Facebook/Trampas Tripp‎/Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC)
And you thought elk were gone from Oklahoma.

How Did I Miss That? Elk Walking; Walking Elk

Steve Russell

A TV station I grew up with, Tulsa Channel 6, reported that planners with the Oklahoma Conservation Commission had the amazing luck to come upon a herd of about 20 elk crossing the Illinois River near Tahlequah. They got pictures, which quickly zipped around social media because elk were commonly thought long gone from Oklahoma.

Some locals claim there are as many as 500 elk roaming the Cookson Hills around the Oklahoma-Arkansas border. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, to my surprise, allows some limited hunting. For the entire northeastern quadrant of the state, the quota is 20 a year and the limit is one per license. My cousin Ray Sixkiller suggested that if Oklahoma wants to be a hunting destination, it should introduce lions.

KXAN aired a report sourced from Cass County, Texas Sheriff Larry Rowe. A man who did not wish to be identified spotted a vagrant armadillo on his property in a suburb of Texarkana. Defending his home with a .38 revolver, he squeezed off three shots. One of the rounds was apparently deflected by the armadillo’s shell and struck the man in the jaw. The loser of the gun battle was airlifted to a hospital, where his jaw was wired shut. The victorious armadillo is still at large. “I can’t imagine,” Cousin Ray snickered, “why that guy didn’t wish to be identified.”

A smarter guy named hitchBOT was born in Canada at Ryerson University and became an ingenious experiment to reverse the usual question, “Can humans trust robots?”

Because hitchBOT depended upon the kindness of strangers to travel, it became a test of the opposite question, “Can robots trust humans?”

The answer appeared to be yes, as hitchBOT crossed Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands. Two weeks after attempting the U.S.A., vandals attacked hitchBOT in the City of Brotherly Love and decapitated him.

Cousin Ray claimed that W.C. Fields did not really put on his tombstone that he’d rather be in Philadelphia and reminded me of the time Eagles fans booed Santa Claus. “But if you think it’s over for hitchBOT, remember it didn’t stop C3PO.”

True. C3PO was decapitated and he was seen last week in bed with Amy Schumer, but it makes you wonder how many of the mob running to lead the country where a robot can’t be safe have been decapitated? Who with a head would want that job?

The top four candidates in Republican Primary polling have remained the same going into the first debate, and the shakedown from that event will happen while this column is being read. “Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, and Ben Carson,” Cousin Ray was not happy. “Two of the four are not serious.”

My Republican cousin keeps insisting The Donald is not serious, but GOP Primary voters have not gotten Ray’s memo.

The problem for the Democrats is that Hillary Clinton is serious and with a lead that looks prohibitive to opponents—just like last time, except her negatives are higher and she’s more scripted than ever.

Joe Biden, they say, is “authentic to a fault,” which is a kind way of stating his reputation as a gaffe machine. “Like a Donald Trump who knows what he’s talking about,” Cousin Ray observed.

Not exactly like Donald Trump.

When I read Biden’s financial disclosure in 2008, I had been referring to the U.S. Senate as “the millionaire’s club” for years, so I was shocked. Biden’s major asset was his home, but it had a second mortgage. He’s against Super Pacs and has really not made his peace with them as a political fact, so he’s been a poor fundraiser.

Barack Obama had no serious money until his book sales took off, but he was a very smart fundraiser. He pioneered the small contribution campaign like Bernie Sanders is running right now.

Biden and Clinton have both been public figures long enough that we “know” them. We’ve seen Clinton values and we’ve seen Biden values.

Tuesday Morning Joe this week had Chris Christie and The Donald appearing in the same hour. Morning Joe is just a little cable news show, I thought, but they must have a green room the size of Yankee Stadium to have room for that much ego. Then Christie came on…by telephone. Aww.

