Happy Boxing Day!!! – Reduxed Again

I know, I know … this is the same Boxing Day post I used last year … and the year before.  But, as I pondered doing a new one, I realized that this one pretty much covers all the bases, and some of you are new to Filosofa’s Word in the last year, and likely the rest of you have forgotten this one anyway!  I have added a few comments from last year’s post that I found interesting and that added context for those of us on this side of the pond.  Plus, there is the tiny matter of the fact that I am knackered, as my Brit friends would say … tee-totally exhausted as we say on this side of the pond.  Every year, I try to do too much, and every year I promise myself not to do that next year, and every year I do it again.  In other words, I am hopeless!  Anyway, please join me in wishing all our friends in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK the very Happiest Boxing Day!!!


BoxingNo no no no no … not that kind of boxing!  Boxing Day is on December 26th, the day after Christmas, and it is a bank holiday in the UK and Canada.  A brief bit about the origins of Boxing Day …

There are a few competing stories for the origin of the name, and while none are definitive, the one that seems most commonly accepted is that the day after Christmas was when servants of the wealthy were given time off to visit their family, as they were needed to work on Christmas Day. Each servant would be given a box to take home with food, a bonus and gifts. In Britain, it was a custom for tradespeople to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year.

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Now, that said, last year our friend rawgod gave me his explanation of the Canadian celebration of Boxing Day, at least in his household as a child …

“Each year an xmas tree was brought to the house, often on xmas eve. All the decorations were brought out of storage, and hung to decorate the tree. In those days baubles were not made of plastic, but rather blown glass. They were very delicate, and much too easily broken, as my poor bum learned every year. Moving on, the tree was the centrepiece of our home xmas day, and the next day, we put all the unbroken decorations into their special boxes so they could survive to the next xmas. By suppertime everything was boxed, and stored–thus Boxing Day.”


And this is what my house looks like on this Boxing Day!boxing-day


So how do our friends up north and across the big pond celebrate Boxing Day?  I went ‘in search of …’ and came up with some fun things, though I strongly suspect that most people spend the day recuperating from Christmas.  Let’s look at a few …

There is an annual barrel rolling race in Grantchester, Cambridgeshire

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Until 2004 when the UK imposed a ban on fox-hunting, it used to be a tradition on Boxing Day.  Last year, Colette commented that legal or not, fox-hunting …

“As for fox hunting (despite tradition, I hate it), it still occurs. Meets go out following scent trails by people sent up ahead. The hounds are supposed to follow that and eventually find the people. Horses follow. But the hounds very often find real foxes which they tear to shreds if found. I am opposed to this horrific practice. The whole industry (and it is a lucrative industry) is a travesty akin to Bear Baiting or Cock Fighting, both long outlawed in Britain.”

Boxing-Day-2.jpgI understand that sports are big on boxing day, with horse racing and football.  But remember that what they call ‘football’ is actually what we in the U.S. refer to as soccer.  I asked one of my friends across the pond once, when he mentioned ‘football’ if he was referring to the kind with an ovoid pigskin ball where large people try to kill one another, or the kind that is played with a geometric-patterned black & white ball.  I was informed in no uncertain terms that he was referring to ‘real’ football and that what we called football was but a cheap knock-off. I never made that mistake again!

soccerAnd then there is shopping.  One article I read compared Boxing Day shopping with Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, in the U.S.  Apparently all the stores have huge sales.  But my question here is … who has any money after Christmas?

shoppingAnd so, to our friends across the big pond, however you spend Boxing Day, I hope it is a fun and/or relaxing day for you!  Happy Boxing Day!!!

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A Holly Jolly Monday!

xmas-kitties

‘Twas the Jolly Monday before Christmas,
And all ‘round the ‘net,
Every creature was stirring,
And making me fret.

-Filosofa

xmas-kittyOkay, folks, that’s the extent of my poetic talent.  The part about every creature stirring is true … the kitties get restless when there are goings-on afoot, such as present wrapping, packages being carried in, and they have been in rare form tonight … only two fights so far, but Boo has been doing his best to turn the television over trying to get at the kitty he thinks is inside of it.  Young Boo has recently developed a television addiction.  I blame daughter Chris for this, as she plays kitty videos for him when she’s home.  When she’s not home, he’s fine, but the minute she walks through the door in the evening, he jumps up on the table in front of the t.v. and waits for her to turn it on for him!

Since this is the last Jolly Monday before Christmas, naturally Jolly and I have done a bit of festive baking.  (Jolly’s cookies came out a bit burnt, but he worked so hard on them that I hope you’ll eat one anyway, so as not to hurt his feelings)  So, grab a treat and a cuppa, and let’s work on that Christmas spirit, shall we?  Oh, and Hugh … there’s a special treat for you … you’ll know it when you see it!  Cheers!

Monday-famous-grousexmas-eggnog

xmas-bacon-treeAnd for our young friend Benjamin, who is back for the first time in over a month … 


I found some interesting, fun Christmas-related trivia I think you might enjoy …

  • jingle-bellsJingle Bells was written for Thanksgiving, not Christmas. The song was written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title One Horse Open Sleigh. It was supposed to be played in the composer’s Sunday school class during Thanksgiving as a way to commemorate the famed Medford sleigh races. Jingle Bells was also the first song to be broadcast from space. Nine days before Christmas in 1965, the two astronauts aboard Gemini 6 suddenly sent an odd report to Mission Control that they saw an “unidentified flying object” about to enter Earth’s atmosphere, traveling in the polar orbit from north to south. They interrupted the tense report with the sound of “Jingle Bells” with Wally Schirra playing a small harmonica and accompanied by Tom Stafford with a handful of small sleigh bells they had smuggled aboard for that very occasion.

