Christmas Gift selection # 6 For 2017 – Your Very Own National Park

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Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado

Note: This is a repost of one of our Top Ten Gifts for the discerning buyer originally published in December of 2013, a year that will live in infamy. In what has become a half-assed tradition here at The Institute we have been irregularly reposting these now famous gift selections at this time of year when we remember to do so, in a lame attempt to create a Holiday Tradition and mostly because we suddenly realize it’s Christmas time and we don’t have squat done as far as writing new stuff. It’s fun and we don’t have to spend the time taxing our limited sense of originality making that new stuff up. Enjoy.

Your Very Own National Park!!!

Here it is, your chance to own a National Park known the world over for its scenery and wildlife with no strings attached. That’s right, you would be the sole owner! Keep it like it is, Develop it, Scrape it and put up a better one, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. What an incredible gift this will make for that special person on your list. This National park has it all, towering majestic 14,000′ peaks, the mountains that scrape the sky, teeming wildlife populations that include huge free-roaming elk herds, black bear, owls, eagles, marmots and chipmunks, fish, 11 coyotes, some beaver, Bighorn Sheep, and a pika.

How can this be? you ask. Well what most people don’t know is that *The Institute has a real estate division that often contracts with the Federal government to dispose of property it no longer wants. We were contacted by the Department of Interior to conduct a sale of this National Park due to policy changes that no longer emphasized the focus on Nature and it’s attractions. Since the downturn and sequestering and the lack of attention to the American publics wants and needs it has been decided to liquidate some of our most popular Natural attractions to show our willingness to be fiscally responsible. While this may be disturbing to the few who actually like Nature it is an incredible opportunity for one of you, or a group if you decide to pool your lunch money, to own a huge part of American history, not to mention acreage.

This National Park, which we can not name at this time due to federal regulations, but whose initials are Rocky Mountain National Park, will be offered for sale beginning this week by closed auction. Opening bids start at $20.00 and will continue until we decide that’s enough money and close the sale. Since the Director will have the final say and this is a private sale open only to people we like or that have an impressive amount of money, foreign governments welcomed, any considerations made to the Director personally will be taken into consideration ( for clarification contact the Director at his private number, all offers confidential )  in deciding when to close the sale.

This sale includes the National Park, all 265,761 acres, it’s infrastructure including all buildings, roads, water rights, lakes, ponds and puddles and necessary fencing, any personal effects left by departing staff members, all wild life including any offspring born to said park wildlife outside the boundaries of the park, the food service court located at the visitor center on Trail ridge road, all other concessions connected to the park, anything with the name Rocky Mountain National Park on it, the right to charge admission to enter and set regulations regarding that visit, if you desire to continue allowing access by the public that is, the ability to retain any proceeds from the sale of items left in the lost and found department and other perks to numerous to mention.

Bidding begins at noon December 24th and ends at 12:00am December 31st. Winning bid will be announced January 15th, 2014. All bids are to be in cash or bearers bonds, presented directly to the Director of The Institute by the end of business on December 31st, 2013 and are non-refundable. The Director has sole authority to determine winner in case of tying bids. So here’s your chance to really suck up to the guy. Any inducements no matter how lewd will be entertained. Title will be conveyed by an act of Congress sometime in the future.

National Park bidding begins at $20.00

Take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity and bid early and often. If you aren’t successful on this property there is the possibility that two more properties are on the block for later disposal. We can’t disclose which two but think Big Ditch and Geysers and you’ll be close.

Merry Christmas everyone!

* 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.

Stored Away Storms

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Today is kind of a rainy, snowy, a little hail-y, wet sort of day here at The Institute. There’s a reason for that. Mostly because it’s still sort of wintry, or on the tail end of it anyways, and the second is because we need to use up our stored away storms or lose them. That’s right The Institute has a program where we store up moisture-laden storms for future use.

