Saturday Surprise — 1917

I wrote this post in August 2017 … it was only my second Saturday Surprise, and the idea came from a suggestion by Gronda for a post about time travel, so I went back 100 years to see what life was like back then, and it was enlightening and fun.  Since many of you weren’t with Filosofa’s Word three years ago, I thought it would be fun to re-visit 1917 today!


The year is 1917, and I think you will find life was just a little different back then.

If you woke up in the morning, you could consider yourself lucky, for the average life expectancy in 1917 was 48.4 years for men and 54 years for women.  Once out of bed, you likely built up a fire in the woodstove to cook breakfast and heat water to wash your face with, for only about 24% of homes had electricity.  Then, if you were a man, you likely headed out the door to either walk to work or take the streetcar. The cost of a car was a mere $400, but since you likely only earned about $0.22 per hour, it is unlikely you owned one. However, 1917 was the first year that traffic counts in New York showed more cars than horses. Oh, and if you did own a car, you would want to watch out for those speed limits which were 10 mph in most cities!

streetIf you were a woman, most likely you did not work outside the home, but if you did, you were probably a elementary or high school teacher. School boards preferred female teachers not only because they were seen as more loving, but also because they would do what male principals told them while accepting less than a man’s wage. The world literacy rate was only 23%, and only some 6% graduated from high school, as most dropped out to either help on the family farm or enter the workforce.

It is doubtful that you owned your home, but if you did, it probably cost around $5,000 (about 14% of what a new car costs today!).  In fact, you probably lived with one or more older generation, if they were lucky enough to outlive the average life expectancy.  Oh, and speaking of the elderly … there was no Social Security, Medicare, etc. Since the women were outliving the men by some six years, widows moved in with their adult children and children lived at home until they got married, at the average age of 21. Made for a crowded household sometimes.

Now, on the weekend, if you could afford it, you might take your family to the beach for the day.  Beach attire was just a tad different back then …

A trip to the grocery … remember you are only earning $0.22 per hour … could be a difficult proposition with food prices so high. You would have to work three hours just to buy a pound of butter and a dozen eggs!

Bread (1-lb loaf)                $0.07
Butter (lb)                           $0.36
Eggs (dozen)                      $0.34
Ground coffee (lb)           $0.30
Potatoes (10 lbs)              $0.15

And speaking of food … 1917 saw the invention of the hamburger bun, and thus the hamburger was born.  Today, the average American consumes 3 hamburgers per week!  My family and I are definitely below average on this one. And to go with that hamburger … it was in 1917 that Coca-Cola introduced the formula that is still popular today. And where did you buy that food?  The first supermarket opened just the year before, in September 1916 – Piggly Wiggly.  No, I am not calling you a piggly wiggly … that was the name of the store … honest!  Actually, I think these are still around in the south.

piggly-wiggly.jpgIt is doubtful that you were among the 8% of people who had a telephone, and by telephone I mean

phone.jpg

Not …

cell-phone

One person who could afford a telephone in 1917 was John D. Rockefeller who became the world’s first billionaire on September 20th.

Not everything was rosy in 1917, for it was on April 6th that the U.S. entered into what would become known as World War I.

War-nyt-April 6.jpgThough women would not get the right to vote for another three years, they did score in 1917 when Jeannette Rankin, of Montana, became the first woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives!!!

Today we should be grateful for Mr. Gideon Sundback for his 1917 invention of the … zipper! Early on, zippers were mainly used on boots and pouches that held tobacco. It would be another 20 years before the fashion industry began to use zippers on clothing. So … how did pants stay … oh, never mind … not going there.

zipper.jpegAnd what music were Americans listening to on their ipods … er, um phonographs?

phonograph.jpgNora Bayes had the number one selling hit record titled “Over There”.

A sampling of the lyrics:

“Over there, over there

Sent the word, send the word over there

That the Yanks are coming

The ear drums rum-tumming

Everywhere

So prepare, say a prayer

Sent the word, send the word to beware

We’ll be over, we’re coming over

And we won’t come back till it’s over

Over there”

Others in the year’s top ten included:

At the Darktown Strutter’s Ball by Original Dixieland Jazz Band

Poor Butterfly by Victor Military Band

For Me and My Gal by Van and Schenck

And what were you watching on television in 1917?  Nothing, for television was still 10 years in the future.

Most of us have said, at one time or another, how we would love to go back to a simpler time.  We get frustrated with the hustle and bustle, with our electronic toys, and long for “the good ol’ days”. But when you think about it, life was hard (and short) 100 years ago.  I think I shall remain in this, the 21st century!

