Mirthy Monday – Tales from the Labs (Video)

More Very Funny Videos from Andrew Cotter.

I posted Olive and Mabel Episodes #1 and #2 at Mildly Amusing Missives #9, but you can watch them, of course, on YouTube at Andrew Cotter’s video link above.

She knows that she can still take it by shaking all over the furniture as we get back home.

…the inappropriate stuff with Kevin the doberman from accounts as well…

Andrew Cotter is (or was) a sports commentator – Wimbledon, The Masters, The Olympics – that sort of thing. Then 2020 happened and he decided to post some videos of his Labradors, Olive and Mabel. Millions of views later and Olive and Mabel now own the YouTube channel!

More Than One Moose isn’t Meese

If I had slept in a little later, or had breakfast a little earlier or been admiring the morning by looking out the windows on the back side of the house, I would have missed the show completely.

A pair of moose, mom and a young one, were in our front yard, giving a willow bush a thorough pruning. They were about 8 meters (25 feet) from me. (I was safely in the house – which is why these photos are not very clear. The window glass isn’t very clean and there are horizontal reflections from the venetian blinds.)

After they de-leafed the willow, the momma moose crossed the driveway and stepped onto our patio. She was now only a few meters away from our front door. She contemplated the spirea bush in the planter box, but decided it was not all that appetizing.

Mom and baby then headed back across the driveway, strolled past The Car Guy’s truck…

… the young one sniffed a spruce bow, then sauntered out of my sight.

I made a mad dash to my crafty room, which looks out in the direction they had gone. The blinds were closed in that room. I twisted the little rod that opens them and… it is hard to say who was more surprised. Me looking in the eyes of a moose that was not more than a meter (3 feet) away from me – or the momma moose. (Sure was glad there was a wall between us…)

Momma moose looked back down at the shrubbery she had been contemplating, then slowly moved on.

A few minutes later they were at the back of our property, de-leafing the trees in that area.

Later, much later, The Car Guy and I followed their meal path. I am so glad we have a 6 foot chain link fence protecting all the trees, bushes and other delicacies that I have planted over the years. If not for that fence, I think my yard would have been eaten all up.

Moose Facts
Scientific Name: Alces alces
Average weight: 400 kilograms for a male; 350 kilograms for a female
Average length: 2.4 metres to 3.2 metres
Average lifespan: 15 to 20 years in the wild

– The moose is the largest member of the deer family. (Yes, I’d certainly say that is true!)
– Moose live in the boreal forest and are found along the margins of lakes, muskegs and streams. Their range also includes the aspen parkland of the prairies (that’s us).
– The only natural predators of moose are grizzly bears and wolf packs. (We don’t have those here. The only danger would be from vehicles, but moose are not nocturnal. During daylight hours, the slow moving traffic in our rural area would most likely see a moose near the road even before the moose saw the vehicle…)

Ladybugs – Counting the Spots

We’ve been ‘buttoning up’ the yard in preparation for winter. Lawn furniture has been put under cover, equipment cleaned and stored. I’ve watered in the trees and mulched what is going to get mulched this year. A few bugs are still busy doing fall things too – the most visible are the Bees and the Ladybugs.

Did you know that Ladybugs can have different numbers of spots? Different species of Ladybugs have different numbers of spots. The spots, and the bright body colour can be thought of as their defensive armour – it warns predators that they don’t taste very good.

Ladybugs all dressed in red
Strolling through the flowerbed.
If I were tiny just like you
I’d creep among the flowers too!
Maria Fleming

(To see the photos in a larger size, click on one of them to open a slideshow. To close the slideshow, press your ES-Ca-pay button (or the tiny ‘X’ on the top right of the screen).

Bug Bits
Name: Ladybug
Family:
Coccinellidae
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta
Notes:
They are natural enemies of many insects, especially aphids and other sap feeders. A single lady beetle may eat as many as 5,000 aphids in its lifetime.

The Ladybug wears no disguises.
She is just what she advertises.
A speckled spectacle of spring,
A fashion statement on the wing….
A miniature orange kite.
A tiny dot-to-dot delight.
J. Patrick Lewis, “The Little Buggers”

The ladybug’s a beetle.
It’s shaped like a pea.
Its color is a bright red
With lots of spots to see.
Although the name is ladybug
Some ladybugs are men.
So why don’t we say “gentleman bug”
Every now and then?
Author Unknown

How brave a ladybug must be!
Each drop of rain is big as she.
Can you imagine what you’d do,
If raindrops fell as big as you?
Aileen Fisher

Fall Colours – Cotoneaster

Two more plants that grow prolifically in our woods are the Cotoneaster (it is such a temptation to call it a ‘Cotton Easter’ bush…) and the wild raspberry. Both arrived in our woods from bird droppings.

