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May 28, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Home Away: Loft with Breakfast

Man and woman. Couple on beach by sea (Fairy tale/(ill.Stephen Reid /USPD. artist life,

Babe, fly with me. I’ll give you the world.(USPD/

Although the place had come well recommended by Will, he was worried. You know how it is. Arriving just at dusk, tired and disheveled from traveling, you can’t really tell.

He had made promises.

She’d trustingly agreed – going with only a wing and a prayer – hoping the tropical storm wouldn’t cancel their flight. She did so love a holiday trip. Some place near the water and sunny – with all sorts of interesting places to eat.

Will had said he’d been there during the icy winter and it was great. Generous, accommodating locals. It would be even better now, he assured them, with all the flowers blooming and tropical plants freshly dressed and waving in the Gulf breezes. “Branch out,” Will said. “Request room with a view. Perfect landing spot for a honeymoon.”

But, you know how it is.

As he stepped out on the balcony to get a bird’s-eye view of the area, he sighed with relief. Will was right.

He called to his little bride still shyly nested in the tall pine, “Honey, fluff up and hop on out here. The management arranged a dove serenade for us!”

Where there’s a Will, it will be OK

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Bird perched on fence at dusk. (© Image All rights reserved, NO permissions granted, Copyrighted)

“Glad I guaranteed the reservation for late arrival.  Storm detours are always a time sink. Wait while I check in and find out which perch is ours.(© Image)

Birds on holiday. Guy checking out the streetlight balcony for their pine tree suite where is lady friend lingers.(© Image. ALL rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

Birds on holiday. “Come on, honey. Will was right: lofty with street light balcony!”(© Image)

Fancy wetlands bird guy checking out the neighborhood. (© Image: all rights reserved, NO permissions granted, Copyrighted)

Remind me to send Will a note about the accommodations. And maybe add a review for Trip Advisor. Now let’s go check out the local eateries.(© Image)

Who the heck is Will you ask?

Find out here: “Will will and Will won’t”




May 24, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

The Art of Ups and Downs

MFAH Glassell School of Art, Brown Plaza. Cranes over museum construction. Houston skyline towards Medical Center complex. (Image, all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

Come fly with us: 3 cranes, the national birds of Houston seen from roof top garden. Houston’s skyline towards Medical Center complex.(Not downtown) The cranes hang over the foundation of the MFAH’s next expansion. We used to park under the trees in that space, then dash across the street to the main museum building.(Image.©)

Life is a Möbius.

Baffling. Alien, if you’ve new to it.

Just as baffling and alien to those at the end of their line, the ones who have seen too much.

Probably only the very young and very old have any comprehension of it at all.

Houston Skyline southwest from the roof garden. On the very far right just above the treelike, Rice University's football field's light poles can be seen. ( Image. All rights reserved, copyrighted, No permissions granted)

Houston southwest skyline from the roof garden. No, that’s not downtown. On the very far right just above the tree line, Rice University’s football stadium light poles can be seen.(©Image)

We were unsure at 5 yrs. Walking carefully over the polished parquet floors.

Been warned by parents to behave.

Trying not to rattle the sheets of paper as big as we were.

“Sit.” (Oh, relief. We could do that. Crossed legged on the floor.)

Only to have the nervousness to return as boxes of new crayons were handed to each of us.

The big white pages spread out like picnic blankets across the gleaming impressive floor.

“Go ahead. Draw.”

A wave of quiet anxiety – uncertainty – drowning us.

One tiny voice, “But what if we color off the paper and it gets on the floor?”

Unable to breath, we were.

“Oh, we won’t worry about that. This is your museum, your floors.

“I’m sure you’ll be as careful as you can, but if it accidentally happens, we’ll just clean it and it will be fine.

This is you museum. Everything in it belongs to you and you belong here.”

Set free, we set our crayons to work. Museum owners at such a young age.

