Category Archives: Alaska Outdoors

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Last week I finally filled a space in the gun safe that’s been empty a while, when I successfully bid on a Savage 24B-DL.  This is a neat little combination rifle/shotgun, sporting a .22WMR barrel over a 20 gauge shotgun barrel.  Just the thing for casual pokes through the woods for grouse and showshoe hares.

This is an early model of the 24, with nicer wood than the later models, not to mention a more robust frame-mounted selector.  I’ve already ordered a wide-angle, low-power scope to go on the rig, to better accommodate my aging optics, although it occurs to me that a peep sight would work well too.

I like the .22WMR over the more common .22LR in this gun, favoring as I do that little extra punch on big snowshoe hares or maybe, now and then, a sleek winter fox or pine marten.  I suspect this rig will see a lot of use in the Alaska woods – there’s a reason these old combo guns are very popular in the Great Land.

And so…

On To the Links!

Escape from LA II, Electric Boogaloo.

Well, this is encouraging.

Down, down, down, down.

Up, up, up, up.

Cool bit of speculation:  What might aliens look like?

LA keeps getting worse.

Ben Franklin’s greatest invention.

Time Crystals. 

Nigel Farage asks a damn good question.

This is known as belaboring the obvious.

Bawk bawk.

Heck’s Angels.

It seems archery was vital to the survival of our ancestors. 

China seeks Earth 2.0.

A (Trump-appointed) Federal judge has struck down the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration’s travel mask mandate.  And the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration has caved.

This Week’s Idiots:

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.  Double dose of Krugman idiocy this week.

The Guardian’s Thomas Zimmer is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Ryan Cooper is an idiot.

The Nation’s Elie Mystal (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s (I’m sensing a pattern here) Ja’han Jones is an idiot. 

Maureen Dowd is feeling the Bern – and embracing the idiocy.

The Seattle Times’ Clyde Ford is an idiot.

Vox’s Rebecca Heilweil is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Some songs have popular covers that are better (well, that I like better) that the originals.  Aerosmith did Come Together better than the Beatles, as Joe Cocker did the best version of A Little Help From My Friends.

Another example is Grand Funk Railroad’s version of The Loco-Motion.  While “Little Eva” Boyd did it first, in 1962, and did it pretty damn well, I still like Grand Funk Railroad’s 1974 version better.  And so, without further ado, here it is.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

We’ve had a few new visitors around the bird feeders lately.

First up, a while back some new chickadees started showing up along with our usual chickadees, the black-capped variety.  The newcomers, slightly smaller and with brown caps instead of black, are Boreal Chickadees, a type found only in the north.  I’d never seen one before moving here, so their late-winter presence has been fun.

The second was a Bohemian Waxwing, another bird of the north, and another I’d never seen before.  Back in the Iowa of my youth as well as the Colorado I lived in for so many years, we had Cedar Waxwings as frequent visitors, but this is my first look at the Bohemian Waxwing.  I hope they stick around; waxwings are so beautiful that they don’t look quite real.

As I’ve said so often, I like having our birds around.  They punctuate our days with song and color, and life is better for their presence.  Now then…

On To the Links!

Don’t mess with Texas!

While we’re at it, don’t mess with Florida!

This is cool – a fossil of a dinosaur actually killed in the asteroid strike.

Heels-Up Harris’s vice presidency is like a train wreck ran into a shitshow and pushed it into a dumpster fire.

2 acquitted, jury hung on 2 more in Whitmer kidnap plot.  The FBI stepped on a rake on this one.

How can you tell Barack Obama is lying?  His lips are moving.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect is real.  For evidence, just look at Congress.

I love a happy ending.

1981 called, they want their inflation back.

Gas prices get worse.

Mortgage rates are going up, too.

This Week’s Idiots:

Salon’s Thom Hartmann is an idiot.

Vox’s Emily Stewart is an idiot.

Brian Stelter continues to prepare for his second career as an actual potato.

Five times Brian Stelter (still preparing for his career as an actual potato) and CNN shamelessly promoted lies.

Salon’s Kathryn Joyce is an idiot.

American Prospect’s Robert Pollin is an idiot.

Slate’s Oliver Milman is an idiot.

AG Merrick Garland beclowns himself on “ghost guns.”

Watch Peppermint Patty Psaki spew an enormous, steaming pile of horseshit.

The Nation’s Kyle Paoletta is an idiot.

Rolling Stone’s Andy Kroll is an idiot.

