Thursday, October 20, 2016

No Place Better

We could take a plane or a train to enjoy the magnificent colors this weekend as New England hardwoods prepare for winter. Or, we could hop in our car and take a four hour drive into the heart of Michigan's Upper Peninsula to view similar woodsy splendor.

Or, we could simply look out our living room windows . . . .

Monday, October 17, 2016

Our Rare Little White Neighbors

Sunday's regional newspaper carried a headline: "Rare albino squirrel seen." The sighting was in a subdivision of Brighton, a suburban community northwest of Detroit.

The story said a representative of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources stated she was surprised to hear of an albino squirrel being seen. The albinos result from an unusual genetic defect. The DNR spokesperson said the defect is so rare that the state doesn't even have a record of sightings. In addition to a low birth rate, predators easily spot the white fur of  babies and few albinos live to become adults.

We were a bit surprised to see the newspaper headline. About eight years ago, beautiful wife Sandy spotted an albino squirrel racing through our side yard and into the woods. About two years ago, a woman in our community about a quarter mile from us photographed an albino in her yard. Perhaps they are a bit more common in the western part of the state than in the east.
  Our neighbor's photo was blurred, but the color clearly was white
Making squirrel watching interesting for us are many resident black squirrels, another subgroup of fox squirrels and the eastern gray squirrel. The blacks are rare in parts of the U.S., but quite common in woods near us and elsewhere in North America. We guesstimate that about as many blacks as grays raid our bird feeders and frolic in the woods behind our house.

Our black and gray squirrels get along very well, and we presume the only problems the occasional albinos have are with predators. Perhaps some Americans who can't seem to accept neighbors of different colors could take a lesson from our furry friends.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Gd Gd Almighty, It Is Grand

Four summers ago, the Geezer posted the following lament with the full expectation that words here would have no impact on the highway gurus in Lansing.  Does the restoration of Grand to our signage signify the power of this blog to carry a message, or simply the dawn of common sense? I think the latter.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Were I in charge of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, I would be irate and demanding change in the way the name of my city is routinely butchered by the Michigan Department of Transportation. MDOT consistently replaces Grand with Gd.

Yes, they could sneak "ran" in
Grand Rapids deserves a full ID.  It is known for several, admittedly not overly important, things.  Grand Rapids is Michigan’s second largest city.  Grand Rapids is the birthplace of former President Gerald Ford. Grand Rapids is a leading producer of office furniture.  More important to me, the city has two really good Mexican restaurants. 

How demeaning is a contrived Grand abbreviation? Can you imagine a sign saying: Gd Canyon--27 miles? 

Could MDOT put the “ran” back in Grand as a practical matter? Of course it could.  Possibilities include compressing the type, enlarging signs a bit, moving arrows, and changing the shape of arrows.

Because I am not the head honcho at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, the strange signage is of no personal concern. Anyway, it is starting to pop up all over, so Gd may be making a move toward supplanting Grand in common usage. A recent Google travel search yielded this instruction: Turn right to merge onto US-131 N toward Gd Rapids.”

                                           * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Lo and behold . . . This summer MDOT decided to make things right. At least a dozen signs in our area suddenly pointed the way to GRAND Rapids!  Included was the one I photographed back in 2012. Here it is today. The picture was snapped from a slightly different angle because a tree limb had grown to block part of the sign from the original camera viewing point.

Isn't it grand?

Friday, October 07, 2016

How Do You Feel . . .

When I started this blog ten years ago, I had the misguided notion that it would provide some widespread benefit as younger readers thirsting for knowledge about life eagerly sopped up my accumulated wisdom. I simply forgot a truth about human nature, at least the nature of most Americans.

It is clear that young adults in the U.S. have scant interest in learning from the experiences of fully mature adults (AKA honey, sweetie, old man, granny, etc.). Advertising predominantly portrays the young enjoying life with the product being pushed. Television shows and movies glorify youth and often portray parents and grandparents as silly old people to be circumvented when necessary and ignored when possible.

This seems strange. It is obvious that people learn from experience. One would think, then, that the less experienced among us would want to avoid pitfalls by consulting the most experienced at every opportunity. However, as a teenager and beyond, the older a relative or friend became, the less inclined I was to ask them about anything. I've seen no evidence that things have changed.

Because we all obviously are subjected to the aging process, it also would seem that as they grow older the kids would ask fully mature adults how we feel at various stages of our lives so they would have an idea of what's to come. Yet, I've never had that sort of question put to me by anyone a generation or more younger than I.

Since we geezers are unlikely to be asked to provide serious information, we may as well offer some light-hearted thoughts about how we feel. Most of the time, I feel very good. There's a lot to feel good about. Blogging friend Ramana Rajgopaul provided a look at some of the less important positives with a list defining a "Seenager" a few posts ago. It brightened my day--perhaps it will do the same for you: