Badgers and Christmas

Christmas time. It’s that one time of year when everyone becomes a different person. They become the person they want to be all year-long but never quite pull it off. They’re full of good cheer and fellowship with love for family and friends, and even to their fellow-man however much they can’t stand them the rest of the year. A time of togetherness and gift giving and feeling good. All of their problems and sorrows, anger and frustrations, are swept away by the joyous feelings of the Christmas spirit. It is a time of peace.

Unless you’re a  badger.

Badgers don’t care about no stinking Christmas. They’re badgers. They may put up wreaths at the door of their sett and install those laser lights to light up the mound around their homes but that’s only because they think that Christmas is a good time to take advantage of those ground squirrels they favor, and play on their fondness for the Holiday season. Ground squirrels are notorious for loving Christmas. They dress up in little Christmas outfits, they give gifts of gaily wrapped tufts of grass to each other. They decorate their burrows with home made decorations. They hang mistletoe over every doorway. They make a slightly alcoholic beverage that resembles eggnog and get hammered. They sing ground squirrel carols and go door to door wearing little scarfs and ear muffs with reindeer on them. They make a big deal about Christmas.

That’s why the badgers look forward to the Christmas season. They wait patiently for the ground squirrels to ring the front doorbell then invite the slightly inebriated rodents in for a hot toddy or two. Completely taken in by the Christmas spirits and a quart or two of those everclear infused eggnog drinks they love, and of course totally forgetting that they are the badgers primary food source, they enter into the badgers den.

We’d like to tell you that in the spirit of the holidays that they all sat down, both badgers and ground squirrels, and celebrated this time of peace and joy together but we’re talking about badgers here. Badgers don’t change their spots. Badgers don’t care about peace and joy. Behind those festive grins and hale and hearty expressions of brotherhood they’re still badgers. So they shut and locked the door behind the last tipsy ground squirrel and celebrated with the ground squirrels in their own typically badger way. Suffice it to say that the badgers larder was well stocked for the next few weeks.

When the badger above was asked about this unusual but unseemly behavior in a time of peace and understanding, he got a faraway look on his face and appeared to reach back into his memories and said “You know, that was a good Christmas. We invited the rest of the family over for a big meal. We ate until we were stuffed, watched It’s A Wonderful Life on the box and the cubs played with the bones. We all felt thankful for the season. It was a good Christmas.”

May all your Christmas’s be good.

The To Do List



The To Do list. Everybody’s got one. Even here at The World Renowned headquarters of *The Institute. Our time is usually spent investigating scientific mysteries, discovering new frontiers in Math, Geography, the Arts, building our own Hyperloop out near Cleartop Mesa, numbering the stars visible in our night sky with Roman Numerals for easier identification, discovering new facets of Origami, research of all types, publishing, finding out new ways to have fun with cast iron, the list is endless.

All of that activity takes a lot of  manpower, Man/woman power (NOTE: OK, this whole man/woman thing is getting awkward, we’re changing it to Manoman power for clarification. That means everyone, man, woman, or some combination of both whether they’re equal or not, are going to be under the heading of ‘manoman’. We had some flack from some our middle-aged female staff who were lobbying for WoMan power but The Director said no freaking way that sounded too much like runaway feminism, so Manoman it is. After all this is a benevolent dictatorship here, not some loosely run democracy. ) manoman power to get everything done. As all of our staff has some incredible responsibility they have to complete if they want to eat and can’t be excused to work on the To Do list, we have had to take steps. We have had to go outside our organization for the first time to find qualified To Do list completers. That’s why we brought back Aunt Pheeb and Uncle Skid.

Some of you may remember them from previous posts. We swore we would never again on this Earth have anything to do with Uncle Skid. Aunt Pheeb too, except she does have some redeeming qualities and is the only one who can control keep Uncle Skid in line. She has got this voodoo power over him and if things get too weird she will withhold her patented, free will offering monkey-love and that does the trick. Skid pops right back on the straight and narrow then. So they come as a package.

Uncle Skid just got out of seven years of rehab and seems ok, but if we know anything about him we know that he is a recidivist of the highest order. That’s why we have closed down the Buenos Noches Cantina on campus for the duration. This nearly caused a riot amongst our interns but we had to err on the side of safety. Because if Uncle Skid gets into the Everclear, ain’t nobody safe. Even Aunt Pheeb can’t do anything with him until the following Thursday.

