Saturday Surprise!!!

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SURPRISE!!!!  It’s a Fred-in-the-Box!!!

Given an over-abundance of angst and exhaustion, both mental and physical, I am taking the very lazy way out tonight and reduxing one of my first Saturday Surprise posts.  Naturally, you won’t be surprised to learn it’s a critter post!  This was first posted in 2017 at a time when I apparently felt much as I do tonight!  Still, the cuteness factor never loses its charm.  I hope you enjoy these …


Well, folks, it’s been a long week … what?  You say it was actually a short week, since Monday was a holiday?  Sigh.  Then it’s been an even longer week — a long, short week, as it were.  I don’t know about you guys, but I am t-i-r-e-d.  So, I’ve decided to take a little break from doing much writing today and just show you some cute/funny animals.  I like animals.  They do not waste their days (and nights) arguing over politics, climate, sports, the opposite sex, or anything.  If they have an issue with a fellow critter, they duke it out, maybe eat their nemesis, then get on with whatever business they were doing.  A simple, straightforward approach to life.  Humans, however, think they were endowed with a ‘superior’ brain, thus they spend all their time proving just how inane they really are.  And on that note … let us view some furry dudes and have something cute to start the weekend with a smile.

Hugs ‘n kisses … now who wouldn’t love these?

pygmy-marmosets

These are ‘pygmy marmosets’, and they are actually the smallest species of monkey, found in the Amazon rain forests.. Don’t they just melt your heart?

SNOWBALL FIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  BRING IT ON!!!

Baby-bear

“Guys…guys….hey guys, i cant see you, are you home?? I’ve been trying to call all day but no one will answer.”

I posted the bear pic on my Facebook timeline yesterday, and people just started writing captions.  So, I decided I would use the best caption on this post.  Caption credit goes to my friend, James (Jimmy) Schrauder.  Thanks, Jimmy!  (Note … James (Jimmy) Schrauder died two years later in October 2019 at the age of only 30 😢)

Bengal-cat

This, folks, is a Bengal cat.  No, not a tiger, a domestic cat, developed to look like exotic jungle cats such as leopards, ocelots, margays and clouded leopards. They typically weigh between 8-15 pounds.

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You know I couldn’t resist including a panda!

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Or a couple of snuggly koalas …

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Awwwwww …. say ‘hello’ to these adorable Japanese Dwarf Flying Squirrels.  They are native to Japan, where they are said to be relatively common.  They grow only to about 8 inches.

baby elephant

Brrrrrrr …. this baby elephant looks rather cold, don’t you think?

baby deer

And last, but not least, a sleeping baby deer.  BAMBI!!!!!

And now, we’ve had our share of cuteness to start out the weekend.  I hope you enjoyed the animals.  Now it’s time for Filosofa to do the thing that I have been putting off for the entire summer, and clean out the storage closet out back.  Sigh.  Fortunately I have a helper … Miss Goose will be doing the heavy lifting and carting off to the trash, while I supervise and determine what stays and what goes.

I hope you all have a great weekend!  Hugs ‘n love from Filosofa!

Saturday Surprise — Pareidolia (?)

Okay, so it’s time for a Saturday Surprise post.  I skipped over it last week … I don’t remember why now, but either I wasn’t inspired or I had something I wanted to get off my chest (like our cat Pandi, who LOVES to lie on our chests!)  At any rate, today I am determined you will start your weekend with a smile … GOT THAT???

I wasn’t quite sure, when I came across the term, what ‘pareidolia’ was, so I looked it up and found that it is:  the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.  The scientific explanation for some people is pareidolia, or the human ability to see shapes or make pictures out of randomness.  Um … okay.  Probably better that I show you  … in some cases the captions steal the show!

After Stewing In His Emotions, Emo Veg Comes To The Conclusion That The Root Of The World’s Problems Is That People Don’t Seem To Carrot All

This Tomato Looks Like A Duck

Leonardo da Vinci, for example, described seeing characters in natural markings on stone walls, which he believed could help inspire his artworks. And in the 1950s, the Bank of Canada had to withdraw a series of banknotes because people saw a grinning devil leaping from the curls of the Queen’s hair.

