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Spontaneous Parthenogenesis

Yesterday I went on a hike on the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee, and, after much huffing and puffing up the mountain, came across some wild blueberries. Having failed to bring food or water, I availed myself of nature's bounty. One does not need to pack supplies when one can survive on forage. I briefly considered building a lean-to, or perhaps digging some kind of trap to bag some wild game, so that my repast would have a meat entree.

Picking the blueberries I flashed back to the summer after my senior year in high school, when I went hitchhiking all across the South and camped in the Smokies in an attempt to eradicate a silly fear a bears and take the full measure of myself as a man. Meet the creatures in their element, was my rationale. Stare them down. I wound up spending a sleepless night on a ridgeline, storm buffeting the hapless $30 Sears pup tent, every random sound perceived as the pawfall of a ravenous beast. I am still afraid of bears. But I found great blueberries then, and yesterday I was thrilled to find them still thriving at elevation.

The blueberries were diminutive but succulent. More importantly, they were symbols of righteous living. Blueberries are a Superfood and as I ate them I could feel myself strengthening. Indeed I could sense my cells dividing. All systems go, from major organs down to the capillaries. But suddenly I had to stop, as I realized that I was on the verge of spontaneous parthenogenesis.

I was about to divide like a bacterium.

You've read about in the papers -- the down side to the fitness craze. One of the reasons there are too many people on the planet is that the really healthy ones split in two. This is the kind of thing that I didn't know in my callow youth. The kind of thing you only can learn through years of tramping around the planet and getting in various scrapes and misadventures.

I didn't want to divide, because I didn't want the company, or any arguments in the car over which CDs to play on the long drive home. As I backed away from the blueberries I realized I've turned into something of a loner.

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 19, 2006; 8:15 AM ET
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I think those were magic mushrooms, not blueberries. That whole "I'm one with the universe and about to do biologically impossible things" feeling cannot be explained by excessive antioxidants.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 19, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Too clever! Yes blueberries are a sueprfood. I used to eat many muffins so fortified. I never split in two, but a few of my pants did.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 19, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Pacific Huckleberries rule. We used to pick scads as kids and my mom would stick them in the freezer. On rare occasions they would actually make it a compete fortnight before mysteriously disappearing.

We blamed maurading bears.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 19, 2006 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Sure you weren't, like, smoking those blueberries, Boss?

Posted by: CowTown | June 19, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

SCC: superfood and complete. I guess I need to eat more blueberries. Or maybe less.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 19, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

No, actually, June berries rule. To the unititiated that would be a Saskatoon, or a Western red service berry, but only heathens call them that or people who did not come from Cudworth Saskatchewan Canada. For some unknown reason, we called em' June berries. Nothing beats that pie, well except for maybe the blueberry pie I made with the local teeny blueberries. Ok Joel, you are correct. Blueberries rule.

When you eat too many berries of any kind, its safer if you think of it as a cleansing.

Posted by: dr | June 19, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I have never met a bear in the wild. Maybe it's due to my failure to employ proper picanic baskets. Maybe it's due to reading Blueberries for Sal when I was young, and inadertently memorizing its subliminal bear-safety warning messages. Most likely, it's the whole "threatened species/habitat reduction" thing.

I'm proud, however, that I maintained bladder integrity when I discovered puma tracks behind my hotel in Dooley's town, Martinsville, VA. Possible devourment by giant grouchy puddy-tats is not normally a part of the daily grind in astronomy.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 19, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I dream of cherry pies,
candy bars and chocolate chip cookies.

We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries.

This was a discount store
Now it's turned in to a cornfield.

Don't leave me standing here
I can't get used to this lifestyle.

Talking Heads, "(Nothing But) Flowers"

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 19, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

If you really want to see a bear, it can be sort of difficult. Those in northeast Florida and the Okefenokee Swamp are exquisitely shy. Yellowstone-area bears seem kinda shy, too. And no, I never encountered one in the blueberry woods on the ridges near the Penn State campus. A low-budget undergrad could get significant nourishment out of those berries. Not to mention that the campus seemed a little bit more like Princeton and a bit less like a monster state university in the summer.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 19, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"Huffing and puffing.." Ah, that explains it--hyperventilation at altitude. Maybe Joel just thought they were blueberries.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 19, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

SofC, I will grant you a gift, but its a gift with no strings at all!

Rock Lake. Northwest of Hinton on highway 40, on the boundary of Jasper, and Willmore Wilderness.

Nani asked about moose. No moose but this is the territory of elk. they winter in the valley and birth their babies here. On Friday night, just across the river (the WildHay River) we could hear and see the mothers and calves feeding and calling back and forth to one another. My husband who has had a thing for elk all his life has never heard elk calves call back like that before.

On occasion when we go up there certain lakeshore paths are closed due to bears, and some years, there have been signs to watch for cougar down in the valley. This year all we saw was elk sign.

Though my husband has gone to the top of several lakeside meadows, he's not gone north into Willmore, but one day he will.

If you are into back packing,

this slideshow is so worth the time.

Posted by: dr | June 19, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Wanna see bears? Just camp in the Merced River campground in Yosemite National Park. Cook dinner a little after dusk, and wait. Foolish tourists leave food out all the time, attracting bears who have become nearly tame (like every other "wild" animal in the Yosemite area) and think nothing of wandering in from the river to check out the food.

Posted by: CowTown | June 19, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Or try Vancouver Island in salmon season. The bears, black ones anyway, are everywhere.

I generally like to avoid meat eating wild animals. I think to a bear I'd look a lot like the sickly and old kind of prey who is just ripe for culling from the herd.

Posted by: dr | June 19, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

In Alberta we typically have a few serious bear encounters, and sometimes a death, every year in the mountains.

My one and only bear encounter while backpacking was not-coincidentally the last time I decided to go alone anyway when a friend couldn't make it. I was only about 1 km into a trail, and still in the forest, when I came around a bend in the trail. A black bear was about 50m ahead, and took off sideways into the forest once I turned the bend. I probably could have proceeded, but discretion is also the better part of valor.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 19, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I have never seen a bear in the wild. Not that I was looking too hard. On my bicylce rid at dusk yesterday evening I did see four hedgehogs and 11 rabbits at evening silflay.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 19, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

What a kit! Exercise, nature's bounty, nature red in tooth and claw, and natural division. I particularly like the thought of spontaneous parthenogensis. Does this mean that if I lose that 20 pounds there'll be two of me to go to work, sing, cook, do chores, parent the boy, attend meetings etc.? And if I attain true health and fitness, will there be four of me? I suppose the downside is I might turn out like Homer Simpson, with each clone just a little more off than the next.

I never met a bear in person but one visited the camp next to ours in Colorado when I was young. That was a REALLY big tooth mark in the stick of butter. If I hiked where there were bears, I'd be making propitiatory blueberry sacrifices to the bear gods.

I missed some great stuff away from the Boodle this weekend. Mudge, your Little League post brought tears to my eyes. Also, I have a cream tomato gravy recipe (lots of thyme) for use over okra. Very tasty, and easy too.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 19, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

That slideshow is definately worth it, Thank you.

I have seen bears a couple of times once in Ontario (with cubs) and once on the way from Jasper. Both times I was in a car and both times the bears were along the road. We did not stop close to the bears but others did, in Alberta one car stopped quite close (it was a large bear) a few minutes later we saw the park rangers rushing down the highway. Also saw a moose in a marsh on the same trip from Jasper, that we stopped for, amazing creatures.

Posted by: dmd | June 19, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

My latest "brush" with wildlife was this morning, when I spied a dead fox on the Beltway exit I take to work.

The exit ramp is wedged between an office park and a huge shopping mall. Not really what think of as fox country.

Posted by: TBG | June 19, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

We have many foxes around here I use to see them when I was waiting for a commuter train, doesn't seem like urban or suburban life bothers them too much. The red foxes around here are really beautiful.

Posted by: dmd | June 19, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

My husband is a mountain person, and one of his favorite activities is to ride the back country roads - the unpaved ones. Last fall while we were on vacation, we started down one and came across a bear hunt. We passed a couple of guys looking over the ridge, then went around a curve and saw several pickups about a hundred yards ahead. Discretion being the better part of valor, as SonofCarl notes, we stopped. Suddenly, a black bear exploded out of the woods on our left and streaked across the road in a dead run, followed by a pack of barking dogs. We only saw him for an instant. A hunter shot twice but missed.

One of the hunters came up to talk to us. He said that the hunt club generally goes out to exercise the dogs and never shoots a bear unless it's a male over 250 pounds. Often, they will tree a bear and then call the dogs off. This particular club had taken a little girl who was terminally ill to Wisconsin on a bear hunt because that was a wish she had.

These guys were good ole mountain boys out for exercise on a pleasant fall day. We wished them well and moved on, so that we wouldn't spoil their fun.