Apparently Skid got some training in construction while he was away and consequently we assigned him the task of repairing the fire escape that leads out of the back entrance of the main campus area here at The Institute. The picture above is after Skid worked on it. Granted it looks a little rough at first glance but it is better than the rope that was hanging there before. Skid has been in the office every single day wanting funding for three 60′ aluminum ladders so you don’t have to scramble up the rock face to get to the bottom of the fire escape. Plus a little extra for the wire to lash the three together so they’re long enough. So far our cost and regulatory department has been reluctant to release the $2800 and change to do this. That and no one will sign off on Uncle Skid going off campus with that kind cash. We’ve had to up our insurance just to have him on the property as it is. So it looks as if we’ll have to use the rope again. Just to get to the bottom of the fire escape anyway.

Aunt Pheeb has been the rock of that family. If it wasn’t for her the whole bunch of them would have fallen on rack and ruin. She has supplemented the family income with her distillery and quilt repair business. And since she installed that brand new cigarette rolling machine her income has risen dramatically. That’s good because the 73% we skim receive off the top helps our coffers too. And what with times being like they are everything helps.

So far we’ve been proceeding with cautious optimism with Uncle Skid. Aunt Pheeb went out and purchased 37 of the newest strongest Abus 37RK/80 Granit Extreme Security Steel Padlocks made in Germany and available through Taylor Lock & Security Co. to add to the welded shut doors and windows of the Buenos Noches Cantina. These padlocks meet highest security standards and are considered to be among the most secure padlocks in the world. Their tensile resistance is over 6 tons. We thought that it was overkill but then she told us that Skid had also taken lock-picking classes while in rehab so we authorized her to get a few more just in case.

In the last four months we have been able to cross one item off our To Do list. Well half cross it off. We still have to deal with the aluminum ladder issue. We have had reports that maybe Aunt Pheeb has been a little free with the results of her distillery, selling small bottles of hooch out of the back door of her quilt repair store instead of to her regular customers in town. But we haven’t been able to catch her. The security people we set to watch the backdoor have told us through blurry eyes and slurred speech that they haven’t seen anything yet but then they were some of the biggest complainers when we took the campus dry. There’s always something.

Maybe, just maybe we’ll get some real productivity out of Uncle Skid. You never know. Seven years in rehab ought to have had some effect, but then you’re talking about Skid here, so we’ll wait and see. And keep our fingers and toes crossed. And our insurance paid up.

* 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 after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind.


Flash Frozen


What we have here is a very strange and unusual sight. Many of you out there in reader land, not being buffalologists, do not know that there are several type’s of Buffalo in Yellowstone park. The Institute in its quest for knowledge and a new way to twist the facts for our own ends, have discovered a hither to unknown variety of buffalo which we have named bison bison congelata which loosely translated from the Latin means “one frozen ass buffalo”. We apologize for the rude language but the Latin’s were a crude people, not withstanding the fact that they could speak Latin, which now-a-days would make them really smart.

What makes these buffalo different from your run of mill buffalo that brings traffic to a stand still while they lay in the middle of the road chewing their cud like big fat lumps? Well for one, they’re cold-blooded. That’s right, just like a lizard, or a snake, which in certain light and after a quart of Everclear they have been mistaken for. We have had interns screaming “Snake, Snake!” when it’s only been one of these buffalo. But then we have had that same intern screaming “Buffalo, Buffalo!” when it has been a snake so take all that screaming with a grain of salt.

Scorpions are also cold-blooded creatures which will sting you stupid with their poisonous tail but so far our researchers have not ascertained whether this new breed of buffalo can sting with its tail or not. We know for sure that when they’re active they can flat stomp you into the ground then hook you if they see you twitching. But so far no stings.

This particular buffalo has been caught in the classic dilemma facing all cold-blooded creatures. When your blood runs cold natures’ defense is to get you somewhere warm, otherwise your blood congeals to the point of peanut butter and it can no longer flow through your body and keep you active. As the blood cools and congeals cold-blooded creatures begin to get muddled and forgetful, often misplacing things like their car keys or that Post it note telling them to get somewhere warm before it gets cold. Then they become completely immobile, literally freezing in place.

