Tag Archives: #babyanimals

Cute of the Week: Sorry, WHAT Did You Say About My Trunk?

I debated whether or not to choose this video as my Cute of the Week because, even though this is a baby elephant and he’s not really charging per se, elephant charging in general is dangerous and scary and I don’t want people to get the wrong idea about it and think it’s cute.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE elephants.  They are amazingly intelligent and wonderful and are basically better than humans in nearly every way!  That said, if they get startled or enraged they will straight up trample you to death.  So, just because elephants are awesome doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all have a healthy fear of an elephant charge.

In fact, I have some personal experience with this!  I was lucky enough to go on a walking safari through a national park in Ghana when I was many, many years younger, and we spotted some elephants nearby.  Our guide, a nice man, with a very large scar on his face and a very loaded automatic gun on his back, was deadly serious about us all freezing, keeping absolutely still and silent while we observed the elephants from afar.  (Again, we were on a walking safari, so were without the protection of a fast driving, metal car.)  We had encountered many different animals at this point in the walk, but it was only with the elephants that the guide became very strict with us and had us line up behind him (and his gun.)

Of course, at this exact moment, I took the last picture in my super old fashioned camera, and it started to loudly and automatically rewind the film, with a high pitched, terrible whine.  Our guide whipped around in my direction, with actual FEAR in his eyes, and said “Madam, please, quiet your camera!”  Remember – this was a man with a tough looking scar across his face and a gun full of bullets and he was looking at me with fear in his eyes!  Elephant fear!  I managed to stuff my camera into a sweatshirt and muffle the sound enough to prevent us getting trampled to death, but I always remembered that moment and how I learned that you should not fuck around with elephants in the wild.  (Or maybe how you shouldn’t go on walking safaris.  They seemed pretty dangerous!  We were like, 18 years old?  Who planned that???)

Anyway!  Apparently the people filming this video while on jeep safari did not get that Don’t Mess With Elephants in the Wild memo, but I’m gonna let it slide because, my long winded elephant charging PSA aside, BABY ELEPHANTS ARE SO CUTE IT’S ALL WORTH IT.  Seriously, when thinking about baby elephants I AM FORCED TO TYPE IN ALL CAPS OUT OF OVERWHELMING JOY.  And really more than anything, more than even being trampled to death, isn’t that all that matters?

Wait, no, that’s not right.  But whatever, please enjoy this adorable elephant:

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Cute of the Week – SUPERSIZED edition

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Today, you guys.  Today was a rough, exhausting day, full of working late, acid reflux and fatigue.  But instead of talking any more about that, I want some cute and I’m going to need a lot of it.  So, in UNPRECEDENTED, EARTH SHATTERING NEWS – today is a supersized cute of the week with as much adorable as I can find.

FEAST YOUR EYES:

First, thanks to scientists around the world, we know now about new cute animals we may have overlooked thus far, thanks to a Cute Off that went viral.  (My fave may be the super weird tardigrades, which look like some sort of Star Wars alien.)

If you haven’t seen this little wiener dog have a mad cap taste of freedom in a baseball stadium, you owe it to yourself to watch this.

This is the best cute kid video I’ve ever seen, and it’s so perfectly short.  It is the length that all you tube videos should be!

And in a similar manner to how I vainly fought against the tide of a trying day, this little ADORABLE AS HELL beagle tries his best to keep an automatic window from going up.  (Spoiler alert – he does not win.)

Finally, this is the top image when I google searched “this cute animal will cheer you up.”  It did work, though now I want two baby kittens more than anything in the world, so I think I’ll call it a draw.

Anyway, we did it.  Hump day is over.  I hope yours was better than mine, but regardless we move forward, toward Thursday, Friday, and to the sweet, sweet weekend beyond!

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Mean Maureen’s Weekly Internet Round Up

How was your week, everyone?  Mine was busy and long, as per usual, but on the internet it was full of highs and lows.

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One of the highs, of course, was the very significant and exciting discovery of the most Earth like planet ever discovered… Kepler 452-b.  (Okay guys, can we work on a more exciting name for it???)

And of course, this got me thinking about my favorite retirement plan, space colonization, and apparently NASA suddenly realized they could colonize the moon for 10 billion dollars instead of 100 billion!  LET’S GO.  We haven’t set foot on the moon since the Seventies.  It probably misses us!

