Monday, June 17, 2013

Back to Normal - Whatever that is!

Back to Normal – Whatever that is!

Hi Everyone,

As you know I have returned from Australia, and before I start putting up all my pictures, and telling you about all the wonderful things I saw and did there, I thought I’d talk about a very endangered animal that I find very interesting.

The crested black macaque is critically endangered. Before we get into the reasons for this monkey’s dilemma, let’s look at some facts. But first his picture: 

As you can see from the above picture, this monkey is the punk-rock star of the macaque species. Identifying them, as a species, has been a bit hair raising (giggle) due to the fact that they have a short rudimentary tail. This short tail threw everyone off. At first it was thought that this monkey was an ape. As you all know, apes have no tails, and monkeys do. Oh, you didn't know that? That’s the main distinguishing mark between the two! There are a few other characteristics that distinguish them. One other difference is the length of the arms. Apes’ arms are longer than their legs. Monkeys’ arms are the same length or shorter than their legs. As a result of this particular difference, apes can walk upright, and monkeys move on all fours. Also, apes have larger brains, and can live a great deal longer than monkeys. Here's a video summary for you. Your children will enjoy this.  Time to share!

There are seven species of macaques, and this one is the most endangered. The crested black macaque lives on the island of Sulawesi, which is part of Indonesia. They are a very social species, and prior to their decline they formed groups of one hundred individuals or more. That is no longer the case.

For more detailed information on this primate, click on the following link;

Oh, I almost forgot. Why is it that this very unusual animal is critically endangered? Well, the main reason is over-hunting, and not by lions, tigers, and bears, Oh My! This macaque is considered a delicacy in Sulawesi. What’s more, it is suffering from shrinking habitat. So, not only are humans eating the animal, they are also spending a lot of effort in clearing their habitat for agriculture and logging. Since Sulawesi is an island, there is not much area for them to go to. 

“Captive breeding of this species has been successful at Jersey Zoo and a number of other zoos, and individuals may be reintroduced into the wild in the future. If this species is to survive, it is essential to address the problems of hunting and habitat loss on Sulawesi.” (

Thank you for thinking about this primate, at least for a little while. 

J.E. Rogers 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Our Goal:  Waiting in L.A.

Here's how we got there: 

May 15 - on our way, and it's raining. JFK seems just as far as Australia.
So, what's the best Aussie beer?“ I asked, grinning from ear to ear. We were waiting for Qantas boarding to open. We had arrived at JFK with time to spare, and were now schmoozing with two actual Aussie's, and we're not even in OZ yet.
Two hours before, I contemplated the trip. We had saved for years, and we were going to enjoy every moment. Things were looking very good. A bit of an overcast sky, and dribbling clouds, but spirits were high as we loaded ourselves into the limo.
We had kissed the kids good-bye. I kissed and hugged the dog. I was very worried about her. The kids would be fine, but Phoebe is very sensitive. I knew she would pout, and become morose, preferring to pine away on her own in my bedroom, sleeping on an old t-shirt. Would she survive the three weeks that I’d be away? Probably, 'yes,' but not very well.
Back to those super Aussie fellows at JFK - They were from Perth, and we had a great conversation about eating alligator, but not kangaroo. We were getting good advice from the natives. I don't think I could eat a kangaroo, but a gator, maybe.
The Qantas check-in was scheduled to open at 2:45; our flight to LA was scheduled for 3:45. "How are we going to make it?” I asked.
No worries,“ replied one of the Aussie. "They'll pull you forward.”
“Oh, my.” The lady at the Qantas counter said. “You must be new at this.”
“What?” George and I looked at each other. We were confused.
“You're supposed to be at American Airlines,” she said, shaking her head. “Just go across the street, go up the stairs and go to terminal 8.”
I turned to look at our Aussie friends, we were buddies now, and somehow they would help. The shorter of the two looked at me and nodded his head, silently mouthing the words, “You'll make it. Run!”
It was 10 minutes to three, and run we did. We ran across the street, and up the stairs, which was an elevator.
“Where's terminal 8?” I said when we reached the top.
“Where's terminal 8?” George said to the air, and this guy standing next to me said, “You have to take the shuttle to terminal 8. Here it comes now.”
I'm taking the train to get to the plane, which now takes off in less than an hour. George was becoming very pale, and as he held on, the shuttle swishing us along, he became paler.
We got off the shuttle, ran down the stairs, and across the street to terminal 8. Now what? The lady in the red jacket said we needed to check in over there. She pointed to the right. We ran in that direction. George stopped another lady in a red jacket.
“Oh dear. We need to get someone to help you,” she said as she herded us toward another women in a red jacket. I was beginning to see red everywhere, and not just red jackets. The last lady in a red jacket must certainly have been a direct descendent of Cleopatra. I mean it, Cleopatra! Her head was wrapped in black, and her skin was as smooth as glass. Her eye makeup was something reminiscent of an Egyptian statue, black lines ran above and beneath the darkest eyes.
“What time is your flight?” She asked. Her black eyes flashed when I told her.
“Follow me, quickly!”
She took off like a shot, passing the lines of people waiting to check bags. She kept looking back and waving at us, urging us on. She delivered us to another counter where she announced our dilemma to another lady. This lady wore a blue jacket; maybe we were getting somewhere.
“What time is your flight?” this new lady asked. “Oh, my.” She began typing a lot of information into her computer. “I have to find a supervisor,” she mumbled as she sprinted across the terminal floor.
We watched as she flew out of sight.
“Where'd she go?” George asked me.
“I don't know. She said something about a supervisor, and then just ran off.”

