Profiting From A Crisis

Thus far, eight states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont) have banned single-use plastic bags in the U.S.  Fourteen others, including Florida, have moved in the opposite direction, adopting laws to tie the hands of local officials.  In January, New Jersey attempted to pass a law banning single-use plastics, but the bill failed.  Why?  Why aren’t all 50 states on-board with this legislation?  Take a look at what plastic bags and bottles are doing …bags-1bags-2

bags-3

bags-4And the answer to the question why all 50 states aren’t doing their part is simple … the GOP motto is: profit over all else.  Profit is more important in this nation than people, than wildlife, than the environment … in fact, today’s profit is more important than life on earth tomorrow for far too many of our so-called ‘leaders’.  I could expound at some length about this concept, but for today I have a single focus:  those damn plastic bags that they shove down our throats at the grocery store.

Even though only eight states thus far have banned plastic bags, it’s a start, it’s progress.  Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have raised public awareness and many of us now bring our own reusable canvas bags to the grocery and use reusable mesh bags for produce.  Even with that, the stores have been very slow in finding packaging alternatives, so we still end up with unwanted plastic in our rubbish.  Single use plastics account for around 20% of solid rubbish in the U.S., and only about 10% of that is recycled, so 90% ends up in landfills, rivers and ultimately the ocean.

Never let it be said that big industries, focused solely on profit, miss an opportunity to increase their profit, even at the cost of earth’s future.  Enter the coronavirus.  By March 18th, the plastic industry in the U.S. had kicked into high gear.  The trade group Plastics Industry Association requested that the US Department of Health endorse the idea that “single-use plastic products are the most sanitary choice when it comes to many applications.”  A conservative nonprofit called the Independent Women’s Forum started running ads pressuring Washington state, New York, and California to reverse their bag bans. IWF’s ad’s claim: “Researchers say COVID-19 can survive on reusable tote bags for nine days. However, some state legislators are enforcing draconian bans on plastic bags, which might contribute to the spread of the virus and other harmful microorganisms.” 

Many of the groups that have picked up these claims, including the Manhattan Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute, receive support from the Kochs, the infamous family of moguls who made their fortune in the petrochemical industry.  Now are you starting to smell a rat?  The plastic industry’s tactics seem to be working: Maine’s plastic bag ban was supposed to go into effect on April 22, but it’s been postponed till January 2021. New Hampshire’s governor Christopher Sununu, who has misrepresented climate science, has gone further to use the state of emergency to temporarily ban reusable bags. Republicans in Washington state, New York, and New Jersey have been waging campaigns to reverse or delay the blue states’ bans because of coronavirus.

On Sunday, when I had access to daughter Chris’ car and could go to a grocery store a bit farther afield than the Kroger that is only a half-mile from my home (my van is not reliable and I go no further in it than I could walk home), I went to the Meijer store, a midwestern chain, hoping to find some of those rare items such as toilet paper and Clorox wipes that had been impossible to find at Kroger.  A sign on the door warned that re-usable bags were prohibited, but I entered anyway, figuring to argue the point when I got to the check out.  But a young manager stopped me almost before my posterior had cleared the automatic doors and informed me that I could not bring “those bags” into the store.  I rarely give away pieces of my mind, as I have so few left, but he got a rather large piece.  Enraged, I accused him of personally killing every fish in the ocean and also told him that the lives of his own grandchildren (he was only about 25) were on his shoulders, as he was ensuring they would die from lack of water to drink and air to breathe.  I then indignantly stormed out and returned to my own Kroger, hoping against all hope that they had not implemented a similar rule.  They hadn’t, but I was informed I would have to bag my own groceries, for they wouldn’t touch my bags.

Now, there are two things to argue here.  First of all, my bags are a few million times less likely to have any form of germ, let alone a corona-bug, on them than that can of peas you see in aisle #12, or even the tomatoes you picked up in produce.  My bags were wiped down with disinfecting wipes after their last use, and have resided in my locked van ever since.  They are sterile!  Every item in the store is germier than my bags!

The other thing, and the whole point of this post, is that the coronavirus pandemic is a short-term problem.  Yes, a very serious problem at this time, but nonetheless one with a limited lifespan.  Destruction of the environment is an ongoing problem that is shortening the hope for the continuation of life … any life … on earth every single day.  Just because we have a serious problem with this pandemic does not mean we can ignore all the other problems in the world!  The coronavirus has resulted in thousands of deaths and may even rise into the millions.  I’m not making light of that, but there are 7.8 billion human inhabitants on this planet, and exponentially more other life forms that rely on us turning around the damage that has been done over the past 150-200 years.  Plastics in all forms are part of that destruction, and single use plastic bottles and bags are one of the biggest culprits.

