Saturday, December 26, 2015

My Green Ants, and Dragon Fruit - an interesting observation.

The fruiting season, November to March had just started again, and at the time of writing this I had four Dragon Fruit buds the size of a walnut on my plant. Three of them are high up and the fourth is 1.5 metres down and just 50 cm off the ground. (But at the time of publishing this, I counted over 40 flower buds of all sizes on my plants)

The top three buds were covered with Green Ants,
but there was little movement - they are just sitting there, and you see their “antennas” moving and some make a brushing motion with their front legs. I’m wondering what they are actually there for, but I noticed that the buds are exuding some nectar or some other sweet stuff. So that would be a good reason why they are there. Maybe, they are also there to guard or protect them from insects dangerous to the bud - I will probably never know. Occasionally some run away and others come to replace them. They are there day and night; I often go out with the torch and watch them before going to bed. They are fascinating little creatures.
The interesting thing is, the bud number 4 at the bottom was “Antless”I just invented this word. So, I put my thinking cap on, wondering all day why there were no ants. Haven’t the scouts discovered this bud yet? Or, was it too far away from the other three perhaps?
Well, I decided to help them to discover this “lonely’ bud at the bottom. This was the least I could do for my green little biting friends. After all, I thought, I published a story about them in a glossy German magazine for which I got $300.00, so I owed something to them.
I took a little brush and held it on to one of the top buds and I immediately had three ants on it. I transferred them to the bottom bud. Two of them stayed there and one of them ran off to the top. I assumed that it was going to tell the others that there is a bud at the bottom with the population of two ants. I think what I did could be called “Anting around”. (Another word invention, I’m contributing to the English language.) After I came back after one hour, the bottom bud had now a large ant population. I felt like a proud Scout, having done a good deed, but I bet they won’t recognise this and will bite me if get to close too them. To enlarge picture, click on them.

There was sunlight on the left side of this bud, (See Picture) and the bulk of the ants were on the other side.  As soon as the sunlight had gone more ants came to the left side and the bud was fully covered with ants. All 4 buds were covered with the Green Ants like the one in the picture. I discovered they have built a nest on the plant, which is between two big stems and well sheltered from the rain. As those ants are weaver ants and normally roll and glue leaves together for their nests, this was not possible with these dragon fruit stems. So they glued two big stems together. Please read also  more about those little interesting creatures, in a previous posting, “The ubiquitous Green Ants”. – Werner
My thought for today, - Werner
Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.George Eliot
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Friday, December 18, 2015

Donald Trump – Not politically correct.

There are many people around the world who wonder why the American presidential candidate is so popular in the polls. You will find the following article by David Limbaugh very interesting. This is probably the best written statement that's come along as to why Trump is leading the Republican candidate polls. This man is an articulate & eloquent wordsmith with a talent for framing his arguments in visceral terms.   His discussions pretty much puts America's political scene, as impacted by Trump, in crystal clear focus.

While our politicians are trapped in political correctness, this guy is “attuned” to what the bulk of the population is thinking and, he says so, in other words, he calls a spate a spate and not a shovel.

When Tony Abbott our former PM made a speech recently and said exactly how things are, he was vilified. Are our politicians really so “lily-livered” and frightened to tell the truth and, not constantly kowtow to a minority in our country who wants to foist their ancient culture on us?  Perhaps our politicians can learn something from this article below. - Werner
The Establishment Birthed Trump.
Much of the establishment's criticism of Donald Trump comes from its failure to comprehend the reasons for his soaring popularity. Establishment types seem untroubled by the problems facing America, so they can't understand the urgency that fathered Trump's rise. Minor adjustments to the Hindenburg's dining room menu just aren't going to get it. (Like organizing the deck chairs on the Titanic after the iceberg strike?   Ed.)

Their overwrought analysis, their hand-wringing and their contemptuousness for Trump, betray a disdain not only for Trump, but for Americans who recognize the gravity of America's predicament - and who, in desperation, have turned to Trump for bold action.

It's hard to overstate Americans' concern for the state of the nation. Horrified by President Obama's Sherman-esque march through America, they're tired of hearing that nothing can be done. They are through with empty promises from establishment politicians.

