Archive for the ‘Things I Love’ Category

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So some bro named Tim Newton from Alaska woke up the other morning to an amazing sight – a family of lynx frolicking and rough-housing on his front porch. I have one reaction to this. I want a family of lynx frolicking and rough-housing on my front porch and I want it now!

[Click the pics, man!]

Brazil: Marília and Matheus Pieroni were just beginning their tented São Paulo wedding ceremony when, instead of the bride herself, a stray dog who had wandered in from the storm outside marched down the aisle to the bridal chorus. The canine was removed as the young couple entered, but just as they prepared to read their vows, he returned – and laid down to sleep right on top of Marília’s veil. Some women may have gone into full Bridezilla mode at this point, but Marília insisted the pup be welcomed as an official guest, which he certainly was. “It was a very pleasant surprise for me, because I love animals,” Marília told The Dodo. As the night wound down, the newlyweds searched for their surprise acquaintance, but he had crept away unnoticed. Determined to take him in as their very own, a city-wide search commenced for the stray that stole everyone’s hearts. He was found and joined the newlyweds as their newest family member.

I have nothing to add to that, because it is AWESOME.

Rough indeed.

Theodore Roosevelt was an American statesman, author, explorer, soldier, and naturalist, who served as the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He was also either the most daring, toughest SOB who ever lived or he was crazy as a loon. You be the judge. What follows are 11 of the wildest things my man TR ever did.

HE GOT SHOT IN THE CHEST AND PROCEEDED TO GIVE A 90-MINUTE SPEECH

Yep. That’s the shirt.

In October of 1912, Roosevelt was on the campaign trail stumping for the Bull Moose Party. During a speech in Milwaukee, he was shot in the chest by some crank named John Flammang Schrank. Because our man Teddy deduced that he was not coughing up blood, he elected to continue his speech, because hell yes he did. We’re talking about a man very familiar with the effects of gunshot wounds. He’d already shot and killed pretty much every animal on the planet (more on that later) and had watched men bleed out on the battlefield during his military service. Then he had the would-be assassin brought to him and told him “It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” Jesus that’s badass. Then, before he spoke, Roosevelt declared, “I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet… the bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best.” When people in the crowd questioned this he simply opened his jacket to show his blood-soaked shirt. 90-minutes later the speech ended.

And oh, by the way, Roosevelt carried the bullet in his chest for the rest of his life.

HE OVERCAME CHILDHOOD ILLNESS THROUGH SHEER FORCE OF WILL

When young Teddy Roosevelt would have asthma attacks, his father, Theodore Sr., would take him on carriage rides to force air into his lungs. And when young T.R.’s illnesses would prevent him from keeping up with other children his age, his father simply said to him: “You have the mind but you have not the body. You must make your body.” Young T.R.’s many health ailments would soon recede as he took up athletics, hiking, and hunting. Only Teddy R could fend off sickness without medicine and with only pure force of will. Teddy, man.

HE’S BASICALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR MODERN FOOTBALL AS WE KNOW IT

Football was once a bloody, brutal, potentially deadly sport. In 1904, there were 18 football related deaths and 159 serious injuries. On a related note, today’s players are wussy-like pansies of the highest order. Anywho, in order for the sport to survive, modern rules needed to be put in place. T.R. invited the head coaches of the top collegiate football teams to the White House on several occasions, strongly urging them to reconsider the rules of the game. He wrote at the time that his goal was not to emasculate the game – but simply to make it less lethal. By 1906, radical rule changes to the game of football were implemented.  “I believe in rough games and in rough, manly sports. I do not feel any particular sympathy for the person who gets battered about a good deal so long as it is not fatal.” Seems logical enough, amirite?

TEDDY AND HIS SON KILLED 512 ANIMALS IN ONE SAFARI

Listen, everyone knows I’m a big animal guy. No excuse for this bullshit. And turning an elephant’s foot into a trash can takes a special kind of crazy. If you ever take a tour of The Summer White House, Roosevelt’s Long Island home at Sagamore Hill, you will notice that it is full of such disgusting and sometimes wondrous animal trophies. Numerous elephant foot trash receptacles. A rhino foot pen holder. Bear and mountain lion rugs. Bison, moose, and deer wall ornaments. An elk hat rack. The North Room, at his estate on Long Island, is truly a spectacle to behold. Visit it. You will be amazed.

DURING HIS HONEYMOON HE SNUCK OUT TO CLIMB THE FREAKING MATTERHORN

Seriously. During his honeymoon. Dead serious. While a student at Harvard, Dr. Dudley Sargent had warned Roosevelt, who had been a sickly child that, because of a weak heart failure to lead a sedentary life could have fatal consequences. TR would have none of it. “Doctor, I’m going to do all the things you tell me not to do. If I’ve got to live the sort of life you have described, I don’t care how short it is.” A year after graduation, Roosevelt took time from his European honeymoon with wife Alice to scale the 15,000-foot Matterhorn.

