March 31, 2011

The Origin of April Fool’s Day



Cochran Cornell, the Cantankerous Cockroach,

 contributed to this post

     As I recall, way back in time, the unicorn (I’ll call him Sanno) refused to board Noah’s Ark. Sanno was having too much fun bouncing about in the waves of the coming flood. His black, gold, and red horn bobbed up and down through the waves as he splashed, and was splashed, becoming more energetic as the waves increased in size.

     His joy was so great that he didn’t hear Noah’s last call. Noah reached a point of desperation, having to decide whether to sail on, leaving Sanno behind, or to try to rescue him. However, Sanno, swimming about, had swum so far from the ark that Noah realized, finally, that no matter what, he  couldn’t save Sanno, so he sadly sailed on, saving the other animals for future generations.

     Sanno didn’t realize he was missing the boat as he continued to dive in and out of the waves, nary a care in the world. What fun! That is, until he saw a giant wave moving towards him. Suddenly, he realized he might be endangered. He looked about for Noah’s Ark, but all he could see was a speck in the distance. Was that the Ark? It was impossible to tell.

     It didn’t matter. Sanno couldn’t get to the Ark, nor could he avoid the huge wave, one unlike he had ever imagined. It rolled upon him, over him, lifting him higher than he’d ever experienced before. He looked up—he was riding the top of it, and could see for miles! And all he saw was (more…)

February 24, 2011

The Rev. Manasseh Cutler Visits Peale’s Museum in Philadelphia



     A Dr. Clarkson and The Rev. Manasseh Cutler, a key player in arranging the 1787 Scioto Land Grant in Southeast Ohio (a sub-grant of the Ohio Land Grant), later visited a museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

     The museum, started as a private enterprise by Charles Wilson Peale, opened in 1784 at his residence on the corner of Third and Lombard Streets. During The Rev. Cutler’s visit, Mr. Peale demonstrated that he had a sense of humor. We have the following story because The Rev. Cutler was diligent in keeping a journal.


     Immediately after dinner we called on Mr. Peale to see his collections of paintings and natural curiosities. We were conducted into a room by a boy, who told us Mr. Peale would wait on us in a minute or two. He desired us, however, to walk into the room where the curiosities were, and showed us a (more…)

December 2, 2010

Sun, Moon, Stars, Planets—I Want Them All



     While I was sorting pictures yesterday I came across some taken atop Laurel Mountain (Pennsylvania).  My husband Monte had just participated in a peace event, Walk for a Nuclear-Free Future (Feb. 13-May 1, 2010). He had climbed Laurel Mountain—I had driven up to Laurel Mountain Summit, elevation 2684 feet, to wait for him.

     When he arrived I did my normal thing—took pictures. Following his pictures were those of an older woman, whom I assumed had reached the summit with Monte.

     Upon further examination I realized the old lady beside the sign was none other than me.

     I don’t remember getting older…when did I?

     Last week Monte asked me what I wanted for my birthday. Several days later I found an answer in a news story about a woman who now “owns the sun.”  The big orange ball in the sky that has been present since the beginning of time now belongs to Angeles Duran of Salvaterra do Mino, Spain, who claims she registered the star with a notary public (according to the news agency Agence France-Presse).

     “I think I want a piece of sun real estate,” I told Monte. “Could you contact Angeles and see if (more…)

September 9, 2010

Tales of Rare Lobsters




     Ariel, kidnapped, probably became part of a BBQ. Skye Bloo became a blue-plate special for his roommate. After Ol’ Blue Claws, a.k.a Cobalt or Papa Smurf, was evicted from his Portland, Maine residence, he took up residence in Rye, New Hampshire.


     Over the years, I’ve collected a selection of articles on lobsters. Summer’s end is a good time to share some lobster tales with you. Links at the end of the post will lead to more lobster tales. 


     Ariel was a rare albino lobster discovered by a local fisherman in 1997, and donated to the Newquay’s Sea Life Centre in Great Britain.     

     Albino lobsters are very rare, partially because their lack of camouflage makes them an easy target for predators, including their fellow lobsters. Thus, they do not usually survive for very long in the wild.

      Ariel was around one-and-a-half feet long and weighed around three pounds. He was a real star at the aquarium, where he had his own private tank, which kept him safe from being attacked by other lobsters.

     Three years after his capture, or protective custody, an aquarium curator noticed the lid on Ariel’s tank had been tampered with. A search of the centre revealed a hole in a nearby fence, and a missing fish crate.  The crate was later discovered next to a burnt out fire on a beach.  The evidence suggests (more…)

July 19, 2010

Cochran Cornell Caught on Flypaper: Part 4



This is the fourth and concluding part of the story of Cochran Cornell the cantankerous cockroach, who found himself caught on sticky flypaper and thought it was the end for him. To read Part 1, click on:     To read Part 2 click on:    To read Part 3 click on: 


      Their interest piqued, the ants gathered at the edge of the flypaper, raptly listening as Cochran told his story, ending it woefully.

