Tuesday, August 31, 2010


These photos were sent to me by a very good friend.  The captions are mine.

Let’s see.  Where can I go play?

Hmmm, this looks like a good spot

Basketball?  Shoot.

Kick it!

 Nyah, nyah, ya can’t take it away from me!

Mine!  No, mine!

Go fly a kite.

Purdy picture.

Big beach ball.

Ah, ten o’clock

Climb the ladder to the moon

 Or just snare it and bring it down here.

Bit of fun -

At the auto repair shop:  “Your oil is okay, but the engine needs changing.”
The teenager was in the boutique for at least an hour choosing the perfect dress for a party.  But the next day she was back with the outfit.  “Can I exchange this for something else?” she asked.  The clerk was surprised, and asked she wanted to exchange it.  “My parents like it.”

Monday, August 30, 2010


They are also known as window pane butterflies.  They come from Central America and are also found from Mexico to  Panama.




 They are quite common in their zone, but are not easy to find because of their transparent 
wings, which is a natural camouflage mechanism.




As delicate as finely blown glass, the presence of this rare tropical gem is used by rain forest ecologists as an indication of high habitat quality. Their demise alerts the ecologists of ecological change.


More funny signs -

At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee : 
"Invite us to your next blowout." 

At a Towing company: 
"We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows." 

On an Electrician's truck: 
"Let us remove your shorts." 

In a Non-smoking Area: 
"If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."

Saturday, August 28, 2010


By Laurie King
A book review by Don Meyer

A most fascinating book.  The apprentice is a tall, gangly 15 year old girl named Mary Russell.  She is quite bright.  Her parents have died, and she has been sent to Sussex, England, to live with her aunt.  The beekeeper is -- well, we will find out momentarily.

As the story begins, Mary is walking along the Sussex Downs, with her nose in a book, when she nearly steps on an individual who is sitting on the ground.  Startled, she says, “What on earth are you doing?  Lying in wait for someone?”

And he responds,” I should think that I can hardly be accused of ‘lying’ anywhere as I am seated openly on an uncluttered hillside minding my own business.”  They exchange words, and again she asks him him what he is doing.  He says that he is watching bees.  (Ah, this must be the beekeeper.)  She sits on the ground, and sure enough, she sees bees flitting around, though at first she doesn’t see anything particularly noteworthy.  But then she sees what appears to be an ordinary honeybee with a small red spot on its back.  And she see other bees with a red spot, and some with blue spots.  But the spots do not look natural, but as if someone has marked the bees with paint.  Mary says to him, “I’d say the blue spots are a better bet, if you’re trying for another hive.”  He responds, “How do you come to know of my interests?”  Mary says, “I should have thought it obvious.  I see  paint on your pocket handkerchief and traces on your fingers where you wiped it away.  The only reason to mark bees that I can think of is to enable one to follow them to their hive.”  And she goes a bit more about what she has seen, and what it likely means.  “My God,” he says, “ it can think!” 

Mary takes that as an insult, and retorts, “My God, it can recognize another human being when it’s hit over the head with one.”  Then slowly but surely Mary realizes that the rumors she has heard are true, and that this is none other than the famous -- Sherlock Holmes in semi-retirement.  One of the great minds of his generation!  She is appalled at her own behavior, and expects him to dismiss her out of hand.  Because Mary is dressed in pants and wears a large cap, Holmes thinks she is a boy.  “Young man ...” he starts to say, and she is insulted!  Again!  She whips off her cap, and her long blonde braids come cascading down.  Holmes is initially startled, and then bursts into laughter at his mistake.  And he takes an immediate liking to her.

Holmes invites Mary to tea, and asks Mary to tell him about herself.  She starts to say something, but then changes her mind and says to Holmes,  “You tell me about me.”  He agrees, provided that Mary then tell him about him.  That exchange is particularly enjoyable.  Mrs. Hudson (yes, she is in the story) says to Mary to please come again because “...there’s more life in him than “I’ve seen for a good many months.”

So began Mary’s long association with Mr. Sherlock Holmes.  She comes to visit regularly, and he shows her his experiments, takes her on long walks where he points out many different things, and they visit neighboring farmers to whom he introduces her.  At the beginning she does not realize it, but Holmes is teaching her about detection.  They become good close friends, and Mary’s intellect blossoms under Holmes‘ tutelage.  Ultimately she helps Holmes solve a few crimes, the last of which is a real thriller.

It turns out that this is the first in a series of Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes stories that Laurie King has written, and I look forward to reading them all.

Humor -
Funny signs --

On a Plumber's truck: 
"We repair what your husband fixed."

On another Plumber's truck: 
"Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber." 

On a Church's billboard: 
"7 days without God makes one weak."

Next post on Monday morning.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I subscribe to a magazine called BIRD TALK.  This story was part of an article in a recent issue that talked about how some of the parrot species like to get inside one’s clothing.

