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August 17, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

They have their reasons.

Visitors have their own agenda. In truth, they don’t come to see us.

Oddly, some do rave about the food, though. (Friends, knowing us well, snort, “It must have been catered”.)

They move in and quickly make themselves at home, the accommodations sight unseen.

NO permissions granted for this green frog image. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted

Hopped in for a drink. Stayed for the spa. ©

We might as well be ghosts among them. Certainly not “in” keepers travel agencies rave about.

Still, they must be telling their friends.

Maybe it’s management’s efforts to provide a gentle rain-like shower upon request.

If they treat us like staff – occasionally requesting a hand out of the pool – it may simply be the way they were raised.

Since they don’t make a fuss – or seem to mind the occasional mosquito – we oblige them.

Would be awkward if we tried to turn them away.

How would you feel if you only wanted to see your ancestral home? So many do travel long for that.

Besides, they have never poisoned the air with unreasonable demands for perfection.

In truth, we are pleased they stop by.

Thrilled when some look around, say, “I like what you’ve done to the old place” and decide to sit and stay awhile.

Always room for one more.

Just, please, stay out from underfoot and pick up after yourself, OK?

No reservations,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Anole on branch. ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

My how things fly. Appetizers lakeside. Perfect.©

August 14, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Caffeine and the slow life

woman with cup.(1895 Sarah Bernhart lithograph/US, photo reprod of PD art/

Java, not jitters.(1895Bernhart/US PD/

Addicts are unreasonable and dangerous.

Nothing will get in their way. They will reduce themselves to begging without shame. Perfectly willing to smash and shatter. They don’t care who they hurt.

Will the Food and Drug Administration finally force Starbucks to post warning signs and put caution labels on coffee cups?

Maybe if he is removed far far from that enticing fragrance of fresh ground coffee, there might be hope. He might even find himself able to open a savings account.

But society should be greatly concerned.

Where on earth can he go and not encounter Starbucks once he’s out of recovery?

Failure pouring on every corner.

glass on table at Starbucks (screenshot

The calm of this cozy caffeine corner shattered.(

Advocates of the slow and simple lifestyle insist it dissolves jitters and irritable behavior.

There are those who insist you see more when life crawls along. And they get pretty mad when someone tries to make a buck off of them because of it.

Gracie got confused by her recent relocation and didn’t move fast enough to stay out of the reach of a man who had devious plans for her.

Things looked grim from inside the duffel bag. Ransom was demanded.

Fortunately, she has a true friend who fought for her release and in the process got a very bad guy off the streets.

Gracie’s trendy: a natural advocate for slow motion and living in a tiny house. Luckily, she’s got a friend who aims to see she gets a chance to do just that.

Large tortoise. (

Wait! I’m coming. Just had to get my nails done.(

Supposedly a simple life in the slow lane is the coolest plan for dissolving jitters and irritability.

But try and tell that to Starbucks addicts aficionados.

Standing in lines long, waiting to ramble off a whole list of instructions to the barista while texting continuously, they simply shrug and respond “Hey, it’s available iced.”

As long as the coffee heads don’t mistake the tortoise for a table, they’ll be OK.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Gathering of animals on a patio1912 Hare and Tortoise. Aesop's Fables. Ballantyne and Co.London/ illustr. Rackham 1867-1939/USPD:,artist life /

There’s always such a line when school’s out. Go get us a table – just not one by the window.(1912Aesop/USPD/





August 12, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Jolt and battery. Only the powerful.

NO permissions granted for thisblue sunset over water. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted.

As the sun slowly sinks in the west, it betrays no sign of impending chaos.©

Why is it that the powerful ones always choose 2 a.m.?

The dog scurries into the back closet instead of defensive mode. The cat? Well, the forehead punctures and a snarling imitation of Daniel Boone’s hat is predictable when the nightly zen cat coma is abruptly punctuated by high-pitched sounds.

Is there some sort of hard-wired mandate that forces them to blare dead battery announcements only at 2 a.m.?

Smoke alarms.

