Monday … So Smile for a While and Let’s Be Jolly!

Monday

Good Monday morning, once again.  It sure does seem to roll around fast these days, doesn’t it?  I still think it’s a government conspiracy to take all our free time away from us!  Hey … think I could be a guest on Sean’s or Alex’ shows and promote my conspiracy theories?  I mean heck, mine make every bit as much sense as theirs do!  And I can practice, and probably get that red-in-the-face-rant thing down pat … I shall have to ponder upon this.  But first, let’s enjoy our Monday morning together and find some happy, fun things to start the week out, shall we?


Contributing to the delinquency of … a raccoon???

marijuanaThe folks in the Wayne Township, Indiana, fire department were having a slow night last Monday.  A slow day or night in a firehouse is a good thing … it means nobody has set their kitchen afire like some people who shall remain nameless!  But then … the doorbell started frantically buzzing at 2:00 a.m.

“As many times as the doorbell on the firehouse was pushed, the firefighters were quite certain that something bad was going on outside.”

raccoonWhen Fire Captain Mike Pruitt raced to answer the door, he found a woman holding … a raccoon!  The raccoon was lethargic, and there was no mystery about it, for the woman plainly told the firemen that the raccoon had smoked too much marijuana!  Yes, folks, you heard me right … wacky weed, pot, Maryjane … whatever you call it, the raccoon was high as a kite!  I don’t think he voluntarily smoked the weed, as the woman said he had been exposed to too much of ‘someone else’s’ marijuana smoke.  Ahem … a likely story.

The raccoon will likely be fine, as the firemen told the woman, there was nothing to be done but to wait a few hours for the effects to wear off.  I wonder if he had the munchies?


$500 reward offered for … a teddy bear?

The Earley family of New York vacationed at Disney World in Florida this year, with their three-year-old daughter, Morgan.  On the way home, as they passed through North Carolina, the little girl apparently stuffed her beloved teddy bear out the window.  Nothing too unusual there … some kids actually try to force their younger siblings through the window of a moving car!  But little Morgan was bereft at the loss of her bear.Morgan and bearNow, personally, I would have stopped at the closest Toys ‘R Us, bought the kid another bear, and been done with it.  But Morgan’s parent a) are nicer than I am, and b) have more money than I do.  They are offering a $500 reward for the safe return of the bear, named only Baby Bear.  There is even a Facebook page  with a few thousand sappy, empathetic comments from people around the country trying to be helpful.


Talk about ‘draining the swamp’ …

There is a lesson to be had in this story.  If you’re going to run from the cops, know where you are running to, else just let them put the pretty bracelets on you and go quietly.

Paul Andrew Smith swamp 2Pasco County Sheriff’s Deputies pulled over … or rather, tried to pull over … Paul Andrew Smith last Tuesday after he nearly hit their cruiser.  Only Paul had other ideas and jumped from his car, running as fast as he could run … right into the swamp … where he promptly sunk in up to his neck.

A K-9 named Knox is credited with finding Smith, and it took several deputies and some time to free Smith from the muck.  Knox, it is said, kept licking him.  After being freed from the swamp, do you think Mr. Smith was grateful?  No sir … he cursed the police up one end and down the other, though he did seem to enjoy Knox’ licks, nearly laughing at the dog’s antics.

Turns out Smith was wanted by authorities in neighboring Hernando County, too.  The guy gets around.


It’s just a cat, man!

I came across these adorable pics on Bored Panda last week and I couldn’t resist sharing them today.  This is known as a Sphynx Cat and his name is Loki.  Loki lives with his human family members, Sara and Brent, in Brooklyn, New York and they say he is nowhere near as grumpy as he looks!

“This cat has more personality and sass than any animal I have ever met. We are inseparable. We are best friends. Loki is incredibly affectionate, cuddly and chatty. He loves napping on our bellies, eating chicken and scrambled eggs and receiving hearty head scratches.”

It could be that he isn’t too keen on all the strange outfits his humans keep putting on him.  For more fun pictures of Loki, check him out on Bored Panda


And now, dear friends, it is time for us all to get this week rolling.  You go earn the bacon, I’ll wash the laundry, and the rest of you will go write wonderful books for us all to read!  Please share your smiles, give hugs freely, and remember to be kind.  Keep safe and have a great week!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and the Significant Seven!Mother Theresa quote

employee memo

toon-Maxine

Saturday Surprise — Babushka of Baikal

In bed

awakened

Hey … go ‘way … leave me alone … zzz … zzz … stop … go … it’s Saturday … I get to sleep in!  What?  Oh … well, yeah, I did sleep in yesterday.  Yes, and the day before, too … so what?  Oh … you want a Saturday Surprise, huh?  Sigh.  {Yawn} … okay, fine … somebody make me a cuppa java and I’ll be down in just a minute …

Okay … teeth brushed and I’m ready for action … where’s the coffee?  Thanks … um, Hugh … did you lace this with a dash of Famous Grouse?  I thought so.  Thanks  😉.  All day yesterday I had a song going through my head.  Even though I haven’t been much in a singing mood lately, I still have music running through my head almost constantly.  Keith keeps my head filled with the occasional earworm, and sometimes I cannot stop Fool on the Hill from looping for hours in my head.  But yesterday, for some reason completely unknown to me, I found myself humming a song about a bloomin’ cockroach!!!  Why?  Who knows?  But … being the generous, giving soul that I am, I thought I’d share it with you so that you, too, can have La Cucaracha running wild through your head!


There is a lady in Siberia who puts me to shame … heck, she puts us all to shame.  Her name is Lyubov Morekhodova, she is 76 years old, and lives alone in the frozen tundra that is Siberia since her husband died in 2011.  She is known as the Babushka of Baikal, Babushka being the Russian word for ‘grandmother’, and Baikal because she lives on Lake Baikal.

