A site for my handmade cards, accompanied by my photos and written meanderings which are occasionally witty, often tongue-in-cheek, and rarely profound. Beginning in June 2013, you'll also see lots of NBUS, which is an acronym I coined for Never-Before-Used-Schtuff. Note: my Privacy Policy can be found at a tab below. Thanks for coming by! Have a beverage and enjoy!

THE BACK STORIES

The Barnes Dandelion Fire Weeble

This is Frank Meredith of CBS Science News.

A press conference was held at the University Entomology Department earlier today. Dr. Phillip Barnes, a renowned entomologist, was answering questions about his history-making discovery last week of the bug shown in the photo. As is usual for discoveries in the scientific community, the bug has been officially named the Barnes Dandelion Fire Weeble. This elusive bug is believed to be a part of the firefly family (Lampyridae). 
 
As far as scientists can tell the little weeble only comes out near day break when the silky strands of ripe dandelions are laden with dew drops. While the weebles drink, it is fascinating to watch their chests light up with a golden glow and their little raisin-shaped bodies slowly expand and grow until they are the shape of a dew drop themselves.

When asked about the apparent giant horn on the top of the bug's head, Dr. Barnes replied: "Since we have never been able to capture a Dandelion Fire Weeble, we are unsure about its physiognomy."

Suddenly a very young voice could be heard saying, "I know." 

All eyes and cameras turned to a small child near the back of the room. An older reporter next to her spoke up, "This is my granddaughter, Rebecca." Dr. Barnes stepped down from the podium and came to kneel in front of the little girl. "Go ahead, Rebecca," he smiled, "tell us what you know."

Rebecca smiled back at Dr. Barnes, but her eyes questioned her grandfather. "Go ahead," he whispered. 

Rebecca shrugged her tiny shoulders and her little munchkin voice declared, 

"After the little bugs drink the night water and the light in their hearts turns on, they fly behind the hydrangea bushes where the fairies live. And then, I mean, the little bugs fit perfectly in the fairy's hands," she added, holding her hands cupped to show what she meant. 

"The fairies turn the little bugs upside down and they drink the water that comes out of the pipe on the bug's head until the bug gets skinny. Then they, um, it flies back out and fills back up again!"

Rebecca fell silent. Her eyes inspected her little pink tennis shoes, as if suddenly afraid she had said too much. The only sound was the clicking of the cameras. 

After a minute, Dr. Barnes asked quietly, "Then what happens, Rebecca?"

Rebecca lifted her head and turned her palms into the air. She cocked her head to the side and said, "Well, geez, then the day gets too bright and I can't see them anymore!"

Darnell J. Knauss, Author
Cornelia Wenoker, Illustrator

©10/01/2019
Vol. 1 Ep. 13
See The Back Stories tab at the top for all episodes.

Eunice

Eunice loved performing at birthday parties for the little kids. They were always delighted with her performance and clapped like little maniacs. She hated the fact that she had only been allowed to perform at adult parties since that incident in 2015 outside of Chicago. 

Since that time, Eunice had made it through her probation, done her community service, and sought medical help. Her psychiatrist and her veterinarian had determined that Eunice could not tolerate the sugar in the cupcake she devoured at the end of her performance. In order for the show to go on, a sugar-free gluten-free recipe had been developed and Eunice was now performing to the high standards of the Association of Hula Hooping Holsteins of America.

Even so, no one had hired her for a child's party until today, and that was only because Paulette had gotten sick. Eunice sat patiently waiting for the excited children to quiet down so the lights could be dimmed and the curtain raised. 

Her candle headband was in place and her special giant cupcake was by her side. She glanced over at the frosting to see if the honoree was a boy or a girl. And she gasped.

Eunice could feel her udders shudder and her heart started banging around in her chest. Her bulging eyes locked on the target. You see, Eunice knew something that none of the specialists had ever suspected. It wasn't the sugar in the cupcake and the frosting that was her trigger, it was the cherry. And a cherry was only added to the top of the cupcake at a child’s party. 

As the curtain started to rise, Eunice's tongue slipped out between her lips.

