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January 29, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Exit Strategy Questioned

You’ve read the tags: “colors may run”, but this is ridiculous. Chasing them down the hall is simply too much.

Caught in the act: Some bright ones fleeing like rats leaving a sinking ship.

Woman locomotion study by Eadweard Muybridge. 1884-86. USC digital lib.(

Undercover action.(Eadweard Muybridge/USC digital lib./USPD/

There are actually some children born here who have never seen the sun or felt that lovely warmth on their faces.


Between this year’s miserable, dreary, damp, dark winter and the flu epidemic, who’s taking risks with newborns?

Young preschoolers are probably pointing to the yellow sunny circle in picture books and asking “What’s that?”

It’s so bad that even paintings’ colors are leaving for more hue friendly locales.

Framed print of palm tree with rainbow streaked across it. (Image:© all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

Color fast plotting in plain sight! (Image:©)

They almost got away with it unnoticed.

Fleeing down the hallways despite our pleas to return and tint patiently.

“Come back! As a public service,” we pleaded.

“To support mental health!”

Rainbow arching over picture's waving palm. "No, chroma, don't go. Hang around and glow." Frantic palm obviously fears the fade.(Image:©)

“Oh, polychromatic palette, don’t go. Pretty colors, please don’t go!” Frantic palm obviously fears the fade.(Image:©)

Could mysterious news reports of space ships actually be local color on the run?

As the cat says, “You know how the Dunderheads easily get things confused.”

Rainbow caught hiding in the hallway. (Image:© all rights reserved. Copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

Hue are you? Caught hiding in the hallway. Note to bright pigments attempting an escape: you stand out among the bland. (Image:©)

rainbow hues in hallway. (Image:© all rights reserved. copyrighted. NO permissions granted)

Almost looks like an amoeba split. A light hearted attempt to divide and conquer? Distract those in pursuit and sacrifice part so the rest can glow on.(Image: ©)

Three ballet dancers in colorful skirts leaping.( Jeff Medaugh/

A more familiar image of colorful leaping. This is the way it was. It is too the same…close to it anyway…use your higher level thinking skills. Maybe they were mysterious beings from another dimension who had been trapped within these walls until travel conditions were right. Could be proof Black Holes exist. Lots of comings and goings. And things that go bump in the night. (J.Medaugh/

Hue departs.

Not to seem off the wall about it, but I’d like to know who handed them permission slips.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Fade to some colorful distractions:

January 25, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Surviving Will.

Wouldn’t take much.

Acceptable requirements’ range being so narrow.

All it would take is one bored asteroid deciding to play bowling with rocks at Earth.

A cosmic fractal perhaps – occurring over and over in various scales across the universe.

Eeny, meenie, mini, moe. This one survives and this one goes.


white bird perched on car roof. Egret. (Image: © ALL rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

As the story goes, Will, always the player, waits for things to shake out dramatically. He’s quick claimed the welcoming neighborhood featuring cozy shelters with assorted warm elevated decks and endless Quickie Marts loaded with slow lizards, snails, and insects among the frost killed rotting landscape.(Image: ©)

We all should be so lucky – or should that be pragmatic?

Bugged and spaced.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge


January 22, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Controversy of home languages

Woman and man dressed in "old country" ethnic costume. 1913 theatrical postcard. 1913. Guttenberg photo (USPD., artist life/

“Speak as you will, but one photo, then these outfits are going to be stuffed in the trunk.”(USPD/

Dad was raised with it.

Maybe because it was an old country thing.

Mom, on the other hand, forbid it in our house.

Perhaps the result of generations migrating to the big city. Determined to get fur away.

I don’t speak cat

Despite years of attempted tutoring by native speakers.

My attempts: clumps of mishandling and littering efforts.

Who knew which annoyed announcement explained that the thousands – it seemed like thousands – of grey puddles plopped everywhere – especially in the most difficult surfaces to clean – were clearly retaliation  in response to:

“Foolish Staff left the box of Cheesenips in an easily accessible spot on the coffee table and, being accepting of diverse tribute attempts, We, the RC Cat of the Realm, carefully snaked out  and sneaked out one orange pillow treat and rushed quickly to avoid detection returned to Our secret spot where We thought no one would find Us lounge and reveled in the forbidden leisurely nibbled the offering. It is Staff’s fault! Severe tummy rebellion to emphasize Staff must be more attentive….and stock less poison more special delicacies to amuse Us. And what to you so long to find the evidence? So predictable. Borderline incompetence and laziness. But what can One expect from humans.”