The Evolved Radish

Alien Pickle

Going To Have To Eat This Chicken As It Hasn’t Laid A Single Bloody Egg Yet

Sometimes, an abnormal look can make fruits and veggies land in the bin. Of course, food waste exists across the food supply chain due to pests and mold, poor climate control, and household waste, but imperfect produce is often turned away by grocery stores for not meeting strict cosmetic standards as well, making up around 40% of total food waste.

This Incredible Carrot Hand Was Found While Digging Juice Carrots At Our Farm Today

She Thought He Did Not Carrot All, But He Bought Her 21-Carrot Ring

Foot Shaped Radish Goes On Display

Reducing food loss has been identified as one of the most effective ways to improve food security – an increasingly important challenge as the global population continues to grow. Plus, food waste also hugely contributes to global warming and our carbon footprint.

But ugly food is fighting back. More and more companies are selling ugly produce and using it in their products, reversing the fate of discarded monstrosities to delicious, perfectly edible, and nutritious food.

The ugly produce movement also has the potential to pass lower prices onto customers.

So if you stumble upon a radish that resembles a foot — buy it. You’ll be doing your part.

Kawaii Gourd

This Banana Looks Exactly Like My Mom’s Dog

This Onion Looks Like An Angry Bird

That’s A Sweet Beartato

F**k You Too, Broccoli

This Tomato That Grew In Our Garden Is Shaped Like A Butterfly

This Strawberry Looks Like A Butterfly

Best Eggplant Ever

My Wife’s Bell Pepper Looks Like A Big Nosed Grumpy Old Man Smoking A Cig

The Happiest Potato I’ve Ever Seen

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s trip through the funny produce aisles … and maybe even learned a new word!  Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!!!

Saturday Surprise — Shell Art!

I do not have a single artistic bone in my entire body, so I am always amazed by the talent and creativity of some artists, especially the likes of street artists and others whose art is … shall we say not quite traditional.  So, I was impressed by the work of Anna Chan, a jeweler and designer. The New York-based artist, not having much work during the height of the pandemic, went to Robert Moses State Park, where she would spend her days by the beach. There she started sand sculpting as she had an idea to create 12 art pieces for a 2021 calendar. Soon this evolved into “an obsession”: creating beautiful, symmetrical mosaics and real-life animal portraits.  I hope you enjoy Anna’s creative works and that it starts your weekend out with a smile!

The portraits are so detailed that one might only wonder how long it takes to make one mosaic. According to Anna, larger creations take a minimum of 3 days to a week or more.

“The mosaic work looks simple once completed but finding the right shell piece to fit into space can be challenging. When I first started at the beach, I was able to complete them in 5-6 hours from collecting shells to finished sculpture, but my work has since evolved and become more detailed and dimensional, which requires extra care and precision while putting it together.”

“Sand by nature doesn’t hold shape so the challenge is to compact the sand with water so it’s solid enough to endure the long mosaic process. The challenge is making sure the sand is moist just enough to be compact but not too wet or dry that it will fall apart. And like putting together a puzzle, finding the right shell piece for the right space takes time, and sometimes I have to collect more to find the right fit. Since nothing is holding the shells in place but the damp sand, some areas that are vertical sand wall may take several tries to get the shells to stay in place and it can fall apart with the slightest touch. So, a steady hand and lots of patience is key”.

Creating things from what nature gives you is as difficult as it is interesting. The question is where to start? What comes first? The idea or the material? What Anna does first is she collects seashells of different shapes and colors to match the idea she has. After this, she models the shape of the animal from the sand:

“I enjoy this part of the process the most as sand is such a fun medium to work with. It is very forgiving and shapes easily without tools. However, the sculpture is only half finished without the shell embellishments. I liken it to putting a puzzle together, every piece has its place and they all have to fit perfectly to create a mosaic effect. It is akin to inlay work in jewelry, which I’m very fond of. The final step is to make them permanent, which I’m fine tuning the process at this point.”

Where do these animal sculptures go after they are finished? Her first pieces were disassembled as they were ephemeral, but now, since her art is permanent, it all can be found in her home garage, where she spends her time working on these mosaics.

