Jolly Monday — Autumn Leaves

falling leafGood Monday morning, my friends!  Come in … come in out of the cold!  Can you believe this?  A week ago, the temps were in the 90s and this past weekend the highs were in the 50s.  No fall again this year, straight from summer to winter!  So, tell me, did you have a great weekend?  Are you rested and ready to face the week ahead with gusto?  Nah, me neither.  But, I have found some fun things for us to start the week … I think you’ll find something to smile about here this morning!  So grab a snack and a cuppa whatever you prefer and come have a seat by the imaginary fire 🔥. 

treatscoffeejuice boxcoffee-teasprinkled donuts


Prank Caller?

Dr. Claire Simeone, director of the Ke Kai Ola Marine Mammal Center, a monk seal hospital in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, began receiving disturbing mysterious phone calls when she was away from the hospital on October 3rd.  She received 9 calls within a 15-minute period, all from a phone located in the hospital.  Concerned, she immediately returned to the hospital.  When she arrived, she found many confused employees, for several had gotten calls similar to Dr. Simeone’s.

Simeone said she contacted Hawaiian Telecom, which confirmed there had been “a bazillion calls” originating from the hospital but could not explain them or tell her from which line they originated.  Simeone put on her detective hat 🕵🏼 and went in search of the prank caller.  And she finally found him …gecko on phoneThat’s right … a gecko had somehow gotten into the facility and, using his tiny little paws, made hundreds of calls to people on the hospital’s contact list.  I do not know the gecko’s name, but I really, really like geckos and so I shall name him Ralph.  Ralph was safely relocated to an outdoor plant where he will no longer be able to call his friends … guess the party’s off, fellas!gecko-1


Who’s Da Fattest Bear?

Katmai National Park & Preserve in Alaska was asking Facebook fans to use their likes to vote on which of their bears, which have been putting on weight to prepare for their upcoming hibernation, is the fattest, in a contest that ended last Tuesday.fat bear weekFacebook users were asked to choose between “Round-Rumped 32 Chunk” and “The Jelly-Bellied Jumbo Jet, 747 (Bear 747 for short)”. The winner of the showdown would then go on to the finals and face down a bear known as “409 Beadnose”fat bear week-2Turns out that Bear747 was the one who went to the finals …Bear 747.jpgBut 409 Beadnose was able to hold on to his title … albeit bearly … 🤣 🤣 🤣

bear finalists


Dr. Seuss Runs Late …

It was 1998 when Vera Walker of Orlando, Florida, ordered a set of Dr. Seuss books for her four-year-old granddaughter.  The books finally arrived just last month … Vera’s granddaughter is now 24 with a 4-year-old son, Cameron, of her own!  The postal service claims the package was found in an old, abandoned mailbox.  The nice thing about Dr. Seuss books is they never go out of style and Cameron will get every bit as much pleasure as his mom from them.Dr Seuss books-2.png

Rewind twenty years to an ad for books in the mail.

And a grandmother, with a smile, and an eye for a sale.

“I ordered some Dr. Seuss books for my granddaughter, and they never came,” Vera Walker, a great-grandmother described.

A box that would not, could not get here.

Not in a car, not in a year!

Twenty times over it failed to show.

Until one day it was ready to go!

“And when I opened it up and saw the date – it was October 1998,” said Walker.

How and why is certainly weird.

Inside an old mailbox is where it appeared.

A mystery that just goes to show, there’s truth in “Oh The Places You’ll Go.”

Timeless at twenty, the books have survived.

Bought for a girl at four, with a son now almost five.

Perhaps he’ll start with just a little bit.

Little words like “if” and “it.”

So one day he’ll be able to read big words, too.

Like Constantinople and Timbuktu.

That is a story no one can beat.

And to think that it all happened on Mulberry Street.

(No, I did not write that, and I’m not sure who did, but I’m guessing David Belleville, the writer of the article.)


The Greatest Skater – Benny!!!

Meet Benny, a 5-year-old yellow field lab who was rescued from a shelter in Utah where he was on the schedule to be euthanized.  A Las Vegas rescue group saved him, and days later, a woman named Cheryl DelSangro adopted him.  Now, Benny leads a full life, thanks to Cheryl, and he has a new talent … just watch (Gronda, get your tissues!)

Thnif.  Didn’t that just make you want to get out there on the ice and give Benny a big ol’ hug?


falling leafAnd that’s all I’ve got for today, my dear friends!  Please remember to share those gorgeous smiles with others who didn’t get to see Benny!  I’ll leave a few extras by the door for you to share.  Keep safe and have a wonderful week!!!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!jolly

Monday-basket-smiles

toon-Maxine

I can sooooooo relate!!! 😼 😺 😾 😿 🙀 😹

Who Knew?

