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June 29, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Summer’s not simple. We may be.

Is Summer amused by us?

Like an adult trying not to dampen a child’s thrill with a new discovery.

Man and child walking down path going fishing (© image. Copyrighted, No permissions granted, All rights reserved)

“How do fish sleep without eye lids. How do fish know there’s a worm waiting to be eaten? How do we look to fish when they look up underwater and see us? If I stick my finger and wiggle it in the lake will a fish think it’s a worm and bite it? Do fish get hot? Can they fan themselves with their tails to cool off? Do fish grow warmer coat scales for winter and shed them like dog hair in summer? If fish don’t have ears, why do I have to be quiet soon? (© image)

Is Summer the eternally popular one – like the neighborhood babysitter who is always booked up fast.

Eagerly awaited by those glued to the windows -“She’s coming. She’s coming!”

Always showing up with the best snacks and enchanting “limited time only” offers.

The one who somehow gets the tight grip of both supervision and precautions to relax just a bit.

The universal guru who gently nudges, “What fun is always predictable? What growth happens with always routine?”

Summer, The Mary Poppins of the Seasons.

No one can resist her.

A facilitator.

The original Montessori. The hands-on learning advocate.

Simply, “Here’s the stuff. Let’s see what you make of it.”

Stuff so rich and open – unpredictable, yet constant.

Every year identical offerings, yet, somehow, it’s totally different.

Colorado Lake (© image. Copyrighted, all rights reserved, NO permissions granted)

Feast your eyes on a rare sight: Waters not troubled. Look. It’s waving! (© image)

Summer’s Art of Life focused on process more than product.

Arrives with flowers in her hair

Lingers, but not “helicopters”, while it all simmers and bakes.

Then, after filling us with all the warmth and beauty possible, she casually re-homes us: backpacks crammed with take-home possibilities for muse over during our long winter’s nap.

Do you think in Fall, Summer smiles and waves as she leaves?

We wouldn’t know.

Childlike, we rarely turn around to say “Farewell” or “Thanks for the fun” or “Until we meet again.”

For Summer, babysitting the human race can’t be 100% fun and games, but hope she gets something out of it.

She’s certainly, cleverly, aware of two things: “They only miss you when you’re gone”, and “Always leave them wanting more.”

And we do.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Bench by mountain lake. (© image. Copyrighted, all rights reserved, NO permissions granted)

Right now, everyone should be benched. Summer slips away before you know. (© image)

 

 

June 24, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Nothing ventured. Nothing gamed.

Two military officers reading papers (USPD. CR expired. pub.date.released. Australian War Memorial./Brooke-Popham & Wavell./Commons.wikimedia.org)

It says pencil. Best not to question the form. OK. That’s it. Let’s move out. (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Decision made. The car full of gas. Final potty break call. The check list given one last glance.

Wait. Pencil sharpener. Did you grab the pencil sharpener? The pencil is bound to break.

Wait. Did you download the request forms? Easier to do that here.

Water bottles. Masks.

Crowd Predictor phone app on.

Gads. Is it even worth the effort?

Sounds like a major military offensive march.

We had indecisively wavered, but the opportunity suddenly appeared.

No better time to chance it: Father’s Day – at lunch time – so most would be busy – and on top of that, it was dark, stormy, and rainy!

Surely it would be as safe as possible to run into Lowe’s and grab a couple of bags of dirt (“Get 2 to last the summer. Don’t want to have to go back.”) and if able to be done quickly, grab two small flowering plants.

Who else would be there on this day, at this time, in this weather?

We had a finely honed plan:

Commandeer a small cart out front for the dirt, a brisk run through the Garden Center entrance, head down the far right aisle directly to the target while head swivels to the left attempting to spot desired plants might lead to a one person peeling off to acquire said item quickly before rendezvousing at predetermined dirt location. A super fast, coordinated, double-handed loading of bags onto cart, then a dash to the plexiglass wrapped register, a quick card slide, waving off the receipt, finally lunging out as fast as Santa’s sleigh ride on Christmas Eve sprinting from  the Garden Center gate to the car and the gel hand sanitizer and de-masking before passing out from sauna moist heat and effort.

Only, no. Foiled again!

A giant EXIT ONLY banner now tied across the Garden Center entrance?

Any hope of sneaking in anyway was dashed upon spotting a large, scowling man in a Lowe’s vest guarding the fence gap – only opening and closing the gate to allow people to escape outward with their purchases.

There were arrows directing people to the main entrance. To go inside. INSIDE. Inside a closed, crowded area. Just what they say to avoid.

Oh, healthy one-way aisles inside, so just try to make a stampede run to the Garden Center area and the safer open air. “We are making you safer! You want to be safe don’t you?” Haunting sounds of mooo and baaaa echoing from deep within the looming depths…

A wandering maze of this ways and that ways and NO, YOU CANNOT GO THAT WAYS snaking through the indoor cavern.

Unfortunately, no one said to pack bread crumbs in case you make a wrong turn at an intersection in the COVID protection labyrinth. Wouldn’t do any good anyway: it’s all one way and people are so hysterical and so quick to attack. “Don’t dare object to illogical herding you germ ridden maggot .”

