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

Saturday Surprise — Birds, Birds, Birds

Hey friends!!!  It’s finally the weekend and I bet you all have some really fun things planned, yes?  Me?  Oh, who knows … I just rather go along with whatever the girls decide on for the most part … as long as it includes a meal and a trip to either the library or the bookstore, I’m happy.

I get daily emails from a site called ThoughtCo.com, and each day is something new, fun and different.  I usually give them a quick scan, then delete, but sometimes one warrants a closer look.  This particular one definitely deserved a closer look, and I thought it would be perfect to share with you for our Saturday Surprise!  Now, I admit I felt a bit cheated, for there were supposed to be 10 … the subject line of the email read “The 10 Most Adorable Birds You’ve Ever Seen”, but when I opened the article, there were only 8!!!  What happened to the other two?  Did they become extinct between the time they sent me the email and the time I opened it a day later?  Still, it’s fun and I wanted to share it with you.

The people at ThoughtCo ranked these guys in a slightly different order than I would have, but I will stick with the order in which they presented them, and you can pick your own favourite.

#1 – Eurasian WrenEurasian wrenAt the top of our cute bird list is the Eurasian wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), a charismatic “little brown bird” that can fit in a teacup. Eurasian wrens are found throughout Europe and North America as well as in parts of Asia. Their cuteness is in no small part due to their slight stature and their plump body shape, which is further emphasized when they fluff up their feathers. Eurasian wrens are light brown and have a delicate, dark brown pattern of bars on their wings, tail, and body. Eurasian wrens weigh a mere one-quarter to one-half an ounce and full-grown birds are just 3 to 5 inches long, from bill to tail.

Personally, I thought this one was a bit ‘average’ looking, but perhaps their cuteness lies in their tiny size.

#2 – Atlantic PuffinAtlantic PuffinNext up on our list of cute birds is the Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica), a charming seabird that nests in large, gregarious colonies along the rocky coastlines of the North Atlantic. Outside the breeding season, Atlantic puffins spend their time at sea, hunting for fish over open water. The Atlantic puffin owes its cuteness to its small, rotund stature and distinct coloration. It has black plumage on its back, wings and tail, and bright white plumage on its belly and face. Its bill, its signature feature, is large and triangular in shape. It is a bright orange-yellow color with a blue base and groves at the base.

Now this one I really adore … reminds me a bit of a junior penguin!

#3 – Black-Capped ChickadeeBlack-capped ChickadeeThe black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) is the next species on our list of cute birds. No such list is complete without this little charmer. Black-capped chickadees are often regulars at backyard feeders throughout North America. They are hardy little birds that remain residents throughout their range, even during the coldest winters. To cope with the extreme cold they often must endure, black-capped chickadees lower their body temperature at night, entering a state of regulated hypothermia and saving lots of energy in the process. As their name implies, black capped chickadees have a black cap, bib, and white cheeks. Their body plumage is more subtly colored, with a greenish-gray back, buff colored sides, and dark gray wings and tail.

Definitely pretty … but I’m not sure about ‘cute’ so much.

#4 – Northern Saw-Whet OwlSaw-Whet OwlNo list of cute birds is complete without an owl. And northern saw-whet owls (Aegolius acadicus) are arguably among the cutest of all owl species. Northern saw-whet owls are small owls that have a round facial disk and large golden eyes. Like many owls, northern saw-whet owls are secretive, nocturnal birds that hunt small mammals such as deer mice and white-footed mice. Northern saw-whet owls occupy a range that stretches from coast to coast in North America. They breed in the boreal forests and northern hardwood forests of Alaska, British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, and the Rocky Mountain states.

Now THIS little guy has my vote for #1!!!  Isn’t he just adorable?  Look at the intelligence in that cute little face!

#5 – Adelie PenguinAdelie PenguinFor the next bird on our cute bird list, we travel to the world’s southernmost latitudes, where we find the Adelie penguin, a species that like the black-capped chickadee, pairs its cuteness with toughness. Adelie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) inhabit a circumpolar region along the coastline of Antarctica. Adelie penguins are the classic penguins, with black plumage on their back, head, and the topside of their wings and white plumage on their belly and the underside of their wings.

I adore penguins, but their cuteness comes from seeing them walk … er, waddle … so I am including a short video clip … watch the little guy – what a little bully!!!

#6 – Costa’s HummingbirdCostas HummingbirdAny list of cute birds is lacking something if it does not include a hummingbird. Here, we include the Costa’s hummingbird (Calypte costae), a small hummingbird that lives in the deserts of southwestern United States and Mexico. Costa’s hummingbirds are nearly as light as a postage stamp, with an average mass of just over one-tenth of an ounce. Costa’s hummingbirds feed on the nectar from flowers such as those of the desert honeysuckle and the saguaro cactus.

Cute, but I like seeing the in action best … hovering in front of a flower while they devour the nectar.

#7 – Blue-Footed BoobyBlue-Footed BoobyThe blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii) is equal parts cute and awkward -looking. Their most notable feature is their turquoise webbed feet. Like many seabirds, blue-footed are rather clumsy when moving on land, but they are graceful when flying over open water. The blue-footed booby belongs to the same group of birds that includes pelicans, cormorants, and tropicbirds. Blue-footed boobies are found along the western coast of Central America and South America and various coastal islands in that region, including the Galapagos Islands.

Now what’s not to love?  I adore those eyes, the expressions … they almost look like a toy or a drawing!

