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How Did I Miss That? Haboob Haikus; Sex Geckos

Reacting to property damage and injuries and even deaths caused by haboobs in the Arizona desert, the Arizona Department of Transportation is running the #HaboobHaiku challenge

to publicize the safest reaction to these monster dust storms you can’t outrun: pull as far off the road as you can get, turn your lights off, and stay in your vehicle. You are invited to tweet a haiku @ArizonaDOT, which is going all out with the Twitter hashtag #HaboobHaiku, a blog devoted to the projectand, of course, YouTube.

Upon reading this my cousin Ray Sixkiller rapped out: New dust storms deadly/Pulling over safe can be/Propaganda hard.

Prof. Sumudu Atapattu of the University of Wisconsin has a forthcoming article in the Washington Journal of Environmental Law and Policy examining the novel legal questions raised by the disappearance of nations. Not the political disappearance, but the physical disappearance. The immediate cause is rising sea levels and the ultimate cause is global warming. Atapattu’s case studies include the Inuit, the Maldives, Kivalina, and Tuvalu.

“My Republican friends have an easy answer for people going under water,” Cousin Ray snarked. “We’ll just get the fossil fuel industries to fund an advertising campaign to convince them the sea is not rising. If the sea is rising, humans are not causing it. If the sea is rising and humans are causing it, doing anything about it would bankrupt the US.” I thanked Ray for clearing that up.

Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus, speaking on MSNBC, once more pooh-poohed the “War on Women” meme as the “Democrat Party” making up a meme and women “getting caught up in policy and legislation.” This is the same guy who called the War on Women as fictional as a War on Caterpillars in 2012. “Right,” grumbled my Republican Cousin Ray, “and our numbers with women are lower than our numbers with caterpillars.”

This time Alice waited patiently until it chose to speak again. In a minute or two the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and yawned once or twice, and shook itself. Then it got down off the mushroom, and crawled away into the grass, merely remarking, as it went, “One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter.”

“One side of what? The other side of what?” thought Alice to herself.

Jefferson Airplane -White Rabbit- Official Music Video

Go ask Mr. Priebus, Alice. He needs as badly out of the rabbit hole as you, and before the election.

The Wall Street Journal reported that former Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, just removed by Virginia voters, has landed on his feet with Moelis & Company, a Wall Street investment bank. Since 2012, investment firms had showered Cantor with $1.4 million in political money. “Now,” an embarrassed Cousin Ray sighed, “the banks have cut out the middleman.”

The Moscow Times reported that all the Russian “sex geckos” sent into space to study reproduction died during the mission. Those of us old enough to remember Laika the space dog’s slow death in 1957 were not surprised. The geckos’ partners in sex research, what the Times called a “team” of flies, survived and reproduced. “Partners?” Cousin Ray expostulated, “The geckos thought the flies were rations and probably starved to death because they wouldn’t eat reptile MRE’s”

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Fast Company reported on the preference of some tech CEOs to hire liberal arts graduates, because “the liberal arts train students to thrive in subjectivity and ambiguity, a necessary skill in the tech world where few things are black and white.” Cousin Ray was glad that skill works in Silicon Valley. “It sure won’t work in Washington.”

Rumors have it that the new iPhone 6, due out next month, will have a mobile payment system with biometric security by fingerprint. “There is no truth to the rumor,” my Luddite Cousin Ray announced, “that the iPhone 7 will make toilet paper obsolete.”

The New York Times reported on a new fad in footwear, after Crocs and Five Fingers, shoes made of Tyvek with rubber soles. Tyvek, around since 1955, weighs about as much as paper, but is very strong and commonly used for car and boat covers. Using it for shoe tops may be a good idea, but the Times quoted a professor waxing over the top about Tyvek, “It’s postindustrial. It’s futuristic. It’s postmodern.” Cousin Ray reminisced, “I always did want to be on the cutting edge of 1955.”

The New York Times reported that the US movie business had its worst summer since 1997, down 15 per cent from last summer for a mere $3.9 billion box office in North America. The most successful summer movie featured a gun-toting raccoon and a walking tree. Cousin Ray declined to speculate whether those two facts are related.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married this week. There was no published comment from any of their six kids. Erasing doubts about Brangelina’s commitment, the Daily Mail reported that Pitt has not filmed a sex scene since making the beast with two backs with Cate Blanchett in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). Jolie has been cinematically chaste since making it with Ethan Hawke in Taking Lives (2004). This does not count with each other in Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005).

With World Cup mania and the NFL preseason games over, North American football begins. “There is no truth to the rumor,” Cousin Ray sighed, “that the Washington team is going to buy a new name from the Ottawa team of the Canadian Football League.”

In college ball, star USC cornerback Josh Shaw injured both his ankles and told a story involving his own heroism to explain how he jumped off a second floor balcony to save a child from drowning. He now admits that was not true. He was injured decamping from his own apartment building and the facts that the LAPD made a domestic violence call at about the same time and his girlfriend lives in the same building are coincidences.

On the pro level, the NFL has announced tough new sanctions for woman beating. I’m sure the same would apply to Michael Sam, but let’s be serious. Straight men beating their partners are a big deal in the NFL and always have been. Gay men, not so much. Going forward, the NFL will impose a six game suspension on first offense and a ban from the NFL on second offense, with the chance to petition for reinstatement after one year. Within a week of the sanctions announcement, San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested for felony domestic violence.

The St. Louis Rams have cut Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL, assuring the press it was “a football decision.” Probably true, since less than half of seventh-rounders make the team. Sam was one of the last four cut. He proved he can play at the pro level with three sacks in the preseason, and at this writing is on Dallas Cowboys' practice squad.

The Wall Street Journal reported that ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State because it claims to be the new Islamic Caliphate, is the richest terror organization ever and “runs a self-sustaining economy across territory it controls in Syria and Iraq…” Cousin Ray pointed out that puts ISIS way ahead of the US Congress, which can’t seem to run a self-sustaining economy in the US.

Speaking of the confederation of dunces, there was an article on BuzzFeed based on the website run by pastor, radio host, and soon to be Republican Congressman Jody Hice of Georgia, showing that most of quotations from the Founders on Hice’s website were bogus. BuzzFeed quoted Hice, “I have one plan: the Constitution. If we were following this document, we wouldn’t have the problems that we’re facing today”

I wonder if Hice’s esteem can be gauged by the degree of trouble he’s taken to fabricate quotations? If so, he loves Jefferson, dinged with falsehoods four times. Franklin and Washington get two each; John Quincy Adams and Patrick Henry only one. These counts may be off a little because the reporter could barely get up off the floor, where he was laughing, and did not check all the quotations. Rev. Hice will not raise the collective IQ of Congress. Cousin Ray reminded, “Georgia has been going downhill ever since they threw out the Cherokees.”

Afghanistan Times editorialized against that country’s brain drain “as doctors, engineers, economists, scientists and even diplomats left the country in search of a better working climate.” Cousin Ray said he could not understand why an educated person would leave where much of the country thinks education is evil. “You know,” Ray said with a sly grin, “like some Indian reservations where education equals assimilation?”