“I still have to refine my process to make the larger sculptures permanent, so hopefully in the near future, they will find a place in a gallery wall or a collector’s home.”

“As an artist, it is my mission to keep pushing the boundaries. I have only worked with sand for one year but I feel a true connection to this medium I have never felt with anything else before. There’s nothing more liberating than creating using just my bare hands and seeing my ideas come to life.”

“I have so many ideas and directions I want 03to try with sand. I want to bring my sand technique back to my roots as a jeweler and make some experimental pieces. Also, my goal is to lift the sand off the flat surface so it won’t be just a bas relief but a 3-dimensional sculpture. I envision my work in 6 months will be very different from what it is today, but equally delightful.”

One of the things she will present in the future is a sand kit that will be found on www.annachan-art.com.

Saturday Surprise — In Pictures

I started the Saturday Surprise feature in late August 2017, and this post was only the third one I ever did — the first one featuring unique animals.  I don’t typically redux Saturday Surprise, but frankly this week I drew a blank in whatever direction I tried to head.  So, those of you who are long-time readers — pretend you didn’t see this one in September 2017!  For the rest of you it will be new and I hope you enjoy these critters!  (The header image is, for me, like looking in the mirror first thing in the morning!)


One of the suggestions for the new Saturday Surprise feature came from Eschudel of Zombie Flamingos who suggested a ‘Snapshot Saturday’ with unusual or interesting pictures from the week.  Sounded like a good idea, so I went in search of and found a hodge-podge of unusual, touching pictures, but as I was loading them onto this post, I concluded that there needed to be a theme.  So, I sat down and ate dinner, responded to comments from the day, chatted a bit with the family, and then when I came back to work, a theme hit me!  (No, it didn’t hurt … at least not much.)  What about unusual animals?  So, I once again went in search of … and I found some really, really strange creatures (no, I wasn’t in a bar!!!).  So … sit back and take a look at some of these guys!

The Panda Ant

Panda-ant

The Mutillidae are a family of more than 3,000 species of wasps (despite the names) whose wingless females resemble large, hairy ants. Found in Chile, they are known for their extremely painful stings, hence the common name cow killer or cow ant. Black and white specimens are sometimes known as panda ants due to their hair coloration resembling that of the Chinese giant panda. (Image credits: Chris Lukhaup)

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

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As this hawk-moth feeds on flowers and makes a similar humming sound, it looks a lot like a hummingbird. What’s interesting is that it is surprisingly good at learning colors. (Image credits: Jerzy Strzelecki | unknown)

Glaucus Atlanticus (aka Blue Dragon)

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Also known as the blue dragon, this creature is a is a species of blue sea slug. You could find it in warm waters of the oceans, as it floats on the surface because of a gas-filled sac in its stomach. (Image credits: unknown | unknown | paulhypnos)

Venezuelan Poodle Moth

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Discovered in Venezuela in 2009, this new species of alien-looking moth is still poorly explored. Waiting for more info about them! (Image credits: Arthur Anker | imgur)

The Blue Parrotfish

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parrotfish-2

This bright blue fish can be found in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and spends 80% of its time searching for food. (Image credits: imgur | depalmadise)

Okapi

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Okapi-2

This mammal is native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Despite the zebra-like stripes, it is actually more closely related to giraffes. (Image credits: marylandzoo.org | baynews9.com)

Sea Pig

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Scotoplanes live on deep ocean bottoms, specifically on the abyssal plain in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean, typically at depths of over 1000 meters. They are deposit feeders, and obtain food by extracting organic particles from deep-sea mud. (Image credits: imgur | thedailygreen.com | realcoldfish)

Aye-aye

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Due to its bizarre appearance and unusual feeding habits, the aye-aye is considered by many to be the strangest primate in the world. It is the world’s largest nocturnal primate. Unusual physical characteristics include incisors that are continually growing (unique among primates), extremely large ears, and a middle finger which is skeletal in appearance, and is used by the animal as a primary sensory organ.

Aren’t they all just adorable?  Which was your favourite?  I am torn between the Okapi and the Aye-aye.  I had fun finding these guys … there are many, many more, so we shall do this again sometime soon.

