Sayanora, Snakes


Today’s the last day for the Royal Saskatchewan Museum’s popular Snakes Alive exhibit, featuring all nine native Saskatchewan snake species. It’s excellent, so if you haven’t been yet… the museum opens at 9:30. Better hustle! There’s a stage show at 2:30 that will teach you things. I caught it Sunday and it was interesting and educational. That said, the highlight is the reptiles, who were very frisky yesterday. Maybe they know they’ll be released into the wild in the next few days?

Here are some photos:

Prairie Rattlesnake thinks it’s so cool. It is.
The tiny smooth green snake is very very very green.
The eastern yellow-bellied racer is Saskatchewan’s most bitey snake.
My 20-year-old pet corn snake Rusty is not in the exhibit but he’s very cute and people love him, so there.
Bye snakes. You are awesome.


Michel Boutin: Frog (2015) Enamel on canvas
Michel Boutin: Frog (2015) Enamel on canvas

On Saturday June 11, the Dunlop Art Gallery is hosting an artist talk and reception at its Sherwood Village branch location for a four-artist exhibition called Kingdom. As used in the exhibition, the word Kingdom references the taxonomic term that biologists use to describe various categories of life.

Kingdom is the second largest grouping below domain, and scientists are apparently somewhat split on the number of kingdoms of life we have on Earth. The U.S. typically cites six kingdoms, while Europe and other locales stick with five.

Animals and plants are two kingdoms common to both taxonomic systems. And under both systems, people are classed as animals. In this exhibition, four artists with roots in northern Canada explore the relationship between humanity and our fellow members of the animal kingdom.

Curated by Wendy Peart, Kingdom features work by Michel Boutin (Prince Albert), Nicholas Galanin (Sitka, AB), Tim Moore (Round Lake, SK), and Judy McNaughton (Prince Albert). The talk will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, with the reception to follow.

Snakes Alive: Snakes of Saskatchewan

Photo credit: Darrol Hofmeister
Photo credit: Darrol Hofmeister

If you happened to read the cover story in our May 12 issue you’ll know that the Royal Saskatchewan Museum is getting ready to unveil a new temporary exhibit. The exhibit is devoted to the nine snake species that are native to Saskatchewan, and will include live specimens from each species.

The exhibit has a grand opening on Friday May 20 from 1:30-4 p.m. that will involve a variety of family-friendly activities. Then on Thursday May 26 the exhibit curator Ray Poulin will be giving a talk on snakes at the RSM at 7 p.m. This is a licensed event, but people 19 and under can attend if accompanied by an adult.

The exhibit will be on until May 2017 so if you like snakes you’ll have plenty of opportunities to commune with them at the Royal Sask. Museum in the months to come.

Exciting Goings On On Scarth St. Mall

20160515_065510In early March, I did a post about the huge pile of pigeon excrement that was accumulating on the canopy of one of the office buildings on Scarth Street Mall. The pigeons were drawn to the ledge above the canopy, I noted, by the banner that had been strung on the building for a couple of years that afforded them a convenient place to shelter behind.

The banner was removed a few weeks ago, and as you can see from the above photo, a crew was out bright and early this morning (6:30 a.m. to be precise) to pressure wash the canopy to remove the baked on pigeon poop. So that’s one less eyesore in downtown Regina.


The film that Jayden Pfeifer is screening at this instalment of his popular poke-fun-at-a-generally-lame movie series should be a hoot. I mean that literally, because the film is actually called Hoot. It was directed by Wil Shriner, and was released in 2006.

As you might imagine from the title, marijuana features prominently in the film, in which a group of hip Florida teenagers who hook up regularly to get baked decide to thwart a local land development when they realize it could put some endangered animal species at risk.

Hoot screens at the RPL Theatre on Tuesday April 26 at 7 p.m. Admission is free with a donation to the Regina Food Bank, and here’s the trailer:

Saskatchewan Fossil Election Enters Final Week

20151128_155129We’ve written and blogged about this election that’s been underway since last fall to select from seven prehistoric candidates a fossil to be an official emblem of Saskatchewan.

If you want a refresher course on what seven fossils are in the running to be our official fossil you can find that here. Similarly, if you’d like to find out which candidate I favour you can discover that here.

For most of the election period, voting has been done in person at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum where sample specimens from each of the seven candidates are on display. Now that the contest is in its final days, though, it’s possible to vote on-line at the RSM website.

Voting closes on April 25, so if you haven’t cast a ballot yet you have a few more days.

Native Prairie Speakers Series & The Bat Man Of Mexico

The Native Prairie Speakers Series event goes tonight at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Guest-speaker is Rebecca Magnus from Nature Saskatchewan. In our March 17 issue we had an interview with her tied to her work in habitat conservation and endangered species. She’ll be elaborating on those issues in this talk, which is formally titled “Stewards of Saskatchewan: Habitat Conservation for Species at Risk”.

The talk is at 7:30 p.m., and admission is free.

