A favorite desktop background of mine is of the aurora
borealis, or northern lights, over a snow bank. I have never had the pleasure
of seeing this phenomenon in person, but I would like to someday. Such
fantastic beauty, art, and entertainment are provided for free to any who are
fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time. A reminder of all of
what nature has to offer us.
Apr 16 2012
A favorite desktop background of mine is of the aurora
Apr 16 2012
A shy waitress from the town of
Saves for dreams no one understands
A guitar and trap set
Tour bus and small jet
As the bassist for her punk rock band.
-By Lyle (Friend, editor, and all around great guy)
There once was a gal from
The blonde waitress Nancy Wyland
Packed up her bonsai
and said her goodbye
to take off for the Scottish Highland.
– J Lenni Dorner
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Apr 15 2012
((The following is an essay which Xavier, a main character
of the Existence series, would have written. It is actually written by me, J.
Lenni Dorner, of course; but the viewpoint is that of the fictional
“What Easter Means to Me”
By Xavier Doyen
under this oak tree in The Yard with my peers discussing this essay has proven
to me that Easter has become a generally misunderstood holiday. Of the five of
us sitting here, Roark and Tim are atheists, Eli is Jewish, Kate is Buddhist,
and I am the lone Christian in this group. While grumbling about the unfairness
of this essay as they research a holiday that they have never celebrated, each
of them continues to turn to me with questions that they expect “the
Catholic one” to have the answers to.
with this begins when they dig into the books and sources outside of the
Christian religious material. “What’s the deal with painting eggs? That’s
not mentioned in your Bible. It appears to be Pagan!” Four sets of eyes
focus on me after Eli’s revelation. This, apparently, is supposed to be the
moment where I set them straight. Where I pull an answer out from a memory
where my Bishop would have shown up to clarify at some point that painted eggs
are a symbol of the markings on the heavy stone that was in front of the tomb
where Jesus has been laid to rest or something. I’m expected to have answer
that would conform to the boundaries of my faith.
I do not.
explain that the painting of eggs is a very old tradition that started in
of a giant egg from the sky which landed in a river and hatched open to give
birth to the Goddess of Fertility who would later be known by countless names
and worshiped in every corner of the world. I could draw a parallel between the
Goddess and the Virgin Mary, but it wouldn’t be popular or well-received. I
could explain that she is love and that Jesus is love, so it makes sense that
they are worshipped at the same time. Or I could explain that the celebrations
which were once meant to honor the Goddess were converted into celebrations to
honor Jesus instead as the crusade to convert the world to Christianity failed
to come with instructions that clearly commanded people to toss out their old
is the question that they won’t ask me. “How do the formerly worshipped
Gods feel about having their holidays, celebrations meant to honor them, turned
into Christian events about Jesus?” I think that would be a better
question. The answer to that question could actually lead me to answering what
Easter means to me.
down to choice. No one is forced to celebrate Easter. Once one is old enough to
think for oneself, worshipping any given religion is a choice. Before being
able to think like that, there is no actual worshipping taking place- merely
living dolls that follow along because they have yet to figure out what choice
is and how to apply it in life. The Gods which were once so widely accepted
throughout the world must have had a choice. Jesus was not one of them, he was
not what they were, and he did not serve the same purpose that they did. He
came for the people, for the humans, to guide them on a path which had not been
laid out clearly enough before so that they could one day leave Earth and go to
Heaven. The Gods love the people. They want what is best for them. They gave up
being worshipped, so that the people could follow Jesus and His teachings.
the celebration of what Jesus gave to the people. He suffered and died so that
they would be forgiven. He did this for all people, even those who do not
believe in Him, because He loves everyone equally. Three days later His spirit returned
to His body, and He was alive again. He promised that all the people who
believed in Him and asked to be forgiven for their sins would be saved and
would one day join Him in Heaven. This took place in the early spring, which is
why Easter is celebrated shortly after the Vernal Equinox.
the most fertile time of year. Most animals are born in the spring. Life is renewed
in nature in the springtime. It only makes sense that a time of so much life
would be when people once celebrated the Goddess of Fertility. Then
Christianity came along and dictated that, instead, people should worship Jesus
and celebrate the life that will come after death. The people were confused.