Red Cotoneaster leaves, green wild raspberry leaves
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Plant Profile
Common Name: Cotoneasters (pronounced ‘co_TONY-aster’)
Scientific Name: Cotoneaster; family Rosaceae
Growth: Full sun to partial shade; very adaptable to both dry and moist locations; hardy to zone 2A
Blooms: Clusters of shell pink flowers along the branches in mid spring

This, That and the Other – Perspectives

This: Digital Perspectives

I’m reading “Digital Minimalism – Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” by Cal Newport. I’m at the part where you do a one month Digital Declutter. I am supposed to step away from any technologies (apps, sites and tools on my computer or mobile phone) that I can take a break from without creating harm to my personal or professional life. Fortunately, I am 50% there even if I do nothing because I don’t have a mobile phone. I don’t have a professional life either… or much of a social life…

As for Apps, I can easily slim down Facebook. All I have to do is ‘snooze’ a few people for 30 days. I can clean-up my Twitter feed too – unfollow, block. News Sites? Shouldn’t be too hard to stop reading the news for a month… I’m feeling calmer already…

That: Funny Perspectives

My Twitter feed can be quite fun some days:

 

And the Other: ‘Rona Virus Perspective

I’ve read that a lot of people put on weight during the lockdown…

 

Fall Colours – Dogwood

Red Twig Dogwood
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Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
-Albert Camus –

Plant Profile
Common Name: Red Osier or Red Twig Dogwood
Scientific Name: Cornus spp.

Dogwood, which can be native to Alberta parkland forest understories, is a relatively easy bush to grow. It has interesting flowers in the spring, nice berries in the summer, great fall colour, and beautiful bright stems for winter colour.

We have several on our property. They arrived via bird droppings. I think that is quite amazing, actually. Who knows how far away the bird was when it ate some seeds (berries) from a dogwood. The seeds had to have been at just the right stage of ripeness. Then the bird flew some distance and pooped on a piece of ground that was a receptive host. The dogwood seed had to germinate, put down roots, and out muscle the plants around it in order to survive.

This year the dogwood got big enough for me to see it. It is about 3 feet (1 meter) high. It is not too far from a path I walk regularly – not hard to miss when the leaves turned bright red.

In contrast, there is a red-berried elder on our property that grew to be four times that size before I finally discovered it. It was delivered by bird poop too, but not in a location that it can easily be seen.

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.
-Author Unknown –

Scott Adams Quotations

The Quippery

Scott Adams is the creator of the Dilbert comic strip. He is also the author of several nonfiction works of satire, commentary and business. His writing is often satirical and/or sarcastic. Adams frequently speaks about media bias, citing instances (such as the ‘Fine People hoax’) where the media attributes a statement to a public figure but distorts the meaning by omitting a key statement made by that person.

His books include two bestsellers: How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big and Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter.

Be careful that what you write does not offend anybody or cause problems within the company. The safest approach is to remove all useful information.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Everybody is somebody’s else’s weirdo.

If free will exists, why do the tallest candidates with the best hair usually win elections ?

If your boss gets drunk and offers to photocopy her posterior, do not helpfully suggest pressing reduce 75%.

If you’re going to create, create a lot. Creativity is not like playing the slot machines, where failure to win means you go home broke. With creativity, if you don’t win, you’re usually no worse off than if you hadn’t played.

I’m predicting that we’ll finally have a computer that will search my e-mail automatically and delete every message that begins with ‘thought you’d be interested,’ and then give an electrical shock to the sender to remind him or her to stop sending that kind of message.

I think the pleasure of completed work is what makes blogging so popular. You have to believe most bloggers have few if any actual readers. The writers are in it for other reasons. Blogging is like work, but without coworkers thwarting you at every turn. All you get is the pleasure of a completed task.

I wish I were dumber so I could be more certain about my opinions. It looks fun.

Large corporations welcome innovation and individualism in the same way the dinosaurs welcomed large meteors.

Normal people… believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet.

Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs.

On the fourth day of telecommuting, I realized that clothes are totally unnecessary.

Remember, freedom is always taken, never given.

Science is a good thing. News reporters are good things too. But it’s never a good idea to put them in the same room.

Scientists will eventually stop flailing around with solar power and focus their efforts on harnessing the only truly unlimited source of energy on the planet: stupidity. I predict that in the future, scientists will learn how to convert stupidity into clean fuel.

