Damp Secrets

Note to Readers: Some of you are no doubt aware of the closing and disappearance of *The Institute and its Director some time ago. It was a great loss to the scientific world and others who came to depend on it for its constant focus on the mysteries and unbelievable occurrences that take place daily in the unique world of science and beyond. Also some of you may know that The Director and I were very close and consequently when the time came for the storing and protection of the thousands of records, papers, dissertations, reports, receipts, photographs, line drawings, notes, candid recorded conversations, DVD’s, CD’s, books, magazines, letters, everything that an Institute would produce in the every day workings of a huge but giant scientific endeavor he turned to me and said “Can I dump this crap on you for awhile? At least until I can find some suckers investors to get this Institute thing back on its feet?” Of course I couldn’t say no to my friend of so many years and accordingly two and a half large U-Haul’s arrived stuffed to the gills with countless black trash bags containing the entire recorded history of The Institute. In the attempted cataloging of all of this material I came across what appears to be an un-submitted report titled The Aquatic Life of The Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. It is in a very rough draft form and I have elected to publish it exactly as it was found, warts and all. No redactions, no alterations, no dressing it up. After all, life and science aren’t always tidy or even pretty. A lot of stuff is glossed over and hidden by the various organizations that prepare these types of publications as the paper goes into preparation for submission to the various scientific journals that publish this kind of work. And The Institute was not an exception. The large unwashed and uninformed layman or laypeople (and even some of the small slim ones) that read it because it’s free, who don’t have a scientific background and usually couldn’t care less about this stuff yet do read it have to be pandered to. So with that thought in mind here follows what is the initial draft of the report in its entirety.

Title proposals for the Bighorn sheep report:

The Aquatic Life of The Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

” Wet Sheep and Those That Love Them”

“Damp Hooves and the Sheep that Own Them”

“Heavy Boney Horns and How They Help In Keeping Bighorn Sheep Submerged”

“The Untold Story of Bighorn Sheep and Their Aquatic Adventures”

“Why Bighorn sheep will Willingly Spend Much of The Winter At the Bottom of Large Bodies of Water and How This affects Their Ability to Behave Normally in the Spring When They emerge and Why they Walk Funny for Days After”

“Damp Secrets” (Use this one. It’s a grabber. Sounds vaguely dirty. HBO fans will click on this one)

Premise: Bighorn Sheep are suspected of entering and remaining at the bottom of deep pockets of water in lakes and rivers in Yellowstone National Park to hibernate over the Winter when food supplies are minimal. Much like bears but wetter. Although this behavior has never been reported by Naturalists or Biologists or anyone else who knows what they’re talking about, that doesn’t mean that this can’t happen. It just means they’re probably doing a shoddy job. Grab this premise and run with it. The Enquirer and the Star have both raised their payment structure for this type of material. See if you can’t work “aliens” into the premise somehow. Also see if our contacts in Washington with the Department of Interior want to get in on this before their funding is completely cancelled due to the prevailing thought that Nature and wildlife and even the Interior are no longer necessary. Might as well grab what we can out of this debacle while there is still some money left.

Documents proving the theory: A crumpled up photo of a Bighorn sheep marked “Destroy not relevant unless you’re fabricating story”, that shows a Bighorn lying in an awkward position on a bank above the Lamar river. Still damp. (The sheep not the photo) Midges surrounding it after a hatch. ( could this midge behavior be one of the triggers that cause the Bighorns to awake and leave the depths of the water where we believe they hibernate over the winter. If this can’t be documented use it anyway as it’s a good tie-in that we can pitch to The Nature Channel, they’ll use anything if you can put an English accent voice-over on it.) Animal appeared to be lethargic and unresponsive to questions hollered at it. Noticed small trickle of what appears to be water dripping from nasal passages. Could this be the undocumented and completely unfounded Nasal Transference Reacclimation or “NTR”  where the water in the lungs is slowly replaced with oxygen so the sheep can return to their terran lifestyle?

