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April 4, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Sitting ducks

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Landed supervisory positions at the marina. ©

Two sitting ducks.

Quite smug with their luck.

No quackers. No Peeps.

Exhausted bunnies asleep.

On Easter weekend, two sitting ducks is enough.

(No silly clucks.)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Hop over to read something? Some believe there’s always a storm just before Easter as a reminder. 

“Easter ‘blood moon’ approaches: Third lunar eclipse of the Tetrad set to make the night sky glow red this weekend” (UK Daily Mail. Got some worried)

“Blood Moon with Total Lunar Eclipse & Eerie Biblical Message Rising Over U.S. Easter, Passover Weekend” (CBS San Francisco)

NASA. Astronomers. Science of the 5 minute total eclipse here.

NASA world map: Who saw the eclipse.

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Slow down, fool. This is a No Wake Zone, Sleepyhead. ©



April 3, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Chicken? Attwaters vs Downton Abbey

So alike from fluff to feather.

The Attwaters live in the country. The Crawleys’ Downton Abbey is a country estate.

Dowager Countess Violet/Downton Abbey.season 5/MAsterpiece/PBS screenshot.

“You’re chicken.”
“I most certainly am not chicken.”
(Downton Abbey season 5/Masterpiece/PBS screenshot.

Both belong to a disappearing class.

They both dress in keeping with their unique lifestyle. Wearing intricate designs.

There’s formal courtship – an elegant dance – done by those looking to partner.

At times the male members puff up with self-importance. Occasionally both may bellow and even stomp their feet to direct attention.

Each group is delighted whenever there’s a fox hunt.

Carson. Season 5"Downton Abbey"/Masterpiece/ screenshot

There is a proper way for things to be done.
(Season 5.Downton Abbey/Masterpiece/ screenshot)

Both have devoted staff.

The young of each are raised in nurseries, carefully coddled, while given training to prepare them for their place in the world.

Yet the Attwaters and those of Downton Abbey all face a changing world and are doing their best to adapt.

Male Attwater Prairie Chicken/Friends of the Attwater Prairie Chicken Refuge/ Save Our Chickens)

Is my feather on straight? This formal dance attire is tedious, but traditions must be upheld.(Male Attwater Prairie Chicken/Friends of Attwater Prairie Chicken Refuge/

And while neither wishes to talk about it, money is a common concern.

Will they be able to hold on to the land?

Will the land produce enough food?

Will the fire ants eat so much of the insects that the little ones starve?

Oh, OK the Crowleys have something other than fire ants eating away at them.

Dowager Countess seated."Downton Abbey"/Masterpiece/ screenshot)

Well now. One does as one must. (Dowager Countess”Downton Abbey”/Masterpiece/ screenshot)

Although, like the aristocrats, the Attwaters are chicken to ask for help even when in dire need.

  • Red Imported Fire Ants have been identified as the greatest threat next to habitat loss to a species that is one of the most endangered birds in North America.
  • The US Fish and Wildlife Service is using fire-ant bait for ant control on the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, but only part of the 10,000 acres is being treated.
  • The Coastal Prairie Partnership and the Friends of the Attwater Prairie Chicken Refuge have started a campaign to raise money to treat the rest. (Read more here.) It would also make the hiking trails nicer for visitors, too. End the ouchies!
Attwater Prairie chicken./Halvorsen/USFW/ fed employee/

That better not be a familiar feather in that hat or I’ll grouse about it. (Female Attwater Prairie Chicken/ USPD/

There is something to grouse about. (Both groups do grouse a bit now and then)

Not long ago there were only 44 birds left(2004) with a mere 1% of their coastal habitat remaining. Breeding programs increased the number to over 100 birds (2011) living wild in the preserve.

NASA’s Johnson Space Center hosts some of the breeding chickens in on their campus.

All eggs go to incubators at the Houston Zoo. Then after the chicks grow a bit, they go into chicken halfway houses to get used to the prairie before being turned loose on the preserve’s prairie.

It’s a good plan. I remember the early attempts.

They brought a batch of young well fed chicks back to the NASA campus and released them with great ceremony. Immediately the local hawks swooped in for lunch.

Things are working much better now.

It’s spring and the chicks of Downton and Attwater are both in fine feather.

Nothing cheap about either crowd.

But you’d expect nothing less from fine old families.

