This is the Week That Was: August 19, 2022

Tidy Friday

It is ever so easy to just keep putting things off, especially when you are retired and deadlines are mostly a thing of the past! That was the impetus for my declaration a few weeks ago that Fridays would be Tidy Friday – the object being we would ‘rehome’ stuff that had been ‘unhomed’ during the week. You know what I mean – that pile of unfolded laundry, work surfaces that you can’t work on because of the accumulated clutter, etc, etc.

That is working out rather well – so well, in fact, that I have taken it one step further with One and Done Wednesday. Wednesdays are going to be dedicated to finishing all those little projects that never quite got finished, but when they are done, they will never have to be done again! (There are lots of these types of things here at the ‘House of the Never Ending Reno’!) This past Wednesday, The Car Guy finished the baseboards and window trim in two rooms!  I removed the dead lower branches from ten more spruce trees.

Many Thanks to Family Tree Maker

Some family trees have beautiful leaves, and some have just a bunch of nuts. Remember, it is the nuts that make the tree worth shaking.
– Author Unknown –

Way back when (2004) I purchased the Genealogy Program, Family Tree Maker. Last week I finally decided to upgrade it so that I could use the new ‘tools’ it offers. I was disappointed to find, however, that though the new program could import all the ‘people’ data I had saved, it could not read  the family tree charts I had made.

I contacted the company that owns the software (Mackiev.com) and was impressed with how quickly they responded to my concerns, how much help they offered me and finally how promptly they refunded my money when we agreed that the software was not going to work for me!

What I really would like now is Family Tree Maker 2005. It is an upgrade to the program I have, but still reads all my charts! No luck so far in finding a copy for sale online!

How Many Things Aren’t as They Seem?

A Peanut is not a nut – it is a legume.
Koala bears are not bears – they are marsupials.
A guinea pig is not a pig, but a rodent.
Bulls don’t charge a matador’s cape because it is red; they charge it because it is moving.
Adverse Weather events are not proof of Climate Change.  I mention this because the Province I live in, Alberta, had another hailstorm last week. It dropped the largest hailstone ever seen in Canada. Though some claim that this one hailstone is proof of climate change, no one knows if the ‘mother of all hailstones’ actually fell in a farmer’s field at some other time and no one was there to celebrate its arrival!

Another Kind of ‘Cult’

Turning the Tables on Vegetable based Meat (Satire)

Thinking Outside the Box

You Don’t Say!

A Musical Interlude: Barcelona Guitar Trio + Paquito Escudero – Billie Jean (Michael Jackson ) (flamenco guitar) For more of their videos: https://www.youtube.com/c/MaestrosdelaGuitarra/videos

… and That was the Week That Was…

This is the Week That Was: July 22, 2022

$200 and Change

The Car Guy informs me that it cost him just over $200 to put fuel in his truck this week. That’s the bad news. The good news is that he can  make about 80 trips to the lumber store before he has to refuel again.

Are You Listening… or Waiting to Talk?

It took my husband less than a minute to tell me about the cost of gasoline. It will take me over 20 minutes to write this post about gasoline (and other things), which is why I think this next visual is true!

I Like the Bunny Slippers

This was apparently taken at a branch of RBC Wealth Management – a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada.

Dress like you own the bank. Not like you need a loan from it.
— Louis Raphael –

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
—Mark Twain –

If men can run the world, why can’t they stop wearing neckties?
– Linda Ellerbee –

The Jumbo Jet

Do you know why the Boeing 747 (the Jumbo Jet) has that hump on the top? Apparently Boeing felt the 747 would be quickly rendered obsolete as a passenger carrier, so they designed the plane so that it could be converted into a freighter. A cockpit up in the hump would make the conversion easier.

This, and so many other interesting facts can be found in Bill Bryson’s book, ‘Made in America – An Informal History of the English Language in the United States’. Though it was written in 1994, many of Bryson’s observations about social and cultural change read like current events. His writing is, as usual, peppered with wry humour.

Until 1916, New Hampshire had a stream called the Quohquinapassakessamanagnog, but then the cheerless bureaucrats at the Board on Geographic Names in Washington, D.C., arbitrarily changed it to Beaver Creek.
― Bill Bryson, Made in America –

The Cone of Uncomfort

The Grand-dog, Ghost, had to have a lump removed from her leg. She was spared the ‘white plastic cone of misery’ because of the mental anguish it causes her. It renders her immobile – so while it stops the licking, it stops her from doing anything else too. She just stands there.

The vet put a flexible cone on but it was too small  –  it didn’t prevent Ghost from investigating her owie. Fortunately the bandage did the job.