Darnell J. Knauss, Author 
Cornelia Wenoker, Illustrator

©09/15/2019
Vol. 1 Ep. 12
*Not for publication in any children's book.



The Horse With No Neigh

Hazel sat forlornly gazing at the barn door. The inside was clearly visible, well-lit with hundreds of twinkling yellow lights. She could see her friends laughing, dancing, and enjoying themselves. It made her wince with jealousy. Hazel's Aunt had spent hours encouraging her to overcome her painful shyness. They had practiced karaoke for weeks until Hazel knew every word by heart. It was through song that Hazel had finally found her neigh.

To ensure that Hazel would not lose her newfound self-confidence, her Aunt had made Hazel a beautiful rainbow sweater and an encouraging sign to hang in her stall. "I'm a rainbow sprinkle in a vanilla world," it said. Hazel must have read those words a million times, but now she sat miserable and alone, her eyes red-rimmed from her tears.

During all their hours of practice, neither Hazel nor her Aunt could imagine that on the night of this special annual winter event, the karaoke machine would not be working. When she realized it, Hazel turned sharply and trotted out the door to the farthest pasture where she could still see what was happening.

As the night grew colder, Hazel found herself in a bit of a trance staring at the yellow twinkling lights. Then softly she began to hear her Aunt's voice in her head. One by one, her Aunt sang every song they had practiced. After she had sung them all, her Aunt whispered, "Go back, Hazel. I'll be your karaoke machine! Show them you are not the horse with no neigh!"

Hazel felt a sudden warmth flowing through her veins. She drew in a deep breath and pushed herself to her feet as the cold air steamed from her nostrils. Hazel straightened her beautiful sweater, threw back her mane, and galloped towards the lights in the barn.

Darnell J. Knauss, Author
Cornelia Wenokor, Illustrator
©09/01/2019
Vol. 1 Ep. 11


DEBRA

When she agreed to be on top as the lookout, Debra didn't realize there would be such a strong breeze that day. She hated having her ears blown back, especially since she had just been to the salon.

Now that she had managed to climb to the top of this pack of imbeciles, Debra realized that she could spin any kind of yarn she wanted to about what was happening on the other side of the fence. How would the other three know what was true?

In that moment, Debra fully understood the meaning of faith.

She had faith that Louie, Bruce, and Herbert would not let her fall and they, in turn, had faith that she would tell the truth about what she saw.

As she stared at the neighbor’s house, suddenly a shadow stepped into the light from the porch.


Darnell J. Knauss, Author
Cornelia Wenoker, Illustrator
©08/15/2019
Vol. 1 Ep. 10

PETEY

It was fortunate for Petey that Cassie’s mom was a romantic or he would have been tarred and feathered that day. Thankfully she understood that Petey was a good guy, even if he was a bit single-minded at times, often to the point of danger.

On this particular sunny Saturday, Petey came calling, bringing a sweet bouquet of posies for Cassie. Her mom sent Petey to the backyard where Cassie was sunning herself by the pool.

Just as Petey approached Cassie with his eyes zeroed in on her face, his foot caught on the edge of her towel. As Petey started falling, he grabbed the towel without thinking, sending Cassie somersaulting into the pool with him!

Now here they were, drying themselves off on a line Cassie’s mom had put up for them. Petey, still clutching the posies, could feel the warm sun on his back. He shyly glanced over at Cassie, who was hanging so close to him there was a ripple of static between their fur. 

He saw a promising smile touch Cassie’s lips, and he’d never been happier in his life.



Darnell J. Knauss, Author
 Cornelia Wenokor, Illustrator
©08/01/2019
Vol. 1 Ep. 9



GENEVIEVE

As if the gale force winds weren’t bad enough, turning her favorite umbrella inside out and ruining her ponytail, now the skies had opened up and Genevieve was being splattered by giant white globs of God-knew-what.

Genevieve knew there was only one way to extricate herself from this yucky situation. She hated to use her super power right out in public, but she was never going to get there in time if she didn’t act now.

She stretched her arm straight out in front in a line parallel to her shoulder.

