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November 19, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Signs. Caution: Flags and Stays.


Orange diamond-shaped traffic sign announcing traffic control flagger ahead (© image: copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Do not think your illegally dark tinted glass will make you invisible. They are all seeing and all knowing. You will move to the left as waved. (© image)

OMG. Something ahead. Sit up straight. Do not make eye contact. Look social.

Concerned it might be some social justice warriors, those who flag opposing views, waiting ready to curb people.

There’s one poised down the way – silent and waiting like a spider and the fly.

Hmm, is it a Flag Man? One made out of flags?

An individual from the Land of Flag? (And exactly what is the protocol for greeting such?).

Judging from behavior, this individual is “one who flags” (Although you can’t always tell by appearances – even if seen with your own eyes…)

Oh, thank goodness. It’s just a “professional traffic control person” (Official title).

A designation which sounds like it was coined by an elementary school teacher or self esteem consultant…sort of like gender neutral  “Sanitation Engineer” for garbage man.

We currently only have garage guys around here…possibly because it hard, heavy, dirty work. Probably breaks fingernails – we won’t even get into the lint of undetermined origin that can lodge in lashes, or the occupational stench that could overpower any perfume, hand cream, or laundry dryer sheet.

Somewhere, someone must have been worried about offending the current abundance of victims waiting to be offended and in an attempt to avoid getting bullied on social media, stakeholders updated the job title to Flaggers.

Honestly sounds like a substitution for a curse words: “Oh, flaggers!” See? Fits.  

Christmas tree with hazard gye wires to prevent it from blowing over . Local holiday decorations (© image: copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

OSHA approved city holiday decorations. (© image)

Difficult to stay on the mark sometimes. Never sure which way the wind is blowing.

In this era of frivolous lawsuits and unending parade of potential victims, there must have been serious discussions concerning Christmas tree displays among this city’s legal department and health and safety teams.

The city decorating team conscientiously added metal stays…like it’s going anywhere: (“Sit! Stay!”)

Still it’s better than last year’s which featured screaming yellow crime scene tape so no one would trip over the guy-wires. (Like so many actually flock here to take selfies…)

Seriously. Can’t get a couple of styrofoam candy canes, slice them open, then wrap them around the guy-wires? Or even wrap some foil fringe around to flutter merrily?

It’s Christmas. Wish the city elves would get creative.

Noticing the signs can avoid some big missteps and ouchies.

Woman in patriotic costume standing on pier. 1917. Sayre collection of Theatrical Photo. (USPD., artist life/

Watch that first step. It’s a doozie. (1917.Sayre collection of Theatrical Photo. USPD/

Having your head in the clouds is one thing, but having uninvited snoops in your cloud is something else.

“Unless Congress stops it, foreign police will soon be able to collect and search data on the servers of U.S. Internet companies. They’ll be able to do it without a probable cause warrant, or any oversight from a U.S. judge. This is all happening because of a new law enforcement deal between the U.S. and the United Kingdom….”

Read more here at Electronic Frontier Foundation who discusses warrants, judicial authorization, probably cause, and the 4th Amendment in historical context of the revolutionary war.

Also as it is written:

“Macmillan, one of the “Big Five” publishers, is imposing new limits on libraries’ access to ebooks—and libraries and their users are fighting back”… “The publisher is imposing a two month embargo period on library ebooks. When Macmillan releases a new book, library systems will be able to purchase only one digital copy for the first eight weeks after it’s published.” Read more here

Macmillan says they are worried that library e-book copies are cannibalizing their sales. Library systems are saying new books need to be available when readers’ interest is high – as well as e-books can easily become large font size (critical for older readers and those sight impaired). There’s a petition with more information here.

The other major publishers are watching and evaluating the backlash. Soooo, you readers and authors, take note.

Stay alert and stay jolly.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

November 13, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Fowl play. Cuff ’em

Water bird in enjoying warmth of flow through culvert (© image: copyrighted. all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

“Well, it is waterfront with a balcony of sorts and eco friendly using passive solar heat. Guess the write-up was accurate-ish” Local guy enjoying sunny shelter on a chilly morning in a water flow through channel outlet. (© image)

Had to be some sort of – destroy your day – plot.

