April 30, 2006

Never again, huh?

After the Holocaust the entire world sat in stunned, solemn silence and vowed, as a species, "Never again."

But then...

The governments of the world turned a blind eye to the Killing Fields of Cambodia, where over 2 million people died through starvation, torture or execution.

The governments of the world ignored the brutal murders of over 800,000 Rwandans, instead choosing to argue semantics, debating whether or not the situation warranted use of the term "genocide."

The governments of the world allowed the systematic extermination of humans to continue for years in Serbia and Bosnia before anything was done.

And once again, we see the governments of the world doing nothing while hundreds of thousands of people are slaughtered. The situation in Darfur is horrendous. Over 400,000 people have died in the last three years since the crisis began (that's the entire population of the state of Wyoming). Famine is just around the corner. Already 3.5 million people are now going hungry in Darfur and another 2.5 million have been displaced due to violence. It's been going on for THREE YEARS and the world has done next to nothing. The governments of the world need to act...the people of the world need to act. We all need to act...now!

There are many organizations out there right now that give us all many different ways we can help. Here's one. Please do something. Learn about it. Read about it. Talk about it. I've even got a little Google search bar on this site that you can use to look up the facts about the situation if you need to.

Use the word genocide...it's a powerful word that evokes powerful emotions and demands powerful actions. It is completely appropriate for Darfur. The more people talk about it, the more people will care about doing something. At the very least, sign a petition in support of helping the people of Sudan and tell our governments that we want them to act...we need them to act.

Again and again and again world leaders condemn genocide AFTER the fact. Rarely do any of them ever do anything to stop it before, or while, it happens. It's time to change that. It's time for the current administration to end the hypocracy.

So, here's a message for our President from my lonely corner of the blogosphere...

Mr. Bush,

You want so much to rid the world of "evildoers," to end tyranny and suffering, and "spread freedom and democracy"...

Well now is the time to step up the plate, Cowboy.

Show the world that you care about more than oil. Demonstrate through action that the lives of the poorest people of one of the world's poorest nations mean as much to you as those others you claim to care so much about (whose homes happen to rest atop vast reseviors of "black gold") and whom you're willing to rack up the largest national debt in the history of the human species in order to "help."

You are the leader of arguably the most powerful nation the world has ever seen. There is no one else on the planet capable of doing more to help the people of Sudan than you. You can stop the genocide in Darfur. You must stop the genocide in Darfur.

Make those of us who think you are nothing more than a pawn of Big Oil and a puppet of the military eat our words. Save the lives of these people, who have nothing to offer us in return but their gratitude, and demonstrate to us that you're not the hypocrite we all think you are.

Prove all of us wrong, President Bush. Please prove us wrong.

Stop the genocide in Darfur!

Paul Ollig
Seward, Alaska

April 28, 2006

You Call This Spring???

I woke up this morning to Sonja telling me to look out the window. Normally, I consider seeing an unexpected and fresh dusting of snow on the ground in the morning one of life's great surprises. However, when that unexpected dusting comes in the form of horizontally propelled snow/sleet three days before the start of May and after an entire winter of slush/snow/ice/mud/sleet/hail/more rain, it tends to lose some of its magic.

To take some of the sting off of this morning's gloomy reminder that summer is still a ways off, I figured I'd post a nice colorful photo from last summer. This was taken in the Marathon Bowl, about 1900 feet above Seward. That's Luna in the background.

I drove out toward Exit Glacier today to check on road conditions and see if we'll be able to start getting the Nature Center ready for the visitor season. The road has been plowed nearly the entire 8.6 miles. It's possible to actually drive into the park right now (if you have the combination for the locked gate, that is), but the driveable section extends only a couple hundred yards into the park itself. Beyond that point the snow is still about four feet deep. Preparations for summer will have to be put on hold for at least another couple weeks.

On a brighter note, though, the spring migration is in full swing. I saw another Trumpeter Swan this morning, along with several hundred Northern Pintails, American Wigeons, Mallards, and Green-Winged Teals. The sounds of spring migration are also pretty cool, particularly once you get a bunch of wigeons and Long-tailed Ducks calling (for that second link, click on "play sound from this species").