People are tired of Obama's pitting blacks against whites, women against men, gays against heterosexuals, rich against poor, non-taxpayers against taxpayers, citizens against cops and his Muslims against Christians. They can no longer stomach Obama's apologizing for America and excusing terrorists while rushing to attack Christians at every turn.

People are sick of being called racists for things that happened in this country before they were born or before they could vote, for opposing Obama's destructive agenda, or for simply being Republicans.
They abhor the war on cops orchestrated by racial hucksters and pandering politicians. They're incredulous that any president would deliberately engineer America's decline and degrade our military. They're tired of the nation's chief executive officer's flouting laws and thwarting the people's will.

Americans are sick of Obama's trashing America's founding, assaulting capitalism, and bellowing about man-made global warming as a pretense to impose more liberty-smothering regulations. They're nauseated by politicians who are more interested in bipartisanship with scofflaws than with saving the nation.

People are mortified by the nation's fiscal instability, our unbridled national debt, its spiraling entitlements and Washington's refusal to address them. They're sick of the fraudulent spending "cuts." They've had their fill of the lies, especially about Obamacare, whose costs dwarf Obama's promised projections and are getting worse by the day.  They've reached their limit with this administration's rewarding unemployment and laziness while punishing work, its honoring socialism and demonizing capitalism.

People are sick of politically correct bullies. They're exhausted by lectures about not paying their fair share when half the income earners don't pay income taxes. They're fed up with lies about decreasing unemployment rates when tens of millions have dropped out of the workforce.

Every other week, we face a new existential threat to the nation - threats perpetrated or enabled by Obama and the Washington establishment. But the establishment meets these perils with very barely disguised indifference. Islamic terrorism is overrunning the Middle East and has reached our mainland, and Obama doesn't dare whisper its name.  Obama refuses to enforce the borders; he orders his administration not to enforce immigration laws; he lawlessly grants amnesty to millions of immigrants who are here illegally; and he's using the government departments to set up sanctuary cities that harbor criminal immigrants.

Last year, we faced an invasion from Central America; now, in the name of compassion, we are inviting in Syrian refugees - some 72 percent of whom are, curiously, men. Are we truly afraid to wonder aloud whether those who sidestep the legal immigration process will embrace the American idea? Whether they will end up on the welfare rolls?

With Congress' help, Obama bypassed the Constitution's treaty clause and entered into a reckless, non-verifiable nuke deal with Iran and will give the Iranians a $150 billion signing bonus to fund terrorism and build ballistic missiles.

So where does that leave us?

People have heard one too many times that the Republican Party, if it regains control, will turn things around.  Republicans have been so timid in opposing Obama's agenda that many have quit believing they'll be able to reverse this madness if they acquire full control.

Along comes Trump, who gives voice to these legitimate grievances instead of calling people racist, selfish or hysterical. He emphasizes the urgency of these problems, and he denounces the status quo, the establishment, Washington inertia and political correctness without an ounce of apology. People are dehydrated, and he's their Gatorade.Whether Trump could or would deliver on his promises is one thing, but the establishment's arrogant failure to acknowledge, let alone decry the horror of, the status quo is his lifeblood. If Trump is a monster, the establishment is Dr. Frankenstein, so please spare us the lectures.

I happen to prefer other candidates, and certain things about Trump make me nervous; but I appreciate that he is shaking things up, and I refuse to belittle Trump's supporters for believing he would be more effective than many of his establishment rivals. Our forefathers' precious gift of liberty to us is not self-sustaining, and if we don't quit kicking it to the curb, it'll leave us, never to return.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at
My thought for today. – Werner
Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

Monday, December 7, 2015

Table manners, a blast from the past.

Table manners, the behaviour that is conventionally required while eating at a table is different in many cultures around the world, and has evolved over time. Today, they are much different than a long time ago as you will read in the following story. However, today’s modern world has brought about some undesired table manners, with annoying “side effects”. It is when visitors are playing with their electronic devices - instead talking to you. Common sense should tell you that this is not appropriate, but unfortunately, common sense is not so common anymore. So enjoy the following story, but we certainly don’t want to revert to those customs. Perhaps you can make a comment about your rules at the dinner table. - Werner

How table manners became polite.

By Sharon J. Huntington
If you think sitting up straight and keeping your elbows off the table is a bother, be grateful you weren't a child of America's early settlers.
Back then, children didn't even get to sit at the table. They stood behind the adults and ate whatever was handed to them.

