Posts Tagged ‘humor’

Do you have trouble getting your ducks in a row? Following a snow storm earlier this month, my photography mentor and neighbor Cindy Dyer and I played around in the snow with a device that makes snowballs in the shape of little ducks and arranged them atop her fence.

Cindy, her husband Michael, and I have made up our own little pod during this pandemic.  Cindy, Michael, and their three cats (Lobo, Queso, and Pixel) have helped keep me from going completely bonkers during our time of isolation. Zoom and other virtual communications means are good, but they can never completely replace physical contact with other humans or pets.

Humor helps too. When I walked through my neighborhood the day after the storm, I looked for subjects that were whimsical or simply made me smile, like the snowman with its leafy earrings and the butterfly in the snow. If you look at its nose, it is not hard to tell that the snowman is a celeried employee.

Many of you know that I have been attending a short virtual church service, called Compline in the Episcopal church, each weekday night at eight o’clock in the evening. It is a short service that, among other things, allows us to share our moments of thanksgiving and our personal prayer requests out loud or by typing them in the chat feature. After the service, we talk for a bit to see how everyone is doing and it has become traditional for me to share a daily Dad joke. If I forget, someone will usually remind me. What?

For Christmas, some dear friends sent me a daily calendar of bad Dad jokes, the kind of jokes that always elicit a combination of laughs and groans. It is a curious juxtaposition to tell jokes in the context of a church meeting, but it is a sign of how close we have become with each other—we can cry together and we can laugh together, sharing our unfiltered feelings.

How bad are the jokes? Here is a recent favorite, “I just bought a thesaurus and when I got home I discovered that all of the pages were blank. I have no words to describe how angry I am.” Sorry.

Happy Mardi Gras.

ducks in a row



© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.



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I couldn’t help but do a double take when I saw this sign at Fort Benning, Georgia. I was filled with visions of dogs on automatic conveyor belts being sprayed with soap and slapped with moving towels. Was hot wax an option for dogs?

I did a little checking and learned that the dog wash is a separate facility adjacent to the car wash. It is the first of its kind on a US military installation and includes a coin-operated, do-it-yourself, climate-controlled booth that offers washing, drying and flea and tick bathing options. The booth is then automatically sterilized after each use.

dog wash

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.


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Do your mix humor with your photography? I enjoy playing with words (and especially puns) and love looking for opportunities  to inject humor into my blog postings. One of my favorite bloggers, Lyle Krahn at Krahnpix, is a real master at mixing his incredible wildlife shots with a kindred kind of humor (or perhaps he might say “humour.)

This past Monday was my blog’s second anniversary and I am taking a brief pause from posting new photos to think about the blog and my photographic journey over the last two years. During this period I am re-posting some of my favorite postings.

The re-posting today of an encounter between a Green Heron (Butorides virescens) and a frog was one of my earliest attempts to add humor, from the title all the way down to the last line of the posting, and is one of my favorites over the past two years. Here’s a link to the original posting or you can read it in its entirety below.

Full text of blog posting on 24 July 2012 that I entitled “Not Seeing Eye to Eye”:

One can only imagine what is going through the frog’s mind as he looks into the crazed eyes of the green heron who has just speared him. Is he looking for mercy? Is he resigned to his fate?

I watched the prelude to this moment unfold this afternoon at Huntley Meadows Park, a marshland park here in Virginia. The green heron was intently scanning the water from the edge of a boardwalk that runs through the march. Periodically he would extend his neck down toward the water.

Several times we heard an excited “eeep” sound followed by a splash, indicating another frog had escaped. After a few more minutes, however, the heron dived into the water and reappeared on the boardwalk with the speared frog you see in the first photo.

When you look at the comparative size of the heron’s mouth and the frog, it hardly seems possible that the green heron could swallow the entire frog. The heron took his time shifting the position of the frog and then all at once he turned his head, bent his neck back a little, and down went the frog. It happened so quickly that I was able to snap only a single photo that shows the frog’s webbed feet as the only remaining parts that have not yet been swallowed.

In this final photo the heron no longer has a slim neck. I have no idea how long it will take for the frog to reach the heron’s stomach but I am pretty sure he was not yet there when I took this photo.

And don’t try to talk with the heron during this period. Why not? Read the caption of the last photo!

I can’t talk now. I have a frog in my throat.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.