MFAH. architecture. Up the ramp to the roof garden. ( Image. All rights reserved. Copyrighted, No permissions granted)

Up to the roof garden. On left is the triangle roof of an air-conditioned tent put up over part of the plaza for the event. It was some 98F that day. New plants on ramp seemed to be thriving anyway.(©Image)

MFAH. architecture. Down the ramp. The plaza to the right (Image. All rights reserved, copyrighted, No permissions granted)

And down the ramp. The new plaza on the right. The trees in the middle are shading the sculpture garden. No, not the downtown skyline. It’s behind us.(Image ©)

Over the years, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston has grown – with growth actually outpacing many of us who attended the Saturday art classes as kids or wondered behind teachers on school field trips.

We struggled up the big steps of the original classical building which grew up and out (Caroline Weiss Law Building), then over to a new towering building (Audrey Jones Beck building) connected by a tunnel with fabulous light art.

We thought it couldn’t get any better.

The Glassell School of Art moved into their new studios across the street recently. (Facebook page here)

Last weekend was the big reveal of the new building, plaza, and performance stage. The Cullen Sculpture Garden which has been redone acts as a gateway to the Brown Foundation Plaza, and the BBVA Compass Roof Garden with couches and a fabulous view.

MFAH sculpture."Cloud Column" (1998–2006) by Anish Kapoor, rear; and "Bird (Oiseau)" (1968) by Joan Miró (Image All rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

Oh, I know Chicago’s annoyed. Seriously. You’re not the only place with a Kapoor sculpture. Reflective silver “Cloud Column” by Anish Kapoor and Joan Miró’s “Bird (Oiseau)” (Image.©)

The MFAH art collections are quite extensive and a pleasant surprise to new residents.

Major traveling exhibits are frequent – and crowded. Currently hosting: Naples’ Michelangelo and the Vatican, Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur of India’s Rathore dynasty, and Arts of Islamic Lands: Selections from The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait among others. Something for everyone.

MFAH architecture. Sculpture garden path leading to main building. ( Image. all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Wander this sculpture garden path, it will lead you to the main building across the street where the parquet floors are.(©Image)

As one of the museum “owners”, I’d be happy to invite you over anytime. 

(Except maybe in August. We never invite anyone we like to visit Houston in August).

The museum has great AC and the shade of the sculpture garden makes it a popular spot to sit after visiting the food trucks. That rooftop deck does have a nice afternoon breeze and should be spectacular this fall.

Let me know and we’ll slip into one of the museum’s Sketch in the Galleries days. Crayons and paper. (We know you’ll be careful.)

Drawing on,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Related MFAH posts:


May 22, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Traveling here and how

Tesla car hood and headlight. MotorWeek screenshot Season 37. Episode 36)

Once only a gleam in someone’s inner eye.(MotorWeek screenshot 3736)

Ever watched the morning bird commute? No matter how crowded the skyway, they never run into another.

Where is the coordinating flight tower? They probably flock into mandated a Rules of the Flight School.

If only we could decode their traffic guidance systems.

Not such direct movement with Tesla cars these days.

The 2018 Tesla Model 3 is supposed to be the  “affordable battery-electric car”. The vanguard for all others.

There are a few of these cars on the road, but there’s so much of “available, but not quite yet” about the Model 3 that people wonder. While Tesla “offers”  two battery choices, right now only the Long Range Battery Pack is available. (Providing a 310 miles range as opposed to the base model of 220 miles…which begs the question of why would anyone bother with the lesser? Cost, perhaps). Right now Model 3’s offers rear wheel drive, while, once again, twin-motor all-wheel drive versions will soon be available.

Some have noted a bit of road noise which might be expected as there is no engine noise to cover it up.

The name Tesla itself suggests smooth, sleek, and advanced. At first glance, it looks good, too.

No toothy grill across the front since cooling slots not mandatory with electric motors. Oddly the car’s panels don’t always come together flush. (Just cosmetic, right? At this price, too much to expect?) Big sweeping windows with an optional giant sun roof. (We call those solar passenger cookers in this climate.) It really is cool how the charging port is hidden behind a rear light assembly. Gotta love how those door handles float out of the side panel to greet you as you approach.