That’s what has happened here. This cold-blooded buffalo had been crossing the Gibbon river to get to the warming shed before the temperature dropped any further when he made the classic bovine mistake. He stopped to eat some of the grass there along the river bank. Stuck his big fat head right into a clump of buffalo grass. There you are, game over, the temp dropped and that was it. Dumb mistake, but remember the muddled part, which probably played a big part in its becoming Flash Frozen.

There’s no fixing it now. These guys weigh in at about 2000 lbs so you’re not going to be dragging it off somewhere. Plus you’d have to get in that water which right now is very cold and if you didn’t bring waders and a come-a-long you’re not going to get much done. However all is not lost here. Being a cold-blooded creature as soon as the sun comes out in the morning he’ll start to warm up, finish chewing that mouthful of grass and be on his way. That is if the wolves don’t find him during the night.

This is a worrisome thought for the buffalo as he is not dead, he is just temporarily frozen, he can hear, probably even see even if he can’t turn his head, so the night is long and filled with terrors if you’re a flash frozen buffalo. We had heard the pack howling earlier but it seemed a long way off. They probably won’t find him.

The Moral of this tale is, “Pay Attention. Keep an eye on the weather. Don’t lose the damn Post it. And don’t believe everything you read.”


Drunk and Disorderly


There has been a lot of talk in the press lately about the disappearance of bees. The main point of their argument is that once we were up to our asses keesters in bees, and now you have to put an ad on Craigslist to meet one. They’re just gone. No note, no warning, no packing up their honey and leaving, They’re just gone. Well, people whose lives depend on honey and the necessary bees to manufacture it, are understandably upset and rightly so. How are they going to make a living if they can’t exploit the genetic obsession of bees to create honey.

This bee loss thing causes lots of problems. One of which is, if bees are gone what are we, as concerned parents, going to use for that all important Sex Talk? The birds and The Horses? The birds and the Ferrari F12 berlinetta with its direct-injection 6262 cc 65° V12 engine? Although the Ferrari holds some promise as a suitable replacement for the bees, it still doesn’t have the cache of the birds and the bees. So you can see there is a real problem facing us if we lose our bees.

As to the question, Where are all our bees going, I believe our special team of world-renown, Institute-trained Apiologists, or people who do nothing else in their small, pitiful lives but study bees, talk about bees, photograph bees, look at bees, count bees, worry about bees and countless other bee related activities, have come up with a possible theory. They postulate that the primary reason for bee loss is they get hammered from drinking the nectar of flowers and fall out of the bloom onto the ground where they are promptly eaten by things that eat bees, hence a gone bee. A bee that does not return. A bee that is now for all practical purposes dead.

This is an interesting theory. Nectar has an alcohol content, because of the fermented sugar it contains, that is slightly higher than Everclear or roughly about 800% by volume, and you know that if you have ever been trashed on Everclear you lose many of your primary motor skills and fall down striking your face on the curb chipping both of your front teeth. This also leads to an infraction of California’s Penal code 390D (Drunk, Unconscious) and if you’re really unlucky a 314 (Indecent Exposure) or a 288 (Lewd Conduct) Both of these are bad. Since it can be assumed that you weigh approximately way more than you should and the alcohol effects you in that manner, what does it do to a bee that only weighs like a minus .004% of a gram. They become legless, or in this case wingless, and then the inevitable happens. It’s a major trip down to the waiting open maw of the local bee eating critter. [Who by the way sometimes gets a major buzz going from eating too many bees, but that’s a problem for another time.] And that means one less bee. And that means we are well on our way to becoming bee-less.

When put to the question our nerdful Apiologists stutter and stammer and produce very little in the way of a possible solution. Some of their suggestions suggest that they had been sipping nectar before attending this briefing.  Suggestions like, taping the flowers shut at the peak of the nectar producing season, finding alternate forms of employment for the bees to keep them from doing what Nature intended them to do, forming and requiring attendance at a 12 step program, requiring the bees to buy carbon credits to offset the loss of honey, but as no one in America understands how carbon credits work this is beyond a stupid idea, and finally, locking them in their hives. It is our own personal opinion that we have a long way to go before we can bring closure to this problem.

Right now all we can do is watch and wait. Oh, you can pick up the occasional drunken bee and put it back on the flower but that only compounds the problem. You know what it’s going to do as soon as it regains consciousness. It’s going to hit that nectar again and then you have a 911 problem on your hand. What we do here at The Institute is gather up the ripped little buggers and take then to the bee ward in our dispensary. There they are placed into little bee-sized beds, and  sometimes held down with little restraints to keep their little wings safe. Then they are given fluids and massive dosages of vitamin B-12 and if they recover they’re sent on their way, hopefully with a new understanding of the risks involved in consuming too much nectar. It’s expensive, time-consuming and delicate work but we feel that in doing so we’ve helped Mother Nature and gained like huge karma points. Also we get our pick of the new honey crop. So if you see an unconscious bee or one that is spinning around uncontrollably pick it up and fix it. You’ll be a better person for it.



Remorseful Point



Here it is another year gone by. You know what that means right? No, we’re not talking about your age. We’re talking about something much more important. That’s right you guessed it, Daylight Savings Time.

For those of you who are completely oblivious to the world around you, and you know who you are, Daylight Savings Time is when the Government automatically changes the arrangement the cosmos has for when we have night and day, and today is that day for one of the mandated changes.

Today it has been ordered and approved by a unanimous vote of people who run our lives that we shall, upon awakening, be 1 hour later in the day than we’d normally be. This was done so you, as a hard-working American, would get an extra hour of sleep and therefore would be more productive tomorrow because of the extra rest. But there are dangers. Let’s say you had an appointment with your lawyer for say 10:00am and you went there at your usual time you’d be an hour early and they’d get to charge you for that extra hour and you’d have to pay it because these are lawyers we’re dealing with here, and you’d be mad and feel stupid.

There is a lot of stigma attached to making this change from Regular Every Day Winter Time smoothly, orderly and correctly so you get that extra hour of sleep. If you muck it up and anybody sees it, you become that guy that can’t even do  the time change right and you’re considered a dumbass. And by the time the word gets around that you like totally screwed the pooch, time change-wise, you’re a Total dumbass. Almost everyone except those oblivious people we talked about earlier do not want to be a dumbass. People who made the change successfully are relentless in their criticism of the dumbass’s who didn’t. They will make fun of you. They will call you names. They will beat you with it like a circus monkey. They will beat you like a rented mule. Their smugness and arrogance knows no bounds. So the deal is don’t be a dumbass.

The shame can be so great for some people that they take the ultimate step. And that step happens to be off of Remorseful Point here at the Grand Canyon. Named for those people who got up too early thereby completely messing up the system well thought out as it is, and knowing what’s coming when people find out, they feel that they have no other recourse but to go to Remorseful Point and take the necessary step to reclaim their honor.

There have been groups formed, kind of like the safety nets they put up on the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco to try and keep people from jumping, to try and help these poor souls deal with the shame, but most of  them sneak around them and make the plunge anyway. It’s like the gene pool has to have a way to keep itself healthy and society’s best efforts to overcome that won’t change nature.

So our recommendations to avoid the shame and heartache of screwing up the whole time change thing is to get totally hammered the night before, I mean toilet hugging, running around the neighborhood yelling “Where is Aunt Maud, I’ve got to find Aunt Maud”, looking for your car keys and not finding them because you swallowed them on a dare, that kind of hammered. It is guaranteed that you will not wake up an hour too early the following morning. In fact it will probably be late afternoon before you’ll even be able to lift your head. This will be considered cool by your peers as they will see that not only did you handle the time change well but you totally get the concept. The later you get up the cooler you are.

If you have any doubts about your ability to make the change as prescribed you’d best head for the nearest LiquorMart and get a jug of Everclear, the 190 proof stuff and make sure you’re covered. It’s a little late this morning to take those measures now unless of course you did screw things up and can not get to the Grand Canyon in time. Then I guess you’ll have to decide the best course of action to take. Hope you did well this year. And you’re not a total dumbass.