HE ONCE STAYED UP 40-STRAIGHT HOURS TO WATCH 3-OUTLAWS HE’D CAPTURED

After his wife and mother died – on the same damn day – T.R. grieved in his own unique way: by leaving the city behind for the wild of the American West to become a cowboy, because what the hell else would you expect from him? He operated a cattle ranch in Little Missouri in the Dakotas for a few years, learning to ride, rope, and hunt. He worked alongside men who made him tougher, stating that they “took the snob out of him.” During his years in the West, he wrote several books on the subject, before returning home and running for office. Anyway, while living in North Dakota T.R. became a deputy sheriff, which by now should be in no way surprising. During this time, he once pursued three boat thieves through a frozen river. After capturing them, he personally took them to the town of Dickinson for trial rather than allow them to be hanged by vigilantes. On the journey, he watched them for 40-hours straight without sleep. Of course, he read Tolstoy to keep himself occupied. “I kept guard over the three prisoners, who were huddled into a sullen group some twenty yards off, just the right distance for the buckshot in the double-barrel.”  Bad. Ass.

HE HAD A HUGE TATTOO OF THE ROOSEVELT FAMILY CREST ON HIS CHEST

Yes kids, Teddy Roosevelt was the only US president who was inked up. That is all.

HE WENT ON AN UNCHARTED JOURNEY DOWN AN ANACONDA AND PIRANHA-INFESTED RIVER IN SOUTH AMERICA

Listen to this one – Accompanied by his son Kermit and famed explorer Colonel Candido Rondon, they set off on a journey down a river in South America known as the River of Doubt. Things were not going great, and by not going great I mean things were going horrifically wrong. They lost 5 of 7 canoes. They were in close vicinity to cannibalistic tribes. One sailor died in the rapids. Another was murdered by a crew member gone mad. Then, incredibly, things got worse. T.R. badly cut his leg trying cross the river in order to free two jammed canoes. His injury led to an infection, which led to a fever. Near death, he pleaded with his son to leave him behind to die, but Kermit refused. In the end, T.R. of course finished the journey, albeit 60-pounds lighter.

HE WAS BLINDED IN ONE EYE DURING A BOXING MATCH

Roosevelt’s love of boxing can be traced back to his Harvard roots, where he competed as a light heavyweight with moderate success. His exploits at Harvard were legendary. He continued to box he was the New York City Police Commissioner, the Governor of NY, and the President of the United States, because who the hell was going to tell Teddy Roosevelt he couldn’t? His last boxing match came in 1908, when a young military aide who had been invited to spar at the White House landed a devastating punch that dislocated Roosevelt’s left retina, leaving him mostly blind in that eye for life. Didn’t slow him down for a second.

HE GAVE HIS 9-YEAR OLD SON A WILD BADGER AS A PET. OH, AND ALSO A WILD HYENA

Annnnnd, there it is.

Because what else would Teddy Roosevelt give his son? Yessir, Archie was just 9-years old when his father decided it would be appropriate to give him a wild badger as a pet. Josiah the badger was supposedly quick to anger but had a “good heart” according to T.R. According to young Archie: “He bites legs sometimes, but he never bites faces.” Good to know! Other Roosevelt family pets included Bill the Lizard, a quintet guinea pigs named Admiral Dewey, Dr. Johnson, Bishop Doane, Fighting Bob Evans, and Father O’Grady, Maude the Pig, a blue macaw named Eli Yale, a hen Baron Spreckle, an owl because why not, a rabbit named Peter, Algonquin the family pony, and of course they had this – an actual wild hyena.

AT 58-YEARS OLD HE VOLUNTEERED TO LEAD A REGIMENT INTO WORLD WAR I

At the outbreak of World War I, the 58-year-old ex-president was eager to return to the front lines. If this surprises you then you haven’t been paying attention. Roosevelt vehemently lobbied President Woodrow Wilson to send him to France at the head of a 200,000-man expeditionary force. Around the country, supporters of the hero of San Juan Hill staged rallies of support, but Roosevelt would not get called to fight in the war that eventually claimed his son Quentin, who was killed in action when his plane was shot down over France in 1918. It’s a damn shame he was turned down, because I’m pretty sure the war would have ended a lot sooner.

So there ya go. And hey, I never even mentioned his exploits as leader of the legendary Rough Riders. Anyway, early 1900s? That was when men were men and Teddy Roosevelt was either batshit crazy or a bona-fide American badass. I’m thinking he was a little of the former and a lot of the latter.