Posted by: slyness | June 19, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

TBG: Any more, wildlife can show up most anywhere around here. I live in deepest suburbia not far from Wheaton and Silver Spring. I've watched deer munch on the neighbor's flowers, seen fox and rabbit, had racoons in my attic (NOT a good thing; but not quite as bad as the next-door neighbor who has had the 'coons come in the house through the cat flap door), had a small deer herd in my back yard (which is in the middle of a block of houses). Probably no bear in our part of Montgomery County, but they've been seen up in Gaithersburg on the NIST site.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 19, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Reference books when I was growing up always said mountain lions (pumas) were extinct in Virginia, be we would here them all the time visiting relatives in the Pulaski County mountains (like I've said, we were REAL country), and collecting fossils in Botetourt and Craig Counties. Never saw one in the wild, though. All I've seen around Martinsville are mobs of rampaging deer, groundhogs, squirrels, and raccoons, all in somewhat lower numbers since we got the dogs.

I've only had a 2-second glimpse of a wild black bear at Glacier NP. My dad, however, hunting squirrels as a teenager, came across bear tracks and decided to track it. He spent several hours following it all over the mountain, when two revelations caused him to go back to his car and leave. First, he remembered that he only had birdshot in the shotgun--just enough to make a bear really made if you hit it square in the face. Second, he realized that in two hours he had circled back, and that the bear was tracking him.

Posted by: Dooley | June 19, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Not going into bear country without a dog, thank you. Once up north, my dog barked and growled at something across the street at night which I couldn't see.

Then he stopped cold and started nudging me and hinting that we should go back inside. Not that anything's not cool, but yeah, time to go now, nothing to see, folks, eh?

I am convinced to this day that something very large growled back.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 19, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Lyle Lovett wrote a song called "Bears":

Some folks say there ain't no bears in Arkansas
Some folks never seen a bear at all
Some folks say that bears go around eating babies raw
Some folks got a bear across the hall

Some folks say that bears go around smelling bad
Others say that a bear is honey sweet
Some folks say this bear's the best I ever had
Some folks got a bear beneath their feet

Some folks drive the bears out of the wilderness
Some to see a bear would pay a fee
Me I just bear up to bewildered best
And some folks even see the bear in me

So meet a bear and take him out to lunch with you
And even though your friends may stop and stare
Just remember that's a bear there in the bunch with you
And they just don't come no better than a bear

Posted by: pj | June 19, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Blueberries tend to disappoint me. Maybe I've just never had a good one. They are always very watery.

Speaking of water (sort of), I was getting off a freeway exit the other day and noticed that since they did up all the overpasses for the Olympics (rock gardens resembling the mountainous landscape, etc...) all the overpasses are the color of sandstone. When I noticed that, I got thirsty. So I thought of this place because of my thirst=Steinbeck thing that everyone here seems to remember. Then I thought, "Well, I'll have to tell them that sandstone or the color of sandstone does the same thing to me." Maybe I should just keep a supply of watery blueberries on hand and all my problems would be solved.

Posted by: Sara | June 19, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, it is not "silly" to be afraid of bears. It IS silly to be afraid of cockroaches or garden snakes. But bears can kill you. I also don't think it's silly to be afraid of heights, in the sense of standing on the edge of high cliffs. What's really stupid is to be UNafraid of bears, like that guy in the Grizzly Man movie (may he rest in peace).

Posted by: kbertocci | June 19, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

dr, the slideshow is gorgeous! Were those your photos and campsite?

Mudge, I too loved your Little League post. My daughter and SIL are loyal concession parents at the g-girls' softball games. Sometimes I substitute so one of them can actually sit down and watch the games. They have a charcoal grill going so the hamburgers and hot dogs are pretty tasty and business is brisk. My 'mater gravy recipe from my Aunt Dora is good over cornbread and grits. Hmmm, maybe next season we could add that to the concession menu.

Posted by: Nani | June 19, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Lots of bears in Shenandoah National Park (the dump near Big Meadows campground was a prime site) and in Smokey Mountain National Park. You see them roaming through the campgrounds now and them. In the Smokies some of our fellow campers were taking flash pictures of the bears as they would investigate and occasionally knock over coolers. The bears never attacked the fools with the cameras. Smart bears, I guess.

Posted by: pj | June 19, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

OK, stole this off Bear Eats Oatmeal in Woman's Kitchen

Posted by: ebtnut | June 19, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse


Eat blueberries while reading Steinbeck and maybe the dryness will balance out.

Posted by: pj | June 19, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Some years back I had a test at Fayettville (?) State University which is located near Fort Bragg, NC, and the radio announcer said that a bear had been seen near the school. He was telling folks to be on the look out for this bear. I left my home at five o'clock in the morning because I had to be at the school by seven or perhaps earlier, still dark. I didn't see the bear, and did not want to see the bear, but was so nervous hearing that news. I walk to the lake in the mornings, and I was sitting on the concrete adjacent to the fall, and out of the water comes this big creature, and I'm thinking that awful big to be a rat, but then I saw the tail and it was a huge beaver. He got out the water, walked up the path, and slid in the water from the front side. And paid me not one bit of attention. We have foxes galore around here, and snakes, the poisonous kind. My dad says there are water moccasins in the Pee Dee River that are drawing Social Security retirement checks, they've been there so long.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 19, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Red foxes lounge with impunity on the golf course at Haines Point, in DC. I'm sure there's a delightful smorgasboard of vermin down there by the river, but except for their tails, the foxes still look a little skinny.

No bear sightings in DC, except for our dear pandas, who happen to be on the cover of the new National Geographic this month.

Posted by: Pixel | June 19, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Them were strong blueberries indeed. The blueberry bushes were living symbiotically with some type of Psilocybe fungi maybe ?
Black bears love blueberries. It shows as a major part of their (rather liquid...) stools in season. You'll sometimes find those blueberry pizza in the blueberry patch.

I never shared a blueberry patch with a bear but a mother bear with a pair of cubs in tow once joined us while we were picking raspberries on the roadside. We kept a respectlful distance from the big mama. This bear was doing an impressive job of picking the raspberries with its very mobile lips.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 19, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Sara, I'm concerned about your watery blueberries. Blueberries should not be watery. They should be compact and bursting with flavor and all kinds of healthy goodness. Are they supermarket blueberries, designed to withstand long trips and storage? If you can find a pick-your-own farm, or even a farmer's market stand where someone else has done the picking but the fruit is local, you may have a better experience.

Feed the watery blueberries to the bears.

Posted by: ivansmom | June 19, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Sara, I love the way your head works! Sandstone=thirst=Steinbeck=boodle. Can't wait to see the wedding photos.

Posted by: Nani | June 19, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

pj, that's interesting--Shenandoah is where I took my version of the manhood hike (would that be personhood for me?), a solo backpack from Front Royal to Waynesboro, during Christmas break when I was 19. I thought since it was hibernation season I didn't need to consider the bear issue, but when I came off the trail near Waynesboro, the first people I came across, two kids waiting for the school bus, were emphatic about reporting that they had seen a bear the day before, and they thought I was foolish (or brave) to be hiking alone in the park. Anyway, I didn't see any bears and I'm not particularly afraid of them. I'm more afraid of hunters and sociopaths. (and especially sociopathic hunters) But I didn't see any of those either.

Posted by: kbertocci | June 19, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

dr, great link with photos. I thought the photographer's name was familiar, he is also a prof at U of A.

sara (and others), you might be interested in the slideshow of Canyonlands National Park linked from below (link at bottom of page):

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 19, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Since I missed the 'puter Kit and Kaboodle I want to post here.

This past year my computer (HP Pavilion piece of...) has been acting up (it's about 7 1/2). IE would complain of performing an illegal function and close, running low on memory when I was only logged onto the Post etc. This started happening more and more frequently this month till I finally said enough and decided to do a restore. Well, that only made it worse. So I ran Scadisk, which said everything is OK. but it wasn't. So I did a restore with hard drive format. It got worse again. Sometimes it just crashes whatever software I'm running for no apparent reason...

So does anyone here on the boodle have experience with the MiniMac. I can't seem to figure out how to compare this to a regular iMac.

Posted by: omni | June 19, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Seen a few bears in my time, and my wife and her friends went camping with what turned out to be dozens of black bears feasting on wild blueberries in the Delaware Water Gap a few years ago.

Black bears in general don't frighten me, but I do have one scary encounter worth telling. I was hiking with a friend along the Oregon coast (Cape Falcon in Oswald West State Park, a truly beautiful spot). We heard some scrabbling sounds as we came around a bend, and saw two black bear cubs being nudged up a tree by their mother, who was looking at us while nudging. We didn't change direction (we were at our closest when we saw them, so the path took us away from them), did not look back, and just continued to talk in low, calm voices about how we'd have no interest in disturbing any nice bears...

I've seen grizzlies in Alberta and BC, but never up close and personal, thankfully. Closest was from a boat on Vancouver Island, with the bear eating berries in a field. There we felt safe in going relatively close. Saw another one across a large field while backpacking. The bear was preoccupied, but we weren't pleased to be in visual range. Looked like a young adult male, which I suspect are the most dangerous of any species.

