Monday, May 26, 2008

The morbid tale of the passenger pigeon

this was something I was saving for a project I'm working on, but it sort of mutated another way and I'm still stuck here thinking about the extinct bird.

Over the course of the 19th century, the passenger pigeon went from being the most abundant bird in North America to extinction. They were mostly sold as food (slaves and poor people didn't eat many other kinds of meat at the time). They were reported as having blackened the sky with their migrating numbers, and their populations made them easy game for killing:

One method of killing was to blind a single bird by sewing its eyes shut using a needle and thread. This bird's feet would be attached to a circular stool at the end of a stick that could be raised five or six feet in the air, then dropped back to the ground. As the bird attempted to land, it would flutter its wings, thus attracting the attention of other birds flying overhead. When the flock landed near this decoy bird, nets would trap the birds and the hunters would crush their heads between their thumb and forefinger. This has been claimed as the origin of the term stool pigeon, though this etymology is disputed.

One of the last large nestings of passenger pigeons was at Petoskey, Michigan, in 1878. Here 50,000 birds were killed each day and the hunt continued for nearly five months. When the adult birds that survived the slaughter attempted second nestings at new sites, they were located by the professional hunters and killed before they had a chance to raise any young. In 1896, the final flock of 250,000 were killed by American sportsmen knowing that it was the last flock of that size.

I should point out that the passenger pigeon looked frighteningly similar to the mourning dove, which might be my most hated of birds. and granted, I'm sure that the passenger pigeon wasn't exactly the smartest of birds, but still. That shit there is just cold.

more info on the passenger pigeon here and here.

Yeah. Sorry, I know it's not exactly day-brightening news, but I figure it'd be nice to post something, and aside from my completely inappropriate story of how I first heard the Velvet Underground, this was the only thing I had handy.

Overheard in Philly is always a great source of entertainment, or at least distraction. But this cracked me up in middle of the night last night. It was honestly the hardest I'd laughed since who knows when. So I thought I'd share it with you. Maybe that'll help wipe the thought of billions of squished pigeons from your mind. or hey, maybe that's a good thing in your mind, I don't know. I'm not the mind police.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

There's nothing like getting a large group of 1st graders ready to go on a field trip and noticing that not 15 feet away are two bottles of over-the-counter sexual stimulation pills.

That were completely empty.

also, if you had told me when I woke up this morning that a turtle would pee on me, I'd have called you a liar. a damned liar.

you'll notice that I'm still not posting much. I've got a somewhat explicit telling of the first time I ever heard the Velvet Underground that I'm working on, and I'm pretty sure that there's a bunch of pictures that I'll be sending in soon, but don't expect me to offer too much here (for a while) or to expound on why (ever).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bush to War Widows: "I Feel Your Pain"

Bush says gave up golf in solidarity with Iraq dead
I had to check three sites to make sure this wasn't an Onion article that got taken seriously.

I'd say that life has officially become a parody of itself, but then I'm pretty sure that most of Asia would disagree.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Duane Benzie!

While I'm rappin' TV, it's worth noting that Spaced is finally getting released on Region 1 DVD. I've passed (and been passed) copies of this series from all over the country and I can honestly say I've got no qualms about buying it for a third time when it comes out. Excellent.

some more details here.
(PS I know I say this a lot, but can Judd Apatow shut up already?)

I can promise you 2 things about this.
-The Patton Oswalt Commentary will make at least 2 dozen references that will be too nerdy even for me.
-I will never listen to the Tarentino commentary. or any of the other commentaries, excepting perhaps Bill Hader's. I will still have no idea who Diablo Cody is by the time I see this.

I should mention that I've been watching a lot of Firefly on Hulu lately.

I'm not one of those crazy Joss Whedon people. I've seen maybe an episode of Buffy. I've never seen any of the spinoff show(s?).
But I've got a huge soft spot for that show. and by extension Nathan Fillion. Who is awesome.
(it still has one of the worst theme songs in history, but hell, I can skip that).

So that's what I've been up to.

Also, watching Battlestar Galactica. (sigh). The original one.
more to come on that later. I still think it's the zenith of bad 70s Star Wars-inspired bad sci-fi, but I'm also growing to like it at an alarming clip. What can I say, everyone there has hockey hair and afros. Do you have any idea how refreshing it is to see those in space where they belong?
Also, Jane Seymour.

and the Dirk "guy who played Face on the A-Team!" Benedict. Templeton Peck!

and some furry robot dog thing that sorta makes me want to kill. I wonder if he'll ever prove useful. 6 episodes in I got nothing.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Still not updating regularly. But here, play with this for awhile.
(I've spent countless hours there already)

From the Dept. of Things That Won't Change in November

Domestic Spying Far Outpaces Terrorism Prosecutions

I wonder if everyone is still secure in the belief that they've got nothing to hide.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The last bobcat we had at the garden was hit and killed by a car. I was pretty sad over it.
Today I saw this sexy little guy running around. Oh happy day.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Cotton's Adventures in Walking to Work

or, "let's not talk about it"
It's a rainy day, and I don't often get a chance to appreciate that. So here's some stuff.

No comments on the elections, no comments on Burmese cyclones, no comments on me, no comments on the recently released photos documenting the immediate aftermath of our attack on Hiroshima (caution: those pictures are very serious and very explicit. and will probably make you want to scratch your own eyes out with a rusty darning needle. really).

Just some crap I saw walking to work.

Maybe later I'll come up with something more... substantial. but maybe not.

SNAIL! I came very close to stepping on this guy, then moved him into the grass

I call this one "Banana somehow Stuck to Stop Sign"

The Lantana by Sycamore elementary, my favorite plant in town. It finally started blooming again a few weeks ago and as you can see, it's coming along nicely.

soundtrack this morning: Bob Dylan John Wesley Harding

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Dear Common


Seriously. I really complained when you were doing those Gap commercials, but now with these Lincoln ads and T4... jesus, man.

someone name me a rapper that I loved in 1998 that I still have great respect for. Seriously. Oh, and they can't be dead.

you don't have to be hard. you don't have to rhyme about guns. you can do ads, I really don't care.

but for Lincoln? and T4?

I have great fear that there is a Mos Def/Common acting school on the horizon.

bang up job, Yemen

ADEN, Yemen -- Almost eight years after al-Qaeda nearly sank the USS Cole with an explosives-stuffed motorboat, killing 17 sailors, all the defendants convicted in the attack have escaped from prison or been freed by Yemeni officials.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Bird Update: I don't know anything. The little guy was taken to an animal hospital and the person that took him is out for another week. My guess is they probably put him down. I mean, he had a broken wing. I don't know, though. I'll give some updates when I got 'em.

I'm completely out of the loop on everything. Apparently Jean Grae quit Hip-Hop. I'm hoping this is a Jigga-type situation more than anything, but who knows? She's certainly had her share of raw deals.

I don't really got much else for you today. I'm too tired of politics to even think about it, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around how we're bombing Somalia now (is this not in the news? how am I just getting to this now? How long before we're bombing Deerfield, Indiana for al-Quaeda? How is this still happening? How does anyone think this shit will possibly stop in November? who am I talking to?)