Is it time for The Office of Public Prosecutions?

The nation … at least those of us who aren’t drinking Trump’s toxic concoction, is aghast at the breech of protocol in the Department of Justice regarding the Roger Stone case. Our friend Jeff has done some research into the way some other nations have gone about ensuring that the Department of Justice is not influenced by the government, but rather remains independent in order to maintain the rule of law. I hope you’ll take a minute to read Jeff’s piece, for this is something that will affect us all for years, perhaps decades to come. Thanks Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

In the age of Trumpism, it’s time to look how other countries ensure an independent Justice Department

During the Trump era, it’s rare that I agree with anything Alan Dershowitz says. The 81-year-old ‘TV’ lawyer has gone off the deep end it seems, especially when you consider his ridiculous performance during the recent impeachment trial.

But once in a while, he gets it right. A few nights ago on CNN, he was debating his former pupil, Jeffrey Toobin, concerning the recent intervention of Bill Barr into Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation from federal prosecutors. Dershowitz, of course, first sided with Trump on the issue, saying that he did have the ‘legal’ right to intervene in that particular case. There was nothing in the law that says he couldn’t do it.

But then he also explained that it wasn’t right for him to do so. Because of the long understood norms and…

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♫ ?? ♫

I’m doing something a bit different tonight, but you’re gonna love it!  A friend who knows I love Stevie Wonder sent me this video.  I don’t know if you’re familiar with ‘Carpool Karaoke’ or not, but it’s something relatively new, a recurring segment on The Late Late Show with James Corden in which host James Corden, invites famous musical guests to sing along to their songs with him whilst travelling in a car driven by Corden on a planned route usually in Los Angeles, usually under the pretense of needing to get to work and preferring to use the high-occupancy carpool vehicle lane, or the pretext of needing directions from a local when in a new town, such as London (with Adele) or Liverpool (with Paul McCartney) or New York City (with Madonna) or Las Vegas (with Céline Dion).

I had seen the one with Paul McCartney, but didn’t realize there was an entire series of the ‘Carpool Karaoke’ videos!

James Corden, for my U.S. friends, is a British television late night host who, along with  with Welsh actress Ruth Jones, co-created and co-wrote the brilliant British sitcom Gavin & Stacey which, by the way, daughter Chris absolutely loves!

Now, take a couple of minutes to watch … you’re going to laugh, I promise, especially when Stevie does his British accent!

Jolly Monday At Last!!!

Good morning, folks and welcome to … Monday.Monday-2So, how was your weekend?  Mind was spent in utter chaos.  I should have taken pictures of my house during the building of the desk.  We bought Miss Goose a new desk from Amazon and it arrived last Thursday.  Now, I could have had them assemble it for an extra $150, but … nah … we can put it together.  How hard can it be, after all?  Probably take 2-3 hours, right?  WRONG!  Six hours on Saturday just to put the desk part together, then about another 5 hours on Sunday to put the hutch together and hoist it atop of it.  Solid wood.  Heavy — 193 pounds worth of heavy.  Meanwhile, all the crappola she had in her old desk was scattered throughout the house and I damn near broke bones more than once trying to get to the washing machine, and at one point it was an obstacle course just to get to the bathroom!  I have bruises and a back that seems not to want to bend, but it is complete now and she is quite happy, so … I told her it has to last her past my death, ‘cause I am never going through this again!  Should have just spend the $150 for the professional installation.  Here’s a look at the finished product …

deskToday is a special Jolly Monday, for our young friend Benjamin is on school break and will be joining us!  So, grab a snack and lets find a few smiles before we have to head off to our various jobs, shall we?

coffee           new-half-and-half                          Seeping-Tea


Matchmaker, Matchmaker …

Jeff Gebhart of Prairie Village, Kansas, is looking for a girlfriend.  Jeff told a local television station, KCTV, that he is tired of the ‘traditional’ methods and also of online dating, so he’s come up with a whole new approach.  Gebhart debuted his own dating site last Sunday, exclusively dedicated to finding himself a new partner, and he’ll give $25,000 to anyone who sends the perfect match his way. He’ll also sweeten the pot by donating $25,000 to a no-kill dog shelter or charity.  He seems a bit desperate to me, but Jeff says …

“I don’t need a person to ‘complete’ me, but I’m looking for a person with qualities that will allow us to complement each other.”