Spring is always one of my favorite times of year (once it actually shows up) for this very reason. As ponds open up ducks, geese and swans move in. A few weeks after the first waterfowl appear come thousands and thousands of shorebirds. As of this week the only shorebirds I've seen have been a handful of Greater Yellowlegs and a pair of Wilson's Snipe. I figure that in the next week to ten days, however, the scene will be completely different as the majority of the small wading birds (or "peeps" as birder's call them) stop for a while to resupply their energy reserves for the remainder of their trip to the North Slope of Alaska. These shorebird migration stopovers can provide some pretty spectacular scenes.

April 27, 2006

Cool Rocks

Today we get to introduce our seasonal employees to the concept of Climate Change as it relates to their job. Should be an interesting discussion, particularly considering the philosophical leanings of some of them. Fortunately, they're all pretty intelligent folks who, when given the facts, can actually think for themselves.

Birding was a bust yesterday. Well, not that those birds we did see weren't cool and special, but there just wasn't a whole lot around. We even tried the beach with the hopes of several dozen species of waterfowl, but when we got there the tide was so low that all of the birds were nearly half a mile away. Oh well...at least it's not snowing anymore.

April 24, 2006

The Dogs are Pooped.

I was informed yesterday that because of my blog, when you google my name all sorts of anti-Bush comments pop up. Is that cool or what? *grin*

Yesterday we went for a hike down to Tonsina Point. It's a nice 1.5 mile walk through a hemlock/spruce forest down to the next point south of Seward's southernmost road. You climb up along the crest of a steep ridge above the coast (but you never see the water for most of the hike) until you make a steep descent down a muddy trail into an ancient and mossy spruce forest. The size of the beach is completely dependant upon the level of the tide. When it's high, there's nothing but a narrow stretch of rocks just beyond the beachgrass. When the water is low, however, the beach extends out another several hundred yards.

As you can see, winter is still fairly evident once you climb a couple hundred feet up from sea level. Along the way we heard a Winter Wren, several species of chickadees, and some crossbills. Once we got to Tonsina, the Varied Thrushes were chasing each other through the mossy branches while filling the forest with "REEEEEM!"'s. This is one of the coolest forests I've ever hiked through. When it's not buried in snow and ice, the forest floor is covered by a thick layer of moss. When we entered an area where the snow was pretty much gone Luna started running around in circles. I figured she had heard a squirrel or something and was busy chasing it. But after a few minutes watching her run around I realized she was probably just enjoying the feeling of bouncing on the mossy ground.

We even had a sea otter checking out Harvey's ridiculous "honking rock push" behavior.

And amidst all of the Mew and Glaucus-Winged Gulls was a lone Black Oystercatcher.

The dogs completely overexerted themselves and spent the rest of the evening crashed out on the couch as soon as we got home.

We also witnessed a scene from a Hitchcock movie as we passed by one of the local fish-processing plants in town.

Speaking of birds, I'll be contacting many of you shortly to solicit pledges for my birdathon/big day record attempt. I'll be sure to make a post about it here for anyone else who may want to help raise money for the Arctic Audubon Society and the Alaska Bird Observatory.

April 21, 2006

Disecting a Forward

Sonja and I took the dogs for a walk out at 4th of July Creek this afternoon. While there we caught a glimpse of our first Black Oystercatcher of the year. They're such cool birds...probably one of my favorites in the area. The weather was so snowy and cold this morning that it was a very pleasant surprise when it turned into a beatifully sunny afternoon. Perfect for Harvey and Luna swimming at the beach with three sea lions and a harbor seal. Lots of waterfowl on the water, too. Here's the list of what we could spot from shore:

Black Oystercatcher, Mallard, Pintail Duck, American Widgeon, Green-winged Teal, Barrow's Goldeneye, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Black Scoter, Marbled Murrelet, Greater Yellowlegs, Mew Gull, Glaucus-winged Gull.

I just found out that a good friend of mine from Fairbanks got his first article and set of photographs published. The article, "Birds in the Night Light," can be found in the May/June 2006 issues of Birdwatcher's Digest. You can find this available at bookstores and can even buy it online.

Finally, I recently received the following forward from someone who thought I might have a thing or two to say about it. Normally, I just delete these out of hand since they tend to be stupid chain letters prophesizing riches for those who do email it to others or doom on anyone who doesn't pass it on. But I got this one from someone who rarely sends forwards, so I decided to give it a chance.

I've decided to intersperse my comments directly into this piece of garbage, in order to address each part in turn. So, the underlined sections are direct quotes from the forward, while my comments are not underlined.


My Fellow Americans: As you all know, the defeat of Iraq regime has been completed.

Since congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our mission in Iraq is complete.