Figuring out how to celebrate the life and fertility that was clearly appearing
all around them was not very difficult. Eggs were a natural symbol of life, and
painting them in beautiful colors was an obvious way to showcase the beauty of
nature as it blossomed around them. Rabbits could be seen breeding the most
frequently, so they also because an easy symbol to include. Sweets, chocolates,
and special breads were passed around as aphrodisiacs to encourage humans to
mate. But how does one decorate for life after death? What sort of craft
project could children get involved in making for something which they could
not even fathom? Herein lay the problem
faced by people who loved to celebrate and decorate but were given no real
ideas as to what to use.
decorations were recycled and repurposed, not to offend Jesus, but to worship
Him by people who were unclear as to what better alternatives there might be.
This answer is offensive to many people. It seems that deeply religious people
tend to assume that two millenniums ago, the world should have been filled with
Martha Stewarts. Perhaps if it had been, everyone would have thrown out their
old decorations and started following patterns to make new ones. This also
assumes that everyone back then could afford to make new decorations. Eggs were
inexpensive. Dye was generally homemade. The people stuck with what they knew
perhaps because Jesus taught about faith and love, not about how to increase
financial wealth in order to afford new decorations for the holidays which
would pop up after his death.
then does Easter mean to me? It means a time of confusion when people argue
over how to properly celebrate something they have yet to fully understand,
often forgetting the real reason for the holiday and using it instead to
compete with each other to find out who can locate the most hidden eggs or be
the finest dressed at a church service that talks about a man who kept His
fashion simple and practical because it didn’t matter. It means listening to my
mother and my sister as they argue over the proper filling for baskets. It
means that a professor will assign an essay such as this one, where I will be
expected to provide a solid answer which I can back up with facts from sources
that can be cited.
that is why, unfortunately, I cannot explain in an essay what Easter really
means to me. The whole truth of what it means to me isn’t something that the
world at large gets to know about. I could discuss what it means to me with
Heath, Jez, Caleb, or Jun, because it means much the same to them. But I cannot
honestly answer this question in an essay that a professor or a classmate might
read. And so, as I sit here under this oak tree, I know I will have to destroy
these pieces of paper and start over. I will have to meet the stares of my four
classmates who are waiting for me to come up with an intelligent answer that I
can back up with one of the information sources which is here before us. The
essay that I will ultimately submit will not really be what Easter means to me,
but rather it will be a well-formatted thesis filled with words that can be
backed up by information that those around me here will be able to comprehend.
Apr 14 2012
magazine is Entertainment Weekly. This light and colorful periodical keeps me
informed of the latest trends and keeps me from missing out on great books,
movies, and television series that I might not have discovered otherwise. Recently
they have given more attention to their book review departments and also had a book
on their cover.
I am also a
fan of Writer’s Digest and the Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Really,
there are so many great magazines out there. What’s the best obscure but available
at a reasonable price magazine that you’ve ever read and enjoyed?
Apr 13 2012
Lorcce is a
Canadian Eskimo Dog. Above is an approximation of what he looks like. His fur
is all white, except for the small brown marking on the top of his head.
He was a
rare and expensive puppy, but one which was able to keep up with Xavier’s
Arctic expedition trek the summer before his senior year in high school. As
Canadian Eskimo Dogs are not traditionally a domestic animal, Xavier has
converted the entire apartment under his into a “play area” so that
his canine companion wouldn’t feel trapped in the big city.
is a working dog. Lorcce is not a stay-at-home pup. He does charity work with
disabled children nearly every day at a local hospital. A child is put into a
special sled with their physical therapist which allows Lorcce to take them for
rides around places such as
Volunteering keeps him from getting bored and destructive.
