Saturday Something … er, Surprise — Birds ‘N Critters!

Good morning, friends, and happy weekend!!!  I bet you’re all tired from this past week … I know I am, and I don’t have a job to go to every day!  I realized last night that it’s been a while since I’ve done a Saturday Surprise that focuses exclusively on unique animals.  Those are always so much fun, and we learn something, too.  One of these days, though, I will likely run out of unique animals … perhaps then I’ll have to replay the old ones.  But for today, I was able to find some new ones for us to enjoy.

But before the unique animals … I found a cute feature over on Bored Panda of some birds being ornery that I thought you would get a kick out of …


I’ve seen woodpeckers damage a tree before, but never like this!woodpecker.jpgPoor tree!  That had to hurt.  Apparently this guy didn’t much care for being in a cage …bird-cage

Ever hear of an Australian Firehawk?  Apparently they are quite the firestarters.  Sometimes working alone, other times in groups, they spread wildfires intentionally via single-occasion or repeated transport of burning sticks in talons or beaks. After successfully spreading the fire, the “firehawks” are able to pick out fleeing prey or munch on the charred remains of those critters who didn’t make it out in time.Australian-firehawks

I don’t know the story behind this one, but those choppers don’t belong to that pigeon, and somebody is in a panic looking for their teeth right about now …pigeon-dentures

This next one brings to mind a funny story.  Years ago, when I worked for a mid-size publishing company, one year a family of geese settled in the grassy area next to our parking lot.  After their eggs hatched, they became very protective and would, at first, attack anybody who came near.  We all learned not to park our cars in that section of the lot.  As time went by, though, they got even more aggressive, and one day, our receptionist got a call from a visitor saying he was parked out front, but there was a goose that wouldn’t let him get out of his car!  Another time, one of the geese attacked a new maintenance man, and he resigned after only a few days on the job … said he didn’t take the job to fight off killer birds!  Eventually, the geese flew south for the winter and peace was restored.goose

Uh-oh …uh-oh

I think this bird might just have bitten off more than he can chew …bird-cat

Ouch!ouch

This hawk is about to learn a lesson about stealing beehives …hawk-beehive

Where to park your peacock …peacock

I sense a fight about to happen and feathers are gonna fly!cat-bird

He just wanted a little bite of the ice cream …gull-ice-cream


And now for just a few of those unique critters that we don’t see around every day.

This guy is a Pink Fairy Armadillo, also known as the Pichiciego, and is the smallest species of armadillo known.  This unique animal resides in the dry grasslands and sandy plains of central Argentina. This sandy environment works well for the pink fairy armadillo since they are excellent diggers. In fact, they have the ability to completely bury themselves in a matter of seconds if threatened.pink-fairy-armadillo


Meet the Dumbo Octopus, so named because of the two large fins on either side that look somewhat like elephant ears.  Dumbo octopuses live at extreme depths in oceans around the world—up to 13,000 feet below the surface—and are the deepest-living octopuses known. They feed on snails, worms, and other creatures they hoover up from the ocean floor.  Don’t you just love the way he’s sticking his little tongue out?dumbo-octopus


Isn’t this Sunda Colugo just adorable?  He’s closely related to flying lemurs, and are found in Southeast Asia and are endemic to Indochina and Sundaland, spending their entire lives in tropical rainforests.  Sunda flying lemurs have bold patches of color that look similar to lichen on a tree, which aid in camouflage. While Sunda flying lemurs cannot fly, a membrane of skin called a patagium allows them to glide.Sunda-Colugo-1

Sunda-Colugo-2


This is a Sally Lightfoot Crab, aka grapsus grapsus.  We don’t typically think of crabs as being beautiful, but Sally certainly is colourful!  The origin of the sally lightfoot crab’s name is still debated. Some people say that the sally lightfoot crab was named after a Caribbean dancer.  The sally lightfoot crab can run very fast, leap, jump, and seemingly fly to avoid predators.Sally-1Sally-2


This guy looks like something from a science-fiction movie, don’t you think?  He is a Marine Iguana, is found only in the Galapagos Islands and actually forages for food underwater which is unique for any kind of iguana. The Marine Iguana can actually dive in the water up to depths of 9m and can be found in practically all of the rocky shores of the islands. Various colours of the iguana exist – some are bright green and orange, while others have a beautiful red undertone.marine-iguana


And finally, because I thought the Pink Fairy Armadillo was so cute, I found this video about them, and other armadillos!