The chaos of the parking lot should have been the first clue.

The mob inside were those people-on-a-mission-get-out-of-the-way- how-inconsiderate-of-you-not-a-regular-without-an-established-route-and-no-clue-where-anything-is-yet-here-you-are-slowing-us-down.

You know those people. They are BUSY.

You almost feel like you should apologize for setting foot in their grocery store domain.

The glares would have been worse if we’d had a cart, but only after one thing, a small smoked turkey, we were pretty nimble.

Only optimists would not consider an entire length of meat freezers being emptied as a warning.

But at least the meat guy pointed where the remaining smoked turkeys were in hiding. There were four – must have been identical quads at birth as they were so similar in shape and weight…Weight…which was not marked.

How the heck are you supposed to know not only if it’ll be big enough, but not too big, but also how long to reheat as determined by weight.

And there was no price tag or sign on the freezer space.

Dodging through the bumper carts we located counter people with butcher sea food department coats on – and a scale. Living naively on false hopes and assumptions.

We determined weight, but no price per pound. Counter help was none.

Yet with confidence they said, “It has a bar code. That’ll tell the checker everything they need to know.”

Dashed to the registers.  Sprinted to the smallest line. (Hey, everyone knows those old ladies in the motorized carts in front of you are speed devils!)

Happily watched our frozen turkey conveyor belt its’ way to the finish line only to be crushed…well, it’s frozen, but anything bounce around enough will become smushed like our expectations.

The rest short and sweet:

Checker saw no price and pointed to the back.

Nope. Been there, done that. We pointed to the bar code tag.

Shoppers behind us who though they’d lucked into a short quick exit turned sour.

When the bar code refused to give up any secrets, it was “Meat Counter” (even though we said the seafood guy had said that ship had sailed).

Then, “Billy, register 6 please”. (Billy. Probably code for “maybe they will leave if the wait seems indefinite”)

The Manager (Really? Him? Must be the weekend sub.) was flustered – grabbed the turkey’s mesh handle and helplessly waved it around like a concrete balloon.

He asked the bag kid, who had just been told to assist the old lady in the cart with her 4 new packs of cigarettes and groceries out to her car, to run to the back and ask about the price. Cart lady wins over people stubbornly trying to buy turkey. (We tried “Let’s make a deal…”)

Another bagger was drafted.   He reluctantly grabbed the turkey’s mesh loop handle and slowly saunter off like a kid swinging an Easter basket.

The line groaned.

We were moved to the end of the counter into the swarm of shoppers trying to escape.

I started wondering just how many times had that once frozen turkey flown and bounced from freezer to checker and back again for other shoppers.

The kid came back, tossed the fowl lump onto the counter at a different checker, and ran away.

Yeah, we left.

Maybe steak for Thanksgiving.

Cuff ’em? Oh, “Cuffing” is something of a current holiday trend involving a different sort of turkey. It begins Nov 1 and lasts all the way until to Valentines Day.

Here’s the deal: apparently singles are frantically trying to tie up and secure a significant other so they won’t be alone for the holidays, so they will have someone to show off haul around to parties and family gatherings, and so they will have someone to get gifts from buy gifts for.

Having arm candy is apparently derigueur for the holiday social media/FaceBook season these days.

After Valentines, it’s unlock and time to cruise off into the sunset …to find that new summer love.

A little creepy to me….the analogy to handcuffs and all…

Turkey of a deal.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Energetic weed waving in the middle of a neatly trimmed landscaped bush. (© image : copyrighted, all rights reserved, No permissions granted)

Sometimes I wonder if this neatly groomed landscaped bush ever feels like Clark Griswold did in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie when scruffy, broke Cousin Eddie showed up unannounced and without being invited in that broken down RV.  Oh well, a relative. Sometimes you have to be tolerant.(© image)




November 8, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Muse or Dunderhead? Travels of fines

Cat in costume with dunce hat. (1915. Harry W. Frees/ Little folks of Animal Land/Google Books) (USPD., artist life/

“May sound catty, but you’re counting on this for award winning recognition? Talk about Dunderheads.” (USPD/

Traditional Thanksgiving treks of “over the drizzle and through the suds” on the horizon

All that upcoming stress and expense could be pushing some to be more dunderheaded than usual.