The re-usable bags aren’t the problem, but rather the excuse that is being used as the plastic industry seeks to profit from this human crisis.  Once again, We the People are being lied to and tricked, and I for one am damned sick and tired of it.  And for the record, I will never shop at Meijer again, nor any other store that attempts to force me to use their plastic bags!  Excuse me … I need to breathe now.

Jolly Monday With Popcorn!

Good Monday morning, friends!  Come on in and take a load off.  For obvious reasons, I shan’t ask how your weekend was, but take heart … Jolly and I spent several hours last night searching the neighborhood (the Internet, that is) in search of things to (hopefully) bring a smile, or maybe even a chuckle!  But first, I attempted to make a strudel, and jolly made popcorn … and of course, there’s bacon for the bacon-lovers and a sprinkled donut & juice box just in case Benjamin happens to drop in, so grab a snack and then we’ll go have a bit of fun.

Oops … forgot the tea …

tea  Monday-tea


popcorn-3Teeny Tiny Critters

Take a look at this adorable hedgehog midget …tiny-1

And these owls …

tuny-2

No, they aren’t real, but I bet you can’t guess what they’re made of!  They are made of stones!  Akie Nakata, is known as the Stone Artist.  She has been drawing adorable animals on stones since 2010 and over time, she has built quite a solid collection.

tiny-3For her, stones are not just materials or canvases that she just draws on. First, on her usual walk along the riverbank, she finds a stone that catches her eye:

popcorn-3“When I find a stone, I feel that stone, too, has found me. Stones have their own intentions and I consider my encounters with them as cues they give me that it’s OK to go ahead and paint what I see on them. So the stones I decide to paint on are not arbitrary, but my significant opposites with whom I have established a connection, who inspire me to work with them.”

tiny-4The artist leaves the shape of the stone untouched. She neither grinds nor smooths them, as she likes to stay true to the stone that inspired her.

“In my encounters with the stones and in my art, I respect my opposites in toto, so I never process stones and would never cut off an edge to alter the shape. The art I want to create is a life newly born in my hands through my dialogue with the stone. I want to paint the life I feel inside the stone. I consider my work completed only when I see that the eyes are now alive and looking back straight at me. To me, completing a piece of work is not about how much detail I draw, but whether I feel the life in the stone.”

You can see lots more of Ms. Nakata’s work if you head over to Bored Panda.


Elephants are afraid of … WHAT???

Recently, India has been having a problem with elephants wandering onto the railroad tracks and getting themselves … well, smushed.  But, the owners of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), found a solution.  Guess what, it turns out, elephants are afraid of?elephant-beepopcorn-3Yep, you got it … great big ol’ elephants fear little teeny-weeny bees!  So, Northeast Frontier Railway’s Moradabad division installed honey bee sound systems at various points along the railway tracks.  Once an elephant herd is sighted, villagers at once inform the local staff about their presence, the buzzing sound is then played near the tracks to scare them away. “Till now the project has been a success,” said the Divisional Railway Manager. Elephants have been long known to be frightened by the buzzing sound of bees and stings.

Who would have guessed?


A dangerous criminal …

The Pembroke Pines Police Department in Florida have been after an elusive criminal since January, and she led them on a merry chase, but finally, on March 19th, they were able to capture her.

unknown-cow

The Pembroke Pines Police Department said the cow was spotted in the area of Sheridan Street and Interstate 75, causing officers to respond and guide the animal toward an enclosed field in Davie.

The property owner agreed to allow the cow to stay until it could be safely moved.

popcorn-4“We wish the cow well on its future adventures,” the department said.

The police department said last week that the cow had been wandering the area since January, and repeated failed capture attempts revealed the animal is “faster than it looks” and is a “talented fence jumper.”


Shall we have a few ‘toons ‘n memes for a laugh or two?

meme-1meme-2meme-3meme-4meme-5meme-6meme-7toon-1toon-2toon-3toon-4popcorn-3toon-5toon-6toon-7


popcorn-4And of course, I cannot end a Jolly Monday without a cute animal video!


jollyOkay, folks, that’s a wrap for yet another Monday!  I hope you guys all manage to find some good karma this week, keep your cool, and for Pete’s sake keep safe!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa & Jolly!

Saturday Surprise — Bang

Hello friends!  Whew … been a heck of a week, hasn’t it?  Yeah, me too … and that’s why I figured we ought to start the weekend with a bang …bangThere now … wasn’t that fun?  Oh, okay fine … let’s see if I can do better.


