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Pleistocene Megafauna Re-wilding Makes Me Nervous

I already have enough problems with grizzly bears. When I vacationed in the Yellowstone area six years ago, the one fly in the ointment was the omnipresent danger of a rampaging grizzly. Even sitting inside a Denny's you could never be completely comfortable -- any second, one could burst out of the kitchen. They're everywhere, and they're ravenous, and they eat people as though they're popcorn shrimp.

But now (via Scientific American) comes a new, and I think rather rash, suggestion: Replace the extinct megafauna that once roamed the American West, back in the Pleistocene. We're talking lions, camels, elephants, cheetahs, and so on. Obviously you can't reintroduce an extinct species without some kind of Jurassic Park technology (that currently doesn't exist), but you can introduce the close cousins of said species, the ones still on Earth on other continents. They'd be kind of like Civil War re-enactors.

The elephants would stand in for mammoths. The Asian lions that would be introduced are, according to the proponents, the same species as the lions that disappeared in the Pleistocene. Bactrian camels, now endangered in the Gobi desert, would be proxies for the extinct Pleistocene camel known as Camelops.

So in addition to bear spray, you'd need to buy cheetah spray, camel spray, elephant spray. I dunno, I think I'd stick with Lion Country Safari!

"This 'Pleistocene re-wilding' would be achieved through a series of carefully managed ecosystem manipulations using closely related species as proxies for extinct large vertebrates, and would change the underlying premise of conservation biology from managing extinction to actively restoring natural processes," wrote C. Josh Donlan when he first proposed the idea in the journal Nature in 2005.

Our proposal is based on several observations. First, Earth is nowhere pristine; our economics, politics, demographics and technology pervade every ecosystem. Such human influences are unprecedented and show alarming signs of worsening. Second, environmentalists are easily caricatured as purveyors of doom and gloom, to the detriment of conservation. Third, although human land-use patterns are dynamic and uncertain, in some areas, such as parts of the Great Plains in the United States, human populations are declining1 -- which may offer future conservation opportunities. Fourth, humans were probably at least partly responsible for the Late Pleistocene extinctions in North America, and our subsequent activities have curtailed the evolutionary potential of most remaining large vertebrates. We therefore bear an ethical responsibility to redress these problems.

The fact that the idea is taken seriously at all is a sign that we live on a different planet. I call it the Post-Darwinian World, and will discuss it further down the road in an article. Earth has become something more akin to a farm, crossed with a planned community, with elements of a lab experiment.

Nature isn't wild anymore; it's just "wild." You have to make finger quotes when you say the word.

[More on the Pleistocene megafauna here -- scroll down. Here's a travel-section storyabout the Yellowstone trip way back when.]


From the excellent Peter Carlson story on the Weekly World News:

"If we get a story about a guy who thinks he's a vampire, we will take him at his word," Clontz told the Philadelphia Inquirer before he died in 2004.

And this:

WWN writers quoted sources identified as "a baffled scientist" so often they started joking about a institution called the Academy of Baffled Scientists.

It's a great look at journalistic pranksters and at the irrepressible American love for shocking, mind-boggling, if technically untrue tales. Weingarten and Barry were the sources of one of them, as Gene recalled in an appreciation of Eddie Clontz a few years back:

It was 1993. Dave came up with the perfect tabloid concept -- the tabloid story to end tabloid stories: ELVIS DIES AT 58. We were so excited about this that I telephoned Eddie, to suggest that he write it.

Eddie patiently listened to my pitch, and was silent for a moment.

"You mean, he just died?"

"Right," I said, "like, yesterday. Of, um, a heart attack."

I could hear those oily wheels turning. Eddie knew this would end a tabloid cottage industry of Elvis-still-lives articles. My God, it would basically cripple the franchise.

But, man, what a story!

"Are you sure?" he said, at last.

"Absolutely!" I said.

"Well, we'll have to check into it," he said, not a hint of humor in his voice.

I'm sure he put his best people on it. Weeks went by. But sure enough, the story finally hit the stands: ELVIS DEAD AT 58. It was a huge scoop. WWN donated six pages to it, with many sidebars.

Of course, some weeks later WWN exclusively disclosed that prior reports of Elvis's death had been a hoax. And it was back in the Elvis business.


From the L.A. Times, a disturbing tale about link obsession. More to come on this general topic this weekend in Outlook.

Meanwhile, here's a blog you won't want to miss.

And this is making me hungry.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 7, 2007; 6:26 AM ET
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Next: The Home Run Champion of the Steroid Era


(secret message to Joel: I think you need an additional "of" after "one." in the following phrase)

"Barry were the sources of one them, as Gene recalled in an appreciation of"

Posted by: Dark Glassly | August 7, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah. Will do. THANKS.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 7, 2007 7:49 AM | Report abuse

"You have to make finger quotes when you say the word."

I like the term "air quotes."

Posted by: College Parkian | August 7, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

*waiting for the Bactrian camel limericks to start*


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 7, 2007 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Great kit, Joel. Son of G and I saw a temporary LED highway sign in Arizona that said, "Warning: Burros next 10 miles." I don't really want to see one that says "Lions and cheetahs next 10 miles."

And those NYT recipes are great. Just the kind I like... short and sweet. My kitchen follows the One-Inch Rule: no recipes longer than.... you guessed it... one inch.

Posted by: TBG | August 7, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

In case he hasn't told you yet, Dave ran into a bear while white water rafting in Idaho.

Fortunately Dave, being Mr. Nature Guy, could handle the situation.

Posted by: wiredog | August 7, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

That bear looks awfully familiar. You don't suppose he's any relation to our Mudge?

Posted by: omni | August 7, 2007 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Omni and ER -- heard a clip on the radio about a new guide to tiki bars. Apparently, Omni, your bar is in Smyrna, TN. The name? Why, Omni Hut, of course.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 7, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

I don't know how long the Pleistocene megafauna would last in the western US even if someone did attempt to Donlan's suggestion.

Remember, Cheney's likely to retire out west in January, '09.

I have no doubt he'd be completely for this plan as he *is* a hunter and sportsman, but even megafauna would have no chance against Megamechafauna deprived of his natural prey (e.g. Democrats, liberals, various chunks of the Constitution, civil liberties, etc.).


Posted by: bc | August 7, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

SCC: I forgot to add the word "execute" to that first sentence of mine at 8:35.

Apologies, and all derisive commentary accepted.


Posted by: bc | August 7, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: omni | August 7, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

"... Fourth, humans were probably at least partly responsible for the Late Pleistocene extinctions in North America..."

I love it when policy is based on weakly-supported theories; that worked out really well for us on the whole Iraqi WMD-thing.

Not that I would mind North America crawling with megafauna; San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park seems to work quite well.

As I recall, back in the early '90s there was a proposal called "Wildlands" along similar lines, but with post-Pleistocene NA fauna.

Posted by: Dooley | August 7, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the Wildlands Project is still around:

Posted by: Dooley | August 7, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Blame the re-Pleistocening on Daniel Janzen. Years ago, the University of Pennsylvania ecologist noticed that one of the trees in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, had fruits with big seeds. Horses ate the fruit and distributed the seeds, encased in packets of fertilizer. He figured that the tree wouldn't do very well in the absence of horses. But horses and the like had gone extinct at the end of the Pleistocene. He figured that the tree had managed to avoid extinction, then got a new leaf on life when the Spanish considerately re-horsed Costa Rica.

Janzen's efforts to re-forest Guanacaste led him to advocate "gardening" in the sense that we humans, who have severely damaged the natural world, need to use our skills to encourage it to come back.

Janzen's career started off with a bang--I was busy reading his papers while he was an assistant professor. He's still at it. For an intro, read a book titled "Green Phoenix."

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 7, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 7, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

That SciAm story makes me suspect that some of those soon-to-be-unemployed World Weekly News writers have been moonlighting. Seriously, didn't they try to introduce camels into the West around the time of the Civil War with disastrous results? Of course, the camels being considered now are Bactrian camels which are, as we all know, like, totally different.