I am, as one journalist wrote, Kavanaughed-out.  I am working on a couple of other projects, one about yesterday’s Nobel Peace Prize awards and another about the Chicago police officer who was found guilty of murder, but neither are close to completion.  And so … this post is rather a second ‘Saturday Surprise’ with a couple of stories that made me smile, and I hope will make you smile also.


Drunken birds …

The town of Gilbert Minnesota had a population at the last census in 2010 of just 1,799 people.  In 2016, only 1,790 were counted.  All of which has no relevance whatsoever to today’s story, but I found it interesting that they lost 9 people in just 6 years.  Anyway … Gilbert is having a bit of a problem at present with … birds!

Drunken birds, to be more specific.  It seems that an early frost (frost???  It’s 86° here today!!!) caused the berries on trees to ferment earlier than usual.  Wait … I didn’t know berries fermented at all, did you?  Hmmmm … gives me an idea. Anyway, back to the birds … it seems that with their very small bodies, they aren’t able to handle their alcohol and … well, they’ve been getting drunk.  Now, it’s hard enough to walk when one has had a bit too much fermented stuff but imagine trying to fly!

Gilbert’s Police Chief Ty Techar has a sense of humour …drunken birds.pngOne resident commented on Facebook, “This explains why I have hit 7 birds with my car this week.” I’m biting my tongue on that one.

The town may want to consider rounding up the birds and sending them to Portland, Oregon, where the Audubon Society operates what’s essentially a drunk tank for birds.  According to Bob Sallinger, the conservation director for the Audubon Society of Portland …

“We get in birds into our Wildlife Care Center in the fall that are drunk on fermenting berries. Sometimes they are picked up after crashing into windows. Others are just found disoriented on the ground. We will hold them in captivity until they sober up and then set them free.”

The same thing happens in Canada’s Yukon Territory, where animal welfare officials will gently place intoxicated birds in small hamster cages until they’re ready to fly again a few hours later.  And in 2011, police were called to investigate the suspicious deaths of 12 blackbirds at an elementary school in Britain, but a necropsy revealed the birds had not been the victims of foul play, but had just eaten too many fermented rowan berries.

Who knew?


Counting squirrels …

If you happened to be in Central Park (New York City for any who may not know) today, you might have noticed lots of people carrying clipboards, searching for … squirrels!  What, you ask, are they doing?  Well duh … it’s time for the annual squirrel census, of course!  Well, alright … so maybe it isn’t an annual event, as this is the first one. squirrel census.jpgNow the big question that is burning a hole in everyone’s mind is … WHY???

Because a writer by the name of Jamie Allen (3rd from the left in the above photo) is fascinated and wants to learn more about the Eastern grey squirrel, aka Sciurus carolinensis.  And frankly, after reading the article in the New York Times, so do I!

For example, did you know that squirrels “lie,” fake-burying nuts when other squirrels are watching?  Or that they appear to sort nuts by size, type and possibly nutritional value? squirrel.jpgLest you think of this as a frivolous venture, Colin Jerolmack, the chairman of New York University’s department of environmental studies, is requiring the graduate students in his “Animals, Culture and Society” class to participate.

“Observing animal behavior at close range may affect the way people think about the environment around them.”

squirrel sighter badgeThe sighters are not merely counting squirrels. Their tally sheets ask them to chart their subjects’ activities (running, chasing, jumping, eating, foraging); coat color (gray, black, cinnamon, white); and vocalizations, known to squirrel scientists as kuks (the familiar clicking), quaas (which Mr. Allen described as “a sort of ‘eey-yah,’ what-are-you-doing-here predator warning”) and moans.

This isn’t the first time counting the squirrels in Central Park has been considered or tried, although never in such a systematic way. In 1958, a mammalogist at the American Museum of Natural History, Richard Van Gelder, threatened to do a census in which he would squirt the park’s squirrels with dye to track them, but did not follow through. In 1974, a New Yorker writer named Eugene Kinkead conducted an informal one-man survey. He estimated the squirrel population at over 400.

The official results of the census will be published next spring … I’m on pins & needles, aren’t you? And hey … those of you who may live close enough … they are still accepting volunteers, and the project is expected to last for another two weeks, if you’re interested!

Who knew?


And that, folks, is the end of that.  I hope you are having a wonderful weekend and enjoyed this bit of little-known and fairly useless trivia!

Saturday Surprise — Weighing In

emocleW ot eht DNEKEEW  …

Let me try that again …

Welcome to the WEEKEND!  I seem to be a bit dysfunctional this morning … a bit backward.  But anyway, finally we have survived the muck of the past week and can now take a few deep breaths and try to find some fun in our lives, yes?  You guys have big plans?  No?  Me either … going to try to get some spring cleaning done on Saturday while daughter Chris has a band commitment out of town.  I’m in the mood to minimize, so I may need to call for a Goodwill truck to come pick up what I pitch!

A few nights ago, I came across a series of fun pictures titled How to Weigh Baby Animals, and I saved it for today, because a) you know how I adore critters, and b) it is the perfect way to put a smile on your faces to begin the weekend!