I don't necessarily have anything really bad to say about this section, although I would like to provide a factual clarification. The defeat of Saddam Hussein's regime is complete...I seriously doubt American troops will ever be able to "defeat" the civil war that started after the U.S. invaded. So I think suggesting that our "mission" is complete is completely wrong...unless our mission was to illegally overthrow a sovereign government and plunge an entire nation into chaos and violence. If that's the case, then sure, our mission is complete. Let's leave now.

This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American forces from Iraq. This action will be complete within 30 days. It is now to begin the reckoning.

All I'm going to say here is, now that we've made this mess, it's our ethical responsibility to see it through to the end. To leave now and abandon the Iraqi people to civil war and suicide bombers after CAUSING this entire fiasco would not only be utterly wrong and immoral (ugh, i hate that word), but disastrous for regional stability...not to mention being utterly stupid.

Before me, I have two lists. One list contains the names of countries which have stood by our side during the Iraq conflict. This list is short. The United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, and Poland are some of the countries listed there. The other list contains everyone not on the first list. Most of the world's nations are on that list. My press secretary will be distributing copies of both lists later this evening.

I love this section. It illustrates the stupidity and arrogance of our current administration perfectly. You think there might be some reason why the vast majority of the world's nations chose not to support the war in Iraq? Think it might be possible that the rest of the world actually cares about adhering to international law instead of unilaterally deciding to invade another country? Yeah, I do too.

Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money saved during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of the Iraqi war.

Funny that the author of this forward neglected to mention the amount of foreign aid the United States gets from those nations on List 2. The ramifications of ceasing "aid" to 4/5 of the planet would send the American economy into an irrecoverable tailspin. No more oil. No more cars (many parts of "American" cars are manufactured elsewhere in the world). No more computers. No more Nutella. No more Heinekin. No more MONEY to help pay for all of the things our government spends money on. Many people don't realize that when our government spends more than they earn (deficit spending), they have to borrow the remainder. That money has to come from somewhere. And guess who we go to for that money? Nearly every nation on List 2.

Ceasing U.S. aid to nations on List 2 will do nothing but destroy the U.S. completely and totally. Oh yes, this is a marvelous idea. I'm so glad the author of this forward thought of it.

*rolls eyes*

The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world Hell-holes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption. Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France.

If anything, this statement alone allows us to write the author of this post off as an ignorant bigot. What he (and I use that pronoun deliberately...I refuse to believe a woman could ever write such garbage) fails to comprehend is that the U.S. government is usually only a minor player in the amount of aid given to countries facing famine, war, disease, and the like. In fact, it is usually only the big disasters the media chooses to focus on that result in any form of significant monetary assistance from the U.S., due primarily to Congress finding it a convenient way of boosting their popularity by appearing to "care" about those in need. The "List 2" nations are often some of the biggest contributors to improving the living conditions of people in "third world hell-holes."

In the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this money toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home. On that note, a word to terrorist organizations. Screw with us and we will hunt you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face of the earth.

*begin sarcasm* Oh, this is sure an effective threat. Particularly considering the incredible success we've had finding the guy responsible for the September 11 attacks. But I guess it's not all that important to bring Osama bin Laden to justice...surely not more important than destroying a nation that posed no threat whatsoever to us. *end sarcasm*

Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try France, or maybe China.

I am ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with France, Germany, and Russia. Thanks for all your help, comrades. We are retiring from NATO as well. Bon chance, mes amis.

Oh, now there's a smart policy. I guess we can say goodbye to the oil we buy from Russia, as well. It's not like we use oil, anyway. We're America. We don't need the rest of the world!

I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid parking tickets to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded and crushed. I don't care about whatever treaty pertains to this. You creeps have tens of thousands of unpaid tickets. Pay those tickets tomorrow or watch your precious Benzes, Beamers and limos be turned over to some of the finest chop shops in the world. I love New York.

Ok, this might actually have a smidge of merit. Unfortunately, he resorted to sophomoric name-calling, which automatically makes him sound like a rambling idiot.

A special note to our neighbors. Canada is on List 2. Since we are likely to be seeing a lot more of each other, you folks might want to try not pissing us off for a change.

This is the macho, arrogant nationalistic bullsh*t that has turned the rest of the world against the U.S. This crap has to stop, and it has to stop now. Seriously, am I the only one sick of watching stupid American sheep wrap themselves in a flag and tell the rest of the world to f--- itself while shouting to the wind how America is so freaking special? I hate to break it to anyone who doesn't know, but we are FAR from the most "free" nation on the planet. We are far from the beacon of civil liberties that many like to brag about. We are far from the benevolent do-gooder nation that people seem to think we are and enjoy complaining about.