  • kfcJapanese people traditionally eat at KFC for Christmas dinner. Although the percentage of Christian people in Japan is close to zero, every Christmas, kids and grown-ups head to the closest KFC to enjoy some fried chicken – the closest food to turkey that you can get in Japan. It’s all thanks to a successful “Kentucky for Christmas!” marketing campaign in 1947. First aimed at foreigners, KFC offered a “Christmas dinner” that contained chicken and wine – a meal that remotely resembled the food expats and tourists had at home. After a huge success, Kentucky Fried Chicken started promoting this offer every year, until the fast food chain became strongly associated with the holiday season.

  • Iceland has 13 Santas and an old lady who kidnaps children. Christmas in Iceland is a colorful fusion of religion, fairy tales and folklore. Instead of one Santa, the kids are visited by 13 Yule Lads that either reward children for good behavior or punish them if they were naughty. The holiday period begins 13 days before Christmas and each day one of the 13 Yule Lads comes to houses and fills the shoes that kids leave under the Christmas tree either with sweets and small gifts or rotting potatoes, depending on how that particular child has behaved on the preceding day. The mother of Yule Lads, half-troll, half-beast, horrifying old woman Grýla, kidnaps naughty kids and boils them in her cauldron.iceland

  • xmas-treeYou might want to brew a cup o’ tea when decking your halls this year. The origin of Christmas trees goes all the way back to ancient Egyptians and Romans, who marked the winter solstice with evergreens as a reminder that spring would return soon. But it wasn’t until Prince Albert of Germany introduced the tree to his new wife, Queen Victoria of England, that the tradition really took off. A drawing of the couple in front of a Christmas tree appeared in Illustrated London News way back in 1848 and as we say today, the idea went viral.

  • According to Coca-Cola, Santa used to look a lot less jolly — even spooky. It wasn’t until the beverage company hired an illustrator named Haddon Sundblom in 1931 to create images of Santa for magazine advertisements that we got the warm and friendly Santa we know today. Now, kids wouldn’t fear interrupting Santa’s nightly work.

  • xmas-stockingsAccording to legend, we hang our stockings by the chimney with care thanks to a poor man who didn’t have the money for his three daughters’ dowries. Generous old St. Nick dropped a bag of gold down their chimney one night, where the girls had hung their stockings to dry by the fire. That’s where the gold ended up, and allegedly how the tradition began.


A few Christmas cartoons …

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And of course Jolly Monday must have a cute animal video, and since it is the holiday season …


jollyFriends, I would like to just take this opportunity to let you all know how much you mean to me … and Jolly.  The very best thing about this blog has been the wonderful people I’ve met … I feel as if I’ve actually acquired a whole new family.  A couple of times, in times of extreme angst, I have considered giving up this blog … but the thought never lasts for long, for I would miss you all entirely too much.  Thank you all for being such great friends!  Jolly and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!

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Saturday Surprise — Mojito and Skywalker!

Good Saturday morning and welcome to the …

weekend

I have something for you today that is guaranteed to melt your heart!  My friend Herb sent me this a few days ago, as he knows of my love for critters …

Meet Skywalker, a tiny polydactyl kitten with an extra digit resembling a thumb.  Skywalker was taken to the veterinary hospital when he was just three weeks old and weighed less than a pound.Kim Dowie, whose husband used to work at the vet center, got the kitten home and their pet dog – Mojito, a Golden Retriever started giving him all the love.kitten with thumbs found love in giant dog

He would shower kisses on Skywalker and they would cuddle for a long time! Mojito doubled up as the mother of the kitten, cleaning him, snuggling with him and ensuring that we would never be alone at any point of time.

When Bird TV covered the wonderful relation between Skywalker and Mojito, it went viral!kitten with thumbs found love in giant dog

Before they met, Mojito bonded with another cat named Vader. She would follow the kitty around the house until Vader caved in and let her bathe and love him.

Now Mojito is thrilled to have Skywalker to be her new constant cuddly friend.

kitten with thumbs found love in giant dog

kitten with thumbs found love in giant dog

kitten with thumbs found love in giant dogThe love they share is similar to a child and a mother, as Mojito protects it all the time. With time, their relation only grew stronger and Mojito is a wonderful dog that showers love on everybody!kitten with thumbs found love in giant dog

kitten with thumbs found love in giant dog

kitten with thumbs found love in giant dog

kitten with thumbs found love in giant dog

kitten with thumbs found love in giant dog

kitten with thumbs found love in giant dog

Note to readers:  Something seems to have gone amiss with the pictures on this post, and it is the pictures that make the post!  Here is a link to the original article from which I got the pictures, so if you aren’t able to see the pics, please try this! 

I hope you enjoyed seeing Mojito and Skywalker!  Now, have a wonderful weekend, and don’t forget … only 11 days left ’til Christmas.  shaking_head_in_disgust_anim_md_wm

Jolly Monday

Good Monday morning Friends, Romans, Countrymen … oh wait … forget those last two … I don’t know what got into me … I didn’t come to bury Trump Caesar, honest.  Well, Jolly has returned from his mission … a mission in which he was unsuccessful, so he’s a bit feverish and under the weather today, however he wants to do his part for Jolly Monday.  Just overlook him if he’s a bit … erm … out of sorts.

Jolly

Well, let’s have a little snack to start our visit … don’t worry, I didn’t let Jolly help with the baking this morning … and then lets find us some chuckles!


The value of a banana?