Ducks in their finery …

Normally I am against dressing critters in clothes, but I have to admit that these ducks all decked out in their Easter finery are pretty darn cool.duck-1It’s called the Pied Piper Duck Show and it’s an annual event in Sydney, Australia.  Behatted ducks in pink, green and yellow outfits waddle down the catwalk in the Pied Piper Duck Show at one of Australia’s most famous annual country festivals. The show is a part of the 14-day Sydney Royal Easter Show which is the largest annual event staged in Australia, attracting an average of 900,000 visitors.duck-2Brian Harrington, who runs the duck show, believes his feathered models are just as talented as their human counterparts, and completely under-appreciated. The 60-year old Harrington has run the show for some 30 years and dresses his ducks according to the latest fashion trends for each event. A farmer from New South Wales, Brian Harrington also trains pigs which, this year, reportedly played a chaotic version of musical chairs.duck-3Aside from fashion parades, the Pied Piper Duck Show also showcase Racing Ducks, which have the crowds roaring in laughter as they cheer on their favorite duck. And of course, there are food stalls that offer everything from steak sandwiches, souvlakis, baked potatoes, strawberries, ice-cream, milkshakes, and duck roast too.duck-4duck-5duck-6


Eggs artistry?

In teaching my granddaughter to cook, I have always stressed that cooking is an art, not a science.  These creations are far beyond my food-art ability, though …

food-art-1food-art-2food-art-3food-art-4food-art-5

The woman who created these edible arts is known as Etoni Mama. She is raising three girls—ages 7, 9, and 11—who are lucky enough to eat colorful, cartoon character-inspired meals almost every day. The talented mother who has no prior training in making food is definitely a master of kyaraben, also known as character bento. Kyaraben is a Japanese lunchbox food style that features numerous meals decorated to look like people and various pop culture characters, including plants and animals. While making character bento is not easy, Etoni does it so well that you can’t help but love her meals.

food-art-6food-art-7food-art-9food-art-10food-art-11


This next one is courtesy of Scott Lawlor who send it to me a few days ago …

Sleeping it off …

It is said that the village of  Xishuangbana in Yunnan Province in China was deserted of humans who were largely staying in their homes, when a herd of 14 elephants came into the village looking for food & drink.  Well, the local pubs and saki bars were closed, so the elephants helped themselves to some corn in a field, and to wash it down, they found 30kg of corn whiskey that the farmers must have left out.  Well, here is the end result of that … they fell asleep in a tea garden!

elephants

I am told that the story was mostly made up to fit the picture, but … it’s a fun story anyway.


SaturdayThat’s all I’ve got for today, folks … sorry for such a short one, but I’m all out tonight.  Now go try to have a fun weekend … go for a nice walk in the woods or along the lake, depending where you live, or just around the local high school track!  Take a picnic lunch with you and make a day of it! Those activities are not forbidden … not yet, anyway.  Either way, have a great weekend.

 

A Rare “G”-Rated Post

I seem to be unable to write anything news-worthy without a rant that includes a large number of four-letter words.  And yet, today is National Let’s Laugh Day, so it hardly seems proper to start the day with my usual grousing fare.  And so instead of an X-rated rant, I’ve decided to eschew the socio-political scene just for this post (don’t get used to it!), and go with a few things that might make you smile in this #$%@-ed up world of today.


Another good people …

Most of my readers on ‘the other side of the pond’ are likely familiar with the name Gary Neville.  Neville, for the rest of us, is an English football coach and former football player.  Now, remember that when the Brits refer to ‘football’, what they mean is what we call soccer, played with a round ball that is black & white, rather than a brown ovoid pigskin.

soccer-football

Anyway, back to Gary Neville … he also happens to be the co-owner of two hotels … hotels that he is closing during the coronavirus pandemic in order to give the rooms to health workers fighting the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  In addition, he has promised that the staff will retain their incomes, with no layoffs on the horizon and no one being asked to take unpaid leave.

Another of many good people who care more about humanity than their own profit.  Thumbs up, Mr. Neville!


Tree of the Year!!!

This lonesome little pine tree …lonely-pine… believed by superstitious locals to act as sentinel over a flooded Czech village has been chosen as Europe’s tree of the year, beating stiff competition from a Croatian gingko tree, a Portuguese chestnut and an English oak.

The Guardian of the Flooded Village has grown for 350 years on a rocky height near the village of Chudobin, said locally to play host to a devil that sat under it at night, playing the violin and warding off intruders – though in reality the eerie sounds are more likely to have come from the strong winds blowing over the valley.

Supernatural powers attributed to trees ranked multiple times in this year’s competition: another guardian tree, from Romania, took fifth place and two witch trees – in the Netherlands and Ireland – also scored highly.