On the contrary, we are a nation whose leaders and media desire nothing more than to keep us in a perpetual state of fear and anxiety. Because if we are afraid, we will consume. And the more we consume, the richer they become. We are a nation of unhealthy, resource-consuming sheep who refuse to think for themselves and only believe what can be summarized in a 10-second soundbyte. We are nation that is destroying our educational system and natural treasures due to massive budget cuts and record deficits in order to pay for an illegal war based upon a manipulation of the truth.

Ok, not every American is a fat, greedy, arrogant pig...but sometimes it sure seems like there are a helluva lot of them.

Mexico is also on List 2. President Fox and his entire corrupt government really need an attitude adjustment. I will have a couple extra tank and infantry divisions sitting around. Guess where I am going to put em? Yep, border security. So start doing something with your oil.

I'm not even going to get into the whole immigration debate. Suffice to say that every single white American alive today is the descendant of an immigrant who arrived in this country longing for a better life. It would be nice if those screaming for a wall to be built between the U.S. and Mexico would remember that now and again.

Oh, by the way, the United States is abrogating the NAFTA treaty - starting now.

Wow, I actually agree with this statement. Perhaps this will stop some American corporations from "fleeing" the laws of the U.S. in order to rape and plunder poorer nations with weaker environmental laws and sell their stuff back to Americans for record profits without having to pay tariffs.

We are tired of the one-way highway. Immediately, we'll be drilling for oil in Alaska - which will take care of this country's oil needs for decades to come. If you're an environmentalist who opposes this decision, I refer you to List 2 above: pick a country and move there. They care.

Actually, I would prefer it if the author of this post would be the one to find another country to live in. There are plenty out there who don't give a rat's ass about their natural heritage and wilderness areas. Go rape those. I prefer to keep our wilderness areas the way they are, thank you. Besides, I'm with the majority on this one, thankfully.

It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens. Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them by saying, "darn tootin."

I agree with the idea of this statement, if not the attitude. It's about time the U.S. stops its empirialistic endeavors and hypocritical "let's spread OUR brand of freedom and democracy" attitude and starts taking care of the problems HERE and NOW. Hell, even if we cancelled the order for one B-2 stealth bomber (price tag $2 BILLION dollars), we could pay the salaries of an additional 57,143 teachers for our public schools.

Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life around the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet.

Nope, sorry. It's actually the arrogant unilateralism, cowboy macho nationalistic zealotry, isolationism and blatant disregard for international law that has earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet.

It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate homelessness in America. It is time to eliminate World Cup Soccer from America.

Yes. Yes. And who gives a flying crap.

To the nations on List 1, a final thought. Thanks guys. We owe you and we won't forget.

Oh, and here's the bonus we promised you for kissing our asses and a rag to wipe that brown stuff off your noses.

To the nations on List 2, a final thought: You might want to learn to speak Arabic.

Now we can add racism to the list of this author's attributes. Nice.

God bless America. Thank you and good night. If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English, thank a soldier.

*rolls eyes* Today's soldiers are the biggest sheep around. I should know...I was one of them. I have no respect for anyone who volunteers to go destroy the lives of innocent civilians and assist in perpetuating the civil war that we started.

(Please forward this to at least ten friends and see what happens! Let's get this to every USA computer!)

Please don't. Rather, try to come up with your own thoughts about today's world and what you believe is good or bad about it. I don't care if you agree with me or not, just think for yourself. Refuse to be a sheep. Resist the urge to simply parrot back what you hear without actually considering the implications of what you are saying. Learn more about the world and its inhabitants, both human and nonhuman. Learn another language. Educate yourself. Celebrate humanity's diversity, don't fear it.

But most importantly, become an individual. There are far too few of us left.

April 19, 2006

I Ain't Got Time to Bleed.

If anyone can recognize the movie that quote came from, you win a free pickle.

Anyway, just wanted to say that I am completely and totally swamped with work this week. So there probably aren't going to be any new posts until Saturday at the earliest. But, because you all are undoubtedly missing my various diatribes, and since we are a country infatuated with 10-second soundbites, I give you the following tidbit of wisdom:

Bush Sucks.

April 14, 2006

Six. Six continents with dots. Ah! Ah! Ah!

