of building across the street reflected in the windows (Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

“Toodles, darling. Do come back and play.” A building on The Strand still wearing Mardi Gras eye lashes on Valentines Day. You can see elegant stone facade of the building across the street reflected in the windows. Image: ©)

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February 14, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

For Olde Tyme’s Take

Such a fate

Give and take

Love and hate

Chance of date.

Worth it, Mate?

Valentine Snake.1870's. "Vinegar valentine" (USPD., artist life/

Earlier Me, too Movement? Some things are as old as dirt. A different approach from the 1870’s with a “Vinegar Valentine” designed to be folded in half, addressed and sent to discourage attention from an unwanted suitor.(USPD/

Valentine handmade by Esther Howland/

Before Hallmark was crafted with care by hand with bits of cloth, lace, gold braid, ribbons, doilies, sequins or paste jewels, and small pictures painted or pasted.  My very proper grandmother used to make cards like this with me. This vintage Valentine handmade by Esther Howland has managed to survive time passing. Mask and a telescope? Need to check the symbolic meaning of those – everything then was said even if not spoken. (USPD/

Valentine postcard of vintage couple cuddling on bench under trellis with roses. Nat.Lib of Norway/USPD.pubdate, artist life/

“He’d better be thinking about putting a ring on this!” Vintage Valentine postcard. Staged selfies predate Facebook. (USPD/

Valentine postcard of couple walking in front of seashore backdrop. .Nat.Lib of Norway (, artist life/

“Put your little foot. Put your little foot. Put your little foot right there,” She sells by the sea shore. And he looks like he’s happily ready to start the dance.(Vintage Valentine postcard in front of photographer’s backdrop/USPD/

Valentine couple on bench. Woman in fancy hat giving the cold shoulder to the man. 1925. Nat.Lib.of Norway/USPD, artist life,

“What no chocolate? No giant stuffed teddy bear? How can I possibly face my friends and their bragging about their Valentines’ haul?”(USPD/

Cloth and lace vintage Valentine made by Esther Howland, 1870's (Inside- You say my heart, is cold, my dear, to you; Ah! canst thou such a thought impart To one who loves so true. (USPD. pub.dat, artist life/

Then he hands her a special cloth and lace Valentine made by Esther Howland (1870’s) with his message inside: “You say my heart, is cold, my dear, to you; Ah! canst thou such a thought impart To one who loves so true.” (USPD/

Happy Valentine vintage couple. 1925. Lib. of Norway/, artist life/

Ah, message received. “I never doubted you, dear.” (USPD/

Valentine couple standing. Nast.Lib.of Norway (USPD., artist life/

The rock may be fake. Your hat forgotten . But our love will never be either. Forever Valentines.(USPD/

Valentine postcard. Couple in vintage car.Nat.Lib.of Norway (USPD artist life, pub,date/

My dad’s first car was similar to this. Not new and completely out of style by the time he bought it, but what do you expect from a guy who washed dishes and tossed newspapers to help pay for college? Mom said the darn thing would have some part fall off constantly and she’d have to leap out, grab it, and run to pitch the part onto the floorboard before hopping back in. Maybe that’s true love. (USPD/

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.

(H. Jackson Brown, Jr. 1940 -. Author of Life’s Little Instruction Book)

Dance on with heart light.

Philo, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

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February 13, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Thrown for a loop.

If you’re a romantic or religious, this might jolt you into dropping those parade beads.

Cold hearted, some would say.

Vintage Ash Wednesday card - Mardi Gras ends. Before 1923. (Caldwell & Co. (USPD., artist life/

And you thought it was just Hallmark: a pre-1923 Ash Wednesday card.(USPD/

Mardi Gras ends right before Ash Wednesday as usual, but Gads, Valentines Day is also on Wednesday. (“Fasting or champagne? Valentines Day, Ash Wednesday in Rare Confluence”)

Thoughtlessly colliding for the first time since 1945.

