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November 30, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Playing Along

Robot playing piano in Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (image Jakub Halun/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Robots like to play, too. Don’t you think they have wishes? (Jakub Halun/Commons.wikimedia.org)

It’s an old game – origin unknown.

Seen among bored kids sprawled on their backs looking at the lazy summer sky – as well as among the older crowd wrapped in warm, winter blankets in front of a fire.

You’ve play it: “What if you had three wishes?” 

The first wish is pretty predictable: “World Peace”. Earnestly uttered by beauty pageant contestants or high schoolers wanting to appear virtuous. 

The third wish is routine: clever or greedy depending on the speaker: “I wish for three more wishes.”

It’s the middle wish choice that is interesting.

Here’s a couple that have crossed may mind recently: 

I would second wish for term limits for all elected officials – two terms and that’s it. Public service, not a lifelong career path.

With a clear addendum of “No child, grandchild, niece or nephew of an elected president or vice president is eligible to run for/to hold either of those offices.” Not wishing for dynasties. 

Another wistful possibility would be a ban on all advertisements of drugs, health or medical treatments, and “natural” remedies on all TV (including cable, streaming, internet channels), billboards, radio shows, and apparel. Pharmaceutical and health care companies limited to print ads – and then only with complete warnings about side effects posted in easily to read lettering at the bottom of each ad. 

No more practically handing some impressionable person feeling sad or ill a script saying “Here’s what to say to your doctor and he’ll prescribe our company’s medicine/treatment.”

Doctors should make treatment decisions and people should stop thinking a pill will solve all their problems.

Addendum? Probably one mandating all prescription drugs must have big inserts with clear normal size (not tiny) legible listings of all the possible side effects of the drug (Not just the ones the CDC/FDA have decided are enough to list ” ‘cause people don’t care or don’t read”). Of course people still have to take the responsibility to read the warnings.

It is beyond me why some parents will allow off label use of strong cancer treatment drugs to be given to their child who at the time wants to transition to another form. Hormone suppression treatment attempts to starve tumors of the natural hormone it feeds on. Side effects include: severe hot flashes, inflammation of back and hip joints to the point where walking is painful and difficult, osteoporosis, unexpected femur fractures, calcium loss, depression, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, infertility, sterility … and more. Why would any parent want to risk any of that for their child? Cancer patients may have no choice, but off label hormone treatment that may cause irreversible, lifelong damage for a minor child?

Wishing for better.

A serious wish for the return of a happy, protected, sheltering, innocent childhood.

Back to when adults dealt with grown-up problems, concepts, and topics while allowing young children to deal with crayon colors, why the sky is blue, do fish drink water, and “Why do I have to share with my younger brother or sister?”

The children are scared, stressed out, and a nervous wreck.

Wishing adults’ hyper-emotional topics and conversations would be reserved for other adults – and out of earshot of kids.

What’s a child to think when hearing things like “wear a mask or you’ll die” or “wear a mask or you’ll kill your grandparents“?

Ditto wishful thinking with the “We only have X amount of time to save the planet or we’re all gonna die”. Sure, explore appropriate concepts like conservation (“Take only what you need”), how the outdoors/habitat is actually animals’ living rooms and grocery store (“Leave it better/cleaner than when you arrived”), and what the animals are, where they live, and how we all live connected – all topics that can be expanded on in more depth at an older age.

Let the kids have some peace and quiet until they are old enough – neurotically/brain matured enough – to understand the complexity without fear.

Living without fear as a child. Experiencing the magic of childhood. Yep, that’s a good second wish.

So, playing the game, what would your second wish be?

Wishing your mind wants to come out and free play

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Boy and fox talking in woods. ( 1900 Kittelsen, Nat.Lib.Norway/Flickr/USPD. artist life. pub.date, no cr restrictions/Commons.wikimedia;.org)

“Look, Kid. Take my advice. Don’t take what adults say too seriously. They get lost in the noises created in their own heads. Be a natural. Stay young and wild in spirit.”(Nat.Lib.Norway/USPD/Commons.wikimedia;.org)

November 23, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Talking turkey: possible hate crime?

Turkey with FaceBook worries (screenshot Gardenline)

When the fowl and featherheads talk of foul, time to watch out for the roaster. (screenshot Gardenline)

Veggie Kingdom residents arrive for Thanksgiving (Newberry/Field Collection, 1900-1909 USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Just when you think it’s safe to approach a pumpkin with a knife. Aliens, I say! (Newberry/Field Collection, 1900-1909.USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Turkey t-shirt (Screenshot Gardenline)

Caped crusader fashion allowing for a little chicken out? (Screenshot Gardenline)

There’s a caption banner on the TV screen reading “Futures flat ahead of Thanksgiving Holiday”. Oh, wait that’s the business channel not the “Call a Psychic” channel. Whew.

Happy Thanksgiving!

May everyone take a breath, stop the hyperbole and adrenaline rushes, and just appreciate.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

1937 adv. for Thanksgiving beer (USPD pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

1937. Even then, honest about what it sometimes takes to get through a Thanksgiving family gathering. No wining with that.(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

November 21, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Dancing au naturale

tall palm celebrating blue sky (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Never miss the chance. (© image)

Shouldn’t be suggested

Only expected.

A clear blue sky?

Mild breezes coyly waving Reggae from the marina’s bar across the way?

Only natural:

Throw your arms up in the air and dance like your hair is on fire.

Two palm twins showing fronds up (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Upon seeing a beautiful free spirit, people always ask “Is there another like you at home?” Yes, there is! (© image)

Ah, this time of year, those days come about every third day here.

Makes up for the dreary, cold rain bookending the glorious.

Palms up.