Other than the grizzlies, I think backpacking in the Canadian Rockies is just about as good as it gets.

Posted by: silvertongue | June 19, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse


That was my exact sequence of thought. I realized the unique achencommunity quality of it and just knew I had to share.

We got half of the wedding photos back yesterday, we'll get the other half today (two photographers, one was out of town yesterday). I'll make an album online somewhere so people who wish to see them will have easy access. We have all the prints though--we couldn't be happier with them.

Posted by: Sara | June 19, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Not mine no. A photographer of some note took the photos etc.

I am more wimpy than any of that. I manage with the no electricity and drop toilets, but without my van? Not happening. We have a little van conversion which takes us pretty much where we want to go. We always used to tent, but ever since the great Rock Lake Hail Fest, we wussified right nice, and now camp with a furnace and a place where we have the hope of getting dry.

My husband took some really nice photos early Sunday morning. If I ever figure out how to get my pictures where you can see them I will post some.

Posted by: dr | June 19, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

You haven't lived until you've had wild boars rooting around at night in the soft mud just inches beyond the side of your canvas tent.

(Julia Pfeiffer Burns state park, Big Sur)

Posted by: Loomis | June 19, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the link. I've never been to Canyonlands, but it looks gorgeous. May have to go sometime. I'm sure there's camping I could take advantage of.

There's a wildflower photo under the Canadian Rockies link that looks like Cousin It from the Addams Family. I got a kick out of that.

Posted by: Sara | June 19, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Refrigerator pie to die for:

Blueberries: enough for the pie crust
Graham cracker crust (just buy it)
1 can Eagle brand condensed milk
1 package cream cheese
zest of a lemon, minced
juice of that lemon
1/2 oz Jack Daniels, no more.
Or tsp vanilla if you must. Or both.

Cream the stuff except for blueberries, then mix 'em in, then pour into piecrust, cover, and refrigerate for 36 hours minimum. The blue juice should permeate the filling outside of the blueberry skins.

Posted by: Jumper | June 19, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

If only there were two of me right now. One would be doing all the everyday things like working, reading this blog, keeping up with current events, and putting up with the he11ish commute my move has necessitated. The other me would be home, stripping wallpaper, painting, designing my new kitchen, seeing more of my children and granddaughters (which was the prime reason for the move), and generally getting truly settled into the new place.

But alas, being merely one person has turned me into a No-Doz popping, sleep deprived, multi-tasker who hasn't strung together two days of eating properly in the last month. The up-side of this is the loss of a few pounds but the down-side is that my days go by in a blur of activity and self-imposed frustration. I keep telling myself to slow down, it will all get done eventually, but I never listen to myself!

We used to day hike a lot, and will again once this house-related stuff is over. Finding blueberries along the trail was one of the simple joys of the trek. Never found enough of them to gorge on, plus, it's nice to leave some for the next hiker. Don't have any bear experiences, but we have seen coyotes in our new backyard and last Saturday we saw a coyote pup. I know the "they're more afraid of you..." thing, but I am a bit nervous about having them so close. I'm sure I'll get used to them after a bit, my neighbors don't appear to have any scars or missing/mangled limbs.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | June 19, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info on Mr. Rasmussen, SofC. I thought he was one and the same, but I hate to assume. I've seen his photos all over the place and did not realize he was local and with the UofA. A very talented man.

Posted by: dr | June 19, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

jumper, 8 oz pkg of cream cheese?

Posted by: newkid | June 19, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

On the Rasmussen link, take a look at the Milk River part of his site too. We spent several weeks there over the years when we lived in Southern Alberta. A very interesting place.

A lot of Albertans don't know places like these exist. People are more likely to go to Mexico or Florida or Hawaii, and in summer they just go to the nearest lake. Its a shame what they miss on our own doorstep.

Posted by: dr | June 19, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting ruling by the Supremes, perhaps more evidence that this should be called the Kennedy Court:

Posted by: Achenbach | June 19, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

To sleep under the stars in the redwoods and to have a skunk run across all four sleeping bags--Mom, you, sis, Dad.

(Prairie Creek Redwoods state park)

I remember it well, the summer before my freshman year of high school. That particular night had been a Dinty Moore evening. We were happy and relaxed by the hike from the campground through several miles of redwoods and ferns to see and photograph the primordal Fern Canyon--only then to trudge back from the canyon and beach to our primitive accommodations.

We, now bone-tired from the round trip, gladly pulled out the can opener to pop the contents into a pan and warm it up on the Coleman stove. How we dived into the steaming beef stew, mopping up the gravy with buttered pieces of whole wheat bread. A late dinner by all accounts for our family, we left the dishes to soak, turned off the old Coleman lantern for the evening, and crawled into our sleeping bags on top of the large sheet of clear plastic my father had laid on the forest floor.

In the black of the night, under the redwoods' heavy boughs, my mother's emitted a sudden and loud shriek. Then each of us felt, in turn, the jumping and scampering of little feet across our shoulders and chests. Luckily we four were dry--unsprayed, but left with just the lingering odiferous smell of oh!-de-skunk.

Posted by: Loomis | June 19, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if I can borrow someone's webspace I'll forward some pictures assuming this next trip goes ahead.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 19, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Not to dis Alberta, but Kauai's high-elevation Alakai Swamp is worth the airfare to the island. Red birds sitting on red Ohia lehua flowers. It must be cryptic coloration.

Regrettably, I haven't been much north of Wyoming. Still amazes me that there's so much, so far north. The Beartooths, after all, seem vaguely arctic.

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | June 19, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Found this too late to be on-topic with the computer boodle, but had to share...

If MS redesigned the iPod...

Posted by: GyppedOne | June 19, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

>So does anyone here on the boodle have experience with the MiniMac. I can't seem to figure out how to compare this to a regular iMac.

omni, I have one of the new Intel-flavor Mac Minis and I like it lots. It's about 1/8 the size of a regular Mac desktop and it's pretty fast - burning DVDs is about twice as fast as my old G4 PowerBook. I have the DVI output going into my HD monitor at 1920x1200 and the remote will let you bring up movies (bought from iTunes or recorded via Firewire into Quicktime), slideshows, iTunes music, etc.

The full Mac desktop (current flavor G5) is not out in Intel flavor yet, possibly August/Sept. for that. I'll probably be first in line beause I need the extended video for my editing stuff, but otherwise the mini is plenty. Main difference between them is the video cards, memory capacity (the G5 desktops could take like 16G or something, the mini is limited to 1G I think.) The Mini's video is fixed and won't run some of the high-end software like Final Cut Pro HD. It also doesn't have Firewire 800, it does have regular Firewire . (a.k.a. "i.Link", "IEEE1394", etc.)

The included software is great, and the Intel flavor ran my old PowerPC software (Dreamweaver, Flash) without a hitch. That was a pleasant surprise.

Plus as a geek I like the fact that I can open up a terminal window and have a Berkely Unix box to play with if I want.

It does take some getting used to thing in different places (Control Panel stuff) but the Help is generally good. The change in the OS and overall better price points did it for me, and I'm much less paranoid about security issues as I was uder Windows. Not that you don't still have to watch out, but it's like an order of magnitude better.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 19, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Such beautiful descriptions of the Appalachians and points north. I have mainly hiked in southwestern Colorado and in New Mexico, where there are still wonderful peaceful spots to be found (even with a small boy, which pretty much in itself destroys the illusion of quiet). No bears on those trips, but lots of rodent-type animals and reptiles. We're fond of reptiles, so pay more attention to them. I have deer, possums, skunks etc., at home, but still feel awed by the beauty of deer wherever I see them. Possums and skunks, not so much. When a deer crosses my path, or road, or field, I remember Hiawatha's first hunt (and also Native American stories where the hunter prays and respects the deer before the hunt begins and at its conclusion).

I feel obliged to mention that southeastern Oklahoma has lakes and hills with good fishing and hiking. Blueberries grow there too, along with formerly fighting cocks (rooster stew, anyone?)

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 19, 2006 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Omni, I have a Mac Mini. The mini is just a little 6.5" x 6.5" block and comes with a keyboard and mouse. Use your old monitor or buy a new one.

The iMac is fully integrated into the monitor. I already had a very nice Apple monitor so bought the mini. My husband has the iMac 20" dual core Intel. It's sweet.

Posted by: Pixel | June 19, 2006 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Having failed to bring food or water, I availed myself of nature's bounty. One does not need to pack supplies when one can survive on forage....

in an attempt to eradicate a silly fear a bears and take the full measure of myself as a man.

I would just bring up the point that going for a hike, even a day hike, without food and water (and I'm sure a compass or first aid) is how quite a few people here in Colorado end up dead each year. I'd guess that there are at least 1/2 a dozen people in the same circumstances each year who think they're just going for a little walk on trails, that are probably just as well-marked as the AT, and are never seen alive again. And this often includes some experienced hikers. Now I'd suspect that you don't have all the same dangers on the AT that you have in the mountains of CO, but there are probably a host that are similar. I would implore the boodler-in-chief to not be quite so cavalier the next time.