The UK’s entry, the Allerton Oak, came in seventh place. Growing in Liverpool’s Calderstones Park, the oak tree was where judges would meet to hold trials in medieval times, instead of a courthouse. A large crack in the tree is said to date from 1864 when a ship carrying gunpowder exploded on the Mersey – the explosion was heard 30 miles away and shattered thousands of windows.

Who knew there was even such a thing as a “Tree of the Year” contest?  Rather a cool idea, though … honouring trees instead of chopping them down!


Watch da penguins!

Many entertainment centers and places of business around the globe have closed their doors (temporarily, we hope) in the past month.  Our local Barnes & Noble sent out an email today saying they are, for the time being, still open, but that they have removed all the chairs.  🤷

One such business is the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.  But, not to waste a rare opportunity, they allowed the penguins free run of the place …

And another aquarium, Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa, did the same …


national-laugh-dayAnd in honour of National Let’s Laugh Day, I give you a couple of quotes:

“Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can.” — Elsa Maxwell

“We don’t laugh because we’re happy — we’re happy because we laugh.” — William James

Try it and let me know how it feels, okay?


Okay, friends, that’s as much ‘fun’ as I can handle for one day, so I will now return to being my usual snarky, curmudgeonly self.  Until later …

Jolly Monday — Just a Few Laughs

Last evening I said to Jolly that maybe we’d need to take a hiatus from Jolly Monday this week, for I really wasn’t in the mood.  Jolly, however, was having none of it!

jolly“Gwammie … NO!  Our fwiends need us more den ever now, ‘cause it’s scawy and sad and we needs to make ‘em laugh.  Pwease, Gwammie, PWEASE?”

Well, how can I resist the little guy when he puts it that way, when he cares so much about all of you?  And so, between us, we will use all our wiles and charms to try to make you laugh this morning!  Grab a donut or piece of fruit, and settle in for a few minutes with me ‘n Jolly.


Toilet paper anyone?

Toilet paper, or loo paper for my UK readers, is on the minds of just about everybody today.  Imagine one woman’s shock, though, when she ordered a supply of 48 rolls from a company called Who Gives a Crap, only to be billed over $2,000!  Haidee Janetzki of Toowoomba, Australia, had been ordering from the company on a regular basis for several years, but decided to change the brand to a cheaper one.  What she didn’t realize was that instead of 48 rolls, she accidentally ordered 48 boxes … hmmmm, I think I’m beginning to see why there is a shortage!

Says Janetzki …

“And when it asked for quantity, I put 48, thinking that would be a box of 48 rolls. Turned out it was 48 boxes. The courier man turned up at the door with two pallets of toilet paper instead of one box.”

A look at her credit card statement showed that she had been billed $2,153.78 plus shipping!  She said the recent toilet paper shortages stemming from coronavirus concerns have simplified the process of getting rid of the rolls. The family has started selling the toilet paper at a slight mark-up to support a school trip her daughter’s class is planning.  Personally, I would have sent it back, but …


Art made of what???

Take a look at this mural by 23-year-old Oscar Olivares from Venezuela and see if you can guess what it’s made of …mural-VenzuelaOscar Olivares, in collaboration with the local environmental organization OkoSpiri and Movimiento en la Arquitectura para el Futuro (eng. Movement in Architecture for the Future), has created a gigantic mural using recycled plastic bottle caps and container lids.It took 2.5 months to plaster over 200,000 various plastic caps on a wall of a small square, Plaza Escalona in El Hatillo Municipality, Caracas. The mural extends a total of 45 meters in length, measuring 3.5 meters at its shortest point and 7.25 meters at its highest point.mural-Venzuela-2

“The initiative came from ONG OkoSpiri—they invited me to participate as the artist of the project of creating the first eco-mural of Venezuela using just bottle cap. At first, it sounds impossible, but I did some research and dove deep into pointillism and color. It helped me understand that it was not only possible to make a good mural using caps, but also something hard yet impressive and thus worth it.”

Oscar explains the symbolism behind the mural …mural-Venzuela-oscar

“The mural begins with the city of Caracas (where the mural is) at night with an arepa moon. The arepa is the most typical food of Venezuela and something that connects all of the people of the country—the rich and the poor. In the sky inspired by Van Gogh, you can see two Ovnis (UFOs) that represents our connection with the outer space. Then, we have some sunflowers and in the most important part of the mural, the four macaws in different sizes and perspectives flying around. You can witness these birds flying around Caracas all the time, they are always in a couple or groups. At the end of the mural, you will see an Araguaney—that is the national tree of Venezuela with the name of the mural “Oko-mural” inspired by ONG OkoSpiri.”

mural-Venzuela-3The plastic cap mural is reportedly one of the largest ecological murals in South America and the first of its kind in Venezuela. The idea behind the work of art is to raise awareness among the residents of Caracas and beyond about the ecological problems that the country faces.