The Bighorn rams appear to be extremely vulnerable at this state of their emergence due to their horns having been softened by their prolong submergence in the deep mineral rich waters found in the park. The composition of the horn is normally very dense and is made of a concrete-like material called “concreto” or sometimes “Acme Horn Hardener” that the sheep obtain by licking the surface of highways and parked concrete trucks. Those rams living nearest to construction sites will normally have the largest and hardest horns. But as this is uncured concrete which is not completely non-soluble, they are vulnerable to the leeching and decompositing of the horn material and the longer the submergence the more the horn becomes soft, and at extreme time intervals the horn will be completely absorbed by the watery surroundings. This is bad. If this happens the ram cannot be distinguished from the ewes and enters a transgendered state known as Hornlessness and can be made fun of by the other rams and even some of the less compassionate ewes. We don’t know what this does to the Ram’s psyche yet but a full investigation seems warranted. Note: check into suicide rates for hornless rams.

Some additional questions to be answered and documented, or at least made plausible sounding so we can put this out there and still be able to stand unashamed under any close scrutiny.

Question #1: What about ewes an lambs. Are they any better to eat after being submerged?

Question #2: How do the smaller animal stay anchored in some of the swifter flowing streams they enter? We surmise that the sticky almost tar-like coating on the bottom of their hooves becomes even stickier and adheres to the larger rocks and boulders at the bottom of the waterways. Also we believe they turn facing upstream and hunch down into a wedge-like shape that makes them streamlined. The force of the water rushing over their bodies helps push them down onto the surface of the stream bottom much the way scoops and spoilers keep a race car on the track, holding them in place. Plus they deflatulent themselves as they enter the water making them less buoyant. If you have noticed any bubbles or minor disturbances on the water’s surface this may be a clue to hibernating Bighorn sheep. This is a confirmed fact as I, and I know countless others have seen Bighorn sheep flatulently entering into bodies of water. We just didn’t understand what all the noise and hopping about and giggling was for.

Question #3: Can we get someone less intelligent to dive into these warm to boiling waters in Yellowstone, someone with a higher than normal pain tolerance, to photograph a small group of Bighorns or even a fairly large herd at rest beneath the surface to add more credence to this story? Maybe some shots with native Cutthroats acting as remora type attachments to the sheep’s back. Or possibly them feeding on the seaweed that grows on the bottom of the rivers or lakes?

Initial Summary for Submission:

We have found a unique new unknown behavioral pattern for the Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep. After observation by our highly trained research professionals, each one a specialist specializing in a different discipline of animal behavioral patterns that are not your normal animal activity, and in fact tend to be grouped into Goofy, Unsubstantiated, Outright BullPucky, and the Difficult to Swallow but not Fake News categories, we have come to the conclusion that Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep do something really weird. If it weren’t for finding a beat up wrinkled old photograph (see above) of a Bighorn sheep damply resting by the edge of the Lamar river we wouldn’t feel confident in making these surprising statements.

Rocky mountain Bighorn sheep hibernate through the Winter below the surface of various lakes and rivers in The Yellowstone area. Now, we’ve said it. There it is. Surprising? Yes. Impossible? Ah, maybe, but then again we got some good evidence here. And remember if we say it often enough you’re going to start believing it. That’s just a short jump from getting back in the funding business. And The Institute could be off and running again.

Hard as that may seem to believe the evidence is growing in support of this premise.

  • We have the somewhat damaged image of a damp Bighorn sheep resting on the river where he had just emerged from hibernation.
  • We have water emitting from the Bighorn’s nose as it undergoes Nasal Transference Reacclimation  or “NTR” where it trades the water that had been filling its lungs all Winter long with life giving oxygen so it can resume living on the land.
  • We have a Bighorn ram anxiously looking around for enemies and threats as its horns reharden in the afternoon sun.
  • We have documented sightings of bubbles and other small disturbances to the water’s surface indicating there are hibernating sheep below.
  • Plus a myriad of other inconclusive but sort of facts that we created to substantiate this theory.

So in general we feel pretty good about putting this out there. End of first draft. Get this proofread and ready for submission ASAP. Signed The Director.