RC Cat examining coiled up Christmas lights on wood floor. (Image: all rights reserved, NO permissions granted, Copyrighted)

“Outrageous. The Christmas lights finally taken down and packed away. No one is fooled that these remained to warm palm feet in frigid weather. Festive? Nonsense. Not even the right color for Mardi Gras. Dunderheads! The Realm has a reputation to protect! (Image:©)

Who could possible understand that stoic pose by the litter box Facility of the Grains of Necessity and Convenience was body language for:

“We were forced to use the alternative cardboard sticking out under the Facilities as the regular material is disgusting. Staff ‘freshening’ does not fool Us. “

(This accompanied by loud, insistent feline instructional mutterings as RC Cat unsheathes one long elegant nail, stretches out a paw just like a ballerina opening on stage, and delicately – cautiously – firmly – points to a tiny spot…)

“There. Right there. It’s obvious. The third absorbent grain to the left and two inches down below the surface. Staff must had nasal congestion not to smell it. Now that We have brought this issue to your attention, We leave you to your work. Without even demanding an apology or thanks that We considerately did not use the bath mat. You are welcome.”

Mother said cats belonged in barns.

Sometimes she was right.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Vintage horsewoman in traditional Mexican vaquero skirts on rearing horse. postcard. 1930-45. TIchnor Bros collection, Boston Lib. (USPD., artist life,)

Younger model rearing to start toddler herding.(USPD/

Production note: The exhausting rewarding months of assisting The German with toddler herding hopefully are over with that Realm’s Staff’s broken arm healed and a new Toddler Vaquero hired there.

RC seems to have spent the entire time writing a long To Do List. The recent hard freezes have meant more time needing to be spent preparing house and landscape. (Denver, Colorado has been warmer that this location many times this winter. La Nina weather pattern winters which are so cold and extremely wet happen periodically. Not Chamber of Commerce weather.) Molly Malamute is being the “good child” and huddling close. She visibly droops if suitcases come out, clothes are stacks within her sight, or if I get in the car. Sled dogs have strong pack instincts. She’s ready and willing to assist with landscape rehabilitation….already dug a few practice holes to demonstrate.

I want to thank all for their patience over the past few months. I’ll slowly be responding to comment, and getting back up to speed with reading and posting.

Thanks again. 

Molly helping by carrying stick. (Image: © NO permissions granted, copyrighted, all rights reserved)

“See? The good child” (Image: ©)






January 16, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Apple, Fruity Loops, and Collusion

Immediately suspected Big Apple – Close cousin to Big Electric and Big Oil.

Yesterday morning I felt like Nancy Kerrigan’s wail.

1907 advertisememnt. Boy at table looking at dog and cats.1097(USPD., artist life/

But You just came in. And what do you mean have I checked your bed? (USPD/

Like children, computers and gadgets only get maladies when you have absolutely no time to deal with it.

Not only did sleek fairly young Apple computer absolutely without compromise refused to connect to internet – issuing a vague illogical statement as if it was a Congressional legislator.

The faithful cherished iPhone locked itself and asked for stuff that does not exist.  Worriedly it is one of those “ancient” iPhone 4’s that Apple seems to want to go away….and sooner the better. Rotten.

Both stuck in endless loops of madness.

If I had had a hockey stick both would have been utilized for practice.

Desperate hopes that if left alone, they’d see the error of their ways and heal themselves in self defense…that the absence of physical touch make the buttons grow fonder..

Cambell's soup boy, 1913. (USPD., artist life/

Apple cheeked with revenge in mind.  (USPD/

Another arctic front imminent already meant extra chores and no holiday.

Houston always has multiple MLK parades. It’s a competition between two groups (read previous post/parades’ history here). Now both held downtown at the exact same time this year.

The first few years, amusing, but now rather odd and a concern: if the shareholders, those directly impacted historically, cannot get along, compromise, and work together towards a common goal, what hope is there for others who were not impacted – for new arrival immigrants – to understand and join in the spirit of brotherhood?



Oh, great. The sleet has arrived.

