Check out that Werewolf Cat, man. Just Werewolfy as all get out. It’s scientific name is Lykoi, which is cool but not nearly as cool as Werewolf Cat. Roughly translated, Lykoi means “wolf cat” in Greek. Lykoi cats are derivatives of feral cats, and as such they have retained their strong prey drive. They very much enjoy stalking other smaller animals and children, so if you get one you best keep an eye on little Ainsley and your pet Chiweenie. Anywho, Werewolf Cat.

Accurate.

This gorgeous creation is known as the green Regal flowerbird and Crotalaria cunninghamii is the stunning plant’s scientific name. It’s a member of the legume family that includes chickpeas and alfalfa. The perennial shrub is native to inland northern Australia, where it thrives along sandy dunes. Its ties to Australia are quite ironic, considering that no hummingbirds live there. That’s wild, man. Mother Nature doin’ her thing per usual.

Freddie Krueger beat out Alex P. Keaton in Ohio? Shocking.

Color coded with each team’s colors.

I’ll take The Block at #1.

These map percentages indicate responses to the question: “Do you wash your hands automatically with soap and water after going to the toilet?” Faring the worst: The Netherlands, which clocks in at only 50%, and Italy, where a mere 57% of respondents said that they adhere to this hygienic practice. I’m not sure about you, but I might reconsider my craving for a hand-tossed pizza with the works whilst in Italy from this point forwards.

I shall henceforth start a movement to make these name changes.

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Cows can talk to each other using their moos, a new study has claimed.

Researchers in Australia studied Holstein-Friesian cows and found that the animals can communicate with each other, and respond to positive and negative emotions. Scientists from the University of Sydney used a special programme – dubbed the ‘Google Translate for Cows’  to analysis the pitch of their moos.

Alexandra Green, the study’s lead author, said: “They have all got very distinct voices. Even without looking at them in the herd, I can tell which one is making a noise just based on her voice.”

The study, published in Scientific Reports, found that cows can express a range of emotions, including distress, excitement and arousal.

Nothing sexier than an aroused cow, huh? Anyway, has there ever been a more obvious result to a study than finding out that cows talk to each other? Of course they do. All animals do. Hell, I once saw a gerbil tell a tufted titmouse a story about a sea urchin. Seriously though, this study was a complete waste of time. And there’s one sure-fire way to tell if animals can communicate with not only each other but humans as well – LISTEN TO THEM.

PS- “The Pitch of Their Moos” sounds like a critically acclaimed Indie movie.

PPS- If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times. A hundred years from now we’re going to know things about the intelligence of animals that would astound us if we knew them today. 

Check out the Bilby, man. Just as cute as the dickens. Bilbies are also known as the Rabbit-Eared Bandicoot which is cool as hell. They’re believed to have inhabited Australia for up to 15-million years, and I’m no expert but that seems like a long time. Bilbies are featured in the songs and stories of Aboriginal Australians, because of course they are. Bilbies co-existed with Aboriginal people for 60,000-years, but in the 200-years since Europeans arrived they’ve been pushed close to extinction and that makes me sad. Save the Bilby! The Bilby is about the size of a domestic cat and typically lives for about 10-years. Anywho, Bilby.

[click and scroll for some amazing Bilbiness]

Quotation marks can be used when quoting someone (der), but they can also be used to show sarcasm. Here’s an example:

Everyone in the theatre could see the “surprise” ending coming halfway through the movie.

However, some folks can’t seem to comprehend that and use quotation marks incorrectly. Compare these two sentences:

Hank and his best friend Jake went to the movies together.

Hank and his “best friend” Jake went to the movies together.

See? Changes the whole meaning of the sentence, correct? Anyway, here are fifteen examples of when quotation marks have been used incorrectly, much to the amusement of all. Well, me anyway. Hope you “enjoy” them.

[click and scroll for my snarky captions]

 

Dude, that’s a 5-foot tall stork, bigger than a damn 6th grader. I’m telling you man, the glaring, dark stare of a 5-foot tall stork can be a frightening thing for a weary traveler. These bad boys can exhibit territorial tendencies, as seen in an infamous incident that occurred at the Belize Zoo. Their stork exhibit now features a roof above the visitor viewing platform after a Jabiru Stork tried to stab an unsuspecting patron with its freakin’ 14-inch-long bill. Jeebus. Jabiru storks are native to Central and South America, where they typically feed on small mammals, fish, amphibians and the ocassional lost toddler. Anywho, Jabiru Stork.

