Saturday Surprise — Let’s Travel!~~

Good morning and Happy Weekend!  Today I considered writing a piece on St. Patrick’s Day, but somehow I just couldn’t get into it.  And, because of the religious connections, I thought perhaps it was best I leave it alone. I will, however, end with a few funny St. Patrick’s cartoons. And anyway, given that I am getting a bit fed up with my own nation of residence this week, I thought it would be fun to do some traveling, and thus I went in search of new and interesting places.  Sit back and take a few minutes, if you will, to travel with me before starting your weekend activities.

Today let us begin our journey in Villa De Leyva, Colombia, where I have found the most unique house to show you!  Remember when you were a kid and on a snowy or rainy day, stuck indoors you played with such things as Matchbox cars, plastic horses, and that all-time favourite, modelling clay?  Remember how you used to build little clay houses … what?  You didn’t?  Seriously?  Well, anyway, some of us did that.  Here in Villa De Leyva, there is a real, life-size clay house!  Atlas Obscura says …

“Casa Terracota is a fully habitable two-story cottage made entirely from clay. It’s a blend of both architecture and art; a gorgeous creation that lets visitors imagine what it would be like to live inside a giant piece of artisanal pottery—though this house goes far beyond what anyone could ever dream of making in a typical high school art class.”

The architect, Octavio Mendosa, has called the house the “world’s largest piece of pottery”.  Mendoza sculpted the entire abode from clay, using no other materials to support the two-story structure. He then let it bake and harden in the sun, which transformed the pliable clay into solid, sturdy ceramic.

Its walls slope and curve, much like the way the surrounding hills roll toward the horizon. The inside is airy and welcoming, with functioning bedrooms, sitting areas, and even bathrooms all made from clay. The furniture, too, was born from soil and water. Colorful tile mosaics add vibrant pops of color to the baked, earthy inside.I would absolutely adore living in this little house … well, not so little, really, at 5,400 square feet … about 4 times bigger  than what I have now!

I landed … phlumph … in Texas, hot on the trail of a different story, but then I happened upon this and I liked it better.  You’ve all heard about the ‘killer bees’, right?

In the 1950s, South American scientists were attempting to cross European honey bees with African stock to bolster local honey production and engineer a bee subspecies that would thrive in the subtropical climate. Problems arose when a few African queen bees escaped from the Brazilian apiary and began mating with the locals, resulting in a volatile hybrid subspecies.

The individual bees themselves aren’t deadly—the venom in their sting is actually slightly less powerful than that of a European honey bee. However, they’re far more aggressive when provoked. When the Africanized bees sense a disturbance to their hive, they swarm and sting in droves. Even the noise from a passing vehicle or the rumble of a lawnmower can trigger a defensive attack that can be fatal.

The escaped bees and their progeny spread northward throughout the Americas, killing hundreds of people and animals along the way. When a swarm of about 3,000 of the “killer bees” was found in a monitoring trap on the outskirts of Hidalgo, Texas, it proved the unwelcome immigrants had finally crossed the Mexican border. (Should have been a wall to keep them out, yes?)While most places greeted this news with angst, Hidalgo’s mayor decided to erect a monument, and the city became known as the “killer bee capital of the world”!

And while we’re here in Texas … y’know how they always say “everything is BIG in Texas”?  Well, the bee was certainly big, but here’s another … a {meep meep} roadrunner named Paisano Pete!In 1980, Fort Stockton mayor, Gene Cummings, purchased this fiberglass roadrunner to be the town’s mascot, and had it placed in the center of town at the corner of Main Street and Dickinson Boulevard. The city then held a “Name the Roadrunner” contest offering $50 to the best suggestion, and after fielding a number of suggestions, Paisano Pete was the winner.For 13 years, Pete was the world’s largest roadrunner, at 11 feet tall and 22 feet long.  But then he lost his title to a larger statue in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

I must admit that I chose this one for its virtually unpronounceable name:  Fjaðrárgljúfur.   However, even beyond the name, the scenery is unique and worthy of a look.Fjaðrárgljúfur is a canyon a bit off the path off Iceland’s famous Ring Road. At just over a mile long, it certainly doesn’t boast the enormous expanses of the world’s other mighty canyons. But what it may lack in size, it absolutely makes up for in beauty.The river was formed from melting glaciers some two million years ago (now just how do they know that???) and it whittled out strange geologic patterns. The walls jut in and out, swerving back and forth so the water takes the shape of a blue snake slithering across the terrain.  There is a walking trail across the tops of the crags, where it is said one feels as if he is standing atop a kingdom.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our brief tour of some places we don’t get to see every day.  And now, as promised, a few St. Paddy ‘toons to start your weekend with a smile!  Have a terrific weekend, my friends!

St. Pat toon

Saturday Surprise — On Sunday!!!

