The Colonizer by Charlotte Gullick

Charlotte Gullick

Charlotte Gullick

A mutual friend sent this story to me a few days ago. Those of us who know and love Char were terribly upset and worried about her. If you don't know her, she took over Suzanne Byerley's creative writing classes when Suz moved to Ohio. She is a past Executive Director of the Mendocino Coast Writers' Conference, where her focus was creating a safe place for diverse voices. I was in a writing group with her. Those of you who have read Lost in the River Grass may recognize her influence.

 

I'm going to tell you right up front that she's doing better. Much better. This then becomes, not just her brush with a scary health issue, but our society's brush with another scary disease--the metastasizing of bigotry.

 

 The Colonizer

Life with Spiders

Image result for Pholcus phalangioides
discoverlife.org

I've done this. Showered with spiders. I'm not afraid of them, though admittedly, I will capture and release BIG ones. A friend sent this
Orion Magazine article and it reminded me that here in the Pacific Northwest, we are always finding spiders in our bathtubs. Another friend provides them with a toilet paper ladder, and the friend who sent this, leaves a towel draped over the side of the tub.

Showering with Spiders

The itsy-bitsy spider

Climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the spout again

In spite of this message of determination, spiders drown easily,
so pre-shower preparations include checking and removing spiders that aren't ceiling high.

Image result for golden orb weaver

As frequent readers of this blog know, I'm originally from Florida. We have serious spiders down there. My favorite is the Golden Orb spider. I probably like them best because I made friends with one once. I found andhand-raised a baby Spotted-breasted Oriole. They are fruit-eaters, but for protein I always had a supply of mealworms for him. A golden orb spider had her web outside our back door. She would hide into a corner whenever the door opened. One morning I let the dog out and flipped a mealworm into her web. She stayed hidden, but when I did the same thing the next morning, she ran down her web, sank her fangs into it and began wrapping it in silk. On the third morning, she sat in the center of her web waiting for me and took the mealworm from my fingers. 

Image result for spotted breasted oriole
birdquest2004.com

I want to believe

Image result for black panther
sacurrent.com

I know I haven't done a blog post in months. First my computer hit the skids after 14 years (I was still using XP), then a month of 'last minute' prep for the writers' conference and the conference itself. I also have a much-needed new website in the works. Excuses, excuses. Maybe I just ran out of steam for a while. Then yesterday a friend sent me this video. I, who have loved and been an advocate for animals all my life, would give anything to have this ability. I even took an animal communication class once, and failed. I want to believe it's possible. This video has come pretty close to convincing me. Either way, it's heartwarming.

Abused Leopard Growled At Everyone Who Passed By.

Empowering Girls by Maxine Rose Schur

After strolling through the unrelenting pink princess aisles for girls at Toys R Us, seeing toy after toy with images of skinny, impossibly pretty royalty and the overwhelming emphasis on “prettiness,” I’ve come up with a new toy mirror for girls.

 Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror™ is a plastic hand mirror, large but light to hold. When a young girl lifts the mirror, the technology is activated: soft music plays, clouds swirl and in a moment the child sees, as if arriving from faraway, a 3-dimensional fairy godmother type figure coming closer.  This is Princess Lily. The music stops and Princess Lily’s face now fills nearly the whole mirror surface. She speaks to the girl from the world of the mirror. She tells the child, a fun bit of poetry, sings a short song, provides an affirmation or empowering suggestion. What Princess Lily says is unpredictable: sometimes playful, sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but always supportive.

After she speaks her words to the child, she vanishes within clouds so the mirror becomes once again simply a mirror in which the child sees herself, but perhaps in a different, more positive way because of the reassuring words just imparted to her. 


I posted the idea on a site called

JazWings

and if I can get 100 people to vote for it--- which means they like the idea-no money involved, then the parent toy company,

JazWares

will consider it. I’m asking everyone concerned about empowering girls from an early age to please vote and to provide feedback for improvement.

