Happy Groundhog Day!!! – Redux

This is a repeat of my 2017 Groundhog Day post.  This year, Phil will not be able to dig his way out from the deeply frozen ground, so … no worries about him seeing a shadow!


“Ground Hog Day is tomorrow. We’re the only country that accepts weather predictions from a rodent, and denies climate change facts by scientists.” – Alt-NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

ghd-3Good morning!  Today is a very special day, so I am setting aside my usual fare for this morning’s post to pay due respect and homage to none other than Pennsylvania’s own … {drumroll} … {applause} … Punxsutawney Phil!!!!  A brief summary of the legend and the history for my friends across the pond who may not know about Phil:

On this day in 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring.

ghd-5Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal–the hedgehog–as a means of predicting weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State.

The line of groundhogs that have since been known as Phil might be America’s most famous groundhogs, but other towns across North America now have their own weather-predicting rodents, from Birmingham Bill to Staten Island Chuck to Shubenacadie Sam in Canada.

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According to the Weather Channel, the forecast in Punxsutawney is a high chance of cloudy skies, and even a chance of a flurry or two. According to the legend, this means an early spring is ahead. For the record, Punxsutawney Phil has only been accurate 39% of the time since 1887.

I used to say that Groundhog Day was my favourite holiday, mostly because it did not require a lot of effort on my part … no huge meal to cook, no presents to buy and wrap, no tree to decorate or lights to string.

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I happened across a humorous piece I thought you might enjoy.  Scott Feschuk, a Canadian speechwriter, humourist and former newspaper journalist, wrote this satire piece after hearing Trump’s rather ridiculous speech on black history.  It is his take on what a speech by Trump to commemorate Groundhog Day might be like:

“Well, this is Groundhog Day, so these are just a few little notes I want to share with you. On this day, we honour the tremendous history of groundhogs throughout our country. Throughout the world, if you really think about it, right? Because that’s where groundhogs are and where they live. Here but also there. Everywhere, really, except not exactly everywhere but almost.

Mostly in the ground though, on or it, or in the vicinity – which is why we call them that. Groundhogs. Right there in the name.

They’re incredible animals and their incredible example is unique in many ways. So many unique ways that honestly there’s no point in me examining any of them in any detail. We all know. We all know bigly.

You’ve all heard about groundhogs. They are well known and people know about them. We have some good ones. We have the one from that place in Pennsylvania and we have other ones and we have the one from that golf movie with one of the Ghostbusters. There are others. Many others that we all know, and I also know them.

The groundhog from the movie Groundhog Day is an example of a groundhog who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I noticed. Big impact. But all groundhogs – big impact on the seasons and the changing of the seasons. There are several seasons and we all know what they are.

I do very well with groundhogs, by the way, not that you’d know from CNN which is fake news and disgraceful. But I do substantially better than others have done. They hear me talk about underground life—it’s horrible, life is short, you can get killed by a wolf on the way to pick up an acorn. They hear me and they love me.

The groundhog is cherished. I am very proud of the fact that people in America can learn about groundhogs, and many other things. And they can learn about their many, many accomplishments, which we celebrate on this day, which is why it is called Groundhogs Day and is so special.

I’m proud to honour our groundhog heritage and will be honouring it more and more. Like I said before, a groundhog is an animal—much like a fox is also an animal. And Fox News has treated me very nice. Wherever Fox is, thank you.

Omarosa saw a groundhog once.” 

So there you have it.  Everything you always wanted to know about Groundhog Day and more!  For the record, though I am not a cute, furry little animal that lives in holes in the ground, my prediction is that the sun has taken a permanent vacation.  Here, we have had exactly one sunny day since January 20th.  One.  Just ONE!  I think the sun came out, saw something evil, and went back behind the clouds for protection.

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Saturday Surprise — Snow Monsters and Jingle Trucks!!!