First of all, in case you missed my little Sesame Street reference in the title, I just wanted to point out that I now have a little red dot in Africa...well, just off the coast of Africa, but it still counts. That makes six continents worth of visitors to this very blog. You all may not care all that much, but I think that kicks some wicked booty. I so rock.

Anyway, if you've been reading my recent comments you'll know that my blog was recently "discovered" by another long-time and serious blogger. He was searching through the dreggs of the blogosphere searching for "diamonds in the rough" when he came upon my lonely little patch of cyberspace. If you simply can't bring yourself to believe that anyone would consider my pathetic little blog a "gem", I offer you Exhibit A. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it! Neener neener!

Moving along...

I don't know if you heard, but the IRS recently reported that the Cheney's have sadly overpaid their taxes this year. Apparently, they are now entitled to a refund of 1.8 million-freaking-dollars. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be entitled to a tax refund greater than the combined salaries of over 50 teachers? Perhaps we should fix this injustice and create a "shooting lawyers in the face while mistaking them for a small, caged bird" tax.

Speaking of birds, I'm still planning to undertake a run for the Alaska Birdathon/Big Day record next month. That means I've got to do a good bit of soliciting pledges (per species identified), all of which will benefit both the Alaska Bird Observatory and the Arctic Audubon Society. I have also learned that it is going to cost me (and my other teammates, which may or may not include Sonja) $150 per person to take a boat out to the Chiswell Islands looking for puffins and other assorted pelagic birds. Unfortunately, we'll need all of those birds to stand a chance of breaking either record (we're aiming for 131 species). So if anyone knows any way to raise $150 without actually doing any work, let me know. Also, if you're interested in making a pledge to help out these two wonderful organizations, also let me know.

After a few more inches of snow earlier this week it finally looks like spring will be arriving soon. Today is absolutely beautiful in Seward, albeit a bit windy. At least the ravens and eagles think spring is on its way. It's been several weeks since I've seen a raven sitting or flying anywhere by itself...they're all pairing up again. And on my drive back from Talkeetna I was able to watch a pair of Bald Eagles grasp talons and spiral down towards a lake. I've only ever seen eagles do that three times...all while driving 60 mph down the road. It's still wicked cool, but I would like to actually be able to someday watch it happen without worrying whether or not I'm about to have a head-on collision with a Hummer.

Oh yeah, if any of you know anyone in Antarctica with an internet connection, mention my blog to them, will ya? Thanks.

April 12, 2006

Smartass in Chief

Is it just me, or shouldn't we all (well, those of us who are American citizens, anyway) be able to expect our President to be respectful and courteous to us when we ask him a question or express concerns about his leadership? Wouldn't you think it should go without saying that he not belittle an American for voicing an opinion, or even just refrain from being an ass while someone else is talking? You'd think so, right? Well, apparently our President doesn't agree:

Video hosting by Photobucket

**(the video ended up getting chopped off half-way through. I'll post the rest tomorrow)**

First of all, I'm very surprised this guy made it past Bush's gang of censor-thugs, let alone was allowed to speak his mind directly to the President. Am I the only one disgusted by the way our "President" handled this? Am I the only one who thinks this man has no business running a hot dog stand, let alone the most powerful, empirialistic government on the planet? When I watch this I am reminded of all the moronic jocks in high school and college who were so stupid and incapable of answering a questions intelligently that they resorted to mocking the other guy in order to cover up the fact that they're a complete idiot.

I just can't believe people actually voted for this moron...TWICE!

Anyway, on a lighter note, there have been some updates to the Angry Alien archives. In case you've never heard of Angry Alien, these are the folks responsible for the 30-second Bunny Theater. They take classic movies and tell the entire story in 30 seconds, all re-enacted by bunnies. Here's a good example of what I'm talking about. If you like that one, there are plenty more to see on their homepage. If you don't want to sit and watch all of the episodes, however, I would just watch their best one: The Exorcist in 30 Seconds (and re-enacted by bunnies).

If those fail to snap your socks, you could always visit Kenya.

And just because I'm feeling a little link-happy this evening, here's a special one for my sister.

April 11, 2006

Head Cut Off

Ok, it's official. I'm stressed out. Our seasonal training starts in less than a week and I feel as though i have at least three weeks' worth of work to do to prepare for it. So, I don't know how well I'm going to be able to update this over the next couple of days. I'll at least be able to make a few posts here and there.