#8 – DunlinDunlinThe dunlin (Calidris alpina) is a widespread species of sandpiper that inhabits a circumpolar region in the Arctic and Subarctic. Dunlins breed along the coastlines of Alaska and northern Canada and over-winters in more southern coastal regions around the world. The species is quite diverse, with some 10 recognized subspecies. Dunlins feed on clams, worms, and other invertebrates. During the breeding season, dunlins have a distinct black patch on their belly, but outside of the breeding season their belly is white.

I’m still not sure what happened to #9 & #10, but that’s okay, for it’s getting late and I know you’re eager to start your weekend!  So, which bird was your favourite?  I hope you enjoyed the birds and maybe even learned something new!  Have a lovely weekend, my friends!

World That Once Was …

I was sitting dozing before the fire when my two great grandchildren rushed into the room …

“Grannie, Grannie … we’re bored!  Will you tell us some stories?  Will you tell us about the cabin in the woods?”

“Yeah, an’ Grannie … will you tell us again ‘bout how you used to play outside … an’ how there was grass an’ you could even see the sky?  Please, Grannie, please?”

Now, I know their mother would not wish me to fill their heads with what once was and can never be again, but … it is all I have left to give them … the world that once was.  And so, I make room for one of them on either side of me, and I begin …

Well, you see, when I was a little girl, so many years ago, I would wake up on Saturday morning, do the few chores assigned to me, and then run outside to play with my friends.  Sometimes we played football in the street, sometimes we rode bicycles, and other days we went out in search of caterpillars that we would keep in canning jars with holes poked in the lids and some grass and water in the bottom.  And then we would wait for them to turn into beautiful butterflies.

“An’ you didn’t even have to wear an oxygen mask to go outside, Grannie?”

“What’s a butterfly?”

No, child, we didn’t need to wear oxygen masks to go outside back then, for the air was fresh and clear, and you could look up and see how blue the sky was … not like today when all you see is murky yellow air.  A butterfly, sweetie … well here … let me draw you a picture …butterfly

They aren’t around anymore … I guess they couldn’t survive in the bad air. We would play outside all day, sit in the grass to eat our sandwiches, and when night fell, we caught lightning bugs.  They aren’t around anymore either, but they were little bugs that had some chemical at the tail end of their body, and as they flew, they lit up a pale yellow or green colour.  It was how they ‘talked’ to the other lightning bugs. When I was a young girl, sometimes there would be hundreds of them in the yard, all lighting up at once.  Oh, it was quite a sight to see and I always looked forward to their arrival in summer.

“What about the parks, Grannie?  Tell us ‘bout the parks … pleeeeease!”

Oh yes, the parks.  Sigh.  Back then, we had national parks … hundreds, maybe even thousands of acres of forests with streams where the water was so clear you could see the fish swimming and the rocks in the very bottom.  And nobody could build a business or a factory or even houses in the national parks, because they were protected land.  The government protected them so that the critters that lived in them could live in safety and so that we would always have beautiful natural land to visit.

“What kind of critters lived there, Grannie?”

Well, it depended on where the park was, but most were home to deer, elk, snakes, squirrels, bears, wolves, coyote, birds and many others.

“Why did the parks go away, Grannie?  Didn’t people want them anymore?”

“What happened to the animals?”

Well, child, I think that most of us wanted the parks, we appreciated them and loved being away from the cities, just enjoying the beauty of nature.  But, there were some people who thought it was more important to use that land to drill for oil and gas, and to build hotels and factories, and the government gave in to the wishes of those people without listening to the rest of us.

“Why?”

Because those people who wanted to get rid of the parks had more money than the rest of us, and people with more money … well, they always get their way.  Now as to what happened to the animals … some of them were taken to other places, but as a rule they didn’t adapt well to their new environments and … well, they … just … died.

“Grannie … why are you crying?  Are you sad because the animals died?”

Oh, child … yes, I am very sad because the animals died, but I’m also sad because … well, because the whole life I once knew has died.  I remember running through open fields, watering flowers and letting a big bumblebee land on my nose.  I remember hiking in the woods with my friend Herb, how green the foliage was, how tall the trees, how clear the water in the streams.  And I am sad, for all of that is gone now.  Did I ever tell you about the great redwood trees on the west coast?  Why, those trees … some were so wide that they even made a road right through the center of the tree!!!  And they got so tall that you could barely see the top … sometimes as tall  as almost 400 feet!!!  I saw them plenty of times when I was a girl, but they were always a sight to behold.

“What happened to the redwoods trees, Gran?”

Well, mostly I think they were chopped down, but I hear the ones that were left just died for lack of oxygen.  They can’t put oxygen masks on trees like they can people, you know.  Same reason there’s no grass left in people’s yards … living things need clean air to breathe, even plants.  I’m tired now, children, and it makes me too sad to remember how life used to be.  Tell you what … bring that book about the bears that you like so much and I’ll read to you.

“Grannie … how come you never go to church with us?”

Because, child, I don’t believe in any of that nonsense they tell there about how some people are better than others because of the colour of their skin or who they choose to love.  It’s a waste of time that I can spend doing better things.

“But mommy says you’re gonna get in trouble with the law and have to go to jail if you don’t go to church …”

Hush child … it matters not anymore … now go get that book like I told you.trees-2.jpg

It’s Monday, So It Must Be … Jolly!!!

Good Monday morning, my friends!  Come on in and make yourselves at home!  Did you all have a wonderful weekend?  The temperatures here were much more bearable than they have been so far this summer, so that was nice.  I even slept a whole 8 hours for the first time in a long time, so perhaps I won’t have so much trouble staying focused this week.  Help yourself to a bit of a morning snack, and let’s go in search of a bit of humour, shall we?


