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How Did I Miss That? AZ Sasquatch; DC Nuts

The Arizona Department of Transportation showed a better sense of humor than your average state agency by posting on Facebook a sly suggestion that a screen grab from a surveillance camera showed “a family of sasquatches on SR 260...” The result was almost 3,000 shares, and AZ-DOT let over 2,000 comments get posted before they claimed they were pranking.

“Yeah, that’s what they claimed,” my cousin Ray Sixkiller chortled. “They didn’t say what the camera really showed.” My own observation is that I don’t recall any previous Bigfoot sightings involving half a dozen or so together.

Louie “Asparagus” Gohmert ran for Speaker of the House against John “Orange Man” Boehner! Rhea over at the beauty shop commented to a friend of mine, “The Democrats are like a box of chocolates: It’s not always clear where the nuts are. The Republicans are like a sundae: All the biggest nuts are right there on top.”

Right wing blog The Blaze headlined the news, calling Gohmert “a heavy hitter.” My Republican Cousin Ray was less enthusiastic, “Maybe he’s a heavy hitter if he’s swinging at the asparagus.”

Is this Sasquatch? We're gonna say no.

In a nut harvest begun last week, the scandal over the address by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise to the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) ramped up when former Grand Wizard David Duke threatened to reveal a list of Republicans and Democrats who had sought out his support. Cousin Ray commented, “It looks like they might run out of room under the bus.”

Several Oklahoma TV stations reported on Senate Bill 13 by GOP state senator Don Barrington that would outlaw wearing hoodies in public, but some of the reports did not mention Barrington’s name. “If they accused me of getting behind that law,” Cousin Ray snorted, “I’d sue them for defamation!”

The penalty for wearing a hoody in public in Oklahoma would be up to a year in jail and a $500 fine. Cousin Ray was thankful for small favors. “In Florida, it carries the death penalty.”

Deseret News reported that the Egyptian government has banned Exodus: Gods and Kings because of an alleged lack of historical accuracy. The new film joins Noah and The Da Vinci Code in being unable to get past the Egyptian censors. Holy books, like other sacred stories, are made of metaphors, not facts. In Joseph Campbell’s words, “All religions are true but none are literal.”

In another collision of myth and fact, NewHistorian reported that the Governor’s Office of Tokat, Turkey, is restoring and promises to put a live webcam in a dungeon once inhabited by Wallachian Prince Vlad III AKA Vlad ?epe? AKA Vlad the Impaler AKA Vlad Dr?culea AKA Count Dracula. Other historians claim that Count Dracula, who lived from 1431 to 1476 according to those who believe he died, was briefly locked up in Romania, not Turkey.

Those of us who watched the beginning of Gulf War I remember the Iraqi Air Force either blown out of the sky or destroyed on the ground. Even one of the Saudi princes got a kill. In 2014, Iraq “took delivery” of 36 F-16s….which are “stationed” in Arizona because Iraq has no air base safe enough from ISIS to fly them.

Civilian aviation gave us sad holiday news when AirAsia Flight 8501 went missing with 162 people on board. This time, the plane disappeared from radar on Sunday and the debris were located by Tuesday. This was a sharp contrast with Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which has still not been found or even accounted for in any persuasive narrative. AirAsia and its CEO have gotten high marks for crisis management, but the crash became the occasion for The New York Times to observe that Indonesian airlines have 25 times the fatalities of U.S. airlines but they only pay about twice as much for insurance.

Moving from airline tragedy to comedy, the BBC reported that the former Korean Airlines executive who threw a hissy fit upon being served macadamia nuts in a bag rather than on a plate as been arrested on a warrant from a South Korean court. Cho Hyun-ah, 40, was charged with interfering with a flight crew and another executive was also charged with destroying evidence in a case that has become known as “Nut Rage.”

