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May 22, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Boys of Summer.

1948. Two boys. 1948 Ft.Macleod, Alberta/Galt Museum/flickr/

Optimism of youth. Summer and all things await. (1948/Galt Museum/flickr/

On the verge of – well, what? Everyone remembers: that too old to crave family trips to Disneyland, yet too young to be of any interest other than simple toying by the teenage girls lounging around the pool. (“Please. You’re blocking the sun. Move. More. Farther. Another step. Oh, sorry. Didn’t see that pool edge?”)

They were betweens. One foot leaping towards adulthood, and the other? Stuck. Humiliating stuck in not cool kiddie world.

Evenings were even worse. Daylight Savings Time a torment. So many hours of promise, if only they were older…

Not having wheels or older siblings they could nag until included, their swaggering while roaming was limited.

Certainly not tagging along with mom to the park.

The only swings they rode now were only moody ones.

If only they could get to Wendy’s or McDonald’s.

What a coup it would be to be the first ones in the group to post a “Snatch and Dash.” on Facebook. Reputations made!

A barefooted escape? Smacked too much of World’s Funniest Videos or worse, Cops if they didn’t scramble fast enough.

Besides it was hot. There had to be alternatives.

Wait. The neighbors are out of town for Memorial Day. Would be a shame to waste that sparkling pool.

The fence was no problem.

Everyone into the pool! (Dare ya’ to post some skinny dipping pictures on Facebook.)

Did they gleefully yell too loudly?

Did someone see the epic splashes of their cannonball contest?


What is there to say when the cops arrive?

two small alligators swimming in a lovely pool in Fulshear, TX/ pool party!/

Be very still and maybe they’ll just leave. Act like you own the place. (

Maybe smile broadly with “Boys will be boys?”

Go, gators, go!

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

gator in a net.. Alligator catching a ride./

“Give me a lift home? That would be great.” (

Oh, a bonus:

Just to show gators aren’t the stodgy stuck-in-the-muds. Here’s the one who actually started the current “Grab and Dash” fad at fast food restaurants (In 2014. Early adopter).

He hid in the flowerbed against the side of the building until time was right to make his move. Patient guy. Waited 30 minutes (I guess the fries weren’t ready.)

You can see he’s just exiting the McDonald’s drive-thru after a firm, but polite “No all beef patty, special sauce for you.”

And add insult to injury, a cop who (must have been near-sighted to mistake him for a pup?) put a dog collar on him before hauling him back to the lake. The gator may have a thick hide, but will hard to live down being leashed like prey.

Have a Great Memorial Day holiday. Hope it’s gator free. (They do, too.)

gator leaving McDonald's (

Gator going. McDonald’s sign says “Thank you.”(


May 20, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Running from empty.

1930.riding lawn mower/Germany.Bunds archiv, Bild102-09651/

Not cutting it for summer fun. (1930.Germany.Bunds archiv, Bild102-09651/

Not exactly the free time and road trips that most envision with summer’s arrival. Kids, those delightful inventive darlings, always manage to come up with some new form of entertainment – a new fad to post on social media.

Only for the fleet of foot, those who have some weird skill to become invisible as needed, or ones who will turn anything into a social commentary.

Fast food restaurants are livid and complaining they never submitted an application to become the performance venue.

This summer’s trendy competition: “Snatch and Dash” or “Snatch and Grab”.

It’s perfect. You got feet? Hands? You’re set.

  • No special equipment needed for the runner. (Good running shoes, helmets, face bandanas or masks optional)
  • A team member with a car. (But you can always “draft” an unsuspecting driver. They’ll be really excited at being chosen to participate!)
  • A friend with cell phone or GoPro camera required to record the event.
  • Any fast food restaurant with a drive through window will work.
woman sitting on old car.1930-1950.Powerhouse Museum.Tom Lennon Photo.Collection.Australia/US life/

Pretty, but not the best outfit for game success.(Powerhouse Museum/Lennon.Australia/US PD/

The game plan:

The vehicle driver/team member moves into fast food lane normally so as not to attract attention. Orders a bunch of food, then pulls around to the pick-up window.

Only the driver makes sure to pull up leaving a wide space between the vehicle and the food pass through window.

The chosen one/the runner, having exited the car before ordering takes place, lurks either behind the car or flat against the wall of the building out of view.

As the restaurant employee leans and stretches his/her arm in an attempt to pass the bag of food to the driver in the vehicle, the runner leaps into action, speeds along side the car, grabs the bag of food, and runs forward past the car, the employee’s arm, and the restaurant.

Free food! No tipping or tripping allowed.

The thrill of achievement. And a post for all to see!

And of course it’s all street drama to protest poverty/ income inequality/ the evils of big corporations/ a plot to feed the masses unhealthy food.

