Announcement !

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Announcement !

Starting today I will be in Washington D.C. helping our lawmakers straighten things out. That means that I won’t be here then, running The Institute in the manner to which you’ve become accustomed, it being nearly impossible to be in two places at the same time. Things haven’t been going all that smoothly there in the Beltway lately and I received a call from one of the more important members of our leadership and his wife saying, “Director, we’re kind of lost here. We’ve lost our way and we need some guidance. We’ve been watching the good job you’ve been doing there at The Institute and feel you could be a big help in putting us back on the straight and narrow.”

Of course I was flattered and said I’d be right there, don’t do anything important until I get there. Just wait. There’s enough things screwed up already. If you want me to help just sit on your hands and don’t touch nothing until I show up. I thought I’d start with a little leadership right out of the chute by telling them where the bear crapped in the buckwheat so there wasn’t any misunderstandings when I began leading. I mean helping with the leading.

We’ve been having a little trouble getting our grants run through congress too, and this years funding doesn’t look that great either so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. So I’ve got meetings up the ying-yang the entire time I’m there. I was supposed to meet with our Colorado congress people but I couldn’t remember who they were and neither could they, and what with us legalizing pot and all I didn’t know how much use they’d be, so I arranged a meeting with the representatives from New Hampshire instead. They’ve got a great big website and were wearing vests, so I thought they’ve got mountains, that was almost as good.

While out there in the wilds of Washington D.C. I’ll be staying with some really special people who make up a large part of the taxpaying members of my personal family. They would be all the legitimate children of mine that I can locate and they’ve promised food and a warm bed and access to their touring expertise so I will avail myself of that. I think I can get Washington whipped into shape in a couple of weeks so I’ll be back around the first of April. I don’t know what the blogging is going to be like out there. I’m sure that Mr. & Mrs. You-Know-Who are going to be keeping me pretty darn busy just walking around the White, I mean the Big house and such, let alone formulating foreign policy. We’ve got a big job to do in getting those hammerheads in the mid-east to knock it off or else.

OK then, there it is. I’ll be gone, I’ll be back and between those two events who knows. Talk to you soon.

Incoming !

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For several years I was fortunate to be able to observe and photograph a Redtail  hawks nest here on The Institutes grounds. We keep breeding pairs of as many animals and birds as can be safely kept in close proximity so that we can pry into their personal lives and most intimate moments. This is done strictly for scientific reasons. We do not condone the flagrant exploitation of animals for profit here at the Institute unless it can make us some money, of course.

Having these birds under such close scrutiny produced many spectacular images such as this one where the parents, I assume they were the parents, OMG! wouldn’t that have been awful if they weren’t and they were like home invaders or something, there to steal the chick and sell it into bird slavery to some raptor center. But luckily that wasn’t the case. It was the parents. They both landed next to each other, startled that the other one was there, then the male, the smaller of the two, took off again as the female made it clear date time was over and he should get his feathered butt out there and catch dinner.

Redtails are excellent, attentive parents that pride themselves on creating a good home environment for their young. The nest is sparkling clean, the parents continually remove the odd bits of rabbits, voles, rattlesnake and other leftovers from the nest and bring in soft clean nesting material to replace the stuff that gets soiled and thrown over the side when the youngster is displaying his displeasure at being left alone too long.

Usually there is one parent on or near the nest at all times but occasionally they both leave to hunt together or just have a date night and time away from junior. That’s what was going on here I believe. I had arrived and set up and noticed that both parents were gone and the young one was Home Alone. Redtails can pull that off and not get a visit from Child Services. Eustace as the young bird came to be named, you can see him there as a bit of white fluff cowering at the bottom of the nest, had been staring over the edge of the nest at something behind me and as I turned to look to see what held his interest his two parents came swooping by directly over head to flare out and land simultaneously on the nest together.