How can you not click on a headline that reads …

Banana artwork that fetched $120,000 is eaten by ‘hungry’ artist

Now, I had no idea what “banana artwork” was before delving into this article in The Guardian, but when I saw it … my jaw hit the floor.  No, I wasn’t amazed in the way that I might be over a Monet or Van Gogh.  I was speechless in the way of … well, take a look for yourself …banana-art.jpg

The piece, titled Comedian, by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, was on show at the international gallery Perrotin at Art Basel in Miami.  It was hailed as “a symbol of global trade”.  And somebody paid $120,000 to own … an overripe banana duct-taped to a wall.  Only one question, really, comes to mind:

why

On further investigation, I find that there were actually three of these “limited-edition” pieces, each sold for between $120,000 – $150,000, and each accompanied by a “certificate of authenticity” and instructions for installation.  Just goes to prove what I’ve been saying for years now … some people have more money than good sense!

But back to the story …

Shortly before 2 p.m. on Saturday, a New York City-based performance artist, David Datuna, peeled the taped banana from the wall and devoured it, raising the half-eaten banana as if making a toast.banana-art-eatenGallery officials replaced the banana with another one, saying that the artwork was not destroyed and that the banana was simply an “idea.”  Okay, fine, but what about the poor fool who paid $120,000 for that banana?


And speaking of art …

A Florida city unveiled an unusual beachfront artwork — a life-sized recreation of a traffic jam sculpted from sand.

The City of Miami Beach commissioned Argentinean artist Leandro Erlich to create Order of Importance, an installation consisting of 66 sand sculptures of cars and trucks lined up on South Beach.  According to Erlich …

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“It’s a poetic version of a traffic jam, and it’s open to the public in a public space. It addresses an issue that is linked to our relationship to the natural order, the environment and how important it is to remain in balance in order to survive.”

Hmmmm … I’m not so sure I would call a traffic jam “natural order”, but I acknowledge both the effort and skill it took to make all those sand sculpture cars!  It took Mr. Erlich two years, and 330 tons of sand to complete this scene, and there are 66 life-sized sculptures of cars and trucks stuck in an imaginary traffic jam on the oceanfront of popular Lincoln Road.traffic-jam-sand-artist-2traffic-jam-sand-artist-3The installation cost over a million dollars, but the city paid only $300,000 thanks to sponsors and donations.


Weary Willie …

Today is Weary Willie Day … this came to my attention as a result of the nightly email I get apprising me of the next day’s ‘National Days’.  Never having heard of Weary Willie Day, I was intrigued and had to go check it out … I did so with some trepidation, figuring there was a chance it was something a bit kinky. Don’t worry – it’s not.

Weary Willie Day on December 9th recognizes the art of clowning and the impact it has on our lives. This holiday was named for the character made famous by Emmett Kelly, who was born on this day in 1898.

Weary-Willie Weary Willie was a unique character in the art of clowning.  Kelly had developed Weary Willy at a time when the white-faced, goofy clown was the norm, and selling the idea for a sad, down-on-his-luck clown did not fit the formula most circuses were seeking.  For the time being, Kelly put back on the white face and the brightly colored costume. 

 Times and attitudes changed when the country was in the depths of the Great Depression.  Downtrodden and world-weary was the face of the nation.  People could identify with Weary Willie like never before. Weary Willie, his frowning, whisker-shadowed face and his dirty, torn and worn costume, went on to become an American icon.Weary-Willie-2His son, Emmett Kelly, Jr. carried on Weary Willie’s persona well into the modern era until his death in 2003, at the age of 83.


Are you in the mood for some ‘toons today (not the political kind, just the make-you-laugh kind)?

toon-1toon-2toon-3toon-4toon-5toon-6


I thought this guy was just too cute to pass up …cute-pic-1


And of course, I cannot wrap up Jolly Monday without a cute animal video, now can I?  Let’s take a look at some adorable baby … elephants!


jollyAnd, that’s about it for another Jolly Monday folks!  I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, and remember … your smile goes such a long way toward bringing joy to others … please remember to share it this week!  Love and hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!!!

Saturday Surprise — Saving Bees!

bees-toonI almost didn’t do a Saturday Surprise again this week, for as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been unable to corral my mind and it just wasn’t working.  But then, I was going through some notes I had of saved topics and realized I could do Saturday Surprise on a topic I’ve been wanting to do for a while, just never found time … BEES!  Don’t worry … I promise you won’t get stung!

Now, we all know that the bee population in the U.S. and globally has been declining for years.  Most of the reasons are attributable to humans … loss of habitat and bee-killing pesticides being two of the main causes.  And, all living creatures depend on bees for food … one-third of all our food depends on bee pollination, so those little guys are pretty important!

Since this is a Saturday Surprise post, one of the rules is ‘no politics’, so I won’t mention what some governments are doing to exacerbate the decline of the bee population, but instead will focus on some of the good things people are doing to try to save the bees!  Rather a hybrid of Saturday Surprise and Good People!


Let’s start with a trip to the Netherlands, the city of Utrecht, to be specific.  This city has transformed all 316 of its bus stops into bee sanctuaries.  The Netherlands is home to 358 different bee species but more than half of them are already endangered and have been placed on the Dutch Red List of threatened species.utrechtThese bee sanctuaries or rather ‘bee stops’ are essentially standard bus stops with grass and wildflowers planted on the roofs to encourage pollination. Not only do bee stops support the city’s biodiversity by attracting honey bees and bumblebees, they also help capture fine dust and store rainwater.

Bee stops are tended to by workers who drive around the city in electric vehicles. But the scheme requires little maintenance because the roofs are mainly composed of sedum plants, which are a favourite among pollinators and require very little water to survive. To improve facilities for the human visitors, the bus stops have also been fitted with energy-efficient LED lights and bamboo benches.utrecht-2This is just one of the many measures Utrecht has introduced to improve urban biodiversity. It also runs a similar scheme which allows residents to apply for funding to transform their own roofs into bee sanctuaries. And as part of its clean transport goals, the aim is to introduce 55 new electric buses by the end of the year and to have “completely clean public transport” by 2028. The electricity used to power these buses will come from one of the Netherland’s most iconic attractions: windmills.