I hope you enjoyed today’s Saturday Surprise as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Quite honestly, I have been in a royal funk for a couple of days, but once I started researching for this post, I found I was having tons of fun!  Thank you, Gronda for this marvelous idea … one which we shall do again soon!

Saturday Surprise … On Sunday!

I don’t feel like writing about political issues or anything too serious tonight, and since I have skipped over Saturday Surprise this week and several other weeks in recent memory, I am doing Saturday Surprise on Sunday! 

I found an interesting form of art tonight … food art.  Italian artist Valeriano Fatica chose food as his medium. In his talented hands, watermelons, pumpkins, potatoes, carrots, avocados, cheese, truffles, and even tiny coffee beans turn into incredibly detailed sculptures that look just too good to eat.  Bet you can’t guess what the one in the header image is?

According to Fatica’s bio on his website

“I am Valeriano Fatica, I carve mostly fruit and vegetables, but I also carve cheese, clay and rock.

I was born the 20th of november 1988 in Oratino, where I actually live, in Molise, a small and almost unknow region of Italy. Since I was a child I used to draw, and I dreamt of becoming a mangaka. But after I started the Art High School I realised that I had a true passion for sculpures. In 2011 I started working in my family’s restaurant “La Roccia”, and at the same time I started carving watermelons for the bouffets, after seeing my brother’s old carvings. After an year and a half, on Dargen D’Amicos advice, I opened my youtube channel Ortolano Production (now called Valeriano Fatica – Fruit Carver)and I started sharing my passion with all of you.”

And now, let’s look at a few of these amazing creations …

pikachu-avocado

Pikachu made from avocado

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Turtle carved from watermelon with a berry surprise under his shell!

 

santa-claus-watermelon

Santa Claus from watermelon

rose-watermelon

And from watermelon … a rose!

man-parmesan

Cheese man

woman-parmesan

Cheese woman

rabbit-watermelon

bunny wabbit from watermelon

mt-rushmore-truffle

Mount Rushmore from a 1.5 kg truffle!

monkey-watermelon

Watermelon monkey

joker-pumpkin

The Joker (from the Batman movie/series) carved from cheese

dragon-watermelon

watermelon dragon

t-rex-watermelon

‘nother watermelon dragon

dragon-parmesan

cheese dragon

dragon-banana

banana dragon

Guy-Fawkes-cheese

Guy Fawkes carved from cheese

coffee-bean-thanos

the head of Thanos, carved from a coffee bean … look how tiny!

Leonardo-DaVinci-coffee-bean

Leonardo Da Vinci from a coffee bean

And here’s a very short video clip showing how he created Mount Rushmore out of a 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds) truffle (no, not the chocolate sort, the fungal sort).

Pretty cool, yes?  I encourage you to take a look at his website for more about the man and his art!  Meanwhile, have a happy Sunday!

Saturday Surprise — Critters From Down Under

For the sake of my sanity, I need Saturday Surprise this week as much as you guys … anything besides impeachment just for this morning, please!  Well, you guys know where I turn when I’m stressed and need a smile, right … CRITTERS!

When we think of Australia and critters, a few come to mind right off … kangaroo, wallaby, koala … but there are many more critters that are native to Australia and I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of them.

More than 70% of Australian wildlife is found nowhere else in the world, but sadly much of it also is vulnerable, threatened, or endangered. The 2019-2020 bushfires didn’t help, destroying over 18 million hectares (approx 46 million acres) of land, and it is estimated that it killed over 1 billion animals. 😢  And a few endangered species are now facing the risk of extinction especially with the loss of habitats. So, let’s learn a little bit about these (mostly) cute critters.

(Header image:  Wombats have very interesting butts. Not only do they produce cubed poop, they also protect themselves from predators by diving into their burrows and block the entrance with their butts. Their bottom mostly consists of cartilage that is resistant to bites and scratches.


1-quokka

Quokkas have been labelled one of the friendliest animals on the planet because of their cute smiles. They will even happily live in big groups without being territorial and have no problems with sharing food or shelter with other Quokkas. But even though they are pretty friendly, they are still wild animals and will scratch and bite if they feel threatened. It is prohibited to touch them and can result in a fine, as irresistibly cute these creatures are DO NOT TOUCH.

2-galah

Galahs can travel in flocks of 1000 birds and are known to fly at 70km/hr. Since these birds main diet is seeds, They are vital in helping with seed dispersal by dropping germinated seeds into other areas.