With a wing and a prayer this will be a good season for them both.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Searching for more?

Dowager Countess"Downton Abbey"season 4/Masterpiece/PBS/screenshot)

“I am totally confused as to why anyone would think we have anything at all in common. And I’m not grousing. (Dowager Countess”Downton Abbey”season 4/Masterpiece/ screenshot)


April 1, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Killing flowers.

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Boldly flirting and flaunting like incoming freshmen college girls. The old bags ignored.©


Ripped out by their crowns.

Screams must have been felt.

Confused wailings,

“You loved me then. Picked me out of the colorful crowd. Cuddled and cooed all the way home. Settled in comfortably. Happily. Then you lost interest. Looked to other beauties while I weathered storms and remained constant. A little beaten down by time, but revitalized with Spring. Hope of sweetness returning. 

Yet this brutal treatment. Tossing me aside. Replaced by a newer model. She’s so fresh. And here bagged, unquestionably dumped. Worse than abandonment. Completely destroyed.

With what energy left weakly pleading for an explanation, “Why? What did I do wrong?”

Hurriedly, the landscape crew stuffs them out of sight into black bags – quickly, roughly – to hush the guilt from this ruthless seasonal landscape change from velvet winter pansies to frilly spring pastels.

Killing flowers doesn’t seem right.

To invite them home, bed them, then rip them from your lives.

If it can be so easily done with defenseless ones who only bloom to please – can it be such a surprise if such cruelty and thoughtlessness is directed at other living things?

Thought. Connected? Maybe, maybe not.

But I hate killing flowers.

Love. Love not.

Could we likewise be weeded?

Hope’s knot.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

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Noticing, they’ve been noticed, they preen in the sun. Gossiping among themselves while watching the watchers – like teens at the pool in the summer.©

Usurpers. As smug as Anne Boleyn.

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

Old time is still a-flying

And this same flower that smiles today

Tomorrow will be dying.”

(Read Robert Herrick’s poem here.)

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Innocent, yet killers. ©


March 30, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Risky choice. Dog gone. Wheelies.

1929.William Boyd, Carol Lombard: "High Voltage" film screenshot/

“I warned you not to do it. Those bully parents have filed another lawsuit.”(1929/USPD/

Dangerous days, she should have known.

No one warned her or them, “Don’t toy with that or they’ll hound you for it”?

Sometimes over thinking only results in crumbs, shedding, and stepped on toes.

Snorts came immediately once the Oreo was out of the bag.

“Permission forms sent home for 6th graders to eat Oreos in science class” (In case Spring Fever caused you to miss it. From UK Daily Mail)

Overwhelmed by noise more earthshaking than the planned lesson. Poor teacher (It’s a wonder they show up every day.)

It wasn’t the food allergies that was a concern. It was the other risks:

  • The parents frantic they will be reported to CPS. Warned by a pediatrician their kid’s too large, parents are strictly watching the caloric intake of overweight child. (“That kid sneaks food any chance he gets.It’s not my fault. The school did it.”)
  • “Oreo” as a derogatory, possibly racist, slur. Said to insult African-Americans accused of  “acting white” or being “Black on the outside, white on the inside.” A favorite of low achieving students towards brainy ones, or by Black activists or politicians against those who oppose them. (While normally an insult traded between African-Americans, could this be seen as a type of insider racist bullying remark? You never know. Better safe than sorry. Crumbly lesson.)
  • “Holier than thou” philosophical parents who firmly believe food is not a toy. So many are hungry in the world, food should not be a plaything “What does it teach a child when food is treated so lightly?” No Cheerios for counting. No Fruit Loops for developing hand eye co-ordination while stringing necklaces. Not one M&M as reward for correct answers. Children are starving. (Doesn’t matter Pavlov was right. Find another way to motivate and educate. No fun.)

What if human thinking was simple: Good, bad, or not of any interest?

Like dogs.

May not be punching in analytical critical reviews of movies or tv series or ordering off Amazon, but much quicker to judge and take sensible action.

Dumb. Not interesting. Let’s go outside and chase squirrels. Your choice : four-legged or two. What’s the difference? Fun is fun.

And doing fun stuff is always better than sitting, staying, and doing no stuff.

Dogs just wake up and go. No questions why it is as it is.

So, run with this idea that’s been dogging me.