This is very important but it’s easy. Here’s how:

Access the site through Facebook or through https://jazwings.com/

NOTE from Ginny: Try this link first. I may take you directly to the VOTE page.

https://jazwings.com/ideas/princess-lilys-enchanted-mirror

Otherwise Go to 

Community

Sign up (register)

 (takes no more than a minute) and no, you won’t be spammed.

Click on 

Discover and scroll down to Princess Lily's Enchanted Mirror.

Give it one to five stars then press the 

Vote

 button.

If you do it right, you'll get a message "

Thanks for voting."  

If it's confusing or difficult, I'm happy to call you and walk you through it. It should take just a minute or two at the most! My email is maxineschur@yahoo.com.

There is no money or any kind of obligation with it, it's just a vote.

Thank you in advance for your support and feedback. I very much appreciate it.

Maxine Rose Schur (www.maxineroseschur.com)

To understand why

I’ve created this toy idea, read on:

Since the 1995 publication of the landmark book

Reviving Ophelia

* there has been greater awareness of the importance of a strong self-image for young girls to counter the “beauty-perfect” images that pervade the media through television, movies, video games, toys and advertising.

The book and subsequent research have brought to light the insidious impact the popular media and societal pressure have on the self-image of young girls who learn at a very early age that being pretty and attractive to boys is a measure of self-worth and social success.

The research revealed that even the self-esteem of strong, confident girls diminishes dramatically from the age of seven as they become more exposed to mass culture.

Because children are learning new behaviors and “wiring their brain,” affirmations can be particularly effective with them. Research shows that positive self-belief developed in childhood stays throughout life. When children hear words of praise and encouragement, they learn to praise, and respect themselves. Once affirmations are learned, they work by coming to mind when that belief is challenged.

Also, the more an affirmation is repeated,the stronger it becomes.

Also of importance, affirmations are believed to be the most powerful when said or heard while looking into a mirror. Young girls introduced to this concept may feel more comfortable and self-assured looking at themselves in the mirror as they mature.

Because the mirror is programmed with hundreds of words of encouragement and because they take a varied form: rhymes, riddles, charming, unexpected thoughts, serious affirmations and questions, the toy does not present as didactic, nor can it quickly become predictable as are the current crop of toy mirrors. Rather Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror continues with each use to be unpredictable—surprising, fresh and above all, more fun.

Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror is accompanied by a small storybook that tells the story of Princess Lily and her three empowering sisters, the enchanted land in which they live and how the mirror came to be “enchanted.”

It also includes a guide for parents in giving positive affirmations and modeling and encouraging the self-awareness of feelings.

Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror reflects to the child not merely her external appearance, but her inner strength and beauty.

The mirror anticipates the child’s age-appropriate anxieties, concerns and doubts and gently and creatively suggests behaviors and thoughts to challenge them. In this way,

Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror functions as both a toy and a psychological tool.

Good News for Dolphins and Orcas

"Living in captivity and being forced to perform shows for the public has been proven to take a terrible toll on the physical and psychological health of marine mammals. When confined in a space that severely lacks stimulation, dolphins and orcas grow frustrated and become aggressive – something that never happens in their natural habitat. The only documented instances of orcas attacking humans have happened in captivity. Additionally, dolphins often start to display zoochotic behaviors similar to symptoms of prison neurosis when left in a tank that prohibits them from exercising their intellect and social skills. Extremely stressed animals are known to engage in acts of self-mutilation, like throwing themselves against the walls of their tanks. Those and other symptoms even lead to feeding captive marine animals pharmaceuticals – SeaWorld has admitted to medicating their orcas with psychoactive drugssimilar to valium."

OneGreenPlant

This is the French version of How to Speak Dolphin. I'm thrilled that the French have taken steps to end the terrible lives we have submitted these intelligent mammals to.


Lolita, 45 years in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium

Lolita's prison for 45 years and France is not alone

Love Dolphins and Eating Tuna?