Hello friends, and welcome to Saturday Surprise.  I had hoped we could travel this week, but it has been frigid here all week, and I have managed to contract a bit of a chest cold, so I’m afraid we’re stuck indoors today.  But … I found some really cool things to show you anyway!

This first one I thought worked well with the theme of this week’s Polar Vortex …


Snow Monsters

High against the slopes of Mount Zaō, in central Japan, the cold, moisture-laden winds from Siberia slams into creating a natural wonder that brings thousands of tourists every winter from all over Japan. The tiny water droplets that the strong wind carries freezes against Mount Zaō’s pine trees and their branches forming icicles. These icicles grow nearly horizontal, owing to the strong winds, over which falling snow settles creating towering, grotesque white figures that the Japanese call “snow monsters” or juhyo.

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A specific combination of strong winds, low temperatures and snowfall on evergreen conifer trees is required for snow monsters to form. Juhyo forms at a few other places in Japan, but Mount Zaō is the most accessible.

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A phenomenon similar to juhyo is observed in Finland at the Riisitunturi National Park. The Finnish call it “tykky”.

Riisitunturi National Park is situated in the southern part of Finnish Lapland near Posio, in Finland. The park covers an area of 77 square kilometers and represents the fell and hill landscapes in Koillismaa, characterized by colourful hanging bogs. Being part of the large taiga forest zone on the northern edge of Eurasian continent, the park is covered, for the most part, with candle-like spruces and thick moss. The air gets relatively more humid as one goes up, and during winter the moisture condensates on the trees, turning them into “tykky” – the Finnish word for the accumulation of hard snow and frost on trees. The mountain tops, although just 400 metres above the sea level, experience low cloud cover and mist, combined with moderate winds, so the ice and snow stick to the trees and a thick layer accumulates during winter, especially during the months when the sun is low in the sky. Most trees cannot bear the immense weight of the snow, and bend over into sharp curls. Some trees break down.tykky-1tykky-2tykky-3tykky-4


Those were all really interesting and unique, but let’s take a look at something that doesn’t involve snow for a few minutes, shall we?

Jingle Trucks

A typical Pakistani truck driver spends more time with his truck than he does with his wife. Which explains why he wants his 10-ton six-wheeler to look like a new bride.

These trucks plying across Pakistan’s national highways and the neighboring country of Afghanistan are distinctively ostentatious. The entire trucks, from top to bottom, are a riot of colors. Lavishly painted panels containing a mosaic of birds, flowers, landscapes, saints, and actresses in hyper-saturated color palette adorn the exterior, while plastic flowers, draped beads, mirrors, ribbons and velvet grace the interior. The cabin is crowned by a custom built wooden prow wrapped in more kitschy artwork, while a string of metal bells dangle from the chassis all round the periphery. When the truck is in motion, these bells clang against each other like a new bride’s ghungroo. This is where the nickname “jingle trucks” come from—coined by US troops deployed in Afghanistan.jingle-1.jpgAnd it isn’t just trucks alone. Passenger buses, water tankers, transport vans, rickshaws, and even vendors’ pushcarts are psychedelically decorated with eye-popping colors. It’s like a rolling folk art, “a national gallery without walls, a free-form, kaleidoscopic exhibition in perpetual motion,” as Richard Covington puts it.

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The tradition of decorating trucks began sometime in the 1920s with the introduction of the long-distance Bedfords—a British-built truck with rounded cab and seven-feet high paneled sides that was to become the country’s most prestigious and dependable truck for more than half a century. Originally trucks were painted with each company’s logo so that illiterate people could recognize who owned the trucks. Gradually, these logos became more fanciful, flamboyant and competitive. By the 1950s, stylized murals and frescoes had begun to replace them. It was only in the 1960s, as the country’s economy boomed, the decorations became increasingly sophisticated to reflect the growing wealth of the drivers and the rise of a new urban class.