Social commentary.

Nothing to do with self promotion.

Ah, the games of summer. Time to fill up.

Don’t let this one pass you by.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Read more? (or watch some event videos?) ““Snatch and Grab trend shakes up Houston fast food workers”

Old cowboy with rifle. 1905. Hopalong Takes Command. Schoonover story illustration/Outing Magazine.Delaware Art Museum/

Fast food pick-up widow security? Don’t laugh. It’s Texas. You know how they are.(1905 “Hopalong Takes Command”/Outing Magazine/Delaware Museum/


May 19, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Search and Bow-wowzie.

Happy Dog face. ALL rights resrved. No permissions granted. Copy righte

Put me in coach. I’m ready. Oh? Must be able to focus and not eat odd stuff on the ground? Sniff on command? OK. A bit of homework yet to do.But these guys are inspiring.©

Many hear the howl, but few actually trot over to help.

Realistically it’s a little intimidating for even the best trained or most prepared.

A lot of weight on small shoulders.

Yet strong paws reach down and find the strength. And courage.

 "It's my first mission." Search and rescue dog Pryce. Handler Ron Sanders. (Facebook Fairfax County fire and rescue/VA-TFl-1 Kyle Knox)

“It’s my first mission.” Search and rescue dog Pryce is a little worried as she sets out for Nepal with handler Ron Sanders(Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Images by VA-TFl-1 Kyle Knox)

“Wow. Now this is one giant dog house. Room for me, my handler, my friends, generators, and our 14 days worth of supplies. My blanket made it on board? Oh, whew. Small comforts mean a lot on the job.”

Here’s the ride: a C17 Globemaster II. Might as well get comfortable. It’s 52 hours of travel.

A little help from their friends on the way.

airplane interior. US Mission to Nepal. Fairfax Co URban search and rescue on C-17 Globemaster II (Image:US Mission to NATO/Fairfax fire rescue photo on facebook)

Heading to Nepal (Image: US Mission to NATO)

And all that training couldn’t prepare for all this.

Where to start? (USAID video here. Dogs included! CNN.)

Nepal Damaged buildings being searched.  Nepal. (Image.Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance/FB USAID.OFDA)

This was a street. With neighbors and children playing. Even dogs and cats. (Nepal. Image by USAID.OFDA)

Search and rescue dog searching rubble pile in Nepal. Fairfax Co Search and Rescue/FB/USAID

“I AM being careful. Now be quiet and let me do my job.”Nepal. Fairfax Co Search and Rescue/FB/USAID

Yes, it’s rough and tough, but so are the search dogs.

Focused and determined.

Tired, but pleased they found people alive, the dogs and their handlers returned stateside over the weekend at the end of their rotation.

Search dogs returning home with handlers at airport. (Fairfax County Fire and Rescue /FB)

Look at that strut. Pryce knows she made a difference. That’s a good dog.(Fairfax County Fire and Rescue)

Hero dogs and their loyal equally dedicated leash holders.

Welcome home.

Applause to Fairfax County Search and Rescue, Los Angles County Search and Rescue, and all the many others still on the ground. (and their spouses and employers who let them go as soon as that phone call comes. Everytime.)

Happy dog and handler are home. Fairfax Co Fire and Rescue Dept. Facebook

Yes, good job.(Fairfax Co Fire and Rescue Dept. Facebook)

The rescues, evaluation of buildings, sorting through the mess continues.

  • “Rescue workers are battling hard to save the lives of Nepal’s animals” It’s not just dogs and cats. The livestock estimates over 9 million cows, goats, pigs, were killed or inured in the earthquake.  There are few standing barns or shelters:the sun is harsh and the monsoon rains soaking. Vets from the Humane Society International are on site with medical treatment and tarps to provide shelter. Healthy livestock is important to help Nepal’s people get their lives back to normal.
May 15, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Smoke and something fishy.

Fin and smoke signal, but is the message? “SOS” or “Run fer them bills”?

Noodling aside, time to consider Believe It or Not Quite.

Some really alert goldfish staring (Ali Rezvani/

Stare all you want. All part of the plan. (Rezvani/

It’s official. People now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish.

A recent study indicates Human attention span which averaged about 12 seconds in 2000, has fallen to 8 seconds. The average goldfish can hold focus for 9 seconds. Splash down.

Not from staying out in the sun too long. (Who does that now anyway? Tanning beds? Another half-baked story.)

Not from pesticides or GMOs (Or GTOs either…Except maybe those wrapped around the tree or creatively making a drive-thru where there wasn’t one.)

Smart phones. Electronic devices featuring short bursts of information are to blame. Technology is whipping up waves again.