At a candidate forum, Rick Santorum was asked if Andrew Jackson should be replaced on the $20 bill and, if so, with whom? He answered yes and Carly Fiorina. OK, he was kidding. I think he was kidding, because Fiorina’s alive and he has no reason to want to kill her, since she’s really running for VP.

Foreign Policy reported that we the U.S. taxpayers have spent about $500 million to train 60 rebels from the Free Syrian Army. After Cousin Ray regained his breath, he rasped, “I hope they were trained like ISIS and not like the Iraqi Army.”

John Oliver remarked on the last public statement by Taliban leader Mullah Omar endorsing talks with the Afghan government two weeks before it came out he had been dead for at least two years, “full-on Weekend at Bernie’s.”

I don’t normally pass on weather reports because they are moving targets and this is a weekly, but I must acknowledge the Iowa tornado that made video candy this week. Colored top to bottom by water vapor, I would call it an albino. The weather people said it stayed white because it wasn’t picking up a lot of debris off the ground. I can say it was beautiful because there were no injuries and no property damage.

Rush Limbaugh reported that the crazy liberal city of Austin, the blue belly button on red Texas, enacted limitations on smoke emission that will shut down the production of good old Texas BBQ.

Texas BBQ, by the way, is the kind where the contents of your meal has some knowable relationship to a particular animal—as opposed to chopped mystery meat slathered in some kind of sweet sauce.

PolitiFact, after investigation, rated Limbaugh’s report “pants on fire.” After finishing his brisket sandwich, Cousin Ray commented, “Limbaugh must go though a lot of pants.”

In other sartorial news, Lenny Kravitz had a wardrobe malfunction during a concert in Sweden when his tight leather pants split on stage, exposing his junk. Jim Morrison once got arrested for the same thing during a Doors concert, but they said Morrison did it on purpose. “Look at the bright side,” Cousin Ray said helpfully. “At least the pants weren’t on fire.” 

Liberty University’s convocation was the site of the largest crowd of the 2016 presidential season by a Republican when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz drew 11,000 to his announcement. It helped attendance that failure to attend convocation was punishable by a $10 fine.

Other offenses include seeing an R-rated movie, $50, and participating in a séance, witchcraft or other demonic activity, $500. While I can’t prove this, I would bet several tribal sacred ceremonies come under “demonic activity.”

Next September 14, it would appear there might be demonic activity in convocation, where the speaker will be Socialist Bernie Sanders.

In the legal playpen on the right side of the planet, the notably conservative Fifth Circuit affirmed a federal district court finding that the Texas voter ID law has a discriminatory impact on minorities (duh) and reversed to take further evidence on whether the legislature intended to discriminate (double duh). Pols in several other states said out loud that the intent was to suppress minority voters to the end of hurting President Obama, but we have to assume they’ve learned better than to claim credit for suppression of lawful votes.

The Texas law is the one that caused a lot of WTF? nationally because, among state-issued cards, a handgun permit is good for voting but a student ID is not.

On another WTF? front, Jessica Valenti published an op-ed in The Washington Post back in 2011 claiming that Bristol Palin got $300,000 from Candie’s Foundation to promote abstinence as the answer to unwed births after her own pregnancy. USA Today noticed this week that Ms. Palin is on her second pregnancy with no husband in sight. Ms. Palin denies her gig was abstinence and claimed it was about teen pregnancy generally. Er, OK. I guess she’s no longer a teenager.

Making a WTF? trifecta, former police officer Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has broken his silence by cooperating with a profile in The New Yorker.

Indians will recognize Wilson’s attitude toward history…that it has nothing to do with him. If he’s not a racist, racism could not possibly inform any of his actions. He floats free of any social matrix, particularly if he’s ignorant of it.

This is the mirror image of the Indian with the blood memory of genocide. Or the Jewish kid who remembers the number tattooed on his grandmother’s wrist. Or the descendant of lynching victims.

We don’t choose that any more than he did. But Darren Wilson can’t and we can’t wish away the history that binds us together…

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