Pixel Scroll 7/10/19 Our Pixels Manned The Air They Ran The Scrolls And Took Over The Airports

(1) VINTAGE. New art from Star Trek: Picard. What should we call this episode? “The Grapes of Wrath of Khan”? The big reveal on the story and characters of the new show will be at San Diego Comic-Con next week.

(2) MORE BEST TRANSLATED HUGO FEEDBACK. Taiyo Fujii commented about the proposal on Facebook.

Thanks for M. Barkley and Rachel S. Cordasco for proposing Best Translated Novel for Hugo, but I should say as a Japanese writer, It’s not necessary.

Hugo already honored 3 translated works without translated category, and we saw the translator of that works Ken Liu was celebrated on the presentation stage. This is why I respect Hugo and voters, who don’t cares the work is from overseas or not.

I worry if translated category is held, translated short forms will be ignored by s-s, novelette and novella which are fascinated category for new young non anglophone writers. We are trying to open the door to be just a writer with contributing short forms, and readers already saw our works, and voted for nomination. But if translated category was held, only novels are honored.

In fact, translated fiction category is set on literary award held in non anglophone country, then we Japanese couldn’t give prize for Three Body Problem as the best novel of Seiun Awards even if we hope to honor.

(3) LISTEN AND LEARN. Brenton Dickieson points out “7 New Audiobooks on C.S. Lewis: Michael Ward, James Como, Stephanie Derrick, Patti Callahan, Joe Rigney, Diana Glyer, Gary Selby” at A Pilgrim in Narnia.

Michael Ward, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis (13 hrs)

I have argued that Dr. Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia is the most important resource for reading Narnia that has emerged in the new century. While one might argue with parts of Ward’s thesis–as I have donePlanet Narnia is a great book for providing close readings of Lewis’ greatest works in a literary way that invites us into a deeper understanding of the books behind the Narnian chronicles. I hope the publishers record The Narnia Code, the popular version of the Planet Narnia resource, but I am thrilled that they began with the magnum opus, Planet Narnia. Meanwhile, Audible also has Ward’s “Now You Know” audio course, “Christology, Cosmology, and C.S. Lewis,” a shorter but helpful resource for newcomers to the conversation. The audiobook reader, Nigel Patterson, is professional and even in tone.

(4) INTRODUCING NEWTON EWELL. Yesterday a commenter noticed that artist Newton Ewell was one of the NASFiC/Westercon guests who had no entry in Fancyclopedia 3. Overnight someone (“Confan”) decided rather than complain, they’d write one for him. It’s very good, and apparently there’s a lot to know about – Newton Ewell.

(5) TIL THEY ATE THEM. An unexpected discovery in the Crimea: “Early Europeans Lived Among Giant 300kg Birds”. I suspect this state of affairs lasted until dinnertime. [Via Amazing Stories.]

Early Europeans lived alongside giant 3-meter tall birds new research published on Wednesday explains. The bird species was one of the largest to ever roam the earth weighing in at a staggering 450 kg.

Bones of the massive, probably flightless bird were discovered in a cave in Crimea. “We don’t have enough data yet to say whether it was most closely related to ostriches or to other birds, but we estimate it weighed about 450kg,” says the study’s lead author Dr. Nikita Zelenkov. This formidable weight is nearly double the largest moa, three times the largest living bird, the common ostrich, and nearly as much as an adult polar bear.”

(6) MARTIAN CARAVANSARY. Slate has posted an interview with Robert Zubrin, Founder and president of the Mars Society and author of The Case for Space: “What Will Life On Mars be Like?”

Slate: How do you envision settling Mars will begin, and what will the early settlements look like?

Robert Zubrin: I think it will begin with an exploration, and then the establishment of a permanent Mars base to support exploration. Whoever is sponsoring this base, whether it’s the U.S. government, an international consortium of governments, or private groups, it’s going to be tremendously to their benefit to have people stay extra rotations on Mars because the biggest expense is transporting people back and forth. If it costs $100 million to send someone to Mars and back—and that’s a low estimate—it would be a no-brainer to offer someone $5 million to stay there an extra two years. So, I think you’ll start to see people staying extra rotations on Mars, just like there are some people who spend an extra rotation on trips to Antarctica. And then, relationships will form. And people will have children. And you will see the beginning of an actual settlement, a base.