     “And none of my so-called friends—nary a one—cared enough to stay with me and comfort me,” he whined angrily. “Do you think a one of them would care to devise a solution??? Oh, no.”

     The ants looked at each other before gathering in a huddle. Although they considered cockroaches scatterbrained creatures who disrupted their organized work by running all over it, they just had to help a (more…)

July 17, 2010

Cochran Cornell Caught on Flypaper: Part 3



This is the third part of Cochran Cornell the Cantankerous Cockroach, who finds his natural behavior gets him into trouble. The situation becomes so disastrous that he KNOWS his end is near. His friends abandon him, and he finds a creature so unlike him for support. To read Part 1, click on    To read Part 2, click on


     Cochran might have noticed the flypaper laying across the countertop if his nature wasn’t so skitterish. Or at least he might have smelled the wonderfully sweet aroma identifying the danger. But the insult he was tossing over his shoulder to Lazybones was too good and it had distracted him from self-protection.

     And a well-deserved insult it was, thought Cochran as he recalled taking a flying leap over the platter, seeking a crumb of delicacy. Because he was looking over his wings at the oaf, he missed his target and (more…)

July 15, 2010

Cochran Cornell Caught on Flypaper: Part 2



 This is the second part of Cochran Cornell the Cantankerous Cockroach, who finds his natural behavior gets him into trouble. The situation becomes so disastrous that he KNOWS his end is near. His friends abandon him, and he finds a creature so unlike him for support. To read Part 1, click on


     The faces in the cockroach community expressed horror at seeing one of their own in a situation of certain demise.

     The organizational response, most stopping dead short in their path, lasted only a moment before their roach nature brought back the chaotic scooting. Running past each other, bumping into each other, they commented on the situation.

     Gradually Cochran’s multitudinous progeny gradually arrived as they learned of his dilemma. It was a demonstration of the power of gossip that the news of his certain demise traveled so far in such a rapid time. Some of the community cried softly, others wailed and sobbed and quite a few (more…)

July 12, 2010

Cochran Cornell Caught on Flypaper: Part 1



Cochran Cornell the Cantankerous Cockroach finds his natural behavior gets him into trouble. The situation becomes so disastrous that he KNOWS his end is near. As his friends abandon him, he finds a creature so unlike him for support. Click back to find the continuation of the saga, which will be filed under Cochran’s writings on this blog . 


     Sunbeams shone through the window, heralding the arrival of spring while illuminating the craggy corner and making visible the dust bits dancing through the air. This light dismayed Cochran, who normally skittered helter-skelter to a dark crack in the wall or hid under an appliance at the first inkling of any kind of light. But today was different. Today he was stuck, literally imprisoned, unable to escape the abhorrent brightness that descended in the room.

     The previous hours were innocent enough as Cochran enthusiastically earned his title “cantankerous curmudgeon” by systematically (more…)

July 10, 2010

Mika’s Escapades



      My restaurant leftover doggy bag meal went to the dog—literally.

     The July 6th evening was just cool enough to sit on the patio, where I was enjoying leftover spaghetti and meatballs from the previous night’s dinner at a local restaurant—a two-for-one deal where only half the spaghetti was sufficient for me, so I made two meals out of the serving, making it a three-for-one deal.

Ummm...ummm good! People food is GREAT!

     My neighbor’s dog, Mika, was lounging on my porch, subtly eyeing me while I ate. I was ignoring her.

     The phone rang. My husband asked me to check on something, so I stepped into the house for a moment. Just for a moment. And a moment is all it took.

     I heard the crash, And I knew (more…)

January 30, 2010

Replace Punxsutawney Phil with a ROBOT?




Cochran Cornell the Cantankerous Cockroach

     OK, so you haven’t heard from me for a while. Writer’s block. That’s what I suffer from. Just when I thought it was hopeless, I was injected with a jolt of verbal energy…just as you would be if someone suggested replacing all humans with robots.

     I’m so shocked!

     I had pulled myself out of my doldrums just enough to scoot over the local newspaper that my creator Carolyn was reading. And what did I spot? Why, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is campaigning to replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robot

     (Carolyn has this illustration for Punxsutawney Phil— . He is so cute as a Beany Baby that someone adopted him.)

     Who do those folks think they are? Personally, I think it’s just a publicity stunt. But if the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals manages to succeed in their quest to robotize my friend…well, fat chance of that…

     PETA claim that humans should treat Phil with compassion. That drew the ire of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, and drew battle lines with the thousands of people, perhaps millions worldwide, who rise early each February 2nd to find out what the near-future weather will be.

     When I heard PETA was campaigning for humans to be compassionate to Phil, I thought to myself, “Rubbish!” But to get the real scoop, I scooted off Carolyn’s newspaper onto the road. Fortunately, I was able to hitch a ride to Punxsutawney, not too far from Carolyn’s Pennsylvania home, in (more…)

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