Now THAT’S what I call an environmentally conscious city!  And one of the most bee-friendly I know of.


You all know actor Morgan Freeman from such movies as Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and others, but I bet you didn’t know that he owns a 124-acre ranch in Mississippi that he has turned into a bee sanctuary! morgan-freemanFreeman’s foray into beekeeping began in 2014, where he discussed his new hobby with Jimmy Fallon during The Tonight Show. Freeman had taken up beekeeping just a couple of weeks before appearing on the show and talked about his experience keeping bees and the need to preserve and save wild bees for healthy environments.

Freeman imported 26 bee hives from Arkansas to his ranch in Mississippi. There, Freeman works to feed the bees sugar and water and has help planting bee-friendly magnolia trees, lavender, clover, etc.

“There is a concerted effort for bringing bees back onto the planet…We do not realize that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation…”

bee-thumbs-upTwo thumbs up to Morgan Freeman … and a sincere ‘thank you’ from all of us who care about the future of life on this planet.


Ever hear of the National Pollinator Garden Network?   Neither had I until a few hours ago.  What is it?

The National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN) is a partnership between conservation organizations, gardening groups, volunteer civic associations and participating federal agencies to inspire people and organizations to create more pollinator habitats. The nine founding organizations launched NPGN in June 2015.

The focus of the NPGN is: to inspire individuals and community groups, institutions and the garden industry to create more pollinator habitat through sustainable gardening practices, habitat conservation and provide these groups the tools to be successful.

The organization launched an initiative called the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, in hopes of getting one million organizations and individuals to plant and maintain ‘pollinator gardens’, consisting of pollinator-friendly plants and wild grasses that are both native and non-invasive species. Well, they now have more than met their goal with 1,040,000 as of last February.

Since the campaign launched, many gardening centers have also contributed to the challenge by offering more pollinator-friendly plants, services, and education.

Increasing the number of pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes will help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across the country.

cute-beeBe sure to check out their website … if you have a garden and can take part, this is certainly a worthy venture to join!  We plant bee-friendly flowers in our tiny 2’ x 4’ postage-stamp ‘garden’ and have for years, but I haven’t got quite enough space to make much of a difference.


It’s encouraging to know that people are becoming more aware of just how crucial the bee population is to life … all life … on earth and are doing something about it, don’t you think?  And now, since I always try to end Saturday Surprise with a cute animal video, I thought this one would be appropriate today!

Have a bee-ootiful weekend, my friends!

Jolly Monday … Sans Jolly

Good Monday morning, friends!  I regret to inform you that Jolly has gone AWOL, so this might be a shorter than usual Jolly Monday.  I never realize how much I rely on his help until he’s not here!  I made a disaster in the kitchen trying to get the treats ready, the house is a mess, and I’m just not sure if I can go it alone this morning, but I shall give it my best shot.  Jolly, I’m pretty sure, has gone in search of two of our special friends who’ve been missing lately, and I hope he finds them …

Anyway, grab a snack, if you can find something salvageable in that mess, and let’s try to find some humour in this morning, shall we?

burnt breadburnt toast

spilt coffeebananas

Some days, it seems that nothing goes right … sigh.


Scratch the surface …

At first glance, this sounded like one heck of an opportunity!  Heck, I was about ready to pack up and move to London for this job!  The headline read …

British couple offering $40,000 for full-time dog-sitter

Nov. 25 (UPI) — A British couple are offering nearly $40,000 a year for a full-time dog-sitter to take care of their two golden retrievers.

The position, which requires work Monday through Friday and some weekends, pays $38,676-$41,254 a year, plus room and board.

golden-retreiversThe posting said the dog-sitters would also be called upon to perform some light housekeeping duties.  Note to readers:  red flags should go up with you hear “light housekeeping duties”.  A visit to the actual employment service site where the full ad was posted put it all in a bit of a different light.

job-adA six-storey townhouse … daily housekeeping to a “high standard” … laundry … cooking???  Who the heck has a six-storey townhouse???  I can barely climb the stairs in my two-storey townhouse!!!  Suddenly $40,000 doesn’t sound like nearly enough.  And what the heck is ‘dairy management’?  Guess I’ll cancel that trip to London, eh?


When in Rome … er, France …

If you move from the city to the country, then you should be prepared for a bit of adjustment.  You certainly don’t expect your neighbor, who has lived in the countryside for a long time, to change his lifestyle to accommodate your own.  But that was just what a couple who moved in next to retired farmer Dominique Douthe in the foothills of the Pyrenees, southwestern France, did.  In fact … they took her to court … or was it the ducks they took to court?

Farmer Douthe has some 60 ducks on her farm, and the people who moved in next to her, about 50 meters away, took umbrage at the quacking!  Ducks quack.  Dogs bark.  Cows moo.  Get over it … all of these are more pleasant sounds than those made by most humans!

The unnamed couple, seeking peace and quiet in the French countryside, took Farmer Douthe to court, saying the quacking of the ducks was making their lives miserable.  I’m confused … after the honking of car horns 24/7, the yammering of hoardes of humans, the stench of unwashed bodies, the sound of jets flying overhead … they are made miserable by the sound of ducks taking joy in life?

The court ruled that the sounds made by the ducks and geese are within acceptable limits, and the city folk wasted their money on lawyers to sue ducks!  Score one for common sense and justice.  Said Mme Douthe …

“The ducks have won. I’m very happy because I didn’t want to slaughter my ducks.”


I told you I’m not much good without Jolly’s help, so … how about a few ‘toons, memes, ‘n pictures to round out the morning?

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Y’know … friends don’t always have to look or act just like us to be friends … I think these guys prove that point …

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I found this over on Phil’s Phun, advertised as the season’s best holiday ad, and while I’m not a fan of any ads, especially holiday ads, I have to admit this one stole my heart!