(7) AUREALIS AWARDS. The 2019 Aurealis Awards are now taking entries:

The Aurealis Awards, Australia’s premier awards for speculative fiction, are for works created by an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and published for the first time between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019.

Full guidelines and FAQ can be found on the Aurealis Awards website:

(8) WESTEROS DISTINGUISHED. Everyone knows the Ninth Circuit marches to the beat of its own drummer – or is that to the pace of its own White Walkers? “Game of Thrones Night King storyline gets torched by federal judge”.

A federal appeals court’s opinion on Lindie Banks v. Northern Trust Corp. is — as one would expect from a case charging breaches of fiduciary duties — full of references to assets, investments and irrevocable trusts. Naturally, the Night King from Game of Thrones also makes a showing. 

In the opinion filed July 5, Judge John B. Owens writes that the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit won’t discard a prior legal precedent “the way that Game of Thrones rendered the entire Night King storyline meaningless in its final season.” 

(9) TORN OBIT. The actor with the best working name in Hollywood, Rip Torn, died July 9. CNN has the story: “Rip Torn, actor best known for ‘Men in Black’ and ‘The Larry Sanders Show,’ dies at 88”.

Rip Torn, an Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in “Men in Black” and HBO’s “The Larry Sanders Show,” has died, according to his publicist Rick Miramontez. He was 88.

Torn died Tuesday at his home in Lakeville, Connecticut with his family by his side, Miramontez said.

The actor had a seven-decade career in film, television and theater, with nearly 200 credits to his name.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 10, 1903 John Wyndham. His best-known works include The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos, both written in the Fifties. The latter novel was filmed twice as Village of the Damned. Both iBooks and Kindle have an impressive selection of his novels though little of his short fiction is available alas. (Died 1969.)
  • Born July 10, 1923 Earl Hamner Jr. Though much better known for writing and producing The Waltons, he wrote eight scripts for the Twilight Zone including “Black Leather Jackets” in which an alien falls in love with a human girl and “The Hunt” where raccoon hunters enter the Twilight Zone. He also wrote the script of the Hanna-Barbera production of Charlotte’s Web. (Died 2016.)
  • Born July 10, 1929 George Clayton Johnson. He’s best known for co-writing with William F. Nolan the Logan’s Run novel, the source for the Logan’s Run film. He was also known for his scripts for the Twilight Zone including  “A Game of Pool”, “Kick the Can”, “Nothing in the Dark”, and “A Penny for Your Thoughts”, and the first telecast episode of the original Star Trek, “The Man Trap”. (Died 2015.)
  • Born July 10, 1931 Julian May. She‘s best known for her Saga of Pliocene Exile (known as the Saga of the Exiles in the UK) and Galactic Milieu series: Jack the BodilessDiamond Mask and Magnificat. She also chaired the 1952 Worldcon in Chicago. (Died 2017.)
  • Born July 10, 1941 David Hartwell. Encyclopedia of Science Fiction describes him as “perhaps the single most influential book editor of the past forty years in the American science fiction publishing world.”  I certainly fondly remember the The Space Opera Renaissance he co-edited with Kathryn Cramer. Not to mention that his Year’s Best Fantasy and Year’s Best SF anthologies are still quite excellent reading. (Died 2016.)
  • Born July 10, 1945 Ron Glass. Probably best known genre wise as Shepherd Book in the Firefly series and its sequel Serenity. His first genre role was as Jerry Merris in Deep Space, a SF horror film and he’d later show up voicing Philo D. Grenman in Strange Frame: Love & Sax (“slated as the world’s first animated lesbian-themed sci-fi film”; look it up as it as an impressive voice cast) and he showed up twice as J. Streiten, MD in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Oh and he was on Voyager playing a character named Loken in the  “Nightingale” episode. (Died 2016.)
  • Born July 10, 1970 John Simm, 49. The second of modern Masters on Doctor Who.  He appeared in the final three episodes of series three during the Time of the Tenth Doctor: “Utopia”, “The Sound of Drums”, and “Last of the Time Lords”. 


  • Wizard of Id comes up with a problem faced by witches in the land of Oz, one that never occurred to me before.

(12) TO AIR IS HUMAN. Galactic Journey’s Natalie Devitt attends a 1964 movie with a pre-Batman Adam West: “[July 10, 1964] Greetings from the Red Planet (The Movie, Robinson Crusoe on Mars)”.