This is the first of many scientific reports we know that are mixed in with all the other storage stuff from The Institute. As we sort through and find more unique studies we will be bringing them to your attention.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

Rain On The Hoodoos

click to enlarge

We were at our favorite observation point at Bryce national park observing the state of the rock formations in the Valley of the Non-essential Hoodoos when it suddenly began to rain. That in itself is not that unusual, however it was only raining on this one particular set of hoodoos. Not on any of the other hoodoos, (of which some say there are too many of, but we disagree thinking that one cannot have too many hoodoos), but just on these particular hoodoos. As if by design. As if it was being created by some unknown entity just to rain there and nowhere else. A weather modification as it were.

“Hmm,” we said to no one in particular “this has the look of some nefarious organization at work here. Could it be *The Institute?” But then we remembered that The Institute had gone bosoms up, as they say, hunted down and removed root and twig, never to be a formal Worldwide organization again. All of its minions, staff, even its Director cast to the four winds to seek employment elsewhere or to starve pathetically in a ditch somewhere. It’s tons of equipment melted down for the slag market. All of its records, data and spiral notebooks snapped up by its jealous vindictive competitors to be pored through for their secrets. Secrets The Institute had developed over years of blood sweat and tears, not to mention hard work and no small amount of intellectual theft.

We were interested yet dismayed to find that a certain huge, yet well-known imaging processing software company (who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are ADOBE) have blatantly appropriated the Weather Modification program pioneered by the Oceanography and Atmospheric weather modification team of the now defunct organization known as The Institute and incorporated it into its shoddy yet expensive software. You can find it under Adobe/ Photoshop/ Filters/ Make it Rain on the Hoodoos/ Light/ Moderate/ Heavy. To support the claim that The Institute first developed this program we have done some research and found several items that reference The Institutes use of its weather modification program to do good in the world and not do bad, which we have listed below for your perusual.

 

Bad Weather Day

All Dreams Must End

Storm of The Full Moon

Moon Painting

Cloud Cutting

Stored Away Storms

Greenery

Behind The Ridge

Thor’s Revenge

Although those of us that remember The Institute are pretty darn mad at that heartless yet soulless large Company that apparently is getting filthy rich off the sweat of the people who made it all possible, we kind of secretly like the ease of how they made it work. The Institute’s program was unwieldy, requiring lots of nuclear power and boring deep into the bowels of the earth for the pilings that held up the equipment and to keep it from shaking causing the neighbors cows to abort. Not to mention the excessive production of enormous quantities of EMF’s around the power shed whenever they fired that stuff up. If by some stroke of fate The Institute ever returns we may just appropriate it for our own use again. Be warned Adobe whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

Lost Our Lease

We lost our lease. That’s right, we woke up the other morning and there was a Cease and Desist, Immediate Evacuation of Premises, Get the Hell Out notice scotch taped to the front gate of The Institute, right where everybody could see it. We thought it was a joke at first. I mean who serves one of those on bright yellow legal pad paper written in black magic marker to an organization (**The Institute) of our stature. They didn’t even use a lot of Scotch tape. One little measly piece stuck to the flange of our *front gate padlock, the second largest in the world by the way, we’d a got the first largest but it was simply too big and the freight to have it airlifted here was out of our budget, we could have watched one full year of DIRECTV (Total package including HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, the works) for what it cost to send just the key.

A couple of our interns from the Pavlovo Arts College No. 23, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia made it for us in exchange for The Institute allowing them to work here under assumed names to escape being sent to some gulag way the hell north where the sun not only doesn’t shine, but draws heat away from the earth in a particularly commie way. Since our padlock alone weighs 916lbs. and is 56.8 in. × 41.3 in. × 10.2 in. including the key we thought we were safe from any process servers, errant bondsmen, Amway sales persons, ex’s, those who deliver religious pamphlets to your door under the guise of saying they like you, census takers, unwanted visitors, some wanted visitors that we’re not real happy with right now, lawyers except ours, rabbis, priests, clergy from unaffiliated churches with really weird names, people who just want to come in and have a glass of water, those who are not pure of heart, puppy haters and general riff-raff.