There are a couple of ways to weight a baby cheetah …

 

It takes a special kind of person to weigh a baby giraffe … one that doesn’t mind getting on the scale himself!giraffe

This little guy doesn’t need any help …

hedgehog.gif

Here’s how the baby jaguar and koala get weighed …

 

The koala is heavier than he looks!  And how about weighing a baby lemur … isn’t he too adorable?

lemur

And how about weighing a baby meerkat and orangutan?

 

That orangutan looks about like I feel this morning!  Are you smiling yet?  You know I just had to include a baby panda, didn’t you?

panda

He’s just a-chillin’ … not worried ’bout nuthin.  This baby penguin looks a mite confused, but I am glad I’m not the one to have to lift that baby porcupine in and out …

 

This red panda doesn’t seem to mind too much …

red panda

And the river otter seems to think the whole thing is pretty funny …

river otter

The man weighing this baby zebra looks like under the smile he is in some pain … I think I may see why …

zebra

And last, but not least … how does one weigh a baby aardvark???  Watch …

I really, really hope I’ve helped bring a smile to your face this morning.  Now go out there and have a wonderful weekend, okay?weekend

Jolly Lunes!!!

Hey friends!  Welcome!  It is that time of the week again, isn’t it?  How was your weekend?  We actually had sunshine and blue skies, after a 10-day stretch of rain, but I almost feel guilty, for poor Keith has been besieged by wind and rain from Hurricane Florence.  If any of you guys have some extra sunshine to send him, I’m sure he would appreciate it.  I sent him some earlier. 🌞

Well, since it’s the start of a new week … oh, and by the way, autumn begins on Saturday, so don’t forget to mark your calendars for this all-important festive event!  Anyway, as I was saying, since it’s the start of a new week, let’s start off on the right foot … or in my case, the left one, since I am left-footed … and have a bit of a chuckle, shall we?  Grab a snack and a cup of your choice!  And yes, Benjamin … I remembered the donuts with sprinkles and the juice box — do I get another gold star?  ⭐


I’ve heard it said that there is nothing wrong with the education system in the U.S., despite the fact that our world-wide literacy rankings have dropped.  I beg to differ:

spell-Cincinnati-signspell-disney-epcotspell-Hard-Rock-guitarspell-metrospell-parking-signspell-schoolspell-school-entrancespell-SyracuseI’m sorry, but there is no excuse … simply NO EXCUSE!!!  Surely more than one person looks at these signs during the manufacturing process, and then somebody puts them up.  Now, granted I am not the best speller in the world, but every program I use has some form of spellcheck. If that fails, there is Grammarly.  And if all else fails, my friend Herb edits all my blog posts, post-facto, and catches my errors.  Shouldn’t people being paid for producing signs take at least as much care with their work?  Sheesh.


Sergio Odeith is a Portuguese street artist, and his work will knock your socks off!  Sergio started creating graffiti in the 90s when it was first gaining prominence in his country. He started with simple sketches on street walls and train tracks but then advanced into large-scale murals. He continued to evolve and adopted the obscure signature style, which he refers to as “sombre 3D.” This technique combines angles, lines, and shadows to create an extraordinarily life-like effect. In 2005 he gained international recognition for his anamorphic art series, which looked like something out of a science horror fiction flick, with giant spiders appearing to climb off the walls at helpless passers-by.

Not surprisingly, the Lisbon-based muralist has since been asked to design pieces in Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, Charleston and Lexington and has even received business contracts with major corporations like Coca-Cola, Samsung, and Shell.  Take a look for yourself …

Sergio-1Sergio-2Sergio-3Sergio-4Sergio-5Sergio-6


You all know I love knock-knock jokes, and I haven’t done any for several months, so … humour me:

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Amish!

Amish who?

You’re not a shoe!


Knock, knock.

Who’s there

Amish

Amish Who?

Aw How sweet. I miss you too.


Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Cows go.

Cow’s go who?

No, silly. Cows go Moo!  (Yes, I know I’ve used this one before, but it’s one of my favourites, rather like the next one …)


Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Dwayne.

Dwayne who?

Dwayne the tub, I’m dwowning!


Okay, okay … I quit with the knock-knock jokes!  I shall end with a funny animal video, ‘cause one of my readers is always disappointed if there isn’t a cute animal video …


Well, folks, I have a ton of work to do today.  The apartment complex is giving me incredible excuses as to why it may be several months before they can fix my dishwasher, but I’m to continue paying my rent, so I will be doing some legwork today with BBB and an attorney.  And, Miss Goose keeps mentioning something about decorating for Hallowe’en, so that means digging through my closet to see if I can find Hallowe’en decorations, dusting furniture, packing away some everyday what-nots, etc.  Please remember to share your smiles with people you see today … and every day.  No use keeping them to yourself, for they are one of those unique things that multiply when shared.  Keep safe and have a great week!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa jolly(and Jolly!)


toon-Maxine

This one’s for you, Hugh!  I knew you’d appreciate the reminder!

funny-1funny-2toon-1

Saturday Surprise — Jolly Takes Over

Hey Y’all!  It’s me, Jolly!

jollyGwammie got stuck in a wabbit hole dis week, and she tol’ me since I keep disappearin’, it’s my turn to write Saturday Surprise ‘cause she ain’t here to write it.  I tol’ her not to eat so much an’ she wouldn’t get stuck … but does she listen?

