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.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cats Picking on Dogs

Cats and dogs can live together peacefully.  The thing is, they don't always live together peacefully.  There's plenty of things that can go wrong in the cat/dog relationship.  For now, let's talk about what to do when the cat picks on the dog.

Cats like to skulk and pounce and swipe.  This mighty predator kitty show is quite charming.  That is, until all this taunting and zooming has left the poor dog unable to move around in his own home without being ambushed.

Take action before it comes to this.

The cat jumps on the dog because it's fun.  One thing you might try is playing with your cat, then perhaps he'll get his fill of fun, leaving him no need to torment the dog. 

Some say squirting the cat with water deters bad behavior.  From what cat owners trying to keep kitty off the kitchen counter or out of the house plants tell me, the squirt bottle system doesn't work very well.  At best, the cat refrains from the designated bad behavior only when you are present.  This will help the long suffering dog only if you keep dog and cat separated when you are not watching.

You can anticipate when the cat is about to attack the dog.  The cat will arch his back, lower his head, and may get a determined gleefully hostile look in his eye.  Yelling NO at this point won't do much good.  (It works with dogs.  Do dogs have a conscience and cats don't?  Are dogs more inclined to be respectful of authority?  Is it that cats think they are the authority?  Thorny questions to be explored another time...)

You can do something before kitty leaps onto the dog.  Distract him.  Step in before the cat takes flight.  Engage and entertain this energetic feline.  Offer a toy on the end of a stick, for instance.  The cat can deploy his killer instinct by swiping at a stuffed fish rather than Rover's tender hide.  Help the cat release some of that vigor with other toys, a new scratching post, or invest in one of those cat rigs with the tunnels and planks to run on.  Even if you live in a small place, you can find room for a cat's amusement park by placing it up high.  Cat's don't generally fear heights!  Just be on the look out that kitty doesn't use his new improved higher perch to banzai the dog.  That would make you sort of an enabler. Just to be on the safe side, consider arranging for ways that the dog can avoid the cat when you are not there to referee.

One other suggestion.  Maybe the cat needs his chin rubbed or a chance to sit with you on the couch.  Is the dog the only one getting petted?  Could be the cat just wants more attention from you.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fluffy and the Robin


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Java Finches

Exciting new residents in the aviary.  Java Finches! 

also known as:
Rice Finches, Rice Sparrows, Java Rice Birds, Java Temple Birds, Paddy Birds, Java Sparrow

Javas come in gray with black trim and white cheeks, white with some gray smudges, and a pied version.  They are about 5.5 inches long.

Males and females look similar.  The beak of the male is a slightly darker pink.  The males are more vocal.  Their song is a curious, almost electronic sound.  Some describe the voice of Java's as tropical.  (When I find a recording of a Java's voice, I'll post the link.)


Java Finches are originally from Bali and Java where they are considered pests because they eat rice kernels just before rice farmers want to harvest their rice crop.

As pets, Javas are hardy.  They are best housed in a flight cage.  Like all finches, they need to fly.  They eat various seeds; canary, finch and parakeet seed mixes suit them.  Javas also enjoy millet and green seeds as well as egg food, insects and meal worms.

Javas breed readily.  (Good for the pet trade.  Bad for rice farmers.)  The female lays 4-7 eggs in a loosely constructed nest typically made up of grass stalks.  After 13-14 days the eggs hatch.  In 3-4 weeks the youngsters are independent.
In captivity, although larger than other finches, reportedly Javas are congenial when sharing quarters with other species.  (Right now, my pair of Javas have a cage to themselves.  When other arrangements are made, I will report on how everybody is getting along.)
See some nice pictures

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fluffy/Culture Frenzy, Round Two


Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Now Round Two.  Let's proceed with our question.

Demi Moore is 50 but looks much younger.  What is her secret?  Molly?
She eats her own poop?
Hostmaster:  incorrect. Cyndi?

She applies a poop masque twice daily?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Fluffy?
She sleeps hanging upside down like a bat?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Bryan?
She eats bat poop?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Cyndi?
She uses a bat poop masque?
Hostmaster:  no!  Stop with the poop.  The answer is NOT poop related.  OK?  Now, Fluffy?
She's a vegetarian?
Hostmaster:  close.  Bryan?
She's a vegan?
Hostmaster:  not quite.  Molly?
She eats the poop of vegans?
Hostmaster:  no!  aaargh!  Bryan?
She eats vegans?
Hostmaster:  sigh.  Wrong.  Cyndi?
She doesn't eat anything.  You know, like a Breatharian? 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  oh boy.  Fluffy?
She has a picture of Kathy Griffin in her attic that ages for her?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Wait.  I like that answer better than the correct one.  You win this round!
End of Round Two
Fluffy/Molly   1
Bryan/Cyndi   1
I bet the real answer is she eats Kathy Griffin's poop.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sandhill Cranes

The range of the Sandhill Crane runs from Northeast Siberia through Alaska, Canada and the US to Cuba.  They live in wetlands, tundras, grasslands, marshes and fields.  In winter they migrate to the warmer areas of their range.  Here we see Sandhill Cranes foraging for food in southwest Florida.

