Illustration by Kalliopi Monoyios for National Geographic
New fossil material from the pelvis of Tiktaalik roseae suggests it was able to use its hind fins as props as well as paddles

How Did I Miss That? Ancient Fish Fossil and Cocaine Condoms

Steve Russell

National Geographic announced a TV mini-series based on University of Chicago paleontologist Neil Shubin’s book, Your Inner Fish. The “star” will be Tiktaalik, a fish from 375 million years ago that could walk on its fins. My Cousin Ray Sixkiller was not impressed, pointing out that many Christians claim the Earth could not be more than 10,000 years old. “And I thought an Arkansas River catfish was ugly!”

“The timing really couldn't be much worse since we're approaching the peak shorebird migration season," said Richard Gibbons, conservation director of the Houston Audubon Society. Gibbons referred to an oil spill of 168,000 gallons of the 900,000 gallon cargo of an oil barge that collided with a ship in the Houston Ship Channel near the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary, which hosts between 50,000 and 70,000 birds. The good news is that the spill is over 200 miles from the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, home to critically endangered whooping cranes. “That’s easy for you to say,” Cousin Ray grumped. “You’re not a pelican.”

The Associated Press reported that 340 grams of cocaine packed into 14 condoms was seized in a package addressed to the Vatican Post Office. Police attempted a controlled delivery, but nobody claimed the package. “Maybe the smugglers thought better of it,” Cousin Ray commented. “It’s really serious to be caught in Vatican City with condoms.”

Vladimir Putin had an op-ed in The Onion that said in part: “It’s certainly no easy task to forcefully annex an entire province against another country’s will, so I just wanted to thank you—the government of the United States, the nations of western Europe, and really the entire world population as a whole—for being super cool about all of this.” Cousin Ray said he could laugh a lot harder if the Weekly Standard would STFU about deploying US troops and jacking up military spending. “You can’t tell which is the satire.”

In other news that pushes the limits of satire, The Daily Beast reported that Army PFC Lawrence S. Gordon, KIA in the assault on Normandy in 1944, would be coming home. Civilian researchers documented the location of his remains in a German cemetery but the US military refused to act. The repatriation of Gordon’s remains is owed to the Germans he was in Normandy to fight.

On March 21, a federal judge appointed by President Reagan struck down Michigan’s ban on same sex marriage, joining courts in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Texas. The suit was brought by Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, nurses who have each adopted special needs children and sought to have their relationship recognized in law to protect the children in case of the death of one parent.

In what has become a pattern, same sex couples in Michigan rushed to get marriage licenses before the bigots in control of government could get a stay pending appeal. About 300 Michigan couples scampered through the temporary breach in the legal walls. The New York Times quoted Jonnie Terry, who married her partner of 28 years, Elizabeth Patten, “It’s not how I envisioned my wedding, but we’re grateful.”

Steve Petrow, former president of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, commented on the passing of Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church: "I suggest we bombard Westboro Baptist with sympathy cards and prayers. Or, as a friend of mine tells me, 'Drive your enemies really crazy: Love them.' Okay, maybe not love, but at least not hate. Never hate." Cousin Ray suggested that driving the Westboro Baptist Church crazy is like driving Al Qaeda to violence. “The commute is short.”

Video of Melodi Dushane, 24, going berserk at a Toledo Mickey D’s has gotten a new life on the Internet mistakenly attributed to Topeka, which is perpetually in the news from the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Dushane was arrested for vandalism after being treated for her injuries when she punched out the drive-though window at a Toledo Mickey D’s because they did not sell chicken McNuggets at 10:30 a.m. “If chicken McNuggets cause this much grief,” Cousin Ray chuckled, “how crazy would it get if Mickey D sold real chicken?”


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