Category Archives: Bart the Bear

He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods

Bad Day At The Office

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

Yo, Bart here.

I know all the people are pretty happy about the weather finally making a turn towards actual spring, but if you think you’re glad, imagine for just a minute how nice it must be for the wild things that live around you.

Me, for instance.

Yup, we’re all smiles out here in the woods, too. Everybody’s in a good mood. I had a rabbit wave at me yesterday – just a feelin’-good, how-ya-doin’-neighbor type of wave, which is odd because I eat rabbits sometimes. And I waved back! It really does lift your spirits when the weather gets warm.

But in case you were wondering, it’s still not a good idea to be too friendly with bears. And I say this even though I’m the friendliest bear you’d ever want to meet, assuming you want to meet a bear.

We can have tempers.

I read this article online about bear awareness that had lots of good information. It really opened my eyes to the risks we pose in springtime. For example, I had no idea that some people don’t clean their BBQ grills! There could still be greasy, crusty meat chunks in there. That’s gross and really exciting at the very same time. I know where I’m going to look next time I’m on the deck!

But here’s what convinced me that they really knew what they were talking about – the story quoted Jeff Selinger, a biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He was talking about wild animals and the need for people to be cautious when he said this:

“You don’t know what they’ve been through lately.”

Exactly!

I’m glad somebody finally gets it – not every day is the same for a bear in the woods. Yesterday, for example. I went down to the lake because there’s finally open water and I thought maybe I could find a fish. Well there wasn’t a fish, but I found this cooler that looked like it had been sitting out there all winter!

That’s really a great find, because people keep all kinds of tasty treats in their coolers, and if was left there last Fall the stuff inside might still taste pretty much OK. I tried to pull it open and the top wouldn’t come off. I shook it and could hear there were some heavy things sloshing around inside – I was imagining hot dogs or hamburgers.

I had to throw it around a lot before it finally popped open and what did I find inside? Plastic bottles full of water! Water is not in short supply right now. What a letdown!

And then when I looked across the lake I saw another bear who had broken open a different cooler, and HE was EATING something. It figures – I found the drinks cooler and he got the one with the grill food inside. Darn the luck!

I caught his eye and I let him know with facial language that I was not happy, but it didn’t seem to bother him at all. We bears aren’t too supportive of each other, and I felt miserable that he was getting all the good grub. Plus, he let me know that he didn’t respect me much.

Somehow word had got around that I had waved “hello” at a rabbit.

Your hungry, frustrated pal,
Bart

What kind of springtime wildlife activity are you seeing?

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He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods

Yawn of a New Day

Today’s post comes from Bart the Bear.

He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods
He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods

Yawn.

Hibernation time is over for me. I’m up. It’s … yawn … not a good time to be searching for food. That’s true every year. But this year is the worst I’ve seen in a long time – basically nothing but snow wherever I look.

I Googled “Hibernation” just to read up on it a little bit. Since there’s nothing … yawn … to eat, I figured I might as well feed my mind. And there’s a lot of stuff I didn’t know, and I’ve been hibernating every year … yawn … for my whole life.

That part about the build-up and expulsion of a “fecal plug” was news to me, and also it was extra gross. Not to go into too much detail, but now I know why I’ve always thought someone was waiting around to take a pot shot at me every year when I came out of my den.

When you’re a bear, every loud POP sounds like gunfire.

But anyway … yawn … it’s a challenge to wake up when you’re weak and under-nourished. So I’m … yawn … yawning. I’m writing in the word “yawn” whenever I do it just to let you know how … yawn … bad it is. It’s bad. Did you notice? I’m yawning a lot.

So to get the image of that fecal plug out of my mind, I Googled “yawn” and found out a lot, including that it’s contagious, like a disease. If I … yawn … yawn and you’re watching me, or even just reading something I … yawn … wrote … you might start to yawn too. People used to think this was happening because there was some feeling of empathy between the yawner and the person being yawned at – the yawnee.

Yawn.

It turns out that’s not true. At least not in this study. What they found instead is that it varies – some people don’t catch yawning from another person – they’re resistant to it. Old people are especially resistant.

