Three Cheers!

2020 is firmly in the rear view mirror now. As difficult and challenging a year as any many have seen or experienced in their lifetime. This piece is not about the difficulties and miseries that were witnessed throughout the year. It’s about my positive, uplifting experience on the last day of 2020. Three to be specific and one more later in the afternoon yesterday that was like chocolate on top of cookie! πŸ‘

Wikipedia is my go to website when I seek information about people, process, events etc in one place. When I think of Wikipedia I feel it must be one of the foremost agile projects of all time. Self-organized and highly motivated volunteers add information all the time. Remarkably most of the information is accurate and if there is something incorrect or erroneous governance kicks in and corrections are made based on feedback received. For the past weeks when I landed on a Wikipedia page after a search I was greeted by plea from Wikimedia foundation to donate to their cause for keeping the effort running and available for free for the general public. Finally I donated a nominal amount yesterday.πŸ™

Then my thoughts turned to United Way, another not-for-profit organization for good causes. Mea culpa: I have got more out of United Way than I have contributed. Let me explain. I keep getting calls repeatedly from folks claiming to be from organizations representing cops and asking for money. I am appreciative of the good work by cops to ensure safety and security of citizens. But the calls I get appear to be from individuals of dubious value. In times past whenever I got a call my usual response went something polite like “We donate to United Way and would prefer to continue with it” before hanging up. Nowadays I just go “We are not interested. Thank you”. As I checked my Email it appears United Way read my thoughts about donating to their cause: Sure enough there was an Email! I donated a nominal amount. πŸ™‚

In earlier posts I have lauded PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) as a favorite place for information and news. πŸ‘ I consider PBS as equivalent of comfort food. When shows in other TV channels offer fare that is not appealing I check out PBS and many a times I have learned something from the documentaries and other shows they have on. I was thinking about PBS after donating to United Way. When I checked my personal Email lo and behold! there was Email from PBS too. Donated a nominal amount to PBS. πŸ™

Hip hip hooray! Three cheers for Wikipedia, United Way and PBS. Three organizations that do good work and share useful information. πŸ‘

Later in the afternoon I got a text from next door neighbor who is a nice, retired lady. When there is a heavy snow I sometimes help out by blowing away snow from her driveway and sidewalk. Not a big deal and it’s the snowblower doing the hard work. Mind you she has helped out a few times by lending her lawn mower when has behaved like a recalcitrant teen and refused to start. I checked my text and she thanked me for taking care of her snow the day before. She is profusely thankful when I help and feels guilty that I do it for free. If not cash there are other ways of paying and she has found out the right one! On Christmas eve she gave us fresh, home-baked cookies that were just delicious. πŸ‘Œ She offered to bake some more of the goodies and gave it to us. While that offer was like chocolate on top of a cookie and kinda unrefusable I wanted her not to go through the effort of making them just for us. That’s when “the wise one”, my wife, offered her take. Neighbor is thankful and wants to express her thanks, don’t refuse it. That’s all a sugar-craving dude, yours truly, needed to say yes. 🀣
For wisdom there is always wife! πŸ‘πŸ™

P.S. Sorry for not donating to other good causes my friends and other organizations may have reached out for. I wish I were more generous and had donated to all. This year the focus has been on food banks πŸ™

Trusty, old PBS!

Last Saturday evening, after seeing and reading bad news – record COVID-19 cases, businesses going bust as the restrictions resulting from the pandemic continues to take its toll, I was looking for some news to brighten up my mood. Hoping for some entertainment I switched on the TV. There was no live broadcast of games in sports I follow. Aimlessly surfing through the channels I found the perfect go to channel for such times: PBS! πŸ‘ They were airing back to back one-hour documentaries on wild cats. I settled down and started watching midway through the first hour of the documentary.

The first hour featured wild cats of America and traced their journey through Asia. Majestic mountain lion (cougar) in the wilds around LA area was the first creature featured When I started watching. Those cats certainly know how to hide their kill and come back to savor their meal for multiple helpings spread over time. The documentary then featured margays and ocelots (these are wild cats found in Central and South America and I did not know about them earlier). It appears the ocelots have a keen sense of smell that is also used to find their mate! They showed a rescued ocelot being trained to develop its sense of smell before being released to the wild. In this particularly interesting segment a wildlife worker, who had developed a special relationship with a young ocelot over a year, sprayed perfumes on three tree stumps. The brands were Chanel, EstΓ©e Lauder and Calvin Klein. πŸ™‚ I know you are interested in knowing which brand interested the wild cat the most. πŸ˜ƒ EstΓ©e Lauder was the most preferred brand by the cat. Chanel did not have a sniffing chance after that πŸ˜‚ The next big cat on display was the magnificent jaguar, known for its size, ferocity and allround ability in terms of climbing trees and swimming too in addition to its predatory instincts. Seeing the jaguar silently attacking and overpowering a caiman was absolutely terrifying and thrilling at the same time. The documentary then moved east and covered Siamese cats and the tiny rusty-spotted cat, found in the forests of Sri Lanka. These little cats go for smaller prey like locusts and are no less ferocious. It seems as part of evolution some of the cats downsized and adapted for smaller bites on offer. The second hour took one to Africa where the wildlife workers were releasing wild dogs to restore balance in the wild. Lions and the rarely sighted leopard also featured in this hour.

I have always been amazed by the passion and dedication of wildlife researchers, photographers and workers. They must find their experience so rewarding that they are able to work for months and years in extreme and potentially risky conditions. Kudos to their efforts and thanks to them for expanding our knowledge of other forms of life around us. πŸ‘ There is also a timelessness to documentaries and other shows on PBS and on some days when you need a mood lift these shows can be quite timely too. Trusty, old PBS πŸ‘Œ certainly trumps crusty, old men fighting for power, covered on other TV channels. Long live public television and more power to those who support the endeavor πŸ‘πŸ™