Lyubov arises every morning at 5:30 … she doesn’t even get to sleep in on Saturday … for the cows must be fed.  Now, Lake Baikal is frozen for five full months out of every year, and when it is frozen, the cows sometimes wander off, walking right across the lake, and then Lyubov must go find them.  How does she cross the lake to find the cows?  Why, on skates, of course.  But not just any ol’ skates!  Lyubov still wears the skates that her father made for her back in 1943!

And then off she goes to find the wandering bovine and bring them safely home.

“I’ve always been going long distances on skates. I started skating when I was seven. My Dad made the skates by cutting a metal saw and inserting it into pieces of wood which I then tied to valenki (traditional felt boots). I don’t like modern skates, they wobble around my ankle and feet get cold. Valenki are always warm. I was even competing in these skates with my fellow factory workers.”

Lyubov worked for 42 years as a technology engineer at Kuibyshev factory in Irkutsk, and retired here – to her old family home – with her husband. He died in 2011, and since then she has been alone, resisting calls from her family to move back to the city.  Lyubov’s first name means ‘love’, and her surname means ‘the one who walks on sea’.  What could be more fitting, eh?

“I sit alone in the kitchen. I sit and look at this. It gives me happiness, a good mood, and then I always think, if anybody sat next to me, they’d say: ‘What a beauty, what incredible beauty’”.

Lyubov has four dogs, a cat, two hens, two roosters, two calves, five cows and two bulls.  Her sons, grandchildren and nephews visit during the summer, but during the long winter months, she is mostly alone … except, of course, for the menagerie!  She chops her own firewood, melts snow for water, mows, rakes hay, and takes care of the animals.  She is very talented in embroidery, she loves macrame, crocheting and weaving from beads. Some of her works, whenever she dared to take them to Irkutsk, won prizes at local competitions.

“I don’t even watch TV, perhaps only some days in the evening. I am not scared at all here, I don’t even know what I should be scared of. The only unpleasant thing here is drunk tourists on ATVs who forever manage to break something. They killed two dogs and turned my boat upside down. But I realise there is little I can do about them…. In the summer, when there are lots of people, I tell them: ‘Pick up your litter, tidy up after yourselves. Don’t leave litter, it all ends up in Baikal.’ We live a happy life here, me and my animals. In summer I get to see all my relatives, and in winters I am way too busy to get bored.”

Remember, folks, this lady is 76!!!  Ten years older than moi, but with at least ten times as much drive and energy!  My hat is definitely off to her!


And now, my dear friends, don’t you have something to do with your weekend besides hang out here?  Go enjoy the sunshine, get outside and breathe the fresh air, teach a kid how to wrap toilet paper on the neighbor’s trees!  And thanks for dropping by and sharing part of your weekend with me!  Love ‘n hugs!!!toon-1.jpg

Bounce … Bounce … Bouncey Bounce Bounce …

I am stricken tonight with a very severe case of mind bounce.  You have all seen how worthless my writing is when my mind is bouncing, so I think you’ll understand when I say that the serious piece I just spent 6 hours trying to focus on turned out to be … File #13 material.  Sigh.  So, I decided to try something different and rather than try to corral my bouncing mind, let it flow freely wherever (within reason) it wants to go.  Hopefully, that will clear the cobwebs, tame the wild brain, and allow me to work on something meaningful later today!  So … bear with me, if you will, and if you do, I promise a cartoon at the end!

I think the word ‘probably’ should be stricken from the English language.  The word has about as much meaning as a soggy piece of dough that absorbs whatever odours are near it.  “Will you be coming to dinner tomorrow night?”  “Probably.”  No show.  Strike it, Merriam-Webster!!!

I love flowers, but you know what my favourites are?  Dandelions and clover.  Yes, they are weeds, but I like them best because they are unstructured … they grow wherever they please, they are colourful and beautiful, and they follow no rules … just go where they want to go.  I currently have a back yard filled with dandelions and when I need to feel happy, all I have to do is look out my kitchen window. 

I stumbled across this quote today and it struck a chord:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover, acquire new friends and gain knowledge of yourself and the world.” — Mark Twain

This is so true.  The older we get, the more we realize how very short our time here on earth is and … there is always so much left to do.  I was explaining this concept to a friend via email earlier today, and it rather explains why, as we get older, we actually seem to need less sleep.  I think I see sleep as a waste of time, for there are books to read, things to write … closets to clean???  I don’t have grand dreams of travel and adventure, but there ARE things I would like to accomplish before I die.

Other people don’t make us unhappy … we make ourselves unhappy by allowing ourselves to place too much value on how others treat us, by setting our expectations too high.  When somebody lets us down, it is not fair to blame that person, but rather we need to look inward and remind ourselves that we cannot control others, but we can control our own reactions.  It took me more than six decades to figure this one out, and here I am giving it to you … for free!

I am a pretty tolerant person … I wasn’t always, but in my dotage, I find the philosophy of ‘live and let live’ to be a good one to live by.  However, the lady across the street goes to the grocery in her pajamas, and for some reason it drives me bonkers!

The never-ending winter finally killed my crocuses.  Sigh.

I was digging in my disaster of a walk-in closet one night recently and came across some very old photo albums.  Funny, I had forgotten the picture of my dad in a skirt and a bra, and the one of him in a bullfighter’s suit.  Miss Goose had some jaw-dropping moments over those, and I was at a loss to try to explain the former!

Why do cats like empty boxes so much?  Even our autistic moggie, Izzy (short for Isabella), will come out from under the sofa if there is an empty box in the living room floor that she can curl up in.  It is almost as if she feels safe and protected there.  We received an order from Amazon today (a set of plumber’s snakes) and I tossed the box on the floor to take to the dumpster later.  But Izzy has been in it all day long.  I guess the box can stay around for a while!  Typically, we don’t see her more than once or twice a day, but she has been out of hiding all day today!  She even let Miss Goose pet her for a while!