I’m thinking … yawn … that the geezers were already asleep, but the study didn’t say that.

All I know is … yawn … when I open my mouth wide at people they can do two things – take pictures or run like Hell. Or both, in that exact order.

But they sure don’t yawn back.

What behaviors do you pick up from other people?

He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods

Sleepy Bear Makes Prediction

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

Bart Blackberry2

H’lo – Bart here.

Not really awake yet. Not asleep either. That’s hibernation – It feels like there’s this wet paper bag over my head. Kinda like the way some people look at the end of an all-day summer picnic at the campgrounds near here.

Yeah, I’ve been hiding back in the trees, paying attention.

Anyway, I rolled over and saw a news story about that groundhog that predicts the end of winter. Six more weeks, I guess. Unless there are less. Or more.

Y’know, animals pretty much agree groundhogs are morons. Amazingly dumb.

I get it that people have traditions that make them do things that they don’t understand or even think about very much, and I suppose this Groundhog ceremony is one of them. But I noticed that there wasn’t a whole lot of fuss made about it. Since I picked up this smart phone I’ve learned about Google and Facebook and Twitter and I’ve seen how some things can take over the conversation.
And let me tell you – yesterday, the Groundhog was not even the most-talked-about animal! Seahawks and Broncos were much more popular on every single platform!

In fact the greatest excitement about yanking a hairy rodent out of its burrow seemed pretty much limited to a few people in Pennsylvania. And they had some kind of script as far as I could tell. I watched the video. The Top Hat Guys pretended to talk to him but I didn’t hear Phil speak. They said he saw his shadow, but it looked dark and rainy. What’s with that? Reality programming with no real reality or personality – isn’t there enough of that already?

Which gave me this idea. I know more about the weather than a groundhog. Heck, I know more about marketing too. If you wanna bring back the feeling of spectacle to February 2nd, why not roust a bear? I have a burrow, and I can make a big ding dang deal out of waking up.

Wouldn’t it be a whole lot more tense and dramatic to have the Top Hat Guy poke a stick into my den to see if I cast a shadow when I come out to tear him to bits? Oh, I won’t hurt him, but I can growl and thrash around and even take a few swipes. I’ll eat his hat! If you smear some peanut butter inside it. Honest. I can be cranky when I just wake up, but I settle down after I’ve had something to eat.

I predict if somebody builds a celebration around pulling a bear out of his den next year, we’ll only have one more year of Groundhog Day. After that, the day will be known as Bear Scare Februare!

Your pal,
Bart.

What are you like when you wake up?

He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods

Abuse of Power

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

Hey, Bart here.

Yeah, I’m awake. Hibernation isn’t a long nap, y’know. It’s a prolonged state of half-wakefulness, so I drift in and out.

And there are dreams.

I just had one where I was standing in a room and a bunch of people were yelling at me because I stopped traffic. Which is weird because that’s what we do – bears stop traffic because people have to slow down to take pictures of us. Sometimes you can score a few cheese balls because humans love to throw food to a bear out of a moving car. Even if the car is barely moving. That’s just nature.

But then I realized it wasn’t a dream – the phone was streaming Chris Christie’s news conference about some deal where somebody in his office told somebody else to do something to slow down traffic so the Mayor of some town would be embarrassed. Which seemed like a lot of trouble to go, but I guess that’s what politicians do – they’re like bears and they can’t help themselves. When they get a chance to stick it to the other guy, they pull strings and call in favors and do whatever it takes.

Believe it or not, forest creatures know all about this. A lot of us live on federal land, so we have to be cozy with the government. After all, bureaucrats control our lives. I don’t have to tell you who makes the rules for bear hunting, for example. But I’m not saying I’ve been ordered to do certain things by office holders with authority over my territory. It’s just that there have been times when I sensed there was a specific garbage can I should turn over. I had a feeling that powerful people would be pleased if some secrets tumbled out of a particular pile of trash.

So you do things to make your friends smile. They don’t have to ask. It’s called getting along.

I’m not saying the wild animals of America are turning partisan and playing dirty political tricks at the whim of combative office holding tyrants, because that would be really unsettling. But you do have to adapt to your environment.