(How hard Nature works to demonstrate appropriate responses to life.)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Vintage dancers. 1920 Pavley, Ludmila,and Oukrainsky. Newberry/BarzelCollection. (USPD. artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimediaa.org)

“Hey, think we can lose my photobombing little sister there? She’s distractingly catty in that outfit – more suitable for Tarzan than celebration of wood’s nymphs.” Sigh, humans get so annoyed by the little things. So unnatural. (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

November 18, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

What’s cookin’

Each cook has their secrets and preferences; too bad their kitchen tools reveal more than just their style.

The morning of my recent birthday, Sr. Staff decided to make a special breakfast with cinnamon rolls while I walked the dog.

What could possibly go wrong?

Should have had a caution sign at the door: “Warning! This could hit hard.”

kitchen counter. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Nothing to see here. Only a boring display of ordinary kitchen utensils. (© image)

Despite following the “press spoon on spiraling line to release dough”… no spoons any size (or any sharpness of edge) made a dent…or encouraged a dough blowout.

Perhaps a sharp rap on the counter edge – just to wake up that little roll – soften it’s resolve so it bends into compliance.

No? Plead or cajole: “Please cooperate. It’s a special day”? (More likely deteriorating into roll rage language)

Sharp thoughts. Knives. An assortment of knife attacks. (Cue the music from the Psycho shower scene.)

Time passing quickly: All the was left was maybe an “I Love Lucy” segment revival.

I did not witness the mallet maneuver…or what happened after that failed.

Next Sr. Staff apparently grabbed that firmly protesting “We shall not be baked” roll and with frustration and malice twisted that dough log….

Must have been right along that spiraling line on the package as he said it obediently (or out of fear of becoming a flying missile next) popped right open.

So as Happy Husky Hank hauled me through the front door, we were met by the lovely warm smell cinnamon rolls.

Warming, indeed.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

 

November 8, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Tooth in advertising

King of the Fish statue. (image: RUBUZ-Astra/Commons.wikimedia.org)

There’s one born every minute.(RUBUZ-Astra/Commons.wikimedia.org)

A conspiracy – one going back for decades – maybe centuries: The Goldfish Affair

Based on the ploy by elementary school carnivals: “Win a goldfish!”

“Oh, sure,” the parent says mindlessly. “We have a goldfish bowl somewhere in the garage.” (Gold fish never live long anyway, right?)

Only this time – and it’s a plot I tell you – the darn fish thrives on the kitchen counter and grows larger and larger daily. Guilt tripping all who believe “everything should be all it can be”.

Outgrew his watery environments at an alarmingly rapid rate. There are just so many garage sale aquariums  (requiring new pumps, gravel, and fish furnishing) in ever increasing sizes available.

Not to mention the ever diminishing space on the kitchen counter (“Mom remember, we’re getting to keep the science class guinea pig over the holidays!…She may be having babies!”)

We were finally able to unload donate the fish who outgrew all fish bowls to a new county arboretum opening nearby which was happy to have a giant pretty fish to stock their new fish pond.

We used to visit. He got even bigger.

Who knew goldfish grow to fit their environments if nutrients are readily available.

Hovering Fairy talking to fish in pond...who is about ready to eat it. JD Batten's Indian Fairy Tales 1892 (USPD artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Come closer little mosquito. I can’t hear you…(Batten’s Indian Fairy Tales 1892 (USP/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Apparently, this is true with dogs also.

Hank, the Happy Husky, exhibits all the signs of a Goldfish Conspiracy.

He seemed a bit small for a 2 year old husky when he leaped out of his shelter run into Sr. Staff’s waiting arms.

I thought after years of wrangling 90 lb. Molly Malamute, maybe a smaller dog would be a good thing right now.

So much for wishful thinking.

Hank is the dog version of a goldfish. But that’s OK. 

Luckily, life does provide plenty of comic relief. Some with toothy grins and muddy paws.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Hank lounging half on and half off his bed. ( image copyrighted, all rights reserve no permissions granted)

Oh, yeah, that looks comfortable. But he never complains (© image)

Hank asleep on a too small bed (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Maybe try a little different angle? (© image)

Hank curled up on new bed with pillow (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

“Wait. Brought by the Toothy Fairy? (and foolishly thought that was a myth) Or maybe tribute from an Orange Vegetable Invader hoping for a truce instead of a capture and bake? Wonder of wonders, it’s brand new and not even pre-owned!” (© image)

Hank resting chin on new bed's pillow (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

“It must be true. If you are in the right place, things go right. And dreams do come true.” © image

 

November 7, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

The whole thing

Sometimes It scenes feature the oddest things

(Easy to miss the whole dream)

As the eye’s overview

Prefers to hide unrequested exceptions from you

Tree by lake. (© image)

Puzzle me this: A piece full view of a Crepe Myrtle tree by lake. (© image)

Tree trunk withhold in it. (© image)

Is this a tree trunk with holding? (© image)

Nature’s a genius, an organic sculptor, or master prankster?

Always a quandary with find art:

What point of view, from what perspective and distance from the whatnot.

Close up of crepe myrtle tree trunk with hole in it. (© image copyrighted , all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

If it’s true He has the hole world in his hands, this crepe myrtle tree is probably safe from landscapers and HOAs – at least for a while. (© image)

The whole thing seen and unseen

Totally dependent on this one thing:

Humans may have a short focus, but sometimes they do see the forest and the trees…just not the road in the middle.

Odd fuzzy growth on tree (© image copyrighted all rights reserved no permissions granted)

Odd fuzzy tree companion (© image)

Speaking of trees, some wonder if those are shining examples of “Wooden, you like to get along with others?”

Often wondered:

Does that accessory tickle or just tick off an upstanding native?

