Youtube/Cornell Lab Bird Cams Project
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How Did I Miss That? Undocumented Hummingbird; Brexit Chocolate

Steve Russell

H. Sapiens news was not very edifying this week, so I looked to other species when I could.

Cornell Lab eNews reported that the West Texas Hummingbird Cam captured the first Amethyst-throated Hummingbird ever sighted in the U.S. The rare rascal is native to Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The bird posed for the camera twice and then moved on, leaving video evidence.

“There is no truth to the rumor,” my cousin Ray Sixkiller wisecracked, “that this video has caused President Trump to redesign that wall Mexico is going to pay for.”

CNN reported that Barnyard Betty’s Rescue Farm in Queensland, Australia has taken in a Huntsman spider that is…rather large. The report speculated that the rescued arachnid, named Charlotte, might be the largest ever recorded, which would mean over 12 inches leg span. The rescuers have not grabbed Charlotte and held her down for a measurement.

The Decatur Herald & Review reported that a long green snake slithered out of the ceiling of an Aeromexico flight from Torreon to Mexico City. Flight attendants immobilized the animal by dropping blankets on it after it fell to the floor in the passenger cabin. After a priority landing in Mexico City, the passengers exited out the rear while animal control officers entered from the front to take the snake into custody. Unfortunately, Samuel L. Jackson was not on the flight.

ABC reported that police in Brisbane, Australia were arresting a 50 year old woman on what appeared to be warrants when they found in her backpack a baby koala, estimated to be not more than six months old.

Phascolarctos cinereus is sometimes called a “koala bear,” but the cute little booger is in fact a marsupial. They are considered “vulnerable” and so are no longer being hunted for their fur. The main threat to koalas is habitat destruction.

“Unless,” Cousin Ray interjected, “you count humans carting babies off in backpacks.”

There have been some stupid human tricks recently that did not involve koalas or ballot boxes.

KIAH reported that Crenshanda Williams was a 911 operator since 2014. Her supervisors noticed she had very high numbers of calls that lasted less than 20 seconds. Investigation showed that Williams had disconnected thousands of calls because, she said, “she did not want to talk to anyone at that time.”

WREG reported that Peggy Rose, 74, died of injuries sustained in a Walmart parking lot when she ran over herself with her own car. She was backing up at high speed with the driver side door open when she hit a pedestrian. The collision caused her to fall out the open door, where she was run over. The pedestrian was hospitalized but is expected to recover.

HuffPost reported on trips to see the candidates’ rallies by J.J. Holmes, who is confined to a wheelchair by cerebral palsy. Mr. Holmes, 12, wanted to ask Trump about making fun of a reporter with a similar disability. The boy and his mother were ejected from the Trump rally without any chance to speak to The Donald.

Less that 24 hours later, the boy was shaking hands with President Barack Obama at a Clinton rally.

CNN reported that just after Trump’s fortunes were going up the website for Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada became “temporarily inaccessible to users as a result of a significant increase in the volume of traffic.”

In another apparently Trump-related development, searches for information on IUD birth control spiked, some people apparently believing that Trump is beholden to fundamentalists who believe birth control pills cause homicides by not letting a fertilized egg attach to the uterine lining.

Should Trump keep his promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, free birth control pills will be gone. Bringing back government supervision of women’s health care involves getting Roe v. Wade (Which legalized abortion) and then Griswold v. Connecticut (which legalized birth control).

Gun Insider crowed that “Trump’s Win Will Restore Conservative Supreme Court Majority,” and in the article called this election a “vindication” of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision not to allow President Obama’s appointment, Merrick Garland, to have a hearing. The pro-gun newsletter admitted that the failure to have a hearing on Judge Garland “has little precedent in U.S. history.” How about no precedent?

Reuters reported, citing Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, that the Russian government and Donald Trump’s campaign were in touch during U.S. silly season. The Russian parliament erupted in applause when it heard Trump had won, according to Reuters. Unless this reporting is flat wrong, the Trump-Putin bromance is very much alive.

Great Big Story reminded us that the tasty Graham cracker was originally created by a minister, Sylvester Graham, for the purpose of slowing down the sex drive of lascivious Americans. It’s ironic that the quest for a bland flavor thought not to stir the libido uncovered a principal ingredient in S’mores.

I broke my usual self-imposed rule of not giving investment advice to suggest that people ought not to sell into the market panic that was sure to attend election of The Donald. I expected that failure to sell a reasonably balanced portfolio would, at worst, result in a couple of years of dead money.

Turned out I was right for a different reason. The market came back more quickly than is normal. I predict the market will remain skittish until Trump proves he’s not as crazy as he sounded during the campaign.

The Associated Press reported that voters in Oceanside, California, reelected City Treasurer Gary Ernst by six points over his challenger in spite of the fact that Ernst has been dead since September.

Cousin Ray wanted to know if a dead treasurer would be responsible for keeping track of dead money?

The Associated Press reported that a team representing Peter Pastorok’s funeral services of Kaina nad Hronom, Slovenia has won the 2016 Grave Digging Championships. It’s a timed event, and the only tools allowed are picks and shovels.

In a hopefully unrelated development, a Canadian diver hunting for sea cucumbers found what appeared to be the very first nuclear weapon the United States ever lost. The A-bomb was misplaced on account of a plane crash in 1950.

The Yakima Herald reported that Rhonda Crawford has been elected to be an Illinois trial court judge. The hitch in the giddyup is that she is currently banned from assuming the robe because of because a prior conviction for (wait for it) impersonating a judge.

The Daily Beast reported that the Trump team is having a hard time recruiting for his national security team, having put off the Republican establishment with his best imitation of a loose cannon during the campaign. The Beast quoted one of the people trolling for candidates that it is “going to be very difficult to fill positions in that space because everybody that had any experience was a never-Trumper.”

Brits should lay in a supply of Hershey bars; Brexit has destroyed Toblerone. The iconic Swiss chocolate has gotten a physical makeover effective only within the United Kingdom. A Toblerone is a series of triangular pieces. The British version now has a lot more air between the pieces, reducing the amount of chocolate in the 14 ounce bar to 12.6 ounces and the 6 ounce bar to 5.3 ounces.

Don’t blame the Swiss or even the Brits, since Toblerone is now the property of Mondelēz International, a U.S. corporation formerly known as Kraft.

“So,” Cousin Ray wanted to know, “who owns Hershey bars?”

Hershey’s fought off a takeover attempt recently and is still owned by the Hershey Trust Company, set up by founder Milton Hershey to raise funds for his favorite charities.

I was wondering what Cousin Ray thought about eating candy when the profits go to charity…but his mouth was full.

Navajo Times reported another Marine Code Talker has walked on. George James, Sr. enlisted at age 17 and fought though some of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific Theater: Iwo Jima, Saipan, and Okinawa. He was 92. The Times reported there are only 14 surviving Code Talkers. R.I.P.

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