But noooo, the notice was sent by our government, that’s right, the one that we cheerfully and with full malice a forethought voted in last time. We mean you must have because we sure as hell didn’t. We had what should be an ironclad lease made with Teddy Roosevelt himself back in the days when a Presidents word meant something.

The lease said and I quote ” These guys who forthwith and in perpetuity, hereinafter known as The Institute shall have and hold for the next millennium the right to hold a huge giant p-pot of land there in the mountains with any buildings, corals, parking garages, intern camps, The Big House, helipads, farm implements of unusual design, and anything else their clever little minds can come up with for as long as the sun may shine and the grass may grow and people can walk free upon the land without interference of any cheesy government body. So help us, and I mean really, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, President of the United States and any other place we can get using that new Manifest Destiny thing.”

So you can see how we were confused not to mention vexed as to why we were being summarily kicked off our property. I mean we’re tax payers, sort of. We got rights. We called our attorney who unfortunately was getting his nails done and hasn’t gotten back to us yet with a frantic plea to buy us some time. That was last Tuesday and now we’re heading into the holiday and I’m sure the whole darn office down at Acme Law firm and Tractor Repair is taking the next week off, so we had to get packing and hit the steps. We mean if Teddy Roosevelt’s word isn’t good anymore, what is, we ask you. In trying to contact the present administration to perhaps get some assistance, even our Russian friends sent an email but all we got back was a tweet saying “Did you vote for us? huh? Well, Didya? Hope you like that new refrigerator box.” “the ‘Loser'” being understood. So in the meantime we are sort of thankful for that refrigerator box and the space under the North College Ave. bridge we get to set it in.

There’s more to this story and we’ll be disclosing that information as soon as we figure out how to work this Sterno stove and refrigerator box warmer and get some wholesome cat food in our stomachs. That’s not even addressing the problem of how to hook-up our Wi-Fi. We are a little worried about our staff. Make that ex-staff. The last time we saw them they were milling around the pieces of our lock that had been cut off by the Sheriffs department down at the front gate. Things were pretty chaotic what with dozens of empty acetylene bottles from torching the padlock laying around and various organizations checking ID’s and chasing after those individuals racing off into the sagebrush and hiding under vehicles and so on. Small sad lines of not only unpaid but now unemployed interns shuffling off single file in various directions where towns and villages were known to exist. That was pretty pitiful we got to say.

But we’ve been in tough spots before. It hasn’t always been Peaches and Cream for the Institute. We’ve been kicked in the Fuon Bwey Bweys before and we’ve gotten up and staggered off into the bushes and puked our guts out. So that parts not new. The one thing we’ve got going for us is that you can not keep a good Institute down. And we’re the best damn Institute you’re going to find. To paraphrase Woody Guthrie who wrote a song for the Ladies Auxiliary one time and we adopted it and changed all the words so we wouldn’t have to pay royalties on it. Here’s our semi-non-official version

Here’s our version

Oh, The Institute
It’s a good Institute.
‘Bout the best damn Institute
That you ever did see.
If you need an Institute,
See the director’s Institute.
It’s the Director’s Institute.  (Pretty good, right?)

OK, Here we presented Woody’s version to show you how much we improved it

Oh, the Ladies’ Auxiliary
It’s a good auxiliary.
‘Bout the best auxiliary
That you ever did see.
If you need an auxiliary,
See the Ladies’ Auxiliary.
It’s the Ladies’ Auxiliary (Link to Woody’s version so you can hear how great it is) https://youtu.be/cvnxdLptWZA?list=RDcvnxdLptWZA

 

*Our front gate padlock before it was destroyed by bad government people trying to curb our ability to be as ridiculous as we want to be .

** Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

 

 

All Dreams Must End

A view from the main deck of the World Headquarters of The Institute, “Even the hills are sad” said The Director from his gold plated Chair of Immensity as he gazed out into the unknown one last time.