Jeff-GebhartSounds simple, right?  But wait … there are rules.  The person Gebhart is matched up with must date him and him alone for a year before the matchmaker will be paid, and even then, he/she will be paid in installments of five $5,000 payments over a five-year stretch. If Gebhart and the gal split before the final payment, the matchmaker gets only what he or she has earned to that point. There’s also an online quiz that applicants will need to take to see if their personalities sync with his.  So what, exactly is he looking for?  Someone who is …

“… fun, easy to spend time with … confident, driven … and has a zest for life. The main objective of this is to find the right girl for me, wherever she is.”

Okaaaay … well, good luck, Jeff!


Mickey D’s?

This is what the inside of your average McDonald’s restaurant looks like …McD-1Plastic tables and chairs, nothing special … just your average kid-friendly fast food joint.  But, if you happen to be in Rome, Italy, or more specifically the Roma Termini, and have a craving for a Big Mac, this is what you’ll see …McD-2What is it, you ask?  It is a small section of the Servian Wall that was unearthed during the construction of the station’s underground shopping mall, and was thus integrated into the dining area of McDonald’s.

The Servian Wall was constructed around the city of Rome during the 4th century B.C. The outline of the wall possibly dates back to the times of King Servius Tullius, for which it garnered its namesake. The wall stood for generations as the first line of defense against the Gauls and Carthaginians. By the early Imperial age, the wall became unnecessary as the Roman army grew in number and power. Eventually, it was superseded by the Aurelian Wall constructed by Emperor Aurelian in 275.

Definitely not the atmosphere you expect to see while munching on your chicken nuggets, eh?


Whose playlist???

Now, you all know how much I love critters, right?  But even I, the ultimate critter lover, find this just a bit over the top.  The Swedish audio-streaming company Spotify recently announced that it has made playlists and a podcast for dogs to listen to in their owners’ absence.  Why, you ask?  Apparently, it found in a survey that 74% of pet-owners play music for their pets to listen to for company when they are away from home, with 42% of owners saying their pets have a favorite type of music.  A quarter of pet owners said they have even seen their pets dancing to music.

So, what kind of music does Spotify think dogs like to hear?  The podcast features soothing music, “dog-directed praise”, stories, and messages of affirmation and reassurance narrated by actors to alleviate stress for dogs who are home alone.  Meanwhile, the playlists aimed at pets offer tracks selected by algorithms to match pets’ characteristics such as energetic or slow.

Okay, then, but … what about cats, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, birds and other pets?  Won’t they feel left out?  Oh wait!!!

In another article, I found that the company says that if you have a pet rabbit, Spotify may not be able to fulfill her musical needs right now. For now, it can only musically accommodate dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, and iguanas!

Take heart all you iguana families out there … they haven’t forgotten you after all!!!


Tartan sheep …

Get a load of these Tartan sheep found in the Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre in Scotland!Tartan-sheep If you’re wondering about these unique animals, the sign here explains it …Tartan-sheep-signWho knew???  Well … actually … they are spray painted to look like that.  But don’t worry … this is a special, non-toxic spray paint, the same that is used to number them during lambing season, and is perfectly harmless.  It was the idea of the owner of the Wildlife Centre, Maxine Scott, when she first purchased the park ten years ago.Tartan-sheep-2The park had already had a tradition of creating painted sheep, so she kept up this tongue-in-cheek practice. The sheep in these photos are April and Daisy. Of all the tourists that come by, it is the Americans that seem to enjoy the joke the most. She tells people that the Tartan Sheep change color often and encourages people to come back to see her ewes again.