This proposal sounds like one of those envelope-pushing ideas that are so envelope-pushing that they actually damage the envelope. That is, an entity whose only purpose is to make similar entities seem relatively sane. You know, like designer fashion, concept cars, and Paris Hilton.

For example in "The Swamp," Michael Grunwald, suggests that this "new ecology" is behind some of the more aggressive schemes of everglade restoration. Further, there certainly is a big push to restore many river systems around the nation to their "natural" condition by blowing up the dams. Up until now some have called these schemes radical. But clearly those days have passed. For who could honestly call these concepts anything but reasonable given their conspicuous lack of faux Pleistocene megafauna?

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, I think this is what we need. Nothing creates a sense of urgency like the idea that a lion may take you while you take out the garbage. You slip in Bactrian camel dung and, while incapacitated on the ground ("Oh, the horror! The horror!"), the lions move in on you. It could happen any time. Or the bears may get you. Or an elephant walk through your house. That sort of urgency will give a real spark to the can-do spirit of America. Hoo-rah!

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 7, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

SHRIMP PANAMANIAN Giant prawns marinated in wine and herb sauce, dipped in a batter then deep fried to a golden brown.

--From the Omni Hut menu. Hey, Mo, those shrimp are for you!

On Kit: You say megafauna, I say megaflora. The metaphor linking them would be the Evil Plant in "Little Shop of Horrors."

Posted by: College parkian | August 7, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I really enjoyed reading those 101 simple meals. They are like a condensed version of Rachel Ray with much less obnoxious giggling.

Still, I find the reliance on exotic ingredients depressing. For I am reasonably sure we are out of pimentón, pecorino, and Spanish chorizo.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

My husband's theory is that once we no longer had to worry about wild animals attacking us, we invented cars.

Posted by: TBG | August 7, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

To those who think it's a good idea to introduce non-native species in an attempt to solve a problem, I have a one-word answer: kudzu.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 7, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I see you have to register to get to the L.A. Times spot. No biggie. Still, the temptation to lie is intense. For I can only imagine what interesting email I might get if they believed I earned over $250K per year. And was 97.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

One could also refer to the Post Darwinian World as the Disneyfication of Nature.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Here are the last two paragraphs of the Nature piece-please bother to read the whole article.
"In the coming century, by default or design, we will constrain the breadth and future evolutionary complexity of life on Earth. The default scenario will surely include ever more pest-and-weed dominated landscapes, the extinction of most, if not all, large vertebrates, and a continuing struggle to slow the loss of biodiversity.

Pleistocene re-wilding is an optimistic alternative. We ask of those who find the objections compelling, are you content with the negative slant of current conservation philosophy? Will you settle for an American wilderness emptier than it was just 100 centuries ago? Will you risk the extinction of the world's megafauna should economic, political and climate change prove catastrophic for those populations remaining in Asia and Africa? The obstacles are substantial and the risks are not trivial, but we can no longer accept a hands-off approach to wilderness preservation. Instead, we want to reinvigorate wild places, as widely and rapidly as is prudently possible."
Although it is easy crack wise, this is not as crazy as it sounds. Think about the alternative. How long will it take before every major land mammal in Africa succumbs to poaching and habitat loss? 50 years? 100? Less? These folks are talking about releasing animals in a controlled environment on private property, not just shoving a cheetah out in Nebraska and driving away. (Although considering the gross overpopulation of deer in many suburban areas, the occasional cheetah might be cheered by the residents.) Many of the species discussed are neither large not predatory. The Bolson tortoise project has already begun. Full disclosure: my brother the herpetologist is involved in the project and I received an email from him this morning with a photo of him proudly holding one of the tortoises at its new home on a ranch in New Mexico. I think the phrase for this is "saving the planet."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 7, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom - Kudzu. How do you think it might be lightly sauteed with some nice pancetta?

Just a thought.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy - The problem is that this process is not really saving the planet. This is recreating the planet according to our own design. And, perhaps this is a noble and necessary thing to do. The preservation of species is important. But to my mind it isn't "rewilding." It is as fundamentally artificial as the National Zoo. My concern is that by adopting this as an acceptable alternative to true preservation, we are throwing in the towel far too early in the fight.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

We already have big-game hunting parks like in "Sick Puppy". Just cut down the fences and let the rhinos run wild. We need to see if hippos are compatible with the Everglades and import some wildebeests so the 20-foot crocodiles have something to hunt other than toddlers and cockapoos.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 7, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

You think that looks like ME in that photo? I'd never be caught dead wearing sandals and a purple shirt. And my hair's a lot shorter.

Oh, wait...

bc, I wouldn't worry too much about Deadeye Dick Cheney blasting away at megafauna roaming the Wyoming serangetti. Oh sure, he'd take a few potshots, but given his track record, what's the harm in wounding a lawyer from time to time? *rimshot*

(You just set me up entirely too easily on that one, bc; c'mon, you're slipping. Get a grip, man!)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 7, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Code Orange day in Metro area. Don't breathe deeply.

Off to ride bike to campus, not breathing deeply, where I will help two students see that the course work merits B+. I have learned that this works wonders, "Had you world enough and time, I am sure that you could have earned the A." And, "You are not the mark you earn in class. I expect you are an A+ person."

Posted by: College Parkian | August 7, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

It just occurred to me: I suspect Donlon may have a secret ulterior motive: herds of elephants and angry rhinos and prides of hungry lions and tigers running rampant through the Red States trampelling or devouring Republicans.

I could get seriously behind this plan.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 7, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I doubt people will go for the cheetah concept. Its taken decades for wolves to be reestablished due to people's political pressure and wolves are native.

If we don't want the predators we have...

Posted by: dr | August 7, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Pronghorn "antelope" are Wyoming's Serengeti animals. Oddly, they're much faster than any present-day predator.

By the way, at least away from hunting season, they're curious. Wyoming is the only place where you can sit in alpine tundra, hear a funny sound, look around, and realize a pronghorn's checking you out.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 7, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

RD, please define "true preservation" for me, cause If you mean what I think you mean, you're going to have to do some pretty drastic stuff in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to achieve it.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 7, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

CP, I'm glad that you've said those words enough times that you no longer have to breathe deeply prior.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 7, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, I suggest you run out to the video store and get a copy of "Tremors" if you think that heavily armed Red Staters would view the prospect of rampaging beasties with anything but trigger-finger-twitching glee.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 7, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps, RD. Or maybe a light butter sautee of kudzu topped with garlic shrimp?

Posted by: Raysmom | August 7, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

My problem is that I am torn -- I see this as a fabulously cool idea, and also ridiculously unworkable. To make this plan work, we need the same thing that would largely solve the ecological problems of leaving all the critters in their native habitats: fewer humans.

The problem with reducing the population of humans is that it requires a radical reduction in survival rate (e.g., horrible civil war, plague, something like that), which I'm fine with, so long as it only affects people I don't know or don't like; or, a radical reduction in reproduction rate. Problem is, most cultures the world over place a high social value on having children. I know that I am very happen with mine. How can I get you to reduce your reproduction rate, while preserving my opportunity to have grandkids?

I need -- okay, sure, WE need -- a solution to the world population problem that people will choose willingly. This is where my streak of mad-scientist villainy comes into play. Let us develop a hormone therapy accessible to pregnant women that will induce children to develop as phenotypically male, regardless of genotype. I believe I have boodled about this before. Most of the world's societies prefer MALE babies over FEMALE babies. Fine. Let's GUARANTEE male babies for those who want them, with the small cost that the genotypically female babies would be sterile as adults.