3-rainbow-lorikeet

These beautiful birds are often considered the bullies of the birds as they chase and pick on other bird species. Male and female rainbow lorikeets are pretty much identical so the only way you can really tell is by a DNA test. Their diet mainly consists of nectar and pollen.

5-leafy-sea-dragon

These leafy sea dragons can only be found off the coast of South and East of Australia. They are near threatened due to divers taking them home as pets but are now protected. They have no known predators because of their spiny fins and camouflage. Whilst they are closely related to sea horses they cant grip onto things with their tails and they mainly drift in the current than propel themselves with their fins like sea horses do.

7-fairy-penguin

The fairy penguin is the smallest in the world. They are the only penguins to breed in Australia but have found themselves to be a great target for predators. Which makes them highly dependent on human intervention and protection and not just humans but one specific colony relies on Maremma sheepdogs to protect them from foxes. They even made a movie about the first dog to look after the penguins, called “Oddball”.

10-red-bellied-blacksnake

Red bellied black snakes are one of the most encountered snakes and are responsible for a number of bites annually. But they are generally a shy snake and will usually slither away or stay still in the hopes of not being seen. Most victims of bites suffer mild symptoms with very few cases needing hospitalisation. There have been no confirmed deaths from a red bellied black snake bite.

11-blue-ringed-octopus

This colourful octopus is the only octopus that is toxic to humans. So much so that they can kill 26 adults within minutes. When they flash their blue rings it is because they are NOT happy so you should stay away, although best to keep away from them in the first place. In saying that there have only been very few deaths from this tiny octopus. The blue ringed octopus is very small, reaching the size of a golf ball and love to hide under rocks and inside shells.

12-cassowary

The cassowary is considered one of the deadliest birds but in fact there have only been two recorded human fatalities from a cassowary, one in 1926 and the other in 2019. These birds have talons that look similar to a velociraptor and is one of the reasons the cassowary is often called a “living dinosaur”. They are fast runners, high jumpers and good swimmers so it’s best to steer clear.

14-koala

Koalas solely live on eucalyptus leaves and spend up to 4-5 hours eating, the rest of the time they are sleeping (approx18-20hours a day). Sadly koala chlamydia is quite prevalent so there are sterilisation programs to stop infected koalas from procreating. The biggest colony of koalas that is not affected by chlamydia is on Kangaroo Island, but after the 2019-2020 bushfires there has been a huge decline in koala numbers and are now considered endangered in many parts of the country.

15-kookaburra

Kookaburras are part of the kingfisher family but do not need to live near water and don’t really eat fish. They mainly eat small animals like mice, chicks, lizards and insects. They have a very distinguishable sound, which is a bit like a laugh and often call loudly during dusk and dawn.

20-pig-nosed-turtle

The pig-nosed turtle is the only surviving member of it’s family, which are the only freshwater turtle with large paddle like flippers. Their shell is not hard but is in fact leathery feeling.

21-blue-tongue-lizard

The blue-tongued lizard is the largest member of the skink family, when they feel threatened they will puff up their bodies, sticks out it’s tongue whilst hissing. Whilst they don’t have the best teeth, they do have a powerful bite and tend not to let go.

27-bilby

The bilby is a nocturnal animal about the size of a rabbit. They have poor eyesight so rely on their sense of smell and acute hearing. The bilby is kind of an Easter icon in Aus as you can get chocolate Bilby’s just like the bunnies and a portion of the sales gets donated to Bilby conservation programs/organisations.

28-numbat

Numbats are one of only a few marsupials that don’t have a pouch. They have about 4 babies and the young attach themselves to the teats for the first 5 months. Then the mother will dig a burrow for them to finish their development and will stay in there until around late spring, where they will leave and go off on their own.

31-long-nosed-potoroo

Potoroos are mainly solitary animals and are also non-territorial. They are nocturnal animals but have been known to come out during the day in winter months, particularly on cloudy days foraging for food. The potoroo is the oldest species of the kangaroo family and have undergone little changes, essentially becoming a living fossil.

32-frill-necked-lizard

The frill on the neck of the frill-necked lizard can reach 30cm (12in) in diameter and is erected by cartilage spines that are connected to the jaw bones. They unfold their frill during mating to get rid of excess heat and also as a defence with a bit of a hissing sound too. They can also run pretty fast upright on their hind legs.

34-tasmanian-devil

Tasmanian devils are the largest living carnivorous marsupials with an estimated 544kg (1199lbs) of bite pressure per square inch so they can crush bone. Sadly tens of thousands of Tassie Devils have died since the 90’s from starvation due to a contagious disease that causes tumours to grow around the mouth area, making it hard to eat. Tasmanian Devils can only be found in Tasmania in the wild but many wildlife parks and zoos have them on the mainland.