Wombats are short-legged, muscular little dudes that are native to Australia. They are about 40-inches in length with small, stubby tails. There are three extant species and they are all members of the family Vombatidae, because of course they are. They are adaptable and habitat tolerant, and are found in forested, mountainous, and heathland areas of south-eastern Australia. However, here’s the coolest Wombat fact: Every evening, the average wombat deposits 80 to 100 dry, cube-like droppings around its territory. Yes kids, the Wombat poops square poop. Anywho, Wombat.

[Bonus Wombat square poop below]

Check out the Pork Tapeworm, man. Freaky for days. The Pork Tapeworm is an intestinal parasite found throughout the world, and is most prevalent in countries where pork is eaten. The adult worm is found in humans and has a flat, ribbon-like body, which is white in color. Eeeww. Its distinct head contains suckers, which is cool as well as terrifying. It is transmitted to pigs through human feces and to humans through uncooked or undercooked pork. Wait. What? Anywho, Pork Tapeworm.

Sweet Lord Almighty.

The closest living relatives to the hippo are whales, dolphins and porpoises.

 

oooooooooo

 

Incredible.

Lake Natron is located in Tanzania, and it’s one of the most unique bodies of water in the world. The water within it has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that almost nothing can live in it. Blood-red from the bacteria that live in it, the salt lake is steaming hot, with temperatures that can reach up to 140º Fahrenheit.

The soda and salt causes creatures that enter its water to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry. They’re so hard they’re almost like rock. No one knows for certain exactly how the animals die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, causing them to crash into the lake.

Below are photos of animals photographer Nick Brandt found along the shores of the lake. Although he reposed them, the bodies are exactly the way he found them. Amazing, ghostly stuff.

[click to enlarge]

Steve Forbert has been a favorite of mine since his first album back in 1978. He’s just one of those guys that writes music that speaks to me, ya know? He never really hit it big and had only had one real hit, Romeo’s Tune. Still, he’s been churning out albums and touring for nearly 40-years.

It’s really hard to describe his style, so I’m not even going to try. I will say that Steve Forbert is a true poet, and an absolute master storyteller and lyricist. And perhaps the most unique thing about Steve Forbert is his voice. Listen to it, man. If I’m lyin’ I’m dyin’. I’ve been lucky enough to see him live a few times and even met him once. Highly recommended.

Factoid: Steve Forbert had a cameo appearance in Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” video, playing her boyfriend.

After beginning with about 70-songs I have meticulously narrowed it down to my Top 10. Let us commence . . .

10. Hope, Faith & Love (1988)

Just an optimistic song about three things we all need.

I need hope to look for the good through the bad
I need faith to know I ain’t lost what I had
When they’ve lied and cheated me
And tear what I care for in two
Oh, I need love, to rise up above and renew.

9. Goin’ Down to Laurel (1978)

A beautifully simple song about going to see a girl.

Well I’m goin’ down to Laurel
It’s a dirty stinkin’ town yeah
But me I know exactly what I’m going to find
Little girl I’m goin’ to see
She is a fool for lovin’ me
But she’s in love and love’s a funny state of mind.

8. Prisoner of Stardom (1982)

A song about a young woman from Ohio who, although she’s hit the big time, finds it’s not all it was cracked up to be.

She’s a prisoner of smiling
It’s expected night and day
Its a burden on her everywhere she goes
Still she’s looking for some magic
Like those teenage magazines
That she read in ’65 in Ohio.

7. Lonely Girl (1980)

Just an absolutely gorgeous song about a sad and lonely girl.

All the guys who dance for you, they’re so unsatisfied

Their hungry hands come reachin’ out, to get your bows untied

And I come ’round to sing to you, starvin’ just like them

As I talk with you and long for you, and sing my midnight hymns

To a lonely girl.

6. He’s Gotta Live Up to His Shoes (1981)

A great song about a guy who’s a big talker, but now he has to back up his big mouth.

So let him walk
Let him walk real proud
And let him talk
Let him talk real loud
And let him do
Anything he choses to
He’s gotta live up to his shoes.

5. Laughter Lou (Who Needs You?) (1980)

Rolling in at #5 is a song that rips some dude to shreds. Everyone has a Laughter Lou in their life, believe me.

You criticize most everything, hey but what have you ever done?

You’re always putting something down or laughin’ at someone.

Can’t never tell what’s somethings like ’til you’ve been there yourself

You’ve spent your whole life sitting down, just watching some else.

You criticize most everyone, but what have you got to show?

At least the ones you’re putting down, got up to have a go.

Tell me Laughter Lou, who needs you?

4. Romeo’s Tune (1978)

Ah, Steve’s biggest hit. It’s been covered by Keith Urban, among others. Just a catchy, pretty, uptempo song with, as always, amazing lyrics. Fantastic piano as well.

Oh, Gods and years will rise and fall
And there’s always something more
It’s lost in talk, I waste my time
And it’s all been said before
While further down behind the masquerade the tears are there
I don’t ask for all that much I just want someone to care.