The BBC also managed to snag an interview with the pilot of the Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 that lost the functioning of one of its main landing gear on December 29. Interrupting a trip to Las Vegas, the pilot circled for several hours to burn off fuel and then executed what Virgin called a “non-standard landing procedure” on the remaining three sets of wheels.

Slate reported on a piece of bigotry unseen in the South since the disobedience campaign against Brown v. Board of Education. A formerly reputable law firm, Greenberg Traurig, sent a memo to all county clerks asserting that the court decision overturning Florida’s anti-gay marriage law only applied to the particular clerk named in the lawsuit. This would be like claiming Brown only applied to Topeka, and any first year law student knows better.

Meanwhile, a group of clerks hostile to the Court’s opinion and gay people has decided to do away with courthouse weddings rather than marry gay people, sort of like Jackson, Mississippi once got away with shutting down the swimming pools for all because otherwise they would have to let blacks swim.

Cousin Ray was glum. “I lived though the fifties once already. It’s hard to understand anybody hating enough to do that again.”

I was flashing back to the Civil Rights Movement days when the phone made funny noises and guys in suits followed me around when I read a piece in The New York Times this week. Foreign language speaking FBI agents are complaining about extra surveillance because of the cultural competence that got them hired in the first place! English was good enough for Jesus, right?

The BBC reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a decree allowing foreigners to serve in the Russian military that is not fighting in Ukraine provided they speak Russian. The fight that is not happening in Ukraine is getting in the way of recruiting Russians. “Besides,” Cousin Ray snarked, “Russian was good enough for Jesus, right?”

The Texas Observer reported that state senator Charles Perry had a fall from the graces of Texas Right to Life when they scored his work in the 83rd legislature at 122 percent for voting against abortions in cases of rape or incest. It was a fall because his score in the 82d legislature was 135 percent. If this sounds arithmetic-challenged, don’t worry. Sen. Perry’s day job is CPA.

Gail Collins wrote a New York Times op-ed about presidential politics that did not mention Mitt Romney’s road trip with the dog on top of his car. Among other obscure facts, we learned that the consensus worst president in U.S. history, James Buchanan, arrived “with one of the best résumés in the history of presidential candidates: Buchanan had been a congressman, envoy to Russia, senator, secretary of state and minister to Britain.” Buchanan came up because he was the last ex-secretary of state to become POTUS.

“So,” Cousin Ray asked, “does that mean Hillary Clinton has little chance or that if she wins, she’ll be horrible?”

There’s a half-truth circulating on the Internet that is a big deal for those of us concerned about the survival of the bees that pollinate crops humans need. The true half is that there’s been a huge bee die-off in Ontario; the false half is that Monsanto caused it with genetically modified seeds. The Ontario Beekeepers Association is concerned about the false half because they are trying to get the real cause, neonicotinoid pesticides, banned.

I hold no brief for Monsanto. When I lived in Indiana, I heard more than one farmer call it “that outfit that turns family farmers into sharecroppers,” referring to Monsanto’s practice of suing farmers for infringing patented seeds when GMO crops would pollinate non-GMO crops in an adjoining field.

Wired reported that the historic De Halve Maan brewery in Bruges, Belgium is constructing a three mile pipeline to move product to a new bottling facility on the edge of town. Transport is currently by truck, and the brewery accounts for 85 percent of the traffic in Bruges. “What if,” Cousin Ray wanted to know, “there’s a spill? They may have more drunken gophers than Minnesota, but they won’t be golden!”

Morning Joe reported, with on the air taste testing, that White Castle is rolling out veggie sliders. Cousin Ray rolled out the old canard that the word for “vegetarian” in Cherokee literally translates “poor hunter.” Not true.

The Washington Post reported that HarperCollins is pulping the remaining stock of an atlas intended for sale in the Middle East that omitted Israel. The inaccurate map was panned by reviewers on Amazon, but HarperCollins claimed they had self-censored in the name of “local preferences.” Cousin Ray wanted to know if American Indians can buy an Atlas that omits the U.S., Canada, and Mexico?