Pepperidge Farms Goldfish snack crackers.( screenshot)

They’re baked. We’re fried. (Goldfish snack

Diminished attention span could explain all the chaos and weirdness around. (As well as bad spelling in choppy, badly punctuated sentences with abrupt shifts of topics.)

Speaking of things demanding attention, Texas is known for colorful characters.

(You’ve heard that, right? Can’t let you go around ignorant. You’re welcome.)

Judge Roy Bean's "Courthouse" in 1900 Langtry, TX. (

Beer and judge in one location. Time saver. (Langtry, TX.1900.USPD/

Out of the East Texas Piney Woods rides State Representative David Simpson, a Republican, from Longview who poked the ant bed by insisting marijuana comes from God and, therefore, governments have no authority to ban it or its’ use.

He quotes Bible verses. A Christian case for the legalization of pot. (All of a sudden the Sunday pews are filled with believers)

People snickered while his bill (HB 2165) was stuck in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee for weeks. Not laughing now. On Wednesday the bill was passed and could reach the House floor for consideration. (The committee vote was 5-1 with 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans supporting it.)

Clock’s ticking as June 1st ends this legislative session. Keep up with the bill’s progress here.

More than one person has commented that decriminalizing pot is a perfect companion piece for open carry gun legislation.

The way they see it is that pot smokers tend to move in slow motion.

An OK Corral-type shoot out might take 2 or 3 three hours. Plenty of time to get distracted. Just getting the gun out might take a while, much less getting the brain organized to aim and figure out how to operate the darn thing.

“Oh, shoot, look. Chips and salsa. Cherry Garcia ice cream. What were we doing? No matter, here’s a spoon.”

Dalton Gang. 1892. Cramers Art Rooms of Cherryvale, Kansas. (

“Dude, got any of that beef jerky left?” (1892.USPD/

Conspiracy theories will be spouting soon. Who is behind all this?

No, not Hollywood brainwashing with those slow motion fight scenes so people think that’s normal speed for motion.

No, not snack food special interest groups counting on munchie-crazed shoppers grabbing more than goldfish off the store shelves.

Could this the beginning of a war over water rights?

Fish saw the popularity of catfish noodling and sports fishing as the writing on the coral reef.

Long-term planners, they slowly infiltrated humans’ homes in preparation. Those innocent little goldfish handed out at school carnivals? Suicide volunteers.  Willing to sink into too small bowls and fish tanks that never got cleaned for the common cause.

Why? In order to slowly mesmerize people into staring mindlessly as fish swim back and forth. Forth and back. Hypnotic. No longer aware of things planned or the passage of time. Frozen in spot.

Comatose. A species rendered harmless.

And now fish have longer attention spans than humans.

They’re gaining.

Just a fin away.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Buffalo Bill and his horse.1915. for performance at White City.(USPD:

“Whoa.There’s only one explanation for wearing that outfit. Don’t even think about riding up to that drive-thru window even if they are open late.” (1915.USPD/

May 13, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Rocking. Rolling. Greens.

gorilla.Mike. Houston Zoo gorilla in new habitat. (

The name’s Mike. No, it’s a not a skirt. Come closer and repeat that remark? (Houston Zoo/click2houston)

Caterpillars should go ahead and apply. Plenty to chew on, the outdoor life with only a few rocks along the way.

Those who are green, as well as the old hard “woulds”, are nudged to marsh over to the shore’s acres.

Deliriously munch on the most delicious delicacies of writing tips. Finger-sandwich sized! Neat.

Graze freely: A Writer’s On-going Search for Just the Right Words. Whimsy and tips about writing, what the famous say about the writing process, and a realization that “…love for a corpulent, greens-eating caterpillar doesn’t seem particularly absurd. Besides, other caterpillars have had their stories told, so there’s always a chance The Big Green Guy will have his story, too.”

Greens are always good, right?

Gorilla holding large leaf. (

Where is Martha? Why did they put me in charge of party decorations? (Click2houston/Houston zoo)

That’s what one new family here is saying.

The long anticipated lowland gorilla habitat at the Houston Zoo is finally opening.

It’s been a long time since there were any gorillas at this zoo – out of compassion. While the old style small concrete boxes were long gone, the gorilla’s larger quarters and outside areas still didn’t seem right. So the decision was made not to be an Ark-type zoo – you know one or two of every single animal. Choices were made. Specific animals, particularly endangered species, became the focus.

Slowly large natural habitats were constructed. Species that might share areas in the wild share the new neighborhoods were introduced and their neighborhoods combined. Human visitors now hosted in elevated platform “tree houses” or gaze eyeball to eyeball through tunnel’s windows.

But it takes money. A lot of it. And the Houston Zoo is not a city zoo and receives no money from the city. All donations, memberships, grants, fund-raisers. Every penny counts.

