You know, a person cannot live by politics alone. Therefore, in an effort to rest my brain, sorely taxed by last night’s presidential debate, and further taxed by the ignorant blogs on my hometown newspaper, the Tallahassee Democrat, I turn to the comfort of my other obsession: animals. Behold the cassowary:
This amazing photograph comes to you courtesy of www.smithsonianmag.com.
This is a southern Cassowary, which is native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and northern Australia, where it is considered endangered. Here’s a quote about them from the Smithsonian article:
“The ornery cassowary is not an easy creature to love. In fact, it ranks as the world’s most dangerous bird, at least according to Guinness World Records. A cassowary can charge up to 30 miles an hour and leap more than 3 feet in the air. On each foot are three claws—one slightly curved like a scimitar, the other two straight as daggers—that are so sharp New Guinea tribesmen slide them over spear points. The last person known to have been killed by a cassowary was 16-year-old Phillip McLean, whose throat was punctured on his Queensland ranch in 1926. There have been plenty of close calls since: people have had ribs broken, legs cracked and flesh gashed.”
Once a female cassowary lays her eggs, the male incubates them for about two months; then the young follow him around for six to nine months while he protects them from predators and teaches them to find food. I like that in a man.
Smithsonian magazine is, in my view, the best magazine in publication. Like National Geographic, it has spectacular photography, but its content is not limited to nature. The October issue, which contains the article about the cassowary, also contains articles about the history of Iran, the demise of chinook salmon fishing off the coast of California, and the Italian sculptor Bernini.
There now. I feel better already.