Oh well, an alien, a simple organic, or problematic knot, it’s all I got.

(Have to admit it all kinda grows on you.)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

(Befuddled over this muddled post? Sr Staff is still battling medical dragons (will spare you the details) and now recovering from surgery which went well, creating, cautiously, more optimism while waiting for the pathology which drives everything. This is about as even as sequential thoughts can get right now. Just sitting on the dock of the bay and drifting along until more known. Thanks for hanging in.)

Close up of odd fuzzy fungus or moss on tree (© image copyrighted, no permissions granted. all rights reserved)

Close up of odd, fuzzy growth on oak. Go ahead and knock hard wood as it can take most anything. (© image)

October 31, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Carded at Halloween

3 boys chaased by pumpkin. ( Postcard. NY Pub.Lib./Flickr/USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

It’s bad enough at first glance: children being hunted down by a vegetable. But wait! Look closely. Are you sure it’s kids not three little piggies? Could the Big Bad Wolf have had an accomplice? There was a whole lot of huffing and puffing going on…(Postcard/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

There are those who are nonbelievers.

At great risk are they.

They think the carved pumpkins resist not

but truth is they simply in wait lay

Three spooky pumpkin creatures watching celebrating party girl 1910 postcard (Missouri Historical Museum, USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Sure the three Orange Vegetables seem to be congeniality celebrating with the party girl…yet, their expressions are disturbing…they have teeth. Is the trio simply waiting until the kid falls over from hyperventilation before they attack? Prey lured in, then pleasantly disarmed because, well, veggies may tend to get mushy and want to avoid difficult confrontations. Black cats know: Beware of jovial veggies! (1910 postcard/ USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Shrieks and screams – the stuff of children’s dreams

Providing cover for horrors and worrisome things:

Party on! The creepiest Halloween cakes.

Halloween candy packaging a recycling nightmare.

Scrutinize ingredients of wrapped Halloween candy favorites closely this year.

Worst of all:

Philly winning the World Series could trigger stock market collapse (True historical facts)

Two Halloween pumpkins kissing. 1908 postcard (NY Pub.Lib/Flickr/USPD.pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Oh, so innocent looking. Veggie love: “See we are just like you.” But what warning is the Black Cat sending out via bat waves? Kiss of death? Notice the clock strikes midnight! (1908 vintage postcard. USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

So gather ye rosebuds and Butterfingers while you may.

Please, add a few trembles and shakes in tribute to Pumpkins’ best special day.

They don’t need to know, after Halloween’s glow, they are all Thanksgiving pie in your eyes.

Happy Halloween!

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of theHedge.

Fanciful colorful Halloween Pumpkins (Screenshot)

No mush. No fuss. They’ve found a way to stay and play! Fanciful Talavera Halloween pumpkins.(Screenshot: Gardenline)

October 30, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Yawn Patrol

Holler-Ring reconnaissance status report in response to badgering by the HOAA’s spokescat from concerned party’s animals in the neighborhood. Never fear: Hank is here. Oh, that did sound a bit unnecessary 

Little time left before Holler-RIng, but after careful observations, this year’s threat level of Orange Vegetable Invasion seems to be much lower than in previous years.

Discussions with Staff Hi Mom. I’m doing my civic duty. Fitting’ in, see?  indicate, for whatever reason, either the Orange Veggies also are stymied by transportation issues or they are using this year to regroup and rethink their neighborhood infestations.

There is much more silence at a night without so many Orange Inflatable Blow-hards. (Politicians seem to be trying to fill that void…if only there was some way to pull the plug on them.)

Still the following sightings have been noted.

Inflatable Halloween Pumpkin head spook standing over seated skeleton  (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

I tried to approach and assist the bony one who had obviously fallen down and couldn’t get up, but Mom-Staff said, “No, no. Be careful of the wheezing pumpkin lady.” Sure enough, the Pumpkin head kept waving her hands as if to say, “He’s fine. We’ve got this.” Odd. He’s been down for days. You’d think he’d reach up with one arm and pull himself up by leaning on that tablet. Maybe this is all a tableaux created by Orange Vegetable Intruders to try and convince the locals that they have changed their ways and are looking to assist others in need? But worry lingers. If you squint to far right of this picture you would see 6-8 pumpkins crowding porch next to the front door. Is the kindly Pumpkin Headed woman merely a ruse – a distraction to allow the smaller ones to roll unobserved right into the house? We heard no screams…yet.(© image)

Trey the dog down the block heard us heading out to look around and said there were rumors of a bone yard. If so, he said, how about  liberating one for him? Something to gnaw on during the longer, dark nights – especially as his owners and the HOAAs keep telling him to stop trying to be the early alert dog. (Sadly, he just can seem to distinguish between squirrels and humans – but many have that same problem.)

In any case, this must be what he was referring to: It’s like a Griswold’s Halloween or an entry to the Great Halloween Decoration Contest:

Halloween haunted yard. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, No permissions granted)

Halloween haunted yard No Veggie Blow-hards here. Only difference vintage horror movies shown on the house each night. By 9 pm the show is done and there is only silence with eerie purple and red lights illuminate the scene. (© image)

How pumpkins stack up by giant skeleton in haunted yard (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, NO permissions graanted)

How pumpkins stack up by giant skeleton in haunted yard. Each year more ghoulish. These people spent waaaaya too much time ordering online during the COVID lockdowns – and we all appreciated their efforts. Something outdoors to go check out daily/nightly. (© image)

Haunted front yard for HAlloween (© image copyrighted, no permissions granted, all rights reserved)

Haunted Halloween yard. There are rumors the HOA is meeting about “Holiday Displays” Oh, please. Be diverse. Welcome all the Bone Heads. (© image)

Staff can confirm to Trey, the dog down the block, that I did an attempt to secure a bone for him.