The movie opens up aboard a spaceship carrying Commander Christopher Draper (played by Paul Mantee, appearing in his first film major film role), Colonel Dan McReady (Adam West, an actor commonly found on television westerns) and an adorable monkey named Mona.  Things take an unexpected turn when they detect a meteoroid and are “forced out of orbital velocity to avoid collision with planetoid into tighter orbit of Mars.”  As the situation worsens, the crew is left with no other option than to immediately attempt to land on the fourth planet.  While fleeing the vehicle in their individual escape pods, Draper is separated from McReady and Mona.

Draper adapts to the conditions on the red planet, while searching for McReady and Mona.  Even though he is part of the first crew on Mars, Draper learns quickly what it takes to survive.  He finds shelter in a cave.  For heat, Draper discovers yellow rocks that “burn like coal.” Heating the rocks not only keeps him warm, but also produces oxygen, which he then uses to refill his oxygen tank.  Throughout the film, Draper keeps a careful audio record about all that he experiences, which provides a useful narrative device when things happen off-screen. 

(13) BESPOKE. Vicky Who Reads mostly likes this one: “Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim: A Lush and Beautiful Fantasy with a Romance I Wasn’t Into”. (A little problem with the age difference between the couple, for one thing.)  

I knew this was going to be good, but I definitely did not know just how good it would be.

Elizabeth Lim’s Spin the Dawn was a classic-style story with a lush and beautiful world and gorgeous prose. Featuring the classic “girl dressing as a boy” trope, a Project-Runway-esque competition, and a quest, Spin the Dawn weaves tradition and fantasy into a phenomenal story.

(14) LEND ME YOUR EARS. Joe Sherry is “Listening to the Hugos: Fancast” and opens with thoughts about the category itself.

…Fancast suffers from some of the same issues that many of the down ballot categories do, though perhaps “suffer” is the wrong word. There is a lot of institutional memory built in here for fancasts which are consistent year after year. With a core of listeners who are frequent participants in the Hugo Award process, it is not surprising to see a number of finalists come back year after year. I’ve said this about a number of other categories, but it does make me wonder a little bit about the health of the category, but on the other hand it does also give a snapshot of what the genre and fan conversation and communities may have looked like over a several year period. A positive takeaway, though, is that the only repeat winner was SF Squeecast in the first two years of the category. Both Be the Serpent and Our Opinions Are Correct are new to the ballot and are new to being a podcast.

(15) DEAD CON WALKING. Although Trae Dorn has eased back on his posting frequency, Nerd & Tie still comes through with fannish news scoops: “Better Business Bureau Calls Walker Stalker Events a ‘Scam’”.

Walker Stalkers LLC, which runs conventions under the Walker Stalker Con, Heroes & Villains, and FanFest names, has been having a bit of a rough patch when it comes to finances lately. We reported on this back in April, and while the company has made some effort to refund people for cancelled events and appearances, many might claim that it hasn’t been quite enough. Those issues seem to have come to a head though, as their problems are now becoming known outside of the geek community.

Nashville’s WSMV is reporting that the Better Business Bureau is now openly warning people to avoid Walker Stalkers LLC run events.

(16) IS IT REAL? BBC asked — “Midsommar: What do film critics in Sweden think?” Beware the occasional spoilers.

Swedish film reviewers are giving a cautious welcome to Midsommar, a horror film about a bizarre pagan festival in a remote part of Sweden.

Directed by Hereditary’s Ari Aster, the film stars Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor as an American couple who travel to Harga village in Halsingland to observe the midsummer ritual that takes place there only once every 90 years.

The film – which was actually shot in Hungary – has been getting strong reviews since it opened in the US earlier this month. It currently has an 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

One critic, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich, tweeted that Midsommar would “do for Swedish pagan rituals what Psycho did for showers”.

The film opened in Sweden on Wednesday and the first reviews have been appearing in the Swedish press. So what do the critics there think?

(17) REALITY CHECK. Be fair – everyone’s seen mermaids and knows, uh, never mind… NPR relates that “Disney Cable Channel Defends Casting Black Actress As New ‘Little Mermaid'”.

