Monday, December 31, 2012

Fluffy/New Year


Thursday, December 27, 2012



Monday, December 24, 2012

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

The Sharp-Shinned Hawk is the smallest of the accipiters (bird eating hawks with short round wings).

This is an juvenile Sharp-Shinned Hawk dining on a pigeon.  This youngster will attain his adult plumage this spring/summer after he goes through his first annual molt.  Thus, when his feathers grow in they will be grown-up feathers.  Instead of brown, his back will be blue gray, instead of brown markings on his chest, he will have reddish markings.  His youthful yellow eyes will give way to mature red.

Some Sharp-Shinned Hawk Facts

- diet:  small birds, small mammals

- length:  12-14 inches

-  the female is larger than the male

-  habitat:  wooded areas

-  range:  throughout North America

-  incubation:  30-32 days

-  nestling  21-28 days

- fledgling:  30-40 days

-  broods per year:  1

Not a great deal is known about the mating habits of the Sharp-Shinned Hawk.  How do they chose mates?  Do they mate for life?  What are their courtship rituals?  Because this Hawk is secretive and shy about being watched, we have limited information. 

Here's some stuff we do know.  Sharp-Shinned Hawks make nests in evergreen trees 15-60 feet about the  ground.  The nests are made of twigs and lined with thin twigs and flakes of bark.  Nests are 20-25 inches in diameter and 5-7 inches deep.  The nests are located approximately 2 miles distance from other Sharp-Shinned nests.  The female does all the incubating of the 4-5 white to bluish white eggs.  The male feeds her while she is on the nest.  When the young are born, both parents feed them.  After the young leave the nest they hang around for a few weeks.  During this time the parents still feed them, though not enough to sustain them.  The youngsters hone their hunting skills by practicing on bugs.  Eventually they learn to catch bigger prey, such as songbirds.

An interesting habit of the Sharp-Shinned Hawk is that they pluck the feathers from their catch before they eat it.  Most other raptors simply dig in to the flesh through the feathers.

Sharp-Shinned Hawks have short wingspans which enables them to maneuver around and among trees. This agility helps them hunt in densely wooded areas.

Listen to the voice of a Sharp-Shinned Hawk and see some pictures. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fluffy/Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 5

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  This is Round 5.  Now for our question.

A plot to murder Justin Bieber has been thwarted!  Why would anybody want to murder Justin Bieber?  Molly?

He's the Canadian singer with the awful helmet hair, right? 
Maybe the would-be killers were outraged hairdressers?
Hostmaster:  incorrect?  Bryan?

A guy with a tattoo of Justin Bieber on his leg was so distraught
 that he couldn't attend Bieber's sold out show at Madison Square Garden
 on account of him being in prison, he asked 
 his idiot nephew to kill Bieber.  You know, the "if I can't
see my idol in concert nobody will" sort of crazy?
Hostmaster:  hmm.  Intriguing.  Not incorrect but not correct either.  Cyndi? 
First of all, Justin Beiber has updated his look.  Obviously, as he
 is a man now, he has a manly hairdo.  This change from tween heartthrob to
 adult hottie is the real reason this misguided fan wanted to kill Justin.
  You see he's, like, a pedophile and no longer finds
 Justin attractive.  It is sad and wrong all at the same time.
Hostmaster:  So ends Round 5.  Sadly and wrongly, you might say.

Round 5
Fluffy/Molly  3
Byran/Cyndi  2
Manly is not the word that leaps to mind to describe Justin Bieber's hair.
  How about we call it neo helmet hair?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Breed Profile: Siberian Husky

Long ago, the nomadic Chukchi people of Siberia developed dogs for transportation.  The dogs needed strength to pull a sled and the endurance to do so for long distances.  These gentle dogs lived closely with the people, often sleeping with the children at night.

Miners during the Alaska Gold Rush used the Husky for travel.  It was also during this period that  dog sled racing became popular.  Siberian Huskies, smaller and more cooperative than other Huskies gained attention because they tended to win races.

The Siberian Husky of today still loves to run.

Some Siberian Husky Facts

also known as Arctic Husky

-  life span 12-14 years

-  21-23 inches at the shoulder

-  40-60 pounds

In 1925 a team of Siberian Huskies ran some 340 miles to deliver diphtheria serum, saving the people of Nome.  During World War II, Huskies served on search and rescue teams for the army. 
The double coat of the Siberian Husky provides insulation to keep him warm in cold weather.  The coat also insulates against heat, allowing the Husky to tolerate most all weather conditions. 
Weekly brushing and an occasional bath keep the coat in good shape.  Twice a year the coat "blows" which means the entire undercoat is shed.  The Siberian Husky's coat comes in all colors from pure white to pure black, various markings on the face and body are common.  A Husky sometimes has brown eyes, sometimes blue eyes, and sometimes one of each.
Siberian Husky Manifesto
-  I sneak out of the yard not because I don't like living with you but because I so enjoy exploring
- if you are want a guard dog, get a Kuvasz
- sure I'm stubborn but I am also incredibly cheerful and delightfully puckish
A Siberian Husky needs exercise and lots of it.  If he doesn't expend his formidable energy by running, playing, pulling a sled, skijoring, jogging, hiking, agility or some other desirable way, he may take up less desirable pastimes such as digging, chewing or howling.
See some more pictures .
Next Breed Profile:  Yorkshire Terrier!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fluffy and George




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fluffy/Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 4


Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy!  This is Round 4.  Now to our question.