She stood with her legs slightly akimbo so the lines of her stockings were matching each other.

With her left arm, she slowly removed the belt from her raincoat and stood patiently until the lines of the coat hems were parallel with her blowing hair and her inside-out umbrella.

Keeping her breath as shallow as possible, Genevieve could feel herself being slowly lifted off the pavement. With every inch she rose, she shrunk. In seconds she was barely visible. 

It all happened so fast that no one noticed the little spot of red heading south, carried on the wind to save the children.

Darnell J. Knauss, Author
 Cornelia Wenokor, Illustrator
©07/15/2019
Vol. 1 Ep. 8



RAVEN

Raven gasped when she saw her reflection in the full-length mirror. When she won the gift certificate for the new Trend on Trent clothing store in the Aviary Mall, she went begrudgingly. 

Raven was a widow and after 43 successful hatches, she had let herself go. Her feathers had thinned to the point where she was cold all the time and she could no longer fly. Her legs had lost their scaliness, and her claws were no longer shiny and sharp.

But yesterday all that changed when she gathered all that remained of her courage and headed for the mall to spend the gift. Now, looking at herself, she was so glad she had been brave. The beautiful scarf and leggings were warm and soft and the bright red tennies made her feel younger than she had in years.

When she walked home, her feet comfortable in her fancy new shoes, Raven could feel the admiring looks. She giggled inside as she stood straighter, stretching out her tail feathers and showing off her courage for all the world to see.

Darnell J. Knauss, Author
 Cornelia Wenokor, Illustrator
©07/01/2019
Vol. 1 Ep. 7


GEORGE

Everyone was gathering in the conference room to celebrate the boss’s birthday so George and Winnie walked down the hall together from the lab where they were assigned. 

George was busy looking over his shoulder at 3-year-old Winnie who had just let go of the party balloon, so he didn’t notice the pileup in front of him until after he turned the corner.

Before he could stop himself, George stepped on Imogene’s tail which made Imogene howl and fall into the wall. 

This allowed George a clear look ahead where he saw that Everett was lying flat out, his terrified eyes pinned on the tiniest mouse George had ever seen. Not even in the secret high-security lab.

George knew that Everett was frozen in fear and the only way to clear the hall would require him to step into Everett’s line of sight.

Slinking around Imogene’s wide hips and Everett’s flattened ears, George locked eyes with the tiny mouse. And froze.


Darnell J. Knauss, Author
Cornelia Wenokor, Illustrator
©06/15/2019
Vol. 1 Ep. 6


JEREMY
Jeremy heard the key in the front door and thought, “Oh, feathers, I’m in trouble now!”

As his mistress rounded the corner of the kitchen island and looked down at him, Jeremy could see the look of disappointment on her face.

For Jeremy this was worse than anything. He could feel his own eyes begin to well up with tears as he silently telegraphed how sorry he was that he had messed up.

His owner stood there for several long minutes just staring at Jeremy and then suddenly the look of disappointment gave way to amusement and soon she was doubled over in laughter.

Turning on the hot water faucet, she said, “You know, I should just leave you stuck there overnight and maybe you won’t be so curious next time!”

Jeremy sniffed. His butt and tail were already numb. One thing he knew for sure, he’d never go near a bottle of maple syrup again!”

Darnell J. Knauss, Author
Cornelia Wenokor, Illustrator


©06/01/2019
Vol. 1 Ep. 5


PIERCE

In a stroke of genius, Frank had chosen Pierce to be the new mascot in order to make the public less afraid of the police. They were used to seeing big German Shepherds as dogs used in police work, but never a dog like Pierce. 

What was so genius is that no one suspected Pierce was actually a formidable secret asset to the department. 

For instance:

  • There were the ears permanently cocked and ready to eavesdrop on criminal conversations.
  • There were the wide-set bulging eyes that never missed a movement and could look left and right at the same time.
  • There were the protruding bottom teeth, excellent for picking locks.
  • There was the stubble on the chin, the roly-poly neck, and the pork-pie hat. Actually, they had no special qualities other than to disarm the public.
  • But the flat feet were an absolute necessity for any good detective and that curly-q tail of Pierce’s could snake through even the smallest hole with a remote camera.