A donkey or a zebra?

Mahmoud Sarhan snapped photos at the International Garden Municipal Park in Cairo after he noticed the two zebras on display appeared to be donkeys painted to look like zebras.zebra-1zebra-2The photos, which went viral, show the animals’ stripes appear to be smudging.  A veterinarian who analyzed the photos said the coloring of the faces do not align with a normal zebra’s appearance, and their stripes do not appear to be consistent.  The zoo, however, denies that any of the animals in the facility are fraudulent.  I’m no expert, so I will withhold judgment.

dog-lionA Chinese zoo came under fire in 2013 when sharp-eyed visitors noticed an animal labeled as a “lion” was in fact just an especially fluffy dog. The People’s Park of Luohe said the Tibetan mastiff was a temporary replacement for the zoo’s real lion, which was away at a breeding facility.

Sheesh … can’t trust anything anymore.


Tooth all gone …

I am always amazed, and more than a little puzzled by the variety of inventive means parents use to remove their children’s ‘baby teeth’.  I mean … leave them alone – they will come out all by them selves, and if you cannot pull it out with only your fingers, then it isn’t ready yet anyway.  But parents seem to enjoy torturing their children.  Remember the one I mentioned a while back with the dad who pulled his son’s tooth by means of a crossbow?

This mom turned the job over to her son, Gibson, who fired off a Nerf dart that was tied to a loose tooth in the mouth of his sister, SaBella.  Nerf darts have been clocked at speeds as high as 35 mph!


Stupidity to the nth degree …

Mitchell Adkins, age 52, and Christopher Binion, age 46, were both old enough to know better.  It happened in Niles, Ohio, where the two men went into a local PetSmart store and somehow managed to walk out with an aquarium for which they did not pay.  But that isn’t the worst!  Their getaway vehicle?  A bloomin’ motorcycle!!!stealing aquariumPetSmart called the police, and as the officer was on his way to the store to take a report, he spotted the men fleeing the scene, so he turned and followed. Mitchell sat on the back, holding the stolen goods, and at some point, for reasons undisclosed, decided to jump off, breaking the aquarium and getting himself arrested.

And the stupidity continues, for while the officer lost track of the motorcycle rider, the vehicle was soon found abandoned behind the Chef Peng restaurant. Officers searched the area and spotted a “nervous-looking” man behind a home.  Besides looking nervous, Christopher began to furiously prune a small tree with his bare hands telling officers he was there to do yard work.  He told police he saw the suspects flee east on a nearby road, but investigators did not believe his story and he, too, was arrested.

And they didn’t even wear helmets!!!stupid is as stupid does


But mom – I thought you liked it!

You know how puppies are … always so eager to please their humans that they bring us an array of things that … well, end up maybe not pleasing us so much.

Such was the case when Baloo, the 5-month-old border collie decided to please his human, Carol Wohr, by bringing in the lawn sprinkler from outside … while it was still sprinkling!dog-sprinkler

“I was in a panic on what to do. My lamp and TV were getting soaked. Good thing I was wearing waterproof mascara.”

Wohr said playing in the sprinkler is one of Baloo’s favorite activities. She said she plans to keep a close watch while watering the lawn in the future to make sure the puppy’s water antics remain outside.


Three cheers for the new mayor …

I have written before about towns that had a dog as mayor, but this is a first … a cat!  The Village of Omena in Michigan, has had non-human mayors for more than a decade.  The feline’s name is Sweet Tart, and she will serve until the next mayoral election in 2021.  Her opponents this round included 13 dogs, a peacock, a goat, a chicken and another cat, all of whom were awarded positions on the village council.Sweet TartNow, I am willing to bet that this village is run in a much more humane and efficient manner than those run by humans, for in the past two years I have concluded that humans are not, after all, a superior breed!


And now, folks, while I wish I could invite you to hang out here all day, I really do have work to do … and so do you!  I hope you found something to chuckle about here today, and if you did … go share a smile or two with somebody who isn’t chuckling!  You could probably even part with a hug or two this week, eh?  Keep safe and have a great week.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!

toon-1toon-2toon-3toon-4

Good People Doing Good Things — Today’s Youth

My friend rawgod had an idea for this week’s ‘good people’ post that I am pondering, but simply have not had time to pull it together yet, so perhaps next week.  No, I won’t give you a hint, for then you’ll pester me.  But what I do have for you today are some kids who are taking more than their share of responsibility for the wildlife on our planet.  These four have been hailed as ‘eco-heroes’ by the Sierra Club and I think you’ll see why.


Dessi-2Desmond Sieburth, nicknamed Dessi, lives in Pasadena, California.  Sieburth, a young bird conservationist, explains, “I got into birding when I was eight years old, after making a bird feeder.” Sieburth’s frequent birding expeditions soon led him to the unfortunate truth that populations of many types of birds are declining, thanks to factors including deforestation. So, he decided to help. To start, he made nesting boxes for the western bluebird, which typically make their nests in dead tree cavities—and he has been building and monitoring his homemade nesting boxes ever since. Last year, 21 boxes produced 163 fledglings.

In an effort to further preserve and create bird habitats, especially in urban settings, and to educate others about helping birds, Sieburth created an organization called Protecting Our Birds. He says that teaching Californians about the threatened and endangered birds right in their backyards—such as the California condor—is his passion. “Microtrash, lead ammunition, and habituation are the main threats to the California condors.”

