Two blogs in one: 'Amusives' at https://amusives.wordpress.com/ contains
Photos and Stories with a Canadian perspective, Amusing Quotations; Birds and Bugs; Plants in my Backyard; and Places I visit.
'Counter Current' contains observations about Current Events.
I reached my 11 year Blogging Milestone at the beginning of November. Though that is a long time compared to the longevity of many blogs, my output has been only 1000 posts. Many bloggers I know consistently deliver an interesting post a day! If I had been able to do that, I would have authored 4,015 posts in 11 years!
I was on a mission last year to reach 1000 posts on my 10th Blogging Anniversary but came up short by 78 posts. This year I wanted to have 1111 posts… drat, short by 111 posts… I think I’m going backwards.
This Anniversary I’d like to thank all the readers and fellow bloggers who have made the ‘Year of the ‘Rona Virus’ tolerable. Your stories have lifted my spirits. They have taken my mind to far flung places while my body was in lock down!
Sadly, some of you dropped out of sight. I worry about you, especially if you are senior citizens. You have triple jeopardy – the virus itself, the worry about the virus and the loneliness of isolation. Quadruple jeopardy if your sinuses don’t take well to masking. Quintuple if you are a political conservative. Sextuple if you are a white male. Septuple if… well, you get the idea.
I’ll wrap up this Anniversary post with a few punny thoughts about blogging. Groan if you must…
As a blogger, I constantly feel cold, probably because I’m surrounded by so many drafts.
I avoid using apostrophes in my blogging. They are too possessive.
Is there a blogger whose creative life hasn’t been punctuated with slow writing periods?
My editor once criticized my blog. He said that double negatives were a “no-no.”
Sometimes I run out of blogging ideas. That’s when I go to the fabric store and find new material.
The left side of my blog is completely missing, but it’s all right now.
We bloggers are sometimes deep thinkers. For example, if pencils came with erasers at both ends, what would be the point?
While doing research for a blog on sign language, nothing handy came up, at least nothing I could put my finger on.
Would a blog about transcendentalism require Thoreau editing?
Dislike and Hate – how do they differ? Dislike is a feeling of aversion. Hate is an emotion of extreme hostility.
I really, really dislike Brussels Sprouts and cleaning toilets. I can’t think of anything I hate.
How about you – anything you strongly dislike so much that you feel hostile towards it?
A man who lives, not by what he loves but what he hates, is a sick man.
– Archibald MacLeish –
“And what problem does your hate solve?” he would ask us.
– Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com –
Dislike of another’s opinions and beliefs neither justifies our own nor makes us more certain of them: and to transfer the repugnance to the person himself is a mark of a vulgar mind.
– John Lancaster Spalding –
Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.
– Coretta Scott King –
Haters are the people who will broadcast your failures and whisper your success.
– Will Smith –
Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.
– Harry Emerson Fosdick –
He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
– Winston Churchill –
I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants.
– A. Whitney Brown –
I don’t hate anyone. The only people I know well enough to hate, I love.
– Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com –
I do know how to treat people and that is treat them the way I want to be treated. So when I extend that respect and that consideration that I would like to have, there is a certain amount of reciprocating. Some of the senators have even said words to the effect to me of “I can’t dislike you as much as I wish that I did”.
– Ernie Chambers –
I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.
– Joan Rivers –
I like a woman with a head on her shoulders. I hate necks.
– Steve Martin –
I’m free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.
– W. C. Fields –
I never yet heard man or woman much abused, that I was not inclined to think the better of them; and to transfer any suspicion or dislike, to the person who appeared to take delight in pointing out the defects of a fellow-creature.
– Jane Porter –
Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?
– Sean Covey –
I think that everybody wants to be heard, and the easiest way to be the loudest is to be the hater.
– Tavi Gevinson –
Love me or hate me, both are in my favour. If you love me, I will always be in your heart, and if you hate me, I will be in your mind.
– Qandeel Baloch –
Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called everybody, and they meet at the bar.
– Drew Carey –
Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn’t that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.
– Marilyn Monroe –
There is a story of an Oxford student who once remarked, “I despise all Americans, but have never met one I didn’t like.”
– Gordon Allport –
We can’t control the filters that others choose when they look at us.