Only I got tangled up in the neighbor’s string of orange lights wrapped around a tree by the driveway – Just slipped over pretending to examine the full-size ghoulish Charon in his ferryboat headed for the River Styx. Not sure if Staff bought my explanation that I misunderstood and thought he was about handing out sticks…..Staff did a fair job of rewrapping the draping lights.

Traveling on now to address concerns of “Poor Unfortunate Orphans”.

It also appears that fewer sad waifs have wandered into this area this year.

Perhaps this is a good thing?

Straw scarecrow couple in flowerbed (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

One of the few sightings of Poor Unfortunate Children this year. How sweet it is that they appear to have been adopted together and are able to happily hold hands to reassure each other during scary times. (© image)

As usual, the ragged children always look as if they have been sleeping – or hiding – in straw. Unaccompanied little one may have been intercepted by kind border patrol agents and put on planes or buses to safer areas. Small towns preferable to the big cities like NY. We have heard there are places with well-heeled people who might like to have a few small, cute children stick around to decorate their world.

We can only hope that they have found some safe, dry, haven without open bonfires or access to them by passing dogs.

While I am pretty optimistic about the orphan’s status this year, I have one concern: some of the children appear to have been kept indoors for over a year and as a result exhibit an unnatural paleness.

Two spooky ghosts sticking around yard (© image cooyrighted, all rights reserved, NO permissions granted)

Two ghostly white ones sticking around – huddled together in the shade. They may be unfamiliar with the outdoors having been too small to remember life before COVID lockdowns and now afraid of too much sun thus the fearful expressions. (© image)

Small white ghost named Bo. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

This little one, however looks thrilled to be out and feeling the wind. He must want everyone to know his name! Happy Holler-Ring, brave little Bo!(© image)

Black Halloween cat in yard (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Surprisingly, HOAAs sometimes do good. Obviously concerned these little pale ones do not have street smarts, a fierce guard was placed by them. I have attempted several times to go over and thank this cat, but Staff always pulls me back saying “No!” I guess it is because the cat is on duty…has nothing to do with me wanting to see if it wants to play chase or get barked at. Staff says it’s not a real cat. That would be understandable that the HOAA committee haas many duties and sometime may have to use a stand in. Its is still kind. (© image)

I do hope this, my first official report to the neighborhood is sufficient and accepted.

My goal is to clearly demonstrate no visiting cat regent is necessary to assure The Realm is being managed well.

As this has been quite exhausting, a nap is now on the schedule. Previous RC’s of the Realm have too been allowed naps! There’s documentation and images!

Paws in all.

Hank Snow, Happy Husky in charge.

Smiling black car. (Screenshort Decal from decalfx.com)

A suggestion for next Holler-Ring’s defense plan against Orange Vegetable Invaders. Park one of these at the entrance? (Screenshot Decal from decalfx.com)

 

 

October 27, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Intervention required

Scary man. Alien from Killers from Space, 1954 (USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Beware of lumps in the dark.(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Whenever you move into a new place, there’s always stuff from previous residents that must be dealt with: curled post-its, maintenance manuals, and legends.

It was dark. He was sitting at the end of the driveway across the street. With purpose.

No wonder I froze my paw steps mid pre-bedtime walk. Something about it was intimidating (Were there more of them in the bushes?)

“Listen,” said the sleek black cat – domestic short hair, maybe, but experienced, world expert in tone. “We’ve been observing you, newcomer Hank.”

“The members of the HOAA (Home Owners’ Animal Association) have concerns. Much yowling and howling among us whether someone should intervene.”

“We have certain standards here – and either you are lazy or uninformed – both troublesome as the previous RC’s of your Realm were quite serious about their duties and surely left guidance about the Realm’s important matters and responsibilities.”

3 strange men. 1954 publicity photo from Killers from Outer Space. RKO pictures (USPD. pub.date,artist life/Commons.wikimediaa.org)

United we glare. You know how HOAAs are.(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Confused, worried, just trying to get along, I shuffled and simply said, “Oh?”

(Sometimes less is more…you know, avoiding the “open mouth and insert paw” risk…)

(With luck this large, black cat isn’t aware that remaining caches of cat hair in the house were dislodged and disposed of.)

He continued. “Trey, the Griffon down the block, has tried to cut you some slack and fill in as early stranger alert warning, but he, being far down at the end of the cul-de-sac has a limited view of the incoming.”

“Even so, he has tried to compensate by barking at those moving along the street behind him when it sounds like someone might be coming this direction. His efforts, however, are not getting accolades by his owners.”

“We have all noticed Holler-Ring is rapidly approaching, yet none of us – NONE of us – have received any updates concerning a possible invasion by the Orange Vegetable Intruders.

“A few advanced scouts seem to have slipped in undercover of night to squat on or near porches.”

“This is unacceptable.”

Pumpkin nonchalantly hiding beside bush (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Orange Vegetable Intruder nonchalantly posed by bush (© image)

“Oh, my,” shaken, that was all I could utter knowing that dereliction of duty is a serious matter.

“I must apologize. My responsibility in this matter was not fully explained. Some of the post-it notes were smudged and crinkled. Mom Staff, a little preoccupied and sleepy recently, was probably relying on me being a self starter. I manage to self start multiple events of walking Staff each day now. “

The cat sighed – his shoulders not quite so formidably, threateningly, tensed.

“Obviously you should have been been instructed to watch during walks for Orange Vegetables’ staging areas. Then report back  – keeping us updated so de fences could be assigned for claw warning presentations if invaders are blowing in the wind or rolling on the move.”

