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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/



  1. shoreacres / May 15 2015 1:06 pm

    The more I read about the various nefarious and deleterious effects of technology, the more I resolve to continue on my own way. Counter-cultural is taking on a whole new meaning.

    Example A: before heading off for my post-op visit yesterday, I went to Google maps and checked it out. Easy enough — 1415 North Loop. There it was, tucked right into the little slot between I-45 and Airline. My friend’s GPS showed the same thing.

    But, it looked a tiny bit perplexing, because of some one-way streets. So, I called the office to ask if there were any tricks that would make getting there easier. Indeed, there were. “Airline?” she sighed. We’re nowhere near Airline. You must have looked at Google maps.” In fact, they were on the south side of the Loop, not the north side. And they were nowhere near Airline. The correct exit would be — Ella! Past Airline, Yale, Durham and Shepherd.

    Not only that, the terrible accident Wayz showed on the East Loop? It wasn’t there. I may be clueless, but I’m remaining app-less. Take that, tech behemoths!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 15 2015 1:50 pm

      Oddly Google mapping car was behind us a couple of days ago. (Maybe the drivers had stopped off in Austin to support that new bill? Hmm. No connection to the fact that Google’s robot car fleet drives out this summer? Eliminate that pesky undependable human error situations… )These little cars look like they would be really easy for college kids to pick up and put in surprising places. Do kids still do that? (or only in video games now)
      I still depend on phoning ahead to get directions. And take Houston Transtar Traffic with a grain of salt. Yes, a real dinosaur.
      Occurred to me, you know that old phrase “work to live, not live to work”…”technology for simple living, not living to become simple-mindedly from technology?” Oh, that still needs some work. (How about control/management of the internet being handed off to the UN/world?)
      The definition of “clueless” may be changing. Thanks for driving these lanes. (and glad you made it back without having to swim)


  2. Ally Bean / May 15 2015 1:07 pm

    Comatose. A species rendered harmless.

    You said it there! Suddenly I feel guilty for giving out little bags of goldfish crackers to trick-or-treaters at Halloween.

    The use of pot is now Biblical? Oh, the changes I have seen in my lifetime.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 15 2015 2:17 pm

      So you are spreading the fishy plot without being aware? Don’t fret – the fish entrapped you and used mind control. (Those crunch little snackers…drool)
      He even quotes verses! (Gives them in his editorial piece) This whole thing is so funny to me. Goes to show there’s a lot of independent thinkers around.
      Thanks for splashing down in this small pond

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kate Crimmins / May 15 2015 1:31 pm

    Poor fishes. Perhaps a little marijuana in the water would help.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 15 2015 2:26 pm

      Maybe it would. Although the fish might have to school some of their members to make sure the fishermen didn’t benefit too much: there’s the ahead-of-the-trends fish individuals who are already leaping out of the waters much too high and much too often. People would be quick to catch on to that. Thanks for tossing in that possibility!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. easyweimaraner / May 15 2015 2:34 pm

    if we lose our attention that means we walk back to neander valley, right? I guessed it as I drove to the town today :o)

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 15 2015 2:50 pm

      Easy, Molly Malamute thinks it might be better if people were a bit unfocused and walked around distracted more…then people would stop tugging on her leash and keeping her from going where she wants to go. Hey, there are guide dogs – not guide humans – so who should be leading the pack, right? Paw waves! (hope the weekend has lots of outdoor fun)


  5. Carrie Rubin / May 15 2015 3:36 pm

    So much for separation of church and state. Gives a whole new side to the term ‘church PEW’.

    As for the goldfish, maybe his attention span is longer than mine, but I got to read this post and he didn’t, so I’m feeling victorious in the end…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 15 2015 4:19 pm

      Hilarious in so many ways. (Then again any points for being creative? If there’s something blocking the road, find a way around it?) There is a real concern at how much property is being seized using “suspicion of illegal items”. Nothing has to be proved, and property is not returned.But this new approach for pot is a new one for sure.
      Fish may say always in school and believing learning is a life long effort might keep their attention span up to speed?
      Do anyone wonder about technology attention spans are changing kids – who are growing and developing attention spans, adults expect kids to sit in boxes with artificial lighting and few windows if any for 8 hours, yet adults have less attention span than a gold fish? Cruel and unusual punishment!(ask any kid or teacher). Summers coming. Hope some kids still get summer reading lists and are expected to actually read them in prep for the next school year…but doubt it.
      Hey, did you manage to read all the way to the end of this? Cruel and unusual punishment for a Friday! Thanks for leaving some thoughts to chew on.


      • Carrie Rubin / May 15 2015 4:30 pm

        I did read to the end. 🙂 As for kids being confined to a desk all day, I agree. That’s why I was so grateful for my kids Montessori education until high school. Wish all schools had the resources to instruct like that.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 15 2015 9:30 pm

          Educating kids. No excuses. For what is being paid out K-12, (with dismal results) the whole system could/should be redone. Montessori is a solid way to start….but it’s such an old concept. People always want “new” even if not improved. We’ll keep wishing and fishing for support for real learning. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  6. The Hook / May 15 2015 6:07 pm

    Oh, how I’ve missed your brilliance…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 15 2015 10:39 pm

      It’s the smoke. It got in your eyes. Seriously great to see you. (Know you’ve been up to your ears in alligators and tourists…and summer is coming!) Thanks for the kind words and for visiting this small pond


  7. Silver in the Barn / May 15 2015 7:31 pm

    But I observe in my nephews they have the most amazing attention-spans when staring at one of their games on hand-held devices. It’s actual conversation which seems to make them want to run for them thar hills.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 15 2015 10:50 pm

