A Smile and a Chuckle …

My friend Linda informed me last night that all my ranting this week has given her a headache and she wondered if I might take a brief break and write about some happier things this evening.  I do seem to have ranted a lot this week, and I’m not done yet, but I agree that we could all use a short break from my rants.  We need to smile, or even chuckle every now and again, else we develop frown lines in our faces and ulcers in our tummies.

The Case of the Missing Pine Cone

kc-park.JPGKings Canyon National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Fresno, California.  Kings Canyon National Park consists of two sections. The small, detached General Grant Grove section preserves several groves of giant sequoias, including the General Grant Grove, with the famous General Grant Tree, and the Redwood Mountain Grove, which is the largest remaining natural grove of giant sequoias in the world covering 3,100 acres and with 15,800 sequoia trees over 1 foot in diameter at their bases.  Giant Sequoia cones, just like pine cones, fall from the trees and the seeds provide food for the wildlife (squirrels, deer, bears and cougars, as well as a wide variety of birds).  What remains of the cones deteriorate and provide soil in an otherwise rocky terrain.  Since the cones are such an integral part of the ecosystem, it is actually illegal to remove them from the park!


pine-coneA young child, age unknown, took one of the sequoia cones home with him as a souvenir of his visit to the park, not realizing that he had broken the law, but when he later realized the error of his ways, he quickly made amends, sending the Sequoia cone back with a note of apology.  The child is unidentified, but two-thumbs-up to his or her parents, as they are obviously teaching their children the value of honesty!

Stealing from Mary Poppins?  Shame!

mary-poppinsOkay, so Mary Poppins had an umbrella that was pretty magical, thus she did not need a car.  But most nannies these days actually drive their cars to their place of employment.  Such was the case of a nanny who worked for a young couple in Washington, D.C.  Nanny uses a visitor’s pass to park in the neighborhood when she comes to care for the year-old boy.  In April, imagine Nanny’s surprise when she finished her daily shift, went to her car, only to find that her license plates were missing.  Two days earlier, she had found a note on her car saying “I know you are misusing this visitor pass to park here daily,” the April 4 note read. “If you do not stop I will report it, have your car towed and the resident who provided this to you will have his privileges taken away.”  Puzzled, Nanny’s employer had sent out a message on the community email group asking for the note’s anonymous author to contact them, hoping to clear the matter up, but no one came forward.  Nanny replaced the missing license plates, and likely thought no more about the incident, until … two days later when, once again Nanny finished her long day and returned to her car, only to discover … again, her license plates had gone astray!  Nanny once again replaced her license plates … this has got to be getting expensive!  And in late April, the thief struck yet again!  But this time, Nanny’s employers were ready for him … they had set up a video camera … a ‘Nanny-cam’, if you will, and the thief was caught red-handed!  Now for the best part … turns out this was no ordinary thief, not some auto thief stealing plates to put on stolen cars, but none other than Bryan Whitman, a top Pentagon official, in fact, the highest-ranking career civilian in the Defense Department’s public affairs office!  Mr. Whitman was promptly arrested and charged.  He has since been stripped of his security clearance, placed on administrative leave, ordered to pay $1,000 and serve 32 hours of community service, as well as 10 months of probation.  He is also ordered to stay away from Nanny and her employer.  I hope that somewhere in there, Nanny received restitution for all the money she had to pay to the Division of Motor Vehicles, plus her time and trouble.

Saving Froggie

froggie What would you do if you ran over a little tree frog with a lawnmower?  I’m willing to bet that most of us, this writer included, would not do what Min Tims from Mount Isa, Queensland did.  Ms. Tims had heard of a frog hospital in Cairns on the coast of Far North Queensland, Australia, about 500 miles from her home.  She contacted Rex Airways, who agreed to fly the frog. A group called Dogtainers helped coordinate and custom package the animal, and a courier met the flight 500 miles away in Cairns. And, finally, staff from an animal hospital called Frog Safe picked up the patient from there.

froggie2 Turns out that the frog was a green tree frog, a breed that is becoming increasingly rare in its native Australia.  The lawnmower blade had skimmed the shoulder blade of poor little froggie, and by the time he finally arrived at Frog Safe, the wound was seriously infected and much of the tissue was already dead.  Doctors administered pain meds and antibiotics, and a few days later they discovered why froggie had been out in the yard to begin with …. he was a sick little froggie with not one, but two intestinal parasites.  Once those were removed, froggie recovered with nothing more than a slight scar to show for his trauma!

It was actually a good thing that Min Tims ran over froggie, else he would likely have died from the parasites.  Who knew there was a hospital just for frogs?  As far as I can tell, Frog Safe is the only one of its kind in the world!  I did discover, however, when I was using Google to see if there were other such hospitals, that there is a novel titled Who Will Run the Frog Hospital by Lorrie Moore.  Frog Safe has an interesting and informative website (Frog Safe Animal Hospital) , in case you are interested in learning more!

Okay, folks, break time is over!  Hope you at least got a smile of two from these blurbs.  Now back to the ranting!  laugh ani2

4 thoughts on “A Smile and a Chuckle …

  1. Hi Jill.

    These are very cool stories and, like yourself, I hope that the nanny was compensated for her financial cost and anxiety associated with this innocent incident.

    As a sound artist and musician, I wonder what the ambience at the national park would be like with all the wild life and the cones falling to the ground. I should go to http://freesound.org and see if I can find recordings of the environment.

    Have a great weekend and I look forward to reading your next post. I bet we could have some interesting conversations over a cup of coffee or tea. lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never thought of the variety of sounds in a forest before … rather like the old ‘if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear …” Let me know what you find! And yes, I am positive we would have some interesting conversations! 🙂 And btw … coffee for me!


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