How come they always said “You’ll shoot your eye out ” about the BB guns, but no one ever says “Stay inside, you’ll sleet your eye out” about the savage stabbing winter winds?

Just wondering. Google probably knows

And I would have check on that IF computer had been able to get a WiFi signal yesterday.

Staff, being single-handed Monday, spent a huge amount of time coaxing palms into their winter jackets.

A couple of divas wiggled most uncooperatively as soon as they saw that two sibling palms were topped with coordinating winter caps since a growth spurt made their nice navy blue moving blanket wraps a little too short. Teenagers and dates. Must be that Mediterranean diet people talk about?)

It was easier, perhaps, as there were no interrupting texts or phone calls as the iPhone had apparently booked a winter vacation without informing anyone.

Odd as I though Apples enjoyed cold weather.

Uninterrupted time was rather nice although there are those who worry about Staff being up on ladders and dealing with large thorny stalks when no one is there to call EMS.

I did stop periodically to see if it or the computer had returned to work. Still locked me out or wiggling those square button images tauntingly as it endless repeated “Activate your new iPhone” screens.

Oh, did I mention that RC Cat has some smell intestinal issue…and either has decided not to contaminate her litter box – or is seriously demanding immediate attention? 

Oh, the Days of Whine and Holding Noses. 

Oh, yeah, covering palms gets preempted for cleaning multiple rooms of wood floors and telling the washing machine not to dare complain about the multiple heavy loads of fluffy door mats. And dog bed. Yes, even the dog bed. (“Well it was soft on Our poor paws,” RC Cat tried to justify with her best sad kitty face…just before insisting on more food.)

Hopefully the yogurt will do its normal wonders for her. Although not sneaking the dry dog food ….

(“But, it’s salmon flavored! My favorite. You are slighting your RC! If they make one just for Malamute, the company should also have one for cats. We shall go look online. What? Why isn’t the computer working? If Staff wasn’t so focused on fruits and vegetables, We’d probably have internet access. You cannot depend on asparagus or apples.”)

After winterizing plants was completed and the rest of Staff returned, focus and ladders were turned to an aging router…although the Google phone and non-Apple computers had no problem connecting…smugly.

Possibly a sneak guerrilla move by them for household market share?

You know how one rotten apple can spoil the lot.

Happily…crossing fingers and knocking on would-rather-work routers…and God willing and the sleeping pets don’t rise, things are getting back to what passes for normal. (We shall just ignore the chunks of ice and snow falling out of the sky.) 

The iPhone must have seen the my old Blackberry pulled from the drawer and realized it better stop the acting like a Fruit Loop. Senior Staff crooned to it and, of course, it blinked coyly and responded. Annoying little flirt!

RC Cat delicately nibbled the coconut and Key lime yogurt. Thank goodness she’s not lactose intolerant as many cats are. Her request for Honey Noosa will be honored. (ANYTHING to keep her tummy happy. Night will be more comfortable if Molly isn’t barking at us “The cat has locked herself in the master bath. She did do that herself, right? She’s spreading these scary rumors about Staff…”)

It’ll be below freezing for a couple of days. Schools are closed; people being told to stay off the roads. But 70F this weekend. Pretty normal.

Most of you are scoffing at us as winter wimps who don’t know what REAL winter is like.

Yep. Still a lovely excuse to stay home and enjoy cool. 

Any one for Steve McQueen as Bullitt?

Apples for apples, now that’s cool cool.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Funny how that movie suddenly reappeared recently on TV offerings. It is the 50th/51st year anniversary of the movie.

Has nothing to do with an anticipated Ford Mustang model which could be the apple of your eye.



January 11, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Will will and Will won’t

You know that kid who seems to always hang around on the edge of the group? He’s one of those.

Not exactly an outcast – just sort of invisible to the others.

A half step out of sync.

Whether by nature, by cast, or by choice – unknown. But fortunately he’s either so oblivious to his situation or he just doesn’t care.

Follows his own heart and flight pattern despite the mandate of “birds of a feather”.

White Egret on truck hood in neighborhood (Image: All rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Warms your heart – and feet. Will knows unorthodox survival techniques are not as feather brained as they seem. (Image: ©)

Will could be the egret Einstein.

Hey, he’s already mastered flight – a relatively exclusive cohort.

