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Tag: squirrel

Roosting in the records

Someone who read my post on Squirrel Appreciation Day alerted me to World Sparrow Day, which was Sunday, March 20. This inspired me to dive back into Online Public Access (OPA) on the National Archives web site. I typed in “sparrow,” and amid many references to the U.S. Marines, missiles, and Sparrows Point shipyard were a couple of photographs of the tiny bird and some quite interesting Indian School Journals from the early 20th century.

The Journal came from the National Archives at Fort Worth, among Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The magazine was published by students at the Chilocco Indian School and was printed in the school’s print shop. It contained articles about the Indian service and various tribes, stories, poems and inspirational paragraphs, and advertisements. There are also a number of photographs of students, faculty, school buildings, Indian houses, and artifacts.

I’m featuring a page from the February 1907 issue of the Indian School Journal that was featured in a  section called “Educational Department—Lesson For Teachers from The Office.” The suggested Q&A taught students about “Birds as Weed Destroyers.”

The Journal authors were not sympathetic to the English (house) sparrow, which is the bird celebrated on World Sparrow Day. Because house sparrows are not native to North America, they were long considered a pest. While the house sparrow still seems to be one of the most … [ Read all ]

Have you hugged a squirrel today?

While poking around the web while I ate my lunch, I discovered that today is Squirrel Appreciation Day! I know many gardeners can’t stand the little beasts, and when we tried to grow tomatoes a couple of summers ago, I didn’t feel too friendly toward them, either. But usually I’m quite taken by these fluffy-tailed guys. And I’m not the only one—President Ronald Reagan used to feed the squirrels outside the Oval Office.

I love the way squirrels flick their tails when they’re agitated and chitter at you self-importantly from their safe perches far overhead. I can’t help but smile when they’re all fluffed up in winter or nod sympathetically when they’re draped across a branch, trying to cool off in summer. Way, way back, when I was a tiny thing, one of my favorite cartoons was even “Secret Squirrel.”

Squirrels also have an important job planting trees. They bury far more acorns and seeds than they can possibly uncover and eat, and the forgotten food then sprouts. They also won the sweepstakes when it comes to cuteness. Without that plume of a tail, they’d not look much different from their rodent cousin, the rat. But with the fluffy factor, they’re the subject of countless tourist pictures around the Mall here in Washington and elsewhere.

As soon as I found out it was Squirrel Appreciation Day, … [ Read all ]

Internet sensation discovered at the National Archives

Internet memes are a new phenomenon. What is an Internet meme? It’s a random, quirky, ‘thing’ that takes the Internet by storm and for the briefest of moments enters the American dialogue. Often times logging in millions of hits for no apparent reason, Internet memes are as whimsical as the Internet search itself. No one really knows where they come from or why a guy talking about a double rainbow draws us in. The simple fact is they do (please note this is an external link).

One Internet meme has logged over 24 million views on YouTube, and is a five second clip of a gopher turning his head to dramatic music. Spinoffs were made, YouTube links e-mailed, and now more people have watched “Dramatic Look” than watched the LOST Series finale (also an external link).

It seems that the Environmental Protection Agency captured the dramatic look long before YouTube subscriber Magnets99 did though, with the image above. This Siksikpuk was unavailable for comment according to its agent. For more on these EPA images, read our Prologue article on DOCUMERICA. [ Read all ]