Now go have yourselves a great weekend!

Saturday Surprise — Quoth The Raven, Nevermore!

Good morning and welcome to the …weekendI missed Saturday Surprise … was it last week, or the week before?  Anyway, I am told by Gem that young Benjamin was disappointed, and I cannot let down my youngest reader, so I have something special in mind for today that I think all of you, from youngest to oldest will enjoy!  Our friend David told me something last week that I had to confirm via Google.  I think David was a bit miffed with me when I told him I thought he was pulling my leg (not that he would ever do such a thing!), but it turns out he was right.  He told me that ravens guard the Tower of London!  Well, not only was he right, but the stories surrounding the ravens are fun and fascinating!

The legend of the Tower ravens

It is said that the Kingdom and the Tower of London will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress. There are seven ravens at the Tower today — the required six, plus one spare!

Charles II (reigned 1660–85) is thought to have been the first to insist that the ravens of the Tower be protected after he was warned that the crown and the Tower itself would fall if they left.

The King’s order was given against the wishes of his astronomer, John Flamsteed, who complained the ravens impeded the business of his observatory in the White Tower.

There are numerous variations of the legend, but we’ll stick with this one, for I’m writing a post, not a book, and there are other fun things.  This is the earliest depiction of the ravens in a drawing from 1883 titled Ravens in the Tower of London.Ravens-Tower-London.pngNow, you might wonder what keeps the ravens in the tower grounds.  Well, from the book by Boria Sax, City of Ravens: The Extraordinary History of London, the Tower and its Famous Ravens

“The ravens are now treated almost like royalty. Like the Royals, the ravens live in a palace and are waited on by servants. They are kept at public expense, but in return they must show themselves to the public in settings of great splendour. So long as they abide by certain basic rules …”

And it was just those “certain basic rules” that got one Raven, George, exiled for his bad behaviour.

George had a very good assignment, for a raven in the 1970s. Living at the Tower of London, he was fed better than any raven would have been in the wild—a steady diet of raw meat and blood-soaked biscuits. He lived alongside a small corps of other ravens, where visitors streamed by each day. The one restriction on his life was movement: With one wing clipped, he was confined to the Tower grounds.

raven-2That captivity chafed, though, and George would not abide it. George figured out how to climb a fire escape, perch high up on a wall, and glide down safely. Finally, in 1981, he went AWOL. Apprehended at a pub, he was forced to return to duty at the Tower. But still, he could not uphold the standards demanded of his station. Five years after, the Tower announced:

“On Saturday 13th September 1986, Raven George, enlisted 1975, was posted to the Welsh Mountain Zoo. Conduct unsatisfactory, service therefore no longer required.”

His final offense? He had destroyed five TV antennas in just one week.  In 1996, two more ravens fell out of favour and were dismissed from the Tower for “conduct unbecoming Tower residents.”  In 1981, Grog the raven decided to leave the surroundings of the Tower for those of a pub, after 21 years of faithful service to the Crown.  In contrast, a raven named Mabel was kidnapped from the Tower soon after World War II, a mystery that has never been solved.

raven-3And then there’s the tale of two ravens named James Crow and Edgar Sopper.  James Crow, who was a much-loved and long-lived raven, had died. After noticing the commotion surrounding the other raven’s death, Edgar Sopper decided he could “play dead” in order to bring more attention to himself. His trick was so convincing that the ravenmaster fully believed that Edgar Sopper had died. When the ravenmaster picked up the “corpse”, Edgar bit the man’s finger and “flapped off croaking huge raven laughs”.

In April, 4 raven chicks were born to Huginn and Muninn … take a look at proud ravenmaster Chris Skaife tell the tale …

It is the first time in 30 years that new raven chicks have been hatched in the Tower of London, so needless to say, there was much joy!  Only one of the chicks will be staying at the Tower of London once they’ve all matured. Depending on which one gets to stay, it will be named George or Georgina, in honor of its birthday on April 23, also known as St. George’s Day. The other three will be sent to a breeding specialist in Somerset.raven-trash-dutyIn addition to Muninn and Huggin, and eventually little George or Georgina, the other ravens at the Tower of London include females Erin, Poppy, and Merlina, and males Jubilee, Harris, Gripp, and Rocky.  Jubilee was presented to the Queen to mark the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and later released in the Tower, bringing the total number to eight.

