Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 30

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Today we'll explore some of the wild innovations ultra premium coffee makers have perking to satisfy the refined palates of coffee connoisserus.

One category of fancy coffee beanage involves animal material.

What is in these new fangled coffees?

Squirrel spit?
Hostmaster:  Close.  If we were serious about keeping score around here, you'd get a half point.  Here's why.  There is a coffee flavor on offer that features the spit of  monkeys.  Formosan Macaques' spit, to be precise.  Those that sip the spittle say it has a subtle vanilla quality.  

The answer I seek is of a different animal matter.

Dog hair?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.

Crushed Dung Beetles?
Hostmaster:  you're getting warm.

It is wrong to take stuff
 from animals
and drink it.
Hostmaster:  yeah.  Thanks for sharing your cup of enlightenment, Toots.
Wanna try again, Bryan?
Sure!  hmmm 
Since dung beetles
was close and they prefer
herbivore dung,
I'll go with a herbivore.  hmm
Since we're dealing with efficionados,
you know, snobs, they
wouldn't drink something so common
as horse dung.  hmm
Snail dung, goose dung-
too ordinary. 
Panda, Rhino are too
importantly endangered or something.
I know!
Fossilized Mastodon

I like the way your mind works, Pal.
Some Baristas seek to take fecal
coffee to the apex in order to sate the most ardent
infused beverage enthusiasts.
Here's a big cuppa.
Thai elephants eat coffee beans.
  Somebody goes out and collects elephant droppings and
 sifts through it for the big chunks. 
 These are whizzed in a coffee grinder.  
Sound good?  Expect to pay 13 for 50 bucks a cup. 
Want more cup a dung?
There is a cat-like animal from Asia called a Palm Civet.
They are kept in cages and fed fancy coffee beans called Kopi Luwak.
Their poop is collected,
handled in ways we'd rather not know about,
 then brewed.
 $25 to $120 per cup.
Want more bottoms up?
Brazilian Jacu  birds live around coffee plants.
Naturally enough, these birds poop,
 some of which lands on the coffee beans
People pick the beans,
 careful not to dislodge the Jacu poop.
 Drinkers of this potion proclaim it as intoxicating as anise.
  Others compare it to leather and truffles.
Maybe they can call this brew, Liquorice Biker Pig
So ends this round of Pop Culture Fenzy.  Anyone up for a cup of Biker Pig?  Me neither.  I'm a bird, I already know what water tastes like after I've gone in it. There is no need for decoction. 
Round 30
Fluffy/Molly   14
Bryan/Cyndi    11

Don't believe the Hostmaster?   Here's a link

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Winter Repast

We've talked about dogs eating snow before.  We talked specifically about Mabel's habit.  Let's revisit this chilling topic with an update of sorts.

Mabel continues to indulge her taste for snow.  She also continues to throw up afterward.  A new wrinkle has been added to this annoying business.

That's right.  Henry.  You see, Henry has a taste for what most of us would consider non food items.  He is also fond of ice cubes.  Sadly, these two taste preferences combine unpleasantly.  In short. 
Pukesicles.  Barf sorbet.

Beyond the beauty lies cool hot dining.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Fluffy and Introduction Etiquette


We've only just met.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Champions have Big Hearts

Size matters in matters of the heart of an elite horse athlete.   

Taking a sample of 34 Arabian horses, 23 of them highly successful in endurance competitions, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania used an echocardiograph to measure the horses' hearts.

The star jock horses had larger left ventricles.  A bigger heart offers an advantage to the horse -more blood is being pumped into the muscles during exertion.

Other studies have shown similar findings in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses. 

What researchers are wondering now involves the old nature vs. nurture question.  Were the big hearted horses that became great athletes born that way, or did their hearts get bigger thanks to lots of cardio exercise? 

More testing is necessary.  It will be difficult to conduct these tests.  Many many horse hearts will have to be measured before and after they become (or don't become) successful competitors.  Not only that, many horses begin extensive training before they are fully grown.  A not fully grown horse probably does not have a fully grown heart.

Still, it is a question to run with.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 29

Here we are for another round of Pop Culture Frenzy.

Our question involves an upcoming display to take place December 21-23 at the Michigan State Capitol building.  What is this display?

A statue of a Spartan battling a Wolverine?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  I like that idea!  A Buckeye could be standing nearby, ready to jump into the fray, like a tag team.
  Here's a thought.
Since a buckeye is a tree, there
could be a second statue of
the victor lifting his leg
 on the Buckeye.

Hostmaster:  Now that would be art!

Back at it.  What is this upcoming display in Lansing, Fluffy?

A nativity scene?
They can't do that!  It
goes against separation of
church and state!
Hostmaster:  no, the display won't be a Nativity scene.
Santa and his reindeer?
Hostmaster:  no.  Though surely someone would be offended somehow.
Santa is associated with Christmas.
Not everybody celebrates
Christmas so Santa might
make them feel bad.
Hostmaster:  of course.
You know what makes me feel bad?
All the dead birds on the ground
under windmills.
Hostmaster:  WHAT?!?
That's a lie!  It's propaganda.
It's true.  I can show you pictures.
Let's do it later though.  
Hostmaster is looking woozy. 
Hostmaster:  umm.  Bryan, take over.  I have to leave.
I didn't know parrots could vomit
in flight.
hmmm.  OK.
I'm reading the news article Hostmaster
used as his source.
Here's the answer:
The Satanic Temple of Detroit
has made a display.  You can see it at
the Michigan State Capital
 December 21-23.
 Satanic Temple kinda
sounds like a religious group. 
Wouldn't the separation of church
and state thing kick in here, Cyndi?
Well.  It's only fair.
After centuries of Christians
forcing their beliefs
on everybody.
There's a picture of the Satanic Temple
display. There's a
pentagram, cross, snake, giftwrapped box
and printed words reading:
"The Greatest Gift is Knowledge."
Reindeer are friendlier than snakes.

Since Hostmaster is indisposed, I'll sign us off.
Be sure and join us again for pop culture frenzy.
Merry Christmas. 
There's a link to that display if anybody wants to see it: 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Peek a huh?

When I was a kid the front door of my home featured a peephole.  It was pretty cool.  When you looked through the hole the front porch was visible but in a distorted fun house sort of way.

What a handy thing to have, a peephole.  If the doorbell rang when you weren't expecting anyone you could see who it was without opening the door.  If it was, say, a vacuum cleaner salesman you could avoid him by simply not answering the door.  (Eventually this technology found it's way to telephones in the form of caller ID.)

In time, my parents replaced that door with a peepless model.  Never again did I live in a house with a peephole in the door.

Till now.

 We really don't need a peephole.  You can see who's standing at the door on the back porch through the kitchen windows.  Still, it's there.  The little kid in me spontaneously peeked through the hole yesterday.  The porch was visible, distorted in that crazy rounded way.  The railing around the porch looked like it was about to undulate.  Off to the side there was a large white something.  My first thought was, Wow!  It must be a rare white elk!  How did it get so close to the house?  Did it jump the fence?!

I stepped away from the peephole, mouth agape.  No way, I thought.  It can't be.

A second glance revealed it was just the peephole version of the propane tank.

You know...

There COULD be a white elk around here.

Coming up the trail from somewhere.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


The Northern Raccoon, aka Common Raccoon, American Raccoon and coon is found in prairies, forests, marshes, sub divisions in most of the US, southern Canada and parts of South America.  Their scientific name is procyon lotor which means something like dog/bear washer.

Speaking of washing, there is some disagreement on whether or not a raccoon washes his hands and/or washes his food.  The activity often interpreted as washing is probably the animal manipulating the food in his front feet, not to clean it or his feet, but to soften the food before eating it.  This theory holds water because when no water is around, the coon will make the same foot motions in dirt as he does in water.

Raccoons are intelligent, resourceful and versatile.  Omnivores, they eat many things from fish to nuts.  They'll eat things you'd rather they didn't, like your chickens' eggs, corn off the stalk and the trash out of your garbage can.

Some Raccoon Facts

-  they are nocturnal mammals

-  a group of raccoons is called a nursery

-  average life span:  2-3 years (up to 20 years in captivity)

-  weight:  up to about 25 pounds

-  length of body:  roughly 20 inches

-  length of tail:  10 inches

-  top causes of death:  hit by car, killed by hunter

-  predators:  coyote, mountain lion, man    

In spring, the male raccoon mates with multiple females.  He then goes back to his solitary life wandering around in a range of 3-20 square miles. 

The female's range is 1-6 miles.  She has one litter a year, gestation 60-73 days, of 1-7 kits. The youngsters stay in the den for a couple months then accompany mother when she goes out to forage for food.  They typically remain with mom for a year.   A raccoon will make a den wherever-  a tree hole, a hollow log, an abandoned beaver den or under your back porch.

Raccoon are good swimmers, climbers.  They are inquisitive, aggressive and vicious if messed with.

Some raccoons living in cold areas will fatten up in summer and fall.  In winter they will live off their fat busily asleep in their den.  Raccoons don't hibernate, they simply choose to nap heavily during cold periods.

The feet of the raccoon are hairless on the bottom.  The front feet include a thumb giving them a hand like appearance.  The coon's feet are quite dexterous.  However, the thumbs are not opposable.  The rear feet are longer and thicker than the front feet.

Raccoons are susceptible to diseases such as canine distemper, parvo and rabies.  Raccoons do not make good pets.

What I lack in thumb power, I make up for in viciousness.