A Roar Of Wings

Roar of WingsIn our Dec. 11 issue we did an article on a temporary exhibit at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum that’s timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon. The article included an interview with the RSM’s curator of human ecology Glenn Sutter who put the exhibit together.

As you’ll see if you read the article, the exhibit uses the example of the passenger pigeon (which was rendered extinct by hunting and habitat destruction as settlers flooded North America in the 19th century) as a springboard for a broader examination of extinction events.

In Earth’s history, there have been five mass extinctions, and because of exploding human activity in all corners of the globe, and resulting devastation that’s being wrought on plant and animal habitat, scientists believe we are in the midst of a sixth mass extinction.

In addition to the passenger pigeon, the exhibit contains information on dozens of other extinct or endangered species. The 32-foot tylosaur skeleton pictured above falls into the former category. It inhabited an inland sea in this area 70-90 million years ago.

A Roar of  Wings runs at the RSM into March.

Good To Goat

BillBurns(goat)On Tuesday I did a blog post about the exhibition Beatrix Ruf Protect Us: A Project About Longing that opened at the Dunlop Art Gallery last night. The show is by Bill Burns — an artist who was born and raised in Regina, but now lives and works in Toronto and London.

We’ll have a cover story on Burns and his exhibition in our Dec. 11 issue. As I noted in the post, as part of the opening weekend a performance was planned for this afternoon that involved the milking of a goat.

As you can see from the above photo, that went down as scheduled. In the context of the show, the milk that was produced (a modest amount as apparently this is not the prime milking period in the goat breeding cycle)  represents one half of the Biblical phrase “milk and honey” that symbolizes prosperity and well-being.

How this ties in with the subject of Beatrix Ruf Protect Us, which dissects the political and economic machinations of the international art market, is a subject that we’ll explore in greater detail in the cover story.

Friday Afternoon Spooky With Bonus Ron

Cute Animals (ron and spooky)Lookie! It’s long-time Prairie Dog commentator Ron, who paid a surprise visit to the office today and played with my desk-pet, Spookster, who — when he’s not hissing like a rabid cobra — is a total sweetheart. As this picture makes clear.

But yeah, Spooky also hisses like a rabid cobra. As this video also makes clear.

And no, he doesn’t bite. Ever. Good ol’ Spooks! He’s the best.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Weekly Reckoning: Animal Planet Edition

weekly-reckoningAnimals. We eat them, we fear them, we love them, we are them. They’re cooler than vegetables, livelier than minerals and cuter than the machines that control our thoughts from a pocket universe located in the far future. They should have their own holiday or something. Let’s make today all about the animals.

1. RIP ZOOBOOMAFOO The titual lemur of the PBS children’s show Zooboomafoo has died at the age of 20, which is probably a healthy lifespan for a lemur. He appeared in 65 episodes of the show and fathered nine children. And he did it all without even learning to read.

2. WHEN IS A TIGER NOT A TIGER? When Parisians exaggerate, I guess. A recent search for a tiger in Paris, which at one point involved some 200 police officers, was called off when experts realized that the tiger’s tracks belonged to an ordinary cat. Let’s inform the gendamerie about our ongoing Glass Tiger problem in Canada.

3. THIS STORY INVOLVES ANIMAL TESTICLES A recent study suggests that infanticide and biger testicles go together in the mammalian kingdom. It’s an evolutionary thing, though, so don’t expect overnight success if you adopt this strategy.

4. KOALA DEAL HOPEFULLY BROKERED While the leaders of the world banged out solutions to global problems at the G20 summit in Australia, their spouses met with koalas at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. If we’re lucky, they reached some kind of agreement that lets hang out with koalas all day or maybe act like koalas.

5. RIP GLEN LARSON Glen Larson, creator of the original Battlestar Galactica, Magnum P.I. and Quincy M.E., has died from esophageal cancer at the age of 77. He looked a bit like a walrus and a lion blended together.


Weekly Reckoning: Troublesome Edition

weekly-reckoningTROUBLE. Hear me, people. There is trouble. Rhymes with rubble and tastes even worse (rubble tastes like McDonald’s). Are you troubled by this influx of trouble? You should be. It’s troubling.