There are a few big surprises in this list. I thought buying albacore made eating tuna fish safer for dolphins. And I thought buying tuna at Trader Joe's made it safer yet. Wrong. Trader Joe's and Costco are in the red zone along with Target and Walmart. We can make a difference. Shop wisely.

To view the individual rankings and why they are ranked that way, click on the Greenpeace shopping guide, then on the individual cans.

Greenpeace

2017 Tuna Shopping Guide

  • Share This Guide:

2017 Tuna Shopping Guide

Open Tuna Can

How does your can stack up?

We’ve ranked 20 well-known canned tuna brands that can be found in grocery stores nationwide based on how sustainable, ethical, and fair their tuna products are for our oceans—and for the workers that help get the products to store shelves.

If you’re going to buy tuna, make sure to choose a responsibly-caught option.

How the Brands Ranked

Wild Planet Tuna Can

#1 Wild Planet

American Tuna Can

#1 American Tuna

Whole Foods 365 Tuna Can

#3 Whole Foods

Ocean Naturals Tuna Can

#4 Ocean Naturals

Hy-Vee Tuna Can

#5 Hy-Vee

Wegmans Tuna Can

#6 Wegmans

Giant Eagle Tuna Can

#7 Giant Eagle

Albertsons Open Nature Tuna Can

#8 Albertsons

ALDI Northern Catch Tuna Can

#9 ALDI

Ahold Delhaize Food Lion Tuna Can

#10 Ahold Delhaize

Kroger Tuna Can

#11 Kroger

Target Market Pantry Tuna Can

#12 Target

Costco Kirkland Signature Tuna Can

#13 Costco

SUPERVALU Wild Harvest Tuna Can

#14 SUPERVALU

Chicken of the Sea Tuna Can

#15 Chicken of the Sea

Trader Joe's Tuna Can

#16 Trader Joe's

Bumble Bee Tuna Can

#17 Bumble Bee

Great Value Tuna Can

#18 Walmart

H‑E‑B Tuna Can

#19 H‑E‑B

StarKist Tuna Can

Chicken of the Sea

is owned by the world’s largest tuna company—Thai Union. Thanks to your support, Thai Union is exploring ways to ensure its products are responsibly caught. It’s up to us to ensure that

Chicken of the Sea

commits to protect the oceans and human rights.

Tell Chicken of the Sea to clean up its act!

Add Your Name

How can anyone drink this---?




Cluwak - Coffee Luwak - Tasting is Believing

Indulgence pack: Kopi Luwak Gold (200g) + Black (200g) Labels


Kopi Luwak Indulgence Pack 

Price: $349

What they want you to believe

"Kopi Luwak Gold Label beans are sourced from the Bengkulu plantations in Southwestern Sumatra, Indonesia, where freely roaming wild palm civets can choose the best and the ripest coffee berries through a process of natural selection. Digestive mechanisms enhance the flavor of the ingested whole coffee beans, resulting in an orange winey flavour with a hint of roasted truffles."


Do you really believe they have workers walking around collecting Civet "dropping?" Or is this the more likely truth?


Wikipedia

Kopi Luwak is also known as caphe cut chon (fox-dung coffee) in Vietnam and kape alamid in the Philippines. It is coffee that is prepared using coffee cherries that have been eaten and partially digested by the Asian palm civet, then harvested from its fecal matter.[6][7] The civets digest the flesh of the coffee cherries but pass the beans inside, leaving their stomach enzymes to go to work on the beans, which adds to the coffee's prized aroma and flavor.[6] 0.5 kg (1 lb) can cost up to $600 in some parts of the world and about $100 a cup in others.[8]

A 2012 investigation by The Guardian newspaper found Indonesian civets held separately in cramped cages. The animals were force-fed a debilitating diet of coffee cherries in conditions described by the Traffic charity as "awful" and "horrific".[9] There is a campaign under way to encourage "ethical civet coffee".[10] Evidence suggests that the SARS virus crossed over to humans from Asian palm civets ("civet cats") which raised concerns over the safety of civet coffee.[11][12] 
 

Death in Slow Motion

 Trump gives pen to Dow's CEO
Do you see a link between the mindset of men who permit the use chemical warfare on their own citizens? Or is it just me?
 