And as far as bears go, you're much, much more likely to die in a car accident driving to a single hike than you are getting killed (or even "just" injured) by a bear over the course of a lifetime. Proving again that people (generally) don't understand probabilities very well.

Posted by: Awal | June 19, 2006 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow, if it keeps raining here in Northern Virginia more than just blueberries are gonna get watery. I think I see some of the native wildlife standing around nervously in pairs looking for an ark.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 19, 2006 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Superfoods, RD, there were a couple of requests in your absence for an update on Mr. Stripey.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 19, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, just wanted to let you know on the dad boodle, your story about little league was priceless. I teared up, and it was a darn good thing no one was here to see it.

You can count yourself among the men and women you wrote about.

Posted by: dr | June 19, 2006 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Sonof Carl

Mr. Stripey is succesfully negotiating the traumas of adolescence. He is kinda gangly, but we don't like to point that out. He is sprouting his first blossoms, but is doing so tentatively. We worry about delayed post-traumatic stress syndrome. Yet we are optimistic he will become a fully actualized plant soon and can be a productive member of society. By which I mean BLTs.

I just hope all this rain doesn't upset him. He is quite sensitive to his electrolytic balance you know.

BB on the other hand, already has a few green fruit. Such a show-off.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 19, 2006 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I finally took the time to go to the Fern Canyon pictures Linda posted. wow. I can just smell the green when I look at them. I'd love to be there when its misty.

I am convinced that no matter what other places we travel on this earth, we should not forget the beautiful places just out the back door. Whether you live in the middle of the city, or the back of the wild blue yonder, there is always something new and beautiful to see.

Posted by: dr | June 19, 2006 7:02 PM | Report abuse

dr - What you say is so true. Some time ago I visited the most beautiful spot I have ever seen: the Golden Gate bridge on a spring day. It was the kind of spot where you want to die. Unfortunately, it is my understanding that some people choose to do just that.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 19, 2006 7:07 PM | Report abuse

RD, I happened to have a copy of the DSM IV on my desk when you mentioned PTSD, so I looked at the diagnostic criteria. I note that certain specifiers can be used to particularize onset and duration of the symptoms of PTSD. An acute case is defined when the duration is less than 3 months. Chronic cases are defined when symptoms last more than 3 months. the specifier With Delayed Onset is warranted when at least six months have passed since the traumatic event.

Of course, application of the specifiers may be problematic in this circumstance as Mr. Stripey will be, as you note, a BLT before an accurate indication of such specifiers can be made.

Our BB is a bit of a show off as well. Don't even get me started on Early Girl.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 19, 2006 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Last week's New Yorker has a cartoon set in the Deep Woods. A bedraggled couple, twigs in their hair, backpacks looking a bit rumpled, have arrived at a little Information booth, staffed by a squirrel. "Boy, are we glad to see you." Cartoon by Jason Patterson.

I've never become seriously lost (apart from a couple of incidences of having some trouble finding a spot on an aerial photo). But people get waylaid, or seem to waylay themselves, all the time. Years ago, Audubon magazine writer Ted Williams looked into deer hunting in Michigan. Big ritual for the urban guys, but they were ill at ease and kind of hapless in the woods. Not good.

Now back to taming the jungle. We had 2 inches of rain over the weekend. The grass is going bonkers. I'd like it if the heliconias do likewise.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 19, 2006 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of grass, if only I could harvest the clippings and produce my own biomass ethanol. For the car, of course.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 19, 2006 7:24 PM | Report abuse

reposting cuz SoC noticed i was two boodles behind:

i'm baaaaaaaaaaaackkkkkkkkkk!! panama was WONDERBAR!!! sorry i missed the "rove storm" (hah! not!)

i didn't have a father so i gave mom a hearty happy father's day (she played the double role)...

'mudge - 'tis ok that the Nats beat my yanks - congrats to them! i'm a die hard fan so i'm with them rain or shine...

trying to catch up on the boodles - i'll also have a panama write-up soon... so much to do!

MISSED YOU GUYS! (happy belated bday cass!)

Posted by: mo | June 19, 2006 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey, welcome back mo!

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 19, 2006 7:56 PM | Report abuse


You hiked from Front Royal to Waynesboro? That's impressive! You covered the entire Shenandoah Park and then some. How long did it take you? And how did you feel after it was over?

Posted by: pj | June 19, 2006 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe someone already posted the link about the oatmeal-eating bear. We've had all kinds of black bears turning up where they shouldn't be, including in the heavily populated U District.

And there's this from NJ:
WEST MILFORD, N.J. -- A black bear picked the wrong yard for a jaunt, running into a territorial tabby who ran the furry beast up a tree -- twice.

Jack, a 15-pound orange-and-white cat, keeps a close vigil on his property, often chasing small animals, but his owners and neighbors say his latest escapade was surprising.

"We used to joke, 'Jack's on duty,' never knowing he'd go after a bear," owner Donna Dickey told The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.

Here's the link to the whole article - never sure if it will work without an account -

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 19, 2006 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Sara, welcome back! You're not the only one that uses boodle logic.

You must be getting bad blueberries. I have several small bushes in my garden. The one that does the best is a variety called Patriot (take that, Hugh Hewitt!) which I'm growing in a pot. It has a few berries ripening now. I love huckleberries too. Have a bush in my yard, but the berries don't taste good - maybe it's an ornamental variety. The huckleberries in Montana are heavenly.

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 19, 2006 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait to hear about your trip. I had no idea you went to Panama - how wonderful.

And you know who's birthday is coming soon, right?

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 19, 2006 8:41 PM | Report abuse

SCC - whose


Posted by: mostlylurking | June 19, 2006 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Pictures, mo and Sara! We're waiting for pictures!

Posted by: Slyness | June 19, 2006 8:43 PM | Report abuse


You can email me at boodler[at] and I'll be happy to post your pictures.

That link to If Microsoft Re-designed the iPod Box is great!

Posted by: TBG | June 19, 2006 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Blueberries??? Those were poisonberries!

Posted by: Huntsman | June 19, 2006 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Joel, this kit is perfect timing. I am heading out tomorrow for two weeks of backpacking in upstate New York, the Adirondecks. Carry-in, carry out. We are going to be roughing it (we get tents, but no cabins, no bathrooms). We also get to go rock-climbing and high ropes course stuff. All in all, should be a pretty great time (scary bear stories notwithstanding).

mo: glad your trip went well.

Posted by: tangent | June 19, 2006 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Nani, ivansmom and dr--thanks. I've always been pretty good at making women laugh, and making women cry. Unfortunately, I've never had the knack of getting them to hurry up and chug that second and third glass of wine and take their clothes off. Ya win some and lose some, I suppose.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 19, 2006 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Gosh darn it, will you people stop talking about rain! You're making me jealous, for one, and for another I'm afraid you'll scare it away. We had a couple of inches on Friday night, but that just means our fire danger today and tomorrow is "high" as opposed to Very High.

Padouk, is your Mr. Stripey cantankerous or needy? How do you cater to his whims? I have two Mr. Stripeys, and the plants themselves are disturbingly striped (not in a good way). The Early Girl, on the other hand, is buoyant. Radiant. Joyous. Blossom-free. The purple pepper is doing well too. I'm trying very hard not to kill Mr. Stripey and his friend Mr. Stripey. Any suggestions?

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 19, 2006 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Sitting here waiting through a public hearing on putting up a telecom monopole, wishing they had put me on the agenda first instead of last. Few things will activate a neighborhood more than the prospect of having one of those things go up nearby. Might be here till midnight!

Posted by: ebtnut | June 19, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm on my second glass of wine tonight but only because my in-laws have been here for a week. They are fine people and I love them dearly but that is a while for company. My clothes will be exchanged soon for sleeping clothes. Sorry. Having read many of your posts, I'm sure that were I in a position to be receptive, your charm would be effective. At least in writing.

Posted by: ivansmom | June 19, 2006 9:59 PM | Report abuse

>Sitting here waiting through a public hearing on putting up a telecom monopole

Hey ebtnut, at least you're doing real civic duty. Probably more than many pols do in a year, either side of the aisle.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 19, 2006 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Mudge = alpha male of da boodle!

Posted by: silvertongue | June 19, 2006 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Just discovered Jim Lehrer is interviewing Ben Bradlee on Maryland Public Television at this moment. Might be on your local PBS wherever youse are.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 19, 2006 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Alpha mule, most days, methinks.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 19, 2006 10:32 PM | Report abuse


Do not underestimate your moderating skills matey.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 19, 2006 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I thought Lonemule had secured the alpha mule spot. But with Ivansmom the latest boodlette(?) to fall for your written wiles, it's clear you can pick whatever critter you want.