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Words exist in a cultural context and here in Brussels, perhaps nobody smiles when they pass this sign for the “Bimbo Fashion Store.” As an American male, though, my imagination goes into overdrive as I imagine the type of clothing that would be deemed suitable fashion for a bimbo. Tight jeans and a tube top? Plunging necklines?


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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What kind of music can they possibly play in a place that advertises itself as an Irish pub disco bar?

I did a double-take when I saw this sign as I was walking around in the center of Brussels and suffered a moment of cognitive dissonance—there is little room for overlap in my preconceived notions of the clientele of an Irish pub and that of a disco bar and the main activities seem different too.

I wonder if the pub has a big mirrored ball hanging from the ceiling.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The beavers in my local marsh have been really busy recently as winter draws near (“busy as beavers,” you might say). Each time I visit the marsh I can see evidence of their handiwork. Hmm, “handiwork” is probably not the right word, since most of the evidence I see is work they have accomplished with their teeth. Maybe I should call it “dentalwork,” but that terms conjures up images of beavers with braces on their teeth. I’ll just call it “work.”

Over the past few weeks I have been noting their progress on chewing through a pretty large tree. First they chewed one side and then it looks like they gradually moved around the circumference of the tree. Circumference? Who says that high school geometry doesn’t have everyday applications? They now have gnawed (try saying that phrase quickly multiple times) into the center of the tree and I expect to see to see a fallen tree soon. I won’t be disappointed, and certainly not crestfallen.

On a slightly more serious note, I am genuinely amazed that the beavers don’t just take down small saplings. I confess that, as a result of living most of my life in the suburbs, I don’t know much about wildlife. It’s fascinating to me to look at all of the individual tooth marks in the wood that bear witness to the persistence of this industrious creature. I also see its work in the mud walls that have been built up along the edges of parts of this little pond and the ever-increasing amounts of mud that have been packed on the lodge.

The beaver is ready for a cold winter. Am I?

Let the chips fall where they may

Let the chips fall where they may

How do they gnaw this high?

How do they gnaw this high?

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Geese and ducks continue to arrive and depart with such frequency in my local marsh that I feel like I am in a major bird airport. Fortunately, there are no long lines or security checks for them to endure. We must have a special arrangement with our northern neighbors, for the Canada Geese are not subject to any special customs scrutiny.

I continue to try to take photos of the geese while they are in flight, usually when the are coming in to land or taking off. Often the geese will circle around and honk loudly to announce their arrival (a kind of bird intercom system). Perhaps the birds on the ground can interpret the honks to mean something like, “Now arriving on pond number one, Canada Geese flight number one from Toronto.” My first photo is one of a Canada Goose banking. No, he is not at an ATM machine, withdrawing cash. He is making a sharp turn as he prepares to land.

Banking goose

The second photo shows a goose in flight. If you click on the photo, you will notice that the goose has a zen-like look of contentment on is his face. Scientists have been working on implanting a tiny device into geese that will provide them an in-flight entertainment package (and autopilot features too) and this goose may be one of the early test subjects.

Goose in flight

Some geese hate to fly alone and prefer companionship during the long flight. A new business has sprung up that provides escort service for the lonely goose, a fledgling matchmaking company that is just getting off of the ground. The company’s contracts are full of fine print about additional charges, but some geese continue to be surprised with the bill they are presented at their final destination.

Lonely goose escort service

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Last month I first encountered the Striped Cucumber Beetle (Acalymma vittata) in a neighbor’s garden. I was immediately taken by his cool, sophisticated, man-about-town look. The black and light yellow stripes down his back make him look like he is dressed formally. The translucent orange high collar, though, adds a splash of color to his ensemble and causes him to really stand out in a crowd. This well-dressed dandy, however, has a deep dark secret. Beneath the surface of this Dr. Jekyll lurks a Mr. Hyde.

I ran into him today in my friend’s garden. Previously, the garden had been green and flowering. Now the garden looked like a war zone, with signs of devastation everywhere. The leaves of the plants had all been ravaged and looked like the image below.

So I confronted the striped cucumber beetle about what had happened to the leaves. I asked him to swear an oath to tell the hole truth, and nothing but the truth. Initially he resisted and then he admitted to a hole in one. Finally he confessed and named the other beetles who had participated. The judge, however,  may be lenient with him because he took personal responsibility for his actions and acknowledged that the hole thing had been his idea.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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