So anyways … I found dese funny aminals tonite an’ I bet you’ll laugh!  I even maked up some o’ da captions!  Captions is words at da bottom o’ da picture, in case ye dinna know.

Owl

Whooooo … Me???

lions

Not tonight dear, I’ve got a headache

mooses

So there!  pbthhhhh

komodo.jpg

“Shall we dance”, said one komodo dragon to the other

bear

I know it’s in here somewhere …

lemur

You DON’T SAY!!!

squirrel

Step away from the nuts and nobody gets hurt … Step BACK!!!

deer.jpg

I’m WAAAAAY taller den you!

owls

Stop me if I’m boring you …

deer-2.jpg

WHOA Dude!

bird

I’m so ashamed …

elephant

Ha ha ha ha ha … they’ll never find it here!

jollyDat’s all I got today.  I hope you liked it, but if you dinna, will you tell Gwammie that you did so I don’ get in twouble?

** Note to readers:  All photos are finalists in the 2018 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, sponsored by the Born Free Foundation, a wildlife conservation organization.

 

 

Saturday Surprise — Animal Myths

Good morning and welcome to the weekend!  In all honesty, I almost took a pass on Saturday Surprise this week, for my humour is dark and I wasn’t in the mood for light-hearted or humorous.  But then, I came across this file I tucked away a week or so ago for future use, and it seemed perfect for this morning.  The topic, of course, is animals, but not just cute little animals.  Today we shall look into some of the ‘myths’ surrounding animals, like an elephant’s memory, or lemmings suicidal tendencies, and find out, as Paul Harvey used to say, “… the rest of the story”.

The story, from ThoughtCo, is titled …

12 Animal Stereotypes and the Truth Behind Them

… but in the interest of time and space, I am only sharing 7 of the 12.  However, you can see the whole lot here if you feel so inclined!


Are Owls Really Wise?OwlFolks think owls are wise for the same reason they think people who wear glasses are smart: unusually big eyes are taken as a sign of intelligence. And the eyes of owls aren’t only unusually big; they are undeniably huge, taking up so much room in these birds’ skulls that they can’t even turn in their sockets (an owl has to move its entire head, rather than its eyes, to look in different directions). The myth of the “wise owl” dates back to ancient Greece, where an owl was the mascot of Athena, the goddess of wisdom — but the truth is that owls aren’t any smarter than other birds, and are far surpassed in intelligence by comparatively small-eyed crows and ravens.


Do Elephants Really Have Good Memories?elephant“An elephant never forgets,” goes the old proverb — and in this case, there’s more than a bit of truth. Not only do elephants have comparatively bigger brains than other mammals, but they also have surprisingly advanced cognitive abilities: elephants can “remember” the faces of their fellow herd members, and even recognize individuals whom they’ve met only once, briefly, years before. The matriarchs of elephant herds have also been known to memorize the locations of watering holes, and there is anecdotal evidence of elephants “remembering” deceased companions by gently fondling their bones. (As to another stereotype about elephants, that they’re afraid of mice, that can be chalked up to the fact that elephants are easily spooked — it’s not the mouse, ​per se, but the sudden wriggling movement.)


Do Pigs Really Eat Like Pigs?pigWell, yes, tautologically speaking, pigs really eat like pigs — just as wolves really eat like wolves and lions really eat like lions. But will pigs actually gorge themselves to the point of throwing up? Not a chance: like most animals, a pig will only eat as much as it needs in order to survive, and if it does appear to overeat (from a human perspective) that’s only because it hasn’t eaten for a while or it senses that it won’t be eating again any time soon. Most likely, the saying “eats like a pig” derives from the unpleasant noise these animals make when chowing down their grub, as well as the fact that pigs are omnivorous, subsisting on green plants, grains, fruits, and pretty much any small animals they can unearth with their blunt snouts.


Are Lemmings Really Suicidal?lemmingsTrue story: in the 1958 Walt Disney documentary “White Wilderness,” a herd of lemmings is shown plunging heedlessly over a cliff, seemingly bent on self-extermination. In fact, the producers of a subsequent meta-documentary about nature documentaries, “Cruel Camera,” discovered that the lemmings in the Disney picture had actually been imported wholesale from Canada, and then chased off the cliff by a camera crew! And we thought Disney was kind??? By that point, though, the damage was already done: a whole generation of movie-goers was convinced that lemmings are suicidal. The fact is that lemmings aren’t so much suicidal as they’re extremely careless: every few years, local populations explode (for reasons that haven’t quite been explained), and rogue herds perish accidentally during their periodic migrations. A good — and extremely miniaturized — GPS system would put the lie to the “lemming suicide” myth once and for all!