On the same day Syria's president unleashed nerve gas on his own citizens, Donald Trump signed an "executive" order stripping away a number of environmental protections including the use of the Dow Chemical pesticide, chlorpyrifos, then handed the pen he signed with to Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical.

Chlorpyrifos is an endocrine disrupter, meaning it can cause "adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects," according to the National Institutes of Health. In other words, it's harmful to the brains of children.

Mother Jones
 
UPDATE (3-29-2017): EPA director Scott Pruitt signed an order denying the agency's own proposal to ban chlorpyrifos, according to a Wednesday afternoon press release. "We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment,” Pruitt said in a written statement. “By reversing the previous Administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making – rather than predetermined results.”

By Friday, President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency will have to make a momentous decision: whether to protect kids from a widely used pesticide that's known to harm their brains—or protect the interests of the chemical's maker, Dow AgroSciences.

The pesticide in question, chlorpyrifos, is a nasty piece of work. It's an organophosphate, a class of bug killers that work by "interrupting the electrochemical processes that nerves use to communicate with muscles and other nerves," as the Pesticide Encyclopedia puts it






About as Appalling as it gets

The dissection of Marius, at the Copenhagen Zoo, on February 9, 2014.

From the Jan. 16, 2017 New Yorker

My father was Danish. Rorby is a Danish name. This makes me none to proud of that fact. Not only do I think this is appalling on so many levels, I also don't think it's something children should be exposed to. I remember too clearly the day my first dog died. My Yankee parents moved to Florida and didn't know about heartworms. I was five when Butch and I raced up our porch stairs and he fell over dead. I was 9 or 10 when Mom took me to see the circus. We stopped to watch the elephants parade through downtown Orlando. Right in front of us, one of them collapsed and died. We never went to that circus, or any other. 

I write realistic animal stories, but I sure as hell wouldn't want a child of mine exposed to this inhumane practice. I'd like to continue laboring under the belief zoos teach us to respect and value animals, and are a refuge for the endangered. This practice, even if necessary on a financial level, teaches children to view animals as something less than we humans are. Teaching disrespect for nature only adds to our egocentric view of the world and is at the root of habitat destruction and the loss of animal (and plant) species. 

SHAME ON THE DANES.

The Culling

Killing Animals at the Zoo

By Ian Parker

At Danish zoos, surplus animals are euthanized—and dissected before the public

"One afternoon last January, two years after staff members at the Copenhagen Zoo surprised many people by shooting a healthy young giraffe, dissecting it in public, and then feeding its remains to lions, another Danish zoo was preparing for a public dissection." 

"The Copenhagen Zoo has considered, and rejected, the idea of breeding animals that could be supplied to visitors as meat."

I guess we can consider this a moral high mark. GR

Why I Write IV

I get letters from readers almost daily. I love them all, but once in a while one brings me to tears.

Hi Ginny!

Just wanted to update you a bit! Sorry it's been so long, things have been pretty busy, but I have some exciting news. 

I'm a senior this year, and I just received my acceptance letter to my top choice college for their Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program English major. The school is renowned for its early- and special-education programs, and they have a 5-year integrated Bachelors and Masters program. This year my school introduced ASL as a class to fulfill the foreign language requirement, and my teacher is excellent with tapering to her students and having individual expectations from each so we get the most from the class. Also, they've added a relatively new Bridge program and I'm close friends with a Deaf student from the program. Her and her interpreter have been a tremendous help to me. I'll never forget the look on her face when I signed to her for the first time and pulled her into conversation with my friends. I truly feel like I'm making a difference, though a small one, because Joey's story gave me a glimpse of the Deaf perspective and helps me to understand that the little things matter. The message from Hurt Go Happy still sticks with me to this day, and it relates to my different life experiences as I grow older. My signed copy still sits rightfully displayed on my dresser; I would like to again say thank you. 