Think of all the benefits:
(1) a generation with many sterile males, and an insufficient supply of females.
(2) for a life with companionship, those boys had better get over social taboos about homosexuality
(3) female babies suddenly will be highly valued -- but only when it's too late to shift the population in that generation

In about 70 years, population will crash. All the better for the animals. Plus, it leaves more room in those crowded high latitudes for all the people fleeing global warming on the Arctic Riviera, so it will keep the real estate prices reasonable.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 7, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt's Photo of the Day:
This guy was megafauna enough for me:

Do we really need anything bigger roaming the Rockies?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 7, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Kguy - By "true preservation" I mean good old fashioned restrictions on the encroachment of human activity into pristine environments. I understand that what is being proposed doesn't preclude this, but it still seems to be a weakening of commitment to this approach.

The argument might be made that there is no need to prevent poaching and the like with regards to something like highland gorillas. All we need to do is re-introduce gorillas into a new environment somewhere where the population could be managed, while tolerating the destruction of the original habitat.

Like I said, perhaps this is the only realistic scenario. But I'm not quite ready to accept that.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

yello, that's impressive, but only the second largest species of deer in the world. Moose, you out there with any pics?

Posted by: omni | August 7, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"In about 70 years, population will crash. All the better for the animals." Unfortunately Tim, the only animals left will be raccoons, opossums, cockroaches, armadillos, starlings, pidgeons, squirrels, gnats and lice, and the lice will be endangered. The human population bubble will burst only after irreversible habitat loss and hunting and fishing to extinction of most others.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 7, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

RD, I would liken this to the efforts to preserve the whooping crane. When the bird population got alarmingly low, biologists adopted three separate strategies- breeding captives in zoos, intensely protecting the wild birds at Aransas NWR in Texas, and removing some eggs to be "fostered" by the (vastly more numerous) closely related sandhill cranes. Literally not putting all your eggs in one basket. In many parts of the world, wildlife is threatened by loss of habitat, political instability, human famine, poaching and trade in exotic pets, etc., etc. "Rewilding" is one possible Plan B, and I think we all can agree that anyone without a Plan B is a doo-doo head.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 7, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Big day today: we're off to get daughter's braces removed!

Posted by: TBG | August 7, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

kguy - As long as Plan B doesn't invalidate Plan A, I am in, as the saying goes, violent agreement.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

It's been decades since I've been checked out by a pronghorn.

Come to think of it, I think I'm due for another colonoscopy. Wonder why that popped into my head?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 7, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I think elk arrived in North America at the end of the Pleistocene--the white tails have been around here much longer.

Whooping crane conservation has been pretty creative. There's a small non-migratory flock in Florida, and a migratory flock is being developed. I think there's now some 500 living in the wild.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 7, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

TBG - My son is getting his braces off next week. And my daughter will be getting hers put on in a few months. Unfortunately the orthodontist doesn't give a hand-me-down discount.

Trust me. I've asked.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, LOL.

TBG, congrats on Dottir of G's new smooth teeth! Even though it's been almost 4 decades since my braces came off, I remember how big and smooth my teeth felt...Tell her I said to keep smiling!

Posted by: Slyness | August 7, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

'morning boodle. In fly by lurk mode for a couple days while working with our very capable new City Clerk/Treasuer on a levy proposal for City Council to consider next week. I should be able to make my goal of retiring after one term without fear of wining through write-ins. If firing a little old lady after 26 years of service, weren't enough, working to raise taxes should seal the deal.

Instead of introducing extinct megafauna into the "depopulating great plains" (umbrage taken at proposed treatment of sparsely populated rural areas) it would make more sense to make sure African countries are in a position to bring species back from the brink. But, I can see where bringing the animals here would be more palatable and quicker even if we have to wait a while for the Jurassic Park technology to catch up with the plan. The animals aren't likely to align themselves with regimes we don't like or ask for family planning services of which we don't approve.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 7, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

SCC-all those stray commas. Top fell of the shaker.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 7, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, the museum in Daytona Beach has an astounding ground sloth skeleton, excavated locally in a rich bone bed and beautifully displayed. The skull of the display specimen is a replica, because the original's too valuable to leave up in the air--so the original is displayed in its own glass cabinet.

The Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville has a whole Pleistocene menagerie on display, including glyptodonts, which look vaguely like Volkswagen beetles.

What I'd most like to see is a Stellar's sea cow, an Alaska (and Kamchatka?) species that was hunted to extinction in the 18th century.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 7, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to DoTBG for reaching this milestone.

One of the happiest realizations was that our son got my wife's teeth and not mine. We have been spared the expense of braces.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 7, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

oh crud- Top fell OFF the shaker.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 7, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree DoftC. There is something terribly wistful about the skeleton of the Stellar's sea cow at the Smithsonian.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

What a happy day for daughter of TBG, older child will soon be getting braces (her request), unlike the kids I grew up with braces now seem to hold a certain cache, something about the bright neon colours that are available on newer braces. Lucky us!

Posted by: dmd | August 7, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to TBG dot on the brace removal. She can celebrate being able to once again eat things like taffy. I spent 5 years in the things; I know how good it feels to get them off.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 7, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of extinction and sloths, Google up the Megatherium Club sometime. It sounds like something that Smithsonian could reinstitute as a fundraiser. Drinking, sack races, girls- what's not to like?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 7, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Front page alert! Mudge, guests may be arriving. Do we have enough chilled beverages?

Posted by: Raysmom | August 7, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

frostbitten, I had a similar reaction to the idea of declining human population in our nation's heartland. Maybe we should give a little thought to putting "farmers" on the endangered species list, before it's too late.

Posted by: kbertocci | August 7, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Plan B, C, D and E are the same as plan A. Get off this planet and back to the ship.

Posted by: omni | August 7, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Omni your post made me flash on the bizarre comet-cult people lead by somebody whose first name was like Hertford...the ones in SoCal who lay down to die, in black shrouds, so that the comet would "pick" them up as it flung by.....I'd rather go to a tiki bar. Does anybody here remember the PoliTiki bar in Eastern Market? I think it was re-conceived into a bier-garten place. Perhaps in 2003 or so. I was at Politiki the week after the images are forever merged in my mind.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 7, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

On kit: Southern Mountana sports scads of pronghorn antelope. Down right perky and skittish. They move like schools of fish or flocks of birds. Rump are striped white....cute, actually.

But, the Jackalope, is faster than the Prongies

Posted by: College Parkian | August 7, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Dave, if you wanna see a fine display of sloth, you need to come to my house.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 7, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Marshall Herff Applewhite

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 7, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

This proposal seems vaguely similar to the one proposed a few years ago (by a VA state official of some sort, if memory serves) to cut down on the deer population in suburban DC by re-introducing mountain lions to the Potomac valley.

Good idea, unless of course you're riding your bike along the W&OD.

Posted by: mikes | August 7, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, I just put a couple cases of Corona on ice, and have sliced the limes. Margarita blender is set up and waiting. A variety of sodas (including diet types) are available, as is bottled water (though no tutti-frutti flavord waters). I sent scotty to the 7-11 to get a couple 20-lb. bags of ice and several bags of Doritos. And the bunker is ready, just on the off chance it gets nasty (the heat might make people say things they'd regret, such as "Dick Cheney is a big doo-doo head").

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 7, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

It's a Boomer quote (I may have messed the actual quote up)

Posted by: omni | August 7, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Eddie Klontz isn't really dead, you know. He's living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I swear it. He's had a sex-change operation and is now a female sportswriter named Petunia Curlingiron.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 7, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, your 9:58 says just what I was thinking, only you said it a lot more clearly than I was thinking it. And you had a sort of mechnism to get there.

Farmers on the endangered species list? Oh that started in a very big way in the early 80's, it was called high interest rates. The process continues with factory farms and even worse corporate farms.

Say didn't the Soviet Union try corporation farms with collective farms? Just think! Food lines in our future because farms just don't work when the farmer isn't tied emotionally to the land. Why work that hard for small wages?

On the upside, just think of how many dolies we will be able to make while standing in line.

Posted by: dr | August 7, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I think the insects will take over eventually, right now they are just bideing their time, taking whatever scraps they can get.