Apr 12 2012
line in book one (Fractions of Existence) is Xavier’s reply of “Killjoy,” to Gwendolyn. I
laugh every time I read it. There is something so light and natural about their
witty banter with each other. At the outset, it seems like they would be
nervous and awkward when they meet at this point in the story, but instead they
speak to each other like two people who have known each other for a very long
Apr 12 2012
Margaret was born in
She is the eldest daughter of Count Henrik Christian Knuth and his wife
Countess Margrethe Louise Holstein-Knuth. Her upbringing was strict, formal,
and rigid. She was an obedient child who was intently focused on pleasing her
parents by outdoing the other children. She learned early on how to influence
and intimidate others, which her parents believed would make her an excellent
leader. She was confirmed in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark shortly
before her fifteenth birthday.
awoke to the Danish flag flapping outside of her window. Around her bed were
piles of brightly wrapped gifts to for her fifteenth birthday. Among them was a
pearly white box with a pink bow from her father. Inside was a memory book. The
pages began with copies of her birth certificate and announcement, and went on
to showcase the milestones of her life. The final pages which had been filled
in had a picture of a young man she had never met and a copy of an agreement
between her father and Lithuanian nobleman for the marriage of their children
in three years time.
the moment that the obedient child vanished and the fiery dominating woman
appeared. Vinica packed up her things and informed her parents that she was
leaving. Her father threatened to disown her, to take away her noble Knuth
name. She was not fazed. She set out into the world on her own for the first
minor without money or title proved to be a challenge for which she was
unprepared. Without power, she could not influence or intimidate others so
easily. Vinica found herself selling off her possessions just to survive.
Down to the
last scraps of money from pawning her favorite necklace, she walked into a
bakery hoping to have enough money for a meal. A man who had just received the
muffin he had ordered turned around and collided with her. He apologized
profusely and begged her to allow him to buy her brunch. There was something
about him that she could not shake, so she said she would agree to let him buy
her meal, but only if he would agree to sit and eat with her.
told her his name was Patrick but refused to offer his last name. His bright
red hair gave him away as distinctly Irish. While he attempted to portray
himself as a commoner, she saw right through him, recognizing the subtle signs
of his noble and wealthy lineage. She kept quiet about it though, for it was
hardly what held her attention.
was solid. Every move he made seemed like an impossible feat to her eyes. She
wondered if he studied the living statue art of the mimes. And then there were
his eyes! She had never seen irises so alive before. It was like watching a
geode form over and over with every blink.
ended and they left the bakery together. The week ended, and still they had
parted only to sleep. A month went by, and she finally demanded his full name.
He asked her why it mattered to her. Vinica replied, “I need to know what
I will be signing as for the rest of my life, because you are going to marry
you feel the same even if my name comes with no title?” he asked.
if my name does come with a title? What then? Will you put up with the
requirements of such a burden?”
“So long as you do not arrange for me to marry a stranger, I think you will
be pleasantly surprised at just how well I can handle being noble.”
Patrick Robert Doyen, Baron of Ireland, eldest son of my father.”
after they were wed, Vinica gave birth to her second child, a son who they
named Xavier Patrick Doyen. When the news of their first grandson reached
Henrik and Margrethe Knuth they restored Vinica’s title and finally made peace
with their eldest child.
Apr 11 2012
When I was
a child, jellybeans were these thick candies with a sort of waxy coating that
only appeared around Easter. The red, orange, yellow, pink, and purple ones
were pretty good. The black ones were gross and green ones tasted like
late teens, I discovered Jelly Belly’s jellybeans. It’s hard to believe that these candies have anything in
common with the ones “the bunny” brought in my basket years before.
Not only are there gourmet flavors, but there are mixing charts to encourage
consumers to mix the beans for a whole new flavor explosion in one’s mouth.
favorite flavor from Jelly Belly so far is Cappuccino. What’s yours?
Apr 11 2012
Janice is a
favorite character of mine though her roles in the books will always be small
ones. She is Xavier’s intimidating, non-conformist cousin. Here’s a
hypothetical short survey, answered in “her words.”
If I could live my
life over, what would I change?
Nothing. I have no regrets.
What would bring me
more happiness than anything else in the world?
A purring kitten in my lap. I don’t know.
What project or goal,
if left undone, will I most regret next year?
There are six books on my desk that I want
to read before they become movies, and I would regret not reading them before
those movies come out and the trailers spoil them for me!
If I knew I could not
fail, what would I undertake to accomplish in life?
Since when is failure an option?
If I could give my
children three pieces of advice, what would they be?
I don’t have children, but the best three pieces advice I
could pass on would be:
1- Stay alert and focused.
2- A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but a set of
keys laced through your fingertips is worth your life in a parking lot ambush.
3- Anyone who tells you that you aren’t good enough should
be proven wrong and simultaneously forgotten.