Stay tuned for next week’s Saturday Surprise!

Saturday Surprise — Comedy Wildlife!

Every September for the past three years, I have posted some of the winning photos from the annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards (links to prior years at bottom of post).  The contest is open through June 20th, and winners are announced in September, but this year I have some preview entries that have already been received, and I thought they might make a good way to start the weekend with a smile!

“Quarantine Life” By Kevin Biskaborn

“Isolated inside with your family eager to get out and explore the world? These eastern raccoon kits are too. Just when you think there’s no more room in the tree hollow, mother raccoon appears and displays just how compact the space is. The babies clambered all over their mom and each another, struggling to take a look at the exact same time. This photo was taken in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. After exploring a particular area with numerous tree hallows, I identified it as a hot spot for raccoon families. Since raccoons will move from den to den, often not spending more than one night at a time in a particular den, locating an area with numerous options is key to locating the animals. I stumbled across this family and immediately worked on leveling the camera with the hole to prevent an upward angle. When the camera and tripod were ready, the baby raccoons were extremely curious (and cooperative), sticking their heads out for a closer look!”

“Monday Morning Mood” By Andrew Mayes

“I took this shot while photographing a group of Pied starlings perched in a tree at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in South Africa. It perfectly sums up my mood on most Monday mornings :)”

“Bald Eagle Gets A Surprise” By Arthur Trevino

“When this Bald Eagle missed on its attempt to grab this prairie dog, the prairie dog jumped towards the eagle and startled it long enough to escape to a nearby burrow. A real David vs Goliath story!”

“ROFL” By Giovanni Querzani

“A young lion in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, who apparently is laughing at my photography skills.”

“Yay – It’s Friday!” By Lucy Beveridge

“A young springbok, all ears and spindly legs, caught in midair while pronking as the sun started to rise over the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. There’s not much information on why the Springbok pronk but some theories suggest it is a way of showing fitness and strength to ward off predators and attract mates. It has also been said that this small, dainty and largely unappreciated antelope also pronks out of excitement, jumping for joy!”

“Yoga Bittern” By KT Wong

“A Yellow Bittern was trying very hard to get into a comfortable hunting position. I got this shot when it was between 2 stalks of lotus flower.”

“Happy” By Tom Svensson

“These penguins was surfing on the waves on to land and looked so happy each time”

“Sweet-Lips Are For Kissing” By Philipp Stahr

“This picture was taken at Curaçao, Dutch Caribbean. Usually box fishes are difficult to take pictures of, since they do not have a problem of a diver coming close, but if you show interest, they always turn the back and not the face to you. That’s why I tried to swim 0.5m above the fish and showing no interest at all to him. The same time I had my camera not in front of me, but below at my chest pointing to the bottom. When the right moment had come, I turned the camera 90 degrees to the front and just point and shoot, hoping to have the fish in focus. Never expected to have its beautiful lips that close!”

“Houston We’ve Had A Problem” By Txema Garcia Laseca

“This fish is astonished when has been trapped for a fisher bird.”

“Missed” By Lea Scaddan

“Two Western Grey Kangaroos were fighting and one missed kicking him in the stomach.” (I really thought it looked like they were dancing!)

“Cranky Hippo” By Rohin Bakshi

“The baby hippo wanted his mother’s attention, but it seems he wasn’t getting any…”

I’ll be back in September with more, once the final tally is in!  Meanwhile, if you’re interested in entering the contest yourself, it is open to both amateur and professional photographers, so visit their website to find out more!

Prior years’ posts Comedy Wildlife posts:

2018

2019

2020

Have a happy weekend, my friends!

♫ Music with Soul ♫

I’m doing something just a bit different for today’s music post!  This was a Saturday Surprise post back in January of 2018, over three years ago!  Since I didn’t do a Saturday Surprise post this week, and since I’ve had some of these very songs burning through my head all day, I thought I’d redux this one with a number of great songs!  You can think of it as a Sunday Surprise post and a music post combined!