Worrisome that the car suddenly became shy and withdrew during a test drive: wouldn’t unlock from the phone command or from the emergency backup entry key card. Not really great for some of the mall parking lots here…talk about feeling vulnerable.

The interior is sleek and minimalist with the dashboard is as smooth as a Kentucky Derby winner’s stride.

No messy knobs, dials, or gauges. A couple of programmable wheels on the steering wheel to activate and manipulate all car information on a large 15 inch center video screen.

Test drivers noted that the info panel does not tilt/angle/swing towards the driver who ends up spending a great deal of time gazing sideways at the screen instead of eyes on the road. Worse, the screen becomes unreadable and rainbow-colored in certain light conditions. (Can just hear it now. Driver to police office “Honestly, I couldn’t see how fast I was going. No, we weren’t watching the Wizard of Oz…”)

Car and driver. Tesla Model 3 interior of 2018 Tela Model 3. (Screenshot Motorweek You tube video)

We’re off top see the Wizard in a 2018 Tesla Model 3. (MotorWeek YouTube)

The 2018 Model 3 is rolling even if a work in progress. But an entry level car?

All the options that really aren’t an option add up.

Want another color than black? Get out the wallet. Bloomberg discusses the actual sticker cost here.(May 20, 2018).

While Tesla had promised a cool $35,000.00 base level entry car, that version isn’t currently being produced.  “… The company’s current business model and financial position — it’s operating at a loss and has negative operating cash flow” means the company to pay the rent by focusing on the faster, pricier model with longer battery life and all the fancy stuff everyone dreams of.

  • Business Insider: “Tesla Model 3 performance version is overpriced at $78,000.00” (So the car can do 3.5 sec 0-60mph with a 155 mph top speed – “faster and handles better than a BMW M3”..Will enough people notice/care/be willing to pay for it? Price isn’t exactly chicken feed.)
  • Interesting enough very shortly after reviews noting issues with the 2018 Model 3 appeared, this: “Tesla restructuring to meet profit goals” Elon Musk mentioned “…also found that there are some things very well suited to manual operation and some things the are very well suited to automated operation, and the two should not be confused…” (Hopefully this means they are working to make sure the car’s outer panels match up smoothly. That’s something even non-gearheads notice.) (Hmmm, now how much has money has been given to start-up Tesla? What were the promises?)
  • Watch YouTube of the 2018 Model 3 here.
car.Side view of Smart Car, (Image Craig's List/japopnik)

Arrest me red. Of course it’s appropriate.(Craig’s List/Jalopnik)

There are other routes for those who driven by tiny houses and tiny cars…

Oh, OK motorhomes towing cars don’t really count as tiny houses, but electric Smart Cars are frequently the carry-along-vehicle-of-choice behind travel vehicles. For local travel, a Smart Car may be safer and more dry, than a scooter or motorcycle. Not to mention fewer bugs in teeth, less shouting when talking to a passenger, and freedom for worrying that over-protective BlueJay is going to continue kamikaze attacks.

The modified Smartacus Smart Car could be just the ride for those who want to go small with zoom. “At $23,500.00, could this Hayabusa-powered 2002 Smart Fortwo be for you?” (Jalopnik)

Authorities concur that there’s little possibility of eagles or giant California condors mistaking Smartacus for fast food for their young. Even if it does look a little like a plump hamster running along. (Watch it scamper here.)

Getting you wheel smart for your summer escape.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

car. Power in the rear of modified Smart car. Smartacus. (Image Craigslist/jalopnik)

Totally untrue that Smartacus is powered by rubber bands and hamster wheels.(Craigslist/Jalopnik)

Front view of red 2018 Tesla Model 3 (Image Motorweek YouTube screenshot)

“Little ones are always the jokesters, right. They get you seeing red.”(Motorweek)


May 18, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Primal. Fear, fear not.

artistic blur © (Image ©. All rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

As Life Flight flew over, I thought it was a little early for the weekend to start.

It’s easier to explain Hawaii’s fiery violence than the violence breaking society.

“Active, but contained” says law enforcement.