This is the Week that Was: July 15, 2022

Great Horned Owlet in April 2022

The Rescue Owl
In April I rescued a Great Horned Owlet that had fallen out of a nest that was in the Palm Tree in our front yard (see Great Horned Owlets in April.) We took the bird to the ‘Wild at Heart’ Bird rescue center in Cave Creek Arizona.

In early June the Director of Wild at Heart  sent us an update about our owlet.

Group Photo Great Horned Owlets

‘Our’ owl is one of the ones in this group photo. The birds will continue their stay at the Center throughout the summer. They will finish their live food training sessions and in late summer and throughout the fall they will be released into a suitable habitat.

So, do you think my owlet is the ‘tall’ curious one in the back row… or maybe the shy one huddled up against the owl next to it? For creatures that look so much alike, they do seem to have distinct personalities!

Social Media – the Information Gatekeepers

Being effective at social media, whether for business or personal use, means capturing people who have short attention spans. They’re only a click away from a picture of a funny cat, so you have to make your thing more compelling than that cat. And that can be a high bar.
— Alexis Ohanian –

There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson –

#Take Box

We call the Amazon Drivers ‘Andy’. They visit us quite frequently. The Car Guy has found that he can buy a lot of stuff for his work shop from Amazon. Their warehouse isn’t far from our place and they have items that the hardware stores have not had for some time now.

As quickly as Andy delivers things, other stuff is exiting our house. We are  in the ‘never ending’ downsizing mode. We are at that age where it is highly unlikely we will ever use many of the things that we often used 20 or 30 years ago!  When I saw the following idea,  I thought it sounded like a good one:

What Happens in the Bedroom…

Speaking of Beds, I recently saw this ‘Flower Bed’.

Do You Remember When?

Are you old enough to remember the Indian Head Test Pattern that was shown on your TV screen just after the channel had signed off for the day?

The test pattern was used to tune the brightness and contrast settings, either by broadcast engineers to make sure broadcasts were being sent correctly; or by TV owners or repair shop technicians to correct the image.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian-head_test_pattern#/media/File:Indian_Head_Test_Pattern_with_Labels.png

To Sum Things Up

The upside of Facebook, besides knowing what things your friends and family are doing that they don’t otherwise tell you about, are tidbits like this one (I couldn’t find the original source, which might have been clearer):

If you are of a certain age you will remember Jim Croce’s song, ‘Operator’:

Operator, oh, could you help me place this call?
See, the number on the matchbook is old and faded.

The hypothetical comments that might come from young people today – what is an ‘operator’ or a ‘matchbook’ – could explain why that person would think the song makes no sense!

That’s okay. The few times I’ve listened to the words of some new song, I didn’t understand all the references either!

Revelio Invisibilis and Other Useful Spells

Recently I was surprised to find that my blog was invisible to the search engine I normally use – DuckDuckGo (DDG). It was also invisible to Bing. (I had typed my URL, amusives.wordpress.com, into the search box and neither search engine listed my blog in the results list.) Next I tried Google Search and my blog showed up on the top of the list. Strange, right!?

I discussed this with another WordPress blogger and he wondered if his blog (which was invisible too) had been ‘shadow banned‘ because he sometimes wrote posts that challenge the prevailing Global Warming narrative about Arctic Sea Ice. I couldn’t think of any reason why my blog would be made invisible.

I contacted a WordPress Happiness Engineer, Tiffany, who told me that WordPress has some ‘tools’ in place that ensure that WordPress posts are indexed by Google. (I’ve called these tools the Revelio invisibilis spell…) WordPress does not have these tools for any other search engines. Tiffany reminded me that there are things I can do to increase my visibility with all search engines. This includes blogging frequently, using appropriate tags and categories, leaving comments on other blogs, sharing posts on social media, etc.

So – if I perfect the spells for Postus Writeitselfus, Tagus Popularis, Categora Bestus, Commentor Briefus Witticarious or Socialus Followlinkus – I’ll share them with you.

Other Possible Spells, Charms and Chants:
If you know the AlbiAlbeAlbu spelling charm, let this person know:

Only two things I know about Albuquerque – Bugs Bunny should’ve taken a left turn there. And give me a hundred tries, I’ll never be able spell it.
– Jimmy McGill –

Is there a spell that will make every man sit to pee in a stall toilet?
This calls for an Unspendus spell.
A dry spring and heavy pollen. It has been an incredibly ‘yellow’ few weeks here. Fortunately it has started to rain. Unfortunately this much rain in such a short time will lead to flooding. We need a Rainis Notsomuchus Sofast spell.
If only there was a spell for this!
The only way to open those plastic bags is… scissors.