Now, are you ready for some ‘toons, courtesy of Phil’s Phun?

toon-1toon-2toon-3toon-4toon-5toon-6toon-7toon-8toon-9


While I was mooching around over at Phil’s, I came across this video and it is just so much fun that I had to share it.  It’s a group of guys that have formed a friendship over the years of waiting for their wives shopping at Target!  If you are in the mood for a few laughs, you really must see this!


Well, if it’s Jolly Monday, then it must be time for a cute animal video, mustn’t it? I bet you never thought of these guys as being fun pets, but just watch …


jollyOkay, folks, the clock is ticking and we’ve all got work to do.  I have to clean up the mess from the weekend’s construction project, so … Oh, by the way, before I forget … today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day, so … let’s all try to do something nice, no matter how small, for someone.  Buy a stranger a cup of coffee, take a neighbor’s trash out, or whatever opportunity presents itself, okay?  And smile … share those smiles … bring one to somebody else’s face today, okay?  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!

Black History Month — Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1928 … her given name was Marguerite, but her older brother nicknamed her “Maya”, derived from “Mya Sister”.  Her parents divorced when Maya was just three years old, and when she was eight, she was sexually abused and raped by her mother’s boyfriend.  She told her brother, her brother told the rest of the family, and the man, whose last name was Freeman, was arrested.  But, though Freeman was found guilty, he was freed after only one day in jail.  Incensed, an uncle or uncles, it is unclear whether it was one or more, beat and kicked Mr. Freeman to death.  Says Maya …

“I thought, my voice killed him; I killed that man, because I told his name. And then I thought I would never speak again, because my voice would kill anyone.”

And she spoke not a word for nearly the next five years.  Angelou credits a teacher and friend of her family, Mrs. Bertha Flowers, with helping her speak again. Flowers introduced her to authors such as Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Douglas Johnson, and James Weldon Johnson, authors who would affect her life and career, as well as black female artists like Frances Harper, Anne Spencer, and Jessie Fauset.

maya-angelouDuring World War II, Angelou moved to San Francisco, California. There she won a scholarship to study dance and acting at the California Labor School. During this time, Angelou became the first black female cable car conductor in San Francisco.

During the 1960s, Maya and her son spent several years in Ghana, where she became an administrator at the University of Ghana, and was active in the African-American expatriate community. She was a feature editor for The African Review, a freelance writer for the Ghanaian Times, wrote and broadcast for Radio Ghana.  It was in Ghana that she met and became close friends with Malcolm X during his visit in the early 1960s.  Angelou returned to the U.S. in 1965 to help him build a new civil rights organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity; he was assassinated shortly afterward.

Maya remained a civil rights activist, and in 1968 Martin Luther King asked Angelou to help organize a march.  She agreed, but before the plan could reach fruition, Martin Luther King was assassinated – on Maya’s 40th birthday, as it happened.  For many years thereafter, Maya refused to celebrate her birthday, but sent flowers to King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, on that day. maya-angelou-2Maya Angelou went on to become one of the greatest writers and poets of our time. Despite having almost no experience, she wrote, produced, and narrated Blacks, Blues, Black!, a ten-part series of documentaries about the connection between blues music and black Americans’ African heritage, and what Angelou called the “Africanisms still current in the U.S.” for National Educational Television, the precursor of PBS.  Also in 1968, she wrote her first of seven autobiographies, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, published in 1969. This brought her international recognition and acclaim.Maya-caged-birdIn 1993, Angelou recited her poem On the Pulse of Morning at the presidential inauguration of Bill Clinton, becoming the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.

I came across this quote by Maya regarding writing …

“I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music. I also wear a hat or a very tightly pulled head tie when I write. I suppose I hope by doing that I will keep my brains from seeping out of my scalp and running in great gray blobs down my neck, into my ears, and over my face.”