I like Omni's plan. Get back to the mother ship now.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 7, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"Plan B, C, D and E are the same as plan A" Omni, this is Bushian thinking- cut it out.
And why, pray tell, would anyone possibly regret stating the obvious, that Dick Cheney IS a big doo-doo head.
For those hankering for the Weekly World News in a cinematic experience, I can recommend "Bubba Ho-Tep" with Bruce Campbell as Elvis and the late great Ossie Davis as JFK.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 7, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

*munch munch munch*

Oh, you wanted me to DELIVER the Doritos?? So sorry, it's "move the office" time and I got hungry...

*tromping back to the 7-11*


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 7, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

it isn't a mothership. Eventually someone will set you all straight. yellojkt or bc perhaps.

Posted by: omni | August 7, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

it's even more dangerous than bush

Posted by: omni | August 7, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Scc, Doilies. Sheesh, you'd think I'd catch that one.

Posted by: dr | August 7, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

k-guy, the bertocci house was graced (ahem) with that cinematic tour de force ("Bubba Ho-Tep") just this week. My husband really enjoyed it. He will be thrilled to know that it was mentioned in the boodle, by a film maven, no less.

Did you know there are action figures?

Posted by: kbertocci | August 7, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Son of D gets braces in a few weeks, a foreign concept to me. Growing up mostly uninsured, I went to a dentist for the first time at age 24 (at the future Mrs. D.'s insistence; that's what I get for having a dental hygenist as a mother-in-law.)

Posted by: Dooley | August 7, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Couple of comments:

Mudge, my Cheney mechafauna comments were a setup for someone, not surprised it was you.

I'd also considered the ideas of packs of Blue State-planted megafauna and Red Staters colliding in the Giant Octagon in the plains, winner eat all.

College Parkian, you do know that our host, one J. Achenbach did some coverage of the Heaven's Gate tragedy for the WaPo, did you not (Joel's co-worker Marc Fisher did, too, IIRC)? Joel also devotes chapter 20 of his book "Captured by Aliens" (a book no bookshelf should be without, IMO) to it.

The last sentence of that chapter is a wonder of contextual emotive economy to me, "And so they returned the telescope to the store, and asked for their money back."


Posted by: bc | August 7, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Easter cougar.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 7, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

BC -- ten years ago was ten years ago and my peri-alzheimer's mode is full bore today....perhaps every day. Thanks for the reminder. JA and MF on desk duty, such a team. Did Robin G. comment on the garb?

Generally, sci-religion mash-ups bode no good:

heaven's gate
scientology (do not give me up, EF, please)
Erich von D......

.....weirdness and bizarro-charisma all mixed up in a broth of kool aid.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 7, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"Tell her I said to keep smiling!"

Slyness... I'm hoping you can tell her yourself next week! We'll be taking Son of G down for Orientation on Thursday and staying in Charlotte through Friday.

Jumper? jack? Any chance of a Charlotte BPH?

Posted by: TBG | August 7, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'll get a couple of bottles of Moet on my way to the bunker. Should I bring Brie and crackers also?

Posted by: Slyness | August 7, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Bring brie if you like it; I prefer cheddar or swiss. Brie always tastes bitter to me.

The Moet will be nice. Special occasion?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 7, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I was really taken aback by the concept of the Easter Cougar. Leaves little blobs of uneaten fresh meat for the good little boys and girls to find on Easter morning. Maybe prettily-painted bunny skulls and candy bunny hearts (anatomically correct, please).

But then I saw that the link was for EasterN Cougar. Totally different.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 7, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I like champagne. Isn't opening the bunker for guests special enough?

Posted by: Slyness | August 7, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse


You are so dreary my dear boy. Remember Robert Kennedy's quote of Shaw's Devil in "Methuselah's Children". "Some men see things as they are and say 'why'? I dream things that never were and say 'why not?'"

A restoration of the pleistocene megafauna in the middle of the American Rustbelt is a great idea esp with the prospect of global warming nipping at our achilles' heels.

The restoration would be fun to watch occur, fun to design, and fun to visit.

And an area the size of say Vermont in one of those random midwest states would be better served covered with pleistocene megafauna than more middle american malls, housing developments, strip developments, and religious establishments.

So I say STOP the movement to the dullification of America! Bring back the pleistocene! We Want The Pleistocene! We Need The Pleistocene!

Posted by: kxrc | August 7, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Why stop at the Pleistocene? Late-comers! Interlopers! As I have previously opined, let's do some REAL environmental science. Back-breed birds to get avian megafauna -- 15-foot (sorry: 4.57m) terror birds roaming the Great Plains. See how the predator-prey relationships shake out, and what hunting strategies do the giant birds choose. Pack-hunting? Ambush predation? Run'em down and kill'em? Or go for the easy pickings at the shopping mall parking lot?

Now there's a Real Man's Ecosystemâ„¢ for ya.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 7, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

mega fauna yet? Along with more grizzleys lions, tigers, camels, and elephants--let's reorganize and arm the Apache and Sioux Nations.

Nothing is quite as good as the "Good Old Days."

I'm getting in my Wilderness Hiking while the Hiking is good.

Posted by: lowen | August 7, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

it was a Lt. Sharon 'Boomer' Valerii quote

Posted by: omni | August 7, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I have an email from the "Saskatchewan Tourism Board" that includes helpful pointers, one of which is almost on topic!:

"15) Last, but not least, DO NOT DARE to come out here and tell us how the prairie should "go back to the buffalo." This will get your [butt] shot (right after it is kicked). Just mention this once and you will go home in a pine box. Minus your [butt]."

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 7, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Ah, me! Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
We've already got the bears in Fairfax and Montgomery counties. And we are likely to inundated with the next designer cat, the Toyger. I think I'll be lion down for a while till the heat breaks.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 7, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

lowen makes a good point, although I have been avoiding the dangerous territory that comes from equating human societies with faunal groups. "Re-wilding" North America with Pleistocene megafauna makes the hubristic assumption that it is even possible to identify an Eden-moment or Eden-state, a description of what the ecosystem was "supposed" to be. The only thing we can be reasonably certain of is that it did not involve large-scale monoculture, mining, hydrocarbon air pollution, and so forth. Beyond that, it's awfully presumptuous to expect that we can determine what should be there, and where.

What about the ecosystems that have adapted since the disappearance of the Pleistocene megafauna? Are they less valid, less Edenic, less natural? They've had 10,000 years to adapt. I suspect equilibrium has been achieved.

We sneer at pigeons and rats and crows and such for being common, but there's a better word for them: tough. They adapt, and survive, and thrive. This is their world. For the rats, Eden is here. Eden is now.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 7, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

//"...Along with more grizzleys lions, tigers, camels, and elephants--let's reorganize and arm the Apache and Sioux Nations..."

lowen, I guess the farmers really would be an endangered species then!

Posted by: kbertocci | August 7, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The only animal we were regularly drilled about was the cougar. DON'T RUN. STAND STILL. RUNNING MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE A DEER.

This was long ago, in MT. However, about two years ago, my sister drove into the parking lot of her Omaha school (mid city). She happened to notice a cougar resting in a cottonwood tree, directly over the tot lot. Cell phone in hand, she started calling peeps in cars and the school to say, "cougar in the tree. stay in the car or school, call 911, etc." She reported that at first everyone thought she was insane.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 7, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

BSG, Season 1, Episode 2. Long before anyone suspected Boomer was a Cylon. Thanks for the flashback, omni.

If we are going to breed megafauna, I say we go with giant killer cockroaches. Maybe in Salt Lake City.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 7, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I would *die* to look like a deer whilst running.

Posted by: Yoki | August 7, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse


Rats won't have such any easy time if this guy gets his way.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 7, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Yoki I picture you more like a Gazelle - quick and elegant.

Posted by: dmd | August 7, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Anybody who thinks he's got the rats' number is just fooling himself. They're tough little beggars.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 7, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Safety tips from the Ontario Puma Foundation, apparently the Puma's have made a small come back up here and so far are coexisting well with us. Oddly the sightings recently are in the more heavily populated south section than in the north.