I apologize for Jolly’s absence, and for my ineptitude in being a “jolly sub”, but hopefully by next week Jolly will return and we can get back to normal.  Meanwhile, please remember to share a smile with someone who needs an extra.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa … and Jolly in absentia.

Short, Snarky Snippets

If you think that the fact that it’s Thanksgiving, the fact that I have a turkey to roast, stuffing to make, potatoes to cook, and all the other stuff is going to keep me from being a snarky you-know-what today, then you don’t know me well.  Last Thanksgiving, I managed my usual two posts plus a music post, and while I may or may not have a second post today, I at least have some short snarky snippets to share with you!  I consider it my civic duty … it’ll give you something to discuss over your turkey & gravy!


Who knew …

… That those of us whose humanitarian values have led us to be called “liberals”, as well as some other less savoury names, were trying to change the name of the holiday presently known as “Thanksgiving”?  Funny, but I hadn’t heard that one until this morning when I was reading that in Trump’s rally yesterday, he claimed …

“But now we’re going to have to do a little work on Thanksgiving. People have different ideas why it shouldn’t be called ‘Thanksgiving,’ but everybody in this room I know loves the name ‘Thanksgiving,’ and we’re not changing it.”

And the crowd cheered.

To the best of my knowledge, there has been no movement to change the name of Thanksgiving.  There were numerous humorous responses on Twitter, but one of the responses to his foolish remark was spot on:

“Well, many Natives, like myself, call it #nationaldayofmourning & as far as I’m concerned, if you don’t like it, grab a ship back home and shove some crumpets up your bum and let us repair this land.”

He also returned to one of his favourite themes, what he refers to as “the war on Christmas”.  He claims that he has now “made” everyone say “Merry Christmas”, rather than “Happy Holidays”.  Bullshit.  I typically go for the “Have a great holiday” line, though sometimes I may say “Merry Christmas”.  Thing is, see … not everyone celebrates Christmas as a religious holiday.  Many of us celebrate it as a secular holiday, a way to begin the long, dark winter season with light and festivity.  If you choose to celebrate it according to your religion, fine.  If you don’t, then that’s fine also.  Once again, Trump has overstepped his boundaries.


And about that rally …

Not surprisingly, Trump used much of his time at his aforementioned campaign rally in Sunrise, Florida, talking about his pending impeachment.  He cast the impeachment inquiry as a desperate effort by democrats to win back the White House in 2020. He went so far as to call the impeachment proceedings ‘bullshit,’ prompting a new audience chant containing the expletive. And he put those proceedings in the same category as the Mueller investigation, labeling all of it a ‘scam’ and a ‘hoax.’

“They’re attacking me because I’m exposing a rigged system that enriched itself at your expense and I’m restoring government of, by and for the people.”

Say WHAT???  I’m still speechless and have steam coming out of my ears over that blatant, bald-faced lie!

“The radical Democrats are trying to overturn the last election because they know that they cannot win the next election. It’s very simple.”

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr 👿


Tucker said WHAT???

tucker-carlsonTucker Carlson of Fox News fame is a grade-A jerk.  No surprise there, we’ve known that for years.  But, he may have crossed a line this time.

“Why do I care … what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia? And I’m serious. Why do I care? Why shouldn’t I root for Russia, which I am?”

After the predictable backlash from those who remember that Russia is a domineering, bullying nation that is seeking to restore an ‘empire’ ala the Soviet Union, ol’ Tucker said, halfheartedly, that he was only joking.  Right, Tuck.


Spencer speaks …

Funny, isn’t it, that Trump who dodged the draft back during the Vietnam War, who has never served a single day in the military, is now micromanaging the military of which he knows absolutely nothing?  Ousted Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, has written an OpEd in response to his firing.  The thing he wrote that struck me as being 110% true is that Trump …

 “… Has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.”

Can’t argue with that … Trump has no clue what the words “ethically” and “rules” mean.  Commander-in-Chief???  Hah!  The most unlikely of candidates for that job.


For the love of animals?  Doubtful

In December 2010, President Obama signed into law a bipartisan bill, H.R.5566 – Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010, that banned videos that show animals being crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or subjected to other forms of torture.  On Monday, Trump signed into law another bill, H.R.724 – Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, that is essentially an expansion of the original.  This one makes such cruelty to animals a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Since the bill had bipartisan support in Congress, and since it is basically a no-brainer, there would have been absolutely no justification for Trump to not sign it, but some have found a morsel of redemption for Trump in the signing of this bill, saying, “See … he did something good!”  We are, it would seem, desperate for him to have one little redeeming quality.  But wait …

Do you see the irony here?  Trump’s two elder sons are both big game hunters who have killed numerous beautiful animals for sport.  No contest, they are guided by experts, they have big guns, the animal is in a preserve and has no guide, no gun.  Senseless slaughter, pure and simple.  Sorry, folks, but this bill does not apply to people who slaughter animals for food or to those who hunt, trap and fish.  Too little … far too little.


And now, I leave you to enjoy your Thanksgiving with friends and family.  Have a great one, my friends!

Good People Doing Good Things — A Helping Hand/Paw

Earlier this evening, my girls were watching the movie Elf … you know, the one with Ed Asner as the real Santa Clause, Bob Newhart as Papa Elf, and Will Ferrell in the title role.  I glanced up to catch a minute of it every so often … I’ve only seen it a few dozen times, after all.  When I glanced up toward the end, I was struck by a woman saying that Santa’s sleigh couldn’t fly for there wasn’t enough ‘Christmas spirit’ here on earth.  And then, as I began working on my ‘good people’ post, I found myself thinking about that.  I think these people I am writing about tonight have what I would define as ‘Yearlong spirit’.


Grandma goes postal!