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It isn’t unheard of for a driver to spend the equivalent of a year’s worth, or more, of profits on truck decorations. According to a 2005 article, a basic painting and body job costs a minimum of $2500, equivalent to two years of the average truck driver’s salary. Some spend upwards of $10,000 outfitting their rigs.

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Truck painting is also a big business. In Karachi city alone, more than 50,000 people are engaged in this unregulated yet lucrative industry. Family-run workshops comprising of apprentices and highly trained artisans, and small shops selling all manners of outlandish ornaments and accessories crowd around truck yards.

Over the years, however, the business has changed. Now instead of meticulously hand painting each truck, mass produced stickers and adornments are used.

“Truck decoration is not stagnating; it is dead,” laments R M Naeem, an assistant professor at the National College of Arts, Lahore. “This is because truck painters treat their work as a source of livelihood. They do not have the time or the luxury to innovate; they repeat the same old patterns, images and icons over and over again.”

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Well, folks … it is the weekend, and I’m sure you have a million things you want to do.  I have certainly enjoyed spending a bit of the morning with you.  Keep safe and warm, and enjoy your weekend!

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A Good Deal!!!

I don’t know about you guys, but I could use a little humour at Trump’s expense today.  Andy Borowitz is always good for a few laughs.  This column of his is from 24 January, six days ago, but it’s still funny.


borowitz-andyWASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a bold initiative aimed at ending the shutdown, congressional Democrats on Thursday agreed to fund a border wall and reopen the government if Donald Trump leaves the country forever.

Calling the deal “a huge win for America,” the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said that Trump would get the wall he wanted plus the opportunity to do something “incredibly patriotic” for his country.

Pelosi brushed aside criticism of the offer’s 5.7-billion-dollar price tag, telling reporters, “When you consider what we are getting in return, nine trillion dollars would be a bargain.”

But, even as Pelosi touted the offer, some details remained unresolved, such as finding a country willing to accept Trump.

Although Russia has a practice of providing country houses to former leaders such as Nikita Khrushchev and Boris Yeltsin, it is unclear whether Trump’s two years of service to the Kremlin qualify him for such accommodations.

The White House offered no official response to the Democrats’ offer, but Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani gave it a full-throated endorsement during an appearance on CNN.

“He should absolutely take this deal,” Giuliani said. “I mean, if he stays in the country, he’s probably going to prison.”


And in case that didn’t quite bring a smile to your face … try this!  I call it “My Dream”

It’s Monday … Be Jolly … Or Else

jollyWelcome friends!  It’s that day of the week again … Monday!  Back to work, back to school, laundry piled up in every hamper, a whole week ahead.  Jolly, jolly Monday, yes?  Did you guys have a good weekend?  My friend Emily, who lives on the West Coast of Canada, already has flowers coming up in her yard.  Another friend, Gary, who lives in Yorkshire in the UK, recently posted pictures of flowers that have already bloomed in his garden.  NO FAIR!!!  It is cold here, with 7 straight days of snowfall predicted starting next weekend.  There is nary a crocus in my yard and likely won’t be for at least another 8 weeks or so!  I’ve been CHEATED!!!

Okay … now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s see if we can rustle up a bit to eat and a few laughs, shall we?


Jackpot!!!

Tyler Heep won the lottery in his home state of Iowa!  He won a biiiiiig check!tyler-heep-lotteryWell, the check was big, but the amount was likely worth less than the paper the check was printed on.  You see, Tyler actually won $1 on a scratch-off ticket last week.  Instead of turning it in, he went to the Iowa Lottery Headquarters, and asked for one of those big ceremonial checks.

“The guy came down the stairs and they took me into the back room where the camera was with the Iowa Lottery logo. Sure enough they wrote me the one dollar check and had me hold it up and took the picture.”

So, what did Mr. Heep do with all that money?  He says he bought almost a half-gallon of gas.