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 Sunday Surprise.  Let us start with a nice bit of music to set the ‘Saturday Sunday 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

Chicago

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 Sunday 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 Sunday.  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 …

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💥 Saturday And Wednesday Collided 💥

I have to confess, last night I completely lost track of the day of the week, and thus did not realize that today would be Wednesday, hence I did not prepare a ‘good people’ post!  Now, another feature such as ‘Jolly Monday’ or ‘Saturday Surprise’, I would just move on, not worry about it, and try to do better next week, but I know how you all count on Good People on Wednesday.  As it is late at night and I am not quite up to par tonight, I dug back through the archives and found this post that was actually posted on a Saturday back in 2018, but I always thought it qualified as a ‘good people’ post, too.  And so, without further ado …


Is it Saturday?  Or is it Wednesday?  There seems to have been a collision on this blog of Saturday and Wednesday … what shall we call it?  Satnesday?  Wedurday?  Friday evening, I was pondering whether to even do a Saturday Surprise post, as my heart truly wasn’t into it.  The blue light began flashing on my phone, indicating a private message from a Facebook friend who sent me a link that he ‘thought I might find interesting’.  I did, and my initial reaction was to flag it for Wednesday’s ‘Good People’ post, but as I was trolling news and pondering deep things like whether to have another cup of coffee or not, the article kept popping back into my head.  And then a thought hit me … this is such a heartwarming story about such a beautiful person … and we are all in need of something happy after this past week … so … who says I can’t feature a ‘good person’ for Saturday Surprise?  After all, it’s my blog and I can do what I want with it, yes?  The only rule about Saturday Surprise is no politics!  And so … without rambling any longer, please allow me to introduce you to a great man, Mr. Todd Kirnan!

Todd was born in 1972, and shortly thereafter was diagnosed with autism.  His mother was abusive, frequently tying him to his crib for hours at a time. Eventually the law intervened and Todd spent time in foster care before his father, then separated from his mother, assumed custody.  Now Todd lives in the town of Gresham, Oregon, population 111,523, where he is known to all as Mr. Gresham.  For twenty-plus years, Todd has dedicated his life to doing little things in the town to help out small business owners and others.  He delivers coffee and food, makes trips to the post office, empties trash cans, and other odd jobs, but most of all what he gives is smiles and hugs.  He spends some twelve hours a day meandering the downtown streets of Gresham, seeing if there is anything he can do to help merchants.

Todd now lives with his younger sister, Suzette Rackley, who says of her brother, “Todd is really miraculous. He is the love of everyone’s life.”todd-with-sister-e1538196166915.pngTodd attended special education classes at Gresham High School, where he became best friends with Shane Bemis, who was serving as a student-aide to the special ed classes. Bemis became a mentor for Todd, who says, “Shane would always stick up for me against bullies.” Today, Shane Bemis is the mayor of Gresham and he and Todd remain friends.todd-with-mayor.pngThe reason this story is in the news today is that last week, the town of Gresham threw a parade in Todd’s honour, culminating in the unveiling of a Todd Kirnan statue!  Right on main street!  Hundreds of people turned out …

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Just look at the crowd that turned out to honour Todd!!!

Well, y’know what?  I am going to let you see for yourself … this is a short clip, and it is so very heartwarming … Gronda, get your tissues!

I think that Todd Kirnan is the antidote to the week we’ve just had, and I also think the townspeople of Gresham deserve a round of applause, for they are some pretty special people. This, my friends, is what ‘community’ is all about.  I hope you all enjoyed meeting Todd and the good people of Gresham, Oregon!  Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Saturday Surprise — Musical Roads???

I came across something last night on the Amusing Planet website that I thought you might enjoy reading about … musical roads!

A Japanese engineer by the name of Shizuo Shinoda was digging with a bulldozer when he accidentally scraped some markings into a road with its claw. Later when he drove over the markings, he realized that the vibration produced in his car can be heard as a tune. In 2007, a team of engineers from the Hokkaido Industrial Research Institute refined Shinoda’s designs and built a number of “melody roads” in Japan. These roads have grooves cut at very specific intervals along the road surface. Depending on how far apart the grooves are and how deep they are, a car moving over them will produce a series of high or low notes, enabling designers to create a distinct tune. The closer the grooves are, the higher the pitch of the sound. The critical ingredient in the mix is the speed of the car.