DessiSieburth, who joined the Pasadena Audubon Society at age eight, also contributes to several Audubon newsletters. He regularly leads bird walks for kids and adults, and has presented on bird habitats before Audubon chapters, schools, and libraries, reaching close to 1,000 people. And, over three years of participating in Audubon’s “Big Photo Day”—an annual event that calls on birders to photograph as many species of birds as they can in a day, with each photo fetching a donation—he has raised more than $1,500 to protect a local watershed and wildlife corridor. The American Birding Association named Sieburth 2015’s Young Birder of the Year for his tireless efforts.

Sieburth’s plan for the future is to expand his conservation efforts globally—he already uses his Protecting Our Birds website to emphasize the importance of supporting bird-habitat-friendly coffee plantations in South and Central America. It was hardly a surprise to learn that when he grows up, he wants to be an ornithologist.   His website is amazing … you really should take a minute to check it out!


Isabella-WillowIsabella and Willow Poschman are 12-year-old twins who are out to save the endangered species of the world.  They have been involved in animal conservation ever since second grade, when they saw a film called “The Elephant in the Room.” Isabella promptly wrote letters to President Barack Obama, President Xi of China, and President Kenyatta of Kenya, urging leaders to do whatever they could to end the ivory trade. Since then, the twins have gathered signatures for an online petition version of that letter—signed by children in almost all 50 states and in more than 60 countries—and founded Kids Saving Elephants. Their organization not only educates kids and adults around the world about the plight of African elephants, but also raises funds to help fight the ivory trade. Isabella and Willow have also raised thousands of dollars by selling handmade elephant greeting cards, as well as lemonade and cookies, at the Aspen Music Festival, and throughout summers at the Aspen Saturday Market.Willow-letterSome of the twins’ most recent actions include sending letters to the Wall Street Journal and to Elle Décor magazine—one was published in Elle Décor’s September 2016 issue— beseeching editors to not feature elephant tusks and other endangered species in their spreads. Alongside a visiting conservationist from Kenya, they also recently presented to 120 of their fellow students at Aspen Middle School. Isabella and Willow now plan to hone this presentation and make it available online to schoolkids around the world. They also continue to fundraise via their elephant cards, which they plan to start selling online and at a couple of local stores.

Willow, who is currently an intern at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Silt, Colorado, as part of a sixth-grade mentorship program, plans to be a big-cat scientist when she grows up. This is according to the twins’ mom, Maureen, who adds, “Willow may become a best-selling author first, in order to help fund her wildlife conservation efforts.” Maureen says Isabella “wants to become a Broadway actress.”


Hannah-TestaAt age 12, Hannah Testa founded Hannah4Change to fight for issues that affect the planet and all of its animals. One of her most successful fundraisers—a movie night that attracted more than 300 guests and raised several thousand dollars for the nonprofit Save the Horses—led to the then-10-year-old Testa being featured on CBS News. She has since presented to thousands of children and adults (including Georgia governor Nathan Deal) on one of the biggest threats to wildlife—plastic pollution—and practical ways residents can reduce their “plastic footprint.” She has also made videos outlining the need to protect some of her other favorite animals, orcas and rhinos, and has presented at rallies and protests in the name of saving orcas. Additionally, Testa sells homemade cookies, through which she has raised $1,500 for elephant conservation.

Hannah-2Testa says her current mission is to make her native Forsyth County “the greenest county in Georgia, through education and awareness. This includes educating businesses as well as schools to become more green by using less single-use plastic products and to recycle as much as possible.” When this jack-of-all-trades conservationist grows up, she says she is interested in “working for the UN, where I can be in a position to truly make a difference in this world.”


In light of recent rolling back of environmental regulations here in the U.S., I worry about the future of this planet.  But with kids like Dessi, Isabella, Willow and Hannah, maybe … just maybe there is hope yet.  I applaud these four young people, and all the rest whom I haven’t yet discovered.

Saturday Surprise — Hodge Podge

Happy Saturday and welcome to the …weekendSo, do you all have big plans, or just a nice relaxing day around the house?  Miss Goose and I are “baching it” this weekend, as Chris is in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada for a band competition.  Yesterday, what that meant was that we didn’t do a darn thing around the house, but today we will try to get a bit more ambitious and at least sweep the floors … or something.  Maybe.

Today’s Saturday Surprise is truly a hodge-podge, rather matching the way my mind works today.  I think this past week required so much concentration on so many topics that my brain has simply said, “I’m done – go away and leave me alone!”  So, let’s have a bit of this and a dab of that, shall we?


Happy face bologna?

Ask anyone from Sydney or Melbourne if they’ve ever tried a slice of “fritz” and they’ll give you a puzzled look. Ask a South Australian, however, and their face will light up with memories of childhood trips to the deli and smiling meat behind the glass.SmileyFritz_JamesRuddSmiley fritz, the cheeriest lunch meat you’re likely to come across, is a thinly sliced and smooth-textured sausage commonly found in supermarket delicatessens and local butcher shops across South Australia. Each slice of the meat appears to have a tidy mop of dark hair, two big eyes, and cheeky grin. For South Aussie kids, no trip for groceries is complete without receiving a complimentary slice to eat on the spot or wear as a mask.