When Disney announced that Halle Bailey, a teen actress and one-half of the singing group Chloe x Halle, had landed the role of Ariel in the forthcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, some people on social media went bonkers.

But not over the fact that it’s 2019 and the Danish fairy tale tells the story of a young female creature who loves singing and wearing a seashell bikini top and eagerly gives up her voice in exchange for a romance with a good-looking guy. Nor are critics outraged by the kind of message that narrative conveys to young children.

Instead, certain circles of the Internet are aghast that the ingenue cast by Disney is black.

The complaints run along the lines of: “The actress should look like the real Little Mermaid!” By which they presumably mean the white-skinned, blue-eyed cartoon character in the 1989 blockbuster film. The hashtag #NotMyAriel quickly began trending on Twitter, and since the announcement last week, scores of fans have pledged to boycott the film.

For days the company remained silent regarding the controversy, but Freeform, a cable network owned by Disney and on which Bailey appears as a cast member on Grown-ish, issued a statement on Instagram clarifying that, “Ariel…is a mermaid.”

(18) SHAKE IT ‘TIL YOU BREAK IT. “Satellite photos show California earthquake leaves scar on the desert” – BBC has lots of photos, satellite and other.

The strongest earthquake to hit California in two decades left a scar across the desert which can be seen from space, new pictures show.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck on Friday at a depth of just 0.9km (0.6 miles), creating a fissure near its epicentre about 240km north-east of Los Angeles.

It was felt as far away as Phoenix, Arizona – more than 560km south-east.

…The crack in the desert – captured in before and after pictures released by Planet Labs – opened close to the epicentre of the quake near the town of Ridgecrest.

(19) TWO FAMILY TREES. BBC encounters the “Earliest modern human found outside Africa”.

A skull unearthed in Greece has been dated to 210,000 years ago, at a time when Europe was occupied by the Neanderthals.

The sensational discovery adds to evidence of an earlier migration of people from Africa that left no trace in the DNA of people alive today.

The findings are published in the journal Nature.

Researchers uncovered two significant fossils in Apidima Cave in Greece in the 1970s.

One was very distorted and the other incomplete, however, and it took computed tomography scanning and uranium-series dating to unravel their secrets.

The more complete skull appears to be a Neanderthal. But the other shows clear characteristics, such as a rounded back to the skull, diagnostic of modern humans.

What’s more, the Neanderthal skull was younger.

(20) SPACE COLLECTIBLES. On July 16-189, Heritage Auctions continues with the third round of Neil Armstrong memorabilia: “The Armstrong Family Collection III Space Exploration Signature Auction”.

To the many numismatists who may be reading this newsletter, here is a unique piece for your consideration: a Gemini 8 Flown United States 1864 Large Motto 2¢ Piece, graded MS 61 BN by NGC and encapsulated by CAG (Collectibles Authentication Guaranty) . This coin was supplied by an Ohio coin dealer to Neil Armstrong who took it with him on the mission, “carried in a specially sewn pocket in my pressure suit.” As you may know, Gemini 8 performed the world’s first orbital docking in space but it nearly ended in disaster when one of the Orbit and Maneuvering System thrusters stuck in the on position causing an uncontrollable tumbling. Armstrong was somehow able to control it and bring the craft in for a successful emergency landing. This coin, for many years on loan from the Armstrong family to the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, is extensively provenanced by the dealer and also Neil Armstrong’s father.

Another amazing item is Neil Armstrong’s Personally Owned and Worn Early Apollo-Era Flight Suit by Flite Wear with Type 3 NASA Vector Patch. I can’t imagine a better (or rarer) item for display purposes, a real museum piece. And, to go with it: Neil Armstrong’s Personal NASA Leather Name Tag.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

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90 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/10/19 Our Pixels Manned The Air They Ran The Scrolls And Took Over The Airports

  1. Chip Hitchcock: An Oz rainbow, if it existed, wouldn’t be visible from elsewhere, as Oz is surrounded by extensive desert. Yes, I’m being a nerd.

    Yes, but I think you’re breaking the “rule” of going by what’s in the movie Oz. I don’t think anyone sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in Baum’s books, since it wasn’t written til 1939.

  2. 1) The scoop here is that the dog is from Men and Black and this show will be a crossover.

  3. I’ve seen great blue herons and great egrets stalking through fields, hunting small animals for breakfast. I wouldn’t want to be their prey.