Related to reasons to leave this planet – it was a rough week, news story wise, with the horrifying saga of Sandra Bland and then another movie theater shooting.  This had me revisiting some excellent essays and photo essays.  The first, The Condition of Black Life is One of Mourning, and the second, an incredibly haunting photo essay on the lingering impact of gun violence.

After all of that, what can we do to reform our justice system and end gun violence?  Well, we have a Presidential election coming up.  Connect via email or Facebook with your candidate of choice (no matter WHO it is) and demand change.  This is THE best time to have our voices heard, when every candidate is thirsty for votes!

And man, after all that serious reading and writing to your candidates, you deserve some treats:

Here is a baby mini Appaloosa.  What’s that you say?  JUST CLICK, YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.

Here are several things Donald Trump looks like.  (My fave is the ear of corn.  It. is. UNCANNY.)

Here is a delightful article on a new (old) food writer I hadn’t heard of before – M.F.K Fisher!  I am dying to devour (WITTY PLAY ON WORDS ALERT) everything she’s written, especially the amazingly titled How to Cook a Wolf.

And finally, here is some stunning Arabic calligraphy made of light!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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Here’s to Cats – the Best Pet Investment in the World

Apropos of nothing, I’ve decided to write a little bit of a tribute to cats.  And I suppose I should mention my own cats in this feline appreciation, Calamity Jane and Clementine, who (in my totally unbiased opinion) are completely adorable.

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Sometimes cats can get overshadowed in an animal family, because of the fact that, unlike dogs, you can’t really take them many places outside of the home (unless you like terror puking), and because of crazy degree to which dogs love their humans.  (Honestly, my dog loves me a little TOO much.  I’m just okay, Archie, all right?)

Anyway, I will never take sides in the eternal cat vs. dog wars (I’m obviously both a cat and a dog person) but I will say definitively that cats are your best bang for your buck in terms of having a pet.  I’m not saying cats are better overall, but they are 100% a better investment.

Let me convince you.

With any relationship with a person or an animal, there is a spectrum of give and take.  Ideally, you’re getting as much out of the relationship as you’re putting in.  In some experiences, like raising a helpless baby, you’re putting in WAY more work than the baby (seriously babies – consider pulling your weight) BUT you’re getting a significant emotional return on that investment.  Plus maybe the baby will take care of you when you’re old, so it basically all works out.

But sometimes, just every once in a miraculous while, there is a relationship where you invest barely anything and you get 15-20 odd years of love and affection in return.  Yeah, I’m talking about cats.  As far as effort expended and love and affection enjoyed, you’re not going to do better than a cat.  In fact, I’ll go so far as to say, barring allergies or pet free living situations, everyone should have a cat, simply because I can’t think of an easier way to add happiness and love to your life.

Because look – everything else that adds joy to your life requires kind of a lot in return, frankly.  We’ve already discussed how lazy babies are, but even an adult human companion?  Holy cow – the talking, the emotions, the remembering of anniversaries!  It is a hefty investment!  Of course, it’s well worth it, but maintaining a relationship with a human is very high on the spectrum of effort.

“God this is exhausting.”

Coming in a surprisingly close second in terms of effort- dogs.  I love dogs.  I most especially love our sweet, adorable Archie.  (I MEAN HOW COULD YOU NOT.)  But they are a lot of work.  If you have one from puppyhood you have to housebreak the dog, you have to teach it very important basic commands (such as please do not run into traffic or bite people, etc.) and if it has problems socializing with other dogs and/or humans, you may have to enroll it in special classes over the course of months or years. Even if you’re lucky enough to adopt an older dog like Archie who was already housebroken and knew some basic commands, they still have to be walked outside twice a day, they can have issues such as separation anxiety and they generally can get into a lot more mischief (read: expensive vet bills) than an indoor cat.  The upside is that dogs are basically better than any person I know and they are full of eternal, heartwarming, kind-of-insane-when-you-think-about-it levels of love and joy.

But let’s jump waaaaaaay down on the effort list and talk about cats.  These geniuses of the animal kingdom (who, by the time they are old enough to be adopted from a shelter, already understand to do their business in a little box), go home with you requiring food, water, litter box cleaning and… that’s it.  That is all.  You don’t have to train your cat.  You don’t have to take your cat outside.  (In fact, as my cats would like you to know PLEASE DO NOT TAKE US OUTSIDE.)  You can buy your cat any manner of toy, but you can also give it, say, a pipe cleaner or the ring from a gallon of milk and it will be equally delighted. And an indoor cat is an incredibly independent and self reliant creature, to a degree that it’s really quite remarkable.  You can’t leave a dog alone for more than 8 hours or so.  You can leave a cat alone (with ample food and water) for FORTY eight hours and it’ll be just fine.

I mean, my husband and I have two wonderful, hilarious, cats, with very different personalities and styles of affection and fun, and they’re gonna be around for 15-20 years of love and fun and we just… give them some food, water and scoop some litter as needed?  It’s seriously such a sweet deal.

Plus, excellent nap companions.

Plus, they’re excellent nap companions. Well, one of them.

But you might be saying, I know tons of animals that require less investment than cats.  Fish, for example.  Well, here’s the thing about fish – they suck.  Sorry, I’m just gonna come out and say it – fish are terrible pets.  First of all, they don’t DO anything other than swim around in their tiny, watery prisons until one day when you’re moving your mom accidentally drops the fish tank and it shatters into a million pieces and you watch them all die while she tries frantically, but ultimately ineffectively, to save them.  Or maybe that was just me!  But I did have fish other than that and here is the story of all of those fish – they swam around for a bit, then they died, THE END.  Fish do not develop a bond with you.  They don’t have little personalities.  They are never gonna be entranced by warm laundry or lasers.  Not to mention, yeah, their daily upkeep of (disgusting smelling) fish flakes is pretty low, but you also have to clean their (disgusting, fish-poop-filled) tanks.  And those tanks can be quite expensive!

I’m not going to go through the entire list of other low maintenance pets that are worse than cats, but I’ll just give you the gist – things like turtles, snakes, gerbils, etc. are all fine.  There is nothing wrong with them.  (I mean, they’re not fish.)  But they aren’t going to give you the emotional connection that you get from a cat.

I mean our oldest cat, Calamity Jane, is basically as affectionate as a dog.  She knows her name and will come when called.  She loves snuggling in bed, she loves taking naps with Archie and she is obsessed, deeply, truly, emotionally obsessed with food.

“You have called me out on my food obsession on the internet and I will never forget it!”

If we left out food all day long she’d be the size of a house.  As it is, if the dog leaves a few morsels behind I’ll watch her slowly, stealthily sneak in and try to eat it, bite at a time, as quietly as her little teeth can chew.  Calamity is ungraceful, as her name implies, and stubborn.  If she wants pets she’ll meow and/or bash her head against you.  When she was a baby kitten she would sleep on my husband’s chest and try to suckle at his eyelids.  In short, she is a lot more than a fish.  (Sorry, I did not realize this was going to become an anti fish piece as much as it is a pro cat piece, but I guess now I know the fish hatred my soul secretly harbors.)

Our other little cat, Clementine, is the polar opposite of Calamity, despite being raised in the same household from kittenhood (which shows the full, interesting spectrum of cat personalities you can wind up with.)  She was found in an alley by my friend Rachel and is still a bit of a wild cat at heart.  She does not crave snuggles, though she likes to be in the same room as everyone else, usually sitting up high.  She will nap with me though, and loves to crawl under the sheets and purr.  Clementine is athletic and perpetually small, despite the fact that she loves to eat 17 times a day, if we’re home (just 2 bites at a time though, please.)  She fell out of a three story window the first day we had her home (during what we suspect was a chase with Calamity that ended badly) but luckily a.) she was totally fine and b.) Calamity decided that Clemetine’s near death experience was scary enough that she wouldn’t hate her anymore and they bonded deeply from that time forward.  She very much enjoys Christmas lights and destroying desk chairs.

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Anyway, the probably uninteresting-to-anyone-but-me details of my cats’ personalties just go to show the rich connection you can have with a cat.  More than say, a snake, AND with considerably less effort.  (For example, I will never have to feed my cats a live mouse, like you would for a snake. *shudder*)

But look, I’m not trying to sell you a cat, I’m merely presenting the facts about cats that sell the idea of cats themselves.  They are an impossibly great bargain.  They’re smart, they’re hilarious, they have very different personalities, they have the potential to be internet stars and all you have to do is feed them twice a day and provide a box of sand for them to crap and pee in.  It’s truly amazing.

So I guess what I’m saying is, if you don’t have a cat already, what are you crazy?  Why don’t you remedy your insanity right here with these cats who are available for adoption?