Jubilee and Munin Ravens

Jubilee and Muninn

For everything you always wanted to know about the tower ravens, watch ravenmaster Chris Skaife answer all those questions you didn’t even know you had!

And on that note, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Keep safe and do something fun!raven-on-watch

Saturday Surprise — Critters ‘N Creatures

I missed Saturday Surprise last week, partly because I didn’t realize it was Saturday until it already was, and it was too late to pull together a post, and partly because a ‘thing’ happened that interfered with my good humour.  So, I made a ‘note to self’ to be sure to try to make this Saturday’s Surprise extra special.  Now, you know that in my lingo, “extra special” is going to involve some critters, right?


Wee ones …

I happened upon some pictures from a photography contest called #Small2019.  Take a look at a few of the ones I found most fascinating …

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Best Friends

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Hungry

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The snail kisses the frog

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Sleepy Hedgehog

small-9

Transparent

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Roommates

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Purple Love

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Gentle

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Catch Up

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Three Hungry Chicks

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Going Home

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Team Work

 


Now where is that darned …

Saurabh Desai is a wildlife photographer.  Desai recently posted a photo he had taken in the Spiti Valley of Northern India that’s left internet users scratching their heads. At a glance, it appears to be a simple landscape shot of a snow-covered crag — but there’s more to the image than first meets the eye.

Turns out, Desai was actually there photographing a snow leopard, an elusive big cat native to the region, whose perfectly camouflaged coat makes him blend into his landscape to a breathtaking degree.

Can you find him?

leopard-1

I’ll show you where he is …

Hmmmm … maybe not.  Heh heh … I’ll show you at the end of this post, fair ‘nuff?


Lucas …

I found the cutest little guy quite by accident a few days ago, and I saved him to show you.  His name is Lucas and he’s a spider … but don’t worry … I think even those who suffer arachnophobia will fall in love with Lucas!


Budi …

And lastly, what would life be without a cute animal video?  This one is about a baby orangutan named Budi who was rescued after spending his first year locked up in a chicken cage because someone wanted to keep him as a pet.  In this video, he’s learning how to be wild!


As promised, here is the great reveal of the location of the snow leopard … did you find it?leopard-2

leopard-3


And now, let’s all go find ways to relax and enjoy our weekend, for Monday will return before you know it!  Have a terrific weekend, my friends!

Saturday Surprise — Just A Little Of This ‘N That

In the wake of a truly rotten day yesterday, I am once again suffering from a severe case of mind bounce, so I make no promises about how today’s Saturday Surprise will work out, but I’m gonna try, okay?  My initial thought was, in honour of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, to fire up the Filomobile and take you on a return journey to the moon.  But, with mind bounce, it could be dangerous and we could end up somewhere totally unexpected, like Tahiti!  So, we shall keep our feet firmly planted for today.Saturday-2


I liked this story from New Zealand via The Guardian

penguins-sign

“Waddling vagrants” in the form of two little blue penguins have been released by police after they were detained for setting up home under a Wellington sushi outlet.

Their cover was blown after a shop worker heard them making a cooing, humming sound. It is understood that the penguins were hiding near the grills beneath the sushi shop, where it was warm.

penguins-1Constable John Zhu responded, “after sensing something fishy,” Wellington police confirmed on their Facebook page. The penguins were described as “little and blue”.

“This was not the first report police received about the fishy birds.”

They were spotted on Monday at dawn outside the Wellington railway station before taking shelter under the nearby Sushi Bi.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) had been monitoring the site as it was thought that they were likely to return.

Wini Morris, who works at the sushi shop, told Radio NZthat she heard the birds making a “cooing, humming sound”.

“It’s pretty insane the idea that some penguins are camping out under your shop,” he said. “But it’s adorable I think – they’re probably terrified but it’s adorable.”

penguins-2The little blue penguins conservation status is considered to be “at risk” to “declining”.

Constable Zhu removed the penguins and with some help from the public. DOC and Wellington Zoo were then contacted.