35-flying-fox-megabat

The flying fox (megabat) is the largest flying mammal in Australia with a wingspan of over a metre. They are vital in the survival of many native plant species as they are major pollinators for over 50 types of trees. They are pretty harmless but if you get bitten or scratched seek medical attention as they can carry the lyssavirus which is closely related to rabies.

echidna

Just like the Platypus, the Echidna is also a monotreme (egg laying mammal),. The female deposits a single egg into her pouch and 10 days later a baby echidna hatches, which is called a puggle. Echidnas are solitary animals but will meet to mate and spend about a year looking after their babies.

These are only some of the fascinating wildlife found in Australia … for more, hop over to Bored Panda and check out the rest!

Saturday Surprise — Snow Art!

I think it’s been a couple of weeks since I last did a Saturday Surprise post, hasn’t it?  This week seems like a good week to get back to the routine, the schedule, so … Happy Saturday!

Only 55 more days ‘til Spring arrives!!!  I have been freezing since mid-November and I can’t wait for Spring … buds on trees, sunshine, birds singing (not that I can hear them, but still …), and warmth.  But, since it is still winter, today I found some cool (no pun intended … well okay, maybe it was intended) snow sculptures by various ‘snow artisans’ and I thought it would make for a fun way to kick off the weekend.

Frozen Forest

bear-in-treebonfireSad-Snowmansnow-bunnySnow-CatSnow-DeerSnow-KidsSnowman-on-BikeSnow-SpongeBobSnow-Whale

snow-peanuts

snow-elephantssnow-fishsnow-owlsnow-tortuga

Y’know … these snow sculptures are amazing, and I love seeing them, but … I’ll just see them from the warmth of my office-in-the-kitchen, because building one would require far more talent, time, and patience than I have, and about 10 minutes of playing in the snow, and I’m done … ready to return to the warmth of the house!  Every now and then, when we have enough snow, I will either help the neighborhood kids build a snowperson (my contribution is usually to provide the carrot for the nose and sometimes a cucumber — use your imagination) or engage in a snowball fight, but that’s the limit of my snow time.  So, my hat is off to all those who made these exquisite and fun sculptures, that sadly will melt into oblivion soon.

Have a great weekend, my friends!

Saturday Surprise — Coincidentally

I am one of those people who doesn’t much believe in coincidences … I am a pragmatist who largely believes in cause and effect … when something happens, somewhere along the line, other things transpired that caused the end result.  That said, even I admit that sometimes there’s just no logical path, no data-driven explanation for things.  I found some very cool coincidences over at one of my favourite go-to sites, Bored Panda, and I hope you’ll enjoy them!


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In 1990, A Panel Of The Windscreen On British Airways Flight 5390 Fell Out At 17k Feet, Causing The Cockpit To Decompress & Its Captain To Be Sucked Halfway Out Of The Aircraft. The Crew Held Onto Him For More Than 20 Minutes As The Copilot Made An Emergency Landing. The Pilot Made A Full Recovery

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8


13


 

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Lightning Striking Simultaneously On Chicago’s Three Tallest Buildings

 


26

Twins Married Twins To Give Birth To Another Twins

 


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I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that it’s not too cold where you are!

Saturday Surprise — Let It Snow!

So, did you guys have a white Christmas?  We did … sort of.  It started snowing on Thursday evening, was still snowing on Friday morning, but the temps were so frigid that it was a very dry snow with little accumulation … maybe a ¼ inch.  Still, it was snow, and we enjoyed seeing it, though we did not enjoy the 13° temperatures!  Brrrrrrrrrr.

Now you’ve all heard it said that no two snowflakes are alike, but with bazillions of snowflakes falling somewhere on the globe every day for centuries or longer, how can that be true?  Well, turns out that scientists who study such things say that the likelihood of two large snow crystals being identical is zero, and that the probability that two snow crystals (a single ice crystal) or flakes (a snow crystal or multiple snow crystals stuck together) will be exactly alike in molecular structure and in appearance, is very, very minute.  However, it turns out that apart from the molecular structure, snowflakes fall into one of 35 different shapes, according to researchers.  The precise reasons for the formation of various snowflake shapes is not completely understood by scientists, but they have been able to generate a list of eight predominant shapes, with each containing several variations of snowflake structures.  Shapes include: column, plane, combination of column and plane, aggregation, rimed, germs, irregular, and other.  If you’re interested, check out this article in The Science Explorer.

snowflakes

Speaking of snow, I found some awesome snow pictures that I thought would make a fun Saturday Surprise.