And here’s to you, cats!  From the one currently napping on my couch, to the other one currently batting around a piece of plastic, to all the other adorable, low maintenance kitties in the world – thanks for being the perfect pet investment.  Or… PURRfect pet investment?  Too much?  I don’t know, anymore!  Anyway, CATS!

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Cute of the Week: The Weird and Wonderful Ostrich!

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Guys, watch out because today’s Cute of the Week isn’t just cute, it’s EDUCATIONAL!!!  Wait, wait!  Come back!  It’s still silly and fun and cute, I promise.  I’m just including some fun ostrich facts with our cuteness today, because I think we should all learn a little bit more about these weird, giant birds.  I am happy to clear out the remainder of algebra from my brain to make room for ostrich facts, so I can delight and/or confuse people at parties!

But you might be asking, uh, why an ostrich for cute of the week?  IS IT EVEN CUTE????  First of all, shut your mouth.  Of course ostriches are cute.  But, I’ll reveal my bias – I love an unusual animal.  If something looks like all of its parts were put together by accident or maybe as some kind of practical joke, it’s kinda my jam.  I love traditional cute too, don’t get me wrong, but I loooove me some offbeat cute.  And the ostrich fits the bill for offbeat cute perfectly.

ostrich-in-sandI mean, what a weird, wonderful animal!  Though, it’s time to start droppin’ that ostrich knowledge right away – despite what it looks like in the above photo, ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand.  At least not for very long, because they would die.  They’re just temporarily dipping down there to make nests.  Anyway, facts, schmacts – look at this cutie with the long lashes!!!

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Aw.  Adorable.  But would you have guessed that this sweet faced giant bird has THREE STOMACHS???  Oh, you would have?  That’s kind of weird, but you’re right!  And look, more cute, strange ostriches lookin’ all weird:


ostrich4Maybe you noticed in these photos that the ostrich seems to be missing something.  That something is teeth.  Since they don’t have teeth, ostriches (just leaning in to the oddness that is their nature) solve this problem by swallowing stones to grind their food for them.  Wait, what?  Yup.  An adult ostrich carries about 2 pounds of stones in one or all of this three stomachs!   That is insane!  I’m going to tell everyone I meet at a party about that!  THE WORLD DESERVES TO KNOW ABOUT THIS.

But what does the world also deserve?  More cute ostrich pics:

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Another fun fact – baby ostriches are FREAKING ADORABLE AND I WANT ONE.  Okay, that wasn’t technically a fact, it was an opinion, but it was a rock solid opinion and I stand by it.  As for facts, my final fact is this:

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Though it looks like the ostriches pictured are maybe having a super fun dance party, um, ostriches CAN KILL.  Their first instinct when faced with a predator is to hide low to the ground or run (ME TOO, OSTRICHES!) but if they are cornered, an ostrich kick can be deadly to a predator as tough as a lion or a human.  And, as you probably may have heard (but you most certainly should watch, because it’s 100% delightful) ostriches are fast as hell.

So, in summary, these toothless birds that can run 40mph and kick someone to death, all while rattling around with a couple pounds of rocks in their stomachs, are not to be underestimated!  But they’re also not to be ignored in the cute arena.  Happy Wednesday, everyone!  I’m off to go watch videos of ostriches running over and over and over again.

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Happy Sunday!

There will be no long form post this Sunday a.) because I have one in the works for Mean Maureen’s Online Book Club, to be posted in the next couple of days and b.) this week at work was B-R-U-T-A-L and I have been in recovery, binge watching Veep and making baked goods until I feel like a human being again.

In the meantime, please enjoy these insanely adorable unlikely animal friendships!  (My favorite is the last one, duckling and owl, because I’m preeeeetty sure that friendship only goes one way.)  Happy Sunday!

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Cute of the Week: Baby… bats????

Look, everyone knows I love a cute underdog, and what’s more of an underdog than a lowly bat!  Frequent carriers of rabies, dwellers of caves and other dank places, suspected vampires, I mean these guys do not have the cutest reputation.

BUT YET.

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I MEAN WHAT THE HELL.  That is some serious cute.  And it’s not just a fluke!

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Just goes to show that cute isn’t all golden retriever puppies and teeny tiny pigs.  (Though I mean is IS definitely both of those things.)  But sometimes it’s the unexpected.  Happy hump day everyone!  May your day be brightened by these weird, cute little guys.

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