Now normally if there’s a problematic holiday clash – say for example if St. Patrick’s Day happens to show up on a Lent’s Friday – some Roman Catholic dioceses in the U.S. (especially those in heavily Irish-American areas) give a pass to believers who can then go ahead and enjoy the traditional corned beef and cabbage without feeling guilty, backing up confessionals, or drooling over the forbidden.

But they ain’t gonna do it this time.

“Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are the only two days of the whole year on which fasting and abstinence are required,” Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York, posted online Friday. “Those who are accustomed to celebrating Valentine’s Day might do so the day before. Join it up with Mardi Gras.”

Join up Mardi Gras with Valentines? Where’s the love?

Somehow “Be my sweetheart” doesn’t samba well with the Carnival mood (we won’t mention the Rio attire….)

There’s something about a masked lover…

OK, so both feature partying, sweets, lots of gold and bling, not sure the riotous Mardi Gras purple and green wouldn’t be bruising to the true heart Valentines’ red.

Honesty, so far this year we’ve played dodgeball with asteroids, mooned blue and super, and explained cave-ins as new Man Cave potential for real-estate.

Now we’re faced with holidays double dipping both this month and the next?

Playing us for fools bunny hopping to Easter on April 1st.

Nope, not going to Chicken Little over it. (But you do have to wonder…)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Valentine, 1910 American, Little girl holding Valentine with poem. Missouri History Museum/Int. Art Pub.Co. (USPD, artist life/

Oh, yeah. Goes perfectly with Mardi Gras, Bishop Malone. (USPD/

February 12, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Biting Off Time

Move over, and 23andMe.

Tongues constantly flap boasting of superiority, but teeth actually grind out the tale. Over the long term – like millions of years.

wisdom tooth xray. (PD, released by Pidalka44/

Misdirected wisdom. (PD/

Remember in college trying to decide whether to study dentistry, CSI, or archeology? Some managed to do them all.

Teeth, it turns out, are what speak to specialized archeologists/anthropologists about human development, ancient human migrations, and genetic connections between people today.

Shara Bailey, Associate Professor of Anthropology at New York University, is one of those sleuths poking around ancient mouths searching for answers.

Do the number of lumpy bumps on your molars hold clues to your genetic family group?

Feel deep ridges behind your front teeth? Possibly Native American ancestors.

Count it up: trees and teeth have something in common: growth rings.

6 min video “The topography of teeth” (SciTech Now)

One interesting observation by Bailey: There were no Neanderthal dentists, yet the ancient teeth are solid, beautiful, and perfect. But once life shifted from a hunting and gathering existence to agricultural societies, tooth conditions went straight down hill with cavities, terrible condition, and generally looking bad.

Not sure what to think about that.

Despite the age, teeth are always in style.

Cartoon of three laughing dinosaurs. 1873. St.Nicholas by M.Dodge (, artist life/

Biting laughter. (USPD/

If communication starts with teeth, then some ancient choppers should start talking.

James Chatters, an anthropologist and forensic consultant who studied a teenage girl’s skull and teeth (dating from 13,000 years ago found in Central America’s Yucatán Peninsula), and University of Alaska Fairbanks’ anthropologist Ben Potter who examined the bones and genes from an 11,500-year-old  Alaskan infant recently both found much to chew over when pondering how these youngsters got to where they lived, and how they were/are connected genetically to others.

“First Face of America explores how humans reached the New World.” Here’s a review of the NOVA show by Science News.

A bit of skepticism detected? (Good science should always be questioning – especially itself…the scientific method and all)

Another interesting article about the recently discovered Alaska infants: “Terminal Pleistocene Alaskan genome reveals first founding population of Native Americans” – article here. (Offered free by Springer Nature Shareit).

Of course even people long in the tooth are still trying to figure out how the Clovis culture, Solutreans, the Mal’ta, Kennewick Man, and scores of others mesh.

Answers as scarce as hen’s teeth.

Molly Malamute grins with gleaming humor at me saying “What do you think? Our ancestors may have actually known each other.”