Posted by: dmd | August 7, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Mountain lion. Cougar. Puma. Panther. Catamount.

Catamount is my fave.

Very hot here. Wilting. Plants are laying down, crying UNCLE. Will water pots again, commencing nowish.

Posted by: College parkian | August 7, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

There is the question of not just what eras eco system, but which eco system within the Pleistocene to re-establish. Lets see, what putting it in California?

The truth is there is precious little wild land left, truly wild land. I think you have to go to the Arctic, and if we are hoping to keep that for when the sea levels rise, well, lets not screw it up just yet. Oh wait, we probably already did.

Posted by: dr | August 7, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

A timely reminder of life amongst the megafauna (fortunately a happy ending):

Yoki, LOL re your 3:11

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 7, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Saskatchewan evidently has a magnificent area of intact prairie on sandhills that weren't attractive to farmers (like the Nebraska sandhills). I should do a double-dip sandhill tour someday.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 7, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking about suggesting letting the prairie go back to the buffalo, but upon further consideration I withdraw the idea.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 7, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

All this talk about species preservation reminds of a sub-plot of 'Earth' by David Brin where some big game hunters are trying to kill the 13th to last rhino in the world, because that is the tipping point to extinction and the person that kills that rhino gets credit for killing the entire species. In the book, several groups are creating "arks" of animals and genetic material for future re-population efforts.

David Brin also runs a great blog and this post details his thoughts on the death of competency and what he calls The War On Professionalism. Guess who is the leader of that campaign?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 7, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Along those lines the story of the couple in Sask. who are allowing the Prairie to return to the Buffalo, Pronghorn and the grasses etc.

Posted by: dmd | August 7, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention that Sharon Butala is (was?) a lyric novelist of the prairies. In one of her first books, there is a description of riding through the hotest of summer afternoons that blows me away every time I look at it.

Posted by: Yoki | August 7, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

So we learn from the Weingarten chat that the NY Post says the NY Times is giving up on their Select product...

Posted by: TBG | August 7, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

One more small issue with Pleistocene Mk.II--the climate is rather distinctly different in North America now than it was then, what with Canuckistan emerging from underneath the ice sheet and all. Most of the midwest (the part that wasn't under ice) was tundra; that extended as far as southern Virginia in the east. The southwest was much wetter, with huge lakes all over the place. Edwards AFB sits in the dried up bed of a Pleistocene lake; Great Salt Lake is the last surviving puddle of Lake Bonneville.

If we're going to go back to that, we're going to have to do some serious global warming reversals--like, Al Gore as a despotic dictator.

It would be worth it for the giant beavers, though.

Posted by: Dooley | August 7, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

What great news, TBG.

Free MoDo! Free MoDo! Free MoDo!
Bring back Friedman!
You can keep Brooks and Kristoff.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 7, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Anything is worth giant beavers.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 7, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Montana Pastoral
by J. V. Cunningham

I am no shepherd of a child's surmises.
I have seen fear where the coiled serpent rises,

Thirst where the grasses burn in early May
And thistle, mustard, and the wild oat stay.

There is dust in this air. I saw in the heat
Grasshoppers busy in the threshing wheat.

So to this hour. Through the warm dusk I drove
To blizzards sifting on the hissing stove,

And found no images of pastoral will,
But fear, thirst, hunger, and this huddled chill.

J. V. Cunningham, "Montana Pastoral" from The Exclusions of a Rhyme: Poems and Epigrams. Copyright © 1960 by J. V. Cunningham. Reprinted with the permission of Ohio University Press/Swallow Press, Athens, Ohio.

Source: The Exclusions of a Rhyme: Poems and Epigrams (1960).

Read more about the fierce prairie poet here:

Posted by: College Parkian | August 7, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I talked to Tom Rosenstiel today, from the Project for Journalistic Excellence (I think that's the name -- I should double check, huh), and he noted the oddity of The Times running an operation where it gives away the results of a $200 million news-gathering operation but charges for some op-ed columns. It never quite made sense as a business model.

Meanwhile I've been reading Howie's excellent Media Notes today on all the (ridiculous) attention being focused on the presidential candidates' wives, notably Jeri Thompson. I have to admit I don't feel comfortable with the way this is going -- feels tabloid. But like all tabloid stories it's hard to look away. Someone probably already linked to this, but, via The Sleuth, here's the Newsweek article that has caused a stir with the suggestion that she had a secret marriage:

Public records that NEWSWEEK reviewed strongly suggest she was married to a fellow DePauw grad named Bernard Alvey. (Various property and court records show that a woman named Jeri Kehn Alvey, who has the same birth date and other identifying information as Jeri Kehn Thompson, shared a house in Nashville, Tenn., with Bernard Alvey. He could not be reached for comment.) It's unclear exactly when she may have been married or when she may have gotten divorced. When asked directly about it, the campaign would neither confirm nor deny a previous marriage. In Nashville, court records show Jeri Kehn Alvey was twice sued in small-claims court over unsettled debts.'

Posted by: Achenbach | August 7, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of "Bullitt", I've just come in on it playng on AMC right at the start of the chase scene. I can't tell you how many times I've done this.

Now I want a new Mustang. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 7, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Just throw that red meat into the ring at the end of the day, Boss. Wonkette and presumably other snarky political blogs have a great time with Jeri and the non-campaign takes a lot of umbrage at her being called a trophy wife.

A lot hinges on the meaning of the phrase "trophy wife". While true that they met long after his divorce, not all trophy wives are former mistresses. They have kids together, also a ambiguous trophy wife feature. Many older men have second families to assuage their guilt at neglecting the first one. Just look at the Reagan brood.

If Washington is Hollywood for ugly people, Fred Thompson is our Jack Nicholson. There is no other way to describe his ability to catch multiple women that would be way out his league if he weren't famous and powerful. She is nearly a quarter of a century younger than him, blond, thin, and prone to cleavage revealing clothes. You come up with a better epithet than "trophy wife"; she's definitely no consolation prize.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 7, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Here is one of the newest national parks on the continent. Pure prairie, and they are trying to re-establish what was killed out a mere hundred twenty years ago, the bison.

It is a sight to see, the beauty of the big country in the south of the province. I'd fax it if I could. Mountians are easy to see, the beauty of lakes is easy, but to see prairie, to really see it, you have to look just a little diffrently. You have to look for little pockets of unexpected beauty among what seems endless nothing, till the grand beauty, the sheer size and space of it overwhlems and soothes your weary and battered soul.

You can take the girl out of Saskatchewan, but you cannot take Saskatchewan out of the girl.

I'm way too serious about this, aren't I? In case I've come across a bit strong, I should tell you this. We go mega fauna, just make sure I'm in your pack of humans. Ancient species would call my subspecies of humans lunch.

Posted by: dr | August 7, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

The Media Notes article that Joel hinted at but didn't link to:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 7, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I have a sinking feeling that before this over-extended campaign season is over we will be reading shocking revelations about the candidates' pets.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Fact-checking, Joel? Don't need no steenkin' fact-checking.

No, I don't especially like the general tenor of all this stuff about the wives, either, but I don't see too much choice. There are some legitimate problems and questions about several of them. For instance the problem with Thompson's wife isn't that she seems to have had a mildly former life (as indeed many of us have), but rather the way the Thompson campaign has allowed the notion to be out there for so long that she is a lawyer (she is not).

However, the general accusation that so-and-so (Mrs. T, Mrs. Giul;iani II or III, or Mrs. McCain) may or may not be a "trophy wife" is way out of bounds, I think.

I don't think Robin Givhan's piece on Hilary's decolletage was so awful, but it was the Hilary campaign people who jumped on it and demonized it, thereby calling attention to it. People should have read it, said, yeah, yeah, and let it go as a fairly light fashion story of no great consequence. The piece was harmless and should have been treated that way.

