As we were sitting down on our lanai to a nice pizza dinner with a Corona (MLB) and Yuengling (YFC), Suzanne said, “Be careful; don’t burn your tongue.” I looked at her in astonishment, and said, “My Darling, I’ll have you know that I have NEVER burned my tongue or the roof of my mouth on a beer.” (What was she thinking?)
I have received four entries to date on this week’s Hot Air Balloon Geo-Quiz, from Chris Lavender, Lynn Spence, Cheryl Breault, and Katherine Cote. If you have sent in your entries by carrier pigeon, they have not yet arrived…
Okay, so now that I have your interest piqued, you want to know more about carrier pigeons. They are actually domesticated rock pigeons, Columba livia, and originally carried only tiny messages on paper attached to their leg(s). The earliest documented use of these feathered mail carriers was in 6th Century B.C., when Cyrus, King of Persia, used them to communicate with far-flung parts of his empire. (Would you call this method of communication “ancient tweeting”?)
During the Franco-Prussian War in the 1870s, besieged Parisians used them to send messages (such as orders for wine and truffles) outside the city. The Prussian army responded by hiring dozens of hawks to hunt the pigeons. They were also used by the British, French, and Germans during World Wars I and II. This photo shows a French bus fitted with pigeon coops. (Of note, French vehicles have not improved dramatically since this 1915 photo).
In some areas, carrier pigeons were trained to carry as much as 2 ½ ounces. One group of carrier pigeons in Germany carried medicine to distant locations, and in 1977 two British hospitals set up a carrier pigeon service to transfer laboratory specimens between Plymouth and Devonport. (Ah, the glories of socialized medicine!)
It hasn’t been a good week for geckos (Hemidactylus frenatus) in the Giesemann household. (Well, on the lanai, anyway… we generally don’t have a large number of geckos running around the house itself.) The box score is now Rudy 9, Geckos 1; we managed to save one little guy who was about to become Gecko-toast. Suzanne grabbed Rudy’s harness while I scooped up the cousin of the star of auto insurance into a saucepan with a lid, and then tossed him unceremoniously into the yard, where he slunk (or “slinked”) away. (Don’t lizards have to “slink”? I tried “saunter”, “prance”, and even “sashay”, but none of those verbs fit.)
Speaking of “sashaying”, the word “sashay” comes from a French word, “chaisse”, meaning chasing, or to chase. This actually leads into our last subject in this post, a potential stalker driving a Lexus that has been seen following (“or chasing?”) Suzanne’s red Corvette several times in the past few days. The driver looks suspiciously like a friend of ours, Gail Grossman, but as she is a highly respected lawyer (actually, that may be a contradiction in terms), it surely could not be she… her… she… Anyway, if anyone happens to observe a red Corvette followed by a suspicious-looking Lexus with a driver disguised as Gail, please text me so I can have the appropriate authorities notified.
P.S. Translator’s Note for New Readers: In the lead paragraph, MLB = My Lovely Bride; YFC = Your Faithful Correspondent.