Okay, I was trying to come up with some elaborate and convoluted reason that Saturday Surprise is happening on Sunday, one day late.  But, while I have got an imagination, it seemed to fail me here, so I am going to come clean and admit that on Friday night, as I was writing my post for Saturday morning, I completely forgot what day of the week it was.  I worked along on my post about the meeting between East and West, popped it into Word Press, proofread, fixed the pictures, scheduled it for 3:00 a.m., then went to bed, where I fell almost immediately asleep with a book on my stomach and a bottle of water in my hand.  I awakened on Saturday morning at about 7:00 a.m., and my very first thought was “Oh crap … it’s Saturday morning!!!”  Well, not much to be done at that point, so I decided to make it a Sunday morning Saturday Surprise.  Please forgive my strangeness, forgetfulness, and all my other ‘ness-es’, for it has been a strange few weeks and I am still a bit boggled.

I recently discovered a website, Tedium, that has some fun things from time to time, and when I was cruising through there yesterday evening in search of something humorous, I came across a piece about ‘sniglets’.  You all know what a sniglet is, right?  I use them all the time.  The official definition is a word that isn’t in the dictionary, but should be.  You are dying to know, of course, where the sniglet got its start, right?

Do you guys remember the HBO program, Not Necessarily The News in the 1980s?  It featured sketches, parody news items, commercial parodies, and humorous bits made from overdubbing or editing actual news footage. It was based on the British series, Not the Nine O’Clock News, and was where Conan O’Brien first got his start.  One segment by comedian Rich Hall, was called ‘Sniglets’ and quickly became one of the most popular segments of the show.  Here’s a clip …

Sniglets became so popular, in fact, that merchandise included a board game, a word-a-day calendar, mugs imprinted with especially popular sniglets, a syndicated daily comic panel, and six sniglets books, three of which were New York Times best-sellers.  You can find them on Amazon, by the way.  Here are a few of my favourites …

  • Snackmosphere: the pocket of air found inside snack and/or potato chip bags.
  • Flopcorn: the unpopped kernels left in a bag of microwave popcorn.
  • Napjerk: a sudden convulsion of the body just before falling asleep.
  • Expresshole: A person that brings more than 20 items to the express lane in the store.
  • Anticiparcellate: Waiting until the mailman is several houses down the street before picking up the mail, so as not to appear too anxious.
  • Arachnidiot: A person, who, having wandered into an “invisible” spider web begins gyrating and flailing about wildly.
  • Carperpetuation: The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up. I do this one ALL the time!!!

(Hey Herb — now you have a word for Tom!)

You can find a list of more sniglets on Google.

Miss Goose sent me this one yesterday afternoon from Bored Panda  .  The headline reads

89-Year-Old Japanese Grandma Discovers Photography, Can’t Stop Taking Hilarious Self-Portraits Now

“Most people think that technology is for young people, but nobody told Kimiko Nishimoto that. She’s an 89-year-old Japanese grandma who’s been snapping and editing her own pictures for the last 17 years, and as you can see below, her style is certainly unique!

She didn’t get into photography until she was 72 years old. Her son was teaching a beginner’s course and so she decided to enroll, unaware that she was about to awake a passion and a talent she never even knew she had. She instantly fell in love with photography and set about snapping various quirky and comical self-portraits. She had her first solo exhibition ten years later, at a local museum in her home town of Kumamoto, and now she’s about to have her work exhibited at Tokyo’s Epson epsite imaging gallery.” 

I love these pictures and think you will too!  So much better than sitting home watching Duck Dynasty, eh?

This is just wrong…. isn’t it better to hang wet grandmas by their feet?

Just one last thing before you go get started on your Saturday Sunday funday … what would Saturday Surprise be without at least one cute animal picture?

Mama and Baby

Cute Sloth

Cute Monkey




Okay folks … I hope I made up for missing yesterday and that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me!  Now go have a wonderful weekend … what’s left of it!

Saturday Surprise — Hummingbirds

Spring.  I am ready for it.  Although the winter has been relatively mild, except for the first two weeks, I am nonetheless tired of grey skies, of rain/snow/sleet, and of having to don a jacket, or worse yet, coat/hat/gloves every time I go out.  And so, as my thoughts turn to spring, to warmth and sunshine, to flowers filling my teeny-tiny yard in a profusion of colour, and to the happy sounds of children’s voices playing in the yard and the “thunk-thud” sound their balls make hitting my kitchen windows.  Well, okay … some things I look forward to more than others.  Still …

As I was pondering the advent of spring, I happened across an article about one of my favourite spring/summer critters, the hummingbird.  I’ve always realized these were special little birds, but I never realized quite how special until I read this.  It is actually an excerpt from a book, Tamed and Untamed: Close Encounters of the Animal Kind, by Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.  I found some of this information so fascinating … it made me wonder how these tiny little critters whose hearts beat more than five times faster than ours, and who consume their body weight in food – bugs and nectar – many times over, can even survive.  I thought I would share this with you, along with some adorable pictures of these little guys.  We have a pair that visit our sunflowers each summer, and I am enthralled by them.  So, to start your weekend out right, take a look at some of these amazing critters!