Cold weather brings everyone down to earth.

No seeking shelter behind tall banks or brush thickets for Will.

Even a dumb bunny should see perching on a recently driven and parked vehicle is a leg up on staying warm.

During the recent below freezing weather , we watched Will go down the neighborhood from warm car hood to warm car hood.

The Einstein egret seemed especially pleased to hang out at night in flower beds with lots of old-fashioned heat-producing big bulb Christmas lights that were left on all night to give plants a little warmth.

Will won’t settle for chilling out if there’s a smarter option available.

You’d think the flock would notice a problem solver of superior intellect.

Proof the life of a genius is often hard.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

(Another cold blast due to arrive here shortly. Will’s probably checking out the neighborhood’s travel patterns…and who still hasn’t managed to get all the lights down yet…Oh, Ok we’re guilty – but just the front flowerbed by the palms…and Will. Sigh. Orphans and strays.)

White egret / bird on truck hood. (Image:© all rights reserved. Copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

“Hey, you get room service out here in the hood?” (Image:© )


January 9, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Display case.

Think of it like going to the zoo – only with leaves.

(Do not enter the enclosure and please don’t feed.)

Oak tree with zigzag path. (Image:© all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Path to the real Emerald City? (Image:©)

This old guy has it figured out. While many lesser humans prattle on about hydration, organics, integral training with short bursts of high energy plus yoga, and having deep roots in the community, he, well, it must be amusing to watch the warp speedy.

Although he will go along with the deep roots thing – and micro movement yoga. Talk about hot yoga, however, steams him up. Experience has shown him that too hot is a knotty situation.

After an unexpected – and unrequested – relocation, he had a little bit of a rough start.Well, he’s rally old, but knowing it’s better to bend than break, he’s now branched out and flourishing in his adopted land.

Besides seriously who doesn’t have a little jet lag after travel?

This is the Ghirardi Compton Oak that was dug up and moved like a giant’s bonsai  after the neighborhood was outraged the city and county wanted to chop it down for a road. Once the TV cameras showed up, the mayor and city council suddenly became tree lovers.

Barry Ward, executive director of Trees for Houston, believes this Compton Oak, well over 100 years old, is only one of two of its size and kind in all of North America.

Posts about that fight to save it (which he was most grateful for despite all the shaking. Besides he’s weathered many a storm.) The 2012 epic tree move:

This is one celebrity that deserves a reserved parking spot.

Posts about the development of the park and pictures of the final product:

And there’s a hill – manmade as those are was rare as hen’s teeth around here. Park has become a favorite spot for photo shoots with brides and family reunions. They hall in van loads of vintage props including velvet couches sometimes….just have to work around the dogs and running/rolling children.

Oak tree and rail fence. (Image ©: all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

To the right of the rail fence is property belonging to the eldest Ghirardi. He donated part of his remaining family farm for the park if they would just save the tree.  There are numerous huge perfect for kids to climb trees in the park (to the left) not to mention the Moonshine tree that’s really older and bigger. Yep, there used to be a still under it – for medicinal purposes…that’s why they guard it. (Image:©)

Like everything, the Ghirardi Oak started out small…it’s the one on the right. The tree-shaded a home belonging to one of the many Italian families who settled in the area: Sebastian Ghirardi and Domenia Fillippa (married in 1919).

Guess what? The original house was saved, too.

Moved to the historical area by the Butler Museum, the home waits like Cinderella for her enchantment to begin.

Ghirardi farmhouse. (Image: © all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

Ghirardi farmhouse. May not be a forest, but you can see the wood’s remaining.(Image: ©)

vintage farm house picture. Ghirardi house sign. (Image: all rights reserved. Copyrighted, no permissions granted)

If they can save and move a giant 100 year old tree, this should be a snap, right? This time they nailed it.(Image: ©)

Displaying all the right moves

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge





January 5, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Pokes, poison, and black eyes

None would be welcomed on airplanes right now, so don’t try:

Defensive pokes, targeting the hog wild crowd, or, historically, the incorrect.

Silhouette of person. (Image:© NO permissions granted. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted)

With martial art moves hindered by long skirts, alternatives were found.(Image:©)

My ancient grandmother, determined that I would not grow up in ignorance or be at risk, clued me in.