Parrots can be partial to cloth.  A woman told about a program on parrots she gave for an elementary school teacher.  She brought along her two conures to show off to the classroom.  She started off with one on each shoulder, but as she spoke to the class, the two birds dove into her blouse and started moving around inside the front of it.  Of course the kids thought this was the funniest thing they had ever seen, especially when the two birds had a friendly altercation.  Her face turned red as she tried to get the two birds out of her blouse without success.

My birds don’t get inside my shirt, but Pepper likes to chew on shoes.

 Just in case you were getting tired of the haiku error messages, this is the last of them --

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

To have no errors
would be life without meaning.
No struggle, no joy.
Having been erased,
the document you're seeking
must now be retyped.
Rather than a beep
or a rude error message,
these words: "File not found."

Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I have two electric scooters -- one was always mine, and the other was left over after my wife passed away.  Well mine started giving me some trouble -- apparently.  There is a battery indicator that shows four red lights when the batteries (there are two of them) are fully charged.  And as the scooter is used, the lights go out, one by one.  With a supposed range of 12 miles, that should mean about three miles per battery light.  So when I’ve traveled about a mile and a half, and I’m down to one light, I start to think something is wrong.  “You need new batteries”, the dealer tells me.  So I have new batteries installed.  And the problem persists.  “Your motor is worn out.  You need a new motor.”  Uh, all right.  Please get me a quote on a new motor.  That was about a month ago, and despite the fact that I’ve asked three times, they have not yet called me back.

Enough.  I’m at the point of not trusting this dealer.  So I go online looking for another dealer who carries that brand.  I find one -- in Australia!

Oh, the heck with it.  Now I’m searching online for a scooter dealer who is local, never mind the brand.  And I find one.  I call.  Oh, he doesn’t have a store front, but he will bring a couple of sample scooters to me.  Great.  He does.  That day.  He brings two, and I try them both.  I like THAT one.  How much?  He gives me a price.  Ok!  And while we were there in my driveway, he calls in the order to the manufacturer.  “It’ll be about five working days.”  Sure enough, yesterday afternoon I get a phone call.  “We have your scooter.  May we bring it now?  Well, of course!  And so they did, about 20 minutes later my shiny new wheels had arrived.  “Sign here, please.”
Purdy, ain’t it!


Fun -

After dinner, two elderly women retire to the kitchen and leave their husbands to chat. One of the men says, "Last night, we went out to a great new restaurant." The other asks, "What is it called?"

The first man knits his brow in concentration and finally says, "Ah, what is the name of that red flower you give to someone you love?"

His friend replies, "A carnation?"

"No, no. The other one," the first man says.

"The poppy?" wonders his friend.

"No," growls the man. "You know, the one with thorns!"

"Do you mean a rose?" asks the other man.

"Yes, that's it!" the first man says, and then he turns toward the kitchen and yells: "Rose, what's the name of that restaurant we went to last night?"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


by Irene M. Pepperberg
A book review by Don Meyer

What do you look for in the books you prefer?  Drama?  Humor?  Mystery?   Discovery?  Intelligence?  Love?  I daresay this true story contains all those ingredients.

Irene Pepperberg is a scientist, and an associate research professor at Brandeis University.  She also teaches animal cognition at Harvard University.

In 1977 Irene was looking for a one-year-old African Grey parrot that had been bred in captivity because she was just about to start on a scientific study regarding the cognitive abilities of African Greys.  Alex was that African Grey.  I say “was” because Alex died in 2007 at the age of 31.

Ms. Pepperberg starts her story at the end--when Alex died.  Apparently his death did not go unnoticed.  There were articles in The New York Times science section--on three separate days.

Photos of Alex appeared on CNN, and in Time Magazine, among others.  National Public Radio had a segment on “All Things Considered”. Diane Sawyer did a 2-1/2 minute segment on ABC’s “Good Morning America”.  CBS anchor Katie Couric devoted more time to Alex’s life and death than to major political issues.

The British newspaper “The Guardian” wrote: “America is in mourning.  Alex, the African Grey parrot, who was smarter than the average U.S. president, has died at the relatively tender age of 31.”

Jay Leno cracked, "They say his intelligence was somewhere between a dog and Miss Teen South Carolina.”

The Economist, probably the world’s preeminent weekly magazine on politics, finance and business, ran an obituary that said in part that Alex had spent a life learning complex tasks that, it had been originally thought, only primates could master.

It has long been thought that parrots only mimicked what they heard; that they really didn’t know the meaning of what they said.  Ms. Pepperberg set out to demonstrate otherwise, and that was the project that she and Alex worked on for the next 30 years.  Irene said, “I had determined that my professional approach would be rigorous in training and in testing my Grey.  I had come from the so-called hard sciences, after all.  I needed my data to be unimpeachable, to meet high standards of credibility.”  She was able to demonstrate that Alex could appropriately label objects, correctly label colors, and that he had a functional use of the word “No”, none of which he was supposed to be able to do.

Because of the high scientific standards necessary for the project, Ms. Pepperberg would work Alex more than the bird would sometimes want.  Alex would get bored, or tired, and refuse to give correct answers even when Irene knew that he knew.  One session was especially telling.  The bird could count up to seven, knew the names of 50 objects, and had a vocabulary of 150 words.