– Rachel Wolchin –
We make up any excuse to preserve myths about people we love, but the reverse is also true; if we dislike an individual we adamantly resist changing our opinion, even when somebody offers proof of his decency, because it’s vital to have myths about both the gods and devils in our lives.
– Marlon Brando –
When you really know somebody you can’t hate them. Or maybe it’s just that you can’t really know them until you stop hating them.
– Orson Scott Card –
If it wasn’t for the delivery guys, our social life would be almost zilch.
The only upside to Covid is that many retailers have made online shopping really easy! We don’t need to drive anywhere, delivery is quick and products are available that aren’t always stocked in the local stores. What’s not to like!
The King/Queen of online shopping is Amazon. It has more than 2.5 million retailers selling on the Amazon marketplace (according to Marketplacepulse, 2019).
We ventured out last week to buy a new kitchen tap set at Home Depot. They were out of stock, but we could order online from them. Delivery was in one to three weeks. Amazon had the same product for the same price and it was delivered two days later… though it might take The Car Guy one to three weeks to decide whether he is going to call the plumber to do the install.
How did IKEA come up with their business and marketing plan? Dude Dad has this very funny explanation!
This ‘Lest We Forget’ admonishment arrived in my Facebook feed a few days after I had put up my Christmas Tree. I’m not really sure how decorating for Christmas implies disrespect for anything, but if that is what some people feel, then they have every right to feel that way…
…and I have every right to do what feels right for me. Hence the tree. Right now it is the brightly lit beacon in the corner of the living room that dispels the late afternoon gloom that came after we changed the clocks.
iFixit is a site that wants to help people repair things. They are building a free repair manual for every device – a monumental undertaking, but they are making great progress. They rate how easy it is to repair smart phones, tablets and laptops – and they also have sections on appliances, cameras, vehicles and many more.
Our stuff used to be made to last. Now it’s made to last only a couple of years. Repair is green. It keeps the stuff you love in service, and out of a landfill.
Products that can be repaired, should be repaired. Refurbished cell phones can be sold to someone new. Repaired computers bridge the digital divide. Even better, repair jobs are local. They won’t ever be shipped overseas.
We had one more day of being ‘Hostage to the Moose’, though by mid day they had all settled down together, well away from the truck.
We drove to town and did some errands. Got the seasonal flu shot. The Car Guy never gets a really sore arm from the shot. Mine hurts so much that I can barely lift my arm. A sore arm is apparently good. It means the immune system is mounting a robust attack on the dead viruses. This year, the Canadian flu shot is for protection against Influenza A(H1N1), Influenza A(H3N2) and Influenza B. (That doesn’t mean we won’t get a different flu, but it might mean we don’t get as sick from the flu types in the vaccine.)
That night, nursing a flu shot sore arm, I watched some YouTube videos about Moose. Did you know that in Russia there is a herd of moose that are being raised for milking!? Moose Milk! (Not to be confused with Canadian Moose Milk, an alcoholic beverage that the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force, and Canadian Army all claim to have originated. )
In modern times… recipes and techniques vary—different branches of the military may each have their own secrets—but dairy, rum, nutmeg and sugar are typical ingredients. “It’s high-propulsion eggnog. You can dig into this stuff and find yourself in a sorry state very quickly.”
– Moose Milk – Imbibe Magazine –
After a few weeks of really great Fall weather we got a few weeks of snow and cold. Then it warmed up for a few days. We thought we would get back to work clearing the dead fall in our woods – but the moose put an end to that idea. We could have got the tractor out and used the noise of the ‘Deere’ to discourage the moose from staying. That seemed mighty unneighborly though.
The next morning the Moose were gone from our place. I miss them – while not really missing them, if you know what I mean.
It started snowing again. We got a message from Amazon that they couldn’t make a delivery to our house. A ‘mooseless’ walk down to the main road and we could see why the driver had aborted the delivery. It had snowed enough during the night that the driveway had disappeared.
Be sure to stock up on loads of sweets for Halloween so you have something to eat while hiding in the wardrobe.
– Rob Temple, Very British Problems, @SoVeryBritish, tweet, 2019 –
Dear Great Pumpkin, Halloween is now only a few days away. Children all over the world await you coming. When you rise out of the pumpkin patch that night, please remember I am your most loyal follower. Have a nice trip. Don’t forget to take out flight insurance.
