How did I Miss That? Jumbo’s Ringling Bros Revenge, Uber Off-Road Addition

With the final Barnum and Baily Circus set for May it appears that Jumbo the elephant can rest in peace; as Uber’s drive on sidewalks.

The African elephant known as Jumbo was born in the Sudan in 1861, allegedly on Christmas. His mother was killed by hunters and his relationships with H. saps went downhill from there. He was by all accounts a very large, very intelligent, and very gentle representative of his species.

Jumbo began his involuntary show business career at Jardin des Plantes, a French zoo that sold him to the London Zoo in 1865. P.T. Barnum bought him from the zoo in 1881. As an adult, Jumbo weighed 13,000 pounds and Barnum claimed his height to be 13 feet, one inch. The London Zoo had measured him at 10.7 feet, but Mr. Barnum did not live a life tethered to mundane reality. In today’s terms, P.T. Barnum’s opinion was as good as any man’s measurement.

Whatever his size, Jumbo was gentle enough to be hired out to give rides to small children in London. Barnum paid $10,000 for Jumbo back when $10,000 was serious money. In the U.S., the elephant earned back his cost with a long stand of being gawked at for money at Madison Square Garden. Jumbo went on to become the symbol of P.T. Barnum’s Circus.

Jumbo met his unfortunate end at a railroad yard in St. Thomas, Ontario, when he was hit by a train under hotly contested circumstances on September 15, 1885. His stuffed body continued to draw customers for Barnum for two years after his death.

The big African elephant enabled circuses at the time to coin money touring with Asian elephants, long considered well domesticated in their countries of origin. Elephants symbolized the Big Top generally like Jumbo has symbolized Barnum’s “Greatest Show on Earth.”

Times changed.

H. saps learned that Elephantidae are emotional creatures and much more intelligent than the “dumb brute” stereotype.

Hard times ensued for traveling shows and cruel training methods.

The circus followed the normal way of obsolete business plans as big organizations ate smaller ones and then merged, leaving the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus the last great road show.

In spite of winning litigation brought by the Humane Society, the circus sent the elephants into an honorable retirement in 2016. The result was an immediate plunge in ticket sales.

Associated Press reported that the numbers forced an end to a 146 year run in May. The final stand is sold out at the newly renovated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island, May 12-21.

Scalpers are getting $2,000 for good seats.

Jumbo and his relatives may soon rest in peace.


The Washington Post reported that hair stylist Tricia Kelley turned down an “offer” from Trump-ex Marla Maples to do her hair and Trump daughter Tiffany Trump’s for the “exposure.”

My cousin Ray Sixkiller said the only exposure he could see in the deal was that “Trump entitlement extends to exes.”


The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Webb Johnson returned to the San Francisco Public Library an ironically titled book of short stories, Forty Minutes Late (1909), by F. Hopkinson Smith. Cousin Ray wondered why that’s ironic until I laid it on him that the book was one hundred years overdue. After he got through ROFL, Ray could not resist pointing out that Johnson had waited for a library fine amnesty before returning the book originally borrowed by his great-grandmother in 1917.


CNN reported from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the radically pro-business administration of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has managed to end India’s status as the world’s fastest growing economy by banning the two largest denominations of rupee note as a corruption fighting measure.

At first blush, it seemed brilliant. Rich Indians had to either pay taxes on their cash hoard by a date certain or watch it turn worthless. For other crooks, taxes were not the issue. They simply could not explain possession of the sums of money involved and so would not dare cash it in.

In fact, Modi removed 86 percent of the cash from a cash dependent economy, putting it immediately on the skids with no means to pay workers or buy capital goods. This self-inflicted damage was called “temporary negative consumption shock" when the International Monetary Fund cut a full point off projected Gross Domestic Product.

“There is no truth to the rumor,” Cousin Ray reported, that President Trump tweeted he would “show Modi up for a piker.”


Andy Borowitz reported in The New Yorker that a karaoke machine backed out of performing at the Trump Inauguration, causing Trump to Twitter-whip the machine as “a loser” and “sad.”


The Guardian reported that Uber’s self-driving cars have been recorded running two red lights and driving in bike lanes in San Francisco, Uber’s home town.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles and Attorney General Kamala Harris have ordered Uber to get the robo-cars off the street but Uber declined, taking the position that the presence of a human behind the wheel in case of emergency meant they need no special permit to operate the robo-cars.

Traffic police were wondering, in case of a violation, who gets the ticket?

This question gave Cousin Ray another one of his wacky business ideas.

“What if,” my heavy footed cousin speculated, “I could rent an Uber to take my tickets somewhere rather than to take me? One account for the Cherokee Marshal Service, the Tahlequah cops, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol?”

Seems to me all those accounts would meet on the Web under “Ray Sixkiller,” but he’s having fun with the idea for now.