This had the effect of testing both Eustace’s and my heart. Him because suddenly there were two very big birds flying right into his face at the same time, and me because I had the presence of mind to push the shutter button in time to capture the moment. In photography there is a phenomenon known as “Holy Jumping Crap on a Stick” where you realize you actually got the shot and it makes you break into your squeaky pinchy happy dance and you race around your tripod saying “Yes, yes, yes!” at the top of your lungs. This was one of those moments. Now you can just pack up your stuff and go home because this days work is done.

I shot that nest and it’s occupants from 2009 through 2011 until an incredible wind storm came through and literally blew the nest out of the tree and never did I see this dual landing thing happen again. This is what makes you stand out in the hot sun for hours at a time, vainly looking around for something to happen, anything, and then suddenly for a few seconds of heart stopping action all hell breaks loose and it is all worth it.

There are just a few remnants of the nest hanging in the tree now and for the last summer or two there have been no sign of the Redtails. Now, lately, I’ve noticed one hanging around the nest site again. It appears to be alone at the moment and I haven’t seen any nest-building activity, but being the eternal optimist I think maybe there will be. That would be cool.

 

 

We’re In For It Now

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These are actual living trees. Notice anything different about them? That’s right they’re camouflaged. “What’s the big deal?” you might ask. Well, I’ll tell you the big deal. They’re camouflaged! You can’t see them because they blend in. You had trouble identifying them when you first looked at the picture didn’t you? That’s what camouflage does. You can walk right up to them and not see them until it’s too late and you’re laying there on the ground with busted glasses, bark in your teeth and your nose all out of joint.

Sometime back we wrote an expose about Camouflage, or Camo as it lies to be called, and fortunately posted it right here on BigShotsNow.com under the title “Camo – It’s Not Just For Wearing To Wal-Mart Anymore”, you can find it here:  http://www.bigshotsnow.com/camo-its-not-just-for-wearing-to-wal-mart-anymore/

We thought things were getting bad then but now it looks like we may have underestimated the danger. These trees pictured above, are living and proliferating right in the middle of downtown Denver. I’d tell you where, but they’ve blended in so well we cannot relocate them at the moment. We’ve been watching for unconscious people lying about on the sidewalk and have been checking various hospitals for increases in admissions with facial trauma, and other than the usual uptick after a Bronco/Raiders game it has been quiet. We’ve been querying local dentists to see if they’ve been plagued with bark removal cases from front teeth yet. They’ve responded there have been a few extra cases but we can’t triangulate the center point yet given the spotty response. We need to relocate these trees, so we can at least mark them with police warning tape.

The Institute believes this is becoming an insidious problem and cannot just be laughed off as a bunch of near-sighted, pot smoking Denver-ites walking into trees because they’re too baked to see where they’re going and that’s what stoners do. No this is too serious for that. What if a wind storm blew down some of these camouflaged trees over a roadway, like maybe I-25, you’d still be hearing cars crashing into each other up in Cheyenne. Would your insurance company pay off because you deliberately drove into trees lying across the road because you just “didn’t see them”? We think not. Well there you go, that’s just one problem. What if this malady spreads to other trees. Like fruit trees for instance, how would you even know when the fruit was ripe to pick? Worse yet how would you be able to buy it if you couldn’t find it in the produce section of your favorite Piggly Wiggly because it was camouflaged? The problem just gets worse the more you think about it.

Yes it is a problem. And problems need solutions, and of course that is what we do here at The Institute, we fix problems, even if the public doesn’t recognize that there is one  yet. We are going to be much more reactive in locating these trees and once we’re sure of where they are, we are then sending out teams of taggers, mostly gleaned from halfway houses and juvenile detention halls, with specially formulated Tree Tagger Paint that sticks to trees and glows in the dark, to paint warning messages on these obstacles to public health. Messages like “Whoa, Dudes! Watch it, Camouflaged trees here!” this would be for the stoners or burners, as one of our experts in Urban Street Slang likes to call them. Or possibly “Say, careful there, Camouflaged trees here, you wouldn’t want to have to replace those pearly whites right up there in the front of your face, Would you?” This would be from our friends in the Dental community. We know it’s a little long for a slogan but then you have some fairly educated people in Denver who like to read and would appreciate the erudite warning.

