Just what does that gull see?

One of the odder results of Senator John McCain’s choice for a vice presidential running mate is that Americans are learning about a previously obscure but medically recognized brain disorder. The disorder, which can lead to clinical anxiety, causes sufferers to see things after they’re no longer there.

Ironically, the name of the brain disorder is Palinopsia. This is true. “You could look it up,” to quote James Thurber. The all-too-apt coincidence of names was first brought to public attention in online commentaries by Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker and Michael Daly of The New York Daily News.

100_4432_11.jpg For defense, the gopher snake frequently pretends to be a rattlesnake.

Snake bitten after Republicans, as well as Democrats, accused him and running mate Sarah Palin of rabble rousing that could lead to violence, Senator McCain is now trying to defuse his supporters’ fury toward opponent Barack Obama.

When a woman at a rally in Minnesota last Friday told McCain she didn’t trust Senator Obama because “he’s an Arab,” McCain responded, “No, ma’am, he’s a decent family man.”

It’s true that Obama is not Arabic. But since when are being Arabic and being “a decent family man” mutually exclusive? (Editor’s note: Less than an hour after this posting went online, Jon Stewart raised the same question on the Daily Show. In short, SparselySageAndTimely.com was out in front of the Daily Show on this issue — at least in the Pacific time zone.)

Western fence lizards come in many colors, sometimes looking almost red on their backs although males are typically blue on their bellies.

Another irony. Despite bogus claims about Senator Obama’s ancestry, if you go back enough generations, Obama through his mother is related to George Bush (11th cousins), Dick Cheney (9th cousins), two signers of the Declaration of Independence (Richard Henry Lee and his brother Francis Lightfoot Lee), a 19th century US Supreme Court justice (Edward Douglass White), and numerous other American statesmen.

To improve the public’s poor opinion of them, President Bush and Vice President Cheney may want to start stressing that they’re related to the much-more-popular senator from Illinois.