Fritz is unique to South Australia, thanks to the influence of German immigrants in the greater Adelaide region. Though the sausage’s origins are uncertain, local legend suggests it began with a butcher by the name of Fritz who lived in the city of Adelaide or the nearby town of Lobethal in the 1880s. The sausage is also known by the not-so-flattering full name of “bung fritz.” Why? Because the sausage uses a sheep’s appendix as the casing that houses the lightly smoked mince trimmings of pork, lamb, beef, or, in rare cases, kangaroo.

Um … well … I suddenly find I’m not really all that hungry …


Name a country … any country …

I love Jimmy Kimmel.  Well, most of the time anyway.  You know how sometimes he takes to the streets and asks people questions … simple questions that should be no brainers, like “name a book”.  Well, based on this short segment where he had a large map of the world and asked people to identify a country … any country … on the map, I think we are in deep trouble.  Take a look …

At least the little guy knows his geography, yes?


Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww …

You guys all know what a sucker I am for a cute animal, right.  This one comes from The Dodo and if it doesn’t simply melt your heart, then you probably have no heart to melt!


Bee-utiful drawings …

Camilla d’Errico is a Canadian urban temporary painter, toy designer, character creator and comic artist. She’s been interested in art since she was a little girl, and her textbooks were full of cartoons, comics, manga and fantasy-like doodles.

“I am a hopeless romantic that loves the planet, French bulldogs, watermelons, vampires and zombie hunters! I also paint big-eyed beauties surrounded by melting rainbows and lots of animals.”

Her recent paintings of adorable bees that portray iconic cartoon and movie characters are exactly that.

batbee

Batbee

beekachu

Beekachu

Harbee Quinn

Harbee Quinn

Jason Voorbees

Jason Voorbees

joker

Joker

Luke Skyflyer

Luke Skyflyer

Minnie and Mickey

Mickey & Minnie

Nebula

Nebula

Sailor Buzz

Sailor Buzz

Togebee

Togebee

Ahhh … to have such talent!  Miss Goose is the artiste in this house … perhaps one day I will share  some of her work!


Well, friends, I don’t want to take up your entire weekend … I know you have chores and fun stuff planned, so I ask only that you keep safe and have a wonderful weekend!

Hot ‘n Jolly Monday!

Hey folks!!!  Yep, it’s Monday again and this time I’m prepared!  I have treats for all, even naked cinnamon rolls for rawgod, donuts for Steve, scones (not burnt this time) for David, and Ellen … your coffee is just the way you like it!

So, did you all have a great weekend?  It was 95° here on Saturday with about 70% humidity, and the air quality so poor that there was a haze everywhere you looked.  Needless to say, that is not air out there … I don’t know what it is, but it is not air and whatever it is, I cannot breathe it.  I am grounded until further notice and nobody better tell me there’s no such thing as climate change!

Well, let’s forget that and find some fun to start our week off, shall we?


The world’s largest …

There used to be a saying here in the U.S.: “They grow everything big in Texas”  I’m not sure where the saying originated, but the only thing I’ve seen that is bigger in Texas (other than the size of the state itself) are the egos.  No, not you Steve. But to the point, I think Texas may be taking a back seat to Australia, if avocados are any indication.

It is called the Avozilla …avocadoThey look like an avocado and taste like an avocado. The only difference from the avocados you know is that these ones are about the size of your head.  Well, most people’s head, anyway — some Texans have bigger heads.  No, not you Steve.  They weigh an average of just over 2.5 pounds, or 1.2 kg.  (Why can’t the U.S. convert to the metric system like everybody else???)  They are expected to sell for about $12 each!

The fruit (yes, folks, avocados are a fruit, not a veggie) actually originated in South Africa and emigrated to the UK in 2013, but the Groves family of Queensland just brought them to Oz this year.  Now I learned something new here … I didn’t realize a country could ‘copyright’ a variety of tree, but any farmer that plants this giant avocado tree must seek permission and pay royalties to the South African company that owns the rights.

The problem I foresee here is that avocados go bad very quickly once exposed to air.  By quickly, I mean a matter of minutes, although one can keep them fresh and green for a few hours with a bit of lemon juice and the avocado pit.  I don’t see a huge individual market for them, though they might be popular in Mexican restaurants where large quantities of guacamole are served up.

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Whodunnit?

Rob Morin and Paula Habib from Montreal, Canada, noticed in June that produce was going missing from their tomato and strawberry plants.

“We had a full set of tomatoes and then all of a sudden the tomatoes started going down. We didn’t take any ourselves; we thought it was the squirrels.”

But still, they found it odd that the squirrels weren’t leaving a mess, as squirrels typically do.  OCD squirrels, perhaps?

“We first thought it was the squirrels, but normally the squirrels leave a mess and there was not a mess on the ground where the plants were.”

I don’t know what took them so long, but finally the couple got the brilliant idea to check the footage from their outdoor security camera, and guess what?  It wasn’t a squirrel at all …mailmanYes, friends, it was the trusty mail carrier that was helping himself to the fruit each day.  Seems a fair trade … a box full of junk mail for a handful of tomatoes and strawberries!

“It’s rude,” said Ms. Habib. “He never told us. He never came to the door and said, ‘I took one of your tomatoes and it was really good’ or made joke about it. He just did it and he couldn’t care less.”

Canada Post is aware of the case and has spoken with the family, but so far isn’t commenting on the matter.  Habib said she does not want the postman to lose his job, but he could also offer some restitution – if he replaces the plants or offers the family a strawberry pie or some tomato sauce, all will be forgiven.


Dream job?