They flash in front of flowers and feeders for seconds, wings a blur, and then whiz away. Next they’re back — but before you can gasp at the beauty, they’re off again.

A glittering fragment of a rainbow; a flamingo comet; a living gem: All of these metaphors struggle to describe the evanescent magic of hummingbirds.

hummingbird-8But what they are doing when we don’t see them is more wondrous yet — as I discovered several years ago. Working with a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Brenda Sherburn, one summer I was privileged to help to feed, raise, and release orphaned baby hummingbirds.

Too often, people “rescue” baby hummers prematurely, Brenda told me. It’s rare to find a hummingbird nest, but if you do, back off, leave the babies alone, and, using binoculars to watch from a safe distance, observe the nest without looking away for at least twenty minutes. “So few people can just sit still and watch anything that long,” said Sherburn. But if you so much as blink, you could miss the mother’s return. A mother hummingbird leaves the nest from 10 to 110 times a day to find food for her nestlings.

hummingbird-9To survive, a hummingbird must consume the greatest amount of food per body weight of any vertebrate animal. A single bird may drink its own weight in a single visit to your feeder — and seconds later come back for more. That’s because a hummer breathes 250 times a minute. The resting heartbeat is 500 beats per minute, and the heart can rev to 1,500 a minute in flight. A film I watched claimed that a person as active as a hummingbird would need to consume 155,000 calories a day — and the body temperature would rise to 700°F and ignite!

An adult hummer visits an average of 1,500 flowers in a day. If the nectar were converted to a human equivalent, that would be fifteen gallons a day. But few people realize that insects are equally essential. Each hummingbird needs to catch and eat six to seven hundred bugs a day. (So spraying insecticide in your yard is like hiring a hummingbird exterminator.)

The food requirements mentioned above are for a single hummingbird. A mother caring for nestlings (there are usually two) needs even more. Lucky for us, Sherburn had access to a fine compost pile with plenty of fruit flies, and her husband, Russ, was willing to catch fresh ones for us every day.

hummingbird-10.jpgEach morning, when normal people were grinding coffee beans, Brenda would take out her mortar and pestle to grind ash-frozen fruit flies. Then she’d mix them with nectar, vitamins, enzymes, and oils. Because this food spoils easily, we had to make a fresh batch several times a day. From dawn to dusk we would deliver this to the babies’ gaping beaks — by syringe — every twenty minutes.

Sherburn was one of a handful of specially trained and deeply committed wildlife rehabilitators qualified to do this. I was honored to help. But for these fragile nestlings, each moment was fraught with danger. Miss a feeding and the babies could starve. Worse, explained Sherburn, was what could happen if you fed them too much. “They can actually pop,” she told me.

Hummingbirds are little more than bubbles wrapped in feathers. Our bodies are filled with organs; theirs are full of air sacs. Their feathers weigh more than their skeletons, and both their bones and their feathers are hollow. It’s hard to imagine anything more fragile.

hummingbird-babiesAnd yet our fragile orphans, like the hummers at your feeder, were born to conquer the sky. Sherburn lives in California, which boasts several species; as their feathers grew in, our babies revealed they were Allen’s hummingbirds. To impress a female, a male Allen’s performs a plunging flight that makes it the fastest bird for its size in the world. In terms of body lengths per second, it even bests the space shuttle!

ruby-throat hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

On the East Coast we have only the ruby-throated hummingbird, named for the flaming red throat patch on the males. These birds are equally spunky: Each fall they undertake a punishing migration across the Gulf of Mexico, which may demand twenty-one hours of nonstop flight.

hummingbird eggsIt’s shocking to realize that someone who hatches out of an egg the size of a navy bean is capable of such feats. But equally shocking is the gauntlet of dangers a hummingbird may face on an average day. Hawks, jays, squirrels, crows, even dragonflies eat them. They tangle in spiderwebs searching for insects (they also use the silk in their nests, to give them stretch as the nestlings grow). They fly into our windows; they’re hit by our cars; they’re poisoned by our pollutants. The most common reason for any bird’s admittance to wildlife rehab is also our fault. It’s abbreviated on forms as CBC: caught by cat.

And yet we can help. Put out a feeder. Plant nectar-rich flowers. Keep a compost pile. Support a wildlife rehab center.

hummingbird-4Reasoning that surely a bird so tiny with feathers so brilliant must be born anew each day, the Spaniards who first encountered South America’s hummingbirds called them “resurrection birds.” This names the gift these birds offered us that summer, with each fleeting glimpse. They force us to see the world made new each time, and teach us to believe in ordinary miracles.

Amazing, don’t you agree?  Now that you have peace in your heart (yours only beats between 60-100 times per minute), you can now go out and have a wonderful weekend!  Keep safe and have fun!

