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July 31, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Play ball and move it.

Heat-crazed August: strange returns.

The Sugar Land Skeeters ALPB baseball team has gone to the dogs with their new bat boy, Kovu, a Belgian Shepherd.

Smart, well behaved, and considerate, he knows where and when to go.

Skeeters bat dog Kuvo at work in his Parrothead shirt.(Twitter.@kovubatdog and @SL_Skeeters)

Skeeters bat dog Kuvo at work in his Parrothead shirt.(Twitter.@kovubatdog and @SL_Skeeters)

Better trained than some humans. (Many want to tell them exactly where to go)

  • “Deputies searching for teen that allegedly urinated on shelf at Walmart” (Porter, TX)
  • “Police seek woman who urinated on potatoes in Walmart” (Pennsylvania)
  • “Walmart shopper gargles mouthwash, pits in it, and returns to shelf” (California)

Obviously followers- not leaders – of the “bad attention is better than no attention at all” cult.  Dunderheads of the Facebook crowd.

Only 3 weeks until school returns. Will we make it?

All the bad press humans are getting should worry people. AI is slipping to snap up jobs everywhere.

First teams stuff fans inside huge machine operated buildings taking away that unique “boys of summer” feel. Then huge video screens show what’s happening because the fans are so far removed from the action. Now owners want to rip away the most basic cherished human element tradition of baseball: yelling at the umpire over his calls!

Skeeters' baseball players and umpires arguing. (Screenshot. click2houston)

The important human element: Drama and conflict. Makes the day and the conversations days afterwards. We want to encourage human conversations, right? (Screenshot:click2houston)

The “robot umpire” focuses on an electronic strike zone individualized for each batter based on their batting data. The Trackman system uses Doppler radar to track track pitches traveling through the strike zone, then quickly notifying the umpire by earpiece, giving him a strike, ball or “no-track” call. The umpire then announces the call given by robot, makes his own call on the “no-track” calls, and checked swings he sees.

Like or not, robot umpires are here to say for rest of season. A trial run for the big time.

Robot umpire at baseball stadium . Sugar Land Skeeters (screenshot. Click2houston)

According to the Skeeters’ new robot umpire, “Be there or be square.” (screenshot. Click2houston)

Can Meat Puppets be far behind?

“The eerie ‘forced exoskeleton rave’ where dancers’ bodies are controlled by robotic suits” and by the DJ controlling the music

Bet the players’ sports unions and agents are already wondering about the potential for “robotic enhanced” athletes…

Just how will salaries be determined or paid. After all, which is the important participant, the player in the suit, or the controller?

That Fortnight video game star might find actually himself in even higher demand in the sports world.

The next quandary would be who gets to post about it on Facebook/Twitter: the human manipulated, the controller, or the robot? Hey, AI has rights, deserved credit, and likes attention, too, right?

Other uses for robotic enhancement will naturally emerge. Maybe in the justice system.

If exoskeletons can control dancers even against their will, is there any chance Judges could mandate criminals or teens “too young to understand their actions and consequences” receive some time in robotic training suits?

You know what they say about repeating behavior establishes muscle memories and, then, new habits.

Nah. No chance. While social justice warriors might initially get charged with the idea of reforming individuals, shortly the ACLU would short circuit with “Cruel and unusual punishment”.

Dog and woman reporter, Charly Edsitty sitting together smiling (screenshot: abc13)

“You keep the robot umpire,” says Kovu. “I’d rather chat with the ABC13 news reporter, Charly Edsitty. The human touch is preferable.” (screenshot: abc13)

With a robot umpire, exoskeleton players, and ball dogs, is human fan attendance required?

Ask Siri or Alexa if the fridge has chilled the beer enough yet.

Fetch, puppy, fetch!

Nothing like sandlot games or the touch of a real live thing.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Dog in Hawaiian shirt. Bat dog Kova.(Sugar land Twitter (2SL_Skeeters)

Kova in his favorite game day shirt. Yes, he does go into the stands for hugs.(2SL_Skeeters)

July 29, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Suggestions unleashed

German Shepherd sprawled across lawn. (© Image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

How about a game of Twister? (© Image)

Dog must consider humans the most boring species ever.

People don’t run back and forth along the fence just for the fun of it

They don’t run and crash into each other, then get up, and laugh.

A perfectly fine day outside and where are the humans? Inside sitting. Tapping sounds with fingers.

What’s wrong with a little mud?

A little digging is perfect for restless paws.

 Making frogs behind pots jump. Win-win. Aerobic exercise for them, you get analytical skills .

All going to waste.