Mattress Firm, a mattress company based in Houston, Texas, has a job opening that I think would be just perfect for my daughter, who can fall asleep anywhere in under 15 seconds!  The ad on the company’s website reads:

Pursuing a degree in catching Z’s? Would you rather carry a pillowcase instead of a briefcase? This Fall, you can snag the internship of your dreams as Mattress Firm’s first “Snoozetern.”

snoozetern.jpg

We are searching for someone who can put their rest to the test. If you think you’re a slumber star, apply to sleep on the job as our in-house bed tester, testing the best of the best mattresses. The back of your eyelids won’t be your only view. You’ll test the optimal head and foot positions on our selection of adjustable bases for Netflix binging, Instagram stalking *ahem* posting, reading, typing, eating…really anything that would be better in bed.

Of course, you’ll want your friends to know that you’re ‘sleeping your best life’ so regular appearances on Mattress Firm’s social channels will make the job of your dreams official. Feed your inquisitive nature by interviewing our sleep experts, finding out what the social sphere wants to know and determining the perfect amount of pillows needed for the ‘I’m-sleeping-but-still-taking-a-picture-of-myself’ selfie.

Help us help the sleep deprived by applying to join our team. Comfort and curiosity are calling, will you answer?

Among the required qualifications are:

– 18 years of age or older

– Proficient in napping, regardless of time of day

– Interested in exposure to different surfaces, textures and sleep positions

– Passionate about sleep and comfort

– Available to start snoozing in the Houston-area beginning August 15

The only one that could be a problem for Chris is that last one, but the rest … she’s got this!


The $67,000 squirrel …

In Almaty, a city in Kazakhstan, resides a sculpture of a giant squirrel … sculpted from straw!  The squirrel, which stands 40 feet tall, is made from straw and wood attached to a steel frame, is part of an art project for a festival commissioned by city authorities.  But Rocky is causing some problems for the city.  First, some say he is a fire hazard … I suppose that is true, especially in a lightning storm.  But the main argument is the cost … it cost the city some $67,000 (£51,000), about $44,000 of which was paid for from public funds.  The people are, understandably, concerned that the money might have been better spent helping the struggling people of the city with medical or other costs.  I can’t argue against that point.giant-squirrelThe artists, South African sculptor Marius Jansen van Vuuren and British artist Alex Rinsler, have said that the squirrel will change appearance during the nine months it is expected to be on display, but I have a feeling that Rocky may not outlast the first hard rain or windstorm.  Still, he is pretty cute …giant squirrel-3


I just wanna be on da teevee too, dad …

Polish historian/political scientist Jerzy Targalski was giving a taped interview regarding the U.S. Supreme Court when his cat decided to get in on the act.


Well, friends, once again it is time for us to each get busy.  I’ve really enjoyed our visit this morning … this is absolutely my favourite part of most Mondays!  I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Oh WAIT … before you go … please share those gorgeous smiles today and every day.  A lot of people are pretty miserable these days, and a smile seems to just work wonders when somebody is feeling down.  Hugs ‘n love from Filosofa & the Significant Seven!

toon-1'I'm MELTING!!!' - 'Oh knock it off, we're ALL hot!'toon-3

Saturday Surprise — Who Knew?

Good morning and welcome to the weekend!!!  Finally, eh?  Been one of those weeks that I just wanted to crawl under a rock more than once.  But here it is, Saturday morning, and the whole weekend lies ahead.  What adventures do you guys have planned for the weekend?  I was initially planning to take you all on a fun journey today, but unfortunately, my Tiny Timely Travel machine is on the fritz and I think I am going to have to take it to the shop.  When I asked it to take me to Italy yesterday, I ended up in Sri Lanka, and when I was trying to go to Hawaii for a bit of r&r, I found myself in Calcutta.  So, instead I found some really cool things that I didn’t know about my favourite topic — animals!!!  I think you’ll find these fun and interesting, I guarantee you’ll learn something new!


reindeerWho knew that reindeer are the only deer species where both males and females grow antlers? The males shed theirs the beginning of December, the females shed theirs in the spring.  Now think about this one for a minute, folks.  Reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve, toward the end of December.  The reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh always have antlers, yet male reindeer shed their antlers the beginning of December.  Perhaps all those male names like Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen need to be changed to Susie, Clara, Angela, Cassandra, etc!


elephantWho knew that elephants are one of only a handful of animals that can pass the mirror test — in other words, they can recognize their own reflection (and not think it’s another animal, as dogs and cats usually do)? They tested this by placing a chalk mark on an elephant’s forehead and then showing it a mirror. The elephant investigated the mark on its own forehead, indicating it knew that it was looking at itself. Now, I might argue that part about dogs and cats, for one of our Sig-Seven, Pandora, spends a good part of her day sitting on the vanity in the bathroom and looking at herself in the mirror.  She doesn’t attack her reflection, nor does she try to snuggle with it, she just stares at it.  But then, all of our Sig-Seven are strange, weird critters.


flamingoWho knew that while we have always thought flamingo’s knees bent backward, those are really their ankles?  Their knees are actually up by their body, and it bends the same way ours does.  Okaaaaaay … I guess I can see it.  So I wonder where they keep their hips?


pumaWho knew that big cats are classified as being either roaring or purring cats?  Lions and tigers are, obviously, of the roaring variety, while bobcats and lynxes are purrers.  The largest of the purring sort is the puma, also known as the mountain lion.  Its purr is quite loud and is said to sound much like an idling motorcycle.


polar bear.jpgWho knew that polar bears’ fur is not white?  Yep, you heard me right … their fur is actually transparent and only appears white because it reflects visible light.  Now, can you guess what the colour of their skin underneath that transparent fur is?  Black!  Sometimes you’ll notice a yellowish or greenish tint to their fur.  The yellow is a sign of aging, or sometimes dirt, while the green is from the algae that can grow on polar bear fur in unnaturally warm and humid environments such as are found in zoos.baby polar bearWhile the biggest polar bear ever recorded weighed a whopping 2,209 pounds, when they are born they weigh barely one pound!


kangaroo-3Who knew that Kangaroos cannot move their legs independently of each other, they have to move them in sync, but only when they’re on land? When they’re swimming, they can move them separately. Hopping is their most efficient way to move — a walking kangaroo is extremely awkward. They swing both legs forward using their tail as a third leg to prop up while their legs swing.