Posted by: silvertongue | June 19, 2006 11:36 PM | Report abuse

This is weird. Just tried to post something about Ann Coulter and Immoveable Type ate it. Lemme try again in a minute.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 19, 2006 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey, gang, know how there are dumb blond jokes, and lawyer jokes, and Polish/Irish jokes, and "how many...screw in lightbulb" jokes to insult just about every sensibility? Well, we need a new category of stock joke format: the Ann Coulter Q&A joke. They go like this:

Q: Who was on the Grassy Knoll in Dallas and (i)really(i/) shot JFK?
Coulter: A liberal sniper.

Q: Who told the Nazis where Anne Frank was hiding?
Coulter: Liberals.

Q: Who wear Birkenstocks and practice ritual child murder?
Coulter: Liberals.

Q: Which disciple betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, thereby becoming the most hated figure in all of Christianity?
Coulter: Hillary Iscariot.

See? These and many more knee-slappers are just the tip of the next ice-cold (nay, frigid!) wave of humor to sweep America. What? These aren't very funny, you say? Well, hey, blame Coulter; she has no sense of humor, so what the dickens did you expect, anyway? But join in and submit your own WWACS (What Would Ann Coulter SAY?) jokes. (And if the Style Empress is loitering in these parts, feel free to steal this premise for a future Style Invitational, since the WaPo already owns all the rights to it anyway.)

Some further hilarity to ensue from this bottomless pit of Coulter charm and wit:

Excerpts from "Ann Coulter's Encyclopedia of World History and Religion":

Q: What serial killer sadistically murdered and disemboweled six prostitutes in the Whitechapel section of London in 1888?
Coulter: Jack the Liberal.

Q: Who wrote "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and blamed it on the Jews, thereby touching off decades of pogroms and finally the Holocaust?
Coulter: Liberals.

Q: When Jesus was being tried and condemned, who famously "washed his hands" of the whole matter?
Coulter: Pontius Liberal.

Q: In the Book of Exodus, who brought 10 plagues down upon Egypt?
Coulter: Liberals.

Excerpts from "Ann Coulter's Big Book of Hollywood Trivia":

Q: Who was the psychopathic serial murderer and cannibal who helps Jodie Foster track down Buffalo Bill in "Silence of the Lambs"?
Coulter: Hannibal Liberal.

Q: What James M. Cain book and movie tell the story of evil, scheming New York women who plot with al Qaeda to have their husbands' airplanes crash into the World Trace Center so they can collect the insurance money?
Coulter: The Liberals Always Ring Twice.

Q: In what famous Victor Hugo novel and Charles Laughton movie does a demented, horrible-looking hunchback kidnap a beautiful woman and take her up into the bell tower of a famous church, there to try to defile her and subject her to his evil depravity?
Coulter: The Liberal of Notre Dame.

Q: What was the real name of the flamboyantly gay piano player Liberace?
Coulter: Liberalace.

Q: Who has better legs, Ann Coulter or Katie Couric?
Coulter: EAT S--- AND DIE, YOU &^#@*%$#&*^$#!

Excerpts from "Ann Coulter's Big Book of Science and Global Warming":

Q: Some 65 million years ago, who knew a giant meteor was going to crash into Chicxulub, Mexico, plunging the world into decades of darkness and wiping out all the dinosaurs and two-thirds of all life on earth, and cravenly did nothing about it?
Coulter: Tyrannosaurus liberalii.

Q: What was the geologic cause of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906?
Coulter: Hillary Clinton. And some liberals jumping up and down on the San Andreas Fault. But mostly just Hillary Clinton.

Q: Who invented AIDS?
Coulter: Hillary Clinton.

Q: What is responsible for the fluorocarbons that created the hole in the ozone over the South Pole?
Coulter: Liberals.

Q: In 1955, who discovered the cure for polio?
Coulter: Whoever it was, he was definitely no liberal!!

Q: Is mankind contributing to the global warming that is melting the polar icecaps?
Coulter: Only the liberals are. They should stop it immediately--but they won't, those selfish b---ards!

And a few miscellaneous questions for the Divine Miss C herself:

Q: What is the title of the new book you are working on?
Coulter: "Projectile Vomiting: How Liberals Want to Force Every American to Have Sex With Sheep."

Q: What is your favorite memory from high school?
Coulter: The night all the liberal kids dumped a bucket of pig's blood on me and I burned down the gymnasium on prom night with all the kids in it. Gee, that was swell. Then my mom, Margaret, made me go into the closet and pray.

Q: If you could have dinner with any famous historical figure, who would it be?
Coulter: Tomas de Torquemada. He was cool, even though he was a bit too moderate for my taste.

Q: What is your favorite comfort food?
Coulter: House flies.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 19, 2006 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, now, I think that I'm rather fond of the "Projectile vomiting..." one, but then I've always appreciated a good bodily function/barnyard animal joke!

Posted by: Meaningful Dribble | June 20, 2006 12:10 AM | Report abuse

I hate it for Awal (Posted by: Awal | June 19, 2006 05:28 PM) that he/she/it/they so substantially underestimated the probability that most of the assembled audience would be underwhelmed by his/her/it/their revelation about bear attack probabilities that we'd feel no need to answer the additional implication that we're ignorant goobers!

Posted by: Meaningful Dribble | June 20, 2006 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Somewher in the editing, I left out a little "so":

'... would be SO underwhelmed ...'

Posted by: Meaningful Dribble | June 20, 2006 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Great Kit.
Reminds me of a quote from Wayne Dyer:
"You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with."

Posted by: Dreamer | June 20, 2006 1:15 AM | Report abuse

"Ann Coulter is either a very devious, liberal performance artist or mentally ill. There is no middle ground."

-- Mrs. Betty Bowers


Posted by: TBG | June 20, 2006 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Hi Dreamer... still in Oz? Say hi to the 'rents. Hope you're having a good time.

What am I doing up? Yikes. Time for sleep.

Posted by: TBG | June 20, 2006 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Dreamer -
What time zone are you in these days? And Down Under too...

Sunday nights my NPR station broadcasts a show called New Dimensions. Last night the guest was Christian de Quincey - talking about shared consciousness, relationships, feelings. He has a book out called Radical Knowing. Have you read it or heard of him? I'm usually falling asleep as I listen to this show, so it's kind of hazy the next day, but at the time it makes sense. The New Dimensions website is -

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 20, 2006 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Andy Borowitz had a great bit on Coulter the other day -
Although I think she's best ignored.

My favorite story of the day - about the "Doomsday" vault to protect seeds -

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 20, 2006 1:39 AM | Report abuse

are we not tempting the rovestorm gods with the coulter postings?

excellent blueberry cake recipe:

2 cups + 2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp (or slightly more - to taste) nutmeg or cinnamon (or both)

directions: go to maine and pick 2 cups of wild blueberries (they're small and not watery). or substitute a local variety (but i can't vouch for the results).

grease 9x13" pan. sift 2 cups of flour with baking powder. (does anyone actually do this anymore?) gently toss remaining 2 Tbsp flour with blueberries.

cream butter and 1 cup sugar. beat in eggs. blend in milk, then flour, and beat with spoon until combined. (ok, use a blender if you're lazy.) carefully fold in berries. (with spoon not blender!) pour into pan. sprinkle top with 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon.

bake 350 degrees for ~35 min.

my aunt used to make this when we vacationed on an island off the coast of maine. it's a great cake!

Posted by: L.A. lurker | June 20, 2006 2:32 AM | Report abuse

scc: mixer not blender. well i suppose either would work, but all you really need is a spoon.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | June 20, 2006 2:41 AM | Report abuse

My wife and I discovered a good way to spot black bear when we go hiking along the trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains:
Leave the camera at home!

Posted by: Pat | June 20, 2006 5:11 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Pat! Here's something for you:

pj, thanks for the approbation. The hike itself took about a week.

Actually the whole trip was an adventure in transportation: starting in the suburbs of Boston: bus to subway to Greyhound; Greyhound to D.C. where I missed the connecting bus and got to spend Christmas Eve in the aptly named "Terminal Hotel" where the downstairs bar played Elvis's "Blue Christmas" all night long. On to Front Royal the next day, only to find that my backpack had gone on to the end of the line, so I waited there all day (Christmas) until it got there in the evening. I set up my first camp in the dark. Compared to that, the hike itself was peaceful and uneventful. I learned some things about myself on that trip, (for an example, see this blog entry: and overall it was good way to spend the winter break.

Posted by: kbertocci | June 20, 2006 5:49 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, because of the parenthesis that link won't work. Here's the corrected link:

Posted by: kbertocci | June 20, 2006 5:53 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Getting ready for the walk, thought I would check in before my day starts with the grand kids. So far, so good. We're all walking this morning. Suppose to be really hot here today. I guess too much of a good thing may not be so good, but what's the alternative. Middle ground? Balance? Then questions comes up, how to achieve these elusive alternatives. Most Americans tend to the "too much" in just about everything. And I include myself in that determination. We are off. A lot to do today. And I know as much as some of you hate to hear it day in and day out, it is, oh so true, God loves you more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Christ Jesus.

Good piece by Eugene Robinson, on the bay. Carolina has won the Stanley Cup. And I'm a firm believer in the fact that folks who test missiles eventually somewhere in the future end up using them. You think?

