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May 4, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Shoes in by design

It’s spring and feet want to be loose. And who can blame them – especially seeing these fabulous designs created for Van’s blank canvas shoe contest? You’ll feel like dancing – or creating – or getting out there. Enough yackin’. Start the walk through:

Colorful shoes with crayons images on front. Art Category entry by McNary HS., Keizer, OR (

Color in the lines. Art Category entry by McNary HS, Keizer, OR (


shoe with artistic design. Orange HS.ORange, CA (

A shoe’s in for art. (Orange HS. Orange, CA.


sculptural shoes in art category. (Entry by Friendswood HS Friendswood, TX.

Trippy to wear, but function is brushed off here. Contest rules say shoes do not have to be actually wearable. (Art category entry by Friendswood HS, Friendswood, TX.


Shoes to take note of. (Music category entry by Friendswood music entry. (

Shoes to take note of.  One shoe plays the electric tune while the other is the speaker spreading the sound. Really. It works. Heard the tuneful pair.If kids can turn shoes into instruments, don’t tell me we can’t rocket to other stars, cure diseases, feed the hungry, live in tandem with the earth and solve so many problems. Maybe adults are not reading the score? (Music category. Friendswood HS. Friendswood, TX.


musical themed shoes.(Music category entry by James Pace Early College HS.Brownsville, TX.

Take as step and get in tune. Get a group together. Think local. (Music category entry by James Pace Early College HS.Brownsville, TX.

Are you noticing anything yet? 

  • These shoes were all created by students
  • There are categories: Music, Art, Local Flavor, and Action Sports
  • It’s a contest! Schools can win big money and students can win individual prizes. Sometimes students find jobs and careers.
  • Vans has been running this creative design contest for a number of year. (The video interview explains it better than I.) Article:  “Vans kicks off the sixth Annual Custom Culture Art Competition”
  • vanscustomculture.votenow. It’s down to the final 50 schools. YOU can help a school make the final cut. VOTE HERE. Contest entries might be from schools in your area. They need the money. Besides if you  VOTE for the designs you love, maybe they will go into production by VANS.


Shoes with seagulls and ocean scenes. Local color Enrty by Catoctin HS THurmont, MD.(

Sail away with a smile on your feet. (Local Flavor entry by Catoctin HS.Thurmont, MD.


Shoe group by island design (Entires by Moanalua High. Honolulu, HI (

Island time!(Entries by Moanalua High. Honolulu, HI.


Shoes with corn design Local color entry by Fort Calhoun HS, Fort Calhoun, NE. Van shoes. Custom Culture Contest)

Not too corny for Nebraska fans.(Local Flavor entry by Fort Calhoun HS, Fort Calhoun. vanscustomculture.votenow.)


shoe entry group by Northwood HS. IRvine, CA (

Ready to step up into the final round! (Group by Northwood HS. Irvine, CA.


shoe with waves. Action Sports entry by Station Camp HS. Gallatin, TN (

Make a splash in these. (Action Sports entry by Station Camp HS. Gallatin, TN.


shoes with VW, going outdoors, and campingUniversity. (Local Flavor entry by HS. Irvine, CA.

If these don’t make you want to get out there. Do it. Get out there. Oh, and get out there and vote. (Local Flavor entry by University HS. Irvine, CA.

No better way to get happy feet: delightful designs, kids and schools getting support.

Tie one and tippy toe over to vote for your favorites until May 11.

You can vote multiple times and in multiple regional areas.

Stomping it.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

(The art car crowd is bound to be taking note!)


May 2, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Short falls. Long reach.

small girl under mushroom.1907 Alice in Wonderland. Carroll/Bessie Pease Guttman/

Short ones work harder?(USPD/

Briefly, that’s it. The rapid fire world prefers just a few lines. Quick eyes have it.

You knew short would dominate sooner or later – and it’s not just since they are small you can feed them less. The little one can be pretty heavy, too.

If poetry is the best thoughts of the best minds in the best order, then Haiku is one of the highest forms: simple, yet complex requiring effort by author and audience.

Short and sweet, intense or bitter. Without a second glance, you’ll never know.

The fine lines of cartoons are much the same.