I hope all is well with you, and to hear back if you get the chance!

Lauren

An Australian children's book author hates us. . .

 And who can blame her. If I was treated by Australian immigration the way she was treated, I'd feel the same. How is Trump's rhetoric making us safer? If you alienate your friends, who's left to care next time you need one.
 
 

Mem Fox on Being Detained by US Immigration: 'In That Moment I Loathed America'

By Mem Fox, Guardian UK
01 March 17
The celebrated Australian children’s author tells how on her 117th visit to the US she was suddenly at the mercy of Donald Trump’s visa regime
 was pulled out of line in the immigration queue at Los Angeles airport as I came in to the USA. Not because I was Mem Fox the writer – nobody knew that – I was just a normal person like anybody else. They thought I was working in the States and that I had come in on the wrong visa.
I was receiving an honorarium for delivering an opening keynote at a literacy conference, and because my expenses were being paid, they said: “You need to answer further questions.” So I was taken into this holding room with about 20 other people and kept there for an hour and 40 minutes, and for 15 minutes I was interrogated.
The room was like a waiting room in a hospital but a bit more grim than that. There was a notice on the wall that was far too small, saying no cellphones allowed, and anybody who did use a cellphone had someone stand in front of them and yell: “Don’t use that phone!” Everything was yelled, and everything was public, and this was the most awful thing, I heard things happening in that room happening to other people that made me ashamed to be human.
There was an Iranian woman in a wheelchair, she was about 80, wearing a little mauve cardigan, and they were yelling at her – “Arabic? Arabic?”. They screamed at her “ARABIC?” at the top of their voices, and finally she intuited what they wanted and I heard her say “Farsi”. And I thought heaven help her, she’s Iranian, what’s going to happen?
There was a woman from Taiwan, being yelled at about at about how she made her money, but she didn’t understand the question. The officer was yelling at her: “Where does your money come from, does it grow on trees? Does it fall from the sky?” It was awful.
There was no toilet, no water, and there was this woman with a baby. If I had been holed up in that room with a pouch on my chest, and a baby crying, or needing to be fed, oh God … the agony I was surrounded by in that room was like a razor blade across my heart.
When I was called to be interviewed I was rereading a novel from 40 years ago – thank God I had a novel. It was The Red and the Black by Stendhal – a 19th century novel keeps you quiet on a long flight, and is great in a crisis – and I was buried in it and didn’t hear my name called. And a woman in front of me said: “They are calling for Fox.” I didn’t know which booth to go to, then suddenly there was a man in front of me, heaving with weaponry, standing with his legs apart yelling: “No, not there, here!” I apologised politely and said I’d been buried in my book and he said: “What do you expect me to do, stand here while you finish it?” – very loudly and with shocking insolence.
The way I was interviewed was monstrous. If only they had been able to look into my suitcase and see my books. The irony! I had a copy of my new book I’m Australian, Too – it’s about immigration and welcoming people to live in a happy country. I am all about inclusivity, humanity and the oneness of the humans of the world; it’s the theme of my life. I also had a copy of my book Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. I told him I had all these inclusive books of mine in my bag, and he yelled at me: “I can read!”
He was less than half my age – I don’t look 70 but I don’t look 60 either, I’m an older woman – and I was standing the whole time. The belligerence and violence of it was really terrifying. I had to hold the heel of my right hand to my heart to stop it beating so hard.
They were not apologetic at any point. When they discovered that one of Australia’s official gifts to Prince George was Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, he held out his hand and said: “It’s been a pleasure to meet you, Ms Fox.” I was close to collapse, very close to fainting, and this nearly broke me – it was the creepiest thing of all.
I had been upright, dignified, cool and polite, and this was so cruelly unexpected, so appalling, that he should say it was a pleasure. It couldn’t have been a pleasure for him to treat me like that, unless he was a psychopath.
In that moment I loathed America. I loathed the entire country. And it was my 117th visit to the country so I know that most people are very generous and warm-hearted. They have been wonderful to me over the years. I got over that hatred within a day or two. But this is not the way to win friends, to do this to someone who is Australian when we have supported them in every damn war. It’s absolutely outrageous.
Later in the hotel room I was shaking like a leaf. I rang my friend, my American editor and bawled and bawled, and she told me to write it all down, and I wrote for two hours. I fell asleep thinking I would sleep for eight hours but I woke up an hour and a half later just sobbing. I had been sobbing in my sleep. It was very traumatic.
After I got back to Australia I had an apology from the American embassy. I was very impressed, they were very comforting, and I’ve had so many messages of support from Americans and American authors.
I am a human being, so I do understand that these people might not be well-trained, but they now have carte blanche to be as horrible and belligerent as they want. They’ve gone mad – they’ve got all the power that they want but they don’t have the training.
They made me feel like such a crushed, mashed, hopeless old lady and I am a feisty, strong, articulated English speaker. I kept thinking that if this were happening to me, a person who is white, articulate, educated and fluent in English, what on earth is happening to people who don’t have my power?
That’s the heartbreak of it. Remember, I wasn’t pulled out because I’m some kind of revolutionary activist, but my God, I am now. I am on the frontline. If we don’t stand up and shout, good sense and good will not prevail, and my voice will be one of the loudest.
That’s what it has taught me. I thought I was an activist before, but this has turned me into a revolutionary. I’m not letting it happen here. Instead of crying and being sad and sitting on a couch, I am going to write to politicians. I am going to call. I am going to write to newspapers. I am going to get on the radio. I will not be quiet. No more passive behaviour. Hear me roar.
Ginny's thought for the day: 
There is nothing scarier than a peon with power.