Later, children were allowed to sit at the table, but they couldn't speak unless an adult spoke to them. (This rule should be retained. – Werner) They couldn't ask for a dish, either. They had to wait until a grownup offered it to them. It was also considered rude to fidget, sing, or look at someone else who was eating.

Table manners are even older than tables. About 9,000 years ago, people cooked soups in pots. They dipped spoons of wood or bone into the cooking pot to eat. The first rules about eating determined who could dip into the pot first. Today some Inuit families in the Arctic still follow the tradition of eating from a common pot. Men get to dip in first, then women and children. Sometimes they don't use spoons. They just pick out pieces of meat with their fingers.

Eating with the fingers is a common custom. (Finger liking good!) - Werner) For about a thousand years, Romans and Greeks ate while lying on their sides on couches, with their heads pointed toward the table. One hand propped them up, the other handled the food. The Roman Empire finally fell in AD 476, and reclining dining customs disappeared as well.

Eating with the fingers never disappeared. Some Arab families still follow this custom. They use only the first three fingers of the right hand. In northern India, some diners use only the fingertips of the right hand, but in the south both hands are OK. In fact, far more people eat with fingers or chopsticks than use forks and spoons. But everyone has rules about eating politely.

Table manners became quite important in Europe in the 1100s. That's when people developed the idea of courtesy - how to behave in court. Soon these rules began appearing in written texts.

The rules about eating were meant to make the experience pleasant, thoughtful, and tidy. Early texts instructed diners to keep their elbows down and not to speak with their mouths full. Polite diners were not to pick their teeth with their knives or be greedy.

In 1530, a Dutchman named Erasmus wrote a book on manners titled "On Civility in Children." Erasmus told people not to blow their noses or spit at the table, and never to put chewed bones back on their plates. (The polite thing then was to throw bones on the floor. That gave the dogs something to eat.)

In those days, people didn't have regular dining tables. At mealtimes, boards were laid across trestles and covered with cloth. (That's where "setting the table" comes from.) At banquets, no individual plates were used, only large serving platters. Two people shared each soup bowl and used squares of stale bread as plates. The edible plates were called trenchers. After the meal, they were given to the poor.

During the Crusades, between AD 1000 and 1300, even knights had to learn manners.
They were often paired with a lady at dinner, sharing food and drinking glasses. Knights learned not to lick their fingers, but to wipe them on the tablecloth. They were also told not to smack their lips, snort, or put their faces in their food.

In the 1300s, the Renaissance arrived. So did the fork. And new table customs evolved. People ate from plates, and everyone had his own cup. Fingers were to be wiped on napkins, not tablecloths. Bones were not to be thrown on the floor, but left on the plate. Manners kept moving toward cleanliness and order.

In 1669, King Louis XIV of France ordered that all table knives have rounded ends. This made eating with knives a little less dangerous for the diner and anyone with whom he or she might become angry. Louis XIV was the first person in Europe to offer guests a place setting with forks, knives, and spoons.

Table manners continued to evolve. People debated how to eat peas.
They were difficult to spear with a fork and hard to balance on a knife. As more families bought tableware, more guides were needed for how to use it. Some were written especially for children. In "Goops and How To Be Them" (1900), Gelett Burgess used horribly ill-mannered creatures called Goops as bad examples. He wrote:

The Goops they lick their fingers,
And the Goops they lick their knives;
They spill their broth on the tablecloth -
Oh, they lead disgusting lives!
The Goops they talk while eating,
And loud and fast they chew;
And that is why I'm glad that I
Am not a Goop - are you?

You probably use many simple table manners without thinking. You probably say "please" and "thank you," and ask for food to be passed to you, rather than reaching over everyone for it.

Other rules come into play in more formal settings, like parties, where you're supposed to use the right fork and dispose of olive pits properly. If you're ever a guest somewhere and aren't sure you've got all the rules down, just watch the host or hostess. Do what they do. Even if you use the wrong fork, you'll be following the basic principle of table manners: Think about others and make dining as pleasant as possible.
My thought for today.Werner
“The real test of good manners is to be able to put up with bad manners pleasantly.” - Kahlil Gibran
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