Friday, June 19, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

Trump Jumps In. [Kathleen Hennessey, LA Times] The GOP presidential field has a CEO, a doctor, three senators and a senator-doctor. Now it has a reality TV star. Donald Trump says he's all in. He trashed just about everyone in a zinger-filled speech. Democrats are gleeful. Republicans aren't. With his billions and famous name, Trump could make the polling cut to reach the debate stage – and suck a lot of air out of the room. Excerpt:
Democrats leapt at the chance to use Trump as an excuse to tweak the other GOP candidates. His entry "adds some much-needed seriousness that has previously been lacking from the GOP field, and we look forward to hearing more about his ideas for the nation," the Democratic National Committee said in a statement.
Without stopping to take a look around, we can sometimes miss the transition of our surroundings from summer to autumn. Photos that compare various locations before and after they change into their autumn colours are revealing.
    Besides the nip in the air, the scarves, and the delicious autumn fruits and vegetables, the changing leaves are probably the greatest sign of autumn that there is. Chlorophyll, which is the green pigment in leaves that produces energy for trees, gradually breaks down in the fall, revealing the many other colors that also exist in leaves. That's where we get the rich browns, oranges, yellows and reds that we associate with the season.

Kilchurn Castle, Scotland

Grand Island East Channel Light House, Michigan, USA

Sounds neat. Not inexpensive, though: "New Nature Trail and Interactive Museum in the Adirondacks." [Paola Singer, NY Times] Excerpt:
When the Wild Walk opens on July 4, visitors to the Adirondacks will get to see the region’s lush landscape and diverse wildlife from a new perspective. Billed as a “High Line for the Forest,” the Wild Walk is an elevated nature trail and interactive museum that weaves into the treetops of Tupper Lake in northern New York.
    Set on 80 wooded acres inhabited by more than 70 species of birds, as well as bats, butterflies and flying squirrels, the trail consists of a series of winding bridges and platforms that rise up to 40 feet above the ground. Along with strategically placed observation points, it features family-friendly attractions like an oversized bald eagle’s nest, a spider web big enough to catch humans and a realistic reproduction of a massive white pine whose hollowed core can be explored through a spiral stairway.
Have you ever a narrow cylinder of steel becomes a paper clip?

Some readers might enjoy this: "Don’t Go to Music School." [Bert Stratton, NY Times] Excerpt:
My 27-year-old son, Jack, is a full-time musician. That’s my fault. When he was 8, I gave him $5 to play “Wipe Out” at a Hannukah party. Everybody in my klezmer band told Jack not to go into music. “Do not apply to music school,” said the trombone player....
    My son listened to us. He went off to the University of Michigan, to the liberal arts college...but halfway through Jack’s first year, he said, “I have to go to music school.”....
    Jack loaded up his Chevy after college and drove to California....
    Jack pays his rent on time in Los Angeles....
    Jack’s band, Vulfpeck, uploads its new recordings and videos to the Internet, then performs the tunes live. The group has developed a following — possibly every 500th hipster in the world has heard of them. Their music is in an iPhone 6 commercial and is on SiriusXM radio.
    Every band is its own label and YouTube channel. Market yourself. The songwriter Kenny Gamble said there are 100 pennies in a dollar, and where is each one going? In Vulfpeck’s case, 70 cents go to the band, and 30 cents to iTunes....
    You can pay Spotify $10 a month for listening without commercials, or listen free with commercials. Spotify has 15 million American subscribers, and grew by more than five million subscribers last year. Will Apple Music’s new streaming service kill Spotify? Not likely, unless Apple Music signs the Beatles, who have resisted streaming so far.
    Last year Jack and his band put out a silent record, “Sleepify,” which was 10 silent cuts (“Z,” “ZZ,” “ZZZ,” “ZZZZ”, etc.) that fans played all night at one-half cent a play. Vulfpeck made $20,000 before Spotify shut them down....