snow-1

Snow Clinging On To The Branches Of A Tree, Finland

snow-2

Fresh Snow Over Christmas Lights

snow-3

The Ice Neatly Folded Itself

snow-4

Art Only Nature Can Create. Fence After A Snowy Night On Terschelling, The Netherlands

snow-7

Pattern In The Snow On A Patio Table

snow-9

When They Ask If There’s Much Wind

snow-10

Yep That’s Snow

snow-12

The Way The Snow Rolled Down The Windshield

snow-15

Stop Sign After A Week Of No Sun

snow-17

Crazy Ice Wave Formation From Snow Slowly Melting Off Patio Tin Roof

snow-18

Snow Striped Forest

snow-20

Apple Orchard After A Snowfall

snow-21

Snow Melted And Slid Down The Wire In A Spiral Form

snow-22

Perfectly Melted Ribbon Of Snow

snow-24

Snow Melted To Form A Moustache On Car

snow-27

Snow Rolls Formed By The Wind

snow-29

Snow Wave On Roof

snow-30

So It Snowed On The Cabbage Patch

snow-33

Unmelted Snow In The Shadows

snow-35

Cool Snow Swirls On Logs That Look Like Ice Cream

snow-36

Frost Formed On The Screen Around Deck

snow-38

Lone Tree And The Curvy Snow Waves

snow-39

Snow Is Curling Off This Roof

snow-40

This Frozen Leaf Carved A Perfect Circle In The Snow

snow-41

Snow Formation

snow-44

The Snow On This Patio Table Looks Like A Pastry Pie

snow-49

The Way This Snow Stayed In Place When The Trunk Was Opened/Closed

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend … holiday is over, so now you can relax and eat leftovers … leftover cookies, if there are any!

Saturday Surprise — Unnecessary Inventions!*

‘Tis the holiday season and no doubt you are still searching high and low for those last-minute gift ideas, that unique thing that will bring joy to Aunt Harriet, Grandpa Joe, or that pesky neighbor whose dogs wake you at 5:00 every morning.  Well, search no further, for I have a treasure trove of totally useless, unnecessary gift ideas for you!

Flippin’ Mittens

Mittens are way better than gloves, for they allow the fingers to share the warmth in a cozy pod, rather than be separated from their brothers.  But there is a disadvantage to mittens … if a driver cuts you off in traffic, or a woman bumps you with her grocery cart, you can’t very well flip them the bird with mittens on.  So, leave it to that famed inventor Matty Benedetto to come up with a solution:  Flippin’ Mittens …

flippin-mittens-1flippin-mittens-2

flippin-mittens-gifNow, I was going to tell you where to order   your flippin’ mittens, but it turns out they sold out rather quickly and aren’t expecting more in stock until after the holidays. 


The StubStoppers

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and in some cases that is absolutely true.  How many times in the past week have you stubbed your toe on a piece of furniture that was obviously moved since the last time you walked through that room just five minutes before?  I lost count years ago how many toes I have actually broken by walking blindly into a table leg (or once, by opening the freezer door and a roll of ground beef fell out on my foot).  These little dandies will protect the tips of your toes …

They’re actually kind of cute, don’t you think?  Personally, though, I would have named them ToeToppers.  Each set of the StubStoppers   come with two mini hard hats with an elastic strap to secure them to your big toe! The perfect gift for any clumsy person who can’t seem to stop running into everything!  And for only $16, a real bargain!  (Cheaper than an X-ray)


The Jigsaw Puzzle Coffee Table

For over nine months now, many of us have been mostly confined to our homes.  Now, I’ve been confined to quarters, but I’m never bored, for I have a blog to write, email friends to stay in touch with, a home to keep (mostly) clean, 14 loads of laundry a week, meals to plan and prepare, and thousands of books just waiting for me to read them.  In fact, the last time I was bored was 59 years ago when I was 10 years old and bedridden.  Others, however, are not so blessed and have been, I am told … bored.  I have a few friends, in fact, who claim to be “bored out of my gourd”.  What better way to pass a few hours than a jigsaw puzzle, right?  We had to give up jigsaw puzzles decades ago because … well, cats.  But it is a relaxing and enjoyable thing, albeit not particularly productive.  But at long last, you can turn that jigsaw hobby into something useful … a table!

jigsaw-table-1jigsaw-table-2

It’s a steal at only $169!   And the best part is you can ‘build’ it over and over again!