Would give my eye teeth to know.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.





February 7, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Used: just a few meteor dents

Comic book cover, Space Adventure #1 (Charlton pub.1952/USPD., artist life/

Now thatza spicy meet ball.(USPD/

Look, it’s the Red planet. Maybe “red means stop” is universally understood…or they hope it is.

Is red rock Mars playing Keep Away or encouraging visitors (with a craterful of hope for urban renewal funding)?

There is something Andy Warhol-ish about a red Tesla Roadster going where no convertible has gone before.

Starman going to be a “must see” item for tourists traveling between Earth and Mars.

The trick now is getting space travelers to Mars in record time of 60-90 days at 111,000 miles per hour, rather than the estimated 9 months one way offered by current rockets.

VX-200 integration. This is rocket science (Image credit- all rights reserved by Ad Astra Rocket Co.)

VX-200 integration. This really is rocket science. And you thought space rocket builders couldn’t possibly use stuff from Home Depot.(credit: Ad Astra Rocket Co.)

And there’s a local scientist/astronaut doing that.

“The improbable journey of Franklin Chang Díaz, who immigrated to the U.S. at eighteen, became an astronaut, tied the record for most spaceflights, and now might hold the key to deep space travel….”

Read more and see pictures: “The Astronaut who might actually get us to Mars” 

man in front of space engine for rocket Franklin Chang Diaz. VASIMR inventor (credit- Copyright Ad Astra Rocket Company)

Astronaut and VASIMR inventor Franklin Chang Diaz gave up on NASA.(credit:Ad Astra Rocket Co.)

When he talks plasma, he’s not talking TVs.

Currently his company, Ad Astra (Latin: “to the stars”) Rocket Co., is operating out of a strip center warehouse not far from here – with multiple, big name, private space companies poised to snap his up if his success with plasma fueled rockets continues.

They laughed when Elon Musk started SpaceX, so don’t be too quick to count Franklin Díaz out.

Comic book cover. Rocket Ship X, (1951, Fox Feature Sindycate, USPD,, cr expired/

Another rocket ship X. Eerie foreshadowing or inspiration. Published by Fox. What can I say? (USPD/

This, however is no laughing matter: The dwindling of plutonium threatens deep space exploration.

NASA has only 35-36 lbs of the critical plutonium 238 left and projects have it all spoken for.

“Is the future of deep-space exploration at risk?” (SciTech Now video)

One little Rover is hoping its’ 2020 mission to Mars is still on track.

Can’t blame him. Anyone watching sibling Mars Rover Curiosity’s 5 year adventure (article with pictures) would be charged up.

(Those things are so darn cute.)

After years of Sci Fi novels, movies, and now SpaceX’s two of Falcon Heavy’s rocket boosters landing perfectly vertical on target just like Buck Rogers –  who couldn’t be charged up about traveling to Mars?

(Does it look a little like West Texas or Nevada to you? Squint a bit.)

Get ready, Red. Go, car, go.

Good heavens.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.



February 5, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Line editing. Fin for yourself

Man on boat.Flag Signals by sailor among boat shrouds. The National Archives UK (PD/

Lineup not dressed for success. (The National Archives UK/PD/

Knowing when you have to make the cut is a critical skill not just for broadway producers or football coaches.

You just never know when fish will attack.

Probably why all those Boy Scouts were taught “Be prepared”,  to always carry a pocket knife, and not annoy the locals.

Although airport security has limited the sharp these days, you’d think a tourist charter fishing boat would be lined up for all situations.

And that someone on board would have had enough sense to cut the line:

“Five fishermen rescued from boat sunk by marlin”

…”one of the men said they had been fishing and hooked a big blue marlin that pulled their boat backward and it took on water and sank.”

Not exactly the adventure they hooked up for.


  • A sailing catamaran turned, threw the men life jackets, and rescued them as their boat sank. So much advantages of power over sail.
  • I’m really worried about the Marlin: will it be leashed for eternity to that sunken boat?