Baa Baa Black Sheep

CBC’s list of words

CBC News Ottawa recently published a list of ‘banned’ words according to the anti-racism and language experts they consulted. Some of the phases contain the word ‘black’ which the experts said can be hurtful to people because of the negative historical and cultural background of the word. (Some people would like to add Black Friday to the list).

My Black Sheep Tangle

I was surprised to see the term Black Sheep.  Historically, black sheep were less desirable than white sheep only because the black wool could not be easily dyed colors. The phrase eventually evolved to refer to the oddball member of the family who did not fall in line with the others.

What about blackmail? It was first used in the 16th century in Scotland where it was a payment exacted by plundering chiefs in exchange for immunity from more pillage.

While in the current context, both words have evolved into negative portrayals, the word ‘black’ can also be a positive or powerful word, such as black belt, black diamond, black coffee, black pepper, black ink, etc.

The word white can also have an undesirable connotation – white elephant, white lightnin’, white out, white trash, show the white feather…

Hopefully, some day black and white will no longer be a source of conflict – Yin Yang will prevail.

Moving on, I’d like to know why CBC didn’t put the word ‘short’ on their list. If I was a sensitive ‘vertically challenged’ person, I would object to the many phrases that contain the word ‘short’: short changed; short end of the stick; the long and the short of it; a day late and a dollar short; one brick short of a load; a few sandwiches short of a picnic; draw the short straw; short circuit; short fuse; short sighted…

Rex Murphy, of the National Post, responding to the CBC list, constructed an editorial about these words by using them all: Rex Murphy: Tongue-tied by CBC’s 18 words you can’t say

Alas, it is the case that the rich tribe of consultants employed by the CBC to make sure Canadian English never falls into bad-speak is being pilloried on Twitter and elsewhere as lame , and even (shudder) tone deaf .

Other even more savage criticisms are raining down on the corporation, such that its executives and high-profile personalities have been called together in a kind of public relations powwow , to brainstorm some way of responding to the crisis.
– Rex Murphy –

Normally I would ask you what your thoughts are on this subject, so here goes: Do you think the legs I drew on the Black Sheep look a bit like piano keys?

Update: thanks for your comments about the Sheep’s legs. As per your input, the Sheep has now been named ‘Little Piano Legs’.

Correlation and Causation – The Lighter Side

Correlation means there is a relationship or pattern between the values of two variables. Causation means that one event causes another event to occur.
Khan Academy

‘Correlation Does Not Imply Causation’. In my day we said,  ‘Don’t Jump to Conclusions!’

https://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations
https://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations
https://xkcd.com/925/
https://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations

The Car Guy, by virtue of occupation and natural tendency, is extremely good at situation analysis and risk management. Me – not so much. Do you have one of these annoyingly logical people who don’t jump to conclusions in your life too?

American Thanksgiving – 2021

May your life be full of both Thanks and Giving!

I’d like to thank Ray at Mitigating Chaos for posting this ‘traditional’ American Thanksgiving video on his blog.  I’d never seen it before (maybe because I am Canadian…) but I enjoyed the story so much that I wanted to share it with others.

The song/story is folk singer Arlo Guthrie’s  mostly true recollection of events that began at Alice’s Restaurant in 1965.

‘Alice’s Restaurant Massacree’ was originally released in 1967. It is only a bit about Thanksgiving, Alice, or her restaurant. It’s more about the favor they did for Alice – driving her trash out to the dump, only to find that the dump was closed for Thanksgiving.

We’d never heard of a dump closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes, we drove off into the sunset lookin’ for another place to put the garbage.
We didn’t find one till we came to a side road, and off the side of the side road was another fifteen-foot cliff, and at the bottom of the cliff was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile was better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up, we decided to throw ours down…

You will have to watch the whole video to see how trash led to an arrest which led to… well, just watch it!

Andrew Cotter – Olive, Mabel and Penguins – Mirthy Monday (Videos)

Andrew Cotter began his career at Scot FM in Edinburgh before moving into sports commentary for BBC radio and TV. When sporting events were cancelled due to Covid-19 he began posting videos of his labradors, Olive, eight, and Mabel, four, on Twitter and YouTube.

Andrew Cotter narrates the nightly walk of the fairy penguins of Victoria’s Phillip Island as a high-stakes, long-distance race.

12th Blog Anniversary and 1000 Posts

Two milestones to celebrate – my 12th Blogging Anniversary and my 1000th post on this blog; (another 87 posts – the more serious and political ones – are at my alternate identity, Counter Current)!