Many of you long-time readers know that The Institute is renowned for its weather modification program. Virtually since the beginning days of The Institute in the far distant past, we have been active in controlling weather. At the beginning it was a modest program. If it was raining we’d just go back into the house so we wouldn’t get wet, or we’d squat down behind the half-track when the wind was blowing so we didn’t wind up in Kansas somewhere. Gentle but successful modifications. Some say it was more of a reaction to the weather rather than a bona fide modification but you have to start somewhere. As time passed our programs got more sophisticated. We built machinery that could modify the weather around The Institute’s campus, then farther and farther away as we could afford more D-cells to power the energy hungry weather modification machine. We’d make it rain in the summer when the asparagus was wilting, or have a little snow storm in June just to make the tourists freak out. Now we can make California go crazy if we want with rain storms, Tsunamis etc., and we’re right on the edge of being able to scare the hell out of Hawaii.

Naturally we use this power for good.

We have developed a program over the last few years on the storing of moisture for future use. We went through a period of drought here at The Institute. Years of nothing but hot sunny days and no rain. There were a lot of problems. The trees would sweat, Chickens quit laying, we had to shift our entire inventory of 10w-30 motor oil to 10w-90 so the oil in our vehicles wouldn’t wimp out and seize up from overheating, our interns were forced to wear skimpy clothing when they wore any at all. Social upheaval ran rampant. Times were desperate. Something had to be done.

We began a program with a Federal government, ours, and various water boards and other institutions around the state where we would capture and store individual storms before they had a chance to run out over the countryside and discharge all their moisture in the form of rain or snow, or in some cases dangerous clumps of ice that could cause injury and property damage if they fell onto anything unsuspecting. After lots of trial and error our meteorologists and mechanical engineers here at The Institute discovered a practical way to store these storms so they could be brought out later and used when needed. They developed a proprietary algorithm that can compress any storm to 45% of its original volume while maintaining all of its energy. This was a pretty cool feat to accomplish on the wages we pay.

Due to a delay with the patent office over whether it is morally or ethically proper to take over this much control of a natural phenomenon for our own personal gain, that being the weather, (we of course maintain the position that “Hey! We thought of it. You guys didn’t so we should be able to make a buck here.”) and since they haven’t given us a decision yet, we can’t tell you how our storage process works. Sorry. We have to keep it secret. What if somebody bad stole it for their own nefarious uses, like North Korea, or some company Trump owns. Then where would we be?

One of the small little issues to be worked out with our program is the cost of maintaining the storage situation for all these storms. The storage units we use (the U-Lock It, You Better Pay On Time Storage Center) wants us to pay a month in advance, every month whether we have storms stored there or not, and renting an entire section of storage units is very costly, and because sometimes the autopay from The Institute’s checking account doesn’t clear in time, they’ve threatened to lock us out and just dump the storms out on the sidewalk so to speak. Well that would be, like, catastrophic. So we can only store so many storms before we have to release some back into the weather whether we want to or not. They have an expiration date.

So due to a critical underfunding problem we can only rent so many storage units and purchase all of the batteries for all the storm compactors we need, and then we run out of space and we have to release our storms approximately a year after we put them in storage. You can only jam so many storms in one of the those lockers before things get tight. Note: We inadvertently let a portion of our secret proprietary storage method leak out here. Please disregard it and do not tell your friends and/or neighbors what you read here today. Thank you, The Director. P.S. It could screw us up big time in our patent application if somebody figured out our system and beat us to the punch. Thanks. T.D.

That’s what’s happening today. The small storm you see in the image above was captured up in Rocky Mountain National Park in the early fall of 2014 and had already gone past it’s “use by” date so it had to be dumped today. We get a lot of flack from the uninformed public over our dump days. Complaints like “Yesterday was in the low 60’s you yahoos, and today you dump a storm with rain, hail and 40° temps? What the hell were you thinking?, and it’s Monday too.” They don’t understand it is “use it or lose it”.  Hopefully if we get bigger and more important we will be large enough to just ignore the ignorant and do whatever we want, kind of like the government does. That’ll be a Day to remember. Anyway that’s why we got a wet and cold one today folks, just remember “We need the moisture”.