Everyone knows a good feet int the air roll in the grass solves a lot.

Well, countdown to afternoon walk. Will drag the dull humans back into real life then.

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way,” was probably first shared by a dog on a leash.

Annual performance review pending, people. (Expect an improvement plan)

Confided by The Molly and her house guest, Ella

 

July 28, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Under all

Sandy grit in the seat? No amount of squirming stops that yucky feeling.

But what if there was no option?

two teenagers. Volunteers for Undies for Everyone (Source: Twitter)

Nothing more basic than the basics. Ask volunteers like these.(Instagram.Undies for Everyone)

While many kids are shopping for school uniforms, supplies, backpacks, and new shoes, some children would be happy to just have clean underwear.

Luckily there’s an established organization (7 years) that wants to make sure every child has that brand new school year feel under it all with new underwear.

The group Undies for Everyone started locally, but has answered the call from victims of multiple hurricanes, displaced residents of the California wild fires, and needly school children in more and more locations.

Take a minute and think about it.

As they say: “Everyone deserved the basic dignity of clean underwear”

Poverty crosses all lines of race, creed, and color. 

Houston, considered a high-poverty area, so it isn’t a real surprise that 87 percent of HISDS students were qualified for federal free meals programs last year.

During the 2018-19 school year, “All HISD students were given free breakfast, lunch and dinner”

This year the need not only still exists, but will be even greater

The Houston area has 6 immigrant children shelters operated by the private contractors Catholic Charities and Southwest Key (So far – with more locations being scouted. 37 already in Texas last month. This is where the kids go once “processed” and out of Border Patrol custody.)

Unaccompanied minors are also being released to family members, sponsors, or foster homes when possible.

All of these children will be enrolled in local area schools as all students, regardless of immigration status, are entitled to a free education.

This is a massive concern nationwide: as over 300,000 immigrant children are expected to be enrolled in schools across the country this fall.

dog being rescued on back of horse during flood (Twitter feed: Undies for Everyone)

Little things do count.(Instagram)

The donation drives for backpacks, lunch boxes, shoes, uniforms, and school supplies for needy kids are already in progress here and may be starting up in your area, too.

How about getting organized to have ziplocks of Superhero or Princess undies along with the free school stuff?

Amy can help you get started in your area. (She’s a super hero to many here. She also has some funny stories – like the time a company donated a ton of undies, only the little girls weeped over the camo and Duck Dynasty prints when they wanted Frozen, Princesses, or pink. Nice thought, but lessons learned.)

Socks and underwear. Make a difference.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Poster for charity. (Twitter feed. Undies for Everyone)

(Instagram.)

July 26, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

The play’s the thing

Malamute ready to talk. (image: copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

In honor of the first day since early spring that it’s been under 90F, I warted my owners my staff rewarded me with some time with my buddies at the pool. (image:©)

Pack of assorted dog friends walking by salt water pool (Image: copyrighted, All rights reserved, NO permissions granted)

Now this is a pack of pups. The salt water pool is much more fun than the beach which has those stupid unruly waves that smack you in the face burning your eyes or rudely splat you in the butt. And none of that itchy sandy grit in the toes or nose or car on the way home. The newly installed artificial grass solved the muddy water issue. (Image:© )

Dogs ready to jump in pool (copyrighted, no permissions granted, all rights reserved

On a count of free, race ya’ to the other side. Last one in the pool is a show dog! (image ©)

Dogs in salt water pool. "Shake it all about" (Image: copyrighted, all rights reserved, NO permissions granted)

Of course no pawty is complete without the hokey-pokey’s “Shake it all about”. (Image:© )

Malamute Husky splashing in pool. (image: copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Be honest. I’m perfect for the beautiful girl fluffing and frolicking in the hair products commercial (image: ©)

Husky Malamute looking at sky while standing in pool (image copyrighted, no permissions gratned, all rights reserved)

What? Do I look like a frisbee catching dog? Try that Labrador over there. (image ©)

Miffed dog in pool (image: copyrighted, NO permissions granted, ALL rights reserved)

“Surely there’s been some mistake. No one said anything about bath and pedicure this morning. No, I’m not ready to get out….especially for a nail trim. (image: © )

Hope your weekend plays out perfectly.

Just, for your own sake, ignore the pumpkins stacked and the Santa’s already being unpacked. 

Do not go gently into that plight.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

seasonal decorations for fall (Hobby Lobby adv./hobbylobby.org)

Their marketing is making an early play for your attention . The scarecrows have been barely unpacked, but are already on sale at Hobby Lobby. They have to make room for Christmas: the Christmas aisles currently available are hardly room enough. Is it the fault of Daylight Savings Time? That started getting people to believe it was one time when actually it was another…(image Hobbylobby.org – but you can see it all for real in the stores…don’t step on the snowmen.)

