22 Sep 2010 5 Comments
This week we are going to celebrate possibly the world’s most famous– and certainly the world’s most depressed– donkey, Eyore.
As the book opens Eyore is feeling down. Pooh notices that Eyore’s tail is missing. After a little checking, Eyore agrees that, yes, his tail appears to be missing and remarks that, “That accounts for a great deal.”
Pooh, being the great friend that he is, goes out looking for the tail and, by accident, finds it at Owl’s house. Owl found the tail in a bush and took it home to use as a bell pull. Pooh retrieves the tail and returns it to Eyore. They get Christopher Robin to nail it back on.
As Pooh sings a little self-congratulatory song Eyore is practically happy. The End.
16 Sep 2010 6 Comments
I guess this is a book review of Blindsided : surviving a grizzly attack and still loving the great bear by Jim Cole and Tim Vandehey. I decided to read this book when I first heard about it. A well-known naturalist and advocate for grizzly bears writes a book in defense of the brown bear despite two maulings. Bears plus gruesome details? That’s right up my alley. (Please note that I did not say “grizzly details,’ even though I could have.)
Jim Cole has done some amazing things in his life. I am not going to contest that. He knows his grizzlies. Also, not contested. This book, however, left me wanting. The first half of the book is about how he got to be a reclusive hiker and bear advocate. It’s also about bears, national parks, hiking, and his first mauling in 1993. The pivot point, half-way through the book, is his second mauling in 2007. The second part of the book focuses on his hospital stay, his friends, his long convalescence, and his internal dialog during this period. Perhaps it is because I have personally experienced a long return from a near-fatal accident (with a car, not a bear) that I found this part of the book slow and a bit of a bummer.
It is relevant to say that while reading Blindsided I learned that Cole had died (quietly in his bed) on July 22 of this year.
I did learn some things about the grizzly bear. I am in even more awe of them after reading Blindsided. As stated in the title, Cole does not blame the bears for his attacks. In fact in both cases he pinpoints what he did wrong: not making enough noise and letting his guard down.
So here are some bear safety tips:
#1 When in bear country be aware of your surroundings. Bears kind of blend in to the scenery and spend a lot of time hunkered down.
#2 Make plenty of noise so you don’t surprise the bear Forget about enjoying the silence; make a racket. The bear doesn’t want to meet you and if he hears you coming he’ll yield the right-of-way.
#3 Have your bear spray handy. Handy, as in near your hands.
#4 Store your food safely. Bears are always hungry and they have super sniffers. Cole comments that being lax with his food storage was one of the unnecessary risks that may have led to Timothy Treadwell’s death.
I also learned that there are numerous ways the a national park can kill you. Most of these ways have nothing to do with bears. Most people die in parks of causes not related specifically to the park but from health-related causes (such as diabetes and heart-attack) and automobile accidents. These are the ways in which Yellowstone National Park can kill you (listed in order of liklihood):
#3 Falling into Geothermal Features
#5 Lightning Strikes
#6 Falling Trees
#8 Consumption of Poison Water Hemlock
#9 Bear or Bison
In the period discussed in this list I think that bear and bison tied at 2 fatalities each. Bear actually have a higher kill to attack ratio. Bison are by far involved in more tourist encounters. Here are my thoughts on that.
Bison stand out in the open where they can graze. Bears spend more time in the woods and bushes. If possible bears will flee human confrontation and will hide to escape detection. “Hey! Look at that bison!”
People are taught that the grizzly bear is a remorseless killing machine. Likewise we are told that the American bison is an endangered species that was hunted to the point of extinction by the white man. Therefore people have warm, fuzzy, guilty feelings about the bison. “We’re looking at a remnant of the American West. We should really get a picture of this.”
Bison graze at a leisurely pace and, frankly, don’t look very smart or devious. At first glance they look like lumbering nincompoops. “Let me get just a little bit closer. I want to get his horns in the picture. ” Now, hold that thought.
Another thing people don’t understand is that the bison, like the grizzly bear, tops out at a blistering 35 m.p.h. They also have a pretty impressive launch speed. “Let me just adjust this shutter speed and…” BOOM!
There are a lot of things called bison attacks on YouTube. Most of them are pretty lame. Here is one that truly is a bison (non-fatally) attacking a human. This woman also got her ass kicked. Maybe it’s because I grew up on a farm and have a passing familiarity of ungulates that I understand that snorting and pawing the ground are warning signals. I thought that was something hard-wired into people since the days of the caveman. After watching this guy, I guess maybe not.