“Helpful” is no longer in people’s vocabulary, it seems. Fear does odd things…

Men fighting in outside desert gate. 1915 film "Curse of the Desert". Bison Motion Pictures. (USPD. no CR restirctions/Flickr/NY pub.Lib./Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Unhand that plant. How dare you think you can enter through the Exit. It is properly marked. Now go out and come in the proper way and we’ll consider letting you buy that plant.”(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Something stopped us from entering the Maw of Doom 

The large, scowling man in the Lowe’s vest guarding the Garden Center portal could not block what was witnessed as he swung open the covered gate to release those fleeing.

There were double lines – parallel – about an arm’s reach apart. A pandemic of people heel to toe waiting for their turns. The registers’ dams making people spread air tread water and hope it’s only a SAL outbreak not a COVID victim behind them.

Uh, no. I can live in a world of less dirt.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Post script: Oh, we did drive by a small Home Depot and saw their Garden Center gate wide open. The view through the chain link fences showed absolutely no one inside either. Works for me.

The backup plan was to online order a couple of bags of dirt from HEB for curbside delivery and pickup…Oh, we would have ordered some food items, too…just so it wouldn’t seem so wrong to take up a food delivery time spot for dirt….Hmmm, maybe a stalk  drive by of their outdoor garden plant section before the next grocery order…(Why can’t the darn squirrels transport and drop seeds from other places of plants you actually want?) 

Worried German Shepherd and officer at a table with Pith Helmet. (Image from Dutch National Archives/Harry Pot/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Please. I don’t know what came over me. It’s only a small chunk out of the Pith Helmet” (My dad had one of those: both the hat and the remorseful dog who mistook it for a chew toy…it was only a small chunk. We could never get Dad to go for a new unchomped one. “Still perfectly good. Seasoned,” he laughed. (Dutch National Archives /Commons.wikimedia.org)

June 22, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Go Go Daddio

Gut it up. Go ahead. Teeter on the edge

OK, a calculated risk

and with a fudge factor included (always cognizant of smudges chocolate is prone to leave)

Man and car. Fred Ashmore taking a selfie at the Red BAll garage in NYC getting ready to start his Cannonball run. (Image by Fred Ashmore in Road and Track)

Ready to saddle up that Mustang. Fred Ashmore’ selfie at NYC’s Red Ball Garage, the traditional start of any Cannonball Run. (Image by Fred Ashmore in Road and Track)

There’s a drive in living dangerously…better in a rent car.

Fred picked a good one:  a silver (a color all the better to put it in sneak with) Mustang GT. Did a bit of redesigning (like removing the passenger seats and interior fluff, crammed extra fuel tanks (creating a 130 gallon fuel capacity), then drove from New York City to Los Angeles solo in under 26 hours with only one stop for fuel.

“Cross-country Solo Cannonball Record Broken: 25:55” (Pictures and how he did it. Average speed of 108mph.)

“The Mustang GT will not go any faster than 159 miles per hour,” he told Road & Track. “Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.”

His brother said he’d never seen him happier.

That’s one way to spend the COVID shutdown.

Woman with surf board. VIntage bathing suit. 1932 Siasconset Beach. Nantucket Historical Association (USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Specially designed to be used in shark infested waters. Holes in the surf board to check what’s below before getting in the water. Hmm, harpoon portholes? Surfers can always lasso a bothersome shark with their belt to sleigh ride cross the waves!” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

To bite or not to bite. Not slowing down to ask if the motivation was hunger, territory, or just awkward social skills.

I mean, honestly, the shark ain’t talkin’.

(Worried about whistleblower retaliation? Is there witless relocation plans for sharks? You know, they are only “tasting” you to figure out what you are….Some just are a bit clumsy, so I’m told. People so fast to jump to conclusions…and out of the water… unjustified prejudicial precaution.)

“How do we come up with a shark repellent when we don’t fully understand how sharks perceive their environment?” asks Shark Lab Director Chris Lowe.

(Yeah, that’s justice for you. Always about the attacker, not the victim….)

“After attack on boy wearing Sharkbanz, experts question the efficiency of shark repellants”

Called “Gear of the Year” in 2019, Sharkbanz bracket/cuffs use magnetic technology to tell sharks to detour around wearers.

The demonstration videos and customers’ reviews and fish tales are pretty impressive.

Co-founder of the repellent device easily explained why that Florida teen surfer ended up with some forty stitches in his arm. “What happened here is essentially the rarest of shark encounters where Zack jumped off his board and pretty much landed on the shark.”

(Neither was party was wearing a vest cam, so who knows who was the aggressor…. Never get a Grand Jury indictment.)

Zack’s mom wants her money back And probably for her kid to take up something safer …something far away from sharks…like Cannonball racing? Biggest worry there could be loan sharks if he’s buying on credit.

Unless, of course…..

Land Sharks skits from SNL:

https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/landshark/2832305

 Even hikers can’t escape the tangle of bureaucracy these days.

Check out the last items on each list.

