Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 48

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Today's question takes us to last night's GOP convention where Melania Trump made a speech.

She has been accused of plagiarizing a section of Michelle Obama's 2008 DNC speech.  Just what was said?

It's a disgrace.  She should apologize at once!
Hostmaster:  for saying what, exactly?

She said about the value of hard work
 and my word is my bond.
Just like Michelle.  Word for word.
I demand an apology from
everyone who uses clunky platitudes
like, "my word is my bond".

What's the big deal?
The value of hard work,
keeping  your word?  Aren't these
things we can actually agree on?
Do we really need to nitpick the wording?
Melania used Michelle's speech.
She stole it.  It's plagiarization!
Republicans are cheaters!
Can you plagiarize a platitude?
Good question.
  I'm not sure about platitudes
 but I'm pretty sure cliches' and
old chestnuts are in the
public domain.
She should admit she used
Michelle's words.
I don't know.
All First Lady speeches sound
the same to me. 

First Ladies should be
seen and not heard -and
rarely seen at all.

So ends another round.

   For those interested, you can see and hear the controversial speech snippets here.

Round 48
Fluffy/Molly 21
Bryan/Cyndi  19

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Then There Were Two

It began just over a year ago.

They grew.

Things were going swimmingly.  That is, till the year old boys' hormones kicked in.

Six drakes and two ducks makes for- if you'll forgive the phrase- violence and sloppy seconds.  The girls were abused, stressed out.  They stopped laying eggs. 

Not only that, the boys were fighting amongst themselves.  Thuggary.  Missing feathers.  Unpleasantness all around.

Sometimes homesteading gets gritty.  Five of the six drakes were dispatched. The best time to process a duck is when they first feather at about six months.  At that point, they have tender meat and nice juicy baby fat. 

Year old ducks are a bit leaner.  Still, quite tasty.

Which drake was spared the roasting pan, you ask?  The one that was most vigilant.  When the flock separated, he would stand in between the two groups and keep an eye on both at the same time.  Happy bonus.  He's the prettiest drake.

Then there were three,  Poofhead and the two girls: little white duck and little brown duck.

 Then, more trouble.  The remaining ducks got just a bit too free in their free ranging.  They wandered into the woods.  There are predators lurking there.  Poofhead failed in his vigilance.

Then there were two.  From now on, free range is only a memory. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

It's That Time Again

Here is our annual It's Hot Enough for Malcom to be Outside photo.

 Malcom enjoys an ear of Michigan corn.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day

Today we remember July 4, 1776

Let's read the Declaration
all the way through.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mysterious Critter Alert!

The sighting occurred a couple weeks ago, just before daylight, out this window.  The creature was strolling casually along the edge of the mowed area.  It vanished into the tall grass beyond the trees.


dark brown in color
fluffy tail
approximately 3 feet in length, including tail
small head
small ears
beady eyes
big feet
looks like a skinny badger
aura of malevolence

The identity of this animal is most probably a fisher.

Fishers belong to the family Mustelidae, along with badgers, ferrets, minks, otters, sables, wolverines.

Some Fisher Facts

-coat thick and lush, dark brown to black in color
-  4-15 pounds
-  29-47 inches long, including tail
-  range 3-5 square miles
- solitary hunters:  rabbit, mouse, grouse porcupine, carrion
- populations dwindled about 100 years ago due to trapping (fisher fur is similar to mink)
-  fisher populations are larger now
- most active at dusk and dawn
-  able to climb trees but spend most of their time on the ground.  However, young are raised in hollow trees high off the ground

  Have there been other fisher sightings here at the homestead?  No.  But that's probably due to fisher stealth.

Read more about the Fisher here.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mourning Doves On the Rocks

Lots of cheeping baby bird voices have been heard this spring, here at the homestead.  For instance, a pair of Mourning Doves had a nest near this rock. 

Now the youngster is fledging.

Here's a bit of information on Mourning Doves.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Henry's Honor

Some dogs are stoic when they don't feel well.  They valiantly soldier on.  Some dogs whine when they hurt, look at you all sad eyed, seeking comfort.  Some dogs respond to discomfort by caterwauling as though they are being tortured.  Henry is of this last type.

Henry suffers from a common toy dog problem.  Luxating patella.  On a veterianaran website providing information about the condition there is a picture of a Pomeranian.  How about that for a coinkydink! 

A luxating patella occurs when the connecting tissue that holds the knee cap to the leg is not tightly attached.  The knee cap tends to get off track.  Usually it pops back into place but all this moving around invites inflammation which, of course, aggravates matters.  In short, what Henry has is an unstable knee system.

While the knees of big dogs do sometimes dislocate, the problem is far more prevalent in tiny companion animals, like Henry.  It seems dogs that are not toys are less likely to be weak in the knees.

Real dogs have real knees!


Alas, Henry's feeble knee tendency has been evident since puppyhood. 

It didn't seem to bother him too much though. He would occasionally yelp as he scurried around but barely broke stride.  Reasonably enough, Henry was reacting to his knee cap moving out of place than back in again, surely an unpleasant sensation.  Henry's macho playing through the pain didn't last though.

In time,  Henry's emoting over his booboo knees increased.  Before long Henry achieved drama queen status.  Indeed, the agony evidently became so unendurable that Henry actually asked to be carried.  (Henry's other condition is Small Dog Syndrome. Among the symptoms of this condition are being cute and barking for no reason.  There is also a dash of the Napoleonic.  Henry displays this trait in not wanting to be carried.  The Little Corporal prefers to strut unaided, you see.)  Thus, Henry asking to be carried, made it clear he was truly having issues with his hind legs.  Well, that and the hysterical screaming.

A combination of bad luck, less than ideal genetics, having been bred down from a normal sized dog to a little bitty toy creature, and who knows what else, have taken a toil on Henry's knees.  Other factors, such as all that running down the hall like a demented chipmonk, leaping about like an insane kangaroo, and surely most damaging of all, the pirouettes, have turned Henry's less than stellar knees into infirm knees.

Still, it's not all gloom and neurosis.  There's a little strain of honor in this little dog.  Obviously, if your knee hurts, it hurts even more when you use it.  When it's time to go potty, Henry has to go all the way outside walking on his sore knee, then stand on his sore knee to tinkle.  He could just do it on the porch right outside the back door (as he does when the snow is deep).   But no.  Stalwart Henry steps down off the porch and onto the grass to do his business.

For now, Henry's knee is day to day, as they say about injured baseball players not yet on the disabled list.  Will Henry's knee trouble flare up again?  Probably.  Such a tough row to hoe.  After all, Henry doesn't always handle unpleasent well.  He cries when he gets his hair brushed.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.