― Linus from Charles M. Schulz’s “The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 6: 1961-1962 –
From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
– Scottish Saying –
How do you fix a damaged jack-o-lantern?
You use a pumpkin patch!
I think if human beings had genuine courage, they’d wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween. Wouldn’t life be more interesting that way? And now that I think about it, why the heck don’t they? Who made the rule that everybody has to dress like sheep 364 days of the year? Think of all the people you’d meet if they were in costume every day. People would be so much easier to talk to – like talking to dogs.
– Douglas Copeland –
I’ll bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween.
– Author Unknown –
I love Halloween. It reminds me of my happy childhood days as a student at Wampus Elementary School in Armonk, N.Y., when we youngsters used to celebrate Halloween by making decorations out of construction paper and that white paste that you could eat.
– Dave Barry –
“I’m so happy that Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year!” said no teacher ever.
– Author Unknown –
I’m tryin’ to find a pumpkin with the right personality. It’s like trying to tell what someone’s face is like by looking at the back of their head.
– Lynn Johnston –
In the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
– William Shakespeare –
I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that any weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly.
— Elizabeth, Friday the 13th –
On Halloween, what bothers some
About these witches, is how come
In sailing, through the air, like bats
They never seem, to lose their hats?…
Another thing: if brooms can fly,
Do witches keep them handy-by
To sweep the kitchen floor with, say?
Or do they have them locked away
For private passage through the sky?
– David McCord (1897–1997), “Witch’s Broom Notes” –
Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,
Voices whisper in the trees, “Tonight is Halloween!”
– Dexter Kozen –
The jack-o-lantern follows me with tapered, glowing eyes.
His yellow teeth grin evily. His cackle I despise.
But I shall have the final laugh when Halloween is through.
This pumpkin king I’ll split in half to make a pie for two.”
– Richelle E. Goodrich, Slaying Dragons –
There is a growing list of Halloween costumes that have been described as inappropriate because they are negative representations. Lynda Davis, at BoomerBroadcast wonders: “If I answer the door dressed as myself, an aging baby boomer in a comfortable T-shirt and yoga pants will I offend my entire generation?”
The pumpkin looked delicious—almost perfectly round and deep yellow in colour, it sat on the passenger seat beside her so comfortably as she drove out of the car park, so pleased to be what it was, that she imagined conducting a conversation with it… And the pumpkin would remain silent, of course, but would somehow indicate that it knew what she was talking about, that there were similar issues in the world of pumpkins.
There was no harm, she thought, in allowing your imagination to run away with you, as a child’s will do, because the thoughts that came in that way could be a comfort, a relief in a world that could be both sad and serious. Why not imagine a talk with a pumpkin? Why not imagine going off for a drive with a friendly pumpkin, a companion who would not, after all, answer back; who would agree with everything you said, and would at the end of the day appear on your plate as a final gesture of friendship?
– Alexander McCall Smith, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine –
There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.
– Linus Van Pelt in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” by Charles Schulz –
The worst thing about Halloween is, of course, candy corn… Candy corn is the only candy in the history of America that’s never been advertised. And there’s a reason. All of the candy corn that was ever made was made in 1911. And so, since nobody eats that stuff, every year there’s a ton of it left over.
– Lewis Black –
Today, of course, our paranoia about child safety has reached this fabulous zenith whereby kids are only allowed to trick-or-treat accompanied by an adult… But back in the blithe, porno-soaked, latch-key seventies, the idea of trick-or-treating with a parent in tow was unthinkable — like publicly disclosing a preference for Barry Manilow.
– Steve Almond, “Night of the Living Freak,” Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America, 2004 –
Witch parking. All others will be toad.
What do you call a witch’s garage?
A broom closet.
Why don’t skeletons ever go trick or treating?
Because they have no-body to go with.
You kids have fun, and be home by Thanksgiving!” our parents would call to us on Halloween night, as we staggered out the front door, weighed down by hundreds of pounds of concealed vandalism supplies, including enough raw eggs to feed Somalia for decades. By morning, thanks to our efforts, the entire neighborhood would be covered with a layer of congealed shaving cream and toilet paper that, around certain unpopular neighbors’ homes, was hundreds of feet thick. This is how the Appalachian Mountains were formed.