“If this is not possible, we shall be forced to make a treaty with squirrels to acquire lookouts. Squirrels. If any species is predictably unreliable and constantly distracted, it’s squirrels. Yet if necessary…”

“No, no! I am quite able and willing. Just didn’t completely read October’s section of the Guide to Maintenance and Operation of the Realm.

“There’s so much talk of Christmas and not enough turkeys, it sounded like the calendar was skipping October entirely.”

“How may I convince everyone I am so sorry?  I’m not a, what is the Guide’s term? Oh, not a Dunderhead. Simply inexperienced. I shall do better, I promise!”

Staring cat.(image: 365photo/flickr/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“We’ll be watching you. The threat is real.”(365photo/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“I shall relay your response to the HOAA members. But consider this a warning: if improvement is not seen, we shall be forced to put out the sign, interview candidates, and send in a Cat Regent to take things in paw.”

Uh, oh. I’ve landed in a great Realm and have no intention of sharing it – no matter what I have to do.

Searching the landscape for squirrels during walks shall be replaced with noting any odd, round, and uppity Vegetables lurking around.

No stem invaders will set up on my block without facing hard, rough ground.

On my own initiative, I mentioned to squirrels that I heard Orange Vegetable Invaders turn to tasty mushheads if sampled. Point out the possibility of a meal to a squirrel and you acquire an ally – for at least 20-30 seconds…

Never fear even if Holler-Ring is near!

Paws with purpose and pride,

Hank, the Husky on duty.

Happy R Hank. Husky chair (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

“Well, maybe after a short nap. Don’t want to wear out Mom Staff. Vegetables can’t possibly move very fast.” Happy R Hank.(© image)

The Legend begins:

 

October 17, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Close to Chunking it.

Hammer Time doormat with images of rapper in his famous pants. (Image from Etsy)

Although I refuse to be a doormat, this one’s offering a quiet little suggestion. (Image: Etsy screenshot.)

Will an iPhone skip across the lake like a flat rock?

About ready to find out. (Along with a few choice words encouraging it to sink into oblivion.)

Darn thing.

If telecommunication companies weren’t phasing out G3 signaling, ancient “Ole Reliable” would still be in my pocket and the one to call on.

My old iPhone made calls, did texting/emails, and even took good enough pixs for blogging.

All easy peasy.

Easy. Once the hallmark of Apple products.

This new one? It’s almost hammer time.

Unlike, the old, no-thinking-required models with “simply select and here you go” style, now some actions/functions require multiple screens and multiple swipes in assorted directions to do the most ordinary things.

(Did they take a “lesson” from overly redundant, layer of operating system on top of operating systems Microsoft?)

No cracks about me being simple minded – I started with Commodore 64 computers.  The operator should be the complex one, not the tool.

Yeah, I’ll get used to it and clean it all up, but why should I have to take the time.

Also, pretty annoyed at Apple’s abandonment of “all your plugs and cords work with all Apple devices even the older ones” for “Oh, now you have to purchase special plugs and cords just for the spoiled little prima donna phone. Get them at the Apple Store!

Then there’s their persistent demand to go through iCloud for everything. Uh, no thanks, I’ll take the bus.

Coffee Cup with untouchable cactus. (Image: Etsy)

Did the Apple techies laugh for days after programming in that diabolical, brain tormenting music? Wait! What if this Is it all part of a Deep State conspiracy? Notes of potential. (Image: Etsy)

The worst of all is this really, really, really, annoying music which automatically plays when a “Memories”/current photo slideshow starts up in a corner of your main screen.

The slideshow is a pleasant feature/app – not asked for – which can be eliminated, although the parade of pictures is entertaining – if only it wasn’t always accompanied by the absolutely most irritating music ever.

It’s not bad when the melody is heard the first time, but shortly you feel waterboarding experience comes free with the new iPhone.

On previous models, you could disable the music and keep the slideshow – not on this new generation, though. Thanks a bunch.

Oh, wait. You can replace that excruciating noise by purchasing a tune from Apple iTunes. (Along with some games – you need games, right? Movies?)

Hmmm. It’s a phone. Not a mall.

I reserve the right not to enter the their shoppers’ paradise  shopping experience.

So until I have enough time to really get under the hood…people now may not get that expression the motherboard, the workaround is to turn the darn volume down as low as possible (which causes other issues…but which is worse?…If you’ve experienced that music, you know)

Important to know how to turn down the noise in life.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Embroidered saying about Nothing is impossible (with attitude and hammer) (Image: Etsy screenshot)

Smashingly good advice. Had me in stitches.(Image:Etsy)

October 13, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Let’s not call it a failure.

Victorian man watching couple at party. (!900 LoC/USPD.artist life, pub.date, no CR retrictions known/Commons.wikimedia.org)

As much as he longed for friends, in his heart, he knew he would never fit in with their flock.(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Darn. Opportunity lost.

Looked promising.

Then again, he thought the same with that cute couple. Hoped they would paddle his way into the local society.

But they were mostly interested in fishing, swimming, and flying – none of that actually fit his lifestyle.

He, the more the hike and jogging type …although squirrels and wildlife definitely definitely got his attention. . Despite the nature theme, not enough in common to hold the couple’s interest.

He always thought them a bit quackadoodle, anyway. Wouldn’t miss them for a minute once they flew south for the winter.

Alone again.

While not uncomfortable with the “Lone Wolf” persona, it’s a lot of fun to have some camaraderie with friends – a pack to run with….a nice crowd, not one collared with a wild, “running the streets” reputation.

So Hank Snow, our rescued Husky, was eager to be introduced to the local play group.

He had all his vet approval documents to present – even patiently endured a bath and ear cleaning in order to make the best impression.