Meet Laura Landerman-Garber, a grandmother and full-time clinical psychologist living in Hollis, New Hampshire.  Laura has a ‘spare time’ project.  It started on Thanksgiving Day, sixteen years ago, when Laura told her family that nobody was getting a bite to eat until they had each written cards to military members. She called it the “ticket to turkey.” With the threat of turkey on the line, of course, they all pitched in.

Through the years, the project gained momentum, with other families pitching in to help.  Five years ago, her daughter’s friend was deployed in the Navy to the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Landerman-Garber pledged she would send cards to all the soldiers on what she then called a “boat.”  Her project really expanded when she found that the USS Theodore Roosevelt was actually an aircraft carrier with more than 5,000 crew members!

Ms. Landerman-Garber has a ‘can-do’ attitude, and she wasn’t about to break this promise!  So, she began to call it a “challenge” and enlisted the help of churches, synagogues, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and even politicians! cards-1The project kept growing … and growing … and this year, Ms. Landerman-Garber will be sending out over 100,000 cards to military personnel in all branches of the service!  Heck, it taxes me to mail one or two cards!  Presidential candidates Mark Sanford, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have even contributed handwritten messages on cards!

“The thought of someone being away at a time when in our culture, in American culture particularly, the holidays are all about gathering together… for me, I wanted to be able to reach out and just maybe give a little bit of a bridge so that person who is far away feels a little tiny bit closer to home. I just love the idea that whether you’re a presidential candidate — and those people have a lot of experience in our country — or you’re a 3-year-old preschooler that you can send holiday cheer to someone that’s away from home and let them know you appreciate what they’re doing.”

It may be a small thing she does, but I bet that if you asked a service member stationed far from home, he or she would tell you that to them, it’s a pretty big thing.


Cleaning up after everyone else …

Afroz-ShahAfroz Shah is a lawyer in Mumbai.  In 2015, he moved to a community in Mumbai called Versova Beach. He had played there as a child and was upset to see how much it had changed. The sand was no longer visible because it was covered by a layer of garbage more than five feet thick — most of it plastic waste.

“The whole beach was like a carpet of plastic. It repulsed me.”

Mr. Shah is not, however, one of those people who shakes his head and soon forgets about it.  In October 2015, Shah began picking up trash from the beach every Sunday morning. At first, it was just him and a neighbor, and then he began recruiting others to join in. Word spread and with help from social media, more volunteers got involved.versova-beach-plastic.jpgThe unsightly mess Shah had stumbled upon is part of a global environmental crisis. More than 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans each year — the equivalent of a garbage truck dumped every minute. It’s predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish!

Mr. Shah has dedicated every weekend for the past 209 weeks to cleaning up the beach.  He inspired as many as 200,000 volunteers to pitch in, and it took three years, but by October 2018, Versova Beach was once again beautiful!Versova-Beach-before-afterIt has been called the world’s biggest beach cleanup.  But, Mr. Shah didn’t stop there.  He turned his sights elsewhere and began spending every weekend cleaning another beach as well as a stretch of the Mithi River and other regions of India.

Mr. Shah has my appreciation, and I definitely think he is one heck of a ‘good people’!  And folks … we gotta do better on this plastic thing, alright?


A good guy named Guy …Guy-BryantHis name is Guy Bryant, but they call him … Mister B.  Who is Mr. B?  Well, he’s a good people, of course!  Mr. Bryant has worked for 32 years as a community coordinator at New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services. His job focuses on a specific age group:  18-21 year old kids that have ‘aged out’ of foster care, yet are in no way prepared to face the world on their own.

“It’s a big population. There’s definitely a need for the services because what happens is when a youth gets 18 years old, a lot of times they feel like, ‘I can do this.’ Most of the kids, they can’t admit who they are. Their identity is lost somewhere between the home they’ve lived in and the other 10 foster homes they might have lived in.”

In 2007, one of the young men in Bryant’s caseload asked him a question: “Will you be my father? Will you take me?” After some thought, Bryant decided to take the chance.  It worked out well.  It worked out so well, in fact, that Bryant also decided to foster the young man’s friend, as well as the friend’s brother!  But wait …

Before Bryant knew it, he had nine young men in his home and rented the floor above his apartment to have additional space.  Bryant initially had some trepidation about being a foster parent, especially as a single dad.

“Some of my fears were this: People say, ‘Why is this man doing this?’ People always think you have ulterior motives, not understanding who I am.”

Bryant does more than just provide these young people with a roof over their heads … he gives of himself.  He gives the most important thing any adult can give to a young person … he spends time with them.  He talks to them, does things with them, he plans fishing expeditions a few times a year and sometimes cooks meals with the young men, developing bonds over time.

“The difficult thing about building trust is their past interactions with adults. If I can get you to engage in conversation with me about how you’re feeling and what’s going on, then that right there, my job is done. They constantly need to be reinforced that ‘I am here. I am going to do what I say.’ My kids will tell you whatever I say, I’m going to do for you. I always do it because I don’t want you to look at me like one of those adults who let you down.”

To date, Mr. Bryant has taken in more than 50 young men, and he says he isn’t finished yet …

“The Mr. Bryant approach is I love you regardless. You could become a brain surgeon or you could be a bathroom cleaner — it doesn’t matter. Once you come into my home and you’ve been with me and you’ve been here, you’re my kid for life. That’s my approach. You’ll always have a bed to come to, a shower to take — you’ll always be able to come home. This is home.”

MrB-and-kidsMrB-cooking-lessonsFolks … I love all of my ‘good people’, but this one brought a lump to my throat.  What an awesome man, don’t you think?

And last, but not least …


Who says good people have to be humans?