This is a battle we’re just beginning to fight and we know there is going to be an uphill struggle to get everyone on board with this. Public education is paramount if fighting this new threat. We need hotlines for people who have received unexpected whacks to their face to call in and give us the details so we can determine if one of these camouflaged trees was responsible or if you simply shouldn’t have replied to that drunk in the bar. We need your help in this ongoing effort to combat camouflage. So help us, so we can help you. Remember, We’re from The Institute, and we’re here to help.

 

 

Moose’sList – Personals – F Seeking M

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I’m not one to typically drone on about myself, but here I go*. I’ll start with the basic stats… I’m a 21 year old, girly cow moose, brown hair and eyes. I have tan skin. I’m 7′ 1″ at the shoulder and curvy.

I’d also like to state that I am looking for a one night stand, or at least the weekend. Definitely no LTR’s.  I want a moose I can share my feelings with. I don’t have an exact type, I guess I am attracted to a taller guy and beards (they always get me.) I’m very easy-going and can get along with most other moose for a short time. I really enjoy making other Moose laugh. I have a very broad sense of humor. It can go anywhere from very light to very dark, I enjoy the occasional risqué joke. I do have a sense of when to be serious though. Kindness is my thing, I only treat other Moose the way I would want to be treated. I work constantly and don’t have much time to go to the bars, which is why I turned to Moose’s list for some help.

I love the outdoors, anything from hiking to just random runs along the river bank. I’m an avid MMA fan, (Moose Martial Arts) with my favorite being the Big Moose division. There’s something about those big paddles clashing together that really gets me going. The bigger the bull the faster I’m there. Must have very large paddles. No younger bulls need apply. Please guys grow up and give me a call later. I like the simpler things in life, I’m very low maintenance. I enjoy watching ice flows on the river and my stories on the idiot box, especially my absolute favorite, Edge of Moose. Extra points for being a fan. I would have to say my true passion is eating willow leaves. I love escaping to my favorite riparian thicket sipping on a beer and just nibble myself silly.

To finish I’d like to add about the moose I’m looking for. I’d like a moose who is trustworthy and honest, a real bull that keeps his word. I don’t need someone to support me I’ve been doing that on my own for sometime now and do not intend on changing that. I know who I am I also don’t intend on changing the moose I have become, so please no bull that can’t handle an independent female. I am very affectionate so please be too. I want a moose that can make me laugh until I cry. If you can make my dewlap jiggle you’re in. Being considerate is a plus too. I may ask for a lot out of a partner, but I’ll only ask for what I can equally give in return. Well if this sounds at all like you, drop me a message and we’ll see where things go. Add your favorite browsing place in the subject line to weed out the bots. Your pic gets a saucy one of mine but please no appendage shots, at least not at first.

* Ed: The above was found in the personals section of The Yellowstone Daily Antler. If you’re lonely or just looking for a partner to vent your anger on, place an inexpensive advertisement in The Yellowstone Daily Antler personals column. Your life will change immediately. As always we advise meeting your prospective mate in a public place with armed security on duty. Remember safe sex prevents STD’s such as antler loss, dewlap shrinkage, and hoof rot. Be safe out there. Know who you’re rutting with.

And Then I Said

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Foxes are notorious story tellers. You give a fox half a chance and he’s going to have you snorting and snorfling like a school kid before you can say “Hey! Put that down!”  They will approach you and Instead of him asking politely “Excuse me sir, but  do you have any chickens?” he’ll be much more likely to say “Yeah, and did you hear the one about the woman who had those….” and before you know it you’re laughing out loud, offering him a beer and telling him about that new bunch of Rhode Island Red hens you just got in and exactly where the hen-house is. I’m telling you right now “Don’t trust foxes.” Don’t even talk to them unless it’s to say “Do you prefer number 8 or number 12 buckshot?” Otherwise you’re going to be chickenless, I’m not kidding. They’re that good.