Pandas … Pandas … Pandas!

Today is National Panda Day!  According to the National Day Calendar people …

wwf-pandaNational Panda Day draws attention to one of the world’s unique bears. Pandas are also one of the world’s most endangered and adored animals. Conservationists and animal lovers alike spread the word about increasing efforts of the international community dedicated to protecting and restoring habitat.

Native to China, giant pandas are members of the Bear (Ursidae) family. Their rapidly shrinking habitat is a major cause for concern.  As an endangered species, successful panda breeding programs are rare. In the wild, there are approximately only 1,864 (according to the World Wide Fund for Nature) and 100 living in zoos around the world.

With their white face and black eyes and body, Panda bears are easily identifiable. However, despite their sweet disposition, they tend to isolate themselves in the wild. They eat mostly plants and do not hibernate in the winter like many other bears.

So, naturally I have a cute animal video …


I think Jolly is just back from Phil’s Phun where he found some phunny cartoons …

toon-1toon-2toon-3toon-4toon-5


jollyWell, folks, I guess it’s time for us to all get down to the business at hand and get this week off to a grand start!  Share those smiles, and keep a positive attitude this week, okay?  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!

 

Oh … I almost forgot!  Hugh … thought you might need these for the week ahead …

Monday-famous-grouseMaxine

And About Planet Earth …

Since there is no news, other than the coronavirus and watching the administration run around in circles like rabbits on drugs trying to cover the constant faux pas of the person in the Oval Office, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at some of the things … both positive and negative … being done in area of the environment.  First the good …

👍Thumbs up to Aldi …

The supermarket chain Aldi has put suppliers on notice that all products sold to Aldi must be packaged in 100% sustainable material by the year 2025.  Previously, back in 2018, Aldi committed to all Aldi-branded products being packaged in 100% sustainable material by 2022, and this move takes the initiative a step further. AldiAldi is further committing time and resources to tackling the unsustainability of grocery store packaging by preparing to join the ranks of grocery chains that offer a reuse and refill scheme that will allow customers to return to Aldi with containers previously purchased and refill them from dispensers.

Another area of Aldi operations that is getting a makeover is the plastic bag situation. Aldi already eliminated single-use plastic bags, with reusable produce bags offered in 250 stores, but they are now preparing to make the switch to this model across all 870 locations worldwide.  Kroger … Giant … Food Lion … Safeway?  You guys listening?

👍Thumbs up to Lithuania …

Who would have thought that Lithuania, a nation of just under 3 million people, would be the ones to come up with an innovative solution to one of the world’s biggest problems … plastic water bottles?

In two years, they already have a recycling rate for plastic packaging of 74%—the highest of any European country, and 44% higher than the EU average.  They also reached a milestone of 91.9% for all bottles and cans after the introduction of a deposit-refund scheme for plastic, aluminum, and glass food and beverage containers.

recycling-lithuaniaWhen the consumer buys a product packaged in a returnable recyclable container, they pay a €0.10 tax which is held in trust until the consumer returns the packaging to a special reverse-vending machine, whereupon the ten cents is repaid.

Any store that chooses to sell grocery items in designated recyclable containers are provided with reverse vending machines to place either inside the store or outdoors. Consumers are paid in vouchers that can be redeemed in store as cash or credit toward their shopping bill, which brings additional foot traffic into stores.recycling-machineOther countries, it turns out, have the recycling machines, such as Tesco in the UK, but Lithuania seems to have the highest success rate so far.  Not surprisingly, I have never seen such a machine here in the U.S. and find no evidence that they are in use here.  Get with the program, United States!

👍Thumbs up to renewable energy …

Check out our friend Keith’s post from ten days ago … he brings us the good news that the use of fossil fuels is declining significantly (despite Donald Trump’s best efforts) and renewable energy sources are on the rise!  Fossil Fuel Energy May Have Seen a Global Turning Point

And the not-so-good …

👎Thumbs down to Donald Trump & Co …

This nation’s biggest anti-environmental force is our own federal government.  The latest is that Trump has ordered the opening of Alaska’s 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest, the planet’s largest intact temperate rainforest — to logging and other corporate development projects, such as energy and mining ventures. TongassThe plan was first announced last summer, a time when the Amazon Rainforest was burning, and Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro was supporting extreme deforestation measures.  Trees are, quite frankly, the life of the planet, and without them most living things on Planet Earth will cease to exist.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason ruled that the plan violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) because the agency did not take all of its potential impacts into account. Tongass-2Unfortunately, Trump & Co are likely to appeal this decision until it lands on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court, where we know the likely outcome.  I have heard Trump supporters say that “god put everything on earth for the pleasure of mankind” … well, I’ve got news for those who believe that:  trees are here to provide oxygen for all life on earth, to provide shelter, protection and food for certain wildlife.  They were definitely NOT put here so people can have new furniture every five years!