In the world today, 1 in 200 men are direct descendants of Genghis Khan.

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Years ago my late father told me a story, a story that most kids today wouldn’t understand. It was from a time long ago, a time of hardship and poverty that most of us cannot begin to comprehend today.

My dad grew up the youngest of seven children, the son of Sadie and Royal Shoemaker. Grandpa was a carpenter and a blacksmith, and he and Grandma somehow raised every one of their kids to be a part of independent and successful families. The oldest was Myrl who ended up in the second most powerful position in the state of Ohio, serving as its Lieutenant Governor and Director of Natural Resources after 24-years as a State Representative. Brothers Hester (Deck) and Leroy were also strong figures who raised amazing families, and sisters Alice, Ruth and Millie were the matriarchs of great households as well.

Dad? His name was Ralph and he graduated from Ohio University and rose to the Head of Purchasing at the Mead Corporation, a large paper company here in Southern Ohio.

Bottom line, Grandpa and Grandma did an amazing job of raising seven children, most of whom grew up during the Great Depression, the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world.

Which brings me to my father’s story.

It was a Christmas morning, probably sometime in the 1980s, and we were all sitting around watching the grandkids open their myriad of gifts, just tearing through the presents and tossing them aside with barely a glance. It was apparent that Dad was amazed at the sheer number of gifts the kids were getting, and he and I were chuckling about it. At some point we found ourselves in another room and he asked me this question:

Do you want to hear about the best Christmas I ever had?

Well, sure. Dad was never one to share a lot of his personal feelings so I wanted to hear what he had to say. Then he began the story. I’m paraphrasing but I remember it well . . .

“It was, I don’t know, maybe 1933 or 1934. It was Christmas morning, although we didn’t have much of a celebration or anything. I think I was in 1st or 2nd Grade. We didn’t have much at all back then, and we all had chores to do around the house each day. One of my jobs was to get up and shovel coal into the furnace. It was cold in the house, so the first thing I did when I awoke was to put my shoes on. They were always right by my bed. When I put one of them on, I felt something inside. I reached in and there, with a white ribbon tied to it, was a red pencil. A red pencil! Some of the kids at school had their own pencils but most of us did not. I was so excited. I cherished that red pencil more than any present I ever got. I promise you I appreciated that gift more than kids today appreciate theirs. And I made that one pencil last the rest of the school year.”

As he recounted the story I could see the excitement in his eyes, even after all the years that had passed.

You see, back then in that space and time for that little boy, getting a new pencil was special. So special that he remembered it vividly decades later.

I guess we should just appreciate and be grateful for what we have, right? And it’s not always the quantity or the price of the gifts, sometimes it can be something very, very simple.

Like a red pencil.

 

The Taal Volcano erupted in the Philippines on January 12th, but that didn’t stop this couple from going through with their wedding. What resulted is this amazing photograph.

‘Merica?

An absolute classic.

 

Check out that Flower Mantis, man. How have I missed this guy? Just stunningly beautiful like you read about. The little dude climbs up twigs of plants and sits there, imitating a flower and patiently waiting for its prey. It then sways from side to side, and soon various small flies land on and around it, attracted by the small black spot resembling a fly on the end of its abdomen. The Flower Mantis at once seizes the bug and the party’s over. Diabolical. Anywho, Flower Mantis.

Gold, Jerry. Gold!

Hey kids, remember The Wonder Years? The Wonder Years aired from 1988 and 1993 and depicted the years between 1968 and 1973. When I watched the show it felt like it was set in a time long, long ago, which it was – way back when I was a youngster. But get this- if a new Wonder Years premiered today, it would cover the years between 2000 and 2005.

Think about that for a second.

Interesting.