Friday Color

FridayColor1442click to enlarge

We have sort of developed a tradition here at the Institute of posting something on Friday that has a calming, soothing effect on our readers. We know you work hard all week and you look forward to the weekend so you can let off some steam by going absolutely gonzo, freaking nuts. You might not have intended for this to happen, but you know how it is, you get out with some friends, you drink a quart of Everclear or Mad Dog 50/50 and suddenly you can’t find your shirt and you have a ticket for your impounded vehicle stapled to your ear, some one has sewn your three smallest toes together and you have your bosses’ name tattooed on your forehead. These things happen. We’ve all been there. Why I remember one time in Creede, Colorado I …. uhm wait, let’s not go there as I do not know if the statute of limitations has cleared on that one yet.

The Institute is charged with seeing to the public good and trying to prevent the public bad. It’s what we do and we take it very seriously. We don’t want to see you wind up in that drunk tank in Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Chihuahua or even Tijuana, although I hear that one has almost turned into a country club compared to the hell hole that is Piedras Negras, they don’t call the ‘Black Rocks’ the rectum of the world for nothing, but I digress. Just don’t do it, stop, think, relax and just say no.

To help you just say no, we are posting this image in the hopes that it will take that edge off that’s been building all week, think of it as Visual Valium, and the good news is you can take as much of it as you want with no dangerous after effects. There’s no OD-ing on beauty folks. Won’t it be cool not to have to explain to your significant other why you’re in White Horse, Canada when you call asking for bail next Wednesday. That’s when they finally let you have your phone call as you can only call out once a week up there. I know, it was a turning point for me. So again I suggest you reread this post then refer to the image above as often as you need to. Send it on to those friends you have doubts about. They may thank you for your help, although unless you have bail money you may not want to include your phone number. Let me know how you make out.

Zen and Everclear

AfternoonMist1404click to enlarge

We are fast approaching the holiday weekend and you know what that means. Holidays are free days for the staff here at the World Headquarters of our Media Empire and that means trouble. Yep, it starts with the staff realizing they can pretty much do whatever they can get away with and with the response time we have from local law enforcement there’s no point in dialing 911. It is left to us to handle the problem on our own. It is the primary reason we had the Projects , I mean staff housing, painted drunk tank pink. It hasn’t helped all that much. When we you get a crew stuffed to the gills with 190 proof Everclear, logic and common sense completely leave the building. We have a no-alcohol policy here on the compound , I mean campus, but that hasn’t stopped these people one bit, they are able to make this elixir of the devil out of old grapefruit skins, shoe polish, rusty nails, the odd bottle of warfarin stolen from my med locker, dozens and dozens of packets of artificial sweetener spirited from the mess hall, lard, anti-freeze, and huge quantities of cheatgrass gathered from the surrounding countryside when they should have been completing their research. This is a dangerous mixture and has led to the occasional death and maiming of the unwary as well as creating an expense we never budgeted for. That is the providing of escort dogs for the dozens of temporarily blind staffers that have accumulated over the previous holiday periods from drinking this stuff. I, for one, am sick of it and I intend to hold a staff meeting about this and other problems right after the holiday is over. We should be getting the new crop of dogs by then, and most of the missing will have been located and led back to the Projects, I mean staff housing.

This seems to be a problem that is rampant in America today, the out of control drunken researcher problem, I mean. I have tried to talk to other directors of World Headquarters of Media production around the world about this situation but it appears we are unique in the field due to the fact that we invested in razor wire early in our construction and have a captive band of researchers as it were, whereas other facilities see their researchers stagger and drift off into the soiled tapestry of life outside of their hallowed walls and are not seen again. Our program has proved to be the successful model as we do get research done because our researchers have to produce or they don’t get fed.

To try and deflect some of the criticism we have gotten in the past regarding our alleged callousness and insensitivity to our indentured servants, I mean researchers, we have begun a new program in an attempt to protect our phony baloney jobs, I mean our reputation. Every Friday before a holiday weekend we will run a photo especially picked for its calming zen-like attributes. It is our hope that those still sober staffers that see it will be so struck with it’s beauty that they will decide to put aside their desire to get butt-dragging, projectile vomiting, murderously drunk and storm the Big House, I mean the World Headquarters of our Media Empire. This image, the first of many, was taken from the observation deck here at the headquarters and is looking west towards Rocky Mountain National Park through the late afternoon mist forming in the foothills . This should calm even the most devious, conniving, wretched bunch, I mean, unruly staffers, but just in case we have placed our bank of stun guns on full charge and purposely not fed the dogs this morning. Have a great weekend and a safe and sober holiday.