There is too bloomin’ much Easter candy in this house!  I indulged just a bit tonight, which is okay, but means an extra bit of insulin tonight.  Sigh.  Chocolate is nice.My old friend Linda was the first person to ever call me ‘Jilly-bean’, but several have done so since then.  I rather like it.  Sadly, Linda left my circle of friends in 2016, pre-election, as she tired of hearing me rant against Trump.  She is the one, though, who is responsible for my Jolly Monday posts, for she asked me to consider writing something completely non-political at least on Monday mornings.  So, I shall always remember Linda.

Well, folks, now you have an idea of what my mind bounce is like, and no doubt you are rolling your eyes and thinking, “Filosofa … PLEASE go to bed!!!”  Ah, so … I am going in just a few minutes.  Even though there is a load of laundry hanging out in the dryer getting wrinkled, but it does not matter, for it is only my clothes this time.

Thank you all for allowing my mind to bounce and bonk.  Hopefully I can get it back into the saddle by mid-day and come out with some relatively intelligent post.  Love to you all!

Jolly Monday … WHAT??? Already???

I’m not quite sure how it came to be Monday again already, but according to all my calendars, the one on my phone, on my laptop and the wolf calendar on the kitchen wall, it is once again Monday.  I can account for only 5 days since the last Monday, so perhaps Congress passed legislation making the weeks shorter, and nobody thought to tell me.  But alas, it is my duty … and pleasure … to start your week out with a chuckle, a smile, a hug and some love, so that is what I will do today.  Grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair, and let me show you what I’ve found for us to smile, chuckle, and ‘awwwwwww’ about this morning!


You all remember Necco candies from your childhood, right?  It was never my favourite, rather a ‘meh’ sort of candy, but they seemed to always be popular.  It seems that New England Confectionery Company, the makers of Necco candy, are seeking a buyer.  The company, which has been around since 1847, has said that if a buyer is not found by early May, it will begin the process of shutting down as early as May 6th.  Now here’s what’s interesting … the candy is not popular, is often referred to as America’s least favourite candy, and yet people are going wild over the news that the candy may soon be no more.  I don’t get it!  The candies have been described as “tropical drywall” and “plaster surprise,” according to The Wall Street Journal.CandyStore.com, a Los Angeles-based bulk-candy retailer, reported that people began “panic-buying” the wafers on March 12, the day the Boston Globe reported Necco chief executive Michael McGee’s announcement that the candy company could shut down if it did not find a buyer.

Floridian Katie Samuels made an offer to CandyStore.com …

“I offered to trade my 2003 Honda Accord for all of their stock. I knew it was kind of a silly thing to say, but I’m serious. I don’t have much right now, so I was like, ‘I’ve got this car, and I want all that candy, so maybe they would consider it.'”  They didn’t.

Another online retailer, Candyfavorites.com sold more Necco Wafers on Wednesday than it would normally sell in six months, depleting 90 percent of its Necco Wafer inventory, said owner Jon Prince.

“We’ve had people offer to purchase our entire inventory. I had an older lady who offered to send me chocolate chip cookies for the entire year if I were willing to sell her beyond our limit. I was tempted because I love baked goods. But I didn’t do it.”

While a box of 24 rolls of Necco typically sells for between $21 – $35, they are now going on ebay for as much as $300!  People are apparently thinking to get rich off these undesirable little sweets!


And for your daily dose of cuteness …It was windy in upstate New York last week.  So windy that it blew a little baby girl squirrel right out of a tree.  The squirrel broke the bone in her tiny left-front leg.  But take heart!  She was rescued by the Orphaned Wildlife Center, who took her straight to the Catskill Veterinary Services in Rock Hill.  They are taking good care of the little girl squirrel, and put a bright green cast on her little arm.  Awwwwwww ….

I bet you cannot watch this short clip without saying “awwwwwwww” at least once!  You can check her out on Facebook.


I have long bemoaned the state of higher (and lower) education in the U.S., the fact that we seem to be ‘dummying down’, the standards are not as high, and the focus seems more on job and techno skills than on the humanities, social sciences, literature, and teaching young people how to actually think.  A professor at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) has driven my point home.

The class project was to compare a social norm between the U.S. and another country.  Student Ashley Arnold chose ‘social media use’ for her norm, and for her country she chose Australia. But when Arnold got her grade back on Feb. 1, she was shocked to see her professor had failed her. Why? Because, according to the teacher, “Australia is a continent; not a country.” The professor, who has a PhD in philosophy, had given Arnold zero points in multiple sections of the assignment because she believed that Australia wasn’t a real country.This led to a bit of back-and-forth via email:

Ashley: I believe I got zero or partial credit because the instructor said, ‘Australia is a continent; not a country. However, I believe that Australia is a country. The research starter on the SNHU’s Shapiro library written by John Pearson (2013) states, that Australia is the ‘sixth-largest country in the world’ (n.p.). The full name of the country is the Commonwealth of Australia, meaning Australia is both a continent and a country. Therefore, these sections of the rubric should be amended.

Prof: I will gladly re-examine your week 2 milestone project report. But before I do I want you to understand that any error in a project can invalidate the entire research project. Research is like dominoes, if you accidentally knock over one piece the entire set will also fall. Australia is a continent; it is not a country. That error made it nearly impossible for you to accurately complete your week 2 research outline correctly. As I mentioned above I will look over your week two paper once again and see if you earned more credits than I gave you.

Ashley: Australia is both a country and a continent. It’s the only country that is both. I provided a resource in the first email that clarifies that for you. If you need further clarification google or the SNHU Shapiro Library has that information you. Again I mean no disrespect but my grade is affected by your assumption that Australia is not a country when it in fact is. Thank you and let me know if I need to provide further resources proving Australia is a country.