Feather Count

 

 

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This is, as many of you know who watch the Nature channel, a Golden Eagle. They are nature’s answer to the stealth bomber, or Italy’s Ferrari, or TV’s Christina Hendricks. I mention her only because of the similarity of her hair color to the color of the eagle’s feathers while soaring against the bluest of blue skies in the late afternoon sun. This must be how Christina’s hair would look as it caught the sun if she were flying around the cliff face here at the eagle nesting site in one of her tightest-fitting dresses…… but wait, did I just say that out loud, never mind, let’s just acknowledge that this is a Golden eagle and move on.

What many of you don’t know is that feather loss is a common but little known problem for birds of prey, particularly for the larger birds like the Golden eagle. The Eagle Observation Department (EOD) here at The Institute has a serious, but totally unnecessary, project in place where we have taken it upon ourselves to perform a periodic inventory of the overall health of this pair of Golden eagles, which includes a full exact feather count of each bird, if you will. We do this simply as a public service at absolutely no cost to you the taxpayer. Since the Federal government has repeatedly refused to fund our efforts in this endeavor we have had no other choice but to take this on ourselves and self-fund this project. Which is why you occasionally see members of The Institute approaching perfect strangers downtown and asking them for money, or canned goods, or checking the coin slots in public phones for quarters, or even, sadly, standing at corners with our cardboard sign saying “Give me money! I’m counting feathers for the community! Thank you, The Institute.” So far we’re barely making it but as this is a necessary project, we persevere.

Yesterday was one of our inventory days, so we sent a three-man team of scientists, photographers and security to our top-secret Golden eagle nesting site at Watson lake, outside of Bellvue, Colorado, 80512. The eagles were there and seemed eager to get this over with as they had mating to do so they could get the nest up and running for this years hatchlings.

Using our secret collection of eagle controlling hand signs, developed and patented here at The Institute, we were able to get the eagles to fly slowly back and forth as we counted feathers as quickly as we could. This is a much more difficult process than at first appears. As the feathers must be counted manually and in order, such as 8001, 8002, 8004 and so on, for accuracy. It is easy to lose count due to people walking up and asking you what are you doing or shaking your tripod leg. After answering you have to quickly reacquire the bird in your viewfinder and start over before it flies out of range. Add to that having to ask the eagle to fly upside-down so you can count the feathers on its back and you begin to get the picture of how difficult this process is.

This is why we have security on site as we inventory. Our crack security officer can keep the most persistent of onlookers at bay by slapping at their knees repeatedly with his attack dog’s leash. They howl and complain that they don’t have full access to events happening on public land but sacrifices often have to be made in the advance of science.  Besides they always want to look through your viewfinder and talk to you about how they once saw a bird that looked a lot like an eagle, and sometimes about their Aunt who suddenly and for no reason took off all her clothes and jumped laughing into the lake, scaring the Canada geese all to hell. We’re busy here people, we don’t have time for idle chit-chat.

It was a long, long day but we finally finished and everyone was relieved including the eagles that we had gotten through another one of these trying but totally unnecessary procedures. We made plans to meet back here again in a month to repeat our efforts and everyone was good with that, except the female eagle who had taken to pulling some of her tertiary feathers out and was threatening to start on her primaries when we made a joint decision to reschedule in six weeks instead. This seemed to placate her somewhat. Some of us remembered that expecting females were often difficult to manage during this time, so allowances were made.

Our tallies were much closer this time than during previous attempts. Our scientist came in with a count of 114,651 feathers for the male eagle, the photographer counted close to 3000, and our security person had a count of 9, but as he was quite busy with crowd control we understood the discrepancy. So added together and averaged that gave us a count of 39,200 feathers for the male. The females’ numbers were tossed after she started pulling out her primaries during the fourth or fifth hour of counting. We are deciding if we are going to keep her involved as one the test subjects or not, we may not, at least until after the chicks are born. She should be in a much more manageable state by then. And besides due to weight gain before she lays those eggs she’ll probably pop a few feathers anyway, but that’s a subject for another study.