Out of whimsy, boredom, or spite, a smoke alarm will shrilly reject its’ power source battery and then, even worse, encourage all the other house smoke alarms to riot along just for the fun of it.

Must be really amusing to watch the sleepy humans run frantically around in the dark.

The Powerful aren’t like us.

Power lines and tower. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Behold and beware, groundlings.©

They always crown the most powerful.

Then others line up like soldiers eternally at attention.

Anyone can tell the pin head among them.

Dunce hat or pointed individualism? (Often difficult to distinguish between those two.)

Row of power line towers.ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions grant

They are flatly kind. The crowd will tolerate odd headgear as long as he holds up his end of the load. If not, sparks will fly and he’ll be fried. The Way of the Powerful.©

Standing firmly linked together, the Powerful simply ignore the “Little People”.

Might as well be mindlessly scurrying ants to them.

Their heads in the clouds with thoughts far more electric than ours.

The powerful ones, both the towering giants and the smaller domesticated ones, live parallel lives alternating among people.

Rows of power lines and towers: the crowned one, pair of large bodyguards, and a page.

The powerful take the field: Crowned champion flanked by body guards, rows of supporters, and a page of would by his side. ©

But is this shrieking not sleeping smoke alarm, protesting its’ plastic life?

Wired for a more elevated existence.

Something more than guardian and watcher.

Hopefully the tribute offering of a new battery will be enough to soothe this unhappy smoke alarm back to its’ destiny in the background.

Here. I’ll open the blinds so you can see the sky and dream those electric dreams.

Grateful for those currently employed.

Phi, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

smoke alarm and battery ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

Do not underestimate the Power of One. It can spark humans to run around like crazy if so amused. (and usually at 2 am)©


August 10, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Desperate times. So totally clueless.

It’s curtain time. Final staging going on now. Total fails on the horizon.

There’s one in every crowd. You know them: either too daydreamy, too clueless, too desperate – so far out of touch there is no way to ever reach the inner circle of the popular kids.

First impression train wrecks right on track with school starting shortly.

Two sad women.1917. Pickford in The Little American:Artcraft

Oh, the misery when trendy is just too far out there. (USPD/

She’s trying to be a standout: an ahead of the curve trend setter.

Would she even listen if someone kindly tried to stop her?

Probably not.

Once an idea is firmly planted, any attempt to persuade is interpreted as:

  • Jealousy (She thought of it first and deserves the acclaim.) or
  • Over protectiveness (You don’t know. You are too old to see it.) or
  • Foolishly overly concerned with budget cost vs real impact at the right time. (You are so cheap! It’s a must have item! Why don’t you want me to be popular?)

It’s been Tax Free Back to School Sale Weekend here. The Christmas frenzy pales in comparison.

The major players are out there causally monitoring the offerings and what is being snatched up and by whom:

Walmart, Target, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, HEB, Aldi, Fiesta, Whole Foods, Apple Tree, and even the desperate little step child, Randalls.

All the grocery stores are stuffed with backpacks, t-shirts in school colors, notebooks, and crayons, as well as baking potatoes.

Worried their parking lots are too empty, the supermarkets prominently showcase their back to school items in front of their lunch box staples.

Did Randalls, eager to show her fall style, hire a marketing consultant to slingshot her ahead of the crowd?

She may realize it’s better to offer the seasonally expected than being first kid on block.

Collection of metal Halloween pumpkins for holiday decorating. (All rights reserved. copy righted. no permissions granted

People alway say smiles make the best first impression. These little guys are trying – even given the circumstances they are in through no fault of their own. They look a little stressed, don’t they?©

Pumpkins. Halloween pumpkins.

Piled to greet shoppers at the door.

With more fashionable Halloween decorations lavishly displayed right next to the back to school apples. (Just didn’t have the heart to show that. Too ghoulish.)


Maybe not exact response the store had desired.

Will laughter do?

Nervous laughter.


 Poor Randalls: like clueless teen outsider all over again.