Shame, Shame, Shame.

What makes which bathroom a transgender child uses so important to The Donald? With all the other messes he's created in his one month in office, how did this violation of the civil rights of CHILDREN, float to the top of his agenda? 

Could where a child pees be more important than, for example, sitting down for your daily intelligence briefing, or assessing the cost to American taxpayers of your weekend flights to Palm Beach on Airforce One? 

Transgenderism is the result of a prenatal hormonal mix-up, not the choice a rebellious two-year-old child makes. You cannot say antisemitism and racism have to stop out of one side of your mouth, and consign children to ridicule and a life of discrimination out the other.

Jackie Evancho's sister

Trump at African-American History Museum denounces anti-semitism and racism: 'It has to stop.'

Talk about timing...When We Rise

There's a lesson here

Cesare Brai's photo.

"A wolf pack on the move :

The first 3 are the old or sick, they give the direction and pace to the entire pack. If it was the other way round, they would be left behind, losing contact with the pack. In case of an ambush they would be sacrificed; then come 5 strong ones, the front line;

  • In the center are the rest of the pack members;
  • then the 5 strongest following.
  • Last is alone, the Alpha.

He controls everything from the rear. In that position he can see everything, decide the direction. He sees all of the pack.

The pack moves according to the elders' pace and help each other, watch each other.

Again I am left speechless by nature ... I knew that wolves are different, but didn't realize how much we could learn from them...

I didn't know wolves put the elders of the pack FIRST ... a lot of people on this planet should take note... they are to be seen up front, setting the pace and direction while enjoying the protection of the rest... and not invisible at the back of the line. " 

Unknown author

Why I Write Part III


Vivi, sisters, and Win

Yesterday, I received this wonderful letter from the mother of these lovely children. I cried. There is no greater gift a writer can receive than to know she's made a difference--large or small.