She sat me down as a kindergartener and said “Here. This is what women used to wear to make sure gentlemen kept their hands to themselves.”

It was a hatpin: A sturdy metal spike about 8 inches long – but decorated with lovely jewels at one end. To anchor a hat or to tuck into a French Twist hairstyle.

I have three of hers still: the fancy party one, a plain everyday at the office one, and a short, yet lethal, one 4 inches long with turquoise embedded in the flat end.

Vintage fan and hat pin. (Image:© ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted)

Vintage fashion accessories were not for amateurs. Fans broadcast clear messages and hatpins had a point.(Image: ©)

Didn’t the others get theirs?

Maybe their moms, aunts, or grandmothers were just too busy singing with Helen Reddy in the 1970’s, reading about the 1960’s Friedan and those 28 women, or  marching around parroting Steinem to actually teach their daughters and young charges any real skills and techniques of how to deal with unwanted attention or situations with predators.

High ideals floated; old practical knowledge overlooked.

“The Hatpin Peril” Terrorized Men Who Couldn’t Handle the 20th-Century Woman”. “…If New York women will tolerate mashing, Kansas girls will not…”  (Read the rest of the Smithsonian article.)

Hatpins. An idea destined to return? Old hat, but might happen. People love vintage.

One thing people outside cities do not love is wild hogs.

Traveling in groups, feral pigs do more than $1.5 billion a year in damage in this area alone.

The USDA is set to start field tests during the summer of 2018 in West Texas and central Alabama of a poison bait which uses the meat preservative sodium nitrite. (That’s what they use to cure bacon and sausage for human consumption). Basically the hogs gobble, then the poison keeps the animal’s red blood cells from absorbing oxygen. Usually the hogs die within 90 minutes of eating the bait.

While the chemical, sodium nitrite, breaks down quickly when exposed to air or water, there are a few concerns.

First they had to create a powder that hid the terrible taste of the sodium nitrite, find something that would stand up to being chewed and swallowed, and make sure the it would be chemically stable for the entire time between mixing the formula to pig’s gut.

Some worry that scavengers/birds who feed on dead poisoned pigs will die.

The poison bait will be placed in feeders, so of course other animals could also get into it.

A quote from USDA swine project leader Kurt Vercauteren, ” They’re working on making bear-proof boxes, using cameras and sound recognition so only pigs can get in, but that’s probably a couple of years away. Right now we just won’t use the bait where there are bears.”

Well, that makes me feel better.

Hope the bears get the notice of what areas they aren’t allowed …and the smarter deer, squirrels, raccoons understand their standing reservations at dinner are not advisable.

Food. cornbread and black eye peas. (Image:© NO permissions granted, all rights reserved. Copyrighted)

Add a salad and you’ve got a perfect supper for patio or in front of a fireplace. But not for hogs: cured bacon! (Image: ©)

As the New Year begins, people talk a lot about cooking traditional “lucky” foods from around the world. Some guest “experts” find it too easy to get on a roll and ramble too much.

At the end of one local show, the anchor asked the guest chef “Why do people say you have to eat black eye peas for New Years?” Without hesitation, the woman responded, “It must be because they look like coins.”

Uh, no. That coin thing would be the reason for lentils on New Year’s in Italy . Black eye for the expert.

Here’s how the tradition got started. During the Civil War, as General Sherman marched from Atlanta to the sea, he ordered his troops to burn everything, destroy all food sources, and take or destroy all livestock. There was nothing left. Except black eye peas which were totally ignored as those were only used to feed cattle. A humble field pea kept people from starving.

Cattle food now elevated by many to be a symbol of survival, the will to go on, and hope for prosperity in the New Year. (Add onion, jalapeños, and a dash of hot sauce for zip – everyone wants zip in the New Year.)

Well, enough of peas, pigs, and pokes.

Stay warm and safe out there

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Related post: “Killing Bacon”.  Last year’s controversy over Kaput Feral Hog Lure which contains warfarin, a blood thinner, which basically causes the animal to bleed to death internally. Environmental concerns for land and water, as well as impact on other wild life, caused this bait not to be approved for use in any state at this time, although it is USDA approved.

Cat and hatpin. (Image:© all rights reserved. copyrighted, no permissions granted)

No need to get out the claws. A sharp jab keeps the woof at bay. (Image: ©)




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