As many of you know *The Institute has been a constant in the life of the blog here at BigShotsNow.com since the blog was started. It has been the center of knowledge and wisdom gained by a continuous quest for the unusual, the ridiculous, the sublime, not to mention the impossible. It has more than fulfilled its mandate to collect, observe, analyze, collate, spindle and in some cases mutilate the facts that have been collected. Our constant scientific approach to reporting the incredible but strange observations we have made has made us an unrivaled source for those who need to know stuff. Stuff being the little niggling thoughts in the back of your mind, such as “Are there more fake flamingos in the world than real ones?” Answer: Yes. What, you didn’t know that!

Our motto ” Tell them and they will believe” has been our guiding precept since the very beginnings of The Institute from its inception back in the misty, raw, primeval formation of its creation. Back to the time when we first began to make stuff up and then tell people about it.

The “The Institute” (it is always referred to as The Institute no matter how awkward that may make things) is composed of many huge interconnected yet rambling structures with ancient high walls and soaring towers, narrow deeply cut windows suitable for defense if needed, balconies and various platforms that jut out from the walls at dizzying heights for observation and the making of photographic studies.

There is an open to the air aviary with gorgeously colored birds from every part of the globe, a celestial observation dome with a one-off custom Hubble telescope to make discoveries never before seen by human eyes no matter how keen, weather modification facilities, galleries with art collections rivaling the Louvre, single use bathrooms, a dirigible tower for the mooring of The Institute’s own fleet of sleek but shiny airships that continually arrive from all four corners of the globe bearing visitors and dignitaries, educators and students, really smart people and some just a taco short of a combination plate. All of them here to soak in the tenacious atmosphere of The Institute. There is a full-sized fully automatic medical center staffed with neat medical stuff so advanced even an intern can run it and often do, that we haven’t even unpacked it all yet. It’s still sitting there in boxes, with labels like “Heart Installer !!! This end up” and Billy Kimshee’s “New and Popular Lymph Node Stripper” plus others too medical to list. Whole operations have been performed here with and without human assistance, or anesthetic for that matter. Just lock them in the chair, select what procedure you want done from the digital menu and hit the on button.

Nestled on the slopes of an ancient caldera The Institute hugs the side of a mountain and overlooks the meadows and forests that make up the floor of the bowl formed after the last eruption that seems like months ago. Down on the gentle land in the valley miles below you can see great herds of mule deer and Elk making their way from stream to pasture. Parts of the valley floor are sectioned off for agricultural pursuits, you can see some of our indentured servants and interns (same thing really) working happily away bringing in the harvests and tending to the livestock, keeping them from straying into the razor wire and the fell pits dug to discourage trespassing. Our huge fields with crops of sisal and myrrh used in the production of quinine and other life saving drugs lie next to the great barren areas of crushed volcanic ash, mined for the making of tooth whitening powder in the mills and factories scattered throughout this great land of ours. Enormous herds of nearly extinct wildlife, black rhinos, lowland gorillas, Minah birds, black racers and African spitting Cobras, ferrets, rare blue wildebeest and Snow leopards are cultivated for sale to the many Wild Game restaurants throughout the United States and parts of the Far East but not North Korea. The Institute is a bucolic land full of life and love and sometimes puppies, but not always.

If you are the kind of reader who is brave or merely curious, or just plain bored, you could type in the phrase “The Institute” into the handy and permanent search box at the top of the page and you would find dozens if not many examples of the amazing if not incredulous varieties of scientific discoveries, unrepentant adventures, steamy instructions on how to live a more fulfilling life, pleas (read begging) for funding our many sketchy unsupported government projects, new unique explanations of how things really work and handy tips on how not to be a dweeb but instead be someone cool and fun without being that good looking, that your friends and that gorgeous chick with the insane betty’s in 7b would admire. Go ahead, take a chance it might just change your life (be sure to read our disclaimer page before making any real life changes). We are not and never have been responsible for weird stuff you choose to do after visiting the internet.