Saturday Surprise — Armchair Traveler

Weekend … it’s finally here … the WEEKEND!  That moment you have all been waiting for for a lonnnngggg five days has finally arrived!  So, do you guys have big plans for the weekend, or just planning to hang out and relax, maybe paint the kitchen?  Me, I will be watching them knock a few out of the park at the Super Bowl.  What?  That was last weekend?  Oh drat.  I can’t believe I missed it for the 25th year in a row!  So, who won, the Mets or the Cowboys?  What?  Really?  Okay, well … moving right along here, what would you like to do with our short time together today?  Are you up for a bit of traveling?  Great!  Then grab a seat, fasten your seatbelt, and let us travel in our armchairs to … India!

paragraph divider

I first happened upon a picture of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India, a few weeks ago, but as I was on some other mission at that time, I bookmarked it and promptly forgot about it.  Tonight, I happened upon it again and thought it might make an interesting point of origin for our weekend jaunt.

Shri Harmandir Sahib, known worldwide as the Golden Temple, was built starting in 1581, and completed in 1589.  It is a Sikh temple and has been rebuilt numerous times, after being destroyed, also numerous times, by Muslims invading from Afghanistan.  It is built around a man-made pool, and when it was destroyed in 1757, and then again in 1762, by an army led by Ahmad Shah Abdali, they filled the pool with garbage!  Not very nice, eh? It was, once again, rebuilt by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, using marble and copper in 1809, then was overlaid with gold foil in 1830. This has to be getting expensive, I should think!

golden temple 2.jpgIn the early 1980s, the temple became a center of conflict between the Indian government led by Indira Gandhi, some Sikh groups and a militant movement led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale seeking to create a new nation named Khalistan. In 1984, Gandhi sent in the Indian Army as part of Operation Blue Star, leading to deaths of over 1,000 militants, soldiers and civilians, as well as causing much damage to the temple and the destruction of Akal Takht. The temple complex was rebuilt again after the 1984 damage.  I must say, they are persistent!

The Golden Temple is an open house of worship for all men and women, from all walks of life and faith.  I like that, but I also like the fact that every single day, they provide more than 50,000 free meals to anyone … that’s anyone … who needs a meal.

DCF 1.0There is a huge communal kitchen and volunteers come in every day to help prepare the meal and clean up afterward. Lentils are cooked in huge vats, on open fires, that take two people with large wooden paddles, to stir. The kitchen uses 12,000 kilograms of flour, 1,600 kilograms of pulses (lentils), 1,600 kilograms of vegetables, and 1,400 kilograms of rice per day. About 25 percent of the food is donated.

Did you enjoy your visit?  Where to next, friends?  I thought to visit a bit more of India, but … let us head over to London, for there is something going on there with the hedgehogs …

Britain’s hedgehogs, for all their iconic cuteness, have fallen on prickly times. The hedgehog population has been on the decline, and the people want them back!


In the 1950s, some estimates placed the British hedgehog population at 30 million. A 1995 study put the number closer to 1.5 million across England, Scotland, and Wales. Over the last two decades,  hedgehogs have declined by roughly fifty percent in the countryside and by a third in urban enclaves. Now, as cute as hedgehogs may be, here in the U.S., people go to all sorts of machinations to keep critters such as hedgehogs out of urban areas, for they damage yards, eat flowers, and so on.

Michel Birkenwald, a London jeweler, has become one of London’s most enthusiastic engineers of infrastructure for animals. He founded and self-financed Barnes Hedgehogs around four years ago. The group drills the holes in fences and other obstacles for free to provide hedgehog access, and generally advocates for the welfare of wild hedgehogs. Once Birkenwald has crafted a passage, he usually affixes a sign reading “Hedgehog Highway,” with the creature’s spiky silhouette.

hedgehog highway signIt seems that the decline is, at least in part, due to urbanization, thus a decline in hedgerows, the wild shrubbery that has been replaced by buildings, roads, etc.

While Birkenwald is drilling holes in fences and other obstacles to allow hedgehogs safe passage around town, there is yet another hedgehog advocacy group, Hedgehog Street.

hedgehog-street.pngApparently all these efforts are working, for a report released this month indicates that the rate of decline is slowing.  Hooray for the hedgehogs!  I cannot believe I am sitting here at 1:00 in the morning writing about hedgehogs!  Have I finally lost my bloomin’ mind?Sonic

And one final stop on Filosofa’s Saturday Surprise train … let’s head to Canada where there is a rare phenomenon called ‘snow rollers’.

A rare wind is blowing up cylindrical “snow rollers”—a phenomenon that occurs only when wind, snow, and moisture synchronize in a rare confluence of conditions.