Well, that’s the latest in environmental news for now.  Some good things are happening, despite the best efforts of Trump and his gang to stop them.  Let’s hope we soon have a president who takes life on earth seriously.

Saturday Surprise — This ‘n That

Good morning, friends, and welcome to the …weekendI wonder what this weekend will bring?  I imagine the crowds will be much thinner in restaurants, malls and the like.  Whatever you do, wherever you go, take your little bottle of hand sanitizer with you and keep safe.


I got my own Friday Surprise yesterday afternoon!  My friend Anne Lawson of Anne Lawson’s Art  had emailed me a couple of weeks ago and generously asked if I would like a piece or two of her art.  Well, of course I would … she does beautiful work!  I tried to offer to at least pay for the postage, for having shipped packages to the UK, I know that it can be quite expensive, but she wouldn’t hear of it.  So, yesterday afternoon when I was diligently mopping the kitchen floor, Miss Goose came in from taking out the trash and checking the mail, and announced that I had a package from Australia, so I knew immediately what it was!

art-2art-1

Aren’t these just beautiful!!!  Miss Goose took the photos for me, but left them in the plastic sleeves Anne sent them in, hence the reflection.  I’ll post another after I frame them and hang them.  Thank you so much, Anne … you have brought a huge smile to my face!  I already have the perfect frames for them and the perfect spot to hang them this weekend!


I would like to introduce you to a critter that crossed my radar last night.  Meet Xherdan …Xherdan-1Xherdan is a six-year-old Canadian Sphynx who lives with his owner in Rüti, Switzerland.  Xherdan is covered in wrinkles from head to toe which has earned him comparisons to aliens, brains and dumplings.Xherdan-2Though he often sports an angry-looking frown, his owner says he’s “cheerful” but also “cheeky”.Xherdan-3Here’s what Xherdan has to say about himself…

“My skin is light pink, soft and warm – everyone always wants to touch and pet me. I love it! If you hold us in your arms, you’ll never want to let us go. Did I say I love it?”

Xherdan-4

“At home, my people love me, and I am allowed to cuddle soooo much with them. I love to play and jump around the apartment. Sometimes they’ll laugh at me because I’m obviously very clumsy. That makes me happy. Laughter is the language of the soul, and I am grateful for the gift of making people laugh.”

Xherdan-5

“I also like to purr, trill and prowl curiously. But I prefer to dream and be lazy. I curl myself up into arms, on legs or bellies, and nestle my pink, wrinkled body against my human family.”

Xherdan-6

Xherdan even has his own YouTube video … take a look!


And, since I seem to be on a critter theme today (surprised, aren’t you?), here’s another.  Bats get a bad rap … I think it’s because when they are flying toward your head, wings flapping loudly and screeching at a high pitch, they are a bit off-putting.  However, up close and personal, they are really quite adorable … even if they do sleep upside down in musty old caves.

This little guy is a fruit bat and seeing him eat this banana is just too darn cute!  Take a look …


Just a bit more humour before you go …

Maxinememe-1meme-2


Okay, friends … go forth and have a fun weekend.  Please take extra precautions and keep safe.weekend

Jolly’s BAAAACK!

Good Monday morning, friends!  Well, Jolly is back after his little adventure last week … thanks to Larry for sending him back home … and he’s in fine form today!  So, did you all have a wonderful weekend?  It was sunny for a change on both Saturday and Sunday, and relatively warm both days, so I’ve got no complaints.  We’ve got some fun stuff for you this morning to make up for last week, so grab a snack and a cuppa and settle in for a few chuckles.   Oh, a word of warning … I’ve been teaching Jolly the fine art of Mexican cooking …


Germ-free and feelin’ good …

For obvious reasons, we are all being extra-cautious about washing our hands and keeping hand sanitizer handy at all times.  But one man had a novel idea for making his own sanitizer … and I don’t think his purpose was necessarily to save money …

“I made some hand sanitizer out your vodka. The hand sanitizer doesn’t taste bad either. Cheers to Tito’s vodka. Keeping me germ-free and feeling good at the same time.”

Tito’s Vodka quickly responded …TitosWell, for those of you who may have been considering this … now you know better!