Prom is over. Finals complete. The lazy classroom hours of yearbook signing and films filling time.

Doesn’t seem to go together.

About 45 minutes ago the fire alarm went off in Sante Fe’s High School not far from here. Pulled by teacher or shooter, not known.

Then 3 loud pops – then more.

The practice fake shooter drills had all prepared.

Kids kept each other thinking and ran for cover – out back doors, across streets to neighborhoods to shelter in houses, stores, mechanic shops.

Students ran out and then around to other side of the school to pound on glass doors and windows to tell others to flee or take cover.

A massive response by law enforcement from multiple counties and agencies  and emergency vehicles arrived immediately to be there just in case.

What is known from students/news about the first period shooting at Santa Fe High School:

  • A police officer (reportedly a school officer) is injured, and there are rumors of injuries (shoulder and leg) and several casualties (news now reporting 8 deaths.)
  • Shooter is in custody
  • Kids in the art room said that things were normal until this male student “busted in” and yelled “Surprise” and shot a girl and 2 other people.
  • One of the kids said he and other students bailed out the art room’s back door and then out of the school and to warn others. One kid said a bunch of them crammed into the ceramic/kiln room for shelter. All of them were helping each other escape, stay calm and follow what they had drilled
  • Reports are sketchy but… The shooter supposedly had a pistol and a pump-action sawed off shotgun. One said he knew the shooter who was a football player – who often wore a trench coat and boots, but not confirmed. Another says the shooter was tall, thin guy, maybe a freshman.
  • A second individual is also being detained. Unclear why. (A girl?)
  • Dogs are sweeping the building to clear it. Media is reporting pipe bombs/explosives were tossed into classroom also (apparently confirmed)
  • There are about 1400 students in this school. They are an amazing resilient group. Will not be destroyed by one out of norm person.

As the hours roll, facts will become more available.

But the obvious fact is that like a volcano, violence by individuals is not being controlled in either in adulthood or childhood.

What is known is that violence is being used as the first method to solve problems. Even by children.

Even bullying, even “your loved one doesn’t love you any more”, even hatred of a group or a group’s ideas is not an excuse, reason, or authorization to kill another.

What is true is that the “Do not kill” concept is not being honored – or possibly even taught.

Odd as it’s so basic to most religions and philosophy.  

In any case, killing/murder is contrary to the survival of the species. Seems like a no brainer

All the laws in the world won’t stop it.

People constantly ignore the laws and just do what they want to do.

Bullet proof backpacks. Tank quality metal “safe rooms”inside classrooms. Collecting guns, knives, baseball bats, cars (Clara Harris aside, 1138 deaths on this state’s roads so far this year). None of this will solve the problem.

Only a change of head and body of action can turn the trend.

When people “say something”, authorities must actually “do something”: intervene to remove dangerous individuals from society – to protect society.

There must be beds for mental health holds and evaluations (Colorado’s legislature’s stalled recent action on this. Iowa’s Governor and mental health services advocates are working to make sure children and adults can get the help needed.)

STATES must enact immediately strong gun laws. (Forget Congress. Too busy talking about blond Bimbos. Local and states’ responsibility anyway.)

Parents must to control their own outbursts of rage and anger – as kids learn from parents.

Children and adults must use alternatives methods to solve problems other than murder.

Most importantly, ALL ADULTS must teach “Do Not Kill” 

Repeat endlessly: “All weapons including guns are DEFENSIVE – for when your back is against the wall, when you can’t flee, and when it’s either you or them” (a situation is more common than you think…maybe not in your safe little world, but others deal with things you cannot imagine)

Instruct constantly: “Always assume a gun Is loaded and ready to fire.” “Do not touch” is good, too. (Parents must lock top their guns and all household guns like the law here says – and must be prosecuted if they don’t.)

Find every possible chance to firmly say “NEVER point a gun at yourself or another person even as a joke or to feel big”. “Never touch a gun in someone else’s house. Better yet, if there’s a gun, leave immediately.”

Seems so basic.


Rage and stupidity exploding.