Dear Ginny Rorby,

I am writing to you about one of your books How to Speak Dolphin. I have read this book many times and I love it. I am around Lily’s age and my brother Win is around Adam’s age.Win has autism just like Adam. He does not have severe autism like Adam but he still acts like him. He goes to therapy and goes to a regular daycare.They aren’t even a daycare for kids like Win, but he has a nice lady who goes to school with him everyday and they love him a lot.
Your book has let me know that I’m not the only one who might feel like Lily does about Adam. I have a special love and bond for Win who I have for no one else. I can’t have sleepovers at my house with friends, he comes into my room and messes up my bed, and he screams when he wants something. I know he can’t help it and I really understand it but it is very hard not to feel discouraged. Lily met Zoe who is blind and a sick dolphin named Nori. They both made Lily realise that it’s okay. Adam might always deal with autism but things will be alright. This book has taught me that it’s okay too. Win is wonderful and might always deal with autism too but he will be okay. Like Adam, Win has people who love him and want what’s best. I love Win and better understand what he’s going through because of Lily and Adam.
This book has changed the way I look at kids or people with special needs just like Win has. I am more patient and kind with those who have special needs because of him. I absolutely love this book and hope you can write more about things like this. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book.
From your biggest fan and best reader,
Vivi T 
Searcy, AR

The real Adam

Something Lovely to share



HOW BEAUTIFUL IS THIS?

https://sites.google.com/site/sundayfamilyhumour12/sunday-family-humour-27th-november/sunday-family-humour-27th-november-page-2/Ingo and Poldi 1.jpg?attredirects=0

anja Brandt is a German photographer who has dedicated her career towards photographing animals and wildlife.
In one of her most recent projects,
Brandt shot photographs of a highly unlikely pair of friends – Ingo, the Belgian shepherd; and Poldi (Napoleon), the one-year-old owlet.
https://sites.google.com/site/sundayfamilyhumour12/sunday-family-humour-27th-november/sunday-family-humour-27th-november-page-2/Ingo and Poldi 2.jpg?attredirects=0
Poldi and Ingo are both pets of Brandt’s, and have formed a bond over the past year that the photographer simply couldn’t ignore.  
Brandt is a professional photographer, and has years of experience doing photoshoots with various animals.  
Ingo, the shepherd, is one of her most loyal and popular models.
https://sites.google.com/site/sundayfamilyhumour12/sunday-family-humour-27th-november/sunday-family-humour-27th-november-page-2/Ingo and Poldi 3.jpg?attredirects=0
The dog is very very well educated. He is able to do every order by far.  
Head down, head right, stay, sit, everything… but not so with the birds.”
https://sites.google.com/site/sundayfamilyhumour12/sunday-family-humour-27th-november/sunday-family-humour-27th-november-page-2/Ingo and Poldi 4.jpg?attredirects=0
Brandt describes the relationship between Ingo and Poldi as somewhat of a ‘protector-protected’ relationship.  
Ingo is a guardian for Poldi, whom Brandt states “doesn’t know how to live free”.
https://sites.google.com/site/sundayfamilyhumour12/sunday-family-humour-27th-november/sunday-family-humour-27th-november-page-2/Ingo and Poldi 5.jpg?attredirects=0
Poldi didn’t hatch until two days after his six brothers and sisters, and has always been very vulnerable due to his size. 
Ingo, on the other hand, comes from a family of strong and oftentimes ruthless police dogs.
https://sites.google.com/site/sundayfamilyhumour12/sunday-family-humour-27th-november/sunday-family-humour-27th-november-page-2/Ingo and Poldi 6.jpg?attredirects=0
Ingo is very protective over the year-old owlet, and their bond is as strong off-camera as it appears in Tanja’s photographs.
https://sites.google.com/site/sundayfamilyhumour12/sunday-family-humour-27th-november/sunday-family-humour-27th-november-page-2/Ingo and Poldi 7.jpg?attredirects=0
They respect each other and they can read each other.”
https://sites.google.com/site/sundayfamilyhumour12/sunday-family-humour-27th-november/sunday-family-humour-27th-november-page-2/Ingo and Poldi 8.jpg?attredirects=0
Ingo is often photographed with various birds (such as the Harris hawk)  
and other animals, but he doesn’t share a bond with anyone quite like he does with Poldi.
https://sites.google.com/site/sundayfamilyhumour12/sunday-family-humour-27th-november/sunday-family-humour-27th-november-page-2/Ingo and Poldi 9.jpg?attredirects=0


One Rat I can get behind

Throughout the world, places that have been involved in war and/or civil strife often have large minefields that still need clearing.  In 2013, it was estimated that there was a global average of around nine mine-related deaths every day.  The situation is especially dire in Africa. 