And now I know what I’ve been doing wrong all this time — I must wear a hat from now on when I write!!!maya-angelou-4There is so much more I could tell you about Maya Angelou, who died in 2014, but there are many, many great books both by and about her.  What I do want to share with you, though, is one of her most famous poems, Still I Rise.  Just as with Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech, I cannot listen to her recite this without a tear coming to my eyes. In this, she writes about racism and slavery,  about rising above hatred – something that is just as relevant today as it was when she first published it in 1978.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou died in 2014, at the age of 86.  Among other, former President Bill Clinton and then-First Lady Michelle Obama both spoke at her funeral.

“And then she developed the greatest voice on the planet. God loaned her His voice. She had the voice of God, and He decided he wanted it back for awhile.” — President Bill Clinton

“For me that was the power of Maya Angelou’s words, words so powerful that they carried a little black girl from the South Side of Chicago all the way to the White House.” — First Lady Michelle Obama

During her lifetime, she won Grammy Awards for three spoken-word albums, was a civil rights activist, streetcar conductor, Calypso singer, dancer, movie director and playwright.  She left behind a legacy that will not soon be forgotten.maya-4

♫ Wooly Bully ♫

Here’s one I bet you haven’t heard in a while!  The year was 1965 and this was the first and biggest hit for Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs.  It became a worldwide success, selling three million copies and reaching #2 in the U.S.  It reached #11 in the UK and was the first U.S. record to sell a million copies during the British Invasion, influenced by the British rock sound mixed with traditional Mexican-American rhythms.

The lyrics of “Wooly Bully” were hard to understand, and some radio stations actually banned the song. The lyrics describe a conversation between “Mattie” and “Hattie” concerning the “Wooly Bully” (a creature which Mattie describes as “a thing she saw [that] had two big horns and a wooly jaw”) and the desirability of developing dancing skills, though I have no idea what the connection between the two are.  “Let’s not be L-7”, means “Let’s not be square”, from the shape formed by the fingers making an L on one hand and a 7 on the other.  I never knew that!

Sam is Domingo “Sam” Samudio, known for his camp robe and turban and hauling his equipment in a 1952 Packard hearse with maroon velvet curtains.Sam-Sham-hearseAccording to Sam …

“The name of my cat was ‘Wooly Bully’, so I started from there. The count down part of the song was also not planned. I was just goofing around and counted off in Tex-Mex. It just blew everybody away, and actually, I wanted it taken off the record. We did three takes, all of them different, and they took the first take and released it.”

Wooly Bully
Sam the Sham, & The Pharaohs

Uno, dos, one, two, tres, quatro
Matty told Hatty about a thing she saw
Had two big horns and a wooly jaw
Wooly bully, wooly bully
Wooly bully, wooly bully, wooly bully

Hatty told Matty, let’s don’t take no chance
Let’s not be l-seven, come and learn to dance
Wooly bully, wooly bully
Wooly bully, wooly bully, wooly bully

Matty told Hatty, that’s the thing to do
Get you someone really to pull the wool with you
Wooly bully, wooly bully
Wooly bully, wooly bully, wooly bully

Songwriters: Domingo Samudio
Wolly Bully lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Music Sales Corporation

The Week’s Best Cartoons ⚡ 2/15

The past two weeks have certainly provided plenty of material for the political cartoonists, haven’t they? Our friend TokyoSand always seems to find the best of the bunch, and this week is no exception. These cartoons pretty well sum up the current situation … thank you, TokyoSand for this post, and for your kind permission to share!

Political⚡Charge

By Marc Murphy, Louisville Courier-Journal

Here are some of the best editorial cartoonists in the country (and a few from abroad) with their visual opinions about this week’s news:

Trump Seeks Revenge

By Morten Morland

By Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News

By Banx

Barr Interferes with Justice

By Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

By Pat Chappatte

By Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

By Ann Telnaes, Washington Post

Image

By Mike Peters, Mother Goose and Grimm

By Jeff Darcy, Cleveland.com

By Matt Davies, Newsday

By Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

And Other News

By Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ByJim Morin, Miami Herald

By Christopher Weyant

By Matt Davies, Newsday

By Matt Davies, Newsday

By Kevin Necessary

By Rod EmmersonNZ Herald

Want to get these political cartoon roundups every…

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A Banana Republic?