There were times when his antics had me laughing so hard that I had to put the book down and recover before continuing.  Yes, I certainly recommend this book.

Funny signs -

Sign over a Gynecologist's Office: 
"Dr. Jones, at your cervix."

In a Podiatrist's office: 
"Time wounds all heels."   

On a Septic Tank Truck: 
Yesterday's Meals on Wheels 

At a Proctologist's door: 
"To expedite your visit, please back in."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nothing but fun


1. Golden Retriever: The sun is shining, the day is young, we've got our whole lives ahead of us, and you're inside worrying about a stupid burned out bulb?

2. Border Collie: Just one. And then I'll replace any wiring that's not up to code.

3. Dachshund: You know I can't reach that stupid lamp!

4. Rottweiler: Make me.

5. Boxer: Who cares? I can still play with my squeaky toys in the dark.

6. Lab: Oh, me, me!!!!! Pleeeeeeeeeze let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Huh? Can I? Pleeeeeeeeeze, please, please, please!

7. German Shepherd: I'll change it as soon as I've led these people from the dark, check to make sure I haven't missed any, and make just one more perimeter patrol to see that no one has tried to take advantage of the situation.

8. Jack Russell Terrier: I'll just pop it in while I'm bouncing off the walls and furniture.

9. Old English Sheep Dog: Light bulb? I'm sorry, but I don't see a light bulb!

10. Cocker Spaniel: Why change it? I can still pee on the carpet in the dark.

11. Chihuahua : Yo quiero Taco Bulb. Or "We don't need no stinking light bulb."

12. Greyhound: It isn't moving. Who cares?

13. Australian Shepherd: First, I'll put all the light bulbs in a little circle...

14. Poodle: I'll just blow in the Border Collie's ear and he'll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Whether you call these beautiful, or strange, different or weird, they are 
certainly intriguing.












Humor -


My granddaughter asked me what it was like to be old.  So I told her, “Put cotton in your ears, and pebbles in your shoes.  Pull on rubber gloves, and smear Vaseline over your glasses.  There you have it:  Instant Old Age.

* * *

Little Johnny was asked by his teacher to spell ‘straight’.  He did so without error.  “Very good,” said the teacher, “Now what does it mean?”  “Without water.”

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Hoover Dam bypass 

Here are a few updated photos of the bridge being constructed to bypass Hoover Dam.  Little by little they are getting closer to completion.

The top of the white band of rock in Lake Mead is the old waterline prior to the drought and development in the Las Vegas area. It is over 100 feet above the current water level.  You can see it in the first picture.

The arches will eventually measure more than 1,000 feet across.  At the moment, the structure looks like a traditional suspension bridge.  But once the arches are complete, the suspending cables on each side will be removed.  Extra vertical columns will then be installed on the arches to carry the road. 

The bridge has become known as the Hoover Dam bypass, although it is officially called the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, after a former governor of Nevada and an American Football player from Arizona who joined the US Army and was killed in Afghanistan.

Creeping closer inch by inch, 900 feet above the mighty Colorado River, the two sides of a $160 million bridge at the Hoover Dam slowly take shape. The bridge will carry a new section of US Route 93 past the bottleneck of the old road which can be seen twisting and winding around and across the dam itself (photo 5).  When complete, it will provide a new link between the states of Nevada and Arizona.  In an incredible feat of engineering, the road will be supported on the two massive concrete arches which jut out of the rock face.  The arches are made up of 53 individual sections each 24 feet long which have been  cast on-site and are being lifted into place using an improvised high-wire crane strung  between temporary steel pylons.

Work on the bridge started in 2005 and should finish next year. An estimated 17,000 cars and trucks will cross it every day.  The dam was started in 1931 and used enough concrete to build a road from New York to San Francisco. The stretch of water it created, Lake Mead , is 110 miles long and took six years to fill.  The original road was opened at the same time as the famous dam in 1936.
See last Picture:

I think you will either howl with laughter, or groan in protest:

Grandma’s Pie

Grannie made such beautiful pies!  One day I asked her, “How do you get such beautiful pies with the crimps around the edge so even?”  “It’s a family secret,” she said, “so promise not to tell.  I roll out the dough, then cut a bottom layer and carefully put it in the pie plate.  Then I slowly pour the filling, making sure it’s not too full.  Next I cut a top layer and put it over the filling.  Finally I take out my teeth and just run them around the edge of the pie crust, and they make the nicest even impressions you ever did see.”

Next post on Monday.

Friday, August 20, 2010


This is what I believe is called stark beauty.  The natural formations carved by erosion over many hundreds, perhaps thousands of years (except for the last one).  And only three of these photos show any signs of civilization.



A dull-witted king is losing a territorial dispute with a neighboring monarch.  As the fight wears on, he gets more and more frustrated, until finally he roars, “Where are my two court jesters?”  In two seconds the two jesters are at his side.  “Okay, let’s continue,” he says, “now that I have my wits about me.”