American Prospect’s Ramenda Cyrus is an idiot.

OK, that’s enough for this week.  I actually do read these, you know.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Glen Campbell was a man of rare talent, which I have showcased before in these virtual pages.  While he’s best known as a country balladeer, with songs like Wichita Lineman and Southern Nights under his belt, what I find fewer people know about him is his excellent technical guitar work and occasional forays into other genres – like classical music.

Here, from a performance of unknown year but obviously later in his career, is Glen Campbell backed up with a full symphony orchestra, and his take on The William Tell Overture – complete with a bit of commentary on Glen’s youth and the Lone Ranger.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

We’re seeing hints of spring up here in the Great Land, with temps in the upper thirties and forties and quite a bit of melting.  That’s not to say that we won’t see some sub-zero temps yet; this is Alaska, after all, and we can see nighttime lows below zero into April, as we did only last year.  But for now, it’s pretty balmy for early March, and things are pretty drippy.

Still a lot of snow piled up, though.

With spring on the way, Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. are thinking of booking a May halibut/Pacific cod/rockfish charter out of Seward or Valdez.  It’s not cheap, typically running over $300 per person, but that’s a whole day fishing for the delicious flatfish, cod and the rather odd-looking rocks.  There’s nothing like good homemade fish and chips.  Plus a (cold) day out on the water is good for what ails you.

And we had company the other day.

That’s how it is here, at any rate – spring comes to the land and all thoughts turn to fishing.  There are a bunch of wondrous lakes, rivers and streams close by where one can pull up fat trout, delicious salmon and delicate little grayling.  It’s a great place to be outdoors.

And so…

On To the Links!

It’s true:  Democrats are now “the Establishment.”

No shit, Sherlock.

Practice saying “President DeSantis.”

Biden(‘s handlers) have no chance at redemption.  They’ve fallen too far, too fast.

What do you do when the nuclear option is actually the nuclear option?  And Putin has his nuke forces on high alert.

Panache.  And more.

And on that note, the Blessings of Ste. Javelin.

No shit, Sherlock, Part Deux.

Seattle is nearing Third World Shithole status, and this guy has the film.

Trump is back.  Honestly I’d rather see DeSantis run in 2024, but I’ll take another Trump run, just for the lulz.  And honestly, who are the Dems going to run against him?  Biden will be drooling into a sippy-cup by 2024.  Kamala’s approvals ratings (and her IQ) are somewhere between dryer lint and verrucas.  Will Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, First of That Name, Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, try for a third failed run?

The red wave is forming in Florida.

You can’t make this shit up.

When you’ve lost George Stephanopoulos…

Should we kill every mosquito on Earth?  Probably not possible, but get back to me in mid-June and I’ll be willing to give it a try.  Our Alaska mosquitoes are so big they show up on air-traffic radar.

Yeah, it’s probably too late.  Besides, by the time the mid-terms roll around, Biden(‘s handlers) will be looking at Jimmy Carter’s record with envy.

Tyrannosaurus rex may have been three species.

Stone Age totty:  The Venus of Willendorf revealed.

Exit question: Are voters as stupid as Democrats think they are?  Well, sure, enough them are.  Look at Congress right now.

This Week’s Idiots:

John “Lurch” Kerry is an idiot.

The Nation’s Elie Mystal (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Idiot Eric Swalwell couldn’t even manage to kick a Chinese spy out of his bed, but wants to kick Russian students out of the United States.

The Guardian’s Moira Donegan is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

Politico’s John Harris is an idiot.

The American’s Erwin Chemerinsky is an idiot.

I saved the best for last:

Heels-Up Harris (Repeat Offender Alert) continues to prove she’s an idiot.  Best reply:  “Obama picked Biden because Biden was the only Senator dumber than him. Biden picked Harris because….” A heartbeat away, folks.  A heartbeat away.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Trains figure quite a bit into American folk and country music, more so back in the days when they were still a primary passenger service.  Probably (in my opinion, anyway) the best American train song ever written is Steve Goodman’s City of New Orleans, written in 1971 and recorded most famously by Arlo Guthrie in 1972.

My best friend from school (and still to this day) spent a career as a trainman, later a conductor, on the old Illinois Central.  One of his career goals had been to, one time, serve as conductor on the City of New Orleans, which ran from Chicago to New Orleans.  It’s not well known, and nobody ever wrote a song about it, but that same train, on its return trip, was known as the City of Chicago.