What am I working at
now in my life that requires the most time and energy? Is this what I ideally
want to be doing with my time?
Time? 168 hours in a week.
60 hours of which are spent working. (36%) About 12 hours a week
driving. (7%) At 8 a night, 56 hours a week are spent sleeping. (33%) Probably
about 2 hours a day is spent on meals, so that’s 14 hours a week. (8%)
Showering, dressing, restroom breaks, and primping probably take about another
hour a day, so that’s 7 hours. (4%) I spend about an hour a day on the
Internet, so that’s another 7 hours down. (4%) The 90 minutes a day I spend
working out is what takes the most energy, though not the most time at only
10.5 hours a week. (6.25%) That leaves about 12 minutes a day to wait in line,
be on hold, and put up with stupid questions.
As for if this is what I ideally want to be doing with my
time, I suppose it is. If it wasn’t, I’d like to think that I’d go do something
Is this what I want to
be working most at in 10 years from now? In 40 years from now?
In 10 years from now, yeah, I imagine that things will be
pretty much the same. Maybe I’ll have kids to mix in there as well. In 40 years
from now though, I figure that things will probably be different because I’ll
be much older than I am now.
What do I feel is the
“ultimate good” that a human being can strive towards?
Helping children is the ultimate good
because they have the most room to change. Actually, it isn’t even so much
“change” with them as it is building a foundation. They aren’t fully
formed yet. They aren’t set on a certain path and locked in to the ways that
things have always been. There’s hope for children.
Writing a one-sentence
personal mission statement:
“My mission in
life is to…”
My mission in life is to live, to stay alive, and to
encourage others to do the same.
Apr 10 2012
|What Flavor Ice Cream are you?|
| Mint Chip
Mint Chip – ecstatic and full of glory. Adventurous and curious, you always want to be learning something new. Often this gets you into danger, but you take risks no matter what the odds are.
|Facebook quizzes, quiz apps & blog quizzes by|
You Are Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
You are kind, popular, and generous.
You tend to be successful at anything you try.
A social butterfly, you are great at entertaining a crowd.
You are most compatible with strawberry ice cream.
Apr 10 2012
in book one of being a possible alternative love interest for Wend. What life
might she have had if she had ended up with him? His family is well off, though
not nearly as wealthy, powerful, or established as Xavier’s.
dream is to become a cattle rancher, so she would have had to leave the sunny
favor of a home with acres of pasture. She might have been able to teach music
from their home while raising the multitude of children that
been the girl who ended up with the guy who used to be someone back in high
Apr 09 2012
thing that I’ve ever done is saying good-bye. Anyone who has ever had to say
good-bye to someone they love and wasn’t ready to let go of yet would know the
painful anguish of which I am referring to. There are many words of supposed
comfort which linger inside greeting cards and song lyrics. I am not here to
restate those words.
people have to go. Perhaps they die years before we are ready, or they get
called away to some part of the world where communication isn’t an option, or
perhaps they fade out of our lives for a reason we never saw coming. Is there
any preparation for this? I remember learning the ABCs and 123s but not how to
sometimes, that is what has to be done. Occasionally we have to say good-bye to
someone because the relationship changes from a positive influence to a
negative destructive force. Is it harder to say good-bye when the choice is
Apr 09 2012
sloshed into the hole on the sole of the worn out sneaker. Hank tried to ignore
the cold wetness as it infiltrated his sock once again. He ran faster toward
his school, only to fall into the mud. He picked himself back up, wiped off
what he could, and trudged onward.
is no way to look when coming to school, young man.”
Mrs. Klein,” he replied to the angry vice-principal as he entered the
building. He made his way quickly to the boys’ bathroom to clean up as best he
let the fertilizer in?” one of the three boys in varsity basketball
to ignore the taunts as he washed the mud off of himself using paper towels.
The jocks grabbed his backpack. They tore it open and pulled out his belongings
to destroy them. Outnumbered, Hank fought uselessly to stop them. Then the door
shot open, and the tallest boy in school marched in.
it back to him.”