With leaps of technology happening – 3 D printers creating robotic hands for kids and wheel chairs that climb stairs and allow the user to stand up and see the world at eye level along with everyone else – why isn’t our federal government fulfilling the promise of ” leaving no one behind”?

How about stepping up and paying up for what is owed to those soldiers who gave so much and were injured in the process?

Companies have already shown what is possible and what may be possible.

  • Watch video “Chair allows wheel-chair bound to stand” Listen to how veterans’ lives can become more normal. (San Antonio Paralyzed Veterans of America event)
  • One of the vets said the best thing was to be able to stand up and kiss and hug his wife. 
  • How can the public not demand that simple act happen for as many as possible?

It would be terrific to see as much happiness on injured vets’ faces as on that dog.

Oh, it would cost money. 

There’s bound to be some available somewhere….

Playing with thoughtful bites.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Read more?

Lassie (Pal) and Campbell's Soup Director of advertising, fall 1954 (Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn. publicity photo/US public domain: publication date/no copyright/

“Hey, I’d like to talk with you about helping out some buddies of mine. They’re a good sort – dedicated, loyal, but fallen on some hard times. You know how it is. The dog that barks the loudest gets the budget money. Timmy can get himself out of the well. These guys need a bit of help.” (Lassie 1954 /USPD:








March 28, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Catting around like a hound.

If a cat can do it, so can you.

Unwrap that scrunched-up inner wild cat or wolf, that’s been hibernating all winter.

Reinvent yourself. Follow your whims. Only normal. It’s spring.

Spring Fever exists? Something does.

Dr. Rosenthal(National Institute of Mental Health) and Dr. Michael Terman, (Director of the Light Therapy Unit at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan) believe that humans experience not only psychological reactions after the spring equinox, but also real seasonal shifts in body chemistry.

Read more here: “Spring Fever, Down to a Science” by the NY Times.

But unable to focus on letters and punctuation marks?

Don’t apologize. It’s Spring (How convenient.)

Scientific American’s Yasmin Tayag created this one just for you.

So there you have it.

(Although sleep deprived parents struggling with small kids who refuse to go to bed while the sun is shining forever during Daylight Savings Time – those parents may be giddy for other reasons.)

Everyone outside. Nothing’s getting done anyway.

Go ahead. Wiggle toes in the grass.

Follow the butterflies.

Dance in the fountain.

Twist and shout out loud.

I suggest yelling out this list:  “polarizing, calculating, disingenuous, insincere, ambitious, inevitable, entitled, over-confident, secretive, will do anything to win, represents the past, out of touch, and tone-deaf.”

Then laugh long and loud. Big belly laughs.

And repeat.

No other option.


Because it must be Spring Fever that inspired Hillary Clinton’s “Super Volunteers” to threatened  The New York Time’s Amy Chozick that using any of these word to describe Hillary Clinton would not be tolerated and they will be “watching, reading, listening and protesting coded sexism.”

Seriously? How old are these volunteers, 12?

Did anyone go “Oooo, I’m so scared” or “Who made you the boss of me?”

Roll on the ground ridiculous.

(Are you sure it’s not an early April Fool’s joke?)

You can read more about the ruckus here (Washington Post) or here. (Huffington Post).

A little levity. Some fuzzy impulsive thinking. That’s spring for you.

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Time for flip flops, dining al fresco, and lots of laughter.©

Might as well smile and realize people are going to be a bit wacky.

Polarizing, calculating, disingenuous, insincere, ambitious, inevitable, entitled, over-confident, secretive, will do anything to win, represents the past, out of touch, and tone-deaf.

Sorry, couldn’t help it. Spring Fever, you know.

Just a blooming joke.

The cat made me do it!

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

1870. Cats by Louis Wain (1860-1939).Neuroscience Art Gallery:USPD.Artist life,

Cats always have the last laugh. (1870.Louis Wain/ Neuroscience Art Gallery/USPD:Artist life/






March 27, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

All fall down.

1960. Fred MacMurray. "My Three Sons".ABC tv/ cr/

An oddly unsettling picture.(1960.ABC/USPD/

Always held up his end of the deal (Made it look effortless.) Reliable. So dependable, he was pretty much invisible. Which is why it was such a shock.

He always weathered life’s rough waves without comment.

Always steadily holding back tides of fear.

Always standing shoulder to shoulder with others for unity and strength.