3. Say Goodbye to Little Jo (1979)

I love this song about a man defending a woman from a guy she wants nothing to do with anymore. In this song some man is completely eviscerated by Steve.

You’ve shown so much of your hate
She’s seen so much of your greed
She’s taken shit for so long, yes, yes
You ain’t got nothin she needs
You don’t deserve her no how
Go fading back into fate
Go sit ya down where ya were
Don’t grab and beg, it’s too late.

2. Search Your Heart (1988)

A beautiful ballad of encouragement that tells us to never, ever give up.

The world is too much with you all of the time
You got no space for grace inside of your mind
Some things can’t be conquered
So your thoughts all say
But if you search your heart
You’ll find a way.

1. Settle Down (1978)

Ever hear a song that just speaks to you? It’s almost as if you could have written it about yourself? This is once such song for me. One of my favorite songs of all-time.

Well, I hear you when you whisper
And I’ve seen your nervous eyes
I’ve known your fear and held your doubtful hand
You’re judging way too soon
You’re underestimating me
Sometimes I rock a bit but I can stand.

So won’t you settle down, settle down
Baby love, my baby love
Don’t quit your faith in me.

So yeah, Steve Forbert. Love his music. If you’ve liked what you’ve heard here’s an entire concert from ’79. Enjoy.

 

I recently went on a short trip and spent a few days on the east coast, just hanging out at some beaches and visiting friends. It was nice to see some folks I haven’t seen in awhile, and with all the turmoil going on in our country it was nice to get away for awhile.

In addition, something happened on the way home that sort of restored my faith in humanity.

I didn’t really think ahead, and at one point I found myself coming up to a toll booth in Virginia with about $3.00 in change in my car. Oh, I had my ATM card and a couple credit cards, but the sign at the booth clearly said “CASH ONLY.” Since this toll was $2.00, I was good to go. However, I was worried about any more tolls on this particular turnpike. Once I got off I could hit an ATM and withdraw some cash for the rest of my trip.

With this in mind as I rolled up to the window and I saw an older African American woman working the booth. Then, the following conversation took place:

“Can you tell me if there are any more tolls up ahead? I don’t have any more cash.”

“Well, where are you headed?”

“I’m going to Ohio.”

See, what I didn’t understand was that she was thinking I was worried about tolls all the way home, not just on this turnpike. At the time, however, that didn’t occur to me. She was thinking about my whole trip, and I was just thinking about this turnpike. I could always hit up a ATM, but she thought I was broke and would be facing more tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike.

As I was still clueless regarding what was happening, she reached back, grabbed her purse and tried to hand me two twenty dollar bills. As she did she said this:

“Here honey. This should be enough to get you home.”

Yep. Here was a total stranger that I’d met 2-minutes ago trying to give me enough money for gas and tolls to get home. Incredible. I’m not sure what folks at toll booths earn by the hour, but $40 is $40. Hell, It just about brought tears to my eyes. And by “just about” I mean “it did.”

I then quickly explained my situation and told her to keep her money, and I also told her what I thought of her amazingly generous gesture.

She just smiled and waved me off, telling me to have a safe trip home. It wasn’t a big deal to her, but damn did it make me feel good.

And I wonder. If she tried to do it for me, how often did she actually do it for others?

I swear to God I’d give almost anything to hang with these guys for 3-4 hours on the golf course. Can you imagine? Hell, I used to hate George W but now I’d take him back as Commander in Chief in a heartbeat. And you know they were just ripping the Donald to shreds on the back 9. Man, I long for the good old days between 1992 and 2016.

PS- Carter wasn’t invited. Two-termers only. That’s badass.

 

Magpies are one of the most intelligent animals on earth. They’re the only non-mammal species able to recognize itself in the mirror.

Or moon. I’m not sure.

Bullfrogs never sleep.

Check out Luhu the Sad Cat, man. He’s sad.

So true.

In the 1770s, the states of Pennsylvania and Virginia laid claims and established control over areas that form parts of today’s Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Maryland. These claims would have been sorted by the Mason-Dixon Line that demarcated Pennsylvania from Maryland, but the survey was abandoned in 1767. In 1776, inspired by the ongoing Revolutionary War and fearing a civil war between both states, citizens of the disputed region declared independence and renamed the region “The Province And Government of Westsylvania.” Thereafter, they petitioned Congress to admit them as the 14th state of the Union. Congress ignored the petition, and the two states settled their border dispute in 1780. True story that I bet you did not know.

Check out the Wallago Leerii, man. Dude is ugly as hell. This guy lives in Southeast Asia and can grow to up to 7-feet in length and weigh over 200-pounds. I’m no expert but that seems like a big-ass catfish. According to Southeast Asians, this bad boy makes excellent eatin.’ Anyhoo, Wallago Leerii.

There are no bridges over the Amazon River.