Bison Hero 

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My new hero is Eric Pianka. He's a biology professor at the University of Texas, studies lizards, said that the earth is overpopulated and that ebola will be a much better human killer than AIDS.

Yes, yes, he "has unique views on the world," which are not so unique really because me and a few other people think the earth is in serious need of a Chinese one-child policy. No one's advocating killing, either. We'll leave that up to the racist anti-abortion warmongers*.

What I really, really like about Pianka are the bison.

Pianka lives with 22 of the animals. He belongs to the Texas Bison Association.

Bison and I go back way far. Growing up in Canada's Texas (Alberta), a Cree best friend introduced me to the bison. My sister's explosive reaction to bison photography sealed the deal. Bison and I are spiritual buddies. I even wrote my own song for bison, though I erroneously referred to them as buffalo. Real buffalo come from Africa and Asia.

Bison are wild animals. Seeing someone pet a bison is cool, as Pianka does - it takes work to be allowed by a bison to pet it.

In my wildest dreams (the same ones where I almost successfully defend my imported Transylvanian castle from zombies in the high Arctic), I would harvest musk ox wool or qiviut, dye it with tundra lichens and knit endless mufflers. Though more closely related to goats and sheep, musk oxen (umimmaq or the bearded ones in Inuktitut) look enough like bison (yet has the same number of ribs as Indian water buffalo, a true buffalo) that I'll turn a blind eye to taxonomy in my fantasies.

Of course I am having enough trouble taming two hamsters and a stepcat. No one said fighting off zombie invasions would be easy though.

*Life begins at conception and ends at birth, eh?

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