Many of these pictures are squares, but some are not. I hope you will forgive me, but some pictures just couldn’t fit into a square and they deserved to be grouped.


I actually got something like form and almost details on the squirrels this time around. The camera took its usual 1020 pictures, about 650 of which showed nothing but a moving feeder or such a tiny bit of squirrel it wasn’t worth processing.

In the end, I got 250 pictures of flying squirrels and another 200 pictures of raccoons. I don’t know why I got better pictures this time, but amazingly I did.

And yes, I am going to show them to you.

I thought this was a neat way to really show the shape of the squirrel (square!)

Above, three squares, three not-squares

It does take me an awfully long to process the pictures. The quality isn’t very good and my goal is to try and extract quality when it’s essentially invisible. Even though I didn’t personally push the shutter on the camera, I did a lot of work on the pictures and figure I’m allowed to affix my name.

You can see the wings and the squirrel! Cool, isn’t it. (Another square)

But, it is a camera trap. If I wasn’t afraid of what the rain and wind might do to my better cameras — which are technically waterproof but I’m not sure exactly HOW waterproof — I’d try to do them with my better camera and lenses.

I’m not that trusting. The wind could blow the tripod over. A raccoon could come and investigate the camera and do strange and terrible things with his tiny little hands. So for now, I’ll just pass and use the cheap but waterproof trail camera.

And in honor of Earth Day, I will feed my animals until I can’t get seed for them anymore. These little squirrels eat a LOT of seed every night … pounds of it! Soon, their favorite seeds will be unavailable and they will have to make do on less yummy treats. I’m sure they will manage to adapt. I’m not sure, but I think I now have dozens of them gliding home every night.


I recently wrote a blog about the history of toilet paper and the response was so enthusiastic, I decided to look further into the subject.

Before toilet paper came into existence in 1857, people used leaves, moss, stones, corncobs or whatever was handy. The Romans used a sponge on a stick which doesn’t sound too bad. Except that Romans had communal lavatories and after using the sponge, they would dip it in a pail of water and then pass it onto the next guy. Ugh! Parts of the world today don’t even wipe, they use water from a jug or a bidet.

When cheap paper became easily available in the 19th century, people used newspapers and magazines as well as the giant Sears Roebuck Catalogue, which was a favorite in American bathrooms. In 1857, Joseph C. Gayetty started manufacturing “Paper for the water closet” and sold it in a package of sheets.

It wasn’t until 1871 when Seth Wheeler of Albany, NY, came up with the design that we are familiar with today. He invented the concept of perforating a roll of paper so it could be conveniently torn off in small squares. He then patented the cardboard tube at the center of the roll and a holder for this new contraption.

While we see this invention as brilliant and practical, it was apparently not easy to convince early 20th century Americans to buy this new, miraculous, disposable product. People wondered why they should pay for this fancy paper when they had so much paper available for free that could be put to the same use.

Well into the 1940s, toilet paper was a luxury because most Americans still used outhouses. These were basically a hole in the ground, so it didn’t matter what, or how much, you threw down that hole.


But another invention came to the rescue and made toilet paper a necessity in every American household – the flush toilet. Around this same time, many cities began building sewers and municipal water supplies which allowed more and more homes to acquire a hallmark of modern civilization, the indoor bathroom.

Flush toilets connect to sewers with an S-shaped trap to keep sewer gases from backing up into bathrooms. This piece of plumbing can get easily blocked up. Therefore, flush toilets are much more particular about what they can digest.

Newspapers and catalogs were no longer viable for modern bathroom duty.

Companies began to use modern advertising to compete with each other over the booming toilet paper market. Softer, “splinter-free,” and the multi-ply paper was touted as more comfortable and more absorbent. Colored toilet paper came out to match bathroom décor.

Toilet paper is now a 2.5 billion dollar industry and is considered to be enough of a daily necessity to cause the Coronavirus panic buying and resultant shortages in stores.

