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How Did I Miss That? Dinosaur Feathers; Crude Oil Follies

A 99 million year old dinosaur tail with feathers has been discovered preserved in amber. But we are still pretty sure T-Rex could not fly.

Everybody knows T-Rex, but when I was a kid I knew of the miniature version, allosaurus, the rhino-like triceratops, the armored spine of stegosaurus, and the big green dinosaur that was the trademark for Sinclair gasoline, brontosaurus.

I learned two things from Jurassic Park. I learned about the smart and ultra-dangerous carnivore, velociraptor, and I learned that birds evolved from dinosaurs. Say what?

Actually, there’s a much richer source of “Say what?” There are human beings who take the basic premise of the comic strip, “Alley Oop,” literally.

Long ago, fundamentalist Christians did not “believe in” fossils. That position has become untenable from the volume of evidence. So the fundamentalist position is that the Genesis story is literally correct and when the Christian God created everything within a week, that included dinosaurs.

Humans and dinosaurs co-existed, and since humans were given dominion over other living things, some of those cavemen probably really did ride around on dinosaurs.

You thought Noah’s Ark was crowded? Consider the brontosaurus suite. You have to admire the dexterity of Noah and his family if they kept the carnivores from consuming other passengers. And can you imagine the waste disposal?

Brian Switek, writing in Slate, recounted the fundamentalist resistance to dinosaurs in the family tree of birds.


This month, National Geographic reported—with pictures, of course—that a dinosaur tail has been found preserved in amber. Jurassic Park postulated recreating dinosaurs from the blood inside mosquitos trapped in amber—the skeeters had lunched down on dinosaurs and so the bugs contained blood which might contain dinosaur DNA.

According to National Geographic, the mosquitos may be out of a job because the feathered tails contain soft tissue. If it’s not too damaged, there is your DNA profile.

My cousin Ray Sixkiller used to rodeo when he was younger, but I could not interest him in dinosaur wrangling.


ABC reported a more conventional animal story although “Two Nose Toby” is not exactly a conventional animal. Toby is a two year old border collie mix brought in as a stray to the Tulare County, California animal shelter. Toby indeed does have two noses.

The dog does not appear to know that dual schnozes are unusual. The shelter intends to put him up for adoption after the waiting period for his people to claim him.

Fast Company posted a video of greatest hits for Caitlin Doughty’s “Ask a Mortician.” I’m not clear how she knows, but the question was if you die at home alone, will your cat eat you?

She claims your cat will eat your remains when it gets hungry but your dog will not.

Cousin Ray made the obvious comment, “She doesn’t know your dog.”


Duffelblog reported that intel analysts have been instructed to keep briefings of President Trump under 140 characters.


WFAA reported on the arrest of actor Judge Reinhold at Love Field in Dallas. He was not showing much love for TSA when picked for an additional screening. He took off his shirt and said some naughty words. Released from jail after his arrest for disorderly conduct, he was apologetic.

He reminded me of one of the reasons I don’t fly anymore. The first is that I either share a name with someone on the terrorist watch list or I am on the list because I criticize the government a lot.

The second is that I don’t trust myself not to make a remark that would get me a trip to the crossbar hotel. For example, I was once boarding with an old fashioned Macintosh computer in a MacBag. They made me take it out of the bag, connect the wires, and boot it up. Having had that puppy open to install a memory chip, I was thinking, “There could be enough C4 inside that case to bring down several 737s and it would still boot up!”

See what I mean? Had I said that out loud, I’d still be in jail.


The Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, reported that the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could use the services of some of those Water Protectors up at Standing Rock. It seems that Iran has…ahem…misplaced an unnamed radioactive device from Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor. The device was being transported in a car that was stolen and was missing when the car was recovered.

The concern is that most of the GCC nations rely on desalinization plants with salt water intakes in the Arabian Gulf (as the Saudi Newspaper refers to the body of water the rest of the world calls the Persian Gulf). Water is life.


Born and raised in the oil patch, I don’t knee jerk against all oil companies in all circumstances and I don’t think we are in a position yet to leave the oil in the ground. Gasoline and even jet fuel can be replaced at the right price. That’s not yet true of all petrochemicals.

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The downsides of fracking can be controlled with robust regulations, but I’m not convinced that’s true of tar sands mining.

I’ve taken up playing the stock market as a retirement hobby, and oil companies are a problem because I get mad at them. Still, I give them more slack than many people would.

Compare the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska to the Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

Exxon fought everybody they harmed tooth and nail. They contested lawsuits for damages until they were able to bankrupt many of their victims.

BP admitted fault and set aside funds to pay the victims.

Stuff happens in the oil patch, but it’s hard to stay mad at somebody who admits fault and tries to pay damages.


Came the tech report on the Macondo blowout. How could that happen? Wasn’t there a blowout preventer installed?

There was. It failed. Nobody doubles up on blowout preventers. Too expensive.

Well, Statoil does.

Statoil is the outfit started by the Norwegian government to exploit the oil in the North Sea. The North Sea is where Norway gets fish, and the people in Norway care more about their fish than about their oil.

I was high on Statoil until they bought an interest in the Canadian tar sands. This week, Statoil made a deal to sell their tar sands interests to Athabasca Oil. The Norwegian company did take some shares of Athabasca in partial payment, but Statoil will no longer have any direct operations in the Canadian tar sands.

I’ll take the small victory.


Gun Insider reported that Ohio legislators have sent a bill to Gov. John Kasich for his signature (or not) that allows persons with gun permits to carry on college campuses. The bill passed less than two weeks after a man injured 11 in a stabbing attack at The Ohio State University.

Cousin Ray said he guessed the Ohio lawmakers had struck a blow for efficiency among terrorists. I was wondering how campus cops would be trained to tell the good shooter from the bad shooter when responding to an “active shooter” call?

“That,” Cousin Ray demurred, “is the good shooter’s problem. Nobody is going to second guess the cop.”


Dolly Parton organized a telethon for the victims of the Tennessee wildfires that burned a swath of destruction across the Smokey Mountains where she was born and still lives. Firefighters stopped the inferno at the edge of Dollywood, Parton’s theme park in Pigeon Forge.

Pigeon Forge is about 40 miles from the Eastern Band Cherokee Reservation and within traditional Cherokee homelands.

The country music legend vowed to raise $1,000 per month for every family that lost their home. ABC reported that 2,100 homes and “almost 60” businesses were destroyed.

Two long lists of celebrities answered Parton’s call, one that performed on the telethon and another that sent money. The telethon brought in more than $9 million.


Two juveniles are in custody charged with setting the fires, which killed 14 people in addition to the property damage.


The Cherokee Phoenix reported that the Sacajawea dollar remains Indian territory. This year, the reverse honored the Code Talkers and starting next year the reverse will feature Sequoyah, inventor of the Cherokee Syllabary.

The design shows the great man in profile, writing with a quill pen along the border of the coin in Cherokee, “Sequoyah of the Cherokee Nation.” Readers may correct me on this, but I’m thinking this is the only time a language other than English or Latin has been on U.S. currency.

Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., asked for comment by the Phoenix, gave the U.S. Treasury an attaboy for featuring the Cherokee language on the money “coupled with the announced plans to remove Andrew Jackson from the face of the $20 bill.”

Anybody who would wonder why bring up the $20 bill doesn’t understand how much Cherokees despise that slave mongering, treaty shredding S.O.B.

I asked Cousin Ray if he had anything to add, but he said that last remark pretty well sums up the Cherokee opinion of the jerk on the twenty.