Emergency kit list. (from Sierra Club/Red Cross)

Obviously critical need items to haul along: incident form and rescue request form..and pencil. Yep, ranks right up there with sterile gauze pads. (Sierra Club)

“Gee, Zandra, just keep pressure on that massive gash wound while I pencil in the required information on this form…Hold still while I use your back as a level writing surface. Darn, The pencil point broke. WHYYYYY didn’t they say to bring along a pencil sharpener? What to do now? What will become of us without filled out forms?!”

“Uh, what do you think…request rescue by helicopter or 4 wheeler? Any preference? Where the heck to we turn in this request? You think there’s an Owl Post Office like in Harry Potter?”

“Zandra? Zandra?”

LIfe’s zingingly driving adventure.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

 

 

June 19, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Juneteenth. Know it.

Juneteenth. You may not have heard of it. But you can eat far too much food and  party if you want

It’s Texas /regional celebration that’s getting a lot of attention.

Which is OK. Here we all share…especially if food is involved.

Just please check the guns at the door – lock them up secure. Foolishness that celebratory gunfire or the stupid way to settle a bump into you or git away from mah gurl, or I don’t like the way you looked at me/said that dispute seems to be the universal, across all groups common denominator when large groups of people party hardy these days.

Juneteenth – we grew up with it.

It’s sort of like St. Patricks’ Day or Cinco de mayo, in that everyone is Irish, or Mexican or Texan (the state of mutts) for a day.

Or it used to be.

Now it is more like “Ours”, not “yours”.

Cultural appropriation is tricky once lines have been drawn by those wanting to create a problem 

People want to virtue signal show support and be friends, but most don’t want to step on toes.

It irritates me when Hollywood types decide to decorate their Halloween with items belonging to Dia de los muetos. Those costume designs borrowed – cute but not really the considerate choice for USA Halloween costumes.

Nancy Pelosi and the group in Congress should have done taken the time to check out the meaning and history of that lovely African cloth they draped across their shoulders: Kente cloth. (If you’re interested in art, fashion, sociology or history, you probably already know this or should if you got a decent education.)

“The Asante supplied British and Dutch traders with slaves in exchange for firearms, which they used to expand their empire. Slaves were often acquired as tributes from smaller states or captured during war. Some slaves were sold and sent across the Atlantic whiles others stayed in Africa to work in gold fields

According to the BBC, by the end of the 18th century, the region exported an estimated 6,000-7,000 slaves per year.” (Source)

The Ashanti’s long-time ally, the Akwamu, were among the first ones to profit from the slave trade with the Europeans. Their captives were almost always prisoners of war, but they were not above to selling Akwamu men who offended the chief. They also kidnapped able-bodied men from other tribes and sold them in the coastal slave markets.” (Source)

Now many graduating African-American students in college or high schools wear Kente cloth as they walk the stage in honor of THEIR cultural heritage. Like the students who carry small Mexican flags, Puerto Rican flags, Jamaican flags, Colombian, Honduran, Chilean, Nigerian flags…or any of the others – our students speak over 100 home languages in this area – showing  THEIR pride of heritage.

That is quite different than white elected officials wearing other culture’s textiles for photo ops. I know, they were trying to show  “solidarity”.

I completely understand the African heritage groups/local recent immigrant friends who say they shouldn’t have done it. It’s not a party favor or a political prop to many.

Always good to take some time to look around, ask someone, do some research – or travel without credentials or large homogenous-just-like-home groups so you really learn and see locals rather than just the touristy.

And also pretty annoyed by the national news media saying things like “there are few African-American chefs” or most have never tasted the “Wonderful traditional dishes created by African-Americans you’ve never tasted” Seriously? You people need to get out of your little compounds and mingle with the rest of us common folks. 

Poor is poor. Turnip greens, collards, and field peas were/are not limited to one group

Blacks are some of the best cooks/chefs around and the food worth the wait lines to get in to eat.

Geesh. Narrow upbringing? Deprived of real life? Just stupid or just pandering?

Please don’t turn Juneteenth into something like Cinco de mayo or St Patrick’s Day…you know, holidays invented / encouraged by beer distributors with meaning buried by food and beverage fog. 

Cinco de mayo is NOT Mexican independence day. It is the day of a major battle where they defeated the French troops. (Yeah, the French)

Juneteenth is NOT Independence Day or (as recently said/written in textbooks) The 2nd Independence Day (as a certain news show announced.

It is a day of freedom. Of human rights. A day of thanksgiving. And the first (of many) steps towards a “more perfect nation”.

So, just for FYI and review:

  • Juneteenth is a traditional Texas holiday – but you are welcome to celebrate too.
  • The first state-sponsored Juneteenth celebration took place in 1980
  • June 19, 1865 when slaves in Galveston learned the Civil War was over and they were free. The US 13th Army Corps arrived in Galveston about that time. The message was late (2 years after Lincoln’s proclamation) in coming as there was a bit of a war going on, there was no Facebook or TV, there’s rumors the first messenger was murdered in route, there’s rumors the news was deliberately delayed because the Federal troops wanted one last cotton harvest to come in before taking it and everything over.
  • Here’s what was read by Major General Gordon Granger, Commanding Officer,

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes, and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

So all together now. Celebrate with smarts and smiles.

