More Monday Happiness

Not-So-Sour Grapes

ruby-grapesIt was only a small bunch of grapes … a bunch of about 30 grapes.  But it surely fetched a big price at market!  The Japanese consider fruit to be a status symbol, though I am not sure what is meant by that … perhaps only the rich can afford to buy fruit in Japan?  If the price of these grapes is any indicator, then that is probably true!  These 30 grapes cost as much as almost nine years of groceries for my family of three!  The entire bunch sold for ¥1.1 million, or about $10,821!  That is about $360 per grape!  I could not eat a single grape, knowing it cost that much!  The grapes are of the variety known as Ruby Roman, and are grown in Ishikawa prefecture. To qualify for the Ruby Roman designation, each grape must weigh at least 20g (approximately .7 ounce) and have a sugar content of at least 18%. The first grapes went on sale in 2008, and prices have been rising ever since.  The buyer of Thursday’s bunch promised to dole out samples to a few fortunate patrons. “These are truly Ruby Roman gems,” bidder Takamaru Konishi from western Japan told the press. “We will display them at our store before giving our customers a sample taste,” he said.  He isn’t even going to sell them, but give them away??? I recently read that the governor of Tokyo resigned over an “expenses scandal” … I wonder if he used government funds to purchase grapes?

A Kitty Named Braille

Braille-kittenShe was but a few weeks old, the kitten would come to be called Braille, when she was discovered abandoned in Philadelphia last month.  When Braille was taken by a good Samaritan to the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT-Philadelphia), she had an upper respiratory infection so severe, it caused one eye to be crusted shut and the other to be bulging out of the socket. Staffer Sara Konnecke and her partner Erin Signor took Braille under their protective wings and saw to her every need, which included hot compresses, saline solution and tobramycin drops in her eyes every four hours, in addition to giving amoxicillin orally twice a day. Even so, it was uncertain whether Braille would survive.  One night, a particularly strong sneeze ruptured her right eye and both of her eyes had to be removed.  But Braille is a tough little gal … she did survive and is now recovering quite well.  Sara and Erin report that “She actually has an adorable little personality! She really loves to jump while she’s playing. She also really loves high places, or little spaces she can fit onto — like shoulders, the back of the couch or in the crook of our elbows while we walk around. She will most likely just be a regular, healthy, blind cat!”  Technically, she cannot be adopted until she is spayed and fully recovered, but Sara and Erin have fallen in love and plan to be her new forever-family!



A Clean Gecko

geico-gecko.jpgDid you know that the Geico Gecko has his very own  Facebook page?  Me either. He actually posts pretty often – a lot of selfies.  I like the Geico gecko.  But then, I like chameleons, geckos, and an assortment of critters, though I prefer they not invade my house, else I have to listen to my granddaughter attempt to shatter my eardrums.  Anyway, we all know that geckos can climb trees, walls, and most any structure, right?  Well, it appears they cannot get out of bathtubs.  Recently Liz Langley, a writer for National Geographic, found a gecko struggling to climb out of her bathtub, but without much success.  Poor little gecko.  So Liz, being a writer and all, naturally became curious and did some research into what makes a gecko stick, or not stick, to vertical surfaces.  Turns out that what makes gecko feet stick are tiny hair-like structures on their toe pads called setae (see photo below).  In addition, “Gecko foot tendons, which are attached to their skin, stiffen the feet at contact and allow even distribution of forces, thus providing the real strength of the gecko feet,” according to Duncan Irschick of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. However there are some surfaces that the little gecko feet simply will not stick to:  wet surfaces, Teflon, dirt, dust, oil, or very soft surfaces.  It makes for an  interesting read  if you have the time and inclination.


Gecko feet




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