Friday, July 27, 2012

What Happens Next?

Last week’s post featured a video of a turkey stalking a newswoman. This week, I looked outside just in time to see an enormous shadow move across the yard. A gigantic turkey touched down on the grass and I understood the woman’s fear. Believe me, that turkey had the whole yard to itself. Within five minutes, two playful groundhogs scampered across the yard; we were experiencing a real National Geographic moment. We typically have just one groundhog poking around, except for the time a family of five moved into the space under our shed. We didn’t charge rent and the little varmints didn’t even thank us when the trapper carried them away in cages. But that’s not the reason for my like-dislike of groundhogs. No, it goes deeper than having unappreciative guests.

You see, on Groundhog’s Day, I hear two comments: “Happy Birthday!”  and “Have you seen your shadow yet?” I just smile. I didn’t laugh the first time I heard that joke and I haven’t laughed in the decades that followed. Guess what else? It won’t be funny next year or THE YEAR AFTER THAT OR THE YEAR AFTER THAT OR—!!  Okay. Sorry, I’m calmer now.  Actually, I don’t shun all things groundhog-related. I like the movie Groundhog’s Day where the lead character relives the same day until he realizes he has a chance to become a better person.  Watch how his behavior changes over a series of days:

Sometimes, regardless of our best efforts, we can’t change outcomes. Still, who wouldn’t want to relive a day or two once in a while?  If you could do-over a day, what outcome would you alter or what wonderful day would you want to relive?         

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Angry Birds and the Thrill of the Chase

What’s the attraction between kids and birds? On vacation last week we visited the historic Jamestown replica of early settlers’ cabins in Virginia. Chickens and roosters freely roamed the area and not surprisingly, my child decided to stalk the rooster. The bird looked strong and healthy. It had beautiful red and brown feathers and weighed more than you might imagine. I gave warnings to leave the rooster alone while hoping the bird wouldn’t recognize who really had the upper hand—it certainly wasn’t my child.

Earlier that week, I saw a similar scene at the beach. Several kids decided to chase the seagulls that blanketed the sand. Oh sure, there’s a thrill in the chase until a horde of angry birds stops running away from you and starts running toward you! I believe this lady knows what that feels like:

I love the music. Just when the newswoman thought the mail truck had saved her, the chase continued. Did you see how the turkey sidled up to the window to bully her even after she retreated to the car? And then it ducked down and circled the vehicle like a shark! My advice to you: Stay away from angry birds!  When it comes to chases, the tables can turn at any moment and in a flash, the pursuee quickly becomes the pursuer. Are you pursuing something? What are you chasing?        

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Uninvited Guests

Dragonflies! The name should strike fear into your heart like it did in mine when one flew into our vehicle and bumped against the windshield. The inside of the car magnified its buzz, causing a deafening sound. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but I’m glad I was parked when the bug buzzed in. I jumped from our car with one mission in mind: Get the insect out! Fortunately, the dragonfly found an open window and escaped on its own.

Of course, this scary incident prompted me to research these mini-monsters. Thanks to this link, I learned several eye-opening facts:
1.      A dragonfly remains in the larva stage for up to three years, feasting in ponds and rivers.
2.      While living in water, the insects are large enough to devour small fish.
3.      Dragonflies do not bite or sting humans. Good to know!      
I had a harmless guest, but the guest in this video has teeth made for biting and devouring. Take a look:

Hmm, maybe her mountain lion statue functioned like a beacon, summoning the real thing right up to her front door. What uninvited guest have you encountered? Was it friend or foe?   

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

English as a Foreign Language

I’m glad I already speak English because many of the idioms and nuances of our language make it difficult to master. I can’t imagine entering the United States as a non-English speaking person. Think about our silly terms like whatchamacallit, thingamabob, thingamajig and whosit. When memory fails us, we resort to all kinds of interesting placeholders.

Not long ago at a gathering, a lady forgot someone’s name so she referred to an acquaintance as Mrs. Blah Blah. Given our fast-paced, stress-filled lives, it’s a wonder we can remember anything. Substituting Mrs. Blah Blah for a forgotten name seemed like a convenient way to keep the conversation rolling and keep everyone laughing! It’s a good thing the ladies were on friendly terms. Under different circumstances, calling someone Mrs. Blah Blah might cause big trouble and lots of drama.

Emotions boil over quickly when people feel attacked for their English-speaking abilities. If you’re fortunate enough to travel, be it Louisiana or London, the English you hear may sound like a foreign language and you could become the speaker people ridicule. Watch how one soldier handles his communication situation:

With so many accents, dialects and new slang words in America, we could all use subtitle assistance once in a while. What peculiar phrases have you heard recently?