“With some inter-agency cooperation the adventurous pair were released back into Wellington Harbour,” police said.


Saturday-1I came across this on Bored Panda and thought it was pretty cool …

Artist and photographer Christian Spencer was spending the day on his verandah in Rio de Janeiro when he noticed something wonderful. The sun striking the wings of a Jacobin hummingbird, producing a beautiful prism effect. At that moment, it looked as if the tiny birdy was a tiny flying rainbow.  Naturally, he had a camera at hand …hummingbird-1hummingbird-2hummingbird-3hummingbird-4hummingbird-5hummingbird-6hummingbird-7hummingbird-8hummingbird-9


And I thought you guys might enjoy seeing a few adorable baby pandas in action …


And that, my friends, is the best I’ve got for this hot Saturday morn.  I hope you all have a great weekend!!!Saturday-5

Saturday Surprise — A Hodgepodge!

I was pondering what to make the theme of this week’s Saturday Surprise, and I really wanted to do a new ‘unique critters’ post, but it seems that I’ve done most of them in previous posts.  I thought about just reprising one of the previous posts because I’m in the mood for critters!  But, that’s a cop out, and so I pushed on in my quest.  And what I have settled on is rather a hodgepodge of this, that, ‘n the other.


Here’s a bit of history that you may not have known …

Notorious Pirate/Pirate hunter Benjamin Hornigold once attacked a ship just to steal all of the crew member’s hats. His men had gotten drunk and lost their hats during a party the night before and decided to board a ship to get replacements.  According to one of the ship’s passengers …

pirate.png“They did us no further injury than the taking most of our hats from us, having got drunk the night before, as they told us, and toss’d theirs overboard.”


July 10th was National Kitten Day … I can’t believe I missed that one!!!  I get a nightly email that tells me what the national days for the next day are, and I almost always at least give it a cursory glance.  But, there have been a few nights of late that I was not in the mood for humour (imagine that!) and just deleted the email, sight unseen.  Apparently the night of July 9th was one such night.

We have 4 litter boxes, one in the upstairs hallway, two in the entry hall downstairs, and one behind the couch specifically for Miss Izzie.  But, I found this as I was trolling about this evening …litter-box-table.jpgIt’s a hidden cat box enclosures from a company called Merry Products:

The easy-to-assemble end table is made to house your cat’s litter box, allowing your pet to access its toilet out of sight. It also reduces the amount of litter that sprays out of the box when your cat sprints away after it poops, making for a cleaner experience for everyone. Not to mention the fact that you can use the shelf and top space as a regular end table.

I dunno … I think I might not be too happy having my coffee right above the litter box.  Still, kind of a cool idea.  Oh, and it’s only $61!

And on the topic of National Kitten Day, here is a really heartwarming video about a kitten who started life on the skids, but … well, just watch!

And in honour of a belated National Kitten Day …cat-eclipse

cat-humour

Cat-puns...


I found this video earlier this evening, of a man feeding watermelon to a group of turtles.  It may not sound that exciting, but I found it fascinating!  Take a look …


This one gave me a chuckle …tiny-car-meets-squirrel.pngAnd … I know that Jolly Monday and Saturday Surprise are supposed to be entirely free of politics, but … well, I just couldn’t resist this one …

trump-dog


Well, I told you it was a hodge-podge of this, that, and really nuthin’ much, but … such as it is, I hope something made you smile.  Now get on with the weekend!  Have a fun and safe one, my friends!

Saturday Surprise — Cuteness!

Well here we are … the start of another weekend!  This has not been a fun week for those of us who are stuck in the muck of politics all week long, so I decided that what we really need to help us transition from dark to light so we can enjoy the weekend is … cuteness!  And I have found a few things that I think will make you smile.


Keepin’ warm …

Remember the times your mother made you wear that hat your grandma knitted? Well, we’re not the only ones. Turns out, farmers are protecting their cattle from harsh weathers with adorable clothing as well. And since young calves are the most susceptible to these dangers, they get the most attention.calf-1calf-2calf-3calf-4calf-5


Too cute to eat …

This doctor and amateur food artist from Bangkok, who goes by name Peaceful Pax on Instagram, makes the cutest edible art. It all started out accidentally with her just trying to make something a little bit different for her lunch but it really blew up as soon as she started to collect pictures of her adorable creations and post them on Instagram.