Do Crocodiles Really Shed Tears?crocodile.jpgIn case you’ve never heard the expression, a person is said to shed “crocodile tears” when he’s being insincere about the misfortune of someone else. The ultimate source of this phrase (at least in the English language) is a 14th-century description of crocodiles by Sir John Mandeville: “These serpents slay men, and they eat them weeping; and when they eat they move the over jaw, and not the nether jaw, and they have no tongue.” So do crocodiles really “weep” insincerely while they eat their prey? Surprisingly, the answer is yes: like other animals, crocodiles secrete tears to keep their eyes lubricated, and moisturization is especially important when these reptiles are on land. It’s also possible that the very act of eating stimulates a crocodile’s tear ducts, thanks to the unique arrangement of its jaws and skull.


Are Sloths Really Lazy?sloth.jpgYes, sloths are slow. Sloths are almost unbelievably slow (you can clock their top speeds in terms of fractions of a mile per hour). Sloths are so slow that microscopic algae grows in the coats of some species, making them virtually indistinguishable from plants. But are sloths really lazy? No: In order to be deemed “lazy,” you have to be capable of the alternative (being energetic), and in this regard sloths simply haven’t been smiled on by nature. The basic metabolism of sloths is set at a very low level, about half that of mammals of comparable sizes, and their internal body temperatures are lower as well (ranging between 87 and 93 degrees Fahrenheit). If you drove a speeding car straight at a sloth (don’t try this at home!) it wouldn’t be capable of getting out of the way in time — not because it’s lazy, but because that’s how it’s built.


Are Hyenas Really Evil?hyenaEver since they were cast as the heavies in the Disney movie “The Lion King,” hyenas have gotten a bad rap. It’s true that the grunts, giggles and “laughs” of the spotted hyena make this African scavenger seem vaguely sociopathic, and that, taken as a group, hyenas aren’t the most attractive animals on earth, with their long, toothy snouts and top-heavy, asymmetrical trunks. But just as hyenas don’t really have a sense of humor, they aren’t evil, either, at least in the human sense of the word; like every other denizen of the African Savannah, they are simply trying to survive. (By the way, hyenas aren’t only negatively portrayed in Hollywood; some Tanzanian tribes believe witches ride hyenas like broomsticks, and in parts of western Africa they’re believed to harbor the reincarnated souls of bad Muslims.)


And that is all I’ve got for today, folks!  I hope you all have a terrific weekend!happy dog Saturday

Saturday Surprise — Puffins (& beer)

Hello friends!  Thanks for dropping by before starting your weekend!  Today is the first day of September already!  Can you believe it?  Where has this year gone?  Here in the U.S., it is a 3-day weekend, for Monday is Labour Day.  My Iraqi friends asked me last week, “What is this Labour Day”, and I had to explain that while it was once a day to honour the working people, now it is pretty much just an excuse for a beer-fest.  Then, of course, I was left to explain “beer-fest” to people for whom alcohol is forbidden.  I fall into these traps often … you’d think I would learn, yes?

I know you all have big weekend plans, but I am still taking you on a short journey today … I promise to have you back in plenty of time to carry on with all your weekend plans, but this is just the perfect weekend to make this little jaunt!  Well … actually it’s not all that perfect, because where we are going is to be rainy and the high temps only around 55° F, or 10° C.  But still … we’ll have fun, I promise.  We can pick up some light jackets along the way … apparently the heat wave missed Iceland.  Oh … didn’t I tell you?  Yes, we are traveling to Iceland!Iceland-forecastWhat do you mean, “Why on earth are we going to Iceland?”  We are going to Iceland to see … PUFFINS!!!  You know … puffins … cute little birds … look sort of like miniature penguins?  Oh, c’mon … it’ll be fun … just hope onto the Filo-mobile and let’s go!

The puffin population in Iceland has been decreasing in recent years.  Though some puffin colonies are prospering, in Iceland, where the largest population of Atlantic puffins is found, their numbers have dropped from roughly seven million individuals to about 5.4 million.  The reasons are many:  fickle prey, overfishing, pollution, and climate change, which is diminishing food supplies like the silvery sand eels, which dangle from the parents’ beaks as they bring them to their young.  In addition, since they are considered to be very tasty, they are hunted as game birds.  No, we will not be trying them!

We have arrived, so let us check out some puffins, shall we?puffin-2.gif

The puffin is not the official bird of Iceland – that would be the gyrfalcon.  But puffins get far more attention, especially from tourists.  Did you know that puffins are only on land for about four months a year?  Right … they will soon be taking themselves back out into the cold Atlantic sea, where they will spend the next eight months or so hunting for fish.  They really only return to land in the spring in order to mate and nest.