The morning was early and cool-ish. Cordially greeted the dog wranglers (who adored and treasured Molly Malamute).

And then – low and behold – the welcoming dog was a Husky – a lovely girl Husky – the same coloring – maybe a little older and more husky in the waist, but ya’ wouldn’t turn that one away.

Puppy bows exchanges and off they ran.

Ah, everyone sighed in relief watching the happy cavorting as they explored the grounds and pool.

The group evaluation going so well, it was decided we could leave for a bit. Encouraging because if he passed the evaluation, we’d have a nice, safe, entertaining place for him when we have to run into town.

Cheered, we went home for a leisurely breakfast…but then the phone call, “Does not play well with others.”

Gads. Rejected in such a short time.

Perfect manners when we picked him up.

Lounged quietly while his harness and collar were rounded up and exchanged for the loop leash he had been lassoed with.

Showed absolutely no remorse or concern.

A bit of discussions over his head (which he just dismissed and ignored all human interpretations as too absurd to be acknowledged).

Neatly hopped into the car with a grin and wave of fluffy tail.

“What happened?” We quizzed as he nonchalantly motioned for the car windows to be rolled down simultaneously  requesting  the AC put on high.

“Happened?” he replied as if its was less important than the horses grazing in their little pasture by the stop sign.

“Well, it is their loss if those hounds there do not recognize a prime candidate for leader. I gave each dog a chance – with puppy bows and shoulder bumps. Then that ole gal I first met decided she’d tell me how things ran in the pack – and reared up to my face and tried to put her head over my neck. No old broad is gonna upstage me.”

“Then some other dogs started muttering (“What’s with the new guy? Who anointed him king?”) – having decided they already had chosen dominate members and I was too new to be pushing for top dog position.”

“Obviously mob rule, and pack positions not based on merit.”

We just rolled our eyes and took him home. 

Hank, the talking dog...always got an explanation ...if people would only listen (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, NO permissions given)

“Don’t believe it, Dad. It’s slander. Been framed. Let me tell ya’ how it was.” Hank, the talking dog.(© image)

Alone again, naturally. Happily. Not disturbed. Refuses to talk about it.

We had noticed during dog walks in the neighborhood, he will happily notice other dogs and wants to go see them. Amendable to a few, not too close, sniffs.

Seems to go well as long as I don’t reach out to pet the other dog or pay too much attention to it. Then Hank’s suddenly like “Back off, dog. This is my person. Don’t get any idea you can come along home and move in. I got a good deal, and no way am I gonna share it.”

We are hoping that having been off the streets for such a short time, when feeling a bit more secure, possibly realizing it’s a play and run group – not a dump back into a shelter, getting enough good food in him in order to soothe any anxiety – and understanding he has a forever home – will eventually calm him enough to try again.

Dogs do need a chance to run and just be dogs – without human rules managing them all the time. A chance to relax.

We’ll give you a bit of time, Desperado, to come down off your fences.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Cowboy and woman on horse back at night (N.C.Wyeth ill. from "In the Dark of the Moon", 1907/USPD. pub.date, life of artist/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Dude, you know it’s going to be all right, don’t you? You’re here. We won’t vanish in the night leaving you to fend for yourself. Now promise you’ll work on playing nice.”(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

 

 

 

 

October 3, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Like a bridge over water?

Sure the truck can float, but what about the robot?

Now there’s uninteresting option for those of us living along the Gulf Coast and other waterways.

Cybertruck. (Image by Tesla/ screenshot: Motortrend)

Cybertruck. If it’s so ducky, why is it driving in the desert? (Tesla/Motortrend)

Elon Musk says (again) his Tesla Cybertruck can float like a boat.

So, Santa, along with a generator, could you bring one of these:  “Cybertruck will be waterproof enough to serve briefly as a boat, so it can cross rivers, lakes & even seas that aren’t too choppy.” (Source)

Maybe he will add an accessory bundle of passenger life jackets, oars, and navigational maps/apps.

Possibly add a AI driver, too?

Global warming and Mad Max collide.

Tesla's truck. Cybertruck campout. (Image: Tesla/screenshot: Motortrend)

Here’s the latest “must have” item for your hurricane kit. A waterspoofed vehicle and an after-storm Cybertruck campout. Gotta applaud that.(Image:Tesla/screenshot: Motortrend)

Robots, like solar energy, have been disappointing for centuries – only this time…well, Tesla may have something seriously wired-up.

During a recent AI event, Musk introduced Humanoid Robot Optimus (Again, but this time moving without human guides or tether). Still the slow-paced, silent type, but a sleeker, production model is on the way and, hopefully, it will cost less than a car according to the WSJ . (Of course, with inflation, almost everything costs less than a car these days.)

So save your pennies (the copper alone worth the effort…) and you may be able to purchase an Optimus in 3-5 years…they’ve got some work to do…which will give society time to mull over AI humanoids.

