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by Elliott

Pull Up a Chair: Elephant Rescues

1:07 am in Animals, PUAC by Elliott

Raju, a 50 year old elephant captured when young and grossly mistreated, was rescued recently. He wept as he was freed.

Wildlife SOS, a group established in 1995 to protect endangered wildlife in India, set out to rescue Raju on the night of July 2. Raju is around 50 years old and was likely captured as a baby and bought and sold many times over the course of his life. He was forced to work as a begging elephant in Allahabad. His legs were bound in spiked chains that made walking difficult and left him with chronic wounds. He was also beaten.

Wildlife SOS found out about Raju’s story through India’s Forestry Commission. When the group attempted to rescue Raju on the night of July 2 in the Uttar Pradesh region of India, his owner and mahout — an individual who rides elephants — apparently attempted to dismantle the effort with a standoff, Nikki Sharp, the executive director of Wildlife SOS-USA, told The Huffington Post Monday.

Raju’s captors layered tighter chains on him and attempted to confuse him by shouting commands, but their efforts proved futile. A team of 10 veterinarians and experts from Wildlife SOS along with 20 Forestry Commission officers and two policemen managed to rescue the abused elephant, according to the Mirror, a British tabloid.

The poor creature was kept in chains 24 hours a day. As you can see on the video, he is slowly recovering at the rescue center.

And here’s a baby elephant rescue in Kenya, workers from the Amboseli Trust for Elephants have to force the mother and other elephants away so they can get the baby (Timmy?) out of the well, but the mother and child reunion makes up for the temporary distress of the rescue.

Elephants are amazing creatures, so much more complicated than we gave them credit for. I knew they were emotional animals, I didn’t know they cried.

Do you think we should resurrect their Woolly Mammoth cousins?

by Elliott

Pull Up a Chair: Caturday Edition

2:58 am in PUAC by Elliott

Buenos Dias! Two more days ’til Cinco de Mayo. Here’s four videos, who can supply the fifth for the fiestivities?

HAPPY dogs, Pharrell style

Fun at the beach, too cute not to post — and it’s appropriate for a Caturday since (imo) Kitty mans the backups like a boss. I do wonder if he’ll go along next time, though. Remarkably well behaved dogs, don’t you think?


Presenting Didga the skateboarding cat:


And here’s a rescued squirrel stopping back to visit his old cat buddy.

What’s happening with your creatures these days? My cat is enjoying the spring weather, likes sitting on the windowsill watching all the birds go by. I taught him a trick, I can get him to roll over, or at least flop over on command request. I say “Flop!” and he flops. (It’s a start.)


Sincere condolences to Marion in Savannah, she lost her Cute Stuff this week, but you know he’ll be waiting for her at the Rainbow Bridge. He lived a loved life, he was lucky for that. This is dedicated to you and your cutie, Marion.


by Elliott

Pull Up a Chair: Sugar Season

4:54 am in Food, PUAC, Uncategorized by Elliott

Good Morning. It’s maple sugar season now and when I saw this I knew I needed it, Maple Creme Brulee (or more fancified, Maple Crème Brûlée).

Yes, please.

Apparently it isn’t a wildly unusual concept as there are many recipes on the interwebs, although this was the one I saw the other day.

Here’s a video version with walnuts, I confess I’ve never made brulees myself and if you are like me it helps to see how-to:

My Vermontian brother had friends with a sugar house, so he would bring us gallons(!) of maple syrup when he came to visit. What a welcome treasure! Sadly he doesn’t live there anymore so we have to buy our own — and once you go pure maple, there’s no going back. My little sister was notoriously wanton in her use of it. She’d drench her pancakes, drench!, I tell you. It was a horror to have to wash all that goodness off her plate after we ate, you’d think she was using Log Cabin Jemima Buttersworth or something.

My cousins lived in eastern Ohio near a mapling center, as kids we’d often get maple sugar candies when we visited. I liked the grainy crystals melting in my mouth. For a do-it-yourself treat my brother suggests Sugar on Snow:

Heated maple syrup in a small pitcher – plate of fresh powdery new fallen snow – pour the syrup onto the snow base and voila – chewy threads of wonder!!! (kind of a Vermonter’s variation on the traditional “Funnel Cake” ha ha!)