Enjoy the traditional barbecues, watermelon, corn on the cob, and strawberry sodas (which I always loved but never knew the connection before)

And do not start with me. My dad picked cotton as a child. Just don’t. I know what squirrel tastes like. (Greasy. UGH. Never again)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

June 19, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Horsefeathers and bolder dash

Mexican man on horse. 1912. (Mexican Revoltionary on postcard. SMU DeGolyer Lib.(USPD.artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

‘You see my toothy grin, right? If you think I’m galloping like the wind hauling all that photo op getup, you got another think coming.” (SMU/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Horses

Odd thought processes, theirs.

Either delusional or holding a grudge

Insisting their family tails’ DNA once included wings or single forehead horn.

You know how hard it is to convince someone that’s all legends, like history. Over. Done. Long past gone, in any case.

Might explain the attitude – especially of the young, the sheltered. They all think they are movie-worthy Wonder Horses

They all seem to hold to certain truths:

  •  Ye who cast the first stone…get ready to be trampled.
  • Get thee behind me mate ‘n just try to avoid the heels.
  • When about to be led who knows where, remember the one who left the burr under the saddle. Refuse bit and blanket.
  • When things look bad or you’re worn out, turn around head back to the barn: the primary source of naps, foods, and “enough already” understood. Barn basics.
Out of control horse with rider. 1858. Headless Horseman by Quidor (USPD. pub.date, artist life, reprod of PD art/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Nooo. It’s only a candy wrapper. I promise. Only a candy wrapper!” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Never say nay to them. But know they are the definition of “unpredictable” and “incomprehensibly maddening” 

You can ride out day after day for months on end, same route, past the same scenery. Past the same half-buried tin can or rock.

Then one day, the one you’re half awake, routinely sashaying out, then WHOA! Abrupt, jarring, stiff leg halt accompanied by a wide nostril snort followed by a lateral move quick enough to require grabbing saddle horn to avoid clinging awkwardly sideways on horse’s neck.

That tin can or rock or piece of paper suddenly atomic bomb level danger.

Must be some mastodon avoidance muscle memory from Parahippus 

Helpful for horses: for humans, not so much. Humans face plant with other fears – probably ones brought on by having opposing thumbs.

Be wary of horse laughs.

Gotta know when to hold ’em and when to say sold ’em.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Woman and black horse. 1920 postcard (USPD. Artist life/pub.date; Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Oh, Honey, give it up. You’re no competition. It’s a mane thing. Everyone knows that red ain’t real.” (1920 postcard/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

June 16, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Howls, how’s, wows

Man peering out ship portal. 1940. German prisoner on Candian prison ship.(USPD. pub.date, artist life)

A whole different ponderance.(USPD.1940 pub.date/ artist life)

Right out of the box, a giant brain fog whoopsie

Doggy grinning wide; Some dunderhead about to cry.

A misaddressed package delivered with baggies (with a nice handwriting sample) inside.

Is the dog amused at the find or the antics of humankind?

(Still waiting to hear if anyone claimed it…)

police dog and handlers at work in from of stash (FB)

Police dog lovin’ curbside pickup. Still gets his treat, right?(FB)

Things up in the air:

A popular bar explodes in the middle of the night (No, not a joke – that’s later)

Toothpicks anyone?

“Remember kids, unlike a Martini, a ‘Molotov Cocktail’ should only be STIRRED, not Shaken!”

Extreme Harvey Wallbanger.

Disgruntled County Official’s retaliation for bar ignoring capacity limits and the lack of social distancing?

Scattered sticks - all that's left of Bar 5015. (screenshot)

Scattered sticks – all that’s left of Bar 5015. (screenshot)

Note: With the location near Soul Food restaurant and an onsite barbecue food truck (badly damaged), the explosion made the news corps quiver and drool with potential “hate crime”, it looks a lot like a propane/natural gas explosion with only 3 small spot fires. Supposedly at least one gas can was found “nearby”. A sleeping homeless guy on the corner said he heard buzzing electrical sounds, then electrical snaps, saw sparks, then a boom. The place reopened 2 months ago after COVID shutdown and after remodeling / renovations of the informal bar/patio area (partly still standing)…In any case, some windows on the block shattered, but no one hurt. But many sad. (Article and interesting comments about the new owner and his recent, unique dress code. You can see it there.)

Kids deliver.

After a while it got boring studying for AP exams and these 4 members of the tennis team were tired of bouncing off the wall.

So they became as lifeline for their neighbors who were elderly or at risk.

The backs of their shirts say “2017 District Champions”, but could add “2020 COVID Champions” too.

Texans helping Texans: kids create a delivery service. (KHOU: different article/interview with video)

Proof the kids are alright (and that diversity of races, creeds, and colors can work if people want it to.).

“Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” (Here)

That on the AP History study sheet? Only an exam item, right?

Might ought to be on driver’s license along with “Emergency Contact Number” and “Restrictions”

Oh, now being hounded for a grand finale smile so:

“What did the Buffalo dad say when dropping off his kid at school?”

“Bison”

Said there would be a joke.

Never said it would be a good one.