The Baguette Pack

Okay, now seriously … how many times in the past year have you been out somewhere and thought, “Damn … I’m hungry – if only I had my baguette with me!”  It’s one of those annoying little things, isn’t it?  Well, worry no more!  FINALLY, a backpack specially designed for your delicious baguette. Hit your local bakery and pick up some steaming hot freshly baked bread knowing you will keep it safe, protected, and dry until your tummy starts to growl ‘n grumble.

baguette-1baguette-2baguette-3


101 Unnecessary Inventions: the Book

And last, but not least, if you want to find other unique gift ideas for that hard-to-please friend or relative, this book is chock full of useless and unnecessary products you can order today!

Or, better yet just give the book as a gift and let Cousin Roy pick out his own useless gift!


*Yes, I do realize it is Thursday and not Saturday, but frankly I couldn’t cope with another post tonight about you-know-what and you-know-who … I needed a humour break.  Forgive me, please, and I’ll be back later today with more of the important crappola.  Sigh.

Saturday Surprise — Sphen & Magic Are Back!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I did a Saturday Surprise post … too much going on in the dark world and I either haven’t had time or haven’t been in the mood.  So, given the drama of the past week, I thought it was about time for a bit of lighter fare.

sphen-magic-4Those who’ve been following Filosofa’s Word for a few years may remember a post I wrote back in October 2018 about a pair of Gentoo penguins named Sphen and Magic who live at Sea Life Sydney, a large aquarium in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.  On October 19th 2018, Sphen and Magic hatched an egg … and a tiny chick was born.  Now, you’re probably asking what’s the big deal here … the big deal is that Sphen and Magic are both male penguins … yes, gay penguins and deeply in love, from the looks of it.  I won’t bore you with the details you can read in my original post , but today there is exciting news!

sphen-magic-1Earlier this year, Sphen and Magic became proud dads for the second time!  Their first chick, Sphengic, is grown now (only humans take decades to grow up!), and when a spare penguin egg needed foster parents, it was brought to Sphen and Magic who took it under their wing.  The pair have been nest mates since early in 2018, and are still happy together, raising their new chick.

sphen-magic-5Same-sex pairings like Sphen and Magic are quite common in the animal kingdom with approximately 450 species exhibiting same-sex behavior. Humans could take a lesson. The penguin team at Sydney Aquarium explained that same-sex couples and courtship are a lot more common in nature than most people realize.  According to the staff at the aquarium …

“Penguins, including Gentoo penguins, are among the many species in which male-male or female-female pairs occur frequently. Adopting of eggs in the wild can occur with an abandoned egg; however, it is likely that this egg could be infertile, which is why it has been left.”

Sphen is the epitome of a proud, protective dad.

sphen-magic-2

“Recently, Sphen and Magic’s chick has grown big enough to start taking short trips away from the nest, exploring the environment. Sphen followed the chick closely on these little expeditions, guiding it and protecting it from anyone that the chick might wander up to.”

I could not get this video to embed, but here … take a look!

At this moment, Sphen and Magic are having a much-deserved break after all the effort they have put into raising the chick.

“The chick is now big enough that it has joined our creche. In the wild, at this age, the chick’s rapid growth becomes so demanding that both parents must leave the chick behind and go to sea together to feed. The chicks all huddle together in a creche to wait for their parents to return.  During this time, the keepers are having beautiful bonding time with the chicks. Once their adult feathers have come through fully, we will have the extremely fun job of teaching them to swim, before they graduate and get to join the colony full-time.”

Saturday Surprise — A Hodge-Podge

Today, I have somewhat of a hodge-podge for you.  I thought we all needed something to laugh about after the past couple of weeks {years}!


Have you ever done something really dumb … you know, those kinds of things that make you smack your head and say, “I can’t believe I did that!”  🙄  Oh come on now, you know you have — we all have!  Let me start out with a couple of my own … er … less-than-brilliant moments.  My van is old, with 221,000+ miles on it, and it needs to be started every couple of days to keep it at least semi-functional.  Since I only use it once a week to pick up my online grocery order from the Kroger that is less than a mile from home, I usually start it every other day, let it run for 10 minutes, then go back out and turn it off. But one time, I forgot it was running, and a couple of hours later when my daughter returned home from work, she said, “How long has your van been running?”  Oops.  Now I set the timer on my phone to remind me!  Then there was the time years ago when I was at the grocery checkout and suddenly realized my keys weren’t in my pocket.  I panicked, and the cashier asked me what was wrong … “I can’t find my keys!” … and she calmly asked, “Is that them in your hand?”  🤦