When the wind is strong—but not too strong—and the snow is light—but not too light—and sticky, a steady wind can roll snow into neat, spiral cylinders. They dot a field of snow like icy bales of hay. They start small but can grow around two feet in diameter.

snow rollers-3Snow rollers can be kind of cute as they skate across a field—but just imagine if you didn’t know anything about these and came across a field of mysterious cylinders. Aliens? Nope, just nature.

snow rollers 2Well, my opinion, for whatever it’s worth, is that my Canadian friends can keep their snow rollers, for I am ready for spring, for wildflowers and bumblebees, for brisk morning walks and grilling out in the evening.


Well, friends, I know you all have fun things to do this weekend and you’re eager to get to them, and I certainly do appreciate you popping over to spend a few minutes with me.  What better way to start the weekend than with a song, yes?  Have a wonderful weekend, keep warm and safe.  Hugs ‘n love from Filosofa!

Gotta love Stevie Wonder, yes?

Saturday Surprise — This ‘n That

Well the long week is finally over, we can look forward to two days of … cold, snow, chopping wood for the fire, shoveling, chattering teeth …  Take heart, I am just kidding.  Hopefully you will all have a fun weekend and enjoy something special before having to return to the grind on Monday.  Me?  I think I will plan to stay in and catch up on some things around the house, but that could change a bit later on.  My girls like to go out on Saturday, so who knows?  For today’s Saturday Surprise, I decided on a hodge-podge with no theme other than the goal of making you smile, laugh, or shake your head and roll your eyes.  So pull up a chair, and let’s share a few minutes together before you head out to the mall!

Our first story takes us to Scotland, where a young farmer, Bruce Grubb, was holding a housewarming party in his cottage.  Now, Bruce had some cows out in the barn who were ready to give birth at just about any time, so periodically he left the party to go check on the cows.

Bruce Grubb with cowsWhen Bruce excused himself to go out and check on the cows, he got the fright of his life, for as he shined his flashlight among the resting cows, he saw a TIGER!  Its eyes glinted in the light, and Bruce knew he needed to get help … and quick!  Bruce dashed into the house and called the local police who wasted no time coming to the rescue.  Well, they wasted just a bit of time, first contacting the local zoo to see if any of their tigers were missing.

Once at the scene, armed officers from the North East Police Division surrounded the place. And they waited for the tiger to move.  And they waited … and waited … and after 45 minutes, they began to think that perhaps something wasn’t quite right.  Now, why they didn’t shine a bright light, or approach, I don’t know, unless they were trying not to scare the poor pregnant cows.  Finally, though, one of the officers cautiously approached the tiger and found …

stuffed tiger.png

Yep, you got it … a stuffed tiger!  Talk about some sheepish grins.  And you can only imagine the ribbing the officers took from the online community once the story was posted on Facebook

“The farmer was very complimentary about the attending officers, summarised by saying “they’re grrrrreat!”

“Hmmmm never seen a real tiger with a seam up it’s back and legs.”

“Could’ve been a ‘big cat astrophe.”

Who knew that Amazon sells a giant  beach ball …

The Beach Behemoth Giant Inflatable 12-Foot Pole-to-Pole Beach Ball by Sol Coastal

Price: $95.96 FREE Shipping for Prime members Details

giant ball

One customer gained attention when he gave the ball only a 2-star rating and wrote the following review:

“We took this ball to the beach and after close to 2 hours to pump it up, we pushed it around for about 10 fun-filled minutes. That was when the wind picked it up and sent it huddling down the beach at about 40 knots. It destroyed everything in its path. Children screamed in terror at the giant inflatable monster that crushed their sand castles. Grown men were knocked down trying to save their families. The faster we chased it, the faster it rolled. It was like it was mocking us. Eventually, we had to stop running after it because its path of injury and destruction was going to cost us a fortune in legal fees. Rumor has it that it can still be seen stalking innocent families on the Florida panhandle. We lost it in South Carolina, so there is something to be said about its durability.”

And of course others had to jump on the bandwagon with their comments …



For the price, I think I’ll pass …

reading toon

And since I haven’t given you any cute baby animal pictures lately …

baby ant eater

Baby Ant Eater

baby dik dik

Baby Dik Dik


baby dolphin

Baby Dolphin

baby duck

Baby Duck

baby gibbon

Baby Gibbon

baby lemur

Baby Lemur

Jaguar cub

Jaguar cub

leopard cub

Leopard cub

And, thanks to our friend Roger, this one has been on my mind all week …


And that, my dear friends, is about all we have time for today!  I hope you found something to make you smile here, and I wish you a wonderful weekend.  And what would Saturday Surprise be without at least one song chosen from my own personal favourites?  Keep safe, be happy, be kind.  Love ‘n hugs to you all …







Saturday Surprise — Limericks!