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 20, 2006 6:32 AM | Report abuse

What a great hockey game it was last night though my team did not win the cup. It felt like shades of the mighty Casey striking out. But what a heck of a game. What a heck of a series.

Posted by: dr | June 20, 2006 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I was collecting plants one day on a fire road in Shenandoah National Park, with all the necessary documentation since it was for my thesis research, and found myself about 1/4-1/2 mi. down a steep slope face to face with an open, loaded bear trap. I remembered the story my advisor told me about a bear that acquired a taste for trash that had become a nuisance. The bear was transported to West Virginia, but had the navigational skill to cross the interstates between W. Va. and the SNP multiple times. I didn't remember the end of the story as I was too preoccupied backing up the fire road. I couldn't even remember how to defend myself against a bear in the event that I ran into one, although I do know that running wouldn't have been advisable. That road was marked off my collecting list.

Posted by: jack | June 20, 2006 7:48 AM | Report abuse

kb, still trying to get over the naming disaster in San Fran... Pharmacy next to bus station used to be called Terminal Drugs.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | June 20, 2006 8:37 AM | Report abuse

KB, thanks for the link. I've heard of blind golfing before, but if I handn't just seen it, I wouldn't have believed it. I've got a basketball with a bell in it, there's these things called beep ball, and now you have me rethinking that playing baseball with my kids might not be that much of a stretch.

Posted by: Pat | June 20, 2006 8:42 AM | Report abuse

For a black bear, standing your ground and making loud noises (yelling, banging on pots, etc) is recommended as long as the bear has a clear escape path. Black bears are opportunistic feeders (read: lazy) and if they can pop open your trash can, punch a hole through your car window or snap your long tube bird feeders in half and chug the seed like a pixie stix, then they would rather do that then deal with a noisy mobile creature they will probably have to catch/fight. If there's no escape path or they're really threatened, they may bluff charge-in that case continue making noise and back away.

Here's a MD DNR site with good bear info:

Of course, none of this is relevant with grizzlies. ;)

Posted by: GyppedOne | June 20, 2006 8:47 AM | Report abuse

My own plant collecting/bear trap experience was in the Osceola National Forest along I-10 west of Jacksonville. I was working with a guy who was doing a small mammal survey. He decided that bears were small mammals and finagled the equipment and permits. Mammal trapping (and snaring, in the case of bears) turned out to be entertaining.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 20, 2006 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Hey LindaLoo, I heard a snatch on TV this morning about heavy rain in Houston. San Antonio benefitting from this? How's the patio project going?

Posted by: slyness | June 20, 2006 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Liberalace. That is great. I can see Ann Coulter now, lounging in satin amidst the candelabras on the lid of the grand piano, sipping champagne whilst Liberalace serenades her. "It had to be you. . . .Witchy Woman. . . .That Old Black Magic. . . ."

Still no bears here, but we had a snake encounter last night. The dogs (3 black Labs) cornered a lovely 4 foot rat snake in their yard right next to the house. I was tempted to let them sort it out, but I know that, although at least one dog might have got bit, the dogs would eventually have won and it wouldn't be pretty. Ivansdad eventually killed the snake in order to get it out of the yard. I was unhappy about that, but it was more merciful than death as dog toy. At least the boy himself was off to camp so is blissfully ignorant.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 20, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The Coulter jokes are a challenge, since they're not supposed to be actually funny. The first one I thought of was this:

Q. What's the difference between Eva Braun and Anne Coulter?
A. Eva Braun was a natural blonde.

But that doesn't work because it is just an ad hominem attack on Coulter and no one would stoop to those kind of tactics. So here are some that fits mudge's format:

Q. Who goes around preventing valuable timber resources from being made productive parts of the economy?
Coulter: Smokey The Liberal.

Q. How many liberals deserved to die on 9/11?
Coulter: All of them.

Q. How many liberals did Hitler kill?
Coulter: Not enough.

/rimshot - I'll be here all week.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Houston was caught in a major deluge yesterday--reports that one area of Houston received 6 inches of rain in 75 minutes--some areas receiving about 10 or 12 inches for the day--and some places along the Louisiana border caught 15 inches in 24 hours. Also news that some National Guard troops called out for rescues and to maintain order, shall we say.

Funny, you should mention the patio project. It has consumed us in so many ways. On Memorial Day weekend, we slaved, no dinner happening that weekend until after 9 p.m.--the cause of my failure to explain how the holiday originally got started. Hubby took the day off yesterday to complete a three-day stint of working on the older, first patio. We had not put brick sealer on it when we completed it, say 18 months ago, and the pavers had gotten bleached somewhat and dirty. Lots of scrubbing involved, working sand between the bricks, and I was out yesterday helping brush on the second coat of sealer. As of last night, I'm happy to report, the patios are open for business.

About 8:30, I made some iced coffees, and we pulled out two chairs from our dining set, and clinked our coffee cups together--and just sat there and enjoyed, enjoyed, enjoyed. However, there is just a tiny bit of irony involved, since one of the patios is meant to be a reading patio, and now it takes longer for me to read most anything.

The front that pushed through to Houston passed over us on the weekend and dropped .6 at the house, more over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, so we have escaped the drastic water restrictions for a short while, escaping by the hairs of our chinny-chin-chins. The Houton storm is expected to drift south-southwest, so thunderstorms are predicted for the afternoon, with a 50 percent chance of rain. It's so humid outside now, you can cut it with a knife. Yesterday was no cakewalk either, as far as humidity.

Is this Global Warming Tuesday? Ineresting graf in this a.m.'s paper: January through May were the warmest *on record* for San Antonio, according to the Nat'l Weather Service. Trend continuing into June, with 16 of past 19 days reaching at least 95 degrees, while normal high for this time of year is 92.

I'm beginning to think an unapologetic nudist is not such a bad thing. And I'm also beginning to believe that all Mudge would have to ply me with is lemonade--and a hand fan, of course. *w*

Posted by: Loomis | June 20, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

From my teabag: "There is a garden overlooking the Yangtse River gorge where an elderly man contemplates his life while sipping a cup of Green Ginger. Perhaps you would like to join him."

I would, but the only thing I wind up contemplating is how anybody can make a tea that tastes almost exactly like Old Spice.

Ingredient list of Tazo green ginger tea: Green teas, ginger, lemongrass, and natural flavors.

Well, if anybody ever runs out of Old spice, brew a little of this and mix with ethanol and voila! Homemade Old Spice.

As for the flavor... again, my nose keeps saying "Why are you drinking aftershave?"

Tea-tasting lesson #2. Try not to drink anything that makes people wonder if you've been overdoing the aftershave.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Who knew? CIA's nickname for Deadeye Dick (whooo--"Deadeye"--a good nickname for me, now that I think about it) is/was "Edgar?" From the review of Ron Suskind's new book, as reviewed by the NYT:

This book augments the portrait of Mr. Bush as an incurious and curiously uninformed executive that Mr. Suskind earlier set out in "The Price of Loyalty" and in a series of magazine articles on the president and key aides. In "The One Percent Doctrine," he writes that Mr. Cheney's nickname inside the C.I.A. was Edgar (as in Edgar Bergen), casting Mr. Bush in the puppet role of Charlie McCarthy, and cites one instance after another in which the president was not fully briefed (or had failed to read the basic paperwork) about a crucial situation.

During a November 2001 session with the president, Mr. Suskind recounts, a C.I.A. briefer realized that the Pentagon had not told Mr. Bush of the C.I.A.'s urgent concern that Osama bin Laden might escape from the Tora Bora area of Afghanistan (as he indeed later did) if United States reinforcements were not promptly sent in. And several months later, he says, attendees at a meeting between Mr. Bush and the Saudis discovered after the fact that an important packet laying out the Saudis' views about the Israeli-Palestinian situation had been diverted to the vice president's office and never reached the president.

Posted by: Loomis | June 20, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

What animal learns to like frogs through eavesdropping?

Coulter: The (French-loving) Fringe-liberal bat.

I wasn't going to join in but I saw this link....

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Breathe softly, somebody's listening...

It's an bat science orgy today. I guess the moonbat scientists are coming out.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Post now has EXCLUSIVE rights to the Ann Coulter jokes "to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed."

I'm waiting for the paperback:

Why Liberals Aren't Funny And Deserve To Die: The Wit and Venomous Rants of Ann Coulter

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Error Flynn and Pixel for the info on the Mac mini. My main concern now is if I get the mini will I be able to run my favorite editor (I don't think it runs on anything but Windows), image viewer (ditto), and of course PERL (haven't checked if it's available for Mac, but do know I can always run it on UNIX). It seems the answer is yes. Maybe some day this week when I get out this swamp I'll take my walk a little bit further to the Apple store.

Posted by: omni | June 20, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

SCC: out of this swamp (it's a work swamp, not a humid weather swamp).

Posted by: omni | June 20, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Time well wasted this morning. I figured flickr out. If anyone is interested, photos of Rock Lake. br (formerly known as Mr. dr) is the photographer.