This is not the first time toilet paper shortages have made the headlines in recent history. In 1971, a July dock strike wiped out the toilet paper supply in Hawaii, which imports everything. That shortage lasted months and caused some interesting social phenomena. People stole toilet paper from the restrooms in bars, so some bar owners took control of the toilet paper supply and assigned a “poop manager” to ration out six squares to anyone who needed the restroom. To avoid similar pilfering, some hotels posted security guards in their restrooms.

Having toilet paper became a status symbol and a wealthy heiress received toilet paper rolls as a housewarming gift. When radio stations had contests, the winner got toilet paper – in one case the toilet paper was delivered in a Rolls Royce! In 1999 the threat of another strike caused another run on toilet paper in Hawaii.

After that, Hawaiians stockpiled supplies so they never had to panic about shortages again.

The good news today is that the current toilet paper shortage should be short-lived. Most of the paper industry is local and there are ample supplies of the raw materials used in its production: wood pulp and recycled paper. There are no overseas supply chains to get disrupted by Coronavirus so long term toilet paper shortages shouldn’t be something we need to worry about.

At least that’s what I read. We all know that sometimes what you read isn’t even worth the paper it’s printed on!



For those who cannot fathom the changes time has wrought,
tomorrow will be better, or perhaps it will be not.
Those who have championed progress, thinking it is for our betterment
might come at last to fathom that it’s been to our fetterment.
Why do we study science and waste our time at college
only to find out that we’ve been ruined by our knowledge?

We have been so quickly smart and sadly too late wise.
All our grand inventions seem to lead to our demise.
Can we make things better? Can we veer off to the light?
Or will we blindly keep our course, attracted to the night?

Follow this link to see the original on  LIFELESSONS

A PLAGUE? REALLY? – Marilyn Armstrong

The world is bizarre, though I think we have now passed any concept I’ve ever had of what bizarre means.

  1. I was afraid if Trump lost, the Secret Service would have to carry him bodily from the White House.
  2. I was afraid the Democrats would have an insane convention and be the laughingstock of the American political world.
  3. I was afraid the electoral college would screw us … again … or it would be a tie and then the Supreme Court would screw us.
  4. I was afraid that somehow someone weird would wind up as the Democratic candidate because we’d have a brokered convention and the outcome would be strange.

I did not anticipate an actual plague. I mean, we say stuff like “a plague on your house,” but I don’t think we mean an actual plague.

Have we time-traveled back to the 14th century? Because Trump sounds about as scientific and modern as most of the nobles of the 14th century. If they had Twitter in 1347, I think Trump’s opinions would have sounded perfectly normal. They sound crazy today, but in the 1300s, he would have made perfect sense.

The view from the Apollo 11 (NASA)

What the hell is normal? I’ve completely lost track of it. I don’t know what a normal life is like or maybe I never knew, but now that everyone is living like I’ve been living, my life seems less normal. Previously, I wasn’t afraid of going places. I didn’t necessarily want to go anywhere, but I wasn’t afraid.I’m not usually fearful. But Owen has pointed out he doesn’t want to lose both parents at the same time.

We think we are going to have an election, but we aren’t sure. We don’t know who the Democratic candidate will be, though we think probably Biden. Who knows?  We should have picked Yang. He may not have seen this whole epidemic thing, but he got the message about keeping our personal economies from collapsing.

We all knew things would get crazier. Since Trump became president, we always think this is as nuts as it could possibly be, that we’ve finally hit the bottom. The next day, something happens and you realize, nope, not the bottom. We keep digging deeper. I’m sure we’ill ultimately come out on the other side of the world, somewhere in Australia. That was my goal when I was 10. I had looked at a globe and I realized that if you stuck a pin in the world in New York, you’d be in Sydney. Or maybe Melbourne.

Funny how childhood fantasies show up in adulthood, warped and twisted yet somehow, following your childhood dreams in the weirdest way.