But I Digress

Blog calendar: March 30 | March 22 | March 18 | March 3 | Feb. 19

posted March 30

Just maybe he thought it was playing 'possum

Maybe he thought it was a groundhog. Maybe even the famous one.

It was near Punxsutawney, Pa. — pop. 6,271, sal-ute! — where Phil is the central figure of Groundhog Day.

But yet, how could he get past the smell?

Donald Wolfe of Brookville was caught along Route 36 trying to, get this, resuscitate an opossum. A long-dead opossum.

One witness said he appeared to be conducting a seance as he knelt over the roadkill. Eww!

Another said he was actually attempting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Double eww!

The 55-year-old man was charged with public drunkenness. Oh, OK, it all makes sense now.

Don't believe it. Here's the report from The Associated Press.

posted March 22

In L.A. to pick up Oscar, film crew digs up more dirt

Hey, the gang's all here, let's do something.

"Anyone for sushi."

"I know a place where they serve whale sushi."

"Let's do it."

In a working lunch, the crew of "The Cove," in town to pick up their Oscar for their documentary on Japanese dolphin hunting, decided to do some more exposing when they got wind that a swanky Santa Monica restaurant was serving up illegal whale sushi.

So, armed with hidden cameras and itty bitty microphones, two big spenders — they doled out $600 trying sushi — ordered a plate of omakase, a dish in which the chef selects the fare. When finally served what waiters called whale meat, they bagged it up and sent it off to determine its true origin.

Scott Baker of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University examined it and found it to be meat of an endangered Sei whale. So, as the law enforcement was in on the sushi sting, the restaurant and the sushi chef were charged with illegally serving endangered whale meat.

The penalty for the owners could be a year in prison and a fine of $200,000, which the owners have said they'll pay.

The eatery's name, The Hump.

No way.

Read the complete report in the New York Times.

Last of the Michigan wolverines

The last of the wolverines is reported dead in Michigan.

And it's getting a necropsy to determine what did it in.

The animal was somewhat of a rarity, being the only confirmed wild wolverine in the "Wolverine State" in the past 200 years. What, no other brothers in a state named after them, not to mention it being the nickname of one of its major universities?

Funny I should ask.

Apparently never really known for its population of wolverines, which supposedly were driven out of the state to more northern environs two centuries ago, Michigan gained its moniker by one of two ways.

First possibility: The trapping biz was big in Sault Ste. Marie, and wolverine furs, frost-resistant and good for lining clothes, were moved through there.

Second, uglier possibility: The French first settled there in the late 1700s and their gluttonous or "wolverine-like" appetites transferred from some name-calling during a border dispute with Ohio.

Wolverines, which have also been called "glutton" or "skunk bear," are the largest of the land-dwelling weasel family. Living mostly in sub-arctic regions now, they've been known to take down much larger animals, like a sick moose.

This sole one in Michigan musta been lost. Or let loose by some Wolverine fan who couldn't handle its powerful jaws, sharp claws and remarkable strength for its size. (They can get to 70 pounds, but this one was only 28.)

Some people took the lone wolverine, which was first sighted in 2004, under their wing. It was protected by a state emergency order and a science teacher at Deckerville High School even kind of adopted it, setting up trail cameras and sharing his findings with students and others.

"I feel like I lost a member of my family," Jeff Ford said.

posted March 11

Power outage gives new meaning to polecat

Pepe Le Pew, the amorous French skunk of Warner Bros. cartoon fame, was a stinking polecat.

A bobcat gave new meaning to that term when it climbed a power pole and touched two lines at the same time, knocking out power in Tishomingo, Okla. — pop. 3,163, sal-ute!

On Tuesday night, about 3,100 customers of Oklahoma Gas and Electric were without power for more than an hour because of the wayward bobcat, which was found smoldering at the top of a utility pole in Johnston County.

Now that's one smoking polecat. See the story from the Associated Press.

posted March 3

Australian outback town epicenter of raining fish

There's several unusual occurrences in the Australian tale of fish raining on a remote Northwest Territory town. Ok a bunch.

First weird thing, it rained fish on the outback town of Lajamanu, pop. 669, sal-ute!, which sits on the edge of the Tanami Desert.

In a Feb. 28 report in ntnews.com.au, Christine Balmer is quoted that hundreds of small white fish fell from the sky. She even took a picture of some in a bucket.

Yet, this not only happened on Thursday, Feb. 25, but Balmer reported it happened again on Friday, Feb. 26. Both instances were at about 6 p.m. Lajamanu time. Coincidence?

Readers commenting on this report that ran March 2 in ABCnews.com — hey, news gets out slow from the middle of Australia — think not. Some believe it's a sign of the "end of times."

One blames Obama and the evil in America, but it doesn't take a scientist to realize a tornado is the most likely culprit. Meterologists say conditions were ripe on those dates, yet none were reported in the region. Do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do.

Strong updrafts have been known to pull water and aquatic creatures, sometimes 60,000 feet high, and deposit them further on down the road.

But the closest water is Nongra Lake some 60 miles away. Also, one reader asks how a tornado could pick out just the spangled perch?

When she told her family, Balmer said they thought she was nuts. But we trust her, she's the coordinator of the Lajamanu Aged Care Centre.

"I haven't lost my marbles," she said. "Thank god it didn't rain crocodiles."

Sound thinking. She said that possible because many of the fish — get this — were still ALIVE!

Adding to the intrigue is this is not the first time it's rained fish in Lajamanu. It happened not once, but twice before, in 2004 and in 1974. Then on consecutive days in 2010? Oh my, that does sound serious.

This post — "lucky for the signs ... they warn you to get ready. clean yourself, get dressed" — is way less Aussie-like then the following clear-thinker:

"Who's up for a fish fry?"

posted Feb. 19

Cat food key to put toads Down Under

Any of you who've ever fed a kitty know most cat foods can be rather nasty smelling, but who knew it could be key to killing toads.

In the land Down Under, scientists have found that a few tablespoons of the stuff will help in the battle with the infamous cane toad, an invasive species so prolific and reviled they've had organized hunts (See Toad Day Out), and some Australians want to put a bounty on their little warty heads.

Oh, the cat food isn't poison to the amphibians, it's put down near ponds where the baby toads emerge. According to this report from Sydney, the canned mix draws in fierce Australian meat ants.

Apparently it's an ant-eat-toad world. Hey, it's better than other ineffective methods like cricket bats, golf clubs and carbon dioxide.

Still kinda gruesome, but the cane toads, which emit poison that can even kill a hungry croc, are more hated by Aussies than sharks.

And the tactic is effective. The report said within two minutes of putting out the canned cat food, almost all the baby toads in the area were under an ant seize.

Crikey! That's some Fancy Feast.

About the author: Mike Suchan has been editor at ESPNOutdoors.com the past three years. He's worked in journalism for 25 years, winning state and regional awards. Email him here.