Posts Tagged ‘Polar bears’

MY ALTERNATIVE FACTS

What’s all the fuss about President Trump calling his inauguration crowd the largest ever? And why bother with photos comparing Mr. Trump’s crowd with those of former president Barack Obama? Last Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” presidential counselor Kelleyanne Conway set us all straight. There are alternative facts. I find that comforting.

Alternative facts get down to ultimate truth. For me, that’s particularly important. My family and friends only think they know me. My alternative facts reveal someone else:

More people attended my bar-mitzvah than any of the fifty Super Bowls. The value of my gifts exceeded the combined ticket revenue and beer sales of last year’s game… When I attended Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning back in 1966-67, General William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, called me weekly for consultation.

My hair is so beautiful my stylist tips me. So other men won’t get jealous, I die it gray… I’ve won more literary prizes than Meryl Streep has acting awards… My manhood is so large, New York’s American Museum of Natural History requested that it be exhibited there (after my death)—if they can find a room large enough… The Nobel Prize committee intends to honor me in three categories they plan to create just for me.

I not only coached the post basketball team at Fort Sam Houston, I played. In a twenty-point exhibition ass-kicking of the NBA’s New York Knicks, I held Hall of Famer Walt Frazier scoreless… When Carolyn and I visit London, we stay at Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth thanks us for giving two weeks’ notice so she can find alternative accommodations… Three of the Bible’s most compelling characters were modeled after me.

My Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita is the world’s most expensive automobile. After a pigeon left a white spot on its hood, I donated my first to charity and had another made… In Churchill, Canada, I didn’t just feed wild polar bears out of my hand. I rode them… I once toured with the Rolling Stones, singing side by side with Mick Jagger. Calls rang out from adoring crowds: “Who’s that guy with David?”

I have more Olympic medals than last year’s publication totals of romance/erotica novels… My home is so palatial I have views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Las Vegas Strip… The New York Times’ Sunday magazine plans a book-length profile of me—unless the New Yorker wins its Supreme Court case claiming exclusive rights to my story… I star in the world’s top-rated video game. No one plays. They just stare awestruck at the screen.

Dos Equis beer based its advertising campaign, “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” on my life. For credibility’s sake, they underplayed everything… The President of India greeted Carolyn and me when we arrived last October. Three times I turned down his request to rename the capital, New Delhi, Davidpur… Cosmopolitan magazine named me to their “Sexiest Men in the World” list—not just number one but also spots two through ten.

There’s more to a person than meets the eye, an organ prone to repeated failure. When we want the truth plain and simple, all we need is alternative facts. Which make it easy to live in an alternative reality.

If you enjoy these posts, suggest to family and friends that they check out davidperlstein.com. And please don’t support my running for president in 2020. The office would be a demotion.

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POLAR BEARS AND PATIENCE

Posted Oct 30 2015 by in OUR WORLD with 1 Comment

Canada’s Hudson Bay freezes in late November. Before then, polar bears gather near sub-Arctic Churchill, Manitoba—population 800. Carolyn and I flew there last week to hunt polar bears with binoculars and our iPhones. Wow!

Polar bears don’t hibernate during winter. Over four months they stuff themselves on seals, consuming most of their annual calories. On the ice, polar bears exhibit incredible patience. A bear may wait motionless for two days at a seal’s air hole. Rippling water or a seal’s scent alerts even a sleeping bear. Sharp claws reach down. Powerful shoulders yank the seal out of the ice.

In spring, the ice breaks up. Currents circle floes east and south. Bears swim to shore and embark on an extended land journey back to Churchill. In October and November, bear watchers like us also descend on the town. Literally. There are daily flights and an occasional train but no road in.

Our expedition took us onto the tundra—flat and rocky, a few low ridges, lichen and other minimal vegetation, sparse small trees, lakes and ponds, a dusting of fresh snow. Our guide drove an arctic crawler the size of a large motor home with huge tires featuring gigantic treads. (Carolyn got a brief turn.) The crawler offered a heating stove, bathroom, school bus-type seats and large windows.

Sunday morning we parked near the edge of the bay. Whitecaps flashed in the sun. We saw a Red Fox. It proved a good sign. Moments later, we spotted a bear half-a-mile away. (If a rock moves, it’s a bear.) It approached over an icy inlet and stopped within 50 feet of us. Two more—probably siblings—came by. The first bear scampered off. The siblings came up to our crawler and checked us out. Later, a fourth bear approached within several hundred yards but shambled on towards town.

On Monday we parked on the other side of the inlet. We waited quite a while until a bear appeared. It kept its distance. After lunch we spotted another pair of siblings. We drove around the inlet and found them. They settled down 50 yards off and napped, one sprawled on the other. It was twenty degrees. A stiff wind blew their coarse white fur. No one left the crawler. It wasn’t just the cold. Polar bears are predators.

Bears often come into town. Federal rangers armed with rifles and “bear bangers”—loud blanks—plus lethal rounds protect Churchill until 10 pm. Guests out and about after that are advised to take a taxi. Container traps baited with seal also wait. A trespassing bear triggers the closing of a door. Rangers tranquilize the bear, weigh and tag it. Then they put the bear into “jail”—a building with two-dozen “cells.” Bears get only water and ice. Human contact is withheld. A month later, a helicopter releases them 50 miles away. About 20,000 polar bears have passed through the jail since the 1980s.

It was a gift to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. Will future generations enjoy that experience? Global warming is decreasing the area and duration of the ice. If we exhibit patience and skip a few short-term pleasures to invest in a healthier planet, the answer might be yes.

The blog will take off on November 6 and return on November 13.

Read the first two chapters of FLIGHT OF THE SPUMONIS here at www.davidperlstein.com. You can get a signed copy from me or order a soft cover or e-book at Amazon.com.

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