So over the weekend I attended a local basketball game and as always The Spark accompanied me. Sparky usually goes with me unless I’m going to be out of the car a really long time or if the weather is too cold or hot. Anyone who has seen my car knows the backseat (and sometimes the front passenger side) is basically Sparky’s territory and is always filled with a doggie bed and some comfy blankets. Anyway, the game ended around 9:30pm and I set off to meet some friends at a local establishment.

However, as I drove there Spark hopped up between the seats and nudged my ear with his snout, his way of telling me he needed to use the bathroom.

Well, I was in the middle of town so I made the quick decision to pull into the new library’s parking lot. Of course the place was empty and also had plenty of grass for Spark to do his business, which he did.

Keep in mind that Sparky is generally well behaved so unless I’m in a high traffic area he’s rarely leashed. Plus he looks both ways before crossing the street, so there’s that. And yes, I’m serious.

Anyway, as we walked back to the car Sparky spotted a little Weiner Dog in somebody’s front yard, and before I could stop him he ran to the street, checked for traffic, and headed to meet a new friend. Just as I trotted over to get him, a man opened his door to let his pup back in, not even looking down as his little Weiner Dog ran back into the house. He head was actually turned back inside like he was watching the TV or something.

You know where this is going, right?

Yep, Sparky walked right into the house with his new buddy.

And just as I was about to yell something, to my horror the man shut the door behind him.

Let me tell you, although the Spark is a constant source of entertainment with his neverending antics, this was certainly a new one.

All I could do was speedwalk up to the door, give it a knock, and try to explain myself.

Guy, opening the door about 3-inches: “Can I help you?”

I swear to you the dude was oblivious. He had no idea my dog had snuck into his house.

Me: “Uh, I was walking my dog and he went into your house.”

Guy: “What? How? What do you mean?”

Me: “He saw your dog in the yard and when you opened the door to let him back in he walked right in behind him. I’m serious. He’s in there.” 

But the guy still wasn’t buying it. I’m pretty sure he suspected I was a serial killer trying to con my way into his house.

Guy: “There’s no way. I would have seen him. Also, my dog’s a she.”

Well, that certainly explained a lot. But seriously, at this point I was starting to get a little upset. I mean, the guy was being very nice, but there was zero chance I was leaving without my best friend.

Me: “Listen, I’m telling you he’s in there. His name is Sparky. I’m going to yell for him.”

Guy: “Sure, give it a try.”

Me: “SPARK! Get out here!”

Of course, the next thing you knew Sparky and his new sweetheart came strutting around the corner, happy as larks, grinning the way dogs do. The guy was incredulous and amazed that Sparky had pulled that off. Being dog people, he and his wife (no, she hadn’t noticed either) gave Spark a belly rub and a treat before we went on our way.

The Spark. He’s the only one I know who can sneak into a stranger’s house and leave with a belly rub and a milkbone.

 

 

Very well done.

Love.

[click and scroll]

It’s pretty interesting to witness how rock groups have changed over the past 40-50 years. Some seem to age like a fine wine, others . . . not so much. After some deep research by my crack staff here at Shoe: Untied, we came up with some interesting comparisons of rock stars, then and now. We’ll be comparing them singing the same song, because that just seems to be the way we should do it.

Let’s do this . . .

The Cowsills (1967)

The Cowsills (2013)

I think it’s safe to say The Cowsills aged well. They sound pretty great.

Aerosmith (1974)

Aerosmith (2019)

Yep. The boys are just as good as ever.

Paul McCartney (1965)

Paul McCartney (2014)

Sure his voice strains a tad at times, but what did you expect? He’s 77-years old, man. He’s still Paul.

Bruce Springsteen (1978)

Bruce Springsteen (2018)

Well, that video gave me chills. Yes, I’ll say it out loud – Bruce is better now.

Bob Dylan (1965)

Bob Dylan (2019)

Not gonna lie. I love Bob Dylan and I appreciate his genius, but I have no idea what the hell he’s doing half the time these days. That second video is just a weird version of a classic song.

Alice Cooper (1972)

Alice Cooper (2019)

Pretty much the same Alice we’ve seen over the past 40-years, amirite?

These videos have got me to thinking. I wonder what other artists who have passed away would sound like today? Jim Morrison? Freddie Mercury? John Lennon? Sad to think about, man.