Until it hit. Hard.

He began to crack.

1976. David Birney as Serpico. NBC tv/ date, no cr/

Can’t afford a kayak, much less a racing yacht. (1976.NBC/USPD/


Realizing the lifestyle he witness daily sailing out in front of him, would always remain out of his reach.


Slowly sinking into the endless murk and mire. (Expecting no one to notice. But secretly wishing they would.)

Weary to the core.

The endless fog masked his distress. (Couldn’t they see?)

Physically isolated, his increasing disrepair overlooked. (Was he of such little importance?)

Under all the pressure, he collapsed. Unable to withstand another torrent washing over him.

Footing finally shaken.

Knees buckling, he sagged.

Reaching for that watery grave.

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No, a giant didn’t smush it down. One of the charter party boats didn’t run into it over the weekend. Heavy rains undermined the bulkhead from the back. All fall down. ©

The rest of the bulked up group looked on in disbelief.

Those on either side braced themselves.

Stretched almost beyond endurance to pull him back  – to keep him from slipping under.

If they lost him, their whole effort could be dragged down with him.

Two men. Danny Thomas. Bill Dana /"Danny THomas Show".1961.CBS/USPD:,no cr/

He didn’t look sloshed. Fell over anyway. Goes to show you just can’t tell about some poles. (1961.CBS/

Didn’t he know?

He was more than an upright fellow to them. A brother in arms.

It might be a long recovery process, but they would be with him all the way.

Once he was back on his feet and wrapped back into the community, they’d make sure he knew he wasn’t alone – ever.

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The dirt of life just weighed him down. Now they will have to haul over that barge with a crane on it to shore the pilings up. Then back fill where the water washed out the bank. Finally they will rebuild the boardwalk on top. The egrets, ibis, herons, seagulls, joggers, baby strollers, and dog walkers will be waiting. ©

They may be only bulkheads, but they aren’t knuckleheads.

United they stand. Divided they fall.

A Purposeful Life: holding back the tides for us all.

In recognition of pole position.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Related post: “Piling on. Pole positions” (with that barge….)

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Boardwalk’s better days – when the bulkhead pilings were feeling more supportive. ©

March 25, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Waiting for Wardrobe

1940. Lana Turner MGM studio publicity photo/

Classic, Dahling. (1940. Lana Turner/ MGM/

Throwbacks from an era of reserved grace, dignity, and elegance.

Patient without thought.

They stand.

Waiting for wardrobe.

While the world whirls around them at warp speed, they line up quietly like society ladies in fancy hats waiting to be seated for luncheon. Nodding. Quietly murmuring. Discreet glances out of corners of the eyes. Picture perfect smiles. Graceful long limbs suggesting a history with ballet. White gloves would not be out of place.

Lana Turner  portrait with  gloves and hat. 1951 promo photo/

Aloof. Mysterious. Untouchable. (Lana Turner. 1951/

Poised. Grace Kelly would approve.

Kelly, Bacall, Gabor, Hepburn, Tierney, Turner, Russell, Mansfield, Bergman, Swanson. Is that the style they desire to emulate?

Craving the old Hollywood Studio Star System that groomed, crafted, and guarded image?

Public image to be preserved at all cost. Skeletons firmly shackled in the closet. Camera flashes by the paparazzi always showing their best angle.

A wistful moment at the loss of spontaneity, perhaps. Oh, but what gained.

No wish to struggle with despair from missteps like modern celebs. No desire for the rawness of “let it all hang out” like Kardashians. Waving off the short life of reality shows.

Mystery intrigues. Sustains over time. Becomes classic, like Garbo.

Their choice made. They stand firm.



They wait wardrobe.

Ready to bloom when it is time.

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Not as reclusive as Garbo, this chorus line is eager to take their bows on stage. ©

Crepe Myrtles are local beauties which bloom all summer. Dormant in winter, these graceful trunks are being shaped into trees by trimming the tops to create forked branches. This particular variety will grow about 2 stories tall.

These pictures taken Monday show the chorus line waiting to sprout their spring greenery to like false eyelashes. By Tuesday morning some frilly bright green growth was already appearing. Soon to be on the Best Dressed list. Entrance stage left!

Getting ready for the grand show,

Phil, the Philosopher of the Hedge.

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Ziegfeld girls waiting for their fans to dance. ©


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