The Civic Musical Road in Lancaster, California. Photo credit: roadtrippers.com

There are four melody roads in Japan, one each in Hokkaido, Wakayama, Shizuoka and Gunma. They all play different tunes. They stretch between 175 to 250 meters, and are carved with thousands of groves. Aside from street signs, the roads are marked by colored musical notes painted on the surface of the road which alert motorists of the incoming musical interlude. The grooves are laid down on the side of the road near the curb and not in the middle, so drivers have the option to either go over them or avoid them. In order to hear the tunes, they need to keep the car windows closed and drive at 28mph keeping one wheel over the grooves . Drive too fast and it will sound like a tape on fast forward. Drive too slow and it will have the opposite effect.

The first musical road, however, was not Japanese. It was created in Gylling, Denmark, by two Danish artists Steen Krarup Jensen and Jakob Freud-Magnus, in October 1995. Called the Asphaltophone, the street is made from a series of raised pavement markers, spaced out at intermittent intervals so that as a vehicle drives over the markers, the vibrations caused by the wheels can be heard inside the car.

Grooves on a melody road in Japan. Photo credit: Yusuke Japan Blog

The idea of musical roads has caught engineers in several other countries. There is one “Singing Road” in South Korea close to Anyang in Gyeonggi. It plays the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. Unlike other melody roads, it was designed not to draw tourists but to help motorists stay alert and awake. The Singing Road is located on a particularly treacherous section of a highway where lots of accidents occur due to dozing and speeding. 68% of traffic accidents in South Korea are due to inattentive, sleeping or speeding drivers.

The U.S. got its first melody road in 2008. It was originally built on Avenue K in Lancaster, California, for a Honda commercial. The Civic Musical Road, named after Honda Civic, stretches for a quarter-mile and plays back a part of the Finale of the ‘William Tell Overture’. But the intervals are so far off that the melody bears only a slight resemblance to the original tune. Later, when residents complained that the grooves produced too much noise from nocturnal drivers, they relocated the strip to Avenue G.

Another musical road is located in the village of Tijeras, in New Mexico. Driving over the grooves at 45mph causes the car to play the famous song “America the Beautiful”. The project was funded by the National Geographic Society, and overseen by the New Mexico Department of Transportation who said that the real motive behind the musical road is to get drivers to slow down.

Grooves on the musical road in Tijeras, in New Mexico. Photo credit: drivenfordrives.wordpress.com

A sign ahead of the Civic Musical Road in Lancaster, California. Photo credit: roadtrippers.com

Photo credit: Yusuke Japan Blog

I guess you have to have better hearing than I do to hear the tunes, but even so, I think it’s a rather cool idea!

I hope you all have a wonderful, sunny weekend!

Saturday Surprise — Let’s Explore!

I am doing something today that I will not make a habit of, but this one time, I simply cannot do a Saturday Surprise post, for my brain is … tired.  So, I looked back in the ancient archives and found one from April 2018, when I had about half the readers I have now, and that was my most popular Saturday Surprise of that spring.  Today, I take you on a journey to some unique and interesting places that I think will bring a smile to your face, and maybe even a few chuckles!  So fasten your seat belts and off we go!  First stop … Thailand!


poo park 1Specifically we are going to the Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Yes, you read it right, and yes, it means exactly what it says.  It is where they make paper from elephant poop!  According to Atlas Obscura …

“Making paper from elephant poop is a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to traditional tree-based products. By not using trees, it helps reduce deforestation and makes sure the abundance of animal waste isn’t wasted. The paper is entirely sanitary and stink-free.poo park 3The process of transforming elephant poop into everyday paper is actually pretty straightforward. Once workers have scooped the poop and gathered it, they then wash the waste so that only the plant fibers remain. The fibers are then boiled and sanitized, then mixed with other non-wood pulp fibers. Finally, the intriguing mixture is screened and dried, just like typical wood-based paper has been for thousands of years.

poo park 2Visiting the Elephant Poo Poo Park gives people an up-close encounter with the whole process. You’re even invited to get involved, so be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. The park also has information about traditional paper making, which began in China nearly 2,000 years ago. In addition to the tour, people can check out the cafe and “poo-tique” to pick up souvenirs.”

