Archive for March, 2020

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Sheltering in place to avoid the coronavirus pandemic, as we have been instructed, clearly is keeping local customers away from a number of West Marin businesses, creating financial calamities for some of them, as The Point Reyes Light reported Thursday.  And it’s creating a dilemma for homeless residents. Where can someone without a shelter go to shelter? We retired folks probably have it easiest. I simply pull up the covers, turn on the electric blanket, and lay my head on the pillow.

(Updates: On Saturday, March 21, so many folks from out of town wanted to get out in nature that they clogged roads to and from the coast, prompting the Sheriff’s Department to warn that “the visitors created traffic congestion which interferes with first responders’ ability to handle emergencies. In addition, state and county park parking lots and bathrooms are closed due to the shelter-in-place order, adding to further congestion and creating problems with sanitation.”

Sheriff’s Department photo of traffic heading into Dillon Beach.

On Sunday, the Park Service responded by closing Limantour access road, Drakes Beach, Drakes Estero, and Mount Vision Road gates. Also closed were visitors centers at Bear Valley, Drakes Beach, and the lighthouse. “Limited access will be allowed to Palomarin Trailhead area beyond Commonweal entrance, Pierce Point Road, Lighthouse and Chimney Rock parking lots,” the Park Service noted.)

President Trump on Sunday, March 22.

President Trump on Thursday raged against the major news media’s coverage of coronavirus and the White House’s response to it, lambasting NBC reporter Peter Alexander for asking him: “What do you say to Americans who are scared?” The president responded, “I say that you are a terrible reporter.  That’s what I say.” He went on to also claim The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post “are very dishonest….

“It amazes me when I read the things that I read,” Trump said. “It amazes me when I read The Wall Street Journal, which is so negative, and The New York Times — I barely read it. We don’t distribute it in the White House, and the same with The Washington Post.” In short, he writes off the three most respected newspapers in his country. No wonder he’s such an ignoramus.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy later commented, “This is unbelievably dangerous. The press has done nothing but convey the gravity of the crisis, and by discrediting the media, Trump empowers the hoax purveyors and conspiracy theorists who tell people there’s nothing to worry about.”

Three bald eagles sharing a nest and together incubating the eggs. (Steward of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge photo)

Elsewhere in the press, Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke has penned a tongue-in-cheek denunciation of a “pervy bird threesome….  A trio of Illinois bald eagles — two male and one female — have formed a wholly indecent three-person couple… Thanks to nearby cameras — presumably installed by avian pornographers — the uninhibited bird pervs have shoved their nontraditional lifestyle in the faces of wholesome people across America and around the world….

“It’s unnatural, and the fact that this three-way eagle fornication party is happening in nature — thus interfering with my ability to call it unnatural — makes it even more unnatural…. To preserve the values that made America great and to protect the proud infallible institution of marriage, I demand the Illinois Department of Natural Resources intervene and break up this so-called marriage.”

Marijuana buds.

One news story circulating internationally in the English-language press concerns an eight-year-old Canadian boy who won a $200 gift basket of marijuana-laced chocolates at a raffle during a youth hockey tournament in British Columbia. According to a New Zealand news service, Newshub, “Each team is usually responsible for putting a gift basket or prize together with a minimum value of $50.”

The boy’s father gave him $10 to spend on raffle tickets, and the kid put a ticket on what he thought were conventional chocolate candies. As his grandfather, Keith Redl, later recalled, “My grandson thought he had won a great prize. ‘Dad, I won chocolate!'” Redl  recounted. “No son,” the boy’s father said. “There’s bad drugs in the chocolate.” This prompted the boy’s grandfather to muse, “How do you explain that to a kid?”

The Dawson Creek Minor Hockey Association later said the donated gift basket was intended for an adult winner, and the cannabis was never exposed to children. Commented the disgruntled grandfather, “I was a policeman for 32 years, and you … try to protect people from [this] stuff…. There is no place for drugs at a child’s hockey tournament.”

Filmmakers Steven Spielberg (left) and George Lucas on the set of Star Wars in 1977.