Who knew that although adult Langur monkeys are silvery-grey in colour, their babies are bright orange? Their fur begins to change to grey starting with its head so that for a short period of time it looks quite strange with only its body a bright orange.

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There are three main theories as to why the babies are born such a bright orange:

  • The babies are orange so mothers do not lose them when they explore the forest
  • Their bright colour helps them blend into their surroundings as predators are often colour blind and mistake orange for green
  • The orange colouring of infants makes it obvious there are babies in the troop so other adults should start to share the care for them

I think the first one seems the most likely.


And because I just cannot get enough of adorable polar bear babies …


Okay, friends, that’s all I’ve got for today.  I hope you learned something fun today, and that you have an absolutely wonderful weekend, whatever you do!

Saturday Surprise — Beauty, Humour and Furry Critters

Well, well, well … we have all survived yet another week and here it is, the first official weekend of summer!  So, does everyone have happy plans for the weekend?  Me?  No, no … Chris is at yet another band competition this weekend, this one in Dublin (Ohio, not Ireland), so Goose and I are just chillin’.  I don’t know about you all, but I think my U.S. friends will know what I mean when I say it’s been a tough week, and personally, I’m in the mood for some beauty, some humour, and some cute furry critters.  But first, a funny-sad story about a member of the Sig-7 (short for Significant Seven):

A few nights ago, I was sitting with my laptop perched half on my right leg, half on the arm of my chair, two kitties curled up sleeping peacefully on my lap, when suddenly the quiet was pierced by a ultra-sonic, high-pitched shriek!  A glance across the room, and there is Boo jumping no less than four feet into the air, turning in circles mid-air, and screaming, shaking his front paw.  Imagine me trying to get the laptop safely on the desk, the kitties safely off my lap and go to the rescue or poor Boo … somehow in this process I whacked my knuckle on something and cracked or chipped the bone.  As I began to approach this jumping, shrieking kitty, something flew at my face, then landed at my feet.  A bumblebee.  Boo had been stung by a bumblebee!  I managed to get the bumblebee outdoors on a piece of paper, but sadly, later that evening he was found belly-up and cross-eyed. Boo is not kind to bugs.  Believe it or not, I cried over that darned bee — for two days!  Boo is fine – since Chris was at band and Miss Goose was out, I was very thankful that he wasn’t allergic to bee venom.  He limped for an hour or so, more for sympathy than out of pain, I think.  The next morning I found another dead bee, this time a wasp, on the kitchen floor.  Sigh.  Gonna be a long summer.


And now for a little beauty …MosqueThis is the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran.  The Mosque was constructed between 1876 and 1888, during the Qajar dynasty, which ruled Iran from 1785 to 1925. It has been dubbed the “Pink Mosque” due to the plethora of pink-colored tiles blanketing the ceiling. The best time to visit the mosque is in the early morning, when the sun reflects the stained glass patterns onto the floor.

The designers were Mohammad Hasan-e-Memār, an Iranian architect, and Mohammad Rezā Kāshi-Sāz-e-Širāzi. Restoration, protection, and maintenance of this monument is being continued by the Endowment Foundation of Nasir ol Molk. The colourful windows and doors are handcrafted by carpenter master Hajj Mirza Ayat.

Isn’t it beautiful?  I would love to visit there someday.Mosque-outside


Now, I promised some humour, but I am finding my sense of humour is a little off these days.  In fact, before I put anything on my Jolly Monday posts, I run it by either Chris or Miss Goose first, for I was informed when I was about to use a story about a lady who was run down by a car … I don’t remember the details, but I found it funny, and Chris happened to be reading over my shoulder and said “GRANNIE … NO … You cannot use that for Jolly Monday!!!”  And so, I now have two content editors who tie my hands just a bit, in addition to my literary editor who only gnashes his teeth when I misuse the comma or apostrophe.  Or misspell a word.  Or make a sentence too long.


You can always count on kids for a bit of humour, yes?  I came across this a few days ago … snippets from children who were asked for their instructions on life. I put my favourites in blue … what are yours?