The Santas are not waiting in the wings. Christmas is already perched all along their walls and spilling down the aisle. I was too stunned to take an actual store picture. Geesch, it’s 46 days to peak hurricane season, back to school just started this week, and what about Halloween and Thanksgiving? Ancient relative would say people are rushing themselves to death. (image Hobbylobby.org)

 

 

 

 

 

July 25, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Handling kids

 

Children running. (1930 movie pub. image/USPD pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Onward! There’s no way they can keep up with us!” And, sadly, they are right. (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

While the On and Off button location is still a mystery, it looks like someone finally came up with a way to handle kids. About time.

Parents are always looking for a way to steer them in the right direction, and this may be it.

Tackle Ball football harness. (image: tackleBar.com)

Of course it’s comfortable. But wondering why they put the release buckles where the kid could reach them.(image: tackleBar.com)

No more worries about glares from the self righteous (whose children are always perfect) as you put one of those leashes on your faster than a speeding bullet wonderkid. You’re got a handle on it!

Now you can tackle with confidence when that mischievous little one sprints yet again towards the street while you threaten frantically from behind.

Perfect for large rambunctious families with older children who will be thrilled to charge into sibling correction.

Equally valuable for those parents blessed with a future celebrity who is constantly practicing their Paparazzi avoidance skills by dashing and hiding among department store rounders.

Boys playing. (image tacklebar.com)

You can tell these boys are always running into trouble. Not only wearing handles, but somehow their parents also managed to get head and tooth protection on them before leaving the house. Impressive. (image: TackleBar.com)

Oh, OK, that’s all hilarious, but here’s the real deal:

TackleBar Football offers more contract than flag football, thus closer to the real thing with all the traditional football gear.

But with the harness, the game is safer and offers players a chance to build proper tackle form and technique before hitting the traditional style football when older.

So if a kid wants to play football, but doesn’t want to get clobbered or parents are worried about concussions, this might be a good option. See how it all works here

So what do you think?

Looks to me, if this version of the game doesn’t catch on, the company might seriously consider reconfiguring that harness with firmly attached handles and marketing it in the “Toddler Restraint Accessory Department.”

All for getting a grip.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

July 23, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Jump! Weighted response.

Your presence of mind, oh, actually something weightier is requested. Get on your hiking boots or athletic shoes (the bigger and heavier the better).

It’s been discovered that the answer was floating under us all along and we need to get things moving in the right direction.

With a few wild leaps of imagination of determination and combined weight (Maybe there was a divine plan and purpose for making people fat?) we can jar those continental plates loose, break along the dotted lines, and voilà, worrisome global problems solved. 

Woman super hero fighting monsters. (Planet Stories cover, March, 1952 (USPD pub.date, artist life(commons.wikimedia.org

Hot on the trail of climate change solutions.(USPD/commons.wikimedia.org

Climate change making some countries too hot for survival? We got a continental drift for that. 

Hey, follow the Presidential suggestion of “if you don’t like it, well, move it.”

It appears several of the tectonic plates, including both Africa and Australia, are already moving north so if we strategically shifted of weight here and there to direct drift, and look how cool it would be! Most out of the too hot zone.

As a bonus, those dangerous mass immigration routes across long distances ended.

Big business would love it. Companies building high speed internet networks guaranteeing access worldwide would find their work so much easier. Amazon could ship orders everywhere faster.

Airlines’ shorter flight routes would be applauded for reducing energy consumption and carbon footprints. Oh, OK there’s still the Antarctica tourism, but restricted access to protect fragile polar environment could limit that. Who would really need to go there anyway when everything else is downtown in Amasia?

Map or globe showing Amasia the possible Super Continents formed by continental drift (Image: earthSky.org)

Here’s Amasia, a possible Supercontinent formed by continental drift. Will school kids have a contest to rename the giant consolidated blob? (Image: earthSky.org)

Naturally, unless we get organized and hurry, someone, Congress, the EU, or the UN will insist on holding hearings and you know, once special interest groups get involved, it’s mess.

Everyone will drift in with their two cents and insist their reconfiguration is better. Pangea Ultima will have supporters

Real estate companies and property investors crave miles of waterfront property which always sells at higher prices. Location, location, location.

Marathon enthusiasts might cheer that long distance runs could really be long distance, yet start and end in the same place.