 


Meet Debit and Credit …

Some basic skills of an office employee include the ability to organize office supplies, answer phones, and work a computer – office kittens Debit and Credit have all of those skills – almost. ‘Hired’ by the finance/IT department of a transportation company in Ohio, the rescue kittens were employed not for their natural ability to play with boxes but to boost office morale.

The adorable brother and sister have managed not only to delight their office but the entire internet. Introduced on Reddit by one of their fellow employees, the sweet kitties were caught on camera hiding under and wrestling with an empty box lid. Understandably people wanted to see more of their hijinx. Debit and Credit now have their own Instagram account with 6.2k followers.cat-1cat-2cat-3cat-4cat-5cat-6cat-7cat-8cat-9cat-10cat-11


And just in case you aren’t smiling yet … these penguins are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!


Now, go forth and have a great weekend, my friends!

Saturday Surprise — Pride Month – Part II

Earlier, I posted a bit of the history of Pride Month* in the U.S., and as I mentioned there, I had not intended to take up all my space with history.  So, in this post, I want to take a different direction, show some of the many ways the month is celebrated, people who have been prominent in bringing LGBTQ issues to the forefront, pictures, etc.

One of the things I found most fun takes place at the London Zoo.  You might remember last October when, in another Saturday Surprise post, I wrote about Sphen and Magic, two same-sex penguins in Sydney, Australia, who were given a baby penguin to raise.   Well, the London Zoo has its own celebrity couple, Ronnie and Reggie.gay-penguinsTo celebrate the pair and similar animal couples, the zoo plans to give a “Pride makeover” to its Zoo Night event on July 5. In addition to regularly scheduled Zoo Night festivities, the zoo will teach about gender, mating and same-sex animal pairings.

Like Sphen and Magic, Ronnie and Reggie adopted an egg that was abandoned by another couple, sharing parenting duties of their chick Kyton until he fledged the nest. Though their baby is now grown, Ronnie and Reggie are still going strong and are often found snuggling in their nest box. The zoo is home to 93 penguins total, and Ronnie and Reggie are not the only same-sex couple. 👍

How ‘bout a beer?  The makers of Bud Light are very LGBTQ-friendly, and for two decades have partnered with GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).  This year, they’ve done something pretty cool to honour the LGBTQ community.  Take a look …Pride-month-bud-light.jpgBud Light will sell rainbow-colored aluminum bottles in bars nationwide from May 27 to June 30 and donate to GLAAD $1 from each case sold.  👍

Across the pond, Prince William visited AKT (The Albert Kennedy Trust), an LGBTQ youth and homeless charity, on Wednesday. When asked how he’d feel if his children came out as LGBTQ, the Duke of Cambridge said it would be “obviously absolutely fine by me” and that he’d “support whatever decision they make.”   

And, not to be outdone, his younger brother Harry, proud new papa, and his wife Meghan posted a collage of photos …Pride-month-Prince-Harry.jpg… and finished with “We stand with you and support you 🌈 Because it’s very simple: love is love.”👍

Pride-turbanThis is Jiwandeep Kohli, a Sikh man from San Diego.  Earlier this month, he posted this picture on Twitter, and the response was overwhelming … it garnered nearly 152,000 likes, and was re-tweeted more than 21,000 times, including once by none other than President Obama!!!  👍

How about a few noteworthy wins for the LGBTQ community over the past year:  South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg was praised for celebrating his presidential run with his husband; Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage; GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index found a 5.4 percent uptick in characters identified as LGBTQ in films from major studios; Vice’s Broadly created a free, gender-inclusive stock photo library; the US elected its first lesbian Native American ex-MMA fighter to Congress; a GLAAD report found a “record high percentage of LGBTQ characters on broadcast TV;” and Queer Eye was renewed for not one but TWO more seasons. 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍

CNN has done a nice piece highlighting six LGBTQ activists:  Billie Jean King, Harvey Milk, Marsha P. Johnson, Audre Lorde, Larry Kramer, and RuPaul Charles.  Of these, I had only heard of the first two, but the piece is well worth a read, for these six people have been key players in the fight for LGBTQ rights.  And on a personal note, if you have never seen the film Milk, starring Sean Penn, now is the time.  I am not a fan of Mr. Penn, but I saw this movie several years ago, and … I promise you will love Harvey Milk, and you will need a box of tissues.  At least check it out, and also the piece by CNN.    👍

Pride Month is not only celebrated in the U.S., but ‘round the world.  Here are a few of the international celebrations …Pride-month-Zurich.jpgZurich Pride Festival, Switzerland (June 14 -15): This Pride actually lasts two weeks, from June 1 to 16th, culminating in Switzerland’s largest city’s Pride Festival, a weekend of concerts, vendors, dance parties, and a parade. This year’s theme is Strength in Diversity.