Oh I’d love to be an Oscar Mayer wiener (mobile) …

Remember the wienermobile?  According to Wikipedia …

“Wienermobile” is a series of automobiles shaped like a bun which are used to promote and advertise Oscar Mayer products in the United States. The first version was created in 1936 by Oscar Mayer’s nephew, Carl G. Mayer, and variants are still used by the Oscar Mayer company today. Drivers of the Wienermobiles are known as Hotdoggers and often hand out toy whistles shaped as replicas of the Wienermobile, known as Wienerwhistles.”

Here’s one of the very first, circa 1940 …

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And here’s one circa 1952 …

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Well, the wienermobile is still around today!  Who knew?  Best news yet, though, is that they are hiring drivers!  The job, which begins in June and lasts for one year, would involve driving the iconic sausage across the United States, visiting locations including stores, military bases and charity events.wienermobileThe company’s website states applicants should have a four-year degree in public relations, journalism, communications, advertising or marketing.

The “condiments” that come with the job are listed by Oscar Mayer as a competitive salary, benefits, clothing and a company car “guaranteed to turn heads.”

I’ve gotten the details for you and the address to send in your résumé, but hurry, for they are only accepting applications through January 31st … that’s Thursday … so get yours sent in now!

jolly♫ I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Weiner
That is what I truly wish to be
Cause if I were a oscar mayer weiner
Everyone would be in love with me


Pick your brain …

sudokyRecently I’ve begun checking to see what day it is … no, no … not day of the week, but national _______ day, such as National Hot Dog Day, etc.  Why, you ask?  Because it’s fun, only takes a few seconds, and I’m always on the lookout for fun things to include in my posts.  Now, the one I want to include today doesn’t actually occur until tomorrow, January 29th, but tomorrow isn’t a Jolly Monday, and while I don’t yet know just what I’ll write about on Tuesday, it’s doubtful that National Puzzle Day will fit in very well … you see the dilemma, right?  Oops … I just gave it away!

rubik-cubeNational Puzzle Day … who knew there was such a thing?  Puzzles are great mental exercise and help keep our minds sharp, whether your choice is a crossword, jigsaw, trivia, word search, brain teaser or Sudoku.  I used to do the New York Times crossword and a Sudoku or two each day, but lately I spend so much time writing that I rarely tackle one.  National Puzzle Day has an interesting origin, though.

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Jodi Jill

National Puzzle Day celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and was the brainchild of a writer/columnist, Jodi Jill.  Now, Jodi’s story is not one for a Jolly Monday post, but I strongly urge you to read about her life, for it is a story I cannot even begin to imagine.

crosswordMeanwhile, though, be sure to work a puzzle on Tuesday in honour of National Puzzle Day!  Puzzle.net is offering free puzzles through the month of January, including one I’ve never heard of, Brain Baffler, which was created by Jodi Jill herself.  Have fun! puzzle-1


And now, my friends, we all have things we have to do.  Think of our friend Hugh on Wednesday when temperatures where he lives are going to dip to a low of -27° (F), which is -33° Celsius.  All of you keep safe and warm and have a great week!  Don’t forget to …share-smile

Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa & Jolly!!!

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This one’s for you, Hugh!!!  Keep warm!

Saturday Surprise — Sukeroku!

It’s funny, for I was reading a story written by a friend/fellow-blogger a few days ago, a children’s story, and I mentioned that all she needed now was an artist who could turn her characters into whimsical pictures to accompany her words.  Then this evening, as I was bopping around the internet, trying to decide with what I might surprise you guys today, I came across some of the most adorable pictures imaginable.  The Japanese artist is known only as Gotte, and his (or her– not sure which) little hamster, the subject of his art, is Sukeroku.  The pictures depict Sukeroku in everyday settings & situations, and they are absolutely guaranteed to bring a smile to the faces of young and old alike!  If you enjoy these, you can check him out on Twitter,  Instagram  or on the artist’s own website.