Saturday is finally here, the weekend lies ahead, and it’s time for Saturday Surprise!  I was mopping the floors yesterday, trying to think of what I would do for this week’s post, and I thought, for some reason, of our friend Colette, who has been mostly off the grid since around Christmas … last I heard, they were in Thailand, I think.  Colette is one who can come up with a limerick to fit any occasion on the spot.  And I always enjoy her contributions.  I, however, am not in the least bit poetic.  In fact, when it comes to poetry, my college literature teacher seriously considered a career change after two semesters spent with me.  I am very much a literalist … I do not get sublety nor hidden meanings … I take both words and people at face value.  So no, I did not get that Frost was talking about homosexuality in one of his poems, and I did not understand the author’s meaning in so many stories and novels.

So no, I cannot write limericks, but I do enjoy them.  And so, for today’s post, I went in search of … a few fun and funny limericks!

A patient who kept getting worsetoon-1

Cried out ‘I must go home now, nurse!

You’ve done all your best

And performed every test

But I’ve come to the end of my purse!


toon-2At times I’m so mad that I’m hopping.

My angriness sets my veins popping.

I yell and I curse,

With swearwords diverse,

But my wife does much worse: she goes shopping”


toon-3There was a young fellow named Hall

Who fell in the spring in the fall.

‘Twould have been a sad thing

Had he died in the spring,

But he didn’t – he died in the fall.


There was a young lady named Harris,toon-4

Whom nothing could ever embarrass,

Till the bath salts one day

In the tub where she lay

Turned out to be plaster of Paris


Now if only Colette would drop by and add hers to the collection …

And on that note, I shall end with a song that has been stuck in my head for the past few days …

And let us not forget that tomorrow is the big day … Super Bowl Sunday!!!


Have a great weekend everyone!!!


Saturday Surprise — Let’s Travel!

Good Saturday morning, friends!  We made it through yet another work week,, hopefully none the worse for wear, and now it’s time to have a fun, relaxing weekend, yes?  Last evening I was wracking my brain (yes, it did hurt, as a matter of fact) for a fresh idea for Saturday Surprise, and I decided that it is time for a bit of travel to some unique and interesting places.  So, fasten your seatbelts, and sime I’m driving here, you might also consider a crash helmet!

blind driver

Let us begin our journey in Hanoi, Vietnam …

We live about two miles from a set of railroad tracks, and I rarely hear them during the day, as there are two busy streets and an interstate highway between our home and the train tracks, but late at night, especially when it is quiet, with no furncace or television to distract, you can hear the whistle and even the clacking of the wheels on the track.  That is from two miles.  Imagine if you lived in the Old Quarter of Hanoi …

Diesel train coming down the train tracks through a narrow street in Hanoi showing how close the inhabitants live to the tracks. Image shot 2014. Exact date unknown.

Every day around 3:00 p.m. and again at about 7:00 p.m., the train comes barreling through this neighborhood.  Drying clothes are carried inside, children ushered indoors, and bikes pulled to the side of the road just before the train speeds past, with a couple feet of clearance at most on each side. In some places the train is mere inches from the buildings.


The street’s residents press tight to the walls or duck into nearby doorways with a startling nonchalance and go right back to walking across or sitting on the tracks as soon as the train has passed.


I can only imagine what that would do to dishes sitting near the edge of a table, not to mention the nerves of the people who live on that street.

Next let’s pop over to Kiev, in the Ukraine, for a look at an interesting museum …

The Toilet History Museum is flush with toilet tidbits and facts you probably didn’t learn in a history class. You’ll discover how toilets looked 5,000 years ago, why medieval toilets were called “wardrobes,” and how a toilet invented by Leonardo da Vinci functioned.


The toilet museum covers the many types of commodes throughout history, from Egyptian limestone toilet seats to the mechanics of a modern-day loo. It aims to explore culture and history through the lens of an everyday experience shared by people around the world.


But that’s not all.  They even have a giftshop where you can buy ashtrays, key rings, lighters, and tobacco pipes in the form of a water-closet!  What’s not to love, eh?  In related museums, there is, in Sandown, England, there is a National Poo Museum, but … I didn’t think that would set well on a Saturday morning, so I am not taking you there tody.


While we’re in England, let’s run over to London for a minute, for there’s a library I wanted to check out …

moving car.gif

It may not look like much on the outside, but this building houses Britain’s largest clown school, London’s National Centre for Circus Arts, formerly Circus Space.  Founded in 1989 by Jonathan P. Graham, this is the only such school to offer accredited BA (Hons) and Postgraduate programs in Circus Arts in the UK.

circus spaceDegree student Michael Standen sums up most people’s reaction when they visit this unique space, “I decided to go to circus school and came here and my mind was blown.”

And lastly, let’s make a quick stop at ISHINOMAKI, Japan.