Pride-month-Sao-Paolo.jpgSao Paulo Pride Parade, Brazil (June 23): The first Sao Paulo Pride Parade took place in 1997 when 2,000 LGBTQ activists gathered to celebrate their culture and protest against discrimination. The event has since become the largest Pride Parade in the world, with 5 million attendants in 2017.

Pride-month-Cologne.jpgCologne Pride Parade, Germany: Every year on the first weekend of July, Cologne holds a Christopher Street Day celebration, named for the New York neighborhood where the Pride movement began. The weekend features a street festival, political events, AIDS gala, and stage performances, culminating in a parade with over a million attendees and participants.

Pride-month-San-Francisco.jpgOutFest, Los Angeles: Every July, Los Angeles hosts one of the world’s largest LGBTQ film festivals, screening movies that share LGBTQ stories and highlight queer filmmakers. OutFest has recently placed the spotlight on underrepresented voices, featuring more directors that are women, trans, and people of color.

Pride-month-women-building.jpgThe Women’s Building in San Francisco has housed a variety of community organizations, including a food bank and a street youth group. It’s where a memorial service was held for Harvey Milk, the first openly gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who was assassinated in 1978.

Pride-month-Amsterdam.jpgCanal Pride Festival, Amsterdam: Pride in the Dutch capital is as amazing as you’d expect from the home of the Red Light District and the first country to legalize gay marriage. Milkshake Festival, an outdoor dance festival dedicated to inclusivity and acceptance, kicks off the opening weekend of Canal Pride. As the week continues, there are street parties, a Drag Queen Olympics, and a unique Pride Parade that floats down the city’s canals.

There is much, much more I could write, but time and space are limited.  Sadly, in this, the 21st century, LBGTQ people, like women, Latinos, African-Americans, Muslims and others are seeing an uptick in discrimination, in the bigotry that has no logical explanation.  It’s been a long hard fight, progress was being made, and suddenly some element in our society decided that they are, somehow, superior.  They are not.  ‘Nuff said.

To all my friends who are part of the LGBTQ community … HUGE hugs and I love you all!!!

*  I included a link to ‘Part I’, as there was some mix-up on the scheduling and some of you who get my posts via email may not have been able to access the post.

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Saturday Surprise — Pride Month – Part I

I was actually planning to skip Saturday Surprise again this week, but a glance at the calendar reminds me that June is almost over, and what I planned to do from the beginning of the month, has as yet gone undone. Pride-month-3June is Pride Month, a month dedicated to recognizing the impact LGBTQ people have had in the world.  I see Pride Month in much the same way I see February’s Black History Month.  It is a way to honour or commemorate those who rarely receive the recognition they deserve, and are often discriminated against, simply because they are LGBTQ, or black, in the case of Black History Month.  A bit of history …

The Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, was owned by the Genovese crime family, and in 1966, three members of the Genovese family invested $3,500 to turn the Stonewall Inn into a gay bar, after it had been a restaurant and a nightclub for heterosexuals. Once a week a police officer would collect envelopes of cash as a payoff, as the Stonewall Inn had no liquor license and thus was operating outside the law.  It was the only bar for gay men in New York City where dancing was allowed; dancing was its main draw since its re-opening as a gay club.

At 1:20 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, 1969, four plainclothes policemen in dark suits, two patrol officers in uniform, and Detective Charles Smythe and Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine arrived at the Stonewall Inn’s double doors and announced “Police! We’re taking the place!”  Approximately 205 people were in the bar that night. Patrons who had never experienced a police raid were confused. A few who realized what was happening began to run for doors and windows in the bathrooms, but police barred the doors.