Warning: Two guys that probably shouldn’t be out without a keeper?

Couple of guys stole a builder’s 2018 pickup….complete with a gym bag containing security cameras the owner uses on his work sites. Motion detecting Critter cams…you probably guess what’s next.

One of them gleefully unzipped the bag and shows off the contents…contents which took great pictures of both of them.

Check them out in the video.(There’s reward money. Christmas is coming!))

Pair steals truck, “Wow, look what we got.” Gotcha!

Standing woman in vintage dress with large platter and feather fan. 1920. Shadowland mag., Witzel (USPD. artist life, pub. date/

Dug out the platter, but not amused. Got stuck providing the Thanksgiving turkey again this year.(USPD/

Split decision with people up in arms over schools.

The State dropped the other shoe and formally announced it was taking over HISD, the 7th largest school district in the country, for multiple reasons.

Just this one should be enough:

For SEVEN YEARS, one high school has been state ranked as “failing and unacceptable”. Each year the state snarled, “Fix it or we will” and respectfully backed off. For seven years, the superintendents and school boards brushed that aside with “Oh, we got it. Don’t worry.”

No longer amusing.

How many kids went through that high school in SEVEN YEARS? Have to hope their middle school teachers, knowing what was ahead, did their best to give their students skills to survive despite school district negligence. Malpractice.

Wheatley High School is historically important. People fought like crazy to save the original 1929 building which had seen so many students go on to be famous including George Foreman and Congresswoman/lawyer/educator Barbara Jordan (who I thought would be not just the first black president, but also the first woman president. We lost a good one there). The current award winning $35 million building was unveiled in June 2006. It’s beautiful. Now’s the time to get serious and make the learning inside beautiful again, too.

About time. (And don’t say it. The school board has been minority majority, as is the city, for a very long time. Insisting students must be given a solid education and making moves to do so is not racist.)

Parents and the entire community should be applauding, not complaining.

TEA to take over Houston ISD to “prevent imminent and substantial harm to the welfare of the district’s students.”

Everyone knows that tails can be told out of school. 

The pair below is sure to please any Muse.

(We have firmly told Molly Malamute, no way to this style of travel, so now she’s looking at convertibles…she could still have some of those classy Doggles, right? She’s undecided between the Doggles with the pink frame and sunset mirror lenses or the pink zebra frames with smoke lenses. Any suggestions?)

Traveling by the smiles

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

November 6, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Snow, what? Long distance paws

Halloween snow. (© Image: copyrighted, no permissions allowed, All rights reserved)

The new digs seem OK…But I realized now why it is called “Digs “- as in “digs your way out”. Here’s the front porch blanketed with pre-Halloween snow: chilling day in so many ways.. It was tummy deep in the backyard and you can’t imagine the leaps and bounds necessary for, well, the necessaries. (© Image)

Dear Molly Malamute,

As you can see, snow, it goes

At times wistfully longing for those days of lounging in the warmth of your backyard. The sun is bright and strong in the high altitude air here, so melt happens.

As you see, I am back on the job watching over my young charge. This is the nearest park with all sorts of obstacles to see around.

seated German Shepherd with big alert ears watching playground (© image. All rights reserved. Copyrighted, No permissions granted, AllL rights reserved)

Watch that step! Oh, should I run over to provide a soft landing spot? Surely he’ll bounce with that many layers of clothing on.(© image)

Can’t say I miss the heat and humidity. It’s awesome here for dogs.

Pretty cool for stuff for people, too. Need to show a Driver’s License? There’s an app for that. Simply pull out your cell phone.

“Will your driver’s license soon be on your phone?” (Video)

The only thing is, well, you know Person’s history with having stuff stolen and dropping cell phones. (“It only takes 3-4 days to get a new license up loaded and into the system…”). Well, she’ll just have to keep me close then as her ID.

I’m getting new necklace charms! Unexpected jewelry is always endearing. I vote for the dog bone shaped one, but probably won’t be able to paw in the request on the machine fast enough. As long as it says “here’s my home”, it will be OK with me. Person says I have to give up the old one. Apparently dogs don’t get to keep a charm bracelet collection. But as any sophisticate knows, a single ornament is true understated elegance.

Speaking of elegance, I’m working on my poses for the holiday pictures. What do you think?

German Shepherd Ella lounging on couch. (© image copyrighted, No permissions granted, All rights reserved)

Don’t worry. Sunny lounging on couch is not lazy.  I’m channeling The German. Check out the similarities with the picture below. She was one impressive mentor. Hope she’d approve of how I’ver tried to put my best paw forward and make her proud.(© image)

The German lounging on the couch after work. (© image. Copyrighted, all rights reserved, NO permissions granted)

“Eat your hearts out, Rockettes!” (Archived picture of The German lounging on the couch after work in DC. From: “Showgirl’s legs. A Lady’s Independence” © image. Copyrighted)

Keep tearing up the artificial grass at the play place…I always felt a little guilty about the condition of the grass in your backyard after we had so much fun. Those dirt clods really fly down there when it’s wet!

Paw waves (and OK give a respectful puppy bow to RC Cat for me in return for her kindness in allowing me to stay there for a bit. And tell Staff the meals there were tummy wonderful – good I packed on a few pounds for extra warmth here.)

Paws for peace (I’m adopting The German’s closing. She was always on point.)

Ella Bella

November 4, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

No muddy paws today

Dog looking up questioningly. (© image: copyrighted , no permissions granted, all rights reserved)

What’s going on? Well (and that’s a deep whole), the weather is mild and I’m feeling wild. I, Molly Malamute, woo-ed enough to convince Staff a good romp was the best idea ever. Come along and run with me and some of my friends. (© image)

Three dog friends (© image: copyrighted, all rights reserved, NO permissions granted)

What are we laughing about? A recent police chase of suspects through a neighborhood with the escaping vehicle followed by a police car followed close behind by a large neighborhood dog who wanted in on the action. Talk about demonstrating skills in hopes of getting a job nibble.(© image)

Dogs running. (© image: copyrighted, all rights reserved, NO permissions granted)

Tennis ball? Did some one say tennis ball? Not that I, a sled dog really care, but participating in group games is a bonding activity…besides all the others are just so impressed by my social kindness when I always let someone else catch the ball…works for me! Oh, besides as you follow along, you can see our lovely fenced field with salt water pool surrounded by the pampered pooches’ private boarding rooms with pool side views. I don’t stay here, but since the artificial grass was installed, my staff is convinced this is a great place to play after days and days of rain – and no muddy paws ever! (© image)

Two dogs swimming. (© image: copyrighted, all rights reserved, No permissions granted )

What? It can’t be time to go already? Just getting into the swim of things. We were working on a synchronized dog paddle routine.(© image)

Smiling dog. (© image: copyrighted, No permissions granted, all rights reserved)

Oh, OK, pack supervisor. The sooner I leave, the sooner I can come back. No need to clip on a lead, I know the way. My staff and car are waiting. Paw waves! (© image)




November 1, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Conventions of Swimming with Sharks

Swimming with sharks. Movie poster, 1958. Reynold Brown (USPD artist life,

Conventional wisdom says swimming with the fishes is a poor career choice.(1958.Reynold Brown.USPD/

Conventions are weird.

If you’ve been to a big business or political convention (“a gathering”/”a summoning”), then you know that many attendees’ away from home behavior is often at odds with normal conventions (as in “rule of behavior of conduct”, “accepted social customs”, or “standard practice”).

Oh, well. Double speak or double standards.