It’s taken years and years, but the millions of dollars were raised and the results are ready to be showcased.

Pictures of the new zoo exhibit here. Or view videos “Sneak preview of zoo’s newest residents in their habitat” or “Gorillas first visit in their new home”.

The Houston Zoo’s going to be the place for humans to flock to all summer.

Alice and the Tweedledums.1871.John Tenniel/

“There now. You’re all ready for bed.” (1871/USPD/

Talking of rocking and rolling.

While you are stomping feet and slapping tables and back during the NBA playoffs, could you please do that gently for a bit?

 If the earth is made up of so much water – with a liquid core….

And if it’s true vibrations rumble across fluid with such ease…..

Is it possible that the opposite side of the globe might feel all the energy released with such enthusiasm?

There’s still a whole lot of shakin’ going on in Nepal.

My niece is over there with the disaster and rescue efforts.

Thoughts, prayers, or a calm blanket of positive energy wouldn’t hurt.

Soothe The Mountain

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” (John Muir, My first Summer in the Sierrap.1911)

Whirling through time and space,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

1864. Alice upside down. Lewis Carroll,author's

“I suppose this means everything has to be put back on the shelves again.” (1864/USPD/



May 11, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Dark and stormy might.

Trees (NO permissions granted)in black and white(All rights reserved. copyrighted).

Dark trees. Careful. They’ll know you know.©

“The suspense is terrible…I hope it’ll last. (Willy Wonka, Chocolate Factory. Oh, that’s it. Blame the chocolate.

“So much to do, so little done, such things to be” (Elizabeth Taylor. It’s the diamonds, a girl’s best friend. The glare must be blinding.)

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” (Ayn Rand.)  

They are still running Mother’s Day guilt commercials. It’s not too late! And it’s all half price now.

“Beware of the barrenness of a busy life” (Socrates.)

So if the resident outspoken cat, the bored recuperating dog and her briefly visiting, equally shedding, German Shepherd friend weren’t lolling around here, there could be actually be a designer showcase home interior with lush window treatments, plush area rugs, countless couch pillows, and trendy accessories instead of remnants of dog toys, Greenies’ crumbs, and paw prints?  

“There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures. ” (Brutus. Julius Caesar IV,3,218-224)

Wait. Let me get this one dog hair tumbleweed. Now what was were you saying?

“Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, “Is life a multiple choice test or is it a true or false test?” …Then a voice comes to me out of the dark and says, “We hate to tell you this but life is a thousand word essay.” (Charles Schulz/Charlie Brown)

Great. Is there a time limit? What? 

Street scene.1922 photo of Alfred Hitchcock filming Number 13 in London. Film was never finished.(USPD: UK artistic work of unknown artist, Photo /previously unpublished photo before1945/

A mystery. Not really. See Alfred Hitchcock there directing this street scene? If only everyone had a director with such attention to life’s details. Maybe not him. This film,” Number 13″, was never completed. (

“It’s a hellava start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.” (Lucille Ball)

Sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees. Or dog hair. Just let one day go by without raking the hallway. Hey, maybe we should just make that two. You’re right. It may rain tomorrow. Lucy would approve. 

Paraphrasing Charlie Brown: “The Secret of Life? You just hang around until you’re used to it.”

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it. (Alfred Hitchcock)

What me, worry? (Not so Mad advice)

Nothing like uneven ground or being ground unevenly to keep you jumping.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Bird on telephone wire.Looks like Alfred Hitchcock's BIrds/Wayne Wilkinson/

Waiting. Watching. Looking for direction? (Alfred Hitchcock’s ominous bird waiting./Wayne Wilkinson/Flickr/

May 8, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Leaning one way or the other

Not my boat., but it is my pictureAll rights reserved. copyrighted. NO permissions granted.

Leaning in without any luck. Obviously not from lack of support.©

On the fence.

Stuck or intentional pause?

Anchored with indecisiveness hiding in plain sight.

With the other oar being a wise look before you launch.

Waves rushing by.

Doggedly trying to get inside? A neighbor child asking to play. Or that tatted up teenage boy your daughter has been told to stay away from?

Doggedly trying to get inside. A neighbor child politely asking to play. Or that sullen tatted up teenage boy your daughter has been told to stay away from?©

Good to be prepared on the dock with bow lines ready when your ship comes in.

Life isn’t cruising along offering refunds.

Know when to float and when to boat.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

(NO permissions granted)row boat drying on fence.All rights reserved. copyrighted

Looks like one of those giant demanding seals. Hide the shrimp. ©

Boat and dock. NO permissions granted. All rights reserved. Copyrighted

Nooo! The splash is not always greener. Slide back into the water now before being hooked by the lure of “stuff” and civilization.©




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