Greetings and welcome to our Friday edition of “what important news topic is he going to light up my life with today?” We’ll get to that momentarily, but we really couldn’t let a week blow by without some Santa Cruz sunrise action, so let’s harken back to the morning of December 16th along West Cliff Drive. I shot this series from right in front of Bird Rock. There was a beautiful glow to the morning and then before you could say Barack Obama the sun disappeared up into the clouds, much like Fred Thompson’s bid for the presidency. It’s really a shame because you know he would have established “Law and Order” in this country.
Now let’s move on to our rodent report. According to scientists, researchers in a remote Indonesian jungle have discovered a giant rat that is about five times the size of a typical city rat along with a tiny oppussum. I don’t even know this was opossible. Unearthing species of mammals in the 21st century is considered very rare, and happens about as often as the New England Patriots get outcoached. The discoveries by a team of American and Indonesian scientists are being studied further to confirm their status and to check and see if opossible is really a word.
The animals were found in the Foja mountains rain forest in eastern Papua province in a June expedition. According to Krisofer Helgen, a scientist with the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, “The giant rat had no fear of humans and apparently came into the camp several times during the trip.” It was later discovered that he did have a fear of spiders, heights and the “Jerry Springer” show. The opossum is described as “one of the world’s smallest marsupials.” Anyone for clam chowder?
A 2006 expedition to the same stretch of jungle, dubbed by Conservation International as a “Lost World” because until then humans had rarely visited it, unearthed scores of exotic species of butterflies, palms and Backstreet Boy’s CD’s. Papau has some of the world’s largest tracts of rain forest, but like elsewhere in Indonesia they are being ravaged by illegal logging and Starbucks. Scientists said last year that the Foja area was not under immediate threat, largely because it was so remote and no one could spell it correctly.
“It’s comforting to know that there is still a place on Earth so isolated that it remains the absolute realm of wild nature, ” said expedition leader Bruce Beehler. “We were pleased to see that this little piece of Eden remains as pristine and enchanting as it was when we first visited.” I agree. These discoveries reminds me of an old Three Stooges question when Larry asks Moe. “Are you a man or a mouse? I don’t know, put a piece of cheese in front of me and you’ll find out.”
So that’s it for today. Tune in next time as we’ll take a look at the ABC series “The Rat Patrol”, the Rat Pack of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. and John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “The Grapes of Rats.” Gotta run, I think my ratatouille may be boiling over. Have a fabulous NFL playoff viewing weekend and pray that Eli Manning and the New York Giants come to play against the Dallas Cowboys. Till then, enjoy the sky and aloha.