Posted by: dr | June 20, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Those pictures are gorgeous, dr. I love the reflection in the lake.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse


I need help with two MS Word things; since we were talking about that yesterday, maybe some of youse guys can help me:

1) how do I turn a hyperlink into normal text? It was sent to me with a hyperlink, and I don't want that.

2) I made the mistake of pressing the help button in the menu bar. How do I make the darned screen-blocking help window go away? I can't find any button or text line to click upon.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 20, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Q: Who stole the GUI from Steve Jobs and used it to make the still-inferior Micro$oft Windows operating system, and deliberately and wantonly programmed in dozens of glitches, bugs, security problems, open back doors and ports, holes in the screen doors, and created the Blue Screen of Death functionality?
Coulter: Liberal geeks.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 20, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse


1) Highlight the link. Go under "Insert" and click on Hyperlink. In the box that pops up, in the lower right click on "Remove Link."

2) Should be an X box in the upper right to close it. If not, beats the hell outa me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 20, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

SciTim, right click on the hyperlink, go to 'hyperlink' and 'remove hyperlink'. Text remains, just hyperlink removed.

dr, great photos. Loved the last one.

Hockey, of course. A great series and congrats to Carolina.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 20, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse


1)Right-click on hi-lited url
Select 'toggle field codes' from drop down
Strip out excess symbolics
2)the little 'x' in the upper right hand corner of the window should work if you can get to it

hope that helps

Posted by: tonk | June 20, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse


Right click on the hyperlink and select Hyperlink-Remove Hyperlink. Just be careful because about anything you do to the text will put the hyperlink back.

The Help Window should have a close x in the upper right. If the false title bar goes off the top of the screen you may not be able to see it. In that case, use the taskbar menu by right clicking on the icon and pick Close.

If you are using a Mac my advice is subject to interface adjustments.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, guys; well, half-thanks.

1) So, I go to insert hyperlink in order to remove a hyperlink? Genius!

I have a Mac, so there is no right-click. I have had this multi-button mouse discussion before. Personally, I hate anything on a computer that depends upon an unlabeled switch that must be distinguished from another unlabeled switch. And that's why I hate mice with more than one button.

2) No, the Mac version of Word, at least, does not have the handy X box in the corner of the Help window. As far as I can tell, there is nothing to let me retire the window. It may have placed the window incorrectly -- there may be a top bar that is simply off-screen for me. However, I cannot find anything to drag the window more fully onto the screen, nor any menu item that seems to affect the help window. The Help for how to use the Help window does not mention anything about making it go away. A text search on "eliminate the help window" also yields nothing useful.

That there, that's great design work. Well done, geeks of Microsoft.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 20, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

We should moonlight as a MSOffice support group. Googling "remove hypertext link in word" produced no hits remotely relevant on the first page. Using the MSOffice's Help Answer Wizard with the search "remove hypertext link" gave a correct solution that requires one extra click.

The program is too bloated to be functional, and I think MS knows it but can't kill the Golden Goose in order to do what's right.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I used "eliminate" instead of "remove." Silly me, I thought they were functionally synonymous.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 20, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Tim, have you tried clicking the help item on the menu again? Maybe like the mouse, the same switch turns it on and off?

Posted by: dr | June 20, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I found what works: quit the program and restart. The Help window is gone.

This is really stupid, and quite boring, except for the fun of collecting new reasons to hate Microsoft.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 20, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Ah yes, the time honored Microsoft fix of "just start over".

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 20, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"The program is too bloated to be functional, and I think MS knows it"

Of course they know it. They started bloating it back when they went after WordPerfect 5.1 and engaged in all that bundling crap. It was bloated and worse than WP even then.

Don't get me started. I'm much more rational when I'm discussing Ann Coulter.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 20, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

dr, I would have clicked the Help button on the menu bar again, except that the Help window was floating in front of it, so I couldn't reach it. I think this may be the most common root complaint about MS products -- they load them up with 100 million things that sound great but hardly anyone uses, but they fail to guarantee rock-solid usability and good design in the fundamental things that absolutely everyone uses. This isn't a bug that I've encountered, it's bad design, and it shouldn't have made it to market this way.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 20, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Just so you know, MS may stolen the idea from Mac, but then again maybe not...does anyone know who originally came up with idea for a GUI (graphical user interface)?

(here's a hint SOCAL but not Palo Alto Rowing Club)

Posted by: omni | June 20, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Inspired by the Coulter jokes:

Q. Who invented AIDS?
A. You mean the Microsoft cure for cancer?

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 20, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone remember the story of 'Longitude'? How as Harrison developed his very accurate clocks, he added and corrected the first versions till they worked? The modern day parallel is Microsoft. Add, adjust, make work, but never really fix the heart of the problem.

Posted by: dr | June 20, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

This actually belongs in the boodle from the other day (On the Road with Dad), but Joel suggested I post it anyway. I hope y'all don't mind too much the major deviation.

I normally try and read the kit and boodle every afternoon, but must have missed Friday's I just read it, and have to thank you. I very very rarely comment, but follow along avidly (usually when
I'm trying to avoid work). But "On the Road with Dad" struck a chord with me - I'm lucky enough to still have my father very much alive and a very real part of my life (I am now, and always have been, a "Daddy's girl"). But your story reminded me of the lengths that Dads will go to for their children. In my case, mine took a train from Northern New Jersey where my parents lived to DC (where I live) a few years ago just to accompany me to a doctor's appointment in Baltimore, despite the fact that he doesn't handle the idea of me in pain, or really know what the issues at hand were - it was more my mother's territory, but she couldn't come, and to my mind the only doctor as
scary as an oncologist is a neurosurgeon. So, completely freaking out himself, he came down to do nothing more than hold my hand. Its good to know that there's other dads like him out there. Hopefully
your daughter will come to realize how lucky she is - not for the ride to NY per se, but for the father who is willing to do it, or whatever to spend time with her and ease her mind a bit.

Posted by: axe | June 20, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I have a book of "Native American Myths and Legends" (Erdoes and Ortiz) which includes the story "Teeth in the Wrong Place." That story is what Ann Coulter makes me think of.

I like the theory that she is a devastatingly brilliant, devious, subtle, liberal performance artist. Otherwise, she really must be mentally unbalanced.

Sorry about the geekery; how 'bout we go back to blueberries, now? The tastiest blueberries that I have had were picked at a summer family camp in Maine, owned and operated by some members of our synagogue. You go for a week with other families and do family-type stuff. Better yet, your kids go off to do kid-camp stuff, while the parents go do the camp stuff that they were no good at when they were young: arts and crafts, archery, etc. The ScienceSpouse and I got an Arts and Crafts award. We were very proud. The ScienceSpouse and ScienceKids went off and picked blueberries one afternoon, while I fiddled around in a darkroom, developing black and white photos.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 20, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Tim, I figured you'd have done that if you'd been able, but MS makes us forget the logic of the thing. I figured just in case...

Maybe 200 years from now someone will find a copy of Word mouldering in storage, and will fix it, just like Harrison's clocks.

Posted by: dr | June 20, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse


In geek history, the Steve Jobs plundering of the Palo Alto Research Center for the GUI, mouse, and who knows what else is legendary. I've read so many different versions of that fateful field trip I'm not even sure which one would be the definitive one to cite. The transcripts to the PBS series "Triumph Of The Nerds" is here:

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse


In geek history, the Steve Jobs plundering of the Palo Alto Research Center for the GUI, mouse, and who knows what else is legendary. I've read so many different versions of that fateful field trip I'm not even sure which one would be the definitive one to cite.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I should take this opportunity to send you to the web site for the camp:

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 20, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

The bloating of code is caused by "creeping featurism", a term Dvorak at PC Mag either uses or created. Word wanted to have more features than this other software, then Word 6 had to have more features than Word 5, etc Even if the users don't want it every version 's got to have something new and improved. Word now contains huge chunks of Excel, Powerpoint, etc (and vice versa, of course since Excel and Powerpoint are bloated too !) Word can do everything your complicated macros do, but you will never be capable of figuring out how. We need a "map" of word, the same as the map of a conplex web site to cut through the multilevel menues and counter-intuitive heading. (such as going to 'insert' to remove something.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 20, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of blueberries, I saw an episode of Jeopardy in which the hautiness of Haute Mainers was laid low. Final Jeopardy question, subject Literary Foods: Name of the pictured food which was also part of a literary name [picture showed large, blue berries]. Canadian returning champion: "blueberry". Wrong, of course. The other two had the correct answer: "huckleberry". Yes, yes, the literary aspect should have also been a clue, but no huckleberries in Haute Maine, to the best of my knowledge.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 20, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse


In geek history, the Steve Jobs plundering of the Palo Alto Research Center for the GUI, mouse, and who knows what else is legendary. I've read so many different versions of that fateful field trip I'm not even sure which one would be the definitive one to cite.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Well, this seems so appropos: I stuck around here till almost midnight, when the council decided they had had enough and said "Let's do this in a couple of weeks". So I get short of sleep, then have to come in on time to go to training on MS Word "Intermediate" level; which might have been more useful had I been fully awake! I also have a bad horror story about XP and HP which I may bore the boodle with later today after the office picnic.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 20, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Sci Tim... the Help screen is a separate application. Just Command-Q to quit it.