Technology will definitely solve all our problems, but in the process it will create brand new ones. But that’s O.K. because the most you can expect from life is to get to solve better and better problems.

The best part about being my age is in knowing how my life worked out. Sure, there’s a lot more living to go, but there isn’t much doubt that I’ll always be the ‘Dilbert guy.’

The best plan now is to have as many bosses as possible. I call it boss diversity. If you work for a company and you have one boss and that boss doesn’t like you or wants to get rid of you, you’re in trouble. But if you work for yourself, you have lots of bosses, who are your customers, and if a few of them decide they don’t like you, that’s okay.

The greenest home is the one you don’t build. If you really want to save the Earth, move in with another family and share a house that’s already built. Better yet, live in the forest and eat whatever the squirrels don’t want.

There’s a gigantic gray area between good moral behavior and outright felonious activities. I call that the Weasel Zone and it’s where most of life happens.

There’s kind of a toll you have to pay with a cat; if you don’t pet her for 10 minutes she’ll bother you for six hours.

There’s no such thing as good ideas and bad ideas. There are only your own ideas and other people’s. If you want someone to like your idea, tell him he said it first last week and you just remembered it.

There’s nothing more humbling than seeing your best quotes in a list, and thinking they could have been written by a coma patient with a keyboard and spasms.

The source of all unhappiness is other people. As soon as you learn to think of other people as noisy furniture, the sooner you will be happy.

Your best work involves timing. If someone wrote the best hip hop song of all time in the Middle Ages, he had bad timing.

Fall Colours – Virginia Creeper

Virginia Creeper
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Plant Profile
Common Name: Virginia Creeper
Scientific Name: Parthenocissus quinquefolia

This vine is a prolific deciduous climber, reaching heights of 20–30 m (70–100 ft) in the wild. It climbs smooth surfaces using small forked tendrils tipped with tiny strongly adhesive pads 5 mm (3⁄16 in) in size.

We have Virginia Creeper growing, under strict supervision, in two locations. The one in the photo is in a large planter box. It has been growing there for 20 years or so. I shear it back a few times each year so that it doesn’t take off across the patio and out onto the driveway. If left to do what it does best, it would engulf a small car in just one growing season.

The other location is next to a quonset steel building where it (and six of its siblings) are supposed to climb up the side of the building. To date, the strong adhesive pads are not having much luck climbing the shiny metal. Maybe next year.

Fall at my Alberta Home – Aspen

Trembling Aspen Leaves
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Plant Profile
Common Name: Trembling (Quaking) Aspen
Scientific Name: Populus tremuloides

Trembling (aka Quaking) Aspen is the most widely distributed tree in North America, and is known for the distinctive rustling sound its leaves make in the breeze. It is also the preferred wood for that most Canadian of animals – the beaver. These industrious creatures use it as a food source and as the main structural wood in their dams and houses.

Trembling Aspen reproduces by root propagation. This creates clones of the original tree, which can produce pure stands covering a large area. The clones are considered as one individual so these colonies are some of the largest and oldest living organisms on the planet.
– Canadian Woodworking and Home Improvement –

We have a four or five stands of these trees on our property. Each stand has dozens and dozens of trees of various ages. This was an exceptionally good growing year for them because we did not have many aspen leaf roller caterpillars. Instead, there are dark spots on the leaves – perhaps a fungus of some kind. Aspen are susceptible to many insects and diseases, which is why mother nature gave them the ability to grow up fast to compensate for the fact they die relatively young.

Trembling Aspen – fighting for domination with the spruce trees
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Trembling Aspen stand – no spruce trees to compete against
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Missing in Action: The WordPress.com Classic Editor

If you, like me, have stubbornly refused to use the newish (and ever changing) WordPress Block Editor, you may have recently discovered that WordPress no longer appears to give you the option to choose the Classic Editor to write your posts.

There is, however, an easy work around that takes you back to the ‘good old days.’ Here is what you do:

If your ‘My Home’ looks like the one above, click the option ‘WP Admin.’
This will take you to the old ‘Dashboard’ above. Click on the word ‘Posts’ so that it is highlighted.
Now you will see ‘Posts Add New’ to the right of the word ‘Dashboard’.
Click the arrow to the right of ‘Add New’ and there will be a drop down menu that gives you the option of the new ‘Block Editor’ or the old ‘Classic Editor’.

I suppose the Classic Editor will eventually be discontinued. It has basic capabilities, but doesn’t let you “Author richly laid-out posts”… richly laid out posts that might end up looking like they came from the Classic Editor if they are read in a feed reader or on a smart phone.

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.
-Charles Mingus –