Anyway.  Here, then, is the famous 1972 Arlo Guthrie recording of City of New Orleans, one of Guthrie’s best pieces and probably the best train song ever.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

It’s been strangely mild up here the last few days.  Last Friday we got about five inches of powdery white stuff, and we’ve had scattered snow – and rain – showers on an off since, throughout an unseasonably warm spell.  Temps have actually approached forty a couple of times.  The office roof and part of the house roof dumped – Alaskans know what that means, and I’m sure anyone can figure it out, given that we get a lot of snow.

View from the office window.

But now we’re moving back into typical weather for an Alaska January, daytime highs in the teens, overnight lows around zero.  We should even see a bit of sunshine today.

The wheel turns.  We’re now only a few days from February, then March, when the very first melting begins.  Before we know it we’ll have May showers bringing June flowers, the rivers and lakes will be open, and there will be salmon and trout to be caught.  That’s a big part of what we moved here for!

Every day here in the Great Land we love it just a little bit more.  And not just because the lower 48 continues to get crazier and crazier.

Now then, since I’m done bragging about this place…

On To the Links!

This is known as belaboring the obvious.

Generic ballot (Trafalgar):  GOP +14.  Holy crap.

You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

Well, yeah, that’s what happens when you put a doddering, senile imbecile in the Imperial Mansion.

About time.

These assholes are the fakiest fakes that ever faked a fake.

Will Democrats ever stop embarrassing themselves?  That’s a rhetorical question, right?

Bill Maher finds an acorn.

No shit, Sherlock.

Here’s a thought:  How about everyone just minding their own fucking business?

Tomatoes of all shapes and sizes.

Europe’s first tomato.

Will Fauci retire?  My guess is, no.  The guy likes having all those strings to pull just a little too much, and he has an ego all out of proportion with his stature.

The dumbest Biden.  And as you can imagine, that’s a pretty stiff competition.

When your opponent is in the process of doing something stupid – let him.

So, what else is new?

Now you can rent a robot cheaper than hiring a human worker.  Insert comment about the real minimum wage being zero here.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Hill’s Brent Budowsky is an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a sawed-off little runt, an advocate of abusing women, and an idiot.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Nation’s John Nichols (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Vox’s Zack Beauchamp (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The LA Times’ Jackie Calmes is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Dean Obeidallah (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Guardian’s Jan-Werner Müller is an idiot.

The Hill’s Ben Jealous is an idiot.

Brian Stelter continues to prepare for his second career as an actual potato.

The Montreal Gazette’s Josh Freed is an idiot.

Pot, meet kettle.

And on that, here from 2018 is more Stelter, who may already actually be a potato.  What an idiot.

How an idiot can stumble a country into a major war.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

The name Marvin Lee Aday ring any bells?  No?  Probably because he was better known by his stage name, Meat Loaf, and now he’s gone, at age 74.  Rock on, big guy.

Meat Loaf sure livened up FM radio when I was a teenager.  His album Bat Out of Hell was required for any teen’s rock & roll collection in those days, and was widely blasted through 20-ounce speakers from 8-track and cassette players while driving into town.

One of my favorites of his pieces was the famed Paradise By The Dashboard Light, which is actually something of a precautionary tale for teens on going too far too quickly.  Here is the original (spicy) music video for that tune.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily Blacktail News

A Sitka blacktail buck.

Before we begin, check out the latest in the Allamakee County Chronicles over at Glibertarians!

Now then:  Our own Governor Dunleavy has floated a plan to transplant Alaska’s only native deer, the Sitka Blacktail, into the Matanuska valley and our own Susitna valley.  The problem is, it probably wouldn’t work.  Excerpt:

The idea came from Gov. Mike Dunleavy: “Establish a huntable population of Sitka black-tailed deer in the Mat-Su,” according to the first page of an internal state report.

In a populous part of Alaska that climate change will warm in the decades ahead, an established deer population might provide a new source of food and wildlife viewing for residents without the means to fly or boat around the islands and coastlines where the elusive ungulates live, according to the administration.

“The governor has directed his commissioners and other officials to look into a host of game enhancement opportunities, including the relocation of species for hunting,” said a statement emailed from deputy press secretary Patty Sullivan. “The creation of new hunting opportunities is a priority of the governor’s.”

I don’t much care for the idea of spending taxpayer dollars to “create new hunting opportunities” in a state already replete with such opportunities, although I will admit that even a big Sitka buck would be a lot easier to handle than a 1,200 pound moose.  But here’s the real onion:

“All ADF&G deer managers and biologists agree that an SBD (Sitka black-tailed deer) introduction is unlikely to succeed in the Mat-Su,” according to the scoping report.

“The Mat-Su is far colder than anywhere within the SBD’s current winter range with mean daily maximum temperatures far below freezing from November through February,” it adds. “It is unlikely SBD can live in the Mat-Su under normal winter conditions.”

The report goes on to explain how deer survive winters in mountainous coastal environments: forest canopies prevent snow from deeply covering forage, and after big snow events the deer can descend toward shore areas to look for more food, even eating kelp on Kodiak beaches to avoid starvation.

“Kelp is rare to nonexistent in the Mat-Su valley,” the authors note.

What’s more, deep snow pack and relatively spare tree cover is likely to leave the deer’s main food supplies buried too long for them to survive through the year.

There is also the question of predators: The valleys of Southcentral Alaska have a lot of them: “Wolves, black bears, brown bears, coyotes and others (e.g. lynx, wolverines, and feral or free-roaming dogs),” the document says. “In years of heavy snow, limited mobility of SBD could lead to higher predation rates by wolves or coyotes.”

When it comes to hunting, Governor Dunleavy is one of us; he hunts and, from what I read about him, always has, but that’s hardly unusual here in the Great Land.  And I appreciate having a Governor who is very friendly to hunters and gun owners, which wasn’t the case any longer in the Colorado that we departed a year ago.

But in this case, the Gov should listen to the wildlife biologists who are educated in the field and experienced in dealing with Alaska wildlife.  This is what we pay them for.  Governor Dunleavy should abandon this plan as a bad idea and a waste of taxpayer money.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

This has been a funny year, outdoors-wise.  I didn’t fish or hunt in Alaska at all this year, and you might find that odd, since the fishing and hunting were one of our main draws to move here.  But since there is a one-year residency requirement before you can buy a resident license, and because I didn’t want to pay non-resident fees, I let it go for now.

Fall in Grand County.

A week from today, though, I will be heading back to Colorado to attend the general rifle elk season with loyal sidekick Rat.  I won’t be hunting, just tagging along with a sidearm, but as much as Colorado has gone loony the last few years, Grand and Routt Counties are still for the most part reasonably sane.  Plus it’s gorgeous country, and maybe Rat will fill an elk tag, after which event I’ll try to talk him out of some tenderloin and a few steaks.

We take our outdoor adventuring where we find it, you know?  Now then…

On To the Links!

President Biden(‘s handlers) to oil companies:  “Please lower your prices, and just forget that I screwed you over earlier this year.”  Oil companies correct response would be “Go fuck yourself.”  We’ll see what happens.

10 Ways the Chinese Government Lied, Misled, and Messed Up Early on in the Pandemic.  No shit.

What economic recovery?

Why China Is Alienating the World.  Well, they’re commies.  It’s what they do.

Here’s an interesting bit on why some of our early ancestors left Africa.

The Incredible Shrinking Dollar.

Entrepreneurship may bring down beef prices.

A slow-motion train wreck.

The Biden(‘s handlers) continues to appoint incompetents.  Yeah, this will end well.

Heels-Up Harris may have violated IRS rules on tax-exemption for churches while campaigning for McAuliffe in Virginia.  Let’s be honest; nothing will come of this.  She has the ultimate political “Get Out of Jail Free Card” – a “D” after her name.

You know, this might just work.

Robert Stacy McCain has an interesting piece on how social media makes people stupid.  Granted plenty of people are already stupid.

This Week’s Idiots:

Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex isn’t just an idiot, she’s an idiot with a toxic narcissism disorder.

Maxine Waters (Moron – CA) remains the stupidest member of Congress.  And she’s up against some pretty stiff competition.

The daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont is still an idiot.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Asshole – RI) is an idiot.

Representative Adam Schiff (Bug-eyed Loser – CA) is an idiot.

CNN’s Ruth Ben-Ghiat is an idiot.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a cheap hack, and an idiot.

Vox‘s Tim Ryan Williams is an idiot.

The Hill’s Antjuan Seawright is an idiot.

OK, that’s all I can take for this week.  I actually do read these, you know.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Back in the Eighties and Nineties I was listening to a lot of George Thorogood and his band, The Delaware Destroyers.  I saw him in concert in a small venue in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, about 1987 or so, and he put on a hell of a show.

His signature piece from that era, of course, was the 1982 tune Bad To The Bone.  In the official music video for that song, George plays pool against one of his musical influences, Bo Diddley (George covered a lot of Bo Diddley songs in his various albums) with real-life pool champ Willie Mosconi looking on.  It’s a fun song, with a lot of Thorogood’s typical rollicking, slam-bang guitar work.  Also, the cigar-ash-tap bit at the end of the last match – priceless.  Don’t forget to check the faces of the female spectators in the concert clips.  Here is that song and that video – enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Alaska is mostly known for big game hunting, as would any state with healthy populations of moose, caribou, black and grizzly bears and so on.  But it’s a great place for small game as well.

Spruce Grouse, almost in our back yard.

The Great Land has good populations of birds – spruce grouse, ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, as well as willow, rock and white-tailed ptarmigan.  There are snowshoe and arctic hares in many parts of the state, and this space precludes me describing all the various kinds of waterfowl.  It’s really an outdoorsman’s paradise here.

Wandering afield with a good scatter-gun looking for birds or hares isn’t as glamorous as heading into the bush with a heavy rifle looking for grizzlies, but it does have one good benefit for a guy my age – you can shoot a grouse, drop it in your game bag, and go looking for another.  Shoot a moose, and even if you have it in a spot where you can get your ATV and meat trailer right up to it, there’s still a lot of strenuous work ahead.  So, yeah, I’ll be hunting the big stuff – but plan on doing plenty of looking about for birds as well.

And with that, it’s…

On To the Links!

Testing early gunpowder recipes.  Interesting.

Welcome to the Weimar Republic, Teil Zwei .

Turns out that maybe Fred Flintstone’s pet Dino wasn’t that far off after all.

It was a stupid idea before, and it’s still a stupid idea.

Smarter people favor free markets.  Morons favor socialism.

To be fair, politicians of all sorts say lots of dumb things, but the Democrats seem to be trying to outdo themselves lately.

Will the EU ever learn to defend itself?  Probably not.  It’s probably too late for Europe.  The barbarians are already inside the gates, Europeans aren’t having babies, they have effectively surrendered.  Too bad.

No shit, Sherlock.

Big, scary, toothy critters.

This is known as belaboring the obvious.

Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller is now a political prisoner.

This Week’s Idiots:

MSNBC’s Zeeshan Aleem is an idiot.

The New York Times’ Zachary Carter is an idiot.  Seriously, who the hell can call the Biden(‘s handlers) economic plan “centrist” with a straight face?

CVS is evidently run by idiots.

Joe Biden thinks trillionaires exist.  What an idiot.

The Guardian‘s Arwa Mahdawi is an idiot.

MSN’s Jonathan Chait (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The LA Times’ LZ Granderson is an idiot.

Maxine Waters (Repeat Offender Alert) is and always has been an idiot.

Juan Williams is an idiot.  Funny, Juan used to seem like a decent guy – a lefty, but not obnoxious about it.  Nowadays he just seems to be losing it.  Sad.

Squad members persist in proving themselves idiots.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Remember when Southern Rock was a thing?  Back in the Seventies and early Eighties, bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ram Jam, Molly Hatchet and yes, ZZTop defined the popular genre.  Today, the closest you get is some country bands, like Blackberry Smoke.

One of the founding bands of Southern Rock was, of course, the Allman Brothers.  They were influential and popular, getting a lot of Top Forty radio play back in the day as well as (unlike a lot of Top 40 acts) actually being a pretty good band.

Here, from a 1991 performance, is the Allman Brothers Band with their tune Blue Sky, one of my favorites.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

The equinox is in a few weeks, where the sun hits the halfway point on its long march south.  At these latitudes it is quite a journey, and just now the sunset has moved south of the power lines and is giving us some pretty views:

My summertime’s drive for fishing is now being overtaken by my drive to get out in the field after some birds, but I have to wait for full residency, which comes one year after switching my Colorado driver’s license for an Alaska one; specifically, on February second.  I understand the reason for that law, but the beautiful fall weather, the big stretch of borough land behind us and the hand-crafted Tolley side-by-side double in my gun safe are egging me on.  Next year, dammit!

And with that said…

On To the Links!

Peter Boghossian shows us the difference between politics and principles.

The Biden(‘s handlers) Administration just keeps building back better!

I love a happy ending.


Ever wondered what happens when you dangle a rhinoceros upside-down?  Well, now you know.

Somehow, I suspect most Texans don’t give two shits about what the SFGate thinks.

We can hope.  Having the GOP in control of Congress will… well, it will slow down the decline of the U.S. some.

Beer.  Is there anything it can’t do?

Fauci can fuck right off, the government does not have this authority.

Inflation is skyrocketing.  Nobody should be surprised by this.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Nation‘s John Nichols (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Harry Reid is still a corrupt asshole, and an idiot.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

USAToday’s Ben Jealous is an idiot.

The New Republic‘s Timothy Noah is an idiot.

Sawed-off asshole Robert Reich is and always will be an idiot.

It’s idiots all the way down.

MSNBC’s Kavita Patel is an idiot.

The kind of stupidity shown at the VMAs (whatever those are) should be physically painful.

Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex continues to be a tone-deaf idiot.

New York’s new Governor is apparently an idiot with no clue as to the proper role of government.  What is it with that state, anyway?

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Audrey Hepburn was the epitome of style and grace; she was more beautiful in jeans, sweater and a towel over her hair than many women are in evening gowns, as you’ll see in this week’s selection.  And she wasn’t without pluck; during World War 2 she raised money for the Dutch underground during the German occupation of the Netherlands, an activity that may well have gotten her shot had she been caught in the act.

In the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hepburn played the iconic character Holly Golightly opposite a very young George Peppard, with a brief appearance by the remarkable Buddy Ebsen.  It’s a great film featuring a great star, and at one point she gives voice to the song Moon River.  Here, in a clip from that film, is that lovely, classy lady and that beautiful song – enjoy.

Goodbye, (Red White and) Blue Monday

Goodbye, (Red White and) Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Bacon Time and Whores and Ale for the Rule Five links!

No news today, just a few notes.  It was kind of a dreary Fourth, but Willow had a small parade, which went off with enthusiasm.  People up here celebrate Independence Day with gusto.

Today is, again, kind of dreary.  Figures, as we had a beautiful sunny week leading up to the weekend, that a rainy spell would set in.  But that’s Alaska for you.

And on that note – I’m off to enjoy the day, reflect a little bit on the Declaration that this day commemorates, and the two ancestors of mine and the one of Mrs. Animal’s that signed it.  Regular posts resume tomorrow.   Enjoy the day, Americans – it’s our day.

Animal’s Daily For The Birds News

Fortunately none of these are still around.

There are a lot of birds around.  Excerpt:

Through a combination of citizen science and big data analytics, researchers have estimated the entire global population of birds. There are roughly 50 billion individual birds chirping and flapping across the world, about six birds for every human.

“Humans have spent a great deal of effort counting the members of our own species – all 7.8 billion of us,” says Associate Professor Will Cornwell, an ecologist at the University of New South Wales and co-senior author of the study.

“This is the first comprehensive effort to count a suite of other species.”


There are over 9,700 different bird species that we know of, and the eBird catalog covers 92% of these species. The remaining 8% of species are very rare species that are rarely sighted, meaning their numbers are very low so their exclusion from the analysis shouldn’t have much impact on the overall estimate.

While some species are threatened with extinction others are incredibly abundant. In fact, four bird species are in what researchers call ‘the billionaire club’, due to having an estimated population of over a billion. These include the house sparrow (1.6 billion), followed by the European starling (1.3 billion), ring-billed gull (1.2 billion), and barn swallow (1.1 billion).

Having been brought up by parents who were involved in the local Audubon Society, I’ve always been a bit of a bird nut.  I like having them around, and now here, in the Great Land, we have a wide range of avian residents ranging from chickadees to eagles.  Their presence adds a lot to the landscape.

And here’s the thing:  I occasionally have occasion to raise the eyebrows of non-biologist types when they refer to something being “as dead as a dinosaur” by telling them that dinosaurs aren’t extinct; there are more dinosaurs alive today than mammals.  We call them birds, and while it’s the general practice among paleontologists and biologists to refer to “non-avian dinosaurs” as a distinction, the clade Aves (modern birds) are part of the larger group Theropoda, which includes most of the bipedal predatory dinos like allosaurus, the various raptors, and the infamous tyrannosaurs.

While that’s cool to reflect on, mostly, I just like having birds around.  At this time of year, every morning when I leave the house to walk to the office, I’m surrounded by a concert of morning bird song – another reminder of why we chose to move to this wondrous place.