I don't know what to think about Mrs. G-III. The profiles seem to suggest she is not a very nice person. That may or may not be true, but it is difficult to see the relevance. What I think IS relevant is Giuliani's general behavior with regard to how he treated wife Number II, not the alleged b1tch1ness of wife III. At least Rudy isn't going around bragging about his family values, unlike, say that sanctimounious hypocrite Newt Gingrich. Come to that, Ed Koch says Rudy himself isn't a very nice person.

I think the problem with the wives isn't that a few fairly responsible newspapers are discussing it relatively "cleanly," but rather the rags and the pundits and the celebrity machines are also working them over not-so-cleanly or responsibly. So it all gets tarred with the same brush.

There's a hilarious piece in Salon that says poor ol' Robert Novack is complaining that his role in the Valerie Plame outing has cost him a lot of money, to say nothing of his friendship with Karl Rove. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 7, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

SciTim has pointed out for me that we need fewer people. So I can go on to my major outraged point of contention:

The "easy recipes" link mentioned a fish sandwich, "serve with tartar sauce." HAH! Do you have ANY IDEA how complex tartar sauce is? It takes:
minced onion, garlic, lemon juice, hot sauce, worchestershire, black pepper, salt, dill pickle relish, horseradish, and mayonnaise. Everyone knows, too, that it's unavailable in stores. Oh, sure, they sell stuff in jars CALLED tartar sauce. Ha, ha, ha!

It's drek.

NEVER take tartar sauce for granted.

Posted by: Jumper | August 7, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Of course, it occurs to me I may be a little over-sensitive on this issue, since my wife is often accused of having a trophy husband. It's a curse I have to leave with.

Strolling in a dignified manner for the bus now.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 7, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

why, oh why, would you be in a Denny's and Yellowstone Park at the same time?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I think Jack would do all right with the ladies no matter his profession or financial position, although Rich and Famous doesn't hurt.
I, on the other hand, need all the R&F I can get.

When would be the season be for this Megafauna? I imagine you'd have to use all high velocity.
Reminds me of the University of The Air show on the pickling and freezing of artic elephants.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Fred Thompson is on my list of voices that sound presidential. I'm not sure how happy I am with that.

I think it might be better if you draft this guy,

If you use the voice of a president list, he is ever the top. No matter how good the research is, I'd be willing to bet that he would read and assess with an ear that heard it all rather than just what he wanted to hear.

Posted by: dr | August 7, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Oops. I'm the 5:33. The 5:25 must be the regular guy.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 7, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

On one of my trips to Sweden, I was in the Gothenburg area seeing a client. He took me to the company restaurant, along with another colleague of his. On the menu was "elefantöra" (which means "elephant ear"). Of course, I misread it as "elefant röra (which would mean "scrambled elephant"). It was actually a huge piece of meat resembling an elephant's ear. Makes me chuckle to this day.

Seeing elephants in the wild is indeed very wild. The bulls are more than HUGE -- even more than ENORMOUS. The ranger told me that the there are around 108 different muscles in an elephant's trunk, and it takes about 2 years for the babies to figure out how to control all those muscles. That means that they cannot drink by using their trunk when they're very young. They apparently get very, very frustrated during that time and tend to stomp their feet.

And you wondered where earthquakes come from. . . .

Too hot to think. So I won't.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 7, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

The "not that there's anything wrong with that" episode of Seinfeld is on right now.

It's hilarious. I forget how funny the show was.

Posted by: TBG | August 7, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Boko, did you see the Rhino Party is running in the next by-election and suing to get their party status back?

It was my first day of work at a holiday, this story and the boodle made the transition so much easier.

Posted by: dmd | August 7, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Okay. Got a serious problem here. For the last several weeks I have been gradually splitting a bunch of oak logs with a 10 pound sledgehammer and a couple of wedges. Bout three times a week. Just enough to get that buzz going. Nothing heavy.

It has done wonders for both my mood and muscle tone. (Although poor technique is creating a subtle asymmetry.) No matter. Anyway. I like it. I really, really like it. There is no other exercise quite as satisfying. But here's the thing.

We're almost out of oak logs.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Do you need oak? Cause if it doesn't have to be oak...Scottynuke, may have to batten down the hatches and put the fax on the overload circuits for this one.

(quickly calling mrdr and faxing many, many, many logs to RD.)

Posted by: dr | August 7, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

My major concern with the Pleistocene Megafauna notion is that it occured long enough ago for the ecosystem to have begun adapting.

The puma and cheetah evolved from similar "small cat" ancestor. One was adapted to the plains, evolved extensively, and became a specialist. The other, the puma, stuck mainly to the mountain and wilds. It would have been in competition with the leopard and at risk from lions way back then.

In the vacuum left behind by them, the puma has become more generalist and opportunistic in its range (humans notwithstanding). To reintroduce big cats from Africa would likely drive pumas to a severe population bottleneck.

Finally, the information we have says that pumas are solitary creatures. Yet, in california, there are growing accounts of pumas hunting cooperatively-- as in prides. This further suggests that pumas are becoming more adaptable and able to employ cooperative hunting in habitats that favor it.

Lions cooperatively hunt on the plains because of the lack of cover and the larger prey involved, and they must follow the migrations. In some marginal habitats, lions are nearly solitary in nature.
Tigers, which are a very closely related species, hunt solitarily because of the high cover, fewer and smaller prey. Their fur pattern and length also reflect that adaption, as well as serving as a form of identification for individual tigers.

Secondly, the Americas ALREADY has a big cat-- the Jaguar. It's the third largest cat after the tiger and the lion. It habitat extends north to Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. Its habitat used to extend to California, too. When it is sympatric (shares territory) with the cougar, the cougar tends to be smaller.

It is closely related enough to the lion and tiger that it can and has hybridized in captivity (wild might be a different story, but given how endangered the jaguar is, it's possible if no suitable conspecific mates can be found by either animal).

That's all we need-- new types of panthera in the USA. Pumas have also hybridized with leopards in capitivity.

Besides, would you really want white tiger breeders releasing their inbred rejects into the wild?

I'll tackle the "need" for elephants later on, but I think North America is well-served in the carnivore department as it is.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 7, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

RDP, I hear there's a surfeit of woodchucks about...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 7, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

dr - nah. Any one of your basic hardwood trees would do nicely. But maybe I'll get lucky and another one of our trees will get struck with lightning.

One can dream.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Yes Snuke. The groundhogs have driven them...underground.

Hahaha haha.

My work here is done.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Psssssst, bc...

Don't tell RDP, but woodchucks ARE groundhogs... *nods*


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 7, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

They is? Man the world is confusing.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

It's simple RD-- these marmots chucked the woods to hog the ground. They also whistle like pigs.

Any questions?

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 7, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

RD... please tell me the oak you've been splitting had no value whatsoever in a woodworking sense (oak is currently going anywhere from $1.40 to $2.00 per linear foot depending on the width, thickness and clarity).

Posted by: martooni | August 7, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Whistlepigs? Some call them Whistlepigs?

Remember I am from the West where we are not wise in the ways of the woodchuck.

Posted by: RR Padouk | August 7, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

And then there's the wouldchuck -- nobody knows how much wood a wouldchuck would chuck if a wouldchuck would chuck wood.

I think the answer is something akin to "how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop?"

Posted by: martooni | August 7, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Mudge writes:
I don't think Robin Givhan's piece on Hilary's decolletage was so awful, but it was the Hilary campaign people who jumped on it and demonized it, thereby calling attention to it. People should have read it, said, yeah, yeah, and let it go as a fairly light fashion story of no great consequence. The piece was harmless and should have been treated that way.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. It stunk. It was awful.

Not even Nora Ephron, who wrote a book called "I Feel Bad About My Neck," could have spent more energy deconstructing a neckline. Isn't there, somewhere, a booby prize for covering pulchritude instead of policy?