Prof:  Thank you for this web-address. After I do some independent research on the continent/country issue I will review your paper.

No, folks, sadly this is not a joke … it really happened.  Ashley was ultimately given a grade of B+, refunded her money for the course and received an apology from the university.  The professor is no longer employed at SNHU.


And finally, in Austria (which is also a country, by the way), a man posted a snarky warning about speed checks on his Facebook page, whereby he referred to police as ‘Smurfs’. Authorities in Tyrol province imposed the fine of €160, or nearly $200 USD, for violating “public decency” by “defaming two police officers.”  As I’ve said before … you want to be careful what you post on Facebook!


And that, my friends, depletes my supply of ‘jolly’ for the week.  Time for me to tackle the never-ending pile of laundry and start a bit of spring cleaning, on this snowy Monday in April!!!  Today I will tackle the baseboards, walls & trim in the downstairs bathroom.  Wish me luck!  Have an awesome week … and friends … please make sure to share those smiles I am seeing … they are far too gorgeous to keep to yourselves!  Keep safe, my friends.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!

Saturday Surprise — Cookie Monster!

After putting some fairly intense work into my 3-part series on voters who don’t vote, my mind is ready for a little lighter fare today, despite the fact that there are many serious topics beckoning and calling to me.  The serious topics will still be there tomorrow, and so I am giving my brain a bit of transition time, some free play time, if you will.  And anyway, I do still owe you a Saturday Surprise!

The timing couldn’t have better, as I just heard from my friend over at WaPo that they had a very special guest earlier this week – none other than the famous muppet, Cookie Monster!

It seems that Cookie Monster has written and published a book, and he is on book tour, during which he decided to drop in at The Washington Post for a short visit.  The book is titled The Joy of Cookies: Cookie Monster’s Guide to Life 

It turns out that Cookie Monster has altered his diet slightly over the years to be more ‘culinarily-correct’, and he is also somewhat more well-spoken than I remember, but then I haven’t seen him on television for … probably close to two decades.  Here is an excerpt from his interview with the Post’s deputy food editor, Bonnie Benwick:

Bonnie: When did you first notice cookies = happiness?

Cookie Monster: Back when Me was cute little baby monster. One bite, and Me knew.

Bonnie: Judging from your crumby writing, you are widely read and well versed in popular culture — referencing Shakespeare, Erich Segal, John F. Kennedy, “The Godfather.” When do you find the time?

Cookie Monster: Sometimes Me is very busy monster. Me spend time with me friends, read latest books, get some exercise in, catch up on me prestige television. But Me always make time to follow me passion: Cookies!

Bonnie: Yes, you have been a tireless promoter of cookies . . . . but, in fact, you eat everything. Correct?

Cookie Monster: Me enjoy a well-balanced diet. Cookies, meat, fish, fruit, veg-e-ta-bles, cookies . . . canoe, truck, bicycle . . . corners of very tasty book . . . did Me say cookies?

Bonnie: Ten years ago, television personality Stephen Colbert accused you of eating his Peabody Award. Care to clear that up? (We have the videotape.)

Cookie Monster: No comment. Me not recall. Me can neither confirm nor deny. Me fuzzy on whole matter. Definitely not mentioned on Page 22.

Bonnie: Cookies in bed: Yes or no?

Cookie Monster: Yes. Cookies everywhere! In bed, and on couch, and in kitchen, fresh out of oven, with lots of chocolate chippies . . . . What was question again? Me got distracted.

Bonnie: Complete the sentence: A day without cookies is like . . . .

Cookie Monster: . . . Day without cookie?! Is that new sci-fi thriller or something? Me think Me will skip

And since I am just worn-out tired today, I will leave you with a tune and I will either have a nap, or do laundry: any guesses which?

Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)
Harry Belafonte
Day-o, day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Work all night on a drink of rum
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Stack banana ’til de mornin’ come
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
A beautiful bunch o’ ripe banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Hide the deadly black tarantula
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day-o, day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Jolly You-Know-What Day …

Good Monday morning, friends!  Welcome … please overlook the mess … I was lazy this weekend and the house is a bit shaggy around the edges.  I do have a special treat for you though, so grab a cuppa and since it is Monday morning, the lead-in to a brand new week, let’s find something to make us laugh, shall we?


Apparently Allison Barron’s father was not too keen on the idea of her marrying her boyfriend, Levi Bliss.  Poor Bliss had gone to a lot of trouble to set the scene for his bended-knee proposal, having conspired with relatives to set up letters spelling “Marry Me?” on the side of a large hill alongside a highway.  As he and Allison drove down the highway, the lettering came into view, and Levi pulled over to ‘pop the question’.  He was on bended knee in front of his beloved when on top of the hill, out popped her father holding a sign that read: SAY NOTurns out it was all in good fun.

“We immediately both started laughing. My sister was behind us so we turned to her and was like, ‘Is this real?’ He was like laughing and smiling — he was proud of his sign. It was very my dad, in like a great way — he’s awesome. Always with the dad jokes and he finds them hilarious. We love it.”

Levi’s mum was none too happy about it, though, and was said to be a bit angry.  I suspect, with her son marrying into the Barron family of jokesters, she better learn to lighten up a bit.