The Institute has been a fully realized dream of the author and as such it has been representational of a time and place that happened in a blink of an eye, or the firing of a synapse in the lower dark place of his brain. It has been a way to share events and happenings that actually took place in the real world but perhaps not completely as they were described in the various posts that were written. But like all dreams the dreamer is forced to wake and face a new day. Even as you read this the mighty walls of The Institute are becoming thin, slowly folding in on themselves, becoming transparent, the far-reaching borders of The Institutes’s grounds pulling in to the center, shrinking until the once mighty reaches of its borders are nothing more than a mote in God’s eye.

The indentured servants, interns and our tame PhD’s that have faithfully served us since we began making them up way back in 2013, a year that will live in infamy, are evaporating like snowflakes landing on steaming prose, returning to whatever state they were in before being shanghaied to live and exist here in the confines of The Institutes world. It is a time of change. Bold, tumultuous, totally unexciting change, where due to some awful but catastrophic events that have occurred that we would like to share with you but can’t, mostly because it might cause depression on a scale unprecedented in the world to date, the The Institute has been forced to close down, shut its doors, and perhaps, and this is the tear-jerker part, cease its activities forever. As Mr. Bill said on Saturday Night Live some time ago “Oh No! Not that! Don’t do that!” yet it’s true Virginia, The Institute may be gone forever.

When you next wake The Institute will be no more than a brief if not exciting dream, sometimes a nightmare, sometimes one of those kind you learned about in High School health class, but always interesting, always fun, or meant to be anyway. All dreams must end. The dreamer wakes, looks about, struggles to find meaning in the new day, and soldiers on. As do we all. Yes it’s a memory, some might even think it a loss, we love those people, they’re the ones that kept the dream alive for as long as it lasted, but if you stop and consider that after a long day we have a new night, a time to rest and rejuvenate, a time to turn the days thoughts, activities and stresses off and perchance to dream again. Remember in dreams anything may happen.

The blog BigShotsNow will continue with new images and new stories to accompany them, as often as The Director can write them, and as always some of them will be true, not all, but some. The fate of The Institute is up in the air, like the author stated, perchance we’ll dream again.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

A New Day Dawning

There’s big, Big, Big news coming concerning *The Institute. We mean huge enormous news. Unfortunately we cannot tell you what it is yet as it is still unfolding. But you’ll be really surprised. Some of you may be upset by it. Others may be happy. You’ll know who you are when we can disclose it.

One thing for sure is that the blog BigShotNews.com will still be alive and well and posting all the news, stories, images and advice that you have come to depend on and for the most part, cannot live without.

That’s all we can say about things right now, but stay tuned, as events unfold you’ll be the first to know. OK then gotta run. Stuff is happening and we’re like busy people right now.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

She’s Back! And She’s Brought The Kids – Again

She’s back and she’s brought the kids, again! This is Edith Halfway Jones one of our resident Black bears here at *The Institute and if you are a long time reader of the blog you know that she is a regular here. It was exactly one year ago on May 12 that Edith showed up late for work and in danger of not only getting her pay docked but losing her position on the elite bear patrol that guards the inner perimeter of The Institute. Her excuse was three little bear cubs, obviously hers, that she had as a single mother over the winter.

Edith usually a demure, quiet non-partier had let her hair down or at least her fur, got hammered on a mixture of EverClear infused with pine needles, spent some time with a bear she had just met and the result was the triplets, Solenoid, Nodule and little Fleabert. For additional information about her return last year see this post.

http://www.bigshotsnow.com/bear-in-the-saddle/

We  thought she had left for good last Fall taking the cubs and heading into the far reaches of the back country outside the borders of The Institute and we wouldn’t see her again. So it was with no little surprise when she showed up this evening, back in the saddle again, with the triplets stuffing their faces with as much of this new green grass as they could choke down. She looks good. She’s sleek and shapely. The cubs look good too. They’re fat for just being out of the den. Edith seems a little more calm and adjusted to being a mom. Last year she micro-managed the cubs a lot with a fair amount of growling and some biting but this year she’s not concerned at all with their chasing around and heading off into the brush alone. A little chirp from her and they’re right back where she can lay a paw on them if she needs to. Motherhood seems to suit her.