And, in case you're wondering how my Wilderness First Responder course went this weekend, I only ended up with some mild blunt force trauma to the head. But it was diagnosed and treated efficiently and effectively by my classmates, and healed amazingly quickly after applying a little soap and water to the injury. The course was held up in Talkeetna, which is just outside of Denali National Park. Unfortunately, it was pretty cloudy for most of the time I was there, but the mountain did peak out from under the clouds for a few hours when I first arrived.

April 05, 2006

Adventure Courses Coming out of my Butt

It's true. I've got the stretch marks to prove it. Tonight, for instance, Sonja and I will have our third "confined water dive" for our SCUBA open-water certification course. It's pretty fun, but swimming around for three hours in a heavily chlorinated pool after thirty 1st graders all pee in it does tend to irritate the skin/eyes/nose/stomach. Although, to be honest, I actually contributed to the pee-content of the pool during our last dive. It's been a long time since I've peed in a swimming pool, and I can tell you that the experience is every bit as wonderful as I remember from childhood.

Here's what I look like when I go SCUBA diving while wearing a very masculine-looking mask. Unfortunately, the Alaska Sealife Center (who is sponsoring this course) doesn't have any pink masks, so I have to wear some girly black ones. I'm also a lot more muscular than I was when that picture was taken, so I make a much more dashing figure in my wetsuit nowadays. Just ask Sonja. However, since the open-water diving we'll be doing here in Seward involves swimming around in water that's only 38 degrees Fahrenheit, I'll have to cover my manly physique with a big, bulky drysuit. I suppose it's a good thing, though, since I noticed one of my instructors was getting jealous of my rock-hard abs and massive pecs. Probably better not to make your dive instructor cry right before a big dive, eh?

The other adventure course I'll be participating in this weekend is my Wilderness First Responder re-certification. I'll be travelling to Talkeetna and staying at the Roadhouse for the weekend while I spend my days treating all sorts of gruisome, albeit pretend, injuries.

That means I'll be in a non-posting mode until Monday, so don't expect any updates over the weekend. I'll hopefully have lots of cool fake blood and compound fracture pictures to share when I get back, though, so be sure to check back next week.

April 04, 2006

Exit Glacier and Glorified Vultures

Today I got to see just how far Exit Glacier has moved in the past couple months. I haven't been out there since November, but my boss asked if I wanted to come along with him to take measurements for our new visitor center desk. Of course I said ok, despite having four weeks worth of work I need to get done in the next ten days.

So we hopped on the park's snowmachines and buzzed out there. And I mean buzz in the slow, ponderous bumble-bee type of buzz sort of way, not the fast, zippy dragonfly way. In fact, if you check out the spedometer in the picture you'll see that it is reading a big fat zero. That's because the machine went so damn slow that it realized measuring our speed in miles per hour was rather pointless, so it never bothered to actually move the needle. I was actually moving, however, when I took the picture.

Once we got to the glacier things went a bit more smoothly. It was actually enjoyable to go slowly because there were cool ermine and moose tracks everywhere to look at. The thing I was most interested in finding out was how much the glacier had moved forward during the winter. Last time I saw it there was a sign sitting in front of that big pile of dirt. Well, as you can see now, there's no sign. The ice has completely buried it. If you look closely, you'll be able to see a similar sign on the left side of the image. Well, if you were to draw a line to the right from that sign for about twenty or thirty feet you'd find the location of the other sign. That is, if there wasn't several thousand tons of ice on top of it.

And if you missed it last night, The Daily Show aired a segment on a recent law passed in Homer, Alaska, making it illegal to feed Bald Eagles. Keep checking that site and sooner or later they'll have the segment on there for download.

Honestly, though, I don't see what the big issue is. Nothing good could ever come from encouraging hundreds of hungry, aggressive birds with large talons into a residential area. Not to mention all the dead eagles that will result from them perching on utility poles (FYI - don't click on that link if you don't want to see an electrocuted eagle).

What's the big deal with Bald Eagles, anyway? I mean, any bird is inherently cool, but what makes these so special? They're just glorified vultures, really.

Perhaps my aversion to Bald Eagles comes from seeing crap like this and this and this and this and this and this and this and, worst of all, this plastered on cars, t-shirts, hats, websites, windows, foreheads, and front yards for the last four and a half years.

Luckily, it seems that the nationalistic zealotry that infected every corner of this country for so long is beginning to wane, and people are actually starting to think for themselves once again. Novel idea, I know...but hopefully it will catch on.