In the meantime we’ll continue monitoring the site and observe whatever behavioral changes we see. If this is a study you can support we encourage you to send donations of many dollars, especially large denominations, if you can, to The Institute so we can continue our valuable work. We’re particularly looking for those supporters that don’t pay much attention to details and results but like to be known for supporting wildlife causes no matter what the reason. Remember, the more you give, the better you look. And looking good is great!

 

Near-sighted Wolves

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As you can see by the above photo there is a new plague troubling our friends the wolves. It’s not just the Wyoming legislature or mean-spirited ranchers but a new disease called lupus prope aciei or Wolf Near-sightedness. It is a relatively new disease for these wolves, only having been discovered after researchers found them stumbling and bumping into things as the wolves tried to follow a scent trail on their hunt. The researchers had been following up reports of wolves with large swollen noses and bruises around their head and shoulders seen sitting listlessly along the roadside. They had taken to walking along the asphalt because of the lack of obstacles in their way, pathetically nose to tail, like tired circus elephants, sometimes the young pups even holding on to their parents tails with their mouths. If wolves could cry it would have been their Trail of Tears.

Just what is this affliction really though, you might ask. Well here you can see a prime example of this problem in action. The wolf in the foreground has just scented an elk or buffalo or a tourist with some pizza and is peering about myopically trying to locate its possible prey. See it squint its eyes, that’s not a Clint Eastwood imitation, no, that is lupus prope aciei  at work. That poor wolf can not see past the end of its own snout. The wolf in the background who is also afflicted is desperately trying to ascertain what it is it just stepped in.

The federal government sent in a canine Ophthalmologist to test the wolves hoping to discover the cause of the wolves ailments but due to over-zealousness in the doctor’s approach and his handling of the wolves he was never seen again. These are wolves. They’re near-sighted not domesticated. So as of right now we know little about the cause and/or treatment of this debilitating affliction other than don’t be grabbing no wolf by the nose to look in its eyes unless you get some type of formal agreement first. That, and wolves can’t digest badges and optical testing equipment. It’s not much but it’s a start.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, these wolves are now safe in a modified enclosure near Yellowstone National Park until they can be cured. All the rocks and other wolf-height lumpy obstacles are in the process of being wrapped in a protective foam covering and other taller impediments such as trees, large shrubbery, shovel handles, barrels to store wolf chow in, etc., are being modified with an application of foam Bollard covers, a technique borrowed from the maritime industry to keep large oil tankers from damaging those expensive metal posts on the docks they tie up at. This may safeguard our wolves for the time being but is not by any means a long-term solution.

One drawback to this approach is that it hasn’t been determined whether wolves like the taste of foam. If that turns out to be the case, that wolves do indeed like the taste of foam, perhaps a solution would be to spray the entire compound with an industrial strength product like Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray, which is used to keep puppies from eating your credenza, and is available at fine pet stores nationwide. It’s just a thought.

But listen, a word of warning. If you should come across a wolf sitting forlornly along the roadside staring at his feet, don’t rush up to it and offer your condolences about its condition, Wolves don’t like that. Instead in a moderate tone say something like “Hey, dude, What’s up? You OK? Anything we can do for you?” Something like that. Do not and I repeat, Do not rush up and grab its snout and start looking into its eyes to see if it is near-sighted or not. I mean, this should go without saying but there are some of you out there that watch way too much TV and might be tempted to utilize the Disney approach and offer aid. Don’t do that. There are trained professionals on duty to handle situations like this. Call them. Let them do their jobs. Instead if you feel like you want to help, send cards, or donate those used eye glasses into the many drop-off boxes located throughout the area, or make a donation to the lupus prope aciei fund or simply drive on by. You can help more just by sending them your good thoughts.