A petition has been circulating to urge Macy's to discontinue the Donald Trump clothing line.  Why?
It's obvious.  Look at his hair!
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Molly?
Because they think he's a racist birther?
Hostmaster:  close.  Bryan?
Because he doesn't believe in man made climate change?
Hostmaster:  close.  Fluffy?
Because the clothes are made in China?
Hostmaster:  close.  Cyndi?
He's a sexist!  He said that his daughter has a nice figure!
Hostmaster:  I've seen his daughter.  She does have a nice figure!  Anyway, close. 
All of the above?
Hostmaster:  Yeah.  Pretty much.  It's kind of a draw, isn't it?  Oh, whatever.  Molly you are correct. 
Round 4
Fluffy/Molly  3
Bryan/Cyndi  1
Cher said it best.  She won't shop at Macy's because Donald Trump is a loudmouth.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is a nonmigratory song bird found throughout most of the US.  They live in swamps, thickets, woods and suburban yards. 

The male is bright red with a black face and pointed head (crest).  The female is tan with a rosy hue, also with a crest.  Cardinals molt once a year, but unlike many birds their feather color does not change with the seasons.   

Some Cardinal Facts

-  length:  8-9 inches

-  wingspan:  10-12 inches

-  diet:  seeds, fruit, insects

-  both male and female sing

-  juveniles resemble the adult female, except the youngster has a black beak, mom has a red beak

During the winter, Cardinals hang out in flocks.  By late winter/early spring they begin to split up into pairs and territories.  Both male and female defend their territory, chasing interlopers out.  Songs are used to establish territory and mates.  You may hear a Cardinal singing a verse, then another Cardinal answering by repeating that verse (counter singing).  Counter singing may involve two birds establishing territory boundaries or it may be a pair singing romantically to each other.

Other courtship behavior involves a curious lopsided sort of dance hop that both sexes perform.  The male ramps up the romance by feeding the female, placing food directly into her beak.

Soon the female is constructing a nest.  The male doesn't help much but sometimes gathers some of the nest material- leaves, twigs, vines, grass, bark.  Mostly the male hangs around and sings while the female builds the nest, usually in a shrub.  The nest building process takes 4-6 days.

The female lays 2-5 grayish or blueish white eggs.  She incubates them for 12-13 days.  The male feeds her while she sits on the eggs, also when the baby birds are nestling.  The youngsters leave the nest after 3-4 weeks.  The parents may have 2 or 3 more broods.

Cardinals are vocal all year round.  In addition to singing, pairs often communicate with chips and cheeps.

Hear the voice of a Cardinal.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fluffy and the Lady in the Window


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Communing Through the Leash

In a previous post, we touched on the notion that a dog can "feel" what you are feeling through the leash. 


 Can you communicate using a leash?  Sure you can.  It's a tool.  You can use it for training a dog.  You know, things like heel, down, come and let's go.  A leash is also a handy tool to use while walking a dog, it keeps him restrained so he doesn't lunge at other dogs or run into traffic. 

What a leash is not, is a magic portal through which a person and a dog commune.

To illustrate.  Let's look at a couple of real life examples from a real live dog walker. 

First walk is with a sassy self confident Cairn Terrier.  As Ms. Walker and Mr. Terrier make their way across the park, a man's voice calls out, "you're late today!"   This man lives nearby and often walks his elderly Golden Retriever around the same time of day as Ms. Walker walks Mr. Terrier. 

Ms. Walker waves to Nice Man, says something cheerful and keeps walking. Now, if Mr. Terrier could somehow feel Ms. Walker's emotions through the leash, he would not have growled at  Nice Man and Elderly Golden.

Next stop:  big black mutt's house.  Big black Mutt is a gentle fellow who lives sedately with a somewhat excitable woman and several cats.  During their walk, Mr. Mutt stops to poop on a patch of grass between the sidewalk and the street.  While he is doing his business, Ms. Walker pulls a poop bag out of her back pocket.  Meanwhile, a shout is heard.  A man runs from the front door of a house to the sidewalk, directly up to Ms. Walker, invading her space. 

He yells, "you let your dog take a sh** on people's lawns?!" 

Ms. Walker leans closer so as to invade Annoying Man's space.  "Yes,"  she says, indicating the bag in her hand.  "Then I pick it up."

"But you let your dog sh** on people's lawns!"  Annoying Man repeats.

"Yes,"  Ms. Walker repeats.  "Then I pick it up."

Now, if there was any truth to the notion that dogs can feel through the leash, at this point  Mr. Mutt would have walked over to Annoying Man, lifted his leg and emptied his bladder onto Annoying Man's pant leg.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fluffy/Culture Frenzy, Round Three

It's time once again for Pop Culture Frenzy!  Round 3.  Now to our question.

Hostess has stopped making Twinkies.  Why?


Michael Moore ate their inventory?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Cyndi?

Twinkies are like, really bad for you.

Hostmaster:  uh huh.  Fluffy?

Union demands forced them to close?
Hostmaster:  close.  Molly? 
Union members ate all the Twinkies?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Fluffy?
Rather than declare bankruptcy again, Hostess decided to go out of business because they couldn't afford to stay in business if they gave in to the Bakers demands to a 17% increase employer contribution towards health care benefits.  I think they are in a holding pattern now though, the matter is in mediation or something.
Hostmaster:  correct.
Didn't Hostess get an obamacare waiver? 
Good question.
Hostmaster:  I ask the questions around here!  Um.  Did Hostess get an obamacare waiver?
If they did, it would appear that obamacare waivers have expiration dates.
Twinkies are really bad for you.  They are full of chemicals. 
You can tell by their long expiration date.
But isn't Hostess too big to fail?
You're thinking of Michael Moore.
Twinkies are really bad for you.  They are full of fat.
Is everybody thinking of Michael Moore?!
Hostmaster:  No more questions! 
This is the end of Round 3. 
Fluff/Molly    2
Bryan/Cyndi  1 
And Michael Moore wept, for there were no more Twinkies left to conquer.