Do you guys remember last year in July when I wrote a Jolly Monday post that featured ‘avocado art’?  I was just amazed at the intricacy with which the artist, Jan Campbell, was able to carve the delicate avocados.  And it was just a little sad to know that her artwork had a shelf-life measured in hours, for avocados begin to go bad the minute their insides are exposed to air … just like … bananas!  Well now I have found yet another artiste, one whose medium is … yep, you guessed it … bananas!Meet Stephan Brusche, an artist in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, who has been drawing on and carving bananas for nearly 7 years now.  I’ll let Stephan tell you a bit about how he got his start in banana art …

“I wanted to test out Instagram filters when I was at the office. There wasn’t nice scenery or anything fun to draw or take a picture of, but I did have a banana from lunch. So I figured, what if I drew a little happy face on it? I discovered it’s actually pretty pleasant to draw on a banana with a ballpoint pen. The texture of the peel and the pen is really smooth. The next day I thought, let’s do another face. And then I thought, let’s see what else I can come up with to draw on the banana. From that point on I started experimenting and I never stopped.”

And here are just a few of my favourites …

Chiquita featured Stephan on its website last year.  Check it out for some cool links!


The Detroit Zoo is trying out a new promotion, but somehow … I just don’t really think it’s going to go over too well.  According to NBC News …

Free buckets of 5 pounds of animal manure, dubbed Detroit Zoo Poo, will be handed out on April 14 as part of the zoo’s GreenFest celebration. The event precedes Earth Day and will showcase how the zoo recycles waste.

Buckets will be available to the first 1,000 visitors to the zoo’s anaerobic digester educational display.

The digester converts 500 tons of animal manure and other organic waste each year into methane-rich gas to help power the zoo’s animal hospital. Nutrient-rich fertilizer is a byproduct. The zoo notes the compost “is great for putting in your garden.”

Um … thanks, guys, but maybe not this year …


Imagine waking up one morning, only to find out that you’re dead. Such was the fate of poor Constantin Reliu who learned in January that he is dead – at least officially, though Mr. Reliu continues to breathe, eat, and all the other things we think of as being consistent with life.

In 1992, unable to find work in his native Romania, Mr. Reliu went to Turkey where he found work as a cook.  His wife opted to remain in Romania, and when he returned for a visit in 1995, he found she had been unfaithful to him.  Still, he hung around for a few years, but in 1999 decided to return to Turkey.  Last December, Turkish authorities discovered that his visa was long expired and deported him back to Romania.  And that is when his troubles really began.

Upon landing at Bucharest airport, he was informed by border officials that he had been officially declared dead and underwent six hours of questioning and tests. They measured the distance between his eyes to see if it corresponded to an old passport photograph; they asked him questions about his home town, such as where the town hall was; they checked his fingerprints.  Finally, he managed to convince the immigration authorities and he was allowed to leave.  But now to obtain new papers … not so fast, Mr. Reliu!

It turns out that his wife had him declared dead in 2016, and it is much easier to have a death certificate issued than to have it overturned!  After months of trying to get the death certificate declared null and void, last week Mr. Reliu exhausted his last avenue and was told in no uncertain terms that he must remain dead. A court in the northeastern city of Vaslui refused to overturn his death certificate because his request was filed “too late”, and the court said the decision is final.

“I am a living ghost. I am officially dead, although I’m alive. I have no income and because I am listed as dead, I can’t do anything. I think I am going to cry.”

His wife is now living in Italy, but no word from her on this mess.


Wait a minute!!!  Isn’t Jolly Monday supposed to be … well … JOLLY?  That was a sad, sad story!  Try again, Filosofa, and this time make us laugh, or at least smile!!!


Since the late 19th century, canines, aka dogs, have figured prominently in police work.  They have served in a protective capacity, but also as drug-sniffing dogs, bomb-sniffing dogs, and let us not forget the most noble, Search & Rescue dogs.  Man’s best friend.  But felines … cats, aka moggies … have been ignored by police and military.

Last week, the Troy, Michigan, police department hired their first ever cat!  They interviewed 5 kittens from the Michigan Humane Society, and finally made their selection, though it will be a few weeks before the cat is able to begin her new position.  The kitty remains, as yet, nameless, and the department plans to hold a contest among the schoolchildren in Troy, with the child who submits the winning entry being rewarded with a pizza party!  Isn’t this a great way to promote police-community relations?And now down to the nitty gritty … what is the job description?  Well, I believe there will be some undercover work, for the police department spokesperson seemed a bit reluctant to provide too many details.  But what she did say was that the kitty would be involved with community outreach, helping bring attention to the needs of the Michigan Humane Society, and will also be in charge of the department’s Twitter feed.  Hmmmm … the Significant Seven always give me that old excuse about not having opposable thumbs whenever I try to get them to do something useful, like write this blog!


And now, folks, since I seem to be having a problem with my sense of humour this morning, I think it’s time for Jolly Monday to wind down with a few cartoons, then ♫ Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It’s Off To Work You Go … ♫  Please, dear friends, share those lovely smiles with others today … make somebody feel just a little bit more loved.  Have a great week and keep safe!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!

toon-1toon-2toon-3toon-maxine

 

Saturday Surprise — Oops — On Sunday — Again.

Good Morning, and welcome to Saturday Surprise on Sunday!  Time just goes too fast for me, and I keep letting Saturday sneak up on me without realizing it has done so.  But that’s okay … we can have just as much fun on a Sunday morning, yes?  I hope you are all having a lovely weekend!  Recently, I was having a discussion with one of my UK friends, and I truly do not remember why the topic even came up, but I mentioned something about them driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road.  He, of course, suggested that I simply call it the ‘other side’ of the road, for who’s to say which is right and which is wrong.  So, of course, that opened the lid to my curiosity box, and I had, suddenly, a burning desire to know how it came to be that we here in the U.S. drive on the right side, and the Brits drive on the wrong left side. And it turns out to be rather a fun story, so I thought it would make a nice Saturday Sunday morning diversion.It turns out that driving on the left side dates back to the days of feudal societies.  Yes, yes, I am aware that Karl Benz and Henry Ford had not yet invented the automobile, but they rode horses (not Karl & Henry, but just people in general), and since most people are right-handed, swordsmen preferred to keep to the left in order to have their right arm nearer to an opponent and their scabbard further from  him.So that’s a fairly logical explanation for the left side, but how did some of us come to switch to the right side?