      Media and game developers know just how many seconds they have before a new stimuli/music/flash/color/movement is needed to hold attention. It is a fine art. (The Microsoft study was just by one of the electronic/computer industry. They are watching and analyzing user behavior data constantly…)
      Now real conversation where the brain must quickly analyze and produce a logical response (rather than moving an object on a screen/responding by button to screen prompts) – now that take focus and verbal skills. Knowing what to say is hard! (but maybe kids rolling eyes at adults is a good thing – exercises those eye muscles that are locked straight ahead for long periods with screens. Weak eye muscles – left to right motion- make reading print tiring/more difficult. Pediatricians and educators are concerned. Young kids who spend a great deal of time with screens, are disappointed with classrooms which do not have bells, flashes,and all the excitement of video games.)
      No doubt these days, cruel and unusual punishment to kids is having to talk face to face with adults. (But wasn’t that always true? giggles) Thanks for fishing out a comment to leave!


  8. angelswhisper2011 / May 16 2015 9:43 am

    I have a longer attention span, Philmouse, even with Nip 😀 Extra Pawkisses for the weekend 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. dogear6 / May 16 2015 7:28 pm

    I’m not sure which is better – the blog post or the comments! You really got some good comments and your replies were equally as good.

    I think my eight seconds of attention is up. Have a good weekend!


    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 18 2015 2:52 pm

      This is a great crowd – lots of good thoughts. (AS you can tell, I, too wandered off losing screen focus). Hope your weekend was fun! Thanks for crowding in here


  10. Sun / May 16 2015 11:18 pm

    so we knew somehow the 60’s hippie scene would revisit one day…peace out && pass the goldfish crackers. and wonder if there is a link with short-attention span and the chronic problem with youngsters speaking gibberish late into their formative years. i cringe every time one tries to speak and the toddler spills out static and looks at you wondering why you cannot understand what was said. oh, dear!!!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 18 2015 3:12 pm

      Perhaps gibberish, like abstract art, is only admirable once the basic fundamentals are completely accomplished – then it can stretched and embellished as in literature and in galleries? research showed years ago that if a kid does not develop good speaking, reasoning, communication skills is sat in front of TV shows – even educational TV shows – and now there are even more screens (and questionable quality “educational” profit driven computer programs) in front of them. The way the human brain works is being impacted, the results yet to be completely seen and understood. Things will ever be the same. Uncharted ground…space exploration might seem simple by comparison? Thanks for netting a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Robin / May 18 2015 11:12 am

    Well. I think that does it. If Texas is legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana, the federal government will have to follow suit. Oh wait. That’s school textbooks, isn’t it? Either way, I guess it doesn’t matter. With our short attention spans, no one will be paying attention for very long. Still, I find it fascinating that a Republican preacher from Texas is advocating drug law reform.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 18 2015 1:59 pm

      The whole thing is rather funny for so many reasons. Sort of “now I’ve heard everything” story. The bill does take a step to rein in the abuse by some agencies to confiscate property/money if they suspect it is drug related – no proof require, no judge rules, and it’s never returned. Medical marijuana is allowed in some case, but not others and that is addressed, too. He sure jars the conservative label.
      Florida, California, Texas are the big markets that edu. companies want to win so books are created to fit their specific standards. That’s why big companies are pushing the feds for Common Core standards – easier for textbook companies to sell and make money. (which is these companies’ main goal – not to help kids) Wasn’t too long ago the textbook companies’ selling point was “We designed it just for your state to fit your needs, standards, and kids”, but publishing is expensive and that took real knowledgable writers instead of cut and paste and one size fits all is easier and cheaper to do . (Actually in TX 3-5 textbook selections are chosen/offered for subjects and districts choose between those or they are perfectly welcomed to buy their own or use the older versions (many subject do not change content – history does, but basic math is basic math…) The losing edu companies do tend to sneer to other states “You don’t want the textbooks that Texas chosen do you?” All part of the profit game. Did that arena for a while. Most people do not understand the year long selection process in TX and how much teacher/school/district/regional input there -they just see the circus towards the end – which the edu companies are often behind….but then again, people have short attention spans and celeb. gossip is so much more fun than children’s education?)
      Real life has characters as interesting and intriguing as fiction. Thanks for seeing through the smoke screen!


  12. Paul / May 18 2015 3:26 pm

    Fun Post Phil. Love that comment about marijuana and gun legislation being great companion pieces. Ha! I used to have aquariums and at one point I had a 200 gallon monster. I had to reinforce the floor to hold the weight (over a ton). Anyway, I had some large species of fish in there and one breeding pair was Oscars. they are awesome fish – very beautiful and very gregarious. They would follow me around the aquarium as I serviced it.I had a carpenter friend build cabinets under the stand and the Oscars followed him back and forth all day. They already had an attention span much greater than most humans , so i know of what you speak.

    As an aside Phil i have part 1 of a three part guest post up over at JulieNoBlog if you have the time to drop for for a read, I’d be honored.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. roughseasinthemed / May 19 2015 8:53 pm

    Sorry. We skimmed that one. Blue ball! Play with blue ball! No! Pinky squeaky! No! It’s treat time! And going out time!

    Never mind blog posts …


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 19 2015 9:53 pm

      The fish voted: Intelligence is found outside. A much better focus no matter the attention span.
      (Run. Run. Run. Hoping for free play clearance tomorrow for Molly. Practicing to prepare for launch into pack. Staff should know to clear the runway to avoid being used as an obstacle course. Paw waves to Pippa and swift Snowy)


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