Standard procedure was to line up the patrons, check their identification, and have female police officers take customers dressed as women to the bathroom to verify their sex, upon which any men dressed as women would be arrested. Those dressed as women that night refused to go with the officers. Men in line began to refuse to produce their identification. The police decided to take everyone present to the police station, after separating those cross-dressing in a room in the back of the bar.

Long story short, a few patrons were released before the patrol wagons arrived to cart the rest off to jail, and those few stayed out front, attracted quite a large crowd, mostly LGBT people, and after an officer hit a woman over the head for saying her handcuffs were too tight, the crowd went into fight mode.  By this time, the police were outnumbered by some 600 people.  Garbage cans, garbage, bottles, rocks, and bricks were hurled at the building, breaking the windows.  The mob lit garbage on fire and stuffed it through the broken windows.  Police tried to use water hoses to disperse the crowd, but there was no water pressure.  Police pulled their weapons, but before they could fire them, the Tactical Patrol Force and firefighters arrived.  The crowd mocked and fought against the police, who began swinging their batons right and left, not much caring who they hit or where.

The crowd was cleared by 4:00 a.m., but the mood remained dark, and the next night, rioting resumed with thousands of people showing up at the Stonewall, blocking the streets.  Police responded, and again it was 4:00 a.m. before the mob was cleared.

There comes a point when people who are mistreated, abused, discriminated against, have had enough.  It is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, and the police raid on the Stonewall Inn, the treatment of people who were only out to enjoy the night, was that straw.  It was a history making night, not only for the LGBTQ community, but for the nation.pride-month-stonewall.jpgWithin six months of the Stonewall riots, activists started a citywide newspaper called Gay; they considered it necessary because the most liberal publication in the city—The Village Voice—refused to print the word “gay”.  Two other newspapers were initiated within a six-week period: Come Out! and Gay Power; the readership of these three periodicals quickly climbed to between 20,000 and 25,000.  Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was formed with a constitution that began …

“We as liberated homosexual activists demand the freedom for expression of our dignity and value as human beings.”

I think that says it all, don’t you?  ‘Dignity and value as human beings’.  It is, in my book, a crying shame that our society needs to be reminded that we are all human beings, that we all have value and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970 marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots with an assembly on Christopher Street; with simultaneous Gay Pride marches in Los Angeles and Chicago, these were the first Gay Pride marches in U.S. history. The next year, Gay Pride marches took place in Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin, and Stockholm.  The Stonewall riots are considered the birth of the gay liberation movement and of gay pride on a massive scale.  The event has been likened to the Boston Tea Party, and Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus.  All of those were people’s way of saying, “We’ve had enough!”

This year marks the 50 year anniversary of the Stonewall Inn raid and ensuing riots, and at long last, the New York City Police Department apologized to the LGBTQ community.  “The actions taken by the NYPD [at Stonewall] were wrong, plain and simple,” police commissioner James O’Neill said.  He also noted that the frequent harassment of LGBTQ men and women and laws that prohibited same-sex sexual relations are “discriminatory and oppressive” and apologized on behalf of the department.

President Bill Clinton first declared June to be National Pride Month in 1999, and again in 2000.  On June 1, 2001, President George W. Bush announced that the White House would not formally recognize Pride Month.  Every year that President Barack Obama was in office, he declared June to be LGBT Pride Month.  Donald Trump ignored it in 2017 and 2018, but acknowledged Pride Month this year, but only via tweet, and he blocked the display of the Pride flag at all U.S. embassies.

I had no intention of turning this post into a history lesson!  I wanted to use it to highlight some of the celebrations, the fun ways that people celebrate pride month, the people and organizations that are supporting Pride Month, and to honour the LGBTQ community, but I felt the history was important also, so … this will be Part I, and Part II will follow.  Stay tuned!

Pride-month-4

Saturday Surprise — Happy Father’s Day

It’s Saturday, folks!!!  The WEEKEND is finally here!  For me, it’s a quiet weekend.  Chris is in Chicago for a band competition, so it’s just me and Miss Goose.  Yesterday … we did nothing useful.  We both went for a walk, she took out the trash, I tidied the kitchen, and we snacked on whatever is residing in the fridge that isn’t covered in green fuzz.  Who knows what today will bring?  I definitely have to at least do a load or two of laundry, but beyond that … probably not much!  Sunday is Father’s Day, so before I forget, I want to wish all you dads out there a very Happy Father’s Day!!!