In the late 1700s teamsters in France and the United States began hauling farm products in big wagons pulled by several pairs of horses. These wagons had no driver’s seat; instead the driver sat on the left rear horse, so he could keep his right arm free to lash the team. Since he was sitting on the left, he naturally wanted everybody to pass on the left so he could look down and make sure he kept clear of the oncoming wagon’s wheels. Therefore, he kept to the right side of the road.

Additionally, in France, until the French Revolution in 1789, the aristocracy travelled on the left of the road, forcing the peasantry over to the right, but after the storming of the Bastille and the subsequent events, aristocrats preferred to keep a low profile and joined the peasants on the right. Then when Napoleon began conquering other nations, the habit of driving on the right extended to other nations such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, Poland and many parts of Spain and Italy. The states that had resisted Napoleon kept left – Britain, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Portugal. Although by the 1800s, the trend was leaning toward driving on the right, Britain not only repudiated it, but in 1835 made left-hand driving mandatory, and the countries that were part of the British Empire followed suit.  In the early years of the English colonization of North America, driving on the left was the norm.  But once the U.S. gained its independence, just like the child finally freed from the bonds of its parents’ rules, that quickly began to change, and Pennsylvania was the first state, in 1792, to pass a law making driving on the right mandatory.And if you really want something confusing … Spain had no traffic regulations prior to the 1930s … some drove on the left, some on the right.  In the 1960s, Great Britain also considered changing, but the country’s conservative powers did everything they could to nip the proposal in the bud. Furthermore, the fact that it would cost billions of pounds to change everything round was not much of an incentive… Eventually, Britain dropped the idea. Today, only four European countries still drive on the left: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta.Currently there are 166 countries that drive on the right, compared to 74 countries that drive on the wrong left.  Which do you suppose is safer?  I rather doubt that safety has as much to do with side of the road as it does with fitness of the drivers, but world standards has put together an interesting infographic to try to tie it down.

And now, folks, your burning question about who drives on which side of the road and why, has been answered.  Go enjoy your weekend (what’s left of it), fire up the charcoal grill, invite a few friends over and relax, for tomorrow is … well, you know.

This one’s for you, Keith!

Happy Dancin’ and Mud Fightin’

Arizona … home to Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake – both republicans, but of the lovable sort, if there is such a thing.  And I just discovered another Arizonian to love, based on a single sentence.   His name is Ruben Gallego (think of it as ‘guy-eggo’ for pronunciation) and he is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona.  The sentence that won me over?

“I will gladly work with the president when his ideas aren’t stupid and detrimental to the United States. Unfortunately this is what this plan is.”

I was just trolling various news outlets, half asleep in the warm afternoon sunshine when I saw that and immediately felt Snoopy doing a bit of a happy dance in my heart!We all know the backstory … Trump has signed an order to send the National Guard to ‘guard the Mexican border’ until such time as his wall can be built.  We also all know that, despite Trump’s rants, there is no immediate threat on the border, there are no ‘caravans of evil’ threatening to cross the border with the intent of raping and pillaging, and it is all a big hoax on the part of Trump.  A potentially costly hoax for a number of reasons.

While many republicans were busy licking the Donald’s boots, praising his ‘strength’ in this matter, most democrats were less over-joyed, but perhaps none so outspoken as Mr. Gallego.  Of course, the mouthpiece, Ms. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, had to speak:

“If that congressman’s so concerned, maybe he ought to show up and actually support legislation that would fix these problems instead of blaming the president that’s actually doing something about it.”

To which Gallego responded with a tweet:

“Hey @PressSec – Unlike your boss, I did show up and served my country in the Marines. Now, I show up in Congress to serve my country again and act as a check to some of your boss’s worst plans.”

Okay, okay … it’s mud-slinging at its finest, accomplishes little if anything and is beneath us.  But …

 

I’m the kid who got kicked out of kindergarten for fighting … I can get down & dirty with the best of them sometimes!

But now, let me just wipe some of this mud off and let us take a closer look at Ruben Gallego.

Gallego has been in office since 2014, when he won 74% of the vote in Arizona’s 7th district, a district that is heavily democratic and majority Latino.  In his first year, he earned a B+ rating from the NRA, but ever since has an ‘F’ rating … a plus, in my book.  He has the endorsement of Mayday PAC, a super PAC that seeks to reduce the role of money in politics.  Another score, in my book. On February 28, 2013 Gallego voted against an amendment that sought to raise campaign finance limits for federal candidates and abolish all limits for state candidates.

Gallego is a relative newbie, but so far, I like what I see.  I see no barriers to him winning re-election in his district in November, so no real need to highlight him, other than that he ‘walked the walk’ in standing firm against Trump’s ludicrous waste of our resources to combat his fairy-tale threat on our southern border.

Arizona seems to turn out people with good sense, on both sides of the political aisle.  I wonder … is it something in the water?

Jolly Post-Easter Monday!!!

Good Monday morning {yawn} and welcome, friends {yawn}.  You may notice I’m a little {yawn} sleepy this morning because the weekend was busy, what with Easter and trying to finish up on several tax returns that will be due in just a short two weeks.  Even though Miss Goose will be 24 later this year, we still dye & hide eggs, do Easter baskets, and the works.  So, once again a holiday has passed and now we can get back to our normal routine.  I am a creature of routine and always feel just a little out of sync when it is disrupted, even for fun things like holidays.  So, how was your holiday?  Did you get enough chocolate bunny ears to last you for a while?

Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee … sorry, Steve, no donuts today, but help yourself to some Easter candy … and let’s share a few chuckles to start out this week, shall we?