Yes, indeed, genius!
Darnell J. Knauss, Author
Cornelia Wenokor, Illustrator
©05/15/2019
Vol. 1, Ep. 4


ROSY

At sunrise that morning, Rosy could tell there was something odd in the air. It smelled faintly of sulfur. As she walked to the watering hole, all the other hippos were already out of the pens, enjoying the sunshine and quiet before the zoo opened.

As usual, the catcalls and bullying started as soon as Rosy came into view.

“Oh, look,” yelled Harold, “if it isn’t Roly-Poly Popsicle Pinky!”

“Hey, Pinky,” added Calvin, “how do you know when you get sunburned?!”

Rosy went to the happy place in her head in order to ignore the heckling she endured since she was born as bright as a berry. It had taken her many years to escape the heckling, but at this age, she barely heard a word they said.

Instead she imagined herself with wings, bright yellow wings. They had to be yellow because yellow wings flew higher into the clouds than any other color.

As she neared the watering hole, the sky became black and the winds begin to shift and whip around her. The smell of sulfur became stronger. All the other hippos ran for the cover of their pens, but Rosy didn’t move. 

She felt a pull on both shoulders and then all she felt was wonderfully light of heart, light of mind, and light of body. She knew her imagination was becoming reality. She smiled, waiting for lift-off.

Darnell J. Knauss, Author
Cornelia Wenokor, Illustrator
©05/01/2019
Vol. 1 Ep. 3


LIANE

Every dozen years the Topzwellers poked their heads through the loamy soil near the entrance to the baseball park. As Liane had turned 12 during the last phase, it was her first time as lookout.

Nervously, she looked to her left which caused her left eyeball to pop out of her head. It was like a turn signal or if she wasn’t moving, like a zoom lens.

When she saw that the target was already in place and all systems were GO, her little arms locked into the straight position, fingers splayed, and her underbelly turned yellow.

Keeping her position trained on the target, Liane gingerly touched each of the others with her tail, a signal that they could emerge. She knew that when they were all in position, this would be the greatest night of her life.

Darnell J. Knauss, Author
Cornelia Wenokor, Illustrator
©04/15/2019
Vol. 1 Ep. 2


ABRAHAM, THOMAS, AND SUZY

Darnell J. Knauss, Author
Cornelia Wenokor, Illustrator

[Excepted from the Websville Community Newsletter, April 1, 2019]

Welcome to another article where we help you, our neighbors, get to know your candidates on a more personal level. We know you are all fascinated by the fact that a set of triplets are vying against each other for the one vacant Rat City Council seat and you want to know more about them.

Let us first introduce you to Abraham.
Abraham is known in the community as The Realist. When the triplets were born, Abe was the oldest and the biggest. Immediately, their mother started treating Abe as her right-hand man, especially since their father had been killed in a trap on his way home from the pizza parlor a week before the triplets were born. Abe never disappointed his mother. He saw to all their needs and never had a childhood of his own. No one was surprised when Abe became the first rat in the family to attend college and earn a degree in Logistics.

Next is Thomas. 
Thomas is the middle mouse. He is known as the Doubter. Being in the middle between his brother and sister, Thomas doesn’t know who to believe, so he believes no one. You’ll never hear Thomas answer a question with a straight Yes or No. Instead he’ll say, “I doubt it.” Or, “What makes you say that?” Or, “Let me think about it.” And his most-used phrase, said in a sulky tone: “Well, I don’t know about that.”

Last, but not least, we have Suzy.
Suzy is known as the Optimist. Suzy welcomes life with open arms. She feels that every day is a blessing and she wakes up excited to see what adventures await her. Her brothers pretty much hate her, especially when she breaks out into a rousing rendition of, “Oh, Suzannah!”

Their long-suffering mother once asked Suzy why she was such an optimist when her brothers were not. Suzy just smiled and answered quietly, “Well, that’s obvious, Mom. According to the laws of nature, there must be two polar opposites. I’m the equator.”


©04/01/2019
Vol. 1 Ep.1

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