Your pal,
Bart

How do you curry favor?

Bart_Santahat

Bart’s Christmas Letter

Today’s post comes from Bart the Bear – the bear who found a cell phone in the woods.

H’lo Friends,

One of those tiny little mail trucks turned over in a stiff northwesterly wind the other day, and all the Christmas cards poured out. A few of them blew into the trees and I opened about twenty, all with chatty holiday letters inside. I didn’t know people did this!

Of course I like the idea so I decided to write one of my own.

Greetings Friends!

I hope this Christmas finds you fat and happy. I am both! I gained a bunch of pounds this fall storing up calories for the winter – just like last year and every year before it. It’s what we bears do, and I’m good at it.

Bart_Santahat

In the early part of 2013 I had a swell den in a low spot where a tree fell and a dry creek made a hollow that was out of the wind and very cozy for most of January and February. But when things started to melt, it got a bit damp and I had to get up early to scout around for more food. I was lucky because somebody up here put a whole bunch of money into buying up the last of the Twinkies and the Hostess cupcakes when it looked like they wouldn’t be manufactured anymore. And later when somebody else bought the equipment and flooded the stores with “new” Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes they took their investment and dumped it in the woods. I guess they were disgusted with their unsuccessful attempt to corner a market that was coming back around again. Thirty five cases of factory-made pastry! I ate for a month.

As far as travels go, this year I went up north to where that big highway crosses in front of the lake. Then I went as far east as the river, over west to the place where the trees thin out, and down south to the place with the campgrounds where I’m not supposed to be. Tranquilizer dart territory.

I wanted to make it to London and Rome and Shanghai this year just like some of the people in those Christmas letters I found, but I’m only able to get as far as the place in online reservations where they ask you for a credit card number. Of course I find credit cards in the woods all the time. It’s surprising how careless people can be! But when the name on the card doesn’t match the address I make up, airlines kick me off their website. My dream is that someday I’ll be able to book a flight at least. Actually getting through security and getting on a plane would be a tougher problem. I’m big, I smell bad, I don’t have a legal ID and I don’t wear clothes – all things that would make those Homeland Security people suspicious. But at least I wouldn’t have to worry about taking off my shoes or my belt.

Throughout most of the spring and the summer my time was completely filled up scavenging for food, hanging out around a couple of trails I know, and posing for pictures taken by hikers who can’t seem hold the camera still. Half the time they take the shot, then drop the camera (or phone) and run. I’m guessing there wasn’t a single photo of me that didn’t come out blurry. Some days I think I know how Bigfoot feels.

Speaking of other animals, there was a female in the area last Spring and I got a pretty clear idea that she was ready to connect with somebody and produce some cubs, but we could never seem to get on the same page about that. Our paths crossed a couple of times but I didn’t get the sense that she was interested in me at all. Personally, I mean, as a bear.  Not a lot to talk about between us, and the woods are full of bears who are only interested in casual encounters.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have a problem with being alone. But if you’ve got a family to be with at Christmas time, you should be grateful even if you don’t like them all that much. Families aren’t there to make you happy, they’re there to make you aware of the world and your place in it, and to remind you of where you come from.

I have no idea about that – if I have any relatives in these woods it’s a mystery to me. I argue with almost every bear I see – that’s my nature. But if I knew for sure that some of them shared my DNA, I’d really give them a piece of my mind.

That’s what family is for!

Your pal,
Bart

What are relatives for?

He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods

Coma Bear

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smartphone in the woods.

Bart Blackberry2

Yo, Bart here.

It’s getting colder and pretty soon it’ll be time to hibernate. Can’t wait. Turning the lights out and going dormant for a while is a great feeling – something certain people should do. I look at a lot of social media on my phone so I know what I’m talking about.

Facebook for example. Lots of stuff going on there. Blah blah blah all the time – there’s no end to it. Makes me think good thoughts about being comatose.

So while I’m waiting to fall asleep I follow the news. Pretty cool that the people at Snapchat turned down a 3 billion dollar offer from Facebook. Rumor is they might be able to get 4 billion from somebody in China for a company run by a handful of people that doesn’t make a profit. And the main thing Snapchat does it that it gives people a way to take pictures that are guaranteed not to last very long. They disappear after a few seconds so the photographers won’t be embarrassed later.