What is language for if not to add to the confusion and chaos?

Ducks in lake. Participants flocking in for the Duck Otta the Cold Convention.(© Image)(Copyrighted, all rights reserved, No permissions granted)

Participants flocking in for the Duck Otta the Cold Convention.(© Image)

Conventions are pretty clear for other species, though.

Take Great White sharks. Unlike humans at conventions, they are not ones to risk their livers.

The conventionally feared apex predator’s apex predator? Orca whales.

Orcas have much better press than sharks.

“They have a lot of social behaviors that sharks do not, which allows them to hunt effectively in groups, communicate among themselves, and teach their young.”

When Orcas encounter Great Whites, it generally doesn’t go well for the sharks.

The whales have multiple methods to render sharks helpless, and interestingly, sharks seem to instinctively understand that it is best to exit the area if there’s even a whiff of Orca around – least you become an organ donor – well, actually a calorie-rich liver Hors D’Oeuvres.

“The orcas know their business, and they know where that organ lies. Rather than ripping their prey apart, it seems that orcas can extract livers with surprising finesse, despite lacking arms and hands.” Apparently “they bite their victims near their pectoral fins and then squeeze the liver out through the wounds. It’s like squeezing toothpaste.”

Another reason to make sure the ocean has plenty of healthy plump, Great White Sharks available. Don’t need the Orcas to start looking around for a Near Shark Meat meal substitute.

Scale that as needed.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Great White Shark (Sharkcrew/

Simply a misunderstood loner approaching humans with a toothy smile desperately hoping for protection from the vicious bullying by pods of Orcas. (Only coincidence that the expression is oddly similar to a drunk predator at a convention, right?) (Sharkcrew/

October 30, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Sugar up for health and safety

Halloween car. 1914 postcard with fruits and veggetables and a car with a humanoid face ((USPD., artist life/

Forced deceiving grimaces, not friendly smiles. Do not fall for it!(1914.USPD/

Artifacts clearly prove the menace is ancient and real. 

Who knows what the Veggie carjackers did to force that old woman to drive them.

Oh, unimaginable horrors!

Holler-Ring, the only hope!

Disguise your children with gaudy costumes – no matter how flimsy or how view-limiting the masks. Better skinned knees than to get into runs with gut wrenching veggies. Marauding Vegetables are such seedy characters.

Encourage all to make such a cacophony of noise while running wildly, manically, about to crush the Orange Invaders into mush.

Fling small sugary treats with great abandon.

Let the Organics see they are not wanted!

Bring supposedly benign produce into your home at your own peril.

They could turn rotten and cause your heart to burn.

People find dirt on everyone of them. Even one of their own found himself in a pickle of rejection.

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

Holler-Ring field command is given to The Molly. We shall direct the campaign from a nice, quiet, closet corner…perhaps accompanied by protective catnip mousie. Until the dawn.(© Image)

Harrumph to all disbelievers!

Be brave and stalwart! Soon the Holler-Ring Season will be done.

Yours in solidarity

Ofcourse, leave your tribute of can food at the Press Room exit

As a token of your appreciation for Our great concern on your behalf.

No. Small chewy candies are not proper substitute for tribute cans of food.

Good try, but no.

Do not whine about frugalness or holiday fare.

It is unbecoming – even for humans.

Woman in costume. 1920. Realart Pict./Exhibitors Herald (USPD.artist life,

Talk about frightening: This isn’t a costume, but 1920 fashion. Foolish humans, so determined to shed the hair given preferring a removable coat, and, thus, have been struggling with their poor choices ever since. Dunderheads.(USPD/

For those who need more convincing: (Or need a reference anthology to fill their time)

I am RC Cat and I approve this message.

Do not mumble. Staff has been given short visa in order to supervise packers and movers elsewhere. We were begged to “write something – anything”. Of course We had no difficulty assisting. She also says that all are quietly optimistic after family member’s last round of tests and meeting with specialists there.The tightrope being walked has widened to a sidewalk. A real treat. Thanks




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