Posted by: TBG | June 20, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I managed to triple post. But that is the fault of the dicey internet connection my office has since our domain name was highjacked by Russian porn spammers. And the the powers that be won't even share the porn with us.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut, please do tell the horror stories about HP and XP. I've had some very interesting experiences, which will with any luck NEVER be repeated.

Posted by: dr | June 20, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Those pictures of Rock Lake are gorgeous--especially the 5:30 a.m. one with the mirror reflection of the clouds. Forgive me if I wasn't paying attention, but is this where you camp or have a second home? It's stunningly beautiful. Do you ever tire of your own local scenery --I, remembering your Mexican beach vacation of not long ago? Do you long for different, or warmer, at times (sure, sure, in the winter of course)?

Posted by: Loomis | June 20, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers, we've lived in Coyote land for about six years now, and the trouble with coyotes is that they may chase and consume small pets, along with rabbits, rodents, etc. No stories involving people.

Posted by: nellie | June 20, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Timeline of GUIs...

I had a commodore 64 with a GUI program, very simple one called GEOS. I don't know if Apple was first to do it, but heck, Commodore 64?!! It looked more "modern" than Apple Lisa, too-- amazing since the Commodore 64 had no HD whatsoever.

The "64" stands for 64 kilobytes-- its entire operating power. A lot of people were working on GUIs at the same time. If anything, I think both Apple and Microsoft ripped off quite a few ideas from GEOS.

Too bad they didn't rip off the idea that operating systems should be easy to load. Ahem.

Haiku time. If you fell asleep, wake up again with those haikus...

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

From the local files:

Water's vital when outdoors
Claudia Zapata
May 29, 2006

"Show me your water."

That's the latest message for visitors to Government Canyon State Natural Area, where a combination of hot weather and poor hydration has been getting the best of some guests.

"We've had rescues due to heat-related incidents every weekend for the past month," says area superintendent Deirdre Hisler.

The staff has always reminded hikers and bikers to take water on their treks, Hisler says. But with dehydration occurring on a regular basis, they'd like to see proof.

"We're concerned people don't understand the terrain," she says. "It's hot. And it's harsh."

Among the calls for help: The family of four who carried two water bottles for a four-mile hike [genetically dumb and dumber]; the older adults traveling with the "conserve water" mind-set [the fog of age]; the person wearing jeans and a black T-shirt, but no hat, who arrived at 2 p.m. [to fashionistas, whadya think this is, New York City, fer cryin out loud?], ; and the passed-out pooches whose owners disregarded the "no pets" rule in the backcountry and forgot to pack them water [Lassie, get help, girl...].

Posted by: Loomis | June 20, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Coyote statistics...

But most bites by dogs are mild. Only 10 people a year get killed by dogs. You're more at risk of serious injury from your bathroom mat than your dog (ON AVERAGE).

BTW, if you suspect your dog is more dangerous than your bathroom mat, get it trained and pay it some attention everyday and it'll be a nicer dog.

Remember, keep your rugrats close to you and in eyesight. Coyotes ain't the only predators around.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

>I have a Mac, so there is no right-click.

There is if you have a two button mouse. If not, press the Control key down while you click, that'll bring up the context menu. On the "Mighty Mouse" sometimes you can bring it up by pressing on different sides of the mouse, sometimes not. It seems to depend on the application.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 20, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, too funny on the haiku link (technically, as we recently learned, senryu (sp?) is the proper term if no seasonal element is worked in). My contribution:

Snowfall covers rocks
Calmness blankets real danger
Like Windows o'er DOS

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 20, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

new kit, fyi

Posted by: Achenbach | June 20, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

TBG, the question-mark balloon in the menu bar brigns up a window within Word, not a separate application (I just verified).

I seem to have turned off that function for the Control or Option keys to make the mouse into a two-button mouse. Actually, it's a trackpad. I might turn it back on.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 20, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the long story, I do not have the time to make it shorter as Flaubert said.
Funny bears story such as the one with the cat chasing the bear up a tree or the bear found sleeping in a hammock are usually about teenage black bears. About this time of years, in Eastern Haute Maine anyway, mama bears shoo off last year's cub (s) because this year's little cubs are getting to be a handful. She can't herd all those cubs and kicks out the big one(s). So here they are, 50-80 lbs omnivorous teenagers let loose on the unsuspecting world. They do get in trouble. I was once living in cottage country, there were plenty of those bears stories every year. Once my dog treed one in this guy's backyard. The tree wasn't quite up to the task of holding stable with the bear on its top branches. The tree was wobbling around quite madly with the little guy holding on to dear life. I offered apologies to the guy who came out from the street. He laughed and said it didn't matter it was on his neighbor's lot. Apparently a similar event happened a week before on his own lot that time. Experienced cottagers just don't panic and let the bear come down by itself.
I remember the local TV station showing a little bear sniffing stuff around on the footage of a security camera inside a shopping center at night. Workers were waxing the floors or something and let some doors opened for ventilation. Of course the bear came in. The guys chased him away in a slow chase as the bear could find purchase on the freshly waxed tile floor.
Trouble begins when such bears go in the suburbs though. Suburbanites overreact. No later than last week we had such a story here with reports of "people ordered inside" and "policemen prowling the neighborhood with their guns drawn". Give me a break. The little guy wasn't found. A couple of years ago, in the fall (mum had no cubs that year ?) I met one in my driveway, just getting out to pick-up the Sunday paper and let the dog out for his morning business. The dog went rigid with all hackles raised. Then I saw the cub, as surprised as I was. It fled quickly. I discovered later it had dug up the tulip bed I planted the day before to recover the bone meal I added as fertilizer.
Adult black bear can occasionally turn predatory (some say in is actually becoming a serious problem) but those little guys should be left alone, they are more clownish than dangerous. A number of the recent incident with adult bears involves runners, a national level nordic skier was killed jogging in 2001. Bears charge as their most aggressive behavior. Some think that bears perceive the runners (specially those with their i-pod in their ears) as displaying aggressive behavior and ignoring the verbal warning of the roar. The worse local case is two people attacked and devoured in their tent though, back in 1991, so go figure.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 20, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, dogs chase joggers a lot and they say it is because dogs are designed to chase prey and so seeing running anything activates their chasing instincts.

I don't know about black bears, but they do prey on sheep, rodents, fawns, pigs, salmon. So I'd say black bears probably get attracted by anything that moves a lot.

And ipods are awful, my hearing dog reacts to them a lot, I think too many people have them very loud-- the ears become numb after a while so the volume goes up and up as they readjust, until they're blaring enough music to make themselves and any bystanders in a 10 foot radius deaf from noise exposure.

And those people using ipods always seem to be a little off balance without realizing it, too. That'd definitely catch any predator's interest.

Moral: iPods are evil. You heard it here first ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Linda, I wish we could put a second home there, but the government in its actual wisdom saw fit to make these lands protected. They are part of a wildland park. No one upkeeps the logging road to get in there so its wonderfully quiet.

I can't say I have ever gotten tired of what is close by. There is just so much. When we lived in Hanna, Alberta (you could also refer to this as the sticks), there were tons of places to explore and things to see. Sometimes even the breadth and scope of the open prarie sky is almost too beautiful to take in. Literally, just outside my back door is as close to heaven as I'd ever want to be. Our acerage is rich in wild things. Deer, and even moose have eaten my flowers as they stood on my back deck. The cold is just part of life. I'd miss it if it was part of the seasons. And the sunlight in summer. Sunday sitting on the back deck we noticed still shining in the tree tops at 9:50 p.m., and after sunset we have a long twilight.

If the truth be told, it's my sidekick, Mr.dr, who is the Mexico vacation guy. He likes warm and he likes travel, so he gets to pick the winter vacation places when we go. If I had to pick a place to vacation, I'd like to go to see the Artic. He has been. No Carribean cruises by my choice, I'd rather see the Norway fjords, or the Shetlands, and Orkneys or Greenland. (All of the above in summer, please) As long as I have a place to get dry I am content.

I do have one lone exception to that. Someday, when time permits, we are going to travel to see the Smithsonian - all of it. It will likely be connected to golf for him, but if he drops me off at a museum, I am content.

Posted by: dr | June 20, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Way to make us envious on a lovely June day like this ;).

There are no shortage of golf courses here if he has no shortage of money to play golf. So definitely try to make the time permit ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

He is saving his pennies as we speak. At current penny saving speed, we will be able to do this vacation when he is about 75, unless he restricts himself to 2 rounds of golf.

We plan to cut costs by staying at the store who shall not be named's parking lots all the way.

Posted by: dr | June 20, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Joel, you probably don't want to use the word "parthenogenesis" in talking about yourself. Literally, it means "virgin birth," which would imply, well, you see where this is going....

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