The only way to combat a fox is to have a bunch of one liners at hand. Foxes love one liners. They will sit and listen to them for hours which gives you time to have that significant other of yours run around back and triple lock the henhouse. Foxes need that moment when they first meet you to grab your attention so they will spit out a one liner to sucker you in and then they’re off and running and you’re caught. End result, you’re chickenless. So they’re always looking for new ones.

Here are a few I’ve found helpful.

My girlfriend told me to go and get something that makes her look sexy…so I got drunk

A blind man walks into a bar…and a chair… and a table…

As I watched the dog chase his tail, I thought “dogs are easily amused.” Then I realized I was watching the dog chase his tail.

One day while in a bank, an old lady asked if I could help her check her balance…so I pushed her over.

I’m like a really down to earth guy because you know….gravity.

This morning on the way to work I wasn’t really paying attention and I drove into the back of this car. The driver got out and he was a dwarf. He said “I’m not happy.” I replied “Well, which one are you then?

Remember, these don’t have to make you laugh, they have to make the fox laugh.

Now there’s no guarantee’s that any of these will work for you and your fox. All situations are case specific. After all foxes have different senses of humor just like people. All I can say is if one doesn’t work keep trying. Something is bound to hit his funny bone. You’re not auditioning for the Comedy Channel here, you’re trying to keep a fox from your henhouse. The key is to keep him amused long enough to lock up the chickens.

I just hope that this message helps some of you out there. Don’t be fooled by the foxes that come visiting. The deal is to be the first one who spits out that one liner, you do that and your chickens are safe. Otherwise you’re standing there laughing and the fox is gone, all your chickens are gone, and you’re trying to figure out what just happened. Be smarter than the fox.

Last Hole

 

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It was late in the afternoon and we were approaching the 18th hole of the Grand Canyon Industrial Golf course when Guillermo Louis Alejandro Marquesas-Expando approached the tee and set up to take his shot on this 975 yard par 3 hole. The sun was setting quickly and we had a small bet on who make it to the green at all, par not withstanding.

Guillermo or Ed as we called him, was the director of our Spanish division of The Institute. He had been selected for his experience, intelligence and primarily because he spoke Spanish reasonably well and worked cheap. Due to some unresolved legal difficulties with the Spanish government he was unable to find employment elsewhere, something to do with unexplained expenditures of funds allocated for public works or something. It was hard to understand him sometimes when he got nervous. But we chose to look at his largest contribution instead, which was his ability to speak Spanish. Many of our previous directors had not had this advantage and it caused no end of difficulties with the locals. It’s hard to get things done when you’re yelling firmly directing your research people in Polish or Vietnamese and they only speak Castilian. Things began to run smoothly after we acquired Mr. Marquesas-Expando and proper research began to stream out of the former Francisco Franco School for Wayward Spaniards that is now known as El Instituto. We felt lucky to have him.

Ed completed his set up, took a few practice swings and then leaned into it getting a good solid hit that unfortunately took a severe slice to the left and into the rough. This was a tough break because as you can see above the rough was really rough. We had been playing by strict rules and the rule was you played the ball from where it lay or lose a stroke. Since our little bet was if Ed won he went home first class, but if he lost he went home in a crate down in steerage. Ed chose to play the ball where it was.

That was back in December of 2009 and as of now we haven’t heard from Ed. Every once in a while we get a report of some one hearing a faint shout of “Fore!” echoing up out of the canyon but that could just be the wind. Every year since we go back and play a round in memory of Ed or Guillermo Louis Alejandro Marquesas-Expando as he liked to be called. Some of us, well I guess it’s only me, believe that one day we’ll see that shiny white Titleist with his name engraved on it, come sailing up over the edge of the rough to land on the green. So far it hasn’t. It’s a nice outing anyway.