1. HEY DO YOU LIKE TWILIGHT? WELL TOO BAD Rob Bricken of io9.com seems optimistic, but I can’t see how, because the Twilight franchise, that godawful horde of books and films that made the last decade so painful to experience, is coming back in the form of a short-film competition for women filmmakers. Actually, this seems like the best possible way to revisit Twilight: a series of short imaginative takes on the world created by Stephenie Meyer, and not a money-fuelled juggernaut rolling over our screaming souls.

2. IS YOUR SPERM SECOND-RATE? HAVE A DRINK. NO, WAIT A recent study has determined that even moderate alcohol use can result in low-quality sperm. And carbonated water makes your sperm all jumpy-like.

3. A BOX OF FLUFFY PUPPIES? YES Greg Zubiak was out walking in a field near Glaslyn when he found a box of 20 puppies! Yay! They’d been abandoned and left to contend with coyotes and the cold. Boo. But he gathered them up and took them to the Battlefords Humane Society! Yay! They’re stretched pretty thin right now with the sudden influx of fluffy puppies, so the Battlefords Humane Society is looking for donations of time, money and teddy bears, because tiny puppies need to cuddle with teddy bears, which is the world’s most adorable fact.

4. HOW’S THAT EBOLA DOING? GREAT, THANKS FOR ASKING Africa continues to be ravaged by the worst Ebola outbreak in history, with 3,400 dead so far and the disease neatly outpacing anyone’s ability to keep up. Meanwhile, the lone US patient is “fighting for his life” in Texas.

5. YOU THOUGHT THE HONG KONG PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTESTS WERE A GOOD THING THAT POINTED THE WAY TOWARDS A BETTER FUTURE, BUT REALLY THEY’RE JUST TROUBLE, ACCORDING TO A WIRE SERVICE HEADLINE I guess some “Hong Kong residents” are pushing back against the “protesters” (who aren’t residents?) and the police are the voice of reason? Hmm. The story mentions that the protests are hurting business, which I guess is more important than democracy and human rights now. This is going to end up like Tiananmen Square back in 1989, when pro-democracy protesters really slowed down tanks, sort of.

It’s The 2014 Best Of Regina Final Ballot!

bor2014-web-banner2You can vote here, and you can talk about Best Of Regina stuff in the thread below. And there’s lots to talk about! New and/or resurrected for 2014 categories include: Best Bus Driver, Best Political Hack, Best Public Mural, Best Cab Company, Best Roller Derby Athlete, Best Preschool, Best Facebook Friend, Best Place To Buy Jeans, Best Place To Get Frisky, Best Wild Critter, and even Worst Thing To Happen In Regina.

Also, no Daily Aggregation column today (TOO BUSY). I know you’re sad. Here’s a video of a dog being sneaky to cheer you up!

A New Market For Fowl Supper Tickets, Pickup Trucks, And Rider Gear

The New Yorker has a real fascinating story about a York University professor who has been studying the learning and social habits of endangered orangutans in the wild. Of course, this has to be mentioned …

“I grew up in rural Saskatchewan,” (Anne) Russon, who now works and teaches at York University, in Toronto, told me. “And, for me, that is exactly what orangutan social life is like. There are communities, but they are very broadly dispersed. It might be fifteen miles to your cousin’s place, or another twenty miles to the next nearest relative, but everybody knows everybody.”

Pardon me while I go pick the fleas off Brad Wall.

Friday Afternoon Kitty: Green Day

Dog Blog commentator C Says… writes:

“Dressler’s back, there’s a game in town this weekend, EVERYONE will be wearing green or talking about it for the next four days. So, today’s Friday Afternoon Kitty really needs to be about Watermelons, and cats, don’t you think?!”

I think “sure.”

C Says… also sent a link to an old Buzzfeed post about cats fighting watermelons. Check it out. And have a good weekend!

Friday Afternoon Kitty: World Cat Day

Huh, it’s International Cat Day. Who knew? Buzzfeed has “purritos”, Canoe has a run-down of Internet cats, The Guardian talks about cats in this piece about Russia’s war on bloggers, Wired explains how cats can hack Wi-Fi networks, Boing Boing has a scary cat video, The International Business Times has a list of cartoon cats,   the Columbus Dispatch has cats terrorizing dogs, Bored Panda has a bunch of stuff, Big Cat Rescue has cute cougars  and we need a video, don’t we? And it should have music because the Folk Festival is on right now! Okay, uh, that’s an awkward segue, but how’s this?

One more thing: the Regina Humane Society has its Just For Cats festival tomorrow, in support of, yes, obviously, cats. Check it out.

Happy International Cat Day!