OK. Back to the book. In summation, this is not a book that I’d particularly recommend. It focuses primarily on Cole’s life and specifically his convalescence after his second mauling. These things were not that interesting to me. I did, however, learn some things. I learned a little about bears and a lot about bison. If I’m ever stranded in Yellowstone, I will be really glad I invested the time to read Blindsided.
Per usual, I will close this post with a funny picture I found on the Internets.
15 Sep 2010 5 Comments
(I have considered discontinuing Donkey Wednesday. Frankly it is difficult to locate a new donkey story or hatch a new donkey thought every week. Actually, it’s interesting that a cursory search of Intetnet news usually does yield some ass-related tidbit. This fact coupled with the fact that donkeys just make me happy have caused the donkeys to make the move over to WordPress.)
A donkey named Poppy saved a goat named Buttermilk from a mountain lion whose name is being with withheld for legal reasons. The story appeared yesterday but the attack actually occurred about 5 weeks ago in Paradise, California.
Art Colyer, the animals’ owner, was awakened one night by a terrible ruckus in the barnyard. He discovered a mountain lion had Buttermilk the goat by the face. Here’s how he relates the subsequent events:
“All of the sudden Poppy, the donkey, came running out of the periphery into the spotlight and she was just braying with just amazing intensity right in the face of the face of this mountain lion,” he said. “Her next move was to just start stomping on him. She started just running around a whooping it up and hitting him with everything she had. It was amazing how she just laid into him.”
This reminds me of that great scene from Brighty Of The Grand Canyon where Brighty has to fight the mountain lion. But this was in REAL LIFE. Poppy is one bad-ass frickin’ donkey!
Anyway, Buttermilk has recovered nicely and she and Poppy are now very close friends. You can watch the news report and read more about it here.
In closing, I’d like to show you a well-known internet picture of which this story reminds me.
14 Sep 2010 6 Comments
Here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know about me: I have a psychiatrist AND a psychotherapist. Yep. I’m a big-time mess.
I have dealt with depression all my adult life. It runs deep in my family. If you look me up in DSM-V I am 296.32 Major Depressive Disorder Recurrent. It’s kind of reassuring to know that my problem can be categorized and given a numeric code. It’s much less nebulous than “feel like shit all the time.”
I’ve been on Prozac for about 27 years and on Wellbutrin for 8 years. My symptoms have been getting out of hand so I”ve lately been seeing a psychiatrist to help adjust my medication levels. It only took him about 45 minutes to suggest that I see a therapist as well, to help with my “cognitive issues.” I guess I should’t be smiling so big as I type this, but the very idea of having cognitive issues kind of cracks me up.
So today is therapy day and I have very mixed feelings about it. One the one hand, if it helps I am all for it. On the other hand, I dread mucking around in all the unpleasantness that I have rather successfully suppressed.
Among the things that I will be discussing today is, yes, loosing my Vox family. I’ve decided that I am not ashamed that the internets are part of my non-professional support network. I think that it is only normal to feel a little panicky about such a big part of my internet interaction is being snuffed out.
I know that the internet does not love me.
But the internet, like Soylent Green, is people. And I’ve gotten to love some of you people quite a bit.
08 Sep 2010 6 Comments
First, a donkey story from the Jamaica Gleaner.
Second. Hey, SixApart! Cee-Lo and I have a message for you:
Lately I've been thinking that maybe I'm over the internet. I rarely feel the need to create a real blog post– with sentences and thoughts and stuff. Even Tumblr (which is more like hitting ping pong balls at the internet and seeing if anybody hits one back) has lost a bit of its luster. I have been passing through a long valley of depression and I think that may be part of it, too. I had even started a post about how I've reached the end of the internet and had nothing more to contribute.
Even though I was ready to pull the plug on myself, I do not feel like being euthanized by SixApart. I do not go gentle into that good night.
Until I decide where I shall go I have staked out my moniker on all the free sites. Please friend me up.
I'm really rather flummoxed. Where to move my stuff? Where to post things? What about my hundreds of music files? And what about the donkeys???
I just don't know.
My input to Vox has dwindled to nothing lately but I have still enjoyed dropping by the neighborhood page and catching up on you guys and your hijinx. I hope to see you all around the nets.
Here's some new B&S.
03 Sep 2010 1 Comment
I guess I DO have to live like a refugee. So here I am.
and, I don’t know, probably some other places…
There are a couple of other people out there on the webz who use the name sixbucks (or six bucks). But generally if you find a sixbucks who is NOT blogging about adorable children or elves that is probably me.
((((A BIG INTERNET HUG TO ALL MY VOX PEEPS))