Much too soon to pumpkin.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

odd pink cloud in blue sky ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. No permissions granted

Although, this is the sky from last week with the Saharan dust. It looks oddly…uh..No. Couldn’t be a witch on a broom. Could it?©





August 7, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

For social climbers

Branching out with a plan for building a new platform. Getting ready to swing it.

And the tree is shaping up marvelously.

oak tree branches. ALL rights reserved copyrighted. NO permissions granted

It is possible to climb into OZ.©

Nurturing this oak to be just right. Kid friendly.

  • There must be toe holds for easy climbing.
  • A sweeping thick horizontal branch over an open area for a swing.
  • And up there –  high enough to pull the ladder up and taunt “Nana nana boo-boo” from, but low enough for a bucket to be sent down by pulley for cookies and sandwiches – there has to be just the right spot for a 2-3 person treehouse fort.

The treehouse area is the most critical. (What kid doesn’t need instant neighborhood status?)

An ideal tree has a pair of neighboring branches running parallel and close enough together to be safely spanned by a sturdy wooden frame. The frame preferably secured by ropes and some serious lashing, not nails, so as not to damage a fine oak tree.

We did get permission to use about eight nails to build a triangular treehouse fort once in three non-valuable/pulpwood quality trees as kids. But never an oak.

As kids we came to know trees. Farmed them actually Protecting valuable trees was just common sense, not an environmental movement back then.

See? There on the right. The branch forks, and there are 2 parallel horizontal branches. That's probably the treehouse fort site.

See? There on the right. The branch forks into 2 parallel horizontal limbs just right for holding a platform.©

A kid shelf in a tree. All that’s needed.

Instant jet, pirate ship, castle, space station, fort.

Even reading is cooler up there. Of course, books served up with a side of daydreaming.

Not to mention a special place to pout and feel miserable.

All those important developmental kid things.

 Eventually, this tree will make summer perfect. For some kid.

One I won’t know.

It’s what I leave behind each time we move on: an oak tree suitable for climbing.

Opposite the tree house fort site, is a perfect branch for a swing: tire or basic rope one. ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

Opposite the treehouse site, is a perfect branch for a swing.©

Some choose monuments out of stones to tell their stories once they are gone. Others decide to hand down words, or pay for space in outer space or cyberspace.

Trees are a far more lasting in many cases. Far more useful. Far more cheerful to hug and visit.

The thought of a kid scrambling up, scraping knees and knuckles without even caring, taking the daring risks, ignoring all the worried cautions, defying gravity – that makes me smile.

Somehow I’ll feel it.

Tree roots go deep and network. Across space and time.

This oak tree’s a work in progress, but there’s no hurry to rush perfection.

Happy to leave something behind that will grow on.

Phil, the Philosophy Mouse of the Hedge

Oak tree branches arrange for convenient climbing steps (NO permissions granted . ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted

The tree seems to be arranging itself into a ladder perfect for climbing.©


August 5, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Floating out your big chance

1922 couple closing suitcase/film poster for French Heels/Holtre Productions. W.W.Hodkinson/USPD:

High adventure calls! (1922/USPD/

Like chill? Wind in your face? Iron Man stomach? How about rolling with rough seas? Fur-lined foul weather gear in the closet? You got ship?

You’re it.

Only if you’re good at slinging it –  or can crane around a bit. Sign up now as support is desperately needed by Rainmaker, the Gunboat 55 abandoned by owner and crew some five months ago.

This boat’s the Energizer Bunny of yachts. As the old Timex jingle used to say “Takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’

A testimonial to the construction and design of the boat: months of severe North Atlantic winter storms, missing mast, and now the cabin roof, yet still floating.

While it appears scavengers have boarded and removed some of the hardware, there’s plenty of boat left for a serious project-seeking rescuer.

Rainmaker was spotted and photographed on June 16, 2015 at 5 pm by Capt. Reinhard Peer of the Hapag-Lloyd container ship Chicago Express. (Lat 35.36.282 N. Lon 062.17.187 W.)

Photos of Rainmaker still floating. (Gunboat Facebook)

Rainmaker Floating along without a crew.(Gunboat FB)

Peter Johnstone and the Gunboat Company would be thrilled to have a chance to examine her – and see her refitted for normal sailing life.