Who knew?  I don’t think I would much enjoy working there, though.


I was planning for us to hop just a few miles north to visit the Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom, where visitors can actually snuggle with the tigers, but I learned some disturbing news and decided I would pass that one up for today.  And so … on to … Wales!

Now, I have a few great friends who live in Wales, and one of them I know loves his beans, but I had no idea that beans was such a … national treasure?  Here we are, then, in Port Talbott, where we find the Baked Bean Museum of Excellence.  A museum … baked beans … really?  The museum is owned and operated by a bean-obsessed superhero called Captain Beany, formerly known as Barry Kirk.  Now way back when, Barry was working for British Petroleum as a computer geek at one of their chemical plants. Capn Beany bathtubThen, in September 1986, Kirk decided to try for a new world’s record, and life has never been the same since.  What record, you ask?  Sitting in a bathtub filled with beans … for 100 straight hours.  And it was then that he first got his idea for a complete transformation into Captain Beany. Capn Beany tattoo It took some time, but in 1991 he quit his job, legally changed his name, and then he began the physical transformation, painting his head and bald pate orange, and donning a golden cape, pants, gloves and boots.  Since then, he has run marathons, pushed a can of beans along a beach with his nose, bathed in a bath of tomato soup, climbed a mountain, and had 60 baked beans tattooed on his head.

The museum is in the living room of his 2-bedroom apartment and is crammed full of baked bean memorabilia and orange furniture.  Since his apartment is a ‘council flat’, which I believe is similar to subsidized housing in the U.S., he is not allowed to charge admission, but he does accept donations from the 100 or so visitors he gets each year.  And Cap’n Beany is a generous man, donating all proceeds to charities such as Sport Relief, Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation.


And now, I really hope you brought your jackets,  for we are headed someplace quite cold … Norway!

You know what it’s like, traveling on the interstate highway system and after a few hundred miles, you really need to stop for a potty break and perhaps a cup of coffee to help keep your eyes open.  Those rest stops, though … you never know what condition you will find them in.  But this rest area, named Uredd Rest Area, is situated along a section of the Norwegian Scenic Route. It overlooks stunning views of the fjords and the open sea, and is a popular spot for visitors and locals to watch the northern lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer. And, it is quickly gaining fame for being home to what may be the most beautiful public toilet in the world.Norway rest areaAs part of a project to enhance Norway’s scenic highways with innovative architecture, a sleek viewing area with marble benches and amphitheater steps leading down to the water were built along the roadside. And next to them, a striking, wave-shaped public restroom.

Uredd rest areaMade of frosted glass and concrete in a minimalist design, the structure seems to glow in the dark as the glass is lit at night. In the daytime, the facility offers just about the most breathtaking view you could hope to enjoy while taking care of business.  Just look at that scenery … makes you want to sit here forever … except that I’m getting c-c-c-old.


Let’s grab a quick bite to eat … and warm us up … before we head back, shall we?  As I realize that a number of my readers are vegan, I picked a place we could all find something to love.  So let’s head over to Madrid, Spain, for some barquillos.  You guys all like barquillos, right?  What … oh, don’t worry … it’s Spanish for waffles. These particular ones are very thin, rolled into shapes like cones, and ever-so delicious.  Now here in Madrid, we will get our waffles from a street vendor, but there’s a little something you have to do first.  First, you have to play a game of roulette with the vendor!  No, not the Russian sort … just the plain ol’ sort.barquillosThere’s one now!  See that red tin canister?  That’s the roulette game, and the wheel to spin is on the top of the canister.  You can pay once to spin for either one or two barquillos or pay more and spin as many times as you want, racking up waffles until you stop or the ticker lands on one of the four golden markers, at which point you lose everything. barquillos-2You are so going to love these … you can get them dusted with cinnamon or vanilla and covered or stuffed with chocolate and other flavors.  I love them with fresh strawberries, but it’s probably a little too early in the season for those.  Enjoy your barquillo!


Well, folks, I hope you enjoyed our travel today, and I hope you all have a terrific weekend!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!!!