  4. @RedWombat: Yep. I’ve got 3 in the backyard and I’m absolutely convinced they would eat me if they were big enough. It’s funny watching them chase grasshoppers. Right up until you see one of the girls going after the dog in the same way. One of the hens outweighs her and Lola’s only defense is that she’s more nimble and quicker on a corner than the hens. BTW, the dog and the chickens have reached a modus vivendi – the dog stays out of their portion of the yard while they’re loose, they don’t kill her.

    @Rochrist: Yep. Could totally believe it.

    @ChipHitchcock: Swans. They are evil bastards – aggressive and territorial. Had one attack me as I walked to my car once. Sprained an ankle trying to get away from it. Pity hunting them isn’t legal.

  5. Rose Embolism@1: “Kind of sad to see the cruel tradition of ear pointing continues in the 20-whatever century.”

    That’s a genetically modified dog bred for pointed ears.

  6. somewhere down in Florida there’s a gas station that has a pair of blue herons that mug customers coming out of the convenience store.

    I fed them some crackers; when I was out, I tried to walk away. They followed me – threateningly – all the way to my car and then banged on the windows.

    I like birds and felt pretty confident that I could out maneuver them if necessary, but they were the most aggressive birds I have ever encountered.

  7. We had a swan walk from the nearby river to our driveway, only to pick a fight with its reflection in our car.
    It put in quite a few dents before my wife could chase it off with a rake.

  8. (1) That might well be Patrick Stewart’s own dog. He rescues pit bulls. Many rescue pit bulls come from backgrounds where ears still get cropped like that.

  9. OGH notes Oh yeah. In the fall of 2001 I spent 6 weeks living in a neighborhood in Northern California where half a dozen geese roamed freely. And when I saw the gaggle coming, I got out of their way!

    Let me note that I’m talking about domestic breeds of geese. I’ve rarely seen that Canada geese are all that willing to engage in aggressive behaviour as they tend to retreat rather than fight.

    Now your average domestic goose is short on brains, virtually none, and long on aggression. And if you decide to eat, be aware that preparing one for cooking is a true pain in the ass. The defeathering alone is (shudder). And it won’t be all that tasty unless you drape it with lots of smoky bacon.

  10. Cat Eldridge: I’m also talking about domestic geese. They just happened to be running around loose. I was told there was an owner, who at some point would convert them to meat.

  11. Mike Glyer says I’m also talking about domestic geese. They just happened to be running around loose. I was told there was an owner, who at some point would convert them to meat.

    Yeah they’re always nasty. Sort of devolved dinosaurs who don’t realise they only weight twenty or so pounds. I hope their owner was sending them to a butcher who was going to kill and process them.

  12. One of the things that makes my regular walks around the lake here less pleasant than it might be otherwise is the annual return of the majestic Canadian Shitting Goose.

  13. Joe H. says Joe H. on July 11, 2019 at 2:16 pm said:
    One of the things that makes my regular walks around the lake here less pleasant than it might be otherwise is the annual return of the majestic Canadian Shitting Goose.

    They’re actually called Canada Geese. And yes they shit a lot. A really lot. And it’s slippery. And it smells really awful. UConn at Storrs had a real problem at the early Nineties with Canada Geese, no idea how they (or even if) they solved it. Audubon here has bird sanctuary and they love it so one doesn’t visit it in the Autumn when then had south or in the Spring when they had North. And this whole region is off limits to hunting them.

    A cautionary tale. Back in the seventies, the State decided to reintroduce wild turkeys that been hunted to extinction here in the early 1900s. So they imported several hundred breeding pairs from the mid Atlantic region. Was it a success? The southern Maine region is now home to some sixty thousand birds though that’s just an estimate as they’re damn hard to survey as you try to count birds that can fly thirty feet straight up into into a tree. And move damn fast when on the ground while the mottled feathers blend into Autumn leafs real good.

    I’ve seen as many as several hundred in a field during the day. It’s quite a sight. And they’re not aggressive.

  14. On the Shoreline Highway north of San Francisco, right in the center of the tiny town of Olema, there used to be a house with a big sign out front saying “Beware of Goose!” I always found it amusing, but, having met geese, I also took it seriously.

  15. @Cat Eldridge
    There are wild turkeys living in various places in the Bay Area, some of them quite urban. I understand they can be fairly aggressive, chasing people.