Grumpy Goose …

When I worked at Standard Publishing, one spring a goose wandered onto our property, built a nest, and laid goose eggs.  It might have gone unnoticed, except that she began attacking people.  Clients and sales reps would park in front of our building, get out of their cars, and seemingly from nowhere here came this goose, spitting, hissing, flapping her wings, and given the chance, pecking.  The client would run back to their car and call us, whereby we would contact one of the maintenance guys to take a broom for protection and escort the client in.  One day she attacked one of the maintenance men, Chester, so viciously that he gave his resignation the very next day!  This video of a goose attacking soldiers at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, brought back memories of those days …


Distracted Drivers …

There are a lot of distracted drivers out there these days … I mostly blame cell phones.  I was talking to my friend Herb while he was driving home in a snowstorm not long ago, and all of a sudden he let loose a rhyming expletive and said, “I’m stuck!!!”  Sometimes it’s better not to talk and drive, I think.  Herb, by the way, was able to extricate his car without too much trouble.  Two stories caught my eye this week about people who weren’t quite ‘with it’ and the results, while humorous, might have ended in catastrophe.

The first is this Okaloosa County, Florida, mom who was getting ready to go somewhere with her husband and young daughter.  Just as she was preparing to pull out of her parking spot, she remembered something she had forgotten in the apartment, so she ran back in.  When she came back out, this is what she found …

Oopsie!

Dad and daughter were able to exit the car safely, so all is well except … well, the car.  The Sheriff’s office had some fun with it, joking that it gave a whole new meaning to the word “carpool”.

And then this one …

An Uber driver in San Francisco was on his way to pick up a third passenger, and surely he must have been distracted, for he made a wrong turn onto a pedestrian walkway and …There were no injuries, and the driver is blaming his GPS.  But the troubles didn’t end there!  As a tow truck was attempting to pull the car off the steps, the cable snapped and the car plunged into a city trash dumpster and a fire hydrant!  One should really use common sense when following the directions of a GPS, don’t you think?


Circus Clown

Now, when I first started this Jolly Monday feature more than two years ago, I promised that it would be entirely non-political.  And I’m keeping that promise, even today, but I could not resist this story.  There is a real, true-to-life clown running for South Carolina’s 5th District seat in the U.S. Congress.  His name is Steve Lough, and he is a former Ringling Bros. circus clown!  He even calls his website Clown for Congress.

He has a sense of humour, saying that if his opponents aren’t afraid of clowns yet, they soon will be.  I almost like this guy!


Darling Donkeys (aka Adorable Asses)

It wouldn’t do for me to fail to give you your weekly fix of cute animals.  Now, I think all animals are cute and can even find cuteness in such critters as armadillos and hyenas. Even so, I never gave much thought to ranking donkeys high on the scale of cuteness, until …Sparky is a week-old miniature donkey at Ashington Park Stud In Melbourne, Australia. He has a surrogate mum and companion in the form of a teddy bear called Ted.

A donkey introduces her 5-hour-old baby to her friend, the horse

Rock-a-bye Donkey


Feline Friend …

Sometimes kids can be cruel under the best of circumstances, and 7-year-old Madden Humphries doesn’t exactly have the best of circumstances.   Madden was born with a cleft palate and heterochromia iridum — a rare condition that causes the iris to be multicolored and occurs in only about 1% of the world’s population.  So, young Madden was a prime target for the school bullies.

Madden’s mum is a wise woman, and she encouraged him to create a video to explain his unique qualities and remind friends to be kind. The June 2017 video was popular, garnering more than 220,000 views and 3,500 shares.

Then guess what happened?  I’ll let Madden’s mum, Christina tell you …

“Last week, a friend posted an image of the cat in our cleft moms group. This kitty was taken in by a rescue group in Minnesota. We knew immediately that this kitty was meant to be part of our family. Not only does he have a cleft lip like our 7-year-old son Madden, he also has complete heterochromia iridum, like Madden. They were destined to be best friends. Funny how a pet can make you feel less alone. We have friends that kindly helped fund a road trip so that we could travel from Oklahoma to Minnesota to adopt this sweet kitty and bring him home.

We’re usually not spontaneous people, but we knew that we were meant to love this kitty. Moon, the kitty, and Madden are the perfect companions for each other.  In a world full of bullies and hateful words, we will choose to chase love. I think it’s safe to say that this kitty is love, and was certainly meant to be part of our journey and Madden’s journey.” A picture is worth a thousand words, so take another look …


And just as all good things must come to an end, so must our time together this morning.  I have … laundry, house chores, a post to write and about a ton of email to catch up on, for I’ve been lax lately.  And you have jobs or naps to attend to.  If there is one thing in my life that I don’t get (or give, I fear) enough of these days, it’s smiles.  So, I’ve left a basket full of ‘em by the door … please take a few as you leave, to share with others today, for we all need them … they help chase away the tears and the ugly scowls like the one I find myself wearing most of the time.  Have a happy week and keep safe!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!


All too true … sigh.

Easter Traditions Here and There – Slightly Updated

Easter is just around the corner … day after tomorrow, in fact … and in honour of the holiday, I am recycling my post from last Easter (and the Easter before), interspersed with a few additions and minor alterations.  Different countries and cultures celebrate the holiday with a variety of traditions, and I find it fascinating to look at how others’ traditions vary from our own.  First, however, a brief bit about that highly controversial Easter candy, Peeps!