Here are some gems from readers of Bored Panda …

  • I have a key fob for my car. It’s set up so that if you hit the lock button once, it locks the car. If you hit the same lock button again, it locks it again and honks the horn so you know you’ve locked it for sure. The thing is, I always want to make super sure that it’s locked, but sometimes I come home to my condo super late, and my parking spot is right under someone else’s window. I noticed that if the key fob was farther away from the car when I hit the button twice, the honk was not as loud. So out of consideration, I would always wait til I was halfway up the stairs to do the double lock honk. What a great neighbor I am! Anyway, after maybe 2+ years of doing this, one time my girlfriend and I were in my condo and I realized I needed something out of my car. So I go down there but when I get there I realize I had forgotten my keys. Well, I had my phone, so I called my girlfriend and asked if she would stick her arm out the window with the key fob and unlock my car. She mistakenly hit the lock button twice and my car honked. Really loudly! Even though she was all the way up on the third floor! It was only then I realized…the honk was always the same. It only sounded softer when I was farther away…because I was farther away. I have a master’s degree…

  • My coworker asked if there is lactose in eggs, I thought to myself “they both come from the same animal, so maybe”. For 5 seconds, I thought milk came from chickens.

  • I once had a brain fart and forgot that porcupines were animals. I was hanging out with my family and my niece mentioned that her favorite animal was a porcupine, and I laughed for a good long time before explaining to her that porcupines weren’t animals. I’d gotten them mixed up with pine cones. I have a graduate degree. My niece was maybe 6 at the time. She schooled me.

  • When I was cleaning out my shed in the back, I stepped on a rake and the pole smacked me in the face. Literally, like the cartoons. It happened three more times before I came up with the bright idea to move the rake.

  • I was sitting in traffic, and I noticed that all the other lanes were moving while mine hadn’t budged an inch. I craned my neck trying to see what the hold up was, and finally figured out that I wasn’t in a lane at all, but had been patiently waiting behind a line of parked cars.

  • A couple months ago, my husband and I went on a walk. There are a lot of trails where we live and a couple of lakes. So we walked down a trail to the lake, turned left up another trail, and ended up at the top of a street. We start walking down the street and I realize there is a house that has a wishing well in their front yard like we do. I point it out to my husband and then I realize they have the same truck we do, too. I point out the truck and then I realize that we were in front of our own house. It wasn’t my brightest moment.

So, what are some of your not-so-bright moments?


I always find critters help bring down my stress levels (unless it is my own recalcitrant furry family members while they’re intent on destroying furniture or pulling up the carpet!). Recently, Agora challenged international photographers to participate in the #Animals2020 photo contest with their best shots of living creatures around the planet.  Here is a sampling …

1-iguana

Iguana — Jakarta, Indonesia

2-koala

Mother & baby koala — Australia

3-monkey

Baby monkey — Kedoya Utara, Indonesia

10-fox

Arctic fox — Iceland

17-bekantan

Mother & child Bekantan — Cisarua, Indonesia

19-owl

Barn owl — Northumberland, United Kingdom

22-lion

Lion — Gondwana Game Reserve, South Africa

23-Ibex

Ibex — Chamonix, France

25-puffin

Puffin — Smoker Island, Wales, United Kingdom

41-bee

Bee on flowers — South Korea

42-bird-zebra

Bird on zebra — Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

This is just a sample of the full collection, but you can see the rest, along with some of the photographer’s stories.


And last, but not least … in case you still haven’t chuckled … a few really bad (don’t say I didn’t warn you) jokes, courtesy of Reader’s Digest

  • What did the fish say when he swam into a wall?  Dam.
  • What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.
  • Did you hear about the Italian chef who died? He pasta-way.
  • Did you hear about the fire in the shoe factory?  10,000 soles were lost. The police said some heels started it.
  • What’s the difference between a rabbit and a plum? They’re both purple except for the rabbit.
  • What do you call an alligator in a vest? An in-vest-igator.
  • I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio. – Rodney Dangerfield

toonNow, try to put the serious stuff out of your mind for a couple of hours today and enjoy your Saturday, ‘k?

Saturday Surprise — More Fun Critters!

Good Saturday morning, friends, and welcome to the weekend.  Now, this has been a week of waiting with bated breath, being thoroughly disgusted by acts of certain people who I shan’t sully this post by mentioning their name, and I really thought we all needed to relax with some cute critters this morning.  Trouble is, I couldn’t find just the right collection that I thought would take your minds off our troubles and bring a smile to your faces.  HOWEVER … I went back to some of my earliest Saturday Surprise posts and found this one from November 2017 — three years ago. (As you’ll see by the first paragraph, times were tough back in 2017, too!)  I hope that it accomplishes the goal of at least bringing a bit of a smile to your face and kicking off the weekend with an “Awwwwww” moment.