In the end, the question is not whether a candidate can show a hint of breast but whether you can have breasts and be president. It's not a matter of cleavage in fashion but cleavage in the voting population. Does anyone remember what Hillary was talking about on C-Span2? Education. Need I say more?

...Or think about about what historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said on Sunday's "Meet the Press" after Givhan's article came to print several days earlier. I paraphrase: "This coming election is far too important [given the past six or so years] to trivialize the candidates so [as Givhan did]." (Shall I give you NYT Paul Krugman's column this last week about the importance of policy discussion by the candidates--as well?)

It wasn't Hillary's people that demonized Givhan--it was most of womanhood. Did you read the WaPo's extremely weak defense that same Sunday morning by WaPo ombudsman Howell that supported Givhan--Howell citing the strong negative reaction by many women readers of the Washington Post?. I've lost a lot of respect for Eugene Robinson supporting Givhan, with an argument that consisted of pablum, on that same "Meet the Press" that Goodwin appeared on.

Posted by: Loomis | August 7, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

martooni - Mostly this is ugly wood. And that I let these logs sit around for two years means it isn't in the best shape. That said, there are some sections that split cleanly into shingles and show extremely pretty figuring. I have pulled these aside for potential use. But the rest looks ready for the fire.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 7, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

>They is? Man the world is confusing.

RD, of all people you should have suspected the groundhogs would have an alias!

What's more, they often dress very much the same. All the better to sow confusion re. the identity of any single member.

Dastardly, eh?

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 7, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I've seen Angela Merkel and Margaret Thatcher many times -- clips on TV, still pictures -- and I don't recall whether they have any cleavage at all, nor anyone even mentioning the possibility that they might.

Posted by: LTL-CA | August 7, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

And considering where groundhogs tend to hang out, I guess you'd call their coats "trenchcoats," no?

Posted by: TBG | August 7, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Please don't make me think of Margaret Thatcher's cleavage. I need a good night's sleep.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 7, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Better than thinking of Karl Rove's cleavage (which is no longer a googlenope, I suspect.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 7, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Ooooo TBG! he he he

Well they won't be digging any more trenches in MY garage. Unless they can get through a couple feet of concrete....

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 7, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I've noticed quite a few groundhogs in my neck of the woods lately (not in my yard or in my garage, but "around", so to speak).

What's disconcerting and disturbing (to me) is that whenever I spot one, it immediately raises a paw (they are paws, yes?) to its ear and then chatters away to itself like a homeless schizophrenic (or one of those Bluetoothy people).

I'm sure I'm just being paranoid, but I swear I heard one of them say "Angler... this is Bucktooth... aim for the face... repeat... aim for the face..."

Posted by: martooni | August 7, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Major thunder boomer going on... heading out to the back porch to witness Mother reminding us just how little and insignificant we are.

Peace out...

Posted by: martooni | August 7, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, this is a turn up for the books. Who ever knew that Loomis and I would be of one mind? Excellent.

I thought that Robin Givhan's story about Hillary Rodham's cleavage did all women a disservice. We really should all care more about a candidate's platform than her or his wardrobe.

Why should not and when will women be judged the same as men?

Posted by: Yoki | August 7, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

No 756 8:52 pm

My morning drive time morning show had said that 8/7 would be the day weeks ago ...

Barry did bring interest to the game.

Posted by: Pacifica | August 7, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

If we take a do over on the flora and fauna, I fear that something large, or wih an otherwise voracious appetite will make off with our Havenese dogs. OTOH, we do have our Danes and they were originally tasked with flushing boar. It'd be an interesting scene in the front yard, particularly in the early am when I'm out with the dogs in my boxers.

Posted by: jack | August 8, 2007 12:31 AM | Report abuse

The Jumbo-Tron did have a short, very classy short with Hank Aaron, passing the torch to Barry Bonds. I think Hank Aaron invited others to chase and surpass Barry's record.

Husband and I believe it was a fan in a Nationals jersey that was escorted from the seats by the police with the caught ball - I'm sure their will be an announcement on the evening news validating the caught balls genealogy. The balls pitched to Barry all had special marks.

According to the televised coverage - an additional 740 press passes for tonight's game.

Not that San Francisco does not love tourists - but personally I'm glad this hoopla is over and we can get back to regular programming.

Posted by: Pacifica | August 8, 2007 12:34 AM | Report abuse

I came across this yesterday morning, just before the kit posted. It seems that scientists have revived some really old bacteria previously preserved in Antarctic ice. Holy endospores, Batman!!! Something else that could evolve into something that could induce the shizzly drits, or worse.,1,4563561.story?coll=la-news-science

Posted by: jack | August 8, 2007 12:36 AM | Report abuse

The police escort is kind of wierd, eh Pacifica? I guess it was for the fan's safety. Some folks wouldn't think twice about doing someone harm just to get their hands on something so potentially valuable.

Posted by: jack | August 8, 2007 12:43 AM | Report abuse

In other news, Daphne Thongbottom whacked 757 mosquitoes into oblivion as she sipped sweetened tea on the veranda of Chateau Doicare and flirted with the pool boy.

According to her massage therapist (who also happens to be her life coach and financial adviser), no performance enhancing or mind-altering substances were involved. Unless you count anabolic steroids, methamphetamine and "magic" mushrooms.

At last report, Ms. Thongbottom launched a hostile takeover of the Wall Street Journal and Sports Illustrated by thrusting her bosom in the general direction of Rupert Murdoch and wiggling her generously endowed bottom at Ted Turner to the tune "Bikini Girls with Machine Guns" by "The Cramps". Mr. Murdoch had no comment at the time of this writing, other than "Ford off", but Mr. Turner (on record) said "I just wanted to know if they were real. Like Jane's."

In totally unrelated news, George Will has confessed that he is really Boy "Alan O'Dowd" George in anti-drag and will soon reunite with his band "Culture Club" this fall to tour with "Tears for Fears" and Toni Basil. Mickey was unavailable for comment, though his agent confirmed he's "oh so fine".

Posted by: martooni | August 8, 2007 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Somewhat on topic -

The Anchorage Daily News has a reader submitted feature of bear videos, stories, pictures

Right side about half way down the page .... Interesting.

Posted by: Pacifica | August 8, 2007 12:47 AM | Report abuse

> The police escort is kind of wierd, eh Pacifica?

It not just a San Francisco thing - the fan that caught number 755 in San Diego was also escorted into a safe place while an authentication of the ball was performed.

Husband was blithering about protecting the fan so he didn't loose his ball(s) - I saw the scrum in the stands - Perhaps for the fans safety - not just a opportunity for observers to wax wise and slightly risque.

Posted by: Pacifica | August 8, 2007 12:55 AM | Report abuse

martooni - I'm not sure that in the greater cosmic good, Ms. Daphne Thongbottom is not more important than Barry Bonds.

Barry did cause ESPN2 to add at least 9 additional Giants games to its lineup. He caused more credential press folks to spend time in a tourist based city. Barry did allow more national coverage of other players on a less than stellar team - can't hurt their careers.

And the knock on Barry was that he was a self-centered egotistical jerk - just look at how he has proved all his nay-sayers wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Blushing -

I'm the 1:01 idiot.

Note to self - Review before posting.

Jeezee - Peezee

Posted by: Pacifica | August 8, 2007 1:07 AM | Report abuse

yup... and he's still a "self-centered egotistical jerk".

No offense, but he's got no class.

I'm not even a baseball fan, so the point is kinda moot, but WTF... who the heck taught him Fan Relations 101? Dick Cheney?

Posted by: martooni | August 8, 2007 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Pacifica, I hadn't heard about Bonds. Glad he hit 756 in San Francisco - and against the Nats - ha! What a classy guy Aaron is.

I agree with Loomis and Yoki on the Givhan piece about Hillary. I usually like her writing, but this was silly. What I really didn't like is that she implied this was deliberate on Hillary's part. I think it was just a top that didn't hang the way she expected. Who cares?

(Yoki, loved your gazelle remark!)