Avoiding howls by hot footin’ outta here,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

June 11, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Take your hands off Harry

She came in like an avenging angel. Only her horse was black and the dragon was of her own making. Fairy Tale Russian. 1916. Falcon the Hunter. ill. Pape (USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

She charged in like an avenging angel. Only her horse was black and the dragon was of her own making.(Falcon the Hunter/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Lucky there was a Wiccan in the neighborhood.

She was the only one with undisputed standing. Had a dog in the fight.

And a fight is exactly what it was setting up to be.

A self appointed protector of community values mom had recently moved into the neighborhood and she was on a mission.

When she marched into the Elementary School, the one humorously referred locally to as the “United Nations”, and demanded that all books in the school library that involved, featured, had pictures – even a shadow of a whiff – of witches, demons, ghosts, dragons, fairies, myths, magic, or any supernatural elements must be pulled from the shelves and removed, the administration and librarian were frozen like deer in the headlights.

The woman loomed tall, looked them in the eyes and with calculated, experienced voice and said those books were all works of the devil and against her religion. Spat out words like “Constitution”, “freedom of religion”, “discrimination”, “rights” and “lawsuit”.

No one knows where she came from.

I’d say a Banshee, but that would be, uh, given her beliefs, not actually possible….

1921. Demon and woman. From Jurgen, a Comedy of Justice.ill.Pape (USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

No doubt the woman saw herself as sacrifice to save others…and posted about it frequently on Facebook.(Illustration ironically titled “A Comedy of Justice”. USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Why someone didn’t stand up and say, “Welcome and just to let you know this community is very, very  diverse – race, creed, and colors – a reason why you may have chosen it – and we accept all even you, you shrill, obnoxious, narrow-minded, self righteous little harpy.

Then everyone tried to be polite, to understand, to diffuse.

To try to get along for everyone’s benefit.

Heck, we even had a great Jewish guy who was the music teacher who managed to pull off a lovely holiday performance before Christmas Break (It wasn’t called Winter Break yet). A lot of “Jingle Bells”, and “Frosty the Snowman”, but he somehow pulled as neutral as possible seasonal music from everyone’s cultural heritage. (and every kid in the entire school did something…kazoos, triangles and little maids a-leaping in unison were popular for weeks before)

Much appreciated.

Tolerance

A two way street.

Woman looking up at tree. "come down cried the hero's wife" Russian Fairy Story Book, 1916. ill. Pape (USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Sorry, I’ve got to go and straighten out something at my kid’s school.” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Soooo back to the story, one well placed phone call and a “Shut your mouth come to meetin’ “

That rigid, self-centered mom moved her family far from the Mouth of Hell she had accidentally stumbled upon once she discovered not one, but several Wiccan moms lived in the neighborhood….

Who were not shy about showing up to say something: About ignorance. About using “rights” or “religion” to bully others – to force them to change to what you think they should think and do.

About “Keep your mitts off Harry Potter. Geesch, it’s fiction.”

Tolerance. Magic worth saving.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Postscript: We heard Mrs Crusader forced their child’s new school to rename the Halloween Carnival the Fall Harvest Festival (With no masks or costumes – only pumpkins and happy straw cornfield guardians – women, no doubt). But wait! That wasn’t enough. The Harvest Festival the next year was moved to become the Spring Fling…to get as far as possible away from that Pagan Halloween and Día de los muertos.

One of the neighborhood Wiccan moms got a chuckle over that…Spring, you know….Persephone, Esotre, Ostara, the equinox, bunnies… 

airy tale. Water Tsar dances. Russian Story Book, 1916, ill.Pape (USPD. pub.date, artiist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Freedom is dancing as you wish and letting others do the same. (WOW. Two strikes against this illustration: supernatural elements AND it’s a RUSSIAN fairy tale. Always the Russians. USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

 

June 9, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Windows show

Man sitting and reading by window. (Vidhav Kapoor/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Screened scene. (V.Kapoor/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Not sure, but it could be that a person’s windows opens up a lot.

To some, it’s the walls that are important

Of course as shelter from the storm

Control the entrance of bodies and bodies of thoughts

And the all important: the amount of display space. Of accolades and stuff that reminds people who they are. And to show others.

Windows are of more interest when searching for a place to land.

Best Lucas House in Galveston built 1866. ( Jim. Evans/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Eyes on the Gulf. The Best Lucas House (Galveston, TX) seems as unblinking as the Sphinx. Old, built 1866, and having seen much, the home has reasons to be wary. Luckily saved from demolition and well cared for now. (Jim Evans/Commons.wikimedia.org)

To me, anyway

Growing up we had north windows in the front of the house – which made the living room cold in winter with blue light.

South windows across the back made it sunny and warm in all the bedrooms.

Light and bright. Preferable in houses and inhabitants.

(Wonder, is there any reason to suspect window placement in childhood affects personality or philosophy in adulthood? That old möbius: Nature or nurture – as if any of it matters once the kids are in school.)

While doors, both front and back – and it’s foolhardy to not consider the importance of both – are the openers: Those of first impressions. They swing wide to show what’s inside. Windows more are a leak of reality.

Doors: the public face, the beauty queens, the cheerleader-types, the diplomats, the celebrities.