Good Saturday morning, friends!  And you’re just in time for Saturday Surprise!  It has been a challenging week, both in terms of keeping up with the news (impossible), keeping my mood stable (almost worked, with a little help) and other challenges.  Now you all know what my favourite thing is, right?  So, I decided to treat myself to a bit of happiness today, and hope it brings you some too, with some more mostly-unheard-of animals!


blue footed booby 1

Say ‘hello’ to this adorable Blue-Footed Booby, native to subtropical and tropical regions of the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is easily recognizable by its distinctive bright blue feet, which is a sexually selected trait. Males display their feet in an elaborate mating ritual by lifting them up and down while strutting before the female. The female is slightly larger than the male. (of course, and she falls for a guy stomping his feet in front of her … figures)

blue footed booby 2.jpg


How about this guy … the Venezuelan Poodle Moth, only recently discovered (2009) and not much information is available yet, as scientists are still trying to figure out quite what it is …

Venzuelan poodle moth.jpg Personally, I think it is cute, but not something I would want to wake up and see staring at me!


fluffy cowfluffy cows

These, friends, are Fluffy Cows.  Okay, technically they are a Scottish breed called Highland Cattle, but where I first found them, they were dubbed Fluffy Cows, and I thought it was cute.  Aren’t they much cuter that regular Texas Longhorns?


Fluffy pigs

And speaking of fluffy, how about fluffy pigs!  These are Mangalitsa Pigs, also known as ’a pig in sheep’s clothing’. It is a Hungarian breed of domestic pig. It was developed in the mid-19th century by crossbreeding Hungarian breeds from Szalonta and Bakony with European wild boar and the Serbian Šumadija breed. The Mangalica pig grows a thick, woolly coat similar to that of a sheep.


Endangered duck breeding success

Great family portrait of these Madagascar Pochards, don’t you agree?  They are an extremely rare diving duck, that was thought to be extinct in the  late 1990s. Specimens of the species were rediscovered at Lake Matsaborimena in Madagascar in 2006. As of March 2013, the population is around 80 individual ducks.


Look what I found … Greater Bamboo Lemurs, also known as the broad-nosed bamboo lemur and the broad-nosed gentle lemur, is the largest bamboo lemur, at over five pounds or nearly 2.5 kilograms. It has greyish brown fur and white ear tufts, and has a head-body length of around one and a half feet, or forty to fifty centimeters. They have relatively long tails and long back legs for leaping vertically amongst the trees of their forest habitat .


Wombat

This guy has captured my heart!  He is a Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat, found only in  Epping Forest National Park in Queensland, Australia … Meeka, could you send me one?  They have bodies covered in soft, grey fur and even have fur on their noses, a trait that sets them apart from the common wombat. They have longer, more pointed ears and a much broader muzzle than the other two species. Individuals can be 35 cm high, up to 1 m long and weigh up to 40 kg. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with females being somewhat larger than males due to the presence of an extra layer of fat. Oh, doesn’t it just figure???

wombat 2

Why does Australia get both Koalas and Wombats … couldn’t they share at least one of the two?


Normally I wouldn’t associate octopi with the word cute, but just look at this Dumbo Octopus, also known as the Grimpoteuthis … but we will stick with Dumbo Octopus, for obvious reasons.

dumbo octopus

This guy is so named for the prominent ear-like fins which characteristically protrude from the mantle just above the eyes and which give a vague resemblance to the ears of Walt Disney’s flying elephant Dumbo.

cumbo octopus 2


Ever hear of a Gerenuk?  Me neither, but they are also known as the giraffe gazelle, The Gerenuk is a long-necked antelope found in the Horn of Africa and the drier parts of East Africa.

gerenuk

gerenuk-2.jpg


And last but not least, I shall leave you with this … the Blobfish.

blob fish

He looks just the way I feel some days!!!

The Blobfish is a deep sea fish that inhabits the deep waters off the coasts of mainland Australia and Tasmania, as well as the waters of New Zealand. The flesh of the blobfish is primarily a gelatinous mass with a density slightly less than water; which allows the fish to float above the sea floor without expending energy on swimming. Its relative lack of muscle is not a disadvantage as it primarily swallows edible matter that floats in front of it such as deep-ocean crustaceans. Sounds a bit like a lazy fella to me …

blob fish 2


I do hope you all have enjoyed visiting with the animals, and that you have a wonderful weekend.  Better get out and enjoy it now, for winter is on its way!  Hugs ‘n love to all!