Still more unlikely news. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s daughter Mikaela has announced she’s started producing her own sex videos to run on the internet’s PornHub. “I got really tired of not being able to capitalize on my body, and frankly, I got really tired of being told to hate my body,” she explained in an interview with The U.S. Sun, a tabloid based in the British Isles.  “And I also just got tired of working day to day in a way that wasn’t satisfying my soul.”

Mikaela Spielberg.

Mikaela said her parents don’t mind her new porn career and that she’s limiting herself to masturbation videos because she doesn’t want to be unfaithful to her fiancé Chuck Pankow.

That may sound a tad conservative to be coming from a porno actress, but she did acknowledge that her long-term goal is to become a stripper.

Caveat lectorem: When readers submit comments, they are asked if they want to receive an email alert with a link to new postings on this blog. A number of people have said they do. Thank you. The link is created the moment a posting goes online. Readers who find their way here through that link can see an updated version by simply clicking on the headline above the posting.

Many of the blacktail deer around Mitchell cabin appear to have large sores on the inside of a back leg. If they were indeed sores, that would be worrisome. What is going on? Do their knees bump against each other when they run? As it turns out, all’s well. It’s just a matter of deer being able to do things we humans would never try.

In this photo of deer-turkey Siamese twins I posted a few weeks back, the spot on the deer’s left hind leg looks downright bloody. But as I have now read on a whitetail hunting website, what we’re seeing is not a sore but a tuft of hair whose purpose is to catch urine for the deer’s “tarsal gland”:

“Each hair is associated with an enlarged sebaceous or ‘fat’ gland that secretes an oily material that coats the hair. When a [squatting] deer ‘rub-urinates’ — allowing urine to soak the tarsal gland —  the oily secretions absorb certain compounds in the urine. Studies have shown a diverse population of different species of bacteria living in the tuft of hair that makes up the tarsal gland. These bacteria interact with the compounds from urine in a way that creates the characteristic color and odor.

“Does, bucks and even fawns rub-urinate year-round, but bucks do it more often in the breeding season, which is why the stain and odor of a buck’s tarsal gland is more prominent during the rut. Changes in the composition of a buck’s urine also likely contribute. Older, more dominant bucks tend to rub-urinate more frequently, so the stained area is larger. In some cases, the stain extends down the inside of each leg.

“The exact mix of bacteria is unique from deer to deer, which may give each deer a unique scent that other deer can recognize. This scent is likely deposited in scrapes when a deer rub-urinates and urine flows over the tarsal gland onto the ground. It is likely tarsal-gland scent carries information about the dominance status, sex, health condition and possibly other characteristics of the deer it came from.”

A tarsal gland on a whitetail deer.

Turning to other oddities, I’ve had two recently at the Safeway in San Anselmo’s Red Hill Shopping Center. The first occurred around the beginning of the year on a day I was driving my backup car, a 28-year-old Nissan, to give it some exercise. I parked in Safeway’s lot, but when I later tried to drive away, the battery was dead. A neighboring driver let me attach jumper cables to his battery, but it did no good. I thanked the man and went looking for a phone to call AAA.

I don’t own a cellphone, and there was no payphone to be found. Luckily a friendly woman in a real estate office let me use their phone, and I called AAA but got a dispatcher in God knows what part of the world. After I explained I needed a tow operator to get my car started, I told her it was a white, 1992 Nissan with its hood open, parked in front of the Red Hill Safeway in San Anselmo.

“Is Safeway a store?” the dispatcher wanted to know. “Yes,” I told her. “It’s a supermarket.”

“What state is San Anselmo in?” I told her “California.”

“What’s the street address….?” The dispatcher went on and on like this as the woman in the real estate office rolled her eyes. Finally the dispatcher told me a tow truck would come by in 45 minutes to an hour and a half.  I groaned, thanked the woman in the real estate office, and the tow truck was there in 10 minutes. The call took almost that long.

More bizarre yet, while in the same store one day last week, I went into the men’s room and entered a stall only to have a metal panel that formed the main wall of the cubicle fall over on me. I was startled but not hurt, and I subsequently informed a store clerk that the men’s room needed attention.

The deer, at least, never have to worry about such mishaps.