Cartoons are the haiku of the fine arts world: deceptively simple, interpretation optional.

  • Mike’s recent cartoon in his blog doodled out giggles last week.
  • After laughing at the whimsy of the rhino on such vehicle, a thought: “Nothing is difficult or a problem if you don’t recognize it as one.” (Click over to see his doodle. It’ll make sense then)

Like the elephant in the room, cartoons are both the circus and the yogi.

Charles Schulz with Charlie Brown sketch from Peanuts (Higgins, World Telegraph photographer/USPD. rights given to LOC/

Charles Schulz and Charlie Brown sketched out simple truths of life.(Higgins/USPD/LOC/

Haiku or cartoons, fine lines draw.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

They didn’t forget. Florida has always been popular for retirees. These ready to leave the jungle of work for a more fitting one (Pedicures and spa baths still included, but without the gawkers.) “Back to Florida: Ringling Bros. circus elephants to retire after May 1 shows” 

A little grain of advice offered to these lucky elephants: be warned. Once you relocate to Florida, relatives seem to come out of the jungle and invite themselves for extended stays. (But it may take that rhino a while to get there on that trike.)

Elephant happily sniffing flowers. 1902 Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. Carroll.Peter Newell, ill./Harper & Bros/PD., artist life/

Not a short-sighted delight.(1902″Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There”Carroll/Peter Newell, ill/Harper & Bros/PD/



May 1, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Dog-ear grin.

Duncan the three legged dog loves kittens. (Abby Cat's You Tube)

Duncan auditioning for kitten nanny duties. (Abby Cat’s You Tube)

Dogs need a job. So what does an award-winning agility dog do once he can’t storm around the course any longer? Some turn to tutoring the next generation.

Duncan recognizes these creatures are a little odd, but he’s very accepting of differences.

And this batch of orphan kittens aren’t picky either. They need all the friends they can get.

If you look closely, you’ll notice Duncan is missing a front leg.

A friendly sort, he mistakenly thought two anti-social neighborhood dogs were smiling at him a few years ago. (Shiver). Not much slows him down now. He even charges around agility courses as a handicapped contestant. While he’s recovered, therapy and vet trips are necessary to keep an eye on joint issues.

During his last visit, he discovered a basket of kittens looking for new homes.

Looks like he’s on his way to getting certified as a nanny dog.

Thought you might get a smile from one of Molly’s BFFs.

Yes, they really do play well together which makes us ask the Molly, why are your paws so gentle and careful with unstable little dogs, yet they pound and flail at us? She just smiles.

The secret lives of dogs….

The secret’s out about International Day of the Podenco.

Don’t know about that one? Duncan, Molly, and dogs everywhere wish you did.

Even Facebook is in on it.

Hunting dogs, some of the oldest and most noble breeds, have a rough time in Spain.

Why? Molly, really wishes you would paws and read about it here.

Good dogs sit stay and try hard to make life easier. Maybe people could give them a little hand once in a while.

A little I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine?

Dogs would go for that. True friends.

One secret that needs to be barked about.

Phil the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge



April 29, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Cool cats and party crashers

Cartoon of two teen girls talking on a couch 1943.(NARA/

“With parents out of the picture, it’ll be a wild time!” (USPD/

You know how it is. Plan a party – you only want the cool cats – and someone has to blab about it on social media.

One glance at the door told the Lola it was time to scale back.

Luckily police arrived to protect the invited and discourage the porch squatters.

There was a bit of a wrestling on the front walk before the uninvited was roughly removed.

Watch the whole kit and alizoodle on video here. (What? The cat got your thumb? Click it or fur ever hiss out.)

cats and univited the door (

“No! No! Go to the back door. He’s a party crasher!” Lola meowed urgently to her friend. (

That could have taken a bite out of the purrfect party.

Hope your weekend is wild, but not too wild.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Oh, speaking of wild. The tiger found wandering in a neighborhood during the floods has arrived at her new home – and she’s really wild about it! (click that big cat video here!

Have you ever seen a happier cat? Looks like she’s never played in grass before. Wild applause.

