Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dawg Day

Holy Thursday will be hell tonight with the birthday of the Devil Dawg, the herd's master mut and director of communications for the Buffalo Nation. Will tap the buffalo bait in his honor on the trail tonight. Let the dawg out.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Red Chief, the Tiny Buffalo

He already has a buffalo nickname (Red Chief). He has a buffalo hat. He has a buffalo t-shirt. His bike is named Buffalo. Yet, he has not met the herd. This may happen soon. (To the uninitiated, this is grandson Ethan, way cool in his Buzz Lightyear shades.)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Holy Thursday

It's Holy Thursday, time for the weekly 5-mile run and bait chug with fellow Buffalo Warriors at the Buffalo Trace Trail at Mahomet. Above is a recent shot of me at Buffalo Trace with Scarface (middle) and Devil Dawg. The Dawg in red, good color for the satanic mut. Can't spend too much time out there tonight because the season premier of Grey's Anatomy, my favorite show, is on at 8. Hail to the herd.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Immigration: Did Columbus Go Through Customs?

Got an e-mail urging me to view some t-shirt designs by Native Americans. Here's a couple. Hmm.

One in a Million

My itchy brother up in the burbs, as well as the local buffalo network, alerted me to the recent birth in Janesville, WI, of a white buffalo (not an albino), a one-in-a-million occurrence. The top photo shows this white buffalo calf soon after he arrived in the world. Baby bison can walk almost immediately after birth. His white coat contrasts to the color of a normal buffalo calf in the bottom photo. Some Native American tribes consider the birth of a white buffalo a sacred event.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Fiery Night of the Body Mechanic

Tracy the morning after the party

The herd fed, beered and mojitoed Saturday evening at El Toro II in celebration of Buffalo Tracy's birthday. The migrant buffalo from California has found her true herd here, and has been a mainstay in the local buffalo life. Tracy, a diminutive personal trainer and auto mechanic, was especially fiesty at the party, winning the jalepeno eating contest and arm-wrestling El Toro waiters. Next up: sumo wrestling at a Japanese restaurant.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Good Book Going to Film

Couldn't get to sleep last night so turned on TV and happened to catch one of my favorite actors, Sean Penn, being interviewed on the Larry King Show. Penn revealed that he is the director of a movie, still in production, based on the national bestselling book Into the Wild, which also happens to be one of my favorite books. The author of the book, Jon Krakauer, is a master storyteller and researcher, and his narrative of the story of Chris McCandless is riveting.

McCandless's life is a puzzling one. After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in 1992, where he was a top student and athlete, McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska, where he went to live in the wilderness. Four months later, he turned up dead. His diary, letters and two notes found at a remote campsite tell of his desperate effort to survive, stranded by an injury and slowly starving. They also reflect the convictions of a young man who was raised in an affluent Virginia town but renounced wealth and advocated a return to nature.

This is from a letter written to a friend McCandless had made while hitchhiking:
“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

I hope the movie is true to the book.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Camp & Run

Last Friday night I camped out with Buffaloes Devil Dawg and Mudless (aka One Beer) at Kickapoo. Camped at the primitive sites, which have no water or electricity, and liked these sites much more than the other sites. We had a brilliant full moon, and the air was still and cool. Perfect. I would have been content cooking a hot dog on a stick over the fire, but Mudless turned Martha Stewart and cooked pork chops with peaches and a nice sauce. After I snarffed down the food and sipped wine from the holy grail, we got to talking around the campfire . . . and forgot about dessert, for which I was responsible. I had all the makings for s'mores in the car. I know I've had too much to drink when I forget about anything that involves chocolate.

Next morning we ran the new Wilderness course at Kickapoo. It is tougher than the old course and can get pretty hairy at times. If the course is muddy at the Wilderness race, it will be especially challenging. It was strange to see the condemned river bridge completely demolished to make way for a new one.

After the run, Devil Dawg prepared breakfast, mixing sausage and eggs together. Scrumptious. Good Dawg. Dented the s'mores supply and had a Hershey bar for dessert. The buffalo life is good.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mighty Mascots

Thunder takes the field at a West Texas A&M game.

Ralphie and her team of handlers at a University of Colorado game.

If your college mascot is a buffalo, why not have the real thing run on the football field before games and during halftime? The University of Colorado is well known for its buffalo Ralphie, but West Texas A&M started the tradition of running its buffalo, Thunder, long before Colorado. Both schools have gone through many Ralphies and Thunders since the traditions started in the 1920s and 30s, and all buffaloes have been females. Males are just too big and aggressive to handle. Animal rights folks aren't real thrilled about the buffalo being subjected to the ritual, but these buffs are certainly spoiled, being regularly groomed and well fed. The current Ralphie was rescued from the grasp of a coyote when she was tiny but was then rejected by the herd, so she was donated to the school.

Ralphie came into the national spotlight last week as Violet Stromberg, a 96-year-old lifelong CU football fan, left her life savings of $40,730 to create a fund to care for the buffalo. The Ralphie Fund will help pay for Ralphie's hoof trimmings, transportation, harnesses, ropes, vet bills and $1,500 a year in oats, alfalfa and grass.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Brew Moon

At the 78th edition of the moon run at the Buffalo Trace Trail in Mahomet last night, some buffaloes were too loaded with beer and burgers to actually get up and run the trail. A few managed to run, and those remaining discussed the possibility of having a sort of guard duty, as at the tomb of the unknown soldier, for the protection of Storm, the new buffalo statue (see below). Given some beer, I'm sure it would be no problem to have someone from the herd guard Storm during home football games, when public parking is allowed near the statue. Would-be violators of Storm's territory could expect a volley of empty beer cans launched their way.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Thunder & Storm: Buffalo Reign

Storm and I just before he was placed on his concrete pad.

Storm settled in at his new home.

Me and my man Thunder when he arrived several months ago.

Thunder arrives at the Natural History Survey.

Thunder, my name for a taxidermied buffalo said to be 3 years old upon his death many years ago, was joined today at my workplace, the Illinois Natural History Survey, by a brother buffalo, whom I call Storm. The stately Thunder has stood in our lobby at work for several months, while Storm is now a sentinel at the outdoor entranceway to our building. Storm's concrete pad will be covered with another layer of concrete, this one colored, and plants and grasses will be put in the bare spots around him.

I'm Smiling

I'm so happy I could just spit. This morning at work I was able to help place a lifesize statue of a buffalo right in front of our building here at the Natural History Survey (will post photos). We now have a stuffed buffalo, I call him Thunder, in our lobby and another bull, I'll call him Storm, to greet visitors in front.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

But can he fetch a stick?

Who needs a dog? Here's a real pet. This gentleman adopted an abandoned buffalo, whom he named Bailey, and bottle fed and raised the young bison. Bailey spends most of his time outside, but occasionally is allowed in the house, where he watches television . . . and apparently reads the newspaper.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Big Chill: I Wanna Go to Mars

Check out and other pages at this site. Ride a buffalo? Nope. Not so hot on shooting a turkey. But to Mars with Captain Venus? OK. I'm dying to go. Freeze me up, Scotty.