  16. I used to work at a place which had Canada geese and swans… briefly, it also had Egyptian geese (which have been in the UK since about the seventeenth century). Egyptian geese are small and rather decorative, and the larger Canadas would bully them unmercifully.

    Then the swans started nesting, and the Canadas found out what it’s like to be on the receiving end of some bullying….

  17. @RedWombat, et al:
    Have you seen The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales? French series of cartoon shorts. The Big Bad Fox involves a fox getting a few chicks imprinting on him and having to deal with the chickens in the farm training in self-defence to defeat him the next time he shows up.

    @Cat Eldridge:
    Canada Geese may not be aggressive where you are. I’m in Toronto. Up here is where they nest and raise their goslings. Trust me, as someone who walked past a planter in front of a strip mall that a goose had decided to use as a nest, they can be quite aggressive.

  18. Jenora Feuer says Canada Geese may not be aggressive where you are. I’m in Toronto. Up here is where they nest and raise their goslings. Trust me, as someone who walked past a planter in front of a strip mall that a goose had decided to use as a nest, they can be quite aggressive.

    Well admittedly our geese have more than enough room to avoid confronting we humans as they’ve got literally thousands of acres of marshes, ocean front and fields to inhabit so they rarely, if ever, bother those areas that we humans frequent. The turkeys are far more likely to intersect with us than they are. And I don’t think our area is actually a nesting area for Canada geese, just a transit area, so there’s no nesting areas here.

  19. Lis Carey says That might well be Patrick Stewart’s own dog. He rescues pit bulls. Many rescue pit bulls come from backgrounds where ears still get cropped like that.

    Patrick it turns out doesn’t, because he travels between the US and the UK, own a dog, but instead does short-term fostering. You can read about his latest here.

  20. @RedWombat: re birds
    The NZ moa mentioned in the article came in a variety of sizes, smaller ones in hills and mountains, and the more famous big ones lower down. They were preyed on by large Haast Eagles, so I imagine Maori soon learnt to not let kids wander around the wrong places (until they had wiped out the moa which in turn did for the eagles).
    BTW, moa is the word for chicken in Eastern Polynesian – so the proto-Maori named the big bird after the chook!

  21. We’ve got wild turkeys in my neighborhood too. I’ve seen at least three adult males, two adult females, and eight chicks (from two distinct broods, judging by size).

  22. Nina says We’ve got wild turkeys in my neighborhood too. I’ve seen at least three adult males, two adult females, and eight chicks (from two distinct broods, judging by size).

    As far as I know, the nearest roost would be out on the islands, so a few miles from here. Our turkeys aren’t urban dwellers if they can avoid it. There is at least two crows however that do mimic them and they do inhabit the downtown area so I’ve known tourists to look for turkeys not knowing it’s those crows sitting high on a building sounding off.

  23. Re: “His first genre role was as Jerry Merris in Jerry Merris, a SF horror film”

    I think you mean “as Jerry Merris in Deep Space, a SF horror film.

  24. markle sparkle said I think you mean “as Jerry Merris in Deep Space, a SF horror film.

    You think? Mike, go ahead and fix if you please.

  25. @Cat Eldridge: migratory Canada geese might be mild-mannered; the one I spoke of (protecting its goslings) was not domesticated but also non-migratory, like most of the ones seen around Boston. Or it may just be (per your comments on space) city manners vs. country manners. The turkeys found in Boston suburbs are also frequently aggressive — and that’s just everyday behavior, not when they’re doing mating displays (which I’ve seen on the front lawn of a friend’s sub-suburban house).

    @Steve Davidson (re heron muggers): I visited some War for the Oaks sites during the 1993 WFC, was severely accosted at one of them, and complained about missing warnings when I got back. Bull’s response: “The squirrels in Loring Park all wear black leather jackets.” I think that’s the only time I’ve seen something out-mean a goose.

    re geese as shit machines: that’s how I found out that some idiot brought Canada geese to Kew Gardens, thinking they were ornamental; one look at the spots all over the paved path right inside the gate, and the green spots made their presence obvious.

  26. @Cat Eldridge

    Now your average domestic goose is short on brains, virtually none, and long on aggression. And if you decide to eat, be aware that preparing one for cooking is a true pain in the ass. The defeathering alone is (shudder). And it won’t be all that tasty unless you drape it with lots of smoky bacon.