PeepEaster is almost upon us, and that means what?  You got it!  Chocolate Bunnies!  Chocolate Eggs!  And Peeps.  I will eat an occasional Peep, but I far prefer the ears of a chocolate bunny.  That said, I don’t hate Peeps and they are rather cute.  There is a joke circulating on social media that goes something like this: “What is the best way to eat a Peep?  Throw it in the trash.”  That seems a bit sad to me, though I have certainly tossed enough of them in the trash after they sat around until they were hard enough to knock a cat unconscious.  And if you don’t mind cleaning up a mess, try putting one in the microwave for just a few seconds! Anyway … check out this gallery of Peeps!  Cute and imaginative! Peeps Gallery

On a side note, just today I saw in the news that the company that makes Peeps, Just Born Quality Confections, is at war with its union workforce as they are attempting to block new employees from enrolling in their pension plan.  The battle, according to The Washington Post, “has featured a strike, Twinkies related bankruptcy, irreparably broken friendships, obscene T-shirts and a locked-up Peepsmobile.”  Not exactly in the holiday spirit, is it?And if you really cannot figure out what to do with all those Peeps the kiddos found in their Easter baskets, why not try this recipe:  Peeps-Infused Vodka

Peeps-vodka


Today I am thinking that I’m glad I do not live in either the Czech Republic or Greece, though the Greek island of Corfu might be okay.  I will explain why in a minute.  People celebrate holidays in different ways around the globe, and I find it interesting to learn about the different traditions, foods and celebrations in other countries.  Having lived my entire life in the U.S. and only rarely traveled abroad, I am woefully ignorant of the customs of other nations.  So, I was excited this morning to find an article in my daily Newsweek digest titled “10 Bunny-Free Easter Traditions From Around The World”.

In the Czech Republic, Easter is celebrated on Monday and one of the traditions is for men to whip women!  Now, to my male readers … don’t get any ideas!  “On Easter Monday in the Czech Republic, men playfully spank women with whips made of willow and decorated with ribbons. According to legend, the whipping is supposed to improve fertility, health and beauty because the willow is the first tree to bloom in spring.”  Most of the Czech Easter traditions relate to spring and the beginning of new life.  Here in the U.S., most of us toss some food colouring and vinegar in boiling water and dip a few dozen hard-boiled eggs in the coloured water. But in the Czech Republic, they create beautiful, hand painted eggs.  Czech eggs

They have some other fun traditions throughout Easter week, starting with “Ugly Wednesday”.  Czech it out for yourself here.

Greece has a multitude of traditions, as it is comprised of more than 200 inhabited islands (6,000 altogether), but the one that caught my eye was this: “In Corfu, people throw pots, pans and other kitchenware out of their windows on the morning of Holy Saturday. Some say the custom can be traced back to the Venetians, who used to get rid of any old items on New Year’s Day.”  I think of this as a win-win … either they get new cookware (preferably Cuisinart), or they get to say “sorry … I couldn’t cook tonight, so make yourself a sandwich.”  If they do this for a few nights, then they probably get the Cuisinart soon anyway!  However, another that I was not so enamored of was this: “It’s customary to eat a stew of lamb’s stomach after Easter Sunday Mass. The dish, also known as patsas or tripe soup, is seasoned with red wine vinegar and garlic or thickened with avgolemono (egg-lemon sauce).”  Maybe I will just keep my old pots ‘n pans after all.

Bulgarians really know how to have fun on Easter … they have a huge egg fight, or “choukane s yaitsa”.  “Opponents smash their eggs into each other with the egg left unbroken proclaimed the winner or borak. The winning egg is kept until next Easter and is a sign of good luck.”  Now, the egg fight sounds like fun … though I’m not sure if the eggs are raw or hard-boiled — seems like raw eggs would be more entertaining and less painful.  But keeping the egg until next Easter?  I am not so sure about that part.  Ever smell an egg that was just a few weeks past being edible? Not a fun olfactory experience.  Bulgarians also have a unique superstition. “It is believed if one hears a cuckoo midway during Lent, spring is coming. Likewise, if one has money in his pocket at the sound of the cuckoo, he will be rich in the coming year, but if one has no money or is hungry, then that will likely be how the rest of the year will play out.”  I do not think we have cuckoo birds where I live, but I have some friends who might fit nicely into this category.

“In Hungary and Poland, it is tradition for men to throw water over young women’s heads, and then ask for a kiss. In Poland, the custom can be traced back to the baptism of Prince Miezsko on Easter Monday in 966 AD, bringing Catholicism to the country.”  What is it with men picking on women as an Easter tradition???  Does anybody see a misogynistic trend here?  And frankly, if you dump water on my head, the likelihood of getting a kiss from me is pretty much nil.

A bit of Easter trivia:

  • Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring
  • Easter eggs are considered a symbol of new life and rebirth
  • Eggs contain almost every nutrient essential to humans
  • The Easter Bunny was originally the Easter Hare.  He functioned somewhat like an Easter Santa Claus, evaluating children’s behaviour and rewarding good children with coloured eggs.
  • Originally children built nests for the Easter Hare to leave the eggs inside.
  • The tradition of coloured eggs originated in the Ukraine and the decorated eggs were believed to protect homes from evil spirits.
  • $14.6 billion is spent on Easter items annually
  • $2.1 billion is spent on Easter candy, making Easter second only to Halloween for candy sales
  • 120 million pounds of Easter candy is consumed annually
  • 16 billion jelly beans are manufactured annually, and if laid end-to-end, would circle the globe nearly three times!  That is a heck of a lot of jelly beans!
  • 76% of people eat the ears off the chocolate bunnies first (I am in the majority here)
  • Swiss tradition holds that a cuckoo, not a bunny, delivers the eggs (what is it with Easter and cuckoos?)

Many thanks to fellow blogger Thumbup at The Playground for the above fun facts!

The more we learn about our global neighbors, the less likely we are to have prejudices based on a lack of understanding, and learning fun things like how others celebrate holidays is a great way to start.  With 196 countries around the world, it is impossible for me to cover them all in a single post, but I hope this has whet your appetite to learn more. There are some great websites … This is one of the best I found.  So for now, I hope you have a fun Easter tomorrow and spend the day with people you love.

Easter bunny