Today on Twitter, Trump posted:

“Ralph Waldo Emerson seemed to foresee the lesson of the Senate Impeachment Trial of President Trump. ‘When you strike at the King, Emerson famously said, “you must kill him.’ Mr. Trump’s foes struck at him but did not take him down. A triumphant Mr.Trump emerges from the biggest test of his presidency emboldened, ready to claim exoneration, and take his case of grievance, persecution and resentment to the campaign trail.” Peter Baker @nytimes The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!”

I and a few thousand others reminded him that he is NOT a king, but some 60,000 people actually liked his post.  I wonder how much more we will tolerate …

More than a few times, I have made the claim that Trump is turning the U.S. into a ‘banana republic’, and it seems I’m not alone in this idea.  On Thursday, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson wrote a column that I think sums the situation up quite well.


America, the Banana Republic

Feb. 13, 2020 at 5:55 p.m. EST

I covered South America for The Post from 1988 to 1992, a time when nations such as Argentina, Brazil and Peru were struggling to reestablish democratic norms after the long, dark night of military dictatorship. One of the biggest challenges was implanting something we take for granted in this country: public confidence that justice, for the most part, is blind and engages in an honest search for truth.

I never thought I’d be living in a country like that again. But thanks to President Trump and the inexcusable damage he is doing to our justice system, South America’s past has become America’s present.

There has been considerable hyperventilation, some perhaps by me, about the grave harm Trump is doing to our democratic institutions. I am not hyperventilating now. Public faith in justice is a delicate, precious thing. Once squandered, it is incredibly hard to regain.

That’s the kind of damage Trump is threatening with his outrageous and un-American attacks on the Justice Department and the federal judiciary for finding his cronies — including longtime political adviser Roger Stone, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort — guilty of crimes and deserving of punishment. I know what the impact of this behavior is, because I’ve seen how it plays out before.

I lived in Argentina, where the president for much of my time there, Carlos Menem, was a populist norm-breaker who nepotistically involved his family in running the government and was widely viewed as corrupt. In 1991, Menem’s sister-in-law and appointments secretary, Amira Yoma, was indicted on money-laundering charges that involved suitcases full of cash allegedly being smuggled in and out of the country. Yoma’s ex-husband was head of the customs service at Ezeiza International Airport outside Buenos Aires, where he allegedly facilitated the cash-smuggling.

Menem was accused of secretly meeting with the prosecuting judge in charge of the Yoma case. The president initially denied having had such a meeting but ultimately admitted it, claiming it was about some unrelated matter. The judge’s secretary alleged that the judge had gone to the presidential residence, where she showed Menem secret prosecution documents about the Yoma case.

That judge was suddenly taken off the case, which was assigned to a different judge, and Yoma was eventually cleared of all charges. It is safe to say that few Argentines were surprised.

There simply was very little confidence in the ability of the justice system to discern truth from falsehood or to punish the powerful and well-connected. There was an understanding, moreover, that prosecutors and the court system could and sometimes would be used as political tools.

Years after leaving office, Menem was convicted on unrelated charges involving weapons smuggling and embezzlement. He maintained his innocence, claiming he was being persecuted by his political enemies.

In those fragile democracies I covered years ago, seeing justice be warped by politics had a corrosive effect on the larger society. A lack of confidence that court proceedings could — or even were intended to — arrive at truth encouraged the propagation and spread of conspiracy theories. Argentina still struggles to escape the widespread belief that unseen forces control events from deep in the shadows.