Omnivores, Sandhill Cranes eat many things including mice, grains, plants, aquatic invertebrates, worms, insects, frogs, snakes and berries.
Some Sandhill Crane Facts
- average lifespan:  7-20 years
- wingspan:  5-6 feet
-  length (from bill to tail):  31.5-47 inches
-  weight:  6.5-14 pounds
-  predators (to the nest and/or the birds):  ravens, crows, owls, hawks, eagles, wolves, foxes, raccoons, lynxes, coyotes, bobcats
Sandhill Cranes have gray feathers with a red spot on the head.  Juvenile Sandhills are beige and gray.  It takes about two and a half years for the bird to achieve full adult plumage. Some cranes appear brown because they have been digging in mud for tubers.  They preen with mud on their beaks, spreading it onto their feathers.  The result is the bird version of a henna rinse.
During mating, the pair sings together lustily with heads thrown back.  This "unison calling" is often accompanied by leaping and dancing.  The female lays two eggs in a ground nest.  Both parents incubate the eggs, which hatch in 28-30 days.  After three weeks the young can feed themselves but usually remain with the parents until they are 9-10 months of age.
Sandhill Cranes are the most common crane in the world.
Hear the voice and see some pictures of Sandhill Cranes. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fluffy/Culture Frenzy, Round One


Now begins Round One.
First question.
Recently Victoria's Secret apologized for  offensive attire on display during a fashion show. 
What was the model wearing?
  a propeller hat?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Fluffy?
 a cellophane bikini?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Molly?
Elizabeth Warren's stained dress?
Hostmaster:  close!  Cyndi?
                 a Native American headdress?
Hostmaster:  correct!
End of Round One 
Bryan and Cyndi  1
Fluffy and Molly  0

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fluffy/ Intro Pop Culture Frenzy


Game On!  First Round coming up!

Pop Culture Frenzy is a contest  that dares to measure how much inane stuff you know.

Here are the rules.  The Hostmaster reads the question and chooses which contestant may answer using a sophisticated mental eeny meeny miney mo system.  Got that?  No questions?  Good. 

The Hostmaster, His Majesty Parrot
Our contestant Teams


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Breed Profile: Scottish Terrier

The Scottish Terrier originated in Scotland in the 1800's.  His job was vermin control.  When we think vermin, mice and rats usually come to mind.  No doubt, the fearless Scottie dispatched many mice and rats.  He also hunted and killed such vermin as badgers and foxes.  This bold hunter is present in the modern day Scottie.  

Like most terriers, the Scottie is feisty, confident and eager to catch creatures who burrow under ground, (earth=terra, hence terrier).   The Scottish Terrier is heavy boned, short legged, with a large head and sturdy seven inch tail that stands almost straight up. 

The coat consists of a dense undercoat and a wiry outer coat of about 2 inches in length.  Coat colors are black, brindle and wheaten.  The coat requires regular clipping, or stripping if being shown.

Some Scottish Terrier Facts

-  life span:  11-13 years

-  height at shoulder:  10-11 inches

-  weight:  18-23 pounds

-  also known as Aberdeen Terrier

Life with a Scottish Terrier is often described as a challenging adventure.  Scottie aficionados claim that there is no dog like a Scottie and once you have a one, you either can't imagine life without a Scottie or you are simply not a Scottie person.  The pre-eminent quality of a Scottish Terrier is probably quirkiness.  They are also headstrong, smart, always ready for action, and a bit sensitive.  Some say Scotties are obstreperous until they are about five years old, then they mellow to rowdy.

Strong and game, the Scottie is good at Earth trials, Agility and Lure Coursing events.  No swimming however, his heavy body and short legs are not conducive to buoyancy.

The Scottie's large head contains a set of teeth as strong as those found in much larger dogs.  Thus, it is best to avoid soft or squeak toys as they tend to get pulverized.

Due to his independent nature and instinct to chase running varmints, never let your Scottie go off leash - you may never see him again. 

The Scottish Terrier gets along well with other dogs, except when two males live together.  They will scrabble.  Pets such as cats and birds and ferrets are treated kindly by the Scottie because they are family.  Cats and birds and ferrets that are not family are considered prey.

Scottie Manifesto

-  just because I won't sit on your lap doesn't mean I don't love you

-  I am not a delicate flower.  Let's wrestle!

-  if you want a jolly dog to follow you around, get a Golden Retriever

See some Scottie pictures.

Next Breed Profile:   Siberian Husky!