Last post of the workweek: ducks and skipping

It’s the end of the week and a heavy thunderstorm in Chicago has become a hot and humid day. To end the week, I’ll first show how my mallard ducklings have grown. This picture, with Mother Duck, was taken on May 31 when they were fuzzy little shavers:

And this picture was taken today: June 23, a bit more than three weeks later. How they’ve grown! I believe, based on the green heads, that I have three drakes and a hen. I would have preferred more females, as that means more ducklings in the future, but I’ll take what I can get. What’s amazing is that the duck genome can turn oatmeal, mealworms, and Cheerios into living ducks! No human can accomplish that feat, though I supplied the noms.

They’re flapping their wings now, have lost all their down, and I guess they’ll soon be off to more expansive waters. I’ll be sad, but I’m also glad they all came through without attrition.

Look at Loki the Bengal cat–what a clever moggie! Look at how he pulls in his tail at the last second:


Finally, for amazing sports, here’s a team of Japanese kids from Fuji Municipal Harada Elementary School in Fuji, Shizuoka, Japan setting the Guinness World Record for team rope-skipping. As the Guinness website notes, “each of the 14 skippers leap over the rope more than 18 times, setting incredible new group record of 225 skips.” That beat the previous record, also set by Japanese kids, of 217. This is an incredible feat of speed and coordination:

And here’s the world record, also held by a Japanese, for “double Dutch” skips in 30 seconds, with each jump over both ropes considered just a single skip. The skipper is 23-year-old Ayumi Sakamaki of “team Diana”, and she jumped both ropes 129 times in 30 seconds, or more than four times per second. As the site said, they had to watch the video in slow motion to get an accurate count. Note that this seems even more amazing when you consider that both her feet must be off the ground simultaneously to allow each rope to pass.

For some reason two Hello Bunnies are observing because, well, Japan. . .


  1. Simon Hayward
    Posted June 23, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    So, the skill of being a duck is to render cheerios mealworms and oatmeal into a form that can be appreciated with a good red wine? 🙂

  2. Debbie Coplan
    Posted June 23, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I would love a drawer like that cat has-

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 23, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Way you’ve been feeding those ducklings big-dollar mealworms, can we can say they’re green in web-foot and bill?

  4. Taskin
    Posted June 23, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Those are some fine looking ducks.
    I wonder how the cat drawer thing got started, it’s very impressive.

  5. Mary Drake
    Posted June 23, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I’ve had cats all my life, some of them pretty clever, but I have never seen a cat do what Loki did. Amazing feline!

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 23, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    That second rope-skipping video — how is that even possible?

    I’ve seen some fancy rope-jumping by prizefighters at the old Fifth Street Gym on Miami Beach but, my lord, nuthin’ like that.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 23, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      We used to do that at primary school, though not quite as fast. I can imagine that with a LOT of practice we could have done it too. I’m not trying to take away from what they did – it’s really, really impressive and would have taken a huge amount of work to be able to do it.

      For some reason I feel like it would be harder for adults as well.

      • Merilee
        Posted June 23, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure I’d trip and break my neck trying to do it now.

  7. BJ
    Posted June 23, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    The video of Loki reminded me of something my current cat does: sometimes when he hears me coming, he hides under a table or behind a chair. When I walk by, all within the span of a single second he darts out, gets on his hind legs and bats at my leg with both paws six or seven times (like a boxer throwing a combination), and then runs off for me to chase him. Repeat sequence until he’s tired of playing. It’s pretty adorable.

    • Merilee
      Posted June 23, 2017 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      My friend’s Siamese used to perch on the tops of doors and jump on her ( and visitors’) shoulders as we’d walk through.
      Kind of startling. And there are those crazy misguided people who think that cats have no personality🐾🐾

      • BJ
        Posted June 24, 2017 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        That’s so cute!

        Yeah, any time someone says something like, “cats just sit there and don’t do anything,” I know that they haven’t spent much time with cats. Every cat I’ve ever had or with whom I’ve spent significant time has possessed a completely unique personality. They all have their own quirks and fancies (cat fancies?).

        I like dogs, but I love cats because dogs are so eager to please their masters. You have to earn a cat’s love and respect 🙂

  8. Merilee
    Posted June 23, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Always wondered where the exp’n “little shavers” came from?

    • Posted June 23, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Google it; it’s interesting.

      • Merilee
        Posted June 23, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Cool, kind of like shavings off the old block.

  9. Posted June 23, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    About your ducklings, Prof. Ceiling Cat, enjoy the feeling of being an empty-nester! After decades of raising my brood, I can’t seem to get mine fully launched! (Dang, I really do need to ‘stop cooking with cheese’.)

  10. rickflick
    Posted June 23, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Looking at more double dutch on the internet, praise and thanks to the internet, I see that the sport seems to be practiced by American blacks and to some Asians, but is practiced world wide.

    According to Wikipedia, praise and thanks to Wikipedia, “During the spring of 2009, double Dutch became a varsity sport in New York City public high schools. It has been fancifully debated whether double Dutch came over with the first Dutch settlers or appeared in the first half of the 1900s.”

    I suspect the “D” alliteration may be significant in the popularity of the meme. I’m saddened that I am too old to do it.

    • Merilee
      Posted June 23, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      This white American girl did it with her friends in elementary school, admittedly several eons ago.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted June 23, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Would I be in Dutch with the PC fanatics for observing that this is a despicable example of cultural appropriation. Godverdomme! The Dutch should be outraged.

      • nicky
        Posted June 24, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        No, no and no, the Dutch should feel honoured, a great example of cultural export, godverdomme! And I think most would, come to think of it.
        Note that historically the Dutch have by far the longest (albeit confined) contact with Japan of any ‘Western’ nation.
        I find both records amazing, those schoolchildren didn’t miss a single ‘skip’ and the Double Dutch record really blows the mind!

    • Gabrielle
      Posted June 23, 2017 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      The jumping these young women are doing is way beyond what I did as a young girl in grade school during recess, also eons ago.

      The young women look to be about 15-20 years old, very fit and with great timing/coordination. It must take hours, given whatever natural talents they already possess, for them to hone their skills.

      Very impressive.

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