Three billion dollars for a money-losing company that produces things that are designed not to last.

I got me thinking (I have a lot of time to think now that Bear Season is over), and I came up with an even newer form of temporary social media that also doesn’t make money – it’s called “ComaChat”. If you sign up for “ComaChat”, you can send detailed personal messages to someone who is in a coma (me). I will not really see it, and will then immediately forget that it came in and that I didn’t even look at it. It’s a totally safe way to say something so private you don’t really want anyone to know, but you have to say it anyway.

No statement or confession is wrong on ComaChat. You’ll feel better for having gotten it off your chest, and there are no consequences. Unless what you have to say is “I left our fully stocked meat freezer unlocked in a clearing in the woods, and here are the coordinates.”

There might be some fall out from that one. Or should I say “pig out”?

Your pal,
Bart

Can you keep a secret?

He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods

Take and Give

Today’s post comes from Bart, the Bear Who Found a Smart Phone in the Woods. His words have been translated from the original Ursus Textish.

Bart Blackberry2

H’lo. Bart here.

It’s been a while since I’ve written because I’ve been keeping a low profile. Bear Hunting Season is still underway.

Not that anybody talks about it much. If there was a hunting season for YOU, it’d be all over the news but since it’s only legal to shoot me, all you hear about is the government shutdown.

I don’t care much about whether the government is operating or not unless it means all the bear hunting licenses got revoked, which of course they haven’t been because there are still bullets whizzing past my head. For me, fewer people at work means there are more people in the woods – and that’s not good.

Please get it fixed soon! I have to admit I resent it a little bit that I have to be afraid for my life for six weeks every year. People can be pretty cruel.

So until then I’m kinda on personal lockdown. I’ve turned off all the ringtones on my phone. I can’t even afford to have it vibrate because there are some people out here who shoot first at sounds and ask questions later. If you’ve sent me a text lately I haven’t been able to pick it up – sorry. One more week and I’ll be able to relax a bit.

And I’m kinda fasting. Staying away from food is important during bear hunting season, cause that’s where they expect you to be – near the tasty morsels. And when you’re being hunted, hunger is a weakness!

But after October 13th, I’ll be able to chow down. Then it’s a race to put as much fat on as possible before the weather turns really bad. Lucky for me Halloween comes in there a few weeks later. Do you know how many Milk Duds I can score with this bear costume? Plenty! And I love it that you really don’t have to say anything. Oh, people try to make me say “Trick or Treat,” but I just look at them and let a little drool spill out of the end of my snout and they hand over the candy pretty quick. As I walk away I’ve heard some people say “Man, that kid has bad breath.”

So that’s the thing. You humans take away my freedom and my security, and then you hand over exactly what I need to survive. You sure are funny that way. Kinda contradictory. I’m not complaining but you sure do keep me guessing.

Anyway, let this be a reminder to you. Bear season is almost over. Time to stock up on candy!

Stay calm and aim high,
Your Pal,
Bart

What’s your most profound contradiction?

He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods

Menu Planning

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

Bart Blackberry2

Yo, Bart here.

So I’m seeing a lot of articles about this group of humans who let themselves be locked in a crate out on the barren slopes of a mountain in Hawaii for three months – all to see if they could make interesting meals out of nothing but the kind of ingredients that could be shipped to Mars. You know, freeze dried beef, rice, lentils, dried fruit and Spam.

It’s called HI-SEAS,for Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation.

The project just finished up and you can read all about the different things they did, including exploring around the site wearing “spacesuits” and alternating their meal schedule between pre-packaged dinners and feasts they invented or put together using suggestions from online visitors. I guess one of the best recipes they got came from a professional chef who told them how to make Moroccan Beef Tangine.

