While visiting the Topanga State Park in California to photograph the Southern Pacific rattlesnake, Cricket wanted a change of scenery. We decided nothing would be more different than a tour of the Warner Brothers studio in Hollywood.
About halfway through the tour, we heard a lady pleading with someone to get back to rehearsals as everything and everyone was waiting.
It turned out a remake of ‘goldfinger’ was in the works and this stubborn goldfinch, who was starring in the production, had had a disagreement with the director regarding costumes.
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United Kingdom gold broker, Sharps Pixley, recently selected this goldfinch image as its signature emblem. Unfortunately, in its first gold transaction using this emblem, gold bars delivered to a national bank in Oslo, Norway proved to be counterfeit.
When the gold bars arrived in Norway, they passed five intensive inspection tests but failed the sixth and final test. A chipmunk, recently re-employed by the quality control department, gnawed on what should have been soft gold bars but turned out to be brittle counterfeits. The bank does have a comprehensive dental plan.
University of Missouri Entomologist, Frank James was observing bee behavior in the Mark Twain National Forest when he documented some unusual activity. Upon entering a particular flower, pictured above, several other insect species would arrive, a dance ensued and all insects would disappear.
This behavior, with different actors, continued for many hours and culminated in hundreds of insects roosting in a single tree, then taking off in the general direction of the Missouri Botanical Gardens, which is not far from Lindbergh Blvd. and the World Headquarters of Monsanto.
Slightly concerned, James texted his brother-in-law Dr. Micheal K. Stern, to inform him of the odd insect behavior.
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The transatlantic flight from London to Halifax was uneventful and that was good enough for Sapphire. There seemed to be a delay in the disembarking procedures, so she sat patiently in her seat, gazing out the window.
Wood crates were being unloaded from the cargo bay, ‘RUSH TO QUARANTINE’ written in bold letters on all sides of the boxes. As Sapphire watched, a forklift pierced the side of one of the crates, and hordes of bees and flowers fell on to the tarmac.
Bedlam ensued, but it was painfully obvious that many of these critters were not going to be quarantined, but instead were now flying amok in the general population.
This is why I call my sister the Queen of the Coincidence. Sapphire thought her eyes were playing tricks on her, but it was indeed the Governor of Pennsylvania pacing back and forth on the dock along the shores of Lake Temagami. He was talking it up to local pilot, Samantha Gallant about getting the Beaver aircraft aloft and start looking for members of his fishing party that were lost somewhere in the bush.
Samantha was trying to impress on the Governor the need for an experienced spotter when Sapphire rushed to the dock, pulled out her high-powered binoculars and volunteered to help out. The Governor said they were looking for two US senators and the mayor of Beaver Falls.
The deHavilland Beaver, considered the backbone of the Canadian Forest Industry and perhaps the safest small aircraft ever made, stalled out at a couple hundred feet. Sapphire took this photo as the plane attempted a forced landing on Lake Temagami.
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I told Cricket that six weeks of therapy was no where enough sessions to fix his fear of heights, but my brother insisted he could handle it. At exactly 9 am Cricket started his accent of the Temagami Fire Tower.
It was a painful two hours watching what others would accomplish in fifteen minutes, but finally he made it to the top. Once there, his acrophobia kicked into high gear and there was no getting him back down.
Emergency Services had two real emergencies to deal with, so it was eight hours before they arrived on scene and escorted Cricket painstakingly down to solid earth. He did manage to take this photo before the long descent began.
The deputy-premier of the small Caribbean island Nevis, was widely ridiculed in parliament for his explanation of why this small country did so well in the first Canine Olympics held in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The deputy-premier claims he witnessed an Unidentified Flying Object take off in the early morning hours and when he went to investigate the phenomenon a circular pattern in the soil containing the above pictured plants is all that remained.
He further explained that the island’s dogs ravenously ate the flowers and became ‘superdogs’, thus allowing them to take home 21 gold, 15 silver and 12 bronze medals.
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After several strange instances involving confrontations between citizens and the insect world, a joint task force between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been formed.
Although officials from both agencies believe there is no grounds for concern, the task force has discovered what they suggest is an insect ‘flag’ of some kind. This banner depicts a flower that the world’s leading botanist have not been able to identify. Additionally, the word ENTOMOLOGY is displayed along the bottom of the flag.
The National Bird and Mammal Institute in Ottawa, Ontario recently loaned the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry a trained turkey vulture for help in the sighting of forest fires.
The excellent eyesight of this bird makes it especially useful for night observations. The pictured turkey vulture is responsible for detecting two forest fires and one cabin fire in its first week of service.
Unfortunately the cabin fire destroyed the structure, but the two individuals occupying the cabin made it to safety. Sapphire took this photo of the bird as it flew overhead.
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Every year the World Champion Kite Flying Contest is held near Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Canada. This year, however, contestants from Ontario and Quebec threatened to boycott the event due to inconsistencies in the judging of the event.
Complaints have skyrocket in recent years, with kite flying clubs complaining that the aerial component of the events were not consistently judged.
To address these concerns, the Board of Governors of the World Championship event has hired a trained turkey vulture to fly among the kites and render final judgements.
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My brother has loudly declared on many occasions his distrust of soothsayers but his bias towards science has caused him no end of problems as well. When an old gentleman from Tomiko Lake said he knew of a green frog that placed pebbles in the shape of constellations, Cricket had to see this himself.
Our ride along Hwy 64 was uneventful and when we arrived at our destination, the hunt for the green frog was on in earnest.
Unfortunately, Cricket never found the frog. Instead, he slipped on some wet rocks and was swept down this fast-moving creek. I took this photo just as Cricket popped up from beneath the water.
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As often as she can, Sapphire makes a pilgrimage to this waterfall to collect a few containers of water. She uses this precious liquid to water a special rosebush given to her by a lady from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.
Sapphire claims that the water gives the rose a most robust quality and it even allows the pollinators to travel great distances. In fact, it is said, pollinators of this rose may have been seen as far away as the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver, British Columbia.