Volcanoes are easier to understand than humans

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge



May 14, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Sitting down. Sifting fluff.


They say “Fur will fly”, but it doesn’t.

My Pillow Company is doing it’s best to make sure you don’t feather your rest.

Although it’s true you can’t always duck the determined goose.

geese at duck pond. (© Image: copyrighted, all rights returned, NO permissions granted)

Where’s that little gosling Gary? Still flappin’ with the little quackers?(© Image)

3 geese and gosling. (© Image: copyrighted, no permissions granted, all rights reserved)

“Ah, mom. It’s so embarrassing to have you honk at me.” “Well, it’s nap time. The ducklings are already tucked in under their mom’s skirts.”(©)

Good to listen to Moms…most of the time…but maybe not Clara Harris

Who has just been released from jail – all reformed and demure now – just in time to see her teenage twin sons on Mother’s Day. She taught Bible classes during her time in prison. One of their neighbors paused when asked about her getting out and said the standard, “Well, I don’t know., She’s served her time, I guess she’s learned what she did was wrong…”

And watching I thought, “Dude, were you even living in this town when it all happened? Do you even know what she did?”

Me, I pass that place all the time. The hotel parking lot where she ran over her cheating husband 3 times – with her step daughter – his child – sitting in the passenger seat: zoom, zoom, thud, bump. Zoom, zoom, thud, bump. Zoom, zoom, thud, bump. All on security video – and forever in that child’s head.

It wasn’t a sudden “crime of passion.” A volatile relationship – with blame on both sides. Her private detective. Her actually going to the room where he frequently met his mistress days before “just to look at the room.” Her sitting in the parking lot waiting for him to come out as usual on schedule. Premeditated. A hit. Murder.

So, she’s learned the lesson that killing – murder  – is morally wrong as well as being against the law? Really? she wasn’t aware of that before? By mental defect, defiance, or negligent parents?

Dog on sit down strike. (© Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Dog on sit down strike. “I don’t care if it’s 90 F. I demand a longer walk!” (© Image)

Dead is dead. That stepdaughter will never be the same. (She probably didn’t send Clara a Mother’s Day card.)

And society must be nice: adjust and understand.

People now make such an effort to be kind – so accepting – even when they suspect it’s stupid and the wrong thing to do.

Focus, people. It may be a car, a knife, a gun, a high heel, a rock.

All the laws in the world won’t make a difference if all individuals in society don’t live, breathe, and dedicatedly teach “Don’t kill. It’s wrong”

Something Clara and others seem to have ignored – or never thought important enough to follow.

Oddly feeling like a sitting duck, Mom.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Posts about

Cat sitting on fence. (© Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Guard cat on fence patrol. Despite the birders’ complaints, he’s sitting there. Only kills to eat or eliminate unwanted pests like dirty rats. Wonder if it’s a tutorial? (© Image)


May 8, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Muddy paws and data holes

Boy with sand bucket at beach. 1935 (Sam Hood/State Lib. of New South Wales/PD/

The Beach Master, preferring a precise dig, surveys the terrain. No need upsetting the locals or their deities. (State Lib.of NSW/

Easy to shovel blame onto the tourists – even better onto their overly energetic, and not to be deterred, offspring carrying beach pails. Unsupervised – and mostly unwanted by the Island – beach digging may have triggered the violent volcanic eruption on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Why is it? Give kids shovels and without any instruction, they are in a frenzy digging all the way to China. (which does not permit unauthorized popping up. Grain of truth lost on those with sand in their shorts).

Straight down. China is always straight down. Do not attempt to reeducate anyone infatuated with digging to China.

Boy on beach making a sandcastle (released to PD by Fadhela/

Not a sandy hole, a sandy hold. Some dig the negative, and others, the positive.(PD/

We have done our best to tell Molly Malamute that China is not straight down under either Mediterranean Date Palms or the giant Mexican fan palm. 

She has restless leg syndrome. Caused by being stuck inside too long or from too little racing around the backyard track. Molly can engineer an almost two foot deep hole before you can scream “Nooooooo. Stopping digging to China” and lunge across the yard with a restorative shovel.