Cap, we were just having fun!”
look at the puny dweeb. He’s a wreck.”
you three deaf? I said to hand it back! Now!” The tallest boy growled at
his teammates as he hovered over them. The boys did as commanded. “Go to
class,” he said. Once they were gone, he turned his attention to Hank.
what I’m here for. Why are you such a mess this morning, anyway? Is that their
fault? I’ll make them run laps until they puke if it is.”
this is all my doing. I tried to outrun the rain. Guess it didn’t work.”
“You could have called my house. You know one of us would have given you a
nodded. He gathered his things and made one more attempt to look presentable.
always been good to him. He didn’t want to take advantage by asking for rides
could skip, if you wanna. My uncle could come get us. We could spend the day
with the cows. They won’t care if you’re covered in mud.”
man, but I can’t. I’ve got that big geometry test today and an oral report in history.
You know how Mrs. Burnstien is.
you aren’t here the day your report is due, the only excuse is a
deathbed,” the boys quoted in an impersonation of the old teacher who
lunchtime, Hank and
usual seats at a table with
you see the new girl?” one of
the table replied that they had not.
motioned to a nearby table. Two freshmen boys ran over to him, racing each
other to get their first.
there is a new girl in school. I would like to be introduced. See to it.”
actually bowed. “Yes, Captain!” They rushed off.
laughed. “Abusing the power today?”
might impress her,”
replied as he pulled out his roast beef sandwich and handed half of it to Hank.
love my Aunt’s roast beef. Just eat it before I make one of the freshmen come
over here and feed it to you.”
chuckled, thanked him, and took the sandwich. His mouth welcomed a big bite of
fresh meat that had been slowly basted and roasted for hours over a simmering
fire mingled with the season’s most recent offering of crisp lettuce and
sun-ripened tomato tucked between two slices of homemade wheat bread which was
slathered with mayonnaise. He chewed slowly as he savored the wonderful fresh
Captain!” the freshmen called excitedly as they ran over, towing a large
blonde girl with them. “This is her, sir. Kirstie Smith, this is Irving
McCormick, the captain of the basketball team.”
girl offered a small wave with one hand while the other toyed with her necklace
nervously. Hank took another bite of the sandwich. Mayo shot down his chin and
over his mud-stained shirt. Kirstie laughed lightly and smiled at him.
dad is the same way, always getting things on his shirt. I could help you clean
up, if you want I mean,” she said to Hank with a small stutter.
not the Captain, ma’am. The one in the jacket with the big C on it is the
go back to your table. You’ve done well, thank you,”
fine, thanks,” Hank said as he turned bright red.
okay,” Kirstie muttered. She stared at her shoe laces as if they were
suddenly very interesting.
kicked Hank under the table. Once his friend met his eyes, they exchanged
conversational glances. Frustrated by Hank’s shyness,
does need your help. Can’t clean a thing, this one. Total wreck.”
with a push from his friend, Hank went off with Kirstie, not only to get
cleaned up, but to fall in love with the woman he would spend his life with,
and to transform from a messy clumsy boy into devoted responsible man.
Apr 08 2012
((The following is an essay which Wend, a main character of
the Existence series, would have written. It is actually written by me, J.
Lenni Dorner, of course; but the viewpoint, tone, and structure of the essay is
that of the fictional character.))
“What Easter Means to Me”
By Gwendolyn Mirabella Wright
eternal is granted to me and my loved ones because Jesus has risen! Christ, my Savior,
faced Death and three days later returned. When the time is right, He will call
the faithful and worthy to Heaven to be with Him. Easter is a celebration of the
great gift of resurrection. Easter is celebrated because we will be resurrected
someday, because we will be immortal once we are resurrected, and because we
know that Jesus was resurrected.
the spirit leaves the body. In resurrection, the spirit returns to the body and
makes it alive again. When Jesus’ spirit returned to His body, He made
resurrection possible. Jesus Christ was the first person to be resurrected. It
took Jesus only three days to be resurrected, but that is not the case for everyone.
When we die, our spirit will eventually be guided back to our bodies because
Jesus has promised this gift to the world.
spirit returns to the body during resurrection, we will become immortal. The
resurrected body changes so that it not only comes back to life, but it also
becomes whole and perfect and can never die again. I will have my body forever
because Jesus was resurrected. My immortal body will have eternal life in God’s
presence and be with my family there because we repent our sins, follow the
commandments of the Gospel, and believe in Jesus Christ who died so that we
could be forgiven.
resurrection of Christ after His death is the greatest news the world has ever
had. We know that news is true because many people documented seeing Jesus
alive once again. Among these people were the Nephites and Lamanites, who had
been in darkness for the three days that it took for Jesus to be resurrected.