Windows: the back stage crew, the support staff, the worker-bees, the middle last. The guts of the place.

Cats sitting on window sill outdoors. (Jwslubbock/COmmons.wikimedia.org)

Some prefer organic window coverings. (Jwslubbock/Commons.wikimedia.org)

What are window coverings? A personality-type check box perhaps.

Windows dressed to impress

Simply for utility and economics

Or to shut off the world

To peek out from behind

To hide what’s inside. Or what’s outside.

To be happily HOA uniform exterior appearance compliant. Always a possibility.

Window on purple house. (gausanchennai/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Guessing no HOA. (gausanchennai/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Curbside, windows always a tell.

Holes or Wholes?

Windows to the world

Windows to the soul

Not clear

Maybe just openings in walls

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

They say every time a door closes a window opens.

So which is important to you?

Maybe the Hollies will provide background music as you consider.

Bamboo window of adobe Joan tea House. (Chris 73/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Bamboo window of Joan tea House seems to suggest, “A place for everything everything in its’ place.” (Chris 73/Commons.wikimedia.org)

 

June 5, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

What to do with Missy A

Dramatic woman dancing. Buterfly dance, 1923. Cover of Vanity Fair by Nickolas Muray. (USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Oh, Isadora was right…she just should have tucked in her scarf. I shall not be so foolish.” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Breezy. A sweet spirit. A Tree Sprite, she fashions herself.

Hussy. Somehow, despite our efforts, she’s calling them to her.

We’ve tried to tell her, “They only want one thing”, but she shrugs and climbs farther out on that limb.

Oh, Missy A, they’ll corral you and turn you into a homebody.

“The sap is rising”, old timers chuckle as they shake their heads. Knowing it’s impossible to stop.

Woman sitting on table. Cecille Evans. 1925 publicity photo. (USPD. pub.date, Artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Too cute to be told what to do.” Looking for trouble or just plain trouble? (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Every spring the same thing: we happily sit on the back deck, under the sweeping awning of the Crepe Myrtle only to be bombarded by large ants dropping out of trees.

We’re pretty sure it’s not a suicide leap – only an ant shortcut back to the ground.

You see, aphids sip on Crepe Myrtle sap and they know the ants know.

We’ve admonished the flirty little hussy: Do not let the ants stroke your tummy! Aphids never listen.

Oh, we’ve heard the justification “They protect us!”.

 But there’s a price for everything.

An abdomen caress ends up with sticky honey dew being secreted. A highly desired ant delicacy.

Ants turn the foolish aphids into cows to be herded and farmed.

Elegant couple dancing. Vernon Blythe Caste and Irene Castle. 1913 (USPD.pub.date, artist life, LoC/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“You worry over nothing. His devotion is obvious.” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

But right now the ants aren’t bothering to move their sweeties.

They are just climbing up the trunk and after loading up on honeydew, they head home leaping large sans parachute.

It’s just not fun being an ant landing zone.

Especially if snacks or cups are on the table. (Suspiciously close to those…and after already “visiting” the aphids…Really?)

They never bite or anything.

The best outcome is to simply, gently, brush them off.

Getting transported indoor on hair or clothing doesn’t end well: the cat loves organic playthings…

We don’t use any pesticides in the yard, but the unexpected ant flybys are annoying.

You can wrap fly paper around the tree trunks to stop the ants…

But that’s kinda ant torture…you would see them struggling so desperately. Legs ripped off. Just can’t do it.

Pretty soon the Lady Bugs, an aphid predator, will be out in force and the ants will either move their cuties or the aphids will become a meal for the Ladies who lunch.

fancy dressed couple stylishly dancing. 1914(USPD. pub.date, artist, life, LoC/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Walk this way…”(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

After that, any ant appearing nonchalantly by snacks on the table will be discouraged: Launched – Hey, they’re used to it! Call it prep for aphid husbandry.

Not the hand sweeps one prefers to become expert with.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Group of ants with a grasshopper. 1919 Ants and Grasshopper fable. (USPD. Pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Look, guys. The Queen was very clear. Ignore this slacker and focus on schumoozing the A-listed gals.” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

 

June 4, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Full of beans

Of course the first thought has to be “This has been a big problem for you?”

Store's Coffee bean grinder with odd sign on it. (© image. copyrighted, all rights reserved. No permissions granted)

Mah haid hertz gez thunkin’ aboot theez. (© image)

Alternative captions?

  • A First World problem.
  • Proof shutting down the schools was a really bad idea.
  • Social Media is wrong: not a DIY wart remover. (Now that’s an offhand remark.)
  • Retail stopped from offering self-assisted suicide. (Hey, they have to do something to pay the bills. First the lockdowns, then the riots marches.)
  • Reverse psychology by maniac. or shop owner at wits end over stores being the entertainment for preschoolers of desperate moms

Sign could be a caution for those feeling grounded up by the world these days.

Or a store manager knows everyone really needs a laugh right now.(It was a joke, right? Oh…)

“Different taste in jokes is a great strain on the affections.”

“Wear a smile and have friends; wear a frown and have wrinkles”.

(George Elliot)

Who wants wrinkles?

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

 

June 1, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Time Out

German Shepherd sitting on couch in Time Out with timers on coffee table (© image.Copyrighted. No permissions granted. All rights reserved)

Rocky contemplating how colorful time can be as it passes. And how heavy heavy is the collar of remorse. (© image)

“What? The 2 Seconds Rule doesn’t apply?”

“You know, if the food toy hits the ground and is still there after 2 seconds, it’s mine?”

Against the grain.

At least the stacked sentences are running concurrently.

In search of Bija

(and jaw control)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

(For the glassy eyed: measured sands of time)

May 27, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Life out of the box.

German shepherd buried in cardboard box fort (© image. all rights reserved, copyrighted)

“You think you can’t wait until school/camp reopens…” (© image)

  • “The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” (Preferably not your foot)
  • “People generally quarrel because they cannot argue.” (No argument there.)
  • “The word ‘good’ has many meanings. For example if a man was to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.” (The stuff of lawyers and politicians.)
  • “People who make history know nothing about history. You can tell by they history that they make.” (You seen that, right? No need to name names…)
  • “I’ve searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees.” (This is an outrage. Congress is probably taking a vote right now to end this travesty.)
  • “Fable is more history than fact, because fact tells us about one man and fable tells us about a million men.” (Sorry, Fable Baby; you’re out with the bathwater.)
  • “A good novel tells us the truth about its’ hero; but a bad one us tells the truth about its’ author.” (Beware, not all mirrors are glass. Hmmm, if you break a mirror you might get 7 years bad luck, what happens if words break?)
  • Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world and the life seen in newspapers is another.” (Good grief. Look at when this author lived. The more things change….)
  • “The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he had come to see.” (Rick Steves took this as mantra.)
  • “The perplexity of life arises from there being too many things in it for us to be interested properly in any of them.” (Best most elegant excuse for wandering thoughts and incomplete projects ever written….I’m just totally awestruck right now by the totality.)
  • “I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles.” (This is just funny.)
  • “Let a man walk ten miles steady on a hot summer’s day along a dusty English road and he will soon discover why beer was invented.” (Yep)

Quotes by the “Prince of Paradox” Gilbert K. Chesterton.

English literary and social critic, historian, playwright, novelist (1874-1936).

German Shepherd crammed into playhouse. (© image. copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

“What? I was invited in. Despite your opinion, there’s plenty of room. We were getting along just fine until you showed up…”(© image)

Oh, sneering at the “easy out” by using quotes?

OK. Talk about probable lawyer-ese.

The guard recently shot at Corpus Christi’s Texas Naval Base was saved by “wearing a bullet resistant vest“. Not bullet proof, mind you.

They do make various levels of protective ballistic vests and the Big City’s police generally wear the bullet proof versions. You can actually see the stopped bullet embedded in the vest.

Sure seems to me that the military, given attacks on bases over the past few years, might consider an upgrade.

Still not enough effort for a post?

Well, there’s this.

Sr Staff has a very expensive fancy Samsung phone. As with most, “Baby” is always getting new shoes updates. Recently there was one for “Notes”. “Notes” actually gets used…unlike many of the other fancy programs/apps.

Wary since the last operating system update caused major headaches, he actually started reading the “what this update addresses” information…until he couldn’t stop laughing over the fact that “intelligence” was misspelled…

Do you trust a technology who is really pushy insistent about correcting spelling when you, the human, punch in letters yet can’t/won’t spell information correctly itself?

IA’s version of “Do as I say, not as I do?” (I think we should worry…) 

Short quips and quick slip outta here… (They might be listening….NOTHING to see here….)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Interesting enough, all the home deliveries is leading to a cardboard shortage in some places. Threatens food and medicine distribution. Ordering online may actually endanger the environment/forests. (March 2020).

Odd when you consider in June 2018, just as online shopping increased, cardboard recycling actually dropped. (Story and reasons why here

Probably worse now. Most of shipping cartons used to go to retail who would flatten/bale the boxes and resell it for recycling. But you know what’s happened to retail this year…and then there’s China’s involvement – No, not about COVID – well, read the article.

You see, a perfect example of that 10th quote up there. Hard to be boxed in.

Fort out of Amazon boxes. (© image. copyrighted. NO permissions granted. All rights reserved)

We know why parents are really ordering so much from Amazon: the boxes. Big boxes, a roll of duct tape, and fort building skills = a bit of piece and quiet-ish.(© image.)

May 25, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Dusting off. Dusting up. Making a splash.

We may all be dust in the wind, but not looking to crumble yet.

I WILL HAVE SUMMER…of some sort.

Shark leaping out of water. (Shark image seabreacher.com)

Noooo! I used to be the reason everyone was afraid to go into the water or splash at the beach…Oh, cruel hierarchy of predators!”  (seabreacher.com)

Nothing says summer like good little campers…of the human variety…the rolling stock of RVs are in short supply this summer apparently.

(“Darn! I was so looking for whole house meditation time without dog or humans for a week or two – only that. Longer gets to feel too much like abandonment,” muses RC Cat.)

They have been prepared for 100 years – and were ready to celebrate that, but no. Sit around the campfire and catch up with the story.

Boy Scout Troop 11, one of the oldest in Texas, was founded in 1914. During the 1918 Spanish Flu, the troop disbanded when the City of Houston halted public meeting, but it rechartered in 1920.  A two pandemic history! Their anniversary celebrations put back on the back campfire for a bit.

Click over to see some vintage photographs and to listen to the very diverse in age and cultural background scouts talk about why scouting is cool to them and how they are working with scouting traditions during COVID-19. (But..shuffle, shuffle, uh maybe this isn’t the best time to build bat houses considering …)

Video news story ( and the kids are cute) here.

cat mural. (screenshot ABC13news)

“Lady this is great, but couldn’t you’ve done my buddy and I in the garage? Have to admit, I’m a pretty close likeness to your real cat. Four Paws Approval!” (screenshot ABC13news)

Speaking of cute, it takes more than a pandemic to stop a real artist. 

Anat Ronen from Israel, has found herself a home here. This country has encouraged her to bloom.

A professional artist, she had commissions, but obviously funding had to be shifted to fight COVID  and the Stay at Home mandates has kept her away from the giant amazing murals the normally creates.

Art spills out anyway – on her driveway. Not your ordinary chalk drawings. Incredible stuff. Hear her talk and marvel at her talent here in a short video.

Chalk mural of Blue hands An artist on hand. (Screenshot ABC13news)

An artist on hand. (Screenshot ABC13news)

And they say nothing great or important is manufactured in the USA any more.

Now you can actually do what you dreamed of: BE THE SHARK

(and sneak up on a boat, launch yourself into the air, and scare the holiday out of them.)

A high performance, semisubmersible expensive toy watercraft that has all sorts of potential:

Able to do 360 barrel rolls, completely never failing buoyant, and it always self rights (Guess they knew exactly who they were designing this for…), no special license or registration needed and Coast Guard approved for fresh or salt water.

Can it get any better? Oh, you can be a whale, dolphin, eagle, or dream up your own stealth sea monster.

Don’t know about you, but I’m ready to cut loose and make a splash and this might just be the ticket (Are lottery tickets available again?)

Orange Shark watercraft (image seabreacher.com)

“Is this my best side? What do you mean ‘Need to floss’?” (seabreacher)

Red nosed shark watercraft. (screenshot Seabreacher info. video)

Taking a bite out of ennui? (Seabreacher)

Outta the way COVID Cooties. Can’t keep the good old American spirit down.

There’s an art to remembering true.

And just a important to dust off gratitude.

Memorial Day.

“Thank you” hardly seems enough.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Patriotic eagle boat with flag. (Shark image seabreacher.com)

“Over hill. Over dale. Dust off the country’s tale. Long may it wave over the Land of the Free.(Eagle by Seabreacher)

May 21, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Lone Stranger and the Zombies

You can’t turn it off. Altered brain function, the new normal.

This mask’s attempt at humanizing the coverup may be smiling, but it’s more The Shining’s “Here’s Johnny!” grimace than reassuring.

Who is that lone stranger behind that mask?

Man in mask. Mattress Mack adv. screenshot

Mack, this one’s is a bit creepy.(Gallery Furniture ad screenshot)

If you don’t know this guy, you’re probably backing slowly away and looking for a quick exit, but it’s Jim McIngvale, a local hero for many reasons.

  • Started his Gallery Furniture with a pickup truck and $5,000. Desperate and running out of money he filmed really low budget commercials that were shown late at night. Here’s one.(how he became to be called Mattress Mack). He was known for yelling “Saves you moneeeeey!” It was so bad, it was such a joke.
  • “Who is this Mattress Mack and why does he do what he does” (Vegas news) If there’s a disaster or crisis or people in trouble, Mack is the first to step up with help: trucks for rescues and dry beds and buffets during floods, (“Meet the man who turned his furniture stores into shelters for Hurricane Harvey Victims” Time mag.) open invitations holiday dinners in his parking lots, not to mention food for anyone during the Corona virus.
  • “10 things you may not know about Jim McIngvale”
  • He still does commercials…and “Saves you money!” And knows how to laugh at himself.

OK, so Mattress Mack’s commercials are a little intentionally wacky now.

However, what explains the zombies in the AAA auto insurance commercial?

Geesch, watch these people in this commercial: the way they smile vacantly, move like robots.

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/nqWz/aaa-auto-insurance-times-like-these

Shivers. It’s like the Stepford wives! Zombies!

Has COVID-19 fevered so many brains that this is the new normal for humans?

Gone to their heads. The alien cooties ate their brains.

“What does COVID-19 do to your brain”

Or just over-directed? Any dealings with insurance companies is enough to give you shivers, too.

Jules Verne, did you have anything to say about all this?

Hope eating crawfish isn’t adaptive training humans if the species’ next survival mode includes searching for brains.

Searching for brains. Could be like searching for rare truffles.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Two girls holding cards (Adv. Screenshot AAA insurance)

“Don’t worry. We’re fine. Moving oddly, but fine. Come closer…We have a card that says we’re not to be feared.” (Screenshot AAA insurance)

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