This is not the sort of path I ever thought the United States could take. Our justice system obviously has flaws, starting with the way it disproportionately punishes people of color. But it has not been naive, at least in my lifetime, to believe that federal prosecutors and judges tried their very best not to let politics influence their decisions — and that they generally succeeded because they took their responsibilities seriously.

When four assistant U.S. attorneys asked to be taken off the Stone case, they were sounding an alarm. We must all pay attention.

Their recommendation that Stone serve seven to nine years in prison for his crimes was tough, but federal prosecutors tend to be tough. Stone was duly convicted in a court of law, and U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson will decide his punishment. But when higher-ups in Attorney General William P. Barr’s Justice Department overrule the prosecutors who handled the case on Stone’s recommended sentence; when Trump tries to delegitimize those prosecutors as “Angry Democrats” because they worked for former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III; and when Trump goes so far as to try to intimidate Jackson, a highly respected veteran federal judge — when such things happen, I have to wonder whether I’m back in Carlos Menem’s Argentina.

♫ Abraham, Martin and John ♫

Most nights when I post my music post, I am feeling in the need of something upbeat, or something Motown to calm my frazzled nerves and remind me of a seemingly happier day.  Tonight, however, I am feeling more … introspective.  Looking back at what might have been … and what was.  So, instead of light and happy, or sad and sappy, tonight I give you …

A tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans, all icons of social change: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy.  This song was written in response to the assassination of King and that of Robert Kennedy in April and June 1968, respectively.  More than 50 years … can it really have been so long ago?  I remember it … truly as if it were just a few weeks ago.  As I listen to this song, I cannot help but choke … remembering … the hope these men brought us … how I wish they were here today … 😢

The original version was recorded by Dion Francis DiMucci, better known simply as Dion.  Although the song has been recorded by many of my favourites such as Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, the Brothers Four, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Whitney Houston, and Smokey Robinson, to name a few, the Dion version remains my favourite.  And so, I bring you, in honour of four truly great men whose lives, because they were great, because they worked tirelessly for equality for all, were cut far too short …

Abraham, Martin And John
Dion DiMucci

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.

Songwriters: Richard Holler
Abraham, Martin And John lyrics © Regent Music Corporation, Stonehenge Music

Saturday Surprise — Critters

koalaCome in and welcome to the weekend, my friends!  This has been a strange and unsettling week both in the U.S. and other places as well … something in the air, perhaps?  But, we’re not here to re-hash the gloomy week, but rather to relieve the angst it has caused us.  And what better way to relieve angst than critters?  It’s my go-to when I want to be cheered!


This week the Natural History Museum in London announced the LUMIX People’s Choice Award for Wildlife Photographer.  With 48,000 entries from 100 countries, obviously I cannot show you all of them, but I thought I’d share some of the top 25!

First place went to Sam Rowley for this one titled “Station Squabble” pic-1Sam discovered the best way to photograph the mice inhabiting London’s Underground was to lie on the platform and wait. He only saw them fight over scraps of food dropped by passengers a few times, possibly because it is so abundant. This fight lasted a split second, before one grabbed a crumb and they went their separate ways.

pic-2“Matching Outfits”, Michel Zoghzoghi.  Michel was in the Pantanal, Brazil photographing jaguars. One afternoon, as he was on the Três Irmãos River, a mother and her cub crossed right in front of his boat. He watched mesmerized as they left the water holding an anaconda with a very similar pattern to their own.

pic-3“The Surrogate Mother”, by Martin Buzora.  Elias Mugambi is a ranger at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya. He often spends weeks away from his family caring for orphaned black rhinos like Kitui here. The young rhinos are in the sanctuary as a result of poaching or because their mothers are blind and cannot care for them safely in the wild.

pic-4“Spot The Reindeer”, Francis De Andres.  The conditions for photographing at the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard are extreme, but wildlife has adapted to the environment and its freezing temperatures. Francis found this composition of white arctic reindeer, which were observing him, both curious and charming.