Musk quotes (source)

  • “There’s still a lot of work to be done to refine Optimus,” …the concept could evolve over time. “It won’t be boring.” (Hey, nothing you come up with is boring, dude!)
  • “The battery-powered robot should be able to handle difficult chores, Tesla said, including lifting heavy objects.” (Perpetually patient dog hair collection and removal? Quick. Where do I put down a deposit?)
  • “It would have conversational capabilities and feature safeguards to prevent wrongdoing by the machine.” (So that means it won’t vacuum up the cat after mistaking it for a giant dog hair tumbleweed?)
  • “I’m a big believer in AI safety,” … “there should be a regulatory authority at the government level.” (OH, great. Yet another regulatory agency. Please don’t encourage them.)
  • Beyond assisting in manufacturing, “the robot could serve broader functions and potentially alleviate labor shortages.” “It will, I think, turn the whole notion of what’s an economy on its head, at the point at which you have no shortage of labor,” (Does that mean Speaker Pelosi can close the border?)
  • He added: “It really is a fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it.” (Again? Rinse and repeat. Feels like going through a wringer already.)
  • “When he first unveiled the Optimus concept, Mr. Musk said such a robot could have such an impact on the labor market it could make it necessary to provide a universal basic income, or a stipend to people without strings attached.” (Oh, wait. Boredom will have to be reevaluated…or redefined. Plenty of people willing to do that these days.)
Introducing Optimus. (Presentation is everything. ((Tesla image/Screenshot/WSJ)

Presentation is everything. Especially for a grand debut. Looks just like a debutant’s first introduction to society at a grand ball. Time or sci-fi will tell. (Tesla image/Screenshot/WSJ)

Yet, here’s the deal: I assume Optimus, like Cybertruck, is water-tight and can even float in water short term. So if a person at some point has to stop one because the robot has decided humans are just a darn nuisance, always lecturing or whining, and should be eliminated, these robots won’t melt like Oz’s Wicked Witch if you shove it into the pool. (There’s always a residential or hotel pool or body of water around in Apocalyptic stories.)

Unless….

What if you managed to ice pick a few holes in it or managed to locate an outlawed gun and some of those banned metal penetrating bullets…

It might take a while to seep into the electronics, but might eventually short circuit the darn thing, right?

Yeah, please Elon, throw us a lifeline and give us a few a few years to work out some defensive details. 

You’re right. It won’t be boring!

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Robot. NASA's R5 robot. Humanoid robot competed in the DARPA RObotics Challenge, 2013. (USPD/Common.wikimedia.org

The future of “Baywatch?” Watch out David Hasselhoff. NASA’s R5 Humanoid robot built to compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, 2013.(USPD/Common.wikimedia.org

 

September 27, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Tips and what washes

Giant sculpture of hand holding car at ar wash. ( Cbl62/ Commons.wikimedia.org)

Gotta hand it to them.(Cbl62/Commons.wikimedia.org)

The streets were dangerous when I was little.

Mom was the block’s informal Driver’s Ed. instructor – for other moms.

Odd as it may seem now, once many were one car families with dads doing the driving.

Once the women moved to the Big City and realized there was a bigger – and more interesting world – off the block, the urge to drive hit….sometimes kids. Not intentionally. (So they said) But you had to be alert…especially as all the cars were stick shift involving the skill of clutches.

The sounds of gears grinding, brakes squeaking, and heavy metal cars lurching were enough to send us dashing up yards away from driveways and sidewalks.

We thought that was normal.

What we also thought was “Hey, the money making opportunities are doubling” as families added another vehicle: Car washing. 

Nothing like pride of a new driver wanting a shiny new car as they drive down the street all on their own.

Buckets, soap, and marginally clean rags lugged eagerly by small hands towards each new victim driver.

Grumpy boy sitting in metal tub. (simpleinsomnia/Flickr/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“I don’t care if you are hot. Get out of our car washing water.” (simpleinsomnia/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Thus the origin of a now time-honored, local tradition: the Student Fundraising Car Wash. 

Students of a club or school group dragged out of bed early one Saturday to participate in earning money to help pay for band trips, Cheerleading camp, sports teams’ equipment – you get the idea.

Thought by most better to earn money by some sort of effort than just stand and beg on the corner with a bucket.

While the Drama Clubs’ car washes are always entertaining (Often done around Halloween or a holiday offering chance to costume-up), most appreciated by passer-bys are the high school cheerleading groups with their “hawkers” out front by the street calling people over with their posters, short shorts, and soapy T-shirts.

Enthusiasm somewhat dulled after noticing a line of moms/dads with their arms crossed standing a few feet back.

Some business-minded parent quickly suggested the total of money raised could be increased by selling “tickets” the week earlier door to door to neighbors. It’s your neighbor’s kid…the folks who bought that dreadful band candy bar or cheap overpriced wrapping paper from your kid. Part of the price of living in a community. No real choice.

Bearing in mind the car wash workers were quickly tired and sometime resentful teenage girls, most gearheads/ drivers who really took care of their cars dutifully showed up and stopped far back from the buckets of dirty water and grimy rags. “Just wish the wheels, please.” Hey, less work for the same pay? No problema! Win-Win situation. Car owner is seen participating (while sparing their car finish), the cheer leaders get the same one for less work, and the fund total adds up.

Two teen girls at fund raising car wash. (J.Shlabotnik/Flickr/Commons.wikimedia.org

“Can you believe we are having to spend our Saturday doing this? My manicure is going to be ruined. Why can’t our parents just write a check?”(J.Shlabotnik/Flickr/Commons.wikimedia.org

While not as entertaining, automatic drive-thru car washes are practical: quick, competent, and without human contact. 

COVID behavior has made so many more introverted and avoiding human contact even now. That and sometimes you’re just in a hurry and want to be invisible…bad haircut, spilled catsup, whatever.

The very large car wash chains have gotten pretty fancy with spectacular light shows as you are inched along.

And with big and flashy, comes corporate thinking….”Hey, friendly service increases customers – think Walmart greeters.”

So they write out the job descriptions “Need perky, enthusiastic, likable, self starters who love to chat it up with people”

Octopus Car Wash 1981 Minnesota (LoC/flickr/COmmons.wikimedia.org)

When a simple bucket of soapy water in the driveway wasn’t enough: 1981, Minnesota.(LoC/Commons.wikimedia.org)

That’s what we witnessed recently during a spur of the moment desire for a quick wash the car while running errands.