Puffins-kissing

Awwwwwwww

Puffins choose partners for life, and while on land, they even share parenting duties, but once they go back out to sea, they go their separate ways until next spring.  I’m pretty sure that is the male’s idea.

puffin-chick

Puffin chick

Puffins are great little swimmers and divers, but when it comes to flying … meh, not so great.  So, watching them take off and land is rather hilarious!

puffin-landingAnd did you know that their gorgeous, colourful beaks aren’t always so colourful?  Puffins molt during their time at sea and shed all the colourful portions of their beaks as well as the black markings around their eyes in the process.

puffin-fish-in-mouth

Lookee what I caught!!!

The joint of their beaks are notched so that the birds can hang on to their catch even while diving back in, open-mouthed for more. One little puffin can carry up to 10 fish in its muzzle at any one time!

Okay, folks … it’s getting downright chilly here, and the rain has soaked through to the skin, so I think it’s time to bid adieu to the puffins.

puffin-1puffin-2Before we head back home, though, there is one last stop I want to make.

Welcome to Akureyri, home of the giant beer can! beer-can-1.jpg

From 1915-1989, beer was banned in Iceland. Although it seems completely counter-intuitive compared to the image of the beer and mead-swilling Viking sailor, the malted beverage was outlawed for most of the 20th century. Today, Iceland has begun to embrace the drink, and a giant beer can at the Viking brewery in Akureyri marks that change.

beer-can-2.JPGStand over there … facing the beer can, to the left, near the corner of the building.  See that pipe?  No, no, no Hugh … do NOT drink what’s coming out of the pipe … they say it isn’t potable, but its sole purpose is to add a nice beer smell to the area.  Okay guys … I’m ready to head home now, where the temps should be in the high 70s and the ice in my hair can melt!20180419_141127.jpgWhew … this is better!  Okay, folks … keep safe and have a great time this weekend!

Saturday Surprise — Strange Animals

Hello friends and welcome to the WEEKEND!!!  I know, I know … I’m retired, and every day is a weekend, or so you think.  Let me clue you in … being retired is hard work!  I swear I work harder now than I did when I worked and got paid for it! This week has been the week of mishaps.  First, while I was cleaning the intake vent to the furnace, using the hand vac, it decided to eat my hair, travel up to my head and smack me in the cheek, right under the cheekbone.  Then, the next day two of our Significant Six got into the worst fight, wouldn’t separate just by me yelling and spraying water, so Miss Goose and I were injured in the process of separating them.  Then today, as I was trying to get a new furnace filter from the storage rack upstairs, my hand slipped, and I ended up with a two-inch gash on the top of my wrist.  No, I am not typically accident-prone, but this has just been one of those weeks.  I’m glad the weekend has finally arrived, for I was considering, upon the suggestion of a friend, wrapping myself in bubble wrap!

Remember last September when one of my Saturday Surprise posts featured really strange and unusual animals? I enjoyed doing that one (you know I love anything with animals!) and you guys got a kick out of it, so last night I went in search of some more strange critters and guess what?  I found some!


Now this first guy reminds me of my late Aunt Mildred who always wore entirely too much lipstick … bright red, of course, and always insisted on giving everybody big kisses!

red-lipped batfish

Red-Lipped Batfish

Found on the Galapagos Islands, this fish is actually a pretty bad swimmer, and uses its pectoral fins to walk on the bottom of the ocean.


I’m pretty sure I would not like to run into this critter while paddling about in the sea …

goblin shark

Goblin Shark

This rare shark is sometimes even called a “living fossil”, and “is the only extant representative of the family Mitsukurinidae, a lineage some 125 million years old.” Goblin sharks inhabit around the world at depths greater than 100 m (330 ft), with adults found deeper than juveniles. Given the depths at which it lives, the goblin shark poses no danger to humans.


I swear this one does not look real, but looks like a creation from the mind of an artist or sci-fi writer. I like bugs fine, but if I saw this one in my vicinity, I don’t think I would stop to chat.

umbonia spinosa

Umbonia Spinosa

These thorn bugs are related to cicadas, and use their beaks to pierce plant stems to feed upon their sap. Their strange appearance still poses many questions to scientists.


And you thought you were having a bad hair day?

Streaked Tenrec

Found in Madagascar, Africa, this small tenrec is the only mammal known to use stridulation for generating sound – something that’s usually associated with snakes and insects.


I love shrimp, but … I really don’t think I would want to eat one of these.  However, they certainly are colourful!

mantis shrimp

Mantis Shrimp

Also called the “sea locusts“, “prawn killers” and even “thumb splitters”, this is one of the most common predators in tropical and sub-tropical waters; little is known about them, however, because of how much time they spend hiding in their burrows.


This one is definitely not for snuggling!

thorny dragon

Thorny Dragon

Coloured in camouflaging shades of desert browns, this lizard has a “false” head, which he presents to his predators by dipping the real one.