And by the way … Jolly was bored, so I let him create the captions …  jolly

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WHEEEEE!!!!

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I’m late, I’m late, for a vewy important date!

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Yum-yum-yum … er … what?  Not supposed to sample da goods?

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zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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Please, please, please … lemme drop it in da hole …

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Me Hamtaro!!!  King o’ da hamsters!

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Garçon … more bread please.

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Wanna help me build a fort?

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Mewwy Cwistmas!!!

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Sewf Portrait … d’ya think I’m any good?

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Chores … sigh.

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Gettin’ bootiful!

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I loves a scawy movie …     

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What kinda pie you want?

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Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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Nite-nite … zzzzzz

Have a great weekend, my dear friends!!!  

Statements …

Today I have for your entertainment a few statements about … making statements.

A Posthumous Statement …

For two years now, I have told my daughter that if I die of a sudden heart attack or stroke, I want her to let the world know that my blood is on Donald Trump’s hands by filing a lawsuit against Trump.  After all, I have survived for 67 years … survived car crashes, devastating illnesses, having a gun pulled on me, even a hurricane … but I’m not sure I can survive the storm of the century … Trump.  Apparently, I am not alone.

When Frances Irene Finley Williams died in November, at age 87, her family knew how much grief Trump had caused the poor woman, so they added the following line to the end of her obituary:

“Her passing was hastened by her continued frustration with the Trump administration.”

Makes perfect sense to me.  Did you know, by the way, how much it costs to place an obituary in the newspaper?  I was floored, for frankly I always thought it was a free service!  It cost Ms. Williams’ family $1,684 to run the obituary in the Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal.  And then … the newspaper refused to print the obit!  In an email, the family was told …

“Per our policy, we are not able to publish the obituary as is, due to the negative content within the obituary text.”

Ms. Williams’ son, Art, remained understandably upset, and finally last week posted a bit of a rant about it on his Facebook page that, not surprisingly, went viral and gained the attention of the Courier-Journal.  Mr. Williams noted that the Courier Journal exists “by reason of freedom of speech.”

Richard Green, editor for the Courier-Journal issued an apology …

“Mrs. Williams’ obituary should have published as it was presented to our obits team and as requested by the family. In this political climate we now find ourselves, partisanship should have no role in deciding what gets included in an obituary that captures a loved one’s life — especially one as amazing as what Mrs. Williams led. I’m certain she is missed greatly by those who loved her. We send the family our deepest condolences and apologies.”

Ms. Williams was not the first to make a political statement in her obituary, either.  In May 2016, before the tragic November election, a Virginia woman died, and her obituary read, in part …

“Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God.”

And when Elaine Fydrych died in Runnemede, New Jersey, in 2015, her obituary asked, “In lieu of flowers, please do not vote for Hillary Clinton.”

I think I will write my own obituary now … just in case!


A Tacky, Unfunny Statement …

I suppose Donald Trump thought he was being funny, else thought he was making a statement of sorts when he hosted Clemson Tigers football players, national champions of the 2018 college football playoffs, at the White House on Monday.

The dinner by candlelight, in an opulent room with a chandelier, was nothing more than boxed burgers and fries catered by McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King.  Burgers that had been sitting on the table for more than an hour before the players arrived, and therefore were … cold.  Cold, greasy burgers. At the White House.  By candlelight.

Contrary to what he apparently believed, it was not funny.  You will note that none of the Clemson players appeared amused by it and my best guess is they couldn’t wait to get out of there, from the looks on their faces.  But, the late-night hosts had some fun with it …

Try to imagine any other president in history serving boxes of cold, greasy hamburgers and fries to guests at the White House.  Imagine if President Obama, Bush or Reagan had done it.  No, I can’t imagine it either.  It was tacky, lacked taste and was … so like Trump himself.


Have a nice day, my friends!