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 8, 2007 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Unless Hillary shows up in an off-the-shoulder busty bar wench blouse, I never want to hear the "cleavage" word again about her.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 8, 2007 4:32 AM | Report abuse

I rarely read the sports page so maybe I'm the last person in America to know about Sadaharu Oh. He is not only the player with by far the most career home runs (868), but also is reported to be a true class act, who has always been humble and polite and friendly with the fans. According to legend, when he was 15 he threw his glove in the air to celebrate an exceptional play and that "brought shame upon him and his family" so he never again showed emotion on the field. He achieved his home run record by a combination of natural ability and hard work.

I realize that he is, literally, not in the same league as Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds. But this is something that illustrates how Americans act as if this is the only country in the world. You may be sure that Japan has taken notice of Barry Bonds and that his achievement will be in the news there. But we don't recognize sports superstars like Sadaharu Oh, just because he's not American. It's our loss.,8816,501061113-1554953,00.html

Posted by: kbertocci | August 8, 2007 6:03 AM | Report abuse

I think that baseball is going to be worth more than the $13 the kid paid for his ticket into the stadium.

Sheinin did a great job with the story on a crazy deadline.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 8, 2007 7:24 AM | Report abuse

*sumberged-admist-an-office-moving-nightmare-but-still-cheery Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 8, 2007 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Aaron was classy to congratulate Bonds. Bonds himself was as combative as ever. Selig, I dunno, his statement was so dang lawyerly, it didn't seem appropriate to the moment. I guess I agree with Wilbon that Selig hasn't handled this correctly, though I have zero doubt that Bonds took something to blow himself up at the age of 35. Tony and Mike said it best in one of their video spots: It's impossible to know what a baseball record means anymore. The numbers got so skewed for a while -- 73 homers in a season? That's ludicrous.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 8, 2007 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Actually, my cubicle has never been cleaner... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 8, 2007 7:41 AM | Report abuse

I asked my 16 year old son about Barry Bonds getting the record. He told me he doesn't really care. What inspires him about baseball is the player, not the record. Bonds fails to inspire him, so the record fails to excite him.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 8, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Robin Givhan's writing underscores the rhetorical power of clothing and style. I always appreciate reading what she has to say. Perhaps the kerfluffle about the décolletage is more about context. I can imagine commenting to a friend (girl-type, especially) about the neckline, especially since the style departed significantly from HRC's norm of the sensible and dark pant suit. Yes, she flirts with bright teal and buttercream, but has done more for the appropriateness of pantsuits than any fashionista.

If I were to open up a major daily and read about my upper ribcage decorations, well, would not go well with coffee and a scone.

But what about reading a similar piece in a scholarly journal by, say, Camille Paglia? She deconstructs style and presence also, but from the academic catbird seat.

But perhaps this all stings since women are forever analyzed (and analyzing?) in terms of body, hair, clothing, accessories. Men? Not so much. The only banner permitted them is the tie: color, pattern, width. (Note: I am missing the thin, black tie. Will it come back? And, have we spoted a bow tie lately?)

Posted by: College Parkian | August 8, 2007 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Something or someone ate my first comment, and shut down my computer. So here I am for the second or first comment.

Bonds did it.

As for the re-population of the Plains with those animals mentioned in the kit, I don't think so. Sounds like someone hates humanity. Don't we have enough animals that prey on man already? I believe all we can do is try to do better with what is left. Of course no one wants to hear that. And certainly doing it is out of the question. We are the culprits in the animal thing anyway. We've taken their homes, and now they're on a campaign to take ours.

Can't talk long, on the way to the hospital. My sister is having surgery today.

Have a good day folks. It is so hot here. Every day temps in the hundreds. At least, Slyness, your area has the pretense of rain, nothing like that here. Just heat and more heat. I took ice water outside yesterday afternoon, and in less than two minutes it was warm, really warm.

Jumper, I've never worked in library at Charlotte. I can't remember if I answered your question yesterday or not.

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 8, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

And I just wanted to point out that the Nationals still won.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 8, 2007 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'm thinking good thoughts for your sister. *HUGS*


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 8, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Yes, JA, that was great work under pressure.

Nice gesture from Bascik to go to Bonds, and a great reciprocation for Bonds to give him an autographed bat.

I'm waiting for the next home run king, however.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 8, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I just hope that some people watched the game that intruded into the beginning of the Bondsfest, an excellent WNBA game between Indiana and Chicago that went into double overtime. Candice Dupree had a career-and franchise-high 20 rebounds in a losing effort for Chicago.

Kudos to ESPN2 for not leaving the basketball game until it was actually over, even though it ran over by about 30 minutes.

Posted by: Dooley | August 8, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

That article kbertocci linked to highlights the problems of comparing baseball stats. Yes Oh hit more home runs, but against what quality of pitching? And in what size stadiums? And over how many games?

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 8, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Talk about not wanting to pay for an extra seat...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 8, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

>I've noticed quite a few groundhogs in my neck of the woods lately > Bluetooth...

Martooi, this is very disturbing news... I suggest a Dept. of Homeland Security grant, and lock down your notebook and any computing equipment. They have trouble getting deliveries (that whole sign-in-person thing) and so tend to purloin them.

And watch Stella closely. A tail dangling from under the engine compartment is a sure sign of trouble.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 8, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Women invite analysis of their clothing because women actively seek to express their individuality through what they wear. And it is considered socially acceptable, and even mandatory, that they do so. Why else is it considered such a faux pas for two women to be at a party wearing, *shudders* the same thing?

Seldom does a man feel that there is something significant about the fact that he isn't the only person in the crowd wearing a tuxedo. The only time a man brings attention to his clothing is when he deviates from the norm of the occasion. And then the criticism is invariably negative.

Can you imagine the commentary if one of the men in congress were to suddenly show up without a tie on? Or wearing a kilt?

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 8, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse


martooni, the answer to your 7:47 PM question is "three." I know, because we had a spirited debate about this at work a few weeks ago.

I agree that the article about Sen. Clinton's cleavage is not helpful to the image of women. But when Loomis' said Robing Givhan wins the booby prize for it, I had to giggle a bit.

Besides, who takes Ms. Givhan seriously? After all, this is a woman who says that women shouldn't wear sneakers or flip-flips on their way to work and that they shouldn't carry both a purse and a briefcase.

Cassandra, best wishes to your sister.

Off to training on problem-solving and decision-making.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 8, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Robin

Posted by: Raysmom | August 8, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

RD -- what would happen if you arrived at work in a bow tie. (What would happen at home if you started sported a bow tie?)

One brother of mine (I have four, and therefore will pass directly into heaven or nirvana without the purgatory or karma tolls) made a kilt in high school (circa 1980). He wore it to prom and graduation. We are not Scottish, so he took quite a ribbing from all the assorted Irishers. (The fabric, imported from the old sod, was a tartan that matched a family name. If you scratch deeply in Antrim in N. Ireland, you will find names that play well in Scotland or Ireland. Still they hate each other, at times....)


And by the way, think Sean Connery of the pic posted her a few days ago. My brother, a ranked 5k runner in Chicago, projects a similar image of grace and ease.

RD -- would the kilt work? Any others? EF. BC, 'Mudge.....

Posted by: College Parkian | August 8, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

new kit

I swear I read it thinking I was so late you guys were already there.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 8, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

CP - if I were to show up wearing a tie of any kind my coworkers would throw me to the ground and physically remove it. (I'm not gonna make that mistake again.)

I don't know about the kilt, but given the reaction to the tie, I'm not gonna risk it.

That's the way it is with men. Anyone who seeks to look different in any way from the other men in the group invites suspicion. If all the guys wear suits and ties, you wear a suit and tie. If all the men wear jeans and polo shirts, it behooves one to do likewise.

When it comes to expressing individuality through clothing, women have far, far more freedom than do men.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 8, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: wv8v93wcxi | August 14, 2007 8:06 AM | Report abuse

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