That fine land-grant university in New York, Cornell, has a handy FAQ for more info, like grades and stuff and even a small bit on other consumable tree saps. (You have to admit, drinking sap is weird.)

Maple syrup is produced only in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, the region in which sugar maple is found. Although maple syrup is not produced in other regions of the world, some other species of maple are tapped. For example, in Korea, people tap a maple species called Acer mono and pipe the sap from the mountains down to the village. They drink the sap but do not boil it to produce syrup. Birch trees may be tapped in Alaska and Siberia but the sap is lower in sugar content and quality than maple sap.

So what are you having for breakfast, or dessert?

Photo by Annie Corrigan/WFIU Public Radio, used under Creative Commons license

by Elliott

Pull Up a Chair

4:52 am in Animals, Holidays, PUAC, Sports by Elliott

Rabbit Rabbit

It’s Super Bowl Week USA!


Last week dak went into Super Bowl menus because as we all know besides the commercials and then beer/soda – tomorrow is a day of FOOD.

Don’t forget, there is the Puppy Bowl X (starting lineup pics here -and the kittens) with penguin cheerleaders, and a halftime show starring non other than Keyboard Cat.

And now there’s even a kitten bowl too.

So if you aren’t going to watch the game(s), what’s your alternative?

by Elliott

Pull Up a Chair: Why?

4:55 am in PUAC, Sports by Elliott

So this is what happens when your Christmas Sweater has a 3some with your Flag and Quilt…”


USA Olympic Uniforms, Now With More USA! **

O.M.G. This is what the Americans are wearing in the Opening Ceremonies for the Sochi Olympics. It’s so bad even the State Department is warning the athletes not to wear the stuff in public.

According to the USA Olympics website the design is a “dynamic mix of patriotic references in a classic color palette of red, white and navy”. I suppose that’s one way to put it.

“Drawing on the heritage and sophistication of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and a tradition of refined American style, the uniform features a meticulously knit patchwork cardigan highlighted with handcrafted details and emblazoned with stars and spirited graphics.” And also too, “sporty” black leather boots – with red laces!

Ralph Lauren (here’s a note on his inspiration) won the contract to design the outfits away from Roots in 2008 and has been doing it ever since. But can’t Vera Wang do it next time? Aravosis says “this is what happens when you take the ‘gay’ out of the Olympics.”

But Ralph & Co are pleased:

It’s a proud moment for us to watch these premier athletes as they walk out representing our nation on a global stage in front of billions of people worldwide.

All in all, the uniforms are not as loud as the Norway Curling Team’s suits (I told you they were loud), so there’s that.

ABC has a slideshow up if you want to see the rest of the line. Team USA to Display Ugly Sweater Parade in Opening Ceremony? (seriously, they say that.)

So who’s psyched about the games? My mother loved watching everything, she’d tape whatever she couldn’t watch live. And we always watched the opening and closing ceremonies with her, most memorable for me were the 1984 Closing Ceremonies in LA, All Night Long. I don’t watch much but I do go in for the figure skating, I admit. Plus this year the ladies get to rattle their delicate bones ski jumping, looking forward to that. But it’s hard to watch the snowboarding events because I’m sure they’ll all break their necks. How about you?


by Elliott

Pull Up a Chair: Pets

3:49 am in Animals, PUAC by Elliott

Too cute not to share.

What was your first pet? We had dogs growing up, my parents were not cat people so I was in 6th grade before I could get my first kitty, and only after I signed a contract promising to care for the little tortie. We also had the occasional hamster, budgie and mini turtle you can’t get anymore because of the salmonellas. No way did we get pink bunnies or blue chicks at Easter although we wanted them, as usual parents know best, or so they kept telling us.

What about you? And your kids.

And feel free to Caturday this thread, firepups and firecats.

by Elliott

Pull Up a Chair: Winding Down

4:33 am in PUAC by Elliott

Rituals. I don’t have a bedtime ritual.

