European settlers in America hunted the passenger pigeon throughout the 19th century.

How Did I Miss That? Pigeons Missed; Girl Ghostbusters Dissed

Steve Russell

Here’s hoping that passenger pigeons may have something in common with Indians. The report of our extinction was greatly exaggerated and the same may be true of the allegedly vanished bird. The passenger pigeon already has in common with the American bison that imprudent hunting destroyed an abundant population.

I did not write “decimated,” because that would mean one in ten were killed. As to the bison, it was greater than nine of ten. As to the passenger pigeon, it was thought to be every last bird.

As to the bison, the near-extinction was purposeful to the end of extinguishing the Plains Indians as free peoples. As to the passenger pigeon, conventional wisdom says the species was extinguished by mass stupidity and greed among the settlers.

The World Wide Web is questioning the conventional wisdom that the passenger pigeon—a species that formerly blackened North American skies—is extinct. Alleged sightings by birders are collected here

Great Big Story posted a video of an unbearably cute newborn I took to be an antelope. It turned out to be an Addax nasomaculatus, an inhabitant of North African deserts. The addax has been hunted to near extinction, with less than 100 individuals left in the wild and a like number in captivity.

In defense of the hunters, the part of Africa where the addax lives has a degree of political instability that leaves many people hungry most of the time, so an addax killed means immediate meat and sale of the spectacular antlers could provide more food.

The video of the new calf led to the St. Louis Zoo, which is helping manage the surviving addax population. St. Louis has welcomed several new calves, and when there are so few, wildlife biologists have to use DNA to avoid inbreeding and to design a Species Survival Plan.

Those who think it can’t happen as we watch should pay attention to Ceratotherium simum cottoni, the northern white rhinoceros. Last year, there were five in the world when a death in a Czech zoo cut the population to four and another death at the San Diego Zoo made it three.

National Geographic reported that the last three, one male and two females, are under 24/7 armed guard from poachers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. They are too old to reproduce but scientists are attempting in vitro fertilization with transplant of the embryos to another species of rhino.

In an embarrassing story for those of us who view Austin as a laid back hippie haven, KXAN reported that a jogger around Lady Bird Lake got cell phone video of a guy pulling a turtle out of the water with fishing gear and then smashing it to death with a hammer.

The perp looked right at the camera before he ran off, so tips to Crimestoppers busted him quickly. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the perp claimed that it was a snapping turtle and he hit it with a hammer in “self-defense.”

Prosecutors are still mulling an animal cruelty charge, probably because turtles are not warm and fuzzy and cute and so there’s less outrage over hurting one. The perp was cited for “hunting non-game wildlife without a license” and “illegal dumping” of the remains.

In another questionable self-defense case, two off-duty Orlando, Florida police officers were walking in a park on the shores of Lake Eola, when they paused to watch a swan with her babies.

According to WFLA, Sor Angel Velez, 59, walked between the officers and the swan, which lunged at Velez as if to peck him. According to the police report, Velez walked on past for about ten feet, but then came back and punched the big bird.

The brave “human” started to run away, but the off-duty officers gave chase and held him for uniformed officers. Charged with “injuring wildlife on public property,” Velez pled guilty and got 10 days in jail.

Sometimes Indians who object to being mascotted suggest that animals be cast in the role. CNN reported that sometimes animals can be harmed as well.

The jaguar—a sacred animal to many indigenous peoples of the Americas---has been adopted as the mascot of the Brazilian Olympic team. It’s a human in a yellow jaguar suit named Ginga.

As the Olympic torch was carried across the country, the Brazilians set up a photo opportunity with the torch and a real jaguar by the name of Juma. After the torch moved on, Juma made a break for freedom and was shot to death by the Brazilian military.

The Brazilian Olympic Committee released a statement about the incident, reading in part: "We made a mistake when we allowed the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and union of different people, to be exhibited next to a chained wild animal…”

Here’s a sobering thought. The betting market attached a greater probability to Donald Trump becoming POTUS than to Britain voting for Brexit.

International Business Times reported that the Brexit vote in Great Britain (withdrawal from the European Union) has revitalized the Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM). To surf public opinion, TNM is now referring to Texas secession as “Texit.”

Another immediate result of the Brexit vote was a stock market nosedive worldwide. The British pound took a fall unseen since George Soros became a billionaire by shorting it.

The presumptive Republican nominee for POTUS was in Scotland while the world markets were shedding value by the trillions. Was The Donald overseas to polish his foreign policy bona fides? No, he was opening a new golf club in the land where golf was invented.

When steered to the Brexit question by reporters, he cheered the outcome---either because nobody told him Scotland voted to remain or he chose to ignore it. He did announce that the new golf course sports “the greatest par three in the world.”

The New York Times reported that a lawsuit against Starbucks has survived a motion to dismiss. The class action claim is that Starbucks instructs baristas to fill latte cups to a quarter inch from the top and the result is the 12, 16, and 20 ounce cups do not contain the amount of beverage claimed.

When the judge kept this case on the docket, it joined another class action over a claim that Starbucks puts too much ice in iced beverages, resulting in customers getting more water and less coffee or tea.


The point of class actions is to keep corporate bad actors from stealing a tiny bit from so many people it becomes real money. But in the real world, who buys coffee by number of ounces? We eyeball it. If a quarter inch is not close enough to full, maybe we don’t buy it anymore.

Lisa Alamia was born and raised in Texas, but KTRK reported that when she came out of anesthesia after jaw surgery, her Texas twang had become a British accent. The doctors say it’s “foreign accent syndrome”---common enough to have a name. Alamia told KTRK that her British brogue is slowly fading away and she looks forward to no longer being taken for a tourist in her homeland.

My cousin Ray Sixkiller’s comment was not helpful: “RAW-thuh a sticky wicket, wot?”

The New York Times reported that a movie remake is facing unprecedented hostility from the original movie’s fan base before it is even released, including nasty comments on the trailers.

Here’s one of the least nasty evaluations of the new Ghostbusters trailer: 

It took some looking to find a discussion of the trailer with no profanity, but a comment worth repeating was under one of those NSFW sites:

Since it’s a female cast, can we pay 75 percent of the ticket price?


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