Minutes passed, as we anxiously scanned the terminal for the lady who had run to look for a supervisor. And, finally, there she was running through the crowd with two white streamers flying from her hands. It was then I realized what those white streamers were; our baggage IDs for Melbourne. She attached them to our luggage, and simply said, “Run, over there, and put your bags on that belt. Then run straight ahead to security. Tell the security agent that you are running late.”
Running again now, we round a corner, and see the lines for security, they serpentine through the terminal, no ending or beginning is discernible. I spot the security agent, and inform her we're late.
“Go directly to that man in the purple vest. Tell him you're late.”
The man in the purple vest is a jolly looking dark skinned man, with a wonderful smile. “Hi,” I said in my most cheerful voice. “We're late, and that lady out there said you could help us.”
With a glance at our boarding passes he says, “Oh, she did, did she. Well, I like you, so I will. Follow me please.”
He moved us up to the very front of the security line. There were only two people ahead of us, but the lady who was talking with the agent was being grilled. We were not certain why, but she had to go digging into her carry-on for something. Tick, Tick, Tick, we were counting seconds. At this point it was about 3:05, and we still had to go through security. Somehow, don't ask me how, we got through security, put our shoes on, and started running again. At top speed, we were weaving and ducking, reading signs, heading toward gate 39. Don't people only run through airports in the movies? This doesn't happen in real life, does it? It was indeed happening, and I was getting enough exercise to last the next month and a half. There was the gate, up ahead, and there was no line. I wondered why - 'CAUSE THEY'RE ALL ON THE PLANE ALREADY!  THAT'S WHY!
We roll our carry-ons onto the plane, thanking our lucky stars. We made it. Wait! Just wait a minute. You think that's all? Now, now, let's not be silly, it's not that easy. It's never that easy. As I walked down the isle toward my seat, the flight attendant said. “You'll have to check your carry-ons. There is no more room in the over-heads. Bring them to the front,” she instructed, “someone will take them for you.”
George grabbed both and looking at me said, “I'll bring them both up. You go sit down.”
I was winded so I did as I was told. When the cart came by with the meals, and I hadn't eaten since 8:00, that morning, I was ready for anything that didn't move or was egg related (I hate eggs). Wow, food costs money, and my money is in my carry-on, which now sits in the belly of the plane. This calls for some quick action. As the steward handed me my chicken salad, I said, “See that man, two rows up, in the middle there? He has the credit card.”

So now we settled in. Somewhere over mid-America, my hunger had been satiated. My eyes were a bit weary, and bleary, as I typed, but it had to get it all down on paper (iPad). By tomorrow it would have become a blur, a moment in time that happened over a period of about an hour and a half. The great beginnings of a great vacation, and more wilder and wonderful things I was certain were in store for us. 

Thanks for stopping by. I do hope you come by again! 
J.E. Rogers