With a round the world paved sidewalk, you could actually see the world on a golf cart. No more airport security lines! Great for tourist industry.

Less intrepid sailors might enjoy the contained bathtub sailing of the shrunken Atlantic Ocean.

Are the other land-combo options?

Never a good idea to give people too many choices, but OK look here: “What will Earth’s next supercontinent look like”

map of possible future Super Continent, Pangea Ultima which is formed by the Atlantic ocean closing up and continents drifting to surround it. (Image: earthsky.org)

Introducing the lovely ring of Pangea Ultima.(Image: earthsky.org)

Get those continents into gear and into hyper-drift. There’s so little time to address climate change and this mass human migration

“… every few hundred million years, the continents combine to create massive supercontinents…”

What? Oh, surely we can speed that up. Ground is already shaking in California and Italy.

Everybody with odd numbered birthday go stand over there and everyone with even numbered birthdays stand over here…

Now on the count of three, all together now, jump!

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

man and woman fighting monsters from center of Earth (Planet Stories, Fall 1944 cover. USPD/pub.date, artist's life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Of course there are those who believe if humans tinker with things we do not understand like cracking open the Teutonic plates, there’s a risk of unexpected consequences. But hey, if people can build massive cities like New Orleans and Mexico City on what was once swamp waters and dam rivers so that S.California can have water and cities like Palm Springs or Vegas can have fountains and green lawns, what are the chances? (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

July 21, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Gone with the grain

door horizontally leaning against wall (© image All rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

Door stop: resting against the nearly stacked hurricane boards for windows if necessary.(© image)

Paper towels absorb spills and extras, then hold it all in without letting go a drop.

Do you think old front doors might do the same? Hope so.

 Restore/Habitat for Humanity happily picked up our old front door Saturday and gently carried it off to their retail outlet.

We tried to personally haul it over like we do most surplus building materials, but it was just too big.

We had to watch it load on to a truck instead – handed off strangers.

And the door shut. Like an unwanted kitten removed and headed to the pound.

At least it was spared seeing the house getting smaller and smaller as it was driven away.

I hope the door doesn’t take this personally – as a rejection. As being discarded, useless, unwanted. It’s not that at all. 

A tree died to make this door. We know that. Not something to be taken lightly.

We’ve refinished it twice – properly: taking it off the hinges, sanding, smoothing, staining. Giving it lots of time to dry indoors at the right temperature with the right humidity level. It’s quite a process.

But this is a harsh climate and even under a porch, the sun’s angle destroys quickly.

As it rained for months and is now close to 100F (not to mention pretty busy around here), we sought estimates for professionally refinishing only to discover that to have it done properly would cost more than a new door.

A new door. One with double panned glass that would really keep the winter chill and summer bake out. It really made sense, but…

This is a such great door: a stylish design with special abilities: beveled glass that tosses rainbows across walls.

The door has seen so many openings and closing. Wood absorbs as paper does, you know.

How could it not have gathered all the happy greetings, trick or treats, or Merry Christmases?

Tiny grubby hands asking for ball back; neighborhood cats rubbing hoping for a pet or snack; dogs pushing it open ready to go play.

Always there for the grand openings.

Never a slam or kick. Oh, one tiny accidental bump and broken glass section by a mover, but that quickly repaired good as new.

Life happens. And the door was there swinging with all of it. Must have soaked the good stuff right into it’s core, right?

This area with floods and hurricanes has seen so much property, homes, damaged.

We were sure our door could find a new spot – one where it was be welcomed and treasured.

After all, not just elegant, it calls rainbows.

Somewhere it’s just what’s is being dreamed of

Where there’s one who likes to work with wood and thrilled to spend a little time and effort bringing it back to former beauty, a rebirth.

With a family ready for a surprise and bit of unexpected wonder

With a home that it will help warm with its’ solidness and all the good times absorbed in the grain.

With a chance for a second chance.

A door they will adore as much as it does them.

Repurposed. And much relieved.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Vintage door leaning against wall in garage ( image, all rights reserved, copyrighted, No permissions granted)

Vintage door salvaged from a previous property that was built around 1940’s with a red tile roof and an actual basement which is a rarity in Houston. Once doctors’ offices and now a Montessori early childhood school. Complete restoration would have been too costly for us to afford, not to mention you’d need a pack of hounds to release to defend it if you live there. Always imagined this one would be refinished and placed indoors perhaps as an entrance to a study. Meanwhile, the door seems content and grateful to be cared for and given a quiet, safe place in its’ old age. And, yeah, the wrought iron bench piece to the right is yet another project in waiting.(© image)

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