Guess who came to dinner … er, the wedding?

Riva Weinstock got married last week and naturally she invited her kid brother, Mendl, to the wedding.  Mendl brought a very special guest to Riva’s wedding!riva-and-mendl-weinstockYep, his guest of honour was none other than a llama!  In a tuxedo!  Turns out that back in 2015 when Riva and Mendl were teenagers, she began talking about what sort of wedding she might want, and Mendl jokingly said that if she invited him to such an affair, he would bring a llama.

Mendl has a long memory, so back in October when his sister called to tell him of her upcoming wedding, he began making his plans and sure enough, kept his promise!  I love it!  The llama probably upstaged the happy couple, though!


Where’s Waldo?

Who says dogs can’t climb trees?  Now, I don’t know how or why ol’ Waldo decided to climb that tree … he might have been chasing a squirrel, or maybe the neighbor’s cat was chasing him.  Either way, he ended up about 20 feet into a tree somewhere in Kansas City.Waldo-1Animal Services were called, and it took three officers to climb the tree and carry Waldo down.WaldoOnce Waldo knew he was safe, he fell asleep in the officer’s arms as he was completing intake paperwork.


Walking over a … WHAT???

You’ve heard of the Flying Wallendas, the family of daredevil high wire walkers that started with Karl Wallenda back in 1905.  Well, the family is now in its fifth generation of high wire walkers, and despite numerous tragedies over the years, they are still at it!

Nik Wallenda, who has made history a number of times, carrying on the tradition of his late great-grandfather Karl (who died at age 73 while attempting a high wire walk between the towers of Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico), took a walk across the Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua!  Take a look …

I am afraid of heights, so I found it hard to watch, but at the same time, couldn’t take my eyes away!  Wow … just wow.


Why?

What’s the purpose of an airport?  No, not a trick question, but definitely a rhetorical one.  An airport is a central processing center for passengers and crew flying to or from a destination.  It is a functional structure.  Sure, it’s nice if it has a little café, maybe a gift shop with some books or souvenirs, bit overall it is not an art museum, just a functional building.

So, what’s with the governing board of Tampa International Airport, that they just allocated some $2.4 million to put a giant pink flamingo in the middle of the airport.  A 21-foot pink flamingo!pink-flamingoMind you, I like flamingos.  I have a stuffed pink flamingo named Merlin and when you squeeze his hand, he dances and sings Hey Macarena!  But … for the price, this airport flamingo, who probably doesn’t even sing and dance, seems a bit of a waste of both space and money.  But, what do I know … maybe it will take traveler’s minds off the fact that the big tube they are about to walk into and fly high in the air was likely made by Boeing.


How ‘bout a few ‘toons ‘n memes?

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Well, folks … what Jolly???  Oh … yes … Jolly found a cute animal video to round out the morning.  Meet Alfie …


jollyI hope you all have a great week.  Keep safe, be happy, and please remember to share your gorgeous smiles!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa ‘n Jolly!!!

Maxine

Saturday Surprise — A Hodgepodge

I haven’t done a Saturday Surprise for the past two weeks, for other things have been occupying my mind and time, and I almost skipped it this week, as I am a bit under the weather with a respiratory ‘thing’.  But … I am told that a certain young man named Benjamin, who hasn’t been able to be here for quite a while, will be checking in today, so I wanted to do something!  So, I have just a couple of things to kick off the weekend with a smile!


Take a look at this and tell me what you think it is …cake-1I bet you think it’s a nice, healthy salad, right?  Wrong … look again …cake-1-aYep, it’s actually a cake decorated to look like a salad.  Some years ago I did a post about uniquely decorated cakes that looked like something other than cakes.  I have found a whole new batch and I thought you might enjoy looking at a few.

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Oodles of creativity there!  I don’t think I could eat the hand, though.  There are a ton more – if you’re interested, head on over to Bored Panda and check ‘em out!


I’m sure to people in Australia, the current toilet paper, or loo paper shortage is no laughing matter.  But I couldn’t help but chuckle at a few things I saw.

The Northern Territory News, or NT News, based in Darwin, Australia, printed 8 blank pages on Thursday.  Why?

“Run out of loo paper? The NT News cares. That’s why we’ve printed an eight-page special liftout inside, complete with handy cut lines, for you to use in an emergency.”

The editor of NT News, Matt Williams, said in an interview with the Guardian Australia that it was “certainly not a crappy edition.”