A Jolly Snowy Monday … Brrrrrrrrrrrr

Good c-c-cold Monday m-m-morning, friends!  Come in … just pile your coats over there … I can’t believe that last Thursday it was 64 degrees, and now it is barely 25 degrees with 8+ inches of snow on the ground!  Needless to say, Filosofa is in hibernation for the time being.  This was the scene from my kitchen window this morning …20190113_103712-1.jpgI … um … well, I didn’t feel much up to baking this morning, so I … um … put out what I could find in the fridge.  Apologies to all …

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I always think of wild animals as being afraid of humans … in truth, they should be!  Heck, I’m afraid of most humans!  But take a gander at these lions … they don’t appear to be afraid or in any big hurry as they take their time strolling down the street through Kruger National Park in South Africa …


Online dating … I get email in my spam box multiple times every week wanting me to sign up for one or another of the ‘online dating services’.  Sorry, folks … no interest.  Now, daughter Chris has a friend from college days who met the man of her dreams through an online dating service, they eventually married and now have darling twin girls who are now 12-years-old!  However, there are some pitfalls to online dating, as an Oklahoman woman learned last week!

The unnamed woman had been matched with another Oklahoman, Cannon Harrison, and they were getting to know each other.  Apparently, she felt a need for a bit of bragging, perhaps to highlight her skills, and told him she had just killed a deer … after hunting season had ended, and using spotlighting to confuse the deer, freezing it in its tracks and thus making it an easy target.  Sure to impress Mr. Harrison, right?deer-killer.jpgOnly thing is that Cannon Harrison wears one of these uniforms …game-warden.jpg

She even obliged by sending him a picture and everything!  Smart lady, eh?  Annnnnd … the next morning, the game wardens showed up at her home, ultimately costing her $2,400 in fines.  Sadly, even that cannot bring back the life of a beautiful animal.  Needless to say, that budding romance is no longer.


I may have mentioned before that I have no artistic talent.  None.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  So, I am in awe of those who do, but even with that said, this one knocked me off my feet. Octo-1.jpgMost of us have heard of Origami, the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures.  Some are very good, very detailed …

But the octopus in the first picture is Kirigami, a variation of origami that includes cutting of the paper, rather than solely folding the paper as is the case with origami, but typically does not use glue.  Consider this … the octopus is all done from a single sheet of paper!Octo-2.jpgThe artist, Masayo Fukuda, says it took her about two months to complete this project.Masayo-Fukuda.jpgAnd here are a few of her other designs …


What would you do if you were out for a walk one evening, and as you passed by a house you heard a man screaming, “Why don’t you die?” repeatedly, and a small child is screaming?  Yes, you would likely do what most of us would … call the police!

It happened in the west coast city of Perth, in Australia last Wednesday when a man walking past his neighbor’s house heard the above commotion.  He did call the police and they came in a hurry, only to find that the man, who has a serious case of arachnophobia, was trying to kill a spider!

Be careful what you say when the windows are open!


Well, folks, it’s that time again … time to start another week.  I’m going to get busy around this house and try to be active enough to get warm!  Otherwise, I’m just giving up and going back to bed, under the nice warm mound of blankies … close my eyes … zzzzzzzzzzz

Oh!  I almost forgot … I snagged this adorable picture from our local zoo’s Facebook post the other day … it is a 3-day-old penguin … isn’t he just adorable?3-day-old-penguinHave a safe and happy week, dear friends, and please don’t forget to share those lovely smiles you’re wearing … they are beautiful and will warm somebody’s heart on this otherwise-cold day!

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Your Weekly Dose Of … Laughter???

Just as I like to start the work week with a bit of fun, a dash of humour, I like to end it with the same, so for your viewing pleasure, I give you …toons.png

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Have a nice, relaxing weekend, my friends!  Let’s hope Tubby the Tuba in the Oval Office goes off for a nice game of golf somewhere and leaves his tweeting machine behind so that we can find some air to breathe for a change.  Hugs to you all …