The Pet and Wildlife Rescue in Chatham Kent, Ontario, found a dog curled up on the side of the road.  When they investigated further, they found the dog was taking care of … four tiny baby kittens!dog-kittens-1

dog-kittens-2

Wait!  Didn’t they say ‘four’?  I’m counting five … or is it six???

The shelter plans to keep them together until they can locate owners or find them homes.


That’s all I’ve got time for tonight, my friends, but remember … let’s all try to be ‘good people’. You don’t have to take in 50 foster kids, or spend three years cleaning a beach … there are opportunities all around you.  Just do something nice for somebody, and you’ll see how great it feels to be a ‘good people’!

Jolly Monday Before Thanksgiving

Welcome to the Monday before Christmas Thanksgiving, my friends!  Today is partly a redux of a post I did in 2017 just ahead of Thanksgiving, with a few humorous additions!  Thanksgiving is 3 days away, and I have not prepared a menu, a shopping list … nothing.  I’m lacking motivation and inspiration this year, for reasons that are no doubt obvious to most of you.  Still, however, I tried to rally to the cause this morning, and with Jolly’s help have prepared you a mini-Thanksgiving snack array, so help yourself and then lets find a reason to smile, shall we?


turkeyNext week brings Thanksgiving here in the U.S. Most of us both in the U.S. and abroad know about the traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, that “officially” kicks off the Christmas season, and the turkey/stuffing/mashed potatoes and all the rest, topped off by traditional pumpkin pie, followed by football and people falling asleep with their mouths open.  But I thought it would be fun to kick it up a bit … see some of the stranger parts of the holiday … and top it off with a bit of history.FRANKLIN, LINUS, SALLY, CHARLIE BROWN, PEPPERMINT PATTY, SNOOPY AND MARCIE


Food:

 

turkey-gravy-sodaTofurkey & Gravy Soda – If you’re a big soda drinker who loves Thanksgiving dinner, then your wildest dreams have come true. Jones Soda Co., which is famous for its limited-edition holiday concoctions, offers Tofurky & Gravy Soda this season. Based on the vegetarian Thanksgiving meal, the Tofurky flavor is vegan-friendly and sugar-free.

turkey-dinner-layer-cakeTurkey dinner layer cake – The ultimate one-stop Thanksgiving meal. What looks like a cake is actually alternating layers of stuffing and ground turkey mixed with instant oatmeal, “frosted” with mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, and topped with lightly browned mini marshmallows.

pumpkin-pie-fortune-cookiesPumpkin Pie Fortune Cookies – If you’re feeling lucky this Thanksgiving, try these pumpkin pie–flavored fortune cookies from Fancy Fortune Cookies. Made with real pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, the cookies come covered in dark, milk or white chocolate and contain one of five custom fortune cookie messages inside.

turkey-gravy-cranberry-cupcakeTurkey Gravy Cranberry Cupcake – Made by Los Angeles–based Yummy Cupcakes, the treat features a turkey-flavored cake that’s baked with savory turkey gravy, filled with cranberry relish and topped with cranberry cream cheese.

Lays-turkey-potato-chips.jpgLay’s Turkey Potato Chips – This savory chip is only available in China, and according to a contributor at Taquitos.net: “They really do taste like turkey with gravy…It’s like combining the best parts of Thanksgiving dinner, all in one bag.”

roasted-turkey-doritos.jpgRoasted Turkey Doritos – What’s better than roasted turkey? Roasted turkey-flavor Doritos. What’s better than roasted turkey-flavor Doritos? Roasted turkey–flavor Doritos in the shape of a Christmas tree, of course! Though these festive snacks aren’t available in the U.S., you can easily find them in Taiwan.

jelly-beansMashed Potatoes And Gravy Jelly Beans – Part of the unusual Harry Potter Bertie Bott’s Jelly Beans Bag, the Mashed Potatoes and Gravy beans are just two unusual flavors in a mix that includes everything from ketchup to sausage.


Facts:

Thomas JeffersonPresident Thomas Jefferson thought making Thanksgiving a National Holiday was “a ridiculous proposition.” – Thomas Jefferson was not a fan of Thanksgiving. Despite being first proclaimed by George Washington in 1789, Jefferson believed a national day of thanksgiving was not consistent with the principle of separation of church and state and refused to recognize the holiday in any of the eight years in which he was president of the United States.

ben franklinThe Turkey was Ben Franklin’s vote for the national bird. – After the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, it next tasked Benjamin Franklin—along with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson—with designing a seal to represent the new country. Given the opportunity to choose a national symbol, the Founding Father never suggested a turkey.

beerThe night before Thanksgiving is the single biggest day for bar sales in the U.S. – Four reasons:  1) Nearly all Americans have Thanksgiving off; 2) No one wants to entertain the night before hosting a big Thanksgiving meal; 3) Everyone is home for the holidays and wants to see old friends; 4) Thanksgiving dinner is a perfect hangover cure.


The first-ever Macy’s Day Parade actually took place on Christmas of 1924.

Macys 1926 paradeMacy’s employees dressed as clowns, cowboys, and other fun costumes, and traveled with Central Park zoo animals and creative floats a lengthy six miles from Herald Square to Harlem in Manhattan.

The parade was meant to draw attention to the Macy’s store in NYC, and the gimmick worked – more than 250,000 people attended the inaugural Macy’s Day Parade. It was decided that this NYC parade would become an annual NY event in Manhattan.

In 1927, Felix the Cat became the first giant balloon to ever take part in the Macy’s Day Parade. In 1928, Felix was inflated with helium, and without a plan to deflate this massive balloon, NYC parade organizers simply let Felix fly off into the sky. Unfortunately, he popped soon thereafter.

float-felix

The Macy’s Day Parade continued to let the balloons fly off in subsequent years, only these balloons would have a return address written on them, and whoever found the balloon could return the balloon for a prize from Macy’s. However, the results of this experiment weren’t exactly successful.