That one really hit home for me. We bears are pretty much all about making the best possible balanced meal out of the stuff we can find around the edges of an ordinary campground. Here’s my recipe for Scavenger Salad:

Ingredients:

  • Twinkies
  • Doritos
  • Half eaten Buffalo Wings
  • Gummi Bears
  • Marshmallows
  • Graham Crackers
  • Juice Boxes
  • Ketchup and Mustard Packets

Directions:

  1. Throw everything in a pile.
  2. Eat.

It’s kind of cool to look at the ingredients list they had to work with at HI-SEAS.  It’s a better selection than we bears usually get.   Seeing this, I’m pretty sure I know what I would have done if they’d picked me to be on the crew.

  1. Eat all the cashews.
  2. Eat all the beef, sausage, pepperoni and Spam.
  3. Eat all the peanut butter and nutella.
  4. Eat all the molasses and brown sugar.
  5. Rest.
  6. Eat everything else.

Surviving on Mars wouldn’t be so hard!

Your pal,
Bart

What meal do you make when you don’t have the makings for any of your favorite meals?

He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods

Larger Than Life

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

He promises to sit VERY still.
He promises to sit VERY still.

Yo, Bart here.

I know they call these the “dog days” of summer, but as a bear I can tell you that things are pretty darn quiet for us, too. I could nap all day! I guess Al Roker gets the same feeling sometimes. Sure, I know who Al Roker is. You think I was born in a barn?

When I’m not napping I waste hours and hours wandering around the internet. Pretty amazing how the time just melts away, but at least I’m not getting into trouble at campsites. I hear when the game wardens trap you or they shoot you with one of those tranquilizer darts, the first thing they do is take away your phone. Bummer.

Anyway, I got really excited when I found this video and the article that goes with it.

A huge bear was captured and released, and some guy who makes things out of concrete saw the video and wants to do a statue of him. But the bear is already gone, so he wrote to the naturalists to get the measurements so he could get the proportions right.

It would be awesome to have an enormous statue made of me, using concrete or anything! So here’s the deal – I’ll pose for anyone who wants to do a bear sculpture. The only conditions are:

  • No tickling
  • All the berries I can eat
  • My name goes on the plaque
  • I get to go home when it’s done

Deal? Honest, it’s kind of quiet now, and I just sit around all day anyway! Just remember, bear season hasn’t started yet.

Your pal,
Bart

What does the inscription say on the statue of you?

He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods

Bear and Man

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a cell phone in the woods.

He's not coming to visit.
He’s not coming to visit.

H’lo. Bart here.

I saw this story about the researcher who had his messing-around-with-bears permit yanked because the higher-ups decided he was teaching us to get cozy with humans, which is not a good idea because it puts bears in danger.

I don’t know much about this case, but I can tell you for sure that some bears really don’t get it about people. I’ve heard about campgrounds where dumb bears are actually trying to get into cars. Strangers’ cars! No matter how many times you say “Don’t get into a car if you don’t know the person behind the wheel, and yet there they go, trying to peel off the doors sometimes because there’s a bag of Fritos in the back seat.

Yes, these are cars that belong to people those bears don’t know!

It used to be bears were bears and men were men but with animation and voice overs and Photoshop, sometimes even I’m fooled. There’s even a bear scented cologne. At least that’s what I think is going on at this website, but I don’t read German yet, so I’m not completely sure.

But some bears aren’t sure they’re really bears unless there are people around to take pictures of them and throw popcorn. Then there’s this one bear I read about who tried to break INTO a zoo.

Yes, there’s a lot of confusion out there about boundaries.

So everybody should know bears are wild animals. We aren’t pets and we’re not cartoon characters and we don’t think in complete sentences or talk like lummoxes or act like hairy versions of your best friends.

And I know you’re thinking that I pretty much do all those things I just mentioned. But that doesn’t mean I’m dangerously “habituated” to humans – far from it! I’ve learned to be cautious from dealing with people online, where everyone feels free to be their worst possible self. Thanks to that, I’m the most suspicious bear you’ve ever met.

And we’ve never met! Let’s keep it that way!

Your remote pal,
Bart

I agree that Bart is the wrong messenger for the Bears Aren’t People Campaign. But asking a normal bear to make the case for less bear-human interaction would be just plain scary.

Name an animal (or person) you’d like to keep at arms’ length, and why.