Some have suggested launching a rescue mission from Bermuda.

You’d need a big sturdy boat to tow her, or a large vessel able to send divers over to place a sling carefully around the hulls and then gently lift her aboard by crane.

After repairs and refitting, should she be rechristened “Resurrection”?

Not sure about that, being a bit superstitious about renaming boats.

Wouldn’t want to rain on her valiant parade after all her own efforts to take care of herself. She’s floating better than many life rafts would be.

Best not to mess with a determined independent woman.

Rainmaker when new and sailing with speed and joy.(Rainmaker promotional photo / Gunboat website)

The elegant catamaran in better days.(Rainmaker promo photo/Gunboat website)

A sea spirit seeking like-minded companions.

Don’t give up the ship, Rainmaker.

Hopefully, someone will throw the lady a line.

The answer is floating out there.

It’s your big chance.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Related posts:

stormy seas. Jan Porcellis (1583:1585-1632) (Web Gallery of Art/USPD: date, reprod.of PD art/

Better hurry before winter stirs things up or pack lots of foul weather gear and easy to eat meals.(USPD/


August 3, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Reek, the reward.

So hot the corpse died.

You’d think the zoo would have known better. They deal with living things, right?

They could have checked with the Museum of Natural Science people, but there’s always been a rumor of competition between the two.

Was it a matter of leaving out something important like some cooks do when a closely guarded recipe is requested?

Addams Family portrait. 1964. (ABC/USPD:, no cr/

They had been so looking forward to the occasion. FYI:Bob will not discuss the disturbing image at the bottom right. (ABC/USPD/

People are disappointed.

That rotting body stench.

What draws them to that? Gruesome. People are so weird.

How else do you account for all the commercial haunted houses and slasher movies?

In 1937 police were brought in to handle the crowds eager to see a Corpse at the New York Botanical Gardens.

They came. They squealed. They held their noses.

Reek, the Houston Zoo’s Corpse Flower, succumbed before its’ blooming time.

Corpse Flowers, Amorphophallus titanum, flourish in the rain forests of Western Sumatra. After growing seven years or so, they poke up a weird stalk holding clusters of flowers which bloom for only 24-48 hours.

It’s a rare event.

Come closer, my lovely. (Corpse Flower. Amorphophallus titanum at the US Botanic Garden.(USPD: fed.employee/

Come closer, my lovely…if you have the fortitude.(USPD/

That’s what all the stink is about.

The “fragrance” (and that term is used loosely) really smells like rotting animals and wafts a distance up to half a mile to lure insects and thrill seekers.

The attraction baffling to many, but a moneymaker as people were willing to pay extra to bathe in the air by Reek.

Sadly Reek’s nanny, who assumed the hot, humid, outdoor weather in Texas was the perfect environment, didn’t realize that Corpse Flowers, like humans, wilt if it’s over 90 degrees.

We’ve had multiple days of 100+. Deadly.

Could be why the Houston Museum of Natural Science kept their Corpse Flower, Lois, in a climate controlled environment so the show could go on: rain, shine, or roasting. (2010)

Louis also had her own Twitter account, a 24-7 webcam for her world-wide fan club with over 80,000 of them showing up in person. She had her own video!  They pampered her with bloom inducing chemicals from rotten bananas placed lovingly at her base.

People wrote Haiku to her! Oh, the “Odes to Lois”.

HMNS even brought in a younger companion, shy Audrey, to keep company with Lois as she rests and considers blooming again.

Nothing too good for Lois.

Maybe Reek felt unappreciated at the zoo.

Reek, the plant lives, but forget that exotic experience this year.

Reeks wilts at Houston Zoo. (

The result of despair as great as Theon Greyjoy’s? Reeks wilts. (

Oh, Reek, we hardly knew ya’.

Maybe it’s better to start a relationship slowly anyway.

No wham. Bam. Thank you, ma’am.

We’ll step back and let affection bloom slowly.

Longing for the sweet smell of success.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.



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