Then there’s the time a lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store, but couldn’t find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, “Do these turkeys get any bigger?” The stock boy replied, “No ma’am, they’re dead.”


The Turkey Popped Out of the Oven

The Turkey popped out of the oven
and rocketed in to the air;
It knocked every plate off the table
and partly demolished a chair.
It ricocheted into a corner
and burst with a deafening boom,
Then splattered all over the kitchen,
completely obscuring the room.
It stuck to the walls and the windows,
it totally coated the floor,
There was turkey attached to the ceiling,
where there had never been turkey before..
It blanketed every appliance,
it smeared every saucer and bowl;
There wasn’t a way I could stop it;
that turkey was out of control.
I scraped and I scraped with displeasure
and thought with chagrin as I mopped,
That I would never again stuff a turkey
with popcorn that hadn’t been popped.

Written by Jack Prelutsky


And, we cannot have Jolly Monday without a ‘toon or two, can we?

thanksgiving-toon-1thanksgiving-toon-2thanksgiving-toon-3thanksgiving-toon-4thanksgiving-toon-5thanksgiving-toon-6thanksgiving-toon-7


I even found a video of cute animals enjoying their own Thanksgiving feast!


And with that, I must be off, for Thursday is Thanksgiving, in case you didn’t know, and we will be sharing ours with our friends & neighbors, Maha, Ali, and their three boys.  So … this ol’ Filosofa needs to get to the grocery and buy ingredients, plan a menu, and try to find some inspiration somewhere.  I hope you all have a wonderful week, and please, remember to share your gorgeous smiles with others!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!thanksgiving-maxine

Jolly Monday … Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Good Monday morning, my friends!  Come in, shed those coats for it’s nice and toasty in here.  Jolly and I have had the oven on all morning, baking up some special goodies for our friends, so it’s almost hot in here.  How was your weekend?  Mine was just a bit hectic, but no complaints.  My only complaint is that I need to find a way to slow down time by about 50%!  Here Thanksgiving is just over a week away, and Christmas only about 4 weeks after that!  I do have a few … well two … Christmas gifts bought, but … I cannot even take credit for those, as Miss Goose found them and picked them out for the boys … all I did was provide the money.  Anyway, if any of you know where the knob is to dial back the speed of time a bit, would you please let me know?

I hope you brought your appetite along, for we really have been baking all morning. I apologize in advance, though, for I got a late start, and Jolly Monday may be just a bit shorter today than some other weeks.  But, as long as it starts your week off with a smile, then that’s the important thing, yes?

And, for you bacon-lovers …


A most undesirable job …

A friend sent me this the other day …

‘Hallmark Dream Job’ offers $1,000 to watch 24 Christmas movies

“We’re looking for a lover of all things Christmas, G-Rated romcoms, and too-close-to-home family dramas to watch 24 Hallmark Christmas movies in 12 days.  We want you to have opinions-lots of them! Think the grumpy Grandpa turned jolly Santa was a little overdone? Felt like the plot was a bit half-baked? Be as honest as possible in your review.”

Applicants have to send a short video explaining why they would be perfect for the job.  The winner will receive $1,000, a streaming service subscription and a “movie watching kit” including cookies, cocoa, a mini Christmas tree and some Hallmark merchandise.

Sorry, folks, but there would have to be a much bigger prize at the end of the day than $1,000 to get me to sit through 24 sappy Hallmark Christmas movies … I’m thinking I might consider it for a half-million dollars … might.


World’s most polite firefighters

Parts of Australia, just like California, have been suffering dreadful wildfires this autumn.  Paul Sekfy’s home in New South Wales, Australia, came into the line of the fires last week, but luckily firefighters were on the scene.  They fought valiantly, and while they were unable to save his outbuildings, they did manage to save the main house.

When Mr. Sekfy was able to return to his house, he found a note from the firefighters …milk-noteThe firefighters, exhausted, hungry and thirsty after hours without food or water, had helped themselves to the milk in Mr. Sekfy’s fridge.  It seems they also ate some peanut butter and cheese, but Mr. Sekfy doesn’t mind one bit …

“They don’t have to pay back the milk, I’ll just sort them a couple of cases of beer.”


And it’s only 10,000 calories!

I can only eat about ½ of a burger (hamburger/beef burger) at a time anyway, especially if it’s accompanied by a few fries (chips), so I’m probably not the best judge, but it seems to me this is an awful lot of burger …Bangkok-burgerNo, it wasn’t done as some promotion, nor was it done for a Guinness record … this is actually on the menu at a restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.  Chris Steaks and Burgers is offering a 10,000 baht ($330) prize for anyone who can finish the mammoth snack in nine minutes.  So far, three people have actually succeeded.

The burger consists of a 13-pound patty (beef or pork), covered in fried onion rings, bacon and mayonnaise.  The cost for the beef burger is 2,500 baht ($82.75) and the pork one 3,500 baht ($115.86).  Any takers on that challenge?


I found a few ‘toons ‘n funny pics for your Monday morning viewing pleasure …pic-3pic-4pic-5pic-6pic-7pic-8pic-9toon-1toon-2

toon-3

toon-4

And one especially for you, Hugh …

Maxine


And, I cannot forget the cute animal video … this week’s is critters playing in the snow!


jollyAnd that, my friends, is all we’ve got time for today!  You guys need to go earn a living, and I need to go earn my keep here by doing laundry and cleaning the house, plus Miss Goose is insisting that I get out some Christmas decorations today.  Sadly, they are all buried somewhere in the mess of my closet.  If you don’t see any further posts from me for a few days, you can assume I never made it out of the closet.  Keep safe and have a wonderful week, my friends.  And, as always, please … share a smile and maybe even a hug with someone who might really need one today.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!