And then, of course, there have got to be memes …tp-meme-1tp-meme-2

One store is reported to have imposed a 4-roll purchase limit … pity the family who has six children! tp-grocery-lines


How would you like to get up to your house looking like this one morning?ice-1It happened on the New York side of Lake Erie last weekend when gale-force winds and 15-foot waves from the lake encased the structures in 1-to-3-inch-thick ice.  In some places, such as rooftops, the ice can be up to 3 feet thick, so of course there is concern about structural damage among homeowners.

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And to end this post with a big smile, meet Pim, the Skinny Pig from the Netherlands …


Now, go forth and have a fun & happy …weekend

Good People Doing Good Things — Dr. Kwane Stewart

Imagine for a moment if you will that you are homeless … you’ve lost most everything you had in life … except your dog.  The only one who still loves you, who faithfully stays by your side through thick and thin, doesn’t care if you haven’t had a shower in days, or if you’ve got that same ugly grey sweatshirt on for the third day in a row.  He cuddles by your side at night, gives you a g’night lick on the cheek, and his is the first face you see when you wake in your makeshift tent on the sidewalk, or under the overpass.  Your best friend … maybe your only friend.Kwane-Stewart-2Meet Dr. Kwane Stewart, DVM.  Nine years ago, Stewart, wanting to show his young son the importance of giving back, spent an afternoon at a soup kitchen offering medical care to the pets of homeless people in Modesto, California.  During this experience, he learned that these animals provided more than companionship to their owners — they also offered love, hope, and security.

“I knew then and there I was going to keep doing it. There’s so much need out there. About 25% of our homeless population own a pet, and I knew that if I set up a table at a soup kitchen, I could help a small group of animals. So that’s what I did. I called over anyone who was holding their pet and told them I’d take a look and vaccinate or treat their pet if I could. That first experience was one of the most rewarding moments for me. When you give back, there is something you get in return that feels much larger. I knew I wanted to keep doing it.”

After examining more than a dozen animals on that first day, he realized there was a need for this type of medical care in his community. What started as a few hours of volunteer work slowly became part of his regular routine.Kwane-Stewart-6He has helped heal more than 400 homeless pets and hopes to continue spreading empathy and awareness around homelessness through his work on the street. He also hopes his mission will encourage other veterinarians to volunteer their time and expertise to help those in need.

“I don’t ever want to have to turn anybody away. The look on people’s faces when they get their pets back, especially after a surgery or a life-saving procedure — those are moments I’ll remember forever.  Anyone has the power to help. You can volunteer at a rescue shelter. You can donate money or time. As that generosity spreads, it helps fuel the positive energy in the world.”

About 98% of the pets Stewart encounters on the streets are dogs — though there are a surprising number of cats and the occasional bird or reptile. While he’s heard comments that homeless people shouldn’t have pets, Stewart doesn’t share that opinion because he’s seen the benefits both to people and the animals themselves.

“To a pet, their owner is their universe. But we go to work and leave our pet alone sometimes eight, 10, 12 hours a day and they just sit and pine for us. Homeless people are with their animal every minute of every day.”

And pets can provide homeless women with a sense of protection and security, and offer hope to their companions — a reason not to give in to despair or fall deeper into drug or alcohol addiction, he said. One man told him, “My dog is more beneficial to me than any pill or therapy session.”Kwane-Stewart-4

“I’ve seen homeless people feed their pet before they feed themselves. I’ve seen them give their last dollar to care for their pet. They sustain each other and that is the power of pet companionship.”

Stewart hopes to challenge preconceived notions of what homeless people are like through a TV show, in which he stars, called “The Street Vet.” He describes it as a “passion project” that he created with his brother. So far, it’s shown in smaller markets in Eastern Europe, Canada and China. While people sometimes assume Stewart is rich because he’s in a show and has had high-profile jobs, such as chief veterinary officer of the nonprofit American Humane, he’s still paying off his student loans from veterinary school. Below is a short trailer from his show … grab your box of tissues first.

Out on the streets, the most common afflictions Stewart sees are flea infestations, ear infections and mild arthritis, but sometimes a pet needs surgery to remove a tumor or rotting teeth. In the past, he would pay for it out of his own pocket; he is grateful to have found reduced-price care at Beverly Oaks Animal Hospital in Los Angeles. Dr. Laurie Leach, a veterinarian at the practice, has even performed some surgeries pro bono.

Still, costs add up and Stewart doesn’t want to have to turn anyone away, so he started a GoFundMe last fall. Inspired by his efforts, the fundraising site GoFundMe named him the February GoFundMe Hero.Kwane-Stewart-5You may think it’s a small thing … and sure, relative to saving the world it is.  But … to those homeless people whose only friend is their dog or cat … or bird … it means everything.  I give two thumbs up to Dr. Kwane Stewart!  👍 👍