    When I was a kid, our neighbours kept geese. And in the run-up to Christmas and Martinsmas (November 11), both of which are holidays where geese are traditionally eaten in Germany, the neighbour geese would be slaughtered and prepared for sale. So whenever I went over to visit the neighbours in October and November, the women would all be sitting there, plucking geese, while the men were engaged in slaughtering them in the next room. Usually, they’d shut the door, but sometimes they forgot and you could see everything.

    I still don’t eat roast goose, because whenever I do, I see Aunt Marianne sitting there plucking geese (and she was fast at it), while Uncle Georg pushes them into a funnel that cuts off their heads.

  27. Lord, turkeys. I’ve gone out birding and seen them doing their run-flap thing and my first thought is ALWAYS “dinosaur!”

    If you find yourself in extreme south Texas, look for Plain Chacalacas, aka My Favorite Burd Ever, which is basically a small turkey dinosaur thing that is just light enough to roost on power lines. Some streets fill up with them on both sides and it is just the wildest thing ever. I’ve also heard them singing…well, shrieking…a round at dawn. First one tree would shriek, then when they slowed down, the next tree would start, and they would go in a circle, each tree full of saurian weirdos waiting politely for their turn in the round. It was one of the most bizarrely charming things I’ve ever witnessed.

  28. I enjoy occasional casual bird-watching, and I rather like geese and ducks, which are relatively large and mostly slow-moving. Of course, sea ducks can be a bit far away, and some diving birds spend hardly any time above water, but they’re still easier than warblers.

    One of the most impressive sights I can remember was a flock of snow geese returning to their roosting area in the swamp (oh, excuse me, “wetlands”) at dusk, down at Forsythe Wildlife Refuge Brigantine Division, near Atlantic City, New Jersey. There were so many they darkened the sky, and they honked all the way in. There are not a lot of birds louder than Canada Geese, but Snow Geese have them beat. (They’re beautiful, too.)

  29. (1) I’m curious about what breed that dog actually is. He SHOULD have something like a Dogue de Bordeaux or a Beauceron or a Bouvier des Flandres or — get this — a Berger Picard, but it is distinctly none of those. Hmph.

    And yes, I was very surprised to see a cropped dog on the poster. Shame on them.

  30. I picked up one of the geese that are wandering around my farm. It honked and bit me on the neck. Looked like bad hickey. Lasted for days.

    You can find Adam West on an OUTER LIMITS episode titled “The Invisible Enemy” And it takes place on Mars.

  31. and wrt turkeys flying straight up — maybe they can if they have to, but the flock I’ve seen (re mating displays on a friend’s lawn) have discovered a better stunt: they graze their way up a slope from the stream where they spend all day grazing, then launch from the lawn; level flight with a bit of stall at the end gets them 15-20 feet up in trees. Not as stupid as they’re commonly portrayed….

  32. My (possibly mistaken) impression is that urban turkeys in the SF Bay Area have greatly increased in numbers and range in the last decade or two. There’s a lovely flock at the Berkeley Marina that I see when I go to dragonboat practice, and another in a part/open space about a block from my house. There was a video making the social media rounds at one point (I think it was local, but I could be mis-remembering) of a flock crossing a busy urban street where the tom was facing down the (stopped) cars in full display until the others had finished crossing. For all the world like an avian crossing guard.

  33. Also in my “impressive urban birds” catalog is the nesting colony of common egrets in a group of tall trees (eucalyptus, I think) right at the on-ramp for my morning commute. A very striking sight to see dozens of large brilliantly white birds hanging out that high up in the trees.

  34. There’s also a flock of wild turkeys in Alum Canyon park in San Jose. I’ve never seem then, but I’ve heard them at twilight. Its actually a bit unnerving to hear them when one is going hiking alone as it gets darker and darker…

  35. @Chip The goose that flew into an airplane engine, leading to the “Miracle on the Hudson” water landing, was determined to be from a non-migratory sub-population. If I recall the story correctly, Canada geese that stay in the New York area year-round can be distinguished from the geese that spend the summers in Labrador because of different isotope ratios in their bodies.

    (After that incident, I actually listened to the “in case of a water landing” part of the airplane safety spiel a couple of times.)

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