Isn’t he just too cute?

naked mole rat

Naked Mole Rat

There are many different kinds of mole rats. The best known is probably the naked mole rat, whose hairless, tubular, wrinkled body makes it appear a bit like a tiny walrus—or perhaps a bratwurst with teeth.


You’ll never guess who this big guy is related to …

dugong

Dugong

These enormous vegetarians can be found in warm coastal waters from East Africa to Australia, including the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Pacific. Dugongs are related to manatees and are similar in appearance and behavior— though the dugong’s tail is fluked like a whale’s. Both are related to the elephant, although the giant land animal is not at all similar in appearance or behavior.


How ‘bout a little kissie?

star-nosed mole

Star-Nosed Mole

If you were to come face to face with a star-nosed mole, you might think its head had been replaced by a tiny octopus.  Though nearly blind, this mole is astonishingly speedy: The world’s fastest eater, it can find and gobble down an insect or worm in a quarter of a second.


Last but not least, I will do the un-thinkable and repeat one from the post last year … the Aye-aye … because I just think he is so adorable, in a funky sort of way.

Aye-aye-2Aye-aye-1

Due to its bizarre appearance and unusual feeding habits, the aye-aye is considered by many to be the strangest primate in the world. It is the world’s largest nocturnal primate. Unusual physical characteristics include incisors that are continually growing (unique among primates), extremely large ears, and a middle finger which is skeletal in appearance, and is used by the animal as a primary sensory organ.


Okay, folks … there are more, but I shall save those for another day, another post.  I hope you guys have a wonderful weekend.  Keep safe and be happy!

Saturday Surprise — Critters!!!

red-panda-e1534572781553.pngHi Friends!  The weekend is finally here, we all survived another week, and now it’s time to have some fun!  I had a great idea for today’s post … 🤔 … 🤔 … but it seems to have slipped my mind.  Drat!  I knew I should have written it down, for these days my mind is like a sieve, and even when I talk to myself, I forget what I was saying! forgetfulWell, let’s just have a few cute/funny animal stories, then, for I am in the mood for cuteness.  First, let me share my own bit of cuteness.  Remember back when I wrote about the Significant Seven (now the Significant Six) and I told you how Izzy is so skittish that she spends most of her day under the sofa, and won’t let any but Miss Goose near her?  Well, a few days ago I was deeply engrossed in my writing when I sensed that I was being watched. I glanced up to see this little face about 4 inches from mine, staring intently.

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Isabella, aka ‘Izzy’


Recently, Bored Panda did a piece about the ten rarest dog breeds.  Most of them didn’t look much different from breeds that we are familiar with, but this one, the Lagotto Romagnolo, stood out.Lagotto

According to the article …

Lagottos are affectionate, devoted and not at all demanding. Combine that with how adorably fluffy these dogs are and you’ll want one — if you can find one. The Lagotto Romagnolo is an ancient breed originating in the Romagna region of Italy, according to the Lagotto Romagnolo Club of Canada, and are not only efficient water retrievers but they’re best known for being the only purebred dog in the world recognized as a specialized truffle searcher. And sticks, apparently.

A specialized truffle searcher!  Who knew?  But isn’t he adorable, in a strange sort of way?


Vizsla is yet another dog breed I’ve never heard of until today, but they originated in Hungary, and are known for their loyalty, as well as their hunting skills. Murray and AJMeet Murray … a Vizsla housemate of human AJ Allee.  Now, I remember the last dog I shared my home with, and when I arrived home from work I was greeted with wet sloppy kisses and knock-down hugs from my 130-pound Rottweiler-Border Collie mix who thought he was still a pup.  But AJ comes home to a slightly different sort of welcome from Murray …

Yep, you got it … Murray keeps watch for AJ’s return from the highest point on the house – the roof!  The first time it happened …

“We didn’t realize it until neighbors came and rang our doorbell. It was terrifying because we were afraid he would jump or fall. He moved so quickly on the roof and ran to the edge, then stopped.”

AJ says he tried to find ways to block Murray’s access to the roof, but he always found another way to get up there, so after three days he finally gave up.  Periodically passers-by will stop to inform AJ that there’s a dog on his roof!


I have heard of Silkie Chickens before, but had never actually seen one.  Well, technically I still haven’t seen one up-close-and-personal, but … meet Marshmallow, the Silkie Chicken …marshmallowAccording to Marshmallow’s housemate, who is known only as WyrmsWorks, Silkie Chickens are …

“They’re bred to be less physically capable so they’re easy to contain, and they’re also bred to be very calm and trusting, with no emphasis on maintaining normal survival capabilities. They are very easy to catch and don’t try to run from predators soon enough because they’re just too calm. Silkies can not free range, they will get themselves killed one way or another. They are special needs as far as chickens go. As long as they’re kept safe they make perfect pets, though.”