Tashirojima Island initially caught my eye because it reminded me of my own home, with the description: On the island of Tashirojima, the cats outnumber people, and the people like it that way.  In my house, there are 3 humans and 7 felines, so we are outnumbered approximately 2-to-1.  Most times tt’s not a problem, but on the rare occasion we happen to run out of the canned food and they have only kibble to eat … we get nervous.

cat-1It’s no accident that the cats who inhabit Tashirojima, or what has become known as “Cat Island,” in Japan have come to be the island’s primary residents. Cats have long been thought by the locals to represent luck and good fortune, and doubly so if you feed and care for them. Thus, the cats are treated like kings, and although most are feral because keeping them as “pets” is generally considered inappropriate, they are well-fed and well-cared-for.



Well-fed, indeed!

While the feline population is on the rise, not so the human population that has dropped from over 1,000 fifty years ago, to right around 100 today.


nd no, folks, I am jet-lagged and ready to go home.  I hope you enjoyed today’s brief tour, and that you all have a wonderful weekend.  Love and hugs to all from Filosofa!

Saturday Surprise — Hodge Podge

Hey Friends!  Saturday is finally here, and at least were I am, the mercury has finally peeked above the freezing mark, so I plan to leave my lair for the first time in at least two weeks.  I don’t see any crocuses peeking their little heads out yet, but soon, yes?  For today’s Saturday Surprise, I have, I think, a hodgepodge of this, that and the other … no theme, just whatever comes to mind or that I find interesting in my trolling of the ‘net.

My friend Herb, a non-practicing anthropologist, sometimes has a … shall we say, ‘different’ sense of humour, and last night he posted this meme on his Facebook page

tide pods hot pocketsDisgusting, right?  And I left him a response of a yucky face 🤢 and then promptly forgot about it.  And then, wouldn’t you know it, I came across this story in my net travels tonight …

An Anthropologist Explains Why We Want to Eat Tide Pods

Say what???  I use Tide pods every day, and can honestly say that I have never once had the desire to ingest one, or even have one anywhere near my mouth.  Turns out that several people have actually eaten Tide pods … and died as a result.  Neuroanthropologist John S. Allen theorizes that they have several appealing qualities …

“The first are Tide Pod’s vibrant colors, whose vividness brings to mind ripe fruit. It has that intermediate texture of lots of foods, even of meat. It’s not hard like a rock, where you would immediately say, ‘I can’t chew this’. In our culture, [Tide Pods are] reminiscent of some food we do eat, and have eaten. “

Okay, well … none for me, thanks.

On January 8th, 1493, ol’ Christopher Columbus was sailing around looking for a trade route to Asia,  and hadn’t quite found it, but all of a sudden, he thought he found … mermaids!


Here’s what he thought of them …

“not half as beautiful as they are painted.”

Perhaps that’s because they were Manatees?

manateeNo wonder he couldn’t find what he was looking for … he needed glasses!

My humour is lacking something today, I sense, so let’s try for some cute animal pics … those always work, yes?

teacup pigs.jpg

micro-mini teacup pigs … yes, there really is such a thing, and breeders make a fortune from them, promising they will stay this small, but they often grow to the size of a Great Dane in adulthood

fennec fox

Baby Fennec Fox, found primarily in the Sahara Desert, Sinai Peninsula and Arabian Desert.  Its most distinctive feature is large ears to help him stay cool.


polar bear

baby polar bear

Okay, friends … it’s time to go find something fun or productive to do, so let us wrap up our Saturday morning with a tune that, for some reason, keeps popping into my head today …

Have a great weekend!  Love ‘n hugs to you all!


Saturday Surprise — Music with Soul

Saturday kittensWelcome, my dear friends!  Once again it is the weekend and I’m sure you all have big plans for fun things, yes?  My weekend is beyond quiet, for daughter Chris is in Kansas City, Missouri, for a band competition.  Although she is not competing this year, she and some of her bandmates have gone for the fun and experience (I think a few go just for the barbecue!) Since Miss Goose and I are both quite reclusive, we have to set our alarms for every few hours so we remember to talk to each other.  The house is eerily quiet, and it is snowing outside, so a rather peaceful weekend.  That said, I am still under the spell of mind bounce, simply cannot stay focused, so I decided to just let it bounce and share a bit of this and a bit o’ that for the Saturday Surprise.  Let us start with a nice bit of music to set the ‘Saturday mood’ …

The live clips are never of the same sound quality as the studio recordings, but I like watching these guys.  The song was written by Robert Lamm, the keyboardist and singer for Chicago, after a particularly exhilarating 4th of July spent in New York’s Central Park, where there were steel drum players, singers, dancers and jugglers.

Like most Chicago singles, this didn’t make the charts in the UK. In the U.S., however, it was their biggest chart hit to that point and also their first gold single, which at the time meant selling more than a million copies. This song contains some of the most famous nonsense singing in rock: after Robert Lamm sings the line, “Singing Italian songs,” he sings some made up words approximating the Italian language.

Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
People talking, people laughing
A man selling ice cream
Singing Italian songs
(Fake Italian lyric)
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For Saturday

Another day in the park
You’d think it was the Fourth of July
Another day in the park
You’d think it was the Fourth of July
People dancing, really smiling
A man playing guitar
Singing for us all
Will you help him change the world
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For today

Slow motion riders
Fly the colors of the day
A bronze man still can
Yell stories his own way
Listen children all is not lost
All is not lost
Oh no, no

Funny days in the park
Every day’s the Fourth of July
Funny days in the park
Every day’s the Fourth of July
People reaching, people touching
A real celebration
Waiting for us all
If we want it, really want it
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For the day


Hey Keith … you do like Chicago, right?

That was fun … let’s try another …

Sam Cooke … ah, they don’t make ’em like him anymore … King of Soul.  Did you know how he died?  At only 33 years of age, Cooke was shot in the chest by Bertha Franklin,   the manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California.  Franklin claimed that she acted in self-defense after he broke into her office residence and attacked her. Her account was immediately disputed by Cooke’s acquaintances.  It’s a long and strange story, still an unsolved mystery, but one which I will not go into, for this is supposed to be a happy post.

Now that I’m into music mode, how about one more?


One of my all-time favourites and I usually belt that one out as I mop floors on Friday, or in better weather when I walk ’round the track at the park … and I dance to this one, too!  No comments from the peanut gallery, please!  Shortly after recording Dock of the Bay, Redding was killed in a plane crash, and the song became the first posthumous number-one record on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts.

Well, it seems like this post had a mind of its own and decided to make this a musical Saturday Surprise.  Have you got time for just one more?  Please?

What’s not to love about Ray Charles, eh?

Well, friends, I know you have errands to run and things to be done, so i suppose this ends our time together for this Saturday.  Thanks for joining me for a brief trip down memory lane … I had fun and I hope you did too!  Keep safe and warm … until next week …

Happy Saturday.jpg


Saturday Surprise — S.N.O.W.

I almost missed it … again!  Last Saturday, as some may have noticed, I completely forgot about “Saturday Surprise” and posted my normal snarky drivel.  I realized the error of my ways far too late to rectify the situation, so I just hung my head and hoped that nobody would be too put out with me.  All the holiday detritus has thrown my schedule off … way off, apparently!  So, this evening I was working on a political post for Saturday a.m., when suddenly it hit me that this is the Saturday post … they expect a fun surprise, not more “Tales from the Dark Side”.  And so, I switched gears and here I am with Saturday Surprise!

I don’t know about you guys, but I am already ready for spring.  It has been sub-zero here all year … every bloomin’ day … this year so far!  Now, I understand that my friends down south of the equator are experiencing summer as we up here are freezing our collective patooties off, and I wanted to share some of our joy with them.  Plus, I found some of these pictures really cool … pun intended.  Did you know that Erie, Pennsylvania received 53 inches of snow in a 48-hour period the week of Christmas, and 63 inches total for the four day period ending on Christmas day?  That, folks, is a lot of snow!  I was inspired by the pictures I saw of the mega-snowfall and thought you guys might enjoy them too!  My friend Meeka from Australia, where it is now summer, tells me she has had her air-conditioning running non-stop, so perhaps these photos will help her feel cooler!

Photos of Erie, Pennsylvania


This lady is standing on the roof of her car, clearing snow!


And up in Canada ….


And Elsewhere …

Shattered paint

The parking lot striping paint even froze and cracked!!!

Okay, all those of us who live up here in the northern half of the U.S. and beyond (Canada) define “cold” as somewhere around or below freezing … 32° F, 0° C.  Actually, those who live in the northern half of Canada may even scoff at that and tell us they are in their pools at those temps.  Anyway, typically people in the south, especially places like Florida and Texas, define cold a bit differently. My late mother retired to South Padre Island, Texas, in her dotage, and I will always remember one winter when talking to her on the phone and commplaining about the frigid cold, she said to me, “well, its cold here too … it got down to sixty!” (60° F, 16° C).  A few years later, I did forgive and speak to the woman again.

It doesn’t typically get below freezing, but when it does …

Iguanas are falling out of trees in Florida because it’s so cold. Please don’t pick them up.

Iguana-1“Green iguanas, like most reptiles, are coldblooded animals, so they become immobile when the temperature falls to a certain level,” said Kristen Sommers of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “Under 50 degrees Fahrenheit, they become sluggish. Under 40 degrees, their blood stops moving as much. They like to sit in trees, and “it’s become cold enough that they fall out.”


This is not a new phenomenon — there were similar reports in 2008 and 2010 — though it is not typical.

“The reality is South Florida doesn’t get that cold very often or long enough that you see this frequently,” Sommers said.

So, had enough yet?  I was thinking perhaps we could all have a good, old-fashined …


snowball fight-2

snowball fight

Okay, friends, that’s it for my Saturday Surprise this week!  Keep warm, keep safe, and have a great weekend!!!  Love ‘n Hugs to all!!!