As well, there’s a second science/nature event happening in Regina tonight. It goes at the Saskatchewan Science Centre at 7 p.m., and is titled The Bat Man of Mexico. It involves a screening of a BBC documentary about world-renown bat researcher Rodrigo Medellin, along with a Q & A with him afterwards. The event is free, but seating is limited in the Imax Theatre so you’re advised to reserve tickets in advance. Donations will also be accepted at the door.

Here’s a trailer on the BBC documentary

Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Pigeons

20160304_083915Memo to whoever owns this building on the Scarth Street Mall. If you want to reduce the amount of pigeon excrement on your canopy you might consider removing the banner that’s been hanging there for a couple of years now.

In colder weather during the day, and year-round at night, pigeons use it as a handy area to shelter behind. If the banner wasn’t there, I suspect it would substantially reduce the amount of time pigeons spent hanging out on the little ledge above the canopy and defending their turf from other pigeons.

Failing that, you might want to step up your maintenance program on the canopy because at present it’s kind of gross.

Weekly Reckoning: Soup Erbo Wl Edition

weekly-reckoningLet’s play Reckonopoly! It’s like regular Monopoly, except you reckon with things. And there are no tokens, or cards, or money, or a board. It isn’t like Monopoly at all!

WHERE’D ALL THE ZIKA COME FROM? A New York Times (google them! They’re a newspaper) article goes into detail on the emergence and discovery of the Zika virus. It reads like a medical mystery thriller, but with hydrocephaly.

THE COYOTES OF NORTH BAY ARE GETTING HIGH Whaaaaat? Traffic-disrupting coyotes near San Francisco are probably getting schwacked on local wild mushrooms. The article is at pains to point out that the mushrooms in question aren’t psylocibin-containing “magic mushrooms” but muscimol-containing fly agaric mushrooms. I’m not sure why reporters are so keen on parsing the source of a coyote’s high, but whatever.

AD BOWL, A BIG BOWL OF ADS Sure, men with helmets and shoulder pads squared off against each other today in a choreographed ritual of symbolic violence, but the real show lies in the ridiculous and entertaining ads that companies pay outlandish sums of money to spread in front of your eyesball eyeballs. But where can you find all those ads now? Here. Spoiler: they’re pretty stupid.

SASKATCHEWAN MAY STILL BE A VAPING PARADISE, BUT FOR HOW LONG? Cigarette smoking looks cool. It has always looked cool. Vaping, on the other hand, makes you look an overheated engine with a sleeve tat. I don’t care how many flavours you can vape in: you’re still vaping. Here’s a story relevant to vapers’ interests though.

WHATEVER HAPPENS/ HAS HAPPENED WITH TODAY’S SUPERBOWL, WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE BEYONCÉ I imagine a team is winning, or has won? I’m not a sports journalist. Anyway, Beyoncé’s “Formation” is great. End of story. But since this is the Internet, there’s always supplemenary material (that is to say, a complete guide to the video below).

Spot The Wild Animal

20160103_152349I posted in early December on the plethora of migrating Canada geese that had descended on Wascana Centre during the insanely mild spell we had to start the month. Conditions were so comfortable that they decided to settle in for awhile and, in typical goose fashion, poop up a storm

In its coverage a few days later, the Leader-Post spoke to University of Regina biologist Mark Brigham about the environmental impact of a whole shit-load pile of geese crapping themselves silly in the park. If you check the link, you’ll see that he expected the water quality in the lake to be negatively impacted.

At the end of the interview, Brigham threw out the suggestion that with our surplus goose population, we should consider harvesting them and donating them as a source of protein to the food bank.

That’s a blog post for another day. But with the modest drop in temps we’ve experienced lately, most of the geese have departed for warmer climes. But there’s still wildlife in the park. In fact, there’s an animal in the photo I snapped when I was in the park for a walk today. Can you spot it?

Sea Monsters: They’re Real, And They’re Spectacular

This might be the greatest story I’ve read in my life:

A giant squid, rarely seen outside of deep waters, has been filmed swimming near a pier in central Japan. The 3.7-metre-long squid was spotted swimming under fishing boats at Toyama Bay on Christmas Eve. It reportedly lingered around the moorings for several hours and was captured on video using a submersible camera. It is not known why the squid ventured so close to shore, but local dive shop owner Akinobu Kimura, who joined the squid in the water to guide it back out to sea, told CNN it seemed “lively”.

Giant squid are, and I’m using this adjective correctly and without affectation or irony, awesome. So beautiful. I love weird animals.

Surrender To The Captain

The Captain!We had a visitor! Meet The Captain (a.k.a. just Captain, no “the”), a big, awesome fur-baby belonging to Melissa and Luc who’s celebrating his second birthday today (well, the second anniversary of his adoption). According to Mel, this gigantic sweetheart is a Great Pyrenees cross with maybe some Maremma Sheepdog and/or St. Bernard. And possibly even border collie? Perhaps. The Captain is a beast of inscrutable genetics!