These were the most joyful people on Earth for Jesus stayed with them for a
while to heal their sick, bless their children, and teach them.
should celebrate Easter because Jesus gave the gift of resurrection to the
whole world, because we will all become immortal after we die, and because
there is documented proof that Jesus was resurrected. Our faith in the Savior
protects us so that we will spend eternity not as lost spirits and rotting
corpses but in our perfect bodies alive with blessed spirits in the home of the
Heavenly Father. Easter is a celebration of the love that Jesus has which is so
abundant that He made the ultimate sacrifice for us. So, to me, Easter means
that I am loved by Jesus Christ; and that is truly something to celebrate!
Apr 07 2012
goal, and please forgive the obviousness of this answer, is to have my book
series represented by an agent who will get it published and then celebrate
with me when the books appear on the New York Times best-seller list. You may
say that my goal has quite a bit of dream mixed in there, but what is the point
of making a goal which is merely obtainable? If you’re going to go out, go big;
otherwise, stay home!
Five more immediate writing goals:
1) To get
300 signers on the what-are-they.com guestbook.
complete this A to Z blog challenge.
3) To get
1000 likes on my Facebook fan page
*There is also a Facebook Like Button in the right column of this page. *
4) To get
finish writing book two.
Apr 07 2012
Once upon a time there was girl named Georgette. Her parents were kidnapped by
Bigfoot. No wait, they were abducted by aliens. Or did they sink on the
is the least likely person to tell you the truth about her own past. She has
woven so many tales over the years that no one knows the full truth of her
history by now. It is certain, however, that she established a legal residence
when she turned 18. (She claims to have lived in the city longer, but had no
address then because she was staying with the mole-people who reside under the
subway system.) She has had a wide variety of jobs, most of which were off the
record. She is a fantastic sales person, so long as she doesn’t need to be
burdened with little details of relevant facts. She’s a very creative cook, but
her choice of ingredients isn’t always something that should be disclosed. Her style
of dress is very eclectic but absolutely always sexy and sultry.
She seems to
have no desire to settle down. There have been a few relationships which lasted
long enough to warrant moving in together. They all ended the same. The guy
would come home one day to find all of her things gone and the key left on the
table. She is the one to leave 99% of the time, but she has never bothered to
actually break up with anyone.
For a few
years now there hasn’t been a raving party in
that she wasn’t at. The best ones, of course, have her well-known bowl of
punch. To simply call it spiked would be misuse of the word. Georgette’s
concoction has been blamed for everything from cheating husbands to a certain
Senator backing a bill which no one expected him to. The prize-inside contents
are a secret which she would never reveal. She is certainly owed credit though,
for this magical drink doesn’t harbor any of odd flavors or after-bite that one
might expect. Indeed, Georgette’s punch is truly sinfully delicious.
Apr 06 2012
It is so
hard to choose just one food for a favorite. Savory or sweet, zesty or
delicate, breakfast or dinner…
I think I
will have to go with sushi for this question though. Anago, or eel, is my
favorite, though I enjoy getting a variety pack when I pick up sushi. I do like
avocado in my sushi rolls, but I do not care for cream cheese, wasabi, or
cucumber in them. While I have no objection to white, or traditional, sushi
rice, I generally will opt for a brown rice instead if it happens to be
available. I know the pickled ginger is a palate cleanser, but it’s not
something I’m especially fond of. Though it is much rarer for me to find, I do
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.
Above: A recent purchase of mine! Delicious. Below: Some tamago.
Apr 06 2012
mentioned in book one, I thought for the letter F I would supply a bit of
information on these two types of birds.
lives near the sea. They are related to pelicans. They are known for their
enormous wingspans, and males are known for their red throats which will puff
out to attract a female. While they are arguably the most impressive fliers,
the frigatebird is extremely clumsy when attempting to walk on land. Unlike
most seabirds, the frigatebird is unable to swim.
Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal on Earth. They can dive at over 200mph.
Thanks to the ledges on tall buildings, these birds have adapted to living in
cities. They live on every continent except for