pic-5“A Suitable Gift”, Marco Valentini.  Marco was in Hortobágyi National Park, Hungary when he spotted these kestrels displaying typical courtship behaviour. Here the female has just received an offering of a young green lizard from her suitor and in this touching moment she tenderly took hold of his claw.

pic-6“Big Ears”, Valeriy Maleev.  Valeriy was on a summer expedition to the Mongolian part of the Gobi Desert when he happened upon a long-eared jerboa. As blood moves through the ears of these usually nocturnal animals, excess heat dissipates across the skin and so the jerboa is able to stay cool.

pic-7“Bon Appétit”, Lucas Bustamante.  Night hikes through the Ecuadorian jungle are one of Lucas’ favourite activities. With a keen interest in herpetology, he was overjoyed to spot this labiated rainfrog which are abundant in the region. It had just caught a baby tarantula and its comical expression said ‘caught in the act!’

pic-8“Mother Knows Best”, Marion Vollborn.  While on a bear watching trip to the Nakina River in British Columbia, Canada, Marion spotted a grizzly bear and her young cub approach a tree. The mother bear started to rub against the tree trunk and was followed shortly by the cub, imitating its mother.

pic-9“What A Poser”, Clement Mwangi.  In Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve, Clement spent time observing this beautiful leopard as she soaked up the last warm rays of the setting sun. Clement is mindful to remember to take pleasure in life’s simple moments – being all too aware that sometimes, as a wildlife photographer, you can miss the exceptional while looking for the unusual.

pic-10“Beak To Beak”, Claudio Contreras Koob.  Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve in the state of Yucatán is home to Mexico’s largest flock of Caribbean flamingos. This chick is less than five days old – it will stay in its nest less than a week before it joins a crèche of other youngsters who wander around the colony searching for food.


Zoo Miami is the oldest and largest zoo in Florida and the fifth-largest in the United States. But despite the fact that it opened 72 years ago, it only recently acquired four meerkats … well, make that six now.

8-year-old meerkat Yam Yam started the year by becoming a new mom. Yam Yam, who came to the zoo from Busch Gardens Tampa, gave birth to two beautiful babies on the 18th of January.  Yam Yam shares her living space with three non-related males: Gizmo, Joe, and Diego. Just one of them is the father and only a DNA test could reveal who’s the biological dad. However, the whole gang is raising the pups together.meerkat-1meerkat-2meerkat-3meerkat-4meerkat-5meerkat-6


It was August 2014. Amber Isaac knew something was amiss when one of her pregnant alpacas started going into labor at 11 months, when alpacas typically remain pregnant for a little over a year. When the baby finally arrived into the world, she was “barely bigger than a fetus.” Sadly, these are the types of health issues that can result from alpaca breeding.

Cody, who lives on an alpaca ranch in Castle Rock, Colorado, only weighed 6.5 pounds when she was born. The average newborn alpaca weighs anywhere between 18 and 20 pounds.  The odds were against Cody from the start, but Isaac refused to give up on her.  She took Cody into her home to look after her and bottle-fed her like clockwork, determined to have her gain weight and become the healthiest she could be. An infection almost took the young alpaca’s life when she was only three weeks old – but she survived, proving that no matter what came her way, Cody had the spirit to tackle it head on.

Take a look at Cody today, as she is about to get a new bedroom!


I hope you’ve found the critters both humorous and relaxing, a break from it all.  Have a fun, safe, and happy weekend, my friends!

Panda

Discord & Dissension — Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Discord & Dissension Part I Intro

Discord & Dissension Part II (a) How Did We Get Here?

Discord & Dissension Part II (b) How Did We Get Here?

Discord & Dissension — Part III — Where Do We Go From Here?

Discord & Dissension Part IV(a) Voting & Voters

Discord & Dissension Part IV (b) Voting & Voters

Discord & Dissension Part IV (c) Voting & Voters

Discord & Dissension Part V Corruption

Discord & Dissension — Part VI — Disinformation