Typically, clearing a minefield involves men in body armor walking in very precise lines with metal detectors.  Anything (from a rusty nail to an old ammo cartridge) that sets the detectors off must be investigated before moving on.  A new method of bomb detection using rats, however, is flipping this process on its head.  A Belgian NGO called APOPO has developed a way to train African pouched rats (named for the storage pouch in their cheeks) to sniff out bombs quickly and safely. 
 
 
They used this rat because it has an incredibly fine-tuned sense of smell and a long lifespan (8-9 years) to yield returns on the nine months of training they undergo.
 
 
They're called Hero Rats, and NOT ONE
has died in the line of duty since the program started in 1997. 

 
The average mine requires 5 kg (roughly 11 pounds)
of weight to trigger an explosion,
but even the biggest of these rats
are only around 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds). 
 
 
Since they're trained to sniff out explosives exclusively,
they aren't distracted by other metal objects
the way human minesweepers are. 

  They can effectively search 200 square meters
in less than 20 minutes.
A team of humans would need
around 25 hours to do the same job.
 


Since they're in the African sun a lot,
the Hero Rats get sunscreen to keep them cancer free.
If a rat does get cancer,
it receives full medical treatment.


The rats are "paid" in avocados, peanuts,bananas and other healthy treats.
 
After about 4-5 years on the job
(or whenever they lose interest in working),
they're allowed to retire.


Retirement consists of eating all the tasty fruit
their little hero heart's desire.
Reprinted from Wimp.com

Maybe my most important blog post ever.

 Taken from A Hopeful Act in a Perilous time

 Pam Houston's Dedication


When I was four years old my father broke my femur. I believe he meant to kill me, and for the next fourteen years it became my mother's job to try to keep him from getting another chance.  Needless to say, my childhood home was nervous at best and terrifying at worst, and it turned me into a woman who always takes notice when a man threatens a woman's life.

My father said to me often, Pam, one of these days you are going to wake up and realize you spend your whole life lying in the gutter with someone elses foot on your neck.  It was the closest thing he had to a world view.  Looked at a certain way my entire life has been dedicated to making his words untrue.    

Maybe its because I grew up in my fathers house that I can see Trump so clearly for what he is.  A desperately insecure bully, with no moral center--no center of any kind really--who feels momentarily powerful only when he is able to break those unlucky enough to step into his path.  

Trump has already vowed to destroy (or threatens by his very being) every single thing about my life that I value: the remaining wilderness, diversity of all kinds, education, art, animal rights, choice, affordable health care, compassion, tolerance, honesty, hard work, kindness, peace.  I have not lived well these 54 years just to end up with a sociopathic narcissists foot on my neck.

So I dedicate my No-Trump Vote to my four year-old self, smiling bravely for the camera in her 3/4 body cast, and for every little girl who lays awake at night in her room afraid, and to Hillary Clinton, who has dedicated much of her life to the betterment of girls and women, and who each day puts on her bulletproof vest and stands up for us all.  

#DedicateYourNoTrumpVote
To Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote, Click Here

PAM HOUSTON is the author of two novels, Contents May Have Shiftedand Sight Hound, two collections of short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton.  Her stories have been selected for volumes of The O. Henry Awards, The 2013 Pushcart Prize, and Best American Short Stories of the Century. She teaches in the Low Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is Professor of English at UC Davis, and directs the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande and is at work on a book about that place.