More truth about "S'tralia" from Douglas Adams:
The second confusing thing about Australia [after its geography] is the animals. They can be divided into three categories: Poisonous, Odd, and Sheep. It is true that of the 10 most poisonous arachnids on the planet, Australia has 9 of them. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that of the 9 most poisonous arachnids, Australia has all of them. However, there are few snakes, possibly because the spiders have killed them all. But even the spiders won't go near the sea. Any visitors should be careful to check inside boots (before putting them on), under toilet seats (before sitting down) and generally everywhere else. A stick is very useful for this task.
"Why Doesn't Your Butt Fall Through the Chair?" [Adam Frank, NPR] Excerpt:
Everyone knows that space is big and empty. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, author of Life, The Universe and Everything: "Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the pharmacy, but that's just peanuts to space."
    And, as for emptiness, as a card-carrying astrophysicist I can verify that outer space is both vast and epically boring in its nothingness.
    But what about inner space?
    What about the space inside of solid stuff like tables, chairs and the goo of our bodies? If we zoom inward to look at solid matter on a microscopic or, better yet, a nanoscopic level, what do we find?
    Surprisingly, what we find is a whole lot more empty space.
Two-year-old Dusty the kangaroo is convinced he is a dog and loves life on the farm at Wittenoom Hills, near Esperance in Western Australia. Ashley Stewart and his family farm at Wittenoom Hills, 60 kilometres north-east of Esperance. Mr. Stewart rescued the joey after its mother was killed when hit by a car in a road accident.
    "We weren't sure he would even survive but we fed him and of course he's just taken off from there," he said. "He lives on the back patio. We've actually had to go and buy a third dog bed for him to sleep in because he used to pinch one of the beds from the dogs."

    Mr. Stewart said Lilly the golden retriever and Rosie the border collie loved their kangaroo. "He thinks Lilly is his mum, he's always grooming her, they're always together, and if Lilly goes out of the yard he pines for her and sort of hops up and down the fence until he's let out to go with her."

    Mr. Stewart said Dusty wore a collar like a dog. "When he was little we let him out during the day and then we'd get him at night and lock him back up in the backyard and we couldn't find him because they don't make any noise and they just sit very still so I'd have to go out in the dark with a torch. So I got a collar and I put some reflective tape on it so it would shine out in the torch light and I could find him."

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, eventually, I remember the important things.

The body of a man who'd just died was delivered to a local mortuary wearing an expensive, expertly tailored black suit. The mortician asked the deceased's wife how she would like the body dressed, pointing out that the man did look good in the black suit he was already wearing.
    The widow, however, said that she always thought her husband looked his best in blue, and that she wanted him in a blue suit. She gave the mortician a blank check and told her, "I don't care what it costs, but please have my husband in a blue suit for the viewing."
    The widow returned the next day for the wake. To her delight, she found her husband dressed in a gorgeous blue suit with a subtle chalk stripe, and the suit fit him perfectly.
    She said to the mortician, "Whatever this cost, I'm very satisfied. You did an excellent job and I'm very grateful. How much did you spend?"
    To her astonishment, the mortician handed her the blank check. "There's no charge," she said.
    "No, really, I must compensate you for the cost of that exquisite blue suit!"
    "Honestly, ma'am," said the mortician, pushing back her blonde hair, "it cost nothing. You see, a deceased gentleman of about your husband's size was brought in shortly after you left yesterday, and he was wearing an attractive blue suit. I asked his wife if she minded him going to his grave wearing a black suit instead, and she said it made no difference as long as he looked nice...So I just switched the heads."

Limerick of the week:
And what, after all, do we count as proof?
One thing most people acknowledge for truth
    is seeing with their own eyes.
    But what one man thinks he spies
the next one doesn't and considers goof.
[Today's limerick was inspired by yesterday's "Thor's Day" column, "Why God just has to exist."]

Copyright © 2015 by Morris Dean


  1. Thanks! Donald's trumpeting brings on orgasms in the world of comedy, autumn's transitioning, neat but not inexpensive tree-top trail in the Adirondacks, making paper clips, going to music school or not, GOP guide, more truth about "S'tralia," sitting on space, Dusty the family kangaroo, wise forgetting, Denmark imports garbage, dressed well for a capital funeral, counting proof....