As usual Sr. Staff drove up to the push button driveway machine to reach out the his window to select level of wash desired and pay….but didn’t get the chance.

A perky young employee in uniform quickly inserted himself between car and car wash console. And stood there while asking if we had been there before (“Yes”, trying to reach around to punch buttons) and were we familiar with the “all you can eat” style car wash membership?

Kindly we said, “Yes, but no, thank you.”

Not to be deterred, he asked if where we lived (and wanted to tell us of their other locations – which where we could also use their club membership.

Ditto with the “Yes, but no…” (Still trying to figure out how to get to machine buttons around this kid)

Smiling cheerful employee then says “Which car wash do you want? (and starts to list all the optional wash products)”. Not moving an inch from blocking the machine.

“We just want the basic,” Sr. Staff replies – but not quick enough. The kid says, “I’ll punch that in for you.” and then practically bats the driver’s hand away from the machine. Grabbing the credit card, the employees inserts it for Sr. Staff.

Did I tell you the machine buttons were quite easily reached from the driver’s car windows?

Before the pulling out the card, the kid looks straight at us with a big goofy kid smile and asked “Do you want to add a tip?”

A tip. For service provided. At an automatic car wash. A car wash you decided to go to because it was quick and easy.

I can hear corporate bean counters introducing the concept: “People love personalized service. It will draw in customers, increase the bottom line, and we can hire and pay employees less if they have the potential for tips!”

Men in suits talking. (Koch/Dutch Nat. Archives/USPD,. released CR, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Of course it’ll work. Guilt always works.”(Koch/Dutch Nat.Archives/USPD released/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Guess it’s just today’s world.

Some of those “new jobs” created?

Hope the big corporations don’t start complaining the student groups and charity carwashes are cutting into their business and those need to be regulated. HaHa

Won’t wash to come between a teen and her dreams dependent on fund raising for pom pom or drama queen camp.

Drive on

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Try watching this 1976 movie trailer without humming that tune the rest of the day. Double dare you. Gotta smile: Great movie.

Inside car during car wash looking thru window. ( W.carter/ PD released/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Splish splash. Pretty, but the robot car washes simply are not the same.(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

 

 

September 21, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

The Dark calls

Cowboy. Man on horse. John Wayne.1933 Promo for the film Sagebrush. (USPD artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Always a dark remark: “Don’t call us. We’ll call you. No, it’s not ghosting. It’s not you, it’s me.” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Most don’t mind him. Simply a wanderer – for his own reasons.

You know, the strong, silent type. Mysterious, yet by all known, harmless.

Drifting: here for a bit, then gone who knows where. 

Thought he’d been briefly sighted a few blocks away last week under a full moon. Relief. But last night there was no doubt he had returned.

Hank was the first to know. Couldn’t stop staring in his direction.

We tugged the stubborn husky along – no need to stop and stare.

Loners sometimes take exception to that.

However, he seemed to have something to say.

That startled. He seemed to be right outside the kitchen window once we were inside.

A grudge to resolve?

Stalking?

Owl on branch with moon behind (1919 American Forestry Association/USPD pub. date, with no cr restrictions/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“You should be so lucky to be even considered as an Owl Buc-ees.” (1919 American Forestry Association/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Owls converse in such an eerie, haunting trill.

“OK,” I replied. “Nice to have you drop in, but please, this time, take your dinner leftovers with you.”

After much soapy water drenching the porch and flower bed, and after a few rain showers, the horrendous smell is finally gone from his last visit. 

We don’t mind the owl guy winging in. There’s all sorts of legends and myths attached to them. But we’re not Owls Inn or owl’s end. 

Hank just grinned “It’s the call of the wild. Can I go out and play? Be a seasonally appropriate Hoot and Howlathon. I hear those are big around these parts…”

Ah, the of creatures of the dark and the falling season.

Time to sort out things as days get shorter and things around you start signaling retreat or defeat.

Man /cowboy in black in dark room. (Gary Cooper 1959 film trailer for The Hanging Tree. (USPD. pub.date, no cr, artist life/Commons.wikimediaa.org)

“So, let’s have a little talk about impending doom. Are you ready for the end of lines?” (USPD/Commons.wikimediaa.org)

Like my phone –  a victim of P.A.D.: Phone Age Discrimination. 

So it’s an ancient Apple 3 generation – but suitable twinsies with a 3G network, right? Lower numbers not the coming thing these days. 

Seems wrong, after so many years of competency and reliability that it is unplugged from the work force due to no fault of its’ own. Undeserved pink slip taken with a stiff upper emoji.

Now I have to struggle and relearn where everything is “explore” a brand new – and while not giant big – bigger phone.

Bigger in size. The new model will have to prove itself before being big in my heart. 

Merit based employment better than mandate.

People were becoming snarky 

Probably laughing behind their sleek updated model when I was beginning to sound like that commercial “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Now? I’ll go stand by the window…” as the 3G network coverage dwindled. 

No more using the “dropped call” excuse when you really mean “drop dead” when tired of the conversation.

Now the dreaded task: pruning.

Having to take time to edit all the stale phone numbers cluttering the contact list from multiple, multiple companies and jobs.

Something avoided for years as it was just too tedious.

Besides, who knows? Those people might actually return to “A-listers” and be useful contacts someday.

Yeah and that’s probably how people take that dark turn and become hoarders

Slogging through twist and tangles of the list pondering “Who? Who? Whooo?”  

We make our own mysteries  

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge 

Serious western couple ( 1952 Grace Kelly and GAry Cooper in High Noon trailer (USPD, no cr, pub.date, artist lives/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“That’s right, Missy. There’s a new G network in town. Either upgrade or go dark.”(1952.Grace Kelly and Gary Cooper in High Noon trailer/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

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