As was mentioned earlier she has checked in on the 12th of April this year, almost a month early. Last year she came back on the 12th of May. It’s been warmer this winter and the kids probably got up early and after their playing squealing Climb on Mom games with their sharp little claws and head bumping for milk, she couldn’t stand to hear them yell “Let’s go out. I’m hungry.” one more time she gave up and came out early. Luckily the grass is ready and there’s lots of ground squirrels and voles around to eat too. The cubs are twice the size they were last fall.

There you have it. We got Spring. We got bears. There’s even a pair of Bluebirds catching bugs by flying softly into the window glass with a bump and grabbing a mouthful and nesting under the deck again. What more could you want.

Spring iz Sprung.

The Grass is Riz.

I wonder where the Flowers iz.

Hope  your place is on schedule and your bears are back. Happy Spring to you all.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

Moonset On Storm Mountain

Click to Enlarge

The Mummy range is a mountain range located within Rocky Mountain National Park and is visible from the third tier observation and weather monitoring deck here at *The Institute year round. Storm mountain is particularly visible due to its prominence on the horizon. Normally it is surrounded by other snow caps, well in fact it is always surrounded by other snow caps, and keeps its mantle of white till late into the summer. However in the summer things change. The wet storms begin and they arrive with gale force winds and driving rain. Lots of rain. The lightning and the thunderous sounds of its strikes rending and tearing its way through the sky can be heard for miles. The flashes of the lightning strikes themselves can be seen for minutes and sometimes days after the flash having burned their image indelibly onto your retinas. Which is why you want to always wear welding goggles when looking at lightning or welding too. Remember you only get one set of eyeballs. Treat them as if you’d like to see out of them for a long time. Just because lighting is fun doesn’t mean you should stare at it like a dumb person.

It is during these storms that some of our best pictures are taken of the immense power and magnitude of these storms. Capturing these moments is not for the faint-hearted. To get the full effect of the drama that occurs we have set up an open to the elements, semi-permanent photographic station out on the third tier, cantilevered deck, high up on the West Tower. We have fastened our metal tripod and waterproof cameras to the floor with non-conductive fasteners rated for two billion Joules of electricity in the unlikely event that lightning strikes the setup during one of these photographic sessions.

However lately we haven’t had that much luck in the not getting struck by lightning category. In fact the last three interns we’ve had chained to the tripod have come close to sustaining serious injury and third degree burns from hanging on to the metal railing around the deck when lighting struck the metal collars they were wearing. Some of them find this unsettling and begin screaming uncontrollably and leaping about. Luckily the doors are thick enough to cancel most of the noise. We think maybe the two billion Joules fasteners we used might be faulty.  It’s because the interns tend to run away or even jump off the deck when the lightning strikes get too close, thereby missing the better shots, that we’ve had to resort to the light chaining and padlocking the outer doors to make sure we get all the data we need.

During the last Super moon that occurred our fail-safe lightning rod system broke down in the middle of the torrential storm and let a small amount of lightning slip through to one of our interns who had unaccountably wrapped his chain around the legs of the tripod, tripped and was hanging over the metal deck railing when the lightning burned through his chain, allowing him to slip rather ungracefully over the edge. Apparently he fell down onto the tall timber next to the foot of The Institutes massive stone foundation. We say apparently because we can’t see him in any of the treetops so he must have crashed on through to a lower point. We hope to find him when we do our annual spring pruning next month.

Unfortunately he managed to break off the camera mount and the camera during his struggles losing the images we desperately needed for this post. One of our staff illustrators was able to create a facsimile of the image of the Super moon setting over Storm Mountain in the middle of that fantastic storm that you see above, so we were able to complete the post thereby saving the day. There always seems to be a bright side to these things for which we’re thankful of course. Anyway here you have it such as it is, Moonset On Storm Mountain

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