Besides being the city’s greatest birthday canine, Captain is famous as Regina’s second-best dog according to Prairie Dog readers voting in this year’s Best Of Regina readers’ poll (he lost to Ruby from Metro Pet Market).

Anyway, we gave The Captain cheese and took some pictures. Here are some of them. I’m in a couple, Luc is in the first.

In conclusion, yay Captain!

Talkin’ ‘Bout Turtles

Photo courtesy of Kelsey Marchand
Photo courtesy of Kelsey Marchand

In the July 23 issue of Prairie Dog we had an article about a research project University of Regina masters science student Kelsey Marchand was conducting to study the western painted turtle population in the area of Wascana Creek and Lake.

At the time of the interview, Marchand and her assistant Alyssa Stulberg had captured and tagged around 50 turtles. Most were just marked with a number for identification, but some were outfitted with small radio transmitters to track their movements, including where they ended up seeking shelter to hibernate over the winter.

It’s a two-year project, so Marchand will be back on the lake and creek next summer. On Thursday, Nov. 12, she’ll be giving a talk on her research at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum at 7 p.m. Admission is by donation, and you can find out more on the RSM website.

Weekly Reckoning: It’s Built On Bluff It’s Built On Trust Edition

weekly-reckoningThe Internet runs on faith. Millions of pages sent from servers to computers every day, each full of clickable links that may or may not be what they promise to be. With every click you run the risk of seeing GIFs of wagging genitals or, even worse, Rick Astley. Lucky for you, Prairie Dog holds to higher standards. Here are some links that – I guarantee – will consist of precisely what I promise.

1. HERE IS A LINK TO PHOTOGRAPHS OF HEAVY METAL FANS IN MID-HEADBANG Although to me they look like they’re sneezing, mostly. Who can say what’s going on in these photos? We think they’re headbanging because we’re told so, but maybe they’re being exposed to pollen. While being punched in the stomach. Whatever, they’re fun photographs.

2. HERE IS A LINK TO AN ILLUSTRATED EXPLANATION OF GENRES OF MUSIC (via @cenobyte). The additional comments detract from the illustrations, but this is my favourite bit of Internet today. I always suspected that folk music songs contained an appreciable proportion of man bun.

3. HERE IS A LINK ABOUT A WOMAN WHOSE AIRBNB ACCOUNT WAS TERMINATED THAT WILL REMIND YOU WHAT THE SHARING ECONOMY REALLY IS Hint: it’s not a decentralized and empowering networked approach to generating revenue. It’s a mysterious world where your livelihood can be taken away at whim and you will be left adrift in misery and confusion because – surprise! – the individual has no power. See also: Uber.

4. HERE IS A LINK TO A VIDEO OF A GRIZZLY BEAR ROLLING DOWN A HILL The rolling starts at about 20 seconds in. So much delighted laughter and shutter clicking as the bear rolls down and down and down towards the onlookers. Not shown: the screaming, the blood, the unanswered cries to a distant god. Take a look!

5. HERE IS A LINK THAT MAKES ME NERVOUS for all kinds of reasons, including our economic future in a resource economy and the state of our climate in a fossil-fuel hungry world, but mostly because I don’t trust any news about engergy prices and global oil reserves. Mind you, I assume that most of the news we see is a smokescreen to keep us from panicking and eating each other in an apocalyptic frenzy, so make of this what you will.

*Prairie Dog Magazine, and all associated corporate and individual entities can not be held responsible for link rot, advertising content on other sites or Rick Astley.

Daily Aggregation: FAK Returns!

daily-aggregation-21. A CROSS-COUNTRY NEWS JAMBOREE Quebec has the measles, former Conservative MP Vic Toews might have a scandal, a federal Conservative is acting all retro witch-hunty but instead of bashing commies she’s flinging McCarthy-style slime at Muslims and the RCMP are going after the Ontario Provincial Police Association for a bunch of alleged crooked-ass shit. In unrelated news science has discovered fossils of ancient human-sized lobster-like things.

2. HOUSE PRICES ARE COMING DOWN Well, there’s a big, hairy hock and a half.

3. UNEMPLOYMENT IS UP IN SASKATCHEWAN The province’s economic tide ebbs. Ebbs, I say. Well technically not me but Stats Canada.

4. SASKATOON ALSO LIKES DESTROYING HERITAGE People in the province are totally nuts. Are the business/libertarian/conservative types that wreck heritage buildings scared there’s socialism in beautiful old bricks?

5. GLOBAL NEWS TSUNAMI Global CO2 emissions stalled last year (!!!), Ikea closes its Russian website because Russia’s gone all bigoty, Germany says it’s not feuding with Greece, I don’t even want to write about this Middle Eastern horror and A PENIS HAS BEEN TRANSPLANTED. Also, Jupiter’s moon Ganymede has an underground ocean which could mean IT’S ALIIIIVE, IT LIIIIIVES.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON KITTY! Jeez I couldn’t even tell you when the last time I put one of these up was. Another Whitworth failure. Classic. Well, let’s get back on the horse.