How do you get ready for bed? It’s last night right now as I write this and I’m a bit keyed up so I brewed a cuppa Nighty Night tea. I enjoy the funky“minty, mildly bitter and sweet, with notes of citrus and spice” taste and find the warmth of the drink soothing in itself. Since I don’t drink coffee during the day, caffeine isn’t an issue for me – but you? What time is your cutoff?

I do have a very bad habit of a light snack late in the evening, probably adding to my waistline, but I’m one of those completely distracted if I think I’m hungry.

It’s winter cold outside so I’m dressed in my flannel jammies. I’ll tuck myself into my flannel sheets. It’s 7°F right now, so I’m wearing my cap, too, a soft kitted beanie. Are you fussy about bed linens and night clothes?

Once you’re in bed, how do you get your mind to stop wandering? I usually have something on to listen to, not to watch, maybe a documentary (I do like to go to bed with Liev Schreiber). As for music, I sometimes get in the mood and will listen to classical music, maybe Tchaikovsky or Vivaldi. Sometimes just ocean waves is enough to distract me to slumber (best in person reclining on the lanai but that’s not happening anytime soon).

I’m not good at reading before bed, though. For me, I keep concentrating on the story so I won’t lose my place so my thinking brain doesn’t let go. Plus to read you have to have your eyes open, I wonder if books on tape might work ’cause I’m not seeing Schreiber stopping by to read me bedtime stories anytime soon, either (how lucky his kids are to have him read to them at night). Anyone try books on tapes at night? Maybe you have a podcast series that soothes?

The most frustrating thing for me, though, is to drift off to sleep but then wake up too refreshed maybe a half hour later – then I’m up for hours. Haven’t found a cure for this yet.

Since you’ll be reading this in the morning, let me offer you some coffee, cream anyone?

H/T watertiger for the wee little motor boat

by Elliott

Pull Up a Chair: Engineers Do It All

3:53 am in PUAC, Video by Elliott

Nothing like having the engineers carve the pumpkins!

Every year NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a pumpkin carving contest. I love love the orrery, and the eye roller stem nose.

There’s a chocolate spewing Chestburster, another one geared up, and the Death Star with a coupla TIE Fighters, and I think that’s the Mars Curiosity parachuting down. I should have married an engineer.

But I’d have to pick the fish tank keeper as the winner, which one’s your favorite/s?

H/T watertiger and the Daily Dot

(By the way, don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour tonight, sleep in.)

by Elliott

Pull up a Chair: Treasure Hunt

3:46 am in PUAC by Elliott

I love treasure hunts. It’s fun to go on one, and it’s just as fun to make one up, writing clever clues to get to the clever places you stashed them. Nothing as elaborate as this one though. Captain Turtles lives on a sailboat on Vancouver Island, BC, when his little brothers came to visit he made a real treasure hunt for them to go on – at PIRATE COVE!, no less. Turns out the spot does have a colorful treasure past as well.

Flip through the pictures to see how it was set up and the successful conclusion.

Ever set up a treasure hunt or a scavenger hunt?

by Elliott

Pull Up a Chair: Labor Day and Back to School

3:51 am in PUAC by Elliott

What’s everybody doing this weekend? Picnics? Rallies? Festivals? Community Days? Nothin’?

I suppose the kids are already back to school, seems wrong starting in August, first day of school should be next Wednesday, demmit.

On my first day of school I put on my brand new dress which didn’t match my big sister’s, nor was it one she ever wore before, either. Neat-O. Then my mom helped me fasten on my brand new Mary Janes. No need to worry about the hair, mom had that sorted with pixie cuts. She had no patience for the hair combin’ blues.

And so buffed and scruffed we set out for the bus stop, me, my sister and the big brother.

We stood outside an abandoned gate that marked the stop. I bet there were fifteen of us there, so waiting was just fooling around with the neighborhood kids which helped me not notice so much how many butterflies were circling around in my tummy.

And then the big yellow school bus pulled up – it’s all a blur after that.

Were you as scared as me?