Rescued conroe tiger rolling in the grass at her new home (

Nahla, the rescued Conroe tiger, happily rolling in the grass at her new home, the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary near Fort Worth (


April 27, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Insensitive remark or cultural crash?

cartoon characters. 1943 "Porky Pig's Feat".(US PD. Tunes/OswaldLR/

“What did you say?” (1943″Porky Pig’s Feat”.Looney Tunes/OswaldLR/USPD/

A Chinese reporter and NBA Golden Warrior Draymond Green. Pretty much opposites. Each with their own frame of reference.

The two played verbal jump ball Sunday afternoon during a news conference. The reporter hobbled out the loser. He was quickly fired.

Many called foul and scored the reporter with an insensitive, combative remark, but should a whistle be blown for a time out?

Here’s a newspaper account or watch the video of the actual remarks.

Those who work frequently with individuals from other countries may be slower to jump to conclusions. Was Draymond’s response a cleanly dunked ball in this hoopla?

We have friends who are Chinese. The ones who always call me to make sure my shoes are pointed the same direction in the closet – especially at Chinese New Years – so you will keep going forward in one direction through the year. And wear red. And be sure that the first person you welcome across your threshold on New Years is one who is successful and prosperous. And don’t buy a house with a bathroom right at the front door or your luck will flush away.

Look, I need all the luck I can get, so who am I to question?

What I am trying to say, is that some cultures look for patterns that indicate signs for the future. Our Chinese friends do. They laugh about it, but do. It’s the way they were raised.

Was the Chinese reporter simply asking Draymond if he saw a pattern and had any prediction for the next game?

“Draymond, here’s an interesting question,” a reporter said. “So last year you visit [Houston], Game 3 there’s no flood, you win. Game 4, there was flood, you lose. This year you visit [Houston] … Game 3 there’s a flood, you lose. Game 4, there’s no flood, you win …”

If you think life has patterns, the question might be logical.

Or maybe he really is a jerk being annoying.

It’s very diverse here. Not everywhere.

As the country’s demographics change, it’s becoming smart to not snap to judgement. Break and think before charging down the court full speed.

There will be times when people from different cultures don’t see eye to eye.

  • Abortions are simply a procedure to some and a crime against humanity to others.
  • Arranged marriages and big age differences between man and wife are perfectly normal to some and totally irrational to others.
  • Short skirts on women are simply trendy fashion and acceptable clothing to some, but to others it’s a character advertisement and an invitation.

To have game, we’re going to have to find center court and a way to get along with those of widely varied beliefs and concepts.

A start might be, take a breath and clarify when something seems odd or offensive before jumping to conclusions or making a basket load of assumptions.

This reporter may be a total obnoxious person and deserves to be fired. I don’t have enough information to know. Does anyone?

Wouldn’t be the first time cultural differences caused a clash and a game loss.

If in doubt, a sense of humor may be your best shot.

Jump ball.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge





April 27, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Emails from the beyond

At first, it was only a solitary whisper – a hint, a hoping. Now there’s dread each morning of what’s waiting. How many will be there? Will each in succession become more and more disturbing? Fear accompanies the hand reaching to click the inbox. Will the delete button work fast enough?

1945 radio premium. A Capt. Midnight secret decoder badge (Sobebunny/

Could even Indiana Jones decipher this? (1945 Capt. Midnight Secret Decoder / Sobebunny/

Oh, the guilt. But there’s nothing else to be done.

Why do they keep coming? At an ever-increasing pace. More and more insistent.

I don’t know them – any of them, yet….They couldn’t have been at that last wild crawfish boil with all the craft beers, could they?

No. Paths have never crossed. Never.

Why do they slide in with such familiarity?

Some distant relative by marriage much removed? Friend of a friend? No. No way.

Why don’t they give up and move on – on to their next plane of existence?

girl in advertisement.. Radio Orphan Annie's Secret Society membership booklet/

Those eyes! What attracted that gaze? (Orphan Annie’s Secret Society Membership booklet/ Olsen/

How did they get my email?

I’ve deleted. I’ve tracked back and firmly said “Take me out of your contact list.”

Just made it worse.

Heidi, hope you don’t take offense and get overly depressed, but, Honey, please stop.

It’s nuts. The emails, not you – don’t be so sensitive.

We don’t know each other.

We will never sit down to Christmas or any other dinner together. No. It won’t happen. Ever.

Whomever sold gave you my email is just a mean girl playing you for a fool.

Your emails are heart-rending: the pleading, the whining, the guilt trips, the unwarranted self-centered confidence. Maybe if you read some aloud to yourself, you would see why people are concerned.

“I hope my email finds you doing well this morning.

Ted is worried that you haven’t been getting his emails — so, I told him that I’d personally reach out to you.

We’re up against a BIG deadline tonight, and while I don’t have the exact number, I know we’re more than $100,000 dollars behind what we need to raise in order to hit our mid-month fundraising goal tonight……..

Heidi Cruz

P.S. If $35 or $50 is too much — can you afford $5? I really don’t want to have to tell Ted and the team we came up short.”

Heidi, Sugar, desperate pleading is so unattractive. And I’m worried, you’re worried Ted will be upset with you. 

A 1941 paper Ovaltine decoder. (Olsen/

At the outer limits of official and confidential messages.(1941 paper Ovaltine decoder. Olsen/

He seems a bit, uh, well to be kind, he does seem to see things, uh, differently.

Hope he didn’t shove you off of the computer in a snit when he dashed off this one:

“Violent rallies, verbal assaults, social media intimidation, personal harassment…and now DEATH THREATS…That’s why I’ve asked my campaign to establish a Delegate Defense Fund — and I’m asking you to help me fund it….

…..give intimidated and harassed delegates the help and support they need — ..immediately respond to this email….

….For your help, I will rush you your very own Deputy Delegate card.

For liberty,

Ted Cruz

Gee, Ted. Very own Deputy Delegate card? Golly. Just like Ovaltine secret decoder rings?

Slidomatic Radio Decoder by Quaker Puffed Wheat and Rice Sparkies/ Olsen.

Slidomatic Radio Decoder by Quaker Puffed Wheat and Rice Sparkies.As kids we made decoders like these out of index cards for secret codes. Is that how I got on the email list?(Olsen/

So, Heidi, Dear, trying to be kind here, stop being delusional, run! 

And please trash any hard drive with contact lists before you go.

Longing for the days free of weird harassing guilt tripping emails.

(Will this annoying presidential campaign season never end? Voting for all states having their facade of primaries all on the same day.)

Deletingly yours,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Oh, just for fun. You can print out your own Orphan Annie’s Secret Society 1936 Radio Decoder Badge right here. Just in case your name got left off Ted’s contact list.

girl on Ovaltine advertisement. (

She’s not drinking Kool-Aid.(Ovaltine/Olsen/



April 25, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Seedy Side of Bullying

Out of control plant.1962. Reynold Brown movie poster for Day of the Triffids. Allied Artists (USPD:,CR not renewed/

Temper, temper. No, you cannot have any more MiracleGro. Now get back in your bed.(USPD/

I refuse to be bullied by vegetation.

After all I’ve done for them.

Know-it-alls. Refusing to recognize that withholding food or water is a kindness at times.

Tough love. I am strong.

They are devious.

  • Quietly invading places they shouldn’t.
  • Blooming when they should be tucked in and resting.
  • While I brave frozen fingers to make sure they are snuggly wrapped in warm coats against winter’s frost, the ingrates wiggle out of them as soon as I turn away. Willfully waving their wraps like a dog running off with the towel after a bath.

But I will not be bullied.

They should forget about hiring mercenaries to do their dirt work.

Their secret slipped out:

 Plant garden sensor. (

Nag. Nag. Nag. I will not be nagged by planted hired guns. Careful planted ones, or you’ll end up doing all that saving yourself. (

Have to hope the Plant Kingdom isn’t taking its’ name too seriously.

That they’ve only innocently fallen for a fast talking salesman.

Better to take a stand now. Get to the root of the matter.

Perhaps boycott Home Depot for enabling bullying.

Shears aren’t just for cutting bangs. And it’s clear sheep learned to respect. 

Chop. chop.

Stay sharp now.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Veg out with these, but cover the windows so the landscape doesn’t see….

Man carrying woman in jungle. 1922 film."With Stanley in Africa" Universal/

With all the recent rains, it’s going to be touch and go to retain yard domination. (USPD/


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