Highlights (and a few low lights) of the past twelve years:

Morgan or Montana Moose – though Mandate Moose would have been a better name…

How many people can say they get frequent visits from the  Munching Moose Tree and Hedge Maintenance Service?
_____________________________

Three Great Horned Owlets

Our property was also home to a Great Horned Owl family that nested in a large spruce tree on the edge of our driveway.

I also did 138 Wild-life stories that document all the birds, bugs and animals I saw and 88 posts about Plants.
_____________________________

On the Humour front, I did 95 posts of funny Quotations and 1000 posts that had at least one moment of happiness embedded in the verbiage.
_____________________________

I’ve posted 45 Craft Projects.  The interior decor of the Red House reminds me of the front of the family fridge when there were school age kids in our house: a bunch of crafts that sometimes only a ‘mother’ can love…
_____________________________

“Into each life a little rain must fall.”

In 2012, The Car Guy was in a bad motorcycle accident. Man and bike both recovered, though the Harley looked like new after the restoration and The Car Guy  – not so much.
In 2013 there was a lot of rain. Our entire Cabin Community was destroyed. Though we weren’t able the save much from our cabin, the Car Guy did manage to salvage   our old lawnmower!
_____________________________

My review wouldn’t be complete without a mention of  Covid-19. I did about 40 posts about the virus, none of which went viral…

2, 4, 6, 8… Who Needs to Isolate?
My blogging life started in November 2009 during the peak of the second wave of the novel virus H1N1pdm09 pandemic. It was also known as the ‘Swine Flu’. The Cornell Daily Sun joked about the pig connection with the headline: ‘It’s the End of the World As We Know It, And I Feel Swine…’

I’ve also lived through two other relatively serious pandemics – two Avian flus: the  Asian flu of 1957-1958  and the Hong Kong Flu of 1968-1970 . How did all three of these pandemics compare to Covid-19? No one will ever really know. Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been tracked differently and the collateral damage from lock downs, reduction in non-covid medical treatment and school closures will be difficult to measure.

Is “Baby It’s Cold Outside” a Deeply Offensive Song about Climate Change Denialism?
My blogging ‘career’ also coincided with COP15 (Conference of the Parties) which was held in Copenhagen in late 2009. COP26 (the 2021 version) is in full swing in Glasgow.  21,000 delegates, 13,000 observers and 3,000 members of the media will talk about how to cut emissions… do they understand the irony?

I’ll end this retrospective with this:

My blog is a collection of answers people don’t want to hear to questions they didn’t ask.
― Sebastyne Young –

Andrew Cotters Olive and Mabel; Jeanne Robertson (Videos)

First Date

Jeanne Robertson was a professional speaker who specialized in down home humor. In this video she speaks, as she often does, about  her husband, Jerry, who she lovingly called ‘Left Brain’ (Jerry is the man in the green sweater). Jeanne and Jerry died within months of each other in 2021, but Jeanne’s special brand of humour lives on in her many videos.

Do you remember your first date at a Drive Through Hamburger place? Did it feature the accidental escape of ketchup from one of those little ketchup packages, such that there was more ketchup on the girl’s good white blouse than on the guy’s french fries?

It Has to be 9PM Somewhere:

When I was a kid, getting put to bed at 9 PM, I couldn’t wait until I was a grown-up and could stay up until whatever time I wanted. That time is, apparently, 9 PM.
– Author Unknown –

The recent referendum in our Province (that asked if we wanted to stop changing our clocks twice a year) was 49.8% for and 51.2% against. I am disappointed, though not surprised that half of the people wanted that ‘extra’ hour of light at the beginning of the day and the other half at the end of the day. On the positive side, when the clocks change again in early November, most of the clocks in my clock collection will be on time again.

An Idea for Christmas – Borrow the Neighbours Kid for your Family Christmas Photo:

Get your relatives speaking to one another again by sending a heartfelt Christmas card with a picture of your family with an extra child nobody knows.
– Author Unknown –

Beep Beep! Has PETA ruled on Cruelty to Cartoon Coyotes?

PETA is asking Major League Baseball to stop using the term “bullpen” to describe the area where pitchers warm up and instead use the term “arm barn.” The nonprofit organization argued that saying “bullpen” is insensitive to cows in a news release on Thursday.
– Sports Washington –

I’d Watch the News if This Happened:

If liar’s pants really did catch on fire, watching the news would be a lot more fun.
– fb/New and Interesting –

Tree Hugging When Lumber Prices are Off the Charts:

Another Dog Tail from Olive and Mabel

A Motorcycle Joke

If my name was David and I had a boy, I would have to name him Harley. That way, he could introduce himself “I’m Harley, David’s son.”
– Dad Jokes –