Only an ironic fish tale 

Ship sinking as men fight Moby Dick (1901/ Taber/Schiberner's Sons/USPD,, artist life/

Pride and joy not always in a linear direction.(USPD/

Or more? An updated, reality show style version of Moby Dick

“…as the quest for the whale becomes increasingly perilous, the tale works on allegorical levels, likening the whale to human greed, moral consequence, good, evil, and life itself. Who is good? The great white whale who, like Nature, asks nothing but to be left in peace? Or the bold Ahab who, like scientists, explorers, and philosophers, fearlessly probes the mysteries of the universe? Who is evil? The ferocious, man-killing sea monster? Or the revenge-obsessed madman who ignores his own better nature in his quest to kill the beast?” (source of quote)

Seriously, knowing when to cut the line is a critical life skill: for fishing charter boat crews, for broadway producers, and for writers…hmmm…

Line item,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Men. Crew of boat in a stage play. 1937 (USPD., by WPA employee/fed gov., artist life/

“I tell you. It was a monster!” “Yeah, but a little fishy as there aren’t any pix on your Facebook page. Just sayin’.”(USPD/


January 31, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Expecting the cold shoulder

Woman fixing man's tie. couple in vintage 1916 film, The Waiters' Ball. Keystone Film Co./, artist life, publicity still/

Idiot! Even if Super Bowl tickets are at bargain prices, those won’t make things cool again. Got it? (USPD/

Wanted: one who is cold-hearted.

Loss of the fridge didn’t leave us frozen in our tracks, but there’s some anxiety finding a replacement among this new generation of smart fridges that  connect to the internet and feature TV screens.

Last thing I need is a smart appliance getting online:

  • Trolling the ‘net for, or even worse, ordering hot young things like expensive cooktops and ovens.
  • Creating profiles on dating sites. “Cool newcomer seeks hot companion – we’ll cook something up!”
  • What would Tinder for Appliances be called? The microwave may be old, but it’s still instant on. And it could get even worse with offers to exchange pictures of each other’s parts.
  • What if the darn thing got all AI superior and started video preaching about better eating choices with healthy recipes, or censoring  TV shows “offering no redeeming social value” because they show violence to machines?

Potentially chilling

elegant young woman in fancy dance dress. 1901. (USPD.,Artist life/

Available for cold reality, but certainly not a cheap date. Have you considered the extended warranty? Beauty fades.(USPD/

Cautiously, we settled on a lesser model. Middle of the aisle one. We didn’t want take out a second mortgage, yet hoped to make the kitchen great again.

This new one is a bit flirty, though.

If you knock-knock, she’ll give you a little peek.

Worried her style might be “If you got it flaunt it…until you are out of the appliance prenup period.”

Our current ancient beyond belief fridge doesn’t know she’s lost her cool.

She’s never questioned her torso being stuffed with bags of ice through multiple hurricanes, tropical systems, ice storms, moves, power surges, and, now, in the warming of old age. Appreciative of her years of icy dedication, we’ll insist the final unplugging be quick.

Plump woman in kitchen peparing family meal. ca.1940's. Jewish Historical Society of Upper Midwest/ Steinfeldt collection/ Flickr/, no known cr./

Our old fridge: To know her is to love her. We’ve been through a lot together. Maybe she’ll recycle into a quiet retirement spot – perhaps a weekend lake house with kids who need popsicles. (USPD/

Wonder if the new one has been online checking us out.

You know that’s so common these days before showing up to take a new position.

Hope we aren’t a disappointment.

But it’s not like the new fridge has a choice – we’ve paid for her.

Wait! It’s not what it sounds like. Not involuntary servitude!

We promise she can charge up and run as long as she wants.

Besides we are fully aware she’s connected.

Preparing for glacial stares.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Snow Queen over village. Stamp from Belarus. (USPD obj not CR/

Welcome Snow Queen! (USPD/



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