One day, Wyrm (hope he doesn’t mind the nickname, but I don’t feel like typing his full ‘name’) couldn’t find Marshmallow, so, he went in search of and found her …Silkie in trashYep, in the trash!  Since the height of the trash bin would have made it impossible, Wyrm was puzzled and couldn’t figure out how she got in there … and better yet, WHY!  So, a bit later, he watched from a distance, and found that she was … trying to escape from a barnyard rooster named Waffle who was attempting to … well … you know!  Has Waffle never heard of #MeToo???  Turns out that poor Marshmallow was so frightened that she jumped atop a cat stand near the trash, from there tried to perch on the ledge of the trash bin, but instead, being not very well-balanced, fell in!  Poor Marshmallow.

And then another day, Marshmallow decided to play in the dirt! Silkie in dirtDirty silkieWhich made a bath a necessity.  When a Silkie Chicken gets a bath, this is what they come out looking like …Clean silkie


And last, but not least, what would a post about cute critters be without a fun video?  Watch this kangaroo try to get on a swing!


Okay, folks … time for you guys to go attend those weekend chores, go shopping, throw some burgers on the grill, take the family to the zoo, or whatever is on the docket for the weekend.  Just make sure you have some fun, take some time to relax and enjoy life, for Monday will be here soon enough!

Aaaaarrrrrgggghhhh … I just remembered what I was going to write this post about … automobile genders!  Well, there’s always next Saturday.  In case I forget, remind me.weekend

Good People Doing Good Things — California Wildfires

Wildfires have been raging seemingly forever in California. I don’t know for certain that there was even a break between the fires last December and the current batch that started in early April and is still going strong.  Wildfires are almost a given in California on an annual basis, but this year’s fires have exceeded any in the state’s history.  A total of 5,283 fires have so far burned an area of 903,797.6 acres … nearly one million acres!  And the toll isn’t only land and homes, but there is a human toll also. Just two days ago, yet another fire fighter died in the line of duty, the sixth this year.  In addition, eight civilians have also died.

The fire fighters have been working non-stop, sometimes 24-hour shifts with very little time for rest in between, so they haven’t had the time to sit down and tell us their stories, but some day they will and then I will listen and write about their amazing stories, their acts of heroism.  Meanwhile, though, I do have a few stories about good people doing good things in the tragedy of the California wildfires.  Most of these are small, yet heartwarming stories … the bigger ones will, no doubt, come later.


California Highway Patrols across California have deployed officers to help California residents evacuate from the fires.  This unidentified CHP officer rescued this deer and received a deer kiss in return.police rescues deer


Susan and Jeff Grant were evacuated from their home during the Carr fire, the second largest. Luckily, the fire didn’t damage their home and after 10 days in a motel, they were able to return home. When they did, they found a note from one of the fire fighters who had been working to protect the area …firefighter noteHe had watered their flowers & garden, and looked after their turkeys!  A small thing, but consider this man was likely exhausted and yet took a few minutes to do this small act of kindness for people he doesn’t even know.


Last Friday, the Nelson fire was rapidly approaching the Solano SPCA in Vacaville, and there it was obvious that there was a limited amount of time to get the animals out and taken to safety.  There were 67 animals in the shelter, including a python, and only a few minutes to get them out.  All the animals were safely rescued, thanks to the fine work of these men and women.

The shelter was spared and the animals were able to return the next day.  An added side benefit … about a dozen of the animals are now being adopted by their rescuers!


World Central Kitchen is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters that was founded in 2010 by celebrity chef José Andrés.  Along with Guy Fieri of Food Network fame, they are on the ground in Redding, California, near the Carr fire, feeding both the displaced and the crews who are working to contain the fires. Guy FieriFieri and Andrés have combined their efforts with local branches of disaster relief organizations the Red Cross and Salvation Army, as well as Operation BBQ Relief, an organization that rolls up with smokers to feed victims of natural disasters.  Together, they are feeding about 1,600 – 2,100 people a day.


Photographer Noah Berger was on assignment shooting photos of the Clayton fire in Northern California when a firefighter came out carrying a goat.  He asked Berger to please take the goat, as he needed to go back and get the others.  Turns out there were 10 goats stranded in the midst of the flames!goatThe family that owned the goats had been forced to evacuate, and couldn’t get the stubborn goats to come along, so they had no choice but to leave them behind.  Thanks to some heroic firefighters and Noah Berger, the little goats are safe.


These stories may not seem like much … just little things, really, like watering someone’s flowers or rescuing an animal … but these are the things that people with kind hearts, people with compassion, people who care about others do.  We help others, even if only in small ways.  Every single firefighter and rescue worker out there battling the heat, exhaustion, and risking their life has my undying gratitude and utmost respect.  These are my heroes this week. Let us hope for an end to these terrible fires soon before the toll in property and lives goes any higher.firefire-2fire-3

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Firefighter gives CPR to rescued dog … the dog lived!

tired firefighters

Exhausted