  • Never trust a dog to watch your food. — Patrick, Age 10
  • When you want something expensive, ask your grandparents. — Matthew, Age 12
  • Never smart off to a teacher whose eyes and ears are twitching. — Andrew, Age 9
  • Wear a hat when feeding seagulls. — Rocky, Age 9
  • Sleep in your clothes so you’ll be dressed in the morning. — Stephanie, Age 8
  • Never try to hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk. — Rosemary, Age 7
  • Don’t flush the john when your dad’s in the shower. — Lamar, Age 10
  • Never ask for anything that costs more than five dollars when your parents are doing taxes. — Carrol, Age 9
  • Never bug a pregnant mom. — Nicholas, Age 11
  • Don’t ever be too full for dessert. — Kelly, Age 10
  • When your dad is mad and asks you, “Do I look stupid?” don’t answer him. — Heather, Age 16
  • Never tell your mom her diet’s not working. — Michael, Age 14
  • Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat. — Joel, Age 12
  • When you get a bad grade in school, show it to your mom when she’s on the phone. — Alyesha, Age 13

And then there’s this …joke


Which brings us to my favourite part of the day … funny animal videos!!!  Today, I dedicate this segment to my youngest friends, Benjamin, Reuben & Amelie …

And one more — just an 18 second clip — watch the baby panda …

Well, my friends, I should let you go so you can get started on those special weekend plans.  Anybody having a grill-out this weekend?  Save me a burger, if you don’t mind.  Have a safe and wonderful weekend!

Just Another Jolly Monday

Good Monday morning, friends!  Was your weekend wonderful?  Come in … sit down and tell me what fun things you did?  Mine was laid back, just the way I like it.  Daughter Chris plays the drum in a national Pipes & Drums band, and this is their competition season, so she was gone part of this weekend, and will be gone all weekend for the next several, meaning Miss Goose and I will be left to our own devices.  Typically that means she works on her art while I write, and we try to remember to say “hey” to each other every 2-3 hours!

I tried something new this week … baklava … it’s a greek dessert and ever so yummy, but in case you don’t like that, there are also donuts and cinnamon rolls.  So grab a cuppa (both tea and coffee this morning, rawgod) and a bite and let’s share a few laughs before you all have to go out there and mingle with the rest of the world, eh?


A wedding crasher …waddell-weddingNewlyweds Rusty and Auttumn Waddell were enjoying their wedding May 6 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Virginia Beach when the bride’s mother noticed an unfamiliar face.  Since it wasn’t a formal wedding, she thought perhaps it was a guest of a guest, but something seemed a bit off, so she snapped a picture of the woman standing in front of the gift table. crasher.jpgA while later the woman was gone … and so were many of the wedding gifts, including envelopes containing cash for the newlyweds!  Since the couple hadn’t yet opened the gifts and there was no list, they are now faced with the embarrassing task of having to ask each guest what gift they brought so they can give the police an accurate accounting of what was stolen.  Police, meanwhile, are asking anybody who knows this woman to contact them.  What a way to start a marriage, and what nerve to crash a wedding to steal the presents!


A rude awakening …

Imagine waking up early one morning to the sounds of people walking around on your roof, the sounds of hammers and crowbars pulling up your roof tiles.  These were the sounds that Pearl Northrup of Lehigh Acres, Florida awakened to one day last week, but they had not ordered a new roof.  Pearl called her landlady, Sarah Fritchey, to ask if she had scheduled roof repairs without her knowledge, but no, no roof repairs had been ordered.

roof.jpgTurns out the men on the roof were roofers employed by Nastar Roofing, and when they set out for their daily duties, they put the wrong address into their GPS!  The owner of the roofing company, L.B. Skaggs, had the men repair the damage and he will be meeting with Misses Northrup and Fritchey in a few days.  The irony, though is that the advertisement for Nastar Roofing claims they are “the roofing company you can trust”, and that “we thrive on integrity, professionalism and attention to the details that matter most to you.” 


It’s the little things …

In March 2017, I wrote a post about the World Happiness Report  that ranks 155 nations by the happiness of their citizens.  The #1 ranking country in 2017 turned out to be Norway.norway.jpgWell, one Norwegian pet supply company, Musti Group, may help explain part of what makes Norway a happy place.  Their new policy is to offer their 1,500 employees three days of paid leave when a new furry critter joins their family.  They call it “pawternity leave”.  Musti Group CEO David Rönnberg says the first few days a puppy is in a new home are vital to getting used to its new owner and environment.pawternity leave

“Depending on the needs of each pet, the first days spent together can be rather intense, and sleepless nights are more than familiar to recent pet parents. A baby animal requires constant attention and unconditional love. Paying attention to a pet’s needs and spending time with them supports their learning, builds trust and helps prevent behavioral disorders in the future.”

Now that, friends, is a company with heart!  A small thing?  Sure, but it’s the little things that make the difference between feeling like you’re important rather than merely a cog in the wheel.


What are the odds?

On Friday, June 1, Trooper Michael Patterson stopped Matthew Bailly for a minor motor vehicle violation in Kingwood Township, New Jersey.  As sometimes happens, the two men began talking, and Bailly revealed that he is a retired police officer from Patterson’s hometown of Piscataway.  One thing led to another, and Bailly eventually related a story about delivering a baby at a home way back when he was a rookie cop in 1991.  As he gave more details and recalled that the parents had named the baby ‘Michael’, a stunned Patterson extended his hand and told Bailly he was the baby the retired officer delivered on Oct. 5, 1991. bailly-patterson


Possession is nine-tenths of the law

There is a line in the movie Homeward Bound where the cat, Sassy, says “Cats rule, dogs drool”.  This short video seems to prove that maxim.


And now, dear friends, while I really love having you here, and wish you could stay all day, you cannot.  You have work to do, I have work to do, and this isn’t getting any of it done.  I hope you found something here to bring a smile to your face … a smile that you can share with others you run into today.  Y’know … a smile is contagious and so is a scowl, so let’s all see if we can spread more smiles than scowls this week, shall we?  Keep safe and have a wonderful week.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!

Last week, I had complaints about my choice of Jambalaya by The Carpenters, and David requested Fats Domino for this week … here you go, my friend …

toon-Maxine

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