– Dave Barry –
We’ve lived at the Red House for almost 30 years. For the first 20 years, Moose were an urban legend as far as I was concerned. The neighbours all talked about them, but I never saw them. That changed in 2011 when a solitary moose made a dash across the back of our property. In 2012 I saw 3 moose behind the neighbours property and later, 5 moose grazing like cows in the field across the road. In 2013, 2014 and 2019 I saw between 1 and 3 moose behind our place – never stopping, just passing by.
This year we have seen moose four times in less than a week – and they are not in a hurry to be somewhere else.
Last week a lone moose browsed it’s way past our house, stopping for a short time to look into the window. It was close enough that I had to back up a bit because my zoom lens wouldn’t focus on something that close. (The picture is a bit deceiving – the window is only 19 inches (48 cm) wide – probably not as wide as a moose is…)
Yesterday, I was bundled up in winter walking gear and was ready for a brisk outing when I realized that there was a moose between me and where I wanted to go. I watched it for a while as it chowed down on the willow, aspen and other assorted icy vegetation.
With my walk aborted, I suggested to The Car Guy that we take a trip to town for flu shots. That is when he pointed to the other side of our driveway – where two more moose were bedded down in the shelter of the woods.
Three moose, both sides of the driveway – with the possibility of a fourth moose (because we’d seen all four moose a few days earlier, though the mother and young one kept their distance from the other two moose.)
We decided a trip to town wasn’t going to happen. The truck was parked midway between us and the moose…
This all leads me to wonder – have the moose been using our woods as a winter retreat while we have been snowbirds in Arizona? Maybe this is their winter home and we are the interlopers!
(An aside story. I was curious as to whether a moose would go through a window. I could only find a couple references to such an event, one being in Maine where a moose went through the window of a vacant pizzeria. Local Police Chief Ryan Reardon said he had grown up in Maine (estimated moose population 76,000) and had been on the force for 26 years. That was the first time he had seen a moose go through a window.)
A dark brown shape, a jumble of wings and talons. Flying feathers, uprooted autumn leaves, a flurry of snow. When the ‘dust’ cleared, I realized it was a rather large hawk, and it was expertly dissecting a newly caught ‘something’ for lunch.
In all the photos you can see some of ‘the something’ on the bird’s beak. When I visited the location after the hawk had left, I could see that the kill was a bird.
Many thanks to my go-to person for bird identification, Murray. My photos made identification difficult (shooting through a window on a dreary dull day), but he was reasonably confident this it was a dark morph Red-tailed Hawk. (Dark morph means that the pigment has an alteration that makes the feathers darker than the common colors usually seen. There are light morphs too. A study on morphs suggests that color polymorphism is due to different morphs being better adapted to different light conditions.)
The Feather Files Name: Red-tailed Hawk – dark-morph Species: Buteo jamaicensis Native to and Migration: Resident or short-distance migrant. Most birds from Alaska, Canada, and the northern Great Plains fly south for a few months in winter, remaining in North America. Date Seen: October 21, 2020 Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada Notes: Red-tailed Hawks are large birds with very broad, rounded wings and a short, wide tail. They can have a wingspan of 45-52 inches (114-133 cm). The female will be slightly larger in length and weight. Red-tailed Hawks have extremely variable plumage,
I’ve done quite a few blog posts about Eggs over the years.
In a post called Playing with the Word Egg I noted that “Nature recognized that the Egg was eggsactly the type of ineggspensive, eggstremely simple container needed for many housing situations. With an eggsternal shell that would survive eggstreme conditions (barring eggsplosions), the egg was an eggsellent choice where eggsessive sharp edges were undesirable for the eggspectant mother when it was time to eggspell it.”
I even did a post about Devilled Eggs. (How hard can it be to hardboil an egg… yet the ones I did a few days were just a bit under done, so yes, it is a rather exact science.)
In this post, I’m going to explore another aspect of eggs – when you remove eggs from the carton, do you do so in a particular order? What would your egg storage container look like when you only had half the eggs left?
This was a topic on Twitter a few days ago… who says Twitter is a useless waste of time! (Thanks to Gavin Jones @ecologyofgavin for starting this inquiry.)
Gavin suggested these four possibilities:
Then he added this one:
Twitter followers added the next two:
There were a few people who were basket storers:
And last, but certainly not least, there was the ‘any place there is room in the fridge’ arrangement.
So, how about you? How do you store your eggs? Do your eggs have a storage symmetry?