And thus ends another Saturday Surprise!  Have a great weekend, my friends!weekend

Saturday Surprise — Unique Critters!

Good Saturday morning, friends!  I hope you all have something fun and relaxing planned for the weekend!  Daughter Chris has a band performance at Miami University tonight, but Miss Goose and I will be dining next door with Maha & Ali who are fixing me a special birthday dinner.  Then on Sunday, we will be going to the local nursery to pick out a couple of potted flowers to brighten our back patio.  Nothing too exciting, but still, a nice break from the ordinary.

I debated about what to do for our Saturday surprise today … we haven’t gone exploring for a long time, but I just didn’t feel motivated for travel.  I also haven’t done a ‘unique animals’ post for a while, and that rather sounded fun, so I have gone in search of some fun and different critters for us to enjoy today.


Thorny-dragonThis cutie is known by many names:  thorny dragon, thorny devil, thorny lizard, and mountain devil.  He’s smaller than he looks in the picture … only a maximum of about 8 inches in length, and that includes the tail.  Native to Australia, this is the only species in the genus Moloch. Thorny-dragon-2The thorny dragon can live up to 20 years, and they subsist solely on … ants.  They have several means of warding off would-be predators … first, of course, any predator would find those scales a bit ominous.  They can also puff themselves up to look significantly larger than they are.  And third, they have what is known as a ‘false head’, or a knob-like appendage on the backs of their necks.  When threatened, they can tuck their real head between their forelegs, and the false head is left in its place.


Proboscis-monkeyFound in the rainforests of Borneo, this guy, the proboscis monkey, reminds me of my Uncle Lou!  According to National Geographic, they actually use their big noses to attract mates.  “Scientists think these outsize organs create an echo chamber that amplifies the monkey’s call, impressing females and intimidating rival males.”  Their noses can grow to as long as 7 inches … that’s quite a schnoz!

Sadly, due to loss of vegetation (you know, that climate change hoax?), there are only about 1,000 proboscis monkeys left in the world, and they are strictly protected by the government of Borneo, though some poaching still occurs.


pinocchio-frog.pngAnd speaking of critters with large noses, this is the recently-discovered (2008) Pinocchio frog.  Found in Papua, New Guinea, little is known about them, but they have the ability to enlarge and inflate their nose. It inflates when the male frog is calling out, and it goes down when the frog is calm and quiet.  Kind of cute, isn’t he?


AxolotlMeet the axolotl, also known as the Mexican Walking Fish. He is actually a small salamander and is a critically endangered species.  Whereas most such amphibians grow into adulthood by developing lungs and leaving the water behind for a home on land, these guys live their entire lives underwater.  They are currently only known to live in one place, Lake Xochimilco south of Mexico City.axelotl-3The thing that makes them most unique is their ability to heal themselves.  They can re-generate their limbs, eyes, and even parts of their brain!


Markhor.jpgThe main thing that sets this markhor apart from other wild goats is the spiraling horns on its head.  They live in mountain ranges from Afghanistan to northern India, but it’s the national animal of Pakistan.  In Persian, the name markhor means ‘snake-eater’.  Their horns can grow up to 5 feet long!  That’s as long as Miss Goose is tall!  Considering that these goats are only 2-4 feet tall, it seems as if their horns would make them top-heavy. Markhor-2They use their horns for digging in the ground, fighting other males for the attention of females, and stripping bark off of trees.  Rather like trees, there are rings on the horns that can tell the age of the markhor.


Honduran_White_BatLast but not least, how about this tiny, adorable Honduran white bat?  Also known as the ghost bat, he is tiny, only about 1.5 inches long, and is found only in the jungles of Central America.  Still another name for him is the “Caribbean white tent-making bat” … that’s a mouthful!  It came by that name because it constructs ‘tents’ out of plant leaves by strategically cutting the leaf ribs with its teeth; it roosts in these tents during the day.

 


Okay, folks … time for you to set out on your weekend adventures!  I hope you enjoyed the unique critters.  Perhaps next Saturday we’ll fire up the Filomobile and take off on a short jaunt to parts unknown!  Have a great weekend!weekend