Her nervous energy drained, she sprints to the back door, clods flying…(Oh, we never manage to actually hit her with a dirt clod….but if thoughts could be dirt…)

Small mutters by staff leak out, “When I catch her again…”

“Yes” she exclaims as her digger paws are toweled off, “it is win-win-win: palms get their soggy gumbo aerated, paws get relaxed, and staff gets a full body workout.”

No permanent hole, no crime.

Vintage dressed children playing in sand at beach. 1900-1910. (John Oxley Lib., Queensland released to PD,

If you keep digging, crimmey, who knows what you’ll find. (PD/

Data holes leaking personal information have many people worried/angry since genetic ancestry sites, Facebook, and other online places’ backroom habits of collecting and selling gathered data has become too big an elephant in the room to ignore.  (Hey, companies have to make money somehow…)

Considering that,  it’s no surprise that is making a debut with big promises. 

From their Twitter: “The first data management platform powered by consumers that allows you to own, verify and sell your data. A wholly owned subsidiary of @SRAX_Digital.”

CEO Christopher Miglino during a business channel interview says their parent company has been in business around 10 years as an aggregator of personal data which they sold to “interested parties”. But then benevolently, they thought, “Why shouldn’t people own, manage, and be paid for their information?”

So was created. (Interview and articles here.)

Users fill out questionnaires, decide which of their information is for sale and decide exactly who can access/buy it.  Users even get to see who bought information. BIGtoken gets paid and the user gets paid.

Necessity is the mother of invention. And who doesn’t want to create a way to make easy money?

While making stuff isn’t always pretty, that’s where the lei artists of Hawaii are lucky: high art prettily tied together with past and present.

Hawaii Travel poster of girl holding lei in surf along beach (USPD. Diego Air and Space Museum/

Travel poster showing Hawaii’s environmental cleanup initiative?(USPD/

Always wondered, does Hawaii have a lei relocation program?

Seriously if all those people toss all those flower leis overboard hoping to lasso a return trip, there’s got to be a bit of litter-like results….some of the commercial tourist grade ones are bound not be biodegradable…

And all that string tossing among the waves: WWF&WCT? (What would fish and water creatures think?). Do the sea inhabitants actually have strands for a personal injury class action lawsuit?

Green Sea Turtles in surf at beach. Papailoa Bea Hawaii (Daniel Ramirez/

Wait! Remember “food, not food”? Always best not to get too tied up in your diet. (Hawaii’s Green Sea turtles.D.Ramirez/

Wonder if any of the flower garlands manage to float all the way to China.

Maybe when wind wins.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Sunset. North Shore Hawaii (Zach Dischner/

Normal tourist attraction: Sunset at North Shore, Hawaii. Volcanic eruptions, an unscheduled bonus. (Z.Dischner/


May 3, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Fowls, toes, goes

Ballerina folded in final bow on stage. (Дима Ловцов/

Last pose. Curtain close. (Дима Ловцов/

Do ballerinas turn into seagulls once they are done?

Both flock together with a great deal of tittering, skittering, and fluttering. Fancy fliers.

Apparently content to swoop in for dainty tidbits of offered fish or shrimp.

Wings outspread in a clear blues sky. Red-billed Seagull. (PD released by Danga/Daniel Gammert/WIki/

Flying past rehearsed choreography. (PD/

Perhaps delicate soles’ dreams of breaking free from earth’s drag finally awarded.


Ballerina Marina Semyonova. 1928 (USPD., artist life/

Ethereal, yet temporarily earth tethered.(USPD/

Final call’s leap into the widest stage.

Waiting on the wings

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Ballerina Marianela Nunez/Sleeping Beauty production, 2008 (Ruskin/

Searching among the every day props, they are mystics seeking by contemplation of perfection and self-surrender to find unity with the